When it comes to assessing sporting performance, in particular when it comes to assessing sporting performance for the sake of betting, it’s important to detach your emotions from the analysis.
In some sports, the HOW is important. Some sports are judged. Figure skating, gymnastics, ski jump. All these sports have judges giving style points (or whatever they’re called). They are judged on artistic merit. In these sports, it’s fine to argue about the how.
For all the rest though, train yourself to ignore the how and look only at the WHAT. What happened? What’s the final score?
Don’t worry about how things look. If the players are not competing for style points, don’t award them style points! Who cares if Jim Furyk’s swing looks like “an octopus falling out of a tree”, as David Feherty once famously said? The man’s got a US Open and 16 PGA Tour wins under his belt. So what if he looks awkward?
Jonathan Trott will also never win any style points. He’s a grinder, an accumulator. KP gets all the hype, yet Trott averages 53.5 runs in test cricket and KP averages 49.3. So why are KP’s runs always higher than Trott’s.
Who cares that 10-man Chelsea “parked the bus”? Last time I looked, there were no style points awarded in football. All I see is that Chelsea were the better team (better than the “best team of all time”) over two legs.
You can see now how “ugly” players offer significant betting opportunities (as anyone who’s ever read or watched Moneyball will know).
The golfer Paul Paul Casey came up with a lovely expression. He said: “We hand in a scorecard not a postcard”. So try to look at sports results as a scorecard not a postcard. The league table at end of a season is a scorecard not a postcard.
The infamous NFL coach Bill Parcells summed it up best. One year, his team finished 8-8 and he was asked if he thought they were really a 10-6 team who’d had a hard schedule and caught a few tough breaks. No, he said, we finished 8-8 so we’re an 8-8 team. “You are what you are”.