by Chris, the Impaler - 09/29/2005
If you are like me then you watch line movement like some people watch vapid, hyped Mafiosi movies and serialized programs on cable television. Being a line junkie involves quite a bit of time investment into checking the opening lines as well as monitoring the 15-minute line movement to gain a broader perspective where the number should lie. This process has its merits and drawbacks; one merit is an ability to see when Vegas oddsmakers (LSVC specifically) have no clue what will happen next and one drawback is the uncanny ability of capping a game so utterly wrong that you feel like you have been sentenced to an execution by 1000 cuts.
For the followers of this space, this past weekend was a bitter example of being soundly beaten by Vegas. It is important to remember that when you gamble on a regular basis you need to be able to weather such bad days that your bankroll is not destroyed. It is this reason that when we recommend plays, we also recommend an amount. I call it Bankroll Insurance without involving an insurance company. You'll notice that last week we went small on our two value plays. After realizing a tidy $600 profit the weekend before, rather than double our bets, we reduced them. So while we dropped a substantial 440 to the man last weekend, we find the dirty white envelope marked, Turks and Caicos Beach Club Fund, in the cigar box hidden in the ceiling panel stuffed with $160 in small unmarked bills after four weeks of college football sports investment in the value conferences.
Week 4 Value Bets Recrap (0-2)
Perhaps Marshall should change its name to the Limping Herd. Last weekend Central Florida managed to end their NCAA-leading 17-game losing streak by thundering over Marshall at home 23-13. We advised a play on Marshall laying 3.5 points in a match-up against old MAC foes. And while there are many ways of looking at a game and analyzing where the game was won and lost, we need look no further than one agonizing stat for Marshall. UCF held the Limping Herd to 11 yards rushing. While kudos should be given to UCFs defense, the only reason Marshall was still in the game after going down 17-0 in the first half was their defense. The Herd got three takeaways and held UCF to 336 yards total offense and even gave Marshall a chance to win the game by limiting the Golden Knights to 6 points in the second half.
Concurrently, there is not much value when the team you bet loses by 42 points. That is exactly what happened last week as the Arkansas State Indians dominated Sun Belt foe Florida International Golden Panthers last weekend. This is FIUs first year in the SBC and the Indians made sure it was a day they'd sooner forget. The Indians started this year with two losses for head coach Steve Roberts, but destroyed the Golden Panthers in Jonesboro. They scored on their first four possessions and got approximately 20 yards a play in the first quarter. The sick part is the score could have been even higher, but Indian RB Antonio Warren (8/143) sprained his ankle in the first half and did not return. Defensively, the Indians intercepted FIU QBs Padrick and Kendrick five times. ASU's record on the year is 2-2, which is good enough for first in the Sun Belt while FIU's sits at 0-3 and in sixth place in the SBC.
Utah State (-2.5) v IDAHO (49 o/u)
This week we travel to Moscow, Idaho as the Vandals seek their first win of the season in Sun Belt Conference play. Oops. I mean Western Athletic Conference play. In fact, both the Vandals and the Aggies jumped from the Sun Belt to the WAC over the winter. Last weekend, Utah State beat the Running Rebels of UNLV despite allowing the Rebels 26 first downs and 387 yards of total offense and committing 12 penalties for 136 yards in their 31-24 home win. The Aggies benefited from Leon Jackson who threw for two touchdowns and was 19-of-25 for 212 yards, while Kevin Robinson scored two TDs as well, one passing and one running.
However, it was special teams that were, uhm, special, as Tony Pennyman returned a kickoff 92 yards for a TD. Idaho on the other hand, failed to score a point in their home loss to Hawaii last week, a 24-0 setback dropping the Vandals to 0-4 on the season. Idaho's defense allowed Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan to complete 34 of 44 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the WAC opener. Idaho's anemic offense was held to a mere 153 yards of which 112 were through the air.
Idaho quarterback Steven Wichman, who had thrown for 390 yards and three scores in the Vandals loss two weeks earlier against UNLV, completed just 8 of 25 passes and tossed an interception. The Aggies have won two of the last three meetings against the Vandals, including last year's 14-7 victory. Make that three.
PICK! Utah State -2.5 for $550
Kent State University (56 o/u) v Eastern Michigan University (-3.5)
We return to the site of our week 1 loss and Ypsilanti, Michigan as the Eastern Michigan Eagles prepare to do battle with conference foe the Golden Flashes of Kent State at Rynearson Stadium. The Eagles sport a 1-0 MAC record while the Golden Flashes are winless on the road and in the conference at 0-1. Fueling last week's win for the Eagles were QB Bohnet's 380 yards on 36-of-56 passing with two TDs and no interceptions. WR Eric Deslauriers had 10 catches for 135 yards, including a 49-yard reception early in the fourth quarter. With the overtime win against in-state rival Central Michigan, EMU moves to 2-2 on the season. Kent State moved to 1-3 over all and 0-1 in the MAC as they lost a tough road contest last week as HC Frank Solich notched his first MAC win with Ohio. A main reason for the 35-32 loss was KSU's defense allowing Kalvin McRae 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns and Voncarie Owens 139 yards rushing and two TDs. On offense, Kent State got a nifty 60-yard touchdown pass from Michael Machen to Najah Pruden. Machen was 15 of 32 passing for 282 yards.
However, KSU's chances all but fell by the wayside as Machen threw five interceptions and left the game with an injured knee. Backup QB Jon Brown did well in mop-up duty as he WR Pruden with an 8-yard touchdown to bring the Golden Flashes within three points with less than two minutes in regulation time.
Gamblers should note that Kent State is 3-9 against the spread playing two consecutive games on the road. While last season the Golden Flashes defeated the Eagles by a 69-17 margin so look for some payback this weekend. However, this will be the first meeting in Ypsilanti since November 1997 when Kent State emerged victorious in a 41-38 win over EMU.
PICK: EMU -3.5 for $440
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