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, November 2, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WHAT HAPPENED WEEK 9


WHAT HAPPENED

None of my conference game predictions qualified as plays last Saturday, but I did lose with my Notre Dame game prediction. Still hatin’ on the targeting rule.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 10-28 (ATSPredictions - Week 9).
My Current Overall Record:  4-11



THE PLAYS
Notre Dame 24  Temple 20   (Notre Dame -10.5)
I predicted Notre Dame to win, 34-14. This one wasn’t as easy for Notre Dame as I thought it would be. It never is for Notre Dame, no matter who they’re playing. I should give more consideration to my afterthoughts ‘cuz I mentioned as much in my prediction write-up. I can’t really belittle Temple, though. They were better than I thought they’d be. It was hard to determine how good they are because up until now, the Owls have played a relatively soft schedule. Late in the game a Notre Dame defender touched his helmet against a Temple receiver’s helmet in the end zone during a third down incompletion, which provided a convenient time for the ref to make his presence felt and call targeting, thus giving Temple a new set of downs to score a TD and ruin my hopes for a Notre Dame cover. Did I ever mention I hate the targeting rule? Well, maybe I don’t hate the rule itself, but I hate the way it’s being subjectively called.


THE NON-PLAYS
Iowa 31  Maryland 15   (Iowa -17.5)
I predicted Iowa to win, 35-21, so not too far off on this one. Maryland QB Perry Hills played pretty much like I called for in my prediction write-up, throwing some nice passes but also serving up three interceptions. Iowa looked good in this game and was in control throughout. I’ve been calling for Iowa to stumble sometime in November, but I gotta admit, the Hawkeyes’ performance in this game is giving me doubts about that notion. They seem to be getting better each week.

Penn St. 39  Illinois 0   (Penn St. -3.5)
I predicted Illinois to win, 16-14. Way off on this one. I think most everyone was surprised not so much by the winner, but by the final score. I’ve been hard on the Penn St. offense and QB Christian Hackenberg during the whole HC James Franklin era. But Hackenberg and the offense shut me up with this one. But in my defense, this was by far the best offensive performance since James took over. Hackenberg even moved his feet and avoided a sack, something I don’t remember ever seeing him do previously. Heck, he even caught a TD pass. His best, most confident performance as a Nittany Lion. I saw flashes of offensive improvement a few games ago, but wasn’t impressed with the performance in the game prior to this one, so I thought they had regressed back to same ol’, same ol’. Now I’m not too sure what to expect, but as of now it appears Hackenberg and the Penn St. offense has turned a corner. Illinois turned a corner as well… in the opposite direction. There’s still some football to be played, but my feeling is that interim HC Bill Cubit failed his audition to be permanent HC with this one. He had the Illini clipping along pretty good early in the season and while they weren’t always winning, they were competitive with some of the league’s best. Obviously they weren’t competitive in this one and now the lone conference victory over Nebraska doesn’t look so shiny anymore. The Illini reverted back to the (former HC) Tim Beckman days in this game as there were several stupid penalties and what appeared at times to be a lack of effort. And the play calling doesn’t seem to be as creative as when Cubit could devote all his attention to the OC duties. And finally, one of the bigger problems is and has been QB Wes Lunt. The kid’s got talent, but just doesn’t seem to have that “oomph”, that competitiveness. Which up until this game had been my criticism of Hackenberg. 

Purdue 55  Nebraska 45   (Nebraska -7.5)
I had to withdraw my prediction upon the news that Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong wasn’t going to play. If he showed signs in the previous game against Northwestern of getting hurt bad enough to miss the next game, I completely missed it. So I handicapped this game on Sunday assuming Armstrong was going to play. I didn’t get to see this game because it was on ESPNU, a channel I don’t have access to. Even without Armstrong, I may not have called for a Purdue victory, but I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. Armstrong can be a liability for the Cornhuskers, but he’s also an asset. And it’s usually safe to assume the first start for the backup QB is gonna be shaky. I will say, there doesn’t ever seem to be any quit in this Purdue team. And they’ve had plenty of reasons and occasions to quit. 

Wisconsin 48  Rutgers 10   (Wisconsin -20)
I predicted Wisconsin to win, 27-10. I was right when I said Wisconsin would be in comfortable control throughout most of the game. I was wrong when I said I didn’t expect the Badgers to win in blowout fashion. No let down here. And the Badgers found a bit of a running game with the return of RB Corey Clement, although some of the success may have to do with the opponent. This is the second straight blowout loss for Rutgers. 

Michigan 29  Minnesota 26   (Michigan -12.5)
I predicted Wisconsin to win, 24-10. I considered withdrawing this prediction due to Minnesota HC Jerry Kill’s sudden retirement. I decided to let it ride, though, mainly because Kill has missed games in the past due to his health and consequently has his assistant coaches prepared for such instances. One thing that concerned me as a potential variable, though, was the “win one for Jerry” motivation for the Minnesota players. I think there was a certain amount of that, but what I think made this game tighter than what I expected was the play of Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner. Leidner started off the season with some serious struggles in the passing game. I expected some of that to show up in this game but, for the most part, Leidner threw the ball well. I also couldn’t give Minnesota too much respect after the three touchdown home loss to a Nebraska team that isn’t very good. The Gophers almost won this game so, nice bounceback.






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.

No change in the standings as only two predictions between all four of us qualified as plays, both of ‘em losses. Tom Dienhart lost with Minnesota, and Sean Merriman lost with Rutgers. My Notre Dame loss doesn’t count in these standings.
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
4
2
0
$90
TOM DEINHART (btn)
0
1
0
5
5
0
-$25
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
0
1
0
2
4
0
-$120
FROM THE COUCH
0
0
0
4
9
0
-$295





DETAILS

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

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 this season’s stats for various categories that I’ll be tracking. Everyone but me and my Illinois pick was perfect last Saturday in the “Straight Up” category. No one did very well in any other category except Deinhart’s 3-1 in the “Spread Record” category.
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)
15
11
BRENT YARINA (btn)
23
4
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
11
16
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
22
5
FROM THE COUCH
10
17
TOM DEINHART (btn)
22
5
BRENT YARINA (btn)
9
17
FROM THE COUCH
19
7
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
TOM DEINHART (btn)
9
18
TOM DEINHART (btn)
12
14
BRENT YARINA (btn)
8
19
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
10
17
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
8
19
FROM THE COUCH
9
18
FROM THE COUCH
6
21
BRENT YARINA (btn)
9
17


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
6
0
7
3
4
5
2



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



  

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