Size MATTERS!!

The follow article first appeared in the October 4, 2022 issue of The Sharp Plays Newsletter. I am republishing it to keep it on the site for future reference. Records and performance quoted are from October 4, 2022.

Every day I see people standing on train tracks when a train is coming through. Despite my best efforts to get them off the track, and save them from themselves, they fight me every step of the way. The train I am talking about is metaphorical and involves their gambling. It is improper bet sizing, and it is this fatal flaw in bankroll management (or lack thereof) that kills most gamblers.

The Sharp Plays (“TSP”) content is designed with a hierarchy. The top level content would be those angles which trigger TSP Live alerts (https://TSP.Live/tsp-live) for paid subscribers. The next level of content are those angles which make their way onto Twitter and Telegram. The third level of content are those angles which remain on TSP Live analytics tables for subscribers, but which do not trigger TSP Live alerts nor are reported on Twitter and Telegram.

The question then becomes, how do you bet this hierarchy? Are the angles which do not trigger TSP Live alerts…nor make it to Telegram or Twitter (thereby just on TSP Live Analytics tables) cutting room floor trash? Hardly! Those angles remaining on the TSP Live Analytics tables still perform well and that goes to my point here. So, let’s dissect these three tiers of content.

To cut and paste the records tables into this newsletter would make it a little too long and require a lot of up and down scrolling. So, for reference, the records and performance I will be discussing can be found in three places. For TSP Live content records CLICK HERE, for publicly posted content records CLICK HERE and for archived records CLICK HERE.

OK, so here’s the fatal flaw some people will make. I will use an example from this past weekend and then expand on out from it. People will see that, over the past year, Book Positions achieved over a 60% win percentage! Awesome!! The ROI for Book Positions is +16.9%…very nice!! It means for every $1.00 wagered on Book Positions, you can expect to profit $0.17. Quite healthy! For comparison, most professional bettors would love a 5% to 7% ROI…many achieve “only” 2-3%…which is still damn good when taken out over 1000s of selections.

NOW…THE NEXT FEW PARAGRAPHS DEAL WITH A LOT OF NUMBERS. GO SLOW, IT MIGHT GET CONFUSING, BUT I WILL COME BACK AROUND AT THE END. I AM JUST TRYING TO GET FIGURES IN FRONT OF YOU AND GET YOU THINKING.

Alright, so Book Positions (TSP Live content – Oddsmaker’s Report) achieve a +16.9% ROI. Conventional wisdom says you want to maximize the bankroll dedicated to this type of higher ROI systems/wagers/angles in your arsenal. So, if we aren’t going to flat bet (meaning bet the same amount on every wager) then we should bet more on Book Positions, right?!?! Yes! Now the million dollar question…how much more???

Well, as you can also see in the TSP Live records, High Level Book Needs with readings of 80-89 have an ROI of +19.1%! So yes…technically, High Level Book Needs actually outperform Book Positions! Who would have thought???? So, should you bet more on High Level Book Needs? Technically…if you aren’t flat betting…then yes! By the way, I am not discussing the High Level Book Needs with readings of 90+ because, while they are 10-3 which is great, it’s a very small sample size by comparison. We would assume however that these would perform better than the 80-89 readings. Assumptions don’t work for statistical analysis here, so I will hold those 90+ aside.

So, Book Positions have a record of 29-19 (total of 48 bets) and ROI of +16.9%, High Level Book Needs (80-89 reading) have a record of 62-58 (total of 120 bets) and an ROI of +19.1%. So, the High Level Book Needs have a larger sample size AND a higher ROI than Book Positions…but how many people bet them that way? Another record up there in performance are the KB Consensus readings of 60-69% which are 71-46 for a +17.3% ROI. Yes, the KB Consensus angles of 70-79% are 27-12 for +37.4%…but that’s a small sample..even smaller with the 3-1 record for KB Consensus 80%+ compared to the 117 angle sample size of the 60-69% angles. Teasers in 2022 have a +24.5% ROI…but it’s only an 11 wager sample size. What a minute, parlays from 2021 have 96 total wagers (that’s decent) and an ROI of +34.5%! So, we should HAMMER parlays??

How about this to blow your mind a little further…the TSP Live Radar angles with readings of 74-79 have an ROI of +24.8%…blowing away Book Positions and that those TSP Live Radar 74-79 readings have a sample size of 180 angles…decent size!

Next, let’s visit the Sports Content Records link. We can see that sharp golf has 56 wagers and a +22.1% ROI…that’s 8 more wagers than Book Positions AND a higher ROI! Does it mean Book Positions blow…hardly! They are an awesome angle…but all of this should show that your wager sizing…assuming you don’t flat bet…is probably WAY out of whack!

Alright, I know I am throwing a lot of numbers around, but hopefully you see my point. Instead of assessing content based on your perception, use actual performance data. It’s why I keep the logs and records. Using this data allows you to then build your personal wager strategy within the content. Now, how do we size our bets based on all this performance data?

If three alerts were issued today…one was a Book Position, the other was a TSP Live Radar 74+ angle, and the third was a sharp golf alert…without knowing all the above that I discussed…would you bet them the same, more on one over another…and how much?? I am sure if I asked that question, it would be a no brainer that you unload on the Book Position, bet average on TSP Live Radar and maybe pass golf or bet pizza money. The data says otherwise!

Let’s take a sample of the different tiers of TSP content and assess…

First on the hierarchy is TSP Live content which triggers alerts. I will call this TIER 1 content for reference below in this article.
TSP Live Radar 74+ angles minimum ROI is +24.8%
High Level Book Needs minimum ROI is +19.1%
KB Consensus 60%+ minimum ROI is +17.3%
Book Positions ROI is +16.9%
Top Sharp Consensus Premium Plays +7.1%
AVERAGE ROI: +17.0%
“Minimum ROI” means that as you go higher in the readings the ROI gets even better…but sample size is smaller.

Twitter & Telegram Content (since 2011 https://thesharpplays.com/records-archive/). I will call this TIER 2 content…
Sharp Soccer is +19.1%
Sharp Tennis is +16.3%
Sharp NCAAB ROI is +11.9%
Sharp NFL ROI is +8.9%
Sharp MLB is +8.5%
Sharp NBA ROI is +6.0%
Sharp NCAAF ROI is +6.0%
AVERAGE ROI: +11.0%
…and on the list goes as you can see by that table. I just picked major leagues/sports.

TSP Live Content which does not trigger alerts (Analytics table content, with more than 50 angles tracked). I will call this TIER 3 content…
In-Play Analytic is +12.4%
TSP Live Radar Declines is +8.4%
TSP Live Radar 60-64 is +7.9%
TSP Live Radar 65-73 is +1.5%
Low Level Book Needs 60-79 is +1.3%
Average ROI: +6.3%

What do I notice?

1) Content is positive top to bottom, so angles which do not trigger TSP Live alerts, nor are published on Twitter and Telegram, still perform quite well (Tier 3). Tier 1 has a +17.0% average ROI…Tier 2 is right behind it at +11.0% ROI. Even Tier 3 is still +6.3% and as I said at the beginning, the best sharp bettor’s goal is to have an ROI between 5-7%. So, the +6.3% is quite solid!

2) Do you see the potential error in your ways as to how you bet the content? Likely you are betting more on Book Positions than you would ever think of betting on TSP Live Radar 74+, High Level Book Needs or KB Consensus. All of them including Book Positions are great, but if you are going to size bankroll and not flat bet, the sizing should be based on actual performance, not perceived performance.

I am a proponent of flat betting (1 unit on every bet) because most gamblers cannot handle bet sizing properly. Most gamblers do not have a mathematically optimal 100 unit bankroll and instead just shoot from the hip. If you would flat bet you’d see that it prevents a lot of problems and tends to be less stressful.

If you ABSOLUTELY cannot flat bet, here’s my advice on bet sizing. The average content is Twitter/Telegram (Tier 2). It’s roughly in the middle of Tier 1 and Tier 3 performance at +11.0% ROI average. So, let’s say Tier 2 content is bet at 1 unit. The 6.3% ROI in Tier 3 content is 57% of 11% (6.3/11=0.57). I think a fair assessment is that wagering 0.50 units on Tier 3 makes sense based on performance in comparison to Tier 2 which is our base risk of 1 unit. Now what about Tier 1? Well, 17.0% is 154% above Tier 2 performance (11.0%). So, how about 1.5 units on Tier 1 content (154% of 1 unit would be 1.54 units)?

Using the above, your bet spread is now…
Tier 1: 1.5 units
Tier 2: 1 unit
Tier 3: 0.50 units

If you want to bet no less than 1 unit on anything, then your bet spread based on performance would be…
Tier 1: 3 units
Tier 2: 2 units
Tier 3: 1 unit

Of course the above article is not a thorough statistical thesis/analysis. I only have about 4-5 hours I can dedicated to putting this newsletter together each week from top to bottom. However, it hopefully opens your eyes to several things and gets you to reassess how you wager…basing it on performance, not perception. I am sure I will discuss this topic moving forward. Especially when we experience one of those short term runs where the TIER 3 content outperforms the TIER 1 content. It happens, ebbs and flows, but over the long-term the performance hierarchy is clear…but not overly dramatic in spread between the tiers.

So, for those betting 5+ units on a Book Position and 3+ units on a KB Consensus angle and 1 unit on a TSP Live Radar 74+…do you see the potential issues in such an approach? You are actually betting the most on the lowest performing (albeit still damn good) angle in Book Positions!

Obviously, there is a lot of TSP content. It would be impossible to break it all down efficiently here. My goal with this sampling is to show you a method of wager sizing using bet performance…and also to get you to look at the key performance metric…ROI versus win percentage or record when putting your strategy together.

Just remember, the smaller the disparity in your bet sizes, the less volatility in your wagering. If you are betting 5 units on Book Positions and 1 unit on KB Consensus you have too wide of a spread and are setting yourself up for a weekend where Book Positions go 0-2, KB Consensus goes 4-1 and you lose 8.1 units!!! Horrific bankroll management. You had a 4-3 record but lost 8.1 units. Some might laugh…but people do bet this aggressively and the math is against them. You can have a lot of things against you in life…don’t let math be one of them…it never works out! Keep the math always in your favor…just like the casinos.

I welcome any questions and will gladly discuss those questions in a future expanded article on this topic. The above article definitely has a place in the Articles section of TheSharpPlays.com. I will likely have it up there later this month to allow some thoughts and ideas from all of you to come in. If nothing arrives, it’ll be up there in its current form for future reference.

Bet smart, bet disciplined, bet intelligently…don’t shoot from the hip…because your aim blows that way!