For Entertainment Purposes Only- Previewing College Football's 3rd week

Note:  We use this column to examine the college football landscape and the weekend ahead.  The use of gambling numbers helps to show the public perception of a team and of their respective conferences.  Even if you don't gamble, or are against gambling, this is worth a read solely because it will keep you informed of the happenings with many of college football's teams.  Think of this as your weekend primer!

Welcome to another edition of For Entertainment Purposes Only!  Last year, this rather informal column went 251-190 (57%) +41.0 That's 251 wins and 190 losses for a winning percentage of 57%.  If you were wagering $100 fake dollars per game, you would have netted $4100 at season's end.  But since these are fake wagers, we refer to our wager amount as "units."  First though, a disclaimer: 

I want to emphasize that we don't endorse gambling at this site, and anything on here is for entertainment purposes only.  Always check with your local, state, or federal laws to determine the legality of wagering.

First we discussed some wagers for conference and division winners.  Since then, the odds on Clemson have gone from +1000 to +300, and Ole Miss went from +350 to +200.  No odds went against our decisions.  Then we went over season win totals.  Vegas set the number, we called it over or under!  In Week 1 we went 20-24 (45%), -6.3 UnitsLast week we went 39-22 (63%), +16.32 Units.  For the season, we sit at 59-46 (56%), +10.02 Units.  If we finish at 56% over 500 selections, we'll be absolutely elated.  We like to play a lot of games to grind out the variance.  The swings over 500 games aren't nearly as dramatic as they are over 100.  It's as simple as grinding out the sample set.  

While last week's theme was "hangovers, lookaheads, and letdowns", this week is all about getting the right number.  Inside, we'll discuss just about every college football game on the slate.   

As the season goes on, it's very important to jump on numbers as they are released by vegas.  As you will see, there is a ton of movement from Sunday night (when they come out) to gametime.  If I grabbed a line on Sunday, I noted it, and posted it in last week's column to alert the true degenerates among us.  

This week starts off with an ACC battle.  Tonight, Georgia Tech travels to Miami.  The Canes have had 10 days to prepare for this game, while GTech has had only 7.  Tech's defense didn't impress against Clemson, and their offense seemed a bit out of synch.  The real key to this should be Miami's freakish defensive tackle pair in Marcus Forston and Allen Bailey.  This opened at GT @ Mia -3 and that's where we popped it.  It currently sits at -5.5

Then Friday we have a wacky WAC battle.  I snagged Fresno State at +12 hosting Boise because the number seemed high.  The line has since been bet down to -7.5, and 7 in some places.   I really don't have much opinion on these teams, other than to say that Boise is probably getting a bit too much credit for dismantling an Oregon team with 4 new offensive line starters.  With that said, I am coming back and grabbing the Boise -7 and trying for a middle.

Some asked me to order the games by start time instead of rotation # (vegas reference number).  You guys make the call, so here we go:

NOON

  • A bad Ball State team travels to face Army.  Huah!  I grabbed the  -6.5 points with our nation's defenders, and then later in the week played Ball State +8.  Trying for the middle.
  • Boston College travels to Clemson.  I don't believe in BC and as you know, I think Clemson is quite possibly the ACC's best team.  This line opened at -7 and that's where I bet it (fake wager, of course ;).  It's now available at -6.5 pretty much everywhere.  I also like Under 45 as Clemson has an elite level defense.  
  • Joe-Public Alert!  I'm on the Cal bandwagon and am not a believer in Minnesota.  A friend tipped me that Cal will be arriving Thursday, to adjust for the timezone difference after having a scare last year at Maryland.  I grabbed Cal -13.5 Sunday night, and I'll stick with that.  
  • Duke @ Kansas.  Everyone loves Kansas here, so be careful if you bet the Jayhawks.  Personally, I'll  be on Duke if the line hits 24.  Otherwise, this is a pass.  I'll update it in the comment section.
  • The East Carolina Pirates travel to face the North Carolina Tarheels.  UNC has some injury issues and while I don't really buy this ECU team, I suspect UNC could be looking ahead to GTech next week. The plays are ECU +7.5 and Under 42.  
  • Eastern Michigan travels to play Michigan.  The Wolverines are laying 24.  I'm waiting for 24.5 and will probably play EMU.
  • In a rivalry where one team clearly wants it more than their opponent, Louisville is at Kentucky.  I feel Kentucky is slightly overrated and will gladly take Louisville +14.5.  Also, UK has UF next weekend, so there is the possible lookahead angle as well, though not a big one.
  • Purdue is fresh off their west coast trip and are hosting a decent Northern Illinois club.  NIU is currently getting 13, which isn't enough against a Purdue team that may be surprising some folks, but if this hits +14, I am on NIU.  INJURY Note:  NIU returns their leading tackler and excellent safety in this game.  He missed the first 2.  
  • Ohio State, fresh off their poorly coached choke job loss to USC has to travel to Cleveland and play a very game Toledo team.  This came out at +22.5, but I missed it, and grabbed the Rockets at +21.  
  • Snoozefest:  Temple @ Penn State.  Temple is slightly better than horrible, and I am waiting until they hit +32 to take the Owls.  Sorry for the lack of analysis here.

Now on to the 3:30 games.  Okay Degenerates, run down to the nearest Winn-Dixie to grab $500 worth of pre-paid western union cards and call Costa Rica  We have games to hit.

  • I like Iowa -5 hosting an Arizona team coming cross country.  Some trepidation here because Iowa is off a rivalry game, but ultimately I think Zona misses some of their graduates more than they have shown.
  • Akron is favored by 4 over Indiana.  Most will balk at this and take the Big10 team, but Indiana couldn't win the Mac, conference USA, or even the Sun Belt.  Evaluate the players and the coaches, not the names on the jersey, and take Akron -4.  
  • I don't like this Michigan State team and Notre Dame at home seems like a good bet laying the -10.  
  • Nebraska travels to face Virginia Tech in what should be a great battle.  I grabbed VTech -2.5 Sunday night, and yesterday played Nebraska +5.  I don't know what happens here, other than to say I really like what Nebraska does on offense, and hope VTech wins by 3 or 4.  
  • I'm pasing on Tenn @ Florida, and I'd advise you to do the same.  If this hits +31.5 or more, I will probably take Tennessee, but this spread is a bit crazy.
  • Tulsa travels to face Oklahoma.  Interesting test for OU.  Last week they waxed a terrible Idaho State team, but everyone could do that.  This means a lot to Tulsa.  Did you know that Tulsa has the smallest undergrad enrollment of any D1 school?  I grabbed Oklahoma at -14 on Sunday expecting a big move, and now will play Tulsa +17.5 hoping for a nice middle opportunity. 
  • This one I am proud of, and I got a bit lucky.  Washington is better than people think, and when I saw that USC was -22.5 in Washington, I had to snag the Huskies +22.5  Now we learn that Barkley is out.  USC could go down here, but even if they don't, UW should give them a game.  USC has all kinds of motivational and attrition factors working against them right now.  NOTE: if this gets to USC -17, I will play the Trojans and try for the middle.  Remember, secure profits and limit exposure.  
  • While I accurately predicted the movement of some lines, I missed on some others.  Typically, you shouldn't take a game just for speculative line movement purposes.  I did so here, taking Utah +5 @ Oregon, thinking that the game would get bet down to +3 or +2 and I'd have a middle opportunity.  That hasn't happened.  So to counteract my initial outlay, I am betting Oregon -5 twice, essentially leaving me with one Oregon -5 wager, and paying a higher premium than I'd prefer for some less than perfect prognostication.  
  • Virginia is terrible, and if Southern Miss runs the table they will be in the BCS.  Golden Eagles -15.5 is the play.  
  • I snagged Wyoming @ Colorado -7 Sunday night.  Not feeling this one so much now but am gonna ride it out.  

7Pm Conte$t$ and beyond!

  • Everyone loves Cincinnati this weekend at Oregon State.  I like the beavers +1 because of the travel aspect, their NFL caliber QB, and HC Mike RIley's ability to get his defense going.  This is a can't-miss game for football fans.  DVR this game.  
  • San Diego State shouldn't be laying points to anyone on a long road trip.  Gimme Idaho +3.5
  • Sunday Night Gem:  Nevada -1 over Colorado State.  It's now at -3 or -4, but I'll stick with the -1.  
  • Buffalo has to travel to Florida to face UCF?  Call me a square but gimme UCF -4.  
  • South Carolina is hosting FAU.  I like FAU a lot, but won't play them unless I can find +21.5 (okay, I might go for +21).  
  • As much as I hate trusting my money with Dave Wandstedt, I'll lay the -7 with the Panthers over Navy.  
  • Oklahoma State will be motivated to blow Rice out, but Rice +32.5 is a bit steep for them, so the Owls it is.  
  • Fresh off their near upset win over Missouri, Bowling Green should have a hangover effect.  They get the deliverance treatment at the hands of Marshall +3.  
  • FSU @ BYU.  I took FSU +7.5 and feel confident here.  Rarely do I bet on FSU, and often go against them because I think they are overrated due to talent and name.  Many of our readers don't like that but this column is about objective predictions.  People think vegas wants to balance the action on both sides of the ledger, but This isn't actually true. In a perfect world, it would be, but key numbers distort this notion. Vegas routinely takes positions, particularly on big games. Why would they not move USC to -7.5 last week? Because they felt more comfortable with square USC money than sharp OSU $. Vegas is taking a position. They'd rather hold a hugely disproportional amount of BYU money at -7 than to be stuck with FSU money at +10 (from professionals). I happen to think they believe BYU is very good, but FSU is much better than the public thinks (rather than FSU being bad and BYU being overrated). But they are definitely saying one team is better than the public thinks, or one team is worse than the public thinks, or maybe some combination of both.  Typically top 7 teams are favored by 2 TD's or more against an unranked foe.  Heck, unranked Tennessee was giving 10 points to UCLA last weekend.  This line is a judgement on both programs, and it's a positive for FSU.
  • LSU -27 over Louisiana Lafayette.  Last week I called for Lafayette to beat Kansas State outright.  This week they get pasted by the Tigers.  
  • Mississippi State +8 @ Vanderbilt.  I don't really know why I took this Sunday night.  I can't read my notes in the margin.  Both are just bad SEC teams.  Oh, and Vanderbilt just got racked by injuries and Miss St. gets some kids back from suspension.  I'm not sure either team will score 8 points.
  • I hate to do it, but SMU shouldn't be laying a TD on the road.  Washington State +7, even without any cornerbacks or decent players.  Praying for the push.  
  • Snagged Texas A&M -17 Sunday night, but hoping to see Utah State get to -21 so I can try for the middle.  
  • Northwestern -3 @ Syracuse.  I went against NW last week and won.  This time I am backing the Wildcats.  The Cuse are beat up after playing Penn State.  
  • Air Force is at New Mexico +17.5  Air Force is without both starting corners (suspension/ injury), and their top receiver.  They'll score, but New Mexico should be able to keep up in the desert.  
  • Iowa State is hungover from thier blowout rivalry loss (sound familiar Nole fans??), and will lose to Kent State.  Kent +3.  
  • Miami (OH) +17 and WMich -16?  Yeah, I hit it Sunday night but have since bet the other side to essentially get off the game.  Hope for a 16 or 17 point victory and the win/push result.
  • Georgia travels to the Ozarks to face Arkansas.  I snagged the Razorbacks at +1.5 Sunday evening, and the line has since moved a bit.  I am sticking with the pick and don't think much of UGA's defensive coordinator.  I also played Over 53.5  
  • West Virginia travels to Auburn for the Tiger's first real test.  Gimme the Mountaineers +7 here.  Aub is slightly overrated, as they run so many plays that it gives the perception of offensive greatness.  I'm not buying it yet.
  • Texas is -17 hosting TTech.  I don't love the play, but TTech should be a bit down, the game is in Austin, and I look for UT to play a bit better than last year.  Revenge game.  
  • UTep rolls into NMSU in what should be an awesome offensive battle.  I want NMSU +14, but won't take anything less unless some weird injury news pops.  
  • Kansas State.  What a bad team.  I called the upset last week of Louisiana Lafayatte beating them, and it happened.  But this week UCLA has serious injury issues and I like KState getting +12.5 in LA.  
  • ULM is playing at Arizona State.  AZST is at UGA next week.  if this lines hits 21 or more, jump ULM.  Can you say lookahead?
  • UNLV -6 hosting Hawaii?  Yeah, gimme the boys in Vegas.  That's back to back road trips for Hawaii.  
  • Stanford -19 is a very good football team and they should take care of San Jose State.  

So, what say you?  Ready for this weekend of college football?  What games do you like?  Which don't you like?  I have to admit, this is my favorite weekly column to write for you, the fan.  I love Vegas because they don't overreact and alter their perception of a team based on one or two games, or a close win or loss.  It's a valuable lesson many fans could learn.  Remember to check back in the comment section to see any additional fake wagers being added.

 

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