Fab 4 picks
Vegas is not only very good at setting numbers that are crazy accurate.
Vegas is also very good at setting numbers that seem downright crazy, too.
THE Ohio State has become THE ATM since week 1. Another game, another cover. But 52 feels crazy. Simply crazy. On the road, gang.
But the number started at 50, and has grown because the sharp action in Sin City is on the Buckeyes. Seriously.
Man, it's hard to see laying that many, right? But there's no way you can feel comfortable taking Rutgers at any number. This so feels like a game that will be 21-0 with 8:50 left in the first quarter and THE Ohio State has run seven plays.
History lesson: According to ESPN gambling guru Chris "The Bear" Fallica,there have been two Power 5 conference games with 50-point spreads in the last 25 years. Oklahoma-Baylor in 2003 had the Sooners as a 53-point favorite (OU won by 38); Nebraska was a 50-point favorite over Missouri in 1996 (Huskers won by 44).
On the other end of the spectrum, a dreadful Northwestern team is giving 40.5 to an even more dreadful UMass.
How big is that number? Well, before Saturday's strange 24-22 loss against Purdue, Northwestern has scored 41 points in its previous six games — COMBINED.
And you're supposed to feel comfortable laying 40.5? Hey, if I have to I will lay the points in both games, but thankfully, we don't have to.
To the picks
Alabama minus-20 over Mississippi State. Hey, if Tua doesn't play — and here's TFP college football guru David Paschall on Tide back-up Mac Jones being ready — then I would give this a second thought come Saturday, but man this screams 56-3. Screams it. Alabama normally is all about BID-ness. Now the Tide is about anger. Look out Bullies, there's a train coming.
Michigan minus-13 over Michigan State. Let's review some things here. One, Jim Harbaugh is tired of hearing about his less-than-terrible record against his rivals. Two, Michigan has been a different team since the rally in the second half at Happy Valley. Three, Michigan was off last weekend. Four, Michigan State blew a 28-3 lead in a 37-34 loss to Illinois last week. You have to believe the Wolverines are surging toward the finish and wonder if Sparty has now folded the tents on Mark Dantonio and this staff. This one feels 42-10, and not as close as the final.
La. Tech plus-3.5 over Marshall. Yes, the Techsters/Bulldogs are much better at home, and we are much more comfortable when they are better at home. Still, I'm riding with Skip Holtz and dem boys. That Tech offense is 13th in the nation in scoring at 38.1 per — right behind Oregon and right ahead of Texas. I like Marshall, truly. I like La. Tech more. So there's that.
Georgia minus-2.5 over Auburn. This one almost violates the "lines that look too good to be true usually are" but Gus Malzahn's offensive quirkiness gives me all the confidence in the world in a Georgia defense that has been every bit as good as the stats suggest. Yes, there's very little positivity from Johnny Bulldogs Fans everywhere about the stagnating offense. But, again, have you watched Auburn?
Louisville minus-3 over NC State. Yes, I got burned by the Cardinals last week in a trip to Miami, and there can be trouble found throwing good money at bad money. But the Cardinals are committed. The Cardinals are one win from bowl certification. The Cardinals are playing for a first-year coach who is neck deep in the foundation construction. NC State? Not so much. The Pack's four wins — ECU, WCU, Ball State and Syracuse — are not exactly murderer's row. Buy the number for safety, but the Wolfpack are reeling.
Virginia Tech minus-5 over Georgia Tech. Speaking of ACC games with no home-field edge, let's go to Atlanta. In truth, Virginia Tech has become the poster child of patience with a coach, right? We all know the lengthy story about Frank Beamer getting time to build a program in Blacksburg that would never be afforded this days. Well, the Hokies hired Justin Fuente to replace him and, after a fast start, year 3 was 6-7, and the start to year 4 was dreadful — lost at a bad BC team, narrow win over a bad Old Dominion team, an escape against Furman and a wicked beatdown in primetime against Duke. From 2-2 to 6-3 and that other loss was letting Notre Dame off the hook. Geoff Collins has done a pretty good job of keeping that bunch together after a dreadful start, but this one is going to get away from the Jackets. (Sweet buckets, that's two ACC picks in one week. Oh my.)
Cincinnati minus-13 over South Florida. If the Bulls managed just 7 points in a must-win spot last week against Temple, how are they going to block a Cincy front that is averaging almost three sacks and seven tackles for a loss per game? (Side note: Did we mention that South Florida is 127th in the country in sacks allowed per game? Plus, the Bearcats have everything in front of them toward a New Year's Six Bowl Game. This should be at least a 20-point line, even on the road.
EDIT Friday before Baylor football game: Alert. Alert. Danger, danger Will Robinson. Punt the La. Tech pick — three starters have been suspended including the Techsters' starting QB. Danger, danger Will Robinson.
Last week: 4-4 (50 percent) against the spread
Earlier this week: 1-0 (100 percent) against the spread — thanks, Akron
This year: 38-38-2 (50 percent) against the spread.
Big news quietly
It may not have made the headlines on your Twitter timeline, but this is kind of a big deal, friends.
Those are the details of Yahoo.com launching its gambling operation through BetMGM.
That's right, arguably the biggest website/search engine out there is getting neck deep in the legalized sports betting trends.
First from a BID-ness angle, this is a giant revenue possibility for MGM — which now has a much bigger reach than online betting giants Draft Kings and Fan Duel — and Yahoo, which can deal who knows how many specialized betting ads across its site.
Not sure how much financial backing Yahoo has or if MGM is covering all the action from its gambling coffers.
It's especially interesting to watch for those of us in Tennessee, which has legalized sports gambling online (and online only) but has not trotted out its plan or platform.
OK, I'm a sucker for awards shows. Yeah, I know Spy.
Side question: Why am I sucker for awards shows? Wait, you don't have to answer that. Come to think of it, the word sucker kinda gives it away.
Anyhoo, we watched a fair amount of the CMAs last night and were pleasantly surprised by a few things.
First, the women in country music theme was excellent. (That said, if you are Trisha Yearwood and you're in the building, aren't you a little ticked you were not invited? Seriously, Terri Clark over Trisha? Also, I understand that Loretta was not able to go, but unless they were in concert somewhere, The Judds needed to be involved. Period. "Young Love" at the end would have killed.)
Second, Willie is old and did not look good. So I will say it now and often — Thank you Willie, for your gifts; your music has meant the world to me.
Third, this young generation of country music not named Dan + Shay is redirecting the S.S. Nashville back toward greatness in my opinion. Good times.
While we are here, one of the big winners last night was Luke Combs, who along with Chris Stapleton, Ashley McBryde and Eric Church, gives me hope for the soul of country music.
This and that
— Speaking of current country, Luke Combs qualifies for today's Thursday Tune with his award-winning — and all-time old-school country music titled — "Ice Cold Beer Never Broke My Heart." What are you listening to?
— Have wondered about this since the James Wiseman news came out. Debate the details of the Memphis-NCAA squabble around the super freshman's relationship with Penny Hardaway before Penny was the Tigers coach. Here are some details about the TSSAA and the possible rules violations in high school.
— Thought this was interesting, but regarding the new Disney+ we discussed earlier this week and that launched on Tuesday, here's an interesting story on how Disney is presenting some of its old classics that have dated cultural references. I think that is a very acceptable way to present "Dumbo" and "Lady and the Tramp" and some of the old-school movies that are older than your grandparents. Thoughts?
— LeBron looks 10 years younger. Yes, he dominated a decimated Golden State bunch last night. Side point: Golden State has lost five straight. Want to know before right now how many five-game losing streaks the Warriors have had under Steve Kerr? Yep, bagel.
— Speaking of making picks, well, last night was, shall we say, a good one. The two 5-at-10 picks on Press Row yesterday crushed. We had the over 54 in some MACtion with Northern Illinois 31, Toledo 28 and, in hoops, we had Boston College minus-19. College hoops picks are 5-3; we did not count that college football pick toward the number. As for tonight in hoops, we'll take Michigan State minus-6 at Seton Hall.
— Your Chattanooga Lookouts have named their coaching staff. Here's more from David Paschall.
Couple of things that crossed our plate in the last 20 or so hours:
You a cake or a pie person? Best concert you ever attended?
As for today, Nov. 14, let's review.
On this day in 1960, "Georgia on My Mind" hit No. 1. Great song, there.
"Network" debuted on this day in 1976. That "I'm mad as [heck] and I'm not going to take it anymore" is an all-time movie line.
On this day in 1988, "Murphy Brown" debuted on CBS.
Rushmore of sitcoms with female leads. Go.