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2005 North Texas Eagles Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


North Texas had the unique experience in 2001 of making a bowl game with a losing record. But as a Sun Belt Conference team that should not be considered all that unusual as this conference is often served up as cupcakes to the “name brand” teams in non-conference action before beating up on each other in league play. That 2001 Eagle team finished 5-7 straight up but 8-4 against the odds losing the New Orleans Bowl to Colorado State 20-45 as 12-point dogs, which halted a six game winning streak against the odds. In 2002 the Eagles remained a “secret” that was touted by just a few sports betting bloggers as they finished 8-5 straight up and 8-4 against the sports betting line and won the New Orleans Bowl 24-19 as 8-point dogs versus Cincinnati. By 2003, however, more sports betting bloggers began touting North Texas, dragging down their value as they appeared on more lists of football picks while going 9-4 straight up and 6-7 against the odds with a 17-27 New Orleans Bowl loss to Memphis as 4-point dogs for their third failure against the sports betting line in their final four games.

Still, as 2004 approached, North Texas was touted as one of the few respectable and good teams in the Sun Belt Conference by sports betting bloggers.

North Texas threw much of their good reputation away in their 2004 opener at Texas, which was a 0-65 loss as 26-point dogs. An even more alarming 13-20 loss in their home opener to Florida Atlantic, however, caused many to consider the Eagles an official sports handicapping “fraud” and the sports betting bloggers vowed to keep them off their lists of football picks. Two more ugly losses at Colorado and Baylor extended North Texas’ red ink run against the odds at four consecutive for 2004, and 1-7 in their last 8 dating back to the end of 2003. At this point, what little appeal they had was shot, which as a Sun Belt team meant that they had the potential to become quite a sports handicapping bargain.

The sports handicapping market changed dramatically beginning in North Texas’ fifth game, a 30-21 win over Middle Tennessee State as 3-point home chalks, which was the springboard to an incredible seven game winning streak both straight up and against the odds and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl for the fourth consecutive season. North Texas lost all of their value, however, with that strong finish to the season and, as only 6-point dogs to Southern Miss, failed to get the cash in a 10-31 loss but still finished in the black at 7-5 against the odds.





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