29 August 2010

I don't understand

It's all very sad of course but I really don't understand why a bookmaker would accept a bet on whether a certain delivery was or was not going to be a no ball since the only punter who would want to place a bet would be someone with inside knowledge. And what happens if the umpire fails to call the delivery? - I know that they were very large oversteps and prompted Athers to comment at the time. Meanwhile there is no suggestion about the difference in catching between the first two and last two test matches ( at least not that I'm aware of).


Andrew said...

From the sound of it, these illegal bookmakers are actively offering these bets.

Anonymous said...

Or they're taking various bets from different punters on no balls then, once the market has closed, they buy from the players the number/timing of no-balls which delivers them the best outcome.

Alternatively, it can be much simpler than that.

Supposing a team's bowling attack bowls on average 5 no balls a day that would mean roughily 1 in every 100 balls in a day will be a no-ball.

- From the bookie's perspective, if he offers 80-1 on this outcome on average he's going to make a 20% profit on every bet he takes (some he'll win, some he'll lose but in the long run it will be profitable).

- Conversely from a punter's point of view you're always going to lose in the long run (although you will occasionally have a win when you actually back a no-ball). Your disadvantage is the bookies advantage (20%) - so all you need is enough of an edge which turn the odds in your favour.

So, for example, if you know that 5 no balls will be bowled between overs 30-70 that would be once every 50 balls (50-1). So if the bookie is offering 80-1 odds and you place the same bet on every ball you win. Assuming a £1 bet on every ball:

49 time x £1 (lose) -> Lose £49
1 time bet @ 80-1 -> Win £80

Net Winnings -> £31

Once you scale this up to betting thousands of pounds on each ball you can make a lot of money quickly without even having to know which precise ball is going to be the no-ball. Moreover, it'd be likely to go undetected - by the bookie as well as the cricket law makers. Plus you obviously need to have enough of a bankroll to tolerate multiple losses in a row -> there could be 300 consecutive legal deliveries followed by 4 consecutive no-balls.

Anyway, this is a long-hand way of saying I can imagine this kind of thing happens but it doesn't take so much insider information to beat the house without being caught.

Matt G