Monday, September 7, 2009

Lessons Learned?

Well, the big ol' 2-1 split this week (2-1 ATS for the season), but we learned something from every game, didn't we kids?

-Utah/USU: A lot of points is a lot of points, especially in a grudge match game. Note to self: if you don't have a strong analytical edge, stay away from big numbers. This is kind of like falling down the bar-whore ladder at closing time - in the absence of something compelling, just get the fuck out.

-USC/NCSU: This one was pegged pretty well by the major tout guys, actually, and everything that needed to happen (low-scoring game; correlative factors) did. I'm not sure we had much edge here, but following well-reasoned advice in a game without much in the way of contradicting factors is always a smart policy.

-Oregon/Boise State: I think I nailed this game basically exactly, at least as far as what I needed to do to get to the highest-percentage place for a pool. Oregon's rushing attack indeed could not take advantage of Boise's several mistakes, and a sloppy game indeed went to the superlative home field advantage. Sometimes, Occam's Razor is the way to play, especially as evidence mounts to support it (and sample sizes get larger). This could also be construed as "when it's obvious, don't do anything stupid" and/or "don't buy into major-conference preseason hype when contradicting factors emerge, you believe-everything-you-read ninny." Point taken.

Next up: weighing factor-based computer rankings while teams get connected through early play, plus the Week 1 NFL lines. Holy shit, what a week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's that time again . . .

Football season begins, which means drinking myself into oblivion with 80,000 of my closest friends every weekend. The season is a total grind - you're worn out by the time November gets around, or at least you are if you're like me (NOTE: don't be like me). This year, I'm in a bunch of confidence-type pools, so I figured I'd outline my process here, for posterity if nothing else (and so I can figure out what the fuck went wrong when I get plowed under). I generally cash in these, although I win pretty infrequently - that makes me think three things:


2 - It seems pretty likely I get a good handle on the "easy" games every week, but miss (at least in the sense that I don't break away from the pack) on the go-either-way types.

3 - I'm a fucking retard who talks himself into long shots for ridiculous reasons at least once a week.

I'll start with the Thursday college games, just to get warmed up (there's no action this week in any of my pools, because the NFL hasn't started and/or the dudes running it are lazy, lazy men).

Utah St @ Utah (-21)

According to Sagarin, Utah should be a 30+ point favorite on a neutral site. USU is just awful, and Utah doesn't have any sort of reputation for starting slowly. Unless Utah slams on the breaks (or inclement weather, but it's 90 and 10% chance of rain), I'm OK with going there, even acknowledging that USU was better than their record last year, and Utah will be markedly worse. Utah

South Carolina @ NC State (-5)

Bizarre game here, and tough to get a handle on because of USC's carousel of QBs last season and NC State being, well, average. I think USC is exploitable on offense (TAKE THAT, SPURRIOR HAIR CUT!) but I can't see NCSU really dominating on the offensive side of the ball either. Both Dr. Bob and Sagarin aren't big on the -5, so I'll sit on USC and hope Stephen Garcia can complete better than 53% of his frigging passes.

Note that in a "pick-the-winner (no line)" pool, I'd likely ride NCSU here - the five points are that important. I'm in both types, so I'll probably list the results independently.

Oregon @ Boise St. (-3.5)

This game is unreal, really - it looks like the line is basically perfect. Vegas, you win again (note that it opened at 5.5 - Vegas, you're full of fucking tards, but at least the market can bail you out). Oregon has only a handful of starters returning, while Boise lost its front 7 and skill-position guys. BSU's RBs are very solid, though - possibly better than the departing Ian Johnson on a per-carry/success basis. None have proposed after a Statue of Liberty, though, so I don't know any of their names off-hand - they're numbers in a douchey spreadsheet, and will stay that way until and if they rape/rob/fail their way out of school (clearly I'm an Iowa fan).

Here's the thing - BSU is probably a .5-point favorite on neutral turf. Add 3 and get the line, right? Wrong, fuck face - Boise's something like a 5.5-point favorite at home, according to Massey (not Mark - although that would be AWESOME) and just never loses there. Oregon's not a fantastic road team, although they're very good early. I wouldn't bet this game if you gave me the money (NOTE: that's a lie), but if a pool forced me to, I'd take Boise and pray the entirely-new Oregon line can't take advantage of the mostly-new Boise front 7, because Oregon's advantage should come on the ground, at least in theory. I hate this fucking game.