I was hanging out with a couple friends of mine the other night and we got to talking about the big Boston and LA Dodgers trade (that was about to happen). My friend couldn’t believe that A) The Red Sox made the trade and B) That no other team claimed Adrian Gonzalez. Later on that evening, one of my friends got a phone number from pretty girl named Violet. Later still, I received the tab for our severely discounted drinks thanks to my bartender friend.
I start this piece with this bit of information because it’s numbers that made that night progress. I tried to explain to him the finances behind the baseball transaction. I said that other teams may have wished to have Gonzalez, but they wouldn’t be willing to take on the extra 140 million dollars for the contracts of Crawford and Beckett plus give up top prospects on top just to have the privilege of paying Gonzalez another 130 million the next six seasons.
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Numbers were needed to prove the value of the baseball trade. A number was needed to start a potential new relationship between my friend and Violet. A bar tab was needed to show both cost of drinks and the value of the discount. Whether it’s a financial transaction, a phone number from a pretty girl, an important date in history, a constructional equation to help build a skyscraper, or a sporting statistic, one thing is clear. Numbers run the world.
Betting lines are a number we focus on here at Doc’s Sports, and the following are some digits that are important the opening week of college football.
7- This is the jersey number Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers will see all Thursday night. South Carolina sophomore standout (Say that 10 times fast) and potential future NFL No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney will be in the backfield all night long and lead the Gamecocks to an easy cover of the -6.5 point spread at 5Dimes.
Rodgers and the Vanderbilt squad will have a tough time focusing on the game with the athletic Clowney and company hitting them mercilessly on the field not to mention the flood of unofficial motto “Cocks Rock” t-shirts from the cute South Carolina co-eds.
2000 - The first day of the new millennium (January 1, 2000) was the last time Michigan and Alabama squared off. Tom Brady led Wolverines with 369 yards and four touchdowns to best the Shaun Alexander-led Crimson Tide, 35-34, in overtime.
This season, these two teams start the college football season with a primetime Week 1 matchup on Sept. 1. While early money has been leaning towards Michigan +13.5 at 5Dimes, the smart money should go on Alabama and their new, fast and young defense that will be looking for every opportunity to knock Denard Robinson out of this contest.
Alabama defensive back Robert Lester will be spying Robinson all night, and if he gets a line on him, the Michigan quarterback will drop as though “Money” Mayweather threw an overhand right to the side of his helmet.
8 – This is the number of starters that return to the Auburn defense this season. While they have had their issues off the field, including offensive star Michael Dyer’s departure, the defense should be legitimate.
Speaking of dismissals, what could Tyron “Honey Badger” Matthieu have been doing to get kicked off the football team? A group of LSU players, only last season, “allegedly” beat men to a pulp outside of a Louisiana bar and only got a suspension. Drug suspensions for marijuana, cocaine and steroids are very common (if they are dealt with at all). On pure speculation, I have to think Matthieu must have had either a very serious problem or LSU was concerned with his supply being linked back to the school in terms of pain killers or other prescription drugs and needed to distance themselves.
Now, back to Auburn and it’s returning starters. All four starters on the defensive line return along with another offseason in the weight room from top recruit sophomores Gabe Wright and Angelo Blackson. These six players and a new coordinator that wants to let the defensive line loose will allow this team to remain close in their contests this season and upset Clemson in Week 1. Currently, Auburn is +3 underdog at home at 5Dimes
17 – Interceptions aren’t the easiest to come by, but North Carolina State logged 17 at home while only allowing six touchdowns! Standout cornerback David Amerson will be looking to spoil Tyler Bray’s highly-touted 2012 Tennessee Volunteers debut.
To add on to these numbers, NC State led the nation in interceptions with 27 overall. Their defensive philosophy also encourages pressure, and the defense finished ninth in the nation in total sacks with 40.
Tennessee is currently a three-point favorite on the road, but money can be made on North Carolina State at home in both the moneyline (+140 at 5Dimes) and taking the +3 (-105).
102 – University of Southern California may rank No. 1 in hot girls and corny action movies, but they are 102nd in passing defense in the nation. Along with that, their Week 1 opponent, Hawaii, is 85th in the nation.
Both of these teams are heavy passing offenses and the total points scored should be an impressive amount that will attempt to reach the century mark. At Bookmaker, the “over/under” line is 62.5 and these two teams should easily cover that total.
153 – The amount of passing yards per game that Michigan State allows at home. The Spartans finished 11th in the nation in overall pass defense (176.9 yards per game) and were even better at home (153).
Boise State comes to town with an offense built around the pass (more than 300 yards per game last season) but looses their senior signal caller and all-time yards leader Kellen Moore.
Michigan State should easily cover the -6.5 spread at Bookmaker and I think they make fries out of Boise by making them turn the ball over at least three times. I think the Spartans will win by at least two touchdowns.
Here are some of the college football picks I like for Week 1 (per 5Dimes odds):
South Carolina -6.5 (-110)
North Carolina State +3 (-105) and Moneyline (+140)
Michigan State -6.5 (-110)
Auburn +3 (+100)
Alabama -13.5 (-110)
Hawaii vs. USC Over 63 (-110)