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.


What constitutes a “play”?
Any game where the predicted point spread differentiates from the Las Vegas point spread by seven or more points. It’s a system that I like to use. I believe you’re just flipping coins if your number isn’t much different than the closing line. A seven point cushion provides needed protection against the random bounces of the football (and the officiating).
Example 1: If the closing line is Michigan by 4 and I predict Nebraska to win by 3 or more, then Nebraska qualifies as a play (the team I would wager on). If my prediction is Nebraska by 2 or less, then it’s not a play.
Example 2: If the closing line is Michigan by 22 and I predict Michigan to beat Nebraska by only 15 or less, then Michigan’s opponent, Nebraska, qualifies as a play.
Example 3: If the closing line is Michigan by 8 and I predict Michigan by 15 or more, then Michigan qualifies as a play.
What are “FTC” dollars?
Gambling on football is illegal where I live and also where the contestants live. So we’re playing for From The Couch, or “FTC”, dollars.
How are the FTC dollar totals calculated?
50 FTC dollars are wagered on each game that qualifies as a “play”. The house charges 10% juice for losing selections. So every correct play earns 50 FTC dollars while every incorrect play loses 55.
Explanation of ATS Standings and Stats section:
At the beginning of each season I Google “big ten football week 1 predictions"  and try to find reporters/ bloggers/ analysts, -whatever you want to call them- that offer predicted scores for all Big Ten games. I compare the weekly (conference games only) predictions of these professionals along with my own predictions and maintain a ranking of our performances throughout the year. But since most avid college football fans can correctly predict the winner about 75% of the time, I make things more challenging by comparing the predictions ATS. The results and rankings are broken down into five categories. (The final standings from last season are listed under the “ATS Stats 2014” tab at the top of my posts.) The only category that really matters as it pertains to this website’s “ATS” project is the “play” category, which I’ve explained above. Here is how I’ve defined the “play” category in the past:
PLAYS- I’m not promoting any type of illegal activity here but if you happened to be in a Las Vegas sports bar you might want to reconsider making a “play” on a game where your number varies from the spread by only a few points. I think a seven point or more differential should instill a reasonable amount of confidence. This category tracks such instances.
I’m still not promoting any illegal activity, but I am going to be direct in stating that the predictions that fall under this category are the ones that I would wager on if I lived in Vegas. That’s the system. Seven points or more differential, play it; less than seven, back off. So the comparisons in the “play” category will be ranked by who does the best financially. But since I don’t live in Vegas and can’t afford a weekly plane ticket to get there, and none of my chosen competitors live in Vegas, we’ll have to use “funny” money. You know, pretend type monopoly dollars.  I’ll call them FTC dollars. The “play” category standings will be featured in the “ATS” section of my posts as the only one that matters in terms of winning this little contest of mine. The other categories will be considered as statistical analysis and therefore will be listed under the “Stats” heading. The categories under the stats section are explained below the standings.
In order to maintain a level playing field of competition, I’ll be comparing only the conference games because I won’t be predicting any non-conference games, although my chosen competitors will. And I am the only one who steps outside of the conference by predicting Notre Dame games (except for week 1). I’ll list my Notre Dame results separately.
My current overall record - posted below my opening comments - combines my “plays” from the Notre Dame games and the conference games.
My method is to make my predictions on Sunday, before I look at the spreads, to keep from being influenced subconsciously. As far as I know, none of the other contestants do this. Therefore I 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”.

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