Tweak a bit here, a bit there... 

February, 4, 2010

So, you know what happened with the Sweat Barometer I do with Sal from every week? People got mad when I changed the way we present it. Like, really mad. Like, say things soccer players wouldn't say to each other on the pitch mad. But that's cool.

Normally, as a guy with a space to say what I want, I tend not to dwell on the overly harsh criticisms. (If there was overly lavish praise, however, I'd paste it all over my house. There's not.) But, because I've been trying to make the Sweat Barometer about our little betting community doing something together to find a new way to measure stats and find smarter ways to bet, I feel like I have to bend to the will of the people.

During the previous two weeks, I had changed up the presentation of the Sweat Barometer, listing the top 25 teams overall, regardless of their AP ranking. Some folks liked it, because it highlighted teams like William & Mary, off the radar squads that truly sharp bettors know have been paying off this season. But most people didn't like it. Or were at least confused by the new format. "Can't help but notice that the No. 5 team in your bottom five -- the Oklahoma Sooners, while having an SB of -4.83, is 7-7 against the spread [ATS]," Carl Smoyer wrote in an e-mail. "While a team like the Arizona State Sun Devils have the 12th best SB of 3.97, yet is only 7-8 ATS."

That's a good point, Carl. So let me reiterate: The Sweat Barometer is not the only way you should examine a bet. When wise guys gamble, their power rating is built from a dozen or more variables. The SB, hopefully, can be one of them for you. If you want to know how much a team is covering the spread by -- how much it is going to make you sweat if you decide to put down some change on its success -- this tool will help you do that. It is not a golden ticket. No such thing in betting.

Because the Carls have spoken, we're going to readjust a bit. For one, we're going back to ranking the AP Top 25 teams against the spread. Consistently, these are the teams you fine degenerates want to know the most about. As you look through the list, you can see that there is usually a parallel between how well a team does ATS and what it's Sweat Barometer number is. (Although, there are still outliers such as the Brigham Young Cougars, Pittsburgh Panthers and Wisconsin Badgers.) Second, I'm going to list the five best Sweat Bet teams that aren't in the Top 25, so bettors can get a sense of which lesser-known teams are providing value.

We're doing this all on the fly as a grand betting, social experiment. So, as always, keep the comments coming. Even the really nasty ones.