It's always midnight somewhere...
@nowthatsThunderBball @L0rv If he missed the first one, yes. If he made it, no.
1 day, 9 hours ago on Thursday Bolts – 8.28.14
@Durants Shimmy I'm sure it had nothing to do with the 4 day weekend he was already enjoying.
@L0rv @Lambaaaaaa 35, you say? Nick for President!
2 days, 5 hours ago on Thursday Bolts – 8.28.14
@Butterfingers Dion: "I need my own team to thrive"
3 days, 3 hours ago on Wednesday Bolts – 8.27.14
@Legendary_Dork @sammasaaron I just like irony.
@Sustainable Parameters @sammasaaron @FallenOSIRIS @King of Carrot Flowers the third Yeah, I'm guessing KD is their attempt to get into the world market.
@Jabb0310 @sammasaaron @ThabeetsGoldSpot @Marko (Lacoste baby) Thabo's wife.
I'm a horrible person for this, but I really hope Love and Irving have season ending injuries in preseason and LeBron ends up playing on the exact same type of team he left Cleveland to get away from.
@ThabeetsGoldSpot @Marko (Lacoste baby) Mitch clearly grows organic at home.
@Marko (Lacoste baby) There's a reason for that.
@FallenOSIRIS @King of Carrot Flowers the third Doesn't Nike have much better international recognition?
Offseason is the worst.
@Webster81 @sammasaaron Weird. I hope it's in Quantum Mechanics.
3 days, 4 hours ago on Wednesday Bolts – 8.27.14
@gokudabest Why do you want Perry to break his leg?
Now KD has to protect Under Armour's house.
@MarshallBD I'd say it's pretty straightforward. Enough room for an exception to sign a guy and a trade exception in case someone becomes available via trade.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron You know nothing.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron No. And I don't believe you. Coldhands is clearly Benjen.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R6_Chr2vro
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron Still really early in Book 5.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron That's what headphones are for!
3 days, 5 hours ago on Wednesday Bolts – 8.27.14
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron You're making it very difficult for me to mentor you.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third Get drunk.
Wait, aren't you still working on Book 5? Seems like the perfect time.
@Durants Shimmy Currently, he's getting the same minutes as KD and Russ.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron @Perk-Punt I don't have to blame Garrett to think he's a bad coach. The two aren't mutually exclusive.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @Perk-Punt @sammasaaron 'Glorified Coordinator' is spot on. Also means bad coach. The reason he has that job is because he's a rubber stamp for Jerry and any coach worth his salt wouldn't agree to that.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron There's no argument to say Garret is not a bad coach. Yeah, maybe Jerry ruined him and maybe that's out of his control, but facts is facts.
I just don't see him going anywhere else and having drastically different success.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @KetelOne Jerry hasn't helped, but Garret has made strange coordinator decisions in addition to not being a good game manager.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron Because he doesn't coach well.
@KetelOne @King of Carrot Flowers the third This is why I was never worried about Sean Payton bolting for the Cowboys.
3 days, 6 hours ago on Wednesday Bolts – 8.27.14
@King of Carrot Flowers the third Yes.
@Butterfingers Yeah, I studied Mayans a bunch in elementary school. Including this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xipe_Totec
(We actually colored that picture in the top right in like 4th grade)
This is my solution to sports that are too dangerous:
@f5alcon @King of Carrot Flowers the third Wait, we can get this to actually happen. Also, I doubt it.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third Not at being tall.
@f5alcon @Butterfingers Yeah, but the first hard foul would break MJ's hip.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @nowthatsThunderBball @Tvaddic Should've just beat his wife instead. Only two games for that.
@Perk has a lot of value @Perk-Punt If he's Mr. Sonic, OKC is perfect for him. Those things are everywhere.
3 days, 10 hours ago on Wednesday Bolts – 8.27.14
@FallenOSIRIS I got 50%. Which is better than the 76ers win % this year.
4 days, 7 hours ago on Tuesday Bolts – 8.26.14
@Bryson @FallenOSIRIS @MarshallBD Yep. No frenetic trapping defense. I'll take us in a shootout.
@MarshallBD Barring an epic collapse, Love will make the playoffs for the first time in his career and should make it to the ECF at least. Not nearly the injury concerns and general age like that Lakers team.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third
Steele: Michigan Wolverines
When my magazine went to press in May, my forecast for the Wolverines in 2014 was lukewarm, as I had them listed as underdogs in four tough road games (Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State). However, with recent news of Northwestern losing Mark as a transfer and Jones to injury, Notre Dame suspending four players and Ohio State losing Miller for the season, suddenly three of those four road games don't look as tough. The Wolverines return 15 starters and the defense features my No. 1 set of linebackers and defensive backs in the Big Ten. While I can't go against what I projected in my magazine, it now would not surprise me to see the Wolverines win as many as 10 games this year as they try to win their first Big Ten championship since 2004.
Harris: Akron Zips
Terry Bowden's third Akron team is the best one the Zips have fielded since their lone conference championship team in 2005. A few highly touted transfers have boosted a talent level that was already rising, especially in a defensive front seven that looks like the MAC's best. Camp injuries have hampered the development of the offensive line, but the Zips have plenty of weapons at the skill positions. Akron returns 95 percent of last year's yards from scrimmage, and Chuck Amato's defense is the better unit right now. Winning four of five down the stretch last year has given this program some momentum, and now the Zips have a seasoned squad that has a good chance to come out better than 1-3 against a September nonconference slate of Howard, Penn State, Marshall and Pitt.
Steele: Missouri Tigers
The Tigers had a magical 2013 season that featured an SEC East Championship, a Cotton Bowl victory and just their third AP top 5 finish in school history. This year, however, head coach Gary Pinkel will have his work cut out for him, as they return just eight starters and rank No. 122 in my experience ratings. The offense loses quarterback James Franklin, a 1,000-yard rusher, top three receivers and six of their top nine tacklers on defense. While they rank No. 24 in the preseason AP poll, I think that is still too high, as I have them No. 41. They figure to be an underdog in as many as five games, and I have four other games where they are a touchdown-or-less favorite, including a tricky road trip to Toledo in Week 2.
Harris: Oregon Ducks
The common narrative is that Chip Kelly handed Mark Helfrich the keys to a Ferrari, and all he had to do was not wreck it. When it comes to football, prevailing wisdom says that the more powerful the program an incoming coach is asked to steer, the better the situation. But really high performance vehicles can be harder to drive than the family sedan. The bottom line is that this staff is over its head in a tough conference that is loaded with accomplished coaches leading schools that have recently upgraded their commitment to winning football. The circumstances in which Helfrich has landed aren't as conducive to success as they appear, and this is a sliding program that you should sell until you can't find any more buyers. We are very confident that this team is headed for its first losing ATS campaign since 2002, and our best guess is an eight- or nine-win season capped with a bowl loss and a finish outside the final polls.
Note: Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv
Steele: If there were odds listed for "the field," I think that might be the best value bet considering each of the past four Heisman winners have come out of nowhere to win the trophy, including two redshirt freshmen. But since there aren't, here are the three best specific player values:
Bryce Petty, Baylor Bears (12-1)
Last year, the Heisman voters snubbed Petty. Despite leading Baylor to a school-record 11 wins while piling up 4,200 pass yards, a 32-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio and 14 rushing touchdowns, he did not get an invite to New York. This year, look for them to have a little more sympathy for a QB that leads my No. 1-ranked offense in the country, playing for a team that figures to be in the national title hunt all year. It helps that a Baylor quarterback broke through and won the Heisman just three years ago, and Petty could bring home Baylor's second-ever Heisman Trophy winner.
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin Badgers (12-1)
The Badgers have a great tradition at the running back position, and after averaging 10 yards per carry in 2012, Gordon averaged "only" 7.8 yards per carry a year ago while compiling 1,609 total yards. He compiled those impressive stats while sharing the load with James White, who departed to the NFL. With more carries this year, Gordon could come close to the 2,000-yard mark while playing for a Badgers team that will be in the College Football Playoff hunt.
Todd Gurley, Georgia Bulldogs (14-1)
Last season, Gurley missed three games with injury, but still accounted for 1,430 total yards and 16 touchdowns. With quarterback Aaron Murray gone this year, look for the Bulldogs to rely more on the ground game. Gurley should top even his sensational freshman season, when he had 1,385 rush yards. It also helps that he will be playing on a Georgia team that is my pick to win the SEC East.
Harris: I only see one really strong value for Heisman Trophy wagers:
When Troy Davis ran for 2,010 yards in 1995 for a 3-8 Iowa State team, he became the fifth back ever to crack the 2,000-yard barrier, and the first not to win the Heisman Trophy. Since then, there have been 11 more 2,000-yard rushers -- including Davis again in 1996 -- and just one of those (Texas' Ricky Williams in 1998) landed the Heisman.
Gordon is an NFL-ready talent masquerading as a college junior, a mature leader who prepares, practices and takes care of his body like a seasoned pro. He'll top last year's 1,600-yard output rushing behind one of the nation's top lines, and a 2,000-yard campaign could put him in strong Heisman contention, especially if he is able to maintain anything near his lofty 7.8 yards per carry from a season ago. Shop around for the best price here, as I've seen it as high as 20-1 at some offshore sites.
Steele: I've got three particular games circled on the calendar:
Oct. 9: UCF Knights (+4) versus BYU Cougars
Since opening up Bright House Stadium in 2007, the Knights are 34-11 SU and a very profitable 27-16-1 against the spread (ATS). This will mark only the second time in the past five years that they will be a home underdog, and last year, they nearly upset South Carolina in that role. BYU isn't used to the heat and humidity of the South, and I think the Knights should actually be the favorites in this one.
Nov. 29: NC State Wolfpack (+17) at North Carolina Tar Heels
The Wolfpack have won five of the past seven meetings between the two, and despite losing the two most recent matchups, both games were undecided until late in the fourth quarter. While the Tar Heels are my pick to win the ACC Coastal this year, the Wolfpack are much improved and return 14 starters. Anything can happen in big rivalry games at the end of the year, and it is notable that the Tar Heels haven't beaten the Wolfpack by more than two touchdowns since 1996.
Nov. 29: Oregon State Beavers (+15) versus Oregon Ducks
Maybe the experts in Vegas didn't watch last year's game between these two, as the Ducks needed a last-second touchdown and two-point conversion to win by a single point at home over the Beavers. The Ducks now have to travel to their in-state rival, where the visitor has won just four of the past 17 games in the series, and will be laying two-plus touchdowns to a Oregon State team that returns 14 starters and will be smarting after last year's near upset.
Harris: Here are four values that stick out to me:
Sept. 6: Michigan State Spartans (+14) at Oregon Ducks
Facing Oregon for the first time is a tough adjustment, but the wrong side is favored here, and we expect the Spartans to dominate the second half once they get their bearings. This is Michigan State's national coming out party, and what most folks will belatedly point to as the beginning of the end (just for a while) of the Ducks as a relevant power.
Sept. 20: Clemson Tigers (+19.5) atFlorida State Seminoles
Florida State fields another powerful team, but last year's edition enjoyed once-in-a-lifetime intangibles that won't be replicated, and the Seminoles will have a tougher time than they did during last year's 11-3 ATS campaign. At Clemson, the Tajh Boyd-Sammy Watkinsera is over, the offensive line is suspect and the running back depth just took a hit with the loss of Zac Brooks. Still, the most important piece of the Tigers offense -- coordinator Chad Morris -- returns, and that's enough to project a reasonably competent attack to accompany the best defense of the Dabo Swinney era. Led by defensive end Vic Beasley and his 23 total tackles for loss, the defense shapes up as one of the nation's best, and makes Clemson very appealing in any rare double-digit underdog spots.
Nov. 15: South Carolina Gamecocks (-1) at Florida Gators
South Carolina travels to Florida in mid-November, at which time we expect only the visitor to be in contention for conference honors. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is a fine addition, but it will take more than that upgrade and better injury luck to turn the Gators into a contender. We continue to caution that the whole will consistently fail to live up to the sum of its parts, and that even a division title is out of the current regime's reach.
Nov. 29: Tennessee Volunteers (-2) at Vanderbilt Commodores
Tennessee will be a far better team than Vanderbilt in 2014, and we expect a much higher price on this matchup when it rolls around. The Vols aren't quite ready to contend for an SEC crown, but they are past the point of competitively priced games with a rival that's beaten them just 12 percent of the time since Herbert Hoover took office.
Steele: Three bets stick out to me in particular:
UTSA Roadrunners (8-1) to win C-USA: While Marshall (1-6) is my favorite to win C-USA, the Roadrunners are my pick to win the West division. Head coach Larry Coker has done an outstanding job here, as the Roadrunners have gone 15-9 in their first two years of FBS play and finished last year with five straight conference wins. This year, they are by far the most experienced in college football with 20 returning starters (19 seniors) and they could lean on that experience in a conference championship game.
Akron Zips (25-1) to win the MAC:The 25-1 long odds are reminiscent of a team picked to finish fourth or fifth in their own division, not second, as I've forecast for the Zips this year. They finished last year with three straight wins, and return 14 starters along with a couple of transfers from Power Five schools. They also avoid Northern Illinois and Toledo out of the MAC West, and host East favorite Bowling Green.
Arizona Wildcats (30-1) to win the Pac-12: Another long shot here, but a team that is perfectly capable of pulling a surprise in the Pac-12 (ask Oregon last year). While they do lose their quarterback and running back, head coach Rich Rodriguez's offense always produces at those positions, and they have my No. 4 set of receivers in the entire country. They should easily start off the season 4-0, which will give them confidence heading into conference play.
Harris: Among my top conference value picks, I also have a team to win the MAC, but not Akron.
Ball State Cardinals (15-1) to win the MAC: We've been sounding this bell for the past three years, and at this price there's no reason to get off the Ball State bandwagon, even though the Cardinals are retooling their coaching staff and replacing key leaders on both sides of the ball, including all-time passing leader Keith Wenning. We'll continue to preach that Pete Lembo is, at 44, already one of the game's top coaches. With defending MAC champ Bowling Green bringing in a new staff with new schemes and four-time defending West Division overlord Northern Illinois facing uncertainty at quarterback for the first time in five years, the league is sufficiently wide open to make Ball State attractive at a price like this.
South Alabama Jaguars (9-2 at 5Dimes) to win Sun Belt: In just their third year in the FBS, the upstart Jaguars find themselves second in the Sun Belt betting order behind odds-on chalk Louisiana. The respect is not unfounded. The Jags have a capable staff led by head coach Joey Jones, outstanding team chemistry, the Sun Belt's best offensive line and excellent team speed in the receiving corps and secondary. We're bearish on the favored Cajuns this year, and prefer the Jaguars to win the crown, even at a short price.
Steele: Three jump out to me:
Oklahoma Sooners over 10.5 wins (-120): OU has 14 returning starters, and will field my No. 12-ranked offense, No. 8 defense and No. 9 special teams. The Sooners also have the path of least resistance among the major contenders. They're 57-4 straight-up (SU) at home the past decade, and in their five true road games this season, they take on just one team (Texas Tech) that had a winning record last year. Vegas currently has them listed as at least a six-point favorite in each of their 12 games, and the 10.5 total even allows for a slip-up, giving this number even more value.
UCLA Bruins over 9.5 wins (-125): How can a team that is currently favored in 11 of its 12 games not have a win total of at least 10.5? I actually have the Bruins favored in all 12 of their games (exception being three-point dogs against Oregon). They are the most experienced team in the Pac-12, with 17 returning starters, including quarterback Brett Hundley, and get each of the other top contenders in the Pac-12 at home (Oregon, USC and Stanford). Five of my nine sets of power ratings call for a perfect 12-0 season.
Northwestern Wildcats over 7.5 wins (+120): Last year, the Wildcats were much better than their 5-7 record indicated, as they lost five games in the final minutes of regulation or overtime. While they have recently suffered two key losses in running back Venric Mark and wide receiver Christian Jones, keep in mind that Mark missed most of last season due to injury, and their wide receiver unit is one of the deepest on the team. I have the Wildcats listed as clear underdogs in only two games (at Iowa and at Notre Dame), with the Penn State and Wisconsin games listed as toss-ups. They could lose all four of those games and still cash to the over.
Harris: There are three win totals that I like:
Oregon Ducks under 10.5 wins (+120): Marcus Mariota's return is the big positive, but the losses are even weightier. Until the injured Bralon Addisonreturns, the Ducks are missing their top four pass-catchers from a year ago, along with left tackle Tyler Johnstone. They are also without longtime defensive boss Nick Aliotti and six of his 2013 starters. The offense is hurting for leaders to assist Mariota, and the roster features a whopping 40 newcomers overall. Most critically, the top three coaches have a combined two years' experience in their positions.
BYU Cougars over 9.5 wins (EVEN): The front seven must be retooled, but the secondary is outstanding and the offense has the makings of a 40 points-per-game outfit. The Cougars will be favored in every game save a Week 2 trip to rebuilding Texas. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has won 10 games more often than not in his first nine years at the helm, and this year's schedule makes an undefeated season a very real possibility.
Nevada Wolf Pack under 6 wins (-110): A rugged nonconference schedule that features probable losses to BYU and two Pac-12 squads should leave the Pack needing a 5-3 record in the Mountain West just to push this prop for their backers. While this team should be improved over Brian Polian's first edition, a winning league record might be too much to ask. The defense allowed a ghastly 7.1 yards per play last year, and the offense depends too heavily on star quarterback Cody Fajardo. We're not buying this coaching staff, and expect the Pack to fall just short of a winning season even if the oft-injured Fajardo makes it through the year.
@King of Carrot Flowers the third @sammasaaron With the 2014 college football season kicking off Thursday night, fans and sportsbooks are buzzing with excitement about the season. Beyond playoff favorites such as Florida State, where do the best value bets lie?
Two ESPN Insider betting experts, Phil Steele and Will Harris, are here to help. Below is our 2014 college football betting guide, covering the best values among teams to win the inaugural College Football Playoff, season win totals, conference titles, Games of the Year, overvalued and undervalued teams, and Heisman Trophy contenders.
If you're looking to wager on college football this season, this is the primer you need to read.
Note: Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hotel unless otherwise noted.
Phil Steele: The best bet to win the first College Football Playoff is the Baylor Bears (25-to-1 odds). While the Florida State Seminoles are my official pick to win the national championship over Alabama this year, those two teams are the clear favorites in Las Vegas, and do not give you solid value.
The Bears, however, do give you value. They are currently favored in 11 of their 12 games, with the exception being a road trip to Oklahoma, a team they beat 41-12 last season. They have my No. 1-ranked offense in all of college football thanks to quarterback Bryce Petty and my No. 1 set of receivers. Head coach Art Briles has stated that this is the best defensive line in his tenure, and he has overachieved my preseason expectations in each of the past four years (this year I rank them No. 8).
Other teams worth considering:
Georgia Bulldogs (18-1): Last year, the Seminoles were my No. 1 surprise team and delivered a national championship. This year's No. 1 surprise team is Georgia, which figures to be favored in 11 of its 12 games, with the exception being a trip to South Carolina.
Wisconsin Badgers (35-1): The Big Ten is now wide open with Ohio State'sBraxton Miller out. With the exception of the opener against an inexperienced LSU team, the Badgers should be favored in their next 11 games.
Will Harris: To find anything that appeals in what is always a heavily juiced market, we look beyond the favorites to a pair of programs that have been gradually building toward championship potential with great coaching, staff continuity, steadily improving recruiting and recent postseason success:
Michigan State Spartans (25-1): It took Mark Dantonio seven seasons to capture a Big Ten title and a trip to Pasadena, though Sparty would have been crowned the 2010 champion had the Big Ten employed the tiebreaker system long used by nearly every other league in the nation. This program has been getting stronger with time, and heading into 2014, Dantonio fields his best team yet. The Spartans lose a pair of starters from each defensive position group, but Dantonio and coordinator Pat Narduzzi have gradually built the roster on that side of the ball to the point that it's now simply reloading.
South Carolina Gamecocks (30-1): Steve Spurrier's 10th Gamecocks team may lack the individual star power of last year's squad, but this remains a deep, balanced team with plenty of experience. The skill positions stack up well versus the rest of the league, and will operate with what might be the best offensive line in school history. All of the specialists return, and while the defense loses three stars off the line and a pair of ace corners, there's plenty of talent left on campus at those positions.
4 days, 8 hours ago on Tuesday Bolts – 8.26.14
@King of Carrot Flowers the third Yeah, what do you need?
@epicurean @King of Carrot Flowers the third The correct answer is 'unaki'