Using Analytics to Inform Gambling Picks (Week 2)

Last Week’s Results

The analytics identified A LOT of picks last weekend, and long story short: it got us into some trouble. We made 23 unit bets on 19 individual games betting money lines only (I’m still trying to figure out a system for betting against the spread). After leaving 23 units at the window, we would have collected 24.1 units after those games concluded. That’s a profit of 1.1 units ($110 if betting with $100 units), or a modest 4.8 percent rate of return.

Not bad!

Unfortunately, I paired all 19 of those matchups with each other as two-game parlays, which resulted in an additional 171 units being wagered. That’s $17,100 if you’re wagering with $100 units. Unfortunately we fell a game or two short of turning a profit, as we collected just 148.4 units of the 171 we left at the window in two-game parlays.

Quick note: If just one more of the 19 games we had picked went the other way, it would have meant that five more of the two-game parlays would have cashed. If two more had gone the other way, a total of 11 more two-game parlays would have cashed (the five from earlier plus six more). That is the beauty of this system when enough games go your way – you start to multiply your victories.

But it didn’t work out for us last weekend and overall we ended the week down a total of 21.46 units. It’s weeks like these that make me glad this is just for fun and I don’t have any real money on the line. Good thing we were up nearly 7 units after Week 0! As degenerates, we press on…

  • Last Week: -21.46 units (-$2,146 if betting with $100 units)
  • YTD: -14.55 units (-$1,455)


Week 1 Bad Beats

If you bet the under for Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa last weekend, I am so sorry. The over/under was 42, and it looked great the entire game. Neither offense did much and the clock hit all zeroes with the score 13-13. Just one problem: the two teams went to triple overtime and the final score was 29-26. The over wins by two touchdowns.

Stanford was favored to beat Northwestern by 6.5 points. Northwestern trailed late, 10-7, and was trying to get into scoring position when their QB fumbled and it was returned for a Stanford touchdown with mere seconds left on the clock. Stanford wins 17-7 in improbable fashion and covers the spread.

Oregon +3.5 was looking great all night on Saturday, and was one of my “From the Hip” picks last week. Even when Auburn was in field goal territory late while trailing 21-20, everything looked okay. Auburn could kick a field goal to win by 2 and Oregon would still cover. But no! Auburn heaves a jump ball to the end zone and not only wins but covers the spread after trailing all game. Ouch…


Biggest Movers in Vegas

Last Week: 5-3, YTD: 5-3

Last week, betting against a handful of big line movements would have gone 5-3. Here are this week’s early movers:

  • Texas A&M and Clemson’s total opened at 59.5 and is now 64.5
  • Tulsa and San Jose State’s total opened at 56.5 and is now 50
  • San Diego State and UCLA’s total opened at 51 and is down to 46
  • North Texas and SMU’s total opened at 68 and is up to 73.5
  • FIU opened -12.5 vs. Western Kentucky and is down to -7
  • Penn State opened -22 vs. Buffalo and is now -29.5
  • UAB and Akron’s total opened at 55 and is down to 49


From The Hip

Last Week: 4-2, YTD: 4-2

This week’s picks:

  • Ohio State -16 vs. Cincinnati
  • Clemson vs. Texas A&M UNDER 64.5
  • Texas +5.5 vs. LSU
  • Stanford +2.5 vs. USC
  • West Virginia +14 vs. Missouri


Week 2 Picks Using Analytics

  • Ole Miss -265 vs. Arkansas
  • Pitt -220 vs. Ohio
  • Tennessee -160 vs. BYU
  • LSU -220 vs. Texas
  • West Virginia +425 vs. Mizzou
  • North Texas +160 vs. SMU
  • Arkansas State +110 vs. UNLV
  • Bowling Green +1100 vs. Kansas State
  • UConn +800 vs. Illinois
  • USF +200 vs. Georgia Tech
  • Liberty +375 vs. Louisiana
  • Texas State +225 vs. Wyoming
  • Western Kentucky +230 vs. FIU
  • Southern Miss +600 vs. Mississippi State
  • UTSA +2000 vs. Baylor
  • Akron +275 vs. UAB
  • San Jose State +200 vs. Tulsa
  • Colorado +150 vs. Nebraska
  • Cincinnati +600 vs. Ohio State
  • Vanderbilt +230 vs. Purdue, 2u

Some of these are tough to put in print because they’re so against my gut feeling. But this is an experiment of the raw data, no input from me. There were a few games this week where FPI and McClintock so heavily disagreed that one model told me to pick the favorite and the other told me to pick the underdog. On games that contradicted each other I just left them off entirely. For whatever it’s worth, those games were Maryland-Syracuse, USC-Stanford, and UCLA-San Diego State. All lines are current as of Tuesday evening.

I count 20 matchups and 21 units (since Vandy and Purdue calls for two units) that we’ll “bet” on individual games. Pairing each matchup identified above as a two-game parlay means we’ll bet another 190 units on parlays, for a total of 211 units being wagered. If you’re betting with $100 units, that’s $21,100. I cannot reiterate enough how thankful I am that I’m not doing this experiment with actual money. Even using $10 units ($2,110 wagered), I would be numb with anxiety on Saturday.

Let’s hope for a better week than the last one!


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