A-Rob’s Bowl Betting Extravaganza

The Gambling Gods are very real. 

I’m not sure where you stand on deities, the spirit realm, and the like, but if you’ve wagered on sports for long enough, its hard to deny the existence of the Gambling Gods. I should have known last week was coming. Maybe you can’t just have an undefeated week without backlash, and boy was it brutal. How in the hell can anyone explain a 5-0 followed up by an 0-4 in subsequent weeks? 

Two years ago I went 5-1 on a 6 leg parlay during NFL wildcard weekend and the national championship (Damn you and your boat trip OBJ). The next week in the divisional round I went 4-1 on a 5 leg parlay…  

This type of shit happens when you do this. Perhaps I deserve what happened for betting on Charlie Strong. You can’t get too high, and you can’t get too low. Luckily we built up a cushion for last week’s debacle, and we’re up 5-4 so far this bowl season. We’re still on a 10-5 run, and sitting at 83-63-4 on the season, which puts us at 56.85% clip, and honestly, you can’t get too down on yourself when you’re hitting over 55%. Whatever comes on top of that is gravy. But dammit I like gravy. Brown and white. 

“Magic occurs in these pages”

A couple summers ago I vacationed with my wife and family on 30A in Seagrove, Florida. Being the knowledge hungry, scholarly man that I am, I would spend my mornings reading a book on the beach. One morning I started reading a book titled, ‘Coyote America’ by Dan Flores (if you are interested in wildlife, I can’t recommend the book enough. Coyotes have always fascinated me, particular how they’ve managed to spread to every nook and cranny of the mainland despite our efforts to stop them from doing so. Love or hate them, they’re truly a unique and impressive American species).

Printed on the back cover of the book, a reviewer wrote that while reading, a coyote had walked through his backyard and ‘magic occurs in these pages’. 

That night, my wife and I decided to walk to the bungalows across the street from our condo. We had spent our honeymoon the previous year in one of them and wanted to walk around that little community for old times sake. In the back, there was a pond surrounded by some woods. With that backdrop positioned behind us, we leaned over the railing enclosing the pool area and talked. Suddenly, we heard something making noise behind us. We wheeled around and saw what looked like a dog moving toward us (it was pretty dark out). After about a second it reached a few feet in front of us, and we realized it was no dog. It was effing coyote. My wife gasped and then about all together freaked out. The coyote then ducked under a bungalow and started making a whimpering sound. I just stood there. Mouth agape. Until my wife begged me to go to the car with her. 

I’m certain there’s such thing as magic in written word. 

Success = hard work + luck.

You have to be a little lucky, but I have found that the harder I work, the luckier I get. This week I’m doing my best to invoke our own magic. Its tough, cause you can’t guarantee it. Magic happens when it pleases, but it doesn’t hurt to open the door and invite it in. 

There’s an old adage for bowl season that says take dogs early and chalk late. So far mostly chalk is hitting. Could this mean we’re in for a year of Mr. Chalky Chalkerson?…

2018 is the Chinese year of the Dog. The 2018 NFL playoffs was damn good to dog bettors. Now here we are with the CFP playoff falling on December 29th, with two teams laying some big ass numbers. 2018 ain’t over yet..  

Interesting Stat: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Over the last 100 years, the three teams with the most wins in college football are: 1. Alabama (806) 2. Oklahoma (777) and 3. Notre Dame (768). 

Auburn -3 vs Purdue (Music City)

I realize the first game I’m picking doesn’t start until Friday, but I looked hard at the Wednesday/Thursday lineup and those games are straight up crapshoots. Obviously I’ll find myself betting on them cause I can’t help my damn self, but I’m not putting my reputation on the line for those. 

Purdue is becoming a bit of a darling pick in this game. I can see how its easy to fall into that mindset, I love Jeff Brohm myself. Considering what he did at WKU and what he’s been able to do with the pieces he has at Purdue, the guy could very well be a superstar in the making. He’s faired well in bowl games as a head coach as well (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS). But this isn’t the Foster Farms Bowl against Rich Rodriguez that was too busy juggling his side piece and main piece on Saturdays opposed to focusing on winning games. This is the SEC, and Auburn’s talent level is a rather large step up for the Boilermakers. 

In fact, I’m not sure Auburn would have even taken the time to recruit anyone on Purdue’s roster aside from Mondale Moore. I realize what Purdue was able to do against Ohio State and their talent, but unlike the Buckeyes this year, Auburn actually attempts to play good defense. Their front seven is freaking massive and their opponents are only averaging 19.6 points a game. Not to mention, Purdue’s not had the best season since they were able to beat Ohio State. Hilariously, at 6-6, they wouldn’t even be bowl eligible if it wasn’t for that game. They lost to a bad Wisconsin team and got boat raced by the goofy ‘row the boat’ guy at Minnesota. 

As far as a motivation factor, Stidham and Malzahn both need to end this season on a high note. Stidham needs to pick it up if he wants a serious shot at a good draft pick and if you think the Gus Bus is coming under pressure now, imagine the offseason for him if they lose this one. 

Iowa State vs Washington State -2.5 (Alamo)

I don’t know what it is about the Alamo Bowl, but it has produced some absolute CLASSICS in recent years. Both these teams are more than capable of holding up their end of the bargain to give us another beauty. 

Like most college football fans, I love and appreciate Mike Leach. But doesn’t it feel like Leach’s teams peak around midseason before falling apart down the stretch? The stats to back that up are pretty staggering.

Here are his team’s results while coaching in bowl games:

At Washington State, he’s 1-3 ATS. In his last eight as a head coach, his teams are 1-7 ATS. His team has been favored a total of eleven times and they are 3-8 ATS, including six losses straight up. In fact, he’s only had one win straight up in his last five appearances and that was against Miami (2015) in the midst of their coaching change. 

Despite all that, I’m still rolling with the Cougars and that’s mainly for one reason: The Stache Attack. Garner Minshew and Washington State have taken care of bettors all season, going 10-2 ATS. I’m honestly salty we didn’t jump on them earlier than we did. This team got left out of the top 10 behind four 3-loss teams, and you know that has to fire them up. I think they had a rough draw with the snowy weather they got against Washington, their offense thrives on their ability to throw the football. Not to make excuses for them, but if it wasn’t for that, this very well could have been a one loss Rose Bowl team. 

Iowa State has been hot in their own right this year. They’ve won 7 of their last 8, with the only loss being to Texas in Austin. Their young quarterback has played well, and Matt Campbell is a fine young coach. But this is a potential statement game for Mike Leach’s career, as well as the Washington State program as a whole, and I expect his team to respond.

Florida +6 vs Michigan (Peach)

When this is all said and done, there’s a high propability I’ll hate myself for taking Felipe ‘Pool Boy’ Franks against this Michigan secondary. 

But honestly, after watching the Ohio State game, how good is Michigan’s secondary really? And beyond that, how good is Michigan??

I wish I had grabbed Florida when they were at 7.5… Despite what Gary Danielson thinks, momentum is a big deal in sports, especially college football. There’s a few reasons I like the Gators, and the revenge factor is one of them. I don’t know if the powers that be are trying to manufacture a rivalry between these two schools, but they seem hellbent to pit them against one another. This will be the third season in a row they face off, and in the last two meetings Michigan whipped up on UF. However, one thing Florida has going for them this time around is a competent head coach instead of one that spends his offseason humping sharks.

Arguably Michigan’s two best players, Rahsaan Gary and Karan Higdon, are sitting this one out. Those are two huge components for them on offense and defense. If you spent any time watching Florida this year, you noticed how athletic that defensive front is. If the run game is less of a threat, they’ll be able to pin their ears back and get after Shea Patterson.

Clemson vs Notre Dame +12.5 (Cotton)

Something to consider: Have we been overlooking Notre Dame? They have the “nobody is talking about us / nobody believes in us” edge going into this game, and I think that could bode well for them. 

It feels like a long time ago, but early last season they lost an extremely close game to UGA, who went on to lose the national championship in OT… And back then they were still rolling with a quarterback that couldn’t quite get them over the hump in Brandon Wimbush. Now, the Fighting Irish have the two most important pieces for winning it all:

A quarterback and a defense. 

Ian Book no doubt has elevated his team from good to great, as we’ve seen stellar quarterback play can do. Since stepping in as the starter, his completion percentage is 70.4 (5th best in the FBS) and he has the 8th best passing efficiency in the nation. On defense they have three players (Julian Love, Jerry Tillery, and Te’von Coney) that received AP All-American honors. That unit also boasts the 10th best scoring defense, giving up an average of 17.3 points a game. Something else to keep in mind is Notre Dame is about to come into this playoff fresher than anybody after benefiting from the completely unfair advantage of not having to play in a conference championship game. 

Now there is no doubt that Clemson is an absolute wrecking machine, but the more I look at it, I would not be shocked if this game ended up being close. Notre Dame isn’t the only one in this matchup that benefited from a relatively weak schedule, Clemson has not been tested much in that soft ACC, and they do have a true freshman quarterback, albeit a very good one, at the helm. If you look at the game they played against Texas A&M, the contest was a couple breaks away from going the other direction. And though the Aggies have a great run defense, their pass defense struggles, and Notre Dame has a much more complete unit. 

Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence failed a drug test (for a performance enhancer of some sort), that will most likely keep him out of this game. I realize that there’s plenty of other talented defensive lineman on that front that are dirty nasty, but its the little things like this that can factor into the game being a little closer. You’ve got to love how three of Clemson’s players test positive with this in their system and Dabo acts like he has no idea how the hell that happened. Clemson’s definitely on Bama’s supplement regiment, if you know what I mean. 

Alabama vs Oklahoma +14 (Orange)

In the Sugar Bowl three years ago, these two faced off, and the line was Bama -16.5, and you could even get -17 in some places. Oklahoma won that game outright, 45-31. In fact, out of the 5 times the two programs have faced each other, Bama has only won once.   

According to reports, Kyler Murray missed a media day due to feeling a little under the weather. Last year, during the week leading up to a CFP matchup with another SEC team, a Oklahoma Heisman quarterback mysteriously fell ill. This can mean only one thing…

Greg Sankey and his network of dubious henchman are dabbling in biological warfare. 

If I’m Oklahoma, I’m more concerned with the status of Marquise Brown than an illness Murray will play through. He suffered a lower leg injury, and if he plays, he’s the type of player that can expose some of the weak cornerback play of Alabama. But even without him, CeeDee Lamb is a nice weapon for Murray to throw to. 

Honestly, I understand how good Alabama is, but I don’t get this line at all. The second it came out, I bet that shit. Two touchdowns? Wtf is that. I could see a 7.5, 8, or even 10, but what am I missing? Think about how UGA had Bama on the ropes for two straight years. Oklahoma probably should have won that Rose Bowl last season, and this year’s Oklahoma team might be even better! Offensively that is. But who are we kidding with the defense? Obviously they aren’t world beaters, but they aren’t even designed to be. And they tend to get a big stop or turnover when the game is on the line, and they do enough to not lose them games. 

Historically, not only has Oklahoma given the Bammers problems (which they’re so arrogant, you know it sticks in their craw), but running quarterbacks have given them fits in the past. And you know what? Kyler might be the best damn dual threat quarterback I’ve seen play since Mike Vick. I’m not kidding. I’d certainly take him over Lamar Jackson or Deshaun Watson. I was half hoping that he’d lose the Heisman so he could go full on Vince Young circa 2006. 

Can we talk about Tua? Y’all do realize the guy had full blown surgery right after the SEC championship? He may be participating in practice, but the man said himself that he’s 80-85% healthy. You know what that means? He’s probably like 70 percent at best. Of course he’s going to make it sound better than it is. He’s been hobbling around all year on a tweaked knee, and now this is a totally separate issue. He may be fine, but he also very well may not be fine. And Jalen Hurts got to be the hero last game, but put him in a situation where he has to trade scores with Kyler Murray, and all I have to say is good freaking luck. 

My main play is on the spread, but I will be sprinkling the OU moneyline. 

LSU vs UCF +7.5 (Fiesta)

I have a few thoughts I want to get to on this one. 

Justin Fields is apparently considering UCF as a possible landing spot, which leads me to this… Is UCF about to start paying players?? Ain’t no way in hell Justin Fields is picking his next destination without a visit from the ‘bag man’, so the fact that he is considering them leads me to think maybe the Knights are more than serious about playing with the big boys. Apparently, they already think of themselves as one, considering they shot down the opportunity for a 2 for 1 with Florida. Personally, if I’m the UCF AD, I’m taking that series. If you want real respect, go into the Swamp and get you a dub. And honestly, the 2 for 1 is as good of an opportunity as they’re going to get. The major Power Fives aren’t going to give up any leverage, cause, frankly, if they don’t have to, then why should they? 

Is Darriel Mack Jr dirty sick? Can he throw the ball after all? The last game he went for 6 total TDs and 348 passing yards to boot. I’m starting to believe he can get the job done in this game. 

Something that I find hilarious is that Alabama fans are genuinely bothered by the fact that UCF is out here claiming nattys. They’re actually cheering hard that their rival LSU dispatches them. 

I’ve said all year that LSU doesn’t stand out to me anywhere in particular, statistically speaking. They’ve had a nice season, but they are certainly beatable. As far as motivation is concerned, you know the Knights will be absolutely foaming at the mouth pregame. Considering their public perception, this game means everything to them. 

ALL UCF DOES IS WIN. I WILL BE PUTTING SOME ON THIS MONEYLINE.

Kentucky +6.5 vs Penn State (Citrus)

I had to throw this one in for my homies across the border in KY. Mostly cause I feel bad that not only did my 5-7 Vols beat y’all in your best year in football since the 70s, but they’re also about to clean sweep y’all in hoops 😉

This game features the last rodeo for two legendary college players for their school in Benny Snell and Trace McSorely. And I think it will be a close one. Penn State clearly has the talent edge, but they’ve under performed all season. They’re still suffering from the Saquon Barkley hangover, and Kentucky is about to play their hearts out. Benny Snell no doubt was banged up in the waning weeks of the season. Its tough to carry the team on your back when the entire opposing defense is lined up in the box. It hasn’t helped him that he gets zero help from his passing game. The Wildcats rank an abysmal 115th in passing offense. However, with this being his last game and having a few weeks to nurse his bumps and bruises, you got to think he’s coming into this one with a ‘will not be denied’ attitude. 

The Cats will have to lean on their defense if they want to win, and they’re good enough to get the job done. They rank an impressive 8th in the nation in scoring defense. Josh Allen gets one last game to get some more tape for NFL scouts to look at, and perhaps secure a top 15 draft pick. 

Ohio State -6.5 vs Washington (Rose)

Speaking of swan songs, of course we’re betting on one of the NWO ring leaders, Urban Meyer in this game. 

My breakdown for this matchup is fairly simple:

This features a classic good vs good and bad vs bad. The Ohio State offense vs the Washington defense and Greg Schiano’s arm tackling defenders vs Jake Browning in a big out of conference game (classic fade spot). As talented as Washington’s secondary is, Ohio State is still going to manufacture some points, and I don’t care how bad the Buckeye’s defense has looked, Jake Browning isn’t going to be able to put enough on the scoreboard. 

Georgia vs Texas +13 (Sugar)

Remember my conference championship analysis, when I brought up Tom Herman’s ATS record as an underdog, and I said I did’t care, OU was going to cover that game? Well, I think this is where the trend comes back into play. For those of you that don’t recall, prior to the Big 12 Championship, Tom Herman was 13-2 ATS in his last 15 games coaching as an underdog. 

13-2.

As I mentioned earlier, when Bama played OU in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, they were 16.5 point chalk. They were coming off the Kick Six game, and that no doubt had somewhat of an emotional effect. 

UGA is coming off their second absolutely gut wrenching loss to Alabama. I mean the way they lost both those games were direct punches to the nuts. Unbelievably, I think this last lost might have even been more soul crushing than the first. Its tough to get up off the mat after something like that. 

The Bulldogs are more than capable of boat racing the Longhorns here. But as a gambler, one of the most important pieces to your handicap is examining the spot. When your that close to going and playing in a playoff game, and then come up short, playing in the Sugar Bowl becomes more of a letdown than something to get excited about. Texas on the other hand is in on the verge of returning to national prominence, and this game no doubt means a shit ton to them. I think the emotion of the game carries them enough to cover the number. 

Tasty Teasers

Gross Ewwe Tease: Florida +12, Notre Dame +18.5, Oklahoma +20

New Years Day Tease (also gross): Kentucky +12.5, Ohio State -0.5, Texas +19

Follow me on the Twittersphere: @AdamRobertson13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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