Monday, December 7, 2009

Another day, another fluke. Or maybe underdogs really are supposed to win as often as the numbers say they should.

Sunday brought five wins out of seven picks again, but no doubt there are people out there who will view this statistical correction (my interpretation) as a short-lived anomaly.

The 7-dog trial is now officially out of the hole, and hopefully headed back above its peak to date, which at this point seems like a lifetime ago.

The peak (+$3,065) actually came on November 19th after a week-long winning streak which would also be considered an aberration by diehard dognostics.

Here's the the state of the bankroll prior to bets for today, Monday, December 7, 2009:-

Today's selections are the NFL's Baltimore Ravens at +165, NBA's San Antonio Spurs (+115), then five puck picks, the New Jersey Devils (+120), Atlanta Thrashers (+105), TB Lightning (+115), Edmonton Oilers (+100) and Colorado Avalanche (+125).

Bets are high right now with more than $6,000 in LTDs in our sights, but not as high as they would have been with a max higher than the 5x I chose to apply at the start of the 7-dog trial.

I haven't crunched any numbers for favorites for weeks, because for the life of me I can't see why anyone would risk good money on a bet that returns substantially less than a buck for a buck.

I admit I'm biased, because for years I have been telling baccarat players to stay away from bets on Banker at all costs, since the house rake cuts the payback on a win to 95 cents on the dollar.

One day, I will gather together a few thousand real outcomes and find out what woulda happened if target betting had multiplied each LTD by the known payback to set the NB value.

For those who don't speak the lingo, that would mean that if after a win, the LTD was -$500 and the odds on a favorite offered -150, the next bet value would be 1.5x$500 = $750.

(Odds of -175 would multiply the target by 1.75 to get the NB, -200 would double the LTD value, and so on).

It would be great to see another "dog day" after a week's worth of painful losses, but as usual I'm not counting on anything other than statistical probability.

Tuesday, December 8 at 10:40am:

Yesterday was another treadwater day, with three dog wins covering the losses from four wrong picks, leaving $25 in change.

That's only the fourth time in 37 days that we have ended with a win of less than $100, and while I don't subscribe to the common casino mantra that "a push is as good as a win" I can certainly concede that a piddling profit is preferable to a punishing loss!

As before, this is a critical day for the 7-dog trial, with $2,500 in bets chasing LTDs adding up to $7,445.

Feedback I have been getting lately suggests that the $3,000 best win to date and the "hole" of about the same depth that was recently conquered, represent a floor and a ceiling that we will bounce between indefinitely until the wheels finally come off and we crash and burn forever.

The models based upon two seasons of outcomes for four different sports do not in any way bear out that dire forecast, but models can never be as revealing or relevant as an ongoing trial like this one.

Slumps are, we know, inevitable - but so are spikes like the one we saw last week (the best so far, netting almost $4,000).

Punters who secretly relish their losses, or bookies who rely upon the chronic innumeracy of their clientele, will never accept that "the numbers" hold the key to consistent profits from sports betting.

Bookies, of course, revere the arithmetic: they just don't accept that there is any way it can serve their customers rather than their own bottom line!

You can't win without losing.

That's what betting always comes down to.

But that does not mean that losses must always wipe out prior wins, resulting in an eventual, inescapable deficit.

Wednesday, December 9 at 10:00am:

There's just one word for yesterday's underdog performance: Ouch!

We didn't stand much of a chance with an overall DWR that barely topped 20%.

The NBA had three dog wins, and we caught one of them.

The NHL lineup had one and we picked it.

There were two underdog victories in the 17-game college basketball schedule, but our five picks all went south.

I'd take the NCABB skunking as a warning to stay away from college games, but they have been kind to us in the past.

All we can hope for is a better day today, from these picks: (NBA) New Jersey Nets +110, Minnesota Timberwolves +135, Houston Rockets (+125), (NHL) Columbus Blue Jackets +150, NY Islanders +135, St. Louis Blues +150 and Minnesota Wild +130.

If I believed in luck, I'd say it was tough luck that neither of Tuesday's wins were max bets, but I don't, so forget I said that.

Meantime, green ink is red again.

For now!

Thursday, December 10 at 11:20am:

Four wins Wednesday, although one of them leaves me with egg on my face. Again.

I had the Columbus Blue Jackets listed as a "dog" at +150 when in fact the team was favored at -170.

The last time I messed up on bets, it cost me dearly, but this time the "mis-pick" won.

As regrettable as they are, occasional errors are inevitable, and the reality is that yesterday's #52 went on to the next stage (the bookie's window) with money down.

Obviously, I won't be refusing today's payback and saying, "Oops, I meant to bet on the losers, so keep your money."

We ended the day recovering half of Tuesday's damage, and out of the red by less than one unit overall - a lousy return on 39 days of betting, but a lot better than staring up at distant daylight from the bottom of a very deep hole!

If we'd backed favorites, reversing every bet so far but putting down a fixed $100 each time, we'd be almost $2,000 in the red in spite of an overall faves win rate of 57%.

That doesn't seem to me a preferable option!

Perhaps a case could be made for backing favorites on a sliding scale, risking more on shorter odds, but I can't bring myself to embrace an arrangement where you lose 100% and win a small fraction of what you risked.

Sure, you get your original bet back (as in yesterday's mistaken win, which returned $790 on a $500 bet) but the big red -$2,000 that applies to the 7-dog trial so far is a powerful disincentive to backing favorites, don't you think?

Friday, December 11 at 9:00am:

A three-dog day yesterday, but we slid back into the red for a while because only one of the winners had a max payback.

No complaints: that's just how it goes sometimes.

Today's bets add up to $2,100 chasing LTDs of $8,680 (and they will catch them eventually!).

I crunched the numbers for scaled betting on favorites, and the ink on the bottom line stayed red.

There have been 271 bets so far, and betting a flat $100 every time would have dropped us in the hole to the tune of $777 to date, nice numbers on an old-fashioned slot machine but not when they're all in red ink on our bottom line.

Four of the seven separate lines or series are in profit, but the three that are not ahead of the game(s) are way behind at -$1,245, -$1,971 and -$3,915.

Time will take care of them.

Obviously, I would prefer to see green in all directions, but this is a long-term project and I am trying to teach myself patience.

They say it's a virtue, after all.

Today's bets: New Jersey Nets (+145), Philly 76ers (+125), OKC Thunder (+115) and Orlando Magic (+135) in the NBA, and Edmonton (+115), Minnesota Wild (+155) and Tampa Bay Lightning (+145) on ice.

Saturday, December 12 at 12:55pm:

We inched ahead by three units yesterday, halving the deficit and leaving us with $2,500 in wagers for today, chasing LTDs of just over $8,000 in all.

I usually mention LTDs in even the briefest of my summaries, because they are the essence of what target betting is all about.

The whole idea is to know when to stop betting large sums and fall back to the minimum.

The "stop win" rule is also critical to a simple Martingale, of course, but a Martingale could not be applied when the maximum permitted bet is only 5x the minimum.

Losing streaks that don't end until the 7th bet have occurred several times since the 7-dog trial began on November 1, and Line 3 suffered 11 consecutive losses at one point before turning its losses around.

A Martingale starting out at $100 would be betting well into six digits after 11 losses, so comparisons between target betting and a double-up progression are irrelevant!

When to quit may be the most important question any bettor has to face, although for most people the answer is simple: When the money runs out.

Quitting when you are ahead is always more profitable than cutting your losses, and giving up too soon, for even the best of reasons, is a fatal error.

Sure, target betting sometimes pushes bet values past the average punter's comfort zone, but it does so methodically and in strict accordance with statistical expectation.

When the target win is achieved, you either quit or start over with a minimum bet. Pressing your luck the way the casinos want and need you to is never an option.

Today's picks are all on ice: Toronto Maple Leafs +110, Montreal Canadiens +130, Buffalo Sabres +100, NY Islanders +105, Detroit Red Wings +115, Phoenix Coyotes +110 and Dallas Stars +120.

Underdogs are due for a boost and we are a long way short of our best win to date.

But as always, today is another day!

Sunday, December 13 at 11:30am:

Saturday brought us five right picks and just two wrongs, and as everyone knows, two wrongs don't beat five rights!

The 7-dog trial starts its seventh week today with all the dog picks coming from the NFL schedule, which according to Dave should not make me nervous, but according to history most certainly does.

The trial is back in the black by just over ten units after Saturday's great showing, and I have my fingers crossed that all those over-sized gladiators in suits of armor don't mess things up today.

It's always tough to make those early game starts on a Sunday, what with snow-shoveling and church-ferrying and other "Day of Rest" chores, and today I missed the starting whistles by miles.

It doesn't mean a thing because my picks are based on pre-game odds, not what the points tally is in mid-game, so here are today's dog selections: Chicago Bears +175, Miami Dolphins +110, KC Chiefs +125, TB Buccaneers +165, Oakland Raiders +110, SD Chargers +160 and NY Giants +105.

The sports book spreadsheet won't be posted until later today because I'm already late climbing back aboard the Sunday treadmill, so those of you who are watching it regularly will have to take my word for it that the bet selections are all pre-game and completely legitimate.

As I always say, what's the sense in cheating when there's no need (or even when there is!)?

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.