Before we get to this week's best bets (or, as they're back to being called after last week's 2-3-1 week, this week's "best bets to fade Sean"), a moment of silence for Blockbuster Video's retail store.
DISH Corporation, the owner of the Blockbuster brand, announced that it's shutting down its remaining 300 retail stores and its through-the-mail DVD service. The latter service I can't speak to as I've never used it, but the former's locations' closing down is a little depressing.
Like many fortysomethings, I grew up in the age of "renting VHS tapes," so Blockbuster was a big part of my social life and entertainment during my teenage years. Back in the day, if you were bored? Well, go to Blockbuster and get some movies! Snowed in? Risk life and limb driving to Blockbuster to get some movies! About the only bad thing I could say about Blockbuster is that they didn't have the curtained-off separate room with the "adult features" that the mom-and-pop video stores had. Trying to quickly peek into that room to see the smut on the box covers of the tapes was a staple of the early stages of puberty back in the day.
Eventually, Blockbuster expanded to include video games and DVDs, but as the years went by, each store became more and more of a skeleton operation, and toward the end going to a Blockbuster was like visiting an aging, sick relative.
You knew the end was near.
So good-bye, Blockbuster. I will miss your microwave popcorn, theater-size boxes of candy and stringent adherence to rewinding rules.
Now, DISH execs, if you need some money to pay Blockbuster severance packages, here are some bets for which you can take the opposite side...
Auburn -7 1/2 over TENNESSEE Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is in the midst of not only overseeing one of the great turnarounds in the history of college football (Auburn was 3-9 last season, and are now 8-1 and ranked ninth in the nation), but he's also in the process of exposing one of the biggest frauds in college football history, that being any success that Gene Chizik experienced in his time as head coach at Auburn. Because the fact of the matter is, without Malzahn as his offensive coordinator, Chizik was anywhere from below average to awful as a head coach. As for this game, I think it boils down this simply -- Auburn has the best rushing attack in the SEC (6th in the nation), Tennessee has the worst rushing defense in the SEC. The end.
TEXAS A&M -19 1/2 over Mississippi State After the Alabama game earlier this year, a wise writer for this website said these words:
With the Aggie defense as inconsistent and unreliable as it is right now, it's a virtual certainty Kevin Sumlin's squad will find themselves in a couple "whoever has the ball last" shootouts against one or two (or more) of these underdogs, which is a dangerous way to live as a favorite.
(For the record, I'd pencil in back to back weeks in mid-October as the likeliest shootout candidates with a trip to suddenly-for-real Ole Miss and a visit from suddenly-rejuvenated-by-Gus Malzahn Auburn in back-to-back weeks.)
Oh, that's right, it was me who said that! Well, I bring that up for two reasons: first, it's because I'm insecure with low self esteem, and second, to point out that Mississippi State is neither Ole Miss nor Auburn. Not even close. This is the kind of game where Kevin Sumlin and Johnny Manziel hang a number on the other team. UTAH +7 over Arizona State This game qualifies under my pal Wooly B's rule that you bet against a team when they're ranked between 21 and 25 in the country and they're a favorite on the road. I have no idea the rationale behind that rule, I just know that it hits roughly 150 percent of the time (thereabouts). Fundamentally, Utah has been a solid home team this season, including a straight-up win over Stanford as a touchdown dog a few weeks ago. On top of that, ASU athletics director Steve Patterson announced this week he's taking the Texas AD job, so I'm assuming Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham has spent most of the week surfing real estate websites in Austin.
SAINTS -6 1/2 over Cowboys Last week, I gave out the Ravens over the Browns in part because there is a trend whereby teams heading into their bye week were only covering the spread at a 10-26 ATS clip. So I gave out the Ravens as a best bet, and faded all four of this week's bye teams (Kansas City, Cleveland, New England, New York Jets) myself last week as small plays. So naturally, as 2013 has gone this season, all four of those teams not only covered the spread but won straight up. Just a HUGE wagering middle finger aimed directly at me. So naturally, we are going to jump back on the "fade teams head into bye week" train, hoping the trend resets itself. So suck it, Cowboys! (Also, I really like this one because the Saints at home in prime time are mucho primo good.)
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COLTS -9 1/2 over Rams ...and while we're at it, suck it, Rams! They're other team with a Week 11 bye.
BUCCANEERS +2 1/2 over Dolphins Make no mistake, the only appropriate way for the week to end for this train wreck of a Dolphins team is to be the first squad to do the J-O-B for the Bucs this season. This has to happen.
Last week: 2-3-1 Season record: 21-38-1
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 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.