Giving the Edge #2 (5/18/11)

By Paul Bessire

Wednesday, May 18 at 10:41 PM ET
In this week's blog, I'd like to get into one of those non-results-based topics that I referenced a couple of weeks ago. Quick commentary on recent MLB and NBA results will follow that. Any way, on to one of the questions that we get all the time...

If he's so good at making picks, why is telling everyone his secrets? Shouldn't he just keep his info to himself and make billions?

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog entitled, Giving the Edge, in which I described our rationale for creating the subscription elements to the site. My commentary there was more about using our experiences and expertise to change the industry, but it didn't quite get into my personal investing practices. Around that time, I started to get some variation of the question above. As the year progressed, our information, particularly in football and college basketball, excelled and we began to gain notoriety. With that came an increased frequency in this question. I've long wanted to blog about the topic to provide a definitive answer. It's funny to me though; I've never really thought of it as though I should ever keep my information a secret or stick solely to personally investing. Doing what we are currently doing seems like the most obvious and lucrative path for us for many reasons.

Why we give the edge:

  • Helping others - As the son of two teachers, the desire and capacity to share my knowledge to aid others is second nature. Education is extremely important to us.
  • Not mutually exclusive* - It was personal success that led us to believe strongly that I/we can do this professionally. We practice what we preach because we trust the numbers and our approach to viewing sports wagering as investing. We can publish picks and play them too.
  • It's fun - While it would probably be fun to each do our own thing, we have formed a team that we are very happy with and enjoy being a part of. After more than 50 years in the "real world," we feel we have taken combined the best elements of the corporate, small-business world with our own personal objectives.
  • "Winning" - Being one of the best at what I/we do is a goal of many. Not only is there the personal satisfaction of winning and recognition, but it is also good for the industry to push each other in a more outwardly competitive way. We are striving to reach those levels to the greatest degree that we can.
  • Change - I touched on this a lot more in the original Giving the Edge blog, but I have no problem with the idea that this business (with others like us) can change the way people think about this industry and (legal) sports wagering as a logical means for investing.
  • Innovation - While some of our innovation is in how we communicate and interact with the public, the future of this business will likely be in the innovative ways that we can use our technology and share that with you.
  • Becoming the Line - We aren't there yet and I can't imagine we will ever be. Even if we get to the point where our information has forced the market to become perfectly efficient, and ignoring the ridiculous amount of success that we would have had to have to get to that point, being able to add "sets the perfect line" to our resumes would open more than a few doors. Of course, this is a bit of an absurd thought and I definitely don't expect that we'll ever get to this point, yet this is essentially the leap people are making when they presume that giving away our secrets is going to hurt us that significantly in the market.

*To be clear though, the integrity of our information is always more important to us than getting ideal value in our own investment. For this reason, we always wait until much later in the day/week to make any plays so as not to have any chance of impacting the line. While I don't think that our investment is at a point where it is going to be drastically changing lines, it may for some games now and it definitely could be that way in the future if all continues to go well. You getting the most value in our information is crucial. Plus, that's one of the reasons we built the Customizable Predictalator. Value is relative and can be optimized for any given time using that tool.

MLB Results:

Over the eight days since the last blog on May 9th, the money-line picks have actually done very well (getting us back solidly in the black for the season on the ML). Following the recommendations for a $50 player, all ML picks were +$436 and 56% accurate (accuracy is not as relevant though due to nature of ML odds). Normal or better ML picks were just 3-2 with +$24 in that time. There were 49 "half-bet" or better plays in that eight day span though. They went 32-17 and +$471. As I write this, we are a little down for the day - and it may be about to get much worse - but I am generally happy with the improved performance of the ML plays, especially since it makes sense for them to improve as we get further into the season and focus more on using data players have put up this season.

Last week definitely was not the same old-same old for our information. The money-lines did well and the O/U did not. Much of the difficulty has come in the last two days (three if you count what we have seen today). I have a feeling this has to do with the exceptional amount of rain that we have seen recently. Obviously, we attempt to account for this, but rain is more difficult to predict and account for than wind when it comes to weather. I'm not saying you should never play an over of ours when rain is in the forecast, but I am saying that we have struggled with this quite a bit this week and will be doing what we can to improve the way this is handled going forward. The losses for the O/U overall and on the half-bet were not as extreme as the wins, but it's close. I am very happy with where we are from a data and baseball engine standpoint and, given that we are still way up for the season on the O/U, I assume that this is an unfortunate blip.

Run-lines on the whole also had a profitable week (not much of a surprise given the ML performance). Since we are typically playing ML underdogs while laying heavy lines, if we have a great week on the ML, it usually won't be as great on the RL. The RL over the same time-frame was up +$48 on the whole. Half-bets on the RL went 27-17, which resulted in being +$61.

NBA Playoffs
Consistently inconsistent and frustrating. It's fan-tastic.

As usual, if you have any of your own suggestions about how to improve the site, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. We respond to every support contact as quickly as we can (usually within a few hours) and are very amenable to suggestions. I firmly believe that open communication with our customers and user feedback is the best way for us to grow and provide the types of products that will maximize the experience for all. Thank you in advance for your suggestions, comments and questions.