Don't Fade The MidMajors

With handicapping legend Tony Salinas


Normally I encourage my customers and readers to bet against all the big name teams who are in 'must win' situations. That really comes into play at this stage of the college football season because the BCS rankings are posted every week. The public wants to jump all over teams like Oklahoma or Oregon (just like they did Ohio State and Alabama before they got upset) because those teams 'need' to win to maintain their positions.

Well, I've learned the hard way in recent seasons that you have to be very careful betting against the mid major powers. Those squads from the WAC (like Boise State) or the Mountain West (like TCU) who not only have to win, but have to win BIG to get any respect with the polls and computers.

I do think you'll GET THE BEST OF IT by fading the major conference powers from this point forward. Maybe one of the top contenders will stay hot and keep covering spread with a target on their backs against motivated opponents (not likely, but it can happen). With Boise State and TCU (and probably Utah too right now), it's best to leave the games alone. Passing a game is like betting the favorite for me. I will personally be very careful in games involving Boise State, TCU, and Utah.

Here's why:

*First, I already mentioned that they have to win BIG.

*Second, many of their opponents in those lesser leagues just don't have what it takes to compete at a high level. Many SEC teams are capable of giving the best SEC team a thrill during the regular season. We've seen that time and time again with Alabama and Florida the past two seasons. Think of how many DIFFERENT teams from the SEC either upset one of those two, or took them right down to the final seconds. Have we seen that with Boise State in the WAC? Not even close. The league is so bad that fired up opponents are still going to get squashed.

*The backups for these bad teams are REALLY bad, which allows Boise State or TCU to pile on the points in the fourth quarter if needed. If Boise State wants to score 50 points in a win, nobody's going to stop them. Bad opponents may put in backups once the game is out of reach. Boise State has a goal in mind, and the starters will stay in to reach that goal.

*I firmly believe that mid major coaches are aware of the Las Vegas spreads, and know that they have to try and cover those numbers to 'beat expectations.' If you're favored by 28, and you only win by 21...that might as well be a loss in terms of how pollsters vote, and how computers adjust for strength of schedule. Coaches aren't trying to cover to win money for their alumni (though, that's always a nice side benefit). Coaches know they have to IMPRESS people, and winning by bigger than expectations does just that.

This is a potent combination when it comes to handicapping a game. Dogs typically have the edge because favorites are overrated, favorites can't play their best game every week, favorites go flat while dogs get sky high, and favorites will run clock with a fourth quarter lead to protect their won-lost record. This set-up will still make us money in most games...particularly with the most talented, fresh, or motivated underdogs. Whenever Boise State, TCU, or Utah take the field, it's a much dicier proposition.

Now, there may be a couple of exceptions in the Mountain West, and there's a chance for me to monitor that week.

*Air Force is playing very well this year. You'll recall they lost a close game to Oklahoma, who now sits atop the BCS rankings. I may look at Air Force at value prices vs. TCU and Utah. Air Force visits TCU this weekend.

*San Diego State has really come a long way in a short time. I'm impressed with their current head coach and the fight in their players. State should have upset Missouri on the road. And, that result looks much better now than it did at the time. I'll think about SDSU at value underdog prices vs. Utah and TCU.

The rest of the Mountain West consists of Colorado State (who plays Utah this week), Wyoming, New Mexico, and disappointing BYU. Those last four haven't inspired me to make investments from this point forward. Maybe one or two of them will change my mind.

So, this week...and in coming weeks...I'm going to be dog heavy in college football, isolating the very best situations on the board knowing that the key fundamentals and intangibles will come through for me like always. But, it will take a very special situation for me to fade one of the mid-major powers. I'll let you know on these pages down the road if I decide to change that strategy.

We've got a great week of college action on tap. Oregon is #1 in the regular polls, and hosts dangerous but inconsistent UCLA Thursday Night. Oklahoma is #1 in the BCS. They visit Missouri this week in what could be a preview of the Big 12 Championship now that Nebraska has lost to Texas. LSU and Auburn are both highly ranked in the BCS. They play each other. You can always purchase the same exact plays I'm betting the biggest myself here at the website with your credit card. Game day releases go up a few hours before kickoff. Seasonal rates for the colleges and pro's are still available.

And, don't forget about the baseball playoffs! Major releases can be purchased on game day. Or, the full Fall Classic package can be added to football for a nominal rate.

TONY SALINAS has been doing this a long time. He was a HIGH ROLLER before everyone started using the term. Sign up NOW so you can start GETTING THE BEST OF IT with a VEGAS LEGEND!

'GETTING THE BEST OF IT' is an ongoing series presented by and legendary high roller TONY SALINAS. For more information on TONY'S handicapping packages, call 1-888-536-8880.


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