Football Handicapping Lessons Have Come Fast And Furious
Florida’s 45-7 Win Over Kentucky Proves Wildcats Game Last Week Against Southern Miss Was Not Fixed As Many Bettors Thought – ‘Cats Just A Bad team.
Rams 28-0 Shutout Loss To 49ers Shows Case Keenum Won’t Be QB For Long – But Who Will?
Chiefs Stunning Come-From-Behind Win Over Chargers Revealed One Thing Bettors Cannot Overlook The Fact Kansas City Has Best Offense In NFL
FSU (2-0) At Louisville (2-0), Buckeyes (2-0) At Oklahoma USC (1-1) At Stanford (1-0) Winners Will Be Yours On Marquee Saturday For Just $15.
By Kelso Sturgeon
It’s early but not so early some of the hidden truths of the college and NFL seasons have already revealed themselves. For instance, ask Oklahoma State’s Cowboys who lost a game they won if officiating is not as ridiculously as bad as ever? Ask The Los Angeles Rams what fool decided the team could win with Case Keenum at quarterback? Ask if New England coach Bill Belichick is the greatest NFL coach ever?
The beat goes on. The lessons for handicapping this week’s games were there for all paying attention, i.e. those listening more and talking less. The learning experience will have an immediate impact on this week’s games, especially in the colleges where there at at least a dozen nationally-televised marquee matches. For those who like to watch, win and sweat excessively I have put together a 3-game package of these games – 2nd-ranked Florida State at 10th-ranked Louisville, 3rd-ranked Ohio State at 14th-ranked Oklahoma and unranked Southern at 7th-ranked Stanford, and you can win them all for just $15.
This week begins Thursday night with the nationally-televised (ESPN) marquee matchup that finds 6th-ranked Houston (2-0) at very dangerous and unranked Cincinnati (2-0), with the NFL kicking things off in a nationally-televised GRUDGE match that finds the New York Jets (0-1) at the Buffalo Bills (0-1) This one can be seen on CBS and may I remind you I will be releasing both of these games.
But back to all those learning lessons of the past weekend.
I have for years had an interest in University of Kentucky sports, first as a resident of Lexington and then because of my friendship with the late basketball coach Adolph Rupp (we hit it off right off the bat because we were both from Kansas, quite cynical and were brothers who, as most Kansas folks do, talked with a twang that sound as if we had a finger stuck up our noses. I also scouted and recruited for Kentucky football.
During my connection with the Kentucky football, the school produced some very decent teams – the only one that beat Georgia and Tennessee (in Knoxville, no less) in the same season. During that time there was a year the team sent several players to the NFL, including Sam Ball, an All-America offensive tackle who was a 2nd round draft choice lost a Super Bowl with the New York Jets and then won one later with the Baltimore Colts, running back Rodger Bird who played safety with the Oakland Raiders and do-everything Larry Seiple who lasted 11 seasons with the Miami Dolphins as a punter, tight end and running back.
Against Southern Miss, UK was opened as a touchdown favorite over Southern Miss but big money showed on the underdog Saturday morning, dropping the price down to the Wildcats -3. It was the most significant move of the day and most certainly caught my attention.
At first, I figured bookmakers had simply over-rated Kentucky and the sharps took advantage of what they should was a weak line. Books I monitored said all the money was on the USM side. In other words these guys were not shooting for a middle. It also caught my attention because for several years very suspicious money on games played by Louisiana schools from the same general area showed up Saturday after Saturday.
The moves were so bizarre that I even spoke with someone at the NCAA. As usual they knew nothing and did nothing, keeping their track record clean.
But I relaxed after Florida, a 14-point favorite, destroyed what was billed as a much better and much more improved squad than the first four coached by 4th-year coach Mark Stoops. This was simply a another inept edition put on the field by Stoops, who has now gone 12-26 straight (SU) and 12-23 against the spread (ATS) while the boss man in Lexington.
Since I am one who believes the honesty and integrity of sports is the foundation of success for those who bet, I was relieved. Kentucky may win but a few games this season, but I believe I just won the only one that counts.
The Eye In The Sky Is Watching
Most sports bettors do not realize it but the age of instant communication via the Internet has produced two companies – Sportradar in Switzerland which is part owned by the NFL and Genius Sports of London – monitor and analyze all the betting from 550 sports books from around the world. They have sophisticated computer programs that instantly send out alerts if any suspicious wagering occurs.
In the case of the Southern Miss at Kentucky game had to turn on every red light in the the offices of both organizations. The first alert occurred with all the action on the Golden Eagles and things really perked up in the second half. Kentucky dominated that game in the first half and led 35-17 at the half. In the second half it was held scoreless as Southern Miss scored 27 points and went on to win, 44-35.
I am just relieved to know nothing was happening and the only thing I can suggest is that Stoops schedule a moving van and get ready for the axe. Lack of success and excuses and explanations carry no weight in Lexington, whether it is football or basketball.
The Other Questions
It is an understatement to say the Los Angeles Rams offense, led by Keenum, was a no-show in San Francisco. The team had 65 yards rushing and Keenum connected on 17-of-35 passes, with two interceptions, for a total of 130 yards. Those figures won’t win many NFL games. We will await the answer on this one but there is no way Keenum is the man player the coaching staff thought he was.
Football officials saddled Oklahoma State with a 30-27 loss to Central Michigan via their inability to think (did you ever wonder why those on-field conferences of all eight officials take so long when a flag is thrown). The game was actually over and the Cowboys had won, 27-24, but the officials called intentional ground on the last play of the game, which means loss of down. That gave the ball to Central Michigan which scored on a freak play and won the game, according to the officials, 30-27.
Conference officials said a few minutes later the call was 100% wrong and the game was over before Central was even awarded the ball.
No sour grapes here since the cover was not in question, regardless, and I had not used the game in any service.
One has to feel bad for Oklahoma State that has been credited with a loss in a game it won and the ruling serves as a reminder this is another way to lose a game. Of all the things I fear when betting a football game it is not about the uncontrollable unknowns (fumbles, interceptions, an unusually high number of penalties, especially in the red zone etc.) but the competence of the officials. Having watched many Mountain West Conference games here in Las Vegas, it’s Russian Roulette terrible officiating, every time out.
Conference officials suspended the eight officials for two games. Wow! Just what we need, eight incompetents who will be back in three weeks.
The Hidden Secret Of Kansas City’s Win Over San Diego
I made a 100-unit play on the Kansas City Chiefs (-6½) this past Sunday and lost that bet by the hook when KC rallied from being down 24-3 to win by six, 33-27, in overtime. It was the biggest KC comeback in the 56-year history of the franchise and while missing the cover proved my pre-season observations were right – the Chiefs have one of the best, if not the best offense, in the NFL
Sharp people inside and outside the NFL discussed before the regular season began that the Chiefs had put together an offense that can take any and all opponents to the woodshed – and all that showed in the second half. I am writing this reminder because, despite their slow and almost inept first half in this game, the Chiefs are the team you saw in the second half. As you handicap, do not forget it.