Week 3 Betting Guide

As we move on to week 3, we are starting to get a better idea of what teams are all about. We have an overall weak slate of games this week, but there’s money to be made out there.

Nebraska +3.5 at Miami

The play: Miami

Why? First of all, this is a worthless game that few people will watch. But some twenty years ago, these were the best programs in the country. I doubt either program will ever match those glory teams, but this game provides a spark of interest when considering the history. Golden is likely out at the end of the year and will be replaced by Charlie Strong. Nebraska is still reeling after giving a game away to BYU. Which team will not show up the most? Nebraska.

Miami 31
Nebraska 24

South Carolina +17 at Georgia

The play: South Carolina

Why? It’s obvious South Carolina is on the decline. Georgia is sort of holding steady as a good but not great team. The Cocks still have something in the tank, and the Old Ball Coach will have his players giving maximum effort today. It won’t be enough to win the game, but it’ll be enough to scare some people in Athens.

Georgia 16
South Carolina 14

Texas Tech +11.5 at Arkansas

The play: Arkansas

Why? Let’s face it, Bret Bielema is an idiot. Everyone knows it. His team looks to have regressed from last year’s last place team. Still, the opponent this week, Texas Tech, is downright awful. Toledo could get off the field on defense last week, but Texas Tech just doesn’t have the athletes Toledo does.

Arkansas 38
Texas Tech 10

California -6.5 at Texas

The play: California

Why? Have you seen Texas play this year? They are awful. Last year these teams both sported losing records. Cal may not win another game this year after this weekend. Texas will win a few due to a weak schedule. This is a double play.

California 41
Texas 13

Florida -3.5 at Kentucky

The play? Kentucky

Why? Why not? Florida might be on the road back to being a dominant program. Kentucky is on the road to be a respectable program. There is something to be said for momentum, and Kentucky is riding high after sneaking up on South Carolina.

Kentucky 21
Florida 20

SMU +37 at TCU

The play: SMU

Why? TCU has looked unimpressive thus far. They aren’t a deep team, they’ve suffered some key injuries and their quarterback seems to have regressed. SMU has shown some spark for the first time in years and Chad Morris has them heading in the right direction. Do I think SMU wins this game? No, but I think they are capable of winning this game.

TCU 35
SMU 34

Ole Miss at Alabama Over/Under – 53

The pick: The Under

Why? There are still questions about both of these teams on the offensive side of the ball. There are no questions on the defensive side of the ball.

Ole Miss 10
Alabama 9

Week 2 Locks of the Week

Week two is here. Now, after we’ve seen everyone, we have a better idea where to put our money. Everyone pull out your wallets and make some money. HSJ is over .500 for the year at 5-4.

Here are the locks of the week:

Oregon State +14.5 at Michigan

The play: Oregon State

Why? These teams are actually very similar. Michigan has a little bit more talent and is playing at home, but the line is way out of wack. Both teams are breaking in new coaches.

Michigan 21
Oregon State 20

Houston +13.5 at Louisville

The play: Houston

Why? One thing Houston does is hire good coaches: John Jenkins, Kevin Sumlin, Art Briles. Houston starts to show something on the field and their coach goes on to make millions. Tom Herman will probably take over for Charlie Strong after this season. Louisville didn’t look good last week against an Auburn team that was trying to hand them the game.

Louisville 34
Houston 28

UTEP +20.5 at Texas Tech

The Play: UTEP

Why? This has little to do with UTEP and a lot to do with Texas Tech. Texas Tech looked to have less talent than Sam Houston State last week. UTEP is better than Sam Houston. Take UTEP and the points.

Texas Tech 42

Minnesota -5 at Colorado State

The Play: Colorado State

Why? Minnesota looked disinterested last week at home, so going on the road should further cloud their interest factor. Colorado State has players still trying to impress the coach. This game is a coin flip.

Colorado State 21
Minnesota 17

Washington State +3.5 at Rutgers

The play: Rutgers

Why? Washington State is the worst team in the PAC 12. They are worse than Colorado.

Rutgers 34
Washington State 30

Georgia -21.5 at Vanderbilt

The Play? Georgia

Why? Vanderbilt was awful last week. They just don’t have the horses. Georgia can name the score.

Georgia 52
Vandy 9

Fresno State +30.5 at Ole Miss

The play: Fresno State

Why? This game won’t really be competitive. We at HSJ just don’t believe Ole Miss has enough offense to cover the spread against these Central Valley boys.

Mississippi 27
Fresno St 3

Iowa -3 at Iowa State

The play: Iowa

Why? The difference in the athletes on these two teams is significant. Iowa passes the eyeball test. Iowa State doesn’t. In fact, Iowa State looks like a Pop Warner team wearing USC colored uniforms.

Iowa 28
Iowa State 13

Oklahoma -2 at Tennessee

The play: Tennessee

Why? Tennessee has better players. The talent level is similar in the skill positions, but up front, Tennessee has more bodies. OU is probably a better coached team at this point, which makes this game interesting. Tennessee will probably come back to win late. If this game had an extra quarter, Tennessee would win going away.

Tennessee 28
Oklahoma 20

Oregon +3.5 at Michigan State

The play: Michigan State

Why? Oregon is dead. Put a fork in them.

Michigan State 31
Oregon 16

Rice +14 at Texas

The play: Rice

Why? If you saw Texas play last week, you wonder how they can score at all. Rice will be able to move the ball against Texas and can win outright if they win the turnover battle.

Rice 20
Texas 13

LSU -4 at Mississippi State

The play: Mississippi State

LSU will miss John Chavis and they aren’t as talented up front as they have been in recent years. Prescott and company will be able to score some points for the Bulldogs. LSU cancelling its game last week will hurt as well.

Mississippi State 42
LSU 17

College Football Betting Guide Week 1

Week one is almost here. Everyone pull out your wallets and put your money on your favorite college football team.

Here are the locks of the week:

Washington +13 at Boise

The play: Washington

Why? Boise has fallen off from their statue of liberty days. The blue field is fading. Their discipline problems are shipped off to fake Christian schools.

Boise 30
Washington 24

Stanford -11.5 at Northwestern

The play: Stanford

Why? Northwestern players tried to unionize. When you have stuff like that going on, it’s a distraction. Do you have defensive linemen cornering punters in the locker room asking for their union dues for protection? HSJ is not high on Stanford this year, but Northwestern will be a mess all year.

Stanford 35
Northwestern 3

Louisville +10.5 at Auburn

The play: Auburn

Why? Bobby Petrino is a pretty good coach. He has some baggage similar to Charlie Strong and Clint Hurtt, but he will have Louisville scoring some points. We’ll see what Will Muschamp can do on that side of the ball for Auburn. The problem is Louisville is void of talent on the defensive side of the ball, so Auburn should be able to score at will.

Auburn 52
Louisville 28

Virginia +19 at UCLA

The play: Virginia

Why? Last year, with UCLA boasting a preseason All American quarterback, Virginia physically manhandled the Bruins. The PAC 12 has a reputation for soft teams outside of Stanford and Utah. This year, with a true freshman under center, expect the Bruin offense to look about like it did last against Virginia.

Virginia 9

BYU +7 at Nebraska

The play: Virginia

Why? Here are a couple of fascinating teams. BYU plays games on weird days all season because they aren’t in a conference. Nebraska’s former coach looked like a penis. I think Nebraska should improve once they get into their conference schedule, but BYU boasting a roster of 23 year old men always has a little bit of an advantage in week one games.

BYU 28
Nebraska 27

Bowling Green +22 at Tennessee

The play: Bowling Green

Why? Rocky Top is back. Vols fans will be rocking. There’s true excitement pulsating through UT nation. However, they don’t cover.

Tennessee 35
Bowling green 21

Texas A&M -3.5 vs Arizona State

The play: Texas A&M

Why? Again, PAC 12 schools just aren’t physical. While the east coast media is predicting a high scoring affair, this game will play out differently. Both of these teams gave up their share of big plays last year, but this game will resemble more of a 1970’s run heavy battle.

Texas A&M 20
Arizona St 10

Texas +9.5 at Notre Dame

The play: Notre Dame

Why? Notre Dame is starting a shitload of juniors and seniors. Texas lost most of their defense off last year’s team and still do not have a quarterback or an offensive line. This is a mismatch, especially in a week one game.

Notre Dame 49
Texas 0

Alabama -12 vs Wisconsin

The play: Wisconsin

Why? I don’t expect this game to ever really be in doubt, but Alabama is in trouble on offense. While they boast perhaps the SEC’s top defense, they may have the SEC’s worst offense. Amari Cooper in Oakland will really hinder the Tide. Wisconsin will be able to get a few first downs via the run, but won’t be able to put together more than one long scoring drive.

Alabama 19
Wisconsin 10

Virginia Tech +13.5 at Ohio State

The play: Virginia Tech

Why? Last year, Virginia Tech took Ohio State behind the barn and left a bloody half mauled Buckeye in a pile of tattoos and Youngstown street trash. This year, Ohio State will be ready. However, there’s an old saying, “If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.” Team derision over the quarterback situation will play out negatively just as Northwestern’s union situation.

Virginia Tech 35
Ohio State 24

HSJ Bowl Movement

New Orleans Bowl Dec. 20, 11:00am ET, ESPN
Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (-1.5) (Played in New Orleans, LA)

This is a game of sin. When you think of Nevada you think of Las Vegas. When you think of Louisiana you think of people hunting alligators and the debauchery of New Orleans. The Ragin’ Cajuns have won three consecutive New Orleans Bowls in what amounts to a home game for them. In fact, ULL is one of six schools to have won bowl games the last three years. The others are heavyweights Florida State, South Carolina, Michigan State, Oregon, and Texas A&M. Things will change this year, though. Cody Fajardo and the Wolf Pack offense will rip through the Cajun defense like water through the Lake Pontchartrain levees.

Pick: Nevada 41 Louisiana-Lafayette 27

New Mexico Bowl Dec. 20, 2:20pm ET, ESPN
Utah State (-10.5) vs. UTEP (Played in Albuquerque, NM)

Most people don’t realize that UTEP is in the state of Texas. With this game being played in Albuquerque, UTEP definitely has a home terrain advantage. The Miners boast a powerful running game and will be looking to control the clock in this game. On the other side, Utah State has used more quarterbacks than the NBA has used Kardashians. The Aggies are on their fourth quarterback, freshman Kent Myers, and he’s played pretty well. Look for UTEP to control the game in the early going, but for Utah State to eventually take the lead in the second half and hold on for the victory. The key is for Myers and the Aggie offense to avoid turning the ball over. With a couple of turnovers, the UTEP running game and Aaron Jones will pull the upset. With a month to prepare for the game, Myers will not give the game away.

Pick: Utah State 31 UTEP 21

Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 20, 3:30pm ET, ABC
Utah (-4.5) vs. Colorado State (Played in Las Vegas, NV)

This is another interesting matchup early in the bowl season. You have a Colorado State team that just lost its coach to an SEC school. CSU actually bragged that as part of the coach’s buyout, they get to play a road game at Florida. Utah is a school that snuck into the PAC 12 when Colorado escaped from the Big 12. They did have a common opponent in Colorado this season. Colorado State blew out the Buffaloes but Utah had a bit of a struggle before winning by less than a touchdown. Sometimes, games come down to intangibles. On paper, Utah appears to have the better team mainly due to its defensive front seven, but other than that these teams appear evenly matched. The intangibles in this game appear to be that Colorado State considers collecting a large buyout for its coach a victory. To brag about something like that means that the game is actually secondary. Take the Utes, and the points.

Pick: Utah 27 CSU 14

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Dec. 20, 5:45pm ET, ESPN
Western Michigan (Pick) vs. Air Force (Played in Boise, ID)

This is one of those games played on blue turf, which makes it really hard to watch. It’s also crazy that neither team made a bowl in 2013 when they combined for a 3-21 record. Yet, here they are, playing each other on blue turf this bowl season. This is a very difficult game to pick, so I’ll just go with Western Michigan since our service academies should no longer play football.

Pick: Western Michigan 28 Air Force 23

Camellia Bowl Dec. 20, 9:15pm ET, ESPN
South Alabama (-2.5) vs. Bowling Green (Played in Montgomery, AL)

Dino Babers is still in shock after his Bowling Green Falcons lost three games in a row down the stretch. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Bowling Green played on different nights of the week instead of just Saturdays. Their schedule lined up like an NBA schedule. South Alabama, however, had their own problems, especially on the offensive side of the football, where they averaged just over 20 points a game. Look for South Alabama to hold Dino’s squad in check, mainly because Bowling Green sounds like some kind of croquet or jarts team.

Pick: South Alabama 21 Bowling Green 6

Miami Beach Bowl Dec. 22, 2:00pm ET, ESPN
BYU vs. Memphis (-1) (Played in Miami, FL)

This is an interesting game. There’s no doubt about it, BYU is not a good football team. They aren’t as physical as they have been in past years and they have absolutely no speed at the offensive skill positions. The Cougars did manage to scrape together a four game winning streak to end the season on a high note after a horrendous start. Memphis, on the other hand, has been kind of a trendy mid-major this year with a defense that has surrendered just 17 points per game. BYU does have one advantage in that the game being played in Miami, which is probably third on the list of places where college students can get in trouble behind New Orleans and Las Vegas. Still, we at HSJ don’t believe that’s enough of an advantage for BYU to pull the upset.

Pick: Memphis 41 BYU 7

Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 23, 6:00pm ET, ESPN
Marshall (-9.5) vs. Northern Illinois (Played in Boca Raton, FL)

Marshall scored 66 points against Western Kentucky for their greatest offensive game of the season. It was also their only loss of the season. Northern Illinois has won at least 11 games for five seasons in a row. In watching Marshall this year, they seemed like a solid football team and probably have more talent than Pitt and West Virginia. They won some close ones down the stretch until that collapse against Western Kentucky. Northern Illinois, though, is just used to winning. They would win against Marshall, Pitt, or West Virginia, all similar teams.

Pick: Northern Illinois 44 Marchall 35

Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 23, 9:30pm ET, ESPN
Navy vs. San Diego State (-2.5) (Played in San Diego, CA)

San Diego State is basically playing a home game in this bowl game. Their opponent, Navy, shouldn’t be fielding a team at all. It is time for the service academies to give up playing football. On the field, both teams are run heavy, with Navy running that service academy triple option game. Look for the superior athletes of the Aztecs to take over this game in the second half.

Pick: San Diego State 22 AFA 17

Bahamas Bowl Dec. 24, 12:00pm ET, ESPN
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky (-3) (Played in Nassau, Bahamas)

This game really isn’t a good idea. The Bahamas would be better suited hosting a badminton tournament or maybe some beach volleyball exhibitions. Western Kentucky did play one of the more exciting games this year when they squeaked by an overrated Marshall team by one point. Central Michigan relied on the lunch pail type of defensive effort to go bowling this year, and they are hanging their hat on a victory over a Big 10 team. Let’s not kid ourselves, though. Western Kentucky has better players and should win this game going away.

Pick: Western Kentucky 49 Central Michigan 0

Midseason Exlusive Report: Big Wins for State of Texas Programs

We are nearing the midpoint of the 2014 season. Let’s take a look back at the biggest wins for the major college football programs in the state of Texas:

The Bears scored a home win over TCU by a field goal. While this was a great win, the Bears’ defense proved suspect by giving up a whopping 58 points.

Houston has improved after a rough start that saw them lose to UTSA and give a game away to a poor BYU team. The Cougars got things going with a 28-24 win over Memphis.

Rice lost a lot of seniors off last year’s squad and had a tough schedule to open things up in 2014, but the Owls have won three straight including a 41-21 pasting of Army.

North Texas
North Texas is another team that lost a lot of senior leadership off last year’s team. Their 43-6 win over SMU has been their bright spot so far this season.

The Mustangs have yet to win a game but seem to be turning things around after the departure of June Jones. Their recent effort against East Carolina was by far the Mustangs’ best game of the year.

The Longhorns best win came after pulling away from struggling Kansas in the second half during Charlie Weis’ last game as the coach of the Jayhawks. The Horns avoided becoming the Jayhawks’ second conference win in 32 games.

Texas A&M
The Aggies opened up the college football season with a road victory over top ten ranked South Carolina. The Gamecocks has won 18 straight home games before the Aggies came to town.

Texas Christian
The Frogs appear to much improved on offense but have taken a step back on defense. Gary Patterson’s new offense put up enough points to beat a tough Oklahoma team.

Texas El Paso

The Miners opened up the season with a 31-24 win over the Lobos of New Mexico.

Texas San Antonio
The Roadrunners opened the season with an upset win over the Houston Cougars in Houston. UTSA has struggled of late, but Larry Coker’s bunch came out ready to play in game one.

Texas State
After a disappointing loss to Illinois, Dennis Franchione’s squad went on the road to Tulsa and escaped with a 37-34 victory.

Texas Tech
The Red Raiders thwarted a last minute drive by the Miners to hold off UTEP in El Paso, 37-34, to move to 2-0 on the season. Unfortunately, the schedule toughened up a bit after the first two games.