“Talent is God given, be grateful. Fame is not a given, be humble.” – Lil Wayne
College football is no doubt the greatest regular season sport in the world. Now that we’ve hit the halfway point, we have enough data to form fairly sound opinions. But when you’ve handicapped this sport as long as I have, there’s something you learn to keep in mind:
Account for chaos.
Zig when others are zagging and zag when everyone starts to zig. But don’t forget to zip. For the love of God, never forget to zip.
Recency bias is a strong and enticing vixen, luring you in with her siren song. Many a bettor has fallen into her trap, only to be stripped of their cash stacks. Who is hot and who is not? Who are the contenders, and who are the pretenders? This is the part of the season that separates the sharps from the squares. We’re 35-28 ATS on the season which equates to 55.56%. The goal every season is to finish above 55 percent. 55 percent can get you rich. So lets stay hot. Lets be sharps.
Here’s your cash bag picks of the week, moving in chronological order as always:
Florida -7 @ Vanderbilt
I’m breaking a lot of my own rules on this one. But Arnold Schwarzenegger told us in his ‘6 Rules of Success’ to break some rules, and I haven’t forgotten that advice. Typically, I would fade a team that’s 5-1 ATS. Florida is the public side in this one, and honestly I’m with the public cause this line doesn’t make any sense. If this is some kind of trap, I’m definitely falling for it.
Vandy Candy is starting to live up to their name, and their moral victory in South Bend has not been followed up with success. The Commodores are converting a paltry 39% of their 3rd downs attempts when 0-3 yards away from the first down marker. That stat doesn’t bode well for a team that has to go against a Florida defensive line that contains legit NFL prospects. The Gators excel in stopping the pass, and Schumer is about the only thing Vandy has going for them offensively. If the pass is taken away, I don’t see how their able to keep this within a touchdown.
Tennessee +15 @ Auburn
In early April, 1862, Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee had penetrated deep into southern territory, and made camp near a small Methodist Church called ‘Shiloh’. Grant, always focused on the offensive, didn’t put much stock into the possibility of a Confederate attack. His right hand man, William Tecumseh Sherman, had similar feelings. However, one of Sherman’s officers, the colonel of the 53rd Ohio, had a much different disposition. Plagued with paranoia, the colonel repetitively sounded the alarm that the rebels were amassed in the woods surrounding him, poised to attack. After the colonel cried wolf a few too many times, Sherman stopped paying attention to his alarming messages.
Then, on the morning of April 6th, Albert Sidney Johnston hurled his forces at Grant’s Army, telling his Confederate staff, “Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River.” The 53rd Ohio was among the regiments that took the brunt of the initial blow, and sent word to Sherman that, “the rebs are out here thicker than fleas on a dog’s back.” Sherman responded, “You must be badly scared over there.” However, he saw for himself the dire situation the regiment was in while riding with an orderly to the place the men were desperately attempting to repulse the Confederate hordes. When Sherman’s orderly fell dead beside him, he was at last convinced that they were under attack.
At this point I feel like the colonel of the 53rd Ohio. I’ve called for the Vol’s to pull off numerous upsets and it just hasn’t happened. But just like the rebel attack, one of these days the Vols are going to pull off one of these 10+ point underdog, outright wins. Auburn is a getable game. I called for Tennessee to get this one back in the summer and I’m sticking to it. Sprinkle that +480 moneyline if you got any balls.
Georgia @ LSU +7.5
As someone that wanted to bet LSU here, I couldn’t be happier they dropped that game to Florida. Obviously the value wouldn’t be as good if both teams were still undefeated, and LSU is no longer playing with the pressure of being unbeaten. LSU at home is a tough place to play. They’ve done all their hard work on the road to this point and now they finally get their shot at a big game in Baton Rouge.
UGA will trip up this year. Its not a matter of if, its a matter of when. Sure they’re talented, but they aren’t last year’s veteran team. They have real issues rushing the passer and stopping the run. Chemistry problems could also come into play, they have a 5 star qb riding the bench that I’m sure was made playing time promises.
The Bulldogs are due for some bad luck. They have given up zero points off of turnovers this season, and if you watched their game against Tennessee, you saw literally every ball they fumbled bounce their way. I’m looking for some type of turnover or special teams play to bite them in the ass. Karma is undefeated.
UCF -4.5 @ Memphis
With the strength the American Athletic Conference has shown, it might be time to start saying ‘Power 6’…
Here’s another line that looks straight up rotten. UCF is getting all the public action and yet the line has moved down from -5 to -4.5. Sharp money must be coming in on Memphis, and I was fully prepared to back the Tigers as well. Memphis is a tough place to play. Just ask Peyton Manning and Josh Rosen. However, I started looking into the history of this series and I hadn’t realized that UCF has straight up dominated Memphis, winning 11 in a row against them. Sometimes a team just owns another team and I’m thinking that’s the situation here. ‘The People’s National Champion’ extends their winning streak to 19 games.
Washington @ Oregon +3.5
This line opened at 3, and I’m glad it moved toward Oregon cause I was taking them regardless. The Ducks are a reemerging power. You can’t keep a team with such swiggy swag uni’s down for long, am I right? Oregon had a perfect opportunity to make a statement when they had Stanford on the ropes, and then they completely folded. Here they have an even larger opportunity and I think they take full advantage of this one. Justin Herbert is an uber talented quarterback and will most likely be the first qb selected in the upcoming NFL draft.
Washington to me is not the team a lot of people were expecting. They are good, but they don’t seem like they’ve taken any major steps forward since last year. If anything, they look like they’ve perhaps taken a tiny step back. I’ve seen enough from Jake Browning to know he’s not going to win you any close games in a big time spot.
Miami @ Virginia +6.5
Yeah you read that pick right. Give me the Cavaliers getting just under a touchdown against your mighty hurricanes. To be honest, I don’t even have a very compelling reason that I’m taking this. Sometimes you just look at a line and have a gut feeling about what you want to do. There’s no doubt the squares are going to jump all over the Canes. So if you want to be a square, go ahead, hop on board, I’m not stopping you. But if you want to go against the grain, and there are handicappers that make a living going against the grain, this is the kind of play you make.
Ole Miss -6.5 @ Arkansas
This matchup could prove to be a nightmare scenario for the Razorbacks. The Ole Miss passing attack is deadly. They lead the SEC and are 5th nationally, with an average of 347.5 passing yards a game. Arkansas’s pass defense ranks 12th in the SEC, and their overall defense ranks 13th. AJ Brown might catch 4 touchdown passes alone. On the bright side for the Razorbacks, Ole Miss’s defense ranks dead last in the league. However, that may be tough to exploit considering Arkansas’s offense also ranks dead last in the SEC.
Wisconsin +8.5 @ Michigan
From a gambling perspective, I absolutely love when a good team takes a bad loss. It really opens the door for some juicy lines the following weeks. Wisconsin’s 24-21 loss to BYU is about as bad as it gets considering BYU is downright dreadful. That loss through everyone of the scent. The public has a hard time recognizing that sometimes teams just have bad days, these are only college kids after all. Don’t get me wrong, I like what Michigan is doing, I can see them as a TD favorite, but the 8.5 seems unwarranted.
I respect the hell out of Bucky Badger. This team still has a dominate offensive line, and a gritty defense. And when was the last time Michigan poured it on a quality opponent? Beating up on 0-5 Nebraska is one thing, but this is another.
Colorado @ USC -7
This is a tale of two seasons. Colorado has completely defied expectations. Their over/under win total was set at 4.5, and if you bet that over, you’ve already cashed that ticket. The Buffs are sitting at 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS. USC on the other hand is 1-4 ATS. They’ve not played close to the level they’re capable of.
At the end of the day, you are what you are. Sure, underdog stories are great, and they happen every year. But most of the time the underdog gets served a hot steaming plate of reality. The run Colorado is on is not meant to last and despite their record, USC’s roster is stock full of talent. Helton’s teams have tended to improve as the season goes along, and USC is coming off a bye week where they’ve had the chance to correct a few things. I like USC to put Colorado back in their place Saturday night.
Teaser 1: Florida -1, Tennessee +21, LSU +13.5
Teaser 2: Oregon +9.5, Wisconsin +14.5, USC -1