Ticket & Money Percentages versus the Florida Lottery

Purpose – To see if there is a statistical difference in performance between random selection and (1) Ticket and money percentages on one side with the line moving in the opposite direction (a.k.a. “reverse line movement) and (2) Angles with a high ticket percentage on one side of the wager, but a high money percentage on the other side (theory being high money and low tickets = sharp money on the high money, low ticket side).

Example of Angle #1: Team A is playing against Team B. Team A has 60% of the tickets and 62% of the money, however the line moved from Team A -5 to Team A -3. It doesn’t make sense the line would drop given the tickets and money are on Team A. So, the belief is that sharp money must be on Team B for the line to drop. As such, someone who subscribes to this theory would bet Team B.

Example of Angle #2: Team A is again playing Team B. Team A has only 40% of tickets, but 65% of money. The belief is that sharp money bets more than public money, so there appears to be a sharp buy on Team A (only 40% of tickets, but 60% of money). The belief is further confirmed if Team A goes from -3 to -5. The line is moving with all that sharp money believed to be on Team A, despite the bulk of the tickets being on Team B.

** I do not subscribe to any of the above beliefs or strategies. I do not think that a +EV wagering strategy can be developed from tickets and money. I think they are akin to snake oil, but that’s me. I am doing this experiment to prove that point. **

Experiment – I will use a very popular app’s ticket and money percentages, with Pinnacle’s prices to determine the daily MLB angles for this experiment. I will cover two different angles each day. The first angle (Angle #1) I will cover is… I will look for reverse line movement and use the wager with the highest number of tickets placed that fits this parameter. The second angle I will cover is… I will look for wagers with a ticket percentage above 60% on one side and a money percentage above 60% on the other side, using the wager with the highest number of tickets placed that fits this parameter. Both of these angles will compete against a random number generator. The random number generator will be the previous day’s Florida Lottery Pick 2 numbers, for the midday draw.

Florida’s Pick 2 game is simple. The game selects two balls numbered 0-9. The result is a winning two digit number like 2-8. The first ball will correspond to Angle #1’s game. The second ball will correspond to Angle #2’s game. An even number means you take the favorite and odd number means you take the dog.

So, on a sample day, Florida’s Pick 2 numbers for the previous day’s midday draw were 1-6. I would use the dog in the game involving Angle #1 (because the first ball is an odd number… “1”) and I would use the favorite in the game involving Angle #2 (because the second ball is an even number… “6”).

In the end, we will see if the ticket and money percentages performed statistically better at wagering than the Florida Lottery’s Pick 2 game! I don’t know whether my hypothesis is correct or not, but at a minimum this should be fun to watch every day.

Hypothesis –  There is no statistical difference in performance using ticket and money percentages to determine profitable wagering angles versus simply random selection.

Analysis – Refer to the daily wager log below for the tracking of this experiment. Refer to the “Historical Backtesting” below for 5 years of historical data on the topic. Data is from an independent public provider of ticket and money percentages.

Historical Backtesting- Running an experiment for a few weeks is good, but hardly will provide statistical confidence in a theory. So, I used the database of what is likely the most popular public option for ticket and money percentages. The data for ticket and money percentages with this provider goes back to 2016. As of April 30th, 2021, below are the breakdowns by sport (2016 to present) for the performance of betting a reverse line move using ticket and money percentages…

MLB 998-1196 (45%) ROI: +1.4%
NBA 431-459 (48%) -5.4%
NCAAB 1383-1444 (49%) -4.9%
NCAAF 347-348 (50%) -2.6%
NFL 119-129 (48%) -6.4%
NHL 517-755 (41%) -8.7%

MLB is profitable, everything else is not. So, let’s take a deeper look at MLB with a breakdown by season since 2016 to see where those gains come from…

2016 259-298 +1%
2017 216-181 +15.6%

2018 221-317 -6.5%
2019 200-292 -6%

2020 69-77 +9.1%
2021 33-31 +22.9% (Definitely shows in experiment)

What parameters did I use for all of the above historical assessments?
Ticket Percentage: 0% to 45%
Money Percentage: 0% to 45%
Spread Change (for NBA, NCAAB, NFL, NCAAF): -0.5 to -100 points
Moneyline Change (for MLB, NHL): -5 to -150 cents

Conclusion – I know there are a lot of people who are very big believers in using ticket and money percentages for handicapping. Believers to the point that when I brought up this experiment, they immediately pounced on my theories, and me (LOL). Some people make their living touting ticket and money percentages as the Holy Grail of identifying sharp money in the sports market. If you are any of the above, and ticket and money percentages work for you, I wish you all the best. I am not here to take your lollipop from you. However, sportsbooks put out ticket and money percentages. Without sportsbooks willing to put out ticket and money percentages to the public, we would not be having this conversation. So, the obvious question becomes, would a sportsbook willingly give you information that could give you any chance at beating them? Of course not! Sportsbooks put out this information because it generates action (which is good for the sportsbook) and because it generates traffic as customers visit their social media or their website to view this information. If the sportsbook is giving you anything, you really have to first assess their motivation. Despite popular belief, sports betting is not free money and sportsbooks are not here to provide a welfare program for degenerates. Sportsbooks make their profit solely by taking your money… and they make a very healthy profit. Sportsbooks want traffic to the book and action from you. Posting ticket and money percentages provides both. So, how do they perform?

The reason I did this experiment is because I knew how ticket/money & “reverse line moves” performed through backtesting and my own experience in the industry, now into three decades. I know they don’t provide any material edge. My goal in doing this experiment is to get the casual gambler to understand that you would be better off just flipping a coin. When looking at the data by sport, we can see that ticket and money percentages resulted in ROI’s as follows…

MLB 998-1196 (45%) ROI: +1.4%
NBA 431-459 (48%) -5.4%
NCAAB 1383-1444 (49%) -4.9%
NCAAF 347-348 (50%) -2.6%
NFL 119-129 (48%) -6.4%
NHL 517-755 (41%) -8.7%

Using the above data, which is from the largest public provider of ticket and money percentages, we can see that every sport outside NCAAF hits at below 50%, which would mean that over a large sample size, flipping a coin would theoretically provide more winners than ticket and money percentages with reverse line moves. When it comes to NBA, NCAAB, NCAAB, NFL and NHL, using ticket and money percentages with reverse line moves resulted in ROI’s ranging from -2.6% to -8.7%. What that means is for every $100 you placed on ticket and money percentages, you lost $2.60 to $8.70. What that further means is if you wager on three NFL games per weekend, 17 weeks (soon to be 18) during the regular season, at $110 per game, you placed $330 per week x 17 weeks for $5,610 of action. You are expected to have an ROI of -6.4% in NFL using ticket & money percentages with reverse line moves. The math on NFL would equate to the $100 bettor losing $360 over the season. Not bad, but not winning.

All that sounds good, and I am proven correct over a data sample that dates to 2016 and almost 6000 wagers!!! Uh oh! Wait… there is one anomaly for my theory. For some reason, ticket and money percentages with reverse line moves have been shown to work in MLB. I don’t believe that it is because tickets and money percentages provide an edge, but I also cannot deny the data. In looking at the data, ticket and money percentages made a profit in 2016, 2017, 2020 and now 2021. Why would this be? As I noticed in the experiment I did in real-time, the percentages and reverse line move method usually chose underdogs. Right off the bat, blindly betting underdogs in MLB provides a better ROI than chalk. Blindly betting underdogs since 2005 (over 37,000 wagers) carries a negative ROI of -1.6%, however blindly betting chalk in that same time period provided a -1.9% ROI. Might not seem like a lot, but that 0.3% is MASSIVE when taken over 37,000 games. However, a -1.6% ROI still is not winning. Whatever it is within the ticket and money percentages & reverse line moves for MLB is helping to filter things down to the key underdogs. So, I have to admit, there is something to ticket & money percentages, based on data up to this point and even in my brief real-time experiment (see wager log below) when it comes to MLB.

To conclude, ticket and money percentages are useless in every major sport, outside MLB, when assessed over a large sample size of 5,932 games. You would literally do better flipping a coin (expectation would be 50% winners). However, I cannot deny that there is something going on in MLB and that for MLB ONLY, ticket & money percentages with reverse line movement have been shown to provide a positive ROI over a large enough sample size (2,194 games) to provide a decent level of statistical confidence. The data in MLB suggests that using tickets & money with reverse line movement does achieve a positive ROI and one that exceeds the expectation for variance (luck).

So, to all of you ticket & money with reverse line move zealots… I grant you there is something going on in MLB, the rest of the sports (NFL, NCAAF, NBA, NCAAB, and NHL) flip a coin… it’ll save you time, money, effort and provide a better win percentage and thereby ROI. I will continue monitoring MLB on a daily basis for the 2021 season and we can see how she finishes. I won’t maintain a wager log due to time & size, but I will post the angles daily on Twitter and track the running performance there. I hope you enjoy and good luck in your action!



EXPERIMENT WAGER LOG:

Day #1 (April 14th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Mets +108
60% tickets, 67% money on Philly, but line dropped from +115 to +108

Angle #2: Texas +163 31% tickets, but 89% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Tuesday Midday): 1-6
Game 1: NY Mets +108 (W)
Game 2: Tampa -179 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 2-0 for +2.7 units
Lottery 1-1 for -0.71 units


Day #2 (April 15th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Colorado +230
60% tickets, 73% money on LAD, but line dropped from +257 to +230

Angle #2: Baltimore -125
41% tickets, but 95% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Wed Midday): 4-5
Game 1: Dodgers -257 (W)
Game 2: Seattle +115 (W)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 2-2 for +0.4 units
Lottery 3-1 for +1.5 units


Day #3 (April 16th, 2021) –

Angle #1: KC +104
60% tickets, 68% money on TOR, line dropped from +125 to +104

Angle #2: Cleveland +106
46% tickets, but 57% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Thurs Midday): 3-1
Game 1: KC +104 (PPD)
Game 2: Cleve +106 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 2-3 for -0.6 units
Lottery 3-2 for +0.5 units


Day #4 (April 17th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Cubs +105
65% tickets, 89% money on ATL, line dropped from +115 to +102

Angle #2: Detroit +118 47% tickets, 78% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Fri Midday): 2-7
Game 1: ATL -115 (L)
Game 2: DET +118 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 3-4 for -0.5 units
Lottery 3-4 for -1.5 units


Day #5 (April 18th, 2021) –

Angle #1: KC -116
58% tickets, 67% money on TOR, line dropped from to TOR -105 to +107

Angle #2: Arizona +138
33% tickets, 61% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Sat Midday): 1-9
Game 1: TOR +107 (LOSS)
Game 2: AZ +138 (WIN)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 5-4 for +1.9 units
Lottery 4-5 for -1.1 units


Day #6 (April 19th, 2021) –

Angle #1: No qualifiers

Angle #2: Philadelphia -107
44% tickets, 77% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Sun Midday): 6-9
Game 1: —
Game 2: San Fran -102 (WIN)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 5-5 for +0.9 units
Lottery 5-5 for -0.1 units


Day #7 (April 20th, 2021) –

Angle #1: San Francisco +137
54% tickets, 71% money on Philly, line dropped from -155 to -148

Angle #2: Cincinnati -147 (L)
45% tickets, 88% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Mon Midday): 4-3
Game 1: Philly -149 (L)
Game 2: Arizona +135 (W)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 6-6 for +0.8 units
Lottery 6-6 for -0.2 units


Day #8 (April 21st, 2021) –

Angle #1: Milwaukee +175
65% tickets, 58% money on SD, line dropped from -200 to -195

Angle #2: St Louis +143 32% tickets, 59% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Tues Midday): 4-3
Game 1: San Diego -195 (L)
Game 2: St Louis +143 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 7-7 for +1.6 units
Lottery 6-8 for -3.2 units


Day #9 (April 22nd, 2021) –

Angle #1: San Diego +153
66% tickets, 65% money on LAD, line dropped from -175 to -167

Angle #2:
No qualifiers –% tickets, –% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Wed Midday): 3-5
Game 1: San Diego +153 (W)
Game 2: –

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 8-7 for +3.1 units
Lottery 7-8 for -1.7 units


Day #10 (April 23rd, 2021) –

Angle #1: SD +136
70% tickets, 89% money on LAD, line dropped -160 to -151

Angle #2: St. Louis -108
44% tickets, 57% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Thurs Midday): 5-6
Game 1: SD +136 (W)
Game 2: St. Louis -108 (W)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 10-7 for +5.5 units
Lottery 9-8 for +0.7 units


Day #11 (April 24th, 2021) –

Angle #1: SD +130
74% tickets, 77% money on LAD, line dropped -156 to -141

Angle #2: Nationals +161 (+177 to +161)
33% tickets, 69% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Fri Midday): 2-0
Game 1: LAD -141 (W)
Game 2: NY Mets -176 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 11-8 for +6.1 units
Lottery 10-9 for -0.1 units


Day #12 (April 25th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Baltimore +112
72% tickets, 71% money on OAK, line dropped -141 to -121

Angle #2: Tampa +106 (+111 to +106)
34% tickets, 54% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Sat Midday): 5-2
Game 1: Baltimore +112 (W)
Game 2: Toronto -115 (W)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 12-9 for +6.2 units
Lottery 12-9 for +2.0 units


Day #13 (April 26th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Baltimore +146
56% tickets, 62% money on NYY, line dropped -170 to -159

Angle #2: Houston -170 (-165 to -170)
35% tickets, 68% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Sun Midday): 4-0
Game 1: NY Yankees -159 (L)
Game 2: Houston -170 (W)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 14-9 for +8.7 units
Lottery 13-10 for +1.4 units


Day #14 (April 27th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Miami +140
62% tickets, 94% money on MIL, line dropped -158 to -152

Angle #2: Arizona +133 (+145 to +133)
40% tickets, 63% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Mon Midday): 7-6
Game 1: Miami +140 (L)
Game 2: San Diego -145 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 15-10 for +9.0 units
Lottery 13-12 for -0.9 units


Day #15 (April 28th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Pittsburgh +108
82% tickets, 66% money on KC, line dropped -130 to -119

Angle #2: Oakland +150 43% tickets, 59% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Tues Midday): 3-0
Game 1: Pittsburgh +108 (L)
Game 2: Tampa -164 (W)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 15-12 for +7.0 units
Lottery 14-13 for -0.9 units


Day #16 (April 29th, 2021) –

Angle #1: St. Louis +108
61% tickets, 80% money on Philly, line dropped -131 to -117

Angle #2: Chicago Cubs +127 44% tickets, 58% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Wed Midday): 4-8
Game 1: Philadelphia -117 (L)
Game 2: Atlanta -137 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 17-12 for +9.4 units
Lottery 14-15 for -3.4 units


Day #17 (May 1st, 2021) –

Angle #1: Texas +135
77% tickets, 74% money on Boston, line dropped -160 to -147

Angle #2: Cleveland -141 (-140 to -150)
42% tickets, 56% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Thurs Midday): 8-1
Game 1: Boston -147 (W)
Game 2: Chi Sox +130 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 18-13 for +9.4 units
Lottery 15-16 for -3.4 units


Day #18 (May 2nd, 2021) –

Angle #1: No qualifiers
-% tickets, -% money on Boston, line dropped X to X

Angle #2: LA Angels -136 (line from -130 to -136)
43% tickets, 55% money

Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Fri Midday): 0-7
Game 1: –
Game 2: Seattle +125 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Ticket & Money 19-13 for +10.4 units
Lottery 15-17 for -4.4 units


Day #19 (May 3rd, 2021) –

Angle #1: Cubs +130
63% tickets, 91% money on Reds, line dropped +139 to +130

Angle #2: Texas +112
38% tickets, 64% money


Florida Lottery Pick 2 (Fri Midday): 0-7
Game 1: Cincinnati -140 (W)
Game 2: Boston -122 (L)

Cumulative Results:
Tickets/Money 19-14 +9.5u
Lotto 16-17 -3.6u


Day #20 (May 4th, 2021) –

Angle #1: Baltimore +120
64% tickets, 81% money on Seattle, line dropped +135 to +130

Angle #2: No qualifiers -% tickets, -% money

FL Lotto Pick 2 (Sun Midday): 0-2
Game 1: Seattle -130
Game 2: –

Cumulative Results:
Tickets/Money 20-14 +10.7u
Lotto 16-18 -4.9u

Angle #1 11-6 for +8.0 units (Tickets & Money percentages on one side and with a reverse line move… follow the reverse line move)
Angle #2 9-8 for +2.7 units (High tickets on one side, money on the other side… follow the money side)