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Most Recent Articles

Sharps Know the Difference Between Ratings, Rankings, Raw Numbers; Squares Do Not
Jan 3rd, 2023

The disparity is even more explicit in college sports, but it is colossal in professional sports handicapping as well. Rankings are just that, teams are ranked in specific categories first to last. Ratings have teams “rated” in various categories comparative to a mean number. For example, let’s say Clemson is playing Maryland in football. This is explained in more detail in the Gospel eBook of sports betting.

Clemson runs for 252.4 (raw numer) yards per game to rank (rankings of course) No. 7 in the country. Maryland as an illustration averages 239.8 to rank 18th. According to those “rankings” and “raw numbers” Clemson has a better rushing offense.
However rankings and raw numbers don’t scratch the surface. Conversely a rating would say the cumulative average of Clemson’s previous opponents’ defense allows 232.2 rushing yards per game. 

That would mean Clemson rushes for 20.2 more yards per game than their opponents normally allow (+20.2).
If Maryland’s cumulative foes allow only 197.8 that would put them at (+40.2). The inferior raw numbers make it look like Clemson is the better run offense by 12.6, but in the much more telling ratings, it’s actually Maryland by 20 yards per game. 

So again, using the hypotheticals, here is a comparison (all illustrative rushing totals). The “advantage” numbers are ALL CAPS:

Raw numbers: CLEMSON 252.4; Maryland 239.8

Rankings: CLEMSON No. 7; Maryland No. 18

Ratings: Clemson +20.2; MARYLAND +40.2

Furthermore rating both offenses and defenses is most accurate using yards per play, yards per pass and yards per rush. These are much more telling as to whether teams outplay or underplay their stats. In short, games in which the proverbial “they have dominated them everywhere but on the scoreboard” are priceless to the handicapper.

The more deceptive a won/loss record is, the more opportunity.
Team stats in those categories are a much greater precursor of future performance than points per game.
Maybe Maryland runs the ball 16 more times per game than Clemson. Yards per rush puts the raw numbers into better perspective, but yards per rush relative to the cumulative average of their opponents makes the stats rise to the level of truthful for handicapping excellence.
In basketball, shooting percentages offensively and defensively are more accurate than points per game.

This is true in no small part do to the fact that half court teams will have lower scoring games than up-tempo. This is in no way to imply that ratings under this circumstance are flawless. Slow down teams will both get fewer easy baskets and give up fewer, but in also weighing points per game, the flaws of each statistic can cancel out some of the deficiencies of the other.

In short, pro betting picks ratings put raw numbers into perspective much more so than rankings. By no means whatsoever do we disregard rankings, but the square player is shockingly oblivious to the value of the more judicious numbers.
Yet again we must emphasize mere statistics are only part of the equation. But only a small percentage of handicappers are acute enough to use more precise ratings rather than the not to be trusted rankings.
Everything though we said about the strength and weaknesses of power ratings applies here. The learned player must make adjustments for injuries both for a team and that of their previous opponents.

Statistics can be used and statistics can be abused. But knowing the right valuations to use is just as important as knowing how to adapt them.

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How to Bet College Football Bowls; Betting Myths Destroyed
Dec 9th, 2022

Every sport has a massive gap between the sharps and squares. That’s why there are sportsbooks thriving worldwide. If there was a betting sports minus clods wagering, bookies would stop accepting plays on it. One could reasonably assert bowl betting unveils the most substantial chasm. Most of the fairytales have extractions in the urban legend of weighing recent games significantly more than the full season ledger. Perhaps the subliminal or possibly premeditated conviction is that the long layoff makes September and October results appear to be an eternity ago.

Cold-hard facts, we sharps would say validated by logic, state that layoffs neutralize momentum. There is no such thing as “recent play” if a team hasn’t competed for two, three weeks or more. Long rest gives teams openings to fine-tune and all but eliminates momentum or slumps. Here are winning systems and theories for bowl betting, generally the opposite of the schleps beliefs. Oscar Dooley handicapper

Fade teams off consecutive games in which they allowed less than 12 points combined is 11-1 since 2001

There are countless explanations why a defense would peak late in the season. Depth is a headliner as teams will wear down. Being blessed with a ball-control offense that keeps them off the field in another. Either way, less rested squads profit from time off. 

Teams with worse ATS margins are 81-39-2 against teams with at least a three-game spread winning streak as long as they also are not on said win streak

Spread margin, sometimes called “sweat barometer” is the same as points per game margin, but it is relative to the pointspread. For example, if a seven-point favorite wins by 10, their spread margin is +3. They covered by three points. If they win SU by only a point, their spread margin is -6 and if they lost outright by a field goal, their ATS margin is -10.

Joeybagofdonuts sees a team that’s been a superior bet and a hot one at that. Of course, JoeyBags is going to wager on said team. That is the essence of being overestimated.

All teams on at least three game winning streaks are go-against of 131-92-2 against teams not on a streak as long

Common theme: red-hot teams don’t desire a rest. It is thrust upon them and thwarts their recent form.

Teams that do not have a winning record are 86-71 versus opponent with a winning record

I won’t even voice his real name to protect the guilty, but one of the first guys I met in this industry was back in 1986. A journeyman peddler who went by aliases such Chris Jordan and OC Dooley, he quietly faded into retirement. To put it mildly, he was a walking cliché wrapped inside a fabrication. He would love to scream from the mountain tops that he loved to bet against teams “that did not deserve to be there.” A .500 team was target of his handicapping ire.

The problem is the truculent tout was an auto-fade. Teams that do not have a winning record are 86-71 versus opponent with a winning record. Of course .500 will not lack motivation to prove their worth.

Part of the reason that number is not as impressive as some of our other myth-busters is that one of his favorite regurgitations reversed course—after his retirement. It is 1-8 the last nine or Dooley’s theory is 8-1 recently after a 63-85 start. 

Teams that scored at least 125 points last three games go under 78-60-1

Wait, a team is in an offensive groove. How can one not bet the over screams the neophyte as he heads to the window to bet $25 on his can’t-miss bet. Offenses especially rely on being in a rhythm, so a break can affect them even more than a defense. Plus opposing defensive coordinators have plenty of time to derive a gameplan.

Teams with bad margins of cover, AKA sweat barometers, against quality teams based on margin are 169-113-6

Somewhat overlaps with an above theory, but with everything revealed about overreaction and perception, is it any shock bad spread teams are a good bet to quality spread teams?

 Conclusion: Did you ever take a debate class in high school or college? Students debate one side, then often the next day, take on the opposite resolution. That’s the way it is with many of the “intangibles” handicappers. But with advanced analytics, numbers are objective. By no means do they tell the whole story, but they are free of the bias of the handicapper. Which is why betting against the public is profitable. Bowl your man over with logic, not groupthink.

Grandmaster Sports Handicapper Joe Duffy has been a pro capper since 1988 on the scorephones and in the industry since 1986 with famed Dial Sports scorephones. His bests are exclusively at OffshoreInsiders.com     

 

 

 

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Duffy Full Season Package Up
Aug 22nd, 2022

Joe Duffy has been winning longer than anyone in the history of the business. Check out his full-season football packages. 

 

 
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Worst Bad Beats in Betting History From a Pro Gambler
Aug 18th, 2022

Essential to my handicapping prosperity has been zigging while many gamblers are zagging. However, in this essay, I will hop on the bandwagon in chattering about bad beats. 

Consistent with not being part of the echo chamber, I do differentiate between “bad beats” and heartbreaking losses, though they are far from mutually exclusive. My top two criterion for true bad beats: 

  • Irrational happenings ensued in true garbage time. The straight up results was already decided
  • Overtime/extra inning heartbreak. A big underdog fails to cover in overtime or it takes multiple overtimes to exceed the total

The 2014 Bahamas Bowl is widely deemed one of the ugliest if not the No. 1 bad beat of all-time.

Central Michigan outscored Western Kentucky a breath-taking 34-0 in the fourth quarter, then missed on a two-point conversion to lose by one, getting 3.5 points. Soul-crushing if you were on the downside of the miracle, but because every point mattered in the straight-up outcome, I can’t regard it a top 5 bad beat, though certainly a stunner for the ages.

Also, it was nationally televised, and the only game played that day. Higher-profile games will always be more memorable and bias people.

In the name of full disclosure, of course I recall that game very well and may be partial. It was my all-time miracle cover, though probably not topping “good/bad beat” catalog for reasons nuanced above. But the overwhelming part for me individually is that it occured in the midst of one of my worst declines and bad beat runs ever. In fact, it concluded it. It’s crazy how being on the right side of such truly turns the worm. 

https://twitter.com/offshoreinsider/status/549368302586572800 

Christmas continues to be my favorite holiday and my eldest child was born Christmas Eve. So December 24 (when said game was played) is a joyous time for me. As we were celebrating his birthday at my son’s favorite restaurant, I observed the score-in-progress on my phone and concluded it was clear my almost unheard-of rough patch would endure. 

We ventured home and I seized a much-needed mental nap. Several hours later upon waking, I checked my computer and swore I was still asleep and dreaming...or awake and hallucinating.  I went to probably 4-5 sites at least before I trusted the score. Yep MyBookie posted it as a winner in my account. In fact, I went to the little boys room, cleared out some cobwebs, reassured myself I was awake and corroborated the final tally one last time. What a great Christmas gift. 

If I were on the other side, granted I may not have yet recovered, but for perhaps semantical reasons, some lower profile games were worse beats.

As you are about to observe, I can’t recollect every detail or even the exact teams of my most terrible bad beats. But they were lower-profile games. I long to have the photographic memory of respected capper Jeff Nadu for this assignment.

Twice in 2019, I lost unders that went into overtime more than 25 points below the total. Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern had a posted total of 45 on Oct. 19. No problem, they are tied at 10 at the end of regulation. Oh a mere 37 points in overtime kills me. 

I cannot immediately recall the other one, but all but certain, we went into extra period more than 30 points below the total. And lost. 

Sunday, June 13, 2004, I made one of my biggest bets ever. It was my IL Total of the Year. Overwhelming evidence all pointed towards the New York Yankees-San Diego UNDER 10.5.

What a call. Or so I thought. San Diego leads 2-0, two outs, bottom 9, nobody on. And then all hell broke loose. Of course Yankees tie and send to extra innings. Then the teams combined for seven runs in the 12thas the Bronx Bombers put it over the total with two outs to end it!

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA200406130.shtml

The reason I suck on my bar trivia team is because I battle to recall meticulous particulars, even teams involved. Despite my research acumen, only recalling conferences, not opponents robs me from presenting easily quantifiable nominations. But premise and basic essentials of these are accurate if not slightly imprecise.

Circa 1990, pretty certain it was a Colonial Athletic Conference game on Sports Channel America. Though I don’t swear it was Navy-George Mason, I did unearth that in the ’90-‘91 season Mason beat them 85-79 at a bad Navy team. I could not uncover an archived synopsis nor odds, but it may be said game. Or maybe not.

But the gist is accurate. I had the underdog +5.5 and they are winning outright by one. Favorite has last possession and gets back into front court and calls timeout with seconds remaining. The only realistic scenario I get screwed is if chalk gets fouled, makes 1-of-2 and the game continues into overtime.

But then the impossible took place. Chalk makes a three-pointer to go up by two. Underdog calls a timeout...but they had none. I believe the dead ball technical meant two-shots, plus loss of possession. Yep, chalk hits two free throws. They inbound, get fouled and convert two more free throws.

Presuming I did not fumble a detail, I am pretty certain it was seven-points in seconds to cover by a half.

A great beat I had, was possibly the first year of overtime rules in college football, 1995. Either way, mid-to-late 90s. I had the favorite laying about 9.5 in what I am all-but-certain was a late-night Pac-12 game. My team got a touchdown in overtime, but of course their opponent got possession at the “bottom” of overtime. My chalk ends it with a defensive TD to win by 13 in overtime.

If those with more unerring memories can help me fill in the blanks, please let me know!

High-profile games are clearly easier to recall. But after well-over 50,000 bets in my lifetime, I assure you the obscure ones bring every bit as much suffering or sometimes ecstasy.

The legendary Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Essentially that theory applies in gambling, but not always in a positive way. I’ve learned I will forget the exact opponents, I will forget the precise details, but I will never forget how those bad beats made me feel.

Joe Duffy is CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com and widely accepted as the best capper in sports gambling history.

 

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The More Things Stay the Same, The More Things Change
Jul 25th, 2022

Streamlining, when employed properly, is of course effective in every line of work. In the 1970s and 80s, a lot of gamblers would focus on local teams and conferences where regional information was often more accurate and punctual than what Vegas could acquire.

The Internet and the Information Age, to say the least changed that. By no means did progress eliminate streamlining, it changed the focal point.   

At one juncture, many moons ago, one of the most influential persons in moving a line was professional handicapper Doc Sports in the Big 10. His plays could move the line five, six points,” says Steve Linden, one of the high rolling founders MasterLockLine, the online betting syndicate.

Times changed and team or conference experts were no longer based on “location, location, location” but on the ability to adapt and expose which teams were the flavor of the moment to go with or against.  

Focusing on a specific team now involves ascertaining undervalued and overvalued squads and riding them until oddsmakers caught up.

Forensic handicapper Stevie Vincent says teams that inevitably become streaky spread wise are squads that have a high winning percentage but don’t blow teams out or losing teams that don’t get blown out often.

Mike Godsey, still an advisor to Joe Duffy’s Picks says he agrees, it is part of his “dichotomous ATS and SU” theory.  ”We discount 98 percent of trends, but this has proven to be the exception to the rule. Basically, if a team has a great SU record but horrid ATS record or vice versa, you ride for that to continue as it is the sign of which teams are most under or overvalued.”

Linden says of the professional handicappers they monitor, unlike last century, there are fewer who simply excel by focusing on a specific team or conference, but instead they do notice, “The elite services do consistently go for or against the same teams for extended periods.” 

With college basketball just around the corner, the number of teams undistinguished to the masses, but crystal clear to the sharpies increases multifold. Good times lie ahead for gamblers who streamline but do so a bit differently now than they did in 1986.

Joe Duffy is CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com, which features the top handicappers from the former Freescoreboard scorephone.  

 

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Logical Fallacies in Sports Betting Keep Sportsbooks in the Black
Jun 26th, 2022

I am the showpiece for what your teachers told about never knowing when you will implement the wisdom taught inside school walls. Yes, I’m among students who recklessly deemed certain subjects will be forever inoperable independent of the classroom.

My amazement at how few bettors know the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning, not limited to but embodied by this idiotic falsehood.

I’m in the majority of individuals assured I’d never employ Algebra beyond a school exam. Now I exercise the knowledge every day in SQL language harnessing proven and skeptically sound computer systems. 

Little did I know how a philosophy course I took in college would be priceless in sports handicapping. We covered logical fallacies in depth, learning the pitfalls, how to spot and sidestep them. “I saw the Jets play last week against New England” and based on that anecdotal evidence, I decided they looked so bad I’m betting against them (or they looked so imposing, I will bet on them).

These Jackdaws in a peacock’s feathers are a dime-a-dozen on YouTube handicapping shows. It’s almost as if these young and dapper “handicappers” are paid to reinforce handicapping urban legends to please the sportsbook(s) that sponsors and often produce the videos. Hey wait just a….

Likely the most widespread robotic gaffe is along the lines of, “I watched them last week and they were dominated on both sides of the ball. Now they are playing a team that is better than them. I can’t see how they can stop them” Tenderfoot pretty face ignores they are spewing a classic anecdotal fallacy. The sample size is too small, and teams adjust, plus the NFL is about regression towards the mean.

When a team is off a loss by at least 20 points, getting 3.5 or more (playing a superior opponent), they are a decent 373-305-12 ATS for 55 percent winners if their opponent is not also off a 20-point or more loss. This is hardly my best angle but embodies the flaws of simply fading teams that looked horrible when you bet them the preceding week.

A general NFL betting guideline proven odds sharks told me years ago that I should heed is to make a line before each team plays the previous week, adjust for injuries, but do not overplay to the previous week’s results.

Bookies have only assisted by posting look-ahead lines. If one moves more than 1.5 points on a low spread, two or so on a large spread, and personnel moves are not the reason, put a checkmark to fade the line move.

Why? Especially, but not limited to the NFL, John Q. Public overreacts to what he last witnessed, not only demonstrating anecdotal but also recency bias. As a pro gambler, I can verify so much of what is taught in the classroom is applied to sports handicapping. You can bet on it.

Joe Duffy has been featured as a betting expert on media all over the world for good reason. His picks have been winning publicly since 1988 on the scorephones.

 

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Winning Ugly Is How Pro Gamblers Bet NFL
Jun 23rd, 2022

One of the calamitous self-fulfilling prophecies in sports gambling is the blockhead who insists on mindlessly betting on the far superior side. They mitigate this by proclaiming they’d prefer to lose waging on a prodigious team (like the Patriots during the Brady era) than on a dreadful one. Therefore bookies shade the line towards the superior teams and against the bottom feeders, while sharps pounce upon the empirical rule to buy low and sell high.

Why would anyone want to bet against a team with a winning percentage of .850 or better, especially corroborated with at least 12 wins? No rational person could contemplate staking against a team that predominate. Then again, we pros would call attention to the fact stated teams are a wretched 48-80-3 since 1996. In fact, when underdogs, they are a malodorous 3-14 for .176 percent.  

Wager hard-earned money on a gruesome team? That’s just embracing punishment. Experts counter with the fact an underdog with winning percentage of .150 or less and at least four losses are 350-269-17, even greater on the road at 195-167-4.

Why would anyone not crave to bankroll the much hotter team? The rejoinder if fact based. When I say opposite streak, it pertains to one team on a SU winning streak and the other on a losing streak. If New England won three in a row, the Giants, their adversary lost two in a row, the “combined opposite streaks” would be five.

Not outrageously, the greater the number of the dichotomous streaks are, the lower the ATS winning percentage of the ascending team plummets.

Here is the ATS record of the hotter team based on the cumulative streak they are on.

Minimum opposite SU streak of hotter team

ATS Mark (winning percentage)

8

198-228-7 (46.5)

9

135-160-7 (45.8)

10

89-113-4 (44.1)

11

57-82-3 (41)

12

36-64-1 (36)

When Joeybagodonuts sees a team that has won their last seven confronting a team that has flunked outright in five straight, Joey may pass. He may bet the hotter team, but there is slim chance he will bet the ice-cold squad. Therefore, if the genuine line should be -7, Joey will have to lay more like -9. This is pivotal for a gambler. Of course, it’s excruciating to root for a grossly inferior and colder team, but the payoff is magnificent.

Great ESPN evergreen story about Grandmaster Sports Handicapper Joe Duffy’s rise to greatness an where he got his start! Duffy is CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com

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Gambler Billy Walters Influence on the Greatest Capper Ever Explained
Jun 11th, 2022

When I first burst into betting ascendancy full-time back in 1988, I got wind of the famed “Computer Boys” betting syndicate headed by renowned gambler Billy Walters. Ages before the interwebs and services like DonBest, we procured our odds from J&J odds service, via a telephone rundown. But they also had a callback service for when they believed the boys placed a bet. The Burger Man and the cute-looking daughter of the owner were among the workforce that had us on speed dial.

That was the era of corner bookie, hence we would customarily conquer the line moves getting great middle prospects by betting with several outlets.

Still, I was most fascinated with the influence and science of referenced betting consortium. I wanted to replicate and eclipse their conquests. Via Computer Sports World, I unearthed a software package developed by distinguished statistician Dr. Mike Orkin, “The Pointspread Analyzer.” It changed my life. I matured into the numbers cruncher I aspired to be. Inputting countless data, I confirmed many theories, humbly refuted others in objective testing and trial while identifying previously undreamt-of betting systems, exploring literally almost any valuable state of affairs germane to a sports trader.

How does an NFL team following three straight double-digit wins execute ATS against a team off subsequent double-digit losses? Should I ride or fade an NBA team with winning percentage of .750 or higher if they are off a loss? Is it consequential if they are playing home or road? What a war chest of knowledge I had at my fingertips.

The bulk of my theories proved to be well-founded, reinforcing my contrarian conceptions before there was such a thing. It is good to pick bad was certified. Sinking and substandard teams had great value, superior and ascending teams were overprized. This reality is sustainable today. The rabble relishes betting on the better and hotter team and the oddsmakers recognized it then and distinguish it now.

Written in DOS, Orkin’s Windows version Snoop Data wasn’t as user-friendly. Sadly, the niche program faded away. To the rescue was SportsDataBase, a terrific cloud-based program coded by a physicist Dr. Joe Meyer. BetLabs, subsumed by the multi-million-dollar Action Network is satisfying too, but once one masters the SQL language of Meyer’s program, it becomes a more lethal weapon than BetLabs or StatFox.

Though my site OffshoreInsiders.com is a mom-and-pop shop competing against Fortune 500 companies, there is one reason I proceed to prosper as both a gambler and professional handicapper: the merit of the finished product. My obsession with bias-free computer-aided testing, achieving thousands of manhours of research with the push of a few keystrokes, endures me as cutting edge. My hunger for reproducing the triumph of Billy Walters computer group has not waned in more than 30 years of computer implemented handicapping. Enjoy the ride with me fellow sports investors.

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Artificial Intelligence in Sports Betting: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
Jun 7th, 2022

Power ratings, computer models, simulators have become all the rage in recent years. Pretty much every high-traffic sports site tenders their own edition. But are any even worth a crap in beating books like Bovada? The answer is yes…and no and in some cases are no…and yes.

There is a lad I’ve been exchanging intel with for years. He’s a big-time whale and stakes more per wager than most will bet in a month. He prefers not to be named, so I will call him Sugar Pockets. Pockets has been gripped with computer-aided handicapping. He conducts surveillance on Prediction Machine, Team Rankings, Predictem, Oddsshark, Foxsheets, MasseyRatings, Accuscore, Sportsline and keeping comprehensive records, splitting by sport, college and pro, side, moneyline, even if they are better isolating favorites or underdogs, overs or unders.

With samples sizes that stretched multiple years and each with hundreds of games in football and thousands in other sports, I was a bit underwhelmed at first. Though Sugar Pockets demonstrated that past performance was indicative of future results, my reasonable doubt was based on how can this simulator be so good in NBA and NFL, yet a fade in college basketball? Other programs were just the opposite. 

In being even-handed, I acknowledged how some good ole-fashioned human cappers were terrific only in specific sports. So, it’s logical even upper crust models would be superior in one or two sport year in and year out. It wasn’t until a handful of months later the lightbulb went off on top of my head. Doh.

With my computer systems—a different AI than prediction software, I ascertained years ago and continue to run to the bank with understanding that pro sports tend to be about overcorrection and statistical regression, while college sports is more about momentum and riding streaks.

Upon my manifestation, Sugar Pockets results all checked out. Sportsline for example is very weighty on recent play, making it good in college basketball, but no-so-much in NBA. In fact, spoiler alert and hot tip, their NBA totals are pretty much auto-fade. Inversely, Accuscore puts more significance on full season results often contradicting Sportsline.

I hook Pockets up with some intel as well. But now that I have accurately weighted meticulous in-depth crib sheet to guide me, the simulators and machine intelligence is used as a part of my repository. As technology evolves, so must us pro cappers. I have plenty of “it’s not broken, don’t fix it” formulas, but careful calibration ensures the best will keep progressing into in the future. 

There is no best gambling outcome emulator overall. But the strengths and weaknesses vary from sport to sport for the sensible preceding explanations. And the opportunities and obstacles of each are glaringly profitable.

Vetted sportsbooks and top shelf handicappers at OffshoreInsiders.com led by the author, Grandmaster Handicapper Joe Duffy.

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Dooleys Believe in Trap Games; Sharps Use Them to Their Advantage
Jun 2nd, 2022

I hear it all the time from squares and even people who used to sell picks for a living such as retired tout Oscar Dooley, widely accepted as the quintessential tyro handicapper in this history of the trade. “Seems like the oddsmakers are baiting you to bet” a certain side. Dunces like this keep the books subsidized for the rest of us. Assuredly, the bookies never try to decoy gamblers into betting a side. If they did, we sharp would swoop in on our prey and exploit the over-corrected line. Then again, in reality we do pounce on lines that appear “fishy” to the great unwashed bettor.

My adage, if it doesn’t make sense, it makes dollars. Straight up records and rankings are lag indicators. The odds are lead indicators. I have countless examples of counterintuitive systems that win in my database, most up 80-200 plus units and with z-scores of 4.5 or higher.

Though the below aren’t instances of my most lethal systems, they are representative of occurrences in which I hear are “trap” games.

In college football, when the oddsmakers tell you the lower ranked team is the superior team, weaponize that knowledge against them. If a lower ranked road team is not getting at least three points to the higher ranked team, betting on the lower ranked squad is 12-2 SU and ATS since 2015. 

Remember, home field advantage is three points. So if a road team is not getting at least that much, the strongly implied statement by the oddsmakers is that the visitor is better, despite the polls. But that’s not how the neophyte brain functions. Joey Bag o’ Donuts notices the “better” team is somehow a home dog and asserts, “It’s like they bookies want you to bet” the superior puppy. Fake news. The lead indictor wins out again. 

How about win a team is an NFL favorite even though they have at least four fewer wins than their opponent? Trap, trap, trap…right? Not so fast. A favorite, despite at least a four-win deficit is 40-22 ATS, 44-21 outright.

But surely fading NBA favorites with inferior records must be a great go-against. Seems like a trap though… Away favorites in said situation are 314-235-7 for 57 percent. In fact, the bigger the favorite the winning percentage goes up as a general rule of thumb.

If a game looks like a trap, there is a reason behind it. Go with the statement the oddsmakers are making. There are plenty of Spider Dooleys feeding the bookies.

The author, Joe Duffy is CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com and has been winning for you since the scorephone days of the 1980s.

 

 

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MLB Handicapping and Fantasy Baseball: ERA Versus WHIP
Jun 1st, 2022

I share oodles of information and debate philosophies with many sharp players on a continuous basis. Such locking of horns is imperative to knowledge progression.  Said argumentations are to handicapping advisers what scholarly journals are to academia.

One of the most heated deliberations among the sharpest of the sharks is how to weigh a pitcher’s ERA relative to his WHIP.

I realize most baseball fans know what an ERA is, but many are not as versed on WHIP. The formula is walks+hits/innings pitched.  As much as I savor involving myself in debate with other masters of the trade, inevitably I am the one screaming the remedy is both. 

I tell them it’s the equivalent of asking a doctor whether one should diet or exercise.  Sure, conquering one or the other is better than neither, but any reputable physician advises they are not mutually exclusive.  

A true handicapping scientist knows that careful interpretation of both ERA and WHIP neutralizes the inherent flaws of both while reinforcing the stronghold of each numerator.

Here is a pro-WHIP argument I often hear and articulated on rec.gambling.sports newsgroup by one of the participants:

The ERA can be affected by good fortunate (luck) far more than WHIP.

The walks and hits that a pitcher gives up show his skills facing a batter and will rise as he continues to allow hits and walks as it should.

But the same poor pitching, which allowed the walks and hits onboard, isn’t necessarily reflected in his ERA stat.  He may escape lucky. His ERA can be affected either direction by the help he gets from his mates and/or the wind and/or the size of the ballpark.

This is particularly important in the first handful of starts of the early season, where averages can be easily skewed by a few innings.

A pitcher allowing a 400’ shot to center for example when a breeze is blowing in or the fielder makes a circus catch over the wall” escapes with no runs scored, saving his ERA.

But in a different park the same 400’ shot to center is a homerun, or the wind blows it in the gap for a double to score a couple of runs and his ERA goes up!

So, one fortunate guy gets a low ERA and the less fortunate guy, who allowed the SAME number of hits and walks, maybe even LESS, his ERA goes UP!

Meanwhile, the WHIP stat is not affected unfairly in that way, and as such I feel it more indicative of the pitcher’s skill.

I agree with many of the points raised but the dissertation was a bit one-sided review of the pros and cons.  

WHIP can be very imperfect as well. It does not measure a pitcher’s ability to pitch out of tough situations or whether he gives up a disproportionate number of singles and walks relative to the pitcher who has a propensity to give up the long ball.

Pitchers who can get the ground ball double play when they need it or can bear down with runners in scoring position will generally do better in the ERA category than WHIP.

Plus, in a discussion with some of the top baseball predictors on the planet, one of the elites of the elite reminded us that the team that scores more runs wins 100 percent of the time. The team that gets the most walks plus hits often loses. As devil’s advocate, I added the team that gets the most runs is not always the team that allowed the fewer earned runs.

Hence, I must be adamant as an inescapable stipulation that because baseball’s definition of earned runs is not without glitch, especially from a handicapping standpoint, an old hand also must pay heed to unearned runs. After all, there are no such things as an unearned hit or walk in the WHIP stat.

However, seeing some of the top handicapping geniuses get in heated dispute of the pros and cons of each statistic only reinforced what I believed all along: the few wizards out there never, ever ignore one math unit at the expense of the other.

As the sports doctor the only baseball picks that I give my patients will be from knowledge that a steady diet of winners involves exercising both ERA and WHIP.

Duffy’s picks anchor OffshoreInsiders.com. He is perhaps the most published and respected author on sports gambling theory and has been featured as a regular guest as the handicapping expert on the Rick Ballou Show on Sporting News Radio, Gamblers Zoo national radio show, the Meat and Potatoes gambling show, Pro Fantasy Sports Internet radio and Grogan’s Fantasy Football show.

 

 

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Emotion and Sports Handicapping
Jun 1st, 2022

I write this article knowing there is nothing joyful about benefiting from tragedy, albeit in this case indirectly. But every now and then off field tragedy causes an emotional response from players that cannot be manufactured or duplicated, nor should be ignored by gamblers, as impure as it seems.

I keep hearing after-the-fact experts telling us that no team was going to beat the New Orleans Saints in their Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons, the first game in New Orleans in the post-Katrina era.

We told you all that before the game as New Orleans was our Monday Night Game of the Year. In short, New Orleans was playing in no uncertain terms, the biggest game in franchise history, while Atlanta was simply in the way.

While I do not mind bragging, I have to admit, I am an after-the-fact Bill Buckner and Jacky Smith all wrapped into one in missing the Rice intangible. Before I go in any further, I will again acknowledge, there is a certain level of unease in exploiting tragedy in sports handicapping but ignoring such angle benefits only the bookmakers.

Rice, a double-digit dog, crushed Army 48-14. They were riding the emotion of freshman defensive back Dale Lloyd collapsing earlier in the week at practice and passing away.

In 2001, our MLB Game of the Year was when the NY Mets played their first home game since 911, and were a home dog to Atlanta. True, the Mets had to get a dramatic walk off home run from Mike Piazza to win, but the seemingly scripted ending was reflective of how the Mets were simply not going to be denied victory that night.

One of my first NHL regular season selections was November 15, 1985. I bet on the Philadelphia Flyers in their first game back after star goaltender Pelle Lindbergh was killed in a car accident. The Flyers, as a big underdog, dominated the then seemingly invincible Edmonton Oilers. 

I even decided to retroactively test this theory. Is there a more poignant sports speech in history than Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest man in the world” speech. Honestly, I didn’t know the game score was that day, but I researched it convinced there was no way the Yankees lost. I was right; they crushed the Washington Senators 11-1 following that historic speech on Independence Day 1939.

Emotion should never be underestimated and simply cannot be contrived.  Regrettably opportunity knocks when real-life circumstances transcend sports.  But it is opportunity nonetheless.

Joe Duffy is founder of OffshoreInsiders.com which features the world’s best handicappers.

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Don't Get Defensive, Take Offense to Winning
May 3rd, 2022

If only the old cliches were true, handicapping football would be a piece of cake. You know, “Winning begins with defense” or “Games are won at the point of attack”. If this were true, Buddy Ryan’s old Eagle teams with Hall-of-Famers and Pro Bowlers galore would have won a few Super Bowls. They never won a playoff game.

Marty Schottenheimer eventually lost his job in Kansas City because his final team went from Super Bowl favorites to regular season flop because his mega-talented defense was always on the field.

When you consider that the line is affected much more by the quality of skilled position players than anything else, if the old cliches were true, defensive dogs would hit about 90%. 

When was the last time a game was taken off the board or circled solely due to the injury of a great defensive player?  The answer is probably the same as the last time a quarterback’s status was unknown and the game was on the board and not circled in every sports book.

One of the biggest reasons that so many gamblers, not to mention football fans have this misconception is that they do not draw a distinction between a great offense and a high powered one.

Great offenses are not the ones that can consistently beat a team with a 60-yard bomb, but teams that can over and over again get 15-20 play seven-minute scoring drives.

Also, there is no such thing as depth these days, so a few key injuries to skilled position players can literally mean the difference between worst and first.  

Indianapolis and Denver entered 2001 as among the favorites to win the Super Bowl and rightfully so. However, neither made the postseason and not surprisingly. Both teams were devastated by injuries.

Indianapolis became the quintessential team that put up seemingly impressive stats, but knowledgeable handicappers and football fans know that there is a big difference between impressive fantasy football numbers and quality statistics for winning on the field and with the offshore book.

Great offenses keep defenses off the field. The greatest team of all time was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who not-so-coincidently had the greatest ball control team ever.

They gained an average of 5.6 yards per play. Their fourth leading rusher averaged 5.3 yards per carry. The reason their “No Name Defense” was so successful was because you don’t give up many points or much yardage when you are standing on the sidelines watching your offense meticulously move those yard markers.

Great offenses are not measured by points scored. There are no official statistics, but much like the complicated quarterback ratings, a more accurate formula for measuring a successful offense would take strongly into account points per possession and average length of each possession.

There is a colossal difference average points per game and average points per possession. Likewise, there is a monster divergence between time of possession and length of each possession.

The best, if not the only way to slow down the St. Louis Rams when all their pieces are healthy is to take them out of a rhythm. If Kurt Warner is watching seven minute drives by his opponent from the sidelines, not only can he not develop a groove, but he will not throw too many touchdown passes from the sidelines.

The best defense is not just a great offense; it is a great ball control offense. But yes, long drives punctuated by scores are the best defense because it is a lot easier to play defense with a big lead when the other team’s options are limited.

When of the biggest gifts when it comes to NFL totals is when it comes to a stud ball control offensive player is hurt, most people falsely assume that their games become lower scoring. False. Often teams must compensate by opening it up more. It is no coincidence that when Edgerrin James went down with injury last year, the Colts games became much higher scoring. They still had the aptitude to score, but not an ability to keep their suspect defense off of the field.

Do not give me balderdash about the stats Dominic Rhodes put up. Do not get me wrong, he is one of the best backups in the league, but he was facing defenses geared to stopping the pass and no matter how you slice it, he is not in the same class as James.

While the chic media told you how disappointing Denver’s defense was, I guarantee you if Terrell Davis and Ed McCaffrey were healthy, not to mention the arm of Brian Greise, magically the Broncos would have had some of the best defensive stats in the league.

Also, before you say that the Ravens of two years ago and the Patriots of last year, were defensive oriented teams, one must consider the factors. There were just were not any great healthy, note healthy offenses out there, so some mediocre team had to win by default.

Not to mention, we all saw clearly that the Ravens missed chain-moving Jamal Lewis and that the Patriots “defense” suddenly improved when Tom Brady looked like the greatest Cinderella story since, well Kurt Warner.

This is not to mention that the Ravens became the ultimate aberration of winning a championship with a mediocre offense with a defense that some say was the best ever. Not one of the top in the game, but maybe the best ever. Plus, let’s face it, Brian Billick one of the game’s top offense minds, proved you can get blood from a stone by somehow making (gulp) Trent Dilfer a mistake-free quarterback.

If you want great defensive stats, get a great ball control offense. But the most important caveat is that that offense has to stay healthy. The Cowboys of the early 90’s and the Broncos of the late 90’s are perfect examples. The difference between a team among the bottom statistically on defense and at the top is a great quarterback, running back and receivers/tight ends. Both the aforesaid teams more than met that.

So, you want another undefeated team like the 1972 Dolphins? Give me two thousand yard rushers (in a 14-game schedule) and someone the caliber of Jim Kiick as a third option. Add two parts much better than average QB’s like Bob Greise and Earl Morrall. Throw in nice receiving corps and I give you another No Name Defense with any starting unit in the NFL.

But what does this mean in handicapping?  Again, as alluded to, convoluted logic so often applies to totals when a key offensive player is hurt. In many cases, it increases the likelihood of points being scored contrary to popular belief.

The same is true on the other side of the ball. If a run-stopping middle linebacker is hurt, it often will mean that the other team will run more. It may mean that they will have more success on offense but not necessarily score more points. It could mean more ball control, thus fewer total possessions.

Good handicappers must evaluate all injuries in their totality. Bookmakers make a fortune because suckers assume that if a key offensive player is hurt, it is likely to mean fewer points or if a key defensive player is out, it means more points.

The oddsmakers know and adjust accordingly. Joe Q Public adjusts incorrectly. But someone must subsidize our winnings.

Joe Duffy’s Picks at OffshoreInsiders.com is the top source for winners on the Internet  He is perhaps the most published and respected author on sports gambling theory and has been featured as a regular guest as the handicapping expert on the Rick Ballou Show on Sporting News Radio, Gamblers Zoo national radio show, the Meat and Potatoes gambling show, Pro Fantasy Sports Internet radio and Grogan’s Fantasy Football show. Check out his daily news and notes at JoeDuffy.net

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Better Quarterbacks and Running Backs Often Mean Lower Scoring Games
May 3rd, 2022

Tom Brady is the most valuable player to the New England Patriots defense.  Steve McNair has greatly improved the Baltimore Ravens even if the pure numbers do not seem to jibe with that statement.  I should clarify, that is pure numbers to the uneducated eye.

If Michael Vick got injured and Matt Schaub took over as quarterback, the Atlanta Falcons would probably get more yards and points, but would not be a better team.

Dan Marino and Barry Sanders were the two most overrated players in the NFL during my lifetime.

All the above statements are true, have or had serious handicapping ramifications, and are all related.

There is no question that the best defense in football is a ball control, effective and efficient offense. We love quarterbacks like Brady, McNair and Ben Roethlisberger because they run an offense like water torture.  They slowly but surely matriculate an offense down the field, keep the other team from scoring by not letting them have the ball.

In the cases of Vick, Brady, McNair and Roethlisberger among others, they may have a backup who will point more points on the board.  The problem is, for both teams.  When handicapping the ramifications of a key injury, especially a quarterback and running back ,one must analyze not just how much of a talent drop-off there will be, but a comparison of the style of the player and his replacement.

That's why I made the statements about Marino and Sanders.  Both were too much of a feast or famine player. High powered offenses do have to “outscore the opposition, which at least in the figurative sense does not mean the same as score more points.

“Better offenses are not necessarily ones that can score the most points by any means, nor are the best players and schemes those that are the highest powered and explosive” agrees Stevie Vincent of the OffshoreInsiders.com Network.

When handicapping skilled position players, note that the most effective in leading his team to victory is one who can keep help keep the other offense off the field, even if it means fewer points scored for his team.

Draft Kings, Sports Interaction, Betway, Unibet, theScore Bet, Prize Picks, Parx, Betfred, BetRivers, FanDuel, WynnBET, PointsBet, Caesars, BetMGM, all fear the picks of Joe Duffy, CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com     

 

 

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Computer Stats Biggest in the NBA
May 2nd, 2022

Arguably the sport we hear run-of-the-mill gamblers and fair to middling touts claim is the hardest to predict would be the NBA. Some even imprudently claiming it’s a true crapshoot. We strongly disagree, but that is because we are learned enough to realize not all weapons used in handicapping are weighed evenly in all sports. For example, with college basketball here, our news and notes from our private clipboard has endless valuable lowdown.  They are compiled from hometown newspapers and the team’s own press releases.

But in the NBA, the computer programs become most valuable. Retired NBA handicapper Curt Thomas will be the first to admit he is not a great expert on team personnel and is even more upfront in admitting it cost him in other sports, when he had his own service. However, he is a certified computer nerd. He found the sport that had the highest number of unique systems with lofty z-scores was the NBA and not surprisingly the one that past results were a precursor to future final scores. 

Using winning percentage to date, margin of loss/victory in recent games, and pointspreads to measure perceived difference in quality between opponents, top a list of parameters in which he finds comparing teams in similar situations in past years goes a long way forecasting future results. Thomas believes with the so many x-factors involved in NBA travel schedules over an arduous season, the patterns of when a team suffers a letdown or has a fire lit under them, are much more distinguishable than all the other sports combined.

Forensic handicapper Stevie Vincent of OffshoreInsiders.com  agrees even though he uses trends and angles instead of systems. Again, systems are not team specific such as “Bet with a team with a winning percentage of .600 or above off a double-digit road loss”, while angles are team and/or coach specific. “We use angles with great success picking pro basketball totals” Vincent says. He believes forensic handicapping is best in using past patterns to distinguish when teams will adjust the pace of games, hence a goldmine for predicting over/under plays.

Those computer nerds getting picked on by the jocks in high school was quite easy to predict. Talk about revenge of the nerds, now the propeller heads make their biggest profits knowing the high paid jocks are every bit as predictable, especially in pro basketball.

 

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Not All March Madness Betting Beliefs Are Urban Legends
May 1st, 2022

Our last article articulated our enthusiasm regarding an ESPN Insider series. It was scientific study that found common attributes on overachievement and underachievement teams in March Madness. We believe scrutiny and application will only increase our “Lord of the Big Dance” status. A great many of our articles, over the years, focused on exposing and fading gambling myths. But not all commonly held beliefs are untruths.

A great many of our articles, over the years, focused on exposing and fading gambling myths. But not all commonly held beliefs are untruths. 

There were some trends that the research found are more in tune with perception. Perhaps topping the list is the importance of experience. Coaches with at least 10 tournament appearances and teams with at least four straight tournament bids did very well both in beating higher seeds or holding serve when they were the better seeded team.

However, not surprisingly “experience” was significantly more affective when combined with other top performing factors, such as frontcourt scoring ability, star power (defined as “All Americans”). This is consistent with what we’ve stressed for years. Having been there and done that is icing on the cake, but not the entire package by any means. In other words, a talented and seasoned team is better than a gifted newbie, but maturity in and of itself has little value if not backed by ability. 

One finding that I’m not sure whether to categorize it as contrarian or widely accepted, but instead classify it under a more significant umbrella: invaluable foreknowledge. When united with other attributes, teams that enter the tournament on a one-game losing streak do exceptionally well in the tournament.

This should come as a surprise to nobody, though it likely does. We used the terminology of the study, but perhaps the term “streak” is a misnomer. Teams that enter the Dance off one and only one loss obviously are not “streaking” in the wrong direction. This of course is not flawless. Hypothetically they could have lost 4-of-5 as an example, but it would be the exception. Capturing conference championship means winning three or four games in a row, usually in as many days and it the case of the big conferences, with as little as three days rest before the Field of 65.

A team off a loss is almost always an at-large team and will generally be better rested than the conference champs. A little wake-up call before the tournament starts will be a positive for a quality team. Let’s face it, teams that are good enough to make the Field of 65, somewhere along the line showed they have an ability to rebound from a one-game setback.

Not to mention, both the NCAA committee and the betting public can tend to overreact based on an early exit in the conference tournaments.

The ESPN quantitative analysis of course, was not gambling specific, so hence it will not produce direct and specific systems to apply. However, the trial and error have beyond reproach produced very advantageous rules of engagement for the sports gambler during March Madness pointspread betting.

Joe Duffy is former General Manager of the Freescoreboard scorephone network and CEO of OffshoreInsiders.comthe premier hub of world-class handicappers.

 

 

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Exposing One of the Biggest Square Betting Myths in History
Nov 17th, 2021

Just don’t do it. The square player buys it hook, line, and sinker and thinks it’s the De Vinci Code of NFL betting.

So often we warn gamblers about the mortal sin of using inductive rather than deductive reasoning. The quintessence of that is the rapid circulation of the insipid illogic of “all you have to do is pick the straight up winner of a game and chances are you will have the spread winner.” It’s always followed by some stat where the outright winner has covered 80 percent of the time.  Dah. 

As any semi-literate gambler knows, when an underdog wins they cover 100 percent of the time.  The favorite cannot cover unless they win outright.  It’s impossible.  The only scenario in which a team can win and not cover is when the favorite wins but by a smaller margin than the spread.

Not shockingly the numbnuts who perpetuate unscientific preposterousness almost always quote stats relevant to the NBA or NFL.  In college sports there are more mismatches and hence larger spreads where the margin is larger for a favorite to win and not cover.

If a team is a 3.5 point favorite the only way the team that wins will not cover is for the favorite to win by one, two or three points. Any other result will have the team that wins covering.  At what percentage do these half-wits think a team should win and not cover?

Obviously the stupidity of this widely circulated inductive blather can be refuted from now until eternity.  Or at least until an underdog wins but fails to cover, whichever comes last.  But to those who subscribe to it as if there is any logic, thanks for keeping the books in business for the rest of us.

Since the prevailing premise behind this urban myth is “it’s so much easier to pick the SU winner than the spread winner” why don’t these fancied geniuses just pick dog winner after dog winner on the moneyline?

There are plenty of underdogs that win outright, many huge dogs in fact.  If one wants to postulate how much easier it is to pick the SU winner, why waste such foreknowledge on collecting $100 for every $110 risked?  Just keep picking those 250 dogs and get your money’s worth.

I don’t want to ruin this fool’s gold with such a logical question, but like I keep saying, I guess those pipe dreamers are needed to keep the books in business for the rest of us.

No oddsmaker will go broke underestimating the intelligence of the betting public.

The author Joe Duffy has been a successful professional handicapper long before the Internet. Duffy burst on to the scene as scorephone legend “JD of the ACC”back in the 1980s and is now CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com

 

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