this post will be both an introduction and a whole season recap for me! i joined this site a little more than a month ago but I only bet on regular season nhl at the moment so my season has now officially ended.
First a little bit about me and my betting method. I am a statistician and I did my master's thesis on predicting stock volatility, then moved on to a job where my main task was building prediction models. Based on that experience I have now been building a statistical prediction model for nhl for about 2 years now and I had been both following and betting on nhl before that too. Most handicappers obviously don't want to share too much about their methods so I really have no idea how many successful handicappers use an actual prediction model, how many just derive some estimates from power rankings and such, and how many use completely different systems, but I decided to share how I come to make a betting decision. I am very good at modelling and data mining but a not a good handicapper and this season I found out that most of the manual corrections I make on the model recommended matches end up costing me money. So at this moment I am completely model reliant and I'd say about 90% of all my betting decisions are based completely on the model. Oh sure, there is a long long list of manual checks I do for each team but they just don't add enough value to my bets. This is also why you will very rarely get an extensive match analysis from me as the answer for my betting decision will almost always be the same, ie. according to model predictions and historical data mining this and this particular team at these odds look profitable to me.
So how did my model do in the first full season I used it. Presenting the results isn't as clear cut as one might think because I obviously learned much from actually making betting decisions based on the model, so my approach and methods changed during the season. There's only so much you can prepare for with just backtesting previous seasons, but that is still how I started. I had made several indicators before the start of the season while backtesting previous seasons. In the beginning I mostly followed those indicators and the results at first were ridiculously good. From the beginning of the season to March the 20th the model had recommended 125 bets with 82 wins and 24,4 ROI (had I put 1 unit on each bet).
I was thrilled about the results and just kept following the model but at that time I hit a rough few weeks. I still believed in the indicators because they had worked so well previously and figured it was mostly just bad luck. But when the bad results continued I started digging in deeper and found that the indicators I had made really weren't that good to begin with and that I could easily make them much tighter and better. I really have no explanation on why they worked so tremendously at the beginning of the season but from March 21st to the end of the season the pre-made indicators recommended 155 bets with 79 wins (51%) and -5,1% ROI. For the pre-made indicators this means that the results for the whole season were as follows: 280 recommendations, 161 wins (57,5%), 8,06% ROI
But because the indicators started to fail, I made the whole system much tighter and basically abandoned the idea of a predetermined set of indicators and started using a completely different approach which I have been using it for the last month on pickmonitor with some nice results. Combined with the early good results the season as a whole proved to be a rather profitable one.
So that's my season recap! Hopefully it will be interesting to someone and maybe encourage people to follow me next season when there are a lot more regular season games to bet on. I'm really looking forward to it because even with very suboptimal indicators my model provided really nice results and as I said, lately I have been able to make the model even better. Naturally i dont expect to keep having 17% ROI but I do have high hopes for at least moderate profitability. I will also try to add something to the nhl discussions here come next season as this site looks like a really good place for a handicapper compared to what a lot of the other sites offer.
Oh, and it's also worth mentioning that I'm from Europe so I very rarely get to watch any of the games (although I'd want to) and this also means that I wont have any information that gets out just before the matches and I also usually can't bet on closing lines and such
Edited 4/28/13 at 2:13AM by lunatus - No reason listed.