Vegas Sports Masters Blog
Back to Blog Home…

Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Sometimes I wish I could lie to myself a bit and take a quick trip into the land of Pollyanna where I could make perfume of horse manure but I can't do it. What is is, and there is no escaping the fact I had a bad weekend in both college and NFL football. Thankfully, it was one of the few I have had this season and I am confident I will bounce right back into the world of winning and making money.

In a world where the score is kept with money, the facts, the reality and the simple results speak the truth. No lies or excuses allowed. The worlds of "if only", "shudda, cudda, wudda" and the biggest scapegoat of them all, the "bad beat", are hollow and meaningless thoughts and words.

The bottom line - you win, or you lose, you pay or you collect and I lost and paid.

A Pollyanna attitude is generally used in a negative connotation to indicate someone who only sees positive and absolutely refuses to acknowledge the negative. Pollyanna people are not only positive but they are so positive that they have lost trip on reality.

That is not me, now or ever. Reality rules my world of handicapping and the only thing that counts is winning.  It was a bad weekend, but that is history. The same handicapping formula that got us this far with great success is still in place and working.

It's a new day and that means many opportunities to win again.

Alabama 5-7 Favorite To Win BCS Championship

The college conference playoffs begin Friday night with Northern Illinois (11-1) meeting Kent State (11-1) for the Mid-America Conference championship with Stanford (10-2) hosting UCLA (9-3) in the PAC-12 title game.  On Saturday four more such contests, highlighted by the Southeastern Conference championship game between Alabama (11-1) and Georgia (11-1) from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Jay Kornegay, the bookmaker at the Las Vegas Hotel, has made Alabama the odds-on 5-7 favorite to move on and beat Notre Dame (12-0) in the BCS national championship game from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida, Monday night, January 7. Notre Dame has already qualified for the game and is the second choice at 3-1 to win it all.

The formula used to determine the two teams that will meet for the championship have ranked Notre Dame first, Alabama second and Georgia third and that means the winner of the SEC matchup will move on to the big game. Georgia is listed at 4-1.

The fact an SEC team will be in the title game means the conference will be going for its seventh straight national championship. Alabama is the defending champion and winner of two of the last three title games.

Can Notre Dame Beat A Top SEC Team?

There is a lot of conversation among bettors in Las Vegas as to whether unbeaten Notre Dame is up to the task of handling the two once-beaten SEC teams? My general answer is that at this level of play any team who plays in the title game can win it. While Alabama suffered its single loss, at home in Tuscaloosa, to Texas A&M and Georgia lost at South Carolina, 35-7, on what obviously was an "off" day, Notre Dame remained spotless after winning signature games against the likes of Michigan, 13-6, Stanford, 20-13, at Oklahoma, 30-13, and at Southern California, 22-13.

While Alabama would be about a touchdown favorite over Notre Dame and Georgia somewhere between -3 and -4.5, don't think for a minute the Fighting Irish can't win it all. They are an old-fashioned hard-nosed team that plays with great discipline on offense and with a killer instinct on defense. That is a hard combination for any team to handle.

In Basketball Anything Can Happen

There is no doubt in my mind Indiana (6-0), which has won its games by an average of 22.4 points, deserves its number one ranking and that Duke (6-0), with signature wins over Louisville, VCU, Minnesota and Kentucky, is a solid second and in the end may be the best team in the country.

After that, it's a shootout, as 11th-ranked UCLA showed last night in a stunning 70-68 home loss to Cal Poly-SLO, a team that went into the game 1-2, with a win over Northern Colorado, 64-53, and losses to Fresno State, 76-67, and TCU, 53-46, on its record. It was UCLA's second loss in six games - the first defeat coming to Georgetown, 78-70, on a neutral floor.

What made the Bruins' loss one for the books is the simple facts they were a 19-point favorite at Pauley Pavilion and were up 18 midway through the second half, 51-33, and then just came unglued and they melted under a barrage of 3s.

With the loss to Georgetown as a 6 ½-point favorite, and last nights' debacle at -19, one has to conclude UCLA is not what the media says it is. For further proof of that, throw in a one-point, 80-79, home win over UC-Irvine, a team that has beaten only Liberty, Pacifica College and Nevada this season, and things come even more into focus.

UCLA is currently not as advertised and is to me a no-play on or against team until further notice. With all the betting opportunities out there, there simply is no reason to risk any money on such a talented but quite unpredictable team.

USC Trojans Biggest Bust Of Season

Southern California's failures on the football field this season will earn them an unwanted page in the history of college football, being the first team since Mississippi in 1964 to begin the season and the number-one ranked team in the county, and finished not ranked in the Top 25.

Ole Miss was the choice in 1964 and finished 5-5-1. USC was the choice this season and finished 7-5, including losses in four of its last five games. Seldom has any team, with the possible exception of Texas, accomplished so little with so much.

As much a failure as was USC, Southern Miss and its first-year coach (if you still want to give him that title) Ellis Johnson were close on the Trojans' tail for this dishonor. Johnson, a former assistant at South Carolina and other major colleges, got his first head coaching job at Southern Miss and took a team that went 12-2 last year and finished 0-12. That, my friends is something almost impossible to pull off but Johnson did it and made it look easy.

Look for some wealthy Southern Miss alum to step out of the shadows and put up the money to get rid of this guy. Results tell the truth, and it is obvious Johnson did not have a clue. It is one thing to know a little bit about coaching and quite another to bring a team to the razor's edge necessary for winning. Mark Johnson absent and hope he has not caused irreparable damage to this traditionally powerful football program.

Join the discussion


Forgot password

Keep me logged in