Thursday, September 2, 2010

After 40 days in the XL wilderness, it looks like the new betting template is bug free - and target betting is delivering wins with acceptable risk.

Please scroll down for target betting picks for Monday, September 6

The knee-jerk response to any data I publish here is always that what's past is dead and done with, and it has nothing whatever to tell us about the future.

Since last November 1, I have been challenging the conventional wisdom by running real-time tests of the principles of target betting, posting each day's selections ahead of game time (apart from the occasional mild screw-up) and allowing the future to become the past the way it always does in real play.

I am fairly confident that the bugs are all gone from the new Excel bet calculator/tracker, and until another glitch upsets the applecart (hopefully never) I plan to put up more detailed selection summaries every day from now on.

And I want to be the first to comment that the past few days have been unusually kind to target betting, and that it would be unrealistic to assume that bumpy rides are behind us.

The dog win rate (DWR) for the 2010 baseball season stood at 42.15% after Wednesday's games, vs. 43.8% this time last year, and the closest I can get to the "ideal" DWR of 45% is by tightening the qualifying odds range quite a bit from the +100 to +180 that I have used as a guideline until recently.

Wednesday was a solid day for target betting, and would not have been as kind without the help of run-line bets, an option that was barely on my radar this time a year ago.

Statistically, favorites beat the run-line about 70% of the time, which sounds like a betting slam-dunk until you factor in the overall faves WR of less than 60%.

Multiply those two critical numbers and you get a historical RL win rate that is even lower than the current DWR.

I can hear loud yawwwwwwns from readers who don't accept the relevance of statistics to the size of their next wager, but can predict that they are drop-ins who won't be back another day!

The numbers at the top of today's selections summary reflect a couple of "tweaks" from the sports-book target betting rules I put up a few weeks back, and as always they are not mandatory.

I have extended re-doubling after an opening loss in a new series from -2 to -4 to reflect the reality that overall wins are down from almost 45% to barely 43%, with halving also kicking in at -4.

Opting for -2 also delivers a healthy win but greatly increases the exposure, providing a classic illustration of the simple truth that what sometimes seems like "aggressive" play is actually just the opposite.

Plenty of smart bettors out there reason that protecting the bankroll is their primary duty, so when times get temporarily tough (and slumps are always temporary, just like winning streaks) they reduce their bets, making it much harder for them to benefit when a prolonged downturn eases upward.

We have to remember that our bankroll is our ammunition in the never-ending battle against the odds - and if we respond to a firefight by conserving ammo and burying our heads until the bad guys stop shooting at us, we're liable to get dead in a hurry!

Obviously, reckless betting is a no-no. But abandoning a proven strategy when the going gets tough is even dumber.

And on the subject of strategies, there are some interesting developments in the InvestaPick MO that merit comment.

I have been saying for months that IP was limiting its potential by applying a simple Martingale that did not take into account paybacks at less than even money.

The effect of that was that a bet of, say, $520 after four consecutive losses would win at -110 and earn $473 towards cumulative losses of $477.50.

Close, maybe, but as the blackjack cliche tells us, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and those seemingly minor shortfalls really mount up over time.

All of a sudden, IP seems to be taking steps to address that problem, as the snip below shows...

Naturally, I applaud the change!

IP's overall strategy, with or without the apparent revision, endorses the power of the Martingale in a situation where wins come along about as often as losses.

"Experts" trash double-up all the time, but those same experts tell us over and over again that we can't win in the end, and as we all know (in the lingo of an Aussie punter I met years ago) they have their heads so far up their bums, they can see the back of their teeth!

Later today or tomorrow, I will update the comparison between IP's win against its three sets of selections ("funds") and the numbers for target betting.

Meanwhile, today's target betting selections in what I hope will be a consistent format from now on:

Keep in mind that according to the experts I mentioned, the results indicated above will turn to red ink in due time, and the wins IP has achieved in three data sets dating back to January 1, 2009, are likewise impossible.

Update at 11:30am Thursday, September 2:

OK, so here's where target betting stands vs. InvestaPick against IP's day-to-day selections from January 1, 2009, through August 31, 2010.

As far as I am aware, IP is completely on the up-and-up, although the service's disappearance from April 27 this year through the end of July waved all manner of red flags.

The flags flapped even more when all the bets that had not been posted day by day during the "hiatus" popped into place when it ended!

As I see it, IP's greatest contribution (aside from the obvious benefits of its largely transparent operation!) is that it shows that steady money can be made from picks paying less than even money.

Without the three sets of proof offered on the InvestaPick website, that concept would have been a hard sell for me.

Shorter odds, of course, mean more frequent wins, to the point where IP's selections each represent a proposition much closer to 50-50 than the 45-55 or less that applies to underdogs alone.

I have no connection whatsoever with InvestaPick and am not privy to their selections ahead of game time, since I do not subscribe to the service.

I am, however, impressed with IP's results, in spite of the fact that the triple-fund's betting method is evidently not as effective as mine!

Results shown below are verifiable on the InvestaPick website and in my own worksheets, which show only wins and losses and applicable odds and do not identify selections by team name (an irrelevance offset by the availability of that information in the IP charts!).

Wherever the word net comes up, it refers to the IP service charge of about $50 a month for its daily selections.

I don't know for sure, but I assume subscribers place their bets themselves, with the bankroll values on the IP website serving as a theoretical tracking device rather than an actual betting record.

What it all comes down to is that winning is a good thing and losing is not.

And if its published results are accurate and honest, InvestaPick therefore ranks as a commendable aid to making money at sports betting.

The results shown above were achieved with double-up set at -2, which permits the previous bet (PB) to be doubled twice instead of the indefinite number of times that the IP method permits.

As you can see, target betting occasionally calls for higher bets than the IP method, and generates more than twice the action, achieving an overall win that is more than double IP's.

Bigger bets and more action translate to greater exposure along the way to a fatter finishing bankroll - but that's hardly a surprise.

The lessons both methods teach us is that we cannot hope to win in the long unless we abandon subjective, emotional choices of both bet selections and bet values, and follow a plan that replaces judgment with consistency.

Bet numbers, not names - that about sums it up!

Friday, September 3 at 10:00am

Tough day for target betting yesterday, the first in a while.

Altogether now: You've gotta speculate to accumulate.

It would be nice to win every day, but I suspect the bookies would find a way to put a stop to that!

Today's selections:

It has been suggested to me that the way to avoid one-bet slumps like Thursday's cliff drop is to "spread the load" across several wagers when one in a bunch grows much larger than the rest.

Trust me: bad, bad, bad idea.

The tracking sheet for the seven-dog trial permitted me to see what woulda happened if a large combined loss to date (LTD) had been spread across multiple bets, and I guessed ahead of time that hedging that way was very unlikely to help.

I knew that because years ago, I was persuaded to try a similar approach against blackjack and baccarat, faced with the uncomfortable reality that while I had a firm grip on the numbers, the bankroll was in someone else's grasp.

The predictable effect of "risk sharing" or whatever else you might choose to call it is that while the hole does not get deeper as fast as it sometimes can with the target betting rules properly applied, climbing out of it becomes a whole lot harder.

Yesterday, one big losing bet brought all the others down, in spite of an overall 50% win rate (7 wins in 14 bets).

Another day, a single winning bet - a whale among minnows! - will have the opposite effect.

Equalize bet values, and you will see gravity take over, with the bookies' edge taking relatively little bites out of your bankroll until it's all been swallowed.

Here's how target betting looks over the past few days:

I would love to be able to promise everyone that HUGE wins are GUARANTEED!!!

But only scammers do that.

Bet systematically or strategically, with subjectivity and emotion completely eliminated from the picture, and you can beat the odds in the long run.

You just can't do it every day...

Update at 1:30pm, Friday, September 3:

The reluctance of some readers to accept the importance of betting wholly "by the numbers" and to recognize that large wins are every bit as inevitable as large losses is, to me, completely counter-intuitive.

But then, it would be, wouldn't it?

I get similar resistance to the whole concept of running separate series (or lines, as some people prefer to call them) that are independent of each other, with bet values that are connected only to previous win-loss patterns within each series.

For the life of me, I can't see any other way to successfully challenge the house or bookies' advantage in gambling - unless there are people out there who are able to define blind luck as a method!

Winning consistently boils down to exploiting what is predictable in a given area of gambling, and defending ourselves as effectively as possible against the hazards of what is UNpredictable.

Take baseball, for example (a valid choice, since there's not a whole lot else to bet on right now, unless we are tempted to join the fleeced millions who shore up the thoroughbred horse-race industry!).

The overall underdog win rate (DWR) for the 2009 MLB season was 43.18%, with the 2010 season to date (Sep 2) lagging a little at 42.23%.

Applying a +110 to +140 "qualifying" range to dog bets last season would have improved the DWR by a significant couple of points to 45.4%. The matching number for 2010 so far is 44.4%.

How significant is that 2+ points gap between the DWR for dogs at any price and dogs within a tight range? Hard to say exactly - but in every other gambling milieu, 2% can spell the difference between winning and losing in the long run.

I have seen some benefits from sprinkling run-line bets on favorites among the money-line bets that used to be my only concern, so I took a look at those too.

In 2009, avoiding RL bets outside a very tight range (+100 to +110) woulda given us a win rate of 39.6% overall.

This year to date, the figure is 32.8%.

Remember that we're talking flat bets here, not wagers determined by the target betting rules - but the numbers serve to tell us that however smart we may think we are, the book is over the long haul certain to win more bets than we do.

We can change the WR by tightening the qualifying range still further, but as we do that, we chew chunks out of the gap between average win values and average loss values.

The primary mantra of target betting is to win more when we win than we lose when we lose, so we need to keep that gap as wide as possible.

After Thursday's finals were in, and in spite of our first really expensive day in quite a while, the average target betting winning bet was worth $328 and the average loss was $200.

If you want significant percentages, do the math! Our average win value exceeded our average loss value by 64%.

And yet there are still people out there who say, "Yeah, I get it - you bet more when you know you're going to win than you do when you know you're gonna lose."

Bet strictly by the numbers, and you don't need crystal balls...just the regular kind.

As for series betting, here's the September 2 update of the charts I put up a few days back.

The charts speak for themselves, but just in case I have readers who can't tell red from green, three of the 15 series currently being tracked are bleeding red ink, with recovery an eventual certainty. The other 12 (80% of the total) are all making money.

That's no surprise to me!

Saturday, September 4 at 10:30am

Freaky Friday!

Not much more to say about yesterday, which saw dogs getting whupped in 10 MLB games out of 14 (one game was canceled) and me landing just TWO right bets in ten.

Today's selections, which include five college football contests:

Sunday, September 5 at 9:15am

I'm still waiting for that next big bounce.

Saturday was a tad frustrating, with one large bet costing me $1,000 and another winning almost enough to cover it.

Baseball dogs won nine games out of 16 yesterday, and target betting won seven out of 16 bets.

Overall, we lost about $200 on the day - nothing to celebrate, but sustainable damage, given the current state of the bankroll.

Today's selections:

Monday, September 6 at 9:45am

That bounce I needed wasn't long in coming, as things turned out!

Yesterday's finals gave target betting a boost that's worth illustrating here (although I don't plan to post results every day, in the interests of controlling clutter!).

Ten wins in 13 bets were made possible by an underdog surge that wiped out the faves in 12 of the 15 games on the MLB Sunday schedule - a bonanza for the book, naturally.

An 18-5 thrashing (just one example) makes you wonder whose head was where when the odds were set, but then in the end, bookies and other insiders are no more infallible than the rest of us.

A $2,000 boost for target betting isn't exactly Christmas, great as it may be to be moving north again, because we still have more than $7,000 in LTDs to mop up, and that's going to take some work.

Here's how we stand right now, followed by Monday's target betting selections:

Update at 11:30am, Monday, September 6:

The new target betting template has all the bells and whistles I could think of when I was putting it together, and these include day to day tracking of bets of different types.

As of the close of play yesterday, I had placed 158 run-line bets, representing 30% of all bets selected since the current cycle began.

The RL win rate (WR) was 37% vs. 173/371 or 46.6% for money-line (ML) bets.

Winning RLBs brought in $18,975 or 30% of the total win, and lost $15,500 for a profit to date of $3,475.

MLBs have won $44,170 to date and lost $34,925, putting them ahead $9,245 so far and making them a fractionally more profitable option than RLBs.

The most critical number remains the relationship between the average win value (AWV or AWB) and the average loss value (ALV or ALB): right now it's +$275/-$170 rounded up, or 162%.

Given that we expect to lose more bets than we win, the name of the game will always be to win more when we win than we lose when we lose.

There's no doubt that tightening the qualifying ranges for both RL and ML bets has had a beneficial effect so far.

Long may that trend continue.

Never forget that what's past will always be relevant to the selections we make and the amounts we choose to bet in the future.

Lose sight of that essential truth, and you can kiss your bankroll goodbye!

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. One more piece of friendly advice: If you are inclined to use target betting with real money against online "casinos" such as Bodog, spend a few minutes and save a lot of money by reading this._