Welcome back, Betting fans. Big 12 football has returned, and with it, our weekly gambling series covering Big 12 action. Last year I turned my initial investment of ẜ500 (fake dollar) into ẜ840 thanks to a high scoring Bedlam matchup to end the season. This year, I'm mixing it up a little by adding two new features.
For the first time ever in my betting career I will be using advanced statistics to assist me in my picks. This information, provided by WRNL's KnowDan's new joint venture website, CFB Analytics (www.cfbanalytics.com), will not necessarily determine whom I choose in any particular game, but will influence the wager on those games. Amateurs bet with instinct. Professionals bet with information. I do something in between.
Also, austinnarber now joins me each week to highlight various games he feels are strong bets in our Narber's Best Bets feature.
Oklahoma State @ Central Michigan - Thursday, September 3rd @ 6:00 PM - ESPNU
Line: Oklahoma State -23.5
The 2014 Chippewas eventually made a bowl game with a 7-5 record, yet suffered early season losses to Syracuse, Kansas and Toledo. That is quite a trio of teams to lose to and it is surprising any bowl committee wanted this directional Michigan school at the end of the year. But, it goes to show that how you get to six wins isn't important, only that you get to six wins to participate in postseason play.
If you listen to our friends over at CRFF, the Cowboys are primed to make a run at the Big 12 title and Central Michigan stands little chance against the mighty Pokes. However, 24 points is a tall order to fill against an offense as prolific as the Chippewas' and questions remain about OSU's defense. CFB Analysis agrees.
CFA: OSU 27 - CMU 25
My bet: $22/Central Michigan +23.5
TCU @ Minnesota - Thursday, September 3rd @ 8:00 PM - ESPN
Line: TCU -16.5
Last year, a 30-7 manhandling of Minnesota provided a spring board for a TCU squad that wasn't yet receiving high praise from national media. It was also their 2nd in a string of 12 consecutive covers to open the 2014 season.
This year, Minnesota is improved, but TCU has also and is a media shoe-in for the National Championship Game. Heisman front-runner, Trevone Boykin, leads the Horned Frogs north into the den of the Golden Gophers for a Big12-B1G showdown on Thursday night.
CFA: Minn 32 - TCU 57
My bet: $22/TCU -16.5
Baylor @ SMU - Friday, September 4th @ 6:00 PM - ESPN
Line: Baylor -36
Breaking in another new quarterback doesn't apparently scare the Vegas odds makers as another season of ridiculously high Over/Unders are apparently in store for us on Baylor games. However, Baylor has not scored over 69 points in their opening game in the Art Briles era, and SMU's offense is guaranteed to struggle against Shawn Oakman and the rest of an improved Baylor defense.
That said, it is always difficult for me to feel comfortable betting an under, especially on a team that loves to score. What makes me feel much warmer deep inside is a six touchdown margin of victory I am sure will be no problem against the boys from SMU.
Welcome to the Seth Russel era.
CFA: SMU 3 - Baylor 54
My bet: $22/Baylor -36
South Dakota State @ Kansas - Saturday, September 5th @ 11:00 AM - FSN
South Dakota State is home to the Jackrabbits. A creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived! Bones of four fifty men lie strew about its lair. So, brave Jayhawks, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty big pointy teeth.
Las Vegas sportsbooks typically do not feature FCS games on their boards, so as a rule, I do not include lines for them in my previews.
Unofficially, this line sits with Kansas being favored by less than a touchdown. Being that I am an Iowa State fan, and we have no high horse from which to laugh down upon, I will instead choose to remain silent.
My bet: Kansas gets their first and only win of the season
Sam Houston State @ Texas Tech - Saturday, September 5th @ 2:30 PM - FSN
I did research on Sam Houston State, but found nothing of interest to share.
Same applies to Texas Tech.
Viva la Taco!
My bet: Someone wins
Akron @ Oklahoma - Saturday, September 5th @ 6:00 PM - Fox PPV
Line: Oklahoma -31.5
To those of you who have no interest in discovering what a Zip (Akron's mascot) is, I suggest you skip further ahead. To the rest of you:
Yeah, they were named after a zipper. I thought it was going to be a zipper but then thought there was no way it was a zipper because who has a fucking zipper for a mascot.
But it was a zipper.
CFA: Oklahoma 34 - Akron 21
My bet: $11/Oklahoma -31.5
South Dakota @ Kansas State - Saturday, September 5th - 6:00 PM - K-Statehd.tv
Good news if you're a fan of both South Dakota and South Dakota State, you can see both your teams play in a state that is slightly less boring than your own!
Bad news if you're a K-State fan, you have to watch this on a crappy internet feed. To be honest, I'm impressed Kansas' governor allows the internet.
My bet: Nobody watches this game much past halftime.
Texas @ Notre Dame - Saturday, September 5th - 6:30 PM - NBC
Line: Texas +9.5
I'll give this to Texas, they do not shy away from big non-conference games. Of course, that is what a conferences' flagship program should do (*cough, Baylor). The problem is, they haven't been winning those games since 2012.
This season, the Longhorns face #11 Notre Dame Week 1 before a matchup with Pac 12 sleeper, Cal, on September 19th.
I'm not sure Texas has rebounded yet under the strong leadership of the new regime, but this game will go a long way in letting the rest of the conference, and nation, know where the Longhorns are in their rebuilding process
CFA: Notre Dame 40 - Texas 27
My bet: $11/Notre Dame -9.5
Georgia Southern @ West Virginia - Saturday, September 5th @ 6:30 PM - FSN
Line: WVU -19.5
I'll be honest. At first, I thought this was just another Big 12/FCS matchup for the first week of the season. Then I saw there was a line for it. Then I saw that line moved almost 19 points towards Georgia Southern since it opened (WVU -38). That is some heavy money flowing towards a team I didn't realize existed.
Shame on me.
Apparently, the Eagles, who have been part of the Sun Belt Conference since 2014, are owners of six FCS national championships including three in a row from 1998 to 2000. In short, they have a history of success and are now trying their luck at the FBS level. West Virginia should be at least a little concerned about this one.
CFA: WVU 32 - Georgia Southern 38
My bet: $55/Georgia Southern +19.5
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State - Saturday, September 5th @ 7:00 PM - cyclones.tv
Third times the charm, right?
Unofficially, Iowa State is about a 7 point favorite in this game. I'd like to see us win by at least 21, but the Panthers are not only the most solid mascot of this week's FCS opponents, they're also the best team.
Let's hope the ship is righted.
My bet: Cyclone fans leave happy, drunk and optimistic (not in that order).
Narber's Best Bets
This week, austinnarber gives you his best for each day of the holiday weekend.
Thursday: Western Kentucky (-2.5) @ Vanderbilt - WKU returns one of the most potent offenses in the country. Vanderbilt is, by all appearances, quite inept at scoring points and has squandered four consecutive FBS home openers.
Friday: Colorado @ Hawaii (+7.5) - A ranked Washington team came to Honolulu for Hawaii's season opener last year and eked out a one-point victory. The Buffaloes, off a 2-10 season, come into this one with yet another new head coach. Hell, I'll take the Warriors outright.
Saturday: Old Dominion (-4.5) @ Eastern Michigan - Rematch of last year's 17-3 win for ODU, a season in which EMU allowed 41 points per game. No earthly reason to believe the Monarchs can't cruise by double digits again.
Sunday: Purdue @ Marshall (-7.5) - I'm against Purdue on the road eternally. I'm certainly against Purdue, on the road, against a Marshall team that averaged 46 ppg last season and returns basically all its playmakers minus Rakeem Cato. Thundering Herd, blindfolded (how did this line open Purdue -2.5?).
Monday: Ohio State @ Virginia Tech (+13) - Sure, Buckeyes by 14 last year in Columbus. Welcome to Blacksburg.