The first weekend of the betting season can be a little bit treacherous, with a bunch of college players and coaches we haven't seen, and for the sake of my format here, having to find six games I really, really like. This is my way of saying, I'm not devastated by going 3-3. I am resolute in righting the ship and getting paid. And OH LOOKIE HERE… NFL GAMES!
Yes, we have some NFL games to add into the mix this week, which means we are putting on the left blinker on the gambling degenerate superhighway and getting into the HOV lane. I would love for you to climb aboard! First, and I think I will start doing this each week, the "Best Bets BAD BEAT Warning Label" from the previous week…. watch as a late Marshall Pick 6 gets a backdoor cover on Herd -7.5 against Purdue this past Sunday afternoon:
The lesson here — gambling is awful, and awesome. You've been warned. Let's go…..
Rice +15.5 over TEXAS
Did you see Texas play Notre Dame this Saturday? I did. I watched and savored every last goddamn second of that game, even the very end when Texas' backup linebackers were taunting Notre Dame running backs while trailing by 35. That is, when they weren't delivering late hits out of bounds. (If those San Antonio high school players that popped the ref are looking for a home, maybe call Charlie Strong?) Now, after looking like an FCS program, Strong has shuffled his offensive staff around into some sort of play calling, token-title laden pretzel that makes Dunder Mifflin's org chart look logical. Whatever. Rice could win this game outright, Texas is that bad. I'll gladly take more than two scores.
Memphis -13.5 over Kansas
Make no mistake, Kansas is the worst Power Five conference football program (with apologies to Vanderbilt, Washington State, and two thirds of the Big Ten). They have just over 60 players on scholarship, lost at home to FCS South Dakota State in their opener, and worst of all, had Kansas State's marching band do this to them….
Gambling Rule #1: If a school's rival's marching band gets into a formation where they have said school's mascot is eating a large penis, always fade that school the following week (and every week). This line actually started at Memphis -9. Memphis is a decent football team, Kansas barely plays football.
BYU +3 over Boise State
People are going to get swept up in a couple things — 1) Boise State moved up three spots in the AP poll after beating Washington last Friday, but if you watched that game, you know that Boise looked like dog shit. They were not good. Also, 2) BYU lost their all-everything QB Taysom Hill in the Nebraska game with another season ending injury. Don't be fooled! Just because Boise is ranked and BYU is not doesn't mean Boise is better. Also, Tanner Mangum looked decent replacing Hill (including the game winning Hail Mary). finally, Provo at night is one really tough place to go play. Take the points.
Chiefs/TEXANS UNDER 41
I couldn't believe this number had a 4-handle in front of it when it came out. These should be two of the top six defenses in all of the NFL this season, and these are two offenses with historically shaky quarterbacks and some glaring deficiencies — the Chiefs reshuffled, youthful offensive line and the Texans' having to wait four weeks until they get Arian Foster back. I don;t think either offense is capable of sustaining long drives against the opponent. The only things that kill an UNDER here would be big plays on special teams or Smith/Hoyer spitting up the seed in their own territory multiple times (or God forbid, a pick six or two).
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Dolphins -3.5 over REDSKINS
I think the Dolphins will be this season's requisite "team everyone is talking about as a surprise team in mid-October". I've gone on the record saying that I think they will be 5-0 going into their game against the Texans. Here in Week 1, they get the totally dysfunctional pile of football shit that is the Washington Redskins. There aren't a ton of teams where I'd say the Dolphins have the "he feels presidential" edge in the head coaching department, but compared to Jay Gruden, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin feels like the love child of Ronald Reagan and JFK. Also, if you buy the half point down on the spread down to three points, you're getting the Dolphins by a field goal against Kirk Cousins. HAPPY DAY! This will be a spread we look back at in November and regret we didn't bet the mortgage.
Vikings -2.5 over 49ERS
I'm on the record thinking the Vikings will be one of the most improved teams in the NFL, and in thinking that the 49ers could be one of the bottom five dumpster fires in the league. By definition, don't I have to take the Vikings if it's under a field goal, regardless of venue? I believe I do.
Last Week's Record: 3-3
Season Record: 3-3
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.