God’s Tid-Bets, Vol. 9
Joe Duffy (www.godspicks.com)
This is the latest in a series, a Godgepodge of sports gambling discussion.
Another Tool in Home Field Advantage
We’ve said many times that home field/court advantage is far from equal. “Good starting point” is the term that always comes to mind with the power ratings discussed in a previous Tid-bet. But the ability to look outside the box is imperative in all facets of handicapping and analyzing the extent of HFA on a game by game basis is high on the list.
Rivals.com recently wrote an article with the not-so-original title from my favorite movie, “There is No Place Like Home”. Though the article is limited in scope, it’s one we’ve saved because it does have usefulness to the gambler in accurately saying which stadiums are the toughest to play in and most importantly why and under what circumstances.
They of course tout the popular theory about LSU’s home field advantage increasing at night because the fans love to tailgate and get more juiced, literally and figuratively by the time the sun goes down. The article brings attention to why the Wisconsin “Fifth Quarter” tradition keeps the fans into the game even in fourth quarter blowouts, something to consider in large pointspreads and betting 4th quarter lines.
We’ve always said there is no more important handicapping statistic in all sports than home/road dichotomy. The article brings into focus a perspective that goes beyond the useful but far from perfect power ratings and raw statistics.
Look-Ahead, Letdown and Sandwich Games
For the gambling newbie, the definitions of the above terms are fairly self explanatory. Look-ahead games are contests in which one opponent may not be totally focused on their current game because a bigger competition is on the horizon. Letdown games are when a team may not be emotionally ready after playing one of their biggest games of the year or perhaps following suffering a heartbreaking loss, stunning win or any circumstance that can have a team coming out flat.
Sandwich games are just that: a game that is in between a letdown game and a look-ahead contest. They are much more prevalent in college football and basketball at least percentage wise. However in the five-game-in-seven-nights drudge that can be the NBA, we’ve found under proper circumstances, pro basketball situations present themselves too. Most importantly because of the preponderance of games, those contests sneak under the radar, visible only the sharpest of players.
Far and away the most common parameter when an opportunity arises is a big favorite overlooking an inferior team. Sandwich games in college football are generally the games that most often hold true to expected form for the capper. A big favorite coming off a defining victory and facing a watershed game the following week is the exact set of circumstances that we exploit most often, pouncing on the live dog.
In college football, both winning and losing teams off of a multiple overtime game gets a long look from us as a possible go-against the following week in a letdown situation.
We often get questins about the viability of teasers. Teasers prey on the psychology of the square player who craves the (facade of) an extra security blanket. The only circumstance that sharp players consistently play teasers is 10-point teasers in the NFL. Thanks to so-called parity in the NFL, blowouts are rare and often it’s the dog that wins. So for example making a seven-point dog a 17 point pup is the one type situation that some sharp players have exploited on a consistent basis in the NFL.
We don’t like parlays either because—here’s a shock–the best handicappers don’t hit 100 percent. We simply win a lot more than we lose. But going 4-1 and losing in a parlay nullifies good handicapping. The lure of low risk/high return is yet another enticement the books create to help you lose money fast. Joey Bagodonuts pays Frankie at the office $10, picks four games and feels like he bet $100.
Do yourself a favor. Bet the traditional way to win money and have a totally separate entertainment bankroll of disposable income. Use that to bet $10-20 per week on office parlay cards to get that lottery ticket vicarious feeling, but stick to straight betting to experience the thrill of actually winning money.
Duffy’s plays are part of the Dream Team at Godspicks.com. He is perhaps the most published and respected author on sports gambling theory and has been featured as a regular guest as the handicapping expert on the Rick Ballou Show on Sporting News Radio, Gamblers Zoo national radio show, the Meat and Potatoes gambling show, Pro Fantasy Sports Internet radio and Grogan’s Fantasy Football show. His Wise Guy Plays available exclusively at www.godspicks.com are widely respected as the biggest play in the handicapping abyss.
God’s Tid-Bets, Vol. 9