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Betting on Amateurs: The Best Early Lines Each Week


On Sunday I briefly broke down the lines on the Georgia games for the 2013 season. I promised I’d come back and help you with your problem affliction hobby, so here I am. As a part-time college athletics employee, it is my civic duty to discourage gambling on college sports, so here’s a link to the gamblers’ hotline if this post causes you problems. DudeYouCrazy.net is not liable for any gambling losses.  I promised in my first post a more meta view than just Georgia or the SEC, as I watch a TON of football every week, so here is the first truly nationwide post in my DudeYouCrazy time.

POST-FINISHING THIS POST NOTE: I realize these bets are road-team heavy. Mere coincidence. It’s still free advice.

Week 1: Boise State (+2) at Washington. SEE!?!? 3000 miles away, and they’re still playing FOOTBAWL. Here’s what I’ve learned in my time putting a little money on college football: never NEVER bet against Boise State. They officially have a plug-and-play formula for success, return a senior QB in Joe Southwick, and they’re playing a Washington team that has yet to lose less than 6 games in the Steve Sarkisian (autocorrect suggestion: Parisian) era.  Boise also beat Washington in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl. Taking the Broncos, enjoying a nice Labor Day seafood dinner.

Week 2: Florida (-2.5) at Miami. In the previous write-up, I told you I wasn’t crazy about Florida’s chances this season. That being said, S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C! Gators win by double digits.

Week 3: Tennessee (+25) at Oregon. Again taking the SEC route here, I’m just banking on Oregon not quite having it together in the post-Chip Kelly era.  And also this is the time of year where talking heads have, ad nauseam, the following conversation:

“AT 2-0, IS TENNESSEE BACK?”
“TENNESSEE IS BACK! I VOTED THEM #14 AFTER CONVINCING WINS OVER N.C. STATE AND GEORGIA STATE!”
“ROCKY TOP BLAHBLAHBLAH KENNY CHESNEY PEYTON MANNING”

/pretty sure this exact conversation took place on Game Day before they played Florida last year

The Vols aren’t going to win, but they’ll ride that strong start against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky to a solid cover.

Week 4: Michigan (-12) at UConn. Big Ten. AAC. If this game is not the noon ESPNU game, we have a problem. That being said, I like a Michigan team with (finally) a real QB over a team who went 2-5 in the Big East last year and is trending downwards.

Under the radar: Oregon State at San Diego St. (+6.5). Will be a really good game of football that I will probably forget to watch.

Week 5: Wake Forest (+21) at Clemson. You simply can’t count on the Yabba Dabo Doo’s to bring it every week. Sandwiched between road games against N.C. State and Syracuse, this could be a potential Tigers snooze. In 2011, Wake came within a missed field goal of knocking off an undefeated, top-5 Clemson team in Death Valley. In 2008, the Deacs brought about Tommy Bowden’s resignation. Also, do you want to bet against this guy?

Week 6: This is a tough week, as there are no comfortable lines. I don’t trust Texas -12 against Iowa St., don’t think Oregon can beat Colorado by more than 37, and think I have a tick of homeritis in thinking UNC will not only cover 6.5, but win at Virginia Tech. I explained why I don’t feel comfortable with Georgia at Tennessee in my last post. However, the people need answers, so I’m going to go with Baylor (-7) over West Virginia. They’re playing basketball on FieldTurf (Baylor/WVU football game, 2012, 133 points, average basketball game, 2012-13, 133.5 points), but am going to bank on Baylor getting 1-2 more stops while Geno Smith is holding the clipboard for Mark Sanchez, which is a hilarious mental image.

Week 7: Rutgers (+10) at Louisville. 2006: Undefeated Louisville catches a case of lemonbooty against Rutgers. While I’m not saying history will definitely repeat itself, look at this schedule and please inform me where else the Cards are going to be remotely challenged.

Week 8: LSU (+2) at Ole Miss. I mentioned this on Sunday. Please raise your hand if you really think the Black Bears stand a chance. Big recruiting class, 7-6 season in which their biggest win was a home win in the Egg Bowl (which, I mean…is called the Egg Bowl), yadda yadda yadda. Stone cold lock, in my opinion.

Week 9: Arizona (-20) at Colorado. I know I just said I didn’t think Oregon could cover 37 in Boulder, but…man, the Buffs are bad. I’m a sucker for a line that is just under a specific number of touchdowns (-20 is a WHOLE lot easier to swallow than -21), and 8 of Colorado’s 11 losses were by more than 20 25 points. Among their close losses: a 2-point thriller against Sacramento State.

Week 10: NOVEMBER!!! Also, another week where there’s no easy money on the board. As with week 6, there’s a tempting line on a Carolina game, and this time I’ll take North Carolina (-2.5) at N.C. State. State doesn’t have a quarterback for Dave Doeren’s QB-run-heavy system, and really doesn’t have a QB for anyone’s system. They’ve brought in Brandon Mitchell, a QB-turned-WR-allegedly-turning-back-to-QB from Arkansas, who will be immediately eligible. UNC will score a lot of points and force a few turnovers. I feel good about this one.

Week 11: Some good games this week, as Oregon/Stanford warms us up on Thursday night before another LSU/Bama showdown on Saturday.  If history is any indication, this is about the time of year for another Lane Kiffin meltdown, so I’m gonna take Cal (+17) at home against USC. At this point, Sonny Dykes should have his crazy offense (La Tech led the country at over 50 points per game last year) going, and we should see a 52-40 type game in Berkeley.

Week 12: I’ve got two home teams not getting enough credit this week. Florida State (-16) should beat Syracuse by more than that (again, the ‘just under X scores’ rule applies here), and I don’t think Alabama is 23 points better than Mississippi State on the road. I just hope Nick Saban never reads this post.

Week 13: I already said I liked Kentucky +29 at Georgia, but not nearly as much as I like Nebraska (pick-em) at Penn State. The talent drain from the Sandusky fallout should be more evident with the Pedo-Bears this year, and you’ll kick yourself for not acting on this one when Nebraska is favored by 8-14 points by Halloween.

Week 14: Rivalry week, AKA the most entertaining weekend of shunning family Thanksgiving activity for college football each year. Your coffee table should consist of an ice bucket, a bottle of your favorite bourbon, a loaf of white bread, a few thick slices of turkey, a tupperware container of stuffing, and a vat of gravy. While making sandwiches and drinking bourbon, you should put money on Stanford (-5.5) at home against Notre Dame, Georgia (-9) at Georgia Tech, Kansas (+21.5) against Kansas State, and South Carolina (-4.5) against Clemson. Seriously, those ACC/SEC matchups are gold.

Giving you the business (and putting your hard-earned money to work),

Chad

@Chad_Floyd

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Handicapping the Golden Nugget Lines


 

The Golden Nugget Casino has released its first set of betting lines for the 2013 season, and it is bullish on the Bulldogs.  The Dawgs are favored in each game, by an average of 11 points per. Do note that there is no line on North Texas or App State, because they’re North Texas and App State.

At a quick gander, Alabama is favored in all 10 and Louisville, as they should be, is favored across the board. I’m sure Ohio State is there or close too, but I’ll dive deeper in later. For now, my take on the Georgia lines.

@ Clemson, -3.5: Frankly, I was shocked to see Georgia favored over Clemson, as the initial lines had Clemson -2.5. As Vegas normally adjust 3 points for home-field advantage, the Georgia -3.5 line would indicate that they like the Dawgs by 6.5 on a neutral field.  I can respect that, just didn’t expect it with the defensive turnover.

SC, -4: Expected to be favored by more, honestly. Questions abound for both teams, but Georgia returns more.

LSU, -6: Expected to be favored by less. SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: LSU is +2 at Ole Miss.

@ Tennessee, -11: This is one of those games that you bet on if you feel good about it one way or the other, because it’s prone to swing 20 points in either direction.

Mizzou, -18: November rent on the Dawgs, y’all!

@ Vandy, -10: Very similar to the Tennessee line, except Vandy is a better team…but I think they have a much, much lower chance of pulling an upset. Not touching it.

Florida, -4: I like it I like it I like it.  Florida is only favored outright in 6 of 9 games, and one of those 6 is a -6 at Missouri. Another is -2.5 at Miami in front of a Battle of the Bands crowd at noon.

@ Auburn, -15: So Gus Malzahn is worth 23 points? Alright then. Fairly comfortable with the Dawgs.

Kentucky, -29: Take Kentucky. I know they suck, but this is Mark Richt we’re talking about.

@ GT, -9: LOL. The Nugget posted their first quarter line on accident.

I’ll be back later to talk about some non-Dawg lines that jumped out at me.

Giving you the business,

Chad

College football season is approaching, which means my tweets are more and more football-centric. Follow at @Chad_Floyd

Remember when I Handicapped the SEC East Before the Season? Here’s How I did.


 

This is the eleventh article reviewing the topics I deemed most important to the SEC before the season began.

The previous articles in this series can be found here:

 

In August I spent some time handicapping the possible outcomes for each and every team in the SEC.  Here is how all of that turned out and how some of the projections could have made you some money in Las Vegas (keep in mind this only includes regular season wins):

The SEC East

Team DYC Projected Wins Actual Wins Vegas Spot Dude Win $?
Florida 8-9 11 8 Yes
Georgia 11-12 11 9.5 Yes
Kentucky 3-4 2 4.5-5.5 Yes
Missouri 6 5 6.5 Yes
S. Carolina 9-10 10 8.5 Yes
Tennessee 7-8 5 7.5 Off
Vandy 7-8 8 5.5-6.5 Yes

 

In general, I used the following process for determining a Vegas “Win”: If one number was reached by me, I used that relative to the spot of Vegas, if a range was found be me, I split the middle and compared to Vegas.  Vegas offered two ranges (Vandy and Kentucky) but both ends of the ranges were clearly above and below where I was, so there was no gray area.

Tennessee was the lone “off” bet, as my range yielded a 7.5 and the Vegas spot was 7.5.

So, betting on seven games with clear differentiation would have yielded you seven wins.

 

I’ll put up the figures for the SEC West tomorrow.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Good Sign in Georgia Bowl Prep and a Preview of the New Mexico Bowl and the Spud Bowl


It’s Bowl Season everybody! That’s right every college football fan’s second favorite time of the year, just behind the regular season and with a healthy lead above the offseason, is now upon us.

So without further delay: let’s dig deep into what matters to everybody out there – The Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

 

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Nevada vs. Arizona 

This game is a who’s who of the extreme southwestern United States.  Hosted in New Mexico and featuring Nevada and Arizona, this thing has cactus written all over it.  And dust.  And those weird cowboy neckties that are really just pieces of yarn connected by a rock.

You know what it doesn’t have written all over it?  A compelling story-line.  But that’s what makes Bowl Season so unbearably watchable.  I bet you couldn’t name five players and coaches in this game without looking, but the Bowl coverage will feature at least five feel-good stories and probably a few progressive female commentators.  This game is going to have it all.

You want offense?  Both teams are averaging over 35 points per game against FBS opposition.  You want defense? Well, maybe hold off for a bit as both teams are giving up over 32 points per game.  You want oddities?  Arizona is surrendering more points per game than they are scoring against FBS opponents.  You want wolves?  Nevada is bringing the Wolfpack.

So what do I think about the game itself?  I’m wrestling with that actually.  Having not spent a lot of time studying these games, my gut tells me Arizona is the better team.  But, to be fair Nevada’s losses have mostly come against some pretty good teams that make you second-guess everything you believe and say, “wait, that team is pretty good?” like South Florida, San Diego State and Boise State.

I think Arizona wins the game if they actually show up, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nevada cover the 7.5 spread.  After all, the math has the Wolfpack as the better team – outright.

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo vs. Utah State 

“Famous” is probably the best word for this game with all the big names on hand.  Toledo is very much the Kardashian family of college football and Utah State is the entire Obama family at a Jay-Z/Beyonce concert.  There’s a lot of celebrities in this game, hence the “famous” aspect of the Idaho Potato Bowl.

Here’s the thing about this game.  The Kardashians don’t stand a chance against the Obamas.  Sure, they’re really good at their little reality show and they’ve got their own niche of followers (the MAC), but the Obamas still live in the White House.  And when it comes to a fame-spitting contest Utah State isn’t going to back down.

The spread is listed at 7.5 and the math shows a 14 point edge for Utah State, so I’d be hard pressed to make a case for Toledo winning this game.  And I’d be throwing down some presidential cash on this one if I was president.

 

Georgia Bowl Prep: A good Sign 

Georgia started bowl practice this week, which is always a good thing.  Practice makes perfect.  I can’t help but wonder, however, what it’s like to be a college football player watching everybody go out after finals and head home to do nothing.  Do you ever think, “Why couldn’t we just play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and just get this thing over with?”

No.  Nobody has ever gone to the DVD menu, selected bonus features and sat and watched the alternate ending that take place at the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.  Nobody.  Ever.  So while we, as fans,  lick our wounds (and there may still be some) and continue to get over the Alabama game, let’s all remember that Georgia is not Nevada or Arizona.   And Georgia is not Utah State or Toledo for that matter.  A few short years ago we thought the Dawgs might be heading that way.

Georgia has come a long way.

 

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia a Safe Bet in Las Vegas According to This


As I’ve mentioned before, the benefit to the somewhat advanced scoring analysis that I conduct (the Normalized Scoring Models explained here) is to analyze the previous performance of two teams and draw conclusions by putting them on an equal (normal/average) playing fields with regard to competition.  Stats can be used to draw conclusions from the past, but they are not necessarily indicative of what will happen next – especially not in a game like football with some many variables at hand on each and every play.

For instance, I can use previous statistics to learn that Florida has a very good defense and that Louisville has an above average offense, but I can’t use those statistics to show that Florida’s defense will play well against an above average Louisville offense.  And I can’t use those statistics to show what type of success Louisville’s offense will have against an elite defense.  All I can do is say, “if both teams play the way they have been playing on both offense and defense, then then a score like X – Y would be realistic.”  That’s a lot of ifs.

Conditional statements notwithstanding, I went ahead and used the advanced scoring metrics to analyze every potential matchup using the following statistical matchups:

  • Team A Scoring: Average of Team A’s Offense vs. Team B’s Defensive Coefficient, Team B’s Defense vs. Team A’s Offensive Coefficient 
  • Team B Scoring: Average of Team B’s Offense vs. Team A’s Defensive Coefficient, Team A’s Defense vs. Team B’s Defensive Coefficient

 

In each game Team A was the team favored by Las Vegas (courtesy of VegasInsider.com).  As a test of the betting odds and the accuracy of this process (which again, is not designed to predict games, but rather to analyze teams) I charted the lines relative to what the model showed about the two teams by subtracting Team B’s score from Team A’s and comparing it to the spread.  I then took hypothetical (only bet where it is legal and do so responsibly knowing that I don’t even endorse this method…yet) action based on the line and the model results.  Here is what I found.

 

Favorite Underdog Spread Normalized Scoring Differential Hypothetical Bet
Arizona Nevada

7.5

-7

Nevada   +7

Utah State Toledo

7.5

14

Utah State   -7.5

BYU SDSU

2.5

13

BYU   -2.5

UCF Ball State

7

11

UCF   -7

LA-Lafayette E. Carolina

4.5

6

LA-la   -4.5

Boise State Washington

7.5

15

Boise State   -7.5

Fresno State SMU

11.5

36

Fresno State   -11.5

W. Kentucky Central Michigan

6

5

C. Michigan   +6

San Jose State Bowling Green

7.5

4

BGSU   +7.5

Cincinnati Duke

11

20

Cincinnati   -11

Baylor UCLA

1

-9

UCLA   +1

LA-Mo Ohio

6

5

Ohio   +6

VA Tech Rutgers

1

-6

Rutgers   +1

Texas Tech Minnesota

13

10

Minnesota   +13

Rice Air Force

1

3

Rice   -1

AZ State Navy

14.5

-1

Navy   +14.5

West VA Syracuse

3.5

-3

Syracuse   +3.5

Oregon State Texas

1

3

Oregon State   -1

TCU Michigan State

1

-6

Michigan St   +1

Vandy NC State

5

6

Vandy   -5

Southern Cal Georgia Tech

10.5

11

USC   -10.5

Tulsa Iowa State

3

8

Tulsa   -3

LSU Clemson

3

1

Clemson   +3

OK State Purdue

17.5

13

Purdue   +17.5

Mississippi State Northwestern

2

-2

N’Western   +2

South Carolina Michigan

4.5

2

Michigan   +4.5

Georgia Nebraska

8.5

16

Georgia   -8.5

Stanford Wisconsin

6.5

0

Wiscy   +6.5

Florida State NIU

14

0

NIU   +14

Florida Louisville

15

6

Louisville   +15

Oregon K-State

8.5

7

K-State   +8.5

Texas A&M Oklahoma

3

7

Texas A&M   -3

Ole Miss Pittsburgh

2

-6

Pitt   +2

Arkansas State Kent State

4

6

Arkansas St   -4

Alabama Notre Dame

9.5

3

ND   +9.5


A few notes:

  • These formulas still don’t account for schedule strength, so dominant small conference schools seem artificially propped (like Northern Illinois).  But, then again we’re supposed to believe that NIU is a great team and to the Huskies credit they have consistently been at the top of these ratings since I started them in early November.
  • Twenty of the thirty-six matchups (55.56%) favored the underdog.  I don’t think that we can safely conclude that this attests to the accuracy of the betting lines or the strength of this process, but I would feel a lot worse if it was an 80/20 split towards the underdog – or vice versa.
  • The formula actually picked eight favorites to lose outright.  The listed lines on those games were: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3.5, 7.5 and 14.5.  The two largest spreads that might lose outright were Arizona State (-14.5) against Navy and Arizona (-7) against Nevada.  This doesn’t bode well for teams from Arizona taking on schools that start with the letter “N,” but I’m not sure how the formula knew that.

 

Games that seem odd:

  • Bettors must expect the same Baylor team that beat the tar out of Kansas State to show up this Bowl Season.  I do not, and the numbers do not.  I think UCLA is a better team and it is surprising to me that this spread is so small and that Baylor is favored at all.  We’ll see if the formula gets it right as it picked the Bears.
  • I think a similar situation exists in the VA Tech / Rutgers game.  The Big East is sneaky good in these numbers, and it’s not like Virginia Tech plays in a conference that is anymore challenging.  Tech is getting “historical” value built in to their program’s tradition.  But Rutgers – in my opinion – is the better team.
  • The USC/GT math was surprisingly close.  But I agree with the ultimate conclusion.
  • These numbers show Wisconsin and Stanford to be almost identical.  I think that might be the case – when Wisonsin is good.  But the Badgers need to show and play to their potential, which may be hard without the lead Badger.
  • The NIU / FSU game is also dead-even.  This is either indicative of the formula’s inability to account for differing schedule strengths and conferences or of my inability to accept the numbers and ignore personal biases.

 

Georgia vs. Nebraska 

This analysis seems to support everything that scared Cornhuskers believe to be true.  The 8.5 spread, according to this data, is much too small as it projects Georgia to be 16 point superior.  That 16 point differential is the third largest of the 36 bowls trailing only Fresno State over SMU and Cincinnati over Duke (both of which opened with 11+ point spreads).

 

Conclusion

Again, these are not necessarily my picks, but I’ll continue to keep tabs on them as Bowl Season progresses.  I’ll also offer more insight as I preview every single Bowl game, so check back for more learning and fun!

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

 

 

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