Lawrence: Inside the betting stats in college & NFL
It’s been said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
When it comes to working up, or handicapping a game, all three generally apply.
With the opening month of the 2012 football season behind us it’s time to take a look ‘Inside The Stats’ behind some the ‘real numbers’ that teams have produced.
By looking beyond the scoreboard and at the stats and stories behind the games we can put a different spin on the actual outcome and ultimately find value by either fading or playing the teams in question.
Twenty-three teams in the FBS remain undefeated as we head into October. Of those, only eight teams have outgained every opponent.
Alabama and Florida State have managed to hold each of its five foes to season low yards.
Surprisingly, Louisiana Tech is 5-0 despite surrendering season high – or second high – yardages in three contests.
On the flip side, eight FBS teams remain winless, four of whom reside in Conference USA, one of which is Southern Miss.
The Eagles rode an 18-year streak of winning seasons into this campaign and are feeling the wrath from alumni, directed mainly at new head coach Ellis Johnson. Despite injuries aplenty, Southern Miss has managed to hold half of the opponents (East Carolina and Louisville) to season low yardages.
Half of the maidens – Army, Eastern Michigan, Memphis and Tulane - have been outgained in every contest.
Someone Tell Me
Why is it Mack Brown isn’t being called out for a head-scratching decision to run for a touchdown rather than kick a game-winning field goal on 3rd-and-goal at the one in the final minute of play at Oklahoma State last Saturday?
Rather than the chip shot game winning field goal, Brown instead risked a fumble, which is precisely what RB Joe Bergeron proceeded to do.
Thanks to a signal of touchdown by head linesman Brad Edwards, the recovery made by the Cowboys was overturned in the replay booth because of the scrum that occurred.
Big 12 officials have since apologized to OSU head coach Mike Gundy over the botched call.
As a result, Brown managed to put smiles on the faces of the alumni and to those who laid the points.
The four former FCS teams now swimming in FBS water - namely South Alabama, Texas State, UMass and Texas-San Antonio – held their own through September going 8-11 SU and 8-6 ATS.
The Minutemen have witnessed improvement in every game on the scoreboard with every point production better than the previous.
Larry Coker’s Roadrunners of UTSA are the surprise team of the season, going 5-0, winning every game in the stats while posting a 2-0 ATS mark.
Perfect As Pie
The NFL saw three teams open the 2012 season on a perfect note: Arizona, Atlanta and Houston.
The biggest surprise of the bunch, the Cardinals, somehow managed to go unscathed on the scoreboard despite being out gained in all four victories.
On the other side of the coin, Cleveland and New Orleans are 0-4 out of the gate.
The Browns continue to show an ability of making opponents play down to the level, losing the money only once this season and are now 8-2-1 ATS in their last eleven games overall.
The ‘Bounty Gate’ laden Saints rank dead last in total team defense while allowing season high yardages in every game to date.
The five first-year quarterbacks that earned starting jobs in the NFL have held their own this year.
Collectively they stand 6-13 SU and 9-9-1 ATS, with a 9-4-1 ATS log as dogs and a 0-4 ATS mark as favorites.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson reflects the absolute epitome of that trend, with the Seahawks 2-0 SU and ATS as underdogs and 0-2 SU and ATS as favorites under his lead.