Our prior entries in this series can be found here:
All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of 12:30pm, Monday, September 12, 2022.
How It’s Going
This week, BizarroMath went 5-5 ATS and 3-7 O/U. Combined with the prior record of 6-3 and 2-7, respectively, the algorithm is 11-8 ATS and 5-14 O/U on the season after two full weeks of play.
Water found its level with the thoroughly crappy 5-5 ATS record, but that 3-7 O/U is exciting. O/Us are coin flips, and guessing a coin flip consistently wrong is just as hard as guessing it correctly. If BizarroMath’s proves to have an uncanny ability to get O/Us wrong, by next year we could have a BHGP private jet and indoor club seats for the entire writing staff.
But, this is only week two, and I have a saying about probabilities: once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, but three times is a trend. Will BizMa continue to comically misjudge O/Us for a third week? Stay tuned.
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022
Arkansas State at Ohio State
Vegas Says: OSU -43.5, O/U 68.5
BizarroMath Says: OSU -59.47 (OSU cover), O/U 85.45 (an absurd over)
Outcome: OSU 45, AKST 12 (ATS miss and O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: Good teams win and great teams cover, and Ohio State had the misfortune of playing against the best conference in Division I football last weekend: the Sun Belt.
Western Illinois at Minnesota
Vegas Says: n/a
BizarroMath Says: n/a
Outcome: MN 62, WILL 10
One Sentence Recap: Minnesota is #1 in total offense in the country with 582.0 yards per game, which is less impressive when you consider that their non-conference schedule includes the St. Cloud YMCA Curling Club.
Duke at Northwestern
Vegas Says: NU -10, O/U 56
BizarroMath Says: NU -9.39 (Duke cover), O/U 50.72 (under)
Outcome: Duke 31, NU 23 (ATS hit, O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: I can’t help but view every Northwestern clown show as just another kick in the pills for Nebraska fans.
Ohio at Penn State
Vegas Says: PSU -24.5, O/U 53.5
BizarroMath Says: PSU -35.86 (PSU cover), O/U 52.33 (under)
Outcome: PSU 46, OH 10 (ATS hit, O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: Penn State recently discovered the section of rulebook saying you can run the ball, it turns out that page had been inadvertently torn out of their only copy of the NCAA rulebook in 1986 after Steve Wisniewski spilled a chili dog on it.
Washington State at Wisconsin
Vegas Says: WI -18, O/U 46.5
BizarroMath Says: WI -12.27, (WashSt cover), O/U 43.84 (under)
Outcome: WI 14, WAST 17 (ATS hit, O/U hit)
One Sentence Recap: A rare home loss by the Badgers to future Mountain West middleweight Washington State does not bode well for Wisconsin’s Big 10 championship odds.
Maryland at Charlotte
Vegas Says: MD -28, O/U 66
BizarroMath: MD -21.78 (Charlotte cover), O/U 69.18 (over)
Outcome: MD 56, CHAR 21 (ATS miss, O/U hit)
One Sentence Recap: First Four Games Maryland is doing what it does.
Akron at Michigan State
Vegas Says: MSU -34.5, O/U 56
BizarroMath: MSU -50.06 (MSU cover), O/U 65.2 (over)
Outcome: MSU 52, AKR 0 (ATS hit, O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: Michigan State held the Zips to 26 yards of rushing, and, while that’s less than half Iowa’s total against Iowa State, Akron’s 299.5 YPG average is still almost double Iowa’s.
Vegas Says: IA -3.5 (for some reason), O/U 41.5 (for some reason)
BizarroMath: ISU -3.49 (ISU cover and upset), O/U 45.71 (over)
Outcome: ISU 10, IA 7 (ATS hit, O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: Prolonged exposure to Iowa football causes stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, gas pain, dyspepsia, mental illness, and incurable eye cancer.
Virginia at Illinois
Vegas Says: IL -5, O/U 54
BizarroMath: IL -3.75 (VA cover), O/U 55.23 (over)
Outcome: IL 24, VA 3 (ATS miss, O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: Illinois casually demolished Virginia on the back of Chase Brown’s 7.3 yards per carry in a game where the Illini still don’t look like they’ve put it all together yet, and God help us if they do.
Indiana State at Purdue
Vegas Says: n/a
Outcome: PUR 56, INST 0
One Sentence Recap: Charlie Jones and Tyrone Tracy combined for 170 yards in this game, more yards than Iowa’s entire offense this week.
Wagner at Rutgers
Vegas Says: n/a
Outcome: RUT 66, WAG 7
One Sentence Recap: Iowa-Rutgers is shaping up to be ¡El Assico Segundo!.
Georgia Southern at Nebraska
Vegas Says: NE -22.5, O/U 60
BizarroMath: NE -30.34 (NE cover), O/U 52.29 (under)
Outcome: NE 42, GASO 45 (ATS miss, O/U miss)
One Sentence Recap: With the early dismissal of Coach Scott Frost, Nebraska fans now have something Iowa fans don’t, but desperately want: hope.
Hawai’i at Michigan
Vegas Says: MI -50, O/U 64.5
BizarroMath: MI -50.63 (MI cover), O/U 67.83 (over)
Outcome: MI 56, HI 10 (ATS miss, O/U hit)
One Sentence Recap: JJ McCarthy’s QBR in this game was 99.2, but don’t let that overshadow that backup Davis Warren’s QBR in mop-up action was 96.6.
Idaho at Indiana
Vegas Says: n/a
BizarroMath Says: n/a
Outcome: IN 35, ID 22
One Sentence Recap: Indiana was terrible last year, forcing Coach Tom Allen to scramble to make some radical changes, and while Indiana is not yet GOOD by any means, they’re still BETTER, which just goes to show that when something has been shown to not work, and you stubbornly insist on continuing to do it anyway, your judgment can reasonably be called into question.
There’s not much to say about the Iowa State game that hasn’t been said better by other people who know the X’s and O’s. I’m the numbers guy, so let’s talk instead about how this game impacts Iowa’s season projection.
Early on, the most reliable predictive data we have about the team is how it did last year, but the predictive strength of that data wanes as the season advances. I begin the season by using only last year’s opponent-adjusted numbers and, as Iowa plays games, favoring them less and less, and favoring Iowa’s current data more and more, in the math. Having now played just one Division 1 game, last year’s data is weighted 7/8ths in the algorithm, and this year’s data is weighed just 1/8th. This mixing of statistics from two years gives us a blended number.
Iowa’s blended PPG for 2022 sit at 25.76, but 18.76 of that is holdover data from last year. Iowa’s YPG are 302.42, with 152.42 of that being a bump from the influence of last year’s data. And, Iowa’s YPP sit at 4.68, with a +1.79 bump from last year’s data as well.
On defense, Iowa is giving up 15.94, but this is actually increased by 5.94 because it includes data from last year, and Iowa’s defense is actually better this year. YPG are at 299.05, and YPP sits at 4.38.
Much to my alarm, Iowa’s performance on offense is so dreadfully terrible, even relative to last year’s data, that the minor influence of this year’s data is still dragging Iowa down significantly. Before the ISU game, BizMa projected Iowa to have about a 7-point advantage over Nevada. That line has shrunk to 2.5. BizMa had projected something like a 32-25 final score before, but now this game is projected as a 25-22-ish Iowa win. The defense is the only thing preventing Iowa from being a home dog in this game.
This same effect is rippling through the data, and games in which Iowa was previously favored are turning against the Hawkeyes. The few bright spots on the schedule are Rutgers, Northwestern, and Nebraska. But note that if I wasn’t still blending in Iowa’s data to reduce the outsized bias of the small 2022 sample size, the Hawkeyes would be projected as a 2-4 win team.
The Iowa-Nebraska game might destroy the universe. It would be like pitting Star Wars Stormtroopers against Star Trek Red Shirts. The Red Shirts must be shot but the Stormtroopers can’t hit anything. It will result in a new quantum state in which angular momentum is an imaginary number whose square is negative. The game will be the football embodiment of an M.C. Escher painting: a preposterous visual gag, where the longer you stare at it, the less sense it makes, as you slip gradually and gently into madness.
Make peace with your gods now.
Iowa Season Projections
The loss to Iowa State in a game Iowa had a 45% chance of winning resolves a key swing point in the schedule, leaving us 45% of win distribution space to be allocated as loss distribution. Said differently, in the 45% of simulations where BizMa would have counted this game as a win, it is now a certain loss, so in all of those simulations, Iowa has one more loss and one less win. When you lose a game that was basically a jump ball, the impact on the season project is sharp.
The two most likely outcomes at this point are 5-7 and 6-6. There is now only a 0.49% chance of repeating last year’s 10-2 season, and only a 32.40% chance of going 7-5 or better. Again, the “Ceiling” column is Iowa’s odds of not hitting that record, and “Floor” column is Iowa’s odds of hitting at least that record. Thus, Iowa has a 41.77% chance of not reaching 6-6, and a 58.23% chance of being at least 6-6. And, those odds are assuming that Iowa’s offense returns to at least last year’s form very soon.
That should bother you.
The Division and Conference Championship odds rarely move much in the absence of conference games, and we had none last week. Minnesota is creeping a bit closer to Wisconsin on the strength of the Gilded Rodents’ performance relative to the Badgers. Iowa remains in a rather generous four-spot, due mainly to Illinois and Nebraska already having conference losses.
The conference race itself also remains largely unchanged, and for the same reason. This part of the Machine Learning analysis won’t get interesting until we get through the first week of true conference play and we have a better sense of who’s who.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022
UConn (1-2) at Michigan (2-0)
Vegas Says: MI -46.5, U/O 57.5
BizarroMath Says: MI -64.10 (MI cover), 71.66 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: You know, for as much as crap as Iowa takes for having a “soft” non-conference schedule, why isn’t Michigan catching any of that shade?
Oklahoma (2-0) at Nebraska (1-2)
Vegas Says: OU -11.5, O/U 64.5
BizarroMath Says: OU -7.90 (NE cover), 60.03 (under)
One Sentence Prediction: I’m convinced Trev fired Frost now because he’s been planning to fire him since the Northwestern loss, and there’s a decent chance Nebraska could beat Oklahoma, and we know what happened the last time Nebraska fired its head coach after a win.
S. Illinois (0-2) at Northwestern (2-1)
Vegas Says: n/a
BizarroMath Says: n/a
One Sentence Prediction: We all knew Northwestern was going to have an electric offense and a terrible defense, right?
Purdue (2-1) at Syracuse (2-0)
Vegas Says: Pk, O/U 58.5
BizarroMath Says: PUR -2.22 (Purdue win), O/U 47.9 (under)
One Sentence Prediction: I have no read on this game, apparently neither does Vegas, but I’m going to assume a Purdue win here because CHARLIE M.F. JONES!
W. Kentucky (2-0) at Indiana (2-0)
Vegas Says: IN -6.5, O/U 59.0
BizarroMath Says: WKY -12.90 (WKY cover), 65.99 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: This is an unusually different take between the machine and the guys in the desert, and possibly a function of the holdever effect of Indiana’s dreadful stats from 2021.
Temple (1-1) at Rutgers (2-0)
Vegas Says: RUT -17.5, O/U 44
BizarroMath: RUT -23.74 (RUT cover), 44.62 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: My math has liked Rutgers better than the oddsmakers, including predicting a Rutgers cover vs. Boston College, in a game the Knights won, so I’m keeping the Rutgers Love Bus rolling with a dominant win over the Owls.
Penn State (2-0) at Auburn (2-0)
Vegas Says: PSU -3, O/U 49
BizarroMath: PSU -2.71 (Auburn cover), 44.70 (under)
One Sentence Prediction: This is the worst matchup on the schedule because no matter what happens, a really annoying fan base is happy; but then, no matter what happens, a really annoying fan base is also very sad.
Colorado (0-2) at Minnesota (2-0)
Vegas Says: MN -27.5, O/U 46.5
BizarroMath: MN -23.95 (CO cover), 44.20 (under)
One Sentence Prediction: This should be a much more interesting matchup than it actually is, and I can’t tell if Minnesota’s gaudy stats are legitimate or a function of its schedule, and I’m not sure this game is going to give us any answers unless the Buffs pull off an improbable upset.
New Mexico State (0-3) at Wisconsin (1-1)
Vegas Says: WI -37.5, O/U 46.5
BizarroMath: WI -38.71 (WI cover), 50.1 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: Though the Badgers should have this game well in hand by half time, there are major questions in Madison, and I’ve been saying for years that the data reveals major fault lines forming in the foundation of Badger football, which, after winning 3 out of 4 Division championship from 2014 to 2-17, have won just one since.
Toledo (2-0) at Ohio State (2-0)
Vegas Says: OSU -31.5, O/U 61
BizarroMath: OSU -28.36 (Toledo cover), 66.12 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: Toledo offers up a middleweight MAC offense, and the most interesting question to me is how good OSU’s defense against them.
Michigan State (2-0) at Washington (2-0)
Vegas Says: -MSU 3, O/U 57.5
BizarroMath: MSU -8.44 (MSU cover), 50.28 (under)
One Sentence Prediction: Michigan State’s passing defense is, so far, much improved, but against a lukewarm bowl of blah and, even then, they linger in the 50s towards the bottom of the P5, and I’m thinking they might get exposed by the Huskies, whose passing offense is currently #3 in the country (after Minnesota and – stop traffic – Georgia Southern).
Nevada (2-1) at Iowa (1-1)
Vegas Says: IA -23, O/U 40
BizarroMath: IA -2.48 (Nevada cover), 47.22 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: The Vegas oddsmakers know what they’re doing, and the fact that they think Iowa will not only score 23 points, but win by 23 points, is the only thing giving me hope that perhaps Iowa’s offense isn’t actually as bad as it has looked and what we’ve seen so far is really just two weird outlier games.
SMU (2-0) at Maryland (2-0)
Vegas Says: MD -3.5, O/U 69.5
BizarroMath: SMU -1.31 (SMU cover), 75.22 (over)
One Sentence Prediction: I look for First Four Games Maryland to pull this out, so I’m going against the Machine here and saying Maryland wins and covers.
The Fine Print
Data Source: The betting lines are from DraftKings. Depending on your degenerate web site of choice, your mileage may vary.
Gambling Caveat: I do not bet on sports. I run these numbers because I’m a nerd who loves math and football and this is my idea of fun. This should go without saying, but if you do bet, you should do so based on your own independent assessment, not the half-baked statistical musings of an Internet rando.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.