vanzack's Blog

Get your balls in the hoppper....

By vanzack | View all Posts
Posted Friday, October 24, 2008 03:59 PM   52 comments
People around here seem to think that results of football games could have only happened that one way.  Even after a game is over, it is foolish to believe that the game you just watched couldnt have gone a totally different direction, under the exact same circumstances.  Understanding this is a key to sportsbetting.
I make the metaphor of a ball hopper.  Now lets say there are 100 balls, each one has a possible result of a specific game.  This is the same as saying if that game was played 100 times, these are the most likely outcomes.  All of these balls go in to the hopper, it is spun, and one is picked out that determines the result.

Your goal, and the product of whatever method you use, should be to have more balls on your side of the spread than on the other side of the spread.  So in any given game, if you can have 60 balls on one side of the spread, and 40 on the other, you are in good shape.
So now pretend there is one of these hoppers on a table for every game on the schedule.  You walk up and are asked if you want to bet on the outcome being on one side or the other of the spread, and you can bet whatever you want.  In the first hopper you have 60 balls in your favor, second hopper 55, and third 52.  You would probably vary your bets accordingly and bet more on the 60 ball hopper.
The problem is that people bet WAY too much on the 60 ball hopper, and fail to consider that there are still 40 ways to lose that bet.  They also will ignore 55 ball hoppers because they have predetermined rules such as "only one hopper per day" or something else like that.  You want to have money on all hoppers that are in your favor, with correct variances in that amount according to advantage, every single time you can identify a hopper that is to your advantage.
Its very similar to poker.  If you play poker, you know that you want to have your money in the pot when you have the best chance to win.  Does that mean that if you have AA you are always going to win?  Nope, but you have more balls in your hopper than the other guy has.  The reason that you dont see the best poker pros winning the WSOP every year is because you have to beat that hopper dozens of times in a row, and the chances of you doing that in an "all in" situation are very narrow so it takes some of the skill out of the eventual winner.  There is no reason to put yourself "all in" in sportsbetting.  Ever.  You need to come up with amounts of your wagers that will allow you to overcome the variance in the hoppers - but if you can identify positive hoppers you will always be profitable longterm.
So what I am saying is that you need to have a long term approach.  If you are only going to bet on one hopper in your lifetime, then you have to decide your risk / reward.  But most of this are long term hobbyists or people with the intent of being profitable - and you have to think about it as hundreds of hoppers.  Your goal as a handicapper is to get your money proportionally wagered on the best hoppers, and always bet on hoppers that have better than 50 balls in your favor.  On any bet you make, you will be very lucky to have 60 balls in your favor, and you will never have 90 balls in your favor.  Leave that for the touts.
Over time, if you have wagered more on the better hoppers, and picked the correct hoppers, you will win money.
The people that point to one result and try to think in retrospect that they either capped the game right or wrong based on that result are flawed.  That was only one possible result out of many.  Yes, you may have been incorrect about the percentage of results that could have come your way, but you are no more right about your pregame thoughts after a result than before it, because a single result is not showing you all the cards in the deck.  Thats why I never get worked up about a win or a loss.  Last night I had Auburn, and I thought I had 62 balls in the hopper, so I bet 3 units.  One of the 38 balls against me was picked.  That is going to happen.  But it is important that one pick of the balls doesnt effect your ability to take advantage of the other hoppers that are lined up to come.
This might seem simple, obvious, and basic - but bases on the threads and responses here - it seems like alot of people put their entire wad on what they think is a 90 ball hopper and then wonder why they are out of the game.
comment Post A Comment
Irish08 says:
10/24/2008 5:00:12 PM
Who ya taking tonight van?
BigFrank420 says:
10/24/2008 5:02:28 PM
Nice write up Van tell the haters how it really is....Who do you like tonite...
jmzin says:
10/24/2008 5:08:41 PM
More knowledge and class than most on here.

Great read ..... thanks.
10/24/2008 5:10:08 PM
didnt read
GAM says:
10/24/2008 5:11:44 PM
Perfect example last night in the Air Force/New Mexico game.

New Mexico is up 10-0 in the second quarter, the QB is running towards the goal line and fumbles at the 3. AF picks it up and runs back for a TD. 14 point swing.

Could've been 17-0 and then NM looks like a sure winner. As it was, AF wins 23-10.

I don't know which side had more balls in the hopper (and at the line of 4 I viewed that game as 50/50), but those who backed Air Force got a favorable variance, and those who backed NM got an unfavorable variance in that ONE event.

Play it 100 times, the hopper is probably 50/50 both ways.
wredskins says:
10/24/2008 5:12:09 PM
Neef says:
10/24/2008 5:14:08 PM
Van is OG at this shit
GAM says:
10/24/2008 5:15:14 PM
Every gambler who posts shit like "Ohio Fucked me tonight! What's the play tomorrow?!" needs to give this simple analogy a good read.
popinjay says:
10/24/2008 5:17:23 PM
95 of the balls in the Covers ball hopper won't understand what you are talking about.
DawgHollywood says:
10/24/2008 5:27:48 PM
Think people got upset over the thread title and some comments in it. "this is a max play for me", threw out some %'s, made it look like a sure winner. It's like standing up in a poker game and screaming, holy crap i got a royal flush. Believe or are ya bluffing? If people bet "extra" on that play or actually believe you would stand up and scream Royal Flush then it's their own fault. Excellent post also. 
Skipster says:
10/24/2008 5:29:54 PM
HutchEmAll says:
10/24/2008 5:35:22 PM
You indicated you had 62 balls in the Auburn hopper and I'm sure many people failed to read, wanted a free winner, and justified their play thinking to themselves, "I bet I have 90 balls in the hopper."



Grinder360 says:
10/24/2008 5:47:46 PM
"Last night I had Auburn, and I thought I had 62 balls in the hopper, so

I bet 3 units.  One of the 38 balls against me was picked.  That is

going to happen."

Van, I truly respect you as a capper and a knowledgable person here.   But if your going to use the balls in the hopper analogy, pointing out that there was 38 balls against you is the wrong way to look at it.  If your on the public side (even though I consider public to be 65% on higher) then there was 61 balls against you.  Yes you can also say 60/40 is fairly neutral, but when the 60% is Auburn and the line goes from +3 to +3.5 then indeed those 61 balls are going against you.

Furthermore if you took Auburn ML then you were hanging out with 80 other balls who's ML dropped.  So again there wasn't 20 balls against you... there was 79 other balls that you shouldn't have been with.

You know what the 40 balls on the spread and the 20 balls on the ML were doing?  They were trying to throw you a life saver and pull you in to the correct side, they werent against you.

I know you didn't watch the game because you were at a play... but had Pat White not had the jitters and thrown those 2 INT's early and gave Auburn good field position WV would have won this game by a lot more.  I really wanted to say something on your thread yesterday but I just thought I'd let it be and play my side and not jinx myself.

TFIN29 says:
10/24/2008 6:03:54 PM
A good read.
JohnBoy224 says:
10/24/2008 6:05:43 PM
Just like counting cards in BJ. Get your money in when the count is high and you have an advantage over the house. Whether you win or lose, doesnt matter, you will make money in the long run whenever you have the advantage. As long as you bet accordingly.

Jimmag says:
10/24/2008 6:05:51 PM
I'm just glad this is not titled Get your balls in the chipper...



Thanks Vanballzack.

G8RB8 says:
10/24/2008 6:07:09 PM

Oh so true. . .


papsmear says:
10/24/2008 6:11:26 PM
i get the analogy but its a pretty crappy one for nearly a whole page of writing.  I still dont see how you can think auburn was the right bet.  aside from turning the ball over in the first half wv was the better team and auburn got crushed in the second half.  Also your 62 balls is really jsut 62% that you capped from some formulas you use to cap games.  So why make some drawn out analogy about hoppers when 1 hopper is 1 percent.  You will win 62% of the time who the fuck cares about hoppers. I guess if it helps u deal with your bad beats then more power to ya.
Xtragr8t says:
10/24/2008 6:12:15 PM
jimmymo says:
10/24/2008 6:15:25 PM
I agree with the premise that there is variance in every play, and that 60% plays (as rare as they are) still lose 40% of the time.  That is a fact, and if anyone can't swallow that fact, they ought not to be gambling.


However, I disagree with the fact that Auburn was a 60% play. 


I was on Auburn and bet them almost immediately after the lines were released at +3 1/2, as I felt they were better than a 55% play (I am not so astute that I can narrow to an exact figure -- I just go with a gut feeling).


That said, my handicap of the game (which I made Auburn a slight favorite) was wrong.  Auburn was less than a 50% play, and possibly less than a 47% play.  


I live and I learn.  Auburn has slipped a bit in the "jimmymo" power rankings. 


Good luck this weekend, and looking forward to the card.





SportsFreak69 says:
10/24/2008 6:23:10 PM
touc says:
10/24/2008 6:29:40 PM

lol this couldn't be more true
nropp11 says:
10/24/2008 6:29:46 PM
vanzack the plumber.


nice read duder.

TRAIN69 says:
10/24/2008 6:33:36 PM
i like the analogy...good stuff .....


the only problem with it is, imo, that if you know your stuff, you can put the variables in your favor....if you think sportsbetting is the same as Bingo, your saturdays are better spent at your local church.....


those variables?? the hopper always placed in the same spot, or does it move? what surface is it on? is the hopper old or new? have you watched a certain few balls always seem to come out? who put the balls in there? are all the balls the exact same size?are the balls old or new? do you have a favorite hopper?...


60/40 is right for most games, but in some you can throw out 10% off that can raise your odds slightly....


also, i agree that 90% is unachievable...but is 75%? i dont think so, and its those games that need to be weeded out.....



BullDawgPride says:
10/24/2008 6:39:58 PM
 Im confused. I just bet where ever the dart hits the dart board, close yours eyes and shoot...Top half gets Favorite, bottom half gets Dog, and miss the board game is a no play. thats the best system I played 


As for the Totals, I suck no matter where I hit the dart board

jimmymo says:
10/24/2008 6:51:56 PM

Oh, for the love of fucking god.......

ValueforRent says:
10/24/2008 7:00:19 PM
Cliff Notes version:  Vanzack says to not be results-orineted and focus more on process and expected value of a particular game and in the long-term you will be profitable while going through the inevitable swings of variance.
vanzack says:
10/24/2008 7:01:34 PM
Guys - forget the auburn game and whether it was a 62, or 60, or 40 ball game.  Thats not the point.




Obviously, others might have had it differently.


The point is that if your system is accurate, and if you have 62 balls in the hopper, you will be profitable long term.


This thread has nothing to do with the auburn game and I wish I would have left that part out in retrospect.  My point was to draw an analogy that most around here forget - push your chips in when you have the best chance to win - and make sure the amount of chips you put in is precise.


vanzack says:
10/24/2008 7:04:05 PM

Jimmymo - I dont disagree with this.  Before the game, you didnt have the actual game that was played as something to use in your handicapping.  After the game, you do.

Im not saying that if they were to play a game 2 tonight that I would have it at 62 because the results of game 1 would have to be a factor in game 2's handicapping.

I am saying that before the game last night I thought I had 62 balls, and with what I had at the time I am not willing to give that that was a wrong assessment.

vanzack says:
10/24/2008 7:05:19 PM

Where were you when I spent a half hour writing the original post?

ValueforRent says:
10/24/2008 7:06:20 PM
When Vanzack says people focus too much on the result of one game when it could have transpired many other ways this is a very salient point.  Case in point would be last night when it was 27-17 WV and White and Devine got mixed up in a handoff in WV territory.  Ball was lying on the ground up for grabs and the DE from Auburn somehow missed the ball when it was well within his grasp and Devine scooped it up to maintain possession for WV.  If the DE gets that ball suddenly Auburn has some life and maybe they can get some momentum after their defense created a turnover.  Say they score a TD now it's 27-24 and maybe neither teams scores and the game ends with that score.  Now everybody cashes their Auburn tickets and it filled with happiness and glee.
TRAIN69 says:
10/24/2008 7:12:40 PM
is that right jimmymo? a god reference when commenting about bingo ....hmmmmm
BRADKS says:
10/24/2008 7:13:01 PM
Appreciate your insight and it took me a long time to truly implement some discipline in my strategy. Thanks again
nostradamus12 says:
10/24/2008 8:17:34 PM
Cannot argue with the hopper theory, or the fact that individual games are wildly random (look no further than Temple and their 143 yd cover against Ohio).


Problem is that only 3-5% actually know how many balls in the hoppers consistently (of course many more than that believe they do). Only if someone can hit 55% or better for a few years (along with money management), would they actually know if they have any idea how many balls are in the hopper long term.

Tigerball says:
10/24/2008 8:42:40 PM
My ball hopper gets empty on occasion and I bet the same every week.  yes, my capping abilities aren't the best but I have learned to go with my abilities and not everyone else's.  Man, that took me a few years to learn but I definitely like and feel comfortable with my balls so good luck everyone and this is a good thread vanzack!


btw, my SJSU balls feel pretty large tonight.

anthonyalgoo says:
10/24/2008 8:43:21 PM
great analogy.  those following you blindly arent really looking at any hoppers, they are in a hole and cant see the light of day, they latch on to a capper on a hot streak, one that says biggest play of the day and they lost.  of course they are gonna get pissed off.  you should expect this every time you post, if you take the glory and praises when you win, then you have to take the backlash when you lose.   
glyde69 says:
10/24/2008 8:48:17 PM
I get the point of the post, but I don't have a fucking clue what a ball hopper is.  LMAO.


10/24/2008 9:24:36 PM
good stuff Van
PapaFleks says:
10/24/2008 10:32:28 PM
Nice article. Very true. Betting in the long run is playing the percentages
jackdfan says:
10/24/2008 11:04:42 PM
Another good read from Van...........

This is a long term investment, people, anytime you see 'Game Of The Year'.............figure it out..................

slomotion says:
10/25/2008 2:31:40 AM
Long winded and drawn out, but correct.
JohnBoy224 says:
10/25/2008 2:35:16 AM
I had a few too many balls in the SJST hopper tonight. I lost the battle, but the war is far from over.
Ace77 says:
10/25/2008 2:36:56 AM
greenmonster says:
10/25/2008 2:49:54 AM

ball hoppers ball variances, expected values...  who you trying to kid, van.  I know about that pecking chicken of yours. 

10/25/2008 3:30:02 AM
love reading your writeups.........goodstuff
cata1yst says:
10/25/2008 8:03:28 PM
I read the first 3 paragraphs.

You are gay. Most obvious shit ever.

Wanting all the attention...

HonLi says:
10/27/2008 12:53:11 AM
I want..nay..I need the drugs you're on.
ShadowWarrior says:
10/27/2008 4:06:04 AM
good write-up Van as usual you are quite correct. Kinda like the stock market, you want to be diversified.
WendysRox says:
10/29/2008 7:42:30 PM
your ideas are greatly appreciated

Cyrax says:
10/29/2008 9:17:56 PM
GAMBLE_4heisman says:
10/29/2008 10:24:10 PM
absolutely agree   math is indisputable....


we need to do a new bankroll risk of ruin thread.....

pags11 says:
10/30/2008 5:54:26 AM
good stuff here vanzack...
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User: vanzack
Joined: November 2001
Location: Equatorial Guinea
Team: Phoenix Mercury
Occupation: Government

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