Streak Journal: Is March Madness here early?
Welcome to the second installment of my newest weekly feature. The Streak Journal will analyze a group of specific Streak for the Cash (SFTC) props from the previous week.
The purpose of this new journal is to provide streakers with a unique perspective of the props picked by ESPN’s Streakmaster and give you the straight statistics which will hopefully provide some insight to help you build a longer streak.
This week (Monday, January 27 through Sunday, February 2), I focused on Men’s College Basketball featured on ESPN’s family of networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU and even ESPNNews) and here’s what I found:
Vegas Favorite/Underdog – Lines obtained from 5dimes to determine favorite in match-ups
Streak Favorite/Underdog – Determined by the percentage chosen on each team as the prop locked up
Better Record – The team with more wins and less losses during the prop.
*These statistics are based on 24 straight-up MCB Props on ESPN’s Streak for the Cash. I can’t guarantee that this sample size will represent the entire population of future props.
STRAIGHT BUT SIMPLE NUMBERS (Don’t Pick Only on These Parameters)
Home Team 12-12
Away Team 12-12
Vegas Favorite 10-14
Vegas Underdog 14-10
Streak Favorite 12-12
Streak Underdog 12-12
Better Record 11-12
Worse Record 12-11
NOT EVEN VEGAS CAN PREDICT THIS STUFF
As you can see from above, picking college basketball is really really hard. Based on my sample size, you would have been better off picking Vegas Underdogs (14-10) than going by any other simple parameter. Taking the notion even further is the fact that teams favored by four or more points went an astounding 3-7, including an Arkansas team that was favored by an unheard of on SFTC, 6.5 points. I’m almost to the point of saying, “If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.”
KENPOM.COM’s SIMULATIONS WEREN’T MUCH HELP
I’m a huge fan of Ken Pomeroy’s site and his simulations heavily influenced by his efficiency rankings. Many experts use his numbers, thus making him a respected statistician among the college basketball community. However, his numbers don’t provide much of an edge to streakers. If you subscribe to his site, you have the opportunity to see his predictions with a confidence percentage (confidence increasing from 0 to 100 percent). Here’s how his predictions fared in my sample size this week:
While the sample size is small, you still would like to see a better trend with increasing confidence.
THE CLASSIC “WIN OR LOSE BY SINGLE DIGITS VS. WIN BY DOUBLE DIGITS” IS JUST AS RANDOM
I also tracked the ten match-ups where teams favored by near ten points were tagged with the win by double digits prop and it was still insanity. Underdogs went 6-4 and on three occasions (Cincinnati over Louisville, Baylor over Oklahoma State and Clemson over Florida State) even beat the heavily favored team on their home-court.
Unlike last week, I don’t have any clever tips to help you better predict college basketball match-ups. Instead, I say avoid college basketball with any kind of significant streak unless you have a great gut feeling. College basketball more than anything is a sport that requires one to know how well a team is playing when going in to a match-up. Maybe next time it would be better to designate if a team comes in to a match-up on a hot or cold streak and then examine the numbers.
Next week, I’m going to take a look at straight up NHL props before they take a break for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Are you still confident in picking college basketball? Please let me know by commenting below.