It was a crazy week of football for the underdogs in both the pro and the college ranks. Did we discover anything that we can use for our next batch of football picks?
it’s usually a party for the sportsbooks whenever the underdogs cash in. This past week was one of the biggest parties the books have ever thrown; in the seven days leading up to press time, NFL underdogs went 12-3 ATS, and college puppies were adorable at 32-24 ATS – pushes not included. Did we capture any of that magic here at the home office? Let’s review our football picks (Monday night’s NFL game still pending):
Virginia +13.5 at Boise State WIN
Temple +20 (–105) at South Florida LOSS
Rams at 49ers UNDER 39.5 (–105) LOSS
Not an ideal result. That Rams-Niners game was an aberration; Los Angeles took care of the total all by themselves in a wild 41-39 victory. And the Owls didn’t put up much resistance in their 43-7 loss to USF. At least Virginia made us look good by beating the Broncos straight-up, 42-23. This is indeed not the same Boise State program without head coach Chris Petersen (now with the Washington Huskies).
We were debating whether to fade the Broncos or the Arizona Wildcats for our Week 4 Friday night college football picks. It’s not a binary choice, of course – we could have taken both. The math didn’t add up for us in Arizona’s game against the Utah Utes (–4.5 away), but as it turned out, the ‘Cats dropped the cash again, losing 30-24 and falling to 10-21 ATS as underdogs under head coach Rich Rodriguez. As long as he’s still employed in Tucson, we should keep visiting this betting trend.
Hand in Glove
Aside from our own football picks, there was lots of stuff happening on the gridiron last week that merits our attention. For example, NFL scoring may not be dead just yet: The OVER went 11-5 over the past seven days, boosting the average score per team this year from 20.1 to 21.8 in one fell swoop. Offenses do take some time to work the kinks out. Maybe they’ve got this thing figured out now.
Then again, we were treated to a fresh round of injuries on the offensive line. The Chicago Bears lost center Hroniss Grasu (hand) in the first quarter of their 23-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, which still managed to go UNDER 43.5 despite the extra frame. The Steelers (–7 away) also watched LG Ramon Foster leave that game early on with a hand injury. It was an incredibly ugly day from there. Chicago’s offensive line is especially fragile at this point with multiple holes to fill, so keep a close eye on these wounded Bears.
Get It on Credit
Back on campus, it looks like the North Carolina Tar Heels are running out of players. Three more Tar Heels joined the infirmary ward in last week’s 27-17 loss to the Duke Blue Devils (+2 away): Senior WR Austin Proehl, senior DT Tyler Powell and redshirt freshman WR Rontavius Groves all left the game with major injuries, and none are expected to play this Saturday (noon ET, ESPN2) when North Carolina visits the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Heels already had nine players knocked out for the season before that Duke loss.
If it isn’t injuries, it’s bad behavior. Don’t expect RB Jordan Scarlett to return to the Florida Gators anytime soon; he and eight other suspended players are now facing multiple third-degree felony charges regarding their alleged use of stolen credit card numbers. Charges have yet to be laid as we go to press, but all nine players remain suspended indefinitely, and at 2-1 SU and 0-3 ATS, fading the Gators looks like a pretty good idea going forward.