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ADCC Preview : Mis-priced Risk?

August 28, 2015
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I know I haven’t been active lately but thought I’d record how interesting this ADCC has been handicapped by betting sites. Grappling unlike MMA is rarely handicapped and opportunities to study how bookies price price risk in this sport should be jumped on.

I’ll first go through my own personal thoughts on each division and follow it up with how the bookmakers see it. One thing though, folks tend to equate ADCC to a “submission only” competition where all these sport BJJ players will get their comeuppance. Rather, points matter and a strong positional/sport player who is unwilling to concede even a single point is often the one to bank on.

Think of past ADCCs:
2011 – Rafa/Cobrinha decided on a negative point for a pull,
2013  – Rafa/Cobrinha final decided by decision after 2 over times. Joao Miyao lost -2 for 2 guard pulls in the bronze match despite being the more active player. Both -66kg semis decided by 2-0 margins.

There is a point deduction for a guard pull so you better be sure about this decision. Having an “exciting/aggressive” style isn’t necessarily a good thing when opponents can “slow play” you once they have a point lead.

Under 66kg

With Rafa, Raider and Joao Miyao out, the only medalist from 2013 is Cobrinha. Of the present field, Cobrinha is without doubt the best “positional” player and has the experience to grind out wins in many stalemate situations. That being said, Eddie Cummings presents a very interesting question to this division/Cobrinha. Eddie is highly reliant on the guard and while he might take the negative point, he has shown repeatedly that he can get the heel hook within seconds. His style of leg locking is no gimmick, but a revival of a skill set that has become relevant again with sub-only circuits thriving (stay tuned for my upcoming Polaris 2 preview/leg lock study on Tonon v Imanari coming soon!).  You need to escape from someone playing the lower limb control game in a very particular manner and while Cobrinha is a good scrambler will he have the savvy to stop the side-reverse-full saddle transitions of Cummings as he spins to escape?

Conversely, one thing we have not seen of Cummings is how will he deal with someone not stepping into his butterfly/SLX but leading head/arms first. Assuming he has developed some good counters to this style of passing, I favor Cummings for the gold.

Under 77kg

In 2013, -77kg was probably the most dynamic division, full of submissions and scrambles. Kron, Otavio and Tonon made quick work of several top competitors  (JT, Bendo etc) and in general some of the most exciting matches of the tournament were to be found here. Note though, while Kron v Tonon was an exciting match, it was not representative of what tactics win medals at ADCC. In that match, both basically threw down the gauntlet and abandoned all notion of points. While Garry has been on a tear in no point rule sets, his last no-Gi Worlds outing was frustrating where he lost in the opening rounds by points  versus someone willing to stay on his feet and not aggressively engage. Given his “notoriety”, one has to think someone in his bracket might try to “game” him by eking out a points victory through creative tactics.

Except for Kron, many of 2013’s cast returns and gives a bit more certainty as to who might be left standing. Once again, you have to remember, ADCC is a game of points and how well you can eke out victories. Up to 80% of a match can be endless pummeling on the feet waiting for someone to make a mistake. So strong positional players have to be favored. Most of the top seeds in this bracket are also prior IBJJF no gi champs and they know how to play this game well. Lepri in particular and Gilbert Burns are my picks.

Under 88kg

The field here is probably the most unchanged from 2013 (all semi-finalists are back) and again gives some comfort as to how the dust might settle. Keenan or Romulo for me.

Under 99kg

This division is totally changed from 2013 and the only returning medalist is Joao Asis. With the addition of Rodolfo, Pena and dark horse Lombard, one has to think Joao’s chance of a repeat is slim. Pena has a  style that translates well for ADCC rules and while he goes up a weight class, one has to remember in a very quick time he has amazingly moved from competing with then lightweight Leandro Lo to taking on Galvao a division higher at the 2014 Worlds without any loss in cardio or strength. Pena has youth and explosiveness on his side and coupled with the ability to take and hold top after wearing you out for extended periods in his 50/50 guard, has to be a front runner for gold. That being said, Rodolfo is also another strong candidate just based on his gi dominance alone. However, one has to remember he was quickly heel hooked in minutes during 2011’s ADCC. While there are no strong leg lockers in this field except for Asis/Lombard, Rodolfo’s recent injury woes, grappling inactivity and focus on MMA does throw many question marks as to whether he is still the dominant force of before. Pena is my pick.

Over 99KG

Another division with only one past semi-finalist returning inVinny Magalhaes. 2015 World’s double gold winner Bernado Faria has to be the favorite to win this with possibly Lister and Joao Gabriel Rocha playing spoiler. Facing slower passers as he is competing one weight class up this time, Lister could take it all with some good bracketing. However, I find Faria’s tight positional play and use of over/under passing which makes him almost immune to leg locking give him a big advantage in this rule set. While Farias use of deep half might put him at risk of leg attacks, given that most of the leg lockers in this division primarily choose to do so off bottom (Cavaca, Lister) and will thus be content to play guard , it seems unlikely this ‘chink” in Faria’s armor will be exploited this time. Faria is my pick.

Women’s Under 66kg

Only 2 of 2013’s alumni returns and Nicolini is the woman to beat. That being said, Mackenzie Dern has been gaining ground on her and in their last head-to-head actually managed to submit Michelle. Dern is my pick and given her recent inroads versus Gabi, should be the favorite.

Women’s Over 66kg

Gabi Garcia. Nuff Said.

 

Efficient Market Hypothesis when it comes to BJJ – No Bueno

I don’t think my picks are any surprise, if you look at several other folks trying to handicap this ADCC, we don’t differ by much.

ODDS(*Edit Found more ADCC picks by Flograppling here)

Now, here comes the rub, what does the “market” (ie the gambling odds) say? If you look at “Odds” in my table above, you can see where the odds opened by the bookmakers. Compare that to where the “opinions” are. It is quite an eye opener. Red text represents who the bookmaker thinks should be the favorite. Under 77kg (Lepri) and under 88kg (all four 2013 semi finalists tied) are roughly inline.

However, things get out of whack in -66kg, -99 , +99 and -66F. Despite being cited as an outright favorite by some, Cummings is a huge betting underdog, paying 55 times your money. Same story for Pena (+1000), Faria (+1600) and Dern (+600).

Looking at how the bookmaker decided on the odds, it’s pretty clear they took 2013’s ADCC into account. So for example, where many of the semi finalists repeat in -77 and -88, you can see those individuals are set as favorites. Clearly the confusion by the bookie has arisen where only one or two of 2013 medalists appear again in 2015 (like Joao Asis, Nicolini, Cobrinha). These “repeats” have been given “favorite” odds but for new entrants, some who might have actually beaten these favorites (eg Dern last tapped Nicoini) or have been more active/dominant in the last 2 years, they have been marked as “longshots”. In short, more recent information on the field has not been incorporated into these prices, presenting some interesting opportunities.

For the betting savvy one might even construct some “hedged bets” by laying the the payout from a favorite on one of these “mispriced” (if you think they are) long shots .

So for example, betting $17 on Cobrinha at -115 (“-115” means risk $115 to make $100) and $14.55  on Cummings. If Cummings wins you get 14.55 x30 =800 dollars, but if Cobrinha wins, you get 17 + 14.8 (the cost of your $14.55 Cummings bet).

Now, I am hardly an expert at analyzing BJJ and the views of the few above might not represent what the majority thinks. But I have feeling that a straw poll of the community will reveal the majority “expectation” on the favorites to be quite different from where the bookmakers have priced it. Bottom line, I find those odds baffling, are we all watching the same sport?

Are the bookies correct? Are all all those “experts” (including me) blind?

Click 2015 ADCC POLL to choose your ADCC winners, let’s see what the “majority” thinks !

*ps in case you are wondering why you don’t see Cummings etc at +5500, Pena at +1000, Faria +1600 etc anymore… Someone came in an smashed all of these long shots down a few days later. Efficient Market Hypothesis at work?

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. My picks:

    66kg: Cobrinha (Near impervious to leglock attacks. If a prime Ryan Hall couldn’t catch him with heelhooks, neither will Cummins). Plus Cobrinha and Rafa Mendes are head and shoulder above the rest, but Rafa is not competing, so…

    77kg: Davi Ramos (has improved his wrestling leaps and bounds, in addition to his already awesome leglocks and guard plays)

    88kg: Yuri Simoes. Has better wrestling than Romulo and Keenan.

    99kg: Xande or Pena, but I think Pena’s youthful explosiveness will give him the edge.

    Over 99kg: Since Faria would be absent, Vinny may take this.

  2. I got my first 3 picks right: Cobrinha, Davi Ramos and Yuri Simoes.

    By the way, the negative guard pull point has to go. The ADCC 2015 would be remembered for many upsets, and the sloppy wrestling that was prevalent in most matches.

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