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LSU/Miss St - food for thought before betting the house (long)

  • I think this is one of the most fascinating games in quite some time. It seems like everyone has an angle, and with it being a marquee Thursday night game, we're going to have a ton of action on this game (currently twice as many bets as the OU/FSU game), so I think it would be worthwhile to articulate some of those angles systematically. Not much value in "LSU will dominate MSU since they lost to Auburn." Let's do better than that.

    When I look at a game, I look at 5 components: (i) match-up, (ii) perception, (iii) spot, (iv) money/line movement, and (v) exceptionalities. I rate plays between 1 and 5 stars based on how they fare versus these five criteria. Of course, sometimes one particular category is so strong that the rating may be "off", and this is often the case when there is a huge line movement or unbalanced line, but this is at least a good starting point. There are very few cases that will come out ahead in 4-5 of these categories for a given week.

    Let me start by defining each of the components as briefly as I can:
    (i) Match-up-->Who is the better team and by how much? How do the teams' talent, experience, coaching, play-calling, strengths/weaknesses, tendencies, etc match up on paper? This is where most people spend 100% of their time analyzing games, and in my opinion this is foolish. Yes, this is the most important aspect of a play, but to think that you can analyze the match-up in a superior way to Vegas / sophisticated system bettors is naive at best. Still, it deserves mention, especially if you unearth something that the mainstream media have missed.

    (ii) Perception-->If you ask a sorority girl or joe-schmo on the street which team is better, what will they say? This is based significantly on last week's performance. If, for instance, Oregon St lost to a directional school in week 1 and Wisconsin looked like world-beaters against UNLV in a widely televised game, perception is very, very high on Wisconsin. We almost always over-value the past week's performance. Additionally, if a team outplayed an opponent and threw away the game on a freak turnover or two (see ND week 1), this could factor in as well. This also takes into account traditional powerhouse teams and major conferences in inter-conference play. A star player's injury could be important too.

    (iii) Spot-->For many, this is the same as Perception, but I like to separate the two. Is this a "sandwich" game, or a "look-ahead" game? Are you coming off a short week or finishing up a grueling stretch with no bye week? Were there serious team issues during the week of practice? Is this a game you've circled on the calendar for a year (see UA/UF '09)? Questions like that are answered here.

    (iv) Money/line movement-->This is based off the premise (a sound one) that generally speaking, the public loses and the books win. It's no secret that, more often than not, the public likes brand name favorites and that the sharps like the home dogs. When the line comes out at Alabama -14 @ School of the blind, you're going to see the public load up on Alabama. The question is, what happens to the line? If it is pushed up to 16, 17+, that means there's no sharp money pushing the line back down and keeping it in check. Good sign for UA. If it stays where it is, that's a decent sign for the dog, since there must be sharp money coming in to keep the line constant. The big one is when the line drops in this situation - a "reverse line movement", where there is significant, sharp money coming in to move the line AGAINST what the public is betting. This is a GREAT sign for the dog. Could talk about this one for hours (it's particularly interesting when the public backs a 'dog), but you get the point. Accepting the fact that you don't know everything is kind of the key to this one.

    (v) Exceptionalities-->Is there a key component not captured here? Usually, no. Perhaps there is significant parlay risk, or maybe there are a lot of futures bets riding on the game. Maybe the game fits a popular "system" and that has to be taken into account. Sometimes, if I like the match-up or perception angle a great deal, I may give this edge to a team to help weight that appropriately.

    So, with all that said, what does everyone think about the LSU game? I'm not saying this is the only/best way to systematically rate games, but it is at least one. Would be interested to hear others' take on these angles. (Have to go work now, will post my own later today.)

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by elder008 3 years ago

  • Great rundown, thanks for posting. I just really think LSU wins by more than a field goal. I'm not betting the farm but I am going with my gut on this one

  • I have to agree with you about this game being fascinating from a betting standpoint. I say if you can get LSU @ -3, take'em. I know year in and year out Thursday night home dogs have been good on covering, but Logic screams take LSU based on their defense. They get some more offense coming back with Shepard also. MSU just appears to be too slow on both sides of the ball. I'm going with a double digit win for the corndogs.

  • elder008 said... (original post)

    I think this is one of the most fascinating games in quite some time. It seems like everyone has an angle, and with it being a marquee Thursday night game, we're going to have a ton of action on this game (currently twice as many bets as the OU/FSU game), so I think it would be worthwhile to articulate some of those angles systematically. Not much value in 'LSU will dominate MSU since they lost to Auburn.' Let's do better than that.

    When I look at a game, I look at 5 components: (i) match-up, (ii) perception, (iii) spot, (iv) money/line movement, and (v) exceptionalities. I rate plays between 1 and 5 stars based on how they fare versus these five criteria. Of course, sometimes one particular category is so strong that the rating may be 'off', and this is often the case when there is a huge line movement or unbalanced line, but this is at least a good starting point. There are very few cases that will come out ahead in 4-5 of these categories for a given week.

    Let me start by defining each of the components as briefly as I can:
    (i) Match-up-->Who is the better team and by how much? How do the teams' talent, experience, coaching, play-calling, strengths/weaknesses, tendencies, etc match up on paper? This is where most people spend 100% of their time analyzing games, and in my opinion this is foolish. Yes, this is the most important aspect of a play, but to think that you can analyze the match-up in a superior way to Vegas / sophisticated system bettors is naive at best. Still, it deserves mention, especially if you unearth something that the mainstream media have missed.

    (ii) Perception-->If you ask a sorority girl or joe-schmo on the street which team is better, what will they say? This is based significantly on last week's performance. If, for instance, Oregon St lost to a directional school in week 1 and Wisconsin looked like world-beaters against UNLV in a widely televised game, perception is very, very high on Wisconsin. We almost always over-value the past week's performance. Additionally, if a team outplayed an opponent and threw away the game on a freak turnover or two (see ND week 1), this could factor in as well. This also takes into account traditional powerhouse teams and major conferences in inter-conference play. A star player's injury could be important too.

    (iii) Spot-->For many, this is the same as Perception, but I like to separate the two. Is this a 'sandwich' game, or a 'look-ahead' game? Are you coming off a short week or finishing up a grueling stretch with no bye week? Were there serious team issues during the week of practice? Is this a game you've circled on the calendar for a year (see UA/UF '09)? Questions like that are answered here.

    (iv) Money/line movement-->This is based off the premise (a sound one) that generally speaking, the public loses and the books win. It's no secret that, more often than not, the public likes brand name favorites and that the sharps like the home dogs. When the line comes out at Alabama -14 @ School of the blind, you're going to see the public load up on Alabama. The question is, what happens to the line? If it is pushed up to 16, 17+, that means there's no sharp money pushing the line back down and keeping it in check. Good sign for UA. If it stays where it is, that's a decent sign for the dog, since there must be sharp money coming in to keep the line constant. The big one is when the line drops in this situation - a 'reverse line movement', where there is significant, sharp money coming in to move the line AGAINST what the public is betting. This is a GREAT sign for the dog. Could talk about this one for hours (it's particularly interesting when the public backs a 'dog), but you get the point. Accepting the fact that you don't know everything is kind of the key to this one.

    (v) Exceptionalities-->Is there a key component not captured here? Usually, no. Perhaps there is significant parlay risk, or maybe there are a lot of futures bets riding on the game. Maybe the game fits a popular 'system' and that has to be taken into account. Sometimes, if I like the match-up or perception angle a great deal, I may give this edge to a team to help weight that appropriately.

    So, with all that said, what does everyone think about the LSU game? I'm not saying this is the only/best way to systematically rate games, but it is at least one. Would be interested to hear others' take on these angles. (Have to go work now, will post my own later today.)

    At the end of the day, this is Miss. State's season. If they're ever going to be anything better than they've been (compete for titles, consistently win games, establish the program) they HAVE to win this one. That's because they absolutely blew it v. a Team that they should have beaten last week.

    Bottom Line...MSU is MSU is MSU...........they'll never be more than the occasional one year wonder. They make too many mistakes/ stupid plays/ penalties, etc.

    LSU is better. It could be a field goal or it could be by 21 but LSU will win.

  • Very interesting post. I am just having fun with betting and not trying to make a living beating the system so all I analyze is the matchup. I am doing OK but you are doing better so far.

    That said. I just think LSU is a huge matchup problem MSU. LSU is tough up front (everybody knows that) and has great athletes in the secondary. They rested last week and worked on issues whereas MSU was in a huge battle in an SEC road game. MSU lost two OL to injuries in that game including the starting LT that was carted off the field (I am sure that will help against the LSU DL). I know this is just blah blah blah you don't know more than Vegas but that is the fun part of it to me. I think LSU wins and covers easily and if I am wrong it will be hilarious to watch the Tiger fans melt down so I will not care about the meaningless amount of money that I wager on football games.

  • Agree on most of the components but let's analyze a couple-

    spot- LSU, for the most part, had a week off in order to look at this game a little last week. They had a scrimage on Saturday.
    MSU had a very tough loss in the final seconds against a team they should have beat.
    Advantage- LSU

    matchup- I believe it to be beneficial to not just consider talent but rather specific strengths and weaknesses.
    In this particular game, I look at MS's ability to move the ball. They rely on Relf and a good running game 'cause Relf isn't
    going to come out and beat you with his arm. LSU has a lot of talent on Defense and can shut down the run almost as well
    as us. Oregon only gained 95 yards and they have a pretty darn good rb in James. That same defense can also cause
    a few turnovers better than States D.
    Advantage- LSU

    Factor X- not mentioned as one of your components- but must be considered. It takes into account luck, emotions, tendencies, etc. In this game it is simple- an idiot coach who happens to get lucky a lot vs a fired up home crowd. The home crowd can be taken out of it's game pretty easy w/ a little momentum by the more talented visitors.
    Advantage- LSU

    In short- don't ever bet the house. There's no such thing as easy money but this one would probably have a different line if played in week 7 or 8 vs now.

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  • Nice analysis by the OP, but for me, this one is easy. MSU has the same problem as Ole Miss.....too many Mississippi players on their rosters. LSU wins big, IMO

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  • elder008 said... (original post)

    I have to agree with you about this game being fascinating from a betting standpoint. I say if you can get LSU @ -3, take'em. I know year in and year out Thursday night home dogs have been good on covering, but Logic screams take LSU based on their defense. They get some more offense coming back with Shepard also. MSU just appears to be too slow on both sides of the ball. I'm going with a double digit win for the corndogs.

    Not to mention MSU played a hard fought road game and is playing on a short week. LSU is just better than MSU.

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  • Solid analysis elder, but for a simple man, I think LSU handles them easily.

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  • elder008 said... (original post)

    I think this is one of the most fascinating games in quite some time. It seems like everyone has an angle, and with it being a marquee Thursday night game, we're going to have a ton of action on this game (currently twice as many bets as the OU/FSU game), so I think it would be worthwhile to articulate some of those angles systematically. Not much value in "LSU will dominate MSU since they lost to Auburn." Let's do better than that.

    When I look at a game, I look at 5 components: (i) match-up, (ii) perception, (iii) spot, (iv) money/line movement, and (v) exceptionalities. I rate plays between 1 and 5 stars based on how they fare versus these five criteria. Of course, sometimes one particular category is so strong that the rating may be "off", and this is often the case when there is a huge line movement or unbalanced line, but this is at least a good starting point. There are very few cases that will come out ahead in 4-5 of these categories for a given week.

    Let me start by defining each of the components as briefly as I can: (i) Match-up-->Who is the better team and by how much? How do the teams' talent, experience, coaching, play-calling, strengths/weaknesses, tendencies, etc match up on paper? This is where most people spend 100% of their time analyzing games, and in my opinion this is foolish. Yes, this is the most important aspect of a play, but to think that you can analyze the match-up in a superior way to Vegas / sophisticated system bettors is naive at best. Still, it deserves mention, especially if you unearth something that the mainstream media have missed.

    (ii) Perception-->If you ask a sorority girl or joe-schmo on the street which team is better, what will they say? This is based significantly on last week's performance. If, for instance, Oregon St lost to a directional school in week 1 and Wisconsin looked like world-beaters against UNLV in a widely televised game, perception is very, very high on Wisconsin. We almost always over-value the past week's performance. Additionally, if a team outplayed an opponent and threw away the game on a freak turnover or two (see ND week 1), this could factor in as well. This also takes into account traditional powerhouse teams and major conferences in inter-conference play. A star player's injury could be important too.

    (iii) Spot-->For many, this is the same as Perception, but I like to separate the two. Is this a "sandwich" game, or a "look-ahead" game? Are you coming off a short week or finishing up a grueling stretch with no bye week? Were there serious team issues during the week of practice? Is this a game you've circled on the calendar for a year (see UA/UF '09)? Questions like that are answered here.

    (iv) Money/line movement-->This is based off the premise (a sound one) that generally speaking, the public loses and the books win. It's no secret that, more often than not, the public likes brand name favorites and that the sharps like the home dogs. When the line comes out at Alabama -14 @ School of the blind, you're going to see the public load up on Alabama. The question is, what happens to the line? If it is pushed up to 16, 17+, that means there's no sharp money pushing the line back down and keeping it in check. Good sign for UA. If it stays where it is, that's a decent sign for the dog, since there must be sharp money coming in to keep the line constant. The big one is when the line drops in this situation - a "reverse line movement", where there is significant, sharp money coming in to move the line AGAINST what the public is betting. This is a GREAT sign for the dog. Could talk about this one for hours (it's particularly interesting when the public backs a 'dog), but you get the point. Accepting the fact that you don't know everything is kind of the key to this one.

    (v) Exceptionalities-->Is there a key component not captured here? Usually, no. Perhaps there is significant parlay risk, or maybe there are a lot of futures bets riding on the game. Maybe the game fits a popular "system" and that has to be taken into account. Sometimes, if I like the match-up or perception angle a great deal, I may give this edge to a team to help weight that appropriately.

    So, with all that said, what does everyone think about the LSU game? I'm not saying this is the only/best way to systematically rate games, but it is at least one. Would be interested to hear others' take on these angles. (Have to go work now, will post my own later today.)

    ** yawn **

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  • LSU was on the road in the Oregon game to. Cowboys stadium would be considered a neutral site.

  • I don't bet but a game I would bet on this weekend is South Carolina vs Navy & I would take Navy & 17 points. USCe is not playing that good & Navy gives a lot of teams fits.

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  • pcbama

    Well, I guess I'm in the minority, because I've thought all week that MSU not only covers, but wins outright. I guess we will know for sure in about eleven hours.

    Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.