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# Expert Basketball Tips from Pregame Pros!

 Expert Basketball Tips from Pregame Pros!
Joined: 06/21/2012
Posts: 2234

sfpokerpro

I have a question for the pros at Pregame.  I have access to many book online and also live in Vegas.  I'm always confused as to whether to take a better line or give away 1/2 pt (total or spread) for a reduced vig.

Of course I understand that the lower the line is, the more important a 1/2 pt is hence it would take a greater reduction in vig to get me from -1 to -1.5 than -10 to -10.5.

For example -10 -110 at a traditional book versus -10.5 +102 at a discount book etc.

There must be a chart for spreads and totals (football and basketball) out there somewhere?

If someone could direct me to this resource I would really be grateful.   Thanks!

Here’s a particular example. Let’s say one outlet has a team you want to play at -7 laying 110 to win 100 and a second outlet had them at -7.5 at 102 for 100.

Which is best?

To answer this question I examined all the games since 1995 in which the line was within a half-point of seven. There were 3079 of them through 1/7/2013 (the SDQL text is: -7.5<= line<=-6.5).

Of these, the favorite won by exactly seven in 138 of them (the SDQL text is: -7.5<= line<=-6.5 and margin=7).

From these data, we can estimate that the probability of a push at 7 is 138/3079, which is about 4.5%. Now we can compare the two lines, assuming that the probability of the favorite winning by MORE than seven is 47.75%, the probability of the favorite losing or winning by less than 7 is 47.75% and the probability of the favorite winning by exactly 7 is 4.5%.

If you lay 110 and take the line of minus 7, you will lose 110 47.75% of the time and win 100 47.75% of the time and thus your expectation is losing an average of 4.3% of your investment.

At minus 7.5, you win the same 47.75% of your bets, but you lose the 4.5% of the times in which the favorite wins by exactly 7 points. This makes your expectation value -5.4%, which is worse than losing 4.3%. So, it is better to take lay the 110 at minus 7.

A good GENERAL rule of thumb is that a n extra half point on an NBA side is worth about 10 cents. A half point on a total is worth about 2/3 as much.

Now, if you are a good handicapper, the probability of a push on one of your plays is less simply because the most likely result is not peaked at the line.  :)

Dr M.

Dr. Ed Meyer *Physics PhD (Case Western Reserve) *Featured in New Yorker: “Brainiacs Build Money Machine!” *Certified SDQL Master!

Joined: 08/10/2013
Posts: 313

I think visiting teams in college ball, especially during the week have it very hard. On weekends I think the disadvantage may decrease some.  This is not always the case as Creighton(far superior team) over DePaul showed last night....thoughts

Joined: 10/10/2009
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let's jump in here guys as there has been a lot of banter about Power rankings/Power Stats on the forums  developing  & keeping them ..I have collected information and assembled my own personnel rankings for 18 + years and with out a long & drawn out discussion..  I weigh Defensive stats/rebounding/ yrds per carry allowed etc more heavy than Offensive stats...One old man a lot wiser than me said.... "Offence puts people in the stands but Defenses cover the spreads" and I believe that whole hearted ...bottom line when capping look at the teams D stats first and you will see a more positive ats mark than a Offensive scoring machine....

my 2 cents

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Joined: 11/01/2009
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Conference play is obviously a different animal, so something I do put a lot of stock in is what happened last year, or what has happened the last few years. For example, last year Miami embarrassed North Carolina in South Florida, beat them in Chapel Hill, and beat them in the ACC Title game. So, I like North Carolina to win big tonight, in spite of their recent BS loss at Wake, which I should have seen coming. To me that was a situational loss since IMO they were looking ahead to this game. Even if some of the players are gone, the coaches are not. A lot of my bets are situational in nature, the stats notwithstanding. When I do use strictly stats, I just have a few "do's" and don'ts".

If a team doesn't get to the line with much regularity AND doesn't shoot near 70% from the line, I have a tough time backing them to cover short spreads, say 5-8, simply because of all the late fouling and the trust factor. I do not like teams that rely heavily on the three point shot on the road. Just unfamiliarity can cause shooting woes. When I look at totals, something that has always been very good to me, we all know the pace is important and the home team generally dictates. Since that's obviously factored into the line, I look at turnovers/pace a LOT. For example, if there's two fast paced teams and a fashionably high total, BUT they both create turnovers and neither is particularly good from the line, I look hard at the under, assuming that there will be more wasted possessions. The converse is obviously true.

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Joined: 10/29/2013
Posts: 76

Dr. Ed,

Thanks for your response and example!  Great tool, will be very helpful :)

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Joined: 12/24/2011
Posts: 91

Here is a question I've always wondered. I'm sure I'm missing some aspect and someone on here will give me that "ahaaa" moment but here goes. If you like a straight bet, could you include it in a parlay with a later game, and if your bet hits, hedge the other direction for the 2nd game. Standard 2 team parlay pays 2.6/1. So if you hedge the other way your ROI is 1.3 (less the vig)  rather than 1.0 and this extra 30% would make a difference in the long run? This obviously isn't taking into consideration the vig, line movement, etc. Can somebody dispel this crazy notion for me?

Joined: 06/21/2012
Posts: 2234

pnadams23

Here is a question I've always wondered. I'm sure I'm missing some aspect and someone on here will give me that "ahaaa" moment but here goes. If you like a straight bet, could you include it in a parlay with a later game, and if your bet hits, hedge the other direction for the 2nd game. Standard 2 team parlay pays 2.6/1. So if you hedge the other way your ROI is 1.3 (less the vig)  rather than 1.0 and this extra 30% would make a difference in the long run? This obviously isn't taking into consideration the vig, line movement, etc. Can somebody dispel this crazy notion for me?

This is indeed an advantage in the second game, but ONLY if you win the first game.  You are not factoring in all the times that you lose the first game and thus do not hedge the second game.

So, in general, it is not a good strategy.

There have been many times when I thought of a betting strategy that I thought was foolproof, but crushing the numbers usually reveals that the sportsbook has the edge.  The best way I have found to beat the sportsbooks is simply by handicapping the games better than the linesmakers.

Ed

Dr. Ed Meyer *Physics PhD (Case Western Reserve) *Featured in New Yorker: “Brainiacs Build Money Machine!” *Certified SDQL Master!

Joined: 12/24/2011
Posts: 91

Theres definitely no foolproof strategy, and you're exactly right about having to win the first game first. But you will win that first game the same % of time completely independent of the 2nd game, so if you can manage the extra 30% into your wins, are you not better off? I know in the long run theres no way to give yourself an advantage, because they would have compensated for it or outlawed such action if you could...I just think its interesting to think about. Thanks for the reply!

Joined: 10/19/2010
Posts: 818

Dr. Ed Meyer
However, there is other information that is not factored into the line and thus can be used to beat the NBA.  A wealth of such information can be found by handicapping the performance of individual players in addition to handicapping the team as a whole:

Love the SDQL and use it often.  One thing I am unclear on is that since a statistically significant trend has a 5% probability of being caused by no more than chance variation, is there a way to differentiate between the signal and the noise, so to speak, in these trends?

Thank you.

"I mean really, I don't see why you people just can't watch the horses run around the track and not bet on them."

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