Friday, September 25, 2009

Gambling: Season Two, Episode 6

One quick thought before giving this week's picks: Last night on ESPN's college football pre-game show (or maybe it was an extended Sportscenter segment -- after all, the often decent Jay Harris was moderating, and I'm not sure I've seen him on anything but Sportscenter), Mark May and Craig James shared pleasant dialogue with one another for about five or ten minutes...and not once did I hear May say "Craig," nor did I hear James say "Mark." Nope, Craig James was only called "Pony," a nickname I've never ever EVER heard before last night, but was bludgeoned over the head with probably twenty times (including a few times by Jay Harris)...and Mark May was only called "May Day." That's it, "May Day." Never anything else.

The same thing happens any time Mark Schlereth makes an appearance anywhere on ESPN (this especially includes radio interviews). Every goddamn person at that network (a network I stick up for constantly) tries so hard to sound conversational (the goal of every radio and TV bossman) that Schlereth is referred to simply as "Stink." It's annoying. Listen to Mike and Mike when Schlereth is a guest and I promise you'll want to shoot yourself in the brain.

I get it, you like the man. But let's not act like you guys go to the movies and on vacations together.

Stop trying so hard. It's making my ears bleed.

The all-time worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) example of this comes from a not-so-surprising source...George Grande: He once interviewed Ozzie Smith during a game, and -- I swear to Christ -- called him "Wizard" several more times than he called him "Ozzie." And it wasn't like, "Here's Ozzie Smith, known as "The Wizard."" ... it was like, "How's the golf game, Wizard?" ... or "How's the family, Wizard?" I've never recovered.

(Whether you believe me or not, the great majority of highly paid broadcasters would not upgrade the quality of our teeny tiny, recorded-in-my-kitchen podcast.)


Okay, allow me a little more venting before I make the picks. If you've been paying attention to the Vickers System in '09, or lost coin as a follower, you're no doubt aware that we've endured two or three months worth of crappy luck through the opening few weeks of the football season. For instance:

***Week 1***

Memphis (+18)
vs. Ole Miss -- The Rebels returned three - THREE! - interceptions for touchdowns in this beauty! Three. Did you watch this game? I sure did. This was a seven or ten point game, and not the 31-point "blowout" it turned out to be.

But things didn't get ugly 'til just this past weekend...

***Week 3***

Eastern Michigan (+24)
vs. Michigan -- I threw my remote watching this sucker. Trailing by 21 with seven or eight minutes to go, an EMU WR dropped a TD on 4th and Goal from the 5 yard line. Michigan followed with a three-and-out. Eastern Michigan started their next possession near midfield, with a little over five minutes remaining (and a win all but assured for us). On the first play their QB dropped back, planted his foot and fell to Earth...leaving the ball on the ground. The jerk suffered a non-contact knee explosion and didn't bother protecting the football. Michigan recovered. Two plays later, Michigan scored on a long touchdown. Final score: I can't remember, but the Wolverines won by 28 (despite outgaining EMU by less than 150 yards).

Minnesota (+14) vs. Cal -- tied with seven minutes remaining, the Gophers somehow managed to screw this up and lose by 14. Bettors occasionally come away relieved with a push. This was not one of those occasionallys.

Duke (+23.5) at Kansas -- I didn't watch a second of this game, but here's the facts: With a minute and change on the clock, the Devils were down 21 and covering. With 0.00000000000000 seconds left, they were down 28.

Kansas State (+12.5) at UCLA -- This game was tight from start to finish, except K-State kept settling for field goals. Midway through the 4th UCLA ripped off a long TD, and K-State, despite taking the ball deep into Bruin territory on their next two possessions, came away with no more points. Final: UCLA 23, Kansas State 9.

Dolphins (+3) vs. Colts -- Let' see...Controlled the entire game, dominated time of possession, Ted Ginn drops a game-winning TD, etc. Et Cetera. Final score: Colts 27, Dolphins 23.


That's six games, all with either (a.) moderately bad luck, or (b.) I feel like Shaquille O'Neal just had condom-free sex with me. I've been looking at pointspreads since I was nine, and gambling since I was twelve (not including NCAA tourney pools, which I'm pretty sure I invented), and I can tell you I've never seen such bad luck over such a short period of time.

And you know what's funny? Not including last night's South Carolina win, the Brian Vickers System has delivered a respectable win-loss record of 15-18-1.

So, our overall record isn't lousy, but our luck has been. Our account balance isn't pretty -- mostly because of the bad luck thing, but also because the public has beaten up Vegas this month -- but that is going to change. Oh yes, it will change. Trust me, you'd be an idiot to drop the Vickers System this early in the season.

The picks...

***NCAA $50***

Northwestern (Pick)
vs. Golden Gophers

Mississippi State (+12) vs. Louisiana State

Marshall (+2.5) at Memphis State

Words: Less than a field goal for a traveling Marshall team? Really?

Hokies (+3) vs. Canes

Words: I've gotta say, I'm pretty much like everyone else with this Jacory Harris character. He's one smooth dude in the pocket, and he's one of the few people alive with a strong arm and an effortless throwing motion. That said, everyone is stroking The U this week; I'm going the other way.

Iowa (+9.5) at Happy Valley

Words: Really? Shouldn't this be fourteen points? This spread just seems too low for me.

***NCAA $100***

Oregon (+5.5)
vs. Cal Golden Bears of California

Words: The media is stroking them Bears this year, ain't they?

South Florida (+14) at Florida State

Words: South Florida's QB Matt Grothe has been their entire offense for four years...and now he's out for his career. And now his team is playing in Talahassee, against the Noles, who just hung 50 on No. 9 BYU. Sweet!

***NCAA $150***

South Carolina (+4)
vs. Old Mississippi**********Last night

Boise/Bowling Green UNDER (50.5)

Words: The Vickers is also telling us to bet every dime on Bowling Green (+16.5), but we can't pull the trigger. Betting against Boise State -- especially when they're playing against a mid-major -- isn't the wisest of moves.

Ohio University Bobcats (+23.5) at Knoxville, Tennessee

Words: Okay.

Kentucky University (+21.5) vs. Florida

Words: I can't imagine there's even one soul on this planet who's brave enough to wager on Kentucky this week. Not one.

Stanford (-8.5) vs. Washington

Words: Didn't Washington hang tough with LSU and beat USC? Isn't Stanford Stanford? What the hell?


***NFL $100***

Seattle Seneca Wallaces (+2)
vs. Bears

Bills (+6) vs. Saints

Bengals (+4) vs. Steelers of Pittsburgh

Cards (-2.5) vs. Peyton Manning

Words: Seriously, what non-Cards fan is betting against the Colts here?

***NFL $150***

***UPDATE***Veto Power***We simply can't bet on Cleveland here***

Browns (+13.5)
at BALTIMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Words: Not even the power of the Vickers can ease my mind with this expected trouncing.

Byron Leftwich never (wink, wink) overthrows his receivers (+6.5) vs. Giants of New York City


Last Week: 9-10-1; -$465
Overall: 15-18-1; $-795 (not including last night's $150 winner)

Good luck, my people (even though you won't need it)!

-Brad Spieser (