Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bridge Jumping Is Starting To Turn Me On

Bridge jumper betting is jokingly defined as bets large enough to make you want to jump after losing.

In horse racing, it is narrowly defined as a very large show wager on a heavy favorite (e.g. 1/5). The "angle" here is that the track must pay a minimum of $2.10 on any $2 wager, regardless of the odds.

However, in sports betting, a bridge jumper is betting on a heavy moneyline favorite to win. No point spreads are involved.

I've spent a good portion of this summer (and fall) learning about value wagering, as applied to both racebooks and sportsbooks.

While I don't find it difficult to find or place a good value wager (one with +EV), the variance of those wagers can be brutal.

Example: An underdog football team that is 30% likely to win a game can be a great value bet, if the payout offered is high enough. However, you will only win that bet 30% over the long run, and the short run can be brutally negative. You might lose that bet 25 times in a row before you win it once.

The best parallel I can think of is pot odds in poker. If you have a 20% chance of making a winning hand on the next card, you will win the hand 1 of 5 tries. If the pot pays better than 5x the amount to stay in the hand, it is a good value wager.

Now if you combine a good value bet with a moneyline FAVORITE, you have the best of both worlds: A bet likely to win and payout above its true value.

I've really found college football to contain the most value for its bridge jumpers. You can often find solid favorites (above 70% to win) at -275 or less.

I've had a lot of recent success with these wagers in both baseball and football. The sample size is small, but so is the variance.

I guess we'll see if the long run is a roller coaster or a plain. (Or a plane?)

No comments: