Football

Using Analytics to Inform Gambling Picks (Week 6)

Sorry I didn’t post the picks last week. Between the Andre Emmett news and traveling for work I couldn’t find the time. I did have enough time to find the picks and record the results, so I’ll update everyone on the last couple weeks and identify the picks for this week.

Week 4 was pretty close to a push. We wagered 272 units and came away with a loss of 9.79 units. Week 5 (last week), was noteworthy as FPI went a perfect 9-0 on games that I identified as high value picks, including 7-0 with underdogs.

All in all between the models, we identified 27 matchups and wagered 32 units on those games straight up (five matchups overlapped between the two models so we wagered two units on each of those). On those wagers, we collected 42.57 units, a 10.57-unit profit.

But it gets even better! Combining all 27 matchups into two-game parlays, we wagered an additional 351 units, a hefty price tag of $35,100 if gambling with $100 units. But 13 of the matchups cashed, which means 78 different two-game parlays cashed. Total, we collected 407.91 units from the parlays, a profit of 56.91 units, or $5,691. Between the parlays and the straight up bets, that’s a Week 5 profit of 67.48 units.

Fun fact: if we had ignored McClintock’s model and wagered on the nine matchups FPI informed us to pick, going 9-0 straight up and cashing in on 36 two-game parlays would have profited $18,733 on a $4,500 total investment. Basically FPI made us a bunch of money in Week 5 and we were partially wiped out by the McClintock model.

  • Week 4 Results: -9.79 units (-$979 if betting with $100 units)
  • Week 5 Results: +67.48 units ($6,748)
  • YTD: -68.17 units (-$6,817)

 

Week 4 Bad Beat

Houston was leading 28-7 in the second quarter before being outscored 31-3 the rest of the way against Tulane. What the heck is that?! To make matters worse, they had a chance to punch it into the end zone while trailing 28-31 late in the fourth quarter. They couldn’t punch it in on 3rd & goal, so they kicked the field goal and went to overtime at 31-31, and maybe they can salvage victory there. Right?

Wrong!

Tulane head coach WIllie Fritz has ice water in his veins, so instead of kneeling it out he runs the same trick play Texas Tech ran with Jakeem Grant against Texas in 2015. That gets the Green Wave near midfield with another play to get into field goal range and win the game in regulation.

But ice cold Willie Fritz says “screw your field goal”, and Tulane launches a pass over the middle and Jalen McCleskey takes it to the house after shedding tackles from three Houston defenders.

Yes, it was a bad beat if you had Houston winning the game. It was also a bad beat if you had Houston +5. Tulane kicking a game-winning field goal would have still allowed Houston ATS bettors to cash. But no. Ice cold Willie Fritz wants some respect.

Worst beat of the season, but congrats to Dan Swanberg and Tulane.

Week 5 Bad Beat

An obscure matchup, Vanderbilt was favored by 6.5 against Northern Illinois. Trailing 24-10 late in the game, Northern Illinois scored and went for the 2-point conversion. That cut the lead to 24-18 instead of 24-17 had they kicked the extra point.

There’s actually a pretty good analytical case to go for two when you’re down by two touchdowns. If you don’t convert, you have a chance at another 2-point conversion if you score another touchdown. If you do convert the first time, you can win the game with an extra point if you can find the end zone again. But few teams do this so it appears random, and qualifies as a bad beat with that spread if a bettor had Vandy.

 

Biggest Movers in Vegas

Week 4: 6-3-1, YTD: 18-17-2

Looks like Vegas had it right when they set the lines in Week 4 for the most part. I didn’t get a chance to look at the Week 5 movements, so the year-to-date listed is through Week 4. We’ll skip ahead to Week 6. Here are this week’s biggest movers:

And just as a refresher, we are picking against the big line movements. So if a team opens as a 5-point favorite and becomes a 10-point favorite, we are assuming that they are closer to a 5-point favorite in reality and choosing their opponent +10. Getting +10 on a team that is only five points worse in reality (assuming the opening line is an accurate predictor of reality) is good value.

If all the money in Vegas pours in on one team, that gives the sports books a lot of liability. And since they’re in the business of making money, being on the same side as the sports books should be profitable in the long run.

  • Georgia Southern opened -13.5 and is now -10 vs. South Alabama
  • USF opened -15.5 and is now -10.5 vs. Connecticut
  • Louisville opened -3 and is now -6.5 vs. Boston College
  • Penn State opened -16.5 and is now -27.5 vs. Purdue
  • Northern Illinois opened -9 and is now -4.5 vs. Ball State
  • Miami opened -8.5 and is now -13.5 vs. Virginia Tech
  • Oregon opened -14 and is now -18 vs. Cal
  • Washington opened -13 and is now -16.5 vs. Stanford
  • Michigan opened -7 and is now -3.5 vs. Iowa
  • Air Force and Navy’s total opened at 52 and is now 44.5
  • Marshall opened -8.5 and is now -4 vs. Middle Tennessee State
  • Western Kentucky opened as a pick ’em and is now -3.5 vs. Old Dominion
  • UTSA opened -2.5 and is now +1.5 vs. UTEP

 

From The Hip

Week 4: 2-1-1, YTD: 13-7-1

Again, I didn’t get a chance to take a look at these last week, so the year-to-date is through Week 4. I try to keep this limited to interesting games like Big 12 or top 25 matchups, and try not to overlap with the analytical picks. Here are my picks this week from the hip, without using any analytical help:

  • Oklahoma State -10 vs. Texas Tech (sorry y’all)
  • Oklahoma State and Texas Tech UNDER 64.5
  • UCF -4 vs. Cincinnati
  • Baylor and Kansas State OVER 50

 

Week 6 Picks Using Analytics

  • Florida +125 vs. Auburn
  • Baylor +110 vs. Kansas State
  • Michigan State +900 vs. Ohio State
  • Georgia Tech +290 vs. North Carolina
  • West Virginia +310 vs. Texas
  • Navy +145 vs. Air Force
  • UTSA +105 vs. UTEP, 2u
  • Illinois +450 vs. Minnesota
  • Virginia Tech +425 vs. Miami
  • Arizona +160 vs. Colorado
  • Troy +1100 vs. Missouri
  • New Mexico +195 vs. San Jose State
  • TCU +150 vs. Iowa State
  • Central Michigan +190 vs. Eastern Michigan, 2 u
  • Stanford +550 vs. Washington
  • Northwestern +225 vs. Nebraska
  • Georgia State +235 vs. Arkansas State
  • Louisville -240 vs. Boston College
  • Western Kentucky -170 vs. Old Dominion
  • Duke -185 vs. Pitt

I count 20 matchups and 22 units being wagered straight up. With the parlays, we will wager an additional 190 units. So total, that’s 212 units ($21,200) we’re dropping off at the window, and we’ll see how much we collect come Sunday morning.

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