Your weekly dose of sports betting tips and news, each Saturday at 10am Eastern.
Dodgers Futures – No conversation about this year’s World Series would be complete without mentioning the likelihood that the Boys in Blue win the pennant and a world championship. After all, the Dodgers have consistently had one of the better pitching staffs in MLB, whether it’s looking at basic box score numbers like ERA or Statcast metrics like xwOBA.
But, is it wise to invest in L.A. futures given how big a favorite they are? I broke down this idea in my latest FOX Sports piece and concluded now is not the best time. For starters, randomness makes their odds too expensive.
More importantly, there is value in San Diego to win the division (+330 on FanDuel). Not only are they also near the top of the N.L. West standings, they will get Fernando Tatis, Jr. back in June or July and are already getting an MVP-caliber season out of Manny Machado.
Indy 500 – “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will take place Sunday for the 106th time in its storied history. Not only does Scott Dixon have the pole position with one of the fastest times in qualifying history, he is one of the favorites (+650 on FanDuel, tied with Alex Palou for the shortest odds).
There’s another driver with a resume as impressive as anyone’s who may be challenging to handicap: Jimmie Johnson (+2100 on FanDuel, an increase in win probability from +2400). The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will make his debut at this race, starting on the outside of the fourth row.
How well do stock car driving skills translate to open-wheel racing? Other NASCAR drivers have finished as well as sixth (Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch), but as The Athletic pointed out, Johnson finished sixth at Texas Motor Speedway in his only other IndyCar start.
The story behind DARKO – Kostya Medvedovsky wanted to be a mathematician. However, he found it difficult to get into a PhD program because of his grades, which caused a lack of support from his professors. Instead, Kostya crushed the LSAT and was accepted at the University of Michigan law school.
As a patent lawyer, Kostya got interested in the NBA, and he developed the well respected DARKO projection system. On an episode of The Football Analytics Show, he talked about how machine learning weaves together two different models, one of which originated in helping rocket scientists get to the moon.
Since DARKO is essentially a PhD mathematics project, the joke is on Kostya’s undergraduate professors.
Time to Back the Oilers? – While Colorado and Tampa Bay remain among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, Edmonton is making a push (+550 per FanDuel). In roughly half of their playoff games, the Oilers have scored at least five goals.
Granted, the sample size is small going up against only two teams, but Money Puck has tracked individual expected goals per 60 minutes and found that three of the top six skaters are Oilers: Evander Kane, Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman. That Leon Draisaitl is also capable of producing suggests Edmonton will be a tough out the rest of the way.
Game 1 between Edmonton and Colorado starts on Tuesday.
The sports betting business – The Betstamp app makes money from affiliate deals with sports books. Betstamp sends the book customers, the book pays Betstamp a fixed amount per customer.
Betstamp will not take an affiliate deal in which they earn a fraction of the lifetime losses of a customer. In fact, Rob Pizzola, one of the co-owners of Betstamp, said they would not even accept a higher fee for a customer more likely to lose.
On an episode of the Bet the Process podcast, Rob talked about how Betstamp’s primary goal is to help players win. Because of this belief, Betstamp is unwilling to take certain types of affiliate deals even if this lowers revenue.
This episode of Bet the Process also had a multitude of thoughts from hosts Jeff Ma and Rufus Peabody on ethics in the sports betting business (yeah, they talked about touts).
Criticizing Analytics – On AppleTV+ baseball broadcasts, viewers are given probabilities at the bottom of the screen of a variety of outcomes from the next pitch (in an unobtrusive way). But, as you know, there are many ways to arrive at these probabilities. Are the ones these broadcasts giving the most accurate?
FanGraphs decided to analyze how well the AppleTV+ broadcasted model stacked up against other approaches, and found some serious discrepancies. This experiment is significant because if telecasts deliver probabilities that are wildly off, it will create doubters of any quantitative analyses, not to mention further criticisms that America’s Pastime has lost touch.
With so many blowouts these playoffs, perhaps the value in betting individual games is either taking the favorite to cover or the underdog on the moneyline. The reasons for the blowouts are complex, but as NBA betting legend Haralabos Voulgaris suggested, teams are placing too much emphasis on shooting threes, not resting sufficiently and naturally succumbing to variance.
Data driven betting information
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