The biggest game in the Big Ten this season takes place this Saturday in Columbus between No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State. This could actually be the biggest matchup of the entire college football season given what is at stake for a number of teams in terms this year's College Football Playoff. In this week's discussion with Doc's Sports expert handicapper Raphael Esparza, we will get his take on how he sees things playing out between these two bitter rivals.
During a long and successful career in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry in which Raphael rose to the prestigious position of Director of the Race and Sports Book for MGM Grand's Aria, he also made a name for himself as the Vegas Sports Informer as one of the top sports handicappers in the nation. While he retired from MGM in 2013, he continues to split his time between Las Vegas and the Big Easy in New Orleans running a successful and diverse sports investment service. The following is this week's Q&A with one of Doc's most interesting handicappers.
Doc's Sports: The favorites got the best of things against the spread in Week 11 of the NFL season. Did the betting public follow suit and get the best of the Las Vegas books as well?
RE: It was a bad week in the NFL for the books all around. Once again the bettors won big on New England and Dallas, and Oakland's cover on Monday night just piled onto the losses for all the sportsbooks in town. The only bright spot that kept Week 11 from being a total disaster was Tampa Bay's straight up win against Kansas City.
Doc's Sports: The two traditional Thanksgiving Day matchups in the NFL take on some added importance this Thursday given that both games are head-to-head battles that will have an impact on the division title race in the NFC North and the NFC East. Given the current spread for both of these showdowns, which team would be your best bet; Detroit over Minnesota or Dallas over Washington?
RE: It would hard to bet against Dallas right now under any circumstances given the way that it keeps on finding ways to win as well as cover. The top play of the day could be Pittsburgh as a touchdown favorite on the road against Indianapolis as long as Andrew Luck is out of the lineup for the Colts.
Doc's Sports : Speaking of Dallas, you recently did a piece for Doc's covering some betting props for Tony Romo's future in the NFL. Can you give us a bit more insight as to why you would go with the longer odds that he ends up playing for the Bears next season in Chicago?
RE: I cannot see Jerry Jones paying Romo want he would want to remain with the team as a backup. And while Denver and Arizona might be more sexy picks, I just see a good fit in Chicago. The Bears would think of Romo as a one- or two-year stopgap at the quarterback position while they groom someone to fill the starting role on a long-term basis.
Doc's Sports : Bettors will have their hands full this Saturday with great rivalries up and down the board in college football. The game at the top of the list has to be Michigan on the road against Ohio State as a 6.5-point underdog with most books. With so much on line for both of these Big Ten teams in terms of their national title hopes, which way are you leaning in this one?
RE: I would have go with Michigan as a road underdog as long as it can turn this game into a defensive struggle for all four quarters. If the Buckeyes' offense does get on track early to jump out to any kind of substantial lead, I cannot see the Wolverines playing from behind to pull off the upset.
Doc's Sports: Given that there are so many great matchups this weekend in the final round of regular-season college football games, what would be another showdown that may have caught your eye from a betting standpoint?
RE : One of my favorite rivalries this time of the year is Arizona State vs. Arizona. The Wildcats come into this year's game as slight favorites on the road, so it should be a good one. I am also very interested in a few games in the Mountain West given how much is still on the line when it comes to the conference title game. Wyoming on the road as a three-point favorite against New Mexico would be at the top of my list.
Click here to visit Raphael Esparza's Insider's Page at Doc's Sports for more information on his amazingly-profitable sports handicapping picks. Also, get $60 worth of Esparza's member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit for any sport Esparza handicaps. Click here for $60 worth of free picks from Raphael Esparza .
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