Money May/Mystic Mac Prediction

The outcome of the fight tonight will be a 12-round decision for Mayweather.  That’s been my thought process from the beginning.  His defensive wizardry and experience will rule the day.  Look no further than the Canelo fight for a clear, recent example of how Mayweather treats younger, bigger, and stronger guys.

Even up till a couple of days ago you could get +300 on your money for a Mayweather decision.  Seems like a ludicrous prop on a book’s part, but the bookmakers make the lines for a reason.  They know.

None the less, Mayweather in twelve.

In a fight, it’s been my observation and very limited experience that 6 factors consistently seem to rule the outcome.  These factors are from most important to least:  1. Skills  2. Experience  3. Ferocity  4. God-Given Power  5. Speed  6. Combinations.  Mac is favored in all 6 of these categories for a fight against Floyd.

In boxing, the factors are in a different order and defense replaces ferocity.  They are:  1. Skills  2. Experience  3. Defensive array(catching, slipping, spacing, etc.)  4. Combinations  5. God-Given Power  6. Speed.

The importance of throwing effective combinations in boxing rises dramatically in a 12 round match.  That second or third punch that slips through to a liver or behind the ear can often be the opponents unseen fight ender.

Floyd easily outclass Mac in all 6 of these areas in the ring, but it’s specifically number 3 of the boxing factors that’s going to give him the decision.  Enjoy the spectacle.

A Game Plan to Beat The City’s Warriors

Sorry that the last 2 posts have been about professional sports, but it was a good weekend of boxing and basketball and I saw some things where I felt I could provide some value-added commentary for sports fans.  The commentary is still potentially actionable in the markets…the sports wagering markets.

The broad assumption here is that the Cavaliers take the Eastern Conference.  Based on game 1 against the Pistons, the Cavs should be able to beat any team in the conference in a 7-game series.  The Pistons are young, fiery, and came out extremely hot but the Cavs kept their cool and simply stuck to a game plan of Lebron getting everyone involved.  The other 2 of the Big 3 stepped up huge, and despite the closeness of the score, it was a pretty easy win for Cleveland.  Their game play against Detroit provided a clear look at the formula it’s going to take to have a chance at Golden State.

I’d like to make one quick note on the Detroit Pistons.  Reggie Jackson pretty much lost them the game.  No joke.  He got fouled on a jump shot with 3 minutes and change to go.  No call by the refs.  Jackson then loses his cool and storms over to the referee’s face and incurs a technical for his immaturity.  In his un-subdued fury, Jackson continued to over-dribble and take horrible shots for the rest of the game like a petulant little child.  Yes, his teammates missed a couple shots when Jackson did try to make a play, but Jackson’s over-dribbling gave the Cavs easy defensive possessions and caused the Piston’s to take bad shots.  If Jackson doesn’t get his head right, it’s gonna be a long series for Detroit.  Reggie is Stan V’s guy.  I’m sure Stan will have the heart to heart that Reggie needs and basketball fans hopefully will see a more composed playmaker for the Pistons.  Maybe even Stan’s brother, Jeff, can shoot Reggie a text telling him to grow up, man up, and bring it.

Now let’s breakdown that game plan.  First, regarding Curry, forget him.  He’s going to make his shots and get his points.  You simply can’t stop players that good.  You can only make it hard for them.  But players that skilled and that mentally tough are going to shine.  Always.  Just make him work.  That’s why you have Dellavedova.  Rotate him for Kyrie but sometimes run him with Kyrie, especially if Klay is on the bench but Steph is on the floor.  Just let Dellavedova annoy, harangue, harass, and piss off Curry.  That’s his value against the Warriors.

The key to winning is to neutralize the other starters.  Step 1, the Cavs have to switch to the small line-up for the rest of the playoffs.  Bring Mozgov off the bench.  Start Kevin Love at center against Bogut.  This will draw Andrew out of the paint.  It will also allow for faster starts to the offense via Love’s outlet passing.  That’s the only way they’re going to maintain the Warriors’ pace.  The key is Love has to consistently hit the 3.  Poor shooting completely negates the effect of starting Love at the 5.  If the Cavaliers try to go to a half-court, slow-down offense this will stymie the small-ball strategy of starting Love and will just be chewed up by the shooting accuracy and passing efficiency of Golden State.

Step 2, bench J.R. Smith for Iman Shumpert for defensive purposes.  I see more value in J.R. Smith providing an offensive spark off the bench than I do in playing him 30 minutes as the starter.  Think Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson of the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons.  Give Shumpert the same mission as Dellavedova, except it’s against Klay Thompson.  Shumpert will need to be a body glove, shadowing Klay’s every move.  Iman will need to body him up, foul him hard even flagrantly a couple times, and just straight up get in his head.  Shumpert is built like a strong safety.  He’s fast enough and certainly strong enough to affect Klay Thompson.  Should coach Lue agree, Shumpert has to be mature enough to understand the mission and engage with maximum effort defensively and not worry about scoring points.

Step 3, Lebron has to match up against Draymond Green to essentially destroy Green’s box score.  This is the toughest step for the Cavs to execute but Lebron is strong enough and fast enough to do it.  It’s not about shutting down Green’s scoring.  That’s not the issue.  It’s about taking away his rebounding opportunities by effectively boxing him out.  It’s about keeping the ball out of his hands so that he can’t be that playmaker for the Warriors.  It’s about keeping him honest defensively so that he can’t provide that weak-side help that he’s so great at giving.  This is where Lebron will have to supplant his ego a bit and allow Irving and Love to lead the Warriors in scoring.  If Lebron dedicates himself to the task of significantly reducing Green’s total affect for the Warriors, then I think Kerr will have a tough time adjusting the game plan accordingly.  However, Lebron is one of the greatest players of all time and I just don’t see him accepting the fact that he needs to focus on diminishing Green’s presence while making plays to get the rest of the Cavaliers involved.  I believe this is the most critical step for the Cavaliers to win it all.

That leaves Tristan Thompson and Harrison Barnes.  That’s a tough cover for both.  Thompson is too strong for Barnes and will effectively grab rebounds against the smaller player, especially offensive boards.  Barnes is too fast for Thompson’s feet and will be able to get to the basket or free himself up for jumpers.  The Cavs will just have to live with that match-up.  If Barnes burns Thompson for some points but Klay Thompson is taken out of the game and Draymond’s total playmaking is scaled down then you live with the tradeoff.

After considering the starting five of each team, the benches need to step up accordingly.  This is where the coaches really earn their keep by effectively subbing based on the ebb and flow of the game.  Making the right reads and adjustments based on shifting chemistry is the bread and butter of the best coaches.  Kerr has a decided advantage over Lue in this department plus Luke Walton’s insight provides another edge.  It’s like playing tennis 2 on 1.

Look, I’m not saying that the Warriors aren’t going to win the championship.  They did just win 73 regular season games.  The odds are clearly in their favor as not a single team has been able to figure out their revolutionary brand of basketball.  It’s just that I think the Cavaliers provided a blueprint specific to their team to potentially beat Golden State in a 7-game series.  Consider the evidence.  We’ll see what happens in June.

Cousin Sal, I Am Not

Okay, so I want to throw out my picks for the NFL conference championships this weekend. Because there are only 2 games, the books should be able to clean up because the action fiends will bet everything and everything simply can’t be bet. Not everything has value.

Despite that, I’m going to throw out my picks anyways.

Most of Vegas has each game at minus 3. Of course, right? The most common and consistent spread put out by the books throughout the NFL season is 3 points. Why? Because it’s a cash cow, period. I think you take the Carolina Panthers to cover that with ease. Here’s my reasoning besides home field advantage, best defense in the game, and the MVP at QB. It’s only one simple reason.

Carson Palmer. He has shown a tendency to choke when in the big time games. What’s that old pro athlete saw about big timers? Big time players make big time plays in big time games. Carson Palmer will make big time mistakes for big time turnovers in big time situations. When he was a Raider I used to call him CP3Turnovers because his standard stat line was 2 interceptions and a fumble or 3 interceptions. You saw a bit of his chokeyness against Green Bay but they decided they didn’t feel like covering or even tackling one of the game’s all-time great wide receivers and they paid the price.

If the Packers had tightened up on Fitzgerald and forced Palmer to take his chances with Brown and Floyd, then I feel the outcome would have been different. Arizona has all the weapons to beat the Panthers from the coach to the O and the D as well as special teams, but I just don’t believe good old CP3Turnovers is going hold up against that hellacious Panthers defense. Take Carolina at minus 3.

In case you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m a Raider fan. Which means I am biased as all hell against Tom Brady. I will never let that damn Tuck Rule nonsense die. NEVER!

But here are the facts. The Patriots are 10 – 0 with Edelman on the field this year. Gronk is healthy and ready to drag defenders around the field. And they still got Tommy Boy.

Despite my unfailing and unending hate for him, I admire Tom Brady’s mental toughness. In the modern era, meaning after 1980, I challenge you to name another athlete that possesses more sheer mental toughness than Tommy whose last name isn’t Jordan, Jeter, Montana, Rivera, or Bryant. The dude’s a straight-up killer who’s cooler than anyone when the pressure is on…and I hate him.

I mean c’mon. Top model in the world for a wife. Top football team in the world. Pretty hot actress baby-mama. And he’s gotta moat with gators and sharks. C’mon!

Alright enough about bellicose Brady. Take the Broncos in the moneyline to win straight up. I know this is a revenge game and it’s incredibly tough to beat a team two times in a row but consider this. Belichick has only 8 playoff losses. All 8 of those losses came against teams the Patriots had faced during the regular season, which means 0 – 8. That’s right. A donut.

One major con to betting Denver. Tom always beats Payton. He’s got his number and revels in crushing Payton’s post-season dreams. Payton against the Patriots is just generally not a safe bet but I thought Payton looked pretty darn sharp last week. If his damn receivers could have caught a football then Manning would have had a very good line. His passes looked crisp. An occasional duck but nothing like we saw at the beginning of the year. Good lord.

Also, I know Payton just does not throw touchdowns at home but I think the defense up at Mile High carries the day and wins won for the old Papa John’s loving Eighthead. Take the Broncs to win straight up.

Before you go, let it be known that I fully recognize my status as an armchair quarterback with absolutely no athletic prowess and a horrible track record as a sporting event speculator to boot. But I also have a notebook, broadband, and a comical opinion so thanks for stopping by.

Who’s Got 2 Thumbs & Went Out Like a Chump Last Week…

So if you read my article last week on handicapping, you might have thought that I might know a thing or two about betting on college football. My proclaimed, private record against the spread to start the season was stellar, but as soon as I go on the public record; my skills were a dud. It happens from time to time. Much like in trading, risk management is paramount so that you don’t wipe out your wagering stack in one weekend of idiocy.

Out of the 14 NCAA football picks I tossed out there, assorted between against the spread (“ATS”) and over/under (“O/U”) straight up bets as well as some parlays, I managed to choose a whopping 6 correct for an earth-shattering win-rate of 42%. For the 3 NFL picks, I only nailed one. Feel free to do the win-rate math in your head on that. Pretty damn weak stuff and it was enough to piss me off into posting this week with some more public picks, simply to assuage my own embarrassment. Whether I biff this weekend up or not, this’ll be the last public post(for awhile at least) on handicapping football.

There’s a few incidental details I’d like to share before posting my picks for the week. In regards to the 13 teams I follow as my ATS horses, they went a collective 6 – 3 last weekend. I’ll take a 67% win rate any time, anywhere. For the season thus far, the 13 teams are a collective 36 – 11 ATS. That’s a 76% win rate for you arithmetically challenged. Several of the teams have already had byes which is why the game totals do not equal 52. Now I gave you 5 of the teams in that last article. If you’re interested in the other 8, feel free to do the research.

Another annoying fact for me last week, was that I shared only my real-money picks. It’s very difficult to make good money picking 40 – 50 games and making 25 bets. It’s just not gonna happen. You have to be selective and so what I shared were what I thought were my best ideas. However, I also maintain a non-money weekly listing of total picks for the NCAA’s and the NFL, just to test my handicapping skills across a larger sample of games. Have a look at how I did in my real-money plus non-money picks for the NFL.

Total Picks from last weekend including the real money picks:clip_image001

Again, these totals also include the real-money bets. There was only 1 college game I did not bet on and that was the Oregon game to cover. Good thing too as Mike Leach always seem to have those damn Cougars prepared for the big games but overlooking any small fry. Anyways, what really jumps out is the sea of green on the NFL side. I made 11 correct calls last weekend in the NFL for an 86% win rate. Unfortunately, I only bet 3 in a parlay and of the 3, two of them were my only incorrect choices. It takes real genius to pick winners and only place money on your losers. Normally, I’m pretty average at NFL handicapping but as the saying goes, on any given Sunday I may have a breakout weekend. This of course leads to a false sense of security due to misplaced hubris and the subsequent weekend tends to bring me back down to earth.

Well, enough complaining about my sub-par performance last weekend. Here’s this weekend’s real-money-only picks and total picks.

1. Real Money:clip_image002Remember, these are real money picks that are bet either straight up or parlayed.

2. Total Picks(including real-money and non-money):clip_image003

You can see that I went 1 – 1 already this Thursday in the real money and 2 – 1 in the total picks. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the locks of the week. The locks of the week for this weekend are the over in the Baylor/Iowa St. game and the Falcons at minus 3 over the Vikings. Better tread carefully with those so called locks though as last week I went 0 – 2 with each “Lock of the Week.” Well I hope you enjoyed this little break from the finance game. With the markets showing weakness there’s plenty to comment on. I hope you raised your cash levels like I’ve commented on in the past several months. There some juicy ideas getting juicier for some long positions. Enjoy your weekend.

How’s Your Handicapping?

Most people hear the word handicap and instantly think of golf, but not us degenerates of the world. We hear handicap and we think spreads, over-unders, and money lines. Betting has as long of a tradition as you’ll find. It’s probably not older than prostitution, but as far as entertainment vices go, wagering has millennia under its belt.

If you want a discourse into the history of sports wagering, have a stop by this site. It’ll give you the skinny with an easy-to-read little comprehensive history of sports gambling. I just want to talk college football today. It’s the only sport for which I truly indulge my gambling urges. I put a little action on the NFL, too, but the asymmetric opportunities are simply not as prevalent as the college version.

So for any US readers that are unaware, sports wagering is currently only occurring in Nevada, Jersey, and Delaware. Technically, it’s legal in Montana and Oregon as they were grandfathered in during the passing of the PASPA aka the Bradley Act back in 92. Sporting events that are exempt from the act are horse racing, dog racing, and jai alai. Everyone else has to lay the casual wager against friends or family or use a bookie. As I stated before, here at Marginrich.com we do not condone nor endorse any illegal or unsanctioned sports wagering. However, human beings are going to be human beings and a bookie isn’t that hard to find.

Just be careful who you deal with. I probably wouldn’t lay any cash with Sal from Queens and his 200% vig. Plus, you don’t wanna a visit from Carmine, Sal’s 6’5 350lb knee-breaker who collects weekly. So if you really want to gamble on sporting outcomes, then be resourceful and be smart.

Now back to college football handicapping. For the sake of an all-encompassing reference, the bookmakers I’ll be referring to are the Vegas casino sports books. Their odds are readily ascertainable on dozens of websites. In just a moment, I’ll get to some useful sites to utilize as resources.

You have to understand that in going up against the books, it’s like traders going up against high-frequency trading shops. The books utilize advanced algorithms to determine their lines. Additionally, the most sophisticated bettors and betting syndicates all utilize sophisticated, algorithmic systems for determining opportunities. Despite that, the books can still be beaten regularly. First and foremost, you have to possess fairly in-depth knowledge of the sport. You can’t be laying money down and winning 55% plus without a solid knowledge base from which to work.

The devil is always in the details. You need to know the make-up of a roster before the season begins. How many starters return? What key positions? Are they Seniors? Is the coach new and what’s his experience? How was the recruiting class? Is this a rebuilding year? Will the formerly pass happy offense be shifted mainly to a ground attack in light of lost personnel? These are just some of the basic questions you have to explore and answer to establish a base from which to move forward from in handicapping against the books.

From that base of information, then you can obtain all the wagering statistics of any team that you need from a multitude of sites. My personal favorite website for college football is VegasInsider.com. Now this site alone has darn near everything you need to successfully wager against the books. Of course they have all the odds, but they also provide free insight into a great many of the games for the week. You can find Against-the-Spread (“ATS”) records and ATS trends for various factors such as: road or away, coach’s time in position, or performance at a stadium. This really is my number one resource for college football handicapping help.

Another must-reference site is Covers.com. It provides an easy to read PDF sheet listing all the week’s match-ups along with average scoring when home or away as well as the ATS record. Even the casinos offer this sheet up free of charge to patrons who manually pick up the sports book’s betting sheets. Rivals.com at Yahoo is very handy for getting quality information at a site dedicated to a specific college team. There you can find more specific updates on a team’s activities leading up to the game. Finally, I check the SportsConnection site, courtesy of Station, for quick injury updates on any key players. You don’t want to be laying money blind on a team that is sitting a star player or just lost someone for the year during a practice. There are dozens and dozens of sites for you to enhance your handicapping ability. These just happen to be my 4 go-to sites. Additionally, The Wiz of Odds is a very handy resource as sort of a catch-all site that offers up a little bit of everything for the bettor.

Now armed with a load of information, you’re ready to take on the books. Even if you don’t have the last 60 years’ worth of data or complex databases crunching everything for you, the brain will suffice to process enough relevant info to win more than you lose. Remember, the sports book is not trying to get everybody to lose so they can keep all the money and pay nothing. Sure it’s nice when bettors lose, but the books are trying to maximize the total amount of bettors laying action every week. That way they maximize their commission which is built into the payout structure. They have to toe the line on odds closely enough to draw the bettors in but can’t make it so hard to win that bettors take their funds elsewhere or stop wagering altogether. That toeing of the line is what makes it possible to win at a greater frequency than lose.

ATS this year, I’m winning at a 64% clip. Week 1 – 58%. Week 2 – 68%. Week 3 – 64%. Now you say, so what? But you really only have to average about 55% to generate solid positive cash. You start winning against the book at over a 60% rate, and depending on amounts or methods utilized, you can make some serious cash. Obviously, if you can successfully parlay some bets versus just playing straight-up ATS wins then you’re going to significantly impact your bankroll.

For the uninitiated, parlaying is simply combining wagers into one overall bet. For example, you take OU on the points, Alabama in the Under, and East Carolina on the points. If you were to bet each of those individually at a sports book at $20 a bet, you’d have the chance of winning around $55 in profit. Parlaying those three together takes your payout up to $120 for one single $20 bet, but obviously you exponentially increase the risk of loss of capital. That’s why the books are so ready to parlay. Additionally, the money-line is a play that every once in a while will present a great opportunity to garner a juicier payout. The money-line dog play is almost always a loser, but when you catch one, you can often get 1.5, 2, or 3 to one on your bet.

It’s easy to go online and make a claim. But I’m willing to toss my picks out there to see if, at least for this week, I can walk the walk. I have found that the books consistently underrate and overrate scenarios regarding offenses, defenses, upper-classmen, returning players, coaching, the “saltiness” of a team, and many other factors. These misratings of risk are what create the asymmetric opportunities for generating profit. Have a look at the Auburn/Kansas St. game. I played the under as both defenses are stout with heavy run-based attacks. They scored a total of 34. Winner, Winner…except I failed with the Auburn pick on the points.

All that being said, allow me to list out my picks for not only the NCAA but the NFL too, just for kicks.

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Now to be an even bigger douche-bag, I’ve been picking one “lock of the week.” Historically, my “lock picks of the week” perform terribly. I’m much better collectively than I am at singling out what I think is the best pick. For some reason in 2014 though, I’m 3 – 0 in the NCAA this year and 2 – 0 in the NFL. So consider yourself warned regarding my history of “locks of the week” but the locks for this week are Missouri against Indiana, and the 49ers against the Cardinals. Although I feel good about those choices, I’m going to refrain from saying “take those to the bank.”

I use Excel to keep track of everything. If you’re just casually betting, no need to track anything. But if you take a more serious approach and you can’t afford to lose your funds, then you need to be tracking every move you make. It will allow you to establish trends and better manage your risks.

Speaking of trends, before each season I like to evaluate essentially all the FBS teams and attempt to ascertain which have the potential to consistently beat the spread during the season. I did not do well at all in choosing teams for that to start 2014. The teams were: Navy, Washington St., Iowa St., Mississippi St., University of Texas-San Antonio, Utah St., Cal, Iowa, Northwestern, and Indiana. Their collective record was 11 – 16 against the spread through the first 3 weeks of the college football season. It must be noted though that Cal covered both their games and Navy, Iowa St, and UTSA covered 2 out of the 3 games, so those 4 are worth keeping an eye on. Incidentally, Texas-San Antonio is returning 21 out of 22 starters. Thirty-seven of their players are seniors and they’re coached by Larry Coker. Yeah you read that right, LARRY COKER, as in the guy who assembled the most talented college football team in history, the 2001 Champion Miami Hurricanes. Seventeen players from that Miami squad went in the first round of the NFL draft. At least six of them were Pro Bowlers. That squad was silly good and I don’t know what Coker is doing in San Antonio, but I like his chances to cover in a bunch of games this season.

So after week 2, I revised my list of teams I’ll be either observing or laying money on as I think they’ll have greater odds to consistently cover, and that list of squads has performed admirably. Their collective record against the spread in the first 3 weeks of the season is 20 – 4, going 7 – 1 in week 1 and a perfect 8 – 0 last week. The data is out there for anyone to collect and disseminate should one so choose.

Even if you don’t like to bet, college football is such a great sport to spectate. Really I have a love for most of the college sports because the game is played with a genuine passion and pride before the money and fame jades the young athlete. Hope you liked my quick spin on sports wagering and the break from the stock market, even if it was just to talk about another market. For a nice little discourse on successfully handicapping, feel free to read this article at About.com. It’s short, fairly thorough, and touches on a little more overall detail. Good luck out there this weekend and enjoy the match-ups.