You do a semi-sophisticated statistical analysis of all 35 bowl games, compare your projections to the point spread, look at the historical results of the difference between your projection and the point spread, and identify six games you believe are worth betting on.
The result: 2-4. I could have gone 3-3 by just flipping a coin, but that’s the way it goes when you try to outwit the bookies: Just when you think you have it figured out, you get body slammed.
The two games where I bet the over didn’t come close to covering. I ignored one of my angles (see below) that cost me a third loss, and the other three games could have gone either way. Fortunately, two of them went my way.
On the bright side, I was right about avoiding Florida State if it was favored by more than 7 points over Auburn. (Of course, it wasn’t a good bet at 7 either.) The line opened at 8.5 and was up to 10 by game time, which means the bookies made a nice profit on the game.
While I stumbled at the finish line, I ended the college season with a record of 89-54, a solid 62 percent win rate. I’ll take that any time I can get it.
But enough of the sophisticated statistical analysis. Let’s review the angles I suggested for bettors who are too lazy to do their homework. As it turned out, those who followed my advice did well.
First, I said the Big Ten is overrated and you should bet against all seven conference schools that were in bowl games. Anybody who did that would have gone 4-2-1 against the point spread, a 67 percent winning rate.
Betting against disappointed teams really rang the register. I identified seven schools that ended up in lesser bowls than they expected because of late-season losses, and suggested a bet against each of them. That produced an outcome of 6-1 against the spread, including Alabama’s 14-point loss to Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide was favored by 17.
Finally, I recommended going with any military academy in a bowl game because they are focused on the goal and in bed by curfew. Navy was the only one that qualified this year, and the Middies easily beat Middle Tennessee St.
Anybody who played my angles would have gone 9-3-1, 75 percent. (Ohio St. and Wisconsin each “qualified” on two angles, but I counted each team as one win in the final tally.)
See if any of those hot-shot Vegas handicappers beat that number.