This article is part of our DFS Baseball 101 series.
Two weeks ago, we introduced Rotowire subscribers to new sports contests over at TradeSports.com, a site that allows users to buy and sell shares in the outcomes of sporting events, with options based on both individual and team performance. Last week, I competed in a contest based on an Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. This week we're going to shift over to baseball.
The contest I'm choosing is based on Tuesday's game in the Bronx between the A's and Yankees, with Scott Kazmir on the hill for the visitors, and Hiroki Kuroda starting for the Bombers. It's a free, real-time, 25-person contest, but I'm going to play it as if there are payouts, shooting for a spot in the top five. I'll be writing as I watch and trade, which explains my use of the present tense.
Some Pregame thoughts:
The Vegas over/under for the game is 8.5 runs, but the TradeSports option is 'more than 7.5 total runs scored in the game'. As you might expect, the stock was trading at a price well above 50 before the game, and I was able to secure 85 shares at a price of 59. The wind is blowing out a bit, and the top six of the A's lineup is pretty vicious. Hiroki Kuroda is a solid pitcher, but this is a tough matchup for him, facing a strong lineup in a hitter-friendly park.
On the other side, while Scott Kazmir faces a softer lineup, the Yankees will only have two right-handed batters. The southpaw's splits are relatively favorable for lefties this season, but he had extreme splits last year, and opponents have caught on. Kazmir has faced more than four right-handed hitters for every left-handed batter in 2014, as most opposing mangers have opted to only leave their very best left-handed guys in the lineup. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are occupying their normal spots for the Yanks, but everyone else is either right-handed or a switch-hitter.
Here are the stock choices for the game:
- Athletics to win
- Athletics to win by 2.5 runs
- Yankees to win by 2.5 runs
- More than 7.5 total runs scored in the game
- Scott Kazmir to give up more than 5.5 hits
- Athletics team to have more than 8.5 hits
- Hiroki Kuroda to have more than 4.5 Ks
- Yankees team to have more than 7.5 hits
Let the trading begin!
Well, I like the A's to win in a fairly high-scoring game, so I'll try to align myself with that position before the first pitch. I believe that my biggest mistake in the NBA contest last week was not being active enough, and I thus plan to be plenty active this time around. As mentioned before, the A's lineup is excellent through the top six batters, then drops off pretty hard for 7-9. My hope is that I can get a bunch of the 'A's to win' stock, which will hopefully be followed by a run or two in the top of the first. If things play out like I hope, I'm going to move a bunch of the stock at a higher price than I originally bought it for, then re-invest the funds in either 'more than 7.5 total runs', 'Scott Kazmir to give up more than 5.5 hits', or 'Yankees team to have more than 7.5 hits'. Stocks based on the Yankees vs. Kazmir likely won't be impacted by whatever happens in the top of the first inning.
So, I get my hands on 300 shares of 'Athletics to win' at an average price of 56. I'm pretty pleased with this, as the A's have the much better lineup, while the pitchers are fairly even, despite what their respective ERAs say. I also secure 85 shares of 'more than 7.5 total runs' at an average price of 59. Again, I like where I stand, and may even want to get my hands on some more shares.
I round things out with 74 shares of 'Yankees to have more than 7.5 hits' at an average price of 47. Lastly, I sell 150 shares of 'Hiroki Kuroda to have more than 4.5 K's' at a price of 49 per share. I'm less bullish on the Kuroda one, as the A's do strikeout quite a bit, despite having an excellent offense.
I've invested $33,088 of the $50,000 budget, leaving $16,992 to play with. I'd like to have left a bit more to work with, but I really liked the 'A's to win' stock and perhaps went just a bit overboard there.
Naturally, now that I've got all this figured out and am ready to play…Rain Delay! I'll poke around for a bit while waiting it out, but I'm not overly eager to do any more trading before the game. I just want the game to start!
Update: The first pitch is now scheduled for 8:15 ET, an hour and 10 minutes after the originally scheduled time. I guess I'm in for a later night than expected, as I knew the weather was shaky but wasn't planning on a delay.
The game finally starts, and the A's go down in order in the first, with Kuroda striking out one batter. Not a good start for any of my bets, but I'm not too discouraged, so I'll hold tight.
The Yankees open the bottom of the first with a pair of singles sandwiched around a Derek Jeter strikeout. The price on 'Yankees over 7.5 hits' doesn't go up much, so I quickly buy another 75 shares at a price of 50. Annnnnd, a blooper falls in, giving the Yanks three hits in the first four batters, plus a 1-0 lead. I quickly add another 75 shares, albeit at a price of 53 this time. I now have 224 shares of the 'Yankees over 7.5 hits' at an average price of 50.
Kazmir strands a pair, but with three hits already in the bag, I'm feeling excellent about the stock, without taking too much damage to my 'A's to win' stock.
Nothing in the top of the second for the A's, as a weak Yoenis Cespedes single is erased by a Jed Lowrie double-play ball. Kazmir then strikes out the side, bringing his total to five K's through two innings. Maybe I was wrong about this whole high-scoring game thing?
Still, the Yanks only need five more hits to go over 7.5, and the best price I can get to sell that stock is 52, indicating that it's basically still viewed as a 50/50 proposition. I'll hold tight and see what happens here in the third.
I take that back. Someone is looking to buy 75 shares of 'Athletics win by more than 2.5 runs' at a price of 49. I sell them those shares as Alberto Callaspo leads off the third with a groundout. The A's are already down one and both pitchers look good. I have no idea why anybody would want to buy those shares at that price, so I'm more than happy to sell, even though I already have 300 shares invested in the A's winning outright. Of course, with a one or two-run A's victory, both stocks would pay off.
Note: Keep in mind that I never actually owned the shares that I sold. Selling just means that I'm taking the other side, with a potential profit of 49 per share should the A's fail to win by more than 2.5. For a more detailed explanation of how the trades work, refer to our previous articles or TradeSports' excellent support section.
Three up, three down for both sides in the third. My pregame predictions couldn't be going much worse, yet I'm actually in dcent shape, as I limited my investment in 'over 7.5 total runs' due to the lofty price.
Ok, so the A's go scoreless again in the fourth, and Kuroda has faced the minimum thanks to a pair of double plays. With one run through 3.5 innings, the 'over 7.5 runs' isn't looking so hot, and I want some more funds to invest elsewhere. I sell 75 of my 85 shares at a price of 48. I'm taking a sizable hit, as I originally purchased the shares at either 58 or 60. It's perhaps a bit frustrating, but still the right decision, as I'm getting close to 50/50 odds, despite how the game has gone thus far. I wouldn't pay more than 45 for those shares, so selling them at 48 is a relative win.
After a quiet bottom of the fourth for the Yankees, Brandon Moss leads off the top of the fifth with a solo blast for the A's. On an unrelated note, I notice that someone wants 75 shares of 'Yankees more than 7.5' hits at a price of 56. They have three hits through four innings, all of which came in the first frame. I jump on it, selling for 56 the shares I previously bought at either 50 or 53. Again, this seems to be a case of someone napping, as I bought my shares during that productive first inning, and the Yanks have since been completely quiet.
After another hitless inning for the Yankees, I sell 75 more shares in the same stock, this time at a price of 53, rather than 56. They have three hits through five innings, and none since the first. I don't think they'll muster five hits over the final three innings, as Kazmir is rolling and the A's have a strong bullpen. In fact, I'm going to sell my final 74 shares at a price of 50. It's less than I just got, but I simply don't think the Yankees are going over 7.5 hits. All in all, I no longer have any investment in the stock, and came away at +672. I now have $20,917 that isn't tied up, and I'm eyeballing a few different stocks.
As we seem to be headed for a close, low-scoring game, I'm going to sell shares of 'A's over 8.5 hits'. I find three different buyers, and sell a total of 300 shares at an average price of 49. Given that the A's have two hits through six innings, this isn't exactly a genius play, so much as an obvious one. About two seconds after I complete the trade, Mark Teixeira hits a sixth-inning solo home run. I'm primarily invested in the A's getting less than 8.5 hits and the A's winning. It's an interesting juxtaposition, but I think I'm gonna stick with it until the later innings.
I'm fairly quiet for the rest of the game, as I'm pretty heavily invested in both 'Athletics to win' and 'Athletics to have less than 8.5 hits'. In order to meet my stated goal of a top-five finish, I'll almost certainly need both to work out.
The A's tie things up in the top of the eighth, putting me in much better position. The game goes to extra innings, and lo and behold, the A's break out for three runs in the top of the 10th, while only pushing their hit total to seven. The Yankees can't muster anything in the bottom of the 10th, and I finish in third place out of 25, having gained $20,149 from my original budget of $50,000 for a total of $70,149. First place finishes way ahead of me, gaining $32,626, while second place is just a bit ahead at $21,554.
Looking back on my decisions, while far from flawless, I did a better job of being active, and was heavily invested in two outcomes by the late innings. A close, low-scoring game meant there weren't a ton of big fluctuations in stock prices. The third-place finish was solid, but I suspect there were some non-active competitiors in the contest, due to the lack of an entry fee. I still need work before stepping up to the more expensive games, but I think I'll look for a $5 contest next time and see how the volume of trading changes.