A happy return to you, my fellow degenerate. Welcome back to Edge Sorting, the weekly gambling column here at HERO Sports that focuses on college football games that don't have the full attention of bookmakers.
I gotta tell you guys… I've been right about a lot of stuff this year. Alabama not being a true SEC West contender? Oregon still being alive for the playoff despite the Auburn loss? Minnesota's path to the playoff? If you've been listening to High Motor every week… boy, I bet I sound pretty smart, huh?
This week, we put my biggest prediction of the year to the test.
On to the Week 12 picks!
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT
I have spent most of the 2019 season saying that Baylor is the best team in the Big 12, just as I've spent much of the year saying that LSU is the best team in the SEC. Last week, I trusted my gambling sense over my analyst sense, and recommended that bettors stay away from a potentially perilous Alabama/LSU game where the Tigers were catching a full touchdown in Tuscaloosa. This game has very similar vibes — an insurgent upstart catching way too many points, against a favored top program, in a battle for conference supremacy. Like last week, this number feels so wrong that it has some trap potential — part of me is very nervous to bet against Oklahoma at this number.
Unlike last week, I am going to pull the trigger here, and it's partially because the number is just way too big. I think Baylor is a straight-up better team, and the Bears have been very good in close games. In my eyes, they have the better quarterback, and they have the better defense. And they're at home. And they're catching a full 10 points. I can't not bet this game.
Pick: Baylor +10
Navy (+7) at Notre Dame
Saturday, 2:30 p.m. EDT
Question: what do you think of when you think of service academies in 2019? The idea that comes into your head is probably a run-heavy team that chews up clock en route to a low-scoring game where they won time of possession, right? In gambling terms, you're thinking of a classic Under team.
Well, as we've discussed at length in Edge Sorting and on High Motor, Vegas is here to flip your expectations for their profit. Unsurprisingly, in spite of their reputation, the service academies have combined to go 14-12-1 on the O/U this season, with a slight edge to the over. Keep that in the back of your mind as we turn our attention to Navy-Notre Dame, a game whose total has settled as 54. In seven of the last eight matchups in this annual rivalry, the teams have combined for 55 points or more.
Yeah. I've seen enough.
Pick: Navy/Notre Dame Over 54
Saturday, 12 p.m. EDT
This line has ballooned as high as Temple +6 in some places, but is resting at 5.5 at most books. This is an example of why shopping for lines is so critical — the difference between catching an odd 5.5 and a sharp 6 is huge in gambling.
Away from the actual number, Tulane has covered five of its last six, but only one of those was as a home favorite. That road favorite cover was at Army, which we now know is more about Army being overvalued in 2019 after strong campaigns in 2017 and 2018. Now, they come to Philadelphia as a relatively sizable road favorite. I see these teams as pretty even, which the only real difference being that Tulane has generated far more sex appeal/public darling status this year. To me, this means that Temple catching six as a home dog is wildly appealing — doubly so when you remember that Temple already had two outright wins as home dogs this season. The Owls beat Maryland in September; they also upset Memphis a few weeks ago, which might end up being the best G5 team of this season. Temple is the play here; I like a play on the under, too. Consider parlaying them together.
Pick: Temple +6
Texas (+7) at Iowa State
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
If it weren't for LSU last week, Texas in Ames might end up being the biggest public dog of the month. As has been well-documented, I do not like public dogs.
This line is very fishy, so we're going to lean into it. give me the Cyclones.
Pick: Iowa State -7
FCS GAME OF THE WEEK
Weber State (+4.5) at Montana
Saturday, p.m. EDT
As was the case two weeks ago, if you give me points with the No. 3 team in the nation, I'm going to take them and say think you. Weber State was a 7-point underdog at Sacramento State, and we cashed on it. I'll take a similar play as the Wildcats head to Missoula for another Big Sky showdown.
Pick: Weber State +4.5
[divider]MORE FCS: Here's the Playoff Picture with Two Weeks to Go[divider]
The Moneyline Parlay
Charleston Southern ML
Sam Houston State ML
Kansas State ML
Washington State ML
Saturday, 12 p.m. EDT
We're going back to the ML parlay this week, because I think I've got a rock-solid play that's right around one-to-one odds.
[divider] Week 11 Rewind: Has Anyone Made Us More Money than Kansas State?
Last Week's Record: 2-4
2019 Official Picks Record: 34-35-1[divider]
There is no 2K parlay this week, because I was asked to be on every podcast in the known universe this week, and I just didn't have time to do all the math that I usually do that goes into this play.
So with that.. we're out of here 'til next week. I've been a fan of Oregon's all year; when everyone was talking about how the Pac-12 was done this year, I didn't buy it. But why are we just assuming Oregon will win the Pac-12? Utah is right behind them, and could certainly beat the Ducks in the conference title game. When you look at the value in the odds, Utah might be worth a flyer from a book that's still offering odds on teams to make the playoff. It feels like we've collectively written them off, when in reality, their odds to make the playoff are virtually as good as Oregon. Just something to think about, as you get ready to lock your positions in this weekend.
Good luck in Week 12, and don't forget… fortune favors the bold!