So, I had some spare time at work and decided to look into something that I have been wondering for a while: does it seem like Rich Rod sticks to the run too much, even in games where we are losing? At this point I’m sure you all know RR likes to run the ball—duh. But how often, exactly, does he run the ball?
This analysis is just a basic overview of my dataset. I will follow up with more in-depth looks at point margins and down and distance, but I thought you all might be interested to see basic percentages for our offense through Purdue. If anyone has anything specific regarding playcalling vs. score margin vs. down and distance, let me know and I will see what I can do.
A few notes and stipulations on the dataset:
1.) All data is taken from Brian’s UFRs for games this season.
2.) Analysis stopped at end of UFR, so if Brian didn’t include it in his UFR (i.e. blowouts), it is not in my analysis. If Brian doesn’t think its worth looking at, well, neither do I.
3.) Plays in which either team got a penalty are included ONLY IF the ball was snapped, since if it didn’t, we can’t know what play was called.
4.) Every snap weighted the same regardless of time left in half/game, because my thought process, we are almost as likely to run the ball in a 2 minute drill as the rest of the game (almost, though not quite).
5.)2 pt. conversions left out.
Disclaimer: 4th down numbers are not very accurate due to low sample size.
Now, for a chart:
A few things here are obvious. First, RR likes to run on 1st down (69.1% of the time). His affinity for running decreases every down, with the exception of 4th down. Most of the runs on 4th down are 4th and short, and the passes 4th and long.
Next, we will take a look at the distribution when the game is tied:
What we see here is that RR is more likely to run the ball on every down when the game is tied than his average, except fourth down.
Now, we look at when we are winning the game:
So, RR is more likely to run when we are winning, though not to a statistically significant level except on 1st down.
And when we are losing:
So, RR is much less likely to run on all downs (except 4th) when we are losing.
This data all flushes out pretty much as expected, but I thought I'd share anyway. In the next edition, I will analyze run-calling affinity per down based on score margin. Stay tuned, folks for all upcoming editions of 2010 Playcalling so far: An Analysis.
P.S. If anyone is interested in seeing my whole dataset for validation or to do your own analysis, please leave a comment/message me (can you message people on here?) and I will be pleased to share!
EDIT: Title and Tags edited to be more informative
Original Picture Pages is at http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-more-throwing-rock. As always, text and analysis courtesy of Brian.
This is actually an instance of 'N+2 in the box' (where N is the number of available Michigan blockers) executed by Purdue, holding Vincent Smith to a six-yard gain despite all the linemen getting good blocks. By walking down both safeties, Purdue creates an 8-to-6 overmatch in the box.
Wha'hoppon: Michigan has the ball on their own 43 to start their final drive of the first half. They run a zone stretch left. Kerrigan at left DE rushes straight upfield and is blocked by Huyge. It looks like Denard may have a keeper option to the right, but he reads the safety staying down low and hands off to Smith. Omameh blows the backside DT off the ball, Molk gets a good reach block on the playside DT, Schilling helps Molk get that reach block and then releases to go after an LB. Lewan kicks the playside DE out, and Koger takes out the other playside LB. HOWEVA, because Huyge stayed in to block Kerrigan, LB Will Lucas is free to flow down the line and tackle Smith after a gain of six yards.
10. Ron Dayne- Sure he holds some NCAA records and could out eat John Candy in a Hot Wings contest but nothing was more frustrating than watching a guard play running back and do it so well. Like God took Barry Sanders feet and pasted them onto Ron Dayne for a sick joke. Oh well... Michigan got the last laugh.
9. That 70s Show- I know it doesn't have much to do with the Badgers besides the show taking place in Wisconsin... I still hate that show. Besides looking at Mila Kunis(Jackie) and watching the bad guy from Robocop it sucked. I never enjoyed Horse Face/Man Voice Donna and all the lame 14 year old pot head humor. I won't even get into the awful "That 80s show" that spawned from it and lasted a week or the fact that Fez.. never mind.
8.Bucky the Badger- I mean he is so top heavy and hooky. He doesn't even have a neck. He does push ups after touchdowns.. How original. He also looks like a furry candy cane. Maybe this is a reach but still...
7.The "W"- It's pure ugly. It's all squashed and....dumb. I mean it barely looks like a "W". Looks like Devil writing with all those points and red.
6.Camp Randall- Whats with naming the stadium after a campground? Sounds like a place my dad took us up north for our crappy family camping trips. Also whats with that Church/warehouse? Looks so out of place. The place is a poor mans Horseshoe in some respects. Jump around isn't that cool either. It was better in Happy Gilmore.
5.The Perverted Band- "This one time in Camp Randall." In 2008 you sick loony pervs were suspended for the Ohio State game. I guess keeping the public safe from a bunch of hazing drunk super sex freaks was in order. Not that the OSU fans would have minded. They love hazing drunk super sex freaks. Next time take your sick little band games to the internet. At least you will make money. Oh and they lost because of you..
4. Orson Welles- Again didn't attend UW that I am aware of but I hate frozen peas.
3. Bo Ryan- Yeah... Alright he has been pretty good but... Boring! When you do the eye ball test on his basketball teams you think they look like the worst team in the Big Ten. A bunch of ugly white dudes who box out and and play defense... oh and take smart shots. How boring winning must be. His poor man's (yes that phrase again) Pat Riley looks awful. Pat would throw hair grease in his eyes for dishonoring his look.
|Whats that shit on your face?|
2. James Kamoku- You son of a bitch! You think you can put your god damn hands on Steve Breaston and get away with it? DO YOU!? This amateur during a 2006 UM vs UW punt return decided to try and rip Steve's ankle off. It was caught on TV. Karma is a bitch since last I saw you played for some fake football team called the "Wolf Pac". Guess what happened to this dirt ball for his bush league act? NOTHING! That brings me to number...one.
1. Bret Bielema- I know right? Predictable? Yes he's an easy number one. His fat ugly head has made him a pretty big D bag around the league. Last week he nearly killed a man. Alright he didn't but he did smash the poor Indiana people for 83 points for no damn reason. He also ran the score up on the handicapped Gophers. This dude is such a sleeeeze ball. He looks so creepy, like I would see him in the Golden Lion off of US-23 searching for his favorite adult magazine. So in closing he is a smug ugly man who is in favor of no sportsmanship and dirty play... oh and he hates Care Bears.... and I don't like him.
Rush Offense vs Wisconsin
Michigan Off: +7, 2nd nationally, 1st Big Ten
Wisconsin Def: +1, 38th, 5th
D Robinson: +6 rushing, 1st in Big Ten, 2nd nationally
S Hopkins: +0, 7th in Big Ten
M Shaw: +0, 10th
V Smith: +0, 11th
Last week’s mud game was several points worse on the ground than any game for Michigan to date. Wisconsin’s rush defense has been good but their best performance came in the one game they lost. Will be interesting to see where Michigan’s ground game is at now with last week’s performance relatively meaningless.
Prediction: +6 Michigan – Michigan should be able to get some yards on the ground but needs to be good enough to bring safeties down and open up the passing game. Also, a big play on the ground would be nice, it’s been a while.
Pass Offense vs Wisconsin
Michigan Off: +5, 14th, 1st
Wisconsin Def: +1, 55th, 6th
D Robinson: +5 passing, 5th
R Roundtree: +6, 4th
J Hemingway: +6, 7th
D Stonum: +3, 18th
Other than blowing the doors off the Buckeyes, Wisconsin has been vulnerable to the pass during Big Ten play. The question is whether or not Denard (or Tate) can put together the consistent play necessary to take advantage.
Prediction: +4 and two get there Michigan will likely need Big Passing Plays – Interceptions to be at least +2
Rush Defense vs Wisconsin
Michigan Def: –3, 105th, 10th
Wisconsin Off: +3, 16th, 3rd
J White: +1, 3rd
J Clay: +1, 5th
M Ball: +0, 8th
After an underwhelming start in non-conference play, the Badger ground game has been consistently strong in Big Ten play. The ground game has been the backbone of the #2 rated red zone offense (92% of possible points scored) in the country. For reference Michigan is about average at 75%. Michigan will need to get off the field before the red zone because Wisconsin has not been a team susceptible to bend but don’t break defense.
Prediction: Wisconsin +6. Michigan is going to give up some plays but the key will be finding a way to get three good plays in a row to get off the field.
Pass Defense vs Wisconsin
Michigan Def: –3, 106th, 11th
Wisconsin Off: +3, 23rd, 4th
S Tolzien: +4, 7th
N Toon: +3, 16th
I don’t exactly know what to say about this matchup, we are probably doomed despite the nice number from last week. Hopefully it’s not as bad as last year.
Prediction: Wisconsin +6 and hopefully no worse.
Special Teams vs Wisconsin
Michigan: –2, 108th, 10th
Wisconsin: +2, 48th, 5th
Kicking: Big advantage Wisconsin, top 10 versus bottom 10
Michigan kicks: Slight advantage Wisconsin, Michigan is bad, Wisconsin below average
Wisconsin kicks: Slight advantage Wisconsin, Michigan is bad, Wisconsin below average
Michigan punts: Slight advantage Michigan, Michigan is really good, Wisconsin above average
Wisconsin punts: Push, both are bad
Over half of Wisconsin’s advantage comes from their kicker versus our disaster.
Predictions almost certain to cost you money if taken seriously
If Wisconsin brings their A game Michigan is done and Michigan isn’t good enough to play poorly and win.
This chart is both teams game scores ranked from best to worst. Wisconsin’s ceiling has been much higher and Michigan’s bad has been worse, but in the middle, these two teams aren’t that far apart.
In Madison our chances would be slim, but with Senior Day and home field it’s nearly a coin flip.
Wisconsin 38 Michigan 37
Iowa 26 Ohio St 24 – Iowa paves the way for Pasadena Sparty
Michigan St 28 Purdue 10 – Unfortunately Purdue doesn’t have the talent
Illinois 38 Northwestern 24 - [Name Redacted] gets a Wrigley reprieve
Penn St 31 Indiana 10 – Nothing like last week, but Indiana gets blown out at “home”
What? Is this "feature" still a thing? Yeah, it's still a thing when I have time for it. I admit, I had time last week, but Purdue frustratingly doesn't publish a transcript. I really didn't feel like listening to the audio of the entire presser. Seriously, what's up with that? The previous weeks I was just really busy and didn't get around to doing it. I've got a little time now as I relax while watching Michigan handle Bowling Green (woo basketball empty Crisler Arena!!!).
So this week, we have that big meat-head Bret Bielema and his meaty Badgers (did that just sound really wrong? At least I didn't call them yummy). Anyway, here's the link to the presser, for those who wanna read the thing over. Surprisingly, Bielema is NOT monosyllabic. Whodathunkit.
Holy crap, his intro was long. Spent a lot of time talking about how they played so many guys (11 on DL alone!). He mentions a few players specifically, like JJ Watt (who we know is very good), Aaron Henry (pick six), James White (Fr, RB), and David Gilreath. Now to the substance...
On gameplanning against Michigan...
- Michigan offensive philosophy very different than under Carr. Now have "a little bit more multiple" (I think he's referring to offensive formations?), but really clicking right now.
- Denard and Tate present different challenges (seems like they're preparing to see both). Mentions that Denard is a special runner and has "a live arm," but also that "he's had some picks, some bad decisions." Because of his running ability, gets secondary and linebackers in iso coverages.
- Tate is "savvy" and "shifty." Suggests that you know what you get with Denard, but Tate is more of an improviser, making "a lot of in-play game adjustments and decisions."
- Comparing DR and TF, he says: "They’re not the same, but there are some different play calls, but they don’t get in different sets or different philosophy, and I think they expect them both to know the plan, move them forward." (Yeah, that's just a wonderfully ridiculous sentence. Quick thinking, coach.)
- Talks about Michigan having had 5 TO's Saturday and that their "guys are aware of it." Stresses ball security on their side. Sounds like he thinks there is some opportunity to force a few TO's, what with the TO and Denard "bad decisions" comments.
- They'll use a combination of WR's and RB's on the scout team to play DR. Similar to what they did when playing ohio state (pryor).
On the game/rivalry...
- First time back to Big House since 2008, when UW lost. Have to learn from positives/negatives, but it's a different team with different leaders.
- Mentions that the road loss against michigan state was big and that they took a lot from it, taking confidence from that into the game this Saturday.
On their own team, personnel, other random stuff...
- Doesn't believe John Clay will be at full strength, but feels good about the rotation they have with Montee Ball and James White. Get good rhythm with those two and bring in a 3rd when needed.
- On UW averaging almost 40ppg, really lauds OC Paul Chryst. Says he and the other coaches have done a great job of ingraining the offense, particularly when you see the 3rd stringers coming in and having success against IU.
- Talks about how momentum in road games is huge, particularly for the road team to withstand swings in momentum to the home team. This will be a challenge against UM.
- Someone actually asked him why he thought the computer polls didn't seem to like Wisco as much as the human voters (really?). He basically said, "I dunno, but it'd be neat to find out." Then speculates that maybe it's due to computers looking at W/L and maybe not scoring margin. (So yeah, that's actually pretty close. Except for Billingsley. That guy's just an idiot. I still have no idea how his "computer poll" is in the BCS formula).
So what did we learn? That the media asks a lot of stupid superficial questions. GO BLUE! Beat Bucky!
Introduction: Why post this obviousness?
I noticed the other day a poster had mentioned that 'the line' for the Wisconsin at Michigan game was Wisconsin -4, and they were confused as to how Michigan could be favored by four. Several posters corrected him, informing him that the -4 line means that Wisconsin is favored by 4 for betting purposes. After thinking about this for a moment, it occured to me that while most of us know this, I'm not sure WHY most of us know this.
I have never in my life seen a "beginner's guide to sports betting". Of course, I don't bet on sports, so I'm sure they probably exist, but for the majority of us that do not bet on sports, it's not something we're likely to come across. As such, it is perfectly reasonable that somebody might not get the concepts behind "lines". I'm not so much talking about how they're set, which JamieMac of Just Cover has done a wonderful job of going over before, talking about the practices of vegas oddsmakers and so on. No, I mean what they, and other sports gambling terminology means. As such, I've created a little diary here I hope that anyone who never really thought about the concept of "the line" will take a moment to look over.
Well... do you play golf?
No. I'm just a temporary personification of your target audience. I don't even know what golf is unless you decide I'm supposed to.
Shut up. You now know what golf is.
I know kung-golf.
You're not Neo, though. Moving on, in golf, one often will play with a handicap. Different leagues may calculate handicap in different ways, but the basics are this: A golfer's handicap is the number of strokes over par he is expected to finish on a given 18 holes, divided by a certain number, which changes based on the courses you've been playing. The intention of a handicap is to provide a golfer of lower ability a chance to "beat" par on the golf course.
This isn't helping.
Just wait. This is going to be rough and dirty, because I don't want to include too much math. If one golfer in a twosome has a handicap of 16, and the other has a handicap of two, that would indicate that on a standard par 72 18 holes, the first golfer would be expected to finish with a score of approximately 88, and the other a score of 74.
Rough and dirty twosomes? Lines are awesome.
Quiet. Let me speak. When you subtract each golfer's handicap from their raw score, it produces their handicapped score, which is used to determine the winner. So, in those conditions, if golfer one shot an 87, while golfer two shot his expected 74, golfer one would actually win the round with a handicapped score of 71, one under par.
And this applies to football because?
Because the lines are a form of handicap! The lines are vegas oddsmakers saying that, if we gave team one an advantage of X number of points, then it puts the teams on equal footing.
I still don't get it.
Okay. Work with me here. Lets go back to the numbers for the Wisky @ Michigan game: Wisky -4; Michigan +4. This is not an expectation of the outcome. They are not predicting that either team will win or lose by that many points.
But I though-
No. They're not. What they are saying is, "If Wisconsin were put in a 4 point hole, or Michigan were spotted 4 points, then the teams should be approximatly "on par". The difference between this and golf is that the teams should be on par with each other, rather than on par with the golf course.
So the line not a prediction of who will win or really even by how much, but a prediction of how to make the teams even?
Sort of. The important thing to remember is, the oddsmakers aren't trying to predict the outcome of the game. They're trying to generate betting. So Essentially, they're saying, "We think that on this field, at this time, Wisconsin is a better team by 4 points than Michigan. Do you agree or disagree?"
So when you bet against the line, you're not... betting on the game?
Not really. YOu're actually betting on whether the oddsmakers are right or wrong about the teams. Someone betting on Wisconsin is actually saying, "Wisconsin just destroyed Indiana, a team Michigan barely beat. They're more than 4 points better than Michigan." Someone betting on Michigan is actually saying, "Michigan is way improved over earlier in the year. I don't think they're four points worse than Wisconsin."
But isn't the answer to the question decided in the game?
Yeah, it is, but you're still betting on who will win or lose with the handicap, so you're still betting against the oddsmakers. Not against one team or the other. And even more worrisome... the oddsmakers are liars.
Yes, shocking, I know. that line they set... that's not really what they think would be an accurate handicap for the teams. If I were going to set a true handicap for the teams, I'd probably give Michigan abou a 7 handicap versus Wisconsin. If you added a touchdown to Michigan's final score, I think they'd come out tied in an average game.
So then... the point of a line?
To get you to bet. To get you either nodding your head in agreement or shaking it in disagreement with the oddsmakers, and putting your money where your mouth is.
I don't have a mouth.
Uhh... shut it anyway? Lets sum up:
The line is not a means of picking a winner of a game, nor is it intended to do so.
The line is a form of handicap, suggesting that under given circumstances, adjusting the final score by X points (subtracting for the team expected to win or adding for the team expected to lose) would create a tie score. It is an attempt to put the teams "on par" with eachother.
The line is a betting tool, and is not intended to predict the score of the game.
Betting with or against the line is an agreement or disagreement with Vegas, not a belief or disbelief in one of the teams.
Good. I'm going to bed. If you have more questions, talk to one of our resident sports gamblers. At least now you won't be confused when you see Minn +16 against an opponent and wonder how they could be favored.