Well, I tried to make it through an entire season pretend betting 10 games per week but, as it does, real life has intruded so I'm suspending that idea and instead am just going to offer up some thoughts on some select games that I've had time to look at. My last week doing the 10 games thing illustrated that you at least have to put some effort into it as I went 3-7 ATS and 2-8 SU. That leaves me at a very pedestrian 34-36 ATS and 45-25 SU for the season through week 7.
I will say this, even putting it on auto-pilot on some weeks I still came close to 50% for the season ATS and that says something about the fallacies of pay-for-picks handicapping "experts" who (honestly) average around 56% hit rates over time.
Are they worth the money?
I still say no.
Had I been betting real money there are a couple of key things that would have changed those stats.
1. I probably wouldn't have played "10 Games" every week. Few handicappers really do. They might pick every game but they weight them and, in most cases, only fire on their top picks.
2. I would have spent more time handicapping the games I would have bet. I think that much goes without saying.
With all that said, here are the 7 games (this number will change week to week) that I've taken an interest in....
1. Florida State (-4) @ Louisville - The Cardinals are getting way too much love in this game for my linking. Yes, it's at Papa John's stadium and yes, Florida State doesn't look as good this year but I think part of what's going into this line is wishful thinking that Louisville has a chance. My Pick: Florida State to cover.
2. Rice (-6) @ Florida International University. Yes, Rice has been up and down this year and hasn't been close to the same team on the road. But FIU seems to be on decline and Rice, after losing their first three games, has gone 4-0 since then and is looking more and more like a team that is rounding into form. My Pick: Rice to cover.
3. Duke @ Pitt (-3.5) This is another scenario where you have two teams on different trajectories. Pitt won their first 3 games but have lost 4 out of 5 while Duke has only lost one game, at Miami. In their last game Pitt had a bit of the dropsies and I just don't think they're a very good team while I picked Duke to win their division. My Pick: Duke, on the money line to pull the mild upset.
4. TCU (-5) @ W. Virginia The Mountaineers are a weird team who can either play great, or play awful depending on the week. They play better at home but TCU is on a roll right now. While I don't think TCU will hang 80+ on WVU I do think they win easily. My Pick: TCU to cover.
5. Indiana @ Michigan (-7) No one likes a 7 point line, me included. However, While Michigan has been a raging dumpster fire this year Indiana has torched the entire landfill. At home, in front of an angry, boisterous Big House crowd I can't see Big Blue messing this one up. My Pick: Michigan to cover.
6. Houston (-9.5) @ South Florida For all of the gloom & doom from the fan base (justified) about the coaching, after 7 games the Cougars have been a modest surprise. The change at the QB position from the rapidly declining O'Korn to converted WR Greg Ward Jr. has given a much needed boost to the offense and the defense, despite injuries to key players, has been solid, an improvement for this team. Yes they still get out-coached and yes they still have glaring weaknesses but they match up well against a South Florida program which is trying to come back from near ruin. My Pick: Cougars to cover.
7. Auburn @ Ole Miss (-2) When two of the top four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff Top 25 square off you might want to try and pay attention. After beating Alabama fans of Ole Miss were dreaming of an undefeated match-up in the egg bowl with both teams still making the final four regardless of the outcome. Now, the Rebels need a win to stay in the conversation after a loss against LSU at Death Valley. Here's the thing. IF Ole Miss wins and Miss State and Florida State win as well I think the CFP top four is the exact same next week because Auburn would be the 1-loss team with the best loss on the board. If Auburn wins, Ole Miss is probably done but could still play spoiler. The play of Bo Wallace is the key here. My Pick: Auburn on the money line to win straight up.
Thoughts on the first College Football Playoff Committee Top 25
- Who you lost to counts. See Auburn, Ole Miss and Ohio State.
- There will be no respect given to non Group of Five teams. See: Marshall and ECU
- Except for at the top, the Group of Five are fairly evenly distributed.
- Right now, this means nothing. Too many head-to-head games still to play and too many unknowns. I expect that only one of the three currently in the Top 4 will actually make the playoff.
- I still think Alabama will miss the first playoff in history. I stand by that prediction from before the season.