Monday, June 29, 2009

Inter-league Baseball: AL Still Rules

American League (AL) baseball teams have dominated inter-league baseball since 2005. 2009 was no different. With one rain date to be made up later this season, AL teams have won 139 out of 251 games so far or 55%.

AL superiority this year was actually a touch below the 5-year average of 57% (including all-star and World Series games).

If the last 5 years are indicative and ownership and management of National League (NL) teams do not catch up with the AL in future, we can expect the AL to win more than 51.9% of inter-league games for 19 out of the next 20 years. In other words, AL dominance in a season's worth of inter-league play is as close to a sure thing as we can find in the world of sports.

AL superiority is no secret. What I wanted to investigate was whether the odds offered generally foolish baseball bettors correctly reflect AL dominance. Suppose you were a player in official Godiva toy boy and fiancé Archibald's non-profit office pool with points based on posted odds. Our expectation is that gaming houses set odds to line up an even proportion of betting on each team so that the house profit comes from the commission implicitly built into the odds. If the odds are calibrated correctly, we would expect an all-AL strategy picking inter-league winners (or any other baseball pool picking strategy) to generate net point losses over a long period of time.

In fact, with an all-AL strategy you would be +14.5 so far this year with one point awarded to an AL overdog winner, the odds awarded as points to an AL underdog winner (e.g., 1.25 for a +125 underdog), -1 deducted from an AL underdog loser and the odds deducted from an AL overdog loser (e.g., -1.25 for a -125 overdog). Over the past two years, AL home and away records break down to:





AL home win %



Home Pool Points



AL road win %



Road Pool Points



AL total win %



Total Pool Points



So, we have preliminary evidence that the fools who bet on baseball may not be correctly valuing AL dominance. Participants in non-profit baseball pools with points based on posted odds should always pick all AL road teams against NL hosts.

Archibald's Baseball Predictions

For what they're worth, Archibald forecasts that the following teams will make the playoffs:



AL East


AL Central


AL West


AL Wild Card


NL East


NL Central

St. Lou

NL West


NL Wild Card


Check out

for the statistical backing for Archibald's prognostications.

USA Soccer

Congratulations to ex-Godiva toy boy Reginald and all other fans of American soccer football for Team USA's 2-0 win over former world number 1 Spain in the Confederations Cup semi-final and their valiant effort losing 3-2 to new world number 1 Brazil in the final.

A great victory over Spain against the odds, but as I used to tell Reginald on those rare occasions when his toy boy performance met minimum standards: "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then."

I must say that it's one of the ironies of life that one reason I left jolly, olde England was to get away from footie-mad men and yet all my North American toy boys have been huge soccer football fans. You can take Lady Godiva out of England, but you can't take England out of Godiva.

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