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WEEK 1: NCAA PICKS, Labor Day edition

Ok!  The eagerly anticipated (well, ok fine - by like 1 or 2 people) NCAA Picks column has arrived!

You guys know the drill here.  Let's hop right in:

Pick 1: One of the bets I'm going with this time is the over/under on win totals.  Now; for whatever reason (perhaps yet another sign of the GRob debacle) bodog.com DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE SU on their season win over/under list.  WTF, bodog!?  I mean I know the team stinks and all...but really?  Oh well.  I'm jumping in now and I'm taking the over (which I believe was set at 3 wins).  I see 4 wins for the Cuse and here are the four I see - along with a one-word description for each one.

Minnesota: W (8,572 tix left!)
Penn State: L (JoePa!)
Northwestern: L (PatFitz=BAMF!) Maine: W (Maine=Div1AA!)
South Florida: L (Grothe=Sloth!)
West Virginia: L (NoelF*ingDevine!)
Akron: W ('08revenge!)
Cincinnati: L (BrianKelly!)
Pittsburgh: L (FeartheWannstache!)
Louisville: L (law/averages!)
Rutgers: W (FUschiano)
Connecticut: L (SuckItHuskies)

So my four wins are: Minny, Akron, Maine, Rutgers.  Why?  WHY NOT!

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Picks 2/3 after the jump.

Pick 2: Syracuse: who do they play again?  Oh yeah, Minnesota.  I'm going to jump right in with the pick: I'm taking Syracuse to cover the 7 pts.  I might feel better if this was at 7.5, but I still like the 'Cuse as the play here.  I think we're looking at a tight game, I'm not saying that Syracuse will win, I'm saying this game will be a lot closer than Vegas thinks it will be.  Go back to that original post, where Reyes39 made the following astute comment
Minny is also ditching the spread for more of a running attack (most likely to cater to their new outdoor stadium.) Makes no sense to me when you have guys like Decker and Brewer. They’ll also be introducing a new OC and DC – I think we know best that new schemes don’t form overnight. Add to that – Minnesota didn’t beat anyone of any importance aside from maybe Illinois….FAU, Indiana, some D-2 school, Purdue, Bowling Green, NIU..theres a slight possibility that if we played Minnys schedule last year we might have hit bowl eligibility.
 
The line surprised me…but what surprised me even more is that it hasnt risen by more than half a point. Figured the public would have pounded Minnesota by now…just too fishy.

Wow.  Great statements there; and there a few others reasons I like the 'Cuse:
 
(1) The Dome will be rocking. Sounds like the turnout will be decent for the home opener and the Dome should rock - and we can all remember what the Dome was like when that was happening - remember: the Dome used to be a tough place to play.  Current students: please bring back the home field advantage.  Please.  Make the Dome shake.
 
(2) Everyone is going in the Gopher's direction.  Vegas typically will edit the money before they move the spread (ie Vegas forces you to pay their vig so typically you would put $105 at steak to win $100 - in lieu of moving the spread, which could tip the gamblers to one side or another, vegas instead forces you to put more $ at stake, ie anywhere from $115 to $150 to win $100). Now when you see the line opened at 6, then moved to 6.5 and then moved to 7 (which is where it is now).  Since everyone is obviously betting on the Gophers, an old Vegas adage is that you see where everyone is going - and promptly go the other direction (ie don't follow the herd mentality).
 
(3) Did you know that Minnesota finished last season by dropping five straight? @ Kansas, Iowa, @ Wisc, Mich, NWestern? Hell, even Syracuse finished with 2 wins in their final 5 games!
 
That's all I've got on this one for now.  But those reasons are compelling enough.

Quick interlude: here's a gambling oddity for you - there were internet rumors yesterday that Ok St QB Zac Robinson was out of the game, so the gambling sites immediately pulled that game "off" their boards.  Bizarre, huh?

Pick 3: BYU +22 1/2 @ Oklahoma.  Ok here's my philosophy here - Early in the season the offense is almost invariably behind the defense, so given that Oklahoma would have to destroy BYU by 23 points for me to lose this bet, I like it.  Plus Max Hall & BYU have a lot to prove in big games and you better believe those Stormin' Mormon's will be fired up for this game.  I think they'll at least keep it within 22 points.

BONUS Pick 4!!: BSU favored by 3.5, so I bought a 1/2 pt on the Boise St./Oregon game tonight - meaning I have BSU by 3.  I think this will be a shootout and i like the downside protection of a push in event that BSU wins by just a FG.  If they win by more, I'm in good shape!  If they lose, of course, I lose - but that's why they call it a gamble, right?  Right.

So there you have it!  Four picks this week!

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