Handicapping Theory (3/3) Combined Analysis and Best Bets
By: Dr Bob
Combined Analysis: The key to the 2004 research on my methods was finding a way to combine my situational analysis, fundamental indicators and my math model to give me an overall chance of a team covering at any given number. My performance on my Best Bets the last 5 seasons is an indication that I succeeded in that endeavor and I will continue to refine the accuracy of my methods each year.
As an example, consider a hypothetical game between the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders. New Orleans applies to a 140-60-5 ATS situation that uses 6 parameters, but Oakland also applies to a statistical profile indicator with a record of 86-28-4 ATS. My NFL math model favors New Orleans by 12.4 points when they are only a 7 point favorite in reality. As discussed above, a situation with a record of 140-60-5 and 6 parameters has a 55.8% chance of winning if the line is fair. The fundamental indicator favoring the Raiders has a 56.1% chance of winning given a fair line, and my math model would give the Saints a 56.9% chance of covering at a line of -7 points. The trick is assigning a point value to the situation and the fundamental indicator based on their chance of covering at a fair line. I simply put everything in terms of points based on the relationship between point differentials and the chance of covering of my math model. Each point difference in my math model is worth about 1.3% in chance of covering, so each percentage point is worth about 0.8 points (1/1.3). In this case, the situation favoring New Orleans is worth 4.5 points while the fundamental indicator favoring Oakland is worth 4.8 points. My math model favors New Orleans by 12.4 points, so adding the value of the situation and the indicator would result in an overall prediction of the Saints by 12.1 points (+4.5 - 4.8 + 12.4 = 12.1), which would give them a 56.5% chance of covering at the line of -7 points. Obviously, things can become a lot more complicated when there are multiple situations and indicators applying to a particular game - which is most often the case, but my years of studying probability theory have given me the tools to sort through it all and come up with an accurate measure of the overall affect of the situations and indicators.
Best Bets: Over the last 5 seasons I have gone 572-414-28 (58%) on a Star basis on my NCAA Football Best Bets and 210-168-2 (56%) on my Strong Opinions, and I have gone 1131-853-42 (57%) on a Star basis on my NCAA Football Best Bets and 327-266-8 (55%) on my Strong Opinions over the last 10 seasons. On NFL sides, I have gone 845-754-52 (53%) on a Star basis on my NFL Best Bets, and 159-132-5 (55%) on my Strong Opinions. In Basketball, I have gone 2168-1843 (54%) over the last 10 years.
Going forward, I expect to continue my success, and to win around 59% of my 4-Star bets, 56% of my 3-Star bets, 55% of my 2-Star bets, and 54% of my Strong Opinions in Football. In Basketball, I expect to win around 57% of my 4-Star bets, 55% of my 3- Star bet, and 54% of my 2-Star bets. A lot of handicappers use situational analysis and math models in their handicapping but few, if any, of them have studied the predictability of their methods, as I have, or found a realistic way of combining their methods for an overall measure of predicted success on every game.
Bob Stoll of Dr. Bob Sports can be reached at DrBobSports.com.