Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman (10) looks for a receiver during a game against Arizona in Tucson, Ariz on Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

Mike Craven

Hookem.com staff

Column

Craven’s Corner: Fading the public with bets against the Longhorns, Ravens

Posted September 23rd, 2020

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Craven’s Corner cashed for the third straight week to start the football season. We’re up to 9-3 heading into the final week of September with a 3-1 record betting on college football and a 6-2 record on NFL games. It’s a strong and tempting week for sports bettors with the start of SEC games. I’d suggest staying away from matchups between teams playing their first games of the season. I’ll stick with Big 12 games and the NFL until more information is available on the SEC squads.

A quick refresher: Betting looks difficult, but it’s easy to grasp. A negative number denotes the favorite. The number after the negative represents how much money you’d need to bet to win $100. So, a -265 favorite would require a $265 bet to win you $100. Conversely, a positive number is the underdog. The number following the positive represents how much money you’d make on a $100 bet. So, a +265 bet means $100 earns you $265.

We’re using BetMGM.com as our general sports book. Remember that lines fluctuate based on bets and are subject to change before kickoff.

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Got it? OK, let’s make some money: 

 

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his first two games this season. (Jamie Rhodes/USA Today)

College

Louisville +2.5 over Pittsburgh: Home field advantage is worth around three points in the sports betting world. There isn’t much home field advantage in the 2020 settings, so I’m taking Louisville on the road to rebound from a rough outing against Miami last week. Pittsburgh is untested. An overreaction to Louisville’s defensive performance against a solid Hurricanes offense provides a decent bet for Louisville. 

I consider this an even matchup, so I’ll take the points considering a lack of crowd in Pittsburgh. Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham is the difference in the game. He’s thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his first two games. 

Texas Tech +18 over Texas: The Red Raiders limped to a victory over Houston Baptist in the opener. Texas dominated UTEP. It’s the perfect week to overreact to the Longhorns. I’ll fade the public and take Texas Tech to score enough points to stay within 18 points. The two most recent contests between the two teams in Lubbock were decided on the final play. Tom Herman’s program needs to face some adversity and Tech is dangerous enough offensively to make this interesting. 

Oklahoma State -7.5 over West Virginia: Oklahoma State would be a double-digit favorite if these two teams match up in the season opener. Instead, West Virginia is starting to build momentum among bettors after a 2-0 start. Conversely, Oklahoma State looked dreadful in a win over Tulsa and no one is sure whether the Cowboys will start Spencer Sanders or Shane Illingworth at quarterback. The Oklahoma State defense was quietly impressive in the win.

 

NFL

Titans -2.5 over Vikings: Minnesota looks awful offensively with quarterback Kirk Cousins struggling mightily through two games. Tennessee is a playoff contender off to a 2-0 start. This could be a trap game for the Titans, but the three points given to Minnesota for being the home team don’t do much for me in 2020. Give me an efficient performance by quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the typical stout defense from Tennessee in a beatdown of the Vikings. 

Seahawks -5.5 over Cowboys: The Cowboys could react to the epic comeback against Atlanta by going on a run, but my money is on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who’s playing at an MVP level through two games. Dallas’ defense doesn’t look like a unit capable of stopping Wilson’s momentum, and Seattle won’t fold late in a game like the Falcons did. It’ll be interesting to see if Dallas comes out enthused or flat after an emotional win.  

Packers +3 over Saints: Aaron Rodgers is back to elite status through two games of the young season, passing for 604 yards and six touchdowns. The 2-0 Packers travel to New Orleans for a Sunday night showdown. I expect a close game, so I’m taking the underdog. Green Bay’s running game, led by UTEP product Aaron Jones, is providing balance for the offense. The Saints are on a short week following a 10-point loss to the Raiders on Monday night. 

Chiefs +3.5 over Ravens: I’m sick of losing money betting against Patrick Mahomes’ greatness. My brain says take the Ravens at home in a game that Baltimore and quarterback Lamar Jackson will want more than Kansas City, but I end up cussing at myself every time I bet against Mahomes. This could be a preview of the AFC Championship matchup.

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