Ah yes, it's that time of year. Temperature highs are starting to wane from 105 to a crisp 99, Billy Gillespie is being fitted for his 3rd breathalyzer ignition just in time for the fall semester, and college football is two short nights away. It's gambling season, folks. Time to reload your favorite wagering website, the one with the best bonus. Or call up your "guy" to make sure he survived another off-season selling car stereos out of the back of a Camaro. Grab your Phil Steele, your favorite dart board, or your neighbor's sharpie wielding spider monkey. It's time to light this candle and make some cheddar.
Remember, there's nothing like the first few weeks of the season to pound the books before they catch on. We've been eating, breathing, and living this stuff for six months. Guido's been setting run lines for the Nationals, and calculating odds on exactas for Chilean harness racing. He is unworthy.
Before we start I want you to do one of the following to make sure everyone's karmatic head is right. Pour one out for the fallen Mexican midget wrestler La Parkita, burn Jimmy the Greek and Irv Cross in effigy, play craps with HenryJames' 32 sided die, or do whatever you think is necessary to get right with Bacchus The Knife, god of debauchery and 8 team sweetheart teasers. On to the bets.
Wilson is the best kept secret in the ACC.
*Thursday night Special*
NC State -5 vs. South Carolina 2 units.
This one feels razor sharp to me. Yes, I know I'm betting a square's dream playing a less than TD home favorite on a Thursday night, but the reason it's sharp has everything to do with value. If you give NC State 4 points for their home field with a night game, which is a conservative estimate, then you make them a virtual pick 'em on a neutral field. Guess what, NC. State is a TD better on a neutral than the bloated overrated circus they have going in Columbia, SC.
The Wolfpack is big Puma to the Lance Berkman's fat Elvis Gamecocks . O'Brien is twice the coach Spurrier and his 2 handicap are, while Russell Wilson is Turbo to Stephen Garcia's Ozone.
Five seniors return to the 'Pack's front seven and they'll make Garcia one dimensional. Offensively, Wilson should be able to find receivers all over the field against the incredibly youthful Gamecock secondary. Especially considering Wilson can buy all kinds of time with his feet.
The 'Cocks also had a mutiny of sorts in the off-season losing 6 assistants. Not good. NC State has had this game circled since January. They'll win by 17, and lick the Gamecocks 34-17.
Popping beats locking like rock beats scissors.
Baylor +2.5 @ Wake Forest 1 unit.
Robert Griffin is going to be the best player on the field and his two offensive tackles may be the worst. That would be bad juju if the Bears were facing your typical Wake defense. But most of those cats have gone on to NFL careers and I fully expect Briles and company to find ways to exploit a mediocre Deac defense.
When the Bears are on defense, they'll benefit from the fact that Riley Skinner is used to winning ballgames by controlling the ball and allowing his defense to provide him short fields and lots of possessions. Skinner won't have that luxury against a Baylor team that will find a way to score. The Baylor defense is much improved and should be able to stop Wake from running all over the place. This puts tremendous pressure on Skinner to be a drop back passer and play tit for tat with Griffin's explosive playmaking, which will likely include throws to terrific WR tandem Gettis and Kendall Wright.
Baylor gets it done here with a solid touchdown road victory 31 to 24.
Georgia +6 @ OSU. 1 unit.
Our third game is the best Big 12 game on the slate, and it's looking more and more like a sharp player's wet dream. Before we X and O this thing, however, let's talk about how to make the gambling gods angry with you. First, you show up on a preseason cover of Sports Illustrated before having one iota of football relevance since Barry Sanders played for you. Then you have the following happen less than a week before the game: the starter that's charged with replacing departed star Brian Pettegrew leaves the team because of a restraining order personal reasons, you lose your starting MLB Lemon to an ACL, and your star DB Parrish Cox gets arrested for driving-while-black-without-a-license or DWBWAL. Certainly not a good final week before a showdown with an SEC powerhouse.
Inside the lines, I think the public is way too caught up in the loss of Stafford and Moreno. Joe Cox is a seasoned 3 year letterman at QB and Caleb King and Richard Samuel should find plenty of running room behind a talented, veteran offensive line going against an OSU front four that isn't used to defending power rushing attacks. Stud receiver AJ Green will draw safety help, so passing success may boil down to Mike Moore, the senior receiver opposite Green to defeat single coverage.
Defensively, I really like the Bulldogs' chances of getting a stalemate against the Cowboy rushing attack. Georgia has a talented and experienced front 7 led by all world defensive tackle Geno Atkins. With departure of Pettigrew as well as the recent dismissal of his replacement, the Cowboys are going to be hardpressed to find consistency in the passing game especially if Georgia rolls coverage to White. If the Bulldogs can take away the rushing attack, the Cowboys lose their play action attack as well as their bootleg game forcing Robinson to be a pocket passer. If I'm a Georgia fan, I'm liking that.
So the bet in a nut shell comes down to this. I like Georgia to be able to run and stop the run. OSU's bowl game against run happy Oregon is a great example of what a power team, like Georgia, can do to a porous front 7. The intangibles seem to favor the Dawgs as well, and getting almost a touchdown worth of points never hurts.
Give me the Dawgs in a mild upset. 28 to 27.
Richt and the Golf Prick.
As far as local interest, gun to my head give me Texas and Oklahoma laying the points which should be about 40.5 and 21.5 respectively. Hell, put me down for a half unit on each.
Good luck on your action. And for your Barking Carnival bonus pick check out the following link. This will be a free service from our resident sharp until we start making you pay for it.