Monday 31 January 2022

Rounding Up The 'Dogs

The NFL Conference Championship games this past weekend were both winners for the Road Teams, although only the San Francisco 49ers were Small Road 'Dogs, covering the spread but losing to the Los Angeles Rams who will now play the Cincinnati Bengals in Superbowl LVI which really should have been hosted at Levi's Stadium in San Francisco to make the most of those roman numerals. 

After 54 years without an NFL team playing in its home stadium, the Rams will be the second team in two years to do this, following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who won at home last season. 

The opening line is the Rams by 4, so arguably the Bengals, playing in their first Superbowl in 33 years, will be a Small Road 'Dog but the site is officially classified as neutral. 

Including post season games, the Small Road 'Dogs ended the season with an 'official' record using Killer Sports of 48-27, 24.9% ROI. The alternate GimmeTheDog site has a record of 48-28 reducing the ROI to a mere 23.3%

In the Africa Cup of Nations, the four quarter-finals produced just the one draw, Egypt v Morocco, officially at 2.94 but available at 3.0 on Bet365 and exchanges. The semi-finals are on Wednesday when Senegal will be odds-on to beat Burkina Faso, and Thursday, when hosts Cameroon play Egypt.

This is the seventh consecutive tournament where the average goals per game has declined, with this year's current 1.88 some way down from 2008's 3.09.  

I mentioned excluding matches where the fair probability of the Draw is low in my last post and there's another way of increasing the ROI which is to exclude matches where the favourite is odds-on. The table below shows three sets of results, all matches, matches where the Draw probability exceeds 0.285 and matches where there is no odds-on favourite. 
The individual tournament numbers of games are still fairly small, and there are some interesting results by tournament but overall, incorporating either parameter increases ROI.

The Nations League has very few matches as does the Confederation Cup which has now been discontinued. The Africa Cup of Nations has the biggest sample size, and appears to be the tournament that benefits most from excluding lop-sided games. 

Only CONCACAF's Gold Cup bucks the trend with a negative ROI across all matches, and a worse record when selecting based on the Draw probability and an improved record when excluding odds-on games. I suspect the reason is the poorer quality of this tournament, but again with fewer than 50 matches in the sample, a couple of results can make a big difference.

The higher quality World Cup, Euro and Copa tournaments, and I expect the Nations League to join them as this competition becomes established, all have very high ROIs, and even Africa's baseline 8.25% is decent. 

The January results for the EPL Draws were positive with three winners from seven "Close" selections, and two from five for the "Toss-Ups". 

This is definitely a system of two halves, with the first half of the season (August through December) having an ROI of 15.9% while the second half (January onwards) is actually down by 1.1%

For "Toss-Ups", the discrepancy is even more stark, with the respective numbers 26.6% and -0.08%. Here are the numbers by month since 2000:
As for January as a whole, for much of the month it looked like being the worst month ever, but a strong couple of days at the end means that the month ends up as the third worst month ever in actual money but only the 10th worst in percentage terms with a loss of 2.85%. Given where I was last week, I think it's fair to say that never before, in the history of my spreadsheet, has a six figure loss felt so much like a win. 

My retirement funds lost 4.5%, Tesla dropped 11.4% and the stars of the January show were those promising young growth stocks (I jest) Lloyds Bank (+7.5%) and Berkshire Hathaway which gained 4.7%

I was told last week to increase my share holding in Boeing to a minimum of 100 via a "Voluntary Corporate Action" request, which I had never heard of before. Apparently the "voluntary" part of it was that I either buy 40 more to make it up to 100 or sell the 60. Otherwise the company would buy them off me. I decided to buy, and the stock took off yesterday with an increase of 5.1%

To keep perspective during these market swoons, it's reassuring to see that I am currently within a few thousand of where I was at the end of October. March isn't far away and that's not only a milestone birthday if I make it that far, but it's also my bonus / stock options / RSUs month. At my age those are far more important than the percentage increase on my salary since I won't be there to benefit from that for too much longer, but a decent bonus and other equity awards would be nice.  

Saturday 29 January 2022

It's a Knockout

The Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 is now complete, and three draws from the eight matches means that the record for this stage of International Tournaments now looks like this:

This includes the Cameroon v Comoros game which started after at least eight people had died in a crush with the hosts at an unofficial 1.05 and the Draw at 14.93.

In International Knockout matches, (or any matches for that matter), when the fair probability of the Draw is under 20%, backing the Draw generally isn't a great idea with the loss from 30 matches 11.42 points.
At least one reader is paying attention, and the Quarter-Final stage is usually good for the Draw also.

Fotballinvest tweeted:
I promised to take a look, hoping that perhaps the markets have settled down after teams have adjusted to the new rule and new ball and Killer Sports are back, albeit in testing mode. 

The average number of points this season is currently 217.2, which means that the steady increase in points since 2011 is over. The rule change mentioned in this post which was introduced to...
discourage offensive players from making "overt, abrupt or abnormal non-basketball moves"
has clearly had a significant impact. At the start of the season, the Overs System Total was set to 234.5 points, and while this has a strike rate of 60% for the season, with only 10 qualifiers, this isn't much good to us.
In all matches this season, the Under has been the outcome in 52.9% of matches, so anyone playing the Overs has been swimming against the tide. However, the edge to Unders appears to have evaporated as the season has unfolded, with the percentage up to, and including, November 5th peaking at 65.2%. Since then. Overs has been the winner 50.2% of the time. For the rest of November, the split was exactly 50/50, while in December it was 53.7% and so far in January, 51.2%.

The logic behind behind backing Overs when the Total is 'high' (high being a relative term) is that unsophisticated bettors are put off from backing Overs when they view the Total as, well, high. It's early days, but if the average for this season is going to be around the 217 mark, then perhaps we will find an opportunity shooting for a few points above this.

Since that early November date, backing Overs when the total is greater than 223 has a 53.8% record, (64-52-3) and when the Road team is a Western Conference team (remember in the NBA that conferences are not created equal), the record is 58.6%. 

So to answer the original question, "is the NBA Overs back now?", the verdict is a cautious yes, but with less than three months data, tread carefully. 

In the NFL tomorrow, only one team will qualify as a Small Road 'Dogs System, with the San Francisco 49ers getting 3.5 points against the Los Angeles Rams. The two teams played each other just three weeks ago in LA, with the 49ers winning in overtime. They also beat (thrashed?) the Rams at home in November 31-10, and so two of the Rams five defeats this season have been to their California rivals.

Monday 24 January 2022

Two Minute Wrap

A busy weekend with no fewer than three selections this weekend for the EPL Draws. The lunch time game on Saturday was Everton v Aston Villa, a "Toss-Up" selection followed later by Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers, which was a "Close" selection. Unfortunately neither was a winner, but Sunday's Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion game, a second "Toss-Up" selection, was a winner for us.

Results for the season to date:
I did get an email from James Dean, possibly not THE James Dean, saying:
Hi, Can't seem to find where you define what is "close" or a "toss-up" in terms of the draw system. Do you have a post on this?
I'm sure the parameters have been mentioned more than once, but this post is one from last year that discusses them. Basically you compare the win probabilities of the two clubs after stripping out the overround. I use 25% and 10%, but there's nothing set in concrete about these numbers. There's also no need to have two sets of results, but I have higher stakes on the "Toss-Ups".

The knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations also got underway on Sunday with two matches and one winner which was Burkina Faso v Gabon. (Probably unrelated, but  reporting today suggests the military in Burkina Faso has seized power and overthrown President Roch Kaboré in a coup. 

More importantly, the draw price was short at an "official" 2.77 although better odds were available on Betfair, but this isn't unusual in this tournament. Two matches in the 2017 version saw the Draw actually start as the favourite which throws my spreadsheet into convulsions. The one selection today was Guinea v Gambia, but this finished 0:1.  

The NFL playoffs continued with the Division Round, and for anyone playing the Small Road 'Dogs, it couldn't have gone any better. Depending on where you source your selections, you may have had three or even four qualifiers, and possibly three winners.

On Saturday, both top seeded (and rested) teams were beaten. First the visiting Cincinnati Bengals won at the Tennessee Titans, followed by the San Francisco 49ers winning at the Green Bay Packers. 

Sunday saw the Los Angeles Rams win in Tampa Bay and dethrone the reigning Superbowl champions. followed by a rather thrilling Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs game which saw an amazing final two minutes - which being the NFL took a lot longer than two minutes!

Using Killer Sports, their system qualifiers were the Bengals, Rams and Bills missing out on the 49ers as they were +6. 

Anyone using GimmeTheDog would have had the 49ers, Bengals and Rams which is what I myself had, since the 49ers on Betfair were +5.5 and the Bills were +2. 

Anyway, at worst you should have had both the Rams and the Bengals to guarantee a winning weekend.

Regarding these selections, Dr Tsouts clarified why he had fewer SU selections than handicap selections:
I started with handicaps and later I added the straight wins, this is the reason there are less selections. Medicine career is working fine at the moment but who says no to an extra income if possible?
Unfortunately this weekend's extra income won't make a dent in the losses in the stock market this year. Still five trading days to go, but right now this month ranks 130th out of 133 in percentage terms, and 133rd in actual money, since I started tracking this in 2011. 

Not the start to the year I was hoping for, but to keep things in perspective, I'm back to where I was in October last year, though of course things can always get worse.

To say the markets were interesting today would be an understatement. The S&P 500 dropped 3.99% and hit a low just after noon (ET), before recovering to end the day slightly in profit +0.28%. That'll do nicely. 

$TSLA was down 9.8% at one time, before recovering to just 1.5% down. (The green was intentional to indicate when a loss can be seen as a win!) 

Tomorrow could be interesting.

Back to sports, and Peter emailed me to say:
On 28/02/20 you posted "NBA where Home Favourites of 13 points or more have a 64.5% record ATS since 2013".

After failing to achieve success here I've just done some backtracking and find that since this post the record for these big favs is 24-27-1

I just checked Killer Sports, and the record they have for these is  31-29-3 which isn't great but at least it's a positive ROI though 0.8% isn't too exciting. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, where and when you make your selections is always going to influence results, which is why two people are never going to have the same results.

The other thing is that Big Home Favourites at this level are fairly rare, as shown by 63 selections in just under two years, and so variance is likely to be a factor. 

Thursday 20 January 2022

The Potential Cost of Easy

While not yet in the league of Morgan Housel, at least in my opinion, Nick Maggiulli who writes the of dollars and data website has some interesting posts.

His latest hit close to home, although I'm a little older than the subject (28) of the original Reddit post (above), and I can't claim do have done as little as 50 hours "real work" in the last 6 years. Heck, I've probably done that many in just the past six months, although the use of the term "real work" is subjective.

With the exception of a few work trips, for almost two years I've "worked" from home with a typical day requiring me to join two or three Zoom meetings, quite often as an observer rather than as a participant, and either delete or file away some emails. (Unlike some people, I like an empty Inbox).

Some months are busier than others of course, but even on a fairly busy day, any more than four or five hours of work is a rarity.

Last night, before I saw this article, I checked my calendar to see what awaited me today, and jokingly told my wife that I had to work from 9am to 11am with only 30 minutes for lunch. But that's really how it's been for a while now. (One of those 30 minute meetings was postponed, so I did get my lunch hour after all).

While I haven't "automated" my job like the protagonist of the story, I have put people under me who take care of almost everything, meaning that I only need to get involved if there are any escalations or my boss needs something, and with several peers and, say it quietly, mostly stable applications, his attention is not usually focused on me. 

As I'm at the end of my career rather than at the start of it, using my free time on non-career activities doesn't have the same potential hard consequences that Maggiulli talks about in his article.

Personally, I've get a head start on some of the activities planned for retirement, or indeed planning retirement given the amount of books and articles I've read on the subject! Travel beyond a few miles from home isn't a realistic option right now, given the challenges of navigating the rules around COVID and never knowing when the boss may need something, but reading and research and updating various spreadsheets can be quite time consuming. These profitable sports investment strategies didn't just throw themselves at me.   

Anyway, here is the post in full, The High Cost of an Easy Job - click on the link for the original:

I recently saw this Reddit post about a guy who automated his job and collected a paycheck for 6 years while doing basically no work. Sounds like a nice gig, right? Who wouldn’t want to get paid to do as little as possible? Who wouldn’t want to make money while browsing the internet or playing video games all day?

I can see the appeal. Compared to putting in 70+ hour weeks or working a job that you hate, this is a far better situation. But, most people who idealize this lifestyle probably haven’t considered the costs associated with it. You might be thinking, “What costs? How could getting paid to not work be a bad thing?”

Because, when you get paid to do very little, you end up giving up two of the most important things in your life—your time and your purpose. Ex-U.S. President Richard Nixon summarized this idea beautifully in this interview:
The unhappiest people of the world are those in the international watering places like the south coast of France, and Newport, and Palm Springs, and Palm Beach. Going to parties every night. Playing golf every afternoon, then bridge. Drinking too much. Talking too much. Thinking too little. Retired. No purpose.

As so, while I know there are those who would totally disagree with this and say, “Gee, if I could just be a millionaire that would be the most wonderful thing. If I could just not have to work everyday. If I could just be out fishing or hunting or playing golf or traveling, that would be the most wonderful life in the world.”

They don’t know life. Because what makes life mean something is purpose. A goal. The battle. The struggle. Even if you don’t win it.
Unfortunately, our society has glorified leisure for so long that we’ve lost our way. This is why some people said that the guy who automated his job to collect a paycheck had “won the game.” But no, he didn’t win the game. He may have won the battle, but he surely lost the war. After six years of doing nothing at his company, he was fired and immediately experienced an existential crisis about his future.

Where did he go wrong? It wasn’t when he automated his job. That’s actually admirable and I support it. No, he went wrong with how he spent his free time after automating it. Because you can spend your time doing something that provides you with deep satisfaction or you can waste it in endless entertainment. I know what it feels like to do both.

From age 22-27 I spent far too much time on the latter. Whether it was wasting time on social media/YouTube (while rarely contributing to these platforms) or getting drunk at parties, I was on a leisure binge. While I don’t regret hanging out with people or learning stuff on YouTube, I know I could have used my time more efficiently.

I only know this because of how I’ve used my time since turning 27. It only took five years to get on a completely different path. This made me realize something—it’s not about how much time you have, but how you use it. It reminds me of this quote from On The Shortness of Life by the Stoic philosopher Seneca:
It’s not that we have a short time to live, but we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.
The more I write about investing, the more I end up talking about time. Because everything in investing, ultimately, leads back to time. A decision you make today could have a huge impact on your future. That’s what compounding is all about—decisions and how they move through time.

Compounding also explains why you shouldn’t settle for a nice paycheck from an easy job. Because every second you spend doing something that you don’t find fulfilling is another second you aren’t doing something that you do find fulfilling. It’s another second without challenge, without drive, and without purpose.

Once you understand this, it completely changes how you look at the world. You quickly realize that life isn’t about maximizing reward while minimizing effort. It’s about finding what you like to do, and doing it for as long as you can. Much like investing, it’s all about staying in the game.

Unfortunately, so many people don’t. Benjamin Franklin said it best:
I’ve seen men die at the age of 25, yet buried at the age of 75.
Don’t be one of them. Don’t let the world prevent you from doing what you were meant to do, from becoming who you were meant to become.

This is easier said than done. Trust me, I know. Because along the way there will be plenty of things to tempt you off the path. There will be easy outs, get rich quick schemes, and an endless array of mindless entertainment. There will be cheap dopamine and shortcuts for every occasion. Why do work when you can not work, right? Why build something when you could not build it? The choice seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But the easy choices come with hard consequences…later. They show up where you might not expect them. With regret. With nostalgia. With sadness. The easy way out always has hidden costs. The question is: are you willing to pay them?

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Opinions and Reactions Galore

A veritable feast of comments related to my two most recent posts, and in time sequential order, here they are.

First up was AT on the Killer Villa post, pointing out that:

Hey mate the Betty Blogger link is broken. Would love to read it!
Well that's an easy one to fix, and I'm glad someone pointed it out. The link is now correct, but to pre-empt any disappointment, I should caution that the link was to Betty's Twitter feed and not specifically to his (her?) research into the other major leagues in Europe which I believe hasn't been publicly shared. But despite his unfortunate choice of football club, he's a decent chap so a polite request might work.

Next up on the same post, and my old friend Dr Tsouts commented:
I believe there are more than one readers who are betting on draws, at least two including me! I also started to track draws in Serie B and top 2 Spain leagues. There are some Twitter accounts with draw picks and one of them also suggests the 1-1 correct score with good returns.
Again, here is the Twitter link for the good doctor and if you want further details on Serie B or the Spanish divisions, or indeed want to follow some of these Draw suggesting accounts, you can always ask. 

I haven't looked at Serie B for a long time. A league where the Draw can be odds-on towards the end of a season makes me a little uncomfortable. As for La Liga, this comment supports Betty's findings, but I can't vouch for the Segunda División claim.

Finally, while apples are supposed to keep such professionals away, my post on Comparing Apples had the opposite effect with the Dr. showing up again, this time to say about the NFL Small Road 'Dogs and the variations in ROI to be expected:
Currently with a 44-24 record for me and a ROI almost 29% I am happy to leave it here and wait for next season! But this is not the whole picture. I also played straight wins with a record 21-19-1 (there was one tie, right?) and an extraordinary 39% ROI! Thanks Cassini!
Music to my ears! An unsolicited, but nevertheless very welcome, independent verification of the numbers. If the career in medicine doesn't work out, might I suggest a move to auditing, although I'm not understanding the SU record of 21-19-1. The 68 Small Road 'Dogs went 37-31 straight up, and I'm not seeing where the 41 selections come from.

Nevertheless, it's very pleasing to hear / read that someone is making money from this system.  

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Comparing Apples

It was a rough weekend for Road teams in the NFL Wildcard Weekend matches, with only one of the six teams winning or covering (San Francisco 49ers who did both). If you are playing the Small Road 'Dogs in the playoffs, then at least if you followed my advice to stick to the NFC you had this winner and just the one loss, so minimal damage. As I've mentioned before, playoffs are a different beast to regular season games, and with far less data, so caution is advised.

Wildcard games are historically good for road teams, with a record since 2001 of 48-33-5, before this season and 21-13 for those in the Small 'Dog range. 

We have another slate of matches next weekend with the four Divisional Round matches. All four matches currently look like they may be Small Road 'Dogs, with the NFC games being the Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers (+5.5) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Los Angeles Rams (+3) games. The Packers have the additional advantage of not playing this past weekend, reward for the best regular season record in their Conference.

Historically Division games aren't great for Road teams with a 42-41-1 record against the spread which isn't profitable. For matched in the Small 'Dogs range, the record is even worse at 13-14-1. 

The AFC games are the rested Tennessee Titans v Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) and Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills (+2.5).

Currently all four matches are Small Road 'Dog qualifiers, but two are just a half point move away from exclusion.

It's also important to note that after being consistent from 2002 to 2019, the NFL format has changed for the last two seasons with the playoffs expanding last season, and this season with the addition of a regular season Week 17, and these changes make it questionable whether we are comparing apples with apples. Small changes can sometimes have unforeseen consequences.  

As I write this, the stock markets are a sea of red, with only $TSLA presenting a glimmer of hope as it flirts with being positive on the day. 

As I mentioned last week Tesla has scheduled its Q4 earnings call for next Wednesday, January 26th.

One barrier to an even higher Tesla stock price is that some mutual funds can only buy a company if its credit rating is at least "investment grade". 

The importance of a company's credit rating was seen when Tesla was given a BB+ rating in October last year, and the stock jumped 21.6% in three days. 

If the Q4 results are as expected, (cash flow, low debt, strong EBITDA margins > 18%), it is possible that in February, S&P Global Ratings may raise the rating to "Investment" grade (BBB-). 

The 18% figure is currently easily being beaten, and interesting that Tesla is the only $1 trillion company that is currently "junk" rated!  

By way of comparison, $AAPL (Apple) is rated AAA so there is still plenty of room for improvement.  

Monday 17 January 2022

Killer Villa

Possibly some very good news this afternoon, with delek reporting that:
as per their email seems like Killersports is back with full functionality

A quick look at their site and it does appear that at least some of my old queries are now working, though not all. Parameters for the NFL, where most of my sports investment attention has been this weekend, such as Division and Playoffs are two obvious ones, so as with the replacement gimmethedog site it's proceed with caution, but definitely good news. 

The 'official' results for the NFL's Small Road 'Dogs System are also slightly improved as the Killer Sports record is 44-24 compared with that of gimmethedog which had a record of 43-26. 

Differences are to be expected since lines vary from book to book and determining the line to record against is often subjective. In the same way that each of us has our own inflation rate, which may or may not be close to the 'official' inflation rate, every person playing this system would likely have had a different precise outcome, though there is no doubt that everyone would have been nicely in profit. 

The differences between the two sources for the season are shown below:

The EPL Draw System had one selection and one winner this weekend, with Aston Villa and Manchester United playing to a 2:2 finish. At least one reader (a Manchester United fan who must have had mixed feelings about the Villa comeback) was on this one, and again, depending on where and when you source your prices for this system, this was either a "Toss-Up" selection or a "Close" selection. The 'official' results use the Pinnacle Closing price as recorded by Football Data, but when I ran the numbers on Saturday, this was a Toss-Up although the official category is "Close". 

This brings the ROI on these selections to 40%, which exceeds the previous best season of 2012-13 but still almost half of the season to go. 

Also a record so far for the Toss-Ups, so hoping more than just one of you are riding these this season.

I hope Betty Blogger won't mind me revealing that he's been doing some work looking at the Draw in other top leagues, with some interesting findings, especially in La Liga. 

One reader wrote to me, I shan't use his name a wrote an e-mail rather than posted a comment, saying:
Hi, I've been reading your blog for a long time. Have you ever wondered what the impact of a draw in a match is related to the fact that it tied in the previous match? I noticed or it seems to me that sometimes a draw occurs more often than there was a draw in the previous game. What do you think about it.

I'm not sure if this thought refers to the idea that we should take into account the previous season's result of the game between two teams, or whether it's that we should look at the previous game for each team. I think it's probably the former, but either way, I don't believe there's any evidence that a Draw has any predictive value. As I've written before, clubs change from week to week, never mind season to season, with managers, playing styles, players / injuries as well as external factors such as weather and how critical the game is to both sides. Some people put a lot of weight into past results but I'm highly sceptical to say the least. Unfortunately finding an edge isn't this easy.

It was a busy weekend, as I had another e-mail, this one from Milan.


I was searching for some articles about arbitrage today and I came across this page

I noticed that you linked to one of my favorite articles about arbitrage

I just wanted to give you a heads up that I created a similar article.

It’s like arbitrage betting, but more through and up to date:

It might be worth a mention on your page.

Either way, keep up the awesome work!

Cheers, Milan from WinMakingsters!

If arbitrage is your thing, and good luck keeping your accounts open if you're doing this, it looks like Milan has taken some time to create a decent looking page, so check it out.

The financial markets in the US are closed today for the Martin Luther King Day holiday, which always means plenty of NBA games, but the FTSE and Nikkei had solid gains which is a promising sign. I'm currently down overall by 2.01% for the year, not quite the worst January on record which was -2.44% in 2016 but in actual money the worst ever. Onwards and upwards.   

Thursday 13 January 2022

Small Road 'Dogs 2021

The regular NFL season came to an end on Sunday with a dramatic finale to the season which saved the sportsbooks several million dollars, possibly as much as a billion. For those who don't know, the Sunday Night game was Las Vegas Raiders v San Diego Chargers, two AFC West teams with both in with a shot at making the playoffs.

Going into Sunday, a win for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Indianapolis Colts would have meant that a tie, a fairly rare occurrence in the NFL, would have seen both teams qualify. The Jaguars won easily earlier in the day and conspiracy theories sprang up including the idea that both teams would take a knee for 70 minutes, and the tie, typically around 60-1, was backed down to 14-1.

After the Chargers had come back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter, the game was indeed tied at the end of regulation, but a 47 yard field goal with a few seconds of overtime remaining broke a few hearts, including those of punters and Chargers fans, which incidentally used to include my wife but she's been distancing herself from them after their move from San Diego.

The question on most readers' minds is no doubt, how did the Small Road 'Dogs fare this season? Well, hopefully some of you were on the money train with these selections this season, as for the 14th time in the last 16 seasons, they again finished the season in profit. In fact, the 43-26 record this season was the best return since 2006, and the Divisional subset of selections was also a winner with an 18-8 record, the best since 2007. 
There were 69 selections with the average number of selections per season coming into 2021 being 71, so the extra round of matches was inconsequential. 

We actually missed a few winners by drawing the line at those 'Dogs getting 5.5 points because at the +6 level, all seven qualifiers won. With no losing seasons since 2010 at this line, it's probably time to update the parameters and include the +6 teams.

While there are relatively few playoff matches compared to regular season games, the Small 'Dog strategy continues to work reasonably well in these games with an overall 38-32-1 record since the expansion to 32 teams, but important to note that with the NFC having a 23-14-1 record in this time, the AFC record is a losing one.

With the FA Cup last weekend, no updates to the EPL Draw System, and I'm struggling to get motivated to look further into the NBA Totals right now. In part this is no doubt due to the passing of KillerSports and the results from gimmethedog being unreliable. 

The markets have been a little rocky in the early stages of the year, but overall I'm down just 0.24% which isn't great of course, but could have been a lot worse with the concerns about Omicron, inflation, and the great resignation.  

The biggest disappointment so far has been my company's discounted share purchase scheme which offers a 10% discount on the closing price every six months. While it was enjoyable at the time, December's strong finish to the year combined with a mild plunge in price in the first week of this year meant that the discounted purchase price (based on 31 Dec) wasn't much of a discount at all by the time the shares were purchased (6 Jan) and in my account. The price has recovered a little this week and I hold onto these for the long term anyway, so no real harm done.   

Tesla (+4.7% YTD) has scheduled its Q4 and 2021 earnings call for Wednesday, January 26 which should lead to some volatility, but again, I'm not in a hurry to offload these shares anytime soon. 

Thursday 6 January 2022

Stand Down

There's an old maxim that states "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" and this is the case with the Overs "discovery" mentioned in my last post.

So hold your horses if you are thinking of diving into Overs in NBA matches where, in their previous games, the "Road team went Under and the Home team went Over."

It turns out that the displayed 88.5% figure was indeed too good to be true, with the same query now returning a more modest 61-48-2 record (56%) in favour of the Unders.

The site gimmethedog which replaced the usually reliable killersports site does caution that:
So it's back to the drawing board for NBA totals, and the reason for the apparent inefficiency I was puzzled about was simply a software bug somewhere. Perhaps it is now fixed, but proceed with care if using this site is certainly good advice.

It's also unfortunate that the NHL page at this site is also not yet up and running, but beggars can't be choosers.

After a good start to the year, the markets have dipped on the release of the minutes from December's joint "Fed" (Federal Open Market Committee and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) meeting which hinted that a rise in interest rates could come as soon as March.
It's a little odd that the minutes are not released for three weeks, but that they are concerned about inflation can perhaps be seen by the fact that the word is mentioned 75 times in the 14 pages of minutes! 

It could be a volatile year, with seven of my individual stocks declining (6) or increasing (1) by more than 2% yesterday. Thank you Pfizer. Saving lives and, for now at least, my January spreadsheet which is up by just 0.09% for the month / quarter / year to date. 

With the futures red for tomorrow, I may defer updating prices for a few days. I find I'm much keener to do this on an up day than a down day.

Tuesday 4 January 2022

New Year, Same Old Tesla

There were three selections for the EPL Draw Systems this weekend, with the hottest bet of the season so far - Chelsea v Liverpool - a winner. 

Brentford v Aston Villa and Everton v Brighton and Hove Albion were the two losing selections, but calendar year 2022 is off to a profitable start, and the 2021-22 season ROIs are now up to 33.5% (Close) and 66.7% (Toss-Up).

No winners in the NFL this weekend for the Small Road Dogs, but with only one selection (Miami Dolphins +3), not too much damage done to the season's record which now stands at 40-25, with an ROI of 20.1%.

I commented in my last post of 2021 that:
In the NBA the edge for Unders on Totals of 212.5 or higher seems to have faded somewhat while I was away but still up on the season with a gain of 25.3 points and an ROI of 6.8%. With December looking to be a losing month though, I need to take a look at the data before I resume betting on these.
Although backing Unders on Totals greater than 212.5 is still profitable for the season with a 57.2% winning record, at the time I left in early December this figure was 60%. 
I think I'll sit these bets out for the time being and play the Overs in matches where the last game for the Road team went Under, but for the Home team went Over. 

Currently this "system" has an 88.5% winning record (69-9), and a 23 game winning streak since December 8th, though those numbers will soon be updated to 88.6% and 24 as the Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards game went over last night. 

While the market is prone to recency bias, I'm struggling to find a rationale for this new inefficiency but I thought it might be of interest to some of you. In matches where both teams are coming off one day of rest, the percentage of Overs is 90.6%, a 29-3 record for the season.
Of much more significance to my bottom line was Tesla's move today, rising more than 13.5% on the first trading day of the year.
This (13.5%, not my total gain on this stock) wouldn't be a terrible return for a full year for many stocks, but Tesla has a history of double digit percentage moves with @Bespoke informing us that:
Over the last two years, Tesla has had more one day moves of at least 10% (29) than bitcoin (17)
and that:
Tesla's average daily move over the last 2 years has been +/-3.3% compared to +/-2.7% for bitcoin.

It's certainly a great start to the year, even though the UK markets were closed, and there could be more for Tesla.:

Sunday 2 January 2022

Goodbye 2021 (2)

A New Year, and an exciting one for those of us who love numbers as 2022 is not only a harshad number but also a sphenic number

The enormity of this moment can be measured by the fact that this is only the second time this has occurred in my lifetime, the first being 2001, a year which marked the start of the current century and millennium despite most people celebrating the event a year prematurely. 

It will also be the last occasion my lifetime that the year is both a harshad and a sphenic number, as the next occurrence isn't until 2085. 

Harshad is a Sanskrit word which means 'joy-giver' and hopefully the year will live up to its categorisation and do just that.

As for the year just gone, much of what I wrote in my review of 2020 a year ago remains true. 
My job isn't really work these days. It's all meetings and management and if I can do it full-time from home, and by full-time I often mean for two to three hours a day, then I might as well hang in there until the next bonus and stock options are doled out at least, which is next month. Were my job hacking away at a coal face, my attitude to retirement might be a little different.
I am still working, with retirement ever closer, but motivation to pull the trigger very much tempered by the fact that I do very little actual work, most of the work I do is from home, and with the pandemic still with us, travel isn't yet the pleasurable experience it should be. 

In contrast to 2020 which saw a holiday to South Africa, two promotions in the space of three months, the death of a parent and the start of a pandemic, 2021 was much less dramatic. No new countries visited, no promotions, no deaths of anyone close to me, and the pandemic still impacting, not daily life so much, but certainly impacting making definite plans.

I did break my leg in three places in January though, and despite missing two months of the year as it healed, was still able to reach my goal of 1,000 miles on foot for the year. Clearly the goal was too easy, and I've bumped it up to 1,200 miles for this go round. 

As has probably been evident from the content of my blog, the importance of sports betting has continued to decline. I still enjoy the challenge of beating the markets, but the financial impact to the bottom line is now miniscule compared to that from my financial investments.

While it is somewhat vulgar to talk in real terms, my net worth increased last year by 32.9%, the second highest since I began tracking such things, though of course in real terms by far the best year ever. 

The S&P 500 Index I may have mentioned a few times had its third consecutive year of double digit gains (26.9%), and again outperformed the FTSE although at least this index was up this year by 14.3%.

The main driver for me was the success of my employer, with the RSUs and Stock Options in my company becoming more valuable as the share price increased by 45%, as well as the shares I already own. Whether or not it is wise to have 17% of my net worth tied up in one company is debatable, but their record since 2008 (right) is impressive. I'll re-assess after the next round of bonuses, stock options and RSUs next month which may be followed by a discussion about a severance agreement, but we'll see. 

Tesla climbed another 49.8% last year after being flat up until August and property valuations were up 41%. My venture into Bitcoin hasn't been a success so far, and Boeing lost a little last year, but overall a bumper year, and one unlikely to repeat itself though these are unusual times. 

Of course the stock market will crash at some point, but predictions have been out there for at least eleven years now, and if you'd moved to cash at that time, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be too happy. Here are some headlines over the years, and the actual numbers since 2009:
As for sports, the EPL Draw results for calendar year 2021 were ROIs of 31% for Toss-Ups with another small loss for Close selections, -0.02%. I'm not sure it makes much sense to look at calendar year results for a seasonal sport such as football, but I did it last year though will not repeat this moving forward. 

The strategy of backing the Draw in major International tournament elimination matches was again profitable in this year's Euro 2020 and Copa America tournaments, with ROIs of 91% and 32% respectively, though from a small number of matches. 

2022 sees the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Cameroon which kicks off in just a few days with 24 teams which means 15 elimination matches with the first on January 23rd. (The Third place play-off isn't an elimination match). 

With prices going back to 2008 and encompassing seven tournaments, the ROI for all matches is 10%, but for those matches with no team having a greater than 50% win probability (after removing the overround), the ROI increases to 19%

These numbers may not be as strong as those for the Euros, Copas and World Cups, but it is still well worth the small amount of time required to participate.

Later in the year of course, we have the 2022 World Cup, though we have to wait until December for the elimination games at this event. The two-leg qualification play-offs may offer an edge, with the Draw profitable over the eight European matches last time around, and up 7% overall on the 27 matches since 2005 for which I have prices. Arguably this number might well be higher given that in 2009 only one of eight games saw more than one goal scored, but only one finished 0:0. Only seven of the 27 games resulted in wins for Over 2.5 goals.