Thursday, 19 January 2017

Making Up For Deficiencies

Robbo the trader suggested that:
Whilst you and snidey James pontificate 'it can't be done' traders like Peter and Caan rake in in the dosh, kerchinnnng.
I'll let James respond first before I add my thoughts. James replies:
Whilst the acolytes work themselves into a frenzy over the latest post or video by Sir Peter or Sir Caan, Cassini and Snidey James (I thought it was Sydney James, nevermind) don't say "It can't be done" they say, "It is not as easy as Sir makes you think it is."
We (and other realists such as Joseph Buchdahl) tell the truth about betting and trading. Others create an illusion for you to lap up because their real incomes depend on you being taken in by the simplicity of what they say.
I don't see any real evidence that either of them trade that much. Do you have such evidence?
It's Big Pairs again. If I owned a 7 figure software subscription business I wouldn't waste my time sports trading.
Obviously, trading is not that easy otherwise you wouldn't have posted your comment. You'd be getting it quietly.
As James states, no one has ever, at least to the best of my knowledge, stated that 'it can't be done', but in this era of court-siding, I am of the opinion that trading tennis is about the unlikeliest place where a novice is likely to find an edge, and where even more experienced traders will struggle to break-even long term competing at such a disadvantage. 

If Robbo, Webby, Caan or anyone else can come up with any kind of logical reasoning explaining how a long-term advantage can be obtained in a market where others have a significant advantage, I'd love to hear it. 

A comment from a Steve on Caan's own blog back in July 2014 pretty much sums up my thoughts:
You’re all acting as if these are unchartered waters, tennis is one of those sports that is probably more automated than any other with plenty of teams botting the markets using very sophisticated stats based software. Surely the recent courtsiding legal issues should have shown you that.
The markets are very efficient and driven by probabilities, stats dictate what the prices should be, overall they earn the operators fortunes by being more informed than the majority. Of course there are chinks in their armour and they’re happy to leak a few quid here and there on the basis the majority will pay it back with interest. Just don’t go in assuming because you’ve come out on top in a few markets you’ve cracked the tennis because you can be pretty sure someone’s put in a lot more effort to crack it.
Interesting that Steve's comment was the final one on that post, as if everyone reading it suddenly realised how silly they were. Well, at least for a few minutes. 

As for whether Webby or Caan are 'raking in the dosh' from trading tennis, only they know. That Webby hasn't mentioned the Premium Charge in over five years may be a reflection of a reduction in trading activity in general, and if Caan's making money, he's not acting very maturely with it:
So its been a while since I treated myself to a new car.. In fact I seem to do it once a year and you may remember a couple of years back I bought a pretty sporty Astra which was pretty new at the time, it managed to cost me a small fortune in the space of a year so I got rid of it. I want a new car now although, I don’t want the same happening to me again. I like cars although haven’t much of a clue whats best to be looking at so I thought some of you might be able to help me out!

Ideally I want to get a new Porsche Cayman GTS although with a near on £60,000 price tag its going to have to wait as the money will be better spent on getting a house and living rent free initially. In the mean time though I wouldn’t mind a change. Currently im driving a BMW 325 which I actually rate quite well, excluding the fuel consumption that is. I have to drive a considerable distance each time I have my son so long-term it’s not a great idea, plus I’d like something a little more sporty. I think its important to treat yourself every now and then too as it boosts that motivation to kick on…
Admittedly Caan is very young, but if buying a new car every year is what it takes to "boost that motivation to kick on", I'd seek professional help. From the always reliable Daily Mail:
The old adage goes that a man driving a big car is compensating for something - and according to the latest research, there might be some truth in it.
A new survey asked sports car drivers, as well as their partners, about the size of their nether regions, and - as expected - they got wildly different answers.
The results seemed to suggest that people who buy big, flashy cars are indeed making up for deficiencies in the trouser department.
Perhaps, but buying a new car is a waste of money in my opinion. Buy one that's a year old, that has taken the depreciation hit, and still has a warranty and thousands of miles ahead of it.

James suggests that "Obviously, trading is not that easy otherwise you wouldn't have posted your comment. You'd be getting it quietly" and there's a lot of truth to this idea. 

In my experience, mature, successful people in general tend not to feel the need to tell everyone about how successful they are. 

When was the last time you saw an ad for Rolls Royce? It's not a coincidence that when selling a 'product' related to gambling, an expensive car, exotic location, big house and swimming pool seem to be 'must-haves', which speaks volumes for the target audience I guess. Hinting at a few hot babes throwing themselves at you surely can't hurt either:
Back to James' comment, and of course it makes no sense for Webby to waste his time trading when the money to be made is in selling software. It makes sense to write about how impossible it is to lose when using that software, but there's an opportunity cost to actually trading, especially if you have been successful in the past and have reached Super Premium Charges.

I am heading out for the evening now in my brand new Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita now to get wasted with a few expensive girlfriends, before returning home to my villa, where after a quick swim in my pool, I shall turn on the TV and trade the Australian Open. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Seirenes

One comment on my Australian Open Tennis Tip post which comes from best selling author James, who took a break from writing his next book "Reverse Portuguese Calculus" which promises to be a page-turner.

He wrote:
I too noticed Mr Poolside and Webby discussing the Australian Open on their blogs. A little winter filler, something to say, to let their acolytes know they are still thinking of them.
In Webby's blog he added the ability to get live scores direct from the umpire's chair. But you still need visuals for an edge and only a court-sider will be seeing the action live.
I doubt that either of these two will be trading the tennis. Maybe a little to get a video of their genius. Assuming they profit, otherwise the video gets deleted. An exercise in survivorship bias.
Still, the acolytes will get taken in.
Of course, we should expect a winning video from Webby. After all, you'd be an idiot not to profit in the curious positive-sum trading market that is tennis. (Of course, we shouldn't really call any trading zero-sum when you factor in commission and other costs.)
And yet the acolytes take the rubbish that these two write as the gospel truth and never question it. "I don't need to test anything. Sir says it is possible so I am going to throw myself into this without a strategy. If I fail then it's because I was stupid and was not doing what Sir told me to do."
I have looked at tennis, decided it was an interesting mathematical exercise (Markov model) but that I would need a syndicate to make it work. And, even then, I might step on toes and get more than I bargain for.
Tennis is an interesting sport for mathematical analysis between matches, but not so much when games are in-play. 
Anyone For First Round Grand Slam Favourites?
If you have a system that, for example, is triggered on a 15:30 score, someone else sees that score reached before you do, and will have taken any bets that represented value.

"Live scores" are never "live" and while they might fill a need for an avid tennis fan, from a betting perspective I'd suggest they are worse than useless. I say worse, because they can encourage an unsophisticated gambler to play in a market they have no business playing in. 

James' comment encouraged me to be brave and take a look at Peter Webb's post on the Australian Open, and as James hinted at, it is full of fluff about how great a sport tennis is for trading, 
January is when the Tennis season starts up again and it’s a good the year is a great time to get some Tennis trading experience under your belt. With weaker markets elsewhere, the Australian Open is a great time to get going on Tennis.
Unfortunately the post is devoid of any substance whatsoever. It's a vendor blog of course, and the usual errors such as "And it's a good the year" and "he feel ill" shows a concerning lack of attention to detail which should make readers a little wary, but other than sloppy writing, is there anything useful or fully transparent in the fluff surrounding the unsubtle sales pitch?

The answer is not really. Perhaps Webby genuinely thinks the below comments are 'advice', but to me and anyone with just a few functioning brain cells, they are at best up there with 'stay hydrated', at worst deliberately misleading.
Through really in-depth research you can find a lot of really useful things

Don’t forget that it’s summer in Melbourne and that heat has often been a factor

The time difference in Australia can pose a problem for trading
Find key points within a match to trade from
It would be nice to see a disclaimer saying something like "of course, all the software in the world won't help you when others are maybe a point ahead of you" but such honesty isn't going to sell anything. 

Another look at Caan Berry's post, which bears remarkable similarities to Webbo's it must said, and you'll see this:
During this period I like to reflect a little, review and learn from mistakes. Gain any knowledge I can that’ll help in the coming months. But after a couple of years doing this I realised I was missing a trick… tennis. Like I said above, time-zones aren’t brill but January offers an interesting opportunity in the tennis markets. And so; the Australian Open isn’t just for tennis traders!
The trick, apparently, is to sound very deep, serious and philosophical, before announcing that the outcome of your months of solitude and meditation is.... wait for it.... to trade tennis, which offers an "interesting" opportunity (whatever that means - why is a tennis market any more interesting than the FTSE or Pork Bellies?) 

And "sothe Australian Open isn't just for tennis traders!" Wait. What? So everyone can have an edge? Count me in. How do I gain an edge? Obviously I don't want to sign up and simply hand over my money. Turns out the answer is easy:
Finding one of these points where the market is as it’s most compact, along with a particular personal trend in behaviour (from a player) is the perfect opportunity. The only downside being; you might have to watch a load of tennis before the opportunity presents itself. 
I'm not sure what "is as it's most compact" means, but that's because I must be the idiot. May I ask here why the tennis specialists wouldn't have noticed these 'personal trends in behaviour' ahead of me? Just a thought. I don't mean to be difficult.
In short, the key to winning for any would-be tennis trader is to know where the market (and players) strengths and weaknesses are. And then deploying with our old-friend discipline!
Wow, this is easy. Again though, are these specialists actually mentally challenged? I mean, wouldn't they know far more about players' strengths and weaknesses than myself? Just a thought. Not meaning to be difficult.
One of the most positive things about tennis is; you can really stake up when you find a solid opportunity, and generally, the market will take it.
Only a cynic would suggest that a solid opportunity would have long gone before a novice / non-court-sider would have become aware of it. If the market is taking your money, be afraid, be very afraid.

My thoughts on tennis trading are not new, but no one, not even Mr Poolside or Webby (as James refers to them), has ever put forward an explanation of how exactly traders are expected to overcome the advantage of court-siders in the long term. I'm not holding my breath. 

Seirenes: The Sirens were beautiful but dangerous creatures that lured the sailors with their beautiful voices to their doom, causing the ships to crash on the reefs near their island.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Australian Open Tennis Trading Tip

Don't.

Most readers of this blog will already be aware of my views on trading tennis, but just to be clear, if you are trading any market where there are court-siders, and we know for a fact that a top tournament such as the Australian Open has court-siders, then you are gambling and long-term, will lose.

From January 2014:

A few more details emerged at the court hearing in Melbourne yesterday, notably that Sporting Data employ six people to travel to tennis tournaments around the world, and that Mr Dobson had previously been kicked out of a tournament in New Zealand.
To be blunt, you are delusional if you think that you can get up in the wee hours of the night, pick a tennis match, and trade with a positive expectation in the face of such a disadvantage. 

Caan Berry blithely writes:
Instead of trying to predict what will happen ahead of time, they [best tennis traders] focus on what has happened previously and what’s happening in-the-moment. While being select and disciplined in where they enter or exit the market.
That last bit is crucial.
Only entering the market in opportune places in terms of numbers as-well-as on-court opportunity massively increases your chance of success.
The bit that is crucial, is that you will always be several seconds behind the play. Even if you trade [enter or exit] only between games or sets, you are still several seconds behind. Whatever money is available for you to take, it's there because it offers no value to you. If it had value, it would have already been taken.

Unless of course you think these syndicates are charitable foundations, that perhaps don't know what they are doing, and are failing to identify value while you, several thousand miles away, have the skill to spot what they are missing. 

Again, this is simply delusional. Sure, give some people information before others, and they won't know how to use it optimally, but tennis court-siding syndicates have been around for years. Do you seriously think they don't know what they are doing by now?  

Monday, 16 January 2017

Erroneous Selections

A belated, but nonetheless appreciated, comment on my opening post of 2017 Average Joe, about which Dean commented:

Hello I'm a recent follower coming from the School of Buchdahl. Very much enjoying your transparency and writing. You write above "...conversely a placed bet becomes a non-qualifier as a parameter moves and it is no longer a qualifier. These things tend to balance out over time, so there's no point stressing over them."
This issue vexes my decisions on market timing. Can I ask if you've written more extensively on the subject and if affirmative, for links to those posts. You're right that they balance out over time so really it's a question of mentally dealing with "erroneous" selections. Seeing the price drift may confirm one backed the right horse but - particularly in those instances - do you ever feel compelled to trade the other way to exit completely? 
Regards Dean
As much as I have written over almost nine years, I can't recall writing much specifically about market timing. It's generally accepted that the closer to the event start time that a bet is placed, the truer (i.e. more accurate the prices, and thus probabilities, are). As a disciple of Joseph Buchdahl, Dean has probably read Joseph's explanation for this:
The more information, through the opinions of bettors expressed via their wagers, that is brought to a market, arguably the more accurate (or efficient) it becomes at correctly estimating the true probabilities of sporting outcomes. Evidently, the point in a betting market at which the most number of opinions has been expressed occurs at its closing, i.e. at the start of the event.
The probability of an outcome will almost always change from when the market opens to when the event starts, in some cases dramatically so. For example, if word leaks out an hour before tip-off that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be unexpectedly playing without LeBron James, a player with a high VORP (value over replacement player), the lines will move several points.

This is an extreme example to make the point, although similar situations have happened to me in the past, most memorably in November 2012 when the San Antonio Spurs decided to rest their 'big three' (at Miami Heat) resulting in a huge line move - and a fine from the NBA. 

That I can't even recall now whether this move was in my favour or not is probably a good sign. Getting emotional about your betting is a trait that should be eliminated as much as possible.

Basically, I try to place system bets as close to start time as possible to minimise the possibility of the line disqualifying bets from a system or including others. And when such bets are missed or become invalid, I don't look at them as "errors", merely as one of those things that happen in the real world.

Clearly, the further out from start time that you place your bet, the more at risk you are from a market move, but for every bet you might have on the Spurs that goes against you, over time you'll be on the Heat just as often which is why I say it balances out. So long as you are staking sensibly, I don't see any point in trading out of your position - in fact, if you are able to trade out of your position, one might ask why you entered the bet earlier in the first place, rather than wait. 

Some people, notably in horse racing, specialise in trading pre-game movements, and this is a separate topic. My thoughts above pertain to the punter looking to bet and forget and have their actual results as close to verifiable 'official' results as possible.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Church On Sunday

Nenko Gachev, of The Church of Betting blog, commented on my NCAAF (College Football) post:

I have also noticed your reference to my post with some delay.

Just to clear things up: I follow the trend you have kindly shared with us and bet on it according to my own ability. Sometimes I would arbitrarily miss games or vary the spread. The t-test is based on my own results and ability to turn profit out of this strategy and not on the strategy itself. Hence why it only includes the bets I have made and does not take into account the long record that you have collected.
So with my post I did in no way mean to question the numbers you have reported. There are some faults in my betting that prevent me from unlocking the full potential of the trend. But since I just got started with it I am more than happy with the results. So thanks for sharing!
Cheers,
Nenko from The Church of Betting
Misunderstandings can easily arise when two people have different first languages, but if Nenko is concerned that I was in some way upset at his numbers, he is completely wrong. I produced my numbers simply because I have them, and for comparison purposes, not because I was in any way questioning Nenko's.

My results for a system will never be my actual results achieved. As with Nenko, and presumably anyone with a life, sometimes I miss bets for various reasons. Lines might move too close to the event start time, and I miss it, or conversely a placed bet becomes a non-qualifier as a parameter moves and it is no longer a qualifier. These things tend to balance out over time, so there's no point stressing over them.

It makes more sense for me to produce complete and verifiable results which should be of interest to everyone, rather my actual results which are of interest only to me, and heaven forbid they are better than the 'official' results! They are intended to highlight areas where markets appear to be inefficient. 

Anyway, thanks to Nenko for his willingness, albeit unnecessary, to clear up any misunderstandings, and thanks also for stating that he is "more than happy with the results", which is always nice to hear.

As I am writing this post, I received another comment, this one from SportsPicksSystem who asked:
Cassini, did you play that system, or just follow it? I am asking because I was wondering if it's easy to follow since the system is based on the spread. I don't know much about NCAAF market, especially if the spread can move a lot before game time.
As stated above, I played this system last season, but not consistently. It's one of the more difficult systems to follow exactly, because the spreads can indeed be volatile, and a probable qualifier on Friday night drifts out of range by Saturday, or vice versa. The NFL sibling system is a lot easier to closely follow - not only are the lines steadier, but more sportsbooks offer these games.


Continuing on from my last post in which I looked at the last four completed EL seasons 2012-16 and in particular the Draw price, I thought I might share that using the implied probability of the Home team can be a useful trigger for backing the Draw.

The Draw ROI% peaked at 22.3%, from 236 bets, when the HIP (Home Implied Probability) was between 30% and 39.99%. Up to 4.Jan.2017, this season's results have added another 6.18 point from 33 bets.     

Draws And Ties, Averages Are Lies

Baz commented, passing on some thoughts on the Draw from Winabobatoo's Mike Lindley. I hope no one takes offence at my reproducing the comment in full:

Hi Cassini, I recall you believe fewer goals equals more draws, I'm not saying you're wrong, but here's an extract from Mike Lindley of the Winabobatoo weekly magazine, he's changed his mind. Copy and past from Mag.
"Is there a reason why some seasons produce higher/lower draws? Some years ago, I had a theory that if fewer goals were scored, the chance of a draw occurring would increase. In games that have two goals or fewer scored, the possible scorelines are 2-0; 0-2, 1-1, 1-0, 0-1 and 0-0. Out of the six possible combinations, two outcomes (33%) are draws. When up to three goals are scored in a game, the possible outcomes are 3-0, 2-1, 2-0, 1-0, 0-3, 1-2, 0-2, 0-1, 1-1 and 0-0. Out of the 10 possible combinations, there are only two combinations that result in a draw (20%). Do fewer goals mean more draws? The next table shows the average goals per game in each of the last 11 seasons:
The 2010-11 season saw the highest average goals per game but there were 26.88% draws, losing just -4.47%. The two rows at the bottom (the two lowest average goals seasons) do have smaller losses from backing the draw which does tie in with my theory, but 2006-07 was the 9th lowest for goals and draw bets lost -17.19% in that season. That blows my theory completely out of the water!

I can say that I've spent more hours than I care to remember over the last 17 years trying to fathom out the draw, and I always come back to the same conclusion: it's a semi-random result that we have no control over. We never know when it's going to be a pain, and we never know when it's going to go quiet. What we do know is that the evidence clearly shows that it eats up more than its fair share of the bookmakers' over-round. This means betting with the draw is the better long-term option than betting without the draw - Mike Lindley"
Mike's numbers above show that roughly 26.4% of matches result in a draw. 

Although I have no idea what leagues are included, it makes little difference - the last three completed season for the leagues I follow have 26.01% of matches ending as draws, but I do question whether the 'average' is useful when analysing the Draw. More on that later.

Yes, fewer goals will tend to result in more draws. 

An easy way to understand why, is to compare the relatively low scoring sport of football with higher scoring sports.

Ice hockey (NHL) averages around 5.35 goals per game and in the 2014-date period has had 1,116 draws (ties) from 4,601 games, i.e 24.25%, which is a lower Draw rate than football, but not that much lower. In fact the 24.25% is exactly the same as the lowest completed season from Mike's list above.  

Now we turn to baseball which in the three seasons 2014-16 averaged 8 runs a game and which saw 641 draws (ties) from 7,387 games, a Draw percentage of 8.7%.

English Premiership Rugby 2010-16, 792 matches averaging 43.19 points a game, and just 22 Draws, 2.78%.

American Football 2014-date, 782 matches averaging 45.6 points a game, 46 draws (ties), which is a Draw percentage of 5.9%.

For anyone wondering why American Football has a higher Draw percentage than Rugby, despite a similar points per game total, I believe this is due to greater parity in American sports. 

NBA basketball 2014-date, 3,226 matches averaging 203.5 points a game, resulting in 174 Draws (ties), a Draw percentage of 5.4%.

And finally a quantum leap to Test Match Cricket, 1877-date, 2,247 matches, with one tie - December 1960 Australia (505 + 232) v West Indies (453 + 284) - 0.04%.

I could go on, but it should be clear by now that the higher scoring an event, the less likely it is that a draw, or a tie will result. 

Mike's mistake is in comparing goals per game averages that are very close to each other, and expecting to see a difference in the number of resulting draws from a small sample.

My example above shows that even the jump in scoring from football (2.61) to ice hockey (5.35) only results in a small percentage decrease in Draws. The percentage drops more dramatically as the points per game climbs into double and triple digits, but to all intents and purposes, the difference between 2.29 and 2.76 in Mike's sample is negligible.

The image below from the interesting Eighty Five Points shows how a more significant decline in goals between 1960 and 1980 resulted in a noticeably higher number of draws:
The author notes "The uptick in draws in the 60's coincides with a drop in goals/game (it's a small effect though)". 

Another way of confirming that fewer goals means more draws is to look at the Under / Over 2.5 results. Some of you may remember that years ago I suggested backing the Unders as a less volatile alternative to backing the Draw, which can result in long losing runs even with value on your side. 

In the four completed EPL season for which we have Pinnacle's Closing (i.e. most accurate) prices, 2012-16, 727 matches went Under, 783 went Over. 70.47% of the draws were also Unders, i.e. were 0:0 or 1:1.

37.4% of Unders games ended as Draws. When three or more goals are scored, only 14.38% of matches ended in Draws.

I mentioned at the beginning that I don't feel using averages is helpful in this debate. The average (mean) Draw price on the four season sample is 4.11, and blindly backing the Draw at higher than this price isn't a sensible strategy and would have cost you 88.84 points. 

The Draw price is higher sometimes than others, for a reason. 

Given that backing every Draw would have 'only' lost you 43.01 points, and it doesn't take a genius to work out that there was value backing the Draw up to a certain point. I've previously referred to this basic system as the Draw-4 (it's catchier than the Draw-4.11, and the 4.0 / Implied Probability 0.25 is close enough) but if you're going to be backing the Draw, you're generally not helping yourself by looking at games like Manchester City v Cardiff City at 12.38.
The above table shows the average Draw odds (Avg D) from Pinnacle, with numbers for the Under / Over totals as well as highlighting the futility of backing Draws with a sub ~25% probability.

In conclusion, in my opinion Mike is expecting too much from small differences in goals per game, and in using sweeping averages.

The two images to the left are from one of my spreadsheets sorted by Goals Per Game. 

On top we'd expect the Draw percentages to be higher, while the below image showing the lowest, should see the Draw percentages lower.

Overall it looks reasonable - the lowest goals per game did result in a lot of 29% and higher draws but there are some anomalous 25% seasons in there.

Conversely, while there's a lot of red in the second image, there are some rogue greenies in there. The correlation is never going to be perfect or perhaps even close to it, but the fewer the goals, the higher the probability of a Draw.

Mike concluded that the Draw is "a semi-random result that we have no control over. We never know when it's going to be a pain, and we never know when it's going to go quiet". 

Aren't ALL bets "semi-random"? Football is "semi-random" because it is low scoring and luck often plays a big part. The best team doesn't always win. Would we have it any other way? 

As for not having 'control over' it, I'm not really sure what that means. We have control over what bets we place and how much we stake, but of course we can’t control results. 

Every time you place a bet, you risk taking a loss, but you can help yourself hugely by researching trends and identifying areas where value is more likely to be found, and just as importantly eliminating bets where value is unlikely to exist.

Yes, there's the occasional Draw at 10.0 that's a winner (e.g. Manchester City v Sunderland in 2013-14) and backing long-shot Draws in the second half of the season in this sample would have been profitable, but bet before Xmas and you'd have had just the one winner at longer than 5.5 - from 65 bets. Ouch.   

Thursday, 12 January 2017

For Thine Is The Kingdom

Lambretta of Thoughts of a Football Trader's latest post, rather strangely titled "the chicken or the edge" opens with:

What stops us from becoming the trader we aspire to be? Why, when we look at the market, do we see all this money available yet fail to extract any on a consistent basis? The answer is fear.
The answer to why most traders lose is because they have no edge, or their edge is so small that it fails to cover commission costs. This is another of those posts that suggests if you can't make a profit, it's because of an emotional flaw, in this case that you can't handle the emotion of fear.

The statement implies that if all traders active in the markets are 'fearless', every trader would be a long term winner. It's nonsense of course. In a zero-sum game, with commission costs, that would be impossible.  

He continues:
What can we do to remove those fears, to build confidence, knowledge and therefore control? We find our edge.
The problem here is that the statement implies we all have an edge to find, and if you can't find yours, it's your fault. For God's sake man. it's there - just find it! What the heck is the matter with you?
  
Later in the post, Lambretta acknowledges that the key to mastering fear is in having an edge, writing in a somewhat biblical style:
The kingdom is on offer to us, there for the taking, but without an edge it remains so close but so firmly out of reach. Ask yourself, right now "What is my edge?"
If your answer is quantifiable and based on positive probability, you're likely already profitable.
If you're not, maybe your execution needs work.
What else is an edge, if not a positive expectation?

Speaking of which, someone very generously pointed me towards an idea which has led me to come up with what would have been a very profitable system over the last four and a half seasons using Pinnacle's closing prices available for free courtesy of Football Data.co.uk.

Using just two filters in one league, the system would have generated 417 bets for a profit of 174.25 points, an ROI of 41.8%. My P-value calculator gives a value of 0.000368, (or 1 in 2,716) for these results. 

Too good to be true? With half the season left, I'm adding this to my portfolio and will provide updates here from time to time. 

Although no Pinnacle prices are available prior to the 2012-13 season, I'll take a look back to earlier seasons and see if this bias goes back even further. The Bundeslayga System has shown that inefficiencies can persist for a long time, but an ROI of 41.8% from this sample size is quite ridiculous.   

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

2016 NFL Regular Season Summary

The NFL regular season records for Small Road 'Dogs since the eight division format was adopted in 2002 are below, left.


As with the College version of the system, the record over the recent years has been solid, with just one losing season since 2005. 

Back in early October I mentioned a "Vanilla Thursday" system idea which at least had a logical premise that "with less time to prepare, coaches play with a 'vanilla offense' which results in low scoring games" and the results were positive. 

18 games, a record of 11-6-1 and a profit of 4.47 points. 

In that same post, Martin asked:
cassini, what about a system that back away teams in divisional NFL games ? I think can be profitable
The 2016 results are in, but not so good for this one. The 2016 record in the 96 Divisional games for away (road) teams was 46-49-1. 

If you stuck with small road 'dogs in these games, the record improves to 21-19-1 and a small 0.99 point profit.

Since the NFL reorganised for the 2002 season, Martin's suggestion has merit. 916 games would have generated 35.2 points (3.84% ROI) while backing road teams in every game would have seen a loss of 17.95 points. 

Betting around the 'key' numbers of 3 and 7 points is interesting. As lines move, I've included the 2.5, 3.5, 6.5 and 7.5 lines and the profit since 2002 in all games is 49.17 points from 1,079 games (ROI 4.56%), which improves to 30.59 points from 365 Divisional games (ROI 8.38%).

Looking ahead to next weekend's Divisional Play-Off games, history favours the road teams who have a record against the spread of 33-23 since 2002. 

The 15.5 points the Houston Texans are getting at New England Patriots is a record high for this round, beating the 13.5 the Denver Broncos received in 2012 when they played the Patriots who won by 35. 

That the Patriots are 9-0 for the Overs since 2006 in home Wild Card or Divisional Play-Off games is merely a curiosity of course.

Also noteworthy is that after road teams won all four Wild Card Play-off games last year, home teams have won the subsequent 10 play-off games, covering the spread in the last six.