God’s Tid-Bets, Vol. 3

Just Pick the Team That Wins Outright?
So often we warn gamblers about the mortal sin of using inductive rather than deductive reasoning. The quintessence of that is the rapid circulation of the insipid illogic of “all you have to do is pick the straight up winner of a game and chances are you will have the spread winner.” It’s always followed by some stat where the outright winner has covered 80 percent of the time. Duh.

When an underdog wins they cover 100 percent of the time. The favorite cannot cover unless they win outright. It’s impossible. The only scenario in which a team can win and not cover is when the favorite wins but by a smaller margin than the spread.

Not shockingly the numbnuts who perpetuate unscientific preposterousness almost always quote stats relevant to the NBA or NFL. In college sports there are more mismatches and hence larger spreads where the margin is larger for a favorite to win and not cover.

If a team is a 3.5 point favorite the only way the team that wins will not cover is for the favorite to win by one, two or three points. Any other result will have the team that wins covering. At what percentage do these half-wits think a team should win and not cover?
Obviously the stupidity of this widely circulated inductive blather can be refuted from now until eternity. Or at least until an underdog wins but fails to cover, whichever comes last. But to those who subscribe to it as if there is any logic, thanks for keeping the books in business for the rest of us.

Weather or Not?
We do plan on writing an article on how weather effects our football handicapping. But to be honest it’s only a minor part of baseball soothsaying. First of all most of our baseball selections are side plays anyway. While bad weather would generally effect a speed team most, we believe in the proverbial adage of both teams having to play under the same weather conditions.

As far as totals, wind would be the biggest factor. One could argue about rain or bad conditions hurting an offense or defense more, but when it comes to wind conditions it’s hard to argue that wind blowing in from center will benefit the pitchers while if it’s blowing straight out it will help the offenses. We won’t argue that if wind is blowing out to left field and one team has a left handed pitcher facing a predominately right handed line-up, while the other team has a right-hander on the hill, the team facing the lefty may have a slight edge. But we look at it this way. How often do you hear a manager scratch a pitcher simply because of the wind direction? So if baseball managers seem to think for the most part it will effect pitchers pretty equally we consider from a standpoint of picking sides weather advantage is negligible.

Obviously wind direction is important in determining whether the weather benefits an over or under, but wind speed determines how much. Generally 15 MPH and “gusty” is when sharp players should start paying attention.

In football weather is a much more important factor with both sides and totals but we will address that in a future article. I had a nun teacher who used to say, you change your mind as often as the wind blows. I wonder if she bet baseball totals.

We are often asked about our favorite handicapping databases. I don’t mind giving shout outs to our competitors when they deserve it, especially when I am quite confident that I employ said data better than their in-house handicappers do. Vegas Insider, Covers, Jim Feist, Sports Data Bases (which is on Freescoreboard.com) all have the vital information that a handicapper desires. For the most part it’s not so much what each source has and does not have, but how it’s organized.

However the mac daddy as far as we are concerned is Foxsheets, which is the Statfox premium service. It has pretty much what the other databases have plus systems and is more in-depth than any of their competitors.

Covers and Feist assemblages actually do unique calculations that is specific to their site. Feist’s site does direct comparisons of major offensive and defensive categories. For example if New England is playing Philadelphia in the NFL one can see the well organized contrast of which team has better yards per pass statistics on each side of the ball in football or in college and pro basketball shooting percentage both offensively and defensively and the exact margin of difference.

Covers does margin of cover which a lot of sharp players consider essential. We prefer the first cousin once removed theory that we call dichotomous ATS and straight up streaks. For more information consult our previous articles. But like the “margin of cover” it does appraise which teams are undervalued and which are overvalued.

Ultimately the old “garbage in, garbage out” theory applies. The indispensable datum is widely available but the time and knowledge on how to apply it is possessed by only a learned few.

Joe Duffy of OffshoreInsiders.com  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, the Meat and Potatoes gambling show, Grogan’s Fantasy Football show, Radio Baseball Muse and Finn on Sports. Formally of the famed Cadillac Club 900 number, his plays can be gotten one and one place only: part of the Dream Team of OffshoreInsiders.com


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