Sunday, 21 August 2022

Risk Is Personal

One of the accounts I follow on Twitter is Clifford Pickover and last week he Tweeted the following:

At the time of writing, it has garnered almost 1,500 replies, with a number of differing opinions, and one unfortunate individual saying:
I am color blind. Which is which?
There's always one, as my Mother used to say.

While it's unlikely any of us will ever find ourselves in the fortunate position of deciding which button to press, it's an interesting thought experiment.

Mathematically speaking, it's a no-brainer. The green button has an expected value of $25 million, the red of $1 million, and so you should press green every time, but we're human beings, not robots. 

Losses hurt and our personal circumstances tend to outweigh the mathematics when it comes to big financial decisions.

If you are a billionaire, you (presumably) press green, but if $1 million is a life-changing sum for you, it's not unreasonable to press the red button and take the guaranteed $1 million. 

The question gets interesting when it's applied to people with some money. What if you have $1 million already? It might hurt to miss out on doubling your money and you may well choose red, but what if you have $5 million? 

Risk is personal and our individual circumstances make a difference.

The 18th century mathematician Daniel Bernoulli came up with the idea of "utility" and understood that real-life decisions are dependent on an individual's circumstances. 

Someone posted a follow up poll, with the following results:
I wonder how close those numbers would be in a real-world scenario? 

Friday, 19 August 2022

Mind Your Meme Stock

A little over a year ago, on July 12th, 2021 to be precise, on the recommendation of a friend of my daughter, I invested a small amount in a small Canadian company called Mind Medicine ($MNMD).
It's not been one of my better bets, as the chart for the past year (above) clearly shows, but with a much larger investment in Tesla up 1,304% currently, it's money I can afford to lose. As Yahoo Finance stated:
Mind Medicine is a company very few people have heard of.
It was certainly a new name to me at the time, and its profile states, it is "a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, develops novel products to treat brain health disorders related to psychiatry, addiction, pain, and neurology."

Something of a longshot in other words, and after months of steady declines in its stock price, all of a sudden I see that:
Its stock is up almost 50% today. Why? A college student made roughly $110 million trading Bed Bath Beyond, according to SEC filings. After a Financial Times report showed the student is also heavily invested in Mind Medicine, traders seem to have decided to pile in. Welcome to the meme stock club, Mind Medicine.
Things may be looking up. Definitions first, and:
A meme stock is a stock that gains popularity among retail investors through social media. The popularity of meme stocks is generally based on internet memes shared among traders, on platforms such as Reddit's r/wallstreetbets. Investors in such stocks are often young and inexperienced investors.
Many of you are probably familiar with the term 'meme', and while I've never jumped on a meme stock bandwagon, that I possibly find myself on one by default is somewhat interesting. I did jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon via a trust ($GBTC), but that has so far proven to be even more of a loser than $MNMD. A large element of FOMO drove that poor decision.

Some of the language on the r/wallstreetbets suggests a high degree of immaturity, but maybe that's just me becoming a grumpy old man. These bets are highly speculative and volatile and stocks often trade at prices that are above their estimated value based on fundamental analysis so be careful and don't get greedy if you are playing this game. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Drowning in Draws, Visas and Trousers

It was a good weekend for Draws with the second round of EPL games this weekend producing no fewer than five. 

Two of them (Southampton v Leeds United and Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United) were 'Close' qualifiers, with the next most probable Draws (Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham and Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur) also finishing without a winner. 

Someone was happy:
The fifth Draw of the round, last night's Liverpool v Crystal Palace match, was an unlikely addition to the Draws column, although a very welcome one personally.

The high rate of Draws won't last though. The record percentage of Draws in top flight English football is 32.25% set in 1973-74 when the average number of goals per game was 2.4 whereas this season so far looks to be close to last season's 2.82 goals per game and goals are not good for Draws as most of you will know by now.

The extra Draws are coming at the expense of Away wins, which are currently at an EPL all-time low of 20%, but of course, it is very early days. Four of the Big 6 are away next weekend and all are odds-on.
During the weekend, @statsbet Tweeted the following:
@oddsvantage and myself were both curious as to what this might be a reference to, and it's our old friend Psychoff who is very generously offering one-to-one trading mentoring for the very reasonable price of just:
Which seems an absolute bargain for 30 hours of live trading with someone who is (modestly and self-described) as "one of the best football traders of all times (possibly the best one)".

Possibly, but probably not. If there was ever a huge edge trading liquid football markets, you can be sure that it's long been identified and blunted by the big players in these markets and if the edge is on Turkish Third Division matches, well the liquidity just ain't going to be there. 

Back in 2010 I wrote about Psychoff:
I wonder how long it will be before we see an invitation to share in the joy - for a small price of course.
While I was right about the invitation to share in the success, I have to admit that I was way off on the 'small price'.

Rumours on betting forums are that the money is needed for immigration purposes, i.e. generate an income, pay tax on it, and get a visa for the UK, but as one commenter wrote
Coupled with the fact, if it happens to be true, the reason behind the course is to pay tax to acquire a visa, you'd have to be completely bonkers to sign up.
Mind you, this was in 2020 when the cost was significantly cheaper and:
He's offering the basic and advice course for £2499!!!
The cost seems to have risen fairly rapidly from £1,000 to the current £39,999 but while there are many comments regarding the cost, there aren't quite so many saying what great value the course is. 
I've looked at the testimonials. There's no feedback from anyone who's done the £24K course.
With the median UK 2021 (April) gross salary at £31,772 I'm not sure demand for this training will be particularly strong, but I'm certainly beginning to think that offering the "Sacred Trading Manuscript" for a small fraction of this £39,999 was a big mistake. 

Future copies will be just £9,999 and you don't even have to watch hours and hours of live football every week. Just follow the rules, bet, forget, collect, and enjoy life.

And as a bonus, the results of all systems are easily verifiable, something which isn't the case for in-play trading 'systems':
It may surprise no one that there was no reply to this question. 

Finally, and following on from the Kiké Hernandez and The Case of the Extra Tight Pants story, Baz quite reasonably asks:
Will you try tight trousers to improve your betting? Publish the results please.
Unfortunately the answer to this question may well be known in just a few weeks given that August is not proving conducive to weight maintenance, never mind weight loss. It's a holiday month with children and granddaughters, ice creams, birthday cakes, meals out and other temptations that I can normally resist proving temporarily irresistible. 

Additionally, and while less of a factor than calories ingested, my exercise routine has also been significantly disrupted and my monthly goal of 100 miles on foot is in serious danger of being missed for the first time since November's feeble 93 miles.

I do have a week left in the month after my daughter and grandchildren leave, so if I am not too worn out, a few ten-mile days should get me over that line.

And then it's into the NFL season (pre-season has already started) with the NHL and NBA not far behind. Oh, and a World Cup. 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

A Longitudinal Study Comparing Performance and Pants Tightness

A few years ago, my wife and I were in attendance at a San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers game, when the Dodgers outfielder Kiké Hernández came to the plate.

Unprompted, at least as far as I know, (who knows what conversations had taken place as I was taking out a second mortgage to buy a couple of beers?), a lady in front of us turned around, looked at my wife, loud-whispered six words - "Kiké Hernández - tightest pants in baseball" - before turning back to the field and focusing very intently on the next at-bat.

It was an amusing moment, and with the two teams scheduled to meet again this weekend in Los Angeles, the topic came up in conversation this evening. While the "tightest pants in baseball" were easy enough to remember, at my advanced age it took a few minutes to recall the player's name, but I got there in the end.

Curious as to whether this was just one person's opinion or a commonly held one, and aware that I was risking some rather dubious advertising on my Internet browsing, at my wife's urging I typed the words "Kike Hernandez pants" into Google and was rewarded by the most entertaining Excel related post since Gareth Wild's Bromley car park thread on Twitter of a year ago.

The very first search result is a Reddit post from 2018 titled "Kiké Hernandez and The Case of the Extra Tight Pants". Unless the writer was the lady sat in front of us in San Diego, there appears to be a small cult built around Kiké’s pants, but more importantly this opens up a totally new angle for baseball analysis and research as we look for our edges! I must admit the tightness of a player's pants hasn't been an area I've thought about before, but this lady has gone above and beyond:

on april 23, i watched kiké hernandez go 3 for 4 with a home run, two singles, and two golden glove-caliber catches to help the dodgers win against the marlins at dodger stadium. his pants were particularly tight. i had noticed kiké had different pants in different games; all of them were tight, but some of them were extremely tight.

as the season wore on and kiké’s pants changed day by day, i began to wonder if kiké’s pants affected his performance in games. it seemed like the days when he wore his tightest pants were the days he performed the best, but i couldn’t tell if his performance was actually better on those days, or if i just paid more attention because i love looking at his hot butt. the more i thought about kiké’s pants, the more i convinced myself that this research was necessary and important. i worked on multiple research projects in graduate school, but i hadn't actually used my skills in the "real world" yet. this was my chance.

i began to chart kiké’s pants tightness game by game, matching it with statistics from baseball reference. i determined kiké has three tiers of pants tightness, which i named moderately tight, tight, and extra tight (hereafter referred to as moderates, tights, and extra tights). he actually has two subtypes of extra tights: straight leg extra tights and tapered leg extra tights, but for purposes of this study i grouped all extra tights into one category. please see this album for image examples of pants tightness.

then i had to figure out the best way to determine kiké’s performance in each pant tightness tier. i spent two months analyzing statistics, learning how to calculate them, and identifying the best options. i narrowed it down to WPA and OPS. after hours upon hours of calculations, questions to r/Dodgers, and lost sleep, i discovered an online OPS calculator that could have saved me a lot of trouble. i decided to calculate the OPS for each pants tightness tier; this was easily achievable using my detailed excel spreadsheet (found below) and the online OPS calculator.

i am proud to present my findings as part of my dissertation for the honorary Master's of Thirsty Baseball (MTB) from the University of r/Dodgers. i have summarized my findings in the paragraph below, and following my summary, i have attached my formal research paper and excel spreadsheet for your information and enjoyment.

my research has determined that kiké’s performance is significantly better when wearing his extra tights. kiké’s OPS while wearing moderately tight pants was 0.552; tight pants was 0.682; and extra tight pants was 0.974. he wore his moderates in 16 games, his tights in 37 games, and his extra tights in 35 games. the biggest different in stats was in home runs: kiké hit 10 home runs while in extra tights, while he only hit 4 in tights and 2 in extra tights. i have attached my excel spreadsheet here if you are interested in more in-depth statistics; if you filter the column by each pants tightness, the “subtotals” line at the bottom shows the totals per filter.

please see my formal research paper for further in-depth analysis of kiké’s pants and his performance. i think you will find it both informative and entertaining.

upon completing this research, it is my recommendation that kiké wear his extra tights as often as possible to improve his overall performance. we saw last night that kiké is an outstanding player (he was wearing his extra tights), and the data suggests he is not cooling off anytime soon. i believe increasing the frequency of extra tights will only serve to improve his statistics, and will definitely make me a happier woman.
about the author: u/ItalicSlope presents this research as her dissertation for her honorary master’s degree in thirsty baseball, to accompany her real master’s degree of social work. she is also a licensed notary. while she grew up in los angeles, she currently cheers on the dodgers from kentucky, where the trifecta of braves, cardinals, and cubs fans routinely harass her. she is passionate about baseball, concerts, NPR, tamales, hot baseball players, long drives, and lightning bugs.

The spreadsheet is a thing of beauty: 


And the abstract of the formal dissertation was great: 

This study focuses on identifying a correlation between the tightness of the Dodgers’ super utility Kiké Hernandez’s pants and his performance in individual baseball games during the 2018 season prior to the All Star break. The goal of this research is to address the growing interest of fans worldwide in determining the importance of pants tightness, and to provide justification for thirsty baseball fans in salivating over Kiké’s juicy butt. This study is both qualitative and quantitative in nature with a longitudinal design. Information was obtained through MLB.tv archived games (Major League Baseball, 2018) and game log data (Baseball Reference, 2018). The data was analyzed using the researcher’s custom developed analysis tool. This study will highlight information regarding baseball and pants tightness, barriers to the study, and study findings, as well as provide discussion around key findings.

Keywords: baseball, pants, tightness, thirsty, banana rally, juicy booty, hot guys
While one of the many comments was this one:
Currently watching the Dodgers v Giants game and the announcers mentioned there was a "15 page research paper" on the relation of the tightness of Kiké’s pants and his OPS, so naturally I had to find it and I was directed here. This is quality content.

Quality content  indeed.  

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Soto and Euros (W)

In my half-time MLB report  a few days ago, I mentioned that Juan Soto had:
"reportedly turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension last week, and will likely be traded."
While there were rumours at the time that my wife's San Diego Padres (she's a fan, not the owner) were interested, I didn't want to tempt fate by mentioning this, but apparently the rumours had more than an element of truth to them with Soto now headed to America's Finest City.

The Padres sit 12 wins behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, but are currently in a play-off spot.

Pinnacle have cut the price on a Padres World Series win to 10.81 from 23.17 while the Dodgers are favourites at 4.6 to win with the New York Yankees second in the betting at 5.0.

The Women's Euros ended rather perfectly with a 1:1 draw at 90 minutes followed by an England win in extra-time. The seven elimination matches produced three Draws for a 3.81 unit profit and the other four games were all won by the favourite. 

While 65 matches is only a small sample, the total ROI on backing the Draw in elimination games (World Cup and Euros) is just 1% but in the 31 games with no odds-on favourite (at fair odds), the ROI is a rather more eye-catching 22%

Euros also seem to be more competitive than World Cups with an ROI of 21% compared to -14%, although if we exclude the Round of 16 matches, the World Cup returns become positive with an ROI of 10%.   

No winner for Draw backers in the FA Community Shield this season, but overall this is still a profitable event for this strategy. This is the first time since odds are available that consecutive underdogs have won: