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Black Shoe Degenerates: Week 1


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations fellow football fan, and degenerate! After eight long months, our beloved sport has returned, and with it, our nation's favorite past time. I am of course talking about college football, and the wagering of cash monies on college football.

We here at Black Shoe Diaries did some soul searching this off season, in an effort to bring you, the troubled gambler, all of the best* information on the weekend's slate of games, point spreads, and ridiculous prop bets. Since college football is smart and doesn't allow a preseason, in which every star player would rupture every vital ligament in both legs, these first couple of weeks will be used to iron out the kinks of our weekly feature. Much like your favorite football squad will use their opening cupcake opponent to figure things out, while at the same time winning by an amount equal to the daily fluctuation in the stock market. So, let us know what you like, don't like, and other things you would like to see.

Penn State (-7) at Temple

Last year we shied away from betting our hard earned internet dollars on Penn State. One, because I have made a solemn vow to never bet my internet dollars on PSU. And two, because really, we had no idea what to expect series to series, let alone week to week. But our intense research indicated this was something people wanted to hear our thoughts on.

Generally speaking, I stay away from a lot of games the first couple weeks of the season. There is just so much we don't know about most teams that aren't Ohio State's terrifying squad of future NFL first round draft picks. That goes double for this year's Penn State squad, which features lot of talent at the skill positions, a dominant defense, and a top-10 NFL draft pick at QB. But well, a lot of that talent is young, and as you may have heard, the offensive line is a work in progress.

With all that said, if I was forced to pick, I'd take PSU and give those 7 points. Last year's PSU team ran away with a 30-13 win, with the only Owls TD coming on a big pass play. Temple is going to have just as much trouble moving the ball, and it would stand to reason PSU should be a little better on offense. As long as PSU doesn't give up the short field, or too many big plays, I think they do enough to cover.

Top Plays of the Week

Last year I wrote a lot about big games, regardless of whether I had any idea what I thought would happen. My logic, as flawed as it was (and usually is tbh), is that it was more fun to write about big games, than say, Baylor-SMU. Boy was I wrong!

So, speaking of Baylor-SMU, I love the Bears -35.5. Yeah, it's a lot of points, but generally speaking, Baylor is very good at scoring a lot of points, and holding their vastly inferior opposition to not very many. As long as I am proven right, expect to see a lot of Baylor here early in the season as they beat up on a week non-conference schedule.

I think my favorite overall matchup this week, point spread be damned, is Arizona State at Texas A&M. When I saw the Sun Devils were actually a 3.5 point underdog, it became even more intriguing. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I think ASU is just a much better team than the Aggies, regardless of where the game is played. Yes, A&M brought in John Chavis this off season to overhaul a porous defense, but I'm not sure a potent Sun Devil offense is the best way to see the progress.

Newcomer's Corner

When Eli joined the staff earlier this year, he expressed a desire to contribute to our weekly support group in this article. Our plan is to have a upset special, or a trap, or something else he finds interesting every week.

To start things off, my candidate this week is TCU -15 for a sucker bet. As the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Statistically speaking, there is no reason why TCU wouldn't win by more than 2 TDs, but last year TCU took advantage of multiple turnovers that gave them a short field, at home, and still "only" beat them by 23. Patterson and Kill are longtime friends, so you know the score won't get out of hand in either direction. This is a line I'd stay away from at all costs (no pun intended).

READER INTERACTION (or Matt makes up fun prop bets)

In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons sports gambling has become so popular (other than the relative ease with which you can take part now), is the ridiculous prop bets that you can find most places. It's the kind of thing that even a novice can understand, and have fun with. Then, before you know it, you're playing 12 team teasers and parlaying Penn State basketball with the 12th race at Saratoga at 7 AM in the Mirage.

So, every week I'm going to come up with some fun props, purely for entertainment, and invite you to share your thoughts in the comments.


Touchdown (2-1)

Field Goal (5-1)

Safety (100-1)


Akeel Lynch run (3-1)

Wide receiver screen (5-1)

Any pass under 10 yards (7-1)

Any pass over 10 yards (10-1)

F*** it, Going Deep (25-1)




SANCTIONS MENTIONS BY ESPN BROADCAST: 3.5 (in case you were wondering, this is down from 94 when I assumed Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham had the call)