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 23, 2015

BIG TEN FOOTBALL ATS WHAT HAPPENED WEEK 12


WHAT HAPPENED 

I went 1-0 last Saturday.  Some good games but the lousy officiating is really getting annoying. Almost to the point where it’s too frustrating to watch anymore.
My predictions and pre-game comments can be found on my previous post, dated 11-19 (ATS Predictions - Week 12).
My Current Overall Record:  7-14




THE PLAYS
Indiana 47  Maryland 28   (Maryland -2)
I predicted Indiana to win, 45-38. When Maryland jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first quarter I suppose I was a bit concerned. But I also knew that, with these two teams, an 18 point first quarter lead didn’t mean all that much. Still plenty of time for Indiana to come back. And when Indiana took a 24-21 lead early in the second quarter I suppose I felt a bit better about my getting the win. But I also knew that, with these two teams, there was plenty of time for Indiana to blow it. But Indiana held on and got me the win, even though Maryland didn’t serve up the turnovers I called for.


THE NON-PLAYS
Iowa 40  Purdue 20  (Iowa -21.5)
I predicted Iowa to win, 31-7. Iowa came out steamrolling and scored the game’s first three touchdowns. Then they took their foot off the gas as Purdue pulled to within a touchdown early in the second half. The Boilermakers seemed to be rejuvenated by backup QB Austin Appleby, who entered the game after starter David Blough left with an injury. As I’ve said before, this Purdue team keeps fighting no matter how bleak the situation. They might have actually kept the game tight if WR DeAngelo Yancy hadn’t dropped a couple of passes. But Iowa eventually put their foot back on the gas and nearly ended up covering the spread.

Minnesota 32  Illinois 23   (Minnesota -4.5)
I predicted Minnesota to win, 31-20. Almost hit this one right on the Willy. I got “U’d” again so I didn’t get to watch this game. And it looks like I’ve seen my last Illinois game because next Saturday’s game against Northwestern is scheduled to be aired on ESPN News. At least I’ve heard of ESPNU. Never heard of ESPN News. Not gonna pay extra for either one just so I can catch a couple/few football games. Anyway, it appears as though this game went much like I predicted.

Michigan St. 17  Ohio St. 14  (Ohio St. -14)
I predicted Ohio St. to win, 38-28. Did not see a low scoring game coming at all. As I said in my prediction write-up, neither of these teams has played up to preseason expectations. Everyone was waiting for Ohio St. to wake up from some kind of perceived bout of sleepwalking, but this game just shows that what we’ve been seeing all season is the real Ohio St. I alluded to this point earlier, and Ohio St. RB Ezekiel Elliot indirectly amplified it with some ill-advised post game comments: not only did this offense lose a good OC when Tom Hermann left after last season to take a HC job at Houston, they gained an OC that I had been criticizing for the past two seasons while he was at Nebraska. Elliot’s complaints were almost exactly what I’d been saying about the man all along. I’m not gonna look up the exact quote, but basically Elliot said that throughout the whole season whenever the offense would find something that works, instead of continuing to run the same plays that are working, the coordinator would try to get “cute” and call something different. Bingo! Dat’s what I been sayin’, just give the ball to Abdullah! Whoops, I mean Elliot. I guess I digressed there but it’s a subject I get kinda worked up about. As far as this game goes, I don’t think giving the ball to Elliot any more would have made much difference. Elliot was out of line with his comments, more for the time and place they were delivered than for the content, but still. Elliot claimed he was “gashing” the Michigan St. defense when carrying the ball, but the truth is, he wasn’t. All the credit in the world goes to Michigan St; both its players and HC Mark Dantiono. To win on the road with a backup QB making his first start against the top ranked team in the nation and arguably the best HC in college football is a helluvan accomplishment. They’ll need another monumental accomplishment next Saturday, though. Any athlete who’s been in a similar situation knows how difficult it is to come back strong after such an emotional, high-profile victory like this one.

Michigan 28  Penn St. 16   (Michigan -3)
I predicted Michigan to win, 24-17. Pretty much spot on with this one. Rudock did play ok, although he threw an early interception making me think he was gonna turn in a dud. But he rebounded well and led the Wolverines to a victory. This was one of a couple of games where the officiating was making it difficult to enjoy the game. Michigan was on the short end of a few really bad calls. Fortunately, it didn’t affect the outcome of the game’s winner. Can’t say the same for the other poorly officiated game.

Northwestern 13  Wisconsin 7   (Wisconsin -11)
I predicted Wisconsin to win, 20-13. I probably could have, and should have went lower with my predicted score. Both teams’ strength lies in the defense. So I’m not entirely surprised the scoring came in so low. Not really surprised Northwestern won, either. I knew coming in this was an evenly matched game. In fact, it was so evenly matched you could make the case that Wisconsin actually won the game. The Badgers had two touchdowns nullified by some questionable officiating. One of the questionable calls was on a punt return. The rule in question has since been explained and, although I don’t remember ever seeing such a rule come in to play, if the explained rule does in fact exist, I guess I can live with it. But a Wisconsin touchdown pass in the final moments that was nullified was inexusable. Downright sickening.  As I was waiting for the results of the review, I was thinking, “Don’t negate the touchdown. For the sake of college football, don’t overturn it”. Jump to 2:08:57 on this U-tube clip and see for yourself→Wisconsin TD? The ball never hit the ground. That’s a touchdown in high school football, a touchdown in pee-wee league, a touchdown in your backyard football game. And it used to be a touchdown in college ball before instant replay was utilized. I like instant replay, but that’s just over-analyzing there. If there are rules that say that’s not a catch then maybe Webster needs to redefine the word. I hate it when refs are involved in the outcome of the game. And with all these new, subjective “player protection” rules the game is placed in the hands of the officials now more than ever. And with so many games that need to be officiated on a Saturday the quality of officials is diluted. It’s getting to the point where it’s not fun to watch college football anymore.

Notre Dame 19  Boston College 16   (Notre Dame -14.5)
I predicted Notre Dame to win, 27-7. And Notre Dame could have won with a score like that but they dropped passes and turned the ball over multiple times in the red zone. Boston College doesn’t have a good win-loss record so I’m thinking Notre Dame was probably taking them lightly. But the Irish better wake up. The competition gets tuffer next Saturday at Stanford. Notre Dame is my team and I’m glad to see ‘em having a successful season, successful enough to be in the playoff selection committee’s top four. But the Notre Dame defense is merely average and will eventually be the downfall of this club, I think. If the Irish are to go much further they’re gonna have to win some shootouts. But they do have an offense that’s capable. QB DeShone Kizer is the real deal and he’s got some great receivers to throw to. And HC Brian Kelly is a great play caller. But man, I just don’t trust that defense.






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.

The whole Hee-Haw gang had a great Saturday as we went a combined 7-0. Sean Merriman moved into second place as he had three of the wins.
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)
2
0
0
8
5
0
$125
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
3
0
0
7
7
0
-$35
TOM DEINHART (btn)
1
0
0
9
9
0
-$45
FROM THE COUCH
1
0
0
7
12
0
-$310





DETAILS

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

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. Sean Merriman is now at the top of three of the 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)
23
22
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
37
9
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
20
24
BRENT YARINA (btn)
36
10
FROM THE COUCH
20
26
TOM DEINHART (btn)
35
11
BRENT YARINA (btn)
19
26
FROM THE COUCH
33
11
WITHIN 7
W
L
CLOSEST
W
L
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
19
27
SEAN MERRIMAN (btn)
19
25
FROM THE COUCH
16
30
TOM DEINHART (btn)
18
27
BRENT YARINA (btn)
16
30
FROM THE COUCH
18
28
TOM DEINHART (btn)
15
31
BRENT YARINA (btn)
17
28

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
8
1
9
4
6
8
2




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