Northwestern @ Michigan State (-7.5, O/U 45.0) – It’s official, Sparty and me are done. Yup, I woke up one day to the realization they had really let themselves go, coupled that with the fact they never reciprocated my love for them and that was that. In hindsight, we were doomed to fail from beginning with countless letdowns leading the burning of cash.
The reality for the Spartans is their high end talent is no longer in “let’s leave it on the field and win the Big Ten” mode, instead they’re in “let’s not get hurt prior to the end of the season, so we are ready for the combine” mode. The rest of the team simply isn’t very good or at very best is average for the conference. Plus, they haven’t played a game outside of four point margin of victory since beginning of Big Ten play, why should I trust them giving more than a touchdown.
The only concern over Northwestern covering is how they have been unable to finish games. In their three losses lead late in the 4th quarter, yet in each of those games they went into “come one Northwestern get off your knees, you are blowing the game” mode. Against Penn State they blew a 10 point 4th quarter lead in Happy Valley, at home against Nebraska they lost by one point on virtually the final play.
And last week they Wildcats found a way to lose a game where they had possession of the ball with 23 seconds remaining and the ball at the Michigan 49. Somehow, the managed to merely net 11 yards on the punt, which was seemingly a great play compared to giving up 53 pass completion on the next play. Of course, they lost in overtime.
Taking away the Penn State 4th quarter and the last few seconds against Nebraska and Michigan leaves the Wildcats undefeated. If that were true, what’s the spread in this game? Nowhere near 7.5. Which means there is value on Wildcats.
Play: Northwestern +7.5
Stanford @ Oregon (-20.5, O/U 66.0) – In last week’s Oregon/Cal, I dozed off for about 15 minutes right after Cal scored a touchdown to close within seven points of the Ducks. When I awoke, I was like “Is that a, a 52? No way, you are still sleeping; you are having a nightmare, wake up and look again! WTF happened? 52 points, only 17 points!” At that point, I was holding out hope for a backdoor cover, but I literally could not believe how fast the Ducks play, run, score and run. Goodness, they’re scary! Did I mention that the Ducks can run really fast?
For this game we have comparative recent odds that suggest Oregon should be a 30-34 point favorite. While that is outrageous and would never be posted without the Cardinal getting hit harder than “Little Bill’s wife in Boogie Nights, the posted line seems too low. This tells me that odds makers, who have been taking in the backside the past couple of weeks, are taking a position on this game. Essentially what that means is that the odds-makers like their side (Stanford) and are willing gamble on the game.
Being on the side of the odds-makers in a game with significant lopsided action means either one of two things – 1. The bookies are really, really smart and they know something the rest of us don’t; or 2. They simply fix the game. Either way, I think I will side with the house.
Play: Stanford +20.5
Minnesota @ Nebraska (-20.5, O/U 53) – So, I got dropped by a half point last week when the Huskers kicked a field goal with 18 seconds left in the game, which sparked a heated debate between me and a buddy of mine. Of course, I was biased, but I maintain that there is a better chance of losing the game by kicking the field goal, than merely going for the first down on 4th and 1. Here is my logic:
- Do you really want to put the game in the hands of a kicker, long snapper and some snot nosed kid whose main job is to tutor the “athletes” on the team and for that he also gets to be the holder on field goals? Or do you put the game in the hands of your best player, Taylor Martinez? Read that again, I just called Taylor Martinez the best player on the team, yikes!
- The Huskers had already successfully converted three straight first downs with one yard to go. Now I am no sabermetrician but I think 100% is pretty good. Ballgame if they covert.
- Not only is there a chance that the field goal is blocked and returned for a touchdown, but also kicker could simply miss the kick, which leaves you in a worse position than simply going for the one yard. Even if the FG has an 80% chance of being good and only a 1% chance of being blocked, I would rather not take that chance, when I have 100% chance (same sample size, but still) on converting the first down via power run.
- And if you felt like the Penn State defense was due for a stop, why not roll out Martinez, after a fake dive to the tailback, have him run for the first down. If he feels he can’t make the first down then throw the ball a mile in the air and out of bounds. Sure that is risky, but dammit Bo, we didn’t want to cover that spread!
I stared in disbelief at how this Husker team continues to fall behind, yet finds a way to not only win but also cover the spread. And what a way to cover, down 14, rally to take a 4 point lead, get a gift call that eliminates a Penn State touchdown, a safety and the ill fated field goal. I am snake-bit when picking this team.
Therefore, let’s go with the total this week – expect the Huskers to be somewhat flat, especially on defense this week and Minnesota has some talent on offense. Oh and I’ve seen the Gophers play defense. Ovah!
Play: Over 53.0
BYU (-3.0, O/U47.0) @ San Jose State – BYU failed to cover the first game after their alum Mitt Romney blew the presidential election. And yeah he blew it, given where Obama’s approval rating two years ago, he had a cake walk and pulled an Alabama. So, doom on you BYU for not preparing Romney to close the deal.
Play: San Jose State +3.0
USC (-3.5, 66.5) @ UCLA – My employer – yeah, believe it or not I do not make my living from these college plays – has finally decided that the cost of operating six different buildings to house employees is outweighed by the chance an employee might take a lunch hour to pick up groceries for the week and decided to institute a full-time work from home program. Welcome to the 21st century, fellas! Also we should welcome the managers to a whole new process called “managing”! You see a properly managed employee should be able to work on the moon, right? Right!
Anyway, the name of the program is aptly called “inTouch” which has three tracks – 1. inMotion (no set workspace, but remote office work four times a week and one from home); 2. inOffice (in the office five days a week, no exceptions!); and 3. inHome (full time at home, with office visits only when customer meetings require you to have a face-to-face or you need to sneak in a quickie with an inOffice co-worker). I have proposed a fourth track called “the Trojan” named after the USC Trojans, where you essentially show up when you feel like it.
I think this is a week they decide to show up.
Play: USC -3.5
Central Florida @ Tulsa (-1.5, O/U 56.0) – As I yo-yo back and forth each week from 3-4 and 4-3 it occurred to me that I need to implement some of the same rules I have for the NFL. One such example would be “don’t back a quarterback who thinks the world is against his college, on the road with nothing to play for when the opposing team is fighting for the conference championship.” In other words, don’t back a shaky quarterback on the road. I feel into that trap last weekend with Penn State’s quarterback Matt McGloin, who took to the microphone after the game to deliver one of the whiniest, bitchiest, most victimized post-game interviews I ever heard in my life. Now that is a sure sign that a QB is shaky and cannot be trusted. Oh and listen up, Matty , you had the opportunity to leave but you chose to stay, if you failed to realize during decision making process that there would be some, understandable, backlash at what was essentially an entire cultish community supporting a monster, well then you’re not very smart and you deserve to have the refs biased against the Lions. And if you did realize there would be “hell to pay”, then STFU and play for your dream college, then get job as a grad assistant, where can walk in on a child being sodomized and do nothing about it.
What does that have to do with this game, you ask? Well, two things, first off, I don’t feel I have taken enough shots at Penn State and secondly, I backed a shaky quarterback from UCF earlier in the year on an under bet and he single handedly killed the prospect of the game going over. So, the pick is Tulsa, right? Nope. I’ve seen massive growth in Bortles.
Well, I’ve seen enough growth to know he is slightly above shaky and his UCF supporting cast is much better than that of Tulsa. This is a great matchup for UCF, plus they have revenge from a home loss to Tulsa last season.
Play: Central Florida +1.5
Arkansas @ Mississippi State (-5.5, O/U 55.5) – It seems as though when a team starts strong, they tend to get a longer leash on line adjustment when things go south. The opposite is true of a team that is up and down throughout the early part of the season. And even though both example teams have the same record, the edge still goes to the strong start team.
The Bulldogs are an example of this, as the 7-0 promising start to the season has gone up in flames with a three game losing streak, yet they’re still giving Arkansas points. Albeit the Bulldogs have played LSU, A&M and Alabama, but they weren’t competitive in any of those games.
The Razorbacks have a significant edge in overall talent, but they have been terribly inefficient causing the inconsistencies in their results. Though you can’t trust teams like that when giving points, they can be good when getting points. You know the whole “disrespect” thing.
Here is a story that I will tell from personal experience – I was on a team that started the season 7-1, however, it was a bit of a mirage as our final three games were against the top three teams in a very competitive conference. The morale on the team was high going into the first of the three games, but we lost, and we lost again. Then we got drilled 34-7. We never recovered and ended up losing in the playoffs to a team we had beaten soundly earlier in the year. To this day, I still believe had we mixed those three games into our schedule at various non-consecutive points, we would have gone further.
There you have it – Arkansas outright winner!
Play: Arkansas +5.5
Best of luck this week, Colin is calling a winning week this week of no less than 5-2 or your money back!
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.