|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-06-18||Iowa v. Minnesota +7||48-31||Loss||-105||47 h 52 m||Show|
15* Big Ten PLAY OF THE DAY on Minnesota +7
Both of these teams are off a bye week. While that would normally be a wash, it’s worth noting that Iowa is 2-8 ATS in road games off a bye under head coach Kirk Ferentz. I think Iowa wouldn’t have been too focused during its bye week after pretty much losing its Super Bowl in a 17-28 home loss to Wisconsin that will likely decide the West Division. So I like the spot for Minnesota better.
And I just don’t think this Iowa team is very good. The Hawkeyes have played four home games to open the season. They beat Northern Illinois, Iowa State and Northern Iowa before losing to Wisconsin. So their three wins were against some pretty bad teams. And now they’ll be hitting the road for the first time this season.
Well, Minnesota is 3-0 at home this season. They mopped the floor with New Mexico State 48-10 in their opener. Then they beat Fresno State 21-14 despite being underdogs in that game. And we’ve seen Fresno State go on to basically blow everyone else out, so that win looks better and better by the week. And the Golden Gophers easily covered as 13.5-point favorites in a 26-3 beat down of Miami Ohio.
I think Minnesota comes into this game undervalued due to its 13-42 loss at Maryland last time out. Well, that was a hungry Maryland team that was coming off an upset loss to Temple. And the Golden Gophers were probably feeling fat and happy after their 3-0 start. I think that loss will have humbled them, and it will be much easier to get over than Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin where they had every chance to win.
These teams are pretty much mirror images of each other. Both have sub-par offenses and elite defenses. Minnesota is giving up just 17.2 points, 300 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play this season. They are holding opponents to 12.0 points per game less than their season averages. And it’s their defense that gives them a chance to win here against an Iowa offense that is only scoring 25.2 points per game despite such a soft schedule.
Just looking at the recent series history it’s easy to see there’s value on Minnesota as 7-point home underdogs here. Each of the last three meetings in this series were decided by 7 points or less. Iowa won all three by 5, 7 and 7 points, so you can bet the Golden Gophers want some revenge. They last beat Iowa 51-14 at home in 2014. And the home team is 7-2 SU in the last nine meetings. The underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings.
The Hawkeyes are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Golden Gophers are 10-2-3 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS loss. Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Minnesota) after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse against an opponent after a game with turnover margin of -3 or worse are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take Minnesota Saturday.
|10-06-18||Oklahoma v. Texas +8||Top||45-48||Win||100||74 h 35 m||Show|
20* Oklahoma/Texas Big 12 Early ANNIHILATOR on Texas +8
It’s well documented how great Tom Herman has been as an underdog. In fact, Herman is a ridiculous 22-1 ATS as an underdog in all games as a coach dating back to his time as an assistant at Iowa State and Ohio State, and most recently as the head coach of Houston and Texas.
Herman has his best team yet at Texas. I thought the Longhorns were a Big 12 title contender coming into the season, and nothing has changed my mind on that. Sure, they were upset by Maryland in the opener, but they came into the season overvalued. They have since reeled off four straight victories to get back in the discussion.
They throttled USC 37-14 at home as 3-point favorites, and won outright as 2.5-point home underdogs over TCU in a dominant 31-16 win. I think last week’s narrow 19-14 win at Kansas State has Texas undervalued coming into this week. But that was a 19-0 game before the Wildcats tacked on two second half touchdowns. And Texas held K-State to just 217 total yards in a dominant effort.
Conversely, I think Oklahoma is coming in overvalued off its 66-33 win over Baylor last week. Well, the Sooners were 21-point favorites in that game so it wasn’t expected to be close. And it’s clear that Baylor is still another year or two away from really being competitive.
That effort against Baylor has folks quickly forgetting that Oklahoma needed overtime to beat Army as a 28.5-point favorite the week prior. And the Sooners failed to cover their previous three spreads before Baylor, so they’ve been overvalued. It’s just tough for Top 10 teams like the Sooners to live up to expectations every week because they are ranked so high and in the public eye.
Oklahoma's five opponents this season are a combined 1-10 against Power 5 opponents, so they haven't really played anybody compared to Texas. The Longhorns already have wins over two ranked opponents in TCU and USC by a combined 38 points. They have played the much tougher schedule, and that will have them a lot more battle-tested than the Sooners coming into this one.
Texas certainly wants some revenge after some heartbreaking losses to Oklahoma in recent years. Oklahoma has won three of the last five meetings, including the last two, but all three victories came by only 5 points. Texas is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, including two outright upsets as double-digit underdogs, covering the spread by an average of 15 points per game in those five contests. I think there’s a ton of value getting the Longhorns as more than a TD dog here against the Sooners.
This is an elite Texas defense that is giving up just 19.8 points, 333 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season with opposing QB’s completing just 54.9% of their passes. Their defense is the reason they have a chance to upset the Sooners here. Oklahoma has given up at least 21 points in four consecutive games, including the 33 to Baylor last week. Their lackluster defense, which is allowing 30 points and 470 yards per game in two Big 12 games against Iowa State and Baylor, is going to make it difficult for them to put Texas away.
Texas is 7-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. The Longhorns are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record. The Sooners are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. The Longhorns are 10-2 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 37 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Bet Texas Saturday.
|10-06-18||Alabama v. Arkansas +36||65-31||Win||100||43 h 18 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Arkansas +36
These Alabama spreads are getting out of hand. They are the No. 1 ranked team in the country and the public has been all over them. Oddsmakers are forced to set the number higher than it should be to try and get even action on both sides. And if you faded Alabama the last two weeks, you would have won.
I did fade Alabama two weeks ago by cashing in Texas A&M +27 in a 23-45 road loss to the Crimson Tide. I didn’t pull the trigger last week on UL Lafayette +49 but wish I would have. Alabama actually jumped out to a 56-0 lead before allowing 14 points in the 4th quarter to win 56-14 and fail to cover.
And that’s the problem with laying these kinds of numbers with Alabama. They try for a quarter or two, jump out to a big lead, and then call off the dogs. The back door is almost always open with the underdog. But I don’t think we’ll need the back door with Arkansas this week.
You can see that Arkansas is improving despite a misleading 1-4 record. They have actually outgained three of their five opponents this Eason. They won their opener 55-20. They lost 27-34 to Colorado State after leading that game 27-9 in the second half. They lost 17-44 to North Texas but were only outgained by 40 yards. They lost 3-34 at Auburn but actually outgained Auburn by 65 yards in one of the most misleading finals of the year. And they only lost 17-24 as 20-point underdogs at Texas A&M last week, which was their most impressive showing yet.
The reason Arkansas has a chance to hang within the number is because they boast a defense that is much better than it is getting credit for. The Razorbacks are only giving up 353 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play against opponents that average 430 yards per game and 5.6 per play. They have been very good against the run, yielding just 106 rushing yards per game and 3.0 per carry.
Arkansas held a good North Texas offense to just 376 total yards. Then the next week in the misleading final of the year they held Auburn to just 225 total yards. And then they held an explosive Texas A&M offense to just 377 total yards last week. That’s a Texas A&M offense that put up over 500 yards on Clemson and 393 yards against Alabama. The Razorbacks should be able to stop the run once Alabama gets ahead, and that will be key in them playing close to an even game with the Crimson Tide in the second half.
Arkansas is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings. They lost by 1, 13, 19 and 32 points. But even in that 32-point loss last year on the road they covered as 37-point underdogs. And now they’re 36-point underdogs at home this time around. It’s simply too much.
The Razorbacks are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Crimson Tide are 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. a team with a losing record. Alabama is 1-5 ATS in its last six conference games. Arkansas is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games vs. teams who average 275 or more passing yards pre game. The Razorbacks are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following three or more consecutive losses.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Arkansas) - with 17 or more starters returning are 52-22 (70.3%) ATS since 1992. Bet Arkansas Saturday.
|10-05-18||Georgia Tech v. Louisville +4.5||Top||66-31||Loss||-105||31 h 39 m||Show|
20* Georgia Tech/Louisville ACC ANNIHILATOR on Louisville +4.5
I’m surprised Georgia Tech is a road favorite at Louisville this week. Both of these teams have been disappointing to this point, but for whatever reason the Yellow Jackets are getting respect, but the Cardinals are not. I’m not buying it.
I think Louisville’s potential is much greater the rest of the way than Georgia Tech. This Cardinals team still has a ton of talent and they are relatively healthy. They showed a lot last week when they led Florida State late in the 4th quarter and probably should have won that game, but lost 24-28. They outgained the Seminoles by 51 yards and covered as 5-point underdogs.
I think the Cardinals are going to be playing pissed off at home Friday night. They need a win if they are going to make a bowl game because they cannot afford to fall to 2-4 with the tough schedule that lies ahead. I expect them to get the job done, and for the offense to build on a solid effort in which they gained 421 yards against a good FSU defense.
Louisville should be able to light up a Georgia Tech defense that gave up 49 points to South Florid and 49 points to Clemson in two of its three losses. And this is a Georgia Tech offense that just hasn’t been the same since losing KirVonte Benson to a season-ending injury in the loss to USF. Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and they simply lack playmakers without him.
Georgia Tech’s only two wins this season came against Alcorn State and Bowling Green. They trailed Pitt 24-6 in the 4th quarter, and that’s a Pitt team that we’ve seen is absolutely awful. They also lost 38-49 to a USF team that nearly lost to both Illinois and ECU. It’s clear to me that the Yellow Jackets aren’t very good.
Georgia Tech is 0-8 SU & 0-8 ATS in its last eight games as a road favorite, losing outright by double-digits four times during this span. The Yellow Jackets simply cannot be trusted in the road favorite role, especially here on a short week against a talented Louisville team that is way undervalued right now after a poor start to the season. The Cardinals have the bigger upside, and I think they show it Friday night. Bet Louisville Friday.
|10-04-18||Colts v. Patriots UNDER 52||Top||24-38||Loss||-108||72 h 4 m||Show|
20* Colts/Patriots AFC Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 52
I’m taking the UNDER in this game Thursday night between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. I’m shocked it’s this high given the injuries to both teams, plus the fact that both offenses just really aren’t playing well at all this season.
Andrew Luck’s favorite target in T.Y. Hilton is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Tight end Jack Doyle is also out with a hip injury. The Colts were missing their two starting tackles last week and could be without them again. I just don’t know how the Colts are going to be able to move the ball and score points here.
I know Julian Edelman returns for the Patriots this week from a four-game suspension. However, they could be without Rob Gronkowski, who left last week with an ankle injury and is highly questionable. Either way this is a Patriots offense that just isn’t as explosive as in year’s past as they’ll have to rely more on defense this season to win games.
New England is only averaging 23.7 points and 337.2 yards per game this season. The defense is giving up just 21.0 points per game, and came through with their best effort of the season last week in holding the Dolphins to just 7 points and 172 total yards. Expect more of the same here from this defense against the banged-up Colts.
Indianapolis has been fine offensively in its two domed home games, but outside on grass has been another story. The Colts beat the Redskins 21-9 in Week 2 for just 30 combined points, and they lost to the Eagles 16-20 in Week 3 for just 36 combined points. Well, they managed just 281 total yards against the Redskins, and just 209 total yards against the Eagles. Give their defense credit for giving up just 14.5 points per game in their two road games as this is clearly an improved unit this season.
Plays on the UNDER on any team where the total is 49.5 or more in a game involving two average teams (+/- 3 PPG differential) are 38-12 (76%) over the last five seasons. The UNDER is 6-0 in Colts last six road games. The UNDER is 8-1 in Colts last nine games following a loss. The UNDER is 7-0 in Patriots last seven games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game. The UNDER is 13-6 in Patriots last 19 games overall. The UNDER is 10-2 in Colts last 12 games overall. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-04-18||Tulsa +18.5 v. Houston||26-41||Win||100||8 h 59 m||Show|
15* Tulsa/Houston ESPN No-Brainer on Tulsa +18.5
I have no doubt Tulsa is better than an 18.5-point underdog to Houston today. But the fact that the Golden Hurricane have opened 1-3 has them way undervalued. I’ll back them here catching this big number in a rivalry game that they care more about than Houston does.
All three of Tulsa’s losses have come by 14 points or less. They only lost by 7 at Texas as 21-point underdogs to show what they are capable of. They lost 20-29 to Arkansas State and were only outgained by 70 yards. And they actually outgained Temple by 103 yards but lost 17-31 on the road due to giving up two defensive touchdowns.
Tulsa has now had two full weeks to get right off their bye. They are outgaining their opponents by 34 yards per game this season, so they are way better than their 1-3 record would suggest. And the schedule has been tough to their credit, so they are battle-tested and ready to give Houston a run for its money.
The Cougars have opened 3-1 and are overvalued. Their win over Arizona doesn’t look that good now, and their other two wins came against Rice and Texas Southern. They only beat Rice by 18 as 25-point favorites and actually trailed that game 24-17 at halftime. They needed a big second half just to escape with that victory. And they lost 49-63 to Texas Tech.
It’s clear that Tulsa takes this game more seriously than Houston every year. Tulsa is 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Houston hasn’t beaten Tulsa by more than 14 points in any of the five meetings. Last year, Tulsa won 45-17 outright as 13.5-point home underdogs, and that was a bad Tulsa team. In 2016, Tulsa only lost 31-38 at Houston as 21.5-point dogs.
The Golden Hurricane are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning record. Tulsa is 16-6 ATS in its last 22 road games. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Houston is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 conference games. The Golden Hurricane are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in Houston. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Take Tulsa Thursday.
|10-01-18||Chiefs v. Broncos +5||Top||27-23||Win||100||99 h 15 m||Show|
20* Chiefs/Broncos ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Denver +5
The Kansas City Chiefs are clearly the flavor of the week right now. They have opened 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS with Patrick Mahomes setting all kinds of records through three weeks. While he and the Chiefs have been impressive, it’s clearly time to ‘sell high’ on them.
The Chiefs were 3.5-point underdogs at the Chargers in Week 1. They won that game by 10 against a Chargers defense that was missing two of their best players. Then they were 4-point road dogs to the Steelers in Week 2 and won 42-37 against a Steelers defense that is clearly terrible without Ryan Shazier, and they were missing Joe Haden. Then they won 38-27 as 6-point home favorites over the 49ers last week. The 49ers also have a soft defense, and Jimmy G got hurt when they were making their comeback.
So now the Chiefs are being asked to go on the road and lay 5 points to a good Denver Broncos team. And they will be playing in altitude, which makes this one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL for the Broncos. They won their first two home games over the Seahawks and Raiders this season before losing on the road to the Ravens last week, which isn’t a bad loss.
There’s no question the Broncos have one of the most improved offenses in the league behind Case Keenum and the emergence of RB Philip Lindsay. Denver is putting up 382.7 yards per game and 6.0 yards per play despite playing two quality defenses in Seattle and Baltimore. They are tied for 11th in total offense this season.
Well, Mahomes has masked a Kansas City offense that has been atrocious this year. Indeed, the Chiefs rank dead last in total defense at 474 yards per game. They are also 31st in scoring defense at 30.7 points per game and 31st in yards per play (6.7) allowed. No question Keenum and company are going to be able to take advantage.
But the biggest reason I like the Broncos this week is because they have the defense it takes to stop the league’s top offenses. They have a tremendous pass rush with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who will make life miserable on Mahomes. And they have one of the top secondaries in the NFL. I know the numbers don’t show it up to this point, but I’m believing it’s more of an aberration. This has been a top 5 defense, especially against the pass, for the better part of the last five years.
Denver also wants revenge from five straight loses to the Chiefs in this series. But the last two Kansas City wins in Denver have come by 3 points each. And I think we are getting a ton of value here with the Broncos +5 at home. They can still lose the game and get the cover with this inflated line, though I’m expecting them to win outright. Bet the Broncos Monday.
|09-30-18||Dolphins v. Patriots -6.5||Top||7-38||Win||100||143 h 35 m||Show|
25* AFC East GAME OF THE YEAR on New England Patriots -6.5
Had the Patriots not lost to the Lions last week, this line would have been closer to Patriots -10. Now we are getting the Patriots under a touchdown at -6.5. I think we are getting a ton of line value here in a spot that is a supreme one for the home team.
The Patriots will obviously be in a sour mood off their lost to the Lions. We’ll get a great effort from them here, especially since this game has a ton riding on it in the AFC East race with Miami already off to a 3-0 start. I love backing the Patriots off a loss, and I think they’ll perform much better at home here off back-to-back road losses.
The Dolphins are the most fraudulent team in the NFL. Yes, they’re 3-0, but they are very fortunate to have that record. They were outgained by 105 yards in their win over the Jets. They only outgained the Titans by 6 yards and got help with Marcus Mariota getting injured. And they were outgained by 61 yards by the Raiders last week. So, they have been outgained by 150 yards on the season, or an average of 50 yards per game. And their three wins have come against three of the worst teams in the NFL in the Titans, Raiders and Jets.
The Patriots had a lot of injuries heading into that Detroit games. I’m expecting they could get back Patrick Chung, Trey Flowers, Eric Rowe and Rex Burkhead. Plus, with their deficiencies at receiver thus far, don’t be surprised if Josh Gordon makes his New England debut here at home and has a huge game.
Home-field advantage has been huge in this series. The home team is 10-2 SU & 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings. The Patriots are 6-0 SU & 6-0 ATS in their last six home meetings with the Dolphins. They have won by 18, 7, 29, 28, 10 and 28 points in their last six home meetings with the Dolphins, or by an average of 20 points per game. They have won nine straight home meetings with Miami with eight of those wins coming by 7 points or more.
The Dolphins suffered some key injuries on defense last week that will hurt them against the Patriots this week. They lost arguably their best run stopper and one of their top pass rushers in DE William Hayes to a torn ACL. They also lost fellow DE Andre Branch. S Reshad Jones is questionable with a shoulder injury here as well. Look for the Patriots to get their running game going this week, and for Tom Brady to get right against a soft Miami defense.
New England is 8-1 ATS as a home favorite of 7 points or less over the last three seasons. The Patriots are 8-0 ATS after gaining 99 or fewer rushing yards in two consecutive games over the last two seasons. New England is 29-12 ATS in its last 41 games overall. The Patriots are 35-16-2 ATS in their last 53 home games. The Dolphins are 5-22 ATS in their last 27 games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in their previous game. Miami is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games. Bet the Patriots Sunday.
|09-30-18||Texans +3 v. Colts||Top||37-34||Win||100||142 h 10 m||Show|
20* AFC South GAME OF THE MONTH on Houston Texans +3
The Houston Texans have been a big disappointment with their 0-3 start. So I think they are undervalued right now because they have not lived up to expectations. I expect a huge effort from them Sunday in Indianapolis as they try to get in the win column and save their season.
The best part about the Texans is there’s no doubt they are better than their 0-3 record would suggest. They lost in Week 1 at New England but were only outgained by 64 yards. They outgained the Titans by 154 yards and should have won that game on the road. And they outgained the Giants by 48 yards at home last week, yet lost.
There’s no question the Texans still have a great defense. And their offense hasn’t gotten the points that they should have by now with how well their moving the football. Indeed, the Texans rank 8th in the NFL in total offense at 396.3 yards per game, but just 22nd in scoring offense at 19.7 points per game. At some point, this offense is going to start turning that yardage into points, and I’m guessing it’s going to be this week.
I strongly believe the Colts are one of the worst teams in the NFL. They beat the Redskins in Week 2 for their only win, but they were outgained by 53 yards. They were outgained by 170 yards by the Eagles last week in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. While the Colts may be improved defensively, this is still a bottom half of the league unit.
The problem with the Colts right now actually is their offense. They rank 28th in the league in total offense at 290.0 yards per game. Andrew Luck doesn’t quite look right, and the offense is missing a lot of players due to injury. In fact, the Colts as a team have the longest injury report in the entire NFL if you take a look at it. They have been playing without important players like TE Jack Doyle, T Antony Castonzo and RB Marlon Mack. They have a handful of important defensively players who are either listed as questionable or out this week.
Plays on road teams (Houston) - who are averaging at least 265 passing yards per game against a poor pass defense that allows 230-265 YPG, after allowing 7 or more passing yards per attempt in two straight games are 29-6 (82.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Bill O’Brien is 15-5 ATS vs. awful pass defenses that allow 64% or more completions as the coach of Houston. Opposing QB’s are completing 71.2% of their passes against the Colts this season. The road team is 5-1-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. Take the Texans Sunday.
|09-30-18||Eagles -3.5 v. Titans||23-26||Loss||-110||142 h 9 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Philadelphia Eagles -3.5
Carson Wantz had a successful debut against the Colts last week. He completed 25-of-37 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception while leading the Eagles to a 20-16 victory. And that was clearly a bigger blowout than the final score showed last the Eagles outgained the Colts by 170 yards.
Now I expect Wentz to be even sharper in his second game back against the Titans. I actually think Wentz is at least a 4-point upgrade over Nick Foles. It’s a miracle the Eagles won a Super Bowl with Foles as their QB because he did not play well other than the Super Bowl. This team simply won with a great defense, which they still have after limiting the Colts to just 209 total yards last week. And now their offense will get back to being that high-octane unit it was with Wentz under center last year.
Tennessee is the single-most fraudulent team in the NFL right now. They’re 2-1, but they should clearly be 0-3. They lost 20-27 at Miami in their opener. Then they beat Houston 20-17 at home in Week 2 despite getting outgained by 154 yards. And they upset the Jaguars 9-6 last week. That win over the Jags is earning them too much credit from oddsmakers. It was a clear letdown spot for Jacksonville off its win over New England the previous week.
The Titans simply cannot keep winning with how poor their offense has been playing. They rank 29th in total offense at 284.0 yards per game. They are also 27th at 4.7 yards per play. Marcus Mariota was forced into action last week despite a sore elbow because Blaine Gabbert was knocked out with a concussion. Mariota has looked terrible thus far this season, and he doesn’t have any weapons, especially with his favorite target in TE Delanie Walker out with a season-ending injury.
Meanwhile, the Eagles get some key players back this week on offense. Both RB Jay Ajayi and RB Darren Sproles are expected to return this week after sitting out the Colts game. Plus, WR Alshon Jeffery may return this week after missing the first three games of the season with a shoulder injury. That would be a big boost to Wentz and the offense.
The Titans are 17-39-2 ATS in their last 58 games following a SU win, and 16-36-1 ATS in their last 53 games off an ATS win. The Eagles are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games overall. Philadelphia is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Titans will get exposed this week for the frauds that they are by one of the best teams in the NFL in Philadelphia. Roll with the Eagles Sunday.
|09-29-18||Oregon State +22 v. Arizona State||Top||24-52||Loss||-106||54 h 24 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday Late-Night BAILOUT on Oregon State +22
I really question what the Arizona State Sun Devils have left in the tank for Oregon State this week. They are coming off three straight physically taxing games against Michigan State, San Diego State and Washington over the past three weeks. Those are three teams that will punch you in the mouth on both sides of the football.
Now they must play an Oregon State team that will go up-tempo and spread you out. It’s a completely different style than what they’ve seen thus far, and I think this Oregon State offense will certainly have some success against Arizona State’s defense.
It’s an Oregon State offense that scored 31 points and had nearly 400 total yards against Ohio State in Week 1. Then they scored 48 with 639 total yards against Southern Utah in Week 2. And they lost scored 35 with 540 total yards against Nevada in Week 3 in a game they should have won.
But Oregon State laid an egg in a 14-35 home loss to Arizona last week. So this week I think we’re getting the opportunity to ‘buy low’ on the Beavers off that performance. And we are ‘selling high’ on the Sun Devils after their 3-1 ATS start which included a cover as 18-point underdogs in a 20-27 loss at Washington last week. The Sun Devils will also have a ‘hangover’ effect after facing ranked Washington, and they won’t be focused enough this week to put Oregon State away by more than three touchdowns.
And Arizona State hasn’t been able to beat Oregon State by this kind of margin in recent years. In fact, each of the last nine meetings in this series have been decided by 16 points or less. And dating back further, Arizona State has not beaten Oregon State by more than 21 points in any of the last 23 meetings. That’s a perfect 23-0 system backing the Beavers pertaining to this 22-point spread. Bet Oregon State Saturday.
|09-29-18||Ohio State v. Penn State UNDER 71||Top||27-26||Win||100||52 h 5 m||Show|
20* Ohio State/Penn State ABC No-Brainer on UNDER 71
This total of 71 is simply too high. For starters, it’s the highest total for any Penn State game in program history. And it’s the third-highest total in Ohio State program history. That alone shows that there has to be some value with this UNDER.
This game not only has Big Ten title implications, but also national title implications as well. It will be played closer to the vest, which is going to favor the defenses. It will be a white out at Penn State Saturday night and the noise is going to affect both offenses. It’s also on grass, which is ideal conditions for under bettors as compared to turf.
A lot is being made about how well both offenses have played. But they’ve both played extremely soft schedules to this point. And the defenses have both been excellent. The Nittany Lions are allowing just 19.5 points per game this season, holding opponents to 13 points and 1.3 yards per play less than their season averages. The Buckeyes are giving up 17 points per game, holding opponents to 9.4 points and 0.5 yards per play less than their season averages.
I think the fact that last year was a shootout between these two teams is also playing into this total being so high. Ohio State beat Penn State 39-38 at home last year for 77 combined points. But that was a huge misleading final. Penn State only had 283 yards of total offense, yet scored 38 points. And they barely topped 800 total yards between them.
The previous three meetings between these teams were all low-scoring. Penn State won 24-21 at home in 2016 for 45 combined points. Ohio State won 38-10 at home in 2015 for 48 combined points. And Ohio State won 31-24 (OT) on the road in 2014 for 55 combined points, but just 48 points at the end of regulation. I think we see a combined score in the 50’s here, not the 70’s. Take the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|09-29-18||Hawaii v. San Jose State +10||Top||44-41||Win||100||51 h 24 m||Show|
25* Mountain West GAME OF THE YEAR on San Jose State +10
The San Jose State Spartans are coming off a bye week. They have had two full weeks to prepare for Hawaii, and they’ll be desperate for a win after their 0-3 start to the season. I think they’re sitting on a big game here against a Hawaii team that has to be tired after playing five games already without a bye in between.
It’s easy to see why San Jose State is 0-3. The Spartans opened the season with a very good FCS opponent in Cal Davis and lost 38-44 as 3-point favorites. Then they went on the road to Washington State and lost 31-0 as 30.5-point underdogs. It’s clear that Washington State is better than most expected.
But most impressively, San Jose State only lost 22-35 at Oregon as 42.5-point underdogs in Week 3. They covered the spread by 29.5 points in that matchup. And we know how good Oregon looked at home against Stanford last week as they clearly should have won that game. And SJSU held Oregon’s offense to just 35 points and 443 total yards, which is no small feat.
Hawaii is overvalued off its 4-1 start to the season. The four wins have come against Colorado State, Navy, Rice and Duquesne. And it’s not like they are blowing anyone out as their biggest victory was a 21-point win over Duquesne as 36.5-point favorites. Now the Warriors are being asked to lay double-digits on the road here to an improved, rested San Jose State squad, and it’s simply too much.
Last year, San Jose State went into Hawaii and played a four-quarter game, losing 26-37 as 17-point underdogs. They actually outgained the Warriors by 53 yards in that contest and racked up 504 total yards on Hawaii’s defense. I think they’ll have their way with a Hawaii defense that is giving up 30.6 points, 428 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play against opponents that are averaging 25.7 points, 374 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. This is a bad Hawaii defense that can’t be trusted laying double-digits on the road here.
Nick Rolovich is 1-8 ATS as a favorite as the coach of Hawaii. Rolovich is 1-10 ATS off two or more consecutive ATS losses as the coach of the Warriors. The Warriors are also 0-9 ATS in their last nine games off an ATS loss. Hawaii is 6-21 ATS in its last 27 games vs. a team with a losing record. Bet San Jose State Saturday.
|09-29-18||Florida Atlantic v. Middle Tennessee State +3.5||24-25||Win||100||51 h 24 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Middle Tennessee +3.5
The betting public jumped on the Lane Kiffin train late in the season last year. They beat up on a very weak schedule and kept on covering. And they haven’t jumped off the train yet in 2018. The Owls clearly came into this season overvalued, and that has shown with their 0-4 ATS start. And now they’re once again overvalued as road favorites here against a very good Middle Tennessee squad.
FAU opened its season with a 14-63 loss at Oklahoma as only 18.5-point dogs. Then they failed to cover as 7.5-point home favorites in a 33-27 home win over Air Force. They weren’t impressive at all in their 49-28 home win over Bethune-Cookman as 40.5-point favorites. And they lost 36-56 on the road to UCF as 14-point favorites last week.
That game against UCF sets FAU up for a big ‘hangover’ effect here. The Owls wanted to prove they could beat UCF, a team that went undefeated last season and still hasn’t lost. And instead they got embarrassed, giving up 56 points and 545 total yards and turning the ball over three times. I don’t think they’ll get up off the mat in time to get ready for Middle Tennessee this week.
This is a Middle Tennessee team that is rested and ready to go after getting a bye last week. And it’s also one that is undervalued right now due to its 1-2 start to the season. But both losses came on the road to a pair of SEC teams in Vanderbilt and Georgia. Now they’ll be primed for a big performance in their Conference USA opener here against FAU with two weeks to prepare for them.
Middle Tennessee is 9-1 SU in its last 10 meetings with FAU. The Blue Raiders had their nine-game winning streak over the Owls snapped last year in a 20-38 road loss. But they were without starting QB Brent Stockstill, and their backup QB three three costly interceptions. Yet the Blue Raiders still outgained the Owls 454 to 413 in that game with a backup QB.
Now Stockstill is back healthy and sitting on a big performance as he’s one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country. Stockstill is completing 69% of his passes with a 7-to-2 TD/INT ratio thus far in 2018 despite facing a brutal schedule. He’ll have his way with an awful FAU pass defense that is allowing 67.3% completions and 10.1 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks. This its an awful FAU defense in general.
Middle Tennessee is 6-0 ATS off a loss by 21 or more points over the last three seasons. It is bouncing back to win by 16.0 points per game on average in this spot. The Owls are 3-11-1 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Blue Raiders are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss. Middle Tennessee is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games following a bye week. The Blue Raiders are 6-0 ATS in their last six games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Roll with Middle Tennessee Saturday.
|09-29-18||Cincinnati v. Connecticut +17.5||49-7||Loss||-106||48 h 52 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Connecticut +17.5
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Connecticut and ‘sell high’ on Cincinnati this week. Cincinnati has opened 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS this season, while UConn has opened 1-3 SU & 0-3-1 ATS. As a result, you have to pay a tax to bet Cincinnati here as 17.5-point road favorites against the Huskies.
I’ll admit the Huskies have a terrible defense and have been dreadful. But a lot of that has to do with the schedule. They have faced UCF, Boise State and Syracuse already, and those are three of the best offenses in the country. It’s also a big reason why they are 1-3 as they have been 24-point underdogs plus in those three contests. I don’t think Cincinnati is anywhere near as good as those three squads.
Cincinnati has feasted on an easy schedule. They beat UCLA, Miami Ohio, Alabama A&M and Ohio. Well, UCLA is still winless, Miami Ohio is not nearly as good as they were expected to be, and the same can be said for Ohio. No question the Bearcats are improved this season, but they are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers due to this 4-0 start.
UConn does have a good offense that can put up enough points to stay within the number this week. Despite the tough schedule, they are averaging 25.2 points and 412 yards per game. Randy Edsall has allowed them to put in a more up-tempo offense that is starting to see the fruits of their labor.
UConn was bad last season and still nearly beat Cincinnati, losing 21-22 as 6.5-point road underdogs. They outgained the Bearcats 449 to 335 in that game. And UConn won 20-9 as 3-point home underdogs against the Bearcats in 2016 as well, outgaining them 412 to 317 in the process.
So, after being only 6.5-point road dogs to Cincinnati last year, the Huskies are now 17.5-point home dogs this year, basically an 18-point adjustment from 2017 to 2018 when you factor in home-field advantage. There’s clearly a ton of value on the Huskies +17.5 here.
Plays against road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Cincinnati) - who are outgaining their opponents by 125 yards per game, after gaining 525 or more yards in two consecutive games are 46-14 (76.7%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Cincinnati is 1-8 ATS vs. poor pass defenses that allow 58% or more completions over the last three seasons. The Bearcats are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 conference games. The Huskies are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. The home team is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings. Take UConn Saturday.
|09-29-18||Syracuse +25.5 v. Clemson||23-27||Win||100||44 h 24 m||Show|
15* Syracuse/Clemson ACC Early ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +25.5
Clemson is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers as 25.5-point home favorites over Syracuse this week. This line opened at -18.5 and has been moved seven full points to -25.5 as of this writing. That was mostly due to Clemson announcing that freshman Trevor Lawrence will start at QB.
No question Lawrence has the better long-term potential over the incumbent Kelly Bryant. But I worry about the state of the Tigers in the locker room right now because Bryant immediately announced he was transferring after the decision to start Lawrence came out this week. There’s no doubt that the team loved Bryant.
And Clemson being a Top 5 team makes them overvalued most weeks. They have opened just 1-3 ATS in their four games with their lone cover coming as 15.5-point road favorites over Georgia Tech last week. I was on Clemson in that game as my free pick for Saturday because it was a great matchup for them, and they own the Yellow Jackets’ triple option. And Georgia Tech simply isn’t any good.
But this Syracuse team might be the most underrated team in the entire country. Head coach Dino Babers has his best team yet this year. The Orange have opened 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS in their four games. Yet they are getting no respect from oddsmakers this week.
Syracuse goes as QB Eric Dungey goes. When healthy, they have been a dangerous team. Last year they upset Clemson at home as 23.5-point underdogs. And they were huge dogs against LSU, Miami and Florida State last year, but lost those three games by a combined 11 points.
Dungey is healthy this year and engineering an offense that is putting up 49.5 points and 523 yards per game. He is completing 62.4% of his passes with a 9-to-1 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 354 yards and four scores on 6.9 per carry. Dungey gave Clemson’s defense fits last year. They run a quick-strike passing game that will negate Clemson’s great D-Line, and Dungey’s ability to extend plays is exactly the recipe for having success against this Clemson D.
After all, Clemson’s worst performance this season was against Texas A&M and mobile QB Kellen Mond, who torched the Clemson defense for 501 total yards, including 430 passing. The Tigers only won that game 28-26 as 11.5-point favorites. I’m not so sure Syracuse isn’t every bit as good as Texas A&M, and Dungey is a comparable QB to Mond, and probably better. Clemson’s other three wins have come against Furman, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, three run-heavy triple-option teams who just didn’t have the athletes to match the Tigers. Syracuse does.
I have been impressed with the improvement Syracuse has made defensively this year, which I think is getting overlooked. Not only can Syracuse score with Clemson, they can get off the field, too. That was evident in Week 3 when they held Florida State to just 7 points and 240 total yards. I know Western Michigan scored 42 points on them in Week 1, but Syracuse got a huge early 34-7 lead and was simply playing prevent defense the rest of the way. They won’t be playing prevent against Clemson, they’ll be playing more aggressive like they did against FSU.
Plays on road teams (Syracuse) an excellent offensive team averaging 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with an excellent defense allowing 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game are 34-9 (79.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Clemson has only won three of its past 19 ACC games by more than 22 points. The Tigers are also 1-8 ATS in their last nine ACC games as a favorite of 20-plus points. The Orange are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a win. The Orange are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games. Roll with Syracuse Saturday.
|09-29-18||Temple v. Boston College -12.5||35-45||Loss||-100||44 h 22 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Boston College -12.5
A lot of bettors were high on Boston College coming into the season. It made sense because they finished last season very strong and had 16 starters back this season, including 10 on an explosive offense led by QB Anthony Brown and RB AJ Dillon. And their defense is stout year after year.
The Eagles delivered for bettors the first three weeks of the season, opening 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS with wins and covers against UMass, Holy Cross and Wake Forest. But then they laid an egg last week at Purdue, losing 13-30 as 6-point favorites. And I think this is a perfect ‘buy low’ situation on the Eagles this week as only 12.5-point favorites over Temple.
Look for the Eagles to be in a sour mood all week in practice. They’re sitting on a big effort here. I still believe this is one of the best teams in the ACC and a legit contender. That loss to Purdue wasn’t as bad as it looked because Purdue was way better than the 0-3 record they had coming into that contest, losing three straight coin flip games. Purdue simply wanted it more, and Boston College was feeling fat and happy being ranked in the Top 25. They’ll be humbled this week, and a humbled team is a dangerous one.
We’ll ‘sell high’ on this Temple team this week. The Owls are coming off back-to-back wins and covers. They beat Maryland 35-14 on the road as 16-point underdogs. Then they beat Tulsa 31-17 as 6-point home favorites last week. Those two efforts quickly allowed most to overlook the fact that Temple had already been upset by Villanova 17-19 at home in Week 1 and Buffalo 29-36 at home in Week 2.
I think this Temple team is more like the one that lost to Villanova and Buffalo than the one that beat Maryland and Tulsa. And that win over a 2-10 Tulsa team from last year could not have been more misleading. Tulsa outgained Temple 403 to 300 for the game, or by 103 total yards. But the Golden Hurricane turned the ball over 5 times, including a 36-yard INT return TD and a 50-yard fumble return TD. I’m giving Temple zero credit for beating Tulsa at home in a game they should have lost. Boston College will be by far the best team that they’ve faced yet.
Boston College is 10-1 ATS when playing with 6 or less days’ rest over the last two seasons. The Eagles are 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall. Boston College is 8-0-1 ATS in its last nine games on field turf. The Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. ACC opponents.
Boston College is 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in its last five meetings with Temple, winning all five games by 17 points or more and by an average of 23.0 points per game. The Eagles get right this week with a blowout victory by two touchdowns or more. Bet Boston College Saturday.
|09-28-18||UCLA v. Colorado UNDER 61||Top||16-38||Win||100||54 h 16 m||Show|
20* UCLA/Colorado Pac-12 Late-Night BAILOUT on UNDER 61
Both Colorado and UCLA have had two weeks to prepare for this game as each is coming off a bye week. I actually think that strongly favors the defenses in this game getting that extra time to prepare for these offenses. And as a result, I expect a lower-scoring game than the oddsmakers are anticipating, so I’ll take the UNDER 61 here.
Colorado is putting up some big offensive numbers thus far, but that’s only because they’ve faced such a soft schedule of opposing defenses in Colorado State, Nebraska and New Hampshire. And despite playing a decent schedule of opposing offenses, the Buffaloes are only giving up 18.3 points, 373 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play.
This isn’t the Chip Kelly offense we saw at Oregon. UCLA has an atrocious offense and is seriously lacking talent. The Bruins have only averaged 17.3 points, 320 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season. That’s the biggest reason why they are 0-3 because their offense has been woeful, plus they’ve played a tough schedule.
But I have been impressed with what UCLA has done defensively despite facing Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Fresno State. The Bruins are holding those three offenses to an average of just 403 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. Those three offenses average 6.3 yards per play on the season, so the Bruins are holding them to 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages.
The last two meetings in this series have gone well UNDER the total. Colorado beat UCLA 20-10 at home in 2016 with total of 56.5, going 26.5 points UNDER the number with only 30 combined points. Then last year UCLA won 27-23 at home for 50 combined points with a total of 66.5, going UNDER by 16.5 points. Now we’re seeing another total that is too high here at 61.
UCLA is 10-2 UNDER in its last 12 games after allowing 37 points or more in two straight games coming in. The Bruins are 32-13 UNDER in their last 45 games after a game where they committed four or more turnovers. The UNDER is 6-0 in Colorado’s last six Friday games. Bet the UNDER in this game Friday.
|09-27-18||Vikings +7 v. Rams||Top||31-38||Push||0||58 h 4 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Rams NFC Thursday No-Brainer on Minnesota +7
Had the Vikings not lost to the Bills last week, this line would have been in the -3.5 to -4 range in favor of the Los Angeles Rams. But since they lost, we are getting at least a field goal worth of value here. I simply believe that was a flat spot for the Vikings and actually had the Bills +17 as a premium play Sunday.
The Vikings were coming off a huge game against their biggest rivals in the Packers, in which they tied in Green Bay. And they had another massive game on deck Thursday on a short week here against the Rams. So it was easy to see the Vikings coming out flat. I think now they’ll be fired up and be playing with a chip on their shoulder this week, so we should get the best version of the Vikings, which is still one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Rams are clearly overvalued right now. They have opened 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS, and everyone seems to be already crowning them Super Bowl champs. They have won their first three games by double-digits. However, those three wins came against teams who are now a combined 1-8 in the Raiders, Cardinals and Chargers. The Vikings will be by far the best team they have faced yet.
We saw what happened last year when the high-octane Rams’ offense went up against the best defense in the NFL. The Vikings won that game 24-7 at home as 2-point favorites. They held the Rams to just 254 total yards and outgained them by nearly 200 yards in the win.
I think this Vikings offense will get going again here against a Rams defense that is banged up right now. Two of their key acquisitions this offseason were corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Well, both Talib and Peters got injured in their 35-23 win over the Chargers last week. Talib is for sure out, while Peters is very questionable and unlikely to play.
Kirk Cousins will be able to dice up this undermanned Los Angeles secondary. Cousins has certainly lived up to the hype of the big contract thus far. He is completing 68.3% of his passes for 965 yards with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions through three games this year.
Mike Zimmer is 9-2 ATS vs. teams who average at least 375 yards per game on offense as the coach of Minnesota. Zimmer is 20-9 ATS as a dog as the coach of Minnesota. Zimmer is 45-24 ATS in all games as the coach of the Vikings. The Vikings are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games following a loss. I trust Zimmer to have his team ready to put forth a big effort against the Rams in this one. Bet the Vikings Thursday.
|09-27-18||North Carolina +18 v. Miami-FL||10-47||Loss||-105||29 h 12 m||Show|
15* UNC/Miami ACC ANNIHILATOR on North Carolina +18
Certainly the start to the season was not a good one for North Carolina. They lost 17-24 at California and were trailing by three touchdowns at one point in their opener. Then they lost 19-41 at East Carolina as a 15-point favorite.
But I think those two results had this team undervalued moving forward. And they pulled off the upset as 3-point home underdogs to Pittsburgh last week. And that game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Tar Heels outgained the Panthers by 84 yards. They racked up 486 total yards on a good Pitt defense.
Miami had a big season last year during its 10-0 start, but it got very lucky in close games. And the Hurricanes went on to lose their next four games to quality competition, including their 17-33 season-opening loss to LSU. They have rebounded with three straight wins since, but those have come against Savannah State, Toledo and FIU. And they only beat FIU 31-17 as 26-point home favorites last week. Now they’re laying an even bigger price here to UNC as 18-point favorites.
Plus, this is a UNC team that is going to be vastly improved this week from the simple fact that they get seven players back from suspension who missed the first three games this year. One of those is sophomore QB Chazz Surratt, who started for them last year. Senior DE Malik Carney is also back. He had two sacks against Cal in Week 1 and has had his suspension staggered. OL Brian Anderson was the No. 12 center in the country coming out of high school. If nothing else, these seven players will add some depth.
UNC has clearly had Miami’s number in recent years. The Tar Heels are just 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. They covered as 21-point home underdogs in a 19-24 loss to Miami last year and actually outgained the Hurricanes. They won outright as 6-point road dogs in 2016 by a final of 20-13 and outgained the Hurricanes by nearly 100 yards. Larry Fedora and company just seem to get up for Miami every year.
Plays against home favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Miami) - with a good run D that allows 100 or fewer rushing yards per game, after allowing one or less rushing yards per attempt last game are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS since 1992.
The Tar Heels are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games. Fedora is a perfect 7-0 ATS vs. good punt return teams who average 12 or more yards per return as the coach of UNC. The Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. a team with a winning record. UNC is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games overall. The Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games. I simply believe Miami is overvalued right now, while UNC is undervalued. Take North Carolina Thursday.
|09-24-18||Steelers v. Bucs OVER 53.5||30-27||Win||100||146 h 52 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Bucs ESPN Total DOMINATOR on OVER 53.5
The Tampa Bay Bucs have been the surprise of the NFL through two weeks. Not for their defense, but for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense. They are 2-0 behind that offense that scored 48 points against a good Saints defense in Week 1 and followed it up with 27 points against a great Eagles defense in Week 2.
The Bucs haven’t been able to run the football, so they’ve relied solely on Fitzpatrick, which is great for OVER bettors. He threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Saints in Week 1. Then he threw for 42 yards and 4 touchdowns with an interception against the Eagles in Week 2. The Bucs are loaded with weapons at receiver in DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin. It’s nice to see this offense living up to their potential.
The Bucs had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season. It appears that hasn’t changed this year, either. They are giving up 30.5 points and 443.5 yards per game, including 6.8 yards per play thus far. The Steelers should be able to take advantage and put up a big number here.
Pittsburgh hasn’t had any problem moving the football on offense this season. The Steelers are averaging 29.0 points and 473.5 yards per game in their two games against the Chiefs and Browns. But their defense has been atrocious since losing Ryan Shazier to a season-ending injury last year. And it has carried over into 2018 as the Steelers are giving up 31.5 points and 388 yards per game this year.
Star CB Joe Haden missed last week for the Steelers and could be out again this week. The Bucs are playing without LB Kendell Beckwith and CB Vernon Hargreaves, and they could be without both CB Brent Grimes and DT Vita Vea again this week.
Plays on the OVER on road teams against the total (Pittsburgh) - off an upset loss as a home favorite, in the first month of the season are 48-19 (71.6%) over the last 10 seasons. The OVER is 7-1 in Steelers last eight games on grass. The OVER is 4-1 in Bucs last five vs. a team with a losing record. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|09-23-18||Patriots v. Lions OVER 51.5||10-26||Loss||-106||121 h 2 m||Show|
15* Pats/Lions NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on OVER 51.5
Expect plenty of offensive fireworks Sunday night inside the dome at Ford Field between the Patriots and Lions. This game should see touchdowns in bunches and should easily sail OVER this 51.5-point total. I rarely take overs this high, but this is a new NFL and this one I believe to be worth it.
The Lions clearly have a woeful defense again this season. They are giving up 39 points per game and 6.3 yards per play through two games against the Jets and 49ers. Offensively, the Lions have no running game again this season, putting everything on Matthew Stafford’s shoulders. That’s good for OVER bettors. They are averaging 314 passing yards per game through two games.
New England has played two tough defenses already to start the season in the Texans and Jaguars. That’s why the Patriots are only averaging 23.5 points per game thus far. But the Lions have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and their offense will get right here.
The problem for the Patriots dating back to the Super Bowl is that their defense just isn’t as good as it has been in year’s past. They gave up 41 points to the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Then they gave up 20 to a banged-up Texans offense in Week 1 before allowing a whopping 31 points and 481 yards to a bad Jacksonville offense in Week 2. Blake Bortles threw for 377 yards and 4 touchdowns on them!
Detroit is 17-4 OVER in its last 21 home games off a road cover where they lost straight up as an underdog. Bill Belichick is 14-3 OVER off an upset loss by 10 points or more as a favorite as the coach of the Patriots. The OVER is 8-2 in Lions last 10 home games. Take the OVER in this game Sunday night.
|09-23-18||Cowboys v. Seahawks -1||Top||13-24||Win||100||118 h 3 m||Show|
20* NFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Seattle Seahawks -1
Seattle is a team I’ve faded with success each of the first two weeks of the season because I wasn’t very high on them coming into the year. And I won with the Broncos -2.5 in Week 1 and the Bears -3 in Week 2 going against them. I thought they were overvalued coming into the year, and I was right. But I had to sweat out both of those games as they lost by 3 at Denver and by 7 at Chicago, only after a pick-six by the Bears that was the difference.
Now, after an 0-2 start, I believe the Seahawks to be undervalued this week at home against the Cowboys. The look-ahead line for this game was Seattle -3 on Monday morning prior to the Bears’ game, and now they are only -1 after the Bears’ game. There’s some value here because of it. Their defense played better than I expected last week as they held the Bears to just 271 total yards. And their offense is moving the ball fine once they get Russell Wilson in up-tempo situations, which I look for them to do more of this week.
But the key here is that Seattle played its first two games of the season on the road. Now the Seahawks return home, where the 12th man is the real deal and they are one of the toughest teams in the NFL to beat at home. Plus, they’ll be highly motivated here for a win with essentially their season on the line. Look for a big effort from the Seahawks this week.
The Cowboys come in overvalued here off their 20-13 win over the Giants on Sunday Night Football last week. But the Giants are clearly a bad team this year. And this Dallas offense did little after its opening TD drive on a long pass play to Tavon Austin on broken coverage. Dallas didn’t score until the 4th quarter in Week 1 against the Panthers in an 8-16 loss. It’s a Dallas offense that is only averaging 14 points and 265 total yards per game thus far.
Pete Carroll is 10-2 ATS off two or more consecutive losses as the coach of Seattle. Carroll is 11-2 ATS in September home games as the coach of the Seahawks. Carroll is 43-26 ATS in all home games as the coach of Seattle. The Seahawks are 10-4-2 ATS in their last 16 games following a loss. Take the Seahawks Sunday.
|09-23-18||Saints +3 v. Falcons||43-37||Win||102||115 h 38 m||Show|
15* Saints/Falcons NFC South ANNIHILATOR on New Orleans +3
This is a clear ‘buy low’ opportunity on the New Orleans Saints Sunday as field goal underdogs to the Atlanta Falcons. There were big expectations for the Saints coming into the season as many felt they were Super Bowl contenders. And they were priced like it in their first two home games.
But the Saints fell flat on their faces in Week 1, losing 40-48 to the Tampa Bay Bucs as 10-point favorites. Then they failed to cover as 9.5-point favorites and were really fortunate to win 21-18 over the Cleveland Browns. So they basically go from being double-digit favorites two straight weeks to now 3-point underdogs, which is a 13-point adjustment.
I still think the Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL and that rough start will wake them up moving forward. And clearly the Bucs are better than they were getting credit for coming into the season because they followed up their win over the Saints with a dominant 27-21 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in Week 2. That was a 20-point game before the Eagles made it interesting in the 4th quarter. And the Browns are better than expected too as they tied the Steelers in OT and gave the Saints all they wanted.
The Falcons couldn’t beat an undermanned Eagles team in Week 1, losing 12-18 despite being favored on the road. Then they beat the Panthers 31-24 last week, but it’s worth noting the Panthers were missing several key players along the offensive line, at LB and at TE. And the Panthers had the ball with a chance to tie in the closing seconds still.
The Saints are almost fully healthy and will be a tough challenge for the Falcons this week. I believe the Saints are the better team right now, especially when you consider the significant injuries to the Falcons. Atlanta is missing two of its best defensive players in S Keanu Neal and LB Deion Jones to season-ending injuries. The Falcons are also without star RB Devonta Freeman with a knee injury. I don’t think the Falcons have what it takes to beat the Saints without those three guys, let alone win by margin and cover this 3-point spread.
Quietly, the Saints have been a better bet on the road than at home over the last few seasons. Indeed, the Saints are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 road games. The Falcons are just 5-24 ATS in their last 29 home games off a home win. In fact, they are losing 19.7 to 24.6 in this spot, or by nearly 5 points per game. They haven’t been able to follow up success with more success at home. Roll with the Saints Sunday.
|09-23-18||Raiders +3.5 v. Dolphins||Top||20-28||Loss||-115||115 h 38 m||Show|
20* AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Oakland Raiders +3.5
I love this situation for the Oakland Raiders. We are getting a motivated 0-2 team up against an fat and happy 2-0 team in the Miami Dolphins. I’ll back the more motivated team almost every time, especially when I feel the 0-2 team is actually the better squad, which is the case here.
Oakland had a 13-10 lead over the L.A. Rams before imploding with three second-half turnovers in Week 1. Oakland had a 12-0 lead over the Broncos before missing an extra points and letting Denver come back in the second half, losing 20-19 on a last-second field goal with the extra point being the difference.
Well, Denver and the LA Rams have two of the best defenses in the NFL, and the Raiders actually had great success offensively against them. They had 395 total yards against the Rams and 373 total yards against the Broncos. They are averaging 384.0 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play on offense. Derek Carr went 29-of-32 passing for 288 yards and a score against that vaunted Denver pass D last week.
Not only do I believe the Dolphins are the worst 2-0 team in the NFL right now, they are still among the worst NFL teams in general this season. They are starting to get too much respect from oddsmakers this week as 3.5-point home favorites here against the Raiders. And they are reading the press clippings and feeling good about themselves. I think they will fall flat on their faces this week.
The two wins have come against the Titans and Jets, also two of the worst teams in the NFL. They survived a seven-hour marathon at home against the Titans in Week 1, and an injury to Marcus Mariota aided their win. Then last week they were thoroughly outplayed by the Jets, but found a way to win 20-12. They managed just 257 total yards against the Jets while giving up 362, getting outgained by 105 total yards. They have simply been fortunate in those two games by forcing a combined six turnovers. It’s a Miami offense that is averaging just 299.5 yards per game and 5.4 per play this season.
Oakland is 23-9 ATS in its last 32 road games off a loss by 6 points or less. Miami is 6-20 ATS in its last 26 games off an upset win over a division rival as an underdog. John Gruden is 20-8 ATS off a loss by 3 points or less in all games he has coached. The Dolphins are 16-45-3 ATS in their last 64 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Miami is 4-22 ATS in its last 26 games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in its previous game.
Plays on road teams (Oakland) - off a loss to a division rival, in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with three or more straight losses are 39-15 (72.2%) ATS since 1993. We are buying low on Oakland and selling high on Miami this week. Bet the Raiders Sunday.
|09-23-18||Bills +17.5 v. Vikings||27-6||Win||100||115 h 38 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Buffalo Bills +17.5
The Buffalo Bills couldn’t be more undervalued than they are right now. The betting public wants nothing to do with them after their 0-2 start, which featured a 3-47 loss at Baltimore in Week 1 and a 20-31 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. That’s why this spread has been inflated as oddsmakers have no choice but to make it this high in hopes of getting even action on both sides. The public will still back the Vikings at this massive price, but the sharp money will be on the Bills this week.
Buffalo at least looked like a competent offense against the Chargers last week with rookie Josh Allen at quarterback. Allen went 18-of-33 passing for 245 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while also rushing for 32 yards on eight carries in the loss. The Bills were only outgained by 56 yards in that game and were more competitive than the final score would suggest.
This is the ultimate sandwich game for the Vikings this week. They are coming off a draining 29-29 tie against the Green Bay Packers in which they probably should have lost in regulation, but then they should have won in OT. Their kicker let them down and they signed Dan Bailey this week. But now they can’t help but look ahead to a Thursday night showdown with the Los Angeles Rams on the road next week. They won’t be giving the Bills their full attention, and as a result it will make it very difficult to cover this 17.5-point spread.
Buffalo is 53-29 ATS in its last 82 games following two or more consecutive ATS losses. The price is right to back the Bills this week as 17.5-point underdogs to the Vikings. You rarely see numbers this big in the NFL. And the spot couldn’t be worse for the Vikings this week. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|09-22-18||Eastern Michigan +12 v. San Diego State||20-23||Win||100||44 h 23 m||Show|
15* Eastern Michigan/SDSU Late-Night BAILOUT on Eastern Michigan +12
This is a very bad spot for the San Diego State Aztecs. They are getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers now after their upset win over Arizona State last week. But it was a Sun Devils team in a flat spot off their own upset win over Michigan State the week prior. And now SDSU won’t be able to help but look ahead to their huge showdown with Boise State on deck. This is the classic sandwich game, and I expect the Aztecs to be flatter than a pancake. That will make it very difficult for them to cover this 12-point spread, let alone win the game.
Eastern Michigan has flown under the radar over the past few seasons under Chris Creighton. The Eagles made their first bowl game since 1987 in 2016 and went 7-6. They were better than their 5-7 record showed last year. And now they have 13 starters back this season and have already outperformed expectations.
Eastern Michigan opened with a resounding 51-17 win over Monmouth. Then they went on the road in Week 2 and upset Purdue 20-19 as 15-point underdogs. Last week they were on the road again and lost to a very good Buffalo team 28-35 as 3-point dogs. But they weren’t overmatched in that game as they actually outgained Buffalo in that contest. I had Buffalo last week and had to sweat that one out.
That’s the thing about this Eagles squad, they just don’t get blown out. In fact, each of their last 10 losses have come by 12 points or less, including nine by 7 points or fewer. And each of their last 14 losses have come by 15 points or less. They aren’t going to be intimidated by this San Diego State squad after beating the likes of Rutgers and Purdue on the road over the past few seasons.
Eastern Michigan is 8-0 ATS when playing against a good team with a winning percentage between 60% and 75% over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 10-2 ATS as road underdogs over the last three years. Eastern Michigan is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 non-conference games. The Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss. The Aztecs are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Eastern Michigan Saturday.
|09-22-18||East Carolina +21 v. South Florida||13-20||Win||100||42 h 2 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on East Carolina +21
South Florida is being priced like the team that went a combined 21-4 over the previous two seasons. But that team was loaded, and Charlie Strong now has mostly his players instead of Willie Taggart’s. And Strong has an inexperienced bunch that returned just 11 starters this season. I have not been impressed with USF thus far, and they certainly shouldn’t be laying three touchdowns to East Carolina here Saturday.
USF opened with an underwhelming 34-14 win over Elon as 27.5-point favorites. Their 49-38 home win over Georgia Tech as 3.5-point dogs in Week 2 was a fluke. They were outgained by 176 yards and gave up 602 yards to the Yellow Jackets, trailing through three quarters and needing a miracle finish to pull off the upset. Then last week they trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter against a bad Illinois team and needed to score the final 17 points to win 24-19 as 14-point favorites.
Scottie Montgomery is in Year 3 at East Carolina, which is when teams usually show their most improvement under a new head coach. And I think it’s safe to say this team is Montgomery’s best yet after upsetting North Carolina 41-19 as 15-point underdogs in Week 2, covering the spread by 37 points. They racked up 510 total yards and held the Tar Heels to 395 in a dominant effort.
Now the Pirates have had two full weeks to prepare for South Florida after their game against Virginia Tech was cancelled last week. Look for a big effort from them because of it. And they have a knack for playing South Florida tough. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by 17 points or less. In their last two trips to USF, ECU lost by 16 but only trailed by 2 with under seven minutes left in 2016. And they won outright 28-17 back in 2014. I believe the Pirates will keep this one closer than expected. Take East Carolina Saturday.
|09-22-18||Stanford -2 v. Oregon||38-31||Win||100||42 h 52 m||Show|
15* Stanford/Oregon ABC ANNIHILATOR on Stanford -2
This used to be a great rivalry with Stanford and Oregon trading blows every year back when Chip Kelly around. But that’s no longer the case. Stanford has dominated the last two meetings. They won 52-27 on the road as 3-point favorites in 2016. They won 49-7 at home as 9.5-point favorites last year.
Now, Stanford is only a 2-point favorite in 2018 as oddsmakers are expecting a close game. I’m just not seeing it. Stanford is a legit contender to win the Pac-12. The Cardinal have been tested already and have passed with flying colors.
The Cardinal beat San Diego State 31-10 as 14-point home favorites. They shut down USC 17-3 as 4.5-point home favorites as well. So, they have been battle-tested, and it’s clear they have an elite defense. Offensively, star RB Bryce Love sat out last week and is now healthy and fresh for this huge game against Oregon. He will easily have his best game of the season here.
No team has faced an easier schedule than Oregon through the first three weeks. They beat Bowling Green in the opener. Then they beat Portland State, an FCS team that is 1-13 dating back to last season. Most concerning was Oregon’s 35-22 home win over San Jose State as 42.5-point favorites last week.
That mere 13-point win is a big concern considering San Jose State is one of the worst teams in the country. Now, the Ducks won’t be prepared to get smacked in the mouth like they will against Stanford this week due to their lack of competition up to this point. It’s going to be a big eye-opener for them.
This is also a big coaching mismatch with David Shaw over Mario Cristobal. I believe Cristobal is in over his head here. Also, Autzen Stadium isn’t what it once was back when Oregon was actually good. Stanford is 21-8-1 ATS in its last 30 games following an ATS loss. The Cardinal are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. The Ducks are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games following a win.
Cristobal is 0-7 ATS in home games off a home game in all games he has coached. Oregon is 0-6 ATS after allowing 100 or less rushing yards last game over the past two seasons. The Ducks are 0-7 ATS vs. teams who commit one or fewer turnovers per game over the last three seasons. Oregon is 1-9 ATS versus good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play over the last three years. Stanford is 6-0 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play over the last two seasons. These last five trends combine for a 35-1 system backing the Cardinal. Bet Stanford Saturday.
|09-22-18||Texas Tech +14 v. Oklahoma State||Top||41-17||Win||100||41 h 14 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas Tech +14
Many expected Oklahoma State to be down this season because they lost a ton of talent on offense. But they have proved their doubters wrong thus far by opening 3-0. The Missouri State and South Alabama wins were nothing to be proud of, but their 44-21 win over Boise State at home last week was certainly a statement game. Keep in mind that Oklahoma State only outgained Boise State by 8 yards in that contest, though.
Now, after ‘upsetting’ Boise State as 1-point underdogs, the Cowboys are back to getting respect from oddsmakers. And I think it’s too much respect. I still question how good this team really is. And Boise State isn’t the program it once was under Chris Petersen. I think the Cowboys are getting way more credit for that win than they deserve. They’re being asked to lay two touchdowns in their Big 12 opener against Texas Tech this week.
Texas Tech was written off after its 27-47 season-opening loss to Ole Miss. But this team has shown some big-time resiliency the last two weeks. They throttled Lamar 77-0, which OK it’s Lamar. But then last week was their real impressive win against Houston 63-49. They racked up a whopping 704 total yards, including 605 passing, against a good Houston defense.
Clearly Texas Tech has the offensive firepower to keep up with Oklahoma State. That has shown in recent meetings, too. Texas Tech is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings despite going 0-4 SU. They lost 34-41 at home as 10-point dogs in 2017, 44-45 on the road as 10.5-point dogs in 2016, 53-70 at home as 2-point dogs in 2015, and lost 35-45 on the road as 14.5-point dogs in 2014. “Last year we had our chances, so we feel like we’ve closed the gap some compared to when we first got here.” Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury is on the hot seat and needs a signature win. The Red Raiders have shown they are behind him 100% with their effort over the last two weeks. And now they want some revenge after losing nine straight to the Cowboys in this series. I think they can not only cover, but pull off the upset as well. This is a Texas Tech team that returned 16 starters from last year, including 10 on defense. This should be one of their best chances to actually beat Oklahoma State in recent years because of all the Cowboys lost with just 5 starters back on offense and all of their key playmakers gone from last year.
The Red Raiders are 21-6-1 ATS in their last 28 September games. Texas Tech is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. Kingsbury is 8-1 ATS off two straight non-conference games as the coach of Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 6-0 ATS off a home game where both teams scored 31 or more points over the last three seasons.
Plays on road teams (Texas Tech) with an excellent offense that averages 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with a defense that allows 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more yards in their previous game are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Texas Tech Saturday.
|09-22-18||Louisiana Tech +21 v. LSU||21-38||Win||100||41 h 2 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Louisiana Tech +21
This is a bad spot here for the LSU Tigers. They have overachieved thus far with two upset wins over top-10 teams in Miami and Auburn. And after their big win at Auburn last week, this is going to be a flat spot for them hosting Louisiana Tech as 21-point favorites. I think the Tigers are way overvalued right now due to their 3-0 start.
We saw them fall pretty flat in Week 2 with their 31-0 win over SE Louisiana, failing to cover as 41.5-point favorites. Their offense is still an issue as they only managed 31 points and 335 total yards against that Southern Utah squad. And they will be hard-pressed to top those numbers here against a much better Louisiana Tech team.
Skip Holtz is one of my favorite coached in college football. He got has gotten Louisiana Tech to at least 9 wins in three of the past four seasons. After a 7-6 season last year with just 11 returning starters, Holtz brought back 15 starters this season and has one of the best teams in Conference USA.
Louisiana Tech opened its season with a. 30-26 win at South Alabama. That game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Bulldogs outgained USA by 132 yards. And then they beat Southern 54-17 at home in Week 2 before getting a bye last week. So now they’ve had two full weeks to prepare for this game against LSU. And you can tell from the press clippings that this team is hungry to beat their in-state foe.
Tech cornerback Amik Robertson, sho said he chose the Bulldogs over the Tigers when he was recruited out of Thibodaux High School in Louisiana, call this a ‘statement game’. “It’s a huge game, not just for me, but for everyone on the team,” Roberston said. “I probably wasn’t the only person on my team that had interest from LSU. LSU has passed on a lot of players on this team and they also have a point to prove. And not just proving to LSU, but proving to Louisiana Tech that we can play with anybody.”
Last season, the Bulldogs proved they could play with another SEC school when they led at South Carolina until the Gamecocks prevailed 17-16 on a field goal with four seconds remaining. In fact, the Bulldogs are 9-4 ATS in in their last 13 games as underdogs against Power 5 schools.
“I’m not really proud that we lost that game, but I’m king of happy that it did happen,” Roberston said. “Now we know what it takes - finishing at the end, make those important plays. We had a lot of busted players toward the end, not at the beginning. That’s why we got to go into this game and play 60 minutes of Louisiana Tech football.”
Those are some quotes I can certainly get behind. Not only does Louisiana Tech think they can be competitive in this game, they think they can win it. And LSU lost outright to Troy in a similar spot last year as 20.5-point home favorites. LSU is now 2-7 ATS in its past nine games as a 20-plus point favorites. The Tigers just don’t have the kind of offensive firepower it takes to cover these massive spreads.
LSU is 8-19 ATS in its last 27 games as a home favorites of 14.5 to 21 points. The Tigers are 0-6 ATS in September home games over the last three seasons. Holtz is 30-15 ATS as a road underdog in all games as a head coach. The Bulldogs are 7-2 ATS in their last nine vs. SEC opponents.
Plays on road underdogs (Louisiana Tech) - off a home win, with 4-plus more returning starters and their QB returning against a team with a new QB are 27-7 (79.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Louisiana Tech Saturday.
|09-22-18||Arizona v. Oregon State +7||Top||35-14||Loss||-110||38 h 53 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Oregon State +7
Many expected Oregon State to be one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country this season. After all, this was a team that was coming off a 1-11 season last year and with a new head coach in former Beaver QB Jonathan Smith. Well, Smith is getting the most out of this team, and I believe the Braves are vastly underrated right now entering Week 4.
Losing 31-77 at Ohio State in the opener wasn’t that bad of a loss. And I came away impressed that they could put up 31 points on that defense. They then beat Southern Utah 48-25 and covered as 13.5-point favorites. And they should have beaten Nevada last week, losing 35-37 as 4-point underdogs. But they committed three turnovers in that game and missed two field goals, including a chip shot that would have won it in the closing seconds. They outgained Nevada by 183 yards in that contest.
This is a talented Oregon State offense that can hang with mediocre teams like Arizona. The Beavers are averaging 38.0 points and 527.0 yards per game. That’s bad news for an Arizona defense that has been torched this season, giving up 34.7 points and 469 yards per game. I don’t know how Arizona can be laying a touchdown on the road here with that defense.
Kevin Sumlin is one of the worst coaches in college football. He recruited great talent at Texas A&M, but could never get anything out of it after Johnny Manziel left. And now he’s been a big disappointment at Arizona thus far. The Wildcats are 1-2 SU & 1-2 ATS. They lost 23-28 at home to BYU as 11.5-point favorites, and were blasted 18-45 at Houston as 3.5-point dogs. They also beat Southern Utah at home 62-31, the same team that Oregon State faced and beat handily.
Arizona is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 road games, while Oregon State is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 home games. The Beavers are 13-4 ATS in the last 17 meetings, including 7-2 ATS in their last nine home meetings. The Wildcats are 1-8 ATS in conference road games over the last three seasons. The Beavers are 6-0 ATS in home games vs. teams who commit 60 or more penalty yards per game over the last three seasons. Roll with Oregon State Saturday.
|09-22-18||Texas A&M +27 v. Alabama||Top||23-45||Win||100||37 h 23 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas A&M +27
The Alabama Crimson Tide are the defending national champs. They are also the No. 1 team in the country. The betting public has been all over this team in the early going, and it has paid huge dividends. Alabama is off to a 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS start this season. The public is going to continue to back them this week, and I think this is finally the game where the market has over-corrected itself. There’s value with Texas A&M as 27-point dogs in this matchup.
I question that strength of schedule to this point for Alabama, though. The win over Louisville doesn’t look any good now after Louisville nearly lost to Western Kentucky at home last week. They were outplayed badly in that game and won 20-17. And Ole Miss clearly isn’t that good, especially defensively. A win over Arkansas State is nothing special, either. This is a huge step up in class for Alabama this week.
Texas A&M has already played a team the caliber of Alabama and passed with flying colors. They only lost 26-28 at home to Clemson as 11.5-point underdogs. And you could argue that they should have won that game. They racked up 501 total yards against a very good Clemson defense, a defense that is probably better than this Alabama unit. QB Kellen Mound threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns without an interception against that Clemson defense.
No team upgraded at head coach more than Texas A&M this offseason. Kevin Sumlin could recruit talent to college station, but he didn’t know what do to with it. And now Sumlin is struggling at Arizona. Jimbo Fisher was a home run hire after winning a national championship at Florida State. He is already getting the most out of this talent as Texas A&M is 3-0 ATS this season and hitting on all cylinders. The cupboard certainly wasn’t bare as 16 starters returned from last year’s squad.
Mond has already thrown for 824 yards with a 6-to-0 TD/INT ratio. This is an offense that is putting up 44.3 points, 596.3 yards per game and 7.5 yards per play. The defense is also playing very well, limiting opponents to 15.0 points and 331 yards per game. I think this team really believes they can hang with Alabama, and few teams have been as competitive against Alabama as Texas A&M over the past several years.
Alabama and Texas A&M have played in six consecutive seasons since the Aggies joined the SEC. Well, Alabama has only beaten Texas A&M by more than 19 points once in those six meetings. Texas A&M only lost 19-27 at home to Alabama as 25-point dogs last year. I think getting them as 27-point road underdogs is an absolute gift from oddsmakers this week. Fisher will have his team ready to go Saturday.
Plays on road underdogs of 21.5 or more points (Texas A&M) - after outgaining an opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game, with an experienced QB returning as a starter, in the first month of the season are 30-9 (76.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Texas A&M is 9-1 ATS in the first month of the season over the last three seasons. The Aggies are 7-0 ATS after playing a home game over the last two years. Texas A&M is 20-5-1 ATS in its last 26 September games. Alabama is 1-4 ATS in its last five conference games. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide this week. Take Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-21-18||Washington State v. USC -3.5||Top||36-39||Loss||-108||50 h 39 m||Show|
20* Pac-12 GAME OF THE MONTH on USC -3.5
This feels like a ‘rally the troops’ game for USC. And that has been evident in practice this week. Clay Helton has stated that this has been the best week of practice this season. Players are fired up and ready to show that they aren’t as bad as their 1-2 record would suggest. They simply need a win here.
It’s easy to see how USC is 1-2. After all, they were road underdogs in each of their last two games with a 3-17 loss at Stanford as 4.5-point dogs, and a 14-37 loss at Texas as 3-point dogs. Those are two very tough places to play, so they are forgivable. I think we are getting a discount on USC this week because the betting public wants nothing to do with them now after those two losses.
But those two games weren’t the blowouts that they seemed. USC was only outgained by 10 yards at Stanford and simply couldn’t capitalize on a handful of trips to the Stanford side of the 50. And they were only outgained by 77 yards at Texas. They actually led that game 14-3 and played well defensively. But Texas got a special teams TD on a blocked FG return that really changed the course of that game. Also, Texas should have been called for a safety that wasn't called. And USC was stopped on 4th-and-goal from the 1.
Washington State hasn’t played anyone. But they’re 3-0 and getting a lot of respect now. They beat Wyoming 41-19 but they only led 20-19 going into the 4th quarter before outscoring Wyoming 21-0 in the final period. And Wyoming clearly isn’t very good because they were blown out 13-40 at Missouri and barely beat Wofford 17-14 at home. Then they beat San Jose State 31-0 and Eastern Washington 59-24. Big deal. You won’t find many teams with easier schedules thus far than that.
So, USC is clearly the more battle-tested team. They will be ready for this game. And they have an advantage playing on a short week at home not having to travel. Plus, USC wants revenge from a 30-27 loss at Washington State last year as 4.5-point favorites. But the Cougars only return 10 starters from that team and are one of the least-experienced teams in the country.
USC is now a perfect 14-0 straight up at home over the last three seasons. In fact, Clay Helton is 17-0 SU at home as the coach of USC. They have a better home-field advantage than they get credit. I think after two tough road tests, freshman QB JT Daniels will have his coming out party here in front of his home fans against a suspect Washington State defense. The Trojans will be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this one. Bet USC Friday.
|09-20-18||Jets v. Browns -3||Top||17-21||Win||100||50 h 59 m||Show|
20* Jets/Browns AFC Thursday No-Brainer on Cleveland -3
The Cleveland Browns have held their own against two of the best teams in the NFL. They tied the Steelers in overtime in Week 1, and they should have beaten the Saints in Week 2 in an 18-21 loss. Kicker Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in that defeat last week, which was the difference.
I’ve been most impressed with what the Browns have been able to do defensively. Holding both the Steelers and the Saints to 21 points each is no small feat. They legitimately have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and now they will be up against the worst offense they’ve faced yet in the New York Jets this week.
They Jets opened their season with a misleading 48-17 win over the Lions. But that was a misleading result. For starters, their defensive players were tipped off to all of Matthew Stafford’s signals, which was a huge advantage. They forced five turnovers as a result and got defensive and special teams touchdowns in the win. The Jets came back last week and laid an egg 12-20 at home to the Dolphins.
So, the Jets have played two of the worst teams in the NFL in the Lions and Dolphins, while the Browns have played two of the best teams in the NFL in the Steelers and Saints. That preparation against that level of competition will make this seem like a much easier game for the Browns here. And they are starved for a win and it will be a rowdy atmosphere Thursday night in Cleveland as the fans pack the stands in hopes of ending this losing streak.
Schedule makers have done the Jets no favors here. They played on Monday Night Football in Week 1. And now have to play on Thursday in Week 3. That means they will be playing their 3rd game in 11 days, which is about as tough a situation as there is in the NFL. Don't be surprised if they are gassed by the second half of this one.
These teams played last year with the Jets winning 17-14 in Cleveland. That also puts the Browns in revenge mode. Plus, the Browns dominated that game, outgaining the Jets 419 to 212, or by 207 total yards. But they lost the turnover battle 3-1. Another lopsided box score this week will actually lead to a Browns’ victory because they are taking care of the football and getting turnovers this year. They have a +6 turnover differential through two games.
Todd Bowles is 0-7 ATS in road games off a division game as the coach of the Jets. New York is losing in this spot by 12.7 points per game. This is a 100% never lost system that we’ll back here tonight. Bet the Browns Thursday.
|09-20-18||Tulsa +7 v. Temple||17-31||Loss||-100||23 h 34 m||Show|
15* Tulsa/Temple ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Tulsa +7
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are a vastly improved team this season over a year ago. They returned 15 starters this year. It’s a team that went 10-3 in 2016 but just 2-10 in 2017. I think they’re somewhere in between this year.
Tulsa beat Central Arkansas in the opener 38-27 as 11.5-point favorites. But that was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Tulsa outgained them by 223 total yards. Then in Week 2 Tulsa went toe-to-toe with Texas and only lost 21-28 as 22.5-point road underdogs.
I think the Golden Hurricane are undervalued this week due to their 20-29 home loss to Arkansas State as 2-point favorites last week. A lot of money came pouring in on Tulsa for that game as they flipped favorites because they opened as dogs. And now all that money wants nothing to do with them this week. I like getting a full touchdown with the Golden Hurricane here.
This Tulsa defense has played two really good offenses in Texas and Arkansas State and have held their own. This was the weakness of the team last year, but it’s a strength now. The Golden Hurricane are only allowing 377 yards per game and 5.3 yards per play. That’s way down from the 529 yards per game and 5.9 per play they allowed last season. And the offense is better than it has shown to this point.
I think Temple comes in overvalued due to its shocking 35-14 win at Maryland as 16-point underdogs last week. But keep in mind this is a Temple team that was upset 17-19 by Villanova as 14.5-point home favorites in Week 1. They were even outgained by 154 yards in that contest. They were also upset 29-36 as 4-point home favorites to Buffalo in Week 2 while getting outgained by 72 yards.
Temple has some serious injury issues coming into this one. They are without starting DL Dana Levine. Starting QB Frank Nutile, DL Quincy Roche, K Aaron Boumerhi, TE Kenny Yeboah, and LT James McHale are all listed as questionable for this game. That’s six potential starters they could be without for this game. Meanwhile, Tulsa is extremely healthy with only two players on the injury list, and only one is a starter in LB Robert Revels III who is questionable.
Philip Montgomery is 12-3 ATS as a road underdog as the coach of Tulsa. Montgomery is 10-1 ATS after a game where they forced one or fewer turnovers as the coach of Tulsa. Montgomery is a perfect 6-0 ATS after a game where they committed three or more turnovers as the coach of Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane have committed eight turnovers this season thus far otherwise they could easily be 3-0. Don’t be surprised if they pull the upset in this game tonight. Take Tulsa Thursday.
|09-17-18||Seahawks v. Bears -3||Top||17-24||Win||100||71 h 41 m||Show|
20* Seahawks/Bears ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Chicago -3
I expect the Chicago Bears to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. They went just 5-11 last year, but Mitchell Trubisky had nobody to throw to, and the coaching staff didn’t have a clue. Yet, they managed to beat three of the better teams in the NFL in the Steelers, Panthers and Ravens, and they took both the Falcons and the Vikings down to the wire early in the season.
The Bears were competitive due to a defense that ranked 9th in scoring and 10th in total defense last year. That defense will be very good again, especially with the addition of former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack via trade with the Raiders. They gave up a lot to get him, but that won’t hurt them this season, only in the future.
Matt Nagy is the new head coach. He was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs under Andy Reid, and he was the perfect hire for the Bears this offseason to inject some new life into the offense. Nagy will get the most out of Trubisky, who now has ample weapons to lead the offense. No team improved their playmakers more this offseason than Chicago.
The Bears already have a pair of talented backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. But they added former Jacksonville No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson, who is primed for a bounce-back season after playing just one game in Jacksonville last year before getting injured. New slot receiver Taylor Gabriel has 4.3-40 speed and will be missed in Atlanta. Trey Burton was stuck behind Zach Ertz in Philadelphia at tight end, but now he’ll be playing the role Travis Kelce played in Nagy’s offensive in KC. They used their second-round pick on WR Anthony Miller out of Memphis as well.
The Bears certainly looked the part as the most improved team in the NFL when they jumped out to a 20-0 lead over Green Bay at Lambeau Field last week. But they took the foot off the gas late and allowed Aaron Rodgers and company to come back and win 21-20, though the Bears easily covered as 7.5-point dogs and we had them. Kyle Fuller dropped an easy INT on the Packers’ final drive that would have sealed the win. Look for the Bears to come back pissed off this week and redeem themselves on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks.
This is a Seahawks team I’m way down on this season for several reasons. I won on the Broncos -2.5 last week against them in a game that was an even bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Broncos outgained the Seahawks by 164 total yards and racked up 470 total yards on Seattle’s defense. But three Case Keenum interceptions kept Seattle in it.
The Seahawks are a team in transition. They ‘Legion of Boom’ is no longer. Richard Sherman is gone to the 49ers, and Kam Chancellor is out for the season. Earl Thomas just returned from his holdout last week, but he’s about all they got in the secondary. CB Byron Maxwell is on the IR with a hip injury. Not to mention, DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett are both gone. This defense doesn’t look anything like the dominant unit it was a few years ago, and that was evident by giving up 470 yards to the Broncos last week.
The same problem remains for Seattle’s offense. They simply cannot run the football. Russell Wilson had a big season last year, but only because he had to. Wilson actually led the team in rushing, and by a wide margin. No Seattle running back had more than 240 yards last year. The offensive line is still a mess, and the options are limited at receiver. They lost both Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, who combined for 16 TD receptions last year. And now Doug Baldwin, who caught 75 balls for 991 yards and 8 TD last year, suffered a knee injury against the Broncos and has been ruled out this week.
That doesn’t even cover all the injuries for the Seahawks right now. MLB Bobby Wagner is questionable with a groin injury, and OLB K.J. Wright is doubtful with a knee injury. Wagner led the team in tacklers with 133 last year while Wright was second with 108. Starting G D.J. Fluker is questionable, and starting TE Ed Dickson is out with a groin injury. A guy I’ve never heard of in TE Will Dissly actually led the team in receiving last week against the Broncos.
Teams who are playing back-to-back road games to open the season in Week 2 are 0-12 SU over the past five seasons. Pete Carroll is 1-9 ATS in road games in the first two weeks of the season as the coach of Seattle. Bet the Bears Monday.
|09-16-18||Giants +3 v. Cowboys||Top||13-20||Loss||-102||47 h 48 m||Show|
20* Giants/Cowboys NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on New York +3
The New York Giants are undervalued off their disastrous 3-13 season last year. They were hit as hard by injuries as any team in the league last year. Ben McAdoo was not fit for the job. But this is a team that made the playoffs in 2016, so there is still a lot of talent on this squad. And they got even better in the offseason.
The Giants have improved most in the trenches. They nabbed four new starters along the offensive line, including LT Nate Solder from the Patriots. They will have a running game now with that improved O-Line and the addition of first-round pick RB Saquon Barkley, who is sure to be a star in the NFL for years to come. Odell Beckham Jr. got his big contract, and now he’s back healthy this season. Eli Manning has everything he needs to succeed.
The Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2016. But injuries decimated this unit last last year and poor play by the offense had them gassed. This stop unit should come back energized and become one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2018. I love the addition of LB Alec Ogletree, who will become the QB of the defense after serving the same role with the Rams previously.
The Giants actually played well against the Jaguars in Week 1 and should have won. They gained 324 yards on offense against arguably the best D in the NFL. Their defense only gave up 305 total yards and actually held the Jaguars’ offense to just 13 points because one of their touchdowns was a pick-six. The Giants should finally click offensively this week against a Dallas D that isn’t nearly as good as Jacksonville.
I still think the Cowboys have a decent D, but they are battling injuries right now. They have three DE’s who are hurt in Demarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, David Irving (suspension) and Randy Gregory. Both Irving and Gregory are out, while Lawrence and Crawford are expected to play. Also out is DT Datone Jones and FS Xavier Woods.
The real problem for the Cowboys is on offense. Dak Prescott regressed big-time last year, and now this year he has no weapons with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone. And the offensive line is missing starting center Travis Frederick right now. That offense was atrocious against Carolina last week. The Cowboys trailed 16-0 and finally got on the scoreboard in the 4th quarter, but it was too little, too late. They managed just 232 total yards against the Panthers.
Jason Garrett is 3-11 ATS as a home favorite of 3 points or less as the coach of Dallas. Garrett is 1-9 ATS in home games after scoring 14 points or less as the coach of the Cowboys. Dallas has been terrible in the home favorite role over the years. I think the Giants are the better of these two teams and they prove it on the field Sunday night. Bet the Giants Sunday.
|09-16-18||Texans -2.5 v. Titans||17-20||Loss||-110||40 h 38 m||Show|
15* Texans/Titans AFC South ANNIHILATOR on Houston -2.5
There is a lot to like about the Houston Texans heading into 2018. For starters, Deshaun Watson is fully healthy now. He was on pace for 43 touchdowns as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Watson led an offense that averaged 39 points per game from Week 3 to Week 8 in a five-game span. It’s scary how good this offense was when he was healthy, and when WR Will Fuller was on the field.
Fuller had 7 touchdown receptions on just 28 grabs last year. Well, Fuller missed Week 1’s 20-27 loss to the Patriots. But Fuller is expected back this week, giving Watson his full arsenal of weapons against the Titans this week. And Watson had a concussion that he has been cleared from this week.
Defensively, the Texans get their two best players back healthy as well. Both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus return this season. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He, Jadeveon Clowney and Mercilus will wreak havoc on opposing offenses this season. Both LB’s Benardick McKinney and Zach Cunningham are coming off productive seasons, and this is one of the best front seven’s defensively in the NFL.
I’m way down on the Tennessee Titans this season. They were the worst team to make the playoffs last year and I just don’t trust them at all. They are due for some big-time regression. Marcus Mariota just isn’t progressing as he was supposed to, and he has limited weapons on offense. The defense has plenty of holes as well.
Tennessee lost 20-27 in Miami last week. It was a strange game because it was delayed by lightning, and actually took seven hours to complete. And by the 4th quarter, both teams looked so gas because they were out on the field for most of the day in the scorching heat. I question what the Titans have left in the tank this week.
The Titans came away with some serious injuries. Mariota was knocked out of the game with an elbow injury, and while he is likely to play this week, he is highly questionable and won’t be 100%. He lost his security blanket in TE Delanie Walker to a season-ending ankle injury. Top WR Corey Davis is battling a hamstring injury. Starting LB Derrick Morgan (knee) is questionable, starting SS Johnathan Cyprien (knee) is out for the season, and two offensive tackles in Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin are out this week. Fellow offensive tackler Dennis Kelly is questionable.
It’s a laundry list of injuries for the Titans right now. The key injuries are those to Walker and the offensive tackles. Walker had caught at least 60 passes every year for the Titans since signing with them in 2013. And Watt, Clowney and company should be all over Mariota since the Titans are likely going with a pair of backup tackles this week.
Bill O’Brien is 17-8 ATS as a favorite as the coach of Houston. The Texans are winning in this spot by 7.6 points per game on average. The Texans are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 2. The Titans are 15-40-4 ATS in their last 59 vs. AFC opponents. Tennessee is 8-26-3 ATS in its last 37 vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with the Texans Sunday.
|09-16-18||Browns v. Saints -9||18-21||Loss||-110||39 h 28 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on New Orleans Saints -9
I think the Saints simply took the Bucs too lightly in Week 1. I was actually on the Bucs last week because I thought they came into the season undervalued. And it was a good move as the Bucs upset the Saints 48-40. I certainly don’t believe the Saints are this bad defensively because they were vastly improved last year. And their task gets much easier against the Browns this week.
I think that loss to the Bucs will serve as a wake-up call for the Saints. They won’t be taking the Browns lightly this week as they’ll be putting their best foot forward. Look for them to roll at home behind an offense that racked up 475 total yards and 40 points against the Bucs. I’m certainly not ready to write off their defense because they actually added more talent in the offseason.
Now the Saints are up against a weak Browns’ offense that just isn’t very explosive. The Browns trailed the Steelers 21-7 midway through the fourth quarter last week before tacking on two late touchdowns and forcing overtime. But the Browns deserves to lose that game. They gave up 472 total yards and managed just 322 themselves, getting outgained by 150 yards. They were +5 in turnovers and still couldn’t win! Drew Brees and the Saints won’t be giving away any gifts this week.
I certainly believe the Browns have an improved defense this year with some playmakers, but those 472 yards they gave up to the Steelers without Le’Veon Bell is concerning. And Cleveland’s offense doesn’t have the potential to keep up with the Saints in a shootout, which this is expected to be with a total set of 49.5 points. The Saints will get their points because they always do at home.
The Browns are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games vs. NFC opponents. Cleveland is 5-15-1 ATS in its last 21 road games. I think last week’s results are keeping this line lower than it should be. New Orleans should have no problem winning by double-digits. Take the Saints Sunday.
|09-15-18||USC v. Texas -3||Top||14-37||Win||100||103 h 42 m||Show|
20* USC/Texas FOX Saturday No-Brainer on Texas -3
I believe we are getting Texas at a great value here as only 3-point home favorites over the USC Trojans. They would be bigger favorites if not for a sluggish start to the season. They were clearly overvalued coming into the season, being asked to lay 12 points on the road at Maryland and 21 points at home to Tulsa.
They lost to Maryland 29-34 outright. That’s a Maryland team that I feel was underrated coming into the season. They also only beat Tulsa 28-21 at home, but that was a 21-0 game late in the 3rd quarter before the Longhorns let their foot off the gas. Those two scores now have the Longhorns undervalued.
Texas is still one of the best teams in the Big 12. They have 14 starters back in Tom Herman’s second season and should only get better as the season goes along. And they have had this game against USC circled all offseason after losing 24-27 (OT) at USC last season. It’s revenge time for the Longhorns as they get the Trojans at home this time around.
USC is a team that is due to regress this season after some key losses on offense and defense. They lost QB Sam Darnold (4,143 yards, 26 TD), leading rusher Ronald Jones (1,550 yards, 19 TD) and leading receiver Deontay Burnett (1,114 yards, 9 TD) to the NFL. They have clearly not been good through the first two games and will struggle against Texas as well.
USC only outgained UNLV by 96 yards in the opener in what was a closer game than the final 43-21 margin would suggest. Then they lost 3-17 at Stanford last week and couldn’t get anything going offensively. Freshman QB JT Daniels was put in his place by that Stanford defense, and he won’t have much more success here against Texas, either.
Daniels hit only 16 of 34 passes for 215 yards with two fourth quarter interceptions against Stanford last week. He sustained a bruise to his right (throwing) hand during the loss, which is obviously a concern for any quarterback. He will play this week, but he won’t be 100%.
USC is 0-6 ATS in September road games over the last three seasons. Texas is 6-0 ATS off a home game over the last two years. The Longhorns are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games as a home favorite of 3 to 7 points. Clay Helton is 1-9 ATS as an underdog as the coach of USC, and his teams are losing by 16.9 points per game in this spot. Helton is 0-6 ATS as a road dog of 7 points or less as the coach of the Trojans. Roll with Texas Saturday.
|09-15-18||Missouri v. Purdue +7.5||40-37||Win||100||101 h 38 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Purdue +7.5
This just feels like a ‘rally the troops’ game for Purdue. It’s a team that had high expectations following a bowl win in Jeff Brohm’s first season last year. But the Boilermakers are off to an 0-2 start with losses to Northwestern and Eastern Michigan by a combined 5 points. So they could easily be 2-0, and now they’ll be extra motivated for a win to save their season.
The Boilermakers have had 15-yard penalties to keep drives alive late in their losses to both Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. It’s something that Brohm has harped on all week leading up to the game. I believe Purdue will have an excellent week of practice and put their best foot forward against Missouri this week.
Purdue outgained Northwestern by 71 yards and Eastern Michigan by 60 yards and clearly should have won both games. But they lost the turnover battle 5-1 combined in those two games, which has also been a point of emphasis. The offense, which returned nine starters this year, has been explosive in averaging 474 yards per game and 6.9 yards per play. Avoid the turnovers and this is going to be a scary bunch.
While Purdue is undervalued right now due to its 0-2 start, Missouri is clearly overvalued due to its 2-0 start. They have blowout wins over Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. Big deal. We saw Wyoming get blown out at home by Washington State the week prior to playing Missouri, and that’s a rebuilding Cougars team.
No question the Tigers have a good offense, but their defense was one of the worst in the country last year and won’t be much improved. It’s a Missouri team that went 7-0 against teams with losing records last year, but 0-6 against teams with winning records. Every time they stepped up in class they couldn’t win. And they’re stepping up in class here against a capable Big Ten foe.
Purdue went into Missouri and won 35-3 last year as 6-point underdogs. The Boilermakers gained 477 yards on offense and allowed just 203 yards on defense, outgaining the Tigers by 274 yards in a dominant effort. Now we are seeing basically the same spread here with Purdue as a touchdown underdog, but the Boilermakers are at home this time around. That clearly shows what public perception is doing here, and it’s working in our favor.
Sure, Missouri will want revenge, but Purdue will match or exceed their intensity after an 0-2 start. I’m not even sure Missouri is the better of these two teams, but I am certain they are not good enough to justify being a 7.5-point road favorite here.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Purdue) - in a game involving two dominant teams who outgain their opponents by 1.2-plus yards per play, after gaining 450 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 32-9 (78%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Boilermakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games. Bet Purdue Saturday.
|09-15-18||Eastern Michigan v. Buffalo -3||28-35||Win||100||58 h 16 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Buffalo -3
The Buffalo Bulls are one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country this season. They went 6-6 last year in Lance Leipold’s third season and got better as the season went on, winning each of their fina three games. And all six of their losses came by 10 points or less, including a 10-point loss at Minnesota as 24-point dogs and a 4-point loss to Army as 15-point dogs. They went 8-2-2 ATS last season and were a very undervalued commodity.
The Bulls returned 14 starters this year, including eight on offense from a unit that average 432 yards per game last year. Tyree Jackson is back at QB after only starting half the games last year due to injury. He has stud WR Anthony Johnson back as well, and Johnson had 1,356 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. Leading rusher Emmanuel Reed (840 yards, 9 TD) is back as well.
This Buffalo offense is hitting on all cylinders with a 48-10 win over Delaware State in the opener and a 36-29 win at Temple as 4-point dogs in Week 2. The defense is only giving up 19.5 points and 315 yards per game and 4.5 per play while forcing seven turnovers thus far. This defense is solid again after allowing just 24.8 points per game last season.
No question Eastern Michigan has been an undervalued commodity as well over the past couple seasons. And they are off to a 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season, including their shocking 20-19 upset win at Purdue last week. However, its that win that has me liking Buffalo here. There’s no question Eastern Michigan is in line for a huge letdown after a road win over a Big Ten opponent. They won’t be on their ‘A’ game this week because of it.
The Eagles are 9-22 ATS in their last 31 games following a win. Eastern Michigan is 11-32 ATS in its last 43 games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game. The Bulls are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Buffalo is 6-0 ATS in its last six home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Bet Buffalo Saturday.
|09-15-18||Ohio v. Virginia -3.5||31-45||Win||100||57 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Virginia -3.5
The Virginia Cavaliers are in Year 3 under Bronco Mendenhall. They went 6-7 last year and made a bowl game, already ahead of schedule. And they have 13 starters back this season, including eight on defense. This should be his best stop unit yet.
I’ve been impressed with this Virginia outfit thus far, especially defensively. They beat Richmond 42-13 in their opener as 14.5-point favorites and outgained them by 267 yards in a dominant effort. Then they only lost 16-20 at Indiana and covered as 5-point road underdogs against a solid Big Ten squad. It’s a team I believe to be flying under the radar.
Ohio has only played one game because they had an open date Week 2. They have that advantage plus this game has been moved from Virginia to Nashville, so it will essentially be a neutral site game. But I think that’s why we are getting a shorter price on Virginia than we should be here as only 3.5-point favorites.
And that opener by Ohio was shocking, and it’s a sign of things to come for this team this season. Ohio only beat Howard 38-32 as 30.5-point home favorites. The Bobcats were actually outgained by 220 yards by Howard! But they won’t the turnover battle 4-0, which is the only reason they were able to pull out the win.
The Bobcats gave up a whopping 645 total yards to Howard. It’s a defense that has problems because they only returned four starters on D this year. They have to replace six of seven starters along the front seven. And get this, Howard lost 14-54 at Kent State in Week 2! I don’t need to say it but Kent State is not very good.
Mendenhall is 8-1 ATS off a non-conference game as the coach of Virginia. Mendenhall is 6-0 ATS in road games in the first half of the season as the coach of the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Virginia Saturday.
|09-15-18||Colorado State v. Florida -20||10-48||Win||100||98 h 26 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Florida -20
The Florida Gators are a team I’m very high on coming into the season. They had 19 returning starters and Dan Mullen is one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. And they looked the part in their season-opening 53-6 win over Southern. But they were upset 16-27 by Kentucky last week, ending their 31-game winning streak over the Wildcats.
I think because they were upset they are laying fewer points than they should be this week against Colorado State. And because Colorado State upset Arkansas at home last week, the Rams are getting too much respect from oddsmakers. It’s the perfect storm and a great situation to back the Gators this week. They’ll be motivated to bounce back, while the Rams could fall flat and will get beat up playing two SEC teams in consecutive weeks.
This is a Colorado State team that couldn’t look any worse in their first two games. They trailed Hawaii 37-7 and lost 34-43 as 17-point home favorites in their opener. They lost 13-45 to Colorado as 7-point underdogs on a neutral field in Week 2. And they were down 27-9 late against Arkansas before scoring 25 unanswered points to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. I still don’t believe this team is any good, and that will show this week as the Gators keep their foot on the gas for four quarters.
This Colorado State defense is giving up a whopping 38.3 points and 550 yards per game this season while yielding 7.7 yards per play. Florida should be able to score at will on them. And this Florida defense is one of the best in the country and has been one for years. Colorado State only managed 13 points against Colorado, and I’d be surprised if they top that total this weekend.
The Gators are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a double-digit home loss. The Rams are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Off a rare cover against Arkansas last week in a miracle comeback, the Rams will get back to their losing ways against the number here. Take Florida Saturday.
|09-15-18||Georgia Tech v. Pittsburgh +4||19-24||Win||100||53 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Pittsburgh +4
I liked Pitt coming into the season and took their OVER 5.5 wins as part of my Top 10 NCAAF Season Win Totals bets. This was a game I expected the Panthers to win, and I still do. And I think it’s a great time to back them as they are undervalued off their misleading 6-51 loss to Penn State last week.
That was a 7-6 game against Penn State with only a few seconds left before halftime. The Nittany Lions scored right before half, and proceeded to roll in the second half. But Pitt was only outgained by 90 yards in that contest and held the Nittany Lions to 390 total yards, which is no small feat against that offense. I believe this is the best defense that Pat Narduzzi has fielded at Pitt with nine returning starters from last year.
Georgia Tech gave up a whopping 49 points in their loss to South Florida last week. That loss and defensive effort is a big concern considering USF lost most of their studs from last season and isn’t nearly as good as they have been over the past few years.
Georgia Tech has some key injuries heading into this one. For starters, QB TaQuan Marshall is nursing a toe injury that will slow him down. And the Yellow Jackets lost their stud B-Back in KirVonte Benson to a season-ending knee injury in the lost to USF. He rushed for 1,053 yards and six touchdowns last year. Their next leading back had 271 yards on the ground, so it’s a huge blown. And center Kenny Cooper has a foot injury as well and is questionable for this one. He made 11 starts last year and would be a big loss if he can’t go.
I simply feel that the wrong team is favored here Saturday. Georgia Tech is 0-7 SU & 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as a road favorite, including four losses by double-digits. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Take Pittsburgh Saturday.
|09-15-18||Florida State v. Syracuse +3||Top||7-30||Win||100||52 h 19 m||Show|
20* FSU/Syracuse ESPN Early ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +3
The Syracuse Orange are in the 3rd year under Dino Babers. They have 14 returning starters including eight on an explosive offense that could hang with anyone when QB Eric Dungey was healthy last year. That showed by how they performed against their best competition last year.
Syracuse handed Clemson its only regular season loss last year in a 27-24 upset at home as 23-point dogs. The Orange hung with LSU for four quarters and only lost 26-35 on the road as 21-point dogs. They only lost at NC State 25-33 as 13-point dogs. They only lost at Miami 19-27 as 17-point dogs. And they nearly upset Florida State in a 24-27 road loss as 6-point dogs.
Once Dungey got hurt last year, the Orange folded in their final three games. Dungey is back healthy and has this Syracuse offense hitting on all cylinders. The Orange have averaged 58.5 points and 508 yards per game in wins over Western Michigan and Wagner. Dungey has a 7-to-1 TD/INT ratio while also rushing for 244 yards and a score on 9.4 per carry thus far through two games.
Florida State is a team in transition under first-year head coach Willie Taggart. It has been an ugly start for the Seminoles. They lost 3-24 at home to Virginia Tech as 7.5-point favorites in their opener and committed five turnovers. Even worse was their 36-26 home win over lowly Samford as 31-point favorites in Week 2. Samford actually gained 525 total yards on this suspect FSU defense and committed 5 turnovers, otherwise they probably would have pulled off the upset.
You can just imagine what Dungey and company will do against this FSU defense. And the Orange want revenge from that 27-24 loss at Florida State last year. I simply believe the wrong team is favored in this matchup as Syracuse has the better team this year.
The Seminoles are 0-7-2 ATS in their last nine conference games. Florida State is 0-6 ATS in the first half of the season over the last two seasons. Syracuse is 8-3-1 ATS in its last 12 games overall with its only non-covers coming without Dungey under center. Bet Syracuse Saturday.
|09-13-18||Ravens +1 v. Bengals||Top||23-34||Loss||-107||54 h 36 m||Show|
20* Ravens/Bengals AFC North No-Brainer on Baltimore +1
The Baltimore Ravens are a legit playoff contender. It’s a team I was high on coming into the season due to several things that happened this offseason. For starters, Joe Flacco is more motivated than he’s ever been after the Ravens traded up to draft Lamar Jackson in the first round. And he finally has some weapons to work with on offense.
The Ravens added Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown at receiver. Fittingly, all three receivers caught touchdown passes from Flacco in a 47-3 beat down of the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. And the defense limited the Bills to just 153 total yards as the Ravens outgained them by 216 yards in the game. This is one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The Ravens went 5-0 in the preseason and now are 1-0 in the regular season. They have outscored their six opponents by a total of 99 points, or by an average of 16.5 points per game. Their defense has held their six opponents to just an average of 12.5 points per game. This is a deep, talented defense that will give Andy Dalton and company fits this week.
The Bengals were fortunate to win 34-23 at Indianapolis in Week 1. They were outgained by 50 total yards and got an 83-yard fumble recovery for a TD with 24 seconds left as the Colts were driving deep in the red zone to win the game. And the Colts aren’t a very good team.
The Bengals were one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL last year. Things don’t look a whole lot better for them in 2018. They managed just 330 total yards against what was an awful Colts’ defense last year, and one that isn’t much better this year. And Andrew Luck threw for 319 yards as the Colts managed 380 total yards against what is just an average Bengals defense.
Cincinnati has some big injury concerns coming into this one. Starters that are questionable to play include DE Carlos Dunlap (calf), LG Clint Boling (foot), CB Darqueze Dennard (neck) and MLB Preston Brown (ankle). Not to mention, the Bengals are already playing without LB Vontaze Burfict due to a four-game suspension.
But what I really like about this game is the situation. Baltimore simply needed a win in Week 17 last year to make the playoffs. Instead, the Bengals upset them 31-27 in Baltimore as 8-point underdogs. The Bengals scored on a 49-yard TD Pass with just 44 seconds left to stun the Ravens. You can bet Baltimore has been thinking about that game all offseason. They have had this game circled, and they will get their revenge Thursday night in Cincinnati.
Baltimore won 20-0 in Cincinnati last year. The Ravens are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring 40 points or more in their previous game. Baltimore is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 vs. AFC North opponents. The underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Bet the Ravens Thursday.
|09-13-18||Boston College v. Wake Forest +7||41-34||Push||0||52 h 13 m||Show|
15* Boston College/Wake Forest ACC ANNIHILATOR on Wake Forest +7
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons just get no respect. They went 8-5 last season and 8-3-2 ATS in their 13 games. Dave Clawson has now gotten the Demon Deacons to back-to-back bowl games. They are well on their way to another bowl game after their 2-0 start in Clawson’s 5th season.
The Demon Deacons returned 14 starters this season. Eight starters are back on an offense that set a school record with 454 points last year while averaging 35.3 points and 466 yards per game. They were competitive in every single game last season due to the offense and did not get beat by more than 14 points all season.
All five starters and a whopping 132 career starts returned along the offensive line in what will be one of the ACC’s top O-Lines. Each of the top two receivers are back from last year in Greg Dortch (53 receptions, 722 yards, 9 TD) and Scotty Washington (45, 711, 3 TD), as is leading rusher Matt Colburn (904 yards, 7 TD). That has helped ease the transition of highly touted freshman QB Sam Hartman.
The offense is in high gear already as the Demon Deacons have averaged 37 points and 565 yards per game in wins over Tulane and Towson. They beat Tulane 23-17 in a game that was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. They outgained Tulane by 112 yards, and that’s a Tulane team that went on to beat FCS power Nicholls State 42-17 the following week. Nicholls State upset Kansas on the road in Week 1. Wake Forest then handled Towson 51-20 in Week 2.
Hartman is completing 61.5% of his passes for 620 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 128 yards and a score on 5.8 per carry. And he hasn’t even had the services of Washington yet, who missed the two games with a shoulder injury and is questionable tonight. Dortch leads the way with 19 receptions for 243 yards and Sage Surratt has 15 receptions for 213 yards.
Boston College is a team that everyone and their brother has jumped on this season as being a team that could contend in the ACC. While I agree they should be good, the love has gotten out of control, especially after a 2-0 start against weak competition in UMass and Holy Cross. Now the Eagles are being asked to go on the road and win by a touchdown or more to cover this spread this week, and I feel like it’s too much. I think Wake wins this game outright.
That’s precisely what happened last year as Wake Forest dominated Boston College 34-10 on the road. The Demon Deacons forced four turnovers and held Boston College to 305 total yards. Boston College has only beaten Wake Forest by more than 6 points on the road once in the last seven trips to Winston-Salem. That was a 10-point victory back in 2010.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Wake Forest) - in a game involving two dominant teams that are outgaining their opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 28-5 (84.8%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Wake Forest is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog. Clawson is 14-3 ATS off a win by 21 or more points in all games he has coached. Clawson is 9-1 ATS off two consecutive games with a turnover margin of -1 or worse in all games he has coached. They only had 13 turnovers all of last season, and now they have 5 already this season. It has been a point of emphasis in practice this week for Clawson. Look for a big effort from the Demon Deacons at home tonight. Take Wake Forest Thursday.
|09-10-18||Jets +7 v. Lions||Top||48-17||Win||100||127 h 36 m||Show|
20* Jets/Lions ESPN Monday No-Brainer on New York +7
The Detroit Lions have been nothing but mediocre for decades. They have not won a playoff game in 26 seasons. They are kind of starting over this year with a new head coach in Matt Patricia. I don’t expect them to come out Week 1 hitting on all cylinders with new systems and new personnel in place. They certainly shouldn’t be favored by a touchdown against anyone in this league, not even the Jets.
The problem for the Lions is always defense and the lack of a running game. They are trying to change that this year, but it won’t happen overnight. The Lions ranked 27th in total defense last year and 32nd in rushing offense, averaging just 76.3 yards per game. They’re expecting Patricia to magically improve the defense, and for LeGarrette Blount and company to improve the running game.
I like the chemistry the Jets have with Todd Bowles. He enters his 4th season with the franchise and is 20-28 overall, but has been trying to upgrade the talent since he got here. That’s not a bad record for the shortage of talent that he’s had to work with. They are starting to turn the corner in that department.
The Jets used their top pick on Sam Darnold, and he’s expected to start Week 1. The future of the offense is bright now that they finally found their QB. Jermaine Kerse (65 receptions, 810 yards, 5 TD last year) and Robby Anderson (63, 941, 7 TD) provide an underrated receiver duo, and Terrelle Pryor only adds to it. Isaiah Crowell was signed this offseason to be the workhorse after rushing for 853 yards in Cleveland last year. The offensive line should be improved with the addition of center Spencer Long from the Redskins.
New York is loaded with playmakers defensively. Leonard Williams had the third-most QB hits (25) in the AFC last season. Steve McLendon is a solid run-stuffing nose tackle. The Jets replaced Demario Davis with a younger version of him in LB Avery Williamson, who had 92 tackles and 3 sacks with the Titans last year. Darron Lee improved greatly in his second season and will take an even bigger step this year. Second-year safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are promising. The Jets signed former Rams No. 1 corner Tremaine Johnson to a five-year, $72 million deal. Morris Claiborne is a solid No. 2 corner opposite Johnson.
The fact of the matter is that there’s not much difference between the Lions and Jets talent-wise, so this spread should not be a touchdown. The Lions admittedly have the better offense, but the Jets clearly have the better defense. Detroit is 31-51 ATS in its last 82 games as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points. The Jets are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall and come into 2018 underrated as well. Bet the Jets Monday.
Note: I recommend buying the Jets to +7
|09-09-18||Bears +7.5 v. Packers||Top||23-24||Win||100||104 h 48 m||Show|
20* Bears/Packers NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Chicago +7.5
I expect the Chicago Bears to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. They went just 5-11 last year, but Mitchell Trubisky had nobody to throw to, and the coaching staff didn’t have a clue. Yet, they managed to beat three of the better teams in the NFL in the Steelers, Panthers and Ravens, and they took both the Falcons and Vikings down to the wire early in the season.
The Bears were competitive due to a defense that rank 9th in scoring and 10th in total defense. That defense will be very good again, especially with the addition of former NFL Defensive Player Khalil Mack via trade. They gave up a lot to get him with two first-round picks, but that won’t hurt them at all this season, only in the future.
Matt Nagy is the new head coach. He was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs under Andy Reid, and he was the perfect hire for the Bears this offseason to inject some new life into the offense. Nagy will get the most out of Trubisky, who now has ample weapons to lead the offense. No team improved their playmakers this offseason more than Chicago.
The Bears added former Jacksonville No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson, who is primed for a bounce-back season after playing in just one game for the Jaguars before getting injured last year. New slot receiver Taylor Gabriel has 4.3-40 speed and will be missed in Atlanta. Trey Burton was stuck behind Zach Ertz in Philadelphia at tight end. But now he’ll have a chance to shine and take over the role that Travis Kelce played in Nagy’s offense in Kansas City. They used their second-round pick on Anthony Miller out of Memphis, and they still have former first-round pick Kevin White on their roster.
The Packers will be good as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, but they should not be favored by more than a touchdown here against the Bears. Rodgers voiced his frustration this offseason with the lack of focus out of the receiver group, and he clearly wasn’t healthy they let one of his best friends in Jordy Nelson walk. They are also shopping Randall Cobb.
Devante Adams and Jimmy Graham are good targets for Rodgers, but outside of those two, the talent is pretty weak at receiver. And the Packers have never had a consistent running game.
Green Bay ranked 26th in scoring defense (24.0 PPG) and 22nd in total defense (348.9 yards/game) last season. While they did add some pieces on defense to try and help out, they lost two key pieces in the secondary in CB Damarious Randall and S Morgan Burnett. The loss of Burnett is a big one because he was a leader in the secondary for eight seasons and made the defensive calls.
They’ll now be relying on first-round pick Jair Alexander and second-round pick Josh Jackson at cornerback this season. Both could struggle early on. They brought in corners Tramon Williams and Davon House, but both are just stopgaps. Second-year CB Kevin King is coming off labrum surgery. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the most experienced member of the secondary at safety, but he was dreadful last season. Second-year man Josh Jones and unproven Kentrell Brice are battling for the other safety position. There will be more holes in this secondary to say the least.
Plays against home favorites (Green Bay) who had a losing record last season, in conference games are 141-87 (61.8%) ATS since 1983. The Packers are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Don’t be surprised if the Bears win this game outright as they are a team on the rise this season. But we’ll certainly take the 7.5 points without hesitation. Take the Bears Sunday.
|09-09-18||Seahawks v. Broncos -2.5||24-27||Win||100||100 h 51 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Denver Broncos -2.5
The Denver Broncos should be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. They are coming off a 5-11 season that was mired with awful quarterback play. The trio of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch was about one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL last season. That won’t be the case again.
Case Keenum parlayed his trip to the NFC Championship Game with the Vikings into a big contract with the Broncos this offseason. Keenum is better than he gets credit for, which was evident in Minnesota last year. And just like in Minnesota, Keenum has a great defense to fall back on, so he doesn’t have to do too much.
The Broncos wasted an elite defense last year. They ranked 3rd in total defense, giving up just 290.0 yards per game. And they will challenge for the top spot again in 2018. The Broncos got the steal of the draft when they nabbed Bradley Chubb from NC State with the No. 5 overall pick despite the fact that he was graded out as the best player in the draft.
Now the Von Miller-Chubb tandem at outside linebacker is as scary as it gets in the NFL. The “No Fly Zone” secondary features Pro Bowlers Chris Harris (CB) and Darian Stewart (S). The Broncos could afford to trade Aqib Talib because CB Bradley Roby is a future star and ready for a starting role. This is going to be a dynamite defense.
The Seahawks are a team in transition. The ‘Legion of Boom’ is no longer. Richard Sherman was traded to the 49ers, Earl Thomas is holding out and still looking to get traded, and Kam Chancellor is out for the season with a neck injury. Not to mention, DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett are both gone. This defense doesn’t look anything like the dominant unit it was a few years ago, and it will struggle.
The same problem remains for Seattle’s offense. They simply cannot run the football. Russell Wilson has a big season last year, but only because he had to. Wilson actually led the team in rushing, and by a wide margin. No Seattle running back had more than 240 yards last year. The offensive line is still a mess, and the options are limited at receiver, especially with the losses of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. That duo combined for 16 TD receptions last year.
The Seahawks will struggle to reach .500 this season with all that they’ve lost. And they have some other injury concerns heading into Week 1. LB K.J. Wright is doubtful with a knee injury, DE Dion Jordan is questionable with a shin injury, CB Byron Maxwell is on IR with a hip injury, and WR Doug Baldwin is nursing a knee injury but expected to play.
Pete Carroll is 1-9 ATS in road games in the first two weeks of the season as the coach of Seattle. The Broncos are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine September games. The Seahawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six September games. The key to this game will be the Broncos’ domination up front on defense against Seattle’s weak offensive line. Russell Wilson will be running for his life. Take the Broncos Sunday.
|09-09-18||Jaguars v. Giants +3||Top||20-15||Loss||-100||96 h 28 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE WEEK on New York Giants +3
I believe the Jacksonville Jaguars come in overrated after making the AFC Championship Game last year. They came out of nowhere to do it. They finished 10-6 in the regular season before barely getting by the Bills and Steelers, and almost upset the Patriots. Now they will be the hunted, not the hunters in 2018. And it’s clearly they are overvalued because they are opening as 3-point road favorites at the Giants.
New York, on the other hand, comes in undervalued off a disastrous 3-13 season. They were hit as hard by injuries as any team in the league last year. And head coach Ben McAdoo was not fit for the job. But this was a team that made the playoffs in 2016, so there is still a ton of talent on this squad. And they got even better in the offseason.
The Giants have improved most in the trenches. They nabbed four new starters along the offensive line, including LT Nate Soldier from the Patriots. They will have a running game now with that improved O-Line and the addition of first-round pick RB Saquon Barkley, who is sure to be a star in the NFL for years to come. Odell Beckham Jr. got his big contract, and now he’s back healthy this season. Eli Manning has everything he needs to succeed.
The Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2016. But injuries and poor play by the offense had the defense gassed last year. That stop unit should come back energized and get back to being one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2018. I love the addition of LB Alec Ogletree, who will become the QB of the defense after serving the same role with the Rams previously.
There’s no question the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the NFL. But it’s not complemented well by the offense. Blake Bortles is still one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. And his job got much tougher with the fact that the Jaguars lost last year’s leading receiver Marquise Lee in the preseason to a knee injury. Their third-leading receiver, Allen Hurns, is gone to the Cowboys. And former top receiver Allen Robinson is gone to the Bears. The Jaguars are going to be so predictable on offense this year. Teams will be able to stack eight in the box to stop Leonard Fournette, and that will be the game plan every week.
The home team is a perfect 6-0 straight up in the last six meetings between these teams. Jacksonville is 15-31 ATS in its last 46 non-conference road games. The Jaguars are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 September games. Bet the Giants Sunday.
|09-09-18||Bucs +10 v. Saints||48-40||Win||100||96 h 27 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Tampa Bay Bucs +10
Public perception couldn’t be any worse on the Bucs right now. At the same time, public perception couldn’t be much higher on the New Orleans Saints. So this is essentially the perfect storm here and we’re getting max value on the Bucs as 10-point road underdogs to the Saints in the opener.
The Bucs are coming off a 5-11 season. Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first three games of the season. Not much is expected from the Bucs, who play in a very tough division. But I think they’ve been hearing all offseason about how bad they are going to be. No question them head into Week 1 with a massive chip on their shoulder.
And I actually like the talent on this Bucs’ roster. Their defense had three stars in DT Gerald McCoy and LB’s Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. They added two productive DE’s in Vinny Curry from the Eagles and Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants. I expect this to be one of the most improved defenses in the league.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has ample weapons on the outside to be productive, and he’s one of the best backups in the NFL. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and the combination of OJ Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end give the Bucs some great receiving options. Peyton Barber came on strong at running back late last year, and they added talented rookie RB Ronald Jones II in the second round. I expect the Bucs to be a lot more competitive than the general public does this season.
The Saints are getting a lot of hype after going 11-5 last year and losing on the Minnesota miracle in the playoffs. Their defense improved greatly last year, but it’s still just a mediocre unit. And the offense is more run-heavy now than it has ever been, but Mark Ingram is out to start the season due to a four-game suspension. No question the Saints will still be good this year and a playoff contender, but I think they are getting way too much respect from the books in Week 1 here. The Saints are 0-4 ATS in their last four Week 1 games. Roll with the Bucs Sunday.
|09-09-18||Texans +7 v. Patriots||20-27||Push||0||96 h 27 m||Show|
15* Texans/Patriots AFC ANNIHILATOR on Houston +7
There is a lot to like about the Houston Texans heading into 2018. For starters, Deshaun Watson is fully healthy now. He was on pace for 43 touchdowns as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Watson led an offense that averaged 39 points per game from Week 3 to Week 8 in a five-game span. It’s scary how good this offense was when he was healthy, and when WR Will Fuller was on the field. He had 7 touchdown receptions on 28 grabs last year.
So on offense, they have Watson and Fuller back healthy, and on defense they get their two best players back healthy as well. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus both return. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He and Jadeveon Clowney will wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Whitney Mercilus returns from a torn pectoral muscle. Mercilus joins a talented LB group that features leading tackler Benardick McKinney and the versatile Zach Cunningham, who are both coming off productive seasons.
The Patriots are notorious slow starters. We saw them lose 27-42 to the Chiefs at home in Week 1 last year, and in their next home game they barely beat Watson and the Texans 36-33 in Week 3. The Patriots needed a 25-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left to escape with victory as 13.5-point favorites.
Tom Brady is a year older, and he just doesn’t have the kind of weapons he used to. His best receiver this year is Chris Hogan (34 receptions, 439 yards, 5 TD Last year). Julian Edelman is serving a four-game suspension, and Danny Amendola left for the Dolphins. Brandon Cooks left for the Rams as well. Outside Rob Gronkowski, this is a very underwhelming receiver group. The offensive line is a question mark with LT Nate Solder leaving in free agency.
New England lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who is now the head coach of the Detroit Lions. And this Patriots’ defense fell apart late last year. They also ranked just 29th in total defense during the regular season, surrendering 366.0 yards per game. Then they gave up 41 points to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and couldn’t stop backup QB Nick Foles, who was dreadful prior to the Super Bowl. There’s more questions than answers surrounding this defense heading into 2018.
The Patriots are 1-4 ATS in their last five Week 1 games. This number is simply too high with the Texans catching a touchdown. I actually think they have the better all-around team this year and will be one of the best teams in the NFL if all of the stars stay healthy that were injured last year. They are at least healthy for Week 1, and that’s the key here. Bet the Texans Sunday.
Note: I recommend buying the Texans to +7
|09-08-18||Fresno State v. Minnesota -1.5||14-21||Win||100||34 h 34 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Minnesota -1.5
I’m buying Minnesota being vastly improved this season in Year 2 under P.J. Fleck, who is one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. What he did at Western Michigan two years ago goes without saying. And now he’s trying to rebuild Minnesota football into a Big Ten contender.
Fleck now has more of his players in place after a 5-7 campaign in his first season. He has 14 returning starters to work with. The Gophers can only be better offensively as they return seven starters, their leading rusher, top two receivers and four starters along the offensive line. That makes life on freshman QB Zack Annexstad much easier.
Fleck turned an inexperienced defense that returned just five starters last year into one of the Big Ten’s best units. The Gophers only allowed 22.8 points and 347 yards per game in 2017. Now they return seven starters, led by leading tackler Thomas Barber (115 tackles, 10.5 for loss last year) at linebacker. This is an experienced unit that has nine junior and senior starters. One of the sophomores is Antoine Winfield, who got a medical redshirt and will be one of the best safeties in the Big Ten.
Minnesota was sharp in its 48-10 season-opening victory over New Mexico State as 21.5-point favorites, covering the spread by 16.5 points. Annexstad threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. The Gophers rushed for 300 yards and 6.5 per carry. Winfield made his presence felt with a 76-yard punt return TD that blew the game wide open.
I backed Fresno State several times last season. I saw the improvement coming from Jeff Tedford, the former Cal coach, and he did a remarkable job. The Bulldogs finished 10-4 and lost to Boise State by only a field goal in the Mountain West Championship Game. They went on to beat Houston 33-27 in their bowl game.
Now Fresno State returns 15 starters and is on everyone’s radar. The betting public is quick to back this team, but I think the love for them is too much right now. That’s especially the case off a 79-13 win over FCS bottom feeder Idaho. That game was much closer than the final score as the Bulldogs only outgained them by 181 yards but shockingly won the turnover battle 7-0.
Now Fresno State is basically being asked to go into enemy territory against a quality Big Ten opponent and win the game straight up just to cover. I’m not buying it. I’ll gladly take Minnesota at this price and watch the Golden Gophers steamroll this Group of 5 squad.
Minnesota is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games after allowing 40 or less rushing yards last game. Fleck is 17-6 ATS in non-conference games as a head coach. Tedford is 10-23 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 in all games as a head coach. Bet Minnesota Saturday.
|09-08-18||Kentucky v. Florida -13.5||27-16||Loss||-107||33 h 24 m||Show|
15* SEC PLAY OF THE DAY on Florida -13.5
Florida should be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2018. The Gators are coming off a 4-7 disaster. They lost their starting RB, top WR and eight other players to suspension prior to the season. None of those suspended players returning. They were also decimated by injuries and had no depth. They were without 28 scholarship players and their head coach by the end of the season.
Now Dan Mullen steps into a great situation. Florida has 19 returning starters and gets some of those suspended players back. Mullen did an underrated job at Mississippi State, taking the Bulldogs to seven bowl games in his nine seasons. He was the perfect hire for Florida and exactly the guy that can get them back into SEC title contention.
Florida owns the longest series win streak in the nation with 31 consecutive wins over Kentucky. That streak was in jeopardy last year as the Gators trailed 24-14, but Felipe Franks took over for an injured Luke Del Rio at that point. Franks led two touchdown drives in the final eight minutes and Kentucky missed a potential game-winning field goal, with the Gators prevailing 28-27.
Last time in Gainesville, Florida rolled Kentucky 45-7. The Gators led 45-0 until garbage time and outgained the Wildcats 564-149. I think we get back to seeing the kind of dominance we expect from Florida in this rivalry in 2018.
Kentucky is just 2-10 in its last 12 SEC road openers. Kentucky lost their left tackle Landon Young in the season opener and don’t have much of a veteran presence this season. The Wildcats are only the 102nd-most experienced team in the country, so this is a young roster. Dan Mullen went 8-1 against Kentucky while at Mississippi State, playing them every year.
Kentucky wasn’t very impressive in its opener, failing to cover as 17.5-point favorites in a 35-20 home win over an inexperienced, rebuilding Central Michigan team. The quarterback play was very shaky as the Wildcats break in a new QB this year. The combo of Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak went 15-of-27 passing for just 128 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the win. They have more questions than answers heading into Week 2 at QB. Whoever is under center is going to have to make plays with their arm to hang with Florida, and I just don’t think they are capable.
Conversely, Florida handled its business, winning 53-6 as 43-point favorites against Charleston Southern. Franks threw for 219 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. He suddenly looks like a star in the making as a sophomore. Charleston Southern QB’s went just 5-of-16 passing for 3 yards against Florida.
Kentucky is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The Gators are 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. Plays on favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Florida) - after gaining 6.25 or more yards per play in their previous game, with 9 or more offensive starters returning are 57-25 (69.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Florida Saturday.
|09-08-18||Baylor -16 v. UTSA||37-20||Win||100||33 h 55 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Baylor -16
Baylor should be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2018. Matt Rhule enters his second season and is another year removed from the tumultuous offseason from 2016. Rhule loves a challenge, and I think he starts seeing some of the fruits of his labor in 2018.
Baylor went just 1-11 last season, but took both Oklahoma (41-49) and West Virginia (34-38) to the wire. The Bears were more competitive than their record showed. Now they have a whopping 17 starters and 52 lettermen returning this season, while losing just 15 lettermen. Rhule has cleaned house and now has his players in place moving forward.
Baylor rolled Abilene Christian 55-27 in its opener. The Bears racked up 606 total yards, including 295 rushing and 8.2 per carry. QB Charlie Brewer, who completed 68.4% of his passes with an 11-to-4 TD/INT ratio last season, got banged up in the win. They took him out for precautionary reasons, but he is expected back healthy this week.
UTSA had a solid team the last two years, going 6-7 in 2016 and 6-5 in 2017. But they lose a lot of players from those teams as they have just 10 returning starters this season. They had to replace a ton of seniors from last year and are actually just the 128th-most experienced team in the country this season.
I think we saw that inexperience in the opener. UTSA was blitzed 7-49 by Arizona State. They managed just 220 total yards and committed three turnovers in the loss. And that was an Arizona State team going through change and a new head coach in Herm Edwards. I think Baylor is better than Arizona State this season, and the Bears should be much bigger than 16-point favorites in this matchup.
Plays on road favorites (Baylor) - after gaining 275 or more rushing yards last game against an opponent that was outrushed by 125 or more yards last game are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Rhule is a perfect 7-0 ATS all-time after leading in their previous game by 17 points or more at the half in all games as a head coach. Take Baylor Saturday.
|09-08-18||Ball State +34.5 v. Notre Dame||Top||16-24||Win||100||30 h 35 m||Show|
25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Ball State +34.5
Ball State has the makings of one of the most improved teams in the country. They went just 2-10 last season with 11 starters back, but now they have 16 starters back in 2018 and should challenge for a bowl game.
The biggest problem for Ball State last year was that QB Riley Neal started the first three games but then was knocked out with a season-ending injury. And the Cardinals opened 2-1 with their only loss coming 21-24 at Illinois as 6-point underdogs. They also lost RB James Gilbert after two games. Well, Neal and Gilbert are both back healthy to guide the offense this season.
Both players were on their game in their season-opening 42-6 victory over Central Connecticut State as 19.5-point favorites, covering by 16.5 points. Neal went 23-of-30 passing for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 37 yards and a score. Gilbert had 100 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries. This is certainly a team to look out for this season.
This is an awful spot for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish opened the season with arguably their biggest game of the year, and they beat Michigan 24-17. Now they are primed for a letdown the falling week as they will have been patted on the back all week leading up to this game. They won’t have 100% focus for Ball State.
But the Fighting Irish only managed 302 total yards in the win, and their offense is going to hold them back again this year. They don’t have the kind of offense that is built to cover massive numbers like this 34.5-point spread. They are a power-running team that needs to control time of possession because Brandon Wimbush isn’t a very good passer. He only completed 49.5% of his passes last season for 1,870 yards despite making 12 starts. He managed just 12-of-22 completions against Michigan.
The Cardinals are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Ball State is 7-1 ATS in its last eight vs. Independent opponents. The Cardinals are 54-26 ATS in their last 80 road games. The Fighting Irish are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Ball State) - after outgunning their opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. This is way too many points. Bet Ball State Saturday.
|09-08-18||Rutgers +35.5 v. Ohio State||Top||3-52||Loss||-110||29 h 30 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Rutgers +35.5
Rutgers is a team I’m looking to back early and often. In fact, when I did my Top 10 season win total bets, Rutgers OVER 3.5 was high up on my list. I won with them last week as 16-point favorites in a 35-7 win over Texas State. I’m back on them for many of the same reasons this week.
Rutgers went 4-8 last year, but was more competitive and now enters Year 3 under head coach Chris Ash, which is when teams usually make their biggest improvements. The Scarlet Knights return 15 starters this season. They have seven back on offense and will be better, simply because freshman QB Artur Sitkowski is one of the top recruits in the country. He ran away with he job this fall and is one of the better young QB’s that not many folks know about.
The defense improved a ton last year, going from allowing 37.5 points per game in 2016 to 28.3 points per game in 2017. Now the defense returns eight starts and five of the six tacklers. Not only will this be Ash’s best defense yet, it will also be one of the better units in the Big Ten.
Rutgers outgained Texas State 423 to 169, or by 254 total yards. Sitkowski threw for 205 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off three times. Now that he has a game under his belt, he should be much more comfortable in Week 2. And the Scarlet Knights ran for 218 yards as a team, led by Boston College transfer Jon Hillman, who had 60 yards and two scores and adds a punch to this rushing attack.
I think Ohio State comes in overvalued off its 77-31 victory over Oregon State as 40-point favorites. Well, Oregon State is the worst team in the Power 5 outside of perhaps Kansas. And they managed to hang 31 points on the Buckeyes. Ohio State isn’t going to score 77 on Rutgers in this one. I’m anticipating Rutgers is good enough to hold the Buckeyes below 50, which will make it very difficult for them to cover this massive 35.5-point spread.
Ohio State is also in a big lookahead spot. The Buckeyes have a huge game at TCU on deck in their biggest non-conference game this season. I think they’ll be more than happy to get a win and pull the starters early in this one. They won’t be looking to run up the score like they were against Oregon State, especially since defensive coordinator Greg Schiano owes Rutgers a big thanks for getting his coaching career kick-started. Schiano and company will call off the dogs if necessary.
Ash is 6-0 ATS off a win as the coach of Rutgers. Urban Meyer teams are 4-12 ATS as a favorite of 31 or more points as the coach of Ohio State. Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (Ohio State) who outgained their opponents by 1.5 or more yards per play, with 5 defensive starters returning are 23-5 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Rutgers) - after outgaining their last opponent by 175 or more total yards are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. Take Rutgers Saturday.
|09-08-18||Arkansas State +36.5 v. Alabama||7-57||Loss||-110||29 h 25 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Arkansas State +36.5
This is a situational play for me. Alabama just doesn’t cover these kinds of game. Since 2011, in their last 13 games as a favorite of at least 28 points against non-conference FBS opponents, Alabama just just 1-10-2 ATS.
I have cashed going against the Crimson Tide several times in this same scenario. I was also against them the one time they actually did cover two years ago as 43-point favorites in a 48-0 win over Kent State. But Kent State had a TD overturned on review late, otherwise they wouldn’t have covered that game, either.
The reason for their struggles in this spot is because they are usually in a letdown situation or a lookahead spot. In this case, it’s a letdown situation after their big win over Louisville last week, and they could be looking ahead to Ole Miss. Plus, Nick Saban just isn’t the type of coach to run it up on an opponent. He shows mercy, unless it’s an SEC rival.
Arkansas State is one of the better Group of 5 programs in the country. The Red Wolves have won five Sun Belt titles in the past seven seasons. They fell just short last year with a 25-32 loss to Troy. In fact, they went 7-5 last year and four of those five losses came by 7 points or fewer. They were in every game they played.
Now the Red Wolves welcome back 12 starters, and they biggest key is that they get their top three playmakers back on offense. Leading rusher Warren Wand and leading receiver Justin Mcinnis both return. But the key is getting senior QB Justice Hansen back. He threw for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns last year, while also rushing for 422 yards and seven scores. He will give Alabama some problems.
Arkansas State’s 48-21 win over SE Missouri State last week was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Red Wolves outgained them by 400 yards. They racked up 685 yards on offense, including 423 passing yards and six touchdowns from Hansen. They also gave up just 285 yards on defense. But they lost the turnover battle 3-0 to keep the score closer than it was, and gave up a meaningless TD with only 37 seconds left.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Arkansas State) - after outgaining opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. The Red Wolves are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 vs. a team with a winning record. The Crimson Tide are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. Sun Belt opponents. Bet Arkansas State Saturday.
|09-08-18||Nevada v. Vanderbilt -8.5||10-41||Win||100||26 h 54 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Vanderbilt -8.5
The Vanderbilt Commodores just get no love every season, especially early in the year. They opened this season as only 3-point favorites over Middle Tennessee. They proceeded to crush the Blue Raiders 35-7, covering the spread by 25 points.
The Commodores held what was supposed to be an explosive MTSU offense to just one touchdown and 294 total yards. Now they’re up against another supposed high-powered Nevada offense, and I expect them to shut them down, too.
I like what Jay Norvell is doing at Nevada, making them a fun program to watch. It’s an offense that put up 28 points per game last season and got better as the season went on. But the defensive deficiencies are still there after allowing 34 points per game and 471 total yards per game last year.
I think Nevada is getting too much credit for its 72-19 shellacking of Portland State last week. Well, Portland State went 0-11 last season and is one of the worst teams in the FCS. Now Nevada will have to go up against SEC talent, and I believe Vanderbilt will have the talent edge at every position on the field.
Nevada is 0-4 against current SEC members all-time. The Wolf Pack are just 1-11 SU in true road games over the last two seasons. Vanderbilt is 15-2 SU when hosting non-conference opponents since 2011, and 10-2 SU when hosting Group of 5 teams since 2008.
Derek Mason is a perfect 6-0 ATS off a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better as the coach of the Commodores. The Wolf Pack are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Vanderbilt Saturday.
|09-07-18||TCU -22 v. SMU||Top||42-12||Win||100||12 h 56 m||Show|
20* TCU/SMU ESPN 2 Friday No-Brainer on TCU -22
The TCU Horned Frogs have one of the most underrated programs in the country. Gary Patterson just gets the most out of his players. What the Horned Frogs lack in talent, they make up for in guts and smarts. They have won at least 10 games three of the past four seasons.
The Horned Frogs have a stout defense every year, and that is the case again this season. They have six starters back on D from a unit that gave up just 19.0 points per game last season, which is mighty impressive in the Big 12. They should have the best defense in this conference once again.
I thought Kenny Hill was an erratic quarterback last year and held their offense back. But talented sophomore Shawn Robinson will be the signal caller this season and should be better than Hill was. The leading rusher (Darius Anderson) and leading receiver (Jalen Reagor) are both back this season to help out Robinson.
TCU beat Southern 55-7 in its opener. Robinson threw for 182 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 45 yards and two scores on two carries before giving way to backup quarterbacks. They had 55 points by the end of the 3rd quarter before calling off the dogs.
SMU was a team I was high on under Chad Morris. He did a great job of getting them to a bowl last season and a 7-6 record overall. Now Morris is gone to Arkansas, a much-deserved promotion for him. SMU hired Sonny Dykes in the offseason, and Dykes is a coach I have no problem going against because he simply isn’t that good. He has a career record of 41-46. LA Tech got better once he left, and Cal got better once he left, too.
Dykes was on the sidelines for SMU’s 10-51 loss to Louisiana Tech in the bowl game. And Dykes’ 2018 debut was a rough one as well. SMU lost 23-46 at North Texas, giving up 461 passing yards to the Mean Green. Their offense only managed 256 yards against a terrible North Texas defense, and they were outgained by 273 yards in the game.
That’s a sign of things to come about how much this SMU program has fallen with the loss of Morris and the hiring of Dykes. The thing is Dykes is known for having an offensive mind, and he has a good QB in Ben Hicks back from lsat season. So to only managed 256 yards against that North Texas defense is atrocious. And SMU has never been good defensively as they gave up 36.7 points and 477 yards per game last season. They could be even worse on that side of the ball this year.
I think TCU can name its number on offense, and the defense is going to limit SMU to fewer than 20 points. TCU has really owned SMU, going 5-0 SU & 3-2 ATS in the five meetings over the past five seasons. The Horned Frogs have outscored the Mustangs by an average of 31.2 points per game in those five meetings. I expect them to win by 30-plus in this one as well, and they only need to win by more than 22 to get us a cover. Bet TCU Friday.
|09-06-18||Falcons +2 v. Eagles||12-18||Loss||-110||32 h 48 m||Show|
15* Falcons/Eagles 2018 NFL Season Opener on Atlanta +2
The Philadelphia Eagles had a remarkable run to the Super Bowl with their backup quarterback. But now it’s time for the Super Bowl hangover in 2018, and I’m predicting it starts in Week 1 with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a playoff rematch from Philly’s 15-10 victory in January.
The Eagles stunk up the preseason (0-4), especially Nick Foles, so their hangover has already started. They lost all four preseason games by double-digits, and their offense was particularly bad, averaging just 6.8 points per game.
Now Foles will have to start again in the opener because Carson Wentz isn’t quite ready to go. And he’ll be without his top receiver in Alshon Jeffery, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. There’s just not a lot to like about this offense to start the season.
The Eagles were able to get by due to a great defense that gave up just 18.2 points per game last season. But that defense won’t be nearly as good in 2018. They lost DE Vinny Curry, LB Mychal Kendrick and CB Patrick Robinson in the offseason. And now they are without DT Timmy Jernigan (back) and LB Nigel Bradham (suspension) in Week 1.
Many overlooked the Falcons last season, but they still went 10-6 and had another great shot at getting back to the Super Bowl before that 5-point loss to the Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round. Now they have basically their entire team back and will be ready for another Super Bowl Run in 2018.
The offense is loaded with weapons for Matt Ryan this season. The usuals are back in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and the 1-2 punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the backfield. But they used an early draft pick on WR Calvin Ridley, who may turn out to be the best receiver in the draft. This will help take some pressure away from Jones in the passing game and open it up more for both he and Sanu.
What got overlooked was the improvement of the Falcons’ defense last season. They only surrendered 19.1 points per game in their 18 games including playoffs. They finished in the Top 10 in scoring defense and total defense last year. The only significant loss was DT Dontari Poe. They have 10 starters back on D and will have one of the best stop units in the league once again.
Plus, the Falcons are fully healthy entering 2018 because they basically rested their starters the entire preseason. They should come out guns-a-blazing in Week 1, while the Eagles are behind the eight ball due to all their injuries and suspensions. Atlanta is 7-1 ATS in its last eight Thursday games. Bet the Falcons Thursday.
|09-03-18||Virginia Tech v. Florida State OVER 54.5||24-3||Loss||-110||106 h 4 m||Show|
15* VA Tech/FSU ESPN Monday Total DOMINATOR on OVER 54.5
Willie Taggart steps into a great situation at Florida State, especially from an offensive perspective. He is known for coaching up high-octane offenses, and he will love the talent he has to work with here. Florida State returns 8 starters on offense, including QB Deondre Francois, who was lost to a season-ending injury in the opener against Alabama last year. That injury derailed their season.
Francois has the luxury of having each of his top two rushers back, including the electric Came Akers, who rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns last year as a freshman. He also had leading receiver Nyqwan Murray back, along with four starters and 90 career starts on the offensive line. This should be one of the best offenses in the country.
The problem for the Seminoles this year is going to be defense. They go from having 9 returning starters on D last year to only 4 returning starters this year. They lost six of their top seven tacklers. This unit is certainly going to be a mystery, and I’m banking on this being one of the worse defenses in recent memory at FSU.
VA Tech coach Justin Fuente earned his stripes at Memphis for what he did on the offensive side of the football. And he’s doing it again at Virginia Tech. The Hokies averaged 35.0 points per game in his first season in 2016. They did slip to 28.2 points per game last year, but they only had 5 returning starters and were breaking in a freshman quarterback. Now the Hokies have 7 returning starters on offense, including QB Josh Jackson, who is now a sophomore. He completed 60% of his passes for 2,991 yards and a 20-to-9 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 324 yards and 6 scores as a freshman. He should take this offense to new heights this year.
Like Florida State, VA Tech’s biggest questions coming into the season are on the defensive side of the football. The Hokies return just 5 starters on defense and lose several players to the NFL. Gone to the NFL are CB Greg Stroman, LB Tremaine Edmunds, and DT Tim Settle. This is going to be one of the youngest defenses in the country. Bud Foster will have to work his magic on this group. They won’t come close to matching last year’s impressive numbers.
Taggart is 19-7 OVER as a home favorite in all games he has coached. The OVER is 5-0 in the last five meetings in this series. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|09-02-18||Miami-FL v. LSU UNDER 47||Top||17-33||Loss||-110||81 h 29 m||Show|
20* Miami/LSU ABC Sunday No-Brainer on UNDER 47
The Miami Hurricanes take on the LSU Tigers on Sunday in one of the most anticipated Week 1 games on the board. They will meet in Arlington, and I’m expecting a defensive battle in this one between two teams whose strengths are their defenses.
Miami gave up 18.5 points per game in 2016 and 21.0 points per game last season. Those were Mark Richt’s first two years on the job. Now they have 7 starters and each of their top 5 tacklers back from last year’s squad, making this likely Richt’s best defense yet.
Inconsistent quarterback play held Miami back down the stretch last season. Malik Rosier threw for 3,120 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he also threw 14 interceptions and completed just 54% of his passes. And now he’ll be without each of his top two receivers from last year in Braxton Berrios and Christopher Herndon.
Ed Oregon is on the hotseat already at LSU because he still hasn’t developed an offense. That was especially the case last year when the Tigers went up against some similar defenses to Miami. They managed beat Florida 17-16, lost to Alabama 10-24, and lost to Notre Dame 17-21. As you can see, their defense played well enough to win those games, but their offense didn’t get the job done.
Now LSU has just 5 returning starters on offense. They lose QB Danny Etling, who had a 16-to-2 TD/INT ratio, so he will be tougher to replace than most expect. The new QB is Joe Burrow. Derrius Guide and Darrell Williams, who combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns last year, have departed. And each of the top three pass catchers from last year are gone. This offense is going to struggle again.
But you can count on LSU to have a great defense, which they have for over a decade and that has been the case again with Orgeron running the show and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda calling the shots. LSU gave up just 15.8 points per game in 2016 and 18.9 points per game in 2017. While they only have 5 starters back this season, that happens almost every year as they had just 5 starters back on D last season as well. They do have three of their top four tacklers back, including the best LB in the country in Devin White (133 tackles, 14 for loss last year). This will be one of the best stop units in the country.
Orgeron is 34-18 UNDER in all games he has been a head coach. The UNDER is 9-2 in Hurricanes last 11 games overall. The UNDER is 20-8-2 in Tigers last 30 games overall. The UNDER is 6-0 in Hurricanes last six neutral site games. The UNDER is 4-0 in Tigers last four neutral site games. Bet the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|09-01-18||Marshall v. Miami-OH +2.5||35-28||Loss||-100||74 h 41 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Miami Ohio +2.5
Miami Ohio remarkably opened 0-6 in 2016 and finished 6-0 to make a bowl game, where they would lose by a single points 16-17 to Mississippi State as 14-point underdogs. Many expected them to be real good last year because they had 17 returning starters. But the Redhawks lost QB Gus Ragland for three games, and they lost two starting offensively linemen for the first four games. Miami suffered four losses by 5 points or less to finish 5-7 in 2017.
Now, the Redhawks have 16 returning starters and will be one of the most improved teams in the country. Miami Ohio is expected to have 15 senior starters among the 22 on offense and defense. This is a team I’m going to be looking to back early and often.
Offensively, the Redhawks have eight returning starters, including QB Gus Ragland, who had a 39-to-8 TD/INT ratio in three years with the program. He has stud receiver James Gardner (47 receptions, 927 yards, 11 TD) back as his disposal. Each of the top two rushers are back from last year. They have seven offensive linemen with starting experience and 100 career starts back.
Defensively, the Redhawks have eight returning starters from a unit that gave up just 24.1 points per game last season. This will be one of the best units in the MAC this season.
Marshall made a big jump last year from 3-9 in 2016 to 8-5 in 2017. And now they have 18 returning starters, so they will be pretty good again. But they lose their most important player in QB Chase Litton, who threw for 3,115 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago. Their defense will be good again, but their offense only managed 26.7 points per game last year even with good QB play, and they likely won’t get the kind of production they had from Litton last year.
Marshall still hasn’t announced its starting QB yet and likely won’t until gamely. Alex Thomson is likely the new QB, and the grad transfer from Wagner has made 20 starts in his career, but he has completed just 55% of his passes. It will either be Thomson or redshirt freshman Isaiah Green, and whoever starts will be making their first start at the FBS level.
What really stood out to me about this game is that this is a rematch from last year. Marshall beat Miami Ohio 31-26 as 3.5-point home underdogs. But that final score doesn’t even tell half the story. Miami outgained Marshall 429 to 267 for the game, or by 162 total yards. Marshall got three non-offensive touchdowns in the game with a 99-yard KO return, a 97-yard kickoff return and a 72-yard interception return. It’s amazing Miami only lost by 5.
Now the Redhawks will be out for revenge and get the Thundering Herd at home this time around. They are fully healthy coming into this matchup and should get the job done. The home team is a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings. Take Miami Ohio Saturday.
|09-01-18||North Carolina v. California -7||Top||17-24||Push||0||72 h 12 m||Show|
25* CFB Week 1 GAME OF THE YEAR on California -7
Justin Wilcox did a good job in his first season at Cal head coach last year. The Golden Bears went just 5-7, but they had three losses by a combined 7 points. This was an inexperienced team last year, but that won’t be the case in 2018.
The Golden Bears return 18 starters this season and go from being #110 in experience last year all the way up to #18 this year. They also faced the 2nd-toughest schedule in the country last year, and this year they only face the 49th toughest. This could be one of the most improved teams in the land.
The offense returns 10 starters after having just 5 starters back on offense last year. Junior QB Ross Bowers is back after throwing for 3,039 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. Leading rusher Patrick Laird (1,127 yards, 8 TD, 5.9/carry) and each of the top two receivers in Vic Wharton and Kanawai Noa (123 receptions, 1,659 yards, 9 TD between them) are back. All five starters and seven who have started return along the offensive line.
Wilcox is known for defense, and he improved this group dramatically last year. Cal gave up 42.6 points and 518 yards per game in 2016, but those numbers dropped to 28.4 points and 430 yards per game in 2017 under Wilcox. Now he has 8 starts back on defense and the numbers should improve once again.
UNC is an absolute mess right now. The Tar Heels are coming off a 3-9 season and return a modest 13 starters this year. Their three wins last year came against Old Dominion, Western Carolina and Pitt. While they can’t be any worse, they aren’t going to be much better, either.
That’s because they had 13 players suspended for at least one game and as many as four games for selling team-issued shoes. Nine of the 13 suspended players will miss the first four games, the most notable being QB Chazz Surratt, the team leader last season in passing yards, yards per attempt and completion percentage.
Not to mention, projected starting RB Michael Carter (558 yards, 8 TD, 5.8 YPC LY) is out until late September with a wrist injury. Starting DT Aaron Crawford (29 tackles, 3 sacks LY) is out with a knee injury. The Tar Heels are going to be short-handed for the opener and for the first month of the season for that matter. Cal went on the road and beat UNC 35-30 in the opener last season. Now they get the Tar Heels at home this time around and the Golden Bears are vastly improved.
This is the longest road trip (2,800 miles) in school history for the Tar Heels. California is 5-0 ATS in its last five home games. The Golden Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. North Carolina is 1-5 ATS in its last six September games. Bet California Saturday.
|09-01-18||Appalachian State +24 v. Penn State||38-45||Win||100||72 h 1 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Appalachian State +24
The Appalachian State Mountaineers have cemented themselves as one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country over the past decade. It all started when they upset Michigan in the Big House back in 2007. But they have since taken some other Power 5 teams right down to the wire.
The Mountaineers won 11 games in 2015, 10 games in 2016 and 9 games in 2017. They have won at least 10 games five times over the past decade. They only lost 13-20 as 20-point underdogs in Week 1 against Tennessee two years ago. They lost 10-31 at Georgia in the opener last year, and we all know how good Georgia turned out to be. They also lost 19-20 as 5-point home dogs to an 8-win Wake Forest team last year.
I was impressed with the way the Mountaineers finished the season last year. They won their final four games by 21, 21, 49 and 34 points, including their 34-0 beat down of Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl. That gives them a ton of momentum heading into 2018.
Appalachian State returns only 11 starters but 59 lettermen, so while they may be a little young, they have plenty of depth. The loss of four-year starting QB Taylor Lamb is tough, but sophomore Zac Thomas is ready to be the next great QB here. Reports are he’s actually a better runner and has a better arm than Lamb did, so the future is bright for him.
The good news for Thomas is that he’ll be able to lean on an offensive line that returns five players with starting experience, including 1st-Team All-Sun Belt LT Victor Johnson. And they’ll be blocking for the best RB in the Sun Belt in Jalin Moore, who has delivered back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
The bread and butter of the Mountaineers has been defense under head coach Scott Satterfield. They allowed just 19.1 points per game in 2015, 17.8 in 2016 and 20.2 in 2017. They return 14 of their top 20 tacklers from a year ago and should be good again. It’s this defense that will give them a chance to hang with Penn State Saturday.
I think the Nittany Lions are one of the most overrated teams in the country heading into 2018. They shocked everyone by winning 11 game each of the last two seasons, but now they lose a ton of talent from those two teams. The Nittany Lions have just 10 returning starters in 2018.
While they have seven starters back on offense, including QB Trace McSorley, they lose their top three playmakers in RB Saquon Barkley (1,903 scrimmage yards, 21 total TD LY), WR DaeSean Hamilton (857 yards, 9 TD LY) and TE Mike Gesicki (57 receptions, 563 yards, 9 TD LY). That trio is simply irreplaceable.
The losses are just as big on defense as the Nittany Lions return only 3 starters this year. They lost seven of their top eight tacklers from a year ago, so it will basically be all new faces for them on this side of the ball. There’s no way they even come close to last year’s 16.5 points per game allowed. They gave up 25.4 points per game in 2016 and will likely be closer to that number this year.
Penn State opens the 2018 season with expectations it simply cannot live up to from a point spread perspective. They should not be 24-point favorites over pesky Appalachian State in the opener. The Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. Roll with Appalachian State Saturday.
|09-01-18||Texas State v. Rutgers -16||Top||7-35||Win||100||68 h 22 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Rutgers -16
Rutgers is a team I’ll be looking to back early and often. In fact, when I did my Top 10 season win total bets, the Rutgers Over 3.5 made my list. It’s a team that went 4-8 last year and now enters year 3 under head coach Chris Ash, which is when teams usually make their biggest improvements.
The Scarlet Knights return 15 starters this season. Freshman QB Artur Sitkowski is one of the top recruits in the country, and he ran away with the job in fall camp and has been named the starter. He is a big reason why I’m so high on this team because he has all the tools to be one of the better quarterbacks in the country that most don’t know much about.
The offense has seven starters back and can only improve after averaging just 18 points per game a year ago. They brought in a new coordinator in John McNulty, who has spent the past nine years in the NFL with four teams, and he was the former offensive coordinator at Rutgers from 2004-2008. There is a lot of talent at receiver, three starters return on the offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks last year, and Jon Hillman is a grad transfer from Boston College at running back who should inject life into the running game.
The defense improved a ton last year, going from allowing 37.5 points per game in 2016 to 28.3 points per game in 2017. Now that unit returns eight starters and five of the top six tacklers. This will be one of the most underrated stop units in the Big Ten this season.
Texas State was one of the worst teams in the country last season. The Bobcats went just 2-10 and were outscored by an average of 16.3 points per game on the season. Their two wins came against Houston Baptist and Coastal Carolina, an FCS team and a team that was in their first season at the FBS level.
The Bobcats do have 14 starters back this year, but they won’t be any good. They lose their starting QB in Damian Williams and their most explosive playmakers in WR Elijah King (750 yards, 3 TD). Sophomore Willie Lee Jones is expected to step in at QB, but he completed just 48.6% of his 37 attempts last year in the backup role.
Texas State is expected to be the worst team in the Sun Belt, which is the worst conference in the country. The Scarlet Knights from the Big Ten should have no problem waxing them by 17-plus points to get the win and cover in this one. Take Rutgers Saturday.
|09-01-18||Costal Carolina +29.5 v. South Carolina||15-49||Loss||-106||68 h 11 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Line Mistake on Coastal Carolina +29.5
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will be playing their first season as an official FBS member after dominating in FCS over the past five years. They won 12, 12, 9 and 10 games from 2013-2016. Last year they played a schedule that featured 11 FBS teams to get them prepared for this season.
They went just 3-9 last year, but there were some highlights, and evidence that they were better than their record would suggest. They went 1-5 in games decided by 8 points or less. But they won their final two games against Idaho and Georgia Southern outright as underdogs to give them some momentum heading into 2018.
Now they have 12 returning starters after having just 9 back last year. And one huge factor is that head coach Joe Moglia, the former FCS Coach of the Year, missed the entire season last year with a lung infection. He’s back healthy now and will be on the sidelines coaching this team up.
Perhaps Coastal Carolina’s most impressive effort last season was in a loss. The Chanticleers went on the road as 23-point underdogs and nearly upset SEC foe Arkansas 38-39. That effort showed that they could play with the big boys, which is a big reason why I think they can hang with South Carolina, or at least stay within this 29.5-point spread.
South Carolina overachieved last year by going 9-4. They were opposite of Coastal Carolina in terms of luck in close games. The Gamecocks went 6-1 in games decided by 8 points or less. They didn’t beat anyone by more than 26 points. They only beat Wofford 31-10 as 27-point home favorites, and they only beat Louisiana Tech 17-16 as 9-point home favorites.
So now expectations are high for the Gamecocks heading into 2018 when they really shouldn’t be because they simply were lucky in close games last year and were really closer to a 6-7 or 7-6 team rather than a 9-4 one. They do have 14 starters back and return some key playmakers, but they should not be 29.5-point favorites here in the opener.
That’s especially the case when you consider South Carolina won’t be able to help but overlook Coastal Carolina. They have their ‘game of the year’ on deck next week hosting Georgia. They will want to make sure that everyone is healthy for that game, which means they will likely pull the starters or limit their snaps at the first opportunity they get. They are just looking to win this game, not win it by margin. Bet Coastal Carolina Saturday.
|08-31-18||Colorado State v. Colorado -7.5||Top||13-45||Win||100||84 h 50 m||Show|
20* Colorado State/Colorado CFB Late-Night BAILOUT on Colorado -7.5
The Colorado Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South in 2016 despite being picked by most outlets to finish last. Head coach Mike MacIntyre always gets the most out of his teams. They were due for some regression last year, and they did at 5-7, but still came within one win of making a bowl but lost their final three games. They had just 12 returning starters last year, including only 3 on defense.
I realize they only have 10 returning starters in 2018, but this is actually a better team than the ’17 version. I love the offense led by Steven Montez, a junior who threw for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions, while also rushing for 338 yards and three scores. The offense boasts nine junior and senior starters and will be better than what you would expect for having just four returning starters.
Improvement will come from a defense that returns six starters, including each of the top three tacklers from a year ago. This unit slipped big-time last year going from nine returning starters in ’16 to just three in ’17. But they still only allowing 28.2 points per game, a respectable number considering all they had to replace. This should now be one of the better stop units in the Pac-12 again.
Colorado State is one of the single-least experienced team in FBS, ranking #130 in terms of returning experience. They have just nine starters and 39 lettermen returning. They lost QB Nick Stevens (3,799 yards, 29 TD), leading rusher Dalyn Dawkins (1,399 yards, 8 TD) and leading receiver Michael Gallup (100 receptions, 1,413 yards, 7 TD) on offense. Defensively, they have just five starters back.
I think you saw everything you needed to know about how bad Colorado State is going to be this season in their opener against Hawaii on Saturday. They were favored by 17 over a Hawaii team that brought back just 9 starters this season. They trailed 37-7 as their offense couldn’t get anything going against an awful Hawaii defense. And by the time they did get their offense going, it was too late as they lost 34-43. Their defense gave up 617 total yards to the Warriors.
Colorado is 8-2 in its last 10 meetings with Colorado State in Denver. Those eight wins have come by an average of 16 points per game. The Rams were better the last two seasons than they will be this season, yet the Buffaloes crushed them 44-7 in 2016 and 17-3 in 2017.
Colorado State is at a disadvantage here having to play on a short week after facing Hawaii on Saturday, Meanwhile, the Buffaloes had all offseason to prepare for this one, and now have some actual game film to do so all week. The Rams are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games overall. Colorado State is 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games. Bet Colorado Friday.
|08-31-18||Utah State v. Michigan State UNDER 51.5||31-38||Loss||-107||81 h 25 m||Show|
15* CFB Friday Total DOMINATOR on Utah State/Michigan State UNDER 51.5
I expect a defensive battle tonight between Utah State and Michigan State in the season opener for both teams. Both squads have experienced defenses returning, which will be the strength of both teams in 2018.
Michigan State went 10-3 last year despite averaging just 24.5 points per game. That’s because they won a lot of close games and their defense was tremendous, giving up just 20.0 points and 298 yards per game despite having just four starters back on D last year. Now the Spartans have 9 starters and 10 of their top 11 tacklers back on defense and will have one of the best stop units in the country.
Utah State gave up 26.9 points per game last season with just 5 starters back on defense. Now they have 9 starters and 19 of their top 21 tacklers back on defense and will have one of the best stop units in the Mountain West. This should be one of Matt Wells’ best defenses yet as he enters his 6th season wit the Aggies. In his first three years, they surrendered just 339.6 yards per game. It’s the most returning experience he’s had on any defense yet.
Utah State’s offense isn’t anything special, either. The Aggies played two Power 5 teams last year and managed just 10 points against Wisconsin and 10 points against Wake Forest. Both teams have a lot of experience returning on offense as well, but that’s not necessarily a good thing considering both offenses were sub-par a year ago.
Plays on the UNDER on all teams where the total is between 49.5 and 56 in a game that features both teams having 8 or more defensive starters returning, in the first month of the season are 42-12 (77.8%) over the last five seasons. Michigan State is 9-1 to the UNDER as a home favorite over the last three seasons. Take the UNDER in this game Friday.
|08-30-18||Wake Forest -6.5 v. Tulane||Top||23-17||Loss||-110||79 h 48 m||Show|
20* Wake Forest/Tulane Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Wake Forest -6.5
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons just get no respect. They went 8-5 last season and 8-3-2 ATS in their 13 games. Dave Clawson has now gotten the Demon Deacons to back-to-back bowl games and enters his 5th season in Winston-Salem.
Clawson has 14 returning starters this season. He has eight starters back from an offense that set a school record with 454 points last year and averaged 35.3 points and 466 yards per game. They were competitive in every game last season due to the offense and did not get beat by more than 14 points once all season.
The offense is led by an offensive line that returns all five starters and a whopping 132 career starts. This will be one of the best units in the ACC. Each of the top two receivers are back from last year in Great Dortch (53 receptions, 722 yards, 9 TD) and Scotty Washington (45, 711, 3 TD), as is leading rusher Matt Colburn (904 yards, 7 TD). That will help ease the transition of the new quarterback.
Wake Forest does have only six starters back on defense, but should be improved from a unit that gave up 28.3 points per game last season with just five starters back. Their weakness last year was against the pass as they gave up 272 yards per game through the air. But that won’t be a problem against Tulane, which runs an option attack. And the Demon Deacons have a huge advantage getting to prepare all offseason for the option.
I like what Willie Fritz is doing at Tulane. He enters his 3rd season here from a team that went 5-7 last year and fell just a few yards shy of beating SMU in the season finale and making a bowl game. Fritz has 14 starters back and the Green Wave should be competitive again against most AAC teams, but this is a different story here against one of the most underrated teams in the ACC.
With nine starters back on offense, the Green Wave should be able to match or exceed last year’s 27.5 PPG in which they had eight starters back. But they do lose leading rusher Montreal Hilliard (1,091 yards, 12 TD). QB Jonathan Banks is back to run the offense and should be able to have a decent senior season, though he competed just 56.6% of his passes last year and accuracy will always be an issue for him.
The reason I really love Wake Forest is because I believe their high-powered offense will score at will against this suspect Tulane defense. The Green Wave return just 5 starters on defense from a unit that gave up 29.2 points and 436 yards per game last season. This defense is clearly worse off than it was a year ago as they lose their top three playmakers in Rae Juan Marbley, Jarrod Franklin and Parry Nickerson (6 INT). The lose 3.5 defensive line starters and 7 of their top 12 tacklers.
The Demon Deacons are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games. Wake Forest is 12-5-1 ATS in its last 18 games overall. The Demon Deacons are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games on fieldturf. Tulane is 2-11 ATS in its last 13 vs. ACC opponents. They are losing by 27.7 points per game in this situation. The last time Tulane hosted a Power 5 team to open the season they lost to ACC opponent Duke 37-7 back in 2015. Bet Wake Forest Thursday.
|08-30-18||New Mexico State v. Minnesota -20||10-48||Win||100||78 h 22 m||Show|
15* NMSU/Minnesota BTN No-Brainer on Minnesota -20
Unfortunately, I took New Mexico State +4 against Wyoming in their opener. I couldn’t have been more wrong. But I’m willing to realize my mistakes and correct them. After watching just how ugly New Mexico State looked against a mediocre Wyoming squad, I have no doubt they are going to have many of the same issues against Minnesota Thursday night.
New Mexico State had negative yards on offense in the first half against Wyoming last week and themselves trailing 15-0. It didn’t get much better in the second half as they trailed 29-0 before getting a garbage TD in the final seconds to lose 29-7. They were outgained 450 to 135 for the game, or by 315 total yards.
Wyoming ran wild on the NMSU defense for 313 rushing yards and 5.6 yards per carry. Now the Aggies must play on a short week having just four days to prepare for Minnesota, another team that loves to run the football as they averaged 182 rushing yards per game last season. The Gophers should be able to move the ball on the ground at will on a tired NMSU defense.
PJ Fleck enters his second season at Minnesota. He has more of his players in place to take on bigger roles this season. He has 14 returning starters as well and this should be one of the most improved teams in the Big Ten after a 5-7 campaign in his first season.
The Gophers can only be better offensively as they return seven starters, their leading rusher, top two receivers and four starters along the offensive line. The problem last year was QB play as it was atrocious. That means it can only get better, and Fleck true freshman recruit Zack Annexstad will get the first crack at the job. He beat out fellow freshman Tanner Morgan, who many expected to win the job.
Fleck turned an inexperienced defense that returned just five starters last year into one of the Big Ten’s best units. The Gophers only allowed 22.8 points and 347 yards per game. Now they return seven starters, led by leading tackler Thomas Barber (115 tackles, 10.5 for loss) at linebacker. This is an experienced unit that is expected to have nine junior or senior starters. One of the sophomores is Antoine Winfield, who got a medical redshirt and will be one of the best safeties in the Big Ten.
Minnesota should be able to shut down a New Mexico State offense that lost its top three playmakers from a year ago. They lost the school’s second all-time leading passer in Tyler Rogers from a passing offense that ranked 3rd in the country last season. They also lost 1,000-yard receiver Jaleel Scott (1,079 yards, 9 TD) and star RB Larry Rose, who accounted for 1,471 yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage last year. It was clear NMSU misses this trio when they managed just 7 points and 135 total yards against Wyoming last week.
New Mexico State is 10-30-1 ATS in its last 41 games following a double-digit home loss. The Aggies are 3-15 in their last 18 road openers, and 0-12 in their last 12 against Power 5 schools. The Gophers have won 19 of their last 23 home openers, and five of their last six with their only loss coming to #2 TCU 17-23 as 16-point underdogs in 2015.
NMSU having to play on a short week off a very physical game and against another physical opponent here is such a huge schedule disadvantage for them. That’s why I’m willing to lay this many points with the Gophers. Doug Martin is 0-11 ATS after gaining 225 or less total yards in their previous game in all games he has coached. Take Minnesota Thursday.
|08-25-18||Wyoming v. New Mexico State +4||Top||29-7||Loss||-105||11 h 29 m||Show|
20* Wyoming/New Mexico State ESPN 2 Late-Night BAILOUT on New Mexico State +4
New Mexico State went to a bowl game for the first time since 1960 last year. Not only did the Aggies get to a bowl, they actually upset Utah State 26-20 in overtime. Head coach Doug Martin has done a tremendous job of turning this program around as he enters his 6th season here.
Now the Aggies return 15 starters and 49 lettermen in 2018 while losing only 13 lettermen. The strength of this team will be a defense that gave up their fewest points per game since 2003 last year. They have nine starters and 10 of their top 11 tacklers back on D. They were an attacking D last year that set a school record with 43 sacks. Frank Spaziani, the former Boston College head coach, is a big reason for the turnaround. He enters his second season running the defense.
There are questions for the Aggies offensively as they return 6 starts and lose their top three playmakers. However, they have a junior back in Jason Huntley that is ready to take over for Larry Rose. Huntley averaged 6.0 YPC last season compared to 5.1 for Rose. Four of their top five receivers are back, so that helps soften the loss of 1,000-yard receiver Jaleel Scott.
The biggest loss is QB Tyler Rogers, who was third in the country at 334.7 passing yards per game last season. However, the Aggies signed JUCO transfer Matt Romero in the offseason. He threw for 5,873 yards and 49 touchdowns over two seasons at Palomar College in California. It’s a great fit for Romero, who ran the exact same offense at Palomar. And six offensive linemen with starting experience return this season, helping ease Romero’s transition.
Wyoming does have a lot of experience back as well with 17 returning starters, but many of those players are hurt. Two projected starters along the offensive line will be out with injuries. WR CJ Johnson, who led the team with 7 TD receptions last year, is out. LB Cassh Mauluia (74 tackles last year) is also out. So technically, they have just 13 healthy starters for Game 1 from last year.
And the biggest loss is QB Josh Allen, who was taken as a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills. They even traded up to get him. I know his numbers weren’t great last year, but he’s the biggest reason the Cowboys were able to make bowl games each of the past two seasons. You simply don’t replace a talent like Allen at a school as small as Wyoming. The Cowboys will now be starting a freshman QB this year.
New Mexico State is 5-0 ATS in its last five games vs. MWC opponents. The Aggies are 18-9 ATS in all games over the past two seasons. Bets on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (New Mexico State) - team that had a winning record last season, in non-conference game are 67-27 (71.3%) ATS since 1992. Wyoming is 10-22 ATS in its last 32 games as a road favorite. The Aggies are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Bet New Mexico State Saturday.
|02-04-18||Eagles v. Patriots UNDER 48.5||Top||41-33||Loss||-109||125 h 56 m||Show|
25* NFL Playoffs TOTAL OF THE YEAR on Eagles/Patriots UNDER 48.5
Both of these defenses are playing at a ridiculously high level. Now with two weeks to prepare, that’s an even bigger advantages for the defenses. I think points will be extremely hard to come by in Super Bowl 52, and this is my favorite total bet of the entire playoffs.
The Patriots have allowed 17 or fewer points in 11 of their last 14 games overall. They are giving up just 14.4 points per game during this stretch. I think Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense will struggle big-time against this Patriots defense, just as they have down the stretch aside from an aberration against the Vikings.
The Eagles were held to 19 points against Oakland, 0 against Dallas and 15 against Atlanta in three of their last four games. They were technically held to 13 points against Oakland because they got a fluke fumble return for a touchdown on the final play of the game. Sure, they had a good game against the Vikings, but that was clearly the aberration.
New England’s offense is still good, but this isn’t one of the best offenses of the Belichick era due to some key injuries. They’ve done a good job of manufacturing offense to TE Rob Gronkowski and their running backs, but their receivers haven’t been all that productive. And the Patriots have been held to 26 or fewer points in eight of their last 14 games overall.
The Eagles certainly have the defense to limit what the Patriots can do on offense. They have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and that defense has really shown its teeth down the stretch. The Eagles have allow 10, 6, 10 and 7 points in their last four games overall, and average of just 8.3 points per game. They have an elite pass rush led by Fletcher Cox that will disrupt Tom Brady and company enough to limit them to 24 points or fewer in this game.
Philadelphia is 22-8 UNDER in its last 30 games when playing with two or more weeks of rest. New England is 8-2 UNDER vs. good passing teams with a completion percentage of 61% or better this season. The UNDER is 44-20 in Eagles last 64 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. The UNDER is 10-4 in Patriots last 14 games overall.
Plays on the UNDER on any team with a total of 42.5 to 49 (New England) with a poor turnover defense forcing 1 or less turnovers per game, after four consecutive games where they forced 1 or fewer turnovers are 71-38 (65.1%) over the last 10 seasons. Expect a conservative, run-heavy approach from both teams that will eat up clock and limit possessions as well. Bet the UNDER in the Super Bowl Sunday.
|02-04-18||Eagles v. Patriots -180||Top||41-33||Loss||-180||76 h 52 m||Show|
20* Eagles/Patriots Super Bowl ANNIHILATOR on New England Money Line -180
The New England Patriots have a huge edge in experience in this game. That will benefit them greatly. The Patriots have played in eight Super Bowls since 2002, winning five of them thus far. I think they will grab their 6th victory over the inexperienced Eagles here.
Nick Foles had a big game against the Vikings, but it’s worth noting that he got to play at home in both playoff games. He was comfortable, but now he will be outside his comfort zone here on a neutral in the biggest game of his life.
The Vikings game was the aberration. The Eagles were held to 19 points against Oakland, 0 against Dallas and 15 against Atlanta in three of their last four games. They were technically held to 13 points against Oakland because they got a fluke fumble return for a touchdown on the final play of the game. Sure, they had a good game against the Vikings, but that was clearly the aberration.
Now the Eagles will be up against a Patriots defense that is playing lights out. The Patriots have allowed 17 or fewer points in 11 of their last 14 games overall. They are giving up just 14.4 points per game during this stretch. It’s very difficult for a backup quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and I simply trust Brady exponentially more than Foles in this huge spot.
I don’t bet a lot of money lines, but there are certain spots to do so. The Super Bowl is one of them. You get a cheaper price on the favorite on the money line in the Super Bowl than you would in a regular season game. That’s because there is so much money line action on the underdog that the oddsmakers are forced to lower the price of the favorite. So we are getting the Patriots at -180 here when they would normally be -200 or more if this was a regular season game in the -4.5 favorite range.
Plays on favorites vs. the money line (New England) - after 5 consecutive games where they forced one or less turnovers against opponent after a game where they forced three or more turnovers are 26-4 (86.7%, +20.4 units) since 1983.
New England is 12-1 (+10.7 units) against the money line vs. good offensive teams that score 24 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Belichick is 28-0 against the money line (+35.2 units) after covering the spread in 8 or more of the last 10 games as the coach of New England. Bet the Patriots on the Money Line in the Super Bowl.
|01-21-18||Vikings -3 v. Eagles||Top||7-38||Loss||-120||148 h 41 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Eagles NFC Sunday No-Brainer on Minnesota -3
Everyone thinks the Minnesota Vikings got lucky to be here in the NFC Championship Game. They saw that the Vikings needed basically a Hail Mary on the last play of the game to beat the Saints. While that is true, let’s not forget how that game played out.
Minnesota stormed out to a 17-0 halftime lead and still led 17-0 deep into the 3rd quarter. I think they simply relaxed, and it’s tough to hold an offense as good as the Saints down for four quarters. Drew Brees and the Saints’ top-ranked offense finally got on track, and coupled with a few mistakes by the Vikings with an interception in their own territory and a blocked punt, and the Saints got right back into the game.
I like to focus not the fact that the Vikings held the Saints scoreless for nearly three quarters. That’s no small feat. The Vikings rank 1st in total defense (275.9 yards/game), 1st in yards per play (4.6/play) and 1st in scoring defense (15.8 points/game). They also are 1st in 3rd down defense (25%). They are the first team since 1991 to hold all 16 of their opponents to fewer than 40% 3rd down conversions during the regular season.
In the NFL, defense travels, and I’ll gladly back the best defense in the NFL. But the Minnesota offense doesn’t get the credit they deserve. They scored 24 points per game and averaged 357 yards per game during the regular season. Case Keenum threw 22 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions while completing 67.6% of his passes and averaging 7.4 per attempt. And the Vikings have run the ball well behind a vastly improved offensive line. They rushed for 100-plus yards in eight consecutive games to close the regular season, and in 13 of their 16 games overall.
Many felt that the Vikings were cursed, and they were certainly feeling that way with 10 seconds to play before that Hail Mary. But after getting that ‘Minneapolis Miracle’, I really like the mindset of this team now. The Vikings feel like they are playing on house money and will be playing freely. There won’t be a single situation they face Sunday that will scare them. They will have the belief they can win no matter what the circumstances. They really believe it’s their year now.
The Eagles have a strong defense as well this season, but the difference in this game is going to be the fact that their woeful offense just won’t be able to do anything against this Minnesota defense. The Eagles have managed just 13, 0 and 15 points in their last three games overall. Yes, they scored 19 against Oakland, but I don’t count 6 of those points because they got a fumble-six on the final play of the game.
The Eagles have managed just 81.3 rushing yards per game and 175 passing yards per game in their last three contests, an average of just 251.3 yards per game. And that came against some suspect defenses in Oakland, Dallas and Atlanta all at home. Now the Eagles will be up against the best defense they have faced all season, and I don’t expect that to turn out well at all for struggling quarterback Nick Foles.
Minnesota is 7-0 ATS in road games after having won five or six of its last seven games over the last three seasons. The Vikings are 6-0 ATS when playing against a team with a winning percentage of greater than 75% over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a win. These three trends combine for a perfect 17-0 system backing Minnesota. Bet the Vikings Sunday.
|01-21-18||Jaguars v. Patriots -8||20-24||Loss||-114||77 h 38 m||Show|
15* Jags/Patriots AFC Sunday ANNIHILATOR on New England -8
The New England Patriots are the most popular team in the NFL. And despite that, they have gone 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. They won the Super Bowl last year, the betting public keeps backing them, and they keep covering. I can’t even explain how difficult that is.
Now the Patriots are a win away from another Super Bowl appearance. They made easy work of the Titans 35-14 last week and even gave up a garbage touchdown in the final seconds on fourth down to turn that from a 28-point game into a 21-point game. And it’s worth noting the Titans went 2-0 against the Jaguars this season, outscoring them by 29 points in those two matchups.
The Patriots couldn’t possibly be more rested right now. They haven’t had to leave home since December 17th, so they have been in New England for over a month now. They had a bye coming into the playoffs, while the Jaguars have had to win two games in the playoffs and played their starters in Week 17. So the Jaguars are certainly fatigued in comparison to the Patriots.
I trust Bill Belichick to make the Jaguars play left-handed. They want to run the football and rely on their defense, making things easier on Blake Bortles. Look for the Patriots to stop the run and make Bortles try and beat them. Bortles has a 103 passer rating when playing with a lead, and a 66 rating when playing from behind this season. I fully expect the Jaguars to be playing from behind.
Last week’s misleading 45-42 win over the Steelers last week has the Jaguars overvalued. The Steelers didn’t take them seriously and were looking ahead. They dug themselves and early 21-point deficit thanks to a fumble-six and another interception that set up the Jaguars in the red zone for another score. But we saw how vulnerable this Jaguars defense was the rest of the way as the Steelers racked up 545 total yards and 462 passing yards against them.
You know Tom Brady and company are going to be able to move the ball and score points. I think Rob Gronkowski is going to be a huge matchup problem for the Jaguars. We saw Steelers tight end Vance McDonald catch 10 balls for 112 yards against the Jaguars last week. You can only imagine the kind of game Gronkowski is going to have because he’ll be matched up with linebackers. The Jaguars cannot afford to put Jalen Ramsey on him the whole game, and he probably won’t guard him at all.
The Jaguars have a strong running game with Leonard Fournette, but Fournette was knocked out of the Steelers game with an ankle injury. When he finally came back in the lineup in the second half, he wasn’t nearly as effective. I think the rookie is starting to wear down now, and he certainly won’t be 100% for this game. On the other side, Rex Burkhead is expected to return to the lineup for the Patriots this week, giving them another option in an already loaded backfield.
If you’re betting on the Jaguars, you’re betting on Blake Bortles. That’s not going to be a strategy I want any part of here. Bortles is just 41-of-83 (49.4%) passing for 459 yards (153 yards/game) with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his last three games. Belichick will make him try and beat them, and I don’t think he’s even close to being capable. When the Jaguars get behind, there will be no coming back.
New England is 8-0 ATS against teams who average 350 or more yards per game over the last two seasons. The Patriots are 10-1 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last two seasons. Jacksonville is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 road games after scoring 40 points or more in its previous game. New England is 12-1 ATS after allowing 17 points or less in three straight games over the past two seasons. The Patriots are 5-0 ATS in their last five playoff home games. These five trends combine for a 44-3 system backing New England. Take the Patriots Sunday.
|01-14-18||Saints v. Vikings -3.5||Top||24-29||Win||100||162 h 30 m||Show|
20* Saints/Vikings NFC Sunday No-Brainer on Minnesota -3.5
I strongly believe the Minnesota Vikings will be the first team ever to play in their home stadium in the Super Bowl this season. I feel they are far and away the best team in the NFC, but they don’t get treated like it. They should be more than 3.5-point home favorites against the New Orleans Saints here.
Getting the bye is a huge advantage for the Vikings. They will be rested and ready to go. And you could argue that they’ve had three byes this season considering they had a bye on November 5th, and their Week 17 game against the Bears didn’t matter. They will be primed for a big effort.
Conversely, the Saints have been in playoff mode for at least three straight weeks dating back to their win over the Falcons. The Saints haven’t had a bye since October 8th which was way back in Week 5. They were one of the first teams to receive a bye this season. That will make them even more tired coming into this game.
And the Saints have been hit hard by injuries defensively, which is a big reason why I’m quick to fade them here Sunday. They’ve lost basically five starters to season-ending injuries on defense. They are without LB Alex Anzalone, DE Alex Okafor, LB A.J. Klein, LB Hau’oli Kikaha, S Kenny Vaccaro, DE Mitchell Loewen and CB Delvin Breaux.
All these injuries and the lack of rest has this New Orleans defense playing awful here down the stretch. They allowed 31 points and 455 total yards in a loss to the Bucs in Week 17 in which they needed a win to clinch the division. Then they allowed 26 points and 413 total yards to the Panthers in their 31-26 home win where they were life-and-death in the closing seconds just to win that game.
One stat that really stands out in these two games is that New Orleans has allowed 60% conversions on 3rd down to the Bucs and Panthers. They allowed the Bucs to convert 13-of-18 on 3rd down, and the Panthers to convert 8-of-16 on 3rd down.
Now let’s look at this Minnesota defense, which I believe to be the best stop unit in the NFL. The Vikings have the No. 1 3rd down defense in the NFL, giving up just 25% conversions on the year. They are the first team since 1991 to hold all 16 of their opponents to less than 40% 3rd down conversions in every game. Minnesota ranks 1st in total defense (275.9 yards/game), tied for 1st in yards per play defense (4.6 yards/play) and 1st in scoring defense (15.8 points/game).
This Minnesota defense has been even better at home. They allow just 12.5 points per game and 248 yards per game at home this year. They have only allowed one touchdown in their last five home games combined. If that’s not dominance, I don’t know what is. And I think Minnesota’s home-field advantage is worth upwards of 4 points in the playoffs, which will be the most hostile atmosphere the Saints have played in all season.
After all, these teams already played once in Minnesota back in Week 1. The Vikings beat the Saints 29-19 in that contest. They racked up 470 yards of total offense while limiting the Saints to 344 yards, outgaining them by 126 yards in that contest. These teams are different since then, but I could see a very similar end result with a 10-plus point victory for the Vikings.
While everyone knows the Vikings’ defense is good, they don’t want to give Case Keenum and the offense their due. But this offense has been just fine in averaging 24 points and 357 yards per game on the season. Keenum has thrown 22 touchdowns against only 7 interceptions this season while completing 67.6% of his passes while averaging 7.4 yards per attempt. And the Vikings have been able to run the ball behind a vastly improved offensive line. They have rushed for at least 100 yards in eight consecutive games and in 13 of their 16 games this season.
The Vikings are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 home games, including 12-4 ATS inside their new stadium, which opened last year. Minnesota is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall. Mike Zimmer is 9-1 ATS versus excellent offensive teams that average 375 or more yards per game as the coach of Minnesota. Zimmer is 24-8 ATS in home games as the coach of Minnesota. Take the Vikings Sunday.
|01-14-18||Jaguars v. Steelers -7||45-42||Loss||-110||159 h 55 m||Show|
15* Jaguars/Steelers AFC Sunday ANNIHILATOR on Pittsburgh -7
A big reason I faded the Jaguars last week and backed the Bills was the fact that the Jaguars played the 32nd-toughest schedule this season. That’s right, they played the easiest schedule in the entire NFL. It was a big reason for their huge turnaround season.
I also think Doug Marrone made a big mistake playing his starters in Week 17 in a meaningless game against the Titans in which they lost 10-15. They were already locked in to the No. 3 seed, so there was no need to play the starters. I think Tom Coughlin was in his ear and his old-school ways overtook him. It’s really going to cost them this week.
The Jaguars were fortunate it didn’t cost them last week. The Bills were the better team but lost 10-3. They outgained the Jaguars by 39 yards. They held this woeful Jacksonville offense to just 230 total yards. Blake Bortles was awful, completing just 12-of-23 passes for 87 yards in the win. He did shockingly rush for 88 yards, while Leonard Fournette was held to 57 yards on 21 carries. His legs are the reason they won, but now the Steelers will be prepared for that element of his game after seeing it against Buffalo.
The Steelers have had horrible luck in the playoffs injury-wise in previous years. They have been missing one of the Killer B's basically every year they have made the playoffs in recent years, and it’s usually Le’Veon Bell. But after resting the Killer B’s in Week 17, all three of Big Ben, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are healthy going into the playoffs. Brown is expected to return from his calf injury, and the Steelers are remarkably healthy everywhere outside of LB Ryan Shazier now.
And boy are the Steelers going to be revenge-minded. They were rusty earlier in the year due to Bell’s suspension and lacked chemistry. I think that helps their 30-9 home loss to the Jaguars back on October 8th, which is one of the most misleading finals you’ll ever see. The Steelers outgained the Jaguars 373-313 in that game yet lost by 21. That only tells half the story.
Big Ben hard arguably the worst game of his career, throwing five interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. A couple of those were tipped balls and weren’t his fault, but he was still jokingly contemplating retirement afterwards. And Fourtnette had a 90-yard TD run with only 1:47 remaining as they were just trying to run out the clock. So without that run, the Jaguars would have only had 223 total yards. I think that’s a number that we can expect them to have in this rematch.
Bortles only went 8-of-14 passing for 95 yards without an touchdown and with one interception in that game. And there is the problem with the Jaguars. They don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Steelers in this game. I can guarantee you the Steelers are going to be much more productive on offense than they were in the first meeting.
And the reason they will be more productive is because they won’t put so much on Big Ben’s shoulder. Look for 30-plus carries from Le’Veon Bell because the Steelers realize they are better when he gets more carries as it has shown throughout their history. That will open things up for Big Ben in play-action, and they won’t be playing into the Jaguars’ defensive strength, which is their pass defense.
Big Ben through 55 times in that first meeting. I only expect him to throw 20-30 times in the rematch. That will negate the Jacksonville pass rush, which has been their strength all season. The weakness of the Jaguars is their run defense, which ranked 21st in the league in the regular season, giving up 116.2 rushing yards per game. The Jaguars have allowed 108 or more rushing yards in six of their last seven games overall.
With Bortles being one of the worst passing quarterbacks in the NFL, the Jaguars are going to try to run the football. Well, the Steelers have been stout against the run all season. They have allowed 91 or fewer rushing yards in 10 of their 16 games this season. They rank 10th against the run in giving up 105.8 rushing yards per game on the year. And their defense is significantly improved overall, giving up just 19.2 points per game on the season.
Pittsburgh is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 home games when revenging an upset loss against an opponent as a home favorite. It is coming back to win by 11.1 points per game on average in this spot. The Steelers are 6-0 ATS when playing against a good team with a winning percentage of 60% to 75% over the last two seasons. They are winning these games by 16.5 points per game on average. Pittsburgh is 7-1 ATS in its last eight playoff home games. Roll with the Steelers Sunday.
|01-13-18||Falcons -2.5 v. Eagles||Top||10-15||Loss||-120||148 h 58 m||Show|
25* NFL Playoffs GAME OF THE YEAR on Atlanta Falcons -2.5
I was on the Falcons last week and I’m going to back them again this week. Except this time, they are up against a much weaker opponent than they were last week against the Rams. The Eagles are only a shell of the team they were with Carson Wentz before.
A big reason why I loved the Falcons last week is because their perception is way down compared to last year coming into the playoffs. But they still managed to win 10 games despite playing the 4th-most difficult schedule in the NFL. And their numbers from a yards per play basis were almost identical to where they were last year, but they struggled in the red zone more than they did last season.
The Falcons still had to settle for four field goals against the Rams last week, but their offense was productive in a 26-13 victory. But what really has me excited about this team is how well the defense has been playing down the stretch.
Indeed, the Falcons have allowed 23 or fewer points in seven consecutive games to close out the season. This despite facing the Saints twice, the Vikings, the Panthers and the Rams, five playoff teams in their final seven games. They are giving up just 16.3 points per game and 319.2 yards per game in their last six games. This defense is playing much better than it gets credit for.
Now the Falcons should have another great defensive showing against an Eagles team that has been terrible on offense in its last two games. The Eagles were leading Oakland 13-10 before a fluke lateral fumble return for a touchdown on the final play to win 19-10 in Week 16. Then they lost 0-6 to Dallas despite playing their starters for much of the game.
The culprit has been the horrible play of backup quarterback Nick Foles. He is completing just 56.4% of his passes and averaging 5.3 yards per attempt on the season. He is only averaging 5.0 yards per attempt in his last three games, which came agains the Giants, Cowboys and Raiders. Those aren’t exactly defensive juggernauts.
I think a big reason Foles has struggled is because he’s a warm weather quarterback. He played for Arizona in college and mostly in perfect weather out on the West Coast. Now he’s in Philadelphia and has played three straight cold weather games at New York, and at home against Oakland and Dallas. And the temperature Saturday is going to be a high of 30 and a low of 18 with 10 mile per hour winds. I don’t trust him one bit, and I don’t think the Philadelphia players trust him either.
As I mentioned before, the Falcons played the 4th-most difficult schedule this season. The Eagles played the 21st-toughest to compare. They simply took advantage of an easy schedule, won basically all of their close games, and got great play from Carson Wentz to lead the way. But Wentz is no longer here to save the day, otherwise this would be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The difference from Wentz to Foles is 7-plus points, if not more.
I still think Atlanta is on a mission to make up for last year’s Super Bowl debacle. That has shown here down the stretch as they have won four of their last five with their only loss coming on the road to the Saints. The Eagles have shown signs of being a fraud with Foles against the Giants, Cowboys and Raiders down the stretch, and now they will be up against their best opponent yet in Atlanta.
Plays on favorites (Atlanta) - after having won 3 of their last 4 games against a hot team, a team that won 8 of their last 10 games are 34-8 (81%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Atlanta is 9-1 ATS off an upset win as an underdog over the last three seasons. The Falcons are 7-0 ATS off an upset win as a road dog over the last three years. Bet the Falcons Saturday.
|01-08-18||Alabama -175 v. Georgia||Top||26-23||Win||100||115 h 24 m||Show|
20* Alabama/Georgia National Championship No-Brainer on Alabama -175
I backed Alabama -1.5 as my 25* College Bowl Game of the Year in a 24-6 win over Clemson in the first round of the college football playoffs. I’m not about to buck them now as they still fit many of the same reasons I backed them against Clemson.
I thought Alabama came into the four-team playoff grossly underrated for the first time ever. It’s because they were the No. 4 seed and barely got in after not winning the SEC Championship thanks to their loss to Auburn in the regular season finale. They actually came in as an underdog by perception because they were the No. 4 seed going against the No. 1 seed Clemson.
Let’s just think back to the National Championship last year. If Alabama hadn’t gave up a touchdown on the final play of the game to lose to Clemson, they would be going for their 3rd straight national title. And if that was the case, which it easily could be, Alabama would be upwards of a 7-point favorite or more here against Georgia. Instead they are only 3.5-point favorites and -175 on the money line, which I think is the better bet in this matchup in case they do win by 3. But I’m confident they will win this game.
Alabama has the best defense in the country, and that showed in limiting Clemson to just 6 points and 188 total yards last week. They match up very well with Georgia, a predominant running team that only averages 173 passing yards per game. The Crimson Tide only give up 92 rushing yards per game and 2.7 per carry, with the latter being the best mark in the entire country. The only teams the Crimson Tide struggle against are ones with mobile quarterbacks, and Jake Fromm doesn’t fit that category. He has rushed for just 94 yards on the season and 2.0 per carry.
I think the situation is better for Alabama having more time to get ready for this game. They played in New Orleans, made easy work of Clemson, and have a short trip up to Atlanta for the National Championship. Meanwhile, Georgia played all the way out in California and as a result will have the tougher travel schedule. They also needed to exert more effort as they went to double-overtime in a 54-48 thriller. And I think the Bulldogs are just happy to be here, while Alabama is on a mission to make up for that devastating loss in the national title game last season.
Alabama has been favored in 112 of its 113 games. The only time it wasn’t a favorite was as a 1.5-point underdog at Georgia in 2015. Well, the Crimson Tide rolled the Bulldogs 38-10 in that game. Rarely ever do we get to back them as small as -175 money line favorites. This is basically free money in my opinion because they aren’t going to lose this game.
My favorite trend in this game is that Nick Saban is 11-0 SU & 9-2 ATS when facing his former assistants. This is a big brother, little brother phenomenon. Saban has won by 14-plus points in all 11 games and by an average of a whopping 29 points per game in this spot. Kirby Smart will be overmatched in this matchup.
Saban has also had great success in games that are expected to be low scoring, which this game is considering the total is only 45 points. Alabama is 45-19 ATS in its last 64 games with a total set of 50 points or less under Saban. This goes back to the point I made before that the only teams that give the Crimson Tide trouble are teams with dual-threat quarterbacks when shootouts are the expectation. This game will be a grind-it-out, hard-hitting game that plays right into Alabama’s hands. Saban and company live for these kinds of games.
Saban is 21-11 ATS vs. good defensive teams that give up 17 or fewer points per game as the coach of Alabama. His teams are winning these matchups by 15.1 points per game on average. The Crimson Tide are 5-1 ATS in their last six neutral site games. I think we are getting a nice discount here with the Crimson Tide on the money line because a very large amount of people who are betting Georgia are betting them on the money line. Bet Alabama on the Money Line.
|01-07-18||Bills +9 v. Jaguars||Top||3-10||Win||100||74 h 30 m||Show|
20* Bills/Jaguars NFL Wild Card GAME OF THE WEEK on Buffalo +9
Both the Bills and Jaguars were Cinderella stories this season. The Jaguars won their first-ever AFC South title, will be going to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and will hosting their first playoff game since 1999. The Bills were able to snap the longest playoff drought in the NFL, getting back to the postseason for the first time since 1999.
The books have simply set this number too high. The Jaguars cannot be laying more than a touchdown to the Bills in this matchup. The Jaguars may be 3 to 4 points better on a neutral field, so this line should be closer to 6 or 7. I think we’re getting a ton of value with the Bills +9 here folks.
A lot will be made of the Bills’ point differential leading into this game. It’s the fifth-worst point differential of any team to ever make the playoffs at -57. But keep in mind that Nate Peterman was responsible for a lot of that in a 24-54 loss to the Chargers. And also, the four teams will worse point differentials in playoff history all won their first playoff game.
Another thing you’ll hear is that the Jaguars lead the NFL in sacks. Well, now they’ll be up against a mobile quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, who has been one of the most underrated signal callers in the NFL over the past few seasons. Taylor led the Bills to three wins in the final four games just to get into the playoffs. Taylor has completed 62.6% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, while also rushing for 427 yards and four scores on 5.1 per carry.
I think the Jaguars made a big mistake not resting their starters in Week 17 against the Titans. They were already locked into the No. 3 seed and had nothing to play for. Doug Marrone and his old-school mentality that may have been influenced by Tom Coughlin was clearly not happy with the 33-44 loss at San Francisco the week before. But the Jaguars were even worse against the Titans in a 10-15 loss, managing just 227 total yards while turning it over four times. They aren’t playing well coming in, and now they won’t be fresh, either.
The Bills have really stepped it up defensively here down the stretch. They have given up 16 or fewer points in four of their last six games overall. The only exceptions were the 23 and the 37 allowed to the Patriots in their two meetings with them, which is no shame. Their defense is good enough to contain Blake Bortles and this weak Jacksonville offense. That’s another reason the Jaguars can’t be this big of a favorite because Bortles is still their quarterback.
The strength of the Bills offensively is their running game. They have rushed for at least 104 yards in six of their last seven games and rank 6th in the NFL in rushing at 126.1 yards per game. LeSean McCoy is a fast healer and should be ready to go as he returned to practice late in the week. And the weakness of the Jaguars’ defense is against the run. They rank 21st in rushing defense at 116.2 yards per game and 4.3 per carry allowed. The Jaguars have allowed at least 108 rushing yards in five of their last six games overall.
A big reason for the Jaguars’ success this season is their weak schedule. They actually played the easiest (32nd) schedule in the entire NFL. The Bills played the 16th-toughest schedule. According to Jeff Sagarin’s strength of schedule rankings, the team that played the tougher schedule in the regular season is 41-19 SU & 41-18-1 ATS since the inception of the Wild Card. Underdogs that played the harder schedule are 21-9 ATS. When the difference is 10 or more, the team that played the tougher schedule is 24-5 SU & 23-5-1 ATS. Take the Bills Sunday.
|01-06-18||Falcons +6.5 v. Rams||26-13||Win||100||56 h 30 m||Show|
15* Falcons/Rams NFC Saturday No-Brainer on Atlanta +6.5
The Atlanta Falcons are going to be highly motivated to make a deep run in the playoffs after what happened to them in the Super Bowl last year, blowing a 28-3 lead to the Patriots. They have held it together pretty well this season and have avoided that dreaded Super Bowl hangover.
I like the fact that the Falcons have been in must-win mode here down the stretch, which is basically playoff mode, so they are battle-tested and ready to go. The Falcons have gone 3-1 down the stretch while outgaining all four opponents, their only loss coming on the road at New Orleans.
Last week they needed a win to get in the playoffs, and boy did they deliver. They beat the Panthers 22-10 at home and outgained them by 123 total yards. Matt Ryan threw for 317 yards and a touchdown without an interception to lead the way. The defense came through with arguably their best performance of the season, limiting Cam Newton to 14-of-34 passing for 180 yards and forcing three interceptions. The Panthers managed just 248 total yards in the game.
The Rams were smart to rest many of their starters against the 49ers last week. And I have been high on this team all season, but they weren’t in playoff mode in Week 17, and I don’t trust their inexperience in this pressure-packed situation. Mostly everyone on the roster has little-to-no playoff experience, including QB Jared Goff. I certainly trust Ryan more in this situation than Goff. And we’re getting 6.5 points with the Falcons to boot.
The Falcons actually rank 4th in the NFL in yards per play differential. Only the Saints, Jaguars and Vikings have been better in this department. That’s even more impressive when you consider the Falcons faced the 4th-toughest schedule in the entire NFL this season. This team isn’t as broken as the media leads you on to believe.
While the Falcons played the 4th-toughest schedule, the Rams played the 17th-hardest. That’s important when we look at a wild card system that is tried and true. Since the inception of the wild card, teams that played the tougher schedule according to Jeff Sagarin’s rankings are 41-19 SU & 41-18-1 ATS. Underdogs with the tougher schedule are 21-9 ATS. When the difference is 10 or more, like it is here (4th & 17th), the team that played the harder schedule is 24-5 SU & 23-5-1 ATS.
Atlanta is 6-0 ATS against NFC West opponents over the last two seasons. Atlanta is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after gaining less than 90 rushing yards in its previous game. The Rams are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 home games. Roll with the Falcons Saturday.
|01-06-18||Titans v. Chiefs UNDER 44.5||Top||22-21||Win||100||53 h 56 m||Show|
20* Chiefs/Titans NFL Wild Card Opener on UNDER 44.5
The Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans will play in a defensive battle to open the playoffs Saturday afternoon. It will be cold in Kansas City on Saturday with a high of 31 degrees and wins from 10 to 15 miles per hour, so the weather will aid this UNDER as well.
The Chiefs give up some plays between the 20’s, but they buckle down in the red zone, especially at home. Kansas City is only allowing 16.9 points per game at home this season. In fact, the Chiefs haven’t allowed more than 20 points at home all year! They’ve given up 13, 13, 15 and 16 points in their last four home games, respectively.
The Titans have been held to 23 or fewer points in six of their last seven road games. They are scoring just 14.7 points per game in their last seven road games. Their offense has been terrible all season as Marcus Mariota is extremely overrated. And they no longer have the dangerous 1-2 punch in the backfield as DeMarco Murray has missed time down the stretch and won’t play in this game. Making matters worse is that no receivers are getting separation for Mariota.
The Chiefs got off to a tremendous start to the season offensively, but things have cooled off significantly for them on that side of the ball down the stretch. They are averaging 22.7 points per game in their last seven games overall. Based on these averages with the Chiefs’ offense down the stretch and the Titans on the road, we’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of a 23-15 game, which would be well below the 44.5-point total.
Tennessee has been playing some very good defense here down the stretch. They Titans have allowed 22 or fewer points in nine of their last 12 games. They have allowed 16 points or fewer in four of their final six games. They are giving up just 19.2 points per game in their last 12 games overall. They are fully capable of keeping this Kansas City offense in check Saturday.
The UNDER is 44-19 in Chiefs last 63 home games overall. The UNDER is 4-1 in Chiefs last five playoff home games. The UNDER is 6-0 in Chiefs last six home games with a total between 42.5 and 45 points. Kansas City is 9-1 UNDER in home games when playing with 6 or fewer days’ rest over the last two seasons. The UNDER is 4-0 in Titans last four playoff games. Bet the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|01-01-18||Alabama -1.5 v. Clemson||Top||24-6||Win||100||654 h 29 m||Show|
25* College Bowl GAME OF THE YEAR on Alabama -1.5
Nick Saban with revenge and extra time to prepare. Sign me up. The Crimson Tide get a chance to avenge their 35-31 loss to Clemson in the National Championship last year. I fully expect them to take advantage of their opportunity, and this time around they won’t have to deal with Deshaun Watson.
This is the third straight year these teams will meet in the playoffs. The Crimson Tide were 6-point favorites two years ago and 6.5-point favorites last year. So the fact that they are only 1.5-point favorites in the grudge match shows that there is some line value here.
Let’s look at those last two meetings. Alabama led 45-33 two years ago with two minutes left before Clemson got a meaningless touchdown with 12 seconds left to cover as 6.5-point dogs. Then last year, Alabama led 31-28 with only two minutes left, only to watch Clemson score on the game’s final play on a pick play that wasn’t called to win 35-31.
That sick loss has sat in Saban and the Crimson Tide’s stomach for a full year now, and they can’t wait to get the taste out of their mouths. And they won’t have to deal with Watson this time. Kelly Bryant is a good quarterback, but he’s certainly no Watson and isn’t battle-tested in these big games like Watson was.
I think Alabama actually comes into the four-team playoff undervalued because of the fact that they are the No. 4 seed and they ended their season with a 14-26 loss at Auburn, which was their only loss of the season. It’s the first time in a long time I can remember this team being as undervalued as they are right now.
Conversely, Clemson comes into this game overvalued due to being the No. 1 seed. They were last seen beating a banged-up Miami team 38-3 in the ACC Championship. I think that Saban will feed off of the fact that they are the higher seed and cement in his players’ minds that they are the underdogs, despite the fact that Vegas disagrees, and I agree with Vegas.
The Crimson Tide were banged up on defense down the stretch this season, but they are expected to get several key players back along the defensive front seven and in the secondary for this game. They should be about as healthy as they’ve been since the start of the season. And I’d put this defense up against anyone.
Alabama gives up just 11.5 points per game, 258 yards per game and 4.0 yards per play this season against teams that average 27 points, 382 yards per game and 5.7 per play. Clemson has an elite defense as well, but it’s not as good as this Alabama unit when you compare the numbers.
Alabama also has the edge on offense, and it’s not really even that close. Clemson has taken a big step back on offense this season. Yards per play is the most important stat in my opinion. Alabama averages 6.9 yards per play against teams that give up 5.7 per play, while Clemson averages just 6.0 yards per play against teams that give up 5.7 per play. So essentially the Crimson Tide are 0.9 yards per play better than Clemson offensively.
Saban is 15-4 ATS after failing to cover three of their last four against the spread as the coach of Alabama. The Crimson Tide are 42-21 ATS in their last 63 road games following one or more consecutive ATS losses. Alabama is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games following an ATS loss. The Crimson Tide are 4-0 ATS in their last four games on fieldturf. The Tigers are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games on fieldturf. Bet Alabama in the Sugar Bowl Monday.
|01-01-18||Georgia v. Oklahoma +2.5||54-48||Loss||-110||80 h 34 m||Show|
15* Georgia/Oklahoma Rose Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Oklahoma +2.5
The Big 12 has put together an impressive showing in these bowl games with a 5-2 record thus far. And Oklahoma was the class of the Big 12, and it wasn’t really even close. Once again the Sooners won the conference and will get another shot at the four-team playoff here, and they’ll want to redeem themselves after losing to Clemson in their last appearance.
Now they have the best quarterback in the country in Baker Mayfield. He leads a high-octane Oklahoma offense that is putting up 44.9 points per game, 583 yards per game and 8.4 yards per play. The Sooners are scoring 17 points per game, averaging 181 yards per game and 3.1 yards per play more than their opponents allow on average this season. This offense is simply unstoppable.
TCU has a comparable defense to Georgia. The Horned Frogs were one of the best defensive teams in the country this season. And Oklahoma beat TCU 38-20 in the regular season while putting up 533 total yards. Then they backed up that win with a 41-17 win over the Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Championship Game. Georgia isn’t going to be able to stop Mayfield and company, either.
I think Georgia benefited from an extremely soft schedule this season. The SEC East was arguably the worst division of all Power 5 conferences. And they draw Mississippi State and Auburn from the SEC West, and actually lost to Auburn 17-40 in the regular season. The Bulldogs were able to get revenge in the SEC Championship against Auburn to get into the four-team playoff, but it doesn’t mask the fact that their schedule was rather easy this year outside of a 1-1 split with Auburn.
Oklahoma is 4-0 in its last four games against SEC opponents, which includes a bowl win over Alabama a few years back. The Sooners have been able to step up to the plate against the better teams, and they have been able to handle the SEC. That’s evidence by the fact that they are 11-1 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons, and a perfect 7-0 ATS when playing against a team with a winning percentage of better than 75% over the last two years. Roll with Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
|01-01-18||Central Florida +10 v. Auburn||Top||34-27||Win||100||75 h 5 m||Show|
20* UCF/Auburn Peach Bowl No-Brainer on UCF +10
Let’s take a look at the history of how these Group of 5 teams have done against the Power 5 opponents dating back to the BCS era and currently the New Year’s 6. In the last 19 meetings, the Power 5 team has been favored 16 times. Well, the Group of 5 team has actually gone 13-6 straight up in those 19 meetings.
I think there’s an obvious explanation for the success of the Group of 5 team holding that 13-6 straight up edge. The Group of 5 team is almost always max motivated, as will be the case for UCF in this game as they are 12-0 and feel like they belong in the four-team playoff.
Conversely, the Power 5 team is not motivated. It’s a lose-lose situation for them. If they win the game they were expected to win anyways. If they lose the game, it looks really bad. And that Power 5 team likely just missed out on the four-team playoff or a bigger bowl game dating back to the BCS era.
That is the case for Auburn here. The Tigers would have made the four-team playoff had they beaten Georgia for a second time in the SEC Championship Game. Instead, they lost that game and now have to settle for the Peach Bowl. They will still be disappointed that they aren’t in the playoff, and they won’t be fully motivated for this game.
UCF has made me a lot of money this season, going 12-0 SU & 7-3-1 ATS. The Knights were really undervalued early in the year going 5-0 ATS in their last first five games while winning each of their first seven games by double-digits. I think the fact that they went just 2-3 ATS in their final five games has them undervalued.
The schedule got tougher and the pressure mounted down the stretch. They beat South Florida 49-42 to get in the AAC Championship Game, then had to face a revenge-minded Memphis team that they had beaten 40-13 earlier in the year. Memphis gave them all they wanted in a 62-55 overtime win.
I think the experience from those two close games will pay dividends for them in this game against Auburn, which I expect to be close as well. And instead of having a huge target on their backs like they did during their 12-0 run, they get to be the hunters in this game. All the pressure is on Auburn, a big-name team from the SEC with the target on their backs in this one.
I also love the fact that Scott Frost has remained with the team and will coach this game. He will keep his assistants with him before they move on full time to Nebraska after this game. It shows a lot about the character of Frost in wanting to see this unbeaten 13-0 season through.
"There's some unusual circumstances, but our staff is completely committed and we're going to do everything we can for this football team," Frost said. "It's an honor to be invited to this game. These players have poured their hearts out to accomplish a lot this year."
The Knights lead the nation in scoring offense at 49.4 points per game. They also have an elite defense, giving up just 25.2 points per game. They won’t be overmatched athletically as Frost did a tremendous job of recruiting athletes that can compete with SEC teams. The Tigers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Take UCF in the Peach Bowl Monday.
|12-31-17||49ers +4 v. Rams||Top||34-13||Win||100||126 h 36 m||Show|
20* NFC West GAME OF THE MONTH on San Francisco 49ers +4
I’ve been on the 49ers every week since Jimmy Garoppolo took over. I’m not about to buck them now. They are 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS since he took over. He is undefeated in his career as a starting quarterback dating back to his time with New England. He is the real deal.
If you don’t believe Garoppolo is for real after he put up 44 points on Jacksonville’s vaunted defense last week, you need your head checked. Garopplo is completing 69.0% of his passes for 1,268 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for the 49ers. He is averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. Those are MVP-type numbers over a four-game sample.
The success the offense is having has prompted the defense to step up their game and play with a new passion as well. The defense is giving up just 21.5 points per game over their past four games. It’s a stop unit with a ton of talent along the front seven, and the secondary intercepted Blake Bortles three times last week. The 49ers want to finish off this 5-0 run and keep their momentum going into the offseason.
But the key handicap for this game is the motivation for the and rest situation for the Rams. I locked in the 49ers +4 early in the week anticipating that the Rams might rest starters. And that’s precisely what has happened in this game. Head coach Sean McVey came out and said that almost all of his key starters are going to rest, including Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and many others.
It was another wise move by McVey, who has been as impressive as any head coach this season. It makes 100% sense. The Rams are going to have to play next week, and they’re going to get a home game. It would actually benefit them to lose and get the No. 4 seed instead of fighting for the No. 3 seed.
That’s because the No. 4 seed is going to likely get to play the No. 1 seed Philadelphia Eagles two weeks from now. They would take on struggling Nick Foles and the Eagles, who have limped to the finish line, instead of taking on No. 2 seed Minnesota, which looks like the best team in the NFC. The Rams were already throttled 24-7 on the road by the Vikings and don’t want to have to play them again. They nearly beat the Eagles, losing 35-43 in the game that Carson Wentz got hurt.
Plays on favorites (San Francisco) after covering two of their last three games, a bad team (25% to 40%) playing a team with a winning record are 45-15 (75%) ATS since 1983. The 49ers are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings with the Rams. Take the 49ers Sunday.
Note: I locked this line in at +4 early in the week anticipating the Rams would likely be resting their starters. That has turned out to be true. This is still a 20* play all the way to 49ers -3. It’s a 15* play at -3.5 or higher. I think there’s a good chance the 49ers blow them out of the building still, so don’t let the line move shy you away from betting them. It's a benefit to my long-term clients to get the plays as soon as I release them instead of purchasing the day of the game and getting worse lines.
|12-31-17||Cardinals +9 v. Seahawks||26-24||Win||100||123 h 26 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Arizona Cardinals +9
The fact that this is a must-win game for the Seahawks is baked into the number. They need to win and have the Falcons lost at home to the Panthers to get into the playoffs. But this line has gotten out of hand and indicates the Cardinals are just going to lay down for them. That won’t be the case.
There is rumors that it may be the last game for Bruce Arians at Arizona. His players absolutely love him and it’s well documented. It could also be the final game for Larry Fitzgerald. I think everyone will play their hearts out for those two guys, and they would love nothing more than to be the team that knocked the hated Seahawks out of the playoffs.
Quietly, the Cardinals have gotten to 7-8 this season and will be motivated to finish .500 as well. They have been hit hard by injuries, but have battled through it. They are playing their best football of the season down the stretch.
The Cardinals have actually outgained four of their last five opponents while going 3-2 over their last five games. Their defense is playing as well as any defense in the NFL, giving up just 247.4 yards per game in their last five games. And Drew Stanton and his big arm and mobility has given the offense spark. He is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL.
I think Seattle beating Dallas 21-12 on the road last week has them overvalued now. But that was one of the most misleading finals you will ever see. They actually had more penalty yards (142) than total yards (136) of offense in that game. They were outgained by 147 yards by the Cowboys.
In fact, the Seahawks have been playing terrible for four straight weeks. They have been outgained in four consecutive games and by a total of 488 yards in those four, or by an average of 122 yards per game. The betting public is quick to forget that Seattle was just blown out at home 42-7 by the Rams the week prior. What a difference a week and a misleading 21-12 win over Dallas makes. Their offense is still a mess, and their defense still has injuries everywhere.
Arizona always plays Seattle tough, and that will be no different hear. And home-field advantage has meant nothing in this series of late. The road team is 5-0-1 SU & 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Arizona won outright as 9-point dogs and as 3-point dogs in its last two trips to Seattle. The Cardinals may not win outright Sunday, but they will give the Seahawks more of a fight than they bargained for.
Arians is 9-1 ATS revenging a home loss against opponent in all games he has coached. Arians is a perfect 7-0 ATS revenging a loss loss by 7 points or less as the coach of Arizona. After a tough 22-16 home loss to the Seahawks thanks to a miracle play from Russell Wilson, the Cardinals will be revenge-minded here and have the ability to pull off the upset. Roll with the Cardinals Sunday.
|12-31-17||Browns +14 v. Steelers||Top||24-28||Win||100||122 h 30 m||Show|
25* NFL GAME OF THE YEAR on Cleveland Browns +14
The Cleveland Browns are now assured the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. I don’t think they were purposely tanking this season to get that pick, but that’s what happens when you go 0-15. So now their focus will be on getting a win and not becoming the second 0-16 team, joining the Detroit Lions.
I took the Browns early in the week when the line came out anticipating that the Steelers were going to rest their starters. The Steelers clinched a first-round bye on Monday with their 34-6 win over the Texans. So now they’ll be on a short week, and they would be wise to rest their starters.
Plus, the Patriots are 15.5-point home favorites over the Jets. Conventional wisdom says the Patriots aren’t losing that game, so the Steelers have no chance to get the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The more important thing is for them to be healthy going into the playoffs because they haven’t been fully healthy for years.
The Killer B’s have all missed time in the playoffs in recent years. Le’Veon Bell seems to get hurt going into or during the playoffs every year. But he’s healthy now and Mike Tomlin would be wise to sit him. He would also be wise to sit Big Ten, and Antonio Brown is already out. He is expected to return for the playoffs, though.
Tomlin has already hinted at all three of these players resting early on in the week, and tackle Marcus Gilbert came out and said as much as Big Ten and Bell won’t play. He said Landry Jones will get the start. Don’t be surprised if several other key players get the day off.
This happened in Week 17 last year as well. Cleveland nearly beat the Steelers on the road. They lost 24-27 at Pittsburgh as 3-point underdogs in overtime. Don’t be surprised if this line gets down to close to the -3 mark as well if Tomlin rests as many players as I’m anticipating, and plays this like a preseason game as he should.
Cleveland played one of its best games of the year against Pittsburgh back in Week 1. The Browns only lost that game 18-21 as 10-point home underdogs. They haven’t been as bad as their 0-15 record would suggest this season. But they are last in the NFL in turnover differential by a wide margin. They are -28 in turnovers on the season, which is almost unheard of.
Design Kizer should have a much better day against a Steelers team that will be treating this like a preseason game. I think the Browns want to go into the offseason with some momentum and a win. They are only getting outgained by 23 yards per game on the season, so obviously it has just been the turnovers that killed them. There are many teams with worse yardage differentials than them.
Plays on underdogs of 10.5 or more points (Cleveland) - off a loss by 14 points or more against an opponent that scored 30 or more points in their last game are 27-5 (84.4%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Pittsburgh is 12-27 ATS in its last 39 games as a favorite of 10 or more points. Bet the Browns Sunday.
Note: This play is a 25* all the way down to +10. It's a 20* from +7 to +9.5. It's a 15* at +6.5 or less. I realize this line has moved a ton since more information became available. That's why it's a benefit to my long-term clients to get my plays as soon as I release them instead of buying them the day of the game and getting worse lines.
|12-30-17||Wisconsin v. Miami-FL +6||34-24||Loss||-103||83 h 54 m||Show|
15* Wisconsin/Miami Orange Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Miami +6
No Power 5 team played a softer schedule than Wisconsin this season. The Badgers played in the weak Big Ten West Division and took advantage. That is evident in the fact that they were double-digit favorites in 11 of their 12 regular season games this year.
We saw that weak schedule catch up to them in the Big Ten Championship in a 21-27 loss to Ohio State, which is also a team that I think is overrated. But that game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Badgers were outgained by 151 yards by the Buckeyes and should have lost by more.
Now the Badgers will have to deal with either the first or second-best team they have faced all season in Miami. The Hurricanes went through the gauntlet this season in the ACC, and they also beat Notre Dame 41-8 out of conference. I think they come into this game undervalued due to losing their final two games to Pittsburgh and Clemson on the road after their 10-0 start.
I like this matchup for the Hurricanes. Their front seven is loaded with athletes that will be able to slow down Wisconsin’s running game. The Hurricanes only allow 146 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry this season. And they have a ball-hawking secondary, forcing 22 turnovers in their last seven games. That could be a problem for Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook, who has thrown 15 interceptions this year.
Wisconsin didn’t handle the most athletic team they’ve seen this season in Ohio State very well. They gave up 449 total yards to the Buckeyes and were held to just 298 total yards themselves. They gave up 238 rushing yards to Ohio State. I have no doubt Miami’s athletes are going to be a problem in this game on both sides of the ball for the slower Badgers.
I also question Wisconsin’s motivation in this game. It’s the second straight year that the Badgers have had to play in a second-tier bowl game. Had they beaten Ohio State, they would have made the four-team playoff. After letting that opportunity slip through their grasps, I don’t think they’ll be nearly as motivated to win the Orange Bowl.
This is going to be a home game for the Hurricanes being played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. That is a huge advantage for their team as this has become a rabid fan base once again now that Mark Richt has put the program back on the map. And Richt has proven to be a quality coach with extra time to prepare, going 10-5 SU & 9-6 ATS in his career in bowl games.
"It means a lot," defensive lineman Kendrick Norton said. "Obviously, it's going to be like a home game for us, so we will be comfortable. Miami hasn't been (in the Orange Bowl) for a while, so we have a lot of pride in getting there and doing well.”
The Hurricanes went 7-0 at home this season and outscored opponents by 18.0 points per game. Miami is 4-0 ATS in its last four home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Hurricanes are 6-2 ATS in their last eight non-conference games. I believe the wrong team is favored in this game. Take Miami Saturday.
|12-30-17||Washington v. Penn State -1.5||Top||28-35||Win||100||79 h 35 m||Show|
20* Washington/Penn State Fiesta Bowl No-Brainer on Penn State -1.5
Penn State is good enough to be a playoff team. Their two losses this season came by a combined 4 points to Ohio State and Michigan State both on the road. In fact, they have now lost three games over the past year and a half by a combined 7 points when you factor in their 52-49 loss to USC in the Rose Bowl last year. I would argue that they are the best team in the Big Ten right now.
The Nittany Lions are loaded on offense with Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley and four receivers with 40-plus receptions this season. They average 41.6 points per game. They also have an elite defense that gives up 15.5 points per game. I think the Nittany Lions are the more battle-tested team playing a much tougher schedule in the Big Ten East division.
I’m way down on the Pac-12 in these bowl games. I’ve faded several Pac-12 teams with success up to this point. Washington played a very soft schedule this season and isn’t battle-tested. The Huskies lost to both Arizona State and Stanford on the road this season, managing just 7 points and 230 total yards against ASU and 22 points and 315 total yards against Stanford.
And that’s the problem for the Huskies and why I don’t trust them. Quarterback Jake Browning has come up short time and time again in big games. He was off the mark against Stanford and ASU this year, and he was overwhelmed against both USC and Alabama last year. He has thrown for only 2,544 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season.
McSorley has upped his play in the biggest games with what he did against USC last year and at Ohio State this year on the road, leading the Nittany Lions to 49 and 38 points against those two teams, respectively. He has accounted for 37 total touchdowns this season with 26 passing and 11 rushing. I simply trust McSorley more than Browning at the all-important QB position in what is otherwise a pretty evenly matched game elsewhere on the field.
The Nittany Lions are 16-4-2 ATS in their last 22 games overall. They have been extremely undervalued for two straight seasons now. James Franklin is 7-0 ATS off two consecutive wins by 10 points or more over conference opponents as the coach of Penn State. Franklin is 7-0 ATS off a road win as the coach of the Nittany Lions. Franklin is 9-0 ATS off three straight conference wins as the coach of Penn State. Take these three 100% never lost systems straight to the bank today. Bet Penn State Saturday.
|12-29-17||USC +8.5 v. Ohio State||Top||7-24||Loss||-115||59 h 25 m||Show|
20* USC/Ohio State Cotton Bowl No-Brainer on USC +8.5
This is a classic case of Urban Meyer and Ohio State getting way too much respect in another bowl game. There’s no way this line should be 8.5 or even over a touchdown. It should be close to Ohio State -3, and I wouldn’t be surprised if USC won this game outright.
I question the Buckeyes’ motivation a little in this game because they thought they did enough to make the four-team playoff by winning the Big Ten. But a 16-31 home loss to Oklahoma and a 24-55 road loss at Iowa as 18-point favorites did them in, and I 100% agree with the committee they aren’t one of the best four teams in the country. They have to be deflated a little playing in this second-tier bowl game.
USC, on the other hand, was never going to make the four-team playoff after losing two games to Washington State and Notre Dame both on the road midseason. But I like the way this team fought back by going 5-0 over their final five games. I think they’re more than happy to be playing in the Cotton Bowl after beating Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship because they were never talked about for the four-team playoff down the stretch.
It seemed like every time Ohio State took a step up in class this season they did not play well. They lost to Oklahoma and Iowa as mentioned before. They needed to erase a 19-point deficit at home to beat Penn State 39-38. They trailed Michigan most the way before winning 31-20. And they couldn’t put away Wisconsin in a 27-21 win in the Big Ten Championship. I would argue USC is the best team they have faced since Oklahoma, so I don’t know how oddsmakers can expect them to beat the Trojans by more than a touchdown.
USC has played Big Ten teams each of the last three seasons in bowls. They went 2-1 with their only loss coming 21-23 to Wisconsin. They beat Penn State 52-49 last year in the Rose Bowl, the same Penn State team that had beaten Ohio State. They racked up 575 total yards on the Nittany Lions behind 453 passing from Sam Darnold. He’ll be ultra-motivated to put on another lasting impression and improve his draft stock. He threw 14 touchdowns with just 3 interceptions over his final seven games this season.
The Buckeyes are 0-4 ATS in their last four non-conference games. Ohio State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following a win. The Buckeyes are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record. They padded their stats against weak Big Ten teams this year. Now they take a massive step up in class in the Cotton Bowl. Bet USC Friday.
|12-28-17||Michigan State +1 v. Washington State||42-17||Win||100||43 h 35 m||Show|
15* Michigan State/Washington State Holiday Bowl BAILOUT on Michigan State +1
This line is moving toward Michigan State for good reason. Washington State opened as a 4.5-point favorite and now is only a 1-point favorite and even underdogs in some spots. I totally agree with this move as I currently lock in Michigan State as a 1-point underdog in the Holiday Bowl.
For starters, Mark Dantonio is 17-4 ATS in his last 21 games as an underdog. I realize the Spartans may not be dogs by the time this game goes off. But it’s still worth noting and just goes to show how he has been one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. He almost always exceeds expectations.
That was certainly the case this season as nothing was expected from Michigan State after they went just 3-9 last year. They returned only eight starters from that squad. It was a young team, and Dantonio worked his magic by getting the Spartans to 9-3. Now they have a chance for their fourth 10-win season in the past five years and will be highly motivated to get it.
It wasn’t a fluky 9-3, either. Michigan State actually outgained 10 of its 12 opponents this season with he only exceptions both coming on the road at Ohio State and Michigan, and they beat Michigan 14-10 as 13-point dogs. They are outgaining opponents by 80 yards per game on the season. Their defense has been very good, giving up just 298 yards per game.
I really question Washington State’s motivation coming into this game. The Cougars had a chance to get to the Pac-12 Championship in their season finale against Washington for a second consecutive season. And for a second straight year, they fell flat on their faces with a 14-41 loss at 9.5-point underdogs. Luke Falk was overwhelmed and played one of the worst games of his career with 3 interceptions. After playing for such high stakes and coming up short, I can’t see the Cougars being all that motivated to play Michigan State here.
Now Falk’s job gets even tougher due to the losses of his two best receivers in Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson0Mack, who have both been dismissed from the team heading into the bowl game. These two combined for 130 receptions, 1,386 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The fact that both aren’t playing helps explain this line move in Michigan State’s favor.
Washington State hasn’t fared very well in the three bowl games under Mike Leach over the past four seasons. Despite being favored in all three games, the Cougars have gone just 1-2 SU & 1-2 ATS. They lost as 5-point favorites to Colorado State in 2013, barely beat Miami 20-14 as 3-point favorites in 2015, and lost 12-17 to Minnesota as 10-point favorites last year. The Spartans are by far the best bowl team that the Cougars will have faced in the Leach era.
The Spartans have been impressive in bowl games over the last six years under Dantonio. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS despite being underdogs in all five. They lost to Alabama in the four-team playoff two years ago, but upset Georgia, TCU, Stanford and Baylor in their previous four bowl games.
Dantonio is 6-0 ATS in road games off a double-digit road win as the coach of Michigan State. The Spartans are 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing 150 or fewer yards in their previous game. The Cougars are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. Big Ten opponents. Take Michigan State Thursday.
|12-28-17||Virginia Tech v. Oklahoma State -4||Top||21-30||Win||100||69 h 54 m||Show|
20* VA Tech/Oklahoma State Camping World Bowl No-Brainer on Oklahoma State -4
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were a national title contender coming into the season. So their 9-3 record is a bit of a disappointment, but it also has them coming into the bowl season undervalued. This team is among the Top 10 in the country talent-wise, and I think the price is cheap here as only 4-point favorites over the VA Tech Hokies in the Camping World Bowl because of it.
The Cowboys were a very public team after a 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS start with three blowout victories. But they couldn’t live up to the expectations after that, going just 3-6 ATS over their final nine games as they were consistently laying big numbers that they couldn’t cover. But now they are in the type of price range that’s easy for them to cover as they basically just have to win the game by a touchdown or more here.
The three losses came to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State at home, and they were competitive in all three games. Most impressively is the fact that Oklahoma State went 6-0 on the road. The Cowboys averaged 42.7 points and 532 yards per game on the road while giving up just 25.5 points and 345 yards per game on the highway. They outscored teams by 17.2 points per game and outgunned them by 187 yards per game on the road this season.
Everyone knows about Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense that averages 46.2 points, 576 yards per game and 7.3 yards per play on the season against teams that allow 28.7 points, 420 yards per game and 5.9 per play. They are topping their opponent’s season averages by 17.5 points per game, 156 yards per game and 1.4 per play. Mason Rudolph is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, completing 65% of his passes for 4,553 yards with 35 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions while averaging 10.0 per attempt.
But most folks don’t realize how improved Oklahoma State’s defense is this season. The Cowboys are allowing only 400 yards per game and 5.5 per play against teams that average 415 yards per game and 5.9 per play. Their defense fell off toward the end of the year against Oklahoma, and then with hangover games against Iowa State and Kansas State. But this defense is loaded with speed and talent and will be re-focused for this bowl game against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have a great defense, there’s no question, but their offense is just average. They score 28.7 points pre game and average 5.4 yards per play against teams that give up 5.6 per play. They struggle to throw the football, and they are stubborn trying to run the ball. They average 44 rushing attempts per game, but only 167 rushing yards per game and 3.8 per carry.
Virginia Tech’s offense won’t be able to keep up with Mason Rudolph and company in this one. That’s especially the case now that they are going to be without two of their best playmakers in WR Cam Phillips and RB Travon McMillian. Phillips is the leading receiver on the team by a landslide with 71 receptions for 964 yards and 7 touchdowns, so his loss is huge. McMillian leads the team in rushing and is a significant loss as well.
Oklahoma State is 28-12 ATS in its last 40 games after scoring 50 points or more in its last game. Mike Gundy is 19-10 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points as the coach of Oklahoma State. Gundy is 15-4 ATS after two straight games with 40 or more pass attempts as the coach of the Cowboys. The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games. Bet Oklahoma State Thursday.
|12-27-17||Purdue +3.5 v. Arizona||Top||38-35||Win||100||203 h 40 m||Show|
20* Purdue/Arizona Foster Farms Bowl No-Brainer on Purdue +3.5
Jeff Brohm seriously deserved coach of the year consideration for the job he did at Purdue this season. He took a team that was 9-39 over the past four seasons and got them to 6-6 and a bowl game in the rugged Big Ten. This team was undervalued all seasons with their 8-4 ATS record, and I think they remain undervalued as underdogs here to Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl.
What the Boilermakers did down the stretch shows how badly they wanted to make a bowl game. They went 3-1 over their final four games, beating Illinois 29-10 at home, Iowa 24-15 as 6-point road underdogs, and Indiana 31-24 at home. That Indiana game was a 31-10 blowout late in the fourth quarter before giving up two garbage touchdowns late. And in their lone loss, they put up 438 total yards against a very good Northwestern team in a 13-23 road loss. They outgained the Wildcats in that contest.
So there’s no question that Purdue wants to be playing in this bowl game. It will be their first bowl game since 2012 and only their third bowl appearance in the last 10 years. And Brohm is 2-0 in his career in bowl games. At Western Kentucky, they beat Memphis 51-31 as 7-point favorites in 2016 and USF 45-35 as 2-point favorites in 2015. I trust Brohm and his players to come forth with a big effort in this game Wednesday.
Brohm was known for his offense at Western Kentucky, and while they do have a solid offense that averages 5.6 yards per play against teams that only allow 5.3 per play, the real improvement on this team has come on defense. The Boilermakers only allow 19.3 points per game and 5.2 yards per play against teams that average 28.6 yards per game and 5.7 per play. They are holding opponents to 9.3 points and 0.5 yards per play below their season averages. That’s the sign of an elite defense.
I think Arizona remains overvalued due to the Khalil Tate factor. He has taken the college football world by storm. And he started off tremendous against some bad teams, but then teams got film on him and the Wildcats struggled down the stretch. Arizona went 1-3 SU & 1-3 ATS over its final four games with its only win coming against terrible Oregon State. The Wildcats lost all three games by double-digits.
No question Purdue has a massive edge on defense in this game. And the matchup favors this Purdue defense because stopping Tate and the running game is the key. The Boilermakers are equipped to do just that. They give up just 132 rushing yards per game and 3.6 per carry against opponents that average 174 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry on average. They are holding teams to 42 yards and 0.9 per carry less than their season averages.
Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the country. They give up 34.1 points, 464 yards per game and 6.0 yards per play against teams that average 28 points, 420 yards per game and 5.7 per play. The Wildcats have allowed 37 or more points in six of their last eight games coming into this bowl game. It’s a defense that cannot be trusted, and certainly one that can’t be trusted to lay points here.
While Brohm is 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS in bowl games, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriquez has been terrible in bowl games. Rodriquez is just 3-7 ATS in his career in bowl games. Arizona barely beat New Mexico last year and barely beat Nevada a few years back. The Wildcats lost when they took a step up in class in recent bowl games against Oklahoma State and Boise State. And I think Purdue is a step up in class for them here. The Wildcats are also 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games.
Rodriquez is 1-10 ATS in road games after three straight games where 60 or more points were scored in all games he has coached. Brohm is 10-2 ATS versus good rushing teams averaging 4.75 or more yards per carry in all games he has coached. Arizona is 0-7 ATS in road games off two straight conference games over the last two seasons. The Wildcats are 0-6 ATS in road games in the second half of the season over the last two seasons. Purdue is 6-0 ATS in road games off one or more straight overs over the last two years. The Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last four neutral site games. The Boilermakers are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games. These seven trends combine for a 47-3 system backing the Boilermakers. Bet Purdue Wednesday.
|12-27-17||Boston College v. Iowa -2.5||20-27||Win||100||45 h 56 m||Show|
15* Boston College/Iowa Pinstripe Bowl ANNIHILATOR on Iowa -2.5
Let’s just start out with the fact that Iowa is going to be highly motivated for a victory in this bowl game. The Hawkeyes have lost five straight bowl games and really want to end that streak. But there’s a reason they’ve lost five straight because they have been underdogs in all five against superior competition.
The five losses have come to Oklahoma as 13-point dogs, LSU as 7-point dogs, Tennessee as 3-point dogs, Stanford as 6-point dogs and Florida as 3-point dogs. Now they finally get to take a step down in class after a 7-5 season against 7-5 Boston College. And they’re favored for a reason here because they are clearly the better team. And these Iowa seniors will be motivated to taste their first bowl victory.
Iowa closed it season with a 56-14 blowout at Nebraska. Four of Iowa’s five losses this season came by single-digits, and the one exception was a loss at Wisconsin the week after their 55-24 win over Ohio State. That was arguably the best win of the season of any team in college football against the Buckeyes, and it was clearly a massive letdown spot the next week against Wisconsin.
Boston College had a very impressive season with one of the youngest teams in the country. But a big reason for the Eagles’ success was freshman quarterback Anthony Brown. This offense isn’t nearly as explosive without Brown’s dual-threat ability. He has missed the final two games of the season.
I think people will see that Boston College blew out its final opponents so the Brown loss isn’t that big. But one of the wins was against one of the worst teams in college football in UConn 39-16, and the other was against a Syracuse team that was without starting quarterback Eric Dungey by a final of 42-14. UConn and Syracuse have terrible defenses, and this will be a big step up in class for backup QB Darius Wade against this Iowa defense.
Boston College only averages 163 passing yards per game and 5.7 per attempt. So the key to stopping the Eagles is stopping their running game, which averages 224 yards per game and 4.7 per carry. That makes this a perfect matchup for head coach Kirk Ferentz and this Iowa defense. His teams have always thrived against power-running teams, and that will show in this next trend.
Ferentz is 36-15 ATS versus good rushing teams averaging 200 or more rushing yards per game as the coach of Iowa. The Hawkeyes gave up just 19.9 points per game this season, and they allowed just 142 rushing yards per game and 4.1 per carry in the rugged Big Ten. Iowa is 55-28 ATS in its last 83 games after failing to cover the spread in two of its last three games coming in. The Eagles are 2-6 ATS in their last eight bowl games. The Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. Big Ten opponents. Boston College is 1-8 ATS in its last nine December games. Take Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl Wednesday.