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2005 Arizona Wildcats Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


In 1998 the Arizona Wildcats finished the season 11-1 straight up and 9-3 against the odds and in the top ten national rankings. They would suffer a fall that they have still not recovered from to this day. In 1999 Arizona underwent a violent sports handicapping market correction with a record of 2-10 against the odds, which began a streak of five consecutive seasons in the red as they entered the 2004 season. In 2002 Arizona dropped seven of their final ten games against the odds and in 2003 they dropped seven of their final eleven games against the line, including four failures in their final five games.

As the Wildcats entered the 2004 season, however, they had a new coach in Mike Stoops, who is the brother of Oklahoma super coach Bob Stoops. Mike served under Bob as a co-defensive coordinator at OU and had a reputation as a motivator who wouldn’t let the players quit. Incredibly enough, many sports betting bloggers began to think that Arizona was an immediate “sleeper” team for 2004 due to the Stoops hire. This was a program that had won just six of their last twenty-four games straight up and yet many of these sports bettors were predicting immediate results and vowed to include Arizona on their lists of football picks.

Stoops began his career at Arizona with a 21-3 unlined home win against 1-AA Northern Arizona. In their first lined game of 2004 Arizona failed to get the cash in a 6-23 home loss to Utah as 13.5-point dogs. Next, however, they gave Wisconsin a real scare in a 7-9 home loss as 10.5-point dogs. Arizona suffered another close call at home in their next game, a 19-20 loss to Washington State as 3.5-point dogs. At this point, the sports betting bloggers looked wise, as Arizona was 2-1 against the odds and playing it tough against three consecutive bowl teams from 2003. This, unfortunately, also caused the Wildcats to become overvalued as the sports betting odds makers quickly adjusted their lines to match the growing public sports betting perception.

Arizona lost their next four games both straight up and against the odds, all as dogs. By the end of this streak they were featured on few lists of football picks. With some of their value restored, Arizona went on to win and cover two of their final three games including the home finale as 14-point dogs in a 34-27 win against arch rival Arizona State. The Wildcats finished 4-6 against the sports betting line in 2004.









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