For those of you who may not know but ahead of this season, my lovely wife gave birth to our baby boy. He’s adorable. But he’ll need money for college assuming he doesn’t grow up to be a 6’4” point god or TikTok star and it still costs a pretty penny to attend.
So it’s time to open a 529 and what better way* to invest than college football picks.
Note: there are much better ways to invest money and neither I, nor BHGP, are liable for any losses you may endure as a result of any “advice.”
The ground rules:
- No more than 20% wagered per week
- No more than 5% on a single bet
- 220 units on Michigan State/Penn State over 46.5 (net +200 units)
- 220 units on Illinois +14 at Northwestern (net -220 units)
- 300 units on Iowa +110 v Wisconsin (net +330 units)
Bankroll: 11,098 units
Ponks are a delightful 7-2 over the last three weeks and (actually weights to 9.5-2.1 from a units perspective). I hope you’ve used the winnings to buy a nice Christmas present or two.
I’ve just used mine to meander with early season basketball games by chasing the over so we all have our priorities.
Ahead of revisiting the results from last week, does anyone have a sense of who this is?
Kirk Ferentz wouldn't name the (Big Ten) head coach who said this, but one coach told his staff that if anyone uses Iowa's investigation over the summer to negatively recruit against Iowa that they would be fired.— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) December 16, 2020
The three most popular answers in the mentchies are 1) Lovie Smith, but I recall Iowa’s 63-0 hamblasting of the Illini having to do with some unspoken recruiting beef between the two schools. 2) Paul Chryst, who seems like the most likely answer as he seems nonplussed about the recruiting stuff. 3) Pat Fitzgerald as an absolute dark horse since he abhors Iowa but also definitely the kind of guy who would fire somebody if they got dirty in recruiting.
As for last week’s results...I found these tweets to be pretty funny in tandem.
The under for Penn State-MSU seemed like easy money. Still think Huskers +8.5 should work.— Marc Morehouse (@marcmorehouse) December 12, 2020
under bettors are tense all the way to the end, always ready for disaster. molded by past failures. over bettors are cocky, over confident, celebrate at the first whiff of success.— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) December 14, 2020
Never get cocky with an under bet, Marc!
As for Illinois...I had so much faith in Lovie Smith to backdoor cover AGAIN but he simply could not do it. Is that why he was fired? Tough to say.
Revisiting my reasons Iowa would win and I was right about 1/3rd of them. Charlie Jones/Tory Taylor had arguably their worst games in the black and gold while we didn’t see a single freaking Wildcat snap. Wisconsin did have an extra turnover, which is exactly how Iowa won by 21 points.
At the time of this writing, no lines are out for Iowa/Gonzaga which is a shame. I truly do not think they could make a line high enough for me to pick the under. These teams simply have too good of offenses. Even 190, which feels like an impossibly high line, is well within reach even if Iowa loses somewhat convincingly. The only way I would expect that to happen is Gonzaga’s athleticism takes over on offense and stonewall non-Luka Garza scorers so Iowa ends up running the offense that had them lose 103-91 to Michigan last year.
To the betting machine! (all lines from William Hill)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (-6.5, -115 | -270) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+220 | O/U 53.5)
Northwestern Wildcats (+700) v. Ohio State Buckeyes (-20 | -1100 | O/U 57)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (+360) at Wisconsin Badgers (-12.5 | -475 | O/U 47)
Illinois Fighting Illini (+475) at Penn State Nittany Lions (-15.5 | -700 | O/U 52)
Getting to the last week of intra-Big Ten play has me a little sad and a little happy. Sad yes, because this is the last time we’ll see our most familiar opponents play one another. Happy because these were truly wretched teams at times. Nobody needs bad football in our lives when there can be good basketball.
Like last week, we’re taking the broad approach here to hone in on a few bets I really like. The first one is, of course, Nebraska traveling to Rutgers to play the lone Friday night game. I was unnecessarily happy this game was originally slated for 3:00p because the Old Oaken Bucket Game took the Friday night slot. Welp, both Indiana schools had to tap out because of COVID-19 protocols and this one got moved back.
Nebraska shouldn’t be favored over any team in the conference at this point. The one team I could argue they should be favored over beat them handily despite being 15-point underdogs. The Scarlet Knights stick out as home underdogs...it’s a long travel situation for Nebraska...the only reason for the Cornhuskers to get up for this game is to prove last week was an absolute fluke.
Maybe it was! But history tells us it wasn’t.
Pick #1: Rutgers ML, 200 units to return 640
I have a sinking pit in my stomach regarding the Big Ten Championship Game. I think Ohio State wins and convincingly but believe Northwestern is going to be much sneakier about how they handle the Buckeyes than they were in 2018.
It is difficult to imagine this particular Northwestern team doing as bad or worse than the 2018 team did in terms of ball security (three turnovers). Their two worst games in the area were against Iowa (ugh) and Michigan State.
Further, I think this group does a better job of managing time of possession than that group did.
Finally, I think style points are borderline irrelevant for this OSU team. The Committee has had a reservation for them in the fourth spot in the playoff. As written before in this space, OSU has a totally average resume outside of being THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY.
I don’t like it but...
Pick #2: Northwestern +20.5, 220 units to return 420
Last ponk of the irregular season...I don’t feel comfortable about Wisconsin double-digit points against Minnesota but don’t really like the idea of picking a third dog.
That leaves us with an O/U line and no overs are particularly tasty. We only select overs here at the ponks.
So that process of elimination leaves us with Penn State -15.5. They’re playing the best football of their season after three straight wins and Illinois has been lifeless in the last two games. Not sure firing Lovie Smith gets the guys up for this one.
Pick #3: Penn State -15.5, 220 units to return 420
And there you have it. We’ll probably return with whatever bowl games get played and include conference teams. There are some outstanding ... logistical challenges I’m working through to manage the day-to-day of this operation, so that reduces the likelihood of this side venture continuing throughout basketball.
But we’ll see! Crazier things have happened.
Rutgers ML v Nebraska (returns 640 units)
Northwestern +20.5 v Ohio State (returns 420 units)
Penn State -15.5 v Illinois (returns 420 units)
Chelsea +800 to win Premier League (returns 4,005 units)