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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS PREDICTIONS WEEK 5


Six games to look at this week.  Five conference games and one Notre Dame game.
My current record: 0-0 

CRYSTAL BALL
WEEK OF 9-27-2014 

INDIANA
45
MARYLAND
42
MICHIGAN
20
MINNESOTA
8
PENN ST
24
NORTHWESTERN
17
IOWA
24
PURDUE
12
NEBRASKA
56
ILLINOIS
17
NOTRE DAME
34
SYRACUSE
14

As I pointed out in previous posts, my method is to make my predictions on Sunday - before I look at the spreads - to keep from being influenced subconsciously. Any prediction that varies from the game time spread by seven or more points is considered a “play”. 50 FTC dollars will be wagered on each “play”. That’s the system. Seven points or more differential, play it; less than seven, back off. I do make one disclaimer: If a report comes out during the week (after Sunday) that there is an issue involving the starting quarterback (an injury I might not have known about) or the coach (health issues, scandal, etc.), I won’t count the game.  Occasionally I might predict a tie, which is the equivalent of a “pick em”. (For a more detailed description of what constitutes a “play”, see the “FTC $ Q&A” tab at the top of this post.) 


1
2
3
Final
INDIANA
14
28
35
45
MARYLAND
7
24
34
42

Obviously I see this one as a shootout; one of those “last team with the football wins” type of games. Which makes it hard to predict because you never know who’s gonna have the ball last.
I’m not impressed with Maryland’s pass defense so far; which isn’t good for the Terrapin’s because Indiana can throw. But then, I also haven’t been impressed with Indiana’s defense in general for quite some time now. I figure Maryland QB C.J. Brown to have a big game running the ball, and considering the Hoosiers defense, probably throwing the ball, too. I also see Indiana RB Tevin Coleman, who is arguably the best player in this game, having a big day to complement the Hoosiers' air raid.
In the end I predict Indiana to kick the game winning FG with too little time on the clock for Maryland to respond.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Indiana by 5, so it is unlikely that this game will qualify as a play. 


1
2
3
Final
MICHIGAN
7
10
10
20
MINNESOTA
0
2
8
8

I’m figuring Minnesota starting QB Mitch Leidner to be out, or at the very least hampered, with an injury. There’s a chance that there could be a change at QB for Michigan, too. Either way on both counts, I’ll stick with this prediction, although I think yanking Michigan QB Devin Gardner at this particular spot in the season would be a mistake.
Without a healthy Leidner, Minnesota’s passing game goes from bad to worse. Consequently I don’t envision the Gophers doing much offensively because I think they’re going to be forced to run and Michigan knows it. And Minnesota knows that Michigan knows, but the Gophers really will have no choice.
Michigan, as we all know, is in a tailspin. I think Minnesota and their injured starting QB will be just what the doctor ordered. But despite Minnesota’s offensive troubles, I think this game will be relatively close throughout because Michigan is having offensive troubles of its own. And although it’s unusually early in the season to consider, HC Brady Hoke may be on the verge of losing this team. He’s already lost the fans to the point where playing at home could actually be a disadvantage because the boo-birds will be heard at the first sign of trouble, which can only hinder a team that needs confidence right now.
But in this case, I see Michigan’s defense being strong enough to support another mediocre at best offensive performance.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Michigan by 11.5, so there is virtually no chance that this game will qualify as a play.


1
2
3
Final
PENN ST
0
14
21
24
N'RTHW'STERN
7
10
10
17

Penn St. at 5-0? That’s what I’m calling for here. Although mostly by default. I’m still not overly impressed with the Nittany Lions, but Northwestern has really looked bad so far. On both sides of the ball. The biggest surprise for me has been the subpar play of NW starting QB Trevor Siemian. It’s also the reason I believe - despite the gap between these two teams in the win column - that this won’t be a slam dunk for Penn St. I’ve seen Siemian play great before, and he’s due to play great again at some point. It may not be this game, but I’ve got a feeling it might be. And when he’s hot, he’s as good (as a passer) as any QB in the league. But Northwestern doesn’t seem to have much overall talent, especially on defense, so I don’t think even a great game from Siemian will be enough for the Wildcats to get the win.
Penn St. has a decent defense but I’m not yet sold on their offense. Against the Northwestern defense, strong-armed QB Christian Hackenberg should be able to torch the Wildcats for one or two long passes, probably for touchdowns. But I also figure him for at least one interception and his usual handful of off-target throws. And even though Northwestern’s defense isn’t all that stout, they aren’t Massachusetts, either. I look for Penn St.’s offensive line to struggle again, both in run blocking and pass protection.
But given Northwestern’s overall struggles thus far, I figure the Nittany Lions to win this one; but by a closer margin than I suspect most would predict.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Penn St by 10.5, so it is unlikely that this game will qualify as a play.


1
2
3
Final
PURDUE
3
6
12
12
IOWA
0
14
21
24

There’s a quarterback controversy brewing in Iowa as the backup, C.J. Beathard, rallied the Hawkeyes to victory in the second half last Saturday as starter Jake Rudock sat with an injury. As the cliché goes, the QB always gets more credit and blame than he deserves. That couldn’t be more to the point in this case as Rudock is the least of Iowa’s offensive problems. Rudock’s injury isn’t serious and he could play in this game, but Beathard has played well enough for me to stand by my prediction regardless of which one starts. Iowa is coming off of a big win at Pitt and has a history of slow starts and stronger finishes over the course of a season. I’m not sure that the Hawkeyes have hit their stride yet, but regardless, Purdue is the inferior team in this game.
The Boilermakers are actually starting to show some improvement, but for most of Darrel Hazell’s short time as the HC, this team has been a train-wreck. I’ve been burned before in thinking Purdue has progressed, and I may get burned again here because I’m predicting this game to be relatively close (by Purdue standards) based on Iowa’s recent struggles running the ball and a defense that isn’t near as strong as it was last year, and Purdue’s stronger than anticipated performance against Notre Dame which wasn’t followed up with an embarrassing performance last Saturday.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Iowa by 9, so it is unlikely that this game will qualify as a play. 


1
2
3
Final
NEBRASKA
21
35
49
56
ILLINOIS
3
10
17
17

I think if Nebraska gets the ball to RB Ameer Abdullah with a little bit of space, the ‘Huskers will roll in this game.  My only concern is that I could get Pelini’d. What does it mean to get Pelini’d, you might wonder? That’s when Nebraska turns in its annual head-scratching loss to an inferior opponent. That’s when the OC, for no apparent reason, decides that eight to ten yards a carry is no good and believes that the ‘Huskers’ strength lies in the passing game. I know it’s gonna happen at least once this season, I just don’t know when. So my best bet is to play the percentages and figure Nebraska will play to form.
The reason I think the Abdullah strategy will work is because Illinois just isn’t very good at tackling. In fact, Illinois just isn’t very good at playing football. They have some talent on offense - enough to squeak out wins against very weak opponents - but I think we can disregard the “metaphorically speaking” part of the comment and say that if you handed the Illini a loaded gun, they would “literally” shoot themselves in the foot. Too many uncalled for penalties and turnovers.
Unless they mercifully take their foot off the gas early in the second quarter, I think Nebraska wins big at home.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Nebraska by 20, so this game will qualify as a play. 


1
2
3
Final
NOTRE DAME
7
21
24
34
SYRACUSE
0
7
14
14

Notre Dame’s stock is going down with each game Michigan plays. Apparently the Wolverines weren’t the test I thought they were. In fact, Syracuse could be the Irish’s biggest test to date. I am a bit concerned about the Notre Dame running game. And Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt can be dangerous. But I still believe in QB Everett Golson and the Irish defense, though, and figure Notre Dame to be in control by halftime.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Notre Dame by 12, so it is very possible that this game could qualify as a play.








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