Beware Falling Victim to Old Perceptions
As we get together for this edition of coursework in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping, two recent NBA dynasties are both trailing three games to two in their respective conference championship series, even though both were big favorites before the battles started. The defending National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers have cost their backers a fortune this season. No projected divisional winners in the Senior Circuit currently lead their divisions. And, an expansion team is getting ready to play a longshot from the other conference for the NHL Championship.
Assumptions that Cleveland and Golden State would breeze through Boston and Houston have proved very wrong. Both teams could still end up playing (again) for the NBA crown. They will have to rally to do so, after having weaknesses exposed. In the case of Golden State, the Warriors were supposed to be a dynasty for several more seasons. Houston is showing everyone how to beat them. Maybe they won't be able to do that without Chris Paul.
It's very important that you students remember to focus on what's happening NOW rather than what happened in the past. It's not that every favorite falls apart. The defending baseball champion Houston Astros are playing well. The New England Patriots have outperformed the market for years when Tom Brady is healthy. But, it only takes one misread to mess up your season. If you bet the Dodgers and Astros this year because their rosters were both loaded...you're still way down because the fall of LAD was much more penalizing than Houston holding steady was profitable.
Your homework this weekend is more of a mental exercise. Whenever you see a baseball money line or basketball point spread, try to determine how much of that price is based on "old" news. Is the favorite really the superior side right now...or are lingering beliefs from months ago holding on too long? I could probably name, off the top of my head, at least five baseball teams that are overpriced as we speak because of what everyone expected back in March, and at least five baseball teams who are underpriced because they weren't supposed to be anything special.
In the NBA, we may soon be dealing with a pair of Game Sevens where the pre-series favorite is playing on the road...with point spreads that are based on the past rather than the present. If we don't get to a pair of Game Sevens, that means one road underdog scored a shocker to advance to the league finals. Think about the current chess games, rather than what people imagined the chess games would look like a few weeks ago.
I should probably talk about Over/Unders in the case of the NBA too. Have you ever seen so many big misses? Houston/Golden State just had three games stay Under by a mile. The last game did that in Cleveland/Boston. We're at 80% Unders in the conference championships because to many people expected Houston/GS to be a run-and-gun series, while too many expected LeBron James to have big numbers while his own defense struggled. LeBron is playing very well...but his teammates haven't been "Over" teammates except in one game.
We can do this is baseball too. A big year for Unders at Minute Maid Park in Houston, because too many TV commentators think that's a bandbox where home runs are too easy and pitchers have no chance. Read the stats, people! Some old perceptions take forever to get erased.
You may have heard the phrase "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it." While there is a lot of truth to that for bettors, particularly when it comes to not fixing your own leaks, there's a much more serious danger of losing bets because you're assuming past is prologue. You want to be ahead of the curve, not behind it. Particularly in this fast-moving age of analytics, where strategies are evolving at lightning speed, old perceptions are anvils pulling you down.
I have some special plays planned for my clients over Memorial Day Weekend. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, best of luck to you. If you'd like some additional help, KELSO STURGEON'S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office by calling 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours. I do have great rates for extended packages that go through the NBA Playoffs, the MLB all-star break, or the full baseball season.
It's quite a paradox in this industry. Many handicappers who have won for years (or decades in my case) have done so by staying ahead of the curve. Many Johnny-come-latelies ironically lose because they try win with old, out-of-date strategies that they heard (or stole) from somebody else. My goal as The Dean of Sports Handicapping is really to teach you how to think. I'll point you in the direction of key stats that help you understand what's happening. I won't give you trends from the 1970's or 80's that were already obsolete before many of you were born.
Thanks for your attendance. Even though Monday is technically a holiday, I will post our next coursework at that time. Bettors don't take days off! See you then.