The Blog of a Math Nerd...named Donnie


First Week of Trials

Posted on 10/24/2013

The first week of handicapping NFL games went as well as can be expected, especially with how badly things went for some of the professional handicappers I follow. One handicapper lost all four of his Sunday day bets and decided to place two bets of $55,000 each on the Sunday night game. He won one and lost one. Here is how I did.

If you recall from the last post, I have multiple strategies for both the spread and over/under bets on (American) football games. I've altered things a little bit so I would first like to give an update. I have three general strategies on the spread and a fourth which is an "average" of the three distinct strategies. Similarly, I have four strategies for the over/under and one average. Here are the winning percentages for each (note that there was one push on the over/under bets):

Spread Strategies
Strategy 18/15
Strategy 26/15
Strategy 35/15
Strategy 47/15
O/U Strategies
Strategy 19/14
Strategy 23/14
Strategy 33/13
Strategy 46/14
Strategy 53/13
Strategy 1, in both categories, is the strategy in which I am particularly interested. In case you don't know, a handicapper wants to win at least 56% of the bets they make. If I were to have used Strategy 1 in both cases for every game, I would have won 58.6% - pretty good. To put that in terms of money, if I would have placed a bet of $110 on every game last week, I would have had a profit of $396. Making money some money.

Betting on every game is also not feasible. A handicapper would like to have 4 or 5 games per weekend they feel very confident betting. If I only bet on the games where the Vegas line and my line differ by at least 5, but not greater than 7, I would have had a great weekend. For example, Vegas had the St. Louis at Carolina game at Carolina -7. Strategy 1 for the spread calculated a projected line of Carolina -12: a difference of at least 5, but not greater than 7 (in fact, exactly 5). I would have bet this game. Doing the same for Strategy 1 for the over/under totals, I would have won 8 out of 12 bets (3 out of 4 on the spread). Betting $110 on each game would have produced a profit of $360. Although the profit went down slightly, betting on fewer games is much less risky.

These strategies are still being developed, but you can see that they have lots of potential. You can also see that some of them did not work at all this weekend, but that is still valuable information. I will not adjust anything going into the second week of trials, but moving forward I will be looking to meld these statistics with other information (home/road splits, west coast teams to east coast, injuries, etc) to form a more complete betting strategy.

Tags: Sports, Betting
Updated on 01/12/2016


Allow me to introduce myself. I am a mathematician and programmer. Currently, I am working on a PhD in arithmetic geometry. I like to write about many things including math, sports, programming, education, and technology. If you would like to see my comments more frequently, you can follow me on my social profiles:


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