Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vindy's Picks Week 3-2012


LAS VEGAS, Nevada (UPI)…Ticket-writers at Caesar’s Palace returned to work behind the betting counter this week following the successful appeal of suspensions handed-down over the summer by the Gaming Control Board. The bookies had been paid for “whacks” and “cart-offs”, defined as hits on sharp bettors (or casual bettors on a winning streak) that sent them staggering out of the casino, either needing assistance from others or actually carried away on a stretcher. A “bounty ledger” produced by the prosecution revealed the ‘book employees offering “two five-stacks” to co-workers for knocking out targeted gamblers during the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the college bowl season. The reversal is temporary, and the sportsbook manager remains banned from the property for a year under the equivalent of the NCAA’s “lack of institutional control” statute, but the judge ruled the Board did not have the authority to impose the penalties. Meanwhile, investigations continue into allegations that cocktail waitresses, slot-techs, and even keno-runners were also encouraged to participate in the illegal activities.
Your humble narrator correctly anticipated another big week by the ‘dogs (though certainly not the upsets) and went 12-7 on the fortnight (22-14, .611). And just fer da’ record, legal evidence included proof of an offer for “two short stacks of pancakes (with blueberry compote and whipped cream) topped with a pair of bacon strips at IHOP for any hit sending Vindy outta’ the sportsbook” if he was caught trying to place wagers based on…

(Protected this week by the Saints defense)

ARKANSAS (+20) over #1 Alabama
: Wow! We’re familiar with “looking past” a team when a bigger game’s on da’ horizon, but…yikes! Actually, we attribute Hogs’ first regular-season SU demise outside their own division in over two-and-a-half seasons to the loss of QB Tyler Wilson. Working for Arkansas backers…Tide is just 16-10 ATS in SEC play the last three years and Western Kentucky held ‘Bama to 103 rushing yards just a week after Tide went for 232 vs. Michigan. (Props to the Hilltoppers, who’ve been ATS-machines, covering 11 of last 12, or were the Red Elephants playin’ possum?). The bad news?...Pigs yielded 412 passing yards (550 total!) in serious-upset loss to UL-Monroe. Bacon Strips were minus-two turnovers in 2011’s 38-14 defeat to ‘Bama. Tide is without #2 rusher and lead-blocker for the year…Tide 33 Pork Chops 19

#2 Southern Cal (-7 ½) over #21 STANFORD: Money’s been comin’ in hot-n-heavy on Stanford and again, we note USC’s been letting opponents stay in it (spread-wise, at least) too long. However, Stanford is young on the O-line and the strong running game we touted earlier in the season for the Cardinal hasn’t materialized nearly as much as we expected, averaging a pedestrian 123 ypg. That won’t cut it vs. most decent teams and the 40-point rout of Duke is tad deceiving if ya consider four turnovers by the Blue Devils. The doggie has taken the money the last four years and Trees haven’t gotten points at home since ’09 (resulting in an outright win over Oregon). Redbirds have won three straight in this series, including 56-48 game in 2011. If Troy is gonna’ prove itself worthy of the preseason hype, covering here would help…Trojans 34 Stanford 24

Idaho (+42) over #3 LSU: Tigers 41 Vandals 6

Tennessee Tech @ #4 OREGON: No line.

#5 Oklahoma: IDLE (next vs. Kansas State)

Wake Forest (+27) over #6 FLORIDA STATE: We end up with egg on our face every time we back the ‘Noles, but we salute them for takin’ care of bidness vs. two FCS squads to the tune of 124-3. Clemson is on-deck for State and the Deacs have actually taken three of last five SU vs. the Tribe. The Forest edged double-A Liberty before upsetting North Carolina. Wake’s been bad road dog. State busted Weeziana-Monroe and Charleston Southern, collectively 96-10, in 2011 before dropping three straight games, including 35-30 loss to these Demon Deacons… FSU 30 Wake Forest 20

Florida Atlantic (+42) over #7 GEORGIA: ‘Dawgs 42 FAU 6

Alabama-Birmingham (+33 ½) over #8 SOUTH CAROLINA: Poultry 37 UAB 10

James Madison @ #9 WEST VIRGINIA: No line.

#10 MICHIGAN STATE (-5) over #20 Notre Dame: QB Golson was effective enough throwing the ball in Catholics’ narrow win over Purdue, while State gave up Central Michigan’s only points in the waning half-minute on an INT-for-TD by the reserve quarterback in 41-7 romp. MSU is revenge-minded after last season’s 31-13 loss. Irish have covered 5 of last 8 vs. the Top 25, but won only two of ‘em outright. Spartans band has been instructed to fire-up Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” every time the Leprechauns get da’ ball…MSU 27 ND 19

Furman @ #11 CLEMSON: No line.

#12 OHIO STATE (-17) over California: Uh oh! Another 12-PACK/Big Tent-Peg match-up! At least the Buckeyes are hosting this one. Bears have given up 31 in each of their two previous games in 2012…winning one, losing one. Bears have covered 7 of last 8 getting double-digits on the road (though 1-1 in 2011). State comes in on 1-5 ATS skid, having combined with UCF for total of six turnovers in SU win (but spread loss) vs. the Golden Knights. QB Braxton Miller proved himself worthy of carrying the ground game as well, rushing for three touchdowns, drawing comparisons to former Buckeye QB Art Schlicter. Fans (and school officials) hope that’s where the similarities end, given Schlicter’s subsequent NFL bust and life of crime as a compulsive gambling felon… Buckeyes 38 Berkeley 16

#13 Virginia Tech (-10 ½) over PITTSBURGH: LOCK OF DA’ WEEK. Panthers, who change coaches like we change channels, are go-against until further notice. The instability of four head coaches in just over a year’s time has shown in opening two-score loss to the AA Penguins of Y-town State and a blow-out loss at Cincinnati, in which Pitt scored a meaningless TD with about 90 seconds left to play last Thursday. Pitt features a lot of seniors on offense, but not playin’ like it…Hokies 31 Pitt 10

#14 Texas (-10 ½) over MISSISSIPPI: Texas 35 Old Mist 17

#15 KANSAS STATE (-28 ½) over North Texas: KSU 48 Mean Green 17

KANSAS (+21) over #16 Texas Christian: Not much of gauge to-date for Texas Christian (just nine starters back), with only the 56-nada smoking of Grambling last week in the record book. TCU, an unimpressive away-fave, advances in conference-class (again), but faces arguably the remedial students of said-class. Jayhawks, now being directed by Charlie Weis, have won just a pair of Big 12 match-ups in the last 25 and allowed almost 44 ppg by opponents last season. Birds enter this one off one-point loss to Rice after beating FCS South Dakota State, 31-17 to open the year. Four Horny Toads gridiron players were caught in a drug-sting during the offseason. Considering a movement for random drug-testing at Oregon, perhaps some of the Ducks would consider transferring to…THC-U 34 Kansas 17

Massachusetts (+46) over #17 MICHIGAN: Michigan 51 UMass 9

#18 Florida (+3) over #23 TENNESSEE: The Florida passing game is still in first-gear, but Gators pulled out the win on the strength of the defense. Perhaps Coach Muschamp should let RB Gillislee carry the team this week as well. Vols are favored , but haven’t toppled the Crocs since 2004, losing each of the past three years by an average of a dozen points. Rocky Top is 2-0, having beaten NC State and AA Joja’ State decisively. Derek Dooley helped bring about Tennessee’s new athletic facility, which includes a mixed-martial arts octagon. Vindy’s spies say Dooley’s planning to teach his charges to choke-out opposing players in the pile after the whistle! (Just outta’ curiosity, for the Lord of the Rings fanatics, did anyone else out there see Gollum put Sam in a rear-naked choke early in “The Two Towers”???!!!)…Florida 19 Tennessee 17

#19 LOUISVILLE (-3 ½) over North Carolina: Cardinals 20 UNC 10

Houston (+17) over #22 UCLA: Best guess for “wish I had it back”. Air Keenum is gone and loss to (GASP!) Texas State (+36 ½) led to the resignation of Coogs’ OC. Houston put forth a much better in Week Two, but still lost SU/ATS to Weeziana Tech by a touchdown in a shootout. Improved Bruins squad beat Rice and piled up 653 yards of offense in 36-30 upset of Nebraska, behind RB Franklin’s 217 rushing yards, to go to 2-0 SU/ATS. UH won 38-34 last year. UCLA now 4-1 ATS as DD chalk the past three campaigns…Cubs 42 Coogs 34

SC State @ #24 ARIZONA: No line.

#25 Brigham Young (-4 ½) over UTAH: We watched the Utes’ quarterbacks get hurried, bruised and battered by the Aggies defense in Thursday night 27-20 upset loss to USU, and starter Jordan Wynn is now out for the season. Cougars opened with a pair of easy home wins over Wazzou and Weber State. Utes are 2-1 SU/ATS the past three years in this series, but embarrassed BYU 54-10 on the road last year. Both sides are deep, but we like Riley Nelson to lead BYU to the payback win and cover…BYU 24 Utah 17


BTW, if we can’t leave the resort under our own power, we’d prefer to exit the building strapped to the top of a hotdog cart!

As a follow-up to last week’s lead story, the Paterno family continues to adamantly deny Joe Pa was obsessed with the Masters of the Universe figure-collection found in his office alongside a 1970’s “Simon” game that only played the famous tone-sequence from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”!!! (We also have it on good authority that the bronze statue of the coaching legend, reportedly stashed in a safe hiding place on campus, was actually beamed-up by the Mothership and now shares an air-lock with Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa!)

The AP ran a story last week about the exploits of Russian president Vladimir Putin as, among other things, a biker, diver and swimmer. OK, so he’s proven himself as a candidate for the next annual “X-Games”. We just really wanna’ see him snort half-a-pound of wasabi in the next “Jack-Ass” movie! (In all honestly, after the alma mater left 13 points via the kicking-game [four missed FGs and a blocked XP] in a one-point road loss to Virginia, we’d personally serve borscht and doff off our furry Ushanka hat to the Soviet leader if he could split the uprights from 20-35 yards away!) . Geez! Does Sebastian Janikowski or David Akers have any college-eligibility left???!!!

Back in February, Madonna (with Cirque du Soleil) did the halftime show of the Super Bowl. Too bad Tim Tebow and da’ Broncos didn’t make it. The Material Goal…uh…Girl…coulda’ open the show with “Like A Prayer”!

In the midst of the NY Giants’ Super Bowl victory parade, punter Steve Weatherford commandeered a drum from one of the marching band members and kept his own rhythm….then promptly kicked the percussion instrument outta’ bounds inside the Patriots’ 20-yard line!

In June, U.S. Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin weighed-in on the tie for the Summer Games berth for women’s 100-meters between Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, proposing the conundrum be decided via Jell-O or mud-wrestling match. We thought a sudden-death game of “quarters” or “beer-pong” was called-for!

Black Shirt: We hand out a whole box of tees this week to the Gators defense for holding A&M scoreless in the second-half, allowing Florida to rally for the win.

“Locked in a Box?”: Ironically, with all of Vindy’s good fortune picking games thus far, our preferred choices are now 0-2 (.000) as the Merit-Badgers fell outright to the Beavers!

Shoppe Talk: The Trojans of USC (0-2, .000) drop-by to keep West Virginia company, along with the Cowpokes of Oklahoma State (0-1, but now 3-11 in last 14 appearances in the picks!)

Vindy’s Week 3 Best Bets: Last Week: 2-2 Season: 5-4 (.555)

Northern Illinois -3 over ARMY, Arizona State +6 ½ over MISSOURI, Virginia +10 ½ over JOJA’ TECH, Ohio -6 ½ over MARSHALL, Utah State +14 over WISCONSIN, Middle Tennessee State -3 ½ over MEMPHIS

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