More Thoughts on Strategy

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Here is something I wrote last week:

Like other gambling strategies, it will take commitment and intelligence to make it work properly, and not everyone will be able to get it, but those that do will make sports wagering an investment strategy or a job, not unlike poker. In my opinion, it's only a matter of time.


Here is something I wrote three months ago:

What makes me place a bet on one five-point dog receiving 38% of the action at Wagerline versus another? Subjectivity. One of those teams might be Ole Miss the other might be Fresno State. I feel like Ole Miss is an underrated football squad, so there is value in taking their side. The opposite is true of Fresno.


I've taken the subjectivity out of my gambling style. That whole post last week really was blowing sunshine up my ass. Think about it. There a lot of smart people out there who like sports. If it was as easy as looking at Wagerline and Pomeroy numbers, someone would have wrote a regression equation a while ago and made a killing.

Originally, when Moneyline started writing his posts about contrarian strategy, I thought they were a reaction to a crappy season and I had a lot of questions about why he would change a winning strategy. Then I looked to the right of my blog, and to the right of his blog, and the results in everyone's signatures at RMMB and realized, maybe this isn't a winning strategy. Not contrarianism, mind you, but my application of it.

In another post last week, I was starting to question myself:

What was I doing differently last year when my big plays were hitting at such an incredible clip? Is this really all variance?


Obviously, some of it is variance. Even contrarianism applied correctly has had a miserable year this year. But some of it is not letting my own ideas affect my judgment. Inherently, I know the books didn't set up Louisville -2.5 tonight to attract equal action. I don't need Wagerline or SIA to tell me that. Last year, I was doing a lot more of this kind of thinking than I was writing a bunch of numbers down on a sheet.

What does this mean for me? It probably means playing a lot less games. I've been playing a lot of games simply because their stats at Carib, SB, SportsInsights, etc. have looked good. No more. I'll still look at Wagerline and SIA to double check myself, but the first thing a game will have to pass is the sniff test.

Will this mean I miss out on some (a lot?) of contrarian plays, especially in hoops and baseball? Yup. I am willing to admit straight up that most of the time I don't know whether the books are setting a trap in the CAA or Sun Belt. A lot of those games will be falling off my card. Note that I passed YSU and Idaho tonight. They looked funny to me when I looked at the lines, especially Idaho +6 vs. USU, but do I really know the public's reaction to those lines? Not really.

The whole idea is to turn those red numbers green. Time will tell if this the right way or not.

15 comments:

Play Or Get Played said...

By playing less games will you be increasing your stakes in the games you play or stay the course with standard plays?

am19psu said...

Ideally, increasing the unit size, since theoretically, I should be decreasing risk and increasing my EV.

Realistically, my bankroll is in such terrible shape right now that I'll be playing everything for the same amount of units I am currently.

ilike#s said...

because some of us are predisposed to numerical analysis, i think we can get sidetracked by all the data available to us. the problem is that the data is not exactly what we want so we have to track it and manipulate it, which leads to making plays that are not correct with regards to the theory we are trying to follow. the sniff test is only applicable to those with a very good handle on the sport.

also why does the contrarian "community" play so many games? it is unlikely that the books are setting that many traps every day.

am19psu said...

the problem is that the data is not exactly what we want so we have to track it and manipulate it, which leads to making plays that are not correct with regards to the theory we are trying to follow.

Agree 100%. I'm just not sure what the correct way is and I know what I was doing was not right. If I had discovered contrarian gambling at an earlier time, I definitely would have found a better statistical way to analyze data (I still think LDA/QDA would be a great place to start). As it is now, with having a real job and a fiancee, I just don't have the time to devote to coming up with something like that.

the sniff test is only applicable to those with a very good handle on the sport.

Again, agree 100%. There is a reason I've never even attempted to play the NBA. Also, this is why I am acknowledging in my post I am going to miss some games that, for example, VegasWatch will find.

also why does the contrarian "community" play so many games? it is unlikely that the books are setting that many traps every day.

The easy answer is that we're degenerates. It's not much of a surprise that most of us were raging alcoholics in college.

The better answer is that we are always looking for value and probably "finding" it in places where it's not.

Anonymous said...

you are a degenerate? I see I didn't miss out on much on the homefront tonight..... Goober :)

ilike#s said...

do you believe the numbers that sportsbook.com put out for the %$ put on each side?

am19psu said...

I don't believe them verbatim, but I do believe in the relative percentages. I don't believe any book would open themselves up to risk with 96% of the money coming in on one side, but I do think the side getting 4% is extremely anti-public. That feels like it is worded poorly.

moneyline said...

"I don't believe any book would open themselves up to risk with 96% of the money coming in on one side, but I do think the side getting 4% is extremely anti-public."

I think it is important to keep in mind that there is not always a strong correlation between # of bets and $ wagered.

Now in the case of Sportsbook.Com the correlation is probably stronger, but you can afford to take any type of stand you want when you consistently charge -115 and -120 on such sides, AND you take upwards of 3-6 months to pay people.

That being said, I've never really liked their numbers. More so than Carib, I think they have some issues with their collection and reporting methods.

ilike#s said...

"I think it is important to keep in mind that there is not always a strong correlation between # of bets and $ wagered."

From my understanding, Sportsbook.com is actually reporting money not bets. I could be wrong but that is how I understand it. This is the only source of actual money that I have found. The problem with them is that the %s are extremely divergent from 50% so they seem to be taking a side on almost every game. This might be explained by the huge juice you were referring to. They can be very unbalanced and juice defends any swings to the squares.

Jonny said...

"From my understanding, Sportsbook.com is actually reporting money not bets. I could be wrong but that is how I understand it."

I am 99.9% sure the "money" column is money line bets.

ilike#s said...

that is not what i am referring to. this is what the site says:

"Captured Betting Trends Explained:
"Side" is the percentage of money bet on the point spread of the game.
"Money" is the amount bet on the money line of the game.
"Total" is percentage on the over/under; the upper number being the percentage on the over and the lower, the under. All percentages are calculated in real time"

So those percentages are referring to actual money.

moneyline said...

"So those percentages are referring to actual money."

I remember that language reading differently a few years ago, but whatever. Even if accurate, do you think it tells us anything new in the case of Sportsbook.Com? It's not like many (any?) sharps play there.

"All percentages are calculated in real time"

That is just a load of crap.

ilike#s said...

"It's not like many (any?) sharps play there. "

I apologize for my ignorance but what is the significance of sharps when talking about books taking a stand against money when they all have the same line. I am assuming sportsbook.com has the same spread as books that have sharps. Is this not the case? I guess places like bodog have better dog spreads because they don't have to worry about sharps killing them. Is this what you are referring to?

Jonny said...

"The easy answer is that we're degenerates. It's not much of a surprise that most of us were raging alcoholics in college."

Bingo.

"I Like #s"

I had no idea that's what they were representing. To me that makes it even less reliable, because I honestly don't think any book would do this.

am19psu said...

I should have added "mostly intelligent" degenerates. I imagine if you are interested in contrarianism and the theory behind it, you were (and I was) probably the type of kid that drank 6 days a week and maintained a 3.5 GPA.

I hope my mom doesn't read my blog.