Take It To The Bank! CFB Week 9

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By Paul Schmidt

“I love my Idaho Vandals.  This is a ridiculous line.”

Well…it certainly was.  Should have been about twice as big…that was, however, one of the year’s silliest football games, with Nevada racking up nearly 500 rushing yards, and scoring 70 points in winning a 70-45 score-fest last weekend.

Just an all-around wild game…and also the only game I lost last week.  Although, I have to admit, that one line about loving Idaho…well, it makes me look like an idiot without an explanation.  See, I love EA Sports’ College Football games…and I try to find a really awful team to play with in dynasty mode, to make things more difficult, and I usually can win a national title with them after three or four seasons. So I’ve got a little affinity for the Vandals.

OK…that doesn’t make me sound like any less of an idiot.

This week, there’s some really, really tough games. But you’ve got to stick to what you believe.

As always, these are the lines from the Harrah’s Casinos in Las Vegas.

Central Michigan (+5.5) at Boston College
I believe that Dan Lefevour should be a Heisman Candidate because he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. I believe that Boston College isn’t that good.  And, finally, I believe that I love my Chippewas. Pick: Central Michigan +5.5

Cincinnati (-15.5) at Syracuse
I believe the Bearcats are the best team in the country you don’t know about.  I believe Greg Paulus is a wang. Pick: Cincy -15.5

Michigan (-7) at Illinois
I believe Illinois is one of the worst teams in the country.  I believe Michigan is pretty good, and that laying only seven points is a terrible insult to them. Pick: Michigan -7

Michigan State (-3.5) at Minnesota
I believe that Minnesota doesn’t have much to play for after losing Eric Decker. I believe that Michigan State’s best football is still in front of them.  I believe that Adam Weber is an overrated QB. Pick: Michigan State -3.5

Last week: 3-1
Season Record: 18-12-2

Take It To The Bank! Week 7 NFL!

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By Paul Schmidt

So, let’s forget what happened last week.  That’s right, we’ll just forget it.  0-4?  Oh and Four????  What????  Three of my picks outright lost, and the fourth, Jacksonville, barely snuck out a win.  EPIC FAIL.

On the plus side, I’m still over .500, and that’s a good thing…

On to this week’s picks, with lines courtesy of Harrah’s casinos in Las Vegas…

Indianapolis (-14) at St. Louis
The Rams proved they could be frisky last week.  Don’t look for that to continue this week. Pick: Indy -14

Chicago (PICK) at Cincinnati
I don’t put a lot of stock in Ced Benson as a premier NFL running back, but I do believe that a lot of the Bears want to smack him in the mouth this week.  Also, this is a pretty good value pick here, as Cincy’s secondary isn’t all that good, and Cutler should be able to pick this team apart. Pick: Chicago (PK)

Green Bay (-9) at Cleveland
I don’t particularly like this Packers’ offensive line.  I don’t know that Cleveland can necessarily take advantage of that, but if they can contain Ryan Grant even a little today, I think that Derek Anderson can keep this team in the game. Pick: Cleveland +9

Philadelphia (-7) at Washington
Well, let’s sum up Washington: They’re starting Jason Campbell again this week after benching him last week, playcalling on offense has been taken away from Jim Zorn by the team’s owner, everyone on the team has the flu, and then there’s that awful chlamydia outbreak. 

And here’s the kicker: Only ONE of those things isn’t true…I’ll lay the points, please! Pick: Philly -7

Last week: 0-4
Season Record: 13-11

Take It To The Bank! Week 5, NFL Edition!

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By Paul Schmidt

Last week, I bragged about how well I was doing with my NFL picks.  I said EVERYONE should listen to me.  I even went so far as to demand from my wife that she should start betting all of my games if I went 4-0 again.

If you read that last paragraph and didn’t understand that I probably REALLY pissed off the gambling gods, well, then you haven’t gambled enough. 

I went 2-2, which was respectable, but it wasn’t real good, regardless. I made the indefensible move of wagering on a TERRIBLE Washington team laying a ton of points…and I guess not knowing that Buffalo was awful, despite every Buffalo fan I know telling me how bad they were.  Just dumb.

So coming into this week, I realized I’d have to just go with what I knew from the first four weeks, and I do feel like, I, and really all of us, know quite a bit at this point.  Hopefully…it will be reflected in my picks.

This week’s lines seem a little goofy.  I actually had trouble picking the 4 games I officially wanted to bet, because I really didn’t mind almost every single game.  I can’t remember that happening in the last few seasons. Also, you’re going to see some of the highest lines that I’ve seen in a few seasons, which should make for some fun wagering.

Here’s my four Week 5 games:

Minnesota  (-10.5) at St. Louis
This line is what really got my toes a-tappin’.  I thought this would be the biggest line of the week, and it’s not close.  Look, I think Brett Favre is just as overrated as everyone else…but he’s absolutely in the zone now.  And while I typically HATE teams coming off the short week (one less day to heal and prepare for the next game), but this is the Rams.  They are the worst team in the NFL.

And when you think about it…that’s saying something with a team like Oakland out there on the board to say that about…Pick: Minnesota -10.5

Oakland (+15.5) at New York Giants
I’m not all that sure I can remember seeing a line higher than 15.5…perhaps during the crazy New England run two years ago, but I can’t be sure.  I think I remember a 17 point one then…but the fog of old age is setting in…

Look, this Giants team does nothing spectactular, but they find ways to blow you out.  They’ve won every game this year by double-digits, and that certainly won’t stop this week.  And this week, it’ll be cold and miserable in New York, and that great Giants defense has GOT to be licking their chops to take on JaMarcus Russell this week. 

Russell is closing in on being historically bad, and this might be the week that gets him there. Trust me, I know that this is a lot of points to lay, but I think we’ll get there with room to spare with New York pitching a shutout. Pick: Giants -15.5

Tampa Bay +15.5 at Philadelphia
This Philly team is just a little bit scary. I think they are really good, but I think at this point they might be starting the wrong QB.  McNabb, if not 100% healthy, just isn’t better than Kevin Kolb.  It’s a sad thing to say, but I think it’s true. 

Westbrook looks like he is going to play for Philadelphia, which is good for them, but he’ll be spltting time with LeSean McCoy, so, once again, I think they just might be keeping their best option on the bench part of the time to assuage the veteran. 

See, the above is my problem with the Eagles…their young guys might be the best guys they have, and they aren’t getting them the proper amount of PT.  For that reason, and for the friskiness of the Bucs last week with Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson at QB…well…

And yes, I’m ignoring how horrible the Bucs run defense is.  It’s awful.  I am going on a limb and saying that it won’t matter this week. Pick: Bucs +15.5

Atlanta +2 at San Francisco
Apparently folks aren’t down with the 49ers yet. 

I was sold after they should have beaten the VIkings on the road.  That was a flukey loss.  I’m not really convinced on the Falcons and Matt Ryan yet…and I know, I know, I have a season and a third of evidence saying Matt Ryan is one helluva QB.

But something keeps nagging at me. I think he has a propensity for laying a stinkbomb, and this is a really good Niners defense, helmed by Patrick Willis — my darkhorse pick for Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL.  He is just a beast. And with that defense and an offense that just doesn’t make mistakes, especially at home…well, I just think this is the strangest line of the day.  Niners roll. Pick: San Francisco -2

Last Week: 2-2
Season Record: 11-5

Take it To The Bank! Week 6 CFB

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By Paul Schmidt

After an embarassing 2-2 week this week, I’m not picking against someone.  My mom tied me, and while she knows sports, she really does, I know betting and that just shouldn’t happen.  This week, I’m going back to basics, and picking on my own.  And next week, I’ll have a guest again.  Probably. Maybe.  Applicants can apply in the comments, and show me  a thing or two. 

This week’s games were really difficult, first off.  I thought a lot of the lines were either right on, were games that I just didn’t care to bet on, or were games that I just had no idea what would happen. That’s what makes gambling tough, I suppose. 

But enough rambling, on to the picks.

Michigan St. (-4.5) at Illinois
So let me get this straight: Illinois suffers another lackluster, indefensible loss at home…benches their starting QB…practices more damage control than football this week…and I’m supposed to believe that they can keep this game within a touchdown?  I don’t think it’s going to be within THREE touchdowns! 

I don’t honestly care if it is going to be Homecoming for the Illini (it is) or if this is the make-or-break game of Ron Zook’s coaching career (it is).  This is going to be a Spartan rout. Pick: Michigan State -4.5

Alabama -4.5 at Mississippi
It’s pretty obvious that Ole Miss is a little bit overrated.  Jevan Sneed is not what everyone thought, and the losses to graduation, specifically Michael Oher at left tackle, really have hampered the Rebels this season.

There’s those that think ‘Bama may be the best team in the SEC.  I certainly do believe that they are the most rounded, balanced squad in the SEC, though I don’t know about the best. I do think that, even on the road, they can (and will) effectively end the Rebels’ season with a win. Pick: Alabama -4.5

Idaho (+4) at San Jose State
I know, I know…you’re thinking, why in the hell are you betting on teams in the WAC?  That aren’t named Boise State or Fresno State????  There’s money to be made, that’s why, and it’s right here!

Idaho is having their best season in years, and has a pretty spiffy 4-1 record. Their only loss was in Seattle to Washington (a loss that doesn’t look too bad in the wake of their upset of USC), and has two really solid wins against Colorado State and Northern Illinois, the latter here in Illinois.  San Jose State has been wildly unimpressive so far and only beat the Cal Poly-SLO Mustangs last week 19-9.  And they’re a crappy FCS team!!!

Idaho is 5-0 against the spread this year so far…look for them to move to 6-0 and win this one outright. Pick: Idaho +4

Houston (+2.5) at Mississippi State
I am still in love with this Houston team, even after a terrible loss to UTEP.  They certainly can’t afford to lose another game — Even though they are probably out of the BCS race, quality wins could continue to bump the team up.  They certainly won’t quit, not if QB Case Keenum has anything to do about it. 

I don’t think that the Bulldogs are really that good, but regardless of whether or not they are, their offense won’t be able to keep up with the Cougars’.  Pick: Houston +2.5

Last Week 2-2
Season Record: 9-10-1

Take It To The Bank, Week 5 CFB

By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to week five of my fearless prognostications!  Lots of good last week, and let’s face it, I was due.  Even though my Illini let me down (and by let me down, I mean gave me a swirly for roughly 3 and a half hours), I was able to come up with an over .500 week, and a win against my competitor, Peter Christian. 

Granted, I received a luck-of-the-Irish push from the Houston Cougars, but a little luck never hurt anyone. 

So coming off a solid 2-1-1 week, I’ve decided to bring in someone special for this week’s competition, someone who…well, if I don’t win this week, I think that I’ll just let her make the picks the rest of the season.  That’s right, her…this week’s guest is my Mom.

As for her gambling resume, she doesn’t really have one outside of NCAA bracket pools and participating in a weekly NFL confidence pool. In fact, I explained point spreads to her prior to her making her picks — though to her credit she pretty much knew what was going on there.

On to this week’s games!

Penn St.(-7) at Illinois
 (MOM) The pundits, with good reason, have all picked Penn St.  I will go out on a short skinny limb and say Illinois will win or at least fall within their 7 point spread on Sat.  I’m of the opinion Penn St. is overrated and Illinois and their coaching staff will come out of hibernation this weekend.  Plus, I NEVER bet against “My Team”!  ILL!  Pick: Illinois +7
(Paul Schmidt)
Sigh…I-N-I.  Is Penn St. overrated?  I don’t know…Iowa’s defense was just unbelievable last Saturday, so I don’t know that that is an accurate measure.  However, after last week’s debacle, there’s no way I’ll be able to pick them ever again.  Personally, I think an angry, angry Penn State team rolls this week. Pick: PSU -7

Northwestern at Purdue(-7)
(MOM)
I like Northwestern.  I’m not sure why except I think they have the better personnel.  They can win this game easily if they just stop with all the mistakes. That’s the real question, whether they can get it all together. Pick: Northwestern +7
(PS)
Northwestern is quickly moving into Illinois territory with the inconsistency they are playing.  How one of the nations’ best defenses returns almost everyone and then plays as badly as they have this season is mystifying to me.  Make no mistake, this is a must-win for the Wildcats, but Purdue isn’t as bad as people think.  They looked really good against Notre Dame last week, and while that might not be a glowing review, I think it will be enough to cover at home. Pick: Purdue -7

Central Michigan (-8) at Buffalo
(MOM)
DAH!  Central Michigan all the way. A great “D”  that wins games add a prolific quarterback and you’ve got the Central Michigan Chippewas. Pick: Central Michigan -8
(PS)
I love my Chippewas.  I love Dan LeFevour.  And one thing my mom didn’t add, Buffalo is awful.  Temple routed them last week.  ‘Nuff said.  Pick: Central Michigan -8

Toledo(-4.5) at Ball St.
(MOM)
 Ball State will be desperate to win their first game this weekend. But their inexperienced cornerbacks will not be able to contain Toledo’s quarterback. It looks like Toledo will come out on top of this contest as Ball State is no match….what a difference a year makes. Pick: Toledo -4.5
(PS)
That right there might have been the most in depth, and best, analysis of a MAC team ever posted on this website.  Ball St. is really, really bad this season.  And let’s not make Toledo sound like world-beaters, either.  But they’ve got a really good offense that can put up points, and in a worst-case scenario will simply outscore the Cardinals to cover the way-too-small spread here. My thought is they win by 20 at least. Also, with Ball State’s most famous alumnus in hot water this week, you know that’s not a good sign…Pick: Toledo -4.5

Last Week: 2-1-1
For the Season: 7-8-1

Take It To The Bank! Week 1 NFL Edition!

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By Paul Schmidt

Yes, it’s the most gambled on sport in the US.  Yes, there’s guys telling you what to bet on everywhere. The difference between them and I?  I’ll be right.  And I’m funnier.  And better looking.

Every week I’ll be picking 4 NFL games to wager on via the point spread, and the reason why as well.  It’ll be the tastiest matchups I can find.

Week 1, just like in college football, is the best week to put together a good run against the sports book (or…your bookie…ummm…not that I condone that), so tune in early on!

Kansas City +13 @ Baltimore

For one, it’s time to dispense with the idea that there’s some kind of home field advantage for most NFL teams to work with.  There really isn’t any more, whether it’s due to fans being sick of paying the exorbitant NFL prices and staying home (thus giving the seats to less vocal and hardcore fans) or because the new stadiums jsut are too acoustically sound to create a noise advantage (remember, many of these arenas make a looooot of money on concerts now), the fact is that teams win just as much at home as they do on the road.

In fact, when you factor in road underdogs, they beat the spread last season something like 250% of the time.  That’s a fact!

I like this Chiefs team…they have some very good offensive talent, and even if Matt Cassel can’t go, Tyler Thigpen is better than you think.  They have some solid players at the skill positions on both sides of the ball, anda even if they’re offense has trouble scoring, does anyone have THAT much confidence in the Ravens’ offense to win by two touchdowns?

Detroit +13 @ New Orleans

See above.  The difference is that the Saints DO get a boost from the Superdome, but that won’t help that their defense is still pretty crappy.

If you really are a betting man, I’d parlay Detroit with the “over” for this game, which is only 48.5.  One thing I can tell you to count on for sure is that there will be a TON of points on the board in this game.

San Francisco +6 @ Arizona

Starting to see a trend here?  I like the 49ers to win this game outright.

Why, you say? The Cardinals were the Super Bowl rep from the NFC last year, you say!  Well, the Super Bowl loser for the past 304 seasons haven’t made the playoffs the next year.  Seriously.  Look it up!

I think this is the start of the fall for the Cards, and there’s a reason why I drafted so many of them on my fantasy teams.  Because I don’t think they are going to be very good.  Wait…those don’t go together…

In all seriousness, Frank Gore will have a good game, his backup Glen Coffee should contribute, and I like the 49er WRs even without Michael Crabtree in the fold.

Green Bay -3.5 at home, over Chicago

I have some serious issues with the Bears defense.  I’m not a fan.  I think that Aaron Rogers will totally be able to exploit the Bears secondary, which didn’t look that good all preseason.  Now, I’m certainly not saying that I don’t think the Bears won’t score, I just don’t think they’ll score enough — I like the Pack’s D just a hair better than I like the Bears’.

Again…if you’re looking for a sweet parlay, I’d take a peak at the Pack and the over in this game, as it’s only 46.5.  That seems ridiculously low, and I’d expect that they could blow by that by halftime.

Week 1, it’s always fun!  Good luck, happy betting, and as always, be careful out there!

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