Editor's Note: Vegas CyClown is another one of our new authors. Given his location we found it a natural fit for him to bring his unique take on the betting world and college football. Expect more of this each and every Friday throughout the season.
Shortly after graduating from Iowa State, with Agronomy degree firmly in hand, I decided I was going to pack my bags and head out West. When asked why, I told my parents, over a heated phone call from my state of the art cordless telephone, that I wanted to become a Cowboy, baby. I had heard the West contained real women that came equipped with scripts and fake breasts and figured it would be easy to buy an old drop top and find a spot to pimp. So, West I went.
Las Vegas was as far as the $150 I had in my bank account would take me and I quickly learned the harsh reality that pimpin was in fact not easy so I sought my fortunes inside the local casino. Luckily, it was fall at this point (I needed summer school to graduate), and the sports book was filled with college football fanatics just like me. Large 32" cathode ray tube television sets surrounded the room where women with bountiful bosoms bounced gleefully through the crowd handing out free drinks. Drinking, cheering, pointless flirting was going on all around me and I felt at home. I placed my first wager that day, and lost. Spirits still up, I wagered again, only to lose once more. Still not discouraged, and feeling the luck in bet number three, I wagered once more. And the third one, well that one lost too. But the fourth bet! The forth bet won and from that point on I knew I had found my calling.
Now, 14 years after cashing my first $20 ticket, I am here to share what I have learned and guide you through your weekly picks. Of course, since you most likely live in an area that does not have legalized sports betting, this information is of little use to you. Kind of like living in a desert with an Agronomy degree.
I begin this season with $500; money that has been earned through public shame and borderline illegal activity. I will use that money, and my vast knowledge of the Big XII, to hopefully, finally, be able to move out from under this bridge.
If you are following along, I exclusively use lines obtained from vegasinsider.com posted each Wednesday afternoon for the weekend activity. If your line differs from mine, it's either your bookie taking advantage of your innocence or there was some late money on the game.
It's probably your bookie.
North Dakota State @ Iowa State - August 30th 12:00 PM - FS1
Lines - Off the Board
Traditionally, Vegas Books do not lay lines for FCS matchups. It is possible to find action on some offshore sites and you can certainly find odds in various print publications, but as a general rule it is difficult to place a wager outside of FBS/FBS matchups. Since I am writing this from the perspective of a local gambler, these games are considered off the board.
Also, as a general rule, I do not bet on my favorite team since I have found that even when you win, you often lose and my objectivity is severely compromised. Always bet with your wallet, never with your heart or both will be broke at the end of the day.
Objectively, I would be comfortable betting any number that wasn't larger than -3; Vegas' version of home field advantage.
Realistically - Really, Mr. 1-AA school? You say you've won some championships in that cute little division of yours? Isn't that special? Give the bastards a 21 point head start, I don't care, I'm ALL IN!
West Virginia @ Alabama - August 30th @ 3:30 PM - ABC Regional
Line - WVU +26
Coach Stoops earned a very special fruit basket* from me this past winter when he backed SEC snide on the national stage. For the next 24 hours, I
mocked trolled the SEC fan sites laughing merrily and drinking their pain. Then, Missouri defeated OSU.
Go to Hell, Missouri.
Mr. Gundy received no fruit from me.
Alabama now gets their opportunity to do what they do best. Pick on a team with just enough name recognition that ESPN, CBS and the other shills can continue their narrative of how superior the SEC is.
I'm not sure anyone is actually expecting a good game here, are they? I mean, seriously, are they?
My wager - $22 to win $20, Bama -26
A more intriguing bet would be the O/U for full sets of teeth in the tailgating area, but Vegas doesn't have a line for that either.
*Due to a lack of effective Internet stalking skills, this fruit basket may have actually gone to a Robert Finnigan Stoops in Fargo, ND. I would like to publicly apologize to Mr. Stoops and his family for any inappropriate pictures that may have been tucked underneath the orange section.
Stephen F. Austin @ K-State - August 30th @ 7:10 PM - k-statehd.tv
Line - Off the Board
I will admit that I am not so much a sports junkie that I know anything about Stephen F. Austin. So, I turned to our good friend, Google and learned the following:
- Their mascot is a Lumberjack.
- They play in the Southland Conference, which according to their website, is in its sixth decade of service.
- Devonte Fields is in fact not transferring there.
That last one seemed to dominate the search results, so I will assume it is the most important of all their facts. K-State, on the other hand, is poised for another solid season under the leadership of, what I am increasingly positive is a cyborg, Bill Snyder.
K-State has lost only one home opener since 2000, which is as far back as I cared to look. Ignore the fact that that loss was last year, and that is a pretty difficult stat to overlook on a game you can't bet.
Samford @TCU - August 30th @ 7:00 PM - FSN
Line - Off the Board
I find it interesting that the two teams brought into the Big XII, traditional power houses in their former conferences, have struggled since joining our league. Meanwhile, with the exception of Colorado, the Big XII ex pats, average to mediocre conference talent, have been successful early on in their new conferences, with two teams already making their conference's championship game. Huh.
TCU is one such team that has yet to find its footing among its new brothers. I do not believe they will stay this way for long and that is not a good thing for us. However, I'm not sure this is the year.
Hailing from the SAAC conference, Samford is...oh, who cares. There is a reason this game is relegated to FSN and I have already devoted more words to it than it deserves.
Random note: Horn Frogs are terrifying creatures
Central Arkansas @ Texas Tech - August 30th @ 7:00 PM - FSN
Line - Off the Board
Central Arkansas hails from somewhere in the middle of Arkansas. Texas Tech plays in the Western plains of Texas. Texas has BBQ, Arkansas has...racists?
Louisiana Tech @ Oklahoma - August 30th @ 7:00 PM - PPV
Line - OU 38
I'm not sure there is anything intriguing to say here. Looking through their Wikipedia page, it looks like the Bulldogs (that's original) have been playing football since 1901, bouncing around from Division II to I-A to I-AA and back to I-A where they are a current member of Conference USA. Also, from Wikipedia, they "are the only team from a non-AQ conference to defeat an SEC champion in the BCS era" (Bama, 1999). So, there's that, I guess.
Oklahoma is Oklahoma and will do Oklahoma things.
My Pick - Another $22 to win $20 on the over (52), please.
Florida State @ Oklahoma State - August 30th @ 8:00 PM - ABC
Line - OSU + 17.5
The last time Florida State played a Big XII team in a neutral NFL stadium in Big XII country, lowly Iowa State came within a bad camera angle of defeating the defending National Champions.
Questions that I will be looking to answer during this game:
- Will Jameis Winston suffer from over exposure?
- Is Jimbo Fisher really that good of a head coach?
- Is Mike Gundy really a man?
- Who killed JR?
My Pick - at +650, I like the ML action on this game. I'll lay $20 to win $130.
North Texas @ Texas - August 30th @ 8:00 PM - LHN (selfish bastards)
Lines - Texas -25.5
Dan McCarney has never won a football game in Austin, Texas. Then again, neither has Charlie Strong.
I still have a soft spot for Coach Mac. I am old enough to remember the Walden years, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. With that being said, I need to place a bet, so I'll put my money on a combined defensive effort.
My Pick - $11 to win $10 on the Under 52.5
SMU @ Baylor - August 31st @ 7:30 PM - Fox Sports 1
Lines - Baylor -33
Gone are the glory days of SMU football. The bag men have moved on (hint, they didn't move far) leaving the Mustangs just one spot behind our beloved Cyclones in the latest USA Today rankings. I fondly remember back in my early years of sports betting I always went to the SMU line first, followed by UTEP and Duke, then bet the favorite which was never SMU. 60% of the time, I was right every time and the money came pouring in. Sadly, those days came to an end shortly after June Jones shed his Hawaiian shirt for whatever the hell they wear in Dallas these days.
My only question is, who does God love more, Baptists or Methodists? This game decides it all.
My pick - I'll take $22 to win $20 on Baylor -33.
BYE @ Kansas
Line - Kansas - 3
O/U - 3
I actually like the Jayhawks this week, but take the under to be safe.
Welcome back football, welcome back fall.