I have a close friend who tells a story about a buddy of his who was a Vegas blackjack dealer, who, as the story goes, would become ice cold 10 minutes prior to going on his break . He would simply announce to the table, “everybody, it’s winning time.” I witnessed this once myself, it was truly remarkable. He broke at least eight straight hands, he would show a six, with a five under, then buy an ace, king. It does need mentioning, but we need more guys like him. Not necessarily the giving money away, but a guy who knew his status and could accurately convey to the players.
I am thinking that the same is true for yours truly with college football, as I finally got over on the “house” last week with a stellar 6-1 record. Not to say that I have everything figured out, but last week was the first week this season where I felt like I was reading English, as opposed to some undeveloped language from a third world country.
Much like the dealer, I am about to go on break, so I look to continue my assault on the odds-makers during Championship week and on into the bowl season.
Wisconsin vs. Nebraska (-3.5, O/U 49.0) – Ok, so I was ready to hammer the crap out of the Badgers in this game for the obvious reasons – a. Taylor Martinez in a big game, away from Lincoln; b. Bo Pelini in a big game, away from home; c. the abysmal performance by the Huskers in the fight for the “Heroes Trophy”; and d. the Huskers recent history in championship games. But then I read this column about how the Huskers spent 18 hours undergoing extreme military training in the spring of 2012.
Now those refuse to quit, play to the final whistle crazy comebacks make sense to me. The funny part is that in the column the players admit to being borderline lazy, self serving, essentially horrible team-mates. Yeah, essentially the reasons I played against them in virtually every game where I felt like they would need each other backs.
Anyway, they learned to dig deep, find strength where they though none existed, trust each other, help each other and most of all love each other. Yeah, whatever, good for them, I am only concerned about what I can use to my advantage over my adversary, the bookie! Also, I would file all that “feel good” crap under #ThingsIWouldHaveLikedToHaveKnown prior to picking against in every big game this season.
Well, now I know. Early Sunday morning, when an admin at the B1G conference office edits the list of conference champions, I expect the 2012 entry to look like the following:
2012 – Nebraska *
Play: Nebraska -3.5
UCLA @ Stanford (-9.0, O/U 46.0) – The Bruins had absolutely nothing to play for last week against the Cardinal and the result showed as much. Think about it, win and they head to Eugene to face an angry Ducks team or, lose, play a Stanford team that will likely be, based on a little something called human nature, over-confident. It was a no brainer then, it’s a no brainer now, even if coach Mora won’t admit it.
Here are three points to make my case for the Bruins this week – 1. The line has moved in Stanford’s favor, despite almost 2 to 1 bets on Stanford. That’s “sharp” money, which is worth about as much as “dull” money, but still someone, in some sports book thought enough of a “sharp” bet on the Bruins to move the number against the public action; 2. The Bruins have essentially had two weeks to prepare, they showed nothing last week, yet were able to absorb everything Stanford did. While the flip side, Stanford has had a short week to prepare a complete new game plan or hope that UCLA doesn’t make adjustments to the existing game plan; and 3. Never in the history of the NCAA has a team covered one week against an opponent, then cover the next week against the same opponent. Ok, you got me it’s 0-0, it’s never happened. Until this week.
Play: UCLA +9.0
Northern Illinois (-7.0, O/U 58.0) vs. Kent State – Kent State is the higher ranked team, yet they’re getting seven points, in a championship game no less. Lines like this are for the suckers, suckers who look at such things like rankings and determine how to bet based on some overweight, constipated mediot’s vote.
Rankings systems are so flawed, that they should be abolished and college football should play an 128 team triple elimination tournament for the season. Now that would be awesome!
Here is my case for NIU, there has been a significant amount of hoopla surrounding the possibility of Kent State bouncing an “AQ” conference school from a BCS bowl game. Now, I admit I don’t know everything, but I know when a power conference is in danger of losing a BCS payday there is a good chance that the referees for this game will be alums of NIU, including the guy with the Michael Turner calf tat and the guy with the cat named “Novak.”
Play: Northern Illinois -7.0
Georgia vs. Alabama (-7.5, O/U 50.5) – Doesn’t it feel like everybody is backing the Bulldogs this week? I haven’t heard one good thing about Bama. It’s Bama’s defense struggles with dynamic offenses, Bama should’ve lost to LSU and not even be in this game, Bama can’t rush the passer, the Tide’s defense is well below past versions and Bama’s offense lacks explosiveness. Ya da da!
Now I would think that type of disrespect would make Alabama players madder than an “actor” playing Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland repeatedly getting kicked in the nuts by a crying toddler while the proud papa tries to figure out how use the new digital camera.
I tell you these situations where everyone is on the same side and that side happens to be the worse of the two teams, are golden. Roll Tide! Alabama big time!
Play: Alabama -7.5
Oklahoma State (-5.0 O/U 87.5) @ Baylor – Whoa, the total is 87.5? Most reasonable bettors would think to themselves, “Hey, all I need is maybe two turnovers and two stops for this game to go under.” That’s logical until you look at the following: (a). This is the highest posted total in history of college football. Now I don’t know that for a fact, but I do know that, since 2006, the highest posted total was 83; just guessing here but I highly doubt any of those “three yards and a cloud of dust” games bak in teh day were touching the 80s. It’s so high that I side with the odds-maker here even if it seems unrelaistic.; (b). The three 80+ totals since 2006 have gone over the total in regulation. See trust the odds-makers!; (c). The arrogance of both offenses dictate that neither would consider a style of play to “keep the opposing offense off the field.”; (d). weather will not be a factor; (e). These teams are ranked #1 and #3 in yards per play; (f). Both teams are in the upper tier (#26 and #33 in the NCAA) of “yards per point”, an offensive efficiency stat. One of the main reasons they’re are not higher is that both defenses are so bad that the offenses rarely start with great field position, therefore, 80 yard drive for seven points is deemed less efficient than a 50 yard drive for seven points.; and (g). The tempo of this game figures to be in the 170-180 play range, which calculates on the low end to 90.5 points and 96.5 points on the high end.
Good enough for me.
Play: Over 87.5
Cincinnati (-5.0 O/U 40.5) @ Connecticut – The “third game flat” rule applies here as UCONN has won back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and Louisville. The latter was a emotional, overtime win, therefore, the Huskies are spent. Let’s throw in the fact that I think Cincinnati is the best in the Big East and it makes this game a no-brainer.
Play: Cincinnati -5.0
Oklahoma (-6.0 O/U 60.0) @ TCU– How disgusted do you think former OU greats like Dewey Selmon, Lee Roy Selmon, the Boz, Tommie Harris and Roy Williams are with this watered down, sissy version of the Sooners defense? And is there anything better than curmudgeonly old former players bitching about how “if they were playing, this type of thing would never happen!” I love to drop the 2012 Oregon Ducks back in the 70s or 80s and watch them run circles around those slow footed, smallish defenders. Now that would be entertaining.
Anyway somehow the Sooners, with the great defensive minds of the Stoops’ brothers, have allowed 97 points in the previous two games. The last time that happened was during the very forgettable John Blake era when they accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons. The biggest difference between then and now, is the Sooners were expected to lose big in those games. Now they’re still winning but getting gashed worse than an emo with a fresh supply of razor blades.
Now I ask you – can you trust a team that allows points by the bushel? No, you can’t. Because just when you exhale after OU takes a 10 point lead, that seems like you’re in the clear, TCU will take four plays to cut the margin back to three.
Plus, two more points for TCU – 1. The number seems light to me, so again I will side, and root, with the house; and 2. I can TCU springing an upset here because the most recent bowl projections have OU playing Oregon. Not one player on that starting defense wants any part of the Ducks.
Play: TCU +6.0
Best of luck this week, it’s 10 minutes until the bookies “break time”!
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.