Chalk Talk BCS & NFL Betting Tips 01-07-09

Jan 7, 2009 6:00 PM
by Kevin Stott |

BCS Championship Game @ Dolphin Stadium, Miami, Florida

Florida (-3½, 70 LVH) vs. Oklahoma (FOX, 5PT/7CT/8PT): It all comes down to this – just one football game to determine the national champion. Sorry, USC and Texas and Utah and the rest of you – we’re just not sophisticated enough to have a playoff system in college football although they do it in every other single NCAA sport as well all of the other football subdivisions. But how else are we going to have controversy unless we don’t do it right? It’s sort of like the electoral college in a strange way…

Enough pontificating Peter. Let’s get to the gridiron and talk about what is sure to be an entertaining and high-scoring game in the Sunshine State tonight.

Florida (12-1, 10-2 ATS) is led by a quarterback as tough as any that’s played in the NCAA – southpaw Tim Tebow. The Gators have outscored opponents by an average of 32.4 PPG (45.2-12.8) and will have to have its defense playing its best to try and handle a team as diverse as Oklahoma, who like Florida, is also 12-1 SU and 10-2 ATS. The Sooners have outscored opponents by 29.5 PPG (54.0-24.5).

This will be a fast-paced game and I pity the fool that takes the under. Even if it’s a winner, watching these two teams surge up the field and score TD after TD will make that bettor lose much weight and the odds are about 345,762-to-1 that we will see a Chargers-Steelers-like final score of 11-10.

Florida RB Percy Harvin said Monday he is 90 percent ready to go in this one while Oklahoma will be without two of its biggest players – RB Demarco Murray and LB Ryan Reynolds – both of whom graduate from Bishop Gorman High School here in Las Vegas. Advantage, Gators.

The game will probably come down to which team has the most big plays and the least turnovers and I, like GamingToday’s totals guru Sid "Shine On You Crazy" Diamond, think the wrong side is favored – so taking the Sooners on the money line (+150, highest at Leroy’s) might be a smart move for the really savvy player.

With the Heisman Jinx (three of last four winner’s team’s have lost BCS Title game) and Bob Stoops track record (1-4 L5) in recent bowl games, it seems that maybe the right team is favored and historically the SEC has been stronger than the Big 12 but this was the year of all years for the conference.

This game is a clash of stats. Oklahoma scored (702) and averaged (54) than any other team in college football history with its no-huddle offense, but Florida’s defense, led by MLB Brandon Spikes, only allowed 51 points in the first half all season, an average of under 4 PPG. So what to do?

Florida will try and stop OU’s rushing attack and force them to just pass. With Murray out, that will come down to trying to stop Brown, which Florida can do with its cast. So can the Sooners pass against UF? They’ll have to and with QB Sam Bradford having targets like Iglesias, Gresham, Broyles, and Johnson, I think the Sooners, although they are 98th in the nation in pass defense, will find a way to win this game and become national champs. Prediction: Oklahoma 44 Florida 33. OKLAHOMA +3½, OVER 70.


Saturday, Jan. 10


Ravens at Titans (-3, 35) (CBS, 10 am PT/1 pm ET): Ever seen a chess match break out at a football game? You will with this one. Both teams should play it close to the vest and will likely rely on rushing the ball. For Baltimore that means McGahee and McClain and for Tennessee that means Johnson and White. As far as passing, Flacco v. Collins would give the edge to Tennessee, as does the site (Nashville) here.

For me, the big difference is this game will be Baltimore’s defense. With LB’s Lewis and Suggs and Mr. Do-It-All, Ed Reed, I am backing Edgar Allen Poe’s boys, the black birds in this one despite the fact the Tennessee Tuxedos beat them in the regular season (13-10). Prediction: Baltimore 13 Tennessee 7. RAVENS, UNDER 35.



Cardinals at Panthers (-10, 48½) (FOX, 5:15PT/8:15ET): More birds baby! Not convinced that Arizona travels well enough and is confident enough to hang with this team whish has put itself back into the football spotlight this season behind QB Delhomme and WR Smith. The crowd and site will be the biggest factor for me here and although laying double digits does not seem like the right thing to do, I’m going to do it – a lot like staying under the 35 mph speed limit on my way home. Prediction: Carolina 31 Arizona 20. PANTHERS, OVER.


Sunday, Jan. 11


Eagles at Giants (-4, 39½) (FOX, 10PT/1ET): More flippin’ birds? Is this an aviary or the NFL playoffs? Teams won on each other’s fields in regular season. This one boils down to momentum and confidence for me and Philly has both after being left for dead after the Ravens game earlier this season (Remember the calls for McNabb to be traded and Reid to be fired?).

NY actually plays better as an underdog and when no one expects them to do well – like last season. In the Meadowlands, the crowd will be raucous but there will be a fair share of Eagles fans doing their share of screaming for their boys. Having Samuel play and perform well means much for Philly and with McNabb as strong, confident and motivated by anger as he has ever been and Westbrook healthy, look for the defending Super Bowl champs to be missing in the NFC championship game next weekend. Prediction: Philadelphia 23 New York 16. EAGLES MONEY LINE.



Chargers at Steelers (-6 ½, 38) (CBS, 1:45PT/4:45ET): The Weather Channel forecasts a high temp of 34 degrees and a low of 18 degrees with flurries a great possibility in this one – and the sun will be setting around kickoff here in the Steel City. We know that a team from sunny Southern California is out of its element in the cold, but this team, like the Eagles, seems really energized and energy matters in sports. Also, Big Ben (easier than trying to spell Roethlisberger) seems a solid hit away from being scrambled eggs and Rivers is proving his worth and I will actually take Chargers RB Sproles (The Lightning Bug) over Steelers RB Parker.

GT’s Richard "Dr. Steubenville" Saber likes the Steelers here, but he bleeds black and gold so we’re not trusting him to be keeping his heart out of this handicap. And when you’re getting 6½ in a game of this magnitude, take it (Wait until near game time, may be able to get 7 or more). Looks like another barn burner for SD…And do you remember that 11-10 freak show earlier this season? Prediction: Pittsburgh 17 San Diego 16. CHARGERS +6 ½.


NEXT WEEK: AFC and NFC Championships.