Once again, it's good news and bad news in the Maryland gambling world this week.
The bad news first: Not only did I get Maryland wrong, but the Terps suffered a soul-crushing loss that summoned everything I can't stand about our current football era to the forefront again, basically sucking the wind out of this entire season for me in one huge gut-punch. Yay.
Now the good news: I went 5-0 everywhere else, and since I don't bet on Maryland games anymore, I made a sh**load of money! Doesn't that make you feel better about football again? No? Y'all are heartless.
Let's move on to the results. Much better job overall, people. In all, 17 out of 42 of you compiled winning records and would've turned a buck or two if you were scoundrels like I am. Congrats to BET on Terps, Charles Owen, englandumd, QuigTerp, TerpsRising and zol for winning the week at 5-1. And ESterps08 continued his hot hand as well and is off to a 9-3 start, a downright torrid pace, to lead the field.
BET on Terps 5-1 (7-5)
Charles Owen 5-1
QuigTerp 5-1 (8-4)
zol 5-1 (7-4)
ESterps08 4-2 (9-3)
Pete Volk 4-2 (7-5)
mtcassell 4-2 (6-5)
Noah Niederhoffer 4-2 (7-5)
nyterp1 4-2 (6-5)
TerpsAught1 4-2 (7-5)
Brendan Darr 3-3
DJ Carver 3-3
Testudo's Attorney 2-3
FearTheTurtle 1-5 (4-8)
thedurtyturtle 1-5 (5-7)
**MellophoneMathMajor ... That really needs to be the name of a band, right?
And now, let's talk Terps and, as always, we'll pick some other games too.
Maryland (2-1) at Syracuse (2-0)
Opening line: Syracuse -1.5
Current line: Pick'em
Trends: The early action was split about even, but the public gradually began backing Maryland pretty steadily, probably because, on paper -- remember, most people haven't watched much, if any, of the Terps or Cuse -- Maryland's result vs. a proven West Virginia team was respectable, while Syracuse is still lingering in a cloud of stench from their squeaker win over Villanova in Week 1. By Tuesday, the Terps topped out at almost 80% of the public money and Vegas has responded by moving the line in search of more Orange bettors (which is a good thing). At the time of this writing, midnight Tuesday (Wednesday? Tuesday? Hell, I don't know), it's still 71% of the action on Maryland (which is not such a good thing).
What it means: Looking at this as objectively as I can, sorry folks, I hate it for the Terps. Vegas knows what the street perception of Syracuse is, stemming from that Villanova game, so if Vegas really wanted a 50-50 split, it probably would've opened this game as a pick'em or even with the Terps as a slight favorite. It's possible that this line keeps wandering Maryland's way and the public responds by spending on Syracuse, but if that doesn't happen ...
My pick: Syracuse kicked Maryland's a$$ last year on one of the most painful Saturdays of the season (thanks, Wake Forest and FSU, for making that Syracuse loss a little less of an ugly memory). 'Cuse was the better prepared (sound familiar?) and tougher team and shoved the Terps around on both sides of the line to the tune of a stomach-turning 242-81 advantage in rushing yards and a 20-3 win. I can't shake that day from my memory, folks. Until Maryland shows it can run OR pass with any degree of consistency, I just can't back the Terps in an even-ish matchup, which this definitely is. The public likes Maryland here, but unfortunately I don't think the Terps deserve the benefit of the doubt. Vegas doesn't think so either.
Pick vs. the spread: Syracuse (pick'em)
Game pick: Syracuse 34, Maryland 24
5 I like
@KANSAS STATE (+9) vs. Auburn: No heavy lifting here, just a straight contrarian play on a Thursday night. No reason not to like Kansas State at home in a showcase game vs. an Auburn team I've been waiting to play against because they were lucky as hell last year to get where they got. Auburn is going to lose a few this year, wait and see. This may or may not be one of them, but nine points on the road is a few too many.
@MICHIGAN (-4) vs. Utah: Another wide betting split (75% of the action on Utah) for a line that to me seems suspiciously low for a Michigan game in the Big House against an unranked opponent. Yes, I saw the Notre Dame game, but I love it when the public puts a team in jail all year long for one bad week (remember Houston and South Carolina last week?). As far as I'm concerned, the book's still out on the Wolverines. They're easily the more talented team here, playing at home.
@FLORIDA STATE (-20) vs. Clemson: Ahhh Clemson. How's it going, old buddy? You got utterly destroyed in this matchup a year ago. At home. With Watkins. And Boyd. Why on Earth would 92 FREAKING PERCENT of the public be backing you a year later on the road without those guys anymore? Take the 'Noles. Lay the points. (****EDITOR'S NOTE: Hold the phones on this one. I'm hearing Jameis went and did something stupid again! Expect some serious line movement if he doesn't play. I'll keep this game here, but if things change dramatically I just won't score it -- so pick it as though Jameis is playing and the line stays at 20. UPDATE 2.0: Sounds like he's not playing the first half, so this line will move. I'll probably just not score this one, but pick it anyway if you like.)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (+14.5) @ Arkansas: Like the Auburn game, this is just too many points for the public to be blindly backing the SEC team at a 78% clip. Northern Illinois is a good team. Is Arkansas a good team? We'll find out.
MIAMI (+7.5) @ Nebraska: Another weird line and I have to think Vegas is snickering while watching all the money roll in on the Cornhuskers (83%). Miami is too talented to be getting more than a touchdown against a team I find to be in the same ballpark talent-wise, if that.