Unverified Voracity Imports KenPom Comment Count

Brian July 31st, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Lines. Here are a bunch of Vegas lines, all of which are unfriendly to Michigan:

  • vs Notre Dame –2.5
  • @ Michigan State –4
  • vs Penn State –5
  • @ Illinois –7
  • vs Ohio State –6

Notre Dame is a touchdown favorite over Michigan State despite State's recent ownage in South Bend. This has given Jamie happy pants.

(HT: Get The Picture.)

A tempo-free start. Texas blog Barking Carnival has put together a listing of teams by "pace," which is a concept unfamiliar in football but should be known to all who have heard me rail on about how Ken Pomeroy is an American hero. It's basically the number of possessions in a game. Adjusting for that can radically change perceptions of who is best and by how much:

As we move forward, one important thing to keep an eye on is that according to the standard per game stats, which are of course all that most “analysts” are able to wrap their heads around, Oklahoma’s offense was just over 37% more effective in Big 12 games than our offense was. It’s hard to argue that they were better according to raw numbers, but 37%? Sounds crazy. …

Here we can see that Oklahoma’s offense is now rated a more reasonable shade under 11% better than Texas’ offense. And whereas Texas’ defensive advantage was nearly 27% it is now just over 8% in the new analysis.

Oklahoma's offense wasn't that much more efficient, it just moved at warp speed.

Notes on the national list:

  • Unsurprisingly, spread teams Oklahoma, Oregon, Houston, Troy, and Rice played the most possession-intensive games of anyone last year. Most of the top 20 are pass-oriented spread teams.
  • Gus Mahlzahn and his Ludicrous Speed offense was tenth.
  • Michigan was middle of the pack at 47; West Virginia was 69th.
  • Interesting teams towards the bottom: Virginia Tech (118), Ohio State (117), Georgia (111), Iowa (108), Alabama(107), and Florida (106). There does not appear to be much correlation between pace and excellence.

It's a good start, but there are a lot of limitations to the study. KenPom adjusts his official pace measures by the pace of your opponents. That corrects for situations like playing Northwestern's basketball team a lot. This study doesn't have it. Also, there's no shot clock in football* and game situations dictate hurrying up or slowing down depending on who's in the lead, so one reason you might find a bunch of good teams at the bottom is their ability to get in front and then boa constrictor the life out of a game.

I'm working on getting a comprehensive play database from Bill Connolly of Football Outsiders, and when I get that my first priority is to put together offensive and defensive rankings by drive efficiency instead of raw yardage.

*(There is a play clock but here we're looking one level higher.)

Sad Pandas. It's been a bad week for the Feagin clan. Justin, of course, got the boot from Michigan for reasons unspecified. His uncle is in much, much deeper trouble:

Meanwhile, Steven Feagin, who played at another Big Ten school, the University of Illinois, stands accused of breaking into a woman's home in Pompano Beach, knocking her out with a chemical, then raping her twice.

By no means do I want to imply that Justin's thing was anything similar, or try to draw some link between the two. It's just… it's just a bad week for Feagins, is all. Poor mom.

(HT: Big House Blog.)

Come on down. Er, up. Memphis SF Casey Prather, one of two plan A wings Michigan is pursuing fervently, should be taking an official visit this fall. Rivals' Jerry Meyer:

Michigan is very much in the running for Prather, who recently had a strong showing in the adidas Super 64 event. There is talk that Prather might visit Michigan the second week in September for the Notre Dame football game, but those plans have not been finalized yet. Regardless, Michigan is expected to get a visit from Prather. … Prather is intrigued by the opportunity for immediate playing time at Michigan.

Securing Prather would go a long way towards crushing this blog's previous skepticism about Beilein's ability to recruit at a Big Ten championship level. Also: the Trey Zeigler rumblings have shifted towards Central Michigan, where his dad coaches. Rumblings subject to change, as per usual.

(HT: UMHoops.)

Etc.: AnnArbor.com is actually linking out. The homepage needs the equivalent of radioactivity something fierce, though. Yost and Crisler lookin' swanky. Texas Monthly explains the Longhorn money machine.



July 31st, 2009 at 3:59 PM ^

Anyone else click the Yost and Crisler link and expect some sweet shots of the hockey and basketball stadiums?

Old timey photos are good too.


July 31st, 2009 at 5:00 PM ^

But man, Fritz had a good tailor. Sadly, whenever we see Coach Rod in a suit, he always looks horribly uncomfortable, like a high school junior having to give a presentation in his speech class. Am I alone in this line of thinking?


July 31st, 2009 at 4:12 PM ^

Got to laugh at the early lines for Michigan. Obviously, there is bound to be gnashing of teeth over the spreads, but people need to relax a bit. Betting lines are meant to equalize betting from the public between the two sides. As such, it's not a predction of the game result but a estimate of public perception of the outcome.

I wonder what the betting lines were last year about this time for the Utah and Toledo games?


July 31st, 2009 at 4:26 PM ^

UM opened as -7 vs Utah over the summer. Bet all the way down to 4 by kickoff.

Vegas didnt release a summer line for the Toledo game. They were favored by 17 points at kickoff.


July 31st, 2009 at 8:47 PM ^

I don't think those lines are unfriendly to us. I didn't expect to be favored in any of those games, but a general rule is that if the spread is 7 or less and the underdog wins it isn't that much of an upset.

I'm surprised that the OSU spread is just 6. I would have thought maybe 10. I think we have a better chance to beat Illinois than to beat OSU.


July 31st, 2009 at 9:31 PM ^

I totally agree with your post. I've heard lowered expectations for us from some "experts" (Cowherd: breaking in a new QB, new DC, etc.) I was elated that Vegas' view of what it will take to get an equal amount of money on both sides has us within a TD of these five teams.

I've heard top 10 pre-season predictions for several of them. ND (easy schedule, 8 or 9 opponents with inexperienced QB's), PSU (excellent QB returns) and OSU (depth of talent in a weak conference).

The at IL 7-point spread seems to underestimate us. I'd take that right now because it will probably be lower as the game gets closer.

Illini Boy

July 31st, 2009 at 10:10 PM ^

That's a myth. Vegas lines tend to balance money most of the time only because they are the most accurate predictions available. If that weren't true, sharp bettors everywhere would be using their more accurate predictions to clean up on a yearly basis. That's not happening. Plus, there are a whole bunch of times that the Vegas books actively discourage balancing money, if they think they have a favorable line that's likely to play one way or another against square bettors. Think Notre Dame: especially in the 70s and 80s, Vegas would consistently shade Notre Dame a point off the true line, still take a majority ND money and win. If they wanted to balance the money, they could have.

I hear the misconception that the lines are just to balance action a lot, and I feel I need to uproot it. I've done hundreds of hours looking at NFL lines, and you quickly learn just how efficient betting lines are. At any given line, all games tend to assemble at a bell curve which peaks at the score. All games with home team -3 curve around that point, etc. Vegas really does a remarkable job, on the whole.

Now, lines are not destiny, of course. But these are the guys with a vested, monetary interest in getting things right, more than any analyst out there.

For the record, Michigan was -3 against Utah and -17.5 vs. Toledo.


August 1st, 2009 at 10:02 AM ^

My family has been involved in book making. You have a guaranteed revenue stream if you have equal action. If you have unbalanced lines you are gambling, that is not good business. If the lines were "shaded" as you say the lines would not move as the money poured in. Your point about ND is correct, but disproves your point. Knowing that there would be a lot of action on ND they would set the line higher than they assessed to even out the action. Hence the "smart" bettor would shade the action to ND's opponent. In Michigan often time the local bookie will move the lines on a Lion or UM game higher than nationally knowing they have the homers that want to bet Lions. You will see this with the Florida-Tenn game this year. The line is 24 and rising due to the perception Meyer is going to run it up. Everyone is betting Florida on that asssumption and the line will keep going up. By game time the correct play will be Tennesse based on what line settors will predict. Their stats may say Florida -17, but they juice it based on other factors that may sway the public. If you see a Indiana-Ball St line it is probably exactly what they think the game will be because they know nobody gives a rip. USC-OSU line is shaded toward USC despite no QB on the road etc because of the Big Ten's rep and OSU's tanking in big games it has very little to do with how they feel these teams will do. Your biggest job as a gambler is to figure out if the masses are right or have they been swayed by the Kirk Herbstreits of the world. That is why the beginning of the season is always the most lucrative as you may have some inside info that the public is not buying. In 06 I felt Mich was loaded and that 05 had been negatively effected by turnovers and injuries. The national perspective was that UM blew and they were on a downward slide. Cleaned up on the ND game betting money lines, parlays etc. Right after that game Mich was lauded as awesome and the lines immediately switched and jumped. Betting Mich was gone. In 09 the media are telling the masses that Mich is done and RR may be fired. Most of the people on this blog feel otherwise. If you feel that way good value to be found on Mich everywhere.

Illini Boy

August 1st, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

"If the lines were "shaded" as you say the lines would not move as the money poured in."

They very often don't. It depends upon what purpose the line is serving. It's not altogether rare for 60%-70% of the money to come in on one side and the line to move in the other direction, encouraging even more action on one side. If you're a small time bookie, yeah, you want even action, because you don't have the capital to survive otherwise. If you're a Vegas book, you'll gamble, because you're privy to all sorts of information and expertise that the ordinary person isn't. It's a winning bet for them in the long run.


July 31st, 2009 at 5:23 PM ^

If he doesn't go to Central, I hope he goes to Michigan, but that being said, please, please, please let this be true:

Also: the Trey Zeigler rumblings have shifted towards Central Michigan, where his dad coaches.


July 31st, 2009 at 6:37 PM ^

Your link to Jamie's diary and just putting the lines out there made me think, would anyone be interesting in betting some MGoPoints on some non-Michigan games?

It could be fun and would help the points mean something (well, something more than a metric for how much time a person spends on this site). If nothing else it might help generate some more clicks.

Just a thought. Feel free to shoot it down.


July 31st, 2009 at 8:08 PM ^

Folks should read the linked article on the University of Texas athletic program. We Wolverines tend to focus on OSU but UT seems to have taken the business of college sports to another level, a level I'm not sure Michigan fans would like, but a level we are going to need to compete with in the future. I'm not a fan of Bill Martin, but some of the recent moves by his department, such as canceling M Den in favor of a more lucrative contract with the new supplier, now make a bit more sense when viewed in the context of the UT program.


August 2nd, 2009 at 11:12 AM ^

Apparently Justin wasn't satisfied with getting all types of apparel, shoes, and any other gear from Adidas at no cost. He got kicked off the team for stealing shit from his teammates. Word is it was a continuing issue and it was just a matter of him getting caught to get kicked off.