by Chris, the Impaler - 10/14/2005
In this week's installment of how the college football bounces, we need to discuss something all handicappers hate to talk about; the fade. Chronic bettors know that gambling is a streaky business. The sad fact about sports investment is that once and a while you lose. In fact sometimes you lose more than once in a while and that raises questions not only in the Impaler's mind but also in the reader's minds about the quality of the handicapper. However, rather than getting all bent out of shape and emailing me about what I can do with my picks in relation to my anus, you as the educated consumer (or degenerate gambler as I often quip) can turn a handicappers ill fortune into your own positive return on your sports investment.
The fade method I speak of is easy (and quite well known) and the only effort it requires is finding a consistently poor handicapper. Then find out whom the capper likes and blindly bet against them. Fading is that simple. Now I may not ever be mistaken for Johnny Cochran, but I offer this pearl of wisdom if your personal guru handicapper is on a losing streak; don't fret -- make the opposite bet!
For instance, lets look no further than my own back yard (I'd rather not but unlike other cappers, the Impaler takes the road less traveled). Looking solely at my record (and not at the amount of the suggested wagers) of 3-7 against the spread to date, we see that by fading the Impaler, gamblers would have realized a 70 percent return on their investment! Wow, not even Charlie Schwab can boast those kinds of numbers on a consistent basis.
The skill for the gambler comes in, much like betting baseball streaks, knowing the right time to get on that streak; or when to fade their picks. Obviously now is not the time to fade the Impaler since we have two value plus winners this weekend, but if you had done it several weeks ago your Christmas Club payments have probably increased exponentially. Essentially, even when I am losing there is plenty of potential for you to bet for value and bet to win. Or as I tell my detractors, "Fade this!"
Week 6: Value Bets Recrap (0-2)
Losing gets old and hitting 30 percent in our college football picks in this column is enough to almost shake the confidence of the Impaler. Or should I say Impaled? Almost is the operative word. The season hasn't been all that bad despite the losing record as we have maintained a positive cash flow (as Carlton Sheets would say) until last Saturday. But, this is only a temporary setback. Losses happen. Good cappers, however, expect loses and learn with experience to temper the losses with big money wins. Since there is one month in the regular college football season left there is no better time than the present to realize these big money wins I discuss later the article.
Looking down the barrel of a gambler's equivalent of a sawed-off 12-gauge Remington, or as I hate to say, a 3-7 record as of last weekend, I must have had a seizure or an aneurysm recommending a total play in the UB-Akron game - something I never do. As convinced as I was UB would cover the 10 points on homecoming weekend (not to mention that the Bulls are covering machines on homecoming), I ended up on the wrong end of an over 44 point play. Indeed there were only 7 points scored until the fourth quarter as the 20 points never challenged the over despite the quick first quarter TD by the Bulls. But since they are the Bulls they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory allowing 13 unanswered points to the Zips. Surprisingly the Bulls defense which allowed an average of 26 points and allows an average of 201.2 rushing yards per game, held the Zips to a paltry 224 total yards of O with only 79 yards rushing while holding Akron to 3-of-18 third down conversions! The sudden defensive surge by the Bulls cost the faithful $330 and put us on a financial hardship for the first time this season. But I can handle a loss like this.
The Memphis-UCF game was a lot harder to stomach, though. After deadline last week, we watched the line go from Memphis as a 2.5 point favorite (down from -4) to UCF as a -1 "chalk". I knew I was sunk on this steam play but only blame myself. Re-analyzing the 38-17 shellacking (the game was never close as UCF dominated from the on-set) the glaring error, (perhaps my love of DeAngelo Williams blinded me) was underestimating Tiger QB Bill Barefield. Barefield is even worse than previously reported and DeAngelo Williams is easily as good as advertised. Williams has recorded 885 yards rushing this year and is one of the nation's best rushers. In fact, Williams averages 177 ypg for an average of 7.3 yards per carry! While he only carried the ball 14 times against UCF, he still ended the game with 139 yards. A lot of credit is due to UCF for stifling the Tiger rush attack since the Tigers average 265 yards rushing per game. The Tiger defense (much worse than anticipated) allowed UCF 551 yards in total offense and that ultimately cost us another $330 from the WPT Championships Buy-in fund.
ECU (52) at SMU (-1)
Simply put the Pirates of Eastern Carolina have been woeful over the past two seasons winning only three games in two years. Last year the Pirates were outscored by almost 19 points per game and in 2003 they were outscored by 17.9 points a game so first year head coach Skip Holtz (Lou's son) was a few cards short of a loaded deck coming into this season. So winning two games already this year is quite an accomplishment - even though the two wins (both at home) came against Duke and Rice - two schools they did not play last year. Although against Rice, the Pirates did manage to score 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to seal their second victory of the year. To say ECU has had a difficult time winning on the road is an understatement as the Pirates have only recorded one win in the last two and a half years. However, this year the Pirates sport a remarkable 4-1 record against the number!
On the other side of the ball, at Gerald Ford field the SMU Mustangs have had a strange year losing to Baylor and Tulane while beating then No. 22 TCU who had just come off of an upset against OU. So the question remains which Mustang team will show up at Ford Field on Saturday - the team that collapsed against Tulane or the team that beat the Horned Frogs by 11 points? Certainly the Mustangs are brimming with confidence as they come off their thrilling last second 28-27 win (actually a TD as time expired) at UAB last weekend. What was most remarkable about the win was that the Mustangs got the ball at their own twenty yard line with 22 seconds to play in the fourth quarter and capped the 80 yards drive with a 31 yard TD as time expired.
The come from behind win showed the character of the Mustangs as they rebounded from a heart-breaking overtime 13-10 loss at Marshall the week before. Granted the Thundering Herd is not the same team as in recent years, but still the out-of-conference loss was tough for the Mustangs to start a two game road swing in the middle of their season. Two reasons for their victory were the defense keeping the Mustangs within reach the entire game and QB Jared Romo who completed 22 of 34 passes for 355 yards.
In Saturday's match-up the Mustangs will need to establish the run against the Pirates who have had a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde rush stop unit. While ECU did a commendable job stopping the run against West Virginia, they could not stop Wake Forest and Southern Miss. Last week against Rice they allowed 230 rushing yards that could be a salve for the anemic 80 yards rushing day for the Mustangs at UAB. Something tells me the final score will be SMU 14 MTSU 10.
Gamblers should note that ECU is 4-9 against the spread and 3-10 SU in their last 13 C-USA road games.
Pick! Ride Sally Ride (Mustangs -1) for $550.
MTSU (38 o/u) at FLORIDA ATLANTIC (+4.5)
That is right folks, I am still way pissed off about our first bet of the season as the Blue Raiders of MTSU screwed us against North Texas. While we expected Mean Green's SBC 25-straight conference streak to end against MTSU, we had to wait until last week's loss at Troy for the streak to end. In fact, we had exposed North Texas in the first week but the rest of the country saw what we did when Tulsa abused them to the tune of 54-2 and then followed that loss with another 54-point loss the following week at K-State. See what I mean about not being able to let go of MTSU's loss to North Texas?
This week we get our revenge, as we are not going to make the same mistake twice in the same year. Or are we? The Blue Raiders are coming off their third win in as many years at in-state rival (indeed the two Universities are only 34 miles apart) the Commodores of Vanderbilt - who just missed going 5-0 for the first time since they let the country elect the same President more than three times!
The Florida Atlantic Panthers will host the Blue Raiders fresh off of their 28-10 win over the Ragin' Cajuns on Thursday night. It was a tale of two halves, or as coaches like to say, 60 minutes make a game not 30. The Cajuns led 10-7 at the half, but behind the tenacity of QB Danny Embrick who threw for three TDs and ran for a fourth gave the Owls their first victory of the season.
If you look at their records this season, both MTSU and FAU share the dubious distinction of winning one game each. But consider who FAU has had to play so far; Kansas, Oklahoma State, Louisville and Minnesota with a fifth loss against UL Monroe. So coming home to the grass of Lockhart Stadium against a marginal MTSU team should feel good for the Panthers who should win their first game at home this year.
When these two teams played last year at MTSU, the Panthers came away a 27-20 victor easily covering as a +2.5 point road dog. Gamblers should be aware that the Blue Raiders are a cash burning 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 SBC road games.
Pick! Schnellenberger's Owls +4.5 for $550.
Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org