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Week 6 BTBS Picks and Live Thread

Once again we'll use this post as an early-Saturday live thread ... that way it has SOME value.  And yes, I'm bitter.  Picking these games is not fun anymore.

Another ridiculous week for the BTBS picks.  This offseason, I moved my method of picks from my S&P+ ratings to the combined F/+ ratings we use for season projections at Football Outsiders.  The F/+ projections have a very high correlation to season performance ... but clearly it is lacking against the spread.  I simulated previous seasons to see how this method would have done in the past, and it typically finished in the 51%-54% range.  This year: 44%.  The last two weeks: 32%.  Wow.  So that means that if you're betting against the BTBS picks ... you are absolutely rolling in money right now.  So there you go.

Last Week's Results

Week 5 Season
15-34 .306 103-129-3 .444
Big 12 Games
1-8 .111 18-25 .419
Upset Picks
2-2 .500 7-12-1 .375
0-0 n/a 3-6 .333
"Feeling Safe"
2-3 .400 12-13 .480
"Feeling Queasy"
2-3 .400 12-11-1 .521
0-5 point spread
7-10 .412 30-31-1 .492
5-10 points
5-12 .294 28-29 .491
10-20 points 2-7 .222 21-46-1 .316
20-30 points
0-3 .000 19-14 .576
30+ points
1-2 .333 5-9 .357

I've been complaining about the high percentage of spreads that are within two points of the projections, and they continued to give me a little bad luck last week.  In theory, you would expect about a .500 record in those games, considering a fumble or a field goal (or a missed field) goal could tip you one way or another.  Instead, we went 3-11 in those games last week.  We also went 2-12 in games where the projection and spread are eight points or more apart -- this one makes a lot more sense to me.  Where the spread and projection disagree that much, chances are the spread is somewhat dictated by an injury or suspension, or something that the numbers are taking into account.  Where the spread and projections are between two and eight points apart?  We went a semi-respectable 10-11.  It was a bad week, but it does appear that mitigating circumstances made it worse.

Expect another atrocious week this week (though it has started well).  Incredibly, 22 of 55 games are projected within two points of the spread; another seven are within three points.  That leaves just 33 games that you should even slightly consider if you are somehow still using these picks to bet real money.  There are only five games this week where the spread and projection are eight or more points apart, so ... we've got that going for us?

Anyway, I've once again been tinkering with a couple of different projection methods -- in the bye week last week, I took a hard look at the home field advantage adjustments I've been making, and I made an interesting discovery.  Home field advantage seems different depending on not only whether you are in a major conference or mid-major conference (I kind of expected that one), but also the level to which you are a home or road underdog.  I have not officially changed the way I do picks yet -- going to observe for another week first -- but that was an interesting discovery regardless.

This week's picks after the jump.

Your notes:

  • "LOCKS" signify games where the spread and projection are more than 17 points apart.  At this point, LOCKS are rare, as Vegas seems to have hacked into my damn computer.
  • If there is a "(!)" next to the spread, that means the projection and spread are within 2 points of each other ... and you should probably lay off of these picks if you are the betting type.  There are far too many of these this week.
  • Verdicts in all caps signify games where the underdog is picked to win straight up.

Yes, I'm including the games that already took place.  At this point, I think i've earned the benefit of the doubt in terms of honesty.  The week has started well for once, but obviously we'll see if that continues.  We're due, that's for damn sure.

Date Time Game Projection Spread ATS Verdict
10/5 7:00pm Troy at Middle Tennessee MTSU by 1.9 MTSU -3 (!) Troy (W)
10/6 7:00pm UAB at Central Florida UCF by 15.8 UCF -12 C. Florida (W)
10/7 6:30pm Nebraska at Kansas State NU by 9.2 NU -12 K-State (L)
10/8 6:30pm UConn at Rutgers UConn by 1.6 UConn -5 Rutgers (W)
8:00pm Oklahoma St. at UL-Lafayette OSU by 29.2 OSU -23.5 OSU (W)
10/9 11:00am Syracuse at S. Florida USF by 14.5 USF -7.5 S. Florida (L)
Boston College at N.C. STate N.C. St. by 11.6 N.C. St. -9.5 N.C. State (W)
Indiana at Ohio State Ohio St. by 44.5 Ohio St. -22.5 tOsu (LOCK) (W)
Illinois at Penn State Penn St. by 2.1 Penn St. -7.5 Illinois (W)
C. Michigan at Virginia Tech Va Tech by 27.9 Va Tech -21.5 Va Tech (W)
Minnesota at Wisconsin Wiscy by 18.3 Wiscy -22 Minnesota (W)
W. Michigan at Ball State Ball St by 2.1 Ball St -5 W. Michigan (W)
Temple at N. Illinois N. Illinois by 4.9 N. Illinois -3.5 (!) N. Illinois (W)
Baylor at Texas Tech Tech by 1.7 Tech -2 (!) Baylor (L)
11:21am Tennessee at Georgia Georgia by 8.1 Georgia -10.5 Tennessee (L)
1:00pm Memphis at Louisville Louisville by 17.7 Louisville -17 (!) Louisville (W)
Bowling Green at Ohio Ohio by 3.4 Ohio -9.5 Bgsu (L)
Colorado St. at Air Force Air Force by 25.8 Air Force -24.5 (!) Air Force (W)
2:30pm UCLA at California Cal by 9.2 Cal -7.5 (!) Cal (W)
Virginia at Georgia Tech Ga Tech by 0.6 Ga Tech -10 Virginia (L)
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame Irish by 4.1 Irish -6 (!) Pittsburgh (T)
Michigan State at Michigan Michigan by 5.1 Michigan -4.5 (!) Michigan (L)
Clemson at N. Carolina Clemson by 1.9 Clemson +1.5 CLEMSON (L)
Arkansas at Texas A&M Arkansas by 8.2 Arkansas -7 (!) Arkansas (T)
UNLV at West Virginia WVU by 31.4 WVU -27.5 W. Virginia (W)
W. Kentucky at Fla. Int'l FIU by 15.3 FIU -9.5 Fla. Int'l (L)
Akron at Kent State Kent by 15.9 Kent -17.5 (!) Akron (W)
Alabama at S. Carolina Alabama by 16.1 Alabama -7 Alabama (L)
Wyoming at TCU TCU by 36.0 TCU -34 (!) Tcu (W)
Army at Tulane Army by 1.9 Army -0 (!) Army (W)
3:00pm Utah State at Louisiana Tech Utah St by 2.5 Utah St +1.5 UTAH STATE (L)
4:00pm Oregon at Washington State Oregon by 36.8 Oregon -36.5 (!) Oregon (L)
5:00pm Oregon State at Arizona Arizona by 15.5 Arizona -8.5 Arizona (L)
San Diego State at BYU SDSU by 2.5 SDSU -4.5 Byu (W)
5:30pm Navy at Wake Forest Navy by 0.4 Navy -3.5 Wake (W)
6:00pm Colorado at Missouri Mizzou by 21.3 Mizzou -11.5 Mizzou (W)
Utah at Iowa State Utah by 11.1 Utah -6 Utah (W)
E. Michigan at Vanderbilt Vandy by 26.8 Vandy -25 (!) Vandy (W)
Arkansas State at N. Texas N. Texas by 4.6 N. Texas +3.5 N. TEXAS (L)
Miami-OH at Cincinnati Cincy by 13.0 Cincy -17 Miami-OH (L)
Florida Atl. at UL-Monroe FAU by 4.3 FAU +2.5 FAU (L)
6:30pm LSU by Florida Florida by 8.9 Florida -7 (!) Florida (L)
Purdue at Northwestern NW'ern by 8.45 NW'ern -8.5 (!) Purdue (W)
Auburn at Kentucky Auburn by 8.9 Auburn -6 Auburn (L)
East Carolina at So. Miss So. Miss by 6.8 So. Miss -8 (!) E. Caro. (W)
7:00pm USC at Stanford Stanford by 8.7 Stanford -8.5 (!) Stanford (L)
Toledo at Boise State Boise by 36.8 Boise -39 Toledo (L)
New Mexico at New Mex. St. NMSU by 2.9 NMSU -2.5 (!) Nmsu (L)
Mississippi State at Houston Miss. St. by 1.5 Miss. St. -5.5 Houston (L)
Florida State at Miami-FL Miami by 19.3 Miami -6.5 Miami (L)
Tulsa at SMU SMU by 8.6 SMU -6.5 Smu (L)
8:05pm Rice at UTEP UTEP by 11.0 UTEP -9.5 (!) Utep (W)
9:00pm Arizona State at Washington Arizona St. by 1.4 Arizona St. +2 ARIZONA ST (W)
Hawaii at Fresno State Fresno St by 9.5 Fresno St -10.5 (!) Hawaii (W)
9:30pm San Jose St. at Nevada Nevada by 35.2 Nevada -39 Sjsu (W)

Picks I am Feeling Safest About:

I would have said Rutgers > UConn, but that one has kind of already passed.

  1. Fla International -9.5 Western Kentucky.  FIU is 0-4 but has really only been blown out once despite playing four major conference opponents.  Unless they have an epic letdown (always possible when you face this steep a drop in competition), they win going away.

  2. Bowling Green +9.5 Ohio.  No real reason here -- I just think BGSU is a semi-competitive team, and Ohio's not so good that they're guaranteed to win by double digits.

  3. W. Virginia -27.5 UNLV.  I never really feel confident about a spread that high, but if WVU comes to play, they win by 40.

    Honestly, those are the only games about which I can even pretend to feel confident.  But here are two more, just to reach five.

  4. Ohio State -22.5 Indiana.  Just too much speed/talent/homefield advantage.

  5. South Florida -7.5 Syracuse.  No idea why.

Picks I am Feeling Queasiest About:

Again, the correct answer is "all of them."

  1. Georgia -10.5 Tennessee.  What a great line.  I can easily talk myself into Georgia by 10, but Georgia by 11 or more?  Still ... Dawgs have too much talent not to explode at some point, and there's a very good possibility that Tennessee will have a hangover after last week's ridiculousness.

  2. Louisville -17 Memphis.  The spread is in the dreaded 10-20 point range, and the projection is 0.7 points from the spread.  Awful, awful combination.

  3. Akron +17.5 Kent State.  Ditto.

  4. Hawaii +10.5 Fresno State.  Ditto.

  5. Missouri -11.5 Colorado.  Actually, I feel pretty confident about this one (knock on wood), but it's also a bad combination: spread and projection disagree tremendously, and the game is in the 10-20 point range for the spread.