It is that time of year when you can make a living outsmarting Vegas as the bookmakers feverishly attempt to adjust to the new season.
Or outsmart yourself.
One trend to watch is the success major conference teams had in Week 1 vs. teams from minor conferences. Case in Point: Major conference underdog (Alabama) routing minor conference opponent (Clemson). Or major conference team Kentucky taking out minor conference foe Louisville. Not to mention major conference team Mizzou covering against minor conference team Illinois. Or Colorado covering handily against in-state minor conference rival Colorado St. And, of course, Cal over Michigan St.
The only exception to this trend in Week 1’s Take it to the Bank picks was KU, which I don’t count, because the Hawks, 35 point favorites, would not have been involved in the week’s picks at all had they worn any other uniform.
The games of Week 2:
1. La Tech +21 at KU
This week’s KU opponent is a major step up from Fla International. La Tech has given major conference teams fit for years. Last week, they took out Mississippi St. Will the Jayhawks unleash the extent of their pent up fury after keeping a low profile in Week 1? Or will they continue to play it close to the vest in order to keep South Florida guessing? Tough call. But when in doubt, I take the team that was 12-1 against the spread last year:
2. San Jose St +26 at Nebraska
Unlike the Monkees, I am not a believer in Nebraska in the second week of the BP era. However, I believe even less in San Jose St.
3. Cincinnati +22 at Oklahoma
This would be a troublesome spread the Queen City. In Norman, what is Vegas thinking?
4. Texas Tech -10 at Nevada
I have a good friend who is a Red Raider diehard. He is distressed already by their close call (49-24) against Eastern Washington. But, hey, EWU is a good FCS team (according to my Big Sky source). And you can’t put too
much stock in an opener against a no-name opponent.
5. Texas A&M -3 at New Mexico
A tough test for the major/minor conference theory. Especially considering that this is the first road game for A&M’s new coach. And having been in New Mexico earlier this week, I can attest to the fact that the Lobos are chomping at the bit to take down a flailing Big 12 team. Won’t surprise me if UNM wins this game outright. But what conference are they in this year?
6. Houston +16.5 at Okie St
Okie St even appears to be a good team from a major conference.
7. Kent +7.5 at Iowa St
Iowa St might not yet be in the good category, but they are approaching respectability. As long as Baylor is in the Big 12, the Cyclones are not the worst team in the conference. In fact, they might even be better than a certain other Big 12 South team.
8. Texas -26.5 at UTEP
Please, don’t throw me in that briar patch, Mr. Vegas man.
9. Northwestern -6.5 at Duke
It IS at Duke. Unfortunately, in an outdoor stadium. Not Duke's forte.
10. Miami (FL) +21 at Florida
Miami is trying to claw its way back into prominence. The operative word being "trying."
11. Oregon St +16.5 at Penn St
Gotta go with a major team in a minor conference in this case over the minor team in a major conference.
12. BYU -6.5 at Washington
Ditto Game No. 11.
13. Ole Miss +8 at Wake Forest
Another test of the conference theory. Don’t know that Ole Miss will take out Wake, but they should be able to cover this generous spread.
14. South Florida -14 at Central Florida
Speaking of generous spreads--especially with USF looking ahead to the biggest game in its short history next Friday night..
15. Fla Int’l +27 at Iowa
If FIU can hang within 30 of a truly great team, why wouldn't it stay within 20 of the Hawkeyes?