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March 27, 2014

Skewed Left

PECOTA vs. Vegas

by Zachary Levine


One year later, I couldn’t bring myself to take PECOTA back to Las Vegas with me. It wasn’t that we did badly last year. We did OK. We nailed a couple of the big unders, betting on the White Sox and Phillies not reaching their above-.500 Over/Under figures in what would turn out to be terrible seasons. We lost on some others, as PECOTA was too high on the beat-up Yankees, too low on the Orioles (like the rest of us) and missed the Braves party completely. We also collected on the Dodgers winning the NL West, which they did easily after a slow start.

So we’re still solvent; it’s just that I can’t take PECOTA back to Las Vegas with me. I can’t really explain why, but it was something in between the Riviera and the Rhino, and while the details are sort of fuzzy, when we got the request to revive PECOTA’s best gambling bets, I thought it was best to do it from the comforts of home through the magic of offshore wagering.

I thought we might have missed our chance because of the lowercase “o” opening day overseas, but Bovada, one of the leading online wagering sites, simply updated the Dodgers and Diamondbacks numbers and let the games go on. And speaking of the Dodgers, they’re one of the teams that PECOTA is the most extreme on—and in the positive direction, despite having the highest number on the Bovada board.

Already off to a 2-0 start, they get PECOTA’s vote as the strongest bet on the over, given the output of our simulation system.

As for the strong under play, it’s once again going to be Atlanta. Fool me once, shame on the Nationals for underachieving in 2013. But with an over-under of 87.5 even after the injuries have taken their toll and a .500 PECOTA projection, it’s the easiest Under play on the board.

You have to take slightly skewed odds on these (-125) in the direction we’re betting them vs. (-105) the other way, but these are the ones with the best chance of hitting.

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Related Content:  PECOTA,  Betting,  Vegas,  Vegas Odds

11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Johnson Magic

PECOTA seems perennially sour on the O's.

At the risk of flying right in the face of your "don't bet on baseball" admonition, I'll offer the bet: I'll take the OVER on Vegas' 80.5 line (presume you have faith in PECOTA and would take the UNDER). I'll put One American Dollar on it if you want it to be symbolic, or alternately, any amount up to a hundred to the charity of the winner's choice.

BP obviously has my contact info if you were interested and wanted to follow up outside the message board.

In Buck I Trust.

Mar 27, 2014 06:24 AM
rating: -1
 
delatopia

I was in Vegas last week for March Madness and looked at the season MLB over-unders at Paris' sports-book. There was an interesting odds shift with the Nats, whose total was 89 but whose odds on the over went from -125 to -150 in a week (the latter being wager $150, win $100, collect $250). I thought that was a bit of an overadjustment at first, but the odds shift means the Nats went from a 55.6% break-even percentage at -125 to 60% at -150. Take two solid starters out of the rotation of your main rival with Beachy and Medlen going under the knife and that seems like a reasonable shift.

The heaviest favorite on the board that I can recall was the Phillies to finish under 77 wins, but you had to lay -165 to do so. That's a 62.2 break-even percentage.

The Orioles were also a sizable favorite (maybe -140) to go over 80, post-Cruz and Jimenez.

Incidentally, pushes lose (meaning essentially that for the Nats' 89, you had to bet over 89.5 or under 88.5, though you could bet the push, which seems like a really atupid bet at about 5 to 1) and teams have to play all 162 games -- one rainout not made up by a bad team and your bet is off.

Mar 27, 2014 06:52 AM
rating: 0
 
delatopia

"Incidentally, pushes lose (meaning essentially that for the Nats' 89, you had to bet over 89.5 or under 88.5, though you could bet the push, which seems like a really atupid bet at about 5 to 1) and teams have to play all 162 games -- one rainout not made up by a bad team and your bet is off."

Of course, by that last clause I mean that a team you bet on has to play all 162 games, not that the entire board is wiped out if every team doesn't play every game.

Mar 27, 2014 06:55 AM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

What book is that at? I've never seen a requirement that teams play all 162. I saw some really sweet lines at one book that had the pushes at 3-1 but +105 for the over/unders (pushes losing). There were some tempting lines there.

Anyway, I bet:

Indians to make the playoffs at +350
Indians to win the WS at 45-1
Mets to win the division at 28-1
Mariners to win the division at 12-1
Blue Jays to win the division at 13-1
Trumbo to hit most homers at 25-1
Rizzo to hit most homers at 100-1

Bet I would have made if it were easier to collect smaller wins or if I had enough disposable income to make a very large bet: NYM + 13 1/2 wins over NYY at +105.

The Astros opened up at the Atlantis with an over/under of 57 1/2, IIRC.

Also, bet on baseball. There is still profit to be made, despite the fact that the books and the big money have gotten smarter.

Mar 27, 2014 08:10 AM
rating: 1
 
delatopia

Paris, as mentioned in the first sentence. It was mentioned in the type at the bottom of the page.

Mar 27, 2014 08:33 AM
rating: 0
 
AJ

What casino/book were you able to make those bets. I've only ever seen lines for Win WS or Win Pennant when I decide to go lose money.

Mar 27, 2014 18:02 PM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

AJ:

There are a bunch of different books:

1. Caesar's Entertainment books. They are at lots of hotels.

2. Venetian/Palazzo (run by Cantor). Terrific books, non-awful vigs. They were where I got my Indians in playoffs bet.

3. MGM Resorts.

4. LVH (formerly Las Vegas Hilton, now Las Vegas Hotel.) Off-strip, but accessible by monorail. Tons of betting options.

5. Riviera (run by William Hill.) Substantial vigs, but tons of prop bets available.

I think I'm missing one. Look for the betting sheets; lots of bets available that are not available on the big board.

(Finally, I have the Caesar's sheet here; teams must play 160 games for over/under action there, not 162. But, the over-unders are +120 each, with a push at +300. That's a very light vig, *and* the +300 bet strikes me as fabulously overoptimistic; very tempting option.)

--JRM

Mar 29, 2014 10:30 AM
rating: 0
 
jrmayne

Oh, and if you want to bet, shop the books. You'd think the lines would run even or evenish - and that equalizing force does exist - but the Mets and Mariners lines were much better at the spots I bet them.

Other tip: As the article notes, it's all about the odds. Have an idea of what odds you will take on your preferred bets walking in; this prevents anchoring issues. ("Hey, look, the Astros are 20-1 at Book A, but 40-1 at Book B! I should bet on them at Book B!")

Mar 29, 2014 10:35 AM
rating: 0
 
AdamSt

Wynn/Encore has their own book as well and had some good lines.

The +300 to push is a horrible sucker bet. Hitting an exact number of wins is about 6% or 15:1. Those bets should pay +1000 -- they'd get some action and still be profitable for the casino.

The printed lines aren't worth much unless you can get the book to run the current odds from their system. Put a good bet and +105 and enough people jump on it that it's -120 in a couple days.

Mar 30, 2014 17:53 PM
rating: 0
 
Eddie

Great article! Thanks.

Mar 27, 2014 07:14 AM
rating: 1
 
misterjohnny
(925)

Would party with PECOTA at the Rhino. Would it consider Glitter Gulch replacement level?

Mar 27, 2014 12:25 PM
rating: 3
 
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