Monday, October 31, 2022

The Selling of Picks

 A lot of us are left-brained people where things have to make some sort of sense in the flowchart that is our brains. If we can't compartmentalize something we get kind of shaky and uncomfortable, and possibly do crazy things, like bet into a non-mandatory jackpot super high five. 

One thing many of us can't understand is why someone who can win at sports betting would sell their picks. 

In the case of the NFL, for example, we have (primarily) two outcomes - we beat the spread, or we don't. We're not deciphering Python code or landing someone on Mars. If you, as a pick seller, are giving someone else your picks instead of wagering on them with your money machine, I can't intellectually come to a conclusion as to why. 

Really, in sports betting at least, we likely know the person selling their "pick" isn't being completely honest. It truly is the only explanation, in my view. 

In horse racing, pick selling in this traditional sense (in this day and age, at least) is really not a thing. But using our best left brains with the same framework we used above, I think a case can be made it actually does make sense for a winning player to sell their opinion. 

Where the sports betting pick seller who actually wins has to hit a button - $500 on New England plus 4 - in horse racing it isn't that easy.  

The pick of the 6 in the 7th race is filled with simply more questions. How do we use the horse? What are the final odds? Did the surface change? Is the horse dead on the board? Did we miss something with the other nine or ten horses that the will pays show us we missed?

Even if you're the best handicapper in the world, picking that live horse is only part of the battle. Betting it properly is the rest. It's why you could be the best handicapper in the world and be flat broke. You might as well try to make something with your skill, shouldn't you? 

What I find interesting about our sport, versus the seedy underworld of scammers in the sports betting space, is that there are "winning pickers" out there who might not have the mental make up or skill to win long-term, but are providing players with some excellent ideas and content. Many times for free. 

Think if horse racing had what sports betting has - lower juice, tons of data, and a massive audience. That would provide some of our sharpest pickers a market to actually sell into. And in my view, unlike in sports betting, it would make perfect sense. 

Have a nice Monday everyone. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

It's Fun to Watch Casual Football Bettors Move Towards Us, the Horseplayer

We've got to analyze the upcoming 9 furlong turf race and we notice the chalk won against a similar group at the same distance a month ago, wire to wire. The splits were all around 25 and the last eighth was a sprint home. We're fading the horse for a horse who, in the same race, came 6th. 

We knew the leader got its own way and has a huge turn of foot. We know our horse, if circumstances were different is easily as fast. He got stopped up at the quarter, then had to take the 4 high path when the outside path wasn't good in the first place. And he's a bit more of a plodder. 

This is done each and every day by us, as a matter of course. 

Meanwhile in football, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions 24-6 and our Cowboy minus 7 bet was pure gold. Gold I tell you. I'm gonna quit my job because I am so smart.

It's really not that way anymore. The people watching the Dallas Detroit game are analyzing it now. Just like we handicap, and have handicapped horse races for every day of our lives. 

Dallas was leading 10-6 in the 4th. Detroit scored what looked to be a go ahead touchdown. Instead of it being called a touchdown and then changed on review to 1st and goal from the one -inch line, the line judge ran to overrule the back judge's touchdown call and marked the ball (wrongly) at the one yard line. Detroit rushed to the line, and fumbled. 

After they got the ball back, still at ten to six, the refs missed an obvious penalty that would've made Detroit first and ten from about the Dallas 35. Instead it was 3rd and 11 and the Lions QB threw a pick, resulting in a Dallas TD. One drive later and another almost pick 6, Dallas won 24-6. 

The game is not a game, the one event is not an event, it's a turf race. 

Adjusted game scores are a thing. And they're pretty simple to understand - they're just an adjusted speed figure, or performance figure; again things that we've done in our heads or on paper for years. 

Serious sports bettors have adjusted and do so, for games based on circumstance, injury, etc. They've also tried to gauge a "true score". But now it's in the masses. Everyone looks at it. Everyone is doing it. 

To us, though, it's just another horse race. 

Have a nice Tuesday everyone. 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Bettor Education is So Difficult

I was listening to a betting podcast last week, and the two protagonists spoke about how difficult it was to educate sports bettors on some basic ideas. In this case, it was line shopping, i.e. getting the best price (or the lowest juice). 

The pod guest runs, which is a cool resource that curates all lines and gives you the best deals for the side or total you want. He noted (from countless conversations and comments) things are going better, but he still sees this reticence of buying in to how important it is. 

We see a similar reserved view in horse racing when it comes to takeout. Or ticket construction, or odds lines, or getting the best of it. 

We're all not dumb. We can do basic math. We know if we get paid $110 on a bet instead of $105, over time we will be many thousands ahead. 

We also know that almost every person who is a success at sports betting or racing concentrates on such things. And again, unless we have some sort of mental block, we know following the process of successful people is smart. 

Why is this so hard? I don't know for certain, but I can think of a few theories. 

I think many of us are so used to losing, we can't see how just getting a fraction better price can make a difference. 

I think many of us are paralyzed by liking an opinion so much, we are unable to grasp the probability it will lose. "I'll bet that game at any price!"

And, I suppose, many just want action. Price is this weird thing those betting geeks look for. 

I think - and this is particular to racing, but also applies to sports betting with wild bets or parlays - with exotics we can make a score that was not a mathematically a sound bet, but since it hit we repeat the process, hoping to hit again. We take a lot of false signals as bettors and make them immutable truth. 

I believe whether we're betting horses or sports, setting the table properly gives us a chance to win. 

That means taking advantage of deposit bonuses, signing up for multiple books, getting rebates, betting low takeout and passing on the high, and working on making proper tickets. I think those provide us with the habits needed to get the best of it, enjoy the game more, and at the end of the year have more money than we started with. 

I know that's hard, and many of us struggle with it, but in my view it's the only path that makes any sense. If we're not trying to get better at betting, we're doing ourselves a disservice. 

Have a nice Monday everyone. 

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