Legitimate Value vs Phantom Value – Analysis for June 6th, 2014


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Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics 
O/U :94.28
Vs.Date: 2014-06-06
Time: 18:05:00Generated from 57 Previous Games
Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles
SIDE :-105
4.24 = 8.52
Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers 
SIDE :-1083.93
Vs.Date: 2014-06-06
Time: 18:05:00Generated from 82 Previous Games
Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates
O/U :7.5
3.17 = 7.1


Over the past few weeks, we’ve picked out some of the most solid choices to win.
Our analysis has been focused on the pitching with all season/home-away/L3G splits.
Our analysis has been focused on the hitting with all season/home-away/L7G splits.
Our analysis has been focused on the bullpen with all season/home-away splits.
Our analysis has been focused on extreme umpires with side-bias and extreme strikezones.
Our analysis has been focused on ATS Matchups highlighting the positional tendencies.
Our analysis has been focused on Raymond Report showing how teams stack up vs league.
Our analysis has been focused on batter vs pitcher history.
Our analysis has been focused on notable trends such as general ‘vs history’ and ‘vs R/LHP’.

Over the past few weeks, as we identify these different positions, we’ve noted that in positions where one team has almost all of these consideration in their favour, and the ML is showing even odds, we’ve noted that most times that “value” we bet on, ends up losing. Despite 8 considerations all pointing at a certain team to win, they are losing. We’ve tried to sidestep some of this fake value, and we’ll talk about some of the factors we consider in order to understand what we’re looking at.

So today, we’ll assess a few different factors that might help us distinguish between ACTUAL value, and value that’s too good to be true. PHANTOM value.

When all obvious factors clearly point to a particular team to win, and the moneyline has the teams paying out even, you have to ask yourself why isn’t the line reflecting the obvious facts?

Milwuakee’s Lohse:
2.60ERA All Season
1.90ERA L3G


Pittsburgh’s Cumpton:
6.85ERA All Season
8.30ERA L3G

Milwaukee bats:
4.3RPG All Season
6.0RPG All Season


Pittsburgh bats:
3.9RPG All Season
4.4RPG L7G

3.28ERA All Season
3.69ERA Road\


2.74ERA All Season
2.47ERA Home


Lohse is 11-2 vs Pittsburgh with an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.191.


Oakland’s Milone:
3.60ERA All Season
2.45ERA L3G


Baltimore’s Chen:
4.26ERA All Season
5.82ERA L3G

Oakland bats:
5.1RPG All Season
5.4RPG vs LHP


Baltimore bats:
4.4RPG All Season
4.0RPG vs LHP
2.67ERA All Season
2.53ERA Road


3.65ERA All Season
3.86ERA Home




  • At a glance, we would think that Milwaukee should be representing a -160 to -180 chalkline.
  • We see that Milwaukee is powerrated accordingly at about -166.
  • We see that the Milwaukee Moneyline not only opened at -114 but it’s moved to -105 since!


1. The line opened way above market value.
2. The MIL line, despite it’s exaggerated value, has been further faded.
3. The PIT line, despite it’s vacuous value has been pounded on.

So we have to ask ourselves then…”WHO IS BETTING ON PITTSBURGH TO WIN??”

We see the exact same thing with Oakland with the exception that the Oakland line is not being faded. It remains steady.

So where we can say that people are betting illogically with Pittsburgh against Milwaukee and against all odds…the same can’t be said for Baltimore and Oakland. This means that if we HAD to bet either of these suspiciously valuable lines, OAKLAND would be the better pick, not Milwaukee.



We’ve identified a few things that can help explain this kind of phantom action:


Example A: March 4th, 2014 Colorado Rockies (+146) @ Chicago Blackhawks
Example B: March 6th, 2014 Colorado Rockies (+104) @ Detroit Redwings

Colorado was powerrated as about even with Chicago, yet, they were paying +146.
Colorado was powerrated as clear chalk vs Detroit, yet, they were paying +104.

The Colorado ML was clearly too good to be true in both of these instances so the question is “Is it Value OR simply Too Good To Be True?”

In these instances, it was VALUE.

The reason it’s value is because we can explain where the money is coming from.

It’s estimated that over 50% of the money that is bet on sporting events is bet by people who are betting their home team.

  • The state of Colorado has 5.2 million people.
  • The state of Michigan has 9.8 million people.
  • The state of Illinois has 12.8 million people.

So when a low population team such as Colorado faces off as a VISITOR against a state with x2 the amount of people, there will ALWAYS be bonus value with the visitor.

This becomes particularly true on weekend games where gamblers can take the time to watch the game that they’re betting live at the arena or on satellite at their favourite sports bar. Fat cats don’t buy box seats or season tickets just to sit and watch the game without a hefty wager.

Given that Chicago and Detroit are both namebrand superstar franchises, any degenerate gambler will definitely look to place bets with them as well because there is a psychological comfort associated with betting namebrand teams.

Further, most gamblers enjoy the psychological security in betting the chalk. So when the team with the large population, is playing as the home team, playing on the weekend, is a namebrand franchise, and is also priced as the chalk…

We have the perfect storm where there will be copious amounts of action placed on that team that has nothing at all to do with calculated handicapping or professional investment on behalf of sharp money. It is all biased money and will give the visitor team, with the small population a HUGE boost in value.

1. Large Population.
2. Home Team.
3. Weekend Game.
4. Namebrand Franchise.
5. Chalk.

So knowing this, we can see that Chicago and Detroit satisfied many of these considerations and therefore we felt safe to bet on the exaggerated Colorado value.

We could EXPLAIN where the money was coming from and why there was a boost in value with the Colorado line.



The Miami Marlins @ Tampa Bay Ray series  June 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Here is another example where a team is being blatantly overpriced.
Since both teams are from the same state, that doesn’t factor, but the home team still factors and arguably the name-brand factors as well.

  • On the 3rd, Miami was powerrated as a -150 favourite and yet the ML was paying them at about as a +108 underdog.
  • On the 4th, Miami was powerrated as a -150 chalk, and yet the ML was paying them as a +200 underdog!
  • On the 5th, Miami was powerrated as a slight favourite and yet the ML was paying them as a +156 underdog!!

Looking at the stats, Tampa was averaging under 2.0RPG L7G across this stretch. One of the most consistent and coldest hitting streaks we’ve ever seen. Not to mention that they never had a strong advantage on the bump either. There was nothing in the stats or in the real time performance of these teams that would justify Miami and their red-hot bats to be priced as chalk.

Yet, there it was. MIAMI +150.

So again, we have to ask, “Is it Value OR simply Too Good To Be True?”

Tampa Bay was on a 6 game losing streak when they started that series. They got swept by Miami and ended with a 10 game losing streak.

Here is the thing about negative progression betting systems (1-2-4-8-16-32 etc)…

Let’s imagine that someone put 50 bucks on Tampa to WIN after they had lost 3 straight.

Game 1
Game 2
Game 3
Game 4 $50
Game 5 $100
Game 6 $200
Game 7 $400
Game 8 $800
Game 9 $1600
Game 10 $3200

So where professional handicappers bet 1 unit across all 10 games, the bettor that employs a negative progression system bets, exponentially more.

Which is what we saw. We saw Miami priced more and more with absurdly exaggerated value with each loss.

So come game 3 and 4, it was easy to justify why Miami was paying such ridiculous amounts despite the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays are averaging less than 2 Runs Per Game L7G.

The explanation comes when negative progression system bettors are chasing the Tampa Bay losses for a win, regardless of what the stats are showing in real-time.

Miami, therefore, had real value and we were comfortable to bet the line at that absurd prices knowing that it was VALUE and not simply ‘too good to be true.’


Both Exhibit A and Exhibit B describe ARTIFICAL INFLATION aka Legitimate Value.


This brings us to today’s games with Milwaukee and with Oakland.

What can we look at to say, “OK THAT’S the reason that the line is so unreasonably high for MIL/OAK.”

OAKLAND is in California. There is NO population consideration here. In fact, we would think that they should be deflated. Not inflated.

So why is there this unusually high line with Oakland? With Milwaukee?

Firstly, since the Pittsburgh line took massive amounts of action yesterday, despite being priced at a completely valueless  +105…Milwaukee is out of the question. They are Too Good To Be True and there is sharp steam on Pittsburgh.

But with Oakland, we’re not seeing sharp money fading them like we do with Milwaukee.

So, is-it-safe? Is it legitimate value?

Apparently not. There is no reason to think that it’s legitimate value.

Something looks tricky.
Something looks not quite right.
It doesn’t add up.

It feels too good to be true and there are none of the explanations that satisfy or justify this kind of exaggerated value.

  • Oakland is not up against a large populace namebrand team on a weekend that’s paying chalk where the hometown bias bettors are affecting the line.
  • Baltimore is not in a 4 or more game losing streak where negative progression gamblers are affecting the line.

That said, however, Baltimore is red hot having won 4 of their last 5 games and this could certainly help explain it’s popularity…but then again, Oakland has also won 4 of their last 5.

So that explanation doesn’t hold water.

When we look at SOS these teams are almost perfectly even L7G.


So as we look a little closer, maybe there is a case to think these teams could be about even tonight…

  • Milone is 1-1 vs Baltimore with an ERA of 0.69 and a WHIP of 1.154.
  • Chen is 3-0 vs Oakland with an ERA of 0.44 and a WHIP of 0.919.


So yeah, maybe the value isn’t as exaggerated with Oakland as it is with Milwuakee.
Maybe it’s not quite so obvious…
Also, there is no sharp money on Baltimore like there is on Pittsburgh…

1/2 unit on Oakland might be worth a shot here.

Bottom Line?

Milwaukee is WAY too good to be true.
Let’s save the heartache we would have had betting Milwaukee. (Pittsburgh’s value was already deflated after sharps steamed them when they were still worth something, so betting Pittsburgh might not prove valuable over the long run.)

But maybe let’s go ahead and take a cautious 1/4-1/2 unit play on Oakland to win.


Tonight’s Prediction: OAKLAND to win 4-3.






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