Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 5th


Dave's (blam!)
LOCKS (snap)
of the Week (screech)

We've come upon another mega-weekend in College Football, a "separation weekend" if you will.  It's a showdown all across the NCAA that extends all the way up to Thursday!   We had a weekend like this last year, and if you remember it, I went out to Vegas and put my money where my mouth was.  Bet four big games involving the top of the BCS.  The result:  disastrous!  The picks went 0-4, unseated SC from Rose Bowl contention, unseated Oregon from an undefeated year and title contention, unseated K-State from the same prospects, and in a side comment I made about taking Wake Forest +2000 money line against Notre Dame, ultimately kept THEM from losing a game and vaulted they and Alabama to the National Championship Game.  It was an unbelievable turn of events, some speculate, caused by my fateful wagers.

So it comes to November 5, 2013, does history repeat itself?  We're not afraid -- we are going after the big games once again!  Here's what we're selecting this week:

You want to talk about a sequel, here it is!   The Oregon Ducks rematch against the Stanford  Cardinal.  A year ago, at Eugene, the Cardinal shocked the world and held down the high-scoring Ducks.  In that exchange, the Ducks were forced into overtime and forced *out* of National Title contention.  This year, the game is in Stanford Stadium, but here's the key:  the Cardinal is a much weaker defensive team than last year's team.   Stanford really struggled to handle an athletic Washington team at home that featured QB Keith Price.  Stanford also lost to Utah on the road, and if you put it into perspective, USC, facing its own demons, DEFEATED the same Utah Utes, although that game was played at the Coliseum.  Point being, Stanford really isn't all that.  Even against UCLA, they handled them very well at the line of scrimmage and held Brett Hundley to some season worst passing numbers, but it took them a while to really put away the Bruins.   They didn't beat them by nearly as much as we might expect considering how much they dominated said line of scrimmage.  Oregon State is another athletic team Stanford tried a crack at, in Corvallis, and the Beavers gave Stanford fits.  Stanford won, but by just 8 points.

If Stanford is playing only so-so against most of these Pac 12 teams, could they possibly be prepared for a high energy, highly athletic team like Oregon?  We believe not, and further, the Ducks have already dominated games on the road against the likes of Virginia, Washington, and Colorado.  Not only do I think the Ducks beat Stanford, I think they win by a lot.   Ducks -10 at Stanford for an EASY cover.

Next, to a game I have a good feeling about, and that's Texas at West Virginia.   This might be a trap bet, but Texas is really on a roll.  The defense was well recruited, and in the last month, the talent has risen to the top.  Only one touchdown allowed in each of the last two games, and some pretty big wins against Oklahoma and TCU.   This week, we look at the Longhorns against WVU who just honestly isn't that good.  I do realize that the Mountaineers beat TCU on the road and Oklahoma State at home, but Ok. State was exposed recently despite last week's win against Texas Tech.  There's just too much talent defensively on the Longhorns to deny them a big win, even on the road and despite the sniffings of "trap" I'll go Longhorns -7 at West Virginia.  Texas -7 at WVU.

I'm also pretty confident about Auburn taking care of Tennessee on the road.  It's as simple as this:  Auburn has a smothering D, and is managed very well now by the returning Gus Malzhan.  I feel like their coached reasonably well, and they take care of business.  In fact, the Tigers have only 1 loss on the season and beat a hard to beat Texas A&M *on the road.*  Lesser teams have annihilated Tennessee, even at Neyland.   I see the same outcome for Auburn.  WAR EAGLE.  Auburn -7 at Tennessee.

Already we've pointed to some alarming trends in our hypothetical wagers.  Three road favorites in a row, but I think these teams really are that good.   Now to the rest of the best...

Finally, we come to a home team on the schedule, and it's the Crimson Tide.  Alabama is a big favorite against LSU, and it's wild to see that LSU beat Auburn earlier on.  However, we've seen some major improvement from the Tide and their defense is simply phenomenal.  Multiple shutouts.  Yet, it sounds ludicrous for me to simply take Tide -11.5 at face value.    In the last four years, LSU/Alabama regular season matchups haven't even been decided by ten points.  All games decided by 9 or less, and the last two decided by 4 or less.   LSU is a weird team... against the best teams in the SEC, they put up a really good game and even put teams on the ropes.  The Tigers haven't won 'em all, but they'll give 'Bama something to think about.  Keep an eye on the Tigers.  LSU +11.5 at 'Bama.

Now to the NFL!

First, out of the box, I'm looking at the Vikings +2 at home against the Redskins.  Here's why:  the Redskins are terrible.  It really is as simple as that.  I know the Vikings are bad too, but you're getting much better value with a home underdog than a road NFC East team that not only had an emotional win but were very fortunate to do so.  Vikings +2 at home.

Next, I'm going to take the Ravens +1.5 at home.  Another case of the home dog.   It's tricky because, I think the Bengals are a better team talent-wise, but the Ravens defense is not that bad, as I've been told by Jacob Rosales, and furthermore, the Bengals do not play well at all on the road.   They're 2-3 on the road overall, and their two wins were by a combined 6 points.  It's not impressive.  I know how awful Joe Flacco is this year, but Cincinnati is just not doing it for me on the road.  I'll go Baltimore despite how bad they look overall.  Ravens +1.5 at home.

Finally, we turn to San Francisco, where I think the 49ers are on a roll.  They get Michael Crabtree and Aldon Smith back in the lineup, and they come off a bye week against the Carolina Panthers.  San Francisco is giving 6, and it's a good point spread, but I think somehow, someway, they cover it.  The Panthers' defense looks terrific, but I also think they haven't defended anything quite like the Niners just yet.  AND, I feel like the same applies on offense:  I don't think Cam Newton has met anything quite like the 49ers defense on the road.  They did play a tough Seattle defense in Week 1 over in Charlotte, but unlike the Week 1 Seahawks, the 49ers will be fully prepared for their offense.  I'll give the points to the ones who strike gold.  49ers -6 at home.

Showdown central all over football.  We're ready for the big picks and the big wins.  Here they are, to recap: Oregon -10 at Stanford; Texas -7 at WVU; Auburn -7 at Tenn;  LSU +11.5 at 'Bama; Vikings +2 at home; Ravens +1.5 at home; 49ers -6 at home.


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