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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|11-11-12||Denver Broncos v. Carolina Panthers +5||Top||36-14||Loss||-110||3 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on CAROLINA. The Broncos are everyone's darling right now. I feel that this will be a very tough spot for them though. Denver is off a road game last week and will now be playing its fourth road game in the past five games. Playing their second straight on the road, facing a non-conference opponent and with a huge divisional showdown vs. San Diego on deck, I feel that the Broncos are in a very real letdown spot. Note that they're just 3-6-1 ATS against NFC teams the past few seasons.
The Panthers have come back to life in recent weeks. After nearly winning at Chicago, they followed it up by winning outright at Washington. Newton is starting to play better again and the defense has now held four straight opponents to 23 or fewer points, three of those teams scoring less than 20.
The Panthers have a lot to build on from last week. Newton didn't turn the ball over; they moved to 7-1 when he doesn't. He threw for a TD and he ran from one. Smith found the end zone. The defense held a high-scoring team to just 13 points. (Washington entered that game averaging 28.7 ppg at home.)
Manning is admittedly in great form. I don't expect him to have such a big day here though. Since getting lit up by Matt Ryan back in September, the Panthers have limited every passing attack to less than 300 yards, allowing an average if 212.3 their last four games.
Coach Rivera noted: "We've settled in defensively. We've found our intensity."
Note that the Panthers last four losses have come by an average of just a field goal, none of them coming by greater than five points. Expect them to give their guests all they can handle with an excellent shot at an outright win. *10
|11-10-12||Oregon v. California +29||Top||59-17||Loss||-110||23 h 39 m||Show|
I'm playing on CALIFORNIA. Its always "scary" to go against a team like Oregon. The Ducks can and do score points quickly and they've been known to embarrass opposing teams, as well as the bettors that dare to play against them. You can't be a successful handicapper by being scared to play on or against any team though. In this case, I feel that the Ducks are simply laying too big a number.
The Ducks are off a hard-fought battle with USC last Saturday night. Having survived that test, they could easily experience a minor letdown. That's particularly true given that their next game is a big one vs. Stanford and that's followed by the Civil War vs. rival Oregon State.
On the other hand, the Bears are playing their home finale and don't have anything to "look ahead to" like their guests.
Some will mention that the Bears are without QB Maynard. Maynard was struggling though and I don't feel that his absence will be a negative.
Bridgford's stats weren't that good but I actually liked the way he threw the ball against Washington better than what Maynard was doing. Note that Bridgford also got the start against Nevada in the season opener, so he's got some snaps under his belt.
Bridgford had this to say: "It would be different if it were my first time playing a college football game but it's not. I've played a number of games. I've thrown a handful of passes. I'm not overly nervous. I'm just ready to have fun and waiting to have my shot."
Some may point to last year's 28-point victory by the Ducks. However, that game was at Oregon and the Bears actually led by a point at halftime.
The last game here at Berkeley, which was played in November of 2010 saw the Bears give the Ducks all they could handle. Oregon eked out a 15-13 win, aided by a punt return touchdown.
Oregon linebacker Michael Clay noted: "It was a dogfight. They missed a field goal, but it was a dogfight. It'll be another one down there."
The Bears are 4-2 ATS the last six times that they were listed as underdogs in the 21.5 to 31 range. I expect them to give the Ducks a scare, improving on those stats along the way. *10 Best Bet
|11-10-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Charlotte Bobcats +6.5||Top||97-101||Win||100||9 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I believe that we're getting excellent value with the home underdog here. Both teams played and lost last night. I expect that to affect the Nowitzki-less Mavericks more than it does the Bobcats.
For starters, the Bobcats are at home. So, they got to sleep in their own beds.
Perhaps more importantly, the Bobcats early schedule has been far more manageable. This will be just their fifth game of the season and only the third since playing at Dallas on 11/3.
On the other hand, during that stretch, the Mavs have squeezed an extra game in there. This will be their fourth game since hosting Charlotte on the 3rd. It also marks their seventh game overall, four of those on the road.
In other words, fatigue may be a bigger factor for the Mavs than it is the Bobcats. Also, note that the Mavs played next on 11/12 when the Bobcats don't play again until 11/13.
While they did get blown out at Dallas earlier this season, the Bobcats covered the spread in last year's lone meeting. Playing at Dallas and getting 14.5 points, they lost by only five.
Back home, playing with recent "revenge" and having a scheduling edge, I expect at least another cover here. *9 Best Bet
|11-10-12||Boise State v. Hawaii +28||Top||49-14||Loss||-110||9 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. Knowing that they were upset in their last game, many will expect the Broncos to be angry and that they'll be looking to deliver a blowout. I'll agree as I'm sure that's exactly what the Broncos want to do. However, wanting to do something and actually doing it are entirely different matters.
While they have gone 2-0 SU, the Broncos are 0-2 ATS the past few years when coming off a conference loss. During that stretch, they're also a money-burning 3-5 ATS when listed as road favorites in the -21.5 to 31 range.
Note that with last week's loss, the Broncos are also only 3-6 ATS in November the past few seasons.
Already potentially distracted by last week's loss, now the Broncos have to make the long trip to Hawaii, where they could also be distracted by all the island of Oahu has to offer.
True, the Warriors have been pretty bad. In fairness, they've only played one home game since September. They had a new coach and were learning new schemes this season. They've had time to get it figured out now and should be thrilled to be back home, after playing four of their last five on the road.
The Warriors are 11-7 SU at home the past few years and only one of those seven losses (69-24 vs. Nevada earlier this year) came by greater than 27 points. I successfully played against the Warriors in that one but feel this one sets up much better for them.
Six of the Broncos' seven trips here, going back to 1996, have been decided by 15 or less, Hawaii winning three of those outright. Look for this one to also prove much closer than expected. *10 Mountain West GOY
|11-10-12||Baylor v. Oklahoma -21.5||Top||34-42||Loss||-102||16 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA. I believe that the Bears are in the wrong place at the wrong time here.
The Sooners haven't forgotten that the Robert Griffin III led Bears beat them last year. Keep in mind that Griffin, who threw for nearly 500 yards in last year's game, isn't around anymore though and that the Sooners are a perfect 10-0 against the Bears here at Norman.
The Sooners allow the fewest points (and yards) in the Big 12. Baylor's coach Art Briles said this of the Oklahoma defense: "They are good. They didn't wake up and just get good today; they have been good for a long time. They are very physical, very talented, and they are schemed up very well."
While the Sooners did lose games vs. K-State and Notre Dame, they've been crushing everyone else. (They're 5-0 against unranked team, winning by an average of 30.8 points per game.) Last week, they went on the road and won by 15 at Iowa State, outgaining the Cyclones by more than 300 total yards. (The Cyclones beat Baylor by a nearly identical margin in their previous game.) Back at home, I expect an even wider margin of victory here.
In addition to being winless at Norman, the Bears are 0-26 all-time on the road vs. Top 25 teams in Big 12 play. They're also 2-6 ATS the last eight times that they played a road game with an O/U line of 70 or greater. Meanwhile, the Sooners are 2-0 SU/ATS at home with an O/U line of 70 or more. I expect a blowout. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-10-12||Northwestern v. Michigan -9.5||Top||31-38||Loss||-105||12 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on MICHIGAN. The Wildcats are the higher seed. However, I believe that the Wolverines are favored by this many for good reason.
I believe that the Wildcats offense will prove too one-dimensional to win this game. Northwestern has a poor pass attack (ranked 113th in the country) and it will be up against one of the best pass defenses in the nation. That should allow the Wolverines to really focus on stopping the run; I expect them to have some success doing so.
With an O/U line in the low 50s, note that Michigan is 6-1 SU/ATS the last seven times that it played a home game with an O/U line ranging from 49.5 to 56.
The Wolverines won by 18 at Northwestern last season. Playing at home, I expect another double-digit victory. *9
|11-09-12||Detroit Pistons +11.5 v. Oklahoma City Thunder||Top||94-105||Win||100||10 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. Tough start for the Pistons but they've been competitive and this is a good spot for them. While the Pistons are 0-5 SU, four of their five losses have come by less than a dozen points, three of those losses coming by eight or less. Last time out, they lost by only two. Of course, a "close loss" here will get them the cover.
While the Pistons had last night off, the Thunder are off a hard-fought victory at Chicago. That was a big "TV" game against an elite team and a letdown, physically and/or emotionally, would not be surprising. Note that three of OKC's victories have come by 11 or less. While they are a young team, this is their sixth game in the first nine nights of November, which I feel may catch up with them here.
The Pistons are 9-6 ATS the last 15 times that they'd played at least three consecutive games on the road. During that stretch, they're also a lucrative 30-15 ATS when off a game in which they allowed 105 or more points. I expect them to improve on those stats, giving their hosts a much tough game than most will be expecting. *10 Best Bet
|11-09-12||Pittsburgh v. Connecticut +3.5||Top||17-24||Win||100||10 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on UCONN. Admittedly, the Panthers have been a far more profitable team that the Huskies. While the Huskies have cost their supporters, the Panthers have lined their backers' pockets with cash. I feel that will change tonight though.
While this is an important game for them, the Panthers are in a possible letdown spot. They're off a heart-breaking OT loss vs. Notre Dame, the kind of defeat that can really be difficult to bounce back from.
While the Huskies' record certainly isn't too impressive, it could easily be better. Five of their last seven games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Speaking of close games, the Panthers were favored by six points the last time that they played here; the Huskies won by two points.
Counting last week's game as a push, the Huskies are 5-1-1 ATS in November the past few seasons.
This is a "must win" game for the Huskies, as they need to "win out" to become bowl eligible. With their season on the line, I expect them to rise to the occasion, earning at least the cover and improving to 21-8-1 ATS the last 30 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 42.5 to 49 range. *9
|11-08-12||Indianapolis Colts v. Jacksonville Jaguars +4||Top||27-10||Loss||-110||11 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on JACKSONVILLE. The Colts are the hotter team and they've certainly exceeded expectations already. Suddenly, they're in the thick of the playoff race. That has them in unfamiliar territory. Not only are they now dealing with heightened expectations but they also find themselves laying points on the road. I expect that pressure to prove to be a little too much tonight and feel that the value lies with what I feel will be a highly motivated home underdog.
Obviously, the Jaguars have had a disappointing first half. They aren't about to pack it in though and a nationally televised game against a divisional opponent offers the perfect opportunity to prove that point.
Coach Mike Mularkey noted the following: "I'm disappointed that we are where we're at. I know the players are. I certainly know the fans are. I just want them to know how they feel, we feel the same way. We're mad, too, very disappointed we're in this position. But we have to get over that emotion and get ready for this next game and these next eight games and know that we are going to battle to try to get this thing right.''
Although homefield hasn't helped the Jags much this season, I like the fact that they're playing at home, for a game with a short week.
While they did get blown out by the Lions last time out, the Jags had quietly covered the spread in each of their previous two games. Even with the Detroit loss, they're still 9-5 ATS when coming off two or more consecutive SU losses.
Sure, the Colts are 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games. However, all three of those were decided by six or less, most recently a 23-20 win vs. Miami. The other teams (Cleveland and Tennessee) aren't much better than the Jags in the standings and the Colts certainly didn't blow them out. Even with those ATS wins, note that Indianapolis is still an ugly 2-10 ATS its last 12 against a team with a losing record.
The Jags have won three straight in the series and each of the 2012 meetings (1/1 and 9/23) were decided by six or fewer points. I won't be surprised if the Jags win outright again. I could also see it being decided in the closing minutes though and will happily grab the points. *10
|11-08-12||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Chicago Bulls +2.5||Top||97-91||Loss||-104||10 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. With Rose out, we're getting the Bulls as an underdog here. With all due respect to the Thunder, who are indeed a very good team, I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
Sure, the Thunder beat up on the Raptors last time out. However, that game was at OKC and Toronto was short-handed, as its best player and leading scorer (Lowry) left with 1:29 left in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain and did not return.
Prior to that victory, the Thunder hadn't looked all that impressive and appeared to be missing Harden. They lost their lone road game and they were also beaten by double-digits by Atlanta.
The Bulls haven't been covering but they've still won three of four.
The Bulls are at their best when getting "disrespected." They're 17-9 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons and that includes a perfect 5-0 ATS record as home underdogs of three points or less. I expect them to step up and improve on those stats tonight. *9
|11-08-12||Florida State v. Virginia Tech +14||Top||28-22||Win||100||10 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on V-TECH. The Seminoles are a talented team and they've been playing well. However, I still don't feel that they should be laying two touchdowns for a Thursday night game at Blacksburg.
Sure, the Hokies have lost two in a row. However, those were both on the road. Their last home game resulted in a 21 point victory. In fact, they're 4-0 at home on the season, 15-2 here the past few years.
Also, note that the Hokies are typically at their most dangerous when off back-to-back losses. They're 15-5 ATS their last 20 in that situation, including 2-0 SU/ATS the past couple of seasons.
During that stretch, the Seminoles were only 7-9 ATS when off two or more consecutive victories. Note that Florida State is 0-4 ATS the last four times it was a favorite in the 10.5 to 21 range.
Note that the Hokies last loss was a little deceiving, as they had a statistical edge at Miami.
Some may argue that the Seminoles have the advantage of coming off a bye. However, it should be noted that they're 0-2 following byes under Fisher.
Sure, the Seminoles are looking to improve on their impressive record and are looking to play in the ACC Championship game. The Hokies arguably need this game more though. They're trying to extend their string of 19 consecutive seasons with a bowl berth and they need wins in two of their next three to be eligible. Note that the Hokies have won 21 of 29 Thursday games and that they'd been 7-0 in November the past two seasons.
I expect Beamer to have his team fully ready and I look for AT LEAST a cover. *10 Main Event
|11-07-12||Bowling Green +3 v. Ohio||Top||26-14||Win||100||10 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on BOWLING GREEN. I won with the visitor in last night's MAC contest and I'm going back with the road team here.
Similar to last night, these teams are battling to get to or stay in second in their respective decision. Last night, Ball State did NIU (the team on top of the West division) a favor by knocking off Toledo. Tonight, Bowling Green and Ohio try and avoid falling further behind East leading Kent State.
The Bobcats come in with the better overall record. They're 8-1 as opposed to Bowling Green's 6-3. However, both teams are 4-1 in conference play and its the Falcons who have the better record at the betting window. They're 6-3 ATS on the season as compared to Ohio's 4-5 ATS mark.
Records notwithstanding, I believe the Falcons are currently the better team. Admittedly, I'm someone that's a little biased towards a dominating defense. Still, check out these numbers.
Over the last five games, the Falcons have allowed a total of just 23 points, an average of less than five per game. They won 48-8, 24-10, 37-12, 24-0 and 24-3.
By comparison, the Bobcats have allowed 138 points over their last five games, an average of nearly 28.
Not surprisingly, Ohio has gone only 1-4 ATS its last five. Bowling Green, by comparison has gone 5-0 ATS. True, those results have kept the line down a bit. I still feel we're getting very fair value though.
Both teams beat up on lowly Eastern Michigan last time out. However, Ohio did so on 11/1 while Bowling Green did so on 10/27. (On 10/27, Ohio was busy losing outright at Miami Oh.) I believe that the extra preparation (and healing) time will serve the Falcons well here
Last year's game was decided by a single point, a 29-28 road win for Ohio. Don't be surprised when Bowling Green returns the favor. *10
|11-06-12||Orlando Magic v. Chicago Bulls -8.5||Top||93-99||Loss||-110||10 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. While they've gotten off to a 2-0 start in the "post Howard era," I believe that the Magic are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
While taking the points may seem like an attractive option, note that the Magic have long struggled as road underdogs in this range.
The well-coached Bulls have had a couple of days off since getting upset here by New Orleans. They should be anxious to make things right. Note that they're 34-15 ATS (38-11 SU) the past couple of seasons, after facing a team from the Western Conference in their previous game. During that stretch, they're also a dominating 23-9 ATS (25-7 SU) when off an upset loss.
The Bulls have beaten the Magic five of the last six times the teams have faced each other, including a 26-point destruction (at Orlando) last meeting. I expect another double-digit win tonight. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-06-12||Ball State +7 v. Toledo||Top||34-27||Win||100||10 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALL STATE. I successfully played against Toledo in its last game. The Rockets were playing Buffalo and I suggested that they would get a tough test. That proved to be the case, as they won by only five. While the Rockets are now back home, they're also facing a team which is better than Buffalo. Once again, I expect them to have their hands full.
Yes, the Rockets are in the Top 25. However, they just got in there and its the first time in more than 10 years. I expect that to serve as some added motivation for a strong Ball State squad, which now knows it has the opportunity to defeat a "ranked" program.
Ball State coach Pete Lembo noted: ''I did share with our team yesterday after practice about Toledo moving into the Top 25. That's a great thing for the MAC. We've got some terrific teams in the league this year. We're just excited to be in a position where this game has a lot of meaning to it at this point.''
While Toledo scores 36 (410.5 yards) points per game at home, the Cardinals average 36.4 (450.8 yards) ppg on the road. They should be able to trade punches with their hosts the entire way.
The Cardinals have won three straight games and are 5-2 their last seven. All seven of those games were decided by a dozen points or less and the lone road loss came by just two. The Rockets are off three straight victories of six or fewer points. I'm expecting another one with the Cardinals earning AT LEAST a cover and improving to 6-1 ATS the last seven times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range and 6-0 ATS the last six times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 63.5 to 70 range. *9
|11-05-12||New York Knicks v. Philadelphia 76ers -3||Top||110-88||Loss||-110||9 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Knicks are off to a 2-0 start and NY fans are already starting to get excited. I expect the revenge-minded 76ers to put a temporary halt to the NY love in this evening though.
Outplayed on the road while playing an early game, the 76ers should be far more comfortable now that they're back on their home floor. I'm aware that Bynum and Richardson are out - but still feel this team has enough to defend its home floor and that we'll be seeing an inspired defensive effort tonight.
Note that the 76ers permitted a mere 75 points in their lone home game, an 84-75 victory over the Nuggets. Meanwhile, the Knicks will now be playing their first road game.
Even with yesterday's loss, the 76ers still 26-12-1 ATS the past couple of years, during the first half of the season. During that time, they're 13-6 ATS (14-5 SU) when playing a home game with an O/U line in the 184.5 to 189 range.
Ultimately, I look for the 76ers to want it a little more and for them to outwork the Knicks, en route to a win and cover. *9 Personal Fav
|11-04-12||Dallas Cowboys +4 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||13-19||Loss||-115||24 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. I like the Falcons and am well aware that they're a very strong team, one which is off an impressive win and which is tough to beat at home. That said, I feel that Dallas is also a very talented team and I have a feeling that the Cowboys are going to rise to the occasion with their best effort.
The Cowboys are definitely off a tough loss. While that can sometimes be reason for a letdown, this Dallas team has no time for a letdown - their season is now essentially on the line every week. That may sound a bit over dramatic but in the competitive NFC, its essentially true.
With the Giants off to a 6-2 start, the 3-4 Cowboys know winning the division is not going to be at all easy. That's particularly true when considering that both the other teams in the East (Philly and Washington) also have three wins. Moreover, when teams like Green Bay (and Minnesota) have five wins already, yet are trailing in their own divisions, the Cowboys know that earning a Wildcard spot is also going to be extremely challenging.
So, no, I don't think saying that the "season is on line" is being over-dramatic.
Much will be made about the Cowboys' injuries on offense. However, I'd argue that Atlanta missing Sean Weatherspoon (second on team in both tackles and sacks) on defense, is at least as big.
True, the Falcons are 3-0 SU at home. However, they're only 1-2 ATS in those games, outscoring teams by only an average of a 26.7 to 23 margin. A closer look reveals that the Falcons have actually been outgained by an average of 404.7 to 329, in terms of total yards, in their three games here.
On the other hand, the Cowboys are outgaining their hosts by an average of 380.5 to 307 on the road.
I've always found that teams can get in a "habit" of playing close games. On that note, the Cowboys have seen each of their last three games decided by five points or less. Prior to last week, the Falcons had seen three straight games decided by seven or less, two of them decided by a field goal or less. I expect another close one with the Cowboys improving to 5-0 ATS the last five times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. *10 Main Event
|11-04-12||Minnesota Timberwolves v. Toronto Raptors -3||Top||86-105||Win||100||8 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. True, the Raptors are off a hard fought loss at Brooklyn last night. However, they had each of the previous two nights off, so its not all that grueling, as far as back-to-back spots go. Also, the fact that they are in a b2b spot has actually worked in our favor by keeping this line lower than it would have been otherwise.
Yes, the T-Wolves have an exciting young team. Yes, they're off a 92-80 victory in their first game. However, that win was at home (against Sacramento) and this is a team which was an awful 7-16-1 ATS the past couple of seasons, when off a double-digit win.
More importantly, let's not forget that both Rubio and Love, the two players which make this "an exciting young team" are both out.
The Raptors have fought very hard in each of their two games and could have easily won both. I expect a similar effort today and this time, I look for it to translate to a win and cover. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-04-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Oakland Raiders||Top||42-32||Loss||-125||30 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Both these teams check in with three wins in seven games. That has translated to a 5-2 ATS record for the Bucs but only a 3-4 ATS mark for the Raiders. Tampa's superior ATS record combined with the fact that the Bucs are off an impressive "TV" win (which has stayed in bettors' memories) has helped to keep this line in the pick'em range. I feel that getting the Raiders at less than a field goal at home is offering excellent value.
As noted, both teams have identical records. However, those records means entirely different things in the NFC as compared to the AFC. Stuck in the same division as the undefeated Falcons, the Bucs already know that the can't win their division. That means that they're competing for a Wildcard spot. That's a problem in the NFC because there are teams currently with better records (like the Packers and Vikings, both with five wins entering Sunday) competing against them.
In other words, the Raiders have a potentially easier path to the playoffs. Even at 3-4, they're right in the thick of things in the AFC.
Off two straight victories and with wins in three of the last four, the Raiders are playing with confidence. Coach Dennis Allen noted: "Yeah, I feel like our guys have confidence that they can go out and compete, that we can win football games. Like I told them, this is only important if you're able to go out and win the next one.''
Losing All Pro Carl Nicks to injury is a blow to the Bucs and they know it.
Coach Schiano acknowledged as much: "It's a tough loss - that's an understatement - when you have a guy of Carl's stature and ability that he brings to the field each week."
The Raiders have six sacks the last two games alone and Nicks' absence should make getting to Freeman easier.
While I won with the Bucs (and the over) when these teams met in the Superbowl, the Raiders are 6-1 when these teams have met in regular season action. I expect them to take the next step Sunday, climbing to .500 in the standings and improving to 7-3 ATS their last 10 against teams from the NFC. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-04-12||Denver Broncos v. Cincinnati Bengals +4.5||Top||31-23||Loss||-105||15 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. Peyton Manning has certainly been in top form of late. However, I like how this one sets up for the home team.
Cincinnati cornerback Leon Hall concurs: "No one gives us a chance after losing three games in a row and Denver is playing really well. You have to give it to them, but we like that position."
The Broncos have played a string of "high profile" games this month. They began October with a game against the Patriots, a Manning/Brady showdown. Next, was a big comeback in a nationally televised Monday night game at San Diego. That was followed by last week's showdown vs. the Saints, a game which was a Superbowl rematch between Manning and Brees, another nationally televised game.
Off all those "big games," its only natural to experience a small "letdown" against "lowly" Cincinnati. I expect that will prove costly.
The Bengals are still right in the thick of the AFC Wildcard race and they should be extremely motivated. They need this game more than the Broncos though; a loss here would be very costly. Not as much for Denver.
Coach Lewis noted: "I thought we were very, very good at stinking up October and we need to do a cleanse. We have an opportunity to fix a lot of the things that are ailing us right now, and that's what we've got to do.''
While the Broncos are off another "big game" last week, the Bengals had last week off. That bye came at the right time, as they'd lost a few in a row. Remember, this is a quality team, one which went to the playoffs last season.
While Manning has indeed been great, it should be noted that his thumb got banged last game. He noted: "It'll be sore, but I'm probably a little bit lucky."
These teams played last year. The game was at Denver and the Broncos were favored by three points. (They won by two.) Now, the Broncos are laying even more points, yet playing on the road. With all due respect to Manning, I feel that's giving us excellent value. I'll take the points but expect the Bengals to step up and score the outright win. *10 Best Bet
|11-03-12||Alabama v. LSU +9||Top||21-17||Win||100||33 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on LSU. I had Alabama in last year's championship game and I certainly still respect the Crimson Tide. That doesn't mean that I won't go against them when I feel that the value lies the other way though. I feel that's the case on Saturday.
Alabama did win 21-0 last January. However, lets not forget that the Tide were only very modest favorites in that game OR that the previous two games, each of which were played in the first week of November, were both decided by a field goal. LSU won 9-6 at Alabama on 11/5/2011. The previous year, the Tigers won 24-21, here in Baton Rouge.
True, Alabama has been blowing every opponent out while LSU has had some close wins. However, I would argue that the Tigers have played a tougher schedule AND that their "close game experience" could serve them well here. Keep in mind that LSU's last three games have come at Texas [email protected], vs. South Carolina and at Florida. Alabama, on the other hand, has faced Miss. State, Tennessee and Missouri.
It should be mentioned that Alabama played last week while LSU is coming off a bye. Note that the Tigers are 3-1 SU/ATS off a bye the past few seasons.
During that time, the Tigers were also 4-2 ATS when listed as underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range. Over that time, Alabama was only 3-5 ATS as a favorite in the 3.5 to 10 range.
The Tigers enter Saturday's game with the nation's longest win streak at home; they've won a school-record 22 straight games here.
Coach Miles said this of his team's homefield advantage: "I can tell you that our team will look forward to playing in this stadium.There's no place like it. The environment that can be created in Tiger Stadium certainly will help the home team. Our guys play best in that stadium and in that environment. I think they'll look forward to playing in it. I imagine it will be pretty special."
The Tigers are allowing only 14.6 points per game. That makes beating them by a significant margin difficult. (Their lone loss came by 8 points.) I'm expecting a close one and am grabbing all the points that I can get. *10 Main Event
|11-03-12||Oregon v. USC +8.5||Top||62-51||Loss||-105||53 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. Many bettors don't like going against Oregon. The Ducks are talented, aggressive and they tend to try and embarrass their opponents. While I certainly respect Oregon, I believe that the betting public's "fear" of the Ducks is leading to some excellent value with the talented home underdog here.
While the Trojans may not have an undefeated record, they are still extremely strong on both sides of the ball. This is a team that is loaded with talent and which entered the season with dreams of winning the National Title. QB Matt Barkley, one of 16 returning starters, turned down the NFL to play here this season.
A closer look at the Trojans' schedule shows that both of their losses came by seven points or less. They also both came on the road. The Trojans won their last two home games by a combined score of 77-16. Undefeated on the season here, they're outscoring teams by a 42 to 8.3 margin at home, outgaining them by a 473.7 to 288.3 margin here.
Those are actually better the Ducks' road numbers. Oregon is outscoring teams by a 47 to 23.5 margin on the road but only outgaining them by a 461.5 to 405 count.
While last week's loss was certainly disappointing and costly, the Trojans still have much to play for. QB Barkley had this to say:
"From here, we've just got to stick together. That's the beauty of football; you experience some of the most spurring moments of your life and you learn to cope with the moments like these."
The Trojans haven't been listed as underdogs since winning outright at Oregon last season. Including that cover, they're 13-6 ATS the last 19 times that they were getting points. I expect them to improve on those numbers with AT LEAST another cover on Saturday night. *10 Best Bet
|11-03-12||Colorado State v. Wyoming -8||Top||31-45||Win||100||55 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on WYOMING. In the final weeks of the season, I often like to try and identify teams which are having a disappointing season but who I feel are in a good spot to get their home fans one last victory.
Last week, I played on Central Michigan in such a spot. The Chippewas had struggled but I felt that a game against a weak Akron team was the perfect recipe for them to provide the home faithful with a win.
Wyoming fits the bill on Saturday afternoon.
While they never expecting to be playing on New Year's Day or anything, the Cowboys have certainly not had the type of season that they were hoping for. Indeed, they're just 1-7 and 0-4 in conference play. Their lone win came on the road, at Idaho.
Remember, this was a team that went to a bowl game last year (and in 2009) and which had hopes to do so again.
A closer look shows that the Cowboys could easily have a much better record. Three of their seven losses came by a field goal or less, a total of six points. They also lost by only seven at Nevada (as 20 point underdogs) and by 20 at Texas in Week 1 (as 31 point underdogs). Their last two games have come vs. Boise State, at Fresno State vs. Air Force and at Nevada, four of the top five teams in the Mountain West.
A look ahead at their remaining schedule reveals that the Cowboys' next two games both come on the road and that their final game comes against San Diego State, a bowl team from last year, and another of the top five in the MWC.
In other words, a game against Colorado State definitely provides the best (and perhaps final) chance at earning a win for the home fans. The Cowboys know as much and I expect them to be fully focused on going all out and getting that elusive home win. In fact, not only do I expect them to win, I expect them to take out their frustrations and deliver a blowout.
True, the Rams won last week, their first victory in conference play. However, that was at home and it was against Hawaii, another team which is winless in MWC play.
While the score (42-27) says otherwise, that was actually a very fortunate win for the Rams. Indeed, they were outgained by a 393 to 291 margin. The Warriors had 25 first downs to the Rams 16. (Two fourth quarter interceptions thrown by Hawaii were returned for touchdowns.)
I don't expect the Rams to experience nearly that type of "good fortune" on the road. Every time that they've ventured outside of their state this season, they've lost by at least 20 points. They're 4-10 ATS (2-12 SU) their last 14 road line games. They last played here in 2010 and lost 44-0.
The Cowboys are 2-0 ATS against losing teams this year and 1-0 ATS the last few seasons as home favorites in the 7.5 to 10 range. I expect them to treat this like their bowl game and expect that to result in a double-digit win. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-03-12||Air Force v. Army +7.5||Top||21-41||Win||100||25 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARMY. I like how this one sets up for the home underdog. The Falcons are off an upset win over Nevada. Many bettors backed the Wolfpack there. So, they're wary of going against Air Force now. Meanwhile, the Knights are 0-3 SU/ATS their last three. That has bettors wary to play on them. I feel that sentiment is providing us with excellent value.
The Knights obviously aren't one of the best teams in the country. However, they play hard and this game surely means a lot to them. Indeed, the Knights have lost six straight against Air Force. While they won't be going to a bowl, a win here would significantly raise the stakes for the annual showdown vs. Navy. I believe that the talent level between these two programs is closer than it has been in the recent past.
Note that Army covered the spread in last year's meeting and that the Knights actually had an edge in both first downs and total yards in that game.
The Falcons were indeed rather impressive against Nevada. However, lets not forget that they were 0-3 ATS in their previous three games, all three of them decided by seven or fewer points.
The Falcons are great in the underdog role but that's rarely the case when they're favored. In fact, they're an awful 7-16 ATS the past few seasons when laying points. Expect them to have their hands full the entire way on Saturday. *10
|11-03-12||Vanderbilt v. Kentucky +7||Top||40-0||Loss||-110||2 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. I've been involved with two Kentucky games this season, winning both. I successfully played against the Wildcats in their first game. They got killed by Louisville in that one. At the time, I mentioned that I expected to them to have a "long year."
Here's an excerpt from that first writeup: "... While its true that these type of "rivalry" games aren't always won by the team which is stronger on paper, in this case, I feel that the large line is justified. The Wildcats finished below .500 last season. A punchless offense was a big part of the problem. At less than 260 yards per game, they were 118th in total offense. While the Cats do return many of their skill players, scoring again figures to be an issue this season ... "
I went on to mention several other points, including how the Wildcats had recently been poor as road underdogs in the range that they were in.
Fast-forwarding six weeks, it wasn't until the Wildcats had begun the season by going 1-6 ATS that I finally found some value in playing on them. They were very large underdogs for their most recent home game (vs Georgia) and I felt that the line was generously high.
Here's what I suggested: "True, the Wildcats have been brutal. True, they're up against a powerful team. I feel that this will be a good spot for them though and they're offering us plenty of line value .... The Bulldogs followed up their loss at South Carolina by having a bye last week. The popular consensus will be that they'll be angry and that they'll look to dominate their over-matched guests. I'll agree that Georgia wants to do that. However, thats easier said than done. Off the first loss and a bye AND with a huge showdown against Florida on deck, I feel that it will be hard to focus on "lowly" Kentucky. Note that Georgia is 1-3 ATS the last four times it played with two week's rest and just 2-5 ATS the last seven times it was off a conference loss. This lowly Kentucky team lost by only nine points (as a 30.5 point underdog!) last season though. In fact, five straight series meetings have been decided by 13 or fewer points, Kentucky covering three of the last four. I look for this one to also prove closer than expected, the Cats improving to 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were underdogs in the 21.5 to 31 range .. "
Sure enough, the Cats played Georgia tough, EASILY covering the large spread. I didn't play on Kentucky last time out; the Cats resorted to their losing ways on the road, losing at Missouri. They've back home now though and playing a game which they feel they can actually win. Knowing that this is their final shot at a conference victory for the home fans (their only other home game remaining comes vs. Samford) I expect an extremely motivated effort from the Wildcats this Saturday afternoon.
Just as I felt the Bulldogs were in a tough spot when they faced the Wildcats, off a rare blowout win, I feel that the Commodores may also be in letdown mode. Of course, it doesn't much matter what their mindset, road wins are few and far between for the Commodores. They're only 3-10 SU and 4-9 ATS in road lined games the past few seasons, going a dismal 25-78 SU since the early 90s. While Vanderbilt did manage an upset road win at Missouri, note that it came by just four points. It should also be noted that the Commodores are only 7-14 the last 21 times that they were off back to back SU victories.
Kentucky crushed Vanderbilt by a score of 38-20 when these teams met here two seasons ago. While much has changed, I won't be surprised at all if the 'Cats come out on top again. *9
|11-02-12||Houston Rockets v. Atlanta Hawks -6||Top||109-102||Loss||-103||8 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. The new look Rockets got off to a great start. Harden had a huge debut and they won outright at Detroit. The Hawks represent a significant step up in class, however. Playing their home opener, I expect a highly motivated performance leading to a big win.
While the Rockets, who are young and still adjusting to their new teammates/roles, have struggled away from Houston, the Hawks have been getting it done here for years. The Rockets were only 31-44 on the road, the Hawks were 53-30 at home the past couple of seasons.
Yes, the Hawks have a number of new faces of their own. They've still got a very solid nucleus though and I like some of the moves they made. While Johnson had very good numbers of the years here, I feel it was time that the Hawks got rid of him. The Hawks have plenty of scoring options and should have no trouble running with the Rockets.
I believe we're getting very fair value with the Hawks, based partly on Houston's big win.
Ultimately, I expect homecourt to be the difference and the Hawks to begin the "new era" with a double-digit win. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-02-12||Indiana Pacers v. Charlotte Bobcats +7||Top||89-90||Win||100||8 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. The Pacers, playing without leading scorer Granger, had real trouble with Toronto in their opener. They did eke out a SU victory in that game but it only came by two points; and they trailed much of the way. Now, they find themselves laying roughly a "touchdown" on the road. I feel that is asking too much of them right now.
The Bobcats are playing their home opener, as was Toronto. They've got a new coach and some new players. While it may not last the whole season, for right now that gives this team new hope.
Coach Dunlap has brought a "no-nonsense" fundamental approach and has been practicing his new team hard. I expect his team to play hard here.
The Pacers are only 1-4 ATS the last five times that they were listed as road favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range. Look for them to have their hands full, again. *9
|11-01-12||Middle Tenn State +9 v. Western Kentucky||Top||34-29||Win||100||19 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE. I feel this teams are closer in talent than is being indicated by the pointspread and I'm expecting a close game.
Last year's meeting went to double-OT. The +10.5 point underdog Hilltoppers prevailed 36-33. The Blue Raiders had won the previous year's game, which was the most recent here at Western Kentucky, by a single point.
That 27-26 victory marked Middle Tennessee State's third straight win in the series. Prior to last year's thriller, the Hilltoppers had last beaten Middle Tennessee State way back in 2007. Just like last year, the Hilltoppers won that game by only a field goal.
The Blue Raiders come in off a momentum-builidng 38-21 victory over North Texas. That was a nice way to bounce back after getting blown out by an SEC team the previous game.
Prior to the loss at Mississippi State, the Blue Raiders' previous game had been at FIU. The Blue Raiders won that one by a score of 34-30.
Speaking of FIU, the Hilltoppers also just faced the Golden Panthers. While Western Kentucky did manage to "eke out" an 8-point win, a look at the stats shows that it wasn't easy.
The Panthers had an edge in first downs, (19-16) and an edge in total yards (342-289). The Hilltoppers scored a late TD (2:24 left) and then hung on for dear life as the Panthers got to their 33 and were thinking end zone.
Prior to that, the Hilltoppers had won their previous two games by just six combined points. So, that's three straight decided by eight or less.
While the Hilltoppers have indeed been an outstanding pointspread team in recent seasons, that's mostly been as underdogs. They've NEVER been listed as home favorites in the 7.5 to 10 range in recent years.
The Blue Raiders, on the other hand, are 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 7.5 to 10 range. This is a team that went into Georgia Tech and won 49-28, as 24 point underdogs. I expect AT LEAST another cover on Thursday night. *10 Sun Belt GOY
|11-01-12||Kansas City Chiefs v. San Diego Chargers -7.5||Top||13-31||Win||100||35 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. Regulars know that I'm not opposed to backing "bad teams" like the Jaguars, Browns or Chiefs. In fact, I've successfully played on all of those teams this season. I was on KC the last time that the Chiefs covered the spread, a few weeks ago (on 10/7) vs. Baltimore. That was the only time I played on OR against the Chiefs this season. In order to back a "bad" team like the Chiefs, there need to a number of other situational factors in their favor. In this case, I feel they're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Chargers figure to be in an extremely foul mood. They were embarrassed by their loss at Cleveland. That was an "early" game for the Chargers and they may have overlooked the Browns and/or still been thinking about blowing opportunities in their previous two games, at New Orleans and vs. Denver, each of those "big TV games."
The Chiefs are a divisional opponent though and off three straight losses, the Chargers can't afford to look past anyone. Plus, this is another chance to get back on National TV and show the world that they're not a team which chokes in the second half each week.
While the Chiefs are a bad team, the Chargers are playing badly. There's a big difference.
KC's season is a write-off. However, San Diego's season is still very much alive. The Chiefs will surely cover a few games before the season is done. But here, they're on the road against an angry and desperate team.
While the Chargers did have to travel home from Cleveland, at least they've been able to sleep in their own beds; I feel the short week will work in their favor.
San Diego is in one of its best roles. The Chargers are 18-7 (21-4 SU) the last 25 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 7.5 to 10 range, 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) their last five in that role.
The Chargers already crushed the Chiefs (37-20) at Arrowhead, improving to 8-2 SU the last 10 in the series. The Chargers have won four straight and seven of eight against the Chiefs here. Two of their last three home victories against KC have come by a minimum of 29 points. They're 6-3 ATS the last nine against the Chiefs here and 13-7 ATS the last 20. I expect another convincing win and cover. *9
|10-31-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Utah Jazz -8||Top||94-113||Win||100||12 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. Difficult spot for the Mavericks here. They came through with a big win at LA last night, having to work hard to do it. That puts them in a natural letdown spot, both physically and emotionally. Not only are the Mavs short-handed (no Dirk and likely no Kaman) on players, they're also still adjusting to numerous new faces in the lineup; a team still very much in transition.
The Jazz are almost always tough here at Salt Lake City and they should be fully "pumped up" for their home opener. Note that the Jazz were 3-0 here in the preseason, after going 25-8 here last regular season.
The Jazz are deep up front and I expect them to have a big edge against the depleted Mavs in that area.
Bottom line. I'm not convinced the Mavs are "back" based on one win and am expecting a blowout win for a rested Jazz team, looking to get rid of the bad taste of last year's postseason. *9
|10-31-12||Indiana Pacers v. Toronto Raptors +2||Top||90-88||Push||0||10 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on TORONTO. The Pacers won a playoff series last season and expectations are high in Indiana. With a game against lowly Toronto, many are going to jump on the chance to play the "better" team at such a low number. I'm expecting an upset though.
A new season brings new hope. The Raptors are off an excellent preseason and are playing with confidence. They were 4-0 in the preseason here, going 5-1 overall. They closed out the exhibition campaign with five straight wins. The Pacers, on the other hand, were 1-3 on the road. True, preseason results certainly need to be taken with a grain of salt. However, my point is that the Raptors bring some confidence to the table.
Last year, the Raptors played a lot of games without their "superstar," Andrea Bargnani. They're a much better team with him in the lineup and he'll be in there tonight.
On the other hand, the Pacers will be without their top scorer, as Granger is out with an injury. Note that while Granger averaged nearly 19 points (18.7) per game, no other Indiana player averaged 13 points last season.
Note that the Pacers were only 3-5 ATS as road favorites of three or fewer points the past couple of seasons. (All five ATS losses were also "SU" losses.)
It should also be noted that Raptors coach Dwane Casey is 3-0 in season openers. I expect him to have his team ready to go, as they shock their short-handed guests with their hustle and determination. *10 Best Bet
|10-30-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Los Angeles Lakers -8||Top||99-91||Loss||-110||13 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on LA. At first glance, this line may look a little high to some. While the Lakers are normally quite a "public darling," the current sentiment is that they will need some time to gel. A winless preseason certainly supports that view. I'm not buying it though. While they may hit a couple of skids through the season - most teams do - I feel the Lakers are capable of dominating from Day 1. I expect them to give us a taste of how good they can be tonight.
While the Lakers may be without Kobe, currently a gametime decision, the Mavs are definitely without Dirk. I expect Kobe to play - but am fine even if he doesn't, I expect a comfortable win for the home team.
Coach Brown said this of Kobe's status: "I know he's hurt and I don't know what exactly that means. He's a tough guy and one of the toughest guys I've ever been around."
While the focus is on LA's big acquisitions, the Mavs have made plenty of offseason moves of their own - and will also need time to gel. Indeed, they've not no fewer than eight newcomers this season. They've got other injuries too, not just Nowitzki. Those injuries may force Eddy Curry into a starting role; he's only played 24 games the past four years.
The Lakers swept the Mavs last year. I expect another victory, the home team earning the cover along the way. *9 Personal Favorite
|10-28-12||Washington Redskins v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5||Top||12-27||Win||100||3 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. Robert Griffin III has certainly proven to be the "real deal," at least for his first couple of months in the league. I'm not ready to call him the best in the league or anything yet though. More importantly, I'm not at all sold on his team's defense.
The Redskins are allowing 28.6 points per game on the season, which puts them in the bottom five of the league. The Saints are the only NFC team which is currently allowing more points. The Skins' 328.4 passing yards allowed per game (worst in the NFL) figures to have Roethlisberger licking his chops.
By comparison, the Steelers are allowing only 12 points per game at home, permitting a mere 232.5 yards per game here.
Speaking of that notorious Pittsburgh defense, I played on the Steelers in their preseason win over the Colts. I normally wouldn't mention preseason - but one of the same reasons why I liked the Steelers in that game is one of the reasons why I like them again here.
This is a Dick Lebeau led defense. Just as they "got up" for a game against Luck, when he was "all the rage," they'll take pride in shutting down Griffin. (Luck would finish that game with 0 TD passed vs. 2 INTs, as the Steelers jumped out to a 14-0 lead when the starters were in the game.)
True, the Steelers are without Polamalu still. However, that's become "normal" for them. While you'll hear about it a lot, with Big Ben picking apart the porous Washington secondary, I'm not overly concerned about Mendenehall's absence either.
Speaking of Roethlisberger, note that he's an outstanding 14-1 all-time at home against NFC teams, including 6-0 the last six. He's got eight touchdowns against zero interceptions in those six games, compiling an extremely impressive QB 101.3 rating. Just as the Pitt. D will be looking to shutdown Griffin, Big Ben should be anxious to outplay him, in front of the Pittsburgh fans.
Keep in mind that the Skins are playing their second straight road game. I successfully played against them the only previous time that they were in that spot; they lost outright at St. Louis.
They'll be up against a Steelers team which is undefeated at home so far this season and which is now 16-4 SU and 13-7 ATS its last 20 here.
The Steelers are in one of their best roles here; they're 45-22 ATS (54-12 SU) the last 67 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -7 range.
While the Skins are off a heartbreaker, the Steelers put it all together in the second half last week, a game they can build momentum from. I expect them to do just that, covering the small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-28-12||Atlanta Falcons v. Philadelphia Eagles -3||Top||30-17||Loss||-100||3 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Falcons have been better than the Eagles thus far. However, I would argue that the Eagles victories over the the Ravens and Giants were at least as impressive as any of Atlanta's wins.
Both teams are off a bye. With the Falcons undefeated and the Eagles off back to back tough losses, the time off likely came at a better time for Philadelphia.
Of course, you've probably heard that the Eagles are very good off a bye. Indeed, they're 22-3 and 18-7 ATS the last 25 times that they were off a bye, including a perfect 13-0 SU under Reid.
I did successfully make a big play on the Falcons when they hosted the Eagles last year. At the time, I mentioned something about Atlanta having become Ryan's city. The rematch is in Philadelphia though and I look for Vick and the desperate Eagles to have their revenge. *9
|10-27-12||Oregon State v. Washington +3.5||Top||17-20||Win||100||36 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Beavers check in with a Top 10 ranking an an undefeated record. I expect their undefeated streak to come to an end Saturday night though.
The Huskies may have four losses. However, only one of those losses came in their home state and that resulted in a cover vs. USC. Keep in mind that in addition to game against the Trojans, the Huskies have already played road games at LSU and at Oregon. Practically no team in the country is going to win those games, so an 0-2 record there doesn't mean much of anything. Also, keep in mind that the Huskies beat Stanford. That's arguably as impressive as any victory that Oregon State has had all year.
Oregon State is expected to get its starting QB back. However, with the backup having guided them to back to back victories, that isn't necessarily an upgrade. Mannion may have some rust. Keep in mind that he had surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee less than three weeks ago.
Coach Riley acknowledged it wasn't an easy decision about which QB to go with: "It was difficult. Cody has played well and Sean has played well. I just kind of took it back a little bit further to the initial competition. Sean had played four games and played well so we decided to go with him. But it was not easy."
I believe that this will prove to be a difficult scheduling spot for the Beavers. They're off a hard-fought win over Utah, one which made them become bowl eligible. The Beavers may have won that game but they were actually outgained by a fairly wide margin, only gaining 226 total yards of offense. While this team now has bigger goals, a small letdown, after having become bowl eligible would be natural. Remember, this team was 3-9 last season and was expected to struggle again this year.
Riley knows the Huskies are going to be hard to beat and acknowledges that they've played a far more difficult schedule than his Beavers. He said this of the Huskies: "We know they're very talented and very, very capable. They beat a real good Stanford team and they've kind of played murderer's row here, they've played LSU and USC and Oregon (and) Stanford so we're expecting another tough Pac-12 game."
The Huskies, 3-2 ATS the past few seasons, when off back-to-back losses, are in one of their better roles here. They're 9-4 ATS the last 13 times that they were home underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range.. During the same stretch, the Beavers were only 2-5-1 ATS as road favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range.
With the last meeting here being decided by a single point (35-34 Washington) I'll gladly grab the points. However, as I noted at the beginning, I see the Beavers suffering their first loss here. *10 Pac 12 GOY
|10-27-12||Louisiana Tech v. New Mexico State +30||Top||28-14||Win||100||8 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. Laying this many points on the road, obviously the Bulldogs are the "better" team. Indeed, they're an impressive 6-1 while the Aggies are a dismal 1-6. That said, I feel this number will prove to be too high.
While the LA Tech offense is certainly impressive, note that the defense is giving up 38 points per game and 519.6 yards per game. On the road, those numbers climb all the way to 42.5 and 580. The Bulldogs have given up AT LEAST 24 points in every single game this season.
As for the Aggies, they're only getting outscored by a 27 to 25.7 margin at home. While they won't be able to stop them, the Aggies do have some weapons on offense and should be able to score points against the weak LA Tech defense.
The Bulldogs did win by 42 (70-28) last week. However, that was at home and it was the first time all season that they won by more than 28 points.
The Aggies did lost by 34 last week. However, that was on the road against a tough Utah State team and it was the first time all season that they lost by more than 27 points. They're 1-2 at home and neither loss came by more than 21.
LA Tech Coach Sonny Dykes said this of the Aggies: "They have lost a couple of tough games this year. Their record is probably not where they think it could be or where it definitely could be based on them losing a couple of tough ones. Anyway, they are a good football team and I know it is their homecoming and they will be excited to play against us."
I'm plugging my nose and grabbing all the points I can get. *9
|10-27-12||Hawaii +6.5 v. Colorado State||Top||27-42||Loss||-110||8 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. Neither of these teams have fared too well on the season. In fact, each has just one victory. The Warriors pounded Lamar in Week 2 while the Rams beat instate rival Colorado (by five) to begin the season.
While beating Colorado may be more impressive than beating Lamar (although that's even debatable given that Hawaii won 54-2, while CSU won 22-17) a look at the rest of the schedule shows that the Warriors have had to contend with the likes of USC, Nevada, San Diego State and BYU. They did get to face New Mexico, a game they lost, but that was their only legit chance at a win. The Rams also faced San Diego State (like Hawaii, they got blown out) but their other opponents have arguably been a little easier. They hosted North Dakota State and lost that one by 15 points.
The Rams can't run the ball and they're banged-up at QB. Averaging 11 points (and 274.3 yards) on this field, makes winning difficult, let alone covering a large number.
I don't feel home field offers much of an advantage; the Rams haven't won here yet this season. The travel from Hawaii isn't a factor either, as both teams had last week off. Bottom line is I don't feel the Rams currently deserve to be laying this many points against any 1-A opponent. *9
|10-27-12||Western Kentucky v. Florida International +6.5||Top||14-6||Loss||-105||7 h 41 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL. I feel this one sets up nicely for the home underdog. These teams have much different records but I don't feel the talent gap between them is that wide.
True, Florida International enters on a losing streak and has had a disappointing season. However, the Panthers are better than their record shows and they haven't quit fighting. Their last two losses have come by a combined five points.
For the season, the Panthers are averaging a respectable 28 points per game at home, on a healthy 407.5 yards. Those are much better numbers than Western Kentucky (22 ppg & 319.7 ypg) can boast of on the road, although in fairness a shutout loss at Alabama had a big effect on those numbers.
FIU QB Jake Metlock missed two games with an injury. He's healthy now though and is arguably as good as any QB in the conference. Indeed, Metlock has thrown for more than 253 ypg game with nine touchdown passes and only one interception. Last week, he lit up Troy with three touchdown passes a week ago, throwing for 300-plus yards for the third time this season.
Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers are off a 1-point loss of their own, their second straight game decided by five or fewer points.
While the Panthers have gotten used to losing, last week's loss is likely going to be a difficult one for the Hilltoppers to put out of their minds. They blew a fourth quarter lead and lost in OT. That snapped a 9-game conference winning streak. I feel it may well be tough to re-focus on lowly FIU.
Speaking of close games, last year's game, which was played at Western Kentucky, saw the Hilltoppers win by a score of 10-9. The previous year's game, played here, saw the Panthers win by 28-21. Don't be surprised to see an upset here. *9
|10-27-12||Akron v. Central Michigan -6.5||Top||14-35||Win||100||53 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on CENTRAL MICHIGAN. Some of you may recall that I successfully played against the Chippewas a couple of weeks ago. They were hosting Navy and I suggested that they would be vulnerable against Navy's running attack. That proved to be the case as the Chippewas lost 31-13 and gave up 238 yards on the ground. They followed that up with a double-digit loss against Ball State, another team which gashed them for more than 230 yards on the ground. This week's opponent, however, doesn't have nearly as potent a ground game. Akron averages almost exactly half the rushing yards that Navy does, 117.6 as opposed to 235.3. Last game, the Zips rushed for a mere 42 yards on 37 carries.
While the Midshipmen were coming in off a momentum-building win when I played on them, the Zips are off a demoralizing 37-7 loss, their fifth straight. Note that all five losses during their current skid have come by a minimum of six points.
Also, keep in mind that the Zips' only win all season came at home against 1AA Morgan State. Akron had a 753-200 edge in total yards in that game. Take out that game from their stats and the Zips stats are terrible.
Granted, Central Michigan hasn't been too good either. A win at Iowa is far more legit than anything that the Zips have accomplished though.
The Zips were expected to be bad. They were the worst team in the MAC last year, had a new coaching staff this year and very few returning starters.
On the other hand, the Chippewas were counting on being improved this season, as they returned 16 starters and lost the fewest amount of lettermen from last season in the MAC.
While Central Michigan won by only one point (CMU was up 20-0 at one point) at Akron last season, take note that the Chippewas were laying seven points on the road in that one. Now, we get a more experienced Central Michigan team, playing a less experienced Akron team AND the Chippewas are at home, yet we're laying less than a touchdown.
While a win for the Zips would be "nice," I would argue that the Chippewas need this one far more. A loss in this game and the program will be in need of wholesale changes.
Obviously, the Chippewas aren't what they were a few years ago but I still feel they'll have enough to take care of this weak Akron team. I expect a convincing win for the more talented and hungrier home team. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-27-12||Toledo v. Buffalo +8||Top||25-20||Win||100||17 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on BUFFALO. Off an upset of their highly ranked instate "rival" (Cincinnati) I feel that this will prove to be a tough spot for Toledo.
While the Rockets may be patting themselves on the back and potentially looking ahead to Ball State, the Bulls should be very hungry. They were fairly competitive against a Big East team themselves last time out, limiting Pittsburgh to 20 points. Prior to that, the Bulls had played three straight tough road games. Remember, this team opened with a road game at Georgia, too, playing the Bulldogs tough much of the way. So, the schedule has been no walk in the park.
Note that two of Buffalo's losses came by seven or fewer points, both games in which the Bulls covered.
Meanwhile, the Rockets check in at 0-2 ATS the last two times that they were listed as road favorites in the -7.5 to -10 range.
Note that each of Toledo's last two games have been decided by six points or less. For the season, the Rockets have seen four of their games finish with a margin of seven or fewer points.
While it was a few years back now, the Bulls beat Toledo the last time the teams met here. I have a feeling they do it again Saturday afternoon. *10 Best Bet
|10-27-12||Iowa +5.5 v. Northwestern||Top||17-28||Loss||-110||14 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on Iowa. Both teams lost last week. It may sound funny to some but I feel that the Hawkeyes' "blowout loss" (38-14) will be easier to bounce back from than the Wildcats' heartbreaking 29-28 setback vs. Nebraska, a game the Wildcats led by double-digits in the fourth quarter.
Off a blowout loss, a well-coached team like Iowa usually has the full attention of its players. "Devastating" losses like Northwestern's can be harder to forget though.
Its also worth noting that Northwestern is only 4-7 SU/ATS the past few seasons off a conference loss. During that time, Iowa is 5-2 ATS and 5-3 SU off a conference loss.
Even off last week's loss, Iowa is still only allowing 20.1 points per game. On the road, the Hawkeyes are permitting a mere 16.5 ppg, giving up a paltry 264.5 yards. Beating a team by a wide margin that has that type of stout defense is a difficult task.
While the Hawkeyes won by 10 at Iowa last year, the most recent game here at Northwestern was decided by only four points, a 21-17 final. I won't be surprised to see a similar type of score here, one which could easily go Iowa's way, and am grabbing the points. *9
|10-25-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Minnesota Vikings -6.5||Top||36-17||Loss||-104||49 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The Bucs came in here early last September and embarrassed the Vikings in front of their home fans. The Vikes were up 17-0 at halftime but saw Tampa come all the way back to beat them. The Vikings were booed off the field as time expired in that game. That was a struggling Minnesota team which fell to 0-2 under Donovan McNabb, the QB at the time. The Vikings are playing with far more confidence now though and I expect them to get some payback.
After last year's game, Minnesota star running back Adrian Peterson said the following: "Wow. You're not supposed to give away a game like that."
It should be noted that AP had 25 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, of last year's game.
Off a game in which he had 153 yards on 23 carries, Peterson should be poised for another big day. The rest of the Vikings are also playing with MUCH more confidence than they were, entering last week's Week 2 matchup with Tampa. The same cannot be said of the Bucs, who have gone 5-15 SU and 7-13 ATS since the win here last season, 0-9 SU and 3-6 ATS on the road.
Playing at home in a short week is certainly an advantage - home teams have won five of six Thursday games this year. Also, note that five of six Thursday games have been decided by a minimum of a touchdown.
Of course, playing at home has been a big advantage for the Vikes, regardless of the day of the week. They're 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS in four home games this season, outscoring opponents by a commanding 25.2 to 14.2 margin. They're averaging 5.7 yards per play here while visiting teams are averaging less than three.
The Bucs, who are off a tough divisional loss last time out, are 0-2 SU on the road. While they did manage to cover in those games, both losses came by at least six points. A look at the stats shows that the Bucs were rather fortunate to "keep it close" in their two road games. They were outgained by an average margin of a whopping 450.5 to 236.5 in those games. While Tampa averaged 4.6 yards per play in those games, opposing teams averaged 6.5.
The Bucs are 3-7-1 ATS off a divisional game the past few seasons, 1-4-1 ATS off a divisional loss. Don't expect those stats to get any better against the revenge-minded Vikes on Thursday night. *10 Main Event
|10-22-12||Detroit Lions +7 v. Chicago Bears||Top||7-13||Win||100||9 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. At 4-1, the Bears have gotten off to a better start than the 2-3 Lions. I believe that's helped us in a couple of ways. For starters, the line is larger than it would have been, if the records were reversed. (The Bears were only -3 when the teams played here last season.) Also, I believe that sub-500 record may have the Lions playing with a little more urgency.
When looking at the schedules, its important to note that the Bears have had a pair of home games against the Rams and Colts and that one of their road games came at Jacksonville. The Lions also hosted the Rams. However, their other four games were all against arguably more difficult opponents (49ers, Eagles, Vikings, Titans) than the Colts or Jags.
In other words, if the schedules were reversed, the Bears may not necessarily have the better record, the way they currently do. Yet, the record is a big reason why the line is so much larger than it was for last season's game here.
Speaking of the higher line, note that the Bears are only 2-4 ATS the last six times that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range. During the same stretch, the Lions were 4-2 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range.
The Bears had been rolling, so their bye may not have come at the most opportune time. Meanwhile, the Lions are off a momentum-building victory. Trailing by 10 with roughly five minutes remaining they rallied for an improbable win at Philadelphia. That's the type of victory a team can really build off and I expect the Lions to do just that.
Coach Jim Schwartz noted this after last week's game: "I think it was a big step for us as a team, playing team football today and it was a lot of spirit and guys picking each other up. I think that's a good sign of things to come for this team."
Lovie Smith knows that Lions will be ready He noted: "Detroit, this week ... I'm sure they've been waiting for this game for a long time."
With last week's victory, the Lions are now 13-6 ATS their last 19 games played in the month of October, including 8-2 ATS since 2010. I expect AT LEAST another cover Monday night. *10
|10-21-12||Jacksonville Jaguars +6 v. Oakland Raiders||Top||23-26||Win||100||6 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on JACKSONVILLE. I like how this one sets up for the visitors. The Raiders are off a great effort at Atlanta last week. Unfortunately, for Oakland fans, that great effort still resulted in a loss. Now, after having left everything on the field, the Raiders had to travel back across the country, still thinking about what might have been.
I actually like this Raiders team (won with them when they beat Pittsburgh) and feel that they're often under-valued. I don't believe that's the case here though. Indeed, with the line having climbed from its opener, the Raiders being asked to lay nearly a touchdown here.
Lets not forget that this team has just one victory and that it came by three points.
Keep in mind that Oakland is just 4-7 ATS as a favorite the past few seasons, 0-2 ATS already this year.
While they sometimes get up for "good teams," note that the Raiders are a dismal 27-61-1 ATS their last 89 against teams with a losing record, 4-6 ATS their last 10.
Unlike their hosts, the Jaguars had last week off. Coming off a 41-3 loss vs. Chicago, the time off surely came at a good time. Note that the Jags are 2-0 ATS off their last two bye weeks, going 7-4 ATS during that time when off two or more consecutive SU losses.
Getting away from the home fans, off that debacle is probably a good thing too. After all, the Jags have been blown out in all three home games but have been very competitive (won at Indy, lost by 3 at Minny) in both their road contests. I expect another close one and am grabbing all the points I can get. *9 Best Bet
|10-21-12||Washington Redskins v. NY Giants -6||Top||23-27||Loss||-100||17 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK GIANTS. The defending world champs are 3-1 their last four games. All three victories came by double-digits, most recently a 26-3 win at San Francisco. Yet, they continue to get very little respect. While all four of this season's victories have come by at least seven points, the Giants are being asked to lay less than a touchdown. I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
Griffin and the Redskins are off to a fairly impressive 3-3 start. However, this is their first divisional game and it comes on the road against a very talented Giants team that is playing very well and which should be very hungry.
Off the big win at SF and with a revenge game vs Dallas on deck, if it was an opponent other than Washington, the Giants could be in danger of looking ahead. However, Washington is a divisional opponent that will be tied with them if the Giants aren't careful. The fact that the Skins beat them in both last season's meetings should provide some extra motivation, as will the fact that the Giants are off to an 0-2 start against NFC East teams. I also think the champs will be determined not to let a rookie QB in their own division come into their house and beat them in his first divisional start.
Both these teams average 29.7 points per game, although the Giants' 414.7 ypg (458.3 at home!) is a little better than the Skins' 394.8 yards per game.
Its on the other side of the ball where the champs really have the edge though. The Giants check in allowing only 19 points per game, just 16.3 their last three games. On the other hand, the Skins are allowing an ugly 28.8 points per game.
With Safety Brandon Meriweather missing his fourth straight game with a knee injury, note that Washington's pass defense ranks last in the entire NFL, allowing more than 328 passing yards per game.
With an O/U line in the low 50s, note that the Giants are 5-1 ATS the last six times that they played a home game with an O/U line of greater than 49 points.
Prior to last season, the Giants had beaten the Skins six straight times. I expect them to resume that dominance on Sunday afternoon, covering the relatively small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-20-12||Utah +10.5 v. Oregon State||Top||7-21||Loss||-105||60 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. If you've followed my picks in recent seasons, you'll know that I've had considerable success backing the Utes as an underdog. Getting double-digits, I feel the Utes offer excellent value again on Saturday night.
The Beavers have certainly gotten off to an impressive start; a win Saturday night will give them their first 6-0 start in more than 100 years. They lost their starting QB and had to go with a backup (Cody Vaz) last week - and they still didn't miss a beat.
Still, keep in mind that Vaz hadn't made a start since high-school, prior to last week. Life isn't usually perfectly smooth for new QBs; an initial strong performance can often be followed by a shaky one.
Likewise, a mediocre performance in a QB's first start (like Travis Wilson's debut as the Utes starter) can be followed by an improved effort with his game under his belt.
Basically, what I'm trying to say, is not to over-react to one start from a QB.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said this of Travis Wilson: Right now Travis is our guy. We are pleased with his initial performance. We don't want him playing on eggshells. There is a fine line - we talk about being competitive and we need him to perform, but at the same time he has to know that we have confidence in him and what we saw in that game we have confidence in him that he will continue to perform."
The Utes have won four of five in this series, including a 27-8 win last season. The Utes didn't pass the ball well in that game but they didn't need to. Instead, they outgained the Beavers by a 225-32 margin on the ground. Keep in mind that this year's Utah team returned 16 starters from that team. They expected to be even stronger this year. While they're down their starting QB, this is still an experienced team.
The Beavers are 4-0 ATS as underdogs this season but 0-1 ATS when laying points. They're five wins have come by a total of just 44 points. Going back further finds them at 2-7 ATS the past few seasons, as favorites.
Meanwhile, the Utes are 3-1 ATS as underdogs this season, improving to 50-27-1 ATS the last 78 times that they were getting points. They're 2-4 on the season (3-3 ATS) but only one of their four losses came by more than 10 points.
A well-coached team, the Utes are 3-0 ATS the past few seasons, when off two or more consecutive SU losses. The Utes know that they've got some winnable games on deck and that a win here would serve as a springboard for the rest of the season. I expect them to keep it close with an excellent shot at scoring the outright upset. *10 Best Bet
|10-20-12||Georgia v. Kentucky +26||Top||29-24||Win||100||9 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. True, the Wildcats have been brutal. True, they're up against a powerful team. I feel that this will be a good spot for them though and they're offering us plenty of line value.
The Wildcats are getting nearly four touchdowns at the betting window here. To put that line in perspective, its by far the biggest pointspread that the Wildcats have seen this year, even though they've played at road venues like Louisville, Florida and Arkansas.
The most that they've lost by at home is 21 points; they were 20 point underdogs vs. South Carolina in that game.
Now, they're getting roughly an extra touchdown against a Georgia team which just got blown out 35-7 by those same Gamecocks.
The Bulldogs followed up their loss at South Carolina by having a bye last week. The popular consensus will be that they'll be angry and that they'll look to dominate their over-matched guests.
I'll agree that Georgia wants to do that. However, thats easier said than done. Off the first loss and a bye AND with a huge showdown against Florida on deck, I feel that it will be hard to focus on "lowly" Kentucky.
Note that Georgia is 1-3 ATS the last four times it played with two week's rest and just 2-5 ATS the last seven times it was off a conference loss.
This lowly Kentucky team lost by only nine points (as a 30.5 point underdog!) last season though. In fact, five straight series meetings have been decided by 13 or fewer points, Kentucky covering three of the last four. I look for this one to also prove closer than expected, the Cats improving to 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were underdogs in the 21.5 to 31 range. *9
|10-20-12||Idaho +31 v. Louisiana Tech||Top||28-70||Loss||-110||9 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on IDAHO. The Bulldogs have had a great season. However, they're in a difficult spot and I don't feel that they'll be able to cover such a large number.
Last week, LA Tech suffered its first loss of the season, a 59-57 heartbreaker vs. Texas [email protected] Note that game was originally supposed to be played on Aug. 30, but was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.
Its often difficult for a team to bounce back from its first defeat, particularly when that team wast starting to have dreams of an undefeated season.
It can be even harder to recover when that first loss was of the "heart-breaking" variety. Having rallied all the way back from down 27 to pull within two, I'd call last week a heartbreaker.
Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes said: "I was proud of the way they fought. But we came here to win. There are no moral victories here."
Again, I feel that it will be difficult to be fully focused, after that type of loss.
Six of the last seven meetings, including each of the last three, were decided by less than two touchdowns. With the Bulldogs still thinking "what if," I look for this one to also prove closer than many will be expecting. *9
|10-20-12||South Carolina v. Florida -3.5||Top||11-44||Win||100||6 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA. Some are surprised by the Gators' fast start. This is a talented and experienced team though. I still don't feel that they're getting enough credit here.
Thsi is a team which checks in at 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. They've won on the road at venues like Texas [email protected], Tennessee and Vanderbilt, the latter two of those road wins coming by double-digits.
Beating up on Kentucky 38-0 wasn't that big a deal. However, beating LSU by eight points was significant.
The Gators are confident and realizing that the sky is the limit for them. They're also getting healthier.
Center Jon Harrison, left tackle Xavier Nixon and guard James Wilson are all expected to return. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins will also likely return and defensive end Dominique Easley is expected to be do the same.
On the other hand, the Gamecocks are banged-up. Most importantly, Spurrier has said that Marcus Lattimore may not play and that Kenny Miles is expected to start. Even if Lattimore is available, he's likely to be at less than 100%.
Note that Miles hasn't been very effective in limited action, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry with just one touchdown. A senior, Miles hasn't averaged more than four yards per carry since his freshman season in 2009.
In addition to Lattimore, other significant players dealing with some health concerns include defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. While Clowney is currently probably, Quarles is listed as doubtful.
The Gamecocks are a talented team and they're off to an impressive start. Last week's loss figures to be a bit tough to immediately shake off though, as they were starting to entertain thoughts of an undefeated season. When a team actually believes an undefeated season is possible, losing that first one can be difficult to bounce back from.
While the Gamecocks won here in 2010, the Gators have still dominated them here in The Swamp. I expect them to resume that domination Saturday afternoon, covering the small number along the way. *9
|10-20-12||New Mexico State +31 v. Utah State||Top||7-41||Loss||-110||5 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. Utah State is having a great season and has been one of the most profitable teams around. However, its not a team accustomed to laying anywhere close to this many points.
The largest previous pointspread that Utah State was asked to lay was 22 vs. UNLV. They won that game by exactly 22 points. They did beat the Southern Utah Thunderbirds by 31, a game that they were favored by 21 for. Southern Utah is a 1AA team though. Now, Utah State is being asked to lay an extra 10 points against a 1A team.
Keep in mind that New Mexico State hasn't lost by more than 27 points all season.
Also note that New Mexico State, which is coming off a bye, is 8-2 ATS in October the past few seasons and that New Mexico State has played Utah State tough in recent seasons.
In fact, the last three meetings have ALL been decided by five points or less, New Mexico State goig 3-0 ATS. Last year's game had a final score of 24-21. It was 27-22 the previous season and New Mexico State won outright 20-17 in 2009.
Utah State has not been a strong favorite and I look for this one to prove closer than expected once again. *9
|10-20-12||Iowa State v. Oklahoma State -14||Top||10-31||Win||100||50 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA STATE. Regulars will recall that I successfully backed Iowa State in this matchup last year. The Cyclones were roughly 4-TD underdogs in that game and they won outright. Last year's game set up very nicely for the Cyclones. I feel that this one sets up very nicely for the Cowboys though and I expect a vastly different result from last year.
Here's an excerpt from last year' playing on Iowa State: "...with all due respect to the Cowboys, I feel this line will prove to be too high. Off back to back wins, the Cyclones are arguably playing their best football right now. One of those victories was a 41-7 destruction of Texas Tech - so, the Cowboys weren't the only team to blow out the Red Raiders recently. The Cyclones have allowed only 17 total points their last two games and they've ran the ball for more than 600 yards in those games. They won't be able to "shut" down the Cowboys but that's at least the right formula for "slowing" them down. Off a bye, they've had plenty of extra time to prepare for this dangerous attack. The Cowboys are playing the second of b2b road games here. Off such a huge blowout and with a bye and then Oklahoma, their biggest game of the year, on deck - they could easily get caught looking past the Cyclones here. Iowa State, on the other hand, is playing its home finale. Given the situation and that the Cyclones haven't lost by more than 23 at home all year (they've hosted the likes of Iowa, [email protected] and Texas) and with this number having climbed from its already high opener, I feel that we're getting excellent value with the home underdog ... "
While the line is roughly half what it was last season, the Cowboys are now playing at home. Obviously, the Cyclones will have their full attention. After all, last year's loss spoiled their dreams of an undefeated season. Throw in the fact that its an important game in the Big 12 standing AND that a win will vault Mike Gundy past Pat Jones for the most wins in Oklahoma State history AND there are plenty of reasons for the Cowboys to really want this one.
Perhaps due in part to the fact that they were off a disappointing loss to Texas and perhaps partly due to the fact that they were looking ahead to this week's game, the Cowboys didn't cover last time out. They did still win though (20-4 at Kansas) which should give them their positive momentum and swagger back.
On the other hand, the Cyclones are off a tough loss against K-State in their last game. They had a chance to pull the upset in that game and that would have gone a really long way in making this season special. To come close only to eventually fall short can be tough.
Last time, remember, the Cyclones were playing their home finale and were off back to back wins. This time, not only is Iowa State off a loss but Oklahoma State is playing its homecoming game. In other words, the situation is entirely different from what it was last season.
Even with last week's ATS loss, the Cowboys are a terrific 7-2 ATS (8-1 SU) in October the past few seasons. During that time, they're 19-8 ATS (24-3 SU) when laying points, including a 5-2 ATS (7-0 SU) mark as home favorites in the 10.5 to 21 range. I expect the revenge-minded Cowboys, who destroyed the Cyclones in the last meeting here, to improve on that stat in convincing fashion. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-19-12||Connecticut +4.5 v. Syracuse||Top||10-40||Loss||-115||9 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on UCONN. The Huskies are a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS in this series the past five seasons. While the Orange would surely love to snap that losing streak, I don't feel that they're currently playing well enough to be laying more than a field goal.
Both teams have losing records. Both are off a loss. Both have also shown a tendency to play close games.
The Huskies are off a 3-point loss vs. Temple. It marked the fifth time in their last six games that the final score was decided by a touchdown or less. Only one team (Rutgers) has beaten them by more than six points all season.
Syracuse lost by eight last time out. The 2-4 Orange have just one win by more than one point. That was a 28-17 victory against 1-AA Stony Brook.
The Orange are just 6-10 ATS the past few seasons when laying points. That includes a 2-4 ATS mark when favored in the 3.5 to 10 range. During that time, they're 2-6 ATS when off a conference loss.
Meanwhile, over the same time period, the Huskies are 4-2 ATS when off a conference loss and 3-0 ATS when off back to back SU losses. They're 5-3 ATS, during that time, when listed as underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range. I look for at least another cover here. *10
|10-18-12||Oregon -8 v. Arizona State||Top||43-21||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on OREGON. I've won with many home underdogs on Thursday nights over the years, so I'm well aware that its normally tough to beat a team in front of its home fans on these Thursday ESPN games. Oregon is no "normal" team though. Indeed, the Ducks have won 10 straight conference road games. The Ducks have also outscored the Sun Devils by a 175-81 margin in winning four straight here at Tempe. Overall, the Ducks have won seven straight in the series. I look for them to continue that dominance for another year on Thursday night.
The Ducks know an undefeated record give them a great shot at playing for the National Title. They also know that this is a chance for them to remind everyone of how good they are.
Arizona State has played very well so far this season and has been one of the most profitable teams at the betting window. This is a major step up in class though.
The Ducks score more than 52 points a game and rush for more than 300 yards per game. Coming off a bye, Oregon is fresh and has had extra time to game plan.
As Marcus Mariota noted: "It is good for everyone to get back to 100 percent and get ready to play Arizona State."
The Ducks are 7-3 ATS (10-0 SU) their last 10 on the road and they were favored in nine of those. They know they have to keep their perfect record in tact for the USC game to really matter (for their national title hopes) and I look for them to take care of business in convincing fashion. *10 Main Event
|10-18-12||Seattle Seahawks v. San Francisco 49ers -7||Top||6-13||Push||0||11 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. I've successfully played on and against the Seahawks this season, while also getting burned by them in the Monday Night refereeing debacle vs. Green Bay. I successfully played against them the following week at St. Louis but haven't gone against them since. Good thing, as they've covered both games. I feel this should prove to be another good spot to do so though.
The Seahawks don't have too far to travel. Still, I feel that the short week works in favor of the home team.
Note that the 49'ers are 14-5-1 ATS (14-6 SU) their last 20 home games. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are only 7-12-1 ATS (6-14 SU) their last 20 road games.
In addition to the short week and venue, I also like how recent results set this one up. While the Seahawks may be patting themselves on the back a bit, the 49'ers are angry, as they were embarrassed by the Giants last week. This is a SF team which wants the world to view it as "elite." Last week's loss didn't help but a big Thursday Night blowout on national television will go a long way in restoring their "image." More importantly, it'll allow the 49'ers to pull ahead of their pesky guests in the division race.
The Seahawks are just 2-4 ATS (1-5 SU) the past six times that they were off back to back victories while the 49'ers are typically at their best off a loss. Off this season's only previous defeat, they bounced back with a 34-0 blowout win their next game. They've dominated the Seahawks here the past few seasons and I look for them to bounce back with another big win and cover. *10
|10-18-12||Houston v. SMU +5||Top||42-72||Win||100||10 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on SMU. With 13 victories, Houston was one of last year's big stories. While this year's team is still talented, its not as good as last year's. I feel the Cougars are ripe for an upset.
While they''ve now won a few in a row, the Cougars are still 3-3 on the season. None of the teams (Rice, North Texas, UAB) they've beaten are as good as the one they'll face tonight, at least in my opinion.
Note that the Cougars lost their only true road game by a score of 37-6.
Also, note that the Cougars are only 3-9-1 ATS the last 13 times that they were listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range, 0-2 ATS the past couple of seasons.
Perhaps looking ahead to this game or perhaps just bothered by playing back-to-back road games, the Mustangs stumbled at Tulane last time out. Prior to that, however, they won 17-0 at Utep.
The Mustangs are only 1-2 at home. However, the two losses came against a pair of really good teams, Texas A&M and TCU. And they only lost by eight against the Frogs. I don't think the Cougars are as good as either of those teams.
Since taking over the Mustangs, Jones has yet to beat Houston, an instate rival. I feel he's had this one circled since before the season started and that this year will offer Jones his best shot. The Mustangs had an edge in total yards the last time they hosted Houston. This time, they take it a step further and earn (at least) the cover. *10
|10-15-12||Denver Broncos v. San Diego Chargers||Top||35-24||Loss||-115||21 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. I successfully played against both these teams in their last game. The Chargers were on the wrong side of history vs. Drew Brees and the Saints. The Broncos got crushed at New England. Playing at home, with the point spread essentially a non-factor, I like the Chargers to be the team which bounces back.
The Chargers did get beaten badly by Atlanta here. That wasn't common for them though, as they're typically very tough to beat here at San Diego. They're 3-1 their last four here and 13-7 their last 20.
Conversely, the Broncos are 0-4 their last four away from Denver (0-2 this season) and 6-14 their last 20.
The Chargers have been laying at least a field goal (and as many as 11.5 points) in each of the last eight meetings against the Broncos here. While Manning wasn't around for those previous games, I feel the Chargers are offering great value. *10
|10-14-12||Green Bay Packers +3.5 v. Houston Texans||Top||42-24||Win||100||25 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on GREEN BAY. I haven't played on the Packers since the replacement refs stole the game (and cover) from them up at Seattle. Good thing, as the Packers have failed to cover both games since that debacle. I feel this will be a good spot for them to "get the cash" though.
The Texans are indeed a very good team. However, they're playing on a short week here, after playing on Monday night at New York.
I successfully backed the Jets in that Monday night game. Not only did the Texans fail to cover for the first time but they also lost All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing to a season-ending injury.
As coach Kubiak acknowledged: "A big blow for our team ... "
In addition to leading the team in tackles, Cushing is an "emotional leader."
Note that the Texans are 1-3 SU/ATS the last four times that they came off a Monday night game, 0-2 SU/ATS their last two times in that situation.
The Packers, who have seen three straight games decided by a field goal or less, are a profitable 5-1 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons, going a terrific 14-5-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were getting points. They're 7-3 ATS their last 10 against AFC teams and I look for them to earn AT LEAST another cover here. *10 Main Event
|10-14-12||St. Louis Cardinals v. San Francisco Giants -1.5||Top||6-4||Loss||-100||10 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. While the Giants did get stuck in limbo having to wait to see where they were going to play, eventually being forced to re-fuel when learning they were coming home, I like how the schedule sets up for them. Both teams are off an emotional series.
The Cards figure to be exhuasted. Daniel Descalso acknowledged as much. He was quoted saying: "It was a long night for us. It's nice we had this day off to kind of regroup and get a little rest. But it's hard not to be excited after a game like last night, the way that game ended, and to get on a plane and fly all the way across country. We're still recovering.''
Lynn has a great record but his 3.92 road ERA doesn't compare favorably to Bumgarner's 2.61 mark at home.
The Giants were 13-7 as home favorites in the -125 to -150 range. I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. *9
|10-14-12||St. Louis Rams v. Miami Dolphins -4.5||Top||14-17||Loss||-110||18 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. I successfully backed the Rams against Washington, Arizona AND Seattle. However, I also successfully played against them when they lost at Chicago, while staying away from their opening game against Detroit entirely. While they're certainly an improved team from last season, I feel that this will be another good spot to go against them.
Like the Rams, the Dolphins are off to a solid start. While they're only 2-3, they've played three of five on the road. They also could have easily been 3-2, as the loss against the Jets was theirs for the taking. Either way, they're off a win at Cincinnati and know this game represents an excellent opportunity to climb back to the .500 mark.
The Dolphins are outscoring teams by a 27.5 to 18 margin in two games here, averaging 416.5 yards of offense in those games.
Lets not forget that the Rams have lost five straight away from St. Louis and that they have just three wins their last 20 road games. They're 1-11 their last 12 road games and that one road win came at Cleveland by a single point (13-12) when the Browns were at their worst. ALL 11 of those losses came by at least four points, too.
The Rams are being outscored by a 25 to 14.5 margin on the road. The St. Louis offense is averaging a mere 205.5 yards per game on the road. Losing leading receiver Danny Amendola isn't going to help matters. (He was injured against Arizona.)
Bradford noted: "Obviously, losing Danny is big. Everyone knows that he's a big part of our offense. A lot of what we do runs through him.''
Without Amendola, the Rams will likely look to rely even more than normal on the ground game. However, that plays right into the Dolphins' hands.
After limiting the Bengals to 80 yards, the Dolphins have now gone 19 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. In fact, the Miami run defense is #1 in the NFL with 61.4 yards allowed per game and just 2.7 yards per carry.
The Dolphins have dominated the Rams here over the years. I expect them to do so again, improving to 7-3 ATS their last 10 against NFC teams along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-14-12||Indianapolis Colts v. NY Jets -3||Top||9-35||Win||100||3 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. I won with the Jets against Houston on Monday. While the Colts have shown they are improved from last season, they still represent a fairly big step down in class from the Texans. I expect the Jets to find the matchup favorable and look for them to come through with a win and cover.
True, the Jets are coming off a Monday night game. However, that was here at New York. So, there was no travel involved. Additionally, note that they're 15-4 ATS the last 19 times that they were off a Monday night game, 3-1 ATS the past couple of seasons.
The Colts are off an impressive comeback win against the Packers. That may have this young team ripe for a letdown though.
Ryan believes Sanchez starting gives him the best chance and I agree. He commented: "We're not preparing to lose, that's for sure. We're thinking we're going to win, starting this week."
Remember, the Colts are 4-13 on the road the past few seasons while the Jets are 12-7 at home. The Colts lone road game this season resulted in a 20-point loss.
Nothing is expected of the Colts this season. The Jets still have dreams of the postseason though. Given that they've fallen below .500 and have a road game at New England on deck, if they want to keep those dreams alive, this really becomes essentially a must win game. I look for them to step up and get it done. *9
|10-13-12||New Mexico v. Hawaii +3||Top||35-23||Loss||-130||26 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. I played against the Warriors in their last home game. That worked out well for me, as they got destroyed (69-24) by Nevada. The Warriors followed that up with back to back blowout road losses, failing to cover in each of those games. I also successfully played against the Warriors in the recently blowout loss (47-0) at BYU. So, I'm acutely aware of Hawaii's recent struggles.
I feel that those results, combined with the fact that the Lobos have covered a few in a row, have helped to give us excellent value here.
Yes, the Warriors are 1-4. Thats really no surprise though. Three of the losses were on the road. Hawaii was an underdog of 44, 26 and 19.5 points. So, not only were the Warriors expected to lose, they were expected to lose big.
As noted, I played against the Warriors in their home loss against Nevada. So, that didn't come as a surprise either. That leaves only one other game. That was against Lamar and the Warriors were -36 point favorites. So, they were expected to win that one easily. They did what was expected, winning by a score of 54-2.
Now, for the first time all season, the Warriors have a game against an opponent of similar talent. In fact, I feel Hawaii may have the superior talent.
Lets not forget that New Mexico was 1-11 last season. This season's team has already tripled that win total but those wins came at home against Southern and Texas State and "in state" against rival New Mexico State.
Off a "big win," feeling good about themselves, and now traveling outside their state for the first time, I feel the Lobos may be susceptible to an "island letdown." Note that they haven't won back to back games since 2008 and that they haven't won a game outside the state of New Mexico since October of 2007.
After this game, its likely going to be a long time (UNLV on 11/24) until the Warriors have a chance to win a game in front of the home fans. That's because three of their next four games come on the road - and the lone home game during that time comes against Boise State. Armed with this knowledge, I expect the Warriors to be treating this a "very big" game. Let's not forget that head coach Norm Chow is still looking for his first win over a 1A team. So, there should be no lack of motivation.
While they haven't been in that role in some time, the Lobos are a poor 11-17 ATS the last 28 times that they were listed as road favorites. Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Warriors were 21-10-1 ATS (22-10 SU) when the line ranged from +3 to -3, including 6-3 ATS as road underdogs of three or fewer points.
Even with the loss to Nevada, the Warriors are 10-6 ATS (11-5 SU) here the past few seasons. They can win this game and I think they will. *10 Underdog GOY
|10-13-12||South Carolina v. LSU -2.5||Top||21-23||Loss||-105||10 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on LSU. The Gamecocks come in with a big winning streak and a higher ranking. Off an impressive win over Georgia, they deserve it. I still feel that the Tigers are favored for good reason though. Playing at home, I expect them to come away with the victory, covering the small number along the way.
The Tigers are off a rare loss, their first in the "regular season" since way back in November of 2010. The big question is, how will the Tigers react to the defeat.
Les Miles noted: "It is an interesting thing, too, because for the first time in a year and a half we are talking about a regular-season loss, and it is miserable for us. Our football team is not enjoying it and certainly our coaching staff isn't, either."
I believe the Tigers will respond with flying colors. While a first loss kills the dreams of many teams, the situation is different here. The Tigers know that a victory here will put them right back in the hunt for the National title.
Safety Eric Reid noted: "It's a perfect situation. We had a tough loss, but at the same time, we can have a big win this Saturday."
Looking back to the Tigers' last regular season loss and we find that it actually came in the last game of the regular season, a 31-23 setback at Arkansas. They responded to that loss by trouncing Texas [email protected] in their bowl game.
That situation was a little different though, due to the long layoff between games. Plus, that loss to Arkansas wasn't the Tigers first loss of that season. They'd already lost a little over a month earlier, at Auburn.
I feel that loss at Auburn was a little more comparable to the current situation, as the Tigers had previously been undefeated. So, how did they respond? With an outright "upset" of Alabama the very next game. Remember, this is a very well-coached team.
The Gamecocks are definitely not slouches. They're also both well-coached and talented. Still, lets not forget that the Tigers are 10-1 as a host in this series. Also, while they've thrived in that situation so far this season, keep in mind that the Gamecocks are still only 5-9 ATS the last 14 times that they were off a conference win.
Interestingly, the Tigers were also coming off a loss the last time that these teams faced each other, back in 2008. In fact, LSU was off the worst loss of Les Miles' era, losing 51-21 against Florida. Miles got his guys to bounce back with a 24-17 win at South Carolina that day. I expect him to have them ready once again. *10 Main Event
|10-13-12||Oregon State v. BYU -5.5||Top||42-24||Loss||-105||30 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on BYU. The Beavers come in with the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Cougars are favored for good reason. And not just because of Oregon State's QB issues. Of course, that's not likely to make things any easier for the Beavers. While the Beavers are 4-0, they haven't started 5-0 since my grandparents were young.
Oregon State QB Cody Vaz has appeared in only five games in his entire career and he's completed just six of 17 passes for 48 yards. Should Vaz go down, his backup is redshirt freshman quarterback Richie Harrington, a walk-on.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley acknowledged this of Vaz: "The only unfortunate part is that I haven't played him enough."
The Cougars didn't cover last week - but they did manage a win against a tough and pesky Utah State team. With that game coming on a Friday, BYU gets an extra day of preparation. Prior to that game, the Cougars dominated Hawaii by a score of 47-0. They're 4-0 here on the season, outgaining teams by a 469.5 to 217.5 margin.
While they failed to win at Utah in Week 3, (I went against them there) note that the Cougars are a profitable 8-2 ATS the last 10 times that they were off consecutive SU victories.
The Cougars won by 10 at Oregon State last season. They outrushed the Beavers by a commanding 282-59 margin. They returned 14 starters from that team, too.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is an OSU alumni and this is the homecoming game for the Cougars. Opportunities to beat ranked opponents don't come around all the time. I expect the well coached Cougars to take care of business in convincing fashion. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-13-12||West Virginia v. Texas Tech +4.5||Top||14-49||Win||100||18 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS TECH. After scoring 70 points against Baylor two weeks ago and then following it up with a road win at Texas, the Mountaineers are receiving plenty of attention from the media. Rightfully so, they've been pretty impressive. I feel that this will be a tough spot for them though. I also feel that all that media attention has them over-valued. Meanwhile, I feel that Texas Tech comes in under-valued, flying under the radar.
The schedules have arguably been fairly similar. The Mountaineers faced easy teams in Marshall, James Madison and Maryland to start the season. Likewise, the Red Raiders faced easy opponents in Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico in their first three games. Each team faced a lesser ranked Big 12 opponent in its fourth game. The Mountaineers hosted Baylor, the Red Raiders played at Iowa State. In the fifth game, last time out, WVU played Texas while Texas Tech took on Oklahoma. So, given that I feel the schedules are fairly close, I feel its fair to compare the stats.
Yes, WVU has the edge on offense. The Mountaineers are averaging a whopping 52 points on 570.8 yards of offense. However, the Red Raiders aren't as far behind as one might expect. They're averaging 39 points on 509.6 yards. At home, Texas Tech is averaging 520.7 yards, which is actually more than WVU averages on the road.
Its on the other side of the ball where Texas Tech has the advantage. The Red Raiders are allowing only 16.8 points and just 210 yards of offense. Meanwhile, WVU is allowing 35 points on 460 yards.
So, if we look at that a different way, we find that Texas Tech is outscoring opponents by 22.2 points per game while WVU is outscoring its opponents by "only" 17 per game.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders are gaining 299.4 more yards of offense per game than their opponents while the Mountaineers are gaining only 110.8 more than their foes.
The Mountaineers have seen three straight games decided by 10 or fewer points. Their games have been getting progressively closer. They'll be playing back to back road games for the only time this season. Off the upset at Texas and with a big showdown vs. Kansas State on deck, this is a tough spot.
While the Red Raiders are off a disappointing loss, that loss came against Oklahoma - and it was their first loss of the season. Prior to that, they were 4-0 with all four victories coming by double-digits.
Last week's loss notwithstanding, I still believe that this is a very good Texas Tech team. Keep in mind that the Red Raiders brought back 17 starters from a team which was ranked as high as #19 at one point early last year.
I don't believe that the Raiders are going to hang their heads. This is their homecoming game and it offers them a chance to beat a ranked opponent. Note that Texas Tech is 39-23 ATS its last 60+ off a conference loss.
During that stretch, even with the loss against Oklahoma, the Red Raiders were 7-3 ATS as a home underdogs in the +3.5 to +7 range. (All seven ATS wins were also SU wins.) I expect the Raiders to rise to the occasion and earn AT LEAST another cover on Saturday afternoon. *10 Best Bet
|10-13-12||Northwestern v. Minnesota +3.5||Top||21-13||Loss||-110||14 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. I played against the Gophers when they were beaten at Iowa, their very last game. At the time, I suggested that the undefeated Gophers were over-valued. Perception can change quickly though.
Off a single road loss, suddenly the Gophers are being considered a bad team again. In fact, they're getting nearly as many points for this home game as they were at Iowa.
Like the Gophers, the Wildcats are also coming off their first loss of the season. I feel that their loss will be more difficult to "bounce back" emotionally and physically from.
First of all, Northwestern's loss came last Saturday while Minnesota's loss came the previous week. So, the Gophers have had an extra week to physically/emotionally recover, while also having extra preparation time go gameplan for the Wildcats.
Not only have they had more "recovery time," but the Gophers loss was of the "blowout variety." Those type of losses can often be easier to bounce back from than a closer loss. The Wildcats were really starting to think they were good and were beginning to entertain thoughts of keeping their undefeated record going for a few more weeks - losing a relatively close game at Penn State figures to be painful.
Note that the Wildcats, now 2-8 ATS the last 10 October games, are just 3-7 ATS the last 10 times that they were off a conference loss. During that stretch, they've gone 2-4 ATS as road favorites.
Of course, playing back to back road games is tough in itself.
Even with the loss at Iowa, the Gophers are still 12-7-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs. The Gophers covered (lost 29-28 as 4.5 point underdogs) when these teams played here in 2010. I expect at least another cover. *9
|10-12-12||Navy +2 v. Central Michigan||Top||31-13||Win||100||10 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on NAVY. I won with the Midshipmen against Air Force last week. Navy prevailed in a hard fought game, winning in OT. While Central Michigan isn't a complete "cupcake," this is indeed a very winnable game for the Midshipmen. The question is how they'll respond to the win over their rival. Back on track, I believe the answer will be that the Midshipmen will build some positive momentum from that game.
The last time that Navy beat Air Force was in 2009. That was also a hard fought OT win. The next week, the Midshipmen followed it up with a 49-point win on the road. They haven't won by that many points since.
True, the Midshipmen are playing the second of back-to-back road games. This is a well-conditoned and well-coached team though, one which was quite competitive in that situation last season. The Midshipmen were 0-2 when playing the second of b2b road games last season. However, both losses came by just three points, including one at South Carolina against a Gamecocks team that was ranked #11 at the time. (Navy was a +16 point underdog.)
The Chippewas come in off back-to-back double-digit losses, failing to cover in both games. They're giving up an average of 495 yards and 45.3 points their past three games. For the season they're allowing an average of 457.6 ypg, including a whopping 223 ypg (5.8 ypr) on the ground. That should spell trouble against a rejuvenated Navy rushing attack.
The Chippewas are a dismal 1-10 ATS (2-9 SU) in October the past few seasons. During that stretch, they're 2-9 ATS off a conference loss, going 3-9 ATS (5-7 SU) in their home games. Off three straight road games, they're in a bit of a tough scheduling spot themselves.
The Midshipmen have long been excellent as underdogs. They're particularly tough as slight road underdogs, going 7-2 ATS the last nine times that they were listed as road underdogs of three or fewer points. I expect them to improve on those stats Friday night. *10
|10-11-12||Arizona State v. Colorado +23||Top||51-17||Loss||-110||23 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO. If I'm backing an underdog, I like to feel that the underdog has a chance at the outright win. That's not really necessary when getting more than three touchdowns though. That said, I feel the Buffaloes are coming into this game, looking for a win.
The Sun Devils are 4-1 on the season but only 1-1 on the road. That road win came by only 10 points, too.
While the Buffaloes have admittedly fared pretty poorly in the W/L column, they've also seen three of five games decided by five points or less.
Obviously, winning this game will not be easy; the Buffaloes are large underdogs for a reason. However, with road games at USC and Oregon on deck, this does represent the Buffaloes best shot at an October win. Throw in the fact that it comes on national TV and I look for them to be "fired up" and to deliver their best performance.
Historians will be interested to learn that Colorado is 2-0 on Thursday night games at Folsom Field, having beaten Stanford in 1990 and West Virginia in 2008.
Arizona State will be bringing pressure. The extra time off may help the Buffaloes a little there though. QB Jordan Webb noted: "I think the offensive line is really prepared. We've got some schemes that will help us. I think I have full faith in our offensive line. ... "
This was actually the first bye that the Buffaloes have had under coach Embree, now in his second season.
He said this of the time off: ''It's been good for us, we're excited to get some guys back healthy, allow us to address a few issues, tackling and turnovers. We did a lot live tackling. To the players it may not have felt like a bye, because we had a lot of live periods within practice and it was good to do that.''
Although teams usually get fired up for Thursday night games, the Sun Devils, 4-6 ATS their last 10 Thursday games, have a much bigger Thursday game (home game vs. Oregon) coming up next week. I feel they could get caught looking ahead.
For all their impressive stats, lets not forget that this Arizona State team was the least experienced team in the Pac 12 to start the season, returning only eight starter.
The Buffaloes were beaten soundly at Arizona State in Embree's first season as coach. Now, in his second year, he gets a chance to show he's got his program on the right track - and to help with future recruiting - by delivering a much more competitive game. I expect the Buffaloes to do just that. *10 Best Bet
|10-11-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||23-26||Win||100||34 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Off back to back blowout losses and having been blown out in four of five games, not many people want to touch the Titans here. Many probably can't wait to bet the Steelers as "only" a single-digit favorite. Winning on the road is rarely easy though, let alone doing so by a large margin.
Admittedly, the Titans have stunk. Much of that is their own fault. However, in all fairness, they've had a VERY difficult opening schedule.
The Titans have played only two home games and those came against New England and Detroit. They earned a split out of those games, which wasn't all that bad. After all, they were underdogs in each.
The Titans first two road games came at San Diego and at Houston. The Chargers are among the better team's in the AFC and Houston has the best record in the league. Their last game came at Minnesota, against a Vikings team which has suddenly caught fire.
While I did lose with the Titans at Minnesota (bad call!) I still feel that they're a better team than we've seen thus far. The Titans players feel the same way. Playing at home, on National TV, against yet another tough opponent - offers them a chance to prove it.
Coach Munchak noted: "We know this is our big opportunity to hopefully change the opinion of a lot of people by how we play on Thursday night."
The Steelers always command respect. However, the fact is that they're only 1-3 ATS on the season and their only win of greater than two points came at home. They're getting outscored by an average of 32.5 to 25 on the road. They're now 7-12 ATS away from Pittsburgh the past few seasons.
Note that the Steelers are off a hard-fought win over an instate rival (Philly) and that they have a divisional battle against Cincinnati on deck. Although teams generally get up for "TV" games, given the situation, it sill may be easy to look past the lowly Titans. Either way, I do feel that the short week favors the home team.
Also, lets not forget that the Steelers are still without safety Troy Polamalu. Its also possible that linebacker LaMarr Woodley will miss the game. If he does play, he may be at less than 100%.
Tomlin said this of Woodley's status: "We're at the early portion of the season and we've got to be smart with how we deal with that."
The Titans, 5-1 ATS their last six Thursday games, are 7-2 (6-3 ATS) in nine games as a host in this series, since they moved from Houston. (The Steelers' only two wins both came by 10 or less.) The Titans are also 9-4 ATS the last 13 times that they were listed as home underdogs in the +3.5 to +7 range. I expect them to rise to the occasion and I'm grabbing the points. *10 Main Event
|10-08-12||Houston Texans v. NY Jets +9||Top||23-17||Win||100||12 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. Even the most casual of investors knows that they want to buy stocks when they're low and sell them when they're high. Of course, that's easier said than done. While its certainly not the only thing I consider, I've always believed the same is true of the NFL. In this case, I believe we're getting the Jets at a bargain rate while the Texans have become over-priced.
The Texans have indeed developed into a very good team. They'll be hungry to show that to the world. The betting public already knows how good they are though. They're being asked to lay more than seven points on the road.
To give that some perspective, before the regular season even started, some sportsbooks released lines on every single NFL game. People already knew the Texans were going to be good yet the line for this game was only a "pick'em."
True, the Jets are without Revis and Holmes while the Texans have been every bit as good as Houston fans could have hoped. Obviously, those factors should and have affected the line. Still, I think a line swing of greater than a TD is giving us excellent value with what I feel will be a very hungry and determined home underdog.
Just as the Texans will be looking to show the world that they're the real thing, the Jets will be looking to show the world that they're a much better team than the one which was beaten 34-0 last Sunday.
Sanchez had one of the best games of his career in a victory over the Texans in 2010, throwing for 315 yards. That was closer than expected, as it was decided by just a field goal. I look for this one to also prove closer than expected and I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *10
|10-07-12||San Diego Chargers v. New Orleans Saints -3||Top||24-31||Win||100||12 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ORLEANS. The playoffs are already now likely out of the question. However, that doesn't mean that this Saints team won't be giving everything its got here. This is desperation time. A chance to show the world on National TV that they're not a joke and that they're bigger than the offseason scandal. I expect them to rise to the occasion and play their best game.
Brees will break Johnny Unitas' record tonight and he obviously wants to do so with a win. He only faced the Chargers, his former team, once and he three for 339 yards and three TDs en route to a 37-32 victory, at London England. He's off a big game and will be facing a banged-up San Diego secondary.
Rivers knows Brees will be ready for a big game. He was quoted saying: "It's been many years since I've been around Drew but he's treating today like they're 4-0. He's very steady. And that's how you bounce back from a situation like they're in. In a Drew Brees team with what they've been though, you can't ever count them out of anything. We'll get their best ... "
The Saints last two losses have come by four combined points. So, its not like they're playing as poorly as their record indicates. Interim coach Aaron Kromer noted: "You can see more positives. We really feel that we're on the cusp of getting on a roll."
The Chargers are certainly a capable team. However, they're also capable of getting beaten by a good team. We saw that when they faced another NFC South team, as Atlanta annihilated them.
Obviously Rivers and co. want to win and perform well. They're not "desperate" to do so though. I expect the Saints to want this one more and that extra level of motivation, combined with homefield advantage, to ultimately make the difference. *10 Main Event
|10-07-12||Denver Broncos v. New England Patriots -6||Top||21-31||Win||100||8 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ENGLAND. Manning and Brady have had some epic showdowns over the years. This one figures to favor Brady though. Not only is he playing at home but he's also got a team around him that he's completely familiar with. While he's certainly looked good at times, even really good, let's not forget that Manning is still getting comfortable with his new team and that he's also still not that far removed from all those surgeries.
While he does have a fairly capable replacement (former Patriot Dan Koppen) it should be noted that Manning lost his starting center last week when J.D. Walton went down. He'd previously missed only one snap in his 3-year career. Obviously Koppen will be motivated to play well against his former team - and isn't probably too much of a downgrade - however, there can be some possible "chemistry issues" involved with a center making his first start on a new team, even an experienced one. Even one mistake could prove to be very big.
The Pats lost their only game here and will want to make amends for that. I also feel that the Pats are still stinging from the Super Bowl loss and that Brady will want to be the "top dog" in his own house. Brady must have felt the same way the last time that the Broncos came here. At the time, Tebow was in his "prime" and getting all kinds of publicity. IBrady wasn't too cool with that though. The Pats destroyed Denver by a score of 45-10. Brady threw 6 TDs.
Overall the Pats outscored the Broncos 86-33 while gaining more than 450 yards in each of last season's two games. Manning should help the Denver offense improve on those numbers but that's a huge gap to make up. Brady, who led his team to 52 points last week, figures to be licking his chops at facing a defense he carved up last season. While the Broncos defense has admittedly improved, I don't think they've improved enough to slow down a Patriot offense that finally found its groove in the second half of last week's game. I like the Pats to pull away and win this one by more than a touchdown. *10 Personal Favorite
|10-07-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||7-30||Loss||-110||8 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Many will back the favorite here, strictly based on the records. (The Titans are 1-3. The Vikings are 3-1.) I feel that the value lies with the underdog though.
Keep in mind that the Vikings got to play the Colts and Jaguars (they split those games) while all four of Tennessee's games (Pats and Lions at home and Chargers and Texans on the road) have been difficult.
A defensive-minded team that likes to run the ball, Minnesota tends to play a lot of close games. When I played on them against the Lions, I noted the following quote from coach Frazier: "The way our team is built, we're going to play a lot of close games."
That tendency to play close games leads to the Vikings being better as underdogs than as favorites. They're already 2-0 ATS as underdogs but are 0-1-1 ATS (1-1 SU) as favorites. They're 5-8-1 ATS their last 14 when laying points, 1-2 ATS as home favorites in the -3.
With the loss at Indianapolis, note that the Vikings are also now 2-7-1 ATS (2-8 SU) their last 10 against AFC opponents. Meanwhile, during the same stretch, the Titans are 6-2-1 ATS (6-3 SU) against NFC opponents. They're an outstanding 39-17-6 (44-18 SU!) their last 62 against NFC teams.
I'm comfortable with Hasselbeck at QB. Remember, he was the starter last season and has had plenty of success in this league. While the Vikings have a big-time back in Peterson, the Titans have a pretty good one too. Johsnon ran 25 times for 141 yards last game.
The schedule doesn't get easier for a little while yet for the Titans as they've got Pittsburgh on deck. They know they have to survive this difficult first stage and I look for them to be "desperate" here.
Three of the Vikings four games have been decided by a TD or less, two of them by a field goal. In a game that could easily be decided in the final minutes, grab the points. *10 Non-Conf GOW
|10-07-12||Buffalo Bills +11 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||3-45||Loss||-135||8 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on BUFFALO. The 49ers are off a blowout win while the Bills are off a blowout loss. That's got everyone again believing that the 49'ers are among the best in the league and the Bills are among the league's worst. I feel that perception is providing value with the road team.
Yes, the 49ers are a good team. However, last week's result notwithstanding, I still don't believe that they're the type of team that's going to win a lot of games by huge margins. Note that two of their three wins came by single-digits.
Off the 34-0 win and with a huge "revenge" game vs. the defending Super Bowl champs on deck, I feel it will be easy to look past lowly Buffalo.
The Bills have alternated between wins and losses. Off a loss, they should be hungry. After getting blown out by a pair of AFC East rivals, Buffalo, 17-6-1 ATS its last 24 against NFC West teams (all of that in the past) would love to be able to show it can hang with an elite team from the other conference.
This Buffalo team is averaging 28.7 points per game and has scored at least 24 points in every game. Look for them to be more competitive than most will be expecting. *9
|10-07-12||Chicago Bears v. Jacksonville Jaguars +6||Top||41-3||Loss||-105||8 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on JACKSONVILLE. The Bears are coming off an impressive Monday night win. However, they're now playing a second straight road game and doing so on a short week. That's a bigger deal than it may sound like.
Everyone's pretty high on the Bears after the Monday night win. However, it should be noted that they're actually being outgained by a 375.5 to 264.4 margin in their road games.
It should also be noted that Cutler is 0-2 against the Jaguars.
The only time that the Bears played road games in back to back weeks last season, the second game was decided by four points. The last time that the played a road game, after playing on the previous Monday, they lost 17-3.
I expect the Jags to be at their best and won't be surprised if they find a way to score the outright upset. *10 Best Bet
|10-07-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||14-16||Loss||-125||4 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. I had the Eagles (and the Under) in last week's 19-17 victory over the Giants. I also played against the Steelers in their last game, a 34-31 loss at Oakland. This one sets up nicely for Pittsburgh though.
While Philadelphia is off a hard-fought and emotional win over the defending champions, the Steelers had last week off.
Note that the Steelers are 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS the last three times they were coming off a bye, going 20-9 SU their last 29.
The Eagles have failed to cover in each of their road games. They barely squeaked by Cleveland (17-16) and got blown out (27-6) at Arizona.
The Steelers crushed the Jets (27-10) in their lone home game. They're 15-4 SU here the past 2+ seasons, going 13-6 at the betting window.
The Eagles are just 4-6 ATS their last 10 against AFC opponents. During that stretch, the Steelers were 6-3 ATS against NFL foes. With the venue and schedule in their favor, I expect the Steelers to improve on those stats Sunday afternoon. *9
|10-07-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs +6.5||Top||9-6||Win||100||4 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on KC. The Ravens come in with a 3-1 record while the Chiefs are only 1-3. While the Ravens will surely be a popular pick amongst recreational bettors, I feel the underdog is offering plenty of value.
Admittedly, the Ravens are a bit of a "scary" or intimidating team, as they are indeed very capable. That causes many bettors to avoid betting against them and/or to bet on them. I feel they can often be over-valued. I successfully played against them in their ATS loss vs. Cleveland and feel that they'll be in for another battle.
While two of their three wins have been close, the Ravens have thrived at home, going 3-0. However, they lost their lone road game, a 1-point loss at Philadelphia.
The Ravens like to run a no-huddle offense. That can be tough when playing at a loud road venue - and Arrowhead is known for being "hostile."
Admittedly, its been a tough start for the Chiefs. They did beat the Saints though and they are typically competitive against good teams. They're 7-4 ATS the last 2+ seasons against teams with a winning record.
The Ravens are 6-9-1 ATS their last 16 off back to back SU victories. Each of their last three have been decided by seven or less, two of them by a point. Grab the generous points. *9
|10-06-12||West Virginia v. Texas -7||Top||48-45||Loss||-103||23 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. Many bettors are likely going to favor the underdog here. They will see the Mountaineers are coming off a game in which they scored 70 points. They'll see that the Mountaineers have a Heisman Trophy frontrunner at QB. And, they'll see that its the Mountaineers which actually have the higher national ranking. I feel that the Longhorns are favored for good reason though.
While the 70 points are standing out in people's memories, I feel that the Longhorns have done much more thus far. Both teams are 4-0. However, the Longhorns have a 35 point road win over an SEC team (albeit a weak one) AND a road win at Oklahoma State.
That win against the Cowboys was huge. It gives the Longhorns a real shot at playing for the National Title. There are only a few really big tests remaining and this is one of them. Of course, the big one is vs. Oklahoma the following week.
I feel the the Longhorns learned a lesson in 2010. They had a 3-0 record that season and were hosting UCLA in their fourth game, prior to facing Oklahoma in their fifth game. Favored by more than two touchdowns, they got caught looking ahead to the Sooners and got smoked. The Longhorns never recovered that season, finishing 5-7.
Last year's team also started off 3-0, with one game to play before meeting Oklahoma. This time, having learned its lesson the previous year, Texas took care of business, delivering a 37-14 victory as a -9.5 point favorite. Although they still lost vs. the Sooners, the Longhorns at least went into that game with an undefeated record. With the lesson of 2010 still fresh in their memories, I expect Brown's team to avoid any letdown and/or look-ahead here.
The Mountaineers have yet to play a true road game and have been favored by double-digits in every game. Sure, they scored 70 against Baylor. Don't forget, they also allowed 63.
Geno Smith will get all the headlines here. However, Texas also has a very good QB in David Ash. Indeed, Ash has completed 78% of his passes for 1,007 yards (251.8 ypg) and has 10 TDs against only one interception.
This has traditionally been a good role for the Longhorns; they're 9-3-1 ATS the last 13 times that they were listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -7 range. (During that stretch, the Mountaineers were only 4-7 ATS as road underdogs in the +3.5 to +7 range.)
The Mountaineers had a successful Big 12 debut. Facing a far more formidable opponent and a much better defense, expect them to find the going considerably more difficult here. *10 Main Event
|10-06-12||Iowa State v. TCU -7||Top||37-23||Loss||-105||20 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on TCU. Ranked #15 in the country, the Horned Frogs are finally getting a little respect. However, as the only school in the entire country currently with a double-digit win streak, they don't believe they're getting enough. Beating up on a mediocre Iowa State team, one which has a deceivingly decent 3-1 record, will look good on their resum
|10-06-12||Georgia Tech +11 v. Clemson||Top||31-47||Loss||-115||20 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGIA TECH. These teams will be meeting for the fifth time in the last four years. The Yellow Jackets won 31-17 last season and have a 50-25-2 lead in the all-time series. They're getting double-digits here and I feel that's providing us with excellent line value.
Admittedly, the Tigers are dynamic offensively. Facing a defensively-challenged Georgia Tech team, they should score points.
I believe the Yellow Jackets will also have plenty of offensive success though. The Tigers are giving up 438 yards per game (543.5 in conference play!) while the Yellow Jackets are averaging a whopping 329 yards of offense per game on the ground.
While the Yellow Jackets may have been looking ahead to this game last week, the Tigers are off back to back hard-fought road games. They survived some adversity at Boston College last week, playing without star receiver Sammy Watkins. Watkins, who is indeed a very talented player, has been cleared to play this week. However, as can sometimes be the case when a star returns, I won't be surprised if the rest of the unit lets down, if only slightly.
Off an embarrassing loss, I don't expect that to be an issue for the well-coached Yellow Jackets. As Paul Johnson noted about the game vs. Clemson, after last week's loss: "...we have to come out and play a lot harder than we did today, or it could be ugly." I believe he'll have had the ear of his players this week and I look for a much improved effort.
Clemson coach Swinney knows he can expect Georgia Tech's best. He was quoted "This is a team that I know they're coming off a tough loss to Middle Tennessee, but they've had two overtime losses at Virginia Tech and then against Miami. I think everybody knows the kind of team that Georgia Tech is and the kind of coaching staff that they have. We're going to have to play a great game."
While the revenge-minded Tigers would love a big win, keep in mind that Clemson has seen all three of its games against quality opposition decided by 14 points or less. The Tigers did beat Boston College by 14 - however, they were losing that game at halftime. So, it was close. They lost by eight at Florida State and they beat Auburn by seven.
While last week's game got out of hand, G-Tech has also been involved in close games. They've had two blowout wins and two losses by six or less. In their lone road game, they lost by three at Virginia Tech.
With both teams hungry for a win, I feel this one could very well also come down to the wire and I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *10 Best Bet
|10-06-12||Navy +8 v. Air Force||Top||28-21||Win||100||16 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on NAVY. I won with Air Force when these teams met last season. Navy was a 3-point favorite but the Falcons pulled off a 35-34 upset. Despite that setback, the Midshipmen are still a profitable 8-2 ATS the last 10 in the series. In a game that could easily again come down to the wire, I feel that they're providing us with very fair value.
While it hasn't been the case so far this season, Navy has long been a strong underdog, going 62-30-2 ATS its last 94 when getting points.
On the other hand, the Falcons are just 6-14 ATS the last 20 times that they were laying points. Note that they're only 4-10 ATS their last 14 home lined games.
Admittedly, Navy has gotten off to a disappointing start. However, this was supposed to be an improved Navy team from last season. And remember, the Midshipmen were favored against AF last year.
Keep in mind that two of Navy's losses came against Notre Dame (at Ireland) and at Penn State. So, there was no real shame in losing those games. Losing at home against SJ State wasn't too good. However, the Spartans nearly did the same thing to Stanford and the Midshipmen were underdogs in that game. So, that loss was somewhat excusable too. They won their only other game by a score of 41-3.
Air Force has the better 2-2 record. Its loss vs. Michigan was certainly excusable. However, losing at UNLV wasn't too good - the Rebels are a bad team and AF was lying -10.5 points in that game. The only two wins came against Idaho State and Colorado State, a pair of bad teams. So, really, this team has done nothing. At least, not yet.
Last year wasn't the first close game between these teams. In fact, each of the last four games was decided by eight points or less. Eight of the last nine meetings have been decided by eight or fewer points and all nine of those were decided by 11 or less. Also, the last four meetings in Colorado Springs were ALL decided by a TD or less.
While the Air Force offense has been quite potent, the defense is giving up more than 435 yards per game. I expect that to be just what the doctor ordered for Navy. In another game that could easily come down to the wire, I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *9
|10-05-12||Pittsburgh +2 v. Syracuse||Top||13-14||Win||100||23 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. The Orange opened as underdogs and are now small favorites. I feel the initial line was more accurate though and disagree with the line move.
After an awful 0-2 start, the Panthers have recovered. (Remember, they were adjusting to a new coach.) This is a team which brought back 14 starters and was expected to be good. They lost badly the last time they were on National TV and will be looking to show the country that they're better than that.
There's nothing particularly impressive about the Panthers' 55-0 beatdown of Gardner Webb, as that was to be expected. Still, that type of blowout victory can build a team's confidence. The 35-17 destruction of Virginia Tech WAS impressive, far more so than anything that the 1-3 Orange have accomplished.
Syracuse has one win and it came against 1-AA Stony Brook. (The Orange won by 11 as a 21.5 pt fav) There's nothing to be ashamed of about their double-digit loss vs. USC. However, losses against Northwestern and Minnesota are telling.
On the season, the Orange have turned the ball over 10 times and are averaging nine penalties per game.
While the pointspread won't likely be a factor here, note that the Panthers are 5-2-1 ATS the last eight times that they played a game with a line in the -3 to +3 range. During that stretch, the Orange were just 3-8 SU/ATS when doing so.
The Panthers have dominated this series in recent years. Meeting for the last time as Big East rivals, I expect them to continue that dominance Friday night. *9
|10-04-12||USC v. Utah +14.5||Top||38-28||Win||100||21 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on UTAH. I won with the Utes against BYU as home underdogs but successfully played against them at Utah State, as road favorites. The Utes are home underdogs again here, one of their best roles, and I again feel that they're providing us with excellent value.
As always, USC has excellent athletes. Really, this team is loaded - on both sides of the ball. Still, being asked to lay two TDs on the road - at a venue like this - is asking a lot.
The Trojans have only played one true road game (Stanford) and they lost that one outright. The Utes are undefeated at home.
The Utes are 48-27 ATS the last 75 times that they were getting points, 6-3 ATS when listed as underdogs in the +10.5 to +21 range.
The Utes lost by only nine points at USC last season. They were only +7.5 point underdogs in that one. Now, they're playing at home AND getting an extra touchdown to boot.
Granted, the Trojans are arguably a better team than they were last season. However, the same can arguably be said of the Utes. Keep in mind that Jordan Wynn was just one of 16 returning starters.
Last year's 9-point USC win was a little deceiving. The score was just 17-14 and Utah was lining up for a 41-yrd field goal to send the game to OT. However, the Trojans blocked the kick and took it 68 yards the other way. (The Pac-12 didn't even announce that the TD counted until long after the Coliseum had emptied; fans thought it didn't count.)
After that game, Utah's first in the conference, coach Kyle Whittingham said. ""It was baptism by fire. We stayed toe-to-toe, but we have to find a way to win close games. ... If you have a group of competitive guys, you want to play the best in the country. Personnel-wise, USC stacks up with anyone in the country."
True, the Utes didn't look too good in their last game getting blown out by Arizona State. That was on the road though - they've 4-2 SU the last six times that they were off a conference loss.
While both teams are off a bye, I feel that the extra time may have helped Utah more. Its given players like star running back John White, junior defensive end Joe Kruger (2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles) and sophomore safety Eric Rowe more time to heal. Also, off a loss, I feel that the Utes may be more receptive in practice than the Trojans, who could potentially be a little full of themselves.
Utah is 6-1 after byes during Kyle Whittingham
|10-04-12||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams +2||Top||3-17||Win||100||58 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. I'm 3-0 in St. Louis games this season. I successfully played against the Rams at Chicago. However, I also backed them in each of their two games here at St. Louis. I feel that this will be another good spot to do so.
There's no denying that the Cardinals are off to a great start. They're one of only three undefeated teams and they've got wins over the likes of New England and Philadelphia.
Only one of those wins has come on the road though, which means that the Rams' 2-0 home record is actually stronger than the Cards' 1-0 record outside of the desert.
It should also be noted that the Cards are being outgained by an average of 357.2 to 271.1 per game, in terms of total yards of offense. They were outgained 387-245 in their lone road game. (The Rams are outgaining teams by a 369-349 margin here at St. Louis.)
I feel that the short week will favor the home team. The Rams played an early game last Sunday, right here at St. Louis. The Cards played a later game on Sunday and it went to OT. That put them an extra 4 hours behind the Rams right there - and then they had to travel to St. Louis and get adjusted to being there.
While teams typically watch film and get treatments for injuries and soreness on Monday (and the often take Tuesday off) the he Rams were already back at work Sunday night. They were on back into field work Monday.
As St. Louis defensive end Chris Long noted: "Short weeks are less than ideal, but both teams are dealing with it. It's just going to be about who prepares better and who takes care of their bodies better and who adapts better."
While its only a matter of hours, I really do think that avoiding travel and the small amount of extra prep time will serve the Ram well here.
Long went on to say: "I'd like to think that we've got a lot of hard workers and smart guys in here, even though we have young guys, guys who are willing to make those sacrifices that will get you back to your equilibrium by Thursday."
After Monday's practice, Jeff Fisher had this to say: "The guys, they worked the soreness out and they're ready to go. By Thursday night, they're excited to be able to play. It's prime time and we hope things work out well for us.''
Arizona wants this game, obviously. However, the Rams need it more. This is a chance to move above .500 and for them to be right in the thick of the division race. The fans will be extremely fired up, as will the players.
While the Cards were 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS in October the past couple of seasons, the Rams were a surprising 5-4 ATS and 4-5 SU. With both the venue and schedule in their favor, I expect the Rams to improve on those stats with an "upset" win. *10 Best Bet
|10-04-12||Arkansas State v. Florida International +2||Top||34-20||Loss||-110||19 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on FIU. The Golden Panthers have been good to me so far this season. I won with "over" in their first game, a loss at Duke. Note that the Golden Panthers racked up more than 500 yards in offense in that one, enjoying a significant edge in that department. I also backed them as underdogs in games at UCF and vs. Louisville. They lost those games but earned the cover in each. I feel that this will be a great spot for them to break through with an outright win.
Arkansas State was the best team in this conference last season. However, I don't believe that's the case this season. The Red Wolves are already 0-1 in conference play, losing at home to Western Kentucky. Sure, they've got two wins. However, those wins both came at home and they came against Alcorn State and Memphis. They were favored by 23.5 and 39.5 points in those games. So, wins were expected. (They did blow out 1-AA Alcorn State but won by only five against Memphis.)
While the Red Wolves suffered major personnel losses from last season, the Golden Panthers brought back many returning starters. They were picked by many before the season began to win this conference and they've had this game circled since the schedule came out. They'll be looking for some payback from a loss at Arkansas State last season, a game which was tied at halftime. Now, an FIU team which is arguably stronger than it was last season gets to play at home against an Arkansas St team which is arguably weaker than it was last season.
While a healthy Medlock may have been preferred at QB, I feel that E.J. Hilliard (25-of-36, 286 yards) will prove capable.
The Golden Panthers are only 1-4 this season but they're 1-1 at home. They're lone home loss came against a good Louisville team though. And, as I mentioned, they had a big yardage edge on Duke in the loss there. I expect them to be sky high for this one, dropping the Red Wolves to 9-20 the last 29 times that they played a game with a line in the -3 to +3 range. *10
|10-01-12||Chicago Bears v. Dallas Cowboys -3||Top||34-18||Loss||-120||11 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. I won with the Bears last game. However, that was at home against the Rams. Plus, in addition to having homefield advantage, the Bears also had some extra preparation for that game. Stepping up in class and now playing at a difficult road venue, I expect the Bears to find the going much tougher here.
Some may feel that the Bears have been the more impressive team thus far. After all, they're 2-1 ATS while the Cowboys are 1-2 ATS. However, we have to consider the schedules. The Bears two wins both came at home and they came against the likes of Indianapolis and St. Louis, last year's two very worst teams.
The Cowboys did get blown out at Seattle - that was a difficult spot (you may remember we played against them there) though as they were off the emotional win over the defending champion Giants, while playing far from home.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Cowboys' two victories were actually quite impressive. They went on the road and beat the defending champions, outplaying them in the process. Last tame, they limited the Bucs to a mere 166 total yards of offense.
While the Cowboys are outgaining opponents by a 342-250 margin, the Bears are only outgaining opponents by a 290-279 margin.
Even after the victory last time out, Cutler acknowledged the Bears' offense is still a work in progress. He was quoted saying: "Right now we're just learning the offense. Everyone's getting comfortable. We're finding our identity. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice is still finding his identity as a play-caller ... "
Note that Forte, a big part of the Chicago offense and a player who scored an important fourth quarter TD last time these teams met, is questionable.
Forte practiced Wednesday and proclaimed himself ready to go. However, Lovie Smith noted that he "still has a long ways to go."
When these teams faced each other here two seasons ago, the line was Dallas -7. The Bears won that game. However, it was the Cowboys who had a 374-270 advantage in total yards.
With their improved defense, I feel that the Cowboys are actually a better team than they were in that 2010 meeting. Yet, we're getting them at a far more reasonable line. I feel that's providing us with excellent value. Lay the points. *10
|09-30-12||NY Giants v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||Top||17-19||Win||100||21 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I'll admit that Eli has been better than Vick thus far. I'll also admit that the Giants were the superior team last time out. However, the fact is that both teams are 2-1.
The Eagles' loss came on the road and against an undefeated Arizona team which has been playing surprisingly well. They beat Baltimore in their only home game - and the Ravens are among the best teams in the league.
I'd argue that win over the Ravens was more impressive than either of the Giants' victories, which came against a pair of teams which were a combined 10-22 last season. Note that Philadelphia outagained Baltimore by a 486-325 margin in that game
As you probably saw, the Giants were outplayed by the Cowboys in their lone game against a team which was .500 or better last season
While the Giants have converted more of the opportunities, looking more closely at total yards per game shows that both teams are actually very close. The Giants are averaging an impressive 426 per game, 405 on the road. Yet, the Eagles aren't far behind. They're averaging 416.7 per game, 486 at home.
However, on the other side of the ball, the Eagles have a significant advantage. They're allowing 275.7 per game while the Giants are allowing 355.7.
While I already acknowledged the Manning had been better than Vick thus far, that doesn't mean he's going to be better today. Vick, still an amazing athlete, has a lot to prove. Facing the champs on National TV, I expect him to elevate his game.
The Eagles have quietly dominated the Giants, going 7-1 SU/ATS the last eight meetings. I have a feeling they continue that dominance Sunday night. *10
|09-30-12||Washington Redskins v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1||Top||24-22||Loss||-116||17 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA BAY. Based at least partially on Robert Griffin III putting up big numbers in his first game, many probably feel that the Redskins have been a more impressive team than the Bucs. I'm not one of them.
The Bucs did lose both their road games. However, both those losses came by less than a touchdown and they came against a pair of tough NFC East teams, New York and Dallas. They won their only home game, taking care of business against Carolina.
While the Skins opening victory over the Saints seemed pretty impressive at the time, with the Saints still winless, that win doesn't seem quite as special anymore. The Skins have since lost vs. the Bengals and Rams.
While the Skins have been better offensively, the Bucs have been better defensively. Washington is allowing 33.7 points per game. Tampa is allowing just 22.3. Washington's 10 touchdown passes allowed is the most in the league.
Everyone is a bit down on Tampa QB Freeman at the moment. However, coach Schiano had this to say: "I have a great trust level with him. There's not a doubt in my mind he's going to do great this year and beyond."
I agree with Schiano and think people shouldn't over-react to the poor offensive production - again, their last two games came on the road against tough NFC East foes.
The Bucs are a perfect 6-0 their last six regular season home games against the Skins. I feel their advantage on the defensive side of the ball will help make it seven straight. *10 Personal Fav
|09-30-12||Oakland Raiders +7 v. Denver Broncos||Top||6-37||Loss||-115||4 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. I won with the Raiders last week. At the time, they were winless and facing Pittsburgh. Many were writing them off. I stated the following though:
"Admittedly, the Raiders haven't looked too good so far this season. Admittedly, the Steelers are a tough opponent. That said, I like the Raiders to bounce back with their best game. Off to an 0-2 start and with back to back difficult road games on deck, the Raiders know they can't afford another loss here - or the season could/will quickly become a write-off. It wasn't supposed to be this way though. Not this season. Some of you may recall that I backed the Raider in Week 3 of the preseason, the week when the starters see the most time. The Raiders were hosting the Lions. In my analysis on Oakland at the time, I included the following quote from Oakland's Michael Huff: 'We want to show everybody that this is the new Raiders. We're going to put that on film every Sunday
|09-30-12||San Francisco 49ers v. NY Jets +4.5||Top||34-0||Loss||-105||14 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. Not many people are giving the Jets much of a chance here. They can't get over the bad preseason or the loss of Revis. Many of the same people are convinced that the 49'ers are the best team in the league. With that being the general perception of this game, we're able to get the Jets, plus more than a field goal, at home. With all due respect to the 49'ers, I feel this is giving us excellent value with the Jets.
Everyone thought the 49'ers were invincible before last week's game. What happened? Playing an early game in the Eastern Time Zone, against a mediocre opponent, they were beaten soundly.
With that result, the 49ers are just 7-11 ATS on the road the past 2+ seasons, going 8-10 SU. On the other hand, the Jets were dominant (48-28) in their only home game. They're 12-5 SU here the past 2+ seasons. Two of those five losses came by four points or less, too.
Note that each of the 49'ers last seven road wins has come by single-digits. Two of those came by less than a field goal.
Everyone's talking about the Jets losing the game Revis missed. However, keep in mind that was at Pittsburgh with the Steelers coming off a loss. There's a pretty good chance that the Jets were going to lose that one even if Revis played.
A closer look reveals that the Jets are actually 3-1 when Revis hasn't started and that the defense has actually really elevated its game, rising to the challenge. In four games where Revis didn't play at all, they allowed only 17.75 points per game and a total of just 288 yards per game. So, while Revis is an excellent player, contrary to popular belief, this Jets defense is capable of rising to the challenge in his absence.
As coach Ryan said."This is a team game, and as a team, we've got to step it up. Ithink we'll respond. We certainly have to accept the challenge, and we're going to come out and compete. We might do it a little differently, but we're certainly going to give it our best shot, without question."
I expect the Jets to win outright but will gladly improve my chances even further by grabbing the generous points. *10 Best Bet
|09-30-12||Seattle Seahawks v. St. Louis Rams +3||Top||13-19||Win||100||1 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST LOUIS. I played against the Rams last week. That was at Chicago though and they were catching the Bears off a loss and with extra preparation time. This week's game sets up far more favorably.
This time, the Rams' opponent is off an "emotional" last second victory and is playing on a short week. Throw in the fact that the Seahawks are a West Coast based team playing in an early Eastern time zone game and this becomes quite a difficult scheduling spot for the visitors.
Yet, the Seahawks are the team laying a field goal. Including this season's loss at Arizona, note that they're 0-2 ATS the past couple of seasons, as road favorites of three or less.
Overall, this team is only 5-13 SU on the road, including 2-9 (2-8-1 ATS) when playing a road game with an O/U line ranging between 38.5 and 42.
While I did successfully play against the Rams in their last game, I also successfully play on them in their lone home game. They beat an over-rated Washington team outright in that game. With the schedule strongly in their favor, I expect them to do the same to an over-rated Seattle team this afternoon. *9
|09-29-12||Wisconsin +12 v. Nebraska||Top||27-30||Win||100||24 h 20 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN. I feel that this line is too high. Both teams are 3-1. Yet, because the Huskers have won in more impressive fashion, they're getting a lot more respect than the Badgers here.
True, the victories have been impressive. However, keep in mind that Nebraska was favored by more than 20 points in all three of those games. The Huskers were supposed to win those in blowout fashion. The only time that they faced a quality opponent (UCLA) they lost by six.
The Badgers also lost a close road game against a Pac-12 school. But because their three wins have been close, they're getting run through the mud. That close game experience can be beneficial though - and it should be noted that the win against Utah State came against arguably a more talented opponent than the Huskers have beaten yet this season.
The Badgers, who hammered the Huskers last season, have won five straight conference games, going 14-3 their last 17 conference games. I believe they're better than people realize and feel that their talented defense will serve them well, when trying to cover a large number. (The Badgers are 13-6-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were underdogs of greater than eight points.)
Coach Bielema noted: "It's a tremendous challenge to go on the road and win the way you want to in this league so that's an opportunity that we have in front of us. We get better every week, the team has the right attitude, like I said I don't have any worries about the way guys handle their work during the course of the week and we will see where we are Saturday."
The Badgers are 4-1 ATS the last five times that they were getting points. All four of their games have been decided by 11 or fewer points and three were decided by five or less. In another game that could easily come down to the wire, I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *10 Main Event
|09-29-12||Florida State v. South Florida +16.5||Top||30-17||Win||100||22 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on SOUTH FLORIDA. The Seminoles are a talented team. However, I don't feel that they should be laying more than two touchdowns here.
The Bulls check in with a disappointing 2-2 record and off back to back losses. Note that both losses came by 10 points or less.
Off an impressive win at Nevada, the Bulls moved to 2-0 after two games. However, they had to play their next game on a short week and were upset by Rutgers. For a team that had dreams of being 4-0 heading into this week's showdown vs. Florida State, the loss at Rutgers was disappointing. Still thinking about the Rutgers loss and possibly looking ahead to the Seminoles, the Bulls suffered a letdown were upset at Ball State last week. This is still a solid team and I expect them to be much better here.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher knows the Bulls are no joke. He said the following: ''I don't look at this as a lesser game. I think South Florida is an extremely talented football team. ... They have guys on their team from when they defeated us,'' adding that the Bulls won't be in awe of the favored Seminoles because many players from the teams have known each other since they were high school prospects. ''In their mind, that gives them more motivation and more energy to try to knock you off I don't think there's any doubt...''
When Fisher refers to "the team that beat them," he's referring to the 2009 Bulls which upset the Seminoles. A 14-point underdog, the Bulls won by 10.
South Florida QB BJ Daniels, a Tallahassee native, was a red-shirt freshman at the time. Now a senior, Daniels is a dual threat, that can beat you with both is arm and his legs. He's already thrown for 1,142 yards and nine touchdowns while running for 199 yards.
The Bulls have beaten the likes of Notre Dame and Miami under Holtz and will go into this game thinking upset.
Coach Holtz had this to say of this week's game: "...we've played in some big football games in the past. I don't think the players will be intimidated. They're excited about the opportunity. They understand the last couple of weeks we have not played stellar football, and this is an opportunity to go out and perform against a Top 5 team.''
While this game is huge for the Bulls, its not such a big deal for the Seminoles. They're off a big conference win last time out and have another one on deck.
The Bulls are 7-3 ATS their last 10 against teams from the ACC. They're also 8-3 ATS the last 11 times that they were underdogs of greater than eight points. I expect them to be ready and for them to provide their "rivals" a much tougher game than most will be expecting. *10 Best Bet
|09-29-12||Arizona State v. California +1||Top||27-17||Loss||-109||29 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on CALIFORNIA. I believe that getting the Bears at home in the pick'em range offers excellent value.
A big reason for the low line is California's 1-3 record. However, the fact it that the Bears were only "supposed" to be 2-2. So, 1-3 isn't that far off.
The game that the Bears lost, which they were expected to win, was the opener vs. Nevada. In case you haven't noticed, the Wolfpack are a pretty good team though. (They just scored 69 points and are averaging better than 44.) So, while the Bears should have beaten them - it was never going to be a cakewalk. Plus, playing a team's first game can be difficult.
The other two losses both came on the road and they were against Ohio State and USC. So, there's no shame in either of those losses. In fact, they almost beat the Buckeyes. Then, after leaving it all out on the field in that game, they were beaten more soundly at USC.
They're back home now though and I expect the Bears to wake up from their "hibernation." Facing Arizona State should help.
While the Sun Devils have played rather well at home, they lost their only road game. They're 3-9 on the road the past few seasons. This is still an inexperienced team (fewest returning starters in the Pac-12) with a new coach. I don't expect road victories to come easily.
Admittedly, the Sun Devils defense has played well. Give them credit for that. However, lets not get carried away.
Keep in mind the following, the three 1A teams that the Sun Devils have faced were Illinois, Missouri and Utah. Those teams entered the season expecting to have Nathan Scheelhaase, James Franklin and Jordan Wynn. In the case of the first two (Franklin and Scheelhaase) both those QBs played the previous week, meaning that both Missouri and Illinois faced ASU with QBs making their first ever start, with offenses that had worked with the presumed starter all fall.
In other words, those impressive Arizona State defensive numbers have gone up against offenses which weren't at their best. Their secondary has yet to be tested - and it will be on Saturday
The Bears are 8-1 in nine meetings with the Sun Devils since Tedford became coach, including 4-0 the last four. They won those games by an average of 14 points, including an 11-point win at Arizona St. last season.
Having lost that game vs. Nevada, the Bears know this is essentially as must-win game, if they want to go to to a bowl. They've still got UCLA, Stanford and Oregon to go - plus games against Washington State, Utah and Oregon State all come on the road. Again, they can ill-afford another loss. Desperate for a win, I expect the Bears to rise to the occasion and continue their dominance in the series. *10 Personal Favorite
|09-29-12||Minnesota v. Iowa -6.5||Top||13-31||Win||100||17 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on IOWA. A lot of bettors are probably going to be tempted to grab the points here. They'll look at this matchup, see Minnesota's 4-0 record against Iowa's 2-2 mark and they'll assume that the Gophers are the better team. That perception and those records have kept the line on Iowa reasonably low. Given that I expect the Hawkeyes to bounce back with a double-digit win, I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
Give the Gophers credit for the 4-0 start. Wins are wins, no matter who they come against. However, a closer look reveals that three of those wins came at home, none of them against elite teams, and that the only road win came at UNLV, in Week 1. The Rebels were considered so weak that the Gophers were favored by -9.5 points in that one. Yet, they won by only three, doing so in triple-OT. The three home wins came against New Hampshire, Western Michigan and Syracuse. Again, not exactly teams that we'll be expecting to see on New Year's Day. So, let's not get too carried away by the 4-0 start. (There's a reason why they didn't receive a single vote in this week's AP poll.)
While the Hawkeyes are certainly disappointed with their 2-2 start, Kirk Farentz's team is typically at its best off a loss. Indeed, the Hawkeyes are an outstanding 35-15 ATS their last 50 times line games off a SU loss. Even with a few non-covers so far this season, they're still 18-8 ATS the last 25 times that they failed to cover their previous game.
The Gophers won the last two games in this series. Both those were at Minnesota though. The Hawkeyes have dominated the meetings at Iowa, winning five straight and eight of nine. They were 7-2 ATS in those games, too.
A look at the recent pointspreads in this series shows that the Hawkeyes were favored by at least 13 points in each of the last three meetings, as well as each of the last two here at Iowa.
I'm not getting too carried away wth the non-conference records. This is the beginning of conference play and I expect Ferentz's Hawkeyes to bounce back, as they usually do off a loss, with a solid win an cover. *9
|09-28-12||Hawaii v. BYU -26.5||Top||0-47||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on BYU. The Cougars have treated me well so far this season. I successfully played on them when they blew out Washington State in their opener. I also successfully played against them when they lost outright at Utah. Last week, they covered for me at Boise, losing by a single point. While that was a difficult loss, Friday's matchup should provide an excellent opportunity to right the ship with a blowout win.
I successfully played against Hawaii last week. I felt Nevada, which hadn't won on the Island since the 1940s, was going to be really motivated. I also felt that the Warriors were going to be over-matched. That certainly proved to be the case. Playing in front of their own home fans, Hawaii was beaten by 45 points.
It appears that Taysom Hill will be getting the start at QB. (Note that it was Hill who drove for the TD against Boise.) That's fine with me. But I'd have been fine with Nelson, too. Either way, I expect the offense to have success against a Hawaii defense which gave up 69 points and nearly 600 yards of offense.
I quite like the fact that the Cougars played on 9/20 while the Warriors played a very late game on 9/22, at Hawaii.
While the spread may seem high, note that BYU is 3-0 SU/ATS the last three times it was favored in the -21.5 to --31 range.
The Cougars have dominated the Warriors in recent years including a 21-point win at Hawaii last season. I believe the talent gap, or at least the "playing ability," between the teams is currently even wider. Catching the Warriors on a short week and now facing them at home, I expect the Cougars to deliver an even bigger blowout. *10
|09-27-12||Cleveland Browns +12.5 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||16-23||Win||100||34 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. Obviously, the Ravens are pretty good. I think this is too many points for them to be laying though.
Each of Baltimore's last two games have been decided by a single point. Even though this is a TV game, off those hard-fought emotional games and playing on a short week, while also dealing with added emotion surrounding the death of Torrey Smith's brother, I feel it may be hard for the Ravens to fully "get up" for lowly Cleveland.
True, the Browns are off to a disappointing 0-3 start. That should ensure that they're "desperate" here though. Another loss and their season really is a "write-off."
Although the Browns are winless, they have been competitive. All three of their losses came by 10 points or less and two of them came by seven or less.
Speaking of "close games," the Ravens and Browns often seem to play close games against each other. All four meetings since 2010 have been decided by 14 points or less. The two games here at Baltimore were both decided by seven or less.
While the offense has certainly been clicking, the vaunted Ravens defense, still without Suggs, is giving up more than 400 yards per game.
The Ravens are 1-5 ATS the last six times that they were double-digit favorites. During that stretch, the Browns are 4-2 ATS as double-digit underdogs. I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *9 Best Bet
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers -3 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||12-14||Loss||-115||10 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on GREEN BAY. Many of you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for home underdogs. Four of my six plays yesterday were "sides." All four of those were home teams and three of them were underdogs. All four of those teams covered the spread for me and the three underdogs (Tennessee, Minnesota, Oakland) all won outright.
I've already nailed numerous home underdogs in college too, including outright winners on Arizona over Oklahoma State, Utah State over Utah and Utah over BYU, just to name a few. This past Saturday, I covered with home underdogs Colorado State and FIU, the latter for the second straight week. I even had Seattle in last week's victory here over Dallas. The point that I'm trying to make is that I fully understand the importance of playing at home.
Having spent considerable time in Seattle and having attended several games here, I'm also well aware that this is no easy venue. Seattle fans love their Seahawks and take pride in being as loud as they can. They'll surely be fired up here.
While there's no doubt that the Seahawks are a better team here than they are on the road, all that fan support can only take a team so far.
When I can play on a road team which I feel is superior, when the line is smaller than I think it should be and I when I believe that other situational factors are in my favor, I won't hesitate to go against my "home underdog nature" and back the road favorite. (That was the case Saturday night at Hawaii, when I backed road favorite Nevada, which won by 45.)
In this case, I do feel that the Packers are the superior team. The Seahawks (and the NFC West) have come a long way - but the Packers are still an elite team - and I feel they've got a score to settle against this division, after getting upset by the 49'ers in Week 1.
I like Pete Carroll and think he's doing a great job with this team. However, for my money, Mike McCarthy is about as good as it gets. He was one of the big reasons I rode the Packers to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. He and his coaching staff have had plenty of extra time to prepare as the Packers' last played way back on 9/13. I expect them to be extremely well prepared.
Of course, having a QB like Rodgers helps. After back to back sub-bar outings and an "incident" with teammate James Jones, I believe Rodgers and co. are ready to explode. The Monday night stage provides the perfect opportunity.
While the Seahawks defense did admittedly play well against the Cowboys, I expect Rodgers to have considerably more success. He's 2-0 against the Seahawks, both wins were by double-digits.
As for the Packers defense, they were dominant last time out - every bit as good as Seattle's effort vs. Dallas.
The Packers know how to win on the road. They're 13-6 SU and 11-8 ATS away from Lambeau the past couple of seasons. This game kicks-off a stretch where they play four of five on the road. With McCarthy having the extra time to have them ready, I expect the Packers to kick-off that stretch with a win and cover. *10 Main Event
|09-23-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Oakland Raiders +4||Top||31-34||Win||100||7 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Admittedly, the Raiders haven't looked too good so far this season. Admittedly, the Steelers are a tough opponent. That said, I like the Raiders to bounce back with their best game.
Off to an 0-2 start and with back to back difficult road games on deck, the Raiders know they can't afford another loss here - or the season could/will quickly become a write-off.
It wasn't supposed to be this way though. Not this season. Some of you may recall that I backed the Raider in Week 3 of the preseason, the week when the starters see the most time. The Raiders were hosting the Lions. In my analysis on Oakland at the time, I included the following quote from Oakland's Michael Huff:
'We want to show everybody that this is the new Raiders. We're going to put that on film every Sunday
|09-23-12||St Louis Rams v. Chicago Bears -7.5||Top||6-23||Win||100||75 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. I won with the Rams last week and I'll likely back them again in certain spots throughout the season. Last week's game was against Washington though, a team with a rookie QB making his first start on the road and a team which I felt was over-valued off its Week 1 upset of the Saints. Now playing at a difficult road venue, I expect the Rams to find things much more difficult this week.
The Bears come in angry. They weren't happy with their performance at Green Bay and have in a foul mood about it ever since. Cutler has been vocal about his displeasure and I expect him to lead by example with a big effort here.
The fact that the Bears played on a Thursday should serve them well here. Not only have they had more time to build up their anger over last week's win, they've had more time to gameplan for the Rams.
Give the Rams credit for a nice comeback last week and don't expect them to be pushovers. Do keep in mind that they're still 3-14 on the road the past 2+ seasons though. Even with the cover at Detroit in Week 1, they're still 7-10 ATS in those games.
While both teams have possible question marks with their running backs, I've long been of the mind that most backs in this league are pretty good. With a few notable exceptions, one's essentially as good as another. So, that's not a factor in this play.
The Bears have beaten the Rams three straight times. Those wins all came by a minimum of eight points. The scores were 42-27, 27-3 and 17-9. Going back further finds that Chicago is 4-1 ATS this millennium against St. Louis.
More importantly, the Bears are also 4-0 SU the past couple of seasons off a divisional loss, covering in three of those games. The last time that they played a home game, following a divisional loss, they won by a score of 39-10. I expect another double-digit win here. *10 Personal Favorite
|09-23-12||San Francisco 49ers v. Minnesota Vikings +7||Top||13-24||Win||100||4 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. The 49'ers have clearly turned into a pretty good team, perhaps even a very good one. However, I'm not willing to anoint them as the "best in the league" or "conference" yet. That's what many seem to be doing though. In fact, I'm personally not even willing to just hand them the NFC West either. (There's still A LOT of football to be played!) Even if the 49'ers do prove to be as good as they appear to be after (only) two games, I still feel that they're presently over-valued. I also feel that this will be a dangerous spot for them.
Off back to back "high profile" wins, it should be easy for the 49'ers to overlook the "lowly" Vikings, or at least let their guard down - if only slightly. After all, they beat the mighty Packers at Lambeau in Week 1 and then proceeded to win on National TV against Jim Schwartz and the Lions. With all the extra attention placed on the "handshake," that was certainly a big game, too.
The Vikings are no slouches though and should not be overlooked. They won their lone home game and they lost their only road game by three points.
While the 49'ers are a very good a defensive team, they're still not necessarily an offensive juggernaut. Rather, they've got an "efficient" offense. Teams like that can have trouble covering large pointspreads, particularly away from home.
Note that the 49'ers are 8-9 SU and 7-10 ATS their last 17 away from San Francisco and that only one of those victories came by greater than eight points - and that was back in 2010.
Of course, it should also be mentioned that the 49'ers are a West Coast team playing an early game in the East, the first time that they will do so this season.
While both SF's games have been decided by single digits, the Vikings have seen both games decided by a field goal. Even coach Frazier acknowledged: "The way our team is built, we're going to play a lot of close games." I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *10 Best Bet
|09-23-12||Detroit Lions v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||41-44||Win||105||3 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. While I'm off to a strong start to the season, the Titans haven't done me any favors. Getting more than a field goal at home, in what has really become a must win game, I'm ready to give them another shot this afternoon though.
While the Lions are obviously a much better team than they were for most of the last two decades, they've been far from dominant this season. The only won by four against St. Louis and they lost by eight at San Francisco. Off that "emotional" (due to the handshake as it was on primetime) loss and with a divisional game on deck, playing their second straight road game is likely going to be tough.
The Lions, a dome team, are 2-7 ATS the last nine times that the were listed as road favorites in the -3.5 to -7 range.
During that stretch, the Titans were 8-4 ATS as home underdogs in the +3.5 to +7 range.
After back to back losses against two of the AFC's best (Pats and Chargers) the Titans should be happy to host an NFC team. They're 38-17-6 ATS their last 61 against NFC teams, 5-2-1 ATS the last couple of seasons.
With back to back road games on deck, followed by Pittsburgh after that, the Titans can't afford another loss here. I expect their best effort and for that to lead to AT LEAST a cover. *9
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