Week 5 Recap:
Week 5 was our highest volume week of the year, and ended up close to a wash. Our perfect record on Big Plays was snapped when Oregon State (+9) lost to USC, 35-10. I was personally very impressed by USC coach Steve Sarkisian’s fourth-down aggressiveness, going for it multiple times inside his own 45 yard-line with a lead. Those calls epitomize the optimal, expected point-maximizing decisions that most coaches are afraid to make. Clemson (-14), our other Big Play, jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead and traded 2nd half touchdowns for the one-point cover, 50-35.
Our Other Plays finished a disappointing 3-4. In one of the weekend’s marquee matchups, Arizona State (+4) jumped out to an early 17-6 lead, but the game changed in the final seconds before halftime on a UCLA 95-yard interception return for a TD, a double-digit swing in points. UCLA ran away with the game in the second half, winning 62-27. The game wasn’t as fundamentally lopsided as the score indicates, though I admit UCLA was the better team. UCLA benefitted from a +4 turnover differential and two non-offensive touchdowns. South Florida (+34) gave Wisconsin an unexpected scare en route to an easy cover, losing only 27-10. Connecticut (+5.5) lost badly to Temple, while Buffalo (-6) narrowly covered against Miami (OH). SMU (+31.5), playing without recently departed coach June Jones, was humiliated at home by TCU, losing 56-0. And to continue that trend, Kansas (+13.5) failed to score, losing 23-0, and will also be without their head coach, Charlie Weis, who was fired after the game. Finally, Florida International (+17) made us look good, beating UAB outright by 14.
MP Leans went 2-1-1, as Troy (+13.5) and Ole Miss (-19) covered, Georgia (-17) failed to cover, and Iowa State (+21) pushed.
It was another solid week in line movement, with a 10-to-2 ratio of favorable moves to unfavorable ones:
- Oregon State: picked +9, closed +7.25, CLV +1.75
- Clemson: picked -14, closed -14, CLV 0.0
- Arizona State: picked +4, closed +3.5, CLV +0.5
- South Florida: picked +34, closed +33, CLV +1.0
- Connecticut: picked +5.5, closed +6, CLV -0.5
- Buffalo: picked -6, closed -6.75, CLV +0.75
- Southern Methodist: picked +31.5, closed +31, CLV +0.5
- Kansas: picked +13.5, closed +10, CLV +3.5
- Florida International: picked +17, closed +14, CLV +3.0
- *Troy: picked +13.5, closed +13.75, CLV -0.25
- *Ole Miss: picked -19, closed -20.75, CLV +1.75
- *Georgia: picked -17, closed -18.5, CLV +1.5
- *Iowa State: picked +21, closed +20.5, CLV +0.5
Week 6 Picks:
We’ve added a new wrinkle for this week’s picks. After crunching the numbers, we found that teams coming off a bye should be given a 1.5 point boost, which is conveniently the same boost we’ve given NFL teams. Our lines are based on differences in MP power ratings and home field advantage, with a 1.5 point bonus for teams coming off byes. We further adjust for pace of play. Lines are Vegas Insider consensus lines as of 12:45pm Vegas time on Wednesday. Using the VI consensus increases our transparency, and makes my life easier, since I don’t have to eyeball a bunch of books to gauge the consensus number.
Big Plays have a 55%+ chance of covering; Other Plays are 54%-55%; MP Leans are 53.5%-54%. Note that these probabilities are based on the historic predictive power of MP lines factoring in the closing line. Since we expect movement in our direction generally, these probabilities are conservative.
Big Plays (4-1 YTD)
- Indiana -13.5 vs. North Texas
- Southern Methodist +41 at East Carolina
- Florida +2.5 at Tennessee
- UCLA -13 vs. Utah
- UNLV +10.5 at San Jose State
Other Plays (10-10 YTD)
- Kansas +26 at West Virginia
- Northwestern +8 vs. Wisconsin
- Arizona State +11.5 at USC
MP Leans (5-5-1 YTD)
- North Carolina +2 vs. Virginia Tech