God’s Tid-bets, Vol. 8
Joe Duffy (www.godspicks.com)
This is the latest in a series, a Godgepodge of sports gambling discussion.
How Powerful Are Power Ratings?
Power ratings are certainly part of the equation but only, repeat only if one fully takes into consideration the means that are responsible for the ends. Power ratings do not take into consideration how injuries are reflected in past performance. As an illustration, let’s say Priest Holmes is leading the league in rushing and total offense but in the fourth quarter of game six goes down with an injury and misses four games.
In games seven through ten, the cumulative statistics of the first six games become irrelevant in and of themselves. Along the same token, if Holmes returns healthy for the 11th game, four of the previous 10 games are also tangential because the factors have changed immeasurably.
Even more important is by random chance KC’s opponent in their last four games played a much inferior Chiefs’ team than the fist six opponents did. Those results are included in the computer models of their foe’s power ratings but not filtered out when those players are back again.
There are just too many game results that are effected by injuries either to a team or its opponent. Assuming “they all even out” is a death knell for bad handicappers. We have emphasized the importance of home/road variables but perhaps by stroke of fortune played mostly healthy teams on the road and a lot more injured teams at home.
However the quality handicapper will make proper adjustments. So computer modules can be a valuable tool as so long as they are weighed against other essentials. Far and away the best source for power ratings is Massey Ratings (www.masseyratings.com). In his “rankings comparison” the weaknesses of each reputable power rating can be canceled by the strengths of the others. Massey calculates both the mean and median rankings.
Again we give shout out to a competitor when it’s due and Jim Feist’s site has power ratings that can be directly compared to the point spread. As far as game simulators the Statfox Game Estimator is the pre-eminent model.
We did get a few inquiries from a previous Tid-bet about what specifically we look for in the tipsheets that we gave lukewarm recommendations to. To answer the most common question, no we do not pay any attention to their predictions. The breakdowns do have some helpfulness but the predictions are forced and are based on limited affirmation. To embellish on our legal analogy from a previous article, based on the early week information, we would disregard the predictions on inconclusive evidence. However “inclusive” does not render the sheets irrelevant. They can serve as an early week primer of what to look at for in the hometown newspapers.
Beat the Screen
Don Best’s premium odds service has become the alpha for sportsbooks when it comes to line move information whether it’s steam moves from the major books or breaking line-up and injury information. However frankly the books have become too dependant on Best and this opens up a window of opportunity for the sharp player. This is known as “beating the screen” that is getting steam, injury or weather information before the books do.
When Best comes out with their overnight injury report, they do not conceal the fact that their information comes from our favorite source of up-to-the-minute information: the hometown newspapers. It’s amazing how quickly and almost synchronously the odds are adjusted once Best sends out their initial report.
However the early bird get the worm simply by waking up nice and early and getting the injury updates from the same source before Best sends them out. Generally said resource sends out the compilation once completed at approximately 10:30 A.M. EST. This is hours after the same information is available to Johnny-on-the-spot bloodhounds.
I’m surprised at how dilly-dally the books are about football weather. The lines go haywire once Best sends reports altered weather updates. Yet this information is far from classified as one can get live weather radar on a number of sites such as weather.gov or weather.com.
Predicting line moves can be done by those who get their intel earlier.
If You Are So Good Why Do It For a Living?
Over the years I’ve heard a lot of blanket proclamations made about handicappers. The industry has more than it’s share of bad apples unfortunately, but all-inclusive statements about all members of any group be it a religion, race, gender or occupation should be categorically disregarded.
This single most preposterous rhapsody is when somebody bloviates, “If you are so good at what you do, why don’t you simply bet your plays instead of selling them?” This is so asinine for many reasons, but appears to be built on some nutty belief that betting plays and selling them are mutually exclusive.
I would normally not answer a question with a question, but when one amounts to “why do something for a living that you are really good at doing” can best be responded with “of all the professions, why would sports handicapping be the only one on the nine (or is it ten?) planets in which if you are actually good at it, you should not do it for a living?”.
Don’t let the bad apples blind you to the fact that you should take comfort not distress in the fact your handicapper is good enough to do it full-time. True there are more people who do it for a living than are actually good enough to do it for a living, but the only people who benefit from unconditional biases against adept handicappers would be the bookmakers.
Joe Duffy of Godspicks.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 Godspicks.com. Media inquiries and questions for future Tid-bets can be sent to Godspicks@bellsouth.net
God’s Tid-bets, Vol. 8