Misleading Final Scores

By Loot, Sports Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Sports Betting Tips: When Final Scores are Misleading

A major part of our handicapping is to review past performances. We look at past games with the intent of extracting clues to use for future bets. Seeing how a team fared previously against another team can offer added insight we can use to better calculate wagers. There are times, however, when we can be led astray by misinterpreting past events.

It depends on how we go about getting our information. The best way to analyze past performances is by having actually watched the game. As we all know, that isn’t always possible, with multiple games sometimes taking place simultaneously. We can only do so much. Often times, we are forced to go back and look at scores, watch highlights, and scan box scores for pertinent info. That can be misleading.

When we watch sports, we will often think how the final score is not really a fair representation of what happened. There is a school of thought that says betting on sports and sports itself is a bottom-line business. It’s about scoring and the teams that are able to do that deserve to win. And that’s true to a large extent. In football, getting it in the end zone is what it is all about, rather than looking good on your way to the end zone. Doing it is what it all comes down to in the end. So sure, final scores do reflect that and count for a lot.

At the same time, there are games where the final score is a fluky thing. A football team gets a few deflections, a special teams snafu, and a few other bizarre twists of happenstance and they end up thrashing their opponent when they were actually outplayed. Now if we go back and judge a game like that based only on the final score, it’s easy to see how one can be led astray.

We may see a basketball team that lost by 15 points and we think that might happen again or that the winning team has their number. Maybe. Maybe not. What if the losing team had just played their 3rd game in 4 days on the tail-end of a long and draining road-trip? What if their best player started and played minutes, but was banged-up and not his usual self? For all you know, the point-guard might have shown up to the game after being served divorce papers. It can be anything.

In baseball, you won’t find as many misleading scores. The parity of the sport and the sheer number of games played in the long MLB season pretty much dictate that anything can and will happen. We’re talking about sports where the better teams usually win, like in college and pro football and basketball.

Again, the score does tell a story. We don’t want to discount the importance of it. We just want to look and see if there’s not a story that lies behind the numbers. Looking at box scores or articles about the game can be helpful in forming a clearer picture. With the internet, this makes it easier to do the things that handicappers in the past could not do. We can look up a Ball State game from last year and get the lowdown pretty easily. At the same time, there is no substitute to actually watching the game, where you will be able to see every nuance and twist–things that could lead to a deceiving score.

A ton of different things can lead to a misleading score. A good team has 3 touchdown drives spoiled by phantom penalties, leading to a slew of field goals. A basketball team is not hitting shots, as if there’s a forcefield around the rim keeping shots from sinking. Examples like this are things you’re looking for. What you want to see are things that happened in a previous game that you suspect might not happen again.

If you see a final score where the winning team or even a team that got close to winning only did so on the basis of a bunch of quirky plays, that tells us something. It’s not a iron-clad formula. But when teams depended on bolts of good luck from beyond to win, rather than actually playing well–chances are it won’t happen again to the same extent in the next game.

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