Weekend Football Review (11/23/11)

By Paul Bessire

Wednesday, November 23 at 12:35 AM ET
It is very important to us to be transparent and honest about our picks. I always try to recap each football weekend. With the addition of the TrendFinder database, the blog will focus more on topics beyond performance. Our performance is now as transparent as it can possibly get. We will still do our best to note areas of strength, while acknowledging times of weakness - honing in on what this means to subscribers as it applies.

Seeing as I am trying to cram six days worth of football content and picks, emails and radio interviews (the next one waking me up less than eight hours after I start this) into three days this week (football content will still be updated as necessary and college basketball will proceed as usual), I will cover as many topics as I can as quickly as possible for this blog. Those topics will include: weekly performance, NFL projections, college football scenarios and the college basketball free trial.

As a reminder, at midnight ET each day, we make all of our previous day's subscriber content available for free for registered users. Performance is also tracked in the TrendFinder Database (updated every morning from the previous day). We're never going to hide anything. So even though we have to swap out articles in the archive to focus on new ones, articles never go away. Just make sure to use the correct week and date in the URL - or ask us for the link...

College Football Scenarios:
With the college football regular season winding down and coming off of a week of chaos, we update the likelihood of various college football scenarios. This is where every conference stands heading into Week 13.

  • Chances LSU does not lose two games in next two weeks (likely all that is needed for BCS Championship Game berth): 86.1%
  • Chances Alabama wins at Auburn (likely all that is needed for BCS Championship Game berth): 82.8%
  • Given that, chances of LSU vs. Alabama BCS National Championship Game (in New Orleans): 71.3%
  • Chance that Arkansas wins at LSU and Alabama loses at Auburn (Arkansas' best chance at BCS Championship Game): 5.7%
  • Chance Georgia actually wins SEC: approx. 40.3% (represents the weighted chance Georgia would have to beat Alabama, Arkansas or LSU - weighted by relative likelihood of those teams making SEC Championship, which could ultimately be based on BCS Standings, with LSU by far the most likely opponent)
  • Chance Houston finishes season undefeated (including C-USA Championship Game): 34.8%
  • Teams we would favor over Boise State on Neutral Field: 10 (including USC, which is not bowl eligible)
  • Most Likely Big Ten Champion: Wisconsin (49.0%), Michigan State (40.9%), Penn State (10.1%)
  • Most Likely Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma State (63.7%), Oklahoma (36.3%)
  • Most Likely Pac-12 Champion: Oregon (53.5%), Stanford (15.6%), Arizona State (12.3%), UCLA (11.7%), Utah (6.9%)
  • Most Likely ACC Champion: Clemson (52.5%), Virginia Tech (27.9%), Virginia (19.6%)
  • Most Likely Big East Champion: LOL... Like the SEC could if LSU loses to Arkansas and Alabama wins over Auburn this week, the Big East is likely to come down to factors beyond those we can objectively analyze. Reviewing our numbers though, I would order likely Big East champions like this: Rutgers, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Pitt (I think...)
  • Most Likely C-USA Champion: Southern Miss (38.7%), Houston (34.8%), Tulsa (26.1%), Marshall (0.4%)
  • Most Likely MAC Champion: Northern Illinois (50.4%), Ohio (41.0%), Toledo (8.6%)

NFL Projections Updated:
We continue our weekly projections update on notable NFL topics. To see more team projections, check out our updated NFL Playoff Probabilities.

  • Most Likely Division Winners (AFC): Houston (95%), Baltimore (52%), Oakland (51%), New England (93%)
  • Projected Playoff Seeds (AFC): 1. New England 2. Baltimore 3. Houston 4. Oakland 5. Pittsburgh 6. Cincinnati
  • Teams with greater than 25% to make playoffs: 7 (New York is only other teams with legitimate shot at Wild Card - three teams in AFC West have greater than 10% chance at winning division)
  • Most Likely Division Winners (NFC): San Francisco (99.9%), Green Bay (95%), New Orleans (76%), Dallas (65%)
  • Projected Playoff Seeds (NFC): 1. Green Bay 2. San Francisco 3. New Orleans 4. Dallas 5. Detroit 6. Chicago
  • Teams with greater than 25% to make playoffs: 8 (New York and Atlanta are only other teams with legitimate shot at playoffs)
  • Chances Green Bay Packers Finish 16-0: 30.9% (toughest remaining game: @ Detroit on Thanksgiving)
  • Chances Indianapolis Goes 0-16: 27.1% (easiest remaining game: vs. Carolina on Sunday)
  • Chances Colts "earn" Top Pick/Andrew Luck: 81.3%
  • Pass Yards (rest of season): Aaron Rodgers, 1,773 passing yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs
  • Rush Yards (rest of season): Matt Forte, 579 rushing yards, 2 TDs
  • Receiving Yards (rest of season): Calvin Johnson, 537 receiving yards, 6 TDs

Weekly Recap:
Overall, the college football and NFL week was pretty strong, especially in that we stayed strong with our consistent areas of strength throughout the entire season. And, while the Paul's Picks in college football were just 1-3 (ouch Boise State - allowing TD with five seconds left), Saturday's ATS picks finished over .500 overall for the third straight week. While we do not expect - nor even recommend - that anyone is playing all of those games (especially when the O/U picks continue to provide such great value and performance), this positive trend seems to signify the benefits of our recent hard work, research, analysis that has gone into college football (learning from how access to and application of college football data has benefited us with that product, a similar approach, with significant additional support, is being applied in real-time to college basketball picks now during the free trial, which concludes Sunday). For more info on an all pick performance, check out the TrendFinder database.

Here are some college Week 12 and NFL Week 11 football highlights (stripped directly from Wednesday's email):

  • 3-1 (75% ATS) - Paul's Picks in Week 11 NFL, led by Lock of the Week, Chicago (-3.5, 59.9%), winning 31-20 over San Diego.
  • 28-16 (64% ATS) - Paul's Picks for the NFL season.
  • 7-4-2 (64% ATS) - all playable Week 11 NFL picks.
  • 93-55 (63% ATS) - Playable NFL ATS picks 2011.
  • 3-2 (60% O/U) - "Normal" or better college O/U picks in Week 12, including going 2-0 with 60% O/U plays and extending O/U streak of .500 or better record in normal+ games to TWELVE WEEKS.
  • 67-40 (62% O/U) with all normal+ O/U picks for the season. 12-6 (67% O/U) with all 60%+ O/U picks on the year.

College Basketball Free Trial:
As a reminder, our free trial concludes on Sunday. As this is PredictionMachine.com's first full college basketball season providing straight-up, against-the-spread and over/under picks for every DI game (with a rotation number), we are offering a three week free trial. Picks are available to all from November 7 - November 27. The full season picks package is available for the rest of the regular season (including conference tournaments) from November 28, 2011 - March 11, 2012. Picks will also be sold on a monthly basis.

In the Shop and in this space in the blog, we have consistently noted: "Daily picks are posted at 4:00 pm ET or two hours before the first game tips off, whichever comes first." Unfortunately, with the combination of early season tournament games with morning or afternoon tip-offs, limited availability of total lines before around 11:00 AM ET and the concerted time and effort we have devoted to the picks (far more so over the last five days, which have shown marked improvement/success - we'll never want nor be able to fully automate this, so we have gone the other way and devoted as much as we can, including adding resources, to getting these right), it is not always possible to post picks perfectly within that time frame. This will naturally improve as college basketball takes on a far more normal daily schedule and as the process on our end becomes more and more efficient. For now, we feel as though we still post the picks reasonably close to two hours before the first tip, while still devoting the necessary time to making sure we are putting the best product forward.

As alluded to at that time, pick performance was not going well on the day that I posted the blog last week. That continued with a very rough three day stretch last Tuesday - Thursday. At the time of writing this, the opposite is happening. We are in the midst of a very strong six day stretch and coming off of a huge day (32-9, 78% picking every game ATS and O/U). We are just under 10% of the way into the season (i.e. about one football week in the season or 15 team MLB games) and this is the first time we have done this (hence the free trial), so I cannot guarantee which is more the aberration. However, given the aforementioned effort and energy put into the picks over this successful stretch, I have confidence that the analysis, research and plan(s) we have put in place should mean that the last few days are more the norm than the previous few days before that.

Plus, as in college football, the O/U in college basketball have been consistently strong (while the volatility has been with the ATS plays). All performance data is always available in the TrendFinder database.

As usual, if you have any of your own comments about this article or suggestions about how to improve the site, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. We respond to every support contact as quickly as we can (usually within a few hours) and are very amenable to suggestions. I firmly believe that open communication with our customers and user feedback is the best way for us to grow and provide the types of products that will maximize the experience for all. Thank you in advance for your suggestions, comments and questions.