We had a really good week doing our forecasts, yet it was a cautionary tale in and of itself about the frustrations of gambling at all.
Last week, we lost three of our ten games by a total of four points, which happens sometimes. This week, the table flipped, as you’ll see in a moment. Flukes that had nothing to do with the competitiveness of the games destroyed or delighted those who had money riding on not the winner or loser of the game but on what the margin of difference might be at the end. Consider the eleven games we pontificated on last week (as per usual, last week’s comments are in red).
Virginia at NORTH CAROLINA STATE (- 7). Our numbers show the Wolfpack by twelve, and it ended at fourteen, 35-21. One-nothing, us.
Florida State at LOUISVILLE (+ 6). Our numbers have this dud of a game as dead even, emphasis on the word “dead”. And it was. Pathetic. No danger of FSU winning by more than six, but it took a dumb choice by the coach I respect least in the business to allow FSU to win at all. 28-24, FSU. Two-nothing, Following Football.
OHIO STATE (+3.5) at Penn State. It took a halftime resurrection of the Buckeye offense to give them any chance of meeting this margin, let alone winning as they did. But a 26-14 deficit with eight minutes remaining became a 27-26 victory with two spectacular drives in hostile territory. Three-zip, FF, but we didn’t deserve this win.
PURDUE (- 3) at Nebraska. This one was easy. Purdue, 42-28. Four-zip, FF.
Oregon at CALIFORNIA (+ 3).. My head doesn’t agree with this one, but my data says Cal-Berkeley wins this game outright. So does Sagarin, for that matter, and several other sources, so I’m going with the data. Bears win. Should’ve gone with my head. Oregon won big, 42-24. Oh well. Four-one.
Utah at WASHINGTON STATE (+ 1). Another “believe the data” pick, but Utah didn’t have ANY offense last week, and Wazzu ALWAYS has offense. And we were correct this time. 28-24, Washington State. Five-one.
ARMY-WEST POINT (+8) at Buffalo. We thought Buffalo would make a game of it, but that it would be closer than eight. WE WERE WRONG. Army utterly thrashed the Bulls, much to my surprise. But at least my surprise was in the margin, not in the direction. SIX to one.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (- 1.5) at Miami of Ohio. Another home underdog. We have WMU winning by a point. Not a big discrepancy, I’ll admit, but I have more faith in them right now. This is very embarrassing. I typed the wrong spread – it was 1.5 in Miami’s favor, not WMU’s. (The prediction makes no sense otherwise – how could we pick Western if we had them winning by one point, if the spread was 1.5?). So by winning 40-39, they beat the +1.5 spread. I feel badly for misleading in print, although if you bet WMU it would have won for you as well. But this one was so back and forth that betting either way was an unsound risk. Still: seven-one.
Toledo at FRESNO STATE (- 8). Fresno won by a count of 49-27, very late at night. This one was never in doubt. Eight-one.
UL-Monroe at GEORGIA STATE (+8). Our final home dog. We have this game dead even. And, just like Army, GaSt came through with flying colors, winning 46-14. Nine-one.
BONUS PREDICTION: West Coast by a goal (six pts) v Collingwood at the MCG Saturday afternoon. This was one of the games of the year – West Coast had to fight back from 29 points down in the first quarter to tie the match going into the fourth. Then two quick Collingwood goals to start the final quarter meant the Eagles were fighting from behind the rest of the way. Attempt after attempt, shot after shot went awry, scoring one point at a time rather than six – yet they kept the offensive going, never allowing their opponent to move to the far end of the field. Finally, a goal by Lewis Jetta and a game-winning goal from Norm Smith medalist Dom Sheed gave West Coast the lead they never relinquished, winning the Grand Final 79-74. Off by just one point? That’s as close as I’ve called a game all year!
So, in eleven games this weekend, Following Football went 10 – 1. Pretty remarkable. But three of those games were awfully close – Western Michigan, the West Coast Eagles, and especially Ohio State barely came through on our side of the ledger, just as last week three games barely fell away from our side of the record. In the end, neither good fortune nor bad should be accepted as “skill”, but rather as God’s Pleasure to grant or refuse minor victories in His Honor.
Overall, our record for our special choices is 19 out of 32 (59%). Overall, with our FBS predictions, we went 30-19 this week against the spread, while overall we went 47-35 ATS. (For the season, we’re at 55% against the spread – not to be too prideful, but that’s an outstanding percentage. Which means we’re due for another collapse…)
We also went 74 for 100 on our game predictions (which is – wait, don’t tell me… – 74%), while the consensus of Vegas oddsmakers were 61 out of 86 (71%). Overall for the year, we’re 2.5% more accurate than they have been as well (79.2 to 76.7 percent).
We’re feeling like our system is working very well right now.
Tomorrow, we’re planning to print out the Fantasy results from Week 2 of both the SBAC and Relegation Leagues. The start scores are still on the Following Football page if you need them.