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 26, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WHAT HAPPENED WEEK 8


WHAT HAPPENED 

I went 1-2 last Saturday. The nightmare continues. I can’t say I’ve never had a season like this, but it’s been a quite a while. I still got time to recover, though.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 10-21 (ATS Predictions - Week 8).
My Current Overall Record:  4-10



THE PLAYS
Penn St. 31  Maryland 30   (Penn St. -6.5)
I predicted Penn St. to win, 27-10. Well, Penn St. won, but they cost me a loss as they failed to cover. I figured Penn St. to shut down Maryland based mostly on the play of Maryland QB Perry Hills. Up to this game Hills had shown an ability to run, but struggled badly as a passer. So bad that he lost his starting job before regaining it the week prior to this game. Penn St. had been playing good run defense, in fact good overall defense, so I wasn’t too concerned about Hills doing much damage with his legs, either. As it turned out, Hills had the best passing game of his career and he torched the Nittany Lions defense with long runs on several occasions. Statistically, Maryland has one of the worst defenses in the conference, so I also figured Penn St. RB Saquon Barkley to have a big day, similar to the one he had against top ranked Ohio St. Didn’t happen. And while Penn St. QB Christian Hackenberg completed some long passes downfield - several of them 50/50 balls, he didn’t move around in the pocket and sometimes run for the first down like he had been in the three games prior to this one. Instead he reverted back to listlessly standing in the pocket, either taking a sack or throwing off target rocket balls on the intermediate routes. Penn St. may have been flat coming off of the Ohio St. game, but still, this was a Maryland team that was playing so bad the head coach got the ax half way through the season. Note to self: Don’t ever predict Penn St. to win by more than two touchdowns again. 

Wisconsin 24  Illinois 13   (Wisconsin -4.5)
I predicted Illinois to win, 21-16. When Wisconsin QB Joel Stave left the game with an injury, I figured my chances to get the cover increased dramatically. I never like to see a kid get hurt, but it’s football so it happens. QB injuries are one of those things you can’t account for when handicapping, yet when they occur can change the outcome of a game. Sometimes it works in your favor, sometimes it goes against you. It’s one of those random things you figure is gonna even out in the long run. Except in this case, it didn’t work in my favor. Stave’s backup, Bart Houston, played just as well as Stave would have. In fact, he played better than half of the QBs in the conference. The Badgers didn’t miss a beat as they covered the spread and cost me a loss. Illinois didn’t play all that bad, and actually had a lead there for a while, but Houston just would not miss. Wisconsin HC Paul Chryst called a great game as the Badgers effectively moved the ball with a short passing game. The Badgers also ran the ball a little better than I expected. But again, Illinois’ defense wasn’t all that bad, it was just that Wisconsin’s offensive scheme, and Houston’s execution, was better. I knew Illinois wasn’t gonna light up the scoreboard against a very good Wisconsin defense, but I expected HC Bill Cubit to come through with a plan to at least put up 21 points. Cubit’s usually a pretty good play caller himself, but he didn’t have much of an answer for the Badgers defense in this one. And the concerns I mentioned in my prediction write-up about Illinois QB Wes Lunt were justified. Illinois’s final hopes of getting back in the game (and a cover for me) ended with about four minutes left as Lunt threw back to back “I give up” passes on third and fourth down. 

Ohio St. 49  Rutgers 7   (Ohio St. -21)
I predicted Ohio St. to win, 49-20. I didn’t have to sweat this one as I easily got the cover and my only win for the day. I said in my prediction write-up that I may not have considered Rutgers for enough scoring, but that was no issue here. Ohio St. dominated on both sides of the ball. Buckeyes QB J.T. Barrett did well in his highly publicized first start of the season. I’m bit put off by the sudden hordes of fans/media types who are saying “Barrett should have been the guy from the start”. As I recall, at the beginning of the season - before the benefit of 20/20 hindsight - there were just as many who were saying Cardale Jones should be the guy. The score in this game might have been about the same if Jones was still the starter. I think the Buckeyes are starting to hit that “best in the nation” stride everyone’s been waiting for. Urban Meyer’s a good coach, so it was just a matter of time. That’s not to say I think they’re unbeatable, though. I don’t think that at all.



THE NON-PLAYS
Michigan St. 52  Indiana 26   (Michigan St. -15)
I predicted Michigan St. to win, 42-24, so not too far off on this one. The game played out somewhat like I predicted. Michigan St. established a lead and fought off comebacks from Indiana. But the cushion Michigan St. established was much smaller than I called for. Indiana matched Michigan St. touchdown for touchdown through three quarters, but missed PATs kept the Hoosiers at least a point or two behind. And QB Connor Cook and the Spartans used controlled scoring drives as opposed to the big strikes I called for. 

Northwestern 30  Nebraska 28   (Nebraska -7)
I predicted Nebraska to win, 31-21. Nice win for Northwestern. Really nice. Nebraska, on the other hand, is back to hapless. Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson didn’t commit any of the turnovers I called for. In fact, Thorson had a pretty good game; more with his legs than his arm, though - Thorson led all rushers with 126 yards. At any rate, he played better than I called for. His counterpart, Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong, followed my script and committed a “poor decision” pick six turnover. I mentioned in my prediction write-up how skeptical I was of Nebraska. But it was just hard to foresee a Northwestern road win when the Wildcats were coming off of two consecutive “beatdown” losses. Again, nice win for Northwestern. Bad loss for Nebraska, though. Just….bad.






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.

Brent Yarina increased his lead in the overall standings as he won with his only play, Ohio St, and is now up 90 FTC dollars. (All but one of us cashed in on Ohio St). Tom Dienhart is on a roll as he turned in his second consecutive winning Saturday. Deinhart went 2-1 and moved into second place. Sean Merriman dropped to third as he lost with his only play, Penn St. I dropped even further behind. I think it’s only sporting that I give these guys a head start before I make my move.
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
0
0
4
2
0
$90
TOM DEINHART (btn)
2
1
0
5
4
0
$30
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
0
1
0
2
3
0
-$65
FROM THE COUCH
1
2
0
4
9
0
-$295





DETAILS

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


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 has the hot hand as he’s moved to the top of three of the four categories.
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
TOM DEINHART (btn)
12
10
BRENT YARINA (btn)
19
4
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
10
13
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
18
5
FROM THE COUCH
9
14
TOM DEINHART (btn)
18
5
BRENT YARINA (btn)
8
14
FROM THE COUCH
16
6
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
TOM DEINHART (btn)
8
15
TOM DEINHART (btn)
10
12
BRENT YARINA (btn)
7
16
FROM THE COUCH
9
14
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
6
17
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
9
14
FROM THE COUCH
5
18
BRENT YARINA (btn)
8
14


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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For this season’s archives by title, click hereArchive by Title 




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