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, November 11, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WEEK 11 PREDICTIONS


Seven games to look at this week. Six conference games and a Notre Dame game. As of now it looks like only one will be a play. Maybe two.
My current record: 5-14


CRYSTAL BALL 

WEEK OF 11-14-2015

OHIO ST
38
ILLINOIS
24
MICHIGAN
38
INDIANA
21
MICHIGAN ST
31
MARYLAND
20
NORTHWESTERN
34
PURDUE
17
NEBRASKA
35
RUTGERS
24
IOWA
16
MINNESOTA
13
NOTRE DAME
45
WAKE FOREST
21

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 predicted point spread that differs from the closing line 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 or click here→ (FTC $ Q&A.)


1
2
3
Final
ILLINOIS
7
10
17
24
OHIO ST
3
17
31
38

After three consecutive losses, Illinois bounced back strong last Saturday. The opponent was lower tier Purdue so I don’t want to overvalue the lopsided victory. Ohio St. is overvalued in general, I think. I’d agree the Buckeyes are one of the best teams in the country, but I don’t think they’re as invincible as most seem to think. This has the makings of a trap game for Ohio St. The Buckeyes are on the road and they have two huge games coming up after this one. So I see Illinois taking an early lead that they relinquish by halftime. The Buckeyes build a two touchdown lead early in the third quarter, take their foot off the gas a bit and then put their foot back on the gas whenever Illinois cuts the lead to seven points. In other words, the Buckeyes do just enough to maintain a two touchdown victory.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Ohio St. by 15.5, so there is virtually no chance that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
INDIANA
0
7
7
21
MICHIGAN
10
17
31
38

Indiana and HC Kevin Wilson gets a lot of props for their “close but no cigar” performances. They’re known for putting a scare into the upper echelon teams. They “almost” beat Ohio St. They “almost” beat Michigan St. They “almost” beat good teams ‘cuz Wilson does put together a good offense. But I think Michigan’s defense and ball control offense make sure that there’s nothing “almost” in this game. Michigan methodically builds a big lead as they hold Indiana to only one touchdown through three quarters. Then in the fourth quarter Indiana does another thing they’re known for – scoring a couple of garbage touchdowns when the game is out of reach, thus giving the impression they “almost” won.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Michigan by 13.5, so it is unlikely that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
MICHIGAN ST
7
21
21
31
MARYLAND
3
10
20
20

I think this game will be typical of most all of Michigan St.’s victories this season. The Spartans really aren’t good enough to blow anybody out. But they’re coached well enough and have just enough talent to win most all of the close ones. I’ve said all along that Maryland isn’t as bad as their record implies, so I figure this game to be competitive but in the end Michigan St. salts away the victory.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Michigan St. by 15, so it is unlikely that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
N'RTHW'STERN
10
20
27
34
PURDUE
7
7
14
17

Just when I count Purdue out, they reel me back in. Just when they reel me back in, they turn in a dud like last Saturday’s blowout loss at home to an Illinois team that was on a three game losing streak. It’s taken me most of the season to trust Northwestern ‘cuz last season the Wildcats turned in a roller coaster season themselves. The game is at Northwestern and the ‘Cats have proven to be the much better team this season so I’m going with ‘em to win this one. I didn’t see Purdue play last Saturday so I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve noticed that the Purdue players never seem to quit no matter how bleak things seem to appear. We’re getting close to the end of the season so I may be making a mistake, but I’m gonna predict that Purdue keeps this one from becoming a complete blowout. I still say they lose by more than two touchdowns, though.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Northwestern by 16, so there is virtually no chance that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
RUTGERS
7
17
17
24
NEBRASKA
7
14
28
35

Nebraska finally got a nice win last Saturday, proving that they have the talent to play with any team in the conference.  They’re just not always in synch with the new coaching staff and the QB play is erratic. Well, either not in synch or poorly coached, take your pick. QB Tommy Armstrong has the talent to win games for his team, but he has a tendency to make decisions that can lose games for his team. So Nebraska is another team that ya just never know about. Rutgers has been nothing short of a punching bag lately. But the level of competition drops off some in this game, at least from a performance standpoint, and the game is at Rutgers.  I say “at least from a performance standpoint” because as I mentioned, Nebraska has the talent. But I figure the Nebraska players to be foolish enough to figure this game to be an easy victory as they bask in the glow of their upset victory over nationally ranked Michigan St. And I don’t figure the Nebraska coaching staff to be good enough to do anything about it. So Nebraska’s talent wins the game, but it won’t be as easy as it should be.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Nebraska by 9.5, so there is virtually no chance that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
IOWA
0
10
10
16
MINNESOTA
3
6
13
13

I’ve been predicting that Iowa won’t finish the regular season undefeated. This could be the one. Minnesota hasn’t looked all that bad in its last two defeats against arguably the two best teams in the conference. The argument would come from Iowa fans. I think this game will be much closer than most would think and have a feeling we might get an upset here. I’m not so confident that I’d take the Gophers and lay points, though, especially when the game’s at Kinnick. General logic says Iowa wins this one. But I’ll take the Gophers and double digit points, though. And it looks like I’ll get double digits.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Iowa by 12.5, so this prediction will most likely qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
NOTRE DAME
10
24
31
45
WAKE FOREST
0
7
14
21

Notre Dame’s offense is rolling. QB Deshone Kizer has blossomed into the real deal. It appears that RB C.J. Prosise will be cleared to play in this game after leaving last Saturday’s victory over Pitt with an injury. Wake Forest has been playing some good teams close, but for the most part isn’t having a very good season. I suppose Notre Dame could let down here a bit, and the Irish defense will eventually be this team’s downfall. But I don’t see Wake being much of a threat by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. Notre Dame with a comfortable, but at times sloppy, victory.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Notre Dame by 27, so it is unlikely that this prediction will qualify as a play.





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.

ATS  PLAY STANDINGS
LAST SATURDAY
TOTAL
FTC $
W
L
T
W
L
T
BRENT YARINA (btn)
0
3
0
4
5
0
-$75
TOM DEINHART (btn)
0
1
0
5
6
0
-$80
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
0
2
0
2
6
0
-$230
FROM THE COUCH
1
3
0
5
12
0
-$410

Link to the BTN website (last Saturday’s predictions): BTN.com





SEASON STATS

SPREAD RECORD
W
L
STRAIGHT UP
W
L
TOM DEINHART (btn)
17
16
BRENT YARINA (btn)
27
7
FROM THE COUCH
13
21
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
27
7
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
13
21
TOM DEINHART (btn)
27
7
BRENT YARINA (btn)
9
24
FROM THE COUCH
23
9
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
TOM DEINHART (btn)
12
22
TOM DEINHART (btn)
14
19
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
11
23
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
12
22
FROM THE COUCH
10
24
FROM THE COUCH
11
23
BRENT YARINA (btn)
10
24
BRENT YARINA (btn)
9
24


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
2
0
0
7
0
8
3
5
6
2





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