Week 14 Recap and Season to Date Results
I finished the regular season with my 6th winning week in the last 7 weeks with a win on my only Best Bet (2-Stars on Penn State over Wisconsin) and I also won both of my Strong Opinions (Ohio +18.5 and the Under in the Pac 12 Championship game on Friday night).
I’m now 22-11 on Best Bets the last seven weeks and +13.7 Stars for the season. The difference between the final 7 weeks of the regular season and the first 7 weeks is that I lost an extreme majority of the toss-up games the first 7 weeks of the season and I’ve won 4 of 8 such games the last month. All I need to do win is win half of the toss-up games and I’m up this season despite still having a bad record on the close ones.
Here is a recap of my Week 14 Best Bets:
My only Best Bet in week 14 was a 2-Star Best Bet on Penn State (+3) over Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. Penn State got down early due to turnovers but the Nittany Lions dominated Wisconsin in the second half and won 38-31 while outgaining the Badgers 474 yards at 8.0 yards per play to 415 yards at 5.9 yppl (excluding the fumble yards and intentional 18 yard loss by PSU on their final play to kill the clock). Penn State would have won by more if not for the -2 in fumbles.
Regular Season Recap:
I am now 38-32 on my Best Bets for the season and 68-57 on a Star Basis for +4.7 Stars (including -0.6 in extra juice) and I’m +13.7 Stars with my season win totals included (see below). I was handicapping at a profitable early in the season but it wasn’t showing up on my record because I was just 5-15 on close games those first 7 weeks. I’m 22-11 on my Best Bets since then because I’ve stopped losing 75% of the toss-up games (50% on such games the last 7 weeks). I told you then that my bad record was just bad luck and not bad handicapping and I appreciate you keeping your faith in my handicapping.
I am still just 11-21 on games decided by 7 points or fewer this season, after losing with Florida Atlantic by 4 points, but using the record in close games is not the best way to judge the variance in my handicapping. After all, I could have a loss to the spread by 1 point in which my team was outgained by 200 yards but was +3 in fumbles (random) to keep it close. A game like that is a game I would have deserved to have lost regardless of how close it was to covering.
The best way to gauge the variance is by grading the games as I do each week, by deserved and undeserved wins and losses and by toss-up wins and losses. Over the years my actual record and my graded record are the same. I once had consecutive seasons in which my College Football Best Bets were 105-54-3 for 66.0% winners, but my graded record over those two seasons was 61%. I wasn’t suddenly a 66% handicapper – I was just winning a majority of toss-up games and had more lucky wins than unlucky losses. Currently, I’ve going through a multi-year period in which my actual record isn’t nearly as good as it should be (i.e. my graded record) because I’ve lost most toss-up games and had very few lucky wins (only 1 the last two seasons). Ultimately, I’ll start winning at the level of my handicapping and the last seven weeks are an example of what happens when I don’t lose nearly every toss-up game.
This season, I’ve had 36 games in which I was on the right side (i.e. a deserved win), but I have lost 4 of those games (Oklahoma vs Texas, Michigan vs Wisconsin, and ULM vs Texas State, and UMass +30 vs BYU). I’ve had 17 games in which I clearly had the wrong side and I’m 0-17 on those games (no lucky wins). I’ve had 17 games that I’ve graded as toss-up games and I am now 6-11 on those 17 toss-up games.
I am 38-32 on my Best Bets this season but my handicapping has been much better than that, as I’d be 44-25-1 if I had won the 36 games in which I clearly had the right side, lost the 17 games in which I was clearly on the wrong side and split the 17 toss-up games.
I’ve had 68 Best Bet sides and I’ve only lost 10 of them by more than 7 points, which is one of the lowest percentages in that category I’ve ever had. My average line differential on those 67 Best Bets is now up to +3.8 points, which would equate to 61% long term, and is probably the best indicator of my handicapping level. I’ll continue to win at a good rate as long as I win the games I deserve to win, lose the games I deserve to lose and split the toss-up games.
My Strong Opinions were 2-0 for a second consecutive week and are now 29-25-3 for the season (14-6-2 the last 7 weeks) and are a profitable 562-482-13 lifetime. Those that look at the free analysis every Saturday morning might have noticed that my predicted differences from the line of 4 points or more (historically good) are now 119-83-3 this season, which is another indication that my model is working well overall.
My season win total bets finished up at 6-2 for +9.0 Stars. The wins (all 2-Stars) are on Notre Dame Under 9 ½ wins, Marshall Under 9 wins, Maryland over 4.5 wins (1.5 Stars on that one), Michigan State Under 8 (at +120 odds), Florida International Under 5.5 wins and Memphis Over 6 ½ wins (at +115 odds). The two losses were -2.2 Stars on Ohio and -1.0 Stars on Tulsa Under 6.5 wins (at +110). My season win totals are now 16-3 the last 4 seasons and 29-12 lifetime. I think I’ll release the season win totals earlier next season as the last two years I would have profited even more had I bet the early lines.