7-21 overall, 4-12 conference, 9th Horizon
Against the spread
14-11-1 (5-5-1 home, 9-6 away)
15-11 (5-6 home, 10-5 away)
2005 Season Summary
Few teams could have had a worse 2004-05 season on a straight up basis than the Youngstown State Penguins, who finished 5-23 straight up. Yet the Penguins managed to finish as a break even 11-10-1 against the pointspread. But the story goes deeper than that and has a more significant lesson for college basketball gamblers.
After starting off the season 3-7 against the spread and in the midst of that horrific on court debacle of a record, the Penguins went on to lost just two of their final ten games against the spread to end the year in a classic example of how a team that is totally unappealing to the gambling masses can actually be a valuable bargain on the board.
By the time the Penguins started covering the spread with regularity, they had zero appeal with the gambling masses as anything other than a “go against” team. With those consistent value added odds based on the public wagering on a “straight up” basis, Youngstown State became a late season cash cow despite the pathetic on court record.
With their horrible straight up record on the minds of most gamblers, it stood to figure that Youngstown State might remain a value-added team that could sneak cash for value conscience college basketball gamblers.
The Penguins began the season with an unlined 58-71 loss at St. Francis PA and then a 95-53 blowout unlined home win over Slippery Rock.
In their first game on the board at Akron, the Penguins got the cash with a 62-67 loss/cover as 20.5-point dogs. That was followed by a 69-77 home loss to Kent State as 11-point dogs as they picked right up where they left off at the end of 2004-05 as cash cows.
The profits would continue with a 70-73 win at Marshall as 8-point dogs followed by a 71-77 win at Eastern Michigan as 6.5-point dogs.
It was more of the same as the Penguins scored a 58-66 loss/cover at St. Bonaventure as 12.5-point dogs before they got their first straight up win of this payoff streak with a 72-51 blowout over Duquesne as a 4-point chalk. Another win followed as Youngstown State beat James Madison 72-65 as 3-point home chalks for their seventh consecutive cover of the season, to extend their streak with just two losses in their last seventeen games against the spread dating back to the end of the previous season.
Kept cranking out the cash
After a brief pause in the profits with a 67-75 loss at Siena as 7-point dogs, the Penguins got back on track with an 84-85 overtime loss at Illinois-Chicago as 12.5-point dogs. Youngstown State kept cranking out the cash with an 84-76 win at Loyola-Chicago as 12-point dogs, and followed that up with a 95-70 home win over Wisconsin Green Bay as 5.5-point chalks. One more payoff followed as the Penguins got a loss/cover at Detroit 63-68 as 7.5-point dogs for a fourth consecutive payoff and overall mark of 11-1 against the board for the season.
Value began to deplete
As bad as their on court record was, the Penguins sparkling mark against the sportsbooks blew their cover as they were no longer a secret and were becoming more popular with the college basketball gambling public. The result of this, of course, was that their value began to deplete.
The process began slowly, with a 60-64 home loss to Wright State as 3-point chalks. That was followed by a 50-63 loss to Cleveland State as 7.5-point chalks.
Youngstown State appeared to get back on track, however, with a 64-62 home win over Butler as 6.5-point dogs followed by a 70-78 home loss/push against Wisconsin Milwaukee. That was followed by a 68-63 win at Cleveland State as 4-point dogs, which was to be the last bit of good news for quite some time.
Youngstown State finally suffered a crash with six straight losses against the spread and 8 losses in their final 9 games ATS overall.