Football! This Weekend's Best Bets
So I said last weekend that we were in the midst of one of the most dominant, and in turn most predictable streaks in college football. The top ten teams each week were crushing the books to the tune of covering the number about 80 percent of their games. Two weeks ago, the top ten was coming off of a 7-1-1 performance last Saturday.
Of course, much like Tony Soprano lamented in the very first episode of the legendary HBO program, I got in too late for that. By the time I started riding the favorites like Zorro this past weekend, they were down to 6-4 against the number, two more undefeated teams went down outright and POOF! -- a 2-4 week for me.
Story of my life. Let's see if we can do better this week.
RUTGERS +7 over West Virginia The big news this past week was that West Virginia was unofficially announced as the new tenth team in the Big 12, replacing the "we think will soon be departed" Missouri. And then, out of nowhere, West Virginia got a "we may want to just be friends" message from the Big 12 this week, saying that Big 12 expansion plans had been put on hold. Basically, if realignment were Facebook, West Virginia's status went from "In a relationship with the Big East" to "In a relationship with the Big 12" to "It's complicated" within a matter of 24 hours, a new realignment Facebook record. (Funny related story that broke last night, the SEC was so sure that Missouri is coming to the SEC that they had a page on their Web site welcoming the Tigers to the conference. It has since been removed. Conference realignment, ladies and gentlemen!) Anyway, much like the aforementioned Tony Soprano in the final episode of the series, Rutgers is one of the last few soldiers of the Big East standing. North Jersey pride kicks in. West Virginia gets Leotardoed this weekend.
South Carolina/TENNESSEE under 44 I have a new rule -- it's called the "Any time one team has a starting quarterback who couldn't beat out the guy who had five alcohol-related suspensions for the job in the preseason and the other team has a Simms brother starting, take the under." That rule applies here.
OKLAHOMA STATE -14 over Baylor This year, within the upper realm of the aforementioned dominant top ten teams, Wisconsin had held the title of "can score whenever they want, on anyone, at any time, and will cover the spread for you." Wisconsin had been an automatic. Well, that went up in Hail Mary smoke on Saturday. So the new world title holder of the SWF (Sean Wagering Federation) title for "automatic offense and automatic cover" is the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Don't screw it up , Gundy!
TEXANS -9 1/2 over Jaguars I wrote about this earlier in the week, but it bears repeating -- there is a decent chance the Texans could be favored in every game the rest of the way (absolute worst case, they're small, small dogs in Tampa and Cincy). The Monday night debacle between the Ravens and Jags has some national experts warning everyone that the Jags defense could be problematic for the Texans. Yeah, maybe. But I think the Texans at home probably need to get to 20 points and they will cover in this game. Blaine Gabbert is not someone you want to be this Sunday.
TITANS -8 1/2 over Colts All season long, the Colts had been doing the absolute worst thing they could do in Peyton Manning's absence -- TRYING. Without Manning, the football world is ready to give the organization a pass in 2011, so why not tank it horrifically and get the first pick in the draft, secure their future for another 15 years with Andrew Luck? Fortunately, even effort wasn't enough to thwart an 0-6 start, and by this past Sunday clearly they'd gotten my message -- "Stop playing so many close games! You may accidentally win one and that's no good!" So on Sunday night, operation Luck Tank went into overdrive -- Saints 62, Colts 7. We're gonna keep riding this.
Lions -3 over BRONCOS Tim Tebow probably deserves his own post at some point. Never has a guy with so little NFL skill had such unconditional love. This line is clearly awash in the myopia generated in the last five minutes of the Dolphins game (an improbable 15-point comeback that Tebow had much less to do with than the Chris Bermans of the world want to admit) and has very little of the first 55 minutes (a period in which Tebow barely looked like a high school quarterback) woven in. Tim, meet Ndamukong Suh. Suh, meet Tebow. Boom.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Yahoo! Sports Radio and 1560 The Game weekdays noon to 3 p.m., and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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