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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-18-13||Toronto Raptors v. Philadelphia 76ers -4||Top||101-108||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Raptors have been fighting hard and have been quite a profitable team in recent weeks. Their "competitiveness" combined with Philadelphia's recent struggles has helped in keeping this line quite low. While I respect the Raptors, I believe that the low line is providing us with excellent value on what should be a very hungry home team.
The Raptors did have yesterday off. However, they lost a heart-breaker on Wednesday and I feel that the may not yet be fully recovered. Down significantly against Chicago, they battled all the way, only to ultimately lose in OT.
Off that heartbreaker, the Raptors are back on the road where they've won just four of 20 games. While the 76'ers have struggled, they're still above .500 here at home.
Not surprisingly, homecourt has been significant in two of this season's previous three meetings. The teams split the two games at Toronto. However, the 76'ers won by eight in the lone meeting here at Philadelphia. Note that the 76'ers were laying 5.5 points for that game and that we're getting a better number on them here.
Including that result, the 76ers are 3-2 ATS (4-1 SU) as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range while the Raptors are only 1-4 SU/ATS as road underdogs in the same range.
While the Raptors may be still hurting a bit from Wednesday, the 76'ers should be very fresh. They had the last two days off and have actually had two day's off after each of their last three games. The Raptors have been outworking and out-hustling some teams but I don't expect that to happen here. *10 Atlantic GOM
|01-17-13||Oregon v. USC +3.5||Top||76-74||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. I've had some success with the Trojans of late. They've covered three of their last four games and I've been on all three of those ATS wins, while avoiding the loss. The three covers came against Utah, Colorado and Stanford (they beat Stanford outright and crushed Utah.)
The Ducks have certainly been playing well and their recent win streak has propelled them into the Top 25. While I respect the Ducks, I don't believe there's as much of a talent gap between these teams as suggested by the standings.
I also feel that the Ducks could be potentially patting themselves on the back a bit, while possibly looking past "lowly USC" and ahead to Saturday's showdown at UCLA.
While backing the Trojans recently, I've been mentioning that I believe they're better than their record indicates and that they've been under-valued.
Apparently USC athletic director Pat Haden felt the same way. Even after the blowout win at Utah, the school fired coach Kevin O'Neill.
Haden was quoted as saying: "Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team."
While it can admittedly sometimes go either way, I expect the USC players to respond well to the change, at least for tonight. With a legit chance to take out a ranked opponent, I expect the Trojans to rise to the occasion, stepping up and earning AT LEAST a cover. *10 best bet
|01-17-13||Miami Heat v. Los Angeles Lakers -2.5||Top||99-90||Loss||-103||15 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. After avoiding them during their skid, I've successfully backed the Lakers each of their last two games. Both of those resulted in blowout victories. Those were against lesser teams, so obviously the Heat represent a significant step up in class. I believe that the Lakers will be up for the challenge though and I expect them to continue their current "winning streak" for another day.
While the Lakers had last night off, the Heat were busy beating up on the Warriors. True, that game wasn't that taxing, as the Heat were in cruise control by the fourth quarter and the starters got some added rest. However, they still had to play. Wade, Chalmers, Bosh and Allen still played at least 26 minutes while Lebron played more than 30.
While the Heat are certainly capable of winning in a back-to-back spot, I do think the fact the Lebron "made history" last night (youngest player to reach 20,000) could be cause for a potential letdown, if only a very slight one.
In addition to playing the second of back-to-back games, the Heat will be playing their third game in four nights and they're playing the final game of a 6-game road trip.
Note that Miami is a surprisingly poor 4-10-1 ATS the past 15 times that it was listed as a road underdog of three or fewer points.
Lebron always plays with a chip on his shoulder and will surely want to try and get the better of Kobe on national TV. However, the same can be said of Kobe and its the Lakers who need this game more.
The Lakers had recently stumbled against some "elite" competition and they're still trying to get themselves back in the playoff race. A victory over the defending champs on national TV would make a statement that they're officially "back," capable of beating top tier teams and that the "new era" is now really underway. Of course, the "W" is the standings is also important, particularly with the Lakers' next three games coming on the road.
Kobe had this to say: "It's a good measuring stick for us to see how much we've improved since last week, when we played against several top teams and they all beat us. This is a big test with the defending champs coming to town."
While Nash and Howard are settling in nicely, Gasol is also expected to return tonight.
For all their struggles, lets keep in mind that the Lakers still have a better record at home (12-9) than the Heat do on the road. (Miami is now 9-9 away from home.)
I expect Kobe and co. to "pass the test," covering the small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-17-13||Michigan v. Minnesota -2.5||Top||83-75||Loss||-110||6 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. Both teams are off to great starts. However, both lost last time out. Playing at home, I expect the Gophers to be the team which bounces back.
The Gophers now have two losses. On the other hand, the Wolverines are coming off their first defeat. That alone will have many favoring Michigan. However, I actually believe that will favor Minnesota.
The Gophers have already had to deal with failure. They've already successfully bounced back from a loss. (After losing vs. Duke back in November, Minnesota responded with a 9-point win over Memphis in its next game.)
On other had, the Wolverines had thoughts of going undefeated. Losing that first game, after being perfect so long, can be difficult.
I believe that last year's games will provide some extra motivation for the Gophers. They very easily could have been 2-0 against the Wolverines last year but instead went 0-2. Note that neither game was on this floor.
Note that the Gophers are a physical team, one which leads the conference in offensive rebounds and that they're undefeated at home.
Michigan coach John Beilein noted: "We could have lost both games very easily last year. They were both last-second games. It's another great opportunity for us to grow. ... It is all about the process, and the journey and the process are what leads you to the end."
The Wolverines are only 5-12-2 ATS (3-16 SU) the last 19 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range. Don't be surprised when they lose their second straight. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-16-13||Brooklyn Nets v. Atlanta Hawks -4||Top||95-109||Win||100||15 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. After back-to-back road losses including an embarrassing 97-58 blowout at Chicago on Monday, I expect the Hawks to be in an extremely foul mood here. I said the same thing the last time that they played here (as they were also off b2b road losses) and the Hawks rewarded me with an 8-point victory over the Jazz. With the schedule in their favor, I expect the Hawks to again bounce back with a badly needed win and cover.
While the Hawks have had trouble on the road of late, they've still won four of their last five at home. All four wins came by a minimum of seven points. They've now won 11 of their last 15 here.
While the Hawks had last night off, the Nets were involved in a hard-fought game vs. pesky Toronto. They'll be playing their third game in four nights here. Note that the Nets are just 1-5 SU/ATS when playing a road game, after playing the previous night. Overall, they're just 3-8 ATS the last 11 times that they played the second of back to back games.
I like that this is the front-end of a home-and-home series. The Hawks are desperate and know they need to defend their home floor. The Nets are potentially a little weary and also potentially patting themselves on the back a bit. They know they'll get a chance to beat these same Hawks at Brooklyn on Friday and may not be quite as hungry here, as a result.
The Hawks are 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS the last six times that they were off a double-digit loss. They've dominated the Nets here at Atlanta and I expect that to continue for at least another night. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-15-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Los Angeles Lakers -6.5||Top||88-104||Win||100||15 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. The Lakers snapped their skid in a big way on Sunday night, blowing out Cleveland. While the Bucks are having a better season than the Cavs, I feel that they're another team which the Lakers should be able to handle.
This season's Bucks, who are averaging 96.5 points per game, have had trouble keeping up with the league's better offensive teams. In fact, they're just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS when matched up against teams which score 99 or more points per game. The Lakers average 103.4 and have scored 99 or more in 15 straight games.
The Bucks have also long had trouble with the Western Conference. In fact, they're a dismal 19-40 SU/ATS against teams from the West the past few seasons, including a 2-9 ATS (3-8 SU) mark this season.
While Gasol remains out, the Lakers got Dwight Howard back last time out.
As Steve Nash noted: It's great to have Dwight back. He's obviously huge for our team. We need him down there anchoring the defense and drawing a crowd on offense."
Note that Howard averaged 27.3 points and 16.7 rebounds in his last three matchups against the Bucks, all with Orlando.
Kobe had this to say: "We obviously ran into a tough patch last week. We were struggling, were decimated by injuries and we just so happened to play some of the top teams in the league. Now here's an opportunity to really pick it up and get going."
When stuck in a losing streak, a big win can do wonders for a team. I expect the Lakers' confidence to be high here and for them to "pick it up and get going" en route to another win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-15-13||Northern Iowa +13 v. Creighton||Top||68-79||Win||100||12 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTHERN IOWA. The Bluejays are a very good team. Having the reigning Missouri Valley Conference player (Doug McDermott) helps. That said, the Panthers are a solid team and they had success in limiting McDermott last season. I believe the line will prove to be too high.
The Panthers limited McDermott to less than 20 points each time that they faced him last season. Jake Koch, now a senior, was a big part of that. Koch, both taller and heavier than McDemott, leads the Panthers in both steals and rebounds.
Having limited McDermott to 14 and 18 points, the Panthers were able to play the Bluejays very tough last season. Both games were decided by a mere three points, the home team winning each.
Going back further finds that these teams have met nine times (3 times in the 2011 season) since 2009. Northern Iowa won five of those games, four of the wins coming by eight or less. All of Creighton's four victories came by single-digits, an average margin of victory of only five.
The Panthers may only be 2-2 SU in 2013. However, both losses came by four or fewer points. Additionally, they're off a momentum and confidence-building 84-53 destruction of Bradley.
After the big win, Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson, who has ties to Creighton coach Greg McDermott, had this to say: "We just needed a little bit of bounce in our step."
While the Bluejays are 5-7 ATS the last dozen times that they were a home favorite of greater than 12 points, the Panthers are 8-2 ATS the last 10 times that they were road underdogs in the 12.5 to 15 range, 13-5 ATS the last 18 times that they were road underdogs of greater than a dozen.
The Panthers won't be able to stop McDermott. However, they should be able to do a much better job than Missouri State just did. I expect that to allow them to keep it relatively close the entire way, giving the Bluejays and their fans a much tougher game than they were probably expecting. *10 best bet
|01-15-13||Toronto Raptors +7 v. Brooklyn Nets||Top||106-113||Push||0||13 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. These teams have faced each other twice already this season. The Nets managed to win those games. However, neither victory was easy; both were decided by seven or fewer points. I expect the revenge-minded Raptors to give their hosts all that they can handle again here.
The Raptors really felt that they let last month's meeting at the Air Canada Centre, a game they led by eight at halftime, get away from them. They believe that they can play with this team and I expect them to come in both confident and motivated.
Dating back to last month's meeting at Toronto, the Raptors have won 10 of 14 games. That includes a 3-1 SU/ATS record on the road, too. The lone loss came at San Antonio, the day after Christmas.
Granted, the Nets have been playing very well recently. However, they've also had a pretty favorable recent schedule. They did beat a good Indiana team last time out. However, they were playing with rest and the Pacers were in a back-to-back spot. Prior to that, the Nets previous four opponents had been Phoenix, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Washington. None of those four teams have played nearly as well as Toronto in recent weeks. (To their credit, they did beat OKC before that.)
Having already beaten the Raptors twice and perhaps patting themselves on the back a bit from the recent win streak, I feel the Nets may not be quite as focused as their guests here.
Note that the Nets play tomorrow, the first leg of a home and home series vs. Atlanta. The Raptors have tomorrow off. While the Raptors are a non-factor in the playoffs, the Nets and Hawks are currently #4 and #5 in the Eastern standings and have very similar records. So, that could be potential cause to be "looking ahead."
Furthermore, note that the Nets are 1-4 ATS the last five times that they played the front end of back-to-back games. The only one of those five games that resulted in a win of greater than two points came against Charlotte, the worst team in the league.
The Raptors did suffer a disappointing loss last time out. They're 33-27 ATS the past couple of seasons when off a double-digit loss though the Nets are 9-13 ATS off a double-digit win, during the same stretch. With the Nets also only 3-5 ATS as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range, I'm grabbing the points. *10 best bet
|01-14-13||NC-Greensboro +4.5 v. Appalachian State||Top||70-83||Loss||-110||8 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNC GREENSBORO. The Mountaineers have been excellent as underdogs this season. However, I don't believe that they're ready to be laying this many points against what I feel may well be a superior Spartans squad.
Playing without Trevis Simpson, the Spartans lost last time out. However, that defeat came by only three points (as a 7 point dog) and they'd won their previous game by 39.
While the Spartans are 11-8 ATS off a conference loss, the Mountaineers are 8-11 ATS the past couple of seasons off a conference win.
These teams both faced Virginia Tech back in November. I find it revealing that the Mountaineers were 19-point underdogs against the Hokies while the Spartans were only 5-point underdogs, a few days earlier. Granted, the venues were different. However, a 14-point difference in lines is significant.
The Spartans have won back-to-back games in this series, most recently a 10-point win in the conference tournament last March. Note that three of the previous four meetings were decided by four or fewer points. I believe this one could again easily come down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10 Southern Conf. GOY
|01-13-13||Cleveland Cavaliers v. Los Angeles Lakers -7.5||Top||93-113||Win||100||13 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on the LA LAKERS. Enough is enough. The Lakers have lost six straight, failing to cover in five of those games. A closer look shows that their last five games have come against the likes of OKC, San Antonio, Denver, Houston and the Clippers. Needless to say, the Cavaliers represent a significant step down in class.
True, the Lakers are still without Gasol and Howard. Defeating elite teams without those two bigs is going to be challenging. Beating a Cleveland team which is 9-29 (5-17 on road) and which is without its own big (Varaejo) should be an entirely different matter.
Coach D'Antoni knows that the time is now and this team needs to take advantage of this very winnable game. He was quoted as saying: "I told the team, the biggest thing is our season starts Sunday. We've got to make a run. We've got one shot at it, and everybody needs to get ready mentally and physically. We won't be mathematically out of it Tuesday if we don't do it Sunday, but it has got to turn around somewhere. And we have to make our stand and do it. I am an optimist and I think it can happen."
Both teams had Saturday off. While the Lakers also have tomorrow off, the Cavs will be playing at Sacramento. That's noteworthy as they're just 7-13 AT (5-15 U) the last 20 times that they played the front end of back-to-back games. That includes a 1-4 SU/ATS mark their last five in that situation, the lone victory coming by just two points vs. lowly Charlotte.
Playing with revenge from a loss at Cleveland last month and desperate to snap their skid, I expect the Lakers to step up and "make their stand" with a big win and cover. *10 Non-Conf GOM
|01-13-13||Houston Texans +10 v. New England Patriots||Top||28-41||Loss||-115||120 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. You probably remember that these teams faced each other here about a month ago. If so, you'll recall that the Pats crushed the Texans in that game. That result is one of the factors causing this line to be much higher than it was for last month's meeting. I believe it will prove to be too high.
The Texans were among the best teams in the league for much of the season. Right up until the time they played here, at least. That loss sent them into a bit of a tailspin. The Texans flipped the switch back on last week though, knocking off a tough Cincy team which was playing very well. With their "mojo" back and having earned some "relief" in bouncing back, I expect the revenge-minded Texans, who are now 5-0 ATS their last five January games, to be at their best here.
Note that Houston is 10-2 ATS the last 12 times it attempted to avenge an earlier loss, going 3-0 SU/ATS its last three in that situation.
The Texans rode Arian Foster hard in the win over the Bengals. He had 140 yards on 32 carries. While Foster deserves a lot of that credit, the Houston offensive line did an excellent job of opening holes for him, against a touch Bengals' defensive line. I believe that strong running game will serve the Texans well here.
The Pats are only 1-3 ATS their last four playoff games and they're also a somewhat surprising 0-4 ATS (1-3 SU) the last four times that they played with two or more week's worth of rest in between games. When in that situation this season, they eked out a 6-point win over the Bills.
This O/U line is a bit lower than it was for last month's meeting. Therefore, its worth noting that the Pats are a poor 2-7 ATS the last nine times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 45.5 to 49 range. Going back further finds them at just 9-23 ATS their last 32 in that situation. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. *10 AFC Best bet
|01-13-13||Seattle Seahawks v. Atlanta Falcons -1||Top||28-30||Win||100||117 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. Talk about a lack of respect. The Falcons are the #1 seed in the NFC. They've got an experienced QB who practically never loses here. They're well-rested and well-coached. Yet, they're barely favored. While I'm well aware of their past postseason shortcomings, I feel that the low number is providing us with excellent value.
The Seahawks rallied for a win at Washington last week. That was against a team which also had a rookie QB though - one which wasn't close to being 100% healthy. That was also against a team which had (arguably) over-achieved just to make the playoffs. Additionally, the Hawks got to play a game in the later part of the day.
Now, however, this West-Coast based team will be contending with an early starting time, while playing its second straight road game. Now, they'll be facing a healthy QB and a team that has been fully focused on the playoffs and on improving its "legacy." I believe that the Hawks, who are much bettere defensively than the Skins (and also arguably better offensively) will prove to be a far tougher opponent.
The Falcons did lose their final game of the regular season, a 22-17 loss vs. the Bucs. They're 6-0 SU the last six times that they were off a divisional loss though and that was a meaningless game. The last time that they were really "motivated" for a game here, the Falcons destroyed the Giants by a score of 34-0. While we may not see another destruction like that one, I expect to see that type of resolve and focus from Atlanta.
While they've got a great homefield advantage, the Seahawks are still 8-17 SU their last 25 road games. During that stretch, the Falcons are 20-5 here at Atlanta. That includes a 6-3 SU/ATS mark as home favorites of three or fewer points. That also includes a 7-1 mark here this season. They outscored teams by a 24.5 to 17 margin here.
The Falcons beat the Seahawks each of the last two seasons. While Russell Wilson wasn't on the team at the time, each of those games came at Seattle, where the Hawks are a much better team. Playing at home and playing with a chip on its collective shoulders, I expect the #1 seed to again take care of business. *10 Playoff GOY
I'm also playing ATLANTA on the MONEYLINE for the first half. While it may seem too obvious to mention, the Falcons have the significant advantage of playing at home. They're dominant here. The Seahawks are also excellent on their homefield. They're thousands of miles from home now though, playing an early game.
We did see the Hawks rally for a win last week. However, we also saw the Skins jump all over them right out of the gate.
The Falcons have outscored teams by a 12.9 to 9.5 margin in the first half here at home this season. They've got something to prove here and I expect them to come out strong.
While I do expect the Falcons to be leading a halftime, I am recommending the money-line rather than the short pointspread. The price is quite reasonable and it gives us a push in the event of a tie at halftime and the win if the Falcons are leading by only a single points. *8 annihilator
|01-12-13||Houston Rockets v. Philadelphia 76ers +1||Top||100-107||Win||100||9 h 7 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. This should be an excellent spot for the 76'ers to break their losing streak. While Philadelphia had the last two nights off, the Rockets were busy getting blown out at Boston last night. Not only will they be playing their second game in two nights here, they'll also be playing their fourth game in the past five, all four of those games in different cities.
The Rockets, 7-10 away from Houston, are 4-6 ATS when playing the second of b2b games, most recently losing by nine at New Orleans. They're now 7-13 SU/ATS their last 20 in that situation.
These teams met at Houston about a week before Christmas. In that game, the Rockets were "fresh," as they had the previous night off. The 76ers came in off a game the previous night and got smoked. With the shoe now on the other foot, I expect the revenge-minded 76ers to bounce back with a badly needed victory. *10 best bet
|01-12-13||Utah Jazz v. Detroit Pistons -2||Top||90-87||Loss||-110||9 h 0 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. I successfully played against the Jazz last night. They played well most of the game but folded against a determined Atlanta team in the fourth quarter. That figures to be a rather deflating loss and I look for the Jazz to stumble again tonight.
The Pistons also played last night. However, the won big at Milwaukee. They've now quietly won five of six. The lone loss came here vs. Charlotte in their last game though. So, they should be hungry to atone for that setback tonight.
While its true that both teams are playing in a b2b spot, the Pistons have the schedule in their favor. Not only are they playing at home but they also had four nights off, prior to last night's game. Really, the schedule has been very manageable for the Pistons for some time as they haven't played back-to-back games since 12/21 and 12/22. (They were 2-0 SU/ATS in those games, winning by 41 combined points.) They should still be relatively fresh here.
On the other hand, the Jazz will be playing their third game in four nights. They're just 3-6 SU/ATS when playing the second of b2b games. This will be their sixth game in nine days. Fatigue may be a factor, particularly for a team dealing with injury issues in the backcourt. All things considered, this number seems more than fair. *9 personal favorite
|01-12-13||USC +4 v. Utah||Top||76-59||Win||100||7 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. The Utes have been a covering machine when listed as underdogs this season. However, they're favored here and I'm not convinced that they're the better team.
I won with Trojans in their last game, a cover at Colorado. I also won with them when they beat Stanford recently. As I've been saying when backing them in those games, I feel that this is a solid team which is currently under-valued. I believe that's still the case here.
This has long been a winning role for USC. Indeed, the Trojans are 18-8 ATS the last 26 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
It was exactly one year ago to the day that these teams last met. Laying 11 points, the Trojans won by 17. While that was at USC, don't be surprised to see the Trojans step up with another outright win. *10 Pac-12 GOM
|01-12-13||Baltimore Ravens +10 v. Denver Broncos||Top||38-35||Win||100||97 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. Denver had a great season and comes in riding the longest winning streak in the league. Throw in the fact that they're led by Peyton Manning and we find the Broncos laying a very big number. I believe it will prove to be too big.
For starters, entering the playoffs on an extended winning streak doesn't always guarantee success in the playoffs. Just ask the teams that lost in the Wildcard Round, all four of which were on winning streaks.
The Redskins entered the playoffs off seven straight victories. The Vikings entered the playoffs off four straight wins. The Bengals entered the playoffs off three straight victories and having won seven of their previous eight games. Lastly, the Colts had won back to back games and five of their previous six. With the exception of Seattle, none of the teams that won (Houston, GB, Baltimore) entered the playoffs on a winning streak. In fact, all three of those teams had lost their regular season finale.
We can kind of throw out the Seattle/Washington game, as those teams were both "hot." But, in all three of the other games, the "hotter" team was defeated.
Note that I'm not saying that Denver's winning streak should be ignored - only that it may not be quite as important as many likely assume.
You may recall that these teams faced each other on 12/16, at Baltimore. The Broncos dominated that game by a 34-17 count. Everything that could go wrong for Baltimore did go wrong and what appeared like it was going to be a 10-7 (or 10-3) halftime score, turned into a 17-0 Bronco lead due to a "pick-6" right before halftime. I expect a MUCH better effort from the revenge-minded Ravens here.
That 12/16 defeat vs. the Broncos was one of only two games all season long which saw the Ravens lose by more than six points.
The Ravens have won five of their last eight when playing with "revenge." They've also now won five of their last seven in January. I expect them to give the Broncos all they can handle with an excellent shot at the outright win. *9 annihilator
|01-12-13||Butler v. Dayton +1.5||Top||79-73||Loss||-106||3 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on DAYTON. As I write this, Butler is a very slight favorite. I understand the book's need to balance action. So, if that number achieves this for them, than its the correct one. However, as far as I'm concerned, my numbers (which aren't trying to balance action and only reflect what I believe will happen) have Dayton favored.
The Flyers are 35-11 on this floor the past few seasons, 7-2 this year. Note that both losses here came by a single point. They already lost to the other conference newcomer (at VCU) last time out and should be extremely motivated to avoid letting it happen again. Of course, the chance to defeat a ranked opponent is always nice as well.
For all their success, the Bulldogs are still only 2-6 ATS the last eight times that they were road favorites of three or fewer points. Five of those resulted in SU losses, which is what I'm expecting here. *9 False Fav GOW
|01-11-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Golden State Warriors -7||Top||97-103||Loss||-109||14 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on GOLDEN STATE. I like how this one sets up for the home side. The Warriors, who had last night off, were beaten here on Wednesday, a rare home loss. On the other hand, the Blazers are off an "upset" win over Miami last night on TNT.
The Blazers did beat the T-Wolves when playing the second of b2b games recently and have admittedly been respectable in that situation overall this season. However, they still have just five wins their last 14 times in that situation, since last year. More importantly, a closer look reveals that they've been very fortunate to play poor or mediocre opponents when playing the second of b2b games. Prior to win vs. Minnesota, they were beaten 102-79 at Toronto, when playing the second of b2b games.
Additionally, note that Portland is just 2-7-1 ATS when off an "upset" win. Not only is a TV win over the defending champions cause for a potential, letdown but the Blazers figure to find their hosts in a foul mood.
The Warriors have been at their best when off an "upset" loss. They're 12-7 ATS their last 19 in that situation, going 3-0 SU/ATS their last three in that situation.
The Warriors are still 10-6 ATS (11-5 SU) on this floor. I expect them to bounce back with a big win. *10 Top West. Conf Report.
|01-11-13||Utah Jazz v. Atlanta Hawks -4||Top||95-103||Win||100||9 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The Hawks don't have a very good pointspread record at home this season and they're currently mired in a slump. However, they've still won 11 of 17 home games and they're not laying a very large number here. Facing a Utah team which is only 8-14 (8-13-1 ATS) on the road, I expect the Hawks to break through with a much needed win and cover.
Off four straight losses, including a double-digit blowout at Cleveland on Wednesday, the Hawks should be in a nasty mood. In fairness, three of those losses were on the road and the lone home game came against Boston, after they'd just played an exhausting game the previous night, losing by a point at Detroit.
Al Horford noted: "It's about energy, man, and we need to defend better.''
Josh Smith added: "We've got to get back to playing beautiful basketball.''
Tonight, the Hawks are playing with some rest, as they had last night off. They're 3-1 ATS (4-0 SU) off a double-digit loss this season. Only one of those four games came at home (12/22 vs. Chicago) and the Hawks won that one by 17 points, when laying four.
I expect the Hawks, who have taken five of six vs. the Jazz, to bounce back with another convincing win and cover here. *10 personal favorite
|01-11-13||Fairfield v. Loyola Md -2||Top||58-63||Win||100||10 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOYOLA-MARYLAND. These teams faced each other in the MAAC Championship game last season and a rematch this season is entirely possible.
Led by Derek Needham, the Stags have played well so far this season. They know this is a big game and would clearly love to get some payback, after the Greyhounds kept them out of the NCAA Tournament with a 48-44 win last March.
I believe that the Stags will have to wait for their revenge though. (They'll get another chance in 10 days, when these teams play at Fairfield.)
The Stags lost at Niagara last time out and have been on the road since before Christmas. This will mark their fifth straight road game, a span that went through both Christmas and New Year's.
Going back further finds that 13 of Fairfield's 16 games have been played away from home. Give the Stags credit for winning eight of those away/neutral games. However, don't be surprised if they're a little road weary here. After Needham, I'm not sold on this team's depth. I expect it to catch up with them here against the defending conference champs.
Note that the Stags are now 0-6 ATS the last six times that they'd played three or more consecutive road games.
Speaking of winless records, the Stags are also 0-4 SU/ATS the last four times that they were listed as road underdogs (or pick'em) of three or fewer points.
The Greyhounds are off back to back wins, most recently crushing St. Peters by 16. They've now won 17 of their last 25 home lined games. I expect the defending champion Greyhounds (who leave to the Patriot League after this season) to flex their muscles here, covering the small number and serving notice that they're still the team to beat - at least for now. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-10-13||USC +9 v. Colorado||Top||60-66||Win||100||5 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. With all due respect to Colorado, I feel that this line is too high.
The Trojans may have only won three of their last six games. However, all three of the losses were by eight or fewer points. I believe that they're a little under-valued at the the moment.
The Buffaloes nearly knocked off Arizona but still lost. They followed that up with another loss at Arizona State. Note that they've now played eight games which were decided by 10 or fewer points. Don't be surprised when this one also proves closer than many will be expecting. *9 best bet
|01-10-13||Rider v. Manhattan -3.5||Top||69-60||Loss||-110||2 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. Losing George Beamon was certainly a blow to the Jaspers. He's been out more than a month now though. I believe they've still got more than enough to take care of business here.
Manhattan was an 11-point favorite and lost outright vs. Rider here last season. That result should ensure the Jaspers don't take the Broncs lightly. Note that this year's Rider team lost its best player (Gadson) and has a new head coach.
The Jaspers are 3-1 ATS as favorites. They've covered the spread in back to back games and I look for them to get it done again here. *9 roast
|01-09-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Golden State Warriors -1.5||Top||94-87||Loss||-107||9 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on GOLDEN STATE. I quite like how this one sets up for the home team. Without question, the Grizzlies are a solid team. However, they're typically not quite as good away from Memphis. They're also dealing with some rumors surrounding Rudy Gay. That could prove a distraction, as trading him would likely be seen by the players and fans as a sign that management didn't believe the current roster could win the West. Either way, winning here at Oakland has not been easy this season as the Warriors are 11-4 on this floor. I expect the Grizzlies to find their hosts fully focused and ready to play. The Warriors lost last time out. However, they'd previously been playing very well, going 4-0 SU/ATS their previous four. Plus, the loss came on the road and against the Clippers, a team which they had just beaten. The Warriors have since had the past three day's off. Some teams don't fare well with extra rest in between games. The Warriors haven't been one of those teams though. They're 4-0 SU/ATS when playing with three or more day's rest in between games. The last time that the Warriors played with three day's rest was when they crushed the Clippers by 21 points here. They also won by 11 at Utah, which typically isn't an easy place to play, last time in that situation. Prior to that, they beat Denver. Before that, they beat Atlanta. So, that 4-0 SU/ATS record with extra rest has come against some tough opposition. Speaking of tough opposition, the Warriors are an impressive 10-2 ATS against teams with a winning record. They're also 4-1 ATS off a double-digit loss and 5-0-1 ATS After allowing 105 or more points. The Warriors are playing with "revenge," as the Grizzlies beat them here. As noted, that hasn't happened often. They're also catching the Grizzlies playing the third leg of a road trip and potentially looking ahead to San Antonio, who they host on Friday. Add it all up and I expect a win and cover for the home team. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-09-13||Tulsa v. Marshall -5||Top||61-79||Win||100||5 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARSHALL. The Herd are admittedly off to a dismal start at the betting window. Their poor ATS record has kept this line lower than it could easily have been though. I believe it will prove to be too low and that tis will be the game that the Herd step up and earn a cover. This has been one of Marshall's better roles in recent seasons. The Herd are 23-12-2 ATS (32-5 SU) the last 37 when listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. That includes a 79-61 victory over Tulsa, when laying four points, here last season. I'm expecting a similar result tonight. *10 personal favorite
|01-09-13||Louisville v. Seton Hall +10.5||Top||73-58||Loss||-110||5 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on SETON HALL. Obviously the Cardinals are a very good team. However, this is a high line and I believe that the Pirates, although still a little short-handed, are better than they're being credit for. Louisville isn't exactly healthy either as sophomore forward Chane Behanan, averaging better than 11 points and better than seven rebounds, suffered a left high ankle sprain in practice on Monday. As Pitino noted: "Without Chane, we'll have to make some adjustments." The Pirates have shot very well from beyond the arc, hitting at least nine 3-pointers in six straight games. In fact, they and lead all Big East teams in 3-point makes (133) and attempts (348) while sitting second at 38.2 percent. While the competition admittedly hasn't been anything like what they'll see here, the Pirates have been very tough on this floor. Their recent loss at Notre Dame was their only defeat of greater than seven points all season all season. We're getting even more points to work with here than we were for that game, despite the fact the the Pirates are now at home. I believe that's providing excellent value and I look for the Pirates to step up and provide their high profile guests with a tougher test than most will be expecting. *10 Main Event
|01-08-13||Brooklyn Nets v. Philadelphia 76ers -1||Top||109-89||Loss||-110||20 h 7 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The 76er's have lost three straight. However, all those came on the road, including games at San Antonio and OKC. I expect them to bounce back with a much needed win here.
The recent 3-game slide came at the end of a long road trip. In fact, the 76ers haven't played at home since 12/21 - they won that game (vs. Atlanta) by 18 points. Needless to say, the 76ers, who have won eight of their last 12 here, should be happy to be home. They've had a couple of day's in between games to catch up on some rest, "chores," and to get adjusted to being back.
Note that the 76ers are 4-2 SU/ATS when playing with two day's rest in between games.
The Nets have also had a couple of day's off in between games - although they arguably didn't need the break as much. Either way, they're only 1-3 SU/ATS when playing with two day's rest in between games.
Admittedly, the Nets come in playing well, having won three straight and five of six. (Their winning streak combined with the 76ers' current skid are helping to keep this line the way it is.) One of those wins came at OKC. So, that was certainly impressive. Then again, the Thunder just lost vs. the Wizards last night - so, they certainly aren't unbeatable. A closer look shows that the Nets' other four victories came against Sacramento, Washington, Cleveland and Charlotte. Those four teams are a combined 34-90. So, give them credit for the recent wins - but lets not start calling them a "elite" team quite yet.
With an O/U line in the high 180s, note that the 76ers are 17-8 ATS (18-7 SU) the last 25 times that they played a home game where the O/U line ranged from 185 to 189.5 range.
These teams played a very close one at Brooklyn just before Christmas, the Nets eking out a 3-point win, the 76'ers covering. Finally playing on their home floor, I expect the revenge-minded 76ers to get some payback. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-07-13||Alabama -9 v. Notre Dame||Top||42-14||Win||100||28 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on ALABAMA. You guys surely already know the story behind this one. Notre Dame comes in undefeated while Alabama has a single loss. Yet, its the Tide which are laying more than a touchdown. That's going to have a lot of people tempted to take the points. I'm not one of them.
The SEC was down a little bit overall this season and I successfully played against some SEC teams (LSU, Florida) during the bowls. That said, this is still the best conference in the country and the teams at the top of the pack (Alabama, Georgia, [email protected] etc) are arguably better than any team in any other conference. The Tide did mix in a few weak teams - but took care of business accordingly.
The Irish did certainly beat some talented and big named teams, including Stanford. However, some of those teams (Oklahoma, USC, Michigan) weren't as dominant as they often are. Also, keep in mind that the Irish barely beat Purdue, Michigan, Stanford, BYU and Pittsburgh. All five of those victories came by a TD or less, three coming by a field goal.
Both teams can run the ball and both can play defense. However, I give the edge to Alabama in both those areas. I also give the Tide a significant advantage at the QB position. For the season, Alabama averaged 38.5 points per game. Notre Dame averaged 26.7.
While the Irish are 2-7 SU/ATS their last nine games played in January, the Tide are 7-2 SU/ATS their last nine January games. I believe Alabama's experience (and Saban's experience) here in the "big game" will prove helpful and I look for the Tide to ultimately pull away for a double-digit win. *10
|01-06-13||Indianapolis Colts v. Baltimore Ravens -7||Top||9-24||Win||100||17 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. I believe that the Ravens are better on both sides of the ball. While Luck has certainly done an admirable job, he's still prone to making rookie mistakes and the playoffs are new ground for him. Flacco, on the other hand, has plenty of playoff experience. While he hasn't taken the Ravens to the Super Bowl yet, he has enjoyed some playoff success.
Of course, the fact that Ray Lewis is (likely) playing his final game here is also a significant factor. Lewis is a legend here and one of the best leaders in the game. I expect the entire team to be fired up to "win this one for Ray."
While there will be a lot of emotion with it being Lewis' last game there, Flacco is the type of QB that keeps an even keel no matter what the situation. I expect him to have his team able to use the emotion to the Ravens' advantage.
Obviously the Colts badly want to win this game too. However, I don't think that they'll feel the same sense of urgency. This is a young team and they'll have plenty of opportunities to return to the playoffs. No matter what happens here, they can already hold their heads high.
Keep in mind that while they were 4-4, the Colts were outscored by an average 29.1 to 21.1 margin on the road. They eked out a win in their last road game (at KC) but were outgained by a whopping 507-288 count, in terms of total yards.
The Ravens are 5-1 SU/ATS in the Wildcard Rd of the playoffs. During that time, they're 22-11-2 ATS as home favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range, 4-1-1 ATS the last six.
Throw last week's loss at Cincinnati out. The real Ravens showed up the previous week, beating up on the Giants by a 33-14 margin while getting their "swagger" back in the process. I expect them to step up and get it done. *10
I'm playing BALTIMORE on the moneyline for the first half. There's going to be a ton of emotion in Baltimore, with this likely being Ray Lewis' last game here. Flacco is the type of QB that keeps an even keel no matter what the situation. I expect him to have his team ready to use that emotion to their advantage.
The Ravens have outscored teams by a 15.1 to 10.9 margin in the first half of games here this season. The Colts, on the other hand, have been outscored by a 16 to 11.7 margin in the first half of their road games. While the price may seem a bit steep, getting a push if the game is tied and a win if the Ravens are up by 1-3 points makes this line preferable, in my opinion, to the first half ATS line. *6
|01-05-13||Utah Jazz v. Denver Nuggets -9.5||Top||91-110||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on DENVER. These teams have met twice so far this season. The home team won both games, the Nuggets covered each time. The Jazz eked out a 2-point win at Salt Lake City. However, the Nuggets blew them out here at Denver.
No real surprise there, as both these teams are MUCH better on their home floor.
The Jazz won on the road last night. However, they're still 7-13 on the road. On the other hand, even with a loss here last time out, the Nuggets, who had last night off, are 10-2 (9-3 ATS) here at Denver.
The Jazz are 1-4 SU/ATS the last five times that they played the second of b2b games. For the season, they're 3-5 SU/ATS in that situation. The three wins came against Orlando, Washington and a home game vs. Phoenix. None of those are good teams. The five losses came against Indiana, Memphis, Houston, Sacramento and San Antonio. All five defeats came by a minimum of eight points, four coming by double-digits.
Playing in the altitude of Denver against what figures to be an angry Nuggets team, I expect the Jazz to get blown out once again. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-05-13||Minnesota Vikings v. Green Bay Packers -7.5||Top||10-24||Win||100||27 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on GREEN BAY. You guys likely know the story-line here. These teams just faced each other at Minnesota last week. In an exciting game which they needed to have, the Vikings eked out a 37-34 victory.
That Week 17 loss at Minnesota was the reason that the Packers are playing here. If they'd won that game, they would have earned a bye. So, its not like the Packers weren't trying to win. Still, there's a difference between playing for a bye and playing for a playoff spot, or playing to stay alive in the playoffs.
Of course, there's also a big difference between playing in the dome at Minnesota and playing a January game at Lambeau Field.
Adrian Peterson has proven to be a very special runner and Christian Ponder has certainly had a respectable season . However, Aaron Rodgers gives the Packers a significant advantage at the most important position in the game.
If he's not the best QB in the league, Rodgers is right there near the top. He tends to carve up the Vikings too, as he's got a 132.5 passer rating his last five games against them, throwing 16 TDs to just one interception while completing 74.7% of his passes.
While Peterson has had some personal success at Lambeau, the Vikings are still 1-5 in AP's career there. Peterson has averaged better than 100 yards there, scoring five TDs. It hasn't mattered.
Green Bay has beaten the Vikings convincingly here, too. In fact, in addition to having won five of six outright, the Packers are also 5-1 ATS the last six times that they were a host in the series. The Pack beat the Vikes by a combined score of 68-21 the last two meetings here.
Rodgers said this on the difference of playing at home as compared to playing at Minnesota: "The road got a little tougher having to play on opening weekend, but we've got a home game and that's why you win the division. You get to go back home and the game will be a different type of game. They won't have the home-crowd advantage and hopefully that will make a difference.''
Including this season's result here, the Packers are 17-8 ATS (22-3 SU) at home the past few seasons. During that stretch, the Vikes are only 9-14-1 ATS (7-17 SU) away from Minnesota.
The Pack are outscoring teams by an average of 11.6 ppg here this season. They lost their first game of the season here and have since won their last seven here. They won those seven games by an average margin of 13 points.
Th Packers, who have won nine of their last 10 (7-2-1 ATS) when playing on a Saturday, are battle-tested in the playoffs and I believe that they've got a significant coaching edge. I look for them to take care of business on Saturday, earning the cover along the way. *10
|01-05-13||Oklahoma v. West Virginia -4||Top||67-57||Loss||-105||5 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on WEST VIRGINIA. These teams already faced each other once this season. That was technically a non-conference game though, so this will be the Mountaineers' first official game as a member of the Big 12. That should have the players and fans a little extra fired up. Added motivation comes from the fact that the Sooners won the earlier meeting.
Homecourt can't be ignored here. The Sooners are 3-20 their last 23 road lined games, going just 8-15 at the betting window. During the same period, the Mountaineers have won 21 of 28 home lined games. They're 5-0 here this season, outscoring teams by a 76.8 to 67.2 margin. They'll face an Oklahoma team which recently lost to lowly Stephen Austin.
The Mountaineers have failed to cover a few in a row. However, they've still won those games and those ATS losses have worked in our favor by keeping the line low. I expect them to get the new era started off with a win, covering that low number along the way. *9 annihilator
|01-05-13||Towson v. Drexel -10||Top||69-66||Loss||-108||5 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on DREXEL. The Dragons struggled at the betting window in November and for the first portion of December. They got the new year started with an impressive 77-60 win at Georgia State last time out though and are currently playing well. They've been underdogs in each of their last five games and they've won three of those outright. Now 16-5 ATS in January the past few seasons, they're taking a significant step down in class. Indeed Towson State has won just three of its last 34 road lined games.
The last meeting between these teams was almost exactly one year ago. Drexel won that 1/4/2012 game by a score of 60-27. I expect a double-digit win this afternoon. *10 Top Colonial Athletic Report
|01-05-13||Georgetown v. Marquette -3||Top||48-49||Loss||-110||3 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. Georgetown comes in with the higher ranking However, I believe that the Golden Eagles are favored for good reason.
Georgetown is ranked for good reason and with its strong defense, does deserve respect. That said, the Hoyas haven't played since way back on 12/22. That's a long layoff when factoring in Christmas and New Year's. Now, potentially dealing with some early rut, they have to play at a very hostile environment.
The Golden Eagles are off a momentum-building win over UConn in their big opener (hit tying shot at buzzer to force OT and won by 6) and they've now won 17 straight at home - that's the sixth longest streak in the country. They'll have their coach back (was gone for 1 game) and I expect them to be fully fired up at the opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent.
Assistant coach Brad Autry, said this about Marquette: "I'm just ecstatic because I feel like we've turned a corner into who we are with this team. I think the players feel that as much as anything."
The Golden Eagles are 15-5 ATS in January the past couple of years, the Hoyas are only 5-11 ATS during the same time.
The Golden Eagles beat the Hoyas by double-digits last season and 4-1 SU/ATS the last five series meetings here. They're catching Georgetown playing its first true road game of the season. I expect another win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-04-13||Texas A&M v. Oklahoma +3.5||Top||41-13||Loss||-120||13 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA. The Aggies had a great year as come in as the favorite. I'm not convinced that they're the better team though.
The Aggies did win at Alabama and obviously deserve credit for that victory. They really didn't win that many other big games though. Their other SEC victories came against Arkansa, Ole Miss, Auburn, Miss State and Missouri. Those five teams went a combined 11-29 in SEC action, none finishing above .500. When matched up against other top tier SEC teams Florida and LSU, a pair of teams which both lost their bowl games, the Aggies were defeated. Arguably their hardest non-conf. game came against LA Tech and they only eked out a 2-point win in that one.
While they didn't beat Alabama the way that the Aggies did, Oklahoma did beat the likes of TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia. None of those were as big as the Bama win but they're all arguably at least as impressive, if not more, than any of the Aggies' other wins.
The Aggies may have a Heiman leader at QB. However, the Sooners have the career Big 12 leader in passing yards. Indeed, Jones is the first FBS quarterback ever to throw for at least 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns in four seasons.
The Sooners are 5-2 ATS the last seven times that they played with two or more week's worth of rest. Having hammered the Aggies by a 41-25 margin last season and going 8-1 the last nine meetings against them, the Sooners come in full of confidence. I expect them to step up and get it done. *10
|01-03-13||Stanford v. USC +3||Top||69-71||Win||100||11 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. The Cardinal come in as only slight favorites here and many bettors likely won't be able to resist. I'm expecting the Trojans to pull off the "upset" though, although I personally won't view it as such.
Without question, Stanford is a solid team. However, I believe that the Trojans are also better than many realize and that playing on their homecourt will prove significant.
Stanford has only played two true road games all season. One was a 9-point loss and the other was a 2-point win.
Note that Stanford is 0-3 ATS the last three times it was a road favorite of three or less. During that stretch, the Cardinal are also 1-5 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 120s.
While it didnt result in a cover vs. the closing line, I like that the Trojans were able to beat Dayton last time out and feel that victory will give them some positive momentum to carry into conference play. I look for them to step up and surprise. *10 best bet
|01-03-13||Kansas State v. Oregon -7.5||Top||17-35||Win||100||12 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on OREGON. Both teams would have obviously preferred to be playing each other for the national title. However, there should be no lack of motivation on either side. That means it should come down to the players and coaches. With all due respect to K-State and Bill Snyder, for my money, the Ducks have the edge in both areas.
This Oregon team has dominated every team that it has faced, with the exception of Stanford. No other team has been able to keep up with them. They scored more than 40 points in every single game besides the Stanford one, defeating every opponent by double-digits.
Those blowout victories came against other capable and/or high-scoring teams like USC, Arizona, Washington, Arizona State and Oregon State. I believe that K-State is more like those teams than it is like Stanford, the one team which gave Oregon trouble.
K-State has certainly had an impressive season. However, I don't think the Wildcats have done as much as Oregon. While the Ducks' loss was a nailbiter, the Wildcats' lone loss came in blowout fashion, as they were destroyed at Baylor. Two of their other wins came by six or fewer points. They haven't seen a team like the one that they'll face tonight.
Note that the Wildcats failed to score 30 points in three of their final seven games, four times on the season.
While the pointspread might seem a bit high, consider that every Oregon win came by double-digits. Also, note that the Ducks are 5-1 ATS the last six times that they were listed as favorites in the 3.5 to 10 range. I expect them to "do their thing" and for the Wildcats to ultimately be unable to keep up. *10 Main Event
|01-02-13||Louisville +14 v. Florida||Top||33-23||Win||100||10 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. Some people might be surprised that Louisville is here. I'm not one of those people. I won with the Cardinals in their first game of the season, a blowout win over instate rival Kentucky. A few months later, I also won with the Cardinals in their regular season finale against Rutgers, which served as a de facto Big East championship game.
I believe that the victory over Rutgers will provide the Cardinals with some real momentum here. That was a game that they trailed and where their QB (Teddy Bridgewater) was at far less than that 100%. However, Bridgewater and co. gutted out a win. They believe in each other and believe anything is possible.
Bridgewater would come off the bench to go 20 of 28 for 263 yards in the win over Rugters - pretty impressive numbers given how banged up he was and how stingy the Rutgers defense was. He would finish the season with 3452 yards and 25 TDs, completing 69% of his passes. While he'll be up against another tough defense here, the month off figures to have helped give Bridgewater time to heal.
The Gators are indeed one of the top teams in the country. They're not necessarily a team that wins by a wide margin though and they're going to be up against a tough and determined opponent.
A look at Florida's last five games shows four wins and a loss. Two of the wins came by only a touchdown and one of those was against lowly LA-Lafayette. Another win came by 11 points - still not enough to cover this large number. The only victory that came by greater than 11 was against Jackonsville State. Laying 37.5 points, the Gators would only score 23 points. Earlier in the season, they Gators have four other wins by two touchdowns or less.
The Cardinals have coaching stability, something many teams can't say. Charlie Strong reportedly could have had the job at Tennessee but instead decided to stay at Louisville.
Speaking of Strong, he knows a thing or two about the Gators, as he ran their defense from 2003 through 2009, his fourth different stint on the Gators' staff.
I expect Strong to have his Cardinals ready to play and I look for them to improve to 5-0 ATS the last five times that they were listed as underdogs in the 10.5 to 21 range. *10
|01-02-13||San Antonio Spurs v. Milwaukee Bucks +5.5||Top||117-110||Loss||-110||9 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on MILWAUKEE. Its hard to make a case against the Spurs. They're a talented and well-coached team, one which is playing well. That said, the Bucks are also playing well. They've covered three straight games, winning both home games outright. One of those was a 19-point blowout of the defending world champion Heat. Going back further finds them at 6-2 their last eight on this floor. The Bucks upset the Spurs here last January. They're playing with 2-day's rest in between games and they have tomorrow off. On the other hand, the Spurs played New Year's Eve, which was their third game in four nights. They also play a TNT game at MSG tomorrow, a game to potentially get caught looking ahead to. While the Spurs were dominant defensively (allowed 76 pts!) on New Year's Eve, note that they're 1-3 ATS the last four times that they allowed 85 or fewer points. I'm taking the points with the revenge-minded home underdog. *9 best bet
|01-02-13||Nebraska v. Ohio State -20||Top||44-70||Win||100||8 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on OHIO STATE. At first glance, this line may seem a little steep. However, I feel that it could easily be higher and that we're actually getting a bit of a "bargain."
After three straight non-covers, the Buckeyes bounced back with a 43-point win over lowly Chicago State, covering the 36.5 number with relative ease. The Huskers represent a step up in class but they're still nowhere near Ohio State. Knowing they have a tough road game at Illinois on deck, the start of a stretch of games all more difficult than this one, I expect the Buckeyes to really want to make the most of this "blowout opportunity."
This Nebraska team has proven susceptible to the blowout too. The Huskers lost by 14 vs. Kent State, by 22 vs Creighton, by 22 at Oregon and by 16 at Utep. This will be by far their toughest test yet.
Ohio State hammered the Huskers 71-40 here last season, almost exactly one year (1/3/2012) to the day. A few weeks later, the Buckeyes followed it up with a 79-45 win at Nebraska.
Including last year's win here, they're 7-2 ATS (9-0 SU) the last nine times that they were listed as home favorites in the 18.5 to 24 range, going 21-10 ATS (31-0 SU) their last 31 in that role. I'm expecting another blowout. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-01-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Denver Nuggets||Top||78-92||Win||100||9 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on DENVER. Its hard for teams to keep on winning forever. That's why it doesn't happen. While the Clippers closed out 2012 on an extremely impressive and extended winning streak, its an entirely new year now. I expect their run to come to an end.
The Clippers dominated the Nuggets on Christmas Day. That loss fresh in their memories, the Nuggets will be looking for some payback here.
A closer look shows that the 12/25 game was played at LA. That's noteworthy as the Nuggets are a poor 8-14 on the road but an outstanding 9-1 here at Denver - a much better winning percentage than LA has on the road.
Note that the Nuggets have had an extra day off. While the Clippers played on 12/30, the Nuggets last played 12/29 at Memphis. (I successfully played against them there as they were coming off a big road win at Dallas the night before.) Note that the Nuggets also have tomorrow off while LA faces Golden State.
The Nuggets are 7-3 the last 10 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss, going 45-35 their last 80 in that situation. I expect them to improve on those stats here, continuing their excellent play on this floor. *10 best bet
|01-01-13||Northern Illinois v. Florida State -14||Top||10-31||Win||100||11 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA STATE. I won with the Huskies way back on 9/1, their very first game of the season. They didn't win but they easily covered at Iowa. While the Hawkeyes didn't prove to be very good, that was still a solid effort for the Huskies, who would go on to have another excellent season. The class of the MAC, the Huskies come in confident here and with a chip on their shoulder. That helps. However, it'll only take a team so far, when matched up against a team which is also hungry and which has significantly superior talent. In this case, I feel that the Seminoles are better on both sides of the ball.
|01-01-13||Connecticut v. Marquette -5||Top||76-82||Win||100||8 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. With all the football going on and it being New Year's, I'm running behind today. So, am keeping this writeup a little brief. The Golden Eagles are 11-3 ATS the last 14 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 130 to 134.5 range. On the other hand, the Huskies are 0-7 SU/ATS the last seven times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the same range. The Huskies have won just eight of 20 overall on the road while Marquette is 36-5 its last 41 at home. This season, the Golden Eagles are outscoring teams by a 73.9 to 58.4 margin at home, in going 7-0. They beat the Huskies by 15 (79-64) in the lone 2012 meeting and that was at UConn. I expect another solid win and cover here. *9 M.E.
|01-01-13||Nebraska +9.5 v. Georgia||Top||31-45||Loss||-110||4 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEBRASKA. I successfully played "against" the Huskers in this bowl last year. Up against an SEC opponent (South Carolina) the Huskers were crushed by a score of 30-13. While the Huskers are again up against an opponent from the mighty SEC, I like how everything sets up for them and feel this is a far more favorable matchup.
True, the Huskers were hoping for more, as they could have been in the Rose Bowl. However, there's still plenty to play for. This is still a New Year's Day Bowl, the very one they got embarrassed at last year. Needless to say, they don't want that to happen again. Throw in the fact that they got blown out in that season finale and this should be a very hungry team.
Georgia, on the other hand, did not get blown out in the its last game. Its loss was even more devastating though. You likely saw it, or know about it. An all out war against Alabama; an exciting game that went back and forth.
Ultimately, the Bulldogs lost though and their run defense was exposed in the process. They were so very close to winning that game and they likely feel that they would have beaten Notre Dame, if given the chance. That makes playing in this bowl a tough pill to swallow.
Outside of the fact that I feel that the Huskers will be hungrier, I feel that they'll be able to have success on the ground (they're #8 in the country in rushing yards) and that the Bulldogs will have trouble slowing down Taylor Martinez, a style of QB they're unfamiliar with.
I expect the Bulldogs, 1-4 ATS the last five times that they played with two or more week's worth of rest, to have another fight on their hands the entire way. *10 Annihilator
|01-01-13||Michigan +6 v. South Carolina||Top||28-33||Win||100||4 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on MICHIGAN. I won with South Carolina in last year's bowl, as the Gamecocks wiped the floor with Nebraska. While I certainly still respect Spurrier and co, I feel that the Gamecocks are going to have considerably more difficulty against a Big Ten team this year.
If they didnt know better, some might think that Michigan played a much easier schedule than South Carolina, based on the the Wolverines hailing from the Big Ten and the Gamecocks coming from the SEC. However, the Wolverines faced both Notre Dame and Alalbama this year, the two teams playing the national championship game. The Wolverines also faced Ohio State, the nation's other undefeated team (They lost all three but two of the losses came by a TD or less.)
Additionally, the Wolverines had games against the likes of Michigan State and Nebraska. On the other hand, South Carolina got to avoid Alabama and had a non-conference slate which included Wofford and UAB. While the win over Georgia was impressive, lets not forget that the Gamecocks were blown out by Florida and that they lost vs. LSU, a team which lost yesterday.
The bottom line is that the SEC is still probably the best overall but the conference isn't as dominant as it has been in recent years. Top tier teams from other major conferences - like Clemson yesterday - can now compete and defeat teams near the top of the SEC. Don't be surprised to see it happen again this afternoon. *9
|01-01-13||Northwestern v. Mississippi State +2.5||Top||34-20||Loss||-105||3 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on MISSISSIPPI STATE. The Wildcats had a terrific season at the betting window. Up against an SEC team, albeit a lower tier one, I expect their run to come to a crashing halt.
Needless to say, given its drought in the bowls, Northwestern wants this one. However, wanting and doing are entirely different matters and I'm not convinced that the Bulldogs will be any less hungry.
Obviously, we can't compare schedules. The Bulldogs had to face the likes of Alabama, LSU, Texas [email protected], the first of those two both coming on the road. Their "easier" conference games came against the likes of Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee , Arkansas and Ole Miss. Those teams are more along the lines of what Northwestern faced and the Bulldogs went 4-1 in those games.
The Bulldogs crushed another Big Ten team (Michigan in the Gator Bowl) in the bowls last season, winning by a score of 52-14. With that rout, they're 2-0 in the bowls under Mullen and the school remains undefeated in the bowls for the millennium. I expect Mullen to have them ready to go again here. *9
|12-31-12||Clemson +6.5 v. LSU||Top||25-24||Win||100||9 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEMSON. The line has climbed from its opener. Bettors seemingly can't believe that mighty LSU is laying such a small number. I feel that there's good reason though - and the higher this number climbs the better value I feel we're getting with a very good Clemson team.
Speaking of line value, lets start by mentioning that Clemson is 4-1 ATS the last five times it was an underdog in the 3.5 to 10 range, going 26-12-1 ATS its last 39 in that role.
LSU was only 4-7 ATS as a favorite.
True, the Clemson schedule was rather soft - however, you still don't get 10 wins without being pretty good. Clemson was only an underdog once all season. That was at Florida State. The Tigers lost but covered.
While LSU has the stingier defense, Clemson is a team which scored 37 or more points 10 times. Clemson ranks near the top of the nation in scoring (42.3 points per game), total offense (518.3 yards per game) and passing yards (319.6) per game.
In terms of wanting to be here, the edge should favor Clemson. After all, LSU is a team which is used to playing for national titles and expects to play in January.
Clemson began its seen with a win here at the Georgia Dome. Don't be surprised when it finishes the same way. *10 Main Event
|12-31-12||Iowa State v. Tulsa +2||Top||17-31||Win||100||5 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on TULSA. The Cyclones won the regular season meeting. That was at Iowa State though and the Golden Hurricane had an early lead.
The Golden Hurricane are obviously motivated to get some revenge, to win a bowl game and to match its single season record for wins. Off a win over Central Florida in the CUSA Championship game, its 10th victory if the season, Tulsa comes in full of confidence.
"It certainly gives you momentum. You want to go into bowl season with a win," coach Bill Blankenship said. "We're excited to be going to Memphis. That's big time."
Of course, that's easy for Blankenship to say considering that Tulsa is a dominating 15-5 SU/ATS the last 20 times that it was coming off a conference win.
While Conference USA doesn't get much respect, we've seen teams like UCF, SMU and Rice look pretty good already. Tulsa had a better record than any of those teams.
The Cyclones, who stumbled down the stretch, have the 113th-ranked pass defense in the FBS, allowing 279.7 yards per game. The run defense isn't likely to be as stout as it could be either, as Iowa State likely won't have three-time All-Big 12 linebacker and captain Jake Knott; he's still recovering from shoulder surgery.
Iowa State's only victory since October came against Kansas, the worst team in the Big 12. (Jayhawks were 0-9 in Conference play, 1-11 overall.) The last two losses came against WVU and Texas, a pair of teams which weren't exactly dominant in their recent bowl games. (Texas won but needed to rally, WVU got blown out.)
The Cyclones are 3-8 all-time in the postseason and 0-3 SU/ATS the last three times that played with two or more week's worth of rest in between games.
In terms of line value, consider that Tulsa was actually a small favorite for the earlier game at Iowa State. Now, even though that was on the road and this is at a neutral site AND even though Tulsa has played better in recent weeks, the Golden Hurricane are a slight dog. Even with the loss back in September, the Hurricane are still 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they played a game where the line ranged from the +3 to -3. I feel that they're the better team and I expect them to step up and improve on those stats this afternoon. *10 Best Bet
|12-30-12||Dallas Cowboys +3.5 v. Washington Redskins||Top||18-28||Loss||-113||12 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. Unlike many of the Week 17 matchups, this game means everything for both teams. Throw in the long-standing rivalry between the NFC East foes and the stadium will clearly be buzzing.
Griffin and co. have surely been a great story. However, at this stage of Griffin's career, with Griffin recently banged-up and Romo playing great, I'll still take Romo for a single winner-take all showdown. I may be proven wrong and RG3 has certainly shown to be a very talented individual but I believe that there's something to be said for experience.
Griffin will be playing his first game under the Sunday night lights. He says his knee is healthier. However, his running plays may still be a little limited. Still dangerous, obviously, but perhaps not as much as a few weeks ago.
Outside of the QBs, I believe that Romo has the better overall supporting cast. While all teams have plenty of injuries at this time of the year, the Cowboys are in better shape than they were for the earlier meeting, when the Skins upset them at Dallas.
The Skins are still only 4-6 ATS the last 10 times that they were favored, going an ugly 50-81-2 ATS when laying points over the long-term.
The Cowboys are 5-2 ATS on the road and 4-2 ATS as underdogs. While Griffin and co. will have many years to get more chances, Romo and co. have a limited window. I look for them to step up and get it done. *10 Main Event
|12-30-12||Dayton v. USC -3||Top||61-63||Loss||-109||4 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. Dayton comes in with the better record. However, with the game being played in Southern California, I believe that the Trojans are favored for good reason.
While theve struggled out of the gate, I believe this USC team is better than the record indicates. Keep in mind that its been a very difficult schedule. This is a chance to close out their non-conference slate with a win over a quality opponent and I look for them to go all out to make that happen.
Dayton has only played one true road game all season. To their credit, the Flyers did win that one. Still, they're a long way from home here and getting home for New Year's Eve may already be on their minds. Expect homecourt to be the difference. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-30-12||Houston Texans -6.5 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||16-28||Loss||-110||6 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Colts are playing their starters and they have their head coach back - for the first time all season. While they appear to be serious about wanting to win, the fact is that a victory can't help their positioning. On the other hand, the Texans still could have a chance at helping themselves. I expect them to be the more motivated team.
Defensive end J.J. Watt noted: "We know what it takes," said defensive end J.J. Watt, two sacks shy of Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22 1/2. "We're going to get focused, and then we're going to come out there and earn ourselves home-field advantage."
The Colts, who are great against losing teams but only 1-2 ATS against teams with a winning record, may have eked out a win last week but they didn't exactly look dominant doing it. Indeed, they were outgained by a lopsided 507-288 margin, giving up a whopping 352 yards on the ground. I expect that to spell trouble against the Texans, who are surely licking their collective chops.
The Texans are 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range. They know what's at stake and I expect them to take care of business. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-30-12||Chicago Bears v. Detroit Lions +3||Top||26-24||Win||100||5 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Lions rank near the top of the league, in the category of most disappointing season. A talented team, they lost close games in a variety of different ways. That string of close losses eventually caught up with them - fighting so hard to to come up just short, over and over again, will do that. They've been blown out each of the past two weeks. Neither of those were divisional games though. Neither had playoff implications like this one.
The Lions have had an extra day of rest and preparation time here (last game was a Saturday) and that often can be more helpful than it sounds. More importantly, they get to host the hated Bears, a team which beat them by six at Chicago back in October. Better yet, they can play a role in keeping them out of the playoffs. I don't believe that lack of motivation will be an issue. This is an opportunity to show some pride, get some revenge and to give the home fans something to take into the offseason.
As Cutler said of the Lions: "It's safe to say the Lions are disappointed in their season, so they would love nothing more than to make us disappointed for the rest of the year."
Coach Schwartz would note: "You want to end the season on a high note. Last year we were a playoff team ... It does give you a little bit of feeling going into the offseason. It's one of 16, but it is the last one that we play.
Nobody wants teams to celebrate at your own expense. I think that's important."
The Lions beat the Bears 24-13 here last season. I expect them to be at their best again this afternoon. *10 Best Bet
|12-29-12||TCU v. Michigan State +2.5||Top||16-17||Win||100||13 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on MICHIGAN STATE. While I respect the Horned Frogs, I expect them to lose this game.
The Spartans are better than their record indicates. With the exception of an early loss vs. Notre Dame, none of their other losses have come by four points. In other words, they easily could have a better record. While I'm already a believer, this game gives the Spartans an opportunity to show the rest of the world that they're better than the record suggests.
Coach Dantonio noted: "We haven't had a football game where we've lost in a big way. They've all been close. One play here, one play there, we're a different football team."
He'd go on to say this of his team's confidence level: "We want to point our compass north. I believe the glass is half full, not half empty. That's how our football team expects to play. We come ready to play every week. We'll play with confidence."
The Frogs, who lost QB Casey Pachall midseason, were last in the Big 12 with 3.9 yards per carry on the ground. I believe they're going to have a tough time moving the ball against a Michigan State defense that ranked fourth in the FBS allowing only 274.5 yards per game.
Ultimately, in a battle of two strong defenses, I feel the Spartans will find a way to score more points. *10 Main Event
|12-29-12||Denver Nuggets v. Memphis Grizzlies -6.5||Top||72-81||Win||100||10 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on MEMPHIS. This one sets up very nicely for the home team. The Grizzlies, who are playing with "double-revenge" had the past two nights off. They should have fresh legs. Off back to back losses and looking for some payback from the earlier losses to Denver, they should also be very hungry.
On the other hand, the Nuggets played last night at Dallas. Its true that they've been good in that situation this year. However, not all b2b spots are the same. Not only will the Nuggets be playing the second of back to back games, they'll also now be playing their fourth game in five days. Throw in the fact that the first of those four games was on Christmas - a potentially extra busy, emotional and/or stressful time - and this has been a very grueling stretch. They don't play until New Year's Day and could already have their minds on returning to loved ones in time to ring out the year. The fact that they won big last night could add to the Nuggets' complacency.
Even with last night's win the Nuggets are still only 8-13 on the road. Even with a loss here last time out, the Grizzlies are still 12-3 at home.
The Grizzlies, 5-0 SU the last five times that they played with two day's rest in between games, are 50-34-2 ATS the last 86 times that they were in the revenge role. With the schedule and venue in their favor, I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion here. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-29-12||Oregon State v. Texas +4||Top||27-31||Win||100||9 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. The Beavers have had the better year. They've got the higher ranking and they're favored at the betting window. However, I believe that the Longhorns are still the more talented team and I expect them to come ready to play, with a chip on their shoulder.
Give the Beavers credit for a great turnaround, as they were a 3-win team just last year. Still, they only won three of their final six games, one of those wins coming against Nicholl State.
Brown has enjoyed excellent success in the Bowls over the years and tends to fare very well when given time to prepare his team. In fact, the Longhorns are a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS the last five times that they played with two or more week's worth of rest. (They did lose at TCU with some extra time in between games but that wasn't two full weeks)
A look at those five games shows that the Longhorns won by five at Oklahoma State earlier this season. They won last season's bowl games against another Pac-12 team, knocking off Cal by a score of 21-10. Earlier in the season, they wiped out Kansas 43-0 and Iowa State by a score of 37-8. Prior to that, it was an upset win at Nebraska in the 2010 season, a 20-13 victory in a game where the Longhorns were large underdogs. Anyway, you get the point that I'm trying to make. When given time, Mack Brown really knows how to get his team ready.
The Longhorns, perhaps playing for Brown's job, are playing in their home state, a familiar environment. Brown and co. desperately need a win here, or their fans are going to become extremely "restless." I feel that the well-prepared Longhorns will have an edge in the trenches and look for them to step up and score the upset. *10
|12-29-12||Xavier v. Tennessee -6||Top||47-51||Loss||-110||8 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Everyone knows Xavier is usually a good team. Sometimes a very good team. To a certain degree, that reputation sticks with a team, even when its going through a tough time. In this case, I believe that Xavier remains a bit over-valued by the betting public and that that Musketeers will be in over their heads.
The Musketeers, who suffered heavy losses from last season, are off back to back losses. They were blown out by 15 points by rival Cincinnati and followed it up by losing outright against lowly Wofford. That makes it 0-4 ATS their last four.
Think the ATS losing streak can't continue? Consider that the Musketeers are 4-11 ATS the last 15 times that they'd failed to cover their previous three or more consecutive games.
The well-rested Volunteers are 3-0 SU/ATS the last three times that they played with seven or more day's rest in between games, 17-8 ATS their last 25 in that situation. They're also 6-1 SU/ATS the last seven times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 120s.
The Vols are outscoring teams by 15 ppg on this floor. I backed them when they beat a good Wichita State team by nine here a couple of weeks ago (69-60 win on 12/13) and they've since followed it up by beating up on a couple of weaker opponents. I feel that they'll have no trouble taking care of business against (once) might Xavier. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-29-12||Navy +14 v. Arizona State||Top||28-62||Loss||-105||6 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on NAVY. I played against the Midshipmen when they failed to cover vs. Army a few weeks ago. However, I also backed the Midshipmen when they won outright vs. Air Force and I still respect them as a team. I feel that they're offering excellent value here.
The Midshipmen are getting a lot of points here and they've performed well in the underdog role for many years. They're 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were underdogs, winning all three outright. They're 9-6 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons and 13-7 ATS the last 20. Going back still further finds them at 81-50-1 ATS as underdogs the past 132.
The Sun Devils are off a win at Arizona, their second straight victory. That was fairly impressive - although it should be noted that it came by only a touchdown. However, those instate rivalry games are a little different, in that there are different emotions in play.
The Sun Devils' previous win did come in "blowout fashion." However, that was against a Washington State team which lost by double-digits six times this season. Prior to those two victories, Arizona State had been on an 0-4 SU/ATS streak.
Navy really isn't getting much respect. However, I agree with ASU coach Graham when he said this of the Midshipmen: "I can tell you they'll be a formidable opponent. They're very different, very difficult, very well-coached, very disciplined ... "
The Midshipmen, who have faced the likes of #1 Notre Dame, won't be intimidated. They've won seven of their last eight and the eight of their last 10. Both losses came by 12 or less. I'll gladly grab all those points. *9
|12-29-12||West Virginia v. Syracuse +4||Top||14-38||Win||100||6 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on SYRACUSE. With a big name QB, an early front-runner for the Heisman, the Mountaineers are favored and are likely going to be a popular pick. The Orange know all about Geno Smith though and come in full of confidence. I feel that they're providing us with very fair value.
Formerly members of the same conference, these teams are very familiar with each other. While the Moutaineers had their way with the Orange early in this millennium, its been Syracuse which has had the edge in the "Smith era."
Syracuse beat WVU 19-14 in 2010 and 49-23 last year. The Orange picked off Smith five times in those games, sacking him nine times. He had just three TDs.
While he's not nearly as well known, the Orange have a very capable QB of their own. Ryan Nassib, a senior, threw for more than 3600 yards this season, setting a school record. He'll be facing a WVU defense that gave up more than 38 ppg.
The Orange averaged 473 yards, nearly as many as WVU's 518. Their 458 on the road was roughly the same as WVU's 478 on the road. Yet, on the other side of the ball, the Syracuse advantage is considerably more significant. Syracuse allows 385 ypg compared to WVU's 470. The Orange allow 25.7 ppg compared to the Mountaineers' 38.1.
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is from the Bronx. Playing at Yankee Stadium, I expect him to have his team ready to play. *9
|12-28-12||Missouri v. UCLA -3||Top||94-97||Push||0||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on UCLA. Missouri has the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Bruins are favored for good reason.
The Tigers, who have struggled as small road underdogs in recent years, haven't played a true road game all season.
Keep in mind that this Missouri team suffered major losses, including five seniors, from the one that won 30 games last year. While senior Bowers is contributing nicely, one of the remaining seniors (Dixon) is gone.
While the Bruins have battled through some adversity, they come in on a 4-game winning streak and with a chip on their shoulder. They're a talented team and I look for them to accomplish what the UCLA football team could not - a win and cover. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-28-12||Los Angeles Clippers v. Utah Jazz +3||Top||116-114||Win||100||8 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. I'm not normally not in the habit of going against teams on 15-game winning streaks. However, I feel that the Clippers' run will come to an end here.
While LA was playing a big TNT game vs. Boston last night, the Jazz had the night off. LA is 2-3 ATS this season in the second of b2b games.
Let's not forget that the Jazz have been very tough here at Utah for ages. They're record here this season is just as good as LA's road record.
The Jazz are playing with "revenge," having lost a 1-point game here against the Clippers a few weeks ago. They're still 29-4 SU (22-10-1 ATS) the last 33 times they were a host in the series.
Don't be surprised when the streak comes to an end. *9 best bet
|12-28-12||Rutgers v. Virginia Tech -2||Top||10-13||Win||100||7 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on VIRGINIA TECH. I played against Rutgers in the loss vs. Louisville, which was the Knights most recent game. I also played against the Knights in their previous game, a 27-6 loss vs. Pittsburgh. Many were surprised by those losses, as the Knights were 9-1 prior to that. Obviously, I wasn't. I'm still not completely sold on this team and think they'll be in over their heads against what I expect to be a very determined Virginia Tech team.
Yes, its been a down stretch for the Hokies. They're still a very talented team and proud though. One which has seen its reputation take a bit of a hit recently and which will be looking to get some of it back here with a big win.
Rutgers has a good defense. However, I believe that its not a great defense - not as good as the numbers suggest, at least. Playing a soft schedule (Howard, Tulane etc) has helped. Keep in mind that the Knights allowed 20 or more points in all three losses.
The Knights struggle on offense and thats where I expect the Hokies to have an edge.
Rutgers averages 22.4 ppg and 341 ypg. Playing arguably a much tougher schedule, V-Tech averaged 26.1 and 391.8.
Lets not forget that the Knights had dreams of a much bigger bowl, only a few weeks ago. They'll say all the right things. However, I believe that there's the real potential for a bit of a letdown here. Not so with the Hokies, who I expect to rise to the occasion with a big win. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-28-12||Ohio +7 v. Louisiana Monroe||Top||45-14||Win||100||5 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on OHIO. After winning seven straight to begin the season, the Bobcats initially had dreams of a bigger bowl. That can sometimes lead to a team going through the motions a bit and not really wanting to be in the "lesser" bowl that the it ends up in. However, I don't expect that to be the case here.
The Bobcats lost four of their last five games. That gives them something to prove. They want to show the world that they're not the fraud that many say they are.
I also believe that the Warhawks will be very motivated, as they're playing in their first bowl game, since joining the FBS. I'll call it a wash in the motivation department.
While the Warhawks did earn an impressive win vs. Arkansas, the Razorbacks weren't as good as they often are. Likewise, playing Auburn tough wasn't as impressive as it would be in a normal year, when the Tigers were stronger. Playing Baylor tough was pretty good - however, that came before the Bears had really got going. While its debatable, I'd argue that Ohio's road at Penn State was every bit as impressive, if not more, than anything LA-Monroe has accomplished.
Either way, I do believe that the Bobcats will have some edges on the field and feel this game will likely be closely contested.
Ohio's Tyler Tettleton doesn't often hurt his team. He completed 62.0 % of his passes for better than 2,500 yards. He also had an impressive 16/3 TD/INT ratio.
Tettleton noted: "We're eager and hungry to get back out there."
The Bobcats have "bowl experience" on their side, as this is their fourth straight. They won by one (24-23 vs. Utah State) last year.
Speaking of close games, the Bobcats played six games which were decided by 10 or fewer points this season, five of them decided by a TD or less and three decided by a field goal.
Likewise, the Warhawks have seen five games decided by six or fewer points.
The Warhawks are 4-7 ATS their last 11 off a win vs a conference rival, 3-10 ATS the last 13 times that they played with two or more week's or rest and 5-15 ATS the last 20 times that they were off a win of six or less. Meanwhile, the Bobcats check in at 5-3 ATS the last eight times that they were underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range and 3-1 ATS off two or more consecutive losses. In a game that could easily again come down to the wire, I'm grabbing all those generous points. *10 Annihilator
|12-27-12||Cincinnati v. Duke +10||Top||48-34||Loss||-116||11 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on DUKE. I believe that this will be a case of the Blue Devils being happier to be here.
After a nearly 2-decade hiatus from the bowls, Duke is back.
True, the Blue Devils did stumble down the stretch. However, this is an entirely new season - we've already seen teams like SMU and Central Florida, who weren't as "hot" as their opponent, win in blowout fashion.
Keep in mind that the Blue Devils faced some tough and/or unique opponents down the stretch - their last four games came against the likes of Florida State, Clemson, G-Tech and Miami.
Thrilled to be here, the Blue Devils will have the advantage of playing close to home, as this game is played at Charlotte.
Duke senior Conner Vernon noted: "It's kind of just one of those things to leave our legacy at Duke football. Not only the first senior class to go to a bowl game since '94 but the first senior class to win a bowl game since a long time. That's definitely the mindset we're going to have going into it."
While the Bearcats have the better record, they really didn't play a very difficult schedule. They did knock off V-Tech (an ACC team that beat Duke) but the rest of their non-conf. schedule was very soft.
Plus, the Big East was quite weak this season.
This is still a team which won only four of its final seven with losses coming against Toledo, Louisville and Rutgers. The wins came against UConn, USF, Temple and Syracuse. Those four teams went a combined 19-31 this season. Other victories came against the likes of Fordam, Delaware State and Miami Ohio. (The Bearcats were laying more than 100 combined points in those games.)
While the Blue Devils have stability at the head coach position, the Bearcats are having to deal with yet another coaching change. Butch Jones has bolted for the greener pastures of Tennessee. Remember, the team has also lost coaches Brian Kelly and Mark D'antonio in recent years, both of whom also used the Cincy job as a springboard for bigger and better things. Defensive coordinator Steve Stripling will coach this game, with Tommy Tuberville taking over next season.
We just saw a team in a similar situation (Western Kentucky was also being coached by its defensive coordinator) get upset last night. Don't be surprised if we seen another upset here. *10 Best Bet
|12-26-12||Central Michigan +6.5 v. Western Kentucky||Top||24-21||Win||100||12 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on CENTRAL MICHIGAN. The MAC Conference hasn't fared too well in the bowls thus far. Both Ball State and Toledo were blown out. Meanwhile, LA-Lafayette beat East Carolina, leaving the Sun Belt at 1-0. Those results are among the reasons that many are likely going to favor Western Kentucky in this matchup. I believe that the Hilltoppers, who also lost against LA-Lafayette, are a bit of a fraud though and feel that the value lies squarely with the underdog.
The Hilltoppers made some noise early in the season, as they covered six straight games out of the gate. However, that was in large part due to the fact that they were under-valued by the betting public.
As bettors clued in to the fact that the Hilltoppers were raking in the profits, the line value on them began to disappear. The team would finish the season on a 2-4 ATS streak.
A closer look at the Western Kentucky schedule reveals that the Hilltoppers actually only won three games by more than eight points all season and those were all back in September, one of them coming against Austin Peay. Their final four games were ALL decided by five or less and three of them resulted in losses.
Not surprisingly, the Hilltoppers fared very well as underdogs but stumbled when laying points. They're 5-8 ATS the last 13 times that they were favored.
Not only do the Hilltoppers have trouble winning by a large margin, they're also dealing with a shake up in their coaching ranks. The man who got them here - Willie Taggart - is gone. Bobby Petrino will coach next season. That can certainly be a distraction and is less than ideal.
Neither Petrino nor Taggart will coach here though. Instead, it will be defensive coordinator Lance Guidry calling the plays. To his credit, Guidry did win in a similar situation when with Miami Ohio a couple of years ago. Still, as noted, I believe that this is "less than ideal."
Of course, it should also be noted that Guidry will be without his best defensive player and arguably their best player overall, Quanterus Smith. If you watched the Hawaii Bowl, you saw what a huge impact a single dominant defensive lineman can be. Smith, a defensive end, was that type of player for Western Kentucky. Not only was he the defensive player on the year in the Sun Belt, he also led the entire country with 1.25 sacks per game, finishing with 12.5 in 10 games.
While the Hilltoppers stumbled down the stretch and are dealing with a coaching shake up, the Chippewas closed the season by playing their best football. They were 3-0 SU/ATS their final three games. They also scored at least 30 points in each of their final six games. Additionally, they've got a coach in his third year and are very excited to be here.
Athletic director Dave Heeke noted: "We are thrilled to be back in Detroit for a bowl game."
Of course, Mount Pleasant (Michigan) is only about 150 miles to Detroit while Western Kentucky has to travel about three times as far.
I won't be at all surprised when Central Michigan wins this game and am grabbing all those generous points. *10
|12-25-12||San Diego St +5.5 v. Arizona||Top||67-68||Win||100||12 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. (I'm keeping today's college writeups slightly shorter than normal, as Christmas has me running a bit behind.) The Wildcats are a very good team and they're off to a great start. I'm not convinced that they're better than the Aztecs though, who are also a very strong team. That being said, I feel that getting this many points is providing excellent value.
While the Wildcats are 11-0, the Aztecs are 11-1. In fact, they're 11-0 their last 11, since dropping their opener vs. Syracuse.
Speaking of 11-0, note that San Diego State has won 11 straight against teams currently in the Pac-12. Clearly the Aztecs "get up" for games against teams in their part of the country, wanting to show that they're the "best in the west."
The Aztecs, who upset Arizona last year, are 33-16 ATS (39-11) the last 50 times that they faced a team with a winning record. During that stretch, they've gone 7-3 ATS against teams which score 77 or more per game.
While Arizona is strong at both ends of the floor, the Aztecs are also 16-6 ATS (19-3 SU!) their last 22 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points.
Speaking of good defensive teams, the Aztecs have been dominant defensively recently, holding four straight opponents to less than 60. Note that they're 40-3 SU, after allowing 60 or less, 7-0 their last seven.
The Wildcats are only 5-9 ATS the last 14 times that they were listed as neutral court favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, including an 0-3 ATS mark their last three in that situation. Don't be surprised if they suffer their first loss here. *10 Best Bet
|12-25-12||Houston Rockets v. Chicago Bulls -4.5||Top||120-97||Loss||-105||13 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. These teams met last month at Houston. A close game saw the Rockets pull out a 93-89 victory. With today's rematch being played at Chicago, I expect the revenge-minded Bulls to return the favor.
While they didn't play well in their last game, the Bulls have gotten it together recently. A look at their last game, a loss at Atlanta, shows that the Bulls were playing the second of back to back road games and that they were coming off an upset of the Knicks the previous day. So, it was a difficult spot, scheduling-wise, for them.
The Bulls are well-rested now though, in addition to being back home. They're 27-12 SU the past couple of seasons, when playing with two day's rest in between games.
True, the Rockets have won three straight, all three in impressive fashion. However, two of those came at home; they're still 3-7 on the road. Also, the only time that they previously won three straight this season, they followed it up by losing 120-98. (They're 8-14 ATS the past couple of seasons, after having won their previous three.)
Even with the loss at Atlanta, the Bulls have still won seven of their last 10. They haven't lost two in a row since the loss at Houston.
In fact, after their lost five losses, they've responded by going a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS. They won those games by scores of 93-86, 101-78, 95-85, 96-89 and 100-89. I expect them to respond with another win and cover here. *10 Roast
|12-25-12||Mississippi v. Hawaii +8.5||Top||81-66||Loss||-110||7 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. (I'm keeping today's college writeups slightly shorter than normal, as Christmas has me running a bit behind.) The Rebels are a solid and experienced squad. However, they're a long way from home here and laying a lot of points. I feel it will prove to be too many, as I'm expecting a close game. In four road or neutral court games, the Rebels scoring 76.2 points and allowing 75. They were just 1-3 ATS in those games. Those four road/neutral court games weren't against elite teams either, as they faced Middle Tennessee STate, Loyola Marymount, Indiana State and San Francisco. The Rebels won one of those games by seven points and all three of the others were decided by three or less. The Warriors are 5-3 at home, outscoring opponents by a 72 to 64.9 margin. The Warriors may not be that experienced but they are talented and have a legit star in Vander Joaquim, one of five players averaging better than nine points per game. Joaquim averages 14.3 ppg and 7.3 rbg and that's not even the best on the team in either category. That honor belongs to Standhardinger, who is averaging an impressive 16.1 and 8.1 The Warriors are 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were listed as home underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range. In a game that comes down to the wire, don't be surprised if Hawaii pulls off the upset. *9 Annihilator
|12-25-12||New York Knicks v. Los Angeles Lakers -3.5||Top||94-100||Win||100||7 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. The Knicks come in with the much better record and they've already defeated the Lakers once this season. However, I believe that the Lakers are favored for good reason.
True, the Knicks won by nine at MSG. However, in addition to playing on the road, the Lakers were without Pau Gasol AND Steve Nash in that game. They also weren't playing well at the time.
Things are much different. Now playing at home, the Lakers are playing their best basketball of the season. They'll have both Gasol and Nash this time. Off a comeback victory against a Golden State, a team which had been playing well, the Lakers have now won four straight.
Nash's return went about as well as could be hoped. Nash helped key the comeback while scoring a dozen points and adding nine assists.
Coach D'Antoni said this of Nash: "The guy is a winner. I think that we're a completely different team with him out there. The floor opens up and it changes everything."
Of course, D'Antoni should be extremely motivated to win here. The last thing he wants to have happen is to let his former team sweep the season series against his new team, particularly not in front on the national audience.
The Knicks, 1-6 in Christmas Day road games, have been dominated by the Lakers here at LA. In fact, the Lakers have won five straight against the Knicks here, winning those games by an average of greater than a dozen points.
The Lakers are 6-1 SU the seven times that they played a home game with an O/U line of 210 or greater, going 72-20 SU their last 92 in that situation. I expect them to improve on those stats this afternoon, covering the small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-24-12||SMU +12.5 v. Fresno State||Top||43-10||Win||100||22 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on SMU. The Bulldogs have certainly had an impressive season under first year coach Tim DeRuyter. After going 4-9 under Pat Hill in the WA455616AC last season, the Bulldogs replaced Hill, jumped over to the Mountain West and promptly proceeded to go 9-3, including a 7-1 mark in conference play. While the Bulldogs would surely love to cap things off with a bowl win, its already been a very successful season.
The Mustangs should be very happy to be here, as they began the season with a 2-4 record and didn't become bowl eligible until their final game, a 35-27 victory over C-USA champion Tulsa.
Coincidentally, the Bulldogs also faced Tulsa, losing 27-26 back in September.
Fresno State did blow out a lot of teams. However, their only victories against decent teams came against San Diego State, Nevada and Air Force.
While the Bulldogs are fairly tough against the pass, they were only 75th in the country against the run, which plays into the strength of the Mustangs.
Senior tailback Zach Line ran for more than 1200 yards this year, becoming the fourth player in C-USA history to record three straight seasons with more than 1000 rushing yards. Meanwhile, QB Gilbert ran for 111 yards in the regular season finale and has seven rushing scores on the season.
Of course, SMU coach June Jones has a personal connection to Hawaii, having coached here for nine years. He was quoted as saying this of the Hawaii Bowl: "Having been affiliated with this bowl since its inception, I know that it is one of the best bowl experiences in college football. I'm very excited for our players, staff and fans. This is a special experience."
You may recall that Jones' Mustangs beat Nevada by a score of 45-10 here in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, a game they were listed as double-digit underdogs for. Don't be surprised if they step up and score another upset. *10
|12-23-12||Dallas Mavericks v. San Antonio Spurs -11||Top||91-129||Win||100||4 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN ANTONIO. While they've stumbled a bit recently, the Spurs have had a great start to the season. I recently played against them when they lost at Oklahoma City. However, I believe tonight's game sets up well for a blowout victory.
The Mavericks are 4-11 on the road and have lost five of six overall. The Spurs are 9-2 at home.
The Spurs are outscoring teams by 10 points per game here. The Mavs are being outscored by nearly eight on the road.
The Spurs have taken care of business vs. the league's weaker teams, going 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS.
The Spurs are healthy. The Mavs are not. In addition to Dirk being out, Derek Fischer hasn't been playing while Collison and Brand are both banged-up.
The Spurs have dominated the Mavs here and they've also won 21 straight home games in the month of December. With a few days off after this and nothing to "save themselves for," I expect the Spurs to continue that streak in convincing fashion here. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-23-12||Washington Redskins v. Philadelphia Eagles +7||Top||27-20||Push||0||6 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I really like how this one sets up for the home team.
Obviously, the Eagles have had a very disappointing season. Nobody is certain what next season will bring but change is inevitable.
Playing their home finale, this game offers one last chance for this current group of players and coaches to earn the home fans a victory. Reid, who has been through an awful lot this season, has taken this team to the playoffs nine times since becoming coach in 1999. I expect his players to fight their hardest for him.
All the talk will be out Robert Griffin III, who is expected to return. He may not be quite 100% though. Either way, I don't expect him to find the going easy here. (Same goes for Cousins, should he happen to play.)
The Eagles are playing with revenge from an earlier blowout loss at Washington. They've been playing better since that time with two covers in their last three games. Prior to the loss at Washington, they'd beaten the Skins three straight times.
The Redskins did win big at Cleveland last week, even without Griffin. And, as noted, they did beat up on the Eagles last month. However, prior to last week's win, their previous three victories had come by just 11 combined points, none by greater than a touchdown.
The Eagles are playing with some extra preparation time, as their last game came on a Thursday. They're 55-33-3 ATS the last 91 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. I expect them to step up and close out the current era (at Philadelphia) with at least a cover. *10 Best Bet
|12-23-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||13-10||Loss||-115||4 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. This is a huge game for both teams. While they've struggled lately and are off a heart-breaking loss, the Steelers are still a team that knows how to win and which has been involved in many of these must win games in the past. They've also dominated the Bengals for years and that should give them confidence here. I feel that the current line is providing excellent value.
Yes, the Bengals have played well of late. Yes, they desperately want to win this game. At the end of the day, the Steelers are still 18-6 here the past few seasons, including a 35-7 blowout of these same Bengals the last meeting here.
The Bengals are 4-10-2 ATS their last 16 in the division going an awful 56-86-3 ATS their last 145. The Steelers are 10-6-1 ATS their last 17 division games and 82-62-6 their last 150.
I respect Dalton, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. However, I still respect Rothlisberger, Tomlin and the Steelers more. Until proven otherwise on the field, the Steelers still own this team. The only other time that the Steelers had lost two straight this season, they stepped up and won outright at Baltimore. With everything on the line, I expect them to step up and get it done again. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-22-12||Weber State v. Portland State +7.5||Top||73-69||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND STATE. I won with the Vikings against Oregon State a little over a week ago. Getting double-digits at the betting window, they lost by only five. I feel that they're offering very fair value once again.
Here's an excerpt of that 12/12 writeup on Portland State: "I've successfully played against teams from the Big Sky Conference more than once already this season. However, I believe that this will be a good spot to back a Big Sky team.
|12-22-12||Atlanta Falcons v. Detroit Lions +4.5||Top||31-18||Loss||-110||35 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. Most people will assume that Atlanta has more to play for here and therefore they'll assume that the Falcons will also be the more motivated team.
True, the Falcons are trying to wrap up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs while also building momentum for more important games. True, the Lions are playing out the string.
That doesn't tell the entire story though.
The Falcons will still control their own destiny, in terms of home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, even if they lose there.
Meanwhile, Detroit has another chance to show the national audience than its better than indicated by its record.
I believe that the Lions are indeed better than their record indicates. I also believe that they'll be highly motivated by the chance to beat this year's best NFC team, particularly after getting embarrassed last week.
QB Stafford noted: "People are competitive, people have pride. People have confidence in themselves. I think that's what helps people bounce back from stuff like this.''
The Falcons showed that they can dominate when fully focused last week. However, keep in mind that they were dominated by Carolina the previous week. Off the big "revenge" win vs. the defending SB champions and with their regular season home finale on deck - and against a division rival - I could easily see the Falcons experiencing a bit of a letdown here.
The Lions are 4-2 ATS the last six times that they were home underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. I expect them to bounce back with AT LEAST a cover on Saturday. *10
|12-22-12||Washington +6 v. Boise State||Top||26-28||Win||100||7 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. I successfully played against the Broncos in their last game. The won but failed to cover vs. Nevada. I expect them to have an even tougher time this afternoon.
I successfully played against the Huskies in their regular season finale. Laying double-digits, they lost outright vs. rival Washington State in the Apple Cup.
That doesn't mean that I don't respect the Huskies, nor does it mean that they haven't had an excellent season. I do believe that it should provide them with some added motivation here though. A win here and that loss can be swept under the rug. However, a loss here and everyone will remember the Huskies team that lost the Apple Cup and then couldn't get it done in a bowl.
The Broncos are always well-coached. However, it still may be hard for them to get up for a lesser bowl game, as this program has become accustomed to striving for bigger games and this will now be their third straight season in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Huskies played the much tougher schedule and have wins over the likes of San Diego State, Stanford, Oregon State and Cal.
This isn't the same dominant Boise team of years gone by. They lost vs. San Diego State and lost at Michigan State. They beat BYU by a single point and New Mexico by only three. Victories over Fresno State and Nevada were by 10 and six points. Those were arguably their tow most impressive victories, too.
The Huskies have played very well when given some extra rest in between games. They're 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were listed as underdogs, winning all three outright. I look for them to step up and earn AT LEAST another cover here. *10 Best Bet
|12-20-12||BYU v. San Diego State +3.5||Top||23-6||Loss||-110||49 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. One of my first wins this college season was with BYU, as I backed the Cougars in their 30-6 win over Washington State way back in August. I also won with the Cougars in their 47-0 blowout of Hawaii. However, I also played against the Cougars when they lost against Utah while successfully playing on their game against Boise (7-6 final) to finish below the total. I feel that the Couars are going to be in tough here.
The Cougars really didn't beat many good teams. Their victory at Georgia Tech was arguably their most impressive accomplishment.
The Aztecs, who are playing in their home stadium. won at Boise and at Nevada. In fact, they've won seven straight overall, covering six of those.
Neither team likes each other - but the "hate" on the Aztecs side of the ball is arguably even greater.
You may recall that BYU bolted the Mountain West in 2010. Some of you may also remember that in the teams' final conference game at BYU in 2010, a botched replay review in BYU's favor helped the Cougars win 24-21. Later, it was revealed that the replay official was actually a BYU employee. Needless to say, the Aztecs would love to get some payback against a team that dominated them over the years.
I won with the Aztecs here two years ago (35-14 over Navy) and think the advantage of playing at home will prove to be significant once again.
Coach Rocky Long said. "When we got to the point that we were bowl eligible, we were hoping we were going to get to stay here at home for a lot of reasons. We wanted to stay home and play in front of and give our fans a chance to see us in a bowl game."
While the Cougars are 3-6 ATS the last nine times that they were laying points, the Aztecs are 8-4 ATS the last 12 times that they were listed as underdogs, four of those resulting in outright wins.
Out of respect for BYU's defense and the possibility of a game that comes down to the wire, I'll grab the points. However, I'm expecting another outright win for what I feel will be a highly motivated Aztec squad. *10
|12-20-12||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Minnesota Timberwolves +4||Top||93-99||Win||100||8 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. I like how this one sets up for the home team. The T-Wolves had last night off while the Thunder played a fairly hard fought game at Atlanta.
Granted, the athletic Thunder aren't usually too bothered by playing the second of back to games. However, on an extended winning streak and playing the final game before Christmas, I feel that they could get potentially caught looking ahead to the break a little here.
While they're off back to back road losses, the T-Wolves have been playing very well here at Minnesota. In fact, they're a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS here this month.
For the season, the T-Wolves are 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS here. They allow just 91.4 points per game on this floor, while scoring 96.5 themselves.
It should be noted that the T-Wolves fought hard against the Heat and that losing (103-92) on the road against the defending champs is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they outrebounded the Heat by 28 in that game.
Coach Rick Adelman noted: "I like the way our guys battled. We just have to respond.''
Adelman has been been excellent at getting his team to "respond" from a double-digit loss, as the T-Wolves are already a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS in that situation this season.
Off a double-digit loss at Toronto on 11/4, the T-Wolves won by double-digits (as 7.5 point underdogs) at Brooklyn the next night. Off a double-digit loss at Golden State, they won outright at Sacramento in their next game. Most recently, off a 10-point loss at Boston, the T-Wolves returned home and won by 18.
The T-Wolves have covered three straight home meetings in this series and five of the last six. I expect AT LEAST another cover here. *10 Best Bet
|12-19-12||Northern Illinois v. Seattle -4||Top||48-75||Win||100||10 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. A member of the WAC for the first time, the Redbirds are playing with a chip on its shoulder. They want to show that they belong. They've mostly taken care of teams that they should be beating but have struggled against top tier teams. After getting outclassed by the Washington Huskies, the Redbirds had a bit of a letdown in losing vs. Jackson State in their next game. I expect them to be fully focused tonight as these Huskies aren't nearly as good as the ones they hosted last week. Indeed, Northern Illinois has lost 20 or more games in six straight seasons. This year's team may be a little better than last year's but the Huskies are still young and another 20+ loss season is looming large. They've only got two wins this season and those came against Judson College and SIU Edwardsville. Give the Huskies credit for covering the spread in each of their last three losses. However, keep in mind that those losses still all came by five or more points and by an average of nearly a dozen. This young team is now playing its third straight on the road, while playing thousands of miles from home. The Redbirds beat the Huskies by a dozen points last season and that was at NIU. Playing on their home floor and upset by their last performance, I expect an inspired Seattle team to take care of business once again. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-18-12||Cal Santa Barbara v. California -13.5||Top||59-68||Loss||-110||15 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on CALIFORNIA. The Bears should have advantages all over the floor here. They should also be in a foul mood after having lost three in a row.
While those losses have helped in keeping this number down a little, lets keep in mind that they came against the likes of Wisconsin, UNLV and Creighton, three very good teams.
Obviously, UC-Santa Barbara is a major step down in class.
The Gauchos lost three starters from last year's team, including all-conference stars Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally.
Prior to the season, Gauchos' coach Williams had this to say: "...boy, we
|12-18-12||Toronto Raptors v. Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5||Top||113-99||Loss||-105||13 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Raptors have earned a couple of wins recently and have actually covered the spread in three straight. Outworking teams can do that.
Its important not to confuse hard work with talent though. This is still a lower tier team that is missing arguably its two most talented players.
A closer look at the recent Toronto wins shows that they were both at the Air Canada Centre. They were also both against teams that were in difficult scheduling situations.
I played on the Raptors in the first win, partly as they were catching the Mavericks in a difficult situation. In hindsight, I probably should have also taken them in Sunday's win over Houston, given that Jeremy Lin and co. were playing at MSG the following night.
Either way, the Raptors aren't at home any longer. They're 1-14 on the road, getting outscored by an average of 104.2 to 92.6.
This time, I don't expect the Raptors, 11-18-2 ATS (7-24 SU) the last 31 times they were off an "upset win," to outwork and/or be more focused than their opponent.
This time, the Raptors will be facing a Cleveland team which is desperate to snap a losing skid and knows that, on paper, this is their most winnable game the rest of 2012. (A look at their schedule tells me that they won't be favored by this much again anytime in December.)
The Cavs, who now have their star (Irving) back, lost their last game here. However, they beat the Lakers by six here in their previous home game. So, this is a team capable of defending its home floor.
They're 1-0 ATS as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range this season (10 point win vs. Wizards) and I look for them to improve on those stats tonight. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-17-12||San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder -4.5||Top||93-107||Win||100||14 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA CITY. The Spurs eked out a 2-point win when these teams met at San Antonio last month. With tonight's rematch being played at OKC, I expect the revenge-minded Thunder to return the favor.
While they haven't covered their last couple of games, the Thunder are still on a serious roll. In fact, they've won 10 straight and have vaulted to the top of the overall standings.
The Thunder haven't lost yet this entire month and they're averaging 109.6 points while shooting better than 50& during their current winning streak.
I feel that the Spurs, who are without Jackson and who may be without Manu Ginobili, will have some trouble keeping up. Even if he does play, Ginobili may be at less than 100%. Meanwhile, Duncan is off a game in which he scored just five points, while making just two of 13 shots.
The Thunder are typically at their best when attempting to avenge an earlier loss, going 44-26 ATS (47-23 SU) the last 70 times that they were in that situation, including 5-2 SU/ATS the last seven.
The Thunder are also a lucrative 12-7 ATS (13-6 SU) the last 19 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. They're 4-1 SU/ATS their last five home games against the Spurs, including 3-0 SU/ATS the last three. I expect them to keep on rolling for another day. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-17-12||Detroit +19 v. Syracuse||Top||68-72||Win||100||13 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Orange have been great against the spread this season. Their ATS winning streak appeared to be in jeopardy last time out, as they were only up by three points vs. lowly Canisius at halftime. To their credit, the Orange dominated in the second half. Still, the cover was only secured by a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. They're laying nearly as many points here and they're facing a much better opponent. I feel all the recent covers have caused the line to become a little too inflated.
Off a comeback win over Akron, Detroit comes in with some positive momentum. The Titans were behind much of the way that game, including 10-0 out of the gate. I like the way the Titans never quit and how they closed the game on a 17-5 run. While the Titans obviously know that winning here won't be easy, I believe that Saturday's victory will give them some much-needed confidence here.
Keep in mind that the Titans returned three starters from a team that went to the Big Dance last year. Led by Coach McCallum's son, a talented players averaging nearly 20 points in a game, the Titans have quietly won four straight. They're 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were road underdogs of greater than a dozen points and I look for them to step up and earn the cover this evening. *10 Main Event
|12-16-12||San Francisco 49ers +6 v. New England Patriots||Top||41-34||Win||100||56 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. I lost playing against the Patriots last week. While they admittedly looked very good, while also making me look pretty bad, I'm still willing to go against them here.
After last week's blowout victory over Houston, the line is higher than it otherwise would have been. I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
Brady seems to be able to throw to just about anyone. However, injuries to targets Gronkowski, Edelman and Stallworth figure to catch up with the Pats against this defense.
While the Texans defense was exposed by the Pats' high-powered offense, this SF defense allows the fewest points in the entire league, at just 14.2 per game.
Kaepernick is obviously not in Brady's class yet (and may never be) as Brady has been getting it done for a decade while Kaepernick has only made four starts. Still, the fact that Kaepernick has completed better than 67% of his passes can't be ignored. He's gaining more than eight yards per attempt, too. Nor can his ability to beat teams with his feet.
Despite the limited number of games, he's already third among NFL quarterbacks with 351 rushing yards. He's averaging a whopping 7.6 per carry and already has five rushing touchdowns.
While the Pats are 5-6-1 ATS their last 12 non-conference games, the 49'ers are 8-3 SU/ATS their last 11 against AFC teams.
The 49'ers are also 7-4-1 ATS as underdogs the past 2+ seasons, including a perfect 3-0 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. I believe that their physical rushing attack and powerful defense matches up well against the Pats and I won't be surprised to see them score the outright win. *10 Main Event
|12-16-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Buffalo Bills +6||Top||50-17||Loss||-110||52 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on BUFFALO. The Seahawks figure to be a popular pick here. After all, they're off a 58-0 victory last week. Plus, they're battling for the playoffs while the Bills are most likely "playing out the string."
I don't expect the Bills to just roll over though. In fact, while the playoffs aren't really going to happen, this team is still mathematically alive and I believe that they're offering plenty of value.
Its true that the Bills would have preferred to play this game at Buffalo, instead of Toronto. However, I still feel the venue will provide them with an advantage.
Keep in mind that the Seahawks are thousands of miles away from home. Playing away from home doesn't bother some teams. However, its something that the Seahawks haven't really figured out yet. They've won only two of seven games away from Seattle. Note that both of those victories came by less than a touchdown, too.
The Seahawks, who are dealing with several banged-up players, are an awful 21-42 the last 63 times that they were off a divisional victory, going 3-4 ATS (2-5 SU) their last seven in that situation.
Perhaps worse than the potential letdown from the Arizona win is the potential for a "look-ahead" to next week's critical home game vs. San Francisco.
While they're only 3-5 their last eight games, four of the Bills' last five losses have come by less than a touchdown. I look for them to step up and earn at least a cover. *10 Best Bet
|12-16-12||Minnesota Vikings v. St. Louis Rams -1||Top||36-22||Loss||-132||49 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. Don't tell these teams that they've got nothing to play for. Both the Vikings and Rams kept their hopes alive by winning last week. Both are still on the outside looking in. Both need another win. With the game being played at St. Louis, I feel that the Rams will have the advantage.
The Vikings are 6-1 at home but only 1-5 (SU and ATS) on the road. They've won just five of 22 road games the past few seasons. The Rams are 2-3-1 on the road, 2-4-1 if you count the game at London. They're 4-2 in games here at St. Louis though.
With a healthy Adrian Peterson in the backfield, the Vikings are obviously a very good running team. However, the Rams have been extremely stout against the run of late.
Last week, they limited Buffalo's C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to a combined 51 yards on 16 carries. The Bills were fourth in the league in rushing coming into that game.
The previous week, the Rams limited Frank Gore to only 58 yards. A closer look reveals that Gore had 23 yards on one play and only 35 yards on his other 22 carries combined.
Jeff Fisher said this of his team's run defense: "Everybody's been contributing from the back end to defensive tackle Michael Brockers is improving, Kendall's Langford playing good, the ends are playing solid, the linebackers are flowing."
Fisher went on to say that he's not talking to his team about the playoffs: "We have the Vikings coming into this week. That's our focus ... Right now, none of that matters unless we win this game. We have to find a way ..."
The Rams are 7-2 ATS when playing a game with an O/U line in the 35.5 to 42 range, going 15-9 ATS their last 24 in that situation. On the other hand, during that time, the Vikings were just 2-10 ATS when playing a game where the line ranged from 35.5 to 42.
The Rams are also 4-0 SU/ATS the last four times that they played a game with a line ranging from -3 to +3. I look for Fisher's team to "find a way," covering the small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-16-12||NY Giants v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||0-34||Win||100||8 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. For a team with an 11-2 overall record, including a perfect 6-0 mark at home, the Falcons sure aren't getting much respect here. I feel that lack of respect is providing us with excellent value.
One could easily make a case for the Giants needing this game more. From a playoff perspective, I'll admit that is in fact true. The Falcons, already division champs, have the best record in the entire NFC and that will remain the case, even if they lose this game. Meanwhile, the Giants have both the Cowboys and Redskins breathing down their necks in the race for the NFC East title.
That said, I expect the Falcons to be every bit as motivated as the defending champions. Indeed, this is a game that Atlanta has had circled since the schedule came out. You may recall that the Giants beat up on the Falcons (24-2) in last year's playoffs, en route to winning the Super Bowl.
I believe that this is a much improved Atlanta team from the one which the Giants defeated last season. I'm not sure that the same can be said of New York though.
While they do have a promising rookie in David Wilson, who is coming off a big game, its still worth noting that the Giants will be without Ahmad Bradshaw, their leading rusher and also his backup, (Andre Brown ) who is out for the season.
Tom Coughlin noted this about the Falcons being a different team from last season: "They have two new coordinators in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. They do bring their own personality and style to the way that they're playing, so there is a difference."
As if last year's playoff loss wasn't motivation enough, the Falcons were embarrassed by Carolina last week and have had to listen to all the talk about them being a fraud all week.
Note that Falcons, who are 19-4 SU their last 23 at home, are a perfect 5-0 SU the last five times that they were off a loss vs. a divisional opponent. I expect the revenge-minded Falcons to step up and improve on those stats, making a statement and covering the very small number along the way. *10 "Revenge" GOW
|12-15-12||Tennessee Tech v. Wisc-Milwaukee +1||Top||69-58||Loss||-110||11 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE. This isn't exactly Saturday's "sexiest" matchup. However, as far as I'm concerned, winning a "boring" matchup is more important than losing an "exciting" one. In this case, with the pointspread essentially a non-factor, I feel we're getting excellent value with the home team.
At 5-4, Tennessee Tech comes in with the better record. Wisconsin-Milwaukee is only 3-8. A closer look reveals that the Panthers are 3-1 at home though while the Golden Eagles are only 1-3 on the road.
While the Golden Eagles are being outscored 71-62 on the road, the Panthers are outscoring teams by a 70.2 to 64.7 margin at home.
Last game, Tennessee Tech lost by 20 at Gardner Webb. In their previous road game, the Golden Eagles lost by 16 at Lipscomb. This is a team which has padded its record with wins over the likes of Crowley's Ridge, Coastal Carolina and Berea.
Keep in mind that the Panthers returned three starters from a team that won 20 games last season. Last year's team dealt with numerous injuries too. This year's team is healthy, thus far.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles are also without DeOndre Haynes. (Coach Payne said this of Haynes: "...He
|12-15-12||Nevada +10 v. Arizona||Top||48-49||Win||100||48 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEVADA. These two teams have some similarities. Both can score plenty of points and both also have a tendency to give up quite a few. Not surprisingly, we're seeing an O/U line in the mid-high 70s. I feel that the value lies with the underdog though, not the total.
The Wolfpack are 6-3-1 ATS the last 10 times that they were listed as underdogs, including a 1-0 ATS mark as underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, have long been terrible when laying points. They're 41-71 ATS the last 100+ times that they were favored, including an awful 14-30 ATS mark when favored in the 3.5 to 10 range. that included a 3-6-1 ATS mark their last 10 in that role. Overall, the Cats were only 2-4 ATS as favorites this season.
While the Wolfpack do give up a high 32.5 points per game, the Wildcats give up 34.3. That number climbs all the way to 48.2 (and 543 ypg!) when the Cats play on the road. On the other hand, Nevada allowed fewer points (29.7 and 395.7 ypg) when playing away from Reno.
In fact, the Wolfpack were on the best on the road, winning five of six, the lone loss coming when they were playing on a short week, at Air Force.
While I won with the Wolfpack in last year's bowl, I like that this game comes earlier and feel that gives Nevada and its unique offense an edge.
If this bowl came in another week or two, Arizona would have had more chance to prepare for the Wolfpack's pistol offense. However, with this being the very first bowl game, that amount of preparation time is lessened.
As Nevada offensive tackle Jeff Nady noted: "The Pistol offense is a unique offense and the less time a team has to prepare for us, I think it gives us a slight edge. I do think this gives us a slight advantage based on the way our offense works."
Of course, motivation is always important to assess in these early bowl games. In this case, I expect the Wolfpack to be very hungry. This team has a strong senior class and they weren't happy with the way they closed out the regular season. They also aren't happy with their recent bowl record and this provides an excellent opportunity to improve in that area.
While I do believe the Wildcats will also want to win this game, I feel that there may be a little more disappointment with being here. Had they taken care of business against ASU in their regular season finale, they may been playing in the Sun Bowl instead. While it won't effect the players, its interesting to note that even some of the Arizona faithful may not be 100% focused on the game - as the Wildcats basketball team happens to host Florida later on Saturday, their biggest non-conf game.
Including their cover in the Hawaii Bowl last season, a game I attended, the Wolfpack are 4-0 ATS their last four games played in the month of December. I expect at least another cover on Saturday. *9
|12-15-12||Elon v. Massachusetts -7.5||Top||73-78||Loss||-110||4 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on MASSACHUSETTS. Elon comes in with the better record. In fact, at 6-3, the Phoenix currently have he best overall record in the Southern Conference. While the Phoenix are indeed an improved team from recent years, I expect them to have their hands full against what I expect will be a highly motivated Massachusetts squad.
True, the Minutemen have a pretty ugly ATS mark, at the moment. They're still 4-3 SU though and the three losses came vs. NC State, Tennessee and Miami, far more talented teams than they one that they'll face here.
When matched up against lesser foes, Harvard, Providence, Siena and Northeastern, the Minutemen have gone a perfect 4-0 SU. They finally broke through with a cover last time out, too - a 72-66 victory at Northeastern, when listed as 3.5 point favorites.
Note that this game is technically being called a "neutral" court game, as its being played at Springfield, rather than Amherst. That's only a distance of about 30 miles though. So, its not exactly going to be a "neutral" environment.
These teams also faced each other last season. The Minutemen hammered them by an 87-65 score, covering as 9.5 point favorites. I believe that they're still the superior team and I expect them to demonstrate that with another convincing win and cover. *10 Annihilator
|12-14-12||Charlotte U v. Miami (Fla) -7.5||Top||46-77||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Last night, we went against undefeated Wichita State. Playing at home, the Vols would pull away for a 9-point victory. Tonight, I expect it to be the Charlotte 49'ers which suffer their first loss of the season.
With a 9-0 record, the 49'ers are clearly doing something right. Clearly, this is Alan Major's best team, in this his third season as Charlotte's coach. That's not saying all that much, however, when considering that the 49'ers were only 23-37 in his first two years.
Also, I believe that the 9-0 record needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Not only have the opponents been largely inferior but the 49'ers have only played one true road game. I expect that record to begin to come back to earth, starting tonight.
The Hurricanes aren't ranked at the moment but I believe that they have the talent of a Top 25 team. Keep in mind that this team returned four starters from a squad that won 20 games last season, highlighted by a number of memorable victories, including one at Duke.
Among Miami's victories last season was a 15-point win at Charlotte. Now, an (arguably) improved Canes team get to host the 49'ers.
Last time out, the Hurricanes went on the road and beat up on Massachusetts, another A-10 team, one which I feel is superior to the one that they'll face tonight. (Massachusetts returned four starters from a team that had 25 wins last season.)
Now, the Canes return home where they recently beat Michigan State and Detroit. Those victories came by eight and 15 points, respectively.
While the 49'ers are 2-4 ATS (1-5 SU) the past couple of seasons as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range, the Canes are 2-1 ATS (3-0 SU) when listed as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range. I feel that this number could easily be higher and I expect the Canes, who beat Charlotte in all phases of the game last season, to improve on those stats this evening. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-13-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Philadelphia Eagles +5||Top||34-13||Loss||-110||30 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I knew I liked the Eagles in this spot. However, I also expected the line to climb above its opening number of three and therefore waited a bit before releasing it. It has now done so. As far as I'm concerned, given the situation, anything better than a field goal is very generous.
I respect the Bengals and I won with them when they beat the Giants. However, I don't feel that they are a team which should be laying more than a field goal on the road here. Not when they're off a heart-breaker and playing a road game, on a short week. Not when they're facing a Philadelphia team which finally enters a game with some much-needed momentum.
After covering the previous week, the Eagles got the monkey off their back with an outright win last week. That was on the road against a Tampa team that was fighting for the playoffs. That victory should appease the home faithful a little while also giving them some much needed confidence.
Now, the Eagles get a chance to do some more "spoiling" while getting to show the nationally televised audience that they aren't a bad as the recent skid made them seem. I expect a highly motivated effort.
Nick Foles, who threw for nearly 400 yards in leading the Eagles to last week's win noted: "It's a great feeling for the team. I think the big thing is, it's a great thing for the team sticking together. We can build off of this.''
As for the Bengals, let's keep in mind, that besides that win over the Giants that they've mostly struggled against top tier competition. They beat Washington. That was early in the season before the Skins had really started to come into their own though. Their other victories came against Cleveland, a team which also defeated them in the rematch, Jacksonville, Miami, KC, Oakland and San Diego. None of those are playoff teams. In fact, those five teams are a combined 15-48.
Obviously, the Eagles haven't been a top tier team this season. However, my point is that the Bengals, 0-6 the last six times that they played a road game when the O/U line ranged from 42.5 to 45, aren't exactly an "elite" team themselves.
Already 2-0 ATS this month, the Eagles are now 14-6 ATS (16-4 SU) their last 20 games played in the month of December, 7-3 SU/ATS the past few seasons.
While this month's ATS victories have come on the road, the Eagles have also won seven of their last eight December home games. I expect them to give their guests all they can handle with an excellent shot at another outright win. *10 Roast
Bonus First Half Play: Eagles.
Keep in mind that this line opened with the Bengals laying a field goal for the entire game. Now, we're able to get that many (or more) points for the first half. I believe that's providing us with excellent value. Note that the Bengals were up by three at halftime last week, after being down by three at the break the previous week.
The Eagles were winning 10-0 at halftime last week and they were up 17-10 the previous week. The week before that, they were winning 15-14 at half. Grab the points. *10
|12-13-12||Wichita State v. Tennessee||Top||60-69||Win||100||11 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Wichita State comes in with the much better record and also the higher ranking. Don't be "shocked" when the Volunteers hand their guests their first loss though.
True, the Shockers are off to an impressive 9-0 start. However, the toughest teams that Wichita State has faced are Virginia Commonwealth, Depaul and Iowa.
On the other hand, the Vols are off tough road games at Virginia and Georgetown while also having faced respectable teams like Oklahoma State and Massachusetts, a team arguably better than its current 4-3 record indicates.
While they deserve credit for their undefeated record, keep in mind that these are not the same Shockers that won the 2011 NIT Title or the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference title. While they still have excellent athletes, this is a team that has had nine scholarship seniors graduate in the past two seasons alone. Note that the Shockers are also expected to be without shooting guard Evan Wessel in this game.
The Vols have had plenty of time to get over their disappointing road defeats, having last played on 12/5. Note that Tennessee is 21-5 the past 26 times that it played with seven or more day's rest, including 2-0 SU/ATS the past couple of seasons.
While the Shockers are 10-17 ATS (8-19 SU) the last 27 times that they were listed as road underdogs or three or fewer points, or at pick'em, the Vols are 10-4 ATS the last 14 times that they were listed as home favorites or three or fewer points, or at pick'em.
The Vols have only played two games on this floor and they won both with relative ease. Most recently, on 11/26, they crushed Oakland by a score of 77-50. (Regulars may recall that we backed the Vols in that game.)
I expect homecourt to be the difference as the Shockers inexperience and personnel changes finally catch up with them. *9 annihilator
|12-12-12||Oregon State v. Portland State +11.5||Top||79-74||Win||100||15 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND STATE. I've successfully played against teams from the Big Sky Conference more than once already this season. However, I believe that this will be a good spot to back a Big Sky team.
I expect the Vikings to be the "hungrier" team here. They'll be playing an instate rival, one that hails from a much bigger conference. They'll also be playing in front of a packed house, as tickets for the game are reportedly already sold out.
While they tend to play some pretty weak competition, note that the Vikings are 15-5 SU and 10-5 ATS their last 20 games here. NONE of the five losses came by greater than seven points.
The Beavers are certainly better on paper. However, injuries to Gomis and Brandt have narrowed the gap a little. Asking them to cover double-digits on the road is asking a lot. Keep in mind that the Beavers are 3-17 SU (6-13-1 ATS) their last 20 road lined games.
The Vikings, who already covered as large underdogs at Oregon, have only played one home game all season, a double-digit winner. They were blown out out at Oregon State last season. However, the previous three meetings (all some time ago) between these teams were ALL decided by five or fewer points. I have a feeling the Vikings give their guests a real scare here. *10
|12-12-12||Los Angeles Clippers v. Charlotte Bobcats +8.5||Top||100-94||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. The Clippers are on an extended winning streak and they beat me last night. That won't stop me from going against them here though.
Last night's victory was hard-fought, the Clippers had to battle the entire way to pull out the win.
Note that the Clippers are only 2-2 SU/ATS when playing the second of back to back games. Going back to last March, they're only 7-10 ATS and 6-11 SU when playing in that situation.
This is worse than just a regular back to back spot though. The Clippers are also playing their fourth game in the last five days. Throw in a trip from the West Coast mixed in the middle of that and its been a very busy stretch for them.
True, the Bobcats have been struggling, most recently losing by eight vs. Golden State. I liked the fight that they showed against the Warriors last game though, battling back from an early deficit instead of giving up.
After that loss Kemba Walker, who finished with 17 second half points, noted: "We've got to play that way from the start. That's it. We waited too long to play that way. I take full responsibility. I've got to set the tone early and I didn't do that.''
I expect Walker and co. to come out ready to play from the opening tip tonight.
Note that Michael Jordan joined Tuesday's practice, working with players and playing one-on-one vs. Kidd-Gilchrist. That could easily provide a spark and some inspiration.
The Bobcats are on the road tomorrow, before coming back home to face Orlando on 12/15. After that, its an extended trip out West. In other words, with the exception of that game against the Magic, "winnable" games aren't likely going to come around too often in the near future. With the schedule in their favor, I believe that this is indeed a winnable game. I expect the Bobcats to go all out and look for that to result in at least a cover. *10 best bet
|12-11-12||Los Angeles Clippers v. Chicago Bulls +3.5||Top||94-89||Loss||-105||14 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. Derrick Rose remains out. However, the Bulls have been coming around. They're 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games, most recently knocking off the Knicks by eight points on 12/8. I expect them to keep the momentum going for another at least another night. In addition to wanting to extend the winning streak and to protect their home floor, the Bulls have the added motivation of playing with revenge from an embarrassing 11/17 loss, at LA. That 21-point debacle (101-80) was by far their most lopsided defeat of the season and I expect it to provide the Bulls with some added incentive here. After that 11/17 loss, Joakim Noah noted: "We got outscrapped and we got out-competed..." I don't expect lack of "hustle" to be an issue for tonight's rematch. Note that the Bulls were slight underdogs for the game against the Knicks and that they're 9-4 ATS the last 13 times that they were off an "upset" win. Although their ATS record hasn't been that great in this situation, with no spread to cover this time, its also worth noting that the Bulls are 25-11 SU the past 36 times that they played with two day's rest in between games. During the recent winning streak, in addition to playing stout defense, the Bulls have been getting an average of more than 20 points (20.3) per game from Marco Belinelli, who has stepped up his game, making the most of the injuries to others. Belinelli noted: "This is not my first year in the league. This is my sixth year. I don't want to be just a 3-point shooter. I want to be a complete guy. Saturday we played offense and defense, rebound, ran. That's the way we have to play." While they've been very tough at home and are admittedly playing well (6 straight SU wins) right now, the Clippers are still 0-4 ATS (1-3 SU) their last four on the road. Three losses by at least seven points and a 1-point win. A closer look at the Clippers' current 6-game winning streak shows that five of the wins have been at home, none of them against elite teams. The lone road win came by a single point. Including the victory over the Knicks, the Bulls are a terrific 14-6 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs of four or fewer points. (Thirteen of those resulted in SU victories.) Its also worth mentioning that they're 24-5 SU the last 29 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 185 to 189.5 range. I'll take the points that are being offered but expect them to step up and score the outright win. *10 Main Event
|12-11-12||North Dakota State +14.5 v. Minnesota||Top||57-70||Win||100||13 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTH DAKOTA STATE. With a top 15 ranking and a 10-1 overall record, the Gophers are obviously a good team. That said, I feel that this will prove to be a difficult spot and I expect them to have their hands full here. I believe that the Gophers are ripe for a letdown here. Not only did they just have to return from the West Coast, they're also off an emotional game, one which saw Tubby Smith reach 500 wins, the 19th Div. 1 coach to ever do so. As Minnesota's Andre Hollins noted: "This a huge win for coach's career ..." While the Gophers, who face Michigan State later this month, could easily overlook the Bison, I feel that will prove costly. North Dakota State nearly upset the Gophers right here last season. Listed as an 11 point favorite, Minnesota eked out a 63-59 victory. While the Gophers are arguably better than they were, note that the Biston brought back their top five scorers from that team and are also even better this season. Indeed, the Biston check in off three straight double-digit wins and with an 8-2 record overall. One of their losses came at Indiana, the top team in the country - and they hung within 14 points of the Hoosiers. Including the cover vs. Indiana and the near upset here last season, the Bison are a highly profitable 16-5 ATS their last 21 lined non-conference games. While the Gophers are 0-3 ATS as home favorites in the 12.5 to 15 range the past few seasons, the Biston are 1-0 ATS as road underdogs in that range. The Gophers have only lost to a Summit League team once and that was way back in 1936. That happened to be against North Dakota State. I won't go as far as calling for another upset here - although it wouldn't shock me - but I do expect the Bison to step up and give the Gophers another real scare. *10 Best Bet
|12-10-12||Houston Texans +4 v. New England Patriots||Top||14-42||Loss||-110||34 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. Obviously these are both very good teams, each of them very capable of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. With all due respect to Belichick and Brady, I feel that the Texans are the more complete team.
Both teams can score but the Pats enter with a statistical edge on that side of the ball. They're averaging 35.8 points per game, 34.8 at home. The Texans are averaging 29.2 overall, 25.3 on the road. Still very respectable numbers.
The Texans make up for it on the other side of the ball. They're allowing 16 points per game on the road while the Pats are allowing 24.4 at home.
I won with the Pats when they beat the Broncos back on 10/7. I also won with them when they hammered the Colts on 11/18. So, I'm not opposed to backing them against "good" teams.
I feel that the Texans are stronger than either the Colts or the Broncos though. Certainly, I feel that they're stronger than Indianapolis. Also, a closer look shows that the Pats have stumbled when up against other quality non-divisional opponents.
Sure, they've beaten up on their own division. However, they know those teams and have their number - plus, the Bills, Jets and Dolphins are all sub-500 teams. Entering Sunday's action, they're each 5-7. That's a far cry from Houston's 11-1 record.
The Pats' other non-divisional wins came against Tennessee and St. Louis, teams which are a combined 9-14-1 entering Sunday.
Losses against Arizona, Baltimore and Seattle were some time ago now but shouldn't be entirely forgotten.
I did successfully play against the Texans in their only loss this season, a 42-24 pasting at the hands of the Packers. However, that's the only time that the Texans have lost all season.
They've beaten quality and/or talented teams like the Broncos (they beat them at Denver too, while the Pats beat them at Foxboro) Bears and Lions.
When matched up against the Ravens, a team which defeated New England, the Texans won by a score of 43-13.
When matched up against other AFC East teams, the Texans have gone 3-0. They won those games by scores of 30-10, 23-17 and 21-9. So, they too can dominate the the AFC East teams.
Note that the Texans are 6-0 (4-1-1 ATS) on the road and that they're also 11-5 ATS their last 16 against teams with a winning record.
Back to the Packers game for a minute; I feel that's worked in our favor. That game offered the Texans a rare chance in front of the nationally televised (Sunday night) audience and they got embarrassed. While they did manage a win against the Bears on Monday night, they didn't cover - and that game had an asterisk beside it, due to Cutler not playing. Even the win at Detroit on Thanksgiving was a little "questionable."
Those two primetime games have remained fresh in the memories of bettors as many lost with Houston in one or even both of those games. They're going to be a little hesitant to back the Texans here. That sentiment has worked in four favor, one of the factors keeping the line above a field goal.
I believe the Texans are a team seeking respect, something the Pats already have. I feel that the Texans will view this as a "statement" game and look for them to be at their very best. *10
|12-10-12||Golden State Warriors v. Charlotte Bobcats +5||Top||104-96||Loss||-110||5 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I successfully played against the Warriors in their last game, at Washington on Saturday. They won but had their hands full the entire way, failing to cover. While I respect the Warriors, I feel that they're again a little-overvalued here. I like how this one sets up for the home team. The Bobcats got embarrassed in their last game and are on a losing skid. The Warriors are in the midst of a road trip, thousands of miles from home. They've already had plenty of success on the trip and could be patting themselves on the back a little, while potentially overlooking the lowly Bobcats. Speaking of patting themselves on the back, the Warriors haven't typically fared too well when they've been on a 3-game winning streak. In fact, they're just 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS their last nine in that situation, most recently getting upset by Orlando one week ago. The Warriors also have a game at Miami on deck, another reason to potentially look past Charlotte. The Bobcats were 3.5 point underdogs when they hosted the Warriors last year and they won outright by 12 points. Hungry to get back on track and knowing that they're going to be facing these same Warriors at Oakland in a couple of weeks, I expect the Bobcats to go all out to defend their homecourt, earning at least a cover in the process. *10 Best Bet
|12-09-12||Detroit Lions +7 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||20-27||Push||0||25 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROT. The Lions have certainly found ways to lose - and they cost me last week. However, the fact is that they almost never get blown out. Their last three losses have all come by four points or less, starting with a 24-20 loss vs. these same Packers. Once again, I expect them to be in this one the entire way.
From a playoff perspective, its true that the Packers need this game more. The Lions have no hope. The Packers need every win that they can get. I don't expect the Lions to go through the motions though. This is a hated divisional rival, one which broke their hearts earlier. Also, this is a nationally televised game, an opportunity to show the nation that they're better than their record suggests. Of course, snapping a 20-game skid at Lambeau would be nice too ...
The Packers aren't that far removed from winning a Super Bowl and are certainly worthy of respect. They're missing several key components at the moment though and I don't feel that the current lineup should be laying this many points against what I still believe is a talented Lions team. The Packers did eke out a 9-point vs. Minnesota last week - but that was far from easy. The previous week, they were exposed by the Giants, a 38-10 destruction.
Note that the Packers are 0-2 SU/ATS this season, when off a divisional victory. After beating Chicago, they lost at Seattle. The blowout loss against the Giants came after GB beat the Lions in the earlier meeting.
Given their tendency to avoid being blown out, its not surprising that the Lions are a profitable 10-5 ATS the last 15 times that they were listed as underdogs in the 3.5 to 9.5 range, including a 5-2 ATS mark as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. I expect them to improve on those stats with AT LEAST a cover on Sunday night. *10 Main Event
|12-09-12||NY Jets -2.5 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||17-10||Win||100||18 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on the JETS. Its surely now or never for Sanchez. Rex Ryan has given him the nod once again, after he got benched in last week's game. I may be in the minority but I like that decision. I agree that Sanchez gives the Jets the best chance to win. I feel that playing on the road will help ease the pressure, at least a little, and I expect Sanchez to rise to the occasion and remind everyone that he can actually still play.
Jacksonville figures to be an ideal opponent. Not only are the Jags terrible this season, they're banged-up at the QB and running back positions. Perhaps most importantly, the Jets hammered the Jags by a score of 32-3 last season. Sanchez was 17 of 24 with two TDs in that game. So, he should help in the confidence department.
Of course, Sanchez's job would be much easier if his team has the advantage on the ground. I expect that to be the case.
The Jags give up 144 rushing yards per game, 31st in the league. Meanwhile, the Jags run the ball for only 78.8 yards per game, worst in the league. The Jets check in off a game in which they gained 177 yards on the ground.
The Jets are 3-1-1 ATS (4-1 SU) the last five times that they were listed as road favorites of three or fewer points. They're also 12-7-2 ATS (13-8 SU) the last 21 times that they played a game where the line ranged from -3 to +3.
The Jets are also 13-3 SU and 10-5-1 ATS their last 16 against teams with a losing record. With the Titans, Chargers and Bills on deck, all beatable teams, the Jets aren't completely out of this thing yet. I say they step up and get it done. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-09-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||23-27||Win||100||18 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. The Colts have sure had a great year. However, that doesn't mean that they're be ready to be laying this many points.
A look at the Colts' schedule shows that they've only won one game all season by more than a touchdown. Five victories have come by a field goal or less.
While the Titans were beaten by 14 by a strong Houston team last week, that was just the second time in seven games that they've lost by more than six points.
The Titans have been at their best off back to back losses, going 3-0 ATS. Looking to avenge the earlier loss and potentially catching the Colts looking ahead, if only slightly, to Houston, I expect the Titans to take this one down to the wire with an excellent shot at an outright win. *10 AFC South GOY
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