Handicapper/Relative-Value Bettor Overlap

Handicapper relative value bettor overlap

King Yao is the author of Weighing the Odds in Hold‘em Poker, and Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting. He uses his experience from making millions in financial derivative markets and translates it into gambling. Since he left his trading position in 2000, he has been playing poker and betting on sports. He travels to Las Vegas frequently, especially during football season.

Let’s discuss basic principles of sports betting. All sports bettors should know the information below. All other types of casino advantage players, including blackjack players of all skill sets, which includes card counters, should have good working knowledge of Expected Value as well. You should not be betting online or anywhere else without this fundamental knowledge.

Handicappers and relative-value bettors can arrive at the same conclusions using their particular styles of analysis. Some people can combine the skills of handicapping and relative-valuation to come up with picks. Here are some strategies where the skills of handicappers and relative-value players can overlap.

Proposition bets

There are many types of proposition bets and they can be beaten in different ways. Some can be beaten with historical or distributional information. An example is whether there will be a score in the last two minutes of the first half. With historical information, the database keeper will have no trouble coming up with an estimated value. A fundamental handicapper will have a tougher time valuing this prop.

Handicappers can beat some props just as they can beat point spreads. An example is whether a particular quarterback will throw for more than 300 yards in the Super Bowl. This prop requires handicapping the teams and players. A database keeper will have a tougher time getting enough data to be comfortable making this analysis.

There are also some props where a person can have different thoughts depending on how they attack the problem. If that is the case, it is best to avoid making any wagers. For example, a handicapper may think that the Super Bowl usually starts off conservatively called by both coaches. Thus a field goal is more likely to be the first score of the game than in a typical NFL regular season game. On the other hand, his database may show that a touchdown is the first score more often than a field goal in a typical NFL regular season game. These two conflicting thoughts may convince the bettor to pass on the prop because his two different methods show different values on the same prop. The two different results are irreconcilable, thus making a bet on this proposition is akin to merely guessing at which is correct. Therefore, the obvious answer is to not make the bet.

To be continued ...

This is part of an occasional series of articles, excerpted with permission from the e-book version of Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting by King Yao, edited for this format.

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