Ladies and gentleman – football season is HERE! The state of Iowa has taken the training wheels off of sports gambling and is now the Wild Wild West, so come along for the ride!
I will post this column on a weekly basis, displaying all Big 12 games that are available to gamble on. In the first few weeks there will be games without lines, mostly due to lack of statistical information or intestinal fortitude laid down upon our Vegas brethren. I tend to choose the latter.
With that being said, we will begin the year with a $1,000,000 balance to play with, and I will select certain games that I feel are solid bets to place money on. The more confidence in my picks, the more UNITS I will lay my money on. Remember, these are just my opinion, so don’t @ me on Twitter.
Last year was quite profitable, nearly tripling my original balance (290%), and ending the year at $2.9M. All in all, I went 21 for 33, which is a very respectable 64%, and would not be too shabby by Sharps’ standards.
We will also start factoring in what they call “juice” in Vegas terms, which is a 10% fee. So for example, if I lose a $100k bet, instead of just losing $100k at even odds, it is actually $110k. Remember kids, the HOUSE always wins…
We start week one with a slate of 10 games, one on Friday, eight on Saturday, and a prime-time matchup on Sunday night.
Without further ado, here is Week 1 of Betting the Big 12
SATURDAY August 31st | Indiana State at Kansas | 11:00 A.M. (No National TV, and rightly so) | No LINE, and rightly so
The Mad Hatter days of Les Miles begin in Lawrence, KS. And while the new head coach is a horrible public speaker off the field, he has usually provided good production on it. KU wins one of their 3 games of the year on Saturday.
James Madison at West Virginia | 1:00 P.M. (No TV) | No Line
The Mountaineers begin their tough-slated schedule with a prominent FCS school in James Madison coming to town. New coach Neal Brown (formerly of Troy) will have his work cut out for him, as WVU loses 13 starters (and almost all of their offense) from a year ago. This will be a close matchup.
Montana State at Texas Tech | 3:00 P.M. (No TV) | No Line
To be honest, I don’t know much about Montana State, other than – well, they’re from Montana. The Red Raiders continue to schedule cream puffs for easy W’s, and should win this one by 30+.
Stephen F. Austin at Baylor | 6:00 P.M. on ESPN+ | No Line
The string of “No Lines” continues, as Baylor welcomes in a basketball school to the shit-hole of a town they call Waco. Matt Rhule and the boyz are widely picked to finish in the upper half of the Big 12, but he also plays a style that is slower-paced and tends to create tighter finishes. I see a closer one here than it should be, but the Bears get the W.
Nicholls State at Kansas State | 6:00 P.M. on ESPN+ | No Line
Nicholls nearly knocked off in-state rival KU a year ago, and will make new coach Chris Klieman sweat out his first victory on the Wildcat sidelines. I’ll do you a favor – don’t watch this game. It will be uglier than watching Bill Snyder trying pilates.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff at TCU | 7:00 P.M. (No TV) | No Line
Gary Patterson’s teams tend to bounce back after subpar seasons, and last year they faltered with more injuries and off-season problems than anyone should ever bear. Positive regression takes over here, as Patterson is just too good of a coach to see the Horny Toads fail. TCU runs away with this one.
Louisiana Tech at #10 Texas | 7:00 P.M. On the Longhorn Network | Texas -20.5
Former Bulldog quarterback (and TV Personality) Terry Bradshaw created some offseason drama, when at a LTU banquet proclaimed that Texas QB Sam Ehlinger “ain’t that good,” and that Longhorn quarterbacks “can’t throw the football. I’ll take our boys any day.” Hahahaha
Terry Bradshaw, shots fired.— Bob Ballou (@BobBallouSports) June 27, 2019
On Texas QB Sam Ehlinger:
"He ain't that good."
(*By 5-A he means 5-star) pic.twitter.com/ZNkU8fU7dA
Well, he may be off his rocker, because Ehlinger (in my opinion) will run away with the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, and (if healthy) will be among the finalists at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in December.
La Tech is no slouch, as they went 8-5 a year ago, and have a stable coach in Skip Holtz. I think Texas wins the game, but the spread is a complete toss-up. Flip a coin for this one.
Here are my best bets for Week One of the 2019 Season
FRIDAY August 30th | Oklahoma State at Oregon State | 9:30 P.M. CST on FS1 | Oklahoma State -15.5
Mike Gundy and the Fighting Mullets return after a less than stellar 7-6 record from a year ago. They bring in a new quarterback, but the same ole run-and-gun sling-it-all-over-the-field offense. It’s not the offense I’m worried about it, but the defense, as it struggled mightily last season.
That being said, the Beavers of Oregon State haven’t been good since the TJ Houshmandzadeh (spelled that one right on my first try) and Chad Johnson days. And they are still not very good. Either way, going on the road, travelling to the West Coast, and on a Friday, the 15.5 points are just too much. Give me Oregon State here with 2 units ($200K) and the plus 15.5.
Northern Iowa at #21 Iowa State | 11:00 A.M on FS1 | Iowa State -18.5
The Cyclones start the 2019 season with expectations higher than a freshman fraternity boy on sorority bid night! I expect Campbell and company to keep this one close to the vest, trying different packages and lineups in preparation for the weeks to come.
UNI has been a thorn in ISU’s side, as they knocked off our Cyclones in Campbell’s very first game (in 2016). That UNI team was led by veterans, but this 2019 roster has many new faces. Iowa State beat the Panthers by 18 two years ago, and that was with two pick-sixes.
I expect the Cyclones to win easily, but by less than the odds Vegas gave us. I’ll take the Panthers with one unit ($100) at Plus 18.5.
SUNDAY September 1 | Houston at #4 Oklahoma | 6:30 P.M. on ABC | Oklahoma -24.5
Lincoln Riley welcomes a familiar foe in Dana Holgorsen to town, as the former WVU coach hastily packed his bags leaving Morgantown in the offseason. Oklahoma will have a new look – with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts getting the keys to the offense. In year’s past Riley’s teams have perfected the art of passing, but Hurts is limited in that department, and thrives with his legs.
It is an intriguing storyline heading into the season, but I still see the Sooner offense to continue to put up video-game like points on the board. Houston on the other hand, has an electric quarterback in their own right – in D’Eriq King, and will challenge OU step for step.
WAAAAY too many points to get behind OU here. I’ll take 2 units on the Cougs - $200 on Houston +24.5
Well there you go. Travel to your nearest Iowa casino and place some bets folks. Good luck to you all!