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10/5 Ratings and Next Week's Lines

Last year I began to track my ratings' performance against the point spread for all games. (I use the ratings set that includes all teams instead of the Division I-A only ratings because more data is always better when evaluating true team strength.) This is where I should be launching into an infomercial about how awesome my picks are, but the truth is that I didn't save the data from last year. All I remember is that the highest confidence picks fared pretty well (65% range, although BRAGGonUT or Trips Left may remember better) down to the expected 52% range or so on lower confidence picks.

For this season I waited until last week to start tracking their performance in order to let them settle in a little better. In last week's games, the ratings went 6-1 in games with a confidence value of at least 14 points. The overall record was 33-17-2 on the week, but it was a weird week in that the best performances were the highest confidence picks and the lowest. The record was 18-8-1 in games with a less than 7 point confidence margin. So the record was only 9-8-1 for games between 7-14 points. Obviously that should settle down at some point and the records should trend down with confidence.

It's also important to note that the later in the season we get, the fewer games that will have very high confidence ratings as the books catch up with each team's true 2008 strength and rely less on name value and past season performance. The picks are made using a standard across-the-board 3.5-point homefield advantage, so you can adjust from there if you're so inclined. Yes, that is removed already for neutral site games like this week's Texas/OU tilt. The ratings are back-checked against year-to-date results to determine the scaling factor used for this week's games. The PMV column in my ratings, which is pure margin of victory, is similar to the Sagarin predictory and so that is used for this exercise. The current scaling factor is 2.395, so the difference between two teams' PMV ratings is multiplied by 2.395 this week to get a base margin, then the homefield advantage is applied. This factor fluctuates during the season and also from year to year based on scoring conditions.

With that said, here are this week's lines and picks. I'll use the first and last games in the list to explain the confidence column. The ratings say Tulsa should beat SMU by 42.68 points at home, on average. Therefore with a 25-point line, there is a 17.68 point cushion in this pick. Similarly, the ratings say that Florida Atlantic should, on average, lose to Troy by 3.92 points at home. So there is only a 0.08 point confidence number on that pick.

Finally, as always, these are only a starting point. I don't trust them myself in many cases, such as last week when I pointed out that my ratings picked Nebraska over Missouri against the spread and I would have bet it the other way.

Line Pick Conf
Tulsa -25 @ SMU Tulsa 17.68
New Mexico +23.5 @ BYU New Mexico 14.61
Penn St. -5 @ Wisconsin Penn St. 13.39
TCU -14.5 @ Colorado St. TCU 11.87
Clemson +2.5 @ Wake
Wake Forest 11.61
Ball St. -16 @ Western
Ball St. 11.25
Miami (OH) +11 @
Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois 10.85
Temple +8.5 @ Central
Temple 10.84
Vanderbilt -3 @
Mississippi St.
Vanderbilt 10.19
Rutgers +7.5 @
Cincinnati 9.94
South Carolina +1 @
Kentucky 9.49
East Carolina -5.5 @
Virginia 9.41
Eastern Michigan -1.5 @
Army 9.12
Tulane +5 @ UTEP UTEP 8.77
Louisiana-Monroe +13 @
Arkansas St.
Arkansas St. 8.68
LSU +5.5 @ Florida Florida 8.44
Nebraska +21 @ Texas
Nebraska 7.87
Arkansas +19.5 @ Auburn Auburn 7.61
Purdue +19 @ Ohio St. Purdue 6.18
Central Florida +17 @
Miami (FL)
Miami (FL) 5.66
Texas +7 vs. Oklahoma Oklahoma 5.55
Boise St. -11.5 @
Southern Miss
Boise St. 5.31
Tennessee +12.5 @
Georgia 5.01
Arizona -6.5 @ Stanford Stanford 4.42
Louisiana-Lafayette -22
@ North Texas
Louisiana-Lafayette 4.10
Toledo +16.5 @ Michigan Toledo 3.97
Middle Tennessee St. PK
@ Florida International
Florida International 3.96
Michigan St. -2.5 @
Northwestern 3.89
Bowling Green +2 @ Akron Akron 3.30
Kansas St. -3.5 @ Texas
Texas A&M 3.17
Louisville -6.5 @
Memphis 2.86
Ohio -2.5 @ Kent St. Kent St. 2.77
Washington St. +30 @
Oregon St.
Oregon St. 2.67
Arizona St. +26.5 @
Southern Cal
Arizona St. 2.67
Utah St. +15.5 @ San
Jose St.
Utah St. 2.56
Utah -23.5 @ Wyoming Utah 2.24
Iowa -5 @ Indiana Iowa 1.73
Idaho +33 @ Fresno St. Idaho 1.45
Oklahoma St. +13.5 @
Oklahoma St. 1.45
Syracuse +11.5 @ West
Syracuse 1.32
UCLA +17 @ Oregon Oregon 1.09
New Mexico St. +18.5 @
Nevada 0.74
UAB +18 @ Houston Houston 0.64
Iowa St. +4.5 @ Baylor Iowa St. 0.57
Louisiana Tech +7 @
Hawaii 0.55
Air Force -10.5 @ San
Diego St.
Air Force 0.51
Colorado +14 @ Kansas Colorado 0.49
Notre Dame +7.5 @ North
Notre Dame 0.38
Western Michigan +1.5 @
Buffalo 0.35
Troy -4 @ Florida
Florida Atlantic 0.08