Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vegas Rundown - Week 6

Last weekend was a lot of fun and we made a little cash as well. This weekend the task of picking winners gets exponentially more difficult. I am not sure why, but it is almost like two different seasons. Conference play is a different animal than the first five weeks of the season. We saw a little of this last weekend with Wisconsin’s performance in Lincoln, I for one did not expect them to play as well as they did. Wisconsin looked terrible through out-of-conference play, but looked like a different team in their Big 10 opener. We will see this repeated across the country this weekend as teams begin their annual match-ups with conference foes they see every year. Because they see them so often, they know their playbook and tendencies well.

I am going to confess that this week’s picks are probably not as well researched as prior weeks. As I write this, I am in beautiful Northern Nevada watching the New York Yankees play game #162 which will determine the American League East Crown and trying to prepare for my civic duty of voting by watching the Presidential Debate on TV. So I am a little distracted and I am out of my Vegas comfort zone, but the hours of dedicated preparation in previous weeks should pay off and aid in this week’s selections.

So here are the picks for this week, as always take them or leave them, I still don’t care.

Miami Hurricanes v. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Saturday, 4:30 pm PST (ND -13, O/U 51.5)

This one is purely to go against the public. The line opened with Notre Dame -9.5 and has been bet up to 13. The real question is will Miami show up to play or will they give the same effort they did on the road against K-state? I think Miami comes out fired up for this game. It is at night in South Bend, that will be stark contrast to their other big road game which was a noon start in the middle of a Kansas corn field. Also, we really don’t know what type of team Notre Dame has this year having only played the Big 10 and Navy. If the Big 10 is as bad as it has looked in the past few weeks there may be some over value being placed on some of Notre Dame’s wins. I know Coach Lou has them penciled in for a BCS or even National Championship game, but I am not sold yet. They should win this game, but 13 is a lot of points to give up. If they perform well this week then maybe it will be time to start thinking about a big season for the Irish.

The Pick: Miami -13

Oklahoma Sooners v. Texas Tech Red Raiders, Saturday, 12:30 pm PST (OK -6, O/U 58) 
Texas Tech defeated the Sooners last season 41 - 38 in Norman and don’t think that Coach Stoops has forgotten. Oklahoma is coming off a tough loss to Kansas State, but had a week off to prepare for Tech’s offense. I think Iowa State put a pretty good game plan on film for how to contain the Red Raider offense. Several experts thought Oklahoma had the talent to play for a National Championship and that talent does not go away just because you lose a close game early in the season. In watching the Red Raiders play last week I don’t think they have the athletes to compete with Oklahoma, especially since this is a revenge game and Oklahoma is coming off a loss last week. Like I have said before, good teams make someone pay for a loss, this week the Red Raiders get to pay up.

The Pick: Sooners -6

Virginia Cavaliers v. Duke Blue Devils, 12:00 pm PST (Duke -1, O/U 57) 
It is hard to take Duke being favored seriously, but they typically play Virginia tough and have won a few games in this series in recent years. However, I think Virginia has played the tougher schedule and is paying the price for some losses to those quality opponents in regard to this line. Duke’s offense may be the real deal, but it is hard to determine with the competition they have played. If Florida State did not get any credit for beating Wake Forest, then I am not giving any to Duke either. Duke was blown out by Stanford, their only substantial opponent of the season. I am going with UVA on the road to win a close one.

The Pick: Virginia +1

Louisiana State Tiger v. Florida Gators, 12:30 pm PST (LSU -2.5, O/U 42.5) 
If you like defense, then this may be the game of the week for you. Both squads bring very athletic and capable defenses to the match-up. The real question is what are we going to see from the offenses? I think the Gators may be a little better on this side of the ball. If Gator QB Jeff Driskel has a solid game and takes care of the ball, then I think the Gators have a shot. The Gator offense is averaging 6.2 yards per  play and have done this in their two biggest games (Texas AM, Tennessee) which were on the road. It is about time for some of the top teams to start falling by the way side and I think the first pretender to go is LSU. An interesting betting angle for this game may be the O/U, but the value may now be on the over, it opened at 44.5 and has been bet down to 41.5 is some places.

The Pick: Florida +2.5

West Virginia Mountaineers v. Texas Longhorns, 4:00 pm PST (TX -6.5, O/U 75) 
We have all heard the statement that “defense wins championships.” Someone in the Big 12 needs to step up and play some defense after last week’s debacle in Morgantown. I applaud Geno Smith on his stellar performance against the 12 year olds that were wearing the Baylor Bear uniforms last week. And because of it, he is probably the front runner for the Heisman at this point. However, I think it will be a little bit different story this week in Austin. West Virginia will still put up points, but they are playing a Longhorn team that can run the ball and control the clock. I have to admit I was disappointed with the Longhorn Defense last weekend against Oklahoma State, who was starting a Freshman QB. The key this week will be to shorten the game by running the ball effectively and getting at least a few stops when Geno has the ball. Even though there are still questions surrounding the Longhorn defense after last week in Stillwater, I believe they will have just enough to win along the lines of 48 – 41.

The Pick: Texas -6.5

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