Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 8/25/16
The lead story at espn.com as I’m writing today’s blog centers on daily fantasy sports industry, which has apparently fallen upon some very hard times. This is great reading for anyone who has found the DFS topic to be even remotely interesting, so I’ve included the links here.
My two cents? For what it’s worth, I kind of called this. First off, the stance of those running the show that it wasn’t gambling was always patently absurd. Obviously, there’s skill involved and participants with more talent have a far greater chance of winning on a regular basis. In other words, it’s just like many other forms of gambling, including sports betting, poker, blackjack, etc. No one ever suggested DFS was akin to keno. But the assertion it wasn’t gambling was, quite frankly, a truly stupid stance. There’s simply no argument to the fact that most DFS players, be they casual or hardcore, lose more than they win, particularly with the house rake involved. A small percentage of better equipped players win by taking advantage of matchups with those who don’t. That doesn’t mean it’s not gambling, it only means that the chances of profiting are better for some than others.
The other big blow came on the day it was revealed that an employee at one of the two major DFS companies had made a reported 350K score playing at the other store. Accusations of inside information followed, and from that day on, the reputation of the entire industry went into the crapper in the minds of many.
In any event, the future of the industry on a national level doesn’t appear to be all that bright right now. That can certainly change, but I think it’s fair to assess it won’t do so without a pretty extensive facelift.
1-1 here on Wednesday (Yankees, Indians), with a small vig loss. I’ll be involved with a couple more MLB games on Thursday, but will likely not play either of the NFLx games.
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The Wednesday free play was on a weekend NFLx game, so obviously there’s no result to report yet as far as that goes. Here’s another F5 play I like on today’s baseball card.
ROYALS (Volquez) at MARLINS (Koehler)
Take: MARLINS F5 (likely in the -110 neighborhood)
Here’s a game where there’s a huge conflict between historical data and current form. I tend to stress the present numbers far more than deep past performance. That being the case, I’ll get this out of the way right off the top. Edinson Volquez has owned the Marlins. He’s 6-0 lifetime against Miami, with a superb 1.64 ERA. So Volquez might be in a good mental place approaching this game. That’s the one thing he has in his favor.
The Royals also have some stellar team current form in the mix, as they’d been on a huge tear before running into Jose Fernandez on Wednesday night. Much of that streak has been a direct result of what has been a phenomenal stretch by the KC bullpen. Royals relievers have now gone 34.2 consecutive innings without surrendering even a single run. And that fact immediately rules out any possibility of my making a full game wager against them.
But I’m not averse to going with the Marlins to win the first half of this one. Tom Koehler has never been anything more than a back end of the rotation starting pitcher. I won’t say that’s about to change as far as the long term is concerned, but right at the present time, Koehler is in what I’d call well above average form. I like the game score grading formula, and Koehler has some very attractive numbers over his last six starts. His most recent was about average, so it’s possible he could be beginning a regression to his norm. But he hasn’t had a clunker since mid-July, and Koehler actually owns some pretty decent home metrics for the season to date.
Volquez is in the midst of a really bad run. He’s had five straight starts that have ranged from average to awful. I can attribute some of this to lousy BABIP luck, as those numbers have been a little nuts in four of the five outings. But it also has to be noted that when Volquez has made a mistake lately, the baseball has ended up traveling rather long distances.
I decided to go ahead and buck the history angle here and back the pitcher in clearly better current form. That’s Koehler, so my play is on the Marlins. But bear in mind this is strictly a F5 play as I have zero desire to try and battle that Kansas City bullpen.