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Andy Iskoe - Conversation Thread with the Pro

Thread Starter Andy Iskoe - Conversation Thread with the Pro
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Joined: 02/14/2012
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TCU is now -1.5. You're pick had them at 1.5. Do you still recommend a play on TCU?
Joined: 10/17/2008
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nice win with washington!
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Andy has done a great job with the FIRST PREVIEW radio show - and he intends to get more involved with the community!

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Andy Iskoe
Joined: 05/29/2012
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Hi Folks.  It's taken a while for me to get up to full throttle but I am here to answer your sports handicapping questions, discuss theory and other concepts and engage with the community on a variety of topics.

Feel free to ask me your questions, comment on my topics and otherwise use this thread to conduct an ongoing back and forth dialogue with the intention of making us all better handicappers and bettors.

Remember there is no single way that points to success that is exclusive of all other ways.  There are many ways to succeed and we can all benefit from the shared knowledge of the community.

I am often asked a general question along the lines of "How do I become a successful handicapper and bettor?" and my response has always been along the lines of "Read all you can of the historical sports betting literature, much of which has been around since the 1970's and has increased greatly in recent years.  Through your reading and other engagement with various handicapping communities you will find an approach that is to your liking and with which fundamental concepts you agree.  That makes for a good starting point.  In other words, find an approach with which you are comfortable and which makes sense to your way of thinking.

I welcome your comments, feedback, suggestions, etc and shall do my best to reply on an ASAP basis as my schedule permits, which usually means within 24 hours max.

Tony George
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Props to RJ for getting Andy on here....he is a numbers guru and a very knowledgable of luck Sir!  You contributions will be read by me when posted.

I did a few of Andy's Stardust Lines Radio Show over at the Stardust Sportsbook back in the day.....


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Andy Iskoe
Joined: 05/29/2012
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Thanks Tony.  I'd bet the Boyds wish they'd never closed the Stardust when they did, although the property was just sold and supposedly we'll see something there in a couple of years!

Joined: 08/17/2012
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Hey Andy, nice to chat with you- Can you please provide your perspective on this question? I've done what you suggest for many years (reading everything worthwhile including your work). Some  of the most respected linesmakers that have ever worked in the industry (including those that were at times recognized as the best) have indicated that the lines they set were to draw as many bets as possible on the games being played. The lines were are not a true measure of the real strength difference between the teams and they are frequently well off the game result difference.They have indicated that bookmakers make thier money booking large numbers of bets. What is your opinion of so many thinking that the line is indicative of the number strength difference of the teams? What about this explanation of the intention of bookmakers when setting the number is accurate and how do you feel about what bettors understand about the line? This question mainly relates to Football- that is my area of interest (esp. NFL).

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Welcome to the team Andy, look forward to meeting you.

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Andy Iskoe
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Thanks for the question, Oldhead.

You bring up a topic that I talk about very often these days and the way I sum things up is that in "the old day" the objective in handicapping was to determine the true Power Ratings of the teams but the in the current handicapping environment Power Ratings are the just the starting point from which the handicapping and analysis begins.

In that regard lines in the past were based much more on perception than reality with perception being at what number the action would be divided (or tilted in one direction or the other if the linesmaker/bookmaker had an opinion on the game).  That was because back then there was much less information available, what information was available took time to be disseminated and the tools for analyzing the information and other data were extremely limited.  Thus, if you were able to do what, at the time, was considered "advanced" handicapping you had a solid edge. I, for one, have been relying on the PC since 1980, using data base programs and spreadsheets to make sense of whatever data was available in an organized and structured way to create Power Ratings that closely reflected the "true" difference between teams.  Hence, having an edge over fellow handicappers/bettors.  But with the advent of the widespread use of computers and the inception of the internet and the voluminous data and information so widely and readily available the linesmaking process itself has evolved into making, in effect, Power Ratings that serve as lines, with perhaps a slight tweak depending on circumstances surrounding specific games.  Perhaps the best current example of this can be found in college basketball where the widespread use of "efficiency ratings" have become more of a tool in creating lines.  Thus such Power Ratings/Lines become the starting point today and the challenge is to find those games where extraneous and intangible factors are more likely to come into play such that one, or both, teams are unlikely to play to their established level as reflected in the Power Ratings and Lines.  Spot play, or situational play, has become more important to me in handicapping over the years and especially in recent years.

I have maintained for a long time that handicapping is both an art and a science.  The science is in the determination and development of mathematical models to evalaute teams relative to one another.  The are is in the interpretation and application of those ratings to the current game being played.

Years ago I was much more scientist than artist.  But as things have changed in the "information age" I have become more artist than scientist.  Both disciplines remain vital in being successful but the challenge is in finding the proper balance between the two.

I hope this "philosophical" persepctive adresses your area of interest.

And, again, this reflects my opinion on the issue based upon observations and experiences over the years.

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