1. #1
    Pokerjoe
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    The misunderstanding of "beating the closing line."

    I think Justin is responsible for the idea of "beating the closing line." He writes about it in "Conquering Risk." He was doing some work for Pinnacle and noticed that the difference between a player's betting line and the later, closing line, more quickly predicted future success than mere win/loss records.

    Justin's view was the bookie's view: when profiling players, the sharps are the threat, not the lucky. The lucky you send a limo for. Being able to see who's who is very useful for the books because they want to know who's action to respect for moving the line, booting, delaying or crippling ... and who to send the limo for.

    The expression has value to the bookies. That doesn't mean it has value to us.

    We don't get paid for BTCL. We get paid when we beat the spread. The point might seem trite, but the whole idea of BTCL, from the player's side, is trite. BTCL doesn't actually tell you anything. It's a gigantic "duh." If I say the way to make money in this game is to "beat the spread," would you get excited? Telling you to "just BTCL" isn't much different.

    So let's look into who and why and how some players BTCL. Or maybe I should say, of what is BTCL a manifestation.

    1) Line shopping helps you BTCL (I'm distinquishing line shopping from bet-timing). If the line is -7, and you, through shopping, find -7' or -6', you'll BTCL.

    2) Bet-timing helps you BTCL (I'm distinquishing bet-timing and steamchasing). If you like a fave at -7, correctly anticipate that the line will rise and so bet early, you'll BTCL. I bet-time. I know I'm better off, for example, betting CFB totals early than late. This is broad bet-timing, and is simply a matter of comparing how I'd do betting at different times. Bet-timing is about getting the best price, and as such is an adjunct of line shopping.

    3) Steamchasing helps you BTCL (I'm distinquishing steam chasing from syndicate membership). Steamchasing is BTCL, to some extent, at it's purest and oldest. To say it's BTCL, in fact, is redundant. Steamchasing, really, is best understood as syndicate betting without being a part of the syndicate (and by syndicate I really mean sharp action generally; RAS isn't a syndicate, but from a book's POV may as well be).

    Steamchasers distinquish between sharp action and general market drift, and also distinquish between acting in time and having missed the boat. Further, they "steam anticipate," which is a great skill (related to bet-timing, I suppose, but obv I'm distinquishing it here).

    Most of the guys who talk about BTCL are steamchasers, and for them it's a useful shorthand for "doing their job right." It's more useful short-term than "making money" because there's much less variance. There's still a large measure of line shopping involved, but line shopping isn't the same thing as steamchasing. Steamchasing is really about the ability to recognize what line movements mean, and even anticipate them, and that's a skill separate from, once having labelled the movement, acting on it. I don't personally steamchase (we can't all do everything), but I recognize the potential for profits with it, when done right.

    A really good steamchaser (market reader) can sometimes see a line move a half point at only one book, so that the broad market line remains the same, recognize that half point indicates a sharp side, and bet, +EV, even though he won't BTCL.

    But even steamchasers don't make money BTCL. They make money by being able to read market moves and react quickly, or even anticipate them. You can use the semantics of BTCL here, I admit, but "BTCL" doesn't tell you how to make the money. BTCL reflects the skill, but is not the skill. Steamschasers don't make money with BTCL. They make money making +EV bets, and where the line settles afterwards doesn't change the EV of those bets, and it's ridiculous to think it does.

    4) Syndicate membership helps you BTCL. Originators (and syndicate members are essentially that, in that they are, even if mere beards, extensions of the originator), are the ones who most deeply BTCL, and are most problematic for books (though books are probably generally unable and uncaring about distinquishing between steamchasers and syndicate players).

    This is where the advice "just BTCL" gets really pointless. It becomes tantamount to saying "get involved with an originator's syndicate." Other than RAS, I know of no way to just "join" a syndicate (and yes, obv, I'm labelling RAS a kind of a syndicate; it's a publicly available one).

    But even originators don't make money by BTCL. They make money by handicapping. The difference is huge, so I'm going to say it again: they BTCL the most of anyone, but they don't make money from BTCL. BTCL is the effect of the betting that follows their profitable handicapping. Essentially, they BTCL the most, and potentially earn the most, but don't earn anything from BTCL. They earn from handicapping +EV bets.

    You can make money line shopping. You can make money anticipating market direction. You can make money interpreting line movements. You can make money handicapping. What you can not do is make money with BTCL because it is merely a reflection of handicapping or betting skills, not the cause.

    Here are some more points:

    If your focus is on BTCL, you aren't going to come up with anything new, because if it's new, it won't be in the CL. I BTCL big time in CBB totals. But that's coincidental (well, maybe not, because I don't really know how everyone else is approaching things; but it isn't deliberate, anyway, in that I don't know how everyone else is approaching things). IOW, if you focus on BTCL, you'll never be the originators who are the biggest cause of BTCL, because they cause BTCL by handicapping. (and using BTCL to reverse engineer originator's action still isn't the same thing as making money with BTCL; it's making money with reverse engineering).

    Some of the real BTCL nuts will say that no one wins handicapping. The illogic of that is mindboggling, considering that, if no one is outhandicapping the openers, how can the CL be more efficient than the opener? They misunderstand their own results. They'll cite stats about how they lose when they don't BTCL and win when they do, failing to understand that, no, what's really happening is they're losing when handicapping poorly and winning when handicapping well, and BTCL is somewhat correlated with that.

    If your focus is on BTCL, you'll fall if the cause of BTCL falls. Suppose you were on Dr Bob after his heyday. If you got his picks early and bet well, you'd BTCL big time. And get slaughtered at some point. You'd have been BTCL and slaughtered. BTCL is absolutely not in and of itself blindly a predictor of profits. Yes, the market is long run more efficient at close than at start, GENERALLY, but that isn't the same thing as being more efficient for any given game SPECIFICALLY. If you've been in this game a while you've seen a lot of hot hands come and go. Things change. I've known two steamchasers who won for years and then got wiped. I kind of think it's always a matter of time, blustering posters here notwithstanding. Think "Black Swan."

    If your focus is on BTCL, you'll miss all the +EV bets that come about at the CL itself. This truth alone reveals the illogic of BTCL. If a line is moving the right way, I wait until it settles. Sometimes, then, I'm better off, not BTCL, but tying it. If you agree that's possible, then you are admitting to a logical flaw in the theory of BTCL.

    If the Lakers are home and fave of -8, and I like the dog, I know there's a good chance it'll creep up to -8' by game time. So I'll wait. I'm deliberately not trying to BTCL. Does that mean I can't possibly have value? I think it's ridiculous to live in fear of opposing line movements. If I like the dog when the Lakers are faves, if it creeps up a half point close to game time, that gain of a half point is pure value, imo. IOW, I'm saying the CL was less efficient than a previous line.

    If your focus is on BTCL, you'll become what poker players call "results oriented." That's a terribly misleading phrase, in that it means, actually, that you should not be results oriented (short-term results), you should be EV oriented. Here's my point, re BTCL: if your focus in on BTCL, if you bet and the line moves such that you should have bet later, you'll think you failed. And if it moves your way, you'll feel like a winner. But that's being results oriented. Inasmuch as line movements can be, from your POV, random, what they do after you bet can not intelligently be seen as the measure of your bet's wisdom. It's like judging the wisdom of your flush draws by whether they hit, not whether they were priced right.

    Let's say, by my metric, I like a CBB total <140. Let's say I know RAS is going to release a play on that total, but I don't know which way he'll go. Then, his release, which will move the line, is just a random variable, from my POV, and unrelated to my bet's wisdom. It might be correlated to my bet's outcome, but that isn't the same thing as saying I was wrong to make the bet with the information at the time of my wager.

    If you make a football bet, your bet should not be judged stupid if, later, your QB is announced out with an injury, nor judged brilliant if it's the opposing team's QB announced out. These are post-bet randomizations, and not at all related to your bet's wisdom.


    Okay, enough. I did this a little quickly. I'm not getting paid to write it. It's also a little tl;dr. That's less okay, but, WTF. I not getting paid to edit it, either.

    Cliffs: from the books POV, BTCL has value; from ours, no. Don't tell yourself to BTCL, tell yourself to line shop, bet-time, market-read and handicap.
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  2. #2
    Wrecktangle
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    Excellent post, poker. I'm guessing you're not one of the "efficient market theory" guys?

    I keep running into the issue of where a mature model I've built "shows value" where the market has moved against my pick. Naturally, from the model perspective, I'm "seeing" even greater value. But as a punter, I'm worried that another handicapper, most likely with a syndicate, has inside information (usually a hidden injury), or has better developed situational code and I'm simply on the wrong side. Usually I simply drop the selection and move on. But then when I go back (again if it is a mature model) and I've done my injury homework, I'll likely as not see where those selections in the aggregate are +EV. It's not a large issue as my modeling typically develops so many picks I can simply drop a portion of picks, but troubling when I see I am leaving value on the table thru the review process.

    BTW, in terms of not getting paid, SBR should be giving you 10 points for this post, no?

  3. #3
    pedro803
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    Wow, great post Pokerjoe! I do agree with what you are saying -- lets don't throw BTCL out with the bathwater, it is usefull to look at, and reveals valuable information (as long as you use it correctly and are aware of when it does not apply) because in the end it is winning bets that earns money.

    it is a corralary to winning, but it is not winning -- very good points indeed!

  4. #4
    JustinBieber
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    This is perhaps a well written post at best. I've been banned from several places for beating the closing line without even winning money from the sportsbook. You say "we dont get paid for BTCL" well we're being paid in EV which is what gambling is all about.

    Beating the closing line should just be usedd as an indicator to see if your bet was +EV or not. If you beat the closing line more often than not then you will win, the other way around and you will lose.

    I think you misunderstand EV basically. In efficient markets on average the closing line will be far more efficient than the opening line, obviously there will be times this is wrong but this is just noise. If you had to pick 100+ NBA/NFL games and you got the opening line and I got the closing line I would be more than happy to book this.

  5. #5
    djiddish98
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    As you've said, BTCL is a metric, not a skill. It might be some miss-communication, but the methods you highlighted above are indeed the skills that I think most BTCL nuts employ in order to BTCL. When someone curtly says "Just BTCL", they're obscurely referencing your original point

    As for this statement "Some of the real BTCL nuts will say that no one wins handicapping" - Obviously someone has to handicap the game (the syndicate) or there'd be no price movement. When BTCL nuts say no one, I think it's basically a rounding error - 95% of the people handicapping will not win (because if they were really good, they likely won't be posting their methods on public message boards).

    There are some valid points re: efficiency of the sample that Joe is always addressing, but I think some of this just comes down to semantics + typical gambling message board responses.

  6. #6
    trixtrix
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    no BTCL is not misunderstood, it's misapplied. when done correctly, BTCL generates money at absolutely no risk (okay risk of payout is still present). its ability to "make money" has nothing to do w/ "efficiency" of the market.

    BTCL just means that if you're able to do that to the book EVERY TIME, simply arb/middle back the opposing closing line and you're profiting from riskless arbitrage, why is that pt so difficult to understand?

    some bettors like to combine the btcl method w/ the market effciency theory, leading them to only take one set of line instead of both sides to generate more return. but even if they did not profit or you don't believe in the market efficiency theory, that in itself does not invalidate the btcl principle

  7. #7
    wrongturn
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    Great post by OP. But when he said the steam chasers got wiped out after a few good years, that is not a good argument. Obviously they didn't employ proper Kelly betting, otherwise even a black swan should have not wiped them out. All advanced methods OP mentioned can be wiped out from black swan event if Kelly is not used.
    Last edited by wrongturn; 10-08-10 at 09:22 AM.

  8. #8
    Peregrine Stoop
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    Good post OP, but I don't agree with much of it.
    BTCL (t-1) is god.

  9. #9
    Data
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    I do not subscribe to BTCL yet I disagree with a number of arguments that PokerJoe made. More importantly, I disagree with the "bigger" message too because it comes out like this: do not try to BTCL, just do A and B. However, it implies that doing A and B is profitable. How do we know that? Because A and B are BTCL.

    Here is a modeler's take. The line is -3, my line is -1. I take the dog. The line closes at -4, the BTCL guy took the favorite at -3. The dog wins. Both the BTCL guy and I feel like winners. I tell the BTCL guy my model was on the dog and I took it at +3. He tells me my model sucks because I did not BTCL. Do you think I should write this and similar results down as my model's losses and look into adjusting the model NOT to lean to the dog's side? You can take you BTCL and ... run with it.

  10. #10
    uva3021
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    One handicaps to gain value versus the opener, and then bets if the line meets the criteria set forth by your data, if one is in fact a handicapper. Which is to some degree what you were trying to explain with the example of RAS. Like you said, RAS does in fact BTCL, though their line is an indication of their handicapping, and their reputation pushes the line to the direction of their bet. However, not everybody is afforded the luxury of creating a method to calculate odds on a given game before the opener is posted.

    Line movement I would contend is immaterial, not that it constitutes an irrelevant proposition, certainly it would be more desirable to BTCL, but the direction in which the movement occurs is shaped by variation and randomness. There are no walls (besides the limits of the typical score for a respective sport) on either side of the opener that would lead a line to move in one particular direction. In a situation devoid of unforeseen random variables, its hard to derive much in terms of a re-assessment of probability from line movement variation. And at what number the closer happens to convene is merely a stoppage of variation, as I have emphasized before.

    Where BTCL has its inherent advantages is betrayed in the nature of a 50/50 betting proposition. And perhaps using that particular line of reasoning one could concoct a theory where simply BTOL offers a considerably higher chance of establishing long term +EV (I should precede the statement with the central qualifier 'on average', and all this assuming obviously there are no drastic changes in team to team injuries/personnel/etc..., just standard issue line movement)

  11. #11
    RonPaul2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinBieber View Post

    Beating the closing line should just be usedd as an indicator to see if your bet was +EV or not. If you beat the closing line more often than not then you will win, the other way around and you will lose.
    I look at it as the bet is +EV when you took it....as you can middle/scalp it.

  12. #12
    Peregrine Stoop
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    are closing lines inefficient?

    if you mapped out the actual results versus closing lines, would the actual results mimic exactly what we would expect if the closing line is efficient?

  13. #13
    pedro803
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    what is RAS? it is mentioned by two or more posters in this thread in regard to syndicates. Thanks in advance!

  14. #14
    JustinBieber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrine Stoop View Post
    are closing lines inefficient?

    if you mapped out the actual results versus closing lines, would the actual results mimic exactly what we would expect if the closing line is efficient?
    They're not completely efficient but Obv I would take the closing line over the opening line every time. I've already said in my post above if somebody would like to pick 100+ opening lines from NBA/NFL and I will take the closing lines then I would be more than happy to book this.

    Data your point is sort of silly, this will not happen too much in an efficient market. If your model was accurate in an efficient market then more often than not you would beat the closing line anyway. Obviously not every time though.

    By the way just to be 100% clear I think when people refer to BTCL they're only speaking of efficient markets. Beating the closing line in Morrocan soccer of japanese volleyball probably doesn't mean too much if the max bet either side is $250.

  15. #15
    Pokerjoe
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinBieber View Post
    This is perhaps a well written post at best. I've been banned from several places for beating the closing line without even winning money from the sportsbook. You say "we dont get paid for BTCL" well we're being paid in EV which is what gambling is all about.

    Beating the closing line should just be usedd as an indicator to see if your bet was +EV or not. If you beat the closing line more often than not then you will win, the other way around and you will lose.

    I think you misunderstand EV basically. In efficient markets on average the closing line will be far more efficient than the opening line, obviously there will be times this is wrong but this is just noise. If you had to pick 100+ NBA/NFL games and you got the opening line and I got the closing line I would be more than happy to book this.
    If you've been banned from books without winning, for BTCL, then, yes, as I said, BTCL has value from the books POV in profiling players. So, with that, you're agreeing with me.

    You say we're being paid in EV. Again, you're agreeing with me.

    You err when you say BTCL should be used as an indicator of whether your bet was EV. Unline poker, where we can sometimes figure out exactly what a wager's EV was without regard for the actual result, we can never do that in sportsbetting (scalping/middling aside, obv).

    For any single given bet, we have no measure of EV, except the result, which is a pretty poor measure for a single wager, but there's no getting around it. Truly, in sportsbetting, we never get to know, shortterm. Some guys will break a game down and say they should have covered, or were lucky to cover, but that's illusory. Part of any wager should be acknowledgement that there will be a lot of luck involved, not just in the ball's bounce, but even in the player's performance. After the wager is made, it just doesn't matter how or why you won or lost (except in terms of prepping for the next wagers). There's no running out the deck a million times to see if the bet was +/- EV.

    So, in the short run, there is no measure of EV. In the long run, actual returns are the measure of EV.
    In between, if you want, you can cling to BTCL. But if you're only betting for fun (and thus only care about this game's results) it doesn't matter, and if you're doing this seriously (and thus are in it for the long run), it's only actual returns that matter. So BTCL, at best, is a waystation, and even then the actual betting skills that lead to GENERALLY beating the CL should be measured.

    If you want comfort, notice that you picked up a 1/2 point over the market average by line shopping. Notice that if you'd bet earlier, you would have lost a 1/2 point. Things like that. Even, if it provides consolation on a losing play, notice that your team fumbled 5x and surely would have covered otherwise. But BTCL? That's a pathetic consolation, imo, and yet that seems to be all it is: consolation for bad stretches, for non-handicappers. Because in the long run, it is only winning that counts. You might get banned for BTCL, but you won't get paid for it.


    Then there's this quote of yours:
    I think you misunderstand EV basically. In efficient markets on average the closing line will be far more efficient than the opening line, obviously there will be times this is wrong but this is just noise. If you had to pick 100+ NBA/NFL games and you got the opening line and I got the closing line I would be more than happy to book this.

    You really, really think I misunderstand EV? And you really, really read so poorly that you concluded that somewhere in my post I'm saying the closing line isn't generally more efficient than the opener? I just double checked and can't find it. Point it out.

    It might make more sense to assume that you had an emotionalistic reaction to the thread's title and stopped thinking before even beginning to read. That happens.

    But of the sentence of yours in which you essentially wrote, "In efficient markets ... the market will be efficient," I can only say "Brilliant."
    Last edited by Pokerjoe; 10-09-10 at 07:30 AM.

  16. #16
    Pokerjoe
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrongturn View Post
    Great post by OP. But when he said the steam chasers got wiped out after a few good years, that is not a good argument. Obviously they didn't employ proper Kelly betting, otherwise even a black swan should have not wiped them out. All advanced methods OP mentioned can be wiped out from black swan event if Kelly is not used.
    True, about proper betting, with the caveat (generally unmentioned in BR management) that there may be bet sizes too small to pay a player's bills, making it pointless to drop down that small. This happens in the real world, where gamblers (for a living) have minimum bet sizes (game levels, for poker) because it just isn't possible to play smaller.

    And "two steamchasers" getting wiped isn't much of a sample, either. My point is that there are stretches, subsets, in which the closing line is LESS efficient than the opener. All it takes is a little market hysteria. And an appreciation of the possibility that sometimes the closing line is less efficient than the earlier lines, because to say otherwise is to say you can never fade the market's last move. And I think that would be a ridiculous thing to say.

  17. #17
    Pokerjoe
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinBieber View Post
    They're not completely efficient but Obv I would take the closing line over the opening line every time. I've already said in my post above if somebody would like to pick 100+ opening lines from NBA/NFL and I will take the closing lines then I would be more than happy to book this.

    Data your point is sort of silly, this will not happen too much in an efficient market. If your model was accurate in an efficient market then more often than not you would beat the closing line anyway. Obviously not every time though.

    By the way just to be 100% clear I think when people refer to BTCL they're only speaking of efficient markets. Beating the closing line in Morrocan soccer of japanese volleyball probably doesn't mean too much if the max bet either side is $250.
    The difference between Morrocan soccer and the NFL is a matter of scale, not absolutes. IOW, it makes no sense to say one is efficient, and one isn't, only that one is more efficient, one less so.

    And as to your statement that you'd take the closing line over the opener "every time," do you even realize what you're saying? You'd take every closing line over every opener? You never, ever think the closing line represents more value than the opener? You never, ever, upon seeing an NFL dog you like go from +2' to +3', lick your chops?

  18. #18
    Wrecktangle
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedro803 View Post
    what is RAS? it is mentioned by two or more posters in this thread in regard to syndicates. Thanks in advance!
    Pedro, you need to do a little research.

    If I'm allowed to say it RAS = Right Angle Sports.

    Don't be surprised if this is starred out by SBR.

  19. #19
    Pokerjoe
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    [quote=Data;6765211]I disagree with the "bigger" message too because it comes out like this: do not try to BTCL, just do A and B. However, it implies that doing A and B is profitable. How do we know that? Because A and B are BTCL.[quote]

    I disagree with your disagreement.

    We know that line shopping and bet-timing or anything else we do to pick up half points is profitable, not because they BTCL, but because points have value independently of BTCL. We know that if the line is -7 and we find a half point off that, we've gained value because every half point has value. So we know, in fact, that although one's ability to line shop will be a component of their BTCL rate, it's value is independent of BTCL. It's got nothing to do with the CL being more efficient than the opener.

    Consider the Alabama/South Carolina game. Opened at -7',-8, went down to -6', is basically back up to -7, and may actually close right where it started. If it does, then it makes no sense to say the CL was more efficient than the opener because they'll be the same. Yet someone betting the fave at -6' would have BTCL. Where does there value come from? Not from the CL being more efficient than the opener, obv. It will come from the fact that points have value, period. Line shopping, bet-timing, are big components of BTCL, but their value does not stem from BTCL.

  20. #20
    pedro803
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    OK thanks wrecktangle -- I've heard of that before but didn't know what it was, I will research it - a little knowledge never hurt nobody

  21. #21
    JustinBieber
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    You don't understand EV properly. Luck is quite clearly in sports and is known in poker as variance. Yes there will be variance but variance is seperate from EV. I can tell if my bet is +EV, I cannot tell if I will run good or bad.

    Your Alabama example is also extremely unsighted. Things like team news/weather and all sorts of extraneous variables may have moved the line down to 6 but then more information becomes available which is sort of my point when closing line > opening line. There is simply more information available from when the line is opened to when it closes. This alone should tell you that one will be a lot more efficient than the other.


    You err when you say BTCL should be used as an indicator of whether your bet was EV. Unline poker, where we can sometimes figure out exactly what a wager's EV was without regard for the actual result, we can never do that in sportsbetting
    This is just wrong.

    The difference between Morrocan soccer and the NFL is a matter of scale, not absolutes. IOW, it makes no sense to say one is efficient, and one isn't, only that one is more efficient, one less so.
    Well clearly this is what I meant.

    You'd take every closing line over every opener? You never, ever think the closing line represents more value than the opener? You never, ever, upon seeing an NFL dog you like go from +2' to +3', lick your chops?
    yes I would take every closing line over every opener, If you can find a trustworthy escrow I will take this bet against you if you'd like. You seem extremely certain about your point so my money is on the table, please come and take it.
    Last edited by JustinBieber; 10-09-10 at 10:08 AM.

  22. #22
    Data
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinBieber View Post
    They're not completely efficient but Obv I would take the closing line over the opening line every time....

    Data your point is sort of silly, this will not happen too much in an efficient market. If your model was accurate in an efficient market then more often than not you would beat the closing line anyway. Obviously not every time though.

    By the way just to be 100% clear I think when people refer to BTCL they're only speaking of efficient markets.
    While I have no problem with the notion of the "efficient lines" you are totally misusing the notion of "efficient market". Still, putting aside what you actually said (as it did not make sense, in an efficient market my model would not be any more accurate) but addressing what you likely meant I can say that this will happen fairly often in reality. Now, note that by saying "fairly often" I actually did not say anything. Neither did you when you said "not too much". Still, while we disagree on our estimates of both the efficiency of the closing lines (CLs) and the markets (I think you greatly overestimate both) even this is not the point here.

    You said that my point is sort of silly, may be it is, but so far you missed it completely. I will try expanding it. The CLs can be used as a measuring stick to evaluate the bets the player made. This is the essence of the BTCL concept, since the CLs are fairly efficient then the more you beat them the more likely you are profitable. I am not arguing with this. The CLs are used by people who do not have a better measuring stick. My point is that if I think that my lines are more efficient than the CLs then I am not concerned about the CLs, I am concerned how my lines fit the game results. In other words, for the BTCL guys BTCL is the god, the light, the mantra, the goal. Does it work for them? It should and they say it does. I do not really care. Should BTCL be the goal for a modeler as well? In the past, Justin7 stated and argued many times that BTCL should be used to evaluate models. My example shows that this makes no sense.

  23. #23
    Data
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pokerjoe View Post
    We know that line shopping and bet-timing or anything else we do to pick up half points is profitable, not because they BTCL, but because points have value independently of BTCL. We know that if the line is -7 and we find a half point off that, we've gained value because every half point has value.
    No, we do not know that. At best, we believe in CLs efficiency which is what BTCL is built on. If we do not believe in this then we have no way of knowing if there is value in there. Why? Because it could very well be on the other side. In your example, we do not know whether the value lies in -6.5 or in +7.

    As my fave Billy Joel's song goes, it's a matter of trust.

    People who do not trust any lines to be efficient, those people arb and middle. And bonus whore. Overall, an excellent +EG approach. However, they do trust to keep large balances with the books.

    People who trust the CLs are what we refer here as the BTCL crowd. Think they found the holy grail. Bet a lot. Do not make much by doing so because their edge is not too high. At some point may drift to one or the other category.

    People who trust their own lines are known as handicappers and modelers. Most of them do not make any money. Very few reach a "syndicate" level of insight and profitability.

  24. #24
    roasthawg
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    Great read. I've argued a little about this on this forum in the past... I do not track my results against the closing line as I prefer to use my results vs the spread as an indicator of my success instead. Over a long enough amount of time if my results vs the spread are 53% would I care if I was 49% vs the closing line? Maybe it would give me an idea of something I could do to improve my handicapping even more but it definitely wouldn't give me reason to doubt my results... they speak for themselves.

  25. #25
    JustinBieber
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    If your closing lines are more efficient than the NFL's closing lines then good luck to you. Idk why you would bother posting on a forum though if you could get down 70k/side on pinnacle, I would be living on a Carribean island somewhere.

  26. #26
    Justin7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Data View Post

    Here is a modeler's take. The line is -3, my line is -1. I take the dog. The line closes at -4, the BTCL guy took the favorite at -3. The dog wins. Both the BTCL guy and I feel like winners. I tell the BTCL guy my model was on the dog and I took it at +3. He tells me my model sucks because I did not BTCL. Do you think I should write this and similar results down as my model's losses and look into adjusting the model NOT to lean to the dog's side? You can take you BTCL and ... run with it.
    If your model wins, but doesn't BTCL, your bankroll will accumulate. Your bets will grow. Eventually, your non-BTCL model becomes BTCL, because it is shaping the market.

    I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or a non-BTCL winning model. Winning players rarely disagree on the right side of a game at a given price. I've studied thousands of players. I have NEVER seen a player profile where the player was a winner with at least 1000 plays, and wasn't BTCL.

    If you are winning without BTCL, you're lucky. Your model will fail at some point going forward. Been there, done that.

  27. #27
    Data
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    Again, it is a by-product, not the goal like many state.

  28. #28
    TT22
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    Some interesting read here.

  29. #29
    uva3021
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    It appears many are frivolously using the phrase "efficient market" in a care-free and somewhat irresponsible manner. Its a very layered phrase and doesn't imply anything without being having been designated as representing certain aspects of the market one is talking about. Is the market weak, medium, strong? And the phrase itself assumes the market players are all using thoughtful and sensible deliberation to drive their wagers. The term "efficient" and the term "market" when used concomitantly are syntactically correct but can lead to erroneous theories when placed out of its proper context, or in this case not given a proper representation of meaning. For example, what can one say drives line movement, and what does a closing line signify? Then we can identify what kind of market (weak, strong, etc...) we are dealing with.

    Either way the theories expressed in this thread are test-able. Just model a scenario where one has 1000 bets, and if BTCL is valid, we would expect that there is a high correlation between percentage of bets won and percentage of bets that BTCL. And if that is not the case, based on many of the opinions here, the percentage of bets that BTCL should carry more weight in extrapolating future betting performance.

    A lot of devout relativism on this forum I see. Which is fine, whatever makes money stick with it.

  30. #30
    trixtrix
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    i'm surprised at the level of incomprehension in this thread, for the last time: BTCL != market efficiency

    if you can BTCL, then you are guaranteed risk-free profit EVEN if the market you're betting on is strongly INEFFICIENT

    the opening post confuses one theory w/ another, and therefore invalidates the whole argument before it began.

    market efficiency concept is NOT the same as BTCL concept, even if there could be correlation between the two

  31. #31
    Shonner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
    I've studied thousands of players. I have NEVER seen a player profile where the player was a winner with at least 1000 plays, and wasn't BTCL.

    If you are winning without BTCL, you're lucky. Your model will fail at some point going forward. Been there, done that.
    those are some strong statements.

    so are you basically saying that you should throw capping models out the window and just try to BTCL?

    like Data said, if you have a game capped at +3 and the line is +7, you should take the +3. but what if you take it at +7 and the line closes at +8? like mentioned, it's still good value (according to your capping).

    you're saying that type of capping will never work in the long run?

    is there any evidence that BTCL at matchbook or pinny has been profitable over the past 'x' amount of yrs?

  32. #32
    sharpcat
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    Quote Originally Posted by trixtrix View Post
    i'm surprised at the level of incomprehension in this thread, for the last time: BTCL != market efficiency

    if you can BTCL, then you are guaranteed risk-free profit EVEN if the market you're betting on is strongly INEFFICIENT

    the opening post confuses one theory w/ another, and therefore invalidates the whole argument before it began.

    market efficiency concept is NOT the same as BTCL concept, even if there could be correlation between the two
    This is the type of post this thread was intended for the guys who think that all they have to do is bet at a slow moving book.

    Beating the closing number most definately will not "guarantee" you profits and is even less likely to "guarantee" you profits if you are betting into a much smaller/lower volume market.

  33. #33
    trixtrix
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpcat View Post
    This is the type of post this thread was intended for the guys who think that all they have to do is bet at a slow moving book.

    Beating the closing number most definately will not "guarantee" you profits and is even less likely to "guarantee" you profits if you are betting into a much smaller/lower volume market.
    lol, is this a level? if not you might want reconsider your screenname

    everytime you btcl, simply middle/arb back the other side and you're guaranteed profit, really is it that difficult to understand

    this is the same concept as the stock market, if you know you can beat the day closing price on a stock then you're guaranteed profit whether the stock price movement is efficient or not (ie: if you know the stock price will close above the current price, you simply buy at the current price and sell at the closing price)

    assumption: btcl mean assume beating the bid/ask spread, otherwise it's not really significant enough to consider to be btcl

  34. #34
    trixtrix
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    this is NOT a difficult concept guys, and we don't need big words to describe it:

    if the current price of a stock is 45$, and you know the stock price will close at 46$ or higher at the end of the day; even if you're POSITIVE the price movement is INEFFICIENT, and stock is really worth 44$ or less; you should STILL buy it at 45$ and then sell it at 46$ after the price move. it does not MATTER if the stock was really worth 44$, if you can buy at 45$ then sell 46$ then you can still guarantee profit b/c you BTCL.

    justin is arguing there is close to 100% correlation between BTCL and market efficiency, some of you are arguing there's close zero% correlation between the two concepts, it might be that the truth is somewhere in the middle

    but that does not in any way invalidate the btcl concept.

  35. #35
    sharpcat
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    Quote Originally Posted by trixtrix View Post
    lol, is this a level? if not you might want reconsider your screenname

    everytime you btcl, simply middle/arb back the other side and you're guaranteed profit, really is it that difficult to understand

    this is the same concept as the stock market, if you know you can beat the day closing price on a stock then you're guaranteed profit whether the stock price movement is efficient or not (ie: if you know the stock price will close above the current price, you simply buy at the current price and sell at the closing price)

    assumption: btcl mean assume beating the bid/ask spread, otherwise it's not really significant enough to consider to be btcl
    Ok

    First off beating the closer generally refers to beating the no-vig line which would not be enough to allow you to scalp your bet.

    Second off you are implying that every time you beat the closing point spread you are guaranteed a profit by taking the middle.

    Please tell me what your long term expected value is by taking a middle on a line that opened at 5.5 and closed at 6.5 in the NFL. It interests me to know just how many arb players out there think they are making smart plays.

    You clearly missed the entire point of this thread

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