Information the Bookmaker Has


Given that most bookies do fairly nicely for themselves, it seems obvious to me that they must know more than we, the bettors, do. At least they must have better advice and more sources of information. What can bettors do to close the information gap with “the Bookmaker”?


There is so much possible information and misinformation available on any speculative event that we can be overwhelmed with data. It would be a full-time job trying to gather it, let alone sift, sort and process it properly.

Even then, at whatever level of data we accumulate for our own use, we would probably find that our data was compromised by our own biases.

Your area of inquiry parallels the efforts of previous year’s co-recipients of the Nobel Prize for Economics that I can’t recall at the moment. Each year, the Nobel committee recognizes an economist or economists who have made a breakthrough in the field. That year’s winners examined and theorized about “asymmetric information” or, in other words, information that is not balanced or equal but that is still used to arrive at a certain result. Of course, most human decisions are reached after examining a set of factors, none of which are equal in value to the others.

Traditional economic theory held that all sides had the same information, but because they held different preferences or influences their decision processes caused them to arrive at different conclusions. In the “real world,” however, we all know that one side often knows something the other side doesn’t. We would call this an asymmetrical information database.

The bookmakerA good example of an asymmetrical relationship regarding data can be seen in an examination of the relationship between an insurance company and one of its health insurance policy holders. The policy holder will probably know more about his health and his family’s health history than the insurance company will. The insurer, however, knows it is on the low-side in this data acquisition game and adjusts premiums to reflect this potential problem. If the insurer failed to make this assumption it would likely lose money. It’s the same thing when someone purchases a used car. The seller always knows more about the bucket of bolts than the buyer does. It is also true of many other economic relationships that one side has more or different information than the other side.

Sure, a pure symmetrical model based on quantifiable factors would be ideal, and many handicappers act as if their relationship to the odds and pointspreads is easily examined according to a set of factors common to both themselves and the creator of the odds and pointspreads. This situation, however, rarely exists in the “real world.”

Now, I don’t think the bookies have access to more, better or privileged information that the rest of us somehow miss. Remember, the bookie is not picking a side, he is “booking” the “action” of a diverse group of decision makers who often collectively cancel each other out. In other words, the bookmaker attempts to create a symmetrical pattern of wagers upon which he attaches a vigorish that will produce a profit.

The Bookmaker

The bookmaker, through the use of the pointspread or odds, controls the act of betting and can burden any wager with a negative pointspread or lay price on the money line. Using the spread or money line, he attempts to drive the bettors to symmetrical behavior producing a situation where half the money is wagered on one side and half on the other side. This scheme produces an effect in which the bookie has the bucks in his favor and is similar to the economist who tries to guide the pricing policies of the XYZ Corporation. Like the economist, the bookmaker knows that setting the wrong price (or pointspread or odds) can lead to a disastrous result.

Bettors, of course, are selecting a side and, unlike the bookmaker, are not making a decision based on collective decision-making processes. Bettors make their own singular decision based on their lone opinion. A bettor must know he is playing in game where the two sides have different goals based on different information that has come from different sources. Therefore, the bettor is forced to view his situation knowing that he gathers and processes information differently from his bookmaker. Given this, the bettor must hone his skills to acquire and manipulate information in a manner that produces good results. And that’s really the only measuring stick here — were more winners picked than losers and was a profit produced.

Once established, the probability or perceived chance of success is easily convertible to an odds line or pointspread. Therein, bettors look for a predetermined advantage over the “price” (pointspread or odds) and make their decisions accordingly.


Handicapping Sports Takes Time

handicapping sports takes timeNo one has ever done a time study on how many minutes or hours the average handicapper spends in preparing for a day of betting on sports but you can be assured it is not much. Most bettors think you can grab a local newspaper, spend 45 seconds looking at betting lines that are at least 24 hours old and then pick five or six winners. It is as if they believe they have stored in their brains all the data and informationthey need to beat the game. By simple adding 45 seconds a day of handicapping , they believe they can just spew out those winners.

It is no wonder bettors lose in a world where they have a legitimate chance to win every single day. Handicapping sports is a difficult, time-consuming  business, but you can consistently win at it if you can get past the 45 seconds a day method of analysis.

Handicapping A Big Day…

Handicapping a big day, such as a Saturday, when there are dozens of games from which to pick, you may spend up to as many as 20 hours getting ready for it. Last week, this handicapper spent more than 10 hours on Friday handicapping  the Saturday card, and then put in a full 12-hour day on Saturday doing the same thing.
The first thing I do when I am handicapping a day on which there are a great number of games, which also mean a great number of opportunities, is to completely handicap the card the day before, setting aside all the games in which I think there is some possible edge. Then I come back the next day and do it all over again, seeing if my perspective is the same the second time around. Many times it is not, as later data and information, or insight makes other contest more playable.

What You Pass on is More Important Than What You Play…

After I have decided which 15-20 games offer the best chance to win, I then revisit each game to try to makes a case for both sides. This is a key juncture in handicapping, and it never surprises me when half of the 15-20 games fall by the wayside, since you can truly make a case for both sides in about 50 percent of the contests. Needless to say, if you can makes a case for both sides, the game is a pass.

When the process is all over, I have five or six games which seem to offer the most edges – and those are the games I bet. There was no magic formula involved in any of it – just hours of intense tedious focused analysis.

And, once into the betting arena there still are no assurances you will bet on anything but winners. There is no way to determine in advance that you quarterback would be sacked six times and fumble three times. Also, there is no way to predict the Washington Wizards, a supposedly professional basketball team, would hit 33 percent from the floor. The “X Factor,” the unknown, is always looking over the bettor’s shoulder. But when you work at this business and take the edges, you chances for success increase dramatically.


Best Hidden Factor for NFL Futures


2014 NFL Regular season winsWe are quickly approaching the start of the NFL season. What you will be getting mostly now, will be a lot of season wins forecasts. Most of those will be based on the obvious, draft picks, free agent signings, or free agents lost, etc. The numbers will be scrutinized publically to the point of exhaustion, with a lot of “stuffed suits” and so-called experts weighing in. The problem is, they all approach the predictions with similar, if not exacting methodology, as described above, and state their objective view based on how they see it playing out.

Today in the newsletter, we will look at an entirely different methodology, one that sits tucked firmly under the radar, as it sits on an island, awaiting discovery, and in my attempt to always be “stealthy” regarding my handicapping philosophy, I have looked at many, many approaches, out of the main stream, and it is what attributes to my success as a handicapper.

I discovered several years ago, a methodology, that is first and foremost logical, and then backed up the theory with a trial and error highly successful means to the end, with 20 NFL seasons of data, So here we go:


The NFL schedule is 16 games, and 25% of that schedule is comprised of inter-conference games. That is certainly a significant chunk. The beauty of it is, the NFL schedule is such, that these 4 games change every year, as inter-league play is rotated conference by conference through all 4 possibilities. here in lies the most predictive element I have found to forecast a team in the best spot to move up or down.


Arguably, in the long haul, a team should finish 2-2 in the 4 games straight up. Maybe in a given season, when they face a weak conference they rise to 3-1, or 4-0, and visa versa if they play the strongest conference. This is the key element.

Since the start of the 1995-96 NFL season there have been 49 teams that ran the inter-conference table at 4-0 SU. The theory is, a team that went 4-0 in these games may have had an easy path, and with a more difficult schedule in front of them in these 4 games the following season, it may be quite difficult to reach the same win total.


The 49 teams that ran the table over the period, met this fate:

38 of them lost more games

9  of them won more games

2 of them won the same amount of games

34 of the 49 lost 2 more games or more 69.4%

The 38 teams that lost more games, did so to an average net wins over the previous season of -3.95!

So the fact is 78% of these teams lost an average of just about 4 more games the following season!

I’m not sure about you, but I have looked at 100s of season win forecasting tools, and none come remotely close to this!


Supporting evidence then should mean, that if a 4-0 team loses a significantly greater amount of games the next season under this hypothesis, then shouldn’t an 0-4 team win a lot more?

It certainly would make this hypothesis a lot truer, and acceptable if that were the case.


We now look at the 0-4 SU teams, and reverse what was said of the 4-0 SU teams, and here are the facts:

Since the start of the 1995-96 season, there have been 53 teams that went 0-4 SU in their previous inter-league schedule.

38 of the 53 won more games the next season

12 of the 53 teams lost more games

3 of the 53 won the same amount of games

34 of the 53 teams won 2 or more games the following season (64.1%)

The 34 teams that won more games, did so to an average additional wins of a whooping 4.1!

It certainly spells out the same outcome, and our theory is looking mighty strong!

COMBINING THE 4-0’s and the 0-4’s:

When we put this all together into one, since they are indeed the same thing we get:

Since the start of the 1995-96 season, there have been 103 teams that won all, or went winless in their 4 inter-conference games the previous season.


positive theory results in 76 of 102 case studies (74.5%)

negative results in 21 of 102 case studies

neutral results in 5 case studies

The average wins or losses above or below the previous season in the 76 positive outcomes was 4!

Think about that for a second. Out of all case studies, with a positive outcome(75%) the results from the previous year were positive by 25% of the schedule, 4 games up or down!

I can say with certainty, that no one can come close to this stealthy way to forecast a team’s season win totals, using just 1 predictive variable, tested on both sides, over a 20 year period, with stunning credibility.

4-0 teams to play under from last year:

1. Dallas
2. Buffalo
3. Baltimore
4. Philadelphia

0-4 teams to play over from last year:

1. Atlanta
2. Tennessee
3. NY Jets

Best of Luck,
Mr. East

What To Bet / Not Bet for August in MLB

August tends to be a tough month for most bettors. You come out of July acclimated to the strange phenonmenon of Favorites destroying dogs making backers money on the blind. In August, the public usually gets slaughtered falling into a number of traps including very large chalk as well as home dogs off of a home loss. Consider the following scenario:

1. It is August.
2. You have a home dog of +110 or more
3. Off of a home loss or 1 run squeak by win where 3 to 10 runs were scored.
4. Not the last game of a series.

This team comes out with a false sense of self and a resulting flat performance next game going just 69-168 (29.1%) SU -75.15 units and a huge +19.0% roi to fade.

Keep this one in your back pocket for next month!