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 19, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WHAT HAPPENED WEEK 7


WHAT HAPPENED 

I split at 1-1 last Saturday. Great day for watching football but something has to be done about the targeting rule. It’s ruining the game to point where it’s almost not worth watching any more.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 10-14 (ATS Predictions - Week 7).
My Current Overall Record:  3-8 



THE PLAYS
Rutgers 55  Indiana 52   (Indiana -5.5)
I predicted Rutgers to win, 37-35. I’d like to say it was my forecasting prowess that got me the win here. But the truth is, I could have saved myself some handicapping time and just flipped a coin. Geez, what a couple of crappy teams. Especially on defense. One team made about twenty mistakes, the other nineteen. Who can pick a winner out of that pile of ineptitude? On one Rutgers TD run, two Indiana players took each other out of the play by running into each other. Indiana had a twenty plus lead in the second half and promptly botched a punt and served up two interceptions-- just in the nick of time for a Rutgers comeback.

Ohio St. 38  Penn St. 10   (Ohio St. -18.5)
I predicted Ohio St. to win, 24-17. Actually, my vision of this game wasn’t that far off. I figured Penn St. to move the ball against the Buckeyes, and they did have some success on the ground. But I also expected Penn St. QB Christian Hackenberg to get out of the pocket and connect on a long throw or two downfield, and that didn’t happen. But I will say, Hackenberg gave it a good try. I’ve been hard on the kid, but recently he’s playing with a competitiveness that wasn’t always there. An early Penn St. TD run called back for holding didn’t help my cause. I also expected Ohio St.’s recent offensive struggles to continue against a solid Penn St. defense. QB Cardale Jones did struggle a bit, but his backup, J.T. Barrett came in and hurt the Penn St. defense (and my chances for a cover) more with his legs than with his arm. Ohio St. is just a better team and that was slowly displayed over the course of the game as the Buckeyes scored two TDs in the final seven minutes.


THE NON-PLAYS
Michigan St. 27  Michigan 23   (Michigan -7)
I predicted Michigan to win, 27-14. Well, if you’re any kind of college football fan you know what happened. It didn’t really matter as it pertains to my prediction, though. Michigan St. played better than I expected. On both sides of the ball. Hard to believe the Spartans couldn’t put away the likes of Purdue and Rutgers way before the final minutes. I called for the banged up O-line to have difficulties protecting QB Connor Cook, but for the most part it had no such trouble. Consequently, Cook had a good game. Michigan QB Jake Rudock played Ok – neither QB threw the interception I called for – but as I alluded to in my prediction write-up, Michigan St. had the advantage at the QB position. Once again – for about the sixth time this season – Rudock missed an open receiver on a long TD pass. And while it’s not usually the QBs fault when a pass is batted down at the line, analyst Chris Spielman pointed out that Rudock wasn’t making a very good effort to find a passing lane. But on the other hand, Rudock did make some nice reads and throws. Just Rudock being Rudock. Good, but not the “great” QB this Michigan team needs to get to the upper echelon. This was a good game that will long be remembered for the crazy finish so it’s nice to have witnessed it as it unfolded. But I don’t really like to see an outcome decided that way. For all practical purposes, Michigan won the game.

Nebraska 48  Minnesota 25   (Minnesota -2)
I predicted Nebraska to win, 24-21. I was correct in picking the dog to win, but I didn’t figure Nebraska to hang 48 on what was supposed to be a good Minnesota defense. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong didn’t throw any of the two interceptions I called for and the ‘Huskers had their way running the ball. I was correct in identifying Minnesota’s strong offensive showing the previous Saturday against Purdue as fool’s gold, the Gophers only managed 65 yards on the ground, but was surprised that QB Mitch Leidner actually passed the ball well, despite throwing two late interceptions. This game serves as a good barometer when comparing scores to determine the conference pecking order. It looked like an even matchup coming into this game, but obviously Nebraska is a much better team.

Iowa 40  Northwestern 10   (Iowa -1)
I predicted Iowa to win, 21-19. Another blowout that appeared to be an even matchup going in. Iowa is gaining momentum as its O-line is improving, and Northwestern is stagnating as its QB is not improving. I said in my prediction write-up that I liked Iowa to win because of an edge at the QB position. I wouldn’t say QB play is the sole reason for the Iowa rout, but I will say that Northwestern struggled at the position and it cost them. He’s just a freshman so he’ll get better. The past few seasons has made me skeptical of both of these teams’ early success this season. My skepticism is starting to justify with Northwestern. I’m waiting on Iowa. Hawkeye fans are talking “running the table” as they look at a relatively easy remaining schedule. We’ll see.

Wisconsin 24  Purdue 7   (Wisconsin -23)
I predicted Wisconsin to win, 34-17. I was right on the willy with the point spread but the scoring came in a little lower than I called for.  And the game went much like I predicted in my write-up with a few exceptions. I expected Wisconsin to cure their running game problems against a Purdue defense that ranks last in the conference against the run. Didn’t really happen that way. Wisconsin relies on QB Joel Stave, which isn’t the worst thing; Stave ain’t bad. But I think the weak running game is gonna cost them a game or two eventually. It’s getting near the time of the season when teams like Purdue start to go in the tank, especially if the coach’s job status starts to become a media topic. I haven’t heard any loud grumblings about HC Darrell Hazell and the Boilermakers showed no signs of quitting in this game, though.

Notre Dame 41  USC 31   (Notre Dame -4.5)
I predicted Notre Dame to win, 27-24. Nice win for the Irish against a talented USC team. The game went back and forth with Notre Dame showing the heart to pull it out in the end. I was correct about HC Brian Kelly dialing up some great plays as the Irish scored even more than I called for. I said I didn’t think QB DeShone Kizer was where he needed to be yet in order to consider Notre Dame an upper echelon team. This game changed my mind. The kid’s ready. Great game, great heart. The Notre Dame defense had its moments, both good and bad. Maybe it’s ‘cuz I’m too “old school”, or maybe it’s ‘cuz I like Notre Dame and want them uphold some unreasonable standard, but I wish the Notre Dame defenders would just get up and go back to the huddle after making a nice tackle rather than taking a bow for the cameras.





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.

Tom Deinhart had a nice Saturday and left me at the bottom of the standings as he went 3-1, winning with Michigan St, Iowa, and Rutgers, and losing with Wisconsin. Brent Yarina remains in first place, but we all gained ground on Brent as he was the only one to turn in a losing Saturday.
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)
1
2
0
3
2
0
$40
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
1
1
0
2
2
0
-$10
TOM DEINHART (btn)
3
1
0
3
3
0
-$15
FROM THE COUCH
1
1
0
3
7
0
-$235






DETAILS

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

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. Deinhart gained ground in the “Straight Up” category as he went a perfect 6-0 last Saturday. I was 5-1. If not for an instantly famous botched punt I’d be the one who was 6-0 and Deinhart would have been 5-1. Notice that Brent Yarina sits at the bottom of the “Spread Record” category at 6-12 for the season. This is why I like my “Play” system. Brent is in the money using the “Play” system. But disregarding the “Play” system and forcing every pick would have him financially buried.
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)
9
9
BRENT YARINA (btn)
15
3
TOM DEINHART (btn)
8
9
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
14
4
FROM THE COUCH
7
11
TOM DEINHART (btn)
14
4
BRENT YARINA (btn)
6
12
FROM THE COUCH
13
4
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
BRENT YARINA (btn)
6
12
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
8
10
TOM DEINHART (btn)
6
12
FROM THE COUCH
7
11
FROM THE COUCH
5
13
BRENT YARINA (btn)
6
12
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
5
13
TOM DEINHART (btn)
6
11


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
5
0
6
3
3
4
2




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