In betting, there are weekends where you're looking to score big, where even finishing at or slightly above .500 feels like a slight disappointment, like a running back who left yards on the field.
Then there are weekends like last weekend.
Saturday was utter chaos, like the last 45 minutes of a Transformers movie combined with the Rahad Jackson scene from the climax of Boogie Nights (and yes, I just emitted a juvenile snicker typing the words "climax of Boogie Nights," sue me). Underdogs not only covering left and right, but outright winning some of these games to where, by the end of the weekend, five of the top eight teams in the AP went down, and somehow on Sunday morning, TCU and Arizona were in the top ten.
It was like a drug-induced haze, and by the time Connor Holliday was done putting up 734 yards passing in a loss to Cal, we had blacked out long ago, then on Sunday we woke up with a Horned Frog and a Wildcat on our beds.
Truth be told, it would've been less weird waking up with an actual horned frog and wildcat in our beds than seeing what we saw on Saturday in college football. And I feel fortunate. Why?
Because I finished 3-3. And that was one of those weeks where .500 feels like a win. We will take it.
And naturally, on a weekend like that, the most accurate predictor on the Gameday set was Katy Perry, who at one point had to ask if a game was the "one with the cocks in it." She is awesome....
Ok, this week's gambling pep talk goes to Derrick Moore, the chaplain for the Georgia Tech football team, who has me ready to run through a brick wall in the name of the backdoor cover and the six team parlay. This dude is a beast!
Seriously, this concerns me for Notre Dame when it comes to recruiting. No Catholic priest can compete with that when it comes to pregame prayer!! This is going to be a big issue moving forward, I can tell. All right, let's get to the picks...
LSU/FLORIDA UNDER 47 It's going to be a strange season in Baton Rouge, because I think it's undebatable that the Tigers are the worst team in the gauntlet that is the SEC West. There's no shame in that in 2014 -- however, don't tell that to the LSU faithful, who are ready to have Les Miles thrown into the Mississippi River. To wit, here was Les' explanation for not using a timeout at the end of the first half of the loss to Auburn....
See, when LSU is winning 10 or 11 games, answers like this are seen as quirky. When they're struggling for bowl eligibility, they're seen as fireable.
Anyway, as far as LSU and Florida go, the UNDER is 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these two schools in Gainesville and 13-5 over the last 18 matchups overall. And that's with teams that could actually, y'know, SCORE. These two teams are completely incompetent on offense. The only thing to be wary of is turnovers setting up the offenses with field position, but even then, you're looking at field goals not touchdowns. Fire on the UNDER.
ARKANSAS +10.5 over Alabama I don't know what was more fun, Alabama losing to Ole MIss in heartbreaking fashion, or the viral videos and audio that came out of it. Like this Ole Miss fan who took a chop to the throat for getting within ten feet of Nick Saban...
Or this Alabama fan who got what he deserved for throwing stuff on the field....
Or this audio of "Phyllis" on PauL Finebaum's show where she calls Colin Cowherd "Cow Turd" roughly 100 times in two minutes....
Now onto the more important matters....how about in one year Bret Bielema has gone from the least competent coach in America to "slightly more competent but with a bulldozer of an offensive line and a puncher's chance to beat the Crimson Tide"?? Alabama is the ultimate front-running bully. When it's going great against super inferior opponents, it's going great. But punch them in the mouth? It doesn't go as well for ol' Napoleon Saban. In their last nine games overall the Tide sits at 1-7-1 ATS, 1-4 ATS over its last five road contests. And they don't handle losing well the next week, as Bama is just 3-12 ATS over its last 15 games following a loss. Arkansas also has a week off under its belt so they're rested and they're at home. I am getting out my ridiculous rubber Razorback lid and taking the Hawgs!
UCLA +2.5 over Oregon We call this game the Houston Texan QB Scouting Bowl, Marcus Mariota versus Brett Hundley, in a game where they're both going to be running for their lives because their offensive lines are both horrific. The one thing I like about this game from a "ok, let's see if I want either of these guys as my QB" standpoint is that this is essentially an elimination game for both teams. Whoever loses is done for any chance at the College Football Playoff. That's pressure! I think Oregon is still a "uniform" play for a lot of bettors, and there's no reason they should be a road favorite against a decent team.
BAYLOR -8 over TCU How do you spell "covering machine"? B-A-Y-L-O-R. Take these numbers, for example -- the Bears are 22-4 ATS over their last 26 home games, 20-5-1 ATS over their last 26 games overall and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games against teams with a winning record. It's hard to find a metric the last couple years for Art Briles that doesn't have an ATS record of less than like .750. TCU is coming off an emotional home win over Oklahoma, and I have no data to back it up, but I'm going to guess when a team jumps 16 spots into the top 10 of the AP poll, there's a bit of a letdown the following week.
Chargers -7 over RAIDERS Here is my PSA to all NFL bettors out there. Before taking the Raiders in any game the rest of the season, you need to watch this video....
...and know that Tony Sparano is their head coach for the rest of the year. That's all i have to say about that.
TEXANS +3 over Colts Finally, our Houston Texans, tonight in prime time against the Indianapolis Colts. both teams are 3-2, so this is a battle for early season control of the AFC South, which after a season like 2013, we will take as far as "really important games" go. (Thankfull,y the Texans finally played in a few playoff games a couple years ago, so this can no longer, by definition, be the latest in a series of "MOST IMPORTANT GAMES IN TEXANS HISTORY!!!")
Here's what I like about tonight:
1. The Colts are banged up on the offensive line, missing both of their starting guards due to injury. This means that J.J. Watt will feast on a steady Golden Corral-sized diet of Trent Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw, and, yes, Andrew Luck (who has been hit more than any QB in the league the last couple years).
2. Home underdogs of a field goal the last three weeks in prime time games have been not only covering, but destroying -- the Cowboys manhandling the Saints two Sundays ago, the Chiefs woodshedding the Patriots the next night, and the Patriots molly-whopping the Bengals four days ago. The Texans are a three point home dog, hmmmm.......
3. The Texans have all of the esoteric mojo karmic stuff on their side. They need this game more than the Colts do, considering that a) it's a division game and, therefore, a two game swing and b) they've never, ever won a game in Indy. Moreover, they will be led out of the tunnel by David Quessenberry, who is with the team while he goes through lymphoma treatments here in Houston. Are you kidding me?? The place is gonna come unglued when he leads them on the field, hopefully helping them get off to a fast start.
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So let's do this.....
Texans 24, Colts 17
Last week: 3-3 Season total: 18-18