The Book 2021: Week 9 - October 30

Not many felt that Halloween weekend 2021 would be quite this spooky for the Boston College football team, but we did. Granted, the 4-3 record that we figured the Eagles would sit at entering Saturday's game at Syracuse would be followed by four wins in their final five games, which now hardly looks plausible, but at least to this point, we are on track.

Boston College continues to drop like a rock in both the ACC and national rankings, now #11 in the ACC and #67 nationally after reaching #3 in the ACC and #28 after the Missouri game. The Eagles are still just a 1.2 point underdog this week in the Dome vs resurgent Syracuse, but that also seems quite the stretch as the model simply hasn't yet caught up to the way BC or Syracuse are playing.

The National Scene

The national top four shifted again this week, with Michigan and Ohio State moving up to 3 and 4 respectively, supplanting Oklahoma and Cincinnati for those last two CFP spots. This isn't very surprising, considering the performance of the Sooners at Kansas and Cincinnati at Navy, in terms of margin of victory and quality of opponent, both of which have an impact on the ratings and therefore the ranking.

All of the remaining undefeated teams have now entered our top 25, with San Diego State at 7-0, being the last to join the group at #24. Georgia (1), Michigan (3), Oklahoma (5), Cincinnati (6), Michigan State (12), Wake Forest (13), UTSA (14) and SMU (21) are the other eight unbeatens.

The big game this week takes place between two of these teams when Michigan travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. The Book has the Wolverines as a 7.6 point favorite.

Some Betting Calm in a Sea of Turmoil

As I've documented, this has been by far, the worst season I've had with my model vs the spread. Even in 2020, it did reasonably well despite ..hmmm..well..everything.

What I have been working on though is a better way to predict success in the model and even being at just under 43% against the spread for the year, I think I've done it on a few fronts.

No model is designed to win every game. The magical number of being able to win 52.4% to just break even at a sports book where the odds vs the spread are 10:11 (or -110 if you will on the moneyline), makes it really hard to do so unless you analyze your model and figure out where you have an edge.

What I've learned using my 2021 numbers is that the model does work, at least to some extent and it works even better when you use it against the moneyline as opposed to vs the spread.

When looking at games vs the spread where my model is 7.3 points per game greater than the closing line, I'd have a year to date profit of 7.9 units and a return on investment of a whopping 79%. I've only had 10 plays so far that would fit that criteria, which isn't very good at only one play per week, but still, there's a path.

With the money line bets, understanding that you are going to lose more often than you win for sure, but that some of edges will pay off in multiples greater than 2, I did find a combination that produced 19 wagers over the first 9 weeks (week 0 included) and turned a profit of 5.0 units for an ROI of 26.32%

I don't have enough data points to say I have it figured out and I haven't researched enough filters to potentially do better with the data points I do have...but it's promising. I will update this next week and maybe even post a few picks here to see how they do.

Enjoy the games and Go Eagles!

Power – Book power rank, SOR – Book Strength of Record rank, Sagarin – Jeff Sagarin computer poll ranking, Massey – Massey Composite rankings, ESPN FPI – ESPN Football Power Index rankings, AP – Associated Press writers rankings, Coaches – ESPN Coaches rankings, CFP – College Football Playoff rankings, Change from last week – change from last week’s Book rankings