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.

Monday, November 17, 2014

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WHAT HAPPENED WEEK 12


WHAT HAPPENED

I split at 1-1 last Saturday. I was spot on about some things, way off on others. My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 11-12 (ATS Predictions - Week 12).
My Record:  8-8


THE PLAYS
Wisconsin 59  Nebraska 24   (Wisconsin -6.5)
I predicted Nebraska to win, 21-19. Well, it finally happened. I got “Pelini’d”. Nebraska turned in their annual head-scratching performance. I can’t say that Nebraska losing this game fits the definition of “Pelini’d”- I figured the game to be close so it’s not a total surprise that Wisconsin won. But I can say the manner in which they lost fits the description exactly. After watching the game, I wouldn’t argue against a statement that Wisconsin may have better players than Nebraska. But not 35 points better. But Wisconsin’s coaching staff, which is good but not extraordinary, is miles better than Pelini and his gang.
Nebraska used their talent and a couple of Wisconsin turnovers to jump out to an early 17-3 lead. But after that it was all Wisconsin. The Badgers surprised the Nebraska DC by repeatedly handing the ball to RB Melvin Gordon, using basically the same couple of plays. And the Nebraska OC decided that handing the ball to his star RB Ameer Abdullah wasn’t always the best option when he can have QB Tommy Armstrong put the ‘Huskers behind the chains with yet another incomplete pass. Wisconsin regained the lead by halftime and I knew it was over. No way the Nebraska staff was gonna figure out a way to come back.

Michigan St. 37  Maryland 15   (Michigan St. -11)
I predicted Michigan St. to win, 45-14. The Spartans saved the day for me and got the cover, although I had to sweat out the possibility of a Maryland “backdoor” cover in the fourth quarter. Other than that, this game went much as I predicted. I think Michigan St. was a little flat –they committed 10 penalties and QB Connor Cook was under 50% with his passes – but not to the point where they were in danger of losing the game. And, as predicted(ATS Predictions - Week 12), Maryland QB C.J. Brown didn’t escape pressure quite as much as he’s accustomed to and consequently served up three interceptions.


THE NON-PLAYS
Iowa 30  Illinois 14   (Iowa -3.5)
I predicted Iowa to win 38-35. I was close enough with Iowa’s score, but the Illini offense didn’t perform like I expected.
Illinois QB Wes Lunt returned from injury to start this game and appeared to be a little rusty. But rust or not, his backup, Reilly O’Toole, did engineer the only conference win the Illini have recorded all season. Lunt has more talent, but O’ Toole has more heart, IMO. Or it’s probably more accurate to say Lunt lacks heart, IMO. But I will admit that “from the couch” is not the vantage point to question who should have played in this game, so I’ll defer to the HC… no matter how much it hurts my pride to take a backseat to Tim Beckman.

Ohio St. 31  Minnesota 24   (Ohio St. -13.5)
I predicted Ohio St. to win, 28-13. Minnesota was better offensively than I figured, but otherwise not many surprises here. Ohio St. may have been a little flat, at least to the point where they weren’t quite as sharp as they were a week earlier. But they were sharp enough to jump out to an early lead, thanks in large part to QB J.T. Barrett. But Minnesota battled back to tie the game late in the second period, thanks in large part to RB David Cobb and the O-Line. Ohio St. pulled away in the second half, thanks in some part to Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner throwing the two interceptions I predicted(ATS Predictions - Week 12).
Ohio St. was the better team in this game but Minnesota made a good showing for themselves. The Gophers still control their destiny for a shot at a rematch in the Conference Championship game. I’m not predicting they’ll get there, but I will say they have a good chance.

Rutgers 45  Indiana 23   (Rutgers -7.5)
I predicted Rutgers to win, 27-21. Rutgers showed more offense than I predicted but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering Indiana’s defense. The game was close until midway through the fourth quarter. Indiana QB Zander Diamont did show the improvement in his passing game I was looking for, and RB Tevin Coleman had a big day rushing. But without starting QB Nate Sudfeld, the Hoosiers struggle to keep up with the amount of points their defense allows.

Northwestern 43  Notre Dame 40  OT   (Notre Dame -17.5)
I predicted Notre Dame to win, 38-14. I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Notre Dame was flat, understandably so, given the previous Saturday’s deflating loss at Arizona St. Northwestern played one of their best games of the season, particularly QB Trevor Siemian. There’s no predicting this kind of upset but I did try to warn myself in my prediction write-up when I made mention that college kids can turn things around in one game. And Northwestern is just that type of team. This is a team that beat Wisconsin, so obviously they’re capable. But it’s also a team that looked terrible in losing to Michigan and Iowa. Much depends on Siemian, and as I’ve said all season, he’s a hot and cold QB. Last Saturday he was hot.
Northwestern and Iowa. What do I do with those teams? One week they’re great, the next week they’re awful.



ATS
FTC DOLLARS
In this section I track the results of my Crystal Ball selections that qualify as “plays” ATS (any prediction that differs from the closing line by seven or more points). I’ve also included the results of some unsuspecting prognosticators (conference games only) that I found on line. The standings are based on how many “FTC” dollars are won. For a more detailed explanation of this section, please refer to the “FTC $ Q&A” tab at the top of this post.

We have a new leader. Steven Lassan (Athlon) moved into first place as he recorded two wins and no losses last Saturday while the former leader, Tom Dienhart (BTN) lost with his only play. Even though I lost five FTC dollars in juice, I moved up a spot (fourth place) by default as Mitch Light (Athlon) dropped to sixth place as he also lost with his only play. Brent Yarina moved up three spots to fifth place as he won 100 FTC dollars with two wins and no losses. Michigan St. was the big money maker as six contestants won with the Spartans. Notre Dame was the cash drainer - five contestants lost with the Irish.

ATS  PLAY STANDINGS
LAST SATURDAY
TOTAL
FTC $
W
L
T
W
L
T
STEVEN LASSAN (athlon)
2
0
0
7
4
0
$130
TOM DEINHART (btn)
0
1
0
10
7
0
$115
BRADEN GALL (athlon)
1
0
0
7
5
0
$75
FROM THE COUCH
1
1
0
7
8
0
-$90
BRENT YARINA (btn)
2
0
0
8
9
0
-$95
MITCH LIGHT (athlon)
0
1
0
4
6
0
-$130
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
0
2
0
7
10
0
-$200
STAT RAT (pubhole)
0
1
0
7
10
0
-$200
KEVIN RYAN (247sports)
2
2
0
3
7
0
-$235
DAVID FOX (athlon)
1
3
0
8
14
0
-$370



DETAILS

THIS WEEK'S PLAY DETAILS
WINNERS
LOSERS
WEBSITE
FROM THE COUCH
MSU,
NEB,
KEVIN RYAN (247sports)
RUT,
MSU,
ILL,
ND,
STAT RAT (pubhole)
ND,
TOM DEINHART (btn)
ND,
BRENT YARINA (btn)
RUT,
MSU,
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
OSU,
ND,
DAVID FOX (athlon)
MSU,
NEB,
ILL,
ND,
BRADEN GALL (athlon)
MSU,
STEVEN LASSAN (athlon)
IOW,
MSU,
MITCH LIGHT (athlon)
OSU,






SEASON STATS 

Mitch Light (Athlon) posted a 4-2 “Spread Record” last Saturday and now has a solid lead in the category. Light was also 4-2 in the “Closest” category. All other records among the contestants - excluding the “Straight up” category - were at or below .500.


SPREAD RECORD
W
L
STRAIGHT UP
W
L
MITCH LIGHT (athlon)
26
18
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
34
11
TOM DEINHART (btn)
23
20
FROM THE COUCH
33
11
KEVIN RYAN (247sports)
22
23
KEVIN RYAN (247sports)
33
12
BRADEN GALL (athlon)
22
23
TOM DEINHART (btn)
33
12
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
20
24
BRADEN GALL (athlon)
33
12
FROM THE COUCH
17
26
STEVEN LASSAN (athlon)
33
12
BRENT YARINA (btn)
17
27
STAT RAT (pubhole)
31
14
STEVEN LASSAN (athlon)
17
27
BRENT YARINA (btn)
31
14
STAT RAT (pubhole)
16
26
MITCH LIGHT (athlon)
31
14
DAVID FOX (athlon)
16
28
DAVID FOX (athlon)
30
15
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
KEVIN RYAN (247sports)
17
28
MITCH LIGHT (athlon)
21
23
TOM DEINHART (btn)
14
31
KEVIN RYAN (247sports)
19
26
BRENT YARINA (btn)
14
31
TOM DEINHART (btn)
17
26
BRADEN GALL (athlon)
14
31
STEVEN LASSAN (athlon)
17
27
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
13
32
BRADEN GALL (athlon)
16
28
STEVEN LASSAN (athlon)
13
32
FROM THE COUCH
15
27
MITCH LIGHT (athlon)
13
32
DAVID FOX (athlon)
15
29
FROM THE COUCH
12
33
BRENT YARINA (btn)
14
29
STAT RAT (pubhole)
12
33
STAT RAT (pubhole)
13
29
DAVID FOX (athlon)
11
34
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
13
30


SPREAD RECORD-Simply displays the ATS record.
STRAIGHT UP- The outright winner, disregarding the spread.
WITHIN 7-This category tracks how many times a predicted point spread was within seven points of the final score differential. Why does this matter? Because one can never lose in the play category if the prediction is within 7 points. 35 percent is about average in this category. Close to 50 percent is excellent.
CLOSEST - It’s possible to be on the correct side of the spread yet not be as accurate as the oddsmakers. EX: If I predict Michigan by 12, the spread is 6, and Michigan wins by 7, I get a win in the spread record category. I get a loss in the closest category because the spread (7-6=1) was closer than my prediction (12-7=5).

Any games that go into overtime will be considered a tie when calculating the “closest” and “within 7” category. The actual score will be used, however, for the other two categories.


NOTRE DAME

I predict Notre Dame games along with the Big Ten conference games. Other than the occasions when Notre Dame plays a Big Ten team, these predictions aren’t included in the standings/comparisons as my competition doesn’t make predictions for Notre Dame vs non-Big Ten conference games. Listed below are my stats for Notre Dame games that aren’t included in the standings.

PLAYS
SPREAD RECORD
CLOSEST
WITHIN 7
STRAIGHT UP
W
L
T
W
L
W
L
W
L
W
L
1
0
0
3
2
3
2
3
3
5
1





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