Welcome to week 12 of the Gamble-Tron, where we continue to make history. Last week, we had the first bowl edition of the picks, and this week we have the first winning season edition! Everything is coming up Milhouse! Heck, we even had a handsomely profitable week, as five winners came home overall, and we went 4-2 in our Pac-12 picks for the second consecutive week. Can it continue? Only one way to find out!
Why I'm a genius: Never a doubt down in Tempe! The Sun Devils controlled that sucker from wire-to-wire! Well, not exactly, but it was actually much better to watch the pick come home due to an epic Husky collapse. What a great way to start a Saturday. After some seriously shaky offense in the first half, Lane Kiffin finally remembered that he has a bad quarterback but a Heisman-worthy running back, and Derrick Henry proceeded to crush Mississippi State's soul. There's a reason we doubled up on that one.
Cal was a no-brainer, which is right up our alley, even though they still gave up WAY too many yards to a putrid OSU team. Oh, hey there, RichRod. We just knew you had one of those upsets in you, and damned if you didn't come through. Finally, Go Cougs. The odds-makers just didn't seem to learn from all those other times they undervalued WSU on the road. This one was never really in doubt.
Why I'm an idiot: Lots to cover on this front. First, I thought Boise was playing New Mexico STATE, which wasn't the case. Reading is hard. Luckily a reader pointed this out, and I made a correction before the game. I ended up opting not to take that game, which may seem smart. Instead, I put my money on Temple, who promptly headed to South Florida and got boatraced. Great job me!
I also laid out a good reason to not take USC when they're laying a bunch of points. Namely, it means that they're playing an inferior opponent. That, in turn, means they'll figure that the opponent will curl up in a ball and beg for mercy. Once again, that didn't happen, and they were lucky to get out of Boulder with a win.
I also knew better than to lay all those points with Stanford. Any time the game will be a shootout, take the points. Did I do that? Of course not. Hey Kevin Hogan, you couldn't hang on to a snap Saturday, but had no problem in the wind and rain of Pullman?! Kevin Hogan can run from Kevin Hogan, but he will never hide from Keving Hogan. Finally, I was asked why I didn't take a money line upset. I replied that I'd considered taking Fresno to beat Hawaii, but passed. Fresno won by four touchdowns.
Last Week: 5-3 / $275
Season Totals: 44-37-2 / 3-6 / $495
- crimsonwazzu: 5-2 / $248
- BothwaysUphill: 4-2 / $180
- cmaddex: 4-3 / $75
- Ickaber: 2-4 / -$250 - You do get a gold star for putting the correct vig on every game
- TheOriginalCougMan: 4-2 / $180
- coug2828: 3-2 / Downgraded for sucking me into the Temple bet. A POX ON YOUR HOUSEHOLD.
- cougman the II: 4-3 / 1-1 / $160
- cougbud: 4-2 / $275
- KINN1CK: 5-3 / $60
- stewak: 2-4 / 1-0 / $125 - A Husky saved by the Ducks
- hollyweirdcoug: 5-2
- Andrew Goodwin: 5-3 / $175
- Ryan Eames: 5-3 / $260
- cfred: 5-4 / 1-0 / $570
Arizona at Arizona State (UA +7/-105, ASU -7/-115): This is one of three games starting at 12:30, along with the two biggest games in the conference. Ladies and gentlemen, one more round of applause for Larry Scott! Still no update on Anu Solomon, but I don't think he'll play. Both these teams are MASH units. Luckily for ASU, which has a decimated secondary, Jerrard Randall is bad at the throwing. ASU should grind this one out, especially with Arizona in a letdown spot.
The Pick: $115 on ASU
USC at Oregon (USC +4.5/-110, Oregon -4.5/-110): Oregon is red hot. USC is simply hot. The Trojans haven't exactly been impressive the last couple weeks, but they've still gotten the job done. They will be ready for this game, as they have yet to lose a Pac-12 game under Clay Helton. Meanwhile, the Ducks are on fire, having taken down Stanford on the road last Saturday. I'd be inclined to take the points, but the Trojans are decimated on defense, and Vernon Adams is a difference-maker.
The Pick: $110 on Oregon
UCLA at Utah (UCLA +2/-110, Utah -2/-110): This is a tough one, because WSU would really benefit from the LA schools losing more games, in order to help their bowl positioning. There's something about UCLA, though. When you think they're going to win, they get embarrassed. Then you think they're dead and buried, and they go out and get a big win. UCLA opened as a favorite, and the line quickly swung in the other direction. When in doubt take the better quarterback and the points.
The Pick: $55 on UCLA
Washington at Oregon State (UW -15/-110, OSU +15/-110): Washington is below average. Oregon State is beyond terrible. 15 points is a lot, but not enough.
The Pick: $110 on Washington
Cal at Stanford (Cal +11/-110, Stanford -11/-110): Cal righted the ship against Oregon State. This just in: everybody looks better when they play Oregon State. Cal is no longer playing Oregon State. Instead, they're facing a Stanford team that has to win in order to guarantee a spot in the Pac-12 title game. Cal's defense is a complete mess when the other team isn't handing over the ball. Stanford will not hand over the ball.
The Pick: $110 on Stanford
Colorado at WSU (CU +15/-110, WSU -15/-110): This is a toughie. Colorado may hardly win, but it seems like they often play superior teams closer than expected. Quick research reveals that they've lost by single digits the same amount of times they've been beaten badly (eight of 16 in the Pac-12). So that's no help. They're also coming to Pullman with a backup quarterback. On the other hand, the Cougs still haven't finished on the wrong side of the spread since mid-September. It's tough to screw with a streak, but man, that's a lot of points. Ahh, screw it.
The Pick: $110 on WSU
Rutgers at Army (Rutgers -4.5/-110, Army +4.5/-110): We had to cancel our dive into the dumpster last week, so let's get back to it! Rutgers stinks, but Army is far, far worse. Plus, we need to pull for Rutgers, in order to help WSU's strength of schedule. Ok, that may not be intirely true, but still.
The Pick: $110 on Rutgers
West Virginia at Kansas (WV -27.5/-115, KU +27.5/-105): From a dumpster dive to a landfill special. Kansas' performance against TCU was the epitome of the dead cat bounce. West Virginia isn't anything special, but they'll roll here.
The Pick: $115 on the 'Neers
Money Line upset: After a two week hiatus, and against my better judgment, this portion of the column is being resurrected. Let's head to the Big Ten, where 8-2 Northwestern is visiting 8-2 Wisconsin. To recap Wisconsin's season, they got crushed by Alabama, beat a few bad teams, lost at home to Iowa, and then beat a bunch of other bad teams. So let's take a flyer on Pat Fitzgerald, and place a $100 bet on his Wildcats (+330).
Stinky Line of the Week: Let's introduce a new segment, which may be recurring, or not. North Carolina is 9-1 and playing at Virginia Tech, who is 5-5. Since a bad opening day loss to South Carolina, UNC has beaten Power Five opponents by an average of 24 points. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has looked a bit better of late, but they don't appear to be anywhere near UNC's league. So the point spread is...a measly 5.5? That seems weird, and something to keep an eye on. Happy gambling.