Tony Sanchez once graciously offered to buy me a beer at a golf tournament. But I couldn’t imagine the UNLV football coach would offer to cover my losses on a bet on the Rebels.
Hard to believe any coach would do that. But Mike Gundy isn’t like most coaches. He put Oklahoma State on the map in 2007 with his celebrated postgame “I’m a man, I’m 40!” rant and proudly wore a mullet in recent years.
In case you missed it, Gundy also recently reimbursed an Oklahoma City radio host who bet the Cowboys (6-6) would win eight games this season. Gundy sent host Ron Benton a $250 personal check and a handwritten letter that reads:
“I have many H.S. buddies who consume way too much alcohol, which leads to listening to talk radio. The rumor is you bet on our team and lost your money. We came up short, so I thought the manly (51) thing to do is reimburse a guy for believing in our TEAM!
“Thanks for your loyal support! Your favorite coach, Mike Gundy.”
Bill Belichick’s letter and check reimbursing me for the teaser I lost last week on the Patriots must have gotten lost in the mail.
Sharp bowl plays
A sharp bettor at the Westgate sports book hopes to make some money by betting against Gundy and Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31. The gambler bet on Missouri over the Cowboys twice, according to Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons.
The bettor also placed two wagers on Georgia and bets on Clemson, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Central Florida and Georgia Southern.
At about the same time Tuesday that the bettor was getting down at the Westgate, South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro tweeted that a new customer bet multiple bowl games up to $5,000 each for a total of $151,000.
Salmons said it was probably the same sharp computer betting group.
“They play different places at a similar time,” he said. “There are so many different groups. Computers are such a big part of the betting community.”
Las Vegas Bowl (Over 54)
Salmons and handicapper Wes Reynolds lean to the over in Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl between Arizona State and Fresno State at Sam Boyd Stadium. The consensus total is 54½ after it opened at 52.
“The weather will be nice. It’s kind of a low total for a college game,” Salmons said. “I would look over.”
Fresno State has the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense and has gone under in eight of its past nine games. But Reynolds (@WesReynolds1) said the numbers are a bit skewed by its weak competition in the Mountain West.
“I could see a little bit of value in the over here,” he said. “Obviously, Fresno has a very good defense. But even a middling Pac-12 team in Arizona State has a little bit better offense than when you’re playing the Wyomings and Colorado States and some of those Mountain West teams.”
Four of the past five Las Vegas Bowls totaled at least 55 points and the last 10 have averaged 57.2 points.
San Diego State (+3) over Ohio
Salmons and Reynolds like San Diego State getting 3 points from Ohio in Wednesday’s Miami Beach Bowl.
“San Diego State really excels in the (underdog) role,” Salmons said. “I’ve followed this Ohio team forever, and they play to a certain level. This spread is overrated. It should be pick.
“(The Aztecs) lost their last game to Hawaii at home. I think they’ll make their amends here. I like (coach) Rocky Long a lot.”
Reynolds also noted Long’s longstanding success as an underdog and San Diego State’s standing as the nation’s No. 4 rushing defense.
“Ohio’s a team that likes to run the ball, but I think this is one of the better defenses they’re going to play,” he said.
Middle Tennessee State (+7) over Appalachian State
Reynolds also likes the Blue Raiders in Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl. The Mountaineers lost their coach, Scott Satterfield, to Louisville, in early December. This will be the final game together for Middle Tennessee State’s father-son coach-quarterback combo of Rick and Brent Stockstill.
“This is their last chance to go out a winner together,” Reynolds said. “They’re going to be excited and ready to come out and have that feel-good moment you can have in that last game together. That team will be motivated for that.”
Reynolds also recommends a small play on the Blue Raiders on the money line (+230).
Hopefully he won’t be left looking for a check in the mail.
Home team in CAPS
Utah State (-7½) over North Texas
Arizona State-Fresno State (Over 54)
Georgia Southern (-3) over E. Michigan
Middle Tenn. St. (+7) over Appalachian St.
San Diego State (+3) over Ohio
Week 14: 3-2 against the spread
Last week: 0-0