Game Analysis, Statalyzer

Using the Statalyzer: Bad Bets are worse than Bad Beats

Miami vs. FSU 2020
Photo by Monica Herndon, Tampa Bay Times

Last week I wrote an article discussing one of the kinds of betting line trends that might stand out and be helpful when looking for games to wager on using the Statalyzer. This week, I want to take a quick look at the type of games and trends you probably want to avoid. Or at least ignore any data from the Statalyzer. And to do that, lets take a look at this weekends college football game of Miami vs. Florida State.

Las Vegas opened with this match up listed at Miami -9.5 and a total of 57. Early week wagering moved that line to Miami -11 and a total of 54. Now, we all know the primary motivator of Vegas moving lines as a response to betting trends to try and draw in more wagering. That being said, there can very well be real world reasons that can move a line. For example, say a team’s starting Quarterback is injured or out with a suspension. Or in the case of Florida State this week, head coach Mike Norvell having to skip the game because he’s being quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19 last Friday. Norvell can help game plan from his home and speak with his coaches, but he can’t be on the sidelines to coach the game. He can’t even coach through the headsets from a private room the way High Freeze made famous last season for Liberty. A head coach missing a game? Definitely a reason a line might move on a game.

Now, why am I bringing this up? And what does it have to do with your wagering? Simply said, I’m illustrating variables that the Statalyzer can’t take into account for and that you, dear human, will have to take note of yourselves. The Statalyzer is an entirely data driven machine. It can’t tell you that Mike Norvell tested positive for Coronavirus, much less factor that into it’s number crunching algorithm. Another thing it can’t tell you about this weekend’s game between Miami and Florida State is the effects that transfer QB D’Eriq King has had on Miami’s offense. Or new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure those corrections have made their way into the Vegas lines yet, either. These are the kinds of things that even a casual gambler will look towards when analyzing games upon which to bet.

So what was the Statalyzer’s prediction for the Miami vs. FSU game? Well, with the very limited data set of this season it had Miami -0.3 and a total of 40. A lower point total than Vegas this early in the year, with a team with a new electric QB and a new offensive coordinator…that probably isn’t a line that’s going to help me make any decisions. That being said, the variance might be enough to make me avoid this game entirely unless I’m just a Rhett Lashlee fanboy or want to throw a few dollars to help me enjoy even more what I might believe will be a Miami beat-down. But yeah, that’s not me. Miami has been too unpredictable for the last decade, and I’m also going to wait for more data before I think about wagering on them, no matter how terrible Florida State looks to be by all accounts.

Finally, just to complete this little exercise, here are a list of a few other kinds of things that the Statalyzer can’t take into account on a week to week basis.

Coaching Absences
Inclement Weather
Lawrence Taylor sending Prostitutes to an opposing team
New Offensive/Defensive Systems

I was tempted to add in the effect of diminished crowds in the time of Covid, but to be honest that will actually be baked into the system with more games just because of how the teams will perform. But I believe I’ve made my point. The Statalyzer is just another arrow in the quiver of anyone who likes to bet on college football, but it isn’t all-know. Yet.

UPDATE: Miami won 52-10. I’m a genius, and by genius I mean this game didn’t past the smell test.

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