Fourth and Inches
Our College Game of the Year is now history as Arizona State, a 7½-point favorite, took care of business and beat Oregon State, 27-13. I must admit my heart stopped for a time as the Beavers took an early 7-0 lead. The Sun Devils came back to take a 17-7 halftime lead, and then put the game away, leading 27-7 with only five minutes remaining in the game. It's always nice to win any game but this one is especially sweet.
Our weekend was very profitable to say the least, as we picked up +16 units. You think extra points don't matter? Michigan missed an extra point or the Wolverines would have covered the 13-point line, although a push is better than a loss. Conservative Carr should have beaten this Hawkeye club by 21 points!
I personally witnessed the Wisconsin-Penn State game this past Saturday. It's not too hard to figure that one out. The Badgers continue to play as good a defense as there is, however the offense continues to struggle. Struggle may be putting it kindly. As for the Nittany Lions, I personally think Paterno has lost this ball club. They looked very unorganized with very little enthusiasm. Could it be time for Joe to step down?
Penn State will be on the road this week at Minnesota. Key injuries to Penn State have kept the game off the board as of this writing. When a number is posted, the Gophers may be the only side to consider!
Speaking of the Minnesota Gophers, this club is playing great football. For those of you who took our advice and played the over 7½ wins for the year, you are sitting in a good spot. This club could win the Big Ten. Are they the best? We'll find out next week when they travel to Michigan!
Revenge is always a good tool in looking for a handicapping edge. The season is early, however there are some real good revenge games take a look at. Michigan at Indiana! Can the Hoosiers pull off another Oregon performance? West Virginia at Virginia Tech! Could this be the stumbling block for the Mountaineers chances at a National Champion-ship? Ohio State at Northwestern! Could the Buckeyes four-leaf clover finally expire? Wake Forest at North Carolina State! Can the Wolfpack carry its victory over Virginia Tech here? And the count goes on! Why mention these and others? Our Revenge Game of the Year goes this week. This ball club wants this one bad, and it will get it!
One game that got my attention in the Big 12 was the Kansas State-Texas A&M game. This will be the first road game for the Wildcats. Coach Snyder has done an outstanding job with this team over the years. However I think the cupboard may be somewhat empty this year and this team could struggle. The Wildcats have a brutal schedule. They do however catch Nebraska and Oklahoma at home. They will not beat Missouri on November 6. Mark my words!
As for the Aggies, this team will improve each week. Even with all the suspensions this Texas team will have a much better year than they did last year. The favorite in this series is 0-4 ATS in the last four games. I'm bucking the odds. I like the Aggies!
One handicapping factor I always felt had some value was a team having a bye. Over the years I have found that this situation often hurts a team more than it helps, especially if the team is really on a roll! No question it does help a team if the team is playing poorly or has numerous injuries. What it boils down to is, does the team need the week off or not. If one can recognize the situation it can be a big positive factor!
The big question here at the office is, when is your Big Ten Game of the Year going? The answer is simply the right situation and the eventual winner. No gimmicks, no secrets. Everything has to be a 'go' and it will happen, and most of all, it will win!
Like thousands of people, I enjoy reading USA Today. There a certainly many interesting articles and I find a lot of information about football. On Fridays, I see the Sports Section has the advertisements of some handicappers. Joe Wiz, Joe Phillips, Go 3-0 Absolutely Free, Guaranteed to go 7-0, etc. etc. Mark my words, their boiler room operations will kill you. Some words of advice: Stay away!
I mentioned earlier in this article about Michigan missing an extra point. That seems to be happening a lot this year. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that college kickers have a tough time adjusting to kicking the ball off the ground, after being used to a tee in high school. It didn't seem to hurt Tanya Butler, as she made three extra points and a 38-yard field goal, helping her team West Alabama beat Arkansas-Monticello, 24-23!
I have never seen the Big Ten as it is this season. Defense completely dominates. Of course the major reason for that may be that few teams have strong offenses. Purdue is the elite of the conference as far as scoring. QB Orton and company can light it up. However the Boilers can be run on, as Illinois proved. Northwestern can score but can't stop anyone. Wisconsin may have the best defense in the conference and may have the worst offense. Another team that's very similar to Wisconsin is Michigan. Will all of these trends continue? Some will, some won't. Overall it makes it a great year for handicapping, if one can recognize these factors. As far as the schedule this week in the Big Ten, it's a dandy. We will pull at least two or three selections from this conference.
As one accumulates more years of handicapping experience, it seems we lean toward more underdogs than favorites. It is a known fact that the oddsmakers always put a little extra line on the favorites, as most people take the favorite thinking they're getting the better team. I have found over the years a large favorite (28-points or more) is a noticeable disadvantage to taking the underdog. The underdog in that role usually not only lacks the talent, but throws in the towel early. The largest underdog on the schedule this week is Texas. The Longhorns are a 36-point favorite over Baylor. Last year they were favored by 32 over this same club and shellacked the Bears, 56-0. As one looks at this game, it appears to be the same here and it would be my only choice. The only negative factor to going with Texas here is that they have Oklahoma on tap. Still, Longhorns in a rout!
Just a reminder - Our Revenge Game of the Year goes this week. We will be on target with this game. Don't miss it!