Finding and Betting an Opinion is an Engineering Problem We Must Master

I was listening to the @robpizzola live stream for the NFL yesterday and as usual, Rob does a fantastic job breaking down the slate. It was informative and filled with information you don't get on the "form". 

But it struck me, NFL bettors have it pretty easy, don't they? I don't mean easy to win of course, it's extremely hard, but they have it kind of easy compared to racing bettors. They handicap, they pick a side or total they have value on, they line-shop, and they wager. 

For us, it's not like that. 

There's an ongoing discussion in this sport about handicapping versus wagering and in my view it's a good one; primarily because it illustrates the mind-puzzle we go through each and every day to try and beat this difficult game. We simply have to have both. And that's only the beginning. 

Let's break it down. 

We have to:

  • Find a horse who will win, but that horse has to have hidden positives, because we are trying to beat a big rake. Finding these take the grab-bag of handicapping - replays, following a horse, reading headlines, checking trainer comments and myriad other factors. 
  • Find a way to capitalize on our excellent handicapping because betting just win doesn't really cut it like it does overseas. There are no exchanges or bookies to lock in a price, we're taking our lives in our hands with late odds changes. 
  • Decision make. Do we group this horse in verticals? Sure, but we need more than value with our selection. We can't be using chalk underneath in supers or tris, we might as well just bet win. We need to navigate a pace scenario, analyze if the chalk should be tossed. Again, myriad decisions and a mini-minfield. 
  • And horizontals, the holy grail. The ITP Little Andy twitter fun. This is America dammit and we go big with massive exotics pools. If we find that horse - the horse people won't be on, or more importantly the one the betting teams are overlooking, it behooves us to go Lewis and Clark and explore the possibilities in pick 4's, 5's and 6's. The possibilites of life changing scores. 
Then when we do all that, we join Rob Pizzola and other sports bettors watching the event. That's where the fun really begins. Where our team could lose four fumbles inside the twenty - or in our world, horses who scope sick, get bad rides or drives, get stopped behind other horses and every other beat we've all gone through. 

That opens up yet another rake stepping experience in this massive engineering problem we call wagering - staying sane: Going on tilt because of these beats can cost us all the equity we've built up. Our minds are not conditioned to deal with it. As humans, when we work hard, do everything right, we expect things to go our way. And when they don't.....

So this is a very tough game. We have to be engineers and psychologists, and about a hundred other things. Working on every aspect, from forming an excellent opinion. to converting it the best we can, to living with the seeds of doubt and frustration when things don't go our way. It's a problem we have to work every single day to master. 

Have a nice Monday everyone. 

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