Thursday, September 7, 2017

NFL Pool Picks ATS 2017 Week 3

In the non-profit, just-for-fun National Football League (NFL) pools organized by present and past Godiva toy boys Archibald and Reginald and the Randy Badger, Archibald's local gastropub, I pick all underdogs in week 3. 

I use a strategy loosely based on research by Professor Steven Leavitt of Freakonomics fame indicating that oddsmakers recognize that bettors systematically overvalue overdog favourites.  

So far this year, I am 15-15-1 = 10-10-1 road underdogs, 5-4 home underdogs and 0-1 home favourites. (I was 0-6 with home overdog picks in the 2016 regular season.) A simple all-underdog strategy defeated all-overdogs during the regular season in 20 of the past 25 years, but just barely most years. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CFL ATS Picks 2017 Week 14

To humour my Canadian toy boy and fiance-in-perpetuity Archibald, I participate in his non-profit Canadian Football League (CFL) pool against the spread (ATS).
After 13 weeks, I am 24-28-1 ATS = 6-10 road underdogs, 8-8 home overdogs, 6-5 road overdogs and 4-5-1 home underdogs. All-overdogs best of the simple, plain, vanilla strategies at 29-23-1.  
For week 14, I pick all 4 homer teams ATS.
I was 52.8% over 8 years picking CFL winners ATS starting in 2009 through 2016. Not enough matches to be statistically significantly better than 50% dart-throwing, but I am still proud of being above 50% over 8 years. However, before I start calling myself the CFL ATS Nostradamus, I have to admit that I am behind a simple all-underdogs strategy at 53.7% over 2009-2016. 
Arch points out that western teams were 118-74-1 straight-up against eastern teams from 2012 through 2016 and 102-88-3 ATS including Grey Cups and other playoff matches. The west has won 3 of the last 4 Grey Cups and 8 of the past 12. So far in 2017, the west is 21-4-1 straight-up and 16-10 ATS.
After week 7, dearest Archibald predicted that Saskatchewan will finish 4th in the west, cross over to the eastern playoffs and represent the east in the Grey Cup and that Ottawa and Calgary will finish 1st.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Major League Baseball (MLB) Inter-league 2017

The surest outcome in sports was that American League (AL) teams would win the majority of inter-league matches against their National League (NL) opponents in 2017.

So far this year AL teams are 156-137 against NL opponents or 53% including a 5th straight all-star game triumph. 53% this year is below the long-term average over the past decade of AL domination. Before and after the all-star break, AL teams fell into a 13-33 slump that started with a 2-10 stretch and ended with a 1-10 tailspin. It's interesting that even a 53% season-long average can include a 1-10 slide or 9% over 11 matches just as tails can come up 10 out of 11 times once in a blue moon even with a fair coin flip.

The AL has been the superior league by far for more than a decade. 2017 marks the AL's 14th consecutive triumph over the NL starting with 2004. Over the full period of dominance from 2004 on, the AL has won 54.6% of all matches -- regular season, all-star and World Series

Nevertheless, over this 14-year period of AL dominance the NL is actually ahead 7-6 in World Series (WS) victories. However, over a longer period, the AL representative has won 19 of the past 33 World Series. Even from 2004 on when the NL has 7 of 13 WS triumphs, the AL has won 36 of 69 WS matches or 52%. It just happens that the NL has had the good luck to distribute its WS match wins more efficiently. 

And, the AL has now won 17 of the last 20 all-star games to reach a decision and 23 of the last 29.  

The positive sign for the NL is that the AL's 53.7% average (including All-Star and World Series matches) from 2010-17 is below the 55.9% average from 2004 through 2009. 

And, with the NY Mets, Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers now run by AL-analytics-alumunae, the years of NL inferiority may be numbered. The Cubs were the best team in either league in 2016 and were 19-8 in their regular season and World Series matches against AL teams. 

The Cubs' success remains the exception in the NL. Until the analytic approach spreads throughout the NL, the theme for most NL management teams will continue to be the Scarecrow's song from the Wizard of Oz: "If I only had a brain." 

Interesting piece at the All-Star break suggesting that the NL had indeed closed the gap with the AL in the first half of 2017.
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-al-is-still-beating-the-nl-but-maybe-not-for-long/

From his Las Vegas exile, former Godiva toy boy Reginald predicted on 24 August that Texas will win the final AL wild card spot.

Monday, March 13, 2017

NCAA March Madness 2017 ATS Recap

Official Godiva toy boy and fiancĂ© Archibald organizes a friendly, non-profit office pool for the NCAA men's tourney. Instead of picking bracket winners, players in dearest Arch's pool pick winners against the spread (ATS) each and every day as the tournament unfolds. The winner of his winner-take-all pool is the contestant who picks the most winners against the spread over 67 matches including the play-in games. All matches are weighted equally. 

I finished 32-31-4 ATS (including the 4 play-in matches = 2-2 play-in, 18-14 round 1, 7-8-1 round 2, 3-3-2 sweet 16,1-2-1 elite 8, 0-2 final 4). I ended up above the 50% line because in the final, I took UNC -1.5 over Gonzaga. (Doesn't the name Gonzaga remind you of the lead character in the 1960s Japanese horror classic: King Kong vs. Gonzaga.)

I finished 33-34 ATS including the play-in matches in both 2016 and 2015 and lost the finals both years.

I rely on economists' studies showing that heavy underdogs win more than their fair share of college basketball games against the point spread, while "non-heavy" overdogs win slightly more than 50% (although this particular result is not statistically significant).

After almost 10 years since 2008 of swimming naked (of roundball knowledge) in Archibald's pool, I am ephen-stephen at 313-313-15. Clearly, no evidence that I have a good system for picking March madness winners ATS.

Just by picking all overdog favourites in every NCAA tournament game for the past decade, you would be sporting a 318-308-15 record ATS which is not statistically significantly different from even-stephen.

Lady G vs. Baracketer-in-Chief
Former President Obama picks winners straight-up with no point line for each bracket and round.

The President got UNC right as the 2009 and 2017 winner. After a tough time in 2010 and 2011 with none of his final 4 picks coming through, he correctly picked 5 of the elite 8 in 2013 and 2014 as well as 6 of 8 in 2012 and 2015. Not too shabby. This year he picked 10 of the sweet 16.

When he picks upsets in the early rounds, I can identify games where Lady Godiva and the Baracketer-in-Chief disagree. This year, I finished 8-3 ATS against the Baracketer. In 9 years, I am 32-33-1 womano-a-mano against the Baracketer.

Speaking of mano-a-womano, kudos to the former President and hopefully future Speaker of the House for also picking the women's NCAA brackets.