Normally, this is the portion of the Best Bets post where I complain (or, even on a rare occasion, brag) about how I did the week before.
But this week, no complaining and no bragging, and that's for two reasons.
First, I went 3-3 for a second week in a row, so I'm settling into that meaty part of the curve where there's nothing really compelling about how I'm picking games right now. I'm just kind of muddling along at .500 and hoping for the best. (Appropriate that I live in Houston, I suppose!)
Second, this gives me a chance to embed the video of Marcus Luttrell's pep talk to Alabama in this space. Luttrell, of course, is the Navy SEAL who was the subject of the movie Lone Survivor.
Guaranteed, you will feel like a total zero for ever complaining about anything after watching this video....
Seriously, thank God for Marcus Luttrell and people wired like him. That's incredible.
VIRGINIA +6 over Miami (FL) Last week, I had my biggest play of the year on the Florida State win over Miami, which went off at Florida State -2.5 (and I bought down to FSU -1). Now, I'm not going to lie and tell you that I wasn't sweating a little bit when Miami went up 16-0 and 23-7, but eventually Jameis Winston did what he does best --
somehow manage to stay eligible he won. Now, after power washing every fiber of my being (rooting for Winston is a dirty business), do you really think I'm not going to cash in on the inevitable Miami letdown as a road favorite against a spunky team seeking bowl eligibility? You think I'm not eating this dessert after last week's main course? If you do think that, then clearly we've never dined together. Miami is not a good road team (1-4 ATS in last five on the road) and the Cavs are pretty sporty at home lately (5-1-1 ATS in last seven at home). Let's eat!
BAYLOR -28 over Oklahoma State Tis the season of style points, and for a team like Baylor, who is ranked seventh and clearly at the bottom of the respect list of all the prominent one loss teams in the eyes of the playoff committee, to pound hapless four touchdown underdogs into "seven touchdown rout" oblivion. Oddly enough, I'm not sure its really going to help them too much; put it this way -- a 40 point win won't help them nearly as much as, say, a 10 point win will hurt them. The Bears have proven they can beat bad teams by 40. They need to beat a good team by 20. They won't get that chance until the final week against Kansas State. Until then, I'm expecting 60 points on Saturday.
UCLA -4 over USC As you all know, I'm already all in on UCLA as my playoff dark horse. None of the other ancillary rooting branches off of my UCLA title run tree matter, though, if the Bruins don't take care of business. Saturday they get their in town rivals in a great spot, with the Bruins coming off of a bye (4-0 ATS in their last four coming off a bye), and USC coming off a win last Thursday against Cal (Trojans are 1-4 ATS coming off their last five wins). For now, winning Saturday is all the Bruins can really do. The opportunities for the earth to really move in spots 1 through 8 in the rankings begins Thanksgiving night in Austin (UT vs TCU).
EAGLES -11 over Titans There's a little NFL gambling rule, which I know I've invoked in this space, whereby if a team loses by 28 or more one week, you back them the next week. Also, you fade the team that beat them the next week as well. OH THAT'S RIGHT...I invoked it last week with the Eagles against the Packers, who'd beaten the Bears like a drum the previous week! So not only did my Eagles pick lose, but the Packers went and beat them by more than 28 just like they did the Bears the week before. So now the Eagles are part of the "more than 28" rule for a second straight week. (And Aaron Rodgers is performing at such a high level, not only did he defy the rule, he went totally opposite on it.)
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SEAHAWKS -6.5 over Cardinals Crazy to look at the playoff standings in the NFC and see the two NFC Title Game participants from last season tied at 6-4 and on the outside looking in, in part because they haven't played all that well and in part because the AFC South has not yet been annexed into the Big Ten where it probably belongs. So Seattle is in a must win situation, at home, against a backup quarterback, albeit a backup on a 9-1 team. It's here where I mention that the Cardinals are 2-9 SU in their last 11 division road games, and the Seahawks are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 division home games.
SAINTS -3 over Ravens The Saints have screwed me royally a couple weeks in a row, two weeks ago at home against the Niners (losing at home 27-24 in OT, and messing up a six team parlay for me) and last week at home against the Bengals (a 27-10 blowout loss). Can the Saints lose three in a row at home? (ANSWER: Of course they can, Sean is taking them.)
Last week: 3-3 Season total: 33-39