Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Interesting Week 3 College Football Game Lines and Picks - ASU, FSU, Boise St, Arkansas, USC/Stanford

In writing this blog entry, I stress that it is still early in the season and while my algorithm attempts to converge quickly on the proper rating for a team in as few games as possible, just 1 or 2 games as well as games between teams of wildly varying ability makes this imprecise at best.  That said, we can still look at some games/lines and see what stands out.

First, there are several games where the computer is picking pretty substantial upsets or has a pretty big deviation from the spread.

ASU handily beat Illinois last week after easily thumping Northern Arizona, while Missouri had an easy win over SE Louisiana but lost pretty soundly at home to Georgia.  With the game in Missouri, Vegas is picking Missouri by 8.5 but my computer, perhaps overreacting to ASU's good start is picking them by 8.  In the end, this game will be a good measure of the SEC vs Pac-12 later in the year.

Florida State has played two absolutely nobody's and should be punished for having not 1 but 2 non-FBS teams on their schedule, and the computer is doing so ranking them just #35 because of it.  The result is that while the computer picks them to win, it is just by 12.6, not anywhere close to the 22.5 line.

Then in what is a first in a long time, my computer is picking Boise St to cover in a game where they are favored big (19) picking them by 25.  My computer didn't ding them that much for a close road loss to Michigan State, but is it giving them too much credit?

Interestingly, with Arkansas' loss you'd think the computer would have a hard time rating them correctly, but the computer's pick in their game with Alabama (Alabama by 17) is pretty close to the 19 point line.  Do Vegas and my computer have it right and Arkansas is only a #30 to #40 team?

Last, in a game that will go a long ways to determining USC's national title hopes, they visit Stanford after a lackluster showing, albeit in some trying circumstances with the weather, against Syracuse.  My computer has dinged them for that and with the game in Palo Alto is picking Stanford to win despite the 9.5 point line.  Will the real USC show up or did we actually see them last week?

The good news is that while some of the games against non-FBS opponents with huge margins wreak havoc with my algorithm and move teams around a bit, when the more meaningful games are played these "meaningless" games will carry very little weight and not help/hurt the teams in question that much.

Enjoy the games.