“Beat The Spread” with UT and BG footballWritten by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Am I smarter than the city of Las Vegas? Those slot machines in the airport never once tempted me, so I’d like to say “yes.” But then again, the one time I wagered a bet, it was on Kyle Busch to win a NASCAR race, and he finished dead last. So maybe the city and its sportsbooks have a leg up on me.
Betting on college sports seems rather tawdry, and fantasy college football is extremely nerdy. Yet combining the two pastimes could create a fun game for the whole family.
I’m terrible with names (Exhibit A: the name of this blog) so let’s call the game “Beat The Spread.” The premise is simple, and you can play along with your friends:
1. Pick your favorite team.
2. Predict who will win each game, and by how many points.
3. Find a set of popular sportsbooks (we’ll use the ones Yahoo! Sports shares with the world) and select the spread most bookies agree on
4. For every point you are off, give yourself one point. (The more points, the worse you’re doing.) So, if you say “Bowling Green by 50 points” (a popular pick) and they only win by three, you have 47 points. If you say “Toledo by three,” and they lose by three, you get six points. (Learning to subtract negative numbers in high school is finally being put to use!) Do the same arithmetic for the sportsbooks and their spread.
5. Keep track of your points throughout the season, as well as for the sportsbooks.
If you want to use teams that obviously aren’t on the books, such as high school or smaller universities, just play for bragging rights. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll track UT and BG games.
BGSU vs. Troy, Thursday 7 p.m.
“The Falcons have an experienced quarterback, a dangerous offense, and a very suspect defense.” You could cut and paste this season preview from any of the past seven years and you’d be accurate. It indeed applies to the 2009 team. You could say the same thing about Troy (neé Troy State) being the Sun Belt frontrunner. This may actually be a very fun game to watch for the casual onlooker. For Falcons fans, however, it may be so heart-wrenching, those with pacemakers are recommended not to tune in.
The Sportsbook Spread: BGSU by 7
My Spread: BGSU by 4
UT at Purdue, Saturday 12 noon
I don’t mean to dump on Tim Beckman and his new team — trust me, it happens subliminally — and I realize that basketball and football are completely different sports, but if UT hoops head coach Gene Cross had difficulty immersing the incumbent seniors into a new style of coaching, then Beckman might have some turbulence early on with a team peppered with upperclassmen. New Purdue coach Danny Hope at least had a year on staff with Joe Tiller before he resigned to acclimate himself with the system. An upset would be great for the MAC, but something tells me Purdue will pull away and never look back.
The Sportsbook Spread: Purdue by 10 1/2
My Spread: Purdue by 14
For those who want to play along in the comments, feel free and I’ll track your progress too. Tune in next week when football players make me look stupid and entire Rockets fanbase makes thinly veiled insults about my face.