Wednesday 27 October 2021

Stock Crashes and Squirrels

Two more winners, and one loss, for the Small Road 'Dogs this past weekend (Week 7), taking the season's record to 22-10, and a less impressive - but still profitable - 7-5 for the Divisional matches. This week was actually the first of the season when Home teams were in the majority for winners against the spread, covering in 10 of the 13 games.

In the NBA, followers of my Overs strategy could be in for a quiet season, since after one week we have had just two selections. 

On Opening Night, the Brooklyn Nets - Milwaukee Bucks game was half a point shy of qualifying and finished Under. The following day saw the first qualifying bet with the Sacramento Kings - Portland Trail Blazers starting us off with a winner, but on Sunday, the Golden State Warriors - Portland game took us back to square one with an Under. Early days, and the unavailability of Killer Sports for the NBA this season is certainly an inconvenience.  

In the Premier League we had one "Toss-Up" selection this weekend, with Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers delivering a winner with a 1:1 Draw albeit thanks to a 94th minute penalty. Here are the results for these selections since 2010:
Brentford v Leicester City was a "Close" selection, and was a lot closer than the other "Close" selection which was the Big 6 game (or rather rout) of Manchester United by Liverpool. The ROI on "Close" selections over the same period is now 5.28% from 746 selections.

Not to spoil the month end update, but with Tesla currently setting record highs as if the year was 2020, and incidentally joining Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook in the trillion dollar company club, and with Bitcoin having a strong month, it's looking like it will be a good month overall, (famous last words). 

Still two trading days to get through, and October has historically been an exciting, to put it mildly, month for stock markets with today (27th) the anniversary of 1997's Asian Contagion crash, and 10 years earlier, October was the month of the Black Monday crash which I remember well, following as it did, the Great Storm which closed the Stock Exchange on the preceding Friday. A loss of 23% in two days wasn't pleasant, but it was an important lesson fortunately learned at a time when, in real money terms, I didn't have too much!  

Finally, from Wikipedia, an unexpected final detail to Aaron Zang's personal life page:
Zang played Magic: The Gathering during high school and won a Chinese championship in the card game. He graduated from university in 2005. In 2013, he founded a company specializing in Bitcoin in Shenzhen. In 2019 he got a pet squirrel.

Sunday 17 October 2021

NBA 2021-22

The NBA regular season returns this week (on Tuesday) with the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Brooklyn Nets, who are favourites to win the championship this season. The Nets were ousted from the playoffs last season by the Bucks in overtime in game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-final. The Los Angeles Lakers are second favourite, the Bucks third, and the Golden State Warriors, who haven't made the playoffs for the last two seasons, fourth favourite along with the Utah Jazz.

As some of you will know, the strategy of backing the Overs in games where the Total is "high" has been a profitable one since the average points per game started climbing after 2012. For no reason other than I ran out of fingers, I've been adding ten to the previous season's average points totals and backing Over for matches where the total is set higher. 
There were 150 fewer games in 2020-21 with each team playing 72 games rather than the usual 82, but enough games were played to allay any concerns. Other than total points scored, a couple of other metrics I keep an eye on are the pace of the game, and the number of three-point shots being taken and scored. In line with the increase in points scored, the pace of the game has also been steadily increasing since 2012, although last season it fell slightly, but only by 1.1%.

As well as the faster pace of the game, the other key metric driving more points being scored is the increase in three-point shots being taken and also being scored. 

When the three-point line was introduced in 1979, it's an understatement to say that teams were slow to recognise its potential. In the 1980-81 season, teams attempted an average of two three-point attempts per game, scoring from 25% of those shots, i.e. the grand sum of one and a half points was the average in a game from shooting a three!  

Forty years on and the numbers are a record high of 34.6 attempts per game with a near record high 36.7% conversion rate. At the height of the Chicago Bulls success, the 1996-96 season was a 36.9% conversion rate, but last season was the next highest and from more than twice as many attempts. 

The bottom line is that the expected number of points per game from threes has climbed from 1.5 in 1980-81 to more than 38 last season. With change comes opportunity. 

One other number that helped last season was the number of turnovers which at 13.8 per game is the fewest since this stat was first recorded back in 1973. Since 2000, this number has stayed in the 14 to 15.1 range so it will be interesting to see whether this turns out to be a trend or a blip. 

Thursday 7 October 2021

Wild Card Winners

A nice start to the MLB playoffs with two winners in the 'best-of-one' Wild Card games. The Boston Red Sox extended the misery of Road Favourites in the American League by beating the New York Yankees 6:2 and those published ROI's are now even redder.

In the National League game last night, my advice was again spot on, although it was a close game only won by the defending World Series champion Dodgers (3:1) in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs. 
Now the Division Series are all set, with the Dodgers (106 regular season wins) facing National League West rivals San Francisco Giants (107), with the other series in this league being between the Atlanta Braves (88) and Milwaukee Brewers (95). 

It's the first time the two California clubs have met in the post season, and the 19 regular season games between them were narrowly edged 10:9 by the Giants. 

In the American League, the Red Sox (92) play AL East Division rivals Tampa Bay Rays (100), with the Chicago White Sox (93) playing the Houston Astros (95). 

The AL series both start today (Thursday), with the NL series both starting on Friday. The team with the higher number of regular season wins has home advantage in a 2-2-1 format and are best-of-five games, while the Championship Series and World Series are all best-of-seven. 

Tuesday 5 October 2021


Rather rare these days, but a couple of comments which is nice. Dr Tsouts asked:

Do you suggest MLB favs strategy only for regular season?

If the question is what I think it is, i.e. do I recommend the 'Hot Favourites' strategy in playoffs, then the answer is yes, if the team are playing at home. 

When the team is from the National League the Money Line (ML) ROI is 22.1% from the 24 matches, with a similar number for the Run Line (RL).  In the American League, the respective numbers are 11.7% and 20.9%, and interesting to note that there has only been one loss from 13 bets since 2007. 

For all favourites, there's a rather unusual difference between backing them on the Money Line or the Run Line, with the former showing a negative ROI of -4.1% and the latter a more positive 3.0%. This is seen in both the National League and American League.

Forget about Road Favourites in the American League though, a scenario which includes tonight's game in Boston between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. These have losing ROI's of 15.6% (ML) and 12.4% (RL).

The second comment, also from the aforementioned Dr Tsouts, was regarding the winning start to the NFL season for the Small Road Dogs:

Regarding NFL strategy a vast majority of the selections have won straightforward!

Indeed they have, although last night's bet on the Las Vegas Raiders was a loss on both the Handicap and Straight Up. Killer Sports is under new management, and their numbers for this season are not correct - for example last night's loss is showing up as a win, but hopefully this will be corrected soon.

The third comment was on my "Retirement" post and BabyDuck (why not duckling?) suggested that I:

Get spending! White Hart, Chipstead to discuss trip/s to West Indies for England's tours next Jan-Feb and/or March. All on you!

With my annual bonus coming in March, I will not be negotiating any kind of severance before then unfortunately, but combining travel and watching sports is certainly high up on the agenda for those early years of retirement.

For the record, the White Hart is a decent pub in a very nice village. My mother was raised in Chipstead and my son played for the Youth team there. 

Monday 4 October 2021

T-Bone Cooked, Wild Week Ahead

The MLB season is now over, with four of the final day's "Hot Favourites" successful, and a Wild Card game tomorrow in the American League between divisional rivals Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees after both teams won their games. The game will be in Boston with the Yankees currently slight favourites.

The National League wasn't quite so dramatic, although it's worth noting that in the West, the San Francisco Giants needed to win 107 games to win the division, with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning 106 games. At the start of the season, the Over / Under on Giants wins was 74.5, and they became the second team since the 1994-95 strike to beat their total by 30+ games. The 2001 Seattle Mariners beat their line of 81.5 by 34.5 games, winning 116 games. For those who love history, this matched the record number of wins set by the Chicago Cubs in 1906, although the Cubs played fewer games.

I mentioned in my season preview post back in March that the New York Yankees were favourites to win the World Series, with the Los Angeles Dodgers second in the betting, and the San Diego Padres third. The first two find themselves in a Wild Card game while the Padres faded badly in the last few weeks of the season and missed out on the post season altogether. 

As for the Giants, they entered the season at around 40-1 to win the Division, the longest since at least 2008 when @SOHistory started tracking these things.

For those following the systems I've mentioned in this blog, the overall results were good. The one disappointment was that the T-Bone System was a loser for the second consecutive season. One losing year in a season messed up by COVID adjustments is one thing, but the same in a normal season is another. Here are the results from last season and back to 2011:
That was really the only bad news. The Hot Favourite System had a poor start and end to the season, but the heart of the season between May and August more than made up for that. Only two of the last 28 May-August months (excluding the 2020 COVID season) have seen losses.
As for the Totals Systems, these were again profitable with the Under bets generating 88.5% of the profits from 58.7% of the bets.
So back to the playoffs and the second Wild Card game is the National League game on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the St Louis Cardinals. 

The 'best-of-one' Wild Card games are a fairly recent development, introduced in 2012, so we only have 16 such matches to look at given the 2020 season adopted a one-off Wild Card system. 

Bearing in mind the small sample, it doesn't appear that the Home 'advantage' is much of an advantage here at all. Road teams overall are 9-7 (+2.63 units) with Road Favourites 4-1 (+2.93 units), with the National League only seeing three home wins. 

All of which isn't good news for the Dodgers, whose opponents are in fine form this past month including a win streak of 17 games which pushed them over the line. The Dodgers though are on a seven game win streak and are around 1.48, with the Cardinals losing three of their final five games.  Resting players is one thing, but in a sport like baseball, winning becomes a habit. Back the Dodgers! 

In the NFL, the five Sunday qualifiers from the Small Road Dogs System went 2-2, although I got lucky with the Indianapolis Colts who became an 'official' non-qualifier after I'd backed them as a +2.5 selection. The final selection of the weekend is tonight, but don't tell my wife or she will not be happy.
It was also a winning weekend in the Premier League with the two matches qualifying as "Close" or "Toss-Up" both finishing 2:2. When it comes to Draw betting, winning sequences aren't typical, but we now have three in a row and an unsustainable 54% ROI on the young season for the Close qualifiers, and 91% for the Toss-Ups! 

Sunday 3 October 2021

Game 162

With 161 games in the books, today sees the final regular season games in MLB and an interesting situation surrounding the American League Wild Card places.

As the MLB site explains:
Four teams -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Blue Jays -- remain in the hunt for the two AL Wild Card spots, though the Yanks and Sox have at least guaranteed themselves an opportunity to play in a potential tiebreaker game. Both would clinch a spot in the AL Wild Card Game with a win. If the Yankees (hosting the Rays) and Red Sox (on the road against the Nationals) both win on Sunday, then Boston would host New York in the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday (Red Sox won the season series, 10-9, giving them home-field advantage for the winner-take-all showdown).

Of course, if either of them lose, it would open the door for the Blue Jays and Mariners. Toronto needs a win at home against Baltimore and a loss by New York or Boston to set up a potential tiebreaker game on Monday for a chance to earn a Wild Card spot. Likewise, the Mariners -- who kept their postseason hopes alive with a dramatic comeback on Saturday night -- need to beat the Angels again on Sunday afternoon, and get a loss by either the Yankees or Red Sox, to put themselves in position for a potential tiebreaker game.

All games start at the same time today, 8pm BST. The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are both probable selections for the Hot Favourites System which looks to have a busy day with three other matches likely. The Yankees aren't a qualifier as they face the Tampa Bay Rays who won their 100th game of the season last night, the only AL team to do so this season. In the NL, two teams from the West Division have both achieved that - the Giants and the Dodgers.

We also probably have five selections for the NFL's Small Road Dog System today.

Good luck if following. 

Friday 1 October 2021

Sobering September

It had to happen at some point and after ten consecutive months of gains, the recent market downturn meant a loss in September. Historically (which in this case means since 2010) September was already one of the two worst performing calendar months, and with a large loss this year, just over six figures, September as a month is actually negative overall across those 11 years. Fortunately it's the only such month, although a little concerning that October is the next worst month.

Of the stocks I've mentioned here previously, Tesla, Boeing and Lloyds Bank were all up on the month, while Bitcoin, Pfeizer and Berkshire Hathaway were down.

Regarding the sports part of my portfolio, and losses here (2.79%) due to the poor finish to the regular season for hot favourites and totals bets.

The Hot Favourites System ended September with an ROI of -3.8% (ML) and -10.5% (RL). Both are still nicely up on the season at 7.6% and 8.0% respectively.

In contrast, the T-Bone System was up in September (3.8% / 5.9%) yet remains down for the season (-5.4% / -2.9%). 

For the Totals Systems, the Overs were down 6.6% while the Unders were up 4.6%

There is still one weekend left in the regular baseball season before it ends on Sunday, with the playoffs beginning on Tuesday although there is the possibility of a tiebreaker game as discussed in great detail here

As I mentioned previously, the NFL Small Road Dogs System continues to be positive so far this season with 13 winners from 16 selections, and likely five selections this weekend. It's still early days and with so much media coverage about Road Teams in general, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see this particular golden goose meet a sad ending by Thanksgiving, but as I've written before, old habits and biases die hard, and it may yet be a while before this goose is cooked. It's well worth having a gander at this system, and long time readers will know I'm not one to send you on a wild goose chase. 

The 2021-22 NBA season is just around the corner, with the first pre-season game on Sunday. The regular season opens on October 19th, a week after the NHL opens its season with an expanded 32 teams. The Seattle Kraken are the new franchise and are in action on opening night. The expansion means the Arizona Coyotes move from the Pacific Division to the Central Division, and as you should know if you read this blog regularly, Divisions and Time Zones are important in this sport.

In the EPL, the pain of the late equaliser against Crystal Palace on Monday night was somewhat eased by the match's qualification as a 'Toss-Up' selection, and a steady start for Draws this season. Below are the results so far for both "Close" and "Toss-Up" selections:
On a personal note, I shall be doing the Sober October challenge again this year, and hoping to shed some of the pounds I've put back on after regaining the use of my right leg which has mostly led to me eating and drinking too much. 

My data from the past two years tells me that on days I drink, I gain on average 1.1lbs, while on days I'm dry, I lose 1lb. If I intake fewer than 2,000 calories, (my Basal Metabolic Rate is currently around 1,921), exercise and abstain from alcohol, I'll lose an average of 1.1lbs a day almost 74% of the time, but the average gain is only 0.7lbs on 22% of the days with the others being flat. Target is 20lbs and, unlike some of my financial targets, this one is all up to me.