Nothing like good Greek story to spice football picks

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Hashing over the good old days over a glass of grape with some friends, we were talking about the Internet, apartments and all the new-fangled high tech stuff that keeps everyone off the roads and out of the casinos.

A strange story that happened to me (back in the early 70’s I think) had to do with my dear departed dad, “Broadway Bennie” Saber. He always got his Waterford Park clubhouse passes from his buddy “Money O’Brien, who owned the Academy Pool room and gambling club in Steubenville, Ohio.

“Money” was legendary back in the “Ville” along with “Jimmy the Greek” Snyder (Sybnodinos) who ran the Big Six Wheel in the Academy for Money and later gained big fame and fortune in Vegas.

Now in those days “Money” had all but retired from the bookmaking business, but could be located in the grandstand at Waterford every night as he loved to bet the ponies. If you needed passes or a favor you could line up and make an appointment at my dad’s restaurant down on 4th Street.

My father never drove a car so it was up to me, my mom, “Broadway Mary,” or my brothe,r Frank “Tommy” Saber, to get him to the track by 7:15 and that went on for years. I was taking Bennie to the track this cold night as we drove across the bridge over the Ohio River.

We had to go through Weirton, W.V., in order to get to Route 2 and then it was just 22 miles to the track. At the beginning of Route 2 “Money O’Brien’ was hitchhiking. We stopped and he got in the back seat with Bennie, who never would sit up front. Bennie asked what happened? 

I don’t know how old “Money was at that time as he would always be dressed to the T with a suit or sport coat and tie, but he had to be in his 80’s. He said “I sold my car. You just won’t believe what happened to me! I outlived my money. I never believed I would live this long. It’s the worst beat I have ever had since I started betting when I was 8.”

That’s the true story of Mr. Money O’Brien and I did see him just a week or so later resting in peace.

Let’s take a look at a few games I will be taking shots at this week.

NCAA

Saturday, Oct. 13

Toledo -13½ at E. Michigan: There is no way that I can bet on the Eagles who have gone 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS. The Rockets have gone 5-1 SU with their only loss coming at Arizona 24-17 and they are 6-0 ATS. TOLEDO.

Auburn +4½ at Ole Miss: The Rebels aren’t much, but Auburn is much less. Ole Miss will be looking for some revenge from last year’s drubbing at Auburn 41-23. OLE MISS.

Illinois +21 at Michigan: Would not usually lay the wood in a game like this as the Wolverines get Michigan State next week, but the Illini only owns two covers this season – against Western Michigan and Charleston So. Michigan’s two losses were at Alabama and Notre Dame. Despite being 2-3 ATS we will lay the three TD’s. MICHIGAN.

Stanford +9½ at ND: I really like this game but will watch it with the sound off, I will be keying the Irish who are giving up just 7.8 points a game and have given up just 12 in their last three games against Michigan State, Michigan and Miami, Florida. The other key factor is the Irish will be getting revenge from last year’s 28-14 loss at Stanford. NOTRE DAME -9½ (straight and all teasers).

W.Virginia -4½ at Texas Tech: Geno is terrific, but this is a very bad spot for the Mountaineers coming off a huge win at Texas and now going on the road to Lubbock. Red Raiders will be an angry bunch off the loss to Oklahoma. They may not stop Smith, but should cover. TEXAS TECH.

NFL

Thursday, Oct. 11

Steelers -6 at Titans (43): Steelers got a needed win off the bye week, but now hurting and must come back in just four days. Not good. The Titans have played a real tough schedule with three of their five games on the road at San Diego, Houston and Minnesota. All things favor the Titans to get the cover in a close game. TITANS.

Sunday, Oct. 14

Rams +3½ at Dolphins: The Dolphins have played five games with two wins. In all five they have opened as the dog. Now they are a favorite. The Rams are 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS. This game may be decided by a field goal. RAMS.

Just a quick note: This year’s Breeders Cup will be at Santa Anita Nov. 2-3 and as usual I will be participating in our BC Seminar at Palace Station in the race book on Thursday evening Nov. 1 starting at 6 p.m. We have a ton of fun and on occasion even pick a winner or two. 

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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