Monday, October 31, 2011

Chargers v/s Chiefs

American football (NFL): Kansas City Chiefs to win @ 2.45

Playing in front of a home crowd with 3 wins on the trot, one could expect the Chiefs to be the favourites here. The game should present an opportunity to square-off the position.

Full-time update: Chiefs win!

In the third quarter there was an opportunity to square-off the position taken on the Chiefs. However, it would have reduced the profits on the game significantly.

Where's a pick-me-up when you need one?

It was one of those days when you feel down with the world, being Monday can't have helped. Then I came across this post on good-news that got me smiling again. We all have much to be thankful about and there's hope for us yet, thanks for the reminder Scott.

Happy halloween

This months payoffs on sports betting:: 13.4%
have called the result correctly 46% of the time, with an additional 38% results being squared-off. Hence, been absolutely wrong only for 15% of the games staked. Overall, providing a tax-free return (non-annualized) of 13.43%.

During the month, betting on Cricket has been the most profitable with a return of 22.82%. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An apparent undersupply of good economics blogs

and curiously few blogs written by female economists.

That's the conclusion reached by Mckenzie & Ozler in a paper tracking the impact of economic blogs. They find that a research paper that is linked to on a popular blog results in a substantial increase in abstract views and downloads, with the bloggers becoming better known and more respected within the profession and also that blogs influence attitudes and knowledge. They also surmise that the reason why more economists don't blog is that even smart and very good economists can't easily do so without embarrassing themselves as the skill sets required are simply very different.

Abstract reproduced below (without permission):
"There is a proliferation of economics blogs, with increasing numbers of economists attracting large numbers of readers, yet little is known about the impact of this new medium. Using a variety of experimental and non-experimental techniques, we try to quantify some of their effects. First, links from blogs cause a striking increase in the number of abstract views and downloads of economics papers. Second, blogging raises the profile of the blogger (and his institution) and boosts their reputation above economists with similar publication records. Finally, we find that a blog can transform attitudes about some of the topics it covers."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

India v/s England - Only T20

Got to love T20 for the volatility.
The match started with India as comfortable favourites @ 1.60 and England @ 2.25. The Indians won the toss and decided to bat first. It took 2 quick wickets (both openers Uthappa and Rahane) for the first squaring-off opportunity to present itself. A partnership between Raina & Kohli kept India in the game with the price on India to win improving. However, the Indian innings never really got going and it took all of Dhoni's experience to get them to a run-rate of 6.00 at the end of their innings, as a result England were strong favourites at the break. I've tracked the prices till the 8th over of the English innings to better show the price volatility during the game, but there were even wider spreads on offer till the 12th over (as high as 10.00 on India to win) after which the markets closed as the English batsmen made sure that the advantage earned by the bowlers was not squandered.

BBC Documentary on Pakistan

Moral hazard

Paul Krugman makes a valid point in this NYT article. Businesses need to be allowed to fail, that's part of the game. Just because an organisation is in the business of banking is no reason for it to be salvaged by tax payers. Imposing these salvage costs on taxpayers, while cutting back on their payouts in the name of austerity just makes voters paint all banks and bankers as evil Shylocks. Bailouts are bad news for a few reasons, (a) laying the seeds of future failures, bankers under stress to raise their returns will likely take on riskier bets knowing that a bailout option exists if things go bad (b) where's my incentive to be cautious and prudent (means earning lesser returns than the gamblers) during the booms if the guys who make mistakes don't get wiped out in the fall.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

South Africa v/s Australia - 3rd ODI

SA to win @ 1.8; Aus @ 2.0

The series decider in Durban, offers a very tight spread. Won't recommend taking a position now. Once the game starts, Australia will do worse than the price here suggests and a more palatable price will be on offer. The Saffers are playing in Durban, not their traditional stronghold, and a series decider under an interim captain should definitely bring up a price that allows a squaring-off.

Half-time update: SA 222/6
SA to win @ 2.75 / Aus to win @ 1.44
The spread widened before the game started and stayed flat for 12 overs, till Smith got himself out. The following partnership between Amla and Kallis lowered the price on SA again. However, the innings never really got going though SA were well set at the 40th over stage with only 3 wickets down. Steady loss of wickets in the death overs ensured a below par score. Right now, the price on SA to win looks generous, and I would expect the price to weaken before the 2nd innings starts.

Full-time update: Aus win! In the 48th over and with 7 wickets down.

As expected the Aussies pressed home the advantage and won the match, though not as convincingly as might be expected. However, the 2nd innings didn't provide any surprises in prices as the spread continued to widen throughout. I haven't bothered with providing a graph here as it would only show a continuation of the trend above.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

India v/s England 5th ODI

India to win @ 1.57

Almost a dead rubber match, other than England's desire to avoid a whitewash. If the Indian team want to return the hospitality extended to them during the English summer this might be an interesting match-up. I doubt anyone will be very up for this match, even the crowds might well keep away, wouldn't expect full attendance at Eden Gardens today. At the fag end of a disastrous tour, doubt if England have the stomach for a last effort, especially one that really wouldn't amount to a meaningful result. Expect the price to be below this for most of the match.

Half-time update: India to win @ 1.44
A strong finish by the Indians, after an equally strong start. They almost lost the match in the middle overs, and the only reason the prices didn't intersect at any time is probably because India are playing at home. Given the target of 272 for England, the price should be much lower than 1.44 and is probably a reflection of a weak Indian bowling attack but i'll recommend taking a position at this price as it'll likely decline pretty soon into the game.

Full-time update: India win! We're in the money.
Like India, England started well and the price moved against us till the 15th over. And in a repeat of the 1st innings, England had a collapse that let the opposition back into the game. However, the key difference from the Indian innings being that for the English there was no middle order stability provided at all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

India v/s England - 4th ODI

India to win @ 1.57

Currently at the wrong end of a 3-0 series tally, the tourists are seriously facing the prospect of a whitewash. However, I expect this England team to put up more of a fight than the price suggests. Will wait for the price to reach 1.75 before entering this space.

Half-time update: India to win @ 1.16
Thanks to regular wickets falling the English never really got going. As evident above, the price on the English only came close to the Indian line when they were scoring at 5 runs per over with only 2 wickets down. As stated earlier, I was waiting for a better price than that offered at the start of the match. Got a decent price on India to win @ 1.80.

Full-time update: India win!
England were very ordinary in the second half of the game. Their price line never really looked like it would bother India's. And yet again, the markets closed early, this time at the end of the 35th over. Horror of a tour this is turning out to be,Strauss must be glad he's not facing the mikes.

United at home

United to win / draw @ 2.25 / 3.00

Thanks to City's oil money the Manchester derby does offer better prices than previous seasons. United playing at Old Trafford can be backed to win. However, taking an additional option of a draw makes a minimum return of 25% a mostly safe bet.

Update: market closed with 20 minutes to go
United started as the market favourite, but an early goal for City sent their prices tumbling. After the half-time break their problems got worse with a red card and two additional goals. By the 70th minute United were staring down the barrel at 0-3. The markets had enough and closed early.

Final score: United 1 - 6 City

This one went horribly wrong! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

10% return!

New Zealand to lift the World Cup tomorrow @ 1.10

I must confess my surprise that the return on offer is a decent 10 per cent. No offense to the French team, but the All Blacks are playing at home. Even allowing for the fact that France knocked the ABs out of the last edition in 2007, this shouldn't really be much of a contest. I wouldn't be going out on a limb predicting that all the French have got to do tomorrow is just turn up and collect silver. Especially considering that France really shouldn't be in the final tomorrow. If it wasn't for the lone red card in the semi-final, it would be Wales against the All Blacks tomorrow and a much more interesting match-up on offer. I'll post an update at half-time, but I really expect the price to crash in the early stages of the match itself.

Half-time update: NZ 5 - Fr 0
The French have made a good fist of things, must confess I got their ability to put in the effort all wrong. Further, they've managed to knock out one of the AB kickers. With Piri Weepu not in form this could end up being costly for the home side, especially with the scores so close at the half way stage. The graph above shows that the French actually started quite strongly, with the prices tanking only when the ABs scored a try. The prices moved the other way only when Cruden had to be replaced and this was mostly due to Weepu's 3 missed attempts at goal so far.

Full-time: NZ hang on for an 8-7 win

Must say it got very tense there at the end, much nail biting happened. Have to hand it to the French, they gave the home fans a mighty scare. They made a match of it, what a final! The narrowing spread between the curves at the end indicate how crazily close it got. So we earned that 10% return after all, wasn't as easy as expected.

Monday, October 17, 2011

India v/s England - 2nd ODI

England batting first at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi in the 2nd match of the series. The opening price on England to win @ 2.1 was too low to take a chance with. Will wait for the price to move during the 1st innings.

Half-time update

As evident from the above graph, the first half was just India all the way. The price lines for India and England barely came close during the innings, never mind an actual intersection.

Almost Done!

The markets closed early, with over 60 runs left on the table. That's how badly the English are doing on this tour.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Go Wales!

The Welsh to beat the French @ 1.72 in the 1st semi-final of the Rugby World Cup

Obviously, I'd rather support one of the 'home nations' against the guys on the other side of the channel. But this really is an exciting and talented young Welsh side. I expect this to be a closely fought match and I'd normally have opened with a position on the underdogs and waited for an ebb/flow in the game to take a counter position. Accounting for the unsettled dressing room makes France a bad bet here. Only traditional cross-channel rivalry explains them beating the English last week, a result which was very much counter to French form in the tournament thus far. No such sense of purpose likely against Wales. The French have been in the rugby finals twice before, while Wales have never gone past the semis. For the small yet proud nation that the Welsh team represents, that's more than enough motivation.

Half - time update! Wales 3 - France 6

This has gone pear shaped very quickly. For the first 15 minutes, Wales were very impressive and France looked disorganised. Then came a harsh red card for the Welsh, with a numerical disadvantage in the scrum and lineouts. Additionally, the second choice Welsh kicker has missed 2 opportunities. Instead of being 9-6 up, they're 3-6 down at half time. Wales seem to have lost the plot, rather than use the strength of their centres to target the French they keep trying to outflank the opposition, which isn't going to happen considering they are a man down. I don't see the Welsh recovering from this, so it looks like it'll be Blues against Blacks in the finals next week.

Full time - Wales lose!

Thanks to a display of crappy kicking. It was painful to watch, it did look like neither team wanted to win. At least, they gave each other plenty of opportunities to come back in the game. All in all, this was a game the Welsh lost, rather than a win by France. The real final is tomorrow though, France aren't good enough to trouble either the home team or the Aussies.

Friday, October 07, 2011

CL T20 - 1st Semi Final

New South Wales to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore @ 2.1

This is a move made for a future hedge. I'll just wait for the market to move the other way and cover the position. Given RCB are playing at home, they are fair favourites to win but I do expect NSW to put up a fair fight. As long as they bat first and don't have to deal with the explosive RCB batting strength.

Update 1 - RCB to beat NSW @ 2.5

NSW have put up a huge score after batting first. This would be a good moment to square off the earlier bet. Now I just sit back and wait for the result.

Update 2 - RCB win!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A time to buy?

Looking closely at the Indian economy after 3 years of being away, a few points seem apparent:

  • Runaway house prices
  • Crazy inflation
  • Weakening currency
  • Rising interest rates
  • Volatile stock indices (but trending downwards)
  • Higher fuel prices
  • Political crises
The above don't portend well for the Indian growth story (in the short to medium term). There may be some respite for the markets around the traditional Diwali holidays coming up towards the end of this month. However, if weaker than expected corporate results are reported for the quarter ended September 30, 2011 and / or there are negative world events things will get a lot worse.

I'd be bracing for:
  • lower GDP growth rates - closer to 7% rather than the 7.8% being forecast currently
  • weaker rupee - in the low to mid 50s against the USD
  • higher non-performing asset declarations by the local banks for this financial year

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Champions League T20

CL T20 - New South Wales to beat Chennai Super Kings @ 2.1

MS Dhoni really is having a tough season. After the dismal England tour, his Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are languishing bottom of the table in the Champions League. Curiously enough, in the final group stage game in Pool A - CSK are favourites to beat New South Wales (NSW). This definitely feels like a market anomaly that can be taken advantage of.

Update 1 - CSK to beat NSW @ 2.25

Predictably NSW have started well and are now the favourites to beat CSK. I could let the initial position run, but considering CSK are playing at home with a semi-final spot at stake, will square off the initial position. Now we await a risk free return of a minimum 10%, unless the match is rained off.

Update 2 -  NSW win!