Welcome to the sixth week of college football gambling season. We're over a third of the way through the season already, and things are looking much better than they were last year at this time. That's due in part to the fact that Vegas and bettors in general seem to be way off on some of these lines. Let's hope that continues this week. There are a couple games in here that definitely have an odor to them for some reason. Hopefully we can take advantage. We're publishing a day earlier than normal due to the Thursday game.
Why I'm a genius: WHERE TO START!? To be honest, it seemed like these games were fairly cut and dried. The WSU line looked to be massively inflated due to all of that early money on Cal, and that turned out to be accurate. Arizona was in no shape to take on a physical Stanford team without its starting quarterback and best defender. Easy call there. Despite yet another subpar (by recent standards anyway) performance, Oregon had no business only giving a touchdown to Colorado.
Oh, but then, then there's UCLA. I will admit that when I first drafted last week's column, I took the Bruins. ASU had shown nothing to indicate that it could compete with Mora's team. Then, with about 15 minutes to spare before publishing, I finally had my epiphany. This was a Bruining (I've taken Clemsoning and given it a west coast cousin) waiting to happen. UCLA goes on the road and gets a big win. UCLA looks like they'll be able to overcome their injuries. UCLA is being discussed as a bonafide playoff contender. UCLA is facing a downtrodden team at home, and they're expected to roll. Wouldn't you know it. Just as with every previous iteration of Mora's Bruins, these guys were ripe for a stink bomb. In hindsight, it was so damn obvious.
Finally, would you look at that!? I finally called an upset. Heck, even the one I didn't take, Arkansas, won as well. How 'bout them Hawkeyes! Sure, they failed repeatedly inside the redzone. Sure, their only touchdown drive covered all of 31 yards. And sure, Wisconsin shot an Uzi-full of rounds at its feet despite spending the entire second half inside Iowa territory. Iowa won, I won, and I make no apologies.
Why I'm an idiot: Are we safe up here in the trust tree? We are? Ok then. I hadn't even thought about the Idaho game until a little birdie landed on my shoulder and told me that they hadn't covered yet this season. After the first play of the fourth quarter, Arkansas State led 49-21. Paul Petrino then smelled blood, and walk-on backups, in the water and went for the kill. The juggernaut Vandal offense staged a furious rally, scoring its second straight touchdown with all of 1:37 to go, reducing the deficit from 21 to 14, and sneaking the cover through the back door. Stupid birds landing on stupid shoulders and giving gambling tips.
I also regret not taking Alabama. Nick Saban may suck against up-tempo teams with a good quarterback, but his defenses are built to suffocate offenses like the one Georgia runs. Grayson Lambert had the look of Bambi staring into some high beams all afternoon, and the Tide destroyed the Bulldogs yet again.
Last Week: 5-1 / 1-0 / $710
Season Totals: 23-16 / 2-3 / $895
- CougManiac: 2-0 (if I'm able to infer the comments correctly)
- stewak: 4-0 / 0-1 / $780
- Ryan Eames: 4-2 / $380
- BothwaysUphill: 2-3 / $70
- cougbud: 3-2 / $490
- cmaddex: 4-2 / 0-1 / $80
- WazzuBrando: 2-2 / $380
- KINN1CK: 2-2 / $80
- coug2828: 1-1
- Brian Anderson: 3-3 / 0-1 / $535
Damn. Not one person lost imaginary money this week. Thanks, Oregon! On to this week.
Washington at USC (UW +17/-110, USC -17/-110): Seems like a mismatch on paper. USC may not have the defense they did last season, but it's better than UW's offense by a wide margin. Also, even though UW has young talent on defense, Budda Baker is dinged up, and he seems to be the key player on that side of the ball. Cody Kessler may stink when he plays good teams, but UW isn't a very good team right now. This line has me very worried, but I think Sarkisian would like to stick it to his old team, especially after those Patron-laden expense reports were leaked.
The Pick: $110 on #SarkAfterDark
Oregon State at Arizona (OSU +8/-110, Arizona -8/-110): I realize that WSU and Oregon haven't exactly been setting the world on fire, but I'm still baffled as to why FS1 picked this game to air instead. I can't think of one reason to voluntarily watch this game. Anu Solomon is practicing this week, which is obviously good news for the home team. With Scooby Wright still out, Arizona doesn't have much to muster on defense. However, the Beavers don't have much to muster anywhere. The guess here is that Solomon plays. Even though he is average, he's a lot better than the alternative.
The Pick: $110 on Arizona
WSU at Oregon (WSU +17/-110, Oregon -17/-110): Will the last healthy and competent Oregon quarterback please turn off the lights on the way out? While it isn't exactly WSU circa 2008, Oregon's situation behind center is a mess. Against Colorado, they finally figured out that they should just hand the ball to one of their many big, or fast, or big and fast running backs. Voila, they won going away. That's the only aspect of this game that scares me as a Cougar fan. We still lack the speed to keep up with the guys carrying the ball for Oregon.
Still, this line feels to high. It should be in the 12-14 point range. It opened at 20, and many folks obviously feel that these two teams aren't that far apart. We haven't been able to say that since about 2006. So even though the line has come down a few points, it's still too many, given the current state of the Oregon quarterbacks and back seven.
The Pick: $110 on WSU
Colorado at Arizona State (CU +15/-110, ASU -15/-110): Colorado hung with a down Oregon team for more than a half last week, but showed that it still isn't very good. ASU, which hadn't looked good since the first half of the first game, played its best football of the season at UCLA. I have no idea what to expect in this game. Does ASU suffer a letdown? Does Sefo Liufau finally get on track? Who the hell knows? I certainly don't. When in doubt, take the shaky home team laying more than two touchdowns, of course.
The Pick: $110 on ASU
Cal at Utah (Cal +7/-105, Utah -7/-115): As soon as I saw this line, I immediately thought it was too low. Cal is 5-0, which is nothing to be ashamed of, especially given where they were two seasons ago. However, they are a bit fortunate to be unbeaten, as they still seem to have some sort of hex on the opponent's special teams. All that good fortune they've received in the kicking game has to come back to get them, doesn't it? Utah is better on both lines, and if Cal can't score a ton of points in this game, they won't win, because Utah and Devontae Booker are going to grind them to pieces. Cal will score, but not nearly enough.
The Pick: $230 on Utah
LSU at South Carolina at LSU (LSU -13.5/-110, South Carolina +13.5/-110): That isn't a typo. LSU was supposed to play in Columbia, but torrential rains have forced the teams to play in Red Stick. So I guess LSU will be the road team wearing white jerseys, even though they're playing at home, where they typically wear white jerseys. Either way, LSU has Leonard Fournette, and South Carolina is really really really bad.
The Pick: $220 on LSU
Finally, the money line upset landscape is REALLY barren this week. I almost like Indiana at Penn State, but can't find a money line for some reason. Maybe Mizzou over a Florida team primed for a letdown? Maybe I should just take the week off. Nah.
The Pick: $100 on East Carolina (+265) over BYU