Last weekend I was in Las Vegas where I discovered a real-world flaw in how I'm picking my Five. the problem is this. For my Five, which I picked on Wednesday, I went with lines that were available at the time. When I got to the Sportsbook on Saturday, the lines had changed and I ended up dumping most of them and playing alternate games. For example, in live betting I picked Nebraska, over Minnesota, which was a winner. I also added Arizona because the line moved last to -6.5 and I didn't have that anywhere near my original Five. I also played Miami (win) instead of Northwestern (loss).
So in short, while I went 4-1 with real money on the line (not a bad day) I only was able to squeak out 2-3 in my Five. This is a problem that I'm going to wait to address next year because I don't like making changes to my process mid-stream. The experiment is to see whether or not I can come in at over a 50% hit rate over the course of the season without "running the numbers" or otherwise paying a handicapping service. The good news? I'm still just one hot week away from being right there.
The bad news, of course, is that my Five got me last week....
ATS: Last Week: 2-3 Season: 15-20 (42.9%)
SU: Last Week: 4-1 Season: 25-10 (71.4%)
This week I'm loading up early, a lot of action on the Thursday games. On the bright side we'll know early whether or not I'm in with a chance or looking down the barrel of another losing week.
The Week 8 Five:
1. Temple @ East Carolina (-3) - The problem with Temple is one of perception. People perceive that they might be looking forward to a showdown with Notre Dame next week. In my opinion the problem here lies with a Pirate team that's not as good as we thought they might be in the preseason. Temple to cover.
2. Georgia Southern @ Appalachian State (-7) - Two good SunBelt Conference teams get to strut their stuff on National Cable TV on a Thursday night. While most interested eyes will be tuned in to California vs. UCLA, this might be the better game. Georgia Southern to cover.
3. California @ UCLA (-4) - Coming off a loss the Golden Bears have fallen out of favor with the public it seems. The problem is the Bruins have fallen out of the ability to play defense since the season-ending injury to Myles Jack. California to cover.
4. Memphis (-10.5) @ Tulsa - Short and sweet: The Tigers are VERY good this year, the Golden Hurricane are not. Memphis to cover.
5. Houston(-22.5) @ UCF - The consensus pick here is Houston, and I agree with that. I think they win the game. But Houston held open tryouts this week to try and fill roster spots on both offensive and defensive line due to a horrid run of injuries. They will struggle, but win. UCF to cover.
Other games: (Not an especially strong slate this weekend)
Kansas State @ Texas (-7): Texas is favored because both teams played OU in such close proximity. But K-State is smarting after a 58-0 thrashing at the hands of the Sooners, who came out and were everything they weren't against UT-Austin. I like K-State to cover here, and would like it even more if the number were to raise from where it is currently. (this is one of those games that not in my five, but I would have a good chance of betting on game day depending on the move)
Iowa St @ Baylor (-37) [O/U 78.5]: There are two things I'm liking about this game: 1. Baylor to cover and 2.) the over. As a matter of fact, there's a good chance in this game the Bears clear the over all by their lonesome. Iowa State is not a good team right now, the Bears are. It's that simple.
Texas aTm @ Ole Miss (-6): To be perfectly clear, after last week I'm not going anywhere near aTm. They have so much talent but still can't seem to play a complete game. And who knows what Ole Miss has? I will say that I don't think the loss to Memphis last week is going to look all that bad when the season is over. Ole Miss to cover, but I would probably want to lay off this if the line moved further the way of the Rebels.
Utah @ USC (-3.5): This feels so much like a sucker line I would be disinclined to do much with it. That said, I think Utah is really strong this year and I still think USC is finding their way. My lean, as slight as it might be, is Utah to win on the ML.
Gift Six: In a way, after the Michigan State debacle, I almost wish the Wolverines were playing this week to get the taste out of our mouths. I've been around watching college football a long time, and I've NEVER seen a game end like that. Sitting in the sportsbook on Saturday, with all of the Michigan State fans jumping around, getting in our faces and acting like they personally won the game? Brutal. It was a gut punch of a TD that, although painful, reminded us of why we like college football so much.
And for those of you giving death threats to the punter? Please kindly remove your Maize and Blue and go find another team to root for. He's a young man who made a mistake in a big game. Were you back there in that situation you would probably be wearing Maize, Blue and Brown.
Michigan still has a chance to have a successful season, and to possibly win 9 or 10 games if they can pull a shocking upset at the end. That's far better than I had them at the beginning of the season, so I'm not complaining. Just smarting a little bit after one of the craziest, soul-suckingest plays I've ever seen. Go Blue!
Good luck this week.