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Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of October 14, 2017 October 12, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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Another middling result from last week. I went 7-6 to bring the season totals to 27-34-1. Only 7 picks to make this week, so if I run the table, I’ll be batting .500 for the season.

Been watching a lot more baseball than football in the past couple of weeks as well – the playoffs have been great, and the Yankees are doing WAY better than I ever would have predicted, and I’m enjoying all of it.

No NFL picks again, but here are my 7 college football choices:

Ohio U by 9 1/2 over Bowling Green

Virginia by 3 1/2 over North Carolina

Marshall by 15 1/2 over Old Dominion

Utah plus 13 against USC

Ohio State by 24 over Nebraska

New Mexico State by 7 1/2 over Georgia Southern

South Carolina plus 3 1/2 against Tennessee

And no, I really didn’t care about the Star Wars trailer.

 

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Wagstaff’s Picks: Week of Oct 4-7, 2017 October 3, 2017

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The worst case scenario resulted from last week’s picks – I went 5-5.

My original theory, as you may have surmised by the picture clue from the previous post, was to make my picks and then actually go with the opposite. Was my handicapping a reverse barometer?

Well, no.

My handicapping makes no difference whatsoever, it seems. I’m no different than a random coin flip. A solid 50%.

I REFUSE to believe that. Maybe it would work that way in a single week, but over the course of an entire season, my thought processes/opinions/analysis should prove better than 50% if I’m accurate and lower if I keep making mistakes.

Season totals are 20-28-1, for a percentage of .408, so perhaps a few more weeks of non-negative results can bring me up to that magic 60% figure found among the top pros at this crap.

Back to my original screens/system/masochism. I came up with these:

Arkansas St by 7 1/2 over Georgia South

Notre Dame by 15 over North Carolina

Buffalo plus 6 1/2 against Western Michigan

Ohio U by 12 over Central Michigan

Syracuse by 4 1/2 over Pittsburgh

New Mexico State plus 11 against Appalachian State

Maryland plus 31 1/2 against Ohio State

Minnesota plus 4 against Purdue

Utah plus 6 1/2 against Stanford

Tulane by 4 over Tulsa

LA Monroe by 6 over Texas St

Northern Illinois by 23 1/2 over Kent State

Miami by 3 over Florida State

Hopefully I’ll improve. Hopefully the Patriots’ defense will improve.

Hopefully…well, a lotta things, to be honest. But time will tell.

Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of September 28-30, 2017 September 27, 2017

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I did a tad better than in the last round, but not much better than a coin flip. Going a total of 8-7 brings me to a season total of 15-23-1.

Which SUCKS.

So a NEW screen has been added this week, just to see what happens.

I’ll tell you what it is next week, if it works.

So here we go:

Texas by 6 over Iowa State

Duke plus 6 1/2 against Miami

Kentucky by 14 1/2 over East Michigan

Massachusetts plus 8 1/2 against Ohio U

Northwestern plus 14 against Wisconsin

Connecticut by 18 over SMU

Arkansas by 17 over New Mexico State

Florida by 10 over Vanderbilt

North Texas plus 8 1/2 against Southern Miss

Nevada plus 10 against Fresno State

My new screen worked amazingly well in some paper baseball betting… we’ll see if it works here.

Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of September 21-23, 2017 September 19, 2017

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My picks last week were so wrong, so pathetic, so ultimately crappy…. I decided I needed to overhaul my methods.

As tempting as it was to continue picking the same way and then simply applying the George Costanza “just do the opposite!” theory, I instead went through EVERY lined game and crunched data on the spreads & outcomes.

My goal? To come up with a more automatic screening system, similar to stock screens.

I’ve tried lots of stock screens. Some of them have actually worked. And when they’ve worked, they’ve been pretty consistent, if I stuck to the rules and didn’t let emotions sway me. Let’s see if spotting weaknesses in what the oddsmakers post can work the same way.

Although if you’re paying attention, last week’s Duke game illustrated the contrarian rule I mentioned – when a spread seems WAY out of whack with what you think is reality, bet with it… the oddsmakers know more than you. Duke by 14 seemed high, but then they won by 14. ON THE FRICKIN’ NOSE.

I made the HUGE mistake of listening to too much sports radio and some podcasts about betting football lines. I let the discussions amongst the professionals influence me, especially in going with teams like Pitt, BYU and Louisville last week.

I’m tuning all of it out. Back to playing Count Basie and books on tape during my drives.

I will cleanse myself of outside influences.

First, I went through all the lined games from last week, all the stats and so forth. 59 games in total. Jeez.

I set up some screens, crunched some numbers, and came up with a set of screens that would have had solid results last week. So, let’s try an experiment and see if it works with week, with a bonus level added. I went through every lined game for this week…. 56 of ’em this time. Oy. But here’s what I came up with…

College Football Picks Passing ALL Screens:

Penn State by 12 1/2 over Iowa

Clemson by 34 over Boston College

VA Tech by 28 over Old Dominion

Navy by 11 1/2 over Cincinnati

UNLV plus 40 1/2 against Ohio State

Michigan State plus 4 against Notre Dame

Ball State plus 7 1/2 against Western Kentucky

College Football Leaners – Most Screens passed, but not all – for experimental purposes only:

S. Florida by 20 over Temple

Duke by 2 1/2 over North Carolina

Purdue plus 10 against Michigan

LA Tech plus 8 1/2 against South Carolina

Kentucky plus 2 1/2 against Florida

E. Michigan by 2 1/2 over Ohio U

Under 51 1/2 in the Georgia State/Charlotte game

Syracuse plus 23 1/2 against LSU

No NFL picks this week – the system I put together needs more data, and they haven’t played enough games yet.

My pathetic record thus far is 7-16-1 for a batting average of 30%. BUT THIS IS WHERE IT ALL TURNS AROUND!

Hopefully… the screens I’m using would have returned a 9-1 record last week with a bunch of different games I ignored. I’ll take a chance that doing that well above a 50% “control norm” is a big enough disparity to prove the worthiness of my screens. Let’s see what happens this week, and if I’m actually on to something here.

And a shanah tovah to y’all!

Wagstaff’s Picks: Week of September 16, 2017 September 14, 2017

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I’m not going pro, not yet. Not after a mediocre record last week.

It wasn’t enough to watch the Patriots defense dissolve into melted butter. I also misread some teams that could not cover big spreads, and it looks like USC is for real. Well, so far, anyway.

I’ll swing for the fences this week with a dozen picks I have decent levels of confidence in, as well as discussing a couple of others where I’ll bow out and leave it up to you.

College Games:

I looked at a bunch of matchups with large spreads to see which ones I thought were overreactions to the first couple of weeks of games. We’re still in that phase of the early season in both college and pro, before the oddsmakers have more and more data to work with.

I like BYU plus 17 against Wisconsin. BYU has sucked so far, I’m going with the “they’re DUE!” factor since they are a better team than how they’ve played so far, and they’re at home. I don’t know if they’ll win, but I’m guessing it will be a low scoring game, and 17 points is a lot. I also like Pittsburgh plus 14 against Oklahoma State, banking on Pitt coming off a tougher game versus Penn State and Oklahoma State coming off playing Tulsa and S. Alabama.

For covering a big spread, I like the aforementioned USC to cover 15 1/2 over Texas as well as taking the Over 67 1/2 in that one, and Minnesota to cover 10 over Middle Tennessee State.

The game that jumps out of the odds board is Duke as 14 (!) point favorite over Baylor. Baylor was once a national power, but they have truly sucked so far this year, never mind all the problems they’ve had with their program off the field. Duke has played well, but are they really this good?? My number crunching puts Duke at maybe a 3-4 point edge, so part of me thinks this is a slam-dunk pick to go with Baylor. But in the back of my mind is an old contrarian angle when it comes to out-of-whack spreads like this, which is: the oddsmakers know more than you. They’re NOT that stupid… so while the number-cruncher says Baylor, my contrarian gut says to go against the crowd and pick Duke. Consequently, I am not making a pick here, but will instead merely observe to see what wins – my numbers, or the contrarian historic angle.

Another game that’s a close call but ultimately a pass for me is Miami OH by 5 over Cincinnati. I’m fairly confident in Miami OH to win, just not sure about the 5 points. Meh.

Rounding out the college picks: In the big Saturday night game, I like the at-home-revenge angle and will go with Louisville plus 3 1/2 against Clemson. Clemson got by them last year, but it was close, and Jackson has improved as QB. It’ll be a good game that I think Louisville can win outright. I also like California at home plus 3 1/2 against Ole Miss, and I’ll go with the Over 49 1/2 in the Tennessee/Florida matchup.

NFL:

After watching Kansas City beat the crap out of my team last week, I am TOTALLY UNEMOTIONAL as I pick against them this week.

No, really!

I like the Eagles plus 6 against the Chiefs, as well as the Over 48 in the game. Philly looked decent against Washington last week, and the Chiefs lost their best defensive player.

I like betting Overs. Especially when the total is topped earlier in the game, and I can kick back and watch the rest of it play out with no stress and a drink in my hand, knowing I’ve won. Betting unders mean staying nervous until the final tick.

I also like the Vikings plus 5 1/2 against the Steelers, and the Packers plus 3 against the Falcons, even if it’s the Falcons in their spiffy new stadium. The Falcons squeaked by the Bears last week, and the Packers are way more dangerous.

So there you are, 12 picks. I went 3-5 last week to bring the season totals to 5-6-1.

THIS IS WHERE IT ALL TURNS AROUND!

Wagstaff’s Picks: Week of September 9, 2017 September 7, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football.
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Nobody seems to care about my football picks. Posting them doesn’t significantly increase the traffic this humble blog gets on a regular basis. But I don’t care. I’ll keep making them for my own jollies.

And the biggest jolly? Like I said last week, I have a better batting average with these things than most of the professional pickers out there posting picks (especially with spreads and totals) on bigger sports sites like CBS or ESPN.

Therefore, I’m basically posting a free giveaway of money to anyone simply betting my picks. Read my site and make money. And people don’t bother.

I always knew in my dark heart that the majority of people are morons, and now I have definitive proof.

CATS IS BETTER.

I went 2-1-1 last week. I’ll continue my BOLD RISK TAKING by picking some NFL games in the opening week, without any stats to go on. And there are a few college games I like.

College:

I think Clemson can cover 5 against Auburn, and Washington State to cover 10 1/2 against the Boise State team that scored late to force that tie in my picks last week. As much as I think USC will win the game, I’ll still go with Stanford plus 5 1/2 against them, since I think it’ll be close.

NFL:

Let’s go with the Falcons to cover 7 against the Bears, the Raiders plus 3 against the Titans, the Steelers to cover 9 over the Browns, and (I can’t believe I’m doing this…) the Rams to cover 4 against the Colts. I’d also go with the Under 41 in the Rams/Colts game.

So am I still giving away free money? I guess we’ll know by Sunday night.

 

Wagstaff’s Picks: Inaugural College Football Edition, Weekend of September 2, 2017 August 31, 2017

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college-football-bettingIt’s time for everyone to leave their safe space and confront the intersectionality of irresponsibly sourced animal product, the capitalist exploitation of undergraduate hopefuls, and the disempowering patriarchal sexism of the male gaze on the sidelines.

College football is back! And just in time, too… it seems like everything else we read about colleges these days makes them sound more like insane asylums combined with summer theater camp. I’m sure the morons in sports broadcasting will try their damndest to drag all of the repulsive college campus zeitgeist into what ought to be an escape from the news during their commentary, but another advantage of watching games on the big ol’ screen is that you can do so with the sound off.

In any case, as much as I normally like to wait a few weeks into the season before prognosticating on the outcomes of games, I decided to plunge right in this year. Last year I finished with an overall 59% winning percentage in both college & NFL picks. A little research told me that’s actually good.

I know, really??

But evidently, that’s how well the SUPERGENIUS game pickers all over sports radio basically do at their BEST. Most of ’em have losing records or barely even out, meaning a coin flip would be a better method than listening to people who EARN THEIR GOD DAMN LIVING analyzing sports.

I guess it’s just like any other field, that is – a crammed space of highly credentialed yet underqualified people. WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

Okay, enough bitching, and not enough bragging about my winning percentage. Let’s start with some simple picks, based mostly on how I think the bookmakers have misread some things.

In the BIG MATCH-UP MARQUIS GAME for Week 1, we have #1 Alabama by 7 over #3 Florida State. I think both of these teams will probably make the playoff at the end of the season, but in this opener, I think ‘bama will win by 10 or more, so I’ll take Alabama to cover.

I also like NC State to cover 5 over South Carolina. They were underrated last year, with most of their losses being under 1 score.

For underdogs, I mostly like Texas A&M plus 3 against UCLA since UCLA does even worse against the spread than A&M, especially early in seasons. I REALLY like Troy plus 11 against a fading Boise State outfit.

The enigma game I’d love to pick but really can’t is Michigan/Florida. I’ll watch it, it’ll be a good one, but even though I lean towards Florida as a 5.5 point underdog, I think Michigan will be trying to prove themselves all year long since winning the Big 10 playoff game is basically a trip to the championship playoff game, and they’ve got both Ohio State and Wisconsin in their path. I’d only bet this game if I were really, really bored in a Vegas sports book with an extra $5 burning a hole in my pocket. Other than that, it’s just one to watch.

It’ll be a good weekend to stay indoors, too, at least where I am and it’s 110+ every day outside. Ugh. Autumn can’t come soon enough, and not just for October baseball.

Hike!

Being A Patriots Fan Means Not Caring About The NFL Draft April 27, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Football, Uncategorized.
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bel

If only the last election had gone this way, eh?

The Pats have no first round picks. They have no second round picks. Traded ’em away for some strong talent, like wide receiver Brandon Cooks.

While most teams would view the loss of early picks a detriment, for the Pats, it really doesn’t matter. Tom Brady was a 4th rounder, 199 overall. Julian Edelman was a SEVENTH round pick, 299 overall.

Belichick will grab castoffs from other teams’ practice squads and have them out there as productive starters the following week.

I think he could go into a Wal-Mart, randomly grab a half dozen guys to bring to training camp, and turn most of them into NFL players.

Will I be interested in who the Pats draft? Well, of course. But missing out on the first two rounds only leads to a shrug. Compared to the level of hype over who the Rams or Chargers will pick out here in SoCal, or all the speculation over what poor bastards will get drafted and most likely ruined by the Browns…. well, it means nothing to this Pats fan.

I’ll follow up with my thoughts on the actual picks/trades the Pats make once the draft is over.

In the meantime, I think I’ll have a cup of tea.

Three NFL Playoff Bets January 21, 2017

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I never bet for or against a team I root for (meaning the Patriots in this case), but nevertheless I have three picks relating to this weekend’s conference championship games that I’m very confident with.

While the Patriots are 6 point favorites over the visiting Steelers, the Steelers were the LAST team I wanted to come to Foxboro for the title game since they’ll be the toughest foe the Pats could face. While the Patriots played great down the stretch, the only time they faced a quarterback at the top tier was Wilson & the Seahawks, and they lost. And while they beat the Texans by a sizable point margin last week, they played poorly in nearly every aspect of the game. And the Steelers are 7-0 when Rothelsberger, Brown and Bell all play. And I’m a worry-wart.

In any case, it’ll be a great matchup, and I don’t think Pittsburgh will be held to nothing but field goals by what can often be an erratic Patriot secondary. And Brady should be able to slice through the Pittsburgh secondary. So why is the over/under only 50 1/2??

So while not picking a winner, I would definitely take the OVER 50.5 in the Steelers/Patriots game.

Over in the NFC,  with the whoever-has-the-ball-last wins likelihood scenario of another high-scoring shootout between the high powered offenses & quarterbacks involved, the historically high 60.5 over/under figure seems low to me. Again, take the OVER 60.5 in the NFC game, and while once again I can’t be sure of a winner, I can be fairly confident in the game being decided by a narrow margin, so the 5 1/2 point spread seems excessive. Take the Packers plus the 5 1/2 since I think they’d beat that spread even if they lose.

Any one of these four teams could make sense as a Superbowl winner this year. I hope it’s my team, and even for you Pats haters and non-fans…. you KNOW you also hate Roger Goodell, and you KNOW how great it would be for him to have to totally eat shit and hand Kraft, Belichick & Brady that trophy.

I’d like to see it go down like this (except with the Pats winning, of course….)

Wagstaff’s Picks: Weekend of December 2,2016 December 2, 2016

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0085A special Friday edition, since I want to pick a Friday night game.

And that game is the PAC12 championship between Colorado & Washington, where the stakes for Washington are very high indeed – win, and they are most certainly in to the 4 team playoff. Lose, and they are sent on the one-way road to Palookabowl, whichever lesser bowl it turns out to be.

A great matchup, and certainly tops on my Friday night TV schedule while I make my szechuan chicken. It’s also a big spread – Washington is favored by 9, and as much as I think they’ll win, Colorado is a really good team with a lot of experienced players, and I think they’ll keep it close. So, I’ll go with Colorado plus 9 against Washington.

In a few of tomorrow’s big match-ups, I have mixed feelings, but here’s a shot:

In the big SEC championship game between Alabama and Florida, I fully expect Alabama to win, since they’re probably the best college team out there. Florida’s offense leaves a lot to be desired – does that justify a 21 point spread in favor of ‘Bama? Well, I think it does.  Not only because Alabama COULD score that much more than them, but I think that, even in a conference championship game, that assistant Lane Kiffin will want to run up the score to demonstrate his offensive props while he’s out interviewing for head coaching jobs next year, most notably at Houston. So, my “Lane Kiffin’s audition” factor outweighs other stuff, and I’ll take Alabama to cover 21 over Florida.

In the Big 10 championship, it’s an interesting set-up, where we have a red-hot Wisconsin team playing an equally hot Penn State team, even if fellow conference members Ohio State & Michigan are the ones either in or flirting with making the playoff. But, if Washington does lose, there’s a good chance that the winner of this game gets in there, especially if Clemson loses to Virginia Tech (which they won’t).  The spread is Wisconsin by 2. I think it’ll be close, and I think Wisconsin is the better team. I’d take Wisconsin to cover 2 over Penn State.

As mentioned above, I like Clemson by 11 in the ACC championship over Virginia Tech. VT has been weaker against the spread than Clemson, though not by much…. but Clemson has been playing better lately, and can taste the playoff. I think they can win by 2 touchdowns.

In another great matchup, Oklahoma is favored by 11 over Oklahoma State. I think these teams are far more evenly matched than that, and despite Oklahoma looking like a better team, I think this will be closer. So, I’ll go with Oklahoma State plus the 11 points.

In the pros, I like the Chiefs plus 5 1/2 against the Falcons, the Eagles plus 1 1/2 against the Bengals, the Raiders by 3 over the Bills, and the Redskins plus 1 1/2 against the Cardinals.

I went 4-3 last week overall, bringing the college totals to 25-16-1 & the pros to 17-12, for a grand total of 42-28-1. That winning percentage needs to go up, pronto!

And Gronk is out for the season. There is no joy in Patriotland for your humble prognosticator.