"No other handicapper can match Akmens," says About.com   Read the article                             
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Despite his academic credentials, Dr. Bob Akmens loves sports.  Some years ago, Bob decided to quantify his sports handicapping expertise. To get a better idea of what this means, look at "How Bob Akmens Picks Winners" on that page on this site. What it meant, in short, is that he created sophisticated computer-models for picking his plays. And what these models have done is take away much of the "luck" aspect that many handicappers live with. So many handicappers will have good runs only to see those runs turn sour and bring their overall win-percentages back to right around 50%. Economists have a term for that, "reversion to the mean." For that to happen to Bob Akmens' plays would mean that his mathematical models would have to all turn bad simultaneously - something that is always possible, but unlikely.

Using dispassionate models which don't care if you're coming off of an 8-0 run or an 0-8 run and thus aren't subject to the failings we as human beings have of not wanting to lose back what we've won or having the desire to immediately win back that which we've lost, makes Bob's results more reliable and subject to less bad runs over the long-term.

And the models are tweaked by Bob constantly to reflect both changing conditions in a given sport such as the rules changes the NHL implemented a few years ago (which resulted in immediate changes to the nature of all NHL games) and the slower-evolving changes in sports such as the role of starting pitching in baseball which in the space of a few decades has devolved from domination and complete games to a much-lesser role today.

His predictive models are almost living things in that they adapt to current situations in all the major sports. And these models should prove to be profitable many years into the future.



Someone can be a success in any business venture with little or no formal education. And quite honestly, if you pay a handicapper to win with his plays - and he does that for you with some consistency - then you shouldn't care if he's an idiot or a genius in other things. But, it always helps to have a broader exposure to life and business and knowledge in general when one tries to successfully compete in any endeavor.

Bob realizes that while he uses mathematical algorithms (a fancy term for formulas) to create his models, he still quantifies factors that many handicappers consider unquantifiable such as revenge, the impact of coaching changes, and other human factors that influence the outcome of a game. So he has always viewed sports handicapping as just as much an art as a science. If it were beatable purely from a statistical standpoint, someone years ago would have come up with a super computer program that could consistently pick winners. No one has done this - yet people must be trying daily.

To be a really successful handicapper, you have to be a student of human behavioral psychology as well and understand what motivates these often-puzzling players we bet on. And Bob is quite proud of his educational accomplishments which have helped him gain the knowledge he has acquired over the years.

At the age of 16, he entered college at Queens College of the City University of New York. In that year, Queens College had several distinctions: 1) it was entirely tuition-free for Bob as he had won a prestigious New York State Regents Scholarship, and got a free ride to 2) a school that was ranked in the top-20 academically of all public colleges in the entire U.S. of A., which was pretty nifty, given there were 8 Ivies, MIT, CalTech, Stanford and others on that list in the private-sector.  He promptly acted his age (he should have been a sophomore in high-school at 16) and screwed-up by failing 2 of the first 5 courses he took. Not because he couldn't handle the work - far from it. He actually got 3 A's and 2 F's because he never showed for the Chem and Math classes that semester which, for Bob, were unfortunately on the same day of the week, and thus, not worth the trip. Instead he partied and partied some more and was often drunk, crashing at some older friend's house, listening to the apocalyptic lyrics of The Doors and "This is the End" much of the time - and basically not remembering what he did the previous day.

Fortunately, he got his act together, and Dr. Akmens completed his B.A. in Political Science, with honors, and began his medical studies at New York University.

His next chapter of life was his proud military service in defense of the greatest country on this earth.

His interests in history and political science never wavered, though, and a bit later in life Bob was accepted into the Master's Degree in the Humanities program at The California State University, Dominguez Hills. Having aced something like the previous 16 courses he took in college (because he hardly ever found something hard once he applied himself), he thought this would be a piece of cake to do the same on a graduate level. The very first paper he submitted came back to him with a big-fat "B" on it. This slap-in-the-face engendered a fierce determination that he would, most certainly, take all 12 courses for that M.A. and get 12 A's in the process - which was a lofty goal indeed. But hey, he had picked 12 winning teams in a row many times!

The next year, Bob got that M.A., with a history concentration, writing a 321 page Master's thesis on The Stamp Act Congress in Colonial America. One of the professor's on Bob's thesis committee called it "brilliant." If you have an interest in American History, you can actually order this work from UMI's Dissertation Express here; the full citation is "The Stamp Act Congress: Herald of American Union. Akmens, Robert, M.A. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, DOMINGUEZ HILLS, 1994. 321 pp." And Bob got that M.A. with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average - straight A's - as good as it gets - best in his graduating class - and a piece of cake, to boot.

And followed that with a PhD in International Relations...which was almost an anticlimax.

After that, while still running his busy sports service, he was awarded the Postgraduate Certificate of Business Administration (which Europeans consider a mini-MBA) from Edinburgh Business School, one of the top B-schools in Europe.

And still later, because Bob was always exploring new venues for putting his money to work, he completed the rigorous - and quite difficult - CFP Certification Curriculum through The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, PA - which shares its faculty with the school down the road, the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. CFP stand for Certified Financial Planner - and unlike, say a CPA's credentials which fundamentally deal with accounting, the CFP curriculum deals with 6 areas of expertise: investments, insurance, financial-planning, estate-planning, retirement-planning, and taxation - dry subjects to be sure to most people but offering a world of financial knowledge to use and share alike.

These days, Bob lives in sunny Florida with his family, his dogs, and his cats.

And he doesn't look back...because the past is a bend in the river behind you...just forward to the glorious and unknowable future still ahead and all the challenges to be met and conquered.








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