|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-11-12||Arizona State v. Colorado +23||51-17||Loss||-110||71 h 24 m||Show|
15* ASU/Colorado ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on Colorado +23
The Colorado Buffaloes should not be catching more than three touchdowns at home against the Arizona State Sun Devils Thursday. They clearly aren't off to their best start this season to say the least, but as a result, they are showing tremendous value in this spot.
The Buffaloes are just 1-4 this season, but they haven't been in the national spotlight like they are going to be tonight. This game will be nationally televised on ESPN, so these players have every reason to get up for this contest. Plus, they will be looking to revenge a 14-48 loss at Arizona State last season.
The Sun Devils are an improved team this season, but they are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers because of their 4-1 start. Three of those four wins came at home against a weak schedule that has featured Northern Arizona, Illinois and Utah. They did win at Cal 27-17, but the Bears are down this season.
Their other road game resulted in a 20-24 loss at Missouri as the Tigers were playing without their starting quarterback, and they are down this season as well. I really can't say that the Sun Devils even have a great win on their resume considering they were favored in four of those five games.
Arizona State is 1-9 ATS in road games off a double-digit road win since 1992. It is losing in this spot by an average of 14.6 points/game. The Sun Devils are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 road games. The Buffaloes are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a bye week. Take Colorado Thursday.
|10-11-12||Pittsburgh Steelers -5 v. Tennessee Titans||Top||23-26||Loss||-110||71 h 49 m||Show|
20* NFL Thursday GAME OF THE MONTH on Pittsburgh Steelers -5
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the clear choice Thursday when they visit the Tennessee Titans, who I believe are the worst team in the league. The Titans certainly aren't going to get their problems fixed on a short week.
Pittsburgh fixed its problems thanks to a bye in Week 4 after a 1-2 start. It beat the Eagles 16-14 last week in a game that was a bigger blowout than the final score would indicate. They held the Eagles to just 246 total yards while forcing two turnovers in the win. This short week won't affect the Steelers one bit since they had a bye the previous week.
Pittsburgh got James Harrison and Troy Polamalu back on defense last week. It had been playing without these two for most of the season. I know Palamalu isn't expected to play Thursday, but the Steelers still rank 5th in the NFL in total defense (280.0 yards/game). They have finished in the Top 5 in total defense for five straight years, including No. 1 three times.
The offense has been sharp as well, averaging 347.7 yards/game this season. They have been especially effective through the air, ranking 11th in the NFL in passing offense (265.0 yards/game). Rashard Mendenhall made his season debut last week, rushing for 81 yards as he returned from an ACL injury. His return will allow the Steelers to be much more effective on the ground going forward.
Tennessee is simply atrocious, opening 1-4 while getting outscored 17.6 to 36.2 in the process, or by an average of 18.6 points/game. It ranks just 26th in total offense (305.0 yards/game) and 28th in total defense (423.8 yards/game). Opponents are rushing for 144.2 yards/game, and opposing quarterbacks are completing 74.6% of their passes for an average of 280 yards/game.
It's safe to say that Roethlisberger, Mendenhall and company are going to have their way with this Tennessee defense. Also, the Titans are going to be without starting quarterback Jake Locker (shoulder) for a second straight week. Backup Matt Hasselbeck, who has already thrown three interceptions in 1.5 games in Locker's place, stands no chance against this Steelers' defense.
The Titans are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall. Tennessee is 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a SU loss of more than 14 points. The Titans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game. Tennessee is 0-5-1 ATS in its last 6 vs. AFC foes. These four trends combine for a 23-2 system backing Pittsburgh. Bet the Steelers Thursday.
|10-08-12||Houston Texans v. NY Jets +9||Top||23-17||Win||100||98 h 45 m||Show|
20* Texans/Jets AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on New York +9
The New York Jets are thoroughly embarrassed after their 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week. They will be ready to take out their frustration on the 4-0 Houston Texans on Monday Night football to silence their critics.
The Jets are a much better team than they showed last week as nothing went right. As a result of that performance, public perception is down on them, which has provided us with some excellent line value here. Whatever these players have to give, they will be laying it on the field tonight, which will be good enough to stay within this inflated number.
Public perception on the Texans is at an all-time high right now as many believe they are the best team in the league. There's no question they are one of the best, but at 4-0, this team is simply overvalued tonight. Three of their wins came against the lowly Titans, Jaguars and Dolphins.
This play falls into a system that is 33-10 (76.7%) ATS since 1983. It tells us to bet on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (NY JETS) - an average offensive team (18 to 23 PPG) against an excellent offensive team (>=27 PPG), after a loss by 14 or more points.
Houston has never beaten New York, going 0-5 SU & 1-4 ATS in five meetings all-time. The Texans are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 5. The Jets are 14-3 ATS in home games off a home loss since 1992. Bet New York Monday.
|10-07-12||San Diego Chargers v. New Orleans Saints -3||Top||24-31||Win||100||74 h 37 m||Show|
20* Chargers/Saints SNF GAME OF THE MONTH on New Orleans -3
This is a must-win for the New Orleans Saints Sunday night if they want to have any shot of making the playoffs. Only one team has come back to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start dating back to 1992. I look for the Saints to play with a sense of urgency tonight, which will allow them to cover this small number at home against the San Diego Chargers.
New Orleans is much better than its 0-4 record would indicate. All four losses have come by single-digits, including the last two by a combined four points. This team could just as easily be 4-0 instead of 0-4. I look for its best effort of the season tonight.
The Chargers are one of the most overrated teams in the league this year. Their three wins have come against the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs, which are three teams with a combined 3-9 record. Their true colors showed in a 7-27 home loss to the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons.
New Orleans is 7-0 ATS in home games vs. poor passing defenses - allowing 235 or more passing yards/game over the last 3 seasons. The Saints are 6-0 ATS in home games after 1 or more consecutive wins against the spread over the last 2 seasons. New Orleans is 6-0 ATS in home games after gaining 400 or more total yards/game over their last 3 games over the last 2 seasons. The Saints are 6-0 ATS in home games after the first month of the season over the last 2 seasons. These four trends make for a perfect 25-0 system backing New Orleans. Take the Saints Sunday.
|10-07-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Minnesota Vikings||7-30||Loss||-110||70 h 31 m||Show|
15* Titans/Vikings Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Tennessee +6
The Tennessee Titans are highly motivated for a win Sunday to save their season. After a 1-3 start, they are looking at this game as a must-win. The Minnesota Vikings are one of the most overrated teams in the league at 3-1 this season. They are getting way too much love from oddsmakers.
Minnesota beat Detroit 20-13 last week despite getting outgained 227-341. They did so due to two special teams touchdowns with a kick return and a punt return touchdown. It was seriously a fluke win to say the least, and they were lucky to beat Jacksonville 26-23 at home in overtime in Week 1.
Tennessee has played a brutal schedule this season. All three of its losses have come to New England, San Diego and Houston, including two on the road. Coming in battle-tested, the Titans will put their best effort forward Sunday, and it will be enough to cover this spread. In fact, there's a very good chance the Titans win outright.
Matt Hasselbeck has had a full week of practice to prepare for being the starter this week. He was thrown into the wolves against the Texans last week, and he threw two pick 6's, which turned a close game into a blowout. Hasselbeck will be much sharper this time around given the circumstances.
This play falls into a system that is 29-9 (76.3%) ATS over the last 5 seasons. It tells us to bet on road underdogs or pick (TENNESSEE) - with a turnover margin of -1 /game or worse on the season, after 2 consecutive games where they forced 1 or less turnovers.
The Titans are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. The Vikings are 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. Minnesota is 1-5 ATS in its last 5 home games. Take the Titans Sunday.
|10-07-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||14-16||Loss||-120||91 h 27 m||Show|
25* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Pittsburgh Steelers -3
There are quite a few different factors favoring the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, enough to earn GAME OF THE YEAR status folks. I fully expect them to beat the Philadelphia Eagles by four-plus points in a blowout.
Pittsburgh is coming off a bye and it couldn't have come at a better time. It has opened 1-2 after blowing fourth quarter leads to the Broncos and Raiders. Motivated to avoid dropping to 1-3, I simply cannot see the Steelers losing this contest.
The Steelers will be getting three of their best players back from injury this week. Most importantly, LB James Harrison and S Troy Polamalu will be back on the field, which will make Pittsburgh's defense a lot more formidable than it has been over the last few weeks. Also, RB Rashard Mendenhall makes his season debut.
Philadelphia is in a huge letdown spot against the Steelers after beating NFC East rival New York on NBC's Sunday Night Football last week. The Eagles are 3-1 this season, but their three wins have come by a combined four points. This team is not as good as its record would indicate, and it has been outscored by 10.0 points/game on the road this season against the Browns and Cardinals.
Ben Roethlisberger is 13-1 at home against NFC opponents in his career. The Steelers are 9-0 ATS in their last 9 games following a S.U. loss. Pittsburgh 8-0 ATS is in home games after 1 or more consecutive losses against the spread over the last 3 seasons. The Steelers are 6-0 ATS in home games after playing their last game on the road over the last 2 seasons. These last three trends make for a perfect 23-0 system backing Pittsburgh. Bet the Steelers Sunday.
|10-07-12||Miami Dolphins +4 v. Cincinnati Bengals||17-13||Win||100||66 h 7 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Miami Dolphins +4
The Miami Dolphins will be playing with a sense of urgency Sunday as they try to avoid dropping to 1-4 on the season. The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-1 on the year and could be in for a big letdown here after their fast start. Miami wants this one more, and I believe it is the better team, which is why I'll side with the points.
The Dolphins really should be 3-1 this season instead of 1-3. They have lost a pair of overtime games to the Jets and Cardinals that they really should have won. This team is better than its record would indicate, while the Bengals are not as good as their 3-1 record. Cincinnati has only beaten Cleveland, Jacksonville and Washington. Remember, this is a team that only beat one squad with a winning record last season while going 9-7 and making the playoffs.
This play falls into a system that is 28-7 (80%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet against any team (CINCINNATI) - off a upset win as an underdog against opponent off a road cover where the team lost as an underdog.
The Dolphins are 6-0 ATS versus poor rushing defenses - allowing >=4.5 rushing yards/carry over the last 2 seasons. Miami is 8-0 ATS in its last 8 games vs. a team with a winnng record. The Bengals are 1-7-2 ATS in their last 9 vs. AFC foes. The Dolphins are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a S.U. loss. Miami is 22-5 ATS in its last 27 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Roll with the Dolphins Sunday.
|10-07-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs +6||9-6||Win||100||66 h 6 m||Show|
15* Ravens/Chiefs AFC Sunday No-Brainer on Kansas City +6
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the best 1-3 teams in the league this season. They have simply beat themselves so far this season, turning the ball over more times than any other team in the league. They have given it away 15 times this season and are -13 in turnover differential.
As a result, the Chiefs are going to be showing great value for a few weeks, especially this week at home against the Baltimore Ravens. When you look at the numbers, you can see that the Chiefs are a much better team than their record. Kansas City averages 419 yards/game offensively while giving up 334 yards/game defensively, so it is outgaining opponents by 85 yards/game.
Baltimore really misses 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs. Their stop unit is one of the most overrated in the league this season. Baltimore is giving up 390 total yards/game, which ranks 22nd in the league. Its last three opponents, including Cleveland, have thrown for over 300 yards.
This play falls into a system that is 32-10 (76.2%) ATS since 1983. It tells us to bet on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (KANSAS CITY) - an average offensive team (18 to 23 PPG) against an excellent offensive team (>=27 PPG), after a loss by 14 or more points.
The Ravens are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. a team with a losing record. The Chiefs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in October. Kansas City is 24-11 ATS after allowing 35 points or more last game since 1992. Bet the Chiefs Sunday.
|10-06-12||Nebraska v. Ohio State -3||Top||38-63||Win||100||50 h 50 m||Show|
25* Big Ten GAME OF THE YEAR on Ohio State -3
The Ohio State Buckeyes should be a much bigger home favorite over the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday. At 5-0 this season, the Buckeyes appear to me like the best team n the Big Ten. They went on the road and earned a hard-fought 17-16 victory at Michigan State last week.
Nebraska is way overrated this season. The Huskers are 4-0 at home against easy competition in Southern Miss, Arkansas State, Idaho State and Wisconsin. They really should have lost to the Badgers last week after trailing 10-27 in the third quarter, and we all know how down Wisconsin football is this season. In their lone road game this season, the Huskers lost at UCLA 30-36.
The Huskers came back in similar fashion on the Buckeyes last season at home. They were trailing 6-27, but scored 28 unanswered points to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. These Ohio State players remember that game, and they will be hungry for revenge. Nebraska won't be pulling any crazy comebacks on the road this time around.
Nebraska's weakness is a defense that ranks 60th against the run (152.8 yards/game) and its strength is a rush offense that ranks 5th (305.8 yards/game). That makes this an excellent match-up for the Buckeyes considering they rank 20th in run defense (100.8 yards/game) and 21st in rush offense (224.2 yards/game).
The Cornhuskers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 road games. Nebraska is 0-3-1 ATS in its last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Cornhuskers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. win. The Buckeyes are 43-18-1 ATS in their last 62 conference games. Ohio State is 37-18-1 ATS in its last 56 vs. a team with a winning record. Bet Ohio State Saturday.
|10-06-12||Tulsa v. Marshall OVER 69.5||45-38||Win||100||45 h 19 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Total DOMINATOR on Tulsa/Marshall OVER 69.5
Oddsmakers have set the bar way too low for this contest Saturday between Marshall and Tulsa. These are two of the best offenses in the country, and two of the worst defenses as well. I look for both teams to score 40-plus in this one.
Tulsa is scoring 42.0 points/game and averaging 481 total yards/game. Marshall is scoring 41.0 points/game and averaging 556 total yards/game. Tulsa is giving up 40.0 points/game on the road this season. Marshall is yielding 44.4 points and 496 total yards/game this year.
This play falls into a system that is 80-37 (68.4%) to the OVER during the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet the OVER on any team against the total (MARSHALL) - after gaining 525 or more total yards/game over their last 2 games, with 5 defensive starters returning. Take the OVER in this game Saturday.
|10-06-12||Oklahoma -4.5 v. Texas Tech||41-20||Win||100||45 h 19 m||Show|
15* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Oklahoma -4.5
Steaming mad over their loss to Kansas State last time and with two weeks to boil over it, I look for the Oklahoma Sooners to roll right over the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday. They have had two weeks to prepare for this game having last played the Wildcats on Saturday, September 22nd. That extra rest is a huge advantage heading into this one.
Texas Tech is one of the most overrated teams in the country. It has opened 4-0, but it has played a very soft schedule with the likes of Northwestern State, Texas State, New Mexico and Iowa State. Oklahoma is battle-tested heading into this one while the Red Raiders certainly are not.
Not only are the Sooners pissed off about their loss to Kansas State, they also want revenge from a shocking 38-41 home loss to Texas Tech last season. The Sooners came into that game as a 29-point favorite. They are not showing excellent value as only a 4.5-point favorite in this great spot.
The Sooners are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games following a S.U. loss. Oklahoma is 6-0 ATS in its last 6 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. The Sooners are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. The Red Raiders are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. These last three trends add up to a 16-0 system in favor of the Sooners. Roll with Oklahoma Saturday.
|10-06-12||Virginia Tech +6 v. North Carolina||34-48||Loss||-106||42 h 19 m||Show|
15* ACC GAME OF THE WEEK on Virginia Tech +6
The Virginia Tech Hokies should not be an underdog to the UNC Tar Heels, let alone a 6-point dog. This team is much better than it has shown so far, and I look for the Hokies to put their best foot forward Saturday after a heartbreaking 24-27 last-second loss at Cincinnati last week.
I know the Hokies have two losses this season, but if you look at who they played, it's really not all that shocking. They simply had a hard time getting up for Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, which are two teams from the Big East. Returning to ACC action will help get Virginia Tech focused.
North Carolina is a quality team, but it is getting too much respect here. Like VA Tech, the Tar Heels are also 3-2, but their three wins have come against cupcake opponents in Elon, East Carolina and Idaho. They don't have a quality win yet, and I don't see them getting one Saturday, either.
North Carolina is 0-6 ATS after a game where they forced 4 or more turnovers over the last 3 seasons. Virginia Tech is 59-37 ATS in all road games since 1992. The Hokies are 15-5 ATS in road games after playing 2 straight non-conference games since 1992. The Tar Heels are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. UNC is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games following a win. Bet Virginia Tech Saturday.
|10-06-12||Northwestern v. Penn State -2.5||28-39||Win||100||42 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Penn State -2.5
The Penn State Nittany Lions aren't getting the respect they deserve from oddsmakers here. Penn State could easily be 5-0 right now. They blew leads against Ohio and Virginia before reeling off three straight impressive victories over Navy, Temple and Illinois.
Northwestern is way overrated after its 5-0 start. You could argue that the Wildcats don't have a quality win yet. They have four home victories over Vanderbilt, Boston College, South Dakota and Indiana. Their lone road win came at Syracuse against an Orange team that is 1-3 heading into their Pitt game Friday night. This is easily the Wildcats' toughest game of the season.
Penn State is a dominant defensive team that will be able to slow down this Northwestern offense that has clicked against soft competition. The Nittany Lions are only giving up 13.6 points/game this season. They also have one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. Matt McGloin is completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,217 yards with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The Wildcats are 109th in the nation in pass defense (289.0 yards per game), and they've struggled to contain Matt McGloin before. The senior quarterback has thrown six touchdowns without an interception, taking only one sack, in beating Northwestern the past two seasons.
Northwestern has lost five straight to Penn State while giving up an average of 33 points/game. The Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings, winning all four by double-digits.
The Wildcats are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 conference games. The Nittany Lions are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. Penn State is 4-0 ATS in its last 4 games overall as it is consistently undervalued each week. Take Penn State Saturday.
|10-05-12||Utah State +7 v. BYU||Top||3-6||Win||100||45 h 13 m||Show|
20* Utah State/BYU ESPN Late-Night BAILOUT on Utah State +7
The Utah State Aggies are one of the most underrated teams in the country. They will show tonight what they are capable of with a huge road victory over the BYU Cougars.
Utah State lost at BYU 24-27 last year on a heartbreaker. The Cougars scored a garbage touchdown with only 11 seconds left on a pass that was tipped to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. The Aggies want revenge in a bad way, and they'll get it tonight behind Chuckie Keeton and company.
Keeton is certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He has led Utah State to a 4-1 start with its only loss coming at Wisconsin 14-16 as the Aggies missed a potential game-winning field goal late.
Keeton is completing 67.7 percent of his passes for 1,281 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 218 yards on the year. Explosive tailback Kerwynn Williams has rushed for 519 yards and three touchdowns. He also has a team-high 18 receptions for 262 yards and two scores.
BYU's offense is simply atrocious. That's why they should not be favored by a touchdown here, especially against a better team like Utah State that is out for revenge. The Aggies rank 40th in the country in total offense and 12th in total defense against a reasonable schedule.
The Aggies are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Aggies are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Cougars are 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 vs. WAC opponents. The Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings. Bet Utah State Friday.
|10-04-12||USC v. Utah +14.5||38-28||Win||100||21 h 25 m||Show|
15* USC/Utah ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on Utah +14.5
The USC Trojans are getting way too much respect on the road Thursday as greater than a two-touchdown favorite against the Utah Utes. Home teams have been dominant on Thursday night college football this season. We just saw Washington upset Stanford last week, and I look for the Utes to give the Trojans a run for their money tonight.
What makes Utah so competitive is a defense that is as good as almost anyone in the country. It ranks 30th in the land in total defense (329.5 yards/game), including 28th against the run (111.3 yards/game) and 50th against the pass (218.3 yards/game).
There's no question the offense has struggled en route to a 2-2 start for the Utes. However, they have been up against some of the best defenses in the country with the likes of Utah State, BYU and Arizona State. They managed 24 points in a 24-21 victory over BYU in their last home game, which was impressive considering the Cougars rank 5th in the country in total defense.
Utah wants revenge from a 23-14 road loss to USC last season. The Utes were trying to tie the game with a field goal on the game's final play, but it was blocked and return for a touchdown by USC that made the final score seem like more of a blowout than it really was. The Utes proved they could play with the Trojans on the road last year, and with 16 starters back from that team, they certainly can hang with them at home this time around.
This play falls into a system that is 36-10 (78.3%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on home underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (UTAH) - after being outgained by 225 or more total yds in their previous game, with 8 or more offensive starters including the QB returning.
The Utes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss. Utah is 48-27 ATS in its last 75 games as an underdog. The Trojans are 8-17 ATS in their last 25 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. USC hasn't looked good in its two road games, losing at Stanford and beating Syracuse by just 13 points. Take Utah Thursday.
|10-04-12||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams +2||Top||3-17||Win||100||21 h 51 m||Show|
20* NFC West GAME OF THE MONTH on St. Louis Rams +2
After a hard fought 19-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks, the St. Louis Rams now sit at 2-2 on the season. If they want any shot of winning the NFC West this season, this game against the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals is a must-win Thursday night.
I look for the Rams to take care of business against the most overrated team in the league tonight. It's a complete fluke that the Cardinals are 4-0 this season considering they have the 31st ranked offense (271.7 yards/game) and the 17th ranked defense (357.2 yards/game). That's right folks, they are getting outgained by 85.5 yards/game yet they are 4-0.
St. Louis has been a completely different team at home this season, beating two solid squads in Washington (31-28) and Seattle (19-13). They are a last-second touchdown at Detroit away from being 3-1 this season. Even their 6-23 loss at Chicago was a 6-10 game entering the 4th quarter before the Bears returned an interception for a touchdown to break it open.
Arizona is 3-12 ATS in its last 15 after 3 or more consecutive wins. The Rams are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. St. Louis is 3-0-1 ATS in its last 4 home games overall. The Rams are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC opponents. Bet the Rams Thursday.
|10-04-12||Arkansas State v. Florida International +2||34-20||Loss||-110||20 h 56 m||Show|
15* Arkansas State/FIU Sun Belt GAME OF THE WEEK on Florida International +2
The FIU Panthers are one of the most underrated teams in the country right now due to their 1-4 start. I'll gladly side with the value in this contest and back them as a home underdog to the Arkansas State Red Wolves Thursday.
FIU was one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt this season with 17 starters back from a team that went 8-5 last season. Arkansas State won the Sun Belt last year, but with only 10 starters back, it slipped in the preseason rankings and is unlikely to repeat.
After playing a brutal schedule through their first five games, I look for FIU to finall get on track and get revenge on an Arkansas State team that beat them 34-16 last season. The Red Wolves needed 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter at home to steal that victory from the Golden Panthers.
The home team has been dominant in this series, winning five straight and six of the last seven meetings. The home team is a perfect 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings. The Red Wolves are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games. Take Florida International and the points.
|10-01-12||Chicago Bears v. Dallas Cowboys -3||Top||34-18||Loss||-125||125 h 56 m||Show|
20* Bears/Cowboys ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Dallas -3
The Dallas Cowboys are showing awesome value as only a 3-point home favorite over the Chicago Bears Monday night. Dallas is off to a 2-1 start this season with wins over the Giants and Bucs, and they've only played one home game thus far.
The Chicago Bears have played two homes games and just one road game en route to their 2-1 start. They beat the Colts and Rams at home, which is far from impressive. Their lone road game resulted in a 10-23 loss at Green Bay. Jay Cutler threw four interceptions and was sacked 7 times in that loss to the Packers.
I really like what Dallas did this offseason with the upgrades they made in the secondary, and it's clearly paying dividends. The Cowboys rank 1st in the league in total defense (250.0 yards/game), including 2nd against the pass (137.0 yards/game). Their cornerbacks have had a lot better coverage, which allows the defensive line to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Bears have not been very good on offense despite their 2-1 start. They rank just 27th in the league in total offense (290.0 yards/game). What is going to really hurt the Bears is the fact that Matt Forte is doubtful with a knee injury, and this offense is really going to miss his playmaking ability.
Chicago is 4-16 ATS in its last 20 vs. good passing defenses - allowing 175 or less passing yards/game. The Bears are 9-23 ATS in their last 32 road games vs. good passing teams averaging 7 or more passing yards/attempt. Dallas is 15-5 ATS in its last 20 home games vs. poor passing teams with a completion pct. of 53% or worse. The Cowboys are 19-6 ATS in their last 25 home games versus poor rushing teams - averaging <=3.5 rushing yards/carry. Bet the Cowboys Monday.
|09-30-12||NY Giants v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||17-19||Win||100||101 h 56 m||Show|
15* Giants/Eagles NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Philadelphia -1
The betting public is down on the Philadelphia Eagles after their bad loss at Arizona last week. As a result, oddsmakers have been forced to set them as less than a field goal favorite at home against the New York Giants on NBC's Sunday Night Football. I'll gladly take advantage of this line value and back the home team in this one.
Philadelphia is still one of the best teams in the league. I know they have turned the ball over 12 times in three games already, but the fact that the Eagles are 2-1 right now really shows how good they are. I have no doubt that ball security will be of huge importance all week in practice, and I look for the Eagles to carry that over into the game.
Just look at the numbers and you can see that this is one of the best teams in the NFL, yet they aren't getting credit for it because of the turnovers. The Eagles rank 5th in the NFL in total offense at 416.3 yards/game, and 5th in total defense at 275.7 yards/game. So they are outgaining opponents by roughly 141 yards/game.
Philly has the kind of defense that can slow down this Giants' offense. They tied for first in the league in sacks last season, and they made roster upgrades this offseason that have made them an improved stop unit in 2012.
New York gets too much credit for its defense. The fact of the matter is that the Giants rank just 18th in the league in total defense at 355.7 yards/game allowed. They have all kinds of issues in their secondary, and I look for Vick and these playmakers to exploit it.
The Eagles are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings with the Giants. Philly is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 vs. NFC East opponents. The Eagles are 18-5 ATS in their last 23 following a loss of 21 points or more. This trend just goes to show how resilient they have been under Andy Reid. They are 12-3 ATS off a loss of 21 points or more with Reid at the helm. Take the Eagles Sunday.
|09-30-12||Miami Dolphins +6.5 v. Arizona Cardinals||21-24||Win||100||97 h 32 m||Show|
15* Dolphins/Cardinals Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Miami +6.5
The Arizona Cardinals are getting way too much respect for their 3-0 start. There's no question it has been impressive, but now is the time to fade them while they're perception of being a great team is very high in the eyes of the betting public, and thus the oddsmakers.
Arizona is coming off wins over the Patriots and Eagles the last two weeks, which sets them up for a huge letdown here with 1-2 Miami coming into town. But the Dolphins are a much better team than they get credit for, and they should be 2-1.
The Dolphins dominated the Raiders 35-13 at home in Week 2, and they should have beaten the Jets last week. Dan Carpenter missed two field goals, including a potential game-winner in overtime, letting the Jets escape with a 23-20 overtime victory.
Even their 10-30 loss at Houston in their opener wasn't as big of a blowout as the score would indicate. This was a 3-3 game with less than two minutes to go before half, but the Texans converted three turnovers into three quick touchdowns before the break to pull away.
When you look at the numbers, it's easy to see how this is a more evenly matched game than the spread would indicate. Miami's offense has actually been very good this season as it is averaging 369 total yards/game. Arizona's offense is only putting up 263.3 yards/game, and it cannot sustain this kind of success with those woeful offensive numbers.
The Dolphins are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record. Miami is 21-5 ATS in its last 26 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Arizona is 5-15 ATS in its last 20 home games after 2 or more consecutive wins. Bet the Dolphins Friday.
|09-30-12||New England Patriots -4 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||52-28||Win||100||94 h 49 m||Show|
25* AFC East GAME OF THE YEAR on New England Patriots -4
The New England Patriots have lost two straight heartbreakers by a combined three points. There's no question they are going to come out extremely hungry in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bulls, and I look for them to take care of business in blowout fashion given the situation.
The Patriots haven't lost three straight since 2002, so this has been an extremely resilient team in the Bill Belichick era. While the Patriots did blow a 21-point lead in a 31-34 loss at Buffalo last season, they certainly have the Bills' number to say the least.
New England has won 16 of the last 17 meetings with the Bills, including a 49-21 home victory in the rematch last season as it avenged the earlier 3-point loss. Fourteen of those 16 wins have come by 5 points or more in this series.
Buffalo doesn't have an impressive win yet. It lost 28-48 to the New York Jets in its opener, and its two victories have come against lowly Kansas City and Cleveland, two teams with a combined 1-6 record. The Bills are not ready to take that next step and beat a team like the Patriots in this spot.
The Pats are 6-0 ATS versus good rushing teams - averaging >=4.5 rushing yards/carry over the last 3 seasons. New England is 35-16-1 ATS in its last 52 games following a S.U. loss. The Patriots are 51-24-3 ATS in their last 78 road games. The Bills are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. Bet the Patriots Sunday.
|09-30-12||San Francisco 49ers v. NY Jets +4.5||34-0||Loss||-110||93 h 27 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on New York Jets +4.5
The San Francisco 49ers are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers. Also, the books are putting too much stock on the injury to Darrelle Revis. As a result, the New York Jets are showing tremendous value at home in Week 4.
There's no question that San Francisco is one of the better teams in the league. However, I believe after making the NFC Championship game last season, and opening 2-0, they are getting too much love. The 49ers showed they were vulnerable with a 13-24 loss at Minnesota last week.
These are two very similar teams that like to pound the rock on offense, while relying on two of the best defenses in the league. I expect a low-scoring, defensive battle which certainly favors the home underdog catching more than a field goal in this one. I look for the Jets to come together as a team and take it personal that they are a dog at home, largely due to Revis' absence.
"This is a team game, and as a team, we've got to step it up," Ryan said. "I think we'll respond. We certainly have to accept the challenge, and we're going to come out and compete. We might do it a little differently, but we're certainly going to give it our best shot, without question."
"Everybody's got to step up," Ryan said. "Whatever it takes, that's what we're going to do. We have enough to get it done here. ... This football team is a bunch of competitors. We will find a way to get this done."
New York rolled in its first home game, topping Buffalo 48-28 in the season opener. After two tough road games at Pittsburgh and Miami where they split 1-1, I look for them to come out with another great effort in front of their home fans.
The 49ers are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Jets are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games in September. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings in this series. Roll with the Jets Sunday.
|09-30-12||Carolina Panthers +7 v. Atlanta Falcons||28-30||Win||100||93 h 27 m||Show|
15* NFC South GAME OF THE WEEK on Carolina Panthers +7
The Carolina Panthers have opened 1-2 after falling to the New York Giants in embarrassing fashion last Thursday. With a couple extra days of rest and essentially their playoff hopes on the line, I look for the Panthers to put forth their best effort of the season against NFC South rival Atlanta Sunday.
There's no denying that the Falcons have been impressive en route to their 3-0 start. However, with success comes lofty expectations from the oddsmakers and betting public, and as a result the books have set this number too high. This is a letdown spot for the Falcons, and they won't be ready for the effort they get from Carolina Sunday.
Carolina could get three players back who missed the Giants contest. Head coach Ron Rivera expects running back Jonathan Stewart, offensive tackle Byron Bell and linebacker Thomas Davis to play, with Bell and Davis returning to practice Monday.
"It is a divisional game, but the truth is, your biggest game is the one you are about to play," Rivera said. "I guess as far as the record goes and being in our division, yes it means a lot, it is a big game."
This play falls into a system that is 22-4 (84.6%) ATS since 1983. It tells us to bet against home teams (ATLANTA) - opportunistic team (2.5+ TO/game forced) against a team with <=1.25 TO/game forced, after a game where they forced 4 or more turnovers. The Falcons have been fortunate in the turnover department to say the least, and that can't last. Take the Panthers Sunday.
|09-29-12||Oregon State v. Arizona -2||38-35||Loss||-110||71 h 48 m||Show|
15* Oregon State/Arizona CFB Late-Night BAILOUT on Arizona -2
The Arizona Wildcats should be a much bigger home favorite Saturday against the Oregon State Beavers. The Wildcats had every chance to make it a game against Oregon early last week, but they eventually fell 0-49 in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. As a result, this team is undervalued heading into Week 5.
Arizona managed a respectable 332 total yards on the Ducks, but it committed five turnovers and and wasted several red zone opportunities. Looking to redeem themselves, the Wildcats will come out hungry when they return home Saturday.
The Wildcats have been dominant at home this season, going 3-0 with impressive wins over Toledo and Oklahoma State. They are scoring 46.3 points/game at home this year while allowing only 18.3 points/game.
Oregon State is getting way too much respect for its 10-7 win over Wisconsin and its 27-20 victory over UCLA. This is the perfect time to fade the Beavers with the love they are getting from oddsmakers and the betting public after last week's results.
This play falls into a system that is 23-4 (85.2%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet against road teams where the line is +3 to -3 (OREGON ST) - excellent passing team (>=275 PY/game) against a poor passing defense (230-275 PY/game), after allowing 8 or more passing yards/attempt last game. Plus, Oregon State is 9-23 ATS in its last 32 September road games. Roll with Arizona Saturday.
|09-29-12||Texas Tech v. Iowa State +3||24-13||Loss||-105||68 h 49 m||Show|
15* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Iowa State +3
The Iowa State Cyclones should not be an underdog at home to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in their Big 12 opener Saturday. Paul Rhoads is one of the best head coaches in the country, and he always gets the most out of his teams. That was evidenced last year when the Cyclones pulled off the upset of the season with a 37-31 home victory in double overtime over then-No. 2 Oklahoma State.
Rhoads has these Cyclones off to an impressive 3-0 start despite playing a tough schedule. Iowa State has already been an underdog twice, beating Tulsa 38-23 at home as a 1.5-point underdog, and going on the road to beat Iowa 9-6 as a 3.5-point dog. This team is much better than it gets credit for.
Unlike Iowa State, Texas Tech has not played anybody en route to its 3-0 start. The Red Raiders have stomped Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico in their first three games. They won't be prepared for the test they are going to get from the Cyclones Saturday. Iowa State is clearly battle-tested and ready to go.
The Cyclones have been sharp offensively, scoring 28.0 points while averaging 429.0 yards/game. They have one of the most underrated defenses in the land. Their stop unit is yielding 10.7 points/game and 280.0 total yards/game. I can't emphasize enough that they have played a tough schedule to this point, which makes these numbers all that more impressive.
All you have to do is look at recent history to realize that the Cyclones are always undervalued in this series. Iowa State beat Texas Tech 41-7 on the road last year as a 15.5-point underdog, which followed a 52-38 home victory over the Red Raiders in 2010 as a 6.5-point dog. Oddsmakers clearly haven't done their homework.
This play falls into a system that is 33-5 (86.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet against any team (TEXAS TECH) - with an incredible defense - allowing 4.2 or less yards/play, after allowing 150 or less total yards in their previous game.
The Cyclones are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Iowa State is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 conference games. Texas Tech is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 after 2 straight covers as a double digit favorite. The Cyclones are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 home games after allowing 14 points or less last game. Roll with Iowa State Saturday.
|09-29-12||Florida International +7 v. Louisiana-Lafayette||20-48||Loss||-110||68 h 48 m||Show|
15* Sun Belt GAME OF THE WEEK on Florida International +7
Florida International should not be catching a touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday. I picked FIU to win the Sun Belt, and after a slow start, this team is clearly going under the radar. The Panthers returned 17 starters from a team that went 8-5 last year. There's still no doubt in my mind that this is the most talented team in the conference, and that will show on the field this weekend.
Florida International has opened 1-3, but it is due to a very tough schedule. All three of their losses have been as an underdog at Duke, at UCF and home against Louisville. Those aren't bad losses, and they even covered the spread in two of those games against UCF and Louisville.
FIU wants revenge from a 31-36 home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette as a 16.5-point favorite last year. The Panthers still have all of their goals in front of them as this will be their Sun Belt opener, and after playing a tough non-conference schedule, they are battle-tested coming in.
The Panthers lost starting quarterback Jake Medlock in the second quarter of a 21-28 loss to Louisville last week. That may have been a blessing in disguise considering talented freshman E.J. Hilliard got a chance to take his place. Hilliard played like a seasoned vet, completing 9 of 10 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He is the quarterback of the future here, and he's ready now.
Lafayette is a quality team, but it clearly has some holes after a 24-65 loss at Oklahoma State last time out. The Cowboys racked up a ridiculous 742 total yards on the Rajin' Cajuns while limiting them to 376. Their two wins came against Troy and Lamar, which is unimpressive to say the least.
The Ragin' Cajuns are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games. Lafayette is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. The Rajin' Cajuns are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games when playing against a terrible team (Win Pct. <=25%). The road team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in this series. Take Florida International.
|09-29-12||Toledo v. Western Michigan +1||37-17||Loss||-110||68 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Western Michigan +1
The Toledo Rockets have no business being favored at Western Michigan Saturday. I know that the Broncos will be without starting quarterback Alex Carder, but as you'll see if you keep reading, it won't matter.
Western Michigan is hungry to avenge its 63-66 loss at Toledo last season. I picked the Broncos to win the MAC this season, and I still believe they are the best team in this conference. That will show on the field Saturday as they destroy the Rockets with revenge in mind.
The Broncos came into the season with 14 returning starters, while the Rockets came in as one of the most inexperienced teams in the country with only eight starters back. The Broncos have been tested early, which will only help them entering conference play.
WMU has already played the likes of Illinois and Minnesota, as well as Connecticut at home. They have gotten through that brutal schedule at 2-2. Carder went out with an injury in their 30-24 win over UConn last week, and junior Tyler VanTubbergen took his place while helping the Broncos hold onto the victory.
VanTubbergen will be dominant next season as a senior, but he has been given a great opportunity to lead the team with Carder out for at least the next few games. VanTubbergen started in place of an injured Carder against Akron last season, and he completed 19 of 21 passes (90%) for 252 yards with a whopping six touchdowns! It's safe to say that WMU is in good hands with this guy under center against the Rockets Saturday.
Toledo has opened 3-1 this season against a pretty soft schedule, and it is getting too much respect because of it. The Rockets lost at Toledo 17-24 in their opener, then followed that up with three lackluster victories over Wyoming (34-31), Bowling Green 27-15, and Coastal Carolina (38-28).
VanTubbergen is in line for a monster game against a Toledo defense that ranks 116th in the country against the pass (325.3 yards/game). The Rockets are giving up 483 yards/game against a weak schedule thus far, while the Broncos are yielding a respectable 353.5 yards/game against a tougher schedule. Coastal Carolina even threw for 356 yards on Toledo last week.
Toledo is 11-25 ATS in its last 25 road games vs. good passing teams with a completion pct. of 58% or better. The Rockets are 4-14 ATS in their last 18 road games after 3 or more consecutive straight up wins. The Broncos are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games. The underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings in this series. Bet Western Michigan Saturday.
|09-29-12||Arizona State v. California -1||27-17||Loss||-110||65 h 49 m||Show|
15* Pac-12 GAME OF THE WEEK on California -1
California is one of the best home teams in the country. In fact, they have the second-best home-field advantage of all teams in the six BCS conferences dating back to 1989. The Bears should be a much heavier favorite Saturday against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Cal is going under the radar right now because of its 1-3 start. But when you look at the schedule, it's easy to see why the Bears don't have more wins through three games. They lost to a very good Nevada team in their opener, and their last two games have come on the road against Ohio State and USC.
The Bears actually played both teams tough, losing 28-35 at Ohio State, and 9-27 at USC. It's safe to say that this team is battle-tested and hungry for a win when they return home Saturday for face an overrated Sun Devils team.
ASU is off to a 3-1 start, but it has played a much easier schedule. All three of their wins have come at home against Northern Arizona, Illinois and Utah. Their lone loss came on the road 20-24 at Missouri against a Tigers team that was playing without their starting quarterback.
Cal has won four straight and eight of its last nine meetings with Arizona State. The Bears won 50-17, 24-14, 49-21 and 27-0 in their last four home meetings with the Sun Devils. It's safe to say that Cal has ASU's number in this series, especially at home.
The Bears are 21-10 ATS in their last 31 home games. The Sun Devils are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Sun Devils are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 meetings in California dating back to 1997. Bet the Bears Saturday.
|09-29-12||Tennessee v. Georgia UNDER 61.5||Top||44-51||Loss||-110||96 h 47 m||Show|
25* SEC TOTAL OF THE YEAR on Tennessee/Georgia UNDER 61.5
Georgia beat Tennessee 20-12 on the road last season for 32 combined points. The Bulldogs put up 366 total yards, while the Vols were held to 284 yards. I look for a similar low-scoring affair in the rematch in 2012 as both teams return a ton of starters from last season.
Georgia remains one of the best defensive teams in the country. They are giving up just 16.5 points and 343.2 yards/game despite playing without several starters on defense at different times this season. Both safety Bacarri Rambo (55 tackles, 8 INT in 2011) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (52 tackles, 7.5 for loss in 2011) are expected to return Saturday.
Georgia's defense has steadily improved as the season has wore on, and it gave up only a field goal in a 48-3 victory over Vanderbilt last week. Tennessee has nine starters back on defense from last year's team, and there's no question this is an improved unit.
The UNDER is 33-12-1 in Bulldogs last 46 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Tennessee is 40-22 to the UNDER after a game where they forced 3 or more turnovers since 1992. The UNDER is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Georgia.
All you have to do is look at the history of this series to realize this total has been inflated. 15 of the last 17 meetings in this series have seen 57 or less combined points. That makes for a 15-2 (88%) system backing the UNDER. Bet the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|09-29-12||Minnesota v. Iowa -7||13-31||Win||100||61 h 50 m||Show|
15* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Iowa -7
The Iowa Hawkeyes have not gotten off to the start they wanted to this season. However, even at 2-2, they still have all of their goals ahead of them. They open their Big Ten schedule Saturday looking for revenge against a Minnesota team that has beaten them each of the last two years.
This is a huge rivalry between these schools, and there's no question that if Iowa had a better record right now, it would be a much bigger favorite. The Hawkeyes blew a 21-10 fourth quarter lead to the Gophers last season to lose 21-22 as a 14.5-point favorite.
There's no question these players have a sour taste in their mouths from that loss, and after blowing a 31-23 lead against Central Michigan over the final 45 seconds to lose 31-32. They allowed a touchdown, and then after the Chippewas recovered an onside kick, they marched down and kicked a game-winning 47-yard field goal.
Iowa will be giving its best effort of the season in front of a rowdy crowd at Kinnick Stadium. I believe the Gophers come in overrated after their 4-0 start because they really haven't played a worthy opponent yet. Their lone road win came in overtime against a terrible UNLV team by a final of 30-27. Because of these two team's records, this is a very soft line coming in and we're going to capitalize.
The home team has won six of the last seven meetings in this series. The Hawkeyes are 35-15-1 ATS in their last 51 games following a S.U. loss, so this has been a very resilient team through the years. Iowa is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 home meetings with Minnesota. The Gophers are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog of 7 to 10 points. Take Iowa Saturday.
|09-28-12||Hawaii v. BYU -27.5||Top||0-47||Win||100||53 h 56 m||Show|
20* Hawaii/BYU Non-Conference GAME OF THE WEEK on BYU -27.5
This game simply screams blowout. BYU is pissed about losing two straight heartbreakers to Utah and Boise State on the road by a combined 4 points. I look for the Cougars to take out their frustration on National TV against a hapless Hawaii team when they return home Friday.
Hawaii is clearly down this season as evidenced by its 10-49 loss at USC, and its 24-69 home loss to Nevada last Saturday. The Warriors gave up 575 total yards to the Wolf Pack, including 355 on the ground.
BYU is a team that prefers to run the football, and it should have similar success on the ground that Nevada did last week. After committing five turnovers last week in a 6-7 loss at Boise State, including three interceptions, I look for the Cougars to get back to ground and pound and run it right down Hawaii's throats.
I've seen BYU play a couple times this season, and there's no question in my mind that it has one of the best defenses in the land. Despite playing a tough schedule, the Cougars rank 7th in the country in total defense, giving up 68.8 yards on the ground and 177.3 yards through the air. This stop unit won't give an inch Friday.
The Cougars won at Hawaii 41-20 last year in their regular season finale, outgaining the Warriors 530-299 for the game. I believe the Warriors have taken a step back this season, and I expect an even bigger blowout at home this time around. Hawaii doesn't travel well, and it will be working on two less days' rest considering the Cougars played last Thursday, and the Warriors played on Saturday.
BYU is 6-0 ATS after allowing 125 or less rushing yards in 3 straight games over the last 3 seasons. Hawaii is 0-6 ATS after playing a conference game over the last 2 seasons. The Cougars are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. MWC opponents. These three trends combine for a perfect 18-0 system backing the Cougars. Bet BYU Friday.
|09-27-12||Stanford -6 v. Washington||13-17||Loss||-110||30 h 56 m||Show|
15* Stanford/Washington ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on Stanford -6
The Stanford Cardinal continue to go under the radar after the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Andrew Luck. What most folks don't realize is that Stanford still has a lot of talent, as evidenced by the fact that head coach David Shaw brought in the fifth-best recruiting class in 2012.
This team had a ton of talent left over from last year's team that went 11-2 and made it to the Fiesta Bowl. Shaw welcomed back 13 starters and 61 lettermen from that squad, and the Cardinal have opened 3-0 this season.
After beating San Jose State and Duke, the Cardinal proved they were for real with a 21-14 victory over then-No. 2 USC as a 9.5-point underdog. Their defense limited the high-powered Trojans offense to just 380 total yards, including 26 on the ground on 28 carries. The offense put up 417 yards on a very good USC defense, too.
Quarterback Josh Nunes has filled in nicely for Luck, throwing for 615 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions through three games. Don't forget, the Cardinal have 2011 leading rusher Stepfan Taylor back, and he has rushed for 338 yards and three scores.
Stanford has one of the best defenses in the country. It ranks 26th in the land in total defense, including 1st against the run (41.7 yards/game). The Cardinal have one of the best front 7's in the land and it will cause Washington fits all game.
The Huskies are 2-1 this season, but their two wins came at home against San Diego State 21-12 and Portland State 52-13. Washington's true colors showed in a 3-41 loss at LSU in Week 2. It managed just 183 total yards against the Tigers, and it won't be able to move the ball with any consistency against this Stanford defense, either.
Washington's defense is in for a long day. It has had injuries to several starters this season, especially along the front seven. That's a big reason why the Huskies rank 80th in the country in run defense, allowing 174.7 yards/game despite playing a pretty soft schedule.
Stanford simply owns Washington, winning four straight and six of the last seven meetings. The Cardinal won 65-21, 41-0, 34-14 and 35-28 in the last four meetings, respectively. While I don't expect another 40-plus point victory for a third straight year, I do believe the Cardinal easily cover this small number tonight.
The Cardinal are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. Washington is 0-4 ATS in its last 4 games following a win. The Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record. The Cardinal are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings. Stanford is 4-0 ATS in its last 4 meetings at Washington. The Cardinal are 8-0 ATS in September games over the last 3 seasons. Stanford is 9-0 ATS after allowing 125 or less rushing yards in 2 straight games over the last 3 seasons. These eight trends combine for a 44-0 system backing the Cardinal. Take Stanford Thursday.
|09-27-12||Cleveland Browns +12 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||16-23||Win||100||30 h 33 m||Show|
20* AFC North GAME OF THE MONTH on Cleveland Browns +12
The Cleveland Browns have opened the season 0-3 with three straight losses by 10 points or less. This is a must-win for Cleveland, and I fully expect it to brings its best effort for the field Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore is coming off a huge 31-30 home victory over the New England Patriots on NBC's Sunday Night Football in Week 3. That win sets the Ravens up for a big letdown spot tonight against the Browns. The Ravens have been prone to letdowns over the years, and this is the perfect spot for one. They are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
In their final meeting last season, Cleveland went into Baltimore as a 12.5-point underdog and lost by a final of 14-20. This was a very evenly matched game as the Browns totaled 256 yards, while the Ravens had 284.
Seneca Wallace was the starter for Cleveland in that one, and the Browns have certainly upgraded this offseason with Brandon Weeden as their new starting quarterback. Cleveland's defense limited Joe Flacco to 11 of 24 passing for 132 yards last season in that 14-20 loss.
With an underrated defense and an improved offense, the Browns are going to be much more competitive as the year goes on. Like I said, their first three losses have come by 10 points or less, and they are getting no love from oddsmakers in this contest.
Baltimore's defense gets way too much credit. The Ravens are clearly getting older, and they miss 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs. They rank 27th in the league in total defense, allowing 401.3 yards/game through three contests.
This play falls into a system that is 54-23 (70.1%) ATS since 1983. It tells us to bet against home favorites of 10.5 or more points (BALTIMORE) - after covering the spread in 2 out of their last 3 games, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a team with a losing record.
The Browns are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. Cleveland is 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Browns are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC North opponents. The road team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings in this series. These four trends combine for a perfect 18-0 system backing the Browns. Bet Cleveland Thursday.
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers -3.5 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||12-14||Loss||-100||170 h 4 m||Show|
25* NFL West Coast GAME OF THE YEAR on Green Bay Packers -3.5
The Seattle Seahawks are getting way too much credit for their home field in this one. If the Cowboys were favored by 3.5 at Seattle last week, the Packers should be at least a 6 to 7-point favorite in Week 2.
There's no question the Seahawks have great fans, but the fact of the matter is that the Packers are simply the better team, and that will show on the field Monday. Green Bay knows it cannot afford to fall to 1-2, so it won't be taking the Seahawks lightly.
The Packers are simply the better team on both sides of the ball. Their defense answered the bell last week in a 23-10 victory over the Bears. They allowed only 168 total yards, forced four interceptions of Jay Cutler, and sacked him seven times. This stop unit will have its way with a Seattle offense that is only putting up 284 total yards per game.
Green Bay has won six of the last seven meetings in this series, scoring 23 or more points in all seven contests. The last three have been blowout victories by Green Bay by finals of 48-10, 27-17, an 42-20. They have outscored the Seahawks 117-47 in those three contests, averaging 39 points while giving up 15.7 points.
This play falls into a system that is 53-20 (72.6%) ATS since 1983. It tells us to bet on favorites (GREEN BAY) - off a win against a division rival, when playing on Monday night.
The Packers are 23-10 ATS in their last 33 games overall. The Seahawks are 15-33-3 ATS in their last 51 games following a SU win of more than 14 points. Seattle is 9-21-1 ATS in its last 31 games following a S.U. win. The Packers are 3-0-2 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Head coach Mike McCarthy is 9-1 ATS in road games after a 2 game home stand as the coach of Green Bay. Bet the Packers Monday.
|09-23-12||New England Patriots +3 v. Baltimore Ravens||30-31||Win||100||146 h 49 m||Show|
15* Pats/Ravens NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on New England +3
Rarely will you ever get the New England Patriots as an underdog, and it's time to take advantage Sunday night. That's especially the case when they are coming off a loss. There's no question New England is going to be highly motivated in this one after a poor performance at home against the Cardinals.
I know Baltimore is going to want revenge after losing in the AFC Championship game last year, but it simply should not be the favorite in this one. I have no doubt that the Patriots have the stronger team, and the numbers certainly show that through the first two weeks.
New England is averaging 388 total yards per game to Baltimore's 377. The biggest advantage the Patriots have is on defense. They have allowed only 264 total yards per game as they are clearly improved on this side of the ball in 2012. Meanwhile, the Ravens have yielded 404 total yards per game, and there's no question they are missing 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs.
New England has simply dominated this series, winning eight of the last nine meetings between these teams. That includes a 4-1 record in five meetings since 2007.
The Patriots are 7-0 ATS in a road game where the total is between 45.5 and 49 points over the last 3 seasons. They are winning in this spot by an average of 17.8 points/game.
The Patriots are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 games following a S.U. loss. New England is 50-24-3 ATS in its last 77 road games. Roll with the Patriots Sunday.
|09-23-12||Pittsburgh Steelers -4.5 v. Oakland Raiders||31-34||Loss||-100||142 h 48 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Raiders AFC Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Pittsburgh -4.5
The Oakland Raiders are one of the worst teams in the league in 2012. They lost at home 14-22 to the San Diego Chargers, then went on the road and lost to the Miami Dolphins by a final of 13-35. I look for the Steelers to dominate the Raiders in this one as well.
The Dolphins racked up 452 total yards on the Raiders. Darren McFadden has done nothing thus far for Oakland. The Raiders rank 31st in the league in rushing at 34 yards per game and 2.0/carry. If they couldn't run on San Diego and Miami, they definitely won't be able to run on Pittsburgh.
The Steelers bounced back nicely with a 27-10 victory over the New York Jets last week. They know they cannot afford to drop to 1-2, so they will not be taking the Raiders lightly. Pittsburgh finished No. 1 in the league in total defense last season, and it has only given up 276 total yards per game through two contests this season.
This play falls into a system that is 43-16 (72.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet on favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (PITTSBURGH) - after allowing 99 or less rushing yards in 2 straight games against opponent after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in 2 straight games.
Pittsburgh won the last meeting between these teams 35-3 at home in 2010. It outgained the Raiders 431-182 for the game in a dominant effort on both sides of the ball. I expect a similar result in this one.
The Raiders are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. Oakland is 0-4 ATS in its last 4 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game. The Raiders are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU loss of more than 14 points. Take the Steelers Sunday.
|09-23-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Washington Redskins -3.5||Top||38-31||Loss||-110||138 h 24 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Washington Redskins -3.5
The Washington Redskins are showing great value as a small home favorite over the Cincinnati Bengals. After blowout a 21-6 lead to St. Louis last week, the Redskins are going to be highly motivated when they head back to Washington for their first home game of the season.
Robert Griffin III is clearly the real deal, and Washington fans will pack the seats as he makes his home debut Sunday. He'll be up against a Cincinnati team that has been atrocious defensively this season.
The Browns gave up 44 points to the Ravens in Week 1, then 27 points to the lowly Cleveland Browns in Week 2. They also gave up 439 total yards to Cleveland. They have given up 35.5 points and 434 yards per game through two contests.
The Bengals are 1-7-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall. Cincinnati is 0-3-2 ATS in its last 5 road games. The Bengals are 0-4-3 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss. The Redskins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss. Bet the Redskins Sunday.
|09-22-12||Clemson v. Florida State -14||37-49||Loss||-102||98 h 33 m||Show|
15* Clemson/Florida State ABC Saturday No-Brainer on Florida State -14
I picked Florida State to be the 2012-13 national champion in college football. The Seminoles have done nothing to sway my opinion. They have outscored their first three opponents 176-3, which includes a 52-0 victory over ACC foe Wake Forest last week.
Sure, Clemson presents a much tougher challenge, but the Seminoles will be hungry for revenge after falling to the Tigers on the road 30-35 last season. Remember, starting QB E.J. Manuel did not play in that game, which was probably the difference.
With 17 starters, 68 lettermen, and arguably the most talented roster in the entire country back, I fully expect the Seminoles to roll by two-plus touchdowns in the rematch at home this time around.
There's no doubt that Clemson has an explosive offense, but so does Florida State. The Seminoles are averaging 58.7 points and 544 total yards per game, and that's even with resting their starters in the second half of each of their first three contests.
The difference in this game is going to be defense. FSU is giving up 1.0 points/game and 103 total yards/game, and this is the best defense in the country in my opinion. Clemson has plenty of holes defensively as it is giving up 369 total yards/game. The Tigers have been extremely vulnerable on the ground, yielding 181 yards/game and 4.8/carry.
Ball State put up 380 total yards against Clemson two weeks ago, and Furman finished with 352 total yards last week. I know FSU has played a soft schedule, but Ball State and Furman aren't exactly powerhouses! E.J. Manuel being healthy this time around, FSU having by far the more dominant defense, and the revenge factor will lead to a blowout victory for the Seminoles at home.
This play falls into a system that is 42-12 (77.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet against a road team (CLEMSON) - after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game against opponent after gaining 6.75 or more yards/play in 2 consecutive games. The Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win. Take Florida State Saturday.
|09-22-12||Kansas State v. Oklahoma -14||24-19||Loss||-108||97 h 22 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Oklahoma -14
This is a complete mismatch in every sense of the word. That was on display last year as Oklahoma won at Kansas State 58-17 as a 13-point favorite. The Sooners outgained the Wildcats 690-240 for the game, and I expect a similar blowout at home this time around in 2012.
Both teams return a similar amount of talent. I believe the Wildcats are overrated, while the Sooners are a legitimate national title contender. Oklahoma has a big advantage as it comes in with an extra week to prepare after having last week off. Meanwhile, Kansas State is coming off a lackluster 35-21 home win over North Texas as a 27-point favorite. The Wildcats only outgained the Mean Green by 20 yards in that contest.
Collin Klein is an excellent leader for Kansas State, but he's simply asked to do too much. He was very ineffective against Oklahoma last season, and that will be the case again in this rematch. Klein was held to 8 of 16 passing for 58 yards, and 92 rushing yards on 26 carries in their 17-58 loss to the Sooners last season.
Landry Jones had his way with the Kansas State secondary last season, throwing for 505 yards and five touchdowns. Expect Jones to have another big day against this soft K-State secondary, while Klein once again struggles against an Oklahoma defense that is giving up just 10.0 points and 245 total yards per game.
Opposing quarterbacks from the likes of North Texas, Miami, and Missouri State are completing 67.3 percent of their passes for an average of 251 yards per game through the air against the Wildcats' secondary. You can only imagine what a Heisman Trophy candidate like Jones is going to do to this K-State defensive backfield.
Oklahoma is 62-8 in its last 70 meetings with Kansas State dating back to 1935. It has won five straight in this series all by double-digits. The Sooners are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games. Bet Oklahoma Saturday.
|09-22-12||Michigan v. Notre Dame -5.5||Top||6-13||Win||100||97 h 6 m||Show|
20* Michigan/Notre Dame Rivalry GAME OF THE WEEK on Notre Dame -5.5
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish badly want revenge from their 31-35 road loss to Michigan last year. The Irish led 24-7 going into the fourth quarter, but they simply unraveled. The Wolverines scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, including a game-winning 16-yard touchdown pass from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundree with only 2 seconds left.
There's no question that the Irish have had this game circled on their calendars all offseason, and you can bet they'll give 100% effort for four quarters while not letting off the gas. Notre Dame gets Michigan at home this time around, only adding to their advantage.
I have been really impressed with Notre Dame en route to a 3-0 start. They just beat a good Michigan State team on the road last week 20-3, and I expect a similar blowout against a Michigan team that is not as good as it was a year ago.
The Wolverines were overmatched in a 14-41 loss to Alabama in their opener, and they were equally unimpressive in a 31-25 home victory over Air Force in Week 2 as a 21.5-point favorite. Sure, they beat UMass 63-13 last week, but both UConn and Indiana pulled off similar blowouts over the Minutemen, so that's not saying much.
Notre Dame's biggest advantage here is a run defense that has only allowed 96 yards/game and 3.0/carry on the ground. That's impressive considering they've played three very good rushing teams in Navy, Purdue and Michigan State. There's no question Michigan is going to try to run it with Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Touissant, but I believe the Irish will be up to the task.
The Wolverines haven't been able to stop anyone on the ground, giving up 211 rushing yards/game and 4.3/carry. I look for Notre Dame's Cierre Wood, who returned from a two-game suspension last week, to have a huge day on the ground against this soft Michigan run defense.
Michigan is 1-10 ATS off 1 or more straight overs over the last 3 seasons. Notre Dame is 6-0 ATS after allowing 17 points or less in 2 straight games over the last 3 seasons. The Wolverines are 0-6 ATS vs. excellent teams - outscoring opponents by 17+ PPG on the season over the last 3 seasons. Bet Notre Dame Saturday.
|09-22-12||Miami (Fla) v. Georgia Tech -14||42-36||Loss||-110||64 h 25 m||Show|
15* ACC GAME OF THE WEEK on Georgia Tech -14
After losing three straight to Miami in this series, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets want revenge Saturday. I believe they get it and roll by two-plus touchdowns at home to really make a statement and erase three years of frustration in this series.
Georgia Tech is one of the most underrated teams in the country. I was really impressed with the Yellow Jackets in a 17-20 loss in overtime at Virginia Tech in their opener. They responded with a 59-3 home victory over Presbyterian, then followed that up with an emphatic 56-20 home win over Virginia as a 10-point favorite.
The Yellow Jackets have been running wild on teams, averaging 374 yards on the ground and 6.9/carry. They are also a better passing team these days, averaging 157 yards per game through the air and 11.2/attempt. They have the best offensive line they've ever had in the Paul Johnson era, and almost all of their key skill players are back from last year. This offense is explosive to say the least.
I really like the improvement I've seen from Georgia Tech's defense, and I believe this is the best stop unit that Johnson has ever had. The Yellow Jackets are giving up just 14.3 points per game and 289 total yards per game. They'll have their way with this Miami offense.
The Hurricanes are clearly in rebuilding mode, and that was evident with their 13-52 loss at Kansas State in Week 2. They managed just 262 total yards of offense in that contest, and they gave up 498 total yards to the Wildcats. They yielded 542 total yards against Boston College the week before, but found a way to win 41-32.
This soft Miami run defense going up against the best rushing team in the country is my biggest reason for this pick. The Hurricanes are yielding 207 yards per game on the ground this season. They gave up 233 rushing yards to Bethune-Cookman at home last week if that tells you anything about how poor their run defense is.
Georgia Tech is 7-0 ATS in September games over the last 2 seasons. The Yellow Jackets are 7-0 ATS after scoring 42 points or more in 2 straight games since 1992. The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings in this series. Roll with Georgia Tech Saturday.
|09-22-12||Massachusetts Minutemen +26 v. Miami (OH)||16-27||Win||100||61 h 24 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on UMass +26
The UMass Minutemen have clearly been one of the worst teams in college football through the first three weeks. As a result, they are showing excellent value against the spread in Week 4 against the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks. I'll gladly take advantage of this inflated line and back the big dog despite how poorly they've played.
This is UMass's first season as a member of the FBS. It has not gone well early as they've failed to cover the spread in each of their first three games, losing at UConn 37-0, at Michigan 13-63, and at home against Indiana 6-45. The one thing that you can say is that they are battle-tested having faced three BCS schools.
Now, they finally get a bit of a break against a Miami (Ohio) team that isn't nearly as strong as their first three opponents. The Redhawks are 1-2 this season, getting blown out at Ohio State 10-56 and at Boise State 12-39. Their lone win came at home against Southern Illinois 30-14, but they were actually outgained in that contest 349-336. I have no doubt that UMass is a stronger team than Southern Illinois, thus it should have no problem staying within the number Saturday.
The Redhawks are getting outgained 292-495 on the season. They simply have no business being this heavily favored with how poorly they have played. UMass scored two touchdowns on Michigan's first-team defense, and I look for their offense to put up 20-plus points against this soft Redhawks defense. That will be more than enough to cover this inflated number.
The Redhawks are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in September. Miami (Ohio) is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games following a SU loss of more than 20 points. The Redhawks are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game. Take UMass Saturday.
|09-21-12||Baylor v. Louisiana-Monroe +7.5||Top||47-42||Win||100||97 h 38 m||Show|
20* Baylor/ULM ESPN Friday No-Brainer on Louisiana-Monroe +7.5
The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks have been one of the most impressive non-BCS schools in the country in the early going. They beat Arkansas on the road 34-31 in overtime in their opener as a 30-point dog, then took Auburn to overtime on the road as a 14.5-point dog before losing 28-31.
This team has proven that it can hang with the big boys. Now they get a chance to prove it on National TV at home against a Baylor team that you could argue is not strong as the two teams that it has already taken to overtime. I look for UL-Monroe to easily stay within this spread, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Warhawks pull off another upset.
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning deserves to be in the Heisman conversation. He has completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 649 yards with six touchdowns and one interception against two SEC defenses. Browning also has a team-high 127 rushing yards and two scores, and he'll give this weak Baylor defense a lot of problems Friday.
ULM is loaded with weapons outside as they already have four players that have double-digit receptions through only two games. Brent Leonard has led the way with 18 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown, while Je'Rom Hamm has caught 11 balls for 149 yards. Tavarese Maye (13, 121) and Colby Harper (11, 101, one TD) can beat you as well.
Baylor is in a huge letdown spot here with their Big 12 opener at West Virginia on deck. The Bears have a soft defense once again this year, allowing 23.5 points and 459 total yards per game against the likes of SMU and Sam Houston State in two home games to open the season. This will be their first road games of the year, which is always tough.
The Bears are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Warhawks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. La-Monroe is 15-6 ATS in its last 21 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game. The Warhawks have outgained Arkansas and Auburn 480-397.5 in their two games. Bet Louisiana-Monroe Friday.
|09-20-12||BYU +8 v. Boise State||6-7||Win||100||74 h 37 m||Show|
15* BYU/Boise State Non-Conference GAME OF THE WEEK on BYU +8
The BYU Cougars are showing solid value as an 8-point underdog to the Boise State Broncos Thursday. Boise State is down this season with only seven starters back from last year. BYU is a team that is one the rise with 14 starts from last season.
BYU has won 12 of its last 14 games dating back to last season. Coming off a heartbreaking 3-point loss at Utah last week, the Cougars will be highly motivated heading into this showdown with the Broncos. Boise State did not look good against Michigan State in its opener, getting outgained 206-461 in a game that was a much bigger blowout than the final score of 13-17 would indicate.
I know the Broncos bounced back with a 39-12 home victory over Miami (Ohio), but the Redhawks are down this year and Boise State was coming off a bye with two weeks to prepare. The fact of the matter is that the Broncos are in rebuilding mode this year and should not be this heavily favored against an underrated BYU team capable of beating almost anyone.
BYU has one of the best defenses in the country, which is going to keep them in this game. They have given up just 14.3 points and 241 total yards per game through three contests. Their run defense is absolutely dominant as they've yielded a mere 53 rushing yards per game and 1.7/carry. Boise State only managed 37 rushing yards on 24 carries against Michigan State, and it will struggle against BYU's run defense as well.
The Cougars are 8-0 ATS after allowing 75 or less rushing yards last game over the last 3 seasons. Boise State is 0-6 ATS in home games after a win by 17 or more points over the last 2 seasons. The Broncos are 0-6 ATS in home games after 1 or more consecutive straight up wins over the last 2 seasons. BYU is 5-0 ATS in it last 5 vs. MWC opponents. These four trends combine for a perfect 25-0 system backing the Cougars. Take BYU Thursday.
|09-20-12||NY Giants v. Carolina Panthers +1.5||Top||36-7||Loss||-110||74 h 40 m||Show|
20* Giants/Panthers NFL Thursday No-Doubt Rout on Carolina +1.5
Note: I got this line early in the week, and I still like Carolina at -2.5 if that's the line you get.
The Carolina Panthers were my surprise pick to win the NFC South and make the playoffs this year. I did not like what I saw from them in a Week 1 loss at Tampa Bay 10-16, but they played up to their potential last Sunday, beating the New Orleans Saints 35-27 at home.
Cam Newton was efficient, completing 14 of 20 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a career-high 71 yards and a score. Against a good New York Giants' defensive line, teams need a mobile quarterback like Newton to be successful. Also, the Panthers have my top-rated offensive line in the league, so they'll be able to handle that defensive line just fine.
I was down on the New York Giants coming into the season, and they have done nothing to change my opinion. After losing at home 17-24 to the Dallas Cowboys, they needed 25 fourth quarter points from Eli Manning and company to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home 41-34 last week. They spent a lot of energy coming from 14 points down to win that game in the second half, which will really test their stamina on a short week.
New York is also going to be without several key players heading into this one. Starting receiver Hakeem Nicks, who had 10 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs last week, is out with a foot injury. The team will also be without running back Ahmad Bradshaw, offensive tackle David Diehl, and wide receiver Domenik Hixon. That leaves the Giants without two of their top three receivers against a much-improved Carolina defense.
The Panthers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games. I just feel this team is ready to make a statement against the defending Super Bowl champions. They certainly have a lot of confidence coming in after beating New Orleans last week. Also, they are in much better shape health-wise and will be the fresher team given what happened last week. Bet Carolina Thursday.
|09-19-12||Kent State v. Buffalo -3||Top||23-7||Loss||-109||52 h 18 m||Show|
20* Kent State/Buffalo MAC GAME OF THE WEEK on Buffalo -3
I fully expected the Buffalo Bulls to be one of the most improved teams in the MAC this season. They returned 15 starters from last season, including most of their key players offensively. From what I've seen so far, they have not disappointed.
The biggest two returnees offensively are running back Brandon Oliver (1,395 yards, 13 TD) and wide receiver Alex Neutz (43 receptions, 641 yards, four TD). Plus, four starters and 72 career starts return along the offensive line. The Bulls also have eight starters back defensively.
Buffalo gave Georgia a tough Week 1 test, but eventually fell 23-45 on the road as a 38-point underdog. The Bulls came back with a 56-34 victory in Week 2 over Morgan State, outgaining the Bears 571-366 in the process.
Alex Zordich has stepped in and owned the starting QB role, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 385 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. Oliver has been a beast on the ground, rushing for 349 yards (6.3/carry) and three touchdowns. Neutz leads all Buffalo receivers with 13 receptions for 206 yards and five touchdowns.
Kent State has played two games as well, and after taking a look at the box scores, it's clear to me that Buffalo is the better team in this one. The Golden Flashes beat Towson 41-21 at home in their opener, but they were actually outgained 267-316 in a contest that was much closer than the final score would indicate. Towson turned the ball over a whopping six times!
It was the Flashes' 14-47 loss at Kentucky in Week 2 that really shows me how weak this team really is. Kentucky is one of the worst teams in the BCS, and that was evident when they lost at home to Western Kentucky last week. The Wildcats racked up 539 yards of offense on Kent State, including 354 passing and four touchdowns from QB Maxwell Smith.
Spencer Keith has yet to throw a touchdown pass in two games for Kent State. Leading rusher Trayion Durham is only averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Buffalo clearly has the more explosive offense in this one, and the Flashes will have a real hard time keeping up with the Bulls on the scoreboard.
The Golden Flashes are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 road games. Kent State is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games following a S.U. loss. The Golden Flashes are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games in September. The Bulls are 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in this series. Bet Buffalo Wednesday.
|09-17-12||Denver Broncos +3 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||21-27||Loss||-100||121 h 17 m||Show|
20* Broncos/Falcons ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Denver +3
The Denver Broncos should not be an underdog on ESPN's Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons. This team is way undervalued in the early going as they were just a 1-point home favorite over Pittsburgh last week. Any time you can get Peyton Manning as an underdog, I look at is as a gift from oddsmakers.
After Manning's performance against the Steelers, there's no question he is back and probably as good as ever. Denver went to the no-huddle after a slow start, and Manning certainly looked like his old self operating it. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns to lead Denver to a 31-19 victory in Week 1.
Overlooked in the win was the fact that Denver's defense, which improved as the season went on last year, really shut down Pittsburgh. The Steelers managed just 284 total yards, Ben Roethlisberger completed just 22 of 40 passes, and the Broncos sacked Big Ben five times.
Atlanta is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers after its 40-24 victory over Kansas City last week. This was a 20-17 game at halftime, and the Falcons were actually outgained 376-393 in a contest that was much closer than the final score would indicate. Plus, Atlanta put up 40 points on a Kansas City defense that was playing without four of its best players in LB Tamba Hali, S Kendrick Lewis, CB Brandon Flowers and DT Anthony Toribio.
The Falcons won't have nearly as much offensive success as they did last week against this stingy Denver defense. While the offenses are pretty evenly matched in this one, the edge certainly goes to the Broncos defensively. Atlanta is soft on this side of the ball, and that was evident when they gave up 393 total yards to a weak Chiefs' offense last week. Plus, they let defensive leader and top tackler Curtis Lofton (147 tackles, 8 for loss, nine passes defended) leave for New Orleans, and top CB Brent Grimes is out for the season after tearing his Achilles' against Kansas City.
The Falcons are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record. Atlanta is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games following a SU win of more than 14 points, and 6-18 ATS in home games after a win by 14 or more points since 1992. Bet the Broncos Monday.
|09-16-12||Detroit Lions +7 v. San Francisco 49ers||19-27||Loss||-110||97 h 8 m||Show|
15* Lions/49ers NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Detroit +7
The Detroit Lions want revenge from a 19-24 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Harbaugh shook Jim Schwartz's hand overenthusiastically after the game, and these Lions' players will have their coache's back Sunday night as they bring great effort to the field to try and pull off the upset.
This line is clearly an overreaction from Week 1's results. There's no doubt San Francisco looked good in beating Green Bay 30-22 on the road, and public perception says they are a great team now. Public perception on the Lions says they are a bad team after needing a last-second touchdown to beat the St. Louis Rams 27-23 at home.
A closer look at the Lions' game against the Rams indicates it should have been a huge blowout in Detroit's favor, but mistakes kept it close. Detroit actually outgained St. Louis 429-255 for the game, which is a differential that would normally produce a 14-plus point blowout. However, three interceptions by Matthew Stafford, including one that was returned for a touchdown, kept the game close.
Stafford will come back with a much better effort against a 49ers defense that is vulnerable against the pass. Stafford has thrown for 350-plus yards in six straight games, and I expect him to make it seven straight Sunday. Aaron Rodgers threw for 303 yards on the 49ers last week. In the Lions' loss to the 49ers last year, Stafford threw for 293 yards and two scores.
The Lions are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game. The underdog is 3-1-2 ATS in their last 6 meetings. The road team is also 3-1-2 ATS in the last 6 meetings. Take the Lions Sunday.
|09-16-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||Top||23-24||Push||0||90 h 45 m||Show|
25* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Philadelphia Eagles -1
If I would have set this line before Week 1, I would have installed Philadelphia as up to a 6-point home favorite over Baltimore. Because the Eagles were not sharp against the Browns in Week 1, and the Ravens blew out the Bengals, oddsmakers have decided to install the Eagles as only a 1-point favorite.
The clear line value in this game is with Philadelphia due to an overreaction from oddsmakers and the betting public after Week 1. I still strongly believe the Eagles are Super Bowl contenders, and after getting bashed in the media all week for their performance against Cleveland, they are going to be looking to make a statement at home Sunday.
I know the Eagles beat the Browns just 17-16, but that game was really a bigger blowout than the final score would indicate. Philadelphia outgained Cleveland 456-210 for the game, but committed five turnovers to keep the Browns in it. Philly has one of the most underrated defenses in the league, limiting Brandon Weeden to just 12 of 35 passing for 118 yards with four interceptions.
Baltimore beat Cincinnati 44-13, but that game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate. This was a 17-13 game in the third quarter before mistakes by Cincinnati and big plays by Baltimore turned it into a blowout late. The Ravens are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers after that misleading result.
The Ravens are on a short week, and they are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game. The Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, and I look for Michael Vick and company to make a statement Sunday with a big home win over the Ravens. Bet the Eagles Sunday.
|09-16-12||Cleveland Browns +7 v. Cincinnati Bengals||27-34||Push||0||90 h 44 m||Show|
15* AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Cleveland Browns +7
The Cleveland Browns should not be a touchdown underdog to the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that I believe is very evenly-matched. This is a division rivalry game, and I look for it to go right down to the wire Sunday.
Cincinnati is one of the most overrated teams in the league heading into 2012. It made the playoffs last year despite beating only one team that finished with a winning record all season. After a 13-44 road loss to Baltimore in Week 1, there's no question this is an overrated team. Plus, the Bengals will be on a short week after playing on Monday Night Football, which is always a disadvantage.
The Browns nearly pulled off a huge upset in Week 1, falling to the Eagles 17-16 on a last-second touchdown by Philly. Brandon Weeden single-handedly gave that game away, throwing four interceptions. After shaking off their nerves in Week 1, rookies Weeden and running back Trent Richardson will come back with much better performances in Week 2.
I know Cincinnati has won five of the last six meetings in this series, but that gives the Browns all the more motivation to want revenge Sunday. Plus, four of those six meetings were decided by 3 points or less, so this has clearly been a tight series over the last three years. The value is with the road dog in this one folks.
The Browns are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss. Cleveland is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games overall. The Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games. The Bengals are 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8 vs. AFC. Cincinnati is 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. AFC North. The Bengals are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. These six trends combine for a 32-0 system backing Cleveland. Take the Browns Sunday.
|09-16-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers +8 v. NY Giants||34-41||Win||100||90 h 44 m||Show|
15* NFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Tampa Bay Buccaneers +8
I believe the Tampa Bay Bucs are going to be one of the most improved teams in the league this season with the moves they made this offseason. They brought in guard Carl Nicks, CB Eric Wright, TE Dallas Clark and WR Vincent Jackson. They also drafted RB Doug Martin and SS Mark Barron in the first round.
Both Martin and Barron played great in their opener as rookies. The Bucs led Carolina 13-0 midway through the third quarter, and settled for a 16-10 victory. Martin rushed for 94 yards, Barron had six tackles and two huge pass break-ups, and Jackson led the team in receiving with four receptions for 47 yards.
The Bucs held Cam Newton and a potent Carolina offense to just 301 total yards for the game. Newton was intercepted twice, and he rushed just four times for five yards. In fact, the Bucs held the Panthers to the lowest rushing total in Week 1 with 10 yards on 13 carries.
The Giants are one of the most overrated teams coming into the season. Remember, this was just a 9-7 team last year when they got into the playoffs, and they simply got hot at the right time. I believe New York is having a hard time staying motivated after winning the Super Bowl, and that showed with their 17-24 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. The Giants should not be this heavily favored over an improved Tampa Bay team Sunday.
New York is also extremely banged up right now defensively, which was a big reason the Cowboys put up 433 total yards on them last week. The Buccaneers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games on fieldturf. Tampa is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games in Week 2. The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in this series. Roll with the Bucs Sunday.
|09-16-12||Minnesota Vikings v. Indianapolis Colts +1||20-23||Win||104||90 h 43 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Indianapolis Colts +1
The Indianapolis Colts should not be an underdog at home to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday. Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be rocking with the anticipation of rookie Andrew Luck's home debut. I believe Luck and company will feed off of their crowd and come away with a victory in a much more comfortable environment than they saw in Week 1.
I know the Colts were beaten 21-41 at Chicago, and Luck threw three interceptions, but he also threw for 309 yards and a score. It wasn't a great debut, but after shaking off the nerves, Luck is going to be much more sharp in Week 2 against a weak Minnesota defense.
The Vikings are coming off a 26-23 overtime victory at home over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they are getting way too much credit for that win. The Jaguars remain one of the worst teams in the league, and they really gave that game away. Jacksonville put up 362 total yards on Minnesota after finishing last in the league in total offense last season.
I do not believe the Vikings did enough to upgrade their team this offseason to become more competitive. They have no business being favored on the road against anyone this early in the season after a 3-13 campaign last year. Meanwhile, I love what Indy has done this offseason, especially with the hiring of former Baltimore defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, and former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arian. The roster has certainly been upgraded as well.
The Colts are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 vs. a team with a winning record. Minnesota is 4-16 ATS in road games after a win by 3 or less points since 1992. The Vikings are 1-8 ATS after 1 or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons, getting outscored 15.7 to 26.7 in the process. Bet the Colts Sunday.
|09-15-12||Notre Dame +6 v. Michigan State||20-3||Win||100||93 h 57 m||Show|
15* Notre Dame/Michigan State ABC Saturday Night BAILOUT on Notre Dame +6
I had the Michigan State Spartans as one of the most overrated teams in the country heading into 2012. I still believe that's the case after they needed a late touchdown to beat Boise State 17-13 at home in their opener. They were playing a Broncos' team that returned just seven starters from last year.
I have been pretty impressed with Notre Dame so far, which goes along the lines of my thinking that the Irish were one of the most underrated teams in the land coming into the year. After topping Navy 50-10, the Irish got out to a 17-7 lead through three quarters against Purdue last week. They would settle for a 20-17 victory after a bad fourth quarter, but they still outgained the Boilermakers 376-288 in a game that was a bigger blowout than the final score would indicate.
Notre Dame QB Everrett Golson was also knocked out of that game against Purdue for precautionary reasons, but he is expected to start against MSU. He has been superb so far, completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 433 yards with two touchdowns and one interceptions. If for whatever reason Golson doesn't go, the Irish have a backup with a lot of starting experience in Tommy Rees.
The Irish get a big boost with the return of RB Cierre Wood, who has served his 2-game suspension. Wood led the team in rushing in 2011 with 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards/carry. His return is huge for this offense.
A big reason I like Notre Dame to cover this spread is their rush defense. Michigan State features star RB Le'Veon Bell, who has already carried 62 times for 280 yards while averaging 4.5/carry through their first two games. QB Andrew Maxwell has been shaky, already throwing just two touchdowns and three interceptions.
That's why I expect the Spartans to try and rely on Bell to carry their offense again Saturday. He won't have much success against a Notre Dame defense that is only allowing 119 yards/game and 3.4/carry on the ground this season. That's impressive considering the Irish have played Navy, which features a triple-option rushing attack and almost exclusively runs the ball.
This play falls into a system that is 31-6 (83.8%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (NOTRE DAME) - in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses, team that had a winning record last season. Also, the road team is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings in this series. Bet Notre Dame Saturday.
|09-15-12||North Texas +28.5 v. Kansas State||21-35||Win||100||92 h 58 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on North Texas +28.5
The Kansas State Wildcats are in a huge letdown spot Saturday, and I cannot see them possibly beating an underrated North Texas team by more than four touchdowns. The Wildcats have been covering machines over the last two seasons, and oddsmakers have finally adjusted Saturday. The clear value in this game is with the big road underdog.
Kansas State is coming off a huge 52-13 home victory over the Miami Hurricanes. With their Big 12 opener at Oklahoma on deck, there's no question the Wildcats will be overlooking North Texas and looking ahead to the Sooners. They may win this game, but certainly not by more than four touchdowns given the situation.
North Texas impressed me by not getting completely blown out on the road by LSU in their opener. The Mean Green lost 14-41, or by 27 points, as a 42-point underdog. If they can stay within 27 of No. 3 LSU, they can certainly stay within 28 of Kansas State.
The Mean Green bounced back with a 34-7 victory over Texas Southern last week, outgaining the opposition 497-185 in the process. North Texas is battle-tested having already played LSU, so it will not be intimidated at Kansas State Saturday. Head coach Dan McCarney is also underrated. He got the most out of his players when he was head coach at Iowa State, and he's doing the same at North Texas.
The Mean Green are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game. North Texas is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 non-conference games. The Mean Green are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss. Take North Texas Saturday.
|09-15-12||Florida v. Tennessee -2.5||Top||37-20||Loss||-110||93 h 45 m||Show|
25* SEC East GAME OF THE YEAR on Tennessee -2.5
The Tennessee Vols remain one of the most underrated teams in the country. With 18 starters and 49 lettermen back, I had this team picked as one of my most improved teams in the land. So far, so good.
The Vols are off to a 2-0 start in dominant fashion. They beat NC State 35-21 while outgaining the Wolfpack 524-407 and forcing four turnovers in the process. They followed that up with a 51-13 beat down of Georgia State and outgained the opposition by 295 total yards in that contest.
I have Tyler Bray pegged as the best quarterback in the SEC, and he has not disappointed. Bray is completing 73.8 percent of his passes for 643 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has two studs at receiver in Justin Hunter (17 receptions, 219 yards, three TD) and Cordarrelle Patterson (9, 164, one TD).
Florida has not looked very impressive at all through its first two games. The Gators are 2-0 despite only outgaining their first two opponents by a total of 11 yards. Florida led Bowling Green at home 17-14 heading into the fourth quarter and narrowly escaped with a 27-14 victory. This is one of the most overrated teams in the country, and that will show Saturday when the Vols put a beat down on them.
Tennessee has had this game circled all offseason. The Vols have lost seven straight to the Gators, and for them to prove to the country that they are back, they must win this contest Saturday. That emotion at home, coupled with the fact that the Vols are the more talented team, will lead to a victory.
Florida is 0-7 ATS as an underdog over the last 3 seasons, losing in this spot by an average of 18.6 points per game. The Gators are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record. Bet Tennessee Saturday.
|09-15-12||Boston College v. Northwestern -3||13-22||Win||100||90 h 16 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Northwestern -3
The Northwestern Wildcats continue to go under the radar as only a 3-point favorite against Boston College Saturday. The Wildcats are a sleeper in the Big Ten, and they've shown it by opening 2-0 against some stiff competition.
Northwestern opened its season with a 42-41 victory at Syracuse, which is the same Orange team that lost by a final of just 29-42 to No. 2 USC last week. The Wildcats then beat Vanderbilt 23-13 last Saturday, which is the same Commodores' team that nearly beat South Carolina in their opener.
Boston College lost to Miami 32-41 at home in its opener, which is the same Hurricanes' team that was beaten by Kansas State 13-52 last week. The Eagles then beat up on FCS opponent Maine 34-3 last week, which is far from an impressive win. Battle-tested and ready to prove they are for real, the Wildcats will roll at home Saturday.
The Eagles are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. The Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games. Take Northwestern Saturday.
|09-15-12||Texas A&M -13 v. SMU||48-3||Win||100||90 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Line Mistake on Texas A&M -13
The Texas A&M Aggies are by far the more talented team in this match-up with the SMU Mustangs. That will show on the field Saturday as the Aggies roll by two touchdowns or more. Texas A&M may even have more fans at SMU than the Mustangs, so this isn't really a road game for them, either.
The Aggies are coming off a disappointing 17-20 loss to Florida last week in their first game of the season. They blew a 17-10 lead in the second half after dominating the first two quarters. Motivated to make that loss a distant memory, the Aggies will be ready to go Saturday and won't let up on SMU.
The Mustangs are off to a 1-1 start this season. SMU was thoroughly beaten by Baylor 24-59 in its opener, and I believe the Aggies actually have more talent than the Bears, and will be a better team this season. Then, SMU beat Stephen F. Austin 52-0 last week, but that game was one of the most misleading scores I've ever seen. SMU was actually outgained by SFA 328-466, but took advantage of a whopping ten turnovers by SFA.
SMU only has 10 starters back from last season, including three on offense. It's defense is clearly terrible after surrendering 539.5 total yards per game through their first two contests. Texas A&M has 13 starters and 53 lettermen back from a team that should have went 12-1 last year had it not blown five double-digit leads in the second half. This is a squad that is ready to take out its frustration on the Mustangs.
Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel lived up to the hype in the opener, completing 23 of 30 passes for 173 yards, while also rushing for 60 yards and a score. This dual-threat QB is in line for a monster game against this soft SMU defense.
SMU is 0-7 ATS in home games after allowing 9 points or less last game since 1992. The Mustangs are 0-9 ATS in a home game where the total is between 56.5 and 63 since 1992. The Aggies are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 vs. Conference USA opponents. These three trends make for a combined 23-0 system backing the road team. Roll with Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-14-12||Washington State v. UNLV OVER 54.5||Top||35-27||Win||100||70 h 53 m||Show|
20* Washington State/UNLV ESPN Friday Total ANNIHILATOR on OVER 54.5
This game should see plenty of offensive fireworks to push the final combined score OVER the number. Washington State beat UNLV 59-7 last year for 66 combined points, and I expect a similar combined total by game's end tonight.
After facing BYU and Eastern Washington, an FCS power, the Cougars are ready for a breakout performance offensively under first-year head coach Mike Leach. These players should have his system down by now, and they will be going up against one of the worst teams in the FBS Friday.
I know Washington State could be without starting QB Jeff Tuel, but redshirt sophomore Connor Halliday has experience as a starter. In his only college start, Halliday passed for 289 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions against Utah last November. A week earlier, he was national quarterback of the week after passing for 494 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Arizona State.
UNLV has opened the season 0-2 with a 27-30 loss to Minnesota and a 14-17 loss to Northern Arizona. The Rebels managed 428 total yards against Northern Arizona, and should not have lost that game. They also gave up 478 total yards to Minnesota in a game they should have lost by more.
The Rebels gave up 40.4 points and 443 total yards per game last season, and their defense doesn't appear to be improved at all with just five starters back on this side of the ball. The Cougars yielded 31.8 points and 410 total yards per game last season, and after giving up 447 yards per game in their first two contests, their stop unit doesn't seem improved, either.
UNLV is 7-0 to the OVER after a loss by 3 or less points since 1992. The OVER is 4-0 in Cougars last 4 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. These two trends make for an 11-0 system backing the OVER tonight. Bet the OVER in this game Friday.
|09-13-12||Chicago Bears v. Green Bay Packers -5||Top||10-23||Win||100||94 h 33 m||Show|
20* Bears/Packers NFL Thursday No-Brainer on Green Bay -5
The Green Bay Packers are going to be highly motivated Thursday following just their second regular season loss in the last two years. They were beaten 30-22 by one of the most underrated teams in the league coming into the season in the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday.
I look for the Packers to get back on track in blowout fashion with a home victory in Week 2 over the Chicago Bears. While Chicago is an improved team, its was over-hyped coming into the season. The Bears are especially overvalued now after beating the lowly Indianapolis Colts 41-21 at home last Sunday.
Green Bay has owned Chicago, winning four straight meetings all by 7 points or more. In fact, the Packers have won six of the last seven meetings by 6 points or more. Their lone loss was a fluke in 2010 as they were beaten 20-17 on the road despite outgaining the Bears 379-276 for the game. Devin Hester's 62-yard punt return for a touchdown was the difference in that contest.
In two meetings with the Bears last season, Aaron Rodgers threw eight touchdown and only one interception while beat Chicago by double-digits both times. Rodgers is 4-0 in four career home starts against Chicago. Jay Cutler has thrown six touchdowns and a whopping 12 interceptions while losing five of his six career starts against Green Bay.
This play falls into a system that is 27-7 (79.4%) ATS since 1983. It tells us to bet on home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (GREEN BAY) - good team from last season - outscored opponents by 4 or more points/game, after a playing a game where 50 total points or more were scored.
The Packers are 9-0 ATS in their last 9 games following a ATS loss. Green Bay is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games following a S.U. loss. The Packers are 9-0 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game. Green Bay is 4-0 ATS in its last 4 vs. NFC North opponents. These four trends make for a perfect 27-0 system backing Green Bay. Bet the Packers Thursday.
|09-13-12||Rutgers v. South Florida -8||23-13||Loss||-105||50 h 12 m||Show|
15* Rutgers/USF Big East GAME OF THE WEEK on South Florida -8
South Florida is my pick to win the Big East this season, and for good reason. They returned 15 starters this season, including eight from an offene that put up 29.3 points and 432 total yards per game a year ago.
USF is off to a solid start in 2012, beating Chattanooga 34-13 before going on the road to knock off a very good Nevada team 32-31. The Bulls racked up 572 total yards against the Wolfpack, including 363 through the air and 209 on the ground.
Rutgers is really going to miss head coach Greg Schiano, who always got the most out of his teams, but has moved on to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. Rutgers is 2-0, but it hasn't looked nearly as sharp as the Bulls.
The Scarlet Knights managed just 309 total yards in a 24-12 win at Tulane as a 19.5-point favorite, and just 321 yards in a 26-0 home victory over Howard as a 42-point favorite. This team is clearly hurting offensively if that's all they could do against those two lowly schools. Simply put, Rutgers won't be able to keep up with USF on the scoreboard tonight.
This play falls into a system that is 29-9 (76.3%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (S FLORIDA) - in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses against opponent first month of the season, after closing out last season strong with 4 or more wins in last 5 games. Take South Florida Thursday
|09-10-12||San Diego Chargers +1.5 v. Oakland Raiders||Top||22-14||Win||100||147 h 54 m||Show|
20* Chargers/Raiders ESPN Late-Night BAILOUT on San Diego +1.5
The San Diego Chargers should not be an underdog to the Oakland Raiders on ESPN's Monday Night Football. I believe the Raiders will be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, and that will show in their opener against an underrated Chargers' squad.
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, the Raiders shockingly fired head coach Hue Jackson, who clearly had this team headed in the right direction. Dennis Allen, the youngest head coach in the NFL today, takes over an Oakland team that has gotten worse over the offseason.
The offense loses leading rusher Michael Bush (977 yards, seven TD), who also caught 37 balls for 418 yards and a score. He will be missed because the Raiders no longer have that 1-2 punch with he and McFadden. Carson Palmer is far past his prime and has limited weapons. He threw 13 touchdowns to 16 interceptions last year.
The biggest losses come on defense for the Raiders. They part ways with sack master Kamerion Wimbley (63 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 7 sacks). They also lose their top corner in Stanford Rout (49 tackles, 15 pass break-ups, four INT) to the Kansas City Chiefs a year after losing top corner Nnamdi Asomough to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Philip Rivers will pick apart what I believe is the weakest secondary in the NFL. Rivers threw for 4,624 yards and 27 touchdowns with 20 interceptions last season. The Chargers went 8-8 last year, but they have some momentum heading into 2012 after winning four of their final five games last season, scoring 34 or more points in their four victories.
San Diego will be just as strong offensively, and its defense will be improved. San Diego brings back all of their key players from last season, including LB Tadeo Spikes (106 tackles), LB Donald Butler (96 tackles, 8.5 for loss), FS Eric Weddle (88 tackles, 12 pass break-ups, seven INT), CB Antoine Cason (53 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, two INT) and LB Antwan Barnes (41 tackles, 11 sacks).
The Chargers have made some nice upgrades this offseason. They've added WR's Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem to make up for the loss of Vincent Jackson. OG Rex Hadnot started 16 games for Arizona last year and adds solid depth along the O-line. Defensively, they have added LB Jarrett Johnson, who made 16 starts for Baltimore last year. They used their first three draft picks on defense, selecting LB Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) in the first round, along with DE DKendall Reyes (UConn) in the second and S Brandon Taylor (LSU) in the thrid.
San Diego has won 14 of its last 17 meetings with Oakland. The Chargers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC. The Raiders are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Monday games. The Chargers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Oakland. The underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings. Bet San Diego Monday.
|09-09-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Denver Broncos -1||19-31||Win||100||121 h 5 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Broncos NBC Late-Night BAILOUT on Denver -1
The Denver Broncos should be a bigger favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC's Sunday Night Football in Week 1. Denver is going to be a contender in the AFC this season, and it proves it tonight with a victory over a solid Steelers team.
Four-time MVP Peyton Manning takes over at quarterback, and he has a huge chip on his shoulder heading into 2012. After Indianapolis let him go, he wants to prove to the world that he's still one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
Unlike in Indianapolis, Manning actually has a running game in Denver. The Broncos averaged a league-best 165 rushing yards per game on the ground, led by Willis McGahee (1,199 yards). But they are four deep at running back and will be able to move the ball on the ground again in 2012. Eric Decker and Damaryius Thomas are two very talented receivers that just haven't had the chance to shine with Tebow at quarterback. They will look like two of the best receivers in the league in 2012 with Manning throwing them the ball.
Defensively, the Broncos really bucked down in the second half of the season last year. They have two absolute studs in OLB Von Miller (64 tackles, 11.5 sacks) and DE Elvis Dumervil (42 tackles, 9.5 sacks), who will be applying pressure on Ben Roethlisberger all game long.
Pittsburgh is battling some injuries that could lead to a slow start this season. Leading rusher Rashard Mendenhall likely won't play Sunday as he recovers from a torn ACL. James Harrison (knee) is questionable, starting guard David DeCastro is out, and free safety Ryan Clark won't play due to his struggles with higher elevations.
The Steelers' biggest weakness over the year has been a secondary that struggles against good passing attacks. Without Clark back their leading the secondary, it could get ugly. Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns in Denver's 29-23 playoff victory over Pittsburgh last season, so you can just imagine what kind of success Manning is going to have against this secondary Sunday night.
The Steelers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games. Pittsburgh is 0-6 ATS in road games in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons. The Steelers are losing by an average score of 11.5 to 19.8 in this spot. Bet the Broncos Sunday.
|09-09-12||New England Patriots -5.5 v. Tennessee Titans||Top||34-13||Win||100||114 h 41 m||Show|
25* NFL Season-Opening GAME OF THE YEAR on New England Patriots -5.5
The New England Patriots should be a much heavier favorite against the Tennessee Titans. This line continues to move down, and there's no good reason for it. I know the Patriots didn't look good in the preseason, but this is when it counts, and they'll be on their game Sunday.
New England put up 32.1 points and 428 total yards per game last season to finish second in the league in total offense. It brings basically everyone back from last season, and adds WR Brandon Lloyd, who quietly led the entire NFL in receiving in 2010. This offense is going to be even more potent with Lloyd outside.
I know the Patriots struggled defensively last season giving up a lot of yards, but they only gave up 21.4 points per game as they were stingy as teams approached their end zone. The defense is a question mark for the Patriots again, but their offense can more than carry the load.
Tennessee is not a potent offensive team and won't have what it takes to keep up with the Pats on the scoreboard. It will be going with Jake Locker at quarterback, who will make his first career start. The Titans put up just 20.3 points per game last year, and they still lack superior weapons on offense. Plus, top receiver Kenny Britt has been suspended for the opener.
New England is 6-0 ATS in a road game where the total is between 45.5 and 49 points over the last 3 seasons. It is winning in this spot 35.4 to 18.1 on average, or by a whopping 17.3 points per game. The Patriots are 49-24-3 ATS in their last 76 road games. Bet New England Sunday.
|09-09-12||Buffalo Bills v. NY Jets -1.5||28-48||Win||100||114 h 41 m||Show|
15* AFC Sunday No-Doubt Rout on New York Jets -1.5
The New York Jets are way undervalued coming into the season. This team has made it to the AFC Championship two of the last three years. They were well on their way to the playoffs again last season with an 8-5 start, but an 0-3 finish had them missing the postseason.
New York comes back highly motivated this season to make up for last year's collapse at the end. The Jets went 0-4 in the preseason, which has made them undervalued heading into Week 1. This team will be ready for their opener against the Bills, and I believe they play a great game this afternoon.
Buffalo is getting way too much love. It did have a good offseason in bringing in DE's Mark Anderson and Mario Williams to help out the defense, but this team is still at least another year or two away from seriously competing for a playoff spot.
The Jets still have one of the best defenses in the league. They finished No. 5 in the NFL in total defense last season at 312 total yards/game. Offensively, I look for New York to get back to ground and pound, which was their formula for success in 2009 and 2010. The addition of Tim Tebow makes them a more physical, dominant running team, which is just what Rex Ryan wants. Ball control and defense wins in the NFL.
New York is 5-0 in its last five meetings with Buffalo. The Bills have scored an average of just 13.8 points per game over those five contests, so the Jets certainly have their offense figured out. Meanwhile, New York has averaged 30 points during its five-game winning streak over the Bills. Buffalo is 1-5-1 ATS in its last 7 road games. Take the Jets Sunday.
|09-09-12||Miami Dolphins v. Houston Texans UNDER 43||10-30||Win||100||114 h 40 m||Show|
15* AFC Sunday Total ANNIHILATOR on Dolphins/Texans UNDER 43
The Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans will play part in a defensive battle Sunday in Houston. Oddsmakers have clearly set the bar too high in this one, and now it's time to take advantage by siding with the UNDER.
Miami managed just 20.6 points and 317 total yards per game last season. Its offense has actually gotten worse this offseason. The Dolphins will be going with a rookie at quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, and he'll be working with the worst receiving corps in the league, hands down.
The Dolphins were actually pretty solid defensively last season, yielding 19.6 points per game. They were extremely stingy against the run, finishing third in the league in rushing defense (96 yards/game) while allowing just 3.7/carry. That's huge considering Houston was one of the best rushing teams in the league last year.
The Texans have a solid offense, but the reason they made the playoffs last season was their defense. Houston finished No. 2 in the league in total defense (286 yards/game) and No. 4 in scoring defense (17.4 points/game). I look for Houston to hold Miami to 14 points or less in this one, which will pave the way for the UNDER.
Miami is 8-0 to the UNDER in road games in the first half of the season over the last 3 seasons. I'm seeing an average combined score of 33.7 points per game in this situation. The UNDER is 11-3-1 in Dolphins last 15 games overall. The UNDER is 21-8 in Dolphins last 29 road games. The UNDER is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings. Roll with the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|09-08-12||North Carolina -8 v. Wake Forest||Top||27-28||Loss||-105||94 h 8 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on North Carolina -8
*Note* - I put this play out on Tuesday when the line was -8. I see it has moved up to -10 or higher in a few places. I still like the Tar Heels to win by two touchdowns or more.
The Tar Heels are going under the radar in 2012 because they are ineligible for postseason play. However, this team is clearly going to play hard this season, and they could easily win the ACC Coastal division, though they won't be able to play in the ACC title game.
UNC returns 13 starters from a team that won seven games a year ago. That includes QB Bryn Renner, who completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions a year ago. Also back is leading rusher Giovani Bernard (1,253 yards, 13 TD). Both Renner and Bernard are two of the most underrated players in the country.
The offenive line also returns four starters and 93 career starts, making it one of the ACC's best. The defense has six starters back, led by senior MLB Kevin Reddick (71 tackles, 6 for loss) and senior DT Sylvester Williams (54 tackles, 7 for loss).
UNC made easy work of Elon in its opener, winning by a final of 62-0. The Tar Heels scored all 62 points within the first three quarters. Renner finished with 236 yards and three touchdowns, Bernard had 93 yards and a score on only nine carries, and the defense forced four turnovers.
Wake Forest is clearly in rebuilding mode with just 11 starters back from a team that went 6-7 last year. That was evident in their 20-17 home victory over lowly Liberty last Saturday. Wake was outgained 363-293 for the game in a contest that went right down to the wire. The Demon Deacon are clearly no match for the Tar Heels Saturday.
UNC won last year's meeting 49-24 at home, and you can expect a similar blowout on the road in 2012. It outgained Wake Forest 562-331 for the game as well.
This play falls into a system that is 28-5 (84.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet on road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (N CAROLINA) - good passing team from last season - averaged 8 or more passing yards/attempt. Bet the Tar Heels Saturday.
|09-08-12||Rice v. Kansas -9.5||25-24||Loss||-105||93 h 12 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Kansas -9.5
Sure, the Kansas Jayhawks are picked to finish last in the Big 12 this season, but they should have no problem beating the lowly Rice Owls by double-digits at home Saturday. This team is showing great value early in the season, especially today.
New head coach Charlie Weis inherits a team that went just 2-10 last season. But the Jayhawks bring back 14 starters and 51 lettermen, making them one of the most experienced teams in college football. Plus, Weis has brought in senior QB Dayne Crist, who he coached in his last two years at Notre Dame.
Top receivers DJ Beshears (40, 437, three TD) and Kale Pick (34, 44, two TD), and three starters and 75 career starts return along the offensive line. The Jayhawks return seven starters on defense, including six of their top eight tacklers.
Kansas dominated the first three quarters against South Dakote State in the opener. The Jayhawks were up 24-7 after three before letting up in the final period to win 31-17. Tony Pierson led the way on the ground, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas' defense forced four interceptions in a solid performance.
The Jayhawks rushed for 263 yards against SDSU, and they should have no problem running the ball on a Rice team that gave up 343 rushing yards in a 49-24 home loss to UCLA in their opener. In fact, the Bruins also threw for 303 yards, racking up 646 total yards on the Owls. This is a Rice team that brings back just 10 starters from a squad that went 4-8 a year ago.
Rice is 0-6 ATS in road games after allowing 37 points or more last game over the last 3 seasons. It is losing in this spot by an average score of 51.8 to 27.3. The Owls are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 road games. Rice is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 vs. Big 12 opponents. The Jayhawks are 16-5 ATS vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with Kansas Saturday.
|09-08-12||Michigan State v. Central Michigan +22.5||41-7||Loss||-105||93 h 11 m||Show|
15* Instate Rivalry PLAY OF THE DAY on Central Michigan +22.5
I believe the Central Michigan Chippewas are going to be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2012. They went just 3-9 last season, but head coach Dan Enos enters his third year on the job and finally has his recruits in place. The Chippewas return a whopping 16 starters from last year's team.
They return eight starters on offense, including senior QB Ryan Radcliff. He's primed for a big year after completing 56.7 percent of his passes for 3,286 yards with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season. He has his top two receivers back in Titus Davis (40, 751, eight TD) and Cody Wilson (48, 526, three TD). Also, four starters and 94 career starts return along the offensive line.
The defense will be much better with eight returning starters. That includes its top two tacklers in first-team All-MAC SS Jahleel Addae (107 tackles, four INT) and junior FS Avery Cunningham (79 tackles).
Central Michigan got off to a solid start this year with a 38-27 victory over SE Missouri State in a game that was more of a blowout than the score would indicate. The Chippewas outgained SEMS 496-308 for the game. Zurlon Tipton had a monster day on the ground, rushing for 180 yards and three scores. Anthony Garland added 102 yards and a touchdown.
I was not big on Michigan State coming into the season, and in their opener they looked like a team that is down this year. The Spartans were down heading into the 4th quarter in their opener against a Boise State team that returned just seven starters. They got a touchdown to win 17-13, but this team clearly misses the departed Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
The Spartans bring back just five starters on offense. They lose Cousins and their top four receivers from last season, including BJ Cunningham (79, 1,306, 12 TD). New QB Andrew Maxwell was horrible against Boise State, completing 22 of 38 passes for 248 yards with three interceptions. The Spartans are going to be too predictable this season without a proven QB under center. I look for CMU to put eight in the box to try and shut down RB Le'Veon Bell.
Central Michigan always seems to play Michigan State tough, and they upset the Spartans on the road 29-27 in 2009. The Chippewas are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings with the Spartans, only losing twice by more than 17 points in those 10 contests.
This play falls into a system that is 30-7 (81.1%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on a home team (C MICHIGAN) - poor defense from last season - allowed 400 or more total yards/game, with 16 total starters returning, in the first two weeks of the season. Bet Central Michigan Saturday.
|09-08-12||Ball State +27.5 v. Clemson||27-52||Win||100||90 h 12 m||Show|
15* CFB Letdown GAME OF THE WEEK on Ball State +27.5
The Clemson Tigers are way overvalued Saturday after beating Auburn 26-19 in their opener. After a huge rivalry game, this is definitely a letdown spot for the Tigers. As we saw last year, Clemson was prone to letdowns late in the season.
The Tigers have excellent skill players offensively which "wows" bettors. But they have a lot of weaknesses along the offensive line and on defense. I can't see them blowing out this underrated Ball State team by four touchdowns or more.
Ball State went a respectable 6-6 last season. It brings back 13 starters from that team, including many of its best players. QB Keith Wenning returns after completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Leading rusher Jahwan Edwards (786 yards, 11 TD) returns, as do four starters and 115 career starts along the offensive line.
The defense welcomes back wo of its best players in senior LB Travis Freeman (#1 tackler, 134 tackles, 6 for loss) and junior DT Nathan Ollie (42 tackles, 6 sacks). This is going to be one of the most improved stop units in the entire country.
Ball State was impressive in its opener, beating an underrated Eastern Michigan team 37-26 at home. This game was a bigger blowout than the score would indicate considering the Cardinals outgained the Eagles 596-366 for the game. Wenning threw for 267 yards, while Edwards rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns. This offense can come close to keeping pace with Clemson.
The Cardinals are 31-11 ATS in their last 42 road games. Ball State is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games overall. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Take Ball State Saturday.
|09-08-12||Auburn v. Mississippi State -3||10-28||Win||100||90 h 33 m||Show|
15* Auburn/Mississippi State ESPN Early ANNIHILATOR on Mississippi State -3
The Mississippi State Bulldogs should be a much heavier favorite at home over the Auburn Tigers Saturday. The Bulldogs want revenge from a 41-34 road loss to the Tigers last season in a game in which Mississippi State outgained Auburn 531-381 and clearly should have won that contest.
Mississippi State will have its revenge in a big way at home this time around. It returns 12 starters and most of its top players from last season. Junior QB Tyler Russell threw for 1,034 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions over four starts and nine games last season. He has his top three receivers back and should be better in 2012.
The defense returns seven starters from a stop unit that yielded just 19.7 points and 351 total yards per game against a brutal schedule a year ago. Leading the way in 2012 will be senior LB Cameron Lawrence (#1 tackler, 123 tackles, 6 for loss, two INT), senior CB Johnthan Banks (71 tackles, eight for loss, five INT), junior LB Deontae Skinner (69 tackles, 9 for loss) and senior DT Josh Boyd (51 tackles, 4.5 sacks).
Mississippi State looked great in its opener, beating Jackson State 56-9 at home. The same cannot be said for Auburn, which lost 19-26 to Clemson in a game that should have been a much bigger blowout. The Tigers were outgained 528-374 for the game, giving up huge chunks of yardage defensively. Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier was awful, completing just 11 of 27 passes for 194 yards with one touchdown an one interception against a weak Clemson defense. The Bulldogs have a much stronger defense than Clemson, which is not good news for Frazier.
The Tigers are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. The Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games. The favorite is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Take Mississippi State Saturday.
|09-08-12||Penn State +10 v. Virginia||16-17||Win||100||90 h 33 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Penn State +10
After losing 14-24 to Ohio in their opener, the Penn State Nittany Lions are showing tremendous value at Virginia Saturday. Penn State led 14-3 in that game, but a fluke Ohio pass that went off a defenders' hands and ended up in a long touchdown by the Bobcats really swung the momentum the other way. With what these players have been through this offseason, they are resilient and will bounce back Saturday.
Virginia is one of the most overrated teams in the country this season. It went 8-5 last year, but with just 12 starters back, the Cavaliers are not going to be as good. They lose five of their top eight tacklers on defense and will be very vulnerable on that side of the ball.
While Penn State played a solid Ohio team in its opener, Virgina played Richmond and didn't really look all that sharp. The Cavaliers won 43-19 and won't be as battle-tested as the Nittany Lions coming into this one. Virginia is clearly getting too much respect from oddsmakers here.
This play falls into a system that is 30-6 (83.3%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (PENN ST) - in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses, team that had a winning record last season. Roll with Penn State Saturday.
|09-08-12||Maryland +10 v. Temple||36-27||Win||100||90 h 32 m||Show|
15* CFB Revenge GAME OF THE WEEK on Maryland +10
The Maryland Terrapins are one of the most underrated teams in the country heading into 2012. Head coach Randy Edsall turned Connecticut into a winner, and he's going to do the same at Maryland. He enters his second season with the program and brings back a lot of talent from last year's team.
The Terrapins return 15 starters this season. Defensively, they bring back nine starters and 11 of their top 13 tacklers. Behind a solid defensive effort Saturday, the Terrapins will have no problem staying within this inflated number.
Maryland wants revenge from a 38-7 home loss to Temple as an 8-point favorite last season. That motivation alone will have them giving it all, plus they want to redeem themselves from a poor effort in a 7-6 victory over William & Mary in their opener.
Temple is coming off a 9-4 season, but it loses a ton of players from last year's team. The Owls only have eight starters back. They lose leading rusher Bernard Pierce (1,481 yards, 27 TD), their top three receivers, and four starters on the offensive line. The defense loses its top four tacklers as well.
Temple's 41-10 victory over Villanova was way misleading, which is a big reason they are overvalued here. The Owls were actually outgained by the Wildcats 365-362, and they gave up a whopping 212 rushing yards to Villanova.
This play falls into a system that is 48-16 (75%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (MARYLAND) - with 6+ more total starters returning than opponent, in the first month of the season. Plus, the road team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Bet Maryland Saturday.
|09-07-12||Utah -7 v. Utah State||Top||20-27||Loss||-101||101 h 38 m||Show|
25* Instate Rivalry GAME OF THE YEAR on Utah -7
The Utah Utes brought back 16 starters from a team that went 8-5 last season. I really think this is one of the most underrated teams in the country heading into 2012. They got their 2012 campaign off to a solid start with a 41-0 victory over Northern Colorado on Saturday. Their defense was dominant, limiting the Bears to 114 total yards and while not allowing them to cross midfield once.
This game was scoreless after the first quarter, but Utah would score three touchdowns in the second to take a 21-0 lead into halftime. Senior RB John White, who set a single-season record with 1,519 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, finished with 119 yards and a score on 24 carries.
Junior quarterback Jordan Wynn was sharp, completing 19 of 27 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He led a 21-play, 91-yard drive that consumed 10:42 an ended in a Wynn to Jake Murphy touchdown early in the fourth quarter. It was Murphy
|09-06-12||Pittsburgh v. Cincinnati -3.5||Top||10-34||Win||100||76 h 28 m||Show|
20* Pittsburgh/Cincinnati ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Cincinnati -3.5
*Note* - I locked this line in at -3.5 on Tuesday. I see it's up to 5.5 in a lot of places. I still expect Cincinnati to win by a touchdown or more.
The Bearcats finished in a three-way tie for the Big East title in 2011. They went 10-3 overall after beating Vanderbilt 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl. Third-year head coach Butch Jones brings back 11 starters and 43 lettermen from last year
|09-05-12||Dallas Cowboys +4 v. NY Giants||Top||24-17||Win||100||53 h 7 m||Show|
20* Cowboys/Giants NFL Season Opener on Dallas +4
After losing five of their last six meetings with the Giants, including both contests last year, the Dallas Cowboys have big-time revenge in mind Wednesday. I believe they get that revenge and win this game outright, but I'll take the 4 points for some insurance.
Dallas has made some great additions this offseason. They signed CB Brandon Carr (45 tackles, 15 pass break-ups, four INT) from Kansas City. They also used their first-round pick on CB Morris Claiborne (LSU). These two shutdown corners will allow defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to be much more aggressive with his blitz schemes.
The New York Giants went just 9-7 last season, and that was good enough to win the NFC East. We all know what they did after that, but I still believe this team has some gaping holes. The Cowboys will likely be without Jason Witten tonight, but the Giants are way more banged up and will be without several key players due to injury.
The Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 1. The Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings. Bet Dallas Wednesday.
|09-03-12||Georgia Tech v. Virginia Tech UNDER 48.5||Top||17-20||Win||100||99 h 52 m||Show|
20* Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech ESPN Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 48.5
The Virginia Tech Hokies have one of the best defenses in the entire country. They return nine starters from a stop unit that yielded just 17.5 points per game last season. They only have three starters back on offense, so points will be hard to come by in the early going for the Hokies.
Georgia Tech has six starters back on defense, which is about average. But the Yellow Jackets return seven of their top nine tacklers, so this is going to be a good stop unit in 2012.
These two teams are very familiar with each other having played one another for eight straight years. Virginia Tech is ready for Georgia Tech's triple-option attack, and it will shut it down Monday.
This play falls into a system that is 28-6 (82.4%) to the UNDER since 1992. It tells us to bet the UNDER on all teams where the total is between 42.5 and 49 (VIRGINIA TECH) - in the first week of the season, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses against opponent first 2 weeks of the year, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses. Bet the UNDER in this game Monday.
|09-02-12||SMU v. Baylor -10||Top||24-59||Win||100||74 h 32 m||Show|
20* SMU/Baylor CFB Sunday ATS ANNIHILATOR on Baylor -10
The Baylor Bears are going under the radar in 2012 because the lost Heisman Trophy winning QB Robert Griffin III, leading rusher Terrance Ganaway and leading receiver Kendall Wright. But the fact of the matter is that Baylor returns 14 starters and 54 lettermen.
This team won 10 games last season, and while those losses are big, they can still have a very good season. Baylor send senior QB Nick Florence out to lead the offense, and he'll be handing the ball off to Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk, who is every bit as good as Ganaway.
Baylor was terrible defensively last season, giving up 37.2 points and 488 total yards per game. This is going to be one of the most improved teams in the country on defense with eight starters and 11 of their top 13 tacklers back.
SMU will be one of the worst teams in the country this season with just 10 starters back from last year's team. The offense is in a world of hurt with only three starters returnining, and they lose their starting QB from last year too. The biggest reason why SMU will get rolled in this one is the fact that it has to break in five new starters along the offensive line.
SMU is 2-14 ATS (-13.4 Units) when the total is between 56.5 and 63 since 1992. Baylor is 8-0 ATS in its last eight home games. Bet the Bears Sunday.
|09-01-12||Clemson v. Auburn +3.5||26-19||Loss||-109||64 h 26 m||Show|
15* Auburn/Clemson ESPN Saturday Night BAILOUT on Auburn +3.5
The Auburn Tigers managed an 8-5 season last year despite losing almost everyone from their 2010-11 National Championship team. With 15 returning starters and another Top-5 recruiting class, Gene Chizik and the Tigers are primed to surprise again in 2012.
Sophomore QB Kiehl Frazier got his feet wet last season, and now he's ready to shine as a starter. Onterio McCalebb (641 yards, 5.7/carry, five TD) is one of the most explosive players in the SEC. The Tigers return their top four pass catchers from last season, including WR Emory Blake (36 receptions, 613 yards, five TD) and TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (24, 238, seven TD).
With nine starters back on defense, this is going to be one of the most improved stop units in the country. Senior SLB Daren Bates (104 tackles, 8.5 for loss), junior SS Demetruce McNeal (74 tackles, two INT), junior DE Corey Lemonier (47 tackles, 9.5 sacks), senior CB T'Sharvan Bell (45 tackles, two INT) and junior MLB Jake Holland (43 tackles, two INT) all return.
Clemson has that 'wow' factor that bettors fall in love with. The Tigers shockingly won the ACC last season, and as a result they are way overvalued coming into 2012. They should not be favored against a more talented SEC team on a neutral field Saturday.
Sure, QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, RB Andre Ellington and almost all of Clemson's top skill players are back on offense. However, Watkins has been suspended for the first two games, and there are glaring weaknesses throughout the rest of their team.
The offensive line loses three starters and has just 48 career starts returning up front. The defense loses arguably its four best players in Andre Branch (85 tackles, 10.5 sacks), Brandon Thompson (77 tackles, 8 for loss), Rennie Moore (58 tackles, 10 for loss) and Coty Sensabaugh (40 tackles, 14 passes defended).
Auburn is 14-1 in its last 15 meetings with Clemson. Clemson has not won back-to-back games against Auburn since the 1950-'51 seasons. Bet Auburn Saturday.
|09-01-12||Florida International v. Duke -3||26-46||Win||100||64 h 26 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Duke -3
I'm not going to say that Saturday's match-up with Florida International is a gimme for Duke, but getting the Blue Devils as only a 3-point home favorite is a gift from oddsmakers. They beat FIU on the road last season 31-27, and should be able to handle the Panthers at home in 2012.
Head coach David Cutcliffe enters his 5th year at Duke and he has clearly made this football program competitive. This will be Cutcliffe's best team yet considering the Blue Devils return 17 starters from last year's team.
The offense brings back eight starters, including QB Sean Renfree, who completed 65.0 percent of his passes for 2,891 yards with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season. Also back are the top three rushers, leading receiver Conner Vernon (70 receptions, 956 yards, six TD), and four starters and 90 career starts along the offensive line.
The defense has an excellent chance to improve with nine starters returning. Nine of Duke's top 10 tacklers are back, and I believe this is going to be the most improved stop unit in the ACC.
Like Duke, FIU returns 17 starters. This is a talented team that is likely going to be the class of the Sun Belt Conference. However, there's no question in my mind that the Blue Devils have the better talent at almost every position, and that will show on the field Saturday.
FIU is 2-8 in its last 10 road openers. The Blue Devils are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games. The Golden Panthers are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games. Take Duke Saturday.
|09-01-12||Tulsa v. Iowa State +1.5||Top||23-38||Win||100||61 h 7 m||Show|
25* College Football Season-Opening GAME OF THE YEAR on Iowa State +1.5
The Iowa State Cyclones represent my favorite bet for Week 1 college football Saturday. They should not be an underdog at home to Tulsa in this one.
Iowa State has been underrated in each of Paul Rhoads' first three years as head coach, making a bowl game in two of them. The Cyclones even pulled off the upset of the season last year when they beat then-No. 2 Oklahoma State 37-31 (2 OT) at home. They are clearly underrated again in 2012.
Iowa State has just 12 starters back, but that includes most of its top plays from a year ago. Leading rusher James White (743 yards, eight TD) is back, and QB Steele Jantz is primed for a big senior year after making seven starts last season. Three of ISU's top four receivers are back as well.
The defense only has five starters back, but the stop unit returns its top three tacklers in LB AJ Klein (116 tackles), LB Jake Knott (115 tackles) and FS Jacques Washington (90 tackles, nine passes defened). Klein earned second-team All-American honors, while Knott was first-team All-Big 12. These are two of the best linebackers in the entire country.
Tulsa is in rebuilding mode now under second-year head coach Bill Blankenship. This is the year where it is going to realize it misses former head coach Todd Graham. QB GJ Kinne, who threw for 3,090 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 405 yards and three scores in 2011, has departed.
The Golden Hurricane also have just two starters back on the offenive line, and new QB Cody Green won't be able to come close to matching Kinne's numbers. The defense loses leading tackler Curnelius Arnick (159 tackles) and leading sacker Tyrunn Walker (41 tackles, 8 sacks).
Tulsa is 4-18 in its last 22 road openers, 1-17 since 1997 on the road vs. BCS schools, and 1-31 over the last 12 years against BCS schools home or away. The Golden Hurricane are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big 12. The Cyclones are 21-10 ATS in their last 31 games in September. Bet Iowa State Saturday.
|09-01-12||Ohio v. Penn State -6||24-14||Loss||-110||58 h 37 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Penn State -6
The Penn State Nittany Lions are way undervalued coming into their 2012 campaign due to all of the poor coverage they have been receiving from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. These players cannot wait to hit the field Saturday and put all of it behind them.
The Nittany Lions' fans will rally around these players in a a very emotional game Saturday afternoon. The fact of the matter is that Penn State is still among the top-half of the teams in the Big Ten, and it has a lot more talent on the field than Ohio.
The Nittany Lions gave up just 16.8 points and 324 total yards per game last season, and they still have one of the best defenses in the country. They return leading tackler Gerald Hodges (106 tackles, 10 for loss) at linebacker. Also back is junior LB Glenn Carson (74 tackles) and senior DT Jordan Hill (59 tackles, 8 for loss).
The offense brings back starting quarterback Matt McGloin (,571 yards, eight TD, five INT), as well as three of his top four receivers from last season. Junior RB Curtis Dukes, who averaged 5.8 yards/carry last season, returns as well.
Ohio is a solid team and is one of the favorites to win the MAC this season with 14 starters back. But the fact of the matter is the Bobcats are out-classed in talent all over the field, and that will show Saturday when an inspired Penn State team overmatches them.
The Nittany Lions have won 10 straight home openers by an average of 29 points per game. Penn State is 5-0 all-time against Ohio, winning by an average of 39-13.
This play falls into a system that is 29-7 (80.6%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (PENN ST) - in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses against opponent first month of the season, after closing out last season strong with 4 or more wins in last 5 games. Take Penn State Saturday.
|09-01-12||Western Michigan +10.5 v. Illinois||7-24||Loss||-110||58 h 37 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Western Michigan +10.5
The Western Michigan Broncos are my pick to win the MAC this season. They have 14 starters back, including senior QB Alex Carder, who completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,873 yards with 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He is one of the most underrated signal callers in the country.
Western Michigan gave then-No. 24 Illinois all it could handle on the road in 2011. The Broncos lost 20-23 as a 14-point underdog, and Carder threw for 306 yards against their defense. I look for this one to go right down to the wire as well.
The Broncos have nine of their top 10 back along the offensive line. They have four starters returning, including first-team All-MAC RT Dann O'Neill. Leading rusher Tevin Drake (586 yards, 5.6/carry, five TD) is back as well.
The defense returns seven starters, including second-team All-MAC Rover Johnnie Simon (114 tackles, 10.5 for loss, nine passes defended) and second-team All-MAC DE Freddie Bishop (51 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks).
I am really not high on Illinois at all this season. They lose too many studs, including top running back Jason Ford and top receiver AJ Jenkins (90 receptions, 1,276 yards, eight TD). Their second-leading receiver was Spencer Harris (26, 226, one TD), so they are certainly going to miss Jenkins.
Defensively, the Illini lose two of their top three tacklers in Ian Thomas and Tavon Wilson. They also part ways with the nation's leading sacker in Whitney Mercilus (57 tackles, 16 sacks).
The Fighting Illini are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs. MAC. They are consistently overvalued against MAC schools, and the Broncos are the best the MAC has to offer in 2012 in my opinion. Roll with Western Michigan Saturday.
|08-31-12||Tennessee -3 v. NC State||Top||35-21||Win||100||93 h 17 m||Show|
20* Tennessee/NC State ESPNU Friday No-Brainer on Tennessee -3
After a 5-7 campaign in 2011 with arguably the toughest schedule in the entire country, the Tennessee Volunteers head into 2012 way underrated. That's because they return 18 starters and 48 lettermen from last year's squad.
The offense has nine starters back, led by junior QB Tyler Bray, who missed five starters last season due to injury. Bray still managed to complete 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,983 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions in seven starts.
WR Justin Hunter had 17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns in three starts last year before going out for the season with an injury. He returns healthy and will be the go-to guy after Da'Rick Rogers decided to leave the team. The offensive line returns five starters and 105 career starts from a unit that gave up only 18 sacks a year ago.
Defensively, the Vols held their own last season, giving up 22.6 points and 341 total yards per game against a brutal schedule. Nine starters return, and 2010's No. 2 tackler in senior MLB Herman Lathers is back after missing all of 2011 due to injury.
NC State is getting a lot of love after winning three straight games to close out last season to finish 8-5. But this team isn't nearly as talented as Tennessee with 13 starters and a mere 31 lettermen returning.
The Wolfpack lose three of their top four receivers, including TJ Graham (46 receptions, 757 yards, seven TD). Defensively, only six starters are back, and they lose three of their top players from 2011 in leading tackler Audie Cole (132 tackles, 13.5 for loss), Terrell Manning (82 tackles, 14 for loss, three INT) and Markus Kuhn (50 tackles, 9.5 for loss).
The Vols clearly have the better talent across the board, and on a neutral field Friday, they should roll against the overmatched Wolfpack. Tennessee is 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite, and 4-1 ATS in its last 5 non-conference games. Bet the Volunteers Friday.
|08-30-12||Washington State +13.5 v. BYU||6-30||Loss||-110||72 h 5 m||Show|
15* Washington State/BYU ESPN Late-Night BAILOUT on Washington State +13.5
The Washington State Cougars were much better than their 4-8 record would indicate last season. They actually outgained opponents 422 to 410 on average, which is more like a 7-5 team. The breaks did not go their way, but now they have a proven head coach in Mike Leach to try and turn things around.
Leach put together an 84-43 record in 10 seasons at Texas Tech. He will be working with 14 returning starters and 44 lettermen this season.
The offense returns seven starters, including senior QB Jeff Tuel, who was lost after three games last season with an injury. He made all 12 starts in 2010 and is one of the most underrated signal callers in the country. Also back is leading receiver Marquess Wilson (82 receptions, 1,388 yards, 12 TD) and leading rusher Ricky Galvin (602 yards, 5.3/carry, five TD). Three starters return along the offensive line as well.
The defense has seven starters back, including all four starters in the secondary, led by junior SS Deone Bucannon (80 tackles, three INT) and senior FS Tyree Toomer (60 tackles). Senior OLB Travis Long (42 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks) is their best returning starter among the front seven.
BYU is getting a lot of love from oddsmakers after winning its final four games last season to finish 10-3. Like WSU, the Cougars have 14 returning starters back. This is going to be a solid team, but they are certainly overrated heading into 2012, and not two touchdowns better than Washington State.
Washington State is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater. Bet Washington State Thursday.
|08-30-12||UMass +24.5 v. Connecticut||0-37||Loss||-110||25 h 18 m||Show|
15* CFB Thursday Undervalued Underdog on UMass +24.5
The UMass Minutemen enter their first season as an FBC school in 2012. Because of this fact, I believe they are coming into 2012 obviously underrated. The betting public does not want to back them, but this is a great spot to against the overrated Connecticut Huskies.
Redshirt freshman QB Mike Wegzyn has earned the starting job by clearly outplaying the competition throughout camp. Many bettors are seeing that last year's starter, Kellen Pagel, is out with post-concussion symptoms. But I believe that Wegzyn is the better starter anyway, and even when Pagel returns, he likely will still keep his job.
The Minutemen return 14 starters in all, so this is an experienced bunch. Wegzyn will be working behind an offensive line that returns four starters and 85 career starts. Their starting five up front averages 308 pounds, so they certainly have good size. Michigan transfer Michael Cox takes over at running back and is primed for a big year running behind this line.
The defense has a whopping nine starters back, led by senior MLB Perry McIntyre (116 tackles, 6.5 sacks). Junior OLB Tim Brandt (33 tackles, 3 sacks) and senior OLB Chad Hunte (58 tackles) combine with McIntyre to form one of the most underrated LB corps in the MAC.
Connecticut really misses former head coach Randy Edsall, who always got the most out of his teams. That showed last season as the Huskies stumbled to a 5-7 finish. They do have 14 starters back, but only 31 lettermen returning. I'm just not sold on this team, and there's no way they should be a 24-point favorite in their opener.
The Huskies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games. Roll with UMass Thursday.
|08-30-12||South Carolina v. Vanderbilt +7||Top||17-13||Win||100||69 h 53 m||Show|
20* South Carolina/Vanderbilt ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on Vanderbilt +7
Vanderbilt was much better than its 6-7 record would indicate last season. The Commodores lost five games to Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and Cincinnati all by 7 points or less. Five of their six wins came by 23 points or more.
The Commodores are one of the most underrated teams in the country heading into 2012. They have 15 starters and 43 lettermen returning, so there's a lot of talent back from last year's squad.
The offense welcomes back eight starters, including QB Jordan Rodgers, brother of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. They were a much better team when Rodgers took over for the final seven starts of the season. He threw for 1,524 yards and nine touchdowns, while also rushing for 420 yards and four scores.
Leading rusher Zac Stacy (1,193 yards, 5.9/carry, 14 TD) returns to lead the offense, and he'll be running behind an offensive line that returns three starters and 60 career starts. Also back are the top two receivers from 2011 in junior Jordan Mathews (41 receptions, 778 yards, five TD) and sophomore Chris Boyd (31, 473, eight TD).
The defense welcomes back seven starters and should come close to matching its solid 2011 numbers. The Commodores gave up just 21.6 points and 323 total yards per game in head coach James Franklin's first year on the job. He has this team headed in the right direction.
After a setting a school record with 11 wins last year, the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks come into the 2012 season overrated. They have just 11 starters back from that squad and several key losses. Leading receiver Alshon Jeffery (49 receptions, 762 yards, eight TD) has moved on to the NFL. DE Melvin Ingram (48 tackles, 10 sacks) and CB Stephon Gilmore (46 tackles, four INT) were each selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. LB Antonio Allen (#1 tackler) was taken in the 7th round as well.
Vanderbilt is a scrappy team that will give South Carolina a run for its money in the opener. The Commodores don't go down easy at home, going a perfect 7-0 ATS in their last 7 home games. Vanderbilt is 4-0 ATS in its last 4 games as an underdog as well. Take the Commodores Thursday.
|02-05-12||NY Giants v. New England Patriots -2.5||Top||21-17||Loss||-115||245 h 6 m||Show|
25* Giants/Pats Super Bowl ANNIHILATOR on New England -2.5
The New England Patriots are out for revenge in the Super Bowl. Certainly, both teams want this one as much as humanly possible. However, it's the Patriots that come into this contest with more to prove.
The Giants have beaten them the past two times they've faced one another. In both occasions, New York was able to march down the field for the game-winning touchdown with only seconds remaining. They won't be so fortunate this time around as the Patriots dominate from start to finish.
I look for New England to play at a fast pace and use the no-huddle to their advantage. This will help slow down New York's pass rush as they won't be able to make mass substitutions, which won't allow their defensive linemen to stay fresh all game. There's no question that head coach Bill Belichick will have the better game plan coming into this one, and I trust Tom Brady and company to execute it.
New England has stepped up their defense in the playoffs. The Patriots have only allowed an average of 15.0 points/game in back-to-back victories over the Broncos and Ravens. While this defense has been giving up a lot of yardage this season, they only allow 20.7 points/game. Compare that to the Giants, who give up 23.1 points/game. In the end, it's points that win you games.
The Patriots are an incredible 29-10 ATS in their last 39 games revenge a same-season loss. Belichick is a perfect 6-0 ATS revenging a same season loss against opponent as a favorite of 7 points or more as the coach of New England. That's a stretch that dates back to 2000, his first year as head coach. Also, Belichick is 17-3 ATS revenging an upset loss against opponent as a favorite as the coach of New England. Bet the Patriots Sunday.
|01-22-12||NY Giants v. San Francisco 49ers -2.5||Top||20-17||Loss||-110||161 h 37 m||Show|
25* NFL Playoffs GAME OF THE YEAR on San Francisco 49ers -2.5
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a huge win in the Divisional Round against the hottest team in football. This team has been winning with their defense for most of the year, but their offense took a huge step last weekend by matching the Saints score for score. San Francisco would score last on an Alex Smith touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with less than 20 seconds remaining to give the 49ers a 36-32 victory.
The 49ers head into the NFC Championship with all of the confidence in the world. They should be more than a 2.5-point favorite over the New York Giants, who are also coming off a big win at Green Bay. While the Packers had the best record in the NFL this year, they certainly looked vulnerable down the stretch. That was largely due to their league-worst defense, which let the Giants do basically whatever they wanted to.
San Francisco has the kind of defense that will give Eli Manning and company fits. Manning has been great on third downs during their four-game winning streak, but the 49ers only give up 35.2 percent conversions on third downs this season. San Francisco will force the Giants into tougher third downs by stopping the run, and they will make New York punt a lot more than they've been accustomed to of late.
The 49ers have been unstoppable at home all season. San Francisco is 8-1 SU & 8-0-1 ATS in nine home games, scoring 28.6 points and allowing 13.2 points. Their only loss came by a field goal in overtime to the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers are outscoring their opponents by a whopping 15.4 points/game at home this year. Considering they have not lost against the spread at home this season, I'm going to ride that trend to yet another victory this weekend.
San Francisco already beat New York 27-20 at home earlier this season on November 13th. They jumped out to a 27-13 lead on a 17-yard touchdown run from Kendall Hunter early in the fourth quarter and never looked back. Frank Gore only carried the ball six times in that game before getting hurt, and now healthy, he will make a huge difference. San Francisco also picked off Manning twice in the win.
As mentioned before, the 49ers are 8-0 ATS at home this season. San Francisco is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. poor passing defenses - allowing 235 or more passing yards/game in the second half of the season. The 49ers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. good passing teams averaging 235 or more passing yards/game. San Francisco is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 versus good offensive teams - averaging >=350 yards/game. These four trends make for a perfect 26-0 system backing San Francisco. Bet the 49ers Sunday.
|01-22-12||Baltimore Ravens +9 v. New England Patriots||20-23||Win||100||144 h 40 m||Show|
15* Ravens/Pats NFL Sunday No-Brainer on Baltimore +9
The New England Patriots earned the top seed in the AFC with a 13-3 record in the the regular season. Baltimore earned the No. 2 seed as they tied for the second-best record in the AFC. It's only fitting that these two teams meet up in the AFC Championship in a game that I believe will go right down to the wire. Look for this one to come down to the very last possession either way.
New England is way overvalued heading into this game simply by the nature they beat the Denver Broncos last week. Baltimore didn't look all that impressive against Houston, but I picked the Texans to cover the spread and that team is the most underrated in the league in my opinion. So it was actually a great win for Baltimore, whereas New England beat one of the most overrated teams in the Broncos.
Baltimore has played New England very tough in recent years. They have had the defense that can slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots passing attack, and that has not changed this season. The Ravens ranked No. 3 in the NFL in total defense this season at 288.9 yards/game. They forced four turnovers in their 20-13 victory over the Texans last week, time and time coming up with huge stops down the stretch.
While New England has won three of their last four meetings with Baltimore, all three of those wins came by six points or less, including two by a field goal. The Ravens had the only blowout during this stretch with a 33-14 win at New England in the playoffs at the end of the 2009-10 season. The Ravens held the Pats to just 196 total yards behind a dominant defensive effort. In fact, the Patriots have not exceeded 27 points or 400 yards in any of their last six meetings with Baltimore, and they are only averaging 22.5 points and 283.3 yards/game in those six contests.
The Patriots are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 playoff games. The Ravens are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record. Baltimore is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after 1 or more consecutive losses against the spread. The Ravens are 29-15 ATS in their last 44 road games after gaining 150 or less passing yards in last game. Look for Joe Flacco to have a huge day against this New England defense that ranks 31st in total yards allowed (411.1) and 31st against the pass (293.9). Take Baltimore Sunday.
|01-15-12||NY Giants v. Green Bay Packers -7.5||37-20||Loss||-105||96 h 24 m||Show|
15* Giants/Packers NFL Sunday No-Brainer on Green Bay -7.5
The Green Bay Packers have been unstoppable at home all season. I know the Giants are playing well here of late, but going into Lambeau Field and coming away with a victory is a tall task. I think New York's luck runs out Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champs, and the best team in the league.
The Packers went 15-1 this season despite resting numerous starters, including Aaron Rodgers, in a 45-41 victory over the Detroit Lions in their season finale. Green Bay went 8-0 SU & 7-1 ATS at home this season, scoring 40.1 points/game while allowing 21.4 points/game. They outscored their opponents by a whopping 18.7 points/game at home this year.
Despite going 5-3 on the road, the Giants were actually outscored 26.0 to 26.9 away from home. As you can see, they gave up nearly 27.0 points/game on the road, and they also allowed a ridiculous 396 yards/game. This defense has played better in recent weeks, but they will have no answer for Rodgers and the best scoring offense in the NFL.
While the Packers are ranked 32nd in the league in total defense, it's clear that that means nothing. Green Bay scores so quickly on offense that the other team simply gets more opportunities with the ball, thus they are going to rack up more yardage. It's important to note that the Packers had a league-high 31 interceptions this season and were +24 in turnovers, which was the second-best mark in the NFL. This clearly makes up for the yardage they gave up defensively.
Aaron Rodgers has simply sliced up this New York defense each of the last two times he has faced the Giants. Rodgers threw for 404 yards and 4 touchdowns in their 45-17 home victory over the Giants at the end of last season. He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns with one interception in their 38-35 road victory over New York earlier this season. The Packers racked up a combined 964 yards (482/game) in those two games.
The Packers are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 games overall. Green Bay is 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games as a home favorite. The Packers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 vs. a team with a winning record. Green Bay is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 versus excellent offensive teams - averaging >=375 yards/game. The Packers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games after allowing 30 points or more last game. Roll with Green Bay Sunday.
|01-15-12||Houston Texans +9 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||13-20||Win||100||93 h 54 m||Show|
25* NFL Divisional Round GAME OF THE YEAR on Houston Texans +9
The Houston Texans simply have not gotten the respect the deserve since TJ Yates took over as starting quarterback. You have to remember that this was a run-first team even with Matt Schaub under center to start the season. They should have been a bigger favorite last week when I backed them as a 3-point favorite in a 31-10 victory over Cincinnati.
The Texans certainly should not be getting this many points against the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round. Houston has the better offense and the better defense statistically. The Texans are 2nd in the league in total defense (285.7 yards/game) while the Ravens are 3rd (288.9 yards/game). Houston is 13th in the NFL in total offense (372.1 yards/game) while the Ravens are 15th (338.7 yards/game).
Houston has the perfect formula to win in the playoffs. You always have a chance if you have a running game and a stout defense. I know the regular season has been home to several passing records this year, but when it comes to the playoffs, you need a running game and a defense to be successful. Houston has what it takes to pull off this upset Sunday.
This play falls into a system that is 38-11 (77.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet on road teams (HOUSTON) - revenging a loss against opponent, in a game involving two good teams (60% to 75%).
Having already played the Ravens once, the Texans will be much more prepared this time around. The Texans were also playing without Andre Johnson in that 14-29 loss to Baltimore, but he is back and healthy now. Johnson led the Texans with five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati last week. He makes a huge difference when he's on the field.
The Texans are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. Houston is 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record. The Texans are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog. Houston is 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. The Texans are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game. These five trends make for a perfect 21-0 system backing Houston. Bet the Texans Sunday.
|01-14-12||Denver Broncos +14 v. New England Patriots||Top||10-45||Loss||-115||76 h 0 m||Show|
20* Broncos/Patriots NFL Saturday Night BAILOUT on Denver +14
The Denver Broncos have an excellent chance to stay with the New England Patriots Sunday and cover this large number. They already played the Patriots tough earlier this season in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate.
Denver is coming off a huge 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. They looked like they could beat anyone last Sunday, compiling 447 total yards including 316 passing and three total touchdowns from Tim Tebow. That was against the league's top-ranked defense coming in.
The Broncos had no problem moving the ball the first time they played New England, but they simply beat themselves with turnovers. Denver totaled 393 yards with 252 rushing and 141 passing in their 23-41 loss to New England on 12/18, but they lost three fumbles while the Patriots did not turn the ball over once. If they can at least play the turnover battle even Saturday, they have a chance to beat the Patriots.
This play falls into a system that is 43-16 (72.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet on road teams (DENVER) - revenging a loss against opponent by 14 points or more, with a winning record on the season.
New England is 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games as a home favorite of 10.5 or greater. The Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a road underdog. The Patriots are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 playoff games. New England is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 playoff home games. These last three trends make for a perfect 15-0 system backing the Broncos. Bet Denver Saturday.
|01-14-12||New Orleans Saints v. San Francisco 49ers +4||32-36||Win||100||72 h 24 m||Show|
15* Saints/49ers NFL Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on San Francisco +4
The San Francisco 49ers should not be an underdog at home to the New Orleans Saints Saturday. New Orleans is way overvalued right now after they way they finished the season. But the fact of the matter is that the Saints aren't the same team on the road that they are at home. Public perception on New Orleans right now is at an all-time high, which is why the 49ers are showing such great value.
The Saints are just 5-3 on the road this season with three of their wins coming by five points or less. Their two blowout road wins came against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Minnesota Vikings. If the Saints do manage to win Sunday, it won't be by more than a field goal, which would give us the cover.
San Francisco has the type of team it takes to beat the Saints. You need a ball-control offense and a tremendous defense that can get Drew Brees and company off the field on 3rd downs. The Saints have converted 57.1 percent of their 3rd downs this season, but the 49ers only allow 35.2 percent 3rd down conversions on defense.
The 49ers were tremendous at home this year. San Francisco posted a 7-1 SU & 7-0-1 ATS mark on home soil. Not only did they beat opponents at home, they absolutely destroyed them. The 49ers average 27.6 points/game and gave up only 10.9 points/game while outscoring foes by a whopping 16.7 points/game. I expect the 49ers to stay unbeaten against the spread at home with an outright victory. Take San Francisco Saturday.
|01-09-12||Alabama +1 v. LSU||Top||21-0||Win||100||175 h 35 m||Show|
20* 'Bama/LSU BCS Championship BEST BET on Alabama +1
The Alabama Crimson Tide were fortunate to get a shot at revenge against LSU. I believe they are going to make the most of it by dominating the Tigers in the rematch. Alabama was clearly the better team in their first meeting, but found a way to lose by beating themselves. They won't make the same mistakes again.
Alabama outgained LSU 295-239 in their first meetings. The Crimson Tide really lost the game on special teams as field goal kicker Cade Foster missed four times in their 6-9 overtime loss. The Tide also committed a turnover at the goal line as their receiver was about to go into the end zone for a touchdown before having the ball stripped away.
The Crimson Tide simply have the better offense and the better defense coming into this one. Alabama averages 433.4 total yards/game behind a balanced attack that averages 220 on the ground and 214 through the air. The Tide are also No. 1 in the country in total defense (191.2 yards/game). LSU averages 375.3 yards/game offensively while giving up 252.1 yards/game defensively.
The Crimson Tide are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Alabama is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. The Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games. These three trends make for a 17-1 (94%) system backing the Crimson Tide. Bet Alabama Monday.
|01-08-12||Arkansas State v. Northern Illinois +1.5||Top||20-38||Win||100||151 h 4 m||Show|
20* Arkansas State/NIU GoDaddy Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Northern Illinois +1.5
Northern Illinois and Arkansas State each won their conference titles in the MAC and Sun Belt, respectively. While both are coming in off these huge achievements, I believe NIU is the stronger team considering they played in the stronger conference. The MAC was the real deal this season, while the Sun Belt was certainly down.
I'll back NIU behind quarterback Chandler Harnish, who is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated players in college football. Harnish completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 2,942 yards with 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. While those passing numbers are impressive, his rushing numbers were even more mind-boggling. Harnish led the Huskies with 1,382 rushing yards and 11 scores this year.
Don't forget about running back Jasmin Hopkins, who rushed for 939 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Huskies are also loaded at receiver with a ton of speedsters that can turn a 1-yard catch into an 80-yard touchdown on any given play. This team is so explosive, and Arkansas State is going to have a hard time keeping up with them.
The Red Wolves are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. Arkansas State is 0-7 ATS in road games versus good offensive teams - averaging >=5.9 yards/play since 1992. The Red Wolves are 0-6 ATS vesus good rushing teams - averaging >=4.75 rushing yards/carry over the last 3 seasons. These last two trends make for a perfect 13-0 system backing the Huskies. Take Northern Illinois Sunday.
|01-08-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Denver Broncos +9||23-29||Win||100||65 h 34 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Broncos NFL Sunday BEST BET on Denver +9
The Denver Broncos are showing awesome value as a home underdog Sunday. Everyone is counting Tim Tebow and the Broncos out, and every time they do that, Tebow seems to respond. This is the perfect situation to back Tebow and the Broncos with a very inflated line Sunday.
The reason I believe this line is inflated is because the Steelers simply haven't been that good on the road. Sure, they are 5-3 away from home, but only one of those wins came by more than 7 points. Pitt was simply fortunate to escape with close victories away from home all season. If they win Sunday, it won't be by more than 7 points, either.
Pittsburgh is just 2-11 ATS in their last 13 road games as a favorite of 7.5 to 14 points. The Steelers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 road games. The Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog. Roll with the Broncos Sunday.
|01-08-12||Atlanta Falcons v. NY Giants UNDER 47.5||Top||2-24||Win||100||61 h 4 m||Show|
25* NFL Wild Card Round TOTAL OF THE YEAR on Falcons/Giants UNDER 47.5
This game has defensive battle written all over it. Both defenses are hitting their stride just in time for the playoffs. The Falcons forced four turnovers and only allowed 294 total yards to the Bucs in their season finale. The Giants have allowed exactly 14 points in each of their last two games against the Jets and Cowboys.
Atlanta is 9-1 to the UNDER after allowing 75 or less rushing yards last game over the last 3 seasons. The Falcons are 13-3 to the UNDER after gaining 375 or more total yards in 2 consecutive games since 1992. The UNDER is 5-1 in Falcons last 6 games vs. a team with a winning record. the UNDER is 4-0 in Giants last 4 games as a home favorite. The UNDER is 4-1 in Giants last 5 playoff home games. Bet the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|01-07-12||Detroit Lions +11 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||28-45||Loss||-110||44 h 4 m||Show|
25* NFL Wild Card Round GAME OF THE YEAR on Detroit Lions +11
The Detroit Lions are fully capable of pulling off the upset over the New Orleans Saints Saturday provided they don't beat themselves. That's precisely what they did in their first meeting with the Saints in a game that was much closer than the 31-17 final score would indicate.
Detroit actually outgained New Orleans 466-438 in the Superdome on December 4th, but they simplpy beat themselves with untimely penalties. The Lions committed 11 penalties for 107 yards, while the Saints were only flagged three times for 30 yards. Matthew Stafford has his way with their defense, throwing for 408 yards in the loss.
I have all the confidence in the world that the Lions are going to be able to move the ball at will once again, and this time they won't shoot themselves in the foot. This is one of the most dangerous teams in the league heading into the playoffs with the potential to beat anyone if they just play their game and don't beat themselves.
This play falls into a system that is 28-9 (75.7%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. It tells us to bet on road revenging a loss against opponent by 14 points or more, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team.
The Lions are 16-7-2 ATS in their last 25 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater. The Saints are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite of 10.5 or greater. Bet Detroit Saturday.
|01-07-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Houston Texans -3||10-31||Win||100||41 h 35 m||Show|
15* Bengals/Texans NFL Saturday BEST BET on Houston -3
The Houston Texans are showing awesome value as just a 3-point home favorite Saturday. I did get this line in early, and I do recommend buying down to -3 just to be safe. I also want you to know that I still would take the Texans at -4 as well, which is the updated line, if you don't want to pay the extra juice to buy it down to -3.
Houston is getting no love from oddsmakers because they stumbled into the playoffs, but so did Cincinnati. The Texans didn't have a whole lot to play for down the stretch after clinching the division, so it's easy to see why they struggled a bit the last few weeks. I fully expect this team to kick it into overdrive and be ready come Saturday.
While the Texans are one of the most underrated teams coming into the playoffs, the Bengals are one of the most overrated. There's no way this team should be getting this kind of respect from oddsmakers. Cincinnati breezed to a 6-2 start thanks to playing one of the easiest schedules in the league, but their true colors showed in the second half as they went just 3-5 the rest of the way.
Houston won their first meeting with Cincinnati on the road by a final of 20-19 on December 11th. The Texans clearly outplayed the Bengals in that game as they gained 412 total yards to Cincinnati's 285. Quarterback T.J. Yates, who will be starting for the Texans Sunday, threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Texans to victory that day.
The Texans are a perfect 6-0 ATS in games where the line is +3 to -3 this season. Cincinnati is 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. AFC. Houston is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. a team with a winning record. The Texans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings with the Bengals. These four trends make for a 18-0 system backing Houston. Roll with the Texans Saturday.
|01-07-12||SMU +4 v. Pittsburgh||28-6||Win||100||18 h 56 m||Show|
15* SMU/Pittsburgh Compass Bowl ANNIHILATOR on SMU +4
The Pittsburgh Panthers should not be favored in the Compass Bowl Saturday. This is a program in transition, and their players have had a hard time staying focused in practices leading up to this game with all of the distractions.
While June Jones' name surfaced in the media about leaving SMU to coach elsewhere, he has elected to stay with the program. Meanwhile, Pitt coach Todd Graham has left to take the Arizona State job. Adding to the bitterness was Graham's decision to inform his players by text message that he was leaving after one year on the job.
Pitt just hasn't been the same team since leading rusher Ray Graham went out with a knee injury. Graham had rushed for 964 yards and nine touchdowns through their first eight games, so his loss was a big one. They have had to rely a lot more on quarterback Tino Sunseri, who just isn't capable of carrying their team. Take SMU Saturday.