Football! This Weekend's Best Bets -- Crushing Las Vegas
For years, the rule in Las Vegas (because that's the only place you can wager, online wagering does not exist...cough, cough) has been that squares (wagering parlance for "Joe Q. Betting Public") bet favorites and overs a vast majority of the time. And for years, a majority of the time, the underdogs and the unders are what hits, at least when it really matters.
Vegas is begging you to bet on a dog.
When sharp bettors would try and point this out to the squares, the cliché became, "You don't build all of those sparkly buildings by following the public." Ultimately, despite decades of evidence to the contrary, the law of averages says it has to even out at some point, though. (Right?....um, RIGHT?)
I don't know that the bet-taking community will ever ultimately get squared up by the public, but if it is going to happen, 2011 thus far has been a decent start.
Up through last week, teams in the top ten in college football had been covering the spread at about an 80 percent clip, and looking dominant in doing so. In short, there's a reason that every time you click on Yahoo! Sports or ESPN there seems to be an article about how many undefeated teams we will wind up with -- it's because this season a) we have several undefeated teams (ten in all, and it's almost November) and b) most of them have not really been challenged. (Exceptions: Clemson has played a couple close games, Kansas State has lived on the edge all season, and Houston had a scare against Louisiana Tech.)
The trend only got stronger in Week 7, as the top ten (nine of whom were in action) were not only favored by an average of 22 points, but went 7-1-1 against the number and covered by an average of 8.3 points. So not only is Vegas scrambling to get its money back by daring you to take underdogs, but they're still off by over a touchdown!
And at this point, why would you back the underdogs? It's like backing my dad in a game of Madden against my 12-year-old son. My son will score every time, while my dad takes three hours to find the L1 and R1 buttons on the front of the controller.
To that end, with all top ten teams in action, Vegas has made all of them favorites and by an average of 23 points. In other words, once again they're daring you to take my dad in Madden against my son.
And while most of the time I'm up for a good dare, not when American currency is involved. So let's get you the best handful of heavy favorites for this week's Best Bets, with the caveat that if you just take all ten in the BCS Top Ten, you'll probably go 7-3 at worst.
Oklahoma State - 6 1/2 over MISSOURI
At this point, we almost need to make a rule that if any of the top ten are favored by less than a touchdown, you MUST take them, especially a team like Oklahoma State who would probably be able to score a touchdown in the middle of one of those riots over in Egypt if they had to. So let it be decreed, we are riding with the Cowboys.
Wisconsin -7 over MICHIGAN STATE
Check that, slight tweak -- we take any of the top ten if they are favored by a touchdown or less. Welcome to the party, Badgers!
BOISE STATE -31 over Air Force
Check that, another slight tweak -- for Boise the same rule applies except instead of one touchdown the rule will be five touchdowns.