Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports


LHD_PotW (155) MLB (77) NFL (75) NCAA (63) NBA (36) NFL Playoffs (31) NHL (26)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Preview

This week, we experience the ultimate single game in American Sports.  The Super Bowl.  There have been 48 to date, and each literally wrote history, from players to teams to coaches to dynasties. The 49th chapter features two evenly matched teams, here yours truly, J.R. Ewing, evaluates who I think will prevail.

I'm not even going into the disaster that has been my gambling record this postseason.  It went from decent, to Broncos implosion, to complete loss last week.  But note.  I nailed the Super Bowl last year, few were picking the Seahawks straight up over Manning.  But me.

February 1, 2015: 18:30 EST - Glendale, AZ
Seattle Seahawks (+1, +102) vs. New England Patriots (-1, -108) O/U 47.5

This was similar to last year, you look at the sleek AFC team that looks so good and unstoppable on offense, vs. a choppy Seahawks offense that looks borderline inept.  And a Seahawks defense that's salty with momentum vs. an AFC defense that's good enough, but doesn't strike fear into the opponent.  Here it is.  Defense. Wins. Championships.  Period.  The Patriots will suffer the same fate as the Broncos.

Reasons why New England might win.  The Seahawks secondary is dinged, two key players in Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman were hurt by the end of the last game.  Maybe this deflategate will give them reason to have the mentality "it's us against the world.".  Gronk.  Blount.  An opportunistic defense.  And Tom Brady, who if he wins this, I'll put in the pantheon of great QBs with Joe Montana and...that's about it (don't get me wrong, others are good, but for Super Bowls, there are no others, Aikman and Bradshaw won with a same set of weapons around, not quite like Montana/Brady who have won with different talent).

Reasons why the Seahawks WILL win.  That defense.  They were much better against Green Bay than the score, the offense defied them.  Marshawn Lynch is a big game and big play back.  They are a team of destiny, did you see last week?  Eight straight wins and 11-1 in their last 12 games.  A team that took a little time to gel, after the departure of Harvin and some strife.  And a team that is playing loose after they won last week (can you say "house money")? 

I think the pressure and distraction of deflategate plays in.  This isn't a set of Patriots that have won the Super Bowl before, the Seahawks have.  The Seahawks have a better running game and defense, that goes a long way in these games.  They are the team that everyone loves to hate.  And they thrive.

Final Prediction: Seahawks 31, Patriots 14 

So to recap, Seahawks ATS, S/U, and the under (defense reigns this game, no deflated ball for Brady to throw).

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/25/2015

It's not often and NBA scoring record of any sort is broken, but our Sportsman of the Week did it.  Klay Thompson of the dominant Golden State Warriors put on a display that the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, or LeBron James has never done.  That is score 37 points.  In a quarter.  The average NBA team scores less than 30 points per quarter.  But on Friday, Thompson was a perfect 13-13 from the field, including nine three pointers in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings.  Nine, that's one every 80 seconds.  In a quarter.  Thompson is a big reason the Warriors are 36-6 and over five games ahead of the next best team in the field.  And an amazing Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/18/2015

Extremely rare that we'd give a nod to the same player in a three week span, but rules are made for exception.  When you're as dominant as this guy, I give up.  Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott backed up his amazing Sugar Bowl performance with a jaw dropping effort in the first ever College Football Playoff Championship game to beat the Oregon Ducks.  The previous two weeks (Big 10 Championship Game and Sugar Bowl) "only" registering 20 carries (for 220 and 230 yards respectively), he needed 36 carries for 246 this week.  And four touchdowns.  Single-handedly outscoring the favored Oregon Ducks.  He was the star of the past few weeks, and now for two of three weeks, our Sportsman of the Week!

Editors note, Elliott joins elite company in repeat winners: Peyton Manning (3), LeBron James (2), Aaron Rodgers (2) and Kevin Durant (2) (through 160 weeks).

Friday, January 16, 2015

2014-15 NFL Conference Championship Playoff Preview

Things were looking okay last week.  Then Peyton happened.  After a 2.5% profit in week one, the market crashed as fast as Peyton Manning's future prospects.  Total losses -29%.  Key losses were Cowboys and Broncos S/U, and missing three out of four ATS.  So don't listen to me.  Unless the law of averages is back in my favor...proceed at your own risk!

Each week of the NFL Playoffs, I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side.

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site). 

January 18, 2014: 15:05 EST

Green Bay Packers (+7.5, +295) at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5, -325) O/U 46.5

Green Bay Packers (13-4)
Last nine games: 8-1
Road: 4-4 (avg score GB 21 vs. Opp 23)
Against Playoff teams: 4-2 (0-2 on road)
Key Injuries: Aaron Rodgers (calf, probable). 

Seattle Seahawks (13-4)
Last seven games: 7-0
Home: 8-1 (avg score Sea 27 vs. Opp 15)
Against Playoff teams: 6-1 (4-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

The Packers are going to be out of gas this week.  The Seahawks beat them by 20 in the season opener, and they're playing as good or better now than then.  The Packers are but a lucky bounce away from probably losing to the Cowboys.  The Seahawks put up an impressive amount of points against a good Panthers defense.  The Packers are downright lousy on the road.  This is a route in the making.  The only thing I don't like is the noon kickoff in Seattle, hopefully the crowd gets up early.

Final Prediction: Seahawks 28 Packers 14.

January 18, 2014: 18:40 EST
Indianapolis Colts (+6.5, +235) at New England Patriots (-6.5, -255) O/U 54

Indianapolis Colts (13-5)
Last eight games: 7-1
Road: 6-3 (avg score Ind 28 vs. Opp 26)
Against Playoff teams: 4-4 (2-3 on road)
Key Injuries: Josh McNary (suspended).

New England Patriots (13-4)
Last five games: 4-1
Home: 8-1 (avg score NE 33 vs. Opp 19)
Against Playoff teams: 5-1 (4-0 at home)
Key Injuries: None

The Colts were really impressive in Denver last week.  They baffled Peyton Manning with their game plan.  Their offense was efficient in a hostile environment.  Andrew Luck seems to be growing up before our eyes.  Tom Brady and his Patriots won a seesaw battle against a good, but not great Ravens team at home.  Including some shenanigans on lining up.  The Colts are a team on a mission, I see an upset here.

Final Prediction: Colts 31 Patriots 28.

If I had to pick the three "best bets" (3-3 so far) it would be:
Seahawks: ATS
Seahawks: S/U
Colts: ATS

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/11/2015

The most hyped game of the NFL Divisional Playoff weekend was probably the Green Bay Packers vs. the Dallas Cowboys.  Echos of the Ice Bowl were evident (although temps were balmy in the mid-20s.  But it was a rookie Wide Receiver that burst on the scene.  The Packers Davante Adams was targeted by once and future NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers 11 times, hauling in 7 passes for 117 yards and a TD.  Adams did some of his best work after the catch, including a highlight reel 46 yard TD scamper that changed the momentum of the game.  He also hauled in a critical 3rd down pass to seal the game in the fourth quarter.  You never know who your star is going to be, this week it's Davante Adams, our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014-15 NFL Week Two Playoff Preview

2014-15 NFL Week One Playoffs in the books and a slight profit was made.  Join me, J.R. Ewing, yes, that J.R. Ewing, weekly for playoff handicapping.  Here's how I roll:

 Each week of the NFL Playoffs, I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side.

First week I was 4-0 on over/under, 1-3 ATS, and 2-2 money line.  Profit for $315 for $12,800 wagered (or 2.5%, includes house take at -110 per $100 won).  Not bad .

So what do I think this week?  Much more confident.  See why below.

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

January 10, 2014: 16:35 EST

Baltimore Ravens (+7, +260) at New England Patriots (-7, -290) O/U 47.5

Baltimore Ravens (11-6)
Last five games: 4-1
Road: 5-4 (avg score Bal 26 vs. Opp 23)
Against Playoff teams: 3-4 (1-3 on road) 
Key Injuries: None.

New England Patriots (12-4)
Last five games: 3-2
Home: 7-1 (avg score NE 33 vs. Opp 17)
Against Playoff teams: 4-1 (3-0 at home)
Key Injuries: None

I am tempted to take the Baltimore Ravens.  They have looked strong on the road this year.  Joe Flacco turns into Joe Montana in the postseason.  They're balanced in all phases.  But this is the Patriots.  Their 7-1 at home includes a lone loss at seasons end after home field was earned.  Tom Brady seems especially motivated this year.  Gronk has transformed the offense since returning.  I see this going for the Pats.

Final Prediction: Patriots 35 Ravens 24.

January 10, 2014: 20:15 EST
Carolina Panthers (+10.5, +435) at Seattle Seahawks (-10.5, -500) O/U 39.5

Carolina Panthers (8-8-1)
Last five games: 5-0
Road: 3-4-1 (avg score Car 24 vs. Opp 27)
Against Playoff teams: 2-4-1 (0-2-1 on road)
Key Injuries: None

Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
Last six games: 6-0
Home: 7-1 (avg score Sea 26 vs. Opp 15)
Against Playoff teams: 5-1 (3-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

I'll say from the jump, 10 points is too much.  Neither of these teams has lost since 11/30 (Thanksgiving weekend).  The Panthers offense on the road has defied odds (avg 38 points in that span).  However, in the last three games for the Seahawks at Seattle, only 16 points allowed by their defense (total, not average).  But the Seahawks haven't scored more than 20 in their last three home games.  The Seahawks win this in a low scoring affair (their first matchup was won by the Seahawks 13-9 at Carolina).  I think more on the Seattle side, but low scoring and within the points.

Final Prediction: Seahawks 20 Panthers 13.

January 11, 2014: 13:05 EST
Dallas Cowboys (+5.5, +220) at Green Bay Packers (-5.5, -240) O/U 52.5

Dallas Cowboys (13-4)
Last five games: 5-0
Road: 8-0 (avg score Dal 34 vs. Opp 26)
Against Playoff teams: 3-1 (1-0 on road)
Key Injuries: None.

Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Last six games: 5-1
Home: 8-0 (avg score GB 40 vs. Opp 20)
Against Playoff teams: 3-2 (3-0 at home)
Key Injuries: Aaron Rodgers (calf, probable).

This has to be the first time two teams met in the playoffs in which one was 8-0 on the road and the other 8-0 at home.  The Packers mojo at home is renown.  The Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers are the Minnesota Vikings.  The Cowboys really did look shaky last week, but settled down after the first 14 points to actually control the game (sometimes because of bad no calls).  Dallas' balance (can run or pass, and pass long or short) looks better than a gimpy Rodgers and their relatively one dimensional attack (he bails them out more often than not).  And the Packers defense isn't that strong.  I like the Pokes.

Final Prediction: Cowboys 24 Packers 21. 

January 11, 2014: 16:40 EST
Indianapolis Colts (+7, +280) at Denver Broncos (-7, -255) O/U 54

Indianapolis Colts (12-5)
Last six games: 6-1
Road: 5-3 (avg score Ind 29 vs. Opp 28)
Against Playoff teams: 3-4 (1-3 on road)
Key Injuries: None.

Denver Broncos (12-4)
Last four games: 4-0
Home: 8-0 (avg score Den 35 vs. Opp 21)
Against Playoff teams: 2-3 (2-0 at home)
Key Injuries: None

If you look at the points for and allowed by these teams, it will be high scoring.  At an even seven points, I think the Broncos, behind Peyton Manning and his experience, perform well in this game.  Andrew Luck has had little success in the playoffs on the road.  The Colts defense was impressive against a Bengals team without A.J. Green, but the Broncos will be a whole new beast.  Surprising the Broncos had a losing record against playoff teams, but those were all on the road.  The teams met Week 1 and the Broncos won 31-24.  They'll win by more this go around.

Final Prediction: Broncos 38 Colts 28

If I had to pick the three "best bets" (was 2-1 last week) it would be:
Cowboys: ATS
Broncos ATS
Seahawks/Panthers: Under

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/4/2015

With apologies to the NFL and the Wild Card Playoff round, the best football player this week came from Ohio State.  The Buckeyes sophomore Ezekiel Elliott lit up the renown Alabama Crimson Tide defense in a 42-35 Sugar Bowl victory in what will go down as one of the greatest games in Ohio State's rich football history.  A week after breezing through (20 carries for 220 yards) a seemingly non-existent Wisconsin defense to propel his team to the first ever College Football Playoff, Elliott outdid himself with 20 carries for 230 yards on the bowl's biggest stage.  Both weeks he had a run over 80 yards, both weeks he scored two TD.  Worthy of our Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014-15 NFL Week One Playoff Preview

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

JR Ewing loves the NFL post season to bring out his Christmas money and put it all on the line.  These days I need it with the price of oil dropping faster than Johnny Manziel's NFL stock.

Each week of the NFL Playoffs, I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side.

My approach is pretty simple.  Look at teams home/road performance.  Look at the last four to six games.  Look at record against playoff teams (everyone can beat Buccaneers and Jets).  And look at their health.  Most of the teams are relatively even when it comes to W-L record, except Carolina...which is the heaviest betting favorite going! The week one theme seems to be how teams that could have secured a home game (Detroit, Cincinnati, Arizona) fare on the road, for what could be as many as three games in enemy territory. 

January 3, 2014: 16:35 EST
Arizona Cardinals (+6.5, +248) at Carolina Panthers (-6.5, -370) O/U 37.5

Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
Last six games: 2-4
Road: 4-4 (avg score Ari 18 vs. Opp 20)
Against Playoff teams: 2-3 (1-2 on road)
Key Injuries: QB Drew Stanton (knee, out).  

Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)
Last four games: 4-0
Home: 4-4 (avg score Car 18 vs. Opp 20)
Against Playoff teams: 1-4-1 (1-2 at home)
Key Injuries: None

The line setters are looking at the latest trends.  The home/road splits don't give a clear winner here (both teams mediocre).  The QB injury really makes the Cardinals look hapless.  The Panthers record against playoff teams (including the powerful AFC North) is bad, but so is Arizona's.   Both teams have a win against Detroit, the Cardinals beat Dallas (a much different Dallas team than now).  I'm tempted to go with the Cardinals here thinking the Panthers may be out of gas. But even with just 6.5 points, I don't see it being that close.

Final Prediction: Panthers 27 Cardinals 17. 

January 3, 2014: 20:15 EST
Baltimore Ravens (+3, +155) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, -165) O/U 45

Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
Last six games: 4-2
Road: 4-4 (avg score Bal 26 vs. Opp 24)
Against Playoff teams: 2-4 (0-3 on road) 
Key Injuries: None, plus they get DT Haloti Ngata back from suspension

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
Last four games: 4-0
Home: 6-2 (avg score Pit 32 vs. Opp 25)
Against Playoff teams: 5-1 (3-0 at home)
Key Injuries: RB Le'Veon Bell (knee, questionable out)

The field goal favorite is essentially just a nugget for being at home.  Bell is feeling better and probably wants to go.  They have some depth at the position and can scheme with more TE or short WR routes to keep the offense going.  I like their record against good teams and at home.  The Ravens seemed "meh" the last two weeks.

Final Prediction: Steelers 31 Ravens 26.

January 4, 2014: 13:05 EST
Cincinnati Bengals (+3, +155) at Indianapolis Colts (-3, -165) O/U 49

Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1)
Last four games: 2-2
Road: 4-4 (avg score Cin 19 vs. Opp 19)
Against Playoff teams: 3-4-1 (1-3 on road)
Key Injuries:  A.J. Green (concussion, questionable). 

Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
Last six games: 5-1
Home: 6-2 (avg score Ind 28 vs. Opp 18)
Against Playoff teams: 2-4 (1-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None.

These teams met here on October 19 and it was ugly in the Colts favor (27-0).  That was a while ago.  If you look at Indianapolis' record against good teams, it's not too good.  They beat up the weak AFC South.  A lot.  The Colts performance against the Cowboys was downright ugly and they haven't scored more than 30 since November.  The Bengals seem to have some momentum, even in a loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday night.

Final Prediction: Bengals 21 Colts 17.

January 4, 2014: 16:40 EST
Detroit Lions (+6.5, +260) at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5, -290) O/U 48

Detroit Lions (11-5)
Last five games: 4-1
Road: 4-4 (avg score Det 16 vs. Opp 20)
Against Playoff teams: 1-4 (0-4 on road)
Key Injuries: None.  

Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
Last four games: 4-0
Home: 4-4 (avg score Dal 22 vs. Opp 21)
Against Playoff teams: 2-1 (1-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None, plus they get Dominic Raiola back from suspension.

Both teams have been playing well down the stretch to say the least.  Interesting that Dallas only played three games against playoff teams (Seattle, Indianapolis, and Arizona).  The Lions played four playoff teams on the road.  Dallas had been outscored at home until the impressive win vs. the Colts late.  Despite a good trend lately in games, the competition for the Lions has been soft whereas the Cowboys had some tougher games.  And the Lions just don't score well on the road.

Final Prediction: Cowboys 31 Lions 13.

If I had to pick the three "best bets" it would be:
Cowboys: ATS
Bengals vs. Colts: Under
Lions vs. Cowboys: Under

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/28/2014

NFLWeek 17 featured a number of games critical to Division championships and playoff seeding, all among Division rivals (great job by NFL on that).  The star among stars for players in those games was Pittsburgh Steelers WR/PR Antonio Brown.  In a crucial 27-17 Sunday Night victory over the Cincinnati Bengals to secure the NFL North crown, Brown opened the scoring with a 71 yard punt return TD and closed it with a 63 yard TD reception.  In total, 7 catches, 128 yards and a TD.  Another 84 yards in punt returns and the TD.  That's production when it mattered, it a big game in the prime time to get the first round game at home.  Worthy of our Sportsman of the Week! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

College Football 2014 - Bowl Betting Extravaganza

After a less than lucrative 2014 regular season gambling-wise, we turn the page to the Bowl Season.  The bowl season can be a gamblers delight, given the intrigue of matchups.  Some teams are playing close to home, some teams are thousands of miles away.  Some teams are excited just to be there, some times feel that they deserved better.  Some big name programs take the smaller guys for granted, sometimes teams are just physically overmatched.  Combine that with a few games per day for three weeks, and you have a recipe for fun!

I'll spare you the details, but the regular season saw me go down about $1,350 for $10,900 bet (-12%).  And it was pretty awful.  Did well on straight up bets on underdogs, poorly on ATS.

For the bowl season, I give you the best of the best.  Here are my top 8 bets (20 units) for both ATS and S/U.  ATS bets are for $110 per unit, S/U are $100 per unit.

Boca Raton Bowl - December 23, 2014
Northern Illinois (+280) vs. Marshall (1 unit)
The MAC champion Huskies are on a complete roll, having won seven straight, only one by less than a touchdown.  Marshall got all the "group of five" (conferences) publicity for being undefeated, but really hadn't played anyone.  They're 2-1 over their last three without a win by more than a TD.  NIU represents the best team they'll play this year, I love the money line here for the Huskies to win straight up.

Hawaii Bowl - December 24, 2014
Fresno State (+2.5) vs. Rice (5 units)
Rice really hasn't defeated a "good" football team all year (UTEP the best win).  And when they stepped up in competition (Louisiana Tech or Marshall) it was blowout city.  Fresno State meanwhile beat teams like Nevada and San Diego State.  Also played several powerhouses (Nebraska, USC, Utah, Boise State twice) so their seven losses are not as bad as it might seem.  I'd think Fresno should give a FG here, so I'll joyfully accept the FG and take the Bulldogs.

Liberty Bowl - December 29, 2014
Texas A&M (+3.5) vs. West Virginia (2 units)
Here we have two teams with similar records, yet one battled through the SEC West gauntlet while the other was in the strong (but not as) Big 12.  Both teams went 2-3 over their last five games, more or less stumbling across the finish line.  West Virginia hangs their coon-skin cap on a win against Baylor; Texas A&M hangs their cowboy hat on a win at Auburn.  The Aggies played very well away from Kyle Field and will benefit from the long preparation time to foil the Mountaineers pass attack.  Even with assistant coach turmoil, the Aggies probably win, but I also want to collect with a FG loss.

Orange Bowl - December 31, 2014
Georgia Tech (+215) vs. Mississippi State (1 unit)
Mississippi State was nearly bound for the playoffs. Had they beat Ole Miss, it would have been interesting how they stacked up with Ohio State and the two Big 12 teams for the last spot.  But it didn't work out.  Suddenly if you look at Mississippi State's body of work, it's not that impressive.  They drew soft against the SEC East by getting Kentucky and Vanderbilt (6th and 7th place teams).  Out of conference they played no teams from the Power 5 and mixed in Tennessee-Martin.  There's six of their 10 wins.  They've also dropped 2 of their last 3.  Georgia Tech won five of their last six with a narrow lost to Florida State (and all losses by less than a TD).  I like the money line here, getting more than 2:1 for the Jackets to win.

Cotton Bowl - January 1, 2015
Michigan State (+2.5) vs. Baylor (2 units)
Here you have contrasting styles.  Michigan State plays defense and is disciplined.  Baylor is fast and furious on offense (soft on defense) and commits TONS of penalties.  Their only loss to West Virginia they couldn't get out of the way of the yellow hankies.  Same for their loss against Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl last year.  I think the Spartans get them out of their game and Baylor is thinking more about missing the playoff than lining up and playing big boy Big 10 football.  Michigan State has two very quality losses: Oregon and Ohio State.  The Big 12 has an atrocious record in this bowl, as well (1-10 over the last 11 years, the one win for now SEC member Missouri).

Rose Bowl - January 1, 2015
Oregon (-9) vs. Florida State (3 units)
It's going to come crashing down for the Seminoles.  It's bound to.  Geographically, they'll be in enemy territory out west (where Florida State fans haven't even sold out their allotment).  Heisman trophy runaway winner Marcus Mariota will be rested and loaded.  Florida State played middling teams within the last few seconds while Oregon blew out everyone they played (including avenging for an earlier loss in the season by defeating the Arizona Wildcats).  Were this in the southeast, I might like the 'Noles, but they're in for a show.  When the Ducks get up by 2 or 3 TD, it's not going to be as easy to come back as it was against Boston College or North Carolina State.

Sugar Bowl - January 1, 2015
Alabama (-9) vs. Ohio State (5 units)
This is a lot of points to give, but Ohio State is about to experience a significant step up in competition.  And Alabama is extremely battle tested.  The latest Buckeyes QB Cardale Jones had an easy go of it in the Big 10 Championship Game with the team jumping ahead and Wisconsin shell shocked.  It won't be so easy against the athletic Crimson Tide.  My only hesitation in this bet is that Nick Saban frequently manages a game (smartly) at the end to win and not to cover.  Read, foot off the throttle and simply running it out and relying on his defense (prevent at the end) to move along.  But the talent gap here is real.

Cactus Bowl - January 2, 2015
Oklahoma State (+175) vs. Washington (1 unit)
This is an intriguing game.  Oklahoma State was flying high and ranked #15 until they had to play the top half of the Big 12.  And lost five straight before beating rival Oklahoma in the Bedlam Game.  Still, that's the best win of either of these two teams. Washington toiled in the Pac 12 by beating the bad teams and losing to the good ones.  The Huskies do have a good OOC win vs. Illinois.  Where Oklahoma State played Florida State close in their opener.  The Cowboys have been injury-riddled, the break should help them get some reps for the replacements.  I like the Cowboys based upon their win in Norman especially with the money line.

Have a great Christmas, prosperous New Year, and wonderful Bowl Season.  May your team win and you win your bowl pool!