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Pac-12 Football Odds and Picks: The Gamble-Tron, Turkey Day edition

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Turkeys Raised On California Farm Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Good day. Let me be the first to tell you “season’s greetings” or whatever you choose to say around this time of year. Here at team Gamble-Tron, we don’t care what time of year it is as long as football is on, which means we care that it’s fall, which means that we actually do care what time of year it is. Forget I said anything.

This is the time of year to give thanks...thanks for family (as long as they aren’t at your house bothering you). Thanks for being young (even though Father Time is undefeated and you’re next in the ring). Thanks for being old (because you are waaaaaay smarter today than when you were young but still getting up in the morning hurts for no reason ok don’t give thanks for being old). Thanks that you didn’t go to Washington (I mean, sure, you win the Apple Cup every year, but you still get confused for Washington State anyway and you’ll never be USC on the field or Stanford in the classroom).

What are we thankful for here at Gamble-Tron headquarters? Well, first and foremost, we’re thankful for Rashaad Penny. Why? More on that in a bit. We’re thankful for our beautiful wife and great (at times) boys. We’re also thankful for you, the reader(s). Back in 2014, when Jeff Nusser and Mark Sandritter (RIP) went against their better judgment and offered me a chance to write for this website, the only thing I wanted to do was write a gambling column. Mission accomplished.

Even though the picks have largely been a crap sandwich, and even though my losses piss me off, it’s still totally worth it, and there is not enough space on the internet to express my gratitude for the editors letting me behind the curtain, and for you folks who read every week. I sincerely appreciate it.

Before we got to the Pac-12 games last week, we decided to get a bit of a jump on the weekend with some #MACtion.

Good start! Let’s see if we can keep it going!

So yeah, I went to embed my tweet that took the Under in Tulsa-South Florida. But instead of selecting “copy link to tweet” I selected “delete.” Yup, I’m a moron. But anyway I swear I tweeted that, and it won. So before the weekend, we were up pretty big!

So of course we put on the skis and decided to lean waaaaaaay out there. It ended predictably.

Back to square one!

Why I’m a genius: Had a feeling Oregon would look like a different team with Justin Herbert back at quarterback. Had no idea Oregon would shut down Khalil Tate. Stanford doesn’t seem like the kind of team that blows anybody out. They’re lucky Bryce Love exists. Miami was in such an obvious trap spot, and they damn near covered anyway. But they didn’t! All hail my man Lane and the Owls!

Why I’m an idiot: Well, for one thing, I made that Va Tech pick even though I didn’t like it that much. Then I picked a team (OSU) who hadn’t beaten an FBS opponent all season, and hadn’t come very close in most of those losses. Yuck. So nice of USC to turn in another patented performance where they sleepwalk through the game when they should win by 28.

I thought Washington was a lot better than crappy Utah. Turns out Washington is worse than crappy Utah and should have lost. Speaking of crappy: Iowa, come on down. The further we get from Iowa 55, Ohio State 24, the more bizarre it looks. Ohio State has mowed down two straight opponents, while Iowa has completely crapped themselves, including a total no-show against Purdue. At home. On Senior Day. DID I MENTION THEY WERE PLAYING PURDUE??!!

But back to Rashaad Penny. Why am I thankful for the San Diego State running back? Here’s why:

The first time I turned this game on, Nevada was up 10-0. Not good! Enter Mr. Penny, who took a punt 70 yards for a score, carried the ball 24 times for 222 yards and two more scores. He also housed a 100-yard kick return. If not for him, we’d be in REALLY deep. Instead, we’re...well...at least we’re treading water.

Last Week: 7-5

Season Total: 66-66-5

Cash Balance: $90 (BACK IN BLACK BABY)

Before we get to what used to be Rivalry Week, we (hopefully) took advantage of some openers, hoping to gain an edge.

Fingers crossed!

Cal (+7/-110) at UCLA (-7/-105): Like many teams, Cal is far different when it plays on the road. This game is somewhat interesting in that, like another game below, the winner goes to a bowl game, while the loser stays home. It seems like Cal has already accomplished far more than many, myself included, thought they would in 2017. Feels like Josh Rosen goes out with a big game, as UCLA gets ready to introduce Kevin Sumlin as its next coach.

The Pick: $105 on UCLA

WSU (+10/-110) at UW (-10/-110): Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 70 percent of the time (which actually feels like 99.99 percent of the time), shame on me.

The Pick: $110 on El Guapo

Colorado (+11/-110) at Utah (-11/-110): The most humorous part about this game is the contingent of Colorado and Utah fans who insist that we call it the “Rumble in the Rockies.” Yeah, no. That’s a clunky name for a non-rivalry. The Utes should bounce back from their monumental choke job last week, but Colorado is rested and will at least keep this one close.

The Pick: $110 on the Buffs

Notre Dame (-2.5/-110) at Stanford (+2.5/-110): I’ve gone back and forth on this game more often than Donald Trump tweets about Lavar Ball. In the end, I can’t get over how damn funny it would be to see an 8-4 team playing in the Pac-12 title game. Yeah, it would be sad and maybe even pathetic, but still funny. If you’re a Stanford fan, you’re hoping that Bryce Love’s ankle gets another dose of whatever it got at halftime of the last two games. I don’t think it’ll be enough.

The Pick: $110 on Notre Dame

Arizona (-2/-110) at ASU (+2/-110): This one opened as a PK, and has swung to as much as Arizona -2.5 in some places. I want to pick ASU here, really. But it’s so hard to go against Khalil Tate, especially when he’s not facing Jim Leavitt. And with the exception of those two magical weeks in October, the Sun Devils haven’t been anything special.

The Pick: $110 on Arizona

OSU (+24/-110) at Oregon (-24/-110): Let’s be honest, I’d take Oregon if this line were a touchdown higher. They’re at home, they have their QB1 back, and they are actually in the revenge position after losing in Corvallis last season. There’s a comedy aspect to this as well, seeing as how Willie Taggart is coaching in his first Civil War which could also be his last Civil War.

The Pick: $330 on Oregon

Georgia Southern (+6/-110) at Louisiana-Lafayette (-6/-110): The Ragin’ Cajuns haven’t been anything special this season, but we’re going to do a little actual analysis here (I know, why start now?) Georgia Southern won its first game of the season last week, which means this line is skewed a point or two. At least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

The Pick: $110 on Louisiana

BYU (-3/-110) at Hawaii (+3/-110): This is a bit curious. Sure, Hawaii stinks like usual. And sure, BYU is usually pretty good. But BYU sucks this year, and they’re down to their 3rd-string, freshman quarterback. Hawaii seems to play much much better at home, so I’ll happily take those points.

The Pick: $110 on the Rainbows