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There's Value in Dogs
by Al McMordie - 11/04/2004
Yes, Iâ€™m a bit of an animal lover. Iâ€™m partial to dogs more than cats. Not just because dogs can fetch the newspaper, but because they can fetch the money. For those of you who heard me at the Stardust Invitational Friday night, you may have noticed I was partial to several dogs. This is not just a coincidence â€“ dogs can provide excellent value for your betting dollar.
Many times home dogs can be worth a serious look, especially in college football where emotion, tradition and fan support are such key components. For example, I found several systems and pointspread trends that favored East Carolina in Saturdayâ€™s matchup with Conference USA rival Army and I gave out East Carolina on the show. East Carolina was a home dog and had a versatile QB in James Pinkney going up against a poor Army defense. Army head coach Bobby Ross has gotten the Cadets to score points this season, but â€“ like last season â€“ they are still giving big chunks of yardage and points. After all, Army was still 0-13 a year ago and only recently ended a 19-game losing streak. Yes, Army is better, but thereâ€™s still a long way to go and now they were a favorite â€“ on the road, no less! That alone made whoever Army was playing worth a peak.
As I mentioned, emotion plays an important role in college football performance. East Carolina may be an awful road team, but theyâ€™re more likely to play inspired ball in front of the home crowd. In that game, East Carolina ended up with 38 points and 426 total yards as Pinkney carved up the Cadet secondary (26-of-36 for 285 yards, 3 TDs and no interceptions). Winning the turnover battle 3-0, which is the most difficult thing to try and predict, was the final piece of the puzzle as home dog ECU not only covered getting points but won the game, 38-28. This was not a great shock, either, as the Pirates were 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS in the previous seven meetings with Army.
Itâ€™s important to examine how teams perform at home compared to on the road. Another team I gave out was Oklahoma State as a 13-point underdog vs. rival Oklahoma. The Cowboys have been awesome at home under Coach Les Miles of late, going 15-4 SU and 11-5 ATS in its last 19 home games. This is no accident. Miles runs a fine program and the troops play all out in front of their fans, especially when a top-5 team like Oklahoma comes rolling into town. In addition, the Cowboys have given Oklahoma plenty of trouble of late, going 3-1 ATS the last four years. In fact, they won two of those games outright, despite being 27 and 16-point dogs! A well-drilled team like the Cowboys getting 2 TDs at home is certainly worth a look, especially one that is plus 13 in turnovers this season! Oklahoma State got the cover in a 38-35 loss, and this was no backdoor cover. Oklahoma led only 21-14 at the half and 35-28 going into the fourth. A missed field goal late prevented the contest from going into overtime.
For bettors, getting points with dogs is great especially when youâ€™ve identified a dog that you think has a chance to be competitive or even win the game. Backers of Michigan State didnâ€™t sweat it when the Spartans blew a big lead late in the 4th quarter, and went into overtime at Michigan. MSU was in great shape to get the cover in OT as an 11-point dog, while anyone who backed Michigan needed a miracle (which has only happened once) to cover the double-digits in overtime! But good handicappers donâ€™t need miracles to pull out ATS covers, just sound judgment and analysis before the kickoff. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of my winners here this weekend, including some huge plays out of 29-0 and 19-0 ATS systems.