Week 9 Recap:
Our picks went 3-3-1 last weekend, with Big Plays 1-2-1 and Other Plays 2-1. We were oh-so-close to a profitable weekend and a 3-0 record on Other Plays, but a last-minute fumble by Alabama (-17) at the Tennessee 1-yard line cost us the cover. I probably jinxed that game by mentally grading it too early, when Bama got out to a 27-0 lead. Miami (-1.5) gave us an easy road cover in Blacksburg on Thursday night, while Rice (-14) responded to a 7-point halftime deficit by reeling off 27 unanswered points in the second half to cover at home against North Texas.
Our lone winner of the four Big Plays–Illinois (+6.5)–was an outright winner as a home underdog vs. Minnesota. Kent State (+7) fell 10-3 to Miami (OH) to push our bet. UCLA (-13.5) blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead before beating Colorado in overtime, 40-37. (The UCLA defense gave up 37 points to Colorado…seriously?) Our other sizable favorite–Toledo (-16.5)–gets graded a loser, as Massachusetts made a game of it keeping the score difference to only 7.
We won our one MP Lean this week, as another 6.5-point dog, North Carolina, pulled off the upset win. It’s been a very negative-variance year for our leans across NFL & CFB, despite strong line value, but we are back to .500 for our college leans.
Week 9 Closing Line Value:
In Week 8, our picks beat the closing number by an average of more than 2 points. This past week also had strong move our way (averaging 1.5 points) despite the Thursday release. Is the release of these picks affecting the market? Probably some. In the interest of transparency, I’m looking at Pinnacle and Bookmaker’s closing lines. If the two disagree, I split the difference unless the eyeball test reveals one of the books was not in line with the market. An example from last week is the Toledo game, where Bookmaker’s -18.5 closer is out of line with the market as a whole.
- Illinois: picked +6.5, closed +3.5, CLV +3.0
- Toledo: picked -16.5, closed -17.5, CLV +1.0
- UCLA: picked -13.5, closed -14.25, CLV +0.75
- Kent State: picked +7, closed +5, CLV +2.0
- Miami (FL): picked -1.5, closed -2.5, CLV +1.0
- Alabama: picked -17, closed -19.75, CLV +2.75
- Rice: picked -14, closed -16, CLV +2.0
- *North Carolina: picked +6.5, closed +7, CLV -0.5
Week 10 Picks:
Pick criteria remains the same: Big Plays (55%+), Other Plays (54-55%), Leans (53.5-54%).
In response to a lot of questions the past few weeks about why a certain game isn’t a play, my usual response is that our plays our very conservative. We regress our number strongly back toward the market number when we calculate our edge. Since this regression is based on the historical predictive power of our MP number relative to the closing line, it significantly underweights the MP number when looking at the mid-week line. This results in fewer plays, but stronger plays. And yes, I do believe our plays should hit at a higher rate than what I claim. But it’s better to undersell. Since lines do move, and we only post picks once a week, you should free to use the set of ratings, published here, to calculate lines yourself, and decide yourself if the difference warrants a bet.
Our lines are calculated by taking the difference in MP power ratings, adjusting for home field and teams coming off a bye, and further adjusting for pace of play (or as I’ve dubbed it, the Baylor adjustment). Lines are Vegas Insider consensus lines as of 8:45am Vegas time on Thursday morning.
Big Plays (12-8-1 YTD)
- Fresno State -12.5 vs. Wyoming
Other Plays (21-13 YTD)
- Texas A&M -33 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Oklahoma State +14.5 at Kansas State
MP Leans (8-8-1 YTD)
- Temple +7.5 vs. East Carolina
- Kansas +36 at Baylor
- Louisiana Tech -7 vs. Western Kentucky
- Indiana +7 at Michigan
- Georgia Tech -3.5 vs. Virginia
- UNLV Pick vs. New Mexico
Update: We are scratching OK State since line moved to +13 in the time between writing it down and hitting the “publish” button. We are not touts trying to sell anything. We want to be completely transparent and did not intend to give out a line that was unavailable at the time the picks were published (9:07am PDT). We realize that in some cases lines are moving quickly after we publish the picks, but there is nothing we can do about that.
-RP 10:35am PDT Thursday