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The debut of IncrediHull Hopes
By Jonathan Hull

Although it is looked down upon by some, gambling is a fun way to pass one’s time. While I do agree, it can be a very dangerous pastime, if one can control the urge to bet huge money and simply make smaller, safer bets that have high rewards then the risk is often worth it.

For example, each week of the football season I place $10 on five to nine NCAA games. The games are grouped together in what is called a parlay bet. This means that if I place my wager on the wrong side of the line in any one of the games, then I lose completely. However, if I am successful, then my $10 multiplies great depending on the amount of games I bet on.

I’m not going to lie, I have never won a parlay. I’ve come very close, but the big payout has always escaped me. Still, I like the thought of what is a low risk to me and what can turn into a very high reward.

Once I explain this style of gambling to my friends and acquaintances, many of them decide they want to try their luck at a parlay. So, I have decided to pass on a few choice games this week that the lines seem very favorable on. I never get every game I select right, but I get more correct than I miss.

Call these selections IncrediHull Hopes.

Here’s how I have done each of the previous few weeks (I didn’t bet on games in Week 1):

Week 2

 5-team parlay, bet $10 to win $261.64.

Result: Wager lost with a 3-2 record.

 

Week 3

6-team parlay, bet $10 to win $400.

Result: Wager lost with a 2-4 record.

 

Week 4

10-team parlay, bet $10 to win $7,980.95.

Result: Wager lost with a 7-3 record.

 

Week 5

9-team parlay, bet $10 to win $3,936.91.

Result: Wager lost with a 3-6 record.

 

As you can tell, so far this season, the results have been mixed. Week 3 was by far my best week. I went into the night games with my parlay still alive, and then Utah only defeated Air Force by seven points instead of nine. It was disheartening. At the same time, I only lost $10. I’m 16-15 in games I’ve selected this year. Here’s hoping I can improve on that mark.

 

Here are Week 6’s IncrdiHull Hopes:

6-team parlay, bet $10 to win $520.35.

 

Boston College at NC State (+8)

Synopsis: This is a grudge match of sorts with former BC coach Tom O’Brien now wearing the colors of an ACC rival. Seeing O’Brien across the field is enough to inspire BC’s players.

 

All intangibles aside, the Eagles (3-1, 0-1) boast one of the nation’s best defenses, surrendering just 26 points over four games this year. Here’s the catch: They’ve beaten Kent St., UCF and Rhode Island for their three wins and gave up 19 points to Georgia Tech in a close loss.

 

The Eagles are also yet to face a running back the quality of NC State’s Andre Brown. The Wolfpack (2-3, 0-1) are very dependent upon his ability to dictate a game. If they can get Brown into a flow early, then he’s got the ability to take over.  Brown was fantastic against ECU and the Wolfpack won, 30-24, bringing an early end to a Cinderella story.

 

Neither of these teams are very good, although both are dark horse contenders in a very weak ACC conference. Based of the body of work to date and level of competition, one has to think NC State is equipped to not just keep within eight points, but to also win the game.

Prediction: NC State 23, Boston College 19

 

Duke (+ 13.5) at Georgia Tech

Synopsis: We’ll keep things in the ACC, where the Duke Blue Devils are 3-1 and undefeated in the conference after one game. Even that is uncharted territory for a perennial cellar dweller. Duke has been impressive, though. The Blue Devils are scoring lots of points and their only loss is to an undefeated Northwestern team.

 

They won’t score like they’re used to Saturday because of a strong Ga. Tech (3-1, 1-1) defense. However, these are your father’s Dukies. There is reason to be excited about something other than basketball in Cameron, N.C., right now.

 

I don’t see Duke topping Wreck ‘Em Tech, but I don’t see the Blue Devils falling by two touchdowns either.

Prediction: Ga. Tech 31, Duke 24

 

Texas Tech (-7) at Kansas St.

Synopsis: If you want some straight up betting advice on this game, take the over. Both of these teams will top 30 points.

 

However, on the line, take Tech (4-0).

 

Kansas St. (3-1) will score on the Red Raiders and Tech never plays well away from Lubbock. However, the Red Raiders are better defensively than they’ve ever been under Mike Leach and have proven capable of getting a stop when one is needed.

 

For the record, Graham Harrell might be the second best NFL prospect at QB in this game. K-State’s Josh Freeman is generating a lot of hype and interest from NFL scouts.

Prediction: Texas Tech 48, Kansas St. 31

 

Auburn (-4) at Vanderbilt

Synopsis: Vanderbilt is ranked 19th in the coach’s poll. Yes. It’s not a typo. It’s still very strange to see.

 

Are the Commodores (4-0, 2-0) on Auburn’s level, though? They’ll have to prove that before I can believe it.

 

Yes, they defeated South Carolina, but the Gamecocks continue to underachieve under Steve Spurrier.

 

Auburn (4-1, 2-1) is a different beast. This is one of the best defenses in the country led by the best DT in the nation, Sen’Darrick Marks, who could end up being a Top 5 draft pick if he comes out early.

 

Vandy will give a spirited effort and will contain a struggling Tigers’ offense, but in the end, they’ll fall short of announcing their true arrival to the rest of the SEC.

Prediction: Auburn 17, Vanderbilt 12

 

Ball State (-7.5) at Toledo

Synopsis: Regardless of conference, Ball State (5-0, 2-0) has one of the most explosive offenses in the country led by QB Nate Davis and RB MiQuale Lewis. Some tragedy has stricken the Cardinals, though.

 

Their best WR Dante Love suffered a cervical spine fracture and spinal cord injury two weeks ago in Ball State’s upset win over Indiana. The injury ends a very promising career. Love was projected to go as high as the third round in the 2009 NFL Draft.

 

Last week’s victory over Kent State was dedicated to Love. Expect the Cardinals to play with a chip on their shoulder for him for the rest of the season, though.

 

Toledo (1-3, 1-0) played above itself two weeks ago in a one-point loss to Fresno State in overtime. However, the Rockets then gave up 35 points last week in a loss to a visiting Florida International team. An inspired Ball State squad shouldn’t have any problems here.

Prediction: Ball State 48, Toledo 21

 

Missouri (-10) at Nebraska

Synopsis: This is a very underrated rivalry, mostly because of Nebraska’s longtime dominance. However, the shoe is now on the other foot.

 

Mizzou (4-0) is a true national title contender with the ability to run through the Big 12 undefeated. It’s hard to find a team on the Tigers’ level in the Big 12 North.

 

Nebraska (3-1) showed last week against Virginia Tech that it’s still a long way from being good enough defensively to stop the offenses of major programs. Va. Tech isn’t exactly potent on offense either. Missouri is.

 

The black shirts are going to be worn out and flat out depressed once Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin are finished with them. And with all due respect to FFJ columnist Matt Horkman, Daniel is the frontrunner for the Heisman, not Sam Bradford.

Prediction: Missouri 52, Nebraska 17

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