Week 5 Bets – Part 1

Appalachian State -17 vs Wyoming: I really liked what I saw from App State after their bye week as they demolished ODU by a score of 49-0. Meanwhile, Wyoming is making a strong case for them being the worst team in college football with their loss to Eastern Michigan. I have the game handicapped at about 25 and it looks like the current line has moved to 25. Good deal.

Prairie View A&M -42.5 vs University of Faith: I was very fortunate to get in on this bet. I got it right when it opened, and it soon moved to 45.5 in a minute or two (maybe from my bet) and a few minutes later was taken off the board. It still isn’t back up so sorry if this isn’t publicly available. I have PVAM handicapped as a 67 point favorite.

UTSA +1.5 at UTEP: I’m getting UTSA as about a 2-3 point favorite in every method I use. They should definitely be favored here. With Aaron Jones being injured UTEP just hasn’t been the same, as was evident in them needing to come from behind to beat Incarnate Word. UTSA started on fire after playing a good game at Arizona. While they have fallen off the radar after a 7 turnover game at Oklahoma State, they are also likely undervalued for that very reason.

West Virginia +8 vs Oklahoma: I’m hesitant on this one…I’ve got the game at 4 to 5.5 range, and with OU’s bye week (value ~1.6 points) we’re in the 5.5 to 7 range. I wish I got the opening line of +9, but I guess +8 is fine as well. Looking at WVU’s defense live and on paper it looks like it should be enough to slow down OU. Both teams have comparable offenses (maybe edge to OU) but WVU’s defense is definitely superior.

Clemson pk vs Notre Dame: I wasn’t planning on betting on this, but pk seems way too low. I’ve got Clemson at 1.5 to 3.5 points better on a neutral field, so 4.5 to 6.5 points at home. Add in the face that Clemson had a bye week, and this looks like a good bet. The atmosphere should be great in Clemson. At pk, definitely have to take the Tigers.


Too Slow:

Purdue +27 at Michigan State: As soon as it came out I went to bet, but it immediately fell to +24.5. Bummer cause I really liked that bet but wasn’t able to get it placed.

Week 4 Betting Results 2015

This Week: 2-2 (50%)

Overall: 13-13 (50%)

Despite breaking even this week I’m quite disappointed. I had LSU at -18.5 and the line closed at -24. Despite 5.5 points of value, they didn’t cover. I had SMU at -3.5, and the line closed at -14. Despite 10.5 points of value, they did not cover.

Then again, I had UNLV -5.5 and they won 80-8. It’s not like I was without my wins, but when you’re that far ahead on three of four games you’ve got to expect to win 3 of these on average.

LSU -18.5 at Syracuse (L):  Syracuse had more first downs than LSU, and had a few big plays that kept them in the game…against Syracuse’s third string quarterback. Although the per-play stats looks great in LSU’s favor, Syracuse found a way to make some points out of their 273 total yards. I would have thought that LSU would wear them down in the 4th quarter, but that didn’t appear to be the case.

ULM +39 at Alabama (W): Could have gone either way. This 34-0 victory shows exactly why I really wanted the +41 number, as Alabama could have scored again at the end to hit 41. Even so, it’s never the worst proposition to bet on the underdog in these hangover games.

SMU -3.5 vs James Madison (L): Seriously, guys? SMU’s defense has shown over the past few games that they don’t have much staying power in the 4th quarter. But this was just the worst. Up by 4, SMU has two minutes left and has to make a stop against JMU – who must drive the field and score a touchdown in order to win. JMU leads an 8 play drive in which 7 plays were successful at gaining 5 or more yards, capped by a 17-yard TD pass. I had these teams as equal on paper, so given home field advantage, SMU’s surge, and the “FCS premium”, I really liked this bet. The only thing I can really consider here is that either SMU overlooked JMU, or they were very worn out from playing TCU last week.

UNLV -5.5 vs Idaho State (W): UNLV looked pretty darn dominant in their 80-8 victory. More surprisingly to me, they had 517 rushing yards. I’ve noticed UNLV leaning more heavily on the run game, but this is very very heavy (78% rushing plays). Great scouting report by UNLV to realize that Idaho State’s weakness is their run defense. ISU has allowed 1260 yards rushing and  551 yards passing so far this year.


Week 4 Power Ratings

TEAM Adjusted Power Rating
Ohio State 96.50
Ole Miss 93.74
Alabama 93.41
Georgia 93.21
LSU 90.77
TCU 90.65
Oregon 89.44
Georgia Tech 88.86
Michigan State 88.70
USC 88.60
Clemson 88.47
Baylor 88.42
Texas A&M 87.43
Oklahoma 85.79
Florida State 85.37
Arkansas 85.16
Tennessee 84.77
Notre Dame 84.73
Mississippi State 84.49
Wisconsin 84.41
UCLA 84.31
Stanford 83.68
Florida 83.52
Auburn 83.48
West Virginia 82.25
Nebraska 81.37
Utah 81.31
Kansas State 81.10
Arizona 80.72
Virginia Tech 80.70
Miami (FL) 79.54
Texas Tech 79.12
Arizona State 79.09
Boise State 79.08
Missouri 79.02
Louisville 79.02
Oklahoma State 78.74
California 78.26
Michigan 77.82
BYU 77.64
Washington 77.46
Iowa 77.32
Memphis 77.02
North Carolina 76.72
NC State 76.43
Penn State 75.46
Texas 75.22
Northwestern 75.16
Minnesota 74.97
Pittsburgh 74.61
Kentucky 74.60
Duke 74.33
Louisiana Tech 74.11
Virginia 72.33
Boston College 71.76
Toledo 71.69
Navy 71.66
Marshall 71.52
Temple 71.22
South Carolina 71.17
Houston 70.94
Northern Illinois 70.79
Illinois 70.69
Georgia Southern 69.81
Utah State 69.77
Colorado 69.69
Arkansas State 69.42
Middle Tennessee 69.01
Maryland 68.53
Appalachian State 67.97
Iowa State 67.33
Colorado State 67.04
Rice 67.00
Purdue 66.71
Air Force 66.56
Western Kentucky 66.45
East Carolina 66.18
Oregon State 66.15
Cincinnati 66.08
Western Michigan 65.93
Indiana 65.78
Bowling Green 64.99
Washington State 64.80
Syracuse 64.27
Louisiana Lafayette 63.90
Vanderbilt 63.83
Ohio 63.62
Central Michigan 62.34
Nevada 62.27
Hawaii 62.12
San Diego State 61.64
UCF 61.50
Buffalo 61.40
Wake Forest 61.23
Ball State 60.72
Rutgers 60.71
Tulsa 60.66
Florida Intl 60.05
Southern Mississippi 59.41
South Florida 58.99
Louisiana Monroe 58.91
New Mexico 58.31
Fresno State 57.81
San José State 57.77
Massachusetts 57.20
Akron 57.16
Kansas 57.12
Texas State 57.01
Tulane 55.65
South Alabama 55.54
Connecticut 54.87
Troy 54.68
Kent State 54.01
Old Dominion 53.36
North Texas 52.98
Texas San Antonio 52.43
Miami (OH) 52.00
SMU 51.84
UTEP 51.34
UNLV 51.13
Florida Atlantic 50.35
Army 49.95
Wyoming 49.36
Idaho 48.86
New Mexico State 48.31
Georgia State 47.11
Eastern Michigan 45.75
Charlotte 45.46

Week 4 Bets – Part 1

This week I’m being way more selective about my games. And I feel great about my selections. I’ll be pretty disappointed if I don’t go 3-1 or better this week because I’m way ahead of the market line on 3 of these 4 bets.

LSU -18.5 at Syracuse (Bet Preseason): I got this line before the season started, and now the line’s at 24. Syracuse is on their 3rd string QB due to some seriously bad luck, and they’ll struggle to score against LSU. I think 24 is a fair line so glad I’m in early.

ULM +39 at Alabama: I missed out on +41 by a few seconds. Disappointed about that, but +39 is still fine. I think the line is fair-ish. I have it at 38 raw, and if you account for ULM’s bye week call it 35. I just know Alabama to not be the type of team to run up the score. With an extra week to prepare maybe ULM can put up a few points, maybe bring back the Two-QB Formation? Alabama will be banged up and will be more interested in resting their boys for Georgia than running up the score. If I had to put a number on it I’d say 32.

SMU -3.5 vs James Madison: I know this is what the line is supposed to be but SMU continues to impress. JMU hasn’t really been tested in their secondary yet; they’re a very good FCS team but the only decent competition they’ve played (Albany) is more of a running team.

UNLV -5.5 vs Idaho State: Line came out at 4.5 and I missed it – darn I hate that. I have this line between -12 to -18. I think someone making the line is still looking at the report saying Blake Decker is injured. He is not injured! Anyways, another hot night on Saturday in Vegas. Go Rebels.


Missed out on:

Virginia Tech -4 at ECU: I was too slow. Jumped to -6 and now it’s at -8.

Memphis -4.5 vs Cincinnati: Gunner Kiel might be out. It seems like most people think he will be because the line is up to -9.5 now. If Gunner goes down the music stops. If Gunner goes down, you almost lose to Miami Ohio, and you definitely lose at Memphis.


This Week: 5-4 (55%)

Overall: 11-11 (50%)


Clemson pk at Louisville (W): Finally a good bet that I made panned out. Clemson made a lot of mistakes in a sloppy game, but Louisville struggled with clock management down the stretch and allowed Clemson to win.

Valparaiso -39 vs College of Faith (W): Valparaiso won 86-0. I think this College of Faith team is even worse than the last. I actually watched some of their game on ESPN3. It was pretty sad.

Boston College +10 vs Florida State (L): Boston College might be the only team to get shut out after scoring 76 points the previous week. Didn’t help that their QB got injured and had to be taken out of the game.

Illinois +10 at North Carolina (L): UNC’s defense really shined in this one. More importantly for Illinois, we learned that their defense isn’t mature yet. When the Illinois coach made a questionable decision to not call a time out close to the end of the first half, he explained that his defense was too tired and just wanted them to get to halftime. They got too tired by the 4th quarter and completely collapsed, letting UNC blow the game wide open.

BYU +17 at UCLA (W): I’ll still never understand why this spread was 17. It’s also ridiculous that BYU dropped in the coaches poll after almost upsetting UCLA on the road.

Temple -9 at UMass (L): Despite the low scoring output by UMass, I was very underwhelmed by Temple’s defense in this game. And their offense made tons of mistakes, including 3 turnovers. Taje Sharpe was contained for most of the game but made some big plays late.

Wake Forest -2 at Army (W): Won it on a field goal, cheers! Handicapping Army confuses me so much. I’m done with them for now.

WKU +3 at Indiana (Push): WKU looked like they were going to pull away for a while, going up 14. Then Indiana flipped a switch and went up 10.  This isn’t the first time we’ve seen WKU’s defense wear down in the fourth quarter – very concerning for them going forward.

Memphis -3.5 at Bowling Green (L): They won by 3, and the line closed at 3. How lame. I need to get better about making picks that I agree with both intuitively and from a numbers perspective, not just based on the latter without really watching the teams.

Navy -2 vs ECU (W): Apparently ECU really can’t defend the run. Or at least, can’t defend the triple option.


Week 3 Bets – Part 2

Boston College +10 vs Florida State: Both teams have performed about as we’ve expected on average so far. FSU had a pretty ho-hum game against USF (but it was at 11:30 AM and in rainy weather) and torched Texas State. BC had a pretty mediocre outing against Maine (but not too far off from the spread) before dominating Howard 76-0. So here we are with an untested BC team and an FSU team that has shown glimmers of greatness with QB Everett Golson, and has also showed us they can be not so great at times. FSU finished last season with a power rating of around 84, and given their 11 returning starters they’re forecasted to be an 82. Meanwhile, BC finished at a 75 but given only 9 returning starters they’re forecasted to drop to a 71. But after a big cover last week they’ve moved back up in the power ratings to a 75. This gives us a line of 4 points, so I’ll take the 10.

I tried to read through some fan pages and predictions from both FSU and BC sites to get an idea of where fans were expecting the game. On average, BC fans expected an even game, while FSU fans expected a 10 point victory. So on average, they are expecting a 5 point victory which is more consistent with my line than the current line in Vegas.

Handicapping the College of Faith (Arkansas)

Much has been written about the two fake online schools operating on the periphery of college football. The business model is basically to pay random (sometimes homeless) people to play football, get beat up in games against real teams, and help the school collect a paycheck. Since they don’t have a campus I’m not sure where / if they practice.

College of Faith Charlotte, and its affiliate University of Faith Florida, have already been doing this for a year or two. Well, apparently the school is successful enough that it is expanding to a third “location.” I’m not sure how an online school has a specific location, but I guess we won’t worry too much about that. Their new “school” is College of Faith West Memphis, Arkansas. We don’t know much about them, but based on their predecessors it’s safe to say that this football team was created exclusively for two reasons:

  1. Collecting a paycheck for getting beat up by other schools desperate for wins, and
  2. To play against the other Schools of Faith to ensure some of their teams win 1 or 2 games.

Putting a number on how bad they are is more of an art than a science, but let’s take a look at its affiliates for a benchmark.

Ohio State 98
Eastern Michigan 37
McKendree 16
Valparaiso 12
University of Faith -33
College of Faith -44

Based on last year’s numbers, Valparaiso (one of the worst teams in Division 1) should have been favored by 59 against College of Faith, and by 48 against University of Faith.

For comparison, Eastern Michigan — the worst team in FBS last year — would have been favored by 73 and 84, respectively.

Ohio State would have been favored by 134 points and 145 points, although one has to assume that some sort of mercy rule would come into effect — be it letting the clock run, shortening the game, or letting Ohio State fans join in the game as replacement players.

Finally, I’ve included McKendree’s power rating of 16. They just beat College of Faith Arkansas 68-0, which would imply a power rating of -52. Probably a bit extreme, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see COF Arkansas to finish under a rating of -44, or under COF Charlotte.

Week 3 Bets – Part 1

I’m feeling really uneasy about a lot of these bets…but I guess I’m sticking with them because the numbers check out. I feel great about my Clemson bet, and I really like my BYU +17 at UCLA pick. Aside from that, I don’t know what to say. Half of the remaining lines have moved in my favor since I bet and half of them have stayed the same.

Then again, I felt amazing about my bets the last two weeks and look at how they panned out.

Clemson pk at Louisville: I can’t believe I actually got this bet. Best bet of the week. Clemson is now somewhere around -6.5 to -7. I typically bet the same amount each game but in cases like this where I know the line will move in Clemson’s favor I really should just drop a large amount of cash on it with plans of going back later on the underdog’s moneyline for arbitrage.

Valparaiso -39 vs College of Faith: Yesterday I wrote an article on how to handicap the newest College of Faith team. I’ve got Valparaiso at about a 12 and College of Faith Arkansas around -44 or so, which gives us around a 59 point spread.

Illinois +10 at North Carolina: I know their games haven’t really been against good opponents, but I’m starting to jump on the Illinois bandwagon here. Never thought I’d say that. Their defense has looked solid so far. I have the line around 5.

BYU +17 at UCLA: I don’t understand this line. Someone please help me. If I lose maybe I’ll start to understand. I get it that Josh Rosen is good and all, but I still have these guys handicapped at an 83, and UCLA has been hitting right on the point spread for their last two games. I have BYU at a 77. so that gives me a 9 point spread. Sagarin has an 8 point spread. I think a line of 17 is pretty excessive, so definitely have to take the points here.

Temple -9 at UMass: I was big on Temple before the season started. I was really encouraged by their home victory over Penn State. But going out to Cincinnati and shutting down that offense was really something. Temple completely controlled the game in a 34-26 road win. I have the line at 12 but that’s when we give UMass the standard 3 points for home field advantage. They are playing in Foxboro, MA in Gillette Stadium, hours away from their home field. A small crowd in a cavernous stadium gives the game a neutral field feel. And if there’s any other team accustomed to playing in large, less than sold out stadiums, it’s Temple. Take away home field advantage and we’ve got a 15 point spread.

Wake Forest -2 at Army: Two of the teams I’ve greatly struggled to handicap, and here I am betting on them again. I worry about giving Wake Forest too much credit for regression to the mean, but I’ve got them at a 64 right now. So does Sagarin so that makes me feel better but I worry I’ve moved them too high. I have Army really low, way too low, at a 45 but should probably bring them up to a 52. That still gives me a 9 point spread though, and I have to give Army a lot more credit (or Wake a lot less credit) to get this down to a 2 point line.

WKU +3 at Indiana: Statistically, this line is fair across the board. But it’s WKU! Hilltoppers, the underdogs! For real though, Indiana really struggled against 12.5 yards per pass attempt and 411 total passing yards.

Memphis -3.5 at Bowling Green: Despite my own intuition I’m taking Memphis. I know a lot of us have that 4th quarter of the Maryland game fresh in our minds, but let’s not forget Memphis just beat Kansas on the road 55-20.  Memphis seems to be a head above BGSU in terms of power ratings (Memphis 76, BGSU 63) so I’ve got this line set at 10. Depending on the inputs I can see a line anywhere between 5-15. None of this accounts for Matt Johnson being on fire, and maybe there’s something to that. But going just on the numbers, Memphis should still be a strong favorite here even on the road.

Navy -2 vs ECU: Navy played a tune-up game against Colgate, then got a bye week to prepare for ECU. In fact they probably put in some good time in the offseason studying their film since this is their first real game. Meanwhile, ECU is probably worn out from Florida  and, for what it’s worth, I have the line at 5 points. Plus the bye week, call it 6 points. Apparently this line opened up at pk, so I’m really bummed out that I didn’t get that line.


Week 2 Betting Results 2015

This Week: 5-5 (50%)

Overall: 6-7 (46%)

Wow, what a strange week in College Football. Toledo beats Arkansas, Jacksonville State almost beats Auburn, and lots of other strange outcomes. I’m ok with coming out of this week at 50% after all of that.

Central Michigan -21 vs Monmouth (Push): When I found this line originally is said 20.5 on my Yahoo app, but all the books had it at 21. Apparently that half point would have made a lot of difference. Oh well.

Cal Poly +35.5 at Arizona State (W): Glad to see Cal Poly didn’t have a hangover from their big win last week. The triple option is hard to stop, and it also runs out the clock.I had this line handicapped around 21-24 so never understood how it got so high.

Florida -14 vs ECU (L): Jim McElwain called this win “embarassing.” I agree. Despite closing as a 20 point favorite, they failed to cover my 14 point spread by conceding a last minute touchdown to the Pirates.

Georgia -17 at Vanderbilt (Push): Ok, I was bailed out on this one. Thanks Georgia for an 88-yard pick six to go up 17 points. I’m still puzzled at how Georgia conceded 400 yards of offense against Vanderbilt. That’s never a good sign.

Utah -10.5 vs Utah State (L): Ah, the value of a half point.  It appears Utah State will be able to score points after all, as long as Chuckie Keeton is able to throw or run…or walk…or limp. Hang in there, Chuckie.

Arkansas -21 vs Toledo (L): Seriously, what happened guys?? First of all, Arkansas had an offensive output of 515 yards, and that somehow translated into 12 points. I’m really not sure how that happens. They only had one turnover too. On average, 515 yards a -1 turnover margin should get you about 33 points. Even more surprising is that over 400 of Arkansas’ yards came from passing, not rushing.

Baylor -49 vs Lamar (L): I normally bet on Baylor against cupcake teams because their offense can usually score 63 to 70 points and their defense is decent enough to not blow it against bottomdweller FCS teams. But that is not the case this year. The defense looked bad, again, and the offense gave up 4 turnovers.

Wisconsin -33 vs Miami Ohio (W): This is how I expected Arkansas vs Toledo to go to some extent. Running all over them all day long.

SMU pk vs UNT (W): I’m a believer that SMU’s offense is much improved this year. Chad Morris is a good coach – and hey, he’s already matched SMU’s win total from last year!

California -9 vs San Diego State (W): After a slow start, Jared Goff got going and threw some touchdowns against a very solid SDSU defense.

Villanova -3 at Fordham (W): Most boring second half ever.  This game shouldn’t have been this close, as Villanova outgained Fordham 400 to 182. John Robertson had a solid outing, but Nova stuck mostly to the run and pounded away at the Fordham defense.

UConn -6.5 vs Army (L): These are two of the three teams I’ve really struggled to handicap in the offseason (the other is Wake Forest). UConn played a significantly better game in terms of total output, with an adjusted scoring margin of around 17.5 points.

UNLV +34 vs UCLA (Push): As expected, Rosen got taken out of the game and the backup quarterback was not able to score. Pack it up and call it a day in the desert heat.

Side Notes were 3-0: What a bummer. Of all the picks I had, the ones that don’t get counted all ended up winning. Gah.