As usual, this past week, I spent some time in my living room, aka a Las Vegas Race & Sports Book (LOL).
I noticed that on the board, we have the NFL, college football, the NBA, NHL, the Breeders’ Cup beginning Friday and college basketball tipping off next Tuesday.
That’s a lot of action, folks. Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean you must wager on it all. Betting should be enjoyable and entertaining, but more importantly, it must be profitable. Just because you are at a buffet does not mean you have to stop at every station. Practice some restraint.
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Here are this week’s Best Bets (Lines are as of Tuesday and can change. If a line is around a Hot Number or moves against us, be smart):
Michigan -18.5 at Maryland: After riding a seven-game ATS drought (going back to last season), Michigan has turned it around to become point spread gold, covering four of the last five outings.
The team has dominated Maryland, winning and covering the last four meetings by a combined score of 164-34. I am very impressed with coach Jim Harbaugh’s prep work, so I am not afraid of a “sandwich” situation, as the Wolverines just decimated Notre Dame 45-14 and have in-state rival Michigan State up next. Harbaugh won’t allow a slip up here.
The Terrapins have not fared well in the conference, donning 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS marks, getting shredded by Penn State, Minnesota, Indiana and Purdue, posting just 42 points in those matchups, while yielding 185 points. Look for Michigan quarterback Shae Patterson to have huge performance against Maryland’s 116th ranked pass defense. MICHIGAN
Kansas State -5.5 at Kansas: There are certain angles that many bettors subscribe to, with one of the most popular being the infamous “let down” spot. There will be many out there believing that Kansas State is in such a situation after beating Oklahoma last week, 48-41, as a 23.5-point ‘dog.
However, the Jayhawks bested TCU two weeks ago, 24-17, as a 4.5-point underdog. The “let down” would have happened a week ago. With back-to-back wins and covers, I feel K-State is brimming with confidence and starting to stride.
I know Kansas enters this game on a three-game cover streak and has covered the last three in this series. However, there are new coaches involved this season, looking to start new traditions and this team just falls short on talent.
The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS the last five at the Jayhawks, 7-3 ATS the last 10 on the road, and 7-2 ATS the last nine overall. KANSAS STATE
Texas State at Louisiana -22.5: At 5-2 SU (6-1 ATS), Louisiana is looking to take a stronghold of the Sun Belt West. Playing Texas State (2-5 SU, 1-5-1 ATS) will allow the Ragin’ Cajuns to do just that. They have won and covered the last six meetings with the Bobcats.
Even to my surprise, Louisiana has the No. 3 ranked rushing unit in college football (286.9 yards per game on the ground). Wanna’ talk mismatch? The Texas State defense ranks 118th vs. the rush. The Bobcats only score 18.1 PPG and come into this contest with some key players banged up on offense.
Outside of a season opening loss and cover to Mississippi State, Lafayette has held all opponents to 25 or less points. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-0 ATS the last four vs. losers, 4-1 ATS the last five vs. conference foes, and 6-1 ATS the last seven overall. LOUISIANA
SMU +5.5 at Memphis: One of the biggest matchups this Saturday is in the American Athletic Conference. SMU has the opportunity to make a New Year’s Day Bowl, while avenging five straight losses to their conference rival, Memphis.
Both have explosive offenses, but the Mustangs own the edge as running back Xavier Jones will control the clock and keep the 93rd-ranked run defense of the Tigers on the field and gasping for air come the second half.
SMU’s fast and ferocious pass rush (second nationally, 36 sacks) will wreak havoc on Memphis quarterback Brady White. SMU
On a personal note, This Sunday at Miracle League Fields (101 S. Rancho Drive, Las Vegas), I am honored to be umpiring the Vegas Wish Celebrity and Heroes Kickball game and fundraiser. Local celebrities and athletes will be matched on teams with local first responders and Military Veterans. There will be food trucks, face painting, a kids play zone, raffles, and much more. The gates open at noon and the game begins at 1 p.m. Admission is $10 for 16 and up, $5 for those 3 to 15 years old.
Vegas Wish, a nonprofit, was formed in the wake of the October 1 tragedy. Hope to see you there.
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