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Pac-12 football odds and picks 2014: The Gamble-Tron, Week 12

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We had our most profitable week of the season. This will absolutely, positively continue. Maybe.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 12 of the Gamble-Tron, where a big rebound of pretend gambling along with a WSU victory has lifted the spirits of our little corner of the interwebs. As the weather gets colder, hopefully our picks will get hotter and lead to profitability. The Cougs are off again this week, which will lead to a less-stressful Saturday of television viewing and an opportunity to pay attention to the family for more than 15 minutes. This Saturday isn't as packed with the number of compelling matchups that last week was, but there are still some games that will impact the national title race, especially if a team or two can spring an upset.

Why I'm a genius: For starters, Go Cougs. Kaelin Clay also had a huge hand in this, as his idiotic move of dropping the ball before he scored got the Ducks on track toward a 24-point win. Next, when I first made my picks, I had Notre Dame because I thought they were the better team. Then I read that stat about how poorly teams play the week after they face Navy. I don't think that had as much to do with ASU's big win as Everett Golson's sudden decision to resurrect the Tommy Rees era at Notre Dame. Either way, I'll take it.

Finally, though the Georgia Tech score didn't reflect it, the game was back-and-forth for a good bit but changed during a bizarre sequence in the second quarter. Trailing 14-13, NC State was inside the Georgia Tech 10. NC State threw a pass that deflected off a falling Georgia Tech player's foot and was intercepted by linebacker Quayshawn Nealy. Nealy returned the ball 65 yards, but was stripped and NC State recovered. Following an 18 yard gain, NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw a pick six. On the next series, Nealy picked up a fumble and returned it 43 yards for another score. In less than three minutes, NC State went from a possible 20-14 lead to a 28-13 deficit and the rout was on.

Why I'm an idiot: In contrast to the above portion, where changing course helped me, the following brilliant idea did not. The first draft of last week's post did not include the Iowa game. As the final draft was being written (I know what you're thinking, there is more than one version of this crap? I can't imagine how terrible the rough draft looks), I decided to throw it in since the Minnesota game is a great rivalry. To be fair, Iowa did score the first and last touchdowns of the game. There's just that little matter of the intervening 51 points that Minnesota  hung up. Oh, and you're welcome for the veritable lock that comes when I try to predict UCLA.

Week 11 Results:

  • Ryan Eames: 7-1 (four more weeks like that and you might sniff .500!) / $600
  • stewak: 5-3 / $400
  • 89Coug in FL: 7-1 (to go along with much better analysis than I provide) / $307
  • CarolinaCoug: 4-4 / $65
  • Dr. Coug-A-Lot: 8-0!!! / $255

This was easily the Gamble-Tron's best week of the season, and the commenters who enjoy playing along (there is always room for more) also did well. This brings our season total to 40-42-1 / $915. We are close to no longer being a loser. Like Elaine Marie Benes once said, we're almost a break-evener.

Built-in excuse: When this segment began, one of the exceuses was the fact that our youngest son was potty-training. Well, after a breakthrough nine days in, and many full nights of sleep, he has suddenly began waking us up with wet drawers once or twice per night. That is not exactly conducive to solid rest. I stand absolutely no chance of coming out a winner this week. I continue to be amazed at how two kids who came from the same parents can be so different. After all, though my younger brother and I are also quite different, I'm pretty sure he's adopted, as I always used to tell him when we were kids.

Only four games on the Pac-12 slate this week? Man, we're gonna have to fish the national scene for some other opportunities.

Cal at USC (-14.5): USC has been pretty good at beating up on bad teams this year, winning big over WSU, Colorado and Oregon State. It's pretty much been the Sarkisian blue print. Beat the teams you should beat, lose a couple games where the talent level is roughly similar and throw in the inexplicable loss for the heck of it. Cal, while not a bad team, isn't very good either. They will hang tough into the second half, but I think USC wins by 17-21.

The Pick: $40 on USC

Washington at Arizona (-9): This line seems a bit high to me, but I'm not sure why. While Arizona beat Colorado by 18, it took a fourth quarter rally, along with an injury to Sefo Liufau to do so. Washington, meanwhile, was never really close against UCLA. Now Hau'oli Kikaha is dinged up and Shaq Thompson is moving back to defense, while Washington's best offensive weapon, John Ross, is playing defense as well. Dear Chris Petersen, please keep Ross on defense for the Apple Cup. A fan base that has seen WSU's defensive backs this year would be eternally grateful. 

The Pick: $50 on Arizona

Utah at Stanford (-7.5): As referenced above, Utah was a moronic Kaelin Clay "look at me, I'm just like DeSean Jackson!" moment from having a 14-0 lead on the Ducks. I still think Oregon would have won, but it would have been a far tougher hill to climb. One thing I can almost guarantee is this will be one of the quickest conference games of the season. Somebody might even score a touchdown! Utah's defensive line is good enough to force Kevin Hogan to pass, which all but guarantees that Utah will be in the game late.

The Pick: $40 on Utah

Arizona State (-9) at Oregon State: ASU looked great, for the most part, against Notre Dame. OSU looked pretty bad, for the most part, against WSU. This smells like a classic letdown game for ASU. I'd say it could be a look-ahead spot as well, but I think we know the truth there. Last time WSU won in Corvallis, the sharks began circling around Mike Riley, much like what seems to be happening this week. In came 18th-ranked and heavily-favored USC. The final score was 36-7, in favor of Oregon State. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I think OSU keeps this one close.

The Pick: $40 on Oregon State

Ohio State (-12) at Minnesota: There is tremendous value on Ohio State here. Minnesota isn't nearly as good as they showed last week and Ohio State, despite a resounding win in East Lansing Saturday, still finds itself ranked eighth by the College Football Playoff committee. Urban Meyer may be putting on a brave face publicly, but I can guarantee you he is seething about this. Hell hath no fury like a coach named after a pope scorned. Sorry, Gophers. This isn't personal, it's business.

The Pick: $200 on Ohio State

Mississippi State at Alabama (-9): Well well well, team from Mississippi, here we are once again. I'm still trying to figure out why you couldn't beat Arkansas by 11 measly points, but that's in the past now. The Tide are coming off their annual slugfest with LSU (way to close that one out, Tigers) while MSU is fresh off its leg of the SEC's annual November SoCon/Big South Challenge. This game hinges on Dak Prescott. If his ankle is healthy enough, this is a close game. The Tide offense is a different animal at home, and the MSU defense is nothing special, but Mississippi State will keep it close and have a shot to win. I don't think they will, but it'll be close, mostly because of the previous weekend's opponents.

The Pick: $50 on Mississippi State

Iowa (-3.5) at Illinois: Fool me once, Iowa, shame on you. Fool me twice, damn the torpedoes and fire Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has bounced back nicely after its other two losses this year. It helps that Illinois is still terrible. The Hawkeyes will rebound here as well. If not, I am cutting all ties with Iowa until next weekend.

The Pick: $50 on Iowa

LSU at Arkansas (-1.5) and Auburn at Georgia (-2.5): Let me see if I have this right. Arkansas hasn't won an SEC game since 2012, yet they are giving points to 7-3 LSU, who beat Ole Miss and should have beaten Alabama? Georgia surrendered six miles of rushing yards (values approximate) to a largely inept Florida team, and they're giving points to an Auburn team that is far better on the ground? These two lines stink to high hell. I get the feeling that come Sunday morning, we will once again realize why the odds-makers know more than we do.

The Picks: RUN AWAY!!!! RUN AWAY!!!!