Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fantasy Sports Nation - Week 3 NCAA Picks


PREVIEW: I would describe my relationship with NCAA 'picks' at the beginning of the season as being tossed into quicksand... One's natural reaction is to thrash about wildly for awhile until you finally realize it's getting you nowhere (& probably making you sink faster)...

The big difference between NCAA & NFL betting is that here you have 'non-professionals'... Think of it this way... There are over 100 schools in NCAA division 1-A (forget the fact that some athletes make it to the pros from division II schools & even below)... In any case... An NCAA div I-A school will suit up anywhere from 90-100 players for home games... Roughly 75 of those are 'scholarship' athletes... But to use a nice round number... You have 100 players... Times 100 schools on the gridiron each Saturday... (10,000 - if my math is right)...

As far as the pros are concerned... There are 53 roster spots (times 32 teams)... That's 1696 'pros'... But when you think that probably 45 of those roster players are 'veterans' who will have to have their jobs taken from them, you're really talking only of  about 256 players (of consequence - each year - out of the 10,000 athletes) who have any hope of really getting paid to play football... Thats 1 in 39 (out of a full field of all NCAA scholarship athletes)...

Which means to say, that the talent 'disparity' in an NCAA game is enormous (and therefore, very hard to predict - because despite this, football is still played 11 on 11)... Even more hard to predict are the 'attitudes' of coaches & players... Most are undisciplined (vs. your average NFL player)... So there is a wide gap in the ability to handle adversity week in & week out from 'kids' who probably are still struggling with acne, the lack of mama's home cookinhg, & are several months removed from their high school prom... (Now... factor in the more recent phenomenon of TWITTER NATION, & you begin to see the tip of the iceberg regarding my argument)...

What you try to do during an NCAA season is sort out the discrepancies... You stick to trends when they occur...

 LIVE HOME DOG scenario is in full effect on both Thursday & Friday games... LSU travels to Mississippio State... & Boise State at Toledo...


Thursday, September 15, 2011

#3 LSU (-3.5) at #25 Mississippi State (8:00 ET)

It used to be this little secret that you could take a live home dog (in this case - Mississippi State) and bet them at will during midweek NCAA matchups...

I've found that most of the time that rule applies to the 'lesser' conferences (whose players & fans are not used to the national spotlight)... So I'm not sure if the rule applies here (as SEC teams have not been the midweek 'offerings' as much as other conferences is recent years)... IOW - LSU (despite various discipline problems) is fairly used to playing under a spotlight, & as always, a team with a good defense usually travels well...

I'll go ahead & side with LSU in this spot for (1 unit)... Mostly because an early TD by the Tigers would have me chewing on my balls all game if it happened...

LSU 19 - Mississippi State 6 - (correct)

Friday, September 16, 2011

 #4 Boise State (-20.5) at Toledo (8:00 ET)

The book on Boise State is very simple... They have to go on the road & play anyone/anytime & hope that their "out of conference" strength of schedule is good enough to keep them high in the rankings when the idiotics BCS "computer rankings" system (aka - favor all SEC schools) come out in October...

I'm going to scrap the MIDWEEK "live home dog" theory here as well (as usually it applies to single digit lines whereby an UPSET may be brewing)... I doubt there will be any upsets here (though Toledo played in State rival Ohio State tough last week & got a cover)... Personally - I think Ohio State is overrated... & I still think Boise State is underrated... They still return a lot of veterans from last years BCS winning team... Also, the "quality win" they had in week 1 vs. Georgia is now NOT looking so good (as Georgia dropped it's 2nd game last week to South Carolina)...

Look for Boise State to "light it up" (then fly home & be cheerleaders for the Georgia Bulldogs over the weekend)...

BOISE STATE for (0 units)... I'll make this a (1 unit) play "if" LSU covers vs. Mississippi State...

UPDATE (9/16) - LSU covered, so I'm taking BOISE STATE for (1 unit)

Boise State 40 - Toledo 15 - (correct)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

 #18 West Virginia (-1) at Maryland (12:00 ET)
Box Score | Recap

I'm not putting any units of this game, but I listed it here just so as to provide some insight... It's a SUCKER line all the way... The Terps (while improved - & should compete well in the ACC were able to ride an emotional weeknight game (over Miami - who was depleted with suspended athletes) and looked fairly well doing so (if you don't count the uniforms)...

However, if you look back, MD coach Randy Edsall (formerly with Connecticut) doesn't have a good track record vs. the Mountaineers over the past decade...

I'd LOVE to take WVA & the points here, but the only thing stopping me is that they have to host LSU next week... I think this is a week to sit back & observe what each team does & keep your powder dry for next week...
NO PICK for (0 unit)
West Virginia 37 - Maryland 31

#21 Auburn at Clemson (-4) (12:00 ET)
Box Score | Recap

I really want to go against AUBURN somewhere (but here might not be the play)... They literally have no defense... What they DO have is the longest winning streak in division 1 football... Probably the best time to fade them will be AFTER they finally lose a game... Maybe this isn't the spot...
AUBURN for (1 unit)...

Clemson 38 - Auburn 24 (incorrect)
 Pitt at Iowa (-3) (12:00 PM)
Box Score | Recap

Iowa cost me some units last week (vs. Iowa State)... That was an emotional OT loss so I'd be risking that they had a week of practice that wasn't altogether focused... I'm going to stick with them here as they have some offensive line pro prospects that need a team like the Pitt Panthers run on defense to showcase...
IOWA for (1 unit)
Iowa 31 - Pitt 27 (correct)

 Penn State at Temple (3:30 PM)
Box Score | Recap

I'd forgotton a promised that I made to myself in the off season that I was going to take TEMPLE every game... So basically I forgot myself 2 units (as they covered in each of their first two games)... Since I'm obviously being punished for some kid I must have given a wedgie to in another lifetime... I'll stick with Temple here (but go no units)... Playing Penn State is kind of like Temple's Superbowl... But they do have Maryland next week... The best scenario in the world would be for Penn State to pound Temple here & Maryland to knock off West Virginia in a tough game... You could take Temple for multiple units in that spot...

TEMPLE for (0 units)

Penn St. 14 - Temple 10 (correct)

 Tennessee at #16 Florida (-9) (3:30 PM)
Box Score | Recap

Tenneessee has one of the best QB-WR tandems in the country but they'll be put to the test in 'the Swamp'... Florida also has a number of pro prospects on offense & has been tearing it up (vs. lesser opponents)... In any case, that's what you like to see...

Whats 'hateful' is giving up almost double digits to a team that has the weapons to backdoor cover you... OTOH, that can lead to 'picks' & blowouts... I'll take a chance with the home team here because I think the Florida Gators seem more on the path to regaining stature in the SEC than the Volunteers...

FLORIDA (for 1 unit)
The 'spy' says: The public is taking
Florida 33 - Tennessee 23 (correct)

 #15 Michigan State at Notre Dame (-4.5) (3:30 PM)
Box Score | Recap

I must be out of my mind giving points with Notre Dame... Somebody shoot me & put me out of my misery...

NOTRE DAME for (1 unit)
The 'spy' says: The public is taking
Notre Dame 31 - Michigan State 13 (correct)

 Virginia at North Carolina (-10.5) (3:30 PM)
Box Score | Recap

One of my 'themes' this week is teams with a lot of pro prospects... Since we're getting in to conference schedules, this is the first time that the prospects get a chance to showcase their talents vs. peers (instead of versus a bunch of junior college players that may have not even started for their high school teams...

NORTH CAROLINA for (1 unit)
The 'spy' says:
North Carolina 28 - Virginia 17 (correct)

 #1 Oklahoma (-3.5) at #5 Florida State (8:00 PM)
Box Score | Recap

I'm going to reserve this pick until I see the dynamic of what happens in BOTH of the mid-week "live home dog" scenarios...

FLORIDA STATE for (1 unit)...
The 'spy' says:
Oklahoma 23 - Florida State 13 (incorrect)


#17 Ohio State vs. University of Miami (-3)

I'm lind of thinking that Ohio State will show their youth & inexperience here (on the road in a tough environment) for the first time without Jim Tressel... Plus, Miami has some revenge to atone for after coughing up the ball multiple times last year at the horseshoe... MIAMI for 1 unit...

Miami 24 - Ohio St. 6 (correct)
#6 Stanford (-9.5) vs. Arizona

I'm going to go ahead & put (1 unit) on Stanford... Arizona won't be able to do much until Juron Criner gets back to 100%... Stanford doesn't look like they're messing around & wins vs. the PAC-12 opponents have to be taken more seriously now than ever... Andrew Luck needs to keep his skills sharp in becoming a Seattle Seahawk next year...

Stanford 37 - Arizona 10 (correct)
Louisiana Monroe vs. #23 TCU (-28.5)

I'll toss down (3 units) on TCU in this spot... TCU is going to have to win some games by ridiculous scores now to get back to a bowl that isn't played on a blue field, or sponsored by a local bait & tackle shop...

TCU 38 - La-Mo 10 (incorrect)
UCF (-5) vs. FIU

UCF (on the football field), seems like they're on a mission to rule the planet (so I'll take them for 1 unit)... It's a good thing this is a "football game" (instead of a "spelling bee")... I'm pretty sure the players on each one of these teams would have trouble spelling the name of their own college... That chant you hear from the fans in the stands (on both sides)... "We BE!"...

FIU 17 - UCF 10 (incorrect)

Coastal Carolina at Georgia (-38.5)

I just had to toss this one in here... After this (now famous) video made it's way across the internet last week:

OK... So you need more "DOGS"??? How about some Georgia Bulldogs... Next week he'll be begging for "CATS" again... I sure hope they don't play LSU... Dude's gonna need another screen door... GEORGIA for (1 unit)...

Georgia 59 - Coastal Carolina 0 (correct)

Duke at Boston College (-7)

Boston College is garbage... It's one thing trying to hang with Andrew Luck, quite another thing here... The line probably should be 5, but it is 7 because of the blowout vs. Stanford last week... The 'sportsbooks' need to get one back somewhere, & here may be the place (as the public is on BC 72%)... DUKE for (1 unit)...

Duke 20 - Boston College 19 (correct)

Texas (-3.5) at UCLA

I friggin hate the chokin' ass Bruins, but they may be a play here... Texas can't even decide which of 3 QB's to use yet the public still likes them 71%... I'm siding with the 'sharps' here... UCLA for (1 unit)...

Texas 49 - UCLA 20 (incorrect)


other TOP 20 ACTION - or games of interest (week 1):
* Bold means that I'd tend to favor that team ATS (but won't suggest a play)
ATS = 'Against the Spread'


Washington at #11 Nebraska
#7 Wisconsin at Northern Illinois
Missouri State at #12 Oregon
Arkansas State at #13 Virginia Tech
Navy at #10 South Carolina
Stephen F. Austin at #19 Baylor
Florida A&M at #20 South Florida
#22 Arizona State at Illinois
North Texas at #2 Alabama
#8 Oklahoma State at Tulsa