Where we try and help you win some coin. But remember kids, gambling is wrong. We would never actually bet real money (wink, wink)

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Go forth and bet on college football. I'll star five games each week. A couple of things, I'm picking almost every game. Stay far away from those 25-point spreads, it's just a crapshoot. We'll keep a running tally of how I do. 55% is making back your vig, 60% is retiring to Bermuda.

Buffalo at Rutgers (-12.5)
Both teams stink, but Buffalo won this game last year. Rule of thumb, never give 12.5 points and Rutgers. BUFFALO.

Colorado vs. Colorado State (-1.5)
CSU is at home and they are probably a better team. This game is always close, but the Rams just have more weapons right now. CSU.

Duke at Virginia (-16)
Virginia is good, but they arenít as good as their press clippings. And this is a decent Duke team, with a strong running game to at least keep it close. They wonít win, but theyíll cover. DUKE.

East Carolina at Cincinnati (-8)
ECU will get better as the season goes on, but right now, take the Bearcats. CINCY.

Florida State at North Carolina (+16.5)
The Heels are not very good. While we sort of dogged FSU, they are still much better than UNC. Theyíll win by over 20. FSU.

**Fresno State at Tennessee (-20.5)
Youíre kidding, right? Bet Fresno. 20 points?! Tennessee ainít THAT much better. FSU.

Georgia at Clemson (+3)
Always a good rivalry game, which are tough bets. Clemson really wants this game and UGaís line is still coming together. But I just canít bring myself to pick Clemson. UGA.

Georgia Tech at BYU (-4)
Take BYUís offense. Tech is solid, but BYU is stacked. And at home. BYU.

Indiana at Connecticut (-6)
I know IUís been a bad team, but they can surely beat UConn, right? Right? OK, they can at least cover. IU.

Kent State at Akron Akron -11
Kentís got the offense to hang with Akron for awhile. Iíd look for them to fall short, but still cover the spread. KENT.

Louisville at Kentucky (-5.5)
The Cats are breaking in a new system, Louisville is breaking in a new QB. Go with the team that has an established system in place. LVILLE.

Maryland at Northern Illinois (+8)
The Huskies are a fun team, they will scare the crap out of the Terps. They wonít win, but take the points. UNI.

Miami at Iowa (-11)
Iowa lost their entire line and their starting QB. They need a game or two to get their footing. Miami is one of the best teams in the MAC. Smells like an upset to me. MIAMI.

**Missouri vs. Illinois (+3.5)
Way too small of a line. MIZZOU.

Northwestern at Kansas (+6)
I love home dogs, but come onÖ itís Kansas. NWESTERN.

Oklahoma State at Nebraska (-8)
Nebraska breaks in their new passing offense. OSU shows them how itís done and wins outright. OSU.

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (+13.5)
The Rebs will put up some points. Lots of them. Vandy wonít. OM.

Oregon at Mississippi State (+4.5)
The Ducks have a terrible pass defense. Unfortunately, MSU canít exploit this weakness. Take the Ducks to win. UO.

Rice at Houston (-5.5)
Rice sucks, Houston is aspiring to be mediocre. UH.

South Florida at Alabama (-17)
Iím not convinced Bama can outscore anyone by 17 points right now. Thereís just too much turmoil. Theyíll win, but a blowout over a decent team? USF.

**Southern Miss at California (-3.5)
Take the Golden Eagles. They should torch Cal. USM.

TCU at Tulane (+6.5)
Tulane is at best a .500 team. TCU has an outside shot at a BCS bid. This line is very small. TCU.

Toledo at UNLV (+1)
These teams are very evenly matched. Take the home dog in that case. UNLV.

UAB at Baylor (+10)
OK, Baylor sucks, but UAB has done nothing to justify giving 10 points on the road. Even to Baylor. I have no doubt UAB wins, but donít give double digits. BAYLOR.

USC at Auburn (-4)
The premier matchup of the weekend. USCís super defense keeps the Auburn run game in check, and their big receivers just abuse Auburnís weak secondary. USC goes home with a huge upset. USC.

Wake Forest at Boston College (-12.5)
Wakeís going to win this one. I donít like betting against Jim Grobe. WAKE.

**Washington at Ohio State (-9)
Run to your bookie and take those 9 points. OSU, of their 14 wins, only won half of those by double-digits. They place close games, particularly without Clarrett. Washingtonís got that killer Pickett-Williams connection which I think will key an upset in Colombus, given all of the distractions surrounding OSU right now. But even if you believe OSU will run the table again, giving 9 points is a lot for a team without big-play capability missing their best player against a consensus top 25 squad.

Western Michigan at Michigan St (-14)
Iíve said lots of bad things about the Spartans over my life, but I certainly think they can beat WMU by two touchdowns. MSU.

**Wisconsin at West Virginia (+3)
People are severely under-estimating the Badgers. They are a very, very good team. Nothing against WVU, but this should be a mismatch. WIS.

Monday, August 25, 2003

I just got out of vespers, and am shocked to see that Stepen is advising our liberal sports investors the opportunity to win huge on baseball. Personally, my biggest "hits" in my gambling career have been with playoff baseball. Here's a simple formula, and an example:

Bet the over-unders, looking at the pitchers. Disregard the hitters. One year, the strike season, Houston was playing the Dodgers in round one. Game one--Nolan Ryan vs. rookie Fernando Valenzuela. Over under 7-1/2. LAYUP!!!! Final score: 2-1. Game four, same pitching matchup: Over-under 4-1/2. The world went over, but of course Fr. Mushroom went under again. Final score: 1-0. I like over unders because you don't care who wins. Look at the pitchers' last three outings to get a feel for it. A pitcher that has gone 0-3 is due to throw a gem in the playoffs, and vice versa for someone 3-0. Disregard home field advantage. It doesn't affect pitchers. I used to be one, so I know. Finally, this year's World Series will be won by the Chicago White Sox. Get on board early--the ghosts of Chick Gandil, Swede Risberg, "Beltin' Bill" Melton, and Dick "Don't Call Me Richie" Allen will be hovering over the new Commie. Take the White Sox now for the longest odds to win the Series. Peace.
While we're on futures and baseball, there is some interesting baseball plays for futures. The wild card race is extremely tight, and I'd like to remind everyone that the playoffs is pretty much a crapshoot. If you make it, anything can happen. just look at Anaheim. With that in mind, every NL Central team has odds around 18-1. Considering they all have a decent shot at the postseason, the Cubs and Astros are worth a play. So are the Dodgers at 66-1.

Look, I don't think the Dodgers will make the postseason, but they are currently THREE games out. Getting 66-1 odds on a team 3 games out is terrific. And worth a dollar. Heck, take the 30-1 odds on winning the NL if you don't feel as risky.

Since the AL is more clearcut, the lines aren't as good. Bet against the Yankees, get 10-1 odds on the team of your choice. Heck, wait until the playoffs start and bet on the three other teams and you'd probably still get nice odds. I'd bet on the A's and Sox right now, both at 12-1.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

A note on baseball gambling

Don't.

Even the very best teams only win 60% of the time. And since you play the money line and not point spreads, betting on baseball can safely be labelled as insane. Because of the vig, you need to win 60% of your bets to be successful. So gambling on the Braves every day will kill you because the line will suck. So don't do it.

Stick to football. Seriously.
And a welcome to Father Mushroom, Bart Cop's religion reporter. Yeah, that's right, God condones gambling.


First off, I'm gonna pull odds from here... shop around for your best value play.

I like to use Pythagorean records. It's a Bill James trick, predicting wins based on runs scored (or in this case, points). The square of the points scored divided by the sum of the squares of points scored and point allowed is the Pythagorean winning percentage. Multiply by 16 to find out how many game they should have won. This allows us to find out who is underrated and overrated. The teams that far exceeded their projected records are here:


Team Wins Proj Diff

Green Bay 12 9.53 2.47
Tennessee 11 8.99 2.01
San Fran 10 8.36 1.64
Indianapolis 10 8.87 1.13
Pittsburgh 10 8.98 1.02


So don't bet on any of those teams. Unfortunately, all of the big underrated teams suck out loud, they just didn't suck as much as you think (Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit). But looking at the odds, your best plays in the AFC are:


Jacksonville 90-1
Baltimore 40-1
Buffalo 35-1




The NFC has some much longer odds, but take a shot from this group:


New Orleans 45-1
Washington 40-1
Minnesota 40-1




The good Father's Carolina pick is sitting at 70-1. Go to it.



Hello Stephen and Fans....

Football and gambling go together like Catholicism and bingo. That's why your's truly, Father Mushroom, is providing you with occassional picks on games, futures, and insights from here inside the American Vatican up here in Minnesota. This week, I give you a gift--four futures plays ABSOLUTELY FREE.

Futures, as many of you know, are when you pick a team to do something a long way down the road. Usually it means picking a team to win a championship before the season starts. I have a formula that has netted handsome returns in the past. I predicted that the Patriots would win the AFC (35-1) the year they went on to beat the SAINT Louis Rams in the Superbowl...(how I wished I'd have had them for the Superbowl. Superbowl futures pay double of what the Conference Championship futures pay.

The fun with futures is that you are not fronting a lot of money, so you won't get mad if you lose. The great thing is, there's a potential for a big pay day.

My formula is this: Look for a team that: A. Is coming off a poor season (when they were expected to do much better), B. Has a soft schedule (based on their previous season's record--bad teams get softer schedules. Also look to see if a team is playing an entire conference that stinks--like the NFC North); and C. Has an inangible, such as a new stadium, addition by subraction (getting rid of a headcase player) or an impact rookie in a key position (Randy Moss and Chad Pennington in their rookie seasons come to mind.) Those are the keys to success.

Enough babbling. Here's what you should put in your sports book of choice's collection plate in Vegas before the season starts:

NFC:
Washington Redskins, 20-1.
Carolina Panthers, 25-1.

AFC:
San Diego: 20-1
Jacksonville: 30-1.

Why the long odds? Who wants to bet $10 to win $50? Borrrrr-ing. You want a team that will have a breakout season. My cardinals and I especially like Jacksonville because we feel that Mark Brunell will be easily replaced by Byron Leftwich at QB. San Diego also intrigues us in that they were underwhelming last year, have Drew Brees at the helm, and play the AFC West. In the NFC, look for the Redskins to break out, and Carolina to surprise also. We like the odds and they meet our criteria. NEXT WEEK: TEAMS TO AVOID LIKE A FUNDAMENTALIST ON UPPERS (bad futures picks).


Peace,
Fr. Mushroom

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