Don’t Have a Tendency to Overvalue Coaches Preseason Tendencies
Just say no. Too often the wannabee sharp player will tell you how much they love a preseason game because one coach is 7-3 ATS in the preseason and the other is just 10-20. The non-reasoning is that the first coach wants to win more.
First of all, ATS trends have little or no value in preseason NFL betting, but even if they did just about any that apply to a coach’s preseason record would be statistically insignificant. But more importantly one must ascertain if there is a rhyme to the reason.
For example Jimmy Johnson had a horrible ATS record in the exhibition games at Dallas because the variables basically stayed the same. They were a marquee team that had high bettor’s appeal but they barely gave their “Triplets” of Smith, Aikman and Irvin a cop of coffee in a game. However the same spread fate continued with Barry Switzer because the same set of circumstances applied until the day Michael Irvin’s career ended on the dreaded Veterans Memorial Stadium turf.
And the Pokes being a great fade had absolutely nothing with their lack of motivation to win, it was simply a lack of justification to play their front line players. I would not bet my worst enemy’s money on for example any Steve Mariucci preseason historical record because a complete change of circumstances makes all numbers irrelevant.
Fluid circumstances are the primary reasons for the coaches’ historical record in preseason. Bluntly I’d rate coaches inclinations barely above random chance as a rationalization for the records and thus as a handicapping tool. True Bill Parcells is a rare example of a coach who does seem to consistently put emphasis on the final score but an overwhelming majority of perceived annual dispositions of any specific coach are more imagined than real.
Offshore Drilling Requires a Refinery
Yes we drill the offshore books the same way we did the Vegas sports odds and outlaw books before that. We keep refining theories, systems and angles. I keep a database of what I half-jokingly refer to as “almost plays”. These are plays I like but the base principles are established more on theory than proven track record and hence cannot rise to the level of premium play. I then group each play under the theorem in its own memory based program. Once this premise has been proven to withstand the test of time it is upgraded to our empirical process.
Some recent revelations have resulted in our releasing and winning many more favorites in baseball. We were in some respects victims of our own success. “Bad” days consisted of going 2-3 and thanks to big dogs we still turned a small profit. We had slumps that resulted in hitting 44 percent yet still with a positive ROI. Potential chalk winners resulted in us passing on the games because we got so biased against laying the lumber.
We deprived ourselves of the profitable fact that even with the much higher winning percentage required, baseball favorites under the right set of circumstances can have the same probability/risk ratio as our tried and true dogs and small favorites. Thanks to tracking theories we have rectified that.
Another demonstration is how we rate our system plays. In the past we yielded to what statisticians use to measure the reliability of data: z score. Who are we to argue with PhDs? However upon tracking the deviation from the mean as it applies to handicapping we discovered that the simple return on investment (ROI) is an even more accurate way. The ROI is based simply on one-unit per play and includes the juice.
So instead of insisting a system have a z score of 4.0 or above to be statistically reliable, we now use 80 units or higher as standard. Essentially it puts more emphasis on sample size and less on winning percentage.
We Love the Information Age
It looks like one of our favorite sites for college sports information Collegesports.com has added even more colleges to the network. This will both increase and streamline our ability to not miss a beat both on the gridiron and hardwood. Along those lines now that ESPN U, CSTV and Fox give us three channels dedicated to college sports, they and the other major sites such as CBS Sportsline are greatly increasing the amount and quality of coverage in their respective premium and “insider” packages.
The offshore sportsbooks are somewhat handcuffed because intense competition has forced them to come out with lines earlier and earlier. Yet the pinpoint accuracy of information available late in the week from the ever increasing sources continues to widen the gap between handicapping’s upper, middle and lower classes. Luckily there is no shortage of rank and file gamblers to keep to books solvent.
Now many sports bloggers are a worthwhile source. Not so much gambling specific but there is no shortage of sports fanatics out there and a few do have some good insight. We will keep an open mind and two open eyes.
Grand Master Handicapper Joe Duffy is widely accepted as the top sports handicapper ever. He was General Manager of the Freescoreboard scorephone network and CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com, the premier hub of world-class handicappers.