Monday, November 7, 2016

You're a Good Man, LeBron James

Good for you for campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Ohio.

Let's hope that good sense prevails in Ohio and in the other important states that Clinton needs to win to defeat Donald (Little Mussolini) Trump.

What a contrast between good guy LeBron and no-goodnik, friend-and-supporter-of-Donald-Trump Tom Brady.

And, after the election LeBron continues to stand up for what's right against the tyrant President.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

NBA 2016-17 Heavy Underdogs and Play-offs ATS Recap

Based on an undergraduate Stanford University paper that I found online, I take all heavy underdogs against the spread (ATS) in Archibald's National Basketball Association (NBA) pool. In the 2016-17 regular season, heavy underdogs finished 40-58-1 ATS or 40.5%.

Archibald's ATS pool continued throughout the play-offs. I picked overdog favourites except "heavy" underdogs with more than 12 points and 1 "light" home underdogs when I deviated from my system because I couldn't resist the game 4 finals spread which seemed wrong. After picking GS -9 over cleveland igame 5 of the finals, I finished 47-29-3 ATS in the play-offs or 61% = 41-27-3 light overdogs, 5-2 heavy underdogs and 1-0 light underdog. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Playoff Autopsy

On the Saturday, 1 October 2016 radio broadcast of the Golf Show, Fan 590 blowhard Bob McCown said there was nothing in the Toronto Blue Jays' recent batting performance to suggest that they would break out of their team-wide slump to do well in the playoffs. 
(Updated 20 October)
After falling 4-1 in match victories and scoring only 8 total runs or 1.6/match against Cleveland in the American League Championship Series (ALCS), the Jays appear to have confirmed McCown's doubts. 
To finish the regular season in September and October, the Blue Jays racked up 16 losses against only 13 wins with less than 1 home run (HR) per match and a lower slugging % than for any prior month. The Blue Jays scored the fewest runs in major-league baseball (MLB) in the final month of the season. 
This is what Bob McCown was talking about. 
However, in a 162-match regular season, focusing on just the latest matches does not tell you anything about future prospects. Even in September, the Jays had a stretch winning 6 of 8 matches and hit 11 HRs or 1.4 HRs/match. That strong stretch of 8 matches was recent enough to promise succour to Godiva toy boy and perpetual fiance Archibald and all other Jays fans. 
Indeed, the Jays did recapture their hot bats in their first playoff matches to beat not-really-all-that-good Baltimore and Texas hitting 10 HRs and outscoring their opponents 27-12 .
Even down 3 matches to none, I predicted that the Jays still had a chance to defeat inferior and injured Cleveland. I did agree with McCown that some change was needed. I was glad to see Manager Gibbons accepting my recommendation to switch Bautista to batting 1st instead of Carrera with his below-average .323 on-base % (OBP) in the 2016 regular season. 
McCown was on his afternoon radio show on Monday the 17th doubting Bautista as leadoff batter -- evidently not knowing that Bautista's 2016 regular season OBP of .366 was in line with his .368 career OBP. McCown even claimed that either Tulowitzki (.318 2016 regular season OBP, .317 2015 regular season with Toronto) or Carrera would be better leading off. 
While it's true that Bautista's 2016 playoff OBP ended up at .308 vs. Carrera's .343, a set of 9 play-off matches is not a true test of who is more suited to leading off. Wherever he ends up next year, Bautista is likely to maintain a higher OBP than Carrera over almost all 9-match periods.
Kudos to 1st year Jays President Mark Shapiro for building Cleveland and maintaining the Jays.

Monday, September 5, 2016

NFL Picks ATS 2016-7 Recap

In the non-profit, just-for-fun pools organized by present and past Godiva toy boys Archibald and Reginald, I lost taking underdog HOTLANTA +3 over NE CHEATRIOTS in Super Bowl LI.
I was confident going with the Super Bowl underdog. According to Professor Steven Leavitt of Freakonomics fame, the Super Bowl underdog is the best ATS pick of the year. 
After 51 Bowls, Super underdogs are 25-24-2 ATS. Over 1000 Super Bowls we might expect to see underdogs closer to 55% than 50% ATS.
On a straight-up, no-spread basis, the NFC is up XXVI to XXV for the AFC after LI Super Bowls. 
Hail to the Cheatriots of NEW ENGLAND for their Vth Super Bowl triumph in the last XVI years. Coach Bill Belicheat and fellow Donald Trump supporters Tom Brady and Robert Kraft are living the high life. 

The divisional round is the only week of the year when I take all overdogs. Tuesday Morning Quarterback Gregg Easterbrook points out that the top 2 seeds have won 73% of play-off matches straight-up after the bye week going back to 1990. I went 2-2 ATS, but, over 500 years or so, I would expect home teams in a play-off match after a bye week to finish above 50% ATS by a statistically significant margin.
I finished 2-9 ATS in the 2017 play-offs and have finished under 50% ATS in the play-offs for the 7th straight year and 13th of the past 14. Over 16 years of play-off picking, I am averaging a statistically insignificant but discouraging 40% ATS.
This regular season I finished under 50% ATS for the first time since 2007. I ended the regular year at 120-124-12 = 78-81-9 road underdogs, 42-37-3 home underdogs and 0-6 home overdogs.
A simple all-underdog strategy defeated all-overdogs during the regular season for the 20th year out of the past 25, but just barely this year. Overdog favourites won outright 63% of regular season matches this year. ATS point reversals knocked the overdog winning % ATS down by 15 percentage points. The overdog straight-up victory rate was below the long-run norm of about 2/3. A bit less than 1/4 of overdog straight-up wins reversed ATS was also a touch below what we would expect.
I finished for 38th out of 91 players in Archibald's pool, 32nd of 63 in Reginald's and 16th in the pool at the Randy Badger, Archibald's local gastropub for weekend brunching while watching European football. The Randy Badger pool offers point spreads that are usually more favourable to my mostly underdogs strategy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

CFL 2016 ATS Recap

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). 
I finished 42-41-3 ATS: 22-16-1 road underdogs, 4-1-1 road overdogs, 7-14-1 home favourites and 9-10 home underdogs.
In the Grey Cup, I correctly picked OTTAWA +9 over calgary. Arch thought I was barmy to pick Ottawa ATS, but I have correctly picked 8 of the last 9 Grey Cup ATS winners. Underdogs have won 7 of the last 9 Grey Cups ATS.
I am 52.8% over 8 years picking CFL winners ATS starting in 2009 . 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 finished below 50% in 2 of the last 4 years. Overall, I am behind a simple all-underdogs strategy at 53.7% over 2009-2016. All-underdogs finished 46-37-3 ATS in 2016. Road teams were 50-33-3 ATS.
Arch points out that western teams are 118-74-1 straight-up against eastern teams from 2012 through 2016 and 102-88-3 ATS including Grey Cups and other playoff matches. Despite Calgary's loss this year, the west has won 3 of the last 4 Grey Cups and 8 of the past 12. In 2016, the west was 28-13-2 ATS and 29-13-1 straight-up against the east. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Westbrook Trumps Mark Cuban

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban can focus now on lobbying Donald Trump for the vice-president nomination now that the Thunder have eliminated Cuban's toy NBA team.

After Cuban damned Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook with faint praise, Westbrook responded with 36 points, 9 assists and 12 rebounds to put away the Mavericks.

Westbrook's running mate Kevin Durant summed up Cuban's qualifications to be vice-president, NBA analyst or any other post requiring good judgment.

That leaves Tom Brady as the clear favourite to be Trump's choice for vice president.

And now more proof that as a prospective political candidate, Cuban fits Kevin Durant's description of mighty-in-his-own-mind Mark.

To be fair, Trump won the Cuban-American vote to help him win Florida, but Mark Cuban himself saw the light before the election and switched to  backing Hillary Clinton. Interesting interview with Cuban about politics and basketball:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Inter-league Baseball 2016 Recap

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 2016.

The AL has been the superior league by far and has been for more than a decade. 2016 marks 13 consecutive AL triumphs over the NL starting with 2004. 

AL teams won 54.87% of inter-league matches in 2016 including the AL's 4th consecutive All-Star triumph and Cleveland's 3-4 loss in  World Series matches. I was surprised to see the NL staying even until nearly 1/3 of the way through the year after getting off to a 30-21 start. (The NL's performance this year reminds me of my ex-toy boy Reginald.) The AL finally re-asserted its superiority and finished 2016 a touch above its annual average winning record of 54.746% for the entire 2004-2016 period of AL dominance. 

Nevertheless, over this 13-year period of AL dominance the NL is actually ahead 7-6 in World Series victories. However, over a longer period, the AL representative has won 19 of the past 33 World Series

And, the AL has now won 16 of the last 19 all-star games to reach a decision and 22 of the last 28. 

The only positive sign for the NL is that the AL's 53.7% average (including All-Star and World Series matches) from 2010-16 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. I stuck with my annual prediction that the AL representative would win the World Series and was wrong yet again. 

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" 

Monday, March 14, 2016

NCAA March Madness 2016 ATS Recap

Official Godiva toy boy and fiancé Archibald can't get enough roundball. Every year he organizes a friendly, non-profit office pool for the NCAA men's tourney.

Instead of picking bracket winners, players in his 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 33-34 including the play-in matches for the 2nd year in a row after losing the final for the 2nd year in a row taking UNC -3 over Villanova.

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 9 years since 2008 of swimming naked (of roundball knowledge) in Archibald's pool, I am under water at 281-282-11. 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 8+ years, you would be sporting a 289-274-11 record ATS which is not statistically significantly different from even-stephen.

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

The President got UNC right as the 2009 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.

In 2016, the Baracketer-in-Chief is still in line to get 2 of the final 4 correct after getting 4 of the elite 8 correct and his Kansas pick to win is still alive.

When he picks upsets in the early rounds, I can identify games where Lady Godiva and the Baracketer-in-Chief disagree. In Obama's 8 years in office, I am now 24-30-1 womano-a-mano against the Baracketer. I am 4-3 against the Baracketer in 2016.

Speaking of mano-a-womano, kudos to the President for also picking the women's NCAA brackets. Also kudos for incorrectly picking Duke to reach the elite 8 despite Coach K's longstanding antipathy toward the Baracketer. Coach K once criticized the Baracketer for wasting time Baracketing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Is Donald J. Trump Demented?

I have no medical training at all. But, I have observed older family members as dementia took hold. 

One symptom is that existing character traits become exaggerated. People with short tempers all their lives become worse and worse with each stage of dementia.

Think of the Donald. All of his life, he has been a braggart and a bully. Now that he is running for president, it has been shocking to see him demonize minority groups, belittle his fellow candidates and boast about his supposed abilities. 

Another early sign of dementia is loss of judgment. Somehow the Donald cannot see that, when his presidential campaign ends in defeat, he will be a social pariah and lose some of the toys that he loves. It is hard to see how NBC can broadcast future British Open golf tournaments from Turnberry in Scotland, a course owned by the Donald, after what Trump has said about Mexicans and Muslims. The British Golf Association will think twice before awarding future British Opens to Turnberry as long as Trump is the owner. This is one small example. Trump loves to boast about his own net worth, but I am willing to wager my fortune against his that Trump's true net worth will be much lower after his campaign is over. 

Trump will turn 70 later this year. Could he be in the early stages of dementia? American political reporters should ask Trump whether he is willing to check in to the Mayo Clinic for a check-up.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Denver Trumps Brady

How sweet it was to witness Trump supporter Tom Brady and his Coach Bill Belicheat go down to defeat. Now Brady is available to campaign for his friend Donald J. Trump. Who Trump choose as candidate for vice-president -- Brady or Sarah Palin? I look forward to seeing far-from-terrific Tom Brady squirming each and every week of the 2016 regular season as he faces questions about supporting the Donald's campaifgn for the presidency.