For any resources you could need like sports handicapping odds, handicapping stats, schedules, or handicappers free picks and tips please click on any of the links on the right hand side of this page.
CLICK A CAPPERS NAME TO SEE THEIR PREMIUM DAILY EXPERT PLAYS + PREDICTIONS!
WANT FREE SPORTS PICKS to your inbox? | Newsletter Sign-UP!
|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-15-19||Eagles v. Falcons +2||20-24||Win||100||26 h 56 m||Show|
My 8* SNF Magic Play is on the Atl Falcons at 8:20 ET.
The Philadelphia Eagles fell behind the Redskins 17-0 in Week 1 at home in the early 2nd quarter and trailed 20-7 at the half. However, Philly scored the game's next 25 points, before Washington was able to add a "concession TD" with six seconds left for the 'cover!' Philly visits Atlanta for Week 2's Sunday Night Football contest, as the Falcons look to avert an 0-2 start for the first time since 2007. Atlanta was steamrolled at Minnesota last Sunday, falling behind 28-0. Matt Ryan was intercepted twice and sacked four times to put the Falcons in a sizable hole. He did throw two, 4th-quarter TD passes in the 28-12 loss.
Philly QB Carson Wentz looked to be in mid-season form, throwing for 313 yards and three TDs. DeSean Jackson caught two of those TDs, among his eight catches for 154 yards. Philly may have the deepest set of RBs in the league, with off-season acquisition Jordan Howard (over 3,300 rushing yards the L3 years with the Bears) joining veteran Darren Sproles and Penn St rookie Miles Sander. However, the Eagles finished 30th against the pass last season and showed no signs of improvement in Week 1, as Washington's Case Keenum threw for 380 yards against a suspect secondary that didn't get much help from the pass rush.
Atlanta had problems with both its offensive and defensive lines at Minnesota. The Falcons OL allowed 42 sacks and 108 QB hits in 2018 (gave up four sacks vs Minnesota) plus the DL gave up 172 rushing yards and three TDs vs the Vikes. Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 16 consecutive contests and with WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley he has talented targets. Then there is TE Austin Hooper, who reeled in a team-leading nine catches in Week 1.
The Falcons have lost to the Eagles each of the last three seasons, averaging just 12.3 points in those games. However, all three of the games were in Philadelphia and the last two times the Falcons were near the goal line with multiple chances to win. The Eagles have given up an average of eight more points and 66 more yards per game on the road that at home during the past three years, while Matt Ryan had an 118.0 QB rating at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, compared to 99.7 on the road last season. Dan Quinn has brushed off any suggestion that he's starting to feel some heat but he has now lost 11 of his last 18 games going back to the playoffs at the end of the 2017 season. I doubt Quinn and Atlanta will ever 'live down' squandering a 28-3 lead to New England in the Super Bowl but Atlanta NEEDS this one and it's only a Week 2 game. I'm taking the home team.
|09-15-19||Saints v. Rams||Top||9-27||Win||100||28 h 14 m||Show|
My 9* Situational Stunner is on the LA Rams at 4:25 ET.
It may be nearly nine months ago since the Saints were done in by one of the more controversial no-calls in NFL playoff history but it seems like "just yesterday" to New Orleans and its fans. The blatant pass interference on CB Nickell Robey-Coleman late in regulation was missed by referees and it is still being discussed. The non-call forced New Orleans to settle for a field goal and eventually, the Rams beat the Saints 26-23 in overtime in last year's NFC Championship Game. It sent the Rams, not the Saints, to the Super Bowl. The non-call also prompted the NFL to change its replay review rules in the off-season, although many Saints fans still haven't stopped complaining about it. The two teams square off in Week 2, with both coming off close Week 1 wins. Drew Brees passed for 370 yards and two TDs but needed to lead a last-gasp drive that led to the Saints' game-winning, 58-yard FG with 0:00 time left (30-28). The Rams jumped out to a 13-0 lead at Carolina last Sunday but needed to hang on for a 30-27 victory.
RB Alvin Kamara will be the Saints featured back in 2019 (with Ingram gone) and he ran for 97 yards and had 72 receiving yards in Week 1, giving every indication he's up to the task. Meanwhile, Michael Thomas was Brees' top target with 10 catches for 123 yards. Jared Goff wasn’t all that sharp in LA's 30-27 win at Carolina (23-39 186 yards with one TD and one iNT), after just signing a huge contract. However, some good news was Woods hauling in eight passes and Kupp catching seven balls. As for RB Todd Gurley, concerns about his apparently balky knee looked fairly unfounded in the Rams' opener, as he rushed for 97 yards (6.9 YPC) and looked dangerous. Teammate Brooks ran for 53 yards and scored two TDs.
I get the feeling "most" will be on the Saints in this one and the week-long line move seems to bear that out. However, the Rams averaged 37.3 PPG at home last season and one should NOT ignore the Saints' "close call" in Week 1, as it has become a pattern. Going back to the start of the 2014 season, the Saints enter this contest 2-9 SU and 1-10 ATS (that's 91% "go-against") in the first two games of the season these past five-plus years. Bet on it!
|09-15-19||Seahawks v. Steelers -4||Top||28-26||Loss||-107||102 h 39 m||Show|
My 10* "signature" 36-Club Play is on the Pit Steelers at 1:00 ET.
Both the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers did not play well in Week 1 but at the least the Seahawks picked up a win.Seattle escaped with a 21-20 home win over teh Bengals, despite getting nearly doubled up in yardage (429-233) and allowing the Bengals to control the ball for nearly 36 minutes. Russell Wilson was 14-of-20 for 196 yards and two scores in the opener (no INTs) but Seattle was able to run for just 72 yards (2.9 YPG), after leading the NFL in rushing in 2018 at 160.0 YPG. The offense gained only 232 yards with 12 FDs. Seattle's defense allowed 429 yards (22 FDs), as Andy Dalton completed 68.7 percent for 418 yards with two TDs and zero INTs.
Seattle's "rough outing" was a 'walk in the park' compared to what Pittsburgh experienced last Sunday night in Foxborough. The Pats opened a 20-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 33-3 win. New England outgained Pittsburgh 465-308, as Brady passed for 341 yards and three TDs. Big Ben threw 47 times, completing 27 for 276 yards and never got the Steelers into the end zone. The Pittsburgh running game gained just 32 yards on 2.5 YPG.
Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger engaged in a high-octane shootout the last time they shared the field, with Wilson passing for 345 yards and five TDs in a 39-30 home win. Roethlisberger passed for 456 yards but just one score. However, that was back in 2015. Here's what matters in this Week 2 meeting in 2019. The Steelers are 8-1 SU after losses by at least 20 points during Roethlisberger's 15-plus years in the league, while the Seahawks have made a habit of starting slow the last four-plus seasons. Seattle is now 3-6 SU the first two weeks of the season since the start of 2015, while going 0-8-1 ATS. That's a 100% "go-against!" Pittsburgh puts last Sunday night's debacle behind it with a CONVINCING win!
|09-15-19||Bills v. Giants +2.5||28-14||Loss||-105||21 h 29 m||Show|
My 8* NFL Week 2 Las Vegas Insider is on the NY Giants at 1:00 ET.
Sean McDermott got the Buffalo head coaching job in 2017 and ended a 17-year postseason drought for the franchise by going 10-6 in his first season to earn a wild card berth. However, the Bills regressed in 2018, going 6-10. Buffalo surprised most by going 4-0 in the 2019 preseason and then the Bills beat the Jets 17-16 at MetLife Stadium in Week 1. Buffalo allowed the first 16 points in its season opener before rallying in the second half to earn the one-point victory.Josh Allen orchestrated a pair of TD drives in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 3-yard scramble to get the Bills within 16-10, before connecting with John Brown for a 38-yard TD with three minutes remaining. Allen's late heroics helped atone for his earlier play, as he became the first NFL quarterback to commit four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) in a victory since 2013.
The Bills return to MetLife Stadium looking for their first 2-0 start since 2014 to take on the Giants, who are trying to avoid a sixth 0-2 start since 2013. The Giants, like the Bills, delivered a 4-0 preseason. However, they were not up to the challenge of slowing down Dallas QB Dak Prescott in Week 1, as he threw for 405 yards and four TDs (zero INTs). Dallas jumped out early against the Giants and led 35-10 into the fourth quarter, with the Giants scoring with just over two minutes left in the game for the 35-17 final.
Which Josh Allen will we see on Sunday? The one who played so poorly for most of the game, or that one which led the 4th-quarter comeback. As for the Giants, Eli threw for 306 yards (1 TD / 0 INTS) plus Barkley added 120 yards rushing (10.9 YPC), but the Giants trailed by 25 points as the 2-minute warning approached. Buffalo as a road favorite? The Bills have been favored on the road just EIGHT times over their last 50 games, going 2-6 ATS in those rare occurrences .Daniel Jones is 'looking over Eli's shoulder' (and the fans are likely behind tat move) but I'm betting the vet can earn a win here against an improving but "not there just yet" Buffalo team.
|09-15-19||Jaguars v. Texans OVER 42.5||Top||12-13||Loss||-110||4 h 5 m||Show|
My 10* NFL Total of the Week is on Jax/Hou Over at 1:00 ET.
The Houston Texans led the Saints 14-3 at the half on Monday night but found themselves down 27-21 with 50 seconds left in the game, after a New Orleans FG. However, they then went 75 yards in two plays to take the lead with 37 seconds left, only to lose on a 58-yard FG with 0:00 remaining on the clock. Houston doesn't want to hear anything about "moral" victories. The Jags opened their 2019 season, after an 0-4 preseason, at home against the high-powered KC Chiefs and their dynamic QB, Pat Mahomes. The Jacksonville D never came close to containing KC, as the Chiefs scored 40 points on 491 yards in the 14-point win. Mahomes passed for 378 yards with three TDs, all to WR Sammy Watkins (9 for 198). Nick Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract in March, broke his left clavicle in the first quarter and had surgery Monday (he is out until at least Week 11).However, rookie QB Gardner Minshew replaced Foles and impressed in his NFL debut.
The Jags visit their AFC rivals Sunday in Houston and in speaking about Minshew, head coach Doug Marrone told reporters, “He’s one of the few guys I’ve been around who can go from the classroom and really take it right onto the field. The other day was an unbelievable indication of that. I don’t know how many people – especially rookies – can go out not having done anything during the week and play like that.” Minshew completed his first 13 passes and finished 22 of 25 for 275 yards with two TDs (both in the 4th quarter) and an interception in the 40-26 loss.
The Watson (268 yards and three TDs) to Watkins connection was in mid-season form plus with Lamar Smith out for the season, the newly constructed backfield tandem also got the job done last week. Carlos Hyde rushed for 83 yards just nine days after being acquired from Kansas City and Duke Johnson recorded 90 yards from scrimmage in his debut for the Texans. However, the defense surrendered 510 total yards to the Saints and had a hard time getting pressure in the backfield, recording just one sack and no tackles for loss.
Both defense got 'lit up' last week and what changes, here? The Texans won the AFC South last season at 11-5 and with Luck retired, are favored to win it again in 2019. An 0-2 start would be a 'killer.' That said, Houston's defense is a real question mark. Minshew is bouyed by a now-healthy Leonard Fournette ( but YPC) and the receiving corps showed off its newfound depth against the Chiefs. SIX players caught four or more passes for the Jags last Sunday, with Conley catching six (97 yards and one TD) and Chalk (four catches for 146 yards, that 36.5 per and a score). This one should be 'OVER' by the time the game reaches the fourth quarter!
|09-14-19||Texas v. Rice OVER 55.5||Top||48-13||Win||100||52 h 44 m||Show|
My 10* Sep Total of the Month is on Texas/Rice Over at 8:00 ET.
The marquee game last weekend was No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas. The Longhorns missed some scoring opportunities but was still in the game, trailing 37-31 with just under three minutes left in the game. However, LSU hit a 61-yard scoring pass AND converted a two-point conversion. A late Texas TD made the final 45-38.Junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger passed for a career-high 401 yards and threw four TDs vs LSU, after passing for 276 yards and four TDs in three quarters of a 45-14 win over La Tech on Aug 31. The now 12th-ranked Longhorns will play 0-2 Rice on Saturday at NRG Stadium (home of the NFL's Texans). Rice opened with a closer-than-expected 14-7 loss at Army and then allowed Wake Forest to run up 513 yards of total offense last week in a 41-21 loss at home.
Had a couple more things broken Texas’ way in Week 2, they’d be 2-0 right now. All-in-all, the Longhorns put up a good effort against a tough LSU defense and if Wake could roll up 513 yards on Rice, expect Texas to do the same. Texas scored more than 40 points just three times in 2018, each time against an opponent which finished in the bottom half in the country in scoring defense. As we saw last week against a top-flight LSU defense, this year's Longhorns could very well average 40 PPG in 2019.
Rice announced early in the week that freshman QB Wiley Green would not start vs the Longhorns after he suffered a hit to the head against Wake Forest that resulted in him leaving the field on a backboard and a trip to the hospital. Tom Stewart, a graduate transfer from Harvard had a 14-2 ratio last season, finished the game in place of Green and passed for 185 yards and a score. The Texas pass D was shredded by LSU's Joe Burrow, who torched the Longhorns for 471 yards and four TDs (forgivable) but how about La Tech's J'Mar Smith throwing for 331 yards and two TDs.
Expect Texas to move at will against Rice but don't be surprised if Rice gets a few scores, as well. These former SWC rivals own a long history, with Texas leading 72-21-1. The Longhorns have won 41 of the last 42, including 13 straight. The schools last met in 2015, with Texas winning 42-28. I'll take that final here.
|09-14-19||TCU v. Purdue +2.5||Top||34-13||Loss||-109||50 h 51 m||Show|
My 10* Game of the Week is on Purdue at 7:30 ET.
Purdue led Nevada 24-7 at the half in Reno and extended its lead to 17 points again at 34-17, late in the third quarter. However, the Boilermakers never scored again and lost 34-31 (as 11-point road favorites), on a 56-yard FG as time expired by a walk-on freshman placekicker. The 'killer' was five turnovers and the Boilermakers knew they had to correct that right away. Purdue hosted Vanderbilt last Saturday and its lone turnover was an interception thrown by QB Elijah Sindelar. However, the junior could be forgiven, as he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after completing 34-of-52 passes for a career-high 509 yards and five touchdowns. Sindelar became the 18th player to surpass 3,000 passing yards at Purdue and although he suffered a concussion late in the fourth quarter, he practiced Wednesday and is expected to play.
TCU opened its 2019 season with a 39-7 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Aug 31 and then had last week off. Gary Patterson has had some career at TCU, taking over full-time in 2001 and going to 16 bowls the last 18 seasons. Eleven times his teams have won double digits in a single season, including the 2010 team going 13-0 after a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin (TCU ended as the nation's 2nd-ranked team). The Horned Frogs did go 11-3 in 2017 but in 2016 went 6-7 after a bowl loss and in 2019 went 7-6, after a bowl win.
The Horned Frogs played two QBs in their season-opening win and graduate transfer Alex Delton and freshman Max Duggan are expected to split snaps once again. The duo completed 26 of 45 for 284 yards (1 TD / 0 INTs) and the running game ran for 200 yards (5.6 YPC). However, the opponent WAS Arkansas-Pine Bluff. TCU averaged just 23.5 PPG, after a four-year run of averaging 33.6, 31.0, 42.1 and 46.5. The defense only returns five starters but Patterson rarely fields a poor defensive team.
Still, Sindelar has thrown for 932 yards with nine TDs in his first two games and has one of the nation's best WRs in Rondale Moore, who caught 114 passes last season for 12 TDs. He already has 24 catches and two TDs after two games. Purdue has a HUGE edge at the QB position and with next week off (Big Ten play begins Sep 28), this is a "statement" game for Purdue's season. Take a note that in 2018, Purdue beat three ranked opponents at home ( #23 BC 30-13, 32 Ohio St 49-20 and #19 Iowa 38-360, for the first time since 1959. The small home dog 'barks' VERY 'loudly' in this one.
|09-14-19||Iowa -2 v. Iowa State||Top||18-17||Loss||-110||80 h 8 m||Show|
My 9* Cy-Hawk Rivalry is on Iowa at 4:00 ET.
Iowa State struggled in its season opener at home against Northern Iowa on Aug 31, before winning 29-26 in triple-overtime. The Cyclones were off last weekend, getting an extra week to prepare for its biggest non-conference rival, Iowa.ISU was happy for the extra week off to make necessary adjustments after its lackluster debut. "It’s really good to have an opportunity to step back and say, Is what we’re doing the right thing? Where do we need to get better? What are the things that might help our offense or might help our defense?" offensive coordinator Tom Manning told the Ames Tribune. Iowa comes to Ames 2-0 and ranked 19th in the latest AP poll, after opening with home wins over Miami-Ohio (38-14) and Rutgers (30-0).
The Hawkeyes have hardly been tested so far by Mia-O and Rutgers but it's good news that QB Nate Stanley, who came into the season with high expectations (52-16 TD-to-INT ratio the last two years), is living up to the hype with 488 passing yards, six TDs and no interceptions through the first two games. It's true that Iowa's first two opponents were hardly ranked opponents but Kirk Ferentz-coached teams always play excellent defense. Iowa has opened by allowing 185.0 YPG (4th), 113.5 passing YPG (8th), 71.5 rushing YPG (16th) and 7.0 PPG (8th). The Cyclones managed to survive Northern Iowa in Week 1 thanks in large part to the connection between QB Brock Purdy (30-41 for 278 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs) and wide receiver Deshaunte Jones, who finished with career highs of 14 catches for 126 yards. Purdy took over as ISU's starting QB on Oct 13 and led the Cyclones to a 7-1 finish, before losing 28-26 to Washington St in the Alamo Bowl.
Having last weekend off is an advantage for ISU but Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has figured out this rivalry with FOUR straight wins. Iowa QB Stanley, a senior, is trying to go out 4-0 against the Cyclones, after coming in as a backup his freshman year (a 42-3 win) and starting this rivalry game the last two years in 13-3 and 44-41 wins. Iowa is off next weekend and then hosts Middle Tenn St on Sep 28. A win here and the Hawkeyes should be 4-0 when it begins Big Ten play at Michigan on Oct 5. Bet on it!
|09-14-19||East Carolina v. Navy -7||Top||10-42||Win||100||80 h 50 m||Show|
My 9* Weekend Wipeout is on Navy at 3:30 ET.
|09-13-19||Washington State v. Houston +9.5||31-24||Win||100||54 h 49 m||Show|
My 8* Friday Night Lights Play is on Houston at 9:15 ET.
Mike Leach career ended at Texas Tech after the 2009 season, amid lots of controversy. He resurfaced in Pullman with Wash St but saw his second season (6-7 after a bowl loss), sandwiched around a pair of 3-9 seasons in his first and third years. However, Wash St entered the 2019 season off FOUR straight bowl appearances, with his Cougars finishing 11-2 in 2018 and 10th in the AP's final poll. Washington State lost QB Greg Minshew (70.7%, 4,779 yard, 38-9 ratio) to the NFL but its offense is in mid-season form after just two games, as Anthony Gordon (five pass attempts in 2018) has completed 81.1% of his passes for 884 yards with nine TDs and just one INT. WSU has scored 117 points (58.5 PPG ranks 5th) on 606.0 YPG (7th), although the team is averaging only 112.0 YPG on the ground (110th).
The Cougars travel to Houston Friday night to take on the 1-1 Houston Cougars at NRG Stadium (home of the NFL's Texans). The Cougars opened their season Sep 1 at Oklahoma and while they never threatened to win the game, they were able to cover as a 21 1/2-point underdog in the 18-point loss. However, Oklahoma ran up 686 total yards, as QB Jalen Hurts passed for 332 yards and three TDs, while adding 176 rushing yards and another three TDs. Last Saturday's 37-17 home win over Prairie View A&M was hardly impressive.
Will Houston have much luck slowing down Gordon and the WSU offense? No, but don't be too quick to dismiss Houston. UH is 3-0 at NRG Stadium (just five miles for the campus) since 2012, a 33-23 upset over Oklahoma in 2016. Even more noteworthy is the fact that Houston is 8-1 ATS as an underdog vs ranked teams since 2013 (that's an 89% winning situation). The LONE non-cover in that stretch came in last year's 70-14 beatdown by Army in Armed Forces Bowl when QB D’Eriq King was out with injury. King is a true dual-threat, who passed for 2,582 yards in 2018 (36-6 ratio) plus ran for 674 yards and 14 TDs. In a much 'friendlier' venue that Norman on Sep 1, don't be surprised if King out-shines Gordon, giving the 20th-ranked Cougars all they want. Upset alert? Maybe, but take the points!
|09-13-19||North Carolina v. Wake Forest -3||Top||18-24||Win||100||52 h 35 m||Show|
My 10* Non-Conference ACC Showdown is on Wake Forest at 6:00 ET
Mack Brown had a great six-year run at North Carolina from 1992-1997. He led the Tar Heels to six straight bowls and had three, 10-win seasons. That was a springboard to take the job at Texas. He won nine games in each of his first three years but then won double digits in NINE consecutive season (2001-09). His 2004 team won the BCS national championship by ending USC's 34-game winning streak, 41-38. The 2009 team lost the BCS national championship game 37-21 to Alabama. Brown would coach the Longhorns for four more seasons but the 'Horns went just 30-21 and Brown resigned after the 2013 season. Brown was named head coach at North Carolina in November of 2018 after a 5-year absence from coaching and 21 years after he left UNC for Texas. The Tar Heels upset South Carolina in Charlotte 24-20 as a 12 1/2-point dog on Aug 31 and then, after watching a 17-3 first-quarter lead evaporate (UNC trailed 25-20 with about 4 1/2 minutes left), pulled it together and scored a TD and added a two-point conversion with 1:01 remaining for a 28-25 victory.
North Carolina plays its first true road game of 2019 this Saturday, when it visits Winston-Salem to take on ACC rival Wake Forest. Under the current ACC two-division, 14-team alignment, the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons are scheduled to play each other just once every SEVEN years. The schools wanted more and were allowed to play this year in what will be considered a "non-conference" contest (odd arrangement). Dave Clawson got his first FBS head coaching jog at Bowling Green in 2009 and in his fifth season (2013), his Falcons upset a 13-0 Northern Illinois team in the MAC championship game. He used that win to get the job at Wake and after going 3-9 in each of his first two years, he's led Wake to three straight bowl games, winning all THREE! Wake opened with a 38-35 home win over Utah St and then won 41-21 at Rice last Saturday.
Both teams have QBs off to excellent starts. North Carolina freshman Sam Howell has passed for four scores and 519 yards while directing four-quarter comebacks in each of his first two contests. He's the first-ever first true freshman to start a season at QB for North Carolina. Eight different receivers have caught at least one pass through two games plus RB Javonte Williams has added 178 rushing yards on 6.4 YPC. Wake's Jamie Newman, who won a quarterback battle in training camp after starting the final four games a season ago, has completed 74.3% for 713 yards (that total leads the ACC) with six TDs and not a single INT. The running game chips in 189.5 YPG (4.1 YPC).
Kudos to Brown for his team's fast start but the Tar Heels have played at Charlotte (hardly a neutral site against the Gamecocks) plus at home vs Miami. This true road game at Wake will be a big test, against an offense averaging 39.5 PPG on 546.0 YPG (12th), including 356.5 YPG through the air (11th). The Carolina hype is running high, as it's been said that the people at Chapel Hill haven't already turned their attention to Roy Williams' basketball team.Wake owns some explosive playmakers and it just may be time to start talking hoops in Chapel Hill after this one.
|09-09-19||Broncos v. Raiders +3||Top||16-24||Win||100||13 h 11 m||Show|
My 10* AFC West Game of the Month is on the Oak Raiders at 10:20 ET.
The Broncos went 5-11 & 6-10 under Van Joseph and he was 'shown the door.' Vic Fangio was hired in January and it's his first head coaching job. Fangio is known as a terrific DC and his defenses have consistently been among the most productive in the NFL in a number of categories, including scoring defense, total yards allowed and fewest penalties. The Raiders made it to the Super Bowl in 2002 (lost to Tampa Bay and Jon Gruden) but have since had just ONE winning season in the last 15. Ironically, Jon Gruden was hired away from the TV booth to resurrect the team last season but that hardly went well, as Oakland finished 4-12 The Raiders went 3-1 in the preseason but the month of August was dominated by disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown.
It appeared that the Raiders were going to suspend Brown before he delivered an emotional apology to teammates Friday, when the club changed course and said he would play Monday. However, Brown posted "release me" Saturday on Instagram and Oakland complied after an tumultuous training camp and a heated exchange with 1st-year GM Mike Mayock. The Raiders released Brown two days prior to tonight's season opener. To add "insult to injury," Brown immediately signed with the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots.
That's the back story. Here in 2019, the Broncos and Raiders are expected to battle for 3rd 7 4th-place in the division (Chiefs are the clear favorite with the Chargers a legitimate threat and strong wild card contender). Joe Flacco is Denver's latest starting QB and I have NO faith he's got much of anything left. He burst on the scene to lead the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his 1st five years and in 2012, led Baltimore to the championship. Flacco had a "Montana-like" postseason in 2012, passing for 1,140 yards in four wins with 11 TD & 0 INTs (117.2 QB rating). His timing was just right, as on March 4, 2013, he became the highest-paid QB in NFL history when he signed a six-year contract worth $120.6 million (that has long-since be surpassed). However, after posting a 54-26 record as a starter through his first five seasons Flacco was just 42-41 as a starter the L6 seasons. A hip injury during a Wk 9 loss in 2018 saw Flacco replaced by rookie Lamar Jackson, who led the Ravens to a 6-1 finish. In February 2019, the Ravens agreed to trade Flacco to the Denver Broncos in exchange for their 4th-round pick in the 2014 draft. BTW... Jackson threw for 324 yards & 5TD passes in Baltimore's 59-10 Week 1 win.
Without Brown, Tyrell Williams will likely emerge as the marquee WR for Oakland, as he makes his club debut after catching 153 passes and scoring 16 TDs over the last three seasons with the Chargers. Oakland selected running back Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick and hope the former Alabama star can improve a ground game that was 25th in the league in each of the last two seasons, while taking pressure off QB Derek Carr.The Raiders made protecting Carr a bigger priority this season after he was sacked a career-worst 51 times last year. Let's not be too quick to forget. Carr barely missed throwing for 4,000 yards in 2015 and 2016 (3,900-plus) and featured a 60-19 TD-to-INT ratio. Despite getting sacked 51 times in 2018, he threw for 4,049 yards with 19 TDs and just 10 INTs in 553 attempts!
You may read the following and get nervous. Denver owns the league's highest Week 1 winning percentage at .672 (39-19-1) and has won seven straight season openers, which is the NFL's longest active streak. Then again, how about this for some current trends?The Broncos are just 5-13 ATS during their past 18 away matchups and have failing to cover in EIGHT of their last 10 division games. Better yet, let's note that he home team has won the last SIX meetings in the series and Oakland comes in as a home dog! I love Carr over Flacco in this matchup.
|09-08-19||Steelers v. Patriots -5||Top||3-33||Win||100||32 h 43 m||Show|
My 9* SNF Magic Play is on the NE Pats at 8:20 ET.
The New England Patriots have won six world championships over the past 18 seasons behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady (Belichick may deserve some credit here, as well) and will begin their bid for a FOURTH consecutive Super Bowl appearance (only team to have done that is the Bills) against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. The Patriots have won at least 10 games in 16 straight seasons, tying the San Francisco f49ers for the most in NFL history. The Steelers are a fitting Week 1 opponent for the Pats, as Pittsburgh is the only other franchise to win six Super Bowls and happens to be the last team to beat the Pats, winning 17-10 in Week 15 of last year at Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger begins his 16th NFL season, after throwing for 5,129 yards and 34 TDs last season. However, WR Antonio Brown, who surpassed 100 receptions and 1,200 yards in each of the last SIX seasons is now playing for Oakland (I think?) and Le'Veon Bell, arguably the NFL's most-versatile RB, is now playing for the Jets, after sitting out all of last year. The good news is that wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster showed he is capable of a No. 1 role by catching 111 passes and scoring seven times in 2018, while James Conner stepped in for Bell and rushed for 973 yards and 12 scores while gathering in 55 receptions and a TD in 2018.
Brady will surely miss Gronk but the 42-year-old showed few signs of slowing down in 2018, throwing for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns despite playing with a patchwork crew of WRs (that's not exactly new). Julian Edelman captured Most Valuable Player honors in Super Bowl LIII with 10 receptions for 141 yards plus RB Sony Michel rushed for 930 yards and six scores as a rookie, while backfield mate James White led the team with 87 catches. There have been naysayers recently with some of New England's defensive play but the unit held the Rams (32.9 PPG in the regular season) to just THREE points in the Super Bowl win.
The Steelers 17-10 win as 2 1/2-point home underdogs in Week 15 was the the team's first victory against New England since 2011. Brady has never lost to the Steelers at Gillette Stadium (5-0), as Big Ben’s only career win at Gillette Stadium came when Tom Brady was sidelined in 2008. Brady owns a 13-3 record in Week 1, completing nearly 70-percent of his passes while throwing for 34 TDs against just 10 interceptions. The Steelers were 6-0 as an underdog in 2018 but how does one ignore that the Pats enters this contest with a 39-16-2 ATS mark (71.0%) their last 57 home games. Lay the points.
|09-08-19||Bengals v. Seahawks OVER 44||Top||20-21||Loss||-110||28 h 24 m||Show|
My 10* NFL Total of the Week is on Cin/Sea Over at 4:05 ET.
Zac Taylor, the newest member of the NFL's under-40 coaching fraternity,has replaced Marvin Lewis (16 seasons) as head coach at Cincinnati. The 36-year-old takes his Bengals to Seattle for a Week 1 contest with the Seahawks on Sunday. The Seahawks feature the new highest-paid player in the NFL in QB Russell Wilson, the highest-paid inside linebacker in the league in All-Pro Bobby Wagner plus just added a prime asset to their defense with the recent acquisition of pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Lewis led the Benglas to seven postseasons, including FIVE straight from 2011-15, but NEVER won a single playoff game. After three straight losing seasons from 2016-18, Lewis was finally let go. Pete Carroll begins his 10th season as Seattle's head coach and he's taken the Seahawks to SEVEN postseason in nine years, including back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014. Seattle won it all in 2013 and then in 2014, Carroll made one of the most infamous of all Super Bowl play-calls, as the Seahawks fell to the Pats. That said, while the Bengals are hardly considered playoff material in 2019, the Seahawks are expected to be a contender in the NFC.
QB Andy Dalton has seven 3,000-yard seasons in his career but is facing criticism at age 31 on whether he is the long-term solution under the new coaching regime. However, Taylor has publicly praised him and the fact remains that Cincy has skill position talent even without injured wide-out A.J. Green.It should be noted that Bengals opened lat season 5-3, before an injury-decimated team finished by losing SEVEN of its last eight games. Russell Wilson is primed for a big year, as in 2018, he joined Peyton Manning as the only QBs in NFL history to pass for 3,000 yards and 20 TDs in each of their first SEVEN seasons. What's more, the Seahawks had the top rushing offense in the NFL in 2018, averaging 160.0 YPG. Chris Carson ran for 1,151 yards (4.7 YPC / 9 TDs) and Marshawn has been long forgotten. On the other side of the ball, Clowney's addition late in training camp displayed the urgency Seattle felt at improving a defense that has slipped in recent seasons and allowed 353.3 YPG last season, ranking 16th of 32 teams (quite a drop-off from "The Legion of Boom" days).
Seattle is 14-0 in home games in September over the last nine seasons and averaged 28.5 PPG at home in 2018. However, as noted above, the team's D is not what it used to be. Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS as a road underdog of seven or more points during the last two seasons and I believe the Bengals just may give Seattle some trouble here.I fully expect Wilson (and his new and improved running game) to match or exceed its home scoring average from last year but I also expect Dalton and Co. to move the ball as well. O-V-E-R is the way to go!
|09-08-19||Falcons v. Vikings -4||Top||12-28||Win||100||68 h 37 m||Show|
My NFL 10* Sep Game of the Month is on the Min Vikings at 1:00 ET.
The Falcons and the Vikings square off in a Week 1 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota.on Sunday afternoon.The Falcons ended a 12-game preseason losing streak on Aug 30 witha 31-12 win at Jacksonville (Jags finished 0-4). The Vikings lost their final preseason game but had won and covered their first three. That's nothing new, as Mike Zimmer is 19-6 SU and 14-7 ATS in preseason plays since taking over as Minnesota's head coach. Atlanta's Dan Quinn enters his fifth season as Atlanta's head coach but one wonders if he and his team will ever be able to overcome the devastating loss in the Super Bowl to the Pats following the 2016 season (blew a 28-3 lead!). Zimmer begins his sixth year at Minnesota (47-32-1 record). The Vikes' best season under Zimmer was in 2017 (13-3), when they lost the NFC championship game at Philly.
Atlanta’s offense hasn’t been able to replicate what it did in the 2016 season when Matt Ryan (4,944 yards / 38-7 ratio) was the NFL's MVP and led the Falcons to the Super Bowl (Falcons were the NFL's highest-scoring team at 33.8 PPG).The Falcons averaged just 22.1 PPG in 2017 and while they improved slightly last season (26.8), they finished 7-9. The Falcons’ defense was 27th in yards per play allowed amid serious injuries to some of the team’s most important players in 2018. In fact, the defense has ranked no better than 20th in three out of four years under head coach Dan Quinn.
In Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have an excellent group of playmakers. The offensive line is expected to be much better than it was in 2018, when it had trouble giving Kirk Cousins much time in the pocket. Cousins' difficulties against good teams have been well-documented but I'm not sure the Falcons will be a "good team" in 2019. The Vikings went 8-1-1 SU last season against teams that finished the year with fewer than 10 wins and own an 18-2-1 record against such teams over the last two seasons.
Atlanta has covered the spread just ONCE in its last six games against Minnesota and checks in 4-12 ATS since 2017 on the regular season road (75% "go-against"). Minnesota is 36-16-1 ATS in its last 53 home games and Zimmer is 4-1 in season-openers plus checks in 9-3 ATS his last 12 September games.
|09-08-19||Titans +6 v. Browns||43-13||Win||100||65 h 25 m||Show|
My 8* NFL Week 1 Las Vegas Insider is on the Ten Titans at 1:00 ET.
The Cleveland Browns had a promising finish last year, winning FIVE of their last seven to end the season at 7-8-1. That's pretty rarefied air considering te team was 0-16, 1-15 and 3-13 the previous two seasons. That promising finish coupled with a strong off-season have expectations are running high in Cleveland. QB Baker Mayfield is trying to follow up an excellent rookie campaign (63.8% / 3,725 yards / 27-14 ratio). Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joined the team in the off-season and join fellow WR Jarvis Landry (81 catches). RB Nick Chubb (996 yards / 5.2 YPC / 8 TDs) expects to top 1,000 yards in 2019.The Titans are a solid team in the AFC South, the most competitive and strongest division in the AFC. The Titans have won nine games in each of the last three years and the hope is that this is the year QB Marcus Mariota stays healthy (he's yet to play all 16 games).
Tennessee doesn’t have superstars but the Titans don’t have any glaring weaknesses. Only TWO teams surrendered fewer points per game than the Titans last season (18.9) and they ranked eighth in yards allowed. Offensively, a lot of the Titans success will come down to Mariota simply staying healthy. Tennessee made several moves in an effort to upgrade the protection around him, giving a $44 million contract to free agent left guard Rodger Saffold and drafting guard Nate Davis in the third round.The Titans have upgraded Mariota’s receiving corps, adding slot-option Adam Humphries, rookie wideout A.J. Brown and getting tight end Delanie Walker back from an ankle injury that sidelined him most of last season. RBDerrick Henry showed how dominant he can be by rushing for 585 yards and scoring seven TDs during the final four games.
The Browns haven’t been ranked inside the top-20 in offensive points scored since 2007 but that should change in 2019. However, the Browns gave up the third-most yards per game last year (393.0 YPG), while ranking 28th in run defense (135.2 YPG). I think expectations are running WAY too high on the Browns. Is Mayfield really that good? He struggled against the better defensive teams he played against last season and the Titans will bring their "D" to Cleveland. Here's something I will NOT ignore. Cleveland is 5-14-2 ATS in its last 21 games in Week 1 and 9-20 ATS in its last 29 home games. As for the Titans, they have covered 10 of their last 15 games as an underdog of at least three points, while Browns have failed to cover EIGHT of their last 11 games as a favorite of at least three points. Finally, the Browns last won a Week 1 game back in 2004, losing 13 in a row before playing a 21-21 tie in 2018. At this pointspread, the Browns would have been 0-14 ATS in those games. Take the points!
|09-07-19||Tulsa v. San Jose State OVER 52.5||Top||34-16||Loss||-110||30 h 52 m||Show|
My 10* Total of the Week is on Tulsa/San Jose St Over at 9:00 ET.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane had a tough assignment in Week 1, traveling to East Lansing for a game with preseason No. 18 Michigan State. Tulsa was smothered by the MSU defense, gaining just 80 yards and eight FDs in the 28-7 loss. Tulsa has a much easier assignment this Saturday, as it visits San Jose State. These Spartans opened 2019 with a 35-18 home win over Northern Colorado, as QB Josh Love passed for 224 yards with two TDs.
Tulsa actually held its own last week on the road against a ranked Michigan State team and the pointspread (Tulsa is about a TD favorite) reflects the team's better than expected showing against MSU. Tulsa is again matched up against a team nick-named the Spartans but San Jose St is NO Michigan St. QB Zach Smith is a Baylor transfer (he started 10 games for the Bears in (2016-17) and look for a breakout game here (he owns an 'elite arm'), vs a San Jose St defense that has allowed 36.6, 41.7 and 34.7 PPG the last three seasons. As for San Jose St, last week's win matched the team's win total from 2018 (1-11). The Spartans should be able to match Tulsa score-for-score, as Tulsa allowed 34.5 PPG in its six road games of 2018. Tulsa enters this game with a 13-game road losing skid and can only win by outscoring San Jose St. I'll stay away from the SU winner but will go O-V-E-R!
|09-07-19||LSU v. Texas +7||Top||45-38||Push||0||30 h 6 m||Show|
My 9* play is on Texas at 7:00 ET.
2019's Week 1 saw just one top-25 matchup, as No. 16 Auburn pulled out a late 27-21 win over No. 11 Oregon in Arlington, Tx last Saturday night. The victory moved Auburn to the No. 10 spot in the new AP poll, while Oregon dropped to No. 16.. The two marquee matchups of Week 2 are No. 1 Clemson putting its 16-game winning streak on the line at home vs No. 12 Texas A7M and No. 6 LSU visiting No. 9 Texas. No one really expects A&M to upset Clemson, so in effect, the LSU/Texas game holds more drama and the winner will firmly establish itself as a top-10 team. LSU unveiled a new spread offense in its opener against Georgia Southern and rolled up 472 yards in a 55-3 rout. Texas did not face much of a challenge in its season opener either, easing past Louisiana Tech in Austin, 45-14.
LSU's senior QB Joe Burrow was 23-of-27 for 278 yards and five TDs last Saturday, as different players recorded at least one catch. Spreading the ball around is key to the team's new offensive system plus Burrow is trying to get the ball out quicker this season. So far, so good. He was not sacked in the opener. LSU always plays great defense and the out-manned Eagles were held to 98 total yards and just eight FDs. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger completed 28-of-38 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in the opener but LSU's secondary is one of the best in the country. Texas ran for 153 yards last week (5.1 YPC) but doing that again vs LSU's defensive front is HIGHLY unlikely. A concern for Texas is the Longhorns allowing 413 total yards against La Tech, including 340 through the air.
Ex-Saints aide Joe Brady had LSU's "new-look" passing game in mid-season form but should LSU really be favored hetr in Austin (and by about a TD!!)? The temperature in Austin likely will approach 100 degrees on Saturday and that opens the door for fatigue to play a role. Tom Herman has made quite a name for himself in his four years as a head coach in "big games." He is 10-6 SU as an underdog and a MONEY-MAKING 13-2-1 ATS. Take the points!
|09-07-19||BYU v. Tennessee -3||Top||29-26||Loss||-115||51 h 19 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND Play is on Tennessee at 7:00 ET.
Phillip Fulmer took over as Tennessee's head coach during the 1992 season for Johnny Majors. He would go on to coach 16 full season at Knoxville, winning 10 or more games NINE times, while taking the Vols to a bowl game in 15 of 17 years (includes 1992, when he took over for Majors). His 1998 team won the national championship with a 13-0 record. However, he was let go (allowed to resign) in 2008 and the Vols have not reached double digits in wins in ANY of the last 10 seasons (high-mark was nine wins in 2015 and 2016). Jeremy Pruitt's first season ended 5-7 and then he began Year 2 with what many are calling "the worst defeat in program history!" The Vols hosted a Georgia St team which came in after closing 2018 with SEVEN straight losses and as a 25-point underdog, beat the Vols 38-30. Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano admitted he was "disgusted" following the eight-point loss, which is even a little deceptive given that the Volunteers scored a last-second TD.
BYU comes to Knoxville off a NINTH straight "Holy War" loss to Utah. The Cougars fell 30-12,as three BYU turnovers led directly to three Utah scores. BYU enters 2019 playing its 10th consecutive season as an Independent. The Cougars bounced back from an 'ugly' 4-9 finish in 2017 (school's first losing season since 2004) to finish 7-6 in 2018, after a 49-18 rout of Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.Head coach Kalani Sitake enters his fourth season at BYU and the offense is led by sophomore QB Zach Wilson, who started the final seven games of 2018 (note: he was a perfect 18-for-18 for 307 yards with four TD passes in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl). Wilson rushed for 43 yards vs Utah, while achieving career highs in passing attempts (33) and completions (21). However, he threw for a modest 208 yards plus had two interceptions returned for TDs. BYU ran for only 92 yards and gained only 14 FDs. Defensively, BYU allowed 262 yards on the ground (5.5 YPC).
Technical trends surely don't favor the Vols, who are now 3-12 ATS over their last 15 home games. Meanwhile, BYU is 9-2 as a road dog since the beginning of 2016. However, I'm throwing out the tech trends here, as Tennessee had won 30 straight home games vs non-Power-5 conference schools prior to last week.QB Guarantano recorded the second 300-yard game of his career last Saturday finishing with 311 yards and a pair of TDs. Another postive was Tennessee committed just THREE penalties last week. It's just Week 2 but the Vols could be in a "Make or Break" seasonal mode in this one.
|09-07-19||Wyoming v. Texas State +7||23-14||Loss||-105||30 h 36 m||Show|
My 8* play is on Texas St at 7:00 ET.
The Wyoming Cowboys pulled a Week 1 shocker, upsetting Missouri 37-31 in Laramie as 15-point home dog. QB Sean Chambers threw for just 92 yards on 6 of 16 passing but led the Cowboys in rushing with 120 yards and a TD. RB Xazavian Valladay added 118 yards on the ground and also score a TD. A worry has to be a defense which allowed Missouri 537 total yards and 28 FDs. Winning the TO 'battle' 3-0 was a HUGE key for Wyoming.The Texas State Bobcats were manhandled 41-7 at Texas A&M to open their season and the team's lone score came on a 27-yard TD pass with only 36 seconds left in the game (giving them a push/ATS win).
Wyoming took full advantage of a rare home game (at 7,200 feet) against a bottom-rung SEC foe but the Cowboys hit the road this week in what sets up as a classic letdown spot. Texas State has a new head coach in Jake Spavital and 19 of 22 starters are back from the 2018 team. This is just the fourth meeting between the two schools and the home teams has won SU in each of the first three. The home dog 'barks' LOUDLY in this one!
|09-07-19||San Diego State v. UCLA -8||23-14||Loss||-110||27 h 52 m||Show|
My 7* play is on UCLA at 4:15 ET.
The San Diego State Aztecs opened their season with a victory but a 6-0 home win over Weber St as a 12-point favorite was hardly inspiring. UCLA had a "revenge" game with Cincy to open its 2019 season but fell, 24-14. Chip Kelly's first season at UCLA was an unqualified disaster (3-9) and a loss here almost guarantees an 0-3 start to 2019, as Oklahoma visits the Rose Bowl next Saturday. SDSU gained just 238 yards at home vs an FCS team (granted a nationally-ranked one) and the Aztecs have NEVER beaten the Bruins. The schools first met back in 1922 and the Bruins lead the series 21-0-1. Kelly has 19 starters back and this is a game he can and NEEDS to win. I'm laying the points.
|09-07-19||Vanderbilt v. Purdue -7||24-42||Win||100||44 h 20 m||Show|
My 8* Eye-Opener is on Purdue at 12:00 ET.
Vanderbilt had a tough season-opener on Aug 31, as No. 3 Georgia visited Nashville. The 'Dores fell behind 21-0 in the first 22 minutes against the Bulldogs and managed just a pair of Ryley Guay field FGs in a 30-6 loss. Yes, Vandy was out-gained 479-225 but the team's "D" was able to keep Georgia's potent offense from scoring a TD over the game's final 37 minutes. Purdue traveled to Reno, Nevada to open its season on Aug 31 (farthest the Boilermakers had traveled for s a season-opener since 2009 at Eugene, Oregon). Purdue led 24-7 at the half and extended its lead to 17 points again at 34-17, late in the third quarter. However, the Boilermakers never scored again and lost 34-31 (as 11-point road favorites). on a 56-yard FG as time expired by a walk-on freshman placekicker. The two schools will meet for the first time since 1942 when the Commodores travel to West Lafayette, Ind. on Saturday afternoon.
Vandy QB Riley Neal finished 14-of-25 for just 85 yards against a Georgia defense expected to be one of the best in the nation. Senior running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who rushed for 1,244 yards and 12 TDs in 2018, had 74 yards on 15 carries. Obviously, Purdue's defense will be an easier test but while Vandy did 'hold' Georgia to 30 points, the defense did allow 481 yards. Purdue's senior QB Elijah Sindelar completed 34-of-52 passes for 423 yards and four TDs but also threw two second-half interceptions that helped key the Wolf Pack's comeback. All-American wide receiver Rondale Moore had 11 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown but also fumbled a punt that set up a Nevada field goal.
Jeff Brohm's Purdue team returned just three offensive starters but last Saturday's performance on the road shows that they’re capable of putting points on the board. NINE defensive starters return, so expect Purdue to have much better success here at home, against a questionable Vandy offense. Purdue let a game slip away that it rightfully should’ve won last Saturday and here at home, should "get it right" vs Vandy, a team which has lost its last SEVEN road openers when playing a Power-5 school. Jeff Brohm was seen as a rising star at Western Ky (30-10 record, while leading the Hilltoppers to three straight bowl berths) but so far, he's finding the Big Ten much tougher. The SEC is of course a 'monster' but Vandy is VERY beatable. Lay it!
|09-06-19||Marshall +12 v. Boise State||7-14||Win||100||34 h 12 m||Show|
My 8* Friday Night Lights play is on Marshall at 9:00 ET.
I referred to Boise St last week as the “Gonzaga of College Football." After all, the Broncos began to ascend to prominence on the gridiron in the late ‘90s, about the same time the Bulldogs began 'making noise' on the hardwood. Twenty years later, the Broncos and Bulldogs keep winning. The Broncos went 10-3 in 2018 (bowl game vs Boston College was cancelled due to inclement weather) and the Broncos reached double digits in wins for the 16th time in the last 20 years. The Broncos opened their 2019 season with a trip to Tallahassee (moved from Jacksonville because of the hurricane situation) and after falling behind 31-13 by the late second quarter, staged a dramatic comeback.The BSU defense tightened (FSU never scored over the game's final 34 minutes and was held to just 68 yards in the second half), while freshman QB Hank Bachmeier, hailed as one of the best recruits in Boise State football history, gave every indication that he's "the real deal." Bachmeier threw for 407 yards (one TD / one INT) plus was greatly helped by a running game that ran 57 times (the second-most during Harsin's tenure as coach since 2014) for 214 yards. RB Robert Mahone had 142 yards (he ran for just 128 all last year and 115 in 2017) and two TDs.
The Broncos are back home Friday night to host Marshall. Doc Holliday's Thundering Herd have been 'bowling' in FIVE of the last six seasons and have won EACH bowl contest! Marshall 'tuned up' last Saturday with a 56-17 romp over VMI, an FCS school. Marshall amassed 620 yards of total offense, while limiting VMI to 257. The Herd had a balanced attack of 340 yards passing and 280 rushing with 35 FDs.QB Isaiah Green (18-28 for 233 yards) threw a career-high four TD passes and the running game averaged 6.1 YPC.
Marshall should NOT be overlooked, as the Herd are 8-2 ATS the last three seasons when playing as an underdog. As for Boise, that famed "blue carpet" has not produced the kind of results Boise St bettors would have liked. In fact, the Broncos check in at 16-35-1 the last 51 games as a home favorite. Take the points.
|08-31-19||Oregon v. Auburn OVER 55.5||Top||21-27||Loss||-109||60 h 32 m||Show|
My 10* Total of the Week is on Oregon/Auburn Over at 7:30 ET.
Every school ranked in the AP's preseason poll will play in Week 1 (note: No. 8 Florida opened its season last Saturday vs Miami.) However, there is just ONE Week 1 contest which features a game between two ranked opponents and that's No. 11 Oregon taking on No. 16 Auburn in Arlington, Texas. These schools have met just ONCE before but it was a memorable one. Led by Heisman winner Cam Newton, the Tigers defeated the Ducks 22-19 on Jan. 10, 2011 in the 2010 BCS national championship game, winning on a 19-yard FG as time expired.
The Oregon Ducks are coming off a 9-4 season in 2018 season, which included a 7-6 Redbox Bowl win over Michigan State. QB Justin Herbert decided to NOT enter the 2019 draft (many thought he's be a top-5 pick) and is expected to have a HUGE year. His 2018 season was pretty good, as he threw for 3,151 yards with 29 TDs and just eight INTs. Leading receiver Dillon Mitchell (75 catches / 1184 yards / 10 TDs) is gone but Jaylon Redd (38 catches) is expected to fill his role for this season. Oregon also brought in Juwan Johnson, a graduate transfer from Penn State (32 receptions last season) plus Cristobal also recruited four very highly touted freshman receivers, led by Mycah Pittman. CJ Verdell (1,018 yards / 10 TDs) and Travis Dye 739 yards / 4 TDs) give the Oregon offense great balance.The defense returns seven starters, including LB Troy Dye who was far and away the Ducks' leading tackler (109). Oregon also landed landing #1 overall prospect DE Kayvon Thibodeaux.
While the Ducks will feature a senior QB in Herbert, Auburn will start a freshman quarterback (Bo Nix) for the first time since 1946. However, he owns "good genes," as his father Patrick led Auburn to an 11-0 season in 1993. Nix is expected to be a dual-threat but Auburn also boasts one of the better RB tandems in the SEC, as JaTarvious Whitlow and Kam Martin combined for 1,245 yards last season. The Tigers' top-two pass catchers from last season, Darius Slayton (NYG) and Ryan Davis (Pats), are off to the NFL, so expect Seth Williams, who led the SEC in yards per reception at 20.5, to emerge as Nix's top option. The defense returns seven starters and note that Auburn's defense is one of four units (along with No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama and No. 12 Washington) to finish in the top-15 in scoring defense in each of the last three seasons!
"The hype machine" is on 'high' in Eugene but let's remember that the Ducks were just 5-4 in a watered-down Pac-12 in 2018. No, this isn't a bowl game but it is a major neutral-site, intersectional showdown (Pac-12/SEC ), so the Pac-12's sad-sack 3-19 ATS mark the last three bowl seasons is noteworthy. Head coach Gus Malzahn is back calling the plays for Auburn and all reports say Nix has all the tools to make Tigers 'run on all cylinders.' Expect Auburn to score plenty here Oregon and while the Auburn D is always tough, Herbert is excellent and he has plenty of 'weapons.' Let's leave it here. This is Oregon's first neutral-site opening game since 2011, when the Ducks lost to another SEC school (LSU), 40-27. Sounds about right. I'm Goin' Over!
|08-31-19||Virginia Tech -4 v. Boston College||Top||28-35||Loss||-110||50 h 48 m||Show|
My 9* Conference Game of the Month (ACC) is on Va Tech at 4:00 ET.
Florida State's 5-7 finish in 2018 was the school's worst since 1975 and its sub-500 season ended FSU's remarkable streak of 36 straight bowl appearances. That over-shadowed what happened in Blacksburg. Yes, Va Tech's 6-6 regular season record extended the school's bowl streak to 26 in a row (now the longest active streak) but the Hokies' 35-31 loss to Cincinnati in the Military Bowl gave the school its first losing season since 1992. Tech opened 4-2 but a four-game losing streak meant the Hokies needed to win their last two regular season games to make a bowl (see above for that result). Tech opens 2019 with a conference game on the road, as the Hokies travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. The Eagles beat Va Tech in Blacksburg 31-21 on Nov 2, giving them a 7-2 record and a top-25 ranking. However, BC lost its final three regular season games, before the school's bowl game against Boise St was cut short after one quarter by severe weather. BC has won exactly SEVEN games in FIVE of head coach Steve Addazio's six seasons, earning a bowl bid each time.
Ryan Willis took over early last season at QB and threw for 2,716 yards and 24 TDs with nine interceptions in 12 games. The senior is primed for a big year. WRs Damon Hazelton (51 catches / 802 yards / 8 TDs) and Tre Turner (26 catches / 535 yards / 4 TDs) will be his top targets, while junior TE Dalton Keene (28 catches) could have a breakout season. The rushing game will be RB by committee but Fuente had outstanding offenses at Memphis and this year's Va Tech team has all of the makings of a dynamic offense. Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster has been at Va Tech 'forever,' and after a succession of top-10 defenses for more than two decades, it's hard to NOT see a bounce-back from Tech's defense in 2019 (Tech allowed 31 PPG and almost 440 YPG in 2018). Note: 10 of 11 starters are back.
Junior RB Dillon missed roughly a month last year due to an ankle injury but he still finished with 1,108 yards and 10 TDs (he gained 1,589 yards with 14 TDs as a freshman). Junior QB Anthony Brown (2,121 passing yards, / 20 TDs) is back and he he'll and operate behind a solid Boston College OL. The BC defense returns just three starters from a unit which allowed 25.7 PPG and just over 400 YPG.
Boston College will undoubtedly be looking up at Clemson in the ACC Atlantic Division and probably Syracuse, as well. That means the Eagles will be fighting with FSU (greatly improved in 2019) and NC St for a third-place finish and a bowl berth. Meanwhile, the ACC's Coastal Division is wide-open and Va Tech is as good a pick as any to win it. The Hokies had beaten the Eagles in three straight before last year's game, winning by an average of 26 points. However, after the Hokies led 14-7 at the half last season, BC scored 24 unanswered points in an eventual 31-21 victory. Va Tech has won 23-10 and 26-10 in in last two visits to BC. That sounds about right, here. Revenge works!
|08-31-19||Boise State v. Florida State -5.5||Top||36-31||Loss||-108||97 h 6 m||Show|
My NCAAF 10* August Game of the Month is on Florida St at 7:00 ET (note: game has been moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee).
The Boise St Broncos went 10-3 in 2018 (bowl game vs BC was cancelled due to inclement weather) but the Broncos reached double digits in wins for the 16th time in the L20 years. The beat should go on at Boise this season, as the Broncos look to secure their 18th straight bowl berth. The Broncos open their 2019 season with a trip to Tallahassee(game moved from Jacksonville due to weather issues) where they will take on the Florida State Seminoles. Willie Taggart's 1st season in Tallahassee was an unqualified 'disaster,' as FSU's 5-7 finish was the school's worst s/1975. More notably, its bowl streak of 36 straight appearances came to an end. The Seminoles losing record was no fluke, as FSU lost FIVE games by 21 points or more, including a 59-10 loss to Clemson.
There is little doubt that Boise will again be "bowl-bound," as unlike in 2018 when the Broncos faced FOUR ranked teams, they may not face ANY in 2019. However, there are a ton of questions on the offensive side of the ball for Boise heading into 2019. 4-year starter Brett Rypien has finally graduated and left as the MWC’s all-time leading passer with 13,578 yards. The successor remained up in the air into fall camp, as five candidates who had attempted just 10 passes between them were competing in the spring. Hank Bachmeier has been hailed as one of the best recruits in Boise State history and just recently, head coach Bryan Harsin said Bachmeier will be the Broncos’ starting QB for their 2019 season opener. “Hank earned it,” Harsin said. “It wasn’t given to him. ... He made throws, he completed passes, he did things in the pocket and he made decisions out there that we want to see. And whether a freshman, senior, doesn’t matter, those are the things that we’re looking for at that position.” That said, Boise St lost its top-2 WRs from 2018 and early NFL draftee RB Alex Mattison (1,415 YR, 17 TDs) leaves a 'hole' in the backfield. No returning RB gained as much as 200 yards in 2018 (Harsin has talked about a "RB by committee"option) so Boise’s string of 10 straight years with a 1000-yard rusher might come to end.
FSU had QB questions coming into this season as well, but head coach Willie Taggart made the announcement last Sunday that James Blackman has won the starting job. Blackman beat out Wisconsin graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook and Louisville transfer Jordan Travis. Blackman has started 13 games, including 12 as a true freshman in 2017. He has thrown for 2,740 yards, 24 TDs & 12 INTs at FSU. In his only 2018 start, Blackman threw for 421 yards, four TDs and one interception in a 47-28 road loss to NC State. Taggert’s offense will have a different look this year with new O.C. Kendall Briles running the show. Briles’ features a fast-paced but simplified attack and expect Blackman to utilize an up-tempo attack, looking to keep the Broncos defense on its heels. Speaking of defense, EIGHT of FSU's top-10 tacklers are back and the unit has pledged to but last season's collapse (allowed 42.0 PPG its last five) in "the rear-view mirror."
I'm predicting a big "bounce-back" season for Taggert and FSU, as the Seminoles are loaded and athletic across the board. I expect the Boise D to be "on its heels," struggling in the heat and humidity of a "Hot August Night" in Florida (something the boys from Idaho can't simulate in practice). Yes, QB Hank Bachmeier is highly-touted but expect the true freshman to be in for a 'LONG' night against a highly-motivated and athletic FSU defense. I'm calling a two-TD 'cover' from FSU!
|08-31-19||Ole Miss +5 v. Memphis||10-15||Push||0||49 h 16 m||Show|
My 8* Eye-Opener is on Ole Miss at 12:00 ET.
Memphis football looked 'dead in the water' from 2009-13, going 12-50 (.194) in that five-year span. However, in Justin Fuente's third season at Memphis (2014), the Tigers would go 10-3, including a thrilling 55-48 (2 OT) victory over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl. Fuente led the Tigers to a bowl berth again in 2015 but left to take the Va Tech job. Mike Norvell took over in 2016 and he's led the Tigers to three straight bowls but Memphis has lost each one. The Tigers are off a so-so 8-6 season and return 14 starters. The Ole Miss Rebels were just 5-7 last year and have won SIX or less games in each of the last three years, making the school's last bowl appearance back in 2015. That Sugar-Bowl winning team finished 10th in the final AP poll with a 10-3 record.
How quickly, things have fallen apart in Oxford. Matt Luke became the interim head coach at Ole Miss after Hugh Freeze was forced to resign back in June of 2017. After a late season push allowed Ole Miss to finish 6–6, the interim tag on November 26, 2017 and he became 37th head football coach in school history. However, last year's 5-7 record (1-7 in the SEC) has put some pressure on Luke. Luke sure didn't "stand pat," as he hired two successful former head coaches as his offensive and defensive coordinators. Rich Rodriguez (OC) and Mike MacIntyre (DC) are his new coordinators. When last seen, Rich-Rod’s spread option saw Arizona QB Khalil Tate create more than a few headlines and there was some Heisman-talk. Reports are that redshirt freshman Matt Corral (239 yards, 2 TDs) will thrive as Rich-Rod's QB and senior RB Scottie Phillips will get lots of work after he ran for 928 yards in his first season with the Rebels (JC transfer), While Rich-Rod's transition should go smoothly, Mike MacIntyre will have his hands full with the Rebels' defense. Ole Miss ranked 116th against the run and 111th against the pass in 2018. The Rebels are switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 on defense and there is nowhere to go but up!
Norvell's Tigers have averaged 42.9, 45.5 and 38.8 PPG in his three seasons at Memphis and theTigers return QB Brady White (3,296 yards / 26-9 ratio). Leading rusher Darrell Henderson (1,909 yards, 22 TDs) and Tony Pollard (552, 6 TDs both decided to leave for the NFL but Patrick Taylor Jr. stuck around for his senior season. He ran for 1,122 yards, and 16 TDs. Memphis also returns three of its top-four receivers, including the outstanding Damonte Coxie, who caught 72 balls (1,174 yards and 7 TDs). The offense will again be prolific but the defense coughed up various big leads in 2018, finishing 105th in pass ranking and 76th in rush ranking (31.9 PPG).
OK, Ole Miss' defense stunk in 2018 but expect MacIntyre to make a difference. Ole Miss returns 11 of their 12 top-tacklers plus a probable top CB in Jaylon Jones, who missed 11 games due to a torn ACL. Ole Miss could really use a confidence boosting victory to set the tone for this season and the Rebels will likely have lots of support at the Liberty Bowl, which is just an hour or so from Oxford. Speaking of 'leaky' defenses, the Memphis D gave up 93 points in its losses in the AAC championship game loss (UCF) and the Birmingham Bowl loss (Wake Forest). Memphis also lost "big-time" at Missouri last season (an equally bad SEC defensive team, ala Ole Miss), 65-33! I'm taking the points!
|08-29-19||Utah -6.5 v. BYU||Top||30-12||Win||100||36 h 30 m||Show|
My 10* Rivalry Game of the Month is on Utah at 10:15 ET.
You know it's a bitter rivalry when the schools involved can't even agree on when the first game was played. Utah claims a lead of 61–34–4, while BYU claims Utah leads 58–31–4, as BYU does not count the six games between Utah and Brigham Young Academy in its records (played prior to 1922). Either way, Utah has a large lead in the overall series and dominated the rivalry prior to 1972 by going 41–8–4. Then, BYU dominated the series with a record of 19–2 from 1972 to 1992. However, since 1993, Utah is 18-7, including EIGHT straight wins.
Despite some key late-season injuries in 2018, Utah finished atop the South standings (6-3) for the 1st time since entering the Pac-12 in 2011, before losing a hard-fought 10-3 defensive battle to Washington in the Pac-12 champ game. The Utes would then lose 31-20 to Northwestern in the Holiday bowl to finish 9-5. However, at the Pac-12 media gathering in July, the Utes garnered 33 of the 35 1st-place votes in the South & edged the North’s Oregon (11 votes) & Washington (nine) with 12 votes as the projected conference title game winner. BYU enters 2019 playing its 10th consecutive season as an Independent. The Cougars bounced back from an 'ugly' 4-9 finish in 2017 (school's 1st losing season since 2004) to finish 7-6 in 2018, after a 49-18 rout of Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss (an All-Pac 12 preseason choice) are both ready to go in 2019. They both missed LY's Pac-12 championship loss, as well as the Utes' bowl loss. Huntley is back after missing the L5 games of 2018 with a broken collarbone. When healthy, he is a dual threat at QB. As for Moss, he racked up 1,096 yards (6.1 YPC) & 11 TDs in just nine games, before a knee injury ended his season early. On the other side of the ball, Utah boasts one of the nation’s top DLs, led by Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu and John Penisini. The talented secondary is led by preseason All-Pac 12 first-team selections Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson.
Head coach Kalani Sitake enters his 4th season at BYU and the offense will be led by soph QB Zach Wilson, who started the final seven games of 2018 (note: he was a perfect 18-for-18 for 307 yards with four TDPs in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl). The team's rushing attack is a question mark, as LY's leading rusher Lopini Katoa ran for only 423 yards (5.6 YPC / 8 TDs). BYU played good defense last season, allowing a modest 21.4 PPG on 325.2 YPG and its strength this year will be a seconddary that returns CB Chris Wilcox plus safeties Dayan Ghanwoloku & Austin Lee (trio combined for 31 starts last season).
BYU blew a 27-7 lead with a minute left in the 3rd Q of LY's game, before suffering a painful 35-27 defeat in Salt Lake City. Revenge? With a visit to Tennessee up next and then back-to-back home games against USC and Washington, winning here will be even more important. That said, BYU has had played with revenge vs Utah for some time now, as Utah has won EIGHT straight in the series. Whittingham has quite a run at Utah since taking over for Urban Meyer after the 2004 season. He's led the Utes to 12 bowls the L14 years, winning 10. His teams have finished in the final AP poll FIVE times, including a No. 2 finish back in 2008, when the team capped a 13-0 season with a 31-17 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. In 2014, 2015 & 2016, the Utes finished ranked after beginning the season unranked. This year's team may not be as special as the 2008 one (no way) but Utah is ranked 14th in the AP's preseason poll and it's well-deserved. Expect more 'pain' to come BYU's way in yet another "Holy War."
|08-24-19||Florida v. Miami-FL +7.5||Top||24-20||Win||100||130 h 39 m||Show|
My 10* Battle 4 Florida is on Miami-Fl at 7:00 ET.
The Gators fell apart under Jim McElwain, going 4-7 in 2017. To the rescue came Miss St head coach Dan Mullen, who had earlier served as Urban Meyer’s O.C. for two Florida national-title teams (2006 and 2008). Tim Tebow, flourished under Mullen, as did Miss St QBs Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald. The Gators became relevant again in 2018, finishing 10-4 in 2018 after its 41-15 romp over Michigan in the Peach Bowl.
Mark Richt led Miami to a 9-4 record in his first season (2016). Much was expected of the 2017 team and Miami opened 9-0, including wins over then-No. 13 Va Tech (28-10) and then-No. 3 Notre Dame (41-8), to open November. Miami reached 10-0 with a win over UVa the following week and played its final regular season game at Pittsburgh, ranked No. 2 in the nation. The 'Canes lost 24-14 and then got crushed 38-3 by Clemson in the ACC title game. That Notre Dame win was supposed to be a watershed event but it instead became the apex of the Richt era. The 'Canes lost their final three games of the 2017 season (after that 10-0 start) and then went 7-6 in 2018, going 5-12 ATS over Richt's final 17 games as Miami's head coach. Manny Diaz was Miami's DC from 2016-18 and after Richt's retirement on December 30, 2018, Diaz was hired as head coach.
The “Mullen Magic” worked a year ago for Gator QB Feleipe Franks, who had disappointed for McElvain as a freshman in 2017. He had 24 TDPs and just six INTs, after a 9-8 ratio in 2017. He developed into a real SEC signal-caller last year under Mullen. The top-seven pass catchers return from 2018 and RB Lamical Perine needs 1,189 rushing yards to become the Gators’ first 3,000-yard career rusher since Earnest Graham at the end of the Steve Spurrier era. A worry could be replacing four multi-year starters along the OL. Retaining DC Todd Grantham was good news, as in wins against Florida State and Michigan to cap the 2018 season, the D forced five TOs, recorded 10 sacks, and held the Seminoles and Wolverines to a combined 7-for-30- on third downs. Seven starters return.
No one can blame Diaz' D for LY's 'collapse. Diaz is considered the mastermind behind the "Turnover Chain," a Cuban link chain with a charm in the shape of the school's iconic "U" logo. Despite the team's 7-6 record in 2018, Miami ranked No. 2 in total defense and ranked No. 1 in several other categories. In fact, Miami led the nation in “havoc rate” (total combined tackles for loss, passes defensed, and forced fumbles, divided by total plays) a year ago. Offense, or the lack thereof, is what held back the "U" a year ago. Miami ranked 105th in total offense and an embarrassing 113th in passing, as neither senior Malik Rosier nor red-shirt freshman N’Kosi Perry provided anything remotely like consistency at the QB spot. In fact, the most important Diaz hire might be new OC Dan Enos, a former Michigan State QB and onetime HC at Central Michigan, who was most recently the QB coach for Nick Saban’s Alabama staff. It turns out that Jarren Williams, who was highly recruited but couldn’t get in a game last year (he did get in one, playing garbage time against cupcake Savannah State, going 1 for 3 for 17 yards), has beaten out Perry and highly-touted Ohio St transfer, Tate Martell.
Diaz has made a bold choice and Williams gets tested right away vs Florida in Orlando (Gators are ranked No. 8 in the preseason coaches' poll). Not many expected Florida to return to the top-10 as quickly as it did a year ago and I'm one who believes the Gators are rated too high this early. These two rivals used to play annually but haven’t faced off since 2013 (Miami won 21-16) and not in an opener since 1987, when the 'Canes won 31-4. I guess Orlando is "closer to home" for Florida than it is for Miami but I want the points with the MUCH better defensive team.
|02-03-19||Patriots v. Rams OVER 56||Top||13-3||Loss||-103||76 h 35 m||Show|
My 10* Total of the Month is on the over (6:30 EST).
Two teams which revolve around their offensive units collide in the Super Bowl this year. Each team’s defense was decent this season, but clearly each side will be expecting the offense to carry the load and win the day in the end.
So with that in mind, I’m definitely expecting a more wide-open affair in Atlanta this Sunday.
Tom Brady may never get another shot at winning a record breaking sixth Super Bowl, so it’s essentially now or never for the living legend.
The Rams played very little defense this year, but instead relied on their dynamic offense as well, centred around QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley.
Brady has less weapons surrounding him perhaps than ever before, but it still didn’t stop him from beating the Chiefs 37-31 on the road last Sunday (and for a second time this season.)
Pats’ RB Sony Michel was a bright spot as well in the victory with 113 yards on 29 carries. In fact five different Patriots caught at least four passes, with Julian Edelman leading the way with seven receptions for 80 yards.
The Rams could obviously care less about Brady’s legacy. They didn’t care too much about veteran Drew Brees’ legacy last weekend after their controversial 26-23 OT win over the Saints.
LA had been torched for 45 points by the Saints in the first meeting between the teams (a Rams loss), and while the defense looked better last week, I still think they’ll have their hands full with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.
Are ATS stats relevant at this point of the season and in this situation?
Perhaps not, but I still think it’s interesting to note that NE has seen the total go over the number in seven of its last eight playoff games, while St. Louis has seen the total eclipse the posted number in five of its last six when playing with two or more weeks of rest.
As stated off the top, I’m expecting a wide open affair. Play the over.
|02-03-19||Patriots -2.5 v. Rams||13-3||Win||100||76 h 30 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on the New England Patriots (6:30 EST).
With a spread like this, clearly the oddsmakers all agree that these teams are very evenly matched. Honestly it wouldn’t be hard to write a convincing argument for either to this one.
New England of course is the most storied franchise in the recent history of the NFL. This is Pats’ QB Tom Brady’s ninth Super Bowl. Brady is looking for a record breaking sixth championship win and I believe his veteran poise in this big game will “win the day.”
As I stated off the top, clearly it wouldn’t be difficult to write a great argument on why the Rams should win this game. The combination of Jared Goff and Todd Gurley is a formidable one.
Goff and the Rams dispatched the Saints 26-23 in OT in New Orleans two weeks ago, avenging an earlier loss in which they were torched for 45 points. Plenty of controversy surrounded the Rams victory of course and while that’s now in the past, I think LA will have its hands full again with the veteran Brady.
Brady and company looked sharp in their 37-31 win in Kansas City. Pats’ RB Sony Michel had 113 yards on 29 carries, while WR Julian Edelman led the way with seven catches for 96 yards.
The Pats’ looked extremely sharp defensively last week I thought though, although the score may not have completely reflected that, as note the unit held Chiefs’ dynamic QB Patrick Mahomes to just 16 of 31 passes, while also sacking him four times (Mahomes finished the regular season with 50 passing TDs).
I like Brady. I like New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Bill Bellichick over their younger and less experienced counterparts.
He’s not my favorite player, but wagering on the Super Bowl has nothing to do with who you personally “like.” Brady is a man on a mission and I look for him to put on a vintage performance here.
Play on New England.
|01-20-19||Patriots v. Chiefs UNDER 56||Top||37-31||Loss||-110||132 h 17 m||Show|
My 10* Championship Game Sunday O/U Play is on NE/KC Under at 6:40 ET.
A storm front is moving through Kansas City and it’s been reported that this could be the coldest game in Chiefs history. Since the news of the storm, this total has been steadily dropping. Regardless, for a number of different reasons I think the correct call will be on the “under” when it comes to the total, as I look for each to try and establish the run from start to finish while on offense.
The Chiefs’ much maligned defense looked fantastic in last week’s 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs front-seven limited the Colt to just 87 yards rushing and the Colts to only 263 total yards. The red-hot Andrew Luck had only 203 yards passing and Indy's lone offensive TD came with 5 1/2-minutes left in the game. KC's low-ranked pass defense (31st of 32 teams) has also displayed noticeable growth in the last two games, thanks to the fast-maturing duo of DB duo of Chavarius Ward (acquired in a preseason trade with the Cowboys) and rookie Jordan Lucas (picked up from Miami Dolphins). QB Patrick Mahomes failed to throw a TD pass for only the second time this season (he had 50 during the regular season) but Kansas City held the ball for nearly 40 minutes in the win over the Colts, as RB Damien Williams rushed for 129 yards and a score on 25 carries (who needs Hunt?).
New England is in its 8th straight AFC Title game following its dominating 41-28 home victory over the L.A. Chargers in the Divisional Round. Patriots scored TDs on their first 4 possessions with Tom Brady in top form. The Pats beat the Chiefs 43-40 at home in a Week 6 SNF contest but I believe the last thing that Brady and Bill Belichick will want to do in this one is turn it into a “shootout.” The overall conditions of this one point to more of a “chess match.” The New England attack wasn’t so special away from home this year, with the Pats going just 3-5 SU, averaging only 3.9 YPC on the ground, while scoring just four rushing TDs. Three of the team's five road losses came by double digits
This "Under" play is about more than just the weather. I’ll point out as well that New England has seen the total go under the number in 17 of its last 24 on the road, while KC has seen the total dip below the posted number in 19 of its last 27 as a home favorite.
|01-20-19||Rams v. Saints -3||Top||26-23||Loss||-125||104 h 1 m||Show|
My 10* signature 35-Club Play is on the NO Saints at 3:05 ET.
The Rams opened the 2018 season 8-0, finishing at 13-3 but after a 3-0 ATS start to the season, would go just 2-8-1 ATS before season-ending wins and covers over the hapless Cardinals and 49ers. The Saints opened the season with back-to-back home games (as 10-point favorites) against the Bucs and Browns. New Orleans lost outright to Tampa Bay in Week 1 and almost started 0-2, before eking out a 21-18 victory over Cleveland. However, that Week 2 win was the start of a 10-game winning streak in which the Saints covered NINE in a row. A 13-10 loss at Dallas ended the streak in Week 13. The Saints then won three in a row, before sitting out their regulars in a Week 17 loss, to finish 13-3 (like the Rams). However, The Saints' 45-35 win over the Rams in Week 9 not only ended LA's eight-game winning streak to open the season but it earned the Saints the all-important tiebreaker, which in the end became the determining factor for allowing the Saints to host the Rams in this NFC championship game.
The Rams advanced to this game by rushing for 273 yards against Cowboys in a 30-22 win. Todd Gurley II, apparently beyond nagging injuries that limited his contributions (and kept him sidelined) in December, had 115 rushing yards and C.J. Anderson, a 1000-yard rusher in Denver last year, had 123. The team's ball-control offense gave cover to QB Goff, who threw for just 186 yards and zero TDs. I don't see the Rams being able to like that against the Saints (New Orleans ranks second in YPG allowed rushing at 80.2 per and held the Rams to 92 yards rushing in Week 9), so Goff will need to out-play Brees (not likely). Goff may have thrown 32 TD passes this season but he has only five TDPs in the last five games (including the postseason), with FOUR of them coming against the out-manned 49ers in the regular-season finale.
The Saints were rusty (regulars didn't play in Week 17) last week vs Philly and fell behind 14-0. However, Brees led te team back and the New Orleans D completely shut down Nick Foles and the Philly offense after teh first quarter. Philly gained 151 yards on their two first-quarter TD drives but were held to 99 yards the rest of the game! Remember when the Saints couldn't play defense? No more! Brees started slowly but wound up with 3-0101 yards and two TDs (one INT). New Orleans ran for 137 yards (4.4) and WR Thomas had 12 catches for 171 yards with one TD (note: he also had 12 catches in that Week 9 win over LA, setting a franchise-record 211 yards). As for teh running game, New Orleans ran for 137 yards (4.4 YPC).
The home-field edge MATTERS this time of year, as in each of the last five seasons, the team with home field advantage in both the NFC and AFC championship games advanced to the Super Bowl. The Saints have won their last seven home playoff games, with SIX coming under the watch of Brees and Payton. Enough said.
|01-13-19||Chargers +4 v. Patriots||Top||28-41||Loss||-108||124 h 25 m||Show|
My 10* NFL Playoff Game of the Year is on the LA Chargers at 1:05 ET.
I had a play on the Chargers last week, part of my perfect 4-0 Wildcard Weekend. In my analysis, I explained how I felt that the home field advantage in the Wildcard Round was much less important than in the Divisional Round. Philip Rivers and the Bolts would then go on to unequivocally prove that that was in fact true.
No one could benefit more from a week off from action than Patriots’ QB Tom Brady, who once again led his team to a division title.
Brady and the Pats continue to defy the odds and their story is well known.
Some would argue that the greatest QB to never win a SB is Dan Marino, but I submit that Rivers is at least in the discussion.
LA has the running game to keep opposing offenses honest this year with Gordon (885 yards / 5.1 YPC) and Ekeler (554 yards 5.2 YPC). It’s allowed Rivers to operate and once again put up huge numbers (4,308 yards / 32-12 ratio). This is also a “double revenge” scenario for Rivers, as Brady has gotten the better of him twice in the playoffs, 2007 in the divisional round and the conference title game in New England the following year (note: Chargers covered both games!).
Brady and the Patriots place in history is forever cemented, but there was something about this year’s Patriots which just didn’t “feel” the same as in season’s past (New England also benefitted from a very weak division). Brady had a 29-11 ratio but teh previous four seasons it was 32.23-6.5. Deep threat Josh Gordon was a bust and "Gronk" is no longer a major 'weapon.'
The Chargers 9-0 in games played outside of Los Angeles in 2018, a run that includes wins in Kansas City,Seattle and Pittsburgh. The LA defense has surrendered just 16.0 points per game the last three weeks (with eight takeaways in that span) and an AFC-low 16.9 PPG since the start of October. Meanwhile, the Pats look vulnerable following a 4-3 stretch (3-4 ATS) to wrap up the regular season
Rivers is 0-7 lifetime vs Brady but this is his BEST-EVER (last-ever?) chance to exorcise his demons. The storyline finally shifts in favor of the Chargers and Rivers in this one. Grab the points.
|01-12-19||Cowboys +8.5 v. Rams||Top||22-30||Win||100||108 h 39 m||Show|
My 10* NFL Divisional Rd Las Vegas Insider is on the Dal Cowboys at 8:15 ET.
LA was one of the hottest teams all year, but injury and fatigue seemed to wear on the Rams down the stretch.
Dallas was in danger of missing the playoffs at one point, but QB Dak Prescott (3,885 yards / 22-8 ratio) benefited from the resurgent play of star RB Ezekiel Elliot, who finished with 1,434 yards rushing. The Cowboys enter the Divisional Round as arguably the hottest team in the entire league, at 8-1 SU (lone loss to equally hot Indy!)..
I’ve never been completely convinced of LA and its QB, Jared Goff. The offense is great, there’s no denying (32.9 PPG and 421.1 YPG both rank 2nd). However, if there is any issue at all with RB Todd Gurley’s mobility because of an end of season injury, then that’s a major “monkey wrench” in the entire chemistry in my opinion.
The Rams struggled defensively (24.0 PPG ranks 20th) and even with Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald on the DL, Los Angeles ranked last in the league in yards per rush allowed at a whopping 5.1 yards per carry. Elliott gained nearly the same per carry on first downs alone, so it figures that Dallas will want to play some smash-mouth football, which will be huge for Prescott, as the Cowboys love play-action.
Jerry Jones’ shrewd mid-season addition of big-play WR Amari Cooper now gives Prescott a viable vertical option to stretch the field as well (Coopoer has 53 catches in nine games with 6 TD catches).
Dallas is not just any defense. The Cowboys allow a modest 20.2 PPG (6th) on 329.7 YPG (7th). Dallas also allows only 94.6 YPG rushing (5th), on just 3.8 YPG. The Rams will have trouble running, putting even more pressure on Goff (he did not play well in his first postseason game last year, against the Falcons).
LA’s offense is very similar to that of New Orleans and Dallas beat the Saints 13-10 in Week 13, thanks in part to its strong run game. The Cowboys have the potential to take this one outright but a TD (or more) "in the bank" is a nice bonus.
|01-06-19||Eagles +5.5 v. Bears||16-15||Win||100||152 h 21 m||Show|
My 9* Showdown is on the Philadelphia Eagles (4:40 EST).
It’s been “do or die” for the Eagles for a few weeks now and last weekend they not only had to beat Washington (24-0), but they also needed the Bears to beat the Vikings to earn this spot.
Philadelphia now has its “foot in the door” and I think it’ll make the most of its opportunity.
Chicago beat Minnesota 24-10 on the road last Sunday.
Overall the Eagles average 22.9 PPG and concede 21.8. QB Nick Foles has 1,413 passing yards with seven TDs and four picks so far.
Chicago averages 26.3 PPG and it allows 17.7. QB Mitch Trubisky has 3,223 yards passing with a mediocre 24/12 TD/INT.
Trubisky though is in unchartered territory at this point. Chicago hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2010 and I think this lack of experience will in fact come back to haunt it here.
Philadelphia has the veteran leadership in Foles to steak this one outright, but in the end I’m going to grab the points.
Play on the Eagles.
|01-06-19||Chargers +3 v. Ravens||Top||23-17||Win||100||149 h 47 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF THE WEEK is on the LA Chargers (1:05 EST).
The Chargers will need three road wins now to reach the Super Bowl. Likely not going to happen. Home field is obviously an advantage in the playoffs, but less so in the first round.
The teams which earn a bye have a clear advantage as they have extra time off to heal up and game-plan for the upcoming contest.
But the Wildcard games, there are no breaks, and it’s just business as usual right after the regular season ends. So, I do indeed feel that this scenario is working in favor of the Chargers in this one.
Especially with a rookie QB under center for Baltimore. Lamar Jackson has been fantastic for Baltimore since taking over for an injured Joe Flacco, but in a playoff “one and one” situation like this, I’m giving Chargers’ veteran pivot Philip Rivers the clear nod in this matchup.
The Ravens have to be thrilled just to back in the playoffs after a three year absence. Baltimore barely held on for a 26-24 win over Cleveland in Week 17 to punch its ticket.
Note that this is an IMMEDIATE “revenge” game as well, as Baltimore knocked off LA on the road 22-10 in Week 16, a setback which ruined the Chargers chances of top spot in the AFC West.
The Chargers bounced back with a win over the Broncos the following week and while RB Melvin Gordon is questionable, I still think the value lies with Rivers. He finished with 4,308 passing yards and 32 TDs.
In the loss to the Ravens, the Chargers effectively shut-down Jackson, holding him to a season low 39 rushing yards.
I think LA has more than enough firepower to take this game outright, but in the end I’m grabbing the points.
Play on the Chargers.
|01-05-19||Seahawks v. Cowboys OVER 42||Top||22-24||Win||100||132 h 12 m||Show|
My 10* Playoff Total Of The Year is on the over Hawks/Cowboys (8:15 EST).
Two hungry and talented teams collide on Saturday night and I think that points will be plentiful.
Seattle closed its regular season with a 27-24 win over Arizona at home on Sunday, while the Cowboys rallied for a 36-35 win on the road over New York. Seattle beat the Cowboys in a lower-scoring 24-13 victory at home back on September 23rd, but I think it’ll be the offenses which dominate the headlines in tomorrow’s summaries this time around.
Seattle enters the postseason on top form, having won six of its last seven. Overall the Hawks saw the Over/Under go 9-7 this year.
Seattle averages 26.8 PPG and it allows 21.7. QB Russell Wilson has 3,448 passing yards and a sharp 35/7 TD/INT. RB Chris Carson has 1,151 rushing yards and nine scores. The Hawks are the No. 1 rushing offense, which gives Wilson a lot to work with obviously.
Dallas averages 21.2 PPG and it allows 20.3. After a slow start, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot and the rest of the offense have looked a lot better over the last onto. Prescott had 3,885 passing yards and a 22/8 TD/INT, while Elliot has 1,434 rushing yards and six TDs.
I’ll point out as well that Seattle has seen the total go over the number in ten of its last 15 following a home victory, while Dallas has seen the total eclipse the posted number in four of its last five home games when the total is set between 40.5 and 45 points.
For all the reasons listed above, play the over.
|01-05-19||Colts +2.5 v. Texans||21-7||Win||100||129 h 33 m||Show|
My 9* Las Vegas Insider is on the Indianapolis Colts (4:35 EST).
Clearly these teams are very evenly matched. Indianapolis has the small advantage at the most important position, but the Texans have home field and the better defensive unit.
Las Vegas would agree that these teams are evenly matched, as evidenced by this spread.
However, I think that Andrew Luck is on a mission for Indianapolis and I think he’ll be the difference maker in this one.
Luck is up against DeShaun Watson, who had a bounce back year after tearing his ACL in 2017.
Note that both teams won on the others home field by three points and each QB had a huge game in their victories.
Luck and the Colts clinched their spot in the final Week, beating Tennessee 33-17. Luck had three TD passing, while Marlon Mack had 119 rushing yards and a TD.
Houston acquired Demaryius Thomas just before the trade deadline and the veteran WR was key in helping the Texans turn around an 0-3 start to the year. Thomas though tore his Achilles tendon in Week 16.
I could list some strong ATS stats here, but I’m not going to bother. As good as Watson has been this year, I have to give the slight nod at QB to Luck and in my opinion, that’s enough to tip the scales in favor of the visitors today.
While the outright win is obviously not out of the question, I’m grabbing the points.
|01-01-19||Washington v. Ohio State -6.5||Top||23-28||Loss||-112||485 h 56 m||Show|
My 10*LEGEND Play is on Ohio State at 5:00 ET.
Ohio St did not make the CFP's 'Final Four,' so Urban Meyer's last game as the Buckeyes' head coach will be the105th edition of the Rose Bowl from Pasadena, Ca. The year started with controversy for Meyer and the Ohio St program and Meyer announced that he would be stepping down as coach after the contest, primarily because of stress-related headaches stemming from a cyst on his brain. He leads the Buckeyes into this game with an 82-9 record which includes winning the 2014 national title during seven seasons at the school.
Washington opened the 2018 season ranked 6th in the AP's preseason poll but lost its first game, to then-No. 9 Auburn, 21-16.The Huskies would lose two more times before winning the Apple Cup game 28-15 at Washington St to clinch the Pac-12 North title on Nov 23rd. Washington then beat Utah 10-3 in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec 1, to clinch this Rose Bowl berth. The 10-3 Huskies are ranked 9th in both the AP poll and CFP standings. This marks the first time the Big Ten champion and Pac-12 champion have met in the Rose Bowl since the College Football Playoff began in 2014. Both schools are making their 15th Rose Bowl appearances but the schools have never previously met in Pasadena.
Senior QB Jake Browning is the school's all-time leader in career passing yardage (11,983) and TD passes (94) but he has battled consistency issues the last two seasons. He had 47 TD passes and just nine INTs as a sophomore but followed with a 19-5 ratio as a junior, before falling to a 16-10 ratio this season. Senior RB Myles Gaskin is the program's all-time leader with 5,202 rushing yards and he's had no "drop-off issues," as his 1,147 rushing yards this season marked his fourth straight 1,000-yard campaign. The Washington offense averages a modest 26.6 PPG (86th) but its defense checks in allowing 15.5 PPG (6th) on 301.8 YPG (12th).
Ohio State wins games with a flashy offense behind sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. Haskins completed 70.2 percent of his passes in his first season as a starter, throwing for 4,580 yards with 47 TD passes and only eight INTs. Dobbins has 1,029 yards and Weber 858, as the Ohio St rushing game averages 175.9 YPG. Ohio St enters averaging 43.5 PPG (7th) on 548.9 YPG (2nd). However, the defense is a worry, as outside of Ohio State's 25-6 win at Michigan St, the Buckeyes D allowed 38.8 PPG in five of its last six games.
Bottom line is that there are strong fundamental, technical and psychological advantages for Ohio State. The Buckeyes own a very well-balanced offense and while Washington has an excellent D, no one has stopped Ohio St all season. Meanwhile, Ohio State's recent defensive woes should not be exposed by Washington's below-average offense, led by Browning, who has been in a two-year free-fall (hard to call it a slump,anymore). Technically, Washington was just 4-9 ATS this season and is only 1-7 SU in their last eight bowl games when facing Power-5 opponents. teams. SIX of those losses have come by seven points or more plus the Huskies are only 2-7 ATS their last nine playing outside the Pac-12.
Moving to Urban Meyer, his teams have covered 10 of 13 bowl games dating to his days coaching Florida and Utah. Ohio State is 36-14-1 ATS when not laying seven or more points the last 12 years (line is hovering around that number and I was able to lay 6.5). Finally, there's a likely emotional edge with Meyer stepping down and the team must still be a little ticked off at being left out of the college championship playoff. Lay it!!
|01-01-19||LSU -7 v. Central Florida||40-32||Win||100||8 h 27 m||Show|
My 9* Fiesta Bowl Play is on LSU at 1:00 ET.
UCF tries to complete its second straight perfect season when it takes on No. 11 LSU (9-3) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan 1 from Glendale, Az. The Knights ended last season 13-0 with a 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl and enter this game 12-0 and ranked 7th in the CFP standings and No. 8 in the AP poll (the school's best-ever ranking in either poll). It's deja vu all over again this season for UCF, as this trip to a New Year’s Day Six Bowl is no different than the feelings of resentment it felt toward the CFP selection committee for again being dismissed from the championship race and once again needing to prove itself against an SEC opponent (see last year vs Auburn). LSU was 7-1 and ranked No. 3 when it lost 29-0 at home vs No. 1 Alabama on Nov 3. The Tigers would end the season on a 1-3 ATS skid, the team's only cover coming as a three-point dog in a 74-72 (7-OT) loss at Texas A&M.
LSU junior QB Joe Burrow has thrown for 2,500 yards and 12 TDs but is completing just 57.4 percent of his passes. Senior RB Nick Brossette waited his turn behind Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette for three years before getting his chance in 2018. He's run for 922 yards and 14 TDs. LSU averages 31.8 PPG (41st) and its defense is strong, allowing 20.9 PPG (24th) on 346.1 YPG (29th).
QB McKenzie Milton (2,663 yards with a 25-6 ratio plus 9 rushing TDs) suffered a serious knee injury early in UCF's regular-season finale but the Knights won that game and then overcame a 38-21 halftime deficit against Memphis in the AAC title game to win, 56-41. Freshman QB Darriel Mack Jr. Burrow, an Ohio State transfer, completed 19 of 27 passes for 348 yards with two TDs and zero INTs, while running for four scores. The UCF defense allows 425.5 YPG (86th) but just 21.2 PPG (25th).
22 UCF seniors are determined to leave with 26 straight wins but I believe the Knights are in a "bad spot" in this one. LSU is 'bowling' for the 19th straight season and coming off that seven-OT loss in its regular season finale, will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since late 2015! This is the SEC vs the AAC and that's a no-brainer. I realize that UCF took down Auburn last year but that was with Milton. Yes, Mack was a star vs Memphis but the Tigers lost their bowl game to Wake Forest on Dec 22 (not exactly a FB powerhouse), allowing 37 points. When's the last time a school recorded back-to-back perfect seasons? Try Nebraska in 1994 and 1995! Lay it with LSU.
|01-01-19||Iowa v. Mississippi State -7||27-22||Loss||-100||8 h 32 m||Show|
My 9* Outback Bowl Play is on Miss St at 12:00 ET.
It will be warm Tuesday afternoon in Tampa (in the 80s), as a pair of 8-4 teams take the field at Raymond James Stadium for the Outback Bowl. Iowa enters unranked, while Miss St is 18th in both the AP poll and the final CFP standings. The Hawkeyes were 6-1 and ranked 18th when they lost 30-24 at Penn St on Oct 27, a defeat which began a three-game slide. The Bulldogs beat two ranked teams at home (Auburn and Texas A&M), while losing at LSU and Alabama (got outscored 43-3). Both teams own excellent defenses, Iowa ranks 10th in allowing 17.4 PPG) on 289.6 YPG (7th). Meanwhile, Miss St ranks first in both points allowed (12.0 per) and 268.4 YPG.
Junior QB Nate Stanley had 23 TD passes this season and threw for 2,638 yards. His 26 TD throws in 2017 gives him 49 TD passes in 2017-18, tying him with Chuck Long for the most over a two-year span in Iowa history. His top targets are a pair of draft-worthy TEs, Noah Fant and Mackey Award winner T.J. Hockenson. Fant has elected to skip the bowl game to begin preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft, while Hockenson has yet to announce whether he will turn pro but he will play here.Iowa averages a modest 389.7 YPG (79th) but scores a better than expected 31.5 PPG (42nd).
The Bulldogs are led by senior QB Nick Fitzgerald, who has thrown for 1,1615 yards with 15 TDs and seven INTs. He leads the team in rushing with 1,018 yards on 5.1 YPC with 12 rushing scores. Fitzgerald has been responsible for 99 total TDs in his career, owns the SEC record for most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback (20) and is the only QB in conference history to run for more than 3,000 yards. Fitzgerald struggled the first six games this year (46.7% with 4 TDs and 7 INTs) but over his final five games, he completed 61% with 11 TDs without throwing a single INT! Expect Fitzgerald to be pumped for his final college game, as he missed LY’s TaxSlayer Bowl due to an ankle injury,
Iowa is 0-3 as an underdog this year and note that every one of Miss St's eight wins in 2018 have come by 14 points or more (average margin of victory 34.1 PPG). Helpful hint. SEC vs Big Ten in TY's bowl season. Aub 63-14 over Purdue and Florida 41-15 over Michigan.
|12-31-18||NC State v. Texas A&M -5||Top||13-52||Win||100||463 h 22 m||Show|
My 10* NCAAF Bowl Game of the Year is on Texas A&M at 7:30 ET.
Monday night's Gator Bowl features the ACC's 9-3 NC State Wolfpack going up against the SEC's 8-4 Texas A&M Aggies. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. NC State's Dave Doeren is taking his Wolfpack team to its fifth straight bowl (3-1 SU & ATS), including impressive wins the last two, a 41-17 romp over Vandy in the 2016 Independence Bowl and a 52-31 shootout win over Arizona State in 2017 Sun Bowl. Jimbo Fisher will get a chance to win his first bowl game with Texas A&M, after going 5-2 SU & 4-3 ATS in bowls at FSU (includes guiding Florida State to the National Championship in 2013 34-31 over Auburn).
NC State QB Ryan Finley led the ACC in passing with 3,789 yards, more than 1,000 more than the next-closest QB (he has 24 TD passes and just nine INTs). WRs Kelvin Harmon (81 catches /1,186 yards) and Jakobi Meyers (89 catches / 1,028 yards) became the first pair of teammates in school history to each go over 1,000 yards in the same season. However, the NC State running game offers little support, averaging 143.8 YPG (98th). Defensively, the Wolfpack are strong, allowing 22.7 PPG (37th) on 380.2 YPG (55th).
Florida St QB Kellen Mond is not as prolific as Finely (2,967 yards) but owns a similar TD/INT ratio (23-8). However, Mond is supported by an excellent running game (203.8 YPG ranks 33rd), led by Trayveon Williams(1,524 yards / 6.0 YPC / 15 TDs). On the defensive side of the ball, Texas A&M is allowing 26.3 PPG (58th) but the Aggies actually allow less yards than NC State (354.7 YPG to rank 34th, including only 92.0 YPG on the ground, 2nd-best in the nation).
NC State opened 5-0 to reach No. 16 in the AP poll but a 41-7 loss on Oct 20 at Clemson, began a stretch of THREE losses in four games. The Wolfpack rebounded to win their final three games, but those victories came against 2-10 Louisville, 2-9 North Carolina and 3-9 East Carolina. Fisher remade the Aggies into a more physical team in his first year on the job and few will forget A&M's 74-72, seven-overtime triumph over LSU in their regular-season finale. Expect Fisher's 1st A&M team to end 2018 in a BIG way!
|12-31-18||Missouri v. Oklahoma State +10||33-38||Win||100||26 h 28 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider (Liberty Bowl) is on Oklahoma St at 3:45 ET.
Missouri and Oklahoma State were rivals in the Big Eight and Big 12 conferences, before Missouri’s move to the SEC in 2012. The Tigers lead the all-time series 29-23, including a 41-31 win in the Cotton Bowl following the 2013 season. The two former conference rivals meet in Monday's Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tn. The Tigers were 7-6 last season but enter this game 8-4. The Tigers opened 3-0, while averaging 43.7 PPG. However, a stretch of FOUR losses in five games followed, before Mizzou went 4-0 SU & ATS in Nov, averaging 39.8 PPG.
Oklahoma State entered 2018 off three consecutive 10-3 seasons and opened 3-0. However, the then-No. 16 Cowboys lost 41-17 at home to Texas Tech, as 14 1/2-point favorites. That loss began a 3-6 closing run by Oklahoma State, which left the Cowboys just 6-6 after a 31-24 season-ending loss at TCU. A loss here and it would be OSU's first losing season since Mike Gundy's first year in Stillwater. That 2005 team finished 4-7.
Missouri is led by QB Drew Lock, who passed for 3,125 yards with 25 TDs and just eight INTs. The running game is led Larry Rountree III (1,012 rushing yards & 10 TDs). The Tigers are averaging 36.9 PPG (19th) on 468.8 YPG (16th). The defense is better than average, allowing 24.4 PPG (45th) on 379.0 YPG (51st). Okla St also owns a quality QB, as Taylor Cornelius threw for 3,637 yards with 28 TDs and just 11 TDs. The offense is slightly better than Missouri's, averaging 38.4 PPG (14th) on 499.2 YPG (10th). However, OSU's weakness is on defense. The Cowboys gave up over 300 passing yards five times and also allowed more than 200 rushing on five occasions. OSU enters allowing 32.4 PPG, which ranks 97th.
Barry Odom's Missouri offense could be without a few weapons, as RB Damarea Crockett (ankle), WR Jalen Knox (concussion) and TE Albert Okwuegbunam (shoulder) were all were banged up at the end of the regular season. Let me also note that Lock was more efficient last season, when he had 44-13 ratio and threw for almost 4,000 yards. A closer look at Missouri's season reveals that the Tigers played the roll of 'bully,' running up big scores when they had fundamental edges. That's NOT the case here. It's also important to note that during OSU's 3-6 closing skid, the Cowboys beat then-No. 6 Texas 38-35 and then-No. 9 West Va 45-41 in Stillwater, while losing just 48-47 at then-No. 6 Oklahoma (as 21 1/2-point underdogs).
Missouri ended last year's regular season with six straight wins (and on a 7-1 ATS run) but flopped badly in the Texas Bowl against Texas, 33-16 (Mizzou had four TOs). OSU is more than capable of matching the Tigers score for score and I see another flop coming, here. Take the points!
|12-31-18||Michigan State v. Oregon OVER 48||6-7||Loss||-108||22 h 56 m||Show|
My 9* Goin' Over Total is on Mich St/Oregon Over at 3:00 ET.
The Big Ten's Michigan State Spartans (7-5) travel west to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Ca (home of the 49ers) to take on the Pac-12's Oregon Ducks (8-4). Michigan St entered the 2018 season off a 10-3 year, one which ended in a 42-17 win over Washington St in the Holiday Bowl. It was MSU's sixth 10-win season (or better) in the previous eight years. The Spartans were hopeful of contending for the Big Ten title but a 1-2 start in league play, ended that thought before the end of October. Injuries slowed them for much of the season, especially on offense. Oregon opened 5-1 with its lone loss coming in OT vs Stanford (the Ducks led the Cardinal 24-7 at the half, then blew a 10-point lead in the final three minurtes of regulation). Oregon was ranked 12th when it lost to Washington St, a defeat which began a stretch of THREE losses in four games from Oct 20 through Nov 10.
MSU's LJ Scott played in only four contests because of injury and had planned on redshirting this season but the team's leading rusher from a season ago with 898 yards, has decided to go pro, so he's returning for the bowl game. He and sophomore RB Connor Heyward will share carries. Junior QB Brian Lewerke (1,868 yards, eight TDs) has his starting job back, after being hampered by a shoulder injury for the second half of the season. Mich St always plays excellent defense and this year is no different, as the Spartans are allowing 18.0 PPG (12th) on 311.5 YPG (14th). However, the offense was held to just 26 points in its last three contests, ending the regular season with an average of 19.8 PPG (123rd) on 343.0 YPG (117th).
Oregon QB Justin Herbert went out of the Ducks' regular-season finale in the first quarter with a shoulder injury but he's probable for this game. He's had an excellent season, passing for 2,985 yards with 28 TDs and just eight INTs. In Oregon's Civil War game with Oregon St, head coach Mario Cristobal turned to his young running game, and it didn't let him down. Freshmen CJ Verdell and Travis Dye combined for 386 rushing yards and six TDs in the 55-15 rout. Oregon comes in averaging 37.2 PPG (18th) on 447.5 YPG (29th).
I believe both teams are better than their records indicate and while the MSU defense is terrific, Oregon scored 30-plus points in NINE of its 12 games.Yes, MSU's offense has been awful all season but remember with a healthy Lewerke and Scott in last year's Holiday Bowl against the Pac-12's Washington St, the Spartans scored 42 points while gaining 440 yards. Oregon's defense allows 27.0 PPG (63rd) and I expect MSU to match or exceed that number here.I also see Oregon reaching 30 points (that would be a TD under its average), so I see this game Goin' Over and ending a seven-game 'Under' run by Mich St.
|12-31-18||Virginia Tech +6 v. Cincinnati||31-35||Win||100||26 h 1 m||Show|
My 9* Military Bowl Play is on Va Tech at 12 noon ET.
A four-game losing streak left Va Tech 4-6 and needing to win its final two games to qualify for a bowl. The Hokies eked out a 34-31 OT win at home against Virginia and then beat Marshall 41-20 at home, a contest that was added late in the season as a replacement for one postponed by Hurricane Florence. 6-6 Va Tech now takes on Cincinnati in the Military bowl, making its 26th consecutive bowl appearance, the nation's longest active streak (note; it's the third-longest streak in NCAA history).
In contrast to Va Tech, Cincinnati has been one of the better stories of the CFB 2018 season, going from 4-8 in 2017, to 10-2 in Luke Fickell's second year as the school's head coach. The Bearcats are going for just their third 11-win season in the program's 131-year history and have an 8-9 all-time postseason record. Cincinnati returns to postseason play for the first time since the 2015 Hawaii Bowl and will play in its 18th bowl game all time, although its 10th in the last 13 seasons.
Redshirt freshman Desmond Ridder was named the AAC Rookie of the Year, as the QB is true dual-threat, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,359 yards and 19 TDs while adding another 574 yards rushing along with five more scores. Michael Warren II, the Bearcats' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2012, gained 1,163 yards, along with a school-record 18 total TDs and a school-record tying 17 rushing scores. The offense averages 34.9 PPG (25th) on 458.2 YPG (24th). However, Cincy's best unit is its defense, which allows 16.1 PPG (6th) on 292.2 YPG (8th). The defense is led by All-AAC first team defensive end Cortez Broughton.
Va Tech's offense started to struggle after a season-ending injury to QB Josh Jackson. However, Ryan Willis became a serviceable replacement by year's end, passing for 2,497 yards and 22 TDs and just eight INTs (he had 332 yards passing in the finale vs Marshall to get the Hokies bowl-eligible). However, the difference between this and past Va Tech editions is on the defensive side of the ball. Veteran DC Bud Foster has had to force-feed a young unit that's allowed 30.7 PPG (85th) on 436.8 YPG (98th).
At first blush (and on paper), Cincinnati is the superior team. However, looking more closely at the Bearcats' 10-win season, let's note that the only Power-5 opponent they played was UCLA (Bruins endured their worst season in 55 years) plus Cincy lost to the two best AAC foes it faced (in OT at Temple & 38-13 at UCF). Tech endured a tough non-league schedule and then faced a combative ACC one. Note that Va Tech ended the year by beating Virginia & Marshall. In case you are unaware, Marshall won its bowl game 38-20 playing at USF on Dec 20 and Virginia beat SEC-rep South Carolina 28-0 in the Belk Bow (Dec 29). Va Tech opened the 2018 season with a Labor Day 24-7 win at Florida State (as a 7-point underdog). Don't be surprised if the Hokies win this one OUTRIGHT (at around a TD underdog), on the last day of 2018, as well!
|12-30-18||Browns +6 v. Ravens||Top||24-26||Win||100||105 h 12 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF THE WEEK is on the Cleveland Browns (4:25 EST).
Baker Mayfield and the 7-7-1 Cleveland Browns are on a mission to close the season strong whether they make the playoffs or not. Cleveland already beat the Ravens in OT earlier this year.
Baltimore has everything to play for here, but Mayfield and company are out to play spoiler. In a contest which I envision being decided by whichever of these hungry teams has its hands on the ball last, I’m going to grab this healthy amount of points.
The Browns come in as arguably the hottest team in the league with victories in five of their last six. Mayfield has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 3,394 yards and a now decent 24/11 TD/INT. The ground game has been respectable, averaging 122.9 YPG, with Nick Chubb leading the way with 972 rushing yards and eight major rushing scores. Overall the Browns allow 24.4 PG and they’re led by Myles Garrett on that side of the ball with 12.5 sacks.
The Ravens have won five of six and if they win today they’ll clinch a playoff spot. Rookie QB Lamar Jackson has completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,022 yards and a 6/3 TD/INT. Overall Baltimore gets the job done on the defensive side of the ball where it concedes only 17.5 PPG.
I’ll point out though that the Browns are a sharp 8-4 ATS as the underdog this year, while Baltimore is just 4-6 ATS as the favorite and only 3-4 ATS at home.
While I wouldn’t be shocked by the outright upset, I’m going to grab the points. Play on the Browns.
|12-30-18||49ers v. Rams UNDER 50||32-48||Loss||-110||105 h 10 m||Show|
My 9* O/U is on the under 49ers/Rams (4:25 EST).
The 4-11 San Francisco 49ers are the 12-3 Rams on Sunday afternoon and in my opinion, points will be at a premium in this one.
San Fran has nothing to play for here other than spoiler. The Rams have looked a bit shaky lately, but they don’t need to run this score up to win this contest. Instead all LA has to do is to control the tempo and set the tone. And that’s exactly what I’m expecting to see happen.
San Fran has lost four of its last six and all seven on the road this year. Third string QB Nick Mullens has 1,995 passing yards and a 10/7 TD/INT.
The 49ers ground game has been decent, averaging 118.3 YPG, led by Matt Breida with 814 yards and three TDs. Overall the 49ers allow 25.8 PPG.
The Rams have won seven of ten and with a victory today they’ll lock up the second seed in the NFC. LA has won five of six at home. Jared Goff has 4,489 passing yards and a 28/12 TD/INT.
The Rams have been decent defensively though, allowing just 23..5 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that San Fran has seen the total go under the number in five of its last seven following a two-game home stand, while LA has seen the total dip below the posted number in three of its last four as a home favorite in the 7.5 to 14 points range.
This number is a little high, play the under.
|12-30-18||Chargers -6.5 v. Broncos||Top||23-9||Win||100||104 h 27 m||Show|
My 10* Wipeout Winner is on the LA Chargers (4:25 EST).
No upsets here. I expect Philip Rivers and the 11-4 Chargers to put the foot on the gas from start to finish here as they look to finish up strong.
LA had its four-game win streak snapped in a 22-10 loss to the Ravens last week. Rivers has been exceptional this season, going for 4,132 yards and 31/10 TD/INT. RB Melvin Gordon III had 843 rushing yards and ten TD’s. Overall the Bolts are averaging a whopping 27 PPG.
The Broncos have nothing to play for here and they come in dejected after three straight losses.
Most recently they fell 24-17 to lowly Oakland. QB Case Keenum has 3,598 passing yards, but a weak 17/14 TD/INT.
Offense has been the main issue all year for Denver, which comes in averaging only 21.3 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that LA is 20-8-1 ATS in its last 29 on the road and 8-2 in its last ten vs. the division, while Denver is just 3-8-1 ATS in its last 12 at home and only 2-7 ATS in its last nine divisional contests.
For all the reasons listed above, play on the Chargers.
|12-30-18||Eagles -6.5 v. Redskins||24-0||Win||100||104 h 26 m||Show|
My 9* play is on the Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 EST).
The Eagles have fought themselves back into a playoff position if they win today and the Vikes lose. The Redskins will try their best to play spoiler, but after going just 1-5 in their last six, an inevitable letdown seems imminent here as well in my opinion.
Philadelphia backup QB Nick Foles is once again dominating, last week he had four TD passes with one INT in a big win over the Texans. Foles also led the charge in an upset of the Rams in Week 15.
The Redskins’ season officially ended last week in Tennessee, falling 25-16. The main issues come at QB, as Washington lost both starter Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy to injury.
I’ll point out that the Eagles are interestingly 10-4 ATS in their last 14 after gaining more than 350 yards in their previous game, while Washington is a terrible 2-6 ATS in its last eight home games vs. teams with winning road records.
No need to overthink this one. With everything on the line, look for Foles and company to once again step up and get the job done.
Also note that the favorite is 4-0 ATS in its last four in this series.
Lay the points.
|12-30-18||Jaguars v. Texans -7||3-20||Win||100||102 h 47 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on the Houston Texans (1:00 EST).
The 5-10 Jacksonville Jaguars are ripe for the picking. Jacksonville has lost five of its last six on the road and backup QB Cody Kessler has 709 yards, two TDs and two INTs.
Kessler was inserted to try and spark an inept offense under Blake Bortles direction. The ground game has been average, with an average of 111.9 YPG. The Jags have been decent defensively this year allowing just 19.7 PPG.
This one simply means more to the Texans. A lot more. Houston needs a win here to keep its top-two seed hopes alive.
A date at home is just what the doctor ordered as well as the Texans have won five of their last six at home. QB DeShaun Watson has 3,931 yards passing and a 26/9 TD/INT. Note that he has two more TD passes in 13 of his last 20 games.
The Texans have been stout defensively as well this year, allowing just 20.9 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that the Jags are just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six on the road and 0-2 ATS in their last two off an upset win by ten ore more as an underdog, while Houston is 3-1 ATS vs. teams with losing records this season and 6-2 ATS in its last eight after scoring 30 points or more in its previous game.
Despite having won back-to-back games, I think the Jags come out flat here. Over their last four home games the Texans have outscored teams by an average of 12.25 points.
This one has blowout written all over it. Lay the points.
|12-29-18||Arkansas State v. Nevada -1||Top||13-16||Win||100||32 h 36 m||Show|
My 10* Under the Radar Rout is on Nevada at 1:15 ET.
Arkansas State and Nevada were briefly conference-mates in the Big West Conference in the mid-90s and the two schools will meet for the first time since 1999 when they meet in the Arizona Bowl on Dec 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Az. This event is only in its fourth year but Nevada has fond memories after it won the inaugural Arizona Bowl over MWC rival Colorado State in 2015. The Wolf Pack return to the postseason for the first time since that game, after the program did a quick re-boot the past two seasons under head coach Jay Norvell. Arkansas State won five of its last six games (averaged 40.0 PPG in that span) with the lone loss coming against Louisiana 47-43, a defeat that cost the Red Wolves the West Division title and a spot in the Sun Belt championship game.
Arkansas State brings a four-game winning streak into this game. Senior QB Justice Hansen passed for 3,172 yards with 27 TDs, while being intercepted just SIX times (he was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year). The offense averages 464.8 YPG (20th) and 31.8 PPG (45th). Hansen ran for 399 yards, while adding six TDs. Defensively, Arkansas St allows 26.4 PPG (59th) on 376.8 YPG (48th).
Nevada QB Ty Gangi ranks 11th nationally in total offense (298.2 YPG) and completed 250-of-409 passes for 3,131 yards with 23 TDs and 11 INTs. He leads an offense averaging 32.3 PPG (40th) on 443.2 YPG (32nd). Nevada's defense owns similar numbers to Arkansas State's, allowing 28.1 PPG (71st) on 378.2 YPG (50th).
Red Wolves' QB Hansen does a few more things than Gangi, namely running. However, his TD pass total dropped from 37 to 27 this season. That said, Gangi has a more-accomplished group of WRs, led by McLane Mannix (17.5 YPC and 7 TDs) and Kaleb Fossum (68 catches). Arkansas State is in more familiar territory in the postseason, appearing in its eighth straight bowl but under head coach Blake Anderson, the Red Wolves have lost THREE of four. As for Nevada, it finished tied for second in the West Division of the MWC and had a four-game winning streak snapped in its regular-season finale by in-state rival UNLV, blowing a 23-0 first half lead in a 34-29 loss. Sure, the people in Reno are paying more attention these days to Nevada basketball (12-0 Wolf Pack are currently ranked No. 6) but on Saturday, the football team takes center stage and gets the "W."
|12-29-18||South Carolina -5 v. Virginia||0-28||Loss||-106||30 h 16 m||Show|
My 9* Bowl Eye-Opener is on South Carolina at 12:00 ET.
South Carolina and Virginia meet for the first time since 2003, and for the first time in a bowl game, when the two schools square off at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC. The 7-5 Gamecocks finished in a tie for fourth in the SEC East, going 4-2 down the stretch, losing only at Florida (35-31) and Clemson (56-35). The 7-5 Cavaliers tied for third in the ACC Coastal Division but limp into this bowl game as losers of THREE of four, with their only win in that stretch against Liberty.
The Gamecocks will be missing WR Deebo Samuel in this game, who accounted for 123.2 all-purpose YPG in 2018 (scored 13 TDs). South Carolina is 'bowling' for a third straight year under head coach Will Muschamp. However, South Carolina lacked game-to-game consistency, with its only two-game win skein coming in narrow victories over non-bowl teams Ole Miss and Tennessee (by a combined seven points). The Gamecock offense averages 32.6 PPG (39th) on 440.8 YPG (35th). Junior QB Jake Bentley (63.9% with 27 TD passes and 12 INTs) started slow (7-6 TD/INT ratio in his first four starts) but picked up the pace over his last six contests after sitting out the win over Missouri with an injury, he completed 63.4%, while fashioning a 20-6 TD-INT ratio. The South Carolina D allows 27.2 PPG (67th) on 429.8 YPG (82nd).
Virginia QB Bryce Perkins, a junior college transfer, piled up 3,314 all-purpose yards while accounting for 31 TDs in his first season with the Cavaliers. He is a legitimate dual-threat, passing for 2,472 yards on 203-of-318 passing, while running for 842 yards and nine TDs on 197 carries. The offense averages 28.5 YPG (69th) on 382.2 YPG (85th) but the defense keeps them in most games, allowing 21.8 PPG (27th) on 337.2 YPG (24th).
The Cavaliers had some easy games on their schedule early in the season and converted them into wins but struggled down the stretch with conference losses to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. That said, it was a milestone year for the program, getting its first winning season since 2011 and returning to a bowl game for the second year in a row. The Gamecocks had five losses on the season and ALL of them came at the hands of ranked opponents; No. 2 Clemson, No. 6 Georgia, No. 10 Florida, No. 15 Kentucky, and No. 20 Texas A&M. South Carolina is 2-0 under coach Will Muschamp in bowl games, including last year’s 26-19 win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Make that 3-0, as the SEC rep is 6-0 S & 5-0-1 ATS since 2011 in this bowl. The Gamecocks are the play.
|12-28-18||Iowa State v. Washington State -3.5||Top||26-28||Loss||-100||393 h 59 m||Show|
My 10* "signature" LEGEND Play (1st of 2 this bowl season) is on Washington State at 9:00 ET.
The Iowa State and Washington State football programs have each been around for approximately 125 years, but they'll meet for the first time on Dec 28 in San Antonio at the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Cyclones opened 1-3 but they rallied behind freshman QB Brock Purdy. Purdy made his first career start Oct 13 in a game vs then-No. 6 West Va, with Iowa St winning, 30-14. He threw three TD passes against teh Mountaineers remained a steady force for the Cyclones in leading them to a 6-1 mark as a starter. Washington State was not just unranked in the preseason, the Cougars didn't even crack the "others receiving votes," list. However, graduate transfer QB Gardner Minshew turned in the most surprising performance of the season. He led the Cougars to a 10-1 record (No. 7 in the AP and No. 8 in the CFP rankings), before losing the Apple Cup 28-15 to Washington on Nov 23 (more on that later)..
One could make a strong case that this is the best Iowa State team in decades. The No. 25th-ranked Cyclones cracked the final regular season poll for the first time since 1976, and their third-place finish in the Big 12 is their best since 1978. Head coach Matt Campbell shared the Big 12 Coach of the Year award. RB David Montgomery has run for for 1092 yards and 12 TDs. Frosh QB Brock Purdy took over at mid-season after an injury first to starter Kyle Kempt and then the abrupt departure of backup Zeb Noland, who intends to transfer. Purdy completed 66% of his passes for 1,935 yards with 16 TDs and just 5 INTs while playing in only 9 games. The defense is top-notch, allowing 22.5 PPG (35th) on 351.0 YPG (37th).
Speaking of defense (not typically associated with a Mike Leach team), the Cougars' stop unit is just as good. WSU allows 23.1 PPG (38th) on 345.9 YPG (29th). That said, Washington St has gotten here on teh arm of graduate transfer, QB Gardner Minshew,. During the first 11 games, teams just couldn’t slow him down. The former East Carolina QB led the FBS with 4,477 passing yards, completed 70.6% and had a 36-9 TD-INT ratio. In two seasons at ECU he was good (3,487 YP, 24 TD & 11 INT. in 17 games), but NOT this good! WSU's average of 38.3 PPG ranks 15th in the nation.
While I acknowledged that this may be Iowa State's best team in decades, I do NOT believe this year's Ctyclone team is in the class of the Cougars. The snowy conditions played a big role in Washington State's loss to Washington last month, as Minshew didn't throw a TD pass for the first time this season and was held to 152 passing yards after passing for at least 319 in every other game. The team's 237 total yards against the Huskies was its worst offensive output since 2013.
Washington State was 10-1 and in the conversation for a potential berth in the College Football Playoff, before getting derailed by that snowstorm, getting shut down against rival Washington in the Apple Cup. However, Minshew won't have to deal with adverse weather conditions inside the Alamodome. What's more, the Cougars might have a pretty big chip on their shoulders after they were left out of a New Year's Six bowl, despite winning 10 games. Simply put, I believe Wash St is CLEARLY the better team, making this pointspread a 'cheap' lay!
|12-28-18||Auburn -3 v. Purdue||63-14||Win||100||30 h 59 m||Show|
My 9* Music City Bowl Play is a 9* on Auburn at 1;30 ET.
Former Louisville QB Jeff Brohm is a hot coaching commodity but Purdue's future appears secure after Brohm rebuffed his alma mater to stay in West Lafayette (Brohm received a raise after turning down the Cardinals and will reportedly make over $5 million per year). Brohm led Western Ky to three straight bowls (30-10 record), winning in 2014 and 2015 but did not coach in the team's 2016 game when he left to take the Purdue job. The Boilermakers are in back-to-back bowls, after a stretch of four losing seasons in a row from 2013-2016 when Purdue went 9-39. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn took over the Tigers in 2013 and led them within a whisker of winning the national title, losing a thriller to Florida State, 34-31 in the final BCS national championship game. This marks Auburn's sixth straight bowl appearance but Malzahn is just 1-4 in his first five bowl games with the Tigers. Auburn opened the year No. 9 in the AP's preseason poll and beat then-No. 6 Washington in its season opener. However, the Tigers enter this game a disappointing 7-5.
Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham will play his final college game after declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft in early December. The Baylor transfer broke out as a sophomore in 2017 (66.5 completion percentage, 3,158 passing yards, 18 TDs and six INTs) but failed to maintain that level od success in 2018 (60.1 percent, 2,421 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs). Auburn will enter averaging 28.2 PPG (just 71st) on a modest 373.6 YPG (94th). However, Auburn's defense is first-rate, allowing 19.6 PPG (18th) on 363.6 YPG (44th).
5-9 freshman Rondale Moore is Purdue's bright shining star. The all-purpose threat set a school record for all-purpose yards in his first college game en route to finishing the regular season with 2,048 and winning the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player nationally. Moore enters bowl season with an FBS-best 103 receptions and a Big Ten-high 1,164 receiving yards (he also has 681 kick return yards and 203 yards rushing yards). Senior QB David Blough (school-record 66.6 completion percentage) had 3,521 passing yards with 25 TDs and just eight INTs. Purdue averages 31.9 PPG (44th) on 459.0 YPG (24th). However, the defense allowed 445.3 YPG (103rd) but did fare better in allowing 27.2 PPG, which ranked 68th.
This is the first all-time meeting between the two schools. Purdue opened 0-3, including a 20-19 home upset loss to Eastern Michigan, as 15-point favorites. The Boilermakers did run off four wins in a row after that, including a 30-13 home upset win over Boston College (Sep 22) and the team's signature win of 2018, a 49-20 blowout over then-unbeaten Ohio State on Oct 20 (Purdue was a 12-point underdog). However, Purdue was not able to maintain that momentum, losing THREE of its next four, before becoming bowl eligible with a 28-21 road win over rival Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket.
Auburn began the season in the top-10 and optimistically had CFP aspirations. However, the year has been a major disappointment. The Tigers’ only quality wins in 2018 were a 21-16 victory over Washington in the opener and a near-miraculous, come-from-behind 28-24 home win over Texas A&M in early November. Still, I prefer this SEC team over its Big Ten opponent. Malzahn could "really use" a bowl win, atoning for last year's 34-27 upset loss to UCF (+10) in the Peach Bowl, as the Knights capped a perfect 13-0 season (note: UCF's winning streak now sits at 25 in a row). Go Tigers.
|12-27-18||Miami-FL -3 v. Wisconsin||Top||3-35||Loss||-105||77 h 57 m||Show|
My 10* PERFECT STORM is on Miami-Fl at 5:15 ET.
We don't often see two schools playing each other in back-to-back bowl seasons but that's the case Thursday at Yankee Stadium, as Miami-Fl and Wisconsin square off in this year's Pinstripe Bowl. Wisconsin won last year's Orange Bowl 34-24, as QB Alex Hornibrook passed for four TDs and the Badgers' outgoing senior class earned a record 45th win. The departure of those seniors saw Wisconsin, which opened the season No. 4 in the AP's preseason poll, take a huge backwards step in 2018. Wisconsin enters this bowl 7-5 (Badgers finsihed 13-1 last year and ranked 7th in the final AP poll). Miami opened No. 8 in the 2018 AP preseason but lost its first game, 33-17 to LSU. Five consecutive wins followed but an Oct 13 loss at UVa ('Canes were ranked 16th at the time), began a four-game slide. However, at 5-5, Miami was able to end the season with impressive back-to-back wins, 38-14 at Va Tech and 24-3 at home against then-No. 24 Pittsburgh.
Miami’s offense struggled on and off, as QB Malik Rosier fell out of favor and the team went back and forth between he and redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry. the duo combined for 2,096 yards with19 TDs and 10 INTs. Miami owns a veteran OL vet offensive line, leading the way fro a team which averages 197.3 YPG (42nd). Seven Miami defensive players, led by A-A DE Gerald Willis III and MLB Shaq Quarterman, were named to the all-ACC teams. Miami comes in allowing 18.2 PPG (15th) on just 268.1 YPG (2nd).
I have never been much of a fan of Hornibrook and he was hampered by injuries this season (concussion problems kept him out of three full games). Hornibrook’s interception percentage climbed, but he threw just 13 TD passes (11 INTs), compared with a 25-15 ratio last season. However, RB Jonathan Taylor has been terrific, becoming the fourth Badger to win the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back (he joined Ron Dayne in 1999, Montee Ball in 2012 and Melvin Gordon in 2014). He is almost certain to get the 11 rushing yards needed to hit the 2,000-yard barrier for the season as he is averaging a nation-best 165.8 yards rushing per game. The Badgers defense had its moments but was far from the same dominant unit of a year ago, surrendering 81 points total in the last two games while allowing Minnesota to rush for 201 yards in the season finale.
Yes, this is Wisconsin's 17th straight bowl appearance but this year's team is way off recent editions. I noted Wisconsin's fall-off on the defensive side of the ball earlier but will add here that this year's team allowed 24.2 PPG, its highest total in almost10 years. Miami comes into this game with some momentum, recording impressive wins at Virginia Tech and against Pittsburgh to garner this bowl bid. Conversely, Wisconsin, which is just 3-9 ATS on the season, enters having lost FOUR of its last five against bowl-bound teams. Miami owns the better athletes and gets its revenge from LY's Orange Bowl.
|12-26-18||TCU v. California OVER 40||Top||10-7||Loss||-100||345 h 49 m||Show|
My 10* Bowl Total of the Year is on TCU/Cal Over at 9:00 ET.
Justin Wilcox was introduced as the 34th head coach of the California Golden Bears back on January 14, 2017. The Bears went 5–7 during Wilcox's first year in 2017 but did earn wins over North Carolina, Ole Miss, and an 8th-ranked Washington State team. The Bears also had three losses by three points or less. Cal opened 3-3 in 2018 but won FOUR of six down the stretch to finish 7-5. Included among those four wins were a 12-10 win over then-No. 15 Washington plus a 15-14 win over USC at the Coliseum in Los Angeles that snapped a 14-year losing streak to the Trojans. I say kudos to Wilcox for righting the ship in Berkeley and leading the Bears back to the bowl scene.
Youthful TCU returned just 11 starters from a team that went 10-2 in the 2017 regular season, earning a spot in the Big 12 title game. However, the Horned Frogs opened 4-6 (2-8 ATS), before they showed some grit with closing wins of 16-9 at Baylor and 31-24 at home over Okla St to gain bowl eligibility. In the end, head coach Gary Patterson just wouldn’t let team quit. Patterson's first full season at TCU came back in 2001 and through last year, his teams had 10 seasons of 10-plus wins (including the 13-0 team of 2010, which ended No. 2 in the final AP poll).
California ranked 16th in the country in total D (319.4 YPG) and 24th in points allowed (21.2 per). However, while the Bears returned 10 offensive starters, the team averaged only 22.8 PPG (109th) on 350.2 YPG (112th). The Bears shuffled through QBs but Wilcox ultimately settled on RS freshman Chase Garbers. He completed 61% of his passes for 1413 yards, with 14 TDs and 7 INTs. However, he didn’t top 200 yards passing in any of his last five games!
TCU has been know for its defense under Patterson and the Horned Frogs have allowed 24.4 PPG (45th) on 344.4 YPG (27th). In fact, six TCU defenders were named to the all-Big-12 team. Like Wilcox, Patterson had to do some QB shuffling of his own during the season. A shoulder injury shelved soph Shawn Robinson for the season and soph backup Michael Collins missed time with a foot injury, exiting the Baylor game early. Robinson has reportedly decided to transfer. Grayson Muehlstein, a 5th-year senior, completed 27 of 40 passes for 327 yards and three TDs in leading the Frogs to wins in the last two games. He'll start here.
The knee-jerk call here would be "Under," but not so fast. These are too very good defensive units but this over/under is the LOWEST of the entire bowl season. The "average" Cal game this season finished at 43.0 PPG, while the average TCU game checked in at 49.1 PPG (there's an edge, right there!). It's obvious that TCU's Patterson has a HUGE edge in bowl preparation experience over Wilcox, as while this is Wilcox's first-ever bowl game, Patterson is coaching in his 17th (first in 2000, came as interim TCU head coach).
Plenty of motivation on the Cal side, as the Bears can win eight games for only the second time since 2010 with a victory over the Horned Frogs. However, TCU needs to beat Cal to avoid its second 6-7 finish in the past three seasons. TCU head coach Gary Patterson is 6-0 against Pac-12 foes and the play here is OVER this VERY low number.
|12-26-18||Minnesota v. Georgia Tech -5.5||34-10||Loss||-109||55 h 45 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on Ga Tech at 5:15 ET.
Tech head coach Paul Johnson has decided to "hang ‘em up after this game." He's had quite a career. He led Georgia Southern (then an FCS school() to back-to-back national championships in 1999 and 2000, before moving on to Navy in 2002. His first team went 2-10 but FIVE straight bowl seasons followed. He left the Naval Academy prior to the team's 2007 bowl appearance to take over at Ga Tech at the start of the 2008 season. This Quick Lane Bowll appearance makes it NINE in his 11 years at Ga Tech. Johnson's counterpart is Minnesota's PJ Fleck, who became famous at Western Michigan in 2016 by leading the Broncos to a 13-1 season, which ended with a 24-16 Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin (New Year's Six bowl). He used that as a springboard to take his "Row the Boat:" mantra to Minnesota. So far, Fleck has disappointed, going 5-6 in 2017 and enters this game 6-6 in 2018 (note: he's also just 5-13 in the Big Ten his first two seasons). .
The Gophers own an average running game (163.8 YPG ranks 71st) plus the team had to deal with a mid-season injury to starting QB Zack Annexstad. Tanner Morgan (both are freshman) was effective enough that he stayed in the lineup after Annexstad returned to the roster. However, let's note the reality, that Minnesota QBs had 18 TDP and 14 INTs on the season (passing game has averaged 215.2 YPG to rank 81st) . The defense allows almost as much as the offense scores, yielding 27.9 PPG (offense averages 28.5 per). On a positive note, Minnesota won three of its final five games to become bowl eligible, including a 37-15 rout at Wisconsin (+12.5) in the Gophers' final regular season game, to beat the Badgers for the first time since 2003.
Johnson introduced the option to Annapolis and made the Midshipmen relevant in quick order. He made a seamless transition to the ACC with Georgia Tech and the league’s coaches could never quite figure out how to slow the Johnson option,. Case in point is that this year's team enters this bowl game with the nation's No. 1-ranked rushing offense (335.0 YPG). The Yellow Jackets reached their ninth bowl under Johnson thanks to a furious late-season hot streak, helping to erase a 1-3 start with SIX in their seven games (including victories over Virginia Tech, Miami and Virginia), before losing to powerhouse Georgia, 45-17 to end the year,.
The Minnesota rush D did hold six opponents under 100 yards on the ground but also allowed Maryland, Nebraska, and Illinois to each rush for more than 300 yards. Considering the Gophers draw the Yellow Jackets in their bowl matchup, those numbers are ominous. This is Minnesota's first bowl under Fleck but the Gophers had lost SEVEN of their previous nine bowl appearances. All FIVE of Georgia Tech's losses this year came against bowl-eligible teams and Johnson’s game management skills have always been called extraordinary. It's his "swan song" and I'll lay the points against Coach "Row the Boat!'
|12-23-18||Chiefs v. Seahawks +2.5||Top||31-38||Win||100||125 h 33 m||Show|
My 10* Game Of The Year is on the Seattle Seahawks (8:20 EST).
Seattle desperately needs a win here to stay in the playoff hunt. At 8-4, the Hawks need to win this game to keep pace for the Wild card. But a date at home is just what the doctor ordered for the Hawks to accomplish that as they’ve won three straight in the Pacific Northwest.
This is a big game for the Chiefs as well as they’re still trying to lock up the top seed in the AFC.
These teams are in fact very similar, led by a dynamic, play-making QB and strong running games on offense.
The Hawks however are much better defensively and I think this is going to play a major factor in the outcome of this one.
The Chiefs are led by QB Patrick Mahomes, who has 4,543 yards and a huge 45/11 TD/INT. The ground game averages 114.4 YPG.
Defensively though Kansas City is allowing 27.1 PPG.
Hawks’ QB Russell Wilson has 3,025 passing yards and a 31/6 TD/INT. The ground game averages a whopping 154.9 YPG and the defense concedes just 20.9 PPG.
Note as well that the Chiefs are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven off an upset loss as a home favorite, while Seattle is already 4-2 ATS as an underdog this season, 4-1 ATS at home and 4-1 ATS vs. teams with winning records.
The Hawks come in off a horrible OT loss to the 49ers and they’ll be eager to take out their frustrations in this “do or die” situation. The Chiefs are running out of gas and I believe their shoddy defensive play will finally expose them here in this difficult non-conference road venue.
Grab the points.
|12-23-18||Steelers +6 v. Saints||28-31||Win||100||120 h 25 m||Show|
My 9* Battle Of Titans is on the Pittsburgh Steelers (4:25 EST).
In a contest which I envision being decided by whichever of these talented non-conference opponents has its hands on the ball last, I’m going to grab the points.
After three straight losses the Steelers got back on track with a key 17-10 win over the Patriots at home last weekend and I think they’ll carry that momentum over here.
Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger had 235 yards, two TDs and two picks in that one, while Jaylen Samuels exploded for 142 yards on the ground.
The Saints lost to the Cowboys, but they’ve since bounced back with back-to-back victories, however they’ve been anything but easy (28-14 over the Bucs and 12-9 over the Panthers last weekend).
New Orleans’ QB Drew Brees looked particularly weak last weekend, going for 203 yards and an INT. RB Alvin Kamara had just 67 yards.
I’ll point out as well that Pittsburgh is already 3-0 ATS in non-conference games this year and 3-1 ATS in its last four off an upset win as an underdog, while New Orleans is just 1-4 ATS in its last five after allowing 17 points or less in three straight games.
Grab the points, expect a nail-biter.
|12-23-18||Bills v. Patriots -12.5||12-24||Loss||-109||117 h 9 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on the New England Patriots (1:00 EST).
I base my picks on many different things. This one comes down to my “gut”, to the “eye test,” to just plain “common sense,” or whatever you want to call it, but after New England lost in Pittsburgh last weekend, I’m expecting the angry Patriots to take their frustrations out on the lowly Bills on Sunday afternoon.
The Bills have looked a bit better of late but they’ve still lost four of their last five on the road.
Rookie QB Josh Allen is completing just 52.2 percent of his passes for 1,633 yards and a 6/9 TD/INT.
Buffalo has been decent defensively in conceding just 23.8 PPG, but as mentioned off the top, I think the visitors are going to have their hands full today with a motivated Tom Brady and company.
Thankfully for Brady and company, a date at home is just what the doctor ordered as they’ve already won all six games there this season so far. Brady is completing nearly 66 percent of his passes for 3,979 yards and a 24/9 TD/INT. Overall the Pats are conceding only 22.1 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that Buffalo is just 12-16 ATS in its last 28 as an underdog, while New England is 5-1 ATS as a home favorite this year and 7-2 ATS in its last nine off an upset loss as a favorite.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|12-23-18||Bengals v. Browns UNDER 45.5||Top||18-26||Win||100||117 h 4 m||Show|
My 10* Total of the Week is on the under Bengals/Browns (1:00 EST).
The 6-8 Cincinnati Bengals head to Cleveland to take on the 6-7-1 Browns on Sunday and in my opinion, this one has defensive battle written all over it.
The Bengals won their last game, but they’ve lost four of their last five on the road. Starting QB Andy Dalton is out and backup Jeff Driskel is in. So far he has 775 yards passing a 4/2 TD/INT. The ground game has been a weak point on offense as well, averaging 103.9 YPG.
But the weakest weak point for the Bengals has been on the defensive side, allowing 29.5 PPG. The unit catches a break though facing Cleveland’s inconsistent offense.
The Browns have won four of their last five and still have a slim playoff chance. QB Baker Mayfield has 3,065 yards passing and a weak 21/11 TD/INT. The ground game has been decent in averaging 121.1 YPG. The defense has been hit or miss, allowing 24.9 PPG. Myles Garrett has been a standout with 12.5 sacks.
I’ll point out as well that Cincinnati has seen the total go under the number in eight of its last 11 in trying to revenge a loss vs. an opponent, while Cleveland has seen the total dip below the posted number in 16 of its last 22 at home.
This one has the feel of a “chess match,” where field position and ball control is paramount in the victory. This number is a little high, play the under.
|12-22-18||Louisiana Tech v. Hawaii||31-14||Loss||-125||62 h 45 m||Show|
My 9* PERFECT STORM is on Hawaii at 10:30 ET.
Louisiana Tech is making its fifth consecutive bowl appearance and is looking for its fifth straight win in its fifth different bowl game but the Bulldogs limp into this game having lost THREE of their last four games, leaving them with a 7-5 record on the season. It's been reported that the Bulldogs were physically and mentally spent after getting destroyed 45-3 at SEC Mississippi State on Nov 3. QB J’Mar Smith passed for 2,873 yards but completed a modest 56.9% with 14 TDs and 9 INTs. The team's rushing game has averaged only 126.7 YPG (113th), so it doesn't give Smith too much cover. La Tech's defense is solid, allowing 23.8 PPG (40th) on 350.9 YPG (32nd)
Hawaii opened the season with three straight wins (averaged 48.3 PPG), including winning its first two games at Colorado St 43-34 (+17) and home to Navy, 59-41 (+13.5). The Rainbow Warriors would reach 6-1 but then the 'bottom fell out,' as Hawaii lost four in a row while allowing 48.8 PPG. With Hawaii staring at a six-game losing streak, the Rainbow Warriors won thrillers over UNLV and San Diego State to close the regular season with an 8-5 record. QB Cole McDonald threw for 3,790 yards with 35 TDs and was dominant in the regular season finale vs SDSU, passing for 452 yards, three TDs and no INTs in the 31-30 OT win. McDonald will have to bring his "A-game," as Hawaii's D allows 35.4 PPG (111th) on 438.7 YPG (101st).
Technical factors favor La Tech, as Skip Holtz is 4-0 SU in bowls with Tech and 17-6 as a dog since 2014. That said, this game is basically pick'em, meaning La Tech can't be expected to cover, without winning. Hawaii is 5-2 SU at home in 2018, losing to Nevada and 11-2 Utah St. Home cookin' gets the cash!
|12-22-18||Ravens +5 v. Chargers||Top||22-10||Win||100||101 h 40 m||Show|
My 10* AFC Seeding Decider is on the Baltimore Ravens (8:20 EST).
Baltimore is 8-6 and desperate for a victory. Baltimore has won four of its last five games. The Ravens got the better of Tampa Bay last week and got 131 yards and a TD from rookie QB Lamar Jackson (he also rushed for 95 yards).
The Chargers are 11-3, but after four straight victories, a letdown at some point does seem imminent. Most recently Philip Rivers had 313 yards and two TDs in a win over the Chiefs.
LA though has struggled in this spot for bettors for a while, going just 3-7 ATS in its last ten following an ATS victory.
Baltimore on the other hand is a solid 7-3-1 ATS in its last 11 on the road.
The Chargers last three victories could have gone either way and I think LA’s “luck” runs out this week. That said, grab the points.
|12-22-18||Buffalo v. Troy +2||Top||32-42||Win||100||58 h 17 m||Show|
My 10* CFB Game of the Week is on Troy at 7:00 ET.
10-3 Buffalo and 9-3 Troy each went 7-1 during their respective conference regular seasons. However, only Buffalo (MAC) played in a conference title game, as Troy lost a tie-breaker with Appalachian St in the Sun Belt East. In retrospect, Buffalo would have preferred to "stay home," as the Bulls led NIU 29-10 in the final minute of the third quarter, only to go on to lose, 30-29. The teams meet in this year's Dollar General Bowl, for the first time-ever.
There is no doubt that Buffalo has skill players on the offensive side of the ball (34.8 PPG ranks 26th in the nation). QB Tyree Jackson has thrown for 2,857 yards with 27 TDs and just INTs. His two favorite targets are Anthony Johnson(52 catches / 11 TDs) and K.J. Osborn (49 / 6 TDs). Last year’s leading rusher, Emmanuel Reed, was pushed aside this season by a pair of freshmen, Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson, who combined for 1,751 rushing yards and 25 rush TDs this season. Buffalo’s offensive line, which was allowed just 12 sacks in 13 game. The "D" was good enough, allowing 24.7 PPG (49th) on 349.4 YPG (31st).
Troy averages a more modest 29.8 PPG but it concedes just 21.2 (23rd) on 345.6 YPG (28th). BJ Smith had 100 rushing yards in five out of his last eight games (set a school record with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games), finishing with 1,093 yards and 12 TDs. QB Sawyer Smith has been up and down since taking over for injured starter Kaleb Barker at mid-season. However, the Trojans have a stable of talented receivers that allowed both Barker and Smith to throw for over 1,000 yards, just the second time that has happened in school history.
Can anyone really trust Buffalo QB Jackson? The month of November was not kind tothe junior, as he broke the 200-yard barrier just once while the Bulls posted a 2-2 record. In comparison, over the first nine games, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year averaged 247 yards while throwing 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Those numbers dropped to 158 yards per game with four touchdowns and three interceptions in four games in November, which culminated with the Bulls allowing a 29-10 lead to slip away in the MAC championship game defeat. Buffalo is playing in just its third bowl game, having lost 49-24 to SD State in 2013 and 38-20 to UConn in 2009. You really want to trust a team from the MAC? MAC schools are just 2-15 in bowls since Christmas Day 2015!
This game is being played in Mobile, roughly three hours from the Troy campus. The Trojans have won bowls the last two years and will take an overall 30-8 record the last three season into this contest. Note that Troy will also take a three-game bowl winning streak into this game, while averaging 42.0 PPG.
|12-21-18||Florida International +6 v. Toledo||35-32||Win||100||78 h 4 m||Show|
My 9* Bahamas Bowl play is on FIU at 12:30 ET.
This is the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl at Thomas Robinson Stadium, featuring 8-4 Florida International up against 7-5 Toledo. FIU's regular season ended on a disappointing note, as its 28-25 loss to Marshall prevented the school from earning a spot in the C-USA title game but the Panthers still garnered a trip out of the country to face Toledo in this contest. It's FIU's second straight bowl berth under coach Butch Davis, who took over a program that last went to a bowl back in 2011 and had gone 17-43 (.283) in the five years prior to Davis' arrival. it marks just the fourth bowl appearance in the program's history. In contrast, Toledo has a much richer postseason tradition with eight bowl appearances in the last nine years and 18 overall. Friday's game marks the schools' second bowl meeting, with the Golden Panthers stunning the Rockets 34-32 on a last-second field goal in the 2010 Little Caesar's Bowl.
FIU quarterback James Morgan is a graduate transfer from Bowling Green and was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year, after setting a school single-season record with 26 TD passes (just seven INTs). He completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,727 yards.Toledo's QB situation is also noteworthy. A shoulder injury knocked QB Mitchell Guadagni out of action in late October, giving the job to backup and former Illinois soph QB Eli Peters. Peters’ passing numbers were decent-to-good, as he completed 55% for 1,573 yards with 15 TDs and 7 INTs but the problem is that Guadagni was better (58%, 13-3 TD/INT ratio.) and he was also the team’s leading rusher at the time of his initial injury.
FIU stumbled a bit at the finish with two losses in its last four games to fall into a second-place tie in the East Division of C-USA but the team's eight wins still equaled the school record for victories in a season. As for Toledo, the Rockets soared down the stretch to keep alive their bowl hopes, winning four of their last five contests (averaged 50.8 PPG in the wins) to extend their streak of winning seasons to nine.
Now here's the rub. The Rockets haven't won in the postseason since defeating Temple 32-17 in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl plus despite Ohio U's 27-0 win over SD State on Wednesday, MAC schools are a mind-numbing 2-13 SU in bowl games since Christmas Day 2015. FIU is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 and 9-4 as an underdog since last season under Davis. The Golden Panthers are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 following a SU loss. I still don't trust MAC schools in bowls (how could anyone?) and I believe the FIU defense is under-rated (24.7 PPG allowed ranks 47th and 386.7 YPG ranks 58th), giving them a legitimate shot at taking this one outright (a win sets a new single-season school record!). Take the points.
|12-20-18||Marshall v. South Florida +3||Top||38-20||Loss||-115||86 h 58 m||Show|
My 10* play is on USF at 8:00 ET.
Marshall and USF meet for the first time in Thursday's Gaspariila Bowl. 8-4 Marshall is a dominating 11-2 all-time in bowl games and enters having won its last six (HC Holliday is 5-0 SU & ATS). Meanwhile, USF's 7-5 record includes them opening the 2018 season 7-0 (garnering a ranking of 21 in the AP poll), then losing its last five regular season games.
The Herd may have won six straight bowls, but I think they’ll have their hands full with this hungry USF side.The Herd will have Tyler King and Brenden Knox in the backfield and they will present a formidable challenge for a Bulls' defense that allowed 39.6 PPG during its five-game slide. The Bulls rely on RB’s Jordan Cronkrite and Jonny Ford, who had nearly 1,800 combined yards rushing and 17 TDs between them. USF did not have No. 1 QB Blake Barnett in two of its last three games because of a shoulder injury and he may return. Chris Oladokun or Brett Kean would step in if Barnett can’t go.
Head coaches Doc Holliday (Marshall) and Charlie Strong (USF) coached alongside each other as Florida assistants and I believe Strong could REALLY use a win. Why can't he get that win, as he's playing at home. The Bulls are 21-6 SU at home the last four seasons.USF has a chance to erase its poor finish with a third straight bowl win and the school's SIXTH win in its last seven bowl appearances.
|12-19-18||Ohio v. San Diego State +3||27-0||Loss||-116||101 h 57 m||Show|
My 8* Frisco Bowl Situational Stunner is on SD State at 8:00 ET.
While the outright win is clearly not out of the question, I will in the end recommend grabbing as many points as you can.
SDSU backed its way into the bowl season with three straight losses to UNLV, Fresno State and Hawaii, but the MWC school is still loaded with talent.
Ohio comes in off back-to-back wins over Buffalo and Akron.
The Bobcats rank eighth in the country in rushing offense with an average of over 262 yards per game.
But SDSU ranks fourth nationally in rush defense, allowing just 94.5 YPG, or 2.75 YPC. The Aztecs will have their hands full with the Bobcats’ AJ Ouellette, who had 1,142 rushing yards and 12 TDs this year.
The Aztecs got hit by the injury bug early, with QB Christian Chapman missing six games and RB Juwan Washington missing four. Both however are playing today and each has something to prove after a somewhat wasted campaign.
I think Ohio will be neutralized here though against SDSU’s strong run defense.
I’ll point out as well that SDSU has been money in the bank for bettors in this spot, going 7-1 ATS in its last eight as an underdog (including 3-1 ATS this season), while Ohio is a poor 2-5 ATS in its last seven after scoring 42 points or more in its last game.
In conclusion: Frank Solich has been a 'savior' for Ohio U (10th bowl in 14 seasons) but he is just 3-6 in bowl games with the Bobcats. Maybe more importantly, we've already seen two MAC schools lose this bowl season, Eastern Mich (Sat) and NIU (last night), as MAC schools are now 1-13 SU in bowl games since Christmas Day of 2015. Getting back to SDSU, the Aztecs (+14) lost 31-10 at Stanford back on Aug 30 (1st game of the season), as the favorite "got the cash." However, the underdog went a PERFECT 11-0 ATS over the Aztecs' next 11 games!
So let's get this straight. MAC schools are now 1-13 SU in bowl games since Christmas Day of 2015 and I can add that SDSU is 13-0-1 SU all-time vs MAC schools. Then we have the fact that the underdog is a PERFECT 11-0 ATS over the Aztecs' last 11 games! I'm NOT 'stepping in front of that train!'
|12-17-18||Saints -6 v. Panthers||Top||12-9||Loss||-106||14 h 17 m||Show|
My 10* MNF GAME OF YEAR is on the New Orleans Saints (8:15 EST).
Carolina started the season 4-1, but it enters this one at 6-7. Unbelievably perhaps the Panthers still have a shot at the second Wild Card spot, with four other teams in the NFC sitting with an identical record. But after five straight losses, including a deflating 26-20 setback at Cleveland last weekend, I think Carolina is ripe for the picking.
The Saints are already assured a playoff spot, but they still have a lot to play for here as well as they look to lock down top spot in the NFC and the coveted first round bye and home field advantage.
Last week New Orleans beat the Bucs 28-14, holding a fifth consecutive opponent to 17 or fewer points.
Last week Panthers’ QB Cam Newton failed to throw a TD pass for the first time this year. Newton has been hit or miss this year, as while he does have nine TD passes during the five-game slide, he’s also been intercepted at least once in all five losses and he has eight picks overall.
I’ll point out as well that New Orleans is already 7-3 ATS as a favorite this season and 3-1 ATS vs. the division, while Carolina is just 5-11 ATS in its last 16 vs. the division (including 1-2 ATS this season) and only 1-3 ATS this year off an upset loss as a favorite.
With a chance to cement their lead and to end their rivals playoff chances, I look for the high-powered Saints to deliver the knock out blow.
Lay the points.
|12-16-18||Eagles v. Rams -9||Top||30-23||Loss||-105||132 h 16 m||Show|
My 9* SNF Magic is on the LA Rams (8:20 EST).
Philadelphia won’t have Carson Wentz under center and they come in off a deflating 29-23 OT loss to Dallas last weekend, all but assuring the final nail in the coffin as far as trying to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
LA will be eager to get back on track here after a lacklustre 15-6 road loss at Soldier Field last weekend.
Philadelphia averages only 21.6 PPG and with Wentz out, I think that his backup will struggle to find chemistry right away. Nick Foles was superb during Philly’s big SB run, but there’s no question he’s being thrown to the wolves this weekend.
LA averages 32.7 PPG and it allows only 24.1. With a victory today the Rams will clinch first place in the NFC West and they’ll be well on their way to clinching a first round bye as well.
Additionally note that Philly is a poor 4-7 ATS in its last 11 as a road underdog, while the Rams are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games following a road loss in which they were held to six points or less.
This one has blow-out written all over it. Play on LA.
|12-16-18||Cardinals v. Falcons OVER 44||Top||14-40||Win||100||141 h 36 m||Show|
My 10* Total Of The Year is on the over Cards/Falcons (1:00 EST).
Two proud teams collide with nothing but pride to play for. Neither side can be happy with the way its season has unfolded to this point, but with the pressure off and with both trying to gain something positive to build off to end the season, I’m expecting more of a wide-open “shootout,” than a lower-scoring “chess match.”
Arizona has lost six of eight. QB Josh Rosen has 1,910 passing yards and a 10/12 TD/INT. The ground game has been the weak point to this point, averaging only 85 YPG. The defense though has also been a shell of its former self and the Falcons’ high-flying and under-achieving offense will definitely have its opportunities in facing a Cards’ unit which is allowing 25.2 PPG.
The Falcons have lost five straight and they’ll be given the green light today to open up the playbook. QB Matt Ryan has been a bright spot, going for 4,076 yards along with a 28/6 TD/INT. Ryan now has two or more TD passes in five of his last eight games.
I’ll point out as well that Arizona has seen the total go “over” the number in 14 of its last 21 on the road and in nine of its last 14 as a road underdog, while Atlanta has seen the total go over in 15 of its last 21 as a home favorite and in three of its last four following a loss by 14 points or more.
For all the reasons listed above, play the over.
|12-16-18||Bucs v. Ravens -8||12-20||Push||0||126 h 31 m||Show|
My 8* CRUSHER is on the Baltimore Ravens (1:00 EST).
The 5-8 Buccaneers had their two game win streak snapped last week and they’ve now lost five of their last seven. They tried their best to play spoiler to division rival New Orleans, but with that attempt coming up short, I have a hard time seeing the struggling visiting side mustering up the same energy levels in this difficult non-conference road venue.
Bucs’ QB Jameis Winston has 2,154 passing yards and along with a weak 14/12 TD/INT. The ground game has been terrible, averaging only 98.7 YPG.
The main issue for Tampa though has been on the defensive side of the ball as it allows an atrocious 29.5 PPG.
Playing defense has been no issue for Baltimore most weeks though, as it allows just 18.5 PPG, No. 1 in the NFL. This is a crucial game for Baltimore as it looks to keep pace for the Wildcard. QB Lamar Jackson had 687 passing yards and a 4/3 TD/INT, while also rushing for over 400 yards already.
I’ll point out as well that Tampa is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven off a loss vs. a division rival, while Baltimore is 7-2 ATS in its last nine off a road loss.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|12-16-18||Packers +6 v. Bears||Top||17-24||Loss||-110||125 h 30 m||Show|
My 10* Oddsmakers Error is on the Green Bay Packers (1:00 EST).
The 5-7-1 Green Bay Packers invade Soldier Field looking to pull off an outright upset. While I do indeed feel it’s possible, I will in the end recommend grabbing as many points as you can.
Green Bay kept its slim wild card hopes alive with a convincing 34-20 win over Atlanta last weekend and there’s no reason not to think that Aaron Rodgers and company can’t keep that momentum rolling here in this “do or die” scenario.
Rodgers has 3,700 yards passing and a ridiculous 23/1 TD/INT. Davante Adams has 1,196 receiving yards and 12 TDs. Overall the Packers are averaging 24.2 PPG.
The Bears enter off a very satisfying 15-6 win over the Rams in their last outing and I think they’re primed for a predictable letdown here. The pressure is now on the Bears to deliver the goods, as a victory will lock up the division. QB Mitch Trubisky has 2,579 passing yards and a ho-hum 21/12 TD/INT. Overall Chicago averages 19 PPG.
Additionally note that the Packers are 14-8 ATS in their last 22 after playing a home game, while Chicago is just 1-4 ATS in its last five off an upset win as a home dog.
The Bears play with revenge, but the Packers are playing for their lives. In a contest which I envision being decided by whichever of these hungry teams has its hands on the ball last, I’m grabbing the points.
|12-15-18||Middle Tennessee State +7 v. Appalachian State||Top||13-45||Loss||-103||267 h 35 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on MTSU 10* (9:00 EST).
MTSU is 8-5 and App State finished 10-2. Regardless of that, I think the Blue Raiders are going to at the very least, take this one right down to the wire in the New Orleans Bowl.
Appalachian State beat Louisiana in the Sun Belt Title game to earn this spot. QB Zac Thomas had 75 yards passing, 59 yards rushing and two TDs.
MTSU fell to UAB in its conference championship game. QB Brent Stockstill had 362 yards passing with two TDs, while Zack Dobson posted 52 yards rushing.
I’ll point out though that MTSU is 4-1 ATS In is last five following an ATS loss, while App State is only 2-6 ATS in its last eight following a two weeks or longer break between games.
I think Stockstill is the difference and i look for the talented pivot to keep his underdog team in this one late. Grab the points.
|12-15-18||Eastern Michigan v. Georgia Southern +1||21-23||Win||100||263 h 5 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Georgia Southern 8* (5:30 EST).
The 9-3 Georgia Southern Eagles take on the 7-5 EMU Eagles in the Cramton Bowl and in my opinion, this one has “blowout” written all over it.
EMU finished on a three-game win streak and No. 2 in the MAC. Tyler Wiegers has 1,887 passing yards and an 11/3 TD/INT. Overall the Eagles have been weak defensively though, conceding 27.5 PPG.
Georgia Southern QB Shai Werts has 954 passing yards with ten TDs through the air, with another 822 yards on the ground and another 13 major scores. Like the counterparts, the Eagles have struggled defensively this season, conceding 31.1 PPG.
I’ll point out though that Georgia Southern is 4-0 ATS in its last four non-conference games, while EMU is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven when playing with two or more weeks of rest.
Georgia Southern finished in the top 10 in the FBS in rushing yards per game with almost 200 YPG. I have a hard time seeing EMU keeping pace down the stretch.
Play on Georgia Southern.
|12-15-18||Texans -6 v. Jets||Top||29-22||Win||100||121 h 44 m||Show|
My 10* Las Vegas Insider is on the Houston Texans (4:30 EST).
The 9-4 Texans looks to get back on track after a 24-21 loss to the Colts at home last weekend. A date against the hapless Jets is just what the doctor ordered to get untracked in my opinion.
Houston QB DeShaun Watson had 267 yards and a TD last week, as well as 35 rushing yards. Indianapolis had lost at home to Houston earlier in the year and it was also coming off a horrible 6-0 loss to the Jags and the Texans just weren’t able to keep pace down the stretch to extend their win streak.
But a 4-9 Jets team that comes in off an upset win over the Bills looks ripe for a letdown. Jets’ rookie QB Sam Darnold had 170 yards, a TD and a pick.
I’ll point out though that the Texans are 3-1 ATS at this year vs. teams with losing records and 4-1 ATS in its last five after playing a home game, while New York is just 4-6 ATS as an underdog this saxon and only 2-4 ATS at home.
I’m expecting Watson and company to respond big in this favorable matchup. Lay the points.
|12-15-18||Arizona State v. Fresno State -4.5||20-31||Win||100||261 h 5 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on Fresno State 8* (3:30 EST).
I think the 11-2 Fresno State Bulldogs will run right over the 7-5 Arizona State Sun Devils.
Fresno State has won ten of its last 11 games and another victory would be the schools most in its history. QB Marcus McMaryion has 3,453 yards passing and an elite 25/3 TD/INT. Defensively the Bulldogs have been dominant as well, allowing only 13.7 PPG.
Arizona State won five of its final eight games of the regular season. QB Manny Wilkins has 2,896 passing yards and a sharp 19/4 TD/INT. Defensively the Sun Devils are allowing 25.1 PPG.
I’ll point out though that Fresno State is 8-2 ATS in its last ten non-conference games, while Arizona State is just 2-7 ARTS in its last nine bowl games.
Fresno State is on a mission for one last victory and it has the superior team on both sides of the ball. I have a hard time seeing ASU keeping pace down the stretch.
Lay the points.
|12-13-18||Chargers +3.5 v. Chiefs||Top||29-28||Win||100||77 h 27 m||Show|
My 10* Thursday GAME OF THE YEAR is on the LA Chargers (8:20 EST).
It goes without saying that this is an important game. The Chiefs are fantastic on offense, but downright terrible defensively. The Chargers are the more complete all around team and they have the more experienced QB.
In a contest which I envision being decided by whichever of these hungry sides has its hands on the ball last, I’m going to grab as many points as I can.
LA enters off a 26-21 home win over the Bengals last week, avoiding a potential “trap.” The Chiefs could be running out of gas after their 27-24 OT home win over Baltimore this past weekend.
The Chargers have won three straight and nine of ten. Philip Rivers has 3,638 passing yards with a 29/6 TD/INT. LA is 5-1 ATS on the road so far this season.
The Chiefs are 3-3 ATS at home this year. QB Patrick Mahomes has a 43/11 TD/INT. The team has plenty of talent, bur recent off field issues involving star player Kareem Hunt could also be taking its toll.
I’ll point out as well that the Chargers are already 3-1 ATS as an underdog this season, while the Chiefs are just 3-5 ATS in their last eight after scoring 25 or or more points in five straight games.
For all the reasons listed above, play on the Chargers.
|12-10-18||Vikings v. Seahawks -3||Top||7-21||Win||100||12 h 29 m||Show|
My 10* play is on the Seattle Seahawks (8:15 EST).
With so much on the line, I think that home field advantage can not be overlooked as a very real deciding factor.
The Vikes enter off a 24-10 road loss in New England last Sunday and now they travel across country to play in another extremely difficult venue.
Seattle on the other hand comes in off a momentum building 43-16 destruction of the 49ers and I think it’ll carry that momentum over here.
Minnesota averages only 22.9 PPG and it concedes 22.5. Kirk Cousins has a 23/9 TD/INT and he’s been sacked 30 times this year. Last week the Vikes committed two fumbles and only created one of their own.
Seattle averages 26.6 PPG and it concedes 21.6. QB Russell Wilson has a 29/5 TD/INT and he’s been sacked 37 times.
I’ll point out though that Seattle is 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight after posting 150 yards rushing in its previous game, while Minnesota is a terrible 2-9 ATS in its last 11 Monday night contests and just 1-7 ATS in its last eight vs. teams with winning records.
The Hawks’ look better on offense, as their ground game is firing on all cylinders. I have a hard time seeing the visitors keeping pace down the stretch.
Lay the points.
|12-09-18||Eagles +3.5 v. Cowboys||23-29||Loss||-110||97 h 3 m||Show|
My 8* Battle 4 1st Play is on the Philadelphia Eagles (4:25 EST).
The 6-6 Eagles face the 7-5 Cowboys with their season on the line once again and I believe the improving defending champs will once again find a way to get the job done.
After losing three of four, Philadelphia has won back-to-back crucial games over the Giants and Redskins.
Last weekend Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz had 306 yards passing, two TDs and an INT, while WR Golden Tate had 85 receiving yards and a TD catch.
The Eagles play with revenge here as well, as Dallas comes in having won four straight, starting with the Eagles and then followed by the Falcons, Redskins and Saints. Last week Cowboy QB Dak Prescott had 248 yards and a TD, while Ezekiel Elliot had 76 yards.
I’ll point out though that Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS in its last five in revenging a close loss by 7 points or less vs. an opponent, while Dallas is only 0-2 ATS in its last two after two straight home victories.
For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
|12-09-18||Colts +5 v. Texans||Top||24-21||Win||100||116 h 11 m||Show|
My 10* LEGEND is on Indianapolis (1:00 EST).
This is a big game for both teams. The Colts come in off a 6-0 road loss to Jacksonville though and they’ll be hungry to bounce back here and to avenge a 37-34 OT home loss to the Texans ealier in the year. The Texans have been one of the hottest teams in the league, but regression at some point is imminent and after last week’s 29-13 home victory over Cleveland, I believe we’ll see that in this important divisional matchup.
Luck was dominant in the loss to the Texans, posting 464 passing yards and four TDs.
The Colts are averaging 27.1 PPG and conceding only 23.2. Houston has been fantastic overall, but its weakness on defense is clearly against the pass.
Houston’s won nine straight. It’s difficult to win every single week in the NFL and I think the Texans are primed for a letdown here finally. The Texans come in averaging 25.2 PPG and conceding 19.6.
I’ll point out though that Indianapolis is 5-1 ATS in its last six as a road dog in the 3.5 to seven points range, while Houston is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight after two or more straight ATS victories.
Grab the points.
|12-09-18||Ravens v. Chiefs UNDER 53||24-27||Win||100||116 h 6 m||Show|
My 9* O/U play is the under Ravens/Chiefs (1:00 EST).
Baltimore comes in off a 26-16 road win over Atlanta last weekend, while the Chiefs posted a 40-33 win over the Raiders. If Kansas City is going to move ahead in the playoffs, it’s going to have to learn how to play defense at some point.
The Ravens won’t be looking to turn this one into a shootout. Instead the visitors will be hoping to keep Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense off the field as play whenever possible.
And that means clock control while on offense themselves. Baltimore rookie RB Lamar Jackson has started three straight games and led his team to victory in each. He only has 540 passing yards with a weak 2/3 TD/INT, but he’s also posted a thrilling 404 rushing yards.
Overall the Ravens are averaging 24.8 PPG and allowing an NFL best 17.8.
The Chiefs are averaging 37 PPG and conceding 27.2. Mahomes has a stellar 41/10 TD/INT thus far.
I’ll point out as well that Baltimore has seen the total go under the under in four of six on the road already this year, while KC has seen the total dip below the posted number in 17 of its last 23 as a home favorite.
This number is a little high, play the under.
|12-09-18||Giants v. Redskins +3.5||40-16||Loss||-105||116 h 60 m||Show|
My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on the Washington Redskins (1:00 EST).
The 4-8 New York Giants are looking to deliver the knock out blow to the Redskins, but I think the desperate home side keeps this one competitive.
The over-achieving Giants look primed for a letdown here in my opinion after winning three of their last four. Note though that despite that New York has still dropped four of its last six on the road. QB Eli Manning has a weak 15/8 TD/INT. So far Manning has one or less TD pass in eight of his 11 games.
New York has been weak on the defensive side of the ball as well by conceding 26.3 PPG.
A win today the Skins are back above .500 and right back in the NFC playoff race. QB Mark Sanchez will get the call here, but I’m not basing my play on the veteran whatsoever. Washington has many other weapons, including Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson.
Overall Washington has been decent defensively, allowing 21.4 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that New York is just 5-6 ATS in its last 11 as a favorite and only 1-5 ATS in its last six off an upset win as an underdog, while Washington is already a perfect 4-0 ATS this season as a home underdog and 7-3 ATS in its last ten following a loss by ten points or more.
For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
|12-09-18||Panthers -1 v. Browns||Top||20-26||Loss||-120||116 h 34 m||Show|
My 10* PERFECT STORM is on the Carolina Panthers (1:00 EST).
The 6-6 Carolina Panthers have no hopes of catching the New Orleans Saints for the division lead, but they’ll be looking to keep their slim wild card hopes alive with a win today.
It’s do or die for Carolina after four-straight losses. QB Cam Newton has a 24/11 TD’INT and he has two or more TD passes in each of his last 11 games. The defense, once a strength, has taken a step back this year, allowing 25.5 PPG.
However, that unit catches a break facing the Browns inconsistent offense which averages only 21.3 PPG.
Cleveland may have won three of its last five at home, but overall it’s dropped five of its last seven. QB Baker Mayfield has an 18/10 TD/INT.
The Browns have been weak defensively as well in conceding 26 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that Carolina is 8-1 ATS in its last nine non-conference road games following a three games or more losing streak, while Cleveland is just 8-19 ATS in its last 27 at home.
I look at Mayfield and I look at Newton and then I place my wager on Carolina.
Play on the Panthers.
|12-06-18||Jaguars v. Titans OVER 37||Top||9-30||Win||100||56 h 4 m||Show|
My 10* play on the over Jaguars/Titans (8:20 EST).
The Jags come in off a 6-0 win at home over the Colts, while the Titans saved their season with a late 26-22 home win over the Jets.
Tennessee took the first game this year 9-6, but I’m finally expecting more of a wide open shootout on the short week between these two desperate teams.
The Jags defense stepped up with their best performance of the season last week, but consistency on the road and from game to game has been Jacksonville’s biggest problem this year.
The Titans had to rally from a 16-0 first half deficit last week and I fully expect Tennessee to keep that momentum rolling here.
And from a trend based stand point, there’s no question that this one sets up as a higher-scoring shootout, as note that Jacksonville has seen the total go over the number in its last three in revenging an upset loss against an opponent as a favorite, while Tennessee has seen the total go over in seven of its last nine as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range.
This number is a little low, play the over.
|12-03-18||Redskins v. Eagles UNDER 45.5||Top||13-28||Win||100||13 h 41 m||Show|
My 10* NFC EAST TOTAL OF THE MONTH is the under Skins/Eagles (8:15 EST).
To say this is a big game would be an understatement. It’s a “must win” game for both teams. A victory assures nothing, other than “being in the playoff picture” for another week, while a loss “seals the deal” on a disappointing season.
With so much on the line, I’m absolutely expecting more of a “chess match,” where field position and ball control becomes paramount in the end.
Both teams have struggled with offensive consistency. The Redskins are down to the backup QB in Colt McCoy after losing Alex Smith to injury for the year. McCoy was unspectacular in the Thanksgiving day loss to the Texans, going for 268 yards, two TDs and two INTs. Clearly Washington won’t be asking McCoy to do too much more than just manage the game today, as the visitors establish the run game and hope that their defense and special teams come up big.
The Eagles needed a late rally to salvage their season last week, pulling away for a 25-22 win over the Giants. Carson Wentz was an efficient 20 of 28 for 236 yards and a TD. RB Josh Adams was big with 84 yards on 22 carries.
But like the Redskins, the Eagles are going to be relying on their defense to come up big today and to dictate the pace of this one.
Note that Washington has seen the total go under the number in its last four road games when the total is between 42.5 and 45 points, while Philadelphia has seen the total dip below the posted number in five of six home games already this season.
For all the reasons listed above, play the under.
|12-02-18||Chargers v. Steelers -3||Top||33-30||Loss||-130||124 h 43 m||Show|
My 10* Las Vegas Insider is on the Pittsburgh Steelers (8:20 EST).
This is a big game for both teams, but I don’t think that the home field advantage can be overlooked as a very real deciding factor in this one.
LA has won four straight and QB Phillip Rivers so far has 26 TDs and six INTs. Overall the ground game is averaging 128.8 YPC, with Melvin Gordon leading the way (Gordon is out for this one though). The defense has been sharp as well, allowing only 19.9 PPG.
Pittsburgh is out to atone for a loss last week, but overall the Steelers come in having won three straight at home. QB Ben Roethlisberger has a 24/12 TD/INT. Antonio Brown has 1,929 receiving yards and 15 TD catches.
I’ll printout as well that LA is just 3-4 ATS in its last seven as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while Pittsburgh is already 3-1 ATS in this year as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range.
I’m banking on Pittsburgh bouncing back and for the Chargers to finally run out of gas in this difficult road venue. Lay the points.
|12-02-18||Vikings +6 v. Patriots||10-24||Loss||-115||100 h 10 m||Show|
The second pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on the Minnesota Vikings 8* (4:25 EST).
The 6-4-1 Minnesota Vikings are on the road to take on the 8-3 New England Patriots and while the outright win isn’t out of the question obviously, I’ll recommend grabbing the points in a contest which I envision coming down to whichever of these hungry teams has its hands on the ball last.
The Vikes are averaging 24.1 PPG. QB Kirk Cousins has a sharp 22/7 TD/INT.
The Pats are averaging 27.9 PPG. QB Tom Brady has a 19/7 TD/INT.
These teams are evenly matched. The difference comes in the trends though, as note that Minnesota is 7-3 ATS in its last ten non-conference game and 3-1 ATS in its last four as a road dog in the 3.5 to seven points range, while New England is just 3-5 ATS in its last eight as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range.
Grab the points and expect a “nail biter.”
|12-02-18||49ers v. Seahawks UNDER 46.5||16-43||Loss||-110||100 h 10 m||Show|
The third pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on the under 49ers/Hawks 9* (4:25 EST).
San Francisco comes in off a 27-9 loss at Tampa Bay and I think it’ll have difficulty producing much offense this week either.
Seattle enters off a much-needed 30-27 road win over Carolina and it’ll be looking to avoid a dangerous letdown here.
Overall San Francisco is averaging 20.7 PPG, while conceding 26.6. QB Nick Mullens threw for 221 yards and a TD in last week’s loss, but he also had two INTs.
Seattle is averaging 147.1 rushing yards per game, which is No. 1 in the league. Look for the home side to double down on the run game this week. Overall the Hawks average 25.1 PPG and allow 22.1.
I’ll point out as well that Seattle has seen the total go under in six of its last eight vs. teams with losing records, while San Francisco has seen the total dip below the posted number in six of its last nine after scoring ten points or less in its previous outing.
This number is high, play the under.
|12-02-18||Jets v. Titans -7.5||22-26||Loss||-110||100 h 50 m||Show|
The first pick of my Superstar Triple Play is on the Tennessee Titans 8* (4:05 EST).
New York enters off a 27-13 home loss to new England, while Tennessee comes in off a 34-17 setback to the Texans on the road.
Overall New York is averaging only 20.1 PPG, while conceding 25.5. QB Sam Darnold has missed the last two games with injury and he’s doubtful here. Backup Josh McCown has 276 yards and a TD last week vs. the Pats, but also a costly INT.
Tennessee had won two in a row before last week’s 34-17 loss to the Titans. Overall the Titans are averaging 17.7 PPG and allowing 20.3.
The Titans though are a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six after two or more SU losses, while New York is just 2-6 ATS as an underdog this year and only 1-4 ATS on the road.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|12-02-18||Browns v. Texans -6||Top||13-29||Win||100||116 h 25 m||Show|
My 10* AFC Game Of The Month is on the Houston Texans (1:00 EST).
The 4-6-1 Cleveland Browns are at Houston to take on the 8-3 Texans on Sunday afternoon and in my opinion, this one has home side “blowout” written all over it.
The Browns comes in content after winning two straight. Cleveland’s been a lot better at home than on the road as well, having lost four of its last five road games. QB Baker Mayfield has 17 TDs and seven INTs. Nick Chubb leads the ground game with 663 yards and six TDs. Overall the defense concedes 25.7 PPG.
The Texans come in as the hottest team in football with eight straight wins. Houston has won four straight at home. Home field advantage can not be overlooked at all as a very real deciding factor as well. Deshaun Watson has 2,807 passing yards with 20 TDs and nine INTs.
I’ll point out that the Browns are just 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 road games and 0-4 ATS the last four in this series, while the Texans are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games following a five games or more SU unbeaten streak.
This sets up as a classic trap for the over achieving Browns. Lay the points.
|12-02-18||Colts v. Jaguars UNDER 47.5||0-6||Win||100||97 h 46 m||Show|
My 9* total is on the under Colts/Jags (1:00 EST).
Indianapolis has won six straight. Last week the Colts beat Miami 27-24. Indy’ QB Andrew Luck has 3,112 yards and a 32/11 TD/INT. RB Marlon Mack has 556 rushing yards and four TDs. Overall Indianapolis is averaging 29.5 PPG, but I think it’ll have a more difficult time moving the ball today in this unfriendly road venue.
The Jags are desperate for a win after seven straight losses. Last week Jacksonville fell 24-21 to Buffalo. QB Blake Bortles has 2,572 passing yards and a weak 13/10 TD/INT. TJ Yeldon leads the rushing attack with 385 yards thus far. The defense has been decent for Jacksonville, but the offense is averaging only 17.9 PPG.
I’ll point out that Indianapolis has seen the total go under the number in three of its last four following two or more SU wins, while Jacksonville has seen the total dip below the posted number in eight of its last 13 as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range.
Note that Bortles is being benched in favor of Cody Kessler. With the home side clearly committed to establishing the run in an attempt to keep Luck off the field of play, look for this one to fall under the number once it’s all said and done.
|12-01-18||Northwestern v. Ohio State -14||24-45||Win||100||98 h 19 m||Show|
The third pick in my Superstar Triple Play is on Ohio State 9* (8:00 EST).
Clearly this is a mismatch, so the only question remains, will the Buckeyes come in a bit complacent and take this game for granted, or will they lay the hammer down from start to finish? In my opinion, it’s going to be the second scenario.
Northwestern averages only 23.7 PPG, but it allows only 134.7 rushing yards and just 238 passing yards. The Wildcats have some big wins this year vs. teams like Iowa and Purdue, but remember they also lost 39-34 at home to Akron.
QB Clayton Thorson has a 14/12 TD/INT, along with another eight rushing TDs.
Ohio State is not assured a spot in the Playoffs, so the only thing it can control here is a posting a resounding victory. Overall the Buckeyes rank second in the nation in offense with 544.1 YPG, while allowing 161.9 rushing yards per contest. QB Dwayne Haskins has a huge 42/7 TD/INT.
I’ll point out that Ohio State is 7-2 ATS in its last nine neutral site games, while Northwestern is just 1-5 ATS in its last six in this series.
For all the reasons listed above, lay the points.
|12-01-18||Fresno State +3 v. Boise State||19-16||Win||100||98 h 55 m||Show|
The first pick in my Superstar Triple Play is on Fresno State 8* (7:45 EST).
This is the Mountain West Conference Championship game from Albertsons Stadium on Saturday night.
Since the league went to a two-division format in 2013, these two teams have combined for seven championship appearances.
Last year these teams met in the Championship game as well and Fresno State will indeed be playing with “revenge” after falling 17-14 in that one.
The Bulldogs average 36.3 PPG and they concede 13.5. QB Marcus McMaryion had 317 yards passing and two TDs in last weeks win over San Jose State.
Boise State averages 37.0 PPG and it concedes 22.3. QB Brett Rypien is averaging over 300 passing yards per game this season.
I’ll point out though that the Bulldogs are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 vs. teams with winning records, while the Broncos are just 7-15 ATS in their last 22 home games. These teams met at this exact venue earlier this season and it was Boise State which came out on to top 24-17.
This is in fact a “double revenge” scenario. Grab the points.
|12-01-18||Clemson -26 v. Pittsburgh||42-10||Win||100||97 h 4 m||Show|
The second pick in my Superstar Triple Play is on Clemson 8* (8:00 EST).
Clearly this is a mismatch. So will the mighty Clemson Tigers keep the foot on the gas from start to finish and clobber the Pittsburgh Panthers into oblivion? I think the answer is a resounding: “yes!”
The Tigers are undefeated at 12-0 and a win today in the ACC Championship game secures them a berth in the Playoffs.
Overall the Tigers are out-scoring their opponents by an average of 31.7 PPG this year. Overall they average 45.7 points and concede just 14.0. QB Trevor Lawrence has a 22/4 TD/INT.
Pittsburgh is averaging only 27.8 PPG, while allowing 27.8 as well. Clearly that’s not a recipe for success most nights. RB Qadree Ollison has 1,134 rushing yards and ten TDs this season.
I’ll pint out as well that Pittsburgh is just 4-5 ATS in its last nine off a loss vs. a conference rival, while Clemson is 19-10 ATS in its last 29 after two or more SU victories.
I like the Tigers to dominate on both ends of the field. Lay the points.
|12-01-18||Georgia +13.5 v. Alabama||Top||28-35||Win||100||97 h 35 m||Show|
My 10* SEC Championship Game Winner is on Georgia (4:00 EST).
This is a rematch of last year’s College Football Playoff and I think that Georgia bettors will get a small amount of “revenge” tonight.
Alabama is 12-0 and it avenged its loss to the Tigers in the Iron Bowl last season with a 52-21 victory. Overall the Crimson Tide rolled up 500 yards of offense, with Tua Tagovailoa throwing for five TDs.
Tagovailoa has an insane 36/2 TD/INT on the year. Defensively the Tide are strong too obviously, having not allowed an opponent to gain 300 total yards in its last six contests.
Georgia won’t be going down without a fight. The Bulldogs are 11-1 and they have to win this game, or this will be the end of their season (other than the upcoming bowl of course, but a playoff spot out of the question and no SEC shot.)
The Dogs though come in on top form as well, having won five straight, including a 45-21 destruction of Georgia Tech last weekend. QB Jake Fromm had three first half TD passes. Fromm has a 24/5 TD/INT.
Georgia has the defense to compete today, allowing just 17.2 PPG.
I’ll point out as well that Georgia is 5-2 ATS in its last seven as an underdog of 10.5 points or more, and 6-0 ATS in its last six neutral site games, while the favorite is 0-5 in the last five meetings between these teams.
I’m not calling for the outright upset, but the stage is definitely set for a “nail biter.” Grab the points.
|12-01-18||Stanford -2.5 v. California||Top||23-13||Win||100||95 h 27 m||Show|
My 10* GAME OF YEAR is on Stanford (3:00 EST).
Stanford enters off a momentum building 48-17 home win over Oregon State, while Cal’s also off a big victory, holding on for an upset 15-14 road victory over USC. Note that Stanford won this matchup at home last year 17-14.
This is a make-up game from a couple of weeks ago because of the wildfires.
Stanford’ QB KJ Costello had 342 yards with four TD’s and an INT in its latest win over the Beavers. The Cardinal are averaging 28.3 PPG and they’re allowing 23.0.
Cal is averaging only 22.7 PPG, but it makes up for it on the defensive end by allowing just 21.1 PPG. The Bears’ defense has looked sharp of late, but I think the unit gets tested in a big way here against Costello and company.
I’ll point out as well that Cal is just 1-3-1 ATS in its last five home games and only 2-6 ATS in its last eight after posting less than 275 total yards in its previous game, while Stanford is a solid 36-15-1 ATS in its last 52 after posting more than 40 points in its previous game.
I have a hard time seeing the Bears’ offense keeping pace down the stretch. With an extra week off to prepare, I like Costello to find a way to get the job done.
Lay the points.
|12-01-18||Texas +7.5 v. Oklahoma||27-39||Loss||-105||90 h 17 m||Show|
My 9* Rivalry Rout is on Texas (12:00 EST).
It’s the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship Game from AT&T Stadium in Texas.
Texas beat Kansas last weekend to post its position in this contest. QB Sam Ehlinger wasn’t at his best last week, going for 314 yards, two TDs and no INTs. Over the Longhorns have been sharp defensively of late though, allowing only 20.3 PPG over their last three.
Texas though is the No. 1 offense in the country, averaging 50.2 PPG.
The Sooners are averaging 53.2 PPG over their last four games, but they’ve also conceded 47.3 in that span as well. Overall though Oklahoma is averaging 31.7 PPG this year and allowing 25.2. QB Kyler Murray had 364 yards, three TDs and one INT last weekend.
I’ll point out though that Oklahoma is just 2-9 ATS in its last 11 neutral site games and 0-3-1 ATS in its last four after scoring 40 or more points in its previous outing, while Texas is 5-1 ATS in its last six neutral site games and 13-5-2 ATS in its last 20 vs. teams with winning records.
The Longhorns are 6-0 ATS the last six in this series. Expect all of these strong trends to continue on Saturday afternoon.
Play on Texas.
|11-30-18||Northern Illinois +4 v. Buffalo||Top||30-29||Win||100||107 h 0 m||Show|
My 10* MAC Championship WINNER is on Northern Illinois.
Buffalo went 10-2 in the regular season and 7-1 in MAC action, while NIU went 7-5 with a 6-2 record in MAC conference play.
If recent history is any precedence though, then NIU has to be liking its chances today, because when these teams met last year, it was the Huskies that posted the 14-13 road win.
The Bulls averaged 35.2 PPG this year and they conceded 24.2. In the Bulls regular season finale they ran for 332 rushing yards in a 44-14 road win over Bowling Green. QB Tyree Jackson finished with a 25/11 TD/INT.
The NIU Huskies averaged only 19.9 PPG, while limiting opponents to 20.9 PPG. The offense revolves around RB Tre Harbison, who had 100 rushing yards in three out of his last four games.
I’ll point out as well that NIU is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 as an underdog, while Buffalo is just 1-3 ATS in its last four games played on a neutral field.
The Huskies took the foot off the gas a little early to end the regular season, but NIU has the defense to keep it in this one. I’m expecting an all out war.
Grab the points.
|11-26-18||Titans +4 v. Texans||Top||17-34||Loss||-105||13 h 52 m||Show|
My 10* Showdown is on the Tennessee Titans (8:15 EST).
Clearly this is a big game. The Titans beat the Texans 20-17 at home in Week 2. Houston comes into this one as one of the hottest teams in the league now though, having won seven straight.
The Titans had a nice two game win streak going, including a dominant victory over the Patriots, but they’d come crashing back down to Earth last weekend against a surging Colts team.
The Texans hold a two-game lead in the division over the Titans and Colts, so as mentioned off the top, clearly this is a “big” game for both teams.
Overall, they’re very evenly matched. Great QB’s with above average receiving. Also great ground games. The defense and special teams are also all above average.
The oddsmakers also agree with us that these teams are evenly matched with this smaller spread.
So where’s the advantage?
This is essentially a “do or die” game for Tennessee, much like it was when it faced New England three weeks ago. The Titans performed at their very best when everything was on the line, and I’m expecting a similar thing here as well.
Houston comes in tired after playing at such a high level and I think the outright upset isn’t out of the question here.
Note that Tennessee is 9-6 ATS in its last 15 vs. the division and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while Houston is already just 1-3 ATS this year as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range and only 6-8 ATS in its last 14 against divisional foes.
For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
Guaranteed Winners or your money back and Free Picks in the NFL football, NBA basketball, MLB baseball, NCAA college football and basketball, Nascar Racing, Arena Football nhl hockey leagues and more.
We are part of the internets Premier Sports Handicappers League with full documentation of all members on this sports betting news and info portal. Free Membership, Join Today and start Winning!
For any resources you could need like sports handicapping odds, handicapping stats, schedules, or handicappers free picks and tips please click on any of the links on the right hand side of this page.