July 2012


Sports picksJuly 27, 2012

All That Glitters – Predicting Olympic Medal Count

Want to place some bets on the Olympic final medal counts? Here are some potentially great bets!

A Colorado College economics professor has updated his Olympic medal prediction system, and has released his new findings in time for the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Games.

Over the last six Olympic Games, Colorado College economist, Daniel K.N. Johnson, has predicted Olympic medals count to an astounding 93% accuracy. This edition has the US on top of the medal count, followed by China, Russia and the Games’ host country, England coming in fourth.

Of all the factors Johnson uses to predict a country’s medal count, it surprisingly does not include athletic ability as one of the factors for Olympic medal success.

But aren’t the Olympics all about the best in athletic prowess? Well, yes and no. Johnson’s model uses only non-athletic data to make forecasts. This all-telling data includes per capita income, population and the advantage of hosting the Games, or proximity to the host country.

This Games’ edition has abandoned political structure and climate in favor of a couple of fresh indicators. One of those is a host-nation’s advantage. As sports bettors, we are all too familiar with the concept of the home-field advantage. This key characteristic pre-dates and post-dates the Games actually hosted. Johnson’s updated system also includes a “cultural specific factor” which helps to balance out the model’s under-predictions of larger contingencies like Australia and China.

Johnson has said that the model is used to help countries set realistic expectations for their Olympians. His philosophy plays right into one of the key tenets of sports betting in general.

We often refer to the Cardinal Rule of sports betting which says to leave your emotions, and loyalties (in this case, patriotism), at the door and bet with your head. By knowing and understanding your country’s expectations, and yes, limitations, we can execute more accurate and sound wagers.

Another trait of Johnson’s model that plays in to sports betting is using past results to predict future outcomes. Check this out: During the 2008 Beijing Games, Johnson forecast that the US would top the overall medal count, and predicted that the Stars and Stripes would claim 103 medals. The result? The US won 110.

His prediction that China would top the gold medal count also came to fruition, as they claimed 51 golds for seven more than the 44 predicted.

His nail-on-the-head predictions were also evident during the 2004 Athens Olympics, as he forecast that the United States would garner 103 medals, with 37 gold. How did he fare? Try 100% as the US contingent won exactly 103 overall medals (35 gold).

Johnson also predicted that Russia would win 94 medals – it won 92. For the 2000 Sydney Games, he predicted 90 medals for the U.S., with 33 gold. The Americans won 97 (39 gold). For Australia, the host, he predicted 54 overall medals. Australia celebrated with 56.

As a result of this information, I have been able to isolate some potentially good bets for this year’s edition of world’s games. Putting these bets into play will go a long way towards turning a country’s gold, into green for your pocket.

Please remember that in order to make these wagers, you have to buy into what Johnson is preaching. I’ll reiterate that I haven’t done any independent analysis to verify or refute what he has written. But, it does seem credible to me. You can make up your own mind.

Even if Johnson’s model is predictive, randomness always plays a role in outcomes like this. Thus, we’ll look for a healthy “cushion” between his predictions and the going line, in order to give us a good shot at winning.

Possible good bets for these Olympic Games, based on an analysis of the model and current lines/odds:

  • Most gold medals: China (odds: +150 available at TopBet)
    • The model predicts China getting 33 gold medals compared to the US receiving 34. So, on what is essentially a coin toss, take the +150 odds.
  • United States under 38.5 gold medals (odds: -145 at Top Bet, Diamond and Bovada)
    • Johnson’s model predicts 34, giving us a 4.5 medal (13%) cushion
  • China under 36.5 gold medals (odds: +150 at Diamond, WagerWeb and Bovada)
    • The model predicts 33, giving us a 3.5 medal (11%) cushion
  • Germany over 15.5 medals (odds: -110 at Diamond and Bovada)
    • The Johnson model predicts 19, giving us a 4.5 medal (23%) cushion
  • Australia under 13.5 medals (odds: -210 at WagerWeb)
    • The model predicts 8 medals, so we get a 5.5 medal (69%) cushion. The cushion is huge here, but it is partly negated by the long odds (laying $210 to win $100). If you don’t mind laying those odds, this one seems like the biggest gimme on the board.
  • Most gold medals Germany vs. Australia: Germany (odds: -225 at Bovada)
    • Johnson’s model predicts 19 gold medals for Germany vs. just 8 for Australia. Similar to the Australia bet above, you have to lay long odds here, but the chances of winning the bet seem very high.


Basketball picksJuly 20, 2012

Why the 2012 USA Basketball Olympic Team will lose & won’t get the gold medal

Why the 2012 USA Basketball Olympic Team will lose & won’t get the gold medal

If you listen to the radio, you will know that we have another “dream” team heading out to the Olympics to represent the United States. The 2012 version has a lot of flash, but it lacks the substance of other national teams. When you think back to the original version of the Dream Team, you think about a dominant force in 1992 that ran through the competition. The 2012 version will not repeat that feat. Instead, they will fall just short of gold, claiming some other medal in the process.

 

Lacking big things down low

So why won’t the 2012 version win gold? The answer is multi-faceted. First, the 2012 team does not have the chops down low to make it happen. With some of the injuries that the team has suffered, they are left with some undesirable guys playing down low. The injury to Anthony Davis makes things even worse, as he would have at least provided some defensive presence for the club to lean on. They will lose because of bad interior defense and a lack of rebounding. This might not bite them in the early rounds, but it will eventually cost them an important game at some point in the process.

 

Beware the Spanish strength

Another reason why the 2012 team won’t win the gold has to do with the strength of the Spanish club. The Spanish team has the strength to pick on the US where it is weak. Think about the Gasol brothers doing big things down low. There is a lot of good stuff going on with a Spanish team that seems to have a lot of chemistry. This is the primary reason why the US will fail to win the big medal. They are going to run into a legitimate NBA team in the Spanish, and they will not be able to overcome some of their weaknesses in that game.

 

A problem with chemistry

The problem for the US is that the team’s sum is less than the parts would indicate. When you look at the roster, you see a lot of individual talent. You see guys who dominate NBA games with regularity. The problem is that they do not mesh together all that well. This team was not put together with complimentary pieces. Instead, they will clash to a certain extent. This is why the sum of the US team will be less than the parts. The chemistry issue is one that should afflict them as they face clubs that have been together for much longer. The Spanish, in particular, will be able to take advantage of this significant weakness.

Need free NBA picks against the spread?

 

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “



Baseball picksJuly 19, 2012

Why the New York Yankees won’t win the 2012 World Series

Why the New York Yankess won’t win the World Series

 

The New York Yankees are typically the favorite to win the World Series every single year. In most years, that is the right call. They are usually the best team in baseball. Lately, though, the Yankees have not been the best club in baseball. At the very least, they have not been the team best constructed to win in the playoffs. This is the case in 2012. Though the Yankees might be the odds-on favorite to win it all in October, they will come up short. They will end in disappointing fashion, losing out before ever making it into the World Series.

 

Where’s the pitching?

When you get to the playoffs in baseball, it is all about the pitching. Teams that can pitch will come out ahead, while those who struggle on the mound will have a disappointing finish. The Yankees just do not have the horses to make it happen on the mound. C.C. Sabathia remains a force at the top of the pitching staff. The Yankees can trust in him, as long as he remains healthy. The problem is that they do not have much behind him. Having to rely on Hiroki Kuroda and others will prove to be a big part of the undoing of the Yankees.

 

The Rangers are good

The American League has a two-time defending champion. The Texas Rangers are that team, and they do not appear to be sliding back anytime soon. That is something that you will need to consider as you think about the World Series in 2012. The Rangers have made their team better since last season. By adding Yu Darvish and seeing their young players develop even further, the Rangers have what it takes to make it to the World Series. They have stronger starting pitching and better defense than the Yankees. More than that, they have a deeper lineup with better hitters. Overall, the Rangers are simply better.

 

Where is Rivera?

Think about the times that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball. Who is usually closing out games at the end of the day? Mariano Rivera has been a huge part of the Yankee equation over the last few years. His knee just did not hold up this season. Can the Yankees count on closing down the end of games like they have in the past? Chances are that they will lose a couple of games late because they are missing their closer. This is something that many people are not talking about. They will be talking about it late in playoff games when the Yankees desperately need to get those final outs.

 

Posted by  Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “



Baseball picksJuly 18, 2012

Umpires and MLB Betting

Umpires and MLB Betting

Who knew that there were so many factors to consider when making MLB picks? If you are going to actually win, you have to be willing to consider every piece of information that is on the market. You have to consider umpires if you want to have a full picture of what is going to happen in a game. Some umpires have small strike zones. Others have large strike zones. You can find good information online that will tell you the relative strike zone of each umpire. With that information in your pocket, you can make better MLB picks by finding out where each umpire is going to be.

 

This information does not come out until just before the game begins. Often times, MLB.com will have the umpires listed when it finally lists the pre-game box score. You will have to be attentive if you are going to find this kind of information. It would be quite foolish to ignore it if you are going to be betting on totals. MLB picks on totals are largely dependent upon the success of starting pitchers. Whether or not they get the borderline strikes can have a major impact on run scoring.

 

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “



Baseball picksJuly 17, 2012

MLB Picks Made Easy

MLB Picks Made Easy

Some people ask for an easy way to make MLB picks. They want to simplify what they perceive to be a difficult thing. There is no simple way to make MLB picks. There are some things that you can focus on in order to make the process a little bit better, though. You should first think about starting pitching. These are the people who have the biggest impact on any individual game. Without a solid understanding of starting pitching, you will fail to make a profit over the long run in baseball betting.

 

You also need to understand how to properly evaluate moneylines. This will allow you to make MLB picks that can win consistently. Understand that betting big favorites means that you have to win much more than half of the time in order to make a profit. Too many bettors make the mistake of thinking that a -135 favorite is similar to a straight point spread bet. You are laying significant juice with these favorites, so a fifty percent winning rate will not allow you to get your money back. Understand the power of that extra juice when you make MLB picks.

 

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “



Sports picksJuly 17, 2012

Sports betting and public teams

Sports betting and public teams

In sports betting there are some teams that you should probably avoid. Some teams are simply going to hurt you over the long run. This is because they are highly “public” teams. They are teams that continue to draw public support, regardless of where the line might sit. Because the sports books know that bettors will pound them regardless of the line, the books continue to shade those lines a little bit. This means that when you bet on these big public teams, you are going to be giving away a little bit of value every time.

Who are these public teams in sports betting? You can probably guess some of them. The Yankees, Lakers, and Cowboys are probably the best examples of big public teams. You should also recognize that these teams can change based upon who is winning. When a team wins a championship, the public will likely throw their support behind that team. Be very wary of betting on these teams as you move forward. There will be opportunities to win with these teams, but the opportunities will be few and far between. You are better off looking for opportunities to bet against these teams.

 

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick “Wundercat “



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