2012 CFB – Week 14 “Seven Out”

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.

CFB 2012 – Week 11 “Seven Out”

Michigan (-10.0, O/U 52.0) @ Northwestern – Though it’s a long shot, Northwestern can still represent the Legends Division in the BIG10 championship game. So they got that going for them. For Michigan they will again be without Denard Robinson and while I must admit Devin Gardner is roughly a billion times better than Russ Bellamy, we are still a rolled up ankle, an unfortunate helmet-to-helmet concussing hit, a stray knee to the balls or pile driver sack which leaves Gardner’s arm looking like silly putty away from seeing an investors best friend, Russ Bellamy.

And yeah, yeah I know, Devin Gardner had a big game last weekend, but 1. It was Minnesota; 2. It was Minnesota’s secondary, meaning Gardner accuracy had to be the equivalent of throwing a football into a cruise ship’s swimming pool from the Lido deck; and 3. Minnesota’s coaching staff was completely clueless with their play calling. See failed fake field goal that wouldn’t work if they had 100 tries!

Them Cats going to raise some Kain on Saturday!

Play: Northwestern +10.0

Wisconsin (-7.0, O/U 55.0) @ Indiana – This game represents the Hoosiers chance to become relevant in the Big 10; in fact with half of their division ineligible for the division title Indiana could take a giant step towards that goal by winning on Saturday. I am sure that when the BIG 10 enticed Nebraska to join BIG10 commissioner Jim Delany envisioned an Iowa v. Indiana championship game matchup for the chance to be a 49 point underdog to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

I have to admit, I’ve been impressed with the Hoosiers effort this season. And Wisky’s starting quarterback is some guy name Curt Phillips, which, in terms of individual names is great – Curt like Curt Schilling or Curt Warner and Phillips like Wade or Lawrence, but together the names just don’t mesh. So, if that is the case can we really trust this guy to cover road BIG10 game? Answer – No.

Play: Indiana +7.0

Penn State @ Nebraska (-8.5, O/U 51.5) – So, I am going back to the well once more, and though it’s dried up, you just never know when your bucket will suddenly be full of water. You might be thinking, what an idiot. I would disagree as a true idiot is a person that, for example, reveals that they have a hidden immunity idol for no reason other than they were asked, and at tribal council no less. Goodness if Abi wins Survivor I promise that I will shit-can that show forever. Now that is an idiot. I would argue that Nebraska cannot continue this run of improbable covers, therefore, natural attrition is on my side.

But still I feel the need to justify the Husker plays over the past two weeks like the degenerate gambler asking Nicky Santoro for money so he could “turn on the heat.” Simply put, Michigan wins that game if Devin Gardner plays. And, really Michigan coaching staff after Bellomy stunk up the joint the first three possessions, why wasn’t Gardner at least given a chance. He wasn’t prepared, you say. Fine then put him in the game, run wildcat (which was already in the playbook) or four verticals on every play. Essentially that’s what Michigan did, successfully, last week against Minnesota.

Last week, I admit I over-valued the Spartans, but even at that the Huskers needed a miracle 4th down conversion to, of all players, a tight end (and how does the tight end get that open and then turn and leave the db for an additional 25 yards?) to pull that game out in the final 4 seconds.0

So, why do I like Penn State this week? Three reasons: 1. At 8.5, I merely need Penn State to keep the game close, essentially they can’t get blown out. One thing about this PSU team is that they play 60 minutes; 2. Penn State is well coached, Nebraska is not. That should be enough for the Lions to be in this game late; and 3. The HTM. What is the HTM, you ask? The “Human Turnover Machine”, aka Taylor Martinez. Three picks last week, along with two fumbles that Nebraska was to retain. It’s almost like Martinez and Michael Vick are having a contest to see how can turn over the ball more and keep their starting job. After this week – Advantage, Martinez!

Here is exactly how this game will play out – Martinez turns it over early, Penn State jumps out to the double digit lead, Huskers claw back furiously, Huskers take the lead and Penn State’s rally fall short. Nebraska 34-30.

Play: Penn State +8.5

Missouri @ Tennessee (-3.0, O/U 60.0) – Can Tennessee stop anyone? Now if the answer to that question on Sunday morning is “Turns out they can stop Missouri,” then this prediction went very, very wrong.

Hey, I haven’t lost a total prediction in almost two weeks (1-0 in that time). I am on a roll!

Play: Over 60.0

Oregon (-28.5, 67.5) @ California – There are so many angles supporting the Bears here that this game has to be my “Guaranteed LOCK of the CENTURY!” Ok, maybe I am not quite that confident, but here are four reasons why the Bears are a solid play this week – 1. The Ducks figure to be flat after the emotional win against USC last week. Even though it seems like the Ducks only expended about 5% of their usable energy, I still believe they have to have a bit of a letdown after that near perfect performance; 2. It is sandwich city for the Ducks, last week SC, next week Stanford, then Oregon State and then Alabama in the BCS title game. Wait, I am forgetting an opponent? See how I did that; 3. The former Oregon AD and head coach, Mike Bellotti, said this week that Chip Kelly would “inevitably leave Oregon for the NFL.” Huh? Chipper’s offense is not going to work in the NFL, Mike! And e tu, Mikey! What are you trying to sabotage the entire Ducks season? The players need to be focused on the task at hand, not whether this fast break style of football is going to leave for the NFL; and 4. The Golden Bears actually play the Ducks very tough in Berkley or at least they have the last two meetings. Sure they’ve been free falling the last three weeks, but their ceiling is a blowout victory over UCLA and a narrow lost i Columbus. I like them to play closer to their ceiling than their basement.

Of course I reserve the right to call this bet off if Oregon goes up 35-0 seven minutes into the game.

Play: California +28.5

Tulsa (-3.5, O/U 67.0) @ Houston – This game is a little like one of those “stock alerter” programs – I know very little about the company, but the metrics tell me to buy, so I buy. Tulsa took an SEC to the wire last week, while Houston was crapping themselves against a mediocre East Carolina team. Imaplay.com tells me it’s all Tulsa.

Play: Tulsa -3.5

Kansas @ Texas Tech (-26.5, O/U 56.5) – Once hoop season starts the Jayhawks fan focus shifts from Women’s soccer to Men’s Basketball, therefore no one in Kansas gives a rat’s ass about the Jayhawk football team.

Not that it matters with this game being played in Lubbock, but still think about it when no one gives a crap about what you’re doing, what do you do? Very little, right?

But the reason I am on the Red Raiders is the fact that they are 16-4 ATS the last 20 times they have played the second of a back-to-back home game. Book it!

Play: Texas Tech -26.5

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are five more that didn’t quite make the cut:

Kansas State/TCU – Kansas State -6.5

Wyoming/New Mexico – New Mexico +2.0

Louisiana Lafayette/Florida – Louisiana Lafayette +27.0

Colorado/Arizona – Colorado +29.0

Oklahoma State/West Virginia – Under 77.0
 

Best of luck this week, may none of your games end in the first quarter or in the final seconds!

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.

CFB – Week Ten “Seven Out”

Nebraska (-1.5, O/U 44.5) @ Michigan State – I admit that it’s tough to go against a team that completely dominated a Michigan team that was down to their 8th string quarterback last Saturday, but I am going back to the well once again this weekend on Michigan State. To be honest, the next road win over a quality opponent for the dynamic duo of Taylor Martinez and Bo Pelini will be their first. Sorry Northwestern, I don’t consider you a quality opponent. But even that soft one point win over the Wildcats stresses the shortcomings the have on the road.

Plus, my man-crush on the Spartans has reached stalker level proportions after that “ballsy” performance against the Badgers last week.

For grins, let’s list the “true” reasons why Sparty emerges with a victory Saturday afternoon:

  • Talent, Michigan State is more talented that Nebraska, period!
  • Blue chip players, in addition to having overall more talent, Michigan State’s high end talent is much better than that of the Huskers
  • You tell me who you trust in a big game – Bo Pelini or Mark Dantonio? Let me remind you that this is not a nostril size competition, it’s big time college football.
  • LeVeon Bell, give this kid 30 carries between the tackles and I guarantee carries 21 through 30 feature at least seven yards a pop and one long, back-breaking gainer.
  • Revenge – the Huskers stomped Michigan State last year in one of those classic “third game flat” situations. You think maybe the Spartans want revenge?

And I get a point and a half? Ok, where do I sign! Thanks to the “sharps” who either have a metric that completely dismisses turnovers or were so impressed by Taylor Martinez’ 4th quarter against Northwestern that they have hammered this game from Michigan State -2. Fair enough, now I can root for the Huskers to win by a point.

Play: Michigan State +1.5

Iowa @ Indiana (-2.0, O/U 56.0) – This Halloween I fortunately got the job of handing out the candy to some very poor costumed kids. Look, little punks, grabbing a mask at the store and throwing it on is not a costume.

Anyway there were a few good costumes, like the group of three little girls dressed as cheerleaders, with a boy as the football captain. That group happens to live next door to me, and since they’re die-hard Iowa fans, the kids were, shockingly in black and gold Iowa Hawkeye gear. Cute nonetheless, but after I give them candy and had a short conversation with mama, the girls do a little “Let’s go Hawks” cheer on my doorstep. Mama, looks at me with glossy eyes that could only come from two too many wine coolers, and states, “we had nothing to do with that!” However, I guess Iowan women don’t learn to lie until their thighs look like they just caught 180 straight innings, because the little girls tell me, “Our dad told us to do that cheer!” Meanwhile, mama waddles off with a sheepish look on her face like, “OMG, he knows I lied!”

That’s precious, the Iowa fans getting so excited about the potential of beating Nebraska three weeks from now so they can finish 4th in the “Legends” division and head to the Poulan WeedEater bowl to play some 3rd place team from the Mountain West. Honestly, I could give a flip about a loss to Iowa, other than probably having to cleanup black and gold toilet paper from lawn. The reality is Iowa is less relevant than Nebraska, so if you want to celebrate becoming bowl eligible by beating the Huskers, hell, who am I to stand in their way, go for it!

But you don’t send your kids to talk junk, especially on Halloween. It’s poor etiquette. And my guess is homie single handedly angered the football gods. That’s pal, this loss is on you!

Play: Indiana -2.0

Penn State (-3.5, O/U 51.0) @ Purdue –Purdue is like the college version of the Arizona Cardinals, I can’t win when picking their games. The obvious question is – in that case, why are you picking this game? Well, here you go – I think the life went out of Penn State last week in that loss to Ohio State. Especially considering how ugly it got at the end. Yep, it has finally caught up with Penn State, but kudos to Bill O’Brien he got about as much mileage out of that team as he could.

Plus, the Boilers play much better against higher end competition.

Play: Purdue +3.5

Vanderbilt (-7.0, 46.0) @ Kentucky – I’ve got Kentucky winning this game out-right, so the points are just a bonus. The balls play here is to take the Wildcats +230 on the money line. Done.

Play: Kentucky +7.0

Alabama (-8.0, O/U 41.0) @ LSU – Steve Spurrier claimed that the Crimson Tide could hang with, and possibly beat, an NFL team. I guess Stev-o is on prescribed medical marijuana, because the worst NFL team of all-time would destroy the best college team of all-time.

But, let’s think about it for a minute – the best college team might send eight players to the NFL a year, which means that they might have 32 NFL players on the current roster. Of course, at least half those players haven’t fully developed. So, even the optimistic estimates would have the NFL with 45 NFL players and the college team with maybe 24 players. Now if you told the 2012 Jaguars that they had to skim their roster to 24 players and then fill in with guys bagging groceries, what do you think the spread would be? Yeah, at least 30, right? Spurrier is insane, and this isn’t even a Lou Holtz tactic as the Gamecocks don’t play Alabama this year. Of course, maybe Steve is jealous of the Tide’s success so he decided to rile up the Tigers.

Either way, I get it, Bama is good, but come on, eight and a half points at night, in Death Valley? That’s too many points!
Play: LSU +8.5

“If the Trojans crap the bed Saturday, I’m going to kill someone . . .”

Oregon (-8.5, O/U 70.0) @ USC – Please tell me that I am not about to back Lane Kiffin.

Ok, here is the case for USC – 1. The Trojans have the speed to handle the Ducks offense; 2. The athletes on the outside for USC are better than anything Oregon has seen this year; 3. USC was looking ahead to this matchup when the Wildcats kicked them in the balls last week. Therefore, we can completely dismiss that game; 4. The Trojans are home, which means the ghosts of Marcus Allen, Reggie Bush, Ronnie Lott, Mike Garrett, Charles White and the double-murderer, aka OJ Simpson will have a presence on the sideline (side note- if you Orenthal on the sidelines with a knife – RUN). Think that doesn’t matter, think back to the 1985 Bears, when they played the Dolphins in Miami and those 1972 Dolphin players roamed the sidelines. It matters; 5. You don’t get into the hottest clubs in LA unless you win games like this. Barkley knows that and so does the rest of the Trojans!; 6. Back in 1997 Nebraska needed to run up the score to impress the voters in an effort to overcome Michigan’s stranglehold atop the polls. That actually created a weird pressure that adversely affected the Huskers, who barely escaped 27-24. Oregon is in a similar position, they need to impress and what better way than to whack the Trojans, of course a funny thing happen on the way to the Coliseum; and 7. Oregon’s quarterback is unproven in big sport and on the road against a quality opponent for the first time in his career.

Play: USC +8.5

Florida Atlantic @ Navy (-16.5, O/U 51.0) – What would the “SevenOut” college football picks be without the “weekly total loser?” I am here to serve. I don’t know much, but I know that the Pelini brothers are terrific at shutting down teams that are one dimensional, even teams with a dark ages “that’s still around?” offense, like Navy. Give me the under in a grind it out, 70s style game.

Play: Under 51.0

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are three more totals that you can take to the bank if you reverse them:

Houston/East Carolina Under 68
UAB/Southern Mississippi Under 63
Texas Tech/Texas Under 68

Best of luck this week.

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.