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When you run into Will Smith in Vegas, well, you should listen to what he says. Even when it’s not that Will Smith.
On Monday night at the famed Superbook at the Westgate Las Vegas, just before kickoff of the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Will Smith was hanging out with a few buddies, tipping a few adult beverages, and poring over a few betting tickets.
So who does Will Smith the bettor – not to be confused with Will Smith the actor – like in the battle between Oregon and Ohio State, a 6-point underdog at Jerry Jones’ palatial party palace in suburban Dallas?
“I’m from Birmingham, Alabama,” Smith said, while figuratively licking his wounds over his beloved Alabama’s loss to Ohio State in the national semifinal playoff game. “But I have a lot of family from Ohio, my girl is from Ohio, and my cousin played fullback for Ohio State.”
Will Smith, far right, settles in at the Superbook with, from left, James Rockquemore, Virgil Houston and Greg M.
Indeed, Brandon Smith played for the Buckeyes a few years back, wrapping up his college career after the 2008 season. On a totally unrelated but very interesting side note, Brandon Smith is now a police officer in Birmingham, and last year he was seriously injured when a drunk driver hit him as he was aiding a stranded motorist. He’s still recovering, and last month, his orthopedic surgeon gave him two tickets to the aforementioned Sugar Bowl battle between Ohio State and Alabama.
Does all that information help answer the question?
“Ohio State on the moneyline,” Smith bellows. “The spread is six, but I don’t care. I was gonna take the six points, but I want them to win. I think they’re gonna win the game. And Cardale Jones, ‘12 Gauge’, he’s huge. I’m running with ‘12 Gauge’.”
Then he provided what proved to be some pretty accurate analysis.
“I think it’s going Under the total,” he said. “In the first half, there will be a lot of nerves. Mark Helfrich, the Oregon coach, he hasn’t been here before. Urban Meyer has. I really like the Under in the first half.”
Indeed, the Ducks had a couple key dropped passes in the first half – a sure sign of those nerves – and the Buckeyes took a 21-10 halftime lead, going Under the first half total of 37.
But Smith had more, drawing on Oregon’s history against a team with another big quarterback in another big game –the BCS national championship four years ago, facing Auburn and Cam Newton. The high-octane Ducks offense got stuck in neutral in a 22-19 loss.
“Cardale Jones is a big QB, too, just like Cam,” Smith said. And like Auburn in 2010, Ohio State had to beat Alabama to get a shot at the title. “When you beat Alabama, you’ve got more talent than anybody. You’re loaded. It ain’t like you’re playing the Little Sisters of the Poor.
“My final score: I think it’s gonna be Ohio State, 37-24.”
To recap: Smith called for an outright upset, the Under in the game (total 72) and the Under in the first half. He got all that and more, as the Buckeyes rolled, 42-20.
So while this Will Smith wasn’t the star of “Men in Black,” he was the “Man in the Black”, cashing out big on the Buckeyes.
Colin Kelly is a Las Vegas-based contributor for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @ColinPKelly29.