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TSE College Football Discussion – Week # 1

TSE College Football Discussion – Week # 1

BetOnline released college football point spreads and totals today for week # 1 of the 2012 college football season. So lets get the discussion started.

Week # 1 early selections

Without going into much detailed handicapping yet, three totals stood out to me and I made wagers on the following games:

Georgia Tech – Virginia Tech UNDER 51

This game was lined at 49.5 last year and with all the new faces on the Virginia Tech offense I was expecting an opening number around 45. Anything at or above key number 48 looks good to me. Both teams are run oriented, Va Tech D looks salty this year and will have a lot of extra time to prepare for the Yellow Jacket option.

Auburn – Clemson UNDER 63

Key number in this one is 62. The game was lined at 59 last year and ended 38-24. Clemson lost 4 OL and I expect Auburn’s defense to be much improved, especially along the defensive line.

Boise State – Michigan State UNDER 53

Key number is 52. I just don’t see Boise’s new QB & OL having much success against the Big Ten’s best defense. MSU also has a new QB and question marks at receiver, so I believe they will rely heavily on the running game.


Pez…I kind of like the under in that GT/VT game. But the play I’m looking at is on GT. I think they have a decent chance of beating VT straight up. From the things I’ve been reading about GT, they may not come out and play the game everybody thinks they will play. They’ve been working hard in the offseason with their passing game. And also working out of the shotgun formation, along with a couple other new formations. Washington is a very experienced QB with an experienced OL. VT is basically starting over on offense except for Logan Thomas. They have little back in the way of skill players. New RB’s, new WR’s, new OL. And expected to cover a TD or more? I think Paul Johnson will have some surprises for them.

I haven’t got to the Boise/MSU game. But with 2 new QB’s I would also be thinking under. Auburn is kind of a borderline team with me. I don’t like them or hate them. It’s more like meh. I like the amount of starters they have coming back. But I’m not crazy about having two new coordinators to break in. I still have my doubts that Auburn will have much more success on offense against the good SEC D’s than they had last year. They have the look to me of a team that is still a year away. But I do think they will have some serious revenge on their minds against Clemson, who broke their 14 game win streak last year. I think that will be a hell of a game between two evenly matched teams.

– GoSooners


GS …. I already have a small play on GT +9, but need to look at the game in more detail before I add to it. However, I am in agreement that it appears tough to ask VT to cover more then a TD with essentially a new offense less QB Thomas. I really see both offenses struggling in this game.

What other sides look interesting to you? What do you think about SMU +14. I know Baylor will probably be fine on offense even with the loss of RGIII and Wright, though I would expect them to be less explosive, but this is still a pretty bad defense laying DD against an experienced SMU team.

SMU D should be improved and they have a stud RB. Isn’t ex-Texas QB Gilbert their QB? Heavy losses on the OL though.

– Pez

Pez…Garret Gilbert will definitely play immediately. There isn’t anybody in camp that is remotely as good, even though his talents didn’t exactly show at Texas. But Gilbert is a dropback pocket passer that should fit much better in June Jones system instead of being asked to run all over the place like he did at Texas.. I know it may not look like it with just 3 returning starters on offense, but this unit is loaded with talent. They have the leagues top rusher and a very athletic group of wideouts. The biggest question mark is losing the entire OL. If there is a conference where this might not be a total disaster, it’s the defensless CUSA. For once, defense is the strength of this team. Despite all of the offense in the CUSA, defense still wins this conference. Southern Miss had a defense that gave up just 350 ypg (good by CUSA standards). That’s why they beat out the more popular favorites Houston last year. And it’s why UCF has won it a couple times under O’Leary. They are usually right near the top of the conference in total defense. Jones also landed a few very talented freshmen this year that could possibly play for them right away.. I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this team. The defense could very well pick them up while the offense comes together. The only real negative I can see is they have a bit tougher schedule this season. I can see six games where they’ll probably find themselves as the dogs. But with their defense, they could turn out to be a pretty good cover team. The Baylor game might be a good place to start betting them. These old Southwest Conference foes leave nothing on the field when they play each other. So you can bet that SMU will give Baylor their best shot.



The Boise State – Michigan State total is now at 50, down 3 points from where I made my wager (I believe it opened at 55). That means the game has crossed the key number 52. The next key number is 48 and this would be the absolute lowest number I would play it at. Trentmoney and I were having a discussion this past weekend on key numbers as they pertain to college football totals. We disagreed on which number was “stronger” 51 or 52, so I did an Excel sort on my database to see which total score had the most results. I was surprised to find that both numbers were more or less equal. However what I did find was that 48 was/is the strongest key number. So if you like the under in this game, make sure you get 48 or above.

Another total that I am leaning towards is the Colorado – Colorado State game, but it is currently sitting at 47 (opened at 49) and I doubt the number goes up to 48.

– Pez


First things first. My annual college football trip to Boulder was finalized over the weekend. Unfortunately I won’t be going to see Arizona State kick Colorado’s ass this year, that game was on a Thursday and my friend/brother-in-law couldn’t get away. So instead we will going up there for the September 29th game against UCLA. Go Bruins!

Week # 1 added selections

SMU – Baylor UNDER 60

I wrote up a fairly detailed explanation about this total in GoSooners Big 12 discussion thread. Key numbers are 58/59, based on my database search results of the past three years, both numbers are identical in terms of being “strong” numbers, but obviously if we’re going under, 59 is preferred to 58.

One last note, the spreads have all moved downward on all three totals that I wagered a few weeks ago. Boise – MSU is currently sitting at 45.5 at Bookmaker, crossing the very strong number 48. The value in this game has been greatly diminished.

GT – VT is down to key number 48 and that is the absolute lowest number I would play it at. The Auburn – Clemson total has not been re-posted. I am assuming when it is, it will be below the 63 we got it at a few weeks ago, before they announced Sammy Watkins suspension (I always figured he’d miss a few games). 62 is the next key number, but I still like this total at 59 or better.



Colorado – Colorado State UNDER 48

I found this at Bookmaker at 47.5 and bought the extra half point to get to key number 48. Very difficult to see where the points are going to come from in this game. Both teams will be starting relatively inexperienced QBs (CU QB Jordan Webb had 16 career starts at KU, but he is learning a new offense here in Boulder). Neither team has any proven playmakers at the skill positions. The Buff OL has 3 starters returning, but they are young and lost their best player (RG Ryan Miller – NFL 5th round draft choice). Both defenses return 7 starters and should be improved.

– Pez




21 Responses to “TSE College Football Discussion – Week # 1”

  1. BJ Coody says:

    Looking it over I like Michigan in week 1. Public will be all over Bama because of defending national champs. They will be young on defense and Michigan should be improved this year after a good year last year. Only question marks is Bama’s offensive and defensive lines versus Michigan’s……….any thoughts on this game??

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      I believe it was around mid-May I took Michigan +14. I thought that was too many points. I thought the line should be closer to 10-11. When it went back down to 10 about 2 weeks ago, I took Alabama, so I am off the game except for the middle opportunity.

      The current line is 11.5 at 5Dimes, however if you like Michigan I would suggest you wait and see if the line goes back up towards the +14.

      IMO there is no chance that Alabama’s defense will be as good as last season. Yes they have recruited well and they are replacing NFL talent w/ future NFL talent, but it is still less experienced talent. That is not to say that the Bama D won’t be good (real good), just not as good as arguably the best D in the BCS era.

      I think the big question mark w/ Michigan is are they going to be able to replace the defensive linemen they lost from last season? I think Alabama’s OL will have the advantage in this game, especially this early in the season.

      Bama’s D will be inexperienced, but it will still be athletic, and with so much time to prepare, I don’t know how successful Robinson will be against them. Toussaint is suspended for this game and you figure Saban will take the run away from Robinson and force him to beat Bama with the pass. I don’t think he can do it.

    • SoonerBS says:

      BJ, here’s what I have on this game (already posted once somewhere on this site):

      Alabama without a doubt. I hope this line continues to drop and we will all get a bargain. In fact, it may be the only early bet I make because even an injury will not make Alabama any worse with their immense depth.

      Guys, before you start getting overly impressed with Michigan, go back to last year’s schedule and ask the question, “who did they beat that really impresses me to think they have a chance to hang with Alabama?” THEY ONLY PLAYED 3 TEAMS IN THE TOP 25! They beat Nebraska, who I think was overrated at the time and didn’t belong in the top 25 anyway, and they beat Virginia Tech in the bowl game. The other team, Michigan State, was #23 whenever Michigan played them and Michigan was ranked #11. MSU beat them by 14 points! Bottom line on Michigan is that their record of 11-2 was not that impressive and I think it is largely getting blown out of proportion here in the preseason.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the direction that Michigan is heading under Brady Hoke, but I am still not impressed with the Big Ten’s strength overall and I think Michigan is at the lower end of the elite hierarchy of the NCAA in college football. Their numbers defensively last year were impressive, but once again, who did they play? Also, they allowed 190 yards per reception against teams who mainly emphasized the running game ( they allowed 4 ypc). Offensively, we all agree that Robinson is talented, but don’t you think Alabama is going to key on him and try to shut down the run game (like Michigan State did against them last season)? What are they going to do then? I’m not convinced that Robinson can win games with his arm. Against Michigan State he went 12 for 31 for 168 yards and was sacked 7 times. I am using MSU as an example because all-in-all I believe Alabama’s defense is going to be better than MSU’s.

      So, with all this being said, let’s answer some questions with straight answers. Can Michigan run on Alabama? Once again, whenever it is all said and done, the speed of the SEC will make the Big Ten team seem like they are standing still. So, the answer is, no. Can Michigan pass well enough to keep them in the game? No. Can Michigan’s defense stop Alabama’s running game? Alabama brings back 2 RBs that are on par with what they lost in Robinson, AND they bring back almost their entire offensive line from last season. The answer is, no, Michigan cannot stop Alabama’s running game. Can Michigan stop Alabama’s passing game, well, if the running game is productive, like I think it will be, then it will open up the passing game. So, once again, I have to say, no.

      It is all one-sided here, guys, and I will gladly take Alabama on a neutral site up to -14. Michigan is not ready for this caliber of competition yet this early in Hoke’s tenure. Prediction: Alabama 32, Michigan 10.

      • BJ Coody says:

        All good points on both sides……probably will leave that game alone. Question……once the season starts what is a good website to get team stats like NCAA rank team defense, offense, other important stats??

  2. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    BJ, check out the NCAA site:

    and another one I really like is:, they have some really cool stats here.

    I also wrote a preseason resource guide here in case you haven’t seen it:

  3. Davis says:

    Pez, you like the under in the Boise State/Michigan St game, who do you like on the side?

    SoonerBS, thanks for the Michigan/Alabama write-up. It was really informative. Not sure if I still want to give the points and Alabama at this point, but will certainly not be taking Michigan.

    I love the focus of this website. The information is fantastic. Great job guys and good luck this season.

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Davis, I like MSU on the side too. I think they are going to stomp Boise. An inexperienced QB and offensive line is not a good combination to be starting your season against this Spartan D.

  4. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    I’m in agreement with SoonerBS on Michigan/Bama. But you still need to be careful with this line. If it gets up to 13 or higher, it will be a no play for me. Anyway I look at it, I don’t see Michigan stopping the Bama offense. But what concerns me in giving away too many points is when the line gets up around 2 TD’s, Denard Robinson and an offense with 6 senior or 5th year senior starters comes into play against a very green Bama defense.

    One thing none of us know for sure is how quickly Saban will get his young defense up to game speed. It also takes a young defense some time to learn to disguise their covereges and blitz packages. The experienced teams do this well. But young defenses tend to have problems early in the year against seasoned QB’s.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Bama is the most talented team in the country. And I think if they can survive the early part of their schedule against Michigan and Arky, have a good chance of making it back to the BCS title game. But when you lose that many great players on defense, things aren’t going to go smoothly right out of the gate. That’s why I am a little hesitiant to give too many points here. SEC teams have traditionally had problems against good running Big 10 teams, as opposed to the spread offenses of the Big 12/Pac12. Hoke might choose to go right at them to test their toughness. It will be an interesting game. Bama will probably have too much quality depth for them in the end. But it still wouldn’t surprise me if Michigan keeps the score within 17 points or less.

  5. Dave says:

    This a purely knee jerk reaction thought. Rice + 15.5 and the Under
    UCLA is starting a red shirt QB against Rice, Thursday Aug 30 2012
    UCLA -15.5, O/U 56.

    any thoughts?

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Dave, I have not yet gone into detail with this game, and I’ve only looked briefly at Rice. However, I agree this could be a possible play on the under. UCLA will be starting a redshirt freshman QB behind a questionable OL. Mora wants UCLA to be tough, so I would expect a good dose of Johnathan Franklin and the running game. Plus UCLA’s D figures to be improved this season.

      I will take a look at Rice in more detail later in the week and let you know my thoughts on them. I do know they had a pretty bad defense last season and lost several key contributors (which may be a good thing).

      56 is a good number. 55 and 59 are the key numbers in this range.

  6. Dave says:

    Looking at these early play
    All plays @

    So. Carolina -6.5 (buying 1/2 point) @ Vandy

    Minnesota -8 @ Unlv

    Mich St -6.5 (Buying half point) vs Boise St

    Penn St -6 (I know I am glutton for punishment)

    Auburn +3 Vs Clemson

    Western Michigan +9.5 @ Illinois

    FIU +4 @ Duke

    any comments ?

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:


      I am on Auburn +6 right now and will add a moneyline play to that when it becomes available. I’m also on the under (63).

      I lean South Carolina, but could also see that as a close game.

      I think MSU beats Boise by DD, but prefer the under, and I don’t like betting the favorite and the under.

      I personally wouldn’t touch Penn State. Too much uncertainty for me.

      I have not yet looked at the other games.

    • SoonerBS says:

      I have my money laid on Michigan State and FIU and here are my reasons:

      Michigan State -6.5 (-120) for 1 UNIT — Some people see this as a sucker bet because of the way Boise State has always seemed to play teams close and mostly winning in the season opener. There is no doubt that Petersen is good at preparing for these big games. However, This is the most inexperienced team he has had to field in some time. The days where teams “letdown” to play Boise State ended soon after Boise beat the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. Michigan State has seen what Boise has done to teams on the road the last couple of years and believe Dantonio will have his team ready. Michigan lost Kirk Cousins this year to graduation, but Maxwell is not without experience. With a solid offensive line and their returning first string running back, Michigan State should be able to play their normal style of establishing the run game and look for a big play or two. It should be a lot easier against a Boise defense that brings back only 2 starters and seen very little experience at all. Added into this equation is the fact that they no longer have their great QB, Kellen Moore. This is a definite rebuilding year for Boise and I think this line has great value for MSU due to the past history of the Bronco team. I took this bet on 8-4-2012 because at that time Boise had also lost their starting WR (Boldewijn) and center (Yriarte) to injury. Boldewijn for possibly first 4 games and Yriarte for the season. Even though MSU could possibly suffer some injuries as well, I think their roster is deeper than Boise’s and they are better able to handle some losses. I don’t like taking bets this early, but I think it is warranted here before this line gets any higher.

      Florida International +4 for 1 UNIT –Duke is the same old Duke. Every year we hear about how they are getting stronger, faster and more competitive. Every year is the year that they are going to finally get into a bowl game. AND, every year, they flop. Sorry, Duke lovers, I don’t see any difference here this season. It’s not that I don’t think Coach Cutcliffe is doing all he can, because I think he is doing the best job anyone could with this program. But, facts are facts, and Duke just isn’t going to ever be a competitive program in this conference. In fact, if it wasn’t for the money situation, they would be far better suited for the CUSA conference or Big Least. Still, once again, with 17 starters coming back from last season, this year looks promising. Let’s look at the numbers though — 22 ppg average on offense and they allowed 31 ppg on defense along with an allowance of almost 5 yards per carry rushing. There is a reason why they went 3-9 for the season . . . . . . . . . again.

      FIU, on the other hand, went 8-5 and won some games against some upper echelon teams that no one thought they would beat like Louisville and UCF. They lost at home to this Duke team, but let’s ponder the reason why: they had started out the season 3-0 beating the likes of the Louisville and UCF teams that we mentioned and then, BAM, Louisiana beat them which was not expected. Sometimes the first loss after some great victories seems to suck the life out of a team. The next week following the Louisiana game, FIU played Duke. In the game they had 568 total yards to Duke’s 384! How does a team lose whenever they outgain the other team by 184 yards? Their heads were still in the first loss they had received the week previous. It’s college football, it happens. So, even though they were favored by 4 points, they ended up losing by 4.

      Now, let’s talk this game. This is the season opener and there are no distractions. Both teams need all the wins they can get, so not even the next week’s game against Stanford should be a distraction to Duke. The bottomline here is that FIU has the better running game and the better defense. I think they are also more talented and better coached. They will be moving to the CUSA conference next season and I think they will want to show this season in every game that they belong.

      • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

        Good stuff BS. I am in complete agreement on the MSU – Boise game. Non-BCS schools (and a lot of BCS schools) are simply not able to reload after losing so many key contributors.

        I am going w/ the under in that game because everything I am reading is indicating that Boise is feeling better about their defensive replacements then they are about the offense.

        Dantonio said that Maxwell is at the same place (in terms of understanding the offense) as Cousins was at this time last year. That is pretty high praise.

        I think MSU should be able to grind out a DD win. Hoping for something like 24-14 or 31-17.

        I have not yet had an opportunity to look at FIU – Duke in detail yet, but the FIU D should be the best in the Sun Belt this year.

        I wonder how the loss of QB Carroll (a game manager) and TY Hilton (a playmaker) will effect the offense?

        • SoonerBS says:

          Pez, current info on FIU and how fall camp is going is non-existent on the web. I can’t find anything. From looking at some previews, Medlock is likely to take the starting role at QB. He had only 56 attempts last season, but he completed 66% with only 1 interception, so it looks like he should be able to manage the game well. RB, Rhodes will be the backbone of the team in the running game and should put up another 1,000+ yard season behind a solid offensive line. They have a kid named James Louis who should play WR this year. He runs a 4.4 40 and was a highly recruited player. I don’t know what the reasons were for his transfer.

          FIU should be pretty well balanced again this season and some prognosticators are giving them a pretty impressive chance of going 10-2 (with losses to UCF and Louisville) so we’ll see. I know that I sure like Coach Cristobal and his record speaks for itself as to what he has been able to do with a Sunbelt team.

  7. Dave Bradley says:

    I love the way you guys break down games, I wish I was that articulate.

    Going to Reno, NV
    I will see what lines I get at the Peppermill Casino. Might have to shop around Reno.
    these are tentatively opinions:

    Thursday Aug 30 plays
    Mich ST -6.5 and the under 53
    Minnesota -8 @ UNLV
    So Carolina Money Line
    Minnesota -8 @ Unlv
    La. Tech + 7.5 vs Texas A+M

    Friday Aug 31
    Mich St -6.5 (Buying half point) vs Boise St and the under 53-
    Tennessee Money line

    Saturday Sept 1
    Penn St -6 (I know I am glutton for punishment)

    Western Michigan +9.5 @ Illinois

    FIU +4 @ Duke

    Good Luck this year gentleman I truly appreciate you opinions and expert analysis. Keep up the great work

  8. Terry says:

    Pez, that 48 is long gone on the Colorado/CSU game. I am seeing 46 and 46.5 right now at my books. Would you still recommend the under at that number?

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Terry, I believe I would play it above the key number 45, but for a smaller amount then my normal wager. At 48 I would play it for 1 unit, at 45 I would probably drop it down to 3/4 of a unit.

      I had a discussion w/ SabertStxVii in his futures article about variable units vs flat betting. I am pretty much in favor of flat betting, but I will vary my wagers slightly if I get a line change (like in this case). I never do 1,2,3,4,5, etc units. I am always at or around 1 unit.

      In this case I believe you can justify a variable on your usual unit because you KNOW that your +EV at 45 is not as strong as it is at 48.However, I still believe U45 or better is still a +EV wager. These are not very good offenses we are dealing with in this game.

      • SoonerBS says:

        I have read several articles of gamblers advice on unit betting over the years and for the most part, I ignored them all and had to learn the hard way. No matter how much I might like one particular bet, I started betting them all the same, 1 UNIT, last season and had one of my best seasons yet. I am a firm believer now that betting 1 UNIT on every bet is the best. I have seen guys (myself being one of them) who bet different unit amounts depending on what they deemed to be stronger bets. Having winning seasons percentage-wise, they still lost money because they lost their bigger bets and won their smaller bets.

  9. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    I’m going back to betting one unit a game this year. I varied my bets last year, but in 2010 when I had a rough start to the season for the first time and found myself down, instead of chasing I just bet one unit a game until I broke even at the end of the year. That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s a very hard thing to do knowing that you’ve got a very strong play, but don’t want to chance losing on one game what you’ve built up for the last couple of weeks. This year I have a few reasons to believe there are going to be some rough patches for eveybody at some time during the season. So it might be better to keep the bets on an even keel. Just my humble opinion.

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