Thank god football is back, this is indeed the best time of the sports year. The data is starting to pile up now that the NCAAF season is headed into the third week. There have been both disappointing and pleasantly surprising teams as we explore the effectiveness of using returning production to find edges on bets.
The Michigan State Spartans are 0-2 against the spread despite returning the most production in the country. Why is this? Well, it felt like everyone was choosing the Spartans as their dark horse. So while this data can be used as an edge, we need to be careful to avoid piling on to teams that are already over valued.
So How are We Going to Use This Data for the Rest of the Season?
In the beginning of the year, weeks one through four, these statistics will be used to find edges backing experienced teams or fading inexperienced teams. As the season goes on young teams can be monitored for improvement as the players start to gain more experience. By week eight we should have a strong idea of what each team truly is capable of accomplishing.
How did the data work out last week?
Last week was a bit of disappointment with Memphis getting beat at home to a tired Navy team despite being a 7 point favorite. However, the prediction of a low scoring game was correct so the plays on that game were a split.
Georgia made quick work of the South Carolina defense. The Georgia Bulldogs are a team I will not be looking to play against for the time being. Head Coach Kirby Smart has proven, that despite turnover at key positions, this team is one of the best run programs in the nation.
Where does the data point us for this week?
Ohio State Buckeyes (-12.5) neutral site vs. TCU Horned Frogs (Played in Arlington)
Laying 14 points on the road with an inexperienced quarterback is never fun. However, he is going against one of the least experienced TCU teams in Head Coach Gary Patterson’s career. The Horned Frogs are returning just 44 percent of their offense, which is 118th in the nation.
The Buckeyes are returning much more production on offense with 72 percent. This is vital to support their electric Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins who already has thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception. The Buckeyes should not have trouble moving the ball against a TCU defense returning just 61 percent of production.
While the Buckeyes should be able to put up points, the Horned Frogs may struggle to do so. TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson is a dual threat athlete who is certainly fun to watch. However, his accuracy is still unproven and TCU has not played any significant competition. For a team that is already at a disadvantage in talent, this is a tough spot to go into as the first serious competition. I expect The Buckeyes offense to continue to roll as interim Head Coach Ryan Day strives to build his resume for a Head Coaching position. This is a rare time I will be laying this many points on the road in a big game, Buckeyes -12.5, Bet Online.
USC Trojans at Texas Longhorns (-3)
We already saw the USC Trojans struggle to score on the road once this season. Sadly this is becoming a trend in Head Coach Todd Helton’s stint as the leader of the talented Trojans. They are returning a meager 40 percent of offensive production from last year and it has shown early with just three points on the road at Stanford last week.
Things will not be much better against a Longhorns team that has looked formidable on defense under Head Coach Tom Herman. The Longhorns struggle to score on offense as well and USC always has athletes on defense. This game is setting up nicely to be a low scoring affair with a lot of ugly offensive possessions.
The total opened at 49 and is falling quickly with the highest remaining number 47.5 at Bet Online. I will be playing the under and a Trojans team total under as well. Even though I expect the Trojans to end with a low score, Texas has not shown me enough to be bet as a favorite against a talented defense.
Washington (-4.5 at 5Dimes) vs Utah
The Utah Utes are quickly becoming a popular underdog this week as they welcome the Washington Huskies late Saturday night. Utah is a really hard place to play with the elevation influencing player performance. However, this number has gotten too low for the talent gap.
The Washington Huskies return a lot of production this season with more than 70 percent on both sides of the ball and 22nd most in the nation. This team is supposed to compete for a playoff bid and after a tough week one loss to Auburn every game matters. If they had won in week one this could have been seen as a trap game. With Chris Petersen as their Head Coach, I expect this Huskies team to take care of business on the road in a tough spot.