|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-05-19||Seahawks v. Cowboys OVER 43||Top||22-24||Win||100||105 h 33 m||Show|
The set-up: While Seattle won a lower-scoring 24-13 contest at home over the Cowboys back on September 23rd, I believe this time around we’ll see a much more wide open “shootout.” Both teams have made leaps and strides since the early weeks, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Ezekiel Elliot rushed for nearly 1,500 yards, which allowed Dak Prescott to find his game again. The late season acquisition of Amari Cooper was also a huge boost for the Dallas offense late in the year. Seattle veteran QB Russell Wilson put together arguably his best ever campaign and he also benefited greatly from a strong run game, which finished No. 1 in the league. From a situational stand point in my opinion, this one definitely sets up as a higher-scoring affair.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well though, but Seattle has seen the total go “over” the number in five of eight this year as an underdog, while Dallas as seen the total go “over” in five of eight at home and in four of its last five home games when the total in the contest is set between 42.5 and 45 points. This number is a low, play the “over.”
|12-31-18||NC State v. Texas A&M OVER 58.5||Top||13-52||Win||100||533 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: Two teams with a ton of momentum collide in the Gator Bowl from Jacksonville Florida on Monday night and in my opinion, points are going to be plentiful. NC State enters on a three-game win streak over Louisville, UNC and ECU, while Texas A&M also posted three straight wins to end the year over Ole Miss, UAB and LSU. NC State will be leaning heavily on QB Ryan Finley here, and he has 3,789 passing yards along with 24 TD’s. The Aggies weakness on defense is against the pass, allowing 262.7 YPG. Clearly Finley will be given the “green light” to air it out from start to finish. The Aggies are also down several defenders, including safety Donovan Wilson. The Aggies feature a potent offensive attack as well, featuring dynamic back Trayveon Williams, who had 1,524 rushing yards and 15 major scores.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but NC State has seen the total go “over” the number in seven of its last nine non-conference road games as an underdog in the 2.5 to 9.5 points range. This one has “shootout” written all over it, play the “over.”
|12-30-18||Colts v. Titans OVER 43.5||Top||33-17||Win||100||100 h 13 m||Show|
The set-up: With a playoff spot up for grabs, I’m expecting this total to sneak over the number sooner, rather than later. The Colts come in off a thrilling 28-27 come from behind home win over the Giants last Sunday and I don’t think there’s any reason not to think that they can’t carry that momentum over here as well. The Titans posted a 25-16 home win over the Giants last weekend. Overall the Colts average 26.8 PPG and they allow 21.2. The Titans average 19.5 PPG and they allow 18. In the first meeting this year though, Colts’ QB Andrew Luck had 297 passing yards and three TD’s in a 28 point win.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Indianapolis has seen the total go “over” the number in 12 of its last 20 after playing at home, while Tennessee has seen the total go “over” in five of its last six in trying to revenge a loss where an opponent scored 28 points or more. This number is low, play the “over.”
|12-29-18||Notre Dame v. Clemson UNDER 55||Top||3-30||Win||100||482 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: The Irish are 12-0 and the Tigers are 13-0. This is the Cotton Bowl, but the winner of this will move on to face either Oklahoma or Alabama in the National Championship Game. Notre Dame had to hold on for dear life in its regular season finale vs. USC, while Clemson easily steamrolled Pittsburgh in its ACC Championship title. Both teams feature elite defenses and I believe they’ll “steal the show” in this one.
The pick: Each team will be trying to establish its run game throughout while on offense. And take it row what you will, but Notre Dame has seen the total go “under” in seven of its last ten after allowing 280 or more passing yards in its previous game and in four of its last five neutral site games, while Clemson has seen the total go “under” in seven of its last nine neutral site affairs on a three weeks or more lay off. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|12-28-18||Syracuse v. West Virginia OVER 68||Top||34-18||Loss||-110||461 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: No one expected the Orange to finish 9-3 overall and go 5-1 in their last six, but now they’ll look to continue to defy the odds and carry that momentum over into the Camping World Bowl. WVU comes in off back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and it’ll be without starting QB Will Grier, who will skip to focus on the draft. That just means that it’s “next man up” for the Mountaineers. And that next man is Jack Allison, who now has a golden opportunity to cement his role next year. WVU is loaded with other offensive weapons though and the Mountaineers will be hungry to finish up strong as well. From a situational stand point, there’s no doubt this one sets up as a “shootout” in my opinion.
The pick: Note as well that Syracuse has seen the total go “over” the number in five of seven as a favorite already this year, while WVU has seen the total go “over” in five of six already this season when the total is greater than or equal to 63. This number is a little low, play the “over.”
|12-27-18||Vanderbilt v. Baylor OVER 55||Top||38-45||Win||100||314 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: I think this one will sneak “over” the number once it’s all said and done. This is the Texas Bowl from NRG Stadium in Houston. Vandy became eligible by winning its final two games of the year over Ole Miss and Tennessee. Baylor’s also looking to cap a 6-6 season a high note after it broke a two-game skid with a bowl eligibility victory over Texas Tech back on November 24th. On offense, Vanderbilt will be leaning on Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who posted 1,001 rushing yards and ten TD’s on 144 carries this season. Baylor is susceptible against the run as well, allowing 172.8 rushing yards per game. Vandy also has a steady presence under center in Kyle Shurmur, who finished with 2,844 yards and 23 passing TD’s. After only one victory last season, clearly the Bears are very happy to be back bowling this year. Baylor’ QB Charlie Brewer finished with 2,635 passing yards and and 17 TD’s.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Vanderbilt has seen the total go “over” in three of its last four when playing with two weeks rest, while Baylor has seen the total go “over” in its last two non-conference games. This number is a little low, play the “over.”
|12-23-18||Chiefs v. Seahawks OVER 54.5||Top||31-38||Win||100||34 h 34 m||Show|
The set-up: From a situational stand point, there’s no doubt that this one sets up as a high-scoring shootout. The Chiefs come in off a tough 29-28 home loss to the Chargers on Thursday. The Chiefs remain the highest scoring team in the league, but they’re in the bottom third defensively. KC needs to win this game to keep pace for the top spot in the AFC. The Hawks also come in off a tough 26-23 OT loss in San Francisco last weekend. Both teams feature a couple of the best QB’s in the league in Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson. Each will be given the green light here today obviously. As stated off the top, this one definitely sets up as a higher-scoring shootout in my opinion.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well though, but KC has seen the total go “over” the number in six of seven on the road already this year, while Seattle has seen the total go “over” in ten of its last 15 as an underdog. This number is low, play the “over.”
|12-18-18||Northern Illinois v. UAB UNDER 44||Top||13-37||Loss||-115||225 h 2 m||Show|
The set-up: I think this one has defensive battle written all over it. UAB won the C-USA with a 10-3 record, while NIU was 8-5 overall. The Blazers ten wins were a school record and UAB got the job done with stifling defensive play. UAB has a question mark with its starting QB AJ Erdely, but the strength on offense is the run game behind Spencer Brown anyways. The UAB offense would only post 30 points four times this year, but the defense is allowing just 17.3 PPG. NIU also relies on its run game to generate offense, led by Tre Harbison. The Huskies averaged only 20.7 PPG and they allowed just 21.5.
The pick: Two defensive minded teams which rely on the run game collide in this one. Also note that UAB has seen the total go “under” the number in four of its last five then the total is set between 42.5 and 49 points, while NIU has seen the total go “under” in ten of its last 15 when the total is set in the same points range. This number is high, play the “under.”
|12-17-18||Saints v. Panthers OVER 50||Top||12-9||Loss||-111||60 h 3 m||Show|
The set-up: This total has dropped since opening and I think the value has definitely now swung to the over. Two teams which hate each other collide on Monday night and I’m expecting more of a wide open offensive affair than a lower-scoring battle. The Saints are 11-2 and are now in top spot in the NFC after LA lost to the Bears last week. New Orleans owns the tie-breaker against the Rams and with a chance to further cement, I expect veteran Drew Brees to be “on point” tonight. And as one of 6-7 teams, Carolina is only one-half game back of the Vikings for the second wild-card berth, so the home side still has everything to play for here as well. From a “situational” stand point, there’s no question that this one sets up a shootout.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but New Orleans has seen the total go “over” the number in ten of its last 13 when the total in the contest is set between 42.5 and 50 points, while Carolina has seen the total go “over” in seven of its last ten as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range. This number is a low, play the “over.”
|12-10-18||Vikings v. Seahawks OVER 45.5||Top||7-21||Loss||-110||9 h 9 m||Show|
The set-up: Clearly this is a big game for both NFC playoff hopefuls. The Vikes are in rebound mode after falling 24-10 in New England last weekend, while the Hawks are rolling now, most recently destroying the 49ers 43-16. The Vikes average 22.9 PPG and they allow 22.5. Note though that Kirk Cousins has the Vikes’ offense ranked sixth in the league with 276.3 YPG. The Seahawks are averaging 26.6 PPG behind the league’s No. 1 rushing offense. The defense is allowing 21.6 PPG. From a situational stand point, I definitely feel this one sets up as a higher-scoring affair.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Minnesota has seen the total go “over” the number in four of six on the road this year, while Seattle has seen the total go “over” in 11 of its last 16 as a home favorite. This number is low, play the “over.”
|12-09-18||Rams v. Bears UNDER 52||Top||6-15||Win||100||104 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: The Rams posted a tough 30-16 road win in Detroit last weekend they’ll have their hands full again this week on Sunday night at Soldier Field. Chicago is out to atone for a 30-27 OT loss to New York last weekend, so from a situational stand point, I definitely feel this one sets up as more of a lower-scoring defensive battle, where field position and time of possession are key to victory.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but LA has seen the total go “under” the number in four of six on the road already this year, while Chicago has seen the total go “under” in seven of its last ten as a home dog. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|12-08-18||Navy v. Army OVER 39.5||Top||10-17||Loss||-110||75 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: Navy dominated this match-up for over a decade, but the Army Golden Knights come into this year’s match-up having won two straight. Army is 9-2 in 2018 and enters on top form, having won seven straight. Navy is just 3-9 and it’s gone only 1-8 in its last nine overall. The Midshipmen live for this game though and I’m expecting the underdog to push the pace from start to finish. This is the first time since 2002 that Navy will finish with a losing record, so it’ll have one last shot at redemption here as it looks to play spoiler on Army’s great overall campaign to this point. With both teams pushing the pace, from a situational stand point, there’s no doubt this one sets up as a higher-scoring shootout.
The pick: Note as well though that Navy has seen the total go “over” the number in three of its last four as a neutral field underdog, while Army has seen the total go “over” in 14 of its last 20 as a favorite. Play the “over.”
|12-03-18||Redskins v. Eagles OVER 45||Top||13-28||Loss||-110||58 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: This is a big game for both teams. The winner of this divisional contest will remain on the fringes of the wild card spot, while the other will officially be eliminated from contention. With so much on the line, I’m expecting each side to open up the playbook The Redskins lost starting QB Alex Smith to injury and Colt McCoy was unable to to lead Washington to a win on Thanksgiving Day, eventually falling 31-23 to the Cowboys. Philadelphia’s stagnant offense will have its opportunities today against a Redskins unit which allowed Dallas to score three of its four TD’s by covering at least 16 yards. The Eagles kept their slim hopes alive in last week’s come from behind 25-22 win over the Giants and I think they carry that confidence and momentum over here.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Washington has seen the total go “over” the numb run eight of its last 11 as a road underdog, while Philadelphia has seen the total go “over” in ten of its last 15 vs. the division. This number is low, play the “over.”
|11-25-18||Packers v. Vikings OVER 47.5||Top||17-24||Loss||-110||103 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: For all intents and purposes, this is a “must win” game for both teams. The Packers are just 4-5 and they’ve lost three of their last four after a terrible loss to Seattle last weekend. The only hope Green Bay has is with QB Aaron Rodgers, so expect the visitors air it out early and often. The Vikes come in off a brutal loss to the Bears last weekend and they’ll also be hungry to reverse their recent offensive struggles with a break out performance. From a situational stand point, this one definitely sets up as a “shootout” in my opinion.
The pick: Note as well that Green Bay has seen the total go “over” the number in six of its last eight “dome” games, while Minnesota has seen the total go “over” in four of its last five as a home fav of three points or less. This number is low, play the “over.”
|11-24-18||Utah State v. Boise State UNDER 66||Top||24-33||Win||100||12 h 43 m||Show|
The set-up: This is an important game for both teams. The winner plays in the Big West title game. Utah State has won ten in a row and it plays with revenge after falling in this contest last year. The Aggies have a difficult task ahead of them and they were almost caught “looking ahead” to this one with a “close call” against Colorado State last weekend. Utah State has its eyes on a big bowl game, but it’ll have to take it one game at a time: “Survive and advance. Just like in the NCAA Tournament,” Utah State head coach Matt Wells said after the game, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com. “You know, I’m going to celebrate after a win like this. I’m going to let the players celebrate all the way until Monday. We have a special season going.”
Boise State looked decent offensively against a weak New Mexico defense last week, but the Broncos looked great defensively, holding the Lobos to only 14 points.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Utah State has seen the total go “under” the number in four of its last six vs. teams with winning records, while Boise State has seen the total go “under” in four of five already this year after two or more consecutive SU victories. This number is high, play the “under.”
|11-23-18||Oklahoma v. West Virginia OVER 81.5||Top||59-56||Win||100||98 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: This is an important game for both teams and that fact alone is the reason why I predict a high-scoring shootout. The Sooners will be playing in the Big 12 Championship Game next week no matter what, but clearly Oklahoma would like to win out with the hopes of somehow making it into the Playoff Championship. WVU needs to win this game and have Texas lose for its opportunity to play in the Conference championship and while the deck is stacked against them, clearly the Mountaineers are going to leave everything they have on the field on Seniors night. From a situational stand point, this one definitely sets up as a high-scoring game in my opinion.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Oklahoma has seen the total go “over” the number in eight of its last ten as a road favorite, while WVU has seen the total go “over” in five of its last eight as an underdog. This number is low, play the “over.”
|11-22-18||Falcons v. Saints OVER 60||Top||17-31||Loss||-102||35 h 39 m||Show|
The set-up: This is a great “situational” play. Atlanta can’t sit back and hope for the Saints to make the first mistake today. The Falcons’ season has been de-railed by injury, but veteran QB Matt Ryan will be given the green light to air the ball out early and often. The Saints only need two more victories to earn a first round bye. Clearly Drew Brees is going to have the foot on the gas here from start to finish this weekend.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Atlanta has seen the total go “over” the number in four of its last five after two or more SU losses, while New Orleans has seen the total go “over” in 14 of its last 22 at home. This number is low, play the “over.”
|11-15-18||Packers v. Seahawks OVER 49||Top||24-27||Win||100||80 h 38 m||Show|
The play: For all intents and purposes, this is a “do or die” game for both teams. Green Bay kept its hopes alive with a 31-12 home win last weekend, while Seattle came up just short in a 36-31 setback to the Rams on Sunday. The Packers won’t be just sitting back on their heels and looking for the Hawks to make the first mistake. Green Bay is just 2-2 on the road this year and it’ll have to do what it does best and that’s give the ball to QB Aaron Rodgers and let him go to work. The Hawks looked terrible defensive last week against the “gun-slinging” Rams’ QB and I think the defense is going to have its hands full here as well.
The pick: Note that Green Bay has seen the total go “over” in five of six against conference opponents this year and in its last six as a road dog of three points or less, while Seattle has seen the total go “over” in seven of its last ten following a divisional contest. This number is low, play the “over.”
|11-12-18||Giants v. 49ers OVER 45||Top||27-23||Win||100||9 h 16 m||Show|
The set-up: Clearly these are two teams that would take a “mulligan” on the season if given the chance. The Giants come out of their bye week looking to avoid a 1-8 start, while the 49ers enter at 2-7. San Francisco won’t be going down quietly either, it enter off a confidence building 34-3 win over Oakland. Each team has plenty of issues on both sides of the ball and up and down the line, but from a “situational” stand point, I absolutely feel that this one sets up as a “shoot-out.”
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but New York has seen the total go “over” the number in its last two following its bye week, while San Fran has seen the total go over in five of its last eight as a favorite. This number is low, play the “over.”
|11-10-18||Michigan v. Rutgers OVER 44.5||Top||42-7||Win||100||3 h 56 m||Show|
At 3:30pmET, my selection is one Michigan/Rutgers to finish OVER the total. As one of the lowest totals on the board, I believe that this game gives everyone great value on the OVER. Michigan may even enough to score higher than the total themselves as they average 37 PPG this season so far. The last time the Wolverines played in HighPoint.com Stadium, they scored a total of 78 points. Look for another high scoring game. Take the OVER.
|11-07-18||Ohio v. Miami-OH OVER 62.5||Top||28-30||Loss||-113||51 h 18 m||Show|
The set-up: Ohio is on a roll and that’s not going to stop this weekend facing the RedHawks, who just lost 51-42 to Buffalo. The Bobcats are rolling across the board, , most recently winning 52-14 and 59-14 over WMU as a three-point dog last weekend.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Ohio has seen the total go “over” the number in both games that it’s played so far this season as a favorite in the 3.5 to ten points range and in three of its last four off a win against a conference rival, while the RedHawks have seen the total go “over” in four of five as an underdog already this year (and in four of their last five as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range). The RedHawks desperately need a win here to keep their bowl hopes alive. With each team pushing the pace, I’m expecting this one to soar “over” sooner, rather than later.
|11-05-18||Titans v. Cowboys UNDER 40||Top||28-14||Loss||-103||28 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come off their bye weeks. Tennessee lost 20-19 in England in its final game before its bye, while Dallas fell 20-17 in Washington in Week 7. Both teams need a win and I think each will be looking to establish the run from the “get go.” As a result, expect this total to sneak under the number at the end of the night.
The pick: Both teams feature a couple of QB’s who are better at “managing” the game, than “blowing it wide open.” They also feature two very strong RB’s in the Titans’ Derrick Henry and the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot. Take it for what you will as well, but Tennessee has seen the total go “under” the number in four of six already this year as an underdog, while Dallas has seen the total go “under” in six of its last nine non-conference games. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|11-04-18||Chiefs v. Browns UNDER 51.5||Top||37-21||Loss||-109||89 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: The Browns will be leaving everything on the field today as they look to snap a three-game slide. KC enters off a 30-23 home victory over Denver, while Cleveland fell 33-18 to Pittsburgh last week.
The teams: After their loss the Pats, the Chiefs come in having won two straight. The Chiefs average 36.2 PPG and they allow 25.6. Patrick Mahomes had four TD passes and an an INT last week. So far the Chiefs have been up to the task each week, but it’s not too hard to imagine the visitors getting caught looking past their lowly opponent today.
The Browns have been trying hard each week, but so far that effort hasn’t translated into many wins or offensive production. Cleveland averages 21.1 PPG and it concedes 26.2. RB Nick Chubb had 65 rushing yards last week.
The pick: Note that KC has seen the total go “under” the number in four of its last five as a favorite and in 13 of its last 18 after two or more consecutive SU wins, while Cleveland has seen the total go “under” in 14 of its last 19 at home and in three of four already as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range. This number is high, play the “under.”
|11-01-18||Raiders v. 49ers UNDER 46||Top||3-34||Win||100||31 h 14 m||Show|
The set-up: Oakland comes in off its third straight loss, a 42-28 setback at home to the Colts. Derek Carr and company are just playing for pride at this point. So too are the 49ers, who have lost six straight, most recently an 18-15 setback on the road to Arizona. With nothing to play, on the short week and with each side dealing with injuries, points are going to be at a premium in my opinion.
The teams: The Raiders have already shelved RB Marshawn Lynch after he had surgery last week. Oakland also made some moves in its bye week, trading star receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas for a first round pick. Winning this Thursday night game is not of the greatest importance to this team right now.
The 49ers season went down the toilet when QB Jimmy Garoppolo went down with injury. The 49ers have seen four of their losses come by eight points or less, a testament their defensive and special teams play.
The pick: The 49ers have been solid against the run and the Raiders have pretty much abandoned their ground game. The visitors offense is extremely one dimensional and I think the home side’s talented defensive unit will easily be able to make the adjustments to make things difficult on Carr from start to finish. This one has defensive battle written all over it. Play the under.
|10-28-18||Saints v. Vikings OVER 53||Top||30-20||Loss||-105||29 h 4 m||Show|
The set-up: New Orleans comes in off a 24-23 road win over Baltimore, the league’s No. 1 defense, while Minnesota enters of a 37-17 dismantling of the Jets. These teams battled to a higher-scoring affair in the playoffs last year as well, with Minnesota eventually prevailing 29-24.
The teams: The Saints are averaging the second most points in the league, which is a good thing as the defense has regressed from last season, allowing 27.2 PPG. Drew Brees has an insane 13/0 TD/INT ratio and a QBR of 121.6.
Minnesota is averaging 25.3 PPG and and while it’s fifth in the league against the run defensively, it’s only 16th against the pass. Clearly that doesn’t bode particularly well facing the red hot Brees and company.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but the Vikes have seen the “over” go 5-2 in their last seven following a SU victory. Both teams are “firing on all cylinders” offensively. Play the “over.”
|10-25-18||Dolphins v. Texans UNDER 44.5||Top||23-42||Loss||-107||52 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: Miami has lost three of its last four, most recently a 32-21 setback at home to Detroit, while Houston comes in on the other end of the spectrum, having won four straight, most recently a commanding 20-7 win on the road over Jacksonville. On the short week, I believe points will be at a premium.
The teams: Miami was out gained 457-322 last week against a pretty bad Lions defense. And that doesn’t bode well this week facing a Texans’ defensive unit which is clearly “firing on all cylinders.” It wasn’t a pretty win last week by the Texans by any means, as they’d hold on for a slim 272-259 yardage edge in the victory.
The pick: Miami’s only hope on offense is to run the ball today (18th in the league in rushing, but it’s rushed for at least 100 yards in five of seven games.) Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill is injured and Brock Osweiler is “hit or miss.” The Texans have been getting the job done by letting DeShaun Watson “manage” the offense and I don’t think anything will change this week either. Note that Miami has seen the total go “under” in three of its last four as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while Houston has seen the total go “under” in five of its last six after two or more consecutive SU victories. This number is high, play the “under.”
|10-21-18||Browns v. Bucs UNDER 51||Top||23-26||Win||100||45 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: Tampa’s fallen on hard times since starting out 2-0, coming into this one having lost three straight. Cleveland is 2-1 in its last three, but it got destroyed at home by the high-flying Chargers last weekend. I believe the conditions are right for a lower-scoring “under” between these two hungry teams.
The teams: The Browns offense looked terrible last week against a pretty mediocre Chargers’ defense. Baker Mayfield was picked off twice and he only connected on 47.8 percent of his passes. So far he has a 4/5 TD:INT ratio. Mayfield doesn’t have many standout receivers, so look for Cleveland to try and establish the run here so as to alleviate some of the pressure of their rookie pivot.
The Bucs fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith following a 34-29 setback to the Falcons last Sunday. With the shift in management, I believe we’ll see a marked improvement on that side of the ball this weekend.
The pick: As mentioned off the top, I believe the “conditions” are right for a lower-scoring “chess match,” rather than a wide open “shoot-out.” Play the “under.”
|10-20-18||Oregon v. Washington State UNDER 68||Top||20-34||Win||100||46 h 10 m||Show|
The set-up: While it’s true that these two teams combine for 84 points and 967 yards per game this year, I believe tonight’s contest will fall “under” this sky-high number. Oregon looks primed for a bit of a letdown here in my opinion after playing ranked teams in three consecutive weeks, with two of those games going to OT. The teams: Oregon is averaging 43 PPG and it’s limiting opponents to 122.8 rushing yards per game. Also note that the Ducks are averaging 209.5 rushing yards per game themselves. I think we’re going to see a heavy dose of the run tonight. Washington State is averaging 41.8 PPG, as Gardner Minshew has 2,422 yards, 19 TD’s and four INT’s. The pick: Take it for what you will though, but Oregon has seen the total go “under” the number in four of its last six after two or more consecutive SU victories, while WSU has seen the total go “under” in four of its last six home games when the total is set between 63.5 and 70. This number is high, play the “under.”
|10-18-18||Broncos v. Cardinals UNDER 42.5||Top||45-10||Loss||-100||13 h 9 m||Show|
The set-up: Two struggling teams collide on a short week on Thursday night and in my opinion, points are going to be at a premium. Denver comes in having lost four straight, most recently a 23-20 setback to the Rams, while Arizona fell 27-17 in Minnesota to fall to 1-5.
The teams: The Broncos gave up 323 yards on the ground in a 34-16 win in New York two weeks ago, only to then allow 270 yards to the Rams on the ground in last Sunday’s setback. QB Case Keenum is nothing more than a clock manager, as the run game, special teams and defense continue to lead the way.
Arizona’s offense has been terrible this year, averaging only 13.6 PPG at home so far. Last week the Cardinals looked decent for the first half, before then falling apart in the second.
The pick: This one isn’t going to be decided by the QB’s. It’s going to be decided in the trenches, by the defenses and by special teams play. Take it for what you will as well, but Denver has seen the total go “under” the number in ten of its last 13 against clubs with losing records, while Arizona has seen the total go “under” in 14 of its last 19 at home. Play the “under.”
|10-15-18||49ers v. Packers OVER 46||Top||30-33||Win||100||12 h 57 m||Show|
The set-up: The 49ers are 1-4 and last place in the NFC West. This is a “must win” game for San Francisco if it hopes to compete in the playoffs. Starting QB Jimmy Garraopolo was lost to injury for the season three weeks ago, so it’s “do or die” tonight. The 2-2-1 Packers have looked brilliant at times this year and very pedestrian in others. Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers will be eager to bounce back in front of the home town crowd.
The teams: San Fran is now led offensively by RB Matt Breida, who is averaging 7.5 yards on 49 carries so far this year. QB CJ Beathard makes his third start after falling 29-27 to the Chargers most recently.
Rodgers comes in sporting an elite 10:1 TD/INT and I have a hard time seeing San Francisco slowing him down tonight after the critics have been quick to jump on him after last week’s sub-par effort.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Green Bay has seen the total go “over” the number in 15 of its last 25 home games as a favorite of 9 points or more. I’m expecting a wide-open affair, play the “over.”
|10-14-18||Chiefs v. Patriots UNDER 59.5||Top||40-43||Loss||-109||127 h 20 m||Show|
The set-up: The Chiefs have started 5-0, but the Pats come in off back-to-back victories and hungry for more after a lacklustre start. New England’s success in the past has had a lot to do with earning the first round bye in the playoffs and if it falls to the Chiefs here, it’s going to have to essentially “run the table” to duplicate that feat against this season. The teams: Patrick Mahomes had 313 yards and an INT in last week’s win over Jacksonville. The Chiefs’ young QB has so far answered every challenge to this point, but he’ll face his most difficult task to date. The Chiefs haven’t been great defensively this season, but so far they haven’t had to be. However, holding Bortles and the Jags to just 20 points last weekend was a big step in the right direction for the unit. New England comes in having won ten straight home games, but the Patriots still won’t want to turn this one into a “track meet” with the high-octane Chiefs. Look for Tom Brady to “control” this one while on offense. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but KC has seen the total go “under” the number in 11 of its last 16 when the total in the contest is set between +3 and -3, while New England has seen the total go “under” in its last four as a home favorite of three points or less. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|10-14-18||Bears v. Dolphins UNDER 43||Top||28-31||Loss||-115||120 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: Chicago enters off an impressive 48-10 home win over Tampa Bay back on September 30th, while Miami comes in off a 27-17 road loss to Cincinnati. I’m expecting a hard-fought, lower-scoring “under” once it’s all said and done. The teams: Chicago is averaging 27.8 PPG, but more impressively is the fact that it’s allowing just 16.2 PPG, ranked third overall. QB Mitch Trubsky had 354 passing yards and six TD’s against the Bucs last weekend, his best ever game as a pro. Can anyone say “letdown” spot? Clearly Miami can ill afford to turn this one into a “track meet” and expect to hang with the high-flying Bears. Miami is averaging only 288 yards per game, ranked 30th in the NFL (19.8 PPG), while allowing 23.4. QB Ryan Tannehill had 185 passing yards, one TD and two INT’s last weekend. The pick: Take it for what you will, but Chicago has seen the total go “under” the number in five of its last eight as a favorite and in nine of its last 15 against teams with winning records, while Miami has seen the total go “under” in seven of its last 12 against teams with winning records and in seven of its last nine as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|10-13-18||Duke v. Georgia Tech UNDER 54.5||Top||28-14||Win||100||95 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: Duke is in the basement of the ACC Coastal Division and the last thing it can do is turn this one into a “track meet” and expect to hang with the surging Yellow Jackets, who are looking for a third straight win. In my opinion, this number is a little hight. The teams: Duke would actually go on to destroy Georgia Tech 43-20 last year, but I think we’re going to see a much lower-scoring “chess match” on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils comes out of their bye week off a loss to VT, a game in which it allowed a season-worst 413 yards, including 332 through the air. Duke would allow 11.86 YPA to the Hokies, which nearly doubled their season mark coming in of 6.74. Good news came on the offensive end though, as starting QB Daniel Jones returned from injury to go 23 of 35 for 226 yards and a TD. The Blue Devils roared out to four straight wins last year as well, before then dropping six straight, so clearly the team will be out to avoid a similar fate this season. After three straight losses, the Yellow Jackets have won two straight, most recently steam-rolling Louisville 66-31 last weekend. The triple-option-offense posted a season-best 542 rushing yards, with QB TaQuaon Marshall going for 175 rushing yards and two TD’s. Note that it was the second straight game in which GT did not commit a turnover. The defense has been opportunistic as well, forcing 13 turnovers over the first six games. The pick: Take it for what you will, but Duke has seen the total go “under” the number in 13 of its last 17 against the conference and in nine of its last 11 off a loss against a conference rival, while GT has seen the total go “under” in five of its last seven after two or more SU victories and in four of its last five off a win against a conference rival. This number is high, play the “under.”
|10-07-18||Raiders v. Chargers UNDER 53||Top||10-26||Win||100||24 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: Each team comes in off a high-scoring, hard-fought victory last week and I believe they come in “gassed.” The Raiders held on for a 45-42 OT win over the Browns, while the Chargers held on for a 29-27 home victory over a San Francisco team which was using its back-up QB.
The teams: The Raiders got a big game from Derek Carr last week, but overall the Oakland offense has been inconsistent this year. Marshawn Lynch though has been a pleasant surprise, as he’d go for 130 yards last week and he now has 300 yards total along with three major scores. The defense has been hit or miss this season as well, looking horrible last week. However, I think it does indeed catch a break here facing what I believe to be a tired Chargers side.
LA is averaging 27.8 PPG and it’s allowing 30 PPG. Clearly that’s not a recipe for success. The Bolts have never had issues putting points on the board with Philip Rivers under center (he so far has 11 TD’s and two INT’s), but if the team hopes to take “the next step,” clearly its going to have to get things figured out on the defensive side of the ball.
The pick: Take it for what you will though, but Oakland has seen the total go “under” the number in five of its last six as a road dog in the 3.5 to 7 points range, while LA has seen the total go “under” seven of its last ten against clubs with losing records. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|10-07-18||Jaguars v. Chiefs OVER 49||Top||14-30||Loss||-106||21 h 44 m||Show|
The set-up: Jacksonville comes in off a 31-12 home win over the Jets last week, while KC enters off a 27-23 road win over Denver. I think these AFC heavyweights “throw down” on Sunday.
The teams: So far Jacksonville is averaging only 22 points, while allowing just 14. That’s first in the NFL. However, the Jags’ defense is about to face its stiffest test to date. Blake Bortles look great last week and he’s going to benefit in facing this porous Chiefs’ secondary this afternoon.
KC leads the NFL with an average of 36.2 PPG. The Chiefs need to score a lot of points though, as the defense is allowing 28.8 PPG. So far QB Patrick Mahomes has a 14:0 TD/INT.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Jacksonville has seen the total go “over” the number in 11 of its last 16 when the line in the contest is set between +3 and -3, while KC has seen the total go “over” in three of its last four off a win against a division rival. This number is low, play the “over.”
|09-29-18||Stanford v. Notre Dame OVER 52||Top||17-38||Win||100||56 h 47 m||Show|
The set-up: The Cardinals enter off a 38-31 OT road win in Oregon and I think it’ll carry that offensive momentum over here. Notre Dame annihilated Wake Forest 56-27 and it’ll be out to push the pace as well. Note that these teams played to a higher-scoring affair last year as well when Stanford won 38-20.
The teams: Cardinal’ QB KJ Costello was 19 of 26 for 327 yards, three TD’s and no INT’s in last week’s win. Stanford is 47th in the country in passing at 264 YPG. RB Bryce Love had 89 yards and a TD last week. The defense has been super, allowing only 13.5 PPG, but clearly that units faces its stiffest test of the season.
Notre Dame is 71st in passing and 66th in total offense with 416.5 YPG. Last week Ian Book threw for 325 yards and two TD’s without an INT in the victory over the Deacons.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Stanford has seen the total go “over” the number in its last four as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range, while Notre Dame has seen the total go “over” the number in three of its last four against the Pac 12. This number is a little low, play the “over.”
|09-27-18||Vikings v. Rams OVER 49||Top||31-38||Win||100||27 h 23 m||Show|
The set-up: The Vikes are 1-1-1 and they’ll be laying everything on the line on the short week to try and score the upset here and avoid the 1-2-1 hole. LA is 3-0 and it’ll be out to avoid any letdowns here and to keep the foot on the gas from start to finish. I think points are going to be plentiful.
The teams: The Vikes beat the 49ers 24-16 at home in Week 1 and then followed that up with a hard-fought 29-29 tie with Green Bay on the road. But Minnesota comes into this one off a terrible 27-6 home loss to Buffalo, a game in which it was a 17 point favorite. Two critical first half fumbles didn’t help their cause obviously. Another loss here and Minnesota’s season is “on the ropes” essentially.
The Rams would love nothing more than to deliver the “knock out blow” as well. LA beat the Raiders 33-13 on the road on MNF in Week 1, then followed it up with a 34-0 destruction of Arizona in Week 2 and then last week it pulled away for the 35-23 home victory over the Chargers. QB Jared Goff had 354 yards and three TD’s last week.
The pick: Minnesota can’t sit back and hope things work out. The Vikes’ offense has to produce tonight, or they’re going to get left behind by the high-powered Rams. LA’s greatest strength early it seems is that it can play any style of game. Wide open, defensive battle, either way it’s adapted its style early and done well in every scenario. I’m anticipating a more wide open affair today. Play the “over.”
|09-24-18||Steelers v. Bucs OVER 54.5||Top||30-27||Win||100||12 h 0 m||Show|
The set-up: Two hungry teams collide on Monday night and I think points are going to be plentiful. Tampa is 2-0 to open the year with wins over New Orleans and Philadelphia, while Pittsburgh comes in desperate at 0-1-1, with a tie against the Browns, followed by a loss to the Chiefs.
The teams: Pittsburgh’s defense is in shambles after allowing 21 points to Cleveland (14 of which came in the fourth quarter), along with 42 to Kansas City. KC posted 326 passing yards and Pat Mahomes had six TD’s. Mahomes was sacked just once and the Steelers defense has just two total turnovers over the first two weeks. While Ben Roethlisberger is down some offensive weapons, he’ll clearly be given the green light today to air the ball out.
Tampa QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to take immediate advantage of the Steelers’ porous defense, so far he’s completed 78.7 percent of his passes for 819 yards, eight TD’s and one INT over the first two games. DeSean Jackson had five catches and 146 yards with two TD’s in the win over the Saints.
The pick: Pittsburgh’s offense is going to have to put some points on the board today, because it knows that its defense isn’t going to stop anyone. This one has the feel of a wide-open shootout. Play the “over.”
|09-23-18||Bengals v. Panthers UNDER 44||Top||21-31||Loss||-115||118 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come in off high-scoring affairs last week, but I think points will be at more of a premium in this one. Cincinnati beat Baltimore 34-23, while Carolina fell 31-24 in Atlanta. The teams: So far the Bengals are averaging 34 PPG and allowing 23. The rush defense has been fantastic, ranked fourth overall, so that definitely negates a major strength/focus of the Panthers today. Carolina is averaging 20 PPG and allowing 19.5. The Panthers gave up 442 yards last week, so they’ll be out to atone today in front of the home town crowd. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Cincinnati has seen the total go “under” the number in its last four as a road dog of three point or less, while Carolina has seen the total go “under” in five of its last seven as a favorite. The conditions are definitely right for a lower-scoring “under.”
|09-23-18||Saints v. Falcons UNDER 53||Top||43-37||Loss||-109||118 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: What’s the first thing that comes into your head when you think about these two teams? For me it’s high-flying offenses and very little defensive play. While that is in fact true most weeks, I think these two division rivals will play to more of a lower-scoring affair in Week 3. The teams: The Saints had less than 300 yards offense in the win over the Browns. The offense had 475 yards in a Week 1 loss to the Bucs. Overall though New Orleans can’t be happy with where it sits on either side of the ball. Last year the Saints made big strides because of improved defensive play and the team will have to continue that trend this season if it hopes to once again make a serious playoff run. After coming up short on three occasions in the red zone in a Week 1 loss to the Eagles, the Falcons went four-for-four last week. Overall Atlanta can’t be feeling too bad at this point at where it sits, especially from a defensive stand-point. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but New Orleans has seen the total go “under” the number in three of its last four as a road dog of three points or less, while Atlanta has seen the total go “under” in eight of its last 12 off a divisional contest (and in six of its last nine off a win against a division rival.) This number is high, play the “under.”
|09-20-18||Jets v. Browns OVER 39||Top||17-21||Loss||-114||53 h 29 m||Show|
The set-up: New York is 1-1, looking great in Week 1, but stumbling in Week 2. Cleveland has been very competitive in both of its losses to open the season. These are two young and hungry teams looking for a big win on a short week and in my opinion, this one has “shootout” written all over it.
The teams: New York has lost five of its last six on the road. QB Sam Darnold so far has 532 yards, three TD’s and three INT’s. The Jets are averaging 105.5 yards on the ground per game. The defense has been a bright spot early in allowing just 18.5 points, but I think that the unit comes in “gassed” on the short week.
Cleveland is desperate. The Browns haven’t won a game since Christmas Eve 2016. QB Tyrod Taylor has 443 yards, two TD’s and two INT’s so far. The ground game has been a strength, averaging 135 YPG, with Carlos Hyde leading the charge with 105 yards and two TD’s. Cleveland has been decent defensively as well, allowing 21 PPG.
The pick: If not for some “back luck,” the Browns could actually be 2-0 to start the season. I think the home side opens up the playbook today as it lays everything on the line to try and secure the victory on the National stage. Darnold and company won’t be going down without a fight though. Play the “over.”
|09-20-18||Tulsa v. Temple UNDER 56||Top||17-31||Win||100||46 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: Tulsa comes in off a 29-20 loss at home to Arkansas State, while Temple comes in off an upset 35-14 road victory over Maryland. When these teams faced off last November 25th, it was Temple that ran away with the high-scoring 43-22 victory. While last year’s total flew well above the number, I think the 2018 match-up will produce a much lower-scoring combined final score. The teams: Tulsa is averaging 26.3 PPG and it’s allowing 28. QB Luke Skipper has 521 yards, four TD’s and three INT’s to this point. He also has 109 rushing yards and another major score on the ground. Shamari Brooks has 310 rushing yards and four TD’s. Last week the Golden Hurricane was out gained 409-339. The Owls opened the season 0-2, before last week’s surprise victory over the Terps. Temple had a ridiculous 429-195 yardage edge in the end. Overall the Owls average 27 PPG and allow just 23. QB Frank Nutile has 401 yards passing, four TD’s and four INT’s. RB Ryquell Armstead has 256 yards on 54 carries. The pick: Take it for what you will, but Tulsa has seen the total go “under” the number in four of its last six after two or more consecutive SU losses, while temple has seen the total go “under” the number in 11 of its last 17 as the favorite. This number is high, play the “under.”
|09-16-18||Colts v. Redskins UNDER 48.5||Top||21-9||Win||100||27 h 0 m||Show|
The set-up: Indianapolis fell 34-23 to the Bengals at home in its opener, while Washington took care of business in Arizona 24-6. The Colts hit the road for the first time in a hostile environment this season and I think they’ll have an even more difficult time moving the ball in Week 2. Indianapolis played better defensively than what last week’s score would indicate and I think the unit will have opportunities today as well. This number is high.
The teams: Colts’ QB Andrew Luck had 319 passing yards, two TD’s and an INT last week. No. 1 RB Marlon Mack was out and he’s questionable for this one as well. WR TY Hilton had just five catches for 46 yards. As mentioned off the top, the defense was decent despite the final score, as one of the TD’s conceded was a defensive one.
Washington QB Alex Smith had 255 passing yards and two TD passes last week. The run game stole the show offensively though with 182 combined, led by Adrian Peterson with 96. The defense was outstanding, holding the Cardinals to only 213 yards and 1 of 8 on third down attempts.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Indy has seen the total go “under” the number in four of its last five as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while Washington has seen the total go “under” in five of its last six as a favorite in the same points range. This number is high, play the “under.”
|09-16-18||Chargers v. Bills OVER 42.5||Top||31-20||Win||100||27 h 60 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams are hungry here after Week 1 setbacks. Both clubs looked horrible defensively last weekend and I think that’ll be the case here again as well. This number is a little low.
The teams: The Bills lost 47-3 last week. Josh Allen has been named the starting QB in Week 2 after Nathan Peterman imploded. LeSean McCoy only had 22 yards last week, after finishing with over 1,100 last year. Clearly the only way the Buffalo offense can go is up. The defense gave up 369 yards, including allowing Baltimore to go 6 for 6 in the Red Zone.
LA QB Philip Rivers will be looking to exploit the Bills’ weak pass defense. The Chargers were decent defensively last year, but the unit struggled in Week 1 and I think it’ll have its hands full here against a Buffalo offense that’s out to atone itself.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but LA has seen the total go “over” in four of its last six as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while Buffalo has seen the total go “over” in 12 of its last 15 at home. With each side pushing the pace and hungry for a win, I look for this total to fly “over” sooner, rather than later.
|09-15-18||Hawaii v. Army UNDER 62.5||Top||21-28||Win||100||20 h 50 m||Show|
The set-up: Two teams hungry for a victory collide on Saturday afternoon and in my opinion, points are going to be at a premium.
The teams: Hawaii is already 3-0 with wins over Rice, Navy and Colorado State. The Warriors have defied the odds to this point, most recently smashing Rice 43-29 as a 17 point favorite this past weekend. QB Cole McDonald was 22 of 33 for 319 yards and four TD’s last week, but I think Hawaii finally stumbles here against the Black Knights opportunistic defense and in this difficult road venue.
Army is 1-1 after losing to Duke its opener, before then bouncing back with a victory over Liberty. The Black Knights rushed for 449 yards last week and they’ll be looking to duplicate that performance here. The last thing Army wants to do is get into a “track meet” with the high-flying Warriors, so expect the home side offense to try and maintain possession for as long as possible, whenever possible.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Hawaii has seen the total go “under” the number in five of its last eight as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range, while Army has seen the total go “under” in interestingly seven of its last ten games played in the month of September. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|09-14-18||Georgia State v. Memphis OVER 60||Top||22-59||Win||100||11 h 58 m||Show|
The set-up: The home side will be eager to return to form here after a tough setback at Navy last weekend, eventually succumbing 22-21. Georgia State will be out to score an upset here and to atone for a lacklustre 41-7 loss to NC State last Saturday. This is the first ever meeting between the schools and I think each is going to be a wide open affair.
The teams: Georgia State scored the first TD of the game last week, but then it was shut down and outscored by 41 points the rest of the way. QB Dan Ellington threw for 194 yards. In his team’s season opening win over Kennesaw State he threw for 187 yards. But the Panthers defense is atrocious in the early going, most recently allowing the Wolfpack to throw for 426 yards. In fact the secondary returns just one starter.
Memphis smashed FCS Mercer 66-14, but it couldn’t hold on to a 21-9 lead over the Black Knights last week. Darrell Henderson had three TD runs, including 78 yard and 59 yard scampers. QB Brady White was 15 of 25 for 145 yards. The defense gave up 264 total yards. Last year the defense was a weak point, ranked 117th in the nation.
The pick: The Tigers were particularly poor against the pass last year as well, ranked 122nd by allowing 282.1 YPG. Memphis didn’t have to worry about Army passing, but it’s going to have its hands full today with a Panthers team looking to air it out early and often. This one just screams “shootout.” Play the “over.”
|09-13-18||Ravens v. Bengals UNDER 44.5||Top||23-34||Loss||-110||27 h 55 m||Show|
The set-up: This is an important early season divisional match-up. Both teams enter off high-scoring Week 1 victories, but on the short turn-around on Thursday night I’m expecting more of a “chess match” than a “run and gun shootout.”
The teams: Baltimore opened the season with a 47-3 destruction of the Bills. The Ravens’ starters were rested for a great deal of the Week 1 blowout, including Joe Flacco, who was 25 of 34 for 236 yards and three TD’s. The Ravens’ defense was downright dominant though, holding the Bills to only 83 rushing yards and 70 passing yards.
Cincinnati opened the year with a come-from-behind 34-23 road victory over the Colts. QB Andy Dalton was 21 of 28 for 243 yards, two TD’s and an interception. Last year the Bengals finished last in the NFL with only 280.5 yards of offense per game, so clearly this Week 1 victory was a step in the right direction. However, Dalton and company, especially WR AJ Green, have struggled against the Ravens’ ferocious defensive attack in the past and I think that’s going to be the case again here tonight also.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Baltimore has seen the total go “under” the number in eight of its last 12 against the division, while Cincinnati has seen the total go “under” in ten of its last 16 as an underdog. This number is high, play the “under.”
|09-10-18||Rams v. Raiders OVER 47.5||Top||33-13||Loss||-106||21 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: LA catches a break here after Jon Gruden traded defensive star Khalil Mack to the Bears for some draft picks. The Rams had the league’s highest scoring offense last year, so we can absolutely expect the visitors to push the pace and open up the playbook from start to finish.
The teams: LA went 2-2 in the preseason, but it would rest most of its starters over those four games. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are back and they now welcome dangerous WR Brandin Cooks to the mix. The Rams spent a ton of money on the defensive side of the ball in the offseason, but I think the unit will struggle on opening night.
Jordy Nelson will be the main WR in Oakland now that Michael Crabtree is gone. Amari Cooper will also be hoping for a much better season after totalling just 680 yards in 14 games last season.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Oakland has seen the total go “over” the number in seven of its last nine Week 1 home games when the total in the contest is between 47 and 50 points. With LA pushing the tempo of this one and with the home side having no choice but to match pace, I’m banking on this one flying “over” sooner, rather than later.
|09-09-18||Bears v. Packers UNDER 48||Top||23-24||Win||100||153 h 16 m||Show|
The set-up: It’s an important early NFC North match-up on Sunday Night Football and when the smoke clears at the end of this one, I think it’ll be the defenses from each side which will define this contest in the end. Chicago hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2010, while Green Bay missed the postseason last year with QB Aaron Rodgers injured.
The teams: Chicago got Khalil Mack from Oakland and he’s going to make an immediate impact on an already stacked defensive uint: “We’ll get to see where he’s at mentally and then physically we’ll have a practice and get an idea, and then we’ll just kind of have to listen to his feedback where he’s at,” head coach Matt Nagy said earlier in the week. “We told him, communication is imperative here.” The defense also has standouts Akiem Hick and CB Prince Amukamara.
Rodgers is back under center for Green Bay and he looks primed for another productive campaign. However note that the Pack head into the 2018/19 campaign after massive organizational turnover, because of last year’s losing effort. Rodgers is fantastic, but there are still a few questions that need to be answered for Green Bay in my opinion.
The pick: I think the Packers are a bit one-dimensional and the new look Bears offense is going to be able to slow it down and take advantage. This one has the feel of a “chess match,” rather than a “run and gun” shootout. Play the “under.”
|09-09-18||Cowboys v. Panthers OVER 42.5||Top||8-16||Loss||-110||149 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: Two teams which fell well below expectations last year collide on opening day on Sunday afternoon and in my opinion, points appear plentiful.
The teams: Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are gone, but the Cowboys are in good hands with Dak Prescott and a fully healthy and ready to go Ezekiel Elliot. Dallas has a lot of questions on both sides of the ball, but the offense is going to be given the green light to “air it out” all day long this afternoon.
The Panthers went 3-1 in the preseason, dropping only their Week 4 contest. Cam Newton had a strong camp and I think he’ll have a big day here against a Cowboys’ defense which also has many question marks surrounding it. Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess highlight a deep overall offense for Carolina.
The pick: Newton looked good under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s schemes in the pre-season, which doesn’t bode well for the visitors today. Prescott and company will be forced to match pace and in the end, look for this one to fly “over” sooner, rather than later.
|09-06-18||Falcons v. Eagles OVER 45||Top||12-18||Loss||-105||81 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: Two teams with something to prove in 2018/19 collide on Opening Night and in my opinion, scoring is going to be plentiful. The Falcons lost to Philadelphia 15-10 in the NFC Divisional playoffs back on January 13th and they’ll obviously be looking to avenge that setback. Philadelphia has question marks all over the place, but the defending champs are still loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.
The teams: Last year the Falcons led the league in dropped passes with 30. QB Matt Ryan will be expecting better from his talented group this year. Ryan had 4,095 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season. Julio Jones had 1,444 receiving yards, but just three major scores. ATL still possess one of the best “one-two” RB combo’s in Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman as well. The Eagles allowed only 19.7 PPG last year, but note that they had just eight INT’s overall.
Carson Wentz? Nick Foles? Whoever starts under center for Philadelphia, the home side is in good hands. In three playoff games Foles completed 72.6 percent of his passes. Jay Ajayi is the main RB now, along with Corey Clement, who is a great pass catcher out of the backfield. The strength of the offense is the line though and it will be once again this year as well with the return of Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters.
The pick: The last thing Atlanta can do here is play to the Eagles “pace.” Look for the high-flying visitors to push the tempo from start to finish and expect this total to soar “over” as it comes down the stretch.
|09-03-18||Virginia Tech v. Florida State UNDER 55||Top||24-3||Win||100||13 h 38 m||Show|
The set-up: It’s an important ACC match-up on Monday night between the No. 20 VT Hokies and the No. 19 FSU Seminoles. The teams: Virginia Tech was 9-4 last year and 5-3 in in league play, which was then followed by a 30-21 loss to OK State in the Camping World Bowl. Last year the Hokies averaged 28.2 PPG and allowed just 14.8. While duplicating those suffocating defensive numbers will be difficult with many of those key players gone, the pieces are still in place for another productive campaign on that side of the ball. Josh Jackson is the man under center and he finished with a 20/9 TD/INT and had 324 rushing yards as well. Florida State went 7-6 last year and 3-5 in ACC play, followed by a loss to Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl. The Seminoles averaged 27.8 PPG last year and they allowed 21.2. The defense was a strength last season and it will be again this year as well with many of the starters returning. Deondre Francois is the starting QB and he missed most of last season with injury. The pick: Take it for what you will, but VT has seen the total go “under” the number in its last two as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range, while FSU has seen the total go “under” in ten of its last 15 against the conference. This number is high, play the “under.”
|09-02-18||Miami-FL v. LSU UNDER 47||Top||17-33||Loss||-105||11 h 38 m||Show|
The set-up: This is the lone game on Sunday night and for a number of different reasons, I think that points will be at a premium. Note that this is being played at a neutral field, at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
The teams: Miami Florida was 10-3 last year, including 7-2 in the ACC, followed by a setback to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes return QB Malik Rosier, who had 3,120 passing yards and a 26:14 TD/INT along with 468 rushing yards. Miami averaged 29.1 PPG and it allowed just 21.
LSU was 9-4 last year and 6-2 in SEC play, which was followed by a loss to Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl. The Tigers have a big void to fill this season with QB Danny Etling gone. Myles Brennan and Joe Burrow will be duking it for the No. 1 spot. LSU averaged 27.2 PPG last year, but I think it’ll struggle to match that pace early. The defense was a strength (giving up only 18.9 PPG) and it will be again this year as well.
The pick: These teams both have question marks on offense coming into the season, but each looks ready to build off an impressive defensive campaign with an even better performance this year. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|09-01-18||Louisville v. Alabama UNDER 60.5||Top||14-51||Loss||-107||119 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: This is a neutral site affair and I think points will be at a premium. Louisville was 8-5 last year and it lost 31-27 to Mississippi State in the TaxSalyer Bowl, while Alabama went 13-1 and won the College Football Championship with a 26-23 OT win over Georgia.
The teams: The Cardinals were 8-5 last year and only 4-4 in the ACC. Heisman QB Lamar Jackson is gone and there’s also a new defensive coordinator in Brian VanGorder. Louisville was 11th in the FBS in scoring last season, but that was with Jackson. The defense was in the middle though by allowing 27.4 PPG and it will be again this year as well. Jawon Pass is now the main man under center, he has 238 yards and two TD’s for his career. The run game focuses around Dae Williams and Trey Smith.
Alabama averaged 37.1 PPG and it allowed just 11.9. Note that seven different time the Tide would hold an opponent to just single digits. Jalen Hurts had 2,081 yards, 17 TD’s, as well as 855 rushing yards and eight more TD’s.
The pick: I think the defending champs control this one on both sides of the ball as the Tide look to roll to another National Championship. This one has “chess match,” written all over it. Play the “under.”
|09-01-18||Oregon State v. Ohio State UNDER 64||Top||31-77||Loss||-106||111 h 59 m||Show|
The set-up: It’s the Pac-12 and Big Ten on Saturday afternoon. Oregon State was just 1-11 last year, while Ohio State went 12-2. The Buckeyes would go on to beat USC 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl and I believe the tooth-less Beavers will have difficulty moving the sticks this afternoon as well.
The teams: Last year Oregon State put up just 20.7 PPG, while allowing 43. QB Jake Luton had 853 yards, four TD’s and four INT’s. Artavis Pierce was the standout on the ground with 323 yards and a TD.
The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game and then smoked USC in the Cotton Bowl. Seven starters return to an offense which averaged 41.1 points. The defense was ranked 15th overall, allowing only 19 PPG. QB Dwayne Haskins had 565 yards and four TD’s.
The pick: Oregon State hasn’t had a winning season since 2013 and the Beavers are going to have their hands full again in 2018/19. Ohio State will look to control this one while on offense with its devastating ground attack, while also shutting the Beavers down from start to finish. This number is a little high, play the “under.”
|02-04-18||Eagles v. Patriots OVER 48||Top||41-33||Win||100||314 h 57 m||Show|
The set-up: The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles meet Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52. It's common knowledge that the Patriots have a chance to win the sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history, all of which have come since the 2001 NFL season, during the Belichick and Brady era. Meanwhile, the Eagles are looking for the first Super Bowl title in franchise history (lost to the Raiders in Super Bowl and the Pats in Super Bowl), as well as the franchise's first NFL championship since the 1960 season. That team beat Lombardi's Packers, handing the coaching legend his only postseason loss (9-1). Both teams went 13-3 SU, with the Pats going 11-5 ATS and the Eagles, 10-6.
Philadelphia: Carson Wentz was a MVP candidate before getting hurt in Week 15. Nick Foles has endured an uneven ride as his replacement. while filling in for the injured Carson Wentz. He replaced an injured Wentz against the Giants and completed 24 of 38 with four TD passes but then was a combined 23 of 49 for 202 yards (one TD / two INTs) in Weeks 16 & 17. However, he completed 23-of-30 passes for 246 yards in the 15-10 win over the Falcons and then 'exploded' in the NFC championship game romp over the Vikings. Foles completed 26 of 33 for 352 yards with three TDs and zero INTs, giving him a 141.4 QB rating. He's backed by a solid running game that averaged 132.3 YPG on the ground during the regular season, 3rd-best in the NFL. Jay Ajayi stumbled out of the blocks with a fumble on his first carry against Atlanta, before finishing with 54 yards rushing and 44 receiving on three catches. He then ran for 73 yards vs. the Vikings and caught three more passes for 26 yards. He has become Philadelphia's top option out of the backfield following an in-season trade with Miami, although LeGarrette Blount (team-high 776 yards in the regular season) had a rushing TD in each of Philly's two playoff wins. Philly owns an excellent defense. It ranked 4th in scoring (18.4 PPG) and total D (306.5 YPG) during the regular season and held Matt Ryan and the Falcons scoreless in the second half of that divisional round win and to just 10 points for the game on just 281 yards. It then followed by allowing the game's first TD against the Vikings, before shutting them out the remainder of the game.
New England: Brady had another remarkable season (4,577 passing yards with 32 TDs and just eight INTs for a 102.8 QB rating), as the Pats led the NFL in total offense (394.2 YPG) and scored the second-most points at 28.6 PPG. Brady owns the most postseason wins in history and added to his playoff legacy vs the Titans by passing for more than 300 yards (337) for the 13th time and surpassing Joe Montana with his 10th three-touchdown performance. Brady and his "injured" right hand then led the Pats to two 4th-quarter TDs in coming back from 20-10 down against the Jags, to win 24-20. He was 26 of 38 for 290 yards with two TDs, zero INTs and a 108.4 QB against Jacksonville's dominant defense, giving him his 27th postseason win. Four New England players had at least 56 catches in the regular season with TE Rob Gronkowski topping the list with 69 receptions (15.7 YPC) and eight TDs. Gronk was KO'd against heh Jags but is expected to be back. However, in Gronk's absence, Cooks had six catches for 100 yards and Amendola had seven catches fo 84 yards, including both TDs in the fourth quarter. RB Dion Lewis had rushed for at least 60 yards in seven of his last eight games but was held to 34 yards. However, he caught seven passes against the Jags, after catching nine against the Titans. New England finished the season allowing 18.5 PPG but it allowed 32.0 PPG through its first four games, before allowing only just 14.0 PPG over its last 12. In two playoff wins, the Pats then held the Titans to just 14 points and 267 yards and the Jags to 20 points (just two FGs in the second half).
The pick: Sure, it's Foles and not Wentz at QB but tell that do a Minnesota defense which entered the NFC championship game ranking first in points allowed (15.8) and total defense (275.9), as well as second in passing yards allowed (192.4). Foles completed 26 of 33 for 352 yards with three TDs and zero INTs (giving him a 141.4 QB rating), as the Eagles rolled up 38 points. The New England defense has real issues against the run (4.71 YPC) and Foles has two quality RBs in Ajayi and Blount. Sure, the Philly defense is stout and physical but doesn't Brady "always find a way" to move the chains and put points on the board? The Pats have averaged 30.1 PPG since their bye week (10 games, including the postseason), having been held to less than 24 points just twice. The Over is an 8* play.
|01-13-18||Falcons v. Eagles OVER 41||Top||10-15||Loss||-115||137 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: Surely no one reading this would be unaware that the Atlanta Falcons led the New Patriots 28-3 in last year's Super Bowl before a monumental collapse led to the Patriots winning 34-28 in OT. No one knew quite what to expect from the Falcons in 2017 but it was hardly a surprise that the team struggled throughout the entire regular season. In fact, the Falcons were forced into a "must win" situation in Week 17 of this year in order to qualify for the NFC's final playoff berth as the No. 6 seed. However, Falcons began their quest to return to the Super Bowl as the NFC's representative last Saturday with a wire-to-wire 26-13 win over the Rams in Los Angeles. The Philadelphia Eagles boasted the NFL's top mark throughout much of the season and tied a franchise record with 13 wins but as everyone knows, the team was 11-2 when Carson Wentz was lost for the season due to injury. Nick Foles finished off that game against the Giants in style but looked very 'shaky' as the Eagles went 1-1 with him as as a starter (more in a bit). So, the Eagles find themselves as the first No. 1 seed to enter its opening playoff game as an underdog in league history.
Atlanta: QB Matt Ryan (personal reasons) and WR Julio Jones (ankle, ribs) both missed practice Tuesday but are expected to start on Saturday. Ryan was 21 of 30 for 218 yards and a touchdown in the 13-point win over the Rams., giving him his first road playoff win in three starts. Jones reeled in nine receptions for 94 yards and a TD grab last week. The Falcons also possess a potent RB tandem in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman (combined for 1,493 rushing yards and 12 TDs this season). PK Matt Bryant nailed four FGs against the Rams and the Atlanta defense held the Rams (the league's highest-scoring team in the regular season at 29.9 PPG, to just one TD and 13 points. Speaking of that Atlanta defense, it has stepped up its game by allowing just 16.3 PPG over its last six games.
Philadelphia" Without Wentz, it's difficult to note Philly's offensive numbers during the regular season. Foles was outstanding in relief of Wentz vs. the Giants (24 of 38 with four TD passes) but was a combined 23 of 49 for 202 yards (one TD / two INTs) in Weeks 16 & 17. He hasn't given Philly's fickle fans much to cheer by leading the Eagles to just 16 points in their last nine quarters. Philly does have a solid running game though, averaging 132.3 YPG on the ground (3rd-best). The Philly defense has been terrific all season and comes in ranked 4th in scoring (18.4 PPG) and total D (306.5 YPG). Philly's No. 1 rush D (79.2 YPG) will be a real test for Atlanta's running game.
The pick: The Eagles can silence the critics on Saturday when they host the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field, where they went 7-1 SU As alluded to above, the Eagles are the first top seed to be a home dog in the Division Round since the seeding system was introduced in 1975. However, last season's NFL MVP, Matt Ryan told reporters after the win over the Rams, "We're not here just to get here. We want to make noise while we're here." Ryan had just recorded his fifth consecutive playoff game with at least a 100.0 passer rating in Atlanta's 26-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams Motivation abounds on both sides and while Foles is no Ryan, he did have that 'magical' 2013 season for Philly back in 2013 when he threw 27 TDs and just two INTs (119.2 QB rating) in 13 games. Make the Over a 10* play.
|01-08-18||Alabama v. Georgia OVER 45||Top||26-23||Win||100||148 h 28 m||Show|
The set-up: The SEC has been CFB's unquestioned top conference for some time now and it's only fitting that the 2017 SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs will square off in this year's CFP national championship game against their SEC rivals, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The winner will claim the national title for the ninth time in the past 12 seasons for the SEC. That said, the Bulldogs will be looking to win their first national title since the Herschel Walker-led team won the 1980 crown, while the Crimson Tide are striving for their fifth during Nick Saban's amazing 11-season tenure at Alabama. The Georgia Bulldogs are coming off a 54-48 double-overtime victory over the Oklahoma Sooners (arguably the best and most exciting game of the 2017 season, to-date), while Alabama left no doubt that it was fully deserving of being included in this year's 'Final 4' (despite not even winning the SEC West), by completely dominating No. 1 Clemson 24-6.
Georgia: The Bulldogs fell behind Oklahoma 31-14 but then scored the game's next 24 points to take a 38-31 lead. Oklahoma re-took the lead 45-38 but Georgia sent the game to OT tied at 45-all. After exchanging FGs in the first OT, Georgia blocked Oklahoma's FG attempt in the second OT and clinched a spot in the title game on Sony Michel's 27-yard TD run. Michel ran for 181 yards (16.5 YPC and 3 TDs) while Nick Chubb ran for 145 yards (10.4 YPC & 2 TDs). Georgia's freshman QB Jake Fromm has been seen a possible weak link for Georgia but he was 20-29 for 210 yards (2 TDs / 0 INTs) against Oklahoma, after going 16 of 22 for 183 yards (2 TDs & 0 INTs in the SEC title game vs. Auburn. No defense is capable of stopping Oklahoma's offense (Georgia allowed 48 points and over 500 yards) but note that Georgia entered the Rose Bowl matchup allowing just 13.2 PPG on 270.9 YPG.
Alabama: Speaking of defense, how about 'Bama's? The Crimson Tide stepped up last week and looked like the Alabama Crimson Tide of old, playing physical, nasty defense and doing just enough offensively to pull away. Make no mistake about it. Alabama won that game with its defense, giving the offense a short field with an interception and then getting a pick six. Alabama entered its game with Clemson allowing an FBS-low 11.5 PPG on 258.9 YPG and held Clemson to 188 totals yards (64 rushing yards) and six points. BTW, Clemson came in averaging 35.4 PPG and almost 450 YPG , including 244.1 YPG on the ground. Jalen Hurts continues to be under appreciated, but while he threw for just 120 yards he had two TD passes and did not throw an INT in 24 attempts. Hurts has passed for more than 200 yards in only two games this season but the Tide scored 37.9 PPG, and a multi-headed rushing attack ranks 10th nationally led by slashing RB Damien Harris (983 YR & 7.6 YPC / 11 TDs) and slamming 235-lb. Bob Scarbrough 573 YR / 4.8 YPC & 8 TDs). Plus, the elusive Hurts added another 808 YR (5.5 YPC & 8 TDs). Hurts is more feared as a runner but has 17 touchdown passes against just one interception (248 attempts) and enters this contest 27-2 as a starting QB.
The pick: Nick Saban will meet his former DC in Georgia's Kirby Smart, who is adamant that it doesn't give him crucial insights to the methods of the Crimson Tide. "There's not a lot of tendencies that he has that are just going to be ground-breaking to allow us a benefit," Smart said during a press conference. "The bottom line is our players got to go out and we've got to play a really good football game to stay with these guys." Saban also downplayed the situation, saying "I don't think the game is about the coaches. I think it's about the players." Aabama leads the nation in rushing defense at 92.8 YPG and will receive a big test from Georgia's senior duo of Nick Chubb (1,320 yards) and Sony Michel (1,129) bu that's what we thought against Clemson's running game, too. Athens may be in the same state as Atlanta but don't think this venue creates an edge for Georgia. The Crimson Tide are 6-0 in the Georgia capital overall since 2014. "We treat Atlanta like it's our home," Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson said. "We win a lot of games there." Should I close with the fact that Saban is 11-0 SU in his career vs. his former assistant coaches? Maybe, but instead, I expect to see a score closer to the Rose Bowl final than to what we saw in the Sugar Bowl. This total is TOO low. Make the Over a 10* play.
|01-07-18||Panthers v. Saints OVER 48||Top||26-31||Win||100||120 h 30 m||Show|
The set-up: The Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be the site of the last of four NFL wild card games this weekend. The Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints both finished 11-5 in 2017 but New Orleans won both regular season meetings, earning the Saints home field advantage for this contest. After opening 0-2, the Saints won 34-13 at Carolina in Week 3, jump-starting an eight game winning streak. The Panthers were just 4-3 after seven games but won seven of their final nine but the team's 31-21 Week 13 loss at New Orleans plus a 22-10 Week 17 loss in Atlanta, cost Carolina a chance to host this wild card contest. Conventional wisdom states that "it's hard to beat the same team three times in one season." However, teams that swept the regular-season series also won the playoff rematch 13 out of 20 times since 1970. So here we are.
Carolina: Cam Newton threw for for just 180 yards with one TD and three interceptions on 14-of-34 passing in the Week 17 loss in Atlanta. Newton clearly needs to bring his "A game" to this contest as he's basically a one-man show. He's far off his MVP numbers of 2015 (59.1% with a 22-16 ratio and an 80.7 QB rating) but Newton 's 754 rushing yards (5.4 YPC and six TDs) is a team high and his effectiveness is the main reason why Carolina ranks 4th in rushing on the season at 131.4 YPG. Stewart is the leading RB with 680 yards but he averages only 3.4 YPG. Rookie McCaffrey has added 435 yards (3 TDs) but his biggest contribution is his team-leading 80 catches (5 TDs). Devin Funchess is the team's best (only?) WR, with 63 catches and a team high 8 TD grabs. Carolina's D is allowing 20.4 PPG (11th) on 317.1 YPG (7th).
New Orleans: Discussions surrounding the Saints always start (and mostly end) with Drew Brees. However, things have changed in 2017. It's not that Brees has not been terrific but rather that the Saints' ground game and much-maligned defense, have made major improvements. The seemingly ageless Brees will turn 39 on Jan. 15 and had another 4,000-plus passing season (4,334 yards) and completed 72.0% of his passes. His TDs were down (23) but he threw just eight INTs and his QB rating checks in at 103.9. Anyone hear lately how the Saints made a mistake in sending A.P. to the Cards? Ingram ran for 1,234 yards (4.9 YPC & 12 TDs), while rookie RN Kamara ran for 728 yards (6.1 YPC & 8 TDs) plus caught 81 passes for another five TDs. Then there is the New Orleans' D, which after allowing 29.8 and 28.4 PPG the last two seasons, allowed just 20.4 PPG (10th) in 2017.
The pick: The Panthers haven't been able to slow the Saints in either of the two regular season meetings (allowed 34 and 31 points) and why should the Saints struggle to score here? After all, the Saints are 7-1 SU at home, averaging 31.0 PPG. That said, I expect Newton to be effective in this, his first postseason game since he and his team was dominated by the Broncos' D in the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. I'll stay away from the side but will make the Over an 8* play.
|12-31-17||Panthers v. Falcons OVER 45||Top||10-22||Loss||-110||115 h 15 m||Show|
The set-up: The 9-6 Atlanta Falcons may never get over having a 28-3 lead in last year's Super Bowl, before losing in OT. However, the team can take a "first step" towards doing just that by winning here at home in its showdown with NFC South rival Carolina. It's hardly been smooth sailing for the Falcons this season but the scenario is quite simple, beat the Panthers and no matter what happens in Seattle, the Falcons will advance to the playoffs as the NFC's No. 6 seed. The 11-4 Panthers have rebounded nicely from last season 6-10 'disaster,' but with a win here and a loss by the Saints (home to the Bucs), Carolina would win the NFC South. Even better, if the Rams lose on Sunday too, the Panthers would wind up with the NFC's No. 2 seed and a first-round bye! Carolina: Cam Newton didn't match his MVP numbers of 2015 but without much offensive help, he's led the Panthers back into the postseason. Newton has 3,122 passing yards with 21 TDs and 13 INTs. He's also the team's leading rusher with 695 yards (5.4 YPC) and six TDs. Stewart has 680 yards rushing but averages just 3.4 YPC. Rookie McCaffrey added 421 yards (2 TDs) but also leads the team with 75 receptions (5 TDs). Carolina ranks 11th with 23.5 PPG and its defense has been very good, allowing just 313.5 YPG (7th) and 20.3 PPG (12th). Atlanta: Despite all the teams ups and downs this season, the Falcons could have captured the NFC South by beating the Saints last Sunday in New Orleans and then beating the Panthers here in Atlanta in Week 17. However, Atlanta was knocked out of contention for the division title with a 23-13 loss at New Orleans last week.That means Atlanta must beat the Panthers here, as they can hardly expect Seattle to lose at home vs. the Cardinals. Matt Ryan has a modest 19 TD passes (with 12 INTs), giving him a QB rating of 91.4. That's quite a drop-off from his MVP numbers of 2016, when he had 38 TDs (17 INTs) and a 117.1 QB rating. Atlanta was the NFL's highest scoring team last season (33.8 PPG) but enters Week 17 averaging just 22.1 PPG (15th). The Atlanta defense has held its own, ranking 11th in allowing 20.3 PPG on 323.1 YPG (10th). The pick: No one is quite sure how Carolina will play this one, as if the Saints win at Tampa Bay, the Panthers can't do much about their playoff seed. However, both of these games start at 4:25 ET. I'm betting the Panthers go "all out" and that's exactly what I expect from the Falcons, as well. Make the Over an 8* play.
|12-30-17||Washington v. Penn State OVER 55||Top||28-35||Win||100||21 h 27 m||Show|
The set-up: The University of Phoenix Stadium is the setting for this year's Fiesta Bowl, featuring the 10-2 Washington Huskies and the 10-2 Penn State Nittany Lions. Each school was 7-2 in their respective conference schedules, the Huskies in the Pac-12 and the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten. Washington opened 6-0 but was then upset, losing to Arizona State on October 14. The Huskies won four of their last five games, including an Apple Cup rout of Washington State. Penn State began 7-0 but coughed up a big lead in losing 39-38 at Columbus to Ohio State, then lost the following week 27-24 at Michigan State. Penn State closed out with three straight wins, averaging 52.3 PPG.
Washington: The Huskies have an excellent QB in Jake Browning and a big-time RB in Myles Gaskin. Browning is completing 68.8% for 2,544 yards with 18 TDs and just five INTs. Gaskin (1,282 yards / 6.2 YPC / 19 TDs) leads a ground game averaging 189.8 YPG (38th). Washington will check in averaging 36.9 PPG (16th). Browning has seen a dip of nearly 900 yards and 25 TDs from his phenomenal 2016 campaign, but he is the school's all-time leader with 77 TD passes and is on the verge of becoming its second 9,000-yard career passer. Washington's defense is top-notch, allowing 14.5 PPG (5th) on 278.3 YPG (6th).
Penn State: RB Saquon Barkley was an early Heisman front-runner but he ended the regular season with 1,134 yards (5.7 YPC) and 16 TDs, while catching 47 passes for another 594 yards with three TDs. QB Trace McSorley led the Big Ten in passing (3,228 yards) and added 431 yards and 11 TDs on the ground to pace the nation's sixth-ranked scoring attack (41.6 PPG). The defense checks in allowing 15.5 PPG (7th) on 329.4 YPG (17th).
The pick: Penn State is 9th in the CFP rankings and returns to the area, if not the exact site, of one of its greatest bowl triumphs, the 14-10 victory over then-No. 1 Miami in the 1986 season. Penn State enjoyed a wonderful history in the Fiesta Bowl, going 6-0. Both teams had designs on a berth in the College Football Playoff (Washington for the second straight season) but both suffered two single-digit losses on the road, which was just enough to keep them on the outside looking in. While both teams owns outstanding defenses, expect the offenses to rule the day. Make the Over a 10* play.
|12-28-17||Michigan State v. Washington State OVER 47||Top||42-17||Win||100||20 h 35 m||Show|
The set-up: This year's Holiday Bowl from San Diego will feature 9-3 Michigan State (7-2 in the Big Ten) and 9-3 Washington State (6-3 in the Pac 12). Michigan State bounced back from last season's awful 3-9 season to make a run at the Big Ten's East Division. The Spartans finished with three wins in their final four games (checking at No. 16 in the last CFP rankings), including an impressive 27-24 home win over then-No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4. However, the very next Saturday, the Spartans were crushed 48-3 at Columbus and wound up one game back of the 8-1 Buckeyes, who went on to win the Big Ten championship game. The Cougars ended the 2016 season with three straight losses (including a bowl loss to a depleted Minnesota team) but opened 2017 in the AP's top-25 poll at No. 24 and closed at No. 21 (Washington St. is 18th in the latest CFP rankings).
Michigan State: The Spartans have been up and down offensively this season. The passing game averages 215.4 YPG (76th) and the ground game 162.9 YPG (67th). QB Brian Lewerke has thrown for 2,580 passing yards and 17 TD (just six INTs) but note that 845 of those yards and six of his scoring passes came over a two-game span bridging October and November (445 yards at Northwestern and 400 yards at home against Penn St.). Similarly, leading rusher LJ Scott (785 yards / 4.3 YPC / 6 TDs) gained 341 and had three TDs in two wins, at Minnesota and home against Maryland. Looking back at his season and we find that he had fewer than 40 yards rushing in four games this season. Teams coached by Mark Dantonio have always been known for defense and this yera's Spartans come in 9th in total defense (297.4 YPG allowed) and 24th in scoring defense at 20.2 PPG.
Washington State: The Cougars will challenge MSU's defense with one of the best offensive passing attacks in the country (374.8 YPG ranks 2nd), led by their record-setting QB, Luke Falk, who has thrown 3,593 yards with 30 TDs and 13 INTs (he became the Pac-12's all-time career passing leader in November)..Falk has thrown to a deep group of receivers throughout his three seasons as Washington State's starting QB, while operating behind a stout offensive line. This season's leading receivers for the Cougars has been Tavares Martin Jr. (70 catches / 9 TDs), Isaiah Johnson-Mack (60 catches / 5 TDs) and Kyle Sweet (50 catches / 2 TDs). Then there is RB Jamal Morrow who had 56 catches and four TDs. However, the Cougars' running game ranks 129th, averaging a woeful 71.1 YPG. WSU averaged 38.2 YPG but this year's team checks in at a more modest 31.4 per. A challenge will be that Tavares Martin Jr. was dismissed from the team and Isaiah Johnson-Mack left the program. However, that doesn’t mean the team won’t continue to go to the air, especially with seven players remaining that have caught 24 or more passes this season. Mike Leach has always been known for his "Air Raid" offense but after his first three Washington St. teams allowed 33.7, 32.5 and 38.6 PPG, his next two dipped under the 30 PPG mark. This year's unit checks in at 24.4 PPG (45th) and in allowing only 313.9 YPG, ranks 13th.
The pick: Washington State was 6-0 and ranked 8th in the country after beating Oregon 33-10 on October 7. However, the Cougars were "no-shows" at Cal the following week in a 37-3 loss. Two weeks after that, they gained 653 yards at Arizona, yet lost by 21! Washington was still alive for the Pac-12 North title its final game against Washington (Apple Cup) but were humiliated 41-14. Welcome to Mike Leach's world. This is nothing new! Michigan State will be 'bowling' for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons but head coach Mark Dantonio still feels a bit slighted nationally. When unranked Michigan (the school's biggest rival which lost to the Spartans this year) was selected for a New Year's Day bowl rather than MSU, it didn't sit well. Dantonio got into a bit of a Twitter war with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh about the perceived snub and many of the Michigan State players made their unhappiness known as well. Something tells me MSU is out to prove something here and Washington St. needs to wash the bitter taste out of its mouth after a second staright embarrassment in the Apple Cup. What's in store? How about an 8* play on the Over.
|12-26-17||Kansas State v. UCLA UNDER 60.5||Top||35-17||Win||100||26 h 33 m||Show|
The set-up: The 7-5 Kansas State Wildcats (5-4 in Big-12) will take on the 6-6 UCLA Bruins (4-5 in Pac-12) in the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix. The Wildcats finished the season strong, winning four of their last five games and will be participating in their 8th consecutive bowl game. The Bruins had an up and down season but were able to reach a bowl game after their 30-27 victory over the California Golden Bears on the last weekend of the season. However, after its Nov. 18th loss to USC, UCLA decided to part ways with head coach Jim Mora. The Bruins have already made a big splash with the hire of Chip Kelly but that's for next season, UCLA will be led by interim head coach Jedd Fisch in this one.
UCLA: QB Josh Rosen finished the regular season 10th in the FBS in passing yards with 3,717 (62.5% with 26 TDs and 10 INTs) but he has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons and twice was unable to finish a game this fall. He was replaced against California after getting sacked three times in the first half but he has since returned to practice and appears ready to go against Kansas State.
The pick: Some (many) expected QB Zach Rosen to go the Christian McCaffrey-Leonard Fournette route and opt out of the bowl before his likely early entry into the NFL draft (more than a few believe he's the best prospect) but all indicators are that he’s a go for this game. Why not? The Kansas State pass D is awful, ranking 129th in allowing 310.2 YPG. However, given the coaching situation and distractions in preparation caused by fires in the L.A. area, I'm not all that convinced the Bruins will bring their "A game." Kansas State is making its eighth consecutive bowl appearance -- a streak that is tied for 13th in the FBS -- and its 19th under coach Bill Snyder, who twice has turned the program around, once following a short retirement.I say Under is worth an 8* play.
|12-24-17||Houston v. Fresno State UNDER 49||Top||27-33||Loss||-108||36 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: There are few nicer places to spend Christmas Eve than in Hawaii. Sunday night from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, the 7-4 Houston Cougars will face the 9-4 Fresno State Bulldogs The Houston Cougars won three of their last four games to make it to their fifth consecutive bowl game.As for the Bulldogs, coming off a 1-11 season in 2016, they won the MWC West Division at 7-1 and then lost 17-14 to Boise State in the MWC championship game
Houston: The Cougars own impressive road wins at Arizona (19-16) and South Florida, when Houston ended USF's 12-game winning streak with a 28-24 victory..Houston also lost two "close ones" at home vs.Texas Tech (27-24) and Memphis (42-38). Houston's season has seen them go through three QBs and sophomore D’Eriq King is currently making it seem like "the third time is a charm." He led the comeback win against USF and has completed 73 percent of his passes for 832 yards over the last three games (Cougars won twice and lost by three at Tulane). Houston has a stable of RBs but no standout. The team is averaging a respectable 175.5 YPG on the ground (53rd) and the team's defense has been very solid (23.0 PPG ranks 40th).
Fresno State: Former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford has had some "first season." The Bulldogs lost back-to-back games at Alabama and Washington by a combined 63 points in their second and third games, then won four in a row, capped by a dominant 27-3 victory at San Diego State. Tedford’s squad followed the win in San Diego with an ugly home loss to UNLV but closed the regular season with four straight victories, including a 28-17 triumph over Boise State (as noted above, the Bulldogs then lost 17-14 to Boise in the title game). The team's remarkable turnaround has been sparked by a revitalized defense and the arrival of junior quarterback Marcus McMaryion, a transfer from Oregon State who has thrown 14 touchdown passes against just four interceptions. FSU allowed 30.9 PPG on 415 YPG last year but enter this contest allowing 17.2 PPG (9th) on 319.0 YPG (16th).
The pick: Fresno State has not won a bowl game since 2007, when it beat Georgia Tech 40-28 in the Humanitarian Bowl. Its most recent bowl game did not go well, a 30-6 loss to Rice in Hawaii in 2014 that dropped the school to 10-13 in bowl games, going 0-6 ATS in its last six bowl games. Houston is playing in its fifth bowl in a row (2-2 last four) and is 11-13 in bowls, all-time. FSU's defense has been terrific and Houston's is much better than most realize. The play is a 10*!
|12-24-17||Jaguars v. 49ers UNDER 42.5||Top||33-44||Loss||-110||122 h 37 m||Show|
The set-up: The Jacksonville Jaguars have won three in a row and seven of their last eight. Last week's 45-7 rout of Houston moved the Jags to 10-4 and clinched the team's first playoff appearance since 2007. The Jags will visit Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon to take on the suddenly rejuvenated San Francisco 49ers, who with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, have won three in a row to sit at 4-10. The Jaguars have made a remarkable turnaround from a three-win season to earn a postseason berth and can clinch their first division title since 1999 with a victory. Jacksonville owns a two-game lead over Tennessee and will secure the division crown with a win or tie against the 49ers, or if the Titans tie or lose to the Los Angeles Rams. The 49ers will be home for the postseason but optimism is running high in the Bay Area after wins over the Bears, Texans and Titans. Fans can see a light at the end of tunnel.
Jacksonville. QB Blake Bortles was almost run out of town during the preseason but the Jags didn't have a "Plan B," so Bortles was "their man." Bortles continued his torrid play last week, throwing for 326 yards and three touchdowns for a 143.8 passer rating. He is the now the first QB in franchise history to register a 100-plus passer rating, multiple TD passes and no interceptions in three consecutive games. He's completing 61.0% on the season with 19 TDs and just eight INTs. Rookie Leonard Fournette, who missed last week's game with a quadriceps injury, ranks third among NFL rookies with 1,136 scrimmage yards and is tied for second in TDs by a rookie with nine. He leads the team with 923 rushing yards and the Jags are the league's top rushing unit at 149.1 YPG. The there's that Jags' D which made great strides last year but gave up too many points because of all the Jags' TOs (see Bortles). However, Jacksonville comes into this game allowing a league-low 14.9 PPG on 284.1 YPG (3rd), while leading the NFL with 51 sacks.
San Francisco. From the start of the 2016 season through their 11th game of this season, the 49ers managed three wins. However, last Sunday’s 25-23 victory over the Titans means they’ve now won three games in the last three weeks and it isn’t hard to find the guy getting the credit for that change of fortunes. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has started all three of those wins and he’s leading an offense that’s gone over 400 yards in consecutive games for the first time since 2011. All three wins have come after the 49ers trailed in the second half and Sunday’s win saw Garoppolo complete three quick passes to move the team in position for Robbie Gould‘s field goal as time expired. “I knew he was a great player; we all did,” right guard Brandon Fusco said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “We didn’t know he was this special.”
The pick: Garoppolo's been great but the Bears, Texans and Titans (his three 'victims') are NOT the Jags. Then again, the 49ers do catch the Jags off last week's rout of Houston, which clinched the franchise's first playoff berth since 2007. Can you say "let down?".Garoppolo’s getting most (all?) of the credit but let me note that 49er defense has yielded only 19.6 PPG over its last six games. Make the Under an 8* play.
|12-20-17||Louisiana Tech v. SMU OVER 71||Top||51-10||Loss||-105||24 h 10 m||Show|
|12-19-17||Akron v. Florida Atlantic UNDER 64.5||Top||3-50||Win||100||56 h 27 m||Show|
The set-up: The Akron Zips were a surprise winner of the MAC East but lost 45-28 to Toledo in the MAC championship game, which brings them to the Boca Raton Bowl with a modest 7-6 record. Awaiting the Zips will be the Florida Atlantic Owls, who are looking to complete a remarkable season with a bowl victory and cap of the year with a 10-game win streak. The Owls opened teh 2017 season 1-3 (lost to Navy, Wisconsin and Buffalo), before winning a C-USA East division title at 8-0 record in league play. The Owls ten beat North Texas 41-17 at FIU Stadium (where the Boca Raton Bowl will be played) in the C-USA title game. An interesting storyline comes with this game, as Akron head coach Terry Bowden is the son of Bobby Bowden, the man who made Florida State a two-time national champion plus FAU's Lane Kiffin is the son of Monte Kiffin, recognized as one of football's most creative defensive minds in the game and the father of the "Tampa Cover 2" defense.
Akron: Bowden suspended QB Thomas Woodson and redshirt freshman Kato Nelson scratched out a couple of wins to allow Akron to become bowl-eligible and win its half of the MAC. Woodson returned for the conference title game vs. heavily-favored Toledo but was ineffective, completing only 5 of 14 for 35 yards. Nelson, who started the game and returned in the second half, and third-string Robbie Kelly led a few late TD drives that allowed the Zips to record a backdoor cover. Woodson completed 159 of his 278 pass attempts (57.2%) for 1,777 passing yards with 14 TDs and nine INTs, while Nelson tossed for 909 yards, eight TDs and only two INTs but completed just 48.8 percent of his passes. No RB even gained 400 yards on the season with Akron ranking 118th with 108.5 YPG on the ground. The team averaged only 23.6 PPG (103rd) on just 329.5 YPG (118th) and that hardly bodes well when its defense is allowing 26.3 PPG (60th) and a more troubling 432.3 YPG (98th)
Florida Atlantic: Offense is one aspect of the game everyone concedes Lane Kiffin knows quite a bit about. QB Jason Driskel has completed 65.6% for 1,977 yards with 13 TD passes and four INTs. He's run for 360 yards (5.1 TYPC) with six more TDs. the ground game ranks 6th with 283.1 YPG, leading an offens which averages 39.8 PPG (9th).RB Devin Singletary has had an outstandiung season (1,794 yards (6.5 YPC) and 29 rushing TDs) plus gets help from Howell, who added 690 rushing yards (6.7 YPC) and five TDs. The defense is plenty good enough with those kind of offensive numbers, allowing 24.2 PPG (44th).
The pick: Kiffin rarely "makes friends" in the coaching business, as he sure seemed to enjoy former employer Tennessee stumbling all over itself as it searched for a new head coach. However, he's authored a dramatic turnaround in Boca Raton and his Owls are one of the biggest bowl favorites in recent memory. Akron was able to fill one of the 78 available slots simply by competing in the watered-down MAC East and scoring a non-conference win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff. In the Zips’ other three non-conference games, they were limited to 31 total points in losses to bowl-bound Penn State, Iowa State, and Troy State. Expect this to be a somewhat boring game and the 10* play is on the Under.
|12-17-17||Cowboys v. Raiders OVER 45.5||Top||20-17||Loss||-115||100 h 33 m||Show|
The set-up: NBC's Sunday Night Football edition in Week 15 features the 7-6 Dallas Cowboys visiting the 6-7 Oakland Raiders. The Cowboys have rebounded from three straight loses to beat the Redskins and Giants in their last two, keeping the team's slim wild card hopes alive. The Raiders lost their Week 14 game at KC and at 6-7, sit one game back of the Chargers and Chiefs in the AFC West. Those two play Saturday night, so the Raiders can stay one game behind the winner of that contest and into a tie with the loser. Clearly, the loser of this game will be all but eliminated from postseason consideration.
Dallas: The Cowboys had scored a combined 22 points in losing three in a row, following the six-game suspension to RB Ezekiel Elliott. However, Dallas has scored 38 and 30 points in its back-to-back wins, with QB Dak Prescott breaking out for a career-high 332 yards against the Giants, along with three touchdown passes. RB Alfred Morris ran for 127 yards in the win over the 'Skins and RB Rod Smith had 160 yards from scrimmage with both a rushing and receiving touchdown vs. the Giants (47 rush yards / 113 receiving yards). That said, Dallas can't wait for Elliott to return, after this game.
Oakland: The Raiders' offense pretty much came up empty at KC last Sunday, with QB Derek Carr passing for a modest 211 yards (one TD and two INTs) and Marshawn Lynch gaining only 61 yards on the ground. Carr has 2,942 yards on the season with 18 TDs and 10 INTs (QB rating of 88.8), while Lynch has a disappointing 619 yards rushing on 4.2 YPC with seven TDs. The Raiders rank 15th in passing yards and only 26th in rushing, at 91.5 YPG. That all adds up to just 20.3 PPG, which ranks 21st.
The pick: "I think the two of us probably expected to have a few more wins at this point in the year," Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said of his team and the Cowboys. "We are where we are and we’re looking forward to playing.” The winning team will have a daunting challenge ahead of them. Dallas has the Seahawks and Eagles remaining on its schedule, while Oakland still has to play the Eagles and Chargers. Not interested in "picking a winner" but considering Prescott has a 114.4 QB rating with eight TDs and zero interceptions in his last five road games and Carr has 21 TD passes versus just five interceptions in his last 10 home games, an 8* on the Over makes sense.
|12-16-17||Chargers v. Chiefs OVER 46||Top||13-30||Loss||-105||76 h 32 m||Show|
The set-up: The Los Angeles Chargers opened 0-4, before winning their Week 5 game against the winless Giants. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs began 5-0. Who could have possibly predicted back then that this Week 15 Saturday night game between the visiting Chargers and the homestanding Chiefs would be for sole possession of first-place in the AFC West. However, that's exactly the case, as both team's come in 7-6. KC's slide began with a 19-13 home loss to the Steelers in Week 6 and last Sunday;s 26-15 win over the Raiders ended a four-game slide, as well as a stretch in which the Chiefs had lost six of seven. The Chargers followed their win over the Giants with two more victories but back-to-back losses left them 3-6 entering Week 11. Eleven was a lucky number for the Chargers, as their 54-24 rout of the Bills has sparked a four-game winning streak.
LA Chargers: QB Philip Rivers is completing 62.8 percent of his passes for 3,611 yards, and is headed for another 4,000 yard passing season (that would make nine of 10!). He has 23 TDs and just seven interceptions for a QB rating of 97.2. WR Keenan Allen has stayed healthy and checks in with 83 catches for 1,143 yards and five TDs. TE Hunter has 42 catches (4 TDs), WR Williams 32 catches (3 TDs) and RB Gordon 43 catches (4 TDs). Gordon leads the team with 853 rushing yards (just 3.7 YPC) but also has six TDs. The Chargers' running game ranks just 24th (99.5 YPG) but Gordon has become a solid dual-purpose RB. The defense has been excellent, allowing just 17.3 YPG (2nd) .
Kansas City; The Chiefs finally saw the return of rookie RB Kareen Hunt in last Sunday's win over the Raiders. He rand for 116 yards, his first 100-yard games since Week 5 (had 100-plus yards four times in his first five games). QB Alex Smith was near-perfect through five games and while he's come back to earth, it's hard to argue with his 67.2% completions on the season (23-5 ratio) and his 104.4 QB rating. The Chiefs defense has been a weakness all season, ranking 30th against the run (124.8 YPG) and 28th versus the pass (248.5 YPG). However, they've been able to "limit the damage," allowing 22.2 PPG (15th). In last Sunday's win, they held the Raiders to 268 total yards and15 points, while forcing three turnovers .
The pick: KC dominated the first meeting, winning 24-10 in LA back in Week 3. However, both teams look very different now. Philip Rivers has led a resurgent offense, averaging 337.0 YPG through the air with eight TDs and not a single interception during the team's four-game winnings streak, LA is averaging 32.8 PPG in that span and I see little reason to expect the KC defense to "keep a lid" on this Rivers-led offense. As for KC, Smith continues his career season and Hunt, who ran for 172 yards against the Chargers in that first meeting, may just have "found his second wind" last Sunday. KC has won seven in this series, so don't expect them to "roll over." Make the Over is a 10* play.
|12-10-17||Ravens v. Steelers OVER 43.5||Top||38-39||Win||100||121 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: The AFC North rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers has quickly developed as one of the biggest, best and most-bitter in the entire NFL. The 7-5 Ravens will be hard-pressed to catch the Steelers for the division title but as Baltimore visits Heinz Field for Sunday Night Football, the Ravens currently own the AFC's No. 6 seed (final playoff spot). The 10-2 Steelers come into this matchup looking to build on their seven-game winning streak which currently has them tied with the Pats for the AFC's best record but as the owners of the tie-breaker (I'm sure the world knows the Pats and Steelers meet next Sunday in Pittsburgh).
Baltimore:The Ravens have a winning streak of their own but it's a modest three-gamer. Flacco has struggled all season at QB, as Baltimore ranks 31st in passing YPG at 171.0 per). He's completing 65.1% but has as many INTs as TD passes (11 each), giving him a QB rating of 77.1. WRs Mike Wallace (34) and Jeremy Maclin (36) have combined for 878 receiving yards and six TD reception (three each), while TE Benjamin Watson leads the team with 45 catches (just 7.7 YPC). RB Alex Collins leads the way with 705 yards rushing (4.9 YPC) but Baltimore ranks 12th overall on the ground, averaging 115.5 YPG. and four touchdowns. The defense is not comparable to the Ray Lewis-era units but the Ravens rank third in allowing 17.2 PPG (3rd) on 311.2 YPG (7th).
Pittsburgh: The Steelers fell behind the Bengals 17-0 last Monday but came back to win 23-20, keeping their No. 1 seed status intact. The "Killers Bs" are just that. Big Ben has thrown for 3,238 yards with 22 TDs and 13 INTs on the season but note that in the team's seven-game winning streak since losing 30-9 at home to the Jaguars (Roethlisberger threw five picks in that one!), he has a 16-6 TD-to-INT ratio. RB Le'Veon Bell got a slow start but now leads the NFL in rushing with 1,057 yards (also has 66 catches) plus WR Antonio Brown has 88 catches and an NFL-high 1,296 yards (nine TDs). Pittsburgh's D is comparable to Baltimore's, allowing 17.8 PPG (5th) on 294.7 YPG (4th).
The pick: When these teams met back in Week 4 (at Baltimore), it was not a typical Ba/Pit game, as the Steelers won handily, 26-9. This game figures to much more intense but note that the Ravens' OL is in much better health these days and Flacco has led the team to an average of 30.0 PPG in its three-game winning streak. Could the Steelers be caught looking ahead to their showdown in Week 15 with the Pats? I can't see that and Big Ben has thrived in his last five SNF home games, throwing 21 TDs and just three INTs with a 127.8 QB rating. How about an 8* on the Over.
|12-07-17||Saints v. Falcons OVER 53||Top||17-20||Loss||-110||49 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: The 9-3 New Orleans Saints lead the NFC South at 9-3 with the 8-4 Carolina Panthers sitting one game back. The Panthers are tied with the 8-4 Seahawks, with Seattle winning the tie-breaker to give them the NFC's No. 1 wild card spot. The Panthers on the No. 6 seed but a third member the the division is the 7-5 Atlanta Falcons (the defending NFC champs), who are lurking just one game back of the Seahawks and Panthers. Week 14's Thursday Night Football features the Saints and Falcons from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
New Orleans: The Saints saw their eight-game winning streak snapped in a Week 12 loss at the LA Rams but bounced back last Sunday with a 31-21 home win over the Panthers. Drew Brees is still a potent force (71.5% with 17 TDs and just 5 INTs / 104.2 QB rating) but the performances of RBs Mark Ingram Alvin Kamara have somewhat re-defined the Saints' offense. The New Orleans rushing game is averaging 142.6 YPG (3rd), with Ingram gaining 922 yards (5.1 YPC / 9 TDs) and Kamara adding 606 yards (7.0 YPC / 5 TDs). Kamara has four more TDs on 59 catches, while Ingram has 42 catches but no TDs. Then there is the New Orleans' D, which has been a (the?) major reason the Saints have missed the playoffs three straight seasons going 8-8, 8-8 and 7-9. Starting from that 7-9 season, New Orleans' had allowed 26.5 PPG on 384.0 YPG, then 29.8 PPG on 413.8 YPG and finally 28.4 PPG on 375.4 YPG. This year's unit is allowing 20.2 PPG on 330.1 YPG, with both figures ranking 12th-best!
Atlanta: The Falcons welcomed the Vikings to Atlanta last Sunday on a three-game winning streak. However, QB Matt Ryan passed for just 173 yards on 16-of-29 with 0 TDS and INTs, while Atlanta was not able to score a TD (had three 38 FGs in a 14-9 loss). Ryan (3,057 yards with 16 TDs and eight INTs / 95.4 QB rating) has not played like he did last year when he was league MVP (he threw for 4,944 yards with TDs, 7 INTs and had a QB rating of 117.1). Atlanta boasts a potent pair of RBs in its own right in Devonta Freeman (589 yards / 4.6 YPC / 3 TDs and Tevin Coleman (569 yards / 4.3 YPC / 6 TDs. Freeman returned from a concussion in a 14-9 loss to Minnesota on Sunday, gaining 74 yards on just 12 carries. However, the Atlanta rushing attack averages a more modest 115.6 YPG to rank 11th. WR Julio Jones owns an NFC-best 1,063 receiving yards (68 catches) but was limited to two catches for 24 yards versus the Vikings. Atlanta led the NFL in averaging 33.8 PPG last season but comes in averaging only 22.8 PPG in 2017, which ranks 14th. The defense has been solid, allowing 20.3 PPG (13th) on 321.0 YPG (8th).
The pick: The Saints have already beaten the Panthers twice in 2017 and now play the Falcons tonight and then again in Week 16 (two times in three weeks). A win here would put New Orleans in a great spot and put Atlanta's playoff chances on 'life support.' Matt Ryan and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian seemed to have finally gotten on the same page in Atlanta's three-game winnings (had averaged 31.7 PPG) but it all collapsed against the Minnesota D. Yes, New Orleans' D is greatly improved but shutting down Atlanta a second straight week will be tough, especially considering how badly Atlanta needs this game. These teams played a pair of shootouts in 2016, with Atlanta winning both by scores of 45-32 and 38-32. I'll stay away from calling for an Atlanta win but will say make the Over a 10* play.
|12-03-17||Browns v. Chargers OVER 41.5||Top||10-19||Loss||-108||119 h 33 m||Show|
The set-up: The 0-11 Cleveland Browns, the NFL's lone win-less team, travels to Los Angeles and StubHub Center to take on the rejuvenated LA Chargers. The Chargers opened 0-4, just like the Browns, but unlike Cleveland which has continued to lose, Los Angeles has won five of its last seven. LA will take the field just 5-6 on the season but thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs' collapse (KC has lost five of six after a 5-0 start), the Chargers are just one game out of first in the AFC West. Getting back to Cleveland, the Browns are desperately seeking their first win of 2017, as the team's two-year 'nightmare' continues (Browns are 1-26 under head coach Hue Jackson).
Cleveland: The Browns are still looking for their first victory since Christmas Eve of last year and Cleveland hasn't won a road game since October of 2015. Other than that, things are great! QB DeShone Kizer hardly looks ready for prime time, completing 53.0 percent with five TDs and 14 INTs (QB rating of 57.2). He gets little help from his running (107.4 YPG ranks 17th) and Cleveland 'brings up the rear" in averaging an NFL-low 15.1 PPG. However, the team has to be excited that WR Josh Gordon returning to action for the first time since Dec. 21, 2014 due to his substance-abuse issues. "I'm just excited," Gordon, the NFL's top receiver in 2013, said during a press conference. "I'm having the most fun that I have ever had doing this, just playing ball, the love of it. That is the only thing that is giving me any type of - not really pressure - but kind of just boost, more than anything." Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013, when he caught 87 passes (nine for TDs) in 14 games while earning Pro Bowl honors. The Cleveland defense has not played all that badly (318.0 YPG ranks 9th) but the NFL's worst TO margin (minus-17) has contributed to them allowing 26.3 PPG, which ranks 30th.
LA Chargers: The Chargers look for a third straight victory to get back to a .500 record, after a 54-24 home win over the Bills and a 28-6 win at Dallas on Thanksgiving. Rivers completed 72.3% in those two wins, throwing for 685 yards with five TDs and no INTs. He's completing 62.1 percent for 2,948 yards with 20 TDs and seven INTs (95.2 rating). The Chargers rank 4th in passing YPG, putting Rivers on pace for his ninth 4,000-yard season in his last 10 years. RB Gordon is only averaging 3.7 YPC but has been a good all-purpose back. He's run for 698 yards (5 TDs) and caught 38 passes for four more TDs. WR Keenan Allen has stayed healthy and has 67 catches (13.8 YPC) with four TDs. The Chargers' D has also played well, allowing just 18.4 PPG (6th).
The pick: I noted at the top that the Browns last won back on Christmas Eve 2016. The Chargers won't need to be reminded of that here, considering they were the team the Browns beat last Christmas Eve, 20-17. The charged-up Bolts are eager to not only avenge last year's loss to Cleveland but to keep the pressure on KC, which plays at the Jets earlier in the day. Philip Rivers will make his 188th consecutive start and that is now the longest active streak in the league after the New York Giants demoted Eli Manning (210). Rivers looks great and it's hard to imagine Cleveland slowing him and the Chargers down (the Browns have allowed 30 or more points on six occasions in 2017). As for Cleveland, the return of Gordon can be nothing but good news and as Hue Jackson commented, "I have big plans for him. I plan for him to play, and play as much as he can handle. I think he is a very talented player. He needs to play, needs to get out there and play, but we have to see where he is and make sure how much can he handle, how much can he do." Make the Over an 8* play
|12-03-17||Colts v. Jaguars OVER 40.5||Top||10-30||Loss||-110||115 h 29 m||Show|
The set-up: For a long time, the Indianapolis Colts dominated the AFC South, first led by Peyton Manning and then Andrew Luck. However, the Colts entered the 2017 season off back-to-back seasons and with Andrew Luck never getting on the field, find themselves at 3-8 entering Week 13. The Colts would need to "win out" to reach 8-8 this season and we can be pretty sure that won't happen. Indy visits Jacksonville on Sunday and the 7-4 Jaguars are attempting to end a nine-season playoff drought. Jacksonville is tied with Tennessee for first place in the AFC South as it opens a three-game homestand on Sunday against the Colts.The Titans currently own the tie-breaker but the good news is the Jags currently own the AFC's No. 1 wild card spot.
Indianapolis: The Colts' season unraveled early as Luck has been unavailable due to a shoulder injury. The team's next loss will clinch its first losing campaign since 2011. "It's tough, but I know what type of guys we've got in this locker room - great group of guys who will come to work every day," veteran RB Frank Gore told reporters. "I know things haven't been going our way, and I think if we just handle the small things, I think that can change." Gore needs just 49 rushing yards against the Jaguars to pass Jerome Bettis (13,662) and LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and move into fifth place on the all-time list but "he's dreaming" about this team turning things around. Jacoby Brissett is limited at QB (9 TDs / 5 INTs / QB rating of 86.0), as the Colts rank 26th in averaging 201.3 YPG (26th). Gore and the team's rushing 'attack' ranks 24th, averaging 95.3 YPG. That adds up to the team averaging only 17.2 PPG (27th). On the defensive side of the ball, Indy is allowing an NFL-worst 27.3 PPG on 375.8 YPG (29th). Go back and re-visit Gore's quote and try NOT to laugh!
Jacksonville: The Jags considered replacing QB Blake Bortles in the preseason but they didn't have a "plan B." Bortles has made fewer mistakes this season but he's is a liability. He's completing a modest 58.3% with just 12 TDs (albeit, just 8 INTs). The Jags rank just 28th with 194.8 YPG passing but have been bailed out offensively by the NFL's No. 1-ranked running game. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette has been up-and-down this season but his 765 yards (4.1 YPC / 6 TDs) is a team-high for a Jacksonville team averaging 154.3 YPG! Jacksonville's D played hard last season but the turnover-plagued offense kept many people from noticing. However, the Jags enter this Week 13 game ranked first in points allowed (15.3 per game) and yards allowed (281.8 per game).
The pick: Jacksonville is 3-0 ATS following a SU loss in 2017, with those victories coming by 37, 21 & 27 points. Maybe I should just "lay it" but this low total has me more interested. The Colts are allowing 33.2 PPG on the road and after getting shut out at home by the Jags, I think the Colts are more than capable of at least putting up their season average on offense (just shy of 18 points). Make the Over an 8* play.
|12-02-17||Memphis v. Central Florida UNDER 82.5||Top||55-62||Loss||-117||92 h 53 m||Show|
The set-up: This year's AAC Championship between the 10-1 Memphis Tigers and 11-0 UCF Knights at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando is quite special. Memphis has a chance to win 11 games for the first time in school history while earning its sixth conference title. UCF looks to continue its perfect season while winning the school's fifth conference title. This showdown features the top-two point-producers in college football. Memphis ranks 2nd at 47.0 PPG and UCF 1st at 48.7 PPG. Better yet, the winner will earn a New Year's Six Bowl berth.
Memphis: QB Riley Ferguson is completing 62.2 percent of his passes for 3,500 yards with 32 TDs and eight INTs. Ferguson has two quality RBs playing along with him in Henderson (1,052 YR / 9.1 YPC / 8 TDs) and Taylor (700 YR / 5.8 YPC / 12 TDs). Ferguson has 23 TD passes to go along with only three interceptions since the team's 40-13 loss at UCF in its fourth game of the season, one in which he had three INTs. WR Anthoy Miller (78 catches / 15.5 YPC / 14 TDs) holds almost every school receiving record. On the entire season, defense has been an issue for Memphis, which comes into this contest allowing 30.8 PPG on 453.5 YPG (112th).
UCF: QB McKenzie Milton can match Ferguson, completing 69.1% for 3,301 yards with 30 TDs and six INTs. Memphis has the best RBs on the field but UCF's backfield depth has allowed them to average 198.9 YPG rushing, just a few YPG less than Memphis (202.5). The real edge UCF owns in this game is on the defensive side of the ball. The Knights allow more than a TD less per game (22.5) and just over 50 YPG less, at 399.0 per. Then there is also the Knights' 27 takeaways (17 INTs / 10 fumble recoveries), which leaves then tied with Miami-Fl. for the national lead with a plus-17 turnover margin.
The pick: Memphis is seeking to avenge a 40-13 blowout loss at this same venue in Orlando back on Sep. 30 but note UCF leads this series 10-1 and is 5-0 ATS in its last five home meetings against Memphis. What changes here? Probably nothing but so much is at stake in this contest, that I believe that with this super-high over/under number, the under is the play. UCF owns a very good defense and Memphis has allowed fewer than 15 points in two of its last three game. Make the Under an 8* play.
|11-26-17||Packers v. Steelers OVER 43.5||Top||28-31||Win||100||56 h 26 m||Show|
The set-up: The 5-5 Green Bay Packers' wild card hopes are quickly slipping away and they could sure use a win Sunday night at Heinz Field, after losing four of their last five games. The problem being, their opponents will be the 8-2 Pittsburgh Steelers, who have as won five straight games to tie the Patriots for the AFC's best record (Pittsburgh currently owns the tie-breaker for the No. 1 seed). This could have been a matchup of Super Bowl-winning QBs, Rodgers (one) vs. Roethlisberger (two) but instead Brett Hundley
Green Bay: The Packers are 1-3 with Hundley starting and he was awful in last Sunday's 23-0 home loss to the Ravens. He had four (three INTs and one fumble) of Green Bay's five TOs and comes into this game averaging 136.8 YPG passing with two TDs and seven INTs (QB rating of 63.3). The team's leading rusher (Aaron Jones) has just 370 yards and the Packers average only 102.4 rushing YPG (19th). Green Bay's depth at WR hasn't meant much with Hundley under center,,as the Packers are averaging 14.3 PPG in his four starts. The defense checks in averaging 18th in both points allowed (23.0 per) and yards allowed (340.1 per).
Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger is not having one of his better years but he's off an excellent game in Week 11 (Thursday night at home vs. Tenn.), as he threw for 299 yards and four TDs. In guiding Pittsburgh to five straight wins, Big Ben has thrown for 1,328 yards with 10 TDs and a 102.7 passer rating. WR Antonio Brown leads the league in catches (70) and receiving yards (1,026) after hauling in 10 receptions and three scoring passes in the romp over Tennessee (six TDs on the season). Le'Veon Bell has had an uneven year (after a holdout) but is still the NFL's leading rusher with 886 yards. He also has 49 catches for another 308 yards. The Pittsburgh defense has not permitted more than 17 points during its five-game winning streak and currently ranks 2nd in points allowed (16.9 per) and 4th in total D (287.6 YPG).
The pick: The Steelers are not just 8-2 but four of their final six games are at home. Except for that inexplicable home loss to the Jags (30-9), Pittsburgh has averaged 31.7 PPG in its other three games at Heinz Field (all wins). The total remains low because of Pittsburgh's strong defense and Hundley's struggles at QB but I'm calling for this game to go OVER and will make that an 8* play.
|11-26-17||Dolphins v. Patriots OVER 47||Top||17-35||Win||100||49 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: AFC foes (hardly rivals, anymore) meet Sunday afternoon in NFL Week 12 NFL play at Foxborough, as the 8-2 New England Patriots host the 4-6 Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins were once 4-2 but last Sunday's 30-20 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaners was Miami's fourth in a row. The two AFC wild card teams are currently both 5-5, so the Dolphins only enter one game back but they are tied with four other teams plus the Chargers just moved to 5-6 with their Thanksgiving Day win at Dallas. The Pats raised some eyebrows with their 2-2 start, particularly with a defense which couldn't stop anyone, especially through the air. However, all is right in "New England Land" these days, as the Pats' 33-8 beatdown of the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City last Sunday was the team's sixth straight win. The Pats and Steelers are tied for the AFC's best record at 8-2 (Pittsburgh currently owns the tie-breaker).
Miami: Jay Cutler was back under center last Sunday for the Dolphins but he threw for just 83 yards, one TD touchdown and three INTs before leaving with a concussion. Matt Moore stepped in and completed 17 of 28 for 282 yards and a TD but to no avail (Miami lost by 10!). You tell me why Miami traded away Jay Ajayi, because he still owns 58 percent of Miami's current 804 rushing yards on the season? Moore will be under center for this one and surely won't get too much help from a running game averaging 80.4 YPG (28th) and is now without a quality RB. Miami's offense is averaging just 15.7 PPG (30th) on the season, while its defense is allowing 25.4 PPG (27th).
New England: Brady was just "being Brady" against the Raiders, completing 30 of 37 for 340 yards and three TDs touchdowns. He's completing 68.7 percent on the season with 22 TDs and just two INTs (in attempts), for a QB rating of 110.09. The Pats lead the NFL in passing yards (304.6 per game) and now rank fourth in scoring at 29.0 PPG. The defense has made huge strides in keeping teams out on the end zone, as after allowing 32.0 PPG through the team's first four contests, the Pats are down to allowing 20.3 PPG on the season, to rank 12th (12.5 PPG allowed during the six-game winning streak!).
The pick: The Dolphins come to Foxborough having lost eight in a row to the Pats in this venue (2-6 ATS) and there is no reason to believe Brady and Co. will have much trouble scoring here. However, while the Pats' D has cut down on its PPG, the team's defense is still giving up big chunks of yards and still ranks last in total yards allowed at 401.9 per. That can "catch up" to a defense and may just here, after Brady and Co. have established a 'cushion.' Make the Over an 8* play.
|11-23-17||Ole Miss v. Mississippi State OVER 62.5||Top||31-28||Loss||-110||55 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: The 114th edition of the Egg Bowl will be contested Thanksgiving night in Starkville when 5-6 Ole Miss (2-5 SEC) takes on 8-3 Mississippi State (4-3 SEC). The Rebels need a win to become eligible but in fact, will be playing their final game of the season as a result of a self-imposed postseason ban, which came in February after the NCAA found the program committed multiple violations under former coach Hugh Freeze. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were ranked 14th in the latest CFP rankings and are hoping to improve their bowl status with a victory. Ole Miss guaranteed itself its second straight non-winning season after losing at home to Texas A&M 31-24 the last time out, while Miss. St. reached eight wins for the fifth time in Mullen's nine seasons with that 28-21 win at Arkansas.
Ole Miss: The Rebels couldn't hold onto a 24-21 halftime lead against the Aggies and the seven-point loss snapped a two-game win streak. Junior QB Jordan Ta'amu moved into the starting role in mid-October after Shea Patterson (2,259 YP / 17-9 ratio) was lost to a season-ending injury. He compl eted 19 of 34 passes for 189 yards with two TDs (one interception) and enters completing 69.5% with nine TD and three INTs. A.J. Brown has 69 catches for 1,085 yards with 10TDs and RB Wilkins has 901 YR (6.4 YPC) and seven TDs. The offense averages 33.0 PPG (37th) but the defense ranks 114th in both points allowed (35.2 per game) and yards allowed (455.7 YPG).
Mississippi State: QB Fitzgerald extended his own SEC record for 100-yard rushing games by a QB to 14 after rushing for 101 against the Razorbacks and needs only 52 more yards to move past ex-Bulldog Dak Prescott (2,521) and into third place on the conference's all-time rushing list from a signal-caller. He has 1,770 passing yards (15-10 ratio) but is most dangerous running the ball, with a team-high 968 yards (6.1 YPC / 14 TDs). He and RB Williams 944 YR / 4.6 YPC) lead a rushing game averaging 245.5 YPG (17th), The Bulldogs average 32.5 PPG (39th), about the same as Ole Miss, but the huge difference comes on the defensive side of the ball. Miss. St. allows 19.5 PPG (20th) on 297.2 YPG (9th).
The pick: Tensions are always high when Mississippi and Mississippi State collide but this week's meeting seems even more intense than normal. In fact, the athletic directors from both schools sent out a request to fans, hoping to prevent emotions from boiling over on Thursday night. "In the spirit of sportsmanship, we ask that fans from both schools honor this storied rivalry with civility and respect for each other," Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork and Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen wrote in a joint statement. Fitzgerald accounted for 367 total yards, including a school-record 258 yards on the ground, and five total TDs (three passing / two rushing) in last year's 55-20 thrashing of Ole Miss, allowing Mississippi State to avenge a defeat in 2015 and take home the Golden Egg Trophy for the fifth time in eight tries under coach Dan Mullen. I also like the way QB Jordan Ta'amu has filled in for Patterson, so I expect a shootout. Make the Over a 10* play.
|11-23-17||Chargers v. Cowboys UNDER 48||Top||28-6||Win||100||52 h 22 m||Show|
The set-up: The Los Angeles Chargers are off a 54-24 beatdown of the Buffalo Bills last Sunday but the win got them to just 4-6. The Dallas Cowboys are off a humiliating 37-9 loss to their division rival the Philadelphia Eagles, which came right after Dallas lost 27-7 in Atlanta. The Cowboys are now 5-5 and with star RB Ezekiel Elliott set to miss four more games, Dallas' playoff hopes are rapidly disappearing.The Chargers visit AT&T Stadium for the middle contest of the NFL's three-game Thanksgiving Thursday card. While this will be the Cowboys' 50th Thanksgiving contest, the Chargers will be participating in their first game on the holiday sinc) e 1969!
LA Chargers: The Chargers benefited from Buffalo's "ridiculous" (editorial comment) decision to give last Sunday's start to a QB so "unready for prime time" that Nathan Peterman threw five INTs in just 14 pass attempts, with the first of his five picks being returned for a TD. The Chargers' D later returned a fumble for a score, as the 54 points represented the Chargers' highest-scoring performance in Philip Rivers' 195 consecutive starts since 2006. Speaking of Rivers, he passed for 251 yards (on 20 of 32 passing) and two TDs, both to Keenan Allen who caught 12 passes for 159 yards. RB Melvin Gordon added 80 rushing yards and a TD. Los Angeles has recovered from its 0-4 start and views this contest as crucial as its deficit in the AFC West is just two games thanks to Kansas City dropping four of its last five games. "We're not way out of the division and not way out of the hunt," Rivers said. "That's exciting and encouraging. It shouldn't be hard to keep us focused on the task at hand. ... Just be fired up that we still have everything in front of us."
Dallas: The loss of "Zeke" is huge but the absence of LT Tyron Smith (Dak has been sacked 12 times the last two games!) plus LB Sean Lee sidelined have been no small factor in the in Cowboys getting outscored 64-16 in back-to-back losses. Prescott's solid start is beginning to unravel and the Cowboys are now tasked with scraping for a wild card spot with an injury-depleted team.
The pick: All of the above noted, remember the Cowboys were actually ahead 9-7 at the half vs. the Eagles, before succumbing 30-0 in the second half. The Chargers will not have the 'cake-walk' of last week and I expect to see the Dallas team we saw in the first half last Sunday vs. the Eagles, not the second half. The Cowboys have scored just 16 points without Elliott, scoring just one TD (on a 21-yard drive). The play here is an 8* on the Under.
|11-21-17||Bowling Green v. Eastern Michigan UNDER 59.5||Top||31-34||Loss||-110||12 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: A pair of 2-5 MAC schools will conclude their respective 2017 seasons Tuesday night at Rynearson Stadium when the Eastern Michigan Eagles host the Bowling Green Falcons. Bowling Green is hoping to end the year on a positive note after suffering a humiliating 66-37 defeat at the hands of the Toledo Rockets (a bitter rival) as a 17-point home dog in its last contest. The Falcons trailed just 24-21 at the half but were outscored 35-16 over the final two quarters. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan is aiming for back-to-back wins following a 27-24 victory at the Miami (Ohio).
Bowling Green: Mike Jinks' second season at BG is coming to a close and it hasn't been pretty. After going 4-8 SU & ATS in his first season, the Falcons have been even worse in 2017, entering this final game 2-9 SU & ATS. Doing the math, that's 6-17 SU & ATS mark. The Falcons don't have much of an offense (24.8 PPG ranks 92nd) and the defense is dreadful, allowing 38.4 PPG (124th) on 519.5 YPG (127th).
Eastern Michigan: The Eagles, like the Falcons are just 2-5 in MAC play but they have two more wins (4-7, overall) and more importantly, are a money-making 8-3 ATS. EMU's offense is no better than BG's (averaging 25.4 PPG) but on the defensive side of the ball, Eastern Michigan has allowed 22.6 PPG (37th) on 355.7 YPG (32nd).
The pick: Eastern Michigan won 28-25 at Bowling Green in last year's matchup but that was just the Eagles' second win in 13 games since 1990 (both victories were by just three points). Meanwhile, Bowling Green's 11 wins in that span have come by an average margin of 19 PPG. However, the current Bowling Green team makes it impossible to back the Falcons here in 2017. Then again, the Falcons have played way better on offense since freshman Jarrett Doege has taken over. Doege has completed 59 of 91 (64.8%) in his three starts, throwing for 738 yards with nine TD passes and just one INT. BG has averaged 36.3 PPG in that span. However, as noted, EMU's defense is the reason the team is 8-3 ATS. Let me also note that the last six Bowling Green games have averaged 73.0 PPG, with all "going over." Enough already! I say play UNDER and make it a 10*.
|11-20-17||Falcons v. Seahawks OVER 45.5||Top||34-31||Win||100||13 h 48 m||Show|
The set-up: The Atlanta Falcons an are defending NFC champions but at 5-4 while playing in the NFC South with the 8-2 Saints and 7-3 Panthers, this MNF game at CenturyLink Field. in Seattle against the Seahawks is starting to look like a "must-win" contest. The Seahawks come in 6-3 and with the Rams losing at Minnesota on Sunday to fall to 7-3, Seattle can move back into a tie with LA for first-place in the NFC West. A Seattle loss would leave them at 6-4, tied with the Falcons and Lions for the NFC's final wild card spot (tie-breakers would decide 'the winner!'). Boston line is, this is an important game for all involved.
Atlanta: The Falcons hope to build off their 27-7 Week 10 win over the Cowboys. Matt Ryan was the league's MVP in 2016 (69.9% / 4,944 yards / 38-7 ratio / 117.1 QB Rating) but has been nowhere-near that good in 2017. He's completing 66.5% with a 13-8 ratio and a QB rating of 93.9. WR Julio Jones is also off his production of the last few seasons (has one TD catch!) and is battling ankle injuries. RB Devonta Freeman (515 YR / 4.4 YPC / 5 TDs) sustained a concussion against the Cowboys and is expected to miss here. However, backup Tevin Coleman rushed for a season-high 83 yards after Freeman was injured early last week (399 YR / 4.8 YPC on the season). Atlanta (21.9 PPG ranks 16th) is averaging a dozen points fewer than last season's league-leading average of 33.8 and had failed to score more than 17 in its last four losses before posting its highest point total since Week 3. Rayn and the passing offense ranks 11th overall with 251.6 YPG through the air. the defense checks in allowing 19.9 PPG (11th) on 311.9 YPG (8th).
Seattle: The Seahawks come in winners of five of their last six and surely will be seeking some revenge for last year's. Russell Wilson is completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 2,543 yards with 19 TDs and just six INTs. Wilson has two or more TD passes in six of his last seven games and has carried the offense, which is averaging 23.4 PPG (12th. Doug Baldwin has a team-high 54 catches while TE Jimmy Graham (39 catches) has six TDs in the past five games. RB Eddie Lacy is expected to return after sitting out one week with a groin injury but the ground game has been ineffective since rookie Chris Carson was lost for the season. Seattle enters averaging 100.7 YPG (23rd). On defense, Seattle lost Richard Sherman for the rest of the 2017 season in the team's last game vs. Arizona. This is the second time in back-to-back seasons the Seahawks have lost a member of the Legion of Boom for the year with an injury. Last year, safety Earl Thomas was shelved after breaking a leg in December. The defense never recovered. The 2017 version of the Legion of Boom allows 18.3 PPG (6th) on 318.9 YPG (10th).
the pick: The Seahawks lost last year in Atlanta 36-20 in the Divisional Round and with the team's D less than 100%, will likely need to score to win this all-important game tonight. Ryan has become the fastest quarterback to 40,000 yards passing in league history and as noted above, Russell Wilson has been carrying the Seattle offense for most of the season. Expect a shoot-out between these two QBs. Make the Over a 10* play.
|11-19-17||Eagles v. Cowboys OVER 48||Top||37-9||Loss||-110||119 h 38 m||Show|
The set-up: In the midst of Jerry Jones' feud with Roger Goodell, Week 11's SNF game will be played at AT&T Stadium ("Jerry's House") between the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles and the 5-4 Dallas Cowboys. Philly's lone loss came back in Week 2 (at KC), so coming off a bye week, the Eagles enter on a seven-game winning streak (6-1 ATS). The Eagles have essentially 'put away' all teams in the NFC East except the Cowboys but a win here in Dallas would all but eliminate any chance the Cowboys would have of challenging Philly for the division title.
Philadelphia: Second-year QB Carson Wentz has quickly developed into "the real deal" in his sophomore season. He's completing 60.5 percent for 2,262 yards with 23 TDs and just five INTs, giving him a 104.1 QB rating. LeGarrette Blount is the leading Eagles rusher with 504 yards but the Eagles made a trade deadline deal with the Dolphins to acquire Jay Ajayi. He ran for 77 yards (on just eight carries) in his first game with Philly and note that he ran for 1,272 yards on 4.9 YPC and eight TDs in 2016 for Miami. Philly's ground game is averaging 136.8 YPG (4th) but it will be better with the addition of Ajayi, if for no other reason than the Eagles now have two No. 1-quality RBs in case of injury. TE Zach Ertz aims to return from a two-game absence due to an ailing hamstring and pick up where he left off. Ertz leads all NFC tight ends in receptions (43), yards (528) and TDs (six) this season. Off-season acquisition WR Jeffrey is also coming into his own with 34 catches (14.7 YPC) and five TD grabs. Philly's offense ranks second in scoring (31.4 PPG) and the defense has more than held its own, allowing 19.9 PPG (11th) on 315.9 YPG (10th).
Dallas: The irreplaceable Ezekiel Elliott finally began serving his 6-game suspension (five games left) last week in Atlanta. However, Elliott's absence was not the reason Dak Prescott was sacked eight times by Atlanta's D, including an amazing six solo sacks by DE Adrian Clayborn. The Cowboys ran for 107 yards (5.1 YPC) but Dak threw for just 176 yards. Throw in the lost yardage from all the sacks, and the Cowboys had just 233 yards for the game, while scoring seven points. Prescott has thrown for 1,994 yards with 16 TDs and just four INTs (no "sophomore jinx" here) but the team can't replace Elliott's 783 rushing yards and seven scores. Dez Bryant is tops in receiving for the Cowboys with 478 yards and four TDs on 42 catches. However, he's been slowed by an ailing knee which has limited him to just 39 yards receiving in two of his last three games. The Dallas D is middle-of-the-pack, allowing 22.8 PPG (17th) on 325.9 YPG (15th).
The pick: I just don't see Dallas slowing Wentz and Co, as the Cowboys' pass D allows 66.6% completions and has only five INTs (on 323 pass attempts), while allowing 16 TD passes. Philly's running was among the best in the NFL and it's now added Ajayi. These are desperate times for Dallas' playoff hopes and the Cowboys won't go down without a fight. However, they'll have to score to win this one. Make the Over an 8* play.
|11-19-17||Chiefs v. Giants UNDER 44||Top||9-12||Win||100||111 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: The Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants were both playoff teams in 2016 but when the Chiefs visit MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the Chiefs come in with an AFC West-leading record of 6-3, while the Giants take the field an abysmal 1-8. However, let's also note that the Chiefs come into this contest just 1-3 after opening 2017 at 5-0. Then again, most feel as if the Giants hit rock bottom last Sunday, falling to the then 0-9 Niners by the score of 31-21!
Kansas City: Alex Smith's "career season" continues, as he enters having completed 69.6 percent with 18 TDs and just one INT in 293 pass attempts (QB rating is 113.9). Rookie RB Hunt has cooled off but he comes into the team's 10th game with 800 yards rushing (5.2 YPC) and four TDs, along with 32 catches for another two TDs. TE Kelce (51 catches / 5 TDs) and WR Hill (40 catches / 4 TDs), are also quality contributors. Maybe KC would have a win or two more if the team's defense wasn't giving up 3903.YPG, which ranks 30th. That said, KC does rank better in points allowed, at 23.1 PPG which ranks 19th.
NY Giants: The Giants season began poorly and it's never gotten better. Eli may be making his 209th consecutive start at QB in this one but it sure feels like his time as the Giants' No. 1 QB is coming to end. Losing OBJ and Marshall to injury surely didn't help, nor has the fact that the Giants have almost no running game, averaging 89.8 YPG (25th). Eli's numbers aren't awful (64.6% with 14 TDs and 6 INTs), especially considering the circumstances but the bottom line is the bottom line. The Giants are scoring only 16.7 PPG, which ranks 29th. Defensively, after allowing an NFC-best 17.6 PPG, the Giants have allowed 26.4 PPG to rank 28th in the NFL.
The pick: The Chiefs should play well coming out of their bye week (Reid-coached teams are 16-2 in games following a week off!) but KC has looked like a different team since that 5-0 start. Smith is still not turning the ball over but Hunt seems to have "hit a wall,' averaging only 47.8 YPG rushing in the team's 1-3 run. The Giants have yet to score more than 24 points in any game in 2017 and after last week's loss to the 49ers, seem like a 'lost' team. Make the Under an 8* play.
|11-18-17||Navy v. Notre Dame UNDER 62||Top||17-24||Win||100||91 h 35 m||Show|
The set-up: Notre Dame's CFP hopes were likely dashed when the team lost last Saturday night in Miami, 41-8 to the Hurricanes. The 8-2 Fighting Irish (now No.9 in the CFP rankings) will try to pick up the pieces this Saturday afternoon, when they welcome the Navy Midshipmen to South Bend. Navy ended a two-game slide with last Saturday's 43-40 win over SMU, although once again the Midshipmen struggled with inconsistency. Against SMU, Navy coughed up a 34-11 halftime before winning on a FG on the game's final play. Navy payed in last year's AAC championship game but this year's team is a more modest 6-3 overall, including just 4-3 in the AAC West.
Navy: The Midshipmen won the yardage battle 559-426 with EVERY yard coming on the ground. QB Malcolm Perry threw just ONE pass and it was intercepted. However, Perry ran for 282 yards and four TDs. RB Anthony Gargiulo ran for 145 yards and a TD but Navy did little or nothing in the second half. Perry adds more speed than Abey and showed it off last Saturday. However, Perry injured his ankle toward the end of the win and could find himself back on the sidelines this weekend. Navy is still shuffling through its QB options. "Zach will definitely be back in the mix and I'll turn this back over to (quarterbacks coach Ivin Jasper)," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo told reporters. "We'll have to discuss it as a staff and see where we're at. We have to find out Malcolm's health and Zach's health." Regardless of the QB, Navy ranks first in the nation at 369.8 YPG on the ground.
Notre Dame: The Irish rank 6th in rushing (303.2 YPG) bu had just 109 rushing yards vs. Miami. Josh Adams (1,231 YR / 8.0 YPC / 10 TDs) totaled 40 yards on 16 carries. QB Brandon Wimbush completed only 10-of-21 for 119 yards and a touchdown but threw a pair of interceptions, including a 65-yard "pick six." He was also was limited to 24 yards rushing and a lost fumble on 11 carries. Ian Book was no relief, as he connected on 3 of 6 for 33 yards and another interception. Both were overwhelmed by the situation. However, we know Navy's D in no way resembles Miami's. The offense comes in averaging 38.0 PPG (15th) but the defense allows just 20.7 PPG (30th).
The pick: Let's repeat: Navy leads all FBS teams in rushing yards per game (369.8) while Notre Dame ranks sixth (303.2). The clock will be running all game in this one. Navy's win last Saturday to become bowl eligible for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons. With that accomplished, Navy hopes to add a "signature win." Notre Dame can't help but be somewhat flat after the 'Canes 'killed' its Final 4 hopes and don't forget, "the clock will be running all game!" Make the Under an 8* play.
|11-15-17||Toledo v. Bowling Green OVER 65||Top||66-37||Win||100||23 h 6 m||Show|
The set-up: The Toledo Rockets will travel about 25 miles down I-75 to Doyt Perry Stadium to take on the Bowling Green Falcons this Wednesday night in MAC play. The Rockets lost badly at Ohio U last Wednesday (38-10), dropping them to 8-2 (5-1 in MAC West play) on the season. The good news is, Toledo had beaten Northern Illinois 27-17 in its previous game, so the Rockets still control their destiny in the MAC West, as they own the tie-breaker over the Huskies, who are also 5-1. Bowling Green lost a week ago Tuesday 38-28 at Buffalo and enter this contest against its long-time rival just 2-8 (2-4 in the MAC East).
Toledo: The Rockets only trailed the Bobcats 10-7 at the half last week but got rolled in the second half and by game's end got out-gained 532-to-316 in total yards (Ohio U ran for 393 yards!). The Rockets are averaging 36.1 PG (25th) with a balanced offense (294.0 YPG passing and 205.3 YPG on the ground). QB Logan Woodsid has completed 64.8% of his passes on the season for 2,912 yards with 20 TDs and two INTs. The ground game ranks 31st in the nation, led by a trio of RBs, Swanson (854 YR / 5.1 YPC / 11 TDs), Seymour (544 YR / 6.6 YPC) and Thompson (466 YR / 5.5 YPC). Swandson's banged up but that's the beauty of the team's at the RB position. The defense imploded last week in Athens but that's not typical, as despite that effort Toledo comes in allowing 25.8 PPG to rank 60th (there are 130 FBS schools).
Bowling Green: The Falcons fought back after trailing by a 21-7 margin at the end of the 1st quarter, last week at Buffalo but the Bulls held on for a 10-point win. The Falcons were out-gained by Bulls by a 582-394 margin, something which has become familiar. BG averages only 23.6 PPG (98th) on 380.8 YPG, while allowing 35.6 PPG on 507.8 YPG (127th). Freshman Jarret Doege is the latest QB for struggling BG and he completed 28 of 43 passes for 294 yards and three TDs. However, when the defense allows 38 points on 582 yards, improved QB play doesn't mean all that much.
The pick: Toledo holds its fate in its hands and needs only to beat struggling BG and then Western Michigan (at home) in its season-finale, to earn a place in the MAC title game. Mike Jinks is 6-16 SU and ATS in his second season at Bowling Green and it's unlikely even the presence of a bitter rival like Toledo will be enough for the Falcons to earn a "W." However, I like what I see from Doege and while the BG defense will be all but helpless against Toledo's well-balanced offense (ready to roll after last week's 10-point effort), That said, expect Doege to help BG to put points on the board, as well. Make the Over a 10* play.
|11-12-17||Patriots v. Broncos OVER 45.5||Top||41-16||Win||100||71 h 12 m||Show|
The set-up: The New England Patriots opened the current season 2-2 and some were questioning whether the team's long stretch of dominance was nearing an end. However, the Pats come off a bye week having won four in a row (3-1 ATS) to assume their typical spot atop the AFC East. Meanwhile, the Denver Bronocs opened 3-1 before taking an early bye (Week 5). No reason to blame that bye week but the fact is, the Broncos returned to lose at home in Week 6 to the then win-less Giants, with things going from bad to worse, since. Denver welcomes New England to Mile High on the Sunday night on a four-game slide (0-4 ATS), having hit rock bottom in last Sunday's 51-23 loss at Philadelphia. Wentz threw four TD passes and the Philly running attack gashed the Broncos for 199 yards on the ground.New England: Brady continues to maze, entering this contest completing 66.7 percent of his passes with 16 TDs and just two INTs for a 106.5 QB rating (Pats are No. 1 in the NFL, averaging 302.1 YPG passing). New England's running game remains average (109.0 YPG ranks 16th) but along with Brady's excellence, the key to the team's four-game winning streak has been a return to playing defense as the team has done in the past. New England allowed 32.0 PPG in its 2-2 start but in its four-game winnings streak, the Pats are allowing only 12.8 PPG!Denver: The Broncos head into Sunday night's game against the Patriots having switched QBs (Osweiler's in for Siemian), an OL struggling with injuries, a running game showing little consistently and the result has been the team has averaged 13.0 PPG during its four-game losing streak. "Definitely sick and tired of losing," Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said. "There's a sense of urgency. We know what time it is. We have a chance to do something really special that only us in that locker room believe we can do. That's where it starts. If everyone can change their minds ... to believe that we can do it, we can definitely make it happen." Brock Osweiler threw for 208 yards with one TD and two interceptions on 19 of 38 passing in his first start of 2017 at Philly. The blowout loss was hardly his fault, as the Denver running game produced just 35 yards on 19 carries. as for Denver's once-proud defense, it was ripped for 419 yards and of course, those 5 1 points!
The pick: These two teams have played each other pretty tight, splitting the last six games with three wins apiece. One has to expect Denver, especially here at home, to bring its "A game" off that Philly embarrassment. The problem is, the Pats are 3-0 on the road in 2017, extending their road winning streak to 11-0! Then again, Sports Authority/Invesco Field has been a house of horrors in the past for Tom Brady, who is 0-3 SU & ATS in playoff games at Denver. However, those past problems at Mile High came vs. very good Broncos teams, which doesn’t seem to apply here in 2017. Expect Denver to "give its all" in this one but not to contain Brady and the Pats "O." Make the Over an 8* play.
|11-11-17||Rutgers v. Penn State OVER 52.5||Top||6-35||Loss||-110||59 h 25 m||Show|
The setup: The Penn State Nittany Lions coughed up a 15-point fourth quarter at Ohio State on Oct. 28 and then lost last Saturday 27-24 at Michigan State. Penn State was No. 2 in the AP poll before the the loss to Ohio State but after opening No. 7 in the first CFP rankings, now checks in at No. 14, with almost no hope of reaching the Big Ten championship game. The 7-2 Nittany Lions (4-2 in the Big Ten) will host the 4-5 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-3 in Big Ten) at Beaver Stadium. Penn State has beaten Rutgers the last two seasons 28-3 and 39-0, giving them a 25-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Rutgers: Chris Ash had a 'nightmare' first year at Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights went 2-10, including 0-9 in the Big Ten. However, the Scarlet Knights look for their fourth win in last five tries in this game, hoping to get back to a .500 record. This year's offense is only marginally better, averaging 22.6 PPG (105th), which is up from 15.7 PPG but the defense has made major strides. Rutgers allowed 37.5 PPG in 2016 but here in 2017 the Scarlet Knights are allowing 24.9 PPG (33rd). RB Gus Edwards ran for 109 yards against the Terrapins and hauled in the decisive 23-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter as the Scarlet Knights won 31-24. The team is now within two victories of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2014. Rutgers has won three of its last four, covering each of its last four games.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions have seen a promising season derailed by back-to-back narrow road losses and will try to take out their frustration at home against an improving Rutgers squad on Saturday. Penn State needs a victory here in order to avoid its first three-game losing streak since the end of the 2015 season. QB Trace McSorley is completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 2,452 yards with 19 TDs and eight interceptions. RB Saquon Barkley was the early Heisman favorite but he has fewer than 20 rushes in three of his last four games, including a season low-tying 14 last week. Is Barkley really a dynamic RB? The Lions have managed to rush for only 156 yards on 56 carries over the last two weeks, as a team. Defensively, Penn State is allowing 14.8 PPG (7th) on 331.4 YPG (25th) but in back-to-back losses, Penn State's D has allowed 65 points (32.5 per) on 1,003 yards (501.5 per).
The pick: Consecutive road losses have doomed Penn State’s championship aspirations but Rutgers’ defense is allowing 5.6 YPC, so I expect Barkley to break out of his two-game "mini-slump." The over is 13-6 in the Nittany Lions last 19 conference games and I say make it 14-6. The Over is an 8* play.
|11-09-17||Seahawks v. Cardinals OVER 41||Top||22-16||Loss||-105||30 h 15 m||Show|
The setup: The Seattle Seahawks are 5-3, after their four-game win streak was brought to a halt on Sunday at home, when the Redskins beat them 17-14. The loss hurt, as the Rams romped 51-17 over the NY Giants in Week 9, moving one game ahead of Seattle in the NFC West at 6-2. Seattle now comes to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, to take on NFC West rival Arizona. The Cardinals come in 4-4, sandwiching a loss to the Rams between wins over Tampa Bay and San Francisco.
Seattle: QB Russell Wilson threw 297 yards with two TDs against Washington but also threw two picks. Wilson has completed 62.0 percent for 2,305 yards with 17 TDs and six INTs (95.9 QB rating). He also leads Seattle in rushing with 271 yards and a TD on 46 attempts, which is not good news, as Seattle ranks 19th with 103.9 YPG. Seattle has always prided itself on defense under Pete Carroll (ever hear of the Legion of Boom?) but the Seahawks are allowing 332.5 YPG to rank 13th (not typical). However, Seattle is allowing a modest 18.6 PPG, which ranks 6th.
Arizona: The Cardinals' 33-0 loss to the Rams in London dropped them to 3-4 and they also lost Carson Palmer for the season. Drew Stanton has stepped up in the past and after a Week 8 bye, Stanton stepped in against San Francisco last Sunday to help the Cards win 20-10, moving to 4-4. Stanton completed 15 of 30 for 201 yards with two TDs and one INT vs. the 49ers. Drew Stanton extended his regular-season winning streak to four starts, albeit spread over nearly three years. "When Drew steps in the huddle, there is total confidence in the other 10 guys," head coach Bruce Arians told reporters. "They know he knows this offense inside and out, and when he gets a hot hand, he can really light you up." However, Adrian Peterson was "the difference" for the second time in his three games since coming to Arizona. A.P. ran for 134 yards and two TDs in the Cards' 38-33 win over Tampa Bay in Week 6 and then had 159 yards on the ground last Sunday against the 49ers, after running for only 21 yards in the London loss (Week 7)..
The pick: The Seahawks' offense has been pretty unpredictable, as they’ve scored at least 41 points twice in the last five games and 17 points or fewer twice in that span as well. However, the Seahawks were fit to be tied after seeing their four-game winning streak come to a halt last week following three missed FG attempts (of 44, 39 and 49 yards) plus committing a season-high 16 penalties! Seattle is 7-0 ATS in their last seven Thursday games and while Arians is 3-1 against the Seahawks in Seattle, he's 0-3-1 against them at home since becoming the Cardinals' coach in 2013. This total is low enough to make the Over a 10* play.
|11-08-17||Kent State v. Western Michigan OVER 46.5||Top||20-48||Win||100||28 h 59 m||Show|
The set-up: The Western Michigan Broncos welcome the Kent State Golden Flashes to Kalamazoo in another Wednesday night football game in the MAC. Western Michigan lost to in-state rival Central Michigan 35-28 at home last Wednesday but at 5-4 (3-2 in the MAC West), the Broncos are just one win away from being bowl-eligible for the fourth consecutive season. As for Kent State, the Golden Flashes were embarrassed at home a week ago Tuesday, losing at home 44-16 to Bowling Green. Kent is now 2-7, including 1-4 in the MAC East.
Kent State: Bowling Green was not only a woeful 5-15 SU but also 5-15 ATS heading into last Tuesday's game at Kent State. The Falcons were averaging only 20.5 PPG but scored 44 points on yards, including 251 rushing yards. To say the least, it was a low point for Kent State's season. Actually, Kent State's entire season has been a low point, as the not so-Golden Flashes rank dead-last (130th) in scoring at 10.7 PPG and 129th in total yards at 253.4 per game. When one's defense allows 34.1 PPG (107th) on 436.3 YPG (102nd), one's offense has to score more than 10-plus PPG!
Western Michigan: The Broncos were 13-1 last year under P.J. Fleck but he's now 'rowing his boat' in Minnesota. The Broncos suffered a tough loss last week at home to Central Michigan, blowing a 21-7 halftime lead in which the Broncos had out-gained the Chippewas 269-82 (CMU had just two FDs at the half!). Western Michigan's Jarvion Franklin fumbled early in the fourth quarter and Jonathan Ward pulled Central Michigan to 28-21 on a 29-yard touchdown run. CMU blocked a punt on Western Michigan's next possession and Ward's 35-yard run on first down set up Eric Cooper's touchdown grab in the end zone to tie it at 28 with 5:50 left. CMU got the ball back with 2:47 left at its 23 and QB Shane Morris threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Corey Willis with 2:37 remaining. Western Michigan turned it over on downs near midfield and Ward ran for a first down to run out the clock. The loss of starting QB Wassink has certainly been a blow to WMU but Bronco RB Franklin’s 228 YR in loss vs. Central Mich bodes well against Kent State rush D allowing 5.4 YPC.
The pick: With KSU's pathetic offense, going over may seem risky but I did just that last week in the BG/KSU game. I'll 'go to the well' again here while noting that the over is 10-2 in Western Michigan's last 12 home games. Make the Over a 10* play.
|11-06-17||Lions v. Packers OVER 43.5||Top||30-17||Win||100||34 h 9 m||Show|
The set-up: The Packers and Bears are the NFL's oldest rivalry but the Lions/Packers are not exactly unfamiliar with each other (this will be the series' 115th meeting, with the Packers owing a 60-40-4 edge). The Lions are 3-4 on the season but limp into Lambeau Field having lost four of their last five for tonight's Week 9 MNF matchup with the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers. The Packers lost their Week 6 game at Minnesota and more devastatingly, lost Rodgers to a season-ending injury. In the team's first game without Rodgers (a Week 7 game at home vs. the Saints), Green Bay lost 26-19 with backup QB Brett Hundley proving he was nowhere near ready for primetime (12 of 25 for 87 yards without a TD and with one INT). The Packers had a much-needed bye in Week 8 and at 4-3, will now host the Lions. Both teams (surely the loser of this game) are in danger of losing touch with the NFC North's leader, the 6-2 Vikings (enjoying their bye week).
Detroit: The Lions opened 2-0 but enter on a three-game losing streak (four losses in their last five), after losing 20-15 at home against the Steelers a week ago Sunday night. QB Stafford threw for 423 yards on 27 of 45 passing as Golden Tate didn't let an ailing shoulder slow him down as he recorded seven receptions for the second straight game. However, Detroit was only able to rush for 71 yards on 22 carries and failing to run the ball effectively is something that's been a recurring problem for Detroit, as the Lions come into this contest averaging 82.1 YPG (3.5 YPC) on the ground (28th). In fact, it has been 59 games since the Lions have had a 100-yard rusher (Reggie Bush versus Green Bay in 2013).
Green Bay: The Packers are off a bye but also off back-to-back losses (falling from 4-1 to 4-3) and while Hundley looked overwhelmed by the challenge in his role as a starter, he was hardly the only problem the Packers had in their Week 7 game with the Saints. The Pack's defense would allow 485 yards of total offense to New Orleans while letting the Saints rack up almost 37 minutes of possession in the game. Hundley will face a Detroit defense tonight which owns 10 interceptions and 16 overall takeaways, ranking third-best in the league.
The pick; To say that Detroit has had trouble winning at Green Bay is a huge understatement. Yes, the Lions won in Lambeau in 2015 but the team's last previous win there was back in 1991!. The Lions never got into the end zone vs. the Steelers, settling for five FGs (going 0-for-5 in scoring a TD in the red zone for that game, dropped Detroit to 28th in red zone TD efficiency). However, against an always excellent Pittsburgh D, the Lions were able to gain 485 yards. Stafford is used to carrying the Detroit offense and it's unlikely that Detroit's red zone issues will haunt them again in this one. As for Green Bay, Hundley can't possibly be as bad as he showed vs. the Saints and the bye week should have been a big help. "Me and Aaron talk a lot," Hundley told reporters on Thursday. "Even when he was playing, we still talked a lot. It's the same - now it's a different type of talk. He's telling me stuff, and it's good for me. Aaron's always been a brother to me. Whenever you have people like that around, you always feel better." Make the Over a 10* play.
|11-05-17||Bucs v. Saints OVER 50||Top||10-30||Loss||-110||90 h 57 m||Show|
The set-up: The Tampa Bay Bucs saw their Week 1 game postponed by Hurricane Irma but they opened 2-1. However, they have then fallen in succession to the Patriots, Cardinals, Bills and Panthers, leaving them at 2-5. In stark contrast, the Saints lost their first two games of the 2017 season but have followed with five straight wins over the Panthers, Dolphins, Lions, Packers and Bears. The Saints entered 2017 off three consecutive 7-9 seasons but have now won five in a row for the first time since 2013. New Orleans is atop the NFC South but leads the Panthers by just a half-game and the Falcons by one game. It's early but a Tampa Bay loss here in New Orleans, all but ends any real division hopes for the Bucs in 2017.
Tampa Bay: QB Jameis Winston is dealing with a shoulder injury but practiced on Wednesday, the first time he joined the mid-week practice since suffering the injury on Oct. 15. Winston completed 21-of-38 passes for 210 yards and two interceptions in the loss to the Panthers last week, marking the fourth time in the last five games that he failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes. However, he is completing 61.8 percent on the season (10 TDs and six INTs) plus Tampa Bay ranks second in passing yards at 295.4 per game. The running game doesn't offer enough help though, averaging just 81.1 YPG (29th), one of the reasons the Bucs are averaging only 21.1 PPG (19th). Defensively, Tampa Bay is allowing 386.4 YPG (29th) and 24.0 PPG (24th).
New Orleans: The age-less Drew Brees is completing 70.6 percent of his passes, averaging 271.7 YPG through the air and has 11 TDs with just four INTs (101.7 QB rating). He leads an offense which ranks second in the league with 390.4 YPG and ranks 6th in scoring at 27.3 PPG. RB Mark Ingram became the undisputed starter again when New Orleans traded away Adrian Peterson last month and he's averaged 98 yards in the last three weeks but fumbled on two straight fourth-quarter drives against Chicago last week. "I sucked. I sucked," Ingram told reporters. "Two possessions we're about to ice the game. Let the ball go, hurt my team, hurt my coaches. That's the thing about a family, that's the thing about a team: They lift you up, they had my back, and we were able to get the W." A major improvement has been shown by the defense, which allowed 28.4 PPG in 2016 but has allowed 20.7 PPG in 2017 (12th).
The pick: The Buccaneers were expected to be the darlings of the NFC South in the preseason, while the New Orleans Saints were expected to just play out the end of Drew Brees' career near the bottom of the division. However, the teams have reversed that narrative so far this season, and the first-place Saints will go for their sixth consecutive win when they host the last-place Buccaneers on Sunday, who come in on that four-game skid. However, Tampa hasn’t exactly been lying down during its losing streak. The Bucs lost by five to the Patriots, five to the Cardinals and three to the Bills before 'laying an egg' in last week's 17-3 loss to the Panthers. If Ingram continues to run the ball well (while holding on to it!), he makes Brees even more effective. A Tampa Bay rush D which has only seven sacks on the year, also makes Brees' job easier in this matchup. That said, the Bucs know they really need a win here and are unlikely to bottle up Brees and Co, so the way to win is to match New Orleans score for score. Make the Over an 8* play.
|11-04-17||Arizona v. USC OVER 73.5||Top||35-49||Win||100||75 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: Arizona ended September at 2-2, losing a pair of home games to Houston and Utah by a single possession. Following a bye week, the Wildcats traveled to Colorado on Oct. 7, where QB Brandon Dawkins was flung into the sidelines on the game's opening drive. Dawkins was pulled and sophomore Khalil Tate entered the lineup. Four games, four wins and an unprecedented four straight Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors later, Tate has not relinquished the job. He leads Arizona in rushing with 926 yards on just 69 carries and has eight rushing TDs while passing for 784 yards and six more TDs. USC head coach Clay Helton said about the move to Tate, "It changed the dynamic of their team." He should know. USC closed September last season at 1-3, before a QB change to Sam Darnold ignited a nine-game winning streak that closed the campaign. The two schools meet in the LA Coliseum with the pac-12 South division lead on the line, as USC is 5-1 and Arizona, 4-1.
Arizona: Tate is a "force of nature," leading Arizona's rushing attack which is averaging 339.2 YPG (5th). The Wildcats are averaging 45.0 PPG (3rd) on the season, including 48.8 PPG in the school's current four-game winning streak. Defensively, Arizona is allowing opponents to average 30.2 PPG (88th) on 453.0 YPG (112th). which includes 300.6 YPG through the air (128th). Helping out the poor defensive numbers is the fact that Arizona has forced 19 turnovers on the season!
USC: The Trojans have been a minor disappointment and QB Sam Darnold has been a major one. He was Heisman-favorite and there was talk that he could be the next overall No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, after throwing 31 TDs with just nine iNTs in 2016, he already has 10 INTs this season with 20 TD passes. USC has escaped against Texas in two OTs and against Utah by one-point, plus has lost at Washington State and got creamed at Notre Dame. USC averages 33.7 PPG but allows 25.8 and its 2-7 ATS record speaks volumes regarding the team's status as an underachiever in 2017.
The pick: The depth-shy Trojan D has struggled with dual-threat QBs and right now, is there a better one than Arizona's Tate. However, there's little reason to trust Arizona's D, especially its pass D, which figures to easy pickins' for Darnold. Make the Over an 8* play.
|11-01-17||Central Michigan v. Western Michigan OVER 47||Top||35-28||Win||100||12 h 37 m||Show|
The set-up: It's MACtion on Wednesday night from Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mi. when the 5-3 Western Michigan Broncos host the 4-4 Central Michigan Chippewas. The Chippewas kept their bowl hopes alive with a 56-9 rout at Ball State Cardinals on Oct. 21, reaching .500 at 4-4 on the season (2-2 in the MAC West). The Broncos also won on Oct. 21, edging the Eastern Michigan Eagles 20-17 in OT on the road. That gives WMU a 3-1 conference mark but the Broncos are still looking up at a pair of 4-0 teams in the West, Toledo and Northern Illinois.
Central Michigan: Head coach John Bonamego has taken the Chippewas to consecutive bowl games in his first two seasons (lost them both) and Central Michigan is still technically still alive for the MAC title but that's a long-shot. However, the team needs just two wins in its final four games to become bowl-eligible here in 2017. QB Shane Morris completed 16 of 21 for 199 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in the rout of Ball State but he's completing a modest 56.7 percent on the season with 16 TDs and 11 INTs. The offense is mediocre at best, averaging 25.8 PPG (83rd). Defensively, CMU is allowing 27.0 PPG (73rd).
Western Michigan: Tim Lester is in his first season at WMU, with P.J. Fleck 'rowing his boat' in Minnesota, these days. Western Michigan had won four straight games, after its 71-68 seven-overtime win over Buffalo on Oct. 7. However, that win may have taken something out of the Broncos, who fell to Akron, 14-13 at home in their next game. Then came the 20-17 OT win at EMU, a game in which they lost starting QB Jon Wassink to a broken collarbone. Wassink was injured with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and true freshman Reece Goddard entered the game. Ultimately, Goddard led the Broncos to the game-winning FG drive in overtime
The pick: QB Morris is off his best game of the season (see above) plus the CMU running game had its best effort of the season vs. the Cardinals, running for a season-high 256 yards. The Chippewas are an impressive 15-5 ATS theri last 20 MAC road games, which goes well with the fact that the road team is on a 5-0 run in this series. The WMU defense is no bargain (allows 27.69 PPG to rank 79th) but I'm not sold on CMU slowing the WMU offense either, even without Wassink behind center. The Broncos have won the last three in this series, averaging 40.7 PPG. Make the Over an 8* play.
|10-31-17||Bowling Green v. Kent State OVER 50||Top||44-16||Win||100||12 h 44 m||Show|
The set-up: It's the final day of October and two struggling MAC teams take the field on Halloween night, with the 1-7 Bowling Green Falcons visiting the 2-6 Kent State Golden Flashes. Both schools are 1-3 in MAC play (East Division), with each owning wins over Miami-Ohio (ironically, Miami is 2-2 in MAC play). Bowling Green comes in 1-7 SU and ATS and Kent State at 2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS. Bowling Green has won the last four meetings with Kent and owns a commanding 59-19-6 advantage in the all-time series.
Bowling Green: Mike Jinks is in just his second season at Bowling Green and is not only a woeful 5-15 SU but also 5-15 ATS, as well. Bowling Green averages just 20.5 PPG on offense, while its defese allows 37.8 PPG (120th) on 526.5 YPG (127th). James Morgan started the last seven games of the 2016 season at QB for Bowling Green and was instrumental in the Falcons’ three-game winning streak to end the season. It was expected hat he would build on that performance but the exact opposite has been the case. He's completed just 45.3 percent of his passes with nearly as many interceptions (seven) as TD passes (nine). Morgan was benched in favor of freshman Jarrett Doege, who relieved Morgan in a 49-7 loss at Northwestern and then made his first start the following week at Middle Tennessee. He showed good accuracy (63.5 percent completion rate) and had some success running the offense but then suffered a back injury in his second start against Akron. Morgan took over and led the Falcons to a 37-29 victory on the road against Miami (Ohio) in the next game, but gave way to another freshman, Grant Loy, in last week’s 48-17 blowout home loss to Northern Illinois. What's the ext move?
Kent State: The Golden Flashes lost 48-3 on Oct. 21 at Ohio U, getting out-gained 474-166 in yards. It was nothing new for a team which ranks 130th (dead-last!) among all FBS teams by averaging 10.0 PPG. Kent State averages only 249.6 YPG, which ranks 129th. The defense checks in allowing 32.9 PPG (102nd) on 437.8 YPG (100th). Take away the 38 points the Golden Flashes scored in their win over Howard (FCS) and they have scored a total of 42 points against seven FBS teams, which is 6.0 PPG!.
The pick: OK, so the play is under, right? As the saying goes, "not so fast!" These two schools have plenty of history together (see above) and note that Bowling Green's 59 wins are the most for the Falcons over any other opponent in program history. Bowling Green also has won four in a row over Kent State, averaging 40.3 PPG. The Falcons will nedd some help from the Golden Flashes but not all that much. Bowling Green’s defensive issues should give the Golden Flashes a chance to at least move the ball and go above their scoring average. Make the Over a 10* play.
|10-29-17||Steelers v. Lions OVER 45||Top||20-15||Loss||-110||99 h 16 m||Show|
The set-up: Sunday Night football travels to Ford Field as the 5-2 Pittsburgh Steelers visit the 3-3 Detroit Lions. It seems like a 'lifetime ago' that the Steelers lost 30-9 at home against the Jags, with Big Ben throwing five INTs, including two 'pick-sixes!' He famously told reporters after the game, "Maybe I don't have it anymore?" However, the Steelers won at KC in their next game (KC's first loss of the season) and followed with a 28-14 home win over the Bengals last Sunday. All of a sudden, the Steelers look as good as any team in the AFC (NFL?). The Lions were a controversial call against the Falcons away from a 4-0 start but with back-to-back losses prior to last week's bye, Detroit welcomes the Steelers to Detroit at just 3-3.
Pittsburgh: RB LeVeon Bell had just 47 rushing yards in that loss to the Jags but he's carried the ball 32 and 35 times the last two weeks, gaining 313 yards. Big Ben has been good, not great, completing 63.2% with three TDs and just one INT in attempts. WR Brown has 12 catches for 210 yards with two TDs in the team's back-to-back wins (what a trio!); As always, Pittsburgh is one of the NFL's best defensive teams, allowing 16.6 PPG (3rd) on 258.7 YPG (2nd)
Detroit: The Lions likely appreciated the bye week, especially QB Matthew Stafford. He took last week's bye to work his way past hamstring and ankle injuries. Detroit will need to come up big here, as the 5-2 Vikings are playing the 0-7 Browns in London. Stafford threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions' last game (a 52-38 loss at New Orleans) but also had three picks (has 12 TDs and four INTs on the season).
The pick: The good news for Detroit is that the Lions are 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a bye week but the Steelers are back to playing at an elite level. Big Ben is "far from done" and WR Antonio Brown is basically un-coverable. Play-action seems sure to work with Bell running for 134 yards or more in three of his last four games. Expect Pittsburgh to score, meaning Detroit's only chance to win is to match Pittsburgh, score for score. Make the Over an 8* play.
|10-29-17||Vikings v. Browns OVER 37.5||Top||33-16||Win||100||88 h 17 m||Show|
The set-up: The NFL's latest London game kicks off Sunday's Week 8 schedule of games at Twickenham Stadium. The 5-2 Minnesota Vikings and the 0-7 Cleveland Browns wil lstart at 9:30 ET, as the Browns will play a regular-season game in London for the first time in franchise history. The Vikings enter on a three-game winning streak and sit atop the NFC North and with Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers likely out for the season, are 'sniffing' a division title. For the Browns, they are off an 'ugly' 1-15 season and there has been no indication so far, that too much will be different here in 2017. The Browns have led in a game only once this season, 7-3 over the Jets in the fifth game, and that advantage lasted only 5:06 before New York moved ahead for good.
Minnesota: The Vikings have topped 30 points just once all season, averaging a modest 20.9 PPG (19th). However, Minnesota's defense has compensated, allowing 17.0 PPG (5th) on 283.0 YPG (4th). Minnesota's offense has seen QB Sam Bradford (knee) in and out of the lineup and excellent rookie RB Dalvin Cook (354 YR on 4.8 YPC) was lost for the season with a torn ACL in Week 4. However, Case Keenum is 3-2 as a starter and relieved Bradford in a comeback 20-17 win over the Bears in Week 5. RBs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon have stepped up since Cook was lost for the season. Again, the Vikings’ defense has been terrific, holding four straight opponents under 275 total yards, after allowing a season-low 208 yards in a 24-16 win over Baltimore last week.
Cleveland:The QB history of the Browns (for quite awhile now) has been a complete disaster. Rookie DeShone Kizer has just three TD passes and 11 INTs (awful 47.8 QB rating), while Kevin Hogan is no better. He has five INTs in way fewer attempts and owns a higher interception percentage than Kizer. The Browns don't own much of a running game (92.3 YPG ranks 25th) and the team's 14.7 PPG is the second-lowest in the NFL. The defense allows 304.7 YPG (9th) but with all the turnovers putting the defense in tough spots, Cleveland is allowing 24.1 PPG, which ranks 24th.
The pick: The Vikings have not scored much and neither have the Browns. However, these London games always create a different atmosphere, and with a low total, the Over is an 8* play
|10-28-17||Oklahoma State v. West Virginia UNDER 74||Top||50-39||Loss||-110||68 h 17 m||Show|
The set-up: The Cowboys were held under 41 points for the first time last Saturday at Texas but were able to escape with a 13-10 OT win over the Longhorns, keeping the team's CFP hopes alive. The 11th-ranked Cowboys are 6-1 overall (3-1 in the Big 12) and will travel to Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown to take on the 22nd-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, who are 5-2 overall and also 3-1 in Big 12 play. The series is tied at 4-all but OSU has won the last two years, 37-20 and 33-26 (OT).
Oklahoma State: QB Mason Rudolph already owns 30 school records and enters this contest leading the nation in passing yards (2,650) and passing yards per game (378.6). He's completed 161-of-242 attempts (66.5 percent) for 19 TDs and four INTs. He's backed by an solid rushing game (197.4 YPG which ranks 38th), led by RB Hill (750 YR / 5.4 YPC). OSU averages 43.7 PPG (3rd) on 590.1 YPG (1st). Defensively, OSU allows 22.3 PPG (43rd) on 359.7 YPG (41st), and the team's stop unit "saved the day" against Texas. The Longhorns were held to just 10 points on 283 yards, while converting only 3 of 17 third down attempts.
West Virginia: QB Will Grier has the misfortune of playing in the same conference as Heisman Trophy contenders like Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph. However, Grier is some talent, completing 66.3 percent with 26 TDs and just five INTs, leading West Va to rank 4th in passing YPG at 364.0. Grier's favorite target is WR David Sills V, once a highly touted prep QB prospect himself, who leads the nation with 15 TD receptions. RB Crawford (639 YR / 6.1 YPC / 7 TDs) offers nice balance, with West Va/ checking in averaging 43.3 PPG (4th) on 540.1 YPG (5th). Defensively, West Va. allows 29.0 PPG (85th) on 450.0 YPG (12th).
The pick: The QB matchup commands the spotlight plus WR James Washington of OSU (leads the nation with an average of 24.1 YPC and his 32 career receiving TDs is tops among all active FBS players) will not want to accept "second-billing" to West Virginia's David Sills V (see above). Oklahoma State returns home next Saturday for "Bedlam" with Oklahoma but that game won't hold much importance if the Cowboys lose here. Yes, these are two offensive juggernauts but I've 'made a living:" playing these high totals under, all season. Second verse, same as the first. Make the Under an 8* play.
|10-26-17||Stanford v. Oregon State OVER 58.5||Top||15-14||Loss||-110||29 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: The Stanford Cardinal opened the 2017 season ranked 14th in the AP's preseason poll but after losing badly at USC 42-24 in its second game of the season and following with a 201-7 loss at San Diego State, the Cardinal's season was headed for big trouble. However, led by spectacular RB Bryce Love (198.1 YPG rushing on 10.3 YPC and 11 TDs), Stanford has won four in a row while averaging 41.0 PPG. The now 20th-ranked Cardinal will travel to Reser Stadium in Corvallis on Thursday night to take on the Oregon State Beavers. Oregon State is 1-6, beating only Portland State and that win came just 35-32 here at home.
Stanford: The Cardinal last played on Oct. 14th, a 49-7 rout on the road at Oregon. The Cardinal out-gained the Ducks by a 504-309 margin. Love had 147 yards and two TDs and QB Kellar Chryst was back healthy, throwing for 181 yards (15 of 21) with three TDs. Three Stanford QBs have combined for 11 TDs and three INTs but Chryst in the best of the bunch. Stanford's defense has not allowed more than 22.6 PPG in any of the last seven seasons, allowing 19 PPG or less, four times. This year the Cardinal are allowing 22.0 PPG (42nd) but on 416.9 YPG to rank 89th (unusually high for a Stanford team).
Oregon State: I noted above that OSU only owns one win, that unimpressive three-point victory over Portland, which was back on Sep. 2nd. The Beavers have since lost five in a row and a head coach as well, in Gary Andersen. Andersen stepped down on Oct. 9 after the Beavers dropped five of their first six games by an average of 31.4 PPG. Interim head coach Cory Hall's first game was Oregon State's most competitive since beating Portland State by three points on Sept. 2, but the Beavers fell to Colorado 36-33 on Oct. 14. Oregon State held a 33-29 lead with 4:22 left in that game but the Beaver defense were unable to hold the lead as Colorado scored on a 13-yard TD pass with just 1:34 left in regulation. The Beavers actually out-gained the Buffaloes by a 569-385 margin. Leading the way for Oregon State was RB Ryan Nall who carried the ball 24 times for 172 yards and 3 TDs. Defensively, Oregon State is a mess, allowing a whopping 43.7 PPG (128th) on 478.3 (117th).
The pick: Expect RB Love and a now-healthy QB Chyrst to have their way against OSU's defense but also note that Satnford's D is a little 'off' in 2017, especially against the run, allowing 196.3 YPG on the ground (98th) on 5.0 YPC. Make the Over an 8* play.
|10-22-17||Bengals v. Steelers OVER 41||Top||14-29||Win||100||124 h 37 m||Show|
The set-up: Two bitter AFC North rivals square off Sunday at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals opened the 2017 season losing two games at home (scored only nine points) but a Week 3 OT loss at Green Bay (just 27-24), helped turn their season around. The Bengals have won at Cincy 31-7 and then back home against Buffalo (20-16) since, so they'll have a chance to get back to .500 with a win here against the hated-Steelers. Pittsburgh will be looking to maintain its place atop the AFC North (curently 4-20, after handing KC its first loos of the 2017 season last Sunday on the road. Pittsburgh won 19-13 at Arrowhead, holding the Chiefs to just 251 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, RB Le’Veon Bell had his best game of 2017, rushing for 179 yards and a TD, while Antonio Brown led Pittsburgh with 8 catches for 155 yards and the team’s lone receiving TD (now there's a shocker!). As for Big Ben, he bounced back from a four-INT game in Week 5, by completing 17 of 25 for 252 yards (one TD and one INT).
Cincinnati: The Bengals started slowly offensively in 2017 (see above) and remain low in most offensive categories. Cincy ranks 30th with 16.8 YPG on 311.0 YPG, which ranks 24th. QB Andy Dalton had a 'nightmare' of a first game (four INTs and a lost fumble) but competed 80.7% against Creen Bay and Cleveland (6 TDs / 0 INTs), before throwing two INTs in the win over Buffalo in Week 5. He will eventually need help from a running game averaging just 84.0 YPG (28th). Keeping Cincy 'alive' is a defense which ranks second in scoring (16.2 PPG) and total yards (262.8 YPG).
Pittsburgh: No one really bought Big Ben's "Maybe I don't have it anymore" lament and looking around the AFC, isn't Pittsburgh as likely as any team to be playing in a second straight AFC championship game. Big Ben's a proven winner and in Bell and Brown, the Steelers may just have the best RB and WR in all of the NFL (name a better set of teammates!). Pittsburgh's offense will be just fine by year's end and as always, the defense is near the top in most categories. How about 4th in points allowed (17.0 PPG) and 3rd in yards allowed (272.0 YPG)
The pick: Big Ben is in his 14th year (hard to believe) and while it's been slow-sledding, expect him to be just fine, working with Bell and Brown. As for the Bengals, the team's 'ugly' 0-2 start is behind them and a Week 6 bye may have been "just what the doctor ordered." Two defenses usually spell 'under' but "not so fast!" You have two QBs more than capable of putting up points and in Brown and A.J. Green, two of the NFL's very best WRs, as well. Also, there is talk that the bye week has allowed WR John Ross (Cincy's No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft out of Washington) enough time to get over a knee injury that bothered him all season. Surprise, this game is headed over. Make it an 8* play.
|10-21-17||Oklahoma State v. Texas OVER 64.5||Top||13-10||Loss||-110||46 h 29 m||Show|
The set-up: The (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) Oklahoma State Cowboys are ranked 10th in the latest AP poll and travel to Austin to play the (3-3, 2-1 Big 12) Texas Longhorns at Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. OSU brings the nation's No. 1 offense (617.2 YPG) and its No. 2 scoring offense (48.8 PPG) into the contest, after gaining a school-record 747 yards in a 59-16 rout of Baylor last Saturday. The Longhorns are off their annual Red River Showdown against Oklahoma, a game in which Texas rebound from a 23-10 deficit to take a 24-23 4th-quarter lead, only to lose 29-24.
Oklahoma State: QB Mason Rudolph is completing 66.7 percent with 19 TDs and just four INTs, with OSU leading the nation with 411.2 YPG through the air. Considering how "pass-happy" the offense is, it's impressive that the Cowboys are also averaging 199.5 YPG on the ground (on 5.4 YPC), led by RB Hill's 633 yards on 6.0 YPC. With the kind of numbers OSU's offense puts up, the defense has to be good but not great. That's a fair description for an OSU stop-unit that's allowing 24.3 PPG (56th).
Texas: Steve Buechele opened the season as Texas' starting QB but it was freshman Sam Ehlinger who led the comeback against Texas. He's completing just 54.5 percent of his passes for 1,178 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions but does have has at least one TD pass in all four of his games this season. Of greater importance is his ability to run, as Ehlinger has rushed for 217 yards (5.2 YPC) in the Longhorns' last two games. He will start in this one, leading an offense averaging 33.7 PPG (41st). Defensively, Texas is allowing 24.7 PPG on 381.5 YPG but it's hard to ignore the 518 yards it allowed last Saturday to Oklahoma, a team with a similar QB to Rudolph, in Baker Mayfield.
The pick: Oklahoma State was a trendy pick to make the four-team College Football Playoff but that was before it was upset at home 44-31 by TCU back on Sep. 23. TCU is now the leader of the pack in the Big 12 and currently ranks 4th in the latest AP poll. OSU is quite 'dead' yet but the Cowboys no longer have any margin of error. The Longhorns hold a 24-7 series lead over Oklahoma State and a 15-5 advantage in Austin but the Cowboys have put their mark on the series by winning five of the past seven meetings. In fact, after losing 15 of 16 times in Austin, the Cowboys have won the last four meetings in Austin, marking the longest winning streak against Texas at home by one team. Here's the catch though, Tom Herman’s Houston & Texas teams are a perfect 7-0 ATS as an underdog! Best way to go here is an 8* on the Over, as the Texas D won't be able to stop Rudolph and Co, while Ehlinger's dual-threat ability will allow Texas to score as well.
|10-20-17||Western Kentucky v. Old Dominion OVER 47||Top||35-31||Win||100||29 h 31 m||Show|
The set-up: Western Kentucky opened 1-2 but enter Friday's game on a three-game winning streak (but just 1-2 ATS). The Hilltoppers go for their 4th straight win with a visit to the Old Dominion Monarchs, who are 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS. Both schools reside in the East Division of C-USA, with Western Ky sitting at 2-1 and ODU at 0-2.
Western Kentucky: Jeff Brohm took over at Western Ky when Bobby Petrino left for Louisville and led the Hilltoppers to three straight bowl berths. Western Ky won all three of those bowl games, although Brohm took the Purdue job prior to last year's bowl win. Mike Sanford Jr. is a first-time head coach and his offense has averaged only 25.5 PPG (87th), after Brohm's three teams averaged 44.4, 44.3 and 45.5 PPG. However, the defense allows a modest 18.2 PPG (19th) on 340.5 YPG (34th). In comparison, Western Ky had allowed 25.9 and 24.6 PPG the last two seasons.
Old Dominion: Monarch fans may already be looking ahead to the start of basketball season. The offense stinks, averaging 17.0 PPG (123rd) on 287.3 YPG (126th). The defense is no better, allowing 34.7 PPG (110th) on 436.8 YPG (103rd). ODU has a freshman QB in Steven Williams and RBs Ray Lawry (back healthy) and Jeremy Cox have underachieved.
The pick: Western Kentucky is coming off a 45-16 victory versus the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday and while the Hilltoppers didn't run the ball well, QB Mike White completed 33 of 47 for 398 yards with five TDs. I realize this is not the Western Ky offense of the last three seasons but these two schools have met just three times, all coming these last three season. Western Ky has won all three, with the final scores being 59-24, 55-30 and 66-51. Doing the math, that's an average final of 95.0 PPG. Yes, make the Over an 8* play.