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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|12-02-12||San Francisco 49ers v. St Louis Rams +9||Top||13-16||Win||100||3 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. I've been very successful in picking my spots to go and against the Rams this season. Getting more than a touchdown, I feel that they're providing us with excellent value here.
The Rams have already played the 49'ers very tough at San Francisco. You may recall that the teams played to a 24-24 ties there a few weeks ago. Now, they get to face them at St. Louis, where they've played well all season. I expect them to again give the division leaders all that they can handle.
Note that the early starting time may favor the Rams, over their West Coast based guests. In addition to playing an early game in the Eastern time zone, the 49'ers are playing their second straight road game, coming off a playoff rematch with the Saints.
Yes, Kaepernick has been impressive. However, he's still only made a couple of starts and at some point he's likely to experience at least some minor growing pains. Given the fact that Jeff Fisher and the Rams have seen him first-hand, unlike San Francisco's previous two opponents, I won't be surprised if Kaepernick comes back to earth a little here. (Kaepernick played in relief in the earlier game against the Rams, at SF.)
I believe that the Rams, who are 7-3 ATS as underdogs, will really want this one. Fisher had this to say: "This game is really going to tell us who we are as a team. They're the team to beat in our division. We got close but didn't get it done the first time ... "
While I respect the 49'ers, I'm grabbing the generous points. *9
|12-01-12||Colorado v. Wyoming -3||Top||69-76||Win||100||11 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on WYOMING. The Buffaloes come in with the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Cowboys are favored for good reason.
The Cowboys, 7-0 on the season, have beaten the Buffaloes five consecutive times. They also own an 18-game "non-conference" home win streak. In fact, the last time that they lost a home game vs. a non-conf. opponent was way back in 2010.
As Colorado coach Tad Boyle acknowledged: Laramie, Wyoming is not an easy place to play. It will be like other teams that come here and play at 7,000 feet. They are going to have the advantage and the altitude, we are going to have to overcome that."
The Buffaloes may be undefeated. However, they needed double-OT to beat Texas Southern last time out, a team which was 1-5 at the time.
The Cowboys are 19-8-2 ATS (24-5 SU) the last 29 times that they were listed as favorites, going 20-9-2 ATS in home lined games the past few seasons. During that stretch, the Buffaloes were only 8-14 ATS (6-16 SU) in road lined games. I expect homecourt to prove the difference. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-01-12||Nebraska -3 v. Wisconsin||Top||31-70||Loss||-130||10 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEBRASKA. I successfully played against the Huskers just eight days ago. However, that was in large part because I felt that they'd be looking ahead to this much bigger game (even though they did need to beat Iowa) and also because they were playing on a short week and in what I felt was going to be a difficult environment. Here's an excerpt from that writeup:
"...Most are probably expecting a blowout here. The Huskers still need a win here to get to its first Big Ten Championship game while Iowa has lost five in a row. That sentiment has led to a very high line with the home underdog Hawkeyes getting more than two touchdowns. I believe that's providing us with excellent value. I still believe this Iowa team, which hasn't lost six in a row for more than a decade, has some pride. This is their final game and I expect them to treat it like their bowl game, rising to the occasion with their best effort. While even their best effort may not be enough for a win, it should allow them to remain competitive. With this being an early Friday game, after Thanksgiving, Bo Pelini knows its potentially going to be a difficult spot. He noted: "The challenge is going to be to come back in a short week and be ready to go on the road ... " Pelini went on to say this of the Hawkeyes: "We have a lot of respect for their program ... they're gonna play hard, there's a tremendous amount of pride and tradition in that program. It's their Senior Day, there's a lot of things that are going into it for them ... " Iowa is still only giving up 23.8 points per game, just 22.5 at home. On the other hand, Nebraska has allowed an average of 37.7 (453 ypg) on the road. The Hawkeyes have only been home underdogs in the +14.5 to +17 range twice in more than a decade. They covered each of those games and I look for them to do it again here ..."
Things are different here though. Instead of playing on a short week, the Huskers are now well-rested. They also should be 100% focused on the task at hand.
Also, while they failed to cover, the Huskers did still win by six at Iowa. That'd be more than enough here. They've won six straight overall, the last five all wins all coming by more than a field goal. Meanwhile, the Badgers have lost two in a row and three of four. Their lone victory during that stretch came vs. lowly Indiana.
Indeed, many are questioning whether the 7-5 Badgers, who are here only thanks to Penn State and Ohio State being ineligible, even belong in this game.
While the Badgers would like to prove they belong, with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, I expect the Huskers to prove otherwise. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-01-12||Florida State v. Georgia Tech +14||Top||21-15||Win||100||82 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGIA TECH. Both teams are off a disappointing effort against an instate rival last game. The Yellow Jackets were blown out at Georgia. The Seminoles were upset at Florida. I feel that those results favor the Yellow Jackets in this game.
Florida State Coach Jumbo Fisher acknowledged that the team that wins this game is likely the one that will be able to better recover/regroup from last week's loss. He was quoted saying: "I don't think there's any doubt. They had a great rivalry game and we did too. You've got to be able to put it behind you quickly and go on. I think that is going to be a big factor, I don't think there's any doubt."
Naturally, the Yellow Jackets wanted to knock off the Bulldogs. However, given that they were double-digit underdogs, the loss wasn't completely unexpected. The Yellow Jackets are being told that they "don't belong" here and I expect them to be highly motivated to prove otherwise.
On the other hand, the Seminoles were favored by a touchdown for their game vs. the Gators. They fell behind early, rallied back and then came up short. As if losing to their instate rivals wasn't bad enough, that loss killed the Seminoles' hopes of playing for the national title. I feel that will be a very tough pill to swallow and that the Noles may be a little flat here.
Making matters worse for the Seminoles, senior defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine went down in the loss against the Gators and will be unavailable.
Off the devastating loss and without one of their top defensive players, preparing for G-Tech's unique offense may prove challenging.
Keep in mind that before last week's loss at Georgia, the Yellow Jackets had scored 33, 68 and 42 points in their previous three games.
The Noles are only 4-8 ATS when laying points this season. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. *10 Best Bet
|12-01-12||Texas +11 v. Kansas State||Top||24-42||Loss||-105||10 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. Some are going to look at this game and think the following: If K-State beat Oklahoma and if Oklahoma pounded Texas, then K-State will also surely blow out Texas. That type of logic rarely works when handicapping football games though. Each matchup is unique and has its own situational factors to consider. Also, each matchup is entirely different and some teams simply match up better against others. There are numerous examples of this in all sports. (While Mike Tyson might have crushed guys that would give Evander Holyfield a tough fight, Holyfield had Tyson's number each time that the two matched up against each other.) In this case, I feel everything sets up nicely for a play on Texas.
Also, if looking at common opponents, one could argue that Texas beat Baylor, a team that just destroyed K-State by a score of 52-24.
Personally, I'm more concerned with the effect the the loss to Baylor will have on the Wildcats here. Keep in mind that this was a team which was really starting to believe that it was destined to play in the National Title game. Each week, that hope grew. Then, suddenly it was snatched away from them. While the Cats have much to play for and surely want to bounce back with a big win, I really feel that it will be a difficult loss to bounce back from. While Snyder has proven to be a master coach of the years, seeing your national title dreams dashed this late in the season is a very tough pill for any team to swallow.
While the Wildcats have had a bye to "recover," that could potentially make it even worse. Note that K-State is just 2-4 ATS its last six after a bye.
The Longhorns lost at a "neutral" site vs. Oklahoma and they've struggled to cover the number at home. However, they've quietly gone 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their four true road games.
While they don't get much respect at the moment, this is still a very talented Longhorns team, one which has only lost by more than a touchdown once all season.
While we have to go back some years, the Longhorns are 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 10.5 to 14 range. I expect them to improve on those stats here and won't be at at all surprised if they "shock" the Wildcats with an outright win. *10
|12-01-12||Brooklyn Nets v. Miami Heat -8||Top||89-102||Win||100||9 h 57 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Lulled to sleep a little by the fact that the Spurs weren't playing their stars, the Heat coasted a bit in Thursday's win. I expect them to be fully focused here though. With the schedule and venue in their favor, I'm also expecting a blowout win.
Brooklyn comes in on a nice roll. However, this is an extremely difficult scheduling spot. Not only did the Nets, who are 10-34 SU the last 44 times they played the second of b2b games, play yesterday (win at Orlando) but they're also playing their eighth game in the past 12 days, the first few of those games occurring on the West Coast. That's quite a draining schedule.
On the other hand, the Heat are well-rested, as they had a long layoff before Thursday's game. While the Heat have eked out a few victories, they're still 7-0 at home. That includes a 30 point victory over the Nets here a few weeks back. I'm expecting another rout. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-01-12||Pittsburgh v. South Florida +7.5||Top||27-3||Loss||-110||9 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on SOUTH FLORIDA. I respect the Panthers. In fact, I successfully played on them just last week. They rewarded me with a convincing 27-6 win over Rutgers. However, that was at home and the pointspread. And, with a line in the pick'em range, the pointspread essentially wasn't a factor. This week, the Panthers are being asked to lay quite a few points, while also playing on the road. I believe that's asking too much.
Lets not forget that the Panthers are still a sub-500 team. Also, note that they're 0-3 ATS the last few seasons, as road favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range. During that stretch, they're just 5-10 SU on the road overall.
Yes, the Panthers are desperate to get to .500 to have a shot at a bowl. However, I expect the Bulls to be every bit as motivated. This is a fairly talented USF team which has underachieved greatly this season. While a win here won't make up for months of frustration, it will greatly help ease the pain. Indeed, the Bulls would surely love to ensure that the Panthers join them watching the bowls on TV. Misery loves company.
Bulls' defensive tackle Cory Grissom had this to say: "That's what we've been talking about. Just make sure if we can't go to a bowl, they can't go. That's out mind-set ... "
Not only would the Bulls like to do some spoiling, they'd love to close the season on a positive note while also showing support for coach Skip Holtz to retain his job.
Additional motivation comes from the fact that the Bulls were blown out at Pittsburgh last season.
USF defensive tackle Luke Sager noted: ''If anything, it gives us more reasons to be up for this game. Last year, they embarrassed us."
Playing without senior QB BJ Daniels is obviously a blow - as he's led this team in recent years. However, Daniels isn't the only senior on the roster, as this will be the final game for 25 USF seniors, all that want to go out as winners. QB Matt Floyd now has a game under his belt, which should help.
Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable said this of Floyd: 'He's a young kid, but he's going to be a good player .. he does a nice job of handling the offense. He has a nice arm and does some good things throwing the football.''
Coach Holtz said this of winning today's game and sending the seniors out on a winning note: "Without a doubt, it's big. We want to send out the seniors on a positive note. With as much adversity as we've been through the past two years, as hard as they've worked, as hard as they've played, to just fall short, just fall short, just fall short. Those frustrations, yes, a win would go a long way toward erasing those frustrations. Give those seniors a chance to walk out with a positive taste in their mouth. One thing this senior group won't do is quit. I know it's been frustrating. It would go a long way to get a win.''
The Bulls have been terrible as favorites but their tendency to play close games has them at 8-4 ATS the last dozen times that they were listed as underdogs or games that were "pick'em." I expect them to go all out the entire way and look for at least another cover, likely an outright wn. *10 Big East GOY
|12-01-12||Boise State v. Nevada +8.5||Top||27-21||Win||100||6 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEVADA. I had a big play on the Wolfpack the last time that these teams met here, just a little over two years ago. Listed as double-digit underdogs, Nevada would shock the Broncos in that 11/26/10 contest, winning 34-31. Boise was ranked #3 at the time and was looking to play in a BCS bowl game. I feel that the Wolfpack have an excellent shot at pulling off another shocker this afternoon.
Always well-coached, as usual, the Broncos are a very good team again this year. However, I don't think that they're quite as strong as some of the Boise teams of the past. Recent blowout wins have them looking pretty good. However, the opposition (Hawaii and Colorado State) was hardly top tier. Prior to facing those two lightweights, the Broncos lost to San Diego State.
A look at the schedule shows that the Broncos have really only faced four "decent" teams - and none of those are exactly "elite." The four teams that I refer to as decent are Michigan State, BYU, Fresno State and San Diego State. (Other games came against Colorado State, Hawaii, Wyoming UNLV, Southern Miss, New Mexico and Miami Ohio.) As noted, the Broncos lost outright vs. SD. State. They also lost a close one vs. Michigan State, getting dominated statistically. They beat Fresno by 10 but only squeaked by BYU by a 7-6 score.
In other words, all four games against quality opposition were decided by 10 or fewer points and three of those were decided by four or less.
With games at California, (31-24 win) vs. South Florida (32-31 loss) and at Air Force (48-31 loss) the Wolfpack have arguably played more quality teams.
Also, note that the one common opponent which defeated both Nevada and Boise is SD State - and the Wolfpack played them arguably tougher than the Broncos did, losing 39-38.
While the Wolfpack have already accepted an invitation to a bowl (New Mex. Bowl) game, I certainly don't expect them to go through the motions at all. They hate the Broncos and would love nothing more than to beat them.
Boise coach Peterson noted: "...I think it will be a hard fought game." He went on to say this of the Wolfpack: "They always have good running backs, and I think that comes with the pistol offense. Jefferson has been in the program for a while now and has a great feel for finding creases, it's a difficult offense to defend, it really is."
Even after the recent big wins, this year's Broncos are still averaging a modest 30.7 points on the season, on the strength of only 386 yards per game. That's be ok for some teams. However, its not up to Boise's usual recent standard. Indeed, last year's team averaged more than 44 points per game.
Its also not up to the level of offense that Nevada has produced this season. The Wolfpack check in averaging 38.5 points per game. They average more than 530 yards of offense per game here. (Admittedly, the Broncos have the edge on the other side of the ball.)
While the Wolfpack haven't been a good bet for most of the season, I've fared well in picking my spots on and against them. In fact, I believe that the only time that I played "on" them all year was at Hawaii, one of only two ATS victories. The Wolfpack were favored by a touchdown and they won by a score of 69-24. I feel this is another excellent spot for them. *10 Main Event
|12-01-12||Oklahoma -5 v. TCU||Top||24-17||Win||100||2 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA. While they haven't been covering the spread recently, the Sooners continue to win. The recent non-covers have been one of the factors which have helped in keeping this line below a touchdown. I believe that's offering us very fair value with what I believe to be a superior team.
In a strange twist of fate, the Sooners are actually cheering for arch-rival Texas today. If the Longhorns can beat K-State, then the Sooners can still win the Big 12 outright. Of course, the Sooners need to take care of TCU here first. That makes this a very big game, one Stoops and co. can't afford to mess around with. That's particularly true, given that they won't know the outcome of the K-State game until later in the day. (As there is no longer a Big 12 Championship game, if both the Sooners and Wildcats win today, or if they both lose, then K-State wins based on holding the tiebreaker, having beaten OU when the teams went head-to-head.)
While the Frogs were better defensively last time out, these teams have similar defensive stats on the season, at least in terms of points allowed. The Sooners are allowing 24.8 points per game and 381.4 yards per game. On the road, they're allowing 23.4 and 394.4. Meanwhile, TCU is allowing 23 and 329.9. At home, the Frogs are allowing 24.6 ppg.
Its on the other side of the ball where the Sooners figure to have the edge. They 41.7 ppg, averaging 512.8 yards. On the road, those numbers actually climb; they average 42.6 and 547.8 away from Norman. Meanwhile, the Frogs average 30.5 and 401.3. Respectable but significantly less than the Sooners.
Given how competitive they've been over the years, one might assume that the Horned Frogs have been a good bet as home underdogs in this range. That hasn't been the case, however, as they're only 3-9 ATS (1-11 SU!) the last dozen times that they were listed as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range.
Including the earlier cover at Texas Tech (41-20 win on 10/6) the Sooners are 2-1 ATS the past couple of seasons as road favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range, 1-0 this season. I expect them to pull away and win by more than a touchdown. *9
|11-30-12||Syracuse v. Arkansas +7||Top||91-82||Loss||-110||10 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARKANSAS. As usual, Syracuse has a talented team. That said, I feel that that Orange, who lost some key faces from last year, are going to have their hands full here.
Note that this is the first "true" road game (They did play on on an aircraft carrier in San Diego) that the Orange will have played and that they're up against an Arkansas team which is already 3-0 at home and which thrives on pressure defense. In its three games here, the Hogs forced an average of 23 turnovers.
Syracuse's Brandon Triche said this of the Razorbacks: "They're very tough playing at home. They're a transition team and they're going to press us the whole game ... "
Note that Syracuse is just 4-9 ATS its last 13 against teams from the SEC.
I believe that this Arkansas team is destined to be pretty solid this season. This is a huge game for them and I expect them to give their hosts all that they can handle, the entire way. *10 Best Bet
|11-30-12||LOUISIANA TECH v. GEORGIA ST -2||Top||86-68||Loss||-110||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGIA STATE. The Panthers have some new faces this year. However, they're also talented, hungry and well-coached. Ron Hunter came in last year and immediately transformed this team, using a suffocating zone defense to finish top five in the country in field goal defense en route to a 22-win season. Hunter lost some players from that team but he's still got plenty to work with. Having failed to cover a few in a row, we're getting a very low number to work with.
The Panthers aren't eligible to play in their league tournament, as there's a rule preventing them from doing so. However, they're still determined to have another strong season.
Hunter said this of not being allowed to play in the tournament: Hunter said this of not being allowed to play in the tournament: "I won
|11-29-12||Denver Nuggets v. Golden State Warriors +1.5||Top||105-106||Win||100||13 h 44 m||Show|
I'm playing on GOLDEN STATE. Having already lost both previous games in the season series, the revenge-minded Warriors should be highly motivated to get some revenge here. I feel that its a good spot for them.
The Nuggets saw their winning streak come to an end on Monday. They blew a 16-point lead en route to a 105-103 defeat. Those type of losses can have a lingering effect and be difficult to immediately bounce back from.
On the other hand, the Warriors are off a momentum-building 96-85 win, their their third victory in four games. Since the Nuggets beat them here on 11/10, in double-OT, the Warriors are now 5-2 their last seven. Both losses came on the road.
While this game means a great deal to the well-rested Warriors, who have tomorrow night off, the Nuggets could potentially get caught looking ahead to tomorrow night's game at LA, vs. the Lakers.
Even with the double-OT loss to the Nuggets, the Warriors are still 4-2 SU/ATS here on the season. Its payback time. *9 best bet
|11-29-12||New Orleans Saints v. Atlanta Falcons -3||Top||13-23||Win||100||24 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. It goes without saying that both teams badly want this one. The Saints are looking to stay alive in the playoff race and continue their dominance over a division rival. The Falcons are looking to clinch the division, while avenging the recent loss at New Orleans, which was their only defeat this season.
I won't go as far as saying that the Falcons will want it more - but I definitely think that they'll be extremely hungry.
While I really respect Brees and the Saints, I don't think we can ignore the venue. The Saints are 2-3 on the road. The Falcons are 5-0 at home.
We may not be able to see it on the scoresheet and its possible that he may never coach here again but I do also think that Sean Payton's absence can be a factor in a big game like this.
While it admittedly didn't help out much last Thursday (Thanksgiving) I do feel that playing at home is generally an even bigger advantage than normal, when playing on a short week.
Speaking of Thursday games, its interesting to note that the Saints are 1-5 ATS their last six Thursday games (1-2 ATS past few seasons) while the Falcons are a lucrative 6-1 ATS (2-0 ATS past few seasons) their last seven Thursday games.
The Saints defense may be improving. However, the numbers are still pretty bad. They're allowing 27.6 ppg and 455.3 ypg. On the road, those numbers climb to 28.4 and 466.2.
On the other hand, the Falcons allow 19.6 ppg and 344.9 ypg.
True, these teams have played some close games in last couple of years and its also true that the Falcons have shown a tendency to play close games this season. Still, the line is low enough that I feel a win will have an excellent shot at a cover. Note that Atlanta is 12-6-1 ATS the last 19 times that it was favored by four or fewer points, 5-1-1 ATS (6-1 SU) its last seven in that role. I expect the Falcons to improve on those stats, making a statement that they're the real deal. *9 Main Event
**BONUS 1ST HALF MONEYLINE PLAY**
I like the Falcons to get off to a quick start here and am playing ATLANTA on the moneyline for the 1st Half. The Falcons found themselves trailing out at halftime (21-17) of the 11/11 meeting and I feel that they'll be on a mission right out of the gate.
The perception is that the Falcons are winning their games late. That's been true to a certain extent. However, a closer look reveals that the game against the Saints was the only time, since their bye Week, that the Falcons have been "trailing" at halftime. They were either tied or winning each other time.
The Saints defense may be improving. However, the numbers are still pretty bad. They're allowing 27.6 ppg and 455.3 ypg. On the road, those numbers climb to 28.4 and 466.2. On the other hand, the Falcons allow 19.6 ppg and 344.9 ypg. *6
|11-29-12||San Antonio Spurs v. Miami Heat -5.5||Top||100-105||Loss||-111||16 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. The Spurs have been on a great run. However, they're stepping up in class to take on the champs tonight and they're in an extremely difficult scheduling spot.
The Spurs check in off a game at Orlando last night. They normally fare pretty well when playing the second of back to back games though and Orlando and Miami aren't too far apart. So, that's not the issue. Its worse than that though. Not only will the Spurs be playing the second of back to back games, they'll also be playing their fourth game in the past five days.
Making matters even worse, the first leg of that "4 games in 5 days" stretch was a double-OT game up in Canada, a game where three starters played well over 40 minutes. Throw in the fact that this is the final game of a 6-game road trip and the Spurs really may finally start to suffer from a bit of fatigue.
On the other hand, the Heat come in very well-rested. They last played back on 11/24. Note that they're 10-6 ATS (12-4 SU) the past 2+ seasons, when playing with three day's rest. They've won four straight overall, three of them by seven or more points.
Laying a touchdown, the Heat hammered the Spurs 120-98 here last season. The 2011 game here was even more lopsided, a 110-80 beatdown in favor of Miami. Playing in front of the national audience (those who aren't watching football) I believe the Heat will be motivated to bring the mighty Spurs back down to earth and that the schedule calls for another blowout. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-29-12||Louisville +3 v. Rutgers||Top||20-17||Win||100||33 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. I backed the Cardinals in their very first game this season, a 32-14 victory over Kentucky. While it wasn't a big secret, at the time, I pointed out that Louisville was poised for a big year while Kentucky was going to struggle. Now, here we are with the Cardinals playing for the Big East Championship and the conference's berth in the Orange Bowl. While the Big East won't get its first championship game until next season, this game will serve as a "de facto title contest."
Both teams lost last week. Rutgers got crushed by Pittsburgh. The Cardinals were narrowly upset by UConn, Louisville QB Bridgewater breaking his left wrist in the process. While Bridgewater left that game, he did come back to rally his team, leading them to OT. The Cards have had a couple of practices to figure out what he can and cannot do and I expect them to be ready.
Even with a banged-up Bridgewater, the Cardinals have the superior offense. They averaged 32 ppg, including 30 ppg on the road. Rutgers, on the other hand, averaged only 22.9 ppg, 23.8 at home. The Knights' offense has really struggled in recent games too, managing only 16 combined points the past two games.
While everyone will talk about Bridgewater's wrist. Rutgers has QB issues of its own. QB Nova was briefy knocked out of the Pittsburgh game. He would finish with only 157 yards, completing 18 of 37 passes, less than 50%, while throwing another interception. Remember, Nova had six interceptions in a loss vs. Kent State last month.
Obviously, both teams really want the win. Motivation levels should be equal. The Knights have homefield advantage. However, I believe that the Cards are a little stronger. They've also shown an ability to win here, dominating Rutgers by a 40-13 score last time here.
Last year's game at Louisville was much closer (16-14) but the Cardinals won that one too. The recent wins in the series should help their confidence, a good thing after back to back losses.
Overall, despite failing to cover a few this year, the Cardinals are still a lucrative 11-4 ATS (10-5 SU) their last 15 road games.
With Rutgers games averaging less than 37 combined points on the season, we've got an O/U line in the low 40s. That's noteworthy, as the Cards are 7-0-1 ATS the last eight times that they played a road game where the O/U line ranged from 42.5 to 45.
Admittedly, playing a road game on a short week, after a triple-OT game is not normally "ideal." However, a berth in a BCS game isn't normally on the line either and that added adrenaline can go a long way in helping a tired team keep going
The Cardinals are 5-2 ATS the last seven times that they were off a conference loss, 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were off back to back losses. With it all on the line, I look for them to find a way. *10
|11-29-12||Manhattan -7 v. Fordham||Top||65-58||Push||0||9 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. I played on the Jaspers in their last win a win and cover vs. Hofstra on 11/21. I expect them to get another big win tonight. I've pasted an excerpt of the analysis of that 11/21 victory below, as I feel it give a good indication of what this team is all about.
The Jaspers had a great season under Steve Masiello, a Rick Pitino prodigy. All Manhattan did in Masiello's first season was improve by 15 games, instantly becoming a championship contender in its conference. The Jaspers did get upset (in OT) by Siena in the MAAC tourney, which wasn't the way they wanted to end their otherwise excellent season. That prompted Masiello to comment: "I'm very happy with the year, but disappointed with the finish. But, we got Manhattan back to again being relevant." The Jaspers return most of the pieces from last year including "floor general" Michael Alvardo, who averaged better than three assists per game last season, while chipping in 8.5 points. They may be without senior Beamon here, which is a blow. However, this is a team loaded with depth, I believe with more than enough to handle in experienced Hofstra, a team they beat by nine (on the road) last season. Hofstra coach Cassara said this entering the season: "We've got nine new guys who have never worn the uniform before. That certainly lends itself to taking some time to mesh, and my hope is that we can continue to get better and by the middle of January, middle of February, beginning of March, those nine new pieces have gelled together. And hopefully you
|11-28-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Chicago Bulls -6||Top||78-101||Win||100||10 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. I lost by going against the Mavericks yesterday, part of an overall lousy Tuesday. That stunk, as I hate losing at least as much as anyone. However, whether or not I win or lose with a team, I don't let it cloud my judgement on how I view that team's next game. In this case, while they beat my yesterday, I'm fully ready to go against the Mavs again.
To their credit, the Mavs fought hard all the way last night. They still lost though, eking out a cover by less than a bucket. That hard-fought loss figures to drain their energy a bit here. (The Mavs are 1-2 SU/ATS this season when playing the second of b2b games, going 2-5 SU/ATS their last seven in that situation, since last season.)
Even if the Mavs are able to immediately shake off last night's loss and be fully ready to go here, I expect them to have their hands more than full with what figures to be a very angry "herd" of Bulls.
In what has been a frustrating start to the season, Chicago hit rock-bottom last time out. Out 27 points with the third quarter winding down, the Bulls managed to get outscored 42-14 over the final 15 minutes, en route to a devastating 93-92 loss.
Unlike the Mavs, the Bulls have had a day off to "recover." Also, while the Mavs can take solace in the fact that they fought hard - nobody's questioning their effort last night - the Bulls are furious about what happened to them. This season's early struggles and Rose's absence notwithstanding, I still view this as a talented and well-coached team. I expect them to come out "on a mission."
Having blown the big lead last time out, I expect the Bulls to be fully focused on keeping the pedal to the metal the entire 48 minutes. Note that Chicago is an outstanding 24-10 ATS (27-7 SU) the last 34 times that it was off an "uspet" (SU loss as a favorite) loss.
The Bulls have beaten the Mavs three straight times, limiting them to 81 points in those games, while out-rebounding them by a commanding 52-39 average per game. The Bulls covered the spread in all three of those games, with both games here at Chicago resulting in double-digit wins. Going back further finds the Bulls at 7-1 ATS the last eight meetings in the series. I expect them to improve on those stats tonight. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-28-12||Michigan State v. Miami (Fla) -1||Top||59-67||Win||100||10 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Many are going to see Miami as a slight favorite against might Michigan State and do a bit of a double-take. I believe the Hurricanes deserve to be favored though and that they'll view this as a "statement game," their opportunity to be recognized as a talented program.
The Hurricanes, who returned four starters from last year, are undefeated at home this season. The Spartans are playing their first "true" road game.
The Canes quietly have high hopes for this season and they come in playing with confidence. Last time out, laying 6.5 points against Detroit, they won by 15, a score of 77-62.
Remember, this team won at both Duke and at Florida State last year. They only lost one starter from last year's team (Malcolm Grant) and he had a bad year last year anyway. While Grant played a role early in the season, he struggled down the stretch and really should not be missed much.
The Canes have a coach who has enjoyed postseason success and a team loaded with seniors. This is a big game for them.
The game against Detroit marked the return of senior guard Durand Scott, who had been serving a 6-game suspension, dating back to last season. Scott would score 15 points, making a successful return. He's an important player for this team. Shane Larkin also scored 15. Scott and Larkin are an excellent combo, both strong defenders.
The Spartans are off to a 5-1 start. However, turnovers have plagued them. In fact, they've turned the ball over 20 times in their last two games alone and they did so 67 times in a 4-game stretch, none of those against top tier competition.
Even coach Izzo noted: "I think our guys are going to be great citizens when they get done with basketball, because the Christmas season is lasting all year. They're giving gifts away."
Two of Michigan State's last three games have seen the Spartans win by four or less, games that they were favored by 22.5 and 15.5 points.
Izzo would go on to say: I don't like the way our team is at all. I'm just trying to figure how much of it is due to our preparation or lack thereof with the guys who are injured. But that doesn't have anything to do with some of my key guys turning it over four or five times.''
Of course, Izzo's teams tend to be great come March. However, they're not necessarily always that strong early on in the season.
The Canes are healthier and I also expect them to be "hungrier." Some will view it as an upset but not me. *9
|11-27-12||North Carolina State +6 v. Michigan||Top||72-79||Loss||-110||10 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on NC STATE. The Wolverines are off to their best start in recent years and are worthy of a high ranking. Tim Hardaway Jr. won the MVP award as Michigan comes in off a win over K-State in the final of the NIT Tip Off. Impressive start and Hardaway, who got kneed in the head in that win over the Wildcats, is certainly a dangerous player. However, I'm not convinced that the Wolverines any better than the opponent which they'll face tonight.
I feel that the Wolverines are a little over-valued based on their early season success and that the opposite is true of the Wolfpack, a very talented team in their own right, one which returned four starters from last year. Having yet to taste the type of success that Michigan has achieved, I also feel that the Wolfpack are going to be a hungry and determined group here.
The Wolfpack lost in the championship game against Oklahoma State of their tournament in Peurto Rico. Off that big game and trip home and with this big game on deck, the Wolfpack were flat in their last game. In fact, they were nearly upset by lowly UNC Asheville. They did enough to win though, eking out an 82-80 victory. I expect that to serve as a "wake up call" and that we'll get their very best effort here.
Coach Gottfried typically had his team ready to play last season, off a poor defensive effort like it displayed last time out. In fact, NC State is 7-3 ATS its last 10 lined, after allowing 80 or more points in its previous game.
Gottfried had this to say: "We've got to be better. We've got to be better defensively. We've got to develop better chemistry amongst our team. We've got to develop a team spirit that is all about winning - period. Nothing else ... "
It should also be noted that the Wolfpack are 9-5 ATS in lined games the past couple of seasons, after scoring 80 or more in their previous game.
These teams have met twice in recent seasons. The Wolfpack won the most recent meeting by seven points, a 74-67 victory on this exact day (11/27) in 2006. The most recent meeting here at Ann Arbor came back in 2003 and was decided by six points. Another close game won't be surprise and I'm grabbing the generous points. *10 Best Bet
|11-27-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Philadelphia 76ers -3.5||Top||98-100||Loss||-102||9 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. This line is quite low. That means that a SU victory has a good chance in also resulting in a cover. I expect the 76ers to get it done.
The Mavericks are a mess. They did rise to the occasion to eke out a win against the Knicks on 11/21. However, they followed it up with a 26-point loss vs. the Lakers three nights later. (They're playing with two day's rest again here.)
The Mavs, who lost by 19 when coming off a game against the Lakers earlier, are now 2-8 ATS their last 10. For the season, they're 2-4 ATS away from Dallas, including 1-4 their last five. On the other hand, the 76ers have won four of five here at Philadelphia.
While they narrowly missed covering, the 76ers got back on track with a win in their last game. Jrue Holiday had a breakout game, serving up 33 points while also dishing out 13 assists. That snapped a 2-game skid and I look for the 76'ers to build some positive momentum from the victory.
Thaddeus Young commented: "We take a lot of pride in how we play and we didn't want to lose three straight. I think Jrue set the tone from the beginning with his aggressive play. He put us on his shoulders."
The entire city of Philadelphia is really down on the Eagles right now, more than ever after another loss last night. I look for the 76ers to step up and "restore some pride" to the city, with a solid win and cover. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-26-12||Oakland v. Tennessee -12||Top||50-77||Win||100||9 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Its payback time. These teams met at Rochester, last November, home of the Golden Grizzlies. Behind 35 points from Reggie Hamilton, the nation's leading scorer, Oakland won 89-81. The previous season, the Golden Grizzlies beat the then-seventh-ranked Volunteers 89-82 in Knoxville. That was Oakland's first ever win over a Top 10 team. With last year's result, Tennessee joined Oregon as the only major-conference programs to lose twice to Oakland since its move to Division I in 1999. Obviously, the Vols don't want to make it three in a row!
The Golden Grizzlies don't have Hamilton this year though and they don't have superstar Keith Benson from the previous season. While the team does still have some returning talent, they don't have that type of "star power" yet. Without a huge effort like we saw from Hamilton last year, I feel they're going to be in trouble.
While they're without Jeronne Maymon at the moment, he's only one of four returning starters from last year's team - one which hasn't forgotten losing to Oakland. This is a talented team, one which should enjoy advantages all over the floor. I feel that they'll be motivated to deliver a blowout and I look for them to get it. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-25-12||Green Bay Packers v. NY Giants -3||Top||10-38||Win||110||11 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NY GIANTS. These teams both command respect. Both have elite quarterbacks and both are led by Super Bowl winning coaches. Either are capable of winning anywhere, any time. That said, I still feel that home field advantage is significant. And that getting the champs, laying a field goal or less, is offering very fair value.
Obviously, both teams really want this one. Its true that the Packers are playing with "revenge" from last year's playoff loss. However, they're also off a divisional game last week and playing their second straight on the road.
I played against the Giants in their last game, a blowout loss at Cincy. The champs have had two weeks to recover from that embarrassing loss though and they figure to be motivated by it.
Note that the Giants are 2-0 the last couple of seasons, after their bye. They won those two games by a combined score of 61-24. In fact, they're 4-0 SU their last four after a bye, every victory coming by a minimum of a field goal.
Manning seems to particularly benefit off a bye. Indeed, Eli has completed better than 68% of his passed for 1,290 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception over that 4-game "post-bye" win streak. I'm going with the champs to bounce back. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-25-12||Baltimore Ravens v. San Diego Chargers +2||Top||16-13||Loss||-105||7 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Ravens opened as slight favorites in this game and that's still the case as I write this. I understand that the books are looking for balanced action. So, perhaps this will prove to be the perfect line for them to achieve that goal. However, my own "personal line" doesn't take balancing action into consideration.
Actually I make two sets of lines prior to ever seeing the actual ones. One is a line which factors in what I expect to happen in the game, my "personal line." The other is my "projected" line. In this case, I projected the game at "pick'em," which was pretty accurate. However, my "personal line" had the Chargers laying a field goal. In fact, I expect them to win by more even than that. Here's why.
The Ravens have been "unbeatable" at Baltimore. However, they're only 3-2 on the road. A closer look reveals that they are actually being outscored in their road games by a 19.6 to 16.6 margin. Perhaps more alarming, they're being outgained by a 369 to 256.2 margin, in terms of total yards, in those games.
In fact, Baltimore is currently on pace to become only the third team in NFL history to average 20 more points at home than it does on the road.
Looking at the three victories shows that their first two road wins came at Kansas City and at Cleveland. (They beat the Browns by 10 but only beat the Chiefs by three.) Let's keep in mind that those two teams have a combined 3-17 record so far this season. Clearly, San Diego represents a far more difficult opponent.
The Ravens' third and most recent win came last week at Pittsburgh, a 13-10 affair. That sounds fairly impressive until remembering that the Steelers played without Big Ben, not to mention Polamalu and others.
Speaking of that Pittsburgh game, the Ravens have a rematch against those same Steelers next week. Those two games against Pittsburgh are arguably the two most important games on their schedule. Having to fly thousands of miles for a game "sandwiched" between those two games is far from ideal. Throw in the fact that they're without a number of players and matters become even more difficult.
Baltimore has now won three straight. That's not necessarily a good thing though. Counting last week's Pittsburgh game as a "push" (it could have been counted as a loss) the Ravens are just 6-12-2 ATS the last 20 times that they were off two or more consecutive victories.
The Chargers' playoff chances certainly aren't looking too good right now. However, there's still a faint glimmer of hope. That'll be gone if they can't win this one though.
QB Rivers had this to say: "We can't worry about that. We just have to go try and win a game. We have to hang our hat on controlling what we can control.''
The Chargers are outscoring teams by a 24 to 21.2 margin here, outgaining them 335.7 to 312.7 margin. While there are no mulligans in the NFL, if one threw out the early "stinker" vs. the Falcons, the Chargers' home numbers are actually very strong.
This Chargers team is still 13-7 its last 20 games here. That includes a 34-14 victory over these same Ravens here last season. I expect them to dig deep and to find a way to come out on top once again. *10 FF GOY
|11-25-12||Denver Broncos v. Kansas City Chiefs +11.5||Top||17-9||Win||100||4 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. A friend asked me what I thought of the Chiefs against the Bengals last week. I'd won with both Cincinnati (vs. NYG) and KC (at Pittsburgh) the previous week but answered him that the game made me nervous and that I wasn't playing it.
I added that I felt the Bengals could easily go on a bit of a run but that I also felt the Chiefs had "at least another cover or two" left in them. I cautioned that I didn't like the fact the Chiefs were playing on a short week. As you probably saw or remember, Cincy won big.
While it (obviously) would have been nice to cash another ticket on the Bengals, last week's result suited me just fine. That's because it has once again made the Chiefs less appealing to the average recreational bettor. Throw in the fact that they're now playing Peyton Manning's Broncos and very few "joe public" types are going to want to back KC. The oddsmakers are well aware of this fact and are forced to put out a very high number. I believe that large number is providing excellent value on what I believe will be a highly motivated home underdog.
The Broncos are having a great season, as Peyton Manning has lived up to, if not exceeded, the high expectations of the Denver fans. That doesn't mean that we can't find value in going against them though. They didn't cover last week against San Diego. The 7-point win marked the fourth time in their last six games that the final margin of victory was 11 or less. Note that the offense could take a bit of a hit with leading rusher McGahee sidelined.
The Chiefs don't have much to play for anymore, in terms of playoffs. That makes games like Pittsburgh (because it was on MNF) and divisional games like this one even more meaningful, as the players have reason to "get up" for the game.
QB Brady Quinn should have plenty of motivation. Not only is he trying to prove that he belongs as a starter, he'd also love to show the Broncos that he can actually play. Some fans may not remember that Quinn was actually a member of the Broncos the past couple of seasons. The reason that would be easy to forget is that Quinn never attempted a single pass while he was there.
He was quoted as saying: "You take the opportunity when it's given to you. I didn't really get that opportunity."
Manning didn't even listen to the Chiefs' offer last year, instead listening to what several other teams had to say.
Romeo Crennel's teams have a way of playing Manning's teams tough. In fact, Crennel is 6-3 against Manning, dating back to his time as defensive coordinator with New England. (Sports Illustrated once calling him "Peyton Manning's Kryptonite.")
Off the hard fought win and playing their third road game in the past four games, I feel the Broncos may be a little spent here. I expect Crennel's Chiefs to rise to the occasion, earning AT LEAST the cover. *10 AFC West GOM
|11-25-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Miami Dolphins +3||Top||21-24||Win||100||4 h 58 m||Show|
cI'm playing on MIAMI. I believe we're getting great value with the Dolphins as a home underdog here. Seattle may have had last week off. However, the Seahawks are still a West Coast based team which is playing an early game thousands of miles away from home. Meanwhile, the Dolphins were embarrassed last time out and should be highly motivated to atone for that performance in front of the home faithful.
As strong as the Seahawks have been in the Pacific Northwest, note that they're only 1-4 on the road. Their lone road win came at Carolina, by four points. (The Panthers are 2-8 entering Sunday's action, 1-5 at home.)
While we can't fault Pete Carroll or these current Seahawks for the problems of the past, its still interesting to note that Seattle is a dismal 5-16-1 ATS (6-16 SU) the last 22 times that it played with two or more weeks worth of rest in between games.
While they seem to stumble against losing teams at times, note that the Dolphins are a lucrative 12-7-1 ATS the last 20 times that they faced a team with a winning record. That goes hand in hand with this season's 4-2-1 ATS record as an underdog.
The Dolphins are still mathematically alive in the Wildcard race - although with games against the Patriots and 49'ers on deck, even diehard Dolphins' fans realize that their chances are obviously extremely slim. Still, having those difficult games on deck makes taking advantage of this "winnable" one even more important. Otherwise, their current skid could go on for awhile. They're 6-4 ATS against NFC teams the past few seasons and I look for them to step up and get it done. *10 Non-Conf. Best Bet
|11-24-12||UNLV v. Hawaii +3.5||Top||10-48||Win||100||13 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. While I haven't been right with them every single time, I've had a pretty good feel for the Warriors this season, correctly picking several spots to play both on and against them. Last week, I played on them when they broke through with a cover at Air Force. This week, I look for them to take it a step further and come away with the outright win.
UNLV may have covered the spread as an underdog a few times this season but that doesn't mean that the Rebels are deserving of laying points on the road. While the Rebels have won a couple at home, they're 0-5 on the road. They've been outscored by a 36.4 to 15 margin in those games, getting outgained by an average margin of 485 to 314. Going back further finds the Rebels at 0-20 SU and 3-16-1 ATS their last 20 away from home. Again, I feel they have no business laying points when they have yet to prove that they can even win away from home.
In fairness, UNLV has played at some fairly tough venues this season. However, a 33-11 loss at Colorado State in their last away game, against a poor Rams team, was revealing. They were outgained by a 340-219 margin there. (Hawaii also lost at Colorado State. However, the Warriors actually outgained the Rams by a 393-291 margin.)
While this is the final game for the Rebels, I'm not sure how motivated they'll be. Last week was their home finale and they fought really hard only to come up a little short. Now in Hawaii and knowing that even a win here will do little to salvage their season, it may be easy to get distracted.
On the other hand, I believe that the Warriors will really want this one. Norm Chow is in his first year here and badly wants to close their Mountain West season on a good note, by winning their final conference game, which would be their first MWC win of the season.
Note that Hawaii has had an extra day off than UNLV. The Warriors last game was Friday while the Rebels played Saturday.
Opportunities for victories have been few and far between for the Warriors. As seen by the above stats, they squandered a chance to win at Colorado State. They also came up short vs. New Mexico, which was disappointing for them. However, outside of those games, their last five opponents have been vs. Boise State, at Fresno State, at San Diego State, at BYU and vs. Nevada.
None of those were really winnable games and neither was their opener at USC. (They did win 54-2 when stepping down in class to host Lamar.) The Rebels offer a much better matchup for them though.
Wearing special red, white, and blue uniforms and helmets by Under Armour, I look for the Warriors to step up and score the upset. *10 Best Bet
|11-24-12||Oklahoma State v. Oklahoma -6.5||Top||48-51||Loss||-105||6 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on OKLAHOMA. The Sooners haven't been covering lately but they have been winning. That has helped keep this line very reasonable. With an outright Big 12 title back in play, I expect the Sooners to keep on rolling, this time covering the small number along the way.
This game has plenty of meaning for both teams. I believe it means a little more to Oklahoma, however. QB Landry Jones, who threw for 554 yards and six TDs last game, had this to say: "Big Game. Final home game for the seniors. Final home game for myself, so obviously I'd love to go out there and I'd love to play to the best of my capabilities.''
The Sooners also have payback on their minds, after the Cowboys embarrassed them (44-10) at Stillwater last season. Keep in mind that the Sooners had won the previous eight in the series though and also that they've won every game here against the Cowboys since 2001.
Since the loss to OSU here in 2001, the Sooners are 4-0 SU/ATS as a host of their instate rivals, including a 27-0 shutout the last meeting here. The previous games here had scores of 52-9, 42-14 and 29-17.
Th3 Sooners are outscoring teams by a 39 to 21.6 margin at home, 40.8 to 22.5 overall. On the other hand, the Cowboys are being outscored by a 39 to 29.3 mark on the road.
A good team these past few years, one might assume that the Cowboys are a strong underdog. However, that's not the case. In fact, they're only 2-9 AT the last 11 times that they were getting points 0-2 ATS this season.
The Sooners are 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they were listed as favorites of eight or fewer points, 3-0 ATS their last three. I expect another win and cover here. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-24-12||Vanderbilt v. Wake Forest +11.5||Top||55-21||Loss||-110||6 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on WAKE FOREST. These teams met here one year ago and the Demon Deacons were a very slight favorite. Now, they're getting double-digits. I feel that's providing us with a very generous line on what should be a desperate home underdog.
The Deacons still need a win to become bowl eligible. Coach Jim Grobe summed it up by saying:
|11-24-12||Rutgers v. Pittsburgh -1||Top||6-27||Win||100||3 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. Rutgers comes in with the higher ranking and the better record. However, I expect Pittsburgh to be the team which emerges victorious.
While the Knights are trying to lock up (at least a share of) the Big East title, this figures to be a difficult spot. Not only is Pittsburgh a tough opponent, but its entirely possible that the Knights may be a little distracted by Tuesday's announcement that Rutgers will be leaving the Big East.
Distracted or not, I expect the Knights to find a desperate Pittsburgh squad waiting for them.
Keep in mind that the Panthers, who are leaving for the ACC next season, need wins in each of their final two games to become bowl eligible.
Pittsburgh receiver Devin Street noted: "We're definitely in touch with reality and what we have to do."
I actually played against the Panthers in their last game. (They were favored and lost outright at UConn.) However, that was on the road and a big part of the reason that I was playing against them was because they were off an absolutely heart-breaking(3-OT) loss vs. Notre Dame the previous week. Off that devastating loss and playing on a short week, I felt that the Panthers would have a difficult time bouncing back. (As expected they were flat out of the gate, falling behind 24-0 by halftime. I liked the fight they showed in battling back for a 24-17 final though.)
They've had plenty of time to recover now though, having last played on 11/9. On the other hand, the Knights last played on 11/17.
Note that Pittsburgh's senior QB Tino Sunseri threw for 302 yards and two TDs against UConn. He has completed an impressive 67.3 percent of his passes this season and has thrown only two interceptions. Over his last seven games he hasn't thrown an interception, a span of more than 200 attempts.
On the other hand, Rutgers' sophomore QB Gary Nova has thrown nine interceptions in his last three games.
Including the 20-6 win (as a 9.5 point favorite) at Buffalo on 10/20, the Panthers are 4-0 SU/ATS the last four times that they were off b2b SU losses. I expect them to be ready to go right from the opening kick, earning the win and keeping their bowl hopes alive, for at least another week. *10
|11-23-12||Creighton v. Wisconsin||Top||84-74||Loss||-110||12 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN. Creighton comes in as the higher seed but I look for Wisconsin to come away with the win.
The Bluejays are a perfect 4-0. Every one of their victories has been easy. There's no question that they are a very solid team.
While their victories have impressive, I will point out that those blowout wins don't always have a team ready for a big step up in class. Note that two of their games didn't have pointspreads and they were favored by double-digits in each of the other two. So, the lopsided wins were expected. Even though this is an experienced team, its still been a long time since it faced the likes of the opponent it will see here.
Lets not forget that the well-coached Badgers led the nation in scoring defense last season, permitting only 53.2 ppg. It was the second time in five years they won that title, as this team is "stingy" on an annual basis. Indeed, the Badgers are masters of controlling a game's tempo.
The Badgers have played some fairly weak competition too. However, they've also had to play at Florida, against a tough Gator team. While they lost that one, the experience of having played against top tier competition should serve them well here. Note that they too were ranked, prior to the loss at Florida.
Since the loss to the Gators, the Badgers have responded by outscoring Cornell and Presbyterian by a whopping 161-83 margin. They may not have a true star but this team is loaded with veterans.
The "blue-collar" Badgers are 35-12 SU (29-12 ATS in lined games!) after allowing 60 or less in their previous game. Even with the loss to the Gators, they're also a lucrative 19-7 ATS their last 26 non-conf. lined games. It likely won't be easy but I look for them to get it done again tonight. *10 Main Event
|11-23-12||San Antonio Spurs v. Indiana Pacers +4.5||Top||104-97||Loss||-110||10 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. These teams met at San Antonio a few weeks ago. The Spurs were undefeated at the time while Indiana would end up going just 3-6 its first nine. Back on their home floor, I expect a much better effort from the Pacers in tonight's rematch.
The Spurs continue to play well. However, they're at least no longer undefeated, so other teams have at least proven that they can be beaten. They're off a solid win at Boston but are still just 2-2 SU/ATS their last four.
The Pacers have finally adjusted to life without Danny Granger. They're 2-0 SU/ATS their last two games (3-1 SU/ATS L4) and got a breakout performance from Paul George last time out, a player who's been asked to score in Granger's absence. George would finish with 37 points, including 33 in the second half. I expect the Pacers to carry the momentum from his hot shooting into this evening's game.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel noted: "We were waiting on a breakout game from him. With a player you're trying to develop, the biggest battle is confidence, and when you have a game like this, it shows what you can do.''
Meanwhile, Roy Hibbert is coming off his first career triple-double. The 7-foot-2 center will be hungry for a big game, after Duncan got the better of him at San Antonio.
The Pacers have won four of five games here this season and are 55-32 SU here the past 2+ seasons, slightly better than San Antonio's (56-34) road record, during the same period.
While the Spurs are a surprisingly poor 3-10-2 ATS (5-10 SU!) the last 15 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 185 to 189.5 range, the Pacers are 7-5 ATS the last couple of seasons as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range. I expect a highly motivated effort and at least another cover. *10 Best Bet
|11-23-12||Washington v. Washington State +14||Top||28-31||Win||100||6 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON STATE. The Huskies have enjoyed a much better season and enter with the superior record . However, to a certain extent, records can be thrown out the window in these rivalry games.
The Cougars desperately want to salvage their season and I expect them to be extremely hungry. Things didn't go quite the way fans were hoping in Leach's first year - but a win over the rival Huskies would go a long way in making that right.
Leach had this to say of Friday's Apple Cup: "I'm kind of looking forward to it ... I think they're already motivated. I think the biggest thing need to focus on is our effort, our work, our development."
While they've won four straight, the Huskies are laying a lot of points here. Two of the wins on their current streak came by 8 or less. Even with last week's win at Colorado, they're still 2-3 on the road this season, getting outscored by an average of 32.2 to 20.
While the Washington defense is currently receiving a lot of props, note that the Huskies have struggled against offenses that are a little "different" and that Mike Leach's system has its own "uniqueness."
The Cougars have played three of their last four on the road, starting with a cover at Stanford, a game they lost by only seven. Their last home, they covered against UCLA, losing by eight. For the season, they're averaging 27.7 points and 435.5 yards per game at home.
The Cougars have quietly gone 4-0 ATS against teams with a winning record, moving to 10-3 ATS the past few seasons. They're 2-0 ATS the last two times that they were home underdogs in the 10.5 to 14 range, 6-2 ATS their last eight in that role.
A look at the recent Apple Cup games here show that ALL five meetings since 2002, when the Cougars were the host, have been decided by a touchdown or less. In fact, four of those were decided by only a field goal. Don't be surprised when this one also proves much closer than anticipated. *10 Best Bet
|11-23-12||Ohio +9.5 v. Kent State||Top||6-28||Loss||-100||1 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on OHIO. Kent State has enjoyed an excellent season. However, I feel that this will be a tough spot. The Golden Flashes, who find themselves ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1973, are trying to bolster their bowl resume while also finishing off the best season in school history. However, they already clinched the MAC East title and they've already got a date with NIU lined up for the MAC conference championship. Therefore, I feel it will be easy for them to look past Ohio.
That'll prove costly though. While the Bobcats have fallen on hard times of late, they've still had a very good season. Remember, they were 7-0 at one point. They don't have the MAC title game to look forward to and I feel that they'll be fully focused on the task at hand.
Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton, son of baseball player Mickey Tettleton, has completed 63 percent of his passes with 16 TDs against just two interceptions. He leads an Ohio attack with averages 444.3 yards and 32.8 points per game.
The Bobcats are 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were off back to back losses. I expect them to step up and earn at least another cover here. *9
|11-22-12||Clemson +12.5 v. Gonzaga||Top||49-57||Win||100||11 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEMSON. Gonzaga is one of the best-coached teams and most well run programs in basketball. The Bulldogs keep pumping out good teams, year after year. Not surprisingly, they're good again this year, too. Good teams can still be over-valued though and one can't be gun-shy to go against them. Just as I felt Indiana was laying too big a number vs. Georgia, given the situation, I feel Gonzaga, which lost its big center from last center from last year, is laying a few too many here. I look for the Bulldogs to receive a tougher test than most will be expecting.
True, the Tigers are a bit inexperienced and they're not likely to challenge the Duke, UNC's or NC States of their conference. However, they've got some talent and they're still an ACC team, one which enters tonight's game playing with confidence.
Off back to back double-digit wins, the Tigers are looking forward to the challenge here. They're a solid 9-6-2 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons, 2-0 ATS when playing a neutral court game with an O/U line in the low-mid 130s, as this one is.
The Tigers may not have any guys that are going to get them huge numbers on any given night. However, senior big man Devin Booker is good for double-digits and they've got a lot of players that can step up. While the competition level obviously wasn't what the Tigers will see here, eight Clemson players are averaging better than five points a game and the team is playing excellent defense.
The Bulldogs are just 2-4-1 ATS the last seven times that they were listed as neutral court favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range. While they'd never admit it, playing a "close" game would probably be good for them. They're listed as the home team here and they have won this tournament - but lets still remember that they're a long way from home. Don't be surprised if Gonzaga gets a scare. *9 Feast
|11-22-12||New England Patriots v. NY Jets +7.5||Top||49-19||Loss||-105||24 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. I quite liked the Patriots in last week's situation. Playing at home, I really felt that they'd have an advantage over the Colts and that they'd be out to show Indy's rookie QB that life in the NFL wasn't as easy as it was starting to seem. That proved to be the case, as the Pats pounded the Colts by 35 points. With everyone having watched that game, that lopsided blowout had worked in our favor here, in terms of line value. In fact, we're getting nearly as many points with the Jets as we were with the Colts last week. This, despite the fact that the Pats are now on the road instead of at home and facing a better team than they faced last week.
Some may disagree with the fact the Jets are a better team than the Colts. While everyone's entitled to their opinion, I backed the Jets when they crushed the Colts 35-9. So, I'll stand by mine.
At the very least, I feel that the Jets present a far more difficult matchup than the Colts. This is a divisional opponent that knows and hates the Pats. We already saw them give New England all they could handle in the first matchup, a 29-26 affair at Foxboro last month.
In addition to backing the Pats vs. the Jets last week, I also backed the Jets against the Rams. Winning at St. Louis isn't easy this year but the Jets went in there and took it to the Rams, winning 27-13. That loss has the Jets again thinking playoffs - but they know that they need a win here, in order to keep those faint hopes alive. The Pats have reason to win too and always like to beat the rival Jets. However, they're not dealing with the type of urgency that the Jets are facing.
The Pats obviously know how to put the ball in the end zone and its true that Brady seems to be able to work with just about anybody. The loss of Rob Gronkowski may turn a TD into a field goal though, while potentially stalling other drives altogether. It should also be noted that the Pats are giving up more than 440 yards per game in their division games and 390 per game overall on the season.
The Pats are on a real high right now. As noted, that's led to a big line. If you recall, the Jets were small favorites against the Pats here in 2011 and +3 against them in 2010.
The Jets are 6-2-1 ATS (6-3 SU) the past nine times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. This team has never lost its confidence and believes it can win this game. I won't be surprised when they do. *10 Roast
|11-22-12||TCU v. Texas -7||Top||20-13||Loss||-113||10 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. I respect TCU but I feel this line could easily be higher. Not only are the Longhorns in better current form, I believe that they're the more talented team.
The Longhorns have turned things around in a big way. They've won four straight, covering each of the last two. Their most recent performance was a dominant 33-7 victory over Iowa State.
That same Iowa State team beat the Horned Frogs (at TCU) by 14 points back in October. Including that setback, the Frogs are 2-4 their last six. They lost by double-digits to K-State last time out, falling to 1-3 SU/ATS their last four.
Both teams have had some extra time off. While the Frogs are 3-2 ATS their last five after a bye, the Longhorns are a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS their last five, 28-19-1 ATS (38-10 SU) their last 48.
The rivalry with Texas [email protected] will be missed. The Longhorns closed out that chapter with a big win last year though. Now they renew an old rivalry with another instate foe, one they used to dominate many years ago. (Texas is 61-20-1 vs. TCU, most recently winning 34-13 in 2007.)) The Longhorns and their fans are excited and I feel that they're catching the Frogs are the right time. I expect a double-digit win. *10 NCAA Main Event
|11-22-12||Washington Redskins v. Dallas Cowboys -3||Top||38-31||Loss||-105||30 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. Last week's results have set this play up very nicely. Washington won big, easily covering. Meanwhile, Dallas had to eke out a win vs. Cleveland, failing to cover. Those results have kept this line very low, much lower than it easily could have been. Keep in mind that Dallas was favored by six points, when lines for this game were released before the season began.
Lets also remember that Dallas did still come back to win and that those type of "comeback" victories are often good, in terms of building momentum. That victory, combined with the Giants' recent swoon, has Dallas thinking division title again. Of course, the Redskins are thinking the same thing. However, I don't think they're quite there yet.
Sure, the Redskins looked good against the Eagles. Let's not get too carried away about that though. What team hasn't looked good against Philadelphia recently though? The Eagles have now lost six straight for the first time under Andy Reid, going 0-5 ATS their last five. Each of the Eagles' last four losses has come by at least 13 points, including a 15-point defeat vs. Dallas two weeks ago. Note that the Cowboys beat the Eagles at Philadelphia and with Vick still the starter, (He was knocked out in the 2nd quarter) while the Skins beat them at Washington, with Foles the starter. So, the Cowboys' 15 point road win vs. the Eagles was "arguably" as impressive as Washington's 25 point win last Sunday.
Prior to the victory vs. the Eagles, the Skins had lost three straight. All three losses came by greater than a field goal. In fact, all six of this season's losses have come by at least a field goal, five of those by more than three points.
Does Robert Griffin have some impressive skills? Absolutely. He's still a rookie though. There's much to like about Andrew Luck too and we saw what happened when he stepped up in class on the road last week.
Safety Brandon Meriweather returned for the Redskins only to suffer a season-ending torn right ACL last weekend. That's a blow to a defense already without starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker and with a banged-up London Fletcher at linebacker.
For the season, the Skins are allowing 383.8 yards per game, 26th in the league. That number climbs slightly to 386.2 at home. By comparison, the Cowboys are allowing 318 yards and just 282.5.
While the Cowboys have the superior defense, I don't feel they're giving up anything on offense. While there are some issues on the line, Romo continues to get it done, throwing for more than 300 yards in the victory over Cleveland. With last week's win, Romo is now 8-1 his last nine November games, throwing 17 TDs vs. just three interceptions.
The Cowboys are 6-0 against the Skins on Thanksgiving, 28-15-1 all-time on Thanksgiving, including 5-1 the last six. With the low line, a SU win has an excellent shot in also resulting in a cover. I look for exactly that to happen Thursday afternoon. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-22-12||Houston Texans v. Detroit Lions +4||Top||34-31||Win||100||16 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Lions have established an annual tradition of losing on Thanksgiving. While they're up against a tough opponent again this season, I feel that they've got a great shot at snapping their holiday slide and that getting three or more points is offering excellent value.
While its been a disappointing season, unlike many of those past teams which lost on Thanksgiving, this year's Lions are still a very talented group. They're only 4-6 but five of their six losses have come by eight or fewer points. So, things could easily be better .
The Texans were less than impressive last week, as they barely beat a bad Jacksonville team. They are undefeated on the road. However, each of the last three road wins came by a TD or less and any of those could have gone either way.
Note that the Texans are 1-16 SU and 4-13 ATS their last 17 in a dome, including 0-3 SU/ATS the last three. They're also 0-3 SU/ATS the last three times that they played a road game where the O/U line was greater than 49, going 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS their last nine in that situation.
The Lions are 6-3-1 ATS their last 10 against teams from the AFC and 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they were off a divisional loss. This is their opportunity to show the world that they're no longer a joke - while also keeping their very faint playoff hopes alive. I expect them to step up and earn at least the cover. *9
|11-21-12||Brooklyn Nets v. Golden State Warriors -2||Top||93-102||Win||100||12 h 37 m||Show|
I'm playing on GOLDEN STATE. Situation favors the home team here. The Nets are off a hard-fought loss at LA last night. While they did cover, that loss snapped a 5-game winning streak.
While most teams have already been involved in at least one back-to-back spot, the Nets are in that situation for the first time this season. Thousands of miles away from home, off a battle against the "big name Lakers," a letdown wouldn't be surprising here. Note that the Nets are 6-14 SU and 7-12-1 ATS the last 20 times that they played the second of back to back games last season.
It should also be noted that the Nets were 1-4 SU/ATS as road underdogs of three or fewer points, the past couple of seasons, going just 20-57 on the road overall. The Warriors were above .500 at home during that stretch.
The Warriors won outright at Dallas last time out and they beat Atlanta in their last game on this floor. Including the win over the Hawks, they're 2-0 SU/ATS against teams from the East so far this season. With the schedule n their favor, I look for them to improve on those stats tonight. *9
|11-21-12||Philadelphia 76ers v. Cleveland Cavaliers +4||Top||83-92||Win||100||10 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. The Cavaliers have been struggling of late but I feel that this will be a good spot for them to break out with a win.
These teams just faced each other a few nights ago, at Philadelphia. The 76'ers took that 11/18 meeting by a score of 86-79, eking out the cover by a single point.
We're getting practically as many points with the Cavs tonight as we were for the game at Philly, due in part to the absence of Cleveland's Kyrie Irving. While Irving is certainly an important part of this Cleveland team, keep in mind that he only scored nine points, in shooting 4 of 14, in the 11/18 meeting. The Cavs still almost pulled it off. Teams often rally the first game that their star goes down and I won't be surprised to see that happen here.
Note that Cleveland did win four games without Irving last season. Coach Scott had this to say: "It's always one of those things where one of your best players goes down, it's an opportunity for other guys. The biggest thing is, we still know we can win. We've just got to play a little bit of a different style on the offensive end, but we still feel we've got enough guys in this room capable of winning.''
While the Cavs haven't played since, the 76'ers were involved in a hard-fought game vs. the Raptors last night. Philadelphia won and covered but Toronto gave the 76'ers all they could handle. Fatigue, mental and/or physical, could well be a factor here.
Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "That was a win to remember. It could've easily been an L. We finished the third quarter very poorly. We had a lot of fight in the fourth quarter. I was proud of them.''
While they're 1-1 ATS in that situation so far this season, the 76'ers are an ugly 3-10 ATS the last 13 times that they played the second of back to back games, dating back to last February. With the schedule in their favor, I'm grabbing the points with the revenge-minded home dog. *10 Best Bet
|11-21-12||Hofstra v. Manhattan -7||Top||56-67||Win||100||9 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. The Jaspers had a great season under Steve Masiello, a Rick Pitino prodigy. All Manhattan did in Masiello's first season was improve by 15 games, instantly becoming a championship contender in its conference.
The Jaspers did get upset (in OT) by Siena in the MAAC tourney, which wasn't the way they wanted to end their otherwise excellent season.
That prompted Masiello to comment: "I'm very happy with the year, but disappointed with the finish. But, we got Manhattan back to again being relevant."
The Jaspers return most of the pieces from last year including "floor general" Michael Alvardo, who averaged better than three assists per game last season, while chipping in 8.5 points. They may be without senior Beamon here, which is a blow. However, this is a team loaded with depth, I believe with more than enough to handle in experienced Hofstra, a team they beat by nine (on the road) last season.
Hofstra coach Cassara said this entering the season: "We've got nine new guys who have never worn the uniform before. That certainly lends itself to taking some time to mesh, and my hope is that we can continue to get better and by the middle of January, middle of February, beginning of March, those nine new pieces have gelled together. And hopefully you
|11-20-12||Wisc-Green Bay v. Idaho -2.5||Top||62-72||Win||100||12 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on IDAHO. The Vandals are off to an 0-2 SU/ATS start while their guests come in with a 2-1 ATS (2-2 SU) mark. Those results have helped in keeping this line very low, to the point where a SU victory will likely also result in a cover. I believe that's providing us with excellent value on what I expect to be a highly motivated Idaho squad.
The Vandals were 19-14 last season, their best season since 1999. Six of their 14 losses came by six or fewer points, too. This year, despite the 0-2 start, Don Verlin's team is thinking NCAA Tournament. The Idaho coach had this to say: "I feel good about it to be honest with you." Center Kyle Barone (12 ppg and 8 rbg) returns as does forward Stephen Madison (12.1 ppg and 5.5 rbg). A senior, Barone was a second-team All-WAC choice in 2011.
The Phoenix aren't slouches. They won 15 games last year and return the starters they had at the end of last year. They do still only have one senior though and they lost their only true road game, a 2-point loss at Nevada. Keep in mind that they're only 7-26 on the road the past few seasons, including a 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS mark as road underdogs of three or fewer points.
These teams played a very close game against each other at Green Bay last season. The Vandals covered the spread but lost 63-61. Now playing at home, I expect the Vandals to return the favor. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-20-12||New York Knicks v. New Orleans Hornets +7||Top||102-80||Loss||-110||10 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ORLEANS. The Knicks are clearly off to a great start. However, I believe that this will prove to be a tough spot for them and they're laying too many points.
Yes, NY had yesterday off. However, the Knicks are still right in the middle of a difficult stretch. Sunday's game vs. Indiana was their third game in four days. All were against "quality" teams. They also have a rematch vs. Dallas on deck tomorrow, a team they recently faced at MSG. I feel a letdown could easily be in order.
While the Knicks have been poor road favorites in this range, the Hornets have fared well as home underdogs in this range. They're getting roughly as many points here as they were when the hosted OKC a few days ago. Yet, I don't think a banged-up Knicks team is as good as the Thunder.
Last time out, the Hornets lost but covered vs. Milwaukee, a 117-113 effort. They've had two days off since, coming in well rested. Note that New Orleans is 11-4 ATS the past few seasons when playing with two day's rest in between games and 11-5-1 ATS after scoring 105 or more in its previous game.
The Hornets upset the Knicks in last year's lone meeting, an 89-85 victory at MSG in 2/17/2012. Playing at home, I expect the Hornets to again give the Knicks all they can handle, with another outright win a real possibility. *9 Best Bet
|11-20-12||Akron +19.5 v. Toledo||Top||23-35||Win||100||9 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on AKRON. I'll concede that Toledo has a stronger team. That's pretty obvious by the large pointspread and by the respective records of the two teams. That doesn't mean that the Rockets are a good bet here though.
I won with Toledo in its last game. The Rockets were large underdogs at Northern Illinois. I felt the line was too high and that Toledo would play the Huskies tough. They did just that, losing by seven as 10 point underdogs.
I may have been a little fortunate to cash with the Rockets in that one, as the stats show that they were outgained by a whopping 596-396 margin. Either way, the Rockets' tendency to play "close" games continued.
Many will likely expect the Rockets to be highly motivated to bounce back with a blowout win in their home finale. It would certainly help in proving that they were deserving of a bowl game. I'm sure they'd like an easy win, too. What team wouldn't?
However, off that big game vs. the Huskies and knowing that they're already "bowl eligible," I believe that its going to be hard for them to "get up" for this one.
The fact is that a bowl game isn't a guarantee for Toledo yet. The players and coaches probably believe that it is though and, given their OT loss at Arizona and overall record, as long as they win this game, I'd say they were deserving too. Looking ahead and/or thinking back to what could have been, could be a very real possibility.
On the other hand, Akron should truly want this game. This is all they've got left. Its been a miserable season and a win here would really go a long way in salvaging it. They've got a 1st year coach (Terry Bowden) who'd really like to show that progress has been made and to finish the season on a good note.
Note that the Zips have the schedule in their favor. While Toledo last played on 11/14, Akron last played on 11/10.
I successfully played against the Zips when they were blown out at Central Michigan. CMU was a single digit favorite and won by 21 points. I guess I picked my spot pretty well as that was actually the only time all season that Akron failed to cover on the road. The Zips enter this evening's game with a 4-1 ATS record away from Akron this season.
While the defense admittedly has some issues, this Akron team can score points and move the ball, regardless of venue. The Zips average 26.4 ppg and 435.8 ypg. Those numbers don't really take a dip on the road either as they're averaging 26 and 429 on the road. The Zips should be able to score against a suspect Toledo defense which allows 27.7 ppg and a very high 475.2 ypg. (That's more ypg than Akron allows.)
Prior to playing on the Rockets at NIU, I'd successfully played against them in each of their two previous games. In each case, they were favored and in each case, I cited their tendency to play close games. They would go on to lose outright at Ball State while winning by only five at Buffalo.
That makes it five straight Toledo games which were decided by seven points or less. In fact, ALL 11 Rockets games have been decided by 20 points or less this season. Ten of those were decided by 15 or less and eight were decided by 10 or less. I'm grabbing all the points I can get. *9
|11-19-12||Milwaukee Bucks v. Charlotte Bobcats +5||Top||98-102||Win||100||9 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. Off three straight victories, the Bucks find themselves laying points on the road. While the Bucks are off to a good start, keep in mind that they're only 2-3 ATS as favorites. It should also be noted that Milwaukee is an awful 45-72-7 the last 100+ times that it was off three or more consecutive SU wins.
Looking at the Bucks' last win and we find that they were laying 8.5 points as a host of New Orleans. They won (117-113) but failed to cover. Even when hitting a season high 13 3-pointers and playing at home, they only won by four. (New Orleans would finish at better than 53% from the floor.)
I don't expect the Bucks to have nearly the success from beyond the arc here. Charlotte has held its last four opponents to 36.7 percent shooting and 25.3 percent from 3-point range.
Note that the Bucks have a game against the defending world champion Bucks on deck, followed by a home and home series vs. division rival Chicago. Off the three straight wins and with those "big games" on deck, it would be easy to look past lowly Charlotte.
The Bobcats lost last time out but the fact that they battled back in the fourth quarter was encouraging.
Kemba Walker, averaging 18.8 ppg thus far, had this to say of the new Bobcat attitude. "That's who we are and that's how we are going to be all season hopefully. When we are down, we are not going to put our heads down. We are going to try our best to close the game out and try to keep pushing. We don't want to give up."
While they came up a little short last time out, the Bobcats are also off to a solid start. They're 3-2 SU/ATS here at home, including 1-0 ATS as home underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range. I expect them to give the Bucks all they can handle with an excellent shot at the outright victory. *9 Best Bet
|11-19-12||Georgia +20.5 v. Indiana||Top||53-66||Win||100||8 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGIA. With the #1 Hoosiers off to a perfect start at the betting window, their lines are becoming inflated. Throw in the fact that the Bulldogs are winless against the spread and we're getting a very high number to work with this afternoon. I believes its providing us with excellent line value.
We know the Hoosiers are really good. With a #1 ranking, that goes without saying. They're not going to beat every team by more than three touchdowns though and I feel the Bulldogs will provide by far their toughest test yet. Note that Indiana is 3-6 ATS (4-5 SU) its last nine neutral court games, 8-15 ATS (7-16 SU) its last 23 against SEC teams.
The Hoosiers are playing their first game against a team from a major conference and they know that they've got a bigger game against UCLA (or Georgetown) on deck tomorrow, assuming they win this one. While they'd never "intentionally" let a team hang around, a closer game would probably be good for Crean's team.
This Georgia team beat Florida and Mississippi State down the stretch last season. This year's team won't win the SEC or anything but does figure to be improved.
Coach Mark Fox said this of his team before the season began: "I probably feel better about Georgia basketball today than I ever have."
I like that the Bulldogs have seen all three of their games decided by 12 or fewer points, two by six or less, and feel that the "close game experience" will serve them well here.
This will be an opportunity to prove how far Fox's Bulldogs have come, a chance to compete against the #1 team. I look for them to embrace the challenge, stepping up and covering the big number. *10 Best Bet
|11-18-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5||Top||13-10||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. I played against the Steelers last week. They were laying double-digits in that one. Now, thanks to the Rothlisberger injury, they're getting more than a field goal, at home. While I respect the Ravens, I believe that's providing us excellent value with the home underdog.
The Steelers are 18-4 their last 22 games here, including an 8-1 mark with the O/U line ranged from 38.5 to 42. During that stretch, the Ravens were only 12-11 on the road. Keep in mind that they only won one of this season's four road games by more than a field goal and that was at Cleveland.
Also, note that the Ravens are an ugly 6-12-1 ATS the last 19 times that they were off b2b SU victories, going 0-3 ATS their last three in that situation.
While losing Big Ben is obviously a blow, the Steelers are a team that finds a way. True, Leftwich isn't Ben Rothlisberger. But he has plenty of starting experience and he's got a lot to work with. Last week's relief effort should have helped get some of the rust off. Leftwich noted: "I try to prepare as if I am the starter every week. Nothing will change. I wish Ben the best. I hope he is healthy. Other than that I will be ready to go."
While all the talk will be about the QB situation, keep in mind that the Steelers are allowing 12 points per game here as compared to the 22 that Baltimore allows on the road.
The Steelers permit only 265.7 yards per game, just 252.5 at home. (That isn't Rothlisberger putting up those numbers!) On the other hand, the Ravens allow more than 390 yards per game.
With five of the last seven meetings decided by a field goal, I'm grabbing the points. *10 Main Event
|11-18-12||San Diego Chargers +8.5 v. Denver Broncos||Top||23-30||Win||100||7 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Broncos have cost me a couple of times of late, so I'm certainly well aware of how well they've been playing. Still, I expect them to have their hands full against a revenge-minded divisional opponent which is playing for its season.
If you remember the earlier meeting, the Chargers were up 24-0 at halftime, before Denver stormed back for a 35-24 victory. So, San Diego certainly had a chance. Obviously, the Chargers haven't forgotten that loss and would obviously love some payback.
Looking at the previous three games between these teams and we find that all were decided by five points or less. Of course, Manning wasn't there for those. However, the point that I'm trying to make is that these teams have a recent history of playing close games against each other.
The Chargers tend to play well in road games which are expected to be high-scoring. They're 17-8-1 ATS the last 26 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 45.5 to 49 range. I look for them to give Manning's Broncos all they can handle. *9
|11-18-12||Indianapolis Colts v. New England Patriots -9.5||Top||24-59||Win||100||7 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ENGLAND. I give Luck and the Colts a lot of credit to be in this position. However, I still expect them to receive a reality check here.
This game reminds me a little of the Washington/Pittsburgh matchup earlier this season. At the time, Robert Griffin III was the talk of the town and many were taking the points with the Redskins when they traveled to Pittsburgh. When they got there, however, RG3 and co. received a dose of reality, as Big Ben and the Steelers laid a beating on them.
Perhaps Tebow's visit here last January is a more appropriate comparison. The Broncos came in off an upset over Pittsburgh and Tebowmania was ready to reach a frenzy. Brady and co. nipped it in the bud, however, destroying Denver by a 45-10 count. Seemingly intent on showing up the upstart Tebow, Brady would finish with six touchdowns, five of them in the first half.
The first meeting between Brady and Tebow was similar. The Broncos were off six straight wins and four straight 4-quarter comebacks. Brady went into Denver, however, and led the Pats to a 41-23 win.
Obviously, this is an entirely different matchup. However, the point that I'm trying to make is that the "flavor of the month QB" often gets exposed when stepping up against an established elite QB - and that Brady has a history of elevating his game when another QB tries to steal the show from him.
The Colts got smoked in their first two road games, losing 41-21 at Chicago and 35-9 at New York. Since then, they've gone 2-0 on the road. However, a closer look reveals that both of those road wins came against teams with losing records, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Now, they'll be at Foxboro against a future Hall of Fame QB/Coach combo which will be looking to bring the rookie down a notch.
In fact, a closer look at the last four Colts' opponents shows that they've faced the likes of Jacksonville, Miami, Tennessee and Cleveland. All four of those teams rank below the league average in terms of points scored and the Jags are the worst overall. Now, the Colts will take on the best offense in football. The Pats are averaging 33.2 ppg, which is #1 in the league.
New England's 430 yards per game is also by far the best in football. Only Detroit averages more than 400 and the Lions average 406, well below the Pats' number. Every other team is below that mark.
The comeback with vs. Green Bay was an accomplishment. However, that was at Indianapolis and that's arguably the only "good" team that the Colts have beaten all year.
The Colts and Patriots have had some great games over the years as the Manning/Brady rivalry was a good one. If Brady keeps going at a high level for a few more years, its possible that the Luck/Brady rivalry could also develop. For now, I think its still a mismatch. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-18-12||New Orleans Saints v. Oakland Raiders +6.5||Top||38-17||Loss||-100||7 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Off a victory over the previously undefeated Falcons and with five ATS victories in their last six games, the Saints are suddenly a popular pick again. I feel that this will be a very tough spot for them though.
As noted, the Saints are off a huge divisional victory. That puts in them in a potential "letdown" spot. They've also got a very big game vs. San Francisco on deck. You may recall the Saints were knocked out of the playoffs by the 49'ers last year, a 36-32 victory on 1/12. That's a potential cause to get caught "looking ahead."
Either way, the Raiders aren't much to get excited over. The Saints do have to travel to the West Coast, however, while also playing on a short week. That can be more difficult than it sounds. Lets not forget that the Saints only have one road win all year, a 7-point win at Tampa.
While they certainly didn't look too good at Baltimore last week, lets not forget that the Raiders have still won two of their last three home games. They're 6-1 ATS the last seven times that they were off back to back SU losses and I look for them to step up and earn at least a cover here. *10 Annihilator
|11-18-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Carolina Panthers +2||Top||27-21||Loss||-100||3 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on CAROLINA. Admittedly, the Bucs have been the better team in recent weeks. That doesn't mean that they're ready to become road favorites against a revenge-minded divisional opponent. Keep in mind that the Panthers were 3 point favorites when these teams met at Tampa, back in early September.
While they haven't been in that role often recently, note that the Bucs are an awful 5-13-1 ATS (6-13 SU) the last 19 times that they were listed as road favorites of three or fewer points, 0-1-1 ATS the past couple of years.
Note that Tampa was outgained 426-279 in last week's victory. So, that was a little deceiving. The previous week, the Bucs gave up 32 poins and 424 yards to the Raiders. This is a defense which allows an average of over 400 yards per game, 423.5 (and 26.5 ppg) on the road. By comparison, Carolina's 344.9 yards allowed per game looks very respectable. Losing linebacker Quincy Black last week won't help this Tampa defense.
The Panthers were outclassed by Manning's Broncos last week. However, I feel that the Bucs are a better matchup for them. Keep in mind that Carolina beat Washington the previous game and nearly beat the Bears (23-22 loss) at Chicago, the game before that. Even with last week's loss, the Panthers have still quietly gone 4-2 ATS in the underdog role.
The Panthers have long been tough in the revenge role. They're 50-34 ATS in 84 "revenge" situations, including 3-0 ATS the last three. I expect a big effort here, starting from "the top."
Cam Newton had this to say: "It's very embarrassing, but things are going to change ... there are brighter days ahead for the Carolina Panthers."
The Panthers crushed the Bucs 48-16 in last season's meeting here, laying 7.5 points. All they need is a win here; I look for them to get it. *10 NFC South GOM
|11-18-12||NY Jets +4 v. St Louis Rams||Top||27-13||Win||100||3 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. I'm well aware that the Rams are a better team this year and that they tend to play much better at home. In fact, I'm 3-0 when backing them here at St. Louis as I supported them in their victories over the Washington, Arizona and Seattle. (I didn't play on them when they lost to Green Bay and their other "home" game was in Europe, a blowout loss vs. New England, a game I didn't touch.) The Rams were underdogs each of the three times that I backed them here. Now, however, they're being asked to win by more than a field goal. I believe that's asking too much.
The Rams haven't been favored yet in 2012 However, they were favored three times in 2011 (twice last season) and they lost all three of those games outright. On 11/27/11, they were 2.5 point home favorites vs. Arizona and lost 23-20. The previous week, on 11/20/11, they were three point home favorites vs. Seattle and lost 24-7. Prior to that, they lost a January 2011 game, when favored at Seattle, by a score of 16-6.
One of the reasons that I've "taken the points" with the Rams is that they have a tendency to play close games. That was certainly evident in last week's game, a 24-24 tie at San Francisco. It should be noted that they had to fly back from the West Coast after "leaving it all on the field" in the game vs. San Francisco. Prior to that, they'd had a little time off, but that was preceded by a trip to London. With a trip to Arizona up next, I believe all the traveling could well catch up to them here.
While they've gone through a recent tough stretch, the Jets are still 9-4-1 ATS (11-3 SU) their last 14 against teams with a losing record. The playoffs have become a pretty remote possibility. However, if they can win today, they'll still be alive. A loss here and their fate is officially sealed.
Sanchez obviously isn't Tom Brady but I still like Ryan's decision to stick with him. Here's what he had to say on the matter: "With me, I will never waver. I am not going to make a decision to save my job. I am in it to win games. I'm not sitting back concentrating on how do I save my job. I am concentrating on how do we win."
At the end of the day, the Rams are still 4-13-1 their last 18 games and two of those four victories came by three or fewer points. That means that the Rams would be 2-16 ATS their last 18, if being asked to lay more than a field goal. I'm backing the desperate visitors. *10 Non-Conf Best Bet
|11-17-12||Montana v. Idaho -3||Top||66-63||Loss||-110||10 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on IDAHO. I like how this one sets up for the home team. The Vandals got a wake-up call in losing their opener vs. Wright State. This is a team with big goals this season though and I expect them to bounce back with a highly motivated effort.
The Vandals were 19-14 last season, their best season since 1999. Six of their 14 losses came by six or fewer points, too.
This year, Don Verlin's team is thinking NCAA Tournament. The Idaho coach had this to say: "I feel good about it to be honest with you."
Center Kyle Barone (12 ppg and 8 rbg) returns as does forward Stephen Madison (12.1 ppg and 5.5 rbg). I expect those two to give the Vandals a significant edge in the frontcourt here.
A senior, Barone was a second-team All-WAC choice in 2011. He
|11-17-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Cleveland Cavaliers -2.5||Top||103-95||Loss||-109||8 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. I successfully played against the Mavericks last night. They lost 103-83 at Indiana. I feel this will be a good spot to go against them again.
Still without their best player, the Mavs are in a rebuilding phase. The players have now already accepted that fact. They're still being treated like they're a good team by bettors and oddsmakers though, which has led to an 0-6 ATS mark their last six.
The Mavs are in a tough spot. Not only is this the second of back to back games, it also marks their sixth game in nine nights. They'll be facing a young and rested Cleveland team which is happy to be back on its home floor.
In two previous b2b spots this season, the Mavs have gone 0-2 SU/ATS, losing 113-94 at Utah and 101-97 at Charlotte. I played against them there and am doing so again tonight. *9
|11-17-12||Memphis Grizzlies v. Charlotte Bobcats +6||Top||94-87||Loss||-105||8 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHARLOTTE. I won with the Grizzlies last night and am well aware that they're off to an excellent start. I feel that they're a bit over-valued tonight though and also that they're susceptible for a letdown.
The Grizzlies' last four games against Houston, a divisional opponent, Miami, the defending NBA champion, OKC, the defending Western Champs and New York, an undefeated team. Off all those big wins, it will likely be easy to look past lowly Charlotte.
Note that the Grizzlies are in one of their worst roles; they're 2-7 ATS as road favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. They lost six of those outright, too.
While their streak isn't as impressive as the Grizzlies' current streak, the Bobcats have quietly gone 3-0 SU/ATS their last three games. They're 3-1 SU/ATS here on the season, outscoring teams by a 98.2 to 94.7 margin.
The Bobcats covered the spread against the Grizzlies here last season, losing by five. With the schedule in their favor, I expect at least another cover here. *10 Best Bet
|11-17-12||Utah Jazz v. Washington Wizards +2.5||Top||83-76||Loss||-102||7 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Wizards have yet to break through into the win column. However, with a 4-3 ATS record, they've been competitive. I feel tonight will provide them an excellent opportunity to earn that elusive first victory.
While the Wizards had the last two nights off, the Jazz are off a 99-93 loss at Philadelphia. They're playing the final leg of a 4-game road trip and their sixth game in last nights. All six of those games were in a different city.
The Jazz only played a road game, after playing the previous night, once this season. That resulted in a double-digit loss.
Including last night's loss, the Jazz are a money-burning 43-73-5 ATS the last 100+ times that they played a road game with an OU line in the 185 to 189.5 range, 3-7 ATS (2-8 SU) their last 10 in that situation. I'll grab the points but will not be surprised when the Wiz step up and score the upset. *9
|11-17-12||Western Kentucky v. Louisiana-Lafayette -4||Top||27-31||Push||0||10 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOUISIANA. A low line suggests that these teams are quite equal. I don't believe that's the case.
The Ragin' Cajuns very nearly upset Florida last week. If they'd actually entered that game expecting to win, I'd potentially be concerned with a letdown here, as they did lose in rather heartbreaking fashion. However, as that was a game that they never thought they could win, I don't expect them to be too devastated from the tough loss. Rather, I expect them to gain confidence from the fact that they were able to go toe-to-toe vs. a team regarded as one of the best in the country.
That's a lot more than Western Kentucky can say. The Hilltoppers started the season very well and were on a great run at the betting window. Regulars will remember that we successfully played against them against Middle Tennessee State a couple of weeks ago though, when they lost outright as 9-point favorites. They followed that up by losing outright vs. FAU, failing to cover by 25 points. I believe that those losses indicate that all is not right for this team at the moment.
One of the big reasons I backed FIU over FAU last night (another Sun Belt game) was that I liked the QB play that the Panthers were getting from QB Jake Medlock. He came through with a 264-yard 2-TD performance in last night's 34-24 win. I also like the QB play that the Cajuns are getting.
Terrance Broadway took over as the starting quarterback in late September and he's been very solid ever since. He checks in with 1,795 passing yards, 328 rushing yards, and 17 total touchdowns. That goes against just six interceptions. While he didn't throw any TD passes, he completed 16-of-23 passes (171 yards) and didn't turn the ball over at Florida, which is pretty impressive given the Gators' stout defense. With four different receivers with greater than 375 receiving yards, Broadway knows how to spread it around.
The Cajuns are outscoring teams by a 39-20 margin on this field, outgaining them by a 435 to 301 margin. With last week's cover, they're now 7-2 ATS their last nine in November and 7-2 ATS their last nine against winning teams. They've been upset by the Hilltoppers each of the past two seasons. Now, its payback time. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-17-12||Purdue v. Illinois +6.5||Top||20-17||Win||100||6 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on ILLINOIS. While they're off a win at Iowa last week, I don't believe that the Boilermakers should be laying this many points here. Last week's victory came by just a field goal, at the buzzer. Prior to that, Purdue had lost five straight and was winless in Big 10 play.
Admittedly, the Boilermakers do have much to play for. If they win here and close out the season by beating Indiana at home, they can still become bowl eligible.
Keep in mind that they're playing the second of back to back road games here though, a situation that isn't typically kind to them. After covering the spread at Ohio State on 10/20, the Boilermakers got hammered at Minnesota the following week, losing 44-28 as slight favorites.
Illinois has certainly had a disappointing season. They're not giving anything away "talent-wise" here though and I expect the Illini to treat this game like its their "bow game." Keep in mind that its their home finale and that its a chance to play spoiler against a conference rival. Of course, the Illini would also like to claim the prized "Cannon Trophy," a little something to salvage the campaign.
Last year's game, at Purdue, was decided by seven points. The mot recent game here at Illinois saw the Illini win by a score of 44-10. With the Boilermakers 0-3 ATS their last three as road favorites, I'm grabbing the points with what I expect to be a highly motivated home underdog. *10 Best Bet
|11-17-12||Washington v. Colorado +21.5||Top||38-3||Loss||-110||4 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO. I feel the home underdog is offering plenty of value here. While the Buffaloes have clearly had a disappointing season, this is arguably their "easiest" game in quite some time. Three of their last four games have come on the road and those games were at venues like Oregon, USC and Arizona. Their lone home game over the last month came vs. Stanford. The Huskies aren't slouches either. Still, a home game against them should provide an opportunity to at least stay competitive.
The Huskies are rarely road favorites, going just 1-2 SU/ATS in that role the past few seasons and 15-20 ATS since the early 90s. Laying this many points on the road, in conference play no less, is practically unheard for them.
Keep in mind that the Huskies are only averaging 22 points per game on the season an only 15 per game on the road. That makes winning by three touchdowns difficult.
Not only are they in an unfamiliar role but I feel that this will be a difficult spot for the Huskies, who are just 1-3 SU/ATS on the road this season. They're playing an "early" game (10:30 am their time) and they've got rival Washington State on deck. On a rare 3-game winning streak, given the situation, it would be easy to look past lowly Colorado.
While there isn't too much good one can say about the Buffaloes' season, it should be noted that they managed 437 total yards of offense against Arizona last week, something they can build on here. They broke through with a cover in that game and I look for them to follow it up with another one here. *Pac 12 GOM
|11-17-12||Northwestern v. Michigan State -7||Top||23-20||Loss||-100||3 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on MICHIGAN STATE. Northwestern comes in with the better record, a much better one at the betting window. I believe that the Spartans are favored for good reason though.
The Spartans are off a much needed bye, allowing them extra time to prepare, heal and to lick their wounds. With three losses in four games and still needing a victory to become bowl eligible, the Spartans figure to be an angry bunch here.
The Wildcats may not be quite as "ferocious." They're already bowl eligible and they're off a hard-fought OT loss vs. Michigan last week. That was a real "heartbreaker" too, the kind that can be difficult to bounce back from.
While they've been able to have some success, the Wildcats are rather one-dimensional on offense; they can run the ball but can't throw it. The run game ranks 14th in the country but the pass attack is way down in 110th. I expect them to struggle against a stingy Spartan defense.
Granted, the Spartans' offense has been rather weak. I expect the offense to come to life here though. Last year, the Spartans scored just 10 points the game before their bye. However, they returned from the bye to win 28-14 against Michigan, easily covering.
Note that the Spartans topped the 30 mark against the Wildcats each of the last two years, going 2-0 SU/ATS. Going back further finds that they've scored more than 30 points in five of the last six series meetings. (They won the other won 24-14.)
The Wildcats are still 5-7 ATS the past few seasons off a conference loss while the Spartans are still 14-6 ATS their last 20 against a team with a winning record. I sense a double-digit win. *9
|11-16-12||Vanderbilt v. Oregon -6.5||Top||48-74||Win||100||13 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on OREGON. Some will see Oregon, a "football school," favored against Vanderbilt, a "basketball school," and will be quick to grab the points. However, I believe that the Ducks are favored for good reason here.
Yes, Vanderbilt advanced all the way to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season. However, that's ancient history. All those players are long gone.
Coach Kevin Stallings acknowledged:
|11-16-12||New York Knicks v. Memphis Grizzlies -5.5||Top||95-105||Win||100||11 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on MEMPHIS. Both teams are off to great starts, each winning outright as an underdog in its last game. While both teams have been strong off an "upset" win, I feel that last night's hard-fought battle at San Antonio will catch up with the Knicks here.
While the Knicks are getting far more publicity for their fast start, the Grizzlies are 6-0 SU/ATS their last six. They beat OKC last time out, after beating Miami before that. Both victories came by double-digits. They're now 23-8 ATS the past few seasons, when off a SU victory as an underdog.
True, the Knicks are averaging more than 103 points per game. However, its also true that the Grizzlies are 49-23 ATS the past few seasons vs. teams that score 99 or more.
The Grizzlies, who had last night off, are very tough at home. They're 3-0 SU/ATS already this season, moving to 66-21 SU and 51-34-2 ATS here the past few years. When these teams met here last season, the Grizzlies won by a score of 94-83. A similar result won't surprise. *9
|11-16-12||Hawaii +22.5 v. Air Force||Top||7-21||Win||100||11 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. Air Force will undoubtedly be a popular pick in this one. Not only is Hawaii having a down year but bettors know, or at least they will learn, that the Falcons need a win, in order to become bowl eligible. With a much tougher game on deck (at Fresno State) for their finale, the Falcons know they need to take care of business tonight. That doesn't mean that they should be laying more than three touchdowns here though. Not the way that they've been playing recently.
The Falcons are off back to back blowout losses. Last week, they lost 28-9 at San Diego State. They were an underdog in that one though, so losing wasn't completely unexpected. However, a 41-21 loss vs. Army the previous week shows that this team currently has some issues.
To their credit, the Falcons did step up and beat Nevada the previous week, a 17-point victory. Their previous three games were all decided by seven or fewer points.
Looking back further finds that the Falcons only won one game by more than 21 points all season. That came way back in Week 1, a non-cover vs. 1AA Idaho State. Laying 31 points, they won by 28.
While tough in the underdog role, the Falcons are 1-6 ATS as favorites, 7-17 ATS the past few seasons.
Looking at some other stats finds them at 0-5 ATS the lat five times that they played a home game where the O/U line ranged from 56.5 to 63 and 23-42 the last 65 times that they were off a loss vs. a conference opponent.
True, its been a difficult season for the Warriors. This is a chance to play "spoiler" on National TV though and I expect Norm Chow to have his team believing that they have a real chance. They've had time to grow over the year and this is their chance to prove that to rest of the country.
The Warriors have thrown for 200 or more yards in four straight games, topping the 250 mark vs. Boise State last week. They're stepping down in class from last week and I expect them to find the end zone. Don't be surprised when this one proves much closer than many will expecting. *10 Main Event
|11-16-12||Florida International +2 v. Florida Atlantic||Top||34-24||Win||100||10 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL. This game, dubbed the "Shula Bowl" means a lot to each of these two "rivals." With FIU leaving the conference after the season, it arguably means more this season than ever.
FIU coach Mario Cristobal noted: "The rivalry games are the reason you play college football. They
|11-16-12||Dallas Mavericks v. Indiana Pacers -2.5||Top||83-103||Win||100||9 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. Both teams are still without their best player. Each has struggled of late. The Pacers are 0-4 ATS their last four while the Mavericks are 0-5 ATS their last five. Playing at home, I expect the Pacers to be the team which bounces back with a win and cover.
The Pacers have still won two of three while the Mavs have lost three of four on the road.
Indiana won by 11 in last year's lone meeting and that was at Dallas. With that loss, the Mavs are just 3-12 ATS their last 15 against teams from the Central.
The Mavs have numerous new faces, are in a rebuilding mode and are likely in for a long season. The Pacers still have high hopes of being among the top teams in the East. If they want to keep those hopes alive, these are the kind of games that they need to win. I expect them to do just that tonight. *9
|11-16-12||Brigham Young v. Florida State +2||Top||70-88||Win||100||8 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA STATE. While I respect the Cougars, I believe the wrong team is favored in this one. The Seminoles are 7-3-1 ATS their last 11 as a neutral court underdog of three or less, or a pick'em. That includes a 2-1 ATS mark in that role the past couple of seasons, going 8-6 ATS overall in neutral court games. During that stretch, BYU is only 6-11 ATS on a neutral floor.
The Cougars had to replace leading scorer Noah Hartsock from last year. He did much for them, averaging 16.8 ppg and five rebounds. He hit better than 84% at the line and led the team with 55 blocked shots. His absence will be noticed with the team stepping up in class here. While Brandon Davies returns, he's a bit banged-up here, listed as probable.
The Seminoles got a "wake up call" in their opener, losing vs. S. Alabama, a loss that dropped them out of the Top 25. I like how they responded with a 95-68 destruction of Buffalo and I look for them to follow it up with another win here. *9
|11-16-12||UNC Asheville +8.5 v. Akron||Top||63-82||Loss||-106||2 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNC Asheville. I won with Akron yesterday. The Zips lost by four as a 4.5 point underdog. That loss figures to be a bit tough to bounce back from though, as Akron fought hard the entire way, only to lose in OT.
Akron has now seen two of three games decided by four points. That includes a 74-70 loss vs. Coastal Carolina. I don't feel the Zips deserve to be laying this large a number.
True, the Bulldogs suffered some key losses. However, they're again talented.
Coach Biedenbach, who doesn't generally toss around such assessments lightly, had this to say of this year's team: "We're inexperienced, but talent-wise we're as good as last year. We're a little bigger and look more like a basketball team."
The Bulldogs lost by eight vs. Tennessee yesterday, moving to 7-1 ATS their last eight lined neutral court games, 10-1 ATS their last 11 tournament lined games overall. They won one game and have seen both losses decided by eight or less. In a game that could easily again come down to the wire, grab the generous points. *9
|11-15-12||Miami Dolphins +3 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||14-19||Loss||-115||11 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Both teams lost last week. That marked the third straight loss for the Bills and the second straight for the Fish. However, because Buffalo's latest loss was "close," a cover at Foxboro, and Miami's was not, (blowout loss vs. Tennessee) the sentiment is that the Bills are currently playing much better football. While that was the case last Sunday, I don't believe that its been true of the season as a whole. Keep in mind that the Dolphins are 4-5 and the Bills are 3-6.
This line has climbed since it first came out, as bettors are backing the Bills as a slight favorite. I believe that's giving us excellent value. Last week's results have a lot to do with the line climbing. However, in my opinion, those results may actually favor Miami.
While the Bills deserve credit for playing the Patriots tough, a loss like that can be draining, as they really left it all on the field, also losing running back Fred Jackson along the way. Note that Buffalo followed up its previous loss to the Pats by losing 45-3 in its next game.
On the other hand, the only previous time that the Dolphins suffered a blowout loss was when the Texans beat them 30-10. (Their other three losses, prior to last week, all came by a field goal.) After getting blown out by Houston, the Dolphins bounced back with their most lopsided victory of the season, a 35-13 victory over Oakland.
The Bills are just 3-6-1 ATS the last few seasons as favorites, including 1-3-1 ATS as home favorites of three or less.
The Dolphins are 15-9 ATS the past few seasons as underdogs and that includes a perfect 5-0 ATS record as road underdogs of three or fewer points. They dominated the Bills last season and I won't be at all surprised when they beat them again tonight. *9
|11-15-12||North Carolina v. Virginia +3.5||Top||37-13||Loss||-110||10 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on VIRGINIA. Prior to a loss here in 2010, the Cavaliers had enjoyed a long run of success against the Tar Heels here. I like how this one sets up for them.
Without a doubt its been a disappointing season for the Cavs. However, they've turned things around recently and now can become bowl eligible by winning out. That won't be easy as they'll need to win this one and also win at V-Tech in their finale. Either way, I expect them to view this as their "bowl game."
While next week's game against the Hokies is obviously a very big instate clash, this game represents Virginia's home finale and is a rare chance to play a home game in front of a national TV audience. (This is the first Thursday night game in Charlottesville since the Cavaliers hosted North Carolina back in 2006.) In order for next week's game to have true meaning, the Cavs know they need this one first. This is also the longest rivalry in the south, as the teams have met every year since 1919.
True, North Carolina is a fairly talented team. However, the Heels are reeling a bit at the moment, with two losses in three games. They gave up 68 points in losing to G-Tech last week and now make the change from the Jackets' option style offense to the Cavs 2-QB system, while doing so on a short week.
Note that the Tar Heels are 0-4 ATS on the road, losing outright at Wake Forest, Louisville and Duke, Their lone road win came by four point, a game in which they were laying 7.5.
UNC is giving up an average of 544 yards per game and 6.5 yards per play its last three games. Virginia is giving up an average of 283 yards in its last three. They both played NC State a couple of games ago, their most recent common opponent. The Tar Heels hosted the Wolfpack and won 45-35. The Cavs faced them on the road yet won 33-6. NC State got 534 yards vs. UNC but only 216 vs. Virginia. Take the points. *10
|11-14-12||Toledo +10.5 v. Northern Illinois||Top||24-31||Win||100||36 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on TOLEDO. I've successfully played against the Rockets in each of their last two games. In each case, I felt that they were laying too many points. Tonight, however, Toledo is the team which finds itself in the underdog role. I believe the value has now shifted and that the Rockets will now prove to be the correct side.
The Huskies certainly boast an impressive record, both SU and ATS. Frankly, its hard to say too many bad things about them. I really feel they're laying a few too many points here though. Keep in mind that this same team was only laying 10 as a host of Central Michigan earlier. When hosting Kansas, the Huskies were 7 point favorites. I believe that this Toledo team is much better than either of those teams, yet we're getting every more points to work with. Keep in mind that the Rockets were a Top 25 program only a week ago AND that they beat CMU by 15, as an 11.5 point favorite. Yet, now they're a bigger dog than the Chippewas were here.
While the Huskies have many impressive stats, lets not forget that the Rockets are 4-0 ATS as underdogs this season. They've only lost two games all season and both losses came by seven points. This is a team which averages 490 yards per game on the road, while winning four of five. The Rockets lone road loss came at Arizona, a game in which they covered the spread.
The Rockets entered the season as a relatively inexperienced team. However, they've gotten it done all season long, while growing up along the way. I look for their "close game experience" to serve them well here, as they provide the Huskies with a much closer contest than many were likely expecting. *10
|11-14-12||Indiana Pacers +4.5 v. Milwaukee Bucks||Top||85-99||Loss||-110||10 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. We're getting a little extra value with the visiting Pacers here based on the fact that they played last night. However, each back to back situation needs to be looked at closely. In this case, the Pacers had the previous two days off. So, its not like they're in a three games in four days, or four in five, situation. Obviously the Pacers can't be too happy with the fact that they were beaten by the Raptors last night; I expect that loss to provide some added motivation here.
Note that the Pacers are already 2-0 SU when playing the second of back to back games this season and that they're now 8-1 SU the last nine times that they were in that situation, dating back to last season.
The Pacers have had some recent success here. They were a 3.5 point underdog in their most recent visit here and won outright by six. Note that the Pacers were also playing the second of back to back games for that one too, as they'd hosted Cleveland the previous night. Including that victory, the Pacers are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS the last five series meetings, 3-0 SU/ATS their last three here at Milwaukee. They were underdogs for all three of those games but won by 6, 21 and 6 points.
The Pacers are also in one of their better roles here. Including the win in their last game here, they're 12-7-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range. With the Bucks getting outscored by an average of 102 to 95.7 at home so far this season, I expect at least another cover for the Pacers here. *9
|11-14-12||Ohio +5 v. Ball State||Top||27-52||Loss||-103||34 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on OHIO. I won with Ball State last game while also successfully playing against Ohio. In both cases, I backed an underdog which won outright. The Cardinals earned an upset win at Toledo while the Bobcats were upset by Bowling Green. Undefeated on the season not long ago, the Bobcats are now the team getting points. Once again, I feel the underdog is the team providing us with the value.
While they've been rolling lately, a look at the stats shows that the Cardinals have played their opponents very equally on the season. They're only outscoring teams by a slight 33.7 to 32.7 margin and their 470.5 yards per game is nearly identical to the 471.3 allowed. With the exception of a blowout loss at Clemson early in the season, every one of their games has been decided by a dozen points or less, six of them by eight or fewer, three by four or less.
The Bobcats have only lost twice all season and one of those losses came by only three points. They've played numerous close games, including three which were decided by a field goal.
Speaking of 3-point games, last year's meeting had a final score of 23-20.
While it was a successful road trip, Ball State is just 5-10 ATS its last 15 home lined games. The Cardinals are also 5-7 ATS as favorites the past few seasons, including an 0-2 ATS mark as home favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range.
During that stretch, the Bobcats were 6-3 ATS as underdogs, including 5-1 ATS as underdogs in the 3.5 to 10 range. Off their only previous loss this season, the Bobcats responded with a 45-14 blowout win.
I expect them to bounce back with their best effort once again and for that to lead to at least a cover. *10
|11-13-12||Toronto Raptors v. Indiana Pacers -9||Top||74-72||Loss||-110||9 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on INDIANA. I played on the Raptors when they hosted the Pacers in their opener. The Raptors were coming off a great preseason and I felt that they would be "pumped up" for their home opener. That was indeed the case. The Raptors got a great debut from Kyle Lowry and played the Pacers tough the entire way. They would eventually lose by two points, which could have been an ATS win, loss or a push, depending on when and where one played.
Things don't set up nearly so well for the Raptors this time. The "good feeling" from the preseason is long gone. The Raptors have dropped four straight and are now 1-6 on the season. (They might want to think about sending me some season's tickets as I attended their lone victory, while recently visiting Toronto; they remain 100% when I've watched them.)
They're also on the road, at a very difficult venue, one where they've really struggled. The Raptors have lost seven straight at Indiana and they've gone 1-6 ATS in those games. Three of their last four trips here resulted in losses of 15 or more points.
Making matters worse, the Raptors are short-handed and they're in an awful scheduling spot. Coming off a triple-OT heartbreaker and now playing their third game in four nights, they'll be facing a rested Pacers team which has had the past two days off.
Sure, the Raptors would love to avenge the loss in the home opener. They're just 17-27-2 ATS (7-39 SU) the past few seasons when attempting to avenge a home loss though and this isn't the spot for them to do it.
The Pacers have won both their games here. With the schedule in their favor, I expect them to put it all together with a double-digit win. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-12-12||Kansas City Chiefs +13.5 v. Pittsburgh Steelers||Top||13-16||Win||100||10 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. I successfully played against the Chiefs in their last game. I like how this one sets up significantly better for them though. Of course, I also like the fact that the Chiefs are getting roughly twice as many points as they were last game.
Last time out, the Chiefs were playing a road game on the West Coast, while also playing on a short week. They're back on road this week. However, this time they've had plenty of extra preparation time and they're much closer to home. Their last game came on 11/1, so they've had plenty of extra time to return from the Coast and to try and work out some of their "issues," while game-planning for the Steelers.
While playing back to back road games can sometimes be tough for teams, note that the Chiefs won outright (at New Orleans) the only previous time that they were in that situation this season.
Admittedly, the Steelers are a tough opponent. I didn't get involved in their last game but I did successfully back them in their most recent home game, a blowout of the Redskins. I've also successfully played against the Steelers against some other AFC "bottom-feeders" this season though, as I backed both the Titans and the Raiders in their ATS victories over Pittsburgh this season. So, while I respect the Steelers, I also know that they can sometimes be over-valued and also that they don't always dominate these "non playoff" conference opponents the way many expect them to. In this case, even though its a Monday night TV contest, off a road win against the defending Superbowl champions, I feel they're ripe for a bit of a letdown. Keep in mind that they've got Baltimore up next, a game which will will have major implications on who wins the division.
It should be noted that Pittsburgh is a money-burning 10-23 ATS the last 33 times it was a double-digit favorite. Including the loss at Oakland, the Steelers are also 1-4 ATS their last five against AFC West opponents. Lets not forget that they're still banged-up, either.
You might be surprised to learn that the Chiefs are actually outgaining opponents this season, as they're averaging 358 yards, while allowing 347.5. That's even true on the road, where they're averaging 370.2 while allowing 367.2.
The Chiefs are 13-4-1 ATS the last 18 times that they were double-digit underdogs, including 6-3-1 ATS their last 10 as road underdogs in the 10.5 to 14 range. Last Thursday (11/1) I noted the following in the KC game, "....The Chiefs will surely cover a few games before the season is done. But not here..." I believe that now is the time. *10 AFC GOY
|11-12-12||Boston Celtics v. Chicago Bulls -3||Top||101-95||Loss||-103||10 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The Bulls have been winning but not covering. They're 4-2 SU but only 1-5 ATS. Tonight, however, the line is low enough that a SU victory has an excellent chance in also resulting in a pointspread cover.
Note that Boston is 45-47 SU on the road the past few seasons while Chicago is 73-18 SU at home. That includes a 5-3 ATS (7-2 SU) mark as home favorites of three or fewer points.
The Celtics had last night off, as did the Bulls. However, the Celts were in a back-to-back spot before that, which wasn't the case for Chicago. That means that Boston is playing its third game in four days, while also playing its second straight on the road.
While the Bulls are outscoring teams by a 94.5 to 88.7 margin, the Celts are being outscored by a 99.5 to 96.7 margin.
The Bulls have dominated the Celtics here in recent seasons. In fact, they're 5-0 SU/ATS the last five meetings here. All five of those victories came by a minimum of seven points, too. Note that Chicago was laying -6.5 and -7.5 points in last year's two games and that we're getting a far better line to work with here.
The Bulls are closing out a 5-game homestand. With five straight road games on deck, they should really want to make this one count. A team which seemingly loves its home cooking, the Bulls are 18-6 ATS (20-4 SU) the past few seasons, after playing their previous three or more at home. I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion tonight. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-12-12||Central Michigan v. Iowa -22||Top||61-73||Loss||-110||8 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on IOWA. I believe this will prove to be a real mismatch. The Hawkeyes have a game under their belts, a confidence-building 86-55 rout. Central Michigan, on the other hand, hasn't played yet.
The Hawkeyes are feeling good and their fans are excited. Nearly 15,000 (14,859) watched their opener, the highest attendance figure for an Indiana opener since 2001.
Iowa's Aaron White, who had 16 points and four steals, said this of the opener: "We played well as a team, good pressure, everyone was making shots. Everyone was contributing. That's a pretty good team we played, and it was good to come out with that intensity and push the lead up to 20 at the end; it was a good team win."
Four Iowa players scored in double-figures in the opener, while 14 players saw at least three minutes on the floor. That type of balance should serve the Hawkeyes well against an outmatched opponent playing its first game.
Coach Fran McCaffery had this to say: "That was kind of the plan, to be able to rotate players. The concern is always if we are going to get chemistry at the right time. We received great contributions from a lot of different people -- good assist-to-turnovers, rebounds."
Central Michigan has not been good in the underdog role, going 14-24-3 ATS when getting points the past few seasons, including 3-5 ATS as a road underdog of greater than a dozen points.
While totals are subject to change, with an O/U line currently in the high 130s, note that the Hawkeyes are 9-1 ATS the last 10 times that they played a home game with an O/U line the 135 to 139.5 range. They're 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) their last five against teams from the MAC and 3-1 ATS (4-0) their last four as a home favorite of greater than a dozen points. I expect this one to turn ugly. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-12-12||North Dakota State +21.5 v. Indiana||Top||61-87||Loss||-106||8 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTH DAKOTA STATE. I watched the Hoosiers first game and am well aware that they are a very good team. However, they're stepping up in class here and I feel that the number, which has climbed from its opener, will prove to be a little on the high side.
The Bison come in with plenty of confidence. They won their opener by a scores of 93-47, shooting 59% and owning a 42-16 edge on the boards. Obviously, that was against an inferior opponent. However, a blowout victory to begin the season should do wonders for their confidence and have them believing that they can compete tonight.
It should be noted that the Bison have actually won two of their last four against ranked opponents including a 64-60 win over Tom Crean's Marquette team in 2006.
The Bison are 18-4 ATS their last 22 non-conference lined games and 7-1 ATS their last eight November lined games. Don't be surprised if they hang around a lot longer than expected. *10 Best Bet
|11-11-12||Montana State v. Seattle -9||Top||72-87||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. Some might see the teams involved here and wonder why Seattle is laying nearly double-digits. However, I feel that the line could be even higher and am expecting a double-digit win.
Tonight's game is a big deal for Seattle. The Redhawks begin their first season of play in the Western Athletic Conference and they're eligible to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since returning to Division I, five years ago.
Junior guard Sterling Carter had this to say: "Knowing we can play in the tournament is big," said junior guard That's something big that we want to accomplish this year and we are not going to take our time to get there. I feel like our goal is to win the WAC this year and make a statement."
Coach Cameron Dollar, now in his fourth year here, is also extremely optimistic. He was quoted saying: "I think we've got all the components to where, in March, we will be able to do some things and make some noise, for sure."
Four players who started at least nine games last season return for Seattle and the Redhawks are deeper than they've been in the past.
Typically a fast paced team, I expect the determined Redhawks to run their outmatched opponent right out of the building tonight. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-11-12||Houston Texans v. Chicago Bears -1||Top||13-6||Loss||-110||10 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. Obviously these teams have both been very good. They each come in with 7-1 records, both of double-digit wins. I don't think we can ignore the fact that the Bears are playing at home though.
Really, this season's scoring numbers are too close to call. The Bears are 4-0 here and they're outscoring teams by an average of 25-14. The Texans are 3-0 on the road and have outscored opposing teams by a 27-16.3 margin. The Bears have been getting it done for years here though; they're 15-7 here the last few season. During the same stretch, the Texans are 10-10 on the road.
The weather is expected cool, windy and likely wet; conditions the Bears are more accustomed to. The Bears are 8-1 (7-1-1 ATS) their last nine November games. It may not be easy but I look for them to again find a way. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-11-12||NY Giants v. Cincinnati Bengals +5||Top||13-31||Win||100||3 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on CINCINNATI. Most are going to like the defending champs in this one. Not only are the Giants known as a good road team, they're also off a loss last week. Most bettors won't believe that they can lose two in a row. I believe that sentiment has created excellent value with what I believe will be a highly motivated home underdog.
The Giants are off three straight hard fought games, all of which were decided by five or fewer points. The first two of those were divisional games (Dallas and Washington) and last year's was against Pittsburgh, one of the perennial powers in the AFC. The fact that they blew a fourth quarter lead in that one may be difficult to bounce back from. Also, off all those "big games" and with a bye followed by a playoff rematch vs. Green Bay on deck, looking past lowly Cincinnati could easily occur.
While teams do always want to fight for the best overall record, its not like the Giants are feeling any pressure in the division. Even off the loss last week, they didn't lose any ground. Every other team in the NFC East has lost at least two in a row and none of them have won more than three games on the season. The Giants have six.
On the other hand, the Bengals are essentially in a "must win" spot, if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. The AFC Wildcard race remains wide open and the Bengals aren't quite out of it. However, another loss here and their already slim hopes would all but disappear. Backed into a corner, I expect the Bengals very best effort.
November has not been kind to the Giants, in the short or the long-term. With last week's loss, they're now 2-7 ATS (3-6 SU) in November the past few seasons. Going back further finds them at a money-burning 28-52-3 ATS their last 83 in November.
The Bengals are 5-3-1 ATS their last nine against non-conference games and 15-5 ATS their last 20 against teams from the NFC East. With their season on the line, I expect the Bengals to improve on those stats Sunday afternoon. *10 Best Bet
|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||25 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||31 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||16 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
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