Friday, June 19, 2015

Keys to Success

80 percent of success is just showing up” ~ Woody Allen

  The NBA season finished Tuesday night with the Warriors’ 105-97 win over the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers have been installed as the favorites to win next years’ championship at 3-1 odds. I am less optimistic. As great as LeBron James was this postseason he will be a year older with more wear and tear on his body next year, there is no guarantee that Kyrie Irving will be the same player after he recovers from his knee tendonitis and fractured kneecap this summer, Kevin Love still doesn’t have a role on the team, and role players like Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova are as likely to regress as they are to find another level.

  I recovered $120 mythical dollars on the last game of the finals when the Warriors covered the 3.5 spread for $100 and James only scored 32 points which was under the 36.5 number for another $20. My last game successes trimmed my Finals losses to $90 mythical dollars and left me $60 on the plus side for the playoffs and plus $215 for the entire NBA season. The final tally is below.

Regular SeasonRecord+/-
Against spread14-15-$250
Money Line4-0+$400
Series Picks
Round 12-2-$10
Round 22-1+$100
Conference Finals
Against spread0-3-$325
Over Under5-1+$390
Total Conference Finals5-4+$65
NBA Finals
Game 1+$97.5
Game 2-$130
Game 3-$121.50
Game 4+$77
Game 5-$133
Game 6+$120
Finals Game Bets3-3-1-$30
Finals Prop Bets2-5-$60
Total NBA Finals*-$90
Total Playoffs*12-10-1+$65
Total NBA Season*30-25-1+$215
*Prop bets excluded from game totals

  I was very pleased with the traffic this blog generated from the basketball predictions. That and the relative success of my predictions convinced me to resurrect my basketball prediction program from almost three decades ago for next season. My current software project is adding the ability for players to enter my fall chess tournaments via my website. That should be done by late July which will leave August and September to set up a basketball database, data entry program, and predictive algorithms. I’m interested in seeing how much easier it will be to write the program using SQL and C# than it was to originally come up with these concepts in Dbase III which was state of the art in 1987.

   A key to picking basketball games successfully is to understand that if you lose 40% of the time you are awesome. It was hard to keep making predictions early on in the regular season when I was over $500 in the red. I knew that the sample size was small so I was able to keep my head and not make too many risky catch-up bets. I finally found the idea of picking playoff teams at home against non-playoff teams and picking against teams on the road for the second game of back to back games and close the season on a winning tear.

  The playoffs were a different matter. I was able to skate by picking the series winners in the first two rounds. When my posts started getting picked up by search engines I felt the need to pick each game of the conference finals and finals. Picking each game is quite difficult since not only did I have to come up with a reasoned prediction I also had to write a few hundred words on a pretty tight deadline. I would have liked to stay away from the early games in each series in order to see how they were shaking out before making informed choices but didn’t feel I had that luxury. I managed to come close to breaking even in all my playoff bets except in the Finals where the key to my failure was making silly prop bets that were little more than guesswork.

  Since the company I work for has moved another 10 miles further than the 50+ miles I used to drive I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work from home a few days a week. On Wednesday I drove in to work for a morning meeting. I parked in the company parking lot and took my computer out of my car. Normally I’d also bring in my bag with my fruit and extra stuff like spare headphones and chargers but since I had to drive to the meeting in a couple of hours I grabbed my bag of fruit out of my work bag and was at my cubicle at 8am sharp.

  I worked and munched on an apple and some raspberries until 10:30. My meeting was at 11 and it only took between 10 and 15 minutes to get to the customers’ office but I wanted to show up early for the meeting. I packed up my computer and reached into my pocket for my car keys and my car keys weren’t there. So I looked in all my pockets and my car keys weren’t there either. So I searched all over my cubicle and my keys weren’t there either!

  I asked at the front desk but no one had turned in a set of keys. I checked the men’s room and break room and there were no keys there either. I thought that maybe I locked my keys into my car so I went to my car. My keys weren’t in the ignition but I had left a door unlocked so I opened the door and took a look around.

  My Chevy Spark is pretty tiny despite its four door sedan status and I was able to search it in a few seconds but there were no keys. It was getting very close to the meeting time so I went back in the office and got a co-worker to give me a ride. On the ride I called Kathy to warn her that she may have to bring me my spare set of keys. The meeting went smoothly but I was pretty distracted trying to think of where my car keys were and I wish I had a dime for every time I checked my pockets hoping to find my keys.

  Once the meeting was over a customer drove me back to the office and I spent another 15 minutes checking my car, the bathroom, the breakroom, the front desk, and my cubicle, my computer bag, and bag of fruit and still had no keys. It was 1pm and I tried to put the keys (or lack thereof) out of my mind and went back to work.

  I was going to call Kathy at 2 to let her know if I needed her to bring me the spare set of car keys so at 1:40 I checked my pockets and bag one more time and looked one more time in my cubicle. My cubicle is 4 by 8 feet and everything is rooted to the floor except this vertical file cabinet that is no more than a half inch off the ground. I had given the tiny space under the cabinet a look or two already but this time I laid down on the floor and looked all the way under this file cabinet. I could see the light from the next cubicle except for this one spot. I couldn’t tell what was hiding the light and couldn’t reach it so I got a ruler from my desk and was barely able to reel the object in and what do you know? The object was my keys!

  I can only assume my keys fell out of my pocket and I kicked them under the file cabinet without realizing it. I was kicking myself a little for not checking way under the cabinet earlier but that feeling soon gave way to the joy I felt at having my keys back and not having to ask Kathy to drive 2 and a half hours to bring me a spare key. I was able to drive home and realized that a key to success is having your keys in the first place.