Friday, 11 October 2013

The Post That Takes Your Money: Week Seven

So Athletes in Space is on the road and attending the Oregon-Washington game and that means no using Canadian machines in America. I wasn't able to put out the Pac-12 Journey articles this week unfortunately but I do have my picks against the spread and straight up below. Athletes in Space will be back to its regular Friday night/Saturday morning programming next week.

Washington (+14) over Oregon, but Oregon wins.

A ranked team getting 14 points at home is normally a slam dunk. But, when a team that is 5-0 against the spread and outscoring its opponents by an average of 48 points per game is laying those 14 points, it changes the equation. Oregon has won nine straight in this rivalry series and has won all of them by at least 17 points. As much as Washington has improved on both sides of the ball, the Ducks are a deeper and more talented team. As loud as Husky Stadium is and as much of a home field advantage as it does provide, Oregon has not lost a true road game since 2009 and will not be intimidated by that environment. Washington is trying to close the gap with Oregon by becoming Oregon with their new up tempo spread offense and expanding uniform choices but they need some more time before they really do become Oregon. Washington may not be in Oregon's class yet but they are getting close and they are certainly close enough to keep this game within two touchdowns. Washington has its best showing against the Ducks in years but Oregon wins 45-35.

Stanford (-8) over Utah.

There is something undeniably fishy about this line, something that says "Vegas knows something, and it probably isn't good for Stanford." Stanford is a clearly superior team and has more talented player at literally every position on the field. The widely accepted rule is that home field advantage is worth three points which means Vegas only thinks Stanford is 11.5 points better than Utah on a neutral field. When you look at Utah's talent and statistical profile they basically grade out as a Washington State clone with more balanced play calling and fewer turnovers. Stanford pummeled WSU on the road so why does Vegas think Utah will stay close with the Cardinal? Washington revealed a few holes in Stanford's defense that Utah can exploit and Utah has the defensive line to slow down Stanford's offensive running game but they just don't have enough to hang around for four quarters. Utah shows well in this game for the first half but Stanford eventually pulls away to win, 31-17.

Arizona State (-26) over Colorado.

It's probably smart to just take Colorado's opponent minus anything at this point. Colorado has some nice pieces but it doesn't have a distinct advantage on either side of the ball that it can exploit over and over again. Colorado will have its moments that it can put on a highlight reel and give its fans some hope for the future but the Buffs really don;t stand any chance in this game. Take the Sun Devils to win and cover the spread, 52-21.

Oregon State (+1) outright over Washington State.

It is a little surprising that Washington State is the favorite in this game. The Beavers are a more talented and dynamic team and they are going to be rested, healthy, and deeper coming off a bye week. The Beavers are notoriously for often playing better on the road than at home. Furthermore in a potential shootout that between relatively evenly matched teams, it is smart to side with the team that takes better care of the football. Look for an aerial assault from both teams in a high scoring shootout that ultimately turns on a crucial Washington State mistake. Oregon State wins this one, 42-38.

UCLA (-25.5) over California.

It sounds crazy to say it within the context of a conference game but a 25.5 point line is probably a touchdown too low in this game. California is an injury depleted team that by Dykes' admission "has no confidence right now." Barr and UCLA's front seven should have a field day with Cal's leaky offensive line and the Bears have no defensive weapons to slow down the UCLA offense. The Bruins beat the stuffing out of the Bears in this one, 56-17.

Last Week Against the Spread: 2-3

Last Week Straight Up: 4-1

This Season Against the Spread: 28-20 (including Thursday)

This Season Straight up: 41-7 (including Thursday)

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