Like many fans, we tend to bet a few games each week. We know many of you do as well, either locally or online. Our experience has been that Paul Newman was spot on when he told Tom Cruise in The Color of Money – “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” Amen to that.
Over the years, there are a couple of things we have learned (some the hard way). You will see these three influences in our weekly picks.
First, you’ve got to be selective. Only bet a few games. Don’t bet games just because they are on TV and you want to have action going. Second, be the contrarian. If the masses (public) runs one way, take a hard look at going the other. And third, do your homework. Watch games, know teams, study trends. Know when a team is coming off an emotional win or loss, check injury reports, know the weather forecast, etc.
So, with that said, and against the advice of counsel , we’ll be posting the three or four games each week here on RBN that we like the most. And unlike Wall Hall, we will be picking against the spread, so our percentage for the year will likely be something less than his 90%. As always, we hope you will share your best bets of the week as well.
So here we go…
Northern Illinois at Iowa – Early in the year especially, you will see a handful of lines where the wrong team is favored. This is one of those examples. This game is at Iowa, and the Hawkeyes opened as a 6.5-point favorite. Early money quickly caused the line to dive to 3 points. Iowa is coming off a 4-8 year and breaking in a new quarterback Jake Rudock. Northern Illinois returns super senior quarterback Jordan Lynch (3,138 PaYds, 25TDs, 1,815 RuYds, 19 TDs) who led the Huskies to the Orange Bowl last year. All five NIU offensive lineman return, which will make it tough for Iowa to slow down this offense. We think NIU will win outright, but we’ll take the 3 points just to be safe. Northern Illinois +3.
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (in Atlanta) – This one smells a lot like last year’s Michigan-Alabama season opening tussle. Michigan was not ready for the defending champs, eventually losing 41-14. We don’t think this Virginia Tech team is as good as that Wolverine squad. Also, Bama and Saban are loaded again and love to flex their muscles, especially in these early season, high profile, non-conference games. A complete mismatch, so we’ll lay the 19 points and take the Tide. Alabama -19.
Louisiana-Monroe at Oklahoma – Sooner fans won’t admit it, but this could be a bit of a rebuilding year in Norman. Coming off a 10-3 year in 2012, and a 41-13 drubbing by Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, the Sooner defense only returns four starters in 2013. Quarterback Landry Jones (4,267 PaYds, 30TDs) is gone, replaced by redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, who surprisingly won the starting job over Blake Bell. Meanwhile, UL-Monroe returns 17 starters including star QB Colton Browning (3,049 PaYds, 29TDs in 2012). Browning has started 36 games in his career, and as Hog fans can attest, is elusive, gutsy and just flat out hard to beat. After a program defining win in Little Rock last season, the Warhawks will not be intimidated going into Norman. OU should win, but close. Louisiana-Monroe +23.
What are you on this week?