Hello folks! Stephen here and I would like to welcome you to the inaugural edition of what I'm tentatively calling 'The Wager Wire'.
My goal is to bring you my picks from around the world of sports with a bit of accompanying analysis as well.
Keep in mind that this column is, and will remain, for educational and entertainment purposes only.
Here's how it works: I will give you the match-up along with the points line and my choice. We will assume that each game has a wager of 50 peanuts riding on it with losses carrying a 10% 'Juice' fee. Therefore a win means +50 in the jar and a loss means -55.
I'll keep a running total along with a win-loss record and we'll have some fun trying to keep the jar full and the loss column clean.
Ready? Then let's get things started! (Home team in CAPS.)
Last week: (9 - 4)
The Peanut Jar: +230
Iowa (-7) at IOWA STATE (11:00 am CST)
It should be known that I am a Hawkeye and rabid when it comes to my teams, but unless otherwise stated my allegiances will never influence a pick. The reason I like Iowa here on the road has to do with the fact that ISU has scored exactly ONE touchdown against the Hawkeye's first team defense since 2006. The Cyclones are not a good football team and although Iowa is in a transition year and not as explosive as they have been on offense lately I still find it hard to believe they don't cover this spread and keep the Cy-Hawk trophy in Iowa City.
Toledo (+18 1/2) at OHIO STATE (11:00 am CST)
We're going to stick with the Big Ten here and target one of my favorite plays each week. That being an out of conference MAC underdog. I'm not saying Toledo is going to walk into the Horseshoe and win this game, but Ohio State is in a very strange position this year and Toledo can plain old score points. It's never a bad thing to be getting points with a decent team that has an explosive offense, even if they are outmatched in the end. The Rockets will keep this one closer than OSU is ultimately comfortable with.
WISCONSIN (-21) vs. Oregon State (11:00 am CST)
Notice a theme here? This is just a plain old mismatch. The Badgers' defense didn't look great against UNLV last week and a botched extra point blew the cover, but Oregon State doesn't run any gimmicks like the 'Pistol' and they've since lost any of they're playmakers. Wisconsin's offense is elite and they'll have no issue scoring on this Beavers team. I wouldn't be surprised to see an incredibly one-sided shutout in this one. 'Sconny in a romp.
TCU (-1) at AIR FORCE (2:30 pm CST)
Don't read too much into that defenseless shootout down in Baylor last week. Air Force is underrated, but TCU is still a very good football team with an experienced offensive line and a defense that is better than they showed. Baylor was geeked up for the home opener and Robert Griffin III just had one of those games where he could not be stopped. Air Force doesn't have anything that dynamic to throw at TCU. It may stay close for a half, but TCU will walk away with a bounce-back win here.
Let's go to some rapid fire picks, shall we?
Virginia Tech (-17 1/2) at EAST CAROLINA (2:30 pm CST)
ECU is always a frisky home team, but Tech is quietly loaded again this year. Hokies big.
OREGON (-27 1/2) vs. Nevada (2:30 pm CST)
Oregon's offense bounces back large at home and no Kapernick for Nevada. Lay the 4 TDs.
South Carolina (-3) at GEORGIA (3:30 pm CST)
The Gamecocks are a sleeper for the national title and Georgia is in a bad way right now.
UAB (+24) at FLORIDA (6:00 pm CST)
Gut call here. UAB gets blown out, but they backdoor cover by a point.
Utah (+9) at USC (6:30 pm CST)
Utah is better than people realize and they run a new offense. I can see them winning outright.
Notre Dame (-3 1/2) at MICHIGAN (7:00 pm CST)
Chris won't like this one. Notre Dame is just better than the Wolverines, night game or not.
UCLA (-21) vs. San Jose State (9:00 pm CST)
This is a complete friend pick and because UCLA needs a big win against a bad team. I cannot recommend it and I will not count it. Go Bruins!
Okay so there you have it folks. #1 is in the books and I will hopefully have my NFL version for you up some time late tonight, but definitely before games start tomorrow afternoon.
I hope you enjoyed this little experiment and please leave me any comments and/or questions you may have in the comments section below.