It seems like just yesterday in the Tuley’s Takes home that it was late August and we were getting ready for Week 0 of the college football season.
Now, it’s just a week into December, and the conference championship games are behind us. The only regular-season game left is the annual Army-Navy game, and we’re getting ready for the bowl season and CFB Playoff.
Championship Week was a bit of a disappointment as we went 1-2 ATS with our Best Bets here as we lost on New Mexico State +11.5 in a 49-35 loss vs. Liberty (a “Bad Beat” as the Aggies were in the game the first three quarters and even tied it 35-35 after starting QB Diego Pavia left the game) and Iowa +22 in 26-0 loss to Michigan. Our win was on Miami-Ohio +8 with the outright 23-14 upset in the MACtion title game (I should have given out Washington as a live dog in the Pac-12 title game here in Vegas).
Anyway, we’re still slightly profitable with our plays here at 27-24-2 (52.9%) for a net profit of 0.6 units based on laying the standard -110.
In the next three weeks, we’ll give our “takes” on the bowl games that run on Thursdays (when these columns are posted at VSiN.com) and through the following Wednesday. For this week’s purposes, let’s take a look at the Army-Navy game, and then I’ll give my “early takes” on the two CFB Playoff semifinals.
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET
We all know the history of Unders in this annual game. For those who don’t, the Under cashed in 16 Army-Navy games in a row before last year’s game went Over thanks to double overtime. So, that’s why this total is so insanely low. Still, I have to say if you’re thinking of betting the total, you either have to take the Under or pass (similar to my “dog-or-pass” philosophy with ATS bets). Neither academy has an explosive offense (do they ever?) and obviously know each other well, so this should be low-scoring and the total is set low for a reason (many reasons).
On “A Numbers Game” on Thursday, my VSiN colleagues Gill Alexander and Bill Krackomberger talked about the need to get creative with some of these historically low Over/Unders (also mentioning a couple in the NFL this weekend). They were looking at going Over, using teasers, but I’m going to tease this total up and go Under 33.5 (we could both be right as it’s a huge “middle") while also teasing Navy up over a TD. Like Gill and Krackman, I can’t remember the last time I teased a college football bet (especially a total), but let’s make it our one CFB Best Bet for the weekend.
Play: Navy +8.5/Under 33.5
Michigan (-1.5, 45.5) vs. Alabama
Monday, January 1, 5:00 p.m. ET
Let’s take an early look at the CFB Playoff semis. I’m not betting these yet as I don’t think there’s a rush to lock in a bet after the initial line moves in each game. I mean, I don’t expect any of these teams – with a chance to play for a national championship – to have a bunch of players skip these games to save themselves for the NFL Draft or have players enter the transfer portal. But you never know what could happen (suspensions, academic issues, etc.).
There’s obviously still a lot of controversy over Alabama’s selection over undefeated Florida State. I have my personal opinion, but my philosophy has always been to just handicap whatever the matchups that are put in front of us since we can’t control any of that crap anyway. The actual true victim here is Michigan, which has to face an Alabama team that is peaking at the right time instead of being a double-digit chalk over FSU.
As alluded to, after a rough start to the season for Alabama QB Jalen Milroe and the Crimson Tide offense, they put up 27 points against Georgia in the SEC title game and could do the same vs. Michigan. The Wolverines have a two-headed attack with QB JJ McCarthy and RB Blake Corum, but give me Bama coach Nick Saban with 28 days to prepare as the Tide rolls in a minor upset.
Texas (-4, 64.5) vs. Washington
Monday, January 1, 8:45 p.m. ET
We get new blood in the CFB Playoff with this matchup, which I admit I’m more excited to see. My early lean is also to the underdog here (is anyone out there really surprised?). Texas is obviously worthy of being here with QB Quinn Ewers leading an offense that averages 37.7 points per game), but we’re surprised that Washington, who was a 10-point underdog (+295 on moneyline) in the Pac-12 Championship Game vs. Oregon before pulling off the 34-31 upset, is an underdog of more than a field goal in this national semifinal. That’s too many points to pass up. QB Michael Penix Jr. cooled off after a hot start as the Huskies relied more on the running game, led by Dillon Johnson, down the stretch; however, with the expanded time for UW coach Kalen DeBoer and his staff to prepare, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Penix opening up the passing game more like he did early in the season.