Bet The Farm, It’s Time for Dave’s College Football Picks!

I think the statute of limitations has run out on this so on with the post. And if the Feds are reading this it’s completely made up. 😛

I have a confession to make: I am a betting man; the kind of man who loves to watch sports and, when possible, make money on said games. I’ve bet a few games in-person while in Las Vegas and won a few times, but as a guy who lived in the Midwest a sports book at the casino was only a pipe dream. That left me with very few choices to quench my gaming thirst, so I turned to a few then-legal online gaming sites. Those sites offered several advantages, mostly the fact that you could buy points in order to get a more favorable spread. Thanks to the Bush administration passing legislation making those gambling sites illegal, I’ve since cashed out my accounts (all of which were in the black) and haven’t bet on a game since.  My win rate however around 70%, which depending on how you place your bets can net you a few bucks.

The art of picking games dates back to my childhood, when my gambling grandfather used to watch me study the sports pages.

“David, who do you like tonight?” he’d ask.

“Grandpa, I like the Cardinals to beat the Dodgers in this series but not tonight. John Tudor’s facing a formidable left handed hitting team and Fernando Valenzuela has a lower ERA. I wouldn’t be surprised if they steal the opening game.”

And it was at that point my grandfather knew – this kid could pick games (The Dodgers did lose the series, 4-2, but Valenzuela did pitch a 4-1 winner over the Cards that night). He challenged me to pick NFL games as well, with the winner taking $20 for the week. Naturally I didn’t have $20 handy so if I lost I had to do manual labor at one of the apartment complexes Grandpa owned. I ended up doing hard labor once that season. I found out later that my Grandfather was taking my bets and placing his own with them – and winning a boatload of money.

With that as the backdrop, here are a few NCAA games worth wagering on this weekend:

Indiana (+17.5) at No. 8 Iowa: One thing I’ve learned is that Iowa can’t seem to blow anyone out. Add the loss of starting RB Adam Robinson and this is going to be another close game, especially after coming off of a big, last-second win at MSU last week. Look for Indiana to keep it close enough to cover. Take the Hoosiers and the points.

No. 20 West Virginia (-3) at South Florida: We know this about West Virginia: They can score. In fact, they have put up 30 points in 5 of 7 games and beat a pretty good UConn team last week that was playing with a ton of emotion following the tragic loss of their starting cornerback.  The numbers on South Florida make it look like it’ll be close, but they’ve been giving up too many points and yards lately to keep this one a one FG game. Take WVU giving 3.

No. 7 Cincinnati (-15) at Syracuse: The Bearcats have been extremely impressive, even with the loss of their starting QB Tony Pike. Backup Zach Collaros came in relief and lit up the South Florida defense on the ground and last week torched Louisville through the air. This offense was built to score and build an early lead so the defense could pin their ears back, get after the opposing QB and force turnovers. Look for Cincy to romp at the Carrier Dome and cover the 15 point spread.

Akron at Northern Illinois (-12): Akron’s downright awful this year, having won only one game while routinely getting blown out. “Why?”, you’re asking? Well, they can’t run the ball. At all. They’re averaging around 3 yards per carry while giving up a few hundred yards on the ground. Last week they were out rushed by 213 yards against Syracuse. NIU feeds off of a solid running game and should blow out the lowly Zips at home. Take NIU at home giving 12 points.

Eastern Michigan at Arkansas (-36): Normally a huge spread like this would have me heading the other way, but EMU is playing with a backup QB on the road in SEC country. For comparison, Arkansas on the road blew out Big 12 opponent Texas A&M by 28. Hanging 55 on MAC punching bag EMU isn’t out of the question. Take Arkansas -36.