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

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Hurricane Irma Approaches Puerto Rico Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images

We’re back. We never really left. Well, we never left the state of Florida, anyway. The homepage headline is brought to you by Robert Zimmerman. You might know him as Bob Dylan. Personally, I’ve never really cared much for his nasally, high-pitched tone. I couldn’t name more than a couple Bob Dylan songs. As a singer, meh. But as a writer, he’s a genius.

The full line is from a song called Subterranean Homesick Blues, and the full lyric is “you don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” How is this related to gambling on sports? Well, none of us are weathermen (weatherpeople?) and I sure as hell don’t know which way the wind blows when it comes to picking games.

I also love that line because it reflects the situation with which I was faced last week as Hurricane Irma bore down on my home. I didn’t need to be a weatherman to know that I should take wife and sons of Gamble-Tron and didi mao (look it up). So that’s exactly what we did, which is why there was no column last weekend. We still made picks, though.

6-3! Not too bad! That five-gamer at the end saved our bacon.

Season Record: 10-9-1

Cash Balance: -$90

Why I’m a genius: I may have taken a week to figure out that snake oil salesman Todd Graham’s team sucks, but at least it only took a week. That team is bad. Same with Arizona. Matter of fact, if you just fade those two teams all season, you’ll probably do ok. I don’t know if Utah will be that great this season, but hoo boy is BYU bad right now.

The Clemson line seemed a bit low, even though they’re now Watson-less. But that defense. Wow, that defense. They weren’t the only team from South Carolina who helped me out, as the Gamecocks beat overrated NC State in Week One. Shoulda put on my big boy pants and bet the money line. Oh well.

Why I’m an idiot: Well for one thing, I didn’t know Texas State was an FBS program, which is why I didn’t predict the game against Colorado. I guess everybody is FBS now. When that WSU line crept up to 10, I was prepared to pound BSU, but some people (not naming names but they write for a website that rhymes with ZougBenter) kept talking about how WSU would win in a laugher. I’m an idiot because I allowed myself to fall into the trap.

I thought UCLA was in a huge letdown spot, and I also thought Hawaii was just not bad enough to hang within three TDs. Nope. As far as the first week, I let myself get too enamored with Colorado State. That...did not go well. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t let USC’s so-so performance influence my decision to go against them last week. Zero for two!

Arizona (-22.5/-110) at UTEP (+22.5/-110): The jury is probably still out on whether Arizona is a bad team. The jury is absolutely, positively in regarding its UTEP verdict. They are horribad. How horribad? They lost to Rice, at home, by 17. At least Arizona hung tough with Houston? That’s where we’re at with the Wildcats. This is a very early-season broken windshield game. If you park your car and leave two tickets on the dashboard, somebody in El Paso will break your windshield and leave two more. Gonna plug my nose and lay the points.

The Pick: $110 on Arizona

UCLA (-3/-110) at Memphis (+3/-110): How good is UCLA? Granted, they staged that epic comeback two weeks ago, then left no doubt last week. And Josh Rosen appears to be reaping that enormous potential. Memphis looked less-than-stellar against UL Monroe, then had a Hurricane Irma-related bye last week. Now they get a home game against a UCLA team playing one of those dreaded 9AM body clock games. While we weren’t looking, Memphis became a football school. UCLA never will be.

The Pick: $110 on Memphis

OSU (+21/-110) at WSU (-21/-110): This game opened at WSU -16 and took approximately 25 seconds to move to WSU -21. Is OSU that bad? Is WSU that good? I think I know the answer to both. To give you an idea of how bad OSU is, I’ve heard the same line after both of their blowout losses, “that loss wasn’t as bad as the final score shows.” Uh, when those losses pile up, they certainly are as bad as the score indicates.

The funny part is that this was supposed to be the year when OSU competed for a bowl game. Now they might be lucky to win three games. To give you another idea of how bad OSU is, Minnesota beat them by 34 last week, and threw eight (!!!) passes. They completed seven, for 158 yards. Now OSU has two starting corners out and a safety who is suspended for the first half. Given all that, I still don’t want to lay that many points. Goddamnit, Cougs. You better win by 31. You’ll probably win by six.

The Pick: $110 on WSU

Oregon (-14/-110) at Wyoming (+14/-110): I circled this game about four months ago as one that Oregon would probably lose. Then Wyoming went to Iowa and crapped the bed, while Oregon appears to be ahead of schedule on the road back (we’ll ignore that pesky 2nd half). Wyoming could only muster 27 points on something called Gardner-Webb last week. That is not exactly confidence-inspiring.

I’m placing my confidence in Craig Bohl and the altitude here. I’m certainly not placing any in overrated Josh Allen, who looks likely to be next year’s NFL Draft version of Jake Locker (scouts drool while the rest of America knows he’s secretly bad). I think Oregon could blow the lid off the Cowboys. For some reason, I can’t shake my initial lean.

The Pick: $110 on the Pokes

ASU (+7/-110) at Texas Tech (-7/-110): The over/under on this game is 76. Does anyone think there’s any way these teams combine for less than 85 points? Texas Tech is certainly going to score a lot. I know this because ASU has a defensive rotation of exactly 12 people. You may not know this, but 11 of those 12 are on the field at the same time. I’m sure they’ll be fine against a hurry-up spread team like Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are to defense what Mitch Levy is to legitimate massages. That means loads of...points. Normally I’d take those points in a shootout (my god the metaphors keep coming), but I’m gonna lay them here. STOP IT

The Pick: Guns Up for $110

Texas (+16.5/-110) at USC (-16.5/-110): The Trojans did quite the about face between weeks one and two. The Longhorns continue to be the Longhorns. That is, they aren’t very good. One fun fact: Tom Herman is 6-0 against ranked teams. Another fun fact: Herman was unbeaten at Houston as an underdog. His team didn’t just cover every time, they won every time. Texas won’t win this one, but they’ll be ready to play, and USC might have just enough of a letdown to keep this inside the spread.

The Pick: Hook ‘em for $110

San Jose St (+26.5/-110) at Utah (-26.5/-110): Utah has looked pretty good. San Jose State has, uh, not looked very good. This game should be 38-10. I’ll probably be 38-13.

The Pick: $110 on Utah

Fresno St (+33/-110) at Washington (-33/-110): The UW cupcake tour continues. Fresno was able to take advantage of the fact that Alabama never covers the point spread in bodybag games. UW is funny because they had kinda sorta struggled with Rutgers, who turned around and lost to Eastern Michigan. I’m going to regret laying this many points. I’m doing it anyway.

The Pick: Bow down to a joke of a schedule for $110

Ole Miss (-3.5/-110) at Cal (+3.5/-110): Cal has looked less terrible than we may have thought, especially given how they won at North Carolina. Then they went back home and struggled to beat an FCS team. Ole Miss is a mystery, what with all the rampant cheating (both via illegal payments and illegal escort services). Even so, they have a far more talented quarterback in Shea Patterson, and should win this by at least seven points even though they haven’t looked great so far.

The Pick: $110 on The Former Freezus Freaks

Stanford (-9/-110) at San Diego St (+9/-110): First glance: TOO MANY POINTS. Second glance: Stanford ran into a buzz saw last weekend, and is better than they showed. Tough to see San Diego State hanging with a Pac-12 team for the second week in a row (if we’re still counting ASU as a Pac-12 team). Stanford needs to rebound, and they will. Unless they don’t.

The Pick: $110 on Stanford

Purdue (+7.5/-110) at Missouri (-7.5/-110): What’s that noise? It appears to be near some railroad tracks. ALL ABOARD THE JEFF BROHM HYPE TRAIN!

The Pick: Boiler Up for $110

Bowling Green at Northwestern (O/U 57): Northwestern hardly ever plays in a game that goes above 50, and you’re giving me an extra touchdown? Yes please.

The Pick: $110 on the Under

Now time for the “I’m going to regret this money line upset of the week.” Mississippi State really needs this game. LSU hasn’t been tested, and they’re headed into the lion’s den. The Bulldogs are fired up, and Dan Mullen might even beat a good team for once.

The Pick: $100 on the Cow Bell (+250)

It’s good to be back. It’s also good to have a roof and power. Happy gambling.