5-at-10: Fab 4 picks with a UGA-UT selection, a no-no bad beat moment, county lines drawn

AP photo by Wade Payne / Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt makes a touchdown catch during the first half of Saturday's home win against Alabama. Hyatt totaled five touchdown catches for the day and broke the Vols' single-game record by two.
AP photo by Wade Payne / Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt makes a touchdown catch during the first half of Saturday's home win against Alabama. Hyatt totaled five touchdown catches for the day and broke the Vols' single-game record by two.

Fab 4

OK, we’re in kind of pickle and wanted to bounce this off some of you folks before we fashion for our Plays of the Day afternoon email missive.

If a person — say some longtime ink-stained wretch in a mid-sized Southern town famous for a Choo-Choo or something — was putting out an early evening "investment" sheet, could said person offer the idea of hedging in said format.

To that end, here’s my take on the Georgia-Tennessee game that has the nation’s attention.

I think either UT wins the game outright or Georgia wins by double-digits — and it could spin off the rails — which means there is a hedge chance to cover each angle.

I am leaning no, because sports wagering should be about the fun first, no? Yes, winning and ROI is the first part of fun, but if you hedge this game and agree with my above scenario, then you are putting one unit on Georgia minus-8 at minus-110 and half a unit on Tennessee at plus-220 on the money line.

But one is guaranteed to lose, which takes a lion’s share of the fun out of the moment because who wants to walk into the watch party, grab a CoCola, find the horderves and start rooting for anything that’s not Georgia winning by 1-thru-8?


Like the teenage girls of the 60s would scream, “Bring on the Fab 4.”

UT-UGA over 65.5. I like this angle the best of the scenarios Saturday in Sanford, especially with the nicks and bruises to a Georgia defense that will be without future NFL edge rusher Nolan Smith for the rest of the season. (Side question: Smith, a former consensus top-five national recruit, tore his pec, which sounds really painful. If we started with a torn Achilles as the MJ of painful sounding tears, what rounds out that top five?) As I’ve said since August, this Tennessee team can score on anyone. Anyone. But I think Georgia gets huge plays in the running game, and as good as Hendon Hooker has been and as good as those UT WRs look getting off the bus, I’m not sure there’s a better overall offensive football player on Saturdays across the country than Brock Bowers. Cue (and paraphrase) Clubber Lang: “Prediction. Points.” 

Side question: Are we in concurrence with Fat Vader that Rocky the original is overrated, because since we offered that earlier this week, I think his point is valid? Some contend it’s the best sports movie of all-time. The more I think about it, it’s not even top-three in the Rocky family, and it has a hard time cracking top five if you add in the Creeds. Discuss. Where were we? Oh, the picks.

Kentucky minus-1 over Missouri. This is a, “My God what was that, let’s show everyone that’s not us,” pick. And for as much as Mark Stoops has done in Lexington — remember earlier this year, there actually was a meaningful discussion about football compared to basketball in the eyes of Big Blue — the images from Neyland last Saturday were nightmarish. For Stoops — who looked emotional and overmatched at times — and for Will Levis. If this team — and their future first-round QB — is anything what we thought they were for the first two months of this season, then this is a must-win moment. For Maverick Pete Mitchell’s sake, Auburn beat Missouri people.

Coastal Carolina plus-3 over App State. I think the wrong team is favored here, friends. Truly. The Chanticleers are, wait. Chanticleers is a top-five college football nickname right? Can we name five better than that? Go. OK, the Chanticleers have the best player on the field in quarterback Grayson McCall, who has very Hendon Hookerish numbers this year. (Side note: Not sure I was expecting to use Hookerish in this morning’s muses, and certainly did not expect it to be complimentary.) McCall is completing 69% of his throws with 19 TDs and one pick. Yes, one pick, but as Spalding Smails showed us, that one pick can be noteworthy. Side note on the Chanticleers: McCall’s back-up is Jarrett Guest, who is the son of one of my lifelong buddies growing up. Jason Guest and I played countless sports together, including high school basketball and baseball. Not many folks would know that his son got his name, at least in part, from his daddy’s favorite NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett. So there’s that. Also, the feather in App State’s helmet this year — that September win at College Station — does not look as shiny as it once did, you know? As for the pick, better team, best player, at home, at night, getting points? Yes please.

Washington minus-4 over Oregon State. Remember Michael Penix Jr. the former Indiana quarterback a couple of years ago when the Hoosiers became the darlings of college football and their coach was seen on ever TV telling people he loved them? Well, I’m sure he still loves them, but Penix is at UDub and he’s lighting folks up. The Huskies are scoring more than 40 a night and the mobile lefty leads the nation with 2,934 passing yards and has 22 TD throws. The Beavers are better than anyone expected and are ranked 23rd in the country. 

THE Ohio State minus-21 (on FanDuel) in the first half over Northwestern. I also think the minus-38 looks good for THE OSU because of two all-important words: Style Points. THE supremely talented Buckeyes need them; the supremely under-talented Wildcats allow them.

Last week: 2-3 against the spread (40%)

This season: 23-22-2 against the spread (51.1%)

Speaking of betting

So by now you regulars know about the “Plays of the Day” the afternoon sports wagering email we are sending out — for free — to those who sign up.

Not unlike our above college football record, we are just on the other side of making money to this point, but barely. And as is our mantra, that’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Last night we had good odds (plus-105) on Aaron Nola under 6 Ks. That hit.

The other bet was plus odds but it missed. Alas, so we finished slightly on the plus side last night, which makes our total at plus-0.9 units and our best bet of the day is now 4-2.

That’s the good news. The bad was for the second time in a week, we got a monstrously bad beat. In fact last night’s forced multiple emails and caused me to ponder well into the evening about all-time bad beats.

Last night, DraftKings offered a fun crossover sports parlay of over/under 19.5 of the total number of Philadelphia 76ers made 3s and Philadelphia Phillies base hits.

First, I love multiple sports parlays for light amounts because it gives me different options and different sports to follow along with a vested interest. That’s one of the big reasons why I enjoy gambling, because I can assure you there’s little-to-no-possible-way I’m watching James Harden dribble 75,000 in a 76ers-Washington Wizards game without trying to wet my beak on the action.

So, we watch as the 76ers find their range and start lighting it up. The Wizards cooperate and score easily too, meaning the 76ers keep their starters on the floor and need to score throughout. Well, Philly made a season-high 19 3s when it was all said and done, so all we needed was the Phillies to get, as Harry Doyle laments of the Indians in “Major League” — “One hit; that’s all we got is one ‘blankety-blank’ hit?”

And of course the Phillies could not come up with that one blankety-blank hit in a historic combined no-hitter.

It’s a top-three bad beat for me, not counting the gut punches that came with more financially devastating losses.

No. 1 all time for me was Cincy and Duke in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Had Duke plus-9.5 confidently and hoped to cover my Christmas bills in 2012. Game tied at 34 with Duke driving late. Duke’s about to score a TD and the RB fumbles at the goalline. Cincy covers 94 yards in four plays, including a circus TD catch-and-run by Travis Kelce that covered 83 yards to take a 41-34 lead with44 seconds. Duke gets it back, completes a pass over the middle then throws a pick six that was returned 55 yards with 14 seconds left to give Cincy a 48-34 win and cover.

There was an NBA between the Bulls and the Hawks one of those non-MJ “retired” seasons when I was in college that included a half-court shot to force overtime when we had the Hawks plus points before they got routed in OT.

But last night was harsh.

What’s your worst bad beat that you can recall?     

Line drawn in county politics

So the new county mayor — a friend of mine — is staring down the barrel of the establishment of county government.


Our way of doing things needs to be shaken more than stirred, to be honest. 

And make no mistake, this is not about Rheubin Taylor, the county attorney that Mayor Weston Wamp is attempting to fire.

Because if it is, then the commission is drawing their battle line on the wrong cause. Taylor’s record over his lengthy time in public service is far from noteworthy.

But that’s a person who is caught in the crosshairs of a new mayor and an old guard and each is wanting to make sure the other side respects their auth-or-TIE.

Count me on Team Wamp in this tug of war, and in truth, the power flexes by several county commissioners — remember the votes to overturn Weston’s vetoes were unanimous — who claim to be dyed-in-the-wool conservatives are far from being responsible with our tax dollars in my eyes, friends.

While I’m normally here for political theater of this ilk, my tired meter on matters like this is overflowing.

I know far too many of the folks involved, and I would expect better to be honest.

From both sides. 

This and that

— So, it should not have shocked anyone that Houston starter Cristian Javier was that good last night. How about this stat courtesy of @brianmctaggart on Twitter? The longtime Astros beat writer for MLB.com noted that, “In his last six starts, including the regular season, Cristian Javier is 5-0 with a 0.00 and 0.52 WHIP. He’s struck out 43 batters, allowed 11 walks and seven hits in 34 1/3 scoreless innings.” Yeah, that’ll do pig. That’ll do. 

— One more gambling nugget, this from my buddy Brian Edwards (@vegasbedwards on Twitter) about the Chanticleers: “Coastal Carolina is a three-point home underdog tonight vs. App St. Jamey Chadwell's team has won 18 of its last 20 games at home. The Chanticleers are 11-2 ATS with eight outright wins in their last 13 games as underdogs. They've won outright in six straight games as underdogs.” Hmmmmmmmmm.

— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall’s picks for the weekend, and he thinks Georgia-UT is going to be a barn-burning, one-score shootout. 

— LeBron, it’s not me, it’s you. And where you relocated to. But I am done with LeBron as my favorite basketball player. Put me on Team Luka please. And while we’re here, it’s worth noting that Luka Doncic became the first NBA player since Wilt to post 30 or more points in each of the first seven games to start a season. And friends, know this: If you match Wilt Chamberlain in any notable scoring feat, you are doing work. (Spy, I see you.) 

Today’s questions

Anything Goes Thursday, people, shoot when ready.

And remember the mailbag. And to sign up for the afternoon email blast. https://www.timesfreepress.com/email-plays/

As for today, Nov. 3, let’s review.

The remake of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston was released on this day 30 years ago. It won a slew of awards and is on the shortlist of best covers of all time. But man, that “Bodyguard” movie was DEEEE-redful. 

Costner’s got some all-timers, and he’s got some all-time stinkers.

Rushmore of actors with the biggest range between all-time great movies to completely awful ones, because Costner is a contender. So is Sly.

Discuss, and remember the mailbag.

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