Thursday, 4 March 2021

Breaking Updates

Obviously not the start to 2021 that I was anticipating, and I'm still a few days away from being able to put weight on my leg which now looks like a Meccano project, but I'm a lot closer to walking again than Tiger Woods who, by all accounts, did even worse damage to his right leg.

My surgery took place in January and with screws and plates in place (permanently), I'm hoping to be an upright citizen again soon. 

While it wasn't on my bucket list, if I had to break a leg at some time in my life, it's hard to think of a better time than now, given the restrictions on life and work that continue to be in place. I'm extremely fortunate that work was hardly impacted at all, and I was able to move seamlessly from a work-from-home situation to a work-from-bed one. 

At the time of my accident, I was in the process of a post reviewing some interesting trends in the EPL markets during the Xmas / New Year holiday season, but the time sensitive nature of that means it'll have to wait, and I'll probably include it in the end of season summary. The rationale for looking at this was that with games coming thick and fast at this time of year, the market would be expected to be less efficient than usual, and that certainly seems to be the case. 

While I have taken time away from blogging, the investing has been able to continue with another NFL season now complete, and the EPL, NHL and NBA seasons in full swing, albeit with various restrictions and changes in place due to the ongoing pandemic.

Starting with the NFL since the 2020 season ended last month, and the strategy of backing small underdogs playing away continued its run of success with no impact to profits from the COVID changes other than fewer selections than usual, just 59 this season but generating a decent ROI of 10.9%
As I have been talking about this bias for many years, I hope some of you were along for the ride, but I suspect its value isn't fully appreciated or maybe 59 selections in a season is considered not worth bothering with. The Divisional qualifiers added a little extra, and the six play-off qualifiers added another four winners from six.

The idea that there is a market bias against away teams is also persistent in the NHL this season. One reader wrote to me at the start of the season confused as to why there were no selections showing up for him. The reason was that the pandemic had forced the NHL into restructuring its Divisions, so the criteria he was looking for was no longer present.

His disappointment was palpable, and whether it was the painkillers or a fleeting moment of rare generosity I'm not sure, but I rashly and, more concerningly, freely offered an alternative that used the basic principles of the former system which had been profitable in every season since the NHL last reorganised its Divisions, and I thought would continue to be profitable.

While I haven't head from him since, the reason may well be that he has retired rich, with the basic system currently up 23.9% and 35.09 points after 112 selections:
While the 2019 NBA regular season was cut short, the theory that away teams might benefit from the absence of crowds showed some merit, at least for games where they were a small underdog. This has continued into the 2020 season, and these selections are hitting at a rate of 58.2% to date and at 65.3% (after 50 selections) if you factor in the previous outing, which often is overreacted to by the markets. The NHL system mentioned earlier is also one where the market doesn't accurately reflect previous results, and the basic ROI can easily be improved upon.

Also hitting in the 65% range are the Overs when the total is 'high' - high being a relative term since the game has changed quite dramatically over the past few seasons and what was once considered high is now quite low. 

My usual strategy here is to take the previous seasons average, and add 10 points, and this has served us well during the era of higher scoring over the past few seasons.
The bias at work here should be obvious, but it appears to take a while for the market to recognise that the game has changed.

And finally, the EPL and a season like no other with more Away wins than Home, continuing the theme that there's no place like Away these days.

For the Draw backers in 'Toss-Up' matches, it's so far so good with the 11 selections generating 9.06 points so far although the 'Close' category matches are down by 19.67 points. 
Some of you may have also noticed that six of the Big 6 matches played so far have ended 0:0, not including the Liverpool v Chelsea game currently in progress.   

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