|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-26-19||Tulane v. Navy UNDER 57.5||38-41||Loss||-105||44 h 14 m||Show|
15* AAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Tulane/Navy UNDER 57.5
Two familiar foes who love to run the football meet in a key AAC showdown when Navy hosts Tulane Saturday. I expect this to be a low-scoring game, and this total of 57.5 is simply too high. The clock will be moving constantly and both of these defenses are good enough to keep this game UNDER the number.
Navy is obviously a triple-option team still that runs the ball an average of 60 times per game. Tulane throws more than last year, but not that much more as they average 45 rushes per game. Navy averages 34 possession minutes per game as its key is to control the clock, and it has worked out well as the Midshipmen are greatly improved at 5-1 this season.
The biggest reason for Navy’s improvement has been their defense. They are only giving up 16.2 points per game, 282 yards per game and 4.6 yards per play, holding opponents to 8.6 points, 81 yards per game and 0.7 yards per play less than their season averages. They have been great at stopping the run, giving up just 97 rushing yards per game and 3.0 per carry and holding opponents to 64 rushing yards per game and 1.0 per carry less than their season averages.
Tulane boasts arguably the best defensive line in the AAC. That gives them a great chance of stopping Navy here. The Green Wave give up 23.1 points, 347 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play this season. They are giving up 142 rushing yards per game and 4.0 per carry, holding opponents to 41 rushing yards per game and 0.6 per carry less than their season averages.
Both of these teams are familiar with one another as this will be the 5th meeting in five years between these teams. That familiarity will help both in stopping the opposing offenses, which clearly favors the defenses. And all four previous meetings have seen 57 or fewer combined points and an average of just 45.3 combined points per game, which is roughly 12 points less than this 57.5-point total. Roll with the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|10-26-19||Virginia -3 v. Louisville||21-28||Loss||-110||44 h 14 m||Show|
15* ACC PLAY OF THE DAY on Virginia -3
Yes, I’m on Virginia again this week. And yes, it’s for many of the same reason. I really believe this is one of the better teams in the country and they should be 7-0, but since they are not they are still undervalued. I cashed in with them with ease over Duke in a 48-14 win as 3-point favorites last week. And I expect them to cover a similar spread this week against Louisville.
The reason I believe Virginia should be 7-0 is because they lost two games they should have won and are 5-2 instead. One was a 20-35 loss at Notre Dame as a 10.5-point dog. They led at halftime but committed five turnovers and gave the game away in the second half. They were only outgained by 5 yards by Notre Dame. The other was their 9-17 loss at Miami. They had six trips inside the Miami 25-yard line and came away with just three field goals, failing to score a single touchdown. So they basically gave both those games away.
This is a bad spot for Louisville. The Cardinals are coming off a 10-45 home loss to Clemson, and I think they could suffer a hangover from that defeat. They are pretty fortunate to be 4-3 this season because two of their wins came by a combined five points with their 41-39 win over Boston College and 62-59 win over Wake Forest. Their three losses all came by double-digits, including an 18-point home loss to Notre Dame to give them a common opponent.
The Cardinals didn’t play Notre Dame nearly as tough as Virginia did, and Virginia was on the road while Louisville was at home. Another common opponent is Florida State. Virginia beat Florida State 31-24 at home and outgained them by 86 yards, while Louisville lost 24-35 at Florida State and was outgained by 112 yards.
Virginia has the much superior defense in this matchup, and that’s another big reason I trust them more. The Cavaliers are only giving up 19.7 points, 270.3 yards per game and 4.3 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 5.7 points, 86 yards per game and 0.9 yards per play less than their season averages. Louisville gives up 33.4 points, 455.3 yards per game and 6.1 yards per play. Opponents are averaging 4.6 points, 42 yards per game and 0.3 yards per play more than their season averages on Louisville’s defense.
Louisville is 1-9 ATS vs. good offensive teams that score 31 or more points per game over the last two seasons. The Cavaliers are 8-1-2 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. The Cardinals are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 conference games. The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet Virginia Saturday.
|10-26-19||Nevada +14 v. Wyoming||Top||3-31||Loss||-106||43 h 45 m||Show|
20* Mountain West GAME OF THE WEEK on Nevada +14
The Wyoming Cowboys are one of the most fraudulent teams in college football. They are 5-2 this season but could easily be 2-5. Four of their five wins have come by 13 points or less with the only exception being a blowout win over a bad UNLV team. They beat Idaho by 5 as 27.5-point favorites and New Mexico by 13 as 17-point favorites. They should not be laying 14 points to Nevada here.
The numbers show that Wyoming is a fraud. The Cowboys have been outgained in six of their seven games this season, including by Texas State, Idaho, Tulsa and New Mexico, which are four bad teams. They are getting outgained by 47 yards per game on the season.
Nevada is one of the better teams in the Mountain West. They are 4-3 this season with their only losses coming to Oregon, Hawaii and Utah State. I know they have been going through a QB carousel, but I’m not too concerned about it because Wyoming has an awful offense that won’t be able to put away Nevada no matter who is under center.
Plays on road underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (Nevada) - off one or more consecutive unders, an average offensive team (21 to 28 PPG) against a good offensive team (28-34 PPG) are 27-6 (81.8%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Cowboys are 1-6 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. Take Nevada Saturday.
|10-26-19||Ohio v. Ball State -2.5||34-21||Loss||-109||43 h 44 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Ball State -2.5
Bettors just haven’t caught on with how good Ball State is this year because expectations were so low on them coming into the season. And bettors continue to give Ohio too much respect because the Bobcats were picked by many to win the MAC this year as expectations were high. Getting Ball State as only a 2.5-point home favorite over Ohio Saturday is a gift from oddsmakers.
It’s Ball State that is the team capable of winning the MAC this year. They have gone 4-3 SU & 5-2 ATS, including 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in MAC play. There were signs early in the season that this team was going to be good before we even got into conference play. They only lost by 10 at Indiana as 17.5-point dogs, and lost by 11 at NC State as 19-point dogs.
The Cardinals then opened MAC play with two straight outright road wins as underdogs over Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. Then they blew the doors off another MAC favorite in Toledo 52-14 at home last week. They put up 580 total yards on Toledo and held the Rockets to just 309 total yards, so it wasn’t a fluke.
Ohio is just 3-4 SU & 1-6 ATS this season, yet they continue to get respect from the books. Their three wins have come over Rhode Island, Buffalo (by 1) and Kent State (by 7). They lost on the road to Pitt and Marshall, were blasted by 25 at home by Lafayette in an upset, and were also upset by Northern Illinois at home. They gave up 39 points and 510 total yards to a bad NIU offense, while Ball State held NIU to 20 points and 388 yards to give them a common opponent.
The home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. It’s time for the Cardinals to exact some revenge on Ohio after getting blown out by them the last two seasons. Take Ball State Saturday.
|10-26-19||Iowa v. Northwestern +10.5||20-0||Loss||-115||41 h 44 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Northwestern +10.5
Everyone has left Northwestern for dead with their 1-5 start this season. This is exactly the time to ‘buy low’ on the Wildcats and head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who thrive in this underdog role with their backs against the wall.
The biggest reason for Northwestern’s struggles this season has been the schedule. In fact, Northwestern has faced the No. 1 toughest schedule in the entire country according to Sagarin. They have played Stanford, Wisconsin and Nebraska on the road, and Ohio State and Michigan State at home. That is simply murderer’s row.
The Wildcats have had an extra day to recover and regroup from their 3-52 home loss to Ohio State last Friday. Now, they face an Iowa Hawkeyes team that is more on their level. And it’s a Hawkeyes team that they own, going 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings with two outright wins as double-digit underdogs.
The Hawkeyes feasted on an early easy schedule of Miami Ohio, Rutgers, Iowa State and Middle Tennessee en route to a 4-0 start, and they were fortunate to beat Iowa State. But reality has set in since they got into Big Ten play, going 1-2 SU & 0-3 ATS with their only win coming against Purdue 26-20 as 17.5-point favorites.
Iowa’s offensive line is a mess right now due to injury and poor performance. They are averaging just 57.7 rushing yards per game and 1.9 yards per carry in Big Ten play. Their inability to run the ball is putting too much pressure on QB Nate Stanley, who is also without his favorite receiver in Brandon Smith (33 receptions, 407 yards, 4 TD) due to injury. You just can’t trust this Iowa offense to be laying double-digits on the road.
Northwestern is 21-7 ATS in its last 28 games following a double-digit home loss. The Wildcats are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Northwestern is 6-0 ATS when playing against a team that wins 60% to 75% of their games over the last two years. The Hawkeyes are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. Bet Northwestern Saturday.
|10-24-19||Redskins +17 v. Vikings||9-19||Win||100||9 h 15 m||Show|
15* Redskins/Vikings NFC ANNIHILATOR on Washington +17
This is a great time to ’sell high’ on the Minnesota Vikings and ‘buy low’ on the Washington Redskins. The Vikings are 5-2 SU & 5-2 ATS this season, while the Redskins are 1-6 SU & 2-5 ATS. Bettors want nothing to do with the Redskins and want to back the Vikings as a result. That creates artificial line inflation as the books don’t want to have one-sided action on the Vikings. This line should be less than two touchdowns, so we’ll take the value.
The headline surrounding this game is Kirk Cousins facing his former team. But what about Adrian Peterson and Case Keenum? Cousins chose to leave for Minnesota in free agency. Keenum was the one who would have been hurt because the Vikings didn’t want him despite a great season, electing to sign Cousins instead. And you know Adrian Peterson wants to have a big game against his former team.
I think having both Keenum and Peterson will be a huge advantage for the Redskins. They know all of Mike Zimmer’s defensive tendencies, so they won’t be surprised by anything they see. And I expect Washington players to rally around their veteran leaders and try and put forth their best game of the season here to try and get them both a win against their former team.
“It’s gonna help a lot, watching film and seeing some of their tendencies,” said Peterson on how his familiarity with the Vikings defense could help the offense on a short week. "Just knowing the personalities and their mentality right there is gonna be very important for me and being able to talk to these guys as well since it’ll probably be their first time going up against some of them.”
“This is where we’re at and there’s only one way to get out of it, is to get out of it together,” said offensive tackle Morgan Moses on how the locker room is dealing with the team’s tough start. “I think we have a great plan, I know the guys are still here, they’re still bought in. We show up everyday to work, to make our situation better.”
The Vikings have won and covered three straight coming in. They couldn’t possibly be more overvalued right now as a result. Kirk Cousins had a disastrous start in his first four games this season, but has gotten going against three bad defenses in the Giants, Eagles and Lions. Now, Cousins won’t have his favorite target in Adam Thielen, who suffered a hamstring injury in the win over the Lions last week.
Not having to face Thielen should make Washington’s job a lot easier on defense. They can now double-team Stephon Diggs because the Vikings simply don’t have any other great weapons. Focus on stopping Diggs and Dalvin Cook will give them a chance to be competitive in this game. It’s a Redskins defense that comes in playing well having given up just 12.5 points per game and 277 yards per game in their last two games overall.
Plus, Kirk Cousins is covering about 2/3 of the time in 1:00 EST games on Sunday’s, but he has shied away from the big stage. Cousins is only covering about 1/3 of the time with the Vikings in games not in the 1:00 EST Sunday time slot. Each of the last 10 meetings in this series have been decided by 12 points or less, making for a perfect 10-0 system backing the Redskins pertaining to this 17-point spread.
Plays on any team (Washington) - after being beaten by the spread by 42 or more points total in their last five games against an opponent that went over the total by 35 or more points total in their last three games are 25-5 (83.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take the Redskins Thursday.
|10-24-19||SMU -13 v. Houston||Top||34-31||Loss||-110||58 h 57 m||Show|
20* SMU/Houston ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on SMU -13
The SMU Mustangs are one of the best teams in the country that nobody is talking about. They are 7-0 SU & 6-1 ATS this season while covering the spread by a combined 81 points. They are covering by an average of 11.6 points per game, which really shows how underrated this team has been.
Now, SMU is laying less than two touchdowns to a Houston team that is in rebuilding mode. We’ll gladly back the Mustangs in what will be yet another blowout victory in their favor tonight. This is their chance to show the world how good they are with a standalone week night ESPN game, so I’m not worried at all about them having a letdown.
Houston pretty much sealed its fate when all-everything QB D’Eriq King and his favorite WR in Keith Corbin decided to redshirt after four games this season. Houston has gone 2-1 since, but just 1-2 ATS and their two wins were against North Texas and UConn. They lost by 15 at home to Cincinnati and will suffer a similar fate here against SMU.
Last week, Houston barely beat UConn 24-17 as 21.5-point favorites. That’s a UConn team that is one of the worst in all of college football. And Houston really should have lost that game as they were dominated in the box score. The Cougars managed just 286 total yards and gave up 438 yards to the Huskies, getting outgained by a whopping 152 yards.
SMU boasts a high-powered offense led by Texas transfer Shane Buechele at quarterback. They re putting up 44.3 pints and 521.1 yards per game this season. I expect them to match or exceed their season average considering they will be up against a soft Houston defense that allows 30.7 points and 473.9 yards per game this season. SMU has scored at least 41 points in six straight games, including against some good defenses in TCU, Temple and Tulsa.
I have been impressed with the improvement of SMU’s defense as much as anything this season, especially under an offensive-minded head coach like Sonny Dykes. They hold opponents to 370 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play, limiting them to 27 yards per game and 0.4 yards per play less than their season averages. So, this is an above-average defense coupled with one of the best offenses in the country. I don’t see any way Houston gets to 30 points in this one, which is at least what it will take to cover this spread.
The Cougars are 1-6 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. Houston is 0-4 ATS in its last four conference games. Bet SMU Thursday.
|10-21-19||Patriots v. Jets +10||Top||33-0||Loss||-110||110 h 28 m||Show|
20* Patriots/Jets MNF GAME OF THE MONTH on New York +10
The New York Jets have been a completely different team with Sam Darnold at quarterback. In their two games with him this season, they only lost 16-17 to the Bills and upset the Cowboys 24-22 as 7-point dogs. And they led 16-0 over Buffalo before linebacker C.J. Mosley went out with an injury, and gave up three straight scoring drives late to lose by one.
Darnold returned from Mono last week and had a great game against the Cowboys, going 23-of-32 passing for 338 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. They jumped out to a 21-3 lead early before the Cowboys made it interesting late with two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. And now, the Jets are expected to get back the quarterback of their defense in Mosley, who is one of the best linebackers in the NFL and has been out since Week 1.
The Jets want some revenge from a 14-30 road loss to the Patriots as 20.5-point dogs. They managed to cover that spread despite having the inept Luke Falk at quarterback. This team had no chance with Falk, and their season numbers are skewed because of having to start him for three games. The numbers look much better in games with Darnold at quarterback as he is simply picking up where he left off at the end of last year.
The Patriots are dealing with a ton of injuries themselves, especially on offense where they haven’t looked the greatest in recent weeks despite facing the Bills, Redskins and Giants. Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett are both banged up, but both are expected to play. Josh Gordon was forced to leave the Giants game last week with a leg injury, and his status is questionable, though I would guess he’s more doubtful. They lost FB James Devlin to a neck injury and their running game just hasn’t been the same since. The Patriots only average 102 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry this season.
The Patriots have put up historic numbers defensively thus far this season. However, it’s worth noting that they have played the single-easiest schedule (32nd) in the entire NFL. Five of the six teams they have played have two wins or less on the season with the one exception being the Bills, and they probably should have lost that game as they were outgained by 151 yards in that game. The Jets have played the 10th-toughest schedule as four of the five teams they have faced are .500 or better with the lone exception being the Browns.
Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (New England) - a good offensive team that averages 27 or more points per game, after allowing 14 points or less in two straight games are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (NY Jets) - revenging a same-season loss, off a home win are 37-13 (74%) ATS over the last 10 years. New York is 7-1-1 ATS in its last nine home games vs. a team with a winning record. Bet the Jets Monday.
|10-20-19||Saints v. Bears -3||Top||36-25||Loss||-115||124 h 10 m||Show|
20* NFC GAME OF THE MONTH on Chicago Bears -3
I’m fading the New Orleans Saints again this week. My handicap wasn’t bad on the Jaguars last week. I said Teddy Bridgewater and the Saints offense isn’t very good. And they only scored 13 points against the Jaguars. But they still won because their defense was lights out and held Gardner Minshew down.
They keep winning every close game because Bridgewater has been a game manager and their defense has been good enough. But the streak stops here. The Saints are way overvalued right now due to being 5-1, but all five victories have come by one score, so they have gone 5-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less. That’s very tough to sustain.
The Bears are pissed off coming off a loss to the Raiders in London. And they’ve had two weeks to get ready for the Saints as they are coming off their bye week. I’m not concerned at all whether Chase Daniel or Mitchell Trubisky starts for the Bears because I have them power rated the same. It looks like Trubisky is good to go, and he has the higher ceiling and more mobility.
The last time we saw the Bears at home they were shutting down the Vikings 16-6. And they will shut down Bridgewater and the Saints again this week. Chicago is giving up just 13.8 points per game this season and 8.0 points per game in their two home games against the Packers & Vikings.
The Saints are averaging just 18.3 points and 278 yards per game on the road this season. This is the best defense that Bridgewater will have seen yet. The Saints are giving up 374 yards per game on the road and getting outgained by 96 yards per game in their three road games this year.
The Bears are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 home games against a team with a winning record. The Bears are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 home games overall. They have had a great home-field advantage over the past few seasons. The Saints have notoriously struggled in road games outdoors on grass because it neutralizes their team speed. And it’s worth noting their best playmaker in Alvin Kamara is banged up right now. Take the Bears Sunday.
|10-20-19||Rams v. Falcons OVER 53.5||Top||37-10||Loss||-118||121 h 45 m||Show|
25* NFC TOTAL OF THE YEAR on Rams/Falcons OVER 53.5
Expect plenty of offensive fireworks in this game between the Rams and Falcons Sunday played inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It’s perfect conditions for a high-scoring affair between two of the better offenses in the NFL, but also two of the worst defenses in the league.
The Falcons rank 7th in total offense at 391.3 yards per game. The Rams are 12th in total offense at 370.8 yards per game. The Falcons are 26th in total defense, giving up 388.8 yards per game. And the Rams are 12th in total defense at 346.8 yards per game.
The Falcons are giving up 31.0 points per game this season. It’s like their defense has quit, but they have also been hit hard by injuries. The Falcons have been particularly bad defensively the last two weeks. They gave up 53 points to the Texans and 34 points to the Cardinals.
The Rams started the season pretty well defensively against some bad offenses, but they have been very poor defensively the last three weeks. They gave up 55 points to the Bucs, 30 to the Seahawks and 20 to the 49ers for an average of 35.0 points per game. I expect both offenses to top 28 points in this one, and likely to get into the 30’s with the winner scoring 40-plus.
The Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey, and he should play this week. But they also traded away CB Marcus Peters, lost their best corner in Aqib Talib to a rib injury, and lost one of their best pass rushers in Clay Matthews to a broken jaw. That helps explain why their defense has been so poor. Offensively, they should get back Todd Gurley from injury this week, who they didn’t have against the 49ers.
The Falcons are also dealing with a ton of injuries defensively as they are without S J.J. Wilcox, DT Michael Bennett, S Keanu Neal and S Johnathan Cyprien. They could also be without CB Desmond Trufant and CB Blidi-Wreh-Wilson, who are both questionable. These secondary injuries basically give them no chance of stopping anyone. Matt Ryan has thrown for over 300 yards in every game this season as the Falcons are consistently playing from behind. Fortunately, they have stayed almost 100% healthy on offense and have a ton of playmakers for Ryan.
The Rams are 7-0 OVER in their last seven road games after possessing the ball for 26 or fewer minutes and gaining 13 or fewer first downs in their previous game. The OVER is 5-1 in Rams last six games following an ATS loss. The OVER is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Atlanta with combined scores of 55, 58, 64 and 51 points. The OVER is 16-5 in the last 21 meetings overall. Bet the OVER in this game Sunday.
|10-20-19||Texans v. Colts -1||Top||23-30||Win||100||79 h 15 m||Show|
20* AFC South GAME OF THE MONTH on Indianapolis Colts -1
I really like the spot for the Indianapolis Colts this week. They are coming off a bye and first place in the AFC South is on the line. That’s why I’m not concerned at all bout them having any sort of letdown following their big upset road win over the Chiefs last time out.
The bye week came at a great time because the Colts were really banged up. Now the Colts should get back several key players this week, including their best defensive player in LB Darius Leonard, who led the NFL in tackles last season. They’ll be as healthy as they have been at any point in the season this week.
The Texans could suffer a letdown following their comeback from 14 points down at Kansas City last week to win 31-24. And they didn’t come out of that game unscathed. They have a ton of injuries at linebacker and in the secondary, as well as the offensive line. And those injuries to two starters up front will be where the Texans hurt the most.
The key to beating the Texans is to sack Deshaun Watson. The Falcons and the Chiefs weren’t able to get after him the last two weeks, but the Colts will be able to. The Texans managed just 13 points against the Jaguars, who rank 7th in adjusted sack rate. The Texans only managed 10 points against the Panthers, who rank 1st in adjusted sack rate. And the Colts rank 3rd in adjusted sack rate, so they will be in Watson’s face all game long, especially going up against a banged up offensive line.
The Colts are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record. Indianapolis is 14-3 SU in its last 17 home meetings with Houston. The Texans are 4-13 ATS in their last 17 road games off an upset win as an underdog. Houston is 3-10 ATS in its last 13 road games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with the Colts Sunday.
|10-19-19||Nevada +21 v. Utah State||10-36||Loss||-109||65 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Late-Night BAILOUT on Nevada +21
The Utah State Aggies are getting treated like the team they were last year and not like the team they are this year by oddsmakers. They had one of their best seasons in program history last year and lost head coach Matt Wells to Texas Tech as a result. Former Utah State head coach Gary Anderson has returned to the program, and the cupboard was left bare as the Aggies returned only nine starters this year.
Utah State is off to a 3-2 start this season, but it only has one win by more than 10 points, and that came against FCS opponent Stony Brook. In no way should the Aggies be favored by three touchdowns over Nevada here. They only beat a bad Colorado State team 34-24 as 23.5-point favorites in their last home game, and they lost 6-42 at LSU last time out. They simply aren’t nearly as good as they were last year.
Nevada returned from its bye with a solid 41-38 home win against an improved San Jose State team last week. Nevada was up 24-3 before taking its foot off the gas, so that game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. And it was the first start from former Florida State transfer Malik Henry at quarterback, and he was brilliant in leading the Wolf Pack to 41 points.
Henry was the #2 dual-threat QB in the country coming out of high school, but he had some depression issues at FSU that held him back. He has found a home here in Nevada now, and things are looking up for him after a great start last week. Henry threw for 352 yards and a touchdown against SJSU last week. Look for him to try and match Utah State QB Jordan Love score for score in this one.
Nevada has had Utah State’s number in recent years. Nevada is 8-3 SU in the last 11 meetings with its three losses coming by 4, 4 and 2 points. As you can see, Utah State hasn’t beaten Nevada by more than 4 points in any of the last 11 meetings, making for a perfect 11-0 system backing the Wolf Pack pertaining to this 21-point spread. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet Nevada Saturday.
|10-19-19||Florida State v. Wake Forest -1.5||20-22||Win||100||62 h 0 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Wake Forest -1.5
I believe the Wake Forest Demon Deacons got the humbling they needed last week against Louisville. They opened 5-0 before losing to the Cardinals 59-62 at home last week. It was a game they deserved to win as they outgained the Cardinals by 148 yards. But because they lost that game and they aren’t 6-0 now, we are getting the Demon Deacons at only -1.5 when they would probably be more than 3-point favorites had they won that game.
Florida State’s biggest rival is Clemson, and they lost to the Tigers 14-45 last week. I think the Seminoles suffer a hangover effect from that defeat and won’t be up for Wake Forest this week as a result. Clemson outgained the Seminoles by 299 yards and held them to just 253 yards while forcing four turnovers in the win.
I realize Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman was knocked out of the Louisville game with a shoulder injury. However, I don’t think there’s any difference between Newman and backup Sam Hartman, who gained starting experience for the Demon Deacons last year and is ready to go if called upon. Hartman went 9-of-15 for 172 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a score in place of an injured Newman last week and nearly led the comeback against Louisville.
The Seminoles will have their hands full against an explosive Wake Forest offense that puts up 39.7 points, 540 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play this season. They have a balanced attack with 209 rushing yards and 331 passing yards per game. They are very tough to tame, which is bad news for a FSU defense that allows 32.2 points and 464 yards per game.
Florida State is 1-8 ATS after playing three straight conference games over the last three seasons. The Seminoles are 0-7 ATS vs. excellent passing teams with a completion percentage of 62% or better over the last three years. Florida State is 0-3-1 ATS in its last four road games. The Demon Deacons are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a loss. The home team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. Bet Wake Forest Saturday.
|10-19-19||Michigan +9.5 v. Penn State||Top||21-28||Win||100||62 h 59 m||Show|
20* Michigan/Penn State ABC No-Brainer on Michigan +9.5
I’m back to fading Penn State again this week. I must really love misery. But in all seriousness, this line has gotten out of hand. It’s up to +9.5 now after opening around +7. I would consider my loss on Iowa +3.5 last week a bad beat, and the Nittany Lions are getting too much respect for that win.
The Hawkeyes outgained the Nittany Lions by 62 yards. But they missed a field goal and came up short on a 2-point conversion to lose by 5. They also fumbled a handoff inside their own 20 to gift wrap Penn State a touchdown. And Iowa also failed to score a touchdown from first and goal from the 3-yard line. Iowa was the right side in that game.
Penn State is 6-0, but they have been outgained in three of their six games. Not only were they outgained by Iowa, but they were also outgained at home by both Buffalo and Pitt. I really think this is one of the most overrated teams in the country. You’re going to hear a lot about Penn State playing at night and in a white out this week. And it seems like everyone is on the Nittany Lions because of it. I just think this is a great time to go contrarian.
Michigan can still achieve all of its goals if it wins out. I think we’re getting extra value on the Wolverines after their 42-25 win over Illinois last week. The Wolverines were up 28-0 before taking their foot off the gas. It’s like they were just ready to get to the Penn State game at halftime and forgot to play the second half.
Penn State’s offense just doesn’t have the firepower to put Michigan away by double-digits. Pitt held them to 17 points and Iowa held them to 17 points this season. And Michigan has as good or better defense than both of those teams. The Wolverines only allow 17.5 points, 283 yards per game this season and 4.2 yards per play this season. I expect this to be an ugly, low-scoring Big Ten game. So getting 9.5 points is a tremendous value.
Michigan beat Penn State 42-7 last year and held them to just 186 total yards. They outgained the Nittany Lions by 217 yards in the win. The Wolverines are now 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Penn State may ultimately win this game, but they have to beat us by double-digits to get the cover, and I just don’t think they can.
Plays against home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Penn State) - after scoring and allowing 17 points or less in their last game are 29-6 (82.9%) ATS over the last five seasons. Jim Harbaugh is 9-1 ATS vs. good rush defenses that allow 2.75 or fewer yards per carry in all games he has coached. The Nittany Lions are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win. Roll with Michigan Saturday.
|10-19-19||Kansas +21.5 v. Texas||48-50||Win||100||62 h 30 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Kansas +21.5
The Texas Longhorns are in a hangover spot here from their 27-34 loss to rival Oklahoma last week. Their dreams of playing in the four-team playoff have been crushed now with losses to Oklahoma and LSU, and it’s tough to get back up off the mat after such a crushing defeat. I look for them to go through the motions this week and fail to cover this massive 21.5-point spread against Kansas.
I’ve been saying Texas is overrated since before the season, and it has proven to be true. The Longhorns were fortunate to only lose 27-34 to Oklahoma. They were outgained by 201 yards by the Sooners and outgained by 3.5 yards per play in that game. Oklahoma averaged 7.7 yards per play while Texas only averaged 4.2 yards per play and was sacked nine times. But Oklahoma had two turnovers deep in Texas territory which kept the game closer than the final score.
Now Kansas and Texas have a common opponent in Oklahoma. Kansas only lost 20-45 at home to Oklahoma and was only outgained by 191 yards in that game, covering the 32-point spread. And now the Jayhawks have had two weeks to get ready for Texas after having their bye last week. I think we get a big effort out of the Jayhawks because of it.
Kansas has been a big thorn in Texas’ side in recent years. The Jayhawks are 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings, pulling the 24-21 upset as 23.5-point dogs in 2016, only losing 27-42 as 32-point road favorites in 2017, and only losing 17-24 as 15.5-point home dogs last year. The Jayhawks just seem to get up for Texas, while the Longhorns consistently overlook them.
Texas is 0-6 ATS in home games with a total of 56.5 to 63 over the last three seasons. Kansas is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a loss. The Jayhawks are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Kansas Saturday.
|10-19-19||Baylor v. Oklahoma State -3||Top||45-27||Loss||-110||113 h 30 m||Show|
25* Big 12 GAME OF THE YEAR on Oklahoma State -3
Of all the Power 5 teams that are still undefeated, both Baylor and Minnesota are clearly the two most overrated. They are overrated because both have feasted on easy schedules, and both are very fortunate to be 6-0. The Bears should have lost to both Iowa State and Texas Tech, winning those two games by a combined 5 points. And their other four wins have come against Stephen F. Austin, Rice, UTSA and Kansas State.
Baylor has played the 96th-toughest schedule this season according to the Sagarin ratings. Oklahoma State has played the 36th-toughest schedule. That’s a 60-spot difference in strength of schedule. He actually has Oklahoma State rated higher than Baylor despite being 4-2, and I agree with him. I think we are getting the Cowboys at a massive discount as only 3-point home favorites over the Bears here.
Oklahoma State’s two losses have both come on the road to Texas (30-36) and Texas Tech (35-45). That was not a bad loss to Texas, and the loss at Texas Tech was very fluky considering the Cowboys lost the turnover battle 5-0. And I loved how QB Spencer Sanders took all the blame in the loss, saying he was solely responsible for the five turnovers and has to be better. Keep in mind Baylor needed overtime to beat Texas Tech at home.
Now, the Cowboys are in a great spot here coming off their bye week and returning home. They have only played two home games compared to four road games this year, while Baylor has played four home games compared to only two road games. And the Cowboys will be highly motivated to stay in Big 12 title contention in this must-win situation for them.
There’s on injury for Baylor that is flying under the radar and not getting priced into the line. LB Clay Johnson suffered a season-ending knee injury against Texas Tech last week. Johnson leads the team with 58 tackles, and second place on the team has 30 tackles. He is the heart and soul of the defense. Now the Bears have to try and stop a Oklahoma State rushing attack that averages 279 rushing yards per game and 5.6 per carry without Johnson. Expect Chuba Hubbard (1,094 yards, 13 TD, 6.8/carry) to have a massive day on the ground against this Baylor defense Saturday.
Over the last 10 years, when Oklahoma State has been unranked and favored at home against a ranked team, they have gone a perfect 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS with all three wins coming by double-digits. The Cowboys are favored for good reason despite being unranked, but they aren’t favored by as much as they should be. Baylor is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 trips to Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys are 9-0 ATS in their last nine home games after a game where they committed five or more turnovers. The Cowboys are 7-0 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games. These three trends combine for a perfect 21-0 system backing the Cowboys. Bet Oklahoma State Saturday.
|10-19-19||Duke v. Virginia -3||Top||14-48||Win||100||58 h 59 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE MONTH on Virginia -3
I really like the spot for Virginia here. They are coming off back-to-back road losses to Notre Dame and Miami in games they felt like they should have won. I had Virginia in both of those games and felt like I deserved to win them both as well. Now the Cavaliers are back home here and still believe they can win the Coastal, but they certainly need to beat Duke if they are going to accomplish that goal.
The Cavaliers were getting +10.5 at Notre Dame and lost by 15. They were winning outright at halftime, and they were only outgained by 5 yards in that game, but they lost by 15 because they committed five turnovers. Then last week they were getting +3 at Miami. They outgained the Hurricanes by 61 yards and shut down the Miami offense. But Virginia left a ton of points in the board. The Cavaliers had six trips inside the Miami 25-yards line and managed just 9 points in a 9-17 loss. They failed to score a single touchdown.
Now, it’s a great time to buy low on the Cavaliers after those two losses where they probably deserved to win both and should be 6-0. And it’s time to sell high on Duke, which is coming off a misleading 41-23 home win over Georgia Tech, which is the worst team in the ACC. The Blue Devils won by 18 and covered the 17.5-point spread despite getting outgained by the Yellow Jackets.
This will easily be Duke’s toughest test since their 42-3 loss to Alabama in the opener. Their last five games since have come against NC A&T, Middle Tennessee, VA Tech, Pitt and Georgia Tech. And it’s worth noting that Duke lost at home to Pitt 30-33, while Virginia won 30-14 at Pitt to give these teams a common opponent.
Virginia owns Duke, going 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings while winning all four games by 7 points or more. And those were some pretty poor Virginia teams, while this 2019 version is the best team they have had in years. Duke is a team that likes to run the ball, averaging 183 yards per game on the ground. They’ll get plenty of resistance from a Virginia defense that gives up just 90 rushing yards per game and 2.7 per carry. That makes this a great matchup for the Cavaliers. Take Virginia Saturday.
|10-19-19||Georgia Tech +18.5 v. Miami-FL||28-21||Win||100||55 h 31 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Georgia Tech +18.5
The betting public wants nothing to do with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets right now. They are 1-5 SU & 0-6 ATS this season, failing to cover a spread yet. It was easy to see this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Yellow Jackets this season as they made the transition from Paul Johnson’s triple-option to Geoff Collins’ pro-style offense.
After a slow start, I have seen some real signs of progress by the Yellow Jackets, and I think it’s time to ‘buy low’ on them now. Two of their last three losses have been very misleading. They lost 2-24 at Temple but were only outgained by 18 yards. And last week they lost 23-41 at Duke, but actually outgained the Blue Devils by 6 yards. If they can finish equal in stats against those two teams, they certainly can hang with Miami this week.
I think it’s a great time to ’sell high’ on Miami off its misleading 17-9 home win over Virginia last week. The Hurricanes deserved to lose that game as they were outgained by 62 yards by Virginia. The Cavaliers had six trips inside the Miami 25-yard line, but only managed 9 points and didn’t score a single touchdown. I think the Hurricanes are now in a big letdown spot off that primetime win on National TV.
And there were some real concerns about Miami coming into that Virginia game. They had lost 35-42 at home to a Virginia Tech team that looked like they quit the previous week. And before that, they only beat Central Michigan 17-12 at home as 30.5-point favorites. This still isn’t a very good Miami team, and certainly not the type of team that should be laying a huge number to Georgia Tech here.
Georgia Tech hasn’t lost by more than 17 points to Miami in any of the last eight meetings in this series, making for a perfect 8-0 system backing the Yellow Jackets pertaining to this 18.5-point spread. The Hurricanes are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Plays on any team (Georgia Tech) - after five or more consecutive losses against the spread against an opponent that is off one or more consecutive ATS wins are 41-13 (75.9%) ATS over the last five seasons. This system just shows how profitable it is to back a team on a long ATS losing streak against a team on a winning ATS streak. Take Georgia Tech Saturday.
|10-18-19||UNLV +16 v. Fresno State||Top||27-56||Loss||-105||56 h 17 m||Show|
20* UNLV/Fresno State MWC Late-Night BAILOUT on UNLV +16
The Fresno State Bulldogs are one of the most overrated teams in the country this season. That’s because they covered a combined 20 spread over the previous two seasons. But that was a veteran team, and the Bulldogs are a young, inexperienced team now that returned only nine starters this year. This is clearly a rebuilding season, but they keep getting priced like they are one of the best teams in the Mountain West.
The Bulldogs are 2-3 SU & 1-3-1 ATS this season. Their only two wins both came against worse teams than UNLV and both by 14 points or less. They beat Sacramento State 34-20 as 24.5-point home favorites and New Mexico State 30-17 as 21-point road favorites. This game will be decided by 14 points or less as well.
UNLV has really impressed me in its last two games. The Rebels hung tough with Boise State for four quarters. They were only down 18 with two minutes left but missed an extra point. Then Boise State returned the onside kick inside the 10 and punched it in for a TD late to win by 25 and cover the 24.5-point spread.
Last week, UNLV’s 34-10 win at Vanderbilt as 16-point underdogs was no fluke. The Rebels outgained the Commodores 388 to 306 and were only +1 in turnovers. That victory certainly gives this team a lot of confidence heading into this showdown with Fresno State.
UNLV is a good rushing team that averages 180 rushing yards per game. The Rebels ran for 206 yards on Vanderbilt last week, and they should find plenty of success on the ground against a Fresno State defense that is allowing 156 rushing yards per game. They gave up 175 rushing yards to USC, 146 to Minnesota and 340 to Air Force last week in their 24-43 loss to the Falcons.
In their last trip to Fresno State, UNLV won outright 26-16 as 21.5-point underdogs in 2017. Plays on road underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (UNLV) - off one or more consecutive unders, an average offensive team (21 to 28 PPG) against a good offensive team (28 to 34 PPG) are 26-5 (83.9%) ATS over the last five seasons. Tony Sanchez is 16-7 ATS as a road underdog as the coach of UNLV. The Rebels are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 road games. Bet UNLV Friday.
|10-18-19||Ohio State v. Northwestern UNDER 49.5||52-3||Loss||-105||55 h 53 m||Show|
15* Ohio State/Northwestern Big Ten Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 49.5
The Northwestern Wildcats grow the grass on their home field in Evanston as long as possible. They do this to slow down the opposition, and it will come into play here against Ohio State. The Buckeyes won’t be as fast as they usually are on this grass field. It will give the Wildcats a chance to hang with them as their defense holds the Buckeyes to their lowest point total of the season Friday.
The Wildcats have one of the worst offenses in the country. They are scoring just 14.4 points per game, averaging 293 yards per game and their 3.9 yards per play ranks dead last in the entire country. I would be surprised if they score more than 10 points in this game, which would mean that Ohio State would need more than 38 points to beat us, and I don’t think they will get there.
Northwestern has always been a great defensive team under Pat Fitzgerald. That has been the case against this year as the Wildcats are only giving up 19.8 points per game, 319 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 7.8 points per game and 67 yards per game less than their season averages. In their last two games, they held Nebraska to 13 points and held Wisconsin’s offense to only 10 points. The Badgers got two defensive touchdowns in their 24-15 victory over the Wildcats.
Ohio State’s defense has been lights out this season, which is why I can’t see Northwestern scoring more than 10 points. The Buckeyes only give up 8.8 points per game, 234 yards per game and 3.7 yards per play. This is the best defense the Wildcats have faced this season, and they could easily get shut out. Both teams love to run the football as the Buckeyes average 46 rush attempts per game while the Wildcats average 42, which should keep the clock moving.
Ohio State is 7-0 UNDER after gaining 475 or more total yards in three straight games over the last two seasons. Northwestern is 10-1 UNDER after playing a road game over the last three seasons. The UNDER is 6-1 in Buckeyes last seven games on grass. The UNDER is 42-14-1 in Wildcats last 57 home games. Take the UNDER in this game Friday.
|10-17-19||UCLA v. Stanford -6.5||Top||34-16||Loss||-116||31 h 17 m||Show|
20* Pac-12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Stanford -6.5
The Stanford Cardinal have turned their season around. After opening 1-3 against a brutal schedule with losses at USC, at UCF and at home to Oregon, they have bounced back nicely in their last two games. They won 31-28 at Oregon State followed by a 23-13 home win over Washington as 12.5-point underdogs. Now they’ve had two weeks off to get ready for UCLA tonight.
I realize Stanford is down to its third-string quarterback, but that is factored into the line. And these injuries have brought the team closer together. I think the Cardinal are way undervalued as a result of these QB injuries and some other injuries along the offensive line. The quotes coming from the players and coaches right now make me want to get behind them.
A sophomore from Alabama, QB Jack West took all the reps in practice Monday after playing the final 10 minutes against Washington after backup Davis Mills went out. West took a lot of reps as the primary backup in spring ball than he normally would because of the situation with starter KJ Costello. He has continued to get additional reps the past few weeks, too.
“I had a great conversation with Jack at the end of training camp,” head coach David Shaw said. “I said I have no issues with him playing. If he plays, I know we can run anything in the playbook. It was a compliment to how hard he has worked. If he goes out to play, we’ll be able to run the whole playbook.”
Stanford also has some injuries on the offensive line as they finished the game playing three true freshmen. The 11-day break could mean that some of those injuries heal, but in a strange way, the injuries have brought Stanford’s players closer together.
“It hasn’t helped up but it has rallied us,” running back Cameron Scarlett said. “Seeing a guy go down, you want to do all you can to make sure you make a play for him. It’s definitely rallied us. We knew adversity was going to strike at some point this season. Didn’t think it would strike this hard, this fast, but we just have to respond and keep it moving.”
Scarlett has been a big reason why the Cardinal have overcome some of the injury issues. He rushed for 97 yards in the loss to Oregon, 92 yards in the win over Oregon State, and then piled up a career-best 157 yards on 33 carries against a good Washington defense.
UCLA is quickly making a case to be the worst team in the Pac-12. They came into the season overrated, and they have really disappointed by going 1-5 SU & 1-4-1 ATS. Their only win came when they trailed by 32 points at Washington State, so they easily could be 0-6. Their 31-48 home loss to Oregon State last time out really showed that this team is pretty much quitting on head coach Chip Kelly.
Stanford owns UCLA, going 11-0 SU & 9-1-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings with 10 of those wins coming by 7 points or more. The Cardinal are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 games vs. a team with a losing record. Bet Stanford Thursday.
Note: Stanford is down to -3 as of 2:00 EST Thursday afternoon. It's still a 20* play at that number.
|10-17-19||Chiefs v. Broncos +3.5||30-6||Loss||-115||15 h 33 m||Show|
15* Chiefs/Broncos AFC West ANNIHILATOR on Denver +3.5
The Kansas City Chiefs are broken defensively. It doesn’t matter how good their offense is, they simply cannot overcome their defensive woes. And they have so many injuries right now on both sides of the ball that they just can’t get anything fixed. Plus, they are on a short week here and traveling to play in altitude, making matters worse for them.
The Chiefs are 1-2 SU & 0-3 ATS in their last three games overall. They were fortunate to win 34-30 over the Lions three weeks ago on the road, but failed to cover as 7-point favorites. Then they lost 13-19 as 10.5-point home favorites to the Colts. And last week they lost 24-31 as 3.5-point home favorites to the Texans. You know this team is not right when they are losing back-to-back home games.
The Denver Broncos opened 0-4 and mostly everyone but the guys in the locker room gave up on this team. They have rebounded with two impressive victories, winning 20-13 on the road over the Chargers as 4.5-point dogs and topping the Titans 16-0 at home as 1-point favorites. Now, the Broncos know that with a win Thursday they can pull within one game of the Chiefs for the division lead. That’s why I think they will be the more motivated team here.
When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see the Broncos are better than their 2-4 record would indicate. They have outgained four of their six opponents this season. They are outgaining foes by 28 yards per game and 0.4 yards per play this year. They are a lot more healthy than the Chiefs and are expected to get WR Emanuel Sanders back from injury this week. But look for them to run the football as much as possible and try to control the time of possession, taking a blueprint from the Colts and Texans the last two weeks.
The Texans rushed 41 times for 192 yards on the Chiefs, while the Colts rushed 45 times for 180 yards. Teams have gashed the Chiefs on the ground all season. The Chiefs rank 30th in the NFL against the run, giving up 161.8 rushing yards per game. They are also tied for 30th in giving up 5.2 yards per carry.
The Chiefs are having a hard time possessing the ball for long, which is putting their defense in some terrible predicaments. That’s the knock on Andy Reid is that he gets too pass-happy. The Chiefs only ran the ball 14 times for 36 yards against the Colts. They ran even less against the Texans with 11 rushes for 53 yards. And Reid is stubborn and won’t change his strategy now.
Patrick Mahomes is battling an ankle injury that has really limited his mobility, and he’s just not the same player right now because of it. Not to mention, he’s missing some key pieced on offense, including Sammy Watkins and a pair of offensive linemen. Defensively, the Chiefs are in even worse shape. They are without their best defensive player in DT Chris Jones. They are also without DT Xavier Williams. They could be without CB Kendall Fuller and LB Anthony Hitchens.
The Broncos played the Chiefs tough in both meetings last year, and they weren’t very good while the Chiefs were one of the best teams in the NFL. They only lost 23-27 at home as 3.5-point dogs, and they only lost 23-30 on the road as 8.5-point dogs. They actually outgained the Chiefs 796 to 786 in those two meetings as well and arguably should have won both.
Plays against any team (Kansas City) - off two or more consecutive upset losses as a favorite, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a team with a losing record are 35-11 (76.1%) ATS since 1983. The Chiefs are 2-14 ATS in their last 16 games after gaining 6 or more yards per play in four consecutive games. Kansas City is 0-4 ATS in its last four road games vs. a team with a. Losing record. The Broncos are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 Thursday games. Roll with the Broncos Thursday.
|10-16-19||South Alabama v. Troy UNDER 57.5||Top||13-37||Win||100||8 h 22 m||Show|
20* South Alabama/Troy ESPN 2 Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 57.5
In-state rivals Troy and South Alabama meet tonight in Sun Belt action. I expect this to be a low-scoring affair and stay UNDER the posted total of 57.5. Both teams come in on extra rest and preparation time, which favors the defenses. South Alabama hasn’t played in 13 days, while Troy hasn’t played in 11 days.
The UNDER is 3-1-1in five meetings over the last five seasons. But all five meetings have seen 55 or fewer combined points, so the OVER would be 5-0 on this 57.5-point total. They have averaged just 42.2 combined points per game in those five meetings, which is roughly 15 points less than this posted total. The last two meetings in Troy have seen 27 and 42 combined points.
South Alabama is a bad offensive football team. The Jaguars average just 16.8 points and 319 yards per game this season. I just don’t see them scoring too many points here to contribute to the over. They are 0-3 on the road and scoring 13.7 points per game and averaging 294 yards per game. However, they do have an improved defense this year, giving up 29.3 points and 400 yards per game.
Troy’s numbers are skewed to the over due to two games against good offensive teams in Southern Miss and Arkansas State. They combined for 89 points with Southern Miss and 93 points with Arkansas State. However, their other three games have all seen 57 or fewer combined points. They combined for 57 with Campbell, 42 with Akron and 52 with Missouri. And this South Alabama offense is one of the worst they’ve been up against this season, comparable to Akron and Campbell.
The UNDER is 5-1 in South Alabama’s six games this season with combined scores of 56 or fewer in all six games. South Alabama is 10-2 UNDER in its last 12 games after scoring 7 points or less in two straight games. The UNDER is 4-1 in Jaguars last five road games. The UNDER is 9-2 in Trojans last 11 games after gaining less than 100 rushing yards in their previous game. Bet the UNDER in this game Wednesday.
|10-14-19||Lions v. Packers UNDER 46||Top||22-23||Win||100||70 h 37 m||Show|
20* Lions/Packers ESPN Monday No-Brainer on UNDER 46
This total seems a little high for two teams with suspect offenses up against two improved defenses. Plus it’s a division rivalry, so these teams are very familiar with one another. I expect a low-scoring, defensive battle in this one that stays UNDER the combined total of 46 points. It also helps that it’s going to be cold out with temperates expected to be 34 degrees Monday night.
You would be hard-pressed to find a defense that is as improved as much as the Packers are this season. They are only giving up 18.6 points per game. They have made some great additions in the secondary throughout the draft, and also acquired some impressive free agents up front. They have been great against the pass but poor against the run this season.
The good news for the Packers is that the Lions aren’t a team that runs the football very well as they averaging just 3.9 yards per carry this year. I expect the Lions to try and utilize their ground game more in this one, which will keep the clock moving. They do average 31 rush attempts per game, which is way up from normal for them as they try and get their renewed run game going with consistency. It just hasn’t worked out very well for them.
The Lions are scoring 24.2 points per game this year, but they have played basically all soft defenses in the Cardinals, Chargers, Eagles and Chiefs. This will easily be the best defense they have faced yet. The Packers have struggled offensively, averaging 23.8 points per game but only 337 yards per game.
Life gets much more difficult for the Packers this week as they have a ton of injury concerns on offense. They will be without star WR Devante Adams, who is quickly thrusting himself in among the Top 5 receivers in the game. They could also be without RB Jamaal Williams and C Corey Linsley in this game. I believe the Lions can slow them down, especially without having to deal with Adams.
Detroit is 32-16 UNDER in its last 48 road games after allowing 30 points or more last game. The UNDER is 5-0 in Packers last five vs. NFC North opponents. The UNDER is 5-1 in Lions last six games following a bye week. The UNDER is 5-1 in Lions last six games following a loss.
Plays on the UNDER on any team against the total (Green Bay) - after going over the total by 28 or more points in their last three games, a good team winning 75% or more of their games on the season are 34-11 (75.6%) over the last five seasons. Bet the UNDER in this game Monday.
|10-13-19||Steelers +7 v. Chargers||24-17||Win||100||46 h 43 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Chargers NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Pittsburgh +7
The Los Angeles Chargers just can’t be this heavily favored at home. They are 1-2 at home this season with their only win coming over the Colts in overtime. They were also upset by the Texans and the Broncos at home this year. They simply have no home-field advantage with a tiny stadium and fair-weather fans.
The Steelers travel well, and I won’t be surprised if this feels like a home game for them based on what I’ve seen out of the Chargers in the past. They should not be catching 7 points here, not even with a third-string quarterback after Mason Rudolph was knocked out with a concussion last week.
I love the story of Steelers’ QB Devlin Hodges. He was lightly recruited out of high school and chose to stay closer to home and attend Samford. All he did was go on to becoming the FCS record holder in career passing yards with 14,584, breaking the previous record held by Steve McNair. Despite that, he wound up going undrafted.
Hodges kept his poise, and he earned a practice squad spot on the Steelers. He kept making plays and great throws in practice, and eventually made the 53-man roster to be the backup QB last week. And he held his own when replacing Rudolph, completing 7-of-9 passes for 68 yards in the OT loss to the Ravens. It certainly wasn’t his fault they lost that game. Hodges is a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder, and now he has a full week of practice to prepare to be the starter.
No team has been hit harder by injuries than the Chargers, which is why they shouldn’t be this heavily favored. They are without S Derwin James, T Russell Okung, S Adrian Phillips, WR Dontrell Inman, K Michael Badgley and C Mike Pouncey. They could also be without TE Hunter Henry and DE Melvin Ingram, who are both questionable after missing last week. These injuries are a big reason why the Chargers are just 2-3 this season. Their only blowout win by more than 6 points came against the Miami Dolphins, the worst team in the NFL.
Conversely, the Steelers have only been blown out once, and that was the opener at New England. Their other three losses all came by 4 points or less, so I think they are undervalued right now because of their 1-4 record when they could easily be 3-2. The Steelers are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games following an ATS win. The Chargers are 11-28-1 ATS in their last 40 home games. Roll with the Steelers Sunday.
|10-13-19||Saints v. Jaguars -1||Top||13-6||Loss||-110||60 h 48 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE MONTH on Jacksonville Jaguars -1
I’ve been so impressed with rookie QB Gardner Minshew of the Jaguars. He has single-handedly injected life into this Jaguars team following their Week 1 loss to the Chiefs. They have gone 3-1 ATS since Minshew took over. And in three of his four games, he has led a late drive in the 4th quarter to give his team a chance to win. All three of those games were on the road, too.
The Jaguars only lost by 1 at Houston after falling inches short on a 2-point conversion. They got a late score to beat the Broncos 26-24 outright as underdogs in Denver. And last week Minshew was chucking it into the end zone in the final seconds of a 27-34 loss at Carolina. They also beat Tennessee 20-7 in his lone home start in a game that was never in doubt.
Minshew is completing 67% of his passes for 1,279 yards with a 9-to-1 TD/INT ratio this season. This is a Jaguars offense that just put up 507 total yards on a good Panthers defense last week. They had 455 yards on the Broncos last week. I think the last time we’ve seen a Jacksonville offense this explosive was back in the Mark Brunell days. The threat of Minshew has opened up running lanes for Leonard Fournette as well as the Jaguars have rushed for an average of 209 yards per game the last two weeks.
It’s time to ’sell high’ on the Saints. They are off to a 4-1 start this season despite losing Drew Brees in Week 2. They have played four straight games against NFC teams, and they are coming off a division win last week over the Bucs. Now they step out of conference and won’t be nearly as motivated here against the Jaguars.
The Saints have not put up very good numbers at all in their two road games this year. They have been outgained by an average of 193 yards per game in their road games against the Rams and Seahawks. The Jaguars simply need this win more as they sit at 2-3 on the season. I expect them to get it Sunday done Sunday at home with the help of a Saints team that won’t be as interested.
Jacksonville is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 home games after gaining six or more yards per play in two consecutive games. Fans will be excited to see Minshew in action because he hasn’t played at home in nearly a month with their last home game on September 19th. They’ll have a bigger home-field advantage than normal as a result. And there’s a good chance Jacksonville gets back CB Jalen Ramsey from injury this week. Bet the Jaguars Sunday.
|10-13-19||Eagles v. Vikings -3||20-38||Win||100||38 h 22 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Minnesota Vikings -3
The Minnesota Vikings showed some resiliency following their lackluster road loss to the Bears in Week 4. They bounced back with a 28-10 road win over the New York Giants in a game that wasn’t even that close. The Vikings outgained the Giants 490 to 211 and really should have won by even more.
Now, the Vikings return home where they have one of the best home-field advantages in the entire NFL. No stadium gets louder than Minnesota, and they have dominated in both of their home games this season. They are 2-0 and outscoring their opponents by 18.0 PPG. They beat the Falcons 28-12 before crushing the Raiders 34-14.
Mike Zimmer is 31-12 ATS in all home games as the coach of the Vikings. He has been even better as a home favorite when he has stepped outside the division. In fact, the Zimmer is 20-2 SU & 18-2-2 ATS as a home favorite against non-division opponents as the coach of Minnesota.
The Eagles are getting a little too much love for their 31-6 home win over the hapless New York Jets last week. Keep in mind this is a team that has lost to the Lions and Falcons this year, and they barely beat the Redskins. And the injury situation is not a good one for the Eagles. They are without DT Malik Jackson, DT Timmy Jernigan, WR DeSean Jackson, CB Ronald Darby, CB Avonte Maddox and RB Darren Sproles.
I think those two losses at defensive tackle in Jackson and Jernigan hurt the Eagles more than anything in this matchup with the Vikings. Minnesota has a renewed focus on running the football on offense this year. The Vikings are executing it to perfection as they are rushing for 166 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry this season. This is easily the best rushing attack that the Eagles have faced yet as they have almost exclusively gone up against pass-heavy teams. Only one team has tried to run the ball more than 20 times on the Eagles this year.
The Vikings are 7-0 ATS in home games when the total is 42.5 to 49 over the last 2 seasons. The Vikings are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Minnesota is 38-16-1 ATS in its last 55 home games overall. Carson Wentz will be up against the best defense he has faced this year, and I expect him to struggle. Take the Vikings Sunday.
|10-12-19||Penn State v. Iowa +3.5||Top||17-12||Loss||-108||72 h 10 m||Show|
25* Big Ten GAME OF THE YEAR on Iowa +3.5
The Iowa Hawkeyes finally got the humbling they needed last week on the road at Michigan. They lost that game 10-3 as their offense gave the game away. They committed 4 turnovers, including 3 interceptions from senior QB Nathan Stanley. Stanley is the kind of QB I trust to bounce back from such a bad performance. He still has a 60-to-19 TD/INT ratio for his career.
Now the Hawkeyes return home where they are 3-0 and winning by 33.0 PPG. This will be a night game for the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium, which is one of the best atmospheres in the entire country. They have knocked off Michigan and Ohio State in recent years outright as home underdogs. In fact, Iowa has covered 70% of the time as a home underdog since 2000 in 22 attempts.
And Iowa wants revenge from a pair of tough losses to Penn State over the last two years. They lost 19-21 at home to Penn State as 12.5-point dogs in 2017. And last year they lost 24-30 at Penn State as 5-point dogs in a game they dominated everywhere but the scoreboard. And those were better Penn State teams than this 2019 version.
Yes, the Nittany Lions are 5-0, but they are a fraudulent 5-0. They have played four home games and just one road game at Maryland, which is essentially a home game for them as they had a ton of fans there. They have played the 86th-toughest schedule in the country. And that easy schedule is a big reason why I’m fading them this week.
The Nittany Lions were outgained by 72 yards at home by Buffalo in a very misleading final. They were also outgained at home by Pittsburgh in a lackluster 17-10 win. Pittsburgh is a poor man’s Iowa. This will be by far their toughest test of the season. Iowa has already played two very difficult games on the road against Iowa State and Michigan, so they are battle-tested.
Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country giving up just 8.8 points and 254 yards per game. The Nittany Lions are 0-17 ATS in their last 17 games vs. teams who give up 12 or fewer points per game. Penn State is 6-23 ATS in its last 29 road games after allowing 9 points or less last game. Iowa is 20-6 ATS in its last 26 vs. good offensive teams that score 37 or more points per game.
Plays against any team (Penn State) - after beating the spread by 40 or more points total in their last five games, a top-level team winning 80% or more of their games when playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Iowa Saturday.
|10-12-19||Nebraska +7.5 v. Minnesota||7-34||Loss||-109||72 h 8 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Nebraska +7.5
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are probably the most fraudulent 5-0 team in the country. Four of their five wins have come by 7 points or less, and the lone exception was a 23-point home win over Illinois last week in which the Fighting Illini were decimated by injuries. So, getting 7.5 points here with Nebraska is a tremendous value considering this is easily the toughest team they have faced yet.
Minnesota’s five wins have come against South Dakota State, Fresno State, Georgia Southern, Purdue and Illinois. They could easily be 2-3 instead of 5-0, too. They have played the 84th-toughest schedule in the country. I think they get a reality check here Saturday against the Cornhuskers, who are in must-win mode if they want to win the Big Ten West.
Nebraska is 4-2, but should be 5-1. They blew a 17-0 lead at Colorado and lost 31-34. Their other loss came to Ohio State, who may be the best team in the country. It’s a Nebraska team that has put up good numbers averaging 5.9 yards per play on offense and giving up only 5.1 yards per play on defense. And they’ve played the much tougher schedule having already played Ohio State.
I realize QB Adrian Martinez is questionable, but that is factored into the line. And it’s not like Martinez has been a world beater. Nebraska has a nice safety blanked in backup QB Noah Vedral, who spent time with Scott Frost at UCF and really knows the playbook. Vedral led the game-winning drive against Northwestern last week after Martinez left with injury. Not to mention another backup in Luke McCaffrey, Christian’s brother, is one of the top athletes on the team. The Huskers will be just fine if Martinez cannot go.
Minnesota had 239 more yards than Illinois last week, a banged up Illinois team. Well, Nebraska had 391 more yards than Illinois when they played them on the road earlier this season, which shows they are probably the better of these two teams, yet they are catching more than a touchdown. I simply believe Nebraska is undervalued right now after starting 1-5 ATS on the season, and they had a big second half of the season last year, which is something they can fall back on this year too.
Nebraska is 30-10 ATS in its last 40 games after failing to cover four or five of its last six games coming in. The Huskers are 6-0 ATS off three straight conference games over the last two seasons. Nebraska is 21-10-1 ATS in its last 32 road games. The Golden Gophers are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 games following an ATS win. Roll with Nebraska Saturday.
|10-12-19||San Jose State v. Nevada -2||38-41||Win||100||69 h 37 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Nevada -2
I love the spot for the Nevada Wolf Pack in this game. They are coming off a bye week following an embarrassing home loss to Hawaii. Now everyone has written them off, and I have no doubt they were extra focused these last two weeks to correct their mistakes. They are primed for their best effort of the season at home against San Jose State this weekend now.
That’s saying a lot considering they already beat Purdue 34-31 at home, and that was back when Purdue was healthy and good. Their two losses have come to Oregon and Hawaii, who are both two very quality teams. Now they take a step back in class here against San Jose State, a team they should be able to handle.
San Jose State is getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers due to beating Arkansas 31-24 on the road. The other two wins came at home over Northern Colorado and New Mexico as favorites, which weren’t impressive. They also lost at home by 18 against a mediocre Tulsa team, and were blown out on the road 24-41 at Air Force. That was a 10-41 game against Air Force before they tacked on two garbage touchdowns late.
The bye week was the perfect time to name Malik Henry their new starting quarterback. Henry was the No. 3 ranked QB coming out of high school and has transferred to Nevada from Florida State. It’s a surprise he didn’t win the job from the start, and he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. Having two weeks to get accustomed to the offense due to the bye week will be a huge advantage for him.
Nevada is 8-0 SU & 7-1 ATS in its last eight home meetings with San Jose State. It is winning these games by an average of 22.6 points per game. Getting the Wolf Pack as only 2-point favorites here is an absolute gift from oddsmakers. Nevada is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 home games after scoring 14 points or less last game. The Wolf Pack are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a bye week.
Plays against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (San Jose State) - off a home win over a conference rival, winning between 51% and 60% of their games on the season are 30-6 (83.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Nevada Saturday.
|10-12-19||Alabama v. Texas A&M +17||47-28||Loss||-110||68 h 17 m||Show|
15* Alabama/Texas A&M CBS No-Brainer on Texas A&M +17
The Texas A&M Aggies are treating this game as their Super Bowl. They already have two losses on the season, so for them to really call this a successful year, they need to upset Alabama. Look for them to put forth their biggest effort of the season at home here Saturday with the 12th man behind them at Kyle Field.
Yes, Texas A&M has two losses, but they were competitive in both. They lost to Clemson 10-24 and to Auburn 20-28. Both teams are ranked in the Top 12 in the country. If they can play with both of those teams, they should be able to stay within 17 points of Alabama at home here Saturday.
Obviously, the Aggies have played a tough schedule having already had to play Clemson and Auburn. Alabama has played the much easier schedule as the toughest team they have faced is South Carolina, which is ranked 38th in the Sagarin ratings. Their other four wins have come against Duke, New Mexico State, Southern Miss and Ole Miss.
This Alabama defense has shown vulnerability due to injuries. They gave up 23 points and 459 total yards to South Carolina and 31 points and 476 total yards to Ole Miss. It’s safe to say they don’t have the same lockdown defense they have had in years’ past. Kellen Mond and company should be able to score with Alabama and take advantage of their soft defense.
Texas A&M has been able to play Alabama tougher than most teams in recent years. Indeed, six of the last seven meetings have been decided by 22 points or fewer. Jimbo Fisher will have his players ready for the fight of their lives this weekend to try and turn their season around. Plus, defensively the Aggies are elite, giving up just 17.8 points per game, 299.8 yards per game and 4.7 yards per play this season. I would argue they have the better defense this year.
Texas A&M is 8-1 ATS vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 62% or better over the last three seasons. Nick Saban is 9-18 ATS when the total is 56.5 to 63 as the coach of Alabama. The Crimson Tide are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a win. The Aggies are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 home games. Take Texas A&M Saturday.
|10-12-19||Michigan State +11 v. Wisconsin||Top||0-38||Loss||-115||68 h 9 m||Show|
20* Michigan State/Wisconsin Big Ten No-Brainer on Michigan State +11
The Michigan State Spartans are way undervalued right now. They are coming off a 10-34 loss at Ohio State, and everyone seems to have given up on this team now. This is exactly the type of game I like backing the Spartans in as head coach Mark Dantonio always seems to get his team to respond. It’s a great time to ‘buy low’ on the Spartans this week.
Michigan State should be 5-1 this season with its only loss on the road at Ohio State. And Ohio State is making everyone look bad and may be the best team in the country. I say they should be 5-1 because they have outgained five of six opponents this year by an average of 160.4 yards per game. Their 7-10 loss to Arizona State was a fluke because they outgained the Sun Devils by 188 yards.
Wisconsin is overvalued due to being 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS this season. Now they are laying too many points this week against a Michigan State team that I believe is close to their equal. It’s exactly the type of matchup that these teams love, and so do teams like Iowa and Northwestern in the Big Ten West. Games that are expected to be physical, low scoring games are what these teams live for.
Favorites of more than 7 points with a total of 43 or less are covering just 43% of the time over the last 17 seasons, a sample size of more than 400 games. Favorites have a hard time covering when it’s expected to be a low-scoring game.
Plus, these teams now have a common opponent in Northwestern. Wisconsin beat Northwestern only 24-15 at home despite getting two defensive touchdowns. Michigan State beat Northwestern 31-10 on the road. Those results against a common opponent give me a lot of confidence that the Spartans can give the Badgers a run for their money, possibly pulling off the upset.
That 24-point loss to Ohio State also sets Michigan State up for a great situation. Michigan State is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games off a double-digit loss with its only loss coming by a field goal. We saw how well the Spartans bounced back off that fluke loss to Arizona State with their 21-point win at Northwestern. And the Spartans will be looking to salvage their season with an upset victory here Saturday.
Michigan State is 5-4 SU & 6-3 ATS in its last nine meetings with Wisconsin. The Badgers have only beaten the Spartans by double-digits once in the last nine meetings. Wisconsin is 0-6 ATS after gaining 300 or more rushing yards last game over the past two seasons. Dantonio is 9-1 ATS in road games with a total of 42 or less as the coach of Michigan State.
Plays against any team (Wisconsin) - after beating the spread by 40 or more points total in their last five games, a top level team winning at least 80% of their games playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Michigan State Saturday.
|10-12-19||Oklahoma v. Texas +11||34-27||Win||100||65 h 43 m||Show|
15* Oklahoma/Texas FOX Early ANNIHILATOR on Texas +11
The Oklahoma Sooners are overvalued after a 5-0 start against a very soft schedule. They haven’t played a team ranked higher than 43rd in the Sagarin ratings. The best team they have played thus far is Texas Tech, and two of their other premier games were against Houston and UCLA. The other two wins have come against South Dakota and Kansas.
Conversely, Texas has played the 16-toughest schedule in the country. Their 38-45 loss to LSU is looking better and better by the week. They have also beaten Oklahoma State, West Virginia, LA Tech and Rice thus far. I think the fact that the Longhorns are battle-tested is a huge advantage for them heading into this Red River Rivalry.
Texas always seems to play Oklahoma tough. Texas is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings with only one loss coming by double-digits, and that was a 12-point defeat. The Longhorns have covered those games by an average of 11.5 points per game. And we all know that Tom Herman loves playing the role of underdog. In fact, Herman is 13-3 ATS as an underdog as the coach of Texas.
Jalen Hurts has been up against a schedule of very soft defenses, and he’ll finally get some resistance here against Texas. His accuracy as a passer will finally get tested here. And the Longhorns have been good at stopping the run, holding opponents to just 117 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry. They will make Hurts try and beat them with his arm, and I’m doubting he’ll be able to do it.
Texas is 6-0 ATS in road games after playing a game where 60 or more total points were scored over the last three seasons. Herman is 11-2 ATS vs. good rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. The Longhorns are 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral site games, while the Sooners are just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games. Bet Texas Saturday.
|10-12-19||South Carolina +25 v. Georgia||Top||20-17||Win||100||65 h 39 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on South Carolina +25
For starters, I love the fact that South Carolina is coming off a bye week. This has given them extra time to get healthy, and nobody needed it more than their two best offensive players in QB Ryan Hilinski and RB Rico Dowdle. Both are now probably and expected to play in this game against rival Georgia.
The Gamecocks bounced back nicely going into the bye with a 24-7 home win over Kentucky. They dominated that game by outgaining the Wildcats by 175 yards in the win. Hilinski has been impressive competing 61% for 912 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Dowdle has rushed for 370 yards and four scores while averaging 6.6 per carry.
Georgia is coming off a misleading 43-14 win at Tennessee last week. This was a 15-point game with only eight minutes to go against a very bad Tennessee team that might be the worst in the SEC. But Georgia tacked on two touchdowns in the final minutes to cover, including a 69-yard fumble recovery for a score. It was such a bad beat for Tennessee backers that it ended up on SVP bad beats. I think Georgia is overvalued because they covered that game.
South Carolina always seems to play Georgia tough. In fact, the Gamecock’s have only lost once by more than 24 points to the Bulldogs in the last 42 meetings. That’s a 41-1 system backing South Carolina pertaining to this 25-point spread. Enough said. Take South Carolina Saturday.
|10-11-19||Virginia +2.5 v. Miami-FL||Top||9-17||Loss||-109||48 h 19 m||Show|
20* Virginia/Miami ESPN No-Brainer on Virginia +2.5
Wrong team favored here. The Virginia Cavaliers are a legit ACC title contender this season and have been the best team in the Coastal to this point. They will prove they are the class of the Coastal with a road win at hapless Miami Friday night.
The Cavaliers are 4-1 this season with wins over Florida State and Pittsburgh. Their only loss came on the road at Notre Dame in a game they led at halftime, but five turnovers did them in in a misleading 20-35 loss. The Cavaliers were only outgained by 5 yards by the Fighting Irish in the loss.
Miami is already regretting hiring the inexperienced Manny Diaz. The Hurricanes are off to a 2-3 start this season with their only wins coming at home over Bethune-Cookman and Central Michigan. And even that win against Central Michigan was ugly as they won 17-12 as 30.5-point favorites while getting held to just 301 yards of total offense.
The three losses have come against the best three teams they played. They lost to Florida on a neutral, to UNC on the road and to Virginia Tech at home. That 35-42 home loss to the Hokies last year was real poor when you consider VA Tech was coming off a 10-45 home loss to Duke. It was a Hokies team that many feel quit on their head coach, but they jumped out to a 28-0 lead and never really looked back.
There’s going to be a lot of people backing Miami in this game that say the Hurricanes dominated the box score in that game. While that’s true, you have to factor in that VA Tech got up 28-0, and the Hurricanes were in the hurry up the rest of the way. Of course they are going to put up big numbers against the Hokies’ prevent defense. There’s a reason N’Kosi Perry was beat out by Jarren Williams at quarterback in the offseason. And I don’t think Perry is going to have much success against this vaunted Virginia defense.
This is a Virginia defense that is only allowing 21.4 points, 275 yards per game and 4.3 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 78 yards per game and 0.9 yards per play less than their season averages. Virginia also had the better QB in Bryce Perkins, a dual-threat who have accounted for 10 total touchdowns this year while completing 67% of his passes.
Miami is 3-15 ATS in its last 18 off an upset loss to a conference rival as a favorite of 6 points or more. The Hurricanes are 1-8 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. Miami is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 October games. The underdog is 13-2 ATS in the last 15 meetings. Virginia is 4-0 ATS in its last four trips to Miami. Bet Virginia Friday.
|10-10-19||Giants v. Patriots -16.5||14-35||Win||100||33 h 4 m||Show|
15* Giants/Patriots Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on New England -16.5
Tom Brady is on record saying this is the best defense he has ever played with in New England. That’s hard to argue when you look at the numbers this defense has put up since the Super Bowl last year, and frankly since the second half of last season in general.
The defense has allowed just two touchdowns total in their last six games, which is two touchdowns in 24 quarters. That’s hard to do in today’s NFL. Two touchdowns they’ve given up this season have been via special teams and on offense, so we don’t count those. They are the top ranked team in scoring defense at 6.8 points per game and total defense at 238.4 yards per game.
Now, you can only imagine what this defense is going to do to a rookie quarterback in Daniel Jones who is missing almost all of his top weapons. Top RB Saquon Barkley and backup RB Wayne Gallman have been ruled out, and the Giants are bringing up Jon Hillman from the practice squad to fill in for them. Top receiver Sterling Shepard won’t play after suffering a concussion last week, and the best weapon in TE Evan Engram is questionable with a knee injury.
Jones clearly has his hands full. This game will go similar to last week’s 10-28 home loss to the Vikings, who also have a strong defense. That game was a bigger blowout than the final score even showed as the Vikings outgained the Giants 490 to 211 in total yards, outgaining them by 279 yards for the game.
The Vikings had really struggled on offense prior to gaining 490 yards on this soft New York defense. It’s a Giants defense that ranks 30th in the NFL in giving up 409.4 yards per game. The Giants have cluster injuries at linebacker with three LB’s questionable, and their best LB in Ryan Connelly out for the season. Tom Brady and company should be able to score at will on them. The Vikings ran for 211 yards on them last year.
The Patriots are scoring 31.0 points per game and averaging 378.6 yards per game. This is the worst defense they have faced yet this season outside the Dolphins, who they beat 43-0. The Patriots are 5-0 this season with four of those wins coming by 16 points or more, so I’m not afraid to lay 16.5 points with them here.
New England is 13-2 ATS vs. poor passing defenses that allow 235 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Patriots are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing record. New England is 43-19 ATS in its last 62 games overall. The Patriots are 40-17-2 ATS in their last 59 home games. Bet the Patriots Thursday.
|10-09-19||Appalachian State v. UL-Lafayette -108||Top||17-7||Loss||-108||9 h 12 m||Show|
25* Sun Belt GAME OF THE YEAR on Louisiana-Lafayette PK
I absolutely love the situation for the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns tonight. They lost both meetings with Appalachian State last year, losing 27-17 in the regular season and 19-30 in the Sun Belt Championship Game. They were only outgained by 44 yards in the first meeting and actually outgained the Mountaineers by one yard in the title game.
It’s safe to say the Rajin’ Cajuns want some revenge tonight. Both of those meetings were on the road at Appalachian State. Now, the Rajin’ Cajuns get them at home this time around. It will be a rowdy atmosphere at Cajun Field for this week night game that has huge Sun Belt title implications.
Appalachian State isn’t as strong as last year, especially after losing head coach Scott Satterfield to Louisville. They have played the 143rd-toughest schedule in the country, which is a big reason why they are off to a 4-0 start. Three of their four wins have come at home, and their lone road win came at UNC 34-31 against a Tar Heels team that was in a clear flat spot.
Lafayette is the real deal this season. It is off to a 4-1 SU & 5-0 ATS start as oddsmakers have failed to realize how good this team really is. They have covered the spread by a combined 73 points during their 5-0 ATS start, or by an average of 14.6 points per game. Their only loss came on the road at Mississippi State 28-38 as 18.5-point dogs. They should be favored in this game Wednesday night.
Lafayette is putting up elite numbers this year, too, to prove that this start is no fluke. They are averaging 44.4 points, 540.2 yards per game and 7.6 yards per play on offense. They are only giving up 21.4 points, 345.2 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play on defense. They are outscoring opponents by 23.0 points per game, and they are outgaining them by 195.0 yards per game and 2.5 yards per play.
Looking at the yardage totals for Appalachian State, it’s easy to see that their 4-0 start is very fraudulent, especially when you consider how easy their schedule has been. The Mountaineers are gaining 429.2 yards per game on offense and giving up 420.0 yards per game on defense. They are only outgaining opponents by 9.2 yards per game on the season.
Lafayette is 17-3 ATS in its last 20 games after gaining 475 or more total yards per game in their last three games coming in. The Rajin’ Cajuns are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall. Lafayette is 5-0 ATS in its last five games following a win. Bet Louisiana-Lafayette Wednesday.
|10-07-19||Browns v. 49ers -3||Top||3-31||Win||100||174 h 3 m||Show|
20* Browns/49ers ESPN Monday No-Brainer on San Francisco -3
The San Francisco 49ers have finally remained healthy this season, and head coach Kyle Shanahan has shown what he can do with this team that has stockpiled a ton of talent through the draft and has been ready to break out. They have certainly broken out this season as they are off to as impressive a 3-0 start as anyone in the NFL thus far.
The 49ers have outscored their three opponents by a combined 42 points. The numbers they’ve put up show that it has been no fluke. The 49ers rank 4th in total offense at 421.0 yards per game while averaging 32 points per game. They are 3rd in total defense, giving up just 283.3 yards per game and 18 points per game. They are the only team in the NFL to rank in the Top 5 in both categories.
The 49ers are averaging 6.3 yards per play on offense and giving up only 4.7 yards per play on defense. As you can see, they are outgaining opponents by 1.6 yards per play, which is one of the best marks in the entire NFL and is probably the most important stat when handicapping games.
Jimmy G is getting into a rhythm offensively, and he is helped by an elite rushing attack that is averaging 175 rushing yards per game and 4.6 per carry. And this young defense has arguably the best front seven in the entire NFL thanks to mostly first-round draft picks across the board.
The Browns are getting too much respect here for their 40-25 beating of the Ravens last week. That’s a Baltimore team that ranks last in the NFL in total defense. Baker Mayfield really struggled in his first three games before having his best game of the season against the Ravens. He’ll go back to struggling this week against a defense that I believe is the best he will have faced up to this point in the 49ers. The Browns only averaged 16.3 points per game in their first three. And I don’t think they handle success very well.
The 49ers are hungry to be a winning team this year and take down the NFC West division. They are starving for wins. They have had such bad luck in the injury department in recent years, which has held them back. Shanahan has done a good job of getting the most out of what he has had to work with. Now, he has one of the best rosters in the NFL. That’s why I’m not concerned about the 49ers getting overconfident or lacking hunger. I think the bye week will have them re-focused and even healthier now, and there’s no question they want to show the world how good they are on Monday Night Football this week.
Cleveland is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 road games off a win by 10 points or more against a division opponent. San Francisco is 32-11 ATS in its last 43 Monday Night Football games. The Browns are 0-6 ATS in their last six games following a win by more than 14 points.
Plays against road underdogs or PK (Cleveland) - off an upset win by 14 points or more as an underdog, with a winning percentage between 45% & 55% on the season are 33-10 (76.7%) ATS since 1983. Bet the 49ers Monday.
|10-06-19||Vikings v. Giants +6||Top||28-10||Loss||-110||95 h 44 m||Show|
20* NFL DOG OF THE MONTH on New York Giants +6
I’ve been on the Giants in both games since Daniel Jones took over at quarterback and they haven’t disappointed. They erased an 18-point deficit at Tampa Bay and won 32-31 as 6.5-point underdogs. And last week they dominated from start to finish in a 24-3 rout of the Redskins at home. Jones just gives this team a huge boost as they know they have a chance with him under center.
He completed over 85% of his passes in the preseason with 416 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions and a 137.3 QBR. He has carried over that success to the regular season. Jones is completing 69% of his passes for 578 yards and 8.1 yards per attempt through two games. He has the 3rd-best QBR in the league right now. His mobility is what really gives this offense a boost as he has rushed for 66 yards and two scores on 6.6 per carry through two games.
Heck, what was a bad defense though the first three weeks even stepped their game up in a big way last week, and I have no doubt it’s the boost they got from Jones at quarterback. The Giants limited the Redskins to just 176 total yards and forced 4 turnovers. Now a weak Vikings offense comes to town and the Giants should not be catching 5.5 points at home in this one.
Kirk Cousins has been awful this season as the Vikings are averaging just 169 passing yards per game. The Vikings have wanted to run the football more this year is part of the reason, but there’s just no fixing Cousins at this point. The Giants have done a good job of stopping the run this year, holding opponents to 110 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry.
Jones is forming a great chemistry with Sterling Shepard and Evan Ingram, his two best weapons. And now the Giants get Golden Tate back from a 4-game suspension. They didn’t miss Saquon Barkley at all last week. Backup Wayne Gallman rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown and added 6 receptions for 55 yards and a score. I think the Barkley injury is overblown and being factored into the line too much once again.
The Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games and have lost both road games to the Packers and Bears this season. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in this series. Minnesota is 0-6 ATS in its last six games after allowing less than 90 rushing yards in its previous game. New York is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six games after gaining 350 or more total yards in its previous game.
Plays on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (NY Giants) - after allowing 14 points or less last game against an opponent that scored 3 points or less in the first half last game are 25-6 (80.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. Finally, the Giants’ home-field advantage is bigger than it normally is in the short-term because fans are excited about Jones, and we saw that last week against the Redskins. Bet the Giants Sunday.
|10-06-19||Bills v. Titans -2.5||Top||14-7||Loss||-105||95 h 43 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Tennessee Titans -2.5
I am on the Tennessee Titans this week despite the fact that they are a tough team to figure out. They’ve gone on the road and beaten both Cleveland and Atlanta in blowouts to flash their potential. But they also lost at home to the Colts and had a no-show at Jacksonville. However, I trust them more than the Bills this week.
It’s a terrible spot for Buffalo. They feel like they should be 4-0. They blew a golden opportunity against the team they hate the most in the Patriots last week. They dominated the box score, but committed 4 turnovers and gave up a special teams touchdown to gift-wrap the game to the Patriots.
This has hangover written all over it. It’s the type of loss that beats a team twice because they still aren’t over it the next week, which usually leads to a bad week of practice and another poor performance. Not to mention, they lost starting QB Josh Allen to a concussion in the loss and he’s unlikely to play this week.
Meanwhile, the Titans are almost fully healthy and get back their best offensive lineman in Tayler Lewan from a 4-game suspension. He will certainly help in pass protection and run blocking as the Titans love to run behind their road grader. The Titans also want revenge from a 12-13 loss in Buffalo last season in which they gave the game away with 3 turnovers.
Both teams are pretty equal defensively as the Bills give up 15.7 points per game this season, while the Titans give up 15.5 points per game. But there’s no question the Titans have the edge on offense. They average 22.7 points per game, while the Bills average just 19.0 points per game. And the Bills will be severely handicapped if Matt Barkley starts over Allen. We are getting a line here that indicates Allen will start, but if he is out then this line will sure go to -3.5 or higher.
The Titans are 26-13 ATS in their last 39 games as a home favorite of 3 points or less. Tennessee is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games vs. a team with a winning record. They seem to show up against the better teams in the NFL. They will want it more than the Bills this week, who are still hungover from that Patriots loss. Take the Titans Sunday.
|10-06-19||Ravens v. Steelers +3.5||26-23||Win||100||95 h 43 m||Show|
15* Ravens/Steelers AFC North ANNIHILATOR on Pittsburgh +3.5
The Baltimore Ravens are probably the most overrated team in the NFL right now. They should not be 3.5-point road favorites over the rival Steelers. In fact, this is the largest home underdog role for the Steelers ever in the Tomlin vs. Harbaugh series. And it’s worth noting that 13 of the last 25 meetings in this series were decided by 3 points or less, so there’s definitely value getting the Steelers +3.5 this week.
The reason the Ravens are overrated is because they have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 27th in total defense in giving up 395.5 yards per game. They are also dead last in yards per play (7.0) allowed. They gave up 33 points and 503 total yards to the Chiefs two weeks ago. And last week they allowed 40 points and 520 total yards to the Browns, a Browns offense that had been struggling prior to that game.
I think the Steelers are underrated because they opened 0-3 this season against a brutal schedule that featured road games at the Patriots and 49ers, as well as a home loss to the Seahawks. Well, those three teams are a combined 11-1 this season. And they gave the Seahawks and 49ers a run for their money, only losing by a combined 6 points to those two.
I was on the Steelers Monday night in their ‘get right’ game against the Bengals. They did not disappoint as they dominated in a 27-3 victory. The offense finally got going under Mason Rudolph with 260 passing yards. They got created with the wild cat package, too, and I’m sure they have more tricks up their sleeve that the Ravens won’t be prepared for this week. They also held the Bengals to 175 total yards and have a better defense than they showed in the first three weeks of the season.
The Steelers have always been better with their backs against the wall under Mike Tomlin. They have covered 70% of the time when they’ve had a losing record. Despite the 1-3 start, the Steelers are only one game back in the AFC North. If they win this week and the Browns lose at San Francisco Monday night, they’ll actually be tied for first place in the division. They still have all of their goals in front of them.
The Ravens are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a loss. Baltimore is 0-5 ATS in its last five vs. AFC North opponents. The Steelers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win. The underdog is 7-1-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. These four trends combine for a 23-2 system backing Pittsburgh. Roll with the Steelers Sunday.
|10-06-19||Bears v. Raiders +5.5||21-24||Win||100||95 h 42 m||Show|
15* Bears/Raiders London No-Brainer on Oakland +5.5
Bettors and oddsmakers alike just don’t want to give the Oakland Raiders any credit. They have been an underdog of 3 points or more in all four games this season, and a dog of 6 or more three times. Yet, they’ve managed to go 2-2 and I believe they are better than they are getting credit for. That’s why I’ll ‘buy low’ on the Raiders again this week just as I did last week when they beat the Colts 31-24 outright as 6-point dogs on the road.
Conversely, the betting public is quick to back the Bears after winning three straight coming in. But two of those wins were against winless Denver and Washington, who are a combined 0-8. And the other was a 16-6 home win last week against an overrated Minnesota Vikings team. I just don’t think the Bears can be laying big points when their offense averages just 16.5 points per game while ranking 30th in total offense at 273.5 yards per game. Their defense is elite, but they can only carry this team so far.
Jon Gruden and Derek Carr are clearly on the same page this season. He is having a great year as Carr is completing 72.1% of his passes for 888 yards with a 6-to-3 TD/INT ratio thus far. He loves his two new targets in Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller. Williams has 17 receptions for 216 yards and four touchdowns, and Waller has been a matchup nightmare that will exploit this Bears defense. He has already caught 33 balls for 320 yards. Plus, rookie Josh Jacobs has rushed for 307 yards and two scores while averaging 5.0 per carry.
One key reason I’m backing the Raiders is because they are used to this trip to London, and I agree with their approach of flying out early rather than flying out late like the Bears did. Last season, the Raiders flew in late in the week, and didn’t put up much of a fight in a 27-3 loss to a very good Seahawks team at Wembley Stadium. Coach Jon Gruden takes full responsibility for that showing.
“I learned a valuable lessen,” Gruden said. “We need a little more time to get acclimated. It’s my first time last year coming to London and playing football. I’m used to playing home games at home. I made a mistake, tried to correct it this year and hopefully it shows on the field.”
“My body feel better, I know our team feels better,” Carr said. “Having that day off when you first get here, and then having another day off after that to rest and get right and eat, get your metabolism going back the right way. As a family man I hate it, but as a quarterback I love it. I think coming the whole week is a good move.”
The Bears spent all week begging their players to fall asleep on their overnight flight, which separated Chicago around dinnertime Thursday and landed in London around breakfast Friday morning. Chicago receiver Allen Robinson has played overseas three times as a member of the Jaguars, the NFL’s unofficial London team.
“It’s a rude awakening,” Robinson said. “I’ll be honest; It isn’t an easy trip. You’ve got to get over there, and you’ve got to get acclimated quickly. It’s a long flight. As soon as you land, you’re starting your day. My advice to the team would be to go to sleep as soon as you get on the plane. It’s such a different agenda than you’re accustomed to, as far as sleep patters.”
Chicago is 13-33 ATS in its last 46 road games after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better. The Bears are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games off three consecutive games with a turnover margin of +1 or better. The Raiders won’t be giving the Bears the same turnover gifts that the last three teams they have faced have. And I like that the Raiders will feel normal having gone to London early in the week to get acclimated, while the Bears’ bodies won’t quite be used to it in time for this game. Take the Raiders Sunday.
|10-06-19||Falcons +5 v. Texans||32-53||Loss||-105||95 h 42 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Atlanta Falcons +5
It’s do or die for the Atlanta Falcons this week. They sit at 1-3, two games behind the Saints in the NFC South and alone in last place in the division. This is a must-win for them, and I like backing teams where I know I’m going to get their max effort.
It’s also time to ‘buy low’ on the Falcons after most bettors have given up on them after their 1-3 start. But when you look at the numbers, this is much better than a 1-3 team. The Falcons are improved defensively this season as they are 8th in total defense, giving up 324.8 yards per game. They are 12th in total offense, averaging 382.8 yards per game. They are outgaining opponents by 58 yards per game and 0.7 yards per play as they average 6.0 yards per play on offense and give up 5.3 yards per play on defense. Those are numbers of a 3-1 team, not a 1-3 team.
The Houston Texans are 2-2, but they have the numbers of a 1-3 team. They are 22nd in total offense at 329.2 yards per game and 5.5 yards per play. They are 17th in total defense, giving up 363.5 yards per game and 5.7 per play. The problem with their offense is their offensive line and Deshaun Watson holding onto the ball too long.
In fact, Watson has now been sacked at least 4 times in nine of their last 10 games. They led the league in giving up 61 sacks last year and are well on their way to leading the league in that category again. You’d think head coach Bill O’Brien would do more to protect Watson and make sure the ball gets out quicker, but that’s just not happening. Those negative plays keep wrecking drives.
The Texans have scored just 10, 13 and 7 points in their last three home games dating back to their loss to the Colts in the playoffs last year. They are averaging just 10.0 points per game. It’s hard to lay points with a team like the Texans who just haven’t been able to score at home, let alone lay more than a field goal, which you have to do if you want to back the Texans here. This line should be a field goal or less, and that’s why I think there’s tremendous value with the Falcons here.
Atlanta is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 road games after allowing 24 points or more in the first half last game. Houston is 13-28 ATS in its last 41 games vs. excellent offensive teams that average 375 or more yards per game. The Falcons are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
Plays on road teams (Atlanta) a good passing team (265 PYPG or more) against a poor pass defense (230-265 PYPG allowed), after allowing 7 or more passing yards per attempts in two straight games are 33-8 (80.5%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. At some point, the Falcons are going to stop self-destructing and living up to their potential, and I’m betting on it being this week. Bet the Falcons Sunday.
|10-05-19||Liberty v. New Mexico State +5||20-13||Loss||-109||77 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on New Mexico State +5
You would be hard-pressed to find a team that has played a tougher schedule than New Mexico State has to this point. The Aggies have played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country according to Sagarin, and that’s a big reason why they are 0-5 this season. They have been a 17-plus point underdog in four of their five games, and a dog in all five.
They opened the season with road losses to Washington State and Alabama. They have played two of the best teams in the Mountain West in San Diego State and Fresno State at home. And their most winnable game was as 4-point dogs at New Mexico in a 52-55 loss in a huge rivalry game. They have managed to go 3-2 ATS, so they have exceeded expectations in terms of the spread. And they were competitive in every game as they were only outgained by 68 yards by SDSU, 109 yards by New Mexico and 71 yards by Fresno.
Now, New Mexico State is looking at this home game against Liberty as their best chance to get a victory. They don’t want to let this opportunity slip by, and they are hungry for their first win. They have a three-game road trip coming up at Central Michigan, at Georgia Southern and at Ole Miss after this. No question they have this game circled.
Plus, Liberty and New Mexico State are becoming rivals quickly. They played each other twice last year with the home team winning both meetings. New Mexico State won 49-41 at home as 3-point dogs and racked up 573 total yards in the victory. Liberty won 28-21 at home as 6-point favorites despite getting outgained 396 to 295. New Mexico State outgained Liberty by a total of 158 yards in the two meetings.
I think Liberty comes in overvalued off due to its three-game winning streak. They opened the season with a 24-0 home loss to Syracuse and a 14-35 road loss at Louisiana-Lafayette. But they have reeled off three straight home wins since against a soft schedule in Buffalo, Hampton and New Mexico. They only beat New Mexico 17-10 as 7.5-point home favorites last week.
So, Liberty has played four home games compared to just one road game. They have played the 121st-toughest schedule in the country compared to the 15th-toughest for NMSU. That difference in strength of schedule is the biggest reason I’m on New Mexico State this week. Plus, it’s a must-win game for the Aggies with the brutal schedule they still have ahead with three straight road games next. Bet New Mexico State Saturday.
|10-05-19||California v. Oregon -17.5||Top||7-17||Loss||-110||77 h 47 m||Show|
20* Pac-12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Oregon -17.5
The Oregon Ducks are undervalued due to losing to Auburn in their opener. They had that game in hand but allowed a big comeback late and lost 21-27 as 4-point dogs. Well, Auburn has gone 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS this season and is clearly one of the best teams in the country, so that loss doesn’t feel too bad now. And the Ducks know they still have a chance to win the Pac-12 and make the four-team playoff. They have been and will be motivated for style points the rest of the way.
Oregon has gone on to dominate in their three games since that loss. They beat Nevada 77-6 as 24-point home favorites, cruised past Montana 35-3, and topped Stanford 21-6 on the road as 10.5-point favorites. They haven’t allow a single touchdown in any of their last three games as this may be the best defense in program history. They are giving up just 10.5 points, 263 yards per game and 3.9 yards per play this season.
Justin Herbert returned this season for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to win the Pac-12. He has been a tremendous leader for this team and is having another monster season this year. Herbert is completing 74.4% of his passes for 1,127 yards with a 14-to-0 TD/INT ratio while averaging 8.7 yards per attempt.
California got off to a fraudulent 4-0 start and was and still is getting too much respect from oddsmakers because of it. This vaunted Cal defense gave up over 500 total yards to Ole Miss two weeks ago and were fortunate to win 28-20. They only beat North Texas 23-17 as 14-point home favorites, the same North Texas team that was just blasted by Houston last week despite the Cougars redshirting their top QB and WR before the game. And last week they were upset 17-24 at home by Arizona State while getting outgained by 120 yards.
Of course, it hurt that Cal QB Chase Garbers had to leave the game with a shoulder injury. Backup QB Devon Modster was forced into action and was terrible, completing 5-of-14 passes for 23 yards with an interception. Now Modster will have to start for them moving forward, and I just don’t see how Cal can score enough points to hang with Oregon. It’s a Cal offense that is only scoring 23.0 points per game this season after averaging just 21.5 points per game last year, and that was with a solid Garbers at QB.
Oregon beat Cal 42-24 on the road last year. Oregon is now 9-1 in the last 10 meetings with eight of those nine wins coming by 16 points or more. Oregon is 11-1 SU & 10-2 ATS in its last 12 home meetings with Cal, winning by an average of 18 points per game. The Ducks are 43-13 ATS in their last 56 games after allowing 3 points or less in the first half last game. Finally, the Ducks have had two full weeks to prepare for Cal, and they are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games off a bye week. Roll with Oregon Saturday.
|10-05-19||Northwestern v. Nebraska -7||10-13||Loss||-117||73 h 54 m||Show|
15* Northwestern/Nebraska FOX No-Brainer on Nebraska -7
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have every reason to be more motivated for this game than any game yet at this point in the season. They were just embarrassed on National TV by Ohio State, which is looking more and more like the best team in the country. And now they want revenge on Northwestern after blowing a big lead to the Wildcats last year.
In fact, the Cornhuskers have now lost in overtime to Northwestern each of the last two seasons. They led 31-21 at Northwestern with under three minutes to play. Northwestern scored 10 points in the final 2:27, including a TD with 12 seconds left to force OT. Then they won it on a field goal in the extra session. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Huskers, and one that certainly have not forgotten.
The Huskers should be 4-1 this season. They blew a 17-0 lead at Colorado in Week 2 for their other loss outside Ohio State. They are clearly improved. Scott Frost is trying to build something big here, which is why I’m not worried about how they’ll come back off that loss to Ohio State. Frost is a prideful guy who has rubbed off on his players and I have no doubt they’ll give a big effort this week.
While the Huskers are improved, Northwestern clearly isn’t the same team that won the Big Ten West last year. The Wildcats are just 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS this season with their only win coming 30-14 at home against a UNLV team that has looked atrocious this season. They also lost to a bad Stanford team 7-17 on the road, were blown out at home by Michigan State 10-31, and lost last week to Wisconsin 15-24.
I was on Northwestern last week as 24-point dogs at Wisconsin. It was a clear flat spot for the Badgers off their huge win over Michigan the previous week. And the Badgers were as flat as a pancake as expected. It was also a good matchup for Northwestern. Pat Fitzgerald’s teams always do better in games that are expected to be physical, low-scoring games. They don’t do as well against teams like Nebraska that can spread you out and use their speed.
This is a dynamic Huskers offense that is putting up 31.8 points, 438 yards per game and 6.1 yards per play. Adrian Martinez has remained healthy this season and is playing well, completing 59.5% of his passes for 1,099 yards with a 7-to-5 TD/INT ratio and 8.7 yards per attempt. Martinez has also rushed for 315 yards and three scores already. The Wildcats will struggle to contain his speed just as they did last year with the Huskers scored 31 points on them.
Northwestern has a putrid offense that won’t be able to keep up with Nebraska. The Wildcats are averaging just 15.5 points, 293 yards per game and 3.9 yards per play this season. QB Hunter Johnson has been a huge disappointment after transferring from Clemson. He also got hurt last week against Wisconsin, and though he’s probable this week, he won’t be 100%.
Nebraska is 16-3 ATS in its last 19 games vs. poor passing teams with a completion percentage of 48% or worse. The Huskers are 7-0 ATS after playing two straight conference games over the last two seasons. Nebraska is 13-3 ATS in its lsat 16 games after failing to cover the spread in four of its last five games coming in. The Huskers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games off a loss. A lot of bettors have given up on the Huskers after their no-show against Ohio State last week, and this is the perfect time to ‘buy low’ on them. Roll with Nebraska Saturday.
|10-05-19||Baylor v. Kansas State -2||Top||31-12||Loss||-107||92 h 58 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Kansas State -2
I think this is a good opportunity to buy low on Kansas State and sell high on Baylor after their performances last week. Kansas State lost by 13 to Oklahoma State and failed to cover the 4-point spread. That was a hungry Cowboys team as they didn’t want to open 0-2 in Big 12 play after a tough loss at Texas. And it’s always tough to win in Stillwater.
Baylor beat Iowa State 23-21 at home outright as 2.5-point dogs last week. A lot of people were on Iowa State in that game, so it’s a result that is giving Baylor a lot of respect. But now this will be just Baylor’s 2nd road game of the season. Their only other road game this year was a lackluster 21-13 win at Rice as 27-point favorites.
Kansas State is coming off a tough two-game road trip at Mississippi State and Oklahoma State. They were certainly happy to get a split there as they upset Mississippi State before losing to the Cowboys. But in their two home games this season, Kansas State has outscored its two opponents 101-14. Fans will be excited for the Big 12 home opener this week with Baylor coming to town.
It’s a good matchup for Kansas State. They have been soft against the run, but Baylor is a team that likes to put the ball in the air. And Kansas State is only giving up 127 passing yards per game, 51.1% completions and 5.4 yards per attempt. I really just think that Baylor is overvalued after starting 4-0 against such a soft schedule. Kansas State is way more battle-tested having already faced Mississippi State and Oklahoma State.
The Wildcats are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Kansas State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games off a loss. The Wildcats are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games after failing to cover the spread in their previous game. The Bears are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games after covering the spread in their previous game. Kansas State is 4-1 ATS in its last five home meetings with Baylor. The Wildcats are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games after being out-rushed by 200 or more yards in their previous game. Bet Kansas State Saturday.
|10-05-19||Illinois +14 v. Minnesota||Top||17-40||Loss||-109||72 h 19 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Illinois +14
This is easily the best team that Lovie Smith has had at Illinois. The Fighting Illini returned 17 starters this year. They opened 2-0 with conformable wins over Akron and Connecticut. But they have lost back-to-back heartbreakers to Eastern Michigan by 3 and Nebraska by 4. They are coming off a bye week, which helps them refocus off those two tough losses. And they should put forth a great effort here against Minnesota as a result this week.
Minnesota is a fraudulent 4-0 this season, and that’s why it’s time to sell high on them. All four wins have come by 7 points or less against an easy schedule of South Dakota State, Fresno State, Georgia Southern and Purdue. I expect this one goes down to the wire as well.
Illinois has been terrible the last two seasons, but yet they’ve had Minnesota’s number. They only lost by 7 as 14.5-point road dogs in 2017. And last year they pulled the upset in blowout fashion as 9.5-point home dogs 55-31. The Fighting Illini racked up 646 total yards against Minnesota last year, including 430 rushing.
This will easily be the best rushing attack the Golden Gophers have faced this year. Illinois averages 181 rushing yards per game and 4.6 per carry this season. Minnesota just can’t run the football. They average 116 rushing yards per game and 2.6 per carry despite the soft schedule. They are a one-dimensional passing team, which is why I don’t trust them.
The underdog is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. The Golden Gophers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games off an ATS win. It’s time to sell high on fraudulent, unbeaten Minnesota this week. And they could easily be looking ahead to their showdown with Nebraska next week. The Fighting Illini will give them more of a fight than they bargained for this weekend. Take Illinois Saturday.
|10-05-19||Eastern Michigan v. Central Michigan +6.5||16-42||Win||100||72 h 47 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Central Michigan +6.5
The Central Michigan Chippewas are improving rapidly under former Florida head coach Jim McElwain. He was one of the better hires of the offseason, and probably the best hire in the MAC. He is trying to turn the Chippewas into relevance again as this has been one of the better MAC programs throughout the years.
The Chippewas are 2-3 on the season, and all three losses have come on the road against some very good teams in Wisconsin, Miami and Western Michigan. After no-showing at Wisconsin, I was impressed with their last two road performances. They only lost 12-17 at Miami as 30.5-point dogs and held the Hurricanes to just 301 total yards in the defeat. And last week they lost 15-31 at Western Michigan as 16-point dogs in a very misleading final. They actually outgained Western Michigan by 5 yards in the defeat.
Since David Moore took over at quarterback after the loss to Wisconsin, this Chippewas offense has taken off. Moore has thrown for 854 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in three starts since taking over. Plus, Central Michigan has dominated in its two home games this season, beating Albany 38-21 as 13.5-point favorites and topping Akron 45-24 as 2.5-point favorites.
Eastern Michigan has played a very soft schedule, and all of their wins have been close. Yes, they are 3-1, but they only beat Coastal Carolina by 7, Illinois by 3 and Central Connecticut State by 5. They also lost by 21 at Kentucky. That 5-point win over Central Connecticut State only came after they blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in the final seconds. They were 33-point favorites in that game, so it was an awful effort and one that shows they are extremely vulnerable. They have no business being nearly touchdown road favorites here.
Central Michigan is 5-2 SU & 5-2 ATS in its last seven meetings with Eastern Michigan. The home team has won four straight meetings in this series. Eastern Michigan is 10-23 ATS in its last 33 road games off a home win. Chris Creighton is 2-9 ATS off two or more consecutive overs as the coach of Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are 12-27 ATS in their last 39 games following a win. The Chippewas are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Take Central Michigan Saturday.
|10-05-19||TCU v. Iowa State -3||24-49||Win||100||90 h 22 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Iowa State -3
The Iowa State Cyclones feel like they should be 4-0. They blew late leads against both Iowa at home and Baylor on the road in the closing minutes. They lost those two games by a combined 3 points. Now, this is a must-win game for them at home Saturday when they host the TCU Horned Frogs as they don’t want to fall to 0-2 in the Big 12. All goals are still in front of this team with a big finish. They started slow last year at 1-3, but rebounded for an 8-5 season. They brought 16 starters back from that team as well.
When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see Iowa State has been much more dominant than is 2-2 record would indicate. The Cyclones are averaging 500.0 yards per game and 7.1 yards per play on offense, and only giving up 352.7 yards per game and 4.6 yards per play on defense. They are outgaining their opponents by 147.3 yards per game and 2.5 yards per play on the year. This is still one of the better teams in the country, but since they are just 2-2 they are getting overlooked now.
TCU has played such a soft schedule and is just 3-1 this season despite playing three home games. They lost at home to SMU 38-41. That’s a good SMU team, but it’s still a bad loss. Their three wins have come against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Purdue and Kansas. And that win over Purdue comes with an asterisk. The Boilermakers were banged up and it was their first game without QB Elijah Sindelar. Plus, TCU was off a bye week, so it was a great spot for the Horned Frogs.
Once again, TCU is a one-dimensional running team, which isn’t going to bode well for them here against Iowa State. The Horned Frogs average 275 rushing yards per game, but they are completing just 52.3% of their passes for 213 passing yards per game despite the easy schedule. Well, Iowa State has been stout against the run, giving up just 119 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. They held a really good Iowa rushing attack to just 112 yards on 37 carries, an average of 3.0 yards per carry.
The home team has won three straight and four of the last five meetings in this series. TCU is 0-6 ATS off two consecutive games where they forced one or fewer turnovers over the last two seasons. Iowa State is 7-0 ATS in October games over the last three years. The Cyclones are 6-0 ATS after having lost two of their last three games over the last three seasons. These three trends combine for a perfect 19-0 system backing the Cyclones. Take Iowa State Saturday.
|10-05-19||Purdue +28.5 v. Penn State||7-35||Win||100||69 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Purdue +28.5
The Penn State Nittany Lions come into this game way overvalued. They are 4-0 and coming off a 59-0 beat down as only 6-point favorites at Maryland, covering the spread by 53 points. Now the betting public is quick to jump on them after that performance, and quick to forget that they were in dog fights with Buffalo and Pittsburgh in their two previous games at home.
Indeed, in Week 3 Penn State actually trailed Buffalo at halftime as 31.5-point favorites. They were outgained by 72 yards by the Bulls in a very misleading final. Then in Week 3, Penn State only beat Pitt 17-10 as 17-point home favorites. The Nittany Lions were also outgained by 7 yards by the Panthers. That’s a Pitt team that lost by 16 at home to Virginia and barely beat Delaware 17-14 at home.
The Nittany Lions clearly got a boost from their bye week in Week 4 and came back and played their best game of the season. They won’t play a better game than they did against Maryland. But now this is a sandwich spot off the National TV win over Maryland, and with the meat of their Big Ten schedule on deck. Penn State could easily be overlooking Purdue and looking ahead to games against Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State the next three weeks. They’d be more than happy to get out with a win against Purdue, but they won’t be concerned with covering this massive 28.5-point spread.
Purdue comes in undervalued after opening the season 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS. Two of their losses came by 7 points or less to Nevada and Minnesota. They also beat Vanderbilt by 18 as 7-point home favorites in their lone cover. And their lone blowout loss came 13-34 at home to TCU in their first game without QB Elijah Sindelar. Plus, TCU was coming off a bye week. It was just a bad spot for them.
I was impressed with the way Purdue was able to hang against Minnesota last week without Sindelar. They only lost 31-38 and racked up 414 total yards on a solid Minnesota defense. Jack Plummer took over for an injured Sindelar early in that one and threw for 245 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Now that he has some experience under his belt, he should only continue to get more comfortable in Jeff Brohm’s explosive offense.
I know WR Rondale Moore is also out after getting injured last game, but he left that game early and only had two receptions for 18 yards. So Plummer is used to playing without him. Certainly these injuries to Sindelar and Moore hurt Purdue, but this line would probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 if both were healthy. Oddsmakers have over-adjusted for these injuries, and the betting public has bet this number up way too high now. It’s time to ‘buy low’ on the Boilermakers, and ’sell high’ on the Nittany Lions.
Penn State is 7-19 ATS in its last 26 home games after covering the spread in three of its last four games coming in. Jeff Brohm is 10-2 ATS vs. good teams that outscore their opponents by 10-plus points per game in his career as a head coach. Brohm is 20-6 ATS vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 58% or better in all games as a head coach.
Plays against home favorites (Penn State) - after beating the spread by 35 or more points in their last three games, who are undefeated on the season are 40-14 (74.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Boilermakers are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 games following an ATS loss. The Nittany Lions are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win. Bet Purdue Saturday.
|10-05-19||Iowa v. Michigan -3.5||3-10||Win||100||51 h 0 m||Show|
15* Iowa/Michigan FOX No-Brainer on Michigan -3.5
The Michigan Wolverines were 12-point favorites over Iowa when this line came out in the offseason. It has moved nearly 10 points in Iowa’s favor. In my opinion, it’s time to ‘buy low’ on the Wolverines now that everyone has basically given up on them following their loss at Wisconsin two weeks ago. That loss to Wisconsin doesn’t look so bad now with the Badgers blasting everyone they have played to this point.
I know it was Rutgers, but I was impressed with how Michigan came back last week and handled their business following that loss to Wisconsin. They could have easily suffered a hangover after that loss to the Badgers. They didn’t. They beat Rutgers 52-0 and covered as 27-point favorites with ease. Keep in mind Iowa only beat Rutgers 30-0 as 17.5-point home favorites.
And that’s my issue with Iowa is the ease of their schedule to this point. They have played the 110th-toughest schedule in the country. They made easy work of Miami Ohio, Rutgers and Middle Tennessee State at home. In their lone real test, they won 18-17 at Iowa State and were fortunate to win that game. Iowa State outgained Iowa by 105 yards and deserved to win. Michigan is better than Iowa State.
The home team is 6-1 SU in the last seven meetings in this series. Iowa is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as an underdog of 7 points or fewer. The Hawkeyes are 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games vs. a team with a winning record. Kirk Ferentz is 13-23 ATS in road games off a win by 21 points or more as the coach of Iowa. Roll with Michigan Saturday.
|10-04-19||Central Florida v. Cincinnati +4.5||Top||24-27||Win||100||53 h 41 m||Show|
20* UCF/Cincinnati AAC ANNIHILATOR on Cincinnati +4.5
The Cincinnati Bearcats are ready to win the AAC this season. The conference goes through UCF, which has won it each of the last two years. But their run comes to an end this year, and it starts with losing at Cincinnati here Friday night in front of what will be a raucous home crowd at Nippert Stadium.
The loss at Ohio State for Cincinnati doesn’t look too bad now. Ohio State is blasting everyone. And the Bearcats have handled their business in impressive fashion in their other three games, going 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS. They beat UCLA 24-14 at home as 2.5-point favorites, covered as 17.5-point home favorites in a 35-13 win over Miami Ohio, and blasted a good Marshall team 52-14 as 4-point road favorites.
It’s very impressive how well the Bearcats have responded following that loss to Ohio State with back-to-back blowout wins over Miami Ohio and Marshall. Their defense is borderline elite, allowing just 20.7 points per game, 297 yards per game and 4.7 yards per play. Their defense is holding opposing offenses to 11.3 points per game, 89 yards per game and 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages. This will easily be the best defense UCF has faced to date.
UCF has become a huge public team because they’ve been so good against the spread over the past three seasons. And they opened up this season covering their first three games in wins over Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and Stanford. But they have failed to cover the last two weeks as their lines have been inflated. They lost outright to Pittsburgh 34-35 on the road as 10-point favorites. And they failed to cover as 42.5-point favorites in a 35-point win over lowly UConn.
Without question, Cincinnati has played the much more difficult schedule this year. The Bearcats have played the 33rd-toughest schedule in the country. The Knights have played the 96th-toughest schedule based on the Sagarin ratings. Their one loss came to Pittsburgh, which was blasted at home by Virginia by 16 and also barely beat Delaware at home 17-14 last week.
It’s also worth noting that UCF had that dream crusher loss to Pittsburgh. This is a team that lost just one game over the previous two seasons combined and were at least in the playoff discussion. But now with that loss at Pitt they have no shot to make the playoff. I question how motivated they are going to be the rest of the way because of it. The Bearcats are 8-0 SU in their eight home games over the past two seasons, winning by an average of 26.5 points per game. Bet Cincinnati Friday.
|10-03-19||Rams v. Seahawks -110||Top||29-30||Win||100||78 h 17 m||Show|
25* NFC West GAME OF THE YEAR on Seattle Seahawks PK
The Seattle Seahawks want revenge from losing two heartbreakers to the Rams 31-33 at home and 31-36 on the road last year. They really feel like they can win the division this year, and this Thursday night home game will play a big role in whether they do or not.
The Seahawks are off to a 3-1 start this season. Their only loss came to the Saints in a fluky final as the Saints had two non-offensive touchdowns in that game, but the Saints outgained them by 249 yards. They also outgained the Steelers by 164 yards in their 28-26 road win in Week 2. And last week they handled their business in a 27-10 road win at Arizona, so they should still be fresh as they put it on cruise control in the second half.
The Rams opened 3-0 and were fortunate to win by 3 at Carolina and by 7 at Cleveland with a goal line stand at the end. And they also were fortunate when Drew Brees got hurt early in the game against the Saints and they ended up winning comfortably as the Saints weren’t prepared to lose their leader.
Last week, the Rams were finally exposed in their 40-55 home loss to the Bucs as 9-point favorites. They fell behind 21-0 early and were using the hurry up to try and get back in the game the rest of the way. They used a ton of energy trying to come back in that shootout, which makes matters worse for them here on a short week with travel. They will clearly still be fatigued.
The Rams could not contain the run against the Seahawks last season. Seattle rushed for a combined 463 yards in their two meetings with the Rams last season, an average of 231.5 yards per game. Look for them to ground and pound them to death again.
Todd Gurley isn’t the same player he was last year, and he has just 219 rushing yards on 49 carries for 4.5 per carry on the season. Gurley isn’t being used as much in the passing game, either, as he has just 11 receptions for 62 yards. Jared Goff isn’t very good with a 6-to-6 TD/INT ratio on the season and I almost certainly believe the Rams are regretting their decision to give him a big contract.
Seattle is 8-1 ATS vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 64% or better over the last two seasons. The Seahawks are 9-2 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 5.65 or more yards per play over the last two years. The Rams are 31-64-1 ATS in their last 96 road games vs. a team with a winning record. The Seahawks are 7-0-1 ATS in their last nine Thursday games. Seattle is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 home meetings with the Rams.
Plays on home teams (Seattle) - after three consecutive games where they forced one or fewer turnovers against an opponent after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Seahawks Thursday.
|09-30-19||Bengals v. Steelers -3||Top||3-27||Win||100||35 h 47 m||Show|
20* Bengals/Steelers ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Pittsburgh -3
Now that this line has moved down to Pittsburgh -3 I think it’s time to pull the trigger on the Steelers. I still believe they are the better team here even without Ben Roethlisberger, so getting them -3 at home is pretty cheap.
The Steelers have lost a couple close games to two very good teams since Mason Rudolph took over for Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2. They lost 26-28 at home to the Seahawks and 20-24 on the road to the 49ers. Those are two common opponents with the Bengals. The Bengals lost 20-21 to the Seahawks and played them similarly. However, they were blitzed by the 49ers at home 17-41.
While the Steelers are very healthy outside Big Ben, the Bengals have all kinds of injury concerns heading into this game. DE Carlos Dunlap, T Andre Smith, DE Sam Hubbard, T Cordy Glenn, DE Carl Lawson, G Michael Jordan and DT Ryan Glasgow are all questionable for this game. CB Darius Phillips, CB Darqueze Denard, WR AJ Green and G Alex Redmond are all out.
The Steelers have only averaged 17 rush attempts per game this season, which is not what they want as they are passing on 67% of their plays. They will certainly take a look at that leading up to this game and try to get James Conner going. It’s the perfect opponent for Conner to break out as the Bengals are allowing 169 rushing yards per game and 4.9 per carry. That will help take some pressure off of Rudolph.
Bets against underdogs of PK (Cincinnati) - an good offensive team averaging 5.8 or more yards per play against a defense that is allowing 5.8 or more yards per play, after allowing 400 or more total yards in their previous game are 34-11 (75.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Bengals gave up 572 total yards to the 49ers and 416 total yards to the Bills the last two weeks. Their defense simply cannot be trusted, and I believe the Steelers have by far the superior stop unit in this one.
The Steelers have won 42 of their last 56 meetings with the Bengals. They have won 8 straight in this series and are 11-1 SU in the last 12 meetings. Bet the Steelers Monday.
|09-29-19||Bucs +10 v. Rams||Top||55-40||Win||100||119 h 13 m||Show|
20* NFC GAME OF THE MONTH on Tampa Bay Bucs +10
I think this is a great time to fade the Los Angeles Rams. They are off to a 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS start this season, and now they are overvalued. They only beat Carolina by 3 in the opener. They got a great break with an injury to Drew Brees in Week 2 that allowed them to beat the Saints. And last week they needed a goal-line stand in the final seconds to beat the Browns by 7.
Plus, the Rams have two huge division games coming up the next two weeks with games against the Seahawks and 49ers. And they are coming off a primetime game on Sunday Night Football against the Browns. This is a sandwich spot here against the Bucs, and I don’t expect them to have their full focus.
The Bucs have lost at home to the 49ers and Giants by giving the game away. They had four turnovers against the 49ers and two pick 6’s. And last week they blew an 18-point lead to the Giants, and missed a chip shot field goal at the buzzer that would have won it. I think the fact that they lost that game instead of winning it has them undervalued as well when clearly they should have won.
The Bucs just seem to play better on the road when they get away from the negativity that surrounds Jameis Winston at home. They went on the road in Week 2 and beat the Panthers 20-14 as 6.5-point dogs. And they’ll relish this opportunity to face the defending NFC champs here on the road Sunday.
The Rams just don’t have much of a home-field advantage. And Jared Goff just isn’t that good with a 4-to-3 TD/INT ratio this season and only 7.0 yards per attempt. Todd Gurley isn’t himself as he clearly has a knee problem. The Rams have hardly used him in the passing game since the knee injury popped up late last year. He’s only a shell of his former self when he’s not catching balls out of the backfield.
I would definitely argue that Jameis Winston just put together two of his best games in a row in his career. I think Bruce Arians is starting to get through to him. Winston was 16-of-25 for 208 yards and a touchdown with zero turnovers against the Panthers on the road two weeks ago. And last week he threw for 380 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He’s done everything he could do to win both of those games.
Tampa Bay may have the best defense it has had in years. Todd Bowles took over as defensive coordinator, and the Bucs added some great pieces in LB Shaq Barrett (8 sacks) and DT Ndamukong Suh. The combination of Suh and Vita Vea up the middle makes them very tough to run against. And Barrett has provided a tremendous pass rush. The Bucs are only allowing 330.7 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play, holding opponents to 68 yards per game and 1.2 yards per play less than their season averages.
The Bucs are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss. The Rams are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 home games against a team with a losing record. Tampa Bay is 35-19 ATS in its last 54 games after scoring 30 points or more last game. Arians is 15-4 ATS after allowing 300 or more passing yards in their last game in all games he has coached. Bet the Bucs Sunday.
|09-29-19||Redskins v. Giants -2.5||3-24||Win||100||116 h 9 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on New York Giants -2.5
I was on the Giants last week against the Bucs and I’m riding them for many of the same reasons this week. Finally, they decided to bench Eli Manning and go with first-round pick Daniel Jones. This upgrade at quarterback clearly gave them a boost last week, and now fans will come out in full force to watch Jones in his first career home start this week against the hapless Washington Redskins.
Jones was dynamite in the preseason. He completed 29-of-34 passes (85.3%) for 416 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions with a 137.3 QBR. He is the real deal, and he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder after everyone thought it was a terrible pick by the Giants to draft him that early. He’s ready to prove his doubters wrong.
Jones got off to a flying start last week by leading the Giants back from an 18-point deficit to beat the Bucs 32-31 on the road. Eli Manning would never have been able to lead that kind of comeback. Jones completed 23-of-36 passes for 336 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 28 yards and two scores, including the game-winner. HIs mobility is certainly what separates him from Manning.
The Redskins are a dumpster fire. They are 0-3 SU & 1-2 ATS this season. They didn’t commit a single turnover in each of their first two games, yet still lost to the Eagles by 5 and Cowboys by 10. Then they fell apart and committed five turnovers on Monday in a 15-31 home loss to the Bears. Now the Redskins are on a short week and have a ton of injury concerns.
The Reedskins are already without TE Jordan Reed, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, RB Derrius Guice, LB Reuben Foster and T Trent Williams. Those are five starters they are without. Plus, they could be without G Brandon Sherff and WR Terry McLaurin, who are both questionable. McLaurin would be a huge loss as he’s the team’s leading receiver with 16 receptions for 257 yards and three touchdowns. The team is already short on weapons. Plus, QB Case Keenum was in a walking boot all week and won’t be 100% if he goes.
I think the Giants are undervalued due to the Saquon Barkley injury. Backup Wayne Gallman is worth a point less than Barkley at most and RB injuries are always overrated. Plus, they didn’t need much of a running game against the Bucs last week with just 72 rushing yards compared to 312 passing yards. They should be able to move the ball at will against a Redskins defense that is allowing 31.3 points and 402.7 yards per game, including 261 passing yards per game and 79% completions to opposing quarterbacks.
The Giants are 15-2 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games. Plays on home teams (NY Giants) - after three consecutive games where they forced one or fewer turnovers against an opponent after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse are 23-5 (82.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Roll with the Giants Sunday.
|09-29-19||Chiefs -6 v. Lions||Top||34-30||Loss||-109||116 h 8 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE MONTH on Kansas City Chiefs -6
Believe it or not, this will actually be the first meaningful game for Patrick Mahomes in a dome in his NFL career. Just imagine what that explosive offense with a ton of speed is going to do to this Detroit Lions defense on the turf inside Ford Field Sunday. It’s not going to be pretty for the Lions.
Mahomes is having another huge season already. He is completing 71.9% of his passes for 1,195 yards with 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions through three games. He is averaging a whopping 10.5 yards per attempt. He has unlimited weapons in Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and a three-headed monster in the backfield with the addition of LeSean McCoy. They’ve been able to afford the injury to Tyreek Hill without skipping a beat.
The Lions will get a reality check here. They are off to a 2-0-1 SU & 2-1 ATS start this season. They allowed Kyler Murray and the Cardinals to come back from an 18-point deficit in Week 1. That’s a Cardinals team that just lost by 18 at home to Carolina. They were lucky to beat the Chargers by 3 in Week 2 as they were outgained by 86 yards. The Chargers had two touchdowns called back and fumbled going in from the 1-yard line. And last week they took advantage of a banged-up Eagles team and won by 3 despite getting outgained by 86 yards. They could easily be 0-3 instead.
This is a Lions defense that ranks 23rd in total defense in giving up 394.7 yards per game this season. That’s not good news for them going up against Mahomes and company. In four college games in his career, Mahomes averaged 492 passing yards per game in domes, which was 126 yards more than his averages. And in one preseason game he averaged 11.5 yards per attempt. They are going to get lit up, and the Lions don’t have the weapons to match Mahomes score for score.
The Lions are 0-6 ATS against teams with a turnover margin of +1 or more per game over the last three seasons. They are losing by 14.2 points per game on average in this spot. The Chiefs are 6-0 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. Kansas City is 7-0 ATS in the first month of the season over the last two years. The Lions are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games vs. a team with a winning road record. These four trends combine for a perfect 24-0 system backing Kansas City. Take the Chiefs Sunday.
|09-29-19||Chargers v. Dolphins +15.5||30-10||Loss||-110||46 h 21 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Miami Dolphins +15.5
It’s finally time to jump in on the Miami Dolphins and ‘buy low’ on them Sunday. They are off to an 0-3 SU & 0-3 ATS start and have been one of the worst teams in NFL history thus far. However, I saw some signs from them last week against the Cowboys that are buy signs moving forward.
The Dolphins had a chance to lead at halftime but turned it over deep in Dallas territory and went into the break down 10-6. They were outscored 21-0 after intermission, but clearly deserved to cover the 22.5-point spread. They failed on a 4th down from the Dallas 40-yard line late, and the Cowboys tacked on a late touchdown to get the cover.
Miami clearly showed a lot of fight last week against the Cowboys, and a big reason was because they made the switch to Josh Rosen at quarterback. He did about as well as you could expect. The Dolphins even attempted an onside kick in the first half, showing that they were going for the win. And now this week the Dolphins should get back some key players in WR Albert Wilson and S Rashad Jones from injury.
The Chargers are just doing Chargers things once again this season. They needed overtime to beat the Colts in Week 1 after letting a double-digit lead slip away. They had two touchdowns called back and fumbled from the Detroit 1-yard line in a 10-13 loss at the Lions. And last week they blew a 17-7 halftime lead and lost 20-27 at home to the Texans.
The Chargers are having a tough time overcoming their plethora of injuries. They are without RB Melvin Gordon, S Derwin James, T Russell Okung, TE Hunter Henry and S Adrian Phillips. Not to mention, WR Mike Williams, CB Casey Hayward, WR Travis Benjamin, TE Virgil Green and K Michael Badgley are all questionable this week. No team has been hit harder by injuries, and the Chargers are clearly struggling to cope with the losses of so many key players.
Plays on any team (Miami) - after scoring 9 points or less in two straight games are 33-10 (76.7%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The schedule couldn’t have been much more difficult to this point with games against the Ravens, Patriots and Cowboys, which is part of the reason they have struggled so badly. The Chargers are easily the worst team they’ve faced yet, and they will be more competitive in this game than oddsmakers anticipate. Bet the Dolphins Sunday.
|09-29-19||Raiders +7 v. Colts||31-24||Win||100||46 h 21 m||Show|
15* AFC PLAY OF THE DAY on Oakland Raiders +7
The Oakland Raiders got off to a great start this season with a 24-16 upset win over the Broncos are 3-point underdogs. But then they ran into two juggernauts in the Chiefs at home and Vikings on the road and were pretty much blown out in both games. Now I think it’s a great time to ‘buy low’ on the Raiders as they face a team they can handle here in the Indianapolis Colts.
I believe the Colts are overvalued now after going 2-1 SU & 2-0-1 ATS through their first three games. They lost in OT to the Chargers on the road in Week 1 after coming back from a 15-point deficit. They squeaked out a 19-17 win over the Titans are 3-point road dogs in Week 2, and also beat the Falcons 27-24 at home as 1-point favorites last week.
As you can see, all three of the Colts’ games this season have been decided by 6 points or less. I believe this game goes down to the wire as well, so there’s a ton of value on the Raiders catching the full touchdowns. The Colts aren’t a team built to blow out opponents with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. He is a game manager who won’t beat his own team, but he’s also not capable of running up the score on anyone with his limited abilities.
Derek Carr is having a solid season for the Raiders. He is completing 73.5% of his passes for 699 yards with a 4-to-3 TD/INT ratio and 7.1 yards per attempt. He has faced a gauntlet of defenses thus far in the Broncos, Vikings and Chiefs. He has found a nice chemistry with two new receivers in TE Darren Waller (26 receptions, 267 yards) and WR Tyrell Williams, (14, 180 3 TD).
The Colts have a ton of injury concerns heading into this game, while the Raiders will be getting some key players back from injury. The Colts just lost CB Malik Hooker for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Last year’s leading tackler LB Darius Leonard is out with a concussion. T.Y. Hilton suffered a quad strain last week and is questionable to play this week. The Colts are actually getting outgained on the season.
Plays against favorites (Indianapolis) - off a home win, in the first month of the season are 79-39 (66.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Jon Gruden is 13-4 ATS after being outrushed by 100 or more yards last game in all games he has coached. The Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss. Take the Raiders Sunday.
|09-28-19||Colorado State +24.5 v. Utah State||24-34||Win||100||73 h 15 m||Show|
15* MWC PLAY OF THE DAY on Colorado State +24.5
The Utah State Aggies are coming off a historic season in which they went 11-2 SU and 9-3-1 ATS. But they only brought back nine starters from that team, including two on offense. The betting public has continued to back this team and they’ve been rewarded as the Aggies have opened 2-1 SU & 3-0 ATS.
Clearly, I believe Utah State is overvalued now. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Aggies, who barely covered in a 3-point loss to Wake Forest as 4.5-point underdogs. They also barely covered in a 6-point win over San Diego State as 4-point favorites. Now they are being asked to lay a whopping 24.5 points to a Colorado State team that is undervalued after opening 1-3.
The Rams have shown me enough against a tough schedule to believe they can stay within 24.5 points here. Their three losses have come to Colorado, Arkansas and Toledo all by 21 points or less. I’ve really been impressed with their offense, which is averaging 34.5 points, 552.2 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play. This offense can travel anywhere. Colorado State is now outgaining opponents by 113 yards per game on the season, so they are clearly better than their record would indicate.
Last week, Colorado State only lost 35-41 at home to Toledo as 7-point dogs. They racked up 694 total yards and and found their QB of the future in Patrick O’Brien, who started in place of the injured Colin Hill. O’Brien threw for 405 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while also rushing for 27 yards and a score.
Colorado State just has Utah State’s number. The Rams are 2-1 SU & 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings. They won 27-14 on the road as 9.5-point favorites in 2017, and 31-24 at home as 6-point underdogs in 2016. But last year’s performance was the most impressive despite losing 24-29 on the road. The Rams were whopping 30.5-point underdogs in that game and actually outgained the Aggies by 196 total yards and should have won that game outright.
Plays on road underdogs (Colorado State) - in a game involving two dominant teams who are outgaining opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 575 or more total yards in their previous game are 51-18 (73.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a loss. Bet Colorado State Saturday.
|09-28-19||Ohio State v. Nebraska +18||Top||48-7||Loss||-110||80 h 57 m||Show|
20* Ohio State/Nebraska ABC No-Brainer on Nebraska +18
This line was Ohio State -10 when it came out in the offseason at the Golden Nugget. Oddsmakers have adjusted 7.5 points. I think the value is on Nebraska in this game.
Ohio State is overvalued off its 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS start this season against one of the easiest schedules in the country. They are coming off a 76-5 win over Miami Ohio last week.
Meanwhile, Nebraska is 3-1 SU but 1-3 ATS and undervalued now because of it. The Huskers should be 4-0 but they blew a 17-0 halftime lead at Colorado. And last week’s 42-38 win at Illinois was one of the most misleading finals of the week. Plus it was a lookahead spot to this Ohio State game, and the Huskers didn’t show up with their full focus.
Nebraska had a 32-14 edge in first downs over Illinois They had a 671-299 yard edge, outgaining the Fighting Illini by 372 total yards. But they were -3 in turnovers, which is the only reason it was close. Adrian Martinez was awesome, throwing for 327 yards and 3 scores, while also rushing for 118 yards. He is the reason they have a chance here against Ohio State.
Remember last year, Nebraska only lost by 5 at Ohio State as 17-point dogs. Now they are catching more than 17 at home this time around. It will be a raucous atmosphere in Lincoln Saturday night as fans and players alike have had this game circled all offseason.
Ohio State has been able to run all over the bad defenses they’ve faced, averaging 262 rushing yards per game and 5.9 per carry. Well, they won’t be able to run all over Nebraska. The Huskers have held opponents to just 117 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season. Their defense is vastly improved, and they have one of the most explosive offenses in the country at 38.0 points per game, 490 yards per game and 6.5 yards per play.
Nebraska is 28-11 ATS in its last 39 after failing to cover 3 of their last 4 games coming in. The Huskers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 conference games. Ohio State is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games after gaining 450 or more total yards in four consecutive games. Nebraska is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 home games vs. good defensive teams that give up 14 or fewer points per game.
Plays on home underdogs of 14.5 or more points (Nebraska) - after two or more consecutive straight up wins, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team are 41-12 (77.4%) ATS since 1992. Bet Nebraska Saturday.
|09-28-19||Kansas State +5 v. Oklahoma State||13-26||Loss||-110||72 h 20 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Kansas State +5
The Kansas State Wildcats are one of the most underrated teams in all of college football. Chris Klieman was one of the best hires of the offseason coming over from North Dakota State where he won four FCS titles in five years. The guy knows how to coach, and the cupboard wasn’t bare at Kansas State with 14 returning starters.
I backed Kansas State in Week 3 as they went on the road and upset Mississippi State 31-24 as 7.5-point underdogs. Now they’ve had a bye week since, which means they get two full weeks to prepare for Oklahoma State. It’s a Cowboys team they have had a lot of success against, going 4-3 SU & 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
Oklahoma State is in a clear flat spot here. They are coming off a deflating 30-36 loss at Texas last week. They scored a late touchdown to get in the back door and cover, but for the most part Texas controlled that game the entire way. QB Spencer Sanders was only 19-of-32 passing with zero touchdowns and two interceptions against a bad Texas defense.
Kansas State has one of the best defenses in the country. The Wildcats are holding opponents to just 12.7 points per game, 256 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 8.7 points, 92 yards per game and 0.8 yards per play less than their season averages. It’s a defense that returned eight starters from last year and will be one of the best in the Big 12 this season.
Kansas State’s offense has averaged 44 points per game and rushed for 280 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry thus far. I have no doubt Klieman knows his best chance to win is to control the time of possession, and they’ll do that with their running game. The Cowboys have not been great against the run as they are giving up 176 rushing yards per game this season. It’s a great matchup for the Wildcats.
Klieman will take a page from Bill Snyder for sure in this one. The Wildcats have been able to run wild on the Cowboys in recent years during their 4-3 SU & 6-1 ATS stretch. Starting with last season, the Wildcats have rushed for 291, 217, and 345 yards in their last there meetings with the Cowboys. Based on what we’ve seen thus far, the Wildcats will have their way on the ground against the Cowboys once again.
Kansas State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Wildcats are 22-9-1 ATS in their last 32 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Kansas State is 5-0 ATS in its last five games overall. The Wildcats are 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. The Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last five trips to Oklahoma State. Take Kansas State Saturday.
|09-28-19||Iowa State -2.5 v. Baylor||Top||21-23||Loss||-115||94 h 29 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE MONTH on Iowa State -2.5
The Iowa State Cyclones lost a game 18-17 to the Iowa Hawkeyes that they should have won. They outgained the Hawkeyes by 105 yards in that game, but were -2 in turnovers and led the whole way until the 4th quarter. But because they lost that game, the Cyclones are undervalued heading into conference play.
It just goes to show how good of a coach Matt Campbell is with the way his team responded last week. They could have easily been flat off that loss to their in-state rivals, but they came out and dominated with one of their best performances in program history. Indeed, the Cyclones beat Louisiana-Monroe 72-20, which was their most points scored in a game since 1906 when the forward pass was introduced. They racked up 714 total yards, including six total touchdowns from QB Brock Purdy.
The numbers really show just how dominant the Cyclones have been despite being just 2-1 and having a couple close games against both Iowa and Northern Iowa. Iowa State is averaging 39.3 points, 532 yards per game and 7.7 yards per play. They are averaging 12.2 points, 110 yards per game and 1.8 yards per play more than their opponents allow on average. Defensively, they are giving up 21.3 points, 333 yards per game and 4.4 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 7.5 points, 49 yards and 0.7 yards per play less than their season averages.
Baylor comes into Big 12 play overrated due to playing such a soft schedule. The Bears are 3-0, but just 1-2 ATS this season. Their three games have come against Stephen F. Austin, UTSA and Rice. Their performance against Rice last week shows they are vulnerable. They only beat the Owls 21-13 as 27-point favorites. That’s a bad Rice team that is 0-4 and has basically been blown out every game.
Campbell is 9-1 ATS when playing against a team that has greater than a 75% winning percentage as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 6-0 ATS vs. teams that outscore opponents by 17-plus points per game as the coach of the Cyclones. The Cyclones are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 road games. The Bears are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games. Take Iowa State Saturday.
|09-28-19||Virginia +12.5 v. Notre Dame||20-35||Loss||-103||69 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Virginia +12.5
I love the spot for Virginia here. They come in undervalued after nearly losing to Old Dominion in a 28-17 win as 27-point favorites where they needed a second-half comeback. It was a clear flat spot and a lookahead spot off their win over Florida State and with Notre Dame on deck. Now, with a bye on deck next week, Virginia will be ‘all in’ this week.
Notre Dame went 12-0 in the regular season last year and made the four-team playoff. After losing to Georgia 17-23 last week, Notre Dame now has almost no shot at making the playoff again. I think they’ll still be deflated from that defeat, and they won’t bring 100% focus into this game against Virginia. I also think the Fighting Irish are getting too much respect now after playing Georgia closer than oddsmakers thought. Everyone was on Georgia in that game it seemed like as they failed to cover as 14.5-point favorites.
Virginia has a legit defense that is holding opponents to 18.0 points, 264 yards per game and 4.1 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 76 yards per game and 0.9 yards per play less than their season averages. And the Cavaliers are led at QB by Bryce Perkins, who is completing 65.3% of his passes while also rushing for 193 yards and two scores. He is one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC.
Virginia’s 30-14 win at Pitt in the opener looks even better now. Pitt nearly upset Penn State on the road as a 17-point dogs, and they came back last week and upset UCF as a double-digit dog last week. That was the Cavaliers’ only road game this season, and it was their best performance of the year. Bronco Mendenhall will have them ready for a physical came against Notre Dame on the road here, which is just the way they like it.
I actually think Virginia is the more physical team up front on both sides of the ball. Notre Dame is giving up 204 rushing yards per game and 4.9 per carry this season. Virginia is only allowing 75 rushing yards per game and 2.2 per carry. The team that stops the run best usually wins, and there’s no question Virginia is better equipped to stop the run in this game based on what we’ve seen thus far.
Notre Dame is 8-24 ATS in its last 32 games vs. excellent defensive teams that allow 285 or fewer yards per game. Mendenhall is 11-1 ATS off a non-conference game as the coach of Virginia. The Cavaliers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 vs. a team with a winning record. Virginia is 5-1 ATS in its last six vs. Independent schools. The Fighting Irish are 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. Bet Virginia Saturday.
|09-28-19||Wake Forest v. Boston College +7||27-24||Win||100||69 h 44 m||Show|
15* ACC PLAY OF THE DAY on Boston College +7
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are getting way too much respect here from oddsmakers. They are off to a 4-0 start this season and overvalued as a result. They won three home games against Utah State, UNC and Elon, as well as a road win at Rice in their only game away from home thus far. They haven’t done anything impressive as they barely beat both UNC and Utah State and home. Utah State lost almost everyone from last year, and UNC was on a short week and coming off a huge win against Miami, putting them in a letdown spot.
Conversely, Boston College is undervalued because everyone remembers their shocking 24-48 home loss to Kansas. They clearly went through the motions in that game and didn’t even show up. Their other three games have been impressive, and more of a sign of the team they are than that Kansas game. They beat VA Tech 35-28 as 4-point home dogs in the opener, crushed Richmond 45-13 at home, and went on the road and beat Rutgers 30-16 as 7.5-point favorites. I like the way they responded from that Kansas loss with the win at Rutgers.
Now Boston College has been humbled and refocused after that Kansas loss. They still have everything in front of them as they are 1-0 in ACC play and can get to 2-0 here. I really like what I’ve seen from this Boston College offense as they have averaged 33.5 points, 457 yards per game and 251 rushing yards per game. The problem with their defense is that they have lost the time of possession, averaging just over 26 minutes per game on offense while their defense has been on the field for 34 minutes per game. That should change moving forward with how well they’ve been able to run the football.
This will be the best offense that Wake Forest has faced this season. The Demon Deacons have good defensive numbers, but that’s more due to the ease of the schedule of opposing offenses. They did give up 35 points and 596 yards to Utah State, and they will be hard-pressed to slow down AJ Dillon and Antony Brown in this one. Brown has a 6-to-0 TD/INT ratio and is averaging 7.8 yards per attempt, while also rushing for two scores this year. Dillon has rushed for 468 yards and accounted for seven total touchdowns.
Plays on any team (Boston College) - an excellent rushing team that average 4.8 or more yards per carry against a good rushing team (4.3 to 4.8 YPC), after allowing 100 or fewer rushing yards last game are 76-34 (69.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. Steve Addazio is 8-1 ATS vs. teams who commit one or fewer turnovers per game as the coach of Boston College. The Eagles are 12-3-1 ATS int heir last 16 conference games. Roll with Boston College Saturday.
|09-28-19||Northwestern +25 v. Wisconsin||15-24||Win||100||65 h 16 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Northwestern +25
Northwestern definitely came into the season overvalued after winning the Big Ten West in one of the best seasons in program history. And now they’re off to a 1-2 SU & 0-3 ATS start this season, failing to meet expectations. I believe this is the perfect time to ‘buy low’ on Northwestern now that everyone has counted them out.
It’s the perfect storm too because it’s the perfect time to ’sell high’ on Wisconsin. The Badgers are 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS this season with wins over South Florida, Central Michigan and then Michigan last week. Clearly, Michigan was overrated as they needed overtime to beat Army in their previous game. The Badgers will have a hard time getting up for Northwestern after their win over Michigan last week.
This is the role Northwestern has played their best under Pat Fitzgerald. Indeed, Northwestern has actually gone 10-8 STRAIGHT UP as a double-digit underdog over the last 10 years. Not only are they covering, they are winning outright in these spots more time than not.
Northwestern has been an underdog to Wisconsin each of the last five years. They have gone 3-2 SU & 4-1 ATS in those five games with both of their losses coming by 14 points or less. Northwestern loves a good Big Ten street fight where it’s a battle of the trenches. They are one of the few teams that can hold up against a team like Wisconsin with one of the best front seven’s defensively in the Big Ten.
The 10-31 home loss to Michigan State last week was closer than the final score showed. The Wildcats were only outgained by 74 yards, but they committed three turnovers, which proved to be the difference. I would argue Michigan State may have the best defense in the country, and Northwestern was able to run for 140 yards on them.
Fitzgerald is 8-0 ATS after gaining 3.75 or fewer yards per play in its previous game as the coach of Northwestern. Paul Chryst is 5-15 ATS after gaining 6.25 or more yards per play in their previous game as the coach of Wisconsin. The Wildcats are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Northwestern is 19-7 ATS in its last 26 road games. The Wildcats are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games off a double-digit home loss. The Badgers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games off a win. Roll with Northwestern Saturday.
|09-27-19||Duke v. Virginia Tech -2.5||Top||45-10||Loss||-110||49 h 33 m||Show|
20* Duke/VA Tech ESPN No-Brainer on Virginia Tech -2.5
The Virginia Tech Hokies had big expectations coming into the season due to returning 16 starters, including 10 on defense. But after getting upset by Boston College on the road in their opener, and failing to cover in wins over Old Dominion and Furman, I believe this is a great time to ‘buy low’ on the Hokies.
The Hokies have actually outgained all three of their opponents this season. The only reason they lost to Boston College was because they turned the ball over five times. In fact, they already have 9 turnovers this season through three games. That’s not going to continue.
Now Justin Fuente has had two full weeks to correct the mistakes with his team. I expect the Hokies to come through with their best performance of the season Friday night. They still have everything in front of them as they control their own destiny in the ACC and can still win the Coastal Division. If they are going to, this is a must-win against Duke.
I’m surprised at all the Duke love in this game. They lost by 39 to Alabama in the opener, and have played a few cupcakes since in NC A&T and Middle Tennessee. This is a Duke team that only returned 12 starters, including 4 on offense and lost their QB Daniel Jones as the 6th pick in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
Virginia Tech owns Duke, going 13-2 SU in the last 15 meetings. They won by 17 on the road last year as 6.5-point dogs, and by 21 at home in 2017 as 17-point favorites. And it’s clear the Hokies are improved defensively this season with all they brought back.
They are holding opponents to 23.0 points, 329 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 50 yards per game and 0.6 yards per play less than their season averages. This inexperienced Duke offense will have a problem trying to move the football on this Bud Foster defense, which is back to the standards we expect from him and the Hokies after a down year last season. Duke is averaging 27 yards per game less than their opponents give up on average.
The Hokies are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Virginia Tech is 5-0 ATS in its last five Friday games. The Hokies still have one of the best home-field advantages in the country, especially during these weeknight games. The Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win. Bet Virginia Tech Friday.
|09-26-19||Eagles +4.5 v. Packers||Top||34-27||Win||100||26 h 45 m||Show|
20* Eagles/Packers NFC No-Brainer on Philadelphia +4.5
This is a great ‘buy low, sell high’ situation. We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Eagles, who are 1-2 SU & 0-3 ATS this season and basically in a must-win situation Thursday night. We’ll ’sell high’ on the Packers, who are 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS and now overvalued because of it.
I think we are at least getting a point or two of value on the Eagles due to what has taken place thus far. I still believe the Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFL. Their two losses came by 4 and 3 points, and if they do lose this game, I expect it to be by 4 or less again as well. They had seven drops and two fumbles against the Lions last week, while the Lions had a kickoff return TD. They outgained the Lions by 86 yards and arguably should have won.
The Eagles will get some players back from injury this week that they didn’t have Sunday against the Lions. And those injuries are a big reason they were upset by the Lions. The Eagles will get back their best receiver in Alshon Jeffery, and they’ll also have WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in this one. TE Dallas Goedert is back this week as well. Receiver injuries were the biggest problem for the Eagles last week, but that won’t be an issue this week even though DeSean Jackson is still out.
The Packers have plenty of injury problems of their own. They have five key players listed as questionable in this one in LB Zadarius Smith, TE Jimmy Graham, T Bryan Bulaga, DT Kenny Clark and LB Blake Martinez. I would argue their injury concerns are even greater than that of the Eagles.
The Packers have an improved defense, but they have played three bad offenses in the Bears, Broncos and Vikings. The Packers are fortunate to be 3-0 when you consider how poorly their offense has played. They are scoring just 19.3 points per game and averaging just 287 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play. They rank 28th in total offense, 28th in yards per play and 23rd in scoring offense.
The Eagles are still 9th in total offense despite the injuries to their receivers. They still have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, and their defense is among the best despite a slow start to the season. They have a tremendous front seven, which helps make up for their weakness, which is in their secondary. It’s only a matter of time before their defense starts playing like it has over the last couple years.
The Eagles are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. a team with a winning record. Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games. Bet the Eagles Thursday.
|09-26-19||Navy v. Memphis -10.5||23-35||Win||100||26 h 33 m||Show|
15* Navy/Memphis ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Memphis -10.5
I always like fading triple-option teams like Navy when their opponent has extra time to prepare. And that’s the case this week as Memphis has nearly two full weeks to get ready for this game after last playing on September 14th. Plus, they’ve played Navy each of the last two years, so they know what to expect.
Memphis is legitimately one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country. And they’re off to a flying start this season, going 3-0 SU & 2-1 ATS. They beat Ole Miss 15-10 at home and outgained them by 191 yards in what was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. They beat Southern 55-24 and outgained them by 317 yards. And last time out they won 42-6 as 20.5-point favorites at South Alabama and outgained them by 282 yards.
The Tigers have been one of the most dominant teams in all of college football thus far. They always have an explosive offense every year, but the difference with this team is the improvement on defense. They returned eight starters on defense this season. They are holding opponents to 13.3 points per game, 226 yards per game and 3.9 yards per play. They are holding opponents to 8.7 points, 104 yards per game and 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages. Stopping the run will be key in this game, and Memphis is giving up just 116 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry thus far.
Navy isn’t the juggernaut it used to be. The Midshipmen are coming off a 3-10 season and a second consecutive loss to Army. They only returned four starters this season and are inexperienced. Sure, they are 2-0, but those two wins have come against Holy Cross and East Carolina. Holy Cross is one of the worst teams in FCS, and ECU is one of the worst teams in FBS. This is a huge step up in class for them.
I realize one of Navy’s three wins last year came against Memphis, but I think that works in our favor here. Navy won 22-21 and held the ball for nearly 43 minutes. Memphis moved the ball on them with ease, averaging 7.7 yards per play, but they committed four turnovers to give the game away. That places the Tigers in revenge mode, and with two weeks to prepare, they will be ready for this challenge. It will be a raucous atmosphere in Memphis for a Thursday night home game as well with the Tigers having one of the best home-field advantages in the country.
Memphis is 25-11 ATS in its last 36 games as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points. Current head coach Mike Norvell is 9-2 ATS as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points as the coach of Memphis. Ken Niumatalolo is 5-14 ATS in road games off a bye week as the coach of Navy. The Tigers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games. Memphis is 19-7 ATS in its last 26 games off a bye week. The Tigers are 18-8-1 ATS in their last 27 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
Finally, Memphis is 7-0 ATS under Mike Norvell off a bye week. They have covered their last five in this spot while covering the spread by a total of 56 points. This one has blowout written all over it. Take Memphis Thursday.
|09-23-19||Bears -3.5 v. Redskins||Top||31-15||Win||100||126 h 11 m||Show|
20* Bears/Redskins ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Chicago -3.5
Everyone in the media is dogging on Mitchell Trubisky and this Chicago offense. But keep in mind the Bears have played two of the best defenses in the NFL in the Packers and Broncos. I think this is Trubisky’s coming out party on Monday Night Football against what has been one of the worst defenses in the NFL in the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins are allowing a whopping 31.5 points per game, 455.0 yards per game and 6.8 yards per play through their first two games against the Eagles and Cowboys. And their offense has struggled with 326.5 yards per game, so they are getting outgained by roughly 129 yards per game on the season.
The Bears had the best defense in the NFL last season and they have picked up right where they left off. They are giving up just 12.0 points per game, 292.5 yards per game and 4.6 yards per play through two games. With a defense this good, the Bears are going to be in almost every game they play. The offense just has to be average or better for this team to be elite.
I think there’s some line value here based off last week’s line against the Cowboys. The Redskins were 6.5-point home dogs to the Cowboys, but they are only 3.5-point home dogs to the Bears this week. I have the Cowboys and Bears power rated similarly, so we are basically getting 3 points of value bases off that fact alone.
The Bears have some momentum coming into this game as well. They were starting an 0-2 start straight in the face last week. They led 13-6 but gave up a TD and a 2-point conversion to the Broncos with only 30 seconds remaining to trail. Trubisky managed to drive the field in 30 seconds and set up the game-winning 53-yard field goal from Eddy Pineiro as time expired. Kicking has been a huge problem for the Bears, and now they have confidence that they’ve found their man. That drive also gives Trubisky some confidence coming into this week as well.
Jay Gruden is 1-8 ATS on Monday Night Football as the coach of the Redskins. They are losing by 11.2 points per game in this spot. The Bears are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 vs. a team with a losing record. Washington is 7-21 ATS in its last 28 MNF games. The Redskins are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. The road team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings. Bet the Bears Monday.
|09-22-19||Rams v. Browns +3.5||20-13||Loss||-115||102 h 17 m||Show|
15* Rams/Browns NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Cleveland +3.5
The Los Angeles Rams are getting too much respect from oddsmakers now after their 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season. They barely covered in their 30-27 road win over the Panthers as 1.5-point favorites. And they got a huge break last week when Drew Brees went out early with a thumb injury in their 27-9 home win over the Saints. We’ll ’sell high’ on the Rams this week.
The Cleveland Browns certainly believed the hype in the offseason and were humbled in their 13-43 home loss to the Titans in Week 1. They came back with a chip on their shoulder last week and made easy work of the Jets in a 23-3 road win. And now this place will be rocking in Cleveland Sunday night with the defending NFC champions coming to town, and you can bet the Browns will be giving their best effort here.
This Cleveland offense has so many playmakers that they are going to be tough to tame this season. They were great with Baker Mayfield last season, and now they added Odell Beckham Jr. in the offseason. He has already made his mark with this team with 13 receptions for 232 yards and a touchdown this week. He is only going to continue to open things up for other players with the attention he is going to draw moving forward.
The Browns are only giving up 300.5 yards per game through two games as their defense certainly looks improved. The Rams lost two starting offensive linemen in the offseason. The strength of the Browns is their front seven, and Myles Garrett and company will make life tough on Jared Goff. Garrett had three sacks last week and is an absolute terror.
Plays against favorites (LA Rams) - off a home win, in the first month of the season are 78-37 (67.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Plays on underdogs or PK (Cleveland) - a bad defense from last season that allowed 385 or more yards per game are 31-11 (73.8%) ATS over the last 10 years. Roll with the Browns Sunday.
|09-22-19||Steelers +7 v. 49ers||20-24||Win||100||98 h 22 m||Show|
15* Steelers/49ers Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on Pittsburgh +7
This is the classic ‘buy low, sell high’ game. We’ll buy low on the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are off to an 0-2 start and have their backs against the wall in basically a must-win game here. And we’ll sell high on the 49ers, who are 2-0 and coming off back-to-back road wins over the Bucs and Bengals.
The Steelers have played the much tougher schedule thus far with a road loss to the Patriots and a home loss to the Seahawks. And they lost Big Ben to a season-ending injury in the first half of that loss to Seattle. Backup Mason Rudolph is ready for the spotlight and played well against the Seahawks in keeping them in that game.
Rudolph went 12-of-19 passing for 112 yards with two touchdowns and one interception after taking Big Ben’s place last week. I expect Rudolph to be even better with a full week to prepare to be the starter. He did not expect to get in that game last week, and now he can change his mentality and lead a Steelers team that will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after everyone is counting them out now.
The 49ers are feeling fat and happy after their 2-0 start, and now expectations are sky high for this team. They are now 7-point home favorites over the Steelers, which is simply too much. And the 49ers just lost their best offensive linemen in LT Joe Staley to a broken fibula, so Jimmy G will be concerned about the backup protecting his blind side, especially with his injury history.
The Steelers showed that they aren’t giving in this season by trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Dolphins. Their secondary has been their weakness thus far, and he is an instant upgrade. I have no doubt their defense is better than they’ve shown thus far as they were one of the top units in the league last year. Adding Fitzpatrick will only make them better. Plus they’ve played a much tougher schedule than the 49ers have thus far.
The Steelers are 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 road games vs. a team with a winning record. The 49ers are 7-16 ATS in their last 23 home games. Mike Tomlin is 27-16 ATS off an upset loss as a favorite as the coach of Pittsburgh. Tomlin is 13-5 ATS in road games after two or more consecutive ATS losses as the coach of the Steelers.
Plays against home favorites (San Francisco) - a poor scoring defense from last season that allowed 24 or more points per game, after scoring 30 points or more last game are 23-2 (92%) ATS since 1983. Take the Steelers Sunday.
|09-22-19||Texans v. Chargers -3||Top||27-20||Loss||-120||98 h 21 m||Show|
20* AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Los Angeles Chargers -3
The Chargers should be 2-0 after blowing the game in Detroit last week. They outgained the Lions by 85 yards and fumbled at the 1-yard line going in for a score. They also had two touchdowns called back by penalties and missed two field goals, yet only lost by 3. I think the fact that they lost that game has them undervalued this week. Now we are getting the Chargers as only 3-point home favorites over the Houston Texans.
The Chargers are hitting on all cylinders offensively in the early going. They are averaging 430 yards per game and 7.4 yards per play on offense. They should have their way with a Houston defense that is allowing 396 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play.
The Texans are only averaging 339 yards per game & 6.0 yards per play on offense. So the Chargers are outgaining opponents by 1.3 yards per play, which ranks 5th in the NFL, while the Texans are getting outgained by 0.7 yards per play. Yards per play is one of the most important stats in the NFL. The Top 5 teams in YPP differential are 9-1 thus far in 2019.
The Texans have great skill position players, but that’s about it. They have a bad defense and a bad offensive line. Deshaun Watson has already been sacked 10 times this season in two games after taking the most sacks in the NFL last year. The Chargers have one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
The Chargers own the AFC South Division, going 30-5 ATS in their last 35 games against them. They are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 meetings with the Texans. The Chargers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after failing to cover the spread in their previous game. Bet the Chargers Sunday.
|09-22-19||Giants +7 v. Bucs||Top||32-31||Win||100||125 h 55 m||Show|
20* NFC GAME OF THE WEEK on New York Giants +7
Finally, the New York Giants have decided to bench Eli Manning and go with first-round pick Daniel Jones. I think this upgrade at quarterback will give the Giants a big boost in Jones’ first start and inject some new life into this team. They knew they weren’t going anywhere with Eli, but now there is hope with Jones. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Giants win this game outright Sunday against the Bucs.
I also like backing 0-2 teams in Week 3 because their backs are against the wall and their season is essentially on the line. You know you’re going to get their best effort, and that will especially be the case with the Giants this week with Jones starting. Plus, the betting public wants nothing to do with the 0-2 teams because they have looked bad, and thus there is value in backing them.
Jones was dynamite in the preseason. He completed 29-of-34 passes (85.3%) for 416 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions with a 137.3 QBR. He is the real deal, and he is playing with a chip on his shoulder after everyone thought it was a terrible pick by the Giants drafting him that early. He’s ready to prove his doubters wrong.
A big reason the Giants are 0-2 is because they have played a brutal schedule. They lost to the Cowboys in Week 1 and the Bills in Week 2, a pair of teams that are 2-0 with two of the best defenses in the NFL. I like the move to start Jones this week against a Tampa Bay defense that has been one of the worst stop units in the NFL for years. And those games against the Cowboys and Bills were closer than the final scores. They were only outgained by 24 yards by the Cowboys and 18 yards by the Bills, but they lost the turnover battle 4-0, which was the difference.
In what world should the Bucs be favored by a touchdown over anyone other than maybe the Dolphins? They've only been favored by 6 or more points one other time in the last seven years. It’s a great time to ’sell high’ on the Bucs after their upset road win over the Carolina Panthers last week as 6.5-point dogs. This Tampa Bay offense has been atrocious in averaging 18.5 points, 292.0 yards per game and only 4.9 yards per play thus far. Jameis Winston just can’t be trusted as chances are he’ll make plenty of mistakes to keep the Giants in this game. He threw 3 interceptions against the 49ers in the opener.
The Giants are 14-2 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games. New York is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games after scoring less than 15 points in its previous game. The Giants are 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games. The Giants are 6-1-2 ATS in the last nine meetings. New York is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six meetings in Tampa Bay. Bet the Giants Sunday.
|09-22-19||Broncos +8 v. Packers||16-27||Loss||-110||95 h 57 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Denver Broncos +8
This is the classic ‘buy low, sell high’ game. We’ll buy low on the Denver Broncos, who are off to an 0-2 start this season and have their backs against the wall as they will clearly be giving their best effort to avoid an 0-3 start. And we’ll sell high on the Packers, who are 2-0 and one of the favorite teams of the betting public.
This is the ultimate letdown spot for the Packers. They are coming off two huge division wins over the Bears and Vikings, who are their two biggest threats to win the NFC North. Now they step out of conference here against the Broncos and won’t be nearly as motivated for this game as they were for those two huge division games to open the season. That will make it tough for them to cover this inflated 8-point spread.
Denver has played better than its 0-2 record would show. The Broncos actually outgained the Raiders in their 16-24 Week 1 loss on the road. And they outgained the Bears by 99 yards in their 14-16 home loss in Week 2. They still have one of the best defenses in the NFL, giving up just 20.0 points per game and 315 yards per game. And their offense hasn’t been as bad as the media perceives, averaging 358 yards per game.
Conversely, the Packers aren’t as good as their 2-0 record. They were outgained by 41 yards by the Bears in their 10-3 road win in Week 1. And last week they were outgained by 86 yards by the Vikings in their 21-16 win. While the Packers have an improved defense, Aaron Rodgers and the offense have struggled mightily with just 274.0 yards per game and 4.6 yards per play through two games. Things won’t get easier for Rodgers and company against this nasty, hungry Denver defense this week.
Plays against favorites (Green Bay) - off a home win, in the first month of the season are 78-37 (67.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Packers are 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine games following an ATS win. Take the Broncos Sunday.
|09-21-19||Charlotte +42 v. Clemson||10-52||Push||0||79 h 6 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Charlotte +42
The Clemson Tigers are the No. 1 ranked team in the country and the defending national champs. With that distinction comes expectations from the betting public and oddsmakers that are very tough to live up to. Clemson is fortunate not to be 0-3 ATS this season, but because they are 2-1 ATS they are being overvalued this week.
Clemson beat Georgia Tech by 38 as 36.5-point favorites in the opener. Georgia Tech failed going into the end zone at the 1-yard line which proved to be the difference in covering or not. Clemson then failed to cover as 16.5-point favorites in a 14-point win over Texas A&M. And last week Clemson never led by more than 28 as 28-point favorites against Syracuse, but got a breakaway 57-yard run with 48 seconds left to win by 35 when they were just trying to run out the clock.
Now this is a terrible spot for Clemson. It’s a ACC sandwich spot. They were sky high last week in their ACC opener at Syracuse, and now they have an ACC game at North Carolina on deck next week. They won’t have their full focus here against Charlotte in this non-conference game, which is going to make it extremely difficult for them to cover this massive 42-point spread.
Not to mention, Charlotte looks pretty good. They beat Gardner Webb 49-28 at home in their opener. And they went on the road and only lost 41-56 at Appalachian State as 23.5-point dogs in Week 2. That’s an Appalachian State team that has been one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country in recent years. And last week they throttled UMass 52-17 as 20.5-point favorites.
As you can see, Charlotte has an explosive offense that is capable of scoring more points than anyone has yet on this Clemson defense. The 49ers are averaging 47.3 points and 522.3 yards per game and 7.8 yards per play this season. They have shown tremendous balance with 297 rushing yards per game and 7.1 per carry, and 226 passing yards per game and 9.0 yards per attempt. I believe the 49ers are one of the single-most underrated teams in all of college football based on what I’ve seen so far.
Dabo Swinney is 1-8 ATS in home games after allowing 17 points or less in three straight games as the coach of Clemson. His teams are only winning by 8.4 points per game in this spot. Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games. Clemson is 2-6 ATS in its last eight non-conference games.
Plays against favorites of 31.5 or more points (Clemson) - outgaining opponents by 1.0 or more yards per play, after outgaining opponent by 125 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Plays on road teams (Charlotte) - an excellent offensive team averaging 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with an excellent defense allowing 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game are 37-11 (77.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take Charlotte Saturday.
|09-21-19||Wyoming v. Tulsa -3||Top||21-24||Push||0||76 h 2 m||Show|
25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Tulsa -3
There’s a reason a 1-2 Tulsa team is favored over a 3-0 Wyoming team Saturday. And if not for the records, Tulsa would be a much bigger home favorite. But I think we are getting a ton of value here because of the records on Tulsa, and that’s why I’ve made this my 25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR. This game has blowout written all over it.
Tulsa’s two losses are against Michigan State and Oklahoma State. And they went on the road and beat San Jose State by 18 as 6-point favorites in their lone win. They have faced a brutal schedule thus far, and I came away impressed by the losses to Michigan State and Oklahoma State as well.
Tulsa actually led Oklahoma State 21-20 in the second half before eventually losing 21-40 last week. They deserved to cover the 13.5-point spread, but Oklahoma State busted a long run in the final minutes when they basically could have kneeled on it. It was much closer than that 19-point margin would indicate. They also lost 7-28 at Michigan State to cover the 23.5-point spread, and they held the Spartans to just 303 total yards in the loss.
Tulsa’s offense is better than it has shown due to the tough schedule, but the defense has really impressed me the most. The Golden Hurricane are only allowing 28.0 points and 386 yards per game this season. They are one of the most improved defensive teams in the country the last few years. They are holding opponents to 61 yards per game and 0.9 yards per play less than their season averages this season.
Wyoming is overvalued due to being 3-0. Their win over Missouri in the opener at home was a fluke. They were outgained by 148 yards and had over a 20-point swing in turnovers go in their favor. They beat Texas State 23-14 on the road the next week, but were outgained by 151 yards in another fluky win. And we’ve seen how bad Texas State has been against everyone else this year. Then last week they only beat Idaho 21-16 at home as 27.5-point favorites. They were outgained by 16 yards by Idaho!
Wyoming could easily be 0-3 instead of 3-0 when you consider they were outgained in all three games. They are getting outgained by 105 yards per game on the season now. Their offense is averaging 66 yards per game and 0.5 yards per play less than their opponents average allowing. Their defense is giving up 95 yards per game and 0.6 yards per play more than their opponents normally average.
Tulsa hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2016 and that’s a huge goal of theirs this year. They realize this home game against Wyoming is a must-win for them if they want to go bowling. I have no doubt they will be ‘all in’ Saturday to try and get a win. Meanwhile, Wyoming is feeling fat and happy after that Missouri win in the opener, and they were fortunate not to get upset by both Texas State and Idaho in the two games since. Tulsa is a much different animal than those two teams.
The Golden Hurricane are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 vs. a team with a winning record. Tulsa is 18-7-1 ATS in its last 26 games off an ATS loss. Wyoming is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 September games. The home team has won four of the five meetings between these teams in this all-time series. Bet Tulsa Saturday.
|09-21-19||Auburn v. Texas A&M -3.5||Top||28-20||Loss||-105||75 h 6 m||Show|
20* Auburn/Texas A&M CBS No-Brainer on Texas A&M -3.5
I like the fact that Texas A&M is battle-tested already having lost 10-24 at Clemson as 16.5-point underdogs to cover the spread. The Aggies were only outgained by 100 yards by the Tigers in that tough atmosphere. They handled their business with blowout wins over Texas State and Lamar and covered the spread in both games. Now sitting at 2-1 this season, this game is very important to them in their SEC opener.
Adding to the motivation for the Aggies is the fact that they want revenge from a 24-28 road loss at Auburn last year. Texas A&M led that game 24-7 in the 4th quarter, but gave up 21 unanswered points to lose a heartbreaker. The Aggies feel like they gave that game away as they were clearly the better team and outgained Auburn by 145 yards in the loss.
Now the Aggies are back home at Kyle Field with home of the best home-field advantages in the country. Auburn freshman QB Bo Nix hasn’t seen an atmosphere as hostile as this one. Nix is only completing 52.4% of his passes on 84 attempts this season, so accuracy is an issue. I expect him to have his worst performance of the season thus far Saturday.
No question the Aggies have the clear advantage at quarterback with Kellen Mond in this one. Mond is completing 65% of his passes and has accounted for seven total touchdowns already. Mond has certainly played a lot better at home than he has on the road in his career. And his mobility will be a huge asset against an Auburn defensive line that is clearly their strength.
The 12th man at Kyle Field has been a problem for opponents recently. The Aggies are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Texas A&M is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game. The Aggies are 23-6-1 ATS in their last 30 September games. The Tigers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-21-19||California v. Ole Miss -2||28-20||Loss||-109||72 h 35 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Ole Miss -2
The California Golden Bears just got ranked after a surprising 3-0 start to the season. They are feeling good about themselves now and getting pats on the back. But I think this is the toughest test they’ve faced yet this season, and I expect them to fall flat on their faces.
Cal now has to go out East for a 12:00 EST start time to face Ole Miss. That means this will be a 9:00 AM body clock game for them coming from the West Coast. They aren’t used to playing games this early, while Ole Miss is.
This is an Ole Miss team that I expect to get better in a hurry as the season goes on. They brought in two new coordinators in Rich Rodriquez and Mike MacIntyre. Both are former head coaches in the Pac-12 who are familiar with California’s schemes. That will be a huge advantage for the Rebels as they prepare for the Golden Bears.
I think the Ole Miss players should now be accustomed to the new schemes that Rich Rod and MacIntyre have installed. I’ve particularly been impressed with the improvement of the Ole Miss defense thus far under MacIntyre. They are only giving up 20.3 points per game and 5.0 yards per play on the season. They are holding opponents to 12 points and 63 yards per game less than their season averages. It’s only a matter of time before this talented offense takes off under Rich Rod.
Cal has had a problem scoring the last two years offensively. The Golden Bears average just 23.3 points per game, 351 yards per game & 5.1 yards per play this season. They don’t look improved at all on that side of the ball. Cal will suffer its first loss of the season on the road against an up-and-coming SEC opponent in an early start time here Saturday.
Cal is 21-45 ATS in its last 66 games with a line of +3 to -3. The Golden Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games. They only beat North Texas by 6 as 14-point home favorites last week. They were outgained by both Washington and North Texas despite winning those games. Their luck runs out this weekend. Take Ole Miss Saturday.
|09-21-19||Southern Miss +39.5 v. Alabama||7-49||Loss||-110||72 h 35 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Southern Miss +39.5
This is one of my favorite spots to fade Alabama. The Crimson Tide are in a SEC sandwich game here. They just won their SEC opener last week at South Carolina, and now they step out of conference for a game against Southern Miss before dipping back into SEC action next week against Ole Miss. They won’t be fully invested in this game, which will make it tough to cover this massive 39.5-point spread.
Alabama is fortunate not to be 0-3 ATS this season. They only led Duke 14-3 at halftime as 33.5-point favorites but outscored them 28-0 in the second half to cover. Then they failed to cover as 55.5-point favorites against New Mexico State and as 26-point favorites against South Carolina in their two games since. This is another inflated number simply because it’s Alabama.
There’s been several concerns about Alabama despite the easy schedule thus far. Their rushing attack only produced 145 yards on 42 carries against Duke for 3.5 yards per carry. They only had 76 rushing yards on 25 attempts against South Carolina for 3.0 yards per carry. Defensively, the Crimson Tide have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in all three games this season. They clearly aren’t as strong at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as they have been in years’ past.
I’d argue that Southern Miss could be the best team they’ve faced yet. This is a Southern Miss team that returned 16 starters and is among the favorites to win Conference USA this season. They’ve managed to go 2-1 to start despite playing a tough schedule that has featured road games at Mississippi State and Troy. The 15-38 loss at Mississippi State was a misleading final because they were only outgained by 42 yards. Then they outgained Troy by 98 yards in their 47-42 win last week.
This is a Southern Miss offense that returned 10 starters and is hitting on all cylinders. They are scoring 33.3 points per game and averaging 453 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play. They are averaging 79 yards and 1.2 yards per play more than their opponents allow on average this season. They can certainly move the ball and score on this Alabama defense that gave up 459 total yards to a bad South Carolina offense last week.
This is an early start time at 12:00 AM EST and won’t be the same kind of home-field advantage for Alabama as it would be if it was a night game. They are just looking to get in and get out with a victory. Southern Miss is 15-7-1 ATS in its last 23 non-conference games. The Golden Eagles are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 September games. Alabama is 1-6 ATS in its last seven vs. C-USA opponents. The Crimson Tide are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a win.
Plays against favorites of 31.5 or more points (Alabama) - outgaining opponents by 1.0 or more yards per play, after outgaining opponents by 125 or more total yards in two straight games are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Plays on road underdogs of 21.5 or more points (Southern Miss) - after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game, with eight or more offensive starters including QB returning, in the first month of the season are 22-4 (84.6%) ATS since 1992. Alabama is once again overvalued this week. Bet Southern Miss Saturday.
|09-20-19||Air Force +8.5 v. Boise State||Top||19-30||Loss||-110||57 h 6 m||Show|
20* Air Force/Boise State MWC GAME OF THE MONTH on Air Force +8.5
Air Force is a team I was very high on coming into the year. The Falcons are coming off a 5-7 season, but they were much better than their record would indicate last year. Four of their losses came by 3, 3, 4 and 6 points. In fact, all seven of their losses came by 10 points or less, so they were competitive in every game they played. They can only have better luck in close games this season.
Air Force returns a whopping 15 starters, which is a ton for a service academy. It’s their most returning starters since 2014, when they went 10-3. This is easily the best team Air Force has had in years, and I have no doubt they will be one of the most improved teams in the country.
The Falcons got off to a flying start by handling Colgate 48-7 as 20.5-point favorites in their opener. They rushed for 423 yards and will be a force on the ground again with four returning starters along the offensive line. Then after a bye, they went into Colorado last week and pulled off the 30-23 upset as 3-point underdogs. It was no fluke as they outgained the Buffaloes by 119 yards behind 289 rushing yards. They even turned the ball over three times and still won.
Few teams have played Boise State tougher than Air Force in Mountain West action in recent years. Indeed, Air Force is 3-3 SU & 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings with three outright upsets. And I just think this Boise State team is overrated after going on the road and beating Florida State in the opener. As we’ve seen since, that FSU team just isn’t very good. Boise State only beat Marshall by 7 as 14-point favorites at home two weeks ago before making easy work of Portland State last week.
The blue turf at Boise State just hasn’t been the advantage it used to be. The Broncos are 8-17 ATS in their last 25 home games. Boise State is also 7-15 ATS in its last 22 vs. a team with a winning record. Air Force is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games as a road dog of 7.5 to 10 points. Brian Harsin is 2-9 ATS as a home favorite of 7.5 to 14 points as the coach of Boise State. Bet Air Force Friday.
|09-19-19||Titans v. Jaguars +2||7-20||Win||100||30 h 20 m||Show|
15* Titans/Jaguars AFC South ANNIHILATOR on Jacksonville +2
The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking at this game as a must-win Thursday. They have started 0-2 against a brutal schedule with a home game loss to the Chiefs and a road loss at the Texans. And now they have two road games on deck at Denver and Carolina. So they really need to get this win at home Thursday, and I expect them to be ‘all in’ to do so.
Gardner Minshew has more than held his own in place of Nick Foles this season. Minshew has completed 45-of-58 passes (77.6%) and is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt this season. He kept them in the game against the Jaguars in their 12-13 loss and brought them back against the Chiefs in Week 1. He is primed for a big game against this Tennessee defense at home Thursday night.
The Titans have opened 1-1 with a road win at Cleveland and a home loss to Indianapolis, so their schedule has been much easier. And they’ve actually been outgained by 26.5 yards per game through two weeks. Their offense is once again struggling with just 290.5 yards per game after being one of the worst offenses in the NFL last year.
Adding to the Jaguars’ motivation is the fact that they will be playing with quadruple revenge after losing all four meetings with the Titans over the last two seasons. The AFC South is wide open now with the Andrew Luck retirement as the other three teams are all 1-1. The Jaguars know they still have a chance to win it, and it starts with winning this game at home Thursday night. Plus, I always like backing home teams on Thursday nights because it’s a huge advantage for the home team and has proven a profitable bet through the years.
The Titans are 16-34-3 ATS in their last 53 vs. a team with a losing record. Tennessee is 4-12-1 ATS in its last 17 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. The home team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. Doug Marrone is a perfect 6-0 ATS off a loss by 3 points or less as the coach of the Jaguars. They are coming back to win by 13.3 points per game in this spot. Wrong team favored here. Take the Jaguars Thursday.
|09-19-19||Houston v. Tulane OVER 55.5||Top||31-38||Win||100||32 h 6 m||Show|
20* Houston/Tulane ESPN Thursday No-Brainer on OVER 55.5
This total opened around 60 and has been bet down to 56 and lower as of this writing. I think the value is now there to pull the trigger on the OVER. Bettors are overreacting to the fact that these teams are a combined 5-0 to the under this season. But two of those unders came by a combined 2 points.
These are two teams I have been high on early in the season. And a big reason I’m high on them is because of their offenses. I expect a shootout between two of the best offenses in the AAC on a fast track down in New Orleans. And the offenses have an advantage on a short week like this.
I loved the move by Willie Fritz to turn over his offense to new coordinator Will Hall. They have moved away from the triple-option and have gone to more of a spread option and faster tempo. The result has been 35.3 points and 436 yards per game this season. And that’s with a road game at Auburn on the schedule in which they scored just 6 points.
Houston’s offense is loaded with eight returning starters for new head coach Dana Holgorsen. That includes star QB D’Eriq King, who accounted for 50 total touchdowns last year despite missing two games. And Houston has played a brutal schedule thus far with road games against Oklahoma and Washington State. But they are still averaging 30.7 points per game.
Tulane’s defense hasn’t been tested against an offense as explosive as this Houston unit. And it’s worth mentioning that Houston has one of the worst defenses in the country. They are giving up 32.3 points per game, 506 yards per game and 7.6 yards per play this season. They were awful in the second half of the season defensively last year and only returned four starters on that side of the ball this year.
Houston is 18-5 OVER in its last 23 games as a dog of 3.5 to 10 points. The OVER is 6-1 in Cougars last seven games on field turf. The OVER is 4-0-1 in Cougars last five road games. The OVER is 5-1 in Cougars last six conference games. Finally, these teams combined for 65 points last year in Houston. They should have no problem topping 55.5 here in the rematch, especially with Tulane’s improved offense. Bet the OVER in this game Thursday.
|09-16-19||Browns v. Jets +7||Top||23-3||Loss||-105||8 h 9 m||Show|
20* Browns/Jets ESPN Monday No-Brainer on New York +7
Oddsmakers have adjusted too much for Sam Darnold being out with Mono. This line was around Browns -2.5 early in the week before the news that Darnold would be out. Now it’s all the way up to Browns -7, a 4.5-point adjustment. Darnold isn’t worth 4.5 points over new starter Trevor Siemian.
Siemian held his own as a starter for the Denver Broncos in both 2016 and 2017. He has a 13-11 record as a starter and a 30-to-24 TD/INT ratio with a 59.3% completion percentage. He is certainly one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league and will be ready for the moment, especially with a whole week to prepare to with the first-team offense.
The Jets were up 16-0 on the Bills last week and let them come back and win 17-16 with three straight scores to close the game. They’ll come back motivated off that loss. The Bills are a very good team as they went on to beat the Giants 28-14 on the road in Week 2.
The Browns are simply overvalued to start the season. There was so much hype on them coming into the year and it has gone to their heads, plus made them a team you simply cannot bet early in the year. They lost 13-43 as 5.5-point home favorites over the Titans in Week 1. And now they are 7-point road favorites over the Jets, which is saying that this would be a 10-point spread on a neutral field. They aren’t 10 points better than the Jets even with Siemian.
This has been a closely-contested series in recent years as the Browns and Jets have met each of the last three seasons. All three games were decided by 4 points or less with the Jets winning two of them. All three were played in Cleveland. The Jets have won by 21 and 11 in their last two home meetings with the Browns. Cleveland hasn’t beaten New York by more than 7 points in any of the last 10 meetings, making for a 10-0 system backing the Jets.
New York is 21-8 ATS in its last 29 home games off a home loss. Plays against favorites (Cleveland) - after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse are 46-19 (70.8%) ATS over the last five seasons. Look for New York to be playing with a chip on its shoulder at home Monday night now that everyone is counting them out with Darnold being out. Bet the Jets Monday.
|09-15-19||Seahawks v. Steelers -3.5||Top||28-26||Loss||-105||43 h 53 m||Show|
20* NFL BLOWOUT GAME OF THE WEEK on Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5
This is a great opportunity to ‘buy low’ on the Pittsburgh Steelers after they were embarrassed 33-3 at New England in the opener. The Steelers will be coming back with a chip on their shoulder in their home opener at Heinz Field against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon. New England is going to make a lot of teams look bad this season.
The Steelers moved the ball against the Patriots, accounting for 308 total yards, but they just couldn’t get anything out of it. They were stopped on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 repeatedly. It just wasn’t their night, and a lot of receivers dropped good balls from Ben Roethlisberger. I trust them to iron out the kinks. Roethlisberger is a perfect 8-0 SU & 8-0 ATS in his last eight tries off an ATS loss by 18 points or more.
Seattle was fortunate to beat Cincinnati 21-20 as 9-point home favorites last week. The Bengals outgained the Seahawks by 196 total yards with 429 yards of offense and limiting the Seahawks to 233 total yards. This is a Seahawks team that lost almost all their star players from their Super Bowl runs except Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. They just aren’t that good.
This is a tough spot for the Seahawks as it will be an early start time at 1:00 EST for a West Coast team, which will make it a 10:00 AM body clock. And the Seahawks have been dreadful on the highway early in the season. Indeed, Seattle is 1-14 SU & 1-13-1 ATS in Weeks 1 & 2 on the road since 2007. Pete Carroll is 3-14 ATS in road games in the first month of the season as the coach of Seattle as well. The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet the Steelers Sunday.
|09-15-19||Cardinals v. Ravens OVER 45.5||Top||17-23||Loss||-110||43 h 53 m||Show|
20* NFL TOTAL OF THE WEEK on Cardinals/Ravens OVER 45.5
Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman is definitely the dual-threat QB whisperer. Before he arrived in Baltimore he turned Colin Kaepernick into a star in San Francisco, and more impressively yet helped Tyrod Taylor guide the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs a few years back. Now he’s working his magic on Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens were vanilla on offense in the preseason and saving their real offense for the regular season. Well, that ‘real’ offense exploded for 59 points last week against the Dolphins. The Ravens racked up 643 total yards. Jackson had the best game of his career, completing 17-of-20 passes for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns. The scary part is he only ran the ball three times. This Ravens’ offense is the real deal, and they are playing at a faster tempo this year, which will certainly be beneficial to ‘OVER’ bettors.
Speaking of fast tempos, the Arizona Cardinals average a play nearly every 20 seconds, which was the fastest pace any NFL team played at last week. Trailing 24-6, they sped up the pace even more and actually came back to tie the game and force overtime behind some brilliant play from Kyler Murray. They had 387 total yards against the Lions and most of those game in the 2nd half. Look for head coach Kliff Kingsbury to realize that the faster pace worked, and to try and utilize it against the Ravens.
The Ravens should be able to score at will on this soft Arizona defense. The Lions had 477 total yards against the Cardinals last week, and that’s a below average Detroit offense. The Cardinals simply lack talent on this side of the ball, and they are without Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford, two very good cornerbacks they were expected to rely on coming into the season. This Arizona defense is also probably gassed after playing an overtime game.
Baltimore lost so many key players on defense in the offseason. They lost arguably their four best players in LB C.J. Mosley, LB Za’Darius Smith, LB Terrell Suggs and FS Eric Weddle. And now they are down two cornerbacks in Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young due to injury. Arizona likes to go 4 wide, so the one position you don’t want to be short on is cornerback. Arizona should have plenty of success offensively against this short-handed secondary as well.
Get ready for plenty of offensive fireworks in this battle between two of the most exciting new offenses in the league today. Take the OVER in this game Sunday.
|09-15-19||Jaguars +9.5 v. Texans||12-13||Win||100||43 h 43 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Jacksonville Jaguars +9.5
Let’s start by talking about the lookahead line for this game. Coming into Week 1, the lookahead line was Houston -3. Now it is Houston -9.5, a 6.5-point difference. I think this is an overreaction from what happened last week, and the injury to Nick Foles as the Jaguars’ quarterback.
Gardner Minshew took over for Foles and was great, completing 22-of-25 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He easily could have been 25-of-25 without a few drops. It was a very impressive effort as he tried to bring the Jaguars back from a big deficit. They eventually lost 26-40 to the Chiefs.
Minshew should have more success this week against a soft Houston defense that allowed the Saints to come back and beat them on Monday Night Football. The Texans lost a lot of key players on defense in the offseason, and they ran out of gas in the second half and blew a 14-3 lead. They gave up 30 points, 510 total yards and 8.0 yards per play against the Saints last week.
The way the the Texans lost will be tough to come back from as they scored a TD with only 37 seconds left to take a 28-27 lead. But Drew Brees did what he does and guided the Saints down the field to set up a 58-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Saints a 30-28 win.
Now the Texans are on a short week. Another concern for the Texans is their offensive line, which gave up the most sacks in the league last year. It doesn’t appear improved at all this season after Week 1 watching Deshaun Watson scrambling for his life. Watson was sacked 6 times and hit 11 times in the loss.
The Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the NFL. I still believe that despite giving up 40 points to Kansas City last week. The Chiefs are going to make a lot of good defenses look bad this year. Jacksonville has the personnel to get after Watson and lock down Houston’s receivers. The Jaguars have held the Texans to 20, 20, 7 and 7 points in their last four meetings, respectively. They have Bill O’Brien’s offense figures out.
Plays against home favorites (Houston) - a good offensive from last season that averaged 5.4 or more yards per play, after gaining 400 or more total yards in their previous game are 33-11 (75%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The road team is 11-4-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Bet the Jaguars Sunday.
|09-15-19||Vikings v. Packers -2.5||16-21||Win||100||43 h 43 m||Show|
15* Vikings/Packers NFC North ANNIHILATOR on Green Bay -2.5
The Green Bay Packers have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. Lambeau Field is worth upwards of 4 points. So getting the Packers as less than field goal favorites at home in a matchup of two teams that are very close in the power rankings is a gift in my eyes. Plus the Packers have extra rest and prep time after playing last Thursday against the Bears.
I was impressed more with the Packers’ defense than any other defense in the NFL in Week 1. They simply shut down the Bears, holding them to 3 points and 254 total yards. The Packers finally spent some money in the offseason on defense and brought in pass rushers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, and also former Bear Adrian Amos at safety.
All three played huge roles as both Smith’s were in the backfield all game, and Amos had the key interception that saved the game. I was also impressed with rookie safety Darnell Savage, and last year’s top two picks in corners Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson played well. This is now a lock down secondary with a plethora of pass rushers and it could prove to be one of the best defenses in the league. It’s been a long time coming in Green Bay.
Of course, Aaron Rodgers and the offense didn’t do much. I think they were rusty because Rodgers didn’t play in the preseason and is working in a new system under first-year head coach Matt LeFleur. But some of the credit has to go to Chicago’s defense, which was the best unit in the NFL last year and brought back almost all their key players from that unit. With extra time to get ready for this game after playing last Thursday, Rodgers and company should be much more productive in Week 2.
The Vikings are getting too much credit here for hitter 28-12 home win over the Falcons last week. The Falcons basically gave them that game by committing three turnovers. The Vikings were actually outgained by 76 total yards. Their offense, which was a problem last year, was held to just 269 total yards. I know they just ran the ball basically the whole game and only had 10 pass attempts, but I think their offense is going to be an issue this season again.
The Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. The Packers are 35-17-2 ATS in their last 54 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Look for the Packers to shut down Kirk Cousins and company, and for Rodgers to have his coming out party this week at home. Take the Packers Sunday.
|09-15-19||49ers v. Bengals -1||41-17||Loss||-101||43 h 42 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Cincinnati Bengals -1
The Cincinnati Bengals seem to be the forgotten team of the NFL. Nobody is even talking about them. They opened 4-1 last season before getting decimated by injuries. They went 1-7 over their final eight games. As a result, I thought the Bengals would be a good ‘buy low’ team coming into the season.
I was on them last week as 10-point road underdogs to the Seahawks. They should have won the game, but lost by a single point 21-20. They outgained the Seahawks by nearly 200 total yards. Their offense really didn’t miss A.J. Green because there’s enough other weapons for Andy Dalton. They had 429 total yards against the Seahawks.
Their defense, which I believe is underrated, held the Seahawks to just 233 total yards. The Bengals have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL led by pro bowlers Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. The secondary is also loaded with Dre Kirkpatrick, William Jackson & Shawn Williams leading the way.
The 49ers had a misleading 31-17 win over the Bucs last week. They got two defensive touchdowns and forced four turnovers. Their three interceptions were more than they had all of last season. Jameis Winston essentially just gave that game away to the 49ers.
This San Francisco offense and Jimmy G are still a work in progress. They only managed 256 total yards against a bad Tampa Bay defense. Garoppolo only threw for 166 yards on 27 attempts. He looked rusty in the preseason, and he certainly looked rusty in the opener. Not helping matters are injuries at running back and receiver right now, plus the fact that the 49ers do not have a very good offensive line.
The Bengals should be able to hold Jimmy G in check as well with their defensive line dominating the 49ers’ offensive line being the key to the game. I think the Bengals look rejuvenated under new head coach Zac Taylor, a Sean McVay disciple. His offense moved the ball at will against the Seahawks in a tough environment. And now playing at home Andy Dalton and company should have much more success than Jameis Winston did last week.
It’s worth noting that the 49ers will be playing their 2nd straight road game to open the season. Teams in Week 2 playing back-to-back road games to open the season are 2-13 SU & 1-14 ATS since 2015. The Bengals are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. They make it six straight covers in this one. Roll with the Bengals Sunday.
|09-14-19||Texas v. Rice +32.5||48-13||Loss||-114||68 h 43 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rice +32.5
The Texas Longhorns are in a massive flat spot here Saturday against Rice. Texas played in a huge game at home against LSU last week and came up short in a 38-45 shootout. Now they have their Big 12 opener on deck against Oklahoma State. I just can’t see them putting forth a very good effort here as they are deflated off that LSU loss, and they just want to get on to Oklahoma State and get out of here with a win against Rice. Asking them to cover 32.5 points in this flat spot is asking too much.
Texas allowed 573 total yards to a mediocre LSU offense last week. That came a week after they gave up 413 total yards against Louisiana Tech in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate. That’s a LA Tech team that went on to only beat Grambling 20-14 as 30-point home favorites last week. It’s a young Texas defense that returned just three starters and lost each of its top three tacklers from a year ago.
I have been impressed with this Rice team thus far. Former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren has been trying to copy the blueprint at Stanford. He has recruited some big offensive linemen so the Owls can move people up front. They are trying to run the ball and shorten games, which gives them the best chance to be competitive despite the lack of skill talent.
Rice only lost 7-14 at Army as 23-point underdogs in their opener. That’s an Army team that went on to nearly upset Michigan, losing in overtime in the Big House last week. It’s also an Army team that won 11 games last year, so it just shows what Rice is capable of.
Last week, Rice lost 21-41 at home to Wake Forest as 20-point dogs to push the number. They showed they could throw the ball if needed, passing for 254 yards on 22-of-35 attempts. I know starting QB Wiley Green was injured in that game, but Harvard transfer Tom Stewart stepped in and did a great job. Stewart has been the better QB thus far, completing 63.3% of his 30 attempts compared to 52.6% on 19 attempts for Green. So I think the QB injury here is getting factored into the line too much.
The Owls are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall. They have been undervalued because the betting public has wanted nothing to do with them. Rice is 4-1 ATS in its last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Texas will be more than satisfied with a victory by three or four touchdowns, and don’t be surprised if this game is much closer than anticipated with the sandwich spot for the Longhorns. Bet Rice Saturday.
|09-14-19||Florida State v. Virginia -7||24-31||Push||0||67 h 14 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Virginia -7
The Virginia Cavaliers are a team on the rise under fourth-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall. He has improved this team in each of his first three seasons, going from 2-10 in Year 1 to 6-7 in Year 2 and 8-5 in Year 3 last season. Now he has his best team yet and some stability in the program with how well he has recruited. The Cavaliers are a legit contender to win the Coastal this year.
Last year, the Cavaliers lost five games, but three were by 4 points or fewer. They were in every game they played. Now they have 14 starters back and one of the best defenses in the ACC with eight starters back from a unit that gave up just 20.1 points per game.
Offensively, the Cavaliers return stud quarterback Bryce Perkins, which will help make up for the fact that they only return six starters on that side of the ball. Perkins threw for 2,680 yards with a 25-to-9 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 923 yards and nine scores. The offensive line returns three starters and they have 17 offensive linemen on scholarship, so Mendenhall now has the numbers he wants up front.
Virginia is off to an impressive 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season. They beat Pittsburgh handily 30-14 on the road in Week 1 while limiting the Panthers to just 263 total yards. That’s a Pitt team that went on to beat a good Ohio team 20-10 at home last week. Then Virginia handled their business in a 52-17 win over William & Mary as 32.5-point favorites last week.
Florida State failed to make a bowl game last year at 5-7. Many thought they’d bounce back this season, but from what I’ve seen so far, they are just a bad, undisciplined football team. Florida State lost its opener 31-36 at home to Boise State as 6.5-point favorites. Then, the Seminoles were fortunate to escape with a 45-44 (OT) home victory over Louisiana-Monroe as 23-point favorites last week.
It’s clear the Seminoles have an awful defense. They are giving up 40.0 points and 520.0 yards per game this season. And that’s where the difference lies in this football game. Virginia has one of the best defenses in the country, giving up just 15.5 points and 228 yards per game through their first two games. These teams are similar offensively.
I also like the fact that this is a night game for Virginia, so it will be a rowdy atmosphere in Charlottesville. Fans are very excited about this team as they have a great chance to win the Coastal and get to the ACC Championship Game. Virginia has easily been the most impressive team in the Coastal thus far, and arguably the second-best team in the ACC behind Clemson.
I'm definitely starting to believe that Willie Taggart is an overrated head coach. If he can't make the talent work in Tallahassee, that's on him. And Taggart is 0-6 SU & 1-5 ATS as a road underdogs in his time between Oregon and Florida State with the five ATS losses coming by an average of 17 points per game.
Florida State is 0-7 ATS off a home game over the last two seasons. Virginia is 6-0 ATS in the first month of the season over the last two years. Mendenhall is 11-1 ATS off a non-conference game as the coach of Virginia. The Cavaliers are 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. These four trends combine for a 32-1 system backing the Cavaliers. Take Virginia Saturday.
|09-14-19||Clemson v. Syracuse +28.5||41-6||Loss||-110||67 h 13 m||Show|
15* Clemson/Syracuse ACC ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +28.5
I faded Clemson with success last week on Texas A&M. And I’m fading them again for many of the same reasons. Being the No. 1 team in the country and the defending national champs comes with expectations from oddsmakers and the betting public that are hard to live up to. The Tigers are lucky not to be 0-2 ATS as Georgia Tech fumbled going into the end zone, losing by 38 as 36.5-point dogs.
Last week, Clemson wasn’t all that dominant at home against Texas A&M. They won 24-10 as 15.5-point favorites and only outgained the Aggies by 100 yards. All the hype surrounding Trevor Lawrence may be getting to him. He has thrown two touchdowns against three interceptions and is only averaging 7.5 yards per attempt.
This is the perfect ‘buy low’ situation on Syracuse. Many thought Syracuse was the second-best team in the ACC coming into the season because they won 10 games last year. After beating Liberty 24-0, the Orange fell flat last week amidst the big expectations and lost 20-63 at Maryland. That was exactly the humbling they needed, and it was clearly a lookahead spot for them to this Clemson game, so you can understand the poor performance.
Syracuse is clearly better than they showed against Maryland last week. They returned 13 starters this year, including seven on defense and are better on that side of the ball than the 63 points they allowed to Maryland. Keep in mind they shut out Liberty the previous week. And offensively, Tommy DeVito now has two starts under his belt and should be much more comfortable moving forward. He has leading rusher Moe Neal and three of his top four receivers back from last year, so it’s only a matter of time before this Dino Babers offense takes off after scoring 40.2 points per game last year.
Syracuse has played Clemson as tough as anyone the last two years. They won 27-24 as 23-point underdogs in the Carrier Dome in 2017. Then they came back last year and led most the way at Clemson before giving up a late score to lose 23-27 as 24.5-point dogs. Imagine the disrespect they are feeling now as 28.5-point underdogs at home this year after taking Clemson to the wire each of the last two seasons. They will be playing with a chip on their shoulder this week. And it will be a great night time atmosphere with this game behind played at 7:30 PM EST inside the Carrier Dome.
Dabo Swinney is 4-12 ATS as a favorite of 21.5 to 31 points as the coach of Clemson. Te Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last six September games. The Orange are 5-0 ATS in their last five games off a loss by more than 20 points. Syracuse is 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight September games. The Orange are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Syracuse Saturday.
|09-14-19||Western Kentucky v. Louisville -10||Top||21-38||Win||100||64 h 44 m||Show|
20* CFB BLOWOUT GAME OF THE WEEK on Louisville -10
Louisville came into the season way undervalued. They went 2-10 last season and Bobby Petrino was let go before season’s end. Simply put, the Cardinals quit on Petrino. They lost their final nine games and were never really competitive. I have no doubt the talent level on that team was better than their 2-10 record. And keep in mind that Louisville had been to eight straight bowl games prior to last year. They had won 8 or more games in six straight seasons coming into 2018.
I loved the hiring of Scott Satterfield in the offseason. He came over from Appalachian State where he compiled a 51-24 record there. Fortunately for Satterfield, the cupboard wasn’t left bare. Louisville returned 16 starters in all. They should be one of the most improved defensive teams in the country with 10 starters back on that side of the ball.
So far, so good for Satterfield and company. I was very impressed with their 17-35 loss to Notre Dame as 18.5-point favorites in the opener. That’s a Notre Dame team that went 12-0 in the regular season last year and made the four-team playoff. And they played the Fighting Irish toe-to-toe, only getting outgained by 31 yards. The difference was the 3-to-1 turnover edge for the Irish.
Last week, Louisville took it to Eastern Kentucky 42-0 as 21-point favorites. They outgained Eastern Kentucky by 370 total yards and held them to just 172 yards of offense. It’s the type of team that Louisville would have struggled against last season. But this is clearly a revamped and revitalized Louisville squad under the leadership of Satterfield.
Western Kentucky is getting way too much respect for beating Florida International 20-14 last week. That’s an FIU team that lost 14-42 to Tulane in their opener. It’s clear that FIU was one of the most overrated teams in the country coming into the season.
I think the home loss to Central Arkansas 28-35 as 10-point favorites in the opener is a better sign of how good this Western Kentucky team is. Losing to an FCS opponent as a double-digit favorite is never a good sign. They gave up 404 passing yards to Central Arkansas in the loss.
Louisville is 16-4-1 ATS in its last 21 vs. Conference USA opponents. Western Kentucky is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 non-conference games. This spread is also low because Louisville only beat WKU 20-17 last year. But like I said, that was a team that quit on Petrino, and now they are ‘all in’ for Satterfield and playing up to their talent level. I expect this game to be over by halftime. Take Louisville Saturday.
|09-14-19||Air Force +5 v. Colorado||30-23||Win||100||61 h 44 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Air Force +5
The Colorado Buffaloes are in a massive letdown spot this week. They came back from 17-0 down at halftime to beat Nebraska 34-31 in overtime last week. They have their Pac-12 opener on deck against Arizona State next week, making this a sandwich game for them.
Now the Buffaloes have to try and get ready for the Air Force triple-option in just one week’s time, which is very hard to do. And this is a Colorado defense that has been absolutely gashed this season. They have given up 487 yards per game and 6.5 yards per play. They have actually been outgained on the season despite their 2-0 start, and I think they’re overrated because of it.
Air Force is a team I’ve very high on coming into the year. The Falcons are coming off a 5-7 season, but they were much better than their record would indicate last year. Four of their losses came by 3, 3, 4 and 6 points. In fact, all seven of their losses came by 10 points or less, so they were competitive in every game they played. They can only have better luck in close games this season.
Air Force returns a whopping 15 starters, which is a ton for a service academy. It’s their most returning starters since 2014, when they went 10-3. This is easily the best team Air Force has had in years, and I have no doubt they will be one of the most improved teams in the country.
The Falcons are off to a flying start by handling Colgate 48-7 as 20.5-point favorites in their opener. They rushed for 423 yards and will be a force on the ground again with four returning starters along the offensive line. And they had a bye last week to get ready for Colorado, giving them a big edge in rest and preparation.
The Falcons are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games, including 8-1 ATS in none-conference games overall the last three seasons. Colorado is 1-9 ATS after a game where 60 or more total points were scored over the last three seasons. The Buffaloes are 0-6 ATS in their last six home games vs. a team with a winning record. Colorado is 4-11-1 ATS in its last 16 games vs. a team with a winning record overall. Bet Air Force Saturday.
|09-14-19||Kansas State +8.5 v. Mississippi State||Top||31-24||Win||100||60 h 45 m||Show|
20* K-State/Mississippi State ESPN No-Brainer on Kansas State +8.5
Kansas State got a great hire to replace the legendary Bill Snyder this offseason. Chris Klieman won four FCS national titles in his five seasons at North Dakota State. And he stepped into a good situation at Kansas State with 14 returning starters.
The Wildcats are off to an impressive 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season. They beat Nicholls State by 35 as 20.5-point favorites. They beat Bowling Green 52-0 as 24.5-point favorites. They have covered the spread by a combined 42 points in their first two games.
The defense has been really impressive and allowed just 140 total yards to Bowling Green last week. That’s a Bowling Green offense that had 620 yards and 46 points in their opener. The Wildcats also brought back a veteran QB in Skyler Thompson, who has played well. And the running game has produced an average of 347 yards per game and 6 yards per carry thus far.
Kansas State wants revenge from a 31-10 home loss to Mississippi State last year. But that was a Mississippi State team that was way better than this 2019 version. I am way down on these Bulldogs and the UNDER 7.5 wins for them was one of my favorite win totals coming into the season.
I think the loss of Dan Mullen will be felt this season. Jim Moorhead no longer has Mullen’s recruits to rely on. The Bulldogs returned just 11 starters this season. The defense lost three first-round draft picks. And they lost their stud QB in Nick Fitzgerald on offense.
I have not been impressed at all by Mississippi State thus far despite their 2-0 start. The only beat Louisiana Lafayette by 10 as 18.5-point favorites in their opener. They beat Southern Miss by 23 as 16-point favorites last week, but that was a misleading final. They only outgained Lafayette by 67 yards and Southern Miss by 42 yards.
The Bulldogs even took advantage of a combined 8 turnovers forced by their defense, yet still weren’t impressive. Kansas State isn’t the type of team that beats themselves. The Bulldogs won’t be gifted those same turnovers by the Wildcats.
I think Mississippi State could be overlooking Kansas State with its SEC opener on deck next week. Conversely, Kansas State has a bye next week, so they’ll be all in especially since they are seeking revenge.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Kansas State) - after scoring 42 points or more in two straight games are 43-15 (74.1%) ATS over the last five seasons. Kansas State is 21-9-1 ATS in its last 31 road games against a team with a winning home record. Bet Kansas State Saturday.
|09-14-19||Maryland v. Temple +7.5||17-20||Win||100||60 h 44 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Temple +7.5
Talk about an overreaction. Maryland has started 2-0 with two blowout wins over Howard (79-0) and Syracuse (63-20). Now they are ranked 24th in the country and getting a ton of hype. This is exactly the type of spot I like to fade teams in.
Temple didn’t play last week as they had a bye, giving them a full two weeks to prepare for Maryland. You know that they are going to be extra amped for this game hearing all the good things about Maryland in the media. And the Owls love being counted out as they have been one of the best money makers in college football over the last few years, especially in the underdog role.
New Temple head coach Rod Carey comes over from Northern Illinois. He won at least 8 games in five of his six seasons at NIU and three MAC titles. He brought over both his offensive and defensive coordinators from NIU, so there will be some stability here.
The cupboard clearly isn’t bare for Carey, either. Temple returned 14 starters from a team that went 8-5 last year. Their four losses during the regular season all came by 12 points or less, so they were competitive in every game. And one of those games included a 35-14 win at Maryland as 15-point underdogs. They outgained the Terrapins 429 to 195 in that beat down. So you can imagine how they feel about being 7-point dogs in the rematch.
Temple returns a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. They have seven starters back on offense from a unit that put up 34.7 points per game, including QB Anthony Russo and five linemen with starting experience. The defense also returns seven starters from a unit that allowed 27.1 points per game. Seven of the top 10 tacklers are back.
Temple took care of business 56-12 as 40-point favorites over Canisius in their opener. You would expect them to struggle a little in their first game with a new head coach, but that didn’t happen at all. They put up 695 yards on offense, including 507 passing yards as they weren’t afraid at all to let loose and air it out. Their defense gave up just 211 total yards, including 21 rushing on 26 attempts.
Stopping the run will be the key to stopping Maryland. The Terrapins have rushed for over 300 yards in each of their first two games, but those were against two bad defenses in Howard and Syracuse. Temple has been known for stopping the run and great linebackers. They have allowed 4.0 or fewer yards per carry in four of the past five seasons. I expect them to be great against the run again this season with five starters back in their front seven.
Plays on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Temple) - a team that had a winning record last season, in non-conference games are 74-33 (69.2%) ATS since 1992. It’s really time to ’sell high’ on Maryland this week.
The Owls are 38-18 ATS in their last 56 games overall. Temple is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after gaining 280 or more passing yards last game. Maryland is 6-14 ATS in its last 20 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Terrapins are 6-23 ATS in their last 29 games following a win, and 7-25 ATS in their last 32 games off an ATS win. Maryland is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Roll with Temple Saturday.
|09-13-19||Washington State v. Houston +9||Top||31-24||Win||100||45 h 60 m||Show|
20* Washington State/Houston ESPN Late-Night BAILOUT on Houston +9
This is technically a neutral site game. However, it will be played in Houston at NRG Stadium, which is the home of the Texans. There’s no question the Cougars will have a home field advantage in this one.
It’s a Houston team I was high on coming into the season. They brought back eight starters on offense, including QB D’Eriq King, who accounted for 50 total touchdowns last year despite missing two games. They will never be out of any game with King running the show under first-year head coach Dana Holgorsen.
We saw that against Oklahoma in the opener as the Cougars got down by 25 points, but clawed back to get within 11 late in the fourth quarter. The Sooners tacked on a rushing TD from 21 yards out with 1:17 left to push the final margin back to 18 when they were just trying to run out the clock. That effort on the road against the Sooners shows shat Houston is capable of as Oklahoma is one of the best teams in the country.
Last week was clearly a flat spot for Houston and a sandwich game between Oklahoma and Washington State. It’s no surprise they came out flat and only beat Prairie View 37-17 as 36-point favorites. I think they are now undervalued because everyone is seeing that result and thinking that Houston isn’t very good. But human nature is the reason why they didn’t perform up to par in that game.
Now the Cougars will be ’sky high’ with Washington State coming to town. This is a Cougars team I’m way down on after a school record 11 wins last year. They are overvalued early in the season, especially after two blowout wins against a couple cupcakes to start the season.
They beat New Mexico State 58-7 as 33.5-point favorites and Northern Colorado 59-17 as 43-point favorites. New Mexico State is one of the worst teams in FBS and lost to Alabama 10-62 last week. Northern Colorado is one of the worst teams in FCS. They lost to San Jose State 35-18 in their opener, and San Jose State lost 16-34 at home to Tulsa last week.
The betting public is going to see those scores and automatically jump on Washington State. There’s clearly value with Houston because of it. Give Mike Leach props for a great season last year, but the schedule was very easy and gets a lot tougher this season. They also lost QB Gardner Minshew, who had a monster season after transferring from Eastern Washington.
I realize it has been basically plug and play at QB for Washington State. And the offense should be fine again, but the defense only returns six starters. They have allowed 336.0 yards per game to New Mexico State and Northern Colorado. Their defense was much better last year and that’s the biggest reason they won 11 games. They lost a lot of talent from that stop unit.
King and company should be able to score at will on them. Houston averaged 47.8 points and 541 yards per game in games in which King started last year. Now that he has two games under his belt in Holgorsen’s new offense, he should start to really shine after a somewhat slow start to the season. King has six total touchdowns (3 passing, 3 rushing) and only one interception thus far.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Houston) - a bad defensive team from last season that allowed 425 or more total yards per game, with eight or more offensive starters including their QB returning are 52-21 (71.2%) ATS since 1992.
Mike Leach is 0-7 ATS in road games after two consecutive games where his team forced three or more turnovers in all games he has coached. HIs teams have never covered in this situation. Bet Houston Friday.
|09-12-19||Bucs v. Panthers UNDER 49.5||20-14||Win||100||9 h 23 m||Show|
15* Bucs/Panthers NFC South Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 49.5
I expect a low scoring game in this division rivalry between the Panthers and Bucs tonight. Both teams are coming off losses that can be 100% attributed to turnovers. Look for both teams to have conservative game plans and to focus more on taking care of the football than anything, which will help lead to the UNDER.
The Bucs were dreadful offensively against the 49ers last week. They managed just 17 points and 295 total yards while committing four turnovers. Jameis Winston threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Their defense actually played well in giving up just 256 total yards to the 49ers in the loss.
The Panthers had 343 total yards against a mediocre Rams defense. And they were very pass-happy as they were trying to come from behind the entire game. That led to three turnovers, which also set up some easy scores for the Rams. Their defense was actually decent in holding a high-powered Rams offense to just 349 total yards.
With a total of 49.5 here, the Panthers and Bucs have gone UNDER that number in six of their their last seven meetings, and they are 12-2 to the UNDER 49.5 in their last 14 meetings. They have combined for 48 or fewer points in 12 of those 14 games. I think there’s some serious value on the UNDER tonight.
The UNDER is 6-1 in Bucs last seven games overall. The UNDER is 12-4 in Bucs last 16 games off a double-digit home loss. The UNDER is 19-9 in Panthers last 28 home games vs. a team with a losing record. The UNDER is 13-6 in the last 19 meetings in Carolina. Take the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|09-09-19||Texans +7 v. Saints||Top||28-30||Win||100||71 h 4 m||Show|
20* Texans/Saints ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Houston +7
The Houston Texans went 11-5 last season and won the AFC South. It’s worth noting that all five of their losses came by 7 points or less. So they went the entire 16-game schedule without losing a game by more than a touchdown. Now they are catching 7 points in their opener against the New Orleans Saints. I think there’s value with the road underdog here to say the least.
The Texans didn’t even live up to their potential offensive last year due to injuries at receiver to two of their three biggest weapons in Will Fuller and Keke Coutee. Both are healthy and ready to start the 2019 season, giving Deshaun Watson easily one of the best trio of weapons to work with. And they traded for Duke Johnson, giving him yet another outlet coming out of the backfield.
The Texans certainly leaned on their defense last season that gave up 19.8 points per game. I know they lost Jadeveon Clowney, Tyrann Mathieu and two cornerbacks. But the Texans still have several defensive stalwarts that remain in J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Zach Cunningham and Jonathan Joseph. This will still be an above average defensive unit.
I question the state of mind of the Saints after the way they exited the playoffs the last two years. They were victims of the Minneapolis Miracle two years ago. Last year the refs missed a pass interference call in the NFC Championship that prevented them from going to the Super Bowl. Time is now running out on the aging Drew Brees and company. Brees looked a little broken down the stretch last year and is clearly losing velocity on his throws.
Last year, the Saints started very slow after that Minneapolis Miracle the previous season. They lost their opener as double-digit home favorites to the Bucs 40-48. Then in Week 2 they were very fortunate to escape with a 21-18 home victory over the Browns as nearly double-digit favorites. The Saints are 0-5 ATS in their last five Week 1 games, so Sean Payton has been a notorious slow starter. Bet the Texans Monday.