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Pac-12 Football odds and picks: The Gamble-Tron, Week Four

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It was an up-and-down week three. It will probably be a down-and-down week four.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to our little corner of internet gambling advice. We had an up-and-down third week, which began well and ended ok. It was that thorny middle portion that impeded our journey for a second consecutive winning week. We venture into conference play on Friday and Saturday, which means that there aren't many 30-40 point lines to wrestle with anymore. It also means that the experts in the odds-making business are still trying to figure out who is good and who isn't. If they don't know yet, how the hell are we supposed to know? Oh, that's right, we never know anything when it comes to this mess.

Why I'm a genius: It's still pretty clear that something is amiss with Arizona State. I can't put my finger on it, probably because I've only seen them play once. But still, I knew they wouldn't blow out lowly New Mexico. I keep trying to tell you folks, Washington is better than you want to admit. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to shotgun a bottle of Ipecac. Finally, Texas was not going to lose badly to Cal. No way, no how. So what if they were up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter? That quick-strike Texas offense we've seen this season was just lying in wait. Oh, and when it comes to college kickers, Sonny Dykes and the Bears must be ingesting more Lucky Charms than that leprechaun.

Why I'm an idiot: Oh hey there, Mr. Sarkisian. I figured I wouldn't see you until mid-season, but there you were, facing a less-talented team at home, and completely collapsing after a fast start. It's not like you've done this 1,000 times before. Oh wait, you do it all the time. One more loss like that and the coaches will have plenty of Patron on hand in the office. Across town, Josh Rosen looked like a true freshman. It was bound to happen, but I didn't think it would happen against a suspect BYU defense.

I also thought Oregon would poleaxe Georgia State, even with a backup quarterback. Well, after watching a little of that game, two things became clear. It's pretty obvious why Vernon Adams was named the starter over Jeff Lockie after being on campus for about eight minutes. Also, Oregon's defense is bad, as in "this defense is going to cost us a couple games in conference play" bad.

Finally, we there's the money line upset pick. If we haven't yet arrived in the cul-de-sac where the house of bad beats resides, we're rounding the corner. For the second straight week, our underdog went to overtime. For the second straight week, our underdog lost. It wasn't just that Iowa State lost, it was how Iowa State lost. First, their kicker shanked a 32 (32!) yard field goal that would have won the game. Next, facing fourth-and-goal and needing a touchdown to force a second overtime, their quarterback scrambled for about 10 seconds and...took a sack. Yep, instead of throwing it up for grabs in a situation where he had nothing to lose, he ate the ball. Along with that, he ate my chance at a winning week. Thanks for that, Iowa State.

Last Week: 5-5 ATS / 0-1 Money Line / -$150 (stupid vig)

Season Total: 15-13 ATS / 1-2 Money Line / +$205

Reader Results:

  • Ryan Eames: 3-7 (That's more like it!) / 0-1
  • Glenn Duggan: 0-1 (Gonna need more Jermajesties over here!)
  • stewak: 5-5 / 0-1
  • Dr. Coug-A-Lot: 3-5 / 0-1
  • cmaddex: 3-7 / 0-1
  • coug2828: 1-0 (Kyle Whittingham can resume sleeping with both eyes closed)

Stanford at Oregon State (Stanford -15.5/-110, OSU +15.5/+110): A weekend chock full of home dogs begins in Corvallis, with the biggest underdog of them all. Talk about misjudging a team. I left Stanford for dead after that opening face plant in Evanston. Then they went and totally redeemed themselves at USC. Kevin Hogan was masterful. I can't believe I just wrote that.

OSU, despite its 2-1 record, has not looked good at all this season. They're yet another team starting a freshman quarterback, and it's pretty clear that Seth Collins isn't as far along as Jake Browning, and especially Josh Rosen. It took the Beavers far too long to dispatch San Jose State. Given all that, I am really hesitant to go against a home team getting over two touchdowns, especially since Hogan likely won't play. Alas, I think OSU really is that bad.

The Pick: $110 on Stanford

Cal at Washington (Cal -4.5/-110, UW +4.5/-110): Count me among the folks who thought Cal's defense, while not shutting anyone down, was markedly better than last season. Then they went and gave up 600+ yards to a heretofore inept Texas team. Along with that, their sterling offense was shut down in the fourth quarter, and they should have found themselves in overtime. Now they face a second road trip in as many weeks, visiting an improving UW team.

Washington can't run the ball, but Jake Browning is starting to get his sea legs. That defense is young but talented, especially in the secondary. This will be a fun matchup of Cal's receivers against Budda Baker and company. The game comes down to the last play, and Cal wins because UW's kicker gets struck by lightning as he plants his foot on a 21-yard game-winning field goal try. The weird part is that the lightning appears on a cloudless day. Such is life when you need to make a short kick with Sonny Dykes on the other sideline.

The Pick: $110 on UW

UCLA at Arizona (UCLA -3.5/-110, Arizona +3.5/-110): I don't know if it speaks more to the fact that there's a paucity of big games this weekend, but none other than College Gameday will be in Tucson to interact with the conference's classiest fan base. UCLA has suffered a series of crippling injuries on defense, the latest being Myles Jack. UCLA has been far more battle-tested so far, and Paul Perkins has been racking up yards on the ground. That, along with Scooby Wright being below 100 percent, gives the Bruins the edge.

The Pick: $110 on UCLA

Utah at Oregon (Utah +11/-110, Oregon -11/-110): The guess here is that Vernon Adams will be back this week. His finger may be on the verge of falling off and he'd probably still start over Lockie. Utah has (surprise) quarterback injury issues of its own, as Travis Wilson is dinged up yet again. The guess here is that Adams plays and Wilson doesn't. While I'm sure we'll see a steady dose of Devontae Booker, the Ducks get a late touchdown to cover. I will not be surprised if Utah covers.

The Pick: $110 on Oregon

USC at Arizona State (USC -5.5/-110, ASU +5.5/-110): I expected these two teams to compete for the Pac-12 title. Though it's obviously too early to know for sure, neither team has been all that impressive. They've each had one game against a good team, and they both lost. It appears that ASU misses Jaelen Strong much more than they thought. It appears USC misses having a good coach much more than they thought. No, I'm not talking about Lane Kiffin. Man, these picks seem much more clear when Pac-12 teams aren't playing eachother.

The Pick: $110 on USC

Upset of the week: The game I picked turned out to be the only close one last week. College kickers, grrrr. Anyway, we took home some cash on BYU a couple weeks ago, and +185 at Michigan is tempting. Arkansas (+250) isn't as bad as they've looked, and they're nearing desperation mode. Texas Tech (+220) is also tempting, given their big win last week coupled with TCU's spate of injuries. That 82 pointer TCU laid on Tech last year is tough to overlook, though. Even though I love the fact that their blowhard coach got smacked by Kliff Kingsbury, give me the Hogs.

The Pick: $100 on Arkansas +250

So there you have it. We picked three of the four road favorites to cover the spread this weekend. What could possibly go wrong?! Enjoy the weekend.