Jon Joseph, THE WIZARD OF ODDS at FishDuck

Jon Joseph Editorials 64 Comments

28-14, 28-14, 28-14! Take that Vegas Wise Guys! (Calm down JJ; hubris is a witch!)

OK, with all due respect to the gods of college football (CFB) I have managed to luck out so far in 2020. A true blessing in a year that has been anything but lucky. A 28-14 betting record is, by far, my best year ever against the spread. Caveat – I may be overdue for a comeuppance?

Now we are down to the conference championship games, conference championship weekend games and the Bowl Season also kicks off on Saturday with SMU playing UTSA in the Alphabet Bowl. Sorry, The Frisco Bowl. That’s Frisco, Texas. Not Frisco where Larry hangs his multi-million-dollar lid. (The game has now been COVID-cancelled and SMU is not able to take the field)

The Ducks are ticketed by all of the ‘expert’ bowl game predictors to play Army on December 26th in Shreveport, LA. My guess, being in Shreveport, Louisiana on Christmas Day, holed up in a Motel 6 with dinner at the nearby Waffle House, may well be, in addition to winning back-to-back Pac-12 championships, a huge incentive for Oregon to win Saturday’s now scheduled game against USC? How about a Fiesta instead of bowl of gumbo?

Army Athletics Twitter

The Ducks haven’t played Army since 1970, which ended in a tie!

For the Ducks, the chance to play for a conference title in 2020 is like being down 0-3 in the World Series, and coming back with the chance to hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth in game 7. Defeat Southern Cal in a game much of the CFB nation will be watching and the Ducks can expunge the pain of losing back-to-back games against inferior conference opponents.

Please Mario, please take advantage of this unexpected 2020 season reward? Have the vets ready to show up and the young guys ready to grow up! This is a huge opportunity to make amends. A chance to impress the recruits with a big win on national TV. A chance to play hard and smart and defeat a ranked team on the road. A chance to then play a highly ranked team in the Fiesta Bowl in front of an even bigger broadcast audience. A chance to be ranked in the top 15 of the ultimate AP Poll.

All righty then, taking it down from a frantic, LSU already received its 2020 reward when a Florida defensive back last Saturday evening decided to find out how far he could throw a Tiger’s player’s foot gear. According to the SEC ref, the shoe flew 20 yards and along with it flew Florida’s outside shot at a Final 4 bid. There’s stupid and then, there’s moronic. This brilliant display of sportsmanship extended the Tigers drive and allowed the LSU field goal kicker the chance to try a 57 yard, far from a shoe-in, field goal. The guy made it! And LSU laced-up a narrow victory, giving the Gators playoff hopes the boot.

Eschewing further discussion, let’s get to this week’s best betting guesses.

Eugene Johnson

The Ducks thoroughly outplayed the Trojans in 2019, beating them 56-24 in early November.

Pac-12 Champ Game: Oregon (Who Knew?) +3.5 at USC

The Helton Heart Attack Kids pulled out another late game win versus UCLA; SC’s 3rd last minute win in 2020. SC is 5-0. The Ducks are 3-2, with two back-to-back nothing but bad road losses.

WARNING: THIS is the recommendation of a quack addict. Do I like Oregon +3.5? Not really? I’m calling this one right from the gut.

Saturday, 12/12 SEC Champ Game – Alabama Death Star -17 versus The Florida Shoe Throwers in Atlanta.

Florida’s defense is suspect, while Sark has the Bama offense hitting on all cylinders. (The Bama D has steadily improved over the course of the season.) I like The Tide, with the extra incentive of getting QB Mac Jones over UF QB, Trask, the Heisman Trophy, to roll over the Gators in this game.

B1G Champ Game: Ohio State -20.5 versus Northwestern

Think the Buckeyes want to impress the Committee in this game so it can finish as a 6-0 conference champion and be blessed with a Final 4 Golden Ticket? Think I want a dozen golf balls for Christmas that always go in the intended direction at the perfect distance?

I think the Buckeyes will have a Fields day.

ACC Champ Game: Clemson -6.5 versus Notre Dame

The Tigers have to win this game to advance to the Final 4, while the Irish do not. And there’s the small motivational factor of having lost to Notre Dame in South Bend in double OT. In this rematch, Sir Lawrence of Long Locks will be on the mound, and a whole bunch of Tigers D guys who missed the first game against the Irish will be healthy and playing ball.

I’m double dipping here. I like Clemson -6.5 and the final score going “Over” 61.5


The Ducks (Let’s hear it!) +3.5
Alabama -17
The Buckeyes -20.5
Clemson -6.5 with the game going “Over” 61.5

BONUS PICK – Sun Belt Champ Game: Louisiana at Coastal Carolina – IF you are going to take my advice on any games on the list, take this game to go “Over” the 54.5. Do check with the pros when betting and consider their advice, especially at a site such as this.

Happy wagering! And be sure to never bet more than a bottle of Mylanta can cure.

Jon Joseph
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo by Eugene Johnson

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Ducks To Play Portland On Saturday:



EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon men’s basketball team will host Portland Saturday at noon at Matthew Knight Arena. The game will be televised by Pac-12 Network.

With the addition of the game with the Pilots, Oregon (4-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will face two West Coast Conference opponents this week. The team announced a Thursday matchup with San Francisco on Tuesday.

The Pilots are 5-1 on the season after defeating the College of Idaho 88-74 Tuesday night. Portland beat Oregon State 87-86 in overtime Dec. 10 in Corvallis. This will be the 60th meeting all-time between the Ducks and Pilots. Oregon leads the series 49-10. Portland won the last meeting, 88-81, Nov. 21, 2009.


Aaron Estrada Cleared to Play by NCAA:

The NCAA decided on Wednesday to issue a blanket waiver making all transfers immediately eligible to play. This means that the sophomore transfer from St. Peters who was redshirting can play today versus San Francisco at 5:00 PM. He was rookie of the year in the Metro Atlantic conference and the 6’4″ guard averaged eight points a game.

Coach Dana Altman stated that, “He’s familiar with everything we’re doing…Aaron picks up things pretty quickly….he’ll be ready to go.”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

The Dons are 5-3 and beat No. 4 (at the time) Virginia, beat Nevada in Reno and lost to Cal last weekend on the final shot. Coach Altman shakes his head, “I don’t know what I was thinking adding these guys. A very good offensive team, very experienced, it’ll be a big challenge. We’re going to have to play really well.”

Oregon plays San Francisco today at 5:00 at MKA and is on the Pac-12 Network.


Great team, along with Russell on the team was K.C. Jones. I don’t know of any other combo, in any other sport who won championships together in college, than championships in the pro’s, for Russell and Jones, the Celtics, where for a while, Russell was Player-Coach. Later, Jones won NBA championships in 1984 & 1986 as the coach of the Celtics.


The Dons aren’t a tricky offense, they shoot a lot of 3’s, and they make a lot of 3’s. In the win over Virginia they shot 46.4%, for the season they average, 39.6%. For the season Oregon is shooting 32.3% and allowing their opponents, 33.0%

Saturday will be a doubleheader of Ducks basketball. Following the Men against Portland, the Lady Ducks take on the Huskies @ 2:00. For now, the game is only on Pac-12 Oregon, 1330 on Comcast. The Ladies game against WSU, Monday @ 11:00 is also on Pac-12 Oregon.


Bummer, Comcast only offers National & 1 local Pac regardless of what package you have. So in CA you either get the Bay Area or LA local broadcasts. All their rebroadcasts are only Cal/Stanford or UCLA/SC centric, respectively.


It is also ridiculous that the Oregon Women’s basketball games are only available on radio in Eugene! A couple of years ago there was a station in the Portland area that carried the games, but when that station changed their format, it was bye bye to the Lady Ducks.


The Network is very screwed up. Right now, 3:18 Pacific time on Thursday, 2:00-4:00, Saturday is listed as “College Basketball: Teams TBA, Men’s college basketball action”

Later, at 7:00, it has “Oregon @ Washington” as NEW, followed by Stanford @ USC, NEW. But not “Live”, Oregon @ Washington is Live @ 2:00 on 1330.


And the USF game not available in Sacramento as both the National and Bay Area channels are showing rebroadcasts of USF vs USC or Cal. God, what a garbage network.


I detest not being able to get the PAC-12 Network. :-(


Sweet game tonight. Ducks alumni accounted for 642 yards and 5 touchdowns!!!

Excellent play by both Herbert and Mariota. That was my favorite game to watch this season.

Jon Sousa

On Topic… When it is Herbert vs. Mariota… take the OVER.


Who to root for……Herbert or Mariota???

They both look good. Great day for the Oregon Ducks.

David Marsh

Both! Let them score as many touchdowns as possible and have special teams lose it for one team because… Who cares at that point.

Go Ducks!


I think I am pulling for Mariota to win it. He needs it more.

But I am pushing for Herbert to pad his stats to the maximum.

That was an awesome score by Mariota running it just now. Dude plays with heart!!

David Marsh

An interception that might be the game from MM … But regardless one hell of a game and if you’re the raiders coach you’d be very happy with what you saw from MM.

Jon Sousa

Emphasis on the word UNTAPPED.


This seems very much in line with what many feel is ‘fair’ for both sides. Will be interesting to see how this plays out for the assistant coaches as well.

Regardless, a brave step by both Mario and the administration in these uncertain times.


This article came at just the right time, when I am struggling with a difficult decision and I needed a pick-me-up.

You came through, Jon, thank you!

I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks of Shreveport, LA, the Independence Bowl, and Motel 6. The closest to the South that I’ve ever been is Maryland, so I was thinking Denny’s or IHOP, but now I know that the Waffle House is the perfect place to pick up your breakfast or midnight snack in Louisiana!

Somehow, I imagine that MC would actually enjoy the situation.

We’d read news reports the day before the game about the FBI and the ATF being called to Shreveport to investigate a suspected militia group; it would turn out that MC had the team out in the Motel 6 parking lot at 5AM doing jumping jacks, high knees, squat jumps, and military marching drills while wearing their Nike camo cold-weather suits.

The Waffle House would be in the black for the entire first quarter of 2021 just from one weekend.

Now I am happy lost in my imagination!

I have no idea if your spread picks will be true, but I would not bet against you.

David Marsh

Love him, hate him… we’re stuck with him.

I think it is overall a good thing. I keep coming back to the same question… if not Cristobal then who?

Cristobal needs to still learn a lot as a head coach and he needs to show it but is there anyone else that would first come to Oregon and then do a better job? I don’t think so.


I am glad he signed the contract.

Many critics. I think some people expect perfection. Goes with the territory in his business. Glad I didn’t have some of these guys analyzing my abilities to run my business.


All things considered, I believe this a good thing. What would be the alternative? Let him go, blow up all the recruiting and culture work, and start over? I always keep in mind the saying, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. Mario is good, not perfect, but I don’t see a better move for the Ducks to make at this point.

Jon Sousa


What comes to mind is the high school football cheer: “Do it again! Do it again! We LIKE it; we LIKE it! Do it again! Do it again! We LIKE it; we LIKE it!”

Thank you for a fun read Jon. You have more football knowledge in your little finger than I have in my whole body.

David Marsh

Nice to read one of your articles again Jon.

Here’s to the Ducks peaking at the right time this year!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

FishDuck has never had someone who actually bets, is successful at it and can write superbly about it until Jon Joseph came along. Add his humor and it is a very entertaining read whether you bet or not.

Really great stuff Jon…

J Duck

I want the over/under on #FireLarryScott being the best gift under the tree this year 🤭

David Marsh

Larry has few allies left from when he first got the job… his time is coming.


On your word Jon, I’m breaking open the piggy bank.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Jon…this is a massive article in itself and one that I wish you would have saved for after the season in order to allow full discussion of all the components. Really well thought out and presents so much more than I have time to write at the moment.

Simply an incredible post.

I also think it is a great example for everyone of how you and I can be critical of Mario, (negative at times) but we also give him the credit where due and want him to have the full chance to succeed.

Boy this community is ready for a forum!


Seems like you’re asking what is Oregon’s handicap, right? I don’t think we have a scratch program and our expectations should take into account our handicap.

Oregon’s handicap is low, but with the road games against Ohio State and Georgia it makes it tough. We also play a tougher road conference schedule, again effecting our ability to reach lofty expectations.

One albatross hanging over the program has been defeated. The idea that you can’t recruit to Oregon has, again, been put the side. We can hit the long ball like the big boys.

It is our short game which needs polishing to reach par or scratch, which is where many thing we need to be. The short game is play calling and game day readiness. We have to beat any team that is beneath us. If you want to get a low handicap you have to play well on the easy courses.

The other element is game day play calling. When we have the under 6′ putt, we have to make it. The third down play needs to be almost automatic, and not predictable. If we can do this then maybe we can become a scratch program, at times.


Good one, the long ball and the recruiting look good, but the score is made once you get on the green and finish.

It is a rare combination when somebody can hit the long ball and has a great short game. Maybe this is a lesson for Cristobal, let someone else play the short game and keep that handicap down.

Funny, as I can see Cristobal being a big hitter and CK being a crafty guy around the green. Two different talents, but you have to have it all together to compete at the highest level.

Cristobal thinks he has a good short game and CK cares little about the long game, which contribute to their handicaps.

Jon Sousa

Totally agree, Jon. As I have been saying for a couple years, the Ducks goal should be win the PAC 12 and the Rose Bowl. Do that on a regular basis and Playoffs will be at least a semi-regular occurrence. Semi-regular appearances in the playoffs will bring an inevitable National Championship from time to time.


All your picks look like winners to me, Jon. So far, the key to beating the Trojans would seem to be make sure that they’re leading with less than :48 left in the game! That, and turnovers, the Trojans have literally stolen their wins over ASU, Arizona & UCLA in the last seconds.

I have this gnawing feeling that Clemson won’t need larceny to beat the Irish, more like blunt force trauma. But there is a chance, ” Book it, Notre Dame!”

Win the SEC, get in the Playoff, and a Heisman for your quarterback, the to-do list for Alabama.


The “steals” only come about because there is a lot of talent on the team. They may not be completely put together but desire and talent have come through. Mostly the Ducks have similar talent but are very young. The D talent is still not matured.


There is no doubt that the Trojans took full advantage of the mistakes made by ASU, Arizona & UCLA. Credit to them for playing to the very end.




Some sage picks from the lands of the Savannah River, Carolina Pines, and Aiken Steeplechase, Jon. I enjoy your tongue-in-cheek humor.

Go Ducks!