Which Odds Makers Will Get today’s College Bowls Wrong?

Which Odds Makers Will Get today’s College Bowls Wrong?

Yesterday, the odds on the bowl were short and sweet: In the Sugar Bowl, Alabama was favored over Oklahoma by at least two scores.

Final score: Oklahoma 45, Alabama 31.

Spread predictions here.

How the mighty are fallen, and I don’t mean Alabama.


The odds makers continue their inadequate performance. Not a lot of games on Jan. 2, but the big game was one of the major bowls. The Sugar Bowl is one of the real bowls–like the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl–and still the established pickers got it wrong. The line was emphatically wrong.

The predictions were wrong even by the broad win-loss rubric. They were even more wrong on the picture of the game itself. Alabama came out scoring at the beginning, and the first minutes looked liked an Ahh, Whatever Bowl, but the initial snapshot had little to do with the rest of the game. No predictor said that Oklahoma would end up with something like 45 points, and anyone who predicted Alabama with 31 would not have projected that as a loss. Regrettably, I was not able to watch much of this game. That made the picture clearer: every other time I tuned back in, it seemed, Alabama’s quarterback was getting sacked again, or Alabama was about to try a third down, or Oklahoma players were clapping one or two of their own on the back, shoulders, or helmet in jubilation . . .

Caught behind

Too bad, in a way. A week of college football had started me wondering why coaches don’t teach their players to C.O.V.E.R-THE-R.E.C.E.I.V.E.R.S instead of always going for the big play on defense. Easy for me to say, of course, and even a non-expert can see that it’s easier to swarm one man, or attempt to, than to scatter around the field in different directions chasing several different moving targets. Still–getting close to a receiver can sometimes result in an interception, and getting the ball is better even than getting the quarterback. The repeated sacks against Alabama may have contributed to undo that little moral of the story.

Side note: ESPN (on Verizon FIOS) continuously captioned the Oklahoma-Alabama game “Rose Bowl 2014,” at least in the Washington, D.C., viewing region. They never corrected the error, all night long, so far as I know.

As of today, 30 games have been played on the NCAA football bowl schedule. Out of 30, eleven picks have been completely wrong. More than a dozen picks, including some choosing the winner correctly, have given no true picture of the game. On days when there were several football bowl games, much of the picking was wrong. On a day with only one bowl, the picking was wrong. Why would anyone bet on these experts like these?

Why would anyone bet on college students playing sports in the first place?

Going forward

On to the next college bowl games; how will the next picks hold up?

One of the last bowls 2013-2014

Today has the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl:

Today’s question: Who will get today’s bowls wrong?

More to come.

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