Friday, April 20, 2007

It's Time to Get Our Gamble On

As we pack up the Truckster Family Road Queen for tomorrow's pilgrimage to South Bend for the spring game, we're throwing up one last post here to go on the record. While the spring game is a life-saving offseason fix for football junkies who are struggling through this long stretch of forced pigskin celibacy, it's ultimately a glorified practice. It's difficult to get too worked up about a split-squad scrimmage with red-jerseyed quarterbacks, at least not to the typical level of bloodlust that we're used to on an average trip to Notre Dame stadium. Fortunately, the good lord has blessed us with two invaluable tools to spice up the action this weekend: booze and gambling.

With the booze already handily taken care of, the Irish Outsider and myself have conferred in our hollowed-out volcano lair this week and come up with seven wagers on the Blue Gold game that will be sure to keep us locked in on the action on the field. What are the stakes, you ask? It's not money, since that's no real motivator (hell, the Irish Outsider drives around on a solid-gold Segway encrusted with Condor eggs). No, my friends, we are making the ultimate bet:

Remember, no rings.

That's right, slap bet. Seven wagers, the net difference in victories will be doled out in slaps to the losing party (e.g., were I to win 5 and lose 2 bets, I would dish out three slaps on IO's mug). Let's have a look at the bets. The lines were set by chief gambling correspondent Free Money Dave.

  • FInal Score: Blue -6.5. I'm taking the blue squad and giving 6.5 points. It's an interesting bet, because while Blue has the first team offense, they will be going up against the first team defense on the Gold squad.

    HRB's Pick: Blue -6.5

  • Over/Under: 41.5. Irish Outsider picked the Under, which seems to be a pretty wise decision. With the running clock and inexperienced quarterbacks, I'd be stunned if this one went over 41.5 points.

  • HRB's Pick: Over

  • Quarterback Passing Yards, Clausen vs. Sharpley. Clausen -35. I've got Clausen, giving 35 yards. With four quarterbacks alternating series and a threadbare set of receivers, it will be interesting to see if any one quarterback is able to rack up a large amount of passing yards. However, if anybody's going to do it, I feel pretty good with taking Clausen.

    HRB's Pick: Clausen -35

  • Rushing Yards, Aldridge vs. Thomas. Thomas -15. Travis Thomas was the MVP of last year's spring game, running roughshod over the defense, including an 80 yard scamper. After spending a year on defense, he's ready to jump back into his old role at running back. IO picked Thomas and gave 15 yards. If James Aldridge can keep up with Thomas, I will be very impressed.

    HRB's Pick: Aldridge +15

  • Over/Under on Total Turnovers: 2.5. Another tricky one. There's no blitzing allowed and the QB's will be protected with red jerseys, so there won't be too many hurried, mistake-prone throws. Nevertheless, with the O-Line playing ironman football with no subs, there's going to be a lot of pressure on the backs that could result in some fumbles. Throw in four inexperienced quarterbacks, and I'm thinking we're going over.

    HRB's Pick: Over

  • Jersey Number of Game MVP, Odd or Even. A clever one. The IO picked odds, which gives him three of the quarterbacks (Clausen, Jones, Sharpley), the top four receivers (Grimes, West, Hord, and Gallup), and some other big contrubitors (Armando Allen, Zbikowski, and kicker Ryan Burkhart). My evens include QB Zach Frazer, the top two RB's (Thomas and Aldridge), and much of the starting defense.

    HRB's Pick: Even

  • Over/Under for Gametime Temperature: 68.5. I took the under, and that feels like free money to me. If the last 8 spring games have taught me nothing, it's that you should always expect cold weather. The forecaset says 68 and sunny, but I've been burned by optimistic spring forecast in the Midwest too many times. I'm taking a jacket and this bet to the bank.

    HRB's Pick: Under

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