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

What even is life

Sugar Beet Harvest Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Welcome back. Let’s be real, last week sucked. Sucked hard. Not only did our beloved Cougs leave Los Angeles with a 3-1 - should have been 4-0 - record, the Gamble-Tron, while not necessarily careening back to earth, certainly didn’t come anywhere close to the great results of the week before. Instead, it was yet another weekend of frustration, when a couple close losses, combined with a couple (in hindsight) head-scratching selections made for a crappy taste in our mouths.

But despite the fact that neither the Gamble-Tron nor the Cougars emerged on the upside last week, we shall forge ahead. While CougCenter would be much better off without the Gamble-Tron, and especially its author, weekends wouldn’t be nearly as fun if there weren’t games to place pretend money on. Let’s go!

In addition to the picks here last week, we threw out yet another mixed bag on Twitter.

Why I’m a genius: Yeah, can’t say I’m smart for taking Stanford. 99 times of 100, they lose that one. I may not be able to pick a point spread correctly when it comes to Washington, but I do know that not many points go on the scoreboard in their games. It was pretty clear that Kansas wasn’t nearly as good as their previous two weeks. That line was way too low, especially for a road game.

Army, I only thought Oklahoma would decide not to run up the score on you, and there you were with several chances to win the game! Wish you’d have closed that one out. What I said about Kansas? Yeah, same with Vanderbilt. South Carolina is way better. Purdue! You finally did it! Outright even!

Why I’m an idiot: Well for one thing I forgot that I took Georgia here, so I also took them on my Twitter picks, with the same line. Doofus. Didn’t think WSU would be within 10 points of USC. The worst case scenario for every WSU fan/gambler is when you bet on the opponent, and not only lose the wager but the Cougs lose the game. I’m genuinely surprised that Washington seems nothing more than above average. Come on, guys.

I picked the wrong week to think that both Arizona was as bad as they’d looked and that OSU was as not terrible as thy seemed. Lol nope. Last week I finally jumped on “Alabama minus anything” so of course they reverted to “Alabama minus a fair amount but not as much.” Notre Dame just had to go with former WSU commit Ian Book, who was apparently the missing link in the inert offense. Thanks, Brian. Pitt - Yuck. I mean, just, blech.

Finally, there’s a special place in hell for you, Iowa and Wisconsin. With fewer than 70 seconds remaining, with the total sitting at 42.5, the score was 17-14. Wisconsin scores a go-ahead touchdown. No problem, we’re still good. Then Iowa throws an interception, and Wisconsin, trying nothing more than to run out the clock RUNS A MISDIRECTION PLAY THAT RESULTS IN A FULLBACK GOING 33 YARDS UNTOUCHED (THAT’S RIGHT A BIG SLOW WHITE FULLBACK) TO PUT THE GAME OVER THE THRESHOLD WHY GOD WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO FREAKING MUCH. But seriously if I’d had actual money on that game I might have gone for a pack of smokes and never come home.

Ok, I’ve taken two or six hundred breaths into a paper bag and so let’s do some picks.

Last Week: 6-7-1

Season Total: 34-28-2

Cash Balance: $8,220

Reader Results: 15 people this week. This is great!

  • MagicCoug: 3-4-1 / -$140
  • cougbud: 4-3-1 / -$30.10
  • .:R: 2-5-1 / -$350
  • Keith_Clark_: 3-1 / $190
  • 425CougFan: 2-2 / -$460
  • stewak: 4-2 / $235
  • MyHopesareAsinine: 4-4 / $60 (I do like the stones to call the WSU upset. Shoulda happened)
  • cfred: 5-2-1 / $280
  • BothwaysUphill: 6-1-1(!) / $490
  • cmaddex: 3-1 / $190
  • cougman the II: 4-2-1 / $180
  • wsubrady27: 3-4-1 / -$140 (and a belated welcome!)
  • ThaiCoug: 5-1-1 / $590 (going to assume you meant Arizona when you typed “AS”
  • Hockeycoug: 2-1 / $490
  • CougarCottage: 3-0 / $630 (better than 2 of 3!)

UCLA (+10/-110) at Colorado (-10/-110): UCLA isn’t as bad as it’s looked so far, is it? On the flip side, the Buffaloes aren’t as good as they’ve looked, are they? How good does that squeaker at Nebraska look now? Then again, nobody will ever be able to erase Fresno State’s murderkill of the Bruins a couple weeks ago. The guess here is that the Bruins play better when they’re away from home. Another guess here is that I’m a moron. Well, there’s not really any guesswork involved there.

Maybe the Buffaloes go full-on Chip this week. Also, that’s a great name for Colorado’s costumed mascot.

The Pick: $110 on UCLA

Utah (-1.5/-110) at WSU (+1.5/-110): This line opened at WSU -2 and has gone more than a field goal toward Utah. I mean, huh? There seems to be lots of money behind the idea that Utah is a good team. I don’t think Utah is very good. Matter of fact, I was set to take the Cougs minus a field goal. I’ll probably regret this, but I am slapping the table and yelling “I believe!” Please don’t make me regret this, fellas.

The Pick: $220 on the good guys

OSU (+22/-110) at ASU (-22/-110): TOO MANY POINTS. Look, I know the Beavers suck. And I know Team Herm has looked better than expected. But ASU just doesn’t seem like the type of team that blows the doors off other Power Five schools, or Oregon State. They’re content with chewing clock, making first downs and leaving with a win. At this point, the Beavs are good with not losing by three touchdowns. Hopefully everything works out!

The Pick: $110 on the guy whose name matches that of the lead character from Highway to Heaven

BYU (+17/-110) at Washington (-17/-110): Isn’t BYU an Arizona State clone? Take the air out of the ball, chew clock and get the hell out of there with a win. Meanwhile, does UW scare anyone when their offense is on the field? I mean, besides their own fans and WSU? The guess here is that Squally Canada transferred to BYU so he could have a realistic chance to beat Washington.

The Pick: $110 on Brother Price and Or-lan-dooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! and another $220 on Under 46

USC (-3/-110) at Arizona (+3/-110): Yikes. This is a doozy. Is USC really coming around or did they just get lucky against WSU? Did Arizona get unlucky with their early schedule, meaning they don’t suck nearly as bad as we thought? In a small sample size sport, every week is a kaleidoscope, and both of these teams are constantly screwing with the mirrors. USC is 0-4 ATS this year. Due theory! That always pays, right? RIGHT?!

The Pick: $110 on USC

Stanford (+5.5/-110) at Notre Dame (-5.5/-110): So what would this line be if that Oregon player’s foot hadn’t hit the pylon? The guess here is it would be more than a touchdown. That means that the Cardinal are overvalued, based largely on the Ducks melting into Puddles. Emotional comeback road followed by another road game is not a recipe for success.

The Pick: $110 on Notre Dame

Oregon (-3/-110) at Cal (+3/-110): Speaking of Oregon, this week is a true test for Mario Cristobal. Will he be able to rally the troops following that epic collapse? It’s not like they get to play a cupcake. No, they’re going on the road to face a ranked Cal team. And they’re giving points? If Vegas is giving, I’m taking. This means Vegas will almost certainly give me a loser of a betting slip but whatever. Ah screw it, I don’t think Cal is as good as the pollsters do. Let's pull another Costanza.

The Pick: $110 on Cal Oregon

Old Dominion (+7/-110) at East Carolina (-7/-110): Let. Down. City.

The Pick: $110 on the Pirates

Pitt (+13/-110) at Central Florida (-13/-110): This is strictly a spite pick, after Pitt crapped all over themselves against North Carolina. Spite picks always work out. Always.

The Pick: $330 on the Knights

West Virginia (-3.5/-110) at Texas Tech (+3.5/-110): I still recall 2012, when #5 West Virginia was riding high, and Geno Smith had all but wrapped up the Heisman as they rolled into Lubbock. The Mountaineers lost by five...touchdowns. Anyway, the ‘Neers are better this year, and I don’t think Texas Tech is as good as they looked last week.

The Pick: $110 on West-by God-Virginny

I’ll be celebrating Oktoberfest in Stuttgart when the games kick on Saturday, but maybe I’ll throw out some bier-inspired picks. Gehe Pumas!