This Weekend's Best Bets: Fire Pelini (No, Not That One, THAT ONE) Edition
One of the very underrated advancements in wagering over the last few years is that we now have the ability to bet on several sports-related propositions off the field of play.
For example, in the corner of the Internet that I frequent for my odds and occasional risk of a sawbuck or two, you can bet on Nebraska firing Bo Pelini before the end of the calendar year (YES and NO are both -120, by the way).
How great is that? Betting on employment! Say what you will about Pelini -- he's a whack job, he's a nut, he has anger issues -- but that's how you know you're relevant, when people are betting on whether or not you'll keep your job.
Incidentally, I wonder what kind of odds you would have gotten on Bo's brother Carl getting fired before Bo. And for smoking weed, of all things! I'm guessing Carl Pelini's 5-15 career record didn't help sway the guillotine of unemployment in his favor either. I may have to give him my Bear Bryant vote as a consolation prize.
(Incidentally, if you want to hear some phenomenal thoughts on Pelini and about a dozen other topics, here's the interview John Granato and I did with former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy on Wednesday. You should really listen.)
Now on to the bets!
Ohio State -32 over PURDUE Every season, we arrive at a weekend where it makes sense to start backing teams that need style points in the BCS when they are road favorites over crappy teams with no real home-field advantage. Well, this is that weekend, and Ohio State (undefeated but still fourth in the BCS rankings) is that team.
NOTRE DAME -15 over Navy Notre Dame started the season a little slow, but after last week's 45-10 win over Air Force, I think they may be hitting their stride. They've covered their last three games, and more important, the calendar flips over to November this weekend. November means turkey, big pilgrim hats and Brian Kelly gettin' wins. Kelly is 10-1 in November as head coach at Notre Dame. He's going for his third straight win over Navy, which may not sound like a big deal, but during the middle part of the decade, Navy's football team ran through Notre Dame like the actual Navy would run through Trinidad and Tobago.
Georgia -3 over Florida (at Jacksonville) For only the second time since 1980, these two teams meet in a game where both are unranked. I know Georgia is missing all sorts of skill guys, but I'll take the veteran quarterback. Chargers/REDSKINS OVER 51 Two of the worst defensive teams in football, one of them traveling cross country for an early body clock time start? Two quarterbacks who will sling it around, and even mix in the occasional soul-crushing turnover? Yes, please.
Ravens -2 1/2 over BROWNS Okay, here's a little stat for you -- in the last 36 times that a team has been playing before its bye week against a team that WASN'T going into a bye week, the "going into a bye week" team is 10-26 ATS. I guess the thinking behind that is, well, think of your focus level on the Friday before going on a week-long vacation. Pretty unfocused, right? Well, by the letter of the NFLPA law, players must get at least four days off during the bye week, which may as well be a two-week vacation during an NFL season. Of the games that fit this bill this week, I'm most ready to take the Ravens, who are coming off of a bye and playing Cleveland, who is ready to live down to their 5-11 expectations.
SEAHAWKS -15 1/2 over Buccaneers Paul Bessire runs a Web site called PredictionMachine.com, and among many statistical endeavors the site tracks, one of the most popular is the projected odds of each NFL team making the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl. As of Thursday night, the Seahawks were the prohibitive favorite among NFC teams to win the Super Bowl, winning in 24.4 percent of Bessire's 50,000 simulations. (Next best in the NFC? Division mate San Francisco at 9.3 percent.) Tampa Bay is 0-7 this season. Their percentage chance of making the playoffs, forget winning the Super Bowl? Zero. Zilch. A straight-up Blutarski. ZERO, POINT, ZERO. The Seahawks by 40.
Last week: 4-2 Season record: 19-35
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.