Chalk Talk College Football Betting Tips 12-17-08

Dec 17, 2008 7:00 PM

Oh if every college season could go like this one, with the big favorites getting the money two of every three times in Chalkville! And if I could actually put my money where my words are and reap more than the meager profits I squeezed out of the four months advising you GamingToday website readers which chalks to back life would be a bit more bearable but you know how it goes … But if you’re reading this, you must be a gambler and all gamblers never seem to be content with the amounts they win. Constantly being unsatisfied and wanting more seems to come with the territory…

But you don’t want to hear my problems as I’m sure you have scads of your own and what we try and do is to look at the games in a fun, creative and rational way and give it to you on Wednesdays before your head is cluttered with all that crap you hear from television, radio and your know-it-all friends. One thing I know from doing this – it is hard not to let other people influence your decisions on what you ultimately bet and more and more "mainstream" media are recognizing that demand for selections and are providing their own "expert" picks for the public’s perusal.

As far as differentiating between the Chalk Talk selections for the regular college and NFL season and all of these upcoming college bowl picks, please note that the college picks are more like half-unit plays compared to a regular pick which would be worth two units. The "BE$T BET$" designation used in this column as well as my Power Plays column in GamingToday’s Tuesday sports books hard copy are worth a three-unit play. In gambling it’s important to learn that betting the over in an Oklahoma-Texas game is about four times as valuable as an almost forced pick on a Navy-Wake Forest EagleBank bowl game. Or in simple terms on a low scale, a regular pick like the Ravens-Cowboys selection below would be at $44, a BE$T BET$ selection would be at $66 and a "forced pick" type of bet would be at the $11 level. It’s so important to get the math right but so hard to apparently do at the betting window.

Enough gambling philosophy Plato. Let’s talk some football for this weekend…

Saturday, Dec. 20


Ravens at Cowboys (-4, 40 Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook) {NFL Network}: A really meaningful game for two 9-5 teams here may come down to a head-to-head battle between two young QB’s who’ve put their former colleges on the map – the Cowboys’ Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois) and the Ravens’ rookie phenom Joe Flacco (Delaware).

Romo was beat up but good by the G-Men on SNF and will be beat up but good again here by the hardest hitting team in the NFL. Baltimore (10-4 ATS) and its very scary defense (yields 14.9 PPG, No. 2 in NFL) have kept them in the hunt, and, combined with the importance of this game, an outcome similar to Sunday’s 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh is to be expected. Predict: Dallas 17 Baltimore 10. UNDER 40. BE$T BET$.


Saturday, Dec. 20

College Football

EAGLE BANK BOWL @ RFK Stadium, Washington, DC (ESPN, 8am PT)

Navy vs. Wake Forest (-3, 59½, Palms opening line): Also called the Congressional Bowl in some circles – insert your own Barney Frank and "tight end" joke in this space – this snoozer kicks off the bowl season in Our Nation’s Capital. The Middies are coming off two straight shutouts (Army, NIU) and have actually covered their last four bowl games, losing to Utah by only three points as 8½-point favorites last season. Let’s bypass taking the points in this one and gamble a bit. Prediction: Navy 21 Wake Forest 20. NAVY MONEY LINE +.

NEW MEXICO BOWL @ University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM (ESPN, 11:30am)

Fresno State (-3, 59 ½) vs. Colorado State: The first two New Mexico Bowls went under the posted total but this matchup may see some points – but check the weather as winter is starting to kick in to the lower 48 right on time for the first day of the new season (Sunday). The mere fact that Colorado State is even in a bowl game reveals there are too many bowls but gamblers just love another game on the post-season slate.

The Rams may have a slight advantage knowing the stadium, playing in the MWC with New Mexico, but Fresno State is a bit stronger overall and worth a small shot in the Land of Enchantment. Prediction: Fresno State 35 Colorado State 27. FRESNO STATE -3.

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL @ Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL (espn2, 1:30pm)

Memphis vs. South Florida (-13, 51½): Soon we’ll get a decent game, I promise. South Florida (7-5, 4-7 ATS) and QB Matt Groethe are the bowl season’s second-highest favorite (Mizzou -14 over Northwestern) but expecting the Bulls to cover a high spread has been asking a lot despite the program’s recent improvement. Small lean taking the points here and like it more teased up to 20+ but for this game we elect to… PASS.

LAS VEGAS BOWL @ Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV (ESPN, 5pm)

BYU vs. Arizona (-3, 61): The crowd will favor the Cougars as BYU (10-2, 3-8 ATS) plays in the MWC vs. UNLV and the Mormon Faithful have made this trip to Sin City before and are familiar with rooting their boys in. Arizona (7-5 SU/ATS) and QB Willie Tuitama are having one of its best seasons to date and deserved to be the favorite in this contest but to actually bet on them? These two teams met LY in the season opener (BYU won 16-13) but the Cougars were a tad bit better and the Wildcats have improved. Both teams played poorly ATS away from home (BYU 1-5, AZ 1-4) so choosing a side here is a toss-up. As far as the total, note that Las Vegas is getting as wintry-weather as it ever gets (Monday) so that chilliness may favor the under. But there will be points. Prediction: Arizona 37 BYU 33. OVER 61.

Sunday, Dec. 21

NEW ORLEANS BOWL @ Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans (ESPN, 5:15pm)

Troy State vs. Southern Miss (-4, 55): Troy State (8-4, 7-4 ATS) plays football as hard as anyone in Division 1 but the mere fact they have been made a 4-point favorite in this tilt against Southern Miss (6-6, 7-5) shows that this Sun Belt program has come a long way. Troy outscores opponents by 13 PPG and although SoMiss has been on a roll of late to become bowl eligible, I’m siding with the team with the heart as big as Alaska. Prediction: Troy State 28 Southern Mississippi 21. TROY STATE -4, UNDER 55.

Monday, Dec. 22

POINSETTIA BOWL @ QualComm Stadium, San Diego, California (ESPN, 5pm)

TCU vs. Boise State (-2, 46): TCU has one of the nation’s top defenses (allow 10.0 PPG) while Boise State (12-0, 7-3-1 ATS) has more skill players than David Copperfield has tricks. What happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable object? Well we’ll find out here in the best bowl game of Week 1. The Horned Frogs will feel lucky not to have to face the Broncos on the Smurf Turf and can take some solace, should they win, of being the team that beat Boise State this year – and they can. But if Utah could beat TCU, than Boise State certainly can – but fading this defense is something not recommended. Let’s hope this thriller turns into a chess match and that Boise State’s defense can show a little spark itself. Prediction: Boise State 22 TCU 20. UNDER 46.


NEXT WEEK (10): Motor City Bowl (Dec. 24), Meineke Car Care Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Emerald Bowl (Dec. 27), Independence Bowl (Dec. 28), Bowl, Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29), Humanitarian Bowl, Texas Bowl, Holiday Bowl (Dec. 30).