|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|02-03-19||Patriots -2.5 v. Rams||Top||13-3||Win||100||99 h 29 m||Show|
20* Patriots/Rams Super Bowl LIII No-Brainer on New England -2.5
The New England Patriots have saved their best football for last. And I just don’t see them losing to the Rams to drop their second consecutive Super Bowl. I’ll gladly lay the short number here on the Patriots -2.5 over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII
The Patriots have outgained seven of their last eight opponents with the only exception being the eight yards they were outgained by in their 10-17 road loss to Pittsburgh. They have outgained six of those opponents by 100-plus yards. And they have just been even better in the playoffs.
Indeed, the Patriots racked up 498 total yards on offense in their 41-28 win over the Chargers. They outgained the Chargers by 163 yards in that game and would have won by more if they didn’t let their foot off the gas after jumping out to a 35-7 lead. And in the AFC Championship, the Patriots racked up 524 total yards and outgained them by 234 yards. It was a much bigger blowout than the 37-31 (OT) final would indicate.
The Rams have been much less impressive in the playoffs thus far. They beat the Cowboys 30-22 at home and barely covered as 7.5-point favorites. And they never should have won at New Orleans, winning 26-23 (OT) only after the refs blew a pass interference call in the final seconds that would have given the Saints the win. I don’t think they’ll have karma on their side here since the NFL knows that the Rams don’t belong in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots will be making their 9th Super Bowl appearance in Tom Brady’s 19 seasons. They clearly have experience handling everything that comes with the Super Bowl, especially since they will be playing in the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season. The 33-year-old Sean McVay is is a great head coach, but he doesn’t have Super Bowl experience, and neither do most of his players. They will be at a big disadvantage here because of their lack of experience.
Bill Belichick is a master at taking away the opponents’ strengths. That’s what helped the Patriots get out to a 35-7 lead over the Chargers and a 14-0 lead over the Chiefs at halftime. They completely shut down both offenses in the first half of both of those games, and I think they’ll do the same here against the Rams. The Rams want to run the football, and the Patriots will take it away and make Jared Goff try and beat them. I don’t think Goff is built to handle the pressure of the moment here knowing he’s going to have to keep up with Tom Brady.
Brady has actually gotten better with age. Brady averaged 267.5 passing yards per game in the postseason before turning 40. He has thrown for 364.6 passing yards per game since turning 40, nearly 100 yards more since reaching that milestone. He has 10 touchdowns against only two interceptions since turning 40 in his five postseason games. He threw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards against the Eagles last year and the Patriots never had to punt. I can only think that the Patriots will be much better defensively this time around to help him out.
The Patriots are 11-1 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more yards per game in the second half of the season over the last three seasons. New England is 17-4 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 5.65 or more yards per play over the last three years. The Patriots are 8-0 ATS after leading their last three games by 7-plus points at halftime over the last three seasons. New England is 8-0 ATS in road games after scoring 35 points or more last game over the last three seasons. Bet the Patriots Sunday.
My 10 Favorite Prop Bets for Super Bowl 53:
Edelman Under 81.5 receiving yards (+100)
Edelman will be covered in the slot by Nickell Robey-Coleman. Robey-Coleman is the #1 slot corner in the NFL in terms of yards per attempt allowed to slot receivers. Edelman plays from the slot, and I expect the Rams to try and take him out of the game with Robey-Coleman matched up against him almost every snap.
Gronkowski Over 50.5 receiving yards (-150)
Not only are the Rams good at covering slot receivers, they’re also 3rd in the NFL in covering opposing running backs. But they aren’t good at covering tight ends. Gronk should be able to take advantage of his matchups against linebackers and against safety Mark Barron. Gronk has averaged 52.5 receiving yards per game this season through the playoffs, and he’s been limited by injury. The Patriots unleashed him last week against the Chiefs as he had 6 receptions for 79 yards. He also had 116 receiving yards in the Super Bowl last year. Gronk will be their best matchup to go to in the passing game.
Sony Michel Over 17.5 rush attempts (-140)
The Patriots have been going run-heavy in the playoffs. They’ve made a point of getting off to fast starts, leading 35-7 over the Chargers at halftime and 14-0 over the Chiefs at halftime. That has certainly inflated their rushing numbers, but I expect them to get off to another fast start in the Super Bowl. In the two playoff games, Michel rushed 24 times against the Chargers and 29 times against the Chiefs. He has had at least 17 rush attempts in 6 of his last 8 games.
James White Over 3.5 rush attempts (-135)
The Patriots have rushed at least 30 times in 7 of their last 8 games overall. Not all those carries will go to Michel. White should get his fair share here, too. White has had at least 4 rush attempts in 14 of his 18 games this season.
Patriots Over 128.5 Rushing Yards (+100)
The Patriots have rushed for at least 131 yards in 4 straight games. They have averaged 160.4 rushing yards per game in their last 8 games overall. The Rams were 28th in rushing DVOA during the regular season. They don’t stop the run very well. The Patriots know they’ll have success running the football against the Rams, and they should exploit it.
Rams Under 126.5 Rushing Yards (-125)
The Patriots have allowed 104 or fewer rushing yards in 6 of their last 8 games overall. They have allowed 118 or fewer rushing yards in 11 of their last 15 games. Belichick knows that they need to try and make Jared Goff try and beat them. They aren’t going to let CJ Anderson and Todd Gurley get off. And since I expect the Patriots to take the early lead, I think this UNDER 126.5 prop is a good one.
Brandin Cooks Under 75.5 Receiving Yards (-135)
Cooks has 65 or fewer receiving yards in 6 of his last 7 games overall. He is only averaging 58.9 receiving yards per game in those 7 games. That’s nearly 17 yards less than this 75.5-yard total for him. The Patriots have some shutdown corners on the outside who are going to make life difficult for Cooks. They also have familiarity with Cooks after playing with him last season. They know exactly what his routes look like.
Rams Total Penalties Accepted Over 5.5 (-135)
The Rams are a young team with almost no Super Bowl experience. They have a young head coach in Sean McVay. I can see the moment being too big for many of their players. And where that shows up a lot is in false starts, offsides, and alignment penalties. They average 6 penalties per game on the season. I expect them to commit at least 6 penalties in this game.
Total QB Sacks Over 3.5 (-135)
Two immobile quarterbacks in this game. I think it’s safe to say that both teams figure to get at least 2 sacks. Both teams like to run play-action, which will allow edge rushers to get to the quarterback if they don’t bite on fakes. So I like the Over 3.5 quite a bit.
Team to score last wins the Super Bowl (-190)
Expected to be yet another close Super Bowl. And we’ve had our share of late. 9 of the last 11 Super Bowls have been decided by one score. And this prop has gone 12-1 in the last 13 Super Bowls. The team that has scored last has won 12 of the last 13. I’m willing to lay the -190 on this prop for this trend to continue.
|01-20-19||Patriots v. Chiefs -3||37-31||Loss||-103||105 h 17 m||Show|
15* Patriots/Chiefs AFC ANNIHILATOR on Kansas City -3
When you consider the Patriots needed a last-second field goal to beat the Chiefs at home in their first meeting this season, it’s easy to see why I like the Chiefs this week. Now the Chiefs are at home as they earned home-field advantage with the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That’s going to be the difference in this game Sunday.
The Chiefs are 8-1 at home this season. Their defense has played so much better at home than on the road. They are giving up just 17.4 points and 344.6 yards per game at home this season. They held the Colts to just 13 points and 263 total yards last week, which is no small feat with how well the Colts were rolling. And now they will shut down Tom Brady and company this week.
While the Patriots are 9-0 at home this season, they have been extremely vulnerable on the road. Indeed, the Patriots are just 3-5 SU & 3-5 ATS on the road this season, actually getting outscored by 2.4 points per game on average. They give up 399 yards per game on the road, and their offense is only scoring 21.6 points per game on the highway. The Patriots have losses to the likes of Jacksonville (20-31), Detroit (10-26), Tennessee (10-34) and Miami (33-34) on the road this season. All four of those are non-playoff teams even. They also lost to Pittsburgh, and their three wins have come against the Jets, Bills and Bears.
The Patriots have never gone to the Super Bowl the year after losing the Super Bowl, going 0-5 in five tries. Tom Brady is just 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS as a road underdog in the playoffs. And Brady lost his big play threat in Josh Gordon late in the season. Brady averaged 7.6 yards per attempt with Gordon on the field, and only 5.6 per attempt with Gordon off the field this season. Gronk is a shell of his former self. He has two or fewer receptions and 25 or fewer receiving yards in four straight games right now.
Home teams are 10-0 SU & 8-2 ATS in the Championship Round over the last five years. That’s right, no team has gone on the road in the last five years and won a game to get to the Super Bowl. It’s worth noting that the Patriots scored 41 points on the Chargers last week. But teams who scored 40 points or more in a playoff win the previous week are just 5-25-1 ATS the next week, including 2-11-1 ATS in the Championship Round. Also, the Patriots have been home for three straight weeks, which has been a big advantage for them. Teams who go on the road following three straight home games have gone 3-14 SU & 3-14 ATS in the playoffs.
Kansas City is 9-1 ATS vs. excellent passing teams who average 260 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Patriots are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine conference championship games. It’s Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes’ time. They are getting to the Super Bowl with a win and cover here against the ‘mighty’ Patriots. Take the Chiefs Sunday.
|01-20-19||Rams v. Saints -3||Top||26-23||Loss||-125||102 h 43 m||Show|
25* NFL Playoffs GAME OF THE YEAR on New Orleans Saints -3
The Saints are the best team in the NFC. They have been all season, and they still are. So with that being the case, they should be more than a 3-point favorite over the Rams when you factor in home-field advantage. The home field for the Saints is worth more than 3 points, especially in a playoff atmosphere. And they’re the better team. This line should be closer to -4.5 or -5 than -3.
I think because the Saints have gone 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall, while the Rams have gone 3-0 ATS in their last three games overall gives us a ‘buy low, sell high’ opportunity here. We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Saints and ’sell high’ on the Rams. But the Saints were big favorites in each of their last four games, and they won three of them. The only one they lost was a meaningless Week 17 game against Carolina in which they rested their starters.
I think the Saints are getting discredited too much for their 20-14 win over the Eagles last week. The way they won trailing 14-0 and overcoming adversity to score the final 20 points and shut down the Eagles after the first quarter will give them a ton of confidence heading into this game. This team feel invincible now, especially after the defense came up with a huge INT to save the game on the final drive. And it’s worth noting the Saints outgained the Eagles by 188 yards in that game. The Rams lost outright to the Eagles 23-30 at home as 13.5-point favorites late in the season.
I’m definitely backing the better quarterback here in Drew Brees, and the better defense in the Saints. I’ll almost always back the better QB and the better defense every time in this situation. Drew Brees is 6-0 in playoff home games under Sean Payton. The Saints are scoring 32.6 points and averaging 402.9 yards per game at home this season.
But it’s the defense that really gets me excited. The Saints have allowed 17 or fewer points in seven of their last eight games in which their starters played. They are giving up just 14.5 points per game in those eight games in which their starters played. And I think the biggest strength, which is their run D, will be huge in this matchup.
Jared Goff can’t be trusted in big games. He has a 0-to-5 TD/INT ratio in his last three games against playoff teams. It’s a big reason the Rams went run-heavy last week, rushing for 273 yards on 48 carries against the Cowboys. But it’s worth noting they had a huge advantage because they picked up on a ’tell’ by the Cowboys that let them know which way they were stunting. Players said it was 80% to 90% of the time right. It explains why the Rams were able to exploit what was previously a great Cowboys run D.
Well, the Saints rank 2nd in the NFL against the run, giving up just 80.2 rushing yards per game. They are also 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (3.6) allowed. There’s no question the Saints are going to try to force Jared Goff to try and beat them, and I don’t think he can. The Rams’ passing game just hasn’t been nearly as effective since Goff lost his favorite security blanked in Cooper Kupp to a season-ending injury.
The Saints beat the Rams 45-35 at home in their first meeting this season. They racked up 487 total yards and 31 first downs on this Rams’ defense, which has some star players, but as a whole is extremely vulnerable. Clearly Brees and company found some holes in the first meeting, throwing for 346 yards and four touchdowns. That was a 35-14 game and was a bigger blowout than the final score showed even. And Goff had Kupp, who had 89 receiving yards and a score in that contest.
Home teams are a perfect 10-0 SU & 8-2 ATS in the Championship Games over the past five seasons. That’s right, no road team has gone on the road to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl in the last five years. I don’t think it will be a QB the caliber of Goff that ends this streak Sunday. The home team has won six straight meetings in this series. The Saints have won their last three home meetings wit the Rams by an average of 18.7 points per game. Bet The Saints Sunday.
|01-13-19||Chargers +4.5 v. Patriots||28-41||Loss||-109||146 h 22 m||Show|
15* Chargers/Patriots AFC ANNIHILATOR on Los Angeles +4.5
You’re going to hear a lot about the past history of the Patriots leading up to this game. How they rarely lose at home in the playoffs, especially after a first-round bye. And how Tom Brady is 7-0 against Philip Rivers in head-to-head matchups. No question I factored in those stats as well, but I keep coming back to the fact that these aren’t the same old Patriots, and these aren’t the same old Chargers.
The Patriots are vulnerable. They went 11-5, but when you consider they went 5-1 against the terrible AFC East to pad their stats, well they were only 6-4 against all other teams. They feasted on a weak schedule this season. Their defense ranks 21st in the league, and their offense hasn’t been nearly as explosive after losing Josh Gordon, and with Rob Gronkowski clearly just a shell of his former self.
This is easily the best team that Philip Rivers has ever had with the Chargers. Think about this for a second. If not for a botched loss to the Broncos with poor clock management down the stretch, the Chargers would be your No. 1 seed in the AFC. They went 12-4, just like the Chiefs, yet the Chiefs are being treated as the superior team. I don’t believe that to be the case. And the Chiefs went into New England and lost on a last-second field goal earlier this season, and that was when the Chiefs were hitting on all cylinders before fading here down the stretch.
Rivers is loaded with weapons on offense with the likes of Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. And the defense has been one of the best in the league since getting Joey Bosa back from injury. The Chargers give up just 20.4 points per game and 327.5 yards per game this season, ranking 9th in total defense. They have allowed 23 or fewer points in 11 of their last 13 games overall with the only exceptions behind the 28 they gave up at Kansas City and the 30 they allowed at Pittsburgh, two games they actually won outright as underdogs. They are allowing just 17.3 points per game in their last 11 games.
The tougher the situation, the better the Chargers play. That’s why I’m not concerned about all the travel talk and this being their 3rd straight road games. They thrive on the road. Indeed, the Chargers are 9-1 SU & 8-2 ATS on the road this season. Their only loss came at the Rams early in the season. They have beaten the likes of Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Baltimore on the road this year, four playoff teams. And they certainly won’t be phased by having to go into New England this weekend.
The Chargers are also expected to get NT Brandon Mebane and TE Hunter Henry back from injury this week, and C Mike Pouncey has been given the green light. This just feels like a changing of the guard-type game as Rivers is on a mission to get that elusive Lombardi Trophy, and he finally has the team that can dethrone New England in the AFC.
Philip Rivers is 21-7 ATS in his last 28 games as a road underdog of 4 points or more, including 16-3 ATS since 2012. Bill Belichick is only 2-10 ATS in home games when playing with two or more weeks’ rest as the coach of New England. Los Angeles is 5-1 ATS in its last six playoff road games, and 35-17-2 ATS in its last 54 road games overall. Underdogs are 14-1 ATS since the start of last year's playoffs. Roll with the Chargers Sunday.
|01-12-19||Cowboys +7 v. Rams||Top||22-30||Loss||-108||130 h 32 m||Show|
20* Cowboys/Rams NFC No-Brainer on Dallas +7
The Dallas Cowboys are getting zero respect from oddsmakers as touchdown underdogs to the Los Angeles Rams this week. But, that has been the case for this team for weeks. The Cowboys have gone 8-1 SU & 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games overall. Their only loss came at Indianapolis in a huge letdown spot after beating the Eagles in OT the previous week, which essentially decided the NFC East title.
The Rams have feasted on bad competition, but they haven’t been good against the league’s best. Six of the Rams’ last 10 wins came by 7 points or less. The only four that came by more were against the 49ers (twice), Cardinals and Lions, three of the worst teams in the NFL. When the Rams have stepped up in class, like they will be here, they have not fared well.
Indeed, the Rams are 0-5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record this season. They pushed in a 7-point win against the Vikings and pushed in a 3-point win against the Chiefs. They lost outright by 9 as 3-point favorites against Chicago, lost outright by 10 as 2.5-point favorites at New Orleans, and lost outright at home as 13.5-point favorites over the Eagles. They also only beat Seattle by 5 as 9.5-point home favorites and Seattle by 2 as 7-point road favorites. If Seattle can hang with them twice, Dallas certainly can after dominating the Seahawks last week until a garbage TD in the final seconds that turned a 24-14 game into a 24-22 one.
The Cowboys have taken off on offense since trading for Amari Cooper. They have scored at least 22 points in seven of their last nine games overall. They have a great rushing attack that has produced 94-plus yards in 13 of 17 games this season. They average 4.5 per carry as a team, and they rushed for 164 yards on the Seahawks last week.
That makes this a bad matchup for a Rams defense that hasn’t been nearly as good as advertised. The Rams have allowed 27-plus points in six of their last nine games overall. Their biggest problem is stopping the run as the Rams rank dead last in allowing 5.1 yards per carry this season. Zeke should be able to have a big game here, which will allow the Cowboys to control time of possession and keep Jared Goff and company off the field.
The Rams have not been nearly as effective on offense since losing Cooper Kupp to a season-ending injury. He was Goff’s favorite target on third down. And now Goff will be up against one of the best defenses he has faced this season. The Cowboys rank 7th in total defense, giving up 329.2 yards per game this season. They are 6th in scoring defense (20.2 points/game) and 8th in yards per play (5.4) allowed.
Todd Gurley has been banged up down the stretch, and that has also hurt the Rams’ offense. They don’t have a very good offensive line, and it has been exposed. I expect the Cowboys to win the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They will be able to slow down Gurley thanks to a run defense that ranks 5th in the NFL in giving up just 94.6 rushing yards per game, and 4th in yards per carry (3.8) allowed.
Dallas is 9-1 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more yards per game over the last two seasons. The Cowboys are 7-0 ATS in road games vs. bad defensive teams that give up 24 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Dallas is 20-7-1 ATS in its last 28 games played on a grass field. The Rams are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six home games. Underdogs are 14-1 ATS since the start of last year's playoffs.
The Rams just don’t have much of a home-field advantage at all in Los Angeles. They were knocked out of the playoffs last year with a home loss to the Falcons. The Cowboys could easily have nearly 50% of the fans in attendance, making it feel like a home game for them. Dallas will give them a run for their money here, possibly pulling off the upset. Take the Cowboys Saturday.
|01-12-19||Colts +6 v. Chiefs||Top||13-31||Loss||-114||126 h 52 m||Show|
25* NFL Divisional Round GAME OF THE YEAR on Indianapolis Colts +6
We have two teams headed in opposite directions here. The Indianapolis Colts are the hottest team in the NFL, and it’s not even close. The Kansas City Chiefs certainly faded down the stretch from a point spread perspective and have had trouble living up to their massive expectations from oddsmakers and the betting public.
Following a 1-5 start, the Colts have gone 10-1 SU & 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. They have the best point differential in the entire NFL over these 11 games, which is the sign of an elite team. They have outscored their last 11 opponents by a total of 131 points, or by an average of 11.9 points per game. Another sign of an elite team is the fact that the Colts have outgained 10 of their last 11 opponents as well, so there has been nothing fluky about this run.
Andrew Luck is playing very well, with his 32-to-1 TD/INT ratio in the red zone what stands out most. He’s clearly back and playing better than ever. Getting a healthy Marlon Mack back at running back has also been key to their success. Mack has rushed for 119-plus yards in three of his last five games. T.Y. Hilton remains explosive, and tight end Eric Ebron leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Plus, the offensive line is playing well, giving up the fewest sacks of any offensive line this season.
But the biggest reason for the turnaround by the Colts is their defense. They have allowed just 14.0 points per game in their last eight games overall. That makes them the best scoring defense in the NFL during this stretch. It’s a defense that features two rookies who received All-Pro honors. And all those draft picks the Colts have been spending on defense are really paying off now.
No question the Chiefs have had the best offense in the NFL this season, but they also have the 31st-ranked defense in giving up 405.5 yards per game this season. They rank 32nd in DVOA against the run. They are also 31st in giving up 5.0 yards per carry. Mack and the Colts are going to have their way on the ground against the Chiefs in this game, and their defense is good enough to slow down Mahomes and company.
The Chiefs are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. They have outright losses to the Rams, Chargers and Seahawks during this stretch. Once they lost Kareem Hunt, they clearly weren’t as explosive on offense. And they have also been playing without Sammy Watkins, who is questionable to return. Kansas City’s defense has also allowed 30.2 points per game in its last six games overall. That’s very concerning considering the weather has gotten colder and it has been more difficult for most offenses to put points on the board. That hasn’t been the case against the Chiefs down the stretch, and all season really.
Andy Reid is just 1-7 SU in its last eight playoff games as he has consistently underachieved in the postseason. This will be the first career playoff start for Mahomes, and it did not go well for the other three first-time starters last week in Lamar Jackson, Mitch Trubisky and DeSean Watson. In fact, the last 23 first-time starting QB’s in the playoffs have gone just 3-19-1 ATS. Fading these first-time starters has been a huge money maker over the years.
Kansas City is 2-13 ATS in its last 15 playoff games. Underdogs are 14-1 ATS in the playoffs since the start of last year’s postseason, going a perfect 4-0 ATS last week. The Colts are 7-0 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Chiefs are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Kansas City is 0-6 ATS in its last six playoff home games. Indianapolis is 7-1 ATS in its last eight trips to Kansas City.
Plays on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Indianapolis) - a good passing team with a completion percentage of 60% or better, after gaining 6.75 or more yards per attempt in four straight games are 27-8 (77.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Colts Saturday.
|01-07-19||Alabama -200 v. Clemson||Top||16-44||Loss||-200||32 h 2 m||Show|
20* Alabama/Clemson National Championship No-Brainer on Alabama ML -200
One of the best-kept secrets is betting favorites on the money line in Championship-type games. Whether it be the Super Bowl or the National Championship of college football, you almost always get a cheaper price on the favorite on the money line than it should be.
That’s because with so much action on these standalone games, there’s a ton of liability for sports books on the underdog on the money line. They take way more bets on the dog on the money line than they would in any regular game. So they have to adjust their money line prices so they don’t get killed if the underdog wins the game outright.
A typical 5.5-point favorite is around -240 on the money line. So we are basically getting 40 cents of value here taking Alabama on the money line. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect Alabama to win, so I’m more than willing to lay the -200 on Alabama on the money line just to win the game. I think this is the best bet you can make in the National Championship Game.
Alabama certainly wants revenge from losing a heartbreaker on the final play of the game to Clemson a few years ago. And they are also motivated to cement themselves as arguably the greatest team in college football history. They have come this far in the face of all the hype from the media, remaining grounded. And I expect them to complete their mission and win this game Monday night.
This is certainly the best offense the Crimson Tide have ever assembled under Nick Saban, which is why they can stake their claim as the greatest ever. They are scoring 47.7 points per game and averaging 527.6 yards per game. What makes that so remarkable is that they’ve been able to rest their starters in the second half of most of their games this season. And they once again have an elite defense that yields just 16.2 points per game.
I think the fact that Alabama didn’t cover the 14-point spread against Oklahoma last week also has them undervalued. They stormed out to a 31-10 halftime lead and simply took their foot off the gas. Oklahoma got 24 points in garbage time in the second half with the game already decided. Too Tagovailoa showed zero ill-effects of the ankle injury, completing 24-of-27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
Conversely, I think Clemson is getting way too much respect due to its 30-3 win over Notre Dame. Clearly, the Fighting Irish played an easy schedule this season and weren’t one of the four best teams in the country. But it’s worth noting the Fighting Irish had their chances to put up points. In fact, Notre Dame had six drives that went into Clemson territory, and they came away with just 3 points on those six drives. That’s pretty hard to do.
Speaking of easy schedules, Clemson played a very easy schedule in the ACC, which was way down this season. They have only faced three teams in the Top 30 and one team in the Top 10. Meanwhile, Alabama has faced seven teams that rank in the Top 30 and three teams that rank in the Top 10. The’ve obviously beaten all seven. The Crimson Tide are way more battle-tested than the Tigers are coming into this game.
Nick Saban is 15-1 (+14 units) against the money line after failing to cover three of his last four games as the coach of Alabama. The Crimson Tide will cement themselves as arguably the greatest team in college football history with a win over Clemson. Bet Alabama on the Money Line Monday.
|01-06-19||Eagles +6 v. Bears||16-15||Win||100||73 h 23 m||Show|
15* Eagles/Bears NFC ANNIHILATOR on Philadelphia +6
The Philadelphia Eagles are the Wild Card team that nobody wants to face. They easily could have packed it in after their 4-6 start this season, but they didn’t. They went 5-1 in their final six games, including 3-0 in their final three with Nick Foles at quarterback, beating playoff teams in the Rams and Texans along the way. And their defense remains a juggernaut.
Foles threw for 962 yards and six touchdowns in the final three games of the season. This team responded well to him, and he delivered for them. What you have to like about Foles is that he stretches the field a lot more than Wentz does, taking deep shots to Alshon Jeffery and company that result in chunk plays. And it makes them a lot less predictable on offense.
And if you don’t think this Eagles defense is still Super Bowl-caliber, then look no further than the shutout they posted last week against the Redskins in which they allowed just 89 total yards. They are giving up just 21.7 points per game on the season, including 19.5 points per game during their 5-1 run over the final six weeks of the season.
Philadelphia’s defense should be able to hold Chicago’s offense in check. This Chicago offense is the weak link of the team as they obviously have a great defense. The Bears are just 21st in total offense at 343.9 yards per game, and 20th averaging 5.4 yards per play. Mitchell Trubisky will be playing in his first-ever playoff game, and he will be asked to make plays that he’s not used to in this pressure situation. I trust Foles a lot more than Trubisky here.
And it’s worth noting that both WR’s Anthony Miller (shoulder) and Allen Robinson (ribs) got injured against the Vikings lsat week and were forced to leave the game. Fellow WR Taylor Gabriel (ribs) is also on the injury report, as is S Eddie Jackson (ankle). I think the Bears made a big mistake playing their starters the entire game against the Vikings last week. These injuries were the result, and they certainly would have rather faced Kirk Cousins and the Vikings than Foles and the Eagles. I think Foles and the Eagles will feel extra motivated here because they feel slighted by the Bears, who clearly wanted to face them rather than Minnesota.
The Eagles have owned the Bears in recent meetings, going 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS while outscoring the Bears by a whopping 28.7 points per game in the process. And the Eagles fit into one of my favorite wild card systems. The team that played the tougher schedule has gone 41-17-1 ATS in wild card games since 2002. When that difference is 10 or more according to Sagarin SOS rankings, those teams cover at better than an 80% clip. Well, the Eagles played the 15th-toughest schedule, while the Bears played the 31st-toughest. That easy schedule is also another reason the Bears are overvalued heading into the playoffs.
Plays on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Philadelphia) - a good passing team with a completion percentage of 60% or better, after gaining 6.75 or more passing yards per attempt in four straight games are 26-8 (76.5%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Philadelphia is 8-1 ATS vs. good rushing defenses that allow 90 or fewer rushing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last eight playoff road games. Roll with the Eagles Sunday.
|01-06-19||Chargers +3 v. Ravens||23-17||Win||100||70 h 48 m||Show|
15* Chargers/Ravens AFC ANNIHILATOR on Los Angeles +3
The resurgence of the Ravens behind rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has been one of the best stories in the NFL this season. They went 6-1 down the stretch to win the AFC North by a half-game. And their defense came up huge last week in stopping the Browns in the final seconds of a 26-24 victory a year after coming up short against the Bengals in Week 17.
But with this strong finish comes respect from oddsmakers that I don’t think the Ravens deserve. They are now 3-point home favorites against the Chargers this week after behind 4-point road dogs to the Chargers just two weeks ago. And this will be the first time this season that Jackson will have to face a team for a second time. I think the Chargers will come up with a great game plan to stop Jackson and the Ravens in this matchup now that they’ve already played them once.
That 22-10 final against the Chargers was misleading as well. The Chargers were down 5 and driving, only for Antonio Gates to fumble, and the Ravens returned it for a touchdown. And Philip Rivers threw a touchdown in the end zone with one minute remaining as well. That was certainly not a 12-point game like the final score showed. It was also a letdown spot for the Chargers, who were coming off a huge 29-28 comeback victory at division rival Kansas City the previous week.
I think we get the best effort of the season here from the Chargers in revenge mode. Plus, this is the best road team in the NFL. The Chargers are 8-1 SU & 7-2 ATS in road games this season, including 7-1 SU & 7-1 ATS in true road games as they beat the Titans in London. Their only loss came on the road at the Rams, and they have road wins over the likes of the Seahawks, Steelers and Chiefs this season. They are more than capable of beating the Ravens on the road here.
I just trust Philip Rivers more than the rookie Jackson, who will be starting his first playoff game. Rivers is having one of the best seasons of his career, and he realizes his opportunities are dwindling. I look for him to make the most of this opportunity. Rivers is playing at an MVP-level, completing 68.3% of his passes with a 32-to-12 TD/INT ratio. Melvin Gordon is healthy, and he gets TE Hunter Henry back for the first time this season to add another weapon.
Rivers is 5-1 ATS as an underdog in the playoffs. John Harbaugh is 0-7 ATS in home games off three or more consecutive wins as the coach of Baltimore having never covered in this situation. Baltimore is 0-6 ATS after allowing 7 points or less in the first half of two straight games over the last three seasons. It is coming back to lose by 13.0 points per game on average in this spot. Los Angeles is 21-8-1 ATS in its last 30 road games. Baltimore is 1-5 ATS in its last six home games. Take the Chargers Sunday.
|01-05-19||Seahawks v. Cowboys -1.5||Top||22-24||Win||100||53 h 59 m||Show|
25* NFL Wild Card GAME OF THE YEAR on Dallas Cowboys -1.5
Since trading for Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys have been rolling. They have gone 7-1 SU & 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games to close out the regular season. Their lone loss was a clear flat spot at Indianapolis in Week 15 as they were coming off a huge OT win over the Eagles the previous week that essentially clinched the NFC East title. I used the Colts as my 25* NFL Game of the Year that week, and they won 23-0. It was the best spot of the entire season for the Colts in my opinion.
Heck, the Cowboys even won last week when they were resting a lot of their starters. They beat the Giants 36-35 on the road. The way they won that game gives them a ton of momentum. Dak Prescott found Cole Beasley in the back of the end zone on 4th down on a tremendous catch by Beasley for the game-winner, and the defense held from there.
I just think the Seahawks are grossly overvalued. They managed to go 10-6 this season despite failing to outgain their opponents on the season. They actually get outgained on a yards per play basis. They average 5.6 yards per play on offense and give up 5.9 yards per play on defense. That is arguably the most important stat when handicapping NFL games.
The Cowboys have averaged 26.4 points per game in their seven wins here down the stretch. The offense has taken off with the addition of Cooper. And the Cowboys will have both G Zack Martin and T Tyron Smith healthy for this game after they sat out last week. And Zeke Elliott will be as healthy as he’s been after resting last week as well.
The Seahawks have some injury questions along the offensive line with both T Duane Brown and G J.R. Sweezy questionable for this game. The Seahawks also played their starters last week, and their performance was a lot more underwhelming. They needed a last-second field goal to beat the awful Arizona Cardinals 27-24 as 14.5-point home favorites. That was a Cardinals team that had lost their previous three games by 22, 26 and 14 points and finished 3-13 on the season. The Seahawks also only beat the Cardinals 20-17 on the road earlier this season as well.
Seattle went just 4-4 on the road this season. One of those wins was on a neutral against Oakland, so they only won three true road games. One was against the Cardinals, another was a fluky 30-27 win at Carolina in which they trailed the entire game, and the other was off their bye week in a great spot for them against the Lions.
Dallas is a great home team. The Cowboys are 7-1 SU & 5-2-1 ATS at home this season. They are outscoring opponents by 6.5 points per game at home this year. The Cowboys have an elite defense that gives up 20.2 points per game overall and 18.5 points per game at home.
This is a great matchup for the Cowboys’ defense. They are 5th in the NFL against the run, giving up 94.6 rushing yards per game. They are also 4th in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (3.8) allowed. That bodes well for them going up against a Seahawks team that leads the NFL in rushing at 160.0 yards per game.
The Cowboys figure to feed Zeke Elliott a ton in this game. Their running game is still their bread and butter, especially with a healthy offensive line. The Cowboys are 10th in rushing offense at 122.7 rushing yards per game while also averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Well, the Seahawks rank 27th in yards per carry (4.9) allowed this season. It’s also a great matchup for the Dallas offense.
The Cowboys played the much tougher schedule this season. According to Sagarin, the Cowboys played the 11th-toughest schedule, while the Seahawks played the 25th. The team that played the tougher schedule according to Sagarin has gone 41-17-1 ATS since 2002 in Wild Card games. If the difference is more than 10, the team that played the tougher schedule is cashing over 80% since 2002.
Dallas is 6-0 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more yards per game this season. The Cowboys are 8-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog over the last three seasons. They are coming back to win by 8.6 points per game on average in this spot. Dallas is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in its previous game. The Seahawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six playoff games. Bet the Cowboys Saturday.
|01-01-19||Texas +14 v. Georgia||Top||28-21||Win||100||211 h 51 m||Show|
20* Texas/Georgia Sugar Bowl BAILOUT on Texas +14
This game is all about motivation. The Texas Longhorns are happy to be here. Whether or not they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, they most likely would have been penciled into the Sugar Bowl. So they aren’t disappointed at all with being in this bowl game.
Conversely, Georgia played in the National Championship Game last year against Alabama. They lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship after blowing a double-digit lead to Jalen Hurts, their second blown double-digit lead in as many tries against the Crimson Tide. That loss cost them a spot in the four-team playoff. The Bulldogs aren’t happy at all to be playing in the Sugar Bowl. It was playoffs or bust for them.
The motivational edge will help Texas make up for their talent edge that clearly goes to Georgia in this one. Fortunately for us, talent doesn’t always win out in these bowl games. And we’re getting two touchdowns here with the more motivated team. I’ll take my chances almost every time.
I also like backing head coach Tom Herman as an underdog. Herman is 12-2 ATS as an underdog in all games he has coached between Houston and Texas. He has won most of those games outright, and his teams are outscoring the opposition by 6.0 points per game in these spots. He certainly knows how to get his team motivated when they are being counted out, which is exactly what he’s doing leading into the Sugar Bowl as nobody outside the locker room is giving them a chance to beat Georgia.
Herman is also 10-1 ATS vs. excellent rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. Texas does a good job of stopping the run, holding opponents to 136 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry this season. The Longhorns are holding their opponents to 44 rushing yards per game and 0.8 per carry less than their season averages this year. That will help them slow down a Georgia offense that averages 252 rushing yards per game and 6.1 per carry this season.
Plays against favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Georgia) - a hot team having won eight or more of their last 10 games, a team that wins more than 80% of their games on the season playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 61-27 (69.3%) ATS since 1992. Bet Texas Tuesday.
|12-31-18||Missouri v. Oklahoma State +8||Top||33-38||Win||100||182 h 52 m||Show|
20* Missouri/Oklahoma State Liberty Bowl No-Brainer on Oklahoma State +8
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Oklahoma State and ’sell high’ on Missouri in the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers are getting too much respect with how they finished the season, while the Cowboys are getting zero respect with how they finished the year. That has created some line value here on the Cowboys catching more than a touchdown to the Tigers in this matchup of old Big 12 rivals.
Oklahoma State finished the season 2-5 SU & 3-4 ATS in its last seven games overall. But four of those losses came by 7 points or less, and four of them were on the road. That includes their 47-48 loss at Oklahoma as 21.5-point dogs which showed they could play with anyone. They also beat West Virginia and Texas at home, two of the best teams in the Big 12.
Missouri is getting respect due to its 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS finish to the season. But two of the wins came against bad Tennessee and Arkansas teams who didn’t make a bowl. They only beat Vanderbilt by 5 as 14.5-point favorites, and Vanderbilt barely made a bowl and went on to lose to Baylor in their bowl game. The win over Florida looks impressive, but not when you consider that it was a huge hangover spot for the Gators off their loss to Georgia the previous week that cost them the SEC East title.
The Cowboys will never be out of this game due to an offense that ranks 10th national in yards per game (500.2) and 14th in scoring (38.4). QB Taylor Cornelius threw for 3,837 yards with a 28-to-11 TD/INT ratio while also rushing for 385 yards and 10 scores. I realize leading rusher Justice Hill (930 yards, 9 TD, 5.9/carry) is out, but his absence is being overblown. Backup Chuba Hubbard (595 yards, 6 TD, 5.6/carry) isn’t much of a downgrade. He’s actually an upgrade in the passing game over Hill, averaging 10.1 yards per reception on his 19 receptions compared to 5.2 on 13 for Hill.
The Cowboys are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Oklahoma State is 5-1 ATS in its last five games following a loss. The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 1-8 ATS in their last nine December games. Missouri is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following an ATS win. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Bet Oklahoma State Monday.
|12-30-18||Colts -3 v. Titans||33-17||Win||100||31 h 16 m||Show|
15* Colts/Titans NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Indianapolis -3
The Indianapolis Colts are playing as well as anyone in the NFL right now. They are 8-1 in their last nine games overall, impressively rebounding from a 1-5 start. They are now on the verge of making the playoffs. A win and they’re in, while a loss and they’re out. It’s that simple for them here. And they’ve fought too hard to blow this opportunity now.
There has been nothing lucky about this run for the Colts. In fact, they have outgained 11 of their last 12 opponents, which is the sign of an elite team. Their defense is playing as well as it has in years, and Andrew Luck is moving the chains and putting points on the board. There’s no question the Colts have the edge on offense in this one, scoring 26.7 points and averaging 382.9 yards per game this season.
While the Titans also have a good defense, their offense is dreadful. They rank 26th in total offense at 316.0 yards per game. They are also 26th in scoring offense at 19.5 points per game. And their job gets even more difficult on offense this week with the injury to Marcus Mariota. He was knocked out of the game against the Redskins last week, and now Blaine Gabbert will be the starting quarterback. I certainly don’t trust him to perform well in this huge game with their season on the line.
I trust Andrew Luck a lot more. Luck is 10-0 in his 10 career starts against the Titans, which includes their 38-10 victory over Tennessee on November 18th when Luck went 23-of-29 passing for 297 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. His dominance of the Titans continues as he improves to 11-0 against the Titans with a win and cover Sunday night.
Teams with a win percentage of 51% to 60% are 1-12 ATS in games with a line of +3 to -3 since the start of the 2009 season when facing an opponent that beat them by 14 or more points earlier in the season. The Colts are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record. The Titans are 5-14-1 ATS in their last 20 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with the Colts Sunday.
|12-30-18||Bears v. Vikings -4||Top||24-10||Loss||-105||93 h 50 m||Show|
20* Bears/Vikings NFC North No-Brainer on Minnesota -4
I think the Chicago Bears are in a precarious situation here. Yes, they are still alive for the No. 2 seed and first-round bye, but they’re not in control of their own destiny. They would need the Rams to lose to the 49ers and to beat the Vikings to get the No. 2 seed. Well, the Rams are double-digit favorites over the 49ers at home this week, so players and coaches alike know that deep down inside they don’t have much of a chance.
It’s kind of a free roll here on Minnesota. We know the Vikings are going to be max motivated needing a win to get in the playoffs. If they lose, the Eagles would only need to beat the Redskins this week to overtake them. That’s likely to happen since the Eagles are 7-point favorites this week over the Redskins. So it’s essentially a must-win game for the Vikings.
And the Vikings have performed well in must-win mode over the last two weeks. They throttled the Dolphins 41-17 at home, and beat the Lions 27-9 on the road. Their offense has taken off since firing offensive coordinator DiFelippo prior to the Miami game. And their defense has held the Dolphins and Lions to just 13 points per game and 208 yards per game the last two weeks. This is still an elite defense, and I certainly trust the Vikings’ offense more than that of Chicago.
The reason it’s a precarious situation for the Bears is also because they could look up at halftime and see the Rams beating the 49ers by two touchdowns or more. If that’s the case, they could pull their starters in the second half. They could also pull their starters if they get behind Minnesota big early. It’s more important for them to be rested for the wild card game next week than it is for them to go ‘all in’ to try and win this game. I don’t expect them to, contrary to what head coach Matt Nagy may tell the media leading up to this game.
The Vikings have had one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL over the past few seasons. They are 36-15-1 ATS in their last 52 home games, including 29-11 ATS under current head coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings are a perfect 6-0 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points this season, winning by 13.6 points per game on average in this spotl. The home team is 23-9 ATS in the last 32 meetings. Minnesota has won six straight home meetings with Chicago, including the last three by a whopping 20.1 points per game. Take the Vikings Sunday.
|12-30-18||Dolphins v. Bills -3.5||Top||17-42||Win||100||96 h 30 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Buffalo Bills -3.5
You could make the argument that the Bills are playing as well as anyone in the NFL down the stretch. The Bills have outgained their last seven opponents by a total of 578 yards, or by an average of 83 yards per game. They rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense this season, and they’ve been competitive ever since Josh Allen returned from injury.
Buffalo has shown up every week Allen has been under center, and they’ll certainly show up in Week 17. Especially since they want revenge from a fluky 17-21 loss at Miami on December 2nd in their first meeting this season. The Bills dominated that game, outgaining the Dolphins 415 to 175, or by 240 total yards. But they found a way to lose. This time around, I expect them to dominate the box score and the scoreboard in the rematch in Buffalo.
Miami is coming off a dream-crushing loss to the Jaguars last week at home by 10 points. That followed up a 24-point road loss to the Vikings. The loss to the Jaguars officially eliminated them from playoff contention. I don’t even expect the Dolphins to show up this week as they’ll suffer a ‘hangover’ effect from that loss to the Jaguars.
Miami is also a warm weather team that has to now go play in the cold, which will not go well for them. It’s expected to be below freezing in Buffalo on Sunday. It’s a Dolphins team that has also one of the most fraudulent seven-win teams I can remember. They are getting outgained by nearly 100 yards per game on the season. Their seven wins have all come by 8 points or less, or by one score. And seven of their eight losses have come by 10 points or more. They have simply been lucky in close games this year. I don’t expect this game to be close at all.
The Dolphins are 6-2 at home this season compared to just 1-6 on the road. They have one of the biggest home/road splits in the NFL. They haven’t even been competitive on the road, going 2-5 ATS in their seven road games while getting outscored by a whopping 14.0 points per game, and outgained by 131.9 yards per game. Buffalo is 17-9 SU & 16-10 ATS in its last 26 home meetings with Miami.
Miami is 1-8 ATS in road games off a home game over the last two seasons, losing by 20 points per game on average in this spot. The Dolphins are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 road games overall. Buffalo has gone 5-1 ATS in its six most recent home meetings with Miami. The favorite is 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|12-29-18||Oklahoma v. Alabama UNDER 77.5||34-45||Loss||-107||138 h 7 m||Show|
15* Oklahoma/Alabama Orange Bowl Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 77.5
Alabama has one of the best defenses in the country. The Crimson Tide only give up 14.8 points and 295.4 yards per game on the season. And consistently, they’ve been up enough to put their backups in in the second half. When one team has a defense this good, and the total is 77.5, there’s value with the UNDER.
I know Oklahoma doesn’t have a great defense. But they consistently face better offenses when playing in the Big 12. The Sooners give up 32.4 points and 448.1 yards per game on the season. But even factoring in their bad defense, when you combine what they give up on average to Alabama, you get 47.2 points per game. That’s still more than 30 points less than this posted total of 77.5. There’s still value with the UNDER.
I realize both Alabama and Oklahoma have elite offenses. In fact, these are two of the best offenses in the country. And if both defenses only had a week to prepare for these offenses, it would favor the over. But it favors the under since both teams have had basically one entire month to prepare for one another. Oklahoma won’t be surprising Alabama’s defense, and Alabama won’t be surprising Oklahoma’s defense.
I think this number is inflated largely due to the shootout between Georgia and Oklahoma last year in the first game of the four-team playoff. But you can bet Nick Saban is going to come up with ways to slow down Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and company. And Oklahoma’s defense will be able to hold Alabama’s offense in check, especially with QB Too Tagovailoa hampered with an ankle injury.
I expect Alabama’s strategy to be to slow this game down with its running game. The Crimson Tide will be trying to control the time of possession with their running game. They rush for 202 yards per game and can certainly move the chains with heir running game and keep Murray and company off the field. That’s their best strategy to win this game, and I expect Saban to deploy this strategy. They won’t be trying to simply outscoring Oklahoma in a shootout.
Oklahoma is 19-4 UNDER in its last 23 December games. Alabama sis 10-2 UNDER in tis last 12 games following three or more consecutive overs. Alabama is 43-21 UNDER in its last 64 games vs. good rushing teams that average 200 or more rushing yards per game. The UNDER is 7-2 in Sooners last nine vs. SEC opponents. The UNDER is 8-3 in Sooners last 11 bowl games. Roll with the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|12-29-18||Notre Dame +14 v. Clemson||Top||3-30||Loss||-124||134 h 7 m||Show|
20* Notre Dame/Clemson Cotton Bowl No-Brainer on Notre Dame +14
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are better than they get credit for. They are getting disrespected despite being 12-0 this season. Their schedule looked very tough coming into the season, but turned out to be less difficult than expected. But the same can be said for Clemson, which beat up on a weak ACC this year.
I think Notre Dame feels disrespected being not only underdogs, but double-digit dogs in this matchup. Everyone thinks back to when they lost to Alabama in the National Championship a few years ago. But that was a different team, and this one is way better on offense than that version of Notre Dame was. This Fighting Irish team has a legit chance to win the national title, or at least beat Clemson in the first round of the four-team playoff. Head coach Brian Kelly will certainly be playing the underdog card leading up to this game.
While Notre Dame opened the season overvalued with Brandon Wimbush at quarterback, they transitioned into a great offensive team with a still elite defense once Ian Book took over. Book is completing 70.4% of his passes for 2,468 yards with a 19-to-6 TD/INT ratio while averaging 8.8 per attempt. And he’s not exactly a stagnant QB who only stays in the pocket. Book has rushed for 250 yards and four scores on 78 attempts this year. He can run the ball if he needs to.
Clemson will be without three suspended players. One of those is a first-round draft pick in DT Dexter Lawrence, and the other are role players in TE Braden Galloway and OL Zach Geilla. The loss of Lawrence is a big one as he’s one of the best players in the country.
Only five times in college football history has an undefeated team played another undefeated team and been a 7-point plus underdog. Well, Notre Dame is that team catching 7 or more points. In fact, the Fighting Irish are catching 14 points or less in most spots. The team catching 7 or more points is not only a perfect 5-0 ATS, but also a perfect 5-0 SU in this situation. The dog has won straight up every time.
Also, favorites in the last 16 Clemson bowl games have gone 4-12 SU & 2-14 ATS. Clemson is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 games after covering the spread in six or seven of its last eight games coming in. The Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games. Notre Dame is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Take Notre Dame Saturday.
Note: I know this line shows Notre Dame +14 with extra juice. I personally have a bet on Notre Dame +13. And I think they're worth a bet all the way down to +10.
|12-29-18||Florida +7 v. Michigan||Top||41-15||Win||100||130 h 7 m||Show|
20* Florida/Michigan Peach Bowl Early ANNIHILATOR on Florida +7
Dan Mullen has already put Florida on the map in his first season in Gainesville. He took over a team that went 4-7 last year and turned the Gators into a 9-3 team and SEC contenders. And now the Gators will relish this opportunity to face Michigan in the Peach Bowl after missing out on a bowl game last year.
Michigan won’t be so happy to be here. The Wolverines were in prime position to make the four-team playoff. But they once again lost to Urban Meyer and Ohio State 62-39 in their season finale. That loss cost them the Big Ten title and a spot in the four-team playoff. I just don’t see Michigan being able to get back up off the mat after such a demoralizing defeat.
The same thing happened last year when Michigan went on to lose to South Carolina as 8-point favorites in the Outback Bowl. They also lost to Florida State as 7-point favorites in the 2016 Orange Bowl. Jim Harbaugh just hasn’t done a very good job in big games as the coach of Michigan.
Mullen did a great job improving this Florida offense to 34.5 PPG this season. And the Gators have yet another elite defense just as they do every year, giving up 20.4 PPG. The Wolverines also have an elite defense, but they have taken a hit with several players sitting out this game.
They will be without starting DE Rashan Gary, starting LB and Big Ten DPOY Devin Bush and leading rusher Karan Higdon. Florida expects to have everyone available for this bowl game. I think the Gators could have beaten the Wolverines at full strength, let alone without 3 of their best players.
Adding to Florida’s motivation is the fact that they’ve never beaten Michigan, going 0-3 in the all-time series. Two of those losses have come the past two seasons as they lost 41-7 in the 2016 Citrus Bowl and 33-17 in the 2017 season opener in Arlington. The Gators want revenge, while the Wolverines could be getting a case of ‘Florida fatigue’ having just beaten this team twice in the past two seasons.
Mullen is 9-0 ATS off two straight non-conference games in all games he has coached. Michigan is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games.
Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Michigan) - off a road loss to a conference opponent, a top-level team that wins 80% or more of its games playing a good team (60% to 80%) are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS since 1992. Bet Florida Saturday.
|12-28-18||Iowa State +3 v. Washington State||26-28||Win||100||115 h 8 m||Show|
15* Iowa State/Washington State Alamo Bowl BAILOUT on Iowa State +3
The Iowa State Cyclones have only been to 13 bowl games in school history. They will be going for back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in program history. They will also be going for their 9th win of the season, which would tie a school record set back in 2000. Prior to that season they hadn’t reached even eight wins since 1978. It’s safe to say the Cyclones are happy to be here, and they have every reason to be highly motivated for a win.
The job Matt Campbell is doing at Iowa State is remarkable. He is only in his third season and already has this team to two bowl games and a combined 16-9 record over the past two seasons. After a 1-3 start against a brutal schedule, the Cyclones reeled off five straight wins. They got into Big 12 title contention before a loss to Texas. But they won their final two games and now have a chance to make history.
The run started when freshman Brock Purdy took over at quarterback. He is completing 66.3% of his passes with a 16-to-5 TD/INT ratio and averaging 10 yards per attempt. He has also added a dual threat to the offense with 262 rushing yards and three scores. He has one of the best backs in the country to hand the ball off to in David Montgomery, who has put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Purdy also has a matchup nightmare to throw the ball to in Hakeem Butler, who has 1,126 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns while season while averaging 22.1 yards per reception.
While the Iowa State offense has made big strides this season, it’s the defense that has allowed them to win so many games over the past few seasons. The Cyclones have the second-best defense in the Big 12 this year. They are giving up just 22.5 points and 351 yards per game this season. They are holding opponents to 8.5 points and 63 yards per game less than their season averages. It’s a defense that is built to stop the Big 12 offenses, which makes this a great matchup against Washington State’s pass-happy attack that belongs in the Big 12.
I think Washington State actually had to be disappointed to be in the Alamo Bowl. The Cougars were ranked in the Top 10 down the stretch and actually had an outside shot to make the four-team playoff. But they once again lost to Washington in the Apple Cup in their season finale, so instead of playing the Pac-12 Championship and possibly the Rose Bowl at worse, they now have to try and get back up off the mat to play Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl.
Matt Campbell is 3-1 in all bowl games dating back to his time at Toledo. Mike Leach is just 1-3 in bowl games as the coach of Washington State. They lost handily 17-42 to Michigan State last year in the Holiday Bowl. I think Leach will have his hands full getting these Cougars motivated to play this game after what happened against Washington in the Apple Cup.
Iowa State played a much tougher schedule than Washington State this season. Iowa State played the 29th-toughest schedule, while Washington State played the 53rd. And Pac-12 teams have been terrible in bowl games in recent seasons. In fact, the Pac-12 is just 3-13 SU & 2-14 ATS in their last 16 bowl games over the past few seasons. It’s a conference that was way down this season, which is why I question how good all these Pac-12 teams are in these bowl games.
Campbell is 13-4 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 8-1 ATS when playing against a team that wins more than 75% of their games on the season as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 12-2 ATS vs. good teams who outscore their opponents by 10-plus points per game as the coach of the Cyclones. Leach is 2-11 ATS after having won eight or more of his past 10 games in all games as a head coach. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Take Iowa State Friday.
|12-28-18||Syracuse v. West Virginia||Top||34-18||Win||100||111 h 23 m||Show|
25* Bowl GAME OF THE YEAR on Syracuse PK
It’s safe to say the Syracuse Orange are happy to be in a bowl game. Head coach Dino Babers delivered in a big way in his third season on the job. The Orange went from 4-8 last year to 9-3 this year and a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 2001. Two of their losses came to playoff teams in Clemson and Notre Dame, and they nearly upset Clemson on the road. They will be playing in their first bowl game since 2013 as well.
I certainly question West Virginia’s motivation. The Mountaineers had a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship in their season finale against Oklahoma. But they lost a 56-59 heartbreaker to the Sooners, and now they have to watch Oklahoma go on to the four-team playoff, while they’re stuck in the Camping World Bowl. They won’t be motivated at all for this game.
That’s especially the case now that Will Grier has decided to skip this bowl game and get ready for the NFL. Also out is left tackle Yodny Cajuste, who is also an NFL prospect. You don’t simply replace a QB the caliber of Grier. He has completed 67% of his passes for 3,864 yards with a 37-to-8 TD/INT ratio this season while averaging 9.7 yards per attempt.
Backup QB Jack Allison has only attempted 10 passes all season, and he’ll get the start Friday. The sophomore won’t have the services of star receiver Gary Jennings Jr, either. Jennings leads the Mountaineers in receiving yards (917) to go along with 54 receptions and 13 touchdowns. He is sitting out with an ankle injury.
The quarterback on the other sideline is a good one. Syracuse’s Eric Dungey played in all 12 games for the first time in his career this season, though he still had some injury issues but gutted it out. He completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,565 yards with a 17-to-7 TD/INT ratio. He is also the team’s second-leading rushing with 732 yards and 15 scores on the ground. He has accounted for 32 total touchdowns and will be a big reason why the Orange win this game.
While the Syracuse offense is explosive in averaging 40.7 points and 468 yards per game, it’s the defense that has made the biggest improvement. The Orange are allowing a respectable 27.7 points per game this season. They are right on par with WVU defensively as the Mountaineers yield 26.5 points per game. And there’s no question the Orange have the advantage on offense now with Grier, Cajuste and Jennings out.
Dana Holgorsen is 6-15 ATS with two or more weeks to prepare as the coach of West Virginia. Holgorsen is 1-4 SU & 0-5 ATS in his last five bowl games with their only win coming by a single point 43-42 over Arizona State in 2015. They lost by 16 to Utah in 2017, by 17 to Miami in 2016, by 8 to Texas A&M in 2014 and by 24 to Syracuse in 2012. The Mountaineers have rarely even been competitive in bowl games under Holgorsen. In fact, dating back further, West Virginia is just 5-16 ATS in its last 21 bowl games.
West Virginia is 0-7 ATS in its last seven December bowl games. The Mountaineers are 7-21 ATS in their last 28 games played on a neutral field. West Virginia is 10-24 ATS in its last 34 vs. ACC opponents. The Orange are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win.
Plays on all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Syracuse) - off a double-digit road win, a good team (60% to 80%) playing a team with a winning record are 26-9 (74.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Syracuse Friday.
|12-24-18||Broncos v. Raiders +3||Top||14-27||Win||100||48 h 57 m||Show|
20* Broncos/Raiders MNF GAME OF THE MONTH on Oakland +3
The Oakland Raiders should not be home underdogs to the Denver Broncos tonight. The Raiders have shown that they are going to show up every week and try to win games here down the stretch, and they will certainly show up for this rare primetime opportunity on National TV on Monday Night Football. Especially since they are facing a hated rival in the Broncos.
The Oakland Coliseum was built specifically for the Raiders in the mid-1960’s, but Monday night’s game against the Broncos might be the Raiders’ last game there. Owner Mark Davis is looking for another venue for his team next season. So you have to think that these Oakland players want to send their fans out with one final taste of victory tonight.
“I’ve spent five years playing in the stadium and we have people talking trash about it, but I love it,” said quarterback Derek Carr. “It’s ours. It has been fun, and that fact that it could be the last game is crazy. When that times comes, we’ll enjoy it.”
“I get emotional about it,” head coach Jon Gruden told reporters this week. “Hopefully, we get it resolved to where we can continue to play here next season. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, Monday night, Christmas Eve, Denver coming to town. I get excited thinking about it."
The Raiders want to avenge their 19-20 loss at Denver in their first meeting this season in which Oakland blew a 12-0 halftime lead and should have won the game. That was a much better Broncos team than the version we have now here down the stretch. And the Broncos were 5.5-point favorites in that game at home, so if you flip home field, this line should be close to a PK if not the Raiders favored. I actually think the Raiders should be favored by 3 given what has transpired since that first meeting.
Jon Gruden clearly has not lost this team. The Raiders have shown up each of the last five weeks and played hard. They won at Arizona five weeks ago, deserved to lose 17-20 to the Ravens on the road but gave up two non-offensive touchdowns and lost by 17, hung tough in a 33-40 home loss to the Chiefs as 14-point dogs, upset the Steelers at home as 10-point dogs, and then had a 14-point loss to the Bengals last week in a game that was much closer than the final score. And it was an obvious letdown spot for the Raiders off their huge win over the Steelers the week prior. They’ll bounce back this week against a division rival in Denver.
I’ve correctly faded the Broncos in each of their last two games for many of the same reasons. The Broncos failed to cover as 3-point road favorites in a 14-20 upset loss at San Francisco. And last week they were upset at home by the Cleveland Browns. Key injuries are a big reason I’ve been fading the Broncos and they remain a big problem for them.
The most important injury was losing top WR Emmanuel Sanders prior to the 49ers game with a torn ACL. His loss was magnified by the fact that they traded away their other top receiver in DeMaryius Thomas to the Texans. The Broncos simply don’t have any weapons left, and their offense has been bogged down because of it. And defensively, they lost top CB Chris Harris also prior to that 49ers game. And the injuries keep piling up for the Broncos’ defense this week as they will be without SS Su’a Cravens and LB Shane Ray.
I also think this is a situation where the wind has been lifted out from underneath the Broncos’ sails. They had a chance to make the playoffs after winning three straight to get to .500, and they were still alive even after the loss to the 49ers. But heartbreaking one-point loss to the Browns last week has officially eliminated them from contention. As is often the case, teams don’t even show up the week after their were eliminated from postseason contention. That could easily be the case for Denver this week even though this is a primetime game, especially knowing that head coach Vance Joseph is a dead man walking.
Denver is 0-6 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive ATS losses over the past three seasons. The Broncos are losing by 18.6 points on average in this spot. Denver is 0-7 ATS vs. teams who force one or fewer turnovers per game over the past two seasons. The Broncos are 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 Monday games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet the Raiders Monday.
|12-23-18||Chiefs v. Seahawks UNDER 56||31-38||Loss||-115||24 h 8 m||Show|
15* Chiefs/Seahawks NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on UNDER 56
As the weather has gotten colder, games have become more and more low scoring. And it’s expected to be in the 40’s in Seattle tonight with a 40% chance of rain as well. While the weather is a big factor to these lower scoring games at the end of the season, the fact that both teams have so much film on one another is ultimately the bigger factor. It’s just easier on the defenses to stop opposing offenses because they know what to expect at this point in the season.
The Chiefs have certainly become less potent offensively here down the stretch. They failed to top 28 points in each of their last two games, and thy were held to just 294 total yards by the Chargers last week. Now, a lot of this has to do with the weapons the Chiefs are missing. They don’t have anyone to replace what Kareem Hunt brings to the offense, and top backup Spencer Ware remains out. Also out is one of their top receivers in Sammy Watkins. Mahomes just doesn’t have the same weapons he did for most of the season as he was lighting up the NFL.
I think the Seahawks can control the pace of this game with their running game, which has been one of the best in the NFL. They have rushed for 154 or more yards in 10 of their last 11 games, while passing for 242 or fewer yards in all but one game this season. They have been held to less than 205 or fewer passing yards in nine of their 14 games this year, and 217 or fewer in 11 of 14. Their offensive scheme keeps the clock running, and the Seahawks play at one of the slowest paces in the league. They know controlling time of possession is their best chance to beat the Chiefs tonight.
The Seahawks have held six of their last 12 opponents to 17 or fewer points. They have a good defense that is giving up just 20.9 points per game on the season, and 19.7 points per game at home. And the Chiefs have actually improved quite a bit defensively here down the stretch themselves. They have held seven of their last 11 opponents to 24 or fewer points, and I certainly think they can do the same here against this slow, vanilla Seahawks offense.
Plays on the UNDER on road teams where the total is 49.5 or higher (Kansas City) - after going over the total by 35 or more points combined in their last five games, in the second half of the season are 54-23 (70.1%) since 1983. The UNDER is 6-1 in Chiefs last seven Week 16 games. Take the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|12-23-18||Steelers +7 v. Saints||28-31||Win||100||20 h 13 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Saints Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Pittsburgh +7
With the Ravens winning yesterday, the Steelers need this game like blood. A loss and the Ravens would overtake the Steelers for first place in the AFC North. And the Ravens host the Browns next week, so it would likely been the end of the Steelers if they lose this game. They’d miss the playoffs entirely. As a result, they’ll be max motivated today against the Saints.
The Steelers come in with confidence after getting the monkey off their back in an impressive 17-10 win over the Patriots. And this is a Steelers team that simply does not get blown out. Four of their five losses this season have come by a touchdown or less. I expect them to stay within a touchdown of the Saints, and likely pull off the upset today with what’s at stake for them.
Since the Rams lost last week to the Eagles, the Saints essentially have a two-game lead over the Rams for the No. 1 seed because they beat them head-to-head. And the Saints host the Panthers next week, so they know that even if they lose this game they have that gimme game against a Carolina team that will likely have quit by that point to clinch the No. 1 seed. Knowing they have that in their hip pocket, I do not expect the Saints to be max motivated this week.
Even if they were to be, the Saints just aren’t playing well enough right now to be this heavily favored against a very good Pittsburgh team. Offensively, the Saints are broken right now. They are averaging just 283 yards per game in their last four games. They haven’t topped 346 yards in any of those games. Drew Brees just doesn’t have any weapons outside Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, and it’s really starting to show. And quietly, they have three offensive linemen starters on the injury report. They’ll be missing G Jermon Bushrod, and both T Terron Armstead (shoulder) and C Max Unger (concussion) won’t be at 100% this week.
I think too much is being made of the loss of James Connor. He won’t play this week, but the Steelers have just been able to plug and play at running back. And Jalen Samuels had 142 rushing yards and 172 yards from scrimmage last week against the Patriots. He is getting comfortable in this offense, and he’s a real weapon dating back to his time with NC State in college both as a runner and receiver.
The Steelers’ offense gets a lot of the attention for averaging 27.4 points and 405.8 yards per game this season. But it’s the defense that really makes the Steelers a Super Bowl contender. They have made huge strides on that side of the ball over the past two seasons, especially this year. They are holding opponents to 22.6 points and 333.7 yards per game this season, including 21.3 points and 318.6 yards per game on the road. The Steelers are outgaining their opponents by 72 yards per game this year, the sign of an elite team.
The Steelers are outgaining their opponents by 0.9 yards per play (6.2 offensive, 5.3 defense) while the Saints are only outgaining opponents by 0.3 yards per play (6.0 offense, 5.7 defense). Yards per play is one of the most important stats in the NFL and it’s a great indicator of how good a team really is.
Pittsburgh is 6-0 ATS after allowing 99 or fewer rushing yards in two straight games this season. The Steelers are 42-21 ATS in their last 63 games when playing against a top-level team that wins greater than 75% of their games. Pittsburgh is 19-6-2 ATS in its last 27 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Plays on road teams (Pittsburgh) - who average 265-plus passing yards per game against a poor passing defense that gives up 230-265 PYPG, after allowing 7 or more YPA in two straight games are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Steelers Sunday.
Note: I took the only +7 option available on the site at extra juice. At the time I released the pick, the line was +6.5 in most places, including at my book. I bought the 1/2 point on the Steelers to +7 personally on my bet. I suggest you do the same if your line is 6.5. If not just bet it at +6, or even down to +4.5. I think this line should be 4 at most.
|12-23-18||Bears v. 49ers +5||14-9||Push||0||20 h 55 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on San Francisco 49ers +5
The Chicago Bears are coming off back-to-back victories that would rank right up there as two of their most significant wins this century. They upset the Rams at home two weeks ago, then clinched their first division title since 2010 with their win over the hated Packers last week. They let their guard down and celebrated harder than they’ve celebrated in a long time in the locker room and likely went out on the town after that win. It’s only human nature that they’d suffer a letdown this week off two huge wins at home.
But now the Bears hit the road, where they are just 3-3 this season with losses to the likes of the Giants and Dolphins this season. They are 7-1 at home, so there is a big home-road split. I know the Bears are still alive for the No. 2 seed, but they would need the Rams to lose at least one game over the final two weeks to have a chance. The Rams are 14.5-point favorites over the Cardinals this week and will be double-digit home favorites over the 49ers next week. The Bears realize it’s unrealistic.
The 49ers’ December run continues. They won their final five games last season, and now they are making a run at the end of this season, too. The 49ers upset the Broncos 20-14 at home two weeks ago and then upset the Seahawks 26-23 at home last week. I was on the 49ers in both those games, and I’m on them again this week as they are catching even more points as 5-point home dogs to the Bears.
The reason to like the 49ers is simple. They are much better than their 4-10 record would indicate. In fact, the 49ers are actually outgaining their opponents by 18.8 yards per game this season. That’s the sign of a .500 or better team, not one that currently sits at 4-10. And just as they did at the end of last season, this team has not quit. Kyle Shanahan is here to stay, so his players will go to war from him every week. And they clearly seem to love him to play this hard for him to close out the season two straight years when things went so bad for the first 3/4 of the season both times.
Nick Mullens is proving that he can be a backup quarterback in this league, if not a starter by how quickly he has grasped Shanahan’s system and excelled in it. Mullens is completing 64.5% of his passes for 1,754 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions while averaging 8.6 per attempt. He is putting up way better numbers than C.J. Beathard, and actually better numbers than Jimmy G. Mullens is averaging 292.3 passing yards per game in his six games this season.
And he should have some success against a Bears defense that will be missing two key players that got injured last week in the win over the Packers. SS Eddie Jackson and LB Aaron Lynch are both out, as is CB Bryce Callahan. The loss of Jackson is particularly a problem for the Bears. He was named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week, and he’s third in the NFL with six interceptions this season, two of which he has returned for touchdowns. Jackson is the leader of the secondary and will be missed.
Chicago is 2-12 ATS in road games when the total is 42.5 to 49 over the last three seasons. The Bears are 14-35 ATS in their last 49 December road games. Chicago is 3-16 ATS in its last 19 road games vs. excellent offensive teams that average 6 or more yards per play in the second half of the season. The Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with the 49ers Sunday.
|12-23-18||Bills +14.5 v. Patriots||Top||12-24||Win||100||17 h 53 m||Show|
20* NFL DOG OF THE WEEK on Buffalo Bills +14.5
The Buffalo Bills have been flying under the radar this season. The betting public never wants anything to do with them, so they go unnoticed. But when you really did deep into the numbers, the Bills have been one of the best teams in the NFL since Josh Allen returned from injury.
Indeed, the Bills have outgained their last six opponents by a combined 679 yards. That’s an average of 113.2 yards per game, which is the sign of an elite team. But because they’ve gone just 3-3 during this stretch, they are way undervalued. And getting them as two-touchdown underdogs to the Patriots Sunday is an absolute gift.
Allen actually leads the team in rushing with 506 yards, 6.7 per carry and six touchdowns this season. He is arguably the best dual-threat QB in the league right now. A big reason for him leading the team is that LeSean McCoy has been injured and missed the past few games. But the offense gets a big boost this week with McCoy returning from injury to try and take down the Patriots. It’s a sign that this team is max motivated against their division rival the fact that they aren’t sitting McCoy for the rest of the season when they easily could have.
But what makes me really like this Bills team and what makes me back them almost every single week is their defense. The Bills actually have the league’s 2nd best defense in the NFL this season. They give up 292.2 yards per game on the season, which is nearly 19 yards less than the third-place Bears. But when everyone talks about the league’s best defenses, they only mention the Ravens and Bears. That’s why the Bills are consistently undervalued because the fact that they’re 2nd goes completely unnoticed by most.
The Patriots’ stranglehold on the AFC may be coming to an end this year. They wouldn’t lose like they have here down the stretch in year’s past with what has been at stake. The Patriots are just 2-3 SU & 2-3 ATS in their last five games overall. They lost by 24 at Tennessee as 6.5-point favorites, were upset at Miami as 9-point favorites, and were upset at Pittsburgh as 2.5-point favorites. They were also very fortunate to cover agains the Jets in a 14-point win as 13-point favorites.
I think fatigue is taking its toll on the Patriots. They will now be in their 5th different city in six weeks with a ton of travel due to this road-heavy schedule. Now they are back home this week, and that’s going to be a distraction with all the things the players have to do to get ready for Christmas with their families. Plus, they just lost their best weapon in Josh Gordon, who was once again suspended by the league. Gordon leads the team with 720 receiving yards and 18 yards per reception. Without him, their offense is very vanilla, especially with Rob Gronkowski clearly on the downside of his career.
Buffalo will find some success running against this New England defense. The Bills are rushing for 174 yards per game in their last five games, and a large portion of that has been Allen. Now with McCoy back, they should be even more potent in the running game. And the Patriots have not been good against the run the past two weeks, giving up 173.5 rushing yards per game and a whopping 7.5 yards per carry to the Dolphins and Steelers.
I think the fact that New England won 25-6 in Buffalo earlier this season is making this number higher than it should be. Well, Buffalo was playing with Derek Anderson in that game and not Allen. And it was an 18-6 game with the Bills in the red zone before Anderson threw a pick-six that turned what would have been a 5-point game into a 19-point game. It was a very misleading final as the Patriots only outgained the Bills by 46 yards. It will be a much more competitive game with Allen in the second meeting Sunday.
Plays against any team (New England) - off two or more consecutive upset losses as a favorite, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a team with a losing record are 33-10 (76.7%) ATS since 1983. Buffalo is 23-7 ATS in its last 30 games off three or more consecutive ATS losses. The Bills deserved to cover in all three of those games, but since they didn’t they are way undervalued right now. Bet the Bills Sunday.
Note: I realize the line is 13.5 in most places, but 14 wasn't an option for me, so I took the 14.5 at extra juice on the site. I personally bought the 1/2 point on the Bills to +14 on my bet and I suggest you do the same if it's an option for you. Otherwise just bet it at +13.5.
|12-23-18||Texans v. Eagles -1.5||Top||30-32||Win||100||17 h 52 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Philadelphia Eagles -1.5
Don’t look now, but the Eagles are just a half-game back of the Vikings for the 6th and final wild card spot in the NFC. They have put themselves in this position by winning three of their last four games with their only loss coming at Dallas in overtime. The defending Super Bowl champs are starting to show some serious resilience here down the stretch as they fight for their playoff lives.
And the Eagles certainly come into this home game against the Houston Texans with a ton of momentum. That’s because they upset the Rams 30-23 on the road as 13.5-point underdogs last week. There was nothing fluky about it either as they dominated from start to finish and basically led the entire way.
The loss of Carson Wentz was clearly overblown as the Eagles went from 8-point dogs to 13.5-point dogs last week once it was announced Wentz would be out. In the Eagles’ locker room, they knew they had a chance to win that game with Nick Foles, and players rallied around him. Foles delivered a big performance, completing 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards. He utilizes Alshon Jeffery’s talents better than Wentz does because Jeffery is a jump-ball receiver. Foles connected on all eight passes attempts to Jeffery for 160 yards.
The Texans are grossly overvalued right now due to winning nine of their last 10 games overall coming in. They’ve won every coin flip during this stretch, including their extremely lucky push as 7-point favorites at the New York Jets last week. They trailed that game 19-22 with four minutes left, only to score 10 points the rest of the way to win 29-22. The Jets turned it over on downs deep in their own territory, and the Texans tacked on a field goal that made the final margin 7 points. The Eagles will offer a lot more resistance than the Jets did last week.
This is a Texans team that is missing some key playmakers on offense. Both RB Lamar Miller and WR Keke Coutee are out. Miller leads the team with 917 rushing yards and 4.8 per carry, and it’s a big downgrade to backup Alfred Blue, who is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on his 143 attempts. Coutee is the team’s third-leading receiver and has been productive when healthy. Not to mention, star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was noticeably hobbled by an ankle injury suffered on the game-winning TD catch against the Jets last week. Not having him at 100% is a problem for the Texans.
Philadelphia is 8-1 ATS vs. good rushing defenses that allow 90 or fewer rushing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Texans are 1-8-1 ATS in the last four weeks of the regular season over the past three seasons. Houston is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games played on a grass field. The Eagles are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Plays home favorites (Philadelphia) - after having won three of their last four games against an opponent that has won eight or more of their last 10 games are 25-6 (80.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Plays against road underdogs or PK (Houston) - hot team having won eight or more of their last 10 games are 39-13 (75%) ATS over the last 10 years. Take the Eagles Sunday.
|12-22-18||Redskins +10.5 v. Titans||Top||16-25||Win||100||73 h 7 m||Show|
20* Redskins/Titans Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Washington +10.5
I won with the Redskins as a premium pick last week. They delivered for me with an outright upset of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road as 7.5-point dogs. And I’m on them again for many of the same reasons again this week as they are catching even more points as 10.5-point road dogs at Tennessee.
Washington players knew they had no chance with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. They were down to their third-stringer Sanchez after both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy went down with injuries in consecutive weeks. And they played terrible against the Eagles once Sanchez took over, then even worse the next week in a blowout loss to the Giants as Sanchez basically gift-wrapped the Giants that win with turnovers.
However, the Redskins signed Josh Johnson, and he took over for Sanchez after they were trailing the Giants 40-0. Johnson sparked this team in the second half as they outscored the Giants 16-0 after he took over. And then Johnson led them to victory last week against the Jaguars. This guy is a lot better than he gets credit for. Johnson is completing 65.9% of his passes and averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. He also gives the Redskins a dual-threat as he has rushed for 94 yards on 16 attempts and a score while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
The Titans come into this game getting a lot of love due to their three-game winning streak, and it’s time to ‘sell high’ on them after back-to-back blowout wins over the Jaguars and Giants. I just don’t think the Titans can be laying double-digits with an offense that ranks 27th in the NFL in scoring at just 19.1 points per game. Derrick Henry is playing well the last two weeks, but they are averaging just 124 passing yards per game their past two games.
The Redskins held the Jaguars to 192 yards last week and still have a very good defense, especially when they are locked in and focused. And they have played their best on the road, giving up just 19.6 points per game in their seven road games this year. I think they can hold Marcus Mariota in check, and Johnson will make enough plays for them to keep this a one-score game. Johnson should have some success against a banged-up Titans secondary that just lost their top corner in Logan Ryan to a season-ending injury last week, and starting S Kenny Vaccaro is in concussion protocol and highly questionable.
Tennessee is the team that is getting treated like they are in a must-win situation, but not Washington here with this 10.5-point spread. But in reality, both teams should be equally motivated. Washington is only a half-game back in the wild card race in the NFC, while Tennessee is tied with Indy and Baltimore for the final wild card spot in the AFC, but loses the tiebreaker to both currently. And I have no doubt that win over the Jaguars has injected new life into this Redskins team as they really think they have a shot.
Plays on road teams (Washington) - after failing to cover the spread in three of their last four games, in December games are 46-17 (73%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Redskins are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning record. Washington is 6-0 ATS in its last six Week 16 games. The Titans are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine Week 16 games. The road team is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings with four outright upsets. Bet the Redskins Saturday.
|12-22-18||Houston v. Army -4.5||Top||14-70||Win||100||72 h 19 m||Show|
20* Houston/Army Armed Forces Bowl No-Brainer on Army -4.5
A military team in a military bowl that’s happy to be here. Sign me up. Army has already had a phenomenal season, but there’s still work to be done. The Black Knights can earn a school-record 11th win with a victory over Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. They will be max motivated to accomplish that feat.
Houston is a team that has all kinds of issues heading into this game. They lost starting QB D’Eriq King in their 11th game of the season. King is a huge loss as he has a 36-to-6 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores this season. Backup Clayton Tune is only completing 44.7% of his 85 passes and is a massive downgrade as he’s not a dual-threat like King was.
The Cougars are also missing four defensive linemen on their two-deep, including DT Ed Oliver, who will be a Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. These defensive line injuries will make it extremely difficult for them to stop Army’s rushing attack. In fact, Houston has the worst defense of all the bowl teams, giving up 489 yards per game. And they were awful stopping the run down the stretch, giving up a whopping 278.2 rushing yards per game in their last six games, including 300-plus three times.
Well, Army is the second-best rushing team in the country at 296 yards per game on the ground. And QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr. is actually a threat to throw it this year as he’s averaging 10.6 yards per attempt with six touchdown passes. Army is also 2nd in the country in time of possession (38:51), while Houston is 129th in time of possession (25:04). The Black Knights will wear down this Houston defense and pull away in the second half.
I have a hard time believing Houston wants to be here. They had a chance to win their division and play for the AAC title, but lost in the season finale 31-52 at Memphis. They gave up 610 total yards, including 401 on the ground in that loss. And now they have to go up against a team in Army that is going to chop block them the whole game. No team can be too excited to face the triple-option, an offense designed to punch you in the mouth. Houston players will quit early in this game.
One hidden factor here is that Army recruits as well as almost anyone in the state of Texas. The Black Knights actually have 23 players from Texas on their roster. And this game will be played in Forth Worth, Texas, so they are using this opportunity as an excellent recruiting tool.
Military teams are 33-13 ATS in their last 46 bowl games. Military teams are 23-4 ATS in their last 27 bowl games when facing a team that wins 60% or more of their games. The Black Knights are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning record. They’ll cap off a record-setting season with their 11th victory Saturday. Bet Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.
|12-22-18||Wake Forest +3.5 v. Memphis||37-34||Win||100||69 h 50 m||Show|
15* Wake Forest/Memphis CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Wake Forest +3.5
I think this this is a case where one team wants to be here, and one team doesn’t in the Birmingham Bowl between Wake Forest and Memphis. Wake Forest is the team that wants to be here. That was evidenced by the way they finished the season just to get into a bowl game.
The Demon Deacons needed to pull off two huge upsets on the road in their final three games just to get to 6-6 and bowl eligible. They beat NC State 27-23 as 18.5-point road underdogs. Then they blasted Duke 59-7 as 9-point road dogs in their season finale. You would be hard-pressed to find two better wins in the ACC than those two for the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson is doing a tremendous job here with the Demon Deacons in making them relevant again. And Clawson is 2-0 in bowl games at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons upset Temple as 12-point dogs in 2016. They also beat Texas A&M in a 55-52 thriller as 3-point favorites last year. They are certainly happy to be here with how hard they had to fight to get here, and I think that will show on the field Saturday.
QB Jamie Newman has been much more effective than Sam Hartman was before him, and he thrived once he was given the starting job after Hartman suffered a season-ending injury. Newman is completing 61.4% of his passes with an 8-to-3 TD/INT ratio while averaging 7.5 yards per attempt. Hartman is completing 55.3% and 6.8 per attempt. Newman has also been the better runner with 3.8 yards per carry compared to 2.6 for Hartman, and both have a significant amount of carries, so Newman being more of a dual-threat is definitely a factor.
Memphis does not want to be here. The Tigers are still reeling from blowing an 18-point halftime lead against UCF in the C-USA title game. They scored 38 points in the first half, but were held to just 3 points after intermission and completely imploded. It was the second blown lead against UCF this season in two losses to the Knights. Now they have to watch UCF go play LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, while they’re stuck in the Birmingham Bowl and have to face a 6-6 Wake Forest team.
Memphis will be without its best player in this game in RB Darrell Henderson, who is one of the best running backs in the country. He is sitting this game out to get ready for the NFL Draft, where he should be one of the first RB’s taken. Henderson has rushed for 1,9-9 yards and 22 touchdowns while averaging a ridiculous 8.9 yards per carry this season. You just don’t replace that type of production.
The Tigers have not fared well in bowl gams over the past three seasons, going 0-3 SU & 0-3 ATS. They lost by 21 to Auburn as 3-point dogs in 2015, by 20 to Western Kentucky as 7-point dogs in 2016, and were upset by Iowa State as 3-point favorites on their home field last year.
Memphis has played the 103rd-ranked schedule in the country, while Wake Forest has played the 53rd-toughest schedule. That’s a big difference in strength of schedule, and facing a team like Memphis will be a step down in class for Wake Forest compared to what they’re used to seeing in ACC action.
Teams that clinch a bowl game in their final game of the season have gone 41-21 ATS over the last 10 seasons. This is a great trend and it just goes to show that teams that had to fight to make a bowl in their final game are happy to be there and usually play well in their bowl game. And Memphis lost their offensive coordinator and their defensive coordinator prior to the bowl game, so they won’t be as well prepared as they normally would be going into a football game.
Memphis is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games after gaining 525 or more total yards in two consecutive games coming in. The Demon Deacons are 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games, while the Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games. Take Wake Forest Saturday.
|12-20-18||Marshall -2.5 v. South Florida||38-20||Win||100||29 h 50 m||Show|
15* Marshall/USF Gasparilla Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Marshall -2.5
South Florida was a complete fraud during its 7-0 start this season. They had narrow single-digit wins over East Carolina (20-13) as 19-point home favorites, Tulsa (25-24) as 10-point road favorites and UConn (38-30) as 33.5-point home favorites. Looking back, ECU, Tulsa and UConn were awful, and all three had a shot to beat them.
Then reality set in down the stretch. South Florida went 0-5 in its final five games with all five losses coming by double-digits. The schedule got tougher, and the Bulls were completely exposed. And now they are going to have to try and get back up off the mat for their bowl game, and I’m not seeing it. Especially since it’s not a destination bowl game as they will be playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Fans won’t be that excited to watch a team that closed the season on a five-game losing streak.
Marshall is happy to be here. The Thundering Herd put together an impressive 8-4 season with two of their losses coming to ACC opponents in NC State and Virginia Tech. And the loss to Virginia Tech in the finale has them undervalued. The Hokies needed that win to make a bowl game, and it was a rescheduled game in the final week. The Thundering Herd were already going to a bowl game and didn’t need a win.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday certainly knows how to prepare his teams for bowl games. Indeed, Holiday is a perfect 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in his five bowl games at Marshall. Not only are the Thundering Herd winning, then are dominating their opposition in these bowl games. They are winning by an average of 11.8 points per game in those five games.
USF QB Blake Barnett is banged up with an ankle injury. He will play, but he could be hampered and not as big of a rushing threat. That’s big because he has rushed for eight scores this year. Barnett is a horrible passer with an 11-to-11 TD/INT ratio. And if he gets hurt, both of the backups are completing less than 50% of their passes in their combined 73 attempts this season.
South Florida’s offense will struggle to move the football on what is a very good Marshall defense. The Thundering Herd are holding their opponents to just 22.0 points and 335.6 yards per game. They are holding their opponents to 5.2 points, 41 yards and 0.7 yards per play less than their season averages. Conversely, the Thundering Herd should be able to move the football at will against a USF defense that is yielding 31.5 points and 442.2 yards per game.
South Florida is 0-9 ATS in its last nine home games after having lost five or six of its last seven games coming in. Marshall is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 bowl games, including the 5-0 ATS in Holliday’s tenure as stated before. The Thundering Herd are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 non-conference games. The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. C-USA opponents. The Bulls are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games. Bet Marshall Thursday.
|12-19-18||Ohio v. San Diego State +3||27-0||Loss||-100||173 h 2 m||Show|
15* Ohio/SDSU Frisco Bowl ANNIHILATOR on San Diego State +3
I think San Diego State comes into the bowl season undervalued due to its 0-3 finish to the season. That followed a 7-2 start as this was one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country up to that point. But the poor finish can easily be explained.
Let’s go back to the UNLV loss which started the streak. San Diego State saw that Fresno State had lost to Boise State the previous night, meaning that they could afford a loss to UNLV and still have a shot to win their division. And they promptly lost 24-27 as 24-point favorites. Then everything was on the line the next week against Fresno State, and they lost 14-23. And it was then an obvious hangover spot the next week in the 30-31 loss to Hawaii.
There’s no question that head coach Rocky Long and his players want to get that sour taste out of their mouths. They’ll be ‘all in’ for this bowl game against Ohio, and I look for them to dominate from start to finish. MAC teams have been awful in bowl games over the past several season, and that will continue this season. Ohio coach Frank Solich is just 5-9 SU all-time in bowl games, and 3-6 at Ohio.
While Ohio has a very good offense, they have a weak defense that gives up 26.7 points, 399 yards per game and 6.2 yards per play on the season. Compare that to San Diego State, which gives up just 21.7 points, 327 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play, and we are clearly backing the superior defense.
San Diego State’s offense was held back by injuries all season. That made them a bad bet as big favorites, which they were consistently. But this offense is as healthy as it has been all year, and they are healthy as a team as a whole with only two players on the injury list heading into this bowl game. They key is having QB Christian Chapman and his 8.9 yards per attempt and RB Juwan Washington and his 870 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns back healthy. These are the two leaders of this offense and they’ll be looking to go out with a bang.
And this is a great matchup for the Aztecs’ defense. The strength of the Ohio offense is their running game, which produces 262 rushing yards per game and 6.1 per carry. Well, the Aztecs have the fourth-best rushing defense in the country. They give up just 94 rushing yards per game and 2.7 per carry this season. They have the ability to make Ohio one-dimensional, and the Bobcats just aren’t very good when they have to throw the football.
And keep in mind San Diego State is usually laying points, but here they are getting points, and it all stems back to that misleading poor finish to the season. As a dog this season, the Aztecs have stepped up. They beat Arizona State outright as 5.5-point dogs. They went into Boise State and won outright as 13-point dogs. And they covered as 10-point dogs at Fresno State.
Ohio is 1-10 ATS in road games off three consecutive games where they committed one or fewer turnovers. The Aztecs are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 road games following a loss by 3 points or less. Rocky Long is 9-2 ATS in road games vs. teams who average 450 or more yards per game as the coach of San Diego State. The Bobcats are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 games following a win by more than 20 points.
The MAC is 6-24 SU in bowl games over the last six years, including 1-12 SU the last three years. San Diego State is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games as an underdog. Betting on teams in bowl games off a SU loss as a favorite against a team that is coming in off back-to-back wins are 44-14 ATS since 1981. Bet San Diego State Wednesday.
|12-18-18||Northern Illinois v. UAB -1.5||Top||13-37||Win||100||270 h 50 m||Show|
20* NIU/UAB Boca Raton Bowl No-Brainer on UAB -1.5
The UAB Blazers are a tremendous story. To go from not having a football program at all for two years to going 8-5 in 2017 and then 10-3 and a Conference USA Championship this season is one of the most remarkable feats I’ve ever seen in college football. These players love head coach Bill Clark, and they’ll be highly motivated to get another win to cap off this impressive season.
I like their chances of winning this game against a Northern Illinois team that just isn’t very good. Yes, the Huskies won the MAC, but that conference was way down this season and always struggles in bowl games. And they had to erase a 29-10 deficit in the second half against Buffalo to win 30-29. They’ve already reached the pinnacle.
I’ll gladly fade NIU head coach Rod Carey, who just can’t seem to make anything work in bowl games. Carey is 0-5 SU & 0-5 ATS in his career in bowl games, and not only are his teams losing, they are getting crushed. Carey’s teams are getting outscored by 25 points per game on average, and they losing by 18 points per game against the spread on average. In none of those five games did they even stay within a touchdown of the spread!
Yes, Northern Illinois has a good defense, but their offense is atrocious. QB Marcus Childers only averages 5.4 yards per attempt with a 15-to-10 TD/INT ratio on the season. He also rushes for just 2.8 yards per carry on his ridiculous 176 rushing attempts this season. The Huskies score just 20.7 points per game this season. They are getting outgained by 22.8 yards per game on the year. It’s just not an offense I’m willing to get behind, and I’ll gladly fade it.
UAB does have a respectable offense that puts up 29.3 points and 400.1 yards per game. They also have an elite defense that gives up just 17.3 points and 300.2 yards per game on the year. They are outgaining their opponents by 100 yards per game, which is the sign of a good team and one I want to put my money behind, especially laying less than a field goal here.
Keep in mind UAB’s season stats got skewed a little too in the final game of the regular season. They already had a trip to the C-USA Championship clinched, and they didn’t even show up in their 3-27 loss to Middle Tennessee in which they were outgained by 305 yards. They rested their starters, and then came back the next week and won 27-25 at Middle Tennessee in the rematch. So if you throw out that meaningless game, the Blazers have outgained the other 12 opponents by over 1600 yards on the season and by 134 yards per game.
The Huskies are 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 neutral site games. Northern Illinois is 1-5 ATS in its last six vs. C-USA opponents. UAB is 32-10 ATS in its last 42 games following a two-game road trip. Again, the Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last five bowl games. And the MAC is 6-22 SU over the last five years in bowl games, and 1-10 SU the last two years. Bet UAB Tuesday.
|12-17-18||Saints v. Panthers +6.5||Top||12-9||Win||100||152 h 37 m||Show|
20* Saints/Panthers ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Carolina +6.5
The Carolina Panthers opened 6-2 and were becoming a pretty big public team. But now the public has been burnt by the Panthers week after week, and they’re going to be off of them now. It’s certainly time to ‘buy low’ on the Panthers, who have now lost five consecutive games despite being favored in four of the five.
When you dig deeper into the numbers, it’s easy to see that the Panthers are better than their 6-7 record. In fact, the Panthers have now outgained eight of their last nine opponents. They are outgaining opponents by 25.5 yards per game on the season. That’s the sign of a good team, not one that currently has a losing record heading into Week 15.
Most would believe the Panthers are ready to quit, but I beg to differ. Just look at the standings and it’s easy to see that the Panthers are still very much alive to make the playoffs. They sit at 6-7, just a half-game back of the 6-6-1 Vikings for the final wild card spot in the NFC. And their closest contenders in the Redskins (6-7) and Eagles (6-7) both have huge injury issues, and both are massive road underdogs this week.
Plus, Cam Newton received a broom from an anonymous person. That broom signifies the season sweep the Saints put on them last year. They won both regular season meetings, plus beat the Panthers 31-26 at home in the playoffs. Newton already made his comments about the broom, and there’s no question he and the rest of his teammates want some serious revenge here at home Monday night.
The Saints are ripe for the taking right now. They just aren’t playing well at all over the past three weeks against the Falcons, Cowboys and Bucs. They were outgained by 54 yards at home by the Falcons, by 132 yards by the Cowboys in a 10-13 road loss, and they only outgained the Bucs by 19 yards last week. They were fortunate to win that game after trailing 14-0.
The most staggering numbers are the poor offensive numbers the Saints are putting up. Drew Brees may be starting to show his age, and the Saints’ lack of weapons outside Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are starting to catch up with them. They were held to 312 total yards by a bad Falcons defense, to just 176 yards by a good Cowboys defense, and to just 298 yards against a bad Bucs defense. That’s an average of just 262 yards per game in their last three games.
The Saints can’t be expected to go on the road and win by a TD or more to cover this inflated 6.5-point spread with this kind of an offense. And the Panthers still have a very good defense that is capable of slowing down Brees and company, especially outdoors on grass. This is also an improved Carolina offense that is averaging 378 yards per game this season.
The Panthers have a big home/road split this season. While they are just 1-6 on the road, they are 5-1 SU & 4-2 ATS at home and outscoring opponents by 7.6 points per game. Their offense has exploded for 30.8 points per game at home this year. Their only home loss came to the Seahawks by a field goal 27-30 in a game in which they controlled the whole way until giving up a 35-yard TD pass on 4th and long with three minutes left to tie it, and then a field goal with no time left on the clock.
Plays against road teams (New Orleans) - who outscore their opponents by 10 or more points per game, after allowing 14 points or less last game are 25-7 (78.1%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Carolina is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 home games vs. good offensive teams that average 375 or more yards per game in the second half of the season. Ron Rivera is 22-6 ATS off a road loss as the coach of Carolina. The Panthers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games. The underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Bet the Panthers Monday.
|12-16-18||Seahawks v. 49ers +7||23-26||Win||100||123 h 28 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on on San Francisco 49ers +7
I won with the 49ers in their upset win over the Broncos last week, and I’m back on them again this week. I got an early +7 at -130 on them when the line was +6 mostly everywhere. I thought it was worth it to pay the extra juice for the +7 at that point. But now the line has dropped all the way down to Seattle -3.5 in most places, and I still recommend a play on the 49ers at +3 or better. Obviously bet more if you got +6 or better early, and bet less if you got +3 or +3.5 late.
This has been the biggest line move in the NFL this week, and it’s warranted. The 49ers never should have been close to a TD underdog to the Seahawks. In fact, I think they win this game outright. The Seahawks are working on a short week after their huge win over the Vikings on Monday Night Football. They will be less prepared and less rested than the 49ers will be.
That win over the Vikings basically locked the Seahawks into the No. 5 seed in the NFC. They now have a 99% chance of making the playoffs. They can’t win the division, either, as the Rams clinched that already with their two head-to-head wins over the Seahawks. So Seattle is just stuck in no-man’s land here just playing out the string and anticipating their trip to the playoffs. The hard work is done. And they certainly could be looking ahead to their huge showdown with the Chiefs next week.
The Seahawks are overvalued after winning four straight games coming in and going 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall. But many of those were misleading wins, or wins they had no business getting. In fact, the Seahawks have been outgained in five of their last six games overall. That’s not the sign of a good team. The only game they won the yardage battle was their 27-24 comeback win over the Packers at home in which they only outgained Green Bay by 19 yards.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are grossly undervalued due to their 3-10 record. They are much better than that as they have now outgained their opponents by 296 yards on the season, and by an average of 23 yards per game. And they are playing their best football of the season coming in. The 49ers have outgained four of their last five opponents by a combined 426 yards and by an average of 85.2 yards per game.
Nick Mullens has more passing yards (746) than any other quarterback in the NFL over the last two weeks, so he is really starting to grasp Kyle Shanahan’s offense. George Kittle had 210 receiving yards last week and ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards (1,103) by a tight end this season. And Mullens is getting help with some players who are returning from injury. RB Matt Breida should be back this week, and WR Marquise Goodwin returned last week after missing two games.
I love backing teams in division games in the 2nd meeting who just recently lost their first meeting. The Seahawks just beat the 49ers 43-16 two weeks ago in Seattle. Well, that was one of the most misleading final scores of the year. The 49ers gained 452 yards and held the Seahawks to 331 yards, outgaining them by 121 yards for the game. And the Seahawks got a 98-yard INT return TD in the final minutes that turned what would have been a 13-point game into a 27-point game. That misleading final score also has the Seahawks overvalued, and you know the 49ers are going to want to exact some revenge here at home.
Plays on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (San Francisco) - after failing to cover the spread in two of their last three games, a bad team that wins 25% or fewer of their games on the season playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season are 56-25 (69.1%) ATS since 1983. Don’t be surprised if the 49ers win this game outright again this week. Take the 49ers Sunday.
|12-16-18||Cowboys v. Colts -2.5||Top||0-23||Win||100||120 h 24 m||Show|
25* NFL GAME OF THE YEAR on Indianapolis Colts -2.5
I was on the Colts last week in their outright win over the Texans, and I’m right back on them this week as my strongest release of the entire 2018 NFL season. They have made my 25* NFL GAME OF THE YEAR label for this game against the Dallas Cowboys. Every factor in this game favors the Colts, and thus getting them as only 2.5-point home favorites is an absolute gift from oddsmakers and the biggest line mistake of the season.
It mostly comes down to the motivational mismatch in favor of the Colts. They need this game like they need blood. There are currently four teams in the AFC tied at 7-6 for the final wild card spot, and the Colts have an outside shot to win the division. The Colts have put themselves in this position by going 6-1 SU in their last seven games overall, and they aren’t about to let up now that they are so close they can taste the postseason.
The Cowboys are coming off their ’Super Bowl’, a gutsy 29-23 (OT) home win over the Philadelphia Eagles that all but locked up the division. After that win, the Cowboys currently have a 99% chance of winning the division. They would have to go 0-3 and have either the Redskins go 3-0 or the Eagles go 3-0 to not win the division. Well, the Eagles are double-digit underdogs at the Rams this week and just lost Carson Wentz, and the Redskins are mess with all their injuries and are 7-point road dogs to the Jaguars. In all reality, the Cowboys have already won the division. They will suffer a ‘hangover’ effect from that win over the Eagles.
The Colts have outgained nine of their last 10 opponents. That’s the sign of a really good team and one I want to get my money behind. Andrew Luck is back to being Andrew Luck, and the Colts have one of the most improved defenses in the NFL. All of that young talent they’ve drafted over the past several seasons is finally starting to pay off. They have held their last four opponents to an average of just 15.3 points per game.
And I really like the matchup for the Colts’ defense. Their strength is their run defense, which ranks 8th in the NFL in giving up just 102.9 rushing yards per game. They also rank 5th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.8) allowed. And they’ve been even better in recent weeks, holding their last five opponents to just 91.8 rushing yards per game and 3.4 per carry. They should be able to limit Zeke Elliott, who was hobbled in that win over the Eagles and could have his workload limited after touching the ball 40 times last week.
One hidden advantage here is Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, the former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. The Eagles clearly miss him as their offense has been atrocious this year and terrible on 3rd downs, whereas the Colts are one of the best 3rd down offenses in the NFL. But Reich knows the personnel in the NFC East, and he’s actually gone 2-0 ATS against NFC East teams this season, beating the Redskins outright and covering in a last-second loss to the Eagles. And he certainly knows Dallas’ personnel as well as it hasn’t changed much from last year. He’ll come up with a game plan to beat their defense, while also helping his defensive coaches with the Cowboys’ offense.
I think the Cowboys are starting to be overvalued now this week after going 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. I just don’t think they show up at all this week. The Colts are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against teams with a winning record. Plays on home favorites (Indianapolis) - after having won two of their last three games, a marginal winning team (51% to 60%) playing a winning team are 25-6 (80.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Colts Sunday.
|12-16-18||Lions v. Bills -2.5||Top||13-14||Loss||-104||120 h 24 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE MONTH on Buffalo Bills -2.5
The Bills really should be in the midst of a four-game winning streak right now. But since they’re not and actually failed to cover the closing line each of the last two weeks, I think they are undervalued now. Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off a misleading 17-3 win at Arizona last week, and they’ve overvalued.
Two weeks ago, the Bills outgained the Dolphins by 240 yards and lost 17-21 as 3.5-point dogs. Then last week, the Bills outgained the Jets by 120 yards and lost 23-27 as 4.5-point home favorites. They led that Jets game 14-3 and never trailed until the final minute. It’s two games they should have won but they didn’t, and they won their previous two games against the the Jets and Jaguars by a combined 34 points. In fact, the Bills have outgained four of their last five opponents by a combined 680 yards, or by an average of 136 yards per game. That’s the sign of an elite team.
The Bills have been playing much better football ever since Josh Allen returned to the lineup. Allen has actually rushed for 99 or more yards in three consecutive games, which is unheard of in today’s NFL. And if his receivers quit dropping passes, he’d be putting up even better numbers through the air. After his receivers let him down last week, I think they’ll be extra focused to make amends for their quarterback this week.
Buffalo has an elite defense, which is my favorite thing about this team. They actually rank 1st in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 290.6 yards per game. Not too many people saw that coming heading into the season. There’s nothing fluky about it because they are 2nd in the NFL in yards per play (4.8) allowed. They will shut down the Lions this week.
Detroit is just 2-5 SU & 2-5 ATS in its last seven games overall. And really the Lions are fortunate to even have two wins during this stretch. They have been outgained in six of their last seven games, and eight of their last 10 games overall. That’s the sign of a bad team.
Matthew Stafford looks lost ever since trading Golden Tate and having Marvin Jones go down to injury. There just aren’t any playmakers left on this team. The score showed Detroit winning 17-3 against Arizona last week, but they were outgained by the Cardinals and managed just 218 total yards. The Lions managed only 96 passing yards on 23 attempts. This offense has been dreadful, and it won’t get any easier against the Bills this week.
Detroit is a dome team that certainly won’t enjoy the cold weather this late in the year in Buffalo. The Lions don’t have anything to play for, and I trust this young Bills team with a rookie quarterback to keep showing up because they have showed up every week that Allen has been under center. They’re the better team, and they’re only laying 2.5 points here at home. Sign me up.
Plays against road teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Detroit) - after allowing 6 points or less last game against an opponent that is coming off a loss by 6 points or less are 36-12 (75%) ATS since 1983. The Lions are 4-14 ATS in their last 18 games off a double-digit road win. The Bills are 15-4 ATS in their last 19 home games vs. bad defensive teams that allow 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season. Detroit is 17-36-1 ATS in its last 54 games after allowing less than 15 points in its previous game. Take the Bills Sunday.
|12-16-18||Titans v. Giants -2.5||17-0||Loss||-113||120 h 24 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on New York Giants -2.5
The New York Giants played the toughest schedule in the NFL over their first eight games of the season. It’s no surprise they opened 1-7. But the schedule has eased up, and they’ve been handling their business since. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall, and they are playing with a ton of confidence right now and showing up every week. If not for a blown 19-3 lead against the Eagles, they would be on a five-game winning streak.
The biggest reason for their great play is the improvement on offense. The Giants have averaged 31.4 points per game in their last five games. They hung 40 points on the Redskins last week even without Odell Beckham Jr. And Beckham feels a lot better this week and there’s a good chance he returns to the lineup. And besides Beckham and Landon Collins, the Giants are a very healthy team right now. Eli Manning knows that these could be his last games as a Giant, and he’s clearly motivated to make the most of it despite their record.
I think the Titans come in overvalued off their win over the Jaguars last week. I’ve watched many NFL games, and I haven’t seen many teams quit as blatantly obviously as the Jaguars did. They didn’t even try to tackle Derrick Henry, and as a result Henry had a career game with 238 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Defenders simply got out of his way or half-ass attempted to tackle him. I give the Titans zero credit for that win.
The Titans have not been good on the road this season. They are just 2-5 SU & 3-4 ATS in road games. They have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, averaging just 19.3 points per game on the season. Their offense has been even worse on the road, scoring just 16.4 points per game an averaging only 306.9 yards per game. I just don’t trust Marcus Mariota and this offense to score enough points here to win this game against the Giants.
Tennessee is 0-6 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive wins over the last two seasons. The Titans are losing by a whopping 20.2 points per game on average in this spot. The Titans are 1-10 ATS in road games after gaining 6 or more yards per play in their previous game over the past three seasons.
Plays on home favorites (NY Giants) - in non-conference games, off a win by 10 points or more against a division opponent are 30-7 (81.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Roll with the Giants Sunday.
|12-16-18||Redskins +7 v. Jaguars||16-13||Win||100||120 h 23 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Washington Redskins +7
The Jacksonville Jaguars are just 4-9 this season. They can’t be laying a touchdown to the Washington Redskins, or any team for that matter. Not after what I saw last week against the Titans. They didn’t even try to tackle Derrick Henry, and he rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-9 win by Tennessee.
I can say with confidence that the Jaguars have quit. This is a team that made the AFC Championship Game last year with big expectations coming into the season. Now, at 4-9 and with nothing to play for, they have simply packed it in. I don’t see them showing up this week at all, and even if they did they aren’t good enough to cover this 7-point spread.
Unlike the Jaguars, the Redskins still have a lot to play for. The Vikings are currently the 6th and final wild card team in the playoffs if the season were to end today at 6-6-1. Well, the Redskins are 6-7, so they are only a half-game back in the wild card. As ugly as it’s been of late for the Redskins, they can still look to the standings and realize they have a legit chance of making the playoffs. And I fully expect them to show up these final three weeks.
I also think the Redskins are being undervalued this week off their 40-16 loss to the Giants last week. Well, Mark Sanchez is maybe the worst backup QB in the NFL, and he simply gift-wrapped the Giants several points. The Redskins trailed that game 40-0 before giving way to Josh Johnson.
Sure, the Giants probably didn’t try too hard after being up 40-0, but either way I was impressed with what I saw from Johnson. He outscored the Giants 16-0 the rest of the way after he entered the game. Johnson finished 11-of-16 passing for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while also leading the team with 45 rushing yards and a score on only seven carries. He averaged 12.2 yards per pass attempt and 6.4 rushing yards per attempt. Those are elite numbers.
Well, Johnson will get the start this week as Jay Gruden was impressed enough with what he saw to give him the nod. And I think the Redskins as a team realize they had no chance of winning games with Sanchez at the held, so the fact that Johnson is starting has re-energized them. They played hard for him to close out that Giants game, and they’ll play hard for him again this week against a Jaguars team that has quit. I’ll gladly take the points on the more motivated team here.
The Redskins get some good news in the injury department this week, too. Their top playmaker in Jamison Crowder is back healthy and had 87 receiving yards and a score last week. Josh Doctson had 84 receiving yards last week and should be available this week. Both starting tackles along the offensive line in Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are both healthy and probable. That will certainly help Johnson having his two starting tackles protecting him.
Look for the Redskins to run wild on the Jaguars behind Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson. The Jaguars did not want to tackle Henry last week, and they certainly don’t want to try and tackle Peterson, either. This is a Jaguars defense that has really fallen off this season, especially down the stretch. They have allowed 24 or more points in four of their last six games overall.
It’s also a Jaguars offense that has really struggled and one that is going through a quarterback controversy with Blake Bortles getting benched in favor of Cody Kessler. Kessler has led the Jaguars to an average of just 7.5 points per game in his two starts over the past two weeks. The Jaguars have yet to decide who will be under center, but it won’t matter. This offense is simply not good enough to be laying 7 points to anyone, especially not against a Redskins defense that has been respectable this season in allowing 22.8 points per game. The Jaguars average just 16.3 points per game on the season.
Washington is a perfect 7-0 ATS after allowing 6.5 or more yards per play in their previous game over the past two seasons. The Redskins are coming back to win by 6.6 points per game on average in this spot. Jacksonville is 2-11 ATS in its last 13 home games after being outrushed by 100 or more yards in its previous game. Washington is 5-0 ATS in its last five games following a double-digit home loss. The Jaguars are 1-6-2 ATS in their last nine games overall. The Redskins are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Roll with the Redskins Sunday.
|12-15-18||Middle Tennessee State +7 v. Appalachian State||Top||13-45||Loss||-110||78 h 2 m||Show|
20* MTSU/App State New Orleans Bowl BAILOUT on Middle Tennessee +7
Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield has moved on to coach Louisville. Teams in December bowl games whose coaches were either fired or left to coach elsewhere last season went 1-5 ATS. It always leaves a lot of questions surrounding the program and a ton of distractions for the players when a coach leaves.
I don’t think Appalachian State will be focused at all with Satterfield gone. The Mountaineers have already accomplished all they wanted to this season, and losing to Middle Tennessee isn’t going to change that. They won the Sun Belt title and have already won 10 games, so there’s nothing left for them to play for.
Middle Tennessee comes in with a sour taste in its mouth from a 2-point loss to UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game. The Blue Raiders have gone 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games following a loss, so they have been a resilient bunch. And I look for that to be the case again here as the Blue Raiders clearly want to be playing in this game.
This is the final opportunity for head coach Rick Stockstill and son Brent Stockstill to go to battle together. Stockstill is a redshirt senior quarterback who will be playing his final game at Middle Tennessee. He is the leader of this team and will have his guys ready to go. Stockstill was already the school’s all-time leading passer prior to this season, and he is completing 70.4% of his passes with a 28-to-8 TD/INT ratio this year.
The Blue Raiders come in playing their best football of the season. They have gone 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. They have outgained each of their last five opponents by an average of 145.4 yards per game. That’s impressive when you consider they’ve played C-USA champ UAB twice and Kentucky on the road during this stretch.
There’s no doubt the Blue Raiders have played the tougher schedule of these two teams as well. They played three SEC bowl teams in Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt all on the road in the non-conference. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers played the 132nd-ranked schedule in the country this season. They’ve played an extremely weak slate since their loss to Penn State in the opener, and they’re still getting too much respect from that OT loss.
I’m getting the more motivated team, and arguably the better team, catching a touchdown in the New Orleans Bowl. Sign me up. Bet Middle Tennessee State Saturday night.
|12-15-18||Browns +3 v. Broncos||17-16||Win||100||103 h 24 m||Show|
15* Browns/Broncos AFC ANNIHILATOR on Cleveland +3
I faded the Broncos last week and won the 49ers. And I’m fading them again this week for many of the same reasons. But a new reason popped up this week. That loss crushed Denver’s playoff hopes. They now have just a 5% chance of making the playoffs, and they are four teams ahead of them now fighting for that final wild card spot. In other words, their season is over, and I think they suffer a ‘hangover’ effect from that defeat.
Denver is overvalued right now due to going 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. But two of those wins were fluky, and they beat up on an injury-riddled Bengals team in their only legit win. In fact, the Broncos have been outgained by a total of 440 yards in their last four games, or by an average of 110 yards per game. With stats like that they should be 0-4 and 1-3 at best.
But the biggest reason I faded the Broncos last week was because they lost two key players to injury the previous week. Emmanuel Sanders was lost to a season-ending Achilles injury. The loss of Sanders was huge because they already traded away Demaryius Thomas. Sanders was having a career season with 71 receptions for 868 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. They just don’t have many playmakers left at receiver for Case Keenum.
On defense, the loss of Chris Harris is a big one. He is their top cover corner. San Francisco 3rd-string quarterback Nick Mullens lit up this Denver defense for 332 passing yards and two touchdowns. And you can bet that Baker Mayfield, who is in line to win Rookie of the Year honors, will light them up as well. The Broncos also have a couple other defensive backs that have shown up on the injury report this week.
Cleveland comes in playing very well, going 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. Unlike Denver, there hasn’t been anything fluky about the Browns’ run. They have outgained their last four opponents in cumulative total yards, and the offense is hitting its stride by scoring 26 or more points in all three wins behind the guidance of new coordinator Freddie Kitchens. The only exception was the loss at Houston, but the Browns had a TD called back and also fumbled through the end zone for a touchdown. They have 428 total yards against that good Houston defense.
The Browns are looking up at the AFC North standings right now and feeling like they have a legit chance to win the division. And belief can go a long way in this league. And they get to play on Saturday, so they won’t get to see the results from Sunday yet. They’ll be ‘all in’ for this game, unlike Denver. The Browns trail the Steelers by two games, but the Steelers are underdogs this week and they’ll be underdogs to the Saints next week. And though they also trail the Ravens by 1.5 games, they still get to play the Ravens in Week 17, which could ultimately decide the division. And the Browns host the Bengals next week, so they will have a legit shot of getting to 8-7-1, which could be good enough to win this division.
Denver is 0-8 ATS in its last eight home games following two consecutive road games. The Broncos are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after trailing their previous game by 14 points or more at halftime. Plays against home teams (Denver) - after covering the spread in three of their last four games, in a game involving two marginal losing teams (40% to 49%) are 22-4 (84.6%) ATS since 1983. Roll with the Browns Saturday.
|12-15-18||North Texas +8.5 v. Utah State||13-52||Loss||-105||71 h 3 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early Bowl ANNIHILATOR on North Texas +8.5
The North Texas Mean Green certainly want to be here in this New Mexico Bowl Saturday. Sitting at 9-3, they have a chance to win 10 games for the first time in nearly 70 years. They are 2-7 all-time in bowl games, so they don’t get to go bowling very often. And they want to make amends for their loss to Troy last year. Plus, head coach Seth Littrell turned down the Kansas State job to stay here, so his players will go to war with him.
This is a very experienced Mean Green team that returned 17 starters from a team that also won nine games last season. And they were even better this year, as their three losses all came by 8 points or fewer and by a combined 13 points, and they led by double-digits in all three. That’s how close this team was to being 12-0.
Improvement came from a defense that gave up 35 points and 431 yards per game last season. The Mean Green this season only give up 21.8 points and 359.5 yards per game. And their offense exceeded last years numbers slightly and remains elite, scoring 36.4 points per game and averaging 472.8 yards per game. QB Mason Fine was already the school’s all-time leading passer coming into the season, and had another big year, throwing for 3,734 yards with a 27-to-5 TD/INT ratio.
My favorite stat on this North Texas team is that they were the only team in the country to outgain every opponent they played this year. Even Alabama was outgained by Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Mean Green are outgaining opponents by 113.3 yards per game on the season. That’s the sign of a good team and one that I have no problem getting my money behind.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells has moved on to greener pastures, taking the Texas Tech job. He is going to bring his assistants with him, though those assistants will stick around to coach the bowl game. I expect a lack of focus from these Utah State players given the coaching situation. Plus, teams in December bowl games who lost their head coach last year went 1-5 ATS.
Another reason the Aggies will be lacking motivation is because they blew a huge opportunity in their regular season finale with a heartbreaking loss to Boise State. That loss cost them a trip to the Mountain West Championship Game. Now they have to try and get up to face North Texas when they’d much rather be up against a Power 5 team like both Fresno State and Boise State get the opportunity to as rewards for playing the MWC Championship. Utah State doesn’t want to be here at all.
I’ll gladly back the more motivated team here in North Texas catching more than a touchdown against Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl. Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Utah State) - off a road loss to a conference opponent, a team that wins more than 80% of their games playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 24-4 (85.7%) ATS since 1992. Take North Texas Saturday.
|12-13-18||Chargers v. Chiefs UNDER 53||Top||29-28||Loss||-105||56 h 45 m||Show|
20* Chargers/Chiefs AFC West No-Brainer on UNDER 53
The Chargers trail the Chiefs by one game in the AFC West standings. They can move into a first place tie with the Chiefs with a win Thursday night. It’s safe to say this game will be played close to the vest, especially in a bitter rivalry between these division opponents who are very familiar with one another. And I think the defenses win out in this one, so I’ll side with the UNDER.
There’s several reasons to like the UNDER. The first and most important is that both teams are short on weapons right now. The Chargers are going to likely be without Melvin Gordon, and backup RB Austin Ekeler is questionable as well. For the Chiefs, they will be without starting RB Kareem Hunt and backup RB Spencer Ware. They’ll also be without WR Sammy Watkins, and fellow WR Tyreek Hill was noticeably hobbled with a heel injury against the Ravens on Sunday. Hill will play tonight, but on a short week I question how productive he’ll be.
The Ravens were able to slow down the Chiefs last week behind one of the best defenses in the NFL. And the Chargers have the ability to do the same thing. This is a Chargers defense that is giving up just 16.7 PPG over their last nine games. Since getting Joey Bosa back from injury, they’ve been even better. Bosa and Melvin Ingram combine for arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL.
The Chiefs do not have a good defense, but it’s worth noting they have been able to hold teams in check in recent weeks as well. In fact, the Chiefs have allowed 23 or fewer points in seven of their last 10 games overall. I like their chances of holding the Chargers to 23 or fewer tonight as well. It’s going to be cold and there’s a chance of rain today in Kansas City. The UNDER is 48-21-1 in Chiefs last 70 home games. The UNDER is 8-1 in Chargers last nine vs. AFC West opponents.
The Chargers are 10-1 UNDER vs. bad defensive teams that give up 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season over the last three seasons. Kansas City is 9-0 UNDER In home games vs. teams who allow 5.65 or more yards per play over the last three years. Los Angeles is 10-1 UNDER in December games over the last three seasons. The Chargers are 7-0 UNDER off three or more consecutive wins over the last two years. These four trends combine for a 36-2 system backing the UNDER tonight. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|12-10-18||Vikings v. Seahawks UNDER 45.5||Top||7-21||Win||100||81 h 2 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Seahawks MNF Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 45.5
This is essentially a play-in game for the playoffs. It will have a playoff atmosphere as the Seahawks are 7-5 and the Vikings are 6-5-1, both fighting to earn a wild card spot. In the case of the Vikings, they’re still alive to win the NFC North. I think this game is played close to the vest, and I think points will be very hard to come by as both of these defenses control this game.
I also like the fact that both teams will be looking to run the football, which will keep the clock moving. The Seahawks have really become a run-heavy team, which has been key to their success. They have rushed 28 or more times in 10 consecutive games now. They have more rushing attempts than pass attempts in eight of those 10 games.
Well, the Vikings have been a great defense overall, and especially against the run. They rank 7th in rushing defense, giving up just 99.2 yards per game on the ground. The Vikings are also tied for 2nd in rushing yards per attempt (3.7) allowed this season. They’ll be able to shut down this Seahawks offense.
The Vikings know they need to run the ball more if they want to win this time of year. They have gotten pass-happy in recent losses to the Bears and Patriots. They should get back to their ground game this week knowing that the Seahawks are vulnerable against the run. In fact, the Seahawks are tied for last in yards per carry (5.1) allowed this season. The Vikings would be foolish not to run the ball more and keep that clock moving.
The most recent meeting between these teams came in the playoffs in 2016. The Seahawks won that game 10-9 in Minnesota. The Vikings managed just 183 total yards in that game, while the Seahawks had just 226 total yards. I don’t think it will be that low-scoring again, but I do think this game stays well UNDER the 45.5-point total.
The UNDER is 4-0 in Vikings last four games in December. The UNDER is 5-1 in Vikings last six Monday games. The UNDER is 6-2 in Seahawks last eight Monday games. Seattle is 10-2 UNDER in its last 12 home games after scoring 30 points or more in two straight games.
Plays on the UNDER on road teams where the total is 42.5 to 49 points (Minnesota) - an average team (+/- 0.4 YPP) against a poor team (outgained by 0.4 to 1.0 YPP) after eight-plus games are 31-6 (83.8%) over the last five seasons. Bet the UNDER in this game Monday.
|12-09-18||Broncos v. 49ers +4.5||14-20||Win||100||76 h 25 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on San Francisco 49ers +4.5
With three more turnovers last week against the Seahawks, including a 98-yard INT return TD, the 49ers now have the worst turnover differential (-20) in the NFL. These teams with horrible turnover differentials are undervalued this late in the year, because there’s a big element of luck in turnovers.
I have no doubt the 49ers are better than their 2-10 record would suggest. And a quick look at the numbers shows that this should at least be a 6-6 team or better. They 49ers have outgained their opponents by 174 yards on the season. They are outgaining them by 15.2 yards per game. That’s not the sign of a 2-10 team.
The Broncos are +8 in turnovers over the past three weeks, which has allowed them to win three straight games over the Steelers, Chargers and Bengals. But they had no business winning those games against the Steelers and Chargers as those two teams simply gave the game away. And the Bengals are decimated with injuries playing with a backup QB. They’re broken.
The 49ers do show up every week. Their 16-43 loss to the Seahawks last week makes most bettors seem like they packed it in. But that wasn’t the case, and it was one of the most misleading finals of the week. I mentioned the 98-yard INT return TD the Seahawks got at the end of the game. But the 49ers gained 452 total yards and gave up 331, actually outgaining the Seahawks by 121 yards in that contest. They deserved better, and Nick Mullens had one of his better games of the season with 386 passing yards.
The Broncos have some key injuries this week that will make them less effective. Emmanuel Sanders suffered an Achilles injury in practice on Wednesday that has landed him on IR. Sanders was having a great year with 71 receptions for 868 yards and four touchdowns. And since the Broncos traded away Demaryius Thomas, his loss is even more significant. The Broncos are seriously lacking weapons for the mediocre Case Keenum now.
Plus, the Broncos’ best pass defender is Chris Harris Jr., and he’s out with a fractured fibula now. The 49ers were without both Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon last week. But Goodwin is expected to return, giving Mullens another big weapon outside. And Garcon is questionable and could make his return this week as well. Mullens should be able to make some more plays in the passing game this week.
Denver is 0-6 ATS vs. teams who force one or fewer turnovers per game on the season over the last two seasons. The Broncos are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games after gaining more than 150 rushing yards in their previous game. This is clearly a ‘buy low’ situation on the 49ers, and a ‘sell high’ situation on the Broncos. Roll with the 49ers Sunday.
|12-09-18||Ravens +7 v. Chiefs||24-27||Win||100||73 h 21 m||Show|
15* Ravens/Chiefs AFC Sunday No-Brainer on Baltimore +7
I agree with this line move. The Chiefs opened as 7.5-point favorites or higher, and now this line has been bet down to 6.5 in most places as of this writing. So if your book as +6.5 make sure to buy it up to +7 and bet the Ravens.
This really comes down to the numbers for me. The Ravens have the numbers of an elite team in spite of their mediocre 7-5 record. They are outgaining teams by 102 yards per game on the season. To compare, the Chiefs are only outgaining teams by 20 yards per game, which isn’t the sign of a 10-2 team. I think the Chiefs are grossly overrated at this point of the season.
The problem with the Chiefs is that they give up 27.2 points per game while ranking 31st in the league in total defense at 417 yards per game allowed. Only the Bengals have been worse. The Ravens rank 1st in the NFL in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game allowed, and 1st in total defense at 281.7 yards per game allowed.
Lamar Jackson took over three games ago, and the Ravens have gone 3-0 in his starts while outscoring their three opponents by a combined 30 points, or by an average of 10 points per game. They have become a run-heavy team since Jackson took over, averaging a whopping 238 rushing yards per game in their last three games. That doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs, who are tied for dead last in the NFL in allowing 5.1 yards per carry this season. So this is a great matchup for the Ravens’ offense. They can control time of possession and keep Mahomes off the field with their ground game.
It’s also a great matchup for the Ravens’ defense. The Chiefs won’t be running the ball much now that Kareem Hunt has been released. And they'll certainly miss his 1,202 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns as he was a matchup nightmare, especially in the passing game. The Chiefs will be putting the ball in Pat Mahomes’ hand even more.
Well, the Ravens rank 2nd in the NFL against the pass, giving up just 194.4 passing yards per game. Better yet, the Ravens are 1st in the NFL in passing yards per attempt (6.1) allowed. No other defense is even close to them in that department as only three teams allow fewer than 6.8 per attempt this season.
Baltimore is 11-1 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. terrible defensive teams that allow 375 or more yards per game in the second half of the season. Kansas City is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games after gaining 450 or more total yards in its previous game. The Ravens are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games after gaining 150 or more rushing yards in their previous game. Bet the Ravens Sunday.
|12-09-18||Colts +5 v. Texans||Top||24-21||Win||100||73 h 20 m||Show|
20* AFC South GAME OF THE MONTH on Indianapolis Colts +5
In the NFL, lines are very tight. And if a line if a point or two off, that’s all it takes for there to be some value. I think this line should be Texans -3. So we are basically getting two points of value on the Colts +5 this week. That’s enough for me to pull the trigger.
I believe the Texans are overvalued due to their 9-game winning streak. And they’re coming off a misleading 16-point win over the Browns last week. The Browns basically gave that game away by losing the turnover battle 4-0. They had a 75-yard TD called back by a penalty, and they had another would-be 75-yard TD on the next play end in a player fumbling the ball through the end zone for a touchback. The Browns gained 428 yards on the Texans and outgained them by 44 yards for the game.
I believe the Colts come in undervalued this week off their upset 6-0 shutout loss at Jacksonville last week. But the Colts actually outgained the Jaguars by 54 yards and held them to 211 yards. In fact, the Colts have now outgained eight of their last nine opponents coming in. That’s the sign of an elite team and one that I want to put my money behind, especially as 5-point underdogs.
There’s no doubt the Colts want revenge from their 34-37 (OT) home loss to the Texans earlier this season in their first meeting. The Colts gained 478 total yards on the Texans and moved the ball at will. I think the Texans will relax this week. They have a three-game lead over both the Colts and Titans in the division, so they can afford a loss. Meanwhile, the Colts are in must-win mode here trying to stay alive for a wild card spot.
Andrew Luck has been tremendous off a loss. In fact, Luck is 25-8 SU & 24-9 ATS in his last 33 games as a starting quarterback following a defeat. Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Indianapolis) - revenging a loss where opponent scored 35 or more points, who are also off a close loss by 7 points or less to a division rival are 30-9 (76.9%) ATS since 1983.
The road team is 6-1-2 ATS in the last nine meetings. The Colts are 7-3-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings. The Colts are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five trips to Houston. Indianapolis is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games after scoring 14 points or fewer in its previous game. The Texans are 1-7 ATS in their last eight December games. Take the Colts Sunday.
|12-09-18||Jets v. Bills -3||Top||27-23||Loss||-120||73 h 18 m||Show|
25* NFL BLOWOUT GAME OF THE YEAR on Buffalo Bills -3
The Buffalo Bills deserved to blow out the Miami Dolphins last week. But the fact that they somehow lost that game 17-21 has them undervalued coming into this game. They failed to cover the spread as closing 3.5 points underdogs, and it was one of the most misleading finals of the season.
The Bills gained 415 total yards and held the Dolphins to just 175 total yards, outgaining them by 240 yards for the game. Those stats alone show that the Bills should have won the game. But Charles Clay dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown catch late as well. I think it works out better for us this week that they actually lost though, because now we’re laying only 3 points instead of 4 or more.
The Jets are getting too much credit for giving the Titans a run for their money last week. The Jets actually led that game most the way, but eventually lost 22-26, covering as 10-point underdogs. But they were thoroughly out-statted as well. The Jets gained just 280 total yards and gave up 403 total yards, getting outgained by 123 yards by the Titans.
The Jets are now 0-6 SU & 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall. They have been blown out consistently with all six losses by 4 points or more, five losses by 7 points or more, and four losses by 14 points or more. They have been outscored by 90 points during this losing streak, or by an average of 15 points per game.
The reason I love this Bills team is because they play defense. In fact, the Bills rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 294.2 yards per game. The third place Bears give up 317.9 yards per game, and they only trail the Ravens (281.7) in this category. They have an elite defense, yet they don’t get credit for it.
The Bills have played much better on offense when either Josh Allen or Matt Barkley has been under center at quarterback. In fact, Allen ranks 3rd in the NFL in rushing over the last two weeks, rushing for a combined 234 yards the past two games. I don’t think he gets enough credit for being the dual-threat he is, completing opening up this offense and making opposing defenses defend the entire field.
The Jets are a bad team, period. They get outgained by 75.4 yards per game on the season, while the Bills only get outgained by 8.5 yards per game. The Jets rank 23rd in total defense, giving up 376.4 yards per game on the season. New York also ranks 30th in total offense, averaging just 301.0 yards per game on the season.
Buffalo blew out New York 41-10 on the road as 7-point underdogs in their first meeting this season. This was every bit the blowout the final score showed and wasn’t misleading at all. The Bills gained 451 total yards in that game and gave up just 199 yards, outgaining the Jets by 252 total yards in that contest. The Bills rushed for 212 yards on the Jets, and Matt Barkley played well with 232 passing yards and two touchdowns. Allen and company should also have plenty of success on this Jets defense once again.
The Jets are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games off a road cover where they lost straight up as an underdog. New York is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 road games after allowing 25 points or more in two straight games. Buffalo is 15-3 ATS in its last 18 home games vs. bad defensive teams who give up 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season. The Jets are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. AFC East opponents. The Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last six home meetings with the Jets. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|12-08-18||Navy +7 v. Army||Top||10-17||Push||0||46 h 11 m||Show|
20* Army/Navy CBS Saturday No-Brainer on Navy +7
The Army Black Knights will be going to the Armed Forces Bowl on December 22nd to face Houston. They have a lot to look forward to still. As a result, they won’t be as motivated as Navy in this matchup, which missed out on a bowl game this season with a 3-9 record. This is Navy’s bowl game.
And you can bet Navy wants revenge from back-to-back losses to Army in this series, losing 21-17 in 2016 and 14-13 last season. The difference here is that Army goes from being the hunter to the hunted here. Army hasn’t been favored in this rivalry game since 2001. Now, all of a sudden the Black Knights are whopping 7-point favorites this year. It’s simply too much.
Army feasted on an easy schedule this season that ranked 99th in the country. The Black Knights haven’t faced an FBS opponent since their 17-14 home win over Air Force back on November 3rd. They closed the season playing Lafayette and Colgate, and they haven’t played a game since November 17th, so they could certainly be rusty. It could take them a quarter or two to fully get into this game.
Navy played the 66th-toughest schedule as their schedule was much more difficult than that of Army. That contributed to their 3-9 record, but so did several close losses along the way. Navy lost three games by a total of 9 points this season to SMU, Tulane and Temple. All three of those teams will be going to bowl games, and they played nine bowl teams this season. To compare, Army only played six bowl teams.
I like the way Navy finished the season. They went 3-0 ATS in their final three games. They gave UCF all they wanted on the road in a 24-35 loss as 23.5-point underdogs. They then beat Tulsa 37-29 at home as 5.5-point favorites. And they finished going on the road losing 28-29 at Tulane as 6-point dogs. Tulane had a huge second half comeback and needed that win to make a bowl. They won on a 2-point conversion in the final minutes.
Navy is 6-0 ATS in road games off three straight games where they committed one or fewer turnovers over the past three seasons. Army is 16-35 ATS in its last 51 games off a bye week. The Black Knights are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Midshipmen simply want this game more, and even if they don’t win there’s a great chance they stay within a touchdown, just as they did the past two seasons. In fact, each of the last four meetings were decided by 7 points or fewer. Bet Navy Saturday.
|12-06-18||Jaguars +5.5 v. Titans||9-30||Loss||-108||9 h 31 m||Show|
15* Jaguars/Titans AFC South ANNIHILATOR on Jacksonville +5.5
Let’s start out by looking at this game from a line value perspective. The Jaguars were 10-point favorites over the Titans at home in their first meeting. So adjust for home-field advantage, they would have been roughly 4-to-5-point road favorites at that time. Instead, they are 5.5-point road underdogs, which is basically a 10-point adjustment. The line value is clearly on the Jaguars tonight.
I like the fact that they didn’t quit on their season. The Jaguars shut out the Colts 6-0 last week, playing the role of spoiler very well. And now they want revenge on the Titans from three straight losses against them, including their 6-9 upset loss earlier this season. They would love to beat the Titans here and end their playoff hopes as well.
The Titans were fortunate to escape with a 26-22 home win over the lowly Jets last week. They trailed the Jets 6-19 in the 3rd quarter, but scored a touchdown with 36 seconds left to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And that’s a bad Jets team that loses by double-digits week after week. They’ll have a much bigger problem with the Jaguars tonight.
The Jaguars have been a lot more competitive whenever Leonard Fournette has been in the lineup. He has missed several games due to injury, and last week he was out with a suspension. But he’s back this week and ready to have a big game against the Titans. Fournette has only played in five games this season. He’ll be fresh since he had last week off following a very productive game against the Bills the previous week.
I know the Jaguars are going with backup Cody Kessler again this week. However, he’s not much of a downgrade from Blake Bortles, who has had a brutal season. Kessler has actually shown well, completing 72.2% of his 54 attempts this season with one touchdown and one interception. He’ll be much more comfortable in his second start of the season here for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars (4-8) are the team with the stats of a 6-6 or better team, while the Titans (6-6) are a team with the stats of closer to a 4-8 team. The Jaguars actually outgain their opponents by nearly 20 yards per game on the season. They have an elite defense that ranks 3rd in the NFL in giving up just 315.6 yards per game.
The Titans are actually getting outgained by 31 yards per game on the season. They have a dreadful offense that scores just 18.4 points per game while ranking 28th in total offense at 310.2 yards per game. The Jaguars should be able to shut them down, which will be a big reason why they are able to stay within this 5.5-point spread tonight.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Jacksonville) - in a game involving two good defensive teams that allow 18-23 PPG, after eight-plus games, after scoring and allowing 14 points or less last game are 30-8 (78.9%) ATS since 1983.
The Titans are 0-6 ATS vs. poor offensive teams that score 17 or less points per game over the last three seasons. The Jaguars are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after scoring and allowing 14 points or less last game. Tennessee is 0-6 ATS after gaining 400 or more total yards in its previous game over the last three seasons. The Titans are 15-33-3 ATS in their last 51 vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with the Jaguars Thursday.
|12-03-18||Redskins v. Eagles UNDER 45.5||Top||13-28||Win||100||75 h 55 m||Show|
20* Redskins/Eagles MNF TOTAL OF THE MONTH on UNDER 45.5
This is a division rivalry with a lot at stake. The Eagles are trying to keep pace with the Redskins and Cowboys in the NFC East, while the Redskins are just trying to stay afloat after a fast start to the season. I think this game will be played closer to the vest, and I certainly think it favors both defenses than both offenses, which is why I’ll side with the UNDER Monday night.
Both offenses are really struggling this season. The Redskins rank 27th in total offense at 331.5 yards per game, while the Eagles are 19th at 353.9 yards per game. The Redskins are also 27th in scoring offense at 20.0 points per game, while the Eagles are 23rd at 20.9 points per game.
Both of these teams are led by their defenses. The Redskins are 7th in scoring defense, giving up just 20.8 points per game. The Eagles are 15th at 23.0 points per game, but I have no doubt they are better than that with the talent that’s on hand.
And Philadelphia should have no problem shutting down a Washington offense that has been plagued by injuries along the offenses line, at the skill positions, and at quarterback. The Redskins are using backup QB Colt McCoy after Alex Smith suffered a gruesome injury a few weeks back. And he’s getting no protection and terrible play from the skill positions outside of TE Jordan Reed due to injuries.
Plays on the UNDER on any team against the total (Washington) - in a game involving two good defensive teams that allow 18-23 PPG, after allowing 30 points or more last game are 38-13 (74.5%) over the last five seasons.
Philadelphia is 6-0 UNDER in home games vs. poor pass defenses that allow 7 or more yards per attempts over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 9-2 UNDER in home games where the total is 42.5 to 49 points over the last two seasons. Philadelphia is 8-0 UNDER in home games off a division game over the last three years. The Eagles are 7-0 UNDER in home games after having lost two of their last three games coming in over the last three years. Take the UNDER in this game Monday.
|12-02-18||Chargers v. Steelers -3||Top||33-30||Loss||-120||60 h 52 m||Show|
20* Chargers/Steelers NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Pittsburgh -3
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a misleading 17-24 road loss to the Denver Broncos. I think it has them undervalued this week, and they should be laying more than a field goal to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football.
The Steelers clearly deserved to win that game against the Broncos. They amassed 527 total yards and held the Broncos to 308, outgaining them by 219 yards. Yet, they still found a way to lose because they lost the turnover battle 4-0. They had several drives inside the Denver 20-yard line that resulted in zero points, including the final drove where Big Ben was intercepted in the end zone.
I still believe the Steelers are closer to the team that had won six straight prior to that lost while going 5-0-1 ATS than the one that lost to the Broncos. They should be re-focused at home Sunday night against a Chargers team that has lost every time they’ve stepped up in class.
The Chargers lost by 10 at home to the Chiefs and by 12 on the road to the Rams. They also lost at home to that same Broncos team. Their eight wins have come against the Bills, 49ers, Raiders (twice), Browns, Titans, Seahawks and Cardinals. Only one of those teams has a winning record, and that’s Seattle, and the Chargers had a bye prior to facing the Seahawks so it was a dream spot for them.
The Chargers lost their best weapon on offense last week to a knee injury in Melvin Gordon. His absence is huge in this game as the Chargers need all the weapons they can get to keep up with this high-powered Steelers offense. Gordon has rushed for 802 yards and nine touchdowns, while also catching 44 balls for 453 yards and four scores. He is their third-leading receiver, so he’ll be missed in the passing game as well.
Plays on favorites (Pittsburgh) - after having won three of their last four games against an opponent that has won eight or more of their last 10 games are 30-6 (83.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Mike Tomlin is 8-1 ATS after gaining 500 or more total yards in their previous game as the coach of Pittsburgh. Take the Steelers Sunday.
|12-02-18||Bills +4.5 v. Dolphins||Top||17-21||Win||100||83 h 53 m||Show|
20* AFC East GAME OF THE MONTH on Buffalo Bills +4.5
I won on both the Bills and Dolphins last week. They were my two top play winners in an otherwise disappointing 2-3 Sunday. But I’m sticking with the Bills this week and fading the Dolphins. The Dolphins go from being 9-point underdogs to the Colts to now 4.5-point favorites against the Bills. That’s nearly a 14-point swing from week to week, and I think it’s too much.
I believe the Bills to be the better of these two teams. Miami has one of the worst home-field advantages in the NFL over the past several seasons because fans simply don’t show up. So they can’t be laying 4.5 points here. This line should be Miami -2.5 or even -3 at the most.
I trust the Bills more because of their defense. They actually rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense this season. They rank 3rd in the NFL in yards per play defense, only behind the Ravens and Bears. And the offense got a jolt last week with Josh Allen returning at quarterback to beat the Jaguars. When Allen or Matt Barkley have been under center, the Bills have been a great bet this season.
Injuries are another reason I think the Bills have a huge advantage. The Bills have stayed remarkably healthy this season as they only have four players currently on the injury report. One is backup QB Derek Anderson, and TE Charles Clay is questionable with a hamstring. So they basically just have two players out with season-ending injuries. Miami already has 11 players lost to season-ending injuries. Two of those are their best playmakers in Albert Wilson and Jakeeem Grant, and Danny Amendola is questionable.
Having Ryan Tannehill back at quarterback helps the Dolphins, but he is lacking weapons on the outside. And the Dolphins’ 24-27 loss to the Colts last week was misleading. They only managed 314 total yards and gave up 455 total yards, getting outgained by 141 yards by the Colts. Indianapolis simply kept the Dolphins in the game by committing three turnovers. And that was a home run spot for Miami coming off their bye week. The Bills also had a bye last week, so both teams are fresh.
Tannehill is really going to struggle without his top playmakers against a Buffalo defense that has allowed 126, 116 and 107 passing yards in its last three games, respectively. They are giving up just 116.3 passing yards per game over their past three games, and they’ve held six of their past seven opponents to 156 passing yards or fewer. That’s almost unheard of in today’s NFL and it just goes to show how elite this defense really is. They have held four of their last six opponents to 83 or fewer rushing yards as well.
Miami is 0-8 ATS in its last eight home games vs. poor offensive teams that average 4.75 or fewer yards per play. The Dolphins are 18-46-3 ATS in their last 67 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Buffalo is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 meetings with Miami. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|12-02-18||Broncos v. Bengals +5.5||24-10||Loss||-110||53 h 33 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Cincinnati Bengals +5.5
This is the ultimate ‘buy low, sell high’ situation here. We’ll buy low on the Bengals, who have lost three straight and five of their last six, meaning the betting public wants nothing to do with them. And we’ll sell high on the Broncos, who are coming off back-to-back upset victories over the Chargers and Steelers.
The Broncos were coming off their bye prior to that win over the Chargers, so it was a great spot for them. And only poor coaching by the Chargers allowed the Broncos to win that game. They erased a 19-7 deficit to win 23-22. And the Steelers win was even more misleading. The Broncos were outgained by 219 yards and gave up 527 total yards to the Steelers. But they won the turnover battle 4-0. It was a complete fluke.
The Bengals have been plagued by injuries, which is a big reason for their recent struggles. But they are expected to get star receiver AJ Green back from injury this week, and he makes a huge difference for this team. I know the Bengals will be without Andy Dalton this week, but Jeff Driskel really impressive me last week, and I think he’s good enough to beat the Broncos with Green at his disposal now.
The Bengals trailed the Browns 28-0 last week. They only ended up losing 20-35, and a lot of that had to do with Driskel. They seemed energized when he came into the game, and that should carry over this week. Driskel finished 17-of-29 passing for 155 yards with a touchdown in the comeback attempt, while also rushing for a score. I think this team continues to be energized by their backup QB, who is better than he gets credit for.
Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Denver) - after having won two of their last three games, a team that wins 40% to 49% of their games on the season playing a losing team are 68-27 (71.6%) ATS since 1983.
The Broncos are 4-11 ATS int heir last 15 road games. Denver is 1-7-1 ATS in its last nine games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in its previous game. The Bengals are 9-3 ATS int heir last 12 vs. AFC opponents. Cincinnati is 20-8-1 ATS in its last 29 December games. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Bet the Bengals Sunday.
|12-02-18||Ravens v. Falcons -1.5||26-16||Loss||-110||53 h 32 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Atlanta Falcons -1.5
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are getting way too much respect for back-to-back home wins against the Bengals and Raiders. These two teams have been two of the worst in the NFL over the past month-plus, so those wins are nothing to write home about.
Plus, they only beat the Bengals by a final of 24-21 as 6.5-point home favorites, so they failed to cover the spread. And they were extremely fortunate to cover against the Raiders last week as 13-point favorites, winning 34-17 thanks to two non-offensive touchdowns with one on special teams and one on defense.
The Ravens take a big step up in class this week against the Falcons. The Falcons are undervalued off three straight losses, which followed up three straight wins. But they had their chance to win each of the last three games, but they blew it with red zone struggles.
Atlanta’s 17-31 loss at New Orleans last week was one of the most misleading final scores of the week. I know because I had the Falcons +13.5 in that game and was extremely unlucky not to cash that ticket. The Flacons outgained the Saints and held them to just 312 total yards, but they committed four turnovers, including three fumbles inside New Orleans’ 20-yard line. Had they simply kicked one field goal on one of those three drives, they would have covered the 13.5-point spread.
Now Atlanta has the rest advantage in this one after playing last Thursday, while Baltimore had to play on Sunday. So the Falcons got to watch Baltimore and Lamar Jackson, and their defense will know how to stop them. Their offense will also find some holes, unlike Cincinnati or Oakland did the two previous weeks with two bad offenses. And the Falcons have a better defense than either of those two teams, especially since they are supposed to get MLB Deion Jones back from injury. He’ll be key in slowing down Jackson and company this week.
Baltimore is 0-6 ATS after outgaining its previous opponent by 150 or more total yards over the past three season. It is coming back to lose by 6.3 points per game on average in this spot. The Ravens are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win by 14-plus points. The value is on Atlanta as a short home favorite this week. Roll with the Falcons Sunday.
|12-01-18||Northwestern v. Ohio State -14||Top||24-45||Win||100||67 h 47 m||Show|
20* Northwestern/Ohio State Big Ten BAILOUT on Ohio State -14
Because Ohio State came out No. 6 in the playoff rankings this week, they know they need style points to get in. This really feels like a few years ago when they needed style points against Wisconsin. They were actually underdogs in that game and won 59-0. They got in over TCU because of it, and went on to win the national title.
Ohio State knows how to put the hammer down when it needs to. And the Buckeyes certainly put the hammer down last week by scoring 62 points against Michigan’s No. 1 ranked defense in the country. I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive performance all season. And it just shows what the Buckeyes are capable of when they are locked in. They’ll be locked in Saturday night looking to impress the playoff committee again.
I’ve thought Northwestern was overrated most of the season. They’ve squeaked out a ton of close wins this season to win the Big Ten West division. And basically everyone else in their division fell apart around them to help them out.
This is a Northwestern team that is only outscoring opponents by 2 points per game this season. They are actually getting outgained by 27 yards per game in Big Ten play. Their offense ranks 126th out of 130 teams in yards per play (4.6). They are one-dimensional, averaging just 3.0 yards per carry. It’s an offense that puts up just 23.7 points per game this season, and I just don’t believe Clayton Thorson is capable of matching the Buckeyes score for score.
I like the fact that this game is played indoors in a dome in Indianapolis. That’s going to favor Ohio State’s high-powered offense. The Buckeyes average 43.3 points and 544 yards per game this season. When I’m laying double-digit points, I need it to be with an elite offense that I know is going to hang a big number. Ohio State certainly fits the bill.
I don’t believe this game will ever be close with the exception of early on in the first quarter. But say Ohio State is up by 10 in the final minutes. They won’t simply kneel on it. They’ll go down and try to score for style points because they need to leapfrog Oklahoma or whoever else is in their way in the playoff standings. So we have that in our back pocket if we need it. I don’t think we’ll need it, though.
The Buckeyes are 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral site games. Ohio State is 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings with Northwestern. Urban Meyer is 13-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog in all games he has coached. Take Ohio State Saturday.
|12-01-18||Georgia +14 v. Alabama||28-35||Win||100||62 h 31 m||Show|
15* Georgia/Alabama SEC ANNIHILATOR on Georgia +14
The betting public is infatuated with Alabama right now. They are just betting the Crimson Tide blindly because they have been so good to them all season. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide this week because bettors are clearly paying a tax to bet them at this point in the season. They should not be two touchdown favorites over Georgia, one of the top teams in the country.
The tax caught up to the Crimson Tide two weeks ago in their 50-17 win over The Citadel. That game was tied 10-10 at halftime believe it or not. And last week they only led Auburn 17-14 at halftime and did not deserve to cover the 25.5-point spread. But they outscored the Tigers 35-7 after intermission to get the cover. Georgia will offer a lot more resistance than any other team Alabama has played this season.
Georgia has had revenge in mind since a 26-23 (OT) loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game last year. They led that game 13-0 at halftime and feel like they let it slip away. I am 100% confident we’ll get the biggest effort of the season from Georgia in the SEC Championship Game this week, and that should be enough to stay within two touchdowns of the Crimson Tide, possibly pulling off the upset.
I think Georgia’s 16-36 loss at LSU was a blessing in disguise back in early October. They gave that game away by committing four turnovers. They have only committed five turnovers in five games since, and they’ve gone 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Their only non-cover came in a 39-point win as 41.5-point favorites over UMass. Big deal. They have won all five games by at least 17 points.
Alabama hasn’t had to face an offense as good as Georgia’s this season. The Bulldogs score 40.1 points per game an average 481 yards per game. Their ground game is elite once again as they rush for 260 yards per game and 6.3 per carry. And Jake Fromm is completing 69.1% of his passes with a 24-to-5 TD/INT ratio while averaging 9.6 per attempt. He held his own against Alabama as a freshman last year and was the biggest reason they had a shot to win that game. Fromm won’t fold in the SEC Championship Game having that experience in his hip pocket.
Georgia is 9-1 ATS after having won four or five of their last six games over the past two seasons. The Bulldogs are 12-3 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. Georgia is 10-2 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry over the last two years. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
Plays on neutral field underdogs (Georgia) - an excellent rushing team that averages 225 or more rushing yards per game, after gaining 225 or more rushing yards in four straight games coming in are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS since 1992. Roll with Georgia Saturday.
|12-01-18||Memphis +3.5 v. Central Florida||Top||41-56||Loss||-115||61 h 7 m||Show|
25* Conference Championship GAME OF THE YEAR on Memphis +3.5
I was on the Memphis Tigers last week in a dominant 52-31 win over Houston. They took advantage of Houston’s starting QB being out, and now they’ll take advantage of UCF’s starting QB being out this week as well. The wrong team is favored in this matchup, and I love everything about Memphis in this AAC Championship Game Saturday.
The streak ends here. UCF has won 24 consecutive games over the past two seasons, but all of that was with QB McKenzie Milton at quarterback. He has accounted for 80 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, more than any other player in college football. He is simply irreplaceable.
UCF’s backup is freshman Darriel Mack Jr. He has gotten some action this season in either mop up duty or like last week against USF in the second half after Milton went out. He has not been impressive at all. Mack Jr. is completing just 48.8% of his 43 attempts and averaging only 4.0 yards per attempt. He hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass on those 43 attempts, either.
Mack Jr. is more of a running quarterback as he has rushed for 281 yards on 40 attempts. Well, that plays right into the hands of Memphis, who have the better defense in this matchup, especially against the run. The Tigers are only giving up 3.9 yards per carry on 40 attempts per game this year. That is the strength of their defense.
UCF has been good at stopping the pass, but terrible at stopping the run. The Knights give up 212 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry, including 262 rushing yards per game in their last four games coming in. The Tigers average 276 rushing yards per game and 6.4 per attempt. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a great passing team at 254 yards per game and 8.6 per attempt behind Brady White, but their strength is their ground game.
And Memphis has one of the best running backs in the country and a future NFL star in Darrell Henderson. He has rushed for the second-most yards in the nation with 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 8.6 per carry. He is a huge back who is tough to bring down, and he has tremendous explosiveness and quickness for a big guy. Henderson rushed for 199 yards against UCF in their first meeting.
Speaking of that first meeting, Memphis will be playing with triple-revenge from three losses to UCF over the past two seasons. They blew a 30-14 lead over UCF and lost 30-31 at home in their first meeting this season. They also lost during the regular season last year at UCF and again at UCF 55-62 in overtime in last year’s AAC Championship Game. To say they want revenge would be a massive understatement, and they don’t care that Milton is out, they just want to beat this UCF team so badly.
I don’t think UCF should be favored at all without Milton. And I just don’t see how the Knights can keep up on the scoreboard with this high-powered Memphis offense that averages 43.8 points and 530 yards per game this season. They hung 52 on Houston last week and amassed 610 total yards, including 410 rushing. They have gone 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall and are playing their best football of the season down the stretch when these games matter most.
Memphis is 7-0 ATS vs. poor rushing defenses that allow 200 or more rushing yards per game over the last two seasons. It is winning by 30.3 points per game on average in this spot. Bet Memphis Saturday.
|11-30-18||Utah v. Washington -5||Top||3-10||Win||100||43 h 43 m||Show|
20* Utah/Washington Pac-12 Championship No-Brainer on Washington -5
The Washington Huskies were one of the most overrated teams in the country all season. So despite the fact that they went 9-3 SU, they went just 3-9 ATS. They were consistently laying too many points week in and week out because many expected them to be a playoff contender coming into the season.
This is the role I like them in. The Huskies are only 5-point favorites here against the Utes. Two of their three covers this season came as a small favorite or underdog. They won 21-7 at Utah in their first meeting as 4-point favorites, and then last week put together their most complete performance of the season in a 28-15 win at Washington State as 3-point dogs.
The line in that first meeting with Utah is important. Washington was a 4-point favorite in that true road game, and now they are only a 5-point favorite on a neutral field in the rematch. When you adjust for Utah’s massive home-field advantage, Washington would have been around an 8-point favorite on a neutral back then. So we are getting value here.
And I think Utah has gotten worse since that game while Washington has gotten better. The Utes have lost starting QB Huntley and starting RB Moss, their two best players on offense. Washington State has gotten a healthy Myles Gaskins back at RB after missing a few games and TE Hunter Bryant who missed the first nine games of the season.
The Huskies outgained Washington State by 250 total yards last week. They rushed for 258 yards, including 170 and three touchdowns from Gaskins. And Bryant is one of the most talented tight ends in the country, so Jake Browning is glad to have him back. He caught three balls for 108 yards and a touchdown in the snow against the Cougars.
Meanwhile, Utah had to erase a 27-7 deficit in the second half last week to come back and beat BYU 35-27. The Utes did not deserve to win that game at all as they managed just 296 total yards and were outgained by 61 yards. But they used a lot of energy to erase that deficit, and they haven’t had a bye since mid-September. They are running on fumes right now.
Washington gets an extra days’ rest after playing Washington State last Friday, while Utah had to play a late-night game on Saturday. And the Huskies just had their bye on November 10th, so they are by far the fresher team. It explains their solid play to close out the season, and I think they have another big performance in them here Friday night as they claim the Pac-12 title in blowout fashion. Bet Washington Friday.
|11-29-18||Saints v. Cowboys +8||Top||10-13||Win||100||18 h 23 m||Show|
20* Saints/Cowboys NFC Thursday No-Brainer on Dallas +8
The New Orleans Saints have now covered in nine straight games. The betting public has made a fortune off this team and they’ll continue to back them every week until they lose. Oddsmakers haven’t been able to set their lines high enough. And there’s no question the value is on the Dallas Cowboys this week catching more than a touchdown at home.
I had the Falcons +13.5 against the Saints last week in a 14-point loss. It was clearly a right side loser as the Falcons were the better team in that game but found a way to lose by 14. They outgained the Saints by 54 yards and held them to 312 total yards, but lost the turnover battle 4-1. And the Falcons lost three fumbles inside New Orleans’ 20-yard line that took points off the board. It was a complete fluke.
I like the way the Cowboys have rallied the troops and are feeling good about themselves right now. They have gone 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in their last three games overall, which includes upset road wins over the Eagles and Falcons, and a 31-23 home win over the Redskins last week. They dominated the Redskins in that game.
This Dallas offense has taken off since Amari Cooper came over from Oakland. Cooper already has 22 receptions for 349 yards and three touchdowns in four games for the Cowboys. He has opened up things for Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for at least 121 yards in three straight games now. This offense has what it takes to move the chains and keep Drew Brees on the sidelines.
Of course, it also helps that the Cowboys have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Dallas ranks 7th in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 331.1 yards per game. The Cowboys are even better in the all-important scoring defense (19.4) category. Only the Ravens and Bears have been better in that department.
Sean Payton is 2-10 ATS in road games after having won eight or more of their last 10 games as the coach of the Saints. Dallas is 11-2 ATS after gaining 400 or more total yards in its previous game over the last three seasons. The Cowboys are 6-0 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more total yards per game over the last two seasons. The underdog is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet the Cowboys Thursday.
|11-26-18||Titans v. Texans -3.5||17-34||Win||100||8 h 47 m||Show|
15* Titans/Texans AFC South No-Brainer on Houston -3.5
The Houston Texans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have reeled off seven straight victories since their 0-3 start to the season. But they could have won any of those first three games as they were all one-score games. And they are finally winning their share of one-score games during this seven-game winning streak.
Now the Texans are as healthy as they’ve been all season. They get some key players back on defense this week and will be playing just their 2nd game in 22 days because they had a bye in Week 10. They should be primed for another big effort here on Monday Night Football to cement their place atop the AFC South standings.
The Texans will be out for revenge from a 17-20 road loss at Tennessee in their first meeting. Well, they dominated the Titans in that game and should have won. They outgained Tennessee 437 to 283 for the game, or by 154 total yards. The Titans got a 66-yard fake punt TD in that game that proved to be the difference.
Home-field advantage has been huge in this series as the home team is 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Houston is 6-0 SU & 5-1 ATS in its last six home meetings with Tennessee with all six wins coming by 6 points or more and by an average of 19.7 points per game. So based on this series history, we are getting the Texans at a pretty cheap -3.5 price here tonight.
Tennessee is a fraudulent 5-5. The Titans are getting outgained by nearly 40 yards per game on the season. They are scoring just 17.8 points per game and rank 30th in total offense at 295.4 yards per game. The Texans are a legit 7-3, outgaining teams by 34 yards per game. They are scoring 23.9 points per game and rank 15th in total offense at 364.2 yards per game. And they have posted better defensive numbers than the Titans as well. The Texans rank 4th in yards per play (5.0) allowed, while the Titans are 10th in yards per play (5.5) allowed.
Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last five vs. AFC opponents, while Tennessee is just 19-43-4 ATS in its last 66 vs. AFC foes. The Texans are 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings. Roll with the Texans Monday.
|11-25-18||Dolphins +10 v. Colts||Top||24-27||Win||100||90 h 5 m||Show|
20* AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Miami Dolphins +10
The Colts are getting way too much love this week. That’s because they have gone 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games overall coming in. Now the betting public is on them, and it’s time to ‘sell high’ here Sunday. They are coming off a 38-10 beat down of the Titans last week. I had the Colts in that game, and was fortunate Marcus Mariota got hurt. The rest was history. But I’ll gladly fade them this week as 10-point favorites over the Dolphins.
Indianapolis has only been favored by more than 3.5 points once this season, and that was as 7-point favorites against the Bills. And now they have to play a motivated, rested Dolphins team that is coming off their bye week at 5-5 and looking to make a playoff push. And the Dolphins get Ryan Tannehill back at quarterback this week, which is a big upgrade over Brock Osweiler.
The Dolphins opened 3-0 this season before back-to-back road losses to the Patriots and Bengals. Tannehill led them to that 3-2 start, and the Dolphins led the Bengals big before he got hurt. Speaking of injuries, the Colts suffered a big blow when they lost center Ryan Kelly to a knee injury against the Titans last week. Center is one of the most underrated positions in the NFL. Kelly is their best linemen, and the Colts have a couple other key injuries along the offensive line that will make life more difficult on Andrew Luck this week.
Plays on any team (Miami) - in a game involving two poor defensive teams that allow 23-27 PPG in the 2nd half of the season, after scoring 14 points or less in two straight games are 39-15 (72.2%) ATS since 1983. The Colts should be closer to 3-point favorites than 10-point favorites this week. We’ll take the value on Miami. Bet the Dolphins Sunday.
|11-25-18||Seahawks v. Panthers -3||30-27||Loss||-119||87 h 41 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Carolina Panthers -3
I was on the Panthers last week as my free play, and it was probably a week early. They lost 19-20 to the Lions after going for a 2-point conversion to win the game in the closing seconds. To my credit, the Panthers outgained the Lions by 78 yards and probably should have won that game. But their road struggles continued and they lost.
But now the Panthers return home highly motivated for a victory after back-to-back road losses. This is a place of comfort for them as the Panthers are 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS at home this season, outscoring the opposition by 9.8 points per game in the process. They should get back on track at home here with a win and cover as only 3-point favorites over the Seahawks.
This is a bad matchup for Seattle. The Seahawks lead the league in rushing, but they are just 28th in passing offense, averaging only 196.8 passing yards per game. The weakness of Carolina is their pass D, but the Seahawks won’t be able to exploit it. Carolina ranks 7th in the NFL against the run, giving up just 98.5 rushing yards per game. They have the speed at linebacker with Luke Keuchly and company to stuff the read-option that Seattle likes to run.
Seattle is only 2-3 in true road games this season. One of those came 20-17 at Arizona, a terrible team and arguably the worst team in the NFL this season. The other was at Detroit the week they were coming off a bye, so they were primed for a big effort there. This is clearly a step up in class for the Seahawks, and I expect them to fail here Sunday.
The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a loss. Carolina is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 home games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Ron Rivera is 9-1 ATS off an upset loss as a road favorite as the coach of Carolina. Rivera is also 22-4 ATS off a road loss as the coach of the Panthers. Roll with the Panthers Sunday.
|11-25-18||Jaguars v. Bills +3.5||Top||21-24||Win||100||87 h 40 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday UPSET SHOCKER on Buffalo Bills +3.5
We’ve already found out that the Buffalo Bills are trying to win every game they play. That was evident last time out in a 41-10 win as 7-point road dogs over the New York Jets. And now they are coming off their bye week feeling good about themselves, so they’ll be rested and motivated for another win here against the Jaguars.
I certainly question Jacksonville’s motivation at this point. This is a team that made the AFC Championship Game last year, and now they sit at 3-7 off six consecutive losses. There are issues in the locker room that aren’t fixable. And they just blew a big lead in a 20-16 loss to the Steelers last week. I don’t like their state of mind coming into this game at Buffalo.
Now the Jaguars have to head to colder weather, which they aren’t used to. And they have to try and get back up off the mat to face a 3-7 Bills team. I just don’t think they will be motivated at all the rest of the way, especially this week in a hangover spot from that loss to the Steelers.
The Bills have the 2nd-best defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. That matches up with their season-long stats as well. The Bills are 2nd in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 302.2 yards per game. They are also 2nd in yards per play (4.9) allowed. This is an elite defense, and one that will shut down this putrid Jacksonville offense.
The Bills get a big boost this week with rookie QB Josh Allen returning to the lineup from an elbow injury. They have been highly competitive with Allen this season, and pretty bad without him with the exception of that Jets came when Matt Barkley came in and gave them a spark. I think this offense will take another step forward this week with Allen having two full weeks to prepare for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars have a laundry list of injuries that has contributed to this six-game losing streak, and it’s not getting any better this week. The Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last six games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game. The underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. Take the Bills Sunday.
|11-25-18||Raiders +11 v. Ravens||17-34||Loss||-110||87 h 40 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Oakland Raiders +11
The Oakland Raiders showed last week they wouldn’t quit on the season when they went into Arizona and won 23-21 as 4.5-point underdogs. This line of Baltimore laying 11 points Sunday indicates that the Raiders have quit, but they obviously haven’t. I think there’s a ton of value on the Raiders catching double-digits points here this week.
Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a 24-21 win over the Bengals last week. And Jackson will make another start in place of Joe Flacco. But now the Raiders have some game film on him they can use. And Jackson isn’t going to lead the Ravens to a ton of points simply because his style doesn’t suit it.
Jackson only threw fate ball 19 times last week for 138 yards against the Bengals. They rushed 54 times. They are going to implement a similar game plan here with a run-heavy scheme. And that will keep the clock moving and make it very predictable for the Raiders.
It also helps out the Raiders dramatically because they rank 32nd in the league in yards per pass attempt (8.9) allowed, which is their biggest weakness. The Raiders have at least been respectable against the run and should be able to limit the Ravens’ rushing attack this week.
The Ravens are 1-3 SU & 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall. There’s no way they should be getting this much respect from oddsmakers. They are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a favorite, and they have been favored in six consecutive games. I’m confused at all the love for the Ravens at this point.
Plays on underdogs of 10.5 or more points (Oakland) - off an upset win as a road underdog are 39-15 (72.2%) ATS since 1983. Baltimore is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games after outgaining its last opponent by 100 or more yards. The Ravens are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games vs. a team with a losing road record. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Take the Raiders Sunday.
|11-25-18||49ers +3.5 v. Bucs||9-27||Loss||-125||87 h 39 m||Show|
15* NFC PLAY OF THE DAY on San Francisco 49ers +3.5
The Bucs can’t be trusted to be laying 3.5 points at home to the 49ers this week. They are 1-7 in their last eight games overall with their only win coming by exactly 3 points at home against the Browns. I think this is a game where the 49ers have an excellent chance to win outright.
The Bucs keep playing musical chairs at quarterback. Now they are going back to Jameis Winston this week. He has been worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick this season, but they aren’t giving up on him for whatever reason. Whoever is under center has turned the ball over at an alarming rate, and that won’t stop this week. The Bucs have 29 turnovers in their last nine games, averaging 3.2 turnovers per game. It’s simply too tough to win that way.
The Bucs also have a ton of injury issues coming into this game. They are missing four starters on defense in Lavonte David, Chris Conte, Kwon Alexander and Vernon Hargreaves. They have two DE starters questionable in Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul. They are without their stud tight end in OJ Howard, plus C Ryan Jensen and WR DeSean Jackson are questionable.
The 49ers are coming off their bye week, so they are as healthy as they have been since Week 1. That should have them primed for a big effort here against the hapless Bucs. And I like the fact that Nick Mullens is getting another start this week. Mullens is completing 70.5% of his passes for 512 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in his two starts this season. Those are better numbers than both Jimmy G and C.J. Beathard have put up this season.
The 49ers have the numbers of a team that is much better than their 2-8 record would indicate, too. They are outgaining opponents by 13.1 yards per game this season. You’d expect them to be at least .500 with those numbers. And their defense has really stepped up the last two weeks, holding the Raiders to just 242 total yards and the Giants to just 277 total yards. They have given up 331 or fewer yards in four consecutive games now.
Tampa Bay is 1-12 ATS after going OVER the total in their previous game over the past two seasons. The 49ers are 21-9 ATS in their last 30 road games off an upset loss as a favorite. The Bucs are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games overall. Bet the 49ers Sunday.
|11-24-18||BYU +12 v. Utah||Top||27-35||Win||100||71 h 49 m||Show|
20* BYU/Utah FS1 Late-Night BAILOUT on BYU +12
This is a very precarious spot for the Utah Utes. Even though it’s a rivalry game, I don’t expect them to be motivated at all. That’s because they have their big game on deck next week in the Pac-12 Championship against the Washington/Washington State Apple Cup winner. And if they win that game, they’ll go to the Rose Bowl.
I just don’t foresee the Utes being motivated at all to face BYU this week. And even if they were motivated, it would be tough for them to cover this 12-point spread because BYU simply doesn’t get blown out. I have no doubt the Cougars will want this game more, and I’ll gladly back the more motivated double-digit underdog in this matchup.
Utah lost its two best players on offense in a 20-38 loss to Arizona State. The Utes were able to win their next two games against Oregon and Colorado without those two players, but I think it catches up with them here. Those two players are QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss, who rushed for 1,092 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first nine games this season.
BYU has had a nice bounce-back season this year and they want to cap it off with an upset win over retire rivals. They are 6-5 this season, but three of those losses have come by 5 points or less. Like I said, this team just doesn’t get blown out. And I think they’ll hold their own in what is sure to be a defensive battle with a total set of only 44. I love taking double-digit dogs in expected defensive battles.
BYU is 6-0 ATS in November road games over the last three seasons. Plays on underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (BYU) - off a home win by 17 points or more against an opponent that’s off a double-digit road win are 37-14 (72.5%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take BYU Saturday.
|11-24-18||Kansas State +14 v. Iowa State||Top||38-42||Win||100||68 h 48 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Kansas State +14
The Iowa State Cyclones had their dreams crushed last week. They went into their showdown with Texas last week controlling their own destiny to get to the Big 12 title game. Simply win that game and this week against Kansas State, and they would have made the conference championship game.
But they got worked and lost 10-24 in a game that wasn’t even that close. And for a program like Iowa State, it was an extra crushing loss because they almost never get the opportunity they had last week. And now they will have a hard time getting back up off the mat to face Kansas State this week.
We know Kansas State will be motivated. The Wildcats currently sit at 5-6 and one win shy of bowl eligibility. They have won their last two games against Kansas and Texas Tech to put themselves in this position. And that 21-6 win against Texas Tech as 6.5-point dogs was mighty impressive. They held the high-powered Red Raiders to just 181 total yards. And they are capable of shutting down this mediocre Iowa State offense as well.
Now team has owned Iowa State quite like Kansas State. Indeed, the Wildcats have gone 10-0 SU in their last 10 meetings with the Cyclones. And now they’re catching 14 points, which makes absolutely zero sense. The Cyclones have struggled to score points against the Wildcats in recent years, and that will be the case again Saturday. Especially in this ‘hangover’ spot off the loss to Texas. Bet Kansas State Saturday.
|11-24-18||Rutgers +27.5 v. Michigan State||10-14||Win||100||65 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rutgers +27.5
Quietly, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have been big money makers down the stretch. They haven’t quit. They have gone 4-0 ATS in in their last four games overall. They only lost 15-18 as 20-point home dogs to Northwestern, 17-31 as 29-point road dogs at Wisconsin, 7-42 as 37-point home dogs to Michigan, and 7-20 as 28-point home dogs to Penn State.
Rutgers has covered the spread by a combined 49 points in its last four games. The betting public wants nothing to do with 1-10 Rutgers, which is why they are consistently catching too many points here down the stretch. And oddsmakers still haven’t adjusted as they are once again catching 27.5-points this week against Michigan State.
I just can’t see Michigan State being motivated enough to beat Rutgers by this kind of margin. The Spartans are 6-5 this season and off back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Nebraska in which they scored a combined 12 points in those two losses. And that’s the issue here with the Spartans. Can they even score 28 points?
Michigan State has a putrid offense that is putting up just 20.3 points per game this season. And Rutgers has a respectable defense that is allowing 409.8 yards per game on the year. The Scarlet Knights are definitely good enough defensively to hold Michigan to less than 28 points. And their offense should contribute a touchdown or two.
The total set in this game is only 37 points. I always like taking big underdogs in games that are expected to be low scoring. Basically they are saying the score is going to be 32-5 based on this total. I think Rutgers can score 7, and I don’t think Michigan State can score 32.
Plays against home favorites (Michigan State) - after going under the total by more than 28 points in their previous game, in weeks 10 through 13 are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Michigan State is 10-27 ATS in its last 37 games after scoring 7 points or less in the first half of two straight games. Mark Dantonio is 0-6 ATS after scoring 6 points or less last game as the coach of Michigan State. Bet Rutgers Saturday.
|11-24-18||Tennessee v. Vanderbilt -3||13-38||Win||100||65 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Vanderbilt -3
Both Vanderbilt and Tennessee have a lot to play for here Saturday. The winner will be going to a bowl game, while the loser will be staying home for bowl season. And it’s Senior Day for the Commodores on their home turf. I just think Vanderbilt is the better team, and they should be laying more than a field goal at home here to the Vols because of it.
Vanderbilt has impressed me a lot here down the stretch. They have played well in five straight games coming in, and that consistency is why I like them so much. It started five weeks ago when they led Florida 21-3 at home, but couldn’t hold on in the second half, losing 27-37 and failing to cover as 9.5-point dogs only after a 43-yard field goal by Florida with 37 seconds left.
Since that defeat, Vanderbilt has gone 4-0 ATS in its last four games, consistently being undervalued. They only lost 7-14 at Kentucky as 10-point dogs, upset Arkansas 45-31 as 2-point road dogs, only lost 28-33 at Missouri as 14.5-point dogs, and beat Ole Miss 36-29 at home as 3-point favorites.
Tennessee has not played well down the stretch, going 1-2 ATS, with their only win coming at home over Kentucky in a clear flat spot for the Wildcats after losing to Georgia the previous week. They only beat a bad Charlotte team 14-3 at home as 21-point favorites. And they lost 17-50 to Missouri as 6-point home dogs last week.
While Vanderbilt has been able to stay remarkably healthy this season, Tennessee has not. They have seven players who are out for the season, and several others who are probable or questionable, including QB Jarrett Guarantano. This guy has taken a beating all season from poor offensive line play, and it’s starting to take its toll. He is dealing with a head injury, and if he takes another big hit Saturday, he’ll get the hook quick. And the drop-off from him to backup Keller Chryst is significant.
No question we are backing the better offense and the better quarterback here in Kyle Shurmur. The senior will be looking to make a statement in his final home game. Shurmur has thrown for 2,477 yards with a 20-to-6 TD/INT ratio this season while completing 61.4% of his passes in the rugged SEC. He has a stud running back to hand the ball off to in Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who has rushed for 976 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging a jaw-dropping 7.1 per carry.
Tennessee’s offense averages just 23.6 points per game overall and 21.3 points per game in conference play. And this is a pretty evenly-matched game defensively, tho the Vols give up more points overall (27.0) and in conference play (35.9) than Vanderbilt does overall (26.2) and in conference play (31.7). So we’re getting the better offense at home on Senior Day playing for a bowl game. That’s worth more than 3 points in my eyes.
Vanderbilt is 4-2 SU & 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings with Tennessee. The Vols are 0-4 ATS in their last four games vs. a team with a losing record. The Commodores are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win. Vanderbilt is 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games. Take Vanderbilt Saturday.
|11-24-18||Marshall v. Florida International +3||28-25||Push||0||61 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER On Florida International +3
I’ve cashed in FIU each of the last two weeks. They won 45-7 as 10.5-point favorites at UTSA and 42-35 as 3.5-point favorites at Charlotte. And I’m on FIU again this week simply because I believe they continue to be undervalued here as 3-point home underdogs to Marshall.
Motivation is a big reason I’ve been on FIU. Three weeks ago, win out and they controlled their own destiny to get to the C-USA title game. They’ve completed the first two steps, and now I expect them to finish it off and improve to 7-1 in C-USA with a win over Marshall Saturday.
Marshall is in a questionable motivational spot. Sure, they are still alive for the C-USA East title, but they would also need some help. They would need Middle Tennessee to lose at home to UAB, a team that has nothing to play for this week. I just really like the motivational spot better for FIU here, especially at home on Senior Day, and I simply believe they are the better team as well.
This FIU offense has been impressive this season, averaging 35.5 points per game. And their defense has held opponents to 24.4 points per game. James Morgan is having a huge season at quarterback for the Golden Panthers, completing 65.5% of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, and compiling a 26-to-5 TD/INT ratio.
Marshall has an uninspiring offense that is putting up 28.1 points per game this season. Against the same two opponents FIU played the last two weeks, they only managed 30 points against Charlotte and 23 against UTSA. FIU scored 45 on UTSA and 42 on Charlotte. I just don’t think the Thundering Herd have the firepower to keep up in this one.
Marshall is 19-34 ATS in its last 53 games as a road favorite. The Golden Panthers are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. FIU is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Thundering Herd are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after allowing more than 20 points in their previous game. Marshall is 1-5 ATS in its last six games following a win. Roll with Florida International Saturday.
|11-23-18||East Carolina +19.5 v. Cincinnati||Top||6-56||Loss||-110||41 h 48 m||Show|
20* AAC GAME OF THE WEEK on East Carolina +19.5
East Carolina may be just 3-7 on the season, but they have the stats more of a 7-3 team, which has them undervalued at this point in the campaign. The Pirates are actually outgaining their opponents by 58 yards per game on the season.
The problem for the Pirates has been turnovers. But they finally won the turnover battle last week, and they beat UConn 55-21 as a result. And I think they can hang with Cincinnati this week. This is a Cincinnati team that has committed at least three turnovers in four of their last six games coming in.
It’s also a Bearcats squad that had their dreams crushed last week in their 25-point loss to UCF. That game decided which team was going to the AAC Title game, and they fell flat on their faces. I don’t expect these Cincinnati players to get back up off the mat in time to face lowly East Carolina. They probably think they can just show up and win, but that won’t be the case.
Especially now that stud freshman Holton Ahlers has taken over at quarterback. He has really thrives the past five games since taking over against mostly a brutal schedule that has included Houston, UCF, Memphis and Tulane. Ahlers has thrown for 1,601 yards with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio this season, while also rushing for a team-high 571 yards and six scores on 5.2 per carry. He is one of the best freshman QB’s in the country that not many folks know about.
Cincinnati is 0-6 ATS after allowing 37 points or more last game over the past three seasons. The Bearcats are 0-7 ATS in home games when the total is 49.5 to 56 over the last three years. I don’t expect the Bearcats to show up at all this week. That’s going to make it extremely difficult to cover this 19.5-point spread. Bet East Carolina Thursday.
|11-23-18||Houston v. Memphis -7||31-52||Win||100||37 h 19 m||Show|
15* CFB Friday No-Doubt Rout on Memphis -7
The AAC West title is on the line here when Houston visits Memphis Friday afternoon. I think the home team has a ton of advantages here that will allow them to not only win, but also cover this generous 7-point spread. Lay the wood on the Tigers here Friday.
For starters, the Liberty Bowl in Memphis has been one of the best home-field advantages in the country. The Tigers have gone 27-6 SU at home over the past five seasons. They are 5-1 at home this season and outscoring their foes by 28.7 points per game. Their only loss this season came 30-31 to unbeaten UCF after they blew a big lead in the 2nd half. Houston’s not nearly as good as UCF.
That’s especially the case now that Houston lost its all-everything QB D’Eriq King to a season-ending injury in the win over Tulane last week. It’s the one player they could not afford to live without. King threw for 2,982 yards with a 36-to-6 TD/INT ratio this season, while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores. He was their entire offense. Now they have to get freshman QB Clayton Tune ready to make his first-ever road start in a hostile environment. Tune is only completing 47.6% of his 42 attempts this season, and he’s not a dual-threat.
The Cougars will now have a very hard time keeping up with this high-powered Memphis offense Friday. The Tigers are scoring 43.1 points per game and averaging 523.0 yards per game on the season, including 51.5 points per game and 602.8 yards per game at home. That’s why I have no problem laying the seven points with the Tigers here.
Houston is 3-11 ATS off a home win over the last three seasons. The Tigers are 6-0 ATS in November games over the last two years. The Cougars are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games on field turf. The Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight Friday games. With what’s at stake here, we’ll get an ‘A-Plus’ effort from Memphis, and Houston won’t be able to match it due to the injury to King. Roll with Memphis Friday.
|11-23-18||Nebraska +9 v. Iowa||28-31||Win||100||37 h 19 m||Show|
15* Nebraska/Iowa Big Ten No-Brainer on Nebraska +9
I certainly don’t mind buying stock in Nebraska right now. The Huskers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. Their only non-cover was a 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman as 46.5-point favorites in which they pulled their starters after a 38-3 halftime lead. They have been way undervalued since their 0-6 start to the season.
The Huskers haven’t been blown out at all here down the stretch. They covered as 18.5-point dogs at Wisconsin, as 3.5-point dogs at Northwestern in a 31-34 (OT) loss after they blew a 14-point lead late, they beat Minnesota 53-28 as 4-point home favorites, only lost 31-36 at Ohio State as 17-point dogs, crushed Illinois 54-35 as 17-point home favorites, and knocked off Michigan State 9-6 as 1-point home favorites last week.
How they’ve played against all of those teams shows me that they can certainly hang with Iowa, which has lost three of its last four coming in with its only win coming against lowly Illinois. The Hawkeyes seem to just be going through the motions since their dreams of winning the Big Ten West were crushed.
Nebraska certainly has the offense to keep up with the Hawkeyes. They are scoring 30.0 points and averaging 459.6 yards per game in conference play this season. And their defense has only gotten better as the season has gone on. That was on display last week when they held Michigan State to just 6 points and 289 yards of offense. And Iowa has a very similar offense to Michigan State.
No question Nebraska wants revenge from back-to-back blowout losses to the Hawkeyes by 30 and 42 points. But those games were with the anemic Mike Riley at the helm. Scott Frost has changed the culture here already, and he certainly wants his team to know that it’s extremely important to win these rivalry games. No question we’ll get an ‘A-Plus’ effort here from the Cornhuskers knowing this is their final game of the season.
Nebraska is 9-1 ATS off a home win over the last three seasons. Plays on road teams (Nebraska) - with an excellent offense that averages 6.1 or more yards per play, after gaining 3.75 or less hard per play in their previous game are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS since 1992. Take Nebraska Friday.
|11-22-18||Falcons +13.5 v. Saints||Top||17-31||Loss||-115||30 h 19 m||Show|
20* Falcons/Saints NFC South No-Brainer on Atlanta +13.5
What the Saints are doing is absolutely remarkable. They have now covered the spread in eight consecutive games. How rare is that? Well, it happens less than once per season on average. And with that point spread success now comes expectations from oddsmakers that are going to be tough to live up to moving forward.
It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Saints. They haven’t been double-digit favorites once this season, and now they are 13.5-point favorites against the Atlanta Falcons this week. And the Falcons are better than many of the teams they have played, plus they are a division rival that knows the Saints very well. They simply cannot be laying this kind of number against the Falcons this week.
The Falcons will show up because it’s a division rival and because it’s the Saints, who are one of the best teams in the NFL. I actually think the Falcons will want this game more to try and save their season and earn a signature win. And it’s not like the Falcons are losing by these kinds of margins. The only time they would have failed to cover this spread was against the Steelers in a 17-41 loss. The Falcons were banged up badly defensively coming into that game.
The series history shows there’s value with the Falcons, too. The Saints haven’t even been a double-digit favorite against the Falcons since 2009, and they haven’t beaten the Falcons by 14 points or more since 2011. In fact, the Saints haven’t won any of the last 13 meetings by more than 10 points, making for a perfect 13-0 system backing the Falcons pertaining to this 13.5-point spread. And the Falcons will surely be out for revenge from their 37-43 (OT) home loss to the Saints earlier this season.
Plays against favorites (New Orleans) - dominant team that outscores opponents by 10 or more points per game, after allowing 14 points or less in two straight games are 35-11 (76.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Falcons are 7-2 ATS in their last nine Thursday games. The underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Bet the Falcons Thursday.
|11-22-18||Falcons v. Saints OVER 59.5||17-31||Loss||-105||30 h 19 m||Show|
15* NFL Thursday Total DOMINATOR on Falcons/Saints OVER 59.5
Expect a shootout between the Falcons and Saints Thursday night. They combined for 80 points in their first meeting this season with the Saints winning 43-37 (OT) in Atlanta. They also combined for 941 total yards in that contest. I see no reason this game won’t play out the same way in the rematch.
You already know the Saints are an offensive juggernaut, scoring 37.8 points per game. They should be able to handle their share. But they do give up 25.4 points per game at home, and the Falcons should be able to score their share of points as well. They are scoring 26.3 points per game on the season. The Falcons have scored at least 31 points in five of their last nine games overall.
The Falcons are 20-7 OVER in their last 27 games as an underdog of 10 or more points. The Saints are 11-2 OVER in their last 13 games off five or more consecutive ATS wins. The OVER is 4-0 in Saints last four vs. NFC South opponents. The OVER is 19-8-1 in Saints last 28 home games. The OVER is 16-5 in Falcons last 21 games in a dome. Take the OVER in this game Thursday.
|11-22-18||Mississippi State v. Ole Miss +11.5||35-3||Loss||-110||29 h 28 m||Show|
15* Mississippi State/Ole Miss SEC ANNIHILATOR on Ole Miss +11.5
The Ole Miss Rebels sit at 5-6, needing a win to make a bowl game. They have lost four straight coming in, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Their four losses have all come by 15 points or less, and their offense has been good enough to win every game. I think they’re undervalued due to going 0-5 ATS in their last five games, and now we will ‘buy low’ on them here as double-digit home dogs to Mississippi State.
They were only 5.5-point home dogs to Auburn and 2-point home favorites against South Carolina during this stretch. And Mississippi State isn’t necessarily better than either of those teams, yet they are laying 11.5-points to the Rebels. They were also only 11-point road underdogs to LSU and 21-point home underdogs to Alabama. That fact alone shows you there’s value with the home dog here.
Ole Miss had 447 total yards against Auburn, 616 total yards against South Carolina, 440 total yards against Texas A&M and 578 total yards against Vanderbilt in their last four games. With this offense, they are never out of any game. And I just don’t think Mississippi State has the firepower on offense to put them away.
This is a Mississippi State offense that is only averaging 17.0 points and 301.3 total yards per game in SEC play this season, and that even includes the 52 points they scored against Arkansas. So they have been horrible. The Bulldogs are 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS on the road this season, averaging just 10.2 points and 292 yards per game. Ole Miss is 3-3 at home, scoring 41.8 points per game and averaging 572 yards per game.
Mississippi State is 0-6 ATS after having won three of its last four games over the past two seasons. Plays on any team (Ole Miss) - off five or more consecutive ATS losses against an opponent that’s off one or more consecutive ATS wins are 39-11 (78%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Ole Miss Thursday.
|11-20-18||Northern Illinois v. Western Michigan +7||21-28||Win||100||6 h 15 m||Show|
15* NIU/WMU MAC Tuesday No-Brainer on Western Michigan +7
We’re definitely getting a ‘buy low’ opportunity here on the Western Michigan Broncos Tuesday night. They have lost three straight coming in, including upset losses to Toledo and Ball State. And now we’re catching more points than we should be with them at home tonight.
I think their misleading 41-42 loss to Ball State has a lot to do with it. Western Michigan racked up 548 total yards in that game and held Ball State to 349, outgaining them by nearly 200 yards. They obviously should have won that game. And they committed six turnovers the game before against Ohio to give that game away as well.
Look for the Broncos to be the more motivated team here at home on Senior Night Tuesday. They want to end their season with a victory over one of their biggest rivals here in Northern Illinois. And they want to get to 7-5 on the season to make sure they get to a bowl game, as just because they are bowl eligible doesn’t mean they’ll be going to a bowl game for sure.
What I do know for sure is that Northern Illinois is in a tough spot mentally here. The Huskies have already clinched the MAC West title, so they’ll be going to the MAC Championship Game no matter what happens here. Their lack of motivation showed last week in a 7-13 upset home los to Miami Ohio. And I don’t see them showing up for this game tonight, either.
Western Michigan is 21-7 ATS in its last 28 games vs. good rush defenses that allow 120 or fewer rushing yards per game. Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (WMU) - good rushing team (190-230 RYPG) against a team with a good rushing defense (100-140 RYPG), after outrushing their last opponent by 150 yards or more are 31-10 (75.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Western Michigan Tuesday.
|11-19-18||Chiefs +3.5 v. Rams||Top||51-54||Win||100||146 h 3 m||Show|
20* Chiefs/Rams ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Kansas City +3.5
I’ve successfully faded the Rams four of the last five weeks. And I’m going to fade them again this week against the Kansas City Chiefs. They have consistently been overvalued, and they remain overvalue here as 3.5-point home favorites against the Chiefs in Los Angeles.
The Rams are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall. They did win six of those games outright, but only one came by more than 7 points. They have simply been fortunate in close games, but I think their luck runs out this week against a team the caliber of the Chiefs. And that hook on the +3.5 could certainly come into play here if the Rams do miraculously win another close one.
The problem with the Rams has been defensively. They just haven’t been the same since losing Aqib Talib. The Rams are giving up 27.9 points per game in their last seven games. And they are running on fumes right now because they haven’t had a bye week yet, which I think is affecting their defense a lot more than their offense.
Conversely, the Chiefs have really turned it around on the defensive end after a poor start to the season. The Chiefs have allowed 23 or fewer points in five of their last six games overall. They are giving up just 17.0 points per game in their last four games.
Patrick Mahomes and company are 2nd in the NFL in scoring offense this season at 35.3 points per game. Mahomes is having an MVP-caliber season, completing 67% of his passes for 3,150 yards with 31 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt. It also helps that he has the best set of weapons in the NFL with Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins at his disposal.
The Rams are 3rd in scoring offense at 33.5 points per game. But they suffered a big blow last week with Cooper Kupp suffering a torn ACL. Kupp was leading the team with six touchdown receptions to go along with 40 receptions for 566 yards despite missing two games previously with a knee injury. He may be the most important receiver on the team as he’s been Jared Goff’s security blanket on 3rd down over the past two seasons. His loss is getting scraped under the rug here, but it’s a big one, and Sean McVay even said so after the Seahawks game last week.
So I’m basically getting the better offense and the better defense in this game catching 3.5 points. And the Chiefs are 9-1 this season with their only loss coming to the Patriots on the road on a last-second field goal by a final of 43-40. The Rams don’t have the same kind of home-field advantage as the Patriots. You can actually hear opposing fans out-cheer them in their home games, similar to what we saw with the Seahawks last week and the Packers a few weeks back in Los Angeles. Chiefs fans travel well, too.
The Rams are 2-15 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games coming in. The Chiefs are 6-0 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive wins over the last two years. Kansas City is 8-0 ATS vs. excellent passing teams who average 260 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Chiefs are winning by 13.9 points per game in this spot. Kansas City is 6-0 ATS in its last six road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Bet the Chiefs Monday.
Note: I originally took the UNDER 63.5 in this game when it was going to be played in Mexico City. I liked the under because the field conditions were expected to be so sloppy that it was going to be difficult for the offenses to put up points. But I no longer like the UNDER now that it has been moved to Los Angeles. I like the Chiefs at +3.5 instead.
|11-18-18||Vikings +3 v. Bears||Top||20-25||Loss||-118||148 h 41 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Bears NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Minnesota +3
The bye week came at a great time for the Minnesota Vikings. They had some of their star players miss last game or the last few games, and they have a good chance at getting back some this week. WR Stephon Diggs will return from a rib injury, and there’s a good chance both S Andrew Dendejo (groin) and LB Anthony Barr (hamstring) make their returns this week as well. Not to mention, CB Xavier Rhodes (foot) is expected to play as well.
The Vikings will be as close to full strength now as they’ve been since Week 1. And they’ll be highly motivated for a win here Sunday night with first place on the line in the NFC North. They sit at 5-3-1 right now, just 0.5 games behind the Chicago Bears for first place. I expect them to handle their business here as I believe they are the better team in both sides of the ball, and they are in a prime spot here off their bye.
The Bears are starting to get too much respect from the books due to going 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in their last three games overall. But those three wins came against the Jets, Bills and Lions, which are three of the worst teams in the NFL. Their other three wins came against the Cardinals, Bucs and Seahawks. They haven’t beaten a team that currently has a winning record yet. In fact, they have only PLAYED one team that currently has a winning record, and that was a home loss to the Patriots. They have simply feasted on an easy schedule.
The Vikings have owned the Bears, going 6-1 SU In the last seven meetings. Mike Zimmer is 9-1 ATS off a division win as the coach of Minnesota. Chicago is 6-24 ATS in its last 30 games after scoring 25 or more points in two consecutive games. The Bears are 0-8 ATS after gaining 6.5 or more yards per play in their previous game over the last three seasons. They are coming back to lose by 15.4 points per game on average the next week. Take the Vikings Sunday.
|11-18-18||Texans -2.5 v. Redskins||Top||23-21||Loss||-119||140 h 15 m||Show|
25* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Houston Texans -2.5
The Houston Texans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. They have reeled off six straight victories following an 0-3 start. Yet they aren’t getting any respect from the books. They are only 2.5-point favorites here in a great spot against the Washington Redskins, who are one of the most fraudulent 6-3 teams you will ever see.
The Texans are coming off their bye week. It was good timing because their defense has injuries in the secondary, at linebacker and at receiver where they could get some guys back that they were missing previously. And they now come out of the bye playing with a ton of confidence due to the six straight wins. I think they make it seven in a row Sunday.
The Redskins have gotten to 6-3 with smoke and mirrors. And last week’s 16-3 win over Tampa Bay was one of the most misleading box scores of the season. The Bucs racked up 501 total yards and 29 first downs in that game and punted once, but managed only 3 points. They held the Redskins to just 286 total yards and outgained them by 225 for the game.
This is a similar situation to two weeks ago when the Falcons were coming off the bye and facing the Redskins. They rolled to a 38-14 victory while amassing 491 yards. So, the Redskins have allowed 496 yards per game on average in their last two games against the Falcons and Bucs. Their defense is leaky, and their offense is now one of the worst in the league.
Indeed, the Redskins are scoring just 19.6 points per game on the season while ranking 26th in total offense at 337.4 yards per game. You just can’t win in this league consistently with those kind of offensive numbers, which is why there’s no way they should be 6-3. And the offense is only going to continue to be poor due to all the injuries. The Redskins are missing three starters on the offensive line, and they have a few others questionable. They have also been playing without their top two playmakers in Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson, as well as receiver Paul Richardson.
The bye also gave new receiver Demaryius Thomas time to get acclimated to the offense. The Texans, who rank 14th in total offense at 369.1 yards per game while scoring 24.0 points per game, should only continue to get better on offense now with Thomas around. And they could finally get fellow receiver Keke Coutee back from a hamstring injury this week.
Defensively, the Texans have one of the best units in the league. They are giving up just 20.4 points per game while ranking 9th in total defense at 336.3 yards per game. JJ Watt is in line to earn Comeback Player of the Year as he’s back to being his former self. And Jadeveon Clowney is also wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Watt and Clowney will be licking their chops at the opportunity to get after Alex Smith while working against a Redskins offensive line full of backups.
Jay Gruden is 2-9 ATS after allowing 14 points or less as the coach of Washington. The Redskins are 0-6 ATS after allowing 14 points or less over the last two seasons. The Texans are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a bye week. The Redskins are 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games vs. a tam with a winning road record. Washington is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games following a win.
Plays against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Washington) - after going under the total by 42 or more points total in their last five games, with a winning record on the season are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Texans Sunday.
|11-18-18||Titans v. Colts -2||10-38||Win||100||140 h 15 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Indianapolis Colts -2
The Colts are such a better team with Andrew Luck at quarterback that it’s like night and day. They have been competitive this season and come in playing their best football of the season. They have gone 3-0 SU & 2-0-1 ATS in their last three games, outscoring their last three opponents by a combined 49 points. Yet they continue to get no respect as only 2-point home favorites against the Tennessee Titans this week.
The Titans looked awful through their first seven games this year. They opened 3-4 with all three of their wins coming by exactly 3 points. But then they had their bye week and have delivered back-to-back eye-opening performances, winning 28-14 at Dallas and 34-10 at home against New England. No question those two results were impressive, but it also has the Titans now overvalued.
And I think this is a massive letdown spot for the Titans. We’ve seen several teams over the years have a letdown after beating the Patriots, and I expect that to be the case again this week. Mike Vraebel and company put a lot of effort into beating their former team last week, including Dion Lewis, who was not shy with his comments after the game about how much the team wanted to beat the Patriots. It’s only human nature for them to have a letdown the next week.
Even after those two performances, the Titans are still scoring just 18.7 points per game on the season while ranking 30th in total offense at 299.0 yards per game. This offense still isn’t any good, and it doesn’t stand much of a chance of keeping up with the Colts score for score. The Colts are scoring 28.9 points per game while ranking 9th in total offense at 379.8 yards per game behind Luck. And they’ve gotten some key playmakers back in recent weeks in T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle and Marlon Mack that will only make them even more explosive moving forward.
The Titans are 1-9 ATS in last 10 road games after gaining 6 or more yards per play in their previous game. The Colts are 48-27 ATS in their last 75 games after scoring 25 points or more in two consecutive games. Tennessee is 16-34-2 ATS in its last 52 games following a win. The Titans are 10-27-3 ATS in their last 40 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Colts are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Indianapolis is 10-2-1 ATS in its last 13 November games. The Colts are 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings, including 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in Indianapolis.
Plays against road underdogs or PK (Tennessee) - off an upset win by 14 points or more as an underdog, with a winning percentage between 45-55% on the season are 32-10 (76.2%) ATS since 1983. Roll with the Colts Sunday.
|11-17-18||San Diego State +15 v. Fresno State||Top||14-23||Win||100||116 h 41 m||Show|
20* SDSU/Fresno State MWC Late-Night BAILOUT on San Diego State +15
This is the perfect opportunity to ‘buy low’ on San Diego State and ‘sell high’ on Fresno State. We’ll ‘sell high’ on the Bulldogs, who have been the best point spread team in the country over the last two seasons, going 21-4-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall. Now they are being asked to lay a whopping 15 points to a San Diego State team capable of winning outright.
We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Aztecs, who are coming off the biggest upset loss of the week last week. They lost 24-27 at home to UNLV as 24-point favorites. Now the betting public wants nothing to do with the Aztecs this week after seeing that result. But there’s a perfectly good explanation for it when you read between the lines.
San Diego State woke up Saturday morning knowing they could lose to UNLV and STILL win the Mountain West’s West Division title. That’s because they saw Fresno State lose to Boise State Friday night. That meant Fresno State was 5-1 within the conference, and San Diego State was sitting at 4-1. So a win or loss didn’t matter. The Aztecs knew that they could win the tiebreaker over Fresno State simply by winning this week. And that’s the scenario.
No question we are getting extra value here on San Diego State because they lost to UNLV last week. And it’s value we’ll take advantage of. This line probably would have been closer to 7 had they not lost to UNLV. And I have no doubt we get a big effort here from the Aztecs in bounce-back mode with the division title on the line.
San Diego State has actually gotten two huge pieces back recently from injury that will make them a tough out here against Fresno State. QB Christian Chapman has returned to the lineup and has played in just four games this season. He completes 67.3% of his passes, which is a huge upgrade over Ryan Agnew, who completed just 51.9% in his absence.
The other huge player the Aztecs got back was RB Juwan Washington. He has rushed for 674 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 5.1 per carry in only six games this season, which means he has missed four games. He is the most talented player on the entire roster and gives the Aztecs a fighting chance to pull this upset Saturday night.
The Bulldogs still have the edge on offense, but I give the edge to the Aztecs on defense, and that gives them a fighting chance. San Diego State is only allowing 20.7 points, 302 yards per game and 4.6 yards per play this season. They are holding opponents to 7.5 points, 83 yards and 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages this season. They have played a much tougher schedule than Fresno State has, too. And keep in mind San Diego State won 19-13 at Boise State as 13-point dogs, while Fresno State lost at Boise State 17-24 as 2-point favorites.
San Diego State is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 road games off a loss by 3 points or less. The Aztecs are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 road games vs. good offensive teams that score 34 or more points per game. San Diego State is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 games on field turf. This line has gotten out of hand. The Aztecs will come to play with the division title at stake, while the Bulldogs could suffer a hangover from that loss to Boise State last week. Bet San Diego State Saturday.
|11-17-18||Rice +44 v. LSU||10-42||Win||100||113 h 41 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rice +44
I always like fading SEC teams in this spot. They step out of conference late in the season to face a non-conference opponent. They are never motivated for these games, and they aren’t looking to run up the score, either. They are looking to play their starters for a half before giving way to the backups. It’s as easy as it gets taking the big underdog in these spots.
My favorite SEC candidate to fade in this spot this week is LSU, though there’s plenty to choose from. But LSU makes the best candidate because they don’t put up big numbers offensively. Heck, I’d be surprised if they even score 44 points, which is what it’s going to take and then some to cover this 44-point spread.
LSU is winning with defense, not offense this season. The Tigers are only averaging 26.7 points and 362.3 yards per game on the year. We saw LSU step out of conference earlier this season and only beat LA Tech 38-21 as 18.5-point favorites. And that game is significant because Rice just played LA Tech.
In fact, Rice actually led LA Tech in the second half on the road last week. But they ultimately lost 13-28 as 23-point underdogs, easily covering the spread. And they have gone 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall as they have consistently been catching too many points. They only lost by 19 as 23-point dogs at FIU and by 24 as 29.5-point dogs at North Texas. They are once again catching too many points this week.
The clock is constantly going to be moving, which will shorten the game and help Rice cover here. That’s because both of these teams rely heavily on the run to move the football. LSU averages 42 rushing attempts per game compared to only 28 passing. Rice averages 37 rushing attempts per game compared to 31 passing. It’s no surprise that both teams have won the time of possession battle this season.
I also like the quotes I’ve read from Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren heading into this one. “We can’t come out of the tunnel and let Death Valley or Mike the Tigers score points for them. We’ve got to make them line up across from us, go toe-to-toe and earn everything they get. And we’ve got to give it back to them. That’s what I expect from our guys. Nobody outside these walls believes we can do it. We know we can. So let’s go. Let’s just go play football and enjoy every minute.”
I guarantee you LSU doesn’t have that same mindset. They think they can just show up and win, which they probably can, but not by 44 points. And they’ll certainly be more worried about their road game at Texas A&M next week that will likely decide whether or not they will make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl. Their concern is staying healthy and just getting out with a win, not with a cover.
Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (LSU) - after allowing 10 or less rushing yards last game are 35-17 (72.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Tigers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. The Owls are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Roll with Rice Saturday.
|11-17-18||Indiana +28 v. Michigan||Top||20-31||Win||100||118 h 34 m||Show|
20* CFB Line Mistake GAME OF THE MONTH on Indiana +28
I liked the fight I saw in Indiana last week as they beat Maryland 34-32 at home to keep their bowl hopes alive and improve to 5-5 on the season. I look for the Hoosiers to fight again this week to try and knock off the big, bad Michigan Wolverines. And they are catching 28 points to boot, so we have a ton of room to work with.
We see this almost every season where a team gets ranked highly in the playoff rankings. And with that high ranking comes expectations from oddsmakers that are tough to live up to. Michigan failed to cover as 37-point favorites at Rutgers last week, and they are going to have to play a near-perfect game to cover against Indiana this week.
You also have to consider the mental state of the Wolverines right now. They don’t need style points, they just need to win out and they’ll get in the four-team playoff. Plain and simple. So they won’t be looking to pour it on here against Indiana, only to get out with a win. And then you consider that Michigan will likely be overlooking Indiana and looking ahead to the huge showdown at Ohio State next week, and we are getting a ton of value here with the Hoosiers.
Indiana hasn’t lost by this margin all season. All five of their losses came by 26 points or fewer, including their 26-49 road loss at Ohio State as 27.5-point underdogs. That game was much closer than the final score showed. They only lost to Michigan State by 14, a Spartans team that was coming off a bye. And they only lost by 5 as 14-point dogs to Penn State. They have played the best teams in the Big Ten East tough thus far.
Michigan’s offense only averages 422 yards per game. Indiana’s offense averages 411 yards per game, which is 43 yards per game more than their opponents normally give up on average. The Hoosiers have faced the gauntlet in terms of strength of opposing defenses, and they’ve bene able to score plenty of points to be competitive. So they won’t be phased by this Michigan defense they are about to see.
Michigan’s defense hasn’t faced many quarterbacks the caliber of Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey. He is an accurate thrower who completes 67.3% of his passes, and he has some mobility as he has rushed for 266 yards and four touchdowns this year. His escapability will be key here in creating some plays with his legs that Michigan doesn’t usually have to account for.
Indiana also will be revenge-minded. The Hoosiers have lost two of their last three meetings with the Wolverines in overtime, and the other was a 10-point road loss. So they have played the Wolverines right down to the wire each of the last three seasons. Plus, the Hoosiers haven’t lost any of their last seven meetings with the Wolverines by more than 24 points, which makes for a 7-0 ATS system backing them pertaining to this 28-point spread.
Jim Harbaugh is 1-8 ATS off a win by 35 or more points as the coach of Michigan. Harbaugh is 0-6 ATS off a blowout win by 35 points or more against a conference opponent as the coach of the Wolverines. This is also a 100% never lost system pertaining to Harbaugh at Michigan in this spot. Take Indiana Saturday.
|11-17-18||Florida International -5.5 v. Charlotte||42-35||Win||100||107 h 11 m||Show|
15* Conference USA PLAY OF THE DAY on Florida International -5.5
I was on Florida International -10 at UTSA last week and they delivered with an emphatic 45-7 victory. I’m back on them again for many of the same reasons, and for the simple fact that they should be laying more than 5.5 points to Charlotte this week.
FIU is a highly motivated team right now. That’s because a win this week would tie them for first place with Middle Tennessee for the C-USA East Division lead. And they beat Middle Tennessee 24-21, so they own the tiebreaker. Essentially, they control their own destiny. Win out and they will win the East Division and earn a trip to the C-USA Championship Game to face UAB. I expect them to handle their business this week.
Charlotte is in a world of hurt right now offensively. They lost starting QB Chris Reynolds a few weeks back to a season-ending ankle injury. He was completing 64.9% of his passes with a 6-to-2 TD/INT ratio at the time of his departure. Backup Evan Shirreffs just hasn’t been nearly as good, completing only 51.9% of his passes with a 2-to-4 TD/INT ratio. Reynolds averaged 7.6 YPA compared to 6.1 YPA for Shirreffs as well.
That helps explain why Charlotte’s offense has struggled so badly over the last four weeks. They are averaging just 11.5 points per game and 253 yards per game in their last four games. I just don’t see how Charlotte can possibly hang with this high-powered FIU attack that is averaging 34.8 points per game on the season. Offensively, this is a huge mismatch, and we’ll gladly bet the better offensive team here.
FIU is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 games off a game with a turnover margin of +3 or better. Charlotte is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games off two consecutive games where it committed one or fewer turnovers. The Golden Panthers are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games off a win by 21 points or more.
Plays against home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Charlotte) - after having lost five or six of their last seven games against opponent after having won three of their last four games are 27-4 (87.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Florida International Saturday.
|11-17-18||Northwestern v. Minnesota +3||Top||24-14||Loss||-120||116 h 45 m||Show|
25* College Football GAME OF THE YEAR on Minnesota +3
This game has everything I look for when seeking out a pick to use as my 25* College Football GAME OF THE YEAR. We have one team who will be max motivated in Minnesota up against another team in Northwestern that is likely to just go through the motions. And we’re getting the max motivated team as the underdog.
The reason the Golden Gophers will be max motivated is because they sit at 5-5 and need a win to get to a bowl game. And with a road game at Wisconsin on deck, this is their best chance to get it. It’s also Senior Day for Minnesota here. So they have every reason to want to lay it all on the line to win this game.
Conversely, Northwestern just clinched everything with last week’s 14-10 win at Iowa. They clinched the Big Ten West Division title, which means they will be going to the Conference Championship Game to face either Michigan or Ohio State. And they clinched a bowl berth with their 6th win.
I expect the Wildcats to fall flat on their faces this week as they don’t care one bit whether or not they win this game now. They’ve been getting patted on the back all week at school and having everyone tell them how good they are. They probably also partied more than usual this week leading up to the game. It’s just not a spot where you want to be betting on the Wildcats this week.
Plus, one of my favorite trends this season is that the underdog in Northwestern games is now 9-0-1 ATS on the season. I used this trend last week when I backed the Wildcats as my 25* Big Ten GAME OF THE YEAR. And I’m using it again this week to fade them in this horrific spot. Pat Fitzgerald knows how to motivated his team when they are the underdog, but not when he has expectations and he is favored.
Northwestern was favored by 3 at home against Duke and lost 7-21. The Wildcats were favored by 21 against Akron and lost outright 34-39. They were favored by 3.5 against Nebraska and won 34-31 only after a last-second miracle, but failed to cover. And they were favored by 20 at Rutgers and barely escaped with an 18-15 victory.
Minnesota’s 41-10 win over Purdue as 11-point underdogs last week was one of the best performances of the season. The Golden Gophers came into that game knowing they needed to beat Purdue and Northwestern to make a bowl, and step 1 is completed. They held that high-octane Purdue offensive attack to just 233 total yards in the win.
The Golden Gophers have a huge home/road split this season. They have yet to win a road game, but they are 5-1 SU & 5-1 ATS at home this year, outscoring their opponents by 14.9 points per game in the process. And home-field advantage has been huge in this series in recent meetings as the home team is 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
Minnesota is 24-9-2 ATS in its last 35 November games. The Golden Gophers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games following an upset win as a double-digit underdog. Bet Minnesota Saturday.
Note: I know this line has flipped to Minnesota -2.5 as of this writing Saturday morning. I still like Minnesota as a 25* up to -3 today.
|11-17-18||TCU v. Baylor -2||Top||16-9||Loss||-109||105 h 12 m||Show|
20* TCU/Baylor Big 12 Early ANNIHILATOR on Baylor -2
The books have been off on TCU all season. They are just 4-6 SU & 1-9 ATS this year. Yet they keep getting respect from the books week after week. And they’re getting too much respect again this week as only 2-point road underdogs to the Baylor Bears.
Things have gotten so bad for TCU that they lost outright to Kansas as 13-point favorites. They have completely fallen apart since losing to Ohio State in Week 3. They are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games since then and have failed to cover by a combined 101 points in those seven games! Books haven’t even been close on this team.
While TCU still has a respectable defense, though were forced for 52 points against Oklahoma and 47 against West Virginia. But the defense isn’t the issue. It’s the putrid offense that has been held to 17 points or fewer in five of their last seven games. That’s just not going to cut it in the Big 12. They lost starting QB Shawn Robinson to a season-ending shoulder injury on October 22nd, and then lost their best playmaker in KaVontae Turpin on October 23rd due to a suspension.
I don’t even think TCU wants to make a bowl game at this point, they just want the season to be over. The Horned Frogs lost 10-47 at West Virginia last week and looked to have quit. We actually saw this a few years back in 2013 with the Horned Frogs as they finished 4-8. Sitting at 4-6 on the season, a 4-8 finish is highly likely at this point.
Conversely, Baylor wants to get to a bowl game. The Bears are in the second year under Matt Rhule and have been one of the most improved teams in the country. They sit at 5-5 on the season and one win shy of a bowl berth. They’ll be highly motivated to clinch that bowl bid here at home Saturday instead of waiting until next week against Texas Tech.
I was impressed with the way Baylor played against Iowa State on the road last week. If they didn’t have struggles in the red zone and two missed chip shot field goals, they probably would have won that game. They actually outgained the Cyclones 505 to 355 in that game, or by 150 total yards. Iowa State has the best defense in the Big 12, so putting up 505 yards on them is no small feat.
The Bears received good news early this week when it was announced that QB Charlie Brewer wouldn’t be suspended for this game after getting ejected against Iowa State. Brewer is completing 61.6% of his passes for 2,164 yards with 14 touchdowns and only six interceptions on the season, while also rushing for 223 yards and four scores. He has really taken a big step forward as a sophomore this season, as has the rest of this team under the guidance of Rhule.
TCU is 0-6 ATS vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 58% or better this season. The Horned Frogs are 0-7 ATS in conference games this season. This is simply as obvious as it looks folks. The Horned Frogs are once again getting respect from the books that they don’t deserve here. Roll with Baylor Saturday.
|11-17-18||Arkansas +20.5 v. Mississippi State||6-52||Loss||-109||105 h 12 m||Show|
15* SEC PLAY OF THE DAY on Arkansas +20.5
I usually look to fade teams the week after they play Alabama. There’s usually a ‘hangover’ effect from the loss to the No. 1 team in the country. Simply put, teams won’t be nearly as motivated against their next opponent. And teams certainly are beat up physically from facing the Crimson Tide. Such is the case for Mississippi State this week.
I faded LSU in the same spot last week off their 29-0 loss to Alabama. And they failed to cover as 14-point favorites against Arkansas. And now I’m backing Arkansas again this week because they are once again facing the team that played Alabama last week. They keep getting these good scheduling spots to close out the season.
Quietly, Arkansas has gone 5-1 ATS in its last six games overall. The betting public wants nothing to do with this team because they are just 2-8 SU on the season. They are catching too many points every week, and that’s again the case here this week as nearly three-touchdowns underdogs to the Bulldogs.
I’m not sure how Mississippi State is expected to cover three touchdowns when they have had a hard time even scoring three touchdowns. Indeed, the Bulldogs have failed to top 28 points in any SEC game this season. They are scoring just 11.2 points per game and averaging just 272.3 yards per game against SEC opponents this season. Arkansas held LSU to just 24 points last week, and they should be able to hold Mississippi State to 24 or fewer, too.
The Razorbacks have been respectable against the run this season, giving up just 155 rushing yards per game and 4.0 per carry. That will be the key to their cover this week because Mississippi State is only completing 50.2% of its passes and is not known as a passing team. The Bulldogs average 212 rushing yards per game, and that’s their strength. They are very predictable.
Arkansas is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 road games with a total set of 45.5 to 49 points. The Razorbacks are 7-0 ATS off a home loss to a conference opponent over the last three years. Arkansas is 6-0 ATS vs. excellent rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry over the last three years. The Razorbacks are 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a loss. These four trends combine for a 31-2 system backing the Razorbacks. Bet Arkansas Saturday.
|11-17-18||Ohio State -16.5 v. Maryland||52-51||Loss||-103||105 h 12 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Ohio State -16.5
I cashed in Ohio State last week against Michigan State, and style points was the theme. They took care of business in a 26-6 win as only 3.5-point favorites. The Buckeyes need style points this time of year because they are 10th in the latest playoff rankings. And they’ll be looking for more style points this week against Maryland.
Let’s just look at the last four meetings in this series, and you’ll love Ohio State as much as I do this week. The Buckeyes are 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings, winning by 48, 59, 21 and 28 points. They have won those four meetings by an average of 39 points per game. And we’re only having to lay 16.5 with the Buckeyes this week? Sign me up.
The reason Maryland struggles against teams like Ohio State is because they can’t keep up with them offensively. Maryland is a run-first team that struggles against teams that can stop the run. That was on display two weeks ago when they lost to Michigan State 24-3 at home, the same Michigan State team Ohio State just beat by 20 on the road.
Maryland only averages 131 passing yards per game, but 235 rushing. Well, Ohio State has been good at stopping the run this season as they give up just 143 rushing yards per game and 4.2 per carry. The only teams that Ohio State has really struggled against are teams that can throw the ball, which includes their narrow wins over Nebraska and Penn State, and their loss to Purdue. They won’t struggle against this predictable Maryland outfit.
Maryland is 0-8 ATS in its last eight games after gaining 350 or more rushing yards in their last game. They ran all over Indiana last week and still lost 32-34. Again, that’s the same Indiana team that lost by 23 to Ohio State. The Terrapins are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games vs. good passing teams who complete 62% of their passes or better. They are losing by 30.6 points per game on average in this spot. Look for the Buckeyes to hang a big number on the Terrapins and cover this generous number with ease. Roll with Ohio State Saturday.
|11-17-18||South Florida v. Temple -13.5||17-27||Loss||-112||105 h 11 m||Show|
15* AAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Temple -13.5
It was obvious that South Florida’s 7-0 start was a fraudulent one. They were outgained by 176 yards by Georgia Tech and found a way to win. They were also outgained by 116 yards by ECU and won 20-13. They only beat Tulsa by one and UConn by 8, and those are two of the worst teams in the AAC.
But once the competition ramped up in recent weeks, the Bulls were exposed for the frauds that they are. They lost 36-57 at Houston and were outgained by 215 yards. They lost 15-41 to Tulane at home, getting upset as 6-point favorites. And they lost 23-35 at Cincinnati last week. It’s worth noting the Bearcats had the ball down to the USF 1-yard line in closing seconds and took a knee.
Now they have to face Temple, which I believe is the best team in the AAC. They beat Cincinnati earlier this season and have been playing great football. They should have beaten UCF a few weeks ago as they outgained them by 40 yards but blew a late lead and lost 40-52 on the road. And then last week they went on the road at Houston and won 59-49 as 3.5-point dogs. South Florida was blasted by both Houston and Cincinnati, and they’d get blasted by UCF, too. They’ll get blasted by Temple this week.
This is a Temple offense that is hitting on all cylinders right now. They put up 40 points and 670 total yards on UCF two weeks ago, and then 59 points and 537 total yards on Houston last week. When I’m laying double-digit points like this, I want it to be with an offense that is going to put up a big number. And there’s no question the Owls are going to hang a big number on this poor USF defense that has allowed an average of 38.2 points per game in their last six games. That’s real bad when you consider UMass, Tulsa, UConn and Tulane were four of those six opponents.
I have to believe Temple remembers their 7-43 road loss at South Florida last year. The Bulls weren’t afraid to run up the score on them, and the Owls won’t be afraid to run of the score this season to return the favor. Temple won 46-30 in their last home meeting in 2016 as 6-point underdogs. And this is the first time in recent seasons that Temple actually has the better team between these two. They should have no problem winning by two-plus touchdowns here on Senior Day, which is also extra motivation for them.
The Owls are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 conference games. The Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their last six conference games. The home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Temple is 8-0 ATS after scoring 37 points or more last game over the last three seasons. The Owls are 7-0 ATS when playing against a good team that wins 60% to 75% of their games over the last three years. The Owls are 9-1 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 425 or more yards per game over the past three seasons. These last four trends combine for a 28-1 system backing the Owls. Take Temple Saturday.
|11-16-18||Memphis v. SMU OVER 72||Top||28-18||Loss||-110||90 h 6 m||Show|
20* Memphis/SMU ESPN 2 Total DOMINATOR on OVER 72
Get ready for plenty of offensive fireworks Friday night in this standalone game between Memphis and SMU in AAC action. Both teams will be full speed trying to put up as many points as possible, and there will be very little defense being played in this battle between two teams known for offense and not so much for defense.
Memphis is putting up 44.6 points and 531.9 yards per game this season behind a balanced attack that produces 270 rushing yards per game and 262 passing. SMU is scoring 32.3 points per game this season and has improved as the season has gone on under Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs put up 45 points against Houston and 62 points against UConn in their last two games coming in.
The problem both of these teams have is that they cannot defend a lick. The Mustangs are giving up 36.8 points per game, while the Tigers are yielding 30.5 points per game on the season. The Tigers have gone OVER the total in three straight coming in, while the Mustangs have gone OVER in each of their last two contests.
I think we get a similar output to last year when Memphis beat SMU 66-45 for 111 combined points and a total of 71.5. The Tigers racked up 664 total yards in the win, while the Mustangs managed 477 themselves. That was a similar total to this 72.5-point number we’re seeing here. And I just think it’s two low as both of these teams get to at least 35 points in this one with Memphis likely topping 50. After all, Memphis has scored at least 48 points in each of its last four meetings with SMU.
Memphis is a perfect 7-0 to the OVER in road games vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 58% or better over the last three seasons. We’re seeing 89.1 combined points per game on average in this spot. The OVER is 9-1 in Tigers last 10 games after gaining 450 or more total yards in their previous game. The OVER is 4-0 in Tigers last four November games. The OVER is 5-0 in Mustangs last five November games. These four trends combine for a 25-1 system backing the OVER. Bet the OVER in this game Friday.
|11-15-18||Florida Atlantic v. North Texas OVER 61||Top||38-41||Win||100||67 h 31 m||Show|
20* FAU/North Texas CFB Late-Night BAILOUT on OVER 61
I think we’re getting value on the OVER tonight between FAU and North Texas because both of these teams have been under teams of late, especially the Mean Green. North Texas has gone under the total in all 10 of their games thus far, which is almost unheard of. But that trend stops tonight.
The problem recently with betting overs in North Texas games is all the poor offenses they’ve been up against this season. But they have still combined for 61 or more points four times with their opponents this season, and most of those were against the best offensive teams the’ve faced in SMU, Arkansas and Old Dominion.
FAU has gone under the total in three of their last four games coming in. The one exception was against the best offensive team they faced in FIU, and they combined for 63 points with the Golden Panthers. The fact of the matter is that these are two of the best offensive teams in Conference USA, and we’re going to see plenty of points between them as a result to top this 61-point total.
North Texas boasts an offense that puts up 37.2 points and 464.7 yards per game this season. Florida Atlantic’s offense is putting up 31.1 points and 476.5 yards per game on the year. The Owls are getting better as the season goes on offensively. They put up 49 points and 596 yards against FIU and 34 points and 576 yards against Western Kentucky in their last two games coming in.
These teams met twice last year. The first meeting was a 69-31 FAU blowout with 100 combined points and a total of 67. The second meeting was in the Conference Championship Game with FAU winning 41-17 and 58 combined points with a total of 71.5. So the fact that the total was 67 and 71.5 in the two meetings last year and now it’s only 61 in the rematch this year shows there’s clearly value with the OVER. I expect both teams to top 30 points in this one. Bet the OVER in this game Thursday.
|11-15-18||Packers v. Seahawks -2.5||24-27||Win||100||65 h 19 m||Show|
15* Packers/Seahawks NFC No-Brainer on Seattle -2.5
Thursday night home teams have a huge advantage on these short weeks, and I don’t think that’s being factored into the line enough here. The home team is now 8-2 SU & 7-2-1 ATS in Thursday games thiss Eason. The only two teams that lost were the Giants and Cardinals, two of the worst teams in the NFL, and they were both underdogs to the Eagles and Broncos, respectively.
I actually have the Packers and Seahawks power-rated as basically even teams on a neutral field. But when you factor in the home field for the Seahawks, and the situation with this being a short week and them only having to travel from Los Angeles to Seattle, while the Packers have to travel from Green Bay all the way to Seattle, and I think there’s ample value to back the Seahawks as 2.5-point home favorites here.
The Seahawks are clearly better than a 4-5 team, too. All five of their losses have come by 8 points or less, so they’ve been competitive in every game. That includes 2 and 5-point losses to the Rams, who many consider to be the best team in the NFL. The other losses were to the Broncos, Bears and Chargers with the first two of those on the road. The Seahawks are actually outscoring opponents by 3.0 points per game on the season despite their record. And it’s worth noting that the Seahawks have played six of their first nine games on the road.
Green Bay has a big home-road split this season. The Packers are 4-0-1 at home where they have handled their business. However, the Packers are 0-4 SU & 1-3 ATS on the road this season, getting outscored by 9.5 points per game on average. They lost to the Redskins by 14, the Lions by 8 and the Patriots by 14. The Redskins and Lions aren’t as good as the Seahawks.
Seattle is 14-4 ATS in its last 18 home games after a game where 60 or more points were scored. Pete Carroll is 17-4 ATS vs. bad defensive teams that give up 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season as the coach of Seattle. Carroll is 11-2 ATS off two or more consecutive losses as the coach of the Seahawks. Carroll is 6-0 ATS after allowing 6 or more yards per play in two consecutive games as the coach of the Seahawks. Carroll is 7-0 ATS when playing on Thursday as the coach of Seattle. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Take the Seahawks Thursday.
|11-12-18||Giants v. 49ers OVER 43.5||Top||27-23||Win||100||99 h 35 m||Show|
20* Giants/49ers MNF TOTAL OF THE MONTH on OVER 43.5
The San Francisco 49ers are just 2-7 on the season while the New York Giants are 1-7. I like backing the OVER on teams with nothing to play for but pride in National TV games. It just seems as though the offenses take chances and there’s more big plays because they have nothing to lose. And the defenses aren’t prepared for it.
I was certainly impressed with the 49ers’ offense against the Raiders last week with Nick Mullens making his first start. They racked up 34 points and 405 total yards against the Raiders. Mullens went 16-of-22 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He’s from Southern Miss, just like Brett Favre, who is one of his biggest fans. He’s out to prove that he belongs in this league.
The Giants’ offense has held them back so far. And you know that offensive-minded head coach Pat Shurmur doesn’t like what he’s seen so far. So the Giants come off a bye week, and I fully expect them to have a bunch of new wrinkles on offense. They have the two best playmakers on the field in Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley. They should be able to come through with one of their best offensive performances of the season against this 49ers defense. The 49ers are giving up 26.6 points per game while the Giants are giving up 25.6 points per game this season.
The 49ers are 6-0 OVER off a non-conference games over the last two seasons. They are combining with their opponents for 54.0 points per game in this spot. The OVER is 18-5 in Giants last 23 games after allowing more than 15 rushing yards in they previous game. The OVER is 4-0 in 49ers last four games following a win. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|11-11-18||Cowboys +7 v. Eagles||27-20||Win||100||100 h 1 m||Show|
15* Cowboys/Eagles NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Dallas +7
This is a great ‘buy low’ opportunity on the Dallas Cowboys. Everyone saw them lose to the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football last week, and now the betting public wants nothing to do with them. But it was their own mistakes that cost them in that game, and they’re easily fixable.
For starters, the Cowboys rushed for over 50 yards in the first quarter, but then were held to just 72 yards for the entire game. That’s because they quit trying to run the ball. They were up 7-0 and instead of running it, Dak Prescott threw an interception in the end zone. It totally changed the complexion of the game. They managed to run the ball just 19 times the whole game. I think they’ll make the proper adjustments and force feed Zeke Elliott, which is when they are at their best offensively.
I know the Eagles are off a bye week, but I think that’s getting factored into the line too much. Most would say the Cowboys are on a short week, which they are, but it’s not a true short week. The Cowboys had their bye prior to the Titans game. So this will still be just their 2nd game in 21 days. They should be plenty fresh for this game.
The Cowboys will also be playing with a chip on their shoulder to redeem themselves from that poor Monday night performance. And they realize this is a must-win game, so they will be laying it all on the line. They can’t afford to fall further behind the Eagles or the Redskins in the NFC East if they want a realistic shot of winning the division. A win and they’re right back in the hunt. I have no doubt they’ll show up with a big effort Sunday night.
It’s certainly worth noting that Dallas hasn’t been more than a 3-point underdog all season to anyone. So we’re getting value here on them as 7-point dogs. And they have seemed to thrive in the role of the underdog in recent seasons, and struggle in the favorite role. Dallas is 35-20 ATS in its last 55 games off a loss by 14 points or more.
And it’s not like the Eagles are blowing anyone out this season. They are clearly in the midst of a Super Bowl hangover at 4-4 on the season. Only one of their four wins came by more than 6 points, and that was against the hapless Giants. It’s worth noting the Giants actually outgained them in that contest, and the Eagles have been outgained in five of their eight games this season. In fact, seven of the eight Eagles games have been decided by 6 points or fewer this season.
Plays on road underdogs or PK (Dallas) - in a game involving two average teams with a +/- 3 PPG differential, after scoring 14 points or less last game are 99-51 (66%) ATS since 1983. The Cowboys are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games on grass. Grass fields fit perfectly into what they want to do, which is run the football. The Eagles are 1-5 ATS in their last six games on grass. The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to Philadelphia. The road team is 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings. Roll with the Cowboys Sunday night.
|11-11-18||Seahawks +10 v. Rams||Top||31-36||Win||100||96 h 10 m||Show|
20* Seahawks/Rams NFC Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Seattle +10
Fading the Los Angeles Rams has paid off big-time for myself and my clients of late. And I’m not going to stop now that they are 10-point home favorites here against the Seattle Seahawks. This is once again too many points as the Rams continue to be overvalued due to their 8-1 record, previously 8-0 before they finally lost to the Saints last week, and I had the Saints as my 25* NFC GOTY.
The Rams are now just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall. They have won just one game by more than 7 points during this stretch, and that was against the 49ers. And I certainly question the Rams’ motivation coming into this game. They are in a ‘hangover’ spot from their loss to the Rams, and a ‘look-ahead’ spot because they play the Chiefs next week. That makes this a sandwich game from them, and I’m not expecting their best effort.
The Seahawks will be playing with revenge in mind after losing a 31-33 heartbreaker at home to the Rams in Seattle in the first meeting. The Seahawks actually led that game by 7 points in the fourth quarter before getting outscored 9-0 in the final period to lose by two. At 4-4 on the season, this feels like a make-or-break game for the Seahawks as well if they want any shot of making the playoffs.
All four of Seattle’s losses this season came by 8 points or fewer, so they’ve been competitive in every game and haven’t lost yet by double-digits. And this is the biggest underdog role of Russell Wilson’s career. He’s never been a double-digit dog. And Wilson is 3-0 ATS when listed as a dog of 7.5 points or more in his career.
The Rams have some defensive problems right now. They have allowed over 27 points per game int heir last six games coming in. They haven’t been the same since losing Aqib Talib to injury, and their pass defense has suffered. The Seahawks also rushed for 190 yards on the Rams in their first meeting. The Rams are 24th in 3rd down defense. The Seahawks are 7th in 3rd down defense. The Seahawks are also 3rd in turnover differential this season, so they don’t beat themselves.
I also think the Rams could be getting tired, which is another big reason I’ve faded them so frequently of late. They are one of the few teams who have yet to have their bye week. They don’t get their bye until Week 12 after they play the Chiefs, and by then they will certainly need it. I also think the Rams have very little home-field advantage, as the Packers actually seemed like they were the home team when they played the Rams a few weeks ago.
Pete Carroll is 9-1 ATS in road games vs. excellent passing teams who average 7.5 or more yards per attempt as the coach of Seattle. The Seahawks are 12-4-2 ATS in their last 18 games following a loss. The Rams are once again getting way too much respect from the books this week, and it will show up on the scoreboard as Seattle has a shot to win this game outright. Bet the Seahawks Sunday.
|11-11-18||Lions +7 v. Bears||Top||22-34||Loss||-130||142 h 49 m||Show|
25* NFC North GAME OF THE YEAR on Detroit Lions +7
This is the perfect opportunity to ‘sell high’ on the Chicago Bears and ‘buy low’ on the Detroit Lions. This line is maxed out with Chicago -7 as they should never be a 7-point favorite over the Lions. But because the public has seen the Bears succeed lately and the Lions fail, oddsmakers have to set this line higher than it should be knowing the public will be quick to back the Bears.
Chicago is coming off back-to-back wins and covers with a 24-10 home victory over the Jets, and a 41-9 road victory at the Bills. Those are two of the worst teams in the NFL. The Jets were banged up, especially at receiver with no weapons. And the Bills gave the game away with four turnovers.
There was no more misleading final score than Chicago 41-9 victory over the Bills last week. Indeed, the Bears only managed 190 total yards in that game and were actually outgained by 74 yards by the Bills. You read that right, the Bears had less than 200 total yards yet still scored 41 points. I can’t remember the last time that happened. So we’re getting extra value here due to that misleading score.
Conversely, Detroit is coming off two straight poor performances. They lost 14-28 at home to the Seahawks and 9-24 on the road to the Vikings. Well, they had every chance to score in the red zone but committed 3 turnovers against Seattle. And that was a Seahawks team coming off a bye, so it was a favorable spot for them. And in the 9-24 loss to the Vikings the Lions played well defensively, giving up just 283 total yards. Both of those games were closer than the final scores, and both were against two of the better teams in the NFC, not the weak competition Chicago has feasted on.
Chicago’s five wins this season have come against the Seahawks, Cardinals, Bucs, Jets and Bills. Those five teams are a combined 14-27 this season, and non has a winning record. The Lions have beaten the Patriots and Packers, so they’ve proven they can play with anyone. And I think we get a big effort from them here knowing their season is on the line. A win and the Lions would pull within one game of first place in the NFC North. A loss and they would be facing an insurmountable deficit, three games behind the Bears. Detroit will be the more motivated team, hands down.
Matthew Stafford clearly loves facing the Bears, as evidenced by Detroit’s domination in this series in recent years. Indeed, the Lions are 9-1 SU in the last 10 meetings. Their only loss during this stretch came by a final of 14-17 at Soldier Field. If the Bears win this game, it won’t be by more than 7 points. There is a ton of value on the Lions this week.
Plays against home teams (Chicago) who force 2.5 or more turnovers per game against a team that forces 1.25 or fewer turnovers per game, after a game where they forced 4 or more turnovers are 25-5 (83.3%) ATS since 1983. Their turnover luck has been great this season, and they can’t keep forcing turnovers at this rate. And this just goes to show you how there’s value in fading a team coming off a 4-turnover game like the Bears had against the Bills last week.
The Lions are 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games after tailing their last two games by 10-plus points at halftime. Detroit is 22-7 ATS in its last 29 road games off a loss by 14 points or more. The Bears are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games following two consecutive covers as a favorite. Take the Lions Sunday.
|11-10-18||Clemson v. Boston College +20||27-7||Push||0||50 h 17 m||Show|
15* Clemson/Boston College ACC No-Brainer on Boston College +20
It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Clemson Tigers this week. Bettors are clearly being asked to pay a tax to back Clemson now after what they’ve done in recent weeks. Not only are they 9-0 and the No. 2 ranked team in the country, but they’re 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall, winning by 60, 34, 49 and 61 points. But that was against the bottom of the ACC in Wake Forest, NC State, FSU and Louisville.
Now Clemson actually has to play what I believe is the second-best team in the ACC in Boston College. The Eagles are 7-2 SU & 7-2 ATS this season and have been covering machines over the past two years. Yet, they are getting absolutely no respect from oddsmakers this week as 20-point home underdogs.
This will be a night game in the cold in Boston. The Eagles are used to these conditions, while the Tigers are now. And Boston College is 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS at home this season, outscoring opponents by a whopping 24.6 points per game on average. They are outgaining their foes by 207 yards per game at home as well, averaging 504 yards per game on offense and giving up only 297 yards per game on defense.
Clemson doesn’t need style points any more. They just know that they need to win out to make the four-team playoff because they aren’t going to drop from the No. 2 ranking if they just keep winning. They certainly wouldn’t drop all the way to No. 5 if they win out, but it’s ugly. And so they can win this game and we can still win catching 20 points on the Eagles.
One matchup I like here is this Boston College offensive line against Clemson’s defensive line. The Tigers get all the accolades for having a NFL talent across their defensive line, but the Eagles have NFL talent on their offensive line as well. In fact, I believe this is one of the Top 5 offensive lines in the country. And they’re well-equipped to handle this Clemson defensive front. The Eagles are rushing for 229 yards per game this season and have one of the better running backs in the country in A.J. Dillon. Dillon and company can control the clock, move the chains and keep that Clemson high-powered offense off the field.
Boston College is 11-1 ATS against ACC opponents over the last two seasons. The Eagles are 6-0 ATS vs. good offensive teams who score 31 or more points per game over the last two years. Boston College is 9-1-1 ATS in its last 11 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings with Clemson. Bet Boston College Saturday.
|11-10-18||LSU v. Arkansas +14||Top||24-17||Win||100||75 h 24 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Arkansas +14
I always like fading teams after they play Alabama. This is the perfect spot to fade LSU. Their dreams were crushed last week with their 29-0 loss to Alabama. They could have won the SEC West and been a playoff contender if they had won that game, but they were thoroughly outplayed. It was a bigger blowout than the 29-point margin suggests even as they were outgained by 380 yards and managed just 196 total yards on offense.
Now the Tigers somehow have to try and get motivated to face a 2-7 Arkansas team, and I don’t think they will. They certainly won’t be motivated enough to cover this 14-point spread. The Razorbacks come in on two weeks’ rest fresh off their bye as well, so they should be sitting on a big effort here. I’ll gladly back the more motivated home team in this matchup.
Having a first-year head coach in Chad Morris, the Razorbacks won’t quit on their season, and they’ve shown no signs of doing so. They have been undervalued here down the stretch, going 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. They beat Tulsa 23-0, only lost by 4 to Ole Miss after blowing a late double-digit lead, and they only lost by 7 at Texas A&M as 19-point dogs. They covered as 35-point dogs against Alabama and actually scored 31 points on the Crimson Tide, which is the most they have allowed to anyone all season.
The Razorbacks also get some key players back healthy this week off their bye. And LSU usually plays Arkansas the week after Alabama. That helps explain the fact that the Razorbacks are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings, including 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Fayetteville. Arkansas is 6-0 ATS off a home conference loss over the last three seasons. The Razorbacks are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a loss. The Tigers are 0-4 ATS int heir last four games following a double-digit home loss. The Razorbacks are 16-6 ATS in their last 22 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Take Arkansas Saturday.
|11-10-18||Miami-FL v. Georgia Tech -3||Top||21-27||Win||100||49 h 18 m||Show|
20* Miami/Georgia Tech ACC ANNIHILATOR on Georgia Tech -3
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been a buzz saw lately. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall and now would love to clinch a bowl berth with a home win Saturday against Miami. They have not only been winning, they’ve been dominating.
The Yellow Jackets’ four wins during this stretch came by a combined 112 points and by an average of 28 points per game against Bowling Green, Louisville, VA Tech and UNC with three of those games on the road. Their only loss was to a well-rested Duke team coming off a bye week, but they gave that game away with three turnovers. They have outgained each of their last five opponents and eight of their last nine foes with the only exception being Clemson. They are much better than their 5-4 record would suggest.
What does Miami have to play for at this point? The Hurricanes were the favorites to win the ACC Coastal this season and they fell flat on their faces. With three straight losses, they now sit at 5-4 and in 6th place in the Coastal. They will simply be playing out the string at this point. They were upset 12-20 as 9-point home favorites against Duke last week. Their offense has been held to just 13 points per game in their last three contests.
Now, the Hurricanes go into this game against Georgia Tech knowing it’s going to be physical, and knowing they are going to get cut-block all game. They don’t want any part of it. I expect Georgia Tech, which averages 377 rushing yards per game and 6.2 per carry this season, to break the will of the Hurricanes. This Yellow Jackets offense has really taken off since Tobias Oliver took over at quarterback. He has rushed for 780 yards and 12 touchdowns on 5.9 per carry.
Miami is 2-10 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. The Hurricanes are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games off an upset loss to a conference opponent as a favorite of 6 points or more. Miami is 0-7 ATS off a conference loss over the last three years. The Hurricanes are 0-7 ATS in road games off one or more consecutive ATS losses over the last three seasons. Georgia Tech is 10-1 ATS after gaining 125 or fewer passing yards in three straight games over the last three years. The Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. Bet Georgia Tech Saturday.