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Ranking NBA Talent – “Who is currently the best player in the NBA?” is both a simple question and a daunting exercise. Analytical and conventional approaches have attacked answering it in multiple ways. The one set of rankings that seems to be the most trusted and accurate is called DARKO.
DARKO, or Daily Adjusted and Regressed Kalman Optimized projections, is an attempt to be forward-looking to determine who will play the most important roles for their teams, largely based upon box score and tracking data. As it currently stands, Milwaukee big man Giannis Antetokounmpo is #1 in DARKO, followed by Philadelphia standout Joel Embiid and Boston forward Jayson Tatum.
While Boston led the NBA in several defensive metrics throughout the regular-season, Milwaukee simply having Antetokounmpo is why the Celtics have never been heavy favorites to win that playoff series.
Kentucky Derby – Any elaborate bet should include the favorite. As the Courier-Journal has pointed out, the last nine post-time favorites have all finished fourth or better, and they have often won outright.
Zandon should be the favorite but Epicenter is not far behind (3-1 vs 7-2 odds, respectively). Two other horses with a chance to capture the first jewel of the Triple Crown were trained by controversial figure Bob Baffert: Messier and Taiba.
NFL Draft Grades – Let’s suppose you’re a Pats fan, and you’re looking at the post draft analysis on ESPN. Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. gives New England a C+, tied for worst among 32 teams. For example, he sees OG Cole Strange from Chattanooga as a reach at the end of the first round.
However, it doesn’t matter.
Benjamin Robinson looked at a variety of draft grades over seven years, and asked how well they predicted the future performance of the players. He used the Approximate Value by Pro Football Reference to evaluate players.
Robinson found no statistical relationship between draft grades and the AV of a team’s draft class. All hope is not lost for Strange though. Robinson developed a more robust linear model that suggests that players drafted by New England tend to overachieve.
MLB predictions – The Mets have surged out of the gate with a 19-9 record and +32 run differential. In addition, they will have Max Scherzer take the mound against Philadelphia.
The Power Rank’s MLB predictions give the Mets a 58.0% win probability over the Phillies. These predictions, which now incorporate data from the current season, are available around 10pm Eastern the night before games.
The markets opened with the Mets at -110 on Friday night, but have moved to -146 at FanDuel (59.3% break even probability).
Stanley Cup Playoffs – Currently, the Colorado Avalanche are still sizable favorites to hoist the cup next month, more for being well-rounded than necessarily having the best offense, defense or goalkeeping.
However, if you aren’t building your own models to try and beat the market, Micah Blake McCurdy tweets daily probabilities for playoff teams to win it all. Even if you aren’t betting on hockey these playoffs, the data visualization he puts together is swanky (technical term).
Sweet Rides – How would allowing athletes to make money off of their name, image and likeness affect college football? In one way, it’s given fans something unusual to talk about during the offseason.
Take Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who just signed an endorsement deal with Lamborghini of Austin. Arguably no one will have a better NIL deal. At least Longhorn football won something lately.
DraftKings stock price – A month ago, Jason Robins, the CEO of DraftKings, issued a stern warning for those who sold DraftKings stock.
The stock price of DraftKings was $17.38 when Robbins sent this tweet. The price closed at $13.15 at the close of the markets on Friday, May 6, a 24% decrease.
It’s not just DraftKings, as stocks have been down ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps the lesson is that executives should be cautious about making proclamations when non sequitur events happen.
Data driven betting information
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