Your weekly dose of curated sports betting tips and news, each Saturday at 10am Eastern.
Closing line value – On The Football Analytics Show, Spanky, a professional sports bettor and host of the Bet Bash conference, talked about how the Super Bowl is a different beast for sports books.
For this game, the sports books follow the conventional wisdom that most people think is true for all games: an equal amount of money on both sides of the spread. The handle for the Super Bowl is so large that sports books are pleased with the profits from a price of $110 to win $100.
Spanky said that this type of book balancing may also apply to postseason games like the conference championships. However, this does not apply to a typical NFL game, a contest in which the sports books want to side with the sharp bettors. One consequence of this is that closing line value matters in the NFL, despite claims to the contrary this season.
College basketball prediction – If you’re looking for an underdog to back in college basketball, The Power Rank suggests Notre Dame +6. The Irish protect the basketball with one of the lower turnover rates in the country. They also own the defensive boards and avoid fouling on defense.
Wake Forest has home court and the 51st most efficient offense by adjusted points per possession, the Fighting Irish should cover. However, the ensemble model, which has been more accurate by rms error than the more aggressive Elo model, predicts only a 3.4 point win for Wake Forest.
The Great American Race – Betting on the Daytona 500 may be even more volatile than usual (it hasn’t stopped our friend Jim Sannes from offering his insights). Drivers will be in the new Next Gen cars for the first points race of the season. Some of the differences include bigger tires, one lug nut instead of five and a more durable body.
While this last point might keep drivers on the track longer, there is one issue: many organizations do not have enough backup rides. One observation from the race in Los Angeles two weeks ago was that out of contention drivers remained more cautious, because that same car could be used at Daytona.
It may be possible we will see that same cautiousness, although it is the Daytona 500. Regardless, the trend of avoiding drivers near the front of the lineup may be bucked. Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski has the sixth-lowest odds to win at +1500 (per FanDuel Sportsbook). Austin Cindric, also in the front row, is +3100.
NBA Injuries – In preparation for a Bally Sports West segment on the injuries for the Los Angeles Clippers, I came across an interesting cumulative list on spotrac.com: Cash Earned While Injured. This metric looks at how much money has been wasted on players due to injury.
Historically, teams low on this list have done well in the playoffs. Last year, Milwaukee and Phoenix were 20th and 30th, respectively, on this list, meaning the most expensive players were available. During the bubble season, the Lakers and Heat were 7th and 20th.
Which teams stand out for the current season?
- Boston Celtics – 28th in salary wasted, 6th in Eastern Conference
- Minnesota Timberwolves – 27th in salary wasted, 7th in Western Conference
How to deal with losing – In an article on being a professional sports bettor, Jack Andrews, co-founder of Unabated, had some tips for dealing with the loss of confidence that comes with losing streaks.
Andrews insists it’s ok to take a break from betting. Focus on a hobby, or just do nothing until you no longer feel cursed. He also recommends lowering bet size, although this is suboptimal for long term growth.
In his comprehensive article, Captain Jack has a broad range of advise on the mentality of a professional sports bettor.
Diagnosing NBA Defenses – On a recent episode of the “Nerder, She Wrote” podcast on The Athletic NBA Show, a question was posed if defensive stats in basketball have any value. These stats are inherently noisy, and a player with fewer blocks or steals may actually be a better defender.
The take home lesson: instead of using FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR ratings to make an argument that a specific player is a great defender, use these ratings as a guide for further investigation. While RAPTOR claims Nikola Jokic is the second-best defender this season, it might make more sense to look at how FiveThirtyEight reaches that conclusion. Defensive stats do not show how often it forces a shooter NOT to make a shot or forces a shooter into a bad shot, but then miraculously makes it.
In other words, watch the games.
Bet Bash – While the first Bet Bash was a single night in Newark, host Spanky has leveled up for the second edition. Bet Bash 2 is a four night extravaganza at the Circa in Las Vegas over Final Four weekend.
This is the ultimate opportunity to meet people in the sports betting world. For more details, click here.
Data driven betting information
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