Well then, while I knew last week was going to be brutal, I don’t really think I prepared myself as much as I should have.
Or maybe just don’t give out 8 “strong” plays… Regardless, we went 3-5 on the week, and I didn’t even feel like checking my record on the Honorable Mentions after that garbage. Hopefully you all paid attention when I said not to go big on anything though and didn’t end up in too bad of shape when all was said and done. Now, let’s look on to one of the best football weekends of the year with our Week 14 Black Friday Edition Picks.
For me, this is one of the most bittersweet weekends in all of football season. First off, this is arguably the most prominent impetus for the coming conclusion of both the NFL and NCAAA football seasons. It is also a weekend of sports that parallels the Holiday surrounding it more than any other. Over these four days, society will be overloaded with just as much football as the gluttony of food and shopping that takes place during that same time frame. Let’s always remember though, there’s no need to go overboard with your sports betting just because the games are spread out for more efficient consumption. Just like you shouldn’t have your fifth slice of pumpkin pie just because its still out on the table, nor should you discipline someone else’s unruly child in the 5AM line at Best Buy just because Mom is too busy expressing her unsolicited political views with her lawn-chair line neighbor, who’s really more concerned with whether or not they’re close enough in line to get one of last copies of “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. If you find yourself in this predicament, please do yourself a favor, and get the fuck out immediately. That’s what Cyber Monday is for anyway… (Although, who am I kidding, unless you’re reading this while you’re in that miserable hell known as Black Friday, you’re probably more concerned with the picks anyway, so let’s get on with it already!)
Nebraska @ Iowa (Pk) – Friday, Noon – PICK: Iowa (Pk)
Poor Bo Pelini. Even angry Bo couldn’t prevent a loss at home last week against a division opponent. Although Iowa suffered a similar fate at home last week, knocking both teams out of contention for a division title, Iowa to me is just a better team right now. Nebraska’s run defense has been as resilient as a wet paper bag over the last few weeks and Iowa’s run game is no slouch. The wheels are coming off the bus in Lincoln, and if Bo loses this game, that will mean another year of not finishing down the stretch and a total of 4 loses. Not a good sign for Pelini’s future. Tune in Friday afternoon to see Bo Pelini’s Nebraska career come to an end and give me the home team in a pick em’.
Florida @ Florida State (-7.5) – Saturday, 3:30PM – PICK: Florida 1st Half, and +7.5
What’s there to say here? If you haven’t been following my picks already to know my thoughts on the Noles this season, then just go back and review the last couple of weeks to understand my position. All I’ll say is Florida St. is 3-8 ATS all season, and is even worse against the first half number. I’ll stick with the first half again since that has treated me best and because it’s in Tallahassee, but that +7.5 for the game is nice too. (Also, if you haven’t already seen this gem, please spare a second for this touching tribute.)
Arkansas (-3) @ Missouri – Friday, 2:30PM – PICK: Arkansas (-3)
Now we all know I don’t like laying points, but this pick has been weeks in the making, and I’m not going to back off my guns now. (Besides, I’m a UGA fan; I have to be a little bias right?) Missouri has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the East this year, especially in the second half of the season. After their embarrassing shutout/blowout loss to Georgia, they followed that up the next week by blowing out Florida, but then essentially squeaked past Vandy and Kentucky, putting up 24 and 20 points, respectively, against two bottom-tier SEC East teams. I said it two weeks ago when I picked them against A&M, and although I thought Tennessee had a great shot at home last week, they’re not going to make it past Arkansas here. I see this being a touchdown difference in favor of Pig Sooie, and sending the Bulldogs to Atlanta for the title game. (Edit: Seems the Razorbacks have released their own hype video, and minus the Tomorrowworld glitter effects, it’s honestly not to shabby…)
Baylor (-24.5) vs. Texas Tech (Neutral Field) – Saturday, 3:30PM – PICK: Over (79) or Baylor (-24.5)
What’s more dangerous than a 5th ranked team with only one loss who needs to win impressively to get themselves in position for one of those coveted Top 4 spots? How about their division rival with the same record, who beat them earlier in the year, but is unfortunately ranked behind them in the polls? Baylor and TCU have been two of the most impressive offensive teams this season, and in case any of you forgot, TCU single handedly covered the OVER for the game when they played Texas Tech earlier this season. Baylor should have a field day against the Red Raiders makeshift secondary, and win this one by a very comfortable margin. I have full confidence in Baylor covering here, but since I don’t like points, I’ll take the over. Either way you go, get on that one fast, because I assume they will both be steadily climbing all the way up until game time.
Rutgers @ Maryland (-8) – Saturday, 3:30PM – PICK: Rutgers (+8)
I know, I know…there are plenty of other big games out there that you might’ve expected me to take a side on, especially with such big spreads on some of the intense rivalry games you’ll see below. But I just didn’t get the right feelings from any of those that I normally would need to jump all over those lines, and some of them even had some troubling signs as far as my normal criteria is concerned, so I couldn’t bring myself to list them here. Analysis on this game? Nah, statistically that is all covered quite thoroughly here. Outside of that, it’s all bread and butter with the public ticket count and line movement. This isn’t even a major “rivalry” in the most generally accepted sense of the word, however there is some word out of Rutgers camp that they are actually taking this game and “rivalry” much more seriously than Maryland may be. I don’t really think Rutgers will pull the upset, but as long as I’m getting more than a touchdown, I’ll take the dog in the “rivalry” game to stay within the number.
Honorable Mentions: Leans in Bold
Auburn (+9) @ Alabama – Saturday, 7:45PM – Everything about this line says to take the points, but I’ve got a bad feeling about Bama’s mindset this year, especially after last year’s kick six. I can’t give this to you as a favorite with that in mind.
Mississippi St. @ Ole Miss (+2) – Saturday, 3:30PM – Home dog, public on the opposite side, but the line movement isn’t favorable for those backing the dog. I think Ole Miss could certainly upset, but I’ll be waiting to try and get this number as high as possible before game time just in case.
Minnesota @ Wisconsin (-14) – Saturday, 3:30PM – Lot of points here for a relatively hot team, but no major public side, and no major line movement to speak of. I just don’t see how Minnesota can keep up with the Badgers over the long haul in this game with one of the best rushers in the country, and Heisman candidate I might add, in Melvin Gordon.
MACtion ALERT!! – Akron @ Kent (+3) – Friday, 1:00PM – Home dog, line movement, public heavy on the fave…you know the drill.
Utah @ Colorado (+9) – Saturday, 1:00PM – Utah has been sluggish of late. If the line movement was in my favor and/or Colorado wasn’t the worst team in the Pac-12 (0-8 in conf., and 2-9 overall) we might have something to play here, but I’m going to pass.
Stanford (+4.5) @ UCLA – Friday, 3:30PM – Stanford has turned a lot of things around of late, and the public is firmly on UCLA. Line movement is going up though, no good for me. Play this at the highest number possible.
Michigan State @ Penn State (+13) – Saturday, 3:30PM – Penn State has been struggling of late, and while most betting factors make me lean that way, I just don’t know what team is going to show up in this game.
Black Friday Special – NFL Leans:
Jags (+3) – Tough, I know, but just do it.
AND FOR THE CFB PICK I CAN’T MAKE…
That’s it and that’s all! Good luck and have fun everyone!