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Pac-12 Football odds and picks: The Gamble-Tron, Apple Cup edition

Week 12 was very, very kind. Hopefully Rivalry Week is just as generous.

Oscar Siagian/Getty Images

Welcome to the Gamble-Tron's final regular season edition. As is the case every season, it's been a long, strange trip. We started off pretty well, had a few bad weeks in the middle, then really started to hit our stride around Week 11. All in all, 2015 has treated us much better than 2014 did. In that sense, this little corner of the internet has been a lot like our beloved Cougars. Hopefully the both of us continue what has been quite the successful season thus far.

Why I'm a genius: SO MANY CHOICES. I'll start with the luck part. If Cal would have converted a late two-point conversion, that line would have pushed. Thanks fellas! The WSU line was looking somewhat dicey for a while, especially since Colorado repeatedly crossed the 50 yardline throughout the night. Luckily the home team bowed up when it mattered most, saving its incredible streak of covering the spread in every conference game.

To be honest, the week was pretty easy to forecast. I guess they're all obvious in retrospect, but there weren't any surprises. UCLA was threatening to doom the perfect week by refusing to stop the run, but they did just enough. The biggest variable was the money line upset call of Northwestern. I still have no idea how they won the game. Wait, yes I do. The officials in that game absolutely stole a touchdown from Wisconsin on a punt return, and overturned a really shaky call on what would have been the winning Wisconsin touchdown. Don't care, I'll take it!

Why I'm an idiot: Should have picked more games, obviously!

Last Week: 8-0 (!!!) / 1-0 / $1080

Season Total: 52-37-2 / 4-6 / $1575

Reader Results:

  • stewak: 5-0 (!!!) / 1-0 / $950
  • Brian Anderon: 5-3 / 0-1 / $60
  • cmaddex: 5-2 / 1-0 / $700 - I cancelled the ASU game out
  • hollyweirdcoug: 7-0 (!!!) - Not sure if you were calling the outright Va Tech upset, but I counted the result ATS
  • coug2828: 5-1 - At least you saw the Georgia result coming
  • cougman the II: 4-4 / -$40
  • Andrew Goodwin: 5-2 / $390
  • Ryan Eames: 6-2 / $380
  • Ickaber: 5-0 (!!!) / $500
  • KINN1CK: 4-7 / -$370 - It may be time to have Mrs. KINN1CK make a few of these picks
  • cfred: 6-2 / 2-0 / $980

WSU at Washington (WSU+6.5/-110, UW -6.5): It's the irresistible force versus the immovable object in this year's Apple Cup. The irresistible force is WSU's unbeaten record against the spread versus Pac-12 opponents. The immovable object is the fact that Washington wins two-thirds of the time these two teams play, and they really seem to do well when WSU is the better team, as is the case year.

As much as I love the Cougs and detest the Huskies, I will admit that I hate watching this game every year. That's mostly due to the enormous amount of scar tissue that's been built up from years like 2002, 2003, 2006 etc., when an inferior Washington team came away with the win. I get a sneaking suspicion that this year will unfold in much the same way. If it does, ugh. However, I do think WSU will stay close, and whether they win is a tossup. In that case, give me those points.

The Pick: $110 on WSU

Oregon State at Oregon (Oregon -31/-110, OSU +31/-110): I may not have finished this post until early Thursday morning, but I pounced on the short line when it opened. It has since ballooned to as much as 35 in some places. Oregon is a different team with Vernon Adams under center. Oregon State is the same team no matter which freshman QB gets thrown to the wolves. Washington (Washington!) hung 59 on the Beavers, and I think we can all agree that the Ducks have a far better offense.

The Pick: $220 on Oregon

Colorado at Utah (CU +16.5/-110, Utah -16.5/-110): For the first time this year, I'm going to inject some actual gambling analysis. Despite the well-earned reputation of Utah's home field advantage, the Utes are just 1-3 in Pac-12 home games ATS this season, and 2-4 total. Colorado has managed to go 2-2 ATS in road conference games.

And as bad as the Buffs have been since joining the Pac-12, they've played Utah close, even during the Embree era. They won at Utah, 17-14 in 2011, lost by seven in 2012 and 2013, and lost by six last season. Given all those trends, this line seems too high.

The Pick: $110 on Colorado

UCLA at USC (UCLA +3.5/-115, USC -3.5/-105): Given the amount of injuries both of these teams have suffered throughout the season, they should probably play this game at Red Cross headquarters. Cody Kessler entered the season with all the hype, but it seems like Josh Rosen has outplayed him (Note: I have no statistics to back this up and I'm probably wrong). Kessler's regression is just one of many reasons USC has not lived up to the hype this season, again.

USC had shown signs of life under interim coach Clay Helton, winning four straight conference games. Then came the Oregon game, when USC defensive backs looked completely lost, and it's pretty clear that Mr. Helton has no chance to get the gig full time. As far as this game, Jim Mora may be a whining, unaccountable, excuse-making little baby, but he has owned this series. That's another streak with which I am not going to mess.

The Pick: $115 on UCLA

Notre Dame at Stanford (ND +4/-110, Stanford -4/-110): Brian Kelly has done a magnificent job of keeping the Irish in playoff contention, despite a number of injuries to key players this season. There comes a point, however, when there are too many injuries to overcome. That may be this week for Notre Dame, as they lost C.J. Prosise and KeiVarae Russell. Stanford has a chance to keep its ever-faint playoff hopes alive, and they should do so for at least one more week.

The Pick: $110 on Stanford

Arizona State at Cal (ASU +3.5/-115, Cal -4/-105): This game should not be happening. ASU traveling to Cal, after both have already played their rivalry games, is stupid. Anyway, both teams have locked up bowl slots, and motivation on both sides is in question. It's pretty clear that Cal's hot start was a smoke-and-mirrors operation. When the smoke cleared, Cal was shown to be nothing more than mediocre.

ASU was much-hyped coming into the season, but has not come close to meeting the Shamwow salesman's hype. I usually take the points when I have zero lean, but with ASU's MASH unit in the secondary, Jared Goff should have a field day in what is hopefully his last Pac-12 game.

The Pick: $105 on Cal

Iowa at Nebraska (Iowa -1.5/-110, Nebraska +1.5/+110): This also qualifies as my Stinky Line of the Week. Hell, this may be the smelliest line of the season. The Hawkeyes have rolled through their schedule without losing a game. The Huskers are 5-6, and have lost to such vaunted juggernauts as Illinois and Purdue. Given all that, the line!!??

Iowa is playing for a spot in the playoffs. Nebraska is playing for a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl. Iowa fans wanted their coach fired before the season started, and love him now. Nebraska fans were excited about their new coach, and now want him fired. Couple that with a very serious investigation that undoubtedly distracted some of Nebraska's players, and I see an Iowa victory. I could also see this pick going down in flames.

The Pick: $110 on Iowa

Bonus High School Pick for no Reason:

Gonzaga Prep vs Richland (in Pasco): The Bullpups are back in their rightful place among the state's high school football teams, competing for a title. They squeaked one out against the Bombers early in the season, and took out Woodinville last weekend (sorry not sorry, Preston). Richland may have one of the best logos known to mankind, but the G-Prep has the better defense.

The Pick: 23-13 Bullpups

Finally, let's talk a little about giving thanks. On a personal level, I'm thankful to be home with my family on this holiday. My job circumstances are such that I'm separated from my wife and kids until my boys get done with school in the summer, at which time they'll join me at my new assignment. The separation sucks, bad. But, thankfully we get to be together for the holiday, unlike many of my fellow brothers and sisters-in-arms who are separated from their loved ones by thousands of miles, and eating turkey in the most god-forsaken region on the planet.

I'm also thankful for the editors here at CougCenter, who gave me the opportunity to put my less-than-funny, often idiotic thoughts on the internet for the world to see. Along with that, I'm thankful that they apparently haven't read any of my posts, because if they had, they'd have fired me months ago.

Finally, I'm thankful that so many of you click on this post, and that some of you even participate in the pretend gambling. When Jeff and Mark reached out to me in February of 2014, my only goal was to eventually write a gambling column for the site. They did not hesitate to let me do so. However, writing it would not be nearly as fun if you folks didn't read and participate, so I say a heartfelt "thanks" to each and every one of you. Happy Thanksgiving. Go Cougs.