Pörrö is back
Very early on my way toward professional betting, I was mocked for playing short-priced favorites. So well known was my habit of backing the odds-on-shots that even today, in the Finnish betting slang, my nickname Pörrö from those days is synonymous with a chalk favorite.
Quite often, the person, who is laughed at, has the last laugh. That was the case even with me, "Pörrö" and "Pörrö's bets". The home favorites in Finnish Ice Hockey and place bets on horses returning 1-2 on (1.5x) or less earned me the first thousands for my tiny starting capital. They were successful with such a high hit rate that even the short odds made the bets profitable.
Even nowadays, I bet short favorites frequently. Surprisingly often, they offer value. The betting public likes branded, well-known teams and individuals, but it they do not like risking a big sum of money to win less than their stake. Therefore many prefer betting the favorites giving away handicap points or goals, not on skinny money line odds. And when the average bettor likes the underdog, he tries to strike it rich with a small stake and long odds, not by taking the handicap points and odds-on-price. All that causes a bias, where the short favorites return more, in the long run, more money than the corresponding bets against the favorites.
There is much academic evidence about the favorite bias in many sports and markets globally. In basketball and tennis, the favorite bias is quite strong.
In tennis betting, the betting market doesn't understand enough how much less randomness is in Grand Slam tennis compared to the minor tournaments. When the matches are played in the best-of-five sets format, Instead of the best-of-three, the better player has more room to make amends for mistakes and bad luck.
If in football betting, ca. 80% of my bets are on underdogs with handicap goals, in Tennis, about 80% of my bets are on money line favorites. I don't hesitate going even under the odds 1.10, as I did with Jannik Sinner this week in the Australian Open first rounds.
Unfortunately, Borna Coric and two other of my "bankers" lost during the first two days of the tournament. As a part of eleven consecutive losing days overall in the MyWay project, the favorites, which let me down, made me feel disappointed and angry - even second-guessing if it was smart to make those "Pörrö" bets, risking a lot to win "nothing"?
But deepest in me, I knew that those bets were profitable. They just happened to go down. So what could I do? Continue betting on tennis money line favorites. And already on the next two days, I won back my losses and some more. Now my net ROI on MyWay tennis bets is back at 5%. That cannot be sustained for one more year, but 2% might be possible.
Now something essential: one can take advantage of the favorite base even by betting against branded athletes and teams. I often bet on long handicaps and short odds. By doing so, I gain from going against the fandoms AND the favorite bias.
The very polarized situations, where the betting object could perform very well or badly, are somewhat different.
I quite often bet against Rafa Nadal because my model fancies strong servers. Now in Australia, when there were some injury doubts over Nadal, I really liked to bet against him. I bet mainly on game handicaps, but because there was a risk Nadal even resigning, I bought my lottery ticket at McDonald's to win outright, too.
In the NFL quarter-finals this weekend, I like favorites in all games. At this writing, early on Saturday morning GMT, Kansas City is fairly priced against Jacksonville, but on the other tree ties, I have placed money line bets on the favorites.
My biggest bet is Buffalo vs. Cincinnati.
I have been betting against Cincinnati throughout the season, and I’ll keep doing so.
Last week, the Bengals remained lucky against Baltimore – on a game they deserved to lose. Therefore the public still bets Cincinnati. The average punters take the high-looking money line odds on the Bengals, but let Sportmarket find me a couple of extra fractions on Buffalo and then jump on them. The Bills look like having extra gear to take into use when it counts.
Cincinnati’s offensive line is very vulnerable, and Joe Burrow will be in a hurry many times.
I even got some good fills on under with my limit orders at Sportmarket.
Cincinnati's offence will be stopped, and when Buffalo has taken the lead, they’ll run the ball more than normal.
All in all, the strong home favorites don’t have any interest in running up the score after they have secured to go through to the next round. So in the playoffs, I like the favorites on the skinny-looking money line odds even more than in the regular season games. However, in the Buffalo case, I might even lay -5½ points. It's less than a touchdown, and I find Buffalo so much better than Cincinnati.
Even in the Philadelphia – NY Giants matchup, the class difference is huge.
I bet on Giants during the regular season, and they earned me money with the handicaps, but I have not fallen in love with them. They are about an average NFL team, a class or two weaker than Philadelphia. The public bets on Giants. I have already a money line bet on the eagles, and I am happy to bet more, if I'll get the right price. I have set a limit order at sportmarket to get a one- or two-percent higher money line than the general market price. Before the start of the game, I’ll accept the odds available, but I’m hopeful I’ll get my price on my extra bets. Even the low-money lines are Ok in the playoffs when the favorites do not waste their superiority to a sloppy attitude.
I have a money line bet on the San Francisco 49:ers vs. Dallas Stars, too. San Francisco is the kind of football team I like: good defense, especially against the run. And their running game is like an axe into the wood with now McCaffrey. I liked the 49:ers already before the season, and since they got Mccaffrey, I have bet them almost every week. Now the public has found 49:ers, too, but they still offer some value.
The odds on the 49:ers would be shorter if Dallas were not a popular public team.
Even on this weekend's Premier League, I have a big bet on one favorite I really like. I have even chosen an Asian Handicap optimizing my Sharpe ratio, and maximizing the value vs. risk. I have published my bet on the Vuoksenmaa Premium Service webshop. More about that next week, win or lose!
Have a profitable and nice weekend, my friend - with a lot of winning bets.
Welcome to follow - or join - My Way!
What is "My Way"?
I designated an account in Sportmarket earmarked only for this project. I deposited there €800 + €800 in February 2022 and then €800 every month. I started to bet in the same very defensive, risk-averse way as I did when I was young. I write regular blogs on our web page www.esbc.fi, where I follow how this experiment/mission/challenge progresses. I call this mission MyWay.
Follow MyWay! It is not only my twists and turns in this mission, not only nostalgia from my first way towards my first million. You'll learn a lot about betting strategies, my way of thinking and working, risk management, war stories" and nostalgia. Occasionally you'll learn how to win +EV equity in upcoming sporting events for free.
Welcome to join me in MyWay!