“If it’s good enough for New Jersey, then it’s good enough for us,”-Mississippi (probably)

Didn’t you hear, a good number of waste management employees are looking for new ways to supplement their income? It has something to do with Delaware, New Jersey, and Mississippi joining Nevada as states to legalize sports gambling.

Since I poll most favorably among men with vices and an unbending regard for Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, it seemed to be the ideal time to debut a weekly sports gambling column.

For the good of public amusement I’ll release my three favorite plays from the slew of Big Ten action. Since I don’t get a cut of your winnings, your gripes about any losses will dog-whistle my most ardent defenders, two of whom are incarcerated and one of whom is a Bob Dandridge bobble head.

Before we dive head-first into the weekend, allow me to extol my bona fides as a gambler:

Forty-three percent success rate at Rock, Paper, Scissors; Nearly half-right in my all-time record in determining someone’s birth order in their family; winning ticket selected at Big Joe’s.

Thoughts on changing my pseudonym from Larry Dickman to Ace Rothstein? 

You can get back to me.

(All lines taken from mybookie.ag) 

Author’s note: Lines may have shifted from when I pulled the number for the column. Lighten up gang.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Michigan at Notre Dame

Line: Pk

Pick: Michigan. Michigan’s defense, anchored  by Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich, is going to give Notre Dame fits up front. Doctor Don Brown, the actualization of who I could be if my track record on NCAA Football for EA Sports translated to real life, has the sort of talent on  defense where the Wolverines defensive coordinator won’t need to bring more than four to get pressure on the quarterback. He will because he can. Expect Michigan to throw a myriad of blitz packages at Brandon Wimbush and an offensive line adjusting to life without two first-round NFL draft picks and a new offensive line coach after Harry Hiestand took the same position with the Chicago Bears.  

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh stifled his craziness in the off-season and let Ohio State detonate one public relations landmine after another in the last few weeks. The relative quiet out of the Michigan program tells me Harbaugh knows he’s about to endure something special. Whether the Wolverines navigate the rigors of a Big Ten season undefeated is another topic. I am under a social contract to mention the name Shea Patterson, but the story of Michigan remains the defense. Expect the offense to gamble on big plays only if necessary.  

Game: Northern Illinois vs. Iowa

Line: Iowa -10

Pick: Northern Illinois

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is one game away from breaking Hayden Fry’s (who will eternally chase the title of most famous coach named Hayden)  wins record at Iowa. I’m all for historical milestones, but let’s compartmentalize and cover/celebrate. Iowa is without starting offensive tackles Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs, both serving suspensions. The unrest on the outside will give Northern Illinois a chance to unleash defensive end Sutton Smith on the edge. Northern will attempt to control the clock and I can’t see Iowa pulling away, even if quarterback Nate Stanley wins admirers with his arm strength in efforts to squash the NFL trend of waiting past the first round to draft a Big Ten quarterback.

Northern Illinois has been known to knock off teams from the Big Ten, ahem Iowa, ahem Purdue, and though I can’t see them pulling away with a win in such a significant historical game for the Iowa program, I do like the Huskies to cover and keep things tight until the fourth.

Game: Appalachian State vs. Penn State

Over/Under: 54

Pick: Over

Joe Moorhead won over college football for the offensive production his teams at Penn State put up for the last few years, but Moorhead took the head gig at Mississippi State last November and forced bloggers and writers to deplete any creative verve that emanated from the city nickname Stark Vegas.

Head coach James Franklin stayed in-house and promoted passing game coordinator Ricky Rahne to replace Moorhead. With the adulation Moorhead received for his play-calling and the electricity that Saquon Barkley provided at running back it’s natural to worry about a drop in production. Penn State will use game one to assuage those fears as they welcome Appalachian State to State College.

Even with a talented secondary for Appalachian State look for Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley to use the first game of the season to beef up his Heisman profile and take some shots downfield for quick scores. If Appalachian State puts up 14 points, Penn State will do the rest to cover the number.