The big College Football BCS Championship game is this evening, pitting #1 LSU against #2 Alabama. Several weeks ago, LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 in a low-scoring game that went to overtime. As some may have expected, the betting public is jumping on #1 to defeat #2. A relatively large 65% of bets are taking #1 LSU.
Interestingly, the point spread opened with LSU as a slight favorite (-1). However, “smart money” has moved the line all the way to Alabama -2. Sports Insights members will know that our contrarian view is typically to “bet against the public” and “follow the smart money.”
In addition, some analysis we follow from the authors of “Who Will Win the Big Game?” also points to Alabama. Here’s an excerpt:
Hard Work & DefenseInterestingly, across a variety of sports, factors and statistics related to hard work and consistency are more closely related to winning championships than glitzy statistics such as quarterback rating and homeruns. In particular, our work shows that defense does indeed win championships.Alabama gets the nod in this category, with its top-ranked defense in terms of both points against and yards per game. It is notable that LSU is #2 — but a distant #2, yielding 252 yards per game vs. Alabama’s 191 yards/game.Consistency Factor: Rushing Yards per AttemptAnother key to winning championships is consistency. It is interesting that the type of “consistency factors” that have proven to be related to winning are “less exciting heroics” than most sports fans would expect. For example, in baseball, our research shows that batting average is more important to winning World Series than home runs.In football, average yards per rush is a good indicator of consistency and control of the game. Alabama edges LSU in this category (5.6 yards per rush to 5.0 for LSU). Edge to Alabama for the consistency factor.