The College Football Bettor's Guide

Ryan StubbsCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2008

Polls, rankings, lists, and comparisons.  That’s what Bleacher Report is filled with, whether it be in the NCAA Football section, MLB, NBA, or anything else.  Everyone’s giving his or her different opinion in the same way.


How does someone that wants to get read break into this madness?


You write about something no one else is writing about, at least not for college football.


Who here likes to gamble? That’s right, folks—I’m doing it whether you like it or not. We’re doing a weekly review/preview gambling article.


For all of us with extra money just lying around because we’re all making a killing in the stock market, this will be for you. 

My qualifications: None, but what are your qualifications? I’ve gone 59-39-3 ATS so far this season in my personal picks, including a record-breaking (my own personal record breaker) 14-5 last week (missed Utah, Vanderbilt, USC, Kansas, and Cal). 


My landmark claims this season: covered Ole Miss over Florida, Ball St. over Indiana, ECU over Virginia Tech, and Utah over Michigan. Nothing spectacular, but I don't wager on ridiculous games either.


Other than that, you can trust me or you can trust yourself—and I don’t know a damn thing about you, so why would I trust you?


Let’s get to the part of the column where I say what I think, and then on Saturday get proven wrong hopefully under half the time.


Next week I'll do this column with a review of the week before, including last second spread-busters, games that destroyed the over/under, and moneyline miracles (defined as underdogs that, had you bet on them, would’ve made you a lot of money).


(Notice all referenced lines come directly from on Thursday.)




If You Can’t Wait 'til Saturday


Louisville at Memphis


My Pick: Louisville -7


This is definitely the friendliest line of all the pre-Saturday games. Louisville may not be the elite team they were just three seasons ago, but they aren’t chopped liver either, and they don’t lose to non-BCS teams. Unless DeAngelo Williams makes a surprise return to the Memphis sidelines, Louisville rolls.




Top 25 Movers


There’s been some heavy movement among some lines since they opened Monday. Here are the biggest movers in the Top 25 games.


Nebraska at No. 7 Texas Tech


Opened at: Texas Tech -18.5

Now at: TT -21.5

My Pick: I’ll be taking Tech up to the point the spread reaches -25.


Heavy betting on Texas Tech’s side after the smashing Nebraska received at home last weekend. We also don’t know what to expect from the road Huskers as this is their first trip away from Lincoln this season. 


But if last season is any indication, Nebraska tanked after their blowout loss to Missouri, covering the spread just one time in the next four games and only twice the rest of the season.




Notre Dame at No. 22 North Carolina


Opened at: UNC -5.5

Now at: UNC -8.0

My Pick: I’m taking Notre Dame +8.


The lack of faith in the Domers is understandable after last season. But having seen Notre Dame play vs. San Diego State, and then again the past two weeks, the difference is remarkable.  UNC has covered three of the past four games while Notre Dame, has covered everything but their Michigan St. loss. 



Top 25’s Marquee Games


No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Texas


My Pick: Take the Over (56.5), leave the spread alone (Oklahoma -7).


As you’ll see later on, my picks of the week are listed below. Very rarely do they include games such as these marquee bouts.  They’re too unpredictable.  Even more unpredictable are rivalry games where records mean nothing—enter the Red River Rivalry.


Oklahoma has covered every single week thus far (including costing me a six-team parlay in their week two beating of Cincinnati), and Texas has done the same.  If I were to bet this game, I’d take the over (currently at 56.5) and just sit back and watch these offenses go to work. 




No. 4 LSU at No. 11 Florida


My Pick: Florida at -6

O/U: 47, take the under.


Not to upset any more Tigers fans, but I just haven’t been too thrilled with their play thus far. Not that Florida’s loss to Ole Miss was great by any means, but LSU just doesn’t say “BET ON ME!” I like the under in this one, but most importantly take Florida ATS.




No. 17 Oklahoma State at No. 3 Missouri


My Pick: Missouri at -14

O/U: 80, take the under, watch the game, and if they hit 80 you at least saw a lot of fun touchdowns.


I saw Tulsa’s O/U last week at 76 and chuckled a little bit. They covered. I see this O/U this week and I don’t know so much about this one. However, the line...Missouri’s demolition of Nebraska last week drove up the Texas Tech/Nebraska line this week. I just can’t bet against Missouri right now, not with how they’re playing.




Games, Nay, Lines I Love!


Arkansas at Auburn


My Pick: Arkansas +18.5. But not the moneyline—don’t get crazy.


I am all over this game after the turmoil in Tuber-ville (get it?).  Ron Franklin out as OC, a double-digit line, and an opponent that has shown no signs of life all season. Sounds like a recipe for an out-of-the-blue ATS upset!




No. 23 Michigan State at Northwestern


My Pick: Michigan State at -2. A lot on MSU at -2.


I want nothing to do with this O/U (you’ll find I like lines much more than the O/Us), but I absolutely love the line. MSU’s seven-point, cross-country loss to Cal is looking better by the week, and since that opening loss they’ve been a great bet...until last week.


Northwestern, however, is an enigma in a bettor’s life: covering vs. Syracuse and Iowa, not covering vs. Duke and Ohio U.




South Carolina at Kentucky


My Pick: UK at -1.5, and even though Chris Smelley is involved, take the Over on +/-39.


This opened at even and was just .5 yesterday. I like the ‘Cats in this one as Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina record in road SEC games is 7-7 with exactly one win as underdog.




Minnesota at Illinois


My Pick: Illinois -13. Illinois may win by 40.


Opened at -11 and now sits at -13. After what Juice Williams just did on the road to Michigan, it will be hard for me to pick against them the rest of the season. They aren’t getting the respect they deserve because they’re a two-loss team, but those losses were vs. No. 3 Mizzou and No. 7 Penn St. They won by 25 on the road last week against a better team...




Other Quick Picks (Home in bold)


Miami (FL) -17 over Central Florida.


Colorado +14 at Kansas


Cincinnati -7.5 vs. Rutgers


West Virginia -24...hell, take it if it gets to 80 over Syracuse.


Arizona -6 at Stanford


TCU -15 at Colorado St.


Utah -23 at Wyoming


Take the over in the Arizona State at USC game. It sits at only 46.5 right now, and I don’t care who the QBs are—they’ll top that.




Underdog Moneyline Picks


I’ve got nothing for you this week. I’m not making a stab prediction on something I wouldn’t bet. Closest thing I could say would be Notre Dame over North Carolina, but I don’t know that they win.



Gambling rule I’m breaking this week


Too many road favorites. You should only bet a few road favorites each week, because definitively home teams perform better than expected. But as lines will do, they’ve enticed me. We’ll see how this plays out this week, but don’t bet on me making five road favorites a regular selection.




Games I want no part of


UCLA (+11) at Oregon. Both teams have been all over the place.


Kansas State (-3) at Texas A&M. Don’t try to correctly pick the week A&M gets their lone conference win.


Vanderbilt (+3) at Mississippi State. Let down game, trap bet line, team with unheard-of high expectations. Just too many negative vibes here.


Purdue (+19) at No. 12 Ohio State. I make it a personal rule of mine to never bet on the Buckeyes. It’s heartbreaking enough to watch the Alma Mater lose, but to lose and lose a bet, well, that’s a double stomach punch. But honestly, I don’t like this line. OSU has only beaten Purdue by 20+ one time in the past seven matchups. But that leads me to...




My steadfast gambling rules (there are only five)


No. 1: Never, ever, ever, ever bet a game that you have a personal interest in. It skews your thinking no matter how much you believe it doesn’t.


No. 2: When bad weather is imminent, bet the under with a passion. Witness UConn at Temple and the other windstorm games from Week Two. Or any game with a hurricane. No, the Hurricane’s name was not Ditka.


No. 3: Never bet a late WAC or Pac-10 game just because you did poorly on the earlier games. Take your beating for the week and recover next week. Or, if you’re a compulsive gambler on multiple sports, you should have your picks ready for Sunday...double the wagers.


No. 4: Never bet on a game involving Iowa. That’s a rule that really only applies to me. They screwed me a few years back on three consecutive weeks of big parlays, and so I added it to the list.


No. 5: If you ever find the urge to take Idaho, UL-Lafayette/Monroe, or Utah State with the points, do two things. 1) Reconsider. 2) If you’ve reconsidered and you still want to go through with it, place the bet and contact me first thing Sunday morning to let me know I was right and you were wrong.




All right, there’s my first edition. Let’s see how this goes. Honestly, I don’t even know if Bleacher Report will allow a story about College Football gambling, so that’s an experiment in itself.


Hope all your bets hit, and enjoy some entertaining football this weekend! Cheers.


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