Sharing and comparing my method for trying to beat the spread

I live in the Midwest which is Big Ten country. Once conference play starts virtually every Big Ten game is televised in my region and I commit myself to try and watch all of them. I have three televisions set up as some games are being played at the same time. I have no bias or affiliation to any Big Ten team as I am a lifelong Notre Dame fan (I include ND games in my viewing schedule as well). My comments and reports are qualified only by my love of the game and an extreme commitment to watching and following Big Ten football.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


WHAT HAPPENED

The Big Ten teams are now in mid-season form as the offenses are starting to hit full stride. Bottom dwellers Indiana and Illinois showed enough improvement last Saturday to convince me that anything can happen on any given Saturday. Ohio St’s victory over Nebraska established the Buckeyes as the premier team in the conference. Although I personally don’t think it will happen, it is very possible that Ohio St could go into the Michigan game undefeated.
Michigan St 31  Indiana 27
I considered that Michigan St might come out flat after last week’s high profile game against Ohio St. I didn’t figure Indiana to be capable of making them pay for it as I predicted a 34 to 7 Spartan blowout. The first quarter was all Indiana as the Hoosiers jumped out to a 17 to 0 lead. Michigan St was completely unprepared and uninspired as they committed several penalties and gave up large chunks of passing yards on defense. And it wasn’t just the players who weren’t ready as the Spartan’s appeared to be outcoached as well. Typical “letdown game” scenario in this one, though; superior team falls behind, superior team wakes up just in time, superior team does just enough to come back and win. Upsets happen when the superior team doesn’t quite make it back before time runs out, but not in this game. The Spartans held Indiana scoreless in the second half and finally took the lead with a little over six minutes left in the game. Regardless of the comeback, Michigan St has some offensive problems, particularly in the O- line. As I stated, I did consider a letdown, but I also considered the fact that the Spartans were flat two weeks ago against Eastern Michigan and that HC Mark Dantiono should have his team ready to go, pointing to that game as a lesson. This team is running out of mulligans and may not be as good as advertised. Indiana, on the other hand, made some strides this week and showed that they are not to be taken lightly.
Penn St 39  Northwestern 28
I didn’t figure this game to produce as many points, but I did predict a Penn St 23 to 19 victory. This was a great game to watch. Well played, well coached. I know it’s a tired cliché, but it really was too bad one of these teams had to lose. It’s still hard to separate these teams (Penn St added a late “garbage” touchdown with 1:30 left after stopping Northwestern on downs deep in Penn St territory, so the game was tighter than the score indicates) but the main difference was Penn St’s O-line controlling the line of scrimmage and the usual swarming Penn St defense. Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian wasn’t quite as sharp with his throws as in past games, but I wouldn’t say he played poorly, either. Again, credit Penn St’s defense. I didn’t lose any respect for either one of these teams after watching this game.
Wisconsin 31  Illinois 14
This game went about as expected as I predicted a 28 to 10 Badger victory. The good news for Illinois is that starting QB Nathan Scheelhaase appears to be fully recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in the opening game of the season. The bad news is it still wasn’t enough as the Badgers pulled away in the fourth quarter. Neither team is having a great season when compared to preseason projections, so with that in mind, I would say that both teams took a small step forward in this game. A healthy Scheelhaase immediately improves the struggling Illini as they were down only three points going into the fourth quarter. The Badgers improved their record to 4-2 and now have a chance to take a huge step towards salvaging their season this Saturday when they face a reeling Purdue team.
Michigan 44  Purdue 13
Well I was way off on this game as I predicted Purdue to win, 24 to 21. The Boilermakers had a chance to turn a corner in the Danny Hope era and join the “big boys” of the conference. They missed the turn. Michigan, on the other hand, let any of their fans that weren’t convinced with last season’s record know that the “Rich Rod” days are behind them. It may have taken four interceptions against Notre Dame to see the light, but if this game is any indication, it appears that Michigan HC Brady Hoke is finally willing to feature Denard Robinson in the running game. The speedy QB carried the ball 24 times for 235 of Michigan’s 304 rushing yards. This game was never close as Michigan jumped out to a 21 to 0 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back. I used Notre Dame as the common opponent to compare these teams and figured Purdue’s defensive line to be the Boilermaker’s key to being competitive in this game. Instead it was the Wolverines dominance on both sides of the line of scrimmage that made this game a blowout.
Ohio St 63  Nebraska 38
I probably should have known the score of this game would come in higher than the 28 to 19 Ohio St victory I predicted. Never would have guessed numbers as big as the final, but still, neither defense has showed much all year except for Ohio St’s performance last week against Michigan St. And judging by the Spartan’s offensive struggles against an inferior Indiana team, I may have given the Buckeye’s D too much credit. As in past weeks, Buckeye QB Braxton Miller was the star as he rushed for 186 yards and one touchdown. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez was sporadic as he threw three interceptions but also passed for 214 yards and ran for two touchdowns. Ohio St HC Urban Meyer stole a page from Wisconsin HC Brett Bielema’s book of “classless” when he ran starting RB Carlos Hyde in for a meaningless touchdown with 48 seconds left in the game instead of having Miller  take a knee and run out the clock.
 

KNEW IT ALL ALONG
- Michigan is a much tougher team to stop when QB Denard Robinson is called upon to run the ball more often than he’s called upon to pass from the pocket. 

DIDN’T SEE IT COMING 
- Michigan HC Brady Hoke would call upon QB Denard Robinson to run the ball more often than he would call upon him to throw from the pocket.
- Indiana moving the ball at will against a top ranked Michigan St defense in the first half.
 

 

  CRYSTAL BALL 

WEEK OF 10-13-2012 

MICHIGAN
30
ILLINOIS
14
OHIO ST
49
INDIANA
27
MICHIGAN ST
23
IOWA
17
NORTHWESTERN
38
MINNESOTA
26
PURDUE
20
WISCONSIN
10
NOTRE DAME
20
STANFORD
17

 

 

FURTHER REVIEW

NIFTY LIONS
I have a soft spot for the underdog. The first Rocky is my favorite movie, when he was climbing the ropes in the fourteenth round my favorite scene. That’s why I have to be careful not to put my heart where my head is when making my predictions for Penn St games in the “Crystal Ball” section of my posts. I’ve fallen in love with this team. They’ve already won more games than I predicted (two) in the preseason, and I had Matt McGloin ranked dead last among the returning starting quarterbacks in the league. The well documented turmoil in the offseason, new coaching staff, and several players transferring out of the program appeared to be too much for any team to overcome. My thoughts were confirmed with an opening season loss to Ohio followed by a loss to Virginia. At least on paper they were. But even during the losses I could see this team was playing better than I expected, particularly McGloin, as is evidenced in my posts following those games. This team was playing hard but they just couldn’t get a break. They were victims of a deflected-pass touchdown in their loss to Ohio, and missed four field goals in their one point loss to Virginia. Oh and by the way, one of the players to transfer out of the program was the starting kicker. Like Rocky, Penn St was on the mat and many expected them to stay down. But climb the ropes they did as they won the next four games and if I were to rank the quarterbacks today, McGloin would be one of my top two in the league. This team, particularly McGloin and linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, is playing with a mission. This team is playing like, well, a bunch of kids that are being punished for something they didn’t do. You can see by the body language the anger and the “us against them/I’ll show you” attitude this team has. McGloin and Mauti are the best examples. They’re playing with an absolute focus on winning. Abandoned are any thoughts of “how are my statistics?”, “how do I look?”, “what if I make a mistake?”. Like Rocky, this team may not win the match. But given the preseason expectations for this team in the wake of all that’s happened in the past year, that may not be as significant as going the distance. I see no quit in this team and, given my newfound bias towards this group of young men, you’d have every right to call me crazy when I submit that this Penn St team is capable of finishing with the best conference record in the Big Ten. 

 

 ATS 

My Crystal Ball predictions for last Saturday weren’t bad as I went 3-2 in the ATS category. When compared to my competition, I actually did well overall. The spreads were as follows: Wisconsin by 15, Michigan St by 15.5, Michigan by 3, Ohio St by 4, Penn St by 3. I was 0-1 in the all-important “play” category as I lost with Michigan St. Although it doesn’t count in this section since it is not a Big Ten game, I did win with Notre Dame as they were a 14 point favorite. Most everyone did poorly in the “play” category except Wildcat who didn’t have a qualifying selection and Boilermaker who split with Wisconsin as his winner, Michigan St as his loser. Cardinal lost one game by taking Northwestern, and Wolverine lost one game with his Purdue selection. Hawkeye was 0-2 with Michigan St and Purdue, and Horned Frog was a miserable 0-3 with Michigan St, Purdue, and Nebraska. So after only two weeks everyone is a loser in the “play” category season totals. Though not at the very bottom percentage-wise, Horned Frog would be the most costly.  Relatively speaking, my From the Couch predictions for the season stand up pretty well as I am no lower than second in any category. 

 

 KIS RANKINGS

Notre Dame jumped to the top of this week’s KIS rankings with their victory over a 3-2 Miami team. The TOTAL numbers continue to decrease as the OPP% numbers start to level off. Consequently the WIN% is becoming more significant with each passing week. AP poll favorite Alabama makes its first appearance without playing last Saturday as they gained a few points in the OPP% category while other teams lost ground. Last week’s top teams Oregon St and Kansas St both won last Saturday but lost ground as their victories came against weak opponents. Even though both teams have a loss, Iowa St and Stanford remain in the top ten due to their high OPP%. Iowa St’s opponents are a combined 11-2 (excluding Iowa St games) and Stanford’s, 14-4 (again, excluding Stanford games).

 

 

 

No comments:

Post a Comment