Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NFL Week 2: Being on the right side, with the wrong result.

After taking a whipping Saturday in my FIVE I decided that Sunday would be a good day to take off. Going 0-5 will do that to a person. Still, there's something to be said for just being a fan.  When I considered that I'm traditionally, although not this year, better at college football (3-12 this year) than NFL football (7-5 this year) it seemed the smartest thing to do.

So I spent Sunday watching as a fan.  No picks, no fantasy football this year. Just watching the games for the entertainment factor.

And it sucked.

In fact, unless you have something riding on the games the NFL is one of the more boring sports leagues out there. People say that the NFL is "football at the highest level" and, in terms of on the field talent, this is probably true.  But from a coaching/game flow perspective everything is so risk-averse as to be sleep inducing.

Then, there's this.  On Saturday you have your pick of dozens of games. On Sunday you're stuck with the one game that the NFL feels you should care about.  Since I live in Houston that game was the Texans/Chiefs and it was awful.

In the afternoon window I had a choice of either the snooze fest that was the Rams/Seahawks (9-3 final score Rams) or listening to Jim Nantz call a golf match during a football game while Phil Simms just shouted random things at the viewer all game, whether they were related to the action on the field or no.

Why is fantasy football exploding in popularity?  Why are thousands of people openly ignoring the federal ban on sports gaming?

It's because the hard product on the field, for the NFL anyway, is borderline unwatchable.

I didn't even make it through the Sunday night game. I went to bed at halftime.  Monday, however I decided I was going to get back into the picking business.  So I looked at the lines, examined what people were saying, and threw out a couple of plays for the game.

Philadelphia @ Chicago (-3)  O/U 42.5.

My pick was Philly to cover, and the game to go under. Judging by chatter most of the sharp money was on Chicago and the over, and most of the public money as well. At one point I saw that 65% of all money was on Chicago, and 70% was on the over.  I was clearly in the minority but I was OK with that.

Because I trust my numbers.  And my numbers told me that both offenses were going to be mostly overmatched by the defenses, but that Philadelphia had a better chance to score than did Chicago.

And, I was right. Even though I lost on the total bet.

Because mid-way through the 4th quarter the game was well under and only went over because of two silly plays, a pick-six by Jay Cutler, and a punt return for a touchdown by Eddie Royal to bring the final score to 29-14 Eagles. 43.

There will be a lot of touts today talking about "Boom!" and other crap because of those two plays. Acting as if the push they received because of it negated their loss on Chicago, if they don't ignore being on Chicago all together.

The fact is a LOT of people pushed last night, including me. I had a hit with the Eagles plus-3 but gave it back when the extra point was kicked through (barely) after the Royal TD return.

If something like that ever happens to you the important thing is to not get frustrated. You were on the correct side, you just had a bad result.  It happens, don't revamp your handicapping because of it. Alternatively if you're off (as I am now in college football) and it is becoming a trend then you need to take a hard look at your algorithm and see if you're over-weighting something or omitting information.

Also, if you're trusting ESPN's FPI rankings, don't. They have LSU number one and OU number 3. They clearly have a rather large maths error in their formulas. Although, to be fair, I'm not one to talk, because there's an error in mine as well.

Need to fix that.

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