College Football Picks: Big Value Betting Oregon State +15.5 vs. Stanford

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, September 21, 2015 4:48 PM GMT

Stanford QB Kevin Hogan is questionable for this game. The blowout possibility does not seem likely against Oregon State. Find out who we like for our college football picks.

Stanford vs. Oregon State 
In my handicapping articles, I refer to the “handicapper’s conundrum” when approaching each sporting event he analyzes. Simply stated, the handicapper must choose to follow the positive momentum of a team’s recent efforts or look for a letdown from that team. On the other side of the coin, he must decide whether to follow a team’s negative momentum or look for a bounce back. In making these choices, he must analyze whether the adjustments made by the linemaker from the team’s results has been accurately incorporated into the betting line. When the handicapper sees value in the line, he puts the college football odds in his favor. He then has an edge in the situational handicapping, when making his college football pick on the game.  

A further aspect of situational handicapping revolves around the look ahead. This occurs when a team plays with less intensity against today’s opponent because they are looking ahead to a higher profile game the following week. When the handicapper analyzes that a team is going to have a letdown following their previous game and that same team is going to play with a look ahead to its next opponent, we have what is called a Sandwich Game. Usually, there are 1 or 2 outstanding Sandwich Games on the card each week. Let’s take a look at a pair of such contests in the previous 2 weeks of this CFB season, and then we will flash ahead to how we may use this thinking in an upcoming game on this week’s card. 

Alabama opened the 2015 season as a well-deserved Top 5 team. Long time Crimson Tide HC Saban likes to test his team early in the year.  He did so in a Game 1 matchup vs. Wisconsin, a game his Crimson Tide easily won (35-17), and totally shutting down the vaunted Badgers’ ground game. The next week, Alabama was installed as a 35 point home favorite against a Mid-Tenn St. team for whom they had little respect.  On the horizon for the Crimson Tide was a lone regular season loss revenge game against rival Ole Miss. Sure enough, Alabama was caught sleepwalking in a 37-10 win, no cover vs. the Blue Raiders of MTSU.    

Last week, yet another big Sandwich Game occurred. A decent E.Carolina team traveled to Florida in Week 2 to face a Gator team who had just beaten them (28-20) in their Bowl game, just 9 months before. The Pirates let it all hang out in that contest, but fumbled in the red zone late in the contest, resulting in a 31-24 defeat. The following week, they traveled to Navy but faced a look ahead to their regional rival, Virginia Tech.  That is always a big game for the Pirates. Sure enough, E. Carolina got caught in the “Sandwich,” and along with the fundamentals that favored Navy (outrushed the Pirates by a greater than 4 to 1 margin), E. Carolina lost 45-21. It was a rare Top of the Ticket 6% play for this bureau, running the record in such highly touted contests to 50-9 ATS. So what is on the horizon for this week’s card?

On Friday night, Stanford travels to Oregon St. with an opening line that favors the Cardinal to soar by 15 ½ points. A rebuilding Oregon St. team under 1st year HC Anderson looked dismal in losing against their only quality opponent, Michigan by a count of 35-7. With Stanford having defeated Oregon St. 38-14 last year, they will be hard pressed to bring full focus, considering their scheduled games before this and after this.  As you well remember from the Saturday night scoreboard, the Cardinals scored a huge 41-31 victory at USC as double digit dog. Coming in the weeks ahead are much higher-profile PAC 12 home games against Arizona and UCLA. The Stanford QB, Kevin Hogan, is questionable for this game with an injured leg. The blowout possibility does not seem likely against a team they may well take for granted.  On a short week with back to back road games, look for the Stanford Cardinal to be “Sandwiched” in their contest against Oregon St. this Friday night. 

College Football Pick: Oregon State +15.5 at BetOnline