|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|11-09-13||Portland Trail Blazers v. Sacramento Kings -1.5||96-85||Loss||-110||11 h 58 m||Show|
15* Blazers/Kings NBA Late-Night BAILOUT on Sacramento -1.5
This is a home-and-home situation between the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings. Portland won at home last night 104-91, and I fully expect the Kings to come back the more motivated team tonight to protect their home court in the second meeting.
Sacramento has one of the most underrated home-court advantages in the league. That has been evident in recent meetings with the Blazers, as the Kings have taken three of the past four meetings at home. The home team has won seven of the past nine meetings overall.
Portland had a historically bad bench last season, and its bench has not gotten that much better in 2013. That makes dealing with these back-to-back situation much more difficult on the Blazers than it would be for most teams.
Starters Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum are all averaging at least 34 minutes per game. Head coach Terry Stotts' hand is forced to have his starters play big minutes due to the lack of a bench. Only Mo Williams (7.2 ppg) is averaging more than 4.8 ppg off Portland's bench this year.
Meanwhile, Sacramento has a deep bench. That's evident by the fact that the Kings have a whopping nine players averaging at least 17 minutes per game this season. They bring guys like Ben McLemore, Travis Outlaw, Isaiah Thomas, Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes off the bench, which is a pretty salty crew.
Portland is 3-15 ATS in its last 18 road games after a win by 10 points or more. The Blazers are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 road games after scoring 100 or more points in two straight games. The Kings are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points. Roll with Sacramento Saturday.
|11-09-13||Golden State Warriors v. Memphis Grizzlies -3||90-108||Win||100||9 h 58 m||Show|
15* NBA Saturday Bounce-Back BLOWOUT on Memphis Grizzlies -3
The Memphis Grizzlies were getting way too much respect to open the season due to making the Western Conference Finals last year. As a result, they have opened the season 0-5 against the spread. Now, the betting public is off this team, which has forced them to set a weak line tonight.
Meanwhile, the Warriors are the flavor of the week in the early going due to their 4-1-1 ATS mark. Now, Golden State is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers, and the roles have reversed. There is a ton of value with Memphis as only a 3-point home favorite tonight.
The Grizzlies will come out determined for a win after opening 2-3 this year. They have had two days off to prepare for the Warriors having last played on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Golden State will be playing the second of a back-to-back and its 3rd game in 4 days. This will also be the 4th game of a tough 4-game road trip, and there's no question the Warriors are tired, while the Grizzlies are well-rested.
Making matters worse for the Warriors is that Stephen Curry (ankle) is questionable to play tonight after sitting out last night's 74-76 loss at San Antonio. Whether he plays or not, I like the Grizzlies to win and cover, but if he doesn't play it's only an added bonus. Chances are he won't be playing after sitting out last night as 24 hours probably isn't long enough for his ankle to fully recover.
The Warriors tend to struggle without Stephen Curry, but having him hasn't made much of a difference against the Memphis Grizzlies. His importance to the Warriors has been evident when he's missing - especially on the road. They're 16-39 without Curry, dropping 23 of 31 contests away from home.
His status may not matter since the Warriors have dropped nine straight meetings with the Grizzlies, and Curry has averaged 22.9 points in eight of them. He poured in 32 with eight assists and five rebounds in a 99-93 defeat in the most recent visit to Memphis on Feb. 8. The Warriors have lost eight in a row there dating to a victory on April 4, 2008. That is a span of over five years. Take the Grizzlies Saturday.
|11-09-13||LSU +13 v. Alabama||Top||17-38||Loss||-114||50 h 58 m||Show|
25* College Football PARLAY OF THE YEAR on LSU +13/UNDER 55
Reasons for LSU - While the Tigers haven
|11-09-13||LSU v. Alabama UNDER 55||Top||17-38||Push||0||50 h 57 m||Show|
25* College Football PARLAY OF THE YEAR on LSU +13/UNDER 55
Reasons for LSU - While the Tigers haven
|11-09-13||Philadelphia 76ers v. Cleveland Cavaliers UNDER 201.5||125-127||Loss||-110||11 h 50 m||Show|
15* NBA Saturday Total DOMINATOR on 76ers/Cavaliers UNDER 201.5
This is a home-and-home situation for the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers. These teams met last night in Philadelphia with the 76ers pulling out a 94-79 victory for 173 combined points.
I look for a similar low-scoring affair tonight as these teams square off for a second straight night. There's no question that the familiarity of one another favors the UNDER as the defenses know the opposing offense tendencies. Those tendencies aren't going to change over night.
Taking a look at this series between Philadelphia and Cleveland, its easy to see that there is a ton of value with the UNDER. In fact, each of the last nine meetings have seen 190 or less combined points. They have combined for 173, 168, 184, 175, 165, 190, 188, 183, and 186 points in their last nine meetings, respectively. That's an average of 179.1 combined points/game, which is roughly 22 points less than tonight's posted total of 201.5.
The UNDER is 5-0 in 76ers last 5 vs. a team with a losing S.U. record. The UNDER is 9-0 in Cavaliers last 9 games following a S.U. loss of more than 10 points. The UNDER is 4-0 in Cavaliers last 4 home games. The UNDER is 4-0 in Cavaliers last 4 games vs. a team with a winning percentage of .600 or better. The UNDER is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in this series. These five trends combined for a perfect 27-0 system backing the UNDER. Take the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|11-09-13||Indiana Pacers v. Brooklyn Nets -1.5||96-91||Loss||-110||11 h 49 m||Show|
15* NBA Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Brooklyn Nets -1.5
The Brooklyn Nets are showing excellent value as a mere 1.5-point home favorite over the Indiana Pacers tonight. Off an overtime loss to Washington, Brooklyn is going to come back pissed off and ready to go tonight.
Indiana is way overvalued due to its 6-0 start this season. I faded it with success last night by backing the Raptors +9, and I'll fade the Pacers again tonight. They are in the toughest possible situation, playing their 4th game in 5 nights.
This Indiana team had one of the worst benches in the entire league last year, and it has done little to upgrade its bench in 2013. Not having a bench makes it extremely difficult to play a 4th game in 5 nights.
While Brooklyn will be playing the second of a back-to-back, and it went to overtime last night, this will only be its 2nd game in 4 nights. Plus, the Nets have one of the best benches in the league. They have 12 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game, and their bench consists of solid players like Jason Terry, Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, Andrei Kirilenko and Reggie Evans.
Brooklyn went 3-0 against Indiana last season. Paul George averaged 13.7 points on 37% shooting in those three contests, while Roy Hibbert has averaged 10.3 points on 38% shooting during a four-game losing streak to Brooklyn. Brook Lopez averaged 21.3 points and 3.0 blocks in last season's series, and he's averaged 22.3 points in 10 meetings against Indiana since the 2009-10 season.
The Pacers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record. The Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. loss. The Nets are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games following a ATS loss. Brooklyn is 6-0 ATS in its last six meetings with Indiana. Roll with the Nets Saturday.
|11-09-13||Boston Celtics +13.5 v. Miami Heat||111-110||Win||100||8 h 29 m||Show|
15* NBA Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Boston Celtics +13.5
The Boston Celtics are showing tremendous value as a double-digit underdog to the Miami Heat Saturday. Boston came into the season undervalued, and that has proven to be the case with its 4-2 ATS mark on the year.
Despite being 2-4 on the season, Boston has yet to lose a game by more than 10 points. Despite being 4-2 on the season, Miami has yet to win a came by more than 12 points. I simply believe this number has been inflated tonight due to the perception that Boston isn't very good, and that Miami is the defending champs.
Miami has a way of playing down to its competition. That's especially the case now that it is back-to-back champs, which makes it hard to get up for regular season games like this one against a team that is perceived to be not very good. The Heat were certainly up for the Clippers last time out, winning 102-97 at home Thursday. However, off such a big win, that sets them up for a letdown tonight.
Lebron James is nursing a sore back, which will certainly have him limited tonight. The Heat used to look at Boston as rivals, but now they have to look at them in a completely different manner with Pierce and Garnett gone. That will leave them in a poor state of mind heading into this one.
Five straight and nine of the last 10 meetings between Boston and Miami have been decided by 13 points or less. The Celtics are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 vs. NBA Southeast opponents. The Heat are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games following a S.U. win. Boston is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 meetings with Miami. Bet the Celtics Saturday.
|11-09-13||Virginia Tech +7 v. Miami (Florida)||Top||42-24||Win||100||49 h 57 m||Show|
20* VA Tech/Miami ACC ANNIHILATOR on Virginia Tech +7
The Virginia Tech Hokies really have a legitimate chance to win the Coastal Division with a victory Saturday. They would have victories against both Miami and Georgia Tech, which are their two closest contenders. That
|11-09-13||Arkansas State v. Louisiana Monroe -3||42-14||Loss||-120||49 h 56 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Louisiana-Monroe -3
Arkansas State continues to get too much respect from oddsmakers this week as only a 3-point road underdog to Louisiana-Monroe. Somehow, this team is getting treated like the back-to-back Sun Belt champion it was the past two years, and not the woeful 4-4 team it is in 2013.
Arkansas State's four wins have come against Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Troy, Idaho and South Alabama. As you can see, it does not have a good win on its schedule yet. It even struggled to beat Troy (41-34) at home and South Alabama (17-16) on the road. It is just 1-3 on the road this season with blowout losses to Memphis (7-31), Missouri (19-41) and Auburn (9-38). It also fell 7-23 at home to Louisiana-Lafayette while gaining just 168 total yards in the defeat.
Louisiana-Monroe has turned around its season, and now at 3-1 in Sun Belt play, it has a legitimate shot to win the conference this year. But due to the slow start, which was aided by an injury to starting quarterback Kolton Browning, this team is now underrated. The Warhawks have reeled off three straight victories to get back on track, including the last two thanks to the healthy return of their star quarterback.
Browning threw for 224 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-10 win over Georgia State on October 26. He came back five days later and threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for another score in a 49-37 win at Troy on October 31. That brings me to my next point, which is that the Warhawks have had two extra days to prepare for Arkansas State, which last played on November 2 against South Alabama.
Monroe has had this game circled on their calendars all offseason. They have lost three straight to Arkansas State, including a 45-23 road loss last season. But that Arkansas State team had the best quarterback in Sun Belt history in Ryan Aplin, who had 10,758 career passing yards and ton of rushing yards to go with it. New quarterback Adam Kennedy has thrown just seven touchdowns against four interceptions this season, which is a far cry from what Aplin put up year after year.
Plays against road underdogs (ARKANSAS ST) - off a close win by 7 points or less over a conference rival against opponent off a win by 10 points or more over a conference rival are 75-34 (68.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Better yet, plays on home favorites (LA MONROE) - off a win by 10 points or more as an underdog against opponent off a road win are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS since 1992. Also, the home team has won seven of the past eight meetings in this series, and the favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Roll with Louisiana-Monroe Saturday.
|11-09-13||Mississippi State +19.5 v. Texas A&M||Top||41-51||Win||100||45 h 27 m||Show|
20* Miss State/Texas A&M CBS Saturday No-Brainer on Mississippi State +19.5
|11-09-13||USC v. California +17||62-28||Loss||-110||45 h 56 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on California +17
You have to give the Cal Golden Bears a lot of credit for the way they continue to fight. They have covered the spread in each of their last two games and are clearly starting to show value against the spread due to their poor start this season. They covered as a 28-point underdog at Washington in a 17-41 loss. They followed that up with their best performance of the season, which was a 28-33 home loss to Arizona as a 14.5-point underdog last weekend.
I really like what I
|11-09-13||College of Charleston +22 v. Louisville||48-70||Push||0||5 h 45 m||Show|
15* CBB Saturday PLAY OF THE DAY on College of Charleston +22
I almost always look to fade the champion of the previous NCAA Tournament early in the season the next year. That champ can almost never live up to the hype in the early going, and it has a hard time coming back hungry the following season.
I believe Louisville will take a step back early before improving a ton late, which is the case almost every year for Rick Pitino and company. The Cardinals lost arguably their two best players in Peyton Siva (10.0 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.3 spg) and Gorgui Dieng (9.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.5 bpg). Siva was the leader of the offense, while Dieng was the enforcer on defense.
Charleston is going to make a run at the NCAA Tournament in 2013. It went 24-11 last year for its fourth straight 20-win season. With four starters back from that squad, this team will give Louisville a run for its money tonight. That includes junior guard Anthony Stitt (11.0 ppg, 3.2 apg) and junior center Adjehi Baru (9.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
Charleston is 58-28 ATS as a road underdog or pick since 1997. Charleston is 19-6 ATS in its last 25 games as a road underdog of 10 or more points. The Cougars are 29-12-1 ATS in their last 42 Saturday games. They played their best basketball on the road last season, going 13-3 away from home. Bet College of Charleston Saturday.
|11-09-13||Western Kentucky -5.5 v. Army||21-17||Loss||-110||42 h 56 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Western Kentucky -5.5
There's no question in my mind that Western Kentucky is the superior team in this game against Army. That will show on the football field as the Hiltoppers roll to a blowout road victory to become bowl eligible with their sixth win of the season.
Western Kentucky has been dominant on both sides of the football. It is scoring 30.8 points and averaging 476.6 yards per game to rank 26th in the country in total offense. It is giving up just 361.9 yards per game to rank 29th in total defense. This team is even better than its 5-4 record would indicate.
Sure, losses to LA Lafayette and Troy are concerning but a closer look shows that they really should have won both of those games. The Hilltoppers outgained Lafayette 471-344 for the game, but were -3 in turnover differential. They also outgained Troy 532-397. So, as you can see, they dominated both of those games in every area but the scoreboard.
Army is coming off back-to-back blowout losses to two of the worst teams in college football in Temple (14-33) and Air Force (28-42). Its only wins this season have come against three terrible teams in Morgan State (28-12), LA Tech (35-16) and Eastern Michigan (50-25). That's the same Morgan State team that Western Kentucky beat (58-17).
The Hilltoppers beat Navy 19-7 on September 28, so they have some nice experience against the triple-option offense. They held the Midshipmen to just 183 total yards in the win. Navy is a much better football team than Army, and its runs the triple-option much more effectively.
Western Kentucky is 19-6-1 ATS in its last 26 road games. The Hilltoppers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. The Black Knights are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 vs. a team with a winning record. Army is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Take Western Kentucky Saturday.
|11-08-13||Air Force v. New Mexico -3||Top||37-45||Win||100||26 h 22 m||Show|
20* Air Force/New Mexico Mountain West No-Brainer on New Mexico -3
While the New Mexico Lobos have just two wins this season, they have been much more competitive than they were in years
|11-08-13||Toronto Raptors +9 v. Indiana Pacers||84-91||Win||100||8 h 52 m||Show|
15* NBA Friday Undervalued Underdog on Toronto Raptors +9
The Indiana Pacers are way overvalued due to their 5-0 start this season. They are coming off a huge win over fellow Central Division contender Chicago on Wednesday, setting them up for a big letdown spot here as they host the Toronto Raptors. They also have a road game at Brooklyn on deck tomorrow, which makes this a potential lookahead.
Toronto has been much better than its 2-3 record would indicate. All three of its losses came by nine points or less, and that 9-point setback was against the defending champion Miami Heat.
Home-court advantage has meant absolutely nothing when Indiana and Toronto have gotten together over the last couple of year. In fact, the road team is is 6-1 SU & 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series. Toronto has won its last two visits to Indiana outright as a 7-point and 9-point underdog, respectively.
Plays against any team (INDIANA) - very good defensive team - shooting pct defense of <=41% on the season, after 4 straight games - allowing a shooting pct. of 42% or less are 75-37 (67%) ATS since 1996. Toronto is 14-4 ATS in road games against Central division opponents over the last 3 seasons. The Raptors are 19-8 ATS in road games after having lost 3 of their last 4 games over the last 3 seasons. The Pacers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record. The road team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Take the Raptors Friday.
|11-08-13||Boston Celtics v. Orlando Magic UNDER 192||91-89||Win||100||8 h 51 m||Show|
15* NBA Friday Total ANNIHILATOR on Celtics/Magic UNDER 192
The books have set the bar too high tonight in this game between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic. Both teams are in rebuilding mode, and each lacks offensive firepower, especially the Celtics.
Boston is only averaging 89.4 points per game despite shooting a solid 47% from the floor this season. That just shows how slow of a pace it plays at, which is no surprise considering head coach Brad Stevens always played at a snail's pace at Butler. The Celtics have been solid defensively, giving up just 93.4 points per game.
Orlando's numbers are a bit inflated due to playing an overtime game against Minnesota that resulted in 235 combined points. However, three of their five games have seen 193 or less combined points. That includes the 98-90 win on Wednesday against one of the best offensive teams in the NBA in the Los Angeles Clippers.
Plays on the UNDER on any team (ORLANDO) - after beating the spread by 36 or more points total in their last five games, a marginal winning team (51% to 60%) playing a losing team are 49-21 (70%) over the last five seasons.
Orlando is 9-1 UNDER vs. teams who are called for 2+ more fouls/game than their opponents over the last 2 seasons. Boston is 56-33 UNDER after allowing 35 points or less in the first half last game since 1996. The UNDER is 6-0 in Celtics last 6 road games. The UNDER is 18-7-1 in Celtics last 26 vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. The UNDER is is 43-20-2 in Magic last 65 Friday games. Take the UNDER in this game Friday.
|11-08-13||New York Knicks v. Charlotte Bobcats OVER 191||101-91||Win||100||8 h 43 m||Show|
15* NBA Friday Total DOMINATOR on Bobcats/Knicks OVER 191
The books have set the bar too low in this game between the Charlotte Bobcats and New York Knicks tonight. I look for this to be a shootout with these teams combining for more than 191 points with ease, which has certainly been the case in recent meetings.
Charlotte and New York have combined for 198 or more points in each of their last four meetings. Those four games have seen 199, 201, 213 and 198 points for an average of 202.8 points/game. That includes Charlotte's 102-97 road victory on November 5 just three days ago.
Now, Tyson Chandler has suffered an injury that will keep him out for the next 4-to-6 weeks. That's a huge loss for New York as they'll be playing without their former Defensive Player of the Year. That will open things up a lot for opposing offenses, and it will force the Knicks to be even more perimeter-oriented offensively than they already are. This should lead to easy buckets for opposing teams on long rebounds with fast break opportunities.
New York is 27-9 to the OVER after 2 straight games - attempting 10+ more shots than opponent since 1996. Charlotte is 24-13 to the OVER when playing against a team with a losing record over the last two seasons. The Bobcats are 16-5 to the OVER when the line is +3 to -3 over the last 3 seasons. New York is 12-4-2 to the OVER in its last 18 vs. NBA Southeast Division opponents. Roll with the OVER in this game Friday.
|11-08-13||Maryland v. Connecticut -4.5||77-78||Loss||-110||7 h 5 m||Show|
15* Maryland/UConn 2013 CBB Season Opener on Connecticut -4.5
Connecticut once again has something to play for after failing to qualify for the NCAA tournament last season because of poor academic progress rates. The 18th-ranked Huskies are flying under the radar heading into the 2013-14 season due to not being eligible for the NCAA Tournament last year. They should be laying more than 4.5 points to Maryland in the opener.
UConn went 20-10 last season but had to watch other teams battle for the title in the NCAA tournament. The Huskies are once again eligible for postseason play, and junior guard Ryan Boatright says they also are very hungry.
"We know how it felt last year to put everything on the line every game and not get a chance to play for a ring like a lot of teams we watched in the tournament that we beat," he said. "It hurt watching the tournament. But, to have that pain stuck inside of us and to know that we've got a chance to win this year, it just motivates us."
Boatright and backcourt running mate Shabazz Napier both passed up a chance at the NBA draft to return this season. They will be joined by the rest of the 2012-13 starters - Omar Calhoun, DeAndre Daniels and Tyler Olander.
"We're going to be really great," said Daniels, who averaged more than 22 points over his last four games last season. "I feel like guys on this team are working even harder to try and win every game."
Maryland loses its best player in 7-1 center Alex Len to the NBA. While it does have some nice experience coming back, this NIT team from last year simply does not have the talent to match up with Connecticut. Bet the Huskies Friday.
|11-07-13||Atlanta Hawks v. Denver Nuggets -3||Top||107-109||Loss||-109||15 h 45 m||Show|
20* Hawks/Nuggets Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Denver -3
As one of two winless teams on the season, the Denver Nuggets (0-3) are clearly highly motivated for their first victory of the year. I look for them to take out their frustration Thursday on the Atlanta Hawks, who are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers tonight.
The good news is that Denver has had plenty of practice time to get things straightened out. It is the only team in the entire league to have played just three games to this point in the season. New head coach Brian Shaw has had extra time to implement his systems, and I look for that extra practice to start paying off as soon as tonight.
It started to pay off in their last game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Nuggets held a 78-72 lead entering the fourth quarter against the defending Western Conference champs, only to get outscored 30-16 in the final period to lose 94-102. If they can hang with the Spurs, they can certainly beat the Hawks by more than three points tonight.
I don't believe the Hawks have shown enough to be getting this much respect from the books as only a 3-point road dog to the Nuggets, who have historically been one of the best home teams in the league. Atlanta's two wins came against Toronto (102-95) and Sacramento (105-100). It also fell at Dallas (109-118) and at the Lakers (103-105).
Home-court advantage has been absolutely huge when the Hawks and Nuggets get together in recent years. Indeed, the home team has won 10 of the last 11 meetings in this series. Denver has won six straight home meetings with Atlanta, and five of the last six meetings in this series overall.
The Hawks are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a win. Atlanta is 1-6 ATS in its last seven road games. Denver is 30-13 ATS in its last 43 home games against Southeast Division opponents. The Nuggets are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games versus good offensive teams that score 103 or more points per game. Bet the Nuggets Thursday.
|11-07-13||Oregon -10 v. Stanford||Top||20-26||Loss||-110||23 h 33 m||Show|
20* Oregon/Stanford Pac-12 No-Brainer on Oregon -10
The Ducks have certainly made a case for being the best team in all of college football. They have won every game this season by 21 or more points en route to their 8-0 start. That includes a 45-24 win at Washington, which is the same team should have won at Stanford, losing 28-31 despite outgaining the Cardinal by 210 total yards.
Oregon is putting up 55.6 points and 632.1 yards per game to rank 2nd in the country in total offense. Marcus Mariota is the Heisman Trophy front runner to this point thanks to his 2,281 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and zero interceptions, as well as his 511 rushing yards and nine scores. The defense hasn
|11-07-13||Washington Redskins -1 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||27-34||Loss||-125||64 h 40 m||Show|
25* NFL Thursday Night GAME OF THE YEAR on Washington Redskins -1 (-125)
Despite the fact that they are just 3-5, the Redskins are still very much alive in the NFC East race. After a huge overtime win against San Diego this past Sunday, they trail the Dallas Cowboys by just 1.5 games for the division lead. They finished the second half last year on a seven-game winning streak, and that will give them the confidence to do something special to close out the 2013 campaign, too.
Meanwhile, Minnesota has nothing to play for even though we
|11-07-13||Troy +14 v. Louisiana-Lafayette||36-41||Win||100||13 h 25 m||Show|
15* Troy/LA-Lafayette Sun Belt ANNIHILATOR on Troy +14
The Troy Trojans have a big edge in rest heading into this one. They last played on Thursday, October 31, while Louisiana-Lafayette last played on Saturday, November 2. That gives them a full two days extra to prepare for this contest, which is huge considering this is a short week for the Rajin
|11-07-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Miami Heat UNDER 210.5||97-102||Win||100||13 h 31 m||Show|
15* Clippers/Heat TNT Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 210.5
The books have set the bar too high tonight in this showdown between the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat. These National TV games usually bring out the best in team defense, and I look for that to be the case tonight in this matchup between two of the top contenders to win the NBA Title in 2013-14.
I believe this number has been inflated largely due to both teams going OVER the total frequently in the early going. Los Angeles is 4-1 to the OVER thus far, while Miami is 4-1 to the OVER as well. Oddsmakers have been forced to set this number higher than it should be because the betting public is going to continue pounding the OVER in this game tonight. I'll go the other way.
Let's take a look at the two meetings between Miami and Los Angeles last year. In their first meeting on November 14, the books set the total at 197 and they combined for 207 points to go OVER the number. In their second meeting on February 8, they set the total at 193 and they went OVER again with 200 combined points. Now, they've set the total at 210.5 points, which is way higher than last year's two totals, which further proves my point that there is a ton of value on the UNDER.
While the Clippers have been soft defensively thus far, there's no question that head coach Doc Rivers won't stand for it for much longer. They are coming off their best defensive performance of the season last night, though they still lost 90-98 at Orlando for 188 combined points. I look for them to continue to make strides defensively tonight against the Heat.
The UNDER is 23-8 in Clippers last 31 Thursday games. The UNDER is 4-1-1 in Heat's last six Thursday games. The UNDER is 6-2 in Heat's last eight home games. Miami is 15-5 to the UNDER in home games after making 85% of their free throws or better over the last three seasons. Take the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|11-06-13||Central Michigan +21 v. Ball State||Top||24-44||Win||100||8 h 20 m||Show|
20* CMU/Ball State MAC Wednesday No-Brainer on Central Michigan +21
The Chippewas are playing their best football of the season of late. Prior to their loss to Northern Illinois on October 19 last time out, they had won two straight road games over Miami Ohio (21-9) and Ohio (26-23). That win over the Bobcats was quite impressive considering they were a 20-point underdog but managed 432 total yards in the win.
Having last played on October 19, Central Michigan now has had more than two full weeks to prepare for Ball State. They have had an extra week to prepare than the Cardinals, who last played on October 26.
With a game against fellow MAC West leader Northern Illinois on deck next Wednesday, this is a huge letdown spot for Ball State. That game will almost certainly decide the MAC West winner, so it doesn
|11-06-13||Utah Jazz v. Boston Celtics UNDER 185||87-97||Win||100||8 h 36 m||Show|
15* NBA Wednesday Total DOMINATOR on Jazz/Celtics UNDER 185
The Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics are two of the worst teams in the league in 2013. Both are 0-4 to start the year and each will be hungry for their first victory. I look for both teams to bring max effort defensively in this one in search of that elusive first win.
Brad Stevens ran a very slow tempo at Butler, and he has brought his same philosophy to these Celtics. Playing at home, Boston will control the tempo in this one and make this a half-court game from start to finish, limiting the possessions for both teams.
Both squads have been atrocious offensively in 2013. Boston is scoring just 87.5 points per game despite shooting a respectable 45.5%, which shows how slow of a tempo it plays at. Utah is putting up 90.7 points per game on 40.4% shooting this season.
The UNDER is 5-1 in Celtis last six games overall. The UNDER is 4-1 in Jazz last five road games. The UNDER is 7-3 in Jazz last 10 games overall. The UNDER is 5-1 in Celtics last six when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. Bet the UNDER in this game Wednesday.
|11-06-13||Los Angeles Clippers v. Orlando Magic +7||90-98||Win||100||7 h 19 m||Show|
15* NBA Wednesday Undervalued Underdog on Orlando Magic +7
The Los Angeles Clippers are in a huge letdown spot here. They are coming off a big win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night, and they have an even bigger game against the defending champion Miami Heat on deck Thursday in a game that will be nationally televised on TNT. I fully expect them to be overlooking the Orlando Magic tonight.
Everyone has been overlooking the Magic this season due to finishing with the worst record in the league a year ago. This team is much-improved, going 2-2 straight up and a perfect 4-0 against the spread. Its two losses came on the road with one in overtime against Minnesota. Its two wins came at home via blowout with a 110-90 win over New Orleans, and a 107-86 victory over Brooklyn.
Los Angeles is one of the worst defensive teams in the league this season. It is giving up 112.5 points per game and 48.2% shooting, so Doc Rivers hasn't been able to make up for the lack of defensive talent in the early going. Orlando is putting up 104.7 points per game on 46.6% shooting, including 43.5% from 3-point range.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points (ORLANDO) - off 2 or more consecutive home wins, first half of the season are 44-17 (72.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games. The Magic are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 vs. NBA Pacific Division opponents. Orlando is 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 meetings with Los Angeles. Take the Magic Wednesday.
|11-06-13||Chicago Bulls +3 v. Indiana Pacers||80-97||Loss||-109||7 h 18 m||Show|
15* Bulls/Pacers ESPN Wednesday ANNIHILATOR on Chicago +3
The Chicago Bulls have obviously not played up to their potential en route to a 1-2 start this season. However, this is a resilient team, and with three days off heading into this showdown with the Indiana Pacers, I fully expect them to correct their mistakes and to come away with a win tonight against NBA Central Division rival Indiana.
The Pacers will be playing the second of a back-to-back after a 99-91 win at Detroit last night. That gives the Bulls a huge edge in rest and preparation heading into this one. Not only will they want it more, they will be more better prepared than Indiana to come away with a victory tonight.
"You've got to correct things immediately; you got to put the work into it," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told the team's official website. "You can't hope it to happen; you have to make it happen. And we need everybody doing it. We can't rely on a certain two or three guys to do everything. Our entire team is needed. This isn't a Derrick issue, this is a team issue and we have to correct it."
Chicago is 14-6 against Indiana with Derrick Rose in the lineup. Thibodeau is 33-13 ATS off an upset loss as a favorite as the coach of Chicago. Thibodeau is 26-9 ATS off a loss by six points or less as the coach of Chicago. The Pacers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record. Take the Bulls Wednesday.
|11-06-13||Washington Wizards -1.5 v. Philadelphia 76ers||Top||116-102||Win||100||7 h 15 m||Show|
20* NBA Wednesday No-Doubt Rout on Washington Wizards -1.5
The Washington Wizards are highly motivated for their first win of the season Wednesday night. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that they already lost to the Philadelphia 76ers by a final of 102-109 at home on November 1, so they will be seeking revenge, too.
Philadelphia is way overvalued after a 3-1 start with three wins by seven points or fewer. The fact of the matter is that this team lacks talent, and its true colors showed last time out in a 90-110 home loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Washington has had two days off since a 93-103 loss at Miami on Sunday. It comes in fully rested and fully prepared to avenge its earlier loss to the 76ers. Look for John Wall and company to come out with their best effort of the season tonight to get the win and cover.
Washington is 18-6 ATS when revenging a home loss vs. opponents over the past two seasons. Philadelphia is 4-13 ATS after coving three of its last four against the spread over the past two years. The Wizards are 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. Roll with the Wizards Wednesday.
|11-05-13||Houston Rockets v. Portland Trail Blazers -1.5||116-101||Loss||-110||19 h 16 m||Show|
15* Rockets/Blazers NBA Late-Night BAILOUT on Portland -1.5
The Houston Rockets are in a very tough situation tonight. They will be playing their 4th game in 5 days after losing 118-137 to the Los Angeles Clippers last night. There's no question that game took a lot out of them as the Clippers simply ran them to death. That obviously makes matters worst heading into their 4th game in five nights at Portland Tuesday.
The Trail Blazers will have a huge edge in rest in this one. They actually come in on two days' rest since their 115-105 home victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, November 2. That followed up an even more impressive 113-98 road win at Denver the previous night. There's no question this team is improved.
Portland had one of the best starting fives in the league last season led by LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum. All four of those guys are back to lead the way, and they're combining to average roughly 80 points per game between them. The Blazers' problem last year was that they had no bench.
Well, Portland has shored up that area as well. Not only is Robin Lopez an upgrade over J.J. Hickson as the starting center, but guys like Mo Williams, Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson are now manning the Blazers' bench. That's a huge upgrade over last year's bench, which was historically one of the worst that the NBA has ever seen. The Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a SU loss of more than 10 points. Roll with the Blazers in a very favorable spot Tuesday.
|11-05-13||Los Angeles Lakers v. Dallas Mavericks UNDER 214.5||104-123||Loss||-110||18 h 7 m||Show|
15* NBA Tuesday Total ANNIHILATOR on Mavericks/Lakers UNDER 214.5
Oddsmakers are overreacting from the high-scoring nature in the early going of both Lakers and Mavericks games. While there's no question that the Mavericks have been impressive offensively, while the Lakers have upped the tempo a bit, this total is simply set too high and there's a ton of value with the UNDER.
The Lakers are only scoring 100.0 points per game this season. They clearly miss Kobe Bryant on offense and have to make up for his absence by playing better on the defensive end. While it hasn't always been pretty, the Lakers have been much better on that side of the ball of late, allowing 91 points to the Spurs and 103 to the Hawks in their last two contests.
When you look at recent meetings between these teams, it's easy to see that this total has been inflated. The Lakers and Mavericks have combined for 209 or less points in 16 of their last 17 meetings. The only game they didn't was a 112-108 overtime victory for the Lakers on 4/15/2012. That game was tied 98-98 at the end of regulation for 196 combined points.
So, not counting overtime, the Lakers and Mavs have combined for 209 or less in 17 straight meetings, making for a perfect 17-0 system backing the UNDER dating back to 2010. I understand these teams are different this year, but not different enough to warrant this ridiculous 214.5-point total. Take the UNDER in this game Tuesday.
|11-05-13||Ohio v. Buffalo -3.5||Top||3-30||Win||100||29 h 52 m||Show|
20* Ohio/Buffalo MAC GAME OF THE WEEK on Buffalo -3.5
The Buffalo Bulls have been one of the most improved teams in the country this season. As a result, they have also been one of the most underrated. After opening the season with losses against Ohio State and Baylor, who each remain undefeated, the Bulls have reeled off six straight victories while going 5-1 against the spread in the process.
In its last five games, Buffalo has been absolutely destroying opponents. In fact, it has won five straight games by 20 or more points. It beat Connecticut (41-12), Eastern Michigan (42-14) and UMass (32-3) at home, while also winning at Western Michigan (33-0) and Kent State (41-21) on the road.
Ohio was absolutely blown 7-49 at Louisville in its only true road test this season. Its other two road games came at Akron and at Eastern Michigan, which were both wins. Buffalo is 4-0 at home this season with an average margin of victory of 22.2 points per game.
The Bulls clearly want revenge from last season
|11-04-13||Houston Rockets v. Los Angeles Clippers -5||118-137||Win||100||11 h 58 m||Show|
15* Rockets/Clippers NBA Late-Night BAILOUT on Los Angeles -5
The Los Angeles Clippers (2-1) want to make a statement tonight against the 3-0 Houston Rockets. They come in on two days' rest having last played on Friday, while this will be the 3rd game in 4 nights for the Rockets.
Getting two days to prepare for Houston is pretty big. The Rockets are one of the more tough teams to prepare for due to their versatility offensively. I really like the Clippers having DeAndre Jordan, who can match up with Dwight Howard about as well as anyone in the league.
Houston comes in overvalued due to its 3-0 start that has come against a pretty soft schedule. It has home wins over Charlotte and Dallas, as well as a road win at Utah thus far. Los Angeles' 126-115 home win over Golden State was impressive to say the least. I look for a similar result tonight.
The Clippers have won five of the last six meetings in this series. Plays on favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points (LA CLIPPERS) - off 2 consecutive wins against division rivals are 34-11 (75.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Rockets are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS win. Bet the Clippers Monday.
|11-04-13||Chicago Bears v. Green Bay Packers -10||Top||27-20||Loss||-107||9 h 57 m||Show|
20* Bears/Packers NFC North No-Brainer on Green Bay -10
Green Bay is once again showing that it is the deepest team in the league just as it did when it won the Super Bowl a few years back. Despite the losses of Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, James Jones and Jermichael Finley, the Packers have won four straight with three of those victories coming by 13 or more points. The other was a solid 19-17 road victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.
The Packers have simply owned the Bears, winning six straight in this series while going 5-1 against the spread in the process. They have won five straight meetings with the Bears at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers is 9-2 in his career against Chicago and has completed 69.6 percent of his passes while throwing 12 touchdowns and two interceptions in the last four matchups.
Chicago will be without starting quarterback Jay Cutler and middle linebacker Lance Briggs Monday. These losses really stack the deck against the Bears. The Packers have won 11 straight home games when you include playoffs while allowing an average of 14.7 points per game in the process. In their last five home games, the Packers have yielded only three field goals and no touchdowns in the first half. After giving up 45 points and 499 total yards to the Redskins last time out, the Bears will be in for a long day against this high-powered Green Bay offense.
What has made Green Bay's offense so dynamic this year is a new-found running game, which makes opposing defenses try and defend the entire field. The Packers have rushed for over 100 yards in six straight games, including 180-plus in three of them. After giving up 209 rushing yards against the Redskins, the Bears are clearly soft through the middle of their defense due to injuries along the D-line and at linebacker.
The Bears are 0-7 against the spread versus good offensive teams that average at least 350 yards per game over the last two seasons. Green Bay is 35-16-2 against the spread in its last 53 home games overall. The Packers are 8-1 against the number in their last nine games as a home favorite of 10.5 to 14 points. The Bears are 2-14 against the spread in their last 14 vs. NFC opponents. Green Bay is 26-9 against the number in its last 35 vs. NFC North foes. Bet Green Bay Monday.
|11-03-13||Indianapolis Colts v. Houston Texans +2.5||Top||27-24||Loss||-110||39 h 58 m||Show|
20* Colts/Texans NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Houston +2.5
Sure, the record says that the Houston Texans are just 2-5 on the season, but a closer look into the numbers shows that they are much better than their record would indicate. They rank 1st in the league in total defense at 267.7 yards per game allowed, and 8th in total offense at 381.1 yards per game. Their net yards gained versus their opponents of 113.4 yards per game is the best mark in the entire league. There could be a ton of value in backing this team going forward due to their poor overall record, and I believe that is certainly the case Sunday night.
Compare that to the Colts (5-2), who are actually getting outgained by 6.0 yards per game on the season, and we have a fraud here. Now, Indianapolis has lost leading receiver Reggie Wayne to a season-ending knee injury in the win over the Broncos last time out. His loss cannot be overstated as he has been one of the most productive receivers in league history. Andrew Luck has taken a particular liking to Wayne, especially in key third-down situations. Without him, this offense isn
|11-03-13||Phoenix Suns +13.5 v. Oklahoma City Thunder||96-103||Win||100||9 h 46 m||Show|
15* NBA Sunday PLAY OF THE DAY on Phoenix Suns +13.5
The Phoenix Suns are way undervalued to open the 2013-14 season. They are perceived as rebuilding, but they have Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe carrying a new era in Phoenix.
As a 13-point underdog today, the Suns are obviously getting no respect from oddsmakers. They have opened 2-0 this year with wins over both the Blazers and Jazz. I like what I've seen from them thus far, and they should not be a 13-point dog to the Thunder.
Oklahoma City is not the same team it is when Russell Westbrook is healthy. We saw that in the playoffs last year, and we're seeing it in the early going. The Thunder barely beat the Jazz 101-98, and they were thoroughly dominated by the Timberwolves 81-100 last time out.
The Suns are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 1 days rest. The Thunder are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Not surprisingly, all seven of those games have come without Russell Westbrook. Bet the Suns Sunday.
|11-03-13||Pittsburgh Steelers +7 v. New England Patriots||Top||31-55||Loss||-115||35 h 54 m||Show|
20* Steelers/Patriots AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Pittsburgh +7
Sure, the Steelers are just 2-5 on the season, but when you look at the numbers it
|11-03-13||Philadelphia Eagles +3 v. Oakland Raiders||49-20||Win||100||34 h 19 m||Show|
15* Eagles/Raiders Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Philadelphia +3
The Philadelphia Eagles are clearly the worst home team in the league. They just cannot seem to perform well in front of the boo birds, losing a ridiculous 10 straight home games. They also clearly enjoy getting away from Philadelphia and all the negativity that comes with it.
Indeed, the Eagles are 3-1 straight up and 3-1 against the spread on the road this season, which is where all three of their victories have come. They have wins at Washington (33-27), New York Giants (36-21) and Tampa Bay (31-20). Their only loss came at Denver (20-52) in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. The Eagles were only outgained 450-472 in that game, but they gave up two non-offensive touchdowns. Plus, everyone is getting blown out by Denver.
Oakland is one of the most overrated teams in the league. It was gift-wrapped wins by the Chargers and Steelers in two of its last three games with those teams combining for seven turnovers. The Raiders are going to get exploited this week simply because this is a terrible match up for them.
The Raiders rely heavily on the run, averaging 139 rushing yards per game compared to just 175 passing. Well, Philadelphia's strength defensively is against the run and its weakness is against the pass. The Eagles are only allowing 100 rushing yards per game and 3.7 per carry compared to 302 passing yards per game. Terrelle Pryor won't be able to exploit Philadelphia's weakness because he's a terrible passer.
I love that Nick Foles is getting the start this week as he has clearly been the most impressive of the three Philadelphia quarterbacks. Foles has appeared in five games, two as a starter, and has completed 52 of 90 passes for 622 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He shined against Tampa Bay on Oct. 13, going 22 of 31 for 296 yards with three touchdowns. He can also hand the ball off to LeSean McCoy, who leads the NFL with 733 yards rushing.
Amazingly, Philadelphia is just one game out of first place in the NFC East. So despite the struggles in recent weeks, it still has a ton to play for. Meanwhile, Oakland has no chance to catch Kansas City and Denver in the AFC West. It also has very small hope at getting a wild card spot in the AFC. So, from a mental perspective, I like Philadelphia's side better heading into this one.
Oakland is 3-14 ATS off an upset win as a home underdog since 1992. The Raiders are 11-25 ATS as a home favorite of 3 points or less since 1992. The Raiders are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games following a ATS win. Oakland is 0-3-1 ATS in its last four games following a S.U. win. Take the Eagles Sunday.
Note: While I recommend buying the Eagles to +3 if you have the option, I'd still play them at a lesser number.
|11-03-13||Kansas City Chiefs v. Buffalo Bills +4||23-13||Loss||-115||31 h 14 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Buffalo Bills +4
With the new collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams don't hit in practice during the bye week. Players look at it as a bit of a vacation these days. It's kind of like a normal person's Friday before a vacation. How productive are you going to be on that Friday?
I believe the comparison is very real with NFL players. In fact, teams going into a bye week fail to cover the spread in roughly 59% of games over the past two seasons. This spot is especially tough for Kansas City given that it has its biggest game of the season on deck against Denver. It will be overlooking the Bills and looking ahead to the Bye Week and Denver.
I love what I've seen from Buffalo this season. Even in losing efforts, this team continues to battle. This team is 3-5 on the season, but three of those losses came by a touchdown or less, and the other were closer games than the final score would indicate in losses at Cleveland (24-37) and New Orleans (17-35).
I really like what I've seen from Buffalo at home. It has wins over an improved Carolina team and the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Its only losses have come to New England (21-23) on a last-second field goal as a 10-point dog, and to Cincinnati (24-27) in overtime as a 5.5-point dog. As you can see, the Bills have been extremely competitive at home.
The Chiefs are clearly overvalued due to their 8-0 start, and that has started to show the past two weeks with unimpressive home wins against Houston (17-16) as a 7-point favorite and Cleveland (17-23) as a 7-point favorite. Alex Smith has just two touchdown passes and two interceptions over the last four weeks, and he just cannot deliver in the red zone as time and time again the Chiefs have to settle for field goals.
Plays against favorites (KANSAS CITY) - after covering the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6 games, in November games are 55-23 (70.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. Kansas City is 6-16 ATS in its last 22 games following two consecutive home wins. The Chiefs are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 vs. a team with a losing record.
Buffalo is 8-0 ATS off a road loss over the last two years. The Bills are 7-0 ATS in home games off one or more consecutive losses over the last two seasons. Buffalo is 6-0 ATS in its last six games following a S.U. loss and 5-0 ATS in its last five home games. These four trends combine for a perfect 26-0 system backing the Bills. Roll with Buffalo Sunday.
|11-03-13||Atlanta Falcons v. Carolina Panthers -7||10-34||Win||100||31 h 14 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Carolina Panthers -7
I believe the oddsmakers have set the line in the Carolina/Atlanta game at 7.5 begging bettors to take the hook on the Falcons. I'm going to see right through it and back the better team in this one as I fully expect the Panthers to roll to victory.
It's no fluke that Atlanta is 2-5 right now. It remains without its two starting wide receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones, and you just cannot replace that kind of production. The injuries on defense are getting overlooked, too. The Falcons are without DE Kroy Biermann and LB Sean Weatherspoon, who are not only two of their best players, but leaders on the stop unit as well. Adding insult to injury is that LB Stephen Nicholas is doubtful Sunday.
Offensively, Atlanta hasn't been able to run the ball, which just puts Matt Ryan under even more pressure than he already is without White and Jones. Atlanta has rushed for 58, 64, 18 and 27 yards in its last four games, respectively. Steven Jackson returned from injury last week, but it didn't matter as he was held to six years on 11 carries. The offensive line is beat up too, and it lost some key cogs from last year.
Defensively, Atlanta is giving up 26.3 points and 363.7 yards per game. There's no question that the Panthers, who are allowing just 13.7 points and 301.4 yards per game, have a huge edge on this side of the ball. Also, the Panthers average 129 rushing yards per game, and they'll be able to move the football against an Atlanta defense that is surrenering 4.6 yards per carry this season. The Falcons have given up 111-plus yards on the ground in four straight games, including 201 last week to Arizona, which isn't known for its running game like Carolina is.
Carolina is not only winning of late, it is absolutely dominating. It has won four of its last five games with the wins coming against New York (38-0), Minnesota (35-10), St. Louis (30-15) and Tampa Bay (31-13). While none of those teams are elite, the Falcons are literally as bad as all of them right now with the injuries they are going through. This is a broken football team, ladies and gents, and there's no quick fix.
Cam Newton is playing the best football of his career. Newton has a 77.3 completion percentage and a 130.3 passer rating during the three-game winning streak - both best in the NFL over the past three weeks - while throwing for 667 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. The Panthers get an extra three days of rest heading into this one after last Thursday's win over Tampa Bay, only further improving their chances to cover.
Plays on favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (CAROLINA) - after allowing 99 or less rushing yards in 2 straight games against opponent after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in 3 straight games are 23-5 (82.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Carolina is 7-0 ATS after allowing 99 or less rushing yards in 2 straight games over the last 2 seasons. The Panthers beat last year's 13-3 Atlanta team 30-20 at home on December 9 behind 195 rushing yards and 280 passing yards. I expect an even bigger blowout this time around. Bet the Panthers Sunday.
Note: While I recommend buying the Panthers to -7 if you have the option, I'd still play them at -7.5 or -8.
|11-02-13||UTEP +47.5 v. Texas A&M||7-57||Loss||-106||26 h 3 m||Show|
15* UTEP/Texas A&M ESPN 2 Saturday Night BAILOUT on UTEP +47.5
The Texas A&M Aggies aren't going to be interested at all this week. The 1-6 UTEP Miners come to town as the Aggies step outside SEC play. Teams from power conferences that face a non-conference game late in the season always tend to overlook that opponent when it's a team the caliber of UTEP.
Texas A&M will be much more interested in its final three games of the season, which will be against Mississippi State, LSU and Missouri with perhaps a BCS bowl on the line. It has no interest in beating UTEP by 50 Saturday, which is why I fully expect it to call off the dogs late.
Sure, there's no question I expect this to be a blowout, but asking the Aggies to win by more than six touchdowns is simply asking too much. That's especially the case when you consider how soft their defense has been all season, which will allow UTEP plenty of opportunities to score points in the second half to keep the final score within the number.
Indeed, Texas A&M is giving up 32.6 points and 473.7 yards per game to rank a woeful 108th in the country in total defense. UTEP has actually been a pretty solid offensive team, averaging 407.4 yards per game to rank a respectable 69th in total offense, which is right in the middle of the pack.
In fact, the Miners rank 26th in the country in rushing, averaging 211.0 yards per game on the ground. The Aggies are terrible against the run, giving up 210.1 yards per game to rank 104th in rushing defense. Even if they're down big, they're still going to stick to the run because it's what they do. And they should continue to move it effectively once Texas A&M packs it in at halftime.
UTEP is 17-6 ATS in it last 23 road games when playing against a good team with a winning percentage between 60-75%. Simply put, this line is too big for a disinterested Aggies team to cover. Roll with UTEP Saturday.
|11-02-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. Dallas Mavericks -2||Top||99-111||Win||100||16 h 42 m||Show|
20* NBA Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Dallas Mavericks -2
Both the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies will be playing the second of a back-to-back tonight. However, there are two big advantages that the Mavericks have in this situation.
Dallas played in Houston last night, so it won't be a very long flight North back to Dallas. Memphis played at home last night, so it's definitely going to a long flight for the Grizzlies. Couple that with the fact that the Grizzlies played an overtime game against Detroit, and the advantage clearly goes to the Mavs in terms of rest and travel.
Coach Rick Carlisle did an excellent job of managing players' minutes last night, and it showed that this Dallas team is very deep. No player played more than 32 minutes last night, which was Monta Ellis, who is a young guard who can handle the load of playing a back-to-back. Nine different players played at least 13 minutes, and 11 players got into the game in all.
What I really liked to see was how well the bench performed. Gal Mekel had 11 points and six assists in 23 minutes, DeJuan Blair had 11 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes, and Jae Crowder had 15 points in only 13 minutes. Knowing that these bench players are capable of performing gives Carlisle a lot of options going into tonight. Plus, the Mavericks only shot 38.0 percent from the floor and still hung with the Rockets, only losing by a final of 105-113. That shows a a lot about this team as well.
Memphis has one of the worst benches in the entire league. As a result, six players were forced to play the majority of the minutes last night against Detroit. Five players played at least 32 minutes, while none of the other five players that played were able to contribute double-digit points. Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each played 36-plus minutes against the Pistons. The Grizzlies simply rely too heavily on this trio, and that will take its toll tonight.
I just strongly feel that the Grizzlies were overrated coming into the season due to making the Western Conference Finals last year. They were gifted that trip to the conference finals thanks to an injury to Blake Griffin for the Clippers in the first round, and an injury to Russell Westbrook for the Thunder in the second. Their true colors showed in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Spurs in the West Finals.
After opening 0-2 ATS in 2013-14, it's clear that I was right when saying this team was overvalued. It still is overvalued as only a 2-point underdog to the Mavericks on the road tonight. Conversely, Dallas came into the season undervalued due to going 41-41 last season. But it was playing without Dirk Nowitzki for much of the year, and once he came back, the Mavericks went on a nice run just to get back to .500 on the season.
Home-court advantage has been huge in this series. In fact, the home team has won six of the last seven meetings between the Mavericks and Grizzlies dating back to 2012. Dallas is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games playing on 0 days' rest. The Mavericks are 23-6 ATS in their last 29 games following an ATS loss. Dallas is 37-17 ATS in its last 54 games following a S.U. loss. Bet the Mavericks Saturday.
|11-02-13||Eastern Michigan +31 v. Toledo||16-55||Loss||-110||24 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Dirty Dog Dandy on Eastern Michigan +31
This number is simply way too big Saturday. The betting public wants nothing to do with Eastern Michigan because it is 1-7 straight up and 1-7 against the spread on the season. That's exactly what we want because it has created unbelievable line value for us to cash in on this dirty underdog.
Eastern Michigan has lost two games this season by more than 31 points, which came at Penn State (7-45) and at Northern Illinois (20-59). After playing a team like Northern Illinois last week, which is unbeaten on the season, the Eagles will certainly be battle-tested and ready to stay within 31 points of Toledo, which is on a completely different planet than NIU.
This is a huge letdown spot for Toledo. The Rockets are coming off a last-second, come from behind 28-25 win at Bowling Green last week. That was a big win and gets the Rockets back in the hunt for a MAC Title. However, they'll be much more interested in next week's game against Buffalo, which is 4-0 in MAC play this year. As a result, they'll be overlooking Eastern Michigan enough this week to not cover.
Toledo has not won a game this season by more than 27 points. That 27-point victory came at home against Western Michigan, which is one of the worst teams in the entire country, and even worse than Eastern Michigan in my opinion. Its other four wins have come by 21, 12, 3 and 1 point. I've seen nothing from the Rockets that makes me believe they should be a 31-point favorite against any FBS opponent.
Eastern Michigan played Toledo extremely tough last year. It only lost 47-52 at home as a 15-point underdog. It amassed 624 total yards in defeat. With eight starters back from that offense, and Toledo only having four starters back from that defense, I fully expect this EMU offense to put up plenty of points to keep this game competitive for a second consecutive season.
The Eagles are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 road games off a road blowout loss by 21 points or more. The Rockets are 1-5--1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win. Bet Eastern Michigan Saturday.
|11-02-13||Tulane v. Florida Atlantic -2||Top||17-34||Win||100||23 h 45 m||Show|
25* Conference USA GAME OF THE YEAR on Florida Atlantic -2
Despite a 2-6 start, the Florida Atlantic Owls still have a legitimate shot to become bowl eligible. They play Tulane, New Mexico State, Southern Miss and Florida International the rest of the way. That's a cake walk compared to the daunting schedule the Owls have faced to this point.
FAU has had to play both Auburn and Miami, which are two of the top teams in the country. They have also had road games against East Carolina and Rice, as well as home games against Marshall and Middle Tennessee. The other two games were road wins over South Florida (28-10) and UAB (37-23), which aren't great teams, but considering they were an underdog in both contests they were impressive.
Now, let's take a closer look at how much better Florida Atlantic is than its record would indicate. Indeed, the Owls have outgained four of their last five opponents, but managed just a 1-4 record. They lost in overtime to Middle Tennessee (35-42) despite outgaining it by 57 yards. They lost at Rice (14-18) despite outgaining it by 93 yards. They also lost at home to Marshall (23-24) despite outgaining it by 40 yards.
Sure, head coach Carl Pelini has resigned earlier this week due to using drugs, but a change could be just what the team needs. Offensive coordinator Brian Wright has been named interim coach for the remainder of the season. So many times, that first game under a new coach midseason ignites a fire into the players, and I believe that will be the case for FAU, too.
Now, let's look at Tulane, which has been the most lucky team in all of college football in 2013. It has posted a 6-2 record to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2002 after a 14-7 home win over Tulsa last week. After such a huge accomplishment for the program, it would only be human nature for the Green Wave to suffer a letdown this week.
Let's focus on the luck factor for a second. Amazingly, Tulane has been outgained in six of its eight games this season, which is the sign of a team that should 2-6 rather than 6-2. In fact, it is getting outgained 316.2 to 381.9 on the season. In their three most recent games, the Green Wave beat North Texas (24-21) despite getting outgained by 133 yards, beat East Carolina (36-33, OT) despite getting outgained by 233 yards, and beat Tulsa (14-7) despite getting outgained by 43 yards.
This team has been very fortunate in the turnover department, forcing a combined 13 turnovers over the last four games, in which they have obviously gone 4-0. FAU has been taking much better care of the football of late, committing just two turnovers in its last three games tonight. The Owls won't be giving away the same gifts that Tulane has been receiving in recent weeks, and as a result the better team will prevail Saturday.
Florida Atlantic is 8-0 ATS off a road loss over the last two seasons. The Owls are 7-0 ATS off two or more consecutive losses over the last two seasons. The Owls are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. FAU is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games after allowing 200 or more rushing yards in its last game. These four trends combine for a perfect 31-0 system backing Florida Atlantic. Plus, the Owls are 14-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall, time and time again being undervalued. That's the case again this week. Bet Florida Atlantic Saturday.
|11-02-13||Kent State v. Akron -1.5||7-16||Win||100||20 h 54 m||Show|
15* MAC GAME OF THE WEEK on Akron -1.5
Akron should be a much bigger home favorite this week against Kent State. While both teams are 2-7 on the season, I have no doubt that Akron is the better team and it will show Saturday.
The Zips have suffered some brutal losses this season. They biggest was a 24-28 setback as a 35-point underdog at Michigan. It also lost 20-27 at Northern Illinois as a 24-point dog, and at home against LA Lafayette 30-35 as a 7-point dog. Those three teams really show what this team is capable of.
It's easy to see that Kent State is a terrible football team this season. That was evident right out of the gate in a 17-10 win over Liberty, which is one of its two wins this year. The other came against Western Michigan. A road loss to South Alabama (21-38) and home losses to Bowling Green (22-41) and Buffalo (21-41) are a true indicator of how bad the Flashes are this season.
This is a revenge game for Akron, which lost 24-35 at Kent State last season as an 18.5-point dog. The Zips lost despite outgaining the Flashes 442-364 for the game. Remember, this was a Kent State team last year that was an overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC Title game away from playing in a BCS game. This year's version of the Golden Flashes is only a fraction of that team.
When you look at the numbers and who Kent State has faced, it's easy to see that they are a terrible football team. They only average 349 yards per game offensively against teams that average giving up 403 yards per game. They give up 471 yards per game defensively against teams that average 425 yards per game on offense. Akron has been better defensively than it gets credit for, allowing 417 yards per game against teams that average 437 yards per game.
The Golden Flashes are 7-15-1 ATS in their last 23 games following a S.U. loss. Kent State is 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 games overall. Take Akron Saturday.
|11-02-13||Northwestern +6 v. Nebraska||24-27||Win||100||20 h 53 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Upset Special on Northwestern +6
The Northwestern Wildcats were clearly overvalued coming into the season after last year's campaign in which they won 10 games and went 11-1-1 against the spread. Now, after losing four straight and six straight against the spread, they are back to being undervalued, and I'll gladly take advantage this week.
It's not like this team is much worse than last year's squad, but they just haven't been getting it done in close games. They had their chances to beat Ohio State, but eventually lost 30-40 in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate and could have gone either way. Since that defeat, they have suffered a 3-point loss to Minnesota and an overtime loss to Iowa.
I still have faith that Northwestern will rebound, and it starts this week as it wants huge revenge on Nebraska. Indeed, it will have no problem getting up for this game after blowing a late 12-point lead at home to the Cornhuskers last year to lose in the closing seconds by a final of 28-29. These teams also played a close game in 2011 with the Wildcats prevailing 28-25 on the road as a 17.5-point underdog.
The Cornhuskers have had their own problems this year as well. They just lost at Minnesota 23-34 last week, and they don't have an impressive win on their schedule yet. Their five wins have come against the likes of Wyoming, Southern Miss, South Dakota State, Illinois and Purdue. This is a definite step up in competition for them. Meanwhile, the Wildcats will be battle-tested after playing Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa already.
Northwestern has scored on 30 of its 31 trips inside the 20, with the resulting 96.8 percent success rate ranking second in the country behind Florida State. The Cornhuskers sport the second-worst red-zone defense in the conference (tied for 107th in the country), allowing opponents to score 90 percent of the time they drive inside the 20. Nebraska has allowed 44 runs of more than 10 yards and opponents are rushing for an average of 5.3 yards on first down
|11-02-13||Wake Forest v. Syracuse -4.5||Top||0-13||Win||100||17 h 18 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Syracuse -4.5
This is the perfect storm with Wake Forest set up for a huge letdown spot, while Syracuse is going to be very hungry for a win this weekend. I'll lay the small number on the Orange because of it.
Wake Forest is coming off a narrow 21-24 loss at Miami last week. They led most of the way but just couldn't hold on in the fourth quarter with the win. Of course, the only reason that game was close is because the Hurricanes did not show up because they were looking ahead to Florida State this week.
Because the game against Miami was close, Wake Forest is getting more respect than it should from oddsmakers heading into Syracuse. And, because the Demon Deacons have Florida State on deck, that makes this a sandwich game for them. Just like the Hurricanes did last week, the Demond Deacons will likely be looking ahead to the Seminoles.
Now for Syracuse, which is coming off its worst loss of the season in a 0-56 setback at Georgia Tech. It has had a bye week since that defeat to correct mistakes and to steam over it. You can bet the Orange will be putting their best foot forward Saturday, which will be good enough to take care of business against Wake Forest, who will suffer a hangover from last week's loss to Miami.
Clearly, Wake Forest is not a very good team. It lost 7-56 at Clemson, and 10-24 at Boston College in two of its four road games this year. Syracuse has some impressive showings, winning 24-10 at NC State, beating Tulane at home 52-17, and losing at Penn State 17-23. I've seen enough from the Orange to know that the Georgia Tech loss was more of an aberration than anything.
Syracuse is 14-4 ATS in its last 18 home games versus poor rushing teams that average less than 120 yards per game. The Orange are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game. Syracuse is 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight home games. The Orange are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games following a ATS loss. Take Syracuse Saturday.
|11-02-13||Ohio State v. Purdue +32.5||56-0||Loss||-110||16 h 24 m||Show|
15* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Purdue +32.5
The Purdue Boilermakers are catching too many points at home Saturday against the Ohio State Buckeyes. While things have not gone as planned for Purdue this far, it has kept fighting. Now, this is its Super Bowl and a chance to compete against a Top 5 team in the country.
Purdue has played a couple of games this season that make me believe it can hang with the Buckeyes. It only lost 24-31 at home to Notre Dame as a 17-point underdog. It also only lost 0-14 at Michigan State as a 28-point dog last time out. It was only outgained by 68 yards by the Spartans behind a dominant defensive performance, limiting them to 294 total yards. This was a 7-0 game with 8:55 left to go in the 4th.
Now, with two weeks off since that game against Michigan State, Purdue is fresh and ready to go. Meanwhile, Ohio State is tired after a brutal stretch which includes games against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State. Three of those games were decided by 10 points or less.
Sure, the Buckeyes blew out Penn State last week, but that's why I believe this line is inflated because the betting public has that blowout fresh in their minds. They are pounding the Buckeyes as a result, and I'll gladly play the role of contrarian here.
That's especially the case when you consider how tough Purdue has played Ohio State the past two seasons. Purdue beat Ohio State at home 26-23 in overtime in 2011 as a 7.5-point underdog. In 2012, the Boilermakers went into Ohio State and lost 22-29 as a 17-point dog in overtime. They actually outgained the Buckeyes 347-342 last year, limiting Braxton Miller to 9 of 20 passing for 113 yards and an interception, and 47 rushing yards on 12 carries.
The Boilermakers are 17-8 ATS in their last 25 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game. The Buckeyes are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. Purdue is 4-1 ATS in its last five meetings with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 1-5 ATS in their last six trips to Purdue. Roll with the Boilermakers Saturday.
|11-01-13||USC +4.5 v. Oregon State||31-14||Win||100||10 h 16 m||Show|
15* USC/Oregon State Pac-12 No-Brainer on USC +4.5
The Oregon State Beavers are in a bit of a letdown spot here tonight. They are coming off a hard-fought game against Stanford, losing by a final of 12-20 at home. They will have a hard time getting back up from the map after such a physical game and on a short week.
Stanford sacked Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion eight times in that contest to push its sack total to 27 on the season. That's number is the exact same amount of sacks (27) as USC has on the season behind the play of one of the most dominant defensive lines in college football.
USC has been a completely different team since interim coach Ed Oregeron took over for the fired Lane Kiffin three games ago. It has gone 2-1 with its only loss coming at Notre Dame by a final of 10-14. It has outgained each of its three opponents in the process, beating Arizona 38-31 in a game that was a much bigger blowout than the final score would indicate, and topping Utah 19-3.
Last week, the Trojans held the Utes to just 201 total yards while forcing four turnovers. Oregon State beat Utah too, but it needed overtime to do so and gave up a whopping 539 total yards back on September 14. The Beavers are one of the most underrated teams in the country due to the easy schedule that they have faced outside of Stanford and Utah.
The other six opponents OSU has faced have been Eastern Washington, Hawaii, San Diego State, Colorado, Washington State and California. They lost to Eastern Washington, and only beat San Diego State 34-30. Meanwhile, USC has already played the likes of Utah State, Arizona State, Arizona, Notre Dame and Utah and have managed to get through that daunting slate at 5-3.
USC is giving up just 19.2 points and 317.2 yards per game this season to rank 11th in the country in total defense. It only gives up 106.0 yards rushing and 211.9 passing and will have an answer for Mannion tonight with its ability to get after the opposing quarterback. Offensively, the Trojans are expected to get back perhaps the best receiver in the country in Marqise Lee tonight, which will be a huge boost.
Plays on road underdogs (USC) - good offensive team (5.6 to 6.2 YPP) against a poor defense (5.6 to 6.2 YPP) after 7+ games are 31-7 (81.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet USC Friday.
|11-01-13||Detroit Pistons +8 v. Memphis Grizzlies||108-111||Win||100||9 h 15 m||Show|
15* NBA Friday Night Line Mistake on Detroit Pistons +8
The Detroit Pistons are one of the most underrated teams in the league heading into the 2013-14 season. That was evident in their opener as they dismantled Washington 113-102 as only a 2.5-point home favorite. The Wizards are a hot pick this season to be much-improved, so it was a really good win.
I love what Detroit has done this offseason. It has brought in Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups and Brandon Jennings. While Jennings is out with an injury, the Pistons did not miss him much as they scored 113 points on 50% shooting. Will Bynum had 19 points while Billups scored 16 to lead the Pistons' backcourt.
But the real reason this team is going to be so tough going forward is the length of the three big men in Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Monroe and Drummond were already arguably the most underrated big man tandem in the league, and when you throw Smith into the mix, this is going to be a tough team to deal with. Monroe scored 24 points in the opener, while Smith (19) and Drummond (12) had solid games as well.
Conversely, I believe the Memphis Grizzlies are one of the most overrated teams heading into 2013-14. That's because they made the Western Conference Finals last year. However, they were aided by an injury to Blake Griffin in their series win over the Clippers, and then Russell Westbrook missed the entire series in the Conference Semifinals for Oklahoma City.
Memphis' true colors showed in the conference finals as they were swept in four games by the Spurs. The Grizzlies did nothing to improve their team this offseason, especially offensively. They lost 94-101 to San Antonio in the opener in a game that was a much bigger blowout than the final score would indicate as they shot just 41.9 percent from the floor. Sure, Memphis is going to be a good defensive team again this season, but so is Detroit with their trio of big men.
Detroit is 72-49 ATS in road games off a home win by 10 points or more since 1996. The Pistons are 6-0 ATS in their last six games following a S.U. win. Detroit is 6-0-1 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS win. the Pistons are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight road games. Detroit is 5-0 ATS in its last five after scoring 100 or more points in its previous game. These four trends combine for a perfect 24-0 system backing the Pistons. Take Detroit Friday.
|11-01-13||Milwaukee Bucks v. Boston Celtics UNDER 188||105-98||Loss||-110||9 h 47 m||Show|
15* NBA Friday Total DOMINATOR on Bucks/Celtics UNDER 188
The books have set the bar way too high tonight in this contest between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. Both of these teams are going to be solid defensively this year, but each is also going to be terrible offensively. That couldn't have been more evident than in the openers for each on Wednesday.
Milwaukee lost 83-90 at New York in its opener while shooting just 45.9 percent from the floor. It did allow 50.7 percent shooting to the Knicks, but so for such a low-scoring game, that just shows the kind of slow pace they played at. Boston lost 87-93 at Toronto despite shooting 58.5 percent from the floor. Again, it was such a low scoring game due to the slow pace.
Brad Stevens is the new head coach at Boston. At Butler in college, Stevens always got the most out of this teams behind a suffocating defense. He even took the Bulldogs to the NCAA Championship twice, which is simply remarkable. He did that despite having a below-average offensive team in terms of points per game because they played at such a slow pace and relied on defense.
Milwaukee boasts two of the best defensive big men in the league. Larry Sanders and John Henson have a ton of length and can alter shots as well as any tandem in the NBA. However, neither player is gifted offensively. So this is certainly going to be a defensive-minded Bucks team, especially after letting go of Monte Ellis and Brandon Jennings in the offseason.
Both teams have injuries to guards that are really going to hamper their offensive production in the early going, and force them to play at an even slower pace. Milwaukee is expected to be without starting point guard Brandon Knight and backup point guard Luke Ridnour, leaving the unproven Nate Wolters to handle the PG duties. Boston is without Rajon Rondo (knee), while backup PG Avery Bradley is questionable with a head injury.
The UNDER is 7-2 in the last nine meetings in this series. Had one of those games not gone to overtime, the UNDER would be 8-1. The UNDER is 6-1 in Celtics last seven games overall. The UNDER is 6-0 in Celtics last six vs. NBA Central opponents. The UNDER is 4-0-1 in Bucks last five road games. The UNDER is 4-0 in Bucks last four vs. NBA Atlantic foes. Roll with the UNDER in this game Friday.
|11-01-13||Toronto Raptors v. Atlanta Hawks -2.5||Top||95-102||Win||100||9 h 47 m||Show|
20* NBA Friday No-Doubt Rout on Atlanta Hawks -2.5
The Atlanta Hawks will be hungry for their first win of the season on Friday as they return home to face the Toronto Raptors. Despite allowing 57.1% shooting at Dallas on Wednesday, they hung tough and lost by a final of 109-118.
Obviously, the defense isn't going to be nearly as bad at home, and Toronto isn't going to be nearly as hot at Dallas was the other night. The offense looked solid in scoring 109 points, and head coach Mike Budenholzer has been preaching defense heading into this one, especially in transition.
"If you sprint back, you've got to take care of the basket first, and then the ball and then the most dangerous (potential shooter) - in that order," Budenholzer said. "A lot of times if it truly is transition, you don't end up with your own man."
Point guard Jeff Teague had 24 points, nine assists and four steals while doing a nice job triggering Budenholzer's new offense. Newcomer Paul Millsap scored 20 points from the power forward spot previously manned by Josh Smith, and another newcomer, Cartier Martin, added 17 points off the bench.
"We were running back to our own man; that's stuff you learn in second grade," Teague said. "They were getting easy baskets. We've got to get back in transition and match up. It doesn't matter who you guard. We made mistakes. We're learning. We're a new team. We'll get better."
I strongly believe the Hawks are underrated heading into the season due to the trade of Josh Smith in the offseason. Well, they return almost everyone except Smith, and Paul Millsap is an ample replacement. In fact, he is arguably the single-most underrated player in the entire league.
I was more impressed with how the Hawks hung tough in Dallas in a losing effort than I was with Toronto's 93-87 home victory over Boston to open the season. The Celtics are in full-blown rebuilding mode, and the Raptors struggled to put them away as an 8-point favorite. They are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers tonight, while the Hawks aren't getting enough.
Atlanta has won nine of its last 11 meetings with Toronto. Bet the Hawks Friday.
|10-31-13||Golden State Warriors v. Los Angeles Clippers OVER 203||Top||115-126||Win||100||17 h 41 m||Show|
20* Warriors/Clippers TNT Late-Night BAILOUT on OVER 203
Two of the best offensive teams in the entire league will be on display Thursday night when the Los Angeles Clippers match up with the Golden State Warriors on TNT. I look for a shootout between these teams tonight.
According to some preseason rankings that I trust very much, the Clippers are projected to be the most efficient offensive team in the league. That's easy to see when they have Chris Paul and Blake Griffin surrounded by deadly accurate 3-point shooters like J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes, along with proven scorer Jamaal Crawford.
Even in an off night, the Clippers managed over 100 points in their 103-116 loss to the Lakers to open the season. I also expected this team to struggle defensively due to the personnel with below-average defenders like Redick and Jamaal Crawford. That was certainly the case against the Lakers.
Golden State opened its season last night by putting up a big number on the Lakers, winning 125-94 at home. With deadly shooters in Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, this squad is going to be tough to defend, just as it was in the playoffs last year.
Taking a look at previous meetings between these teams from last season, it's easy to see that there is some value with the OVER tonight. The Clippers and Warriors combined for 205, 204, 209 and 224 points in their four meetings last year. As you can see, they topped 203 points each meeting, and they averaged 210.5 combined points in the four contests.
The OVER is 8-1 in Clippers last nine games overall. The OVER is 5-0 in the last five meetings in this series. The OVER is 16-5-1 in Clippers last 22 games vs. division opponents. The OVER is 11-2 in Warriors last 13 vs. division opponents. Bet the OVER in this game Thursday.
|10-31-13||Cincinnati Bengals v. Miami Dolphins +3||20-22||Win||105||14 h 26 m||Show|
15* Bengals/Dolphins NFL Thursday No-Brainer on Miami +3
The Cincinnati Bengals are getting a lot of respect from the books as a road favorite over the Miami Dolphins Thursday. This is a make-or-break game for Miami, and there's no question it will be putting its best foot forward tonight to try and get back to .500 on the season and back into the playoff hunt.
There's no question that Cincinnati is a quality team, but I believe this is a bad spot for the Bengals. They are coming off a 49-9 win over the Jets in which they returned two interceptions for touchdowns to blow the game wide open. I believe they are overvalued because of that final score, and they are in a position to fall flat on their faces against a Dolphins team that wants it more.
Miami has held a lead in each of its last three games, including a lead in the fourth quarter in two of them, but found a way to lose. It fell to Baltimore (23-26) and Buffalo (21-23) at home, as well as New England (17-27) on the road. It even blew a 17-3 lead over the Patriots.
Taking a deeper look into the box scores really shows that the Dolphins gave away the last two games. They held the Bills to just 268 total yards, but were -2 in turnover differential, giving the ball away three times. They held the Patriots to just 252 total yards, but again committed three turnovers and finished -2 in turnover differential.
Miami has gotten its running game going of late, amassing 276 yards on the ground the past two weeks, including 156 against New England. With middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (knee) out for Cincinnati, the Dolphins should continue their success on the ground in this one as the middle of the Bengals' defense will be much softer without their starter.
Plays against road teams (CINCINNATI) - after covering the spread in 5 or 6 out of their last 7 games, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a team with a losing record are 71-34 (67.6%) ATS since 1983.
The Bengals are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five road games. The Dolphins are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Miami is 5-2 ATS in its last seven home games. Knowing that we're going to get the best effort that Miami has, and knowing that Cincinnati is in a letdown spot here, I'll gladly side with the home dog in this one. Roll with the Dolphins Thursday.
|10-31-13||Rice +4 v. North Texas||16-28||Loss||-114||14 h 31 m||Show|
15* CFB Thursday PLAY OF THE DAY on Rice +4
The North Texas Mean Green have been an excellent surprise story this season. However, they are now getting too much respect from oddsmakers, and I'll gladly fade them in this contest against a much stronger team in the Rice Owls.
When you look at North Texas' five wins this season, they have come against Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, LA Tech, Ball State and Idaho. The only impressive win in that bunch is Ball State, but the Cardinals turned theball over five times and essentially gave that game away in a 27-34 loss.
Rice is 6-2 this season with its only losses coming to Texas A&M and Houston. The Aggies are one of the best teams in the SEC, and they put up 31 points on them. They only lost 26-31 to the Cougars, who currently sit atop the American Athletic Conference with a 6-1 record.
I was huge on Rice coming into the season, believing that it was the best team in all of Conference USA with 19 starters back. At 6-2 on the season to this point, I see nothing to change my mind. The Owls will go out and prove that they are the best team in C-USA Thursday.
Rice is a perfect 6-0 against the spread as a road underdog over the last two seasons. Rice is 6-0 ATS in its last six road games. The Owls are 7-0 ATS in their last seven October games. The Mean Green are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. These four trends combine for a perfect 23-0 system backing the Owls. Take Rice Thursday.
|10-30-13||Memphis Grizzlies v. San Antonio Spurs UNDER 189||Top||94-101||Loss||-110||15 h 9 m||Show|
20* NBA Wednesday Total ANNIHILATOR on Grizzlies/Spurs UNDER 189
This is a rematch from the playoffs last year where the San Antonio Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games. There's no question that these teams are very familiar with one another, which will lead to a defensive battle tonight in the season opener for both teams.
Miraculously, four of the last eight meetings between the Spurs and Grizzlies have gone to overtime. I believe that's a big reason why this total has been inflated. The betting public doesn't always realize this, and they just see that the over/under ratio is 4-4 in the last eight games in this series.
A closer look really shows how the Spurs and Grizzlies consistently play in defensive battles. If you exclude overtime, then I find that the last eight meetings have seen 179, 172, 170, 188, 182, 185, 190 and 174 combined points at the end of regulation.
As you can see, only once did the Spurs and Grizzlies combine to score more than 188 points in the last eight meetings. When you average it out, they have combined for 180.0 points per game on average in the last eight meetings at the end of regulation. That's a full nine points below tonight's posted total of 189.
I have seen nothing from the Spurs and the Grizzlies in the offseason that makes me believe either team will be better off offensively this season. In fact, in my defensive efficiency ratings which factors in points allowed per 100 possessions, San Antonio ranks as the No. 1 defensive teams in the league, while Memphis checks in at No. 3 heading into the 2013-14 season.
Plays on the UNDER on any team (MEMPHIS) - in a game involving two teams who had good records (60% to 75%) from last season are 40-15 (72.7%) over the last five seasons. With an added intensity due to meeting in the playoffs last year, I look for this to be an absolute defensive battle tonight. Bet the UNDER in this game Wednesday.
|10-30-13||Indiana Pacers v. New Orleans Pelicans +2||Top||95-90||Loss||-110||15 h 39 m||Show|
20* NBA Wednesday Undervalued Underdog on New Orleans Pelicans +2
The New Orleans Pelicans are going to be one of the most improved teams in the league this season. After missing a lot of time last season, both Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis are healthy to start to the 2013-14 campaign. These are the cornerstones of the franchise, so that's very important.
With two of the best moves of the offseason, the Pelicans have added point guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard Tyreke Evans, which will be a huge addition to the offense. They have two shooters who can stretch the floor in Ryan Anderson and Anthony Morrow. This is now one of the deepest lineups in the league.
Only the Chicago Bulls (8-0) posted a better preseason record than New Orleans, which went 7-1. Davis picked up right where he left off last season when healthy, averaging 19.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game in the preseason. Gordon put up 17.0 points in an average of 20.8 minutes per game. Holiday added 11.8 points and 6.1 assists, while Morrow (12.5 points) and Anderson (11.9 points) provided a scoring punch as well.
The Indiana Pacers are coming off an unconvincing 97-87 win over Orlando in their opener Tuesday night. They trailed by four points at halftime against arguably the worst team in the league in the Magic. Also, Roy Hibbert banged up his knee, while Paul George jammed his finger in the win. While both players are expected to play, there's no question this is concerning for Indiana fans.
Indiana's bench was one of the worst in the league last season. It hasn't gotten much better in the offseason, either. That's key here because the Pacers will be playing the second of a back-to-back after their starters played big minutes last night. I know it's still early, but playing the second of a back-to-back hurts teams like the Pacers without a bench more than it would a team like the Clippers with a deep bench. Plus, Danny Granger remains out, which makes the Pacers' bench even more thin.
The home team has won five of the last seven meetings in this series. The Pacers are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a S.U. win. The Pelicans are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games when playing on three or more days' rest. Take New Orleans Wednesday.
|10-30-13||Charlotte Bobcats v. Houston Rockets -12||83-96||Win||100||15 h 39 m||Show|
15* NBA Wednesday No-Doubt Rout on Houston Rockets -12
A year after striking gold with James Harden in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets have now landed the biggest-named free agent on the market in Dwight Howard. After making the playoffs last season, the Rockets are now primed to make a deep run in the postseason with two superstars leading the way.
What makes the Rockets so deadly now is that they have a ton of quality pieces surrounding Howard and Harden. Omer Asik will combine with Howard to form one of the best defensive frontcourts in the NBA. Patrick Beverly and Jeremy Lin are battling for playing time, and each is an above-average point guard in this league. Chandler Parsons is a deadly accurate 3-point shooter who can do a little bit of everything.
While the Charlotte Bobcats made a big splash in the offseason to finally get a scoring big man in Al Jefferson, the fact of the matter is that they won't be much better off in 2013-14. Plus, Jefferson is questionable to play Wednesday as he battle a nagging ankle injury. While I fully expect him to suit up, this is a terrible matchup for he and the Bobcats.
Houston loves to run the pick and roll, and Jefferson routinely ranks among the league's worst in defending the pick-and roll. A banged-up Jefferson will be even more vulnerable against Harden, Beverly, Lin and company in pick-and-rolls. Then there's Ben Gordon, who finished 5.6 points worse per 100 possessions than the average defender last season, which was the worst mark in the entire league by a wide margin.
After opening 7-5 last season, Bobcats' fans believed that it was going to be their year. It turns out that they won all six games that were decided by five points or fewer, including a double-overtime win against the winless Wizards for victory No. 7. It also turns out that only one of those seven teams finished with better than a .500 record. Charlotte would go on an 18-game losing streak thereafter, while also posting a 7-47 record over its next 54 games. The Jefferson signing isn't going to just make all of their problems go away.
Houston has absolutely owned Charlotte in recent meetings, and that was before it landed Howard this offseason. The Rockets are 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings with the Bobcats. Four of the five victories came by 12 or more points. Houston has won by 14, 20 and 16 points in its last three home meetings with Charlotte.
The home team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. The favorite is 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings. The Bobcats are 0-5 ATS in their last five meetings in Houston. Charlotte is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 road games. The Bobcats are 14-37 ATS in their last 51 vs. Western Conference opponents. Roll with the Rockets Wednesday.
|10-30-13||St. Louis Cardinals +107 v. Boston Red Sox||1-6||Loss||-100||14 h 3 m||Show|
15* Cardinals/Red Sox Game 6 No-Brainer on St. Louis +107
I look for the St. Louis Cardinals to even this series and force a Game 7 tonight with a victory behind arguably the best pitcher left in the postseason in Michael Wacha. He got the job done when the Cardinals needed a win in Game 2 in Boston, and he'll get it done tonight, too.
Wacha has been absolutely sensational all season, going 7-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 0.988 WHIP in 13 starts. He has been even better in the postseason, going 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA. Wacha has only allowed three earned runs over 27 innings in four postseason starts this year.
St. Louis is a perfect 7-0 (+8.0 Units) against the money line when trailing in a playoff series over the last 3 seasons. It is coming back to win 7.1 to 3.7 in this spot, or by an average of 3.4 runs per game. This trend just shows the resiliency of this team in the biggest games. Bet the Cardinals in Game 6 Wednesday.
|10-30-13||Cincinnati v. Memphis +3||34-21||Loss||-115||14 h 58 m||Show|
15* Cincinnati/Memphis American Athletic ANNIHILATOR on Memphis +3
There's a reason why this line continues to drop despite the betting public being all over Cincinnati. The sharp money is on Memphis for good reason, and I'll gladly list several of those reasons below.
The public sees a small favorite like Cincinnati with a 5-2 record against a 1-5 team like Memphis and automatically jumps all over the team with a better record. There is a lot more than what meets the eye when you dig into it and look past the records.
Cincinnati has played one of the softest schedules in all of college football to this point. The seven teams that the Bearcats have played have been Purdue (1-6), Illinois (3-4), FCS Northwestern State (3-5), Miami Ohio (0-8), South Florida (2-5), Temple (1-7) and Connecticut (0-7). As you can see, it hasn't faced a team with a winning record yet. If you take out FCS opponent Northwestern State, the six FBS opponents that the Bearcats have played have a combined 7-37 record.
Miraculously, Cincinnati actually found a way to lose to two of those teams. Both were on the road in losses to Illinois (17-45) and South Florida (20-26). In fact, the Bearcats are 0-3 against the spread in road games this season. They fell to Illinois as a 7-point favorite, to South Florida as a 10.5-point favorite, and needed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat winless Miami (Ohio) 14-0 as a 24.5-point favorite.
While Memphis is 1-5 right now, it has played a daunting schedule and could easily be at least 3-4 right now. The Tigers held second-half leads against co-conference leaders Houston and Central Florida before falling in each contest. Memphis lost its third straight game last time out in a 29-34 setback at home to a vastly underrated SMU team.
Memphis held UCF to just 270 total yards while outgaining it by by 123 yards in a 17-24 loss. The Tigers held Houston to 241 total yards and outgained the Cougars by 102 total yards, but found a way to lose by a final of 15-25. In fact, the Tigers have outgained four of their first six opponents, which is clearly the sign of a much better team than their 1-5 record would indicate.
The Tigers feature the 13th-best defense in the entire country, giving up just 331.0 total yards per game. That's impressive when you consider the six opponents it has faced combined to average 441 yards on the season, so they are holding them to 110 yards less than their season averages.
Looking at Cincinnati's numbers compared to the quality of the opposition shows that this team is a fraud. The Bearcats are gaining 467 yards per game on offense against seven defenses that combine to give up an average of 456 yards per game. The Bearcats are only giving up 287 total yards per game, but the seven offenses they have faced combine to average just 298 yards per game.
Plays against road favorites (CINCINNATI) - a good offensive team (28-34 PPG) against a poor offensive team (16-21 PPG), after scoring 37 points or more in two straight games are 25-5 (83.3%) ATS since 1992.
Cincinnati is 0-6 ATS in its last six games off a win by 21 or more points. Memphis is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games off three straight losses to conference rivals. The Tigers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game. These three trends combine for a perfect 18-0 system backing the Tigers. Bet Memphis Wednesday.
|10-30-13||Washington Wizards v. Detroit Pistons UNDER 190.5||102-113||Loss||-104||14 h 9 m||Show|
15* NBA Wednesday Total DOMINATOR on Wizards/Pistons UNDER 190.5
The Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons will be two of the better defensive teams in the league in 2013-14. I look for that to show in the opener as these teams take part in a defensive battle Wednesday night in Detroit.
With the addition of Josh Smith, the Pistons boast a formidable frontcourt that will not allow many easy baskets around the rim. Andre Drummond came into his own last season as a shot blocker and rebounder, and he is only going to get better a year later. Greg Monroe is also a solid defender, though not quite to the level of Smith and Drummond.
A big key here is that Brandon Jennings is going to miss the first week or two of the season due to injury. Jennings was added to provide some offense at the point guard position, and the Pistons will miss his ability to create shots for teammates and himself in the early going. Chauncey Billups is a candidate to take his place. I like the toughness that Billups brings to the table as one of the best perimeter defenders the league has ever seen. However, he's not quite the offensive player he once was, much more preferring to play off the ball these days.
Washington was one of the most underrated defensive teams in the league last season, which was evidenced by their 45-34-3 UNDER record. Once John Wall returned from injury in January, the Wizards gave up just 99.7 points per 100 possessions, which was the sixth-best mark in the entire league from that point-on. This team features a bunch of plus-defenders who play big minutes, such as Bradley Beal, Nene Hilario, Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Ariza.
Taking a look at recent meetings between the Wizards and Pistons, it's easy to see that there is a ton of value with this UNDER Wednesday. The Pistons and Wizards have combined to score 191, 181, 183, 168, 193, 156 and 175 points in their last seven meetings, respectively. That's an average of 178.1 points per game, which is roughly 13 points less than tonight's posted total.
Washington is 11-1 to the UNDER as a road underdog of six points or less over the last two seasons. The Wizards are 40-15 to the UNDER in their last 55 road games overall. According to my adjusted defensive ratings, I have Washington listed as the 5th-best defense in the league, while Detroit features the 9th-best defense in 2013-14. Take the UNDER in this game Wednesday.
|10-30-13||Milwaukee Bucks +8 v. New York Knicks||83-90||Win||100||14 h 9 m||Show|
15* NBA Wednesday Night Line Mistake on Milwaukee Bucks +8
The New York Knicks are one of the most overrated teams in the league heading into the 2013-14 season. This line is certainly a reflection of that as I believe the Milwaukee Bucks are much more evenly-matched with the Knicks than this line would indicate. I'll take full advantage and pounce on the points in the opener for both teams Wednesday.
The Knicks were a dominant team before Amare Stoudemire returned last season. They won 70.4 percent of games in the early going, but when Stoudemire returned in January, they went on to win just 55.2 percent of the rest of their games. He doesn't fit in this offense, but the money they are paying him forces coach Mike Woodson's hand to put him in the lineup.
J.R. Smith had an excellent year last season, earning Sixth Man of the Year honors. However, he struggled in the playoffs and is coming off knee surgery. Plus, he will be serving a five-game suspension to open the season due to violating the league's substance abuse problems. Without his energy and shot-making off the bench, this is just a mediocre team.
In perhaps the worst move of the offseason, New York traded for former Raptor Andrea Bargnani. He offers nothing of what New York needs and everything it should avoid. The injury-prone Bargnani shot just 39.9 percent from the floor and 30.9 percent from 3-point range when healthy enough to play in Toronto last year. He also averaged a measly 4.6 rebounds per 36 minutes played last year, which is unacceptable for a 7-footer. Bargnani is expected to start, and he severely handicaps New York's defense, making Tyson Chandler's job much more difficult than it should be.
Now to the Bucks, who quietly had a very productive offseason. I love the fact that they got rid of Brandon Jennings and Monte Ellis, who simply hijacked the offense with ill-advised shots. In fact, Ellis and Jennings combined for the third-most field goal attempts of any duo in the league last season, finishing only behind Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and New York's Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. After the Bucks ranked just 23rd in offensive efficiency last season, it was time for them to go.
Milwaukee has now shifted its focus to building around two of the most underrated players in the league in Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders. Ilyasova scored 13.2 points to go along with 7.1 rebounds and 44.4 percent from 3-point range last season. He becomes the go-to scorer on this team, but the additions of O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler and Brandon Knight will help take a big part of the scoring load off his shoulders.
Then there's Sanders, who is one of the best defenders in the league after leading the NBA in block percentage and finishing third in total blocks. He also improved as a rebounder, averaging 13.9 boards per 40 minutes of floor time. To better understand his importance, the Bucks were 5.0 points per 100 possessions were defensively when Sanders was on the bench last season.
Sanders will team with John Henson for a formidable frontcourt filled with length and athleticism. Luke Ridnour provides a veteran presence to back up Knight at the points, while Gary Neal brings some solid scoring off the bench. Milwaukee is an astounding 48-19-2 ATS in its last 69 vs. NBA Atlantic Division opponents. It is also 7-3 ATS in its last visits to New York. Bet the Bucks Wednesday.
|10-29-13||Chicago Bulls +4.5 v. Miami Heat||Top||95-107||Loss||-102||16 h 47 m||Show|
25* NBA Season Opening GAME OF THE YEAR on Chicago Bulls +4.5
The Chicago Bulls are going to want revenge from their loss to the Miami Heat in the conference semifinals last year. It's remarkable that the Bulls were able to even get to the second round with all of the injuries they suffered last season.
Derrick Rose missed the entire year, and Luol Deng came down with an unexpected sickness in the playoffs. Not to mention, Richard Hamilton, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson would combine to miss 87 games during the regular season.
The experience this team gained will go a very long way into making them a championship-caliber squad going forward. Guys like Deng, Jimmy Butler, Carlos Boozer, Noah, Gibson and Hinrich all had to step up their games and play bigger roles.
Now, with the return of Rose, the rest of these players won't have to just stand around and watch him operate. They know they can contribute, because they did last season. Also, the addition of Mike Dunleavy gives this team a deadly accurate 3-point shooter that has been much-needed since the loss of Kyle Korver a few years back.
Chicago rolled to an 8-0 record in the preseason due to the play of Rose. He averaged an absurd 20.7 points over 27.4 minutes per game while showing off his improved range, hitting on 12-of-27 (44.4%) from behind the 3-point line.
Lebron James has only fueled the fire for the Bulls. "We don't like them, they don't like us," James said of the Bulls after practice Monday. "It's not unheard of. We all know how it is."
"It don't matter who it is," James said of the opponent for the opener. "But we like the fact that it's the Bulls." Considering Chicago has been knocked out of the playoffs two of the last three years by Miami, James would have been wise to keep quiet heading into this one.
Miami will be raising its 2012-13 championship banner and getting its rings before the game. That in itself is a huge distraction, and one that will not help the Heat as they take on what I believe to be the best team in the Eastern Conference in the Bulls.
This is a very familiar spot for the Heat on both sides of the spectrum. After the Heat won the title in 2006, the Bulls promptly put a quick end to their celebration on opening night, winning 108-66. The Heat were in the Bulls' shoes two years ago. After losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 finals, they got revenge in the 2011-12 opener by blasting the defending champs by double-digits.
Few teams can match up with the Heat quite like the Bulls. Deng and Butler are two of the best wing defenders in the league. With these two on James and Wade, respectively, the Bulls can make life very difficult on Miami's stars.
I look for Chicago to quickly put an end to Miami's ring ceremony and banner raising celebration by winning outright on opening night. I'll just take the points for some added insurance. Bet the Bulls Tuesday.
|10-29-13||Orlando Magic +12 v. Indiana Pacers||87-97||Win||100||15 h 51 m||Show|
15* Magic/Pacers NBA Season Opener on Orlando +12
The Orlando Magic come into the season way undervalued due to finishing with the league's worst record in 2012-13. Conversely, the Indiana Pacers enter the season overvalued due to taking the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last year. As a result, I believe there is a ton of value in backing the Magic as a double-digit dog in the opener.
Arron Afflalo is coming off his best season as a pro, finishing with career highs in points, rebounds and assists. Jameer Nelson enters 2013-14 healthy, while the No. 2 overall pick in Victor Oladipo is ready to show that he's an up-and-coming star in this league. Nikola Vucevic is one of the most underrated players in the NBA after a year in which he was a double-double machine.
The ankle injury to Tobias Harris hurts, but Andrew Nicholson showed some great signs over the summer and into the preseason. He scored a team-high 60 points for Canada in the FIBA Americas, hitting 6-of-7 shots from beyond the arc. He carried that over into the preseason, connecting on 46.2 percent from distance. Maurice Harkless showed flashes of brilliance last season, and he averaged 10.8 points on 48.4 percent shooting in the preseason as well.
Indiana is a quality team that I rode quite a bit in the playoffs last year. While I have a ton of respect for the Pacers with what they did last season, they have created the kind of expectations for themselves that will make them good fade material in the early going. Plus, Danny Granger has suffered another setback with a calf injury and will miss the first three weeks of the season. Depth was a huge issue for the Pacers last season, and without him, the bench takes a big hit.
The road team has won three of the past four meetings in this series, so home-court advantage isn't a big factor when these teams get together. The price is right to pull the trigger on Orlando in the opener. Take the Magic Tuesday.
|10-28-13||Seattle Seahawks v. St Louis Rams UNDER 43||Top||14-9||Win||100||99 h 51 m||Show|
20* Seahawks/Rams ESPN Monday Total ANNIHILATOR on UNDER 43
I look for this divisional showdown to be very low-scoring Monday night when the Seattle Seahawks visit NFC West rival St. Louis. It was tempting to take Seattle against the spread because of its dominant defense against St. Louis' poor offense, but instead I believe the value is with the UNDER in this contest.
The Seahawks held the Cardinals to just 234 yards last week in a 12-point win in Arizona to continue their stellar defensive play. Seattle ranks 2nd in the league in total defense at 280.7 yards per game, and 3rd in scoring defense at 16.6 points per game. I don't expect the Rams to be able to do much against this defense with the shape they are in offensively right now.
St. Louis is in a world of hurt right now with the loss of starting quarterback Sam Bradford. He is out for the season with a torn ACL. You would be hard-pressed to find a team with a worse backup quarterback situation than the Rams. That's why they have signed Brady Quinn and Austin Davis this week. They were so desperate that they even put a call into Brett Favre.
Instead, the Rams will be giving the ball to Kellen Clemens, who should be out of the league as he has never done anything to warrant being a starting quarterback in the NFL. The Rams rank 30th in total offense at 298.8 yards per game, and it
|10-28-13||Boston Red Sox v. St. Louis Cardinals -123||3-1||Loss||-123||9 h 26 m||Show|
15* Red Sox/Cardinals Game 5 No-Brainer on St. Louis -123
I look at this as basically a must-win situation for St. Louis with the series tied 2-2 and guaranteed to go back to Boston for two games. It will be hard to win two games in Boston if they have to, so the Cardinals really need to get Game 5 at home tonight.
I like their chances with ace Adam Wainwright on the mound. The right-hander has gone 21-11 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.053 WHIP in 38 starts this season. He has been at his best at home, going 11-6 with a 2.36 ERA and 0.920 WHIP in 19 starts.
Jon Lester has been a much worse pitcher on the road than at home. The left-hander is 9-7 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.401 WHIP in 21 road starts in 2013. Also, Wainwright is 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA in eight postseason games, four starts, in St. Louis. He went the distance in his most recent start there, a 6-1 clinching win over Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the NL division series.
St. Louis is 38-13 in its last 51 home games, including 5-1 in its last six playoff home games. The Cardinals are 48-20 in their last 68 games following a loss. St. Louis is 50-24 in Wainwright's last 74 starts following a team loss in its previous game. Bet the Cardinals in Game 5 Monday.
|10-27-13||Green Bay Packers v. Minnesota Vikings UNDER 47.5||Top||44-31||Loss||-110||76 h 36 m||Show|
20* Packers/Vikings NBC Total ANNIHILATOR on UNDER 47.5
The oddsmakers have set the bar way too high in this Sunday night game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are limited offensively right now, and I look for the defenses to dominate this contest because of it. Plus, it's a division game, which means both teams are very familiar with each other. These division games are almost always more low-scoring than any other games.
Green Bay has played UNDER the total in each of its last three games overall. It won 22-9 over Detroit, 19-17 at Baltimore, and 31-13 over Cleveland in its last three contests for an average combined score of 37.0 points per game. The Packers are playing without three of their top four receivers in Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley. Aaron Rodgers and company simply cannot be as explosive without these three, and as a result they have relied more on the running game in recent weeks.
What has really helped the Packers is a defense that has allowed less than 300 yards in three of the past four games. This stop unit is allowing only 13.0 points per game in the last three games overall, and should have great success against a lackluster Minnesota offense. The Vikings managed just 290 total yards in a 10-35 loss to Carolina before gaining a woeful 206 yards in a 7-23 loss to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. As you can see, they are scoring just 8.5 points per game in their last two contests.
The UNDER is 7-1 in Packers last eight games vs. NFC North opponents. The UNDER is 4-0 in Packers last four October games. The UNDER is 7-2 in Vikings last nine games vs. a team with a winning record. Given the state of both of these offenses, I look for a very low-scoring game tonight in Minnesota. Take the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|10-27-13||Boston Red Sox -105 v. St. Louis Cardinals||Top||4-2||Win||100||8 h 52 m||Show|
20* Red Sox/Cardinals Game 4 No-Doubt Rout on Boston -105
The only weakness in the St. Louis Cardinals' starting rotation is Lance Lynn. I'll gladly fade Lynn and back the underrated Clay Buchholz tonight in pretty much a must-win situation for Boston in Game 4.
Buchholz has been absolutely dominant this season, going 12-1 with a 2.23 ERA and 1.080 WHIP in 19 starts. He has been at his best away from home, going 6-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 1.020 WHIP in eight road starts.
Lance Lynn has gone 16-11 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.344 WHIP in 35 starts for St. Louis. In two postseason starts, Lynn has allowed seven earned runs and 19 base runners over 9 2/3 innings. He has been far from spectacular.
Boston is 20-4 (+16.6 Units) against the money line after batting .225 or worse over a 5 game span this season. Buchholz is 14-2 (+11.1 Units) against the money line vs. poor power teams - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game over the last 2 seasons. The Red Sox are 16-3 in Buchholz's 19 starts this season. Boston is 20-6 in Buchholz's last 26 starts as a road favorite. Bet the Red Sox in Game 4 Sunday.
|10-27-13||Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5 v. Oakland Raiders||Top||18-21||Loss||-110||86 h 29 m||Show|
25* NFL BLOWOUT GAME OF THE YEAR on Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the most underrated team in the league right now due to their 2-4 record. I believe that they were underrated the past two weeks, and I have backed them with success in wins over the Jets and Ravens. I'll continue riding this gravy train knowing that the betting public isn't a believer in the Steelers yet due to the record. I think they are a top-10 team right now in their current form now that they are finally getting healthy.
The biggest reason for the turnaround is an offense that recently got back starting running back Le'Veon Bell and starting tight end Heath Miller. Bell has rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns in just three games, finally giving the Steelers a running game that they lacked in the first three weeks of the season. Miller has caught 17 balls for 206 yards and a score in just four games since returning from injury. He is Big Ben's favorite outlet when he's in trouble. Also, Antonio Brown may be the most underrated receiver in the league, catching a team-high 47 balls for 548 yards and two touchdowns thus far.
While I love what I've seen from the offense in recent weeks, it's the defense that really carries the load in Pittsburgh. Somehow, this stop unit continues to get overlooked even though it's one of the best in the league, which has been the case over the past decade. Pittsburgh ranks 6th in the league in total defense, giving up just 306.8 yards per game. It yielded only 267 yards in a 19-6 win at New York on October 13, and 287 yards in a 19-16 home victory over the Ravens last week.
Oakland is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers here. Unlike Pittsburgh, this team is every bit as bad as its 2-4 record would indicate. It should have only one win on the season, which was a lackluster 19-9 home victory over the winless Jaguars. It should not have beaten San Diego at home as the Chargers did everything in their power to give that game away. In fact, San Diego outgained Oakland 423-299 in that contest, but finished -5 in turnover differential which proved to be the difference.
The Raiders are putting up just 17.5 points and 320.8 yards per game this season to rank 24th in the league in total offense. They have all sorts of injury concerns along the offensive line, and Darren McFadden cannot seem to stay healthy. Terrell Pryor has certainly done as good of a job as you could expect from him given the situation, but he doesn't have what it takes to single-handedly beat this stout Pittsburgh defense that comes in playing its best football of the season.
Plays against home teams where the line is +3 to -3 (OAKLAND) - a poor offensive team (14.5-18 PPG) against an average defensive team (18-23 PPG), after scoring 14 points or less last game are 22-4 (84.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Oakland is 30-66 against the spread in its last 96 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Raiders are 7-21 against the number in their last 28 home games off a road loss to a division rival. Sure, Oakland it coming off its bye week, but that hasn't helped it in year's past. In fact, the Raiders are 1-9 against the spread in their last 10 games following a bye week. Bet the Steelers Sunday.
|10-27-13||San Francisco 49ers v. Jacksonville Jaguars +17||42-10||Loss||-115||68 h 6 m||Show|
15* 49ers/Jaguars NFL Overseas No-Brainer on Jacksonville +17
The San Francisco 49ers are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers in this one. They come in having won four straight games by double-digits, which has them overvalued in a big way. Those four games were all closer than the final score would indicate aside from the St. Louis game, which they outgained the Rams by 182 yards. In fact, the 49ers have actually been outgained in each of their last three games against Houston, Arizona and Tennessee, but managed to win by double-digits anyway. That trend won't continue here.
Jacksonville has been a much more competitive team over the last three weeks than the scores would reflect. It actually outgained St. Louis by 12 yards in a 20-34 loss. The Jaguars were only outgained by 45 yards in a 19-35 at all-mighty Denver. That was a 19-21 game in the third quarter before the Broncos tacked on two late touchdowns. Even last week against Sand Diego, the game was much closer than the 6-24 final would indicate. The Jaguars managed 353 total yards including 318 passing from Chad Henne, but couldn't execute in the red zone.
A trip overseas could be just what Jacksonville needs just to get away from it all. Plus, head coach Gus Bradley lost his father this week, so that's another thing for the Jaguars to rally around. Bradley was critical of last week's effort. "We acted like a young team," he said. "I just think that we didn't respond the right way to the challenge. The three most dangerous words in the NFL are 'I've got it,' and I think that we felt like 'We're making strides. We've got this. We've just got to go out there and do this,' and that's not how it works.
Bradley said quarterback Chad Henne would start for a third straight game. Henne has topped 300 yards in his two games since taking over for the injured Blaine Gabbert, and he's coming off a season-high 318 yards Sunday. He gives the Jaguars the best chance to succeed, and he has two great, underrated weapons on the outside to work with. Cecil Shorts has caught 39 balls for 491 yards and a touchdown in just six games, while Justin Blackmon has 25 receptions for 384 yards and a score in just three games since returning from his four-game suspension. This offense has moved the ball much better since Blackmon's return.
When you look at the numbers for the 49ers, it's easy to see that they are not nearly as good as their 5-2 record would indicate. They rank just 17th in the league in total offense at 335.0 yards per game. While the defense is solid and giving up 326.1 yards per game, the offense has been lackluster to say the least. The 49ers are only outgaining their opponents by an average of 8.9 yards per game on the season. That's a number more indicative of a .500 team rather than one that is 5-2.
Plays on underdogs of 10.5 or more points (JACKSONVILLE) - after 7 or more consecutive losses against opponent after 2 or more consecutive wins. are 22-4 (84.6%) ATS since 1983. Plays against favorites of 10.5 or more points (SAN FRANCISCO) - after 2 or more consecutive wins against the spread, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a terrible team (<=25%) are 29-8 (78.4%) ATS since 1983. Roll with the Jaguars Sunday.
|10-27-13||Cleveland Browns v. Kansas City Chiefs -7||17-23||Loss||-115||68 h 5 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Kansas City Chiefs -7
What a difference a year makes. The Kansas City Chiefs have been the best team in football en route to their 7-0 start. They have gone 5-2 against the spread in the process with five of their victories coming by nine or more points. The others were wins against two very good teams in the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, who are much better than their record would indicate. The result is the best record in the league, and this team is not ready to suffer its first loss of the season this week.
Cleveland comes into town riding a two-game losing streak after blowout losses to Detroit (17-31) and Green Bay (13-31). This team just hasn
|10-26-13||Florida Atlantic +24.5 v. Auburn||10-45||Loss||-110||65 h 7 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Florida Atlantic +24.5
The Florida Atlantic Owls are one of the most underrated teams in the country dating back to last season. They have gone a ridiculous 14-3 against the spread in their last 17 games overall. The betting public hasn
|10-26-13||South Carolina v. Missouri -2.5||27-24||Loss||-110||65 h 36 m||Show|
15* South Carolina/Missouri ESPN 2 No-Brainer on Missouri -2.5
The Missouri Tigers have been underrated all season. They have opened 7-0 and are really the only team left in the SEC aside from Alabama that has a legitimate shot to play for the BCS Championship. They have also gone 6-1 against the spread in the process with their only loss coming in a 22-point win over Arkansas State as a 23-point favorite. In fact, the Tigers have won all seven of their games this season by 15 points or more, so it
|10-26-13||Baylor -34.5 v. Kansas||59-14||Win||100||65 h 36 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Baylor -34.5
When you can put up points at will, you can cover five-touchdown spreads like this one with ease. That was the case last week as Baylor topped Iowa State 71-7 as a 33-point favorite in an absolute laugher. I would argue that Iowa State is a better team than Kansas, too.
Baylor is putting up a ridiculous 64.7 points and 713.8 yards per game to rank 1st in the country in scoring and total offense. The defense is improved, too, giving up 16.2 points and 317.3 yards per game to rank 10th in total defense.
Bryce Petty is completing 71.0 percent of his passes for 2,033 yards with 15 touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 51 yards and five scores. Lache Seastrunk is a Heisman Trophy contender, rushing for 760 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging an eye-opening 9.2 per carry. Antwan Goodley (37 receptions, 861 yards, 8 TD) and Tevin Reese (29, 714, 6 TD) form one of the most explosive receiving duos in the country.
Kansas has been atrocious this season with a 2-4 start that includes wins over lowly South Dakota and Louisiana Tech. The Jayhawks lost at home to Texas Tech by a final of 16-54, which is a team that runs a similar offense to Baylor with the spread attack. The Red Raiders racked up 518 yards while limiting the Jayhawks to 273 in the win.
Kansas is scoring 18.3 points and averaging 288.0 yards per game to rank 119th in total offense. It will have a hard time keeping up with the Bears with that kind of offensive production. That's especially the case when you consider that the Jayhawks do not have a passing game. Kansas ranks 113th in the country in passing offense at 157.8 yards per game. When it gets behind, it won't be able to throw to catch up, so it will keep falling further behind.
Plays on any team (BAYLOR)
|10-26-13||Buffalo -1.5 v. Kent State||41-21||Win||100||61 h 7 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Buffalo -1.5
I was high on Buffalo coming into the season and it hasn't let me down. After road losses to two of the best teams in the country in Ohio State and Baylor, Buffalo has reeled off five straight victories with the last four coming by 28 or more points. They are a clear contender to win the MAC this season, and will take another step in the right direction with a win at Kent State Saturday.
Kent State came into this season way overrated due to making it to the MAC Title last season. However, the Golden Flashes lost a ton of talent from that team as well as head coach Darrell Hazell. They have opened 2-6 with five of those losses coming by double-digits. That includes a 21-38 loss at South Alabama last week. Now, the Flashes could be without starting quarterback Colin Reardon, who is completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,199 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. Reardon is questionable with an ankle injury after missing last week's game against South Alabama.
Buffalo features 16 returning starters and some of the best players in the entire country that few have heard about. Two-time first-team All-MAC linebacker Khalil Mack anchors a defense that is giving up 23.1 points per game this season. 2011 first-team All-MAC running back Branden Oliver leads and offense that is putting up 29.6 points per game. Oliver has rushed for 689 yards and five touchdowns this season. Then there's arguably the best receiver in the MAC in Alex Neutz, who was a first-team All-MAC receiver last year and has 35 receptions for 543 yards and six touchdowns in 2013.
Kent State has been atrocious on both sides of the football. It is scoring just 19.1 points and averaging 347.5 yards per game to rank 103rd in the country in total offense. It is giving up 30.9 points and 468.0 yards per game to rank 109th in total defense as well. Its only wins this season have come against Liberty (17-10) and Western Michigan (32-14).
Plays against a home team (KENT ST) - after allowing 37 points or more last game against opponent after two straight wins by 28 or more points are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Bulls are 4-0 against the spread in their last four vs. a team with a losing record. Buffalo is 14-6-1 against the number in its last 21 games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game. Home-field advantage means little in this series considering the road team has won four straight and six of the last seven meetings between the Bulls and Golden Flashes. Bet Buffalo Saturday.
|10-26-13||Connecticut +22.5 v. Central Florida||Top||17-62||Loss||-106||58 h 37 m||Show|
25* College Football DOG OF THE YEAR on Connecticut +22.5
The betting public wants nothing to do with 0-6 Connecticut. As a result, oddsmakers are going to be forced to inflate its numbers in the coming weeks, which is certainly the case here against Central Florida. Four of its six losses this season have come by 15 points or less, including setbacks against Michigan (21-24) and South Florida (10-13).
The Huskies made a coaching change in that game against USF and should have won. They outgained the Bulls by 128 yards in that contest but simply gave the game away. While they lost 16-41 at Cincinnati last week, the offense looked much sharper. Tim Boyle threw for 310 yards against a very good Bearcat defense, but he was picked off three times, which proved to be costly. The defense has actually played well for most of the season, giving up 377.7 yards per game to rank a respectable 48th in total defense.
This is a huge letdown spot for Central Florida. It is coming off a big win over AAC favorite Louisville last week in which it erased a 21-point deficit in the second half to win 38-35. It
|10-26-13||Oklahoma State -12.5 v. Iowa State||Top||58-27||Win||100||58 h 37 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Oklahoma State -12.5
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are still very much alive for the Big 12 Title in this wide open conference. They did lose to West Virginia in their conference opener, but they bounced back nicely with two straight wins over Kansas State and TCU. Now they get to go up against an Iowa State team that is just 1-5 on the season and clearly down this year. The Cyclones are lacking confidence after a 7-71 loss at Baylor last weekend, and things won
|10-26-13||Louisville -20 v. South Florida||Top||34-3||Win||100||58 h 37 m||Show|
20* American Athletic GAME OF THE WEEK on Louisville -20
The Louisville Cardinals aren
|10-25-13||Boise State v. BYU UNDER 61.5||Top||20-37||Win||100||48 h 48 m||Show|
25* Boise/BYU ESPN Friday TOTAL OF THE YEAR on UNDER 61.5
The books have set the bar way too high in this game between Boise State and BYU Friday night. I look for a defensive battle similar to the 7-6 game these two teams played last year. Boise State gained 261 yards in the win, while BYU was held to 200 yards in the loss. These defenses are much better than they are getting credit for. Meanwhile, I believe this line is inflated due to BYU's 47-46 win at Houston last weekend.
Boise State is giving up 22.9 points and 392.1 yards per game to rank 59th in the country in total defense. Even with allowing 46 points to Houston last week, BYU is only giving up 21.4 points and 366.0 yards per game on the season to rank 36th in the country in total defense. It has held some great offenses down this year like Texas (21 points), Utah (20), Utah State (14) and Georgia Tech (20).
Both teams prefer the run in this one, which is huge considering both defenses are stout against the run. BYU ranks 14th in the country in rushing offense at 263.0 yards per game, while Boise State is 21st in rushing offense at 224.0 yards per game.
The seven opponents that BYU has faced average 201 rushing yards per game and 4.7 per carry. Well, BYU has held those seven opponents to an average of 135.4 yards per game and 3.5 per carry to rank 32nd against the run.
The seven opponents that Boise State has faced average 181 rushing yards per game and 4.2 per carry. Well, the Broncos have allowed those seven opponents to gain just 152.1 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry to rank 53rd in the country against the run.
Boise State just lost its starting quarterback in Joe Southwick to a broken ankle. That's a huge loss considering Southwick was completing 72.3 percent of his passes for 1,589 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.
Junior Grant Hedrick made his first start of the season against Nevada last week. It's clear that the Broncos are going to be conservative with Hedrick under center considering he threw for just 150 yards with an interception on only 21 attempts in a 34-17 win over Nevada. They ran the ball 46 times in that contest.
Plays on the UNDER on any team against the total (BOISE ST) - in a game involving two good teams (outgaining opponents by 0.6 to 1.2 YPP) after 7+ games, after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game are 36-11 (76.6%) over the last 10 seasons.
Boise State is 32-13 UNDER versus good rushing teams that average 200 or more rushing yards per game since 1992. The Broncos are 24-7 UNDER versus good rushing teams that average 4.75 yards per carry or more since 1992. BYU is 16-4 UNDER in home games vs. good teams - outscoring opponents by 10+ PPG on the season since 1992. BYU is 27-13 UNDER versus good offensive teams that average at least 425 yards per game since 1992. The Cougars are 16-5 UNDER after allowing 42 points or more last game since 1992. Bet the UNDER in this game Friday.
|10-24-13||Carolina Panthers v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7||31-13||Loss||-125||23 h 34 m||Show|
15* Panthers/Bucs NFC South ANNIHILATOR on Tampa Bay +7
Oddsmakers realize that the betting public is not going to want to back an 0-6 team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They also realize that the public is going to want to back a team like Carolina that is coming off back-to-back blowout victories. Because of these realizations, they have now been forced to set this line higher than it should be with the Panthers currently favored by upwards of a touchdown.
Carolina has not played that well on the road this season, going 1-2 while losing to Buffalo (23-24) and Arizona (6-22). Tampa Bay has been extremely competitive at home, losing on last-second field goals to both New Orleans (14-16) and Arizona (10-13), while also hanging around with Philadelphia (20-31). It fought tough against a desperate Atlanta team last week that was coming off its bye, falling by a final of 23-31.
Mike Glennon has been better than Josh Freeman this season. Glennon threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns against Philadelphia while leading the Bucs to 20 points. He also threw for 256 yards and two scores against Atlanta last week. He and Vincent Jackson have hooked up four times for touchdowns in the past two weeks, so he is certainly starting to develop some chemistry there.
|10-24-13||St. Louis Cardinals +112 v. Boston Red Sox||4-2||Win||112||8 h 20 m||Show|
15* Cardinals/Red Sox Game 2 No-Doubt Rout on St. Louis +112
Michael Wacha (3-0, 0.43 ERA) has a 0.30 ERA while winning his last four starts dating back to his final outing of the regular season, when he was one out away from a no-hitter against Washington. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth of a 2-1 Game 4 win over Pittsburgh with the Cardinals on the brink of elimination in the Division Series.
Wacha tossed 6 2/3 innings of a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles in Game 2 of the NL championship series. He then blanked the Dodgers through seven frames of a 9-0 win that clinched the pennant in Game 6. Wacha and the Cardinals should not be the underdog in Game 2 Thursday.
The Cardinals are 47-20 in their last 67 games following a loss. St. Louis is 5-0 in Wacha's last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record. Bet the Cardinals behind Wacha Thursday.
|10-24-13||Marshall -8 v. Middle Tenn State||Top||49-51||Loss||-110||22 h 43 m||Show|
20* Marshall/MTSU Conference USA GAME OF THE WEEK on Marshall -8
The Marshall Thundering Herd are one of the best non-BCS teams in the country in 2013. Their only losses came on the road against Virginia Tech in overtime, as well as a 31-34 loss at Ohio despite outgaining the Bobcats by 147 total yards in that contest. Middle Tennessee is very fortunate to be 3-4 on the season considering it has been outgained in each of its last six games.
|10-23-13||St. Louis Cardinals v. Boston Red Sox UNDER 7||Top||1-8||Loss||-100||8 h 29 m||Show|
20* Cardinals/Red Sox Game 1 No-Brainer on UNDER 7
The temperatures in Boston are supposed to be in the low 40's with a chance of rain tonight. The ball will not be traveling when two of the best starters in the league in Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester square off for Game 1 of this series.
Wainwright is 21-10 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.047 WHIP over 37 starts this season. He has been even more dominant in the postseason, going 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 0.783 WHIP in three starts.
Jon Lester has gone 17-9 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.281 WHIP in 36 starts this season, 8-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 home starts, and 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in his last three starts overall.
The Cardinals are hitting .246 and scoring 3.9 runs/game against left-handed starters this season, which is a far cry from what they are doing against right-handers. St. Louis is hitting .210 in the players, while Boston is hitting .236 this postseason.
Lester is 11-1 UNDER (+9.7 Units) vs. teams whose hitters draw 3 walks or less/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The UNDER is 13-4-2 in Cardinals last 19 games vs. a left-handed starter. The UNDER is 18-5 in John Hirschbeck's last 23 games behind home plate vs. St. Louis. Bet the UNDER in Game 1 Wednesday.
|10-22-13||Louisiana-Lafayette -2.5 v. Arkansas State||Top||23-7||Win||100||26 h 3 m||Show|
20* LA-Lafayette/Arkansas State No-Doubt Rout on LA-Lafayette -2.5
After losing two tough road games at Arkansas and Kansas State to open the season, the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin' Cajuns have been rolling since. They have won four in a row, including back-to-back blowout victories over Texas State (48-24) and Western Kentucky (37-20) to take over first place in the Sun Belt. They will certainly be out for revenge against the two-time defending conference champion Red Wolves.
Last year, the Rajin' Cajuns simply gave the game away to Arkansas State, losing by a final of 27-50. They committed a whopping five turnovers, finishing -5 in turnover differential in that contest. Terrance Broadway threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns in that game, but he also threw three costly interceptions. Look for Broadway and company to take much better care of the football in this one, and to get back to their running game.
The Rajin' Cajuns rushed for 254 yards against a very good Western Kentucky defense last week. They rank 21st in the country in rushing offense at 223.3 yards per game. Arkansas State ranks 93rd in rushing defense, allowing 196.7 yards per game and a whopping 5.1 per carry. The Red Wolves allowed 301 yards in a 9-38 loss to Auburn, 329 yards in a 7-31 loss to Memphis, and 239 yards in a 19-41 setback at Missouri. Their three wins have been unimpressive with victories over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Troy and Idaho. They even gave up 614 yards in their 41-34 win over Troy and only won due to being +4 in turnover differential.
Lafayette is 7-0 against the spread vs. good passing teams that average at least 250 passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Rajin' Cajuns are 12-2 against the number in their last 14 road games versus good offensive teams that average at least 425 yards per game. Arkansas State is 6-20 against the number in its last 26 versus good rushing teams that average at least 4.75 yards per carry. Louisiana-Lafayette is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games following a S.U. win. The Rajin' Cajuns are 21-8 against the number in their last 29 road games.
|10-21-13||Minnesota Vikings +3.5 v. NY Giants||Top||7-23||Loss||-105||9 h 22 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Giants ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Minnesota +3.5
In all honesty, the Minnesota Vikings are very close to being a 3-2 team right now. They were beaten on one of the final plays of the game with a touchdown pass from Jay Cutler in a 30-31 loss at Chicago. They also lost in the final two minutes in a 27-31 home loss to the Cleveland Browns. There
|10-20-13||Denver Broncos -6 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||33-39||Loss||-110||105 h 16 m||Show|
20* Broncos/Colts NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Denver -6
I wanted to release this early before the line gets to the Broncos -7 as I believe it inevitably will. I'll be back with analysis within the next couple of days.
|10-20-13||Baltimore Ravens v. Pittsburgh Steelers -1||Top||16-19||Win||100||101 h 12 m||Show|
25* AFC GAME OF THE YEAR on Pittsburgh Steelers -1
The Pittsburgh Steelers got back on track off their bye week with an impressive 19-6 road victory over the New York Jets last week. They forced their first two turnovers of the season in the win while limiting New York to just 267 total yards. A big reason for their 0-4 start was the fact that they had not forced a single turnover through the first four contests, which is unheard of for a Pittsburgh defense. After finally winning the turnover battle, look for the Steelers to make it a priority going forward.
Baltimore is just 1-2 on the road this season with losses to Denver (27-49) and Buffalo (20-23). The Ravens were in line for a Super Bowl hangover, and for the most part, that appears to be the case during their 3-3 start. Pittsburgh realizes that it still has a chance to make the playoffs with a big finish in the suspect AFC North, and it starts this week with a home victory over the rival Ravens. A closer look at the numbers actually shows that Pittsburgh has been the better team to this point despite the records.
The Ravens rank 21st in the league in total offense (335.7 yards/game) and 17th in total defense (352.5 yards/game) while getting outgained by 16.8 yards per game. The Steelers rank 17th in total offense (338.8 yards/game) and 6th in total defense (310.8 yards/game), outgaining opponents by 28.0 yards per game. That
|10-20-13||Houston Texans +7 v. Kansas City Chiefs||16-17||Win||100||46 h 46 m||Show|
15* Texans/Chiefs AFC Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Houston +7
Houston has thrown an interception that has been returned for a touchdown in five straight games. It
|10-20-13||Cleveland Browns +10 v. Green Bay Packers||13-31||Loss||-110||46 h 45 m||Show|
15* NFL Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Cleveland Browns +10
The Green Bay Packers are way overvalued as a double-digit home favorite against the underrated Cleveland Browns Sunday. There are several factors that have me backing the Browns in this one, but the biggest is the injuries the Packers are dealing with right now. They will be without two of their top three receivers and Randall Cobb and James Jones on offense. They are also without their best player on defense in Clay Matthews.
Green Bay struggled offensively last week once Jones and Cobb went down with injury. It nearly blew a 16-3 lead to the Ravens, eventually winning by a final of 19-17. It got help from the ground game, which has been coming on in recent weeks, but the passing game is certainly hurting going forward. With the way the Browns have been able to stop the run, and having shutdown corner Joe Haden to defend Jordy Nelson this week, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if they went into Lambeau Field and pulled off the upset.
Cleveland ranks 7th in the league in total defense at 312.5 yards per game allowed, including 8th against the run at 98.2 yards per game and 3.5 per carry. The Browns are clearly the better team on this side of the football. They will be up against a Green Bay team that ranks 18th in the league in total defense at 371.8 yards per game allowed, including 28th against the pass at 293.6 yards per game. The Packers are allowing a ridiculous 65.2 percent completions and 8.1 passing yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks.
The Browns had won three straight games over the Vikings, Bengals and Bills before blowing a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter to lose to the Detroit Lions last week. Brandon Weeden threw a couple of costly interceptions, but he also threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Green Bay really struggled against Detroit the week prior, winning by a final of 22-9 in a game where Calvin Johnson sat out for the Lions.
The Packers' offense is clearly in trouble right now after averaging just 20.5 points the past two weeks, and now without Jones and Cobb. Meanwhile, the Browns have really flourished offensively the past four weeks with the return of Josh Gordon from a two-game suspension to open the season. They have averaged 25.5 points per game their past four contests and clearly have the firepower to keep u with a depleted Green Bay offense. Gordon has 25 receptions for 429 yards and two touchdowns through four games, while talented tight end Jordan Cameron has 38 receptions for 460 yards and five scores on the season.
The Browns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS loss. Cleveland is 11-5-1 ATS in its last 17 games following a S.U. loss. The Browns are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game. This is simply too good of value to pass up catching double-digit points in what is a very evenly-matched game given the injuries to the Packers, and the way Cleveland has played of late. Roll with the Browns Sunday.
|10-20-13||San Diego Chargers v. Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5||24-6||Loss||-110||42 h 21 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 0-6 on the season. As a result, the public doesn't want anything to do with them. That's why I believe there is a ton of value in backing the Jaguars more than a touchdown home underdog Sunday against the inconsistent San Diego Chargers. I like what I've seen from Jacksonville in recent weeks, and I believe it is primed to make a run at its first win of the season this weekend.
Just two weeks ago, the Jaguars showed some great signs in a 20-34 loss at St. Louis in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. The Jaguars outgained the Rams 363-251 for the game. Justin Blackmon made his return from suspension, and caught five balls for 136 yards and a score. Chad Henne replaced the injured Blaine Gabbert in the second half and went on to complete 7 of 13 passes for 89 yards and a score after Gabbert had already thrown two interceptions.
Last week, Henne was named the starter as a 27.5-point underdog to the Denver Broncos. This offense is clearly better with Henne under center and with Blackmon back in the lineup. Jacksonville kept it close against Denver, trailing just 21-19 midway through the third quarter before eventually losing 19-35. The Jaguars were only outgained 362-407 by the Broncos. Henne threw for 303 yards, while Blackmon finished with 14 receptions for 190 yards. He helped open things up for Maurice Jones-Drew, who rushed for 71 yards and a score in the loss.
San Diego simply cannot seem to string wins together. It has followed each loss with a win, and each win with a loss this season. Off a huge win on Monday Night Football over the Colts by a final of 19-9, this is clearly a letdown spot for the Chargers again. Also, after playing on Monday, they are working on a short week, which is certainly a disadvantage. Their win over the Colts is fresh on the public's minds, so they come into this contest overvalued because of it.
Plays on underdogs or pick (JACKSONVILLE) - poor offensive team - scoring 17 or less points/game, after allowing 35 points or more last game are 55-26 (67.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. San Diego is 1-8 ATS vs. poor passing defenses - allowing a comp. pct. of 61% or worse over the last 2 seasons. Jacksonville is 10-2 ATS after allowing 25 points or more in three straight games since 1992. The Chargers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a ATS win. San Diego is 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a S.U. win. Bet the Jaguars Sunday.
|10-20-13||Buffalo Bills +7.5 v. Miami Dolphins||23-21||Win||100||42 h 21 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Afternoon Line Mistake on Buffalo Bills +7.5
The Miami Dolphins are getting way too much respect from the books. They opened 3-0 this season, which had them way overvalued going into back-to-back losses to New Orleans (17-38) and Baltimore (23-26). They continue to get too much respect this week as more than a touchdown favorite over the Buffalo Bills. They are coming off a bye, but I still don't believe this team should be laying a touchdown to any team in the league.
Taking a look at the numbers, it's easy to see that the Dolphins are nowhere near as good as their 3-2 record would indicate. Miami ranks 26th in the league in total offense at 316.6 yards per game, and 25th in total defense at 393.0 yards per game. As you can see, it is getting outgained by 76.4 yards per game on the season, which is a number that would more often than not represent a team that is 1-4 or 2-3 at this point rather than one that is 3-2.
Buffalo has been highly competitive in 2013 as five of its six games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Unfortunately, it has lost three of those contests, including last week's 24-27 setback against the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime. I was on the Bills last week as a touchdown home underdog to the Bengals, and I'm riding them again this week because they are simply undervalued due to the quarterback position. E.J. Manuel isn't worth as many points as he's getting credit for, and Thad Lewis is an ample replacement.
Lewis completed 19 of 32 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against against a very good Cincinnati defense last week. He did that despite not having his best receiver in Stevie Johnson, who was out with a back injury. Johnson is expected to return this week, which will be a huge boost for the offense. This is an offense that is better than it gets credit for with a trio of excellent running backs in C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice, who have helped Buffalo to the league's 3rd-best rushing attack at 148.8 yards per game. The Bills have scored at least 20 points in all six games this season, so Doug Marrone's new up-tempo scheme is certainly working.
The Bills are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss. The Dolphins are 11-31-1 ATS in their last 43 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Miami only has one win by more than 4 points this season, while Buffalo only has one loss by more than 7 points. This is simply too good of value to pass up in Week 7. Take Buffalo Sunday.
|10-19-13||Washington State +39.5 v. Oregon||Top||38-62||Win||100||57 h 48 m||Show|
20* Pac-12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Washington State +39.5
The Cougars are certainly improved in the second year under head coach Mike Leach. They have opened 4-3 despite playing a very tough schedule with their only losses coming to Auburn, Stanford and Oregon State. They have an impressive 10-7 road win at USC on their resume, as well as a 44-22 victory at California. They have certainly played their best football on the road as they also lost to Auburn 24-31 as a 14-point underdog despite outgaining the Tigers 464-396 for the game.
Leach has implemented his Air Raid offense from Texas Tech to Washington State with perfection. The Cougars are putting up 29.9 points and 413.3 yards per game to rank 66th in the country in total offense. Quarterback Connor Halliday is completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the season. Gabe Marks is a freak at receiver, catching 46 balls for 512 yards and four scores.
The defense has been improved this season as well, limiting opponents to an average of 25.2 points per game. The strength is a run defense that ranks 40th in allowing 144 yards per game and 3.8 per carry, which will be huge against Oregon. The Ducks will likely be without top running back De'Anthony Thomas once again Saturday as he is listed as doubtful.
Few teams have played Oregon as tough as Washington State over the past three years. In fact, The Ducks have only been able to beat the Cougars by 25, 15 and 20 points in the last three meetings, respectively. The last two meetings were scarily close in the box scores. In 2011, Washington State outgained Oregon 462-454 in a 28-43 road loss. In 2012, the Cougars were only outgained 402-469 in a 26-51 home loss that was much closer than the final score would indicate.
Washington State is coming off a bad loss to Oregon State, but it simply gave that game away by committing six turnovers and giving up 35 unanswered points in the final 17 minutes. That 22-point loss actually plays in our favor here considering Mike Leach is a perfect 8-0 against the spread in road games off a loss of 21 or more points to a conference opponent in all games he has coached.
This could be a big letdown and look ahead spot for Oregon. It is coming off its best win of the season with a 45-24 triumph at Washington. Now, it has No. 9 UCLA on deck and Stanford after that. The Ducks could easily be overlooking the Cougars, which is something they have done each of the last three years.
|10-19-13||Duke v. Virginia -2||Top||35-22||Loss||-110||50 h 20 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE WEEK on Virginia -2
The Virginia Cavaliers have played an absolutely brutal schedule in 2013, which is the biggest reason for their 2-4 start. Their four losses have come against the likes of Oregon, Pittsburgh, Ball State and Maryland. They even have a home win over a very good BYU team on their resume as well. They played well last week at Maryland, falling 26-27 as a 6-point underdog despite gaining 505 yards of total offense. This is clearly a team that is much better than its record would indicate.
Duke is a bit of a fraud at 4-2 on the season. Its four victories have come against NC Central, Memphis, Troy and Navy. Virginia is an excellent running team that is averaging 188.8 yards per game to rank 47th in the country in rushing offense. Duke has given up an average of 224.5 yards per game on the ground in the last four weeks. The Blue Devils rank 81st in the country against the run, giving up 179.7 yards per game on the season.
Virginia boasts a very solid defense that is giving up just 361.8 yards per game to rank 37th in the country in total defense. That
|10-19-13||UCLA +6 v. Stanford||10-24||Loss||-110||50 h 18 m||Show|
15* UCLA/Stanford Pac-12 No-Brainer on UCLA +6
The UCLA Bruins have been one of the most underrated teams in all of college football in 2013. They have opened 5-0 straight up and 5-0 against the spread with impressive road wins over Nebraska (41-21) and Utah (34-27). That
|10-19-13||Florida v. Missouri +3.5||17-36||Win||100||47 h 8 m||Show|
15* SEC PLAY OF THE DAY on Missouri +3.5
The Missouri Tigers continue to get no respect from oddsmakers despite their impressive 6-0 start. They have gone 5-1 against the spread in the process, with their only non-cover coming in a 22-point victory over Arkansas State as a 23-point favorite. They are not only winning, they are dominating the opposition with all six victories coming by 15 points or more. That
|10-19-13||Purdue +28 v. Michigan State||0-14||Win||100||46 h 25 m||Show|
15* Big Ten PLAY OF THE DAY on Purdue +28
The Michigan State Spartans are getting way too much respect from the books Saturday. This line is an over-inflation due to Michigan State's 42-28 win over Indiana last week, coupled with Purdue's 7-44 loss to Nebraska. I believe there is a ton of value with the Boilermakers in this one, and I'll back them because of it.
The Spartans need to win by more than four touchdowns to beat us, and I don't believe they are capable of it. Aside from their 55-17 victory over Youngstown State, the Spartans' biggest win this season came by a final of 21-6 at home over South Florida as a 21-point favorite. They also failed to cover as a 27.5-point favorite in their opener with a 26-13 victory against lowly Western Michigan.
Michigan State simply doesn't have the offensive firepower to cover big spreads like this. It has been held to 30.5 points and 374.7 total yards per game this season to rank 87th in the country in total offense. There's no question that the Spartans have one of the best defenses in the country, but their offense isn't going to put up enough points to cover this inflated number.
Purdue has failed to cover the spread in three consecutive games, so the betting public is obviously not willing to back this team. It was only a 21.5-point underdog at Wisconsin on September 21, and now it is a 28-point dog to Michigan State. Comparing these two spreads alone show that this line is inflated when you consider that Wisconsin is a better team than Michigan State.
The Boilermakers have shown some promise offensively in recent weeks. They put up 524 total yards in a loss to Northern Illinois on September 28 in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. The defense has been better than average too, giving up 417 total yards per game against six offenses that are combining to average 444 yards per game on the season.
The biggest reason for Purdue's slow start is a brutal schedule that has been much tougher than that of Michigan State. It has already played the likes of Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Nebraska. Those five teams all have winning records and have combined for a 23-7 record on the season. Only two of Michigan State's six opponents thus far have winning records in Notre Dame and Iowa.
This has been a very closely-contested series. Purdue only lost 31-35 at Michigan State as a 20.5-point underdog in their most recent meeting. Each of the last 12 meetings since 1997 have been decided by 24 points or less with eight of those contests behind decided by 10 points or fewer. That makes for a perfect 12-0 system backing the Boilermakers pertaining to today's spread of 28.
The Boilermakers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home. Michigan State is 2-9 against the spread as a home favorite over the last two seasons. It is only winning 23.9 to 17.4 on average in this spot, or by 6.5 points per game. Roll with Purdue Saturday.
|10-19-13||Connecticut v. Cincinnati -13||16-41||Win||100||47 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Cincinnati -13
The Cincinnati Bearcats have one of the best home-field advantages in the entire country. After opening 3-0 at home this season, they are now 50-14 at home over the past 11 years. The have already rolled Purdue (42-7), Northwestern State (66-9) and Temple (38-20) at home this season. They are outscoring their opponents at home by an average of 36.7 points per game in 2013.
Cincinnati will be up against a Connecticut team that is one of the worst in all of college football. The Huskies have opened 0-5 straight up and 1-4 against the spread in 2013 with three of those losses coming by double-digits. They lost 10-13 at home to South Florida last week as a 3.5-point favorite.
The Huskies are in shambles right now with the firing of head coach Paul Pasqualoni after four games. Their worst loss came on the road on September 28 in a 12-41 setback at Buffalo. It was their lone road game of the season, which makes their 0-5 start even worse when you consider they have played four home games compared to just one on the road. I expect a similar beat down at the hands of Cincinnati in this one.
The Huskies are averaging 16.4 points and 290.4 yards per game to rank a woeful 117th in the country in total offense. They are going to have a very hard time moving the ball on one of the best defenses in the land. Cincinnati is giving up just 17.8 points and 271.8 yards per game to rank 6th in total defense. The offense hasn
|10-19-13||SMU v. Memphis -3||Top||34-29||Loss||-120||47 h 49 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Memphis -3
The Tigers may be the best 1-4 team in college football. Their four losses have come against Duke (14-28), Middle Tennessee State (15-17), UCF (17-24) and Houston (15-25.). In their best performance of the season, they beat a very good Arkansas State team 31-7 at home on September 21. Memphis outgained Houston by 102 yards, UCF by 123 yards and Middle Tennessee by 66 yards, but found a way to lose those three games when they really should have won given the numbers.
Memphis has a massive edge on defense in this one. It is giving up just 20.2 points and 305.2 yards per game to rank 11th in the entire country in total defense. It is giving up just 91.0 yards on the ground and 214.2 through the air. SMU, meanwhile, is allowing 43.2 points and 445.8 yards per game to rank 98th in total defense. The Mustangs are 1-4 on the season with their only win coming against Montana State by a final of 31-30 at home. They have allowed 41 or more points in their four losses.
Plays on any team (MEMPHIS)
|10-19-13||TCU v. Oklahoma State -7||10-24||Win||100||47 h 48 m||Show|
15* Big 12 PLAY OF THE DAY on Oklahoma State -7
The Cowboys are 4-1 and still have a ton to play for in the wide open Big 12 despite an early loss to West Virginia. With two Big 12 losses already, TCU really is behind the eight ball in terms of competing for a conference championship in 2013.
Oklahoma State will come into this game on two weeks
|10-18-13||Los Angeles Dodgers -125 v. St. Louis Cardinals||0-9||Loss||-125||9 h 33 m||Show|
15* Dodgers/Cardinals Game 6 ANNIHILATOR on Los Angeles -125
I believe the Dodgers force a Game 7 behind ace Clayton Kershaw tonight. Rarely will you ever get the best pitcher in baseball at this kind of price, and I'll gladly take advantage in Game 6 with their season on the line.
Kershaw has been stupid-good in 2013, going 17-10 with a 1.73 ERA and 0.898 WHIP over 36 starts. He continues to get better as the season goes on, going 3-1 with a miniscule 0.28 ERA over his last five starts while allowing just one earned runs in 32 innings.
Kershaw did not allow an earned run in Game 2 against St. Louis while also putting three runners on base over six innings. He did give up an unearned run, which proved to be the difference in a 1-0 Los Angeles defeat. I believe he gets his revenge tonight against Michael Wacha.
The Dodgers are 55-27 in Kershaw's last 82 starts as a favorite. Los Angeles is 52-20 in its last 72 vs. a right-handed starter. The Dodgers are 9-2 in their last 11 games following an off day. Bet Los Angeles in Game 6 Friday.
|10-18-13||Central Florida +13 v. Louisville||Top||38-35||Win||100||44 h 35 m||Show|
20* UCF/Louisville AAC GAME OF THE WEEK on Central Florida +13