It’s Bill Connelly’s fault
Just like Encyclopedia Brown, I had to pay close attention to the details, but eventually, the clue surfaced.
That’s right kids, it’s that meddlesome troublemaker, Bill Connelly, doing his best Bugs Meany impression. His SP+ “rating” says Clemson should only be a four point favorite over Florida State this weekend.
"“The Tigers are in an interesting place at the moment. Their defense struggled against both Louisiana Tech and Wake Forest but came together last week; their offense has battled inconsistency but is now up to 16th in points per drive thanks in part to good field position and great red zone production. My SP+ ratings don’t trust them because they aren’t really dominating a weak ACC landscape, but their odds of running the table are obviously increasing by the day.”"
The man that had Oklahoma ranked in the Top 6, even after getting blown out by TCU, apparently still buys into the lazy national narrative about Clemson, and he has lazy numbers to back it up.
My take: sportsbooks have much better power ranking systems than the SP+. The book’s systems recognized that the line should have been north of a touchdown, but apparently, there are enough bettors that have faith in calculations like the SP+ that they immediately jump on games where it says the line is too big or small.
It’s probably not just the SP+. An efficient sharp would have their own ranking system. You would think a smart sharp would always scrutinize the answer the data calculated, right?
Am I serious about this? Kind of. I do think calculated systems like the SP+ can provide insight, but they are based on data that isn’t complete, and that opinion is coming from someone who dislikes the eye test. I prefer resumes but you must temper them with common sense.
I don’t actually think Connelly is personally responsible, but the bigger-picture notion that one can make decisions on analytics alone has probably gotten its claws into sports too much. Analytics have led to some silly decisions when it comes to coaching and roster management, and now it appears to be leading to some silly decisions in the betting world as well.
Then again, they are called sharps for a reason, and despite my protestations to the contrary, the vast majority of the public believes Bill Connelly is smarter than me.
I guess we are just going to have to wait and see if Clemson -3.5 is the right line.
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