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‘Play The House’ results: Swing and a miss

Minnesota v Michigan Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Hello, all! This was a tough week, so like any old band-aid let’s get around to tearing this off:

I won’t beat around the bush on this one - the key takeaway here is that exactly half of the 26 players guessed ‘over’ on my prediction that Kareem Walker would get 0 rushing yards, despite a sprained ankle he suffered late in last week’s game. (Harbaugh not publicizing injuries strikes again.)

Outside of the top five, all of whom managed to get more than 100 points, nine of the next ten used one of their three guesses on Walker and came up with zero combined points on those, scrunching them all into a crowded middle pack. To add some more salt to the wound, season leaders vicdsouza and ZtMaizeNBlue (who were among those betting on Walker) ended up with 92 and 72, so there was a chance for some major shakeups in the season standings that didn’t come to fruition.

Still, credit to those who did take advantage - including JTwasshortt, who moved up to fifth in the standings thanks to his perfect week, plus apersondude1 and JWSMBA96 who have come on strong after starting this game later than most players. Well done, all.

Still, if you were rooting for chaos - or for yourself to get closer to the two top dogs - this week ended up being the wrong end of one of those shake-and-bakes that Higdon and Evans put on the Minnesota defense. Good execution, got close to a great result, but frustratingly came up short with a missed opportunity and wondering what might have been. A tough week.

Still, the players combined to get 1,597 points, so not a bad outing. You’ve gotten very good against me, and I’m resigned to it by now, so a tip of the hat for that. Here are the season-long standings:

Interestingly, it wasn’t just Kareem Walker this week, either. A lot more guesses were targeting zeroes than at any other point before now, perhaps because of success the past few weeks with low guesses on Walker and Evans, and a painful miss by several players last week on Nico Collins when I bet big (7 receiving yards) and he ended up getting his first career reception right on time. (I also remember Peters giving out a lot of points last week after I guessed he’d get 0 passing yards.)

Several of the players this week bet on some receiving production by the running backs - with Evans, Higdon, and Isaac combining for 1 catch for 0 yards, and Evans almost getting negative yards on that one catch - and there were other shots in favor of Nico Collins, McDoom and Peoples-Jones rushing, and O’Maury Samuels in the rushing department as well.

McDoom and Samuels did end up with 1 rushing yard each, so that paid out to a couple players. But the combined production on betting on zeroes was very low as the number of those guesses have increased.

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game
Zeroes can be safe picks, but they can also be duds a majority of the time.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Before I part then, allow me to offer a few pieces of advice to you all, so you can carve me up in ever more effective ways going forward:

1. I have made no bones that rushing guesses are more likely to get points off me than receiving guesses, and passing has also been a weak spot as well. Players seem to love living and dying with the wide receivers, but that can be a tough way to plot your course.

2. Another nugget to remember is that I’ve been vulnerable when predicting run offense for both Michigan and its opponents. This week, I set the line at 174 rushing yards for Michigan and they blew that out of the water in the first half. I also put Minnesota at 156, somehow forgetting that Michigan’s run defense would probably shut them down over the course of 60 minutes, and indeed Minnesota ended up with 90 for a healthy return of 42 points to whoever bet ‘under’ on it.

3. Guessing on low numbers can be savvy, but they also carry some risk. Every week there are players who have smart guesses across the board but end up with 50 points because they got 50 on two of their three and -50 on the third. Pointing one of your three guesses toward the offensive yards or the final score can make you a safe 20-50 points and turn a ‘50’ game into a ‘120’ game if you manage it right.

Alright, that’s enough advice for you all. I’m done, I declare! I give out too many points already! How will I make my invisible points house payments! Argh.