Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vegas Rundown - Week 1

I am not sure how my fellow PS contributors are going to write their columns, but in my little corner of the world we are going to talk point spreads and betting trends. Who really cares if I pick Minnesota to beat UNLV Thursday if I don’t talk about how I am going to bet it? Football has become a multi-billion dollar business because of gambling and when you live in the greatest gambling destination in the world all games are viewed through a jaded pair of lenses that think only of potential profits. Anyway, you can take my picks or leave them, I really don’t care. The one thing that I can guarantee is that you will be second guessing those bets you made legally or illegally after reading this column. Take them or leave them, but here are my thoughts on Week 1.

BYU Cougars v. Washington State Cougars – Thursday, August 30, 7:15 PST - ESPN 

The Cougar Bowl! Get your mind out of the gutter, this game is being played in wholesome Provo, UT and that is precisely why I like BYU in this game. What team with 29 seniors and 14 returning starters would not want to start their season on a Thursday night at home? Plus, this game is being nationally televised, Washington State has been down so long, when was the last time anyone even saw them on TV? The big question here is has Washington State’s new head ball coach Mike Leach had enough time to install his unique brand of the spread offense? I personally don’t think so .The lights are going to be too bright on the national stage for a program looking to make their first steps back toward legitimacy. While Leach has 14 returning starters, they are all learning new systems. Funny thing about this pick is, I am actually going against the public (75% of spread wagers are on WSU) and telling you to give the 12 ½ points and take BYU at home. However, there is one possible problem for the Mormon faithful: Mitt Romney will be accepting the Republican nomination for President of the United States sometime around kickoff and he is a BYU alum. My advice to the BYU fans, TIVO the speech and GO TO THE GAME!

Boise State Broncos v. Michigan State Spartans – Friday, August 31, 5:00 PST - ESPN 
This one is simply a numbers game to me. Boise State lost most of their freaking team after last season and Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the country with 8 returning starters. Plus, I have bet against Boise State opening weekend each of the last three years. Oregon let me down first and it was so upsetting to the team that they lost to Boise State the starting Oregon RB clocked Boise State player in the jaw right in front of the ESPN cameras. The next two years were just as disappointing when Boise State was able to head east for neutral site games and humiliate Virginia Tech and Georgia is consecutive years. There is NO WAY they are going to East Lansing and pull off the defeat of four BCS conference teams in four consecutive years. Give the 7 points and bet big on Michigan State.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. Naval Academy Midshipmen – Saturday, September 1, 6:00 a.m. PST – CBS 
Talk about a road trip! This game is being played on the Emerald Island itself with every drunken green painted ND grad who could scrape together the travel funds in attendance. This is a tough game to get a handle on, but if you were travelling overseas to play a college football game, would you not trust future members of the United States Military to be the team to keep their cool and not let the excitement of the travel interfere with game preparation? You would think so, but I am not so sure. ND crushed Navy last year 56-14, but that was in mid-season. I believe with this being the first game of the season, coupled with the travel and ND starting a new quarterback in Everett Golson that the play may be the under. Currently the over/under is sitting at 55, it started the betting year at 61 and has been bet down to the 55,however I think there is still some room in there for a nice value bet on the under. The big question is if any Irish folks will be protesting the mascot of Notre Dame as being derogatory? That would be awesome, especially if a fight broke out between the Irish fans and the actual Irish and it would truly be the Fighting Irish!

Southern Miss Golden Eagles v. Nebraska Cornhuskers – Saturday, September 1, 12:30 PST – ABC 
This one is pretty straight forward, Southern Miss had a hell of season last year and this line only being 20 in favor of Nebraska reflects that. Southern Miss has lost their QB and 5 leading defenders from last year’s squad and Nebraska is loaded and they bring back a more seasoned Taylor Martinez at the QB spot. Look for Nebraska to roll in this one and win big in home sweet home Lincoln.

Alabama Crimson Tide v. Michigan Wolverines – Saturday, September 1, 5:00 PST – ABC 
The story goes that Alabama does not rebuild, they reload and that may very well be the case this year. Nick Saban could be one of the greatest football minds any of us will get the chance to see and you can bet his players have heard that winning the MNC last year means absolutely nothing if they go out and get beat by Michigan. The wildcard in this game will be talented Denard Robinson, but will he be on the field enough to make a difference? Alabama returns what could be the best offensive line in the country and they have a very talented and physical RB in Eddie Lacy Jr. Look for this game to be an advanced version of the game “keep away” that we all played as kids, resulting in Denard just not getting enough opportunities. My prediction for this game is Bama 24 -14, but with the Tide being favored by as much as 14 this may be an excellent opportunity to bet the underdog.

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