Monday 29 September 2014

Average score is not par score

I've discussed cricket stats and betting in general a few times now. I'll get round to giving proper examples of the benefits and dangers of using them in due course but first a small but annoying example of the danger of bad stats.

I wasn't going to write about this for a while but one commentator's absurd assertion during Wednesday night's Glamorgan v Hampshire Twenty 20 match that "160 is always a par score" reignited my irritation on the issue.

So it's a bit of a gripe this one but it's good to get things off your chest - and there's also an important warning here for anyone new to cricket betting.

The issue is relevant to both innings runs and match odds markets and is seemingly cropping up ever more frequently in live televised cricket.

Even Sky Sports' pundits, usually vastly better than cricket board produced cheerleader commentaries where endless excuses for poor play suggest it must be a sackable offence to actually criticise a player, make this error.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

WASP as a possible betting tool

Recently I published a detailed article about the cricket WASP giving my thoughts on the tool, how it works, and why I thought it was largely useless from a betting perspective.

Of course, it was never intended to be a betting tool, and I was delighted that WASP co-creator Dr Seamus Hogan saw fit to comment on the piece, clarify some issues - and agree he would not use it to bet either! Please do add your own thoughts to the discussion at the bottom of that piece.

While writing that article I did mention that, despite my overall reservations about WASP, there were certain limited circumstances in which I thought cricket traders could benefit from its outputs.

In this post I'll outline these circumstances, explain how I believe WASP can be used profitably, and illustrate how you can easily do this yourself.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Cricket and economics

Today I'm posting a fascinating video lecture on how economics can help cricket teams win matches. Don't let the subject scare you - it really is worth the time to watch!

Among the absorbing insights in the video are why:

* Stephen Fleming was a smarter power play batsman than Sachin Tendulkar
* If you have two bats left you are better off with 10 and 11 than a top order bat and 11
* A team not batting out its overs in limited cricket is not "the biggest sin"
* Teams play sub-optimally, both without realising it and deliberately
* Commentators and the press contribute to sub-optimal play

These are not my words and thoughts, but those of Dr Seamus Hogan, a co-creator of the cricket WASP, self-proclaimed "cricket tragic" and the man giving the lecture.

If that hasn't pulled you in a couple of screen shots from the lecture too before I post the video at the bottom of this article.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Crazy cricket tie market

My recent article on the Betfair cricket tie rule reminded me of one of the most bizarre markets in Betfair history - when a cricket tie market was 1.01 Yes and No at the same time!

I know it's hard to believe but it was such a curious case that I took a screenshot. Just click the picture for a larger image.

There's no need to rub your eyes. That tie market really is 1.01 on both sides as the market is suspended at the end of the match.

What's even more bonkers is there's more money trying to back No tie (£997)  than Yes tie (£307) - when the market was correctly settled as Yes tie.

For those wondering the match was a Twenty 20 international between India and Pakistan during the 2007 inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa. The scorecard is here.

I'm sure some of you are thinking WTF? How on earth did this happen? So let's take a quick wander down memory lane...

Saturday 2 August 2014

Betfair cricket tie rule

This issue of Betfair and the cricket tie rule never ceases to amaze me. The rule is there for a great reason. Yet when a match is tied there's usually no end of moaning from people who clearly don't understand the markets they're betting in - and want to advertise the fact!

Put simply when a one day cricket match* ends in a tie Betfair cancels all the bets struck in the Match Odds market and returns the stakes.

In the distant past Betfair used to instead settle these Match Odds bets in tied matches as a Dead Heat. This changed many years ago for very good reasons and a specific Yes / No tie market has been offered ever since.

Despite this you'd back 1.01 that each time there's a tie there will be much gnashing of teeth from people moaning about how unfair everything is and what a joke Betfair is. Of course, it isn't unfair. And the only jokers are those threatening to go running to IBAS.

So why did Betfair scrap the Dead Heat rule for ties in cricket and introduce a specific tie market instead? And why was the decision for the best?

Thursday 24 July 2014

Ground history - Basic profiling

I've discussed my cricket match betting preparation and the benefits of stats before but have received an email asking for more detail about what stats I collect, how I use them and what I mean by ground profiling.

I thought it would make an interesting blog post so will answer below. It's great to get both questions and feedback by the way so please do feel free to email, leave comments at the bottom of posts and say hi on Twitter.

Previously I've mentioned I keep my own database and focus on stats that will give me edges to beat markets rather than stats that are of more general interest to a cricket enthusiast.

I use these stats to draw up ground profiles - in which I try to identify key features and characteristics of matches at the venue I am preparing to bet on.

The stats I keep can generally be broken into two categories. There is an over lap but essentially they are those that profile a ground to help with:

1) Ante-post side market bets such as Total 6s, Multi 4s and Total boundaries.
2) In-running judgements on how teams are doing and what the result might be.

Today I'll look at the ante-post stats and how I use them. On which my starting point is always this table:

Monday 7 July 2014

Cricket WASP

There's been a lot of talk on television, twitter and cricket betting forums about the cricket prediction tool WASP recently so I thought I'd give some thoughts on the subject.

I've read far more about WASP than is probably good for me and will start by saying the guys who've developed it are smart, know way more about stats than I ever will, and have made a useful, if stepping stone, contribution to the modelling of cricket. I doff my cap at their work.

I'll also say from the outset though that I more or less ignore it and would expect any competent cricket trader to profit handsomely if allowed to bet against its predictions.

I don't use the tool as the basis for any bets and will go as far as saying I wouldn't use WASP to place bets with your money, let alone mine - unless I was self-matching your bets!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. And being more than a little unfair. Let's take a proper look at WASP.