Your weekly dose of sports betting tips and news, each Saturday at 10am Eastern.
Bedlam – On this week’s episode of Covering the Spread, I talked about how I like Oklahoma State side over Oklahoma. A big part of this analysis is Oklahoma State’s defense, ranked 6th in The Power Rank’s adjusted success rate.
The Cowboys’ run defense has been arguably the best in college football. Per PFF, Oklahoma State’s overall defense has the fourth-highest grade, but against the run, their EPA/rush allowed is number one at -0.4, a full tenth of a point better than second place in the Power 5.
In last week’s win, Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams relied on his run game. Assuming he often will not have that option, it will be up to Williams, who has struggled against stiffer competition, to keep Oklahoma competitive. It is a tough ask for anyone, much less a true freshman.
When we recorded Covering the Spread, Oklahoma State was a 3.5 point favorite. The market has moved to 4.5 as of Saturday morning, and The Power Rank prediction has the Cowboys by 7.1 points.
Then One Year – Chris Andrews, director of the South Point sportsbook in Las Vegas, wrote a hilarious book about his time in the business called Then One Day… 40 Years of Bookmaking in Nevada. Chris described some of the best moments in the book on an episode of The Football Analytics Show with Ed Feng.
Chris has written another book about bookmaking, this time during a global pandemic. You can now pre-order a copy of Then One Year… History’s Craziest Year as Seen by a Las Vegas Bookmaker.
Injuries – A light week as Arizona and banged up QB Kyler Murray have a bye.
- Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers didn’t practice this week, but he will start Sunday against the Rams.
- New York Jets QB Zach Wilson returns from an injury to start at Houston. However, back up Mike White tested positive for COVID, and Joe Flacco might pass protocols to back up Wilson.
- Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger was limited in practice on Wednesday but will play Sunday against the Bengals.
- Auburn QB Bo Nix is out for the year with a broken ankle. TJ Finley was ineffective against South Carolina in a loss last week and starts against Alabama this week.
Tampa Bay at Indianapolis – The Power Rank founder Ed Feng made an appearance on the Rambling and Gambling podcast, and he talked about he likes Tampa Bay -2.5 at Indianapolis this week. Despite the heroics of RB Jonathan Taylor, the Colts are not good in the passing game on either side of the ball.
He and host Josh Rosenthal talked other topics as well, including:
- Ryan Tannehill and Tennessee at New England
- Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay
- Ed’s two favorite books
Josh has been getting awesome guests, which makes the Rambling and Gambling podcast worth a listen.
College basketball analytics primer – Have you ever wondered how Ken Pomeroy makes his predictions? These ideas apply to football as well as basketball.
Have you wondered if match ups matter in college basketball? For example, can you gain an edge betting a team that excels in offensive rebounding against a team weak at defensive rebounding?
Ed Feng writes about these issues in his ultimate guide to college basketball analytics.
Can Average Be Enough? – Also on this same episode of Covering the Spread, Dr. Ed Feng brought up an interesting idea: can an average NFL quarterback win a Super Bowl? Are there times when average is enough? One follow-up thought I had about this idea was inspired by a Boston Globe article I read years ago that intuitively I still support, even as data improves and analytical tools evolve.
To win a Super Bowl, you must have either a top offense or defense and the other side of the ball must be at least average. Think of it like cooking: you can have an abundance of one ingredient, but if you don’t have enough eggs or cinnamon, ultimately your dish will be ruined.
In this case, an average quarterback can win a Super Bowl if the defense is phenomenal (e.g. Denver over Carolina in Super Bowl 50). The Power Rank has Buffalo as the top pass defense by adjusted success rate (certainly Josh Allen is at least average) and Tennessee as the third best (Ryan Tannehill should be considered at least average).
Beware of Frauds – There are a few times throughout the year when you need to be careful of fake Twitter accounts spewing false news: the start of free agency for the NFL and NBA, trading deadlines for any sport and right now as the college football coaching carousel begins rotating.
For instance, a fake Brett McMurphy account claimed Lincoln Riley was leaving Oklahoma and joining LSU. Fortunately, McMurphy extinguished the fake by pointing out the fraudulent tweet claimed he was still working for Stadium.
Data driven betting information
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