If you can’t trust a bookmaker to have the highest standards of morals then what’s the point of anything?!
While I’ve made my feelings known about FOBTs before, actively encouraging someone with a clear problem is not cool. To say the least. This is a story about one particular bookie and one “Customer A”, but this is happening around the country on a daily basis to a certain extent. It’s common for shops’ best customers to receive free cups of tea, and I’ve heard of instances where a selection of sweets is made available for FOBT customers. The implication being that losing customers are welcome, and use of highly –EV FOBTs is encouraged. Obviously not all users of FOBTs are problem gamblers in the sense that their problem is with addiction, but they do have a problem in that they are clearly a mug.
This story reminds me of a tale I was told many years ago. A friend of a friend was renowned problem gambler, and one major high street bookmaker’s paid for a golfing holiday to Spain for him and a few of his friends, with the purpose of him solely betting with them. He had a nice time, and he only gambled with them, and he ended up losing around £100k and he’s probably still on his debt management program.
We’ve just had the All Star Break in the NBA so it’s a decent time to check in on my season bets and look ahead to the remainder of the regular season.
Check out my season preview from October: NBA 2015/16 Season Preview. It has the bets I’ve got on and some blurb. I’ve put on some bets on since that I’ll add here.
Season Win Totals
Lets start off with a nice overview of each team’s expected Win% based on the pre-season win total lines, compared to their current win%:
Portland are doing the best compared to their pre-season expectations, and have already hit the over (green). More on Portland later. Houston have already hit the under as if they won every single remaining game, they’d only have 54 wins.
Boston Celtics 42.5 games – Over (Should Win)
Currently 32-24 (57%). Need to go 11-15 (42%) or better for the over.
I mentioned before that I thought this was the best Season Win Totals bet. I’m confident that it’ll hit looking at their remaining schedule, and they have 14/26 games at home.
Charlotte Hornets 32.5 games – Over
I would have bet the shit out of the over. But then MKG got injured, he’s out for the season so I ‘m avoiding this one now. He’s their best player, great defender and underrated. With him they would have certainly won more than 32 games. They could probably still do it.
MKG was supposedly going to be out for the whole season. He came back at the end of January, playing 29 mins per game…er ok, nothing to see here. He’s injured again and out for season, again. So I expect he’ll be playing again next week.
Charlotte only need to win another 5 games to hit their Over. I expect them to make the playoffs. They could provide an upset in the first round of the playoffs if they end up with a 5-7 seed, providing Batum’s healthy, he’s clearly their best player now.
Minnesota Timberwolves 25.5 games – Over (Very likely a loss)
Currently 17-39 (30%). Need to go 9-17 (35%) or better for the over.
They started 8-8 but it’s been downhill from there really. Looking at their remaining fixtures I can’t see them winning 9 games. I don’t know where to start with this team… so much is/was going well: Towns looks amazing: a future MVP. Wiggins looks good. LaVine has the ability to be a good player if not the brains. Rubio can’t shoot but is still an important player and has played a lot more games this season. But their bench is terrible and they are coached by a moron in Sam Mitchell:
Sorry, wrong Sam Mitchell! But she wouldn’t do a much worse job. Coach Sam Mitchell can’t even be trusted to buy a suit that fits! Appointing him on a full-time basis would be a disaster.
LA Lakers 29.5 games – Under (Should almost certainly Win)
Currently 11-45 (20%). Need to go 19-7 (73%) or better for the over.
Looking back now, it’s laughable that the line was 29.5 games. What has been a train wreck of a season has been overshadowed by the Kobe Bryant Retirement travelling circus.
Portland Trailblazers 26.5 games – Over (Already Won!)
There’s no way Portland are going to be a team that wins less than 27 games.
Miami Heat 46.5 games – Under (Could go either way)
Currently 31-24 (56%). Need to go 16-11 (59%) or better for the over.
Could go either way but I’m optimistic of a win as Bosh is out indefinitely with a re-occurrence of blood clots, and Wade is finally starting to miss some time as per usual. Plus their points differential is much better than their W-L record.
Oklahoma City Thunder 57.5 games – Under (Could go either way)
Currently 40-15 (73%). Need to go 18-9 (67%) or better for the over.
I’m optimistic of a win despite them having to go worse than 67% (!) as they have to play 17/27 on the road. Out of the 10 remaining home games, 5 are against Cleveland, GSW, San Antonio and the Clippers (twice). Plus the Thunder are 6 games behind the Spurs & 4 in front of the Clippers so it’s very likely that they’ll end up with the 3rd seed. So if Donovan is smart he’ll rest/restrict minutes for KD & Russ for the playoffs.
Rookie of the Year
A few weeks into the season it was clear to me that Karl Anthony Towns was the best rookie. So I backed him at 3.50 even after his price had dropped from the pre-season highs at 8-1 (IIRC).
It looks extremely likely that he’s gonna win the ROY.
Most Blocks per Game
I put some money on Rudy Gobert at 3/1. The thinking was that with increasing his minutes this season he would get more blocks. That has happened, slightly, but Whiteside’s blocks have gone through the roof and he’ll win this award easily.
Whiteside’s such a stats whore: he’s more interested in blocking shots than contesting shots. If he has no chance of a block he won’t even put a hand up sometimes. He also values rebounds over boxing out. There’s been some chat this season about his underwhelming on/off numbers this season.
Coach of the Year
Ok I backed Stevens at odds around 12/1 pre-season. As I was high on Portland I thought that they were in with a chance of sneaking the 8th seed. Rather that put money on Portland to make the playoffs, I figured a better shot would be to back Terry Stotts for COY at 100/1: If they made the playoffs after losing 4 starters and being projected to win 27 games then Stotts gets COY. Only put a small amount on that happening, unfortunately in hindsight.
Ok so who’s in contention for COY?
The rules to the COY:
It usually goes to the coach of the team that has won the most games.
Well this is GSW but you can’t give the coach of the year to Kerr when GSW went 39-4 with Luke Walton coaching as Kerr was out having back surgery. GSW are so good that my Grandmother could coach them to a similar record as long as she had 5 players on court and played Curry around 35 mins a night. GSW are having a historically great season, and the Spurs slightly less so, so could you give the award to one over the other?
or the coach of the team with the most “unexpected” wins (Actual wins – expected wins)
Check out the graphic at the top of the page. Portland is leading in the most “unexpected wins” so far, and have a very good chance of making the playoffs. If they make it, Stotts is COY.Obviously the strength of the coach goes into what the betting market thinks the win total line is/should be. Boston wouldn’t have had a line of 42.5 wins with their squad without a coach as good as Stevens. So Stevens is still in with a chance if Boston can get a highish seed for the playoffs.
It does not go to the coach of the defending champs*
Rules out Kerr
And nobody wins back to back COY. NOBODY!
Rules out Budenholzer, not that he’s in with a chance.
*The only coach of the reigning NBA champions to win COY was Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics back in 1964/65.
Last week whilst reading the post CTE – Countdown to Easter over at the Green All Over blog, there was something that I agreed with and wanted to comment on further.
As for the Super Bowl, I have to say that I am with James on this. When Channel 4 started covering the game in 1983, I would stay up for the whole thing for the next few years, but my enthusiasm for the sport has faded since then.
One reason is that the game just takes so long, and while it’s not so bad when you’re at home and have other distractions, watching a game live is frankly quite tedious (although the college version is much more fun).
Unlike its cousins, rugby or proper football, there is just no flow to the professional game. The frequent and lengthy stoppages are perfect for advertisers, and were also perfect for trading in the pre-court-siding era, but they don’t do anything to make the game watch-able.
My enthusiasm is fading also. Whilst I can easily watch the Red Zone for a few hours, there’s no way a single live game can hold my full attention. As previously mentioned here before:
..the other week I was watching the Cavs blow out the 76ers rather than watch the NFL. Plus I didn’t have any bets on the Cavs-76ers game. That says it all really. I’d rather watch the 76ers with no wager than the NFL.
The main issue I have with watching a single NFL game is that it is long and generally boring, with few moments of excitement. I wondering the about the following recently and found that on average; a game lasts 3 hours 10 mins, the game clock is only 60 minutes though. But guess how long the ball is actually in play?
The average game lasts 190 minutes but you’re only getting 11 minutes of action. The ball is only in play 6% of the time. That’s ridiculous. How inefficient is that?! And how does it stack up against the other major sports? After some Google searches we get:
So at one end you have the “beautiful game” where (according to the 2014 World Cup) the ball is is play for 52% of the time, and the game lasts 110 mins. At the other end is “America’s game” where the average game last 190 mins and the ball is only in play 6% of the time.
Now this isn’t an exact science. You could easily pick up flaws with most of the figures shown above such as:
There’s “dead time” in soccer included when a team is passing the ball around at the back with little pressure. The stat is from the World Cup, but I’d bet that soccer would still have the highest in play % when looking at a wider range of competitions.
The NBA stats do not include the time taken for free throws. You may argue the free throws are “boring”, but not when you have a wager on, and I’d rather watch free throws than adverts.
The tennis stats come from the US open. The ball will most likely be in play longer on clay courts.
The MLB stats were being generous, see the note below.
Despite any flaws, you’ve got a good idea of where these sports stack up against each other in this regard. I’m not saying that the best sport would maximise the amount of time the ball is in play. I think it builds tension & excitement when you have stoppages towards the end of a close game. Like what you get in basketball. The point I wanted to make is that the next time you sit down to watch a game of football, 94% of the time, you won’t really be watching football.
NFL: ball in play is “between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials”
MLB: “The almost 18-minute average included balls in play, runner advancement attempts on stolen bases, wild pitches, pitches (balls, strikes, fouls and balls hit into play), trotting batters (on home runs, walks and hit-by-pitches), pickoff throws and even one fake-pickoff throw. This may be generous. If we’d cut the action definition down to just the time when everyone on the field is running around looking for something to do (balls in play and runner advancement attempts), we’d be down to 5:47.”
It’s All Star weekend in the NBA. So while there’s no decent basketball on for about a week, I’ve had a look at the odds for the events this weekend to see if there’s anything worth betting on… but I’ll mainly be advising what NOT to bet on for all you degenerates out there.
3 Point Contest
Steph Curry is the hot favourite to win this. He’s the best shooter in the world right now, possibly the greatest ever. But if you’re backing him to defend his title here at around evens then you are mental. He’s entered this contest 5 times and won it once. Top shooters in the league, including all the guys entering, will all be able to hit 3 after 3 when uncontested and shooting repeatedly from the same spots. Check out below:
If there was an option to lay Curry at Evens I’d take it, there isn’t, so no bet here…what do you mean “that’s boring”?! ok if you can’t watch this without a bet on, pick a long shot like Harden or Middleton at 16/1.
Bosh is out and has been replaced by CJ McCollum. There’s still odds avaible on Bosh but none on CJ which tells you how much attention the bookies, and the public give this event.
Update: Curry din’t win. Klay Thompson did.
Zach LaVine is the red hot favourite to defend his title. If there’s one thing that LaVine is good at, apart from taking contested long 2s, then it’s dunking. He’s best priced at 1.40. I was sure that was too low, but check the stats from the 4 players’ draft combine:
Shows you why Zach LaVine is such a short priced fav, still wouldn’t back him at 1.40 though.
Update: Zach LaVine won, edging out Gordon.
A big has never won the skills challenge. All past winners are all guards. Obviously due to the fact that this is a time-based challenge and bigs aren’t as quick as guards. It’s the only event that backing the favourite appeals somewhat; Isaiah Thomas at 3/1. Or you could dutch a combination of guards as half the field are bigs. But Beverley has been replaced by Mudiay, which has been updated by any market…
Update: Isaiah Thomas choked in the final, Towns won. A big won!!
The All Star Game
The ASG is just a glorified exhibition, there’s going to be a lots of shots put up with very little defence. So I wouldn’t be backing the West to win at 1.45. The total for this game is 314.5! Which is huge, but looking at the past totals it actually looks a little low.
Speaking of jacking up lots of shots and playing no defence, not only has Kobe Bryant farcically been named a starter, but he’s favourite for the MVP. The best price you can get is 3.25. If your backing him for the MVP then there are no words… Fan votes only counts towards 25% of the MVP.
The MVP usually just goes to the player who scores the most points, or 2nd/3rd most points with a load of assists/rebounds. Kobe’s gonna jack up a lot of shots in his final ASG but so will plenty of other players, and they’ll be more successful than him. I wouldn’t fancy backing Curry either as the 2nd favourite. I would recommend some of the long shots: Wade (66/1)and Melo (40/1) both start for the East and like to shoot. Draymond Green has the most triple doubles in the league (50/1) but doesn’t start and probably won’t score enough points. 2nd in the Triple double stakes isn’t Ice Cube but Westbrook.
Russ starts fro the West and will score plenty, get a lot of alley oops and generally pad out his stats, he’s 8/1.
Update: 369 points were scored, so the Over won easily. And Westbrook won the MVP again. Nice.
Prior to the work Away Day the markets and lines are as follows:
Exact Time the away day would start
It was supposed to start at 9:30 so I set the line at 9:35, these things never start on time. You usually have everyone there queuing up to get enough caffeine in the way of coffee to keep themselves awake.
Line was 9:35 and Jon, the guy betting, took the over…I think I would have done the same if him.
Result: Amazingly the gods smiled, the planets all aligned and the meeting started on time! 1-0
Number of people to be present in the room at the start
The total number of people invited was 15, I checked the holiday records and no one had chosen the day-off route to get out of this. I set the line at 13 as there’s usually a couple of people who turn up late. Jon took the over.
Result: 14 people were present at the start. I had been hoping for some heavy traffic, but to no avail. 1-1
Number of F words to be spoken (out loud not including us two)
Pauline, some girl at work was dropping the F-bomb all over the place other week, but seeing we’re in a more formal setting I set the line at 0.5. He took the under. Pity, I was hoping he would take the over. I began thinking of ways to slyly provoke Pauline into a foul mouthed tirade…
Result: Unsurprisingly considering the setting, the F bomb wasn’t deployed by anyone. 1-2
Number of people to leave the room to take a phone call (must have mobile in hand, not including us two)
I set the line at 1.5. There’s definitely going to be at least one person who’ll need to take an urgent phone call to prevent the end of the world. He took the over.
The usual suspect’s phone went off early in the morning. And the ponce theatrically left the room with a ”oh look at me, I’m so important I need to take this urgent phone and single handily avert a disaster”. While this was happening Jon was looking at me all smug, thinking he was sure to win this bet with the rest of the day to follow.
Result: Fortunately for Flash Bet Ltd there were no more impending disasters. 2-2
Exact Time the away day would finish
The whole farce, er I mean Away day was supposed to finish at 4:00pm. As if that was possible… I set the line at 4:45 hoping to lure him into taking an over inflated line. He did, the square!
Result: When you’ve spent all day scraping the barrel, and everyone knows it, you actually finish on time. Which is a great result all round. 3-2
The final result is a whopping profit of £5.90. This Bookmaking lark is easy! Think I’ll branch out and get a couple of FOBTs in the canteen!