Time to Punt
We thought we would be a bit clever and go with a slate of longshots that if just one selection won, it would be a big “fake” payout last week. Alas, we came up a game short in every selection, and none of the parlays cashed a winning ticket.
We also decided not to play any NFL parlays last week, and as luck would have it, most of the favorites won, and almost any parlay we might have played would have won. Such is life. But, even had every parlay we selected won last week, our bank account would have remained the same. As we try to make sure everybody reading this weekly entry, we do this just for fun and never wager a penny. These days, when it is almost time to ask, “Brother can you spare a dime,” betting anything on anything would be quite foolish. And, when happy days were here again way back when, we didn’t want to part with any of that hard-earned money. Thus, the only real advice we can give is, “work hard, be frugal, and save for the future.”
In past years, we have offered our predictions about a once-every-four-year event that happens the day following the first Monday in November. We are totally unsure of what will happen, next Tuesday, so we will not go there this year. Our hope is that whatever happens Tuesday, that the nation will come together and realize that we all must pull the rope from the same side and not against each other, or else we might lose what took 240 years to put together.
Now, returning to football and mathematics, here is what we are going with this week.
We decided to select a couple of underdogs to win outright this week, but we did not bundle them together for the almost 6 to 1 odds. We’d rather guarantee a small profit if just one wins rather than a windfall requiring both to win.
1. Oklahoma State +133 vs. Kansas State.
Our members here believe this is a 50-50 tossup, so getting better than 13-10 odds is a plus in this game. Oklahoma State seems to play up to its competition, while Kansas State has been quiet this year and has not really played what many believe could be its best game. Also, when a team pulls off a big upset at home one week and then goes on the road to face a quality opponent the next week, the opponent usually has a better chance to win. That is why we believe the Money Line odds are so high, and because we believe this Cowboys’ team knows the Big 12 Championship is possible, we believe OSU will overcome the trend and win this one outright.
2. Arkansas +174 vs. Florida
Everything we just said about Oklahoma State could apply to Florida this week. The Gators come off a big win over rival Georgia and now go on the road to face a quality team. There are two differences in this selection from the selection above. Arkansas had a bye week last week, giving the Razorbacks two weeks to prepare for this game. Also, Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen is expected to be near 100% for this game after suffering a knee injury against Auburn two weeks ago. Arkansas needs an upset win in November to guarantee bowl eligibility, and we believe a team like Florida is vulnerable in this game. An Arky loss could mean the Hogs would be 5-6 when they go to Missouri in the final game.
3. 3-team parlay @ +121
Wyoming over Utah State
Colorado over UCLA
North Carolina over Georgia Tech
Wyoming beat Boise State last week in Laramie, and the Cowboys now have the Mountain Division title in their crosshairs after being the consensus choice to finish in last place. Coach Craig Bohl might be positioning himself to be a top candidate for some Power 5 conference job openings. In the past, numerous former Wyoming coaches have gone on to bigger and better things, because winning on a state with miles and miles of open space and few high school football programs says that this coach is a great recruiter, great organizer, and great leader.
Just down the road in Boulder, Mike MacIntyre has the Colorado Buffaloes within striking distance of winning the Pac-12 South Division. UCLA is a wounded bear and limping to the finish with what looks like a losing record this year. Josh Rosen’s season-ending injury seems like Deja vu for the men from Westwood, as just about every great quarterback since Gary Beban seems to have suffered an injury at some point. We’ll go with the Buffs to win big in Boulder in a prime-time Thursday night game.
North Carolina had an extra week to prepare for Georgia Tech’s spread option offense. That is worth an extra 7-10 points to the Tar Heel defense, and UNC doesn’t need that many extra points to make this a comfortable win for Coastal Division co-leader.
4. 4-team parlay @ +180
South Carolina over Missouri
Virginia Tech over Duke
Temple over Connecticut
BYU over Cincinnati
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was barbecued for his job at Florida, and a lot of fans and media thought his hiring at South Carolina was a mistake. The Gamecocks were picked to finish in last place inthe SEC East and overall by many sources, yet it looks like USC will become bowl eligible rather than settle in last place. To get to six wins, a win over struggling Missouri is a must, and we think the Gamecocks are not too cocky approaching this game coming off the upset of Tennessee.
Virginia Tech probably must run the table in the ACC in November to win the Coastal Division, because North Carolina might not lose another conference game. The Hokies hold the tiebreaker, but it probably won’t matter if they are 6-2. Duke can still get a bowl bid, mostly because they hold the number one spot in APR scores and would be the first team in the 5-7 sweepstakes if 5-7 teams are needed to fill bowl spots (expect at least 1 if not 3 to 5). Tech is plain better in this game and should win by double digits.
Temple coach Matt Rhule is one of the 10 best college coaches in America, and a bigger fish will eventually offer him a large payday to become their coach. It could be that Rhule will hold out until a certain big state school in the Keystone State has a job opening (for awhile that appeared to be ready to happen in 2017). The Owls are back in control of the AAC East with wins over the top three contenders in the division. A win at U Conn this weekend basically wraps up the division title for the second consecutive year.
BYU travels to the Queen City to take on a Cincinnati team that has dissension, and when a team is not on the same page, they suffer results similar to what the Bearcats are experiencing this year. We’ll go with the school playing as a team to beat the maybe more talented team on their home field.
4. 3-team Parlay at +117
Penn State over Iowa
Old Dominion over Marshall
Tulsa over East Carolina
Penn State is still alive for the Rose Bowl! Who could have imagined this a month ago when Coach James Franklin was on a very hot seat and not looking all that happy to be in Happy Valley? A win over Ohio State was a major shot in the arm for this once great program trying to find its way back from purgatory. If the Nittany Lions run the table, which they are capable of doing, and if Michigan wins out and makes the College Football Playoffs, the Rose Bowl could easily select Penn State as its substitute. Of course, this means that the home team must defeat a so-so Iowa team that hasn’t played consistently well this year after a great 2015 season.
Old Dominion has not been to a bowl in its short time in FBS football, but that is going to change this year. The Monarchs need just one more win to become bowl eligible, and their schedule is very favorable for as many as nine wins overall and almost assuredly eight. Marshall is suffering through a rebuilding year at 2-6 and still must play the four best teams in the division. We like ODU to become bowl eligible this week.
Tulsa was a dark horse candidate in the AAC West in the preseason–not to win the division, but just to become bowl eligible for a second year in a row after finishing 6-7 last year. Having to face Ohio State, Houston, Memphis, Navy, and Central Florida on the road would leave the Golden Hurricanes in a precarious position where they would have to all their home games just to guarantee a repeat of 6-6 in the regular season. Coach Phillip Montgomery has quietly installed the spread offense he brought from Baylor and has TU in line to win the West after the Hurricanes knocked off Memphis at the Liberty Bowl last week. The closing schedule is difficult, and the big game at Navy looms next week. In order for that game to really matter, Tulsa must win this week over a rebuilding East Carolina team that will give TU all they can handle, because ECU still holds very slim chances of becoming bowl eligible, and at 3-5, they must win this game. We’ll go with the home team and their big play offense.
6. NFL 3-team Parlay at +178
Kansas City over Jacksonville
Dallas over Cleveland
New Orleans over San Francisco
The 2016 version of the NFL does not allow us (or anybody else) to state matter of factly that any team is a sure thing to beat their next opponent. So, we will not tell you that these three favorites are so much better than the underdogs they are playing that this is almost free money this week. With the way things are going in 2016, chances are rather high that one of these weaker underdogs will win at home.
Jacksonville looked like an expansion team against Tennessee a week ago, so the Jaguars will probably play their best game of the season this week. However, the Chiefs are starting to resemble their teams in the last couple years where they get better and better every week, and their defense is creating a lot of offense with their takeaways.
Dallas is only a slim favorite against winless Cleveland, even though the Cowboys currently hold the number one seed in the NFC! The only sure thing in Cleveland this year is that the Browns will use as many quarterbacks as Terry Francona used pitchers in the World Series.
San Francisco looked terrific in week one, shutting out the hapless Los Angeles Rams. Since then, they have looked worse than Cleveland, while the Rams find themselves in contention for the playoffs. New Orleans began the year looking the exact opposite–like a team destined to lose double-digit games and maybe bring on regime change in the Crescent City. Now, the Saints are breathing down the Falcons’ necks, and it figures that Drew Brees and company should win this game by double digits.