22: Champions Cup preview

The Humpty’s Champions Cup begins in a few hours and since there are betting lines posted for this event, I need to get some picks on the record.

Format: Two pools of six teams lead to a playoff featuring the top six records overall. In a twist, each pool is not playing a complete round-robin but instead just games against four of the five possible opponents. My simulations assume a full round robin because I’m too lazy to code up all of the exceptions in the schedule. This shouldn’t have a significant effect on the probabilities, however.

Odds Oddities: Let’s just skip to the good stuff. After Sweden ruined my strategy of fading them last week, it’s time to get back on the horse. Based on the odds posted at Coolbet.com and my simulations, there is some slight value in Kovaleva (+1000) on the women’s side and Mouat (+550) on the men’s side.

Team Mouat rose from second to the top spot in my world rankings despite being outplayed by Sweden in the finals of the world championship. And I’m still riding with Mouat. Some of the underlying data from world’s (coming to a blog post soon) suggests Scotland was the second-best team in the event despite finishing fifth in pool play. Mouat just might be the best curler in the world at the moment.

With respect to fifth-ranked Team Kovaleva, don’t expect them to come in rusty. Russia has more or less held continuous curling events this season. Kovaleva played in just two of these and it wasn’t against stiff competition, but I doubt she had to twist any arms to get access to practice ice, either. It doesn’t take a logical leap to speculate that the, um, open situation in Russia helped fuel Team Glukhov’s surprising finish at world’s. (Glukhov is competing in this week’s Russian men’s championship. No need for a quarantine, I presume.) I’m assuming Kovaleva shows up ready to play, as well.

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