Burke: The importance of grading your work

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 21, 2022 11:04 AM

The college basketball picks from yesterday got a failing grade by going 1-2. Losing money on the night is never good. However, in what many believe to be a black-and-white business, there are a lot of grey areas.

Not every bet that wins is a good bet and not every bet that loses is a bad bet. This is an important lesson to understand. In shorter terms, “stuff” happens. You may have the right handicap, but the wrong result. You may have the wrong handicap, but the right result. I learn a lot by going back over my work. Let’s go over last night’s three picks briefly to show some of the things I find important.

Closing Line Value (CLV)

Did I get a good number? Was I ahead of the market or trailing behind? Was the line influenced by late, sharp money? Getting the best of the number that you can is all you can really control outside of doing your research to the best of your ability.

The Deciding Factor

Why did the bet lose? What happened that I didn’t expect or didn’t account for in my handicap? Was there an outlier of some sort that I fell on the wrong side of? Why did the bet win? Was it what I expected to have happen?

What Will I Do in the Next Game?

Fade or follow? Did something that took place in that game give me a sign for the next game? Do I just have the wrong read on this team?

Belmont (-5.5) vs. Morehead State

Belmont lost outright, so it’s a bad bet any way you slice it. The -5.5 was the closing number at most books, but Morehead State had its second-lowest TO percent of the season at 10.6 percent. That was a big part of my handicap with a team in the bottom 30 in TO percentage nationally. It feels like an outlier. The Eagles will be a big favorite in a clear letdown spot on Saturday against SIU-Edwardsville.

UIC (-4) vs. Northern Kentucky

Another favorite that lost outright. UIC closed -3, so that was bad. UIC led by four in OT with 2:52 left and didn’t score again. NKU had 24 FT attempts to 7 for UIC, but only made 12 of them. UIC was 13-of-32 on 2s after coming in at 54.9 percent. Both UIC and Belmont were efficient 2P teams that had a bad night at a bad time.

Arizona (-11.5) vs. Stanford

A blowout winner here and 11.5 was mostly the closing number. Stanford had 21 offensive rebounds and managed just 57 points. Arizona’s remarkably efficient offense was 19-of-19 at the rim with 1.156 points per possession. This is a legitimately dominant team. That read was right.

Go back through and grade your work and your results. You may find that you should fade a team again or bet on a team again. You may find that you read a team wrong. But, it’s all important information for future wagers.

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