The Saturday Edge did a college football handicapper Q & A with Dave Bartoo of the CFBMatrix. Dave has graciously offered to handicap a few “upset” specials for us each week, so I wanted to provide everyone with a little more information on what The Matrix is, and how Dave goes about picking college football season win totals and games ATS.
The CFBMatrix is a decade long idea that is, in its most basic form, the best and most transparent macro view of college football teams. In its most detailed, it is a trends and odds platform for predictions and successful college football betting.
It all starts with talent and the talent ranking profile of each team based on the last 4 years of composite recruiting rankings.
The second factor is scheduling. Where the game is played is critical for teams with similar talent rankings although some home fields are better than others just as some teams perform better on the road (ie VaTech, LSU, Bama).
Lastly it is coaching. While there are a number of ways to profile coaching success, I see it as winning and losing against teams against predictions. Since nearly 75% of all games are predicted correctly with my FARR (field adjusted recruiting ranks) the only other proven variable is coaching. Lose when you are supposed to win -1 game coach effect. +1 when you pull off an upset.
In order Total Wins, ATS, ML and I tried a weekly parlay last year with 7-4 success. The total wins are great as they provide season long interest for or against a team and the best return. In the last 2 years of designing my total wins strategy and model it is 17-5 when a target Over or Under is hit. This year, because of increased lines available, 16 teams hit their targets.
It is as simple as using talent, schedule and coaching. I use the schedule to project ‘on paper’ expected wins and adjust it for home/away game effects and final home and away coaching effect. From that number I use the total wins Matrix to project a target over and under for each team.
Auburn Over 7
Oregon State Over 4.5
SDSU Over 5.5
North Carolina State Under 7.5
How do you determine which individual games you will wager on each week season?
System, system, system. By using a level playing field of numbers and comparison I am able to back test ideas and results from any previous year. In doing so I have identified the best metrics that result for a ‘play’ for ATS games. For ML games it is different as I must choose which match ups and returns provide the best value and lowest risk for my subscribers that play the ML games and parlays.
I am more comfortable with the Total Wins because when a target is hit the plays are given a big cushion to still be a winner. An example is Auburn. They hit their over target at 7.5 but I found them at 7. I can only lose if they get 6 wins. There is wiggle room there throughout the season.
No, I do not generally make changes unless there is a clear pattern. For most of my subscribers, my information is part of their overall due diligence and they filter games themselves (as they should). However if a team suffers a huge injury (ie USC losing Barkley) or a team/conference is simply not playing to expectations (ACC 2011) I will avoid specific teams or conferences.
Upsets are always hard to predict, but given 5 dogs for example, I can put them in the best order an upset is likely to occur. Some upsets are minor, but any Vegas dog winning is an upset in my book.
Kentucky (Strong is a huge negative coach effect at home)
Long Shots -
San Diego State
Information, validation and feedback. Not only do I just make picks but my subscribers are constantly bouncing games off me. What I like or don’t like about a non-pick or parlay. I try to make myself and the Matrix accessible as possible for everyone. I want to be seen as a professional organization that offers tremendous value.
No it does not. However, I will look at teams with negative coach effect profiles for ‘trap games’ and other situations that are commonly held ideas. Anyone can find these notes in every team profile on the site. All games and notes are predicted and posted by June of every season.
I have spoken with Dave on several occasions via telephone, email and Twitter and he definitely knows his stuff. His CFBMatrix and his Best Bets subscription packages focus solely on college football and he has a system specific for CFB betting success.
Dave has 22 teams that hit their Over or Under Total Win targets, 2 ATS and 7 ML plays posted in his Best Bets subscription section on the CFBMatrix for opening week. He also makes himself available to everyone, so if you have any questions for him about the CFBMatrix, his subscription packages or you want him to interpret how he sees any outcomes, bet, odds, etc., give him a tweet @cfbmatrix or email firstname.lastname@example.org.