Ranked teams

Sep 14, 2010 7:07 AM

Just play on the favorites and cash!

The college football action around Las Vegas was huge as a lead-in for the football frenzy of Sunday’s NFL excitement. Everyone was betting and those who were betting the ranked teams they knew were cashing. The sports books had an awful day Saturday. As good as their first weekend was two weeks ago, this was equally as bad.

While the sharps didn’t hit their games collectively, it was the masses just betting teams they know and taking teams who would be on TV that beat the books. The typical bettor Saturday at the sports book window sounded something like this while staring at the board of games, "I’ll have a 5-team parlay for $20, give me Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma, and, uhhhh, did I say Ohio State, and umm, Utah, and uh, give me Florida too."

It was that easy for people on Saturday.

MGM Resorts Director of Race and Sports, Jay Rood, said he had a quite a few loaded parlay cards hit Saturday, mostly with favored public teams.

"One guy hit a $100 10-teamer using all public games and cashed $70,000. We had a $15 10-teamer hit, a few nine-teamers, needless to say, it was a really good day for the players on Saturday," Rood said.

College Moves of the Week

There were 16 college moves last week of two points or more from the Monday openers to kickoff with the sports books having an edge on the decisions, or at least on paper. Some books move on air when the alert comes that others are moving and may not have enjoyed the success others did by moving solely by the money.

A two-point move is much more significant on spreads with single digits because in most cases each move can be expected to be done in half-point increments, suggesting that there are four limit plays that would move a game two-points. Once a line is in the teens or twenties, a move of a full point or a point- and-half doesn’t really tell the entire tale of the movement.

To keep things simple, we’ll just leave it at moves of two points or more which shows that the books won those games 10-6 on Saturday. The largest move was on the added board which tends to be more weighted with straight bets and larger moves because of the lower limits. Rutgers opened a 19-point favorite and was bet down to -14¼ against Florida International. The sharps got there with play as Rutgers barely won 19-14.

Kansas and Oregon both saw sharp moves against them moving 2½-points each, but the books raked in all the chips at full limits with those as Kansas won straight up 28-25 over Georgia Tech and the Ducks destroyed Tennessee at Rocky Top 48-13.

As great as it would appear that the sports books did in those games, they didn’t elsewhere. It was a bloodbath everywhere as the key public teams all got there in parlays. This shows once again that the sharps, as smart as they are, aren’t as important to the day’s success as the mighty power of the masses. However, the sharps are a necessity to the operation because without the sharp play, a day like Saturday would have been much worse. It’s very rare that the house will lose to both square and sharp action on the same day. The agendas for each side are completely different but each help keep the balance of nature in place much like a rain forest needs all living components to survive.

Atlantic Coast Crushing’s Hurts Creditability

The ACC has the luxury of having an automatic bid in the BCS and who their representative will be this year is way up in the air. Regardless of who it is, it’s safe to say that they won’t be playing in the title game. No. 16 Virginia Tech’s home loss to James Madison as a 33-point favorite takes the Hokies to 0-2 and dramatically reduces the conference’s creditability with voters.

Not only does it affect how coaches and writers feel about the quality of the ACC, it also affects how they feel about Boise State who beat Virginia Tech two weeks ago in what was thought of then to be a quality win. In this weeks AP rankings, Boise State lost seven of the eight first place votes they had two weeks ago. All this happened just by mere perception without Bosie State even playing last week.

The woes of the conference didn’t stop with just the Hokies either. No. 12 Miami was beaten soundly by the Big-10’s Buckeyes, No. 17 Florida State was crushed by the Big-12’s Sooners and No. 15 Georgia Tech lost to Kansas as a 14-point favorite. The best display by the conference was Virginia’s 17-14 loss at USC.

Player of the Week

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson placed himself in the Heisman race by putting the Wolverines on his back to win a 28-21 thriller at Notre Dame. It wasn’t just that Robinson put up over 500 combined yards of rushing and passing, it was the manner in which he it. The 12-play drive in the closing minutes -- with 80,000 Irish fans on top of him -- to get the win are the type of moments that get campaigns started in Heisman races. He rushed for 197 yards two weeks ago in a win over Connecticut. Tack on Saturday’s 258 yards and he now leads the nation in rushing. It would be hard to believe that Michigan would run Robinson 30 times a game if they expect to keep him healthy for 10 more games, but as of now, Michigan is 2-0, the Alumni is happy and that’s keeping head coach Rich Rodriguez happy. Translation: except the kid to keep running 30 times a game.

This Week's Games

There aren’t a lot of marquee games like we had last week. Texas visiting Texas Tech should be entertaining as well as Washington welcoming Nebraska, but I’ll be paying closer attention to three matchups this week. Friday’s game with Cal visiting Nevada looks to be one of the highest scoring games of the week. Cal looks like they are one of the best teams in the Pac-10 -- along with Stanford and Oregon -- while Nevada carries the flag of WAC respectability. Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick can’t be stopped in Chris Ault’s system, but the game will ultimately come down to how many times they can stop Cal’s potent offense. Hopefully it’s a good showing for Nevada on an isolated espn2 national audience and hopefully many of the AP writers aren’t sleeping like they normally do for west coast games.

Saturday night I have two games simultaneously to watch with Houston visiting UCLA and Iowa visiting Tuscon to play Arizona. Watching Houston’s offense run by Case Keenum is always entertaining but now they have to go against a team that is a slight upgrade defensively from what they‘re used to, or is it? UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel is taking a beating in the Los Angeles media and disgruntled fans after starting the season 0-2. The 35-0 beat down Stanford put on UCLA at the Rose Bowl last week has fueled the fire, one that began with Neuheisel making initial claims in the city that he obviously can’t back up. The new pistol offense the Bruins are running requires a mobile athletic quarterback, something that Kevin Prince isn’t. However, the tempo and style that Houston play may allow for the UCLA to score quite a few points making this game entertaining.

We finally get to see how good Arizona is this week against a very good Iowa team. They came on strong last season and have blown out smaller schools in their first two games this season, but Iowa may be a different story. It will be interesting to see how Arizona handles the big Iowa offensive and defensive lines. The one edge Arizona will have is the Desert Swarm home crowd and the late start time.

My College Picks for this week: Stanford 42 Wake Forest 17, Texas Tech 32 Texas 30, Florida 38 Tennessee 20