Complete 2014-2015 bowl predictions

At last, as a Christmas present, a bit late, are my 2014-15 bowl game predictions, based on several sets of variables.   In the column labeled Team, the teams highlighted in blue should win narrowly. The teams in green should win convincingly (10 of these).  Coaches are judged by w/l % in bowl games in their careers, with the # of games involved the tiebreaker; same goes for schools.   Teams’ conferences are judged by strength of schedule.  A separation of 3 or more proves ideal.  Biggest differential: Birmingham Bowl (East Carolina v Florida).  Best matchup by conference: Orange (Miss St/Ga Tech), Belk (Georgia/Louisville), Independence (Miami FL, S Carolina).     School closest to the neutral site gets the nod, unless both schools are very close or very far away.
6 games matched evenly in the number of variables led.
Just about half the games should be covered by the favorite in the spread. Sounds about right.

I didn’t have time to enter the Yahoo! contest to judge games based on winner or confidence level, but here’s my top 6 games by confidence:
Marshall in the Boca Raton Bowl

Auburn in the Outback Bowl
Mississippi in the Peach Bowl
Georgia in the Belk Bowl
Air Force in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Arizona State in the Sun Bowl
The 2 toughest bowls on paper are these:
Military: Cincinnati (coach, school, QB) vs VA Tech (conference, location, common opponents)
Fiesta: Boise State (school, QB, common) vs Arizona (coach, conference, location)

2014 College football bowl season analysis (part 2 of 3)

Finding much more time this week to get some analysis done, and recalling what I had done last year, I’ve updated all bowl matchups through the New Year’s Day games.
I gave weight to the teams who ranked better in the majority of contests. For common opponents, I weighed more with schools who won by larger margins or with less points allowed, and on the road.   The ‘yards’ stats refers to yards per pass attempt for the current starting QB.   If there is a notable geographic advantage for one school, I note that as well.
The trends I’ve wanted to uncover are teams who may prove to be better vs the spread than the leading Vegas bookmakers.   Source of odds is http://www.vegasinsider.com
I will update this with the rest of the bowl games, hopefully in the next few days.

Here’s the full spreadsheet as I have it.

Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trail update: Derby/Oaks 2015 mythical field

Here’s the latest Kentucky Derby 2015 field projection with points listed.This projection includes an update from last few races in the minor and Cali divisions.
The remaining South races all take place in March, so the contending horses will likely have 1 or 2 shots.   Just 3 more races in the minor category, most of them taking place in February.
MINOR
Blue Dancer 200
Bayerd 100 (new)
Private Prospect 100 (new)
Souper Colossal 100  winner 8 furlongs 100k
EAST COAST
Competitive Edge 250
Conquest Tycoon 250
Daredevil 250
Upstart 100 winner 8 furlongs 500k
CALI
American Pharoah 250
Texas Red 250
Dortmund 250 (new)
Carpe Diem 100  8.5 furlongs, 2000k
HEARTLAND
Recount 250
El Kabeir 250
Private Prospect 100
Imperia 100
SOUTH
Ocho Ocho Ocho 250
Mr. Z. 100
Far Right 50
Saratoga Healer 25
And here’s the Kentucky Oaks 2015 field projection:
MINOR:
AP’s Glory 100
Forest Glow 100
Zooming 100
CALI:
Take Charge Brandi 500
Sunset Glow 250
Top Decile 100
EAST COAST
By The Moon 350
Condo Commando 275
Conquest Harlanate 250
HEARTLAND
Quality Rocks 250
West Coast Belle 250
No Fault Of Mine 100
SOUTH
Take Charge Brandi 25DD
Skipalute 100
Majestic Presence 50
Danessa Deluxe 25

2014 college football bowl analysis (part 1 of 2)

I had hoped to complete this analysis by the beginning of the bowl series. Owing to my continual adjustment to a different living situation along with being on Pacific time, I am finding it difficult to complete projects in the time I give myself to do them.   I did get through nearly half of the bowl games by 5pm Pacific.  What I have outlined are what I believe to be the most important stats to determine who should win.  Experience by schools and coaches, along with travel distance, common opponents, and conference strength of schedule are all given weight here. For comparison’s sake, I use the consensus odds presented by http://www.vegasinsider.com
I also sourced College Football Reference and Team Rankings for further stats to help present this study.

Here’s the chart with stats complete through the Sun Bowl

 

Enlightened Derby Trail update: Los Alamitos Futurity

Today, the Enlightened Derby Trail runs through Los Alamitos in the OC. The LA Futurity It’s the 3rd of 5 races in Cali on the list, and the last of the 2YO events on either Trail.
Here’s my top 3:
MR Z has competed at the Graded level in last 6 races, ever since a successful maiden debut, but has not won. Came closest last time in the Delta Downs Jackpot at today’s distance of 8.5 furlongs, losing by a pose to Ocho Ocho Ocho.  The 100 Brisnet score from that race is a new top, but this sprinter easily could bounce from there. Despite this, he’s the speed of the field, and one of two coming out of a very good trip.  Top pedigree of the field (Malibu Moon/Stormy Bear, by Storm Cat).
NO PROBLEM won the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes last out, the only one of these 5 horses to win a Graded stakes event. The win was at 8-1,which reflects on a small sample of races combined by jockey/trainer combo Espinoza/McCarthy. Paired up Brisnet scores of 88 and 86 for his last 2 races. Decent works, tho nearly a bullet last time.
DORTMUND convincingly won his first 2 race, and is in his 2nd route race as well as Graded event. The Martin Garcia/Bob Baffert connection here is winning at a 28% clip. Proved to handle moving up in class and distance with win last out, along with shipping from his home state. Post position in the middle should help his cause.
Coming in, Mr. Z has the only points on the trail, with 100.  Point distribution –to the top 4 of this 5-horse field: 250-100-50-25.

After the race, I’ll provide a new set of mythical Derby and Oaks fields.

Meanwhile, I sorely owe you some bowl predictions. I’m still adjusting to Coast time for sake of all the events that take place eastward.

Enlightened Trails update: Stakes action at Remington Park

A year since my first ever contest cashing, in last year’s ThoroEnduro at Remington Park, it’s been a somewhat bumpy ride attempting to repeat glory. Looking at my stats, it seems that I did very well early on…then had a run of terrible days with barely anything to cash.  November 14 was my best day, picking 2 of 3 horses for strong value,  close to $100 in earnings.    I am finishing this year’s tournament near the back of the pack.  Entering today’s 6 race finale, I am actually nearly dead-last out of 1321 survivors, and accrued earnings of $754.60. 1200 more players were eliminated.  With 186 races wrapped up, that means I averaged a $4 return, out of a mythical $6 investment.   The top 10 players have averaged $6.66 to $7.27 per race.  Barely profitable meet if compared to actual win-place-show wagers, but fun nevertheless.    The fun is over for me, as I have to look forward to paying taxes on the $1000 check I earned for last year’s 2nd place finish.

The final 2 races of the meet are involved in my Enlightened Derby and Oaks Trials.   Before looking at those races, I  must say that Take Charge Brandi is, well, tremendous. As I’ve stated before, I love sprinters who dominate or at least show heart in route races.  She did just that, and now has the overall lead in either EOT or EDT series, with 750 points, 3 wins in the EOT itself.   Feathered and Majestic Presence added to their point totals in the process.

Remington Park’s Trapeze Stakes for top 2YO fillies is the last of the EOT races for the 2YO portion of the series.  Coming into the race, here are the points that have already been earned by the entrants:  Lil Super Bear, 100; Strawberry Baby, 100; Donna’s Royal Slot, 10.    The points for the top 4 in this ungraded stakes event are 100-50-25-10.
Just 5 horses overall outside of Take Charge Brandi have at least 200: By The Moon, Conquest Harlanate, Condo Commando, Sunset Glow, and West Coast Belle.
10 of the 11 horses here have any real shot.  Here’s my top 3:
DANCING DIVA is 1st or 2nd in 3 lifetime, winning the OK Stallion Stakes here last time out with an 87 Brisnet. Previous races were run at 79 and 77. Along with that good trip last time out, both of her lifetime wins came in middle posts.  Value is good at 8-1. I think she’s much better. Overlay
PERFECT FIT has 2 wins in 3 lifetime, winning a 75k optional claimer last time with a 78 Brisnet.This is paired with maiden winner at 82 Brisnet speed.  Top jockey/trainer combo in the field (Berry 24%, Calhoun 25%). I measure this filly as being the speed of the field, and a nice value, as the morning-line suggests 12-1, likely because of the gain in class. Then again, winning 1st race since winning maiden does suggest the sky’s the limit. Overlay
The aforementioned STRAWBERRY BABY bounced last time out in the Clever Trevor here last month, 74 Brisnet.  Coming off Bute, maybe the lack of the drug had its effect. Best average winning distance from pedigree in this field (Warrior’s Reward/Kendall Hill, by champion older horse on 2 continents, the Irish-bred horse Theatrical).  Already having won gaining from maiden as well as stretching out from 7 furlongs, she should retain value in the public pools. Morning line says 8-1, which is about right.
Looks like an excellent betting race on tap.
Turning now to the Enlightened Derby Trail, and the last 2YO race for the year in the series, the Springboard Mile is worth 250k. Points here are allocated the same as in the Trapeze.  Just one horse in the field has any EDT points coming in: It’ll Be Fine, 4th in the Sunday Silence, 10 points.
HIGH NOON RIDER, shipping from NY tracks, broke maiden in his 3rd effort with a dazzling 97 Brisnet, first time on dirt, on a race scheduled for turf.  Best AWD numbers here (Distorted Humor/Modesty Blaise, by the legend AP Indy). I give high marks mainly because of this sprinter’s great route win last time, dueling much of the way.  The 97 score was a big spike over his 76 score prior.   3-1 morning line is accurate.  Great works alongsides.
PHENOMENAL PHOENIX broke maiden in 2nd lifetime start, both at Remington, both races in the early 80s.  Berry in the irons is paired with trainer Donnie Von Hemel (15% wins). Track bias in favor: In 90 mile races on the dirt here, 29 of them, 32% have been won with a stalking trip. Morning line is 12-1. I think he’s an overlay, worth more like 5-1.
SHOTGUN KOWBOY is the pregame favorite, with wins in the Clever Trevor and the OK Juvenile, plus a 3rd in the Kip Devillle, plus a strong win in his maiden debut.  Strong pace numbers, with an 89 last time out, which actually may present a bounce, having raced in the 90s prior to that.  Proven to win from gain in class and stretch out, plus it being 5 weeks since last stretchout, must consider.
Both the EOT and EDT series go dark until January. In the next post after these races, I’ll give an update re the points.
Et cetera:
*Woke up too late to do day 4 of the Festivus Challenge at Tampa Bay Downs, so I’m out of that contest.
*Will give you a look at the college bowl participants and predict the winners in a later post.
*Not pleased that no players got into the Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum via the new Veterans Committee, tho I like that Dick Allen did come closest.

Enlilghtened Oaks Trail update: Starlet Stakes

Last 4 races of the Enlightened Oaks and Derby Trials for 2014 take place at Los Alamitos and Remington Park.  First, on December 13, we’re in Cali,as Los Alamitos hosts the Starlet Stakes for leading 2YO fillies.   It’s the last major race in Cali for the Filly Trail until the last race on the list, the Santa Anita Oaks in April.  In terms of EOT points, Take Charge Brandi is the runaway leader with 500 points.  Feathered has 75, Majestic Presence.   Here’s how I see the race:
TAKE CHARGE BRANDI is the classy horse by far, winning the Delta Downs Princess and the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. Best breeding here (Giant’s Causeway/Charming, by Seeking The Gold). Her BC win at the distance was  a sparkling 101 Brisnet. This sprinter had an awesome run last out at Delta Downs, yet that ranks slower with a 93 Brisnet.  Not exactly a bounce
there. Switches back to Victor Espinoza. Looks much the best.
MAJESTIC PRESENCE won at the 75k maiden level, nothing since.  Slight increases in Brisnet scores in the last 3, peaking at 90. Returns to a middle post, where he scored an 86 in the BC Juvenile Fillies, albeit in 9th place.  May surprise at a price tho 8-1 is appropo.
DANETTE may also surprise here.  Kent and Keith Desormeaux have paired up in 5 races in the last 60 days, with 1 win, for a 3.96 ROI. Further, Keith has 2 wins and 3 placings this year in Graded stakes race, for a return of 12.39.   2nd straight lifetime top last time out with a 99 in the BC Juvenile Fillies.  Only closer in the field of 7. Is worth 8-1, not far from morning line of 10-1.
Tomorrow, analysis of the big races at Remington Park on the Trails.