We’re going with Ohio State | NevadaAppeal.com

We’re going with Ohio State

Joe Ellison
Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist

College football fans get ready, because tomorrow is the biggest day of the year. There are a bunch of rivalry games such as Auburn-Alabama that are a matter of life and death. There are a few contests such as California-USC that will help sort out who plays in the Bowl Championship Series title game. And there are matches all over the country that will decide the bowl fates of many others.

But by far the game of the day, and of the regular season for that matter, will be the battle between Michigan and Ohio State. Not only is this a huge rivalry, the winner is guaranteed one of the two spots in the BCS Championship. If you are any kind of a college football fan at all, at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow you will be watching this game.

As far as choosing a winner is concerned, the pick here is on Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been the best team in the nation all year long, and they truly deserve a crack at the BCS title.

Although both teams are undefeated, when you compare their six common opponents, Ohio State beat every one of them by more points than Michigan did. On average it was 17.5 points per game difference. Throw in the fact that Ohio State is at home, and head coach Jim Tressel’s sweater vest is 4-1 against grumpy-looking Lloyd Carr, and you’ve got to go with the Buckeyes.

Prediction – I don’t really like laying 7 points in such a huge rivalry, but Ohio State is explosive enough to beat everyone by that much. Ohio State -7.

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The best team against the point spread this year is BYU, according to my numbers a perfect 9-0-1. You should have been looking in your own back yard for the second-best, because it’s our own Nevada at 9-1. East Carolina, Wisconsin and Cincinnati have also failed only once against the spread.

Going by my numbers, Memphis is perfectly awful versus the spread at 0-6-3. Also, almost all tickets with the word Iowa on them have been losers, as Iowa and Iowa State are a combined 2-17-1. Fresno State is 1-7-1.

The hottest teams right now spread-wise, besides those mentioned above, are Middle Tennessee State (6-0) and the old Southwest Conference trio of Arkansas (4-0-2), Rice (4-0) and Houston (4-0).

The coldest clubs not mentioned earlier are Michigan State (0-7-1), Army (0-5) and Baylor (0-5).

Now, these are not predictions for future games, but I wouldn’t want to go against these trends.

NASCAR

Some would argue that the biggest sports attraction this weekend is Sunday’s Ford 400 at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway. The third Chase for the Nextel Cup will be decided, and a new champion will be crowned.

The new champion in this case should be Jimmie Johnson. All he needs to do is finish 12th or better in Sunday’s race to win the title. When you consider that Johnson has ended up in first or second in each of his last five races, that should be no problem.

Prediction – Having won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 this year, a championship would just round out Johnson’s whole season. But he doesn’t need to win Sunday’s race in order to do it. So, expect Johnson to finish somewhere between third and 12th. The winner will be either 2003 series champion Matt Kenseth, who is in second place in the standings, or Tony Stewart.

CANADIAN FOOTBALL

We mustn’t forget about our neighbors to the north, who Sunday are celebrating the Canadian Football League’s version of the Super Bowl, the Grey Cup. The British Columbia Lions are 7-point favorites over the Montreal Alouettes, and the total is 54 in the game being played at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Prediction – No one gets the CFL on television around here, so it’s tough to make a pick. But the total scores of the playoff games so far have been 51, 58, 57 and 63, which averages out to 57. So I’ll guess the Over 54.