Probably the biggest realization I have had in this process is that trying to earn a living through writing about and gambling on sports is not glamorous. It is a grind.
Case in point, sitting on the water in Seattle surrounded by friends and family enjoying the holiday week, I am hunched over my computer awaiting word from the Night Owl (not here, so that narrows down his/her potential identity) who is also working around the clock on a short week.
Given the Thanksgiving games, our adjusted schedule will call for the Early WORMS Best Bets today (Tuesday), my Best Bets tomorrow (Wednesday), and then nothing until next week. It will be front loaded so that you can spend Thanksgiving making money while you eat.
But this is not to complain. In fact, I am elated to have a job where I can’t wait to dive in and be productive, even on a holiday week. The purpose of highlighting the reality of being a sports bettor, then, is to recalibrate any notions out there that gambling is just wins and money. In fact, trying to make a profit from gambling over the long term is a grind.
On days like today, though, the grind is beautiful.
After once again nailing a huge Baltimore win (note to self: betting adjusted lines is a way to make even more money on this historically good Ravens team), WORMS and Owl Eats Football are at exciting places heading into the last quarter of the season.
Essentially, we have given ourselves an incredible advantage heading into the weeks and next year. We have created a cushion through which to adjust our algorithm and our process so that we can fine tune over the next weeks and then reflect back this offseason in preparation for our first full year as an algorithm fueled website.
Think of it like starting your New Year’s Resolution in December. Once January hits, it has become a habit that will only need some fine tuning.
On so on that note, I wanted to give you a peak behind the curtain at how the sausage is made. The following is actual correspondence from the Night Owl to me regarding the progress of WORMS and our future plans. I can only imagine one day this will end up in the Smithsonian, so treasure it.
The NO on Week 13:
WORMS had a good week
Spread was 12 – 2, 86% correct
Moneyline was 11-3, 79%
The NO on the current and future states of WORMS:
We are starting to move through the next phase of evolving the forecast
Collect relevant data, Produce forecasts, Make the process more efficient/automated [Completed]
Determine how to evaluate results and make decisions on where to invest [Started]
Use statistical analysis to improve forecast accuracy and optimize betting strategies [Future]
The NO on how we are making WORMS more profitable:
One of the frustrations we’ve had is in viewing the bare win/loss statistics of WORMS as not adequately reflecting confidence levels or investment strategies
With that we are working on 2 and have some interesting results in 2 areas -
Assessing the “strength” of the week, ie how much we should invest relative to other weeks
Within the week, determining how much to invest on each game spread and moneyline
We have “first” formula (Code Name: Night Vision) which, for this week, provided the following results
Week 12 the formula suggested investing more than twice previous weeks.
As the forecast show – Baltimore was by far the strongest favorite we have had. The formula suggested investing 48% of Spread money and 55% of Moneyline on this game.
For the week, the Spread made a profit of 78% on the week, Moneyline was up 53%%
Applying the same rationale for weeks 10, 11 and 12, the cumulative results for the 3 weeks are as follows (Note from Stuart - the win losses differ slightly from the site because they reflect final lines and not posted lines, this is something we’re working on):
Spread: 29 – 11 - 1 with a profit of 58% of total investment
Moneyline: 23 - 18 with a profit of 37%
So far, the Spread is more profitable with the same investment in each
The only “loss” was in week 11 on the Spread – a week of surprises and close games - which lost $3.45.
Over time we will work with the data and evolve all elements of worms. There will be good weeks and bad weeks, however the goal is to provide a dynamic, proven forecast which, over time, leads to that Yacht in the south of France.
So, straight from the horse’s mouth, now you can see what WORMS can be. There is potential to create a full service betting algorithm that can divide up your bank roll to maximize profits and leverage data to predict the most valuable bets.
Or, if you’re looking for a sexier way of thinking: one day, this site might be able to buy you a yacht while you’re sitting on the water in Seattle not hunched over your computer.
Until then, though, let’s keep the grind alive with Week 13’s Early WORMS bets. Minimal write-up included so that I don’t lose a fiance.
TEN @ IND Vegas Spread: IND -2.5 WORMS Spread: TEN -27 Delta: 29
This is the obligatory point where I remind you that these spreads shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as predictors of the final score, but rather indicators of points of value.
Now that that’s out of the way, I love that this is the highest Delta of the week.
It is my belief that Tennessee is the classic example of a team that made a big change that the lines haven’t accounted for yet.
Since Ryan Tannehill has become their quarterback, the Titans are 4-1. It is not far-fetched to say that if he had been their quarterback the whole season, they might have two more wins (I’m looking at the first Indy game and the Bills game, specifically). That would put them at 8-3, comfortably in first in the AFC South, and challenging Baltimore for the two seed.
But even if you don’t believe, that, the numbers back up a Titan’s revolution. Tennessee is tied for third over the last three weeks at 32.3 points per game.
Meanwhile, Indy is dealing with a flood of injuries and has seen their playoff chances take some serious hits in their three losses over the last four games.
You don’t need to think this will be a 20-point blowout to see that the Titans getting points is an opportunity for us to profit from.
PHI @ MIA Vegas Spread: PHI -9.5 WORMS Spread: MIA -10 Delta: 19.5
Probably WORMS’ favorite team, Miami is once again at the top of the Deltas.
Much like last week, WORMS thinks Miami is being disrespected against a struggling team that had high hopes at the beginning of the season.
If you have watched Philly recently, then you might agree.
After two ugly losses at home (to admittedly good teams) the Eagles will now have to travel to Miami to take on a team that followed up its first two wins of the season with back-to-back 17 point losses.
I am not sure how I feel about this game yet, but it will come down to whether Philly is playing badly enough to warrant a bet on Miami. WORMS certainly thinks they are.
NYJ @ CIN Vegas Spread: NYJ -3.5 WORMS Spread: NYJ -18.5 Delta: 15
An early favorite for the most suspicious line of the week, a hot Jets team travels to a struggling Bengals team and the spread is treating this like a game between virtual equals.
To dispel that immediately, the Bengals are by far the worst team in the NFL. The Jets are a mediocre team who is coached by one of the worst head coaches in the league, but who still has four wins. And is not eliminated from the playoffs. And has people trying to save their jobs.
The most egregious part of this entire bet is that the Jets are legitimately playing well.
They have the second most points per game over the past three weeks, trailing only the Ravens. They also have the second highest margin of victory over that span at 18.3 points per game, again only trailing the Ravens.
The Bengals meanwhile are the only team in the NFL without two wins. They haven’t scored over 17 points in their last six games and only did it once before that. In other words, they have scored more than 17 points twice this season.
Now they face a red hot offense that is trying to salvage a season.
It may not be as big a blowout as WORMS predicts, but it seems clear it should be a big Jets win.
WAS @ CAR Vegas Spread: CAR -9.5 WORMS Spread: WAS -5.5 Delta: 15
And here is this week’s pick to determine how powerful WORMS actually is.
I understand where they are coming from here, because the Panthers have been rough the past few weeks and Washington has hung tough against some difficult teams.
Over their last five games, Washington has lost to the Niners by nine, Vikings by ten, and beaten the Lions. On the other side, Carolina has lost games by 38 and 26 points in that span while mixing in close losses to the Saints and Packers.
That 1-4 stretch has essentially tanked their playoff hopes and put them on a difficult trajectory. Whether or not that trajectory is bad enough to lose to Washington remains to be seen, but at least we can see WORMS’ thinking here.
If Washington does pull off the win then it might be time to stop questioning WORMS.
CLE @ PIT Vegas Spread: CLE -1.5 WORMS Spread: CLE -16 Delta: 14.5
And the fifth highest Delta of the week is Cleveland in Pittsburgh.
I don’t have a ton to say about this game because it needs a deeper dive. The circumstances are pretty wild.
Cleveland was meant to be one of the teams of the season and got out to an improbably bad start against a difficult schedule. Pittsburgh benched its back up for their third stringer named Duck and has been without their two best skill position players for multiple games this season.
Somehow the Steelers are the current sixth seed in the AFC and the Browns are just a game behind. Both have been having chaotic and disappointing seasons, but each could make the playoffs.
It might take a lifetime to unpack all of that, but if you don’t feel like doing the work, let WORMS do it for you. Bet the Browns and enjoy your turkey.