2013 Preview

Good News - Missouri Tigers

The Compu-Picks 2013 Preview contains a number of analyses. One section of the preview specifically deals with negative projections for teams Compu-Picks is materially more pessimistic on than popular perception, and is entitled "Bad News". The counterpart, highlights of team Compu-Picks is more optimistic on than popular perception, will be called "Good News" and will be provided free to the public. One of these analyses is provided below.

If you've paid much attention to win total lines over the years, you may have noticed that they tend to be inflated. Whether it's because casual fans are a lot more likely to bet on their team than against their rivals, or whether there's some other bias inherent in the betting market, there's usually some extra cushion built into the win totals. It might be shading lines, or it might be a half game (I suppose you could argue a full game, but I really don't think it's that high), but by and large, unders are where the value is, and it's generally hard to find good value on an over.

Missouri looks like an exception. The books have given the Tigers an even 6 win total expectation (shaded a bit over), but that seems like an overreaction to their year one SEC struggles and an underreaction to how much easier their schedule is in 2013 (still nasty, but no longer ridiculous).

Why is it an overreaction to Mizzou's 2012 struggles? For starters, the Tigers haven't been a particularly consistent program, but they've benerally been much better than the product they churned out in 2012 (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 were all materially better while 2009 was a bit worse).

Moreover, that 2012 season wasn't as bad as it might seem at first glance. Yes, they only won five games, but it was against an extremely challenging schedule, with non-conference games against Arizona St, UCF and Syracuse (plus a AA game), which is a heck of a lot nastier than this year's draw of Toledo, Indiana, Arkansas St and a AA game (and subbing in Ole Miss for Bama is hardly easy, but it's not you'd write that game off either). The Tigers were also hammered by injuries, and saw their turnover margin drop to the second lowest level (and just barely second) of the last six seasons. Those are usually good signs of improvement as breaks do tend to even out.

Even better, the Tigers also return a very high amount of offensive skill player production (though in fairness, that didn't help them in 2012), and only a bit below average offensive line and defensive production. And while their recruiting levels haven't been great, they have been pretty steadily improving.

Overall, the Tigers look like a fringe top 25 team for 2013. And a fringe top 25 team should easily beat their AA opponent as well as Toledo, Arkansas St, Kentucky, Tennessee, and probably Indiana. And they should be competitive enough against most of their other opponents (except probably Georgia on the road) that they should pick up another win or two along the way. Unless the Tigers repeat their poor performance level of 2012 or get worse (and neither seems especially likely) there's a lot of cushion in their win total. Six wins isn't quite a "worst case barring epic disaster" scenario for Mizzou, but it's pretty close.

Compu-Picks 2013 Preview Edition

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