Also, a reminder that one tool I use is a computer program devised by a really smart gambler I knew that uses the Sagarin Ratings, a scaled home field database (Ohio State’s home edge is worth more than Rice’s, for instance) and an injury/cluster injury rating. When lines are 6-8 points off what it spills out, it hits at roughly 60 percent. When the lines are 10 or more off, it is about 88 percent. I mention it because you will see me refer to my “computer ratings” on occasion. Like anything, they are just an extra tool. You can devise your own using Sagarin ratings. It’s just an additional thing I use along with common sense handicapping, the eye test and opinions I have developed on certain teams. These ratings are less useful in bowl games because of neutral fields.
We are pretty much done with horse racing until Sam Houston starts in January. If you want to learn the horse racing methodology, Acing Racing 2016 is another great audio book. (Although California Chrome runs Saturday so we might handicap that card. Check back Saturday morning if you are interested).
Finally, if I did not include a game here, I have no opinion on it. I get a lot of “what do you think of so and so -20 vs. so and so” questions. The answer in advance is no opinion either way. The idea is if you have a game you are already interested in and see it here, you will simply have a second opinion.
Also, if you don’t bet, don’t start just because some dickweed radio guy does it. People can and do lose money. This is just to help those who are already doing it hopefully avoid having to sell their car.
OK, enough disclaiming. Here we go:
Houston -4 vs. San Diego State: I won’t be playing this, and initially was going to be on the other side with the coaching change, but I do have an opinion. Houston should be fine with the current coordinators taking over. San Diego State has a great running back, and they can move the ball on the ground, but the UH defense is very good at taking away one dimensional attacks and is excellent against the run. The Cougars should handle this one pretty easily.
Toledo (pick ’em) over Appalachian State: I believe Toledo has a big edge here. Their three losses were to BYU, unbeaten Western Michigan and a puzzling clunker against Ohio on a Thursday night. App State’s losses are pretty good, too — Tennessee and Miami early and then Troy midseason. Still, overall Toledo faced much better and looks like the better team. Small play.
Memphis plus 5.5 vs. Western Kentucky (Tuesday). This is my strongest play of the bowl season. Memphis has improved every week and quarterback Riley Ferguson has been fantastic. WKU lost its coach to Purdue and will be dealing with the interim mess. This is a good football team, but Memphis has faced better opposition and will be better prepared. Strong play, and a small money line play on Memphis as well at plus-180.
Lions-Giants over 40: Scratching this play. High winds and wet conditions expected.
Miami -2.5 over the NY Jets: The Dolphins are in must-win mode, and the Jets have quit. Even without Ryan Tannehill, Miami should be able to get out of here with a victory. Very small play.
Steelers -3 at Cincinnati: The Steelers are finally healthy and looking like a Super Bowl contender. The Bengals are circling the drain. Tough place to play but expect Pittsburgh to get out of there with a win. Solid play.
Did not find much I like today. In the third race at Los Alamitos, Forthelovveofpatty, the 7 horse, is 6-1 and worth a small play. In race 8, I like No. 3 Mishegas across the board.