Ssac13: Predictive Sports Betting


all right well so this is pretty cool to be on the main stage talking about sports betting and I’m with some really great company I mean this mat is obviously involved with the probably most important sports book in Vegas these days and Chad is the preeminent author on all things gambling and Bob to my right is the most successful NBA better probably ever so that’s true you said that the other day I never did the privacy of our own home you said that yeah I mean thank you or miss miss okay well what I was saying let’s let’s uh let’s start with a very simple question I think we’ll say first book did you guys notice that the background there actually you know it’s pretty cool point spread yeah and totals well thanks for taking up the time okay so first question I’m sure that everyone here wants to know especially the aspiring analytics people are can a smart analytics person make money betting sports and if the answer to that is yes where do you guys see or what is one example of a way that they can get edge I don’t know do you want to take that first stop with Matt well I think that as a you know as the largest licensed bookmaker in the country one of the biggest challenges we face is the speed and the amount of information that every better has not just the sharp better is not just the premier sports bettors but the novice betters are better better equipped than they ever were so going back 15 years ago people would come in and they had no idea who was playing or you know even some of the people on the teams they come in now and they they know everybody who’s heard and who they’re who’s out tonight and they get it on their phone and there’s much more well equipped than they ever were they have much more resources of different types of analytics and trends and they all come in with a plan and so we’re dealing with a much more prepared better than we ever were prior well so is your answer yes or no as to whether smart as well as the sports book I would say in the long run that maybe some people can but we constantly adapt the market and do what we think is the best player profiling so as players develop systems that may be short term successful we try to adapt what we’re doing to prevent them from being able to long continue to beat us the answer is yes so you took all yours yes the answer is yes I think that people especially nowadays because there is so much access to information you are able to build systems for a variety of different sports that enable you to use analytics to potentially make money as a sports bettor the champ lets it informational but what kind of information do you mean well it’s any kind of data that you feel like you need to make a better system whether it’s scraping from a variety of different places that are offering so play by play play by play information information that you were able to build through an algorithm that you create where you’re waiting different different metrics based on a former that you feel potentially has the opportunity to make you money but the challenge is in the challenges in in building the formula the challenge is can you then find a way to get the money down so you can actually make money off of that stuff I think it’s two different things a lot of people are smart enough to build a formula that is really really good the challenge is to bet with enough volume so it actually is worth your while let’s get back to that let’s but go to Bob now kind of tell it what do you think well of course you can I mean I wouldn’t I don’t think anyone would be here if they thought the answer was no it’s just a question of how how much work you’re willing to put in what types of data you want to use I think if I was starting out I would start out with the minor sports stuff like college basketball or maybe golf NASCAR tennis that type of thing where the line aren’t nearly as strong as they could be and you’re not really encumbered by the limits because you’re starting out you have a smaller bankroll if you want to actually bet more money you have to get into the bigger sports like football basketball baseball etc and those lines are a lot tighter and you have to spend a lot more in terms of research and development or time to beat those sports so you make your primary income through betting on NBA right I don’t bet on any other sports I just bet on basketball and why did you choose the NBA I just like basketball to be honest I mean I didn’t really start out saying oh I have a way to be basketball their affirmative at basketball I started out saying I really love basketball I’m gonna watch a lot basketball then I started betting on basketball I was unsuccessful when I first started out but pretty quickly I figured out what would or wouldn’t work I kind of lucked into finding some systems and I feel like I do have a decent ability to watch a basketball game and understand what’s going on and what will happen in the future what are some inefficiencies or some advantages that you saw early on that you thought might give you an advantage over the bookmakers well back when I started the bookmakers it was just hard to believe they were even more clueless than they are now I mean so it was like really really easy to exploit what they were doing nowadays the book I mean the example is what the halftime obviously half times but even spreads and stuff earlier on there was there’s just all kinds of inefficiencies that you know it’s it’s it’s tough to be a bookmakers we okay that outweigh is tough because I’m dealing just in one sport where as a bookmakers dealing in every sport every game so it so it is a lot easier to be the guy who’s picking and choosing spots that are bad versus the guy who has to post a line for everything and hope that every line is fair so there was just I mean for me I started out betting game totals halftime totals halftime spreads early on and I just kind of noticed that certain teams were doing certain things in certain situations and I found that the line makers weren’t really adjusting to that so an example those I’m not talking about certain examples innocent because it doesn’t matter is in the past alright so then it because maybe that might maybe someone still I don’t utilizing some of those things nowadays I don’t know why you’re trying to take food off my page all these people showed up they want to know something why they showed up no idea anyone would show up so I think it’s true in this I mean to his credit he’s right I mean we have to post lines on every game and what people need to understand is the myth that a sports book is trying to post lines that are there to predict the outcome of a game is wrong we don’t make lines to predict the outcome of a game we make lines in anticipation of where the action will come on that game so it’s very possible that very acute players can come up with systems that say look my predictive model says the game should land very far a part of it but due to our high to do player profiling of some of our substantial players we anticipate action coming a certain way and thus put out a certain line based on where we anticipate action rather than predictive outcome of a particular event that was very confusing so what he’s trying to say is that they are not really good at predicting the outcome but they think they’re trying to get a line that will cater to their specific client base do you think that that’s where the inefficiencies come from no I don’t think so I think that that’s I think in general regardless of whether you’re trying to profile or not I mean if you do have a customer who’s the square who’s going to lose do you really want to shade them half a point or a full point and try to bludgeon them over the head I mean you already have an eleven to ten edge you’re getting four and a half percent on every bet and if you know I don’t know guy a world champion whoever a comes walking in and he know he’s gonna bet the favorite I mean I think it’s a little unethical just to Jack the point up another half a point aesthetically some fighter whoever I don’t even know yeah I’m just saying whoever it might be if you know a guy’s always betting the favor in the over I think as a sports book it’s I don’t know if it’s unethical but it’s definitely yeah I don’t think we target in any individual players I think that’s probably taking a potshot I think it’s more of an anticipatory thing of like look we have an entire base of people who you know the very good Patriots are very popular and you can anticipate that no new legal Patriots are going to be in a prime time game and because of that the New England Patriots in a Sunday night or Monday night situation which are to bail out spots you’re going to get heavy action all right one line a little bit better so in a specific case now we’re talking about certain teams being public right and like this year can you talk a little bit about what happened across the industry with the Ravens where we did the did the books lose a lot of money on them because yeah the raisins with it yeah the Ravens were a really interesting scenario for the sports books in the playoffs this year because going into you know the second round of the playoffs essentially they were the longest shot and everybody had gotten used to the Ravens being a one and done team they always win one playoff game and then completely pack it in you know I think a lot of people anticipated that to happen this year and they went on the road and you know had that unbelievable game with Denver and then had the unbelievable game with New England where they held them scoreless for the second half and even going into the Superbowl again despite all the momentum that team and the great storylines around him with Ray Lewis and all the public notoriety surrounding it everyone still thought San Francisco was going to blow him out so it was interesting that yeah Baltimore was very good for the sports books because all the public faded him game after game after game huh so there wasn’t there wasn’t a lot of Baltimore exposure for the sport now they were just one of those teams that everybody because they have this history of getting there and and having minor success and then completely failing for whatever reason nobody bought into it and everyone continued to fade them round after round it seemed like and you don’t bet any football right what’s the reason I like basketball I like watching basketball not really gambling for an egg for excitement so for me I think in order for me to because that’s life to spend a lot of time run research and effort and investment in time I just don’t watch enough basketball and sports as it is that I don’t want to start watching you thoroughly watch football from a pure money making standpoint if you were looking at NFL MLB or NBA which one would you be on yeah obviously NBA is your thing but like do you see problems in the other two like you were mentioning the high variant from the NFL right well the football is the best because if you were able to come up with something you could just bet a lot of money on it so but the probably reason why you could bet a lot of money on football is because it’s very difficult to predict it’s almost a random game in some sense point spread is very efficient football you know the ball isn’t even round you know the ball bounces it goes this way it goes that way it’s just like a very very you’re basically flipping coins and doing so you know laying having them having to lay lay 11 to 10 to do so so football for me is a very random sport one play can be like 3540 percent of your bet and it could be a fluke game so because of that football is very difficult to bet and actually know that you have an edge the other thing is if you did have an edge in football allas a NFL football the team’s only play 16 games a year in the regular season even if you had your edge we wouldn’t be able to ply it very you know too often you’d be sitting there trying to pick and choose your spots you doubt very few bets and you wouldn’t really know what the long run is in football either because your sample sizes are very small whereas baseball is the opposite that’s a pretty pure game you know that vigorish is a little bit lower in baseball as well teams play 162 games if you did have an edge you could really apply it in that sense and basketballs like that to lose 82 game seasons the game is I mean there’s a little bit of variance in basketball it’s getting to be more random now than it was in the past which you know evolution a 3 point shot but it’s still a pretty pure game statistically so can you talk a little bit about that I mean I know we’ve talked about this three point shooting variance and what do you mean by that well it’s just them it’s it’s a I mean the ball either goes in or it doesn’t it’s it’s a random shot and teams are shooting more three pointers now so because of that game of basketball one individual game of basketball is a lot more random than it was say five or six years ago just because if you looked at the graph of the number of 3 point shots attempted per game it’s been steadily increasing over the last few years now as far as you go you know a lot of sharp betters what sport do you think is the most beautiful or have you seen the most of your sharp betters beat well it’s a lot of what Bob was saying earlier is about the games where nobody’s paying attention so college basketball has always been one of those sports where because the bookmakers have a lot of other sports to pay attention to especially in that november/december time frame they have college football they have the NFL they have the NBA they usually have hockey you know it’s hard to post all the lines for college basketball that they need to post given the number of games and number of teams that are playing so that’s always been one it’s also one of those sports where the you know bob is a huge NBA better because he is a huge fan of the NBA people who bet on college basketball professionally are often huge fans of college basketball they love watching every single game and that is one of those sports that you really have to work at in order to become a very good better at it and it’s a difficult one for the books to keep up with because there’s all this other stuff going on and there are changes day to day in those sports in the way that sort of 18 two 22 year olds play in the game that you’re not going to be in tune with if you’re not watching every single game so that’s certainly one that a lot of guys I know look to find advantages in but you know tennis is certainly one MMA is one golf it’s like all these sports that are getting a lot more attention and they’re becoming much more available in terms of a market our place is where these guys are you know betters are gonna be the first to market in finding the advantage and so that’s where that’s where a lot of them are going I’m late Lea griot Chad that college basketball in November and December presents the biggest challenge to to bookmakers you know with 350 Division One teams and teams playing a non conference slate so you don’t always have historical data of these teams matching against each other they often play teams they haven’t prior and so you know it’s in your focus is so focused on you know booked college bowl games which are creating so much attention and action in NFL which is winding down to the playoffs and again hockey starting NBA starting you know sometimes you can lose focus on some of these smaller conference schools I know you know I think acute players have a can probably so if that back to this idea of information and knowing information are there examples can you give us an example of a time when you’ve made a line and had to adjust it based on getting interesting information from a college place is there like do you guys know what’s going on yeah College presents a lot of the stranger situations than some of the other you know because there’s again there’s so many teams and the information flushes out later than it would for NBA teams you know if Kobe or something happens to him or any of these NBA players that’s immediately out there as some of these college schools players get suspended or for all these rules violations you know NBA players and/or professional players in any sport normally aren’t suspended for rules violations they miss curfew or they miss practice and it’s very common in college and you’re dealing with over 300 schools and some of them have little to no media coverage and so the information can come late it can come slow and you get that information well we get it from a lot of sources as many as we possibly can we have to leverage every resource that we can because you know the betters have it you know someone has it so you know we do our best every media outlet that we can and and monitor as much as we can but in college hoops it’s a very trying difficult challenge but I know I know a lot of guys you know their Twitter feeds are loaded with the beat writer for every guy in every sport they are loaded with they’re going to the school newspaper websites in college basketball and you think about it they’re guys I know who they used to call the scorer’s table before a game was happening to find out if certain players were playing and pretend that they were calling from another school that they weren’t really betters to get that information now you can get that information by just having a very active voluminous Twitter feed and so the ability to get all that it honestly puts bookmaker as it should put bookmakers and it disadvantaged because if I’m the guy whose bet in college baskets I’m focused on that I’ve been studying that all day I’m thinking about that all day I’m much more up to speed than the bookmakers going to be so these are like some subjective things that we’re talking about and I know that you do some subjective betting in your NBA stuff how do you measure or how do you balance subjectiveness with objectiveness I think it’s good to have a baseline objective number on any game and then with that you can use your own subjectivity the thing that people you know they talk about having data and watching a games is interests we have name but but actually seeing something happen that you’ve seen happen watching that with your eyes collecting information that’s data it’s just a different type of data it’s something you internalize so for me I like to have a number for every game which is what we have the model spits out a number and then I just kind of handicap the team’s individually or I had to cap the model if I know the models bad at certain teams or better at other teams or it misses something give me an example something it’s missed recently that time to correct I wouldn’t necessarily say that but if you take a look at maybe like a team like the Lakers for instance this year okay they started out with one coach then they had an interim coach then they got a new coach who you know if you were to watch you know I was sometimes I like to watch a Laker game sort of reason I like interesting to watch there’s a lot of information about them it’s always usually the last game of the night too so you can always I’m always always watching a Laker Clipper game and so any of these new coach who says they want to score hundred and he actually came in and said they thinks his team’s miss for 115 points a game so coming in now you have all this data from the Lakers a number of years but now the coach says that we want to score hundred so there’s a difference in terms of the data isn’t necessarily data you have on the old coach is necessarily relevant to what the team is now then even given the team now they decided somewhere along the lines with that new coach that they’re going to slow down your Kobe stopped shooting he wanted to pass when he goes teammates involved so that’s something that a model is not going to be able to catch up to that but someone watching the games really focusing on the Lakers are focusing on whatever team is changing their strategy the day to day strategy you can focus on nine you can maybe have like a small wedge doing that when Kobe decided not to shoot for seven games what happened to their totals I don’t know offhand but the games are a lot lower scoring so it was just I think you know when you’re number one volume scorer or decides he’s not going to shoot and pass and you have guys who aren’t used to getting the ball getting the ball in situations I think that scoring did go down whether they the game son under over I don’t know but I’d to guess I’m guessing the game’s 100 total do you think that bookmakers weren’t paying attention did they not reactor I was more talking to the fact that my model would spit out a number and I would discount that and be like no this is a different team right now they look we predict the score is going to be 212 or something like that but in reality the right number would be 206 the actual sports books do a better job of recognizing those short term trends and they do actually knowing what a good number is so they’ll overreact to short term variance or short term results so my own subjective stuff in that sense would probably match up more with what the line would be whereas our you know if I would just follow the models exclusively would have we would embedding overs and games where the Lakers weren’t playing an over style anymore that brings up a good point too like he said you know just even the Lakers in that very short term period but you know you we constantly have to deal with tons of things every year that make older data irrelevant or make you say look this number is no long relevant like rules changes and style of officiating when they incorporate new rules or style of play and you know the rule changes in the NFL take a little while the hint number the hand checking rule in the NBA it had a great effect for a few months then they finally get used to calling it and so I think it’s really important that all those things are taken into consideration because your data doesn’t necessarily doesn’t well so when you make a line there are any times that you look at it not as as the line make as the odds maker but more just as a gambler and say that’s a bad line if I were better I would bet one side or the other I think there is and I don’t necessarily know that it’s a bad line it may be there’s some times where I can look at a line and say boy I would take one side or another side of a line but maybe that line works out great for the house even regardless of the outcome because they predict you know for one reason or another that there that line is the line that will get them that equal action on both sides do you like in a situation like that do you hope that your skewed no not necessarily I think the goal is always for the sports work our perfect dream goal always has to be to somehow create equal action on both sides and does that happen no not how would you create a equal action that’s right how come so I’m just asking how would you well obviously there’s a lot of ways first we can uh you know we can move lines as much as possible but moving you know you can only move a line so much before you put yourself at adverse risk so you know you don’t want to leave large middle opportunities and adverse risk or ARBs situations so you know you just have to try to do a good job of player profiling and know hey if I move the line 2x player y is going to college I make sure my goal would be to have as many decisions as possible yeah I got a say wouldn’t even be close because you’re getting you know you have you might look have all this unbalanced action but you’re getting 11 to 10 I mean it’s so strong four and a half four point five five percent on the game it’s so much better than oh I’m gonna move the line half a point now and now you’re now your edge just went from four point five five to three percent on the full game total because now the number could fall in the middle so I think like the real problems with bookmaking and betting in this and you asked the question can you make money betting on sports you can but in reality it’s so difficult is because bookmaking now is like it’s it’s more of a the musical charities we’re getting at that but we want to get rid of it move the number get someplace else and you actually have most sports books are in the business of avoiding bets and I’m not saying if I was a bookmaker I wouldn’t avoid that’s interesting that’s like the way it is so canter Gaming probably doesn’t even take bets on some of the games are moving to Honda and they see the offshore market move align so they’re going to move their line and that’s kind of the way bookmaking is because the idea is is they really don’t know what the true numbers are they really don’t have this idea of player profile I mean all that stuff is great but in in reality the people making the lines are not in the United States or the original line is originating offshore in Curacao whatever pinnacle sports and then you have a bunch of sophisticated betters who have smaller Bank roles we’re willing to bet smaller amounts of money they’re hammering out the number so that by the time you know counter gaming opens up or another sports book opens up that takes a big bet the line is pretty good so it’s not the bookmakers who made the line it’s the it’s the actual gamblers we’re betting into the line that have actually made the line the actual opening line where you could actually bet like a real amount of money I think Bob is right that lines are basically now moving on what they call air they’re not moving on action so pinnacle puts up a line two days later everybody else is following that line and they’re putting what that line is and then in five minutes pinnacle is going to move their line and so everybody else is going to move their line across the board because nobody wants to be the one who’s vulnerable to getting that particularly big bad from a sharp which is a professional gambler I think there’s a couple issues one I think bookmakers generally are too susceptible to what the sharp moves are because more often than not they’re going to get a lot more money from the public than they are from the sharp but I also feel like it’s a myth that bookmakers want to have even action because that’s not how you end up that’s what they just said I know but I think canter is actually a I think they’re a little bit different because they’re much more of a volume player than most places are but be most bookmakers I talked to they don’t mind having decisions they don’t mind being heavy on one side they are comfortable making a play from one side or the other they know where they’re going to want to be heavy and they’re comfortable with that because you actually don’t make a lot of money you don’t build the money you need to build just by you know we eleven of everything especially if you’re moving your number although you’re taking a bet on a basketball game you’re taking a bet at minus 7 now you move the line to minus seven in half and you take a bet at plus seven half an equal amount of money we just went from the situation where you were you know had a four and a half percent edge on one two now having like probably like a two and a quarter percentage on the two bets because the game will fall on seven a certain percentage of the time now god forbid you go from plus seven and a half down to minus six and a half and now the game minus seven you lose both bets and you’re you’re screwed right and so I think the real issue for for for bookmakers is is is knowing when to move a line are you moving a line because you know the public spending the game are you moving a line if the public’s betting me I’m not a booking rude if I was a bookmaker and I’m just getting a bunch of public action on a Monday Night Football game I’m getting a lot of it and it’s not sharp action and these are customers where if you know if you’re profiling your customers and you know these are long term losing customers or recreational customers moving the line there is just like brain dead my opinion so you have $150,000 decision on a football game oh oh great Wow four and a half percent such a huge edge they’re going to lose it back eventually but getting a situation now where you move the number too much now a sharp comes and takes the other side and this is what the Sharps we don’t want you to say it because the Sharps want you the bookmakers to move the number on public action because they want to come in and get the value at post and bet the other way but in reality you know bookmaking is pretty easy some of the dumbest people I know in the world they’re bookmakers but they’ve been able to not even Matthew excluded of course but uh but they’ve been able to just carve out this living by just having the best of it their whole time and it’s just like you’re in the gambling business and you don’t want to gamble it and you have the best of it that doesn’t make sense to me well that’s that’s I think the point is a lot of bookmakers I’m gonna agree with you on this do you want to gamble I think you know with all due respect to Matthew I’m speaking but Matt blaster said they would take a million dollars from anyone in the world if they just came the counter game and they weren’t scared of anyone hold on one second since I had in my pool the over/under the only reason I showed up your brother are you bringing that up which twenty five minutes while people were about there but that’s the Oh but but I mean they said can your counter gaming said they would take any bet from anyone for amount of money they’re not scared of anyone we have this it’s the greatest thing ever we make these lines we’re so good we have all three with a large big book maker in the United States your bets than anybody in the United States only we could talk about offshore illegals more sports we could talk about the largest light sockets what do you take it’s different for every player I mean okay but you said you would take a 100,000 for many what would you take from Bob oh wow ask Bob what we take from boss 5,000 Chad that’s it five thousand a little less than a hundred thousand a little less than a million but it’s still a big bet I mean five thousand is still a big bet comparative to other bookmakers these are intended for their $5,000 bonus on my decision we take but most of the survivors taking Bob’s NBA action this year I probably would take more than five thousand maybe you would but you still don’t guess but guess what you still don’t so we probably should though well let’s do it right now let’s let’s come let’s let’s let’s let’s cut we’ve got what is it I can be back in Vegas by tomorrow at 4: 00 in the afternoon tell me what you’ll take from me this my again those decisions aren’t mine to be made but you just said something why I just said you know I understand you’re probably you have not having the best NBA season thus far a lot of sharps aren’t okay but I’ll keep on betting okay with nothing about safety so I’ll keep on trying right let me ask a different question how much would you take how much would you take from Jeff who’s not Bob again it’s different for each person that you know for each customer in each sport it also has not everything to do with the person individually as much as it has to do with the sport of a Sunday Night Football game where you know you’re going to get millions and millions of dollars of action because the game is isolated and it’s high profile and it’s on national television means you can anticipate more money coming in on the other side or more money being distributed which allows you to take bigger bedrooms books are all isolated to about what he was saying which I find interesting which is this idea like and you know if you read Chad’s book which is a great book but you know thanks buddy it is a great book you know you talk about this whole idea of book makers wanting uneven action and of like you said wanting to make decisions why don’t you guys want to make more decisions you just have a philosophy where you want I mean like it seems like I mean I’m not equated this to me we used to talk about how the sea were stupid for spending as much time as they did trying to catch car count the amount of money won take a big decisions they do that’s why they welcome someone who wants to bet five I mean I I give Cantor a hard time they’ll take a small bet for me but if you actually do want to go in in debt and ESPN Sunday Night Football game or Monday Night Football game and you want to bet $250,000 five minutes before post they’re probably one of the few places in the world that will tilt it yeah that so that part is but that’s a little bit different than we’re not scared of anybody we’ll take a million dollars from anyone come on Pat just say that then I had a lot more respect so it’s a little bit of differences they do actually want to gamble I think Matthew was not always confused or if he was what but he they do actually do on a gamble if you walk in there I walked in and want about a football game on the Super Bowl or something I’m sure they take like 255 now a friend of mine about half a million dollars on a Super Bowl at counter gaming so they do take big bets but they take big bets on phone flips not on games or someone has an edge which is smart well do you think when they take your $5,000 are they taking it because they want to use it um you’re dating it because because it would be really really look it bookmaking is a parasitic business in general I mean you have people who are losing and they’re degenerates they want to lose and they welcome those people I think it’s just a courtesy it’s like hey we’ll take five thousand we’re gonna lose a little bit money maybe it’ll help us improve our line and so I think it’s the least they could do is to take five thousand dollars from a sharp it’s at least the least you can do is have posted limits and take that minimum amount from everybody no matter who you are and I think that’s that’s probably why they do it but sometimes we put the you know when I was there we would put the bed on the tablet and a little wheel would spin it spin it would spin and spin and then the bet would get declined that would happen like 30% of the time and then during that period you know the lines would move elsewhere so I there was some there are some shenanigans going on some all right so back back now you said you don’t think that you’re not afraid of you you want him to vet MBA with you right now because you don’t think everyone’s having an MBA that is all I heard that’s what I heard so what what have you heard in terms of MBA this year really it’s been an awkward season so there’s been some as awkward as this panel right yeah this is definitely not quite as awkward as this panel but but getting there yeah you know the Lakers are a perfect example that team is flip flop style of play and at least four times this year so there’s been some strange sort of variants and some weird teams Cleveland when it interesting very I was there and after you know they can’t stop anyone in the middle there’s been some really strange variants like Bob mentioned people are taking an inordinate amount of threes which is more of a chance type play than normal so as people take more threes you have nights where you don’t hit any of those and I think what’s happened with basketball this year is that you know with the there was you know the pinnacle is normal talk about pinnacle but you know pinnacle had a they were not we’re not allowed to bet in United States America on Pinnacle for a number of years but this is the year where you really cannot that Unites States America with Pinnacle so what’s happened is is that there aren’t very many places where you could actually place wagers anymore so if you’re a sharp guy or you’re my competition and you’re trying to bet and you’re betting at 7 o’clock on the more there’s very few places where you can actually get a bet down and I’m even doing the same thing I’m not taking chances anyway I’m betting with places I know my bets are safe I’m making I’m betting smaller amounts because the market is just shrunk so much there’s really no advantage for me to try to take chances with bookmakers and try to make I’m not trying to bet a lot of money nowadays anyways I mean I’ll bet with like a reputable place like Cantor if they want to take it back but I’m not going to run the risk of losing then run the risk of getting stiffed so I’m just happy making smaller bets and I think a lot of other people are also happier making smaller bets they’re happier betting if you look at the overnight lines for basketball they’re moving a lot and so if you could bet the opening line that the bookmaker comes up with overnight I mean if I could vet that number I would have a huge edge but I can bet like $1,000 on that number and it’s not something I’d be interesting till the morning of the game or whatever then I can bet sort of a thousand I can get maybe a little bit more and at that point the markets turn but that but my point is that by the time canners opened up or these other places that i would have opened up at 8: 00 in the morning or 9: 00 in the morning the line is pretty good this year it’s a pretty good line because of the overnight geniuses have put a lot of value and they made they made the line better and you see the significant movements this year like he said from the overnights to the games are opening like 195 at 6: 00 o’clock the night before and by 8: 00 o’clock in the morning the lines like 189 and a half that’s just happening this year because those guys aren’t waiting around to bet places in the markets they don’t have any market to bet and the great have pinnacle in the morning anymore they don’t have this so they’re there it’s it’s it’s a weird market this year it’s a little bit different no one can really bet money Sogo going back to sort of a tweet that you sent out a while ago and something we talked about you I just actually signed up my own tweets that’s like someone else’s there are things there was something about about Houston breaking models oh yeah yeah Houston is like exact I mean if you look at the way Houston is playing there’s no data that you could possibly have no matter how short term or fresh year data is that could give you significant enough sample for just a computer number to spit out and predict a DISA Houston total because they’re playing so vastly different than they were even at the start of the year or last year I mean this is a team that’s shooting like some games forty three pointers the game that’s very unusual so how do you balance this this comes to this question of like when you have a model how do you understand whether it’s stable over time um a track record basically I’ve been doing this for a number I mean I had a lot of faith in my numbers like I may be having a bad year but I still have a lot of faith in in my numbers and so I balance it there’s lots of different ways you can wait you know you look at so the game of basketball is a random excuse me but there’s ways you can evaluate think of a basketball that aren’t random so you can look at the game and see this team was very lucky they hit this many percent another shot so you look at that type of stuff and you can see I’ll Kara is our model more accurate than not sure we got a bad break in this game and then the number one way you evaluate is this is win or loss over the course of the year you’re winning your models pretty good if you’re losing money it’s probably not and you have to bet short that’s difficult right because you just said it like you know you’ll keep betting with them because you’re stubborn but right at some point when is when is the stubbornness something yeah okay well you have a there’s there’s all kinds of there’s t stat ratio there’s all kinds of ratios you can do to find out whether or not something is short term variance or whether it is actually sustained you do that you go back and look at your stuff yeah of course always we’re always looking lay the strike here is a perfect example if I would have bet my model the way the model wanted to in the strike here I would have went broke because the strike here was a completely different year they’re locked up here Bob Feller it was it was a completely players we’re dribbling the ball off their feet out of bounds like four or five times a game so the model doesn’t know that teams that have a training camp they didn’t have the players are coming in overweight that the field of schedule is compressed so a human being can add you know you can so we were going in and we’re like looking at the short term statistics okay is this random or is this something that is is is going to continue for the rest of the season and you make those decisions and that’s where I think maybe last year we separated ourselves from other people is because I have a lot of experience watching the sport I know a lot about the sport I spend a lot of time we collect their own data were charting different stuff we were able to make adjustments that maybe other people weren’t now maybe this year were not for whatever reason but I think it has a lot to do with also just not as exciting you know when I was like super excited I saw the panel last year and I heard Kanter was going to take like a hundred thousand from anyone a million I was like so pumped for the basketball season I get old I finally only about 5,000 it’s like do you really want to put in 80 hours a week and he could only bet 5,000 at the biggest book make license bookmaking operation in the world United States in the United States yeah it’s tough so did you guys how did you guys do last year in the NBA like he said you know I think we did fairly well early the everybody’s data wasn’t reflective of what was happening people came in like he said people came in out of shape unprepared long to take you to adjust their lines very quickly so we anticipated that I think a lot of people didn’t anticipate that but what happened is so like Bob said people would anticipate that but if you just went purely by models your models would get crushed they would under everyone anticipated it but that they underestimate the impact have seemed to be getting worse and worse as the season progressed that’s right till it finally and then it turned around all the sudden in the game started catching up Tom pace but for a while it seemed to get really really bad and I think everyone projected probably some variants of under but it was really a big variance of under so people were still using their models and they were you know using what they thought the perception percentage was and their perception percentage was significantly off from what really other thing that was tough last year is that I found I struggled personally with my own stuff last year was that the schedule was compressed and there were so many games every night like I love the way the schedule is now at a normal schedule Thursday there’s two games you can take Thursday off you can relax you can do whatever but last year there was no break there was like an average of seven point something Game three nights enormous you just couldn’t catch your breath so even if you wanted to over you know to react to individual stuff you were seeing there were so many games being played in such a short period of time that you really couldn’t wrap your head around it I mean I hated last year for that reason because there’s just so many games there’s never a chance to catch your breath what um sorry good well I was going to say to Bob if it’s harder and harder to get money down yes what’s the value in continuing to do it and what am I going to do I’m not qualified at this thing else I’m gonna do okay become a professional tweeter I mean what I like to do well you’re not even tweeting your own stuff you got go ahead no I mean I don’t know I enjoy the sport I love watching basketball look I’ll watch basketball whether I have a bet on the game or I don’t have a bet on the game I’m gonna watch basketball I love the game of basketball so for me it’s like it’s the intellectual challenge of like beating someone and being right about something so yeah I may not put in as much time and effort because I can’t bet as much money but it’s still at the end of the day you know you’re right or you’re wrong about something and I do enjoy that so some questions from the audience this one goes to you Matt like so there has been noticeably less college basketball totals posted this year as opposed to past years yeah you know I heard that from some people and I noticed that early in the season they were posting them you know across the board and isn’t they you know pinnacles the the pinnacle if when pinnacle has a total than other people are more looking at pinnacle doesn’t post a total nobody spot you know it’s for a long time go ahead and answer the question for a long cuz I know right for a long time well there’s a difference between an offshore sportsbook who can’t legally take bets yeah this is not a this is not a test of manhood so we were flying we’re fine with this we you know for a long time it was very ordinary for Las Vegas sports books to take televised collegiate basketball totals only right and then we expanded that to most games you know I think because they continue to expand the amount of conferences that workload has got to be really big and it’s not attracting the attention so when an average tourist comes in and he wants to make a bet he’s not betting Wolford Furman runner 130 the reason why I can’t make any action right yeah it’s very hard to make a line no demand no did I go along only people want to bet it are the guys who asked for it let’s just say that the demand is from the professionals who try to lose money what what percentage of money that you guys were see is from professionals um well that’s an interesting question because it’s how do you determine a professional so if a professional is someone who only makes his money betting put a sharp better than rather than a professional I think a sharps a better question and uh you know obviously we get more bets from the public and more the amount of money bet is bigger with the Sharpe’s let’s just put it that way I can’t give you the amount of money per bet the amount of money per bet is significantly higher with the show Sharp’s are betting a limit whatever the limit of the facebook post whatever we’ll give these a little bit of what percentage is this cuz it’s like it’s very interesting to me that you put so much effort into the Sharps so that must be a high percentage of I don’t know that we put as much effort into Sharps as you think I think we really put an effort into anticipated handle on each event so if we think one event a college a basketball game for example using that same Wolford firm an example again that’s a probably a 95 percent sharp game a 95 percent of excellent you get on it will be sharp know the general public isn’t coming in to bet Wolford and Furman so although Thor the one guy when you post that game you’re getting 98 percent sharp action where the New England Patriots versus the San Francisco 49ers Monday Night Football you know you may get 80% public action so I mean when the guys started out though I think you had this idea that you were going to take on the Sharps you thought and and and I think what happened is you realize how difficult it is difficult I’m not I mean no sure I think I think when they did open up there they were talking about they would take this mountain that mount but I think over time they just realized why are we beating our head against the wall we’ve got all this overhead we’ve got you know about all these people working for so it’s it’s it’s I mean look in Vegas isn’t really built on China can you know this from blackjack you know catering to professionals it’s not really well I mean like it’s if if someone let me bet $5,000 on the blackjack and I’d be really happy right so I can even get blackjack hands are you playing an hour I got to play blackjack and I’m just saying if you balk jack is different because 5,000 a hand versus 5,000 a game is completed I’m betting on three games at night everybody played free blackjack hands but what you said would be so exciting you said to me is I think really interesting right you said that the the courtesy that they have to let you bet right right but the casinos have zero courtesy to let us play blackjack right what I can’t play blackjack anymore that’s a joke I think but I’m just saying you it’s so when you open your casino can I play blackjack there hey sure absolutely all day see there we go all day we go make your million dollar man I’ll go play blackjack in his casino so some more questions from the panel they were from the audience we’re talking a little bit about baseball having less big and lots of games to bet on have you ever played around with baseball not really just cuz I we did I did this story that’s in Nate’s book about we tried the model we did but baseball so boring to me to watch baseball I mean and the game start at 12 o’clock one o’clock two o’clock three o’clock right so it’s like all day non stop so we did do baseball model we tried it there was like an error in the code and basically that that once I saw that error I was like hey enough with this baseball this is like completely done we stop betting baseball I have no interest in getting back on it also is just a hard thing to keep up with and you need to know the people are really sorry baseball the the Sabre matricies on the internet have have really done a good job of so I mean the Vig is lower but the people on the internet like whether it’s these websites like fan grass or whatever all these sites that you know the book that the guy you talked about Mickey rogue they’ve really done a good job of really illuminating to everyone what the value of a baseball player is that’s kind of like the worry with basketball when it gets to be that way I think maybe I might have to pick up my ball and go home because there’s everyone is basically educated everybody it becomes difficult so when you think about baseball betters do you talk to many of them have has the edge disappeared because of the publicly you know public knowledge Asst oh no not at all now because it’s still you still need to be paying attention to it every day if you want to be a professional baseball better you need to know what the guy did the night before especially when it comes you know middle relief is so important when it comes to baseball and what is happening with a guy from one night to the next night and what is happening over the course of a series if you miss a night then you’re a disadvantage so no matter what the stats are saying this is where it comes in so you’re telling me the whole some of the some of the subjectivity Roger Bobb is talking about sort of where you need to see things and relate them to the objectivity that you know from a formula from whatever Fan. Graphs or whomever else fitting out you need to be able to calculate what that is from an instinctive respect so the middle relievers you think are important in betting baseball hugely important so the I think bullpen is Sam usually simulations people do they guess what middle relievers are the very best people at betting baseball aren’t necessarily the model builders but like Chad said the people that watch every night because that team that uses up their bullpen that goes into 13 innings or gave up a bunch of runs early and then had to use them again the next day that third day they’re not even available you bring some guys out of the pen you just know or aren’t good there’s like that beating baseball that’s right there’s there be baseball over here but it’s not me I’m not I’m not doing it that’s why a lot of guys now I was talking to a guy before he’s like I’m just betting the super me the five inning line because it’s like you’re not getting into the bullpen you’re sort of dependent on that that’s where you’re you can focus on what the starting pitching is I know that’s what makes baseball unique is the entire starting line is based on starting pitching but the bullpen has such a high impact basically the first five if you go by the average or what starters pitch the first half of the game is is the starters and the second half is a bullpen and the bullpen isn’t necessarily a very large variance in the line that’s produced so considering they have an impact on almost half the game normally baseball is also hard because because it’s a money line generally people are generally betting the money line if you’re betting the favorites you got a bet so much more to make a little versus you got to really find that opportunity in the price to actually make a living at it well so that’s a that brings up a good question which is and I’ll throw this out to any of you guys are there any historically have there been any sort of systemic advantages to betting certain types of bets I like is it always better to bet a is it always good to bet a double digit dog in the NFL or ideally what’s up historically all those things I think in the past have have you know the funny thing is like the message boards with the internet or like you used to be able to make money if you bet just underdogs in baseball in like 2003 and all you bet were underdogs and you got the best available price betting every underdog in baseball you would make money not even the best but just like an average of closely and that actually made money but as time goes on people just become so sharp and there’s so many database guys who look at stuff like this that I think almost most of those edges have gone away and the ones that are left they won’t be too long before they’re gone as well are there any left than you know if I do I would tell everybody here about taking the riches of sports betting there you go all right but even look at the NFL this year I mean we were talking about this last night in our secret Conclave where we talked about the real stuff that this year in the NFL you couldn’t even depend on if you had a double digit you if you had a seven point favorite in the NFL and they were winning by 21 points in the fourth quarter you still weren’t done sweating that game I mean it was no real comfort level what do you attribute that to the ball is shaped very well you know it you know what it is I think I think you can attribute that to analytics a little bit like in the old days the idea that you know these coaches were very very they’re still conservative in football but in the old days you people if you’re an underdog football team we’re underdog basketball team you almost have to take a high variance approach to win that’s the right mathematical game through your optimal way to play most times and people weren’t realizing that back in back in the early 2000s they were playing to not to lose the game and to keep the game code they knew we weren’t they weren’t going to win and if you were to ask an average coach you know you’ve got a 30% chance of winning game when you lose you’re going to lose by 15 plus or you have a 10% chance of loot avoiding this game but when you lose you’re going to lose by 6 I think most coaches back in the day and still maybe even still to this day would say I’ll take the they not say it but they’ll play the strategy where they lose by less but it gives them less opportunity to win whereas I think in football now teams are are taking a lot more chances are taking more of a high variance approach the game is changing a little bit especially in college there’s a lot more innovation in college football there’s in the NFL and so the capacity has something to do with it dad let’s throw the ball so much these teams used to have teams that really knew how to run the clock out in the fourth quarter pound the football power run the football and now everybody’s offenses are so geared toward passing that you get in the fourth quarter you tell them to run the clock out and they’re like how do we do that can’t even kind of the Patriots to do that know how so back to this this is kind of an interesting question right which is this idea that analytics influences sort of like changes the world of gambling right and like one of the things that we had talked a little bit about it’s just some trends in the NBA this year right I mean what are there things that you’ve seen that analytics has influenced in the NBA that have caused changes in scoring sure there is like the three point thing we talked about teams are just playing like a more they’re trying different strategies strategically at the end of games maybe a little bit more than they used to but it’s it’s not league wide it’s more of an individual it’s also pretty random you know like I watched a game the other day where the Celtics were playing the Trailblazers and Celtics were down 6 of 24 seconds left and literally walked off the court Portland had the ball and the Celtics has walked off the court down 6 with 24 seconds left then the next night Toronto was down 9 with 16 seconds left and they were Russian to foul the guy so there’s just like sometimes I think it’s just it’s a weird situation so I don’t know if that’s necessarily some that analytics is changing maybe Toronto has an analytics department that says we’re gonna foul more and try to extend the game or maybe Boston’s just like look we’re an old ass team who plays tomorrow you’re just gonna go home and go to club yeah how just gonna go to sleep you know forget about going to the club we’re gonna go to sleep do you do you see changes like specifically around the NFL that we’re talking about you know we’ve all said a right scoring’s up I mean yeah I don’t need to be yeah no the scoring is up do you see that trend continuing like how have you guys adjusted to that I mean like there are certain teams like the Saints and the Packers and whatnot III actually do think it will continue to trend up for a little while I mean how much can it trend up but they just continue to make rule changes every single year to give the offense more advantage and affect what the defense can do and some of them are genuinely made for safety and I think they’re all actually genuinely made for safety with the NFL and the scrutiny that they’re under now but some of them are giving a real detriment to the to the defense and the problem with the defense is they’ve been taught one way their entire careers and suddenly they’re inflicted with these rules changes that affect the way they tackle and cover people and when they could put their hands on them and it’s giving a lot of advantages to the offenses that we’re seeing it in the passing game so I imagine until these rule changes all get settled and people start really getting adapted and have had been able to use them in college or you know longer in their careers then you’ll probably continue to see an upward trend for the short term at least so do you think that models built on historical data need to look back how many seasons in the NFL well I I know I don’t want to tell anyone how to build a model but I think no matter what more daunting of the model you should probably ask you know how you weight your older data is you know you need to be careful how you weight your older date right and you know especially in the NFL which is a rapidly evolving league I think Major League Baseball stayed fairly consistent in what they’ve done you know they don’t have a lot of rule changes the umpires the way they call balls and strikes haven’t changed much so your models probably stayed fairly you know viable over the last five years but if you had a five year equal weight model in the NFL you better go my god and be your five year model in baseball it’s going to have five years times 162 games that’s right the team where as the five year model the football is gonna have sixteen so what how would you advise someone to build I fell I’d like to do the thing where they put the dog food out and they give the dog a chance to see which ball he wants to come oh I mean the NFL to me is this like so random I don’t know I’m sure people beat it in a really good at but to me it’s like the most random I watch the game it’s like the most random thing ever well you know what’s interesting that people do and I don’t advocate doing this but they base their they they build models around situations and so you have you know situational betting that people do so over the past 35 years when X happens Y is the result that’s on a model that’s a secular model that’s a situational handycam situational but that was the closest ring okay where you can do with the NFL I think it can be good I mean if you look if you’re smart enough to know what is random and what isn’t random I was a situational handicapper I made all my money being a situational handicapper back in the day I wasn’t built easy explain what is what a situation might be I don’t know Team X maybe would play a certain way against the team they rated to win against versus a team they ready to lose games they played due to different styles so like I don’t talk about specific teams I don’t know I’m not trying to give you a I’m just saying I just want them to understand that situation so like in football maybe like in situation lost the game the night before no it could be like a it could be like a football team that’s a 17 or 14 point dog in the NFL some teams might play a lot lower scoring a lot more patient you know the type of thing where the coach says look in the second half are down 20 been one is in football in the second half of football game teams down 24 nothing at the half some teams situationally will say ok we’re going to try to play fast and get back and throw the ball and some things will just run the ball and just just give up that’s a situation that I think is valid betting second half football certain teams how they relate how they decide to play in the NFL based on what the score of the game is that how close they are or how far away they are in terms of being able to compete that’s something the Patriots are a good example the Patriots for a number of years when they’re up big would just completely shove the ball down the other team’s throat and come in and just obliterate them whereas the Steelers would just run the ball and run complete 40 seconds of play clock every time and use the full play clock and so those genic second half generally went under more than over when the Steelers are winning big versus when the Patriots are winning think that’s a situational handicapping do you guys worry about or do you have situational stuff in your models much yeah in second half sir really I think halftime wagers especially in the second half we’re obviously the most vulnerable situation for sports books and like Bob mentioned those games where they’re really the first half is way out of whack with what the whole game line should have been is where you can become vulnerable and you have to kind of make a gauge as to what’s happening in the game at that point it’s very tough to make a line you’re having to put the line up within 35 to 40 seconds right the better can sit there and wait 15 minutes to decide won’t even do his research decide whether he wants to make a bet I thought that was nicer than that he supported you like that I were warming up to each other I’m just I’m just like mad yesterday I think he’s a great guy I’m just like I’m just I was just disappointed cuz I literally flew all the way out here because I saw this to bed of a billion dollar I said he would take like any amount of money I was like I got to come back from Europe and get to this panel because I don’t my might have to move to Vegas move back to United States forgettable I was hoping you’d bring like a case I don’t got the war oh I’d have to find some investors he already said I’m losing all my money this your basketball so I’m hoping to meet someone here you can take a flash right yeah does any any audience people have a question at all I get hung does so the question was going to fell the question is is the three point the traditional three points for a home home field is that an antiquated notion now no I don’t necessarily maybe in the NFL it seems like it in the last couple years it sort of had a abnormality in the amount of Road teams covering against favorite teams and the distinction may be out of line with what a longer model would produce but I think in collegiate football still I mean there’s nothing like a home field advantage I think in the NFL the answer is yes depending on the team the home field for the Jacksonville Jaguars is not worth three points but home field for the Packers is still worth three points or maybe more and I think that what you’re seeing is certainly bookmakers I talked to our understanding that a little bit more and they are weighing that a lot more heavily because they recognize no one’s going to those games and there’s no advantage to playing at home there so why give them all why automatically give them three points there’d be much more proactive about that what do you what sports scare you the most what support scare us the most again I think one of the most difficult sports from tip for us in our biggest challenge is probably collegiate basketball in November in December because these teams are playing out of conference schedules which are normally against teams like they have no history of playing against and our focus is so dispersed amongst a large it’s the time we’re on a Saturday you could have 300 games between hockey NBA college basketball NFL college football and you’re just spread so thin and I know that’s probably one of the biggest vulnerabilities and while I know a lot of Bob mentioned to golf and NASCAR and MMA and limits are so small ah yeah the limits are small and sports like golf and everything so there’s risk for people to be able to beat golf MMA boxing NASCAR and that kind of stuff but you know obviously there’s bloggers you know does a risk analysis and they just take smaller limits in those cases any other questions from the crowd yeah I want in the red over there yeah good I don’t think she’s going to answer that question uh what’s the largest bet you guys ever take I’m not allowed to talk about any individual bets we’re $1,000,000 any other questions so the question is how does the book book makers how do they adjust to new coaches that they have zero data on yeah well I think the books under the same challenge as the better is that they make a guess and that’s right and they go from there they rapidly adjust it based on the money coming in in the results that’s right sorry I wanted a question for getting out in they gave you guys Jake that’s pretty much it how do you adjust the new coaches I mean I think I make a guess and then I use my opinion and then as we start getting more data we start using less and less opinion more and more data right and then go from there so last question for you Bob what were for anyone actually what do you think that teams could learn most from professional gamblers I think it’s interesting because I’m pretty sure like talking to some of these teams I’m pretty sure that in my lifetime I’ve spent more money on analytics than some of these teams have so I think the one thing they could probably know I’m just being honest is the ones I thought I was listening overhearing a conversation when one team said they didn’t want to spend the ten thousand dollars it cost to run the cable to the sport new data to get the shot clock because there’s ten thousand dollars it was too much money to get the actual shot clock camera there they’re gonna wait till they renovated the arena and do it then because they’d save 10,000 whereas for me I’d be like oh my goodness that’s ridiculous I would just spend the ten thousand dollars the one thing I think you would learn is maybe just evaluating your prediction methods you know all these teams are running models and doing stuff they need some way of evaluating it and a good way of doing that is to evaluate against the point spread just look and see if they’re able to come up with a model based on players Worth and then test that against a point spread and they’re actually able to break even or do well against that then they know their model is probably decent that’s cool any you guys have any thoughts on that yeah I mean I think that there are some things to be learned from it as far as you know also fraud prevention and issues like that where teams you know as we look at you know the games that are attracting abnormal amounts of action why why does money suddenly come in on a game and is it injuries or is it data or you know because it’s interesting sometimes why does money randomly come in on the some of these games that normally aren’t better you don’t anticipate getting them on and you know I think that you know that stuff’s probably helpful to them as far as why are people better on your team and it was because of the players is because the team’s hot is because everybody loves Le. Bron or it is interesting after the trade line when the team requires a player to see how the perceived value of the team that they might have varies from the actual opening line that might be some no walk he’s a perfect example of that I mean because the trade deadline was so quiet this year Milwaukee acquired JJ reddick suddenly Milwaukee became like a talked about team where he’s seeing a lot more action on Milwaukee the futures prices dropped on him and it’s JJ ready James JJ reddick you honey I’ll give it this wasn’t Josh I’m a little take a rest okay thanks guys for the time..

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  • It is quite easy to do if you have a passion for it and really limit your game selection to 1 a day or even less. 200 or less picks a year 60% win rate is possible… the more picks you do the close you get to the 54% win rate against the spread or even lower… there is always 1 great bet out of about 30 games if you include all sports so…. find it and boom you will win in long run guaranteed…