Often times I see people going on and on about their wins. For me, if a bet wins it’s because I expected it to after doing all the work. That’s comforting. What’s not comforting is losing. Unless and until we learn why we lost a bet we will continue to make the same mistakes, so I spend a great deal of time looking back rather than boasting about what we did right. There’s a saying that begins “if you always do” and I think you know the rest.
With that in mind, let’s look back at a Big Ten game earlier this month between Purdue versus Illinois,in Champaign. The Illini won that game 63-37. That’s not a typo. Purdue scored 37 points.
That game went off close to a pick ‘em if memory serves me right. And I remember most everyone and their brothers betting on the Boilermakers. After all,they had just destroyed Central Michigan and beaten Minnesota. Illinois had just lost by twenty points at Michigan State, so of course Purdue was going to win, but why didn’t they?
If you look deeper you see that Purdue’s win over Minnesota was in double overtime. Matt Haarns, Purdue’s best player, was on the court for forty of the fifty minutes, which is akin to playing every minute of a regulation game. Sasha Stefanovic played 47 minutes for the Boilermakers. So, you have a massive fatigue factor.
Illinois was supposed to lose to Michigan State. Maybe not by twenty points but let’s not forget that they were 13 point underdogs, give or take. So there was really no good reason to downgrade them coming home to face Purdue. Just look back at Illinois’ schedule. They beat Michigan at home so there was no reason to think they couldn’t beat Purdue.
But wait, there’s more. Purdue’s offense is dead last in the Big Ten Conference in terms of efficiency, they only shoot 42% inside, and they can’t shoot free throws. And oh, their only road win at the time was over Ohio. Not Ohio State, Ohio.In fact that is still their only road win.
The point is that by doing the work that Illinois win should have come as no surprise. So if we made a mistake in that game by betting on Purdue, we learned. We take that forward, though, and make it profitable. Next week the Boilermakers are at Rutgers and Northwestern. I would bet that they lose to Rutgers by more than the -3 look ahead number at Bookmaker, and they may not cover the estimated -6 at Northwestern. What would make this even better is if they beat Wisconsin Sunday and everyone thinks the Boilermakers are back. They aren’t. Nor is Illinois after the rematch at Purdue. Their schedule,after winning four straight, gets right into the meat of the Conference, where home teams tend to reign supreme.