2013 College Football Preseason Picks From Betting Standpoint

Many of the preseason college football publications, the most notable being Phil Steele’s preseason picks have hit the newsstands. While I have warned against archaic habit of having such supersede timelier intel available all over the web, here is the offseason college football watch list from a sports handicapping standpoint.

Texas A&M a likely fade: Last season, the Aggies were the extreme rarity of upgrading to a better conference and thriving. But everything went right for them, most notably the emergence of Johnny Manziel.images

Remember our Golden Rule that it is easier to be the hunter than the hunted. Exacerbated by Johnny Football’s ill-advised offseason comments, the pressure cooker puts them in uncharted waters.  Look for their spread record to be well into the negative.

West Virginia a season long team to bet on and bet unders: Last year WVU followed a pattern much more common among teams progressing to a superior league. They had the early season adrenalin and the element of surprise, but the unprecedented strength of schedule wore on them as they went from early season Cinderella to punching bag.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen has four very good running backs, but lost star QB Geno Smith and his top three wideouts. However, with an underrated running game in a league where teams are more experienced at stopping the pass, the Mountaineers are going to pull of some upsets, likely with a ball control offense never seen before by any team coached by Holgorsen.

Yet, consistent with the limitations of preseason publications, I will be keeping a very close eye on if Holgorsen adjusts the system around the talent or insists on his players adapting to a wide-open offense.

Arizona’s improved defense: Rich Rodriquez plays a chuck and duck offense. This puts the onus on the defense, constantly placing them back on the field. Ravaged by injuries and learning a complicated new defense, the Wildcats defense was fetid in 2012. Now familiar with the schemes, that unit returns 20 players who started at least one game last year.

As any sports betting champ is well aware, the pace of the offense will keep games high scoring, but the underrated defense will retain many of the bloated totals under.

Duke, team lunchpail: For handicappers who believe games are won at the point of attack, Duke is the perfect dark horse. They return both guards and tackles on the offensive line, a combined 100 starts.

Clemson built for 2013: Among the reasons Clemson QB Tajh Boyd returned is that while last year was a major success, the team was built for a breakout 2013. However, the Tigers have a long history of faltering under such circumstances. Look for Dabo Sweeney to jump to the head of the class of “great recruiter, not a great coach” and Clemson to be one of the worst money line team among BCS schools.

Louisville, classic hunter to the hunted: Louisville is upgrading their schedule just as Charlie Strong has raised the expectations for the Cardinals. Time and time again, this combination has made for a great fade. Look for Cards to falter as they are overwhelmed by an unprecedented tough schedule.

Hard luck Michigan State will rebound: There is no such thing as “law of averages.”  If you ever hear a handicapper pick a game based on such a lack of understanding of statistics, avoid him completely.

But Michigan State had the most deceptive record in the BCS last year losing five game by a combined 13 points. The offense has a lot more talent than they showed last year. Look for them to pull of some upsets.

Never underestimate motivational intangibles in Billy Walter’s picks. Last seasons’ tough losses makes us believe MSU will not suffer any emotional letdowns in the fourth quarter.

Smart gamblers take the term “Watch List” literally. Practice reports may shed new light and our “checkmarks” on which way we are leaning are subject to change as emerging facts dictate.



About the Author

Grandmaster Sports Handicapper Joe Duffy got his start in the sports handicapping industry with the Dial Sports (Communications Team) audiotext network. It was owned by sportswriter, broadcaster and handicapping pioneer Mickey Charles. Dial Sports was the sister company of the popular Sports Network Wire Service. Upon graduating California University of PA, where he was a play-by-play announcer on student radio station WVCS (now WCAL) and cable channel 29 (now CUTV), he became a full-time sports announcer and handicapper for the Sportsline scorephone network. He learned from NFL legends coach Hank Stram and broadcasting icon Ray Scott the ins and outs of the sports betting world. His Amazing Cadillac Club became the most successful 900-number in sports betting history. He left to become the first General Manager of the Freescoreboard scorephone network broadcast all over North America. His articles have appeared on several dozen websites and hard copy publications. He is now CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com, the top sports betting site in the world. Email: contact@joeduffy.net

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