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At 8:20 PM ET on Sunday, we will be playing the Los Angeles Rams (487) minus the points versus the Cleveland Browns (488). THE SITUATION: Los Angeles (2-0) looks to build off their 27-9 win over New Orleans last week as a 2-point favorite. Cleveland (1-1) comes off a 23-3 win in New York against the Jets on Monday Night Football.
REASONS TO TAKE THE RAMS MINUS THE POINTS: The Browns have failed to cover the point spread in 5 straight games after a win by at least two touchdowns — and they have also failed to cover the point spread in 5 of their last 7 games after a point spread win. Now this team returns home with huge expectations this season given the accumulation of talent they have acquired on both sides of the football. But I worry that this organization has put the cart ahead of the horse when it comes to building a winning culture. With the personalities of Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham (among many) along with a rookie head coach in Freddie Kitchens, it is a volatile mix in Cleveland. They have failed to cover the point spread in 21 of their last 30 games at home — and they have failed to cover the point spread in 6 of their last 7 home games against teams with a winning record on the road. The Browns are also just 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 games against teams with a winning record. And while this Cleveland team has a very good defense, they have then failed to cover the point spread in 7 straight games after not allowing more than 14 points. Los Angeles has covered the point spread in 5 of their last 6 games after a straight-up win — and they have covered the point spread in 5 of their last 6 games after a point spread victory. Additionally, the Rams have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after a victory by at least two touchdowns — and they have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after not allowing more than 14 points in their last contest. This team goes back not he road where they have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games.
FINAL TAKE: Look for this to be a close game before the Rams’ eventually pull away. I don’t like the situation for the Browns — playing this game on a short week from Monday Night with the weight of the world on their shoulders with their thirsty fan base. The Rams have a significant edge in coaching with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips along with head coach Sean McVay battling wits with rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens with his coordinators, Todd Monken and Steve Wilks (who I like — but Phillips is the Dean of defensive coaches in the NFL). With LA also enjoying an experience edge with a host of big games under their belts, look for them to pull out the win. 10* NFL LA Rams-Cleveland NBC-TV Special with the Los Angeles Rams (487) minus the points versus the Cleveland Browns (488). Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 8:20 PM ET on Sunday, we will be playing Under the Total in the game between the Los Angeles Rams (487) and the Cleveland Browns (488). THE SITUATION: Los Angeles (2-0) looks to build off their 27-9 win over New Orleans last week as a 2-point favorite. Cleveland (1-1) comes off a 23-3 win in New York against the Jets on Monday Night Football.
REASONS TO TAKE UNDER THE TOTAL: The Browns have played 8 of their last 11 games Under the Total after a win by at least two touchdowns. And despite gaining 375 yards of offense last week, the Under is 3-0-1 in their last 4 games after gaining at least 350 yards in their last game. Second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield is experiencing some growing pains in this offense executing the passing game. He completed only 19 of 35 passes for 325 yards with a touchdown and an interception last week. He is dropping too far deep in the pocket on too many of his passing attempts. And when he stays in the pocket, he is too often bailout out with his left leg in his follow-through which is impacting is accuracy. Both of these bad habits can be attributed to his concerns about the opposing team’s pass rush. One of the big costs in acquiring wide receiver Odell Beckham was that had to ship off their solid right guard, Kevin Zeitler, to the Giants to complete the deal. Mayfield has been sacked eight times already this season — he has been sacked once in every ten pass plays this season as compared to his being sacked once every twenty pass plays last year. Those are ominous numbers when now facing Aaron Donald and this Rams defense. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is one of the best in the business — expect him to take Beckham away as a deep threat while daring Mayfield to be willing to be patient with his targets underneath. The Browns have a dynamic pass rush as well led by emerging star Myles Garrett who already has registered five sacks this season. Cleveland has held their first two opponents to just 300.5 total YPG. They return home where the Under is 15-6-1 in their last 22 games — and they have played 5 of their last 6 road games Under the Total against teams with a winning record on the road. The Browns have also played 30 of their last 46 games Under the Total with the number set in the 42.5 to 49 point range. Los Angeles is also playing outstanding defense after limiting the Saints to just 244 total yards last week (while knocking Drew Brees out of that game). The Rams have held their first two opponents to just 18.0 PPG along with only 293.5 total YPG. They have become a run-heavy team behind Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown who are both averaging over 5.0 Yards-Per-Carry this season. But this Rams team is being challenged with their depth on their offensive line with a rash of injuries at that position. Rookie Jamil Demby, a sixth-round pick, may have to make his first professional start at right guard for Austin Blythe who is out with a left ankle. The LA offense is not as dynamic on the road where they scored a nice 28.4 PPG last season but averaged only 387.6 total YPG — and that was -4 PPG below their season average along with over -30 YPG less than their overall average. QB Jared Goff averaged 342.1 passing YPG at home last year — but that number dropped to just 238 passing YPG on the road. The Rams have played 4 of their last 5 games Under the Total on the road.
FINAL TAKE: Both these teams have outstanding defenses. Both of these offenses have dynamic playmakers but are limited a bit given the respective state of their offensive lines. Expect a lower scoring game. 25* NFL Non-Conference Total of the Month with Under the Total in the game between the Los Angeles Rams (487) and the Cleveland Browns (488). Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 4:05 PM ET on Sunday, we will be playing the Carolina Panthers (479) plus the points versus the Arizona Cardinals (480). THE SITUATION: Carolina (0-2) looks to bounce-back from their 20-14 upset loss at home to Tampa Bay as a 6.5-point underdog back on September 12th. Arizona (0-1-1) looks to rebound from their 23-17 loss at Baltimore last Sunday as a 13-point underdog.
REASONS TO TAKE THE PANTHERS PLUS THE POINTS: This is a gut check game for this Carolina team after also losing their opening game of the season at home to the Los Angeles Rams by just a field goal. The Panthers have covered the point spread in 9 of their last 13 games after losing two games in a row at home — and they have covered the point spread in 4 straight games after losing those two games at home by 7 points or less. Carolina has also covered the point spread in 35 of their last 57 games after a point spread loss under head coach Ron Rivera. The team will be without quarterback Cam Newton who is being given time off given a bevy of injuries including his leg and his shoulder. Frankly, the Panthers will likely be better off with Kyle Allen under center since he is at least healthy. Newton is at his most effective when he offers a legitimate running option but his bum ankle has neutralized that part of his game as he only had one rushing attempt last week. Newton’s shoulder injury has negatively impacted his accuracy — and he has not thrown a touchdown pass in his last 178 pass attempts. Look for offensive coordinator Norv Turner to have a nice game plan for his second-year QB in Allen.
At 11:30 AM ET on Sunday, we will be playing Over the Total in the match between Liverpool (200017) and Chelsea (200018). THE SITUATION: Liverpool (W5-D0-L0) remained perfect so far in the English Premier League last Saturday with their 3-1 win at home over Newcastle. Chelsea (W2-D3-L1) comes off a dominant 5-2 win at Wolverhampton last Saturday.
REASONS TO TAKE OVER THE TOTAL: The Blues were led by Tammy Abraham who registered a hat trick to lead the way in that big victory over the Wolves. Abraham has already scored seven times for Frank Lampard’s side to give this Chelsea team a scoring threat at forward they have not had since Diego Costa helped them win an EPL championship a few seasons ago. The Blues have scored ten goals in their last three matches as they are finding plenty of scoring opportunities in Lampard’s system. Chelsea is third in the EPL by averaging 16.5 shots per match — and that number rises to 18.7 shots per game when they play at home at Stamford Bridge. But the Blues have also allowed eleven goals this season which is the second-most in the EPL. Lampard’s tactics are leaving this Chelsea team vulnerable in the midfield when they are not possessing the football — and that is a terrifying prospect for them when now facing Mo Salah and Sadio Mane of this powerful Liverpool team. The Reds have scored fifteen goals this season — and the reigning Champions League titleholders are second in the EPL by averaging 18.2 shots per game. Liverpool has seen six combined goals scored in their two road matches this season where they are average 15 shots per match which is also second in the league. An area of concern for this Reds team this season as they strive to win the EPL championship has been the play of their backline which has not been quite as stout as their play of last year. Liverpool has only one clean sheet this season as they have been relying on their prolific scoring attack that has netted at least three goals in four of their five matches.
FINAL TAKE: Chelsea has scored in nineteen of their last twenty matches with Liverpool across all competitions. Expect a higher scoring match. 25* EPL Sunday NBC Sports Network Total of the Month with Over the Total in the match between Liverpool (200017) and Chelsea (200018). Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, we will be playing Under the Total in the game between the Atlanta Falcons (469) and the Indianapolis Colts (470). THE SITUATION: Atlanta (1-1) looks to build off their 24-20 upset win over Philadelphia as a 1-point underdog last Sunday night. Indianapolis (1-1) comes off a 19-17 upset victory of their own at Tennessee as a 3-point underdog last week.
REASONS TO TAKE UNDER THE TOTAL: The Falcons have played 9 of their last 12 games Under the Total after a straight-up win — and they have played 8 of their last 10 games Under the Total after a point spread victory. Furthermore, Atlanta has played 14 of their last 21 games Under the Total after an upset victory. The Falcons defense played well to shut down the Eagles offense as they allowed only 286 total yards. Philly managed to gain just 49 rushing yards on 21 carries — and the Under is a decisive 61-26-4 in their last 91 games after not allowing more than 90 rushing yards in their last contest. QB Matt Ryan passed for 320 yards victory — but they have played 6 straight games Under the Total after passing for at least 250 yards in their last game. Now Atlanta goes back on the road where they have played 9 of their last 13 games Under the Total. Last week’s game finished below the 53 point Total as well — and they have played 13 of their last 20 games Under the Total after playing a game that finished Under the Total. And in their last 17 games with the Total set in the 42.5 to 49 point range, the game finished Under the Total 11 times. Indianapolis has played 29 of their last 42 games Under the Total after an upset victory as an underdog. The Colts held the Titans offense to just 242 total yards including just 119 yards in the air. Indianapolis has played 6 of their last 8 games Under the Total after not allowing more than 150 passing yards in their last game. And while that game fell well below the 43.5 point total, they have then played 13 of their last 18 games Under the Total after playing an Under in their last game. The Colts return home for this one where they have played 15 of their last 21 games Under the Total.
FINAL TAKE: Indy will want to run the ball to keep the Falcons’ potent offense off the field. They managed only 288 total yards in their victory over the Titans. Expect a lower scoring game. 10* NFL Sunday Afternoon O/U Kickoff with Under the Total in the game between the Atlanta Falcons (469) and the Indianapolis Colts (470). Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 4:25 PM ET on Sunday, we will be playing the Pittsburgh Steelers (485) plus the points versus the San Francisco 49ers (486). THE SITUATION: Pittsburgh (0-2) remained winless this season after their 28-26 upset loss at home to Seattle as a 4-point favorite. San Francisco (2-0) comes off a 41-17 blowout victory at Cincinnati last week as a 1-point underdog.
REASONS TO TAKE THE STEELERS PLUS THE POINTS: Pittsburgh was beating the Seahawks before Big Ben Roethlisberger suffered his season-ending elbow injury in that game. Now this organization is in a desperate situation with their franchise quarterback out and with them winless so far this season with a challenging trip out west on deck against an undefeated team. But the reason why we should have confidence that this football team has not thrown in the towel is that they traded valuable draft picks this week for Dolphins’ cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick who will offer the team an immediate upgrade in their secondary. The Steelers have a 10-6 straight-up record in their last sixteen games played without Roethlisberger — they are essentially a playoff team without him still. This team feels good enough about backup Mason Rudolph running the offense that they traded away their other young backup in Joshua Dobbs after the preseason. Rudolph completed 12 of 19 passes last week against Seattle for 112 yards with two touchdown passes. He will have the benefit of a strong offensive line as well. Look for the Steelers to rally around each other and head coach Mike Tomlin in this moment of adversity — they have covered the point spread in 27 of their last 43 games after an upset loss. Pittsburgh has also covered the point spread in 13 of their last 18 road games after failing to cover the point spread in their last two games. Additionally, the Steelers have covered the point spread in a decisive 62 of their last 103 road games as the underdog — and this includes them covering the point spread in 5 of their last 6 road games as the dog. And while Pittsburgh has allowed 61 points this season, they have covered the point spread in 11 of their last 17 games after allowing at least 25 points in their last game. San Francisco returns home after a successful two-game road trip out east with wins in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. But this team has not enjoyed much of a home-field advantage at Levi Stadium where they have failed to cover the point spread in 16 of their last 23 home games — and they have failed to cover the point spread in 12 of their last 17 home games against teams with a losing record on the road. This is a young team that does not have much of a track record handling success — and they have failed to cover the point spread in 4 straight home games as the favorite. Even without running back Tevin Coleman, the 49ers rushed for 259 yards last week against the Bengals defense — and they have failed to cover the point spread in 9 of their last 11 games after rushing for at least 150 yards. Coleman will still be out this week with his ankle injury — but the bigger concern is with the fibula injury to left tackle Joe Staley that will keep him out for the next six to eight weeks. San Fran also has injuries on their defensive line after allowing the Bengals to pass for 291 yards. The Niners have failed to cover the point spread in 5 of their last 7 games after allowing at least 250 passing yards in their last game.
FINAL TAKE: San Francisco is committing too many penalties right now — they are averaging 10 penalties per game which is accounting for 80 Yards-Per-Game. The 49ers may win this game — but this should be a dog fight against a desperate but veteran Steelers team with a winning culture. 25* NFL Underdog of the Month with the Pittsburgh Steelers (485) plus the points versus the San Francisco 49ers (486). Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, we will be playing the Philadelphia Eagles (464) minus the points versus the Detroit Lions (463). THE SITUATION: Philadelphia (1-1) looks to bounce-back from a 24-20 upset loss in Atlanta last Sunday night as a 1-point favorite. Detroit (1-0-1) looks to build off a 13-10 upset victory at home against the Los Angeles Chargers as a 1-point underdog.
REASONS TO TAKE THE EAGLES MINUS THE POINTS: Detroit should be 2-0 if not for their 4th quarter collapse in Arizona where they allowed rookie quarterback Kyler Murray to rally his team from a 24-6 4th quarter deficit to eke out a tie. The Lions then upset the Chargers playing in an early 1 PM ET kickoff game despite getting outgained by a 424 to 339 yardage margin. Detroit is likely due for a letdown now as they have failed to cover the point spread in 16 of their last 24 games after a narrow win at home by no more than a field goal. The Lions have also failed to cover the point spread in a decisive 29 of their last 43 road games after a win by 6 points or less. Detroit has also failed to cover the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after a point spread win. The biggest issue with this team is their lack of playmakers on both sides of the football. Quarterback Matthew Stafford remains solid if not spectacular and a bit of a disappointment as a former number one pick in the league. He lacks targets in the passing game that demands a double-team. The Lions have failed to cover the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after failing to score more than 14 points in their last game. Detroit’s defense has been built of capable playmakers but none strike fear in an offense. They are just 16-35-1 ATS in their last 52 games after not allowing more than 14 points in their last contest. Furthermore, the Lions have failed to cover the point spread in 7 of their last 10 games against fellow NFC opponents. Philadelphia will be looking to get back their winning ways after laying an egg in Atlanta. The Eagles are dealing with a host of injuries including their top two wide receivers in DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are both likely out for this game and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan out for four to six weeks. But this Philly team has one of the deepest rosters in the NFL — particularly on both lines of scrimmage. Quarterback Carson Wentz still has tight end Zack Ertz as well as a deep cadre of running backs. The Eagles enter this game 2nd in the NFL in 3rd down offense. And while they surrendered 310 passing yards last week to the Falcons, they have then covered the point spread in 5 of their last 7 games after not allowing more than 250 passing yards in their last game. Philly did hold the Falcons to just 58 rushing yards last week — and they have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after not allowing more than 90 rushing yards in their last game. The Eagles have held their first two opponents to just 42 rushing YPG which is third-best in the NFL. Detroit has become a run-first offense under head coach Matt Patricia with Stafford becoming more of a game-manager. Philadelphia has covered the point spread in 11 of their last 14 games after not allowing more than 99 rushing yards in two straight games. And don’t underestimate the value of the inside knowledge defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz possesses on Stafford after serving as his first head coach in his tour of duty as the Lions head coach from 2009 to 2013.
FINAL TAKE: Detroit has failed to cover the point spread in 4 of their last 5 trips to Philadelphia. The Eagles would likely be laying at least a touchdown if not for their injuries. While I don’t love the fact that they did not scrimmage in pads on Wednesday, the effect of that is probably overvalued. The Philadelphia depth along with their edges in coaching should lead them to a relatively easy victory. 25* NFC Game of the Month with the Philadelphia Eagles (464) minus the points versus the Detroit Lions (463). Best of luck for us — Frank.
Frank Sawyer has been the handicapper for the stars ever since he started working in the film industry over 20 years ago. In 1997, Frank decided to make his personal bets available to the public and his Hollywood Sports was born. His service has been ranked #1 by the Sports Monitor in Oklahoma City. Frank's style combines his veteran handicapping instincts with cutting edge statistical metric analysis to make him one of the most distinct, diverse and reliable handicappers in the business. One look at his Game Reports illustrates the difference he brings to the betting window. Frank bets football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and horse racing (he has been a professional racehorse owner). He ranks his plays with a simple 10*, 20* and 25* rating system that serves as a money management guide: 10* plays warrant a standard bet; 20* plays are strong enough to warrant a doubling of a standard bet; 25* plays are Frank's highest rated play and it is recommended to invest 2.5 to 3 times a standard bet. Frank's signature play is his *A-List* release which is reserved for only the most rare and elite betting situations. You can follow his daily sports trials and tribulations (with few jokes thrown in) on Twitter: FrankSawyer_HS
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