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Mind vs Machine in Sports Betting

by Daniel Mateos · No Comments


I am the Pyckio PRO Tipster nishikori and I have been involved in Tennis betting for many years. At the beginning I had my ups and downs but in the last years I have been able to earn a living from this activity, both with my personal betting but also with the income I receive as a Tennis PRO Tipster. My tipping revenue helps balance the swings of my personal betting. As time passed and I could get to maintain my near 2 digits yield in a relatively liquid market like the Tennis ATP, my confidence that I could make a living out of my tennis expertise grew. My statistics to date (2 March 2020), registered at Pinnacle Sport prices, are the following: 8.4% Yield in 3283 Tennis ATP picks, in 4 years. Although you can never assure this, in the light of this numbers I am quite confident that I have an edge in the ATP Tennis market.

Although I have always tried to improved the way I select my picks, I honestly recognize that I don’t work with a matematical model, a system, that determine my picks; I don’t have a robot that converts my variables into a probability or rating for the two players, that then I can compare vs the bookmaker odds implied probability. The way I select my picks is quite simple. I study all the relevant information of both players as well as some “market factors” and then decide if the odds offered by Pinnacle Sports in any player are too high. I don’t have any edge over most of punters for my access to the information; I don’t have any insider info. I think the difference is how my mind values that information.

Having said that, however, I must accept that the lack of a system makes me be constantly alert, makes me have a high level of respect for this activity, for my capability of finding long term value odds. I never guarantee to any of my customers that I will keep on winning, even in the long run. I only can say I am quite confident I will do it. Having a system that works has several advantages. Although you must be constantly feeding and improving it, you just have to stick to it in the bad runs. You don’t question it, unless the bad run is of a very high magnitude. A system has got no feelings, has got no fear in the bad moments, does not overbet in the good ones. When you don’t have a system and the way you make your bets is as simple as “I see value here”, sometimes in the very bad runs you question your “judgement”, you can even get to think, “what if all I’ve done is luck”. And then you have to look back at your profit line to tell yourself that a negative streak is completely normal in a long term upward trend. But I must confess that this way of looking for value bets, for myself and my customers, without a system that “produces” my picks, is an issue to me.

In the last months I have been thinking about putting my expertise into a system, translating the way I select my picks into an automatic robot. I have even received some offers to do it. But to be honest, I am not sure it would work. On one hand, it’s true that it would help me come up with my selections, and even help me produce a higher number of value bets that I might be discarding now because I require a higher security margin before making my selections. It might produce a lower yield but a higher return on capital (lower yield but more than compensated with a higher number of bets), that at the end is the most important thing. But on the other hand, I really doubt I could be able to transfer all my knowledge to a system. Could it be that there are some intangible variables that would be very hard to quantify and probably my unconscious mind makes a better job at doing it? For example, how can a system determine that Djokovic “mental form” is high from his best because he is having some issues as the president of the ATP Tennis council? I know this information could be somehow incorporated into a system, but my view is that it would be too complex to do it with some grade of precision, with all the variables that go around my head.

To sum up, on one side I would like to have my robot, my system, that could give me some “peace of mind” when selecting my picks and hopefully help me achieve a higher return on capital. However I am not sure it would work and I obviously wouldn’t want to put in risk the results I am obtaining. At the end the question is, can all the variables I unconsciously use be transferred into a system?

To sum up, both options have their pros and cons. What is yours?

Article written by Pyckio Tipster PRO nishikori

(originally published in Sports Trading Network)

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