Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sports Betting: The Media Does Not Understand How it works.

Vegas has released their O/U win totals for the 2016 season today and you're already seeing a ton of stories like the following:

Las Vegas Projected Win Totals for the Texans, Rest of the NFL. Matt Young. Chron.com
Now that the NFL draft is over, we have a better feel for what every team is going to look like come September.
That means it's time to make some friendly wagers. Point spreads for the first 16 weeks of the regular season already have been published, and now we have projected win totals for each team, thanks to the folks at BetOnline.
That sounds great except for one thing....one BIG thing....

The O/U numbers released by the bookmakers are NOT how many games the books are projecting the teams will win. Neither are point spreads Vegas telling you which team they think will win.

The reason for lines, the ONLY reason for lines, is to try and balance the dollars bet on both sides of the wager. In other words, Las Vegas doesn't necessarily think that the Texas are going to win 8.5 games. What it means is that they think 50% of bettors will bet that the Texans will win more than 8.5 games and 50% of bettors will bet that they win less.

THAT is what lines do and THAT is why they are set.

Could it be that the bookmaker in question thinks the Texans will win 7 games? Sure, or even 9, or 10, but that's not why the line is set where it is.

It's amazing how often members of the media, even so-called "betting experts" who give out betting tips (usually on talk radio) get this simple concept wrong.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Horse Racing: Kentucky Derby Betting Spread (Exaggerator)

The first Saturday in May.  Spring has sprung and the 142nd Kentucky Derby will be ran.  Off of last year's Triple Crown winning performance by American Pharoah it's easy to think that attendance and interest will be at an all time high. I won't be at a track on Saturday, but I will be at one on Friday and I'll lay my bets then.  Here's what I'm thinking.

1. $20 Win - Exaggerator. If you didn't see this horse close in the Santa Anita Derby then you should probably go find the video. All he did was pass some very stiff competition as if they were standing still. It was the most impressive closing quarter that I've seen from a 3yo this year.  As such, I'm backing Exaggerator heavily and will be using him in all my exotics.

2. $10 Win - Creator. I've a superstition about betting the gray (don't do it) but I'm going to break that here as I think this is a horse on the come. Not a ton of confidence, but would feel pretty silly leaving him out.

3. $10 Win - Outwork. If this was a beauty competition, not a race, Outwork is your winner hands down. He's also pretty fast and comes from the stable of Mike Repole who is brash, kind of annoying and typical New Jersey, but who has a history of putting forth winning horses. Besides, it feels like Pletcher is due.

4. $1-Tri Box - 3 (Creator), 11 (Exaggerator), 13 (Nyquist), 15 (Outwork) - Basically my top 3 plus the race favorite. $12 bucks into the track's till.

5. $2  - Supr - 11 (Exaggerator), 13 (Nyquist), 5 (Gun Runner), 2 (SuddenBreakingNews)

6. (Added) $2 ATB Whitmore. Given the Buzz on this horse, and if the odds are right, I feel like I'm going to regret leaving him out.

Every year I try to hit the Derby Superfecta Straight up, and every year I fail.  It's quite possibly the hardest bet to hit in horse racing.  Yes, I could box it or key on a certain horse but I do that in my Trifecta.  Besides, there's a ton of fun in just taking a $2 shot at something that could pay out on the thousands.  I have, in the past, hit a straight Superfecta before. Not at the Derby however so we'll try and try again.

Good luck in whatever you do Saturday, and support Texas Racing if you can by going to a track and placing a bet, watching the races and having a good time.

Horse Racing: Kentucky Oaks Betting Spread. (Taxable)

Here are the positions that I'm taking for the 2016 Kentucky Oaks.

1. $20 Win - Taxable. - This is my main horse in this race and I'll be keying her in all of my exotics as well. She's lightly raced but I like her outside position, her works leading up to the race and I think Jockey Corey Nakatani and Trainer Steve Asmussen will take this daughter of Tapit to the winner's circle.

2. $10 Win - Land Over Sea - Another horse that, on paper, might not make much sense to bet but this is a wide open race and I think you're going to have to take a price. Any time I can get John Velasquez at 5-1 or better I jump at the chance.

3. $10 Win - Cathryn Sophia - I'm somewhat tepid about this pick but I'm running under the theory that you can draw a line through this filly's last race. Up until that point she felt unbeatable.

4. $1 Tri - 14 (Taxable) with 13 (Land Over Sea), 12 (Cathryn Sophia), 11 (Rachel's Valentina), 3 (Lewis Bay), 2 (Weep No More)

I might make the Tri bet a straight box b/c I'm not entirely comfortable putting all of my eggs in the Taxable basket.  That said, if I do that I'll cut the box to four horses, eliminating Lewis Bay and Weep No More due to cost ($24 vs $60 or $120) which I think might get too step for the potential payouts.

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