Tuesday, March 4, 2014

#SSAC14 Betting Panel: David Frohardt-Lane


As you may have heard, the 2014 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was in Boston this past weekend, and one of the panels focused on sports betting. Throughout the week, I'm going to be taking a look at what each of the four panelists had to say, including transcripts, related tweets, my own commentary, and (if they're eventually free) YouTube clips.

David Frohardt-Lane (Twitter, SSAC profile) won the 2013 LVH SuperContest, finishing with a 55-26-4 record and taking home the top prize of $557,850. While it's possible for anyone to run really good for 85 (or 170!) picks, that doesn't look to be the case with Frohardt-Lane, who also went 58-23-4 in a similar Cantor contest in 2011, yet still doesn't appear to have any plans to go tout. He does have a day job, working at as a trader for 3Red Group.


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Jeff Ma (moderator, counting enthusiast): [Chad,] you obviously talk to a lot of sharps, is there one sharp...if you could bet on only one guy's games, who would it be, and why?

David Frohardt-Lane: Somebody who doesn't go on his show, maybe?


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Ma: Where does the value come from in the future for sports betting?

Frohardt-Lane: I think the value is approaching the whole process completely differently. I think the analytics are getting better and better, the edges available are just smaller and smaller. There will always be edge, you will always be able to figure out how to bet with positive expected value, but I think the edges you're chasing are just going to keep going down, to the point where it's not worth it.

At the same time, you just have to stop looking at it as, "I'm going to find value in an NFL line," you start looking at new stuff, like daily fantasy sports. I think the biggest opportunity in the world right now is in Europe, where they have these betting exchanges, where you're just going to be churning out volume constantly, it's kind of like high-frequency trading, you're going to be betting the game both ways like 20 times, and just trying to make a tiny bit on each transaction; there's big money there. But I think it's going away, just because people are getting smarter.

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Frohardt-Lane: I still think there is some analytical information that's probably not fully integrated into the betting market. I think if somebody could do a really thorough job of processing Pitch F/X data, and detecting when a pitcher is getting better, or worse, or learning a new pitch, that could be an edge. I still think there's some to be done on the analytical side, but, again, the edges are going to be smaller and smaller.

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53:30 Ma: Why have you never thought about being a professional sports gambler? Or have you?

Frohardt-Lane: I did. And then I decided to be a trader instead, and I had really mixed feelings about that, and I had a lot of regret, and then all of the sudden it became a lot tougher legally to do the gambling, so I was like okay, there goes my regret, it's okay, I can move on now.

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