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

XVI Pan American Games - Day 11 Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Welcome to our final pretend gambling installment of 2016. Seems just like yesterday that we were picking Cal to cover against Hawaii which they didn’t do by like a point oh damnit to hell I’m getting mad again. Since then, we’ve managed to burn through the nice little nest egg we amassed throughout 2015, and even went a ways into the hole.

The last few weeks have brought a bit of redemption, as you’ll see further down. So now we venture into bowl season, which is about as predictable as our last election. Who is motivated? Which players have one foot out the door to the NFL? Ok, we know the answer to that. Are any teams boycotting? Well ok, like that would ever happen.

Given that unpredictability, we figure we might as well leave the heavy work to the kids, since they know just as much about predicting bowls as anyone else. So once again, it’s time to get the against-the-spread predictions from my two boys, Jackson and Carson, as well as their cousin Tyson, who is six years old and legitimately knows more about sports than 95% of the adults I know.

For the first two years of this exercise, I got each boy’s prediction on video. I did that again this year, but changed it up a bit. In order to mitigate the groupthink, I isolated each kid, and got their picks without the other kids knowing. Instead of a bunch of short clips, this resulted in three lengthy videos, which were not very entertaining.

Additionally, my attempt to separate them in order to diversify the opinions had the opposite effect, as all three boys had nearly identical picks. They seem to think the Pac-12 is a lot stronger than much of America does, as you will see. So I will spare you the videos, and publish their predictions with mine. I have no doubt that they’ll do better than me.

Before we get to the predictions, let’s take a brief look back at the past few weeks. Rivalry weekend went pretty well, but of course we couldn’t help ourselves. The next week would have gone great, but the submarine-shaped Navy bandwagon took about six torpedoes.

But wait, time for a rebound!

Prosperity, we can’t stand it.


One more time with feelin’!

Since we last spoke: 13-7 / $1125

Season Total: 55-61-1 / -$1120

Holiday Bowl - Minnesota (+10/-110) vs. WSU (-10/-110): If not for my outright laziness, I’d have jumped all over this line when it was 6.5. Alas, here we are. This one is a really tough call due to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the Gophers. If WSU can slow down the Minnesota rushing attack, they should —should— win easily. The guess here is that the Cougs somehow do just that.

The Pick: $110 on WSU

Kid Picks: All three boys took WSU because they know what’s good for them.

Foster Farms Bowl - Indiana (+7/-110) vs. Utah (-7/-110): When Indiana (Indiana!!!) fires its coach after a bowl season, you know it isn’t because they underperformed. That makes this one almost as weird as the Holiday Bowl. Utah should be the runaway favorite, but as has become their norm, they coughed and wheezed down the stretch. A month of rest should do them good.

The Pick: $110 on Utah

Kid Picks: Chalk once again, as all three like the Utes.

Alamo Bowl - Oklahoma State (+3/-110) vs. Colorado (-3/-110): This one is tricky. No doubt Colorado should be elated to be here, but they were a game away from the Rose Bowl. Now they’re across the street from the basement where Pee Wee Herman’s bike is sitting. Still, they’re more excited to be there than Oklahoma State, and Colorado is one of the few teams that has the secondary to match Oklahoma State’s skill players.

The Pick: $110 on Ralphie

Kid Picks: Carson and Tyson both like Colorado, but Jackson is entranced by Mike Gundy’s spectacular mullet, which made the Cowboys his pick to click.

Sun Bowl - North Carolina (+4/-110) vs. Stanford (-4/-110): Like most WSU and Miami fans last season, and like every Stanford fan this season, Christian McCaffrey decided to stay behind rather than head to El Paso. Stanford hasn’t beaten a good team since mid-September. North Carolina isn’t anything special, but they’re not bad either. Aside - why the hell did the ACC sign up to put a team in this bowl?

The Pick: $110 on Mitch and the Trubiskies

Kid Picks: Hive mind returns, as all three took Stanford. Maybe we should double back and tell them McCaffrey decided to take a knee.

Peach Bowl - Alabama (-15/-110) vs. Washington (+15/-110): There is exactly one coach I trust more with an extended amount of time to prepare for a game than Chris Petersen. The problem for Washington is that guy is on the other sideline. Ok, I’d also take Urban Meyer. Nevertheless, the key for Washington is to keep the game within single digits at halftime. Alabama led most of its opponents by 14 or more at halftime this season, and they NEVER let those opponents back in it. If UW is down by 13+, forget it.

I think UW will be down by less than 13, something like 14-10 or so. Washington has the fastest collection of skill players that Alabama has seen all season, as the SEC was pretty damn bad in 2016. The problem is that Alabama’s combo of size and speed in the front seven will be nothing like UW has ever seen. This game won’t be a nail-biter, but UW will make it, as Lee Corso likes to say, closer than the experts think.

The Pick: $110 on Washington

Kid Picks: I think you know better than to wonder who the boys all took, even though they could have had 15 points. Tyson predicts a 35-10 final, while Jackson said Bama would win by 92.

Rose Bowl - Penn State (+6.5/-105) vs. USC (-6.5/-115): There was no bigger in-season turnaround than the one in State College. At one point this season, Penn State was a home underdog to Maryland, after having needed OT to beat Minnesota. They didn’t lose again. But there’s something about a Big Ten team coming west to face a faster, more skilled Pac-10/12 team. That something ends with a Big Ten loss.

The Pick: $230 on Traveler

Kid Picks: The B1G disrespect tour continues! All three boys like USC.

Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State (-3/-110) vs. Clemson (+3/-110): This should be a much more fun game than the other semifinal, if only because the teams are more evenly matched. I’ll be honest, I’m going with Clemson because I can’t stand the thought of Alabama and Ohio State fans taking over this area for an entire week.

This area is so overrun by people from Ohio that I honestly think there are more Ohio natives in Tampa than Florida natives. They’re freaking everywhere. I can’t say I blame them, though. Would you stay in Ohio if you didn’t have to? Me neither. Where were we? Oh yeah.

The Pick: $110 on Climpson

Kid Picks: All three boys like Clemson because their dads went to a game there one time and brought them back presents.

A few final quick-hitters just because:

Russell Athletic Bowl - Miami (-3/-105) vs. West Virginia (+3/-115): The line opened as a Pick ‘em, and has since shifted a full three points. Time to fade the public.

The Pick: $115 on Holgo

That Motor Lodge by the Airport Cactus Bowl - Baylor (+7.5/-110) vs. Boise State (-7.5/-110): Pretty simple...Boise State wants to be there, and Baylor wants to be anywhere else.

The Pick: $550 on Boise State

Some Mortgage Company I’ve Never Heard of but Almost Certainly Does Half Its Business via Adjustable Rate Mortgages Bowl - Air Force (-13.5/-110) vs. South Alabama (+13.5/-110): Who wins in a matchup between the US Air Force Academy and USA? AMERICA, THAT’S WHO. In the span of eight days, South Alabama needed OT to beat something called Nicholls State, then beat MWC champ San Diego State by 18. Talk about maddeningly inconsistent.

Well, they ain’t seen nothing like a bunch of entitled pr**ks who think they’re all gonna be fighter pilots in 18 months, but most of whom will actually be sitting in a metal box flying a remotely-piloted aircraft on the other side of the globe.

The Pick: $14,300 on the wild blue yonder (If you’re still reading this, you’ve noticed that I keep upping that ante as my teams keep losing).

We Aren’t Tampa but We Somehow Organized a Bowl Game in a Terrible Baseball Stadium Without a Sponsor in St. Petersburg Bowl - Mississippi St (-13.5/-110) vs. Miami, OH (+13.5/-110): Miami was the anti-Baylor this season, starting 0-6 and finishing 6-6. Mississippi St. lost to South Alabama and boatraced Texas A&M. College kids! My sister-in-law and her husband are Miami, OH grads, and they actually want to go to this game. So guess who will be hanging in St. Pete the day after Christmas??!! This guy. Better than going to the mall, certainly, maybe, we’ll call it a wash.

The Pick: Give me more cowbell for $3300

But Seriously All We Have in Idaho is Potatoes so We’re Calling Them “Famous” Bowl - Idaho (+14/-110) vs. Colorado State (-14/-110): Yeah, so Idaho is easily the worst eight-win team in America. Colorado State ended the season on fire, beating New Mexico by 18, then beating eventual MWC champ San Diego St. by 32. In honor of Paul Petrino, let’s call this one more “F**k you” bet for 2016.

The Pick: $1320 on CSU

EDIT: Looking pretty solid so far!

But wait, there’s more!

Welp, this is getting embarrassing, even for me. UNTIL...

That, combined with upping the ante (in a HUGE way) on the Air Force game, which wasn’t exactly looking good after a quarter or so, has us feeling better about ourselves.

Where we stand (during the Peach Bowl):

Bowl Record: 2-7

Overall Record: 57-68-1

Cash Balance: +$5675 (HELL YEAH USAFA)

And with that, we’ve reached the end of yet another pretend gambling season. Sincere thanks to those of you who somehow slogged through thousands of rambling words, especially to all of you who played along. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing. I also hope you faded my picks and made yourself some real scratch. See you in 2017.