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.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WEEK 12 PREDICTIONS


Seven games to look at this week. Six conference games and a Notre Dame game. Good matchups from here on out. Evenly matched games this week and next week’s season closing rivalry games will be good matchups as well.
My current record: 6-14



CRYSTAL BALL

WEEK OF 11-21-2015

IOWA
31
PURDUE
7
INDIANA
45
MARYLAND
38
MINNESOTA
31
ILLINOIS
20
OHIO ST
38
MICHIGAN ST
28
MICHIGAN
24
PENN ST
17
WISCONSIN
20
NORTHWESTERN
13
NOTRE DAME
27
BOSTON COLL'G
7

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
IOWA
7
17
24
31
PURDUE
7
7
7
7

I predicted a few weeks ago that Iowa would stumble somewhere along the way and not finish the regular season undefeated. Only two games left for that to happen and it appears unlikely that this will be the game. It’s not entirely impossible, though. Purdue upset a very good Ohio St. team a few years back. Still, I have to think Iowa wins big in this one. The game is at Kinnick and the Hawkeyes have been rolling lately. They seem to be getting better each week offensively. Purdue plays better than expected one week, worse than expected the next. They played better than expected last week, so the graph says to expect a poor performance from the Boilermakers this week. Still, ya never know for sure with college kids.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Iowa by 22.5, so there is virtually no chance that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
MARYLAND
10
17
24
38
INDIANA
7
24
31
45

Like most all of Indiana’s games, this one should be a shootout. The Hoosiers can score on anybody and anybody can score on the Hoosiers. Pretty good matchup. Both teams are bottom dwellers looking for their first conference win. Maryland turns the ball over on a regular basis and statistically has the conference’s worst offense. But they’re playing against the worst defense. I expect more turnovers from the Terrapins but I also expect QB Perry Hills to do a lot of damage with his legs. And I’ve said it before: Maryland’s defense isn’t as bad as the numbers make it appear. But they’re playing against statistically the conference’s best offense. The oddsmakers disagree, probably ‘cuz the game is at Maryland, but I think Indiana wins this one.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Maryland by 2.5, so this prediction will most likely qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
MINNESOTA
7
14
17
31
ILLINOIS
0
10
13
20

Minnesota hasn’t been playing all that bad during a tough stretch of three games against the best teams in the conference. They didn’t win any of those games, but they seem to be improved from earlier in the season. Mostly in the passing game as QB Mitch Leidner has gone from horrendous to decent. Illinois matches up well enough with Minnesota. But the Illini struggle offensively and I’m not a big fan of QB Wes Lunt. I like Minnesota to break their losing streak in this one.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Minnesota by 5, so it is very possible that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
OHIO ST
10
17
31
38
MICHIGAN ST
7
14
21
28

Well, here it is. The game that’s been circled since the end of last season. Neither team has really played up to expectations this season. Mostly because the expectations were pretty lofty. Michigan St. QB Connor Cook left last Saturday’s game with an injury, but all reports say he’s good to go for this game. Still, I kinda expect him to be not quite 100% given it was a shoulder injury. I think Ohio St. is the better team and HC Urban Meyer is one of the best “big game” coaches in college football. I look for the game to BR entertaining and hotly contested, but in the end the Buckeyes win. They almost always do.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Ohio St. by 14, so it is unlikely that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
PENN ST
3
3
10
17
MICHIGAN
0
14
17
24

Another good matchup here. I really believe Michigan can beat anybody in the conference, but I also think they’re not above losing to any of the better conference teams, if that makes sense. Penn St. has evolved into a decent team this season. Better than I expected, anyway. The Nittany Lions bring a good defense and the offense is still not to be considered great, but it is much better than it’s ever been since James Franklin took over as HC. I think Michigan has the better coaching staff and maybe the better offense if QB Jake Rudock plays ok. I don’t entirely trust Rudock, but then, I do trust him more than his counterpart, Penn St. QB Christian Hackenberg.  But lately, Hackenberg hasn’t been all that bad, which explains the offensive improvement. Playing at Happy Valley will make it difficult, but I like Michigan to win this one.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Michigan by 3, so it is unlikely that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
WISCONSIN
3
10
17
20
N'RTHW'STERN
0
10
13
13

Yet another good matchup. Earlier in the season I probably would have predicted Northwestern to win this one. But now I like Wisconsin. I like HC Paul Chryst’s play calling and I give the edge to the Badgers defense and QB play. That’s not to say that Northwestern is subpar in any of those categories, although QB Clayton Thorson does struggle with throwing accuracy. In fact, both teams have some weaknesses. But both teams have enough strengths to have compiled an 8-2 record so far. Again, even matchup, but I’m going with Wisconsin.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Wisconsin by 10, so it is unlikely that this prediction will qualify as a play.

1
2
3
Final
NOTRE DAME
7
13
27
27
BOSTON COLL
0
0
7
7

So who ranks first in the nation in total defense? Take a guess. Nope. It’s Boston College. Yet the Eagles are 3-7 this season. So much for defense wins championships. Gonna need a little offense, too. The Eagles don’t have much of that. Fortunately for Notre Dame, the Irish are very good on offense, and maybe not great, but at least good enough on defense to handle Boston College’s offense. I figure the scoring to be relatively low as Notre Dame games go, but the Irish win by more than two touchdowns.
As of the date of this post, the line sits at Notre Dame by 15, so there is a small chance 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)
2
0
0
6
5
0
$25
TOM DEINHART (btn)
3
3
0
8
9
0
-$95
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
2
1
0
4
7
0
-$185
FROM THE COUCH
1
0
0
6
12
0
-$360

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





SEASON STATS

SPREAD RECORD
W
L
STRAIGHT UP
W
L
TOM DEINHART (btn)
20
19
BRENT YARINA (btn)
33
7
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
16
22
TOM DEINHART (btn)
33
7
FROM THE COUCH
15
25
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
32
8
BRENT YARINA (btn)
14
25
FROM THE COUCH
29
9
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
16
24
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
15
23
BRENT YARINA (btn)
14
26
TOM DEINHART (btn)
15
24
FROM THE COUCH
13
27
BRENT YARINA (btn)
13
26
TOM DEINHART (btn)
13
27
FROM THE COUCH
13
27

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
1
7
1
8
4
5
7
2



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