Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is 5 right picks out of 7 a fluke? Who cares, as long as it keeps on happening (and from time to time, it will!)?

The 7-dog trial ended its third week with a flourish yesterday, delivering five winners out of seven picks in spite of the fact that overall, underdogs did not have a great day.

The win at the end of the day was not huge at +4.9u but it almost made up for Friday's losses, and how bad can that be?

Dognostics (those skeptics who watch from the wings and predict the certain demise of any attempt to make money betting on anything) are praying for a succession of "perfect storms" in which target betting has all seven lines or series betting the max and underdogs falling into a slump.

After Saturday's wins, four lines are back to a minimum bet, one is there already, and two are throwing 5u apiece into the fray.

That adds up to another $1,500 day, equal to half the 7-dog trial's current winnings.

Unrecovered LTDs total $2,425 right now, and when those dangling targets are finally hit, they will significantly boost our current profit of $2,975.

Obviously, I am confident that all three dog lines will eventually come home with their heads held high and other annoying cliches, or I would not be spending so much time on this sports book experiment.

But there is no point in me making any predictions.

It makes much more sense to just sit back and see what happens.

I don't expect a whole lot of "five-dog days" down the road, but so far, underdogs remain at a win rate of 42%, and the stats say that things are likely to get better for them by and by.

I will continue making selections based solely on the +100 to +180 range and the order in which they are delivered to me, but I look forward to the day when I am no longer betting in a goldfish bowl and can be a little more creative.

Yesterday I took a closer look at the Las Vegas odds report, which shows where the money is going alongside the official handicappers' assessment of each team's prospects.

There are anomalies that I do not yet understand, but mostly the message comes across loud and clear.

My NBA picks for today, Sunday, are the Toronto Raptors at +140 at home, and the Indiana Pacers at +120 playing the Charlotte Bobcats on their home court.

So what, you might ask, but while "the money" makes Orlando Magic the clear choice against the Raptors, the Pacers are favored to win on all three fronts: (S)ides, (M)oney and (T)otal.

Just for the fun of it, I have now started tracking SMT rankings for each day's options, so I can at some point get a feel for whether or not those behind-the-scenes numbers are helpful indicators.

I picked Tampa Bay (+115) and Chicago (+100) on ice for today, and the two dogs are both well liked according to those Vegas percentages: Lightning in the S and T categories, and the Blackhawks the top choice of money-line and total bettors.

Today's NFL picks are the Cleveland Browns (+155), the Baltimore Ravens (+105) and the Chicago Bears (+145) and sad to say, no one likes any of them according to the Vegas report. Bummer!

Tomorrow I will discover the accuracy of numbers that single out the San Francisco 49ers (+220), the Washington Redskins (+425) and the New York Jets (+460) as likely underdog winners on the NFL schedule, while cursing the fact that they are outside my betting range!

Monday, November 23 at 10:10am:

Sunday was a dog disaster if ever there was one, with just two hits out of seven picks and $1,500 on the line.

The two winning underdogs cut the loss from a potential grand and a half down to $285, and that's really the game in a nutshell, isn't it?

Bet seven favorites and win just two of them and you are looking at a sad, sad sea of red ink!

Dogs, on the other hand, do not have to win more games than they lose to cover your losses and, more often than not, deliver a modest profit when all the playing's done.

That's a good thing, right?

As for those "Vegas" rankings, they were right four times out of six in NBA games, one wrong and one right on ice, and on the money six times out of 14 games in the NFL schedule.

In other words, one day in 365 tells us nothing at all, and I will keep monitoring those SMT numbers from now on.

Today, Tennessee looks like a solid Monday Night Football choice, and the four NBA contests are way out of range (+200 to +425 as I type this).

That leaves six NHL dog picks: the Blue Jackets (+115), NY Islanders (+115), the Panthers (+100), Washington Capitals (+110), Boston Bruins (+100) and Carolina Hurricanes (+165).

Once in a while, I run a next-day check to compare dog results, cash-wise, with what "woulda" happened if I had backed favorites all the way. I'll do that for Sunday's debacle and post an update tomorrow.

Today's another "heavy" day with $1,600 in play, but at least we're still betting from money won rather than from the opening bankroll.

Tuesday, November 24 at 3:59pm:

The big question dognostics will be asking today is whether or not it makes sense to risk almost 90% of money won to date in response to a succession of poor showings by underdogs.

I say you can't make money without risking money, and exposure is at least a little less painful when it puts profits back in play than when it's funded from your own back pocket!

Today has been a challenge (the updated 7-dog spreadsheet was posted barely 15 mins before the first game time) because I had to be out of the house bright and early, and the odds available at that ungodly hour were less than appetizing.

They had not improved that much when I got home mid-afternoon, but I found seven bets by venturing for the first time into college basketball.

I wasn't happy at having to do that, but felt that since I keep saying that the teams and players and even the name of the game are all secondary to the numbers, I had better put my money up and stop making excuses!

So today's picks are the Indiana Pacers (+180), the Philly 76ers (+135) and the Blue Jackets (+110), plus the college kids Florida State (+120), Pennsylvania (+160), Cincinnati (+120) and Gonzaga (+110).

I have long since stopped trying to guess how things will turn out, not just because I am so often wrong, but also because nothing is changed by my opinion.

This trial is all about good faith. That's really all I need to say.

Wednesday, November 25 at 12:00pm:

Just like you, I hate to lose.

But just lately, I have been making a habit of it.

Tuesday's only good news was that out of 41 college basketball games, only seven underdogs won, and I picked two of them.

The bad news is that I had zero NBA or NHL winners.

There have been worse "dog" slumps than this in the last 24 days, and it will end soon.

My friend Pete dropped more than ten grand in the dumpster by not listening to me and mostly backing favorites (and trusting "cappers"), so I am willing to venture that much on this 7-dog trial.

There's still money in the bank from past profits, but if today's selections crap out, I'll be in the red again come Thursday's betting.

Maximim risk to date: $1,420.

Today's seven bets total $1,400 and unresolved LTDs add up to $4,200.

When the two largest LTDs turn around, we'll hit a new high, although of course, skeptics insist that the money will run out before then!

Dog picks for today, Wednesday, November 25, '09, are: Toronto Raptors (+120), Milwaukee Bucks (+120), Dallas Mavericks (+150) and New York Knicks (+160) from the NBA schedule, and on ice, NY Islanders (+115), Toronto Maple Leafs (+125) and Buffalo Sabres (+110).

Thursday, November 26 at 10:20pm:

The profit number ticked up by a miserly 1u (to $1,700) yesterday, but I am grateful for that!

Again, two "dog" wins out of seven picks, with the overall DWR for the day at 35%.

Tuesday's DWR was a truly dismal 19%!

The long-term viability of this whole strategy pivots on the fact that two wins can often cover the cost of five losses, a "balancing act" that favorites can never match.

We need three to four wins a day to move forward, but when that doesn't happen, not sliding backwards is a welcome consolation prize.

No doubt someone out there will look at today's updated file and claim that I "got lucky" because one of the wins was a $500 bet with a +155 payback.


Over time, we can expect that each of the seven lines will require maximum bets about as often as the others and that the total amount bet from day one will pretty much match up across the board.

After 25 days, Line 6 has required $3,250 in total bets, and Line 7 has demanded $5,700 overall.

The other five independent series have required between 63% and 84% of the Line 7 total.

As the days go by, those discrepancies will even out.

And as is always the case when math rules, luck has nothing to do with anything!

Here are today's dog picks, copied directly from the open file:

501 Orlando Mag +145, $200
509 Alabama +105, $100
517 Minnesota +110, $300
519 Portland +160, $100
523 Georgia St +180, $100
1 Blue Jackets +125, $100
3 LA Kings +160, $500

The first number on the left is the bet number, the "+" indicates the odds (+145 pays $1.45 to $1) and the dollar sign indicates the bet value.

I first planned to celebrate Thanksgiving by keeping my money in my wallet, then decided that my critics might interpret a betting holiday as some sort of trick!

It's amazing how determined some people are that the bookies must be seen to be winners in the end.

Perhaps they will be.

But probably not.

Friday, November 27 at 08:30am:

Everything is on the line today - and everything's on ice!

Thanksgiving Day's picks were a mixed bag that included more college games, and when the dust settled, we were just $91 ahead.

There was an error in there, too, just to demonstrate that I'm not perfect! I picked Minnesota over Butler based on early online odds that had them as +110 dogs, but they won as -127 favorites. Oops.

Winning is a good idea, but not with a payback of less than even money. I don't know who goofed, me or the online odds report, but in the end, we all have to accept that we will slip up from time to time, and that sometimes, mistakes can be expensive.

Today's all-NHL picks start at 9:05am with New Jersey over Boston at +110, then Buffalo (+115), NY Islanders (+115 at home), Colorado Avalanche (+105), Anaheim Ducks at home (+120), Calgary Flames (+110) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+105).

I'm not wildly excited about an all-hockey selection, but it's the numbers that matter.

Today's numbers tell us that we're ahead $1,790 with $1,900 in play.

Watch this space!

An important reminder: The only person likely to make money out of this blog is you, Dear Reader. There's nothing to buy, ever, and your soul is safe (from me, at least). Test my ideas and use them or don't. It's up to you.