[ Rouleur Derby ]

Rouleur Derby Report No. 49

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In this Rouleur Derby Report:

1. Cyclocross nationals

2. Tour Down Under and CX worlds

3. Meet a new feature: Alerts


1. Cyclocross nationals

Almost as fun as watching Sunday's cross championships in person was watching all the activity on Rouleur Derby, especially all the new players for 2012. Welcome, all, and good luck.

As exciting as the racing was, few surprises ensued, and favorites were winners in all six of the day's propositions. (Since Rouleur Derby's odds are determined by the wisdom of the crowd, this clearly speaks to your collective genius.)

A few geniuses in particular stand out. Kirk Albers, an illustrious racer himself, made the biggest winning bet with 500 points on Jeremy Powers, who paid out at 3.5-1. Despite have also made the biggest *losing* bet -- a 500-point lark on Adam Myerson -- Albers exited the first weekend with a slim lead over Sportifplus, who had 200 points on Powers but also 200 points on Sven Nys (2-1) to win the Belgian national championship.

Meanwhile, Metafilter proprietor and Rouleur Derby sponsor Mathowie placed exactly five bets this weekend -- and came true on all five. That was good enough to get him into the top 10, but how long can he maintain this streak?


The road season kicks off Tuesday with the Tour Down Under.

God knows who's on form right now, so the lead play here is to pick a winner by team. The morning line puts two-time winner André Greipel's Lotto-Belisol squad on the hot seat as an 8-1 favorite.


There are also some specials in play. With six stages at stake, how many will Greipel win? And how many will be won by Australian team Greenedge in its debut? Finally, will the ageless Jens Voigt get into a break?


In addition to Greenedge, several other teams will make their debut under new names or new alliances, including Garmin-Barracuda and RadioShack-Nissan. For a good preview of the 18 ProTour teams, see this post from Inner Ring: http://inrng.com/2012/01/2012-pro-teams/.

There are also a few teaser propositions for the cyclocross world championships, which take place Jan. 29. Will Katie Compton win the women's race? And will an American finish in the top 10 of the men's race?


As always, betting closes at midnight Chicago time the night before each race.


There are two new e-mail features this season: reminders and alerts. Several of you have made use of the reminders, which will send you e-mail with the latest payouts either 12 or 2 hours before betting closes on any given proposition. But nobody has created any alerts yet, so I thought I'd take a minute to explain how these work.

To succeed in Rouleur Derby, a player needs to not only pick the winners but also spot bargains along the way. What's a bargain? A bargain is any outcome with a payout higher than what you perceive to be the true probability.

Just like stock alerts notify investors when a stock has become a good buy, Rouleur Derby alerts notify players when any given outcome has become a good bargain.

Let's say you feel Mark Cavendish has a 1-in-10 chance of winning the famous Lincoln Park Criterium. If the payout is 2-1, a bet on Cav would not be a good bargain. If the payout were 20-1, however, you would want to make a play. You won't win every time, but spot enough bargains and over the course of the season you will come out ahead.

(Poker players may recognize this tactic as "value betting." When a value bettor has a hand she calculates to haves a 50 percent chance of winning, she will stay in the game only if she stands to win at least twice as much as her bet. Otherwise she will fold.)

Back to Cavendish. Let's say he has a 2-1 payout for the Lincoln Park Crit. You like his chances, but only if you could get at least a 10-1 payout. This is where you can create an alert. Select the "Create alert" link and enter your target payout. Now, if Cavendish's payout ever rises above 10-1, you will get e-mail tipping you to the bargain.

Keep in mind that any time you make a bet, the payout for that outcome may shrink. That's how a parimutuel works. Nonetheless, it behooves you to be the first to make a bet, because the subsequent shrinkage may be enough to discourage other players, thus ensuring more of the pot goes your way in the event of a win.

Have fun, play well, tell a friend,