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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

November 9, 2011 at 2:30 PM

How you could have made an easy 25 grand (but didn’t)

Saturday is the Fracas on the Farm, Oregon at Stanford, and we’re bringing you a daily note related to that game, which, for all practical purposes, will determine the Pac-12 North winner and host for the league title game.

I had thought I’d posted this Tuesday night, but mistakenly didn’t hit the right key, so for any of you panting for your daily installment on Oregon-Stanford, I apologize.

The Cardinal is favored by about four points in most quarters, and almost by definition, it’s an intriguing line. Why? Well, Stanford is being favored over a team that played in the national-title game last year, that has won 18 straight conference games, and is rightly recognized for its sweeping, second-half prowess that turns cliffhangers into routs.

But Stanford has built its own powerful reputation. The bruises meted out by its rugged offensive line are equaled only by those intrepid souls who have dared to bet against them in Nevada casinos.

The Cardinal have covered the spread in all nine games this year, a ridiculous run. It means that even on days when they haven’t been at their peak for 60 minutes, such as at Washington State and Oregon State, they’ve won by big numbers.

I penciled it out. If you’d started the season and plunked down 50 bucks on Stanford in its opener against San Jose State, and let it ride, doubling your take every week, you’d now have $25,600, assuming you’d gotten even money on each bet.

Not that it’s been easy keeping that streak alive. Giving 7 1/2 points at USC, Stanford not only had to scramble back from a deficit to get the game to overtime. And then those who might have risked something on the Trees got lucky with the rule that in third overtimes, teams must go for two-point conversions. Voila: Stanford scored, converted for two, and USC fumbled going in to end the game. Stanford, 56-48.

Imagine: $25,600. The mythical kitty is getting almost big enough to, uh, pay for a year’s education at Stanford.

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