Tuesday, September 17, 2013

VFV's Adventures in Predicting NFL Line Movement With Darts (Week 2)

There is no shame in not being able to predict NFL line movement, There is plenty of shame, however, in pretending you can in a weekly column for ESPN.com (all my lines from Pinny):

Jets (+11) at Patriots (Thursday): By the time the Cowboys-Giants game ended Sunday night, the LVH was holding the line at 11, but the Wynn was at 12.5 and the William Hill chain was at 13 (and most offshores at those numbers as well). I expect this line to keep climbing but not go any higher than 13.

Line closed at Pats -10.5 -109 at Pinny.

Chargers (+6.5) at Eagles: This line was Philly minus-6.5 last week, re-opened 6.5 and looks solid (though obviously could be impacted by either team's performance Monday night). 

Way off, wrong side of 7, including these games pre-MNF is pointless, especially early in the season.

Browns (+6.5) at Ravens: This also looks solid at Ravens minus-6.5. It might have gone lower if the Browns hadn't lost 23-10 to the Dolphins as 2.5-point closing favorites, but they did.

-5.5 -109.

Dolphins (+3) at Colts: This is a solid minus-3 for the Colts at even money. This isn't likely to move to either 2.5 or 3.5 all week, so lay the lowest odds you can on the side you like.

"Isn't likely to move off 3" -> closes at IND -1 -113, good try, good effort.

Panthers (-3) at Bills: Similar situation here with the Panthers minus-3, even, on the road. Both teams played well in losing efforts to elite teams. This is more likely to dip to 2.5 than rise to 3.5[...]

Rose to -3.5 -101.

Rams (+6.5) at Falcons: This opened Falcons minus-6 or -6.5 most places here and offshore, but we saw movement toward a touchdown, so chalk players should lay it before it gets to 7, while dog bettors should wait.

Line closed at -4 -104. Can't make this shit up, folks.

Redskins (+6) at Packers: This looks like a pretty solid Packers minus-6, though William Hill made it -6.5. This could move a little depending on how the Redskins look Monday night.

Way off, wrong side of 7, including these games pre-MNF is pointless, especially early in the season.

Cowboys (+1) at Chiefs: This was pick-em a week ago, but the LVH upgraded the Chiefs to minus-1 after their blowout win at Jacksonville. After the Cowboys' win Sunday night, Kornegay said he thought he might raise it to minus-1.5 or -2 if Dez Bryant is out (he was injured late in the game).

Dez Bryant ended up playing (quite well, actually). Didn't stop the line from closing at -3 -117.

Vikings (+6.5) at Bears: This looks like a fairly solid Bears minus-6.5 with William Hill and some offshores at minus-6, so I'd expect it to dip instead of rising to a full TD.

Closed at -6 -108, so nailed it I guess?

Saints (-3) at Buccaneers: If you like the Saints, you'd better lay the minus-3 before it's gone. Late Sunday night, several books were already at minus-3 (with -120 attached to it) while the Wynn was already at minus-3.5. With the way the Bucs lost to the Jets and the Saints holding off the Falcons, this is almost certain not to stay at a field goal.

Stayed at a field goal (-3 -114).

Jaguars (+5.5) at Raiders: The LVH countered by going even higher at Raiders minus-5.5, but all of the early money has been coming in on the Raiders and pushing it to minus-6. It's going to be hard for bookies to find anyone willing to back the Jags, so it wouldn't be surprising to see this keep climbing.

Closed -3.5 -110 at Pinny, I guess they found someone willing to back the Jags?

Broncos (-4) at Giants: [D]on't be surprised to see this number drift higher, especially since William Hill already made it minus-4.5 before the Giants' game. This should be the case of "bet the favorite early if you like it/bet the underdog late." 

Highest line at Pinny was the opener, line closed at -3.5 +102, I guess this wasn't very good advice?

49ers (+3) at Seahawks: In Week 2's other marquee matchup, this one on Sunday night, this number has been Seahawks minus-3, has continued to be minus-3, and while I think the juice will be adjusted (and some books have shaded it toward minus-3, -120 on the Seahawks), I don't think any book will go off the key number.

Steelers (+6.5) at Bengals (Monday): As discussed above, this has been the biggest movement from the advance line. Normally I'd say that this can't be adjusted any further, especially since the Steelers have been a far more public team than the Bengals, but there are already indications that this could be moving to a full TD. That's how ugly the Steelers really looked. If the Bengals had held on to beat the Bears, we'd probably already be there.

Kind of nailed FNIA and MNF, I guess?


Monday, September 16, 2013

Is Safety Rating A Real Thing? An NFL Survivor Primer

Way back in 2008, for whatever reason, I decided to sign up for ESPN.com's Eliminator Challenge. After thinking about my Week 1 pick for probably five minutes, I decided the strategy behind the contest was somewhat interesting, and decided to write a blog post about Week 2. Those two picks both won, as did the next 15.

This unlikely streak had two effects. Most immediately, it thoroughly annoyed me that I hadn't profited from going 17-0, as I was only in the free ESPN contest, and lost the tiebreaker.

The more lasting effect was that my shiny 2008 record caused people to think I knew what I was doing when it came to NFL Survivor contests. Which certainly wasn't the case at the time, and remains overstated even now. But here we are, five years later, and I'm still writing these posts. Considering that most of the people reading at this point surely weren't doing so in '08, and even then I never spelled out (had?) an overall strategy, now seems like as good a time as any to do just that.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How Not To Handicap A Prop Bet (2013 Edition, V2)

Barnwell, Vegas, props, #notthattricky, etc etc etc. Go:

The NFL season might have started yesterday, but today is the day for my annual NFL over/under and assorted (likely losing) bets column.

Life is so great. What did I ever do to deserve this?

This is the third year I've done this column for Grantland...

Absolutely mind blowing that this guy has been allowed to write about wagering on sports for more than a paragraph, let alone three years.

As a result, a line that opened with the Chiefs over 7.5 wins at a price of -115 rose to the point where it ranged from -175 to -195 at the books I visited during my week in town.

This sentence may not seem notable now, but please remember it for later.

Last year, the bets I chose to make would have lost 5 percent of their value had I not been robbed of the tickets.

I had honestly forgotten this ever even happened. What a pro. I'm the single least responsible person you will ever meet and I've never lost a ticket in my life.

Let's get started with one that looks great right now!

Okay Bill, I'm ready for some math. Let's do this.