Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 BCS Championship Game Preview - LSU to win and beat the spread

The Allstate BCS Championship Bowl will take place on 1/9 pitting LSU against Alabama. A subscription for all previews a week in advance of the games is available.

LSU is ranked #1 by the computer with a 13-0 record and a rating of 96.546 against a schedule strength of 72.941. Their performance chart can be found below and shows they were very consistent all year, their worst game being against Northwestern State and best game being against Arkansas. They are 5-1-1 against the spread this year and the computer is 8-0-1 picking their games against the spread and 8-1 picking winners in their games.



Alabama is ranked #2 by the computer with a 11-1 record and a rating of 92.648 against a schedule strength of 71.733. Their performance chart can be found below and shows they were also fairly consistent, their worst game being against North Texas and best game being against Arkansas. They are 4-3 against the spread this year and the computer is 6-1 picking their games against the spread and 6-1 picking winners in their games.



Being from the same division of the same conference, the teams are very connected having played head to head and separated by 2 degrees as follows:


1 LSU-->Alabama
2 LSU-->Arkansas-->Alabama
2 LSU-->Auburn-->Alabama
2 LSU-->Florida-->Alabama
2 LSU-->Mississippi-->Alabama
2 LSU-->Mississippi_St-->Alabama
2 LSU-->Tennessee-->Alabama

LSU won 9-6 on the road in the head to head game.  In the games against common opponents, here is how they did:

OpponentLSUAlabama
Arkansas41-1738-14
Auburn45-10@42-14
Florida41-11@38-10
Mississippi@52-3@52-7
Mississippi State@19-6@24-7
Tennessee@38-737-6

The scores in these games are remarkably similar, LSU having the slight advantage of 3 at home while Alabama had just 2 at home, but of course LSU had to go to Alabama in the head to head game.

The spread was LSU by 1 but is now Alabama by 2, the computer agreeing with the former picking LSU by 3.9. Here is the pick using the format from the newsletter:

*LSU                   +2.0 over ..              Alabama  3.9  5.9 0.726 0.819

This pick is made based on a weighted average of each teams performance in all their games.  But it is interesting to look at a few other comparisons.

At their best, both against Arkansas, LSU rated 102.3 points and Alabama 102.1 points.  Based on that you'd expect a virtual tie.

At their worst, both in somewhat meaningless games mind you, LSU rated 80.3 and Alabama 82.2.  Based on that, you'd give Alabama the edge.

If you throw out both teams best/worst, LSU averages 95.6 while Alabama falls to 91.4.  This shows a clear advantage to LSU.

However, LSU got an extra game against Georgia and their 2nd best game was that one, so throwing it out too may be fair, but it only drops them to 95.0.   LSU is definitely stronger at the top supporting the computer's pick of LSU by nearly 4.


Enjoy!


Newsletter pick format:

The x denotes the home team. The * denotes the pick to win the game. The . is just a place holder. The number before "over" is the best line I've found typically from Maddux Sports. The team on the left is the pick against the spread. The first column after the second team is what the computer predicts the winning team will win by. The next column is the difference between the Vegas line and that prediction. The next column is the confidence of my pick to win. The last column is the confidence of the pick against the spread.
cfa11.gms:Alabama NL at Mississippi_St 24-7 on 12-Nov-11
cfa07.gms:LSU NL at Tennessee 38-7 on 15-Oct-11
cfa08.gms:Tennessee NL at Alabama 6-37 on 22-Oct-11