We had the dreaded "ohfer" last week -- going 0-for-3 with our picks, lowering our preseason record to 1-3. At least Uncle Joe got picked as the vice-presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket (just kidding)! This week, we're going to look at the betting lines on the college football victory totals, and get you ready for the regular season.
Here are the anticipated victory totals for some of the top college teams, posted by the
Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
in Las Vegas. The bettor's job is to guess whether the team will win more or fewer games.
Although the normal college season is 11 games, a number of teams are playing an extra game, including Florida State, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Virginia Tech and Penn State. Virginia Tech has only three returning starters on defense and will be overrated all season because the public is infatuated with its quarterback,
. I have bet on the under and will lose if the team goes undefeated or loses only once.
My belief is that, with a rebuilt defense, the Hokies will struggle on the road against Syracuse (in a major revenge game for Syracuse) and the University of Miami. If Vick is injured during the season, my bet will almost surely be a winning one. I also have placed a wager on the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game on Aug. 27 to go over the posted total of 54 1/2 points. Virginia Tech should score plenty of points with its potent offense and, as noted above, the defense will have to be rebuilt this year. Thus, I look for a high-scoring game.
has used the slogan, "Give me a fish and you feed me for one day, teach me how to fish and you feed me for the rest of my life." This column, like those of
Gary B. Smith
, attempts to teach you how to handicap and obtain useful information so that you no longer make uninformed picks.
The following sites are extremely helpful in obtaining information. All are free. Both
www.newspapers.com provide links to newspapers from around the country. During football season, reading the local newspapers of the schools or professional teams you are thinking about wagering on gives you a huge edge over the oddsmaker. It provides an opportunity to obtain information that is not available at the time the betting line on the game is established and, often, before the oddsmaker can react to a key injury. Another site that provides real-time injury information as well as reports from around the country is
www.kffl.com, a fantasy football Web site. Of course, the old standby of
www.espn.go.com provides loads of useful sports information.
For wagering information,
donbest.com are most helpful. The
site offers a free three-month subscription to its Island Express service, which allows you to access real-time line movements at a variety of offshore sports books. The
site provides extensive factual information concerning each week's games and provides 15-minute delayed odds on the lines at a number of Las Vegas sports books.
This Week's Picks
New York Giants (plus 6) over Jacksonville Jaguars (Friday Night on CBS at 8 p.m. EDT)
Underdogs receiving three points or more are 8-1-1 against the spread this preseason. The only underdog in this range failing to cover was the Raiders last week.
This week, the Giants travel to Jacksonville. Last week, Jacksonville defeated Carolina, 34-14. Carolina, however, held 18 players out of the game, including nine starters. As was the case last week, Jacksonville's first-string offensive line has been decimated by injuries and that assures that quarterback
playing time will be extremely limited. The Giants lost to the Chicago Bears, 20-8, despite the fact that New York had a 2-1 advantage on offense. Our main worry is that Jacksonville, under Coach
, is 7-1 against the spread in the last four years at home in preseason games. We expect a competitive effort from the Giants in front of a national television audience, and will take the six points.
Tennessee Titans (minus 1 1/2) over St. Louis Rams (Monday night)
In this exhibition rematch of the Super Bowl, the key question is which team has the greater motivation. This question was answered for me on Thursday morning when
newspaper reported that Titans quarterback
is expected to play on Monday despite a shoulder injury. The Rams have nothing to prove, and quarterback
is expected to play less than one quarter. We'll lay the small price on the Titans, who will be playing at home before an expected sellout crowd.
Barry Lieberman was a litigator with the United States Department of Justice for nine years and is currently the general counsel for a company that operates four hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. He has been an amateur gambler for more than 20 years and successfully concluded last football season by winning on 55% of his college and pro selections posted on TheStreet.com. He welcomes your feedback at