Friday, October 19th, 2012

Football picksOctober 19, 2012

A Perfect System?

What’s going on this NFL season?

The NFL is a sport in which any team can win on any given Sunday. That’s never been more true than this season. Through six weeks , we have 11 of 32 teams sitting at 3-3 on the season. Five more teams sit at 2-3 that have already had their bye week. Those teams could potentially get to 3-3, which is half of the league.

The NFC has been dominating the AFC at 19-9 straight-up, including 7-0 ATS as a dog. Speaking of dogs, this is where the numbers defy any logic whatsoever thus far.

As an underdog, NFC teams are a mind blowing 34-4 ATS in all games this season. That equates to a winning percentage of 89.5%.

What is even more noticeable is the fact that they are 25-13 straight-up, so here we have dogs that are winners 66% of the time.

If those numbers aren’t crazy enough, then look at these. The record this season for NFC dogs of +5 or less is:25-1 ATS for a win rate of 96.2%. Want more? These teams are an amazing 21-5 straight-up as underdogs to an average line of +3!

To take this to perfection all you have to do is make sure the total in the game is less than 51. In that situation, NFC dogs have gone 24-0 ATS for 100% winners.

The moneyline in this NFC underdog situation is 20-4 straight-up, covering 83.3% on the moneyline.

This all started in week 14 last year, going 9-4 ATS from week 14 out, and 8-6 straight-up.

What to do going forward? You have three choices:

A) Play the hot hand
B) Fade it
C) Ignore it

A) Play It

Some love playing the hot hand, and might choose to ride this until it losses. If you do that, you probably won’t get too hurt because you will suffer just one week of losses and then move on, and you may win prior to that. The problem here is when does it stop? How far does it go? Does it stop with a 0-7 crash, or stop with a 3-4 crash? Unfortunately, there is no way to answer that.

B) Fade It
Others will look at this and say that regression to the mean is in order. That sentiment is possibly true, but beware of that regression in terms of profits and losses. While it is at an unsustainable pace, the regression may take a very, very long time to happen. Just because this has gone 24-0 thus far doesn’t mean it will go 0-24 to follow. It could take thousands of plays before it regresses towards 50%.

C) Ignore It
While the situation appears so sexy and alluring, the fact is there is no logical basis for its occurrence, and is just an example of variance at its very extreme end. I would venture a guess that going forward the results from here on out will be somewhere between 45%-55%, and be pretty confident that it will fall in that range.

If you flip enough coins enough times, you’ll get some crazy streaks (even 24-0 streaks). Does that mean that anything other than 50% should be expected moving forward? No.

This gives the player an opportunity to start tracking this situation themselves. At intervals throughout the NFL season I will include the results, going forward from week seven on. Then we will get the true measure of something that looks good. But since it has no basis for continuation, it is red flagged as an “ignore” play!

I wanted to make a newsletter on this so you can follow this situation, and understand the difference between meaningful situations vs. one that likely has no merits to cling to going forward. When you see one of these in the future, you’ll know it is a PASS not PLAY.

The San Francisco Giants are 45-13 in their last 58 games vs. a pitcher with a WHIP of greater than 1.30.

A note about systems: Systems presented in Morning Coffee are intended as one input to bolster your handicapping. Please remember that plays derived from any of these systems are not my official picks. I dont necessarily recommend playing any system picks blindly and I may in fact go on the opposite side of some of these once all factors are considered and games are fully handicapped.


Football picksOctober 19, 2012

Who would have thought a few weeks ago that the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines would have been this far apart. Michigan comes into this game with a huge advantage. In fact, they are a ten point favorite in this game. A few weeks ago, Michigan State was favored by more than a field goal against a good Notre Dame team. But much has changed, and the Spartans have been exposed to some extent. At the same time, Michigan is playing some of its best football of the season. What should we make of this?

Michigan State has been exposed as a team with no passing game. The QB play has been suspect and the weapons are nonexistent. They are missing the Keyshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham, and Kirk Cousins connection. Now, they just have a good tight end and a strong running game. Unfortunately for Sparty, that has not been enough to this point. Instead of shining, they have faltered against poor competition. State nearly lost to Eastern Michigan before dropping a game to Ohio State. They then struggled mightily with Indiana, nearly losing that game. Now they have to go on the road to face a hated rival.

The story has been different for Michigan. After losing early to Alabama and Notre Dame, the Wolverines have picked things up. They started a couple of weeks ago by thumping Purdue. Last week, Michigan took care of Illinois in impressive fashion. They appear to be putting their offense together and the defense has forced turnovers. Will the Wolverines be able to keep it going? Evidence suggests that Michigan State might be able to shut down Denard Robinson. Michigan still has enough firepower to win this game, though.

The Wolverines are ten point favorites for a reason. They are probably the better team at this point in the season. You should be very careful writing off the Spartans, though. Sparty ran to the Big Ten championship game last year. They came into this year with a lot of support from pundits. There is a good team lurking underneath, and the Spartans still have a very good coach. They might just put it together at some point in the season. If you are a Michigan fan, or a Michigan backer, you hope that this is not the week the Spartans finally clean up the mess.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Football picksOctober 19, 2012

In 2011, the Clemson Tigers dominated the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Tigers knocked out Tech twice, once coming in the ACC Championship game. Clemson won those two games by more than three scores each, so one might think they have a good shot to win this one at home. Clemson comes into this game as an eight point favorite over the Hokies. But some factors point to the idea that this might just be a very close game. If you are thinking about making that sort of bet, you will want to study up on these teams.

Clemson currently sits at 5-1. The Tigers seem to have a relatively easy path to 10-1 if they can get through this game. As a near double digit favorite, they expect to win this game at home. But Dabo Swinney’s bunch is off of a bye, and that has not been a good thing for Clemson under the coach. Last year, Clemson nearly lost a huge game to Wake Forest at home, missing the spread by a couple of touchdowns. Two years ago, Clemson lost at home to Miami after a bye. Clemson has also struggled in bowl games, suggesting that perhaps Swinney has trouble keeping the focus of his players during those tough weeks.

Virginia Tech has had a strange year. The Hokies got dropped on their head by Pittsburgh in the early going. They then turned around and lost to Cincinnati in a hard-fought game. The Hokies fell behind by three scores last week before turning it on in a home win against Duke. Now they have to go play a team that has dominated the series lately. They must win this game if they want to have a legitimate shot at winning the Coastal Division of the ACC. So how will this play out?

If Clemson comes in with focus, they should be alright in this game. The Tigers seem to have a gameplan that works against Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech. The Hokies are probably more desperate, and they showed some good stuff in the second half against Duke. This one will probably turn on how well the two defenses can force turnovers. There are times when Tech does a very good job of forcing these bad plays. If they can do that on Saturday, they have a very good chance at keeping the game close at the very least.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat ”