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Protect Your Unit Week 5 Picks Thread

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Marshall, Marshall, Marshall!

NCAA Football: St. Petersburg Bowl-Connecticut vs Marshall
NCAA Football: St. Petersburg Bowl-Connecticut vs Marshall
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(DISCLAIMER: This contest is for entertainment purposes only. No actual money is being wagered.)

We have another awkward line situation this week. A lot of you, especially our regular parlay players, jumped on an early line of Pittsburgh being favored at home against Marshall by a mere 1 point. This line seemed pretty off, and some of you even asked me if it would be honored. It will, and I will now explain why.

In a case where a line looks incorrect, I do an investigation to see how it got into the state-of-the-art supercomputer that runs the PYU website. The main thing is, was this ever a legit line offered by a real sports book? To determine this, I look at my line sources, and I look at the line history pages available at vegasinsider.com. Basically, if there’s any history of the line being offered by a real sportsbook, I will honor it.

In the case of Marshall-Pitt, Vegas Insider says this:

Pitt-Marshall lines
Pitt-Marshall lines

As you can see, three different books had PITT -1 at some point. One of them had it as late as 5 PM on Tuesday. Is this a real line? Could you have logged into one of those sites and make that bet, provided it was legal to do so in your location? Probably not. If Pitt -1 was a real offering, it would have moved gradually, instead of jumping from -1 to -16 instantly as it did. To see an example of how such a movement would look, check the history for Bowling Green-Eastern Michigan . It starts at BGSU -10, then moves to -3 in a rapid but orderly fashion. (We also talk about BGSU-EMU in the GAMBOLLLLLL podcast. Seriously. We do.)

This was probably a placeholder line of some sort that worked its way through to the various websites that compile and republish lines. In the podcast, Jamie and Collin said they noticed other such lines, such as Ohio State -1 over Rutgers, which certainly can’t be right.

However, that puts me, as the PYU game manager, in a tough spot. Do I throw out lines that are “obviously wrong”, thus requiring me to make judgment calls on what the line “should” be?

To deal with this, I have made two philosophical decisions for how to handle such situations going forward:

  • I don’t want to judge what lines “should” be. If a line is reported by any sports book, on any of the compilation websites I use to compile the PYU lines, and is submitted to the PYU game engine, it will be considered a valid offering. In other words, if I can find proof the line existed at a web site that reports lines and their history - even if it’s an obvious data error on their end - I will let it play. Lines will only be voided if they were an error on my part.

But more importantly:

  • Jumping on bad lines is the behavior we want to reward.

In thinking about this problem, it occurred to me that we were punishing good plays. I don’t mind doing this in a case where I’ve obviously screwed up, like when I had Tulane getting 99 points against FAU. (They covered.) But I confirmed that Pitt -1 was in the source data, and wasn’t a mistake on my part. My system correctly identified it as the best available line. So I didn’t feel right vetoing it.

And I have good news for dsidwell31, who had his Virginia Tech +425 over East Carolina bet voided last week. After looking more closely at the line history data, I have found two instances where a positive money line was offered for VT. My system must have retrieved the line at that time. This was certainly a data error on their end, but it was reported at a live odds site and got into my system, so it counts.

I have thus reversed my decision from last week, and allowed this wager to stand. The bet of 100 units won 425. I paid him his fake money, and adjusted his weekly limit accordingly.

There’s one other thing I want to point out here: when erroneous lines get into the system, they are equally available to everyone. I only update lines once a day, in part because I want to give everyone a reasonable amount of time to play each set of lines. Any of you could have jumped on Pitt -1 or Virginia Tech +425. So I don’t feel that the situation gives anyone an unfair advantage.

Having said all that, now watch Pitt lose to Marshall. This being Pitt, it’s certainly possible.

On to this week’s action:

USER WAGER UNITS
andrewpina Miami (FL) -6.5 points over Georgia Tech 100.00
andrewpina Over 60.0 points in the Baylor-Iowa State game 50.00
andrewpina Massachusetts +123.0 money line to beat Tulane 50.00
andrewpina Texas Christian +113.0 money line to beat Oklahoma 50.00
bullbard Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 100.00
bullbard South Florida -5.5 points over Cincinnati 100.00
bullmartin Navy +246.0 money line to beat Air Force 100.00
bullmartin Louisville +118.0 money line to beat Clemson 50.00
bullmartin Memphis +444.0 money line to beat Mississippi 50.00
bullmartin Arizona State +8.0 points over Southern California 50.00
bullmartin Navy +7.5 points over Air Force 50.00
bullmartin Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 49.50
BullsOnParade96 Houston -5690.0 money line to beat Connecticut 50.00
BullsOnParade96 Middle Tennessee State -624.0 money line to beat North Texas 50.00
BullsOnParade96 East Carolina -3.5 points over Central Florida 2.30
collin Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 45.00
collin Tulane -2.5 points over Massachusetts 45.00
collin Miami (FL) -7.0 points over Georgia Tech 45.00
collin Over 50.0 points in the Connecticut-Houston game 45.00
collin Temple -12.0 points over Southern Methodist 45.00
collin Memphis +15.0 points over Mississippi 44.00
collin East Carolina -3.5 points over Central Florida 6.66
defdans Florida State -10.5 points over North Carolina 40.00
defdans Wisconsin +363.0 money line to beat Michigan 30.00
diddybull32 Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 300.00
diddybull32 Duke -3.5 points over Virginia 50.00
dsidwell31 Florida State -11.5 points over North Carolina 55.35
dsidwell31 Over 51.0 points in the Connecticut-Houston game 50.00
dsidwell31 East Carolina -5.0 points over Central Florida 25.00
dsidwell31 Tennessee -3.0 points over Georgia 25.00
dsidwell31 Michigan State -8.0 points over Indiana 6.30
eastcoastbull South Florida -5.5 points over Cincinnati 100.00
eastcoastbull Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 50.00
eastcoastbull Tulane -2.5 points over Massachusetts 30.00
eastcoastbull Navy +7.5 points over Air Force 30.00
eastcoastbull East Carolina -165.0 money line to beat Central Florida 30.00
ElliotMoore Navy +246.0 money line to beat Air Force 40.00
ElliotMoore Georgia Tech +6.5 points over Miami (FL) 40.00
ElliotMoore Michigan State -8.0 points over Indiana 40.00
ElliotMoore Kansas State +153.0 money line to beat West Virginia 35.00
ElliotMoore Minnesota +143.0 money line to beat Penn State 35.00
ElliotMoore East Carolina -5.0 points over Central Florida 30.00
ElliotMoore Clemson -2.0 points over Louisville 30.00
ElliotMoore Wisconsin +10.5 points over Michigan 30.00
ElliotMoore Bowling Green State -3.5 points over Eastern Michigan 30.00
ElliotMoore Toledo +153.0 money line to beat Brigham Young 20.00
GaryStephen Over 60.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 100.00
GaryStephen Ohio State -38.0 points over Rutgers 50.00
GaryStephen Michigan State -6.5 points over Indiana 50.00
GaryStephen Texas Tech -28.0 points over Kansas 50.00
Gibbsak Stanford +146.0 money line to beat Washington 25.00
Gibbsak Texas +2.5 points over Oklahoma State 25.00
Gibbsak Clemson +120.0 money line to beat Louisville 25.00
Gibbsak Washington State +110.0 money line to beat Oregon 25.00
Gibbsak Temple -12.5 points over Southern Methodist 10.00
Gibbsak Oregon -1.0 points over Washington State 10.00
Gibbsak Under 80.0 points in the Kansas-Texas Tech game 10.00
lrdnorman Over 50.0 points in the Connecticut-Houston game 150.00
lrdnorman South Florida -5.5 points over Cincinnati 100.00
lrdnorman Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 100.00
lrdnorman Memphis +15.0 points over Mississippi 29.66
mmmmsnouts South Florida -5.5 points over Cincinnati 150.00
mmmmsnouts Miami (FL) -6.5 points over Georgia Tech 50.00
mmmmsnouts Over 59.5 points in the South Florida-Cincinnati game 50.00
mmmmsnouts Miami (FL) -7.0 points over Georgia Tech 25.00
mmmmsnouts Eastern Michigan +3.0 points over Bowling Green State 25.00
Snafu13 Wisconsin +11.0 points over Michigan 25.00
Snafu13 Memphis +15.0 points over Mississippi 20.00
ULhothot Pittsburgh -1.0 points over Marshall 175.00
ULhothot Wisconsin +319.0 money line to beat Michigan 24.00
ULhothot Tennessee -3.0 points over Georgia 22.00
ULhothot Wisconsin +10.5 points over Michigan 22.00
ULhothot Memphis +444.0 money line to beat Mississippi 10.00
ULhothot Connecticut +3887.0 money line to beat Houston 5.00
ULhothot Texas-El Paso +917.0 money line to beat Louisiana Tech 5.00
ULhothot Rice +1132.0 money line to beat Southern Mississippi 4.00
ULhothot Illinois +1025.0 money line to beat Nebraska 4.00
ULhothot Rutgers +21450.0 money line to beat Ohio State 1.00
ULhothot Louisiana-Monroe +9375.0 money line to beat Auburn 1.00

The parlays are also flying hot and heavy:

  • BullsOnParade, $200, Pitt -1 over Marshall, Miami -6.5 over Georgia Tech
  • bullmartin, $100, Navy +7.5 over Air Force, Arizona State +8 over Southern California
  • mmmmsnouts, $50, USF-Cincinnati over 59.5; USF -5.5 over Cincinnati
  • Defdans, $40, USF-Cincinnati over 60.5; Toledo-BYU over 52.5; Michigan State -6.5 over Indiana
  • ULhothot, $14.46, Pitt -1 over Marshall; Wisconsin +10.5 over Michigan; Florida -9.5 over Vanderbilt

As always, use the comments to discuss your picks, lobby for Spite Bet or Degenerate Bet of the Week awards, and comment on the week’s action in general.