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Friday, 25 October 2013

How To Gain An Edge In Challenger Tennis Events

Getting an edge
Challenger Events mix raw young talent making their way up the tennis rankings alongside journeymen on their way down from the main ATP Tour. As such, Challenger Events present a unique challenge as well as opportunity to tennis bettors, and are a source of invaluable information for anyone betting on the main ATP circuit.

Available information – such as injury news – can be sketchy, while modest prize-money, more humble venues & small crowds add in complicated motivational and situational factors. This however represents a real opportunity to gain an edge for those bettors prepared to do the research.

Not so shocking shocks
Casual bettors may, for example, have been very surprised at Dan Evans' run at the 2013 US Open. Having been ranked as high as 367 in March, Evans came through three rounds of qualifying at Flushing Meadows before knocking out 11th seed Kei Nishikori (in straight sets) and world number 52 Bernard Tomic.

"The Challenger event name is well chosen ..a million miles from the glamour of the ATP Tour"
However, those who studied Evans’ form on the Challenger Tour leading into the US Open – making consecutive finals at the Vancouver Open and Comerica Bank Open – would have been less surprised. Evans’ performances are even less surprising with the knowledge that he had made important changes to his coaching team and in his previously wayward personal life.

Recent Challenger events have featured a former world no.8 – Radek Stepanek – who won in September in Orleans, and previous no.38 Donald Young who won back-to-back tournaments in California. At one time Young was considered one of the game’s hottest prospects before falling down the rankings, including a 17 game losing streak (the 3rd highest in Open era).

Another example of a challenger doing well recently is Vasek Pospisil. It’s no coincidence the Canadian won back-to-back Challengers – Johannesburg & Vancouver – before reaching the semi-final of the ATP 1000 Canada Masters.

Challenger in name & nature
The Challenger event name is well chosen – the environment is a million miles from the comfortable hotels and glamour of the ATP Tour. Jamaican born Dustin Brown won the AON Open Challenger on clay in September, and reached the 3rd round at Wimbledon in 2013 (beating Lleyton Hewitt), but those high profile results belie a career that has been a struggle. Dread-locked Brown has spoken of travelling around Europe in a campervan clawing a living by playing Challenger and Futures level events.

Understanding the difficulties that players like Brown face in just competing on the Challenger Tour is crucial. But those bettors that are prepared to do the research can utilise this kind of information to turn the challenge of Challenger Events into potentially significant rewards. Reason enough to start betting.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A Pro Gambler (Billy Walters) Explains How He Analyses A Game For Betting Purposes

Billy Walters is a very successful pro gambler having made millions over the last few years. In this video he explains some of the analytics he uses when betting.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

First Half (Five Innings) Baseball Betting Strategies

The great advantage of betting on the first five innings in baseball, otherwise known as the first half, is that your fate is in the hands of the two starting pitchers. This means you can safely ignore other, more random factors, such as the benches and both bullpens.

Baseball Strategy – Magnify Your Edge
First, if you have the advantage in the first five innings you can have a larger advantage than you would have in the entire game, because the situation in which you have that edge is magnified. If the line is in error, chances are that those later innings are minimizing that error, assuming the error does not originate from the bullpen.

The second half also introduces random elements out of your control that can cost you the win. Close games and blowouts have different dynamics late in the game. Wind conditions can change, there are substitutions and double switches. Early in the game, you can look at a known lineup against a known opponent and not worry about the rest of the game causing interference with the result of your bet.

This is also true in other sports. If you know that a team is likely to dominate the early going, especially the opening five in basketball or the early game plan in football, you can often get a far larger advantage by betting on the first half or first quarter of the game before things get randomized and teams adjust.

Baseball Strategy; Secondary Betting Markets
The second advantage is the benefit that always comes when you target a secondary betting market rather than a principal game line. As with alternate runlines and team totals, you get to focus on the first half line and study it.

In fact, you are probably giving far more thought to the line you’re thinking about betting than the sports book does when putting the line up. The sportsbook will be applying a formula and hoping it is close enough, but they can’t afford to deal an abnormal line until someone bets.

This lets you find opportunities where the first half line does not follow the moneyline or total for the game the way it normally should. Unlike runlines, there can be little question such differences exist. The big unknown is which ones are important and how much each of them is worth.

Baseball Strategy – Starting Pitching vs. Bullpens
The biggest factor is the starting pitcher versus the bullpens. If you have a strong bullpen, that helps you only in the second half, whereas a strong starter is mostly good for the first half.

When you see a particularly strong pitcher starting with a poor bullpen or vice versa, that’s a great time to look at betting the first half. Knowing how to properly compensate for this could allow a disciplined bettor to benefit in both directions. He could bet into seemingly fair lines when he has the advantage, and could safely take value when the lines have moved too far.

Of course, to do any of this you need a guide for what first half lines are supposed to be when betting baseball. Having five innings instead of nine reduces the edge of the better team. In exchange for that, they get the benefits of their usually stronger starter and the small mathematical edge that comes from ties.

The net result is that favorites for the game tend to be slightly smaller favorites for the first five innings. This effect remains small until about -150 (1.67) and gets sizable by -200 (1.50). It does not seem to matter whether the home or road team is the favorite.

Totals for the first half are trickier because in baseball, numbers are created anything but equal. The fact that 7 and 7½ are almost as different as 7½ and 8½ makes it hard to give an accurate rule of thumb to translate a game total into a first half total.

The later innings of the game tend to be lower scoring on average than the first five, and there are only four of them (plus extra innings), so more than half the runs will likely come from the first five innings. The result of this is that the first half total will be slightly more than half of the total for the game, once all numbers are adjusted to smooth out all irregularities.

Baseball Strategy – Get Good Numbers Quickly
As with all conversions, the best way to get good numbers quickly is to write down the betting lines a sports book is offering on a variety of baseball games. You can then use these historical lines as a guide to future games. You can even use this technique to learn about the market’s perception of a particular team.
For example, by analysing the first half lines traded at a sports book over two days, you can quickly gain an amazingly accurate ranking of the respective bullpens in MLB.

As usual, the usefulness of a line comes down to how well you understand it and what a good number would be; whether it lets you bet on what you like and against what you dislike, what the limit is and how thin it is being dealt (where thin means lower juice/commission). Use our betting calculator to find the theoretical hold for any market.

Baseball Strategy – Always Play at Best Price
Most bettors have learnt that betting the main game line is the way to obtain the best odds. Maximizing your use of all the resources available to find the best odds will pay dividends every bet you make.

As long as you’re playing for no more than a few dimes and choose the line you bet carefully, it is one of the easiest ways that any player can increase their potential winnings substantially, by simply playing at the best available price.