Thursday, November 20, 2014

Linesmithing: On a down week for College Football there is some opportunity.

It happens this time every year.  The week before Thanksgiving and many of the top schools are either taking bye weeks or playing cupcakes the week before their big holiday rivalry games.  So the SEC schedule this week is crap, as are much of the major conference schedules because most of the big games are happening next weekend.

To be fair, we're rolling off of four plus weeks with some amazing games and matchups. They all can't be riveting TV.

Lines I like:

1. Kansas State @ West Virginia University (-2.5): The bettors really want to like WVU and Dana Holgerson, but he's no Bill Snyder.  To me this game is pretty simple to analyze. The Wildcats don't make mistakes all that often, the Mountaineers do.  Pick: K-State on the money line for the mild upset.

2. UTEP @ Rice (-7): First off, I like touchdown favorites/underdogs. Especially if I can get a "ties win" edge from the house. In live betting a "push" is often refunded so your potential ROI is slightly higher.  That said, I'm a big fan of UTEP here. Their last win on the road (a 34-0 shellacking of UTSA) was their best win of the season. Rice has been a disappointment this year. Pick: UTEP to cover.

3. Kansas @ OU (-25): To me, this one is fairly simple.  OU has been struggling offensively of late and the Jayhawks have played much better since ridding themselves of the anchor that was Charlie Weis. Pick: Jayhawks to cover.

4. Tulsa @ Houston (-20): I think it's pretty obvious by now that Cougar Head Coach Levine is overmatched in most games. The Golden Hurricane are pretty bad but I think 20 points is a lot to ask of the mess that is the UH offense. Pick: Tulsa to cover.

5. Arizona @ Utah (-4): Put simply, I think the Wildcats are a better team. I also think the "Muss" is overrated as a home-field advantage. Pick: Wildcats on the money line for the mild upset.

You Big Blue Game of the Week:

Maryland @ Michigan (-5): Coming off a horrible win against Northwestern, in which the offense showed little while the defense played well. You might think that Michigan has a chance here.  However, Big Blue's best defensive player (#57 Clark) proved himself an idiot by (allegedly) hitting a woman and has been summarily dismissed from the team. It was a rare occasion where Hoke & Company did the right thing for the program long-term but which could have short-term consequences.  Pick: Maryland to cover.

Other thoughts:

1. UCLA/USC is probably the best game of the week but I'm uncomfortable with UCLA but, right now, the line is UCLA -3.5 which is usually a no-go for me. That said, it's a game I will be watching.

2. With opponents like Stamford, Eastern Kentucky, Charleston Southern and South Alabama the SEC is largely must-miss TV this weekend. They justify playing these patsies due to what they say is the hardest conference schedule in all the land but, this year, that really doesn't seem to be true. Despite their teams being deeply flawed, they're still getting a reputation bump in the CFP rankings. I'm not saying this is wrong, just that it is.

3. SMU has yet to win a game this year. I highly doubt that this will be the week they break through.

4. The highest O/U is Colorado @ Oregon holding at 72.5. Take the under. Oregon will score but Colorado's offense is the worst in the Pac 12.

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