1. #1
    gamblingisfun
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    Beating the closing line in baseball: How important is it?

    How important is it for a model to beat the closing line in baseball? If I were to bet whoever I happened to like at any given time of day are my odds 50/50 to beat the closing line? And lets say I'm winning enough to be ahead, is it good enough if I'm only beating the closer half the time? Or since I'm not making moves ahead of the market half the time will it eventually catch up to me? What is a good percentage to beat closing lines at if it is important? Again, only referring to baseball money lines specifically, I read that its really important in football, but not sure about importance in baseball.

  2. #2
    stevenash
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    Here's the thing, if you bet the opening number, you never know which way the betting public will wager during the day.
    I bet mostly dogs, if I bet, say, KC at +175 at 8 am, I really don't know if KC will be +183 at 5 pm or +168 at 5 pm.

    Some times you can get a scalp.

  3. #3
    gamblingisfun
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    I'm not really trying to get a scalp or anything, I've just been reading around some posts and some say that if you beat the closing number long term that your model, instinct, or whatever used to make picks will do better in the long run because you're ahead of the movement basically.

  4. #4
    stevenash
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamblingisfun View Post
    I'm not really trying to get a scalp or anything, I've just been reading around some posts and some say that if you beat the closing number long term that your model, instinct, or whatever used to make picks will do better in the long run because you're ahead of the movement basically.
    Well yeah

  5. #5
    gamblingisfun
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    What is a good percentage of the time beating the closer? Like way more than half?

  6. #6
    stevenash
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    55 percent +

  7. #7
    EXhoosier10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    55 percent +
    Obviously beating any closing number is better than not seeing as you'd be passing up value if you don't get the best number possible. Can you win without beating the closer? I don't know, but you're making your life harder if there are better odds all day long and you take the worse odds later in the day because you were too lazy to run your analysis a few hours earlier.

    Nash is pretty close with how often one could beat the closer. Line movement doesn't always move in the correct direction

  8. #8
    gamblingisfun
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    Quote Originally Posted by EXhoosier10 View Post
    Obviously beating any closing number is better than not seeing as you'd be passing up value if you don't get the best number possible. Can you win without beating the closer? I don't know, but you're making your life harder if there are better odds all day long and you take the worse odds later in the day because you were too lazy to run your analysis a few hours earlier.

    Nash is pretty close with how often one could beat the closer. Line movement doesn't always move in the correct direction
    I actually do run my analysis early in the morning, and the odds i get are close to the opener (within a dime most times) and as I'm going over all my odds that I got and comparing them to the closing odds, I'm beating them about half the time, and the other half I should have waited til the last minute lol. And very true that the movement isn't always indication of the correct side...

  9. #9
    BeatingBaseball
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    Purely a long term empirical observation - but I'd say if you're not beating the closing number at least 60% of the time in baseball you are destined to ultimately lose money. Most top baseball cappers will beat the closer in 2/3 games when making plays off the overnites.

  10. #10
    gamblingisfun
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeatingBaseball View Post
    Purely a long term empirical observation - but I'd say if you're not beating the closing number at least 60% of the time in baseball you are destined to ultimately lose money. Most top baseball cappers will beat the closer in 2/3 games when making plays off the overnites.
    So I went back through my last season and found that over 1000 ML bets or so, I'm sitting practically right at 50% beating the closer (maybe a fraction of a % higher) A lot of the ones I'm off by are by a cent or two also. Now even though I'm up units and I hit 55%, is it a huge knock that I didn't beat the closer? (all on 5dimes lines anyway and getting all my personal bets made at 9am CST)

  11. #11
    nikossf
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    Quote Originally Posted by EXhoosier10 View Post
    Obviously beating any closing number is better than not seeing as you'd be passing up value if you don't get the best number possible. Can you win without beating the closer? I don't know, but you're making your life harder if there are better odds all day long and you take the worse odds later in the day because you were too lazy to run your analysis a few hours earlier.

    Nash is pretty close with how often one could beat the closer. Line movement doesn't always move in the correct direction

    IMO this pretty much nails it!! And yes,. you can win without beating the closing line. Just a matter of a few cents on your dollar either +/- . Sometimes you can tell which way the public may sway just by seeing the match-up.. but as you mentioned above, money flows throughout the day on each side so this may be a little harder to predict. Sharps coming in betting larger on dogs..public coming in..anything can happen to adjust the price... just a matter of not being lazy. Watch your lines and pay attention.

  12. #12
    nikossf
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    Thought about something real quick.....Think of the odds as a stock. You purchase that stock at a certain price BUT that price WILL adjust throughout the day.
    If you purchase that stock at open..by close that price may rise or fall. In which you would lose money in the wrong run IF that stock/odds had went higher/lower than what you paid. YET,..this same thing can happen if you purchase this stock at the closing number. If the stock opened higher than what you actually purchased this.
    In the long run,..Even winning wagers CAN still only equal to you being EVEN money in the end if getting the worst of the lines. Your goal is to get the best line possible on each winning ticket over 52%. This way, the juice you have to pay your book is usually hidden a little better with the higher winning odds.
    Math can be figured here if need be..but its late and I'm not trying to do that right now..

  13. #13
    Kolotoure
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    MLB moneylines are super efficient in my experience, so I would say consistently beating the closing line is very important

  14. #14
    matthew919
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    You need to be ahead of the closer at LEAST 60% of the time in baseball to be making profit. You should be aiming for 70. And you should be achieving line movement of 7 cents or more on average. If not, it is overwhelmingly likely that you are going to lose long term.

    I'm currently taking the pinnacle challenge with my model, posting results at my thread in player's talk. So far it's holding up just as well on real time betting as it was on my training and testing set. I expect to crush closers this year at a rate of 65%+, with an average movement of 7 cents for unders and 6 for overs. If you're interested, give it a peek sometime.

  15. #15
    MasterP10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kolotoure View Post
    MLB moneylines are super efficient in my experience, so I would say consistently beating the closing line is very important

    Couldn't agree more.

  16. #16
    BklynBoys
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    How do you calculate CLV in baseball?

    Thanks in advance

  17. #17
    theclutch7
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    take the home team on a cool day with the better hat!

  18. #18
    MadTiger
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    No matter what business you undertake (sportsbetting, stock market, restaurant, lemonade stand, etc.), you will not have long-term success if you overpay for things.

    Not beating the closers is overpaying.

    (Someone above threw out a number - 60%. That sounds reasonable.)

  19. #19
    hutennis
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadTiger View Post

    (Someone above threw out a number - 60%. That sounds reasonable.)
    To me it looks like one of the most unreasonable numbers I've seen in a long time.
    Would anyone care to come up with any kind of rational behind this figure?

  20. #20
    Aaron McCrevice
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    beating the closer doesn't make you a winner

    it is an overrated concept

  21. #21
    chunk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron McCrevice View Post
    beating the closer doesn't make you a winner

    it is an overrated concept
    Absolutely correct. Research, experience, and ~30 to 40 hours/wk of hard work and you might have a shot at making a profit.

  22. #22
    matthew919
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    I'm amazed that anyone can come to this conclusion, at least in larger markets like professional sports.

    If you really believe that beating the closer does not make you a winner, do the following: track your next 200 plays. Compute your ROI for your plays that beat the closer. Do the same for the ones where the line moved against you. Compare the two numbers. The result will shock you.

  23. #23
    BeatingBaseball
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    In all free markets - pricing efficiency is generally enhanced with the addition of market participants and incremental information over time. The MLB wagering market is no exception. The closing line is generally a sharper number than the opening line. The fact that a winning MLB handicapper beats the closer more often than not is not the reason he's a winning handicapper but rather a reflection of his being a winning handicapper. He has the ability to identify the smart side of the early (weaker) number. More often than not, his good judgment will be confirmed by the subsequent line movement. His early wager will thus, more often than not, have a value edge vis a vis the ultimate closing number. It's as simple as that.

    Anyone who is profitable in MLB over more than a half season without beating the closing price more often than not - who thinks he is good - is mistaking good luck for good play. And to any of you who believe that beating the closer is a meaningless or overrated measure of a good handicapper - I can only say you are wrong - and assure you that the Las Vegas books would agree with me.

  24. #24
    Aaron McCrevice
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthew919 View Post
    I'm amazed that anyone can come to this conclusion, at least in larger markets like professional sports.

    If you really believe that beating the closer does not make you a winner, do the following: track your next 200 plays. Compute your ROI for your plays that beat the closer. Do the same for the ones where the line moved against you. Compare the two numbers. The result will shock you.

    "beating the closer" is such an ambiguos term. Beating it by how much, and it what price range? Nobody addresses that, and that's what matters most, if it at all.

    Chunk is correct in his assessment. I also beat all major sports and couldn't care less whether I beat the closing number. My edge would shock you...



    Edit: NHL regular season lines are razor sharp. 10 cent lines are difficult to beat, and 20 cent lines nearly impossible imo....
    Last edited by Aaron McCrevice; 05-02-13 at 10:35 PM.

  25. #25
    BeatingBaseball
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    ??? - Obviously, the greater the margin by which you beat the closer the better off you are.

    Although it comes from Pinnacle (and of course they know nothing about this stuff compared to some of the guys on this thread) - consider this:

    Bettors can use odds movement to calculate how they will perform in the long run.

    The most accurate way to distinguish winning and losing players is to look at
    the odds a player received when they made their bet, and compare it with the
    Pinnacle Sports closing line on the game. If a player consistently beats the
    closing odds at Pinnacle Sports, they are likely to be a long-term winner.

    Interestingly, Pinnacle Sports have found that this test is more reflective
    of a player’s future winning potential than their historical win/loss record
    with the company.

    For example, if Pinnacle Sports’ closing odds on the Steelers was 1.960, and
    a customer played 2.050 earlier in the week – that was a sharp bet. When a
    player can anticipate the line movement, and does this consistently over a
    series of 100 bets or more, that player is conclusively sharp, and will be up
    over time.

    If this is how winning players operate, the inverse is true for losing
    bettors. If a player consistently bets on worse priced lines – either by
    incorrectly judging the odds movement at Pinnacle Sports or going to a bookmaker
    with a worse margin – he is almost certainly not sharp.

    Even if he has been winning to date, in the long run, the laws of statistics
    will catch up with them, and they will almost certainly lose over time.


    http://www.pinnaclesports.com/online...ic/sharps.aspx

  26. #26
    statnerds
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenash View Post
    Here's the thing, if you bet the opening number, you never know which way the betting public will wager during the day.
    huh?

    how long would you have to follow the MLB Market before you got an idea of what information motivates certain individuals to wager enough money to shape the lines?

    awesome post above BB

  27. #27
    Inkwell77
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    If you are not beating the no-vig closer consistently you will have a very tough time winning in any sport.

    Although there are some that do because "they" bet at the last second and don't beat the no vig closer, and still win. But they move lines. If you are moving lines you are most likely a winner.

  28. #28
    HeeeHAWWWW
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    Worthwhile experiment for everyone: log the closers on all your bets (at pinnacle or another large book), and set up your spreadsheet to auto-calculate how much you beat that closing line by. Split those into bandings, say quintiles, and you'll notice how profitability correlates, although it does take a good sample size - as sample size increases you can use septiles, deciles, whatever the 20-quantile is called, etc.

    There's no great magic here, nor anything terribly useful for the prediction process. It's simply that, _on average_, the pressure of information results in money moving the line towards a more accurate closer. Not always, but most of the time.

    This is one of the reasons why books like pinnacle and SBO can exist. They use that weight of money to sharpen their lines, and thus can accept professional action.
    Last edited by HeeeHAWWWW; 05-04-13 at 12:47 PM. Reason: typo

  29. #29
    gamblingisfun
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    Say I make a bet when I wake up in the morning or afternoon and the odds I got at that time were +105, but I looked where it opened first and it was at +115. Lets pretend that it closed at exactly where I got it, or even at +110. My bet didn't beat the closer, but the bet itself would have been on the "sharp" side if I felt like making it at 2am with overnight openers. Does this happen often and/or is it considered a sharp bet because it was a bet that would have beaten the closer?

  30. #30
    chunk
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    Generally speaking, I wouldn't argue that beating the closer isn't beneficial. I would, however, state that it is almost impossible to calculate accurately for many reasons. There are many different dynamics at play that enter into line movement and some would need to be filtered out to be accurate. Furthermore, one could argue that lines at some point before close could likely be a "sharper" line. IMHO, your time would be better spent line shopping for the best price available than using some arbitrary method of measuring the beating the closer mantra. If you can recognize +ev opportunities it will take care of itself.

  31. #31
    JR007
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    there are pros and cons on this,,,,but from what I have observed from the successful cappers is that your model is efficient if the line moves more often than not in your favor, (timing of the market) overnight's are easier....
    Last edited by JR007; 05-11-13 at 08:43 AM.

  32. #32
    mcuni
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    Ok, extreme example: I can beat closers about 100% of time as easy as that. I will bring 10k 5 minutes before line is closed and put it on whichever side. Line will move down, and I will have a better odd, 1 or 2 cents but consistently better. Will it help me to win? No. So, alternative view on beating the closer.

    First, if the model you use scores positive versus closers (out-of-sample, of course) then you will be ok even hitting 50/50 with closers, simple as that. Given the model is correct. And if the model is incorrect, it will kill your bankroll even if you beat the closing prices of pinnacle 70% of time. If your model doesn't beat closers that's just a bad model. So conclusion - you definitely can win even if you don't beat closers too often.

    Second, if market was efficient then people would have mostly win betting on MLB (because their bets would drive line to correct side most of time). Popular opinion is that public generally loses, and that is why bookmakers have their profit. If 60% of people won, bookies' margin would be not enough to cover repayments not to say about analytics salaries. So if public loses how can closers be sharper than openers? That's why i believe that line movements are pretty random if you compare them with actual outcomes.

    I found 2010-2012 closers and openers somewhere on net and tested them against my model. Openers turned out to be even a little bit sharper, not really much but still closing prices were more attractive. I compared those closers with what covers.com provides and concluded they were relevant. One doesn't even need a model to compare which prices are sharper; you can look at correlation of probabilities implied with actual outcomes. Or simply generate random bets and compare season losses.

    It's understood that you better beat it than you don't. It's better to have a lower price when you buy, nobody argues. But in fact it's just a matter of luck, like BABIP: some bettors are lucky to place their bets in right moments of time others are not.

    Actually it's not really all about luck. I analyzed those prices and it turned out that closers in average are a bit lower than starting prices for favorites, dogs are a bit higher. For extreme situations like when away starting pitcher has worse SIERA than home SP closer for away team raises more. So you just bet on away team whose starter has worse SIERA using opening line, you will beat closers 53,5% of time. And you still will be 52 units down with ROI -5%.
    If you decide to be pickier and bet only when SIERA of away SP is more than SIERA of home SP by 1.000, then you will beat closers 58% of time. You will place 227 bets for 3 years and lose 10 units (-4.4% ROI).

    In my opinion, what really makes sense is to be more selective with your bets. I mean, if you model says that fair line is -150 then don't bet on -145 immedeately. Bet only when you see a solid advantage of 10-15% over the fair value you calculated. Of course you will miss some of bets you could have placed, but your ROI will be higher, and i'm sure that you will beat the closer much more often with this strategy.

    Anyway, starting from this season i'm trying to capture line movements using VBA and will try to analyze it later. As these will be lines gathered by myself I will be confident they are reliable. Hope it will judge us in this.

  33. #33
    hutennis
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcuni View Post
    Ok, extreme example: I can beat closers about 100% of time as easy as that.
    Really? How are you gonna do that?

    I will bring 10k 5 minutes before line is closed and put it on whichever side. Line will move down, and I will have a better odd, 1 or 2 cents but consistently better.
    Oh, I see. But what if someone will bring 20k (or 30K) on a opposite side 4 min before line is closed. Line will move up and you will be losing to closer having much worse odds?

    Will it help me to win? No.
    And now you know why.

    Here is another way to make my point.

    http://www.viddler.com/v/c8809791

  34. #34
    LT Profits
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcuni View Post
    Second, if market was efficient then people would have mostly win betting on MLB (because their bets would drive line to correct side most of time). Popular opinion is that public generally loses, and that is why bookmakers have their profit. If 60% of people won, bookies' margin would be not enough to cover repayments not to say about analytics salaries. So if public loses how can closers be sharper than openers?
    The "public" doesn't move lines any more, only sharp money does except for major events such as the Super Bowl where even the sheer dollars bet by squares cannot be ignored. If it is a basic, garden variety weekday MLB game, if John Q. Public bets 10K on a game, the book won't budge. If a well-respected sharp bets 5K, the book usually reacts.

  35. #35
    hutennis
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcuni View Post
    So if public loses how can closers be sharper than openers? That's why i believe that line movements are pretty random if you compare them with actual outcomes.
    "Public" loses not b/c of relative sharpness of open vs close.
    It loses b/c of juice.

    Every uneducated bet made at any time is subject to either overcharging or underpaying.
    And since farther line movements are random, -EV bet is doomed to lose regardless.

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