Wayne Root: USC and UCLA Both the Start Season Overrated
Las Vegas is basically a suburb of Los Angeles in terms of sports betting interest. While we do have residents from all over the country here. The city really buzzes when any of the Los Angeles teams are great. That's was true for the Lakers when Kobe Bryant was there. It was true when USC was an annual championship threat under Pete Carroll. The Dodgers are in a lull the past couple of weeks...but EVERYBODY got rich on them through the summer, and will be rooting hard come playoff time.
I watched both the USC and UCLA games with great interest this past weekend. There's a lot of hype about both teams entering the season, though they're not seen as equals.
*USC closed the 2016 season so well that many fans and pundits see them as a potential Final Four team in 2017. They arguably WERE that good late last year...then won the Rose Bowl over a very good Penn State team. Their quarterback started the new season as a frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. They began the season ranked #4 in the country by the AP.
*UCLA slumped to 4-8 last year because star quarterback Josh Rosen got hurt. This was definitely a make-or-break season for embattled head coach Jim Mora and Rosen...who entered the sport as "the next big thing," then suddenly may not have even been the best college quarterback in Los Angeles. But, there was optimism for a bounce-back season with Rosen healthy. Maybe they had a shot to get to 8-9 wins and a decent bowl on the way to bigger and better things down the road.
Now that each has played a game, I think it's safe to say that both teams were overrated.
USC (-28) only beat Western Michigan 49-31 (missed by 10 points)
UCLA (-6.5) only beat Texas A&M 45-44 (a TD market miss, should have been more)
USC was life and death with rebuilding Western Michigan as a huge favorite this past Saturday. They pulled away late to create a misleading final scoreboard. UCLA fell behind Texas A&M 44-10 in the second half before rallying for a miracle win. A miracle largely granted by horrible A&M coaching that failed to run clock with a big lead.
USC was 28 points away from the pointspread entering the fourth quarter. UCLA was 40 points away from the pointspread in the third quarter. Unbelievable.
Hey, FANTASTIC FINISHES from both LA teams! Thank goodness football games are four quarters instead of three. USC and UCLA combined to win their fourth quarters 56-10, which at least speaks well for depth and attitude. (What horrible pregame preparation though!)
Moving forward...both teams need to be tougher up front on defense. USC let Western Michigan rush for 263 yards and 5.5 yard-per-carry. That's a MAC team! Yes, maybe a very good MAC team. But, still...you're not going to beat Alabama or anybody who matters in the Final Four if you allow that kind of production on the ground to a MAC team. UCLA was obliterated up front by Texas A&M, and only rallied because the Aggies insisted on passing through the second half.
Obviously, the quarterbacks are still going to light up the scoreboard. Playing shootouts every week is just going to wear the players down, though. I think there's a good chance both teams will stay overrated because the public loves laying points with big-name quarterbacks. I'll be looking to fade both teams for value in the coming weeks, particularly against opponents who can run the ball and stay within striking distance. These teams will only dominate opponents with lousy rush attacks. I will have to think about betting Overs too...though the cat may already be out of that bag with this past weekend's games landing on 80 and 85.
I'm disappointed with my first week's betting results. At least A&M got the money for us plus the points Sunday night. Should have been an outright victory. I'm very enthusiastic about this week's coming card, both in college football and the pro's. When I return later this week, I'll talk about how to find SHOCKER upset plays in early season NFL action.
In the meantime, we're going to keep building bankroll with nightly baseball. Purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS. Don't forget that I've got great combination packages that feature both football and baseball from now through the World Series.
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