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College Football Gambling Season is Upon Us

Where do the Cougs stand in their win projection?

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 Washington State Spring Game Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning house? Seems like it’s been a while since a Sunday post originated here. And after nearly four years, this will be the last of ‘em, as the second set of movers arrives in a couple days.

In the military, we refer to summertime as PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season, because most moves and associated assignment changes tend to happen between May and August. But in gambling land, summertime is college football totals season! We won’t stake out a position until the games get closer (we’ve had a 2021 review in draft since January because laziness + Master’s project), but we can at least let you know what some of the odds are, and what we kinda like. We will use three different books in the interests of diversity and opportunity to spot market value. Away we go.

First up, your Washington State Cougars.

Caesar’s Sportsbook: 5 (Over -130 / Under +100) 5.5 (Over +140 / Under -165)

DraftKings: 5.5 (Over +125 / Under -145)

Comment: Damn, what a difference a half-game makes! While Caesar’s is juiced to the over at five wins, simply upping that total to 5.5 swings the juice well toward the under. To explain a bit more, if you think the Cougs will win six and make a bowl game, you want to avoid Caesar’s, because you’d have to lay $1.30 to win a dollar. Instead, you want to jump on the Covers total, because a dollar bet nabs you $1.40 in the event WSU gets to six wins.

On the other side, if you think Cam Ward won’t be the panacea we’re all hoping, and instead will spend the majority of his time running from defenders who blew through WSU’s shaky line, you want to take the Caesar’s odds at even money. Even if they land right at 5, you get your money back. You’re getting poor value at Covers and DraftKings if WSU fails to make a bowl game, plus you have to lament the fact that WSU didn’t even get to six!

A few other thoughts:

  • I’m not sure the Stanford Cardinal should have a win total as high as 4.5, especially with a non-conference schedule that includes Notre Dame and BYU. After an opener against Colgate, they probably won’t be the betting favorite again until WSU visits in November. That’s probably why the under is heavily juiced across the board.
  • For the umpteenth time in a row, I am probably going to fade the California Golden Bears, and I’m kind of surprised that their total is 5.5 most places. A look at the schedule reveals why the total is near 6, because the first half of Cal’s schedule includes games against UC Davis, UNLV, Arizona, WSU and Colorado. There’s a very real chance Cal could start 4-2 / 5-1 with Stanford still to come. But I can get even money on the under at Draft Kings and that’s almost certainly what I’m gonna do.
  • There is some real value potential with the Washington Huskies. Their total is 8.5 at Covers, and juiced to the over!!! It’s a full game lower at the other two books, which you rarely see. If you think Washington will win eight or fewer, get your checkbook to Covers immediately and jump on the +115.
  • The USC Trojans at 9/9.5? Caveat emptor.
  • The UCLA Bruins total of 8.5 seems on the nose, but you can get that total at 8 with Covers, and holy smokes, the start and end to that schedule is Charmin soft. For a school like UCLA, the non-conference slate is embarrassing.
  • In another chance to grab value, an enterprising gambler can get +105 on the Arizona State Sun Devils under 6.5 at DraftKings. The thought here is that ASU is teetering on the edge of full-blown grease/dumpster/tire fire territory.

Ok, enough for now. Have a look at the links above and see if you can spot some market inefficiencies!


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This Week in Parenting

I finally got something off my chest a few weeks ago to Mrs. Kendall, as she was talking about who would mow the lawn (she usually does because she likes it for some reason?). “I am done mowing any grass until further notice,” I said, “I have two kids who are of the appropriate age, and it won’t be long until they’re gone and I’m back out there doing it again.” With that, the onus was on the kids.

The first session about a month ago did...not go well. Now, it’s a bit more complicated in this part of the world because most mowers are electric, which is a monumental pain in the ass. But that wasn’t the biggest hitch. No, that would have been the fact that the blade was waaaaaaaay lower than it was originally set at, resulting in at least half the yard looking dead.

Luckily, we’ve had mostly cool and wet weather for a long time and (along with our one-of-a-kind-in-Germany sprinkler system), the lawn is back to (mostly) looking green, even though a large part of that greenery is weeds. They had their second and final crack at it Saturday, and things went well enough that I may even give them a quarter or two for spending money. Once we get back to Florida, they will get to experience the wonderful feeling of cutting the grass in August amid mid-90s temps and mid-90s humidity. Meanwhile, I’ll make sure they’re doing things correctly from my east chair, beer in hand.

Before the kids got to the yard work, we took a quick train trip to Paris. Any time we take a trip, we listen to a podcast or two about things to see and do in the upcoming locale. One thing we heard (and which we have always been aware of) was the pickpockets on the Paris Metro, which we planned to use. Immediately, the boys were on high alert, ensuring that all wallets were zipped up. The teenager even zipped his phone into some sort of “secret pocket.” Fortunately, the trip went off without incident (in that area at least), but it was funny to see their demeanor change once we got on the trains.

An unintended benefit of so many train/metro trips has been the fact that the boys (especially the 10 year-old) have become rather adept at navigating the mazes of major metropolitan subway systems. This was especially evident when I unknowingly jumped on a train that was going to wrong way last Thursday. He quickly pointed it out (EVEN THOUGH THE SIGN UP THE STAIRS CLEARLY POINTED TOWARD WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE THE WRONG DIRECTION), which resulted in a minimal amount of lost time. And thank God for that, because we made our train back home by about two minutes.

Tales From the Road

There are many, since we spent two straight weeks moving around, but a few stick out. You probably haven’t noticed unless it affects you, but the airport security situation in Dublin is, uh, less than ideal. Despite that, we got to bear witness to one of my favorite moments in airport history, thanks to two American idiots. As we were waiting, the lady behind the conveyor belt asked a couple if they had any liquids. “Just a bottle of whisky, but they told us we could bring it.” was the reply. I immediately said “ygbfsm” to Mrs. Kendall.

They then pulled out a 500-700ml bottle of booze that hasn’t been allowed through security in, oh, TWO DECADES OR SO. Here’s hoping the security folks had a good laugh and nice glass of free Irish Whisky at the end of their shifts. I can just see the guy/gal behind the sales counter. “Can you take this on the plane? Oh, for sure! They’ll let you through security with no issue. Will that be cash or card?”

When we got back and hopped the train to Paris, the boys and I went to the refreshments car to buy some lunch. After ordering a beer, some water and three plates of currywurst (which is so yummy), I pulled out my card. It was only then that the guy said, “Sorry, cash only.” Fortunately, I (barely) had enough Euros to pay for it, but I was rather pissed off, and I let him know, saying, “If this is cash-only, that is something you need to tell me before I make my order. People are used to paying with cards in places like this, so we don’t carry a lot of cash. It is very important that you do that.”

It got better (worse?). The total was €31.20, so I gave him two 20s. Then, he has the balls to go, “Can you give me €1.20, and I will give you €10 in change?” He’s fortunate that there wasn’t a shiv within my reach.


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