Each week in this space, I plan to give you, the faithful HoustonPress.com news blog reader, six picks against the spread for the upcoming football weekend.
I would encourage you to read them even if you don't plan to wager since they serve the dual purpose of conveying football predictions as well as force-feeding you references to Breaking Bad, Star Wars and adult film stars. However, perhaps there are some of you who would like to have some action out there, but aren't up for the game to game grind of weekly wagering.
You want a long-term investment, a way to enjoy the thrill of gambling while still getting analogies comparing Nick Saban to a combination of Walter White, Darth Vader and Peter North?
Well, my friend, may I interest you in the magic of the Season Win Total Bet?
Oh, I can? Well, super!
Season win total bets are fun. I always make the comparisons that the game to game bets against the spread (or on the over/under) are like day trading. Season win total bets are more like mutual funds, where you have a longer arc from beginning to end. So with that in mind, here are five in college football that I intend to wager some magic beans on this coming season....
TCU OVER 8 (+140) Home: Samford, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State Away: SMU, Baylor, West Virginia, Kansas, Texas TCU looked like it might be legit last season, giving LSU a pretty nice tussle in the opener, but ended up losing seven of its last 10 to finish 4-8 on the season. Indeed, it's been a rough two season welcome to the Big 12 for the Horned Frogs. (By the way, if you're looking for one way to invalidate argument by a non-Power Five conference school that they deserve to be in the playoff conversation when they're undefeated, look at how schools like Utah and TCU have done now that they have to step up in competition for six or seven games instead of just one or two. There's a difference.) Well, this season will be about revamping the offense, as Gary Patterson has brought in Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meachem to co-coordinate the offense, which could feature A&M transfer Matt Joeckel at quarterback. I like the fact that we are protected against eight wins being a losing bet and the +140 value on 9-3 being a winner.
KANSAS UNDER 3 (+100) Home: SE Missouri State, Central Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, TCU Away: Duke, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State I realize I'm essentially betting on a major college team to go 2-10 in order to win money, but a report by Bruce Feldman this week indicated that Kansas head coach Charlie Weis has been falling asleep in team meetings recently. Allow me to repeat that -- THE HEAD COACH IS FALLING ASLEEP IN TEAM MEETINGS. Um, so yeah, I'll take the UNDER, please.
MISSOURI OVER 7.5 (-130) Home: South Dakota State, UCF, Indiana, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas Away: Toledo, South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M, Tennessee In Maty Mauk we trust! Also, wow, that home schedule is terrible. The only game that is scary at home (sorry UCF, no Bortles, no respect) is Georgia. Toledo, Florida, Tennessee are all very manageable road games. Missouri would have to be all the way reverted to 2012 Missouri to slip below eight wins against this schedule. I don't think they have.
AUBURN UNDER 9 (-120) Home: Arkansas, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Samford Away: Kansas State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama Whatever you think of Missouri's schedule, go ahead and think the exact opposite about Auburn's. Holy Chizik!! They would need to go 10-2 in order for you to win your bet, and that against a five game road schedule that has a top-20 Kansas State team, both Mississippi schools (in a year where they might have their highest combined respect in over a decade), 12th ranked Georgia, and Alabama. Add in home games with LSU and South Carolina, and YIKES!
WISCONSIN OVER 9.5 (-150) Home: Western Illinois, Bowling Green, USF, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Minnesota Away: Northwestern, Rutgers, Purdue, Iowa Neutral: LSU Wisconsin plays the LSU Tigers in their opener, right here...IN HOUSTON, TEXAS! (Cue the Mick Foley cheap pop!) That's a huge game for not only Wisconsin, but for the Big Ten. A win over LSU would give the conference a third team that can potentially hang in the playoff mix with Ohio State and Michigan State (who has a pivotal inter conference math cup of their own with Oregon next week). Either way, Wisconsin will be favored in every single one of their games after LSU until they travel to Iowa at the end of the year. This is a pound-able schedule.
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