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Saturday ABC Prime-Time Pick: Cardinal Sin to Bet Against Oregon


Thank the football gods for non-conference games. We’ve made a profit with our recommended NCAAF picks though the first three weeks of the 2018-19 campaign, but it’s only going to get harder from here now that conference play is upon us. These teams know each other very well, and we expect the college football odds to be tight as a funeral drum from here on in.

Unless you pounce on those odds the moment they hit the board. Let’s take a look at Saturday’s prime-time tilt between the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) and the No. 20 Oregon Ducks (3-0 SU, 0-3 ATS), for example. Stanford opened last Sunday night as 1.5-point road dogs; it only took an hour or so before they were a pick’em, and another two hours before they were –1. The Cardinal landed on –2 Monday afternoon, which is where they remain at press time. I’ll eat a bug if those odds don’t match the projections for this Pac-12 dust-up.

Fish On

Granted, I’ll probably eat a bug either way – maybe some chapulines on a yam taco. But here we go:

ESPN Football Power Index: Stanford 56.5 percent
Equivalent Moneyline (using SBR Odds Converter): Stanford –130
Equivalent Point Spread (via Wizard of Odds): Stanford –2

It is what it is. If you want the best fish on the market, you have to go there at 3:30 in the frickin’ morning, because that’s when they open, and it only takes an hour or so before the best stuff is all gone. If there’s going to be any betting value on this game, it’s going to be closer to kick-off, if the public gets on the Cardinal bandwagon and keeps those football odds moving. But Stanford and Oregon are two Top-25 teams with about as much brand recognition as you can get in the Pac-12. I’m going to eat a bug anyway.

Mr. Mittens Is a Bad Kitty
Before I do, there’s more than one way to skin a grasshopper, so let’s look at the total for this matchup. The over/under was 56 at Tuesday morning’s open, then 57 by lunchtime. As you may have noticed already, it’s getting close to dinnertime as I write this, and the total is up to 57.5 points at a handful of locations on the SBR odds board. Maybe we’ll be getting a cheap price on the UNDER now that the sharps have just about had their fill.

Alas, we don’t have any free-to-use projections for Saturday’s final score that we can quote, but all three Stanford games this year have gone UNDER, and two out of three for the Ducks. And as you can see by the above tweet, ESPN College Gameday will be there. More attention means more public action, and the public loves betting the OVER (especially with Oregon involved), so maybe we’ll get an even better price on the UNDER by the time they kick off. Delicious.

Jason Lake

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