And yes, this is a blatant rip off of a Sports Guy tactic, but don’t worry, the theft ends here. I won’t be writing about “Survivor” or “Real World” or some kind of parenting scenario that makes about as much sense to someone under 30 as a paragraph written in Sanskrit.
Starting this week we’ll be using the lines from our new friends at BoDog.com. Also, the late twitter plays (@Michael_J_Cox) are 3-0 so look out for those as well. If you’ve been following it, you’ll know that I’ve been all over the anti-public plays the last two weeks and right now TENNESSEE (-14) OVER UAB appears to have the most public action on it. I need to look at that one in a little more detail before I make a decision though.
What the Top 5 Are Doing
#1 Alabama (-7.5) over ARKANSAS*
“Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.“ —Bud Fox
Or if you’re Alabama, it comes down to a whole bunch of moments, all right in a row. This week Alabama hits the front end of an absolutely brutal trifecta: @ Arkansas, vs. Florida, @ South Carolina. Wow! This is why the SEC champion should never be left out of the BCS championship game until it loses one. The Arkansas offense has looked phenomenal so far, but they haven’t faced anything like what they’ll see this week from Alabama, who is in a completely different class than the Georgia team that took Arkansas right to the limit last week. I’m hopping on the Saban bandwagon and riding ‘Bama until they prove me wrong.
#2 OHIO STATE (-44) over Eastern Michigan
“I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things.” —Gordon Gekko
Want a sure thing? Eastern Michigan really sucks at playing football. I’ve also picked against big OSU spreads twice and been wrong both times, so let’s try the other side and see what happens.
Oregon State (+17) over #3 BOISE STATE
“I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.” —Gordon Gekko
The ongoing question of whether Boise State is a real player or not will remain unanswered for yet another week. However, Oregon State is too good to give almost 2.5 TDs to a team that Virginia Tech took down to the wire. Also, this is the last real test for Boise (and it’s still ‘effing September!) so there’s some extra pressure on them. Boise State wins, but I’ll take the 17 points.
#4 TEXAS (-16) over UCLA**
“The main thing about money, Bud, it makes you do things you don’t want to do.” —Lou Manheim
Like staking money on a Texas team two weeks in a row that I don’t trust at all. Look at it this way, though: Sure, UCLA stomped on Houston last week, but that was after the Cougars lost not just their star QB, but also his backup as well. Remember, Stanford shut UCLA out two weeks ago. Now UCLA goes to Austin to face a better Texas team as only 16-point dogs? That doesn’t make sense to me at all.
#5 TCU (-18) over SMU*
“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” —Gordon Gekko
TCU is 5-1 ATS over their last six on the road. SMU is 1-4 ATS over their last five at home. This is a terrible matchup for SMU on both sides of the ball. Andy Dalton and the Horned Frogs roll big in this one.
The Rest of the Games
#21 West Virginia (+10) over #12 LSU**
“I’m tapped out Marv. American Express has got a hitman looking for me.” —Bud Fox
One of the more confusing games of the week in my opinion, which often spells trouble. LSU’s early test was supposed to be North Carolina, but they really only faced the second-string guys. I don’t love West Virginia, but since last spring this season has had rebuilding written all over it for LSU and I think this is where they start to stumble as they look ahead to the real start of their SEC schedule next week. I’m also getting +350 on the money line here and have dipped my toes on that one as well.
#15 South Carolina (+3) over #14 AUBURN**
“Sure went down the toilet with that ugly b*tch.” —Marv
Big thanks to the Auburn Tigers, one of the chief architects of my shitty day last Saturday. I thought they would completely outclass a young Clemson team at home, but it wound up going down to the wire in OT for a non-cover. South Carolina has looked solid in both outings so far, and even though it’s very tough to play on the road in the SEC, I’ll gladly take the Gamecocks and the points in this one.
#17 Stanford (-5) over NOTRE DAME
“So what is it, Mr. Cocksucker now?” —Marv
Basically I just wanted an excuse to use the word cocksucker in the same sentence with Notre Dame.
Wake Forest (+20) over FLORIDA STATE*
“Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel.” —Bud Fox
The ultimate insider line from the movie deserves an insider’s perspective on this one. I spent the first 18 years of my life living in Tallahassee, and have had a front row seat for all of their successes and failures over the past two decades. I talk to my family and Tallahassee friends about them constantly, and though they might ultimately regain their elite status one day under Jimbo Fisher, folks down in Tally are still getting nervous over these kinds of games.
In the 1990s when they almost never lost in the conference, this sort of game was a 40-50 point spread. Over the last 10 years, though, this has become the exact type of game they lose at home. My book is giving me a +750 money line on Wake and I’m playing it.
#6 Oregon (-12) OVER ARIZONA STATE
“I'm gonna make you rich, Bud Fox.” —Gordon Gekko
Oregon is 3-0 ATS this year and has completely blown away lines of 36.5 (def New Mexico 72-0), 10.5 (def Tennessee 48-13) and 54 (def Portland State 69-0) in their three games so far. That, my friends, is a streak that you ride until it loses for you.
Cal (+7) over #16 ARIZONA*
“It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another.” —Gordon Gekko
Yeah, like being transferred from my wallet’s perception over to an online sports book in Costa Rica along with a 10% vig as a result of Iowa’s horrible loss to Arizona last weekend. The home team has won the last five in this series, and I don’t think that will change this year but I still like the points in this one. Arizona did a great job against the Iowa rushing attack last week, which bodes well for them this week against Shane Vereen and the Cal offense. Arizona pulls it out, but Cal has enough talent to keep it close.
WASHINGTON STATE (+22.5) over USC*
“Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life.” —Carl Fox
That quote is Lane Kiffin’s career in a nutshell, right? This one might burn me, but I’m going to go against USC every week from here on out. They feel like a 5-9 ATS team to me this year and Vegas seems just as confused about them half of the time as we are.
FLORIDA (-14) over Kentucky
“Jesus, if this guy owned a funeral parlor nobody would die!” —Gordon Gekko
A good way to sum up my feelings about Steve Addazzio. I expect the Gators to look just good enough in this one to get my hopes up before next week’s looming disaster in Tuscaloosa.
$ plays: 2-4
$ plays: 12-12