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Welcome back to Week 4 of Data Dan’s College football picks!  Week 3 was an unmitigated disaster for my picks and for real college football as well. The two unders I took flamed out spectacularly and Bowling Green took a dump on the field during the second half after a promising 1st half against Middle Tennessee State.  Thankfully my two bigger bets (FAU/KSU over and BYU +3) won and pushed which salvaged the week. Sort of.  In other news, Texas lost, giving up 50 points to Cal in the process with a defense that looked more porous then one of Antonio Cromartie’s condoms. So bad times all around.


This week Texas is on a bye so I can focus all of my college football energy into my picks.  It’s going to be a good week, I can feel it.  As a reminder, my picks are based on 3 different mathematical predication models (TeamRankings, NumbersFire and Sportsline) and I try to remain as objective as possible in how I select which games to pick.  This week I’ve decided to just average the 3 models together and assign a value score on a scale of 1-100 rather then report each models individual odds.


Here are the picks:


Pitt @ UNC:  UNC -7


Value (1-100): 90


All 3 models favor UNC at home with the strongest recommendation coming from Sportsline (87 value, A grade pick per their model).  Pitt did it’s best Texas impression last week with it’s secondary giving up 500 yards of passing offense against Oklahoma State last week. UNC QB Mitch Trubisky has looked good in his last two games throwing for nearly 700 yards, 5 TDs and 0 INTs in that span and should be poised to take advantage of that weak secondary. I expect a reasonably high scoring game with UNC winning by two touchdowns at home.



Bet: 1 Unit



Oklahoma State @ Baylor: Baylor -8


Value (0-100): 93


The Data tends to ignore things like poor taste (such as hosting Art Briles and Shawn Oakman, one of the many dudes kicked off the team for sexual assault, in the locker room last weekend – seriously Baylor?) which might explain why the prediction models love the Bears this weekend.  Both Sportsline and NumbersFire heavily favor Baylor in this matchup.  Oklahoma State has been erratic to say the least and gave up 38 and 30 points to the Pitt and freaking Central Michigan in their last two games.  Baylor should score in droves in this game and final score of 41-28 feels right.


Bet: 2 Units



Iowa @ Rutgers: IOWA -13


Value: 87


Strange week as the Data seems to like a lot of favorites.  I read last night that Rutgers shut down it’s pre-game tailgate because their AD was filmed drinking a beer there before their last game.  What kind of weak ass shit is that?  I hope their fans boycott the game or at least turn their backs to the field in shame.  I feel slightly dicey about this one given that Iowa just lost to North Dakota State last weekend, but it’s not like NDSU hasn’t beaten FBS opponents in the past.  Also, Rutgers only had one Big10 win last year and lost the majority of their conference games by an average of 27 points.  Look for an angry Iowa team to stomp Rutgers on the road.


Bet: 1 unit




Arkansas @ Texas A&M: Arkansas +6


Value: 90


It gave me great pleasure to see our prediction models heavily favoring the Razorbacks this weekend at Jerryworld.  I won’t lie – A&M getting a solid road win against Auburn last week while Texas sputtered against Cal did not feel good. I won’t be able to watch the game (I’ll be busy getting married) but I should be able to gauge how the game is going by my die-hard Razorback fan friend Paul’s level of sobriety and overall demeanor during the wedding reception. God I hope the Aggies lose.


Bet: 2 units



Last week: 1-3-1

Overall Record: 3-4-1


Happy week 3 of College football! Texas is good again (probably), OU has already lost, and the Aggies are already butthurt about all the attention Texas is getting and seem primed for disappointing loss against Auburn this week.  So life is good for the moment. As an introduction my picks will be based on 4 different mathematical prediction models which I mooch off of a friend. I will sometimes interject my own personal opinion when I write up the picks but I try to stay as objective as possible and let the prediction algorithms do their job. It also means I may not be picking marquee games (such as FSU/Louisville this week) unless the data suggests it. The models I use with explanations for how they report their picks are explained below: 
TeamRankings (TR): Picks reported as confidence odds and reported as a percentage. This is what it sounds like – the percentage chance a bet will be correct at a stated line per their model. They are conservative and generally anything above 52-53% is a strong pick from them. 
Numbersfire (NF): Picks reported as % return on investment or ROI. This number estimates expected returns for a given amount bet.  For instance, betting 1 unit with a ROI of 10%, your expected return would be 1.1 unit.  In general, a 0-10% ROI is a mild recommendation, 10-20% is moderate, and anything above 20% they favor heavily. 
Sportsline (SL): Picks reported as value which is scaled from 0-100. 0-60 is a C grade pick, 60-80 is a B, and 80-100 is an A value pick. Obviously the higher the stated value, the better they consider the pick.
Lines will be per Bovada.  I will recommend bet amounts as a “unit” which basically is a standard amount of money you bet on each game (i.e. 1 unit=$25).  How much a unit is worth is up to each individual better and is determined by the size of your bank roll, how much of a gambling problem you have, and the size of your balls.
With that in mind, on to this week’s picks:
Middle Tennessee State @ Bowling Green:  Bowling Green +6.5
TR: BG + 6.5 – 53.5% odds

NF: BG +6.5 – 45.5 %ROI

SL: BG +6.5 – 72 value, B grade pick
All three models like Bowling Green here getting nearly a touchdown at home.  Numbersfire is particularly boned up to take the Falcons this week with a predicted 45.5% ROI.  The line opened at +3.5 but money has steadily come in on Middle Tennessee.  I doubt this line goes much higher so now may be the time to pounce.
Bet: 1 unit
Temple @ Penn State: Under 51  
TR: Under 51 – 52.8 % odds

NF: Under 51 – 52.3% ROI

SL: Under 51 – 79 value, B grade pick
Another pick heavily favored by Numbersfire and moderately liked by the other two models.  The line opened at 48 but the public loves to bet overs and it has steadily climbed to 51 as of now. Temple’s QB comes into the game completing only 47% of his passes and despite a high scoring game against Pitt, none of the models predict Penn State to continue to light up the scoreboard.
Bet: 1 unit
Florida Atlantic University vs. Kansas State: Over 49
TR: Over 49 – 52.6% odds

NF: Over 49 – 15.6% ROI

SL: 91 value, A grade pick
Another totals bet which I have found to be pretty profitable when betting college football. Kansas state is at home and looking for it’s first win so I expect them to be trying to put up points. Florida Atlantic made some plays against Miami previously and may be able to move the ball in this game.  All 3 models predict a higher then expected scoring game.
Bet: 2 units
New Mexico State @ Kentucky: Under 66.5
TR: Under 66.5 – 52.1 % odds

NF: Under 66.5 – 39.8% ROI

SL: Under 66.5 – 74 value, B grade pick
Do you like betting unders? I like betting unders. Especially in games I don’t intend to watch. Kentucky is coached by Bob Stoops dumber brother Mark which says all you need to know about their 0-2 start.  Kentucky probably gets their first win here but the numbers like the game to stay under.
Bet: 1 unit
TR: BYU +3 – 53.1% odds

NF: BYU +3 – 27.8% ROI

SL: BYU +3 – 88 value, A grade pick
Bet: 2 units
Never underestimate a bunch of 28-30 year old post mission Mormons in Provo. After spending 2 years getting doors slammed in your face and getting cursed out by foreigners, football seems easy. Did you know UCLA QB Josh Rosen’s dad was a competitive ice dancer?  That coupled with the fact that he looks like a 19 year old version of Uncle Rico from Napolean Dynamite is enough for me to bet against UCLA.  It helps that all of the models moderately to heavily favor BYU here.
Happy Gambling!
Data Dan
Last Weeks Picks: FAU @ Miami Under (Win), Navy -5 vs. Uconn (Loss), GSU @ Air Force over (win)
Last Week’s Record: 2-1
Overall Record: 2-1

In my first Longhorn Leap pod with Chris Myrick, I claimed he was, “the Chris Simms to my Kyle Shanahan”. The bond between the two may not be one that immediately comes to mind when you think of Longhorn duos, however it should be.

Their friendship started after Shanahan transferred from Duke (Duke, really Kyle?) to Texas in 2000. What happened next was the start of a beautiful friendship. When I first heard how their friendship began, I immediately thought of the Seinfeld episode, ‘The Outing’.  A reporter is suspicious of Jerry and George being romantically involved. Unbeknownst to them, they had a typical conversation bickering over a pear in front of her, which out context provided hilarity abound.

The circumstances of Simms and Shanahan are similar as out of context it could raise some questions. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. In a 2006 interview Kyle said that he met Chris for the first time in the dressing room. Chris wanted to know if Kyle wanted to run some routes for him. Kyle of course accepted (how could you say no to Chris Simms?!) and the two had dinner together that night.

I have to admit I’m a little jealous. When I transferred into Texas I didn’t get asked by the starting QB if I wanted to run routes for him or have dinner with him. However, Kyle did and the two are lifelong friends. They even have the ink to prove it. Along with fellow Longhorns – Bo Scaife, Montrell Flowers and Rod Babers – the five friends got tattoos of the other four’s initials. So even though they didn’t put up the prolific numbers of Colt and Shipley or Vince and David Thomas, I employe you to remember Chris Simms and Kyle Shanahan as one of the great Longhorn duos.

The moral of this story is obvious. If you spot a cool bro just chilling in a locker room, strike up a conversation. Maybe throw the ball around with him. If you have the courage, ask him out to dinner. You might have the opportunity to get his initials tattooed on your leg some day, and if God willing, two idiots doing a Texas football podcast will pay homage to you and immortalize your friendship forever.



Simms (smiling) and Shanahan (not smiling) from their days on the 40 acres. One can only wonder where the two of them went for dinner together that evening. Simms is just to Mack’s left while lifelong friend Shanahan is painfully two spots over to Mack’s right.