Thursday, 14 July 2022 20:19

Betting with Stats

Written by Dawn Lupul
Betting with Stats Video screen capture credit: Shinelight / HRA

Since becoming involved in betting sports, and because of my extensive background in horse racing, I am well-aware of the power of statistics. There is something almost magical about numbers and using them to come to conclusions that hopefully predict a future outcome, which means a winning bet.

But how important are they in reality?

Stats are useful to take the emotional element out of the decision making process. When the numbers say that a team or a horse is a good play, and the odds are acceptable, then you make the play. You leave intuition and emotion out of it and calculate with only the cold facts.

In sports betting, line crunchers can make a living by not even looking at which teams are playing, but by looking at the lines the sharp books set and then trying to find an edge in another book’s offering. It’s a tedious way of doing it, but if you are diligent and have many different outs, or places to bet, then it’s possible. I find that a bit too boring for me.

In horse racing, the successful computer players look for a 1-2% edge by having the computer examine all of the potential payoffs on exotic combinations and then placing multiple bets on anything that offers perceived value. By casting a wide net, they hope to squeeze out a small edge. Profits are made by betting massive amounts. Again, it’s not my thing but I understand how it works.

I prefer the challenge of watching races or games and trying to see what is happening behind the numbers and the stats. I like finding the stories behind the headlines, the small things that can influence the outcome and offer value that others don’t see. I guess I like to be more of a detective than an accountant.

What fascinates me the most is human nature. A player traded away will often have a superhuman effort when returning to face a former team. A change in coaching can take a team out of the basement right to the penthouse. It’s the same players, same abilities, but they produce entirely different results. That shows how much we can learn from surrounding ourselves by successful people who have the right attitude.

With horses, I like to focus on change. What is different that could get a horse more motivated and in a winning position? It could be a drop in class, a move to a new barn, an equipment change, or a change of pilot. Horses are like people in some ways - they can get a little bored with the same routine.

Horserace betting will always be a challenging and potentially lucrative pursuit because numbers and past performances don’t mean everything. The cold hard facts will never tell the whole story. Human and horse nature will never be reducible to mere numbers, and betting wouldn’t be fun if it could.

Let’s look at a Pick 4 play at Century Downs for Saturday starting in race 7. I threw a couple of price horses in to spice it up with the key of #1 Midnight Mover in race 9. Good luck to us!

Race 7 Pick 4 Ticket - $32: 5, 7/3, 6, 7, 9/1/1, 6, 8, 9 (10 if draws in)

Read 512 times Last modified on Thursday, 21 July 2022 23:17