|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-08-19||Steelers v. Patriots UNDER 49||Top||3-33||Win||100||48 h 15 m||Show|
20* Steelers/Patriots NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on UNDER 49
These are two teams that rely on their defenses more now that their quarterbacks are aging. The Patriots were dominant in the playoffs last year defensively and gave up just 20.4 points per game, including 17.9 points per game at home. They return almost everyone on defense and upgraded on that side of the ball through the draft as well.
The Steelers were among the league leaders in defense last year giving up 22.5 points and 327.4 yards per game. They have studs at all three levels of their defense in Cameron Hayward, T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Devin Bush and Joe Haden. It’s a very young defense that is only getting better.
The Patriots lose both Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan. It’s well documented that Tom Brady puts up much better numbers with Gronk than without him. So there will be a transition period here, especially with his replacement in Ben Watson suspended for the start of the season. And Roethlisberger loses both Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Losing Brown really hurts as despite being a distraction, he’s still arguably the best receiver in the league.
The UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings in this series. Last year, the Steelers beat the Patriots 17-10 at home for 27 combined points. And we are getting a total here of 49, which is 22 points more than they combined for last year. I think there’s value in the UNDER as both offenses will be rusty to start, which will be the case across the league just as it was with the Packers and Bears Monday night.
The UNDER is 6-1 in Steelers last seven vs. AFC opponents. The UNDER is 36-16 in Steelers last 52 road games. The UNDER is 9-3 in Patriots last 12 games overall, including 4-1 in their last five home games. Pittsburgh is 10-1 UNDER in road games against AFC teams over the last three seasons. Bet the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|09-08-19||Giants +7.5 v. Cowboys||17-35||Loss||-106||44 h 20 m||Show|
15* Giants/Cowboys NFC East ANNIHILATOR on New York +7.5
The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of distractions due to contract situations. Zeke just signed this week and returned to practice, but I can’t see him getting his normal workload considering he hasn’t been in camp yet until this week. There’s no way he is in game shape. Amari Cooper just returned to practice this week after missing basically all of camp with injury. Both Cooper and Dak Prescott are disgruntled right now because they don’t have their contracts, while almost everyone else around them does.
While the Cowboys are distracted, the Giants are determined to right this ship after a 5-11 season last year. They showed up in the preseason especially offensively as they led all teams with 9 TD passes, points (119) average passing yards (305.5) and total offense (393). It’s a good sign that everyone has a grasp of Pat Shurmur’s offense in his second year as head coach.
Eli Manning is out to prove that he can still play. Fortunately for him, the Giants now have a ground game to rely on as Saquon Barkley had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. He is a big play waiting to happen. Manning threw for 4,299 yards with a 21-to-11 TD/INT ratio last year. He was still serviceable, and he has some nice weapons outside in Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram.
The Giants will be improved defensively this season. They got Jabril Peppers in the Beckham Jr. trade and added Antone Bethea in free agency. Janoris Jenkins remains one of the best corners in the NFL. The Giants used five of their top six picks on defense, including 342-pound rookie DT Dexter Lawrence and CB DeAndre Baker in the first round. Both should start right away. WLB Lorenzo Carter is ready for a starting role after being a situational pass rusher as a rookie.
No question the Cowboys have a young, emerging defense. But they had some injuries in training camp that could have them starting slow on that side of the ball out of the gate. Four starters barely practiced in the preseason. DeMarcus Lawrence is coming back from shoulder surgery, both DE Tyrone Crawford and CB Byron Jones have dealt with hip issues, and LB Sean Lee injured his knee early in camp. All four are expected to play, but may be limited in some capacity.
The Giants looked awful in the opener against the Cowboys last year, yet still only lost 13-20. That score will get it done for us here Sunday as we have a lot of room to spare on the Giants +7.5. Jason Garrett is just 17-33 ATS as a home favorite as the coach of Dallas. The Giants are 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games. Divisional underdogs are 17-4-1 ATS in their last 22 Week 1 games. Roll with the Giants Sunday.
|09-08-19||Bengals +10 v. Seahawks||20-21||Win||100||44 h 0 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Cincinnati Bengals +10
The Cincinnati Bengals got off to a 4-1 start last year before getting decimated by injuries. They finished 1-7 in their final eight games overall. Now the betting public wants nothing to do with them heading into 2019. This is the perfect time to ‘buy low’ on the Bengals catching double-digits in Week 1.
Andy Dalton is back healthy. I know A.J. Green is out to start the season, but the Bengals have plenty of other weapons at Dalton’s disposal. I like RB Joe Mixon, WR’s Tyler Boyd and John Ross III, and TE’s C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Eifert. This offense is better than it’s getting credit for. Look for the 36-year-old Zac Taylor to inject new life into this offense and this team. Taylor learned under Sean McVay with the Rams.
Cincinnati has one of the best defensive lines in the NFL led by Pro Bowlers Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. DE Sam Hubbard had an impressive rookie campaign with six sacks. Carl Lawson had a great rookie season in 2017 before suffering an injury in 2018, and having him back will add some much needed depth. The defense also gets back MLB Preston Brown from injury, their leader in the middle. And they spent a third-round pick on NC State LB Germaine Pratt who should get significant snaps right away.
With a strong defensive line and secondary, this defense is underrated. The Bengals featured Dre Kirkpatrick and Williams Jackson at corner, and Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates at safety. Kirkpatrick, Jackson and Williams have proven themselves as plus defenders, and Bates enters his second season and is ready for a bigger role.
Seattle is getting treated like the Seattle of old here. But the fact of the matter is the Seahawks have lost most of their key players from their Super Bowl runs aside from Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. I think the trade for Jadeveon Clowney has them overhyped coming into the season. Clowney has been an injury waiting to happen his entire career. Yes, Seattle won 10 games last year, but they were actually outgained on the season. They weren’t nearly as good as their record would indicate.
Plays on underdogs or PK (Cincinnati) - a bad defensive team from last season that allowed 385 or more total yards per game are 30-8 (78.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Bengals are 20-8-2 ATS in their last 30 September games. Cincinnati is 4-0 ATS in its last four road games. The Seahawks are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven September games. Take the Bengals Sunday.
|09-08-19||Rams v. Panthers +3||Top||30-27||Push||0||91 h 50 m||Show|
20* NFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Carolina Panthers +3
The Panthers opened 6-2 last year before Cam Newton injured his shoulder. They weren’t the same after that and went 1-7 down the stretch. Now Newton’s shoulder is healthy, and he’s fully recovered from his ankle injury suffered in the preseason. The Panthers upgraded their offensive line to help keep Newton upright.
Christian McCaffrey is one of the best running backs in the sport after amassing nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year. DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel are ready for bigger roles in the passing game, and they added Chris Hogan.
Defensively, the Panthers should remain one of the top units in the league. They added some great talent to their defensive line in Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. They also added DE Brian Burns in the first round of the draft and added DE Bruce Irvin. They should have one of the top pass rushes in the NFL now. I love the linebackers led by Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson. Having a strong front seven will help make up for their biggest weakness, which is their secondary.
The Panthers can only stay healthier as they had the 7th-most starts lost to injury last year. They also went 2-7 in one-possession games last year. These are all signs of positive regression coming. And the Panthers always seem to bounce back and make the playoffs the year after missing out on the postseason under Ron Rivera.
The Rams were fortunate to win 13 games last year. They went 6-1 in one-score games, which is very hard to do. They recovered 71% of their fumbles on defense, which is the highest fumble recovery rate since 1991. The Rams paid all their star players, which means they don’t have much depth now. They lost two starts on the offensive line in Roger Saffold and John Sullivan. They have an aging defense, which is where the lack of depth will be felt most.
I’m not a big fan of Jared Goff as I think he has been the beneficiary of Sean McVay’s system. And I think the Rams are primed for the dreaded Super Bowl hangover, which seems to happen to every team that loses the Super Bowl the year before outside of the Patriots. In fact, the previous year's Super Bowl loser is 3-16 ATS in Week 1 since 2000.
The Panthers have a great home-field advantage. They are 39-27 ATS at home with Ron Rivera as their head coach, including 9-4 ATS in their last 13 home games. The Panthers were on a 10-0 SU & 8-2 ATS run at home before Cam Newton got injured last year. The Rams are 0-5 ATS in their last five trips to Carolina.
This is a 10:00 AM body clock game for the Rams as its always tough for West Coast teams to travel out East for early start times. We’ll buy low on the Panthers and sell high on the Rams here in Week 1. Bet the Panthers Sunday.
|09-08-19||Falcons v. Vikings UNDER 47||12-28||Win||100||41 h 59 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Total DOMINATOR on Falcons/Vikings UNDER 47
The Minnesota Vikings have had one of the best defenses in the NFL since Mike Zimmer took over. That was the case again last season as they ranked among the league leaders in giving up 21.3 points and 309.7 yards per game, including 19.6 points and 268.2 yards per game at home.
The Vikings didn’t get the boost from Kirk Cousins they wanted last year. They scored just 22.5 points per game and Cousins struggled down the stretch. A big problem was the play calling, which is why Zimmer brought in a new offensive coordinator. He wants to run the ball more and take pressure off Cousins, which will make them more of a ball control offense that controls time of possession and shortens games. It makes sense to use that strategy and lean on their defense, which is their strength.
The Falcons have a good offense and a lot of weapons. They should be pretty solid on that side of the ball again. But they were terrible defensively last season due to all their injuries. They get back three key starters on defense that missed at least half the season last year. I expect the Falcons to be one of the most improved defenses in the NFL now.
The last two meetings in this series have been defensive battles won by the Vikings. Minnesota won 20-10 in 2015 for 30 combined points. The Vikings also won 14-9 in 2017 for 23 combined points. It’s clear that Zimmer has the Falcons figured out. And I expect both offenses to be rusty in Week 1 due to a lack of playing time for their starters in the preseason.
Minnesota is 18-6 UNDER in its last 24 home games during the first two weeks of the season. Zimmer is 24-11 UNDER in dome games as the coach of Minnesota. Zimmer is 40-23 UNDER against NFC opponents as the coach of the Vikings. The UNDER is 6-1 in the last seven meetings. Take the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|09-07-19||New Mexico State +55.5 v. Alabama||10-62||Win||100||46 h 38 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on New Mexico State +55.5
This game is all about fading Alabama in the big favorite role. Nick Saban is quicker to pull his starters than almost any other head coach in this situation. He wants to get his backups more playing time, and he doesn’t want to show too much, especially with their SEC opener on deck against South Carolina next week.
New Mexico State is not a good team, but they return 14 starters and are experienced. I think the fact they lost 7-58 to Washington State last week is pushing this spread up higher than it should be. Washington State threw the ball 49 times and only ran it 20 times. They were trying to get their passing game going with a new quarterback.
Alabama won’t be looking to throw the ball all over the yard. They will run it more than they pass it, which will keep the clock running and shorten the game, helping New Mexico State stay within this number. And I think NMSU’s offense was better than the 7 points showed last week as they had 317 total yards but committed three turnovers. Also, they held Washington State to 111 rushing yards on those 20 carries.
Saban is 3-11 ATS as a home favorite of 42.5 or more points as the coach of Alabama, including 0-4 ATS as a favorite of 50 or more points having never covered in this situation. These trends just show that he takes his foot off the gas all the time in this large favorite roles. He has respect for his opponents and doesn’t run up the score.
Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (Alabama) - after outgaining its last opponent by 125 or more total yards against an opponent that was outgained by 125 or more total yards last game are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Aggies after failing to cover against Washington State, and ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide after covering against Duke. Roll with New Mexico State Saturday.
|09-07-19||Central Michigan +35 v. Wisconsin||0-61||Loss||-104||45 h 18 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Central Michigan +35
The Wisconsin Badgers are coming off one of the most impressive wins of Week 1. They beat South Florida 49-0 as 10-point road favorites. Now it’s time to ’sell high’ on the Badgers, who come back as whopping 35-point favorites over Central Michigan this week.
While impressive, that win against South Florida I think has more to do with the direction of the Bulls than anything. Charlie Strong was a disaster in Texas and has been a disaster thus far at South Florida. This team lost their final six games last year once the competition got tougher after a 7-0 start. Wisconsin was simply able to maul them and continue USF’s downward spiral.
Central Michigan has been one of the best MAC programs throughout the years. But they are coming off a dreadful 1-11 season, so I think we are definitely ‘buying low’ on them to start the season. They had been bowl eligible in six straight seasons before bottoming out at 1-11 last year. There’s reason for optimism in Mt. Pleasant moving forward.
That’s because Central Michigan had one of the best hires of the offseason in Jim McElwain. He has been a winner everywhere he has gone, turning around Colorado State in his three years there before landing the Florida job. He has a 44-28 record as a head coach and is instantly one of the best coaches in the MAC now.
McElwain has always been an offensive guy, and he actually has some nice talent to work with in his eight returning starters. That doesn’t even count Tennessee transfer QB Quinten Dormady, who was a Top 20 recruit coming out of high school. Dormady won the job in camp and was great in Week 1.
Central Michigan beat Albany 38-21 as 13.5-point favorites int heir opener. This was an even bigger blowout than the score showed as they outgained Albany 529 to 244, or by 285 total yards. Dormady went 27-of-37 for 285 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The Chippewas rushed for 244 yards as a team as well.
Wisconsin just can’t seem to get over the injury bug that has plagued them the last few seasons. The Badgers have a ton of projected starters coming into the season that are out with injuries this week. They include NT Bryson Williams, S Scott Nelson, RT Logan Bruss and LB Chris Orr. That’s a lot of starters to be missing this early in the season for a team that returned just 12 starters and was projected to start eight sophomores.
Paul Chryst is 1-10 ATS after leading their previous game by 17 or more points at half as the coach of Wisconsin. The Badgers are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games following a win. Chryst is 3-11 ATS off a cover as a double-digit favorite as the coach of Wisconsin. The Chippewas are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a winning record. Take Central Michigan Saturday.
|09-07-19||Nebraska -4 v. Colorado||Top||31-34||Loss||-109||45 h 9 m||Show|
20* Nebraska/Colorado FOX No-Brainer on Nebraska -4
The Nebraska hype in the offseason was definitely off the charts. And they failed to live up to it in Week 1 as they won just 35-21 as 35-point favorites against South Alabama. Now that the hype has cooled, I think it’s time to jump on Nebraska against Colorado this week as only 4-point favorites.
The comments coming from Nebraska’s locked room after the game were the type of comments I like to hear. Both head coach Scott Frost and QB Adrian Martinez were disappointed. Frost said that’s one of the worst offensive performances he’s ever been a part of, and Martinez said their performance was unacceptable.
I have no doubt the Huskers will put their best foot forward this week. Not just because they weren’t satisfied with their performance against South Alabama, but also because they want revenge on Colorado from a 28-33 home loss to the Buffaloes last year. That was a very misleading loss as the Huskers outgained the Buffaloes 565 to 395, but lost the turnover battle 3-0.
Colorado is getting a lot of respect now after beating Colorado State 52-31 as 11-point favorites in their opener. That was a misleading final too as the Buffaloes were outgained in the game and actually gave up a whopping 505 total yards to the Rams. But they won the turnover battle 4-0, which was the difference. And that’s a Colorado State team that has been trending in the wrong direction in recent years.
Colorado is a rebuilding team this year with a first-year head coach in Mel Tucker. They return just 11 starters. The Buffaloes do have a good offense with seven starters back, but their defense only has four starters back and should be one of the worst units in the Pac-12. That was on display last week as they gave up those 505 yards to Colorado State.
Even thought this is technically a home game for Colorado, it won’t feel like one. That’s because Nebraska fans travel almost as well as anyone, and it’s a short trip to Boulder. They will have nearly 50% of the fans there as I know for sure Colorado allotted at least 30% of the tickets for Nebraska fans. So this will be closer to a neutral site game, and Nebraska is much better than -4 against Colorado on a neutral.
Colorado is 0-9 ATS after a game where 60 or more points were scored over the last three seasons. It is losing by 11.0 points per game in this spot. The Buffaloes are 0-7 ATS after allowing 475 or more total yards in their previous game. They are losing by 10.8 points per game in this spot. We’ll buy low on the Huskers in after last week’s performance and in a revenge spot here. Bet Nebraska Saturday.
|09-07-19||Texas A&M +17.5 v. Clemson||10-24||Win||100||45 h 8 m||Show|
15* Texas A&M/Clemson ABC ANNIHILATOR on Texas A&M +17.5
Being the No. 1 team in the country coming off a national championship comes with a heavy price tag when it comes to betting. That’s the case for the Clemson Tigers, who are going to have inflated spreads week in and week out moving forward. It’s going to make it very difficult for them to cover consistently knowing that the betting public will be quick to back them at any numbers, forcing oddsmakers to inflate their spreads.
Clemson was fortunate to cover as 36.5-point favorites in a 52-14 win over Georgia Tech last week. Georgia Tech was putting in a new system under a new coach going away from the triple-option from year’s past, so this was always going to be a tough test for them. And Georgia Tech fumbled on the 1-yard line going into the end zone for a touchback, and their four turnovers overall were the difference in them covering or not.
Texas A&M will be the best team that Clemson faces during the regular season, and it’s not even close. I think the Aggies are fully capable of hanging with Clemson, and they proved that last year. Clemson only won 28-26 as 11.5-point road favorites at Texas A&M. I’d argue the Aggies deserved to win that game as they outgained the Tigers by 88 yards and racked up 501 total yards in the loss.
Jimbo Fisher is one of my favorite head coaches. He won a National Championship at Florida State and won 10-plus games in five of his final six seasons. Then he came to Texas A&M and in his first year went 9-4 for their first season of nine-plus since since 2013. And Fisher is killing it in recruiting, which will keep the Aggies as an SEC West contender for years to come.
Only 11 starters are back for Texas A&M, but more of his recruits will be seeing playing time this year, which makes them more veteran than that 11 number shows. And the offense is loaded with seven returning starters, including stud QB Kellen Mond, who accounted for 31 touchdowns last year. He accounted for four touchdowns in their 41-7 win over Texas State last week as 34-point favorites.
Clemson also has a loaded offense with eight starters back, but they have some of the same problems as Texas A&M on defense. Both squads return just four starters on defense. The Tigers lose their entire defensive line from last year to the NFL. I know they have talented replacements, but I think Mond can have more success just like he had last year against their defense. Mond threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns against Clemson last year.
Texas A&M is 12-1 ATS after playing a home game over the last three seasons. The Aggies are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games. The Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. Texas A&M is 21-6-1 ATS in its last 28 September games.
Plays on road teams (Texas A&M) - after a game where they forced four or more turnovers against an opponent after a game where they committed three or more turnovers are 40-13 (75.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-07-19||Rutgers +20.5 v. Iowa||Top||0-30||Loss||-106||66 h 46 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Rutgers +20.5
Rutgers came into the season undervalued after going 1-11 last year. I backed Rutgers over UMass in Week 1 and they delivered with a 48-21 victory as 17-point favorites. After a slow start, they showed some great resiliency and scored the final 41 points of the game.
This is easily Chris Ash’s best team yet in his 4 years here. The offense looks to be greatly improved after putting up 554 yards on UMass. Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter threw for 340 yards in the win, and the Scarlet Knights may finally have a quarterback. They have always had a competitive defense under Ash, which helps keep them in ball games.
Rutgers is now 6-0 ATS in its last six games overall dating back to last season. They covered in each of their final five games of the season against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State last year. They nearly upset Northwestern losing by just 3 as 20-point dogs. They also lost by only 4 as 24-point dogs at Michigan State.
The Iowa Hawkeyes aren’t a team built to cover these big spreads. They run a ball control offense and a bend but don’t break defense. It’s tough for them to score enough points to cover these lofty margins. They didn’t cover as 25-point favorites against Miami Ohio last week. And they even scored 2 touchdowns in the final 6 minutes of that game to turn a 10-point game into a 24-point win.
Iowa has a huge game on deck next week against Iowa State. They could easily be looking ahead to that Top 25 showdown and overlooking Rutgers. Either way, I think Rutgers is talented enough to stay within 3 touchdowns of the Hawkeyes. Kirk Ferentz is 19-31 ATS as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points as the coach of Iowa.
Plays on road underdogs (Rutgers) - after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game, with eight or more offensive starters including their QB returning are 124-69 (64.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Rutgers Saturday.
|09-06-19||Marshall +12.5 v. Boise State||Top||7-14||Win||100||27 h 40 m||Show|
20* Marshall/Boise State ESPN 2 No-Brainer on Marshall +12.5
The Marshall Thundering Herd have been a power in Conference USA since Doc Holliday has been there. He enters his 10th season this year having won eight or more games in five of the last six years overall. Coming off a 9-4 season last year, the Thundering Herd return 14 starters and are among the favorites to win C-USA.
Marshall gave up just 21.9 points per game last year and brought back six of its top nine tacklers from that unit. The stop unit will be good again, and this figures to be one of Marshall’s best offenses in years with eight starters back, including QB Isaiah Green.
That Marshall offense impressed in Week 1 by beating VMI 56-17. It’s worth noting it was a 49-7 game heading into the 4th quarter before the Thundering Herd called off the dogs. Green threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 46 yards on eight carries in the win.
Boise State used a lot of energy coming back from 31-13 down at Florida State to win 36-31 in the heat and humidity last week. Now the Broncos are on a short week here and probably won’t have a ton left in the tank. It’s also a letdown spot after that huge road win in Tallahassee.
The blue turf in Boise State isn’t the advantage it used to be. The Broncos have consistently been overvalued at home. They are just 7-16 ATS in their last 23 home games. Brian Harsin is 0-7 ATS as a home favorite of 10.5 to 14 points as the coach of Boise State. Harsin is also 1-9 ATS after gaining 375 or more passing yards last game as the coach of the Broncos.
Plays against home favorites (Boise State) - after allowing 100 or less rushing yards last game against an opponent that outrushed its last opponent by 200 or more yards are 44-16 (73.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Marshall Friday.
|09-05-19||Packers v. Bears -3||Top||10-3||Loss||-109||26 h 9 m||Show|
20* Packers/Bears 2019 NFL Season Opener on Chicago -3
I just don’t think people are giving the Bears the respect they deserve heading into 2019. They feel as if their 12-4 season last year was a one-hit wonder. Well, the Bears are out to prove that it was no fluke, and I’m a believer against the Packers here in Week 1.
For starters, the Bears are loaded defensively. They gave up just 17.6 points per game and 299.7 yards per game last year to rank among the league leaders in both categories. They only lost CB Bryce Callahan and S Adrian Amos from that team. Khalil Mack single-handedly wrecks opposing offenses and their trade for him could go down as one of the best trades in NFL history.
Offensively, the Bears improved in Year 2 under Mitchell Trubisky. They put up 25.6 points and 344.4 yards per game. And the scary part is, that was the first year in Matt Nagy’s system for the Bears. They should only be better with Trubisky now likely to come into his own, and with his plethora of weapons around him. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller are the receiving options, and Trey Burton is a very good tight end. They also used their third-round pick on RB David Montgomery after trading away Jordan Howard, and he’s a better fit for Nagy’s system and is drawing rave reviews.
The Packers gave up 25.0 points per game last year and have failed to upgrade their defense for years. They finally spent some money in free agency to try and upgrade their pass rush by bringing in Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. But they lost some key players as well along the front seven in DT Mike Daniels, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/OLB Nick Perry, DE/OLB Clay Matthews and ILB Jake Ryan. They also lost CB Baushaud Breeland and S Kentrell Brice in the secondary. This defense is mostly filled with no-name guys that the Packers hope will stick.
Green Bay needs more production from its offense because it will likely be in a lot of shootouts this season. Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy had a falling out. They brought in Matt LaFleur to try and turn things around. He was the offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2017 and held the same position with the Titans last year. He and Rodgers are getting along well so far according to reports. However, I think the Packers could be rusty in Week 1 because Rodgers didn’t play a single snap in the preseason.
Last year, the Bears only lost 23-24 at Green Bay as 6.5-point dogs in their opener. They blew a double-digit lead. They would come back to get revenge 24-17 against Rodgers and the Packers as 5.5-point home favorites in December. So from a line value perspective alone, I think we are getting good value with the Bears only being 3-point favorites at home in the opener compared to 5.5-point favorites against the Packers at home last year.
The Bears are 7-0 ATS in their last seven vs. NFC North opponents. Chicago is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games overall. The Bears are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 home games. The Packers are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 road games. Green Bay is 0-4 ATS in its last four vs. NFC North foes. Bet the Bears Thursday.
|09-02-19||Notre Dame v. Louisville +18.5||35-17||Win||100||102 h 24 m||Show|
15* Notre Dame/Louisville ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Louisville +18.5
This is a great opportunity to buy low on Louisville and sell high on Notre Dame in Week 1. Louisville is coming off a disastrous 2-10 season last year that came out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Notre Dame went 12-1 and made the four-team playoff, so expectations are way high on them now.
Simply put, players quit on head coach Bobby Petrino last year. They lost their final nine games and rarely were competitive. Petrino was fired with two games left. I have no doubt the talent level on that team was better than their 2-10 record, and now new head coach Scott Satterfield should get the most out of these players.
Satterfield comes over from Appalachian State where he posted a 51-24 record in his six years there. Fortunately for Satterfield, the cupboard isn’t bare as the Cardinals return 16 starters. This should be one of the most improved defenses in the country with 10 starters back on defense.
Offensively, the Cardinals return six starters, including starting QB Jawon Pass. He has had a lot of success in the simplified offense in the offseason and is ready to take this offense to the next level. He has stated that he wants to prove to himself and his teammates that they are better than they showed last year, and now it’s time to prove it on the field in Week 1.
Notre Dame has 13 starters back and is certainly talented, but they have rarely been this heavy of a road favorite under Brian Kelly. They will have to replace their top two playmakers in RB Dexter Williams and WR Miles Boykin. Defensively, the Fighting Irish lose three of their top five tacklers from last year and three NFL draft picks.
Louisville had been to a bowl game in eight straight seasons prior to going 2-10 last year. They had also won 8 or more games in six straight seasons coming into 2018. I just don’t think this program will stay down for long, especially with a coach the caliber of Satterfield running the show. The Cardinals will give the Fighting Irish more than they bargained for in Week 1. Roll with Louisville Monday.
|09-01-19||Houston v. Oklahoma UNDER 80||31-49||Push||0||78 h 55 m||Show|
15* Houston/Oklahoma ABC No-Brainer on UNDER 80
This UNDER bet has a lot to do with Oklahoma. After having a dominant offense over the last two years with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray running the show, the Sooners are sure to take a big step back offensively this year with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts. He is just as good of a runner or better than both those guys, but he is nowhere near the passer that they were.
Not to mention, only four starters return on offense. The Sooners lose leading receiver Marquise Brown and his 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns to the NFL. Four NFL draft picks are gone from an offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award after being named the nation’s top O-Line. They have three sophomore starters and just 36 career starts returning up front.
I expect Oklahoma to have one of the most improved defenses in the country after a subpar season that saw them allow 33.3 points and 454 yards per game. They fired Mike Stoops midseason and now have replaced him with Alex Grinch, who was the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State last year. Grinch has a ton of talent and experience to work with as the Sooners return eight starters and eight of their top nine tacklers.
Houston has some talent on offense with QB D’Eriq King and all of his top playmakers back. But there will be some growing pains early under new head coach Dana Holgorsen and his new scheme. His scheme is much more complex than the one they ran last year, and it won’t be hitting on all cylinders in Week 1 against this tough Oklahoma defense.
Houston was decimated by injuries lsat year down the stretch and the numbers took a hit because of it. I know that they only have four starters back on defense this year, but this unit can only stay healthier. And they are more experienced than that considering several players were forced into action due to the injuries. Houston is projected to start nine upperclassmen, which shows the experience.
Simply put, I believe this total has been inflated based on what these teams did last year. The Sooners were 9-4 to the OVER while the Cougars were 10-4 to the OVER last year. Oddsmakers have been forced to adjust accordingly, and this 80-point total is simply too high now.
Plays on the UNDER on all teams where the total is 63 or higher (Houston) - in non-conference D1 games, with an experienced QB returning as a starter, in the first two weeks of the season are 37-12 (75.5%) since 1992. The UNDER is 4-1 in Cougars last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Take the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|08-31-19||Louisiana Tech +20.5 v. Texas||14-45||Loss||-102||55 h 31 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Louisiana Tech +20.5
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have been as consistent as they come under 7th-year head coach Skip Holtz. They have won anywhere from 7 to 9 games over the last five seasons since going just 4-8 in his first year on the job. It’s a team that has proven they can play with the big boys throughout the years, and they are also a contender to win Conference USA.
The Bulldogs gave up just 23.0 points per game on defense last year and should be good again on that side of the ball with five of their top eight tacklers back. The improvements should come on offense after averaging just 24.7 points pre game last year. That was a real down season for a Holtz offense because they had scored 30-plus points per game in the four seasons prior. Look for them to get back up above that number this season.
The offense returns six starters and almost all the top playmakers. QB J’Mar Smith is back after throwing for 3,160 yards and 15 touchdowns while also rushing for three more. Leading receiver Adrian Hardy (75 receptions, 1,145 yards, 6 TD) is also back, as is leading rusher Jaqwis Dancy (667 yards, 9 TD). The offensive line returns three starters and 78 career starts and should stay healthier than last year. This is the 25th-most experienced team in the country.
I just don’t understand all the hype for the Texas Longhorns this year. They are getting a lot of respect for going 10-4 last year and beating Georgia in the bowl. That was a Georgia team that didn’t want to be there after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game that cost them a spot in the four-team playoff. And keep in mind seven of Texas’ 10 wins last year came by 7 points or fewer, so they were fortunate in close games. They only won one game by 20-plus points all season.
Now Texas is one of the least-experienced teams in the country with just eight starters back. The defense returns just three starters and loses seven of their top 10 tacklers from a year ago. This will probably be Tom Herman’s worst defense since he’s been here. The offense returns just five starters, loses its leading rusher and receiver, and just two starters are back on the offensive line. Sam Ehlinger is a nice talent, but he will have his hands full early in the season getting in sync with his O-Line and skill players.
This is definitely a lookahead spot for Texas. They have a massive game with LSU on deck next week at home. They could easily be overlooking Louisiana Tech. And we’ve seen the Longhorns struggle in these early season games against non-conference teams recently. They’ve been upset by Maryland as 17 and 13-point favorites each of the last two years. And they barely beat Tulsa 28-21 at home as 22-point favorites last year.
Louisiana Tech is 7-1 ATS as a dog of 20-plus points over the last 10 yards. Skip Holtz is 7-2 ATS as a dog of 20-plus points in his career as a head coach. Holtz is 27-14 ATS in road games as the coach of Louisiana Tech, including 14-4-1 ATS as a road dog over the past five years. Herman is just 6-15-1 ATS as a home favorite. The Bulldogs are 38-18 ATS in their last 56 road games overall. Roll with Louisiana Tech Saturday.
|08-31-19||Virginia -2.5 v. Pittsburgh||Top||30-14||Win||100||54 h 56 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE WEEK on Virginia -2.5
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.
Pittsburgh came out of nowhere to win the Coastal last year. They did so despite finishing with just a 7-7 record, and they clearly weren’t the best team in the Coastal. Now the Panthers have just 101 starters back this year and I expect them to be one of the worst teams in the division.
The losses on offense are huge as they return just five starters and lose two 1,000-yard backs in Quadree Ollison (1,213 yards, 11 TD) and Darrin Hall (1,144 yards, 10 TD). They rushed for 228 yards per game last year, but only passed for 142 per game. So now they are going to have to throw the ball more with Kenny Pickett, who only completed 58.1% of his passes last year and just isn’t that good. Only one starter returns on the offensive line and just 37 career starts. Pickett will struggle once again this season, especially in Week 1 against one of the best defenses in the country.
Pittsburgh had just a mediocre defense last year that gave up 27.8 points and 388 yards per game. After having nine starters back on that unit, the Panthers now only have five starters back on defense. That was supposed to be six, but then their best defender in DE Rashad Weaver (47 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14 TFL) suffered a season-ending ACL injury in fall camp. So they now lose four of their top six tacklers and this unit won’t be better than last year.
Virginia wants revenge from a 13-23 home loss to Pitt as 7-point favorites that ultimately cost them the Coastal. I think the Cavaliers come into the season with a chip on their shoulder, while Pitt is still feeling fat and happy after winning the division. The Cavaliers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 Saturday games. The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings. The favorite is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. Take Virginia Saturday.
|08-31-19||Boise State v. Florida State -5.5||Top||36-31||Loss||-110||46 h 26 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Florida State -5.5
This game has been moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee due to the pending hurricane, so it will be a home game for the Seminoles. It’s a Florida State team I’m buying low on early in the season.
The Seminoles went 5-7 last year for their first losing season since 1976. They had won 10-plus games in 5 straight years prior to last season. It was a clear rebuilding year for first-year head coach Willie Taggart. But unlike most programs, it only takes one year to rebuild Florida State because they recruit so much talent.
I trust Taggart because he has been a winner everywhere he has gone. And I think he rights the ship this year with 16 returning starters and a Top 10 recruiting class. This team will be playing with a chip on their shoulder early. The hire of offensive coordinator Kendall Briles was one of the best hires in the country.
Briles guided Houston to 44 points per game & 513 yards per game last year. In 2017, he was in charge of a Florida Atlantic offense that put up over 40 points pre game and nearly 500 yards per game while winning 11 games. We saw how much their offense struggled without him last year. And Briles oversaw a Baylor offense that averaged over 40 points per game and 500 yards per game in his two seasons as coordinator in 2015-16.
This will be one of the most improved offenses in the country with eight starters back. Sophomore James Blackman has been named quarterback and I like that move over Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook. The offensive line was a mess last year, but it won’t be this year. And the defense should also be vastly improved with eight starters back.
Boise State has 13 starters back. They are probably the class of the Mountain West this season, but that’s not saying much. The biggest concern is losing a 4-year starter at quarterback in Brett Rypien who leaves as the school’s 2nd-leading passer. Hank Bachmeier is a true freshman who will be making his first start. He’s talented, but I can’t foresee his first start going well against an opponent the caliber of Florida State. That’s especially the case the top 2 receivers and leading rusher Alex Mattison also gone from last year’s team.
In recent years we’ve seen Boise State struggle in these early non-conference games. They lost by 22 to Ole Miss, by 19 to Virginia and by 23 to Oklahoma State all within the last 5 years. This is easily one of the toughest non-conference games they’ve ever faced. Florida State has the talent edge and it’s really not even close. I expect Taggart to get the most out of that talent starting in Week 1. Bet Florida State Saturday.
|08-30-19||UMass v. Rutgers -15||Top||21-48||Win||100||48 h 33 m||Show|
20* CFB Friday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Rutgers -15
Rutgers enters the 2019 season with the nation's longest losing streak at 11 games. The betting public wants nothing to do with this team, and I think we are getting them cheap in Week 1 as a result. They should absolutely crush UMass in their home opener Friday night.
Rutgers decided to stick with Chris Ash after their 1-11 season. I think it was a good move to keep some chemistry here and now Ash has easily his best team yet. And Rutgers wasn’t as bad as their 1-11 record last year either as they nearly beat both Northwestern and Michigan State late in the year. They lost 15-18 to Northwestern as 20-point dogs and 10-14 at Michigan State as 24-point dogs.
We saw last year just how underrated this team was down the stretch as Rutgers went 5-0 ATS in its final five games overall while covering against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. Four of those five games were competitive and decided by two touchdowns or less, which is impressive against that gauntlet.
I remember taking Rutgers in their opener last year and they rolled to a 35-7 victory as nearly identical 16-point favorites against Texas State. UMass is a team that is similar to Texas State talent wise as the Bobcats were one of the worst teams in the country, and this year the Minutemen are the worst team in the country according to Phil Steele, and I certainly agree.
UMass only returns eight starters this season and is the single least-experienced team in the country this year. They went 4-8 last season and head coach Mark Whipple stepped down. In comes Walt Bell, who was the offensive coordinator at Florida State last year in one of the worst offensive seasons in history for the Seminoles. Whipple certainly left the cupboard very bare here at UMass.
The Minutemen will certainly have one of the worst defenses in the country, so even a team like Rutgers should be able to score at will on them. The Minutemen gave up 42.9 points and 485 yards per game last year. Now they return just three starters on defense and are extremely inexperienced. They lose their leader in Bryton Barr (147 tackles, 10.5 TFL), who had 75 more tackles than their next leading returning tackler. This defense could be even worse in 2019.
The losses are massive on offense as well. Only five starters return, and they lose all of their top playmakers. UMass loses QB Andrew Ford, who was their starter before going down with injury. They also lost QB Ross Comes, who had a 14-to-3 TD/INT ratio in Ford’s absence. Also gone is leading rusher Marquise Young as their top returning RB rushed for only 139 yards last year. And last but certainly not least, stud WR Andy Isabella (102 receptions, 1,698 yards, 13 TD last year) is now in the NFL.
Rutgers has had a solid defense the last two years, but it’s the offense that has held them back. They were -14 in turnovers last year and gave the ball away too much. But with eight starters back on offense, this can only be one of the most improved units in the country. Ash hasn’t named a starting QB yet, but his team knows who it will be, and that’s all that matters. Sophomore Artur Sitkowski had a forgettable freshman campaign with 18 interceptions. So Texas Tech transfer McClane Carter and BC transfer Johnny Langan are now here to push him. Whoever is under center will have no problem moving the ball against his soft UMass defense.
Ash has been a double-digit favorite twice the last two years. He has covered in those games by an average of 17.5 points per game. UMass is 3-12 ATS in its last 15 games during the first two weeks of a season. The Minutemen are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games as a dog of 10.5 to 21 points. The Scarlet Knights are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. Independents. Rutgers is 5-0 ATS in its last five games overall. The Minutemen are 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. Big Ten opponents. Bet Rutgers Friday.
|08-29-19||Florida International v. Tulane -2||Top||14-42||Win||100||50 h 20 m||Show|
20* CFB Thursday No-Doubt Rout on Tulane -2
The Tulane Green Wave made their first bowl games since 2013 last year and capitalized with a 41-24 win over Louisiana in the Cure Bowl. Willie Fritz is one of the most underrated coaches in the country with what he is doing down in New Orleans.
Fritz has gone from 4 to 5 to 7 wins in his first three seasons on the job. And now he enters Year 4 with his best team yet. And I love the fact that Fritz realizes this triple-option offense will only carry him so far, so he brought in a new coordinator this year in Will Hall. He comes over from Memphis and will be running an up-tempo offense that Florida International will not be prepared for.
The Green Wave return all of their best playmakers on offense for Hall to work with. QB Justin McMillian is back and is a dual-threat guy. The top two rushers are back in Darius Bradwell (1,134 yards, 11 TD) and Corey Dauphine (785 yards, 7 TD), as is leading receiver Darnell Mooney (48 receptions, 993 yards, 8 TD).
I’m also very excited about a defense that returns eight starters and will be the best stop unit that Fritz has had at Tulane. The Green Wave only had five starters back last year and allowed a respectable 27.5 points per game. They are loaded up front along the defensive line with all of their starters back, including Patrick Johnson (49 tackles, 10.5 sacks).
Florida International has exceeded expectations in the first two seasons under Butch Davis. They have gone 8-5 and 9-4 the last two years and have come very close to winning a C-USA title. And they have 16 starters back this year and will be solid again, but I just think they’re getting too much respect early in the season.
FIU feasted on an easy schedule last year as their schedule ranked 123rd in the country. Tulane played the 79th toughest schedule. Conference USA in general is one of the weakest conferences in the country, while the AAC is one of the most underrated, which teams like UCF and Cincinnati have proven in recent years.
FIU only beat two teams that made bowl games last year in Middle Tennessee and Toledo, and they won both those games by a field goal. Five of Tulane’s six losses last year came against both teams, and three of them were by a touchdown or less. Four of them were on the road, while the other two at home came in overtime to Wake Forest and by 4 to SMU.
I think the biggest matchup here that is going to go in our favor is FIU’s inexperienced offensive line up against Tulane’s dominant defensive line, which is the best in the AAC. FIU only gave up 8 sacks last year, while Tulane had 41 sacks as a team. But FIU loses three starters along the offensive line and will be tested like they haven’t been yet.
Not only will the Green Wave control the line of scrimmage on defense, they’ll also control it on offense. They rushed for 218 yards per game and 4.7 per carry last season and will be potent on the ground again. FIU’s weakness last year was up front as they allowed 192 rushing yards per game and 4.9 per carry.
Tulane is 6-0 ATS in home games in the first half of the season over the last three seasons. It is winning by 17.0 points per game in this spot. Fritz is 6-0 ATS in the first two weeks of the season as the coach of Tulane. The Green Wave are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 vs. C-USA opponents, while the Golden Panthers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven vs. AAC foes. Bet Tulane Thursday.
|08-24-19||Arizona v. Hawaii +11||Top||38-45||Win||100||98 h 6 m||Show|
20* Arizona/Hawaii 2019 CFB Season Opener on Hawaii +11
It’s an exciting time of year with college football starting back up on August 24th. And I’m expecting we could have a huge upset right out of the gates here as Hawaii is more than capable of hanging toe-to-toe with Arizona in the opener. I’ll take the whopping 11 points for some insurance, though.
Hawaii OVER 5.5 is one of my favorite season win total bets this year. There’s several reasons why I’m high on this team. They return a whopping 18 starters in Year 4 under head coach Nick Rolovic, and this is easily his best team yet. That’s saying a lot after the Rainbow Warriors went 8-6 last season.
QB Cole McDonald was one of the best quarterbacks in the country that not many people heard about. He threw for 3,875 yards with a 36-to-10 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 359 yards and four scores. Most impressively, he put up those numbers despite missing two starts, and played through a torn ligament in his knee for much of the year.
Now McDonald is back healthy and heading an offense that returns nine starters after returning just three last year. This is a much more veteran unit that returns all 5 O-Line starters and adds in an Arizona transfer and two JUCO’s who redshirted last year. McDonald has two stud receivers in Cedric Byrd and JoJo Ward, who combined for 130 receptions, 1,835 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.
Defensively the Rainbow Warriors should be greatly improved. They gave up 35.1 points and 440 yards per game last season with just five returning starters. Now they have nine starters back on defense, including each of their top three tacklers from a year ago. With how good the offense is going to be, the defense just needs to be average for this team to win its share of games.
Arizona UNDER 6.5 is one of my favorite win total bets as well, so this is an easy choice here. The Wildcats went just 5-7 in Kevin Sumlin’s first season on the job after he was oustered from Texas A&M. Sumlin has always been able to recruit decently, but he’s just obviously not a very good head coach.
You’re going to hear a lot about Arizona QB Khalil Tate once again this season. He was among the Heisman favorites last year, but injuries hampered him last year and he hardly used his dual-threat ability, only rushing for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He had to become a pocket passer, which he’s clearly not as he completed just 56.3% of his passes last year. I think he’s one of the most overrated players in college football, and he’ll once again be protected by the play calling because he means to much to their team, so he won’t run that much.
Making matters worse for Tate is that each of his top four receivers from last year are now gone. The Wildcats are expected to start a pair of freshmen at receiver, and chemistry and communication will be an issue in Game 1. I think their offense will be fine, but it’s no more potent than what Hawaii will put on the field with McDonald and company.
Defensively, the Wildcats are no better than Hawaii, either. They gave up 32.6 points per game and 432 yards per game last season despite having eight returning starters. They also have eight starters back this season on D, so the improvements can’t be great. This is one of the worst defenses in the Pac-12 and the talent level just isn’t there to make much progress.
Last year, Arizona lost at home to BYU 23-28 as 10-point favorites. They also lost at Houston 18-45 as 3-point underdogs. The year before they lost at home to Houston 16-19. And the year before that, they lost at home to BYU 16-18. They have obviously been vulnerable early in the season in non-conference play, and I think that’s the case here against a Hawaii team that is one of the most underrated in the country.
Last year, Hawaii went 4-1 in non-conference play en route to a 6-1 start. They upset Colorado State as 16-point road dogs, upset Navy as 11-point home dogs, and beat both Rice and Duquesne handily. Their only loss in the non-conference was at Army 21-28, and that was a terrible body clock game that started at 9:00 AM for them. They hung right with an Army team for four quarters that won a school-record 11 games last year.
Hawaii is notoriously underrated to start each season, going 26-11 ATS in the first two weeks of the season since 1992. Arizona is 12-27 ATS in its last 39 games as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points. The Wildcats are just 4-13 SU & 4-13 ATS in all games played away from home the last three years. Arizona is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 true road games. The Rainbow Warriors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 vs. Pac-12 opponents. Bet Hawaii Saturday.
|02-03-19||Patriots -2.5 v. Rams||Top||13-3||Win||100||99 h 29 m||Show|
20* Patriots/Rams Super Bowl LIII No-Brainer on New England -2.5
The New England Patriots have saved their best football for last. And I just don’t see them losing to the Rams to drop their second consecutive Super Bowl. I’ll gladly lay the short number here on the Patriots -2.5 over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII
The Patriots have outgained seven of their last eight opponents with the only exception being the eight yards they were outgained by in their 10-17 road loss to Pittsburgh. They have outgained six of those opponents by 100-plus yards. And they have just been even better in the playoffs.
Indeed, the Patriots racked up 498 total yards on offense in their 41-28 win over the Chargers. They outgained the Chargers by 163 yards in that game and would have won by more if they didn’t let their foot off the gas after jumping out to a 35-7 lead. And in the AFC Championship, the Patriots racked up 524 total yards and outgained them by 234 yards. It was a much bigger blowout than the 37-31 (OT) final would indicate.
The Rams have been much less impressive in the playoffs thus far. They beat the Cowboys 30-22 at home and barely covered as 7.5-point favorites. And they never should have won at New Orleans, winning 26-23 (OT) only after the refs blew a pass interference call in the final seconds that would have given the Saints the win. I don’t think they’ll have karma on their side here since the NFL knows that the Rams don’t belong in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots will be making their 9th Super Bowl appearance in Tom Brady’s 19 seasons. They clearly have experience handling everything that comes with the Super Bowl, especially since they will be playing in the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season. The 33-year-old Sean McVay is is a great head coach, but he doesn’t have Super Bowl experience, and neither do most of his players. They will be at a big disadvantage here because of their lack of experience.
Bill Belichick is a master at taking away the opponents’ strengths. That’s what helped the Patriots get out to a 35-7 lead over the Chargers and a 14-0 lead over the Chiefs at halftime. They completely shut down both offenses in the first half of both of those games, and I think they’ll do the same here against the Rams. The Rams want to run the football, and the Patriots will take it away and make Jared Goff try and beat them. I don’t think Goff is built to handle the pressure of the moment here knowing he’s going to have to keep up with Tom Brady.
Brady has actually gotten better with age. Brady averaged 267.5 passing yards per game in the postseason before turning 40. He has thrown for 364.6 passing yards per game since turning 40, nearly 100 yards more since reaching that milestone. He has 10 touchdowns against only two interceptions since turning 40 in his five postseason games. He threw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards against the Eagles last year and the Patriots never had to punt. I can only think that the Patriots will be much better defensively this time around to help him out.
The Patriots are 11-1 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more yards per game in the second half of the season over the last three seasons. New England is 17-4 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 5.65 or more yards per play over the last three years. The Patriots are 8-0 ATS after leading their last three games by 7-plus points at halftime over the last three seasons. New England is 8-0 ATS in road games after scoring 35 points or more last game over the last three seasons. Bet the Patriots Sunday.
My 10 Favorite Prop Bets for Super Bowl 53:
Edelman Under 81.5 receiving yards (+100)
Edelman will be covered in the slot by Nickell Robey-Coleman. Robey-Coleman is the #1 slot corner in the NFL in terms of yards per attempt allowed to slot receivers. Edelman plays from the slot, and I expect the Rams to try and take him out of the game with Robey-Coleman matched up against him almost every snap.
Gronkowski Over 50.5 receiving yards (-150)
Not only are the Rams good at covering slot receivers, they’re also 3rd in the NFL in covering opposing running backs. But they aren’t good at covering tight ends. Gronk should be able to take advantage of his matchups against linebackers and against safety Mark Barron. Gronk has averaged 52.5 receiving yards per game this season through the playoffs, and he’s been limited by injury. The Patriots unleashed him last week against the Chiefs as he had 6 receptions for 79 yards. He also had 116 receiving yards in the Super Bowl last year. Gronk will be their best matchup to go to in the passing game.
Sony Michel Over 17.5 rush attempts (-140)
The Patriots have been going run-heavy in the playoffs. They’ve made a point of getting off to fast starts, leading 35-7 over the Chargers at halftime and 14-0 over the Chiefs at halftime. That has certainly inflated their rushing numbers, but I expect them to get off to another fast start in the Super Bowl. In the two playoff games, Michel rushed 24 times against the Chargers and 29 times against the Chiefs. He has had at least 17 rush attempts in 6 of his last 8 games.
James White Over 3.5 rush attempts (-135)
The Patriots have rushed at least 30 times in 7 of their last 8 games overall. Not all those carries will go to Michel. White should get his fair share here, too. White has had at least 4 rush attempts in 14 of his 18 games this season.
Patriots Over 128.5 Rushing Yards (+100)
The Patriots have rushed for at least 131 yards in 4 straight games. They have averaged 160.4 rushing yards per game in their last 8 games overall. The Rams were 28th in rushing DVOA during the regular season. They don’t stop the run very well. The Patriots know they’ll have success running the football against the Rams, and they should exploit it.
Rams Under 126.5 Rushing Yards (-125)
The Patriots have allowed 104 or fewer rushing yards in 6 of their last 8 games overall. They have allowed 118 or fewer rushing yards in 11 of their last 15 games. Belichick knows that they need to try and make Jared Goff try and beat them. They aren’t going to let CJ Anderson and Todd Gurley get off. And since I expect the Patriots to take the early lead, I think this UNDER 126.5 prop is a good one.
Brandin Cooks Under 75.5 Receiving Yards (-135)
Cooks has 65 or fewer receiving yards in 6 of his last 7 games overall. He is only averaging 58.9 receiving yards per game in those 7 games. That’s nearly 17 yards less than this 75.5-yard total for him. The Patriots have some shutdown corners on the outside who are going to make life difficult for Cooks. They also have familiarity with Cooks after playing with him last season. They know exactly what his routes look like.
Rams Total Penalties Accepted Over 5.5 (-135)
The Rams are a young team with almost no Super Bowl experience. They have a young head coach in Sean McVay. I can see the moment being too big for many of their players. And where that shows up a lot is in false starts, offsides, and alignment penalties. They average 6 penalties per game on the season. I expect them to commit at least 6 penalties in this game.
Total QB Sacks Over 3.5 (-135)
Two immobile quarterbacks in this game. I think it’s safe to say that both teams figure to get at least 2 sacks. Both teams like to run play-action, which will allow edge rushers to get to the quarterback if they don’t bite on fakes. So I like the Over 3.5 quite a bit.
Team to score last wins the Super Bowl (-190)
Expected to be yet another close Super Bowl. And we’ve had our share of late. 9 of the last 11 Super Bowls have been decided by one score. And this prop has gone 12-1 in the last 13 Super Bowls. The team that has scored last has won 12 of the last 13. I’m willing to lay the -190 on this prop for this trend to continue.
|01-20-19||Patriots v. Chiefs -3||37-31||Loss||-103||105 h 17 m||Show|
15* Patriots/Chiefs AFC ANNIHILATOR on Kansas City -3
When you consider the Patriots needed a last-second field goal to beat the Chiefs at home in their first meeting this season, it’s easy to see why I like the Chiefs this week. Now the Chiefs are at home as they earned home-field advantage with the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That’s going to be the difference in this game Sunday.
The Chiefs are 8-1 at home this season. Their defense has played so much better at home than on the road. They are giving up just 17.4 points and 344.6 yards per game at home this season. They held the Colts to just 13 points and 263 total yards last week, which is no small feat with how well the Colts were rolling. And now they will shut down Tom Brady and company this week.
While the Patriots are 9-0 at home this season, they have been extremely vulnerable on the road. Indeed, the Patriots are just 3-5 SU & 3-5 ATS on the road this season, actually getting outscored by 2.4 points per game on average. They give up 399 yards per game on the road, and their offense is only scoring 21.6 points per game on the highway. The Patriots have losses to the likes of Jacksonville (20-31), Detroit (10-26), Tennessee (10-34) and Miami (33-34) on the road this season. All four of those are non-playoff teams even. They also lost to Pittsburgh, and their three wins have come against the Jets, Bills and Bears.
The Patriots have never gone to the Super Bowl the year after losing the Super Bowl, going 0-5 in five tries. Tom Brady is just 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS as a road underdog in the playoffs. And Brady lost his big play threat in Josh Gordon late in the season. Brady averaged 7.6 yards per attempt with Gordon on the field, and only 5.6 per attempt with Gordon off the field this season. Gronk is a shell of his former self. He has two or fewer receptions and 25 or fewer receiving yards in four straight games right now.
Home teams are 10-0 SU & 8-2 ATS in the Championship Round over the last five years. That’s right, no team has gone on the road in the last five years and won a game to get to the Super Bowl. It’s worth noting that the Patriots scored 41 points on the Chargers last week. But teams who scored 40 points or more in a playoff win the previous week are just 5-25-1 ATS the next week, including 2-11-1 ATS in the Championship Round. Also, the Patriots have been home for three straight weeks, which has been a big advantage for them. Teams who go on the road following three straight home games have gone 3-14 SU & 3-14 ATS in the playoffs.
Kansas City is 9-1 ATS vs. excellent passing teams who average 260 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Patriots are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine conference championship games. It’s Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes’ time. They are getting to the Super Bowl with a win and cover here against the ‘mighty’ Patriots. Take the Chiefs Sunday.
|01-20-19||Rams v. Saints -3||Top||26-23||Loss||-125||102 h 43 m||Show|
25* NFL Playoffs GAME OF THE YEAR on New Orleans Saints -3
The Saints are the best team in the NFC. They have been all season, and they still are. So with that being the case, they should be more than a 3-point favorite over the Rams when you factor in home-field advantage. The home field for the Saints is worth more than 3 points, especially in a playoff atmosphere. And they’re the better team. This line should be closer to -4.5 or -5 than -3.
I think because the Saints have gone 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall, while the Rams have gone 3-0 ATS in their last three games overall gives us a ‘buy low, sell high’ opportunity here. We’ll ‘buy low’ on the Saints and ’sell high’ on the Rams. But the Saints were big favorites in each of their last four games, and they won three of them. The only one they lost was a meaningless Week 17 game against Carolina in which they rested their starters.
I think the Saints are getting discredited too much for their 20-14 win over the Eagles last week. The way they won trailing 14-0 and overcoming adversity to score the final 20 points and shut down the Eagles after the first quarter will give them a ton of confidence heading into this game. This team feel invincible now, especially after the defense came up with a huge INT to save the game on the final drive. And it’s worth noting the Saints outgained the Eagles by 188 yards in that game. The Rams lost outright to the Eagles 23-30 at home as 13.5-point favorites late in the season.
I’m definitely backing the better quarterback here in Drew Brees, and the better defense in the Saints. I’ll almost always back the better QB and the better defense every time in this situation. Drew Brees is 6-0 in playoff home games under Sean Payton. The Saints are scoring 32.6 points and averaging 402.9 yards per game at home this season.
But it’s the defense that really gets me excited. The Saints have allowed 17 or fewer points in seven of their last eight games in which their starters played. They are giving up just 14.5 points per game in those eight games in which their starters played. And I think the biggest strength, which is their run D, will be huge in this matchup.
Jared Goff can’t be trusted in big games. He has a 0-to-5 TD/INT ratio in his last three games against playoff teams. It’s a big reason the Rams went run-heavy last week, rushing for 273 yards on 48 carries against the Cowboys. But it’s worth noting they had a huge advantage because they picked up on a ’tell’ by the Cowboys that let them know which way they were stunting. Players said it was 80% to 90% of the time right. It explains why the Rams were able to exploit what was previously a great Cowboys run D.
Well, the Saints rank 2nd in the NFL against the run, giving up just 80.2 rushing yards per game. They are also 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (3.6) allowed. There’s no question the Saints are going to try to force Jared Goff to try and beat them, and I don’t think he can. The Rams’ passing game just hasn’t been nearly as effective since Goff lost his favorite security blanked in Cooper Kupp to a season-ending injury.
The Saints beat the Rams 45-35 at home in their first meeting this season. They racked up 487 total yards and 31 first downs on this Rams’ defense, which has some star players, but as a whole is extremely vulnerable. Clearly Brees and company found some holes in the first meeting, throwing for 346 yards and four touchdowns. That was a 35-14 game and was a bigger blowout than the final score showed even. And Goff had Kupp, who had 89 receiving yards and a score in that contest.
Home teams are a perfect 10-0 SU & 8-2 ATS in the Championship Games over the past five seasons. That’s right, no road team has gone on the road to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl in the last five years. I don’t think it will be a QB the caliber of Goff that ends this streak Sunday. The home team has won six straight meetings in this series. The Saints have won their last three home meetings wit the Rams by an average of 18.7 points per game. Bet The Saints Sunday.
|01-13-19||Chargers +4.5 v. Patriots||28-41||Loss||-109||146 h 22 m||Show|
15* Chargers/Patriots AFC ANNIHILATOR on Los Angeles +4.5
You’re going to hear a lot about the past history of the Patriots leading up to this game. How they rarely lose at home in the playoffs, especially after a first-round bye. And how Tom Brady is 7-0 against Philip Rivers in head-to-head matchups. No question I factored in those stats as well, but I keep coming back to the fact that these aren’t the same old Patriots, and these aren’t the same old Chargers.
The Patriots are vulnerable. They went 11-5, but when you consider they went 5-1 against the terrible AFC East to pad their stats, well they were only 6-4 against all other teams. They feasted on a weak schedule this season. Their defense ranks 21st in the league, and their offense hasn’t been nearly as explosive after losing Josh Gordon, and with Rob Gronkowski clearly just a shell of his former self.
This is easily the best team that Philip Rivers has ever had with the Chargers. Think about this for a second. If not for a botched loss to the Broncos with poor clock management down the stretch, the Chargers would be your No. 1 seed in the AFC. They went 12-4, just like the Chiefs, yet the Chiefs are being treated as the superior team. I don’t believe that to be the case. And the Chiefs went into New England and lost on a last-second field goal earlier this season, and that was when the Chiefs were hitting on all cylinders before fading here down the stretch.
Rivers is loaded with weapons on offense with the likes of Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. And the defense has been one of the best in the league since getting Joey Bosa back from injury. The Chargers give up just 20.4 points per game and 327.5 yards per game this season, ranking 9th in total defense. They have allowed 23 or fewer points in 11 of their last 13 games overall with the only exceptions behind the 28 they gave up at Kansas City and the 30 they allowed at Pittsburgh, two games they actually won outright as underdogs. They are allowing just 17.3 points per game in their last 11 games.
The tougher the situation, the better the Chargers play. That’s why I’m not concerned about all the travel talk and this being their 3rd straight road games. They thrive on the road. Indeed, the Chargers are 9-1 SU & 8-2 ATS on the road this season. Their only loss came at the Rams early in the season. They have beaten the likes of Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Baltimore on the road this year, four playoff teams. And they certainly won’t be phased by having to go into New England this weekend.
The Chargers are also expected to get NT Brandon Mebane and TE Hunter Henry back from injury this week, and C Mike Pouncey has been given the green light. This just feels like a changing of the guard-type game as Rivers is on a mission to get that elusive Lombardi Trophy, and he finally has the team that can dethrone New England in the AFC.
Philip Rivers is 21-7 ATS in his last 28 games as a road underdog of 4 points or more, including 16-3 ATS since 2012. Bill Belichick is only 2-10 ATS in home games when playing with two or more weeks’ rest as the coach of New England. Los Angeles is 5-1 ATS in its last six playoff road games, and 35-17-2 ATS in its last 54 road games overall. Underdogs are 14-1 ATS since the start of last year's playoffs. Roll with the Chargers Sunday.
|01-12-19||Cowboys +7 v. Rams||Top||22-30||Loss||-108||130 h 32 m||Show|
20* Cowboys/Rams NFC No-Brainer on Dallas +7
The Dallas Cowboys are getting zero respect from oddsmakers as touchdown underdogs to the Los Angeles Rams this week. But, that has been the case for this team for weeks. The Cowboys have gone 8-1 SU & 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games overall. Their only loss came at Indianapolis in a huge letdown spot after beating the Eagles in OT the previous week, which essentially decided the NFC East title.
The Rams have feasted on bad competition, but they haven’t been good against the league’s best. Six of the Rams’ last 10 wins came by 7 points or less. The only four that came by more were against the 49ers (twice), Cardinals and Lions, three of the worst teams in the NFL. When the Rams have stepped up in class, like they will be here, they have not fared well.
Indeed, the Rams are 0-5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record this season. They pushed in a 7-point win against the Vikings and pushed in a 3-point win against the Chiefs. They lost outright by 9 as 3-point favorites against Chicago, lost outright by 10 as 2.5-point favorites at New Orleans, and lost outright at home as 13.5-point favorites over the Eagles. They also only beat Seattle by 5 as 9.5-point home favorites and Seattle by 2 as 7-point road favorites. If Seattle can hang with them twice, Dallas certainly can after dominating the Seahawks last week until a garbage TD in the final seconds that turned a 24-14 game into a 24-22 one.
The Cowboys have taken off on offense since trading for Amari Cooper. They have scored at least 22 points in seven of their last nine games overall. They have a great rushing attack that has produced 94-plus yards in 13 of 17 games this season. They average 4.5 per carry as a team, and they rushed for 164 yards on the Seahawks last week.
That makes this a bad matchup for a Rams defense that hasn’t been nearly as good as advertised. The Rams have allowed 27-plus points in six of their last nine games overall. Their biggest problem is stopping the run as the Rams rank dead last in allowing 5.1 yards per carry this season. Zeke should be able to have a big game here, which will allow the Cowboys to control time of possession and keep Jared Goff and company off the field.
The Rams have not been nearly as effective on offense since losing Cooper Kupp to a season-ending injury. He was Goff’s favorite target on third down. And now Goff will be up against one of the best defenses he has faced this season. The Cowboys rank 7th in total defense, giving up 329.2 yards per game this season. They are 6th in scoring defense (20.2 points/game) and 8th in yards per play (5.4) allowed.
Todd Gurley has been banged up down the stretch, and that has also hurt the Rams’ offense. They don’t have a very good offensive line, and it has been exposed. I expect the Cowboys to win the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They will be able to slow down Gurley thanks to a run defense that ranks 5th in the NFL in giving up just 94.6 rushing yards per game, and 4th in yards per carry (3.8) allowed.
Dallas is 9-1 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more yards per game over the last two seasons. The Cowboys are 7-0 ATS in road games vs. bad defensive teams that give up 24 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Dallas is 20-7-1 ATS in its last 28 games played on a grass field. The Rams are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six home games. Underdogs are 14-1 ATS since the start of last year's playoffs.
The Rams just don’t have much of a home-field advantage at all in Los Angeles. They were knocked out of the playoffs last year with a home loss to the Falcons. The Cowboys could easily have nearly 50% of the fans in attendance, making it feel like a home game for them. Dallas will give them a run for their money here, possibly pulling off the upset. Take the Cowboys Saturday.
|01-12-19||Colts +6 v. Chiefs||Top||13-31||Loss||-114||126 h 52 m||Show|
25* NFL Divisional Round GAME OF THE YEAR on Indianapolis Colts +6
We have two teams headed in opposite directions here. The Indianapolis Colts are the hottest team in the NFL, and it’s not even close. The Kansas City Chiefs certainly faded down the stretch from a point spread perspective and have had trouble living up to their massive expectations from oddsmakers and the betting public.
Following a 1-5 start, the Colts have gone 10-1 SU & 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. They have the best point differential in the entire NFL over these 11 games, which is the sign of an elite team. They have outscored their last 11 opponents by a total of 131 points, or by an average of 11.9 points per game. Another sign of an elite team is the fact that the Colts have outgained 10 of their last 11 opponents as well, so there has been nothing fluky about this run.
Andrew Luck is playing very well, with his 32-to-1 TD/INT ratio in the red zone what stands out most. He’s clearly back and playing better than ever. Getting a healthy Marlon Mack back at running back has also been key to their success. Mack has rushed for 119-plus yards in three of his last five games. T.Y. Hilton remains explosive, and tight end Eric Ebron leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Plus, the offensive line is playing well, giving up the fewest sacks of any offensive line this season.
But the biggest reason for the turnaround by the Colts is their defense. They have allowed just 14.0 points per game in their last eight games overall. That makes them the best scoring defense in the NFL during this stretch. It’s a defense that features two rookies who received All-Pro honors. And all those draft picks the Colts have been spending on defense are really paying off now.
No question the Chiefs have had the best offense in the NFL this season, but they also have the 31st-ranked defense in giving up 405.5 yards per game this season. They rank 32nd in DVOA against the run. They are also 31st in giving up 5.0 yards per carry. Mack and the Colts are going to have their way on the ground against the Chiefs in this game, and their defense is good enough to slow down Mahomes and company.
The Chiefs are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. They have outright losses to the Rams, Chargers and Seahawks during this stretch. Once they lost Kareem Hunt, they clearly weren’t as explosive on offense. And they have also been playing without Sammy Watkins, who is questionable to return. Kansas City’s defense has also allowed 30.2 points per game in its last six games overall. That’s very concerning considering the weather has gotten colder and it has been more difficult for most offenses to put points on the board. That hasn’t been the case against the Chiefs down the stretch, and all season really.
Andy Reid is just 1-7 SU in its last eight playoff games as he has consistently underachieved in the postseason. This will be the first career playoff start for Mahomes, and it did not go well for the other three first-time starters last week in Lamar Jackson, Mitch Trubisky and DeSean Watson. In fact, the last 23 first-time starting QB’s in the playoffs have gone just 3-19-1 ATS. Fading these first-time starters has been a huge money maker over the years.
Kansas City is 2-13 ATS in its last 15 playoff games. Underdogs are 14-1 ATS in the playoffs since the start of last year’s postseason, going a perfect 4-0 ATS last week. The Colts are 7-0 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Chiefs are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Kansas City is 0-6 ATS in its last six playoff home games. Indianapolis is 7-1 ATS in its last eight trips to Kansas City.
Plays on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Indianapolis) - a good passing team with a completion percentage of 60% or better, after gaining 6.75 or more yards per attempt in four straight games are 27-8 (77.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Colts Saturday.
|01-07-19||Alabama -200 v. Clemson||Top||16-44||Loss||-200||32 h 2 m||Show|
20* Alabama/Clemson National Championship No-Brainer on Alabama ML -200
One of the best-kept secrets is betting favorites on the money line in Championship-type games. Whether it be the Super Bowl or the National Championship of college football, you almost always get a cheaper price on the favorite on the money line than it should be.
That’s because with so much action on these standalone games, there’s a ton of liability for sports books on the underdog on the money line. They take way more bets on the dog on the money line than they would in any regular game. So they have to adjust their money line prices so they don’t get killed if the underdog wins the game outright.
A typical 5.5-point favorite is around -240 on the money line. So we are basically getting 40 cents of value here taking Alabama on the money line. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect Alabama to win, so I’m more than willing to lay the -200 on Alabama on the money line just to win the game. I think this is the best bet you can make in the National Championship Game.
Alabama certainly wants revenge from losing a heartbreaker on the final play of the game to Clemson a few years ago. And they are also motivated to cement themselves as arguably the greatest team in college football history. They have come this far in the face of all the hype from the media, remaining grounded. And I expect them to complete their mission and win this game Monday night.
This is certainly the best offense the Crimson Tide have ever assembled under Nick Saban, which is why they can stake their claim as the greatest ever. They are scoring 47.7 points per game and averaging 527.6 yards per game. What makes that so remarkable is that they’ve been able to rest their starters in the second half of most of their games this season. And they once again have an elite defense that yields just 16.2 points per game.
I think the fact that Alabama didn’t cover the 14-point spread against Oklahoma last week also has them undervalued. They stormed out to a 31-10 halftime lead and simply took their foot off the gas. Oklahoma got 24 points in garbage time in the second half with the game already decided. Too Tagovailoa showed zero ill-effects of the ankle injury, completing 24-of-27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
Conversely, I think Clemson is getting way too much respect due to its 30-3 win over Notre Dame. Clearly, the Fighting Irish played an easy schedule this season and weren’t one of the four best teams in the country. But it’s worth noting the Fighting Irish had their chances to put up points. In fact, Notre Dame had six drives that went into Clemson territory, and they came away with just 3 points on those six drives. That’s pretty hard to do.
Speaking of easy schedules, Clemson played a very easy schedule in the ACC, which was way down this season. They have only faced three teams in the Top 30 and one team in the Top 10. Meanwhile, Alabama has faced seven teams that rank in the Top 30 and three teams that rank in the Top 10. The’ve obviously beaten all seven. The Crimson Tide are way more battle-tested than the Tigers are coming into this game.
Nick Saban is 15-1 (+14 units) against the money line after failing to cover three of his last four games as the coach of Alabama. The Crimson Tide will cement themselves as arguably the greatest team in college football history with a win over Clemson. Bet Alabama on the Money Line Monday.
|01-06-19||Eagles +6 v. Bears||16-15||Win||100||73 h 23 m||Show|
15* Eagles/Bears NFC ANNIHILATOR on Philadelphia +6
The Philadelphia Eagles are the Wild Card team that nobody wants to face. They easily could have packed it in after their 4-6 start this season, but they didn’t. They went 5-1 in their final six games, including 3-0 in their final three with Nick Foles at quarterback, beating playoff teams in the Rams and Texans along the way. And their defense remains a juggernaut.
Foles threw for 962 yards and six touchdowns in the final three games of the season. This team responded well to him, and he delivered for them. What you have to like about Foles is that he stretches the field a lot more than Wentz does, taking deep shots to Alshon Jeffery and company that result in chunk plays. And it makes them a lot less predictable on offense.
And if you don’t think this Eagles defense is still Super Bowl-caliber, then look no further than the shutout they posted last week against the Redskins in which they allowed just 89 total yards. They are giving up just 21.7 points per game on the season, including 19.5 points per game during their 5-1 run over the final six weeks of the season.
Philadelphia’s defense should be able to hold Chicago’s offense in check. This Chicago offense is the weak link of the team as they obviously have a great defense. The Bears are just 21st in total offense at 343.9 yards per game, and 20th averaging 5.4 yards per play. Mitchell Trubisky will be playing in his first-ever playoff game, and he will be asked to make plays that he’s not used to in this pressure situation. I trust Foles a lot more than Trubisky here.
And it’s worth noting that both WR’s Anthony Miller (shoulder) and Allen Robinson (ribs) got injured against the Vikings lsat week and were forced to leave the game. Fellow WR Taylor Gabriel (ribs) is also on the injury report, as is S Eddie Jackson (ankle). I think the Bears made a big mistake playing their starters the entire game against the Vikings last week. These injuries were the result, and they certainly would have rather faced Kirk Cousins and the Vikings than Foles and the Eagles. I think Foles and the Eagles will feel extra motivated here because they feel slighted by the Bears, who clearly wanted to face them rather than Minnesota.
The Eagles have owned the Bears in recent meetings, going 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS while outscoring the Bears by a whopping 28.7 points per game in the process. And the Eagles fit into one of my favorite wild card systems. The team that played the tougher schedule has gone 41-17-1 ATS in wild card games since 2002. When that difference is 10 or more according to Sagarin SOS rankings, those teams cover at better than an 80% clip. Well, the Eagles played the 15th-toughest schedule, while the Bears played the 31st-toughest. That easy schedule is also another reason the Bears are overvalued heading into the playoffs.
Plays on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Philadelphia) - a good passing team with a completion percentage of 60% or better, after gaining 6.75 or more passing yards per attempt in four straight games are 26-8 (76.5%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Philadelphia is 8-1 ATS vs. good rushing defenses that allow 90 or fewer rushing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last eight playoff road games. Roll with the Eagles Sunday.
|01-06-19||Chargers +3 v. Ravens||23-17||Win||100||70 h 48 m||Show|
15* Chargers/Ravens AFC ANNIHILATOR on Los Angeles +3
The resurgence of the Ravens behind rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson has been one of the best stories in the NFL this season. They went 6-1 down the stretch to win the AFC North by a half-game. And their defense came up huge last week in stopping the Browns in the final seconds of a 26-24 victory a year after coming up short against the Bengals in Week 17.
But with this strong finish comes respect from oddsmakers that I don’t think the Ravens deserve. They are now 3-point home favorites against the Chargers this week after behind 4-point road dogs to the Chargers just two weeks ago. And this will be the first time this season that Jackson will have to face a team for a second time. I think the Chargers will come up with a great game plan to stop Jackson and the Ravens in this matchup now that they’ve already played them once.
That 22-10 final against the Chargers was misleading as well. The Chargers were down 5 and driving, only for Antonio Gates to fumble, and the Ravens returned it for a touchdown. And Philip Rivers threw a touchdown in the end zone with one minute remaining as well. That was certainly not a 12-point game like the final score showed. It was also a letdown spot for the Chargers, who were coming off a huge 29-28 comeback victory at division rival Kansas City the previous week.
I think we get the best effort of the season here from the Chargers in revenge mode. Plus, this is the best road team in the NFL. The Chargers are 8-1 SU & 7-2 ATS in road games this season, including 7-1 SU & 7-1 ATS in true road games as they beat the Titans in London. Their only loss came on the road at the Rams, and they have road wins over the likes of the Seahawks, Steelers and Chiefs this season. They are more than capable of beating the Ravens on the road here.
I just trust Philip Rivers more than the rookie Jackson, who will be starting his first playoff game. Rivers is having one of the best seasons of his career, and he realizes his opportunities are dwindling. I look for him to make the most of this opportunity. Rivers is playing at an MVP-level, completing 68.3% of his passes with a 32-to-12 TD/INT ratio. Melvin Gordon is healthy, and he gets TE Hunter Henry back for the first time this season to add another weapon.
Rivers is 5-1 ATS as an underdog in the playoffs. John Harbaugh is 0-7 ATS in home games off three or more consecutive wins as the coach of Baltimore having never covered in this situation. Baltimore is 0-6 ATS after allowing 7 points or less in the first half of two straight games over the last three seasons. It is coming back to lose by 13.0 points per game on average in this spot. Los Angeles is 21-8-1 ATS in its last 30 road games. Baltimore is 1-5 ATS in its last six home games. Take the Chargers Sunday.
|01-05-19||Seahawks v. Cowboys -1.5||Top||22-24||Win||100||53 h 59 m||Show|
25* NFL Wild Card GAME OF THE YEAR on Dallas Cowboys -1.5
Since trading for Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys have been rolling. They have gone 7-1 SU & 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games to close out the regular season. Their lone loss was a clear flat spot at Indianapolis in Week 15 as they were coming off a huge OT win over the Eagles the previous week that essentially clinched the NFC East title. I used the Colts as my 25* NFL Game of the Year that week, and they won 23-0. It was the best spot of the entire season for the Colts in my opinion.
Heck, the Cowboys even won last week when they were resting a lot of their starters. They beat the Giants 36-35 on the road. The way they won that game gives them a ton of momentum. Dak Prescott found Cole Beasley in the back of the end zone on 4th down on a tremendous catch by Beasley for the game-winner, and the defense held from there.
I just think the Seahawks are grossly overvalued. They managed to go 10-6 this season despite failing to outgain their opponents on the season. They actually get outgained on a yards per play basis. They average 5.6 yards per play on offense and give up 5.9 yards per play on defense. That is arguably the most important stat when handicapping NFL games.
The Cowboys have averaged 26.4 points per game in their seven wins here down the stretch. The offense has taken off with the addition of Cooper. And the Cowboys will have both G Zack Martin and T Tyron Smith healthy for this game after they sat out last week. And Zeke Elliott will be as healthy as he’s been after resting last week as well.
The Seahawks have some injury questions along the offensive line with both T Duane Brown and G J.R. Sweezy questionable for this game. The Seahawks also played their starters last week, and their performance was a lot more underwhelming. They needed a last-second field goal to beat the awful Arizona Cardinals 27-24 as 14.5-point home favorites. That was a Cardinals team that had lost their previous three games by 22, 26 and 14 points and finished 3-13 on the season. The Seahawks also only beat the Cardinals 20-17 on the road earlier this season as well.
Seattle went just 4-4 on the road this season. One of those wins was on a neutral against Oakland, so they only won three true road games. One was against the Cardinals, another was a fluky 30-27 win at Carolina in which they trailed the entire game, and the other was off their bye week in a great spot for them against the Lions.
Dallas is a great home team. The Cowboys are 7-1 SU & 5-2-1 ATS at home this season. They are outscoring opponents by 6.5 points per game at home this year. The Cowboys have an elite defense that gives up 20.2 points per game overall and 18.5 points per game at home.
This is a great matchup for the Cowboys’ defense. They are 5th in the NFL against the run, giving up 94.6 rushing yards per game. They are also 4th in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (3.8) allowed. That bodes well for them going up against a Seahawks team that leads the NFL in rushing at 160.0 yards per game.
The Cowboys figure to feed Zeke Elliott a ton in this game. Their running game is still their bread and butter, especially with a healthy offensive line. The Cowboys are 10th in rushing offense at 122.7 rushing yards per game while also averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Well, the Seahawks rank 27th in yards per carry (4.9) allowed this season. It’s also a great matchup for the Dallas offense.
The Cowboys played the much tougher schedule this season. According to Sagarin, the Cowboys played the 11th-toughest schedule, while the Seahawks played the 25th. The team that played the tougher schedule according to Sagarin has gone 41-17-1 ATS since 2002 in Wild Card games. If the difference is more than 10, the team that played the tougher schedule is cashing over 80% since 2002.
Dallas is 6-0 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more yards per game this season. The Cowboys are 8-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog over the last three seasons. They are coming back to win by 8.6 points per game on average in this spot. Dallas is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in its previous game. The Seahawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six playoff games. Bet the Cowboys Saturday.
|01-01-19||Texas +14 v. Georgia||Top||28-21||Win||100||211 h 51 m||Show|
20* Texas/Georgia Sugar Bowl BAILOUT on Texas +14
This game is all about motivation. The Texas Longhorns are happy to be here. Whether or not they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, they most likely would have been penciled into the Sugar Bowl. So they aren’t disappointed at all with being in this bowl game.
Conversely, Georgia played in the National Championship Game last year against Alabama. They lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship after blowing a double-digit lead to Jalen Hurts, their second blown double-digit lead in as many tries against the Crimson Tide. That loss cost them a spot in the four-team playoff. The Bulldogs aren’t happy at all to be playing in the Sugar Bowl. It was playoffs or bust for them.
The motivational edge will help Texas make up for their talent edge that clearly goes to Georgia in this one. Fortunately for us, talent doesn’t always win out in these bowl games. And we’re getting two touchdowns here with the more motivated team. I’ll take my chances almost every time.
I also like backing head coach Tom Herman as an underdog. Herman is 12-2 ATS as an underdog in all games he has coached between Houston and Texas. He has won most of those games outright, and his teams are outscoring the opposition by 6.0 points per game in these spots. He certainly knows how to get his team motivated when they are being counted out, which is exactly what he’s doing leading into the Sugar Bowl as nobody outside the locker room is giving them a chance to beat Georgia.
Herman is also 10-1 ATS vs. excellent rushing teams that average 5.25 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. Texas does a good job of stopping the run, holding opponents to 136 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry this season. The Longhorns are holding their opponents to 44 rushing yards per game and 0.8 per carry less than their season averages this year. That will help them slow down a Georgia offense that averages 252 rushing yards per game and 6.1 per carry this season.
Plays against favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Georgia) - a hot team having won eight or more of their last 10 games, a team that wins more than 80% of their games on the season playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 61-27 (69.3%) ATS since 1992. Bet Texas Tuesday.
|12-31-18||Missouri v. Oklahoma State +8||Top||33-38||Win||100||182 h 52 m||Show|
20* Missouri/Oklahoma State Liberty Bowl No-Brainer on Oklahoma State +8
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Oklahoma State and ’sell high’ on Missouri in the Liberty Bowl. The Tigers are getting too much respect with how they finished the season, while the Cowboys are getting zero respect with how they finished the year. That has created some line value here on the Cowboys catching more than a touchdown to the Tigers in this matchup of old Big 12 rivals.
Oklahoma State finished the season 2-5 SU & 3-4 ATS in its last seven games overall. But four of those losses came by 7 points or less, and four of them were on the road. That includes their 47-48 loss at Oklahoma as 21.5-point dogs which showed they could play with anyone. They also beat West Virginia and Texas at home, two of the best teams in the Big 12.
Missouri is getting respect due to its 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS finish to the season. But two of the wins came against bad Tennessee and Arkansas teams who didn’t make a bowl. They only beat Vanderbilt by 5 as 14.5-point favorites, and Vanderbilt barely made a bowl and went on to lose to Baylor in their bowl game. The win over Florida looks impressive, but not when you consider that it was a huge hangover spot for the Gators off their loss to Georgia the previous week that cost them the SEC East title.
The Cowboys will never be out of this game due to an offense that ranks 10th national in yards per game (500.2) and 14th in scoring (38.4). QB Taylor Cornelius threw for 3,837 yards with a 28-to-11 TD/INT ratio while also rushing for 385 yards and 10 scores. I realize leading rusher Justice Hill (930 yards, 9 TD, 5.9/carry) is out, but his absence is being overblown. Backup Chuba Hubbard (595 yards, 6 TD, 5.6/carry) isn’t much of a downgrade. He’s actually an upgrade in the passing game over Hill, averaging 10.1 yards per reception on his 19 receptions compared to 5.2 on 13 for Hill.
The Cowboys are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Oklahoma State is 5-1 ATS in its last five games following a loss. The Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 1-8 ATS in their last nine December games. Missouri is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following an ATS win. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Bet Oklahoma State Monday.
|12-30-18||Colts -3 v. Titans||33-17||Win||100||31 h 16 m||Show|
15* Colts/Titans NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Indianapolis -3
The Indianapolis Colts are playing as well as anyone in the NFL right now. They are 8-1 in their last nine games overall, impressively rebounding from a 1-5 start. They are now on the verge of making the playoffs. A win and they’re in, while a loss and they’re out. It’s that simple for them here. And they’ve fought too hard to blow this opportunity now.
There has been nothing lucky about this run for the Colts. In fact, they have outgained 11 of their last 12 opponents, which is the sign of an elite team. Their defense is playing as well as it has in years, and Andrew Luck is moving the chains and putting points on the board. There’s no question the Colts have the edge on offense in this one, scoring 26.7 points and averaging 382.9 yards per game this season.
While the Titans also have a good defense, their offense is dreadful. They rank 26th in total offense at 316.0 yards per game. They are also 26th in scoring offense at 19.5 points per game. And their job gets even more difficult on offense this week with the injury to Marcus Mariota. He was knocked out of the game against the Redskins last week, and now Blaine Gabbert will be the starting quarterback. I certainly don’t trust him to perform well in this huge game with their season on the line.
I trust Andrew Luck a lot more. Luck is 10-0 in his 10 career starts against the Titans, which includes their 38-10 victory over Tennessee on November 18th when Luck went 23-of-29 passing for 297 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. His dominance of the Titans continues as he improves to 11-0 against the Titans with a win and cover Sunday night.
Teams with a win percentage of 51% to 60% are 1-12 ATS in games with a line of +3 to -3 since the start of the 2009 season when facing an opponent that beat them by 14 or more points earlier in the season. The Colts are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record. The Titans are 5-14-1 ATS in their last 20 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with the Colts Sunday.
|12-30-18||Bears v. Vikings -4||Top||24-10||Loss||-105||93 h 50 m||Show|
20* Bears/Vikings NFC North No-Brainer on Minnesota -4
I think the Chicago Bears are in a precarious situation here. Yes, they are still alive for the No. 2 seed and first-round bye, but they’re not in control of their own destiny. They would need the Rams to lose to the 49ers and to beat the Vikings to get the No. 2 seed. Well, the Rams are double-digit favorites over the 49ers at home this week, so players and coaches alike know that deep down inside they don’t have much of a chance.
It’s kind of a free roll here on Minnesota. We know the Vikings are going to be max motivated needing a win to get in the playoffs. If they lose, the Eagles would only need to beat the Redskins this week to overtake them. That’s likely to happen since the Eagles are 7-point favorites this week over the Redskins. So it’s essentially a must-win game for the Vikings.
And the Vikings have performed well in must-win mode over the last two weeks. They throttled the Dolphins 41-17 at home, and beat the Lions 27-9 on the road. Their offense has taken off since firing offensive coordinator DiFelippo prior to the Miami game. And their defense has held the Dolphins and Lions to just 13 points per game and 208 yards per game the last two weeks. This is still an elite defense, and I certainly trust the Vikings’ offense more than that of Chicago.
The reason it’s a precarious situation for the Bears is also because they could look up at halftime and see the Rams beating the 49ers by two touchdowns or more. If that’s the case, they could pull their starters in the second half. They could also pull their starters if they get behind Minnesota big early. It’s more important for them to be rested for the wild card game next week than it is for them to go ‘all in’ to try and win this game. I don’t expect them to, contrary to what head coach Matt Nagy may tell the media leading up to this game.
The Vikings have had one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL over the past few seasons. They are 36-15-1 ATS in their last 52 home games, including 29-11 ATS under current head coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings are a perfect 6-0 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points this season, winning by 13.6 points per game on average in this spotl. The home team is 23-9 ATS in the last 32 meetings. Minnesota has won six straight home meetings with Chicago, including the last three by a whopping 20.1 points per game. Take the Vikings Sunday.
|12-30-18||Dolphins v. Bills -3.5||Top||17-42||Win||100||96 h 30 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Buffalo Bills -3.5
You could make the argument that the Bills are playing as well as anyone in the NFL down the stretch. The Bills have outgained their last seven opponents by a total of 578 yards, or by an average of 83 yards per game. They rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense this season, and they’ve been competitive ever since Josh Allen returned from injury.
Buffalo has shown up every week Allen has been under center, and they’ll certainly show up in Week 17. Especially since they want revenge from a fluky 17-21 loss at Miami on December 2nd in their first meeting this season. The Bills dominated that game, outgaining the Dolphins 415 to 175, or by 240 total yards. But they found a way to lose. This time around, I expect them to dominate the box score and the scoreboard in the rematch in Buffalo.
Miami is coming off a dream-crushing loss to the Jaguars last week at home by 10 points. That followed up a 24-point road loss to the Vikings. The loss to the Jaguars officially eliminated them from playoff contention. I don’t even expect the Dolphins to show up this week as they’ll suffer a ‘hangover’ effect from that loss to the Jaguars.
Miami is also a warm weather team that has to now go play in the cold, which will not go well for them. It’s expected to be below freezing in Buffalo on Sunday. It’s a Dolphins team that has also one of the most fraudulent seven-win teams I can remember. They are getting outgained by nearly 100 yards per game on the season. Their seven wins have all come by 8 points or less, or by one score. And seven of their eight losses have come by 10 points or more. They have simply been lucky in close games this year. I don’t expect this game to be close at all.
The Dolphins are 6-2 at home this season compared to just 1-6 on the road. They have one of the biggest home/road splits in the NFL. They haven’t even been competitive on the road, going 2-5 ATS in their seven road games while getting outscored by a whopping 14.0 points per game, and outgained by 131.9 yards per game. Buffalo is 17-9 SU & 16-10 ATS in its last 26 home meetings with Miami.
Miami is 1-8 ATS in road games off a home game over the last two seasons, losing by 20 points per game on average in this spot. The Dolphins are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 road games overall. Buffalo has gone 5-1 ATS in its six most recent home meetings with Miami. The favorite is 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|12-29-18||Oklahoma v. Alabama UNDER 77.5||34-45||Loss||-107||138 h 7 m||Show|
15* Oklahoma/Alabama Orange Bowl Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 77.5
Alabama has one of the best defenses in the country. The Crimson Tide only give up 14.8 points and 295.4 yards per game on the season. And consistently, they’ve been up enough to put their backups in in the second half. When one team has a defense this good, and the total is 77.5, there’s value with the UNDER.
I know Oklahoma doesn’t have a great defense. But they consistently face better offenses when playing in the Big 12. The Sooners give up 32.4 points and 448.1 yards per game on the season. But even factoring in their bad defense, when you combine what they give up on average to Alabama, you get 47.2 points per game. That’s still more than 30 points less than this posted total of 77.5. There’s still value with the UNDER.
I realize both Alabama and Oklahoma have elite offenses. In fact, these are two of the best offenses in the country. And if both defenses only had a week to prepare for these offenses, it would favor the over. But it favors the under since both teams have had basically one entire month to prepare for one another. Oklahoma won’t be surprising Alabama’s defense, and Alabama won’t be surprising Oklahoma’s defense.
I think this number is inflated largely due to the shootout between Georgia and Oklahoma last year in the first game of the four-team playoff. But you can bet Nick Saban is going to come up with ways to slow down Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and company. And Oklahoma’s defense will be able to hold Alabama’s offense in check, especially with QB Too Tagovailoa hampered with an ankle injury.
I expect Alabama’s strategy to be to slow this game down with its running game. The Crimson Tide will be trying to control the time of possession with their running game. They rush for 202 yards per game and can certainly move the chains with heir running game and keep Murray and company off the field. That’s their best strategy to win this game, and I expect Saban to deploy this strategy. They won’t be trying to simply outscoring Oklahoma in a shootout.
Oklahoma is 19-4 UNDER in its last 23 December games. Alabama sis 10-2 UNDER in tis last 12 games following three or more consecutive overs. Alabama is 43-21 UNDER in its last 64 games vs. good rushing teams that average 200 or more rushing yards per game. The UNDER is 7-2 in Sooners last nine vs. SEC opponents. The UNDER is 8-3 in Sooners last 11 bowl games. Roll with the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|12-29-18||Notre Dame +14 v. Clemson||Top||3-30||Loss||-124||134 h 7 m||Show|
20* Notre Dame/Clemson Cotton Bowl No-Brainer on Notre Dame +14
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are better than they get credit for. They are getting disrespected despite being 12-0 this season. Their schedule looked very tough coming into the season, but turned out to be less difficult than expected. But the same can be said for Clemson, which beat up on a weak ACC this year.
I think Notre Dame feels disrespected being not only underdogs, but double-digit dogs in this matchup. Everyone thinks back to when they lost to Alabama in the National Championship a few years ago. But that was a different team, and this one is way better on offense than that version of Notre Dame was. This Fighting Irish team has a legit chance to win the national title, or at least beat Clemson in the first round of the four-team playoff. Head coach Brian Kelly will certainly be playing the underdog card leading up to this game.
While Notre Dame opened the season overvalued with Brandon Wimbush at quarterback, they transitioned into a great offensive team with a still elite defense once Ian Book took over. Book is completing 70.4% of his passes for 2,468 yards with a 19-to-6 TD/INT ratio while averaging 8.8 per attempt. And he’s not exactly a stagnant QB who only stays in the pocket. Book has rushed for 250 yards and four scores on 78 attempts this year. He can run the ball if he needs to.
Clemson will be without three suspended players. One of those is a first-round draft pick in DT Dexter Lawrence, and the other are role players in TE Braden Galloway and OL Zach Geilla. The loss of Lawrence is a big one as he’s one of the best players in the country.
Only five times in college football history has an undefeated team played another undefeated team and been a 7-point plus underdog. Well, Notre Dame is that team catching 7 or more points. In fact, the Fighting Irish are catching 14 points or less in most spots. The team catching 7 or more points is not only a perfect 5-0 ATS, but also a perfect 5-0 SU in this situation. The dog has won straight up every time.
Also, favorites in the last 16 Clemson bowl games have gone 4-12 SU & 2-14 ATS. Clemson is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 games after covering the spread in six or seven of its last eight games coming in. The Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games. Notre Dame is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Take Notre Dame Saturday.
Note: I know this line shows Notre Dame +14 with extra juice. I personally have a bet on Notre Dame +13. And I think they're worth a bet all the way down to +10.
|12-29-18||Florida +7 v. Michigan||Top||41-15||Win||100||130 h 7 m||Show|
20* Florida/Michigan Peach Bowl Early ANNIHILATOR on Florida +7
Dan Mullen has already put Florida on the map in his first season in Gainesville. He took over a team that went 4-7 last year and turned the Gators into a 9-3 team and SEC contenders. And now the Gators will relish this opportunity to face Michigan in the Peach Bowl after missing out on a bowl game last year.
Michigan won’t be so happy to be here. The Wolverines were in prime position to make the four-team playoff. But they once again lost to Urban Meyer and Ohio State 62-39 in their season finale. That loss cost them the Big Ten title and a spot in the four-team playoff. I just don’t see Michigan being able to get back up off the mat after such a demoralizing defeat.
The same thing happened last year when Michigan went on to lose to South Carolina as 8-point favorites in the Outback Bowl. They also lost to Florida State as 7-point favorites in the 2016 Orange Bowl. Jim Harbaugh just hasn’t done a very good job in big games as the coach of Michigan.
Mullen did a great job improving this Florida offense to 34.5 PPG this season. And the Gators have yet another elite defense just as they do every year, giving up 20.4 PPG. The Wolverines also have an elite defense, but they have taken a hit with several players sitting out this game.
They will be without starting DE Rashan Gary, starting LB and Big Ten DPOY Devin Bush and leading rusher Karan Higdon. Florida expects to have everyone available for this bowl game. I think the Gators could have beaten the Wolverines at full strength, let alone without 3 of their best players.
Adding to Florida’s motivation is the fact that they’ve never beaten Michigan, going 0-3 in the all-time series. Two of those losses have come the past two seasons as they lost 41-7 in the 2016 Citrus Bowl and 33-17 in the 2017 season opener in Arlington. The Gators want revenge, while the Wolverines could be getting a case of ‘Florida fatigue’ having just beaten this team twice in the past two seasons.
Mullen is 9-0 ATS off two straight non-conference games in all games he has coached. Michigan is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games.
Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Michigan) - off a road loss to a conference opponent, a top-level team that wins 80% or more of its games playing a good team (60% to 80%) are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS since 1992. Bet Florida Saturday.
|12-28-18||Iowa State +3 v. Washington State||26-28||Win||100||115 h 8 m||Show|
15* Iowa State/Washington State Alamo Bowl BAILOUT on Iowa State +3
The Iowa State Cyclones have only been to 13 bowl games in school history. They will be going for back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in program history. They will also be going for their 9th win of the season, which would tie a school record set back in 2000. Prior to that season they hadn’t reached even eight wins since 1978. It’s safe to say the Cyclones are happy to be here, and they have every reason to be highly motivated for a win.
The job Matt Campbell is doing at Iowa State is remarkable. He is only in his third season and already has this team to two bowl games and a combined 16-9 record over the past two seasons. After a 1-3 start against a brutal schedule, the Cyclones reeled off five straight wins. They got into Big 12 title contention before a loss to Texas. But they won their final two games and now have a chance to make history.
The run started when freshman Brock Purdy took over at quarterback. He is completing 66.3% of his passes with a 16-to-5 TD/INT ratio and averaging 10 yards per attempt. He has also added a dual threat to the offense with 262 rushing yards and three scores. He has one of the best backs in the country to hand the ball off to in David Montgomery, who has put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Purdy also has a matchup nightmare to throw the ball to in Hakeem Butler, who has 1,126 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns while season while averaging 22.1 yards per reception.
While the Iowa State offense has made big strides this season, it’s the defense that has allowed them to win so many games over the past few seasons. The Cyclones have the second-best defense in the Big 12 this year. They are giving up just 22.5 points and 351 yards per game this season. They are holding opponents to 8.5 points and 63 yards per game less than their season averages. It’s a defense that is built to stop the Big 12 offenses, which makes this a great matchup against Washington State’s pass-happy attack that belongs in the Big 12.
I think Washington State actually had to be disappointed to be in the Alamo Bowl. The Cougars were ranked in the Top 10 down the stretch and actually had an outside shot to make the four-team playoff. But they once again lost to Washington in the Apple Cup in their season finale, so instead of playing the Pac-12 Championship and possibly the Rose Bowl at worse, they now have to try and get back up off the mat to play Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl.
Matt Campbell is 3-1 in all bowl games dating back to his time at Toledo. Mike Leach is just 1-3 in bowl games as the coach of Washington State. They lost handily 17-42 to Michigan State last year in the Holiday Bowl. I think Leach will have his hands full getting these Cougars motivated to play this game after what happened against Washington in the Apple Cup.
Iowa State played a much tougher schedule than Washington State this season. Iowa State played the 29th-toughest schedule, while Washington State played the 53rd. And Pac-12 teams have been terrible in bowl games in recent seasons. In fact, the Pac-12 is just 3-13 SU & 2-14 ATS in their last 16 bowl games over the past few seasons. It’s a conference that was way down this season, which is why I question how good all these Pac-12 teams are in these bowl games.
Campbell is 13-4 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 8-1 ATS when playing against a team that wins more than 75% of their games on the season as the coach of Iowa State. Campbell is 12-2 ATS vs. good teams who outscore their opponents by 10-plus points per game as the coach of the Cyclones. Leach is 2-11 ATS after having won eight or more of his past 10 games in all games as a head coach. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. Big 12 opponents. Take Iowa State Friday.
|12-28-18||Syracuse v. West Virginia||Top||34-18||Win||100||111 h 23 m||Show|
25* Bowl GAME OF THE YEAR on Syracuse PK
It’s safe to say the Syracuse Orange are happy to be in a bowl game. Head coach Dino Babers delivered in a big way in his third season on the job. The Orange went from 4-8 last year to 9-3 this year and a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 2001. Two of their losses came to playoff teams in Clemson and Notre Dame, and they nearly upset Clemson on the road. They will be playing in their first bowl game since 2013 as well.
I certainly question West Virginia’s motivation. The Mountaineers had a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship in their season finale against Oklahoma. But they lost a 56-59 heartbreaker to the Sooners, and now they have to watch Oklahoma go on to the four-team playoff, while they’re stuck in the Camping World Bowl. They won’t be motivated at all for this game.
That’s especially the case now that Will Grier has decided to skip this bowl game and get ready for the NFL. Also out is left tackle Yodny Cajuste, who is also an NFL prospect. You don’t simply replace a QB the caliber of Grier. He has completed 67% of his passes for 3,864 yards with a 37-to-8 TD/INT ratio this season while averaging 9.7 yards per attempt.
Backup QB Jack Allison has only attempted 10 passes all season, and he’ll get the start Friday. The sophomore won’t have the services of star receiver Gary Jennings Jr, either. Jennings leads the Mountaineers in receiving yards (917) to go along with 54 receptions and 13 touchdowns. He is sitting out with an ankle injury.
The quarterback on the other sideline is a good one. Syracuse’s Eric Dungey played in all 12 games for the first time in his career this season, though he still had some injury issues but gutted it out. He completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,565 yards with a 17-to-7 TD/INT ratio. He is also the team’s second-leading rushing with 732 yards and 15 scores on the ground. He has accounted for 32 total touchdowns and will be a big reason why the Orange win this game.
While the Syracuse offense is explosive in averaging 40.7 points and 468 yards per game, it’s the defense that has made the biggest improvement. The Orange are allowing a respectable 27.7 points per game this season. They are right on par with WVU defensively as the Mountaineers yield 26.5 points per game. And there’s no question the Orange have the advantage on offense now with Grier, Cajuste and Jennings out.
Dana Holgorsen is 6-15 ATS with two or more weeks to prepare as the coach of West Virginia. Holgorsen is 1-4 SU & 0-5 ATS in his last five bowl games with their only win coming by a single point 43-42 over Arizona State in 2015. They lost by 16 to Utah in 2017, by 17 to Miami in 2016, by 8 to Texas A&M in 2014 and by 24 to Syracuse in 2012. The Mountaineers have rarely even been competitive in bowl games under Holgorsen. In fact, dating back further, West Virginia is just 5-16 ATS in its last 21 bowl games.
West Virginia is 0-7 ATS in its last seven December bowl games. The Mountaineers are 7-21 ATS in their last 28 games played on a neutral field. West Virginia is 10-24 ATS in its last 34 vs. ACC opponents. The Orange are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win.
Plays on all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Syracuse) - off a double-digit road win, a good team (60% to 80%) playing a team with a winning record are 26-9 (74.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Syracuse Friday.
|12-24-18||Broncos v. Raiders +3||Top||14-27||Win||100||48 h 57 m||Show|
20* Broncos/Raiders MNF GAME OF THE MONTH on Oakland +3
The Oakland Raiders should not be home underdogs to the Denver Broncos tonight. The Raiders have shown that they are going to show up every week and try to win games here down the stretch, and they will certainly show up for this rare primetime opportunity on National TV on Monday Night Football. Especially since they are facing a hated rival in the Broncos.
The Oakland Coliseum was built specifically for the Raiders in the mid-1960’s, but Monday night’s game against the Broncos might be the Raiders’ last game there. Owner Mark Davis is looking for another venue for his team next season. So you have to think that these Oakland players want to send their fans out with one final taste of victory tonight.
“I’ve spent five years playing in the stadium and we have people talking trash about it, but I love it,” said quarterback Derek Carr. “It’s ours. It has been fun, and that fact that it could be the last game is crazy. When that times comes, we’ll enjoy it.”
“I get emotional about it,” head coach Jon Gruden told reporters this week. “Hopefully, we get it resolved to where we can continue to play here next season. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, Monday night, Christmas Eve, Denver coming to town. I get excited thinking about it."
The Raiders want to avenge their 19-20 loss at Denver in their first meeting this season in which Oakland blew a 12-0 halftime lead and should have won the game. That was a much better Broncos team than the version we have now here down the stretch. And the Broncos were 5.5-point favorites in that game at home, so if you flip home field, this line should be close to a PK if not the Raiders favored. I actually think the Raiders should be favored by 3 given what has transpired since that first meeting.
Jon Gruden clearly has not lost this team. The Raiders have shown up each of the last five weeks and played hard. They won at Arizona five weeks ago, deserved to lose 17-20 to the Ravens on the road but gave up two non-offensive touchdowns and lost by 17, hung tough in a 33-40 home loss to the Chiefs as 14-point dogs, upset the Steelers at home as 10-point dogs, and then had a 14-point loss to the Bengals last week in a game that was much closer than the final score. And it was an obvious letdown spot for the Raiders off their huge win over the Steelers the week prior. They’ll bounce back this week against a division rival in Denver.
I’ve correctly faded the Broncos in each of their last two games for many of the same reasons. The Broncos failed to cover as 3-point road favorites in a 14-20 upset loss at San Francisco. And last week they were upset at home by the Cleveland Browns. Key injuries are a big reason I’ve been fading the Broncos and they remain a big problem for them.
The most important injury was losing top WR Emmanuel Sanders prior to the 49ers game with a torn ACL. His loss was magnified by the fact that they traded away their other top receiver in DeMaryius Thomas to the Texans. The Broncos simply don’t have any weapons left, and their offense has been bogged down because of it. And defensively, they lost top CB Chris Harris also prior to that 49ers game. And the injuries keep piling up for the Broncos’ defense this week as they will be without SS Su’a Cravens and LB Shane Ray.
I also think this is a situation where the wind has been lifted out from underneath the Broncos’ sails. They had a chance to make the playoffs after winning three straight to get to .500, and they were still alive even after the loss to the 49ers. But heartbreaking one-point loss to the Browns last week has officially eliminated them from contention. As is often the case, teams don’t even show up the week after their were eliminated from postseason contention. That could easily be the case for Denver this week even though this is a primetime game, especially knowing that head coach Vance Joseph is a dead man walking.
Denver is 0-6 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive ATS losses over the past three seasons. The Broncos are losing by 18.6 points on average in this spot. Denver is 0-7 ATS vs. teams who force one or fewer turnovers per game over the past two seasons. The Broncos are 2-8-2 ATS in their last 12 Monday games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet the Raiders Monday.
|12-23-18||Chiefs v. Seahawks UNDER 56||31-38||Loss||-115||24 h 8 m||Show|
15* Chiefs/Seahawks NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on UNDER 56
As the weather has gotten colder, games have become more and more low scoring. And it’s expected to be in the 40’s in Seattle tonight with a 40% chance of rain as well. While the weather is a big factor to these lower scoring games at the end of the season, the fact that both teams have so much film on one another is ultimately the bigger factor. It’s just easier on the defenses to stop opposing offenses because they know what to expect at this point in the season.
The Chiefs have certainly become less potent offensively here down the stretch. They failed to top 28 points in each of their last two games, and thy were held to just 294 total yards by the Chargers last week. Now, a lot of this has to do with the weapons the Chiefs are missing. They don’t have anyone to replace what Kareem Hunt brings to the offense, and top backup Spencer Ware remains out. Also out is one of their top receivers in Sammy Watkins. Mahomes just doesn’t have the same weapons he did for most of the season as he was lighting up the NFL.
I think the Seahawks can control the pace of this game with their running game, which has been one of the best in the NFL. They have rushed for 154 or more yards in 10 of their last 11 games, while passing for 242 or fewer yards in all but one game this season. They have been held to less than 205 or fewer passing yards in nine of their 14 games this year, and 217 or fewer in 11 of 14. Their offensive scheme keeps the clock running, and the Seahawks play at one of the slowest paces in the league. They know controlling time of possession is their best chance to beat the Chiefs tonight.
The Seahawks have held six of their last 12 opponents to 17 or fewer points. They have a good defense that is giving up just 20.9 points per game on the season, and 19.7 points per game at home. And the Chiefs have actually improved quite a bit defensively here down the stretch themselves. They have held seven of their last 11 opponents to 24 or fewer points, and I certainly think they can do the same here against this slow, vanilla Seahawks offense.
Plays on the UNDER on road teams where the total is 49.5 or higher (Kansas City) - after going over the total by 35 or more points combined in their last five games, in the second half of the season are 54-23 (70.1%) since 1983. The UNDER is 6-1 in Chiefs last seven Week 16 games. Take the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|12-23-18||Steelers +7 v. Saints||28-31||Win||100||20 h 13 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Saints Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Pittsburgh +7
With the Ravens winning yesterday, the Steelers need this game like blood. A loss and the Ravens would overtake the Steelers for first place in the AFC North. And the Ravens host the Browns next week, so it would likely been the end of the Steelers if they lose this game. They’d miss the playoffs entirely. As a result, they’ll be max motivated today against the Saints.
The Steelers come in with confidence after getting the monkey off their back in an impressive 17-10 win over the Patriots. And this is a Steelers team that simply does not get blown out. Four of their five losses this season have come by a touchdown or less. I expect them to stay within a touchdown of the Saints, and likely pull off the upset today with what’s at stake for them.
Since the Rams lost last week to the Eagles, the Saints essentially have a two-game lead over the Rams for the No. 1 seed because they beat them head-to-head. And the Saints host the Panthers next week, so they know that even if they lose this game they have that gimme game against a Carolina team that will likely have quit by that point to clinch the No. 1 seed. Knowing they have that in their hip pocket, I do not expect the Saints to be max motivated this week.
Even if they were to be, the Saints just aren’t playing well enough right now to be this heavily favored against a very good Pittsburgh team. Offensively, the Saints are broken right now. They are averaging just 283 yards per game in their last four games. They haven’t topped 346 yards in any of those games. Drew Brees just doesn’t have any weapons outside Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, and it’s really starting to show. And quietly, they have three offensive linemen starters on the injury report. They’ll be missing G Jermon Bushrod, and both T Terron Armstead (shoulder) and C Max Unger (concussion) won’t be at 100% this week.
I think too much is being made of the loss of James Connor. He won’t play this week, but the Steelers have just been able to plug and play at running back. And Jalen Samuels had 142 rushing yards and 172 yards from scrimmage last week against the Patriots. He is getting comfortable in this offense, and he’s a real weapon dating back to his time with NC State in college both as a runner and receiver.
The Steelers’ offense gets a lot of the attention for averaging 27.4 points and 405.8 yards per game this season. But it’s the defense that really makes the Steelers a Super Bowl contender. They have made huge strides on that side of the ball over the past two seasons, especially this year. They are holding opponents to 22.6 points and 333.7 yards per game this season, including 21.3 points and 318.6 yards per game on the road. The Steelers are outgaining their opponents by 72 yards per game this year, the sign of an elite team.
The Steelers are outgaining their opponents by 0.9 yards per play (6.2 offensive, 5.3 defense) while the Saints are only outgaining opponents by 0.3 yards per play (6.0 offense, 5.7 defense). Yards per play is one of the most important stats in the NFL and it’s a great indicator of how good a team really is.
Pittsburgh is 6-0 ATS after allowing 99 or fewer rushing yards in two straight games this season. The Steelers are 42-21 ATS in their last 63 games when playing against a top-level team that wins greater than 75% of their games. Pittsburgh is 19-6-2 ATS in its last 27 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Plays on road teams (Pittsburgh) - who average 265-plus passing yards per game against a poor passing defense that gives up 230-265 PYPG, after allowing 7 or more YPA in two straight games are 24-5 (82.8%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Steelers Sunday.
Note: I took the only +7 option available on the site at extra juice. At the time I released the pick, the line was +6.5 in most places, including at my book. I bought the 1/2 point on the Steelers to +7 personally on my bet. I suggest you do the same if your line is 6.5. If not just bet it at +6, or even down to +4.5. I think this line should be 4 at most.
|12-23-18||Bears v. 49ers +5||14-9||Push||0||20 h 55 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on San Francisco 49ers +5
The Chicago Bears are coming off back-to-back victories that would rank right up there as two of their most significant wins this century. They upset the Rams at home two weeks ago, then clinched their first division title since 2010 with their win over the hated Packers last week. They let their guard down and celebrated harder than they’ve celebrated in a long time in the locker room and likely went out on the town after that win. It’s only human nature that they’d suffer a letdown this week off two huge wins at home.
But now the Bears hit the road, where they are just 3-3 this season with losses to the likes of the Giants and Dolphins this season. They are 7-1 at home, so there is a big home-road split. I know the Bears are still alive for the No. 2 seed, but they would need the Rams to lose at least one game over the final two weeks to have a chance. The Rams are 14.5-point favorites over the Cardinals this week and will be double-digit home favorites over the 49ers next week. The Bears realize it’s unrealistic.
The 49ers’ December run continues. They won their final five games last season, and now they are making a run at the end of this season, too. The 49ers upset the Broncos 20-14 at home two weeks ago and then upset the Seahawks 26-23 at home last week. I was on the 49ers in both those games, and I’m on them again this week as they are catching even more points as 5-point home dogs to the Bears.
The reason to like the 49ers is simple. They are much better than their 4-10 record would indicate. In fact, the 49ers are actually outgaining their opponents by 18.8 yards per game this season. That’s the sign of a .500 or better team, not one that currently sits at 4-10. And just as they did at the end of last season, this team has not quit. Kyle Shanahan is here to stay, so his players will go to war from him every week. And they clearly seem to love him to play this hard for him to close out the season two straight years when things went so bad for the first 3/4 of the season both times.
Nick Mullens is proving that he can be a backup quarterback in this league, if not a starter by how quickly he has grasped Shanahan’s system and excelled in it. Mullens is completing 64.5% of his passes for 1,754 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions while averaging 8.6 per attempt. He is putting up way better numbers than C.J. Beathard, and actually better numbers than Jimmy G. Mullens is averaging 292.3 passing yards per game in his six games this season.
And he should have some success against a Bears defense that will be missing two key players that got injured last week in the win over the Packers. SS Eddie Jackson and LB Aaron Lynch are both out, as is CB Bryce Callahan. The loss of Jackson is particularly a problem for the Bears. He was named to the Pro Bowl earlier this week, and he’s third in the NFL with six interceptions this season, two of which he has returned for touchdowns. Jackson is the leader of the secondary and will be missed.
Chicago is 2-12 ATS in road games when the total is 42.5 to 49 over the last three seasons. The Bears are 14-35 ATS in their last 49 December road games. Chicago is 3-16 ATS in its last 19 road games vs. excellent offensive teams that average 6 or more yards per play in the second half of the season. The Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with the 49ers Sunday.
|12-23-18||Bills +14.5 v. Patriots||Top||12-24||Win||100||17 h 53 m||Show|
20* NFL DOG OF THE WEEK on Buffalo Bills +14.5
The Buffalo Bills have been flying under the radar this season. The betting public never wants anything to do with them, so they go unnoticed. But when you really did deep into the numbers, the Bills have been one of the best teams in the NFL since Josh Allen returned from injury.
Indeed, the Bills have outgained their last six opponents by a combined 679 yards. That’s an average of 113.2 yards per game, which is the sign of an elite team. But because they’ve gone just 3-3 during this stretch, they are way undervalued. And getting them as two-touchdown underdogs to the Patriots Sunday is an absolute gift.
Allen actually leads the team in rushing with 506 yards, 6.7 per carry and six touchdowns this season. He is arguably the best dual-threat QB in the league right now. A big reason for him leading the team is that LeSean McCoy has been injured and missed the past few games. But the offense gets a big boost this week with McCoy returning from injury to try and take down the Patriots. It’s a sign that this team is max motivated against their division rival the fact that they aren’t sitting McCoy for the rest of the season when they easily could have.
But what makes me really like this Bills team and what makes me back them almost every single week is their defense. The Bills actually have the league’s 2nd best defense in the NFL this season. They give up 292.2 yards per game on the season, which is nearly 19 yards less than the third-place Bears. But when everyone talks about the league’s best defenses, they only mention the Ravens and Bears. That’s why the Bills are consistently undervalued because the fact that they’re 2nd goes completely unnoticed by most.
The Patriots’ stranglehold on the AFC may be coming to an end this year. They wouldn’t lose like they have here down the stretch in year’s past with what has been at stake. The Patriots are just 2-3 SU & 2-3 ATS in their last five games overall. They lost by 24 at Tennessee as 6.5-point favorites, were upset at Miami as 9-point favorites, and were upset at Pittsburgh as 2.5-point favorites. They were also very fortunate to cover agains the Jets in a 14-point win as 13-point favorites.
I think fatigue is taking its toll on the Patriots. They will now be in their 5th different city in six weeks with a ton of travel due to this road-heavy schedule. Now they are back home this week, and that’s going to be a distraction with all the things the players have to do to get ready for Christmas with their families. Plus, they just lost their best weapon in Josh Gordon, who was once again suspended by the league. Gordon leads the team with 720 receiving yards and 18 yards per reception. Without him, their offense is very vanilla, especially with Rob Gronkowski clearly on the downside of his career.
Buffalo will find some success running against this New England defense. The Bills are rushing for 174 yards per game in their last five games, and a large portion of that has been Allen. Now with McCoy back, they should be even more potent in the running game. And the Patriots have not been good against the run the past two weeks, giving up 173.5 rushing yards per game and a whopping 7.5 yards per carry to the Dolphins and Steelers.
I think the fact that New England won 25-6 in Buffalo earlier this season is making this number higher than it should be. Well, Buffalo was playing with Derek Anderson in that game and not Allen. And it was an 18-6 game with the Bills in the red zone before Anderson threw a pick-six that turned what would have been a 5-point game into a 19-point game. It was a very misleading final as the Patriots only outgained the Bills by 46 yards. It will be a much more competitive game with Allen in the second meeting Sunday.
Plays against any team (New England) - off two or more consecutive upset losses as a favorite, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a team with a losing record are 33-10 (76.7%) ATS since 1983. Buffalo is 23-7 ATS in its last 30 games off three or more consecutive ATS losses. The Bills deserved to cover in all three of those games, but since they didn’t they are way undervalued right now. Bet the Bills Sunday.
Note: I realize the line is 13.5 in most places, but 14 wasn't an option for me, so I took the 14.5 at extra juice on the site. I personally bought the 1/2 point on the Bills to +14 on my bet and I suggest you do the same if it's an option for you. Otherwise just bet it at +13.5.
|12-23-18||Texans v. Eagles -1.5||Top||30-32||Win||100||17 h 52 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Philadelphia Eagles -1.5
Don’t look now, but the Eagles are just a half-game back of the Vikings for the 6th and final wild card spot in the NFC. They have put themselves in this position by winning three of their last four games with their only loss coming at Dallas in overtime. The defending Super Bowl champs are starting to show some serious resilience here down the stretch as they fight for their playoff lives.
And the Eagles certainly come into this home game against the Houston Texans with a ton of momentum. That’s because they upset the Rams 30-23 on the road as 13.5-point underdogs last week. There was nothing fluky about it either as they dominated from start to finish and basically led the entire way.
The loss of Carson Wentz was clearly overblown as the Eagles went from 8-point dogs to 13.5-point dogs last week once it was announced Wentz would be out. In the Eagles’ locker room, they knew they had a chance to win that game with Nick Foles, and players rallied around him. Foles delivered a big performance, completing 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards. He utilizes Alshon Jeffery’s talents better than Wentz does because Jeffery is a jump-ball receiver. Foles connected on all eight passes attempts to Jeffery for 160 yards.
The Texans are grossly overvalued right now due to winning nine of their last 10 games overall coming in. They’ve won every coin flip during this stretch, including their extremely lucky push as 7-point favorites at the New York Jets last week. They trailed that game 19-22 with four minutes left, only to score 10 points the rest of the way to win 29-22. The Jets turned it over on downs deep in their own territory, and the Texans tacked on a field goal that made the final margin 7 points. The Eagles will offer a lot more resistance than the Jets did last week.
This is a Texans team that is missing some key playmakers on offense. Both RB Lamar Miller and WR Keke Coutee are out. Miller leads the team with 917 rushing yards and 4.8 per carry, and it’s a big downgrade to backup Alfred Blue, who is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on his 143 attempts. Coutee is the team’s third-leading receiver and has been productive when healthy. Not to mention, star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was noticeably hobbled by an ankle injury suffered on the game-winning TD catch against the Jets last week. Not having him at 100% is a problem for the Texans.
Philadelphia is 8-1 ATS vs. good rushing defenses that allow 90 or fewer rushing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Texans are 1-8-1 ATS in the last four weeks of the regular season over the past three seasons. Houston is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games played on a grass field. The Eagles are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Plays home favorites (Philadelphia) - after having won three of their last four games against an opponent that has won eight or more of their last 10 games are 25-6 (80.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Plays against road underdogs or PK (Houston) - hot team having won eight or more of their last 10 games are 39-13 (75%) ATS over the last 10 years. Take the Eagles Sunday.
|12-22-18||Redskins +10.5 v. Titans||Top||16-25||Win||100||73 h 7 m||Show|
20* Redskins/Titans Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Washington +10.5
I won with the Redskins as a premium pick last week. They delivered for me with an outright upset of the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road as 7.5-point dogs. And I’m on them again for many of the same reasons again this week as they are catching even more points as 10.5-point road dogs at Tennessee.
Washington players knew they had no chance with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. They were down to their third-stringer Sanchez after both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy went down with injuries in consecutive weeks. And they played terrible against the Eagles once Sanchez took over, then even worse the next week in a blowout loss to the Giants as Sanchez basically gift-wrapped the Giants that win with turnovers.
However, the Redskins signed Josh Johnson, and he took over for Sanchez after they were trailing the Giants 40-0. Johnson sparked this team in the second half as they outscored the Giants 16-0 after he took over. And then Johnson led them to victory last week against the Jaguars. This guy is a lot better than he gets credit for. Johnson is completing 65.9% of his passes and averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. He also gives the Redskins a dual-threat as he has rushed for 94 yards on 16 attempts and a score while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
The Titans come into this game getting a lot of love due to their three-game winning streak, and it’s time to ‘sell high’ on them after back-to-back blowout wins over the Jaguars and Giants. I just don’t think the Titans can be laying double-digits with an offense that ranks 27th in the NFL in scoring at just 19.1 points per game. Derrick Henry is playing well the last two weeks, but they are averaging just 124 passing yards per game their past two games.
The Redskins held the Jaguars to 192 yards last week and still have a very good defense, especially when they are locked in and focused. And they have played their best on the road, giving up just 19.6 points per game in their seven road games this year. I think they can hold Marcus Mariota in check, and Johnson will make enough plays for them to keep this a one-score game. Johnson should have some success against a banged-up Titans secondary that just lost their top corner in Logan Ryan to a season-ending injury last week, and starting S Kenny Vaccaro is in concussion protocol and highly questionable.
Tennessee is the team that is getting treated like they are in a must-win situation, but not Washington here with this 10.5-point spread. But in reality, both teams should be equally motivated. Washington is only a half-game back in the wild card race in the NFC, while Tennessee is tied with Indy and Baltimore for the final wild card spot in the AFC, but loses the tiebreaker to both currently. And I have no doubt that win over the Jaguars has injected new life into this Redskins team as they really think they have a shot.
Plays on road teams (Washington) - after failing to cover the spread in three of their last four games, in December games are 46-17 (73%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Redskins are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning record. Washington is 6-0 ATS in its last six Week 16 games. The Titans are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine Week 16 games. The road team is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings with four outright upsets. Bet the Redskins Saturday.
|12-22-18||Houston v. Army -4.5||Top||14-70||Win||100||72 h 19 m||Show|
20* Houston/Army Armed Forces Bowl No-Brainer on Army -4.5
A military team in a military bowl that’s happy to be here. Sign me up. Army has already had a phenomenal season, but there’s still work to be done. The Black Knights can earn a school-record 11th win with a victory over Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. They will be max motivated to accomplish that feat.
Houston is a team that has all kinds of issues heading into this game. They lost starting QB D’Eriq King in their 11th game of the season. King is a huge loss as he has a 36-to-6 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores this season. Backup Clayton Tune is only completing 44.7% of his 85 passes and is a massive downgrade as he’s not a dual-threat like King was.
The Cougars are also missing four defensive linemen on their two-deep, including DT Ed Oliver, who will be a Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. These defensive line injuries will make it extremely difficult for them to stop Army’s rushing attack. In fact, Houston has the worst defense of all the bowl teams, giving up 489 yards per game. And they were awful stopping the run down the stretch, giving up a whopping 278.2 rushing yards per game in their last six games, including 300-plus three times.
Well, Army is the second-best rushing team in the country at 296 yards per game on the ground. And QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr. is actually a threat to throw it this year as he’s averaging 10.6 yards per attempt with six touchdown passes. Army is also 2nd in the country in time of possession (38:51), while Houston is 129th in time of possession (25:04). The Black Knights will wear down this Houston defense and pull away in the second half.
I have a hard time believing Houston wants to be here. They had a chance to win their division and play for the AAC title, but lost in the season finale 31-52 at Memphis. They gave up 610 total yards, including 401 on the ground in that loss. And now they have to go up against a team in Army that is going to chop block them the whole game. No team can be too excited to face the triple-option, an offense designed to punch you in the mouth. Houston players will quit early in this game.
One hidden factor here is that Army recruits as well as almost anyone in the state of Texas. The Black Knights actually have 23 players from Texas on their roster. And this game will be played in Forth Worth, Texas, so they are using this opportunity as an excellent recruiting tool.
Military teams are 33-13 ATS in their last 46 bowl games. Military teams are 23-4 ATS in their last 27 bowl games when facing a team that wins 60% or more of their games. The Black Knights are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning record. They’ll cap off a record-setting season with their 11th victory Saturday. Bet Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.
|12-22-18||Wake Forest +3.5 v. Memphis||37-34||Win||100||69 h 50 m||Show|
15* Wake Forest/Memphis CFB Saturday Early ANNIHILATOR on Wake Forest +3.5
I think this this is a case where one team wants to be here, and one team doesn’t in the Birmingham Bowl between Wake Forest and Memphis. Wake Forest is the team that wants to be here. That was evidenced by the way they finished the season just to get into a bowl game.
The Demon Deacons needed to pull off two huge upsets on the road in their final three games just to get to 6-6 and bowl eligible. They beat NC State 27-23 as 18.5-point road underdogs. Then they blasted Duke 59-7 as 9-point road dogs in their season finale. You would be hard-pressed to find two better wins in the ACC than those two for the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson is doing a tremendous job here with the Demon Deacons in making them relevant again. And Clawson is 2-0 in bowl games at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons upset Temple as 12-point dogs in 2016. They also beat Texas A&M in a 55-52 thriller as 3-point favorites last year. They are certainly happy to be here with how hard they had to fight to get here, and I think that will show on the field Saturday.
QB Jamie Newman has been much more effective than Sam Hartman was before him, and he thrived once he was given the starting job after Hartman suffered a season-ending injury. Newman is completing 61.4% of his passes with an 8-to-3 TD/INT ratio while averaging 7.5 yards per attempt. Hartman is completing 55.3% and 6.8 per attempt. Newman has also been the better runner with 3.8 yards per carry compared to 2.6 for Hartman, and both have a significant amount of carries, so Newman being more of a dual-threat is definitely a factor.
Memphis does not want to be here. The Tigers are still reeling from blowing an 18-point halftime lead against UCF in the C-USA title game. They scored 38 points in the first half, but were held to just 3 points after intermission and completely imploded. It was the second blown lead against UCF this season in two losses to the Knights. Now they have to watch UCF go play LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, while they’re stuck in the Birmingham Bowl and have to face a 6-6 Wake Forest team.
Memphis will be without its best player in this game in RB Darrell Henderson, who is one of the best running backs in the country. He is sitting this game out to get ready for the NFL Draft, where he should be one of the first RB’s taken. Henderson has rushed for 1,9-9 yards and 22 touchdowns while averaging a ridiculous 8.9 yards per carry this season. You just don’t replace that type of production.
The Tigers have not fared well in bowl gams over the past three seasons, going 0-3 SU & 0-3 ATS. They lost by 21 to Auburn as 3-point dogs in 2015, by 20 to Western Kentucky as 7-point dogs in 2016, and were upset by Iowa State as 3-point favorites on their home field last year.
Memphis has played the 103rd-ranked schedule in the country, while Wake Forest has played the 53rd-toughest schedule. That’s a big difference in strength of schedule, and facing a team like Memphis will be a step down in class for Wake Forest compared to what they’re used to seeing in ACC action.
Teams that clinch a bowl game in their final game of the season have gone 41-21 ATS over the last 10 seasons. This is a great trend and it just goes to show that teams that had to fight to make a bowl in their final game are happy to be there and usually play well in their bowl game. And Memphis lost their offensive coordinator and their defensive coordinator prior to the bowl game, so they won’t be as well prepared as they normally would be going into a football game.
Memphis is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games after gaining 525 or more total yards in two consecutive games coming in. The Demon Deacons are 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games, while the Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games. Take Wake Forest Saturday.
|12-20-18||Marshall -2.5 v. South Florida||38-20||Win||100||29 h 50 m||Show|
15* Marshall/USF Gasparilla Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Marshall -2.5
South Florida was a complete fraud during its 7-0 start this season. They had narrow single-digit wins over East Carolina (20-13) as 19-point home favorites, Tulsa (25-24) as 10-point road favorites and UConn (38-30) as 33.5-point home favorites. Looking back, ECU, Tulsa and UConn were awful, and all three had a shot to beat them.
Then reality set in down the stretch. South Florida went 0-5 in its final five games with all five losses coming by double-digits. The schedule got tougher, and the Bulls were completely exposed. And now they are going to have to try and get back up off the mat for their bowl game, and I’m not seeing it. Especially since it’s not a destination bowl game as they will be playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Fans won’t be that excited to watch a team that closed the season on a five-game losing streak.
Marshall is happy to be here. The Thundering Herd put together an impressive 8-4 season with two of their losses coming to ACC opponents in NC State and Virginia Tech. And the loss to Virginia Tech in the finale has them undervalued. The Hokies needed that win to make a bowl game, and it was a rescheduled game in the final week. The Thundering Herd were already going to a bowl game and didn’t need a win.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday certainly knows how to prepare his teams for bowl games. Indeed, Holiday is a perfect 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in his five bowl games at Marshall. Not only are the Thundering Herd winning, then are dominating their opposition in these bowl games. They are winning by an average of 11.8 points per game in those five games.
USF QB Blake Barnett is banged up with an ankle injury. He will play, but he could be hampered and not as big of a rushing threat. That’s big because he has rushed for eight scores this year. Barnett is a horrible passer with an 11-to-11 TD/INT ratio. And if he gets hurt, both of the backups are completing less than 50% of their passes in their combined 73 attempts this season.
South Florida’s offense will struggle to move the football on what is a very good Marshall defense. The Thundering Herd are holding their opponents to just 22.0 points and 335.6 yards per game. They are holding their opponents to 5.2 points, 41 yards and 0.7 yards per play less than their season averages. Conversely, the Thundering Herd should be able to move the football at will against a USF defense that is yielding 31.5 points and 442.2 yards per game.
South Florida is 0-9 ATS in its last nine home games after having lost five or six of its last seven games coming in. Marshall is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 bowl games, including the 5-0 ATS in Holliday’s tenure as stated before. The Thundering Herd are 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 non-conference games. The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. C-USA opponents. The Bulls are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games. Bet Marshall Thursday.
|12-19-18||Ohio v. San Diego State +3||27-0||Loss||-100||173 h 2 m||Show|
15* Ohio/SDSU Frisco Bowl ANNIHILATOR on San Diego State +3
I think San Diego State comes into the bowl season undervalued due to its 0-3 finish to the season. That followed a 7-2 start as this was one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country up to that point. But the poor finish can easily be explained.
Let’s go back to the UNLV loss which started the streak. San Diego State saw that Fresno State had lost to Boise State the previous night, meaning that they could afford a loss to UNLV and still have a shot to win their division. And they promptly lost 24-27 as 24-point favorites. Then everything was on the line the next week against Fresno State, and they lost 14-23. And it was then an obvious hangover spot the next week in the 30-31 loss to Hawaii.
There’s no question that head coach Rocky Long and his players want to get that sour taste out of their mouths. They’ll be ‘all in’ for this bowl game against Ohio, and I look for them to dominate from start to finish. MAC teams have been awful in bowl games over the past several season, and that will continue this season. Ohio coach Frank Solich is just 5-9 SU all-time in bowl games, and 3-6 at Ohio.
While Ohio has a very good offense, they have a weak defense that gives up 26.7 points, 399 yards per game and 6.2 yards per play on the season. Compare that to San Diego State, which gives up just 21.7 points, 327 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play, and we are clearly backing the superior defense.
San Diego State’s offense was held back by injuries all season. That made them a bad bet as big favorites, which they were consistently. But this offense is as healthy as it has been all year, and they are healthy as a team as a whole with only two players on the injury list heading into this bowl game. They key is having QB Christian Chapman and his 8.9 yards per attempt and RB Juwan Washington and his 870 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns back healthy. These are the two leaders of this offense and they’ll be looking to go out with a bang.
And this is a great matchup for the Aztecs’ defense. The strength of the Ohio offense is their running game, which produces 262 rushing yards per game and 6.1 per carry. Well, the Aztecs have the fourth-best rushing defense in the country. They give up just 94 rushing yards per game and 2.7 per carry this season. They have the ability to make Ohio one-dimensional, and the Bobcats just aren’t very good when they have to throw the football.
And keep in mind San Diego State is usually laying points, but here they are getting points, and it all stems back to that misleading poor finish to the season. As a dog this season, the Aztecs have stepped up. They beat Arizona State outright as 5.5-point dogs. They went into Boise State and won outright as 13-point dogs. And they covered as 10-point dogs at Fresno State.
Ohio is 1-10 ATS in road games off three consecutive games where they committed one or fewer turnovers. The Aztecs are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 road games following a loss by 3 points or less. Rocky Long is 9-2 ATS in road games vs. teams who average 450 or more yards per game as the coach of San Diego State. The Bobcats are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 games following a win by more than 20 points.
The MAC is 6-24 SU in bowl games over the last six years, including 1-12 SU the last three years. San Diego State is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games as an underdog. Betting on teams in bowl games off a SU loss as a favorite against a team that is coming in off back-to-back wins are 44-14 ATS since 1981. Bet San Diego State Wednesday.
|12-18-18||Northern Illinois v. UAB -1.5||Top||13-37||Win||100||270 h 50 m||Show|
20* NIU/UAB Boca Raton Bowl No-Brainer on UAB -1.5
The UAB Blazers are a tremendous story. To go from not having a football program at all for two years to going 8-5 in 2017 and then 10-3 and a Conference USA Championship this season is one of the most remarkable feats I’ve ever seen in college football. These players love head coach Bill Clark, and they’ll be highly motivated to get another win to cap off this impressive season.
I like their chances of winning this game against a Northern Illinois team that just isn’t very good. Yes, the Huskies won the MAC, but that conference was way down this season and always struggles in bowl games. And they had to erase a 29-10 deficit in the second half against Buffalo to win 30-29. They’ve already reached the pinnacle.
I’ll gladly fade NIU head coach Rod Carey, who just can’t seem to make anything work in bowl games. Carey is 0-5 SU & 0-5 ATS in his career in bowl games, and not only are his teams losing, they are getting crushed. Carey’s teams are getting outscored by 25 points per game on average, and they losing by 18 points per game against the spread on average. In none of those five games did they even stay within a touchdown of the spread!
Yes, Northern Illinois has a good defense, but their offense is atrocious. QB Marcus Childers only averages 5.4 yards per attempt with a 15-to-10 TD/INT ratio on the season. He also rushes for just 2.8 yards per carry on his ridiculous 176 rushing attempts this season. The Huskies score just 20.7 points per game this season. They are getting outgained by 22.8 yards per game on the year. It’s just not an offense I’m willing to get behind, and I’ll gladly fade it.
UAB does have a respectable offense that puts up 29.3 points and 400.1 yards per game. They also have an elite defense that gives up just 17.3 points and 300.2 yards per game on the year. They are outgaining their opponents by 100 yards per game, which is the sign of a good team and one I want to put my money behind, especially laying less than a field goal here.
Keep in mind UAB’s season stats got skewed a little too in the final game of the regular season. They already had a trip to the C-USA Championship clinched, and they didn’t even show up in their 3-27 loss to Middle Tennessee in which they were outgained by 305 yards. They rested their starters, and then came back the next week and won 27-25 at Middle Tennessee in the rematch. So if you throw out that meaningless game, the Blazers have outgained the other 12 opponents by over 1600 yards on the season and by 134 yards per game.
The Huskies are 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 neutral site games. Northern Illinois is 1-5 ATS in its last six vs. C-USA opponents. UAB is 32-10 ATS in its last 42 games following a two-game road trip. Again, the Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last five bowl games. And the MAC is 6-22 SU over the last five years in bowl games, and 1-10 SU the last two years. Bet UAB Tuesday.
|12-17-18||Saints v. Panthers +6.5||Top||12-9||Win||100||152 h 37 m||Show|
20* Saints/Panthers ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Carolina +6.5
The Carolina Panthers opened 6-2 and were becoming a pretty big public team. But now the public has been burnt by the Panthers week after week, and they’re going to be off of them now. It’s certainly time to ‘buy low’ on the Panthers, who have now lost five consecutive games despite being favored in four of the five.
When you dig deeper into the numbers, it’s easy to see that the Panthers are better than their 6-7 record. In fact, the Panthers have now outgained eight of their last nine opponents. They are outgaining opponents by 25.5 yards per game on the season. That’s the sign of a good team, not one that currently has a losing record heading into Week 15.
Most would believe the Panthers are ready to quit, but I beg to differ. Just look at the standings and it’s easy to see that the Panthers are still very much alive to make the playoffs. They sit at 6-7, just a half-game back of the 6-6-1 Vikings for the final wild card spot in the NFC. And their closest contenders in the Redskins (6-7) and Eagles (6-7) both have huge injury issues, and both are massive road underdogs this week.
Plus, Cam Newton received a broom from an anonymous person. That broom signifies the season sweep the Saints put on them last year. They won both regular season meetings, plus beat the Panthers 31-26 at home in the playoffs. Newton already made his comments about the broom, and there’s no question he and the rest of his teammates want some serious revenge here at home Monday night.
The Saints are ripe for the taking right now. They just aren’t playing well at all over the past three weeks against the Falcons, Cowboys and Bucs. They were outgained by 54 yards at home by the Falcons, by 132 yards by the Cowboys in a 10-13 road loss, and they only outgained the Bucs by 19 yards last week. They were fortunate to win that game after trailing 14-0.
The most staggering numbers are the poor offensive numbers the Saints are putting up. Drew Brees may be starting to show his age, and the Saints’ lack of weapons outside Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are starting to catch up with them. They were held to 312 total yards by a bad Falcons defense, to just 176 yards by a good Cowboys defense, and to just 298 yards against a bad Bucs defense. That’s an average of just 262 yards per game in their last three games.
The Saints can’t be expected to go on the road and win by a TD or more to cover this inflated 6.5-point spread with this kind of an offense. And the Panthers still have a very good defense that is capable of slowing down Brees and company, especially outdoors on grass. This is also an improved Carolina offense that is averaging 378 yards per game this season.
The Panthers have a big home/road split this season. While they are just 1-6 on the road, they are 5-1 SU & 4-2 ATS at home and outscoring opponents by 7.6 points per game. Their offense has exploded for 30.8 points per game at home this year. Their only home loss came to the Seahawks by a field goal 27-30 in a game in which they controlled the whole way until giving up a 35-yard TD pass on 4th and long with three minutes left to tie it, and then a field goal with no time left on the clock.
Plays against road teams (New Orleans) - who outscore their opponents by 10 or more points per game, after allowing 14 points or less last game are 25-7 (78.1%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Carolina is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 home games vs. good offensive teams that average 375 or more yards per game in the second half of the season. Ron Rivera is 22-6 ATS off a road loss as the coach of Carolina. The Panthers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games. The underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Bet the Panthers Monday.
|12-16-18||Seahawks v. 49ers +7||23-26||Win||100||123 h 28 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on on San Francisco 49ers +7
I won with the 49ers in their upset win over the Broncos last week, and I’m back on them again this week. I got an early +7 at -130 on them when the line was +6 mostly everywhere. I thought it was worth it to pay the extra juice for the +7 at that point. But now the line has dropped all the way down to Seattle -3.5 in most places, and I still recommend a play on the 49ers at +3 or better. Obviously bet more if you got +6 or better early, and bet less if you got +3 or +3.5 late.
This has been the biggest line move in the NFL this week, and it’s warranted. The 49ers never should have been close to a TD underdog to the Seahawks. In fact, I think they win this game outright. The Seahawks are working on a short week after their huge win over the Vikings on Monday Night Football. They will be less prepared and less rested than the 49ers will be.
That win over the Vikings basically locked the Seahawks into the No. 5 seed in the NFC. They now have a 99% chance of making the playoffs. They can’t win the division, either, as the Rams clinched that already with their two head-to-head wins over the Seahawks. So Seattle is just stuck in no-man’s land here just playing out the string and anticipating their trip to the playoffs. The hard work is done. And they certainly could be looking ahead to their huge showdown with the Chiefs next week.
The Seahawks are overvalued after winning four straight games coming in and going 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall. But many of those were misleading wins, or wins they had no business getting. In fact, the Seahawks have been outgained in five of their last six games overall. That’s not the sign of a good team. The only game they won the yardage battle was their 27-24 comeback win over the Packers at home in which they only outgained Green Bay by 19 yards.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are grossly undervalued due to their 3-10 record. They are much better than that as they have now outgained their opponents by 296 yards on the season, and by an average of 23 yards per game. And they are playing their best football of the season coming in. The 49ers have outgained four of their last five opponents by a combined 426 yards and by an average of 85.2 yards per game.
Nick Mullens has more passing yards (746) than any other quarterback in the NFL over the last two weeks, so he is really starting to grasp Kyle Shanahan’s offense. George Kittle had 210 receiving yards last week and ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards (1,103) by a tight end this season. And Mullens is getting help with some players who are returning from injury. RB Matt Breida should be back this week, and WR Marquise Goodwin returned last week after missing two games.
I love backing teams in division games in the 2nd meeting who just recently lost their first meeting. The Seahawks just beat the 49ers 43-16 two weeks ago in Seattle. Well, that was one of the most misleading final scores of the year. The 49ers gained 452 yards and held the Seahawks to 331 yards, outgaining them by 121 yards for the game. And the Seahawks got a 98-yard INT return TD in the final minutes that turned what would have been a 13-point game into a 27-point game. That misleading final score also has the Seahawks overvalued, and you know the 49ers are going to want to exact some revenge here at home.
Plays on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (San Francisco) - after failing to cover the spread in two of their last three games, a bad team that wins 25% or fewer of their games on the season playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season are 56-25 (69.1%) ATS since 1983. Don’t be surprised if the 49ers win this game outright again this week. Take the 49ers Sunday.
|12-16-18||Cowboys v. Colts -2.5||Top||0-23||Win||100||120 h 24 m||Show|
25* NFL GAME OF THE YEAR on Indianapolis Colts -2.5
I was on the Colts last week in their outright win over the Texans, and I’m right back on them this week as my strongest release of the entire 2018 NFL season. They have made my 25* NFL GAME OF THE YEAR label for this game against the Dallas Cowboys. Every factor in this game favors the Colts, and thus getting them as only 2.5-point home favorites is an absolute gift from oddsmakers and the biggest line mistake of the season.
It mostly comes down to the motivational mismatch in favor of the Colts. They need this game like they need blood. There are currently four teams in the AFC tied at 7-6 for the final wild card spot, and the Colts have an outside shot to win the division. The Colts have put themselves in this position by going 6-1 SU in their last seven games overall, and they aren’t about to let up now that they are so close they can taste the postseason.
The Cowboys are coming off their ’Super Bowl’, a gutsy 29-23 (OT) home win over the Philadelphia Eagles that all but locked up the division. After that win, the Cowboys currently have a 99% chance of winning the division. They would have to go 0-3 and have either the Redskins go 3-0 or the Eagles go 3-0 to not win the division. Well, the Eagles are double-digit underdogs at the Rams this week and just lost Carson Wentz, and the Redskins are mess with all their injuries and are 7-point road dogs to the Jaguars. In all reality, the Cowboys have already won the division. They will suffer a ‘hangover’ effect from that win over the Eagles.
The Colts have outgained nine of their last 10 opponents. That’s the sign of a really good team and one I want to get my money behind. Andrew Luck is back to being Andrew Luck, and the Colts have one of the most improved defenses in the NFL. All of that young talent they’ve drafted over the past several seasons is finally starting to pay off. They have held their last four opponents to an average of just 15.3 points per game.
And I really like the matchup for the Colts’ defense. Their strength is their run defense, which ranks 8th in the NFL in giving up just 102.9 rushing yards per game. They also rank 5th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.8) allowed. And they’ve been even better in recent weeks, holding their last five opponents to just 91.8 rushing yards per game and 3.4 per carry. They should be able to limit Zeke Elliott, who was hobbled in that win over the Eagles and could have his workload limited after touching the ball 40 times last week.
One hidden advantage here is Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, the former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. The Eagles clearly miss him as their offense has been atrocious this year and terrible on 3rd downs, whereas the Colts are one of the best 3rd down offenses in the NFL. But Reich knows the personnel in the NFC East, and he’s actually gone 2-0 ATS against NFC East teams this season, beating the Redskins outright and covering in a last-second loss to the Eagles. And he certainly knows Dallas’ personnel as well as it hasn’t changed much from last year. He’ll come up with a game plan to beat their defense, while also helping his defensive coaches with the Cowboys’ offense.
I think the Cowboys are starting to be overvalued now this week after going 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. I just don’t think they show up at all this week. The Colts are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against teams with a winning record. Plays on home favorites (Indianapolis) - after having won two of their last three games, a marginal winning team (51% to 60%) playing a winning team are 25-6 (80.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Colts Sunday.
|12-16-18||Lions v. Bills -2.5||Top||13-14||Loss||-104||120 h 24 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE MONTH on Buffalo Bills -2.5
The Bills really should be in the midst of a four-game winning streak right now. But since they’re not and actually failed to cover the closing line each of the last two weeks, I think they are undervalued now. Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off a misleading 17-3 win at Arizona last week, and they’ve overvalued.
Two weeks ago, the Bills outgained the Dolphins by 240 yards and lost 17-21 as 3.5-point dogs. Then last week, the Bills outgained the Jets by 120 yards and lost 23-27 as 4.5-point home favorites. They led that Jets game 14-3 and never trailed until the final minute. It’s two games they should have won but they didn’t, and they won their previous two games against the the Jets and Jaguars by a combined 34 points. In fact, the Bills have outgained four of their last five opponents by a combined 680 yards, or by an average of 136 yards per game. That’s the sign of an elite team.
The Bills have been playing much better football ever since Josh Allen returned to the lineup. Allen has actually rushed for 99 or more yards in three consecutive games, which is unheard of in today’s NFL. And if his receivers quit dropping passes, he’d be putting up even better numbers through the air. After his receivers let him down last week, I think they’ll be extra focused to make amends for their quarterback this week.
Buffalo has an elite defense, which is my favorite thing about this team. They actually rank 1st in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 290.6 yards per game. Not too many people saw that coming heading into the season. There’s nothing fluky about it because they are 2nd in the NFL in yards per play (4.8) allowed. They will shut down the Lions this week.
Detroit is just 2-5 SU & 2-5 ATS in its last seven games overall. And really the Lions are fortunate to even have two wins during this stretch. They have been outgained in six of their last seven games, and eight of their last 10 games overall. That’s the sign of a bad team.
Matthew Stafford looks lost ever since trading Golden Tate and having Marvin Jones go down to injury. There just aren’t any playmakers left on this team. The score showed Detroit winning 17-3 against Arizona last week, but they were outgained by the Cardinals and managed just 218 total yards. The Lions managed only 96 passing yards on 23 attempts. This offense has been dreadful, and it won’t get any easier against the Bills this week.
Detroit is a dome team that certainly won’t enjoy the cold weather this late in the year in Buffalo. The Lions don’t have anything to play for, and I trust this young Bills team with a rookie quarterback to keep showing up because they have showed up every week that Allen has been under center. They’re the better team, and they’re only laying 2.5 points here at home. Sign me up.
Plays against road teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Detroit) - after allowing 6 points or less last game against an opponent that is coming off a loss by 6 points or less are 36-12 (75%) ATS since 1983. The Lions are 4-14 ATS in their last 18 games off a double-digit road win. The Bills are 15-4 ATS in their last 19 home games vs. bad defensive teams that allow 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season. Detroit is 17-36-1 ATS in its last 54 games after allowing less than 15 points in its previous game. Take the Bills Sunday.
|12-16-18||Titans v. Giants -2.5||17-0||Loss||-113||120 h 24 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on New York Giants -2.5
The New York Giants played the toughest schedule in the NFL over their first eight games of the season. It’s no surprise they opened 1-7. But the schedule has eased up, and they’ve been handling their business since. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall, and they are playing with a ton of confidence right now and showing up every week. If not for a blown 19-3 lead against the Eagles, they would be on a five-game winning streak.
The biggest reason for their great play is the improvement on offense. The Giants have averaged 31.4 points per game in their last five games. They hung 40 points on the Redskins last week even without Odell Beckham Jr. And Beckham feels a lot better this week and there’s a good chance he returns to the lineup. And besides Beckham and Landon Collins, the Giants are a very healthy team right now. Eli Manning knows that these could be his last games as a Giant, and he’s clearly motivated to make the most of it despite their record.
I think the Titans come in overvalued off their win over the Jaguars last week. I’ve watched many NFL games, and I haven’t seen many teams quit as blatantly obviously as the Jaguars did. They didn’t even try to tackle Derrick Henry, and as a result Henry had a career game with 238 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Defenders simply got out of his way or half-ass attempted to tackle him. I give the Titans zero credit for that win.
The Titans have not been good on the road this season. They are just 2-5 SU & 3-4 ATS in road games. They have one of the worst offenses in the NFL, averaging just 19.3 points per game on the season. Their offense has been even worse on the road, scoring just 16.4 points per game an averaging only 306.9 yards per game. I just don’t trust Marcus Mariota and this offense to score enough points here to win this game against the Giants.
Tennessee is 0-6 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive wins over the last two seasons. The Titans are losing by a whopping 20.2 points per game on average in this spot. The Titans are 1-10 ATS in road games after gaining 6 or more yards per play in their previous game over the past three seasons.
Plays on home favorites (NY Giants) - in non-conference games, off a win by 10 points or more against a division opponent are 30-7 (81.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Roll with the Giants Sunday.
|12-16-18||Redskins +7 v. Jaguars||16-13||Win||100||120 h 23 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Washington Redskins +7
The Jacksonville Jaguars are just 4-9 this season. They can’t be laying a touchdown to the Washington Redskins, or any team for that matter. Not after what I saw last week against the Titans. They didn’t even try to tackle Derrick Henry, and he rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-9 win by Tennessee.
I can say with confidence that the Jaguars have quit. This is a team that made the AFC Championship Game last year with big expectations coming into the season. Now, at 4-9 and with nothing to play for, they have simply packed it in. I don’t see them showing up this week at all, and even if they did they aren’t good enough to cover this 7-point spread.
Unlike the Jaguars, the Redskins still have a lot to play for. The Vikings are currently the 6th and final wild card team in the playoffs if the season were to end today at 6-6-1. Well, the Redskins are 6-7, so they are only a half-game back in the wild card. As ugly as it’s been of late for the Redskins, they can still look to the standings and realize they have a legit chance of making the playoffs. And I fully expect them to show up these final three weeks.
I also think the Redskins are being undervalued this week off their 40-16 loss to the Giants last week. Well, Mark Sanchez is maybe the worst backup QB in the NFL, and he simply gift-wrapped the Giants several points. The Redskins trailed that game 40-0 before giving way to Josh Johnson.
Sure, the Giants probably didn’t try too hard after being up 40-0, but either way I was impressed with what I saw from Johnson. He outscored the Giants 16-0 the rest of the way after he entered the game. Johnson finished 11-of-16 passing for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while also leading the team with 45 rushing yards and a score on only seven carries. He averaged 12.2 yards per pass attempt and 6.4 rushing yards per attempt. Those are elite numbers.
Well, Johnson will get the start this week as Jay Gruden was impressed enough with what he saw to give him the nod. And I think the Redskins as a team realize they had no chance of winning games with Sanchez at the held, so the fact that Johnson is starting has re-energized them. They played hard for him to close out that Giants game, and they’ll play hard for him again this week against a Jaguars team that has quit. I’ll gladly take the points on the more motivated team here.
The Redskins get some good news in the injury department this week, too. Their top playmaker in Jamison Crowder is back healthy and had 87 receiving yards and a score last week. Josh Doctson had 84 receiving yards last week and should be available this week. Both starting tackles along the offensive line in Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are both healthy and probable. That will certainly help Johnson having his two starting tackles protecting him.
Look for the Redskins to run wild on the Jaguars behind Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson. The Jaguars did not want to tackle Henry last week, and they certainly don’t want to try and tackle Peterson, either. This is a Jaguars defense that has really fallen off this season, especially down the stretch. They have allowed 24 or more points in four of their last six games overall.
It’s also a Jaguars offense that has really struggled and one that is going through a quarterback controversy with Blake Bortles getting benched in favor of Cody Kessler. Kessler has led the Jaguars to an average of just 7.5 points per game in his two starts over the past two weeks. The Jaguars have yet to decide who will be under center, but it won’t matter. This offense is simply not good enough to be laying 7 points to anyone, especially not against a Redskins defense that has been respectable this season in allowing 22.8 points per game. The Jaguars average just 16.3 points per game on the season.
Washington is a perfect 7-0 ATS after allowing 6.5 or more yards per play in their previous game over the past two seasons. The Redskins are coming back to win by 6.6 points per game on average in this spot. Jacksonville is 2-11 ATS in its last 13 home games after being outrushed by 100 or more yards in its previous game. Washington is 5-0 ATS in its last five games following a double-digit home loss. The Jaguars are 1-6-2 ATS in their last nine games overall. The Redskins are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Roll with the Redskins Sunday.
|12-15-18||Middle Tennessee State +7 v. Appalachian State||Top||13-45||Loss||-110||78 h 2 m||Show|
20* MTSU/App State New Orleans Bowl BAILOUT on Middle Tennessee +7
Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield has moved on to coach Louisville. Teams in December bowl games whose coaches were either fired or left to coach elsewhere last season went 1-5 ATS. It always leaves a lot of questions surrounding the program and a ton of distractions for the players when a coach leaves.
I don’t think Appalachian State will be focused at all with Satterfield gone. The Mountaineers have already accomplished all they wanted to this season, and losing to Middle Tennessee isn’t going to change that. They won the Sun Belt title and have already won 10 games, so there’s nothing left for them to play for.
Middle Tennessee comes in with a sour taste in its mouth from a 2-point loss to UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game. The Blue Raiders have gone 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games following a loss, so they have been a resilient bunch. And I look for that to be the case again here as the Blue Raiders clearly want to be playing in this game.
This is the final opportunity for head coach Rick Stockstill and son Brent Stockstill to go to battle together. Stockstill is a redshirt senior quarterback who will be playing his final game at Middle Tennessee. He is the leader of this team and will have his guys ready to go. Stockstill was already the school’s all-time leading passer prior to this season, and he is completing 70.4% of his passes with a 28-to-8 TD/INT ratio this year.
The Blue Raiders come in playing their best football of the season. They have gone 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. They have outgained each of their last five opponents by an average of 145.4 yards per game. That’s impressive when you consider they’ve played C-USA champ UAB twice and Kentucky on the road during this stretch.
There’s no doubt the Blue Raiders have played the tougher schedule of these two teams as well. They played three SEC bowl teams in Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt all on the road in the non-conference. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers played the 132nd-ranked schedule in the country this season. They’ve played an extremely weak slate since their loss to Penn State in the opener, and they’re still getting too much respect from that OT loss.
I’m getting the more motivated team, and arguably the better team, catching a touchdown in the New Orleans Bowl. Sign me up. Bet Middle Tennessee State Saturday night.
|12-15-18||Browns +3 v. Broncos||17-16||Win||100||103 h 24 m||Show|
15* Browns/Broncos AFC ANNIHILATOR on Cleveland +3
I faded the Broncos last week and won the 49ers. And I’m fading them again this week for many of the same reasons. But a new reason popped up this week. That loss crushed Denver’s playoff hopes. They now have just a 5% chance of making the playoffs, and they are four teams ahead of them now fighting for that final wild card spot. In other words, their season is over, and I think they suffer a ‘hangover’ effect from that defeat.
Denver is overvalued right now due to going 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. But two of those wins were fluky, and they beat up on an injury-riddled Bengals team in their only legit win. In fact, the Broncos have been outgained by a total of 440 yards in their last four games, or by an average of 110 yards per game. With stats like that they should be 0-4 and 1-3 at best.
But the biggest reason I faded the Broncos last week was because they lost two key players to injury the previous week. Emmanuel Sanders was lost to a season-ending Achilles injury. The loss of Sanders was huge because they already traded away Demaryius Thomas. Sanders was having a career season with 71 receptions for 868 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. They just don’t have many playmakers left at receiver for Case Keenum.
On defense, the loss of Chris Harris is a big one. He is their top cover corner. San Francisco 3rd-string quarterback Nick Mullens lit up this Denver defense for 332 passing yards and two touchdowns. And you can bet that Baker Mayfield, who is in line to win Rookie of the Year honors, will light them up as well. The Broncos also have a couple other defensive backs that have shown up on the injury report this week.
Cleveland comes in playing very well, going 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. Unlike Denver, there hasn’t been anything fluky about the Browns’ run. They have outgained their last four opponents in cumulative total yards, and the offense is hitting its stride by scoring 26 or more points in all three wins behind the guidance of new coordinator Freddie Kitchens. The only exception was the loss at Houston, but the Browns had a TD called back and also fumbled through the end zone for a touchdown. They have 428 total yards against that good Houston defense.
The Browns are looking up at the AFC North standings right now and feeling like they have a legit chance to win the division. And belief can go a long way in this league. And they get to play on Saturday, so they won’t get to see the results from Sunday yet. They’ll be ‘all in’ for this game, unlike Denver. The Browns trail the Steelers by two games, but the Steelers are underdogs this week and they’ll be underdogs to the Saints next week. And though they also trail the Ravens by 1.5 games, they still get to play the Ravens in Week 17, which could ultimately decide the division. And the Browns host the Bengals next week, so they will have a legit shot of getting to 8-7-1, which could be good enough to win this division.
Denver is 0-8 ATS in its last eight home games following two consecutive road games. The Broncos are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after trailing their previous game by 14 points or more at halftime. Plays against home teams (Denver) - after covering the spread in three of their last four games, in a game involving two marginal losing teams (40% to 49%) are 22-4 (84.6%) ATS since 1983. Roll with the Browns Saturday.
|12-15-18||North Texas +8.5 v. Utah State||13-52||Loss||-105||71 h 3 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Early Bowl ANNIHILATOR on North Texas +8.5
The North Texas Mean Green certainly want to be here in this New Mexico Bowl Saturday. Sitting at 9-3, they have a chance to win 10 games for the first time in nearly 70 years. They are 2-7 all-time in bowl games, so they don’t get to go bowling very often. And they want to make amends for their loss to Troy last year. Plus, head coach Seth Littrell turned down the Kansas State job to stay here, so his players will go to war with him.
This is a very experienced Mean Green team that returned 17 starters from a team that also won nine games last season. And they were even better this year, as their three losses all came by 8 points or fewer and by a combined 13 points, and they led by double-digits in all three. That’s how close this team was to being 12-0.
Improvement came from a defense that gave up 35 points and 431 yards per game last season. The Mean Green this season only give up 21.8 points and 359.5 yards per game. And their offense exceeded last years numbers slightly and remains elite, scoring 36.4 points per game and averaging 472.8 yards per game. QB Mason Fine was already the school’s all-time leading passer coming into the season, and had another big year, throwing for 3,734 yards with a 27-to-5 TD/INT ratio.
My favorite stat on this North Texas team is that they were the only team in the country to outgain every opponent they played this year. Even Alabama was outgained by Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Mean Green are outgaining opponents by 113.3 yards per game on the season. That’s the sign of a good team and one that I have no problem getting my money behind.
Utah State head coach Matt Wells has moved on to greener pastures, taking the Texas Tech job. He is going to bring his assistants with him, though those assistants will stick around to coach the bowl game. I expect a lack of focus from these Utah State players given the coaching situation. Plus, teams in December bowl games who lost their head coach last year went 1-5 ATS.
Another reason the Aggies will be lacking motivation is because they blew a huge opportunity in their regular season finale with a heartbreaking loss to Boise State. That loss cost them a trip to the Mountain West Championship Game. Now they have to try and get up to face North Texas when they’d much rather be up against a Power 5 team like both Fresno State and Boise State get the opportunity to as rewards for playing the MWC Championship. Utah State doesn’t want to be here at all.
I’ll gladly back the more motivated team here in North Texas catching more than a touchdown against Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl. Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Utah State) - off a road loss to a conference opponent, a team that wins more than 80% of their games playing a good team that wins 60% to 80% of their games are 24-4 (85.7%) ATS since 1992. Take North Texas Saturday.
|12-13-18||Chargers v. Chiefs UNDER 53||Top||29-28||Loss||-105||56 h 45 m||Show|
20* Chargers/Chiefs AFC West No-Brainer on UNDER 53
The Chargers trail the Chiefs by one game in the AFC West standings. They can move into a first place tie with the Chiefs with a win Thursday night. It’s safe to say this game will be played close to the vest, especially in a bitter rivalry between these division opponents who are very familiar with one another. And I think the defenses win out in this one, so I’ll side with the UNDER.
There’s several reasons to like the UNDER. The first and most important is that both teams are short on weapons right now. The Chargers are going to likely be without Melvin Gordon, and backup RB Austin Ekeler is questionable as well. For the Chiefs, they will be without starting RB Kareem Hunt and backup RB Spencer Ware. They’ll also be without WR Sammy Watkins, and fellow WR Tyreek Hill was noticeably hobbled with a heel injury against the Ravens on Sunday. Hill will play tonight, but on a short week I question how productive he’ll be.
The Ravens were able to slow down the Chiefs last week behind one of the best defenses in the NFL. And the Chargers have the ability to do the same thing. This is a Chargers defense that is giving up just 16.7 PPG over their last nine games. Since getting Joey Bosa back from injury, they’ve been even better. Bosa and Melvin Ingram combine for arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL.
The Chiefs do not have a good defense, but it’s worth noting they have been able to hold teams in check in recent weeks as well. In fact, the Chiefs have allowed 23 or fewer points in seven of their last 10 games overall. I like their chances of holding the Chargers to 23 or fewer tonight as well. It’s going to be cold and there’s a chance of rain today in Kansas City. The UNDER is 48-21-1 in Chiefs last 70 home games. The UNDER is 8-1 in Chargers last nine vs. AFC West opponents.
The Chargers are 10-1 UNDER vs. bad defensive teams that give up 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season over the last three seasons. Kansas City is 9-0 UNDER In home games vs. teams who allow 5.65 or more yards per play over the last three years. Los Angeles is 10-1 UNDER in December games over the last three seasons. The Chargers are 7-0 UNDER off three or more consecutive wins over the last two years. These four trends combine for a 36-2 system backing the UNDER tonight. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|12-10-18||Vikings v. Seahawks UNDER 45.5||Top||7-21||Win||100||81 h 2 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Seahawks MNF Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 45.5
This is essentially a play-in game for the playoffs. It will have a playoff atmosphere as the Seahawks are 7-5 and the Vikings are 6-5-1, both fighting to earn a wild card spot. In the case of the Vikings, they’re still alive to win the NFC North. I think this game is played close to the vest, and I think points will be very hard to come by as both of these defenses control this game.
I also like the fact that both teams will be looking to run the football, which will keep the clock moving. The Seahawks have really become a run-heavy team, which has been key to their success. They have rushed 28 or more times in 10 consecutive games now. They have more rushing attempts than pass attempts in eight of those 10 games.
Well, the Vikings have been a great defense overall, and especially against the run. They rank 7th in rushing defense, giving up just 99.2 yards per game on the ground. The Vikings are also tied for 2nd in rushing yards per attempt (3.7) allowed this season. They’ll be able to shut down this Seahawks offense.
The Vikings know they need to run the ball more if they want to win this time of year. They have gotten pass-happy in recent losses to the Bears and Patriots. They should get back to their ground game this week knowing that the Seahawks are vulnerable against the run. In fact, the Seahawks are tied for last in yards per carry (5.1) allowed this season. The Vikings would be foolish not to run the ball more and keep that clock moving.
The most recent meeting between these teams came in the playoffs in 2016. The Seahawks won that game 10-9 in Minnesota. The Vikings managed just 183 total yards in that game, while the Seahawks had just 226 total yards. I don’t think it will be that low-scoring again, but I do think this game stays well UNDER the 45.5-point total.
The UNDER is 4-0 in Vikings last four games in December. The UNDER is 5-1 in Vikings last six Monday games. The UNDER is 6-2 in Seahawks last eight Monday games. Seattle is 10-2 UNDER in its last 12 home games after scoring 30 points or more in two straight games.
Plays on the UNDER on road teams where the total is 42.5 to 49 points (Minnesota) - an average team (+/- 0.4 YPP) against a poor team (outgained by 0.4 to 1.0 YPP) after eight-plus games are 31-6 (83.8%) over the last five seasons. Bet the UNDER in this game Monday.
|12-09-18||Broncos v. 49ers +4.5||14-20||Win||100||76 h 25 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Late-Afternoon ANNIHILATOR on San Francisco 49ers +4.5
With three more turnovers last week against the Seahawks, including a 98-yard INT return TD, the 49ers now have the worst turnover differential (-20) in the NFL. These teams with horrible turnover differentials are undervalued this late in the year, because there’s a big element of luck in turnovers.
I have no doubt the 49ers are better than their 2-10 record would suggest. And a quick look at the numbers shows that this should at least be a 6-6 team or better. They 49ers have outgained their opponents by 174 yards on the season. They are outgaining them by 15.2 yards per game. That’s not the sign of a 2-10 team.
The Broncos are +8 in turnovers over the past three weeks, which has allowed them to win three straight games over the Steelers, Chargers and Bengals. But they had no business winning those games against the Steelers and Chargers as those two teams simply gave the game away. And the Bengals are decimated with injuries playing with a backup QB. They’re broken.
The 49ers do show up every week. Their 16-43 loss to the Seahawks last week makes most bettors seem like they packed it in. But that wasn’t the case, and it was one of the most misleading finals of the week. I mentioned the 98-yard INT return TD the Seahawks got at the end of the game. But the 49ers gained 452 total yards and gave up 331, actually outgaining the Seahawks by 121 yards in that contest. They deserved better, and Nick Mullens had one of his better games of the season with 386 passing yards.
The Broncos have some key injuries this week that will make them less effective. Emmanuel Sanders suffered an Achilles injury in practice on Wednesday that has landed him on IR. Sanders was having a great year with 71 receptions for 868 yards and four touchdowns. And since the Broncos traded away Demaryius Thomas, his loss is even more significant. The Broncos are seriously lacking weapons for the mediocre Case Keenum now.
Plus, the Broncos’ best pass defender is Chris Harris Jr., and he’s out with a fractured fibula now. The 49ers were without both Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon last week. But Goodwin is expected to return, giving Mullens another big weapon outside. And Garcon is questionable and could make his return this week as well. Mullens should be able to make some more plays in the passing game this week.
Denver is 0-6 ATS vs. teams who force one or fewer turnovers per game on the season over the last two seasons. The Broncos are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games after gaining more than 150 rushing yards in their previous game. This is clearly a ‘buy low’ situation on the 49ers, and a ‘sell high’ situation on the Broncos. Roll with the 49ers Sunday.
|12-09-18||Ravens +7 v. Chiefs||24-27||Win||100||73 h 21 m||Show|
15* Ravens/Chiefs AFC Sunday No-Brainer on Baltimore +7
I agree with this line move. The Chiefs opened as 7.5-point favorites or higher, and now this line has been bet down to 6.5 in most places as of this writing. So if your book as +6.5 make sure to buy it up to +7 and bet the Ravens.
This really comes down to the numbers for me. The Ravens have the numbers of an elite team in spite of their mediocre 7-5 record. They are outgaining teams by 102 yards per game on the season. To compare, the Chiefs are only outgaining teams by 20 yards per game, which isn’t the sign of a 10-2 team. I think the Chiefs are grossly overrated at this point of the season.
The problem with the Chiefs is that they give up 27.2 points per game while ranking 31st in the league in total defense at 417 yards per game allowed. Only the Bengals have been worse. The Ravens rank 1st in the NFL in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game allowed, and 1st in total defense at 281.7 yards per game allowed.
Lamar Jackson took over three games ago, and the Ravens have gone 3-0 in his starts while outscoring their three opponents by a combined 30 points, or by an average of 10 points per game. They have become a run-heavy team since Jackson took over, averaging a whopping 238 rushing yards per game in their last three games. That doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs, who are tied for dead last in the NFL in allowing 5.1 yards per carry this season. So this is a great matchup for the Ravens’ offense. They can control time of possession and keep Mahomes off the field with their ground game.
It’s also a great matchup for the Ravens’ defense. The Chiefs won’t be running the ball much now that Kareem Hunt has been released. And they'll certainly miss his 1,202 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns as he was a matchup nightmare, especially in the passing game. The Chiefs will be putting the ball in Pat Mahomes’ hand even more.
Well, the Ravens rank 2nd in the NFL against the pass, giving up just 194.4 passing yards per game. Better yet, the Ravens are 1st in the NFL in passing yards per attempt (6.1) allowed. No other defense is even close to them in that department as only three teams allow fewer than 6.8 per attempt this season.
Baltimore is 11-1 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. terrible defensive teams that allow 375 or more yards per game in the second half of the season. Kansas City is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games after gaining 450 or more total yards in its previous game. The Ravens are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games after gaining 150 or more rushing yards in their previous game. Bet the Ravens Sunday.
|12-09-18||Colts +5 v. Texans||Top||24-21||Win||100||73 h 20 m||Show|
20* AFC South GAME OF THE MONTH on Indianapolis Colts +5
In the NFL, lines are very tight. And if a line if a point or two off, that’s all it takes for there to be some value. I think this line should be Texans -3. So we are basically getting two points of value on the Colts +5 this week. That’s enough for me to pull the trigger.
I believe the Texans are overvalued due to their 9-game winning streak. And they’re coming off a misleading 16-point win over the Browns last week. The Browns basically gave that game away by losing the turnover battle 4-0. They had a 75-yard TD called back by a penalty, and they had another would-be 75-yard TD on the next play end in a player fumbling the ball through the end zone for a touchback. The Browns gained 428 yards on the Texans and outgained them by 44 yards for the game.
I believe the Colts come in undervalued this week off their upset 6-0 shutout loss at Jacksonville last week. But the Colts actually outgained the Jaguars by 54 yards and held them to 211 yards. In fact, the Colts have now outgained eight of their last nine opponents coming in. That’s the sign of an elite team and one that I want to put my money behind, especially as 5-point underdogs.
There’s no doubt the Colts want revenge from their 34-37 (OT) home loss to the Texans earlier this season in their first meeting. The Colts gained 478 total yards on the Texans and moved the ball at will. I think the Texans will relax this week. They have a three-game lead over both the Colts and Titans in the division, so they can afford a loss. Meanwhile, the Colts are in must-win mode here trying to stay alive for a wild card spot.
Andrew Luck has been tremendous off a loss. In fact, Luck is 25-8 SU & 24-9 ATS in his last 33 games as a starting quarterback following a defeat. Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Indianapolis) - revenging a loss where opponent scored 35 or more points, who are also off a close loss by 7 points or less to a division rival are 30-9 (76.9%) ATS since 1983.
The road team is 6-1-2 ATS in the last nine meetings. The Colts are 7-3-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings. The Colts are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five trips to Houston. Indianapolis is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games after scoring 14 points or fewer in its previous game. The Texans are 1-7 ATS in their last eight December games. Take the Colts Sunday.
|12-09-18||Jets v. Bills -3||Top||27-23||Loss||-120||73 h 18 m||Show|
25* NFL BLOWOUT GAME OF THE YEAR on Buffalo Bills -3
The Buffalo Bills deserved to blow out the Miami Dolphins last week. But the fact that they somehow lost that game 17-21 has them undervalued coming into this game. They failed to cover the spread as closing 3.5 points underdogs, and it was one of the most misleading finals of the season.
The Bills gained 415 total yards and held the Dolphins to just 175 total yards, outgaining them by 240 yards for the game. Those stats alone show that the Bills should have won the game. But Charles Clay dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown catch late as well. I think it works out better for us this week that they actually lost though, because now we’re laying only 3 points instead of 4 or more.
The Jets are getting too much credit for giving the Titans a run for their money last week. The Jets actually led that game most the way, but eventually lost 22-26, covering as 10-point underdogs. But they were thoroughly out-statted as well. The Jets gained just 280 total yards and gave up 403 total yards, getting outgained by 123 yards by the Titans.
The Jets are now 0-6 SU & 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall. They have been blown out consistently with all six losses by 4 points or more, five losses by 7 points or more, and four losses by 14 points or more. They have been outscored by 90 points during this losing streak, or by an average of 15 points per game.
The reason I love this Bills team is because they play defense. In fact, the Bills rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 294.2 yards per game. The third place Bears give up 317.9 yards per game, and they only trail the Ravens (281.7) in this category. They have an elite defense, yet they don’t get credit for it.
The Bills have played much better on offense when either Josh Allen or Matt Barkley has been under center at quarterback. In fact, Allen ranks 3rd in the NFL in rushing over the last two weeks, rushing for a combined 234 yards the past two games. I don’t think he gets enough credit for being the dual-threat he is, completing opening up this offense and making opposing defenses defend the entire field.
The Jets are a bad team, period. They get outgained by 75.4 yards per game on the season, while the Bills only get outgained by 8.5 yards per game. The Jets rank 23rd in total defense, giving up 376.4 yards per game on the season. New York also ranks 30th in total offense, averaging just 301.0 yards per game on the season.
Buffalo blew out New York 41-10 on the road as 7-point underdogs in their first meeting this season. This was every bit the blowout the final score showed and wasn’t misleading at all. The Bills gained 451 total yards in that game and gave up just 199 yards, outgaining the Jets by 252 total yards in that contest. The Bills rushed for 212 yards on the Jets, and Matt Barkley played well with 232 passing yards and two touchdowns. Allen and company should also have plenty of success on this Jets defense once again.
The Jets are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games off a road cover where they lost straight up as an underdog. New York is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 road games after allowing 25 points or more in two straight games. Buffalo is 15-3 ATS in its last 18 home games vs. bad defensive teams who give up 24 or more points per game in the second half of the season. The Jets are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. AFC East opponents. The Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last six home meetings with the Jets. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|12-08-18||Navy +7 v. Army||Top||10-17||Push||0||46 h 11 m||Show|
20* Army/Navy CBS Saturday No-Brainer on Navy +7
The Army Black Knights will be going to the Armed Forces Bowl on December 22nd to face Houston. They have a lot to look forward to still. As a result, they won’t be as motivated as Navy in this matchup, which missed out on a bowl game this season with a 3-9 record. This is Navy’s bowl game.
And you can bet Navy wants revenge from back-to-back losses to Army in this series, losing 21-17 in 2016 and 14-13 last season. The difference here is that Army goes from being the hunter to the hunted here. Army hasn’t been favored in this rivalry game since 2001. Now, all of a sudden the Black Knights are whopping 7-point favorites this year. It’s simply too much.
Army feasted on an easy schedule this season that ranked 99th in the country. The Black Knights haven’t faced an FBS opponent since their 17-14 home win over Air Force back on November 3rd. They closed the season playing Lafayette and Colgate, and they haven’t played a game since November 17th, so they could certainly be rusty. It could take them a quarter or two to fully get into this game.
Navy played the 66th-toughest schedule as their schedule was much more difficult than that of Army. That contributed to their 3-9 record, but so did several close losses along the way. Navy lost three games by a total of 9 points this season to SMU, Tulane and Temple. All three of those teams will be going to bowl games, and they played nine bowl teams this season. To compare, Army only played six bowl teams.
I like the way Navy finished the season. They went 3-0 ATS in their final three games. They gave UCF all they wanted on the road in a 24-35 loss as 23.5-point underdogs. They then beat Tulsa 37-29 at home as 5.5-point favorites. And they finished going on the road losing 28-29 at Tulane as 6-point dogs. Tulane had a huge second half comeback and needed that win to make a bowl. They won on a 2-point conversion in the final minutes.
Navy is 6-0 ATS in road games off three straight games where they committed one or fewer turnovers over the past three seasons. Army is 16-35 ATS in its last 51 games off a bye week. The Black Knights are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Midshipmen simply want this game more, and even if they don’t win there’s a great chance they stay within a touchdown, just as they did the past two seasons. In fact, each of the last four meetings were decided by 7 points or fewer. Bet Navy Saturday.
|12-06-18||Jaguars +5.5 v. Titans||9-30||Loss||-108||9 h 31 m||Show|
15* Jaguars/Titans AFC South ANNIHILATOR on Jacksonville +5.5
Let’s start out by looking at this game from a line value perspective. The Jaguars were 10-point favorites over the Titans at home in their first meeting. So adjust for home-field advantage, they would have been roughly 4-to-5-point road favorites at that time. Instead, they are 5.5-point road underdogs, which is basically a 10-point adjustment. The line value is clearly on the Jaguars tonight.
I like the fact that they didn’t quit on their season. The Jaguars shut out the Colts 6-0 last week, playing the role of spoiler very well. And now they want revenge on the Titans from three straight losses against them, including their 6-9 upset loss earlier this season. They would love to beat the Titans here and end their playoff hopes as well.
The Titans were fortunate to escape with a 26-22 home win over the lowly Jets last week. They trailed the Jets 6-19 in the 3rd quarter, but scored a touchdown with 36 seconds left to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And that’s a bad Jets team that loses by double-digits week after week. They’ll have a much bigger problem with the Jaguars tonight.
The Jaguars have been a lot more competitive whenever Leonard Fournette has been in the lineup. He has missed several games due to injury, and last week he was out with a suspension. But he’s back this week and ready to have a big game against the Titans. Fournette has only played in five games this season. He’ll be fresh since he had last week off following a very productive game against the Bills the previous week.
I know the Jaguars are going with backup Cody Kessler again this week. However, he’s not much of a downgrade from Blake Bortles, who has had a brutal season. Kessler has actually shown well, completing 72.2% of his 54 attempts this season with one touchdown and one interception. He’ll be much more comfortable in his second start of the season here for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars (4-8) are the team with the stats of a 6-6 or better team, while the Titans (6-6) are a team with the stats of closer to a 4-8 team. The Jaguars actually outgain their opponents by nearly 20 yards per game on the season. They have an elite defense that ranks 3rd in the NFL in giving up just 315.6 yards per game.
The Titans are actually getting outgained by 31 yards per game on the season. They have a dreadful offense that scores just 18.4 points per game while ranking 28th in total offense at 310.2 yards per game. The Jaguars should be able to shut them down, which will be a big reason why they are able to stay within this 5.5-point spread tonight.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Jacksonville) - in a game involving two good defensive teams that allow 18-23 PPG, after eight-plus games, after scoring and allowing 14 points or less last game are 30-8 (78.9%) ATS since 1983.
The Titans are 0-6 ATS vs. poor offensive teams that score 17 or less points per game over the last three seasons. The Jaguars are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after scoring and allowing 14 points or less last game. Tennessee is 0-6 ATS after gaining 400 or more total yards in its previous game over the last three seasons. The Titans are 15-33-3 ATS in their last 51 vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with the Jaguars Thursday.
|12-03-18||Redskins v. Eagles UNDER 45.5||Top||13-28||Win||100||75 h 55 m||Show|
20* Redskins/Eagles MNF TOTAL OF THE MONTH on UNDER 45.5
This is a division rivalry with a lot at stake. The Eagles are trying to keep pace with the Redskins and Cowboys in the NFC East, while the Redskins are just trying to stay afloat after a fast start to the season. I think this game will be played closer to the vest, and I certainly think it favors both defenses than both offenses, which is why I’ll side with the UNDER Monday night.
Both offenses are really struggling this season. The Redskins rank 27th in total offense at 331.5 yards per game, while the Eagles are 19th at 353.9 yards per game. The Redskins are also 27th in scoring offense at 20.0 points per game, while the Eagles are 23rd at 20.9 points per game.
Both of these teams are led by their defenses. The Redskins are 7th in scoring defense, giving up just 20.8 points per game. The Eagles are 15th at 23.0 points per game, but I have no doubt they are better than that with the talent that’s on hand.
And Philadelphia should have no problem shutting down a Washington offense that has been plagued by injuries along the offenses line, at the skill positions, and at quarterback. The Redskins are using backup QB Colt McCoy after Alex Smith suffered a gruesome injury a few weeks back. And he’s getting no protection and terrible play from the skill positions outside of TE Jordan Reed due to injuries.
Plays on the UNDER on any team against the total (Washington) - in a game involving two good defensive teams that allow 18-23 PPG, after allowing 30 points or more last game are 38-13 (74.5%) over the last five seasons.
Philadelphia is 6-0 UNDER in home games vs. poor pass defenses that allow 7 or more yards per attempts over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 9-2 UNDER in home games where the total is 42.5 to 49 points over the last two seasons. Philadelphia is 8-0 UNDER in home games off a division game over the last three years. The Eagles are 7-0 UNDER in home games after having lost two of their last three games coming in over the last three years. Take the UNDER in this game Monday.
|12-02-18||Chargers v. Steelers -3||Top||33-30||Loss||-120||60 h 52 m||Show|
20* Chargers/Steelers NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Pittsburgh -3
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a misleading 17-24 road loss to the Denver Broncos. I think it has them undervalued this week, and they should be laying more than a field goal to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football.
The Steelers clearly deserved to win that game against the Broncos. They amassed 527 total yards and held the Broncos to 308, outgaining them by 219 yards. Yet, they still found a way to lose because they lost the turnover battle 4-0. They had several drives inside the Denver 20-yard line that resulted in zero points, including the final drove where Big Ben was intercepted in the end zone.
I still believe the Steelers are closer to the team that had won six straight prior to that lost while going 5-0-1 ATS than the one that lost to the Broncos. They should be re-focused at home Sunday night against a Chargers team that has lost every time they’ve stepped up in class.
The Chargers lost by 10 at home to the Chiefs and by 12 on the road to the Rams. They also lost at home to that same Broncos team. Their eight wins have come against the Bills, 49ers, Raiders (twice), Browns, Titans, Seahawks and Cardinals. Only one of those teams has a winning record, and that’s Seattle, and the Chargers had a bye prior to facing the Seahawks so it was a dream spot for them.
The Chargers lost their best weapon on offense last week to a knee injury in Melvin Gordon. His absence is huge in this game as the Chargers need all the weapons they can get to keep up with this high-powered Steelers offense. Gordon has rushed for 802 yards and nine touchdowns, while also catching 44 balls for 453 yards and four scores. He is their third-leading receiver, so he’ll be missed in the passing game as well.
Plays on favorites (Pittsburgh) - after having won three of their last four games against an opponent that has won eight or more of their last 10 games are 30-6 (83.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Mike Tomlin is 8-1 ATS after gaining 500 or more total yards in their previous game as the coach of Pittsburgh. Take the Steelers Sunday.
|12-02-18||Bills +4.5 v. Dolphins||Top||17-21||Win||100||83 h 53 m||Show|
20* AFC East GAME OF THE MONTH on Buffalo Bills +4.5
I won on both the Bills and Dolphins last week. They were my two top play winners in an otherwise disappointing 2-3 Sunday. But I’m sticking with the Bills this week and fading the Dolphins. The Dolphins go from being 9-point underdogs to the Colts to now 4.5-point favorites against the Bills. That’s nearly a 14-point swing from week to week, and I think it’s too much.
I believe the Bills to be the better of these two teams. Miami has one of the worst home-field advantages in the NFL over the past several seasons because fans simply don’t show up. So they can’t be laying 4.5 points here. This line should be Miami -2.5 or even -3 at the most.
I trust the Bills more because of their defense. They actually rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense this season. They rank 3rd in the NFL in yards per play defense, only behind the Ravens and Bears. And the offense got a jolt last week with Josh Allen returning at quarterback to beat the Jaguars. When Allen or Matt Barkley have been under center, the Bills have been a great bet this season.
Injuries are another reason I think the Bills have a huge advantage. The Bills have stayed remarkably healthy this season as they only have four players currently on the injury report. One is backup QB Derek Anderson, and TE Charles Clay is questionable with a hamstring. So they basically just have two players out with season-ending injuries. Miami already has 11 players lost to season-ending injuries. Two of those are their best playmakers in Albert Wilson and Jakeeem Grant, and Danny Amendola is questionable.
Having Ryan Tannehill back at quarterback helps the Dolphins, but he is lacking weapons on the outside. And the Dolphins’ 24-27 loss to the Colts last week was misleading. They only managed 314 total yards and gave up 455 total yards, getting outgained by 141 yards by the Colts. Indianapolis simply kept the Dolphins in the game by committing three turnovers. And that was a home run spot for Miami coming off their bye week. The Bills also had a bye last week, so both teams are fresh.
Tannehill is really going to struggle without his top playmakers against a Buffalo defense that has allowed 126, 116 and 107 passing yards in its last three games, respectively. They are giving up just 116.3 passing yards per game over their past three games, and they’ve held six of their past seven opponents to 156 passing yards or fewer. That’s almost unheard of in today’s NFL and it just goes to show how elite this defense really is. They have held four of their last six opponents to 83 or fewer rushing yards as well.
Miami is 0-8 ATS in its last eight home games vs. poor offensive teams that average 4.75 or fewer yards per play. The Dolphins are 18-46-3 ATS in their last 67 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Buffalo is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 meetings with Miami. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|12-02-18||Broncos v. Bengals +5.5||24-10||Loss||-110||53 h 33 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Cincinnati Bengals +5.5
This is the ultimate ‘buy low, sell high’ situation here. We’ll buy low on the Bengals, who have lost three straight and five of their last six, meaning the betting public wants nothing to do with them. And we’ll sell high on the Broncos, who are coming off back-to-back upset victories over the Chargers and Steelers.
The Broncos were coming off their bye prior to that win over the Chargers, so it was a great spot for them. And only poor coaching by the Chargers allowed the Broncos to win that game. They erased a 19-7 deficit to win 23-22. And the Steelers win was even more misleading. The Broncos were outgained by 219 yards and gave up 527 total yards to the Steelers. But they won the turnover battle 4-0. It was a complete fluke.
The Bengals have been plagued by injuries, which is a big reason for their recent struggles. But they are expected to get star receiver AJ Green back from injury this week, and he makes a huge difference for this team. I know the Bengals will be without Andy Dalton this week, but Jeff Driskel really impressive me last week, and I think he’s good enough to beat the Broncos with Green at his disposal now.
The Bengals trailed the Browns 28-0 last week. They only ended up losing 20-35, and a lot of that had to do with Driskel. They seemed energized when he came into the game, and that should carry over this week. Driskel finished 17-of-29 passing for 155 yards with a touchdown in the comeback attempt, while also rushing for a score. I think this team continues to be energized by their backup QB, who is better than he gets credit for.
Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Denver) - after having won two of their last three games, a team that wins 40% to 49% of their games on the season playing a losing team are 68-27 (71.6%) ATS since 1983.
The Broncos are 4-11 ATS int heir last 15 road games. Denver is 1-7-1 ATS in its last nine games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in its previous game. The Bengals are 9-3 ATS int heir last 12 vs. AFC opponents. Cincinnati is 20-8-1 ATS in its last 29 December games. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Bet the Bengals Sunday.
|12-02-18||Ravens v. Falcons -1.5||26-16||Loss||-110||53 h 32 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Atlanta Falcons -1.5
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are getting way too much respect for back-to-back home wins against the Bengals and Raiders. These two teams have been two of the worst in the NFL over the past month-plus, so those wins are nothing to write home about.
Plus, they only beat the Bengals by a final of 24-21 as 6.5-point home favorites, so they failed to cover the spread. And they were extremely fortunate to cover against the Raiders last week as 13-point favorites, winning 34-17 thanks to two non-offensive touchdowns with one on special teams and one on defense.
The Ravens take a big step up in class this week against the Falcons. The Falcons are undervalued off three straight losses, which followed up three straight wins. But they had their chance to win each of the last three games, but they blew it with red zone struggles.
Atlanta’s 17-31 loss at New Orleans last week was one of the most misleading final scores of the week. I know because I had the Falcons +13.5 in that game and was extremely unlucky not to cash that ticket. The Flacons outgained the Saints and held them to just 312 total yards, but they committed four turnovers, including three fumbles inside New Orleans’ 20-yard line. Had they simply kicked one field goal on one of those three drives, they would have covered the 13.5-point spread.
Now Atlanta has the rest advantage in this one after playing last Thursday, while Baltimore had to play on Sunday. So the Falcons got to watch Baltimore and Lamar Jackson, and their defense will know how to stop them. Their offense will also find some holes, unlike Cincinnati or Oakland did the two previous weeks with two bad offenses. And the Falcons have a better defense than either of those two teams, especially since they are supposed to get MLB Deion Jones back from injury. He’ll be key in slowing down Jackson and company this week.
Baltimore is 0-6 ATS after outgaining its previous opponent by 150 or more total yards over the past three season. It is coming back to lose by 6.3 points per game on average in this spot. The Ravens are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win by 14-plus points. The value is on Atlanta as a short home favorite this week. Roll with the Falcons Sunday.
|12-01-18||Northwestern v. Ohio State -14||Top||24-45||Win||100||67 h 47 m||Show|
20* Northwestern/Ohio State Big Ten BAILOUT on Ohio State -14
Because Ohio State came out No. 6 in the playoff rankings this week, they know they need style points to get in. This really feels like a few years ago when they needed style points against Wisconsin. They were actually underdogs in that game and won 59-0. They got in over TCU because of it, and went on to win the national title.
Ohio State knows how to put the hammer down when it needs to. And the Buckeyes certainly put the hammer down last week by scoring 62 points against Michigan’s No. 1 ranked defense in the country. I don’t think I’ve seen a more impressive performance all season. And it just shows what the Buckeyes are capable of when they are locked in. They’ll be locked in Saturday night looking to impress the playoff committee again.
I’ve thought Northwestern was overrated most of the season. They’ve squeaked out a ton of close wins this season to win the Big Ten West division. And basically everyone else in their division fell apart around them to help them out.
This is a Northwestern team that is only outscoring opponents by 2 points per game this season. They are actually getting outgained by 27 yards per game in Big Ten play. Their offense ranks 126th out of 130 teams in yards per play (4.6). They are one-dimensional, averaging just 3.0 yards per carry. It’s an offense that puts up just 23.7 points per game this season, and I just don’t believe Clayton Thorson is capable of matching the Buckeyes score for score.
I like the fact that this game is played indoors in a dome in Indianapolis. That’s going to favor Ohio State’s high-powered offense. The Buckeyes average 43.3 points and 544 yards per game this season. When I’m laying double-digit points, I need it to be with an elite offense that I know is going to hang a big number. Ohio State certainly fits the bill.
I don’t believe this game will ever be close with the exception of early on in the first quarter. But say Ohio State is up by 10 in the final minutes. They won’t simply kneel on it. They’ll go down and try to score for style points because they need to leapfrog Oklahoma or whoever else is in their way in the playoff standings. So we have that in our back pocket if we need it. I don’t think we’ll need it, though.
The Buckeyes are 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral site games. Ohio State is 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings with Northwestern. Urban Meyer is 13-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog in all games he has coached. Take Ohio State Saturday.
|12-01-18||Georgia +14 v. Alabama||28-35||Win||100||62 h 31 m||Show|
15* Georgia/Alabama SEC ANNIHILATOR on Georgia +14
The betting public is infatuated with Alabama right now. They are just betting the Crimson Tide blindly because they have been so good to them all season. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide this week because bettors are clearly paying a tax to bet them at this point in the season. They should not be two touchdown favorites over Georgia, one of the top teams in the country.
The tax caught up to the Crimson Tide two weeks ago in their 50-17 win over The Citadel. That game was tied 10-10 at halftime believe it or not. And last week they only led Auburn 17-14 at halftime and did not deserve to cover the 25.5-point spread. But they outscored the Tigers 35-7 after intermission to get the cover. Georgia will offer a lot more resistance than any other team Alabama has played this season.
Georgia has had revenge in mind since a 26-23 (OT) loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game last year. They led that game 13-0 at halftime and feel like they let it slip away. I am 100% confident we’ll get the biggest effort of the season from Georgia in the SEC Championship Game this week, and that should be enough to stay within two touchdowns of the Crimson Tide, possibly pulling off the upset.
I think Georgia’s 16-36 loss at LSU was a blessing in disguise back in early October. They gave that game away by committing four turnovers. They have only committed five turnovers in five games since, and they’ve gone 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Their only non-cover came in a 39-point win as 41.5-point favorites over UMass. Big deal. They have won all five games by at least 17 points.
Alabama hasn’t had to face an offense as good as Georgia’s this season. The Bulldogs score 40.1 points per game an average 481 yards per game. Their ground game is elite once again as they rush for 260 yards per game and 6.3 per carry. And Jake Fromm is completing 69.1% of his passes with a 24-to-5 TD/INT ratio while averaging 9.6 per attempt. He held his own against Alabama as a freshman last year and was the biggest reason they had a shot to win that game. Fromm won’t fold in the SEC Championship Game having that experience in his hip pocket.
Georgia is 9-1 ATS after having won four or five of their last six games over the past two seasons. The Bulldogs are 12-3 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons. Georgia is 10-2 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry over the last two years. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
Plays on neutral field underdogs (Georgia) - an excellent rushing team that averages 225 or more rushing yards per game, after gaining 225 or more rushing yards in four straight games coming in are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS since 1992. Roll with Georgia Saturday.
|12-01-18||Memphis +3.5 v. Central Florida||Top||41-56||Loss||-115||61 h 7 m||Show|
25* Conference Championship GAME OF THE YEAR on Memphis +3.5
I was on the Memphis Tigers last week in a dominant 52-31 win over Houston. They took advantage of Houston’s starting QB being out, and now they’ll take advantage of UCF’s starting QB being out this week as well. The wrong team is favored in this matchup, and I love everything about Memphis in this AAC Championship Game Saturday.
The streak ends here. UCF has won 24 consecutive games over the past two seasons, but all of that was with QB McKenzie Milton at quarterback. He has accounted for 80 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, more than any other player in college football. He is simply irreplaceable.
UCF’s backup is freshman Darriel Mack Jr. He has gotten some action this season in either mop up duty or like last week against USF in the second half after Milton went out. He has not been impressive at all. Mack Jr. is completing just 48.8% of his 43 attempts and averaging only 4.0 yards per attempt. He hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass on those 43 attempts, either.
Mack Jr. is more of a running quarterback as he has rushed for 281 yards on 40 attempts. Well, that plays right into the hands of Memphis, who have the better defense in this matchup, especially against the run. The Tigers are only giving up 3.9 yards per carry on 40 attempts per game this year. That is the strength of their defense.
UCF has been good at stopping the pass, but terrible at stopping the run. The Knights give up 212 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry, including 262 rushing yards per game in their last four games coming in. The Tigers average 276 rushing yards per game and 6.4 per attempt. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a great passing team at 254 yards per game and 8.6 per attempt behind Brady White, but their strength is their ground game.
And Memphis has one of the best running backs in the country and a future NFL star in Darrell Henderson. He has rushed for the second-most yards in the nation with 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 8.6 per carry. He is a huge back who is tough to bring down, and he has tremendous explosiveness and quickness for a big guy. Henderson rushed for 199 yards against UCF in their first meeting.
Speaking of that first meeting, Memphis will be playing with triple-revenge from three losses to UCF over the past two seasons. They blew a 30-14 lead over UCF and lost 30-31 at home in their first meeting this season. They also lost during the regular season last year at UCF and again at UCF 55-62 in overtime in last year’s AAC Championship Game. To say they want revenge would be a massive understatement, and they don’t care that Milton is out, they just want to beat this UCF team so badly.
I don’t think UCF should be favored at all without Milton. And I just don’t see how the Knights can keep up on the scoreboard with this high-powered Memphis offense that averages 43.8 points and 530 yards per game this season. They hung 52 on Houston last week and amassed 610 total yards, including 410 rushing. They have gone 4-0 SU & 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall and are playing their best football of the season down the stretch when these games matter most.
Memphis is 7-0 ATS vs. poor rushing defenses that allow 200 or more rushing yards per game over the last two seasons. It is winning by 30.3 points per game on average in this spot. Bet Memphis Saturday.
|11-30-18||Utah v. Washington -5||Top||3-10||Win||100||43 h 43 m||Show|
20* Utah/Washington Pac-12 Championship No-Brainer on Washington -5
The Washington Huskies were one of the most overrated teams in the country all season. So despite the fact that they went 9-3 SU, they went just 3-9 ATS. They were consistently laying too many points week in and week out because many expected them to be a playoff contender coming into the season.
This is the role I like them in. The Huskies are only 5-point favorites here against the Utes. Two of their three covers this season came as a small favorite or underdog. They won 21-7 at Utah in their first meeting as 4-point favorites, and then last week put together their most complete performance of the season in a 28-15 win at Washington State as 3-point dogs.
The line in that first meeting with Utah is important. Washington was a 4-point favorite in that true road game, and now they are only a 5-point favorite on a neutral field in the rematch. When you adjust for Utah’s massive home-field advantage, Washington would have been around an 8-point favorite on a neutral back then. So we are getting value here.
And I think Utah has gotten worse since that game while Washington has gotten better. The Utes have lost starting QB Huntley and starting RB Moss, their two best players on offense. Washington State has gotten a healthy Myles Gaskins back at RB after missing a few games and TE Hunter Bryant who missed the first nine games of the season.
The Huskies outgained Washington State by 250 total yards last week. They rushed for 258 yards, including 170 and three touchdowns from Gaskins. And Bryant is one of the most talented tight ends in the country, so Jake Browning is glad to have him back. He caught three balls for 108 yards and a touchdown in the snow against the Cougars.
Meanwhile, Utah had to erase a 27-7 deficit in the second half last week to come back and beat BYU 35-27. The Utes did not deserve to win that game at all as they managed just 296 total yards and were outgained by 61 yards. But they used a lot of energy to erase that deficit, and they haven’t had a bye since mid-September. They are running on fumes right now.
Washington gets an extra days’ rest after playing Washington State last Friday, while Utah had to play a late-night game on Saturday. And the Huskies just had their bye on November 10th, so they are by far the fresher team. It explains their solid play to close out the season, and I think they have another big performance in them here Friday night as they claim the Pac-12 title in blowout fashion. Bet Washington Friday.
|11-29-18||Saints v. Cowboys +8||Top||10-13||Win||100||18 h 23 m||Show|
20* Saints/Cowboys NFC Thursday No-Brainer on Dallas +8
The New Orleans Saints have now covered in nine straight games. The betting public has made a fortune off this team and they’ll continue to back them every week until they lose. Oddsmakers haven’t been able to set their lines high enough. And there’s no question the value is on the Dallas Cowboys this week catching more than a touchdown at home.
I had the Falcons +13.5 against the Saints last week in a 14-point loss. It was clearly a right side loser as the Falcons were the better team in that game but found a way to lose by 14. They outgained the Saints by 54 yards and held them to 312 total yards, but lost the turnover battle 4-1. And the Falcons lost three fumbles inside New Orleans’ 20-yard line that took points off the board. It was a complete fluke.
I like the way the Cowboys have rallied the troops and are feeling good about themselves right now. They have gone 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in their last three games overall, which includes upset road wins over the Eagles and Falcons, and a 31-23 home win over the Redskins last week. They dominated the Redskins in that game.
This Dallas offense has taken off since Amari Cooper came over from Oakland. Cooper already has 22 receptions for 349 yards and three touchdowns in four games for the Cowboys. He has opened up things for Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for at least 121 yards in three straight games now. This offense has what it takes to move the chains and keep Drew Brees on the sidelines.
Of course, it also helps that the Cowboys have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Dallas ranks 7th in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 331.1 yards per game. The Cowboys are even better in the all-important scoring defense (19.4) category. Only the Ravens and Bears have been better in that department.
Sean Payton is 2-10 ATS in road games after having won eight or more of their last 10 games as the coach of the Saints. Dallas is 11-2 ATS after gaining 400 or more total yards in its previous game over the last three seasons. The Cowboys are 6-0 ATS vs. poor defensive teams that allow 350 or more total yards per game over the last two seasons. The underdog is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Bet the Cowboys Thursday.
|11-26-18||Titans v. Texans -3.5||17-34||Win||100||8 h 47 m||Show|
15* Titans/Texans AFC South No-Brainer on Houston -3.5
The Houston Texans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have reeled off seven straight victories since their 0-3 start to the season. But they could have won any of those first three games as they were all one-score games. And they are finally winning their share of one-score games during this seven-game winning streak.
Now the Texans are as healthy as they’ve been all season. They get some key players back on defense this week and will be playing just their 2nd game in 22 days because they had a bye in Week 10. They should be primed for another big effort here on Monday Night Football to cement their place atop the AFC South standings.
The Texans will be out for revenge from a 17-20 road loss at Tennessee in their first meeting. Well, they dominated the Titans in that game and should have won. They outgained Tennessee 437 to 283 for the game, or by 154 total yards. The Titans got a 66-yard fake punt TD in that game that proved to be the difference.
Home-field advantage has been huge in this series as the home team is 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Houston is 6-0 SU & 5-1 ATS in its last six home meetings with Tennessee with all six wins coming by 6 points or more and by an average of 19.7 points per game. So based on this series history, we are getting the Texans at a pretty cheap -3.5 price here tonight.
Tennessee is a fraudulent 5-5. The Titans are getting outgained by nearly 40 yards per game on the season. They are scoring just 17.8 points per game and rank 30th in total offense at 295.4 yards per game. The Texans are a legit 7-3, outgaining teams by 34 yards per game. They are scoring 23.9 points per game and rank 15th in total offense at 364.2 yards per game. And they have posted better defensive numbers than the Titans as well. The Texans rank 4th in yards per play (5.0) allowed, while the Titans are 10th in yards per play (5.5) allowed.
Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last five vs. AFC opponents, while Tennessee is just 19-43-4 ATS in its last 66 vs. AFC foes. The Texans are 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings. Roll with the Texans Monday.
|11-25-18||Dolphins +10 v. Colts||Top||24-27||Win||100||90 h 5 m||Show|
20* AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Miami Dolphins +10
The Colts are getting way too much love this week. That’s because they have gone 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games overall coming in. Now the betting public is on them, and it’s time to ‘sell high’ here Sunday. They are coming off a 38-10 beat down of the Titans last week. I had the Colts in that game, and was fortunate Marcus Mariota got hurt. The rest was history. But I’ll gladly fade them this week as 10-point favorites over the Dolphins.
Indianapolis has only been favored by more than 3.5 points once this season, and that was as 7-point favorites against the Bills. And now they have to play a motivated, rested Dolphins team that is coming off their bye week at 5-5 and looking to make a playoff push. And the Dolphins get Ryan Tannehill back at quarterback this week, which is a big upgrade over Brock Osweiler.
The Dolphins opened 3-0 this season before back-to-back road losses to the Patriots and Bengals. Tannehill led them to that 3-2 start, and the Dolphins led the Bengals big before he got hurt. Speaking of injuries, the Colts suffered a big blow when they lost center Ryan Kelly to a knee injury against the Titans last week. Center is one of the most underrated positions in the NFL. Kelly is their best linemen, and the Colts have a couple other key injuries along the offensive line that will make life more difficult on Andrew Luck this week.
Plays on any team (Miami) - in a game involving two poor defensive teams that allow 23-27 PPG in the 2nd half of the season, after scoring 14 points or less in two straight games are 39-15 (72.2%) ATS since 1983. The Colts should be closer to 3-point favorites than 10-point favorites this week. We’ll take the value on Miami. Bet the Dolphins Sunday.
|11-25-18||Seahawks v. Panthers -3||30-27||Loss||-119||87 h 41 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Carolina Panthers -3
I was on the Panthers last week as my free play, and it was probably a week early. They lost 19-20 to the Lions after going for a 2-point conversion to win the game in the closing seconds. To my credit, the Panthers outgained the Lions by 78 yards and probably should have won that game. But their road struggles continued and they lost.
But now the Panthers return home highly motivated for a victory after back-to-back road losses. This is a place of comfort for them as the Panthers are 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS at home this season, outscoring the opposition by 9.8 points per game in the process. They should get back on track at home here with a win and cover as only 3-point favorites over the Seahawks.
This is a bad matchup for Seattle. The Seahawks lead the league in rushing, but they are just 28th in passing offense, averaging only 196.8 passing yards per game. The weakness of Carolina is their pass D, but the Seahawks won’t be able to exploit it. Carolina ranks 7th in the NFL against the run, giving up just 98.5 rushing yards per game. They have the speed at linebacker with Luke Keuchly and company to stuff the read-option that Seattle likes to run.
Seattle is only 2-3 in true road games this season. One of those came 20-17 at Arizona, a terrible team and arguably the worst team in the NFL this season. The other was at Detroit the week they were coming off a bye, so they were primed for a big effort there. This is clearly a step up in class for the Seahawks, and I expect them to fail here Sunday.
The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a loss. Carolina is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 home games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Ron Rivera is 9-1 ATS off an upset loss as a road favorite as the coach of Carolina. Rivera is also 22-4 ATS off a road loss as the coach of the Panthers. Roll with the Panthers Sunday.
|11-25-18||Jaguars v. Bills +3.5||Top||21-24||Win||100||87 h 40 m||Show|
20* NFL Sunday UPSET SHOCKER on Buffalo Bills +3.5
We’ve already found out that the Buffalo Bills are trying to win every game they play. That was evident last time out in a 41-10 win as 7-point road dogs over the New York Jets. And now they are coming off their bye week feeling good about themselves, so they’ll be rested and motivated for another win here against the Jaguars.
I certainly question Jacksonville’s motivation at this point. This is a team that made the AFC Championship Game last year, and now they sit at 3-7 off six consecutive losses. There are issues in the locker room that aren’t fixable. And they just blew a big lead in a 20-16 loss to the Steelers last week. I don’t like their state of mind coming into this game at Buffalo.
Now the Jaguars have to head to colder weather, which they aren’t used to. And they have to try and get back up off the mat to face a 3-7 Bills team. I just don’t think they will be motivated at all the rest of the way, especially this week in a hangover spot from that loss to the Steelers.
The Bills have the 2nd-best defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders. That matches up with their season-long stats as well. The Bills are 2nd in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 302.2 yards per game. They are also 2nd in yards per play (4.9) allowed. This is an elite defense, and one that will shut down this putrid Jacksonville offense.
The Bills get a big boost this week with rookie QB Josh Allen returning to the lineup from an elbow injury. They have been highly competitive with Allen this season, and pretty bad without him with the exception of that Jets came when Matt Barkley came in and gave them a spark. I think this offense will take another step forward this week with Allen having two full weeks to prepare for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars have a laundry list of injuries that has contributed to this six-game losing streak, and it’s not getting any better this week. The Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last six games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game. The underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. Take the Bills Sunday.
|11-25-18||Raiders +11 v. Ravens||17-34||Loss||-110||87 h 40 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Oakland Raiders +11
The Oakland Raiders showed last week they wouldn’t quit on the season when they went into Arizona and won 23-21 as 4.5-point underdogs. This line of Baltimore laying 11 points Sunday indicates that the Raiders have quit, but they obviously haven’t. I think there’s a ton of value on the Raiders catching double-digits points here this week.
Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a 24-21 win over the Bengals last week. And Jackson will make another start in place of Joe Flacco. But now the Raiders have some game film on him they can use. And Jackson isn’t going to lead the Ravens to a ton of points simply because his style doesn’t suit it.
Jackson only threw fate ball 19 times last week for 138 yards against the Bengals. They rushed 54 times. They are going to implement a similar game plan here with a run-heavy scheme. And that will keep the clock moving and make it very predictable for the Raiders.
It also helps out the Raiders dramatically because they rank 32nd in the league in yards per pass attempt (8.9) allowed, which is their biggest weakness. The Raiders have at least been respectable against the run and should be able to limit the Ravens’ rushing attack this week.
The Ravens are 1-3 SU & 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall. There’s no way they should be getting this much respect from oddsmakers. They are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a favorite, and they have been favored in six consecutive games. I’m confused at all the love for the Ravens at this point.
Plays on underdogs of 10.5 or more points (Oakland) - off an upset win as a road underdog are 39-15 (72.2%) ATS since 1983. Baltimore is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games after outgaining its last opponent by 100 or more yards. The Ravens are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games vs. a team with a losing road record. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Take the Raiders Sunday.
|11-25-18||49ers +3.5 v. Bucs||9-27||Loss||-125||87 h 39 m||Show|
15* NFC PLAY OF THE DAY on San Francisco 49ers +3.5
The Bucs can’t be trusted to be laying 3.5 points at home to the 49ers this week. They are 1-7 in their last eight games overall with their only win coming by exactly 3 points at home against the Browns. I think this is a game where the 49ers have an excellent chance to win outright.
The Bucs keep playing musical chairs at quarterback. Now they are going back to Jameis Winston this week. He has been worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick this season, but they aren’t giving up on him for whatever reason. Whoever is under center has turned the ball over at an alarming rate, and that won’t stop this week. The Bucs have 29 turnovers in their last nine games, averaging 3.2 turnovers per game. It’s simply too tough to win that way.
The Bucs also have a ton of injury issues coming into this game. They are missing four starters on defense in Lavonte David, Chris Conte, Kwon Alexander and Vernon Hargreaves. They have two DE starters questionable in Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul. They are without their stud tight end in OJ Howard, plus C Ryan Jensen and WR DeSean Jackson are questionable.
The 49ers are coming off their bye week, so they are as healthy as they have been since Week 1. That should have them primed for a big effort here against the hapless Bucs. And I like the fact that Nick Mullens is getting another start this week. Mullens is completing 70.5% of his passes for 512 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in his two starts this season. Those are better numbers than both Jimmy G and C.J. Beathard have put up this season.
The 49ers have the numbers of a team that is much better than their 2-8 record would indicate, too. They are outgaining opponents by 13.1 yards per game this season. You’d expect them to be at least .500 with those numbers. And their defense has really stepped up the last two weeks, holding the Raiders to just 242 total yards and the Giants to just 277 total yards. They have given up 331 or fewer yards in four consecutive games now.
Tampa Bay is 1-12 ATS after going OVER the total in their previous game over the past two seasons. The 49ers are 21-9 ATS in their last 30 road games off an upset loss as a favorite. The Bucs are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games overall. Bet the 49ers Sunday.
|11-24-18||BYU +12 v. Utah||Top||27-35||Win||100||71 h 49 m||Show|
20* BYU/Utah FS1 Late-Night BAILOUT on BYU +12
This is a very precarious spot for the Utah Utes. Even though it’s a rivalry game, I don’t expect them to be motivated at all. That’s because they have their big game on deck next week in the Pac-12 Championship against the Washington/Washington State Apple Cup winner. And if they win that game, they’ll go to the Rose Bowl.
I just don’t foresee the Utes being motivated at all to face BYU this week. And even if they were motivated, it would be tough for them to cover this 12-point spread because BYU simply doesn’t get blown out. I have no doubt the Cougars will want this game more, and I’ll gladly back the more motivated double-digit underdog in this matchup.
Utah lost its two best players on offense in a 20-38 loss to Arizona State. The Utes were able to win their next two games against Oregon and Colorado without those two players, but I think it catches up with them here. Those two players are QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss, who rushed for 1,092 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first nine games this season.
BYU has had a nice bounce-back season this year and they want to cap it off with an upset win over retire rivals. They are 6-5 this season, but three of those losses have come by 5 points or less. Like I said, this team just doesn’t get blown out. And I think they’ll hold their own in what is sure to be a defensive battle with a total set of only 44. I love taking double-digit dogs in expected defensive battles.
BYU is 6-0 ATS in November road games over the last three seasons. Plays on underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (BYU) - off a home win by 17 points or more against an opponent that’s off a double-digit road win are 37-14 (72.5%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take BYU Saturday.
|11-24-18||Kansas State +14 v. Iowa State||Top||38-42||Win||100||68 h 48 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE WEEK on Kansas State +14
The Iowa State Cyclones had their dreams crushed last week. They went into their showdown with Texas last week controlling their own destiny to get to the Big 12 title game. Simply win that game and this week against Kansas State, and they would have made the conference championship game.
But they got worked and lost 10-24 in a game that wasn’t even that close. And for a program like Iowa State, it was an extra crushing loss because they almost never get the opportunity they had last week. And now they will have a hard time getting back up off the mat to face Kansas State this week.
We know Kansas State will be motivated. The Wildcats currently sit at 5-6 and one win shy of bowl eligibility. They have won their last two games against Kansas and Texas Tech to put themselves in this position. And that 21-6 win against Texas Tech as 6.5-point dogs was mighty impressive. They held the high-powered Red Raiders to just 181 total yards. And they are capable of shutting down this mediocre Iowa State offense as well.
Now team has owned Iowa State quite like Kansas State. Indeed, the Wildcats have gone 10-0 SU in their last 10 meetings with the Cyclones. And now they’re catching 14 points, which makes absolutely zero sense. The Cyclones have struggled to score points against the Wildcats in recent years, and that will be the case again Saturday. Especially in this ‘hangover’ spot off the loss to Texas. Bet Kansas State Saturday.
|11-24-18||Rutgers +27.5 v. Michigan State||10-14||Win||100||65 h 48 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Rutgers +27.5
Quietly, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have been big money makers down the stretch. They haven’t quit. They have gone 4-0 ATS in in their last four games overall. They only lost 15-18 as 20-point home dogs to Northwestern, 17-31 as 29-point road dogs at Wisconsin, 7-42 as 37-point home dogs to Michigan, and 7-20 as 28-point home dogs to Penn State.
Rutgers has covered the spread by a combined 49 points in its last four games. The betting public wants nothing to do with 1-10 Rutgers, which is why they are consistently catching too many points here down the stretch. And oddsmakers still haven’t adjusted as they are once again catching 27.5-points this week against Michigan State.
I just can’t see Michigan State being motivated enough to beat Rutgers by this kind of margin. The Spartans are 6-5 this season and off back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Nebraska in which they scored a combined 12 points in those two losses. And that’s the issue here with the Spartans. Can they even score 28 points?
Michigan State has a putrid offense that is putting up just 20.3 points per game this season. And Rutgers has a respectable defense that is allowing 409.8 yards per game on the year. The Scarlet Knights are definitely good enough defensively to hold Michigan to less than 28 points. And their offense should contribute a touchdown or two.
The total set in this game is only 37 points. I always like taking big underdogs in games that are expected to be low scoring. Basically they are saying the score is going to be 32-5 based on this total. I think Rutgers can score 7, and I don’t think Michigan State can score 32.
Plays against home favorites (Michigan State) - after going under the total by more than 28 points in their previous game, in weeks 10 through 13 are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Michigan State is 10-27 ATS in its last 37 games after scoring 7 points or less in the first half of two straight games. Mark Dantonio is 0-6 ATS after scoring 6 points or less last game as the coach of Michigan State. Bet Rutgers Saturday.
|11-24-18||Tennessee v. Vanderbilt -3||13-38||Win||100||65 h 45 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Vanderbilt -3
Both Vanderbilt and Tennessee have a lot to play for here Saturday. The winner will be going to a bowl game, while the loser will be staying home for bowl season. And it’s Senior Day for the Commodores on their home turf. I just think Vanderbilt is the better team, and they should be laying more than a field goal at home here to the Vols because of it.
Vanderbilt has impressed me a lot here down the stretch. They have played well in five straight games coming in, and that consistency is why I like them so much. It started five weeks ago when they led Florida 21-3 at home, but couldn’t hold on in the second half, losing 27-37 and failing to cover as 9.5-point dogs only after a 43-yard field goal by Florida with 37 seconds left.
Since that defeat, Vanderbilt has gone 4-0 ATS in its last four games, consistently being undervalued. They only lost 7-14 at Kentucky as 10-point dogs, upset Arkansas 45-31 as 2-point road dogs, only lost 28-33 at Missouri as 14.5-point dogs, and beat Ole Miss 36-29 at home as 3-point favorites.
Tennessee has not played well down the stretch, going 1-2 ATS, with their only win coming at home over Kentucky in a clear flat spot for the Wildcats after losing to Georgia the previous week. They only beat a bad Charlotte team 14-3 at home as 21-point favorites. And they lost 17-50 to Missouri as 6-point home dogs last week.
While Vanderbilt has been able to stay remarkably healthy this season, Tennessee has not. They have seven players who are out for the season, and several others who are probable or questionable, including QB Jarrett Guarantano. This guy has taken a beating all season from poor offensive line play, and it’s starting to take its toll. He is dealing with a head injury, and if he takes another big hit Saturday, he’ll get the hook quick. And the drop-off from him to backup Keller Chryst is significant.
No question we are backing the better offense and the better quarterback here in Kyle Shurmur. The senior will be looking to make a statement in his final home game. Shurmur has thrown for 2,477 yards with a 20-to-6 TD/INT ratio this season while completing 61.4% of his passes in the rugged SEC. He has a stud running back to hand the ball off to in Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who has rushed for 976 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging a jaw-dropping 7.1 per carry.
Tennessee’s offense averages just 23.6 points per game overall and 21.3 points per game in conference play. And this is a pretty evenly-matched game defensively, tho the Vols give up more points overall (27.0) and in conference play (35.9) than Vanderbilt does overall (26.2) and in conference play (31.7). So we’re getting the better offense at home on Senior Day playing for a bowl game. That’s worth more than 3 points in my eyes.
Vanderbilt is 4-2 SU & 5-1 ATS in its last six meetings with Tennessee. The Vols are 0-4 ATS in their last four games vs. a team with a losing record. The Commodores are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win. Vanderbilt is 4-0 ATS in its last four conference games. Take Vanderbilt Saturday.
|11-24-18||Marshall v. Florida International +3||28-25||Push||0||61 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER On Florida International +3
I’ve cashed in FIU each of the last two weeks. They won 45-7 as 10.5-point favorites at UTSA and 42-35 as 3.5-point favorites at Charlotte. And I’m on FIU again this week simply because I believe they continue to be undervalued here as 3-point home underdogs to Marshall.
Motivation is a big reason I’ve been on FIU. Three weeks ago, win out and they controlled their own destiny to get to the C-USA title game. They’ve completed the first two steps, and now I expect them to finish it off and improve to 7-1 in C-USA with a win over Marshall Saturday.
Marshall is in a questionable motivational spot. Sure, they are still alive for the C-USA East title, but they would also need some help. They would need Middle Tennessee to lose at home to UAB, a team that has nothing to play for this week. I just really like the motivational spot better for FIU here, especially at home on Senior Day, and I simply believe they are the better team as well.
This FIU offense has been impressive this season, averaging 35.5 points per game. And their defense has held opponents to 24.4 points per game. James Morgan is having a huge season at quarterback for the Golden Panthers, completing 65.5% of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, and compiling a 26-to-5 TD/INT ratio.
Marshall has an uninspiring offense that is putting up 28.1 points per game this season. Against the same two opponents FIU played the last two weeks, they only managed 30 points against Charlotte and 23 against UTSA. FIU scored 45 on UTSA and 42 on Charlotte. I just don’t think the Thundering Herd have the firepower to keep up in this one.
Marshall is 19-34 ATS in its last 53 games as a road favorite. The Golden Panthers are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. FIU is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. a team with a winning record. The Thundering Herd are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after allowing more than 20 points in their previous game. Marshall is 1-5 ATS in its last six games following a win. Roll with Florida International Saturday.
|11-23-18||East Carolina +19.5 v. Cincinnati||Top||6-56||Loss||-110||41 h 48 m||Show|
20* AAC GAME OF THE WEEK on East Carolina +19.5
East Carolina may be just 3-7 on the season, but they have the stats more of a 7-3 team, which has them undervalued at this point in the campaign. The Pirates are actually outgaining their opponents by 58 yards per game on the season.
The problem for the Pirates has been turnovers. But they finally won the turnover battle last week, and they beat UConn 55-21 as a result. And I think they can hang with Cincinnati this week. This is a Cincinnati team that has committed at least three turnovers in four of their last six games coming in.
It’s also a Bearcats squad that had their dreams crushed last week in their 25-point loss to UCF. That game decided which team was going to the AAC Title game, and they fell flat on their faces. I don’t expect these Cincinnati players to get back up off the mat in time to face lowly East Carolina. They probably think they can just show up and win, but that won’t be the case.
Especially now that stud freshman Holton Ahlers has taken over at quarterback. He has really thrives the past five games since taking over against mostly a brutal schedule that has included Houston, UCF, Memphis and Tulane. Ahlers has thrown for 1,601 yards with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio this season, while also rushing for a team-high 571 yards and six scores on 5.2 per carry. He is one of the best freshman QB’s in the country that not many folks know about.
Cincinnati is 0-6 ATS after allowing 37 points or more last game over the past three seasons. The Bearcats are 0-7 ATS in home games when the total is 49.5 to 56 over the last three years. I don’t expect the Bearcats to show up at all this week. That’s going to make it extremely difficult to cover this 19.5-point spread. Bet East Carolina Thursday.
|11-23-18||Houston v. Memphis -7||31-52||Win||100||37 h 19 m||Show|
15* CFB Friday No-Doubt Rout on Memphis -7
The AAC West title is on the line here when Houston visits Memphis Friday afternoon. I think the home team has a ton of advantages here that will allow them to not only win, but also cover this generous 7-point spread. Lay the wood on the Tigers here Friday.
For starters, the Liberty Bowl in Memphis has been one of the best home-field advantages in the country. The Tigers have gone 27-6 SU at home over the past five seasons. They are 5-1 at home this season and outscoring their foes by 28.7 points per game. Their only loss this season came 30-31 to unbeaten UCF after they blew a big lead in the 2nd half. Houston’s not nearly as good as UCF.
That’s especially the case now that Houston lost its all-everything QB D’Eriq King to a season-ending injury in the win over Tulane last week. It’s the one player they could not afford to live without. King threw for 2,982 yards with a 36-to-6 TD/INT ratio this season, while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores. He was their entire offense. Now they have to get freshman QB Clayton Tune ready to make his first-ever road start in a hostile environment. Tune is only completing 47.6% of his 42 attempts this season, and he’s not a dual-threat.
The Cougars will now have a very hard time keeping up with this high-powered Memphis offense Friday. The Tigers are scoring 43.1 points per game and averaging 523.0 yards per game on the season, including 51.5 points per game and 602.8 yards per game at home. That’s why I have no problem laying the seven points with the Tigers here.
Houston is 3-11 ATS off a home win over the last three seasons. The Tigers are 6-0 ATS in November games over the last two years. The Cougars are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games on field turf. The Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight Friday games. With what’s at stake here, we’ll get an ‘A-Plus’ effort from Memphis, and Houston won’t be able to match it due to the injury to King. Roll with Memphis Friday.
|11-23-18||Nebraska +9 v. Iowa||28-31||Win||100||37 h 19 m||Show|
15* Nebraska/Iowa Big Ten No-Brainer on Nebraska +9
I certainly don’t mind buying stock in Nebraska right now. The Huskers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. Their only non-cover was a 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman as 46.5-point favorites in which they pulled their starters after a 38-3 halftime lead. They have been way undervalued since their 0-6 start to the season.
The Huskers haven’t been blown out at all here down the stretch. They covered as 18.5-point dogs at Wisconsin, as 3.5-point dogs at Northwestern in a 31-34 (OT) loss after they blew a 14-point lead late, they beat Minnesota 53-28 as 4-point home favorites, only lost 31-36 at Ohio State as 17-point dogs, crushed Illinois 54-35 as 17-point home favorites, and knocked off Michigan State 9-6 as 1-point home favorites last week.
How they’ve played against all of those teams shows me that they can certainly hang with Iowa, which has lost three of its last four coming in with its only win coming against lowly Illinois. The Hawkeyes seem to just be going through the motions since their dreams of winning the Big Ten West were crushed.
Nebraska certainly has the offense to keep up with the Hawkeyes. They are scoring 30.0 points and averaging 459.6 yards per game in conference play this season. And their defense has only gotten better as the season has gone on. That was on display last week when they held Michigan State to just 6 points and 289 yards of offense. And Iowa has a very similar offense to Michigan State.
No question Nebraska wants revenge from back-to-back blowout losses to the Hawkeyes by 30 and 42 points. But those games were with the anemic Mike Riley at the helm. Scott Frost has changed the culture here already, and he certainly wants his team to know that it’s extremely important to win these rivalry games. No question we’ll get an ‘A-Plus’ effort here from the Cornhuskers knowing this is their final game of the season.
Nebraska is 9-1 ATS off a home win over the last three seasons. Plays on road teams (Nebraska) - with an excellent offense that averages 6.1 or more yards per play, after gaining 3.75 or less hard per play in their previous game are 23-4 (85.2%) ATS since 1992. Take Nebraska Friday.
|11-22-18||Falcons +13.5 v. Saints||Top||17-31||Loss||-115||30 h 19 m||Show|
20* Falcons/Saints NFC South No-Brainer on Atlanta +13.5
What the Saints are doing is absolutely remarkable. They have now covered the spread in eight consecutive games. How rare is that? Well, it happens less than once per season on average. And with that point spread success now comes expectations from oddsmakers that are going to be tough to live up to moving forward.
It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Saints. They haven’t been double-digit favorites once this season, and now they are 13.5-point favorites against the Atlanta Falcons this week. And the Falcons are better than many of the teams they have played, plus they are a division rival that knows the Saints very well. They simply cannot be laying this kind of number against the Falcons this week.
The Falcons will show up because it’s a division rival and because it’s the Saints, who are one of the best teams in the NFL. I actually think the Falcons will want this game more to try and save their season and earn a signature win. And it’s not like the Falcons are losing by these kinds of margins. The only time they would have failed to cover this spread was against the Steelers in a 17-41 loss. The Falcons were banged up badly defensively coming into that game.
The series history shows there’s value with the Falcons, too. The Saints haven’t even been a double-digit favorite against the Falcons since 2009, and they haven’t beaten the Falcons by 14 points or more since 2011. In fact, the Saints haven’t won any of the last 13 meetings by more than 10 points, making for a perfect 13-0 system backing the Falcons pertaining to this 13.5-point spread. And the Falcons will surely be out for revenge from their 37-43 (OT) home loss to the Saints earlier this season.
Plays against favorites (New Orleans) - dominant team that outscores opponents by 10 or more points per game, after allowing 14 points or less in two straight games are 35-11 (76.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Falcons are 7-2 ATS in their last nine Thursday games. The underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Bet the Falcons Thursday.
|11-22-18||Falcons v. Saints OVER 59.5||17-31||Loss||-105||30 h 19 m||Show|
15* NFL Thursday Total DOMINATOR on Falcons/Saints OVER 59.5
Expect a shootout between the Falcons and Saints Thursday night. They combined for 80 points in their first meeting this season with the Saints winning 43-37 (OT) in Atlanta. They also combined for 941 total yards in that contest. I see no reason this game won’t play out the same way in the rematch.
You already know the Saints are an offensive juggernaut, scoring 37.8 points per game. They should be able to handle their share. But they do give up 25.4 points per game at home, and the Falcons should be able to score their share of points as well. They are scoring 26.3 points per game on the season. The Falcons have scored at least 31 points in five of their last nine games overall.
The Falcons are 20-7 OVER in their last 27 games as an underdog of 10 or more points. The Saints are 11-2 OVER in their last 13 games off five or more consecutive ATS wins. The OVER is 4-0 in Saints last four vs. NFC South opponents. The OVER is 19-8-1 in Saints last 28 home games. The OVER is 16-5 in Falcons last 21 games in a dome. Take the OVER in this game Thursday.
|11-22-18||Mississippi State v. Ole Miss +11.5||35-3||Loss||-110||29 h 28 m||Show|
15* Mississippi State/Ole Miss SEC ANNIHILATOR on Ole Miss +11.5
The Ole Miss Rebels sit at 5-6, needing a win to make a bowl game. They have lost four straight coming in, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Their four losses have all come by 15 points or less, and their offense has been good enough to win every game. I think they’re undervalued due to going 0-5 ATS in their last five games, and now we will ‘buy low’ on them here as double-digit home dogs to Mississippi State.
They were only 5.5-point home dogs to Auburn and 2-point home favorites against South Carolina during this stretch. And Mississippi State isn’t necessarily better than either of those teams, yet they are laying 11.5-points to the Rebels. They were also only 11-point road underdogs to LSU and 21-point home underdogs to Alabama. That fact alone shows you there’s value with the home dog here.
Ole Miss had 447 total yards against Auburn, 616 total yards against South Carolina, 440 total yards against Texas A&M and 578 total yards against Vanderbilt in their last four games. With this offense, they are never out of any game. And I just don’t think Mississippi State has the firepower on offense to put them away.
This is a Mississippi State offense that is only averaging 17.0 points and 301.3 total yards per game in SEC play this season, and that even includes the 52 points they scored against Arkansas. So they have been horrible. The Bulldogs are 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS on the road this season, averaging just 10.2 points and 292 yards per game. Ole Miss is 3-3 at home, scoring 41.8 points per game and averaging 572 yards per game.
Mississippi State is 0-6 ATS after having won three of its last four games over the past two seasons. Plays on any team (Ole Miss) - off five or more consecutive ATS losses against an opponent that’s off one or more consecutive ATS wins are 39-11 (78%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Ole Miss Thursday.
|11-20-18||Northern Illinois v. Western Michigan +7||21-28||Win||100||6 h 15 m||Show|
15* NIU/WMU MAC Tuesday No-Brainer on Western Michigan +7
We’re definitely getting a ‘buy low’ opportunity here on the Western Michigan Broncos Tuesday night. They have lost three straight coming in, including upset losses to Toledo and Ball State. And now we’re catching more points than we should be with them at home tonight.
I think their misleading 41-42 loss to Ball State has a lot to do with it. Western Michigan racked up 548 total yards in that game and held Ball State to 349, outgaining them by nearly 200 yards. They obviously should have won that game. And they committed six turnovers the game before against Ohio to give that game away as well.
Look for the Broncos to be the more motivated team here at home on Senior Night Tuesday. They want to end their season with a victory over one of their biggest rivals here in Northern Illinois. And they want to get to 7-5 on the season to make sure they get to a bowl game, as just because they are bowl eligible doesn’t mean they’ll be going to a bowl game for sure.
What I do know for sure is that Northern Illinois is in a tough spot mentally here. The Huskies have already clinched the MAC West title, so they’ll be going to the MAC Championship Game no matter what happens here. Their lack of motivation showed last week in a 7-13 upset home los to Miami Ohio. And I don’t see them showing up for this game tonight, either.
Western Michigan is 21-7 ATS in its last 28 games vs. good rush defenses that allow 120 or fewer rushing yards per game. Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (WMU) - good rushing team (190-230 RYPG) against a team with a good rushing defense (100-140 RYPG), after outrushing their last opponent by 150 yards or more are 31-10 (75.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Western Michigan Tuesday.
|11-19-18||Chiefs +3.5 v. Rams||Top||51-54||Win||100||146 h 3 m||Show|
20* Chiefs/Rams ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Kansas City +3.5
I’ve successfully faded the Rams four of the last five weeks. And I’m going to fade them again this week against the Kansas City Chiefs. They have consistently been overvalued, and they remain overvalue here as 3.5-point home favorites against the Chiefs in Los Angeles.
The Rams are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall. They did win six of those games outright, but only one came by more than 7 points. They have simply been fortunate in close games, but I think their luck runs out this week against a team the caliber of the Chiefs. And that hook on the +3.5 could certainly come into play here if the Rams do miraculously win another close one.
The problem with the Rams has been defensively. They just haven’t been the same since losing Aqib Talib. The Rams are giving up 27.9 points per game in their last seven games. And they are running on fumes right now because they haven’t had a bye week yet, which I think is affecting their defense a lot more than their offense.
Conversely, the Chiefs have really turned it around on the defensive end after a poor start to the season. The Chiefs have allowed 23 or fewer points in five of their last six games overall. They are giving up just 17.0 points per game in their last four games.
Patrick Mahomes and company are 2nd in the NFL in scoring offense this season at 35.3 points per game. Mahomes is having an MVP-caliber season, completing 67% of his passes for 3,150 yards with 31 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt. It also helps that he has the best set of weapons in the NFL with Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins at his disposal.
The Rams are 3rd in scoring offense at 33.5 points per game. But they suffered a big blow last week with Cooper Kupp suffering a torn ACL. Kupp was leading the team with six touchdown receptions to go along with 40 receptions for 566 yards despite missing two games previously with a knee injury. He may be the most important receiver on the team as he’s been Jared Goff’s security blanket on 3rd down over the past two seasons. His loss is getting scraped under the rug here, but it’s a big one, and Sean McVay even said so after the Seahawks game last week.
So I’m basically getting the better offense and the better defense in this game catching 3.5 points. And the Chiefs are 9-1 this season with their only loss coming to the Patriots on the road on a last-second field goal by a final of 43-40. The Rams don’t have the same kind of home-field advantage as the Patriots. You can actually hear opposing fans out-cheer them in their home games, similar to what we saw with the Seahawks last week and the Packers a few weeks back in Los Angeles. Chiefs fans travel well, too.
The Rams are 2-15 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games coming in. The Chiefs are 6-0 ATS in road games off two or more consecutive wins over the last two years. Kansas City is 8-0 ATS vs. excellent passing teams who average 260 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The Chiefs are winning by 13.9 points per game in this spot. Kansas City is 6-0 ATS in its last six road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Bet the Chiefs Monday.
Note: I originally took the UNDER 63.5 in this game when it was going to be played in Mexico City. I liked the under because the field conditions were expected to be so sloppy that it was going to be difficult for the offenses to put up points. But I no longer like the UNDER now that it has been moved to Los Angeles. I like the Chiefs at +3.5 instead.
|11-18-18||Vikings +3 v. Bears||Top||20-25||Loss||-118||148 h 41 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Bears NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Minnesota +3
The bye week came at a great time for the Minnesota Vikings. They had some of their star players miss last game or the last few games, and they have a good chance at getting back some this week. WR Stephon Diggs will return from a rib injury, and there’s a good chance both S Andrew Dendejo (groin) and LB Anthony Barr (hamstring) make their returns this week as well. Not to mention, CB Xavier Rhodes (foot) is expected to play as well.
The Vikings will be as close to full strength now as they’ve been since Week 1. And they’ll be highly motivated for a win here Sunday night with first place on the line in the NFC North. They sit at 5-3-1 right now, just 0.5 games behind the Chicago Bears for first place. I expect them to handle their business here as I believe they are the better team in both sides of the ball, and they are in a prime spot here off their bye.
The Bears are starting to get too much respect from the books due to going 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in their last three games overall. But those three wins came against the Jets, Bills and Lions, which are three of the worst teams in the NFL. Their other three wins came against the Cardinals, Bucs and Seahawks. They haven’t beaten a team that currently has a winning record yet. In fact, they have only PLAYED one team that currently has a winning record, and that was a home loss to the Patriots. They have simply feasted on an easy schedule.
The Vikings have owned the Bears, going 6-1 SU In the last seven meetings. Mike Zimmer is 9-1 ATS off a division win as the coach of Minnesota. Chicago is 6-24 ATS in its last 30 games after scoring 25 or more points in two consecutive games. The Bears are 0-8 ATS after gaining 6.5 or more yards per play in their previous game over the last three seasons. They are coming back to lose by 15.4 points per game on average the next week. Take the Vikings Sunday.
|11-18-18||Texans -2.5 v. Redskins||Top||23-21||Loss||-119||140 h 15 m||Show|
25* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Houston Texans -2.5
The Houston Texans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. They have reeled off six straight victories following an 0-3 start. Yet they aren’t getting any respect from the books. They are only 2.5-point favorites here in a great spot against the Washington Redskins, who are one of the most fraudulent 6-3 teams you will ever see.
The Texans are coming off their bye week. It was good timing because their defense has injuries in the secondary, at linebacker and at receiver where they could get some guys back that they were missing previously. And they now come out of the bye playing with a ton of confidence due to the six straight wins. I think they make it seven in a row Sunday.
The Redskins have gotten to 6-3 with smoke and mirrors. And last week’s 16-3 win over Tampa Bay was one of the most misleading box scores of the season. The Bucs racked up 501 total yards and 29 first downs in that game and punted once, but managed only 3 points. They held the Redskins to just 286 total yards and outgained them by 225 for the game.
This is a similar situation to two weeks ago when the Falcons were coming off the bye and facing the Redskins. They rolled to a 38-14 victory while amassing 491 yards. So, the Redskins have allowed 496 yards per game on average in their last two games against the Falcons and Bucs. Their defense is leaky, and their offense is now one of the worst in the league.
Indeed, the Redskins are scoring just 19.6 points per game on the season while ranking 26th in total offense at 337.4 yards per game. You just can’t win in this league consistently with those kind of offensive numbers, which is why there’s no way they should be 6-3. And the offense is only going to continue to be poor due to all the injuries. The Redskins are missing three starters on the offensive line, and they have a few others questionable. They have also been playing without their top two playmakers in Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson, as well as receiver Paul Richardson.
The bye also gave new receiver Demaryius Thomas time to get acclimated to the offense. The Texans, who rank 14th in total offense at 369.1 yards per game while scoring 24.0 points per game, should only continue to get better on offense now with Thomas around. And they could finally get fellow receiver Keke Coutee back from a hamstring injury this week.
Defensively, the Texans have one of the best units in the league. They are giving up just 20.4 points per game while ranking 9th in total defense at 336.3 yards per game. JJ Watt is in line to earn Comeback Player of the Year as he’s back to being his former self. And Jadeveon Clowney is also wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Watt and Clowney will be licking their chops at the opportunity to get after Alex Smith while working against a Redskins offensive line full of backups.
Jay Gruden is 2-9 ATS after allowing 14 points or less as the coach of Washington. The Redskins are 0-6 ATS after allowing 14 points or less over the last two seasons. The Texans are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a bye week. The Redskins are 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games vs. a tam with a winning road record. Washington is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games following a win.
Plays against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Washington) - after going under the total by 42 or more points total in their last five games, with a winning record on the season are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet the Texans Sunday.