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Monday, January 17, 2005

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Wagering on Basketball

There Is No Edge in Handicapping

There is no edge in handicapping regardless of the amount of knowledge you have. I have a sports service that has been in operation since 1984. I think the best year I ever had was about 64 percent or 65 percent winners. That means I lost 35 percent of the games I gave out and believe me, compared to national figures, that is a fabulous winning percentage. But the fact that I knew every single thing about the players, coaches, teams, and games I bet on doesn’t give me one tiny fraction of an edge.

The point I’m trying to make is that all the stats in the world and all the so-called garbage that can be produced do not really help the game that night. I like to read some genius sport, “Duke is 28-3 versus Virginia on the road, during the regular season, when giving 11 points or less. Virginia has covered 14 of its last 14 conference games when getting 16 points or more.”

“Duke is giving 17 points tonight and my choice is—!”

I can’t for the life of me figure out how a game played in 1992 has any bearing on a game played in 1999. My advice? Go back three games, take the total number of points given up by both teams, divide that by the number of foul shots missed, add the number of charging fouls, deduct 20 percent of the total attendance at these games, multiply by 6 the number of times the announcer says this is the greatest game he has ever seen.

Add that number to the total of 3-point shots made and add in the number of commercials during the last 3 minutes of the game. Finally, put the names of both teams in a hat and flip a coin to see whether you will play first or last piece of paper pulled. You have a 50-50 chance of picking the winner. When you decide on your choice, throw it out and bet the other side. That’s how I do my handicapping and look at how good I am.

Then comes the important part - how to bet! Personally, I use round robins, small three-team parlays, and flat bets to offset the final game of an open roundy or parlay. In other words, it is the same practice I use for baseball. If I reach a point where I win three to four days in a row, I will increase the amount of my round robins gradually:

  1. Start with $15 roundys
  2. After three winning days, go to $20 roundys
  3. After two more good days go to $40 roundys
  4. Somewhere along the line, drop back to a $20 roundy and then start back up
  5. If you hit a losing streak, stay at either $15 roundys or small $25 and $30 three-team parlays.

Did you get the idea that I put more emphasis on how you bet, rather than who you bet? You noticed that, huh? Well golly gee, you’re finally getting to realize what gambling is all about. I’m so happy, I could cry!

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