Ok, another bad week for me in the NFL, I went 1-4 in my Supercontest, while my actual bets went for a loss of 4.08 pts.
And how should I respond to these turn of events?
- Throw my toys out of the pram, claim it’s a stupid game anyway and I’m taking no further part?
- Stay calm as I’m “due a good week”
- A period of reflection
Option 1 was pretty tempting. I don’t believe in the Gambler’s Fallacy so that rules out option 2. I think I’ll go with option 3.
Am I making square bets? Or am just on the receiving end of some bad variance?
Let’s have a look at my Supercontest picks this past week.
- Philadelphia Eagles -2.5 at Dallas Cowboys – Win
The only win this weekend, and it came in overtime.
- Chargers -4 v Chicago Bears – Loss
The Bears were the better team and deserved to win, no arguments here on that one.
Now check out these next results
- New York Jets -6.5 v Jacksonville Jaguars – Loss
While the Jaguars did have 146 more offensive yards, they turned it over 4 times more than the Jets. The Jets didn’t turn it over at all and still “only” won by 5 points.
- Pittsburgh Steelers -4 v Oakland Raiders – Loss
This one’s even worse: The Steelers had 157 more offensive yards and had 2 less TOs than the Raiders, yet they only won by a last second FG.
- St. Louis Rams +1.5 at Minnesota Vikings – Loss
The way things are going, if I oppose the Vikings every week, they’ll end up winning the SuperBowl! This was the biggest shafting of the weekend. Check out the stats: The Rams had more offensive yards and won the turnover battle, yet still managed to lose the game.
Do you know how rare that is?
Without taking into account team strength or who’s playing at home (yes I know these are both important) if a team has more offensive yards, and wins the TO battle they win 92.3% of the time!
This is only the 3rd such game this season. The first was the Colts beating the Jags in week 4, and then in week 6 when the Minnesota Lucky Bastards Vikings beat Kansas City. I’ve been saying for a few weeks that the Vikings are average/overrated, they’re very fortunate to be 6-2, they’ve had 2 victories that using some broad stats suggest they should lose 92.3% of the time.
BUT the above is looking at the outcomes rather than the process.
Pointing at the Vikings’ lucky victory isn’t the best argument to make to say that Rams +1.5 was a good bet. (By good I mean +EV). There’s a range of possible outcomes. It’s not as if Minnesota fluking a victory in that fashion was the only outcome that could have happened. I’m positive that out of all the possible outcomes, betting St Louis +1.5 would be a winner the majority of the time.
While I assure you that my numbers said that my picks were value, I’m not going to run you through them to check my maths. But we can compare the lines I chose compared to the closing line at Pinnacle. The closing lines at Pinnacle will be very close to the true probability. Beat the closing lines at Pinnacle, and you’re doing well.
- Rams +1.5 (Closed +1.5)
- Steelers -4 (-5.5)
- Eagles-2.5 (-3)
- Jets -6.5 (-7)
- Chargers -4 (-4)
- Bills -3 (-4)
- Steelers -4.5 (-5.5)
- Giants -2.5 (-1.5)
- Eagles-3 (-3)
- Chargers -4 (-4)
- Jets -7 (-7)
- Denver -3.5 (-4)
- Atlanta -4.5 (-7.5)
- Rams 2.20 (2.11)
- Panthers 2.20 (2.15)
The only play that was worse than the closing line was the Giants, and that was one of the few winners! As I mentioned before, +EV bets are not guaranteed winners. I’ve had a bad few weeks on the NFL and I’m down, but over a much larger sample of the last few seasons, I’m up.
It’s time to employ a stiff upper lip and carry on.