30 players, 30 teams, 30 days – Angels

In a never quite fulfilled quest to write more often, I’ve been turning to blogging more regularly, but it still hasn’t been enough. I need a little structure, so I’m going to try something new here, and identify a player on each team that (a) is fairly prominent in fantasy circles and (b) isn’t on any of my teams. I’m hoping to learn more about the player pool in the process, perhaps guiding me to better draft and/or free agent decisions. Occasionally I’ll dig deep into the player, other times it’ll probably be just a surface level look. Often that will depend on how much time I have. For instance, Sunday can be a little challenging given all the live events going on, plus all of my FAAB deadlines. Also, I think working on a deadline will force me to be a little more productive, rather than agonizing over every word, thus ending up with nothing, as I’m occasionally culpable of doing.

Continue reading →

RotoWire Baseball Championship – 6th Qualifier

We’re just about to go over the finish line for the final qualifying round of the six-round RotoWire/Fanduel Baseball Championship.

The contest includes the six qualifying rounds, and only you’re best three scores count for the final leaderboard. The top 25 scores on the overall leaderboard will compete for $2,000 and RotoWire subscriptions in the Championship Round on June 27.

Meanwhile, the experts here at RotoWire are competing in our own parallel contest. Isaac Buttke (ibuttke) won the contest two weeks ago with a score of 169.70, led by the Cy Young favorite in the NL in Max Scherzer who gave him a whopping 70 points. Despite registering goose eggs with Colorado’s Geraldo Parra and Seattle’s Ryon Healy, Isaac had consistent bats with the lowest ebb of Mets’ Jay Bruce with 12.2 points to Miami’s Starlin Castro’s 22.2 points.

In the overall standings Erik Halterman (ehalt) has taken over the top spot with 1238 points, but there are five other players who are less than 40 points behind Erik so anything can happen this week where one of them can move up to first place. Brian Pelowski (brianp) and James Anderson (realjranderson) are the closest to first place with 1,219.70 and 1,218.10 respectively for the season. Adam Wolf (rotosomething) who was in first place overall a couple weeks ago has dropped to fourth (1,200), but still can take over the top spot with a good week.

Continue reading →

RotoWire World Cup Calcutta Recap

The Format

If you are unfamiliar with a Calcutta, it is essentially an auction in which players bid on teams and get paid out a percentage of the total pool based on success in a tournament. This is a very popular format for NCAA March Madness and golf pools. In this case, we adopted it for the 2018 World Cup with the following payout structure (after some minor tweaking).

Continue reading →

A Bandwagon Well Worth the Ride

The date was October 1, 2017.

As a senior hockey writer for RotoWire, I had been eager to start penning post-game wrap notes for the preseason finale between the Golden Knights and Sharks. While it’s often said that exhibition games are meaningless, I was smitten by the idea of an expansion team breaking ground in my happy place. At this point, sports gambling and its associated controversies were largely confined to Vegas, so I had a profound interest in knowing how that would all shake out. Plus, my childhood adoration for the film series “The Mighty Ducks” — which has deeply rooted ties to Anaheim’s NHL franchise — has fostered a personal affinity for expansion teams.

Continue reading →

Valuing Parlays vs. ATS Bets

Now that sports betting is about to be legal in various states, it’s worth going over some basic parameters in that space. I wrote a detailed, but by no means exhaustive glossary of gambling terms a few weeks ago, but I want to delve into the value (or lack thereof) of parlays in particular.

From the glossary:

The key point is that for a two-team parlay, you need to win both legs of the bet. Each leg has a 50 percent chance of coming in, so your chances of winning both are 50 percent of 50 percent or 25 percent. The true odds of a bet with a 25 percent chance to come in should be 3:1 – 75 percent chance to lose, 25 percent to win = 3:1.

But two-team parlays pay out only 2.6:1. That’s where the sports book takes its rake. The question then is how big is this rake, say, compared to the book’s usual -110 rake on straight bets against the spread.

To find out, let’s assume you made 100 $1 bets against the spread (ATS) and won half of them (the expected number, as it’s a 50/50 bet.) You’d win $50, lose $50 and then lose another $5 in rake for a total of $-5. That’s because you have to risk $110 to win $100, i.e., the reason the odds are typically denoted as “-110.”

If you made 100 $1 two-team parlay bets and won the expected amount (25 of them), you’d win $25 * 2.6 = $65, while losing $75 for a net of $-10. As you can see, the rake on the parlay is twice as big as the rake on the standard ATS bet.

Accordingly, you should never parlay two (or more) teams unless you think there’s correlation between the two legs. For example, if you parlayed the Raiders +10 at Pittsburgh and over 50 (the total number of points in the game), and you thought the most likely way the Raiders cover is in a shootout, 2.6:1 odds could be more than enough. Specifically, if you thought the game had a 70 percent chance to go over if the Raiders covered, then you’d be parlaying a Raiders cover (50%) and the over (70%) for a total 35 percent chance of hitting both. At those odds, anything over 2:1 (66.6:33.3) is more than enough to compensate you for the risk, and 2.6:1 would be a massive edge.

Bottom line, only parlay correlated bets.