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, October 12, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WHAT HAPPENED WEEK 6


WHAT HAPPENED 

I went 0-4 last Saturday. A disaster. After I went back a few years, I gave up digging through my records trying to find a weekend this bad. This may be the worst ever. If not, it’s been a long time since. Ah, well. Only thing to do is to sharpen my pencil and move forward. As difficult as it may be, I can’t allow my confidence to be shaken. My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 10-7 (ATS Predictions - Week 6).
My Current Overall Record:  2-7


THE PLAYS
Wisconsin 23  Nebraska 21   (Wisconsin -2.5)
I predicted Wisconsin to win, 27-10. All week long Nebraska was favored by 1.5. It wasn’t until around Friday that the line took a big shift and moved just enough to burn me for a loss by a half of a point. It really doesn’t matter, though, ‘cuz I was way off with this one. Wisconsin played well enough on defense for the most part, but a late 55 yard TD gash by the Nebraska fullback on third and short was a dagger. And Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong didn’t oblige with the interceptions I called for. It’s not that he didn’t try, though. Armstrong was as erratic with his passes and decision making as I envisioned, it’s just that none of his off target passes landed in the hands of Wisconsin defenders. Wisconsin didn’t surprise me too much – they struggle with the running game, and QB Joel Stave played well. If anything, I underestimated Nebraska’s ability to bounce back from the tuff losses they’ve been enduring and the Nebraska fans didn’t seem to be as disgruntled as I expected.

Minnesota 41  Purdue 13   (Minnesota -3.5)
I predicted Purdue to win, 24-19. The “U” got me again. I couldn’t watch this game because it was moved to ESPNU, a channel I don’t have access to. I mentioned in my prediction write-up that Purdue’s rate of improvement seems to be a one and a half step forward, one step back kind of thing. The Boilermakers took about three steps back in this one and cost me a loss. I gotta think HC Darrell Hazell is on thin ice after this game. I cited Minnesota’s recent offensive struggles as one of my reasons for liking Purdue in this game. Apparently Purdue’s defense was the cure. It would appear that Minnesota took about three steps forward, but I’m not completely sold on that idea yet. Have to consider the opponent.

Penn St. 29  Indiana 7   (Penn St. -6.5)
I predicted Indiana to win, 24-17. I mentioned in my prediction write-up that Penn St. showed some offensive improvement two weeks ago, but the non-televised 20 point performance against lowly Army had me thinking it was the same old Penn St. Granted, Indiana’s defense is known for making offenses look good, but Penn St. turned in its best offensive performance I’ve seen since James Franklin took over as HC-- and made me pay with a loss in this one. QB Christian Hackenberg had plenty of time to throw and although he still has some accuracy issues, connected with his receivers often enough. Given my expectations for a poor offensive showing from Penn St., I wasn’t too concerned that Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld may not play. He didn’t and now I wish he did. His replacement, Zander Diamont, isn’t very good.

Michigan St. 31  Rutgers 24   (Michigan St. -13.5)
I predicted Michigan St. to win, 38-10. I was figuring Rutgers to be a bit unraveled without their HC on the sidelines and the recent turmoil surrounding the program. But I saw no such signs Saturday. Rutgers reinstated star WR Leonte Carroo in the middle of the week which was a nice boost for the Scarlet Knights. Michigan St. just either would not or could not cover Carroo. And Rutgers QB Chris Laviano played better than I expected. I’m not so sure the recent close calls Michigan St. has been enduring recently are due to lack of inspiration. QB Conner Cook and couple of his receivers are good, but after that the Spartans don’t seem to have much. They do have a lot of injuries, though.


THE NON-PLAYS
Ohio St. 49  Maryland 28   (Ohio St. -33)
Insult to injury here. I backed off of this prediction because of the media hype forecasting Maryland HC Randy Edsall’s subsequent firing. As it turns out, if I’d have stuck with my prediction it would have qualified as a play and would have been a winner. That was one frustrating Saturday, man. Maryland didn’t seem to be too affected by the hype, either, as they gave the Ohio St. defense all it could handle for most of the game. Everyone has been waiting for Ohio St. to have a breakthrough game where the Buckeyes dominate and cover one of the big spreads they keep drawing. And some are claiming that, offensively, this game meets the expectation as QB Cardell Jones had one of his better outings of the season. Still, the Buckeyes defense doesn’t look worthy of the team’s number one ranking, though.

Iowa 29  Illinois 20   (Iowa -10)
I predicted Iowa to win, 28-14. Not too far off on this one. Illinois is so much more improved from last season. As I expected, the Illini were in this game most of the way. Iowa QB C.J. Beathard played well, as did RB Jordan Canzeri. But after watching this one I’d say these two teams aren’t quite as far apart as I thought going in. Illinois is a bit better and Iowa isn’t quite as good.

Michigan 38  Northwestern 0   (Michigan -9.5)
I predicted Michigan to win, 16-13. The line swings saved me on this one ‘cuz a half point more and Northwestern would have been a play and a loss. Wow. I don’t think anybody saw this coming. The Wolverines appear to back and are making huge improvements on a weekly basis. Michigan ran back the opening kickoff and added two more touchdowns before the first quarter ended. And with a freshman QB on the road, Northwestern was pretty much done at that point.

Notre Dame 41  Navy 24   (Notre Dame -14)
I predicted Notre Dame to win, 35-27. I figured Navy’s option to give Notre Dame problems and for a while there, it did. But Navy turned the ball over a few times, once deep in their own territory, and the Irish won without much drama. And Notre Dame’s defense did seem to handle the option better in the second half. Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer put up some good numbers, but I still say he needs to improve if the Irish are to be successful against a tuff upcoming schedule.





ATS

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

My disastrous weekend sank me to the bottom of the standings so I’m playing from way behind. In fact, no one in the group had any winners as Sean Merriman lost one game with Michigan St. and Tom Deinhart lost one game with Indiana. Brent Yarina didn’t have any predictions that qualified as plays and sits at the top of the standings as the only contestant on the plus side financially.
Links to last Saturday’s predictions from all contestants can be found in the “Details” section below.


ATS  PLAY STANDINGS
LAST SATURDAY
TOTAL
FTC $
W
L
T
W
L
T
BRENT YARINA (btn)
0
0
0
2
0
0
$100
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
0
1
0
1
1
0
-$5
TOM DEINHART (btn)
0
1
0
0
2
0
-$110
FROM THE COUCH
0
4
0
2
6
0
-$230






DETAILS

THIS WEEK'S PLAY DETAILS
WINNERS
LOSERS
WEBSITE
FROM THE COUCH
WIS,
PUR,
IND,
MSU,
TOM DEINHART (btn)
IND,
BRENT YARINA (btn)
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
MSU,

The full list of last Saturday’s predictions from each contestant can be found by clicking the link listed under “website”.




SEASON STATS
Listed below are stats for various categories that I’ll be tracking. Most everyone fared poorly this week in all categories except for the “Straight Up” category where Brent Yarina correctly picked all six winners. Again, links to last Saturday’s predictions from all contestants can be found in the “Details” section.


SPREAD RECORD
W
L
STRAIGHT UP
W
L
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
6
6
BRENT YARINA (btn)
11
1
TOM DEINHART (btn)
4
7
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
10
2
FROM THE COUCH
3
9
FROM THE COUCH
8
3
BRENT YARINA (btn)
3
9
TOM DEINHART (btn)
8
4
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
BRENT YARINA (btn)
4
8
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
5
7
TOM DEINHART (btn)
4
8
FROM THE COUCH
3
9
FROM THE COUCH
3
9
BRENT YARINA (btn)
3
9
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
3
9
TOM DEINHART (btn)
2
9


SPREAD RECORD- This category disregards my seven point “play” system and 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 actual 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 – This category tracks the number of times a predicted point spread was more accurate than the Vegas point spread. This category differs from the Spread Record category because 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 Michigan by 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 oddsmakers’ point spread (7-6=1) was closer to the final score differential 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. My Notre Dame predictions aren’t included in the above standings and statistics because my competition doesn’t predict Notre Dame games. So I’ve separately listed the stats for my Notre Dame game predictions below.

PLAYS
SPREAD RECORD
CLOSEST
WITHIN 7
STRAIGHT UP
W
L
T
W
L
W
L
W
L
W
L
0
1
0
0
4
0
5
2
3
3
2





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