Sports & The Apocalypse


A few days after the Super Bowl I did some traveling as I do every February. While away I sat down with a good friend of mine. We chatted politics and world events. My friend is also in the gaming business and talked about the news he was getting from some of his Chinese and Asian contacts. The word coming out was that we have no idea in this country how the virus could cripple us. At the time such comments were like the boogieman. It was a Chinese problem and we would probably be spared any effect here… thanks in part to the world blocking out China and China locking down themselves. The virus was something we knew had a possibility of causing us issues but we didn’t put much weight in it. We thought it would be like past disease issues… there would be some news but it would affect few people and be over quickly. Fast forward a little over a month later and the United States, as well as most of the world, has almost become the plot of an apocalyptic movie. Markets are crashing, store shelves are bare and people are out of work. We see whole countries in Europe on lock down and major cities in the US moving in that direction (San Francisco is already there & New York City wants to do it). There’s no longer such a thing as going to the bar for a drink, grabbing dinner out at a local restaurant or picking up some toilet paper on the way home. Oh yeah, and none of us are getting ready to watch the NCAA tournament begin in earnest tomorrow! When I think back to that discussion with my friend on February 8th, I am shocked what has happened since. It would be naive for me to think I can easily predict what the future now holds.

Most of us sitting here today took for granted the role sports played in our lives. Of course we all knew sports were important to us, many of us were in action every day on one or multiple sports. I remember when the MLB All-Star break used to bring the two days each year when there were no major sports. Two days that were so oddly quiet of action. Sure, we have had times in the past where a sport was on lock down over a labor dispute. At the time it was not too big of a deal because we always had other major US or international sports to occupy our time. Now we have none of it and it seems it may be that way for a while. Last week when league suspensions were announced, some stated they were targeting early to mid April for a return. As of Monday, Major League Baseball announced they would not be operating until “at least” mid-May. I would imagine the other major US sports are targeting that same timeline now… at best. The Premier League in England had targeted early April to return. It would be nice for that to be the case with the Premier League but it may be a little too ambitious. I hope it won’t be the case, but for perhaps the foreseeable future, the betting board will be limited to things like Turkish and Russian soccer & basketball, perhaps some Rugby and dare I say, darts. Regardless, for many people, these sports are not an option… or of any interest. In search of sports entertainment options, what are we to do??

It is almost like the apocalypse has happened and as a result we have gone back to a simpler time. A time when horse racing was the primary sports betting activity in the United States. I hope the tracks stay open, even without fans. Let’s be honest, they didn’t have many fans before all this happened. If the tracks play their cards right, the end of the world could be a bit of a Renaissance for them. Horse racing is a fun and exciting sport to bet. Usually only 10-20 minutes between races and it takes less than 2 minutes of adrenaline to find out if you were a winner or a loser. I am surprised more sports websites, handicappers, etc. have not embraced horse racing as a content option right now. It is something that is legal in much of the US and most US citizens can legally open a TwinSpires, XpressBet or TVG account. However, sports betting content on the Internet seems like a ghost town, like these different operators are just throwing in the towel. As I have said on Twitter in the hopes of adding levity to the otherwise dire situation… #WeMustBetOrCovid19Wins! ūüėČ

What are my plans with The Sharp Plays for the near term? I evolve. As someone who’s been working in gaming since the 90’s with regard to line generation and probabilities, I have a lot of algorithms in the arsenal. Some of the algorithms are pretty dusty but no better time than the present to dust them off and see what they can do again. I will cover any international sports that have a line hanging AND quality market action going on. Even before this pandemic, I covered rugby, cricket and darts as well as all international soccer and basketball leagues. Coverage was light but it was there and thankfully it was good! So, I will have regular sports coverage when there are events to cover… even if third or fourth tier soccer leagues that I’d normally overlook. I will also cover horse racing. I have broken out the horse racing algorithm to much success on the thoroughbreds and I am working on updating my algorithm for harness racing. Lastly, I will cover Bitcoin (since it is big with offshore bettors) and the financial markets… as soon as the markets lose the overly emotional trading volatility. No algorithm can properly account for extreme human emotions and panic… which is what we have right now. I may not catch the exact bottom of this market but that’s not necessary. When the panic abates, we can get close enough to the bottom to make some excellent trades. Until then, I will sit back 100% in cash and watch the bulls and bears eat each other alive. Then I will go in and look to pickup the pieces.

It really is going to be an interesting time but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. We can have some fun until normal life returns and it will… well, I assume/hope at least. Just remember in whatever you do right now, bet light and smart. We really have no idea how this situation will play out. Hopefully it is over quickly but if it isn’t, you won’t want to have lost big money on the ponies or Turkish soccer that you’ll need months down the line. So, again please… bet smart and light. There’s nothing wrong with just $25 or $50 of action in a day at the track, provided your financial situation allows. Let your betting just be something to pass the time for a few bucks.

Well, thanks for giving this a read today! I wish all of you the best and please stay safe & healthy!! Let’s have a little fun too!

Good luck in your action!
~ The Sharp Plays