Welcome to Week 2 of the college football season and week 1 of the NFL season, so that can only mean one thing: this year’s first session of For Information Purposes Only. Let me just say that I in NO WAY recommend you wagering any money based on the predictions you read here for two major reasons: 1) It’s illegal; and 2) I’m an idiot. That being said, there is nothing more enjoyable than trying to pretend that you are smarter than the odds makers in Vegas and spending a couple of thousand words to try to convince you why. Well, I know I’m never going to convince you of that, but let’s see, if nothing else, the ’06 – ’07 season is a little kinder than last season. Oh, one other thing before getting to Saturday’s action, I kind of hinted at it earlier this week, but I should also let you know that it is my intention not to personally place any more wagers this football season. Let’s just say that the end of the Ole Miss/Memphis game has was just too predictable, and quite frankly, it was a brutal shot to the gut. I felt like I had already lived through it about 1,000 times and it left me feeling sick to my stomach. (of course, the ass load of money I dropped on on-line blackjack at the same time didn’t help). Okay, enough tales of my issues. The only reason I brought it up is that I don’t want you to in any way think that I’m “standing behind” these picks like Pacino in “Two for the Money”, and if I happen to have a really good wee prognosticating, I don’t want you fools thinking I’ve come into any money and hitting me up. So, that is that. Let’s talk lines.
Here are 11 games I’ve identified as solid action this weekend accompanied by a little analysis (i.e. inevitably flawed and often times sarcastic analysis).
1) Central Michigan +28 @ Michigan - look, I’m not going to lie and claim to know the first thing about CMU. I, however, learned a lot about Michigan last week. For example, they could only manage to beat Vandy by 20, and for the 779th time in my life, they failed to cover for me. I’m sick of it damn it. I don’t care what happens from here on out, I’m finally facing reality. If I bet on them and constantly lose money, then maybe it’s time to start betting against them. It’s only taken 10 years, two degrees, and potentially thousands of dollars, but I’ve finally gotten my arms around this concept. What should be glaringly obvious to you at this very moment? Michigan will win this game 63-7. That’s the kind of stuff that happens to me. Trust me.
2) Mississippi +8 @ Missouri - Did I miss something, or didn’t the greatest player in Missouri football just spend four years raising them from abysmal to mediocre? Now he’s gone, and they are suddenly laying 8 points against an SEC team with a tremendous athletic play maker at quarterback? Could somebody please explain this to me? Never mind. I don’t need an explanation, just give me the points.
3) Auburn -20.5 @ Mississippi State - Look out. Week 2, and I am already breaking one of my cardinal rules: never take a team favored by more than a field goal on the road in a conference game. Why am I so willing to forsake my rules? C’mon, you saw MSU against South Carolina. I’m pretty certain Hoover High (go ahead and brace yourself for weeks of “Two-a-Days” references) has a stronger offensive attack than MSU. Here’s the deal in this game. Auburn is going to score 28 points. Raise your hand if you think MSU can score more than 7. If you just raised your hand, please clinch your fist and use that hand to beat some sense into yourself.
4) Penn State +7.5 @ Notre Dame - I’m taking the points against the Irish all year. No questions asked. When a team is this overrated, you would be an absolute fool not to jump on this bandwagon. In fact, I’ll make you a side wager: If you take the points against the Irish 12 times this year, you will win no less than 8 times. It just makes good economical sense. Plus, I LOATHE them right now. It’s going to take a while for the wounds to heal.
5) Colorado State -2.5 @ Colorado - Hey, another road favorite. Good times. Again, this is forgivable for two reasons: 1) they are favored by less than a field goal; and 2) Colorado lost to freaking Montana State last week. Listen, I’ve spent time on the Montana State campus, and Bozeman is probably my favorite town in all of America, but that doesn’t mean for one minute it’s okay for a major college football program to lose to them. Unbelievable. I think you have to bet against the Buffs until they prove last week was the biggest aberration since Clay Aiken’s 15 minutes of fame.
6) Central Florida +23 @ Florida - This one is personal. I love Coach O’leary, I have good friends on his staff, and damn it, I would LOVE to see them win this game outright. Since that, however, probably isn’t going to happen, I’ll at least take the points.
7) Tennessee – 20 vs. Air Force - I’m such a sucker. One week of precision offense and resurgent old school Vol D, and I’m all over the bandwagon. Hell, I even made their offensive coordinator the man of the week. I’ve convinced myself they are a virtual lock for the SEC Championship Game. How can I not take them laying 20 at home?
8) UAB -7 vs. East Carolina - Hey, I watched the replay of the UAB/Oklahoma game, and with the exception of the fact that they can’t tackle anybody in the open field, UAB isn’t that bad. They’ve got speed and a little attitude. Plus, it just violates all good and rational logic not to think that a team that stayed within a touchdown of Oklahoma in Norman can’t win by more than 7 at home against a deplorable football program. That’s right ECU, I called you out. Your program is awful!
9) South Carolina +3 vs. UGA - Spurrier as a home dog? Are you kidding me? Remember all that crap I said about not wagering this year, forget it. I might take a second mortgage on Hans’s house for this one. In Columbia, under the lights, and the Gamecock defense against UGA’s disaster of a quarterback situation. But again, I come back to, Spurrier as a home dog? I’m moist. (I can hear one of my best friends since childhood and UGA Alum and HUGE Dawg fan, Zach, right now saying, “go ahead you dumb Tech f*ck. Go ahead and bet against us. You stupid f*ck. We are going to kick USC’s ass, and then I’m going to kick yours! - The great thing is he would be completely serious. How can you not love southern college football?)
10) Texas Tech at UTEP Over 57 - I applying the same theory here as I discussed about Notre Dame earlier. I’m betting the over in every Texas Tech game. I’m guaranteed to make money, right?
11) Ohio State +2.5 @ Texas - What a tremendous game this promises to be. I think both teams are going to be fun to watch, and the only reason that I’m taking Ohio State is the experience edge at quarterback. I just don’t have any other reason. That being said, no matter what, it is going to be an all out war to try to get out of Austin with a win. I have a sneaky feeling, however, that if Texas has a chance to win late, the pressure might be too much for Colt. And, if not, I’m pretty certain Fite my run out on the field and do everything in his power to keep Texas from clearing their road to a second straight National Title.
Well, I think that covers the college games, so let’s turn to the boys that get paid above the table to play:
This won’t take nearly as long. Over the decade I’ve been gambling, one of the rules that I’ve developed that I NEVER break is that in the first four weeks of the season, when the odds makers are still really trying to figure everything out, you HAVE to take every home dog. But, alas, every rule is subject to a caveat or two, and this season, I have developed what shall be ever known as the Favre/Brooks caveat to the aforementioned rule. In other words, if the quarterback of the home dog in weeks 1 – 4 happens to be decomposing Brett Favre or Aaron Brooks, you do not have to bet on them, you must simply leave the game alone. So, under this rule and the new caveat, pencil in the following predictions:
St. Louis +3.5 vs. Denver
Houston +5.5 vs. Philly
Detroit +6.5 vs. Seattle
NYG +3.5 vs. Indy
Listen, I know it feels down right dirty to put money on Houston and Detroit under any circumstances, but trust me on this one.
Okay, so this leaves us with two more games on my radar this opening weekend:
1) Falcons +5 at Carolina - With an undeniably healthy Steve Smith, I probably lay off this game, but with his status up in the air, I figure what the hell. Plus, as a Falcon fan, I really want to believe that the humiliation of last year’s season ending 87-2 beat down at the hands of the Panthers is still stinging. But, as a realist, I’ve seen D. Hall and Roddie White at the club recently, and they didn’t look too bothered. Okay, that’s a bold faced lie. We all know that I could never get into any club where D. Hall and Roddie roll. I’m rambling. Why am I taking the Falcons? Because they are the greatest football team…..EVER! At least that’s what Shalls told me.
2) Pats -9 vs. Buffalo - HA! I don’t even know what to say except THANK YOU VEGAS! The Bills won’t sniff the endzone in this game.
There you have it. We are off and running. May all your wagers hit, and the Good Lord give you the strength to stay away from the parlays and teasers. God bless you all.