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Old 01-15-2010, 05:51 AM
stevo stevo is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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Default Sweat Barometer: Here comes Baylor / Millman

Sweat Barometer: Here comes Baylor


I've really been enjoying putting together the Sweat Barometer rankings with Sal from this season. For one, as far as I can tell from all the sites I've been scouring, this is the only place where you can get against-the-spread rankings of the Top 25. For another, this has been an exercise in Amish-style tool building. The Sweat Barometer was borne out of a conversation between Sal and I, but when I asked for suggestions from you, casual bettors and hard-core degenerates, they poured in. What's developed has grown and changed every week -- and will continue to do so. Like a flower. Or a bankroll.

What is the Sweat Barometer?
The Sweat Barometer measures how well the 25 best teams do against the spread -- and how much they will make you sweat when you bet them. We'll know this by tracking the margin by which they cover -- or don't. For example, through the first 10 Vegas-posted games this season, the Texas Longhorns were 8-2 against the spread and covered by a margin of 7.3 points. Generally, that would make the Horns a good bet. On the flip side, through their first 13 posted games, the North Carolina Tar Heels were minus-4.12. That's bad.

The against-the-spread margin is based on the closing lines for each team's games.

The Sweat Barometer will run every Thursday (except when I turn it in late) during the college hoops season and will list each team's ATS record (overall/home/away), its RPI and its sweat margin.

Most importantly though, it has practical applications, which I learned after I got an e-mail from Dustin Dominiak. Dustin is a 27-year-old financial analyst in Philadelphia who has a head for numbers. "I always had an easy time remembering them in calculations," he says. "Mining data and data manipulation is my strong suit." And I don't think a single person tried to beat him up when he told me that, either.

Dustin has also spent time as an auditor and working for the Fed in Philly. But, since he graduated from Albion College in Michigan, not too far from where he grew up in Dowagiac in the southwest part of the state, he's been playing with point spreads. "Growing up my dad was a Michigan fan and Grandma was a Notre Dame fan so they always bet the game for fun, like $20, so I wasn't sheltered from gambling," Dominiak says. "After college, I just wanted to make money and thought I saw some opportunity."

When I first wrote about the Sweat Barometer, Dustin e-mailed me and asked if we were going to break down the sweat numbers for every team at home and on the road. I loved the idea, but told him getting that granular was incredibly time-consuming, so Sal and I had to beg off. A week later I got this e-mail from Dustin, along with a spreadsheet: "After I sent the e-mail I started playing with ways to do the calculation myself. Using Excel I was able to create my own Sweat Barometers for the two teams playing each other. Besides looking at the overall I developed a way to look at home vs. away and favorite vs. underdog. This has really helped me in deciding which lines are good values. My win percentage since I've added the home vs. away and favorite vs. underdog portions of the Sweat Barometer is 70 percent. I hope that streak continues."

I checked in with Dustin to see if it had. While he's still winning, the percentage has dropped to about 63 percent. For weekend games, he's spending several hours calculating variances between the final point spread and final score for every team playing, both home and away and as 'dogs, favorites and pick 'ems, and how that stacks up to its opponent for the day. It's a monumental task. "Saturdays are brutal," he says. "I don't sleep well Friday night knowing I've got 100-plus games to go through the next morning."

Dustin is constantly refining his system. If he gets the kinks worked out and can figure out how to streamline his workload, we'll try to incorporate it into the SB, if not this season then next. Because, really, betting is all about community.

Top 25 Sweat Barometer
Team (AP Rank) ATS Record Home Away RPI Sweat Margin
1. Baylor Bears (22) 6-1 2-1 4-0 43 -1
2. Syracuse Orange (5) 9-3 5-3 4-0 5 5.67
3. Miami Hurricanes (23) 6-2 4-1 2-1 72 -1
4. Villanova Wildcats (4) 11-4 8-2 3-2 7 2.20
5. Texas Longhorns (1) 8-3 6-2 2-1-0 13 5.32
6. Kansas State Wildcats (13) 7-3 4-2 3-2 4 1
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (20) 7-3 3-2 4-1 44 4.40
8. Temple Owls (19) 11-5 5-4 6-1 3 3.31
9. Wisconsin Badgers (13) 8-4 7-2 1-2 15 1
10. Duke Blue Devils (8) 9-5 8-3 1-2 1 -1
11. Mississippi Rebels (21) 7-4 4-3 3-1 57 1.95
12. Clemson Tigers (24) 8-5 5-3 3-2 37 2.62
13. Pittsburgh Panthers (16) 7-5-1 4-3-1 2-2 12 -0.59
14. Tennessee Volunteers (9) 6-4-1 5-3 1-1-1 23 -0.65
15. Gonzaga Bulldogs (17) 7-5 3-4 4-1 19 2.50
16. Brigham Young Cougars (18) 7-6 5-3 2-3 20 7.11
17. Purdue Boilermakers (6) 7-6-1 6-4-1 1-2 14 -2
18. Kansas Jayhawks (3) 6-6 5-4 1-2 8 -0.58
19. Georgetown Hoyas (11) 5-5 2-4 3-1 11 -2
20. Michigan State Spartans (7) 7-8 5-4 2-4 27 .07
21. Kentucky Wildcats (2) 6-7 3-7 3-0 9 2.77
22. North Carolina Tar Heels (12) 6-8 4-6 2-2 41 -3.46
23. Connecticut Huskies (15) 5-7-1 4-6 1-1 6 -2.69
24. West Virginia Mountaineers (10) 5-8 3-5 2-3 2 -0.65
25. Florida State Seminoles (25) 4-7 3-3 1-4 73 -4.58 - Sweat Barometer: Here comes Baylor
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