Thursday, June 2, 2011

Say a little prayer for the poor bookies (and Target!) as baseball's underdogs hit a new statistical low.

May was a challenging month for underdogs, to say the least, with the bookies' edge running at more than double the norm of ± 10% and Target's prior winnings dropping by more than $40,000.

The YCW ("You can't win") experts constantly remind us that past trends do not predict the future, but if that were true of sports betting, the bookies would have to make their odds assessments by picking numbers out of a hat or hurling darts at each day's schedule.

As far as I know, there is no data in the public domain to provide a definitive percentage for underdog wins, which is why I spent several months building my own archives from MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA records.

History (dating all the way back to 2008, at least!) confirms that a 45% underdog win rate is a realistic long-term expectation, with NFL teams falling short of that number, and baseball, ice hockey and basketball contenders topping it.

Last month, Target saw its WR drop from 45% to less than 40%, amounting to a bookies' edge that the strategy simply could not overcome. We're not out of the game by any means at this point, although we would have been close to throwing in the towel but for the bankroll protection strategy that I reluctantly introduced to the protocol in the second week of March.

Comparisons between MLB 2011 and the first two months of the 2008-10 seasons confirm that something went seriously awry for baseball's dogs this year, and about all we can do is hope that it's a temporary slump and keep on slugging.

Since July of 2010, Target has permitted up to 20 sportsbook bets a day, and right now, 15 of those 20 lines or series (75%!) are in the black, and only one line, #10, is in serious straits.

Of course, it only takes one monster loss to upset the whole applecart, which is why each major threat to the bankroll prompts suggestions that I permit a losing series to be abandoned once it reaches a predetermined low point.

Fact is, since last July, five of the 20 lines have fallen below -$20,000 before recovering and four of them hit $-40,000 before turnaround. Giving up is therefore not really an option, as long as there's money left to bet with!

If we had capped any series loss at -$10,000, we would have about $80,000 less in the BR right now (5 x -$10,000 plus about $30,000 in subsequent profits) and that woulda left us in even worse trouble right now.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that the bookies need underdogs to win almost as much as we do.

Those experts I mentioned like to tell us that because they shave a little off the odds on each team in a given game, bookies don't care who wins or loses, they just take their "vig" to the bank at the end of the day.

That might be true if punters could be counted upon to bet about the same amount of money on each side (or if bookmakers were not a greedy bunch!) but that very rarely happens: favorites routinely attract more than 80% of the action, and when there's a so-called "upset" the book cashes in bigtime.

There have not been many of those in the 2011 baseball season so far, and with an above average number of favorites coming out on top day after day, the bookies must be feeling about as frustrated and disappointed as we are.

They always get their way in the end, and when that happens, we'll be back on top along with them. Keep checking the Sethbets website.

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._