Here's your disclaimer: The views in this column don't reflect the views of SBNation, Yahoo or Santa Claus. It's just the greatest advice since your best friend handed you a Trojan before you stumbled into the bedroom with that girl at the one party.
Back in high school when I, nor probably many of us knew the true meaning of money, or more precisely how to appropriately spend it, I dabbled in sports betting. And by dabbled I mean bet on Duke basketball. If that doesn't tell you how disillusioned I was, well, you're probably driving in the wrong lane.
One Kansas Jayhawks championship later, all is right with the world, and years later I'm a lot wiser. Not only that, but with the progression of the Internet and number-crunching, the Cold War of Sports Betting keeps escalating, with Death Star-like systems that Vegas employs to figure out favorites and spreads.
I'm not going to say I've been betting lately, but let's just say that I've been picking against the spreads that Vegas provides very, very favorably lately. Seeing as how a lot of fantasy sites even these days have have plays that involve them, and there are plenty of money pools involving spreads, I'm going to lend a helping hand and provide a few of my best picks for this weekend's games. I'm 3-for-3 so far this week (Fedor Emilianenko, the Thunder (+2) on Wednesday, and last night the Niners (-3), in case you were wondering. That said, here's your Royal Flush for the weekend:
Wisconsin -9 vs. Michigan: Tate Forcier was all the talk of the early season, getting the fab freshman treatment. I witnessed two of his comebacks in person at The Big House, and they were impressive. But starting with Michigan State, he struggled when he went on the road, and now his confidence has clearly taken a hit, and so has his body. He's knocked up, and the team is getting knocked around in every which way; poor Brandon Graham. Wisconsin runs the Wolverines right out of town.
Stanford +10.5 at USC: If you don't believe Stanford is for real, maybe you missed them take out a BSC-caliber team in Oregon last weekend. This is not one of the strongest USC teams in recent history. The fact is, S Taylor Mays has only shown flashes of what was thought to be 1st Round NFL pick-caliber talent, and Superfrosh QB Matt Barkley has only sported a 7-to-6 TD/INT ratio since the beginning of October. I'm not advising you go and take Stanford in this game, but playing it safe and giving the points seems like a good bet.
Pick of the Week: Dallas -3 at Green Bay: I've joked with some friends who started on the O-line in high school that they could probably get playing time on the Packers unit this year. This is the worst unit on what is otherwise a decent team this year. It's literally going to single-handedly keep the Packers from going anywhere this year. Fantasy fortunes have been reversed as the passing game has been unable to convert deep passes to fantasy stud WR Greg Jennings, and instead the intermediate game has featured veteran Donald Driver. Is there any coincidence after I drafted Driver last year and Jennings this year?! Here's a guide to the Packers remaining schedule: Do their opponents have a good pass rush and otherwise solid team? If so, check loss. If not, they'll probably win. I'm settting a personal +/- for DeMarcus Ware sacks at two. AccuScore (which simulates the games 10,000 times) has the Cowboys winning by an average of three points. Perfect.
Kansas City +2 at Oakland: Here's another disclaimer or two: I am a Chiefs fan, and they are bad. I don't think I'm telling you that Jon Gosselin isn't a role model-father here or anything you didn't already know. Here's something you might not know, though, thanks to our Chiefs blog over at Arrowhead Pride: "the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that has beaten the Raiders at the Coliseum each of the past six seasons. Also, the Raiders have lost their past six times after the bye week." Mind you, I even liked these odds before knowing this. Plus, isn't it fun to root against the Raiders? I know it's not just Chiefs fans.
UFC 105: Michael Bisping Even defeating Denis Kang: I don't know where they are now, but I do know that on the year I've been picking somewhere around 65% of UFC fights. Anyone who watches MMA knows that Bisping is a Brit that anyone in America probably loathes. He's got a mouth that just doesn't match his mat skills. Still, he's grounded out more impressive victories than the former-PRIDE veteran that hasn't really beaten anyone impressive since Akhiro Gono in 2006. It might not be pretty, but I think Bisping pulls it out.
If you're looking for anything else, I like the Saints (-14) against the Rams, and Arizona (+1) against Cal on Saturday. For shards and giggles, I mentioned my NFL picks last week. As an update, I was 9-of-13, or 69% in Week 9 picks. I missed on four favorites, but also picked Arizona to upset the Bears. With the exception of the Pats/Colts game, which I would rather not touch, the Chiefs are my sole upset pick this week. Good luck in your pools or other ventures in wagering.