NCAAF Week 1 Picks: Man vs Math…vs Man

This one's for Bucky.

I’d planned on this site focusing on my battle against the ice cold math that bookies have used to best the gambling public for years. And it will. But I know that the key to satisfying your audience is narrative, and I’m not sure that math makes for the most compelling adversary. That’s why, tonight, I’m introducing a flesh and blood opponent. My own flesh and blood to be precise – the man, the myth, the legend, Uncle Bucky.

Uncle Bucky (his real nickname; I swear on a stack of Gold Sheets), is my uncle. He also ran a couple of fairly successful handicapping services in Tennessee in the 80s and 90s with names like “Uncle Budley’s” and “The Platinum Sheet” (oh, you didn’t think there was anything more precious than The Gold Sheet? Think again, bro). I’m not exactly sure what type of wiseguy voodoo he used to pick winners, but assures me it had jackshit to do with spreadsheets.

So, each week this season (and maybe forever?), Uncle Bucky and I will be handing out our picks and tracking them to see how our make-believe betting admirers would fare. In these week 1 picks, Bucky goes for quality over quantity and favors the spread bets.

Bucky’s Picks (all for 1 unit):

  1. Texas -20.5 vs La Tech at -110 on
  2. LSU -27.5 vs Ga. Southern at -105 on
  3. South Florida +12.5 vs Wisconsin at -105 on

I have other ideas on how I think books are systematically mis-pricing wagers, and it focuses on longer range dog moneylines. This strategy is not for the faint of heart. You will lose a lot of bets. And what some may consider even worse, you won’t even be in a lot of these bets in the second half of the game. But it’s like one of my law school buddies used to say about approaching girls at bars (if you’re under 30, look it up, it was the way of the world) – “Nobody cares about batting average. It’s about homeruns.” I think it’s kinda like that anyway.

My Best Picks (1 unit each):

  1. Houston to beat Oklahoma, +1100 on
  2. Vanderbilt to beat Georgia, +1050 on
  3. Louisville to beat Notre Dame, +925 on
  4. UL Lafayette to beat Miss State, +900 on
  5. Wyoming to beat Missouri, +725 on
  6. Wisconsin/South Florida, Over 56.5 at -105 on

My Other Picks (1/2 unit each)

  1. Liberty to beat Syracuse, +675 on
  2. Akron to beat Illinois, +675 on
  3. La. Tech to beat Texas, +900 on
  4. Ball State to beat Indiana, +635 on
  5. East Carolina to beat NC State, +600 on
  6. Fresno State to beat USC, +455 on
  7. Toledo to beat Kentucky, +370 on

We’ll be back after the weekend’s games with a recap of these bets as we lived them. Until then, stay sharp.

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