Sunday 30 July 2023

Overrounds and Apples

A rare couple of comments on recent posts, which always makes the next one easier to write. The first was a comment on my Dad's recent passing, with big music fan schnakenpopanz writing:

I want to share my condolences here, I lost my father during COVID and he was just enjoying retirement at the age of 68. I know it sounds like a often used term in these circumstances: I really hope your father had a good life and you and your loved ones get through these hard days with love and the help of each other. Best wishes

Aside from the much appreciated comments, and yes my Dad did have a good life until the final few months, this comment hit home because I'm not too far off that age of 68 and haven't yet started enjoying retirement, although I hit my 'official' retirement age earlier this year. 68 is far too young to pass away, and my condolences in return to schnakenpopanz.   

The second comment, actually a question, was regarding the changes to the overround noted in my last post as related to MLB, and David asks:

Where do you get soccer/football historic statistics like you get for other sports on Killer Sports? 

For league matches, I use Joseph Buchdahl's Football Data website which has data going back to the 1993/94 season. As I've written in previous posts, the overround just 20 years ago was huge, with the numbers for the Premier League shown left. 

The impact of Pinnacle coming on the scene in 2012 is clear, but to ensure I'm comparing apples to apples, even if it may be more of a Gala / Granny Smith comparison, I standardise the odds using the Margin Proportional to Odds (MPTO) methodology. 

For other matches such as Internationals, European Competitions, Cup Competitions etc., I use the average prices from the Odds Portal site, again using the MPTO methodology to standardise the data.

Betfair is essentially a 100% true odds book for the more liquid markets, but there's the Market Base Rate commission to consider, although at 2% for most top matches, this is often a good option - unless you are paying the Premium Charge. At 5% this isn't so good for the ongoing Women's World Cup for which the Knockout Stage is becoming set this week. 

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Changing Rules and Overrounds

In my previous post, I said I'd be taking a look at baseball and as a man of my word, here are my findings. And for those who like to think that profitable systems will last forever, (they shouldn't), it's a rather sobering look.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that since the start of the 2014 season, one of the perennially profitable systems in this sport was to back "hot" favourites in the regular season, with "hot" here defined as those teams priced at 1.5 or shorter. 

Only four months saw losses in the six seasons up to, and including, 2019 and the one losing season was a very small loss.

And then the world of baseball, and the world in general, was turned upside down by COVID. 

The 2020 season was delayed by four months and completed with a much shortened schedule with significant rule changes, and in 2021 some of these rule changes were retained. 

In 2022 the season was again delayed because of a lockout, and some of the 'new' rules were discarded while the universal Designated Hitter (DH) rule returned. And then for this season we saw the introduction of pitch clocks, a ban on defensive shifts, and larger bases, which all meant that data from earlier seasons was pretty much useless. 

On the eve of the season, I wrote to the Sacred Manuscript subscribers that:
With the MLB season starting tomorrow, I thought I should mention that there are several new rule changes in effect this season, most of which are to increase scoring and reduce the length of games.

Combined with the confirmed changes to the Designated Hitter rule, which means there is essentially no longer any significant difference between American League and National League clubs, the historical data is pretty much useless now, so I am going to be taking a 'wait and see' approach to betting this sport for now.

If I see any market inefficiencies I will of course update you all, and if you are interested in the new rules, check out MLB's home page where they cover them in some detail.

Run Totals will be higher this season, but since this is no secret, the markets will likely have this priced in.

Waiting and seeing turned out not to be the worst of ideas, with the hot favourite system I mentioned at the beginning continuing its losing run. 

 Overall, down just 1.1% looks not too bad, but take out the 2021 season when the DH rule wasn't in effect, and the results are quite shocking. It would appear that the markets are taking their time in adjusting to the new rules, but there's something else going on that explains at least some of this. I use the Killer Sports site for my prices as I've mentioned before. It's not perfect, but it does mean that system results can be verified quite easily. What I see when generating the results shown in this post are that for this season, the overround is higher than used to be the case. 

The average price of a favourite in the MLB since 2004 is -151.9 (1.66) and for most of Killer Sports' history, the underdog was priced at +140 (2.4), for an overround of 102%. 

This season, the underdog has varied between +126 and +135 with an average of +131 and an overround of around 103.6% - in other words, we are not comparing apples with apples. Not enough to make the red numbers above turn green, but also not as bad as they first appear. The markets do seem to be overrating home AL favourites this season when playing NL teams, so there might be an edge opposing these. 

Saturday 22 July 2023

One Mountain and a Funeral

Life returns to normal after my Dad's funeral on the 7th, and a heartfelt thank you to those of you who took the time to send your condolences. With my Mum passing away during COVID and its restrictions on gatherings at that time, in a way the funeral and wake this month were for both of my parents.

We still have the internment of my Dad's ashes in North Devon to come with the logistical challenges of obtaining permission to lift the existing stone, add the engraving for my Dad, and then trying to find a time when most of the close family can be available, which is not easy with three children, eight grandchildren, and now eight great-grandchildren following the arrival of my first grandson - Jaxon John - whose middle name, like mine, is my father's name. I'm sure my daughter felt no pressure whatsoever to include it!

My wife and I enjoyed our trip to the Lake District and while the weather prevented us from hiking to the top of both Scafell Pike and Helvellyn which was Plan A, we did manage to ascend the former on Thursday 13th July which was a beautifully clear day. As I had climbed Helvellyn as a 16 year old 50 summers ago, missing out this year wasn't a tragedy, and we'll try again although Ben Nevis next year is the top priority, health permitting. We also walked 12 miles around Derwent Water in somewhat inclement weather, but it made for a nice pre-climb warm up. 

I made a conscious decision not to look at investments while I was away, but the spreadsheet updates on my return this week were mostly positive. Tesla's share price stumbled on Thursday but it's had a good year to date up 111%. My Bitcoin FOMO investment has also done well in 2023, up 140%, and overall year-to-date I'm up 11%. I still need an almost 6% gain to take out the high of April 20th, 2022, but things appear to be headed in the right direction.

My employer's share price is still down on the year, but its Q2 results were good and at least my options granted in February are now in the money. Retirement, and a lucrative severance remain elusive, although my weekly meeting with my manager started off positively yesterday with his news of a major restructuring.

Unfortunately, the smile on his face suggested that this wasn't going to be a conversation involving a severance package for me - conversations which are typically held on Thursdays late in the month anyway - which would have been wonderful, but instead the size of my team, and the associated responsibility, increases with now 49 people and an additional line of business under me. It looks like I'll be working for another few months at least, but it's all good. 

As I've mentioned before, I'm full-time working from home and it's not exactly demanding most of the time. And when the worst that can happen is you get made redundant, well at my age, that's a positive outcome.

As for sports betting, that too has taken a back seat over the past few weeks. The Women's World Cup is underway, and although the data only goes back for seven tournaments (Euros and World Cups) starting in 2009, as with the men's game, the Draw in knockout stages is worth a look.

The 65 knockout matches have only a small edge (1.1%) when blindly backing the Draw, but in matches where the fair-priced favourite is not odds-on, the return is a more interesting 22%, and from the Quarter-Final stage is 42%. Small sample sizes of course, but something to consider once the group stage is wrapped up.

I also missed the MLB All-Star game this year, and there are a couple of systems in the Sacred Manuscript that are related to this event, one for games leading into the break, and one for after the break. One subscriber at least was paying attention, writing that:
Glad I remembered to play these!

And again it was the Saturday which delivered nicely.
After another profitable weekend, the ROI on this is now 10.1% from 1,247 bets and only three times in the past 15 seasons has this resulted in a loss. 

As for the post-All-Star game system, this was also a winner again this year adding 8.63 units from 30 bets, and taking the ROIs for the Money Line and Run Line bets to 13.3% and 13.7% respectively since records began in 2004. 

I'll be looking at baseball over the next few days and updating the Sacred Manuscript as a couple of readers have reached out.