Monday, 17 August 2020

Favourites: MLB, NHL and CL

Slow starts are somewhat magnified this season with just 60 games in total, but finally some signs of life for MLB's Hot Favourites and the systems in total are actually in profit for the season!

In the NHL, the trend I mentioned for Unders in empty stadiums has continued with a 40-26-4 record. The books are adjusting the total as might be expected, but for now Unders is the play.

With no Home advantage, these playoffs are unique, but I've been looking at the records of Favourites and Underdogs since the league re-structured while ignoring the venue.

Historically, backing the Favourite in an NHL play-off game is not a great idea, and actually one that is getting worse by the season.

This season appears to be following the same pattern, with 'Dogs currently showing a 15.1% ROI. I think I've mentioned before that accounting for time zones in this sport can be helpful, with the Eastern Conference often quite different to the Western Conference (teams are geographically closer together in the East), and Eastern 'Dogs typically do better, another trend that is continuing this season, even though there is no travel for the teams. 

The European Football season is finally reaching an end, with the Champions League Semi-Finals tomorrow and Wednesday.

With the single-leg / neutral ground format being used for the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals there's now more data for this category.

Backing the Underdog in Finals has a terrible record since 2004 (just the one winner in sixteen matches), but if we include the Quarter-Final wins as underdogs last week by RB Leipzig and Lyon, their record is much improved.

Bottom line is that we have no precedent for a neutral Champions League Semi-Final in an empty stadium, but if we use the data for Finals, the value is in backing the Favourite.  

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