|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-21-12||Washington Redskins +6.5 v. NY Giants||Top||23-27||Win||100||122 h 7 m||Show|
Washington won on Sunday at home against Minnesota and now it heads to New York to play its first divisional game of the season. The Redskins are 3-3 to start the season which isn't horrible after a disappointing 5-11 season a year ago. Each of the three losses were by a touchdown or less so not only are they playing well but they are staying competitive in the games they are losing. Only five of their 11 losses last season were by a touchdown or less and the confidence building win over the Vikings moves forward.
The Giants are also coming off a victory and theirs was a big one as they defeated San Francisco on the road in the NFC Championship rematch. That was a huge win and it puts New York in arguably the spot as the team to now beat in the NFL. A trip out west and a return home is a tough grind and the Giants could be in for a letdown here despite this being a divisional game against a longtime rival. This is a better Washington team the Giants are facing than last year yet are favored by more this season.
Robert Griffin III is proving to be a great pick for Washington as he is coming off another great game where he was responsible for three touchdowns. He is coming off his third highest quarterback rating but he has yet to put up a bad game which is rare for a rookie. Overall he has a 100.5 rating which is third best in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. The Giants defense put up another solid game but they are still 19th in the NFL in total defense.
Washington has struggled on defense all season as defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has lost top pass-rusher Brian Orakpo, one of his top run-stoppers in Adam Carriker, and his anticipated starting strong safety in Brandon Meriweather. He came through with a great gameplan against Minnesota as the bend-don't-break philosophy panned out as the Redskins held the Vikings without a touchdown for nearly three and a half quarters. This will certainly be another challenge but far from undoable.
The rushing game for Washington will come into play here. Griffin had a 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings so the numbers got skewed somewhat but this is still one of the best rushing teams in the NFL as the unit is ranked second overall and second in per carry average at 5.2 ypc. Washington is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 road games after gaining 175 or more rushing yards last game while the Giants are 3-11 in their last 14 home games after allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing in two straight games. 10* (427) Washington Redskins
|10-20-12||Kansas State v. West Virginia -2.5||Top||55-14||Loss||-113||76 h 27 m||Show|
A lot of people will be down on West Virginia now after not only losing but getting thumped at Texas Tech last week. The Mountaineers fell behind early and could not recover as the defense was once again the liability, allowing 676 total yards to the Red Raiders. Obviously things will not get any easier here but the situation does as they were coming off a big road win at Texas prior to last week and now they head back home where they are averaging over 56 ppg.
Kansas St. got it done last week and it was again ugly. The Wildcats won by six points and it was one of the few times they did not dominate turnover margin and when that is not in their favor, they come back to the competition. The same goes for yardages. Three wins by wide margins saw them outgain their opponents by just 75, 20 and 87 yards and while the score is obviously the most important, winning games with similar yardage margins is not going to keep happening as the breaks will eventually go the other way.
The Wildcats are ranked fourth in the initial BCS Rankings and it really is based on smoke and mirrors ass they are not dominating in anything. They are ranked 46th in total offense and 31st in total defense and while those are very solid rankings, they are not typical rankings of a team that is considered a top five team in the country. They do a lot of things well and they are very well coached but once they hit a team that can take advantage, they will be in trouble and that is the case here.
West Virginia cannot play defense, or at least in the Big XII it hasn't been able to. However each offense it has faced thus far is better than what Kansas St. brings to the table. The Mountaineers have not been able to stop the pass but they have a much stronger rushing defense and that puts strength against strength this week so West Virginia will not be at a significant disadvantage at any spot like it has been in he past. Offensively, they will be able to move at will.
The Mountaineers have covered their last four games after a loss and they can put themselves in very good position with a victory here because arguably the two toughest games remaining are both at home, including a game against Oklahoma which is likely going to go a long way in deciding the Big XII. We play on teams with a winning percentage of .800 or better where the line is +3 to -3 after failing to cover the spread in three out of their last four games. This situation is 57-25 ATS (69.5 percent) since 1992. 10* (370) West Virginia Mountaineers
|10-20-12||Texas Tech v. TCU +2.5||Top||56-53||Loss||-105||94 h 19 m||Show|
We won with TCU last week against Baylor and a lot of that play had to do with the fact the Horned Frogs had a full week to prepare with their new quarterback Trevone Boykin. He had a monster game and with even more preparation I expect him to get even better. TCU is back home and it should be itching to grab a victory after losing against Iowa St. in its last home game which came just a couple days after starting quarterback Casey Pachall was suspended from the team.
After losing at home against Oklahoma, Texas Tech responded with a great effort against West Virginia and pull off one of the big upsets of last weekend. I expect that to prove to be a big letdown this week and even though momentum is big, the Red Raiders are hitting the road which has been a big issue over the years. The numbers look great for Texas Tech but prior to Oklahoma, it has played no one and while the win over the Mountaineers was huge, we have yet to see a big road effort against a quality team.
The loss to the Cyclones took TCU out of the rankings after a 4-0 start to the season but its upset win last week inched it closer in getting back into the top 25. The suspension of Pachall was big at the time but it is old news and this team is arguably better with him off the team at this point. We say that because non-team players can bring the rest of the team down and rallying around each other can go a long way. Is there a chance for a letdown this week? It is always there but the stakes are too big for it to happen.
While the offense is fine with Boykin at the helm, it is the defense we need to highlight. The Horned Frogs held Baylor to 21 points which was by far the Bears lowest offensive output on the season. Overall TCU is 15th in total defense and 11th in scoring defense so the Red Raiders will certainly have a challenge this week. Texas Tech has had two bad games on offense and those came against Oklahoma and Iowa St. which are 14th and 33rd respectively in total defense so its struggles against the better units.
This line opened at TCU -2.5 and I loved it at that number. Through the first 48 hours, the roles have switched and the Red Raiders are now favored by that same amount so the love has grown. This switch has put the Horned Frogs into a great situation where we play against road favorites in conference games, off a win by 10 points or more as a home underdog. This situation is 30-8 ATS (78.9 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Also, TCU is 14-4 ATS in it last 18 games when the line is between +3 and -3. 10* (362) TCU Horned Frogs
|10-20-12||Virginia Tech v. Clemson -8||Top||17-38||Win||100||70 h 52 m||Show|
We won with Virginia Tech last week over Duke as the Hokies spotted the Blue Devils a 20-0 lead and then put up 41 unanswered points to grab the blowout win. The Hokies were coming off two straight losses and were heading home at the perfect time to make sure that skid came to an end. The home team remained a perfect 7-0 in their games this season as Virginia Tech comes in with a 0-3 record on the highway, losing to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and North Carolina while getting outgained by 445 combined yards.
Clemson got the week off last week following consecutive dominating performances against Boston College and Georgia Tech and a rest was arguably needed. Because of the loss to Florida St., the Tigers do not control their own destiny so they need to simply take care of business and let the card fall where they may. The Tigers remain one of the best offensive teams in the country as they are 13th overall and 11th in scoring and face a defense that is playing well below its standards.
The Tigers have been more efficient and more explosive this season on offense as Clemson is averaging 85 more ypg on offense this season compared to last year and this has come by running about 82 plays per game, up only slightly over the 81 they ran last year. Despite all of the weapons Clemson has in the passing game, Virginia Tech defensive line coach Charley Wiles believes stopping the run , whether it be Andre Ellington or Tajh Boyd, is the most crucial part of holding the Tigers in check.
The Clemson defense was a major concern at the end of last year, so much so that the Tigers changed defensive coordinators in the offseason. It has not been a very smooth transition but to their credit, the Tigers have faced a majority of offenses that are ranked very high overall and in scoring. Virginia Tech is not one of those as the Hokies are 68th overall, 78th in rushing, 73rd in passing efficiency and 54th in scoring. The Hokies erupted last week but we won't see that again.
The Hokies are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games after a win by 17 or more points and they are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games after outgaining their last opponent by 175 or more total yards and they fall into a negative situation where we play against road teams after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game going up against an opponent after gaining 6.25 or more yppl in two consecutive games. This situation is 82-42 ATS (66.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (344) Clemson Tigers
|10-19-12||Connecticut v. Syracuse -4||Top||10-40||Win||100||10 h 27 m||Show|
This is just the third true home game for Syracuse against FBS opponents as it has split the first two. Losing by a point against Northwestern and then winning by a point against Pittsburgh. Overall the Orange are 2-4 on the season but they could be a lot better as turnovers have really held them back. Despite the losing record, Syracuse is outgaining opponents by 110.2 ypg which is a huge variance for teams with a losing record. Case in points, despite losing last week at Rutgers, the Orange won the stats by 181 yards.
Connecticut also comes in with a losing record as it is 3-4 on the season and the losses have been tight as two came by three points while another came by six points. The Huskies have dropped two in a row and last week's home loss against Temple was a devastating one which definitely hurts coming into this game. Connecticut is outgaining opponents on average but that is because of a defense that is playing over its head and against some very weak offenses.
The Huskies have faced four offenses that are currently ranked 97th or worst so while they comes in as the nations sixth ranked defense, the schedule has had a lot to do with it. This will be the most potent offense it has seen this season as Syracuse is ranked 39th in the country overall. Scoring is down because of the aforementioned turnovers so avoiding those will be important. The Orange have put up offensive totals of 596, 455, 549 and 418 and three of those were against defenses ranked 54th, 25th and 18th.
The Syracuse defense has quietly been playing very well. The stop unit is ranked 28th in the country and while the scoring defense is not ranked as high, it again comes down to turnovers and opponents playing on a short field. Connecticut can't move the ball or score points as it is ranked 107th in total offense and 109th in scoring offense and the Huskies have put up 244 totals yards or less three times. They managed only 372 yards against Massachusetts which has allowed over 500 yards to four other opponents.
This game marks the return of head coach Paul Pasqualoni to his old school and Syracuse will not be bringing out the welcome wagon. He is 0-6 ATS as a road underdog with the Huskies and going back to his days with the Orange, he is 1-13 ATS as a road underdog of a touchdown or less. Syracuse is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games after outgaining its last opponent by 175 or more total yards so it has been able to carry the momentum forward. The Orange puts an end to the five-game series losing streak tonight. 10* (310) Syracuse Orange
|10-18-12||Oregon v. Arizona State +9||Top||43-21||Loss||-104||77 h 26 m||Show|
I played on Oregon in its last game against Washington and won but that was more of a play against the Huskies which were coming off a big home upset win over Stanford in their previous game. The Ducks are a very solid team no doubt and they debuted in the BCS rankings at number three but I'm still not totally sold just yet. Oregon has yet to be tested, especially on the road where it has traveled just once and that came at Washington St. which hung around too long against a team with the supposed caliber of Oregon.
Arizona St. is 5-1 with the only loss coming at Missouri by four points. The Sun Devils sit atop the Pac 12 South Division with a 3-0 record and while it can be argued that they have not played anyone tough yet, which I will not disagree with, they dominated all three of those games, winning the yardage battle by an average of 255 ypg which is very impressive. This team is clicking right now and they face the Ducks at the perfect time as they are hot and an outright upset is far from out of the question.
What makes the Sun Devils so dangerous is their offense which they have picked up on quickly in head coach Todd Graham's first season. They are averaging 479 ypg and 40.5 ppg so they can definitely keep up with Oregon in this game. What makes this team really special however is the defense as Arizona St. is ranked eighth in total defense and ninth in scoring defense and it leads the Pac 12 in both categories. This is the type of unit that can slow the Ducks down enough to not allow a runaway.
While the Oregon defense gets all of the attention, it is the defense that has stepped up compared to last season. The Ducks are allowing 359.8 ypg and 20 ppg which are just slightly higher from the defense that went to the BCS Championship. Still, it is ranked only 43rd overall and fifth in the Pac 12 and that is with playing a very weak schedule thus far. They yielded 402 yards against Washington St. in their only road game and this trip is going to be much more of a challenge on that side of the ball.
Even though this is Graham's first year as head coach, he has been great in these situations at his other stops as he is 12-2 ATS in his 14 games as a home underdog and 10-2 ATS in his 12 games against teams averaging 6.25 or more yppl. Arizona St. meanwhile is 20-8 ATS in its last 28 home games after two or more consecutive straight up wins so momentum has proven to be big. Oregon meanwhile is just 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight games after a win by 20 or more points. 10* (306) Arizona St. Sun Devils
|10-18-12||Seattle Seahawks v. San Francisco 49ers -7||Top||6-13||Push||0||77 h 35 m||Show|
The 49ers laid an egg at home against the Giants and that makes this spot so much better for them. They were dominant in their previous two games against the Jets and Bills as they allowed just three points while scoring a combined 70 points. It was just the opposite in their NFC Championship rematch against the Giants but now they are in a bounceback spot in a divisional game where they currently sit in a three-way tie with the Cardinals and the Seahawks so we will see a very inspired effort.
Seattle continues to be very impressive at home as it is now 3-0 with big wins over Dallas, Green Bay and New England. That is certainly a very impressive and to be honest, the Seahawks feasibly could be 6-0 right now as losses against Arizona and St. Louis could have gone the other way. The fact of the matter though is coming off a last second comeback win at home and travelling on a short week spells disaster especially against a team that is pissed off.
We saw a Seattle letdown after its last home win as it went into St. Louis and lost to the Rams as road favorites. Granted, the number is much different this time around but the situation is as well. Not only are the Seahawks in a difficult travel spot but facing a team coming off a loss makes it more of a challenge. Seattle is coming off a road win in its last game but that was at Carolina so the step up in class is huge. The Seahawks have had a big home field edge over the year and it is evident this year but the road is difficult.
The Thursday setup has favored home teams when their last game was at home as the travel aspect is a big advantage seeing they do not have to do it. A short week is hard enough but when a travel day is thrown in, it takes its toll on the road team. The home team has won the last three Thursday night games and four of the five on the season. This is the second time we have the spot with a team at home coming off a home loss with the first being the Packers taking out the Bears after losing to San Francisco.
San Francisco is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games coming off a loss as a favorite and it is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 home games overall. Seattle is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog of fewer than nine points and coming off a win when playing a team coming off a loss as a favorite. Also, we play against road teams that are coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team. This situation is 47-20 ATS (70.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (304) San Francisco 49ers
|10-15-12||Denver Broncos v. San Diego Chargers UNDER 50||Top||35-24||Loss||-110||148 h 22 m||Show|
Three of the last four Monday night games have stayed below the total and that is just fine with the bookmakers as there is always heavy action on the over in these primetime games. Because both Denver and San Diego are coming of high scoring games once again, we are getting value based on this total being inflated. The early action came in on the under which has brought the number down slightly but not enough to hurt the play as we are likely going to see the number go back up once it gets closer to gametime.
The Broncos lost a high profile game at New England last week and it was the third time this season that their game went over the total. It was also the third time that the game went over because of a late Denver touchdown. They scored with under two minutes left to go over against Pittsburgh, they scored with three minutes left to go over against Houston and they scored with six minutes left go over against the Patriots. All three can be considered garbage scores and all three have added to the value of a low scoring game.
San Diego has now played two straight games that have surpassed the total. The Chargers went way over the number in Kansas City and the last game snuck over because of a late field goal depending on when the total was taken. This week's over/under is slightly less than the game against the Saints but not by much and these last two totals have been the highest they have had all season. The last game San Diego played at home was against Atlanta and the total of 47 was not close to being touched.
While both teams are known on the surface as good offensive teams, the defenses are not that bad. Denver is 13th in total defense while San Diego is 11th in total defense. Both teams are coming off their worst defensive efforts of the season so we can see both rebounded on that side of the ball this week. The Chargers are 6-0 to the under in their last six home games after a game where 50 or more points were scored while going 11-3 to the under in their last 14 home games after gaining 6.5 or more yppl last game.
Obviously Denver is a different team this year with Peyton Manning under center so past history can give us some flawed information but looking at the league as a whole, we often see divisional games being played closer to the vest thus creating more lower scoring games. San Diego is 6-0 to the under in its last six divisional home games while Denver is 4-0 to the under in its last four divisional games. I expect those to remain perfect as should see a much lower scoring game than what the total is telling us. 10* Under (233) Denver Broncos/(234) San Diego Chargers
|10-14-12||Indianapolis Colts v. NY Jets -3||Top||9-35||Win||100||118 h 28 m||Show|
The Jets are coming off a tough loss Monday night against Houston as they had opportunities to get the job done but mistakes once again did them in. they have dropped two straight games, both at home, against two of the elite teams in the league. This is their third straight home game and if ever there was a must win spot, this is it. Falling to 2-4 before heading for a big divisional game at New England is something they cannot let happen and in this situation, they won't.
The Colts meanwhile are coming off an improbable win at home against Green Bay. They trailed by 18 points at halftime but were able to mount the comeback and eventually won the game in the final minute. It was a tough week for Indianapolis with everything that went on with their head coach and providing the win in Chuck Pagano's honor was enormous. Now the Colts are in a huge emotional letdown and while confidence is sky high, they will not have enough in the tank come this Sunday.
A lot of positives can be taken from the Colts victory but it was far from a perfect performance. The Indianapolis offense was pretty pedestrian to start the game, failing to score a first half touchdown while registering just three points. It was a different team in the second as the offense opened things up while the defense shut down the Packers offense for the most part in the second half. A lot of that can be blamed on Green Bay though as something is just not right with the unit.
The Jets defense played very well against Houston, allowing only 209 yards through the air which was very solid with Darrelle Revis out for the season. New York was gashed by Arian Foster who ran for 152 yards but it will not have to worry much around the rushing game this weekend. Donald Brown has a good game but the Colts bring in the 19th ranked rushing offense. Andrew Luck showed why he is going to be a superstar but we will not see a repeat performance.
It can be argued the Jets come out flat following their Monday night games but they have been solid in these spots, going 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 Sunday games following a Monday game the previous week. Indianapolis meanwhile is 0-12 ATS in its last 12 games against losing teams and we play against underdogs or pickems that are allowing 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more ypg over their last two games. This situation is 35-11 ATS (76.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (212) New York Jets
|10-14-12||Detroit Lions +5 v. Philadelphia Eagles||Top||26-23||Win||100||118 h 16 m||Show|
Detroit is coming off its bye week and it came at the best possible time. The Lions entered their week off on a three-game losing streak and they feasibly had a chance to win the last two games. The last game against Minnesota they were hurt by two special teams touchdowns as they outgained the Vikings by 114 yards. Detroit outgained Tennessee by 146 yards prior to that but lost in overtime. This has turned into a very big game with a divisional contest on deck at Chicago.
The Eagles were involved in yet another close game as the lost to the Steelers on a last second field goal. It was the fourth game that was decided by two points or less and turnovers were the story once again as Philadelphia gave it up twice while failing to create any turnovers on defense. To their credit, the Eagles won three of those four close games but the loss to the Steelers stung. Bouncing back at home will be tough as Philadelphia has proven it cannot be trusted as a favorite.
The Lions came into the season as a consensus overrated team and now sitting at 1-3, those opinions look to be have been true. As mentioned, they have not played bad though as they are a couple plays away of being .500 at worst. There have been too many miscommunications and too many missed assignments on the offensive line so the week provided a good time to shore up some of these mental issues. The offense is still one of the best in football and should again have success here.
Defensively, the Lions have an opportunity to take advantage of the Eagles problems with giving up the ball. Detroit was one of the leading turnover-makers in football last season and it needs to get back to that to take some of the pressure off the offense of needing to think it has to simply outscore opponents. The Lions still possess a very solid defensive line and disrupting the Eagles offense, namely Michael Vick, will go a long way. His game provides the turning point.
The Eagles are just 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 home games as they remain an extremely overvalued team. Detroit meanwhile is 4-1 ATS in its last five game as scoring less than 15 points it is previous game which includes an outright win in its only spot in that situation last season. Also, we play against home teams with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 that are coming off a road loss by three points or less. This situation is 23-4 ATS (85.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (219) Detroit Lions
|10-14-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Cleveland Browns +3||Top||24-34||Win||100||118 h 10 m||Show|
We have an early revenge situation for the Browns which are still looking for their first win of the season. Cleveland remains the only winless team in the NFL but I still think the value is on the Browns this week and that is based on the fact they do not have a win yet. The Bengals were favored by seven points in that first meeting so based on the change of venue they should be a slight underdog here but the linesmakers were obviously forced to make them the favorites here.
Cleveland jumped on the Giants 14-0 early on Sunday but the defense was unable to hold back the New York offense but it catches a break this week. The Browns have faced two straight uptempo offenses and both of those came on the road so a return home against Cincinnati, which is ranked 15th in total offense, gives them a shot to turn it around. They best defensive performance came in their last home game where they allowed 344 total yards to the Bills.
The Bengals are coming off a home loss against Miami which snapped their three-game winning streak. There was plenty of talk coming into the season that Cincinnati would take a step backward and while the three-game winning streak put an end to that, the loss to the Dolphins has brought it right back. The Bengals have not faced any potent offense yet they are ranked 18th in total defense and 21st in scoring defense. The Browns offense has been much better than advertised so far.
Despite the fact it is winless, Cleveland is not ranked at the bottom of most power rankings as it has held its own in nearly every game with plenty of chances to win. One of those came in the first game against the Bengals as Cleveland actually outgained them and the difference ended up being an 81-yard punt return that the Bengals opened the scoring with. Cincinnati has owned the series of late with four straight win as well as victories in seven of the last eight but this spot provides a good opportunity to end it.
The Cleveland offense and defense puts it into a solid situation here as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are averaging 5.4 or more yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) since 1983. Additionally, the Browns are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. The underdog is on a 9-1-1 ATS run in the last 11 meetings in this series. 10* (210) Cleveland Browns
|10-13-12||South Carolina v. LSU -2.5||Top||21-23||Loss||-115||76 h 17 m||Show|
I love backing teams with their backs against the wall and the public completely writing them off. This is the case for LSU which lost at Florida last week for the whole public to see. The Tigers now return home to face another tough opponent but they are in a situation that bodes very well. LSU has won 21 straight games at home and under head coach Les Miles, it is 17-1 in games following a loss, which includes a 6-0 record when a road loss is followed by a game in Tiger Stadium.
The Gamecocks had one of the more impressive wins of last weekend as they totally dominated Georgia, winning by 28 points. They have looked dominant in each of their last five games actually but the previous four contests were against some very weak foes. This is the third road games of the season and is by far the biggest test as the first two games were against Vanderbilt, which nearly resulted in a loss, and Kentucky, which is 0-3 in the SEC and 1-5 overall.
Obviously the big issue for LSU is its offense as it has scored just 18 points in its two SEC games but both of those were on the road and even though another formidable defense is coming to visit, we should see a much better effort this Saturday. Despite a horrible rushing game against Florida, the Tigers are still averaging 198.3 ypg on the ground on 4.9 ypc. Getting that going will be big as it will set up the passing game which has outgained every opponent so far this season.
LSU is 35-1 in Saturday night home games under Miles with the lone loss coming in 2009 against Florida. It needs to be noted however that the Tigers were 10-point underdogs in that game with the Gators coming in as the top ranked team in the country. Even more impressive is that the Tigers are 49-3 in Saturday night games during the Miles era no matter the location. This is one of the best home venues in the country and it is even more special under the lights.
LSU had just 42 yards rushing against Florida and the Tigers are 11-3 ATS in their 14 games under Miles after gaining fewer than 100 yards rushing last game. The tigers also fall into a great situation as we play on teams with a winning percentage of .800 or better where the line is +3 to -3 after failing to cover the spread in three out of their last four games. This situation is 56-23 ATS (70.9 percent) since 1992 and with a very manageable line to work with, that run continues. 10* (178) LSU Tigers
|10-13-12||Duke v. Virginia Tech -10||Top||20-41||Win||100||69 h 39 m||Show|
Coming into the season, we would have thought the record would be reversed with Duke sitting at 3-3 and Virginia Tech sitting at 5-1. But that is not the case. The Hokies opened the year ranked in the preseason top 20 but a horrible loss at Pittsburgh knocked them out of the polls and now Virginia Tech heads home following two more road losses in its last two games and it is desperate of a victory to turn the season around although any hopes of a big bowl game are gone.
Duke meanwhile has won four straight games since a blowout loss at Stanford and while it is a good run, I am not overly impressed. The first win came against NC Central out of the FCS and then came a win over Memphis, one of the worst teams in the FBS. The two most recent wins were conference victories against Wake Forest and Virginia and while wins are wins, that could be the end of the losing streak. The Blue Devils are one win away from bowl eligibility but it is going to be a tough task down the stretch.
The Blue Devils are a combined 1-39 against their remaining six opponents since the Atlantic Coast Conference expanded in 2004, including an 0-8 mark against Virginia Tech. Sure it can be argued that Duke and Virginia Tech are both different teams this year than is years past but athletic wise, the Blue Devils are still a step behind. While the Hokies will be out to get a win following two straight losses, the fact they only beat Duke by four points last year will have them extremely focused this week.
This one will come down to the Virginia Tech defense which is a shell of its former self. The home/road disparity is a big factor though. In three road games, the Hokies have allowed opposing offenses to amass 537, 495 and 533 yards. However, in three home games, they have allowed just 288, 221 and 266 yards. The level of competition has had a lot to do with it but despite being 5-1, Duke falls into that category of average. Duke has played a schedule ranked 139th in the nation which tells a lot.
Virginia Tech has been a great rebound team when heading home as it is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 home games following two or more straight up losses while going 11-2 ATS in its last 13 home games after being outgained by 125 or more yards last game. The Hokies have not lost three straight games since 2003 and since then they are 4-0 in their last four games following consecutive losses while going 3-0-1 ATS in those games. This one has blowout written all over it. 10* (128) Virginia Tech Hokies
|10-13-12||Kent State -1.5 v. Army||Top||31-17||Win||100||69 h 33 m||Show|
After starting the season 0-4, Army won its first game of the season last week against Boston College but we cannot read much into it. The Eagles are having a very bad season as well and despite outrushing Boston College by 330 yards, the Black Knights won the game by only three points as it took a touchdown with less than a minute remaining to pull out the win. The victory snapped an eight-game winning streak going back to last season and while it is a confidence builder, the spot sets up badly.
Kent St. won its third straight game last week with a blowout win over Eastern Michigan to improve to 3-0 in the MAC and 4-1 overall. The situation is not ideal to go out of conference but it provides an opportunity to keep the momentum going before a big game next week against Western Michigan. The Golden Flashes are on a 8-2 run going back to last season and it coincides with a change in schemes so this team is clearly riding a big wave of momentum right now.
The big factor that Kent St. has to deal with is the rushing game of Army. The Black Knights lead the nation in rushing offense with 397.2 ypg but obviously that success has not led to them achieving many wins. The Golden Flashes are not going to stop the rushing attack but they have a stout rushing defense that is 39th in the country, allowing 125.2 ypg and that unit has improved in each of its last four games. Overall last week against Eastern Michigan, they allowed just 200 total yards of offense.
The Kent St. offense has been improving as it is coming off three straight games where it got better each time and is coming off a season high 467 yards last week. As long as the Golden Flashes can keep the execution going, there is no way they can be stopped. The Army defense is one of the worst in the country, allowing 463.8 ypg and 37.2 ppg, 103rd and 107th in the nation respectively. The Black Knights are horrible in both aspects as they are ranked 113th in rushing defense and 120th in pass efficiency defense.
Kent St. has struggled on the road throughout the years and while it has one win in each of the two previous seasons, it has already two wins this year. The Golden Flashes fall into a great situation where we play on road favorites with a winning percentage of .800 or better off three straight conference wins, playing a team with a losing record. This situation is 28-7 ATS (80 percent) over the last five seasons. Army is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 home games against teams with a winning road record. 10* (119) Kent St. Golden Flashes
|10-11-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||23-26||Win||100||54 h 3 m||Show|
Tennessee heads up the list of disappointing teams this season as its loss in Minnesota dropped the Titans to 1-4 on the year. There should be no excuses although the Titans have played a brutal schedule thus far as they have played the toughest slate in the league through the first five weeks of the season. Three of their five games have been on the road including the last two so a return home has come at a good time. The situation is a good one as well playing on a short week.
The reason it is good is because of the other side and that is the Steelers hitting the road on the short week. Pittsburgh was coming off its bye week the previous week and came away with a last second win over the Eagles this past Sunday in a very physical game. It took its toll as the return of Troy Polamalu was very short lived as he was re-injured and will be out this week as will LaMarr Woodley who left with a hamstring injury against the Eagles. The Steelers are now 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road.
Tennessee has the lowest average time of possession per game in the NFL (24:50) and that is due to a lack of a running game. With Chris Johnson rushing for just 210 yards through five games, the Titans have the league's 30th ranked rushing attack. Facing the Steelers may seem like a daunting task however the defense of Pittsburgh is not what it used to be as it is ranked 11th in rushing defense. The Titans have faced four teams in the top 10 in rushing defense and the only one it didn't resulted in their lone win.
Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker will miss his second straight game with soreness in his left shoulder meaning Matt Hasselbeck with be making the start. His last two games have obviously resulted in losses but he hasn't been horrible as he has completed 63 percent of his passes to go with three touchdowns. It will be up to the defense to make big strides as the unit has been gashed as Tennessee is ranked 29th in total defense. Getting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger will be the number one priority.
The Titans have struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks, ranking 30th in sacks per pass attempt (3.87 percent). Catching the Steelers at the right time is big though as Pittsburgh is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 road games including going 0-8 ATS in its last eight road games on grass. Despite the recent struggles, the Titans are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game while the Steelers are 0-5 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. 10* (102) Tennessee Titans
|10-11-12||Western Kentucky v. Troy +3||Top||31-26||Loss||-120||36 h 21 m||Show|
Last year was a rough one for Troy as it went 3-9 overall including 2-6 in the Sun Belt Conference which was the first year in five years it had not gained at least a share of the conference title. The Trojans are off to a 3-1 start this season and surprisingly, they are 3-0 on the road and 2-0 at home. Even more surprising is the fact that in the two losses, they won the yardage battle by 199 yards and 115 yards against two strong opponents in UL-Lafayette and Mississippi St.
Western Kentucky has made a name for itself already as it is 4-1 on the year and going back to last season, it is 11-2 over its last 13 games following a 0-4 start. While the run has been solid, even more impressive is the fact that it has been done as the Hilltoppers were underdogs the majority of the time as nine of those 11 wins have been outright as underdogs. They are 5-0 ATS this season and are now riding an unheard of 14-game ATS winning streak. It comes as no surprise they are favored here.
Because the Trojans had such a tough season a year ago, this is one of many conference revenge games they will be part of. Last season they lost at Western Kentucky 41-14 and the game was dominated by the Hilltoppers as much as that score shows as they outgained Troy 494-330 including a whopping 338-27 edge on the ground. The rushing variance was their biggest issue a season ago but Troy has done a much better job this year so we will not see nearly the dame variance as last year.
Troy's offense took a big hit last year as it only had four starters back and the production felt it as it averaged only 22.4 ppg on 380 ypg. This season the Trojans returned nine starters including the quarterback, the top three rushers and the top four receivers and though five games, they are averaging close to 120 more ypg than they did a season ago. The Hilltoppers defense has been strong but the averages are skewed as a game against Austin Peay saw them allow just 154 total yards.
Troy is coming off a bye week following its easy win over South Alabama and it is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games coming off a bye. In addition committed five turnovers in that last game and while it may not seem ideal, the Trojans are 10-2 ATS in their 12 home games following a game where they committed three or more turnovers. Also, we play on home teams that are coming off a conference win by 10 points or more against opponent off a win as an underdog. This situation is 136-77 ATS (63.8 percent) since 1992. 10* (108) Troy Trojans
|10-08-12||Houston Texans v. NY Jets +9||Top||23-17||Win||100||149 h 38 m||Show|
With everything going on in the public eye right now, the linesmakers had no choice but to make this number as high as it is. The public will be hearing all week about how the Jets are in turmoil with a major quarterback controversy and how Houston is undefeated and looks to be the team to beat in the AFC. This is exactly the situation we love to see in a high profile game such as this as no team is as bad as it was last week and no teams is as good as it was last week.
The Jets are coming off a dreadful loss against San Francisco as they were shutout 34-0 while getting outgained 379-145. It was by far the worst offensive performance of the season and it was the first time they have been shutout since October, 2010. They followed that game up with a win and they are in a better situation here with this being the second of back-to-back home games. Despite everything that is going on, the Jets are 2-2 and sitting in a tie atop the AFC East so things could be worse.
You have to give credit to Houston for being one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL but it has had a pretty easy road to get there. The Texans have played the third easiest schedule thus far and the only real test so far was in Denver where they nearly blew a big lead. While many will not consider this a test , it will be a lot tougher than it looks right now. Houston has a three-game homestand coming up with Green Bay and Baltimore on deck so there could be a slight lookahead going forward.
With New York being a media Mecca, you won't be able to avoid some of the sport talk surrounding the Jets and the things they need to do to turn things around. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time this past Sunday as they were coming off a road win in overtime against the Dolphins while the 49ers were coming off a road loss at Minnesota. Now there is a quarterback controversy as Mark Sanchez is coming off a horrible game but we have seen it before and he responds more often than not with a big performance.
We play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against team averaging 27 ppg or more after a loss by 14 or more points. This situation is 32-10 ATS (76.2 percent) since 1983. on top of that, the Jets are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 home games coming off a home loss and 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games after putting up 250 or fewer yards last game while Houston is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 road games against defenses allowing 350 or more ypg. 10* (436) New York Jets
|10-07-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||7-30||Loss||-109||121 h 50 m||Show|
The Vikings have gotten off to a terrific start this season by going 3-1 and if not for a late defensive meltdown against the Colts, they could reasonably be 4-0 right now. Minnesota has been far from dominant however and last week against Detroit, it was actually outgained by 114 total yards but used two special team touchdowns to cement the upset. Now the Vikings go from 3.5-point road underdogs to a 6-point home favorite and that is a huge swing for a pretty average team.
Tennessee was thumped again as it got hammered in Houston to fall to 1-3 on the season. The Titans were expected to make some noise this season after a solid season last year but the early schedule has been very tough to overcome. They have played the toughest schedule in the NFL as the three losses have come against teams that are a combined 9-3 and one of those came against the 2-2 Patriots which could feasibly be 4-0 right now. Tennessee now finds itself in a good situation with plenty of value on its side.
The Titans may be without quarterback Jake Locker after he separated his non-throwing shoulder against the Texans. If he cannot go, Matt Hasselbeck will get the start and wasn't horrible against Houston as he was 17-25 for 193 but two interceptions killed him as both were returned for touchdowns. This will not be a big switch. The better news is that running back Chris Johnson finally had a good game as he rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries (5.6 ypc) and he needs to build off that momentum.
Minnesota is again playing strong defense but the relatively easy schedule has helped. The Vikings have faced three offenses ranked in the bottom half of the league and while Tennessee falls into that category as well, Minnesota is in a big letdown spot here. The Vikings pulled off a huge upset against San Francisco and then pulled off a divisional road upset against the Lions so getting up for the 1-3 Titans could prove to be too much to ask for. An outright loss is far from out of the question.
Tennessee is second to last in the AFC in turnover margin which has hurt its cause immensely. The titans fall into a great league-wide situation based on that though as we play on road underdogs or pickems with a turnover margin of -1 tpg or worse after two consecutive games where they forced one or fewer turnovers. This situation is 29-9 ATS (76.3 percent) over the last five seasons. Vikings meanwhile are 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing fewer than 15 points in their previous game. 10* (419) Tennessee Titans
|10-07-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||14-16||Loss||-123||118 h 45 m||Show|
The Steelers find themselves in a good situation coming off their bye week. They are off to a 1-2 start and are game and a half behind the Bengals and Ravens in the AFC North so that makes this a very important early season game. Pittsburgh lost its opening game in Denver and then its last game in Oakland despite outgaining the Raiders by 112 total yards so it is pretty clear that the Steelers have not traveled well out west. The off week while remaining at home is the perfect spot to recharge the batteries.
The Eagles dodged a bullet last week as they won at home against the Giants thanks to a missed field goal as the game ended. Philadelphia improved to 3-1 and it is a record that is either spot on or slightly skewed. The Eagles have outgained every one of their opponents so far sp a winning record seems legitimate. However, the turnover debacle has made games closer than they should be as the three wins have come by a total of four points. After no turnovers last week, expect a reversal of that here.
The Steelers are averaging just 65 rushing ypg which is 31st in the league, and ranks above only the Raiders anemic 60.8 ypg average. The good news however is that running back Rashard Mendenhall is ready to return this week which is a big boost for the offense that is in much need of it. Pittsburgh is not going to switch its schemes though as it has been able to throw the ball with a good deal of success as they are ranked sixth in passing offense but with a more consistent running game they can get even better.
On the other side, the Pittsburgh defense has not been very good. The Steelers only have five sacks and two forced turnovers in three games and part of the reason has been injuries with James Harrison and Troy Polamalu missing time. Polamalu should be back this week which is pretty big and even though Harrison is likely sitting again, the week off provided rest for all. The Steelers still need to find a way to generate pressure and force turnovers and the young players need to start executing better.
The Steelers have been one of the better teams in the NFL coming off a bye as they have won each of the last four years, covering three of those. They have been even better coming off a loss as they are a perfect 9-0 ATS in their last nine games following a defeat. Also, they are 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games coming off a spread loss while going 19-5 ATS in their last 24 home games after outgaining their opponent by 100 or more total yards in two straight games. 10* (414) Pittsburgh Steelers
|10-07-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs +5.5||Top||9-6||Win||100||118 h 37 m||Show|
The Chiefs came up pretty small last week at home against the Chargers as they dropped to 1-3 on the season. Kansas City was coming off a big road win at New Orleans but it was unable to keep the momentum going as it turned the ball over six times and as we all know, it is impossible to win in this league with mistakes like that. The Chiefs are 0-2 at home, getting outscored by 33 points combined but what that now does is create value for this week and Kansas City is catching a very good number.
Baltimore won last Thursday at home against Cleveland and it was a very uninspiring win as it let the Browns hang around enough to almost be able to tie the game late. It was the third straight game that wasn't decided until very late and while the offense has been clicking, the defense has been a major disappointment. The Ravens have not allowed a lot of points but they are ranked 23rd in total defense which is a far cry of how good they have been over the past few years.
Despite being 1-3 on the year, the Chiefs have outgained every opponent so far and while they have not been able to turn those into wins, they are showing they are able to compete and hold their own. Converting yards into points has been the issue as Kansas City is fourth in the NFL in total offense but just 18th in scoring offense and turnovers is the reason. The Chiefs have 15 giveaways and their -13 turnover differential is easily the worst in the NFL. That will come back around.
Kansas City has given up a ton of points and turnovers are to blame as well. The Chiefs have allowed the second most points in the NFL despite being ranked a respectable 13th in total defense. Playing on a short field has killed them and over the last two games, they have allowed just 288 yards and 293 yards against two potent offenses. Kansas City is 24-11 ATS in its last 35 games after allowing 35 or more points while head coach Romeo Crennel is 15-3 ATS in his last 18 games after allowing 30 or more points.
Kansas City falls into a great league-wide situation where we play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against teams averaging 27 or more ppg after a loss by 14 or more points. This situation is 32-10 ATS (76.2 percent) since 1983. Additionally, the Chiefs are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games at home following a divisional game where they allowed 35 or more points so they have been a solid bounceback team. 10* (424) Kansas City Chiefs
|10-06-12||Washington v. Oregon -24||Top||21-52||Win||100||76 h 53 m||Show|
This is a great spot for Oregon to head into its bye week with a huge victory. The Ducks are a perfect 5-0 on the season and they have yet to be tested along the way which is not going to change here. Oregon is just 1-4 against the number but the four games it did not cover was when it was favored by more than 30 points. This number is a very reasonable one and a similar spread was in play against Arizona as the Ducks were favored by 20 points and ended up winning by 49.
We won with Washington last Thursday against Stanford as it was able to punch in a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset. Even though the Huskies have had two extra days to prepare, that will not even be a factor. Washington is playing its home game off campus this year but it had a clear home field edge against the Cardinal and now it takes to the road for just the second time this year. The first road game was a forgettable one as the Huskies lost at LSU 41-3 and were outgained by 254 yards.
Coming into the season, Oregon was pegged as one of the best offensive teams in the country and it has proven that to be true. The Ducks are seventh in the country in total offense and third in scoring offense and the scary part is that they have done this by taking the pedal off the gas late in their games. The same can be said for the defense. Part of that has to do with the fact that their first three games were essentially over at halftime, leaving many backups and walk-ons to finish games.
Plain and simple, Washington cannot keep up with Oregon. The Huskies are ranked 107th in the country in total offense, including 11th in the Pac 12, and 91st in scoring offense. These ranking are inflated as Washington put up 52 points against FCS Portland St. so take that out and offense is even more inept. The Huskies defense is definitely a solid unit as they are 21st overall and 32nd in scoring. They have achieved this however by playing no offense that comes close to Oregon's explosiveness.
Two situation are in our favor as we play against road underdogs coming off a conference win as an underdog of six or more points going up against an opponent off a conference win by 10 points or more. This situation is 29-5 ATS (85.3 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Also, we play on home favorites of 21.5 to 31 points that are averaging 6.2 or more yppl going up against teams allowing between 4.8 and 5.6 yppl, after gaining 450 or more total yards in two consecutive games. This situation is 29-5 ATS (85.3 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (348) Oregon Ducks
|10-06-12||Miami (Fla) +13 v. Notre Dame||Top||3-41||Loss||-110||72 h 28 m||Show|
While Notre Dame is off to a 4-0 starts, I'm still not sold on this team. The Irish hammered Navy in Ireland to open the season and after the Midshipmen were shutout at home last week, that opening win is far from impressive. Since then, they have won three straight over three pretty solid teams but they have scored no more than 20 points in any of those games. The defense has come up huge to its credit but at this point, Notre Dame should not be laying this type of line to another quality team.
After winning its season opener at Boston College, Miami got slaughtered at Kansas St. and while it could have completely folded, it seems to have gotten stronger. The Wildcats are showing they are a solid team so while a huge loss like that is never easy to take, it at least has some validity. The Hurricanes have come back with three straight win including a gutsy win at Georgia Tech where they blew a 19-0 lead and stormed back form a 17-point deficit to win ion overtime. That is a season changing victory.
Notre Dame has yet to encounter a team with the speed that Miami possesses and that is the case on both sides of the ball. The Hurricanes have not preformed that well on defense as they have allowed 32 points or more in all but one game this year and are ranked 114th in total defense. The difference though is that every team they have faced has been much better on offense and yes that includes Boston College and Bethune-Cookman. This is where the speed will make a difference.
The Hurricanes have the type of offense that can give Notre Dame fits as they have playmakers at all positions. Running back Duke Johnson has racked up 920 total yards on the season with 7 total touchdowns and he is just a freshman. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw for a school record 566 yards last week and is a duel threat. Miami is 38th in the country in scoring offense, scoring 38 or more points in four of five games, which makes this the best team that Notre Dame has faced statistically.
Miami has played flawless in these spots are it is 6-0 ATS in its last six games against defenses allowing 120 or fewer rushing ypg and 7-0 ATS in its last seven games against teams that are outscoring opponents by 10 or more ppg. Head coach Al Golden has thrived in these situation as his teams are 9-0 ATS in his last nine games as underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points. Notre Dame has had trouble over the years covering big numbers and that will be the case once again here. 10* (389) Miami Florida Hurricanes
|10-06-12||Arkansas +10 v. Auburn||Top||24-7||Win||100||65 h 30 m||Show|
Arkansas has certainly taken an epic fall as the Razorbacks have dropped four straight games after starting the season ranked in the top ten in the country. After losing to UL-Monroe, they were hammered at home against Alabama, lost to Rutgers and then last week were again hammered at Texas A&M. if ever there is a time to buy, this is it. Arkansas has a chance to save some face here as they are matched up against a team that it should not be losing to, no matter the situation.
Auburn was off last week following a devastating home loss against LSU two weeks ago. Even though the Tigers lost that game by just two points, they were pretty much dominated as they were outgained by 168 total yards and that was the third time they were outgained this season by 154 or more total yards. The lone victory this season came against UL-Monroe in overtime and while the argument can be made that Auburn defeated the Warhawks while Arkansas didn't, that doesn't hold water.
The problem for the Razorbacks this season is their defense as they are ranked 116th in total defense and 113th in scoring defense. Playing against Alabama and Texas A&M, which are both ranked in the top 20 in scoring offense, certainly didn't help but now they finally catch a break. Auburn has scored more than 19 points only once this season and it is ranked 113th in total offense and 114th in scoring offense so being favored by double-digits is an overreaction to the Arkansas start to the season.
The Razorbacks offense managed only 10 points combined against the Crimson Tide and the Aggies which was a surprise with their supposedly potent offense. Those two teams though are ranked first and eighth in the nation in scoring defense so there was not a lot that could have been done. Auburn is ranked just 58th in scoring defense and that is after allowing just 12 points against LSU. The Tigers defense will be tested against an offense that is ready and overdue to bust out.
For all of its problems this season, Arkansas has led in the first half during three of its four losses so it has been unable to finish and once it has fallen behind, it has seemed to give up. The chances of falling behind big here are unlikely as the Tigers do not have the team to do it this year. Arkansas is 14-4 ATS in its last 18 games coming off a road loss by 21 or more points so it has been able to rebound during adversity. The Tigers are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games following a loss so the same does not hold true for them. 10* (361) Arkansas Razorbacks
|10-05-12||Utah State +7 v. BYU||Top||3-6||Win||100||54 h 31 m||Show|
The last thing the public remembers about BYU was the absolute pounding it put on Hawaii last Friday on national television. They will ride that into this week as the Cougars looked unstoppable but that had a lot to do with Hawaii showing no resistance. BYU is a very good team as its two as its two losses have come by a combined four points while all of the win have been blowouts. The opposition tonight though falls into the same grouping of teams that game the Cougars their losses.
Utah St. is a very solid and probably still under the radar type of team. The Aggies are 4-1 on the season with the only loss coming at Wisconsin by just two points. Granted the Badgers are having a down year but the situation was a very tough one for Utah St. and it nearly pulled off the outright upset. The Aggies have outgained every opponent this season and they have been solid on both sides of the ball and they are ranked 40th in total offense and 11th in total defense.
BYU has struggled against teams that possess any sort of defense, which Hawaii does not have. The Cougars were held to six points against Boise St. and 21 points against Utah and the Aggies are obviously right up there. They have yielded less than 21 points in each of their first five games, and the last time that happened to start a season was in 1962. So dominant has Utah St. been to this point, it has spent all but 21 minutes, out of a total of 300, either tied or ahead of its opponents.
Offensively, the Aggies have the best player on the field in quarterback Chuckie Keeton. He is coming off a great performance last week in which he passed for 404 yards and four touchdowns and on the season he has completed 106 of 155 passes for 1,283 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Cougars defense has been better as they are fifth in the nation in total defense and fourth in scoring defense but this is easily the best offense they have seen as the other FBS teams are ranked 64th, 112th, 72nd and 114th in total offense.
Utah St. can bring the rivalry to another level with a victory on the road as the Aggies have not won in Provo since 1978 and have not beaten Utah and BYU in the same year since 1971. That means they will get the coveted Beehive Boot. The Aggies fall into a great situation as we play against teams allowing 4.2 or fewer yppl, after allowing 150 or less total yards in their previous game. This situation is 34-6 ATS (85 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (311) Utah St. Aggies
|10-04-12||USC v. Utah +14||Top||38-28||Win||100||28 h 13 m||Show|
We won by playing against USC three weeks ago as it lost outright at Stanford which put a big hit on its National Championship hopes. The Trojans were able to bounce back and defeat a pretty bad California team and now the Trojans take to the road once again where they have been anything but good. In addition to the loss against Stanford, USC allowed a bad Syracuse team to hang around for most of the game and it was actually outgained and that was on a neutral field n less.
Utah has had quite the up and down season as it has alternated wins and losses along the way. The Utes lost a tough overtime game against Utah St. on the road but bounced back with a big win against rival BYU. However the most recent game was a disaster as Utah was hammered at Arizona St. and that is the game people will remember the most heading into this game. That lopsided defeat created value for the Utes as a return home is exactly what they need.
Utah is 6-1 coming off bye weeks during head coach Kyle Whittingham's time here , which speaks to his ability to prepare and motivate his teams. He said the bye week was productive in terms of getting the players re-energized and work completed in practice. Even more important, the Utes have bounced back after big losses which also relates to the preparation. Utah is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games after allowing 35 points of more and going 4-0 ATS in its last four games after a loss.
There aren't many places in the Pac 12 where the crowd plays a role in the game, but Rice-Eccles is one of those places and that should play a big factor here once again. That means disrupting the USC offense and creating turnovers which did not happen last games but under Whittingham, Utah is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games after a game where it forced no turnovers. Meanwhile USC is 8-23 ATS in its last 31 games after allowing seven points or less in the first half in two straight games. 10* (306) Utah Utes
|10-04-12||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams +2||Top||3-17||Win||100||53 h 18 m||Show|
We rode St. Louis to victory last week over Seattle as it was catching points at home and we will do the same this Thursday as it is again a divisional home underdog. The Rams came away with the outright win as they improved to 2-0 at home while sitting 0-2 on the road and they have already matched their win total from all of last season. The Thursday night game means a short turnaround but it is a big edge for the home teams, especially when last week was at home also, as it takes out the travel.
Arizona is one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL and it is definitely the most surprising of the bunch. The Cardinals are 4-0 for the first time since 1974 and this is arguably one of the ugliest 4-0 teams we have seen in recent memory. The schedule has been somewhat of a cakewalk as three of the four games have come at home and three of the wins have come down to the final play in regulation so luck has been on their side as the Cardinals could easily be sitting at 1-3 right now.
Making the 4-0 start for Arizona even more of a farce is that it has yet to outgain a single opponent. The defense has played at a high level in keeping points off the scoreboard and despite the fact the Cardinals have the third best scoring defense in the NFL, they are just 17th in the league in total defense so their bend but don
|10-01-12||Chicago Bears v. Dallas Cowboys OVER 41.5||Top||34-18||Win||100||12 h 30 m||Show|
Dallas has started the season by going low in its first three games with all of those contests going under the total. The offense has been surprisingly inconsistent as the Cowboys are 19th in the NFL in total offense and an even worse 31st in scoring offense. Facing a Bears defense does not look like the situation to turn it around however we are catching a very favorable total for tonight and it is actually the lowest the Cowboys have seen this year. The value squarely lies on the over.
Chicago meanwhile has gone under in each of its last two games as the offense was unable to do anything against the Packers two weeks ago while the defense was able to shut down the Bears last week. The defense was ranked fifth in the league in both yards and scoring heading into Week Four and that is part of the reason we are catching a low number for tonight. The numbers are skewed somewhat however as the Bears did allow 356 and 321 yards to the Colts and Packers the first two weeks.
On the other side, the Cowboys are first in the NFL in total defense, allowing only 250 ypg. They were able to hold down the potent Giants offense but that was opening week and Dallas was not tested against Seattle and the Buccaneers in the last two games. Tampa Bay had 166 yards last week including just 96 yards before its final drive of the game so while the Bears defense has been strong, the Cowboys stop unit has quietly got the job done. Things will be tougher here though.
As mentioned, the Cowboys offense has been very inconsistent and the Bears offense has been the same. The difference though is that Chicago has not been taking a conservative approach as quarterback Jay Cutler's average pass has traveled 9.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, the fourth-highest in the league. The issue has been poor first down execution which has put them in long yardage situations on second and third down so getting that in order will help the offense immensely.
Monday nights have been low scoring so far as three of the four games have all gone under including each of the last two weeks. These nights are big for the public in betting the over and they have been stung so far but this is where we get the turnaround. The Cowboys are 18-8-3 to the over in their last 29 games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game while the Bears are 16-7 to the over in their last 23 games against teams averaging 260 or more passing ypg. 10* Over (231) Chicago Bears/(232) Dallas Cowboys
|09-30-12||New England Patriots -4 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||52-28||Win||100||53 h 17 m||Show|
We used the Patriots as one of our top plays last week and they came through with a cover. They lost outright however and that actually sets us up again for another strong situation this week. New England has lost consecutive games in the regular season only three times since 2003 prior to this season. The Patriots bounced back with a win in each of those previous follow up games, winning by a combined score of 92-26. This is the first time New England has had a losing records since 2003 when it opened 0-1.
Buffalo has looked impressive the last two weeks with big wins following the season opening blowout loss against the Jets. Taking nothing away from their response but the Bills last two wins have come against some pretty weak opposition and while they are playing with confidence, this is going to be a huge test. Buffalo has improved in almost all areas and it will continue to give a lot of teams fits but this will not be one of those as the Bills caught the Patriots at the wrong time.
The Patriots defense was expected to be a much stronger unit this season but it regressed last week against the Ravens and the Bills offense will certainly provide a big test. However the running game for Buffalo is now a mess with C.J. Spiller out and Fred Jackson still nursing a knee injury although he is likely to play even though he is not at 100 percent. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been great the last two games by throwing no interceptions and that means he comes back to earth this Sunday.
Tom Brady has owned the Bills over the years and there is no reason to think he won't have another big game here. His offensive line will have to play well and the Patriots also need to get their running game going which has been non-existent over the last two games. The Bills have allowed 745 yards passing so far this season and have yet to face an offense as strong as the Patriots. The last time he was in Buffalo, Brady threw four picks so you know he will out for redemption.
The line opened with the Patriots favored by six points but it quickly came down as sharp money was all over Buffalo and the line has now settled in at four and there should not be much more movement. New England falls into a great situation as we play on favorites with a winning percentage between .250 and .400 after covering the spread in two out of their last three games, playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 37-11 ATS (77.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (205) New England Patriots
|09-30-12||Seattle Seahawks v. St. Louis Rams +3||Top||13-19||Win||100||53 h 11 m||Show|
The Seahawks came away with a very fortunate win on Monday as everyone is well aware of. Seattle moved to 2-1 with the victory with both wins coming at home in consecutive weeks and now it heads back out on the road in what looks to be a very tough situation. The Seahawks own a solid home field edge but they are very average on the road, going 5-12 under head coach Pete Carroll. High profile wins over Dallas and Green Bay has put Seattle in the false favorite role this week.
St. Louis is 1-2 after falling in Chicago last week to drop to 0-2 on the road. The Rams lone win came at home against Washington in Week Two and I expect a similar rebound this week coming off that road defeat. This team is a lot better than it was last season when it went 2-14 and that comes down to better coaching and health. Four of their seven home losses last year came by a touchdown or less so as bad as they were last season, the Rams were still competitive at home
The defense has been improving each game for the Rams as they allowed a season low 274 yards last week in Chicago. They won't have to produce any magic against the Seahawks as their offense is still a work in progress under rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle is ranked 26th in scoring offense and 29th in total offense and they it is dead last in the league is pass attempts and yards. They do have a strong running game behind Marshawn Lynch but the Rams runs defense is above average.
The big matchup will be the Rams offense against the Seahawks defense with the latter being one of the best units in the NFL. Holding Dallas and Green Bay to 19 combined points is quite impressive, but again, those games were at home. The Rams have to keep Seattle off balance and that starts with Steven Jackson who is coming off a poor game last week. Last week the Packers used some powerful runs to establish balance and keep the Seattle from going all in on the pass rush and it worked.
You cannot compare Green bay and St. Louis but Seattle goes for a home underdog to a road favorite which is very rare in the this league and the Rams benefit from it as they fall into a great situation where we play against favorites coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season. This situation is 67-32 ATS (67.7 percent) since 1983 including going 19-3 ATS (86.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. This system has not lost over the last three years (7-0 ATS). 10* (218) St. Louis Rams
|09-30-12||Carolina Panthers +7.5 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||28-30||Win||100||53 h 45 m||Show|
People cannot get enough of the Falcons right now as just like that, they are being hailed as Super Bowl contenders. No offense to the three teams they have beat, but the AFC West is far from a power division so the 3-0 record is far from impressive in my eyes. The defense clamped down last week as turnovers again were the difference and as I will explain later, that will be going against them this week. Despite being 3-0, Atlanta is outgaining opponents by less than nine ypg.
Carolina looked great two weeks ago when it defeated the Saints and was the complete opposite team last week when it got thumped Thursday night against the Giants. This has turned into a huge game for the Panthers if they are looking to compete in the NFC South as a win here keeps them on pace but a loss drops them three games back just four games into the season. Turnover were the difference last week for Carolina as well as it lost the battle 5-0 and there is no way it can expect to compete with a negative variance like that.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is coming off one of his worst games as a pro and as a matter of fact the 40.6 passer rating was his lowest in 19 career starts. He came close once last season with a 44.6 rating and came back the next game with a 127.5 rating so don't expect a repeat of last Thursday. I am not sold on the Falcons defense as a whole. Yes they have allowed the fourth fewest amount of points in the league but they are 13th in total defense as turnovers have been the difference.
That has worked the other way also as turnover by the defense has led to short fields for the offense. The Falcons are third in the league in scoring offense but just 19th in total offense. Had they been playing from a longer field, maybe Atlanta would not have had a problem gaining yards but that remains unclear. The offense is overrated at this point as there is no running game to speak of and while the Carolina defense is going to give up its points, it isn't going to be as bad as people think.
I expect both teams being able to move the ball here which will likely mean a high-scoring game. Carolina has the ability to keep up as long as it can avoid turnovers and it falls into a situation saying it will as we play against home teams after a game where they forced four or more turnovers and have forced an average of 2.5 or more tpg, going up against teams that have forced an average of 1.25 or less tpg. This situation is 22-4 ATS (84.6 percent) since 1983. 10* (209) Carolina Panthers
|09-29-12||Oregon State v. Arizona -2.5||Top||38-35||Loss||-114||107 h 4 m||Show|
Recent results can affect how bettors react the following week and the linesmakers need to make the proper adjustments. Oregon St. is coming off a huge upset over UCLA this past weekend as it defeated the Bruins by a touchdown on the road as eight-point underdogs. It was the Beavers second win this season and their second win when they were getting points, the first coming against Wisconsin. Taking nothing away from its start but Oregon St. in a very bad situation this week.
After starting the season 3-0, Arizona went into Oregon and played the Ducks tough for two and a half quarters before eventually getting blown out. The Wildcats trailed 13-0 late in the third quarter before the Ducks started to pull away and the final outcome was aided by two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Not many gave Arizona a fighting chance in that game but five turnovers killed any sort of chance to compete. The game was certainly closer than the final score indicated.
Taking that a step further, Arizona had its chances but it failed to score from the redzone in its first two drives, and finished 0-for-6 with zero points inside the Ducks' 20. While Oregon is knows for its potent offense, its defense is very good and the Wildcats will be challenged again by another stout unit. The win over Wisconsin was impressive at the time for the Beavers but after watching the Badgers struggle in all of their other games, that victory has lost some of its luster.
You have to give a lot of credit to the Arizona defense last week. By the midpoint of the third quarter, Oregon had run 68 total plays and managed just 13 points in the game, before a long punt return and an interception return for a touchdown firmly shifted momentum on the side of Oregon. The Wildcats were able to keep up with the speed of the Ducks and they will not have to worry about that two weeks in a row at Oregon St. employs a pro-set offense that Arizona matches up well with.
It is time for some revenge for Arizona as it not only lost in Corvallis last year but it has lost to the Beavers the last five times they have come to visit Tucson. The results form last week have affected the line and they also set Arizona up in a great situation as we play against road teams off a win over a conference rival as an underdog going up against an opponent off a road loss by 28 points or more. This situation is 35-10 ATS (77.8 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (160) Arizona Wildcats
|09-29-12||Texas Tech v. Iowa State +2.5||Top||24-13||Loss||-100||81 h 9 m||Show|
Both teams come into this game with perfect 3-0 records yet Iowa St. is the home underdog. The Cyclones have not played the most daunting of schedules but they have defeated Tulsa and Iowa, both of which are in down seasons both of which are still high quality opponents. Iowa St. was able to sneak into a bowl last season and this team is no longer a pushover as since head coach Paul Rhodes took over, the Cyclones are 21-20 which is pretty respectable playing out of one of the tougher conferences.
Texas Tech comes in with an identical record and some inflated numbers which could easily explain why the Red Raiders are the favorites here. The problem is that they have played no one as they come in with the 164th ranked schedule out of 246 FBS and FCS teams. The Red Raiders came into the season with some high expectations following a disappointing 2011 season but we still unsure how this team really is based on the fact they have played no one. The first test will be a tough one.
The Cyclones will take a lesson learned from last year as the similarity here is nearly identical. The Cyclones were 3-0 last year and returned from an off week on the verge of being ranked for the first time since Sept. 25, 2005, only to suffer a humbling 37-14 home loss to Texas. A win over Texas Tech would not guarantee the Cyclones a place in the rankings. It would, however, give them their first victory in a Big 12 opener since 2002 and that alone could push them in.
Texas Tech is known for its high powered offenses but the defense has been solid which puts it into a negative situation as we play against teams that are allowing 4.2 or less yppl, after allowing 150 or fewer total yards in their previous game. This situation is 33-5 ATS (86.8 percent) over the last 10 seasons. On top of that, the Red Raiders are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games after two straight covers as double-digit favorites. This is a great scenario to buy low with tremendous value on the home side. 10* (116) Iowa State Cyclones
|09-29-12||San Jose State v. Navy +2.5||Top||12-0||Loss||-110||78 h 31 m||Show|
We love making plays when public perception creates value and that is the case here with Navy. The Midshipmen arte 1-2 on the season with the lone win coming last week against VMI. While they are 1-2, they have not played as bad as the record shows as turnovers have absolutely killed them. They outgained Penn St. by 50 yards yet lost by 27 points thanks to a 4-0 turnover deficit. Navy has two challenging road games on deck so falling to 1-3 is not an option.
San Jose St. is the team with the public perception that is driving this line. The Spartans are off to a 3-1 start with victories over UC Davis, Colorado St. and at San Diego St. San Jose State's only loss came at Stanford by three points so it has gotten off to a very strong start. The Spartans are coming off a come-from behind win over the Aztecs last Saturday as they scoring the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining which could certainly spell a big letdown this week.
This is the second of back-to-back road games for San Jose St. and it the first time it has played on the east coast since 2003 so this is a completely new experience for everyone. Playing two straight road games with long travel means a lack of preparation time and that could not have come at a worse time for the Spartans as getting ready for the Navy option attack is hard enough to begin with. San Jose St. is 2-19 in its last 21 road games so winning, let alone covering, is a big enough challenge.
This is a revenge game for the Midshipmen which lost last season in San Jose by three points and it wasn't just any ordinary loss. The defeat knocked the Midshipmen out of a bowl game and ended Navy's eight-year run of playing in the postseason. That is something they have not forgotten and will be ready for here. Navy is 6-0 ATS in its last six games off a home win over the last three seasons while going 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games against teams with a winning record. 10* (144) Navy Midshipmen
|09-29-12||Nevada v. Texas State +20||Top||34-21||Win||100||76 h 55 m||Show|
Not many people probably even know that Texas St. is even in the FBS but this is the first year the Bobcats are playing in the WAC. This is a pretty rich football program however as this is the 108th season of football in San Marcus and this is a pretty good football team. They opened the season with a 17-point win at Houston and while the Cougars are in a down year, it is still a solid win. They were beaten badly by Texas Tech and last week beat a very good Stephen F. Austin team.
Nevada is coming off a laugher of a win against Hawaii as it defeated the Warriors by 45 points. In the three games prior to that, it had a big win at California only to give it back with a home loss against South Florida. Also, it didn't dominate Northwestern St. like many thought so it has been up and down so far. This will be the second straight road game for the Wolf Pack and it is an extremely difficult spot as the travel aspect is huge. The win at Hawaii was the first since 1948 so now it time for a letdown.
While Texas St. may be new to the public and the betting boards, it head coach is not as Dennis Franchione, the former Alabama, Texas A&M and TCU coach, is in his second season with the Bobcats so he knows what it takes to play at this level. He needs his defense to play better but the numbers are skewed with that Texas Tech game. Nevada's defense is not a lot better and with a line this big, any sort of shootout is in the favor of the underdog Bobcats as that backdoor is always open.
Two situations go against Nevada as we play against road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points that are allowing 4.75 or more ypc. This situation is 34-9 ATS (79.1 percent) since 1992. Also, we play against road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points that are allowing 6.1 or more yppl. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1992. Additionally, Nevada is 0-6 ATS in its last six games after outrushing opponent by 125 or more yards in two straight games while going 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven games after a win. 10* (176) Texas State Bobcats
|09-27-12||Cleveland Browns v. Baltimore Ravens -11.5||Top||16-23||Loss||-110||23 h 3 m||Show|
Usually the home teams have a big advantage on Thursday nights because of the short week and the travel involved for the team hitting the road. That was the case in Week Two when the Packers hosted the Bears but last week it was not the case for Carolina. The Panthers were likely in a letdown spot coming off their upset win over the Saints the previous week and they were dominated by the Giants. I feel we get back to reality with the home team this week and despite laying a lot of points, the Ravens will cruise.
Baltimore is coming off a last second victory over New England last Sunday so many will claim that they too are in a letdown spot but that should not be the case. At 2-1, a loss here takes that win away and drops the Ravens back to .500 and that need to keep the winning going and create some space ahead of the Steelers. This is a division game on top of it and even though the Browns have not given much resistance, Baltimore will be plenty fired up. The Ravens have won 12 straight games at home as well as 20 of 21.
The Browns have put up some good fights this year and the fact that they have not lost by more than what this spread is this week is going to get some people backing Cleveland. Truth be told, this is a horrible spot. The Browns are 0-3 and desperate for a win but this is not the situation for it to happen as they have lost eight straight games on the road as well as 11 straight divisional games dating back to last season. The short week in trying to prepare for an offense they have not seen before is not a good sign either.
Baltimore has turned its offense into a very powerful unit that is starting to speed things up. The Ravens are ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense and second in scoring offense while Cleveland's defense is horrible as it is ranked 25th in total defense and it is still missing their best player in Joe Haden who still has two games left with his suspension. There is no reason to believe that Baltimore cannot score at will here as motivation late would be the only cause for concern.
The Browns are even worse offensively as they have no playmakers and quarterback Brandon Weeden still does not have a grasp of this league. While Baltimore may have lost a step defensively, it is not going to hurt them here. Cleveland also falls into a negative situation as we play against road teams with a winning percentage between .000 and .333 playing on Thursday night while playing on a short week. This situation is 14-3 ATS (82.3 percent) since 1992 with the average point differential being +17.9 ppg. 10* (102) Baltimore Ravens
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers -3 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||12-14||Loss||-120||12 h 36 m||Show|
Green Bay came into the season as the favorites in the NFC to win the conference as well as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Packers are still at the top of the list despite looking pretty average through their first two games. They followed up a loss at home against the 49ers with a solid win last week against Chicago as the defense propelled them to the win. They allowed just 168 total yards and now it is up to the offense to get things back in order.
We won with Seattle last week as it easily took care of Dallas as three-point underdogs. Surprisingly the number is the same this week and with no disrespect to the Cowboys, there is no way the Packers should be favored by the same amount. It shows that the result from last week is being taken into too much consideration. Seattle won by 20 points but outgained Dallas by only 13 total yards. The Seahawks won the turnover battle 2-0 and used a blocked punt for a touchdown to add to their score.
As mentioned, the Green Bay offense has not been spot on. Last season, the Packers offense broke franchise records for points and passing yards and led to quarterback Aaron Rodgers producing the highest passer rating (122.5) of all time. After ranking fifth in the NFL last season with an average length of completion of 7.76 yards, Rodgers ranks 31st this year at just 4.94 yards. Teams have been playing their safeties back in a cover-2 type scheme and Seattle could break that trend meaning the offense should have a big night.
Seattle's defense has been strong thus far as it is third in the NFL in scoring defense and sixth in total yards. The rushing defense was ranked third coming into Week Two but it also had the third fewest carries against them so that skews it somewhat. Either way, this defense is no pushover but this will be the biggest test so far and while an argument can be made that the Cowboys potent offense was shutdown, Dallas' offense is far from potent after putting up just 297 yards yesterday against Tampa Bay.
The Seahawks have a potential starting quarterback for the future in Russell Wilson but as with any rookie, he is having some adjustment issues from college to the NFL. I expect the Packers to be able to put a ton of pressure on him and they now have a nice secondary rotation with seven guys and the ability to confuse quarterbacks. The Packers need to show good gap integrity to stop Seattle's running game which has been solid thus far. The great teams win on the road and the Packers will do that tonight. 10* (429) Green Bay Packers
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers v. Seattle Seahawks OVER 44||Top||12-14||Loss||-107||11 h 29 m||Show|
The under has been the theme so far in Week Three as nine of the first 15 games have gone under. After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games averaged 47.8 ppg in Week Two. So far in Week Three, games have averaged 47 ppg which is still pretty high considering the amount of games that have gone under. Adjustments were made in the totals by the linesmakers and it worked in their favor.
That being said, I feel we are getting a very reasonable number for Monday that can go over. Last night broke a string of four straight primetime games that did not go over and while the public will again be on the over tonight which is the case for most Monday night games, I feel it is justified. Neither offense has been good through the first two weeks with the Packers coming in 23rd in total offense and the Seahawks coming in 28th in total offense. We go contrarian with those units tonight.
The Green Bay offense is due. Last season, the Packers offense broke franchise records for points and passing yards and led to quarterback Aaron Rodgers producing the highest passer rating (122.5) of all time. After ranking fifth in the NFL last season with an average length of completion of 7.76 yards, Rodgers ranks 31st this year at just 4.94 yards. Teams have been playing their safeties back in a cover-2 type scheme and Seattle could break that trend meaning the offense should have a big night.
While the Seahawks have a rookie as a starting quarterback and the Packers defense has been very solid so far, the potential is there for Seattle to put up some decent amount of points. I do not think the Seahawks will be able to keep up with Green Bay but the key here will be the Packers offense forcing Seattle into a shootout type of game. As long as the Packers can be consistent with their offense, the Seahawks will have no option but to somewhat abandon the running game which has been the strength so far.
Both teams are coming off low scoring games in Week Two which has helped with this total. In fact, Seattle has played two low scoring games so far so the value will be going the other way tonight. Green Bay is 6-0 to the over in its last six games coming off a divisional win while Seattle is 17-5 to the over in its last 22 games coming off a win as a home underdog. In addition, the Over is 7-1 in Seattle's last eight games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. 10* Over (429) Green Bay Packers/(430) Seattle Seahawks
|09-23-12||New England Patriots +3 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||30-31||Win||100||71 h 46 m||Show|
The Patriots broke a lot of hearts last week as their outright loss knocked out a ton of people in suicide pools everywhere. I'm sure people will avoid playing them in any situation now but this is exactly the time to jump on them. New England was not prepared for Arizona and that was said by many players after the game as they had a terrible practice week. Well, you can guarantee the week of practice was more productive this week and New England is in numerous positive spots pointed out later.
The Ravens looked great opening week and then laid an egg last week against the Eagles. The final score only shows a one-point loss but Baltimore was outgained by 161 total yards and the only reason it was as close as it appeared was because of Eagles turnovers which have plagued them going back to last season. Many will go back to the Ravens in a bounceback situation as they head home in another primetime game but this team does have some issues that will be hard to overcome.
The main issues revolve around the defense that is far from the same juggernaut that it used to be. They are older and the injury list keeps getting bigger. The Ravens can't seem to stop anyone as they are allowing 404 ypg which is 27th in the league and they will be facing an offense that is coming off a horrendous game and will want redemption. New England did put up 387 yards against the Cardinals but managed only 18 points as they went just 5-15 on third down.
Baltimore is trying to figure out how to overcome the loss of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Giving Brady time under center is just suicide for a defense and even though he will be without Aaron Hernandez, they will be able to overcome that. On the other side, the Patriots defense has started strong and while they have not faced the top offenses, the young unit is starting to grow up and unlike the Ravens, the defense is healthy.
The Patriots have been moneymakers when coming off a loss as under head coach Bill Belichick, they are 14-5 ATS in their 19 games coming off a home loss and they are 13-4 ATS in their 17 road games coming off a loss as a favorite. With Tom Brady under center, New England is a perfect 5-0 straight up and ATS coming off a loss and now playing the role of an underdog, most recently, it was last year when they lost at home against the Giants and then pummeled the Jets by 21 points as a field-goal underdog. 10* (427) New England Patriots
|09-23-12||St Louis Rams v. Chicago Bears -7||Top||6-23||Win||100||63 h 11 m||Show|
The Bears were manhandled last Thursday night against the Packers as quarterback Jay Cutler was again at the forefront as he played miserably and put the blame on others. Well, there has been enough time for that to pass and now the Bears will be out to bounceback and with a game at Dallas next week, this has turned into a pretty big game. I expect the defense to step up and put up a big game after a pretty good effort against a tough Packers offense. I expect the offense to light things up as well.
The Rams have looked pretty good the first two weeks of the season as they narrowly lost at Detroit in the season opener and then won last week against the Redskins in their home opener. Those two close games shows that new head coach Jeff Fisher is making a difference however I don't think the Rams have made the jump just yet. They benefitted from numerous turnovers against the Lions and caught Washington in a letdown spot. Now they find themselves in their own letdown spot.
The Rams offense was on point last week against Washington but the Redskins lost some key defenders and I do not expect a repeat of that, especially after putting up just 250 yards against the Lions in their opener. St. Louis is extremely thin on the offensive line and the playmakers will be caught in big disadvantages this weekend. The Bears actually played a better game defensively against the Packers than they did against the Colts but in that first game, a lot yards came in garbage time.
Obviously the talk this past week has been about Cutler and the offensive line but it is completely blown out of proportion which makes it comical as the media loves this stuff. In reality it has passed. The offensive line will be fine this week as the Rams have no existence of a pass rush as they have only two sacks this year. Overall ,the defense has been very average as they are ranked 22nd in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed. Look for the Bears to return to form even without Matt Forte.
The Bears low output on offense last week benefits them this week as they are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game and it is also part of a league-wide situation. Play against road underdogs or pickems after scoring 30 points or more last game going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 39-14 ATS (73.6 percent) over the last 10 seasons. This has blowout written all over it. 10* (402) Chicago Bears
|09-23-12||Detroit Lions v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||41-44||Win||100||63 h 54 m||Show|
Tennessee has looked dreadful the first two weeks of the season as it was blasted at home against New England and then got blasted again last week at San Diego so public perception is that it will get blasted again. That won't be the case. Teams that are coming off consecutive poor performances tend to bounce back pretty well in this league, especially those that have talent and the Titans possess that. They have not come out very good but there is plenty of time to recover.
The Lions quick start to last season is still causing them to be overrated and thus, overvalued. Detroit could easily be sitting at 0-2 right now as it caught a break against the Rams and was pretty much outmuscled against the 49ers last week. They are a team that has a potentially potent offense and gets them a lot of publicity which amateur bettors love to eat up. Detroit put a lot into the game at San Francisco last week and that will provide a letdown not to mention the physical aspect that it has to recover from.
Plain and simple, the Lions should not be favored here. They are favored because Tennessee has lost its last two games by a combined 49 points and while that may seem like a pretty obvious reason, it is based on perception of the public of that. There is no way the linesmakers could make the Titans the favorites here because the one-sided action would be astronomical. It is still pretty heavy on the Lions and yet the line has not moved which is certainly telling us something.
Titans Jake Locker has struggled but he could bounce back this week as he faced a thin Detroit secondary and even better news came on offense. Wednesday marked the first practice in about a year with both Kenny Britt and Nate Washington healthy enough that neither was on the injury report. That is huge. This is one of those instances where the passing game can set up the rushing game and allow Chris Johnson so finally bust out. The offensive line has to play its part as well.
As mentioned, teams coming off big losses in consecutive games have actually done well as they win against the number over 67 percent of the time over the last decade. The Titans also fall into a situation where we play against favorites after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in two straight games going up against an opponent after being outrushed by 100 or more yards last game. This situation is 83-42 ATS (66.4 percent) since 1983. Look for the Titans to notch that first win of the year. 10* (408) Tennessee Titans
|09-22-12||Fresno State v. Tulsa -5.5||Top||26-27||Loss||-110||47 h 13 m||Show|
We love betting on value when it comes from misconceptions and that is the case here. Colorado is one of the worst teams in all of FBS and that was made pretty clear before the season already started. That makes Fresno St.'s 69-14 win last week not as impressive as it looks in the boxscore as even though the Bulldogs dominated, that is what they were supposed to do. Because of that lopsided win, we are receiving value the other way as public perception may be in the wrong place right now.
Tulsa lost its season opener on the road at Iowa St. but it has come back strong the last two weeks. The Golden Hurricane destroyed Tulane and Nicholls St. of the FCS by a combined score of 111-26. I will be first two admit that those wins ranked right up there with the Fresno St. win over Colorado but there is a difference. This is the third straight home game for the Golden Hurricane and that routine is huge as a lack of travel really comes into play especially when the opponents has been back and forth each week.
Tulsa opened conference starting next week with two straight road games and the last thing the team wants is to go into that with a loss and negative momentum. The last seven years that the Golden Hurricane finished with a winning record, they went 34-8 in their home games so they have a solid home field edge when things are going positive. This is a team that will contend for the C-USA title but with a brutal schedule starting in November, they need to take care of business now.
After putting up 358 yards of offense against Iowa St., the Golden Hurricane followed that up with games of 651 yards and 566 yards. Granted it was against lesser competition but it was definitely needed to get the offense clicking. The Fresno St. defense held its own against Weber St. and Colorado but it was lit up against Oregon, allowing 532 total yards. The Ducks are a different breed on offense and we cannot compare but it does show that the Bulldogs are vulnerable against a very potent offense.
Tulsa falls into a great situation where we play on favorites of 3.5 to 10 points after a win by 35 or more points going up against an opponent after scoring 24 points or more in the first half last game. This situation is 27-4 ATS (87.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Additionally, Tulsa is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games after two or more consecutive straight up wins while Fresno St. is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 road games against teams averaging 34 or more ppg. 10* (342) Tulsa Golden Hurricane
|09-22-12||Rutgers v. Arkansas -7||Top||35-26||Loss||-110||46 h 8 m||Show|
After coming into the season with a top ten ranking, Arkansas had some high hopes but those were quickly dashed with an embarrassing loss against UL-Monroe in overtime as 30-point underdogs. Obviously it was tough to recover from that as the Razorbacks got blasted in their follow up game last week at home against Alabama 52-0. One bad loss is one thing but two in a row shows something went awry. That puts this team in a tremendous bounceback spot this week.
Rutgers is off to a perfect 3-0 start on the season after an upset win last Thursday at South Florida as more than a touchdown underdog. The Scarlet Knights have had a very favorable schedule thus far, facing a bad Tulane team, Howard from the FCS and then the Bulls who were coming off a last minute win at Nevada and working on short rest from that. Rutgers was on short rest also but coming of a game against Howard does not make that a disadvantage. Now the real schedule kicks in starting this week.
It was pretty safe to say that the Razorbacks quit after a while last week against Alabama. Quarterback Tyler Wilson, who sat out with a concussion, had publicly questioned the effort of some of those teammates during an impromptu news conference following the Alabama loss, a game in which Wilson said he thought the Razorbacks "gave up." Those are strong accusations but he is the leader of the team and the players have no choice to respond this week and use the "one game at a time" attitude.
Senior linebacker Alonzo Highsmith got noticed for knocking down the magnets of the schedule board in the weight room to omit all of Arkansas' remaining games except for Saturday's with Rutgers. That reiterated the statement from Wilson that in order to win the next game, you have to win this one first. This is going to a very hungry team come Saturday and while the National Championship dreams are gone, there is still a lot to play for as the season is far from lost.
The good news this week is that though not announced as medically cleared to play Saturday, Wilson was cleared Tuesday to practice. He also practiced Wednesday and the chances are good that he could be cleared. Arkansas is 8-0 ATS in its last eight home games coming off a conference game and it is 6-0 ATS in its last six games after getting outrushed by 150 or more yards in its previous game. The Scarlet Knights meanwhile are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games against teams with a losing record. 10* (340) Arkansas Razorbacks
|09-22-12||Army v. Wake Forest -7||Top||37-49||Win||100||40 h 54 m||Show|
Wake Forest was absolutely embarrassed last week against Florida St. as it lost 52-0 while getting outgained 612-126. Good teams bounce back from adversity like that and Wake Forest is in fact a good team despite what it put forth last week. It comes down to good coaching and head coach Jim Grobe is certainly on that list. The 52-point loss is etched on everyone's mind right now and the Demon Deacons win over North Carolina as 10-point underdogs the week before has been lost in the shuffle. Not with us though.
While Wake Forest heads in off a blowout loss, Army comes in off a devastating loss against Northern Illinois. The Black Knights lost the lead on three different occasions and most importantly, the one late in the fourth quarter that game the Huskies the go ahead touchdown. Army used ball control to try and keep it away from Northern Illinois but despite a 42-17 minute edge in time of possession and an 90-53 advantage in plays run from scrimmage, it did not go their way.
The Demon Deacons are a very young team and that is where the coaching staff plays a big role in getting them prepared following a huge loss. Wake Forest went into that game as 28-point underdogs so it was clearly behind the eight ball coming in so the loss was nothing to be surprised about. If anything, the win over the Tar Heels was a bigger surprise and returning home, Wake forest can use that to its advantage. After two ACC games, it can get geared back up here because starting up conference action again.
Army will have the rushing advantage here on offense no doubt simply because that's all it does. However, that doe not mean it is an overall advantage in the matchups and that is proven on the other side of the ball. The Black Knights are averaging 183.5 more ypg rushing on offense than they are giving up on defense however they are averaging 5.2 ypc on offense and allowing 5.9 ypc on defense so this is where total yardage means absolutely nothing.
The Demon Deacons will take advantage of the poor Army secondary that has been torched. Not only are the Black Knights allowing 278.5 ypg through the air but they are giving up huge chunks, 11.6 ypa and 17.6 ypcatch. Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price is a veteran and he will have a huge game. Going back, the Demon Deacons are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a loss and 4-1 ATS in their last five games against losing teams while Army is 2-6 ATS in its last eight road games. 10* (310) Wake Forest Demon Deacons
|09-21-12||Baylor -7 v. Louisiana-Monroe||Top||47-42||Loss||-113||24 h 34 m||Show|
Baylor is off to a 2-0 start to the season and while this is its first road game, the situation heavily sets up in its favor. The Bears destroyed SMU in their season opener and then easily handled Sam Houston St. out of the FCS last week, not as easy task as the Bearkats are one of the top teams in FCS. Baylor obviously lost a ton on offense with Robert Griffin III heading to the NFL along with the top rusher and top receiver but the Bears seemed to have not lost a step, averaging 578.5 ypg on offense.
UL-Monroe has been the story of the early part of the season as the Warhawks upset Arkansas in overtime as 30-point underdogs and then nearly pulled off another stunner last week as they lost in overtime to Auburn as 14-point underdogs. Clearly, playing teams from the SEC is no easy task for teams of the smaller conferences, let alone almost winning those but those games may not be as impressive as originally thought as both the Razorbacks and Tigers are showing very little so far this season.
The Warhawks have allowed an average of 397.5 ypg through two games which looks pretty impressive but that is not the full story. They have allowed 6.3 yppl which is a big number considering the amount of yards allowed. The Warhawks have held the ball nearly 15 more minutes than their opponents so far so that has had a lot to do with the limited amount of yards given up. The problem here is that Baylor has held the ball for nearly 15 more minutes as well so something has to give. That edge goes to Baylor.
The good news about the UL-Monroe success the last two weeks is that there is no chance Baylor will be looking past this game. Making the Bears even more focused is the fact that they have a brutal three-game stretch against No. 8 West Virginia, No. 17 TCU and No. 12 Texas on deck. What they need is some momentum heading into that three-game stretch and the only way to accomplish that is to go in with a 3-0 record. The Bears need to simply keep it going.
As good of a story as it has been for UL-Monroe, you have to wonder how much fuel is left in the tank to face a third straight team from a BCS Conference. The players were devastated after the Auburn loss and it is a lot more difficult coming off a heartbreaking loss than it is coming off a huge upset win like it did the previous week. The Warhawks have gone 9-11 on fourth down this season and that percentage will not stay around for long. The Bears offense will be too much for the Warhawks to keep up. 10* (307) Baylor Bears
|09-20-12||NY Giants v. Carolina Panthers UNDER 51.5||Top||36-7||Win||100||47 h 4 m||Show|
We are going with the same strategy we used to win Monday on the Denver and Atlanta under. After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games averaged 47.8 ppg in Week Two so while scoring was down some, it was a very insignificant increase. Despite this, the over was just 8-7-1 this past week and is now just 17-14-1 on the season so while scoring is high, the linesmakers have made up for it by adjusting their totals and not letting the public run away with over tickets.
Here we have a similar situation where both the Giants and Panthers are coming off very high scoring games on Sunday. New York and Tampa Bay combined for 75 points while Carolina and New Orleans combined for 62 points so both games went over without a problem. That is now providing us with a big over/under for Thursday night and because of those Week Two results, we know where the square money is going to be once again. We have not seen much movement yet but this number should slide up even more.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a pretty crazy game as he was picked off three times early but responded with a monster game, throwing for 510 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating was pretty low because of the picks and a performance like that is going to get a lot of talk gong forward. A repeat will be discussed, especially against a poor Panthers defense but this is the first road game for the Giants and with a big come-from-behind win in the books, an offensive letdown is imminent.
The Panthers offense did not match the 604 yards put up by the Giants but Carolina still put up 463 total yards against the Saints. The New Orleans defense is last in the NFL in total yards allowed after that performance coming right after a horrible one at home to the Panthers output is a little skewed. Despite 34 points allowed, New York gave up just 307 total yards as a lot of the damage was because of turnovers. Carolina managed only 301 yards of offense against Tampa Bay in Week One.
The Manning output last week puts the under in a good spot this week as the Giants are 5-1 to the under in their last six games after putting up 250 or more yards passing while the Panthers are 6-1 to the under in their last seven games after allowing more than 250 yards passing. Also, Carolina is 15-5 to the under in its last 20 home games coming off a home win while the Giants are 52-33 to the under in their last 85 games coming off a home win. The value is once again favoring an under play. 10* Under (303) New York Giants/(304) Carolina Panthers
|09-17-12||Denver Broncos v. Atlanta Falcons UNDER 53||Top||21-27||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games have averaged 47.8 ppg through the first 15 games of Week Two. While each game is a separate entity, the results of other games will not affect future games but it will affect what we are betting against and how the public perceives that. That is certainly the case here as because of all of the high scoring going on, this total has gone from an opening of 49 in most placers to upwards of 52.5 as of Monday morning.
We waited to release this one based on the fact that we wanted to get the best possible number and we still have the chance of getting a better one later in the day or night as this one could still climb. Last Monday night, the totals split in both games but again, the public was on the over in both as is the case every game on Monday night. That is where the value comes into play and it is not necessarily a bet against the public but a play against the number that the linesmakers are putting out based on that.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made a triumphant return to the NFL as he led Denver to a win over Pittsburgh where 50 total points were scored. While it may have gone over, the game was not exactly an offensive show as the teams combined for just 618 total yards and after Week One, Denver was near the bottom third of the NFL in total offense. Obviously the offense is the main story because of Manning but the Broncos defense is a very solid and underrated unit.
The defense will have to be on top of its game against a potent Falcons offense that hung 40 points on Kansas City in Week One. After watching the Chiefs allowed 35 points against Buffalo, yesterday, the Atlanta output is not as impressive as first thought. Quarterback Matt Ryan had a near flawless game but we have seen in the past that some of his best games are followed up with pretty bad games. The offense looks to be fast-paced but we could see a slow down on Monday.
Atlanta running back Michael Turner averaged only 2.9 ypc against the Chiefs but Atlanta coach Mike Smith says he wants more from his running game in Week Two of the season and beyond. The Falcons defense will have do a better job of not letting up big plays and at home, that is a clear advantage. The under is 5-0 in the Broncos last five games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game while the under is 8-2 in the Falcons last 10 games following a win. 10* Under (225) Denver Broncos/(226) Atlanta Falcons
|09-16-12||Dallas Cowboys v. Seattle Seahawks +3.5||Top||7-27||Win||100||54 h 29 m||Show|
The Cowboys were very impressive in their opening game as they were able to get some payback against the Giants after last year's sweep and keeping them out of the playoffs. Dallas has had extra time off to rest for Seattle but it should not be a big advantage as heading out onto the road for a second straight week negates that. This was the first time in three years that the Cowboys won their season opener so things may be looking up but I'm not sold just yet. Dallas hasn't won road games in consecutive weeks since 2009.
This is a very intriguing line as Seattle went from a road favorite to a home underdog in the span of just one week and while the value was against the Seahawks last week, it is on them this week. Seattle had a chance to win last week as it had numerous opportunities to punch in a late touchdown but failed to get the job done. The Seahawks are catching a great number and they are 11-5 ATS as home underdogs over the last three years including going 5-1 ATS last season.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was pretty average in his first ever start but he ranked ahead of three of the other rookies so in hindsight, it was far from horrible. He now goes home for the first time and he should have a better game here despite facing a stronger defense. Dallas did a phenomenal job of shutting down the Giants offense as it held Eli Manning to 213 yards passing but there were a ton of drops that were not his fault. The Giants could not run the ball but they had the worst rushing offense last year as well.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had a great game in New York, posting a rating of 129.5. He gets a lot of heat for not being clutch but he is clearly one of the best signal callers in the game. Last week though cannot be taken too serious as he was facing a Giants defense that was decimated in the secondary and was forced to go with a fifth-string cornerback. Seattle will provide more resistance as it has a great secondary. It allowed a 70.9 passer rating last week and was sixth in that category last season.
The Cowboys have proven over the last few years that they have not fared well when they are supposed to win as they are 4-15 ATS in their 19 games as favorites. Under head coach Jason Garrett, they are 0-6 ATS when the line is between +3 and -3. Also, coming off a good effort has resulted in the opposite in the next game as Dallas is 13-28 ATS in its last 41 road games after gaining 400 or more yards in their previous game. Seattle is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games coming off a loss. 10* (216) Seattle Seahawks
|09-16-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||Top||23-24||Push||0||51 h 30 m||Show|
Based on what we saw last week, the Ravens look to be a power in the AFC while the Eagles are up to their old tricks , committing too many mistakes and just getting by. Because of this, we are getting excellent value with Philadelphia is its home opener. It took a touchdown with just over a minute remaining for the Eagles to defeat the Browns on the road but any road win is a good one. Obviously the five turnovers hurt but Philadelphia outgained the Browns by 246 yards and that is domination.
The Ravens started strong against Cincinnati but they let the Bengals back into the game before scoring the final 24 points to run away with the victory. They have now won 11 straight games at home and 19 of their last 20, including postseason. Playing on the road is a different story as they were just 4-4 on the highway last year and they are right at .500 over the last three seasons. A win in the spotlight puts Baltimore in the public eye but the situation now is not a good one.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was close to flawless as he posted a 128.4 quarterback rating and he has been the talk throughout the media. I have always been a fan and this could finally be his breakout year but he comes in with a career quarterback rating of 82.3 on the road and he will be facing a stiff test. The Eagles defense was dominant against Cleveland and even though it was against the lowly Browns, they allowed just 210 total yards, the fewest allowed by any team in Week One.
On the other side, Michael Vick was horrible, tossing four interceptions and putting up a dismal rating of 41. To his credit, he played sparingly in the preseason but still threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Yes he is still overrated but he is good enough to make the Eagles a winner. The Ravens defense was good but not great against Cincinnati as they allowed 322 total yards 129 yards rushing on 28 carries (4.6 ypc). That was tied for sixth highest and coming off a physical game, they could be worse here.
We are buying low here as people are already off the Philadelphia bandwagon but remember, last season, they had the largest yardage margin in the league. Turnovers need to come down obviously. The Ravens are 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a win by more than two touchdowns and the Eagles fall into a great situation where we play on favorites in non-conference games coming off a road win. This situation is 82-44 ATS (65.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (208) Philadelphia Eagles
|09-15-12||BYU v. Utah +4||Top||21-24||Win||100||83 h 15 m||Show|
This rivalry game is normally played toward the end of the season but this is the second year it has been played in September due to conference realignments. Utah comes into this game following a loss to another rival as it fell to Utah St. last Friday in overtime. The Utes lost more than the game however as they lost quarterback Jordan Wynn to another shoulder injury and he decided to call his career quits. This is a big loss but Jon Hayes is a capable backup and this is a spot where Utah will rally around Wynn.
The Cougars are coming off two easy wins to start the season as they had no trouble with Pac-12 doormat Washington St. and Weber St. out of the FCS. This is the first true test of the season for BYU and it also marks its first road game of the season. Those easy wins coupled with the Utes loss at Utah St. has put the Cougars in the role of the favorite which is definitely a surprise seeing that the Utes have been home underdogs only six times over the last 10 years.
As mentioned, the Utes will be without Jordan Wynn and their offense looked pretty bad last week even with him in the game for some of it. Utah needs to get its offensive identity back and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson noted that the Utes have a lot of playmakers and they need to get those guys the ball in space. BYU was tough last season defensively and will be tough again but because the Cougars have not been tested, they may not be as prepared as necessary.
While BYU is playing with revenge following last season's blowout loss at, it is Utah that should be even more fired up here. Not only so the Utes want to make up for their poor performance last week against Utah St., it is homecoming in Salt Lake City and what better team to welcome than BYU. In addition, this is the final meeting in this series that has taken place since 1946 as a break needed to be taken due to the conference changes. They renew the rivalry in 2016 so the winner here can talk for four years.
While the Utes never thought a win over Utah St. was guaranteed, they never imagined they'd self-destruct in so many ways as they did against the Aggies. Utah defender Trevor Reilly likened Utah's circumstances to last year, when Utah lost a heartbreaker at USC then beat the Cougars the next week. The Utes fall into a great situation as well as we play on home underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that had a winning record last season, in non-conference games. This situation is 31-8 ATS (79.5 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (136) Utah Utes
|09-15-12||Utah State v. Wisconsin -14||Top||14-16||Loss||-107||82 h 39 m||Show|
We made a bad call with Wisconsin this past weekend as the Badgers went into Oregon St. and lost 10-7 as the offense could not score until late in the game. They were held to just 207 total yards including 35 yards rushing on 23 carries (1.5 ypc) but included in that rushing total was 35 yards in sacks. Still, it was an inexcusable performance and now heading home, Wisconsin will be ready to take some punishment out on someone. The Badger have looked bad in their first two games and they are not as bad as that.
Utah St. meanwhile is coming off a huge win over Utah in overtime which snapped a 12-game losing streak to its in-state rival. The Aggies are definitely an improved team but now they find themselves in a situation they really have not been in before and that is trying to come back from an absolutely huge win. Anytime you have a team that wins and their fans storm the field after, you know it was big and that was the case here. An extra day of preparation will not even matter here.
It was the same for Wisconsin but the Badgers were on the opposite end of the swarm as the Beavers fans had no issues running onto the field in what was considered one of the biggest non-conference wins in Oregon St. history. The loss for Wisconsin snapped a 33-game non-conference winning streak which at the time was the second longest in college football behind only LSU. Making matters worse, the Badgers had their fewest amount of yards on offense since 2008.
The Aggies are 2-0 and have won seven straight regular season games dating back to last season which is still tied for the second longest streak in the nation. The credit certainly has to go to the coaching staff, namely head coach Gary Andersen, as he has turned this program around. This is the first road game of the season however. Utah St. has lost 14 straight road openers as well as 29 straight games against ranked opponents. This is not the environment or the team they want to see after celebrating a huge win.
The Badgers have been a great bounceback team when it comes to a poor rushing day as they are 18-6 ATS in their last 24 games following a game where they rushed for fewer than 100 yards. Also they are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 home games. Meanwhile, Utah St. is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 road games following two or more wins against the spread and 2-7 ATS in their last nine games following a straight up win. Wisconsin has a lot to prove this weekend and Utah St. will be the unfortunate victim. 10* (164) Wisconsin Badgers
|09-15-12||Eastern Michigan +24 v. Purdue||Top||16-54||Loss||-105||74 h 33 m||Show|
You've heard the adage that no team is at bad as it looked in its previous game and no teams is as good as it looked in its previous game. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule but in this case, it is not. Eastern Michigan is coming off or horrible game at home where it lost to Illinois St. of the FCS by 17 points. The Eagles are now 0-2 which is disappointing as this was the year that there was a possibility of breaking out. There is still time and this is a great situation.
We won with Purdue ass it stayed within the two touchdowns of Notre Dame and the cover was never in jeopardy. The Boilermakers played a very solid game but they came up just short, losing on a 27-yard field goal with just seven seconds left. That can certainly take the steam right out of a team as trying to recover from that can be a challenge. Purdue put up its best fight and narrowly lost so how do you expect the Boilermakers to get up for 0-2 Eastern Michigan? They won't.
The Eagles kicked themselves with their own mistakes in that game against the Redbirds as they had three interceptions, two lost fumbles and nine penalties. Illinois St. on the other hand, had just one interception and one lost fumble while not getting called for any penalties so it is pretty slim for a team to be so far behind in these categories and expect to win. After going 2-22 in 2010 and 2011, the Eagles went 6-6 last season so there is a lot of confidence with this team but they cannot beat themselves.
The strength of Purdue looks to be its defense as it held Notre Dame to just 52 yards rushing on Saturday while producing five sacks. It all isn't good however as Notre Dame converted 11 of 19 on third down while seven times the Irish gained 10 or more yards on third down, all through the passing game. That goes right into the strength of Eastern Michigan as quarterback Alex Gillett is a solid passer even if he has not met expectations yet. He could be in line for a big game here.
Poor Purdue efforts against the pass have carried over as the Boilermakers are 5-17-2 ATS in their last 24 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game. Eastern Michigan is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games following a loss and it is a perfect 9-0 ATS in its last nine road games coming off a double-digit ATS loss against an opponent off a straight up loss. This is a ton of points for Purdue to try and cover and being 2-5 ATS in its last seven games as a double-digit favorite helps the cause. 10* (113) Eastern Michigan Eagles
|09-14-12||Washington State v. UNLV +10.5||Top||35-27||Win||100||59 h 45 m||Show|
UNLV has been pretty worthless the last two years as it has registered identical 2-10 records in consecutive seasons and is already 0-2 this season. The combined 4-22 record is certainly playing into this number but this team could very well be 2-0 right now. The Rebels lost to Minnesota in their opener in triple overtime and then lost to Northern Arizona this past Saturday by three points despite outgaining the Lumberjacks 140 total yards. A punt return for a touchdown was the difference.
Washington St. meanwhile is coming off a win over Eastern Washington but it was by just four points at home and the Cougars were actually outgained by 114 total yards so it was a deceiving win. Washington St. was hammered in its opening game at BYU as it lost by 24 points and was outgained by 203 total yards. Sitting with a deceiving 1-1 record, Washington St. is being asked to lay 11.5 points on the road and this is the first time in six years the Cougars have been road favorites of any kind.
The Cougars have a new head coach with Mike Leach who is well known for his "Air Raid" offenses at Texas Tech so he plans on bringing in an exciting offense to Pullman. The problem is that it is not going to happen right away and we have seen evidence that it will take time to come into form. Making matters worse for the offense is that quarterback Jeff Tuel was hurt against Eastern Washington and his status for this game is still up in the air.
The Cougars have yet to score a point in the second half this season which is certainly a concern and they have also been outgained 895-579 in their first two games. The Rebels defense has showed some good signs so far this year as the overall numbers are skewed by that overtime game. The offense has been decent as the running game is led by junior Tim Cornett, who has rushed for 100 yards in both games this season, and over three seasons, he's averaged 4.7 ypc which is right around what the team is averaging this year.
This is a big revenge game for UNLV which got hammered up in Pullman by the Cougars 59-7 while getting outgained 612-158. there have been some bad losses over the years but that is up near the top and the Rebels will be out for retribution. On our side is the fact they don't even have to win and considering the Rebels are 7-2-1 ATS over the last three years as road underdogs, they are in a spot they have thrived in. We can expect a closer than expected game. 10* (106) UNLV Runnin' Rebels
|09-13-12||Chicago Bears v. Green Bay Packers -6||Top||10-23||Win||100||45 h 23 m||Show|
The Packers have two straight games that mean something as they lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the Giants and followed that up with a loss in their season opener against San Francisco. Both of those games came at home which is the most surprising after winning 13 consecutive games at Lambeau Field. Green Bay was arguably still the best team in the NFL last season and should be better this year even if the record will not necessary show that.
Chicago opened the season with a relatively easy win over Indianapolis, spoiling the debut of Andrew Luck. The Colts hung tough for a while as they trailed by only three points late in the second quarter until the Bears pulled away. The offense was very impressive for Chicago as it gained 428 total yards but that was against a pretty bad Colts defense and now it hits the road for the first time against a much better defense and one that will be better this week after giving up 377 yards to the 49ers last week.
There were some positives as the Packers sacked San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith four times on Sunday and they held ground on third down, allowing the 49ers to convert only two of nine times. Quarterback Alex Smith had an outstanding game as he moved the ball and was very efficient. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a strong games as well with the exception of an early pick-six. We all know Cutler can make bonehead moves and in six career starts against Green Bay, he has a 67.5 quarterback rating.
Green Bay struggled to run the ball against San Francisco and that ultimately hurt the passing offense. It wasn't until San Francisco's 15th game last season when the defense gave up its first rushing touchdown so the fact that the Packers struggled came as no surprise. They will have better success this week. Chicago allowed only 63 rushing yards against the Colts but Indianapolis ran the ball only 15 times so the 4.2 ypc average the Bears allowed was not good at all.
The Packers have not opened the season 0-2 since 2006 which was the first year under head coach Mike McCarthy and that also happened to be the last time Green Bay lost their season opener as well. Green Bay falls into a great situation where we play on home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points that outscored opponents by four or more ppg last season, after a playing a game where 50 total points or more were scored. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (102) Green Bay Packers
|09-10-12||San Diego Chargers v. Oakland Raiders -1||Top||22-14||Loss||-107||14 h 1 m||Show|
We have seen this line completely shift as the Chargers opened as the small favorites while the Raiders currently sit as the small favorites heading into tonight. The Chargers remain high on a lot of lists to make a playoff run but this has been the case for years and we have yet to see it. There is no reason to think this is finally the year as San Diego as the only big changes made were replacing both coordinators. The public is still in love with this team and for no real good reason.
The Chargers are hurting on offense as two key players are out with Vincent Brown sitting on IR with a broken ankle sustained during the preseason and running back Ryan Matthews still a couple weeks away from coming back after suffering a broken collarbone, also in the preseason. Also, the offensive line could be a big issue and will be at a disadvantage tonight. Undrafted rookie Mike Harris is at left tackle as he will try to protect Philip Rivers against a very solid defensive line of the Raiders.
I think the Raiders have a big edge on defense tonight. The team has a whole new set of cornerbacks, two new starters at linebacker, and, most importantly, a brand new system after years of playing one way. This may not seem like the best situation but all indications are that it is coming through fine but most important, San Diego could be stumped. It has had to rely on film from preseason and new head coach Dennis Allen's defense last year when he was coordinator in Denver for clues about what to expect.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer's best days are behind him but he is capable of a big season as he is now comfortable with the cast around him. The Raiders exploited San Diego
|09-09-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Arizona Cardinals +3||Top||16-20||Win||100||54 h 26 m||Show|
Seattle finished 9-7 last year and was not a road favorite at all and now in the first game of this season, it is a road chalk? Russell Wilson won the job at starting quarterback after an incredible preseason but now the games mean something. He did his damage mostly against backups and in the third game he played against the Chiefs had come in 0-5 ATS in their previous week three preseason games showing there is no effort. Wilson could have a great career but this is an overaggressive line.
Arizona had an average season last year at 8-8 but it was how the Cardinals finished that tells us something. They went 7-2 down the stretch after a dreadful 1-6 start and shows how the players refused to give up and how the coaching staff was able to bring them together. Heading into this game as home underdogs is certainly to light some fires as well as the Cardinals have not been home underdogs to Seattle since 2007 which was the first season under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Defensively, Arizona was fairly average last year but there was a reason for that. The Cardinals were young on that side of the ball and because of the lockout, it took them longer than normal to come together. The response was outstanding though as Arizona allowed 68 ypg fewer in the second half of the season than it did in the first half of the season. That defense has the potential to be even better now that Sam Acho and Patrick Peterson have a year in the system.
Seattle gets a lot of the hype with its defense but it actually allowed the same yppl that Arizona allowed last season so it is not as stout as it suggests. The Cardinals named John Skelton the starting quarterback and while he was average in eight starts a year ago, he has the change to get better with an elite group of receivers around him including Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd. Arizona is hoping to see plenty of carries from Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, who both return following knee surgeries.
This line is up to three points in a lot of places and getting anything less than two and a half is pretty unlikely come gameday. Wilson was the talk of the preseason but until he can prove he can win against first team defenses for a whole game, I will be really skeptical of him being behind the role of road favorite. Arizona has covered five of the last six home meetings in this series while winning all five of those outright which is all we will need to get done here. 10* (476) Arizona Cardinals
|09-09-12||New England Patriots v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||34-13||Loss||-110||51 h 17 m||Show|
The Patriots enter the season coming off a 15-4 and a trip to the Super Bowl, which they obviously did not win. That is going to provide some motivation for New England and while it is one of the favorite again in the AFC to return to the Super Bowl, the jury is still out on this team. The defense was atrocious last season and they did not do much to get better. The offense will again be solid but quarterback Tom Brady has to worry about the offensive line, especially early in the season.
After going 6-10 in 2010, Tennessee went 9-7 last year including wins in four of its last six games and narrowly missed the postseason. Getting to the playoffs in the stacked AFC will be tough once again but the Titans are a team on the rise and this line is based on public perception and not reality. Tennessee has been a home underdog only six times in the last four years and has covered four of those games with three of those resulting in outright wins.
As mentioned, motivation will play a big role for New England this season coming off that Super Bowl loss. You would tend to think that Super Bowl losers would come out strong to try and avenge those defeats but it has been the total opposite over the last few years as losers of the title game are 3-15 ATS in their season opener the last 18 years. This included the Steelers getting thumped by the Ravens last season, the Colts getting thumped at Houston in 2010 and the Steelers not covering in 2009.
Tennessee is treating this game with high importance. Lavelle Hawkins called it a playoff game, and Nate Washington upped the ante by saying it is being treated as a championship. In fact, Tennessee coaches and players have prepared for New England since the spring through voluntary organized team activity practices, a mandatory minicamp and training camp. This is the second year with new systems in place so more time has been used for gameplanning and not learning.
Tennessee falls into a great situation as we play on underdogs or pickems in the first two weeks of the year, after closing out last season strong with two or more straight wins. This situation is 26-6 ATS (81.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons including going 13-2 ATS the last five years with the average point differential actually favoring the underdog by +2.3 ppg. There still are some holdovers from the 59-0 debacle in New England three years ago and that can only add more motivation to the mix. 10* (462) Tennessee Titans
|09-08-12||Oklahoma State v. Arizona +11||Top||38-59||Win||100||55 h 1 m||Show|
The results of the games last week involving these two teams is giving us a spectacular number this week. Oklahoma St. should be embarrassed of its 84-0 win over Savannah St. as it won the yardage battle by 543 total yards. A game like that tells us nothing about the Cowboys but what it does in bring in a lot of public action this week so the line is much higher than it should be. Oklahoma St. was favored by 14 points at home in last year's meeting and there is no way the gap has grown more between these teams.
Whether it was just a bad game or a look ahead scenario for the Wildcats, Arizona was lucky to come away with a win against Toledo. It took overtime to win by a touchdown against the Rockets but just because of that score doesn't mean Arizona was clearly the better team because it outgained Toledo by 266 yards. Arizona fumbled twice, once inside the Toledo 10, and had a touchdown taken off the board because of a holding penalty in the first half which helped keep the points off the board.
While all of the talk is about Oklahoma St. and its 682 yards of total offense, Arizona quietly amassed 624 yards of its own offense under new head coach Rich Rodriguez which was the third most yards in the program's history. The Wildcats work quickly as they possess a lot of depth at the skill position and they should cause problems for the Cowboys defense. They were horrible last season on defense, allowing over 457 ypg so despite most starters back, that may not be a good thing.
On the other side, the Cowboys offense was potent but came against a weak defense and it takes a big step up in class this week. Freshman starting quarterback Wes Lunt will be playing in his first college road game for Oklahoma St., and it will be against a different Arizona team in its first season Rodriguez. Players and coaches admitted there wasn't much to be gained from the Savannah St. game which is now 4-72 in its last 76 games against FCS opponents.
Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy said there are still plenty of question marks on his team, which featured 10 new starters from last season's Big XII championship squad. Those questions may not be answered in this tough road game where they are laying way too many points. "We don't know how good we are yet, and we won't know for about a month," Gundy said. The Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. 10* (376) Arizona Wildcats
|09-08-12||Penn State +10 v. Virginia||Top||16-17||Win||100||45 h 37 m||Show|
Virginia is coming off its first winning season in four years as it managed eight wins thanks to a 4-0 run late in the season. The Cavaliers lost their season finale against rival Virginia Tech 38-0 and then lost in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to Auburn 43-24. They will be hard-pressed to match those eight wins this season as they have only 12 starters back. Virginia is coming off a comfortable win over Richmond from the FCS but now it will get tested. The Cavaliers were just 1-3-1 last year as home favorites.
The Bill O'Brien era at Penn St. got off to a bad start as the Nittany Lions lost to Ohio by 10 points as they were outscored 21-0 in the second half. They lost the turnover battle 3-0 and it is nearly impossible to win a game with a turnover deficit like that. The first game had a lot of pressure involved in it as no one really knew what to expect but now that it is out of the way, the Nittany Lions can just go out and play football. There is a lot of talent on this team still and getting double-digits against an average team is simply too much.
The big concern for Penn St. is the offense as it lost some key players to graduation and transfers but it not be in that bad of shape after all. A Nittany Lions offensive line seen as a concern heading into the season didn't allow a sack and the offense with new or inexperienced players at most of the skill positions moved the ball well especially in the first half. The only thing that needs improvement is the play calling itself as the Nittany Lions need to be more balanced than their 48 passing plays and just 22 rushes last week.
Virginia is a much improved team but it is not going to run away against anyone. The Cavaliers are still not going to be a team that competes for an ACC title but they have the ability to keep any game close with their defense. That is the key as the offense has to rely on the defense so covering any sort of big number is a tough task when the offense managed 24 points or less in eight of its 12 games against FBC foes last year. Virginia is balanced on offense and it is not one that excels in any particular area.
I do not foresee a letdown at all for Penn St. after their first home game and if anything, the less pressure on the road will be very beneficial. The Nittany Lions also fall into a great early season situation as we play on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with two or more straight losses but had a winning record last season. This situation is 30-6 ATS (83.3 percent) since 1992 with the average point differential being just -0.9 ppg. 10* (305) Penn St. Nittany Lions
|09-06-12||Pittsburgh +4 v. Cincinnati||Top||10-34||Loss||-108||31 h 43 m||Show|
The public will be all over the Bearcats after the huge upset loss by Pittsburgh. However it may be an overreaction as the Panthers lost to Youngstown St. which is a very strong program in the FCS. On top of that, Pittsburgh suspended six players prior to the game so it was shorthanded which could have caused gameplan issues. The Panthers are still expected to contend in the Big East Conference so while that loss was a tough one, the new season starts on Thursday and they will be ready.
Cincinnati meanwhile had the opening week off which can be considered good and bad. The Bearcats have had extra time to prepare for this game while the Panthers are working on a short week but the downside is no game expereience thus far. Cincinnati has only 11 total starters back the lack of game experience will hurt early on. The Bearcats are without some of the major offensive weapons they had in racking up ten wins last season, including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead.
The Pittsburgh offense made too many mistakes against the Penguins but this is an offense that has the potential to be explosive. Battling injuries throughout the offseason, running back Ray Graham was questionable for Saturday's game but he did play, and while he only had 14 rushes, he averaged more than five ypc. He should be well rested and ready for the Cincinnati defense. Quarterback Tino Sunseri played well despite a fumble and should improve even more here.
For the Bearcats defense, there are some big holes to fill especially the ones left by Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and leading tackler J.K. Schaffer. There are many unproven players that will be asked to step up in key roles and it may take some time for the defense to gel. On the other side, the Panthers defense was not very impressive against Youngstown St. but again, depth was an issue with the suspensions. A full squad will pay off this week.
The Panthers loss is our gain as we catch value and they fall into a solid situation where we play on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in conference games that are coming off a loss as a double digit home favorite. This situation is 37-9 ATS (80.4 percent) since 1992. Additionally, Pittsburgh is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games following a loss and 5-1 ATS in its last six games following a double-digit home loss. Expect a big bounceback from the Panthers as they get some payback following the season opening loss. 10* (301) Pittsburgh Panthers
|09-05-12||Dallas Cowboys v. NY Giants -3.5||Top||24-17||Loss||-110||14 h 50 m||Show|
The hype for this game is huge in New York with all of the festivities surrounding last year
|09-02-12||SMU +9 v. Baylor||Top||24-59||Loss||-110||8 h 58 m||Show|
Baylor is coming off one of its best seasons ever as it went 10-3 behind the services of quarterback Robert Griffin III and while the cupboard isn't bare, there is a lot missing. Obviously the loss of Griffin is the biggest one but the Bears also have to replace leading rusher Terrance Ganaway (1,566 yards rushing in 2011), leading receiver Kendall Wright (1,663 yards receiving) as well as both tackles on the offensive line. The Bears will be good but this line seems to be an overreaction based on last year.
SMU is coming off its third straight winning regular season and its third straight bowl appearance as head coach June Jones has this program going in the right direction. The potential is there once again as the Mustangs have a great shot at winning the C-USA West. SMU has a very underrated defense as it finished 26th overall in the nation a year ago and it returns seven starters. Two new starters are on the defensive line however both are seniors and both do have starting experience.
New SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert is a transfer from Texas and while he did not look good with the Longhorns, he brings in big time game experience which will help him right out of the gate. He has a lot around him which is important and the main threat is running back Zach Line who averaged 122.4 ypg and scored 17 touchdowns in 10 games before breaking his foot last season. The offensive line is young but the Bears pose no threat to dominate the line of scrimmage.
Baylor's defense was horrible last season as it allowed over 37 ppg and 488 ypg and despite eight starters returning, there won't be a ton of improvement. Only Memphis, New Mexico, Ball State and Kansas allowed more yards than the Bears did and while this is the second year under defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, the talent just isn't there. The Bears' defense suffered a setback this week when defensive tackle Kaeron Johnson was lost for the year so the depth up front is now even thinner.
This line has come down for good reason but we are still catching a very solid number and one that is above the key number of seven. SMU falls into a great situation as we play against teams in the first week of the season, after closing out last season with three or more straight spread covers and has a winning percentage between .600 and .800. This situation is 24-3 ATS (88.9 percent) since 1992. The Bears are on upset alert here as any bit of non-focus could lead to a loss. 10* (213) SMU Mustangs
|09-01-12||Clemson -3 v. Auburn||Top||26-19||Win||100||55 h 30 m||Show|
Clemson started last season 8-0 and then the wheels fell of as they closed the year by going 2-4 culminated with an embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. There is no doubt the Tigers have been stewing about that the entire offseason and they will be more than motivated to get this year started on the right note. As far as must wins go, this is certainly one of those. Starting on a neutral field, Clemson needs to open up 3-0 before its huge matchup at Florida St. against the Seminoles.
After winning the National Championship two years ago, 2011 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Auburn. Instead, the Tigers exceeded expectations and went 8-5 including a win over Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Usually when teams play above their heads one year, they tend to fall of the following season and I expect that from Auburn this season. The Tigers won three games by a touchdown or less so the record could have been worse than it ended up being.
The big news for Clemson is that Sammy Watkins will not be playing in this game and while it is a huge loss, it is not a fatal blow. Six other top receivers are back on an offense that averaged 441 ypg and 33.6 ppg and that unit will be even better this season. Sophomore Charone Peake will start for Watkins, alongside established starter DeAndre Hopkins (952 yards last season) and Jaron Brown. With Taj Boyd behind center, good things will happen no matter who has to throw to.
It is a totally different situation on the other side. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier will make his first start Saturday night and the backfield won't include its top rusher the past two years in Michael Dyer, who left after he was suspended indefinitely by head coach Gene Chizik for violating team rules. In addition, Auburn will have two new starters on its offensive line and will start two freshmen and two sophomores up front. This will be an offense that struggles early on in the season.
Clemson returns seven players on defense and after last year's collapse at the end of the season, a chance was made as defensive coordinator Brent Venables comes to Clemson from Oklahoma where he was the defensive coordinator since 1999. The unit will be better based on this alone. On the other side, the Auburn defense struggled last year, ranking 11th out of 12 SEC teams in both scoring defense (29.3 ppg) and total defense (405.8 ypg). Don't expect a big improvement right away even with nine starters back. 10* (189) Clemson Tigers
|09-01-12||Tulsa -1 v. Iowa State||Top||23-38||Loss||-110||52 h 54 m||Show|
Last season may have been considered a disappointment for Tulsa as expectations were high but the Golden Hurricane went on to go just 8-5 which included a bowl loss against BYU. The thing about it is though is that four of those five losses came against teams ranked eighth in the country or better including two top five teams. They were favored in seven of those games and won all seven of those games outright including all three on the road where they were also a perfect 3-0 against the number.
Iowa St. opened the season 3-0 last season before losing its next four games. The Cyclones then rebounded with three more wins including a huge upset of then second ranked Oklahoma St. but the wheels fell off once again as they closed with three straight losses to finish 6-7. Iowa St. is again expected to not do much as it brings back just 12 starters, second fewest in the Big XII. While the Cyclones could surprise once again, it isn't likely as the talent simply is not there.
When you think of Tula, you think of offense and this year will be no exception. Its offensive numbers were down last season from the previous year but even with a new quarterback in place in junior Cody Green, the offense should again be explosive. Green is a transfer from Nebraska where he started five games so he has experience against similar foes. The Golden Hurricane has four of their top five receivers back, and 85 percent of their rushing attack is back as well.
On the other side, Iowa St. is replacing six starters from a defense that allowed 29.4 ppg last season. Though there are some familiar names in line for starting jobs, the Cyclones will be asking many of them to contribute more than they ever have. They are deep which is always a big plus down the stretch of the season but right now, experience plays a much bigger role early on and Iowa St. doesn't have it. Head coach Paul Rhoads said that Iowa St. could play as many as a dozen defensive linemen this season.
Tulsa is usually a pretty bad team on defense but it could be a better unit this season with seven starters returning including three of four on the defensive line and three of four in the secondary. The Cyclones have two veteran quarterbacks in Steel Jantz and Jared Barnett but both were rather inefficient in completing a mere 51.4 percent of their pass attempts, and the two were sacked a total of 27 times. Tulsa is the favorite which may come as a surprise but the number is small and it comes away with the road win. 10* (169) Tulsa Golden Hurricane
|08-30-12||UCLA -15 v. Rice||Top||49-24||Win||100||200 h 15 m||Show|
It was a rough couple years for UCLA which led to the firing of head coach Rick Neuheisel and the hiring of new sideline general Jim Mora Jr. While the Neuheisel firing came as no surprise, the cupboard was not left bare as he leaves the Bruins having brought in some strong recruiting classes. UCLA won the Pac XII South last season by default as USC was ineligible and every other team collapsed as the Bruins finished with a 5-4 conference record but this year we should see better things.
Rice had a much more disappointing season as it finished 4-8 which was its third consecutive losing campaign. The Owls bring back only 10 returning starters which is the fewest in the six years David Bailiff has been on board as head coach. The second fewest was his first season when they brought back 10 starters and they went on to go 2-10 that year. The worst part this year is that rice returns only one starter on each the offensive and defensive lines which means they will get pushed around big time here.
I think the Bruins have a chance to surprise some people this year. Their schedule is not very demanding as all five road games are winnable while the tough opponents are all at home, notably Nebraska, USC and Stanford. The Bruins miss Oregon which is a good break but all of this speculation will be for naught if they mess up early. UCLA has lost its season opener in each of the last two years so in order to turn things the right way, jumping out strong is a must.
UCLA brings back 16 starters from last season including three on the offensive line which is important in this game. All five projected starters are over 300 pounds while the defensive front of Rice checks in rather light so the running game is in favor of` the Bruins in a big way. This is bolstered by the return of running back Johnathan Franklin who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and has accumulated 2,689 rushing yards throughout his career. Early in the year, a big rushing advantage is huge.
This may seem like a big number to be laying on the road but talent can take care of that and the talent of UCLA is much more than that of the Owls. The Bruins have not been road favorites in two years so with this line the size that it is, it tells us something. UCLA falls into a great passing game situation also where we play on road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points that were a good passing team from last season, averaging eight or more passing ypa. This situation is 27-5 ATS (84.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (143) UCLA Bruins
|08-30-12||Eastern Michigan v. Ball State OVER 56.5||Top||26-37||Win||100||83 h 38 m||Show|
MAC play starts early for Eastern Michigan and Ball St. and we should be in store for an entertaining game if you like scoring. Early in the college football season, units that are trying to replenish players take time to come together and we will be seeing that on both defensive sides here. Usually defenses are ahead of the offenses to start the season but that isn't the case for the Eagles and Cardinals as both offenses return a substantial portion of their starters from a season ago.
Ball State's offense that averaged 379.4 ypg a season ago virtually stays the same. The Cardinals bring back quarterback Keith Wenning following an outstanding sophomore season where he passed for 2,786 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 64 percent of his passes. He loses his top two receivers but depth is plentiful. The top four running backs return as do four starters on the offensive line which is the most experienced unit in the country.
The Eagles ranked fourth in total defense in MAC action last year, allowing 355.1 ypg but they will be hard pressed to repeat that ranking this season as they return only five starters on the defense. The defensive line and secondary are both areas of concern. Defensive end Andy Malumba is the only returning player from the front four while cornerbacks Marline Pollard and Marcell Rose return to a secondary that could be tested at the safety spots.
Eastern Michigan will make up for the defensive shortcomings with a potent offense. The Eagles will be led with a strong rushing attack as they were ranked third among MAC teams rushing the football (218.3 ypg) and was 14th nationally last season. Six of the top seven running backs return but the big asset is that all five offensive linemen return. Quarterback Alex Gillett returns and he is coming off a very solid season and he should only be better as he did a lot of offseason work to improve.
Like the Eagles, Ball St. has a lot of shortcoming on defense. The Cardinals return only five starters and this is an even worse situation since they were at or near the bottom in most significant defensive categories last season. They return just one player on the defensive line so they will get pushed around by the Eagles all night. The biggest void however for Ball State's defense are at the two safety positions where underclassmen will be forced to jump in. All of this should lead to a ton of points Thursday night. 10* Over (137) Eastern Michigan Eagles/(138) Ball St. Cardinals
|02-05-12||NY Giants v. New England Patriots OVER 55||Top||21-17||Loss||-105||271 h 54 m||Show|
The Giants are coming off their second straight playoff game where they were outgained but still pulled off the win as turnovers once again played a big role. It was unfortunate the way the 49ers season ended but you still have to give credit to the Giants as the defensive intensity was once again where it needed to be as the unit is playing its best football of the season. Now comes a pretty big test for the defense and it will be a difficult challenge to slow down the Patriots offense.
New England was fortunate as well as a missed Baltimore field goal puts the Patriots back into the Super Bowl. The offense was very average as they gained just 330 total yards but that came against ones of the league's best defenses. This snapped a string of seven straight overs for the Patriots and the low scoring game will add to the value going forward. The total for the game against the Ravens was just a few points lower than what this one is and it should prove to be not enough of an adjustment based on the matchups.
Looking back at the 2008 Super Bowl showed a very low scoring game with a higher total. The next meeting did not take place until this season when New York and New England squared off in Week Nine. That game also went under the total but looking at the final score alone will not tell the true story as the teams scored all 44 points in the second half as the first half resulted in a scoreless tie. The Super Bowl total is no doubt skewed toward the over but it is not enough to make a difference here.
While both defenses picked it up in their respective championship games, these units should be less effective against these opposing offenses. Last week, the Giants played against the 26th ranked total offense during the regular season while the Patriots played against 15th ranked total offense during the regular season. The Patriots finished second in total offense while the Giants finished eighth in total offense to it certainly will be tougher this time around for both sides.
Both teams are on winning streaks and both have played high scoring games in the past as New England is 13-4 to the over after three or more consecutive wins over the last two seasons while New York is 9-1 to the over after three or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. The Giants are 11-2 to the over against teams outscoring opponents by six or more ppg on the season and under head coach Tom Coughlin, they are 9-1 to the over against teams averaging 29 or more ppg. Also, the Patriots are 9-1 to the over against teams with a winning record in the second half of the season. 10* Over (101) New York Giants/(102) New England Patriots
|01-22-12||Baltimore Ravens +9 v. New England Patriots||Top||20-23||Win||100||100 h 27 m||Show|
We got the line we wanted and we will get this one out there early as we are over a key number. Baltimore did not look very good in winning over Houston as it was outgained although it did have chances to cover the number as a missed opportunity at the goalline proved to be the difference. The Ravens played a strong Texans defense and you have to give Houston credit for playing the way it did bit now Baltimore goes up against one of the worst defenses in the league and it will show.
The Patriots looked awesome on Saturday night and that sets us up for a great opportunity to go against them. We were on Denver in that game and it was clearly the wrong side as the Broncos defense had no answers for Tom Brady and the offense. That defense was overrated but now the Patriots will have to contend with the top ranked adjusted defense in the NFL as the efficiency is weighted to rely more on the latter games. Aging or not, the Ravens defense is still a force.
Baltimore has allowed more than 336 total yards only once in last seven games and while the Patriots possess a strong offense, it has not been tested in a while. The last time they saw a defense this good was back in Week Eight against the Steelers and New England was shut down, being held to just 213 total yards. The Patriots are averaging 32.8 ppg but that came against teams allowing an average of 23.1 ppg which averages out to a ranking of 22nd in the NFL in scoring defense. Baltimore is ranked third in that category.
Say what you want about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco but he posted a passer rating of 97.1 against the Texans which during the regular season allowed an average passer rating of 69.0 which was second best in the NFL (Baltimore is first by the way at 68.8). The Patriots are no where near that and while they made Tim Tebow look very below average, teams have been able to so that this season the second time they have seen him. The Patriots won't have many answers against Flacco and running back Ray Rice.
If you can get the nine points with Baltimore that is great but anything over seven points is just fine as the nine points that are available are mainly for teaser protections. Baltimore has been great in bounce back situations as the Ravens are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 250 total yards in their previous game. They also fall into a great situation where we play against teams with a defense that allows 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more total ypg over their last two games. This situation is 99-59 ATS (62.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (301) Baltimore Ravens
|01-15-12||NY Giants +9 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||37-20||Win||100||90 h 12 m||Show|
We saw the Giants take out the Falcons rather easily in the first round on Sunday and they are playing their best football of the season. This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball. New York did not allow Atlanta's offense to score as the two points came on a safety due to intentional grounding in the endzone. The Giants held the Falcons to 247 total yards and while I am certainly not banking on that against the Packers, I do expect another solid effort as the confidence of this unit is at the top right now.
Green Bay had the week off following a win against the Lions in its regular season finale and that game saw a lot of the starters sitting out. While the Packers may now be rested, we have to wonder if the extended time off may hinder them here. They have been playing at a top level all year but the numbers are not as impressive as you may think. The Packers have been outgained in seven of their last 10 games and while it resulted in only one outright loss, it is a pretty big concern.
Overall, the Packers are getting outgained by 6.5 ypg and for a team that is 15-1, we have to figure out if there is an issue. In this case, it is the defense that remains in question. For anyone that saw their last game against the Lions, the defense is a big liability which has been the case all season long. Green Bay allowed 575 total yards against Detroit and a unit that is doing that is allowing any team to hang around and not only get a backdoor cover, but win the game outright which New York is capable of.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is coming off another superb game where he posted a 129.3 passer rating, his fourth rating of 100 or more in the last seven games, which included a rating of 100.7 against the Packers in the first meeting. The Giants finished eighth in the NFL in total offense with 385.1 ypg and they surpassed that mark last week against the Falcons. Green Bay has allowed fewer than 400 total yards only twice in their last 11 games and both came against teams that did not qualify for the playoffs.
The loss of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's son is a horrible situation but one that should not impact either side. When the Giants are laying well it has had a long carryover as they are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games off two consecutive home wins and 19-8 ATS in their last 27 road games against teams allowing 7.0 or more ypa. Under head coach Tom Coughlin, New York is 9-2 ATS in road games revenging a loss where opponent scored 28 or more points. 10* (115) New York Giants
|01-14-12||New Orleans Saints -3.5 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||32-36||Loss||-110||52 h 41 m||Show|
New Orleans has won and covered nine straight games since losing in St. Louis which came right after winning that lopsided home game against the Colts. The fact that the Saints are road favorites here is no surprise at all and I actually think they should be favored by more. Taking them out of the dome is a possible way to slow them down but realistically, this offense is playing like no other and given the venue or the opposing defense, I can't see them being slow down very much.
The 49ers were the surprise of the NFC as not only did they win their division but did so with a 13-3 record. The division was a very weak one for sure so going 5-1 against divisional foes is far from a surprise. San Francisco went 4-2 against teams ranked in the top ten in the NFL but faced no team higher than fifth so this is the biggest test of the season with everything on the line. Normally we would take a strong look at the home underdog side but there is too much going the other way.
The 49ers have the fourth ranked defense in the NFL so slowing down the Saints is a definitely possibility. Stopping them is not however. The rushing defense was the strength of the unit, ranking first in the league, the passing defense was not nearly as good, finishing 16th during the regular season. The Saints no doubt have the offense that can take advantage and they don't turn the ball over much which is where the 49ers had a lot of their success on that side of the ball.
Basically it will be up to the 49ers offense to be able to stay with the Saints offense and it will not happen. San Francisco scored fewer than 24 points in 10 of its 16 games and sustaining drives is the big issue. The 49ers finished 31st in the NFL in third down offense, converting on just 29.4 percent of their third down attempts. The Saints meanwhile possess the fifth best third down defense in the league and this translates into redzone success where Sa Francisco is 30th in redzone offense.
The 49ers led the league in turnover margin but that does not translate to playoff success as the 18 teams that led or were tied in turnover margin won just seven games in the first playoff round. The Saints also fall into a solid situation as we play against underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the second half of the season that are coming off two consecutive road wins, with a winning record playing another winning team. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (109) New Orleans Saints
|01-08-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Denver Broncos +9||Top||23-29||Win||100||93 h 14 m||Show|
I understand that the playoffs are different than the regular season as experience plays a big part in that. In this case Pittsburgh has it while Denver does not. But this point spread is out of control. Very rarely will you see a team favored on the road by this much in the playoffs and in the Wildcard round, a road team has been favored by more than five points only once. That happened to come last year when the Seahawks defeated the Saints last season as 9.5-point home underdogs.
This spread is pretty similar to that and the Steelers are nowhere near as good as the Saints were last season as the injuries and the age have finally taken their toll. Pittsburgh is in this position because Baltimore won last week, thus winning the tiebreaker for a first round bye. Pittsburgh is actually in worse shape this week because of additional injuries but yet it is favored by more points over the Broncos than it was against Cleveland last week which was four games worse than Denver.
The Broncos come in riding a three-game losing streak so there is not a lot of momentum on their side but playing at home is a big edge. They were at home last week so there is no travel while the Steelers are travelling for the second straight week. Denver was only 3-5 at home this season but three of those losses came by five points or fewer and while the Steelers were 5-3 on the road, they were outscored by an average of nearly three points per game.
It doesn't take a psychic to know that Denver will try and run the ball on offense as it has done pretty successfully over the second half of the season. Pittsburgh allowed fewer than 100 ypg this season but did give up an average of 4.0 ypc but which is still good but that is exactly one ypc more than it allowed last season. The Steelers have regressed as they have allowed 100 yards or more in four of their last seven games after doing so just three times in their first nine. Denver has gone over 150 yards in eight of its last 11 games.
Pittsburgh is extremely banged up on offense with Ben Roethlisberger nursing a bad ankle and running back Rashard Mendenhall lost for the season with a knee injury. The offense has been inconsistent all season so these injuries are certainly not helping. The Steelers have been horrible in this role as they are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games as road favorites 7.5 to 14 points while Denver is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games against teams allowing 5.7 ypa through the air. 10* (108) Denver Broncos
|01-08-12||Atlanta Falcons v. NY Giants -3||Top||2-24||Win||102||89 h 30 m||Show|
Just when you thought the Giants season was unraveling once again, they came through with two big wins at the end of the season to capture the NFC East and make it into the playoffs. Even though it is only two games, they are playing at a high level and last week against the Cowboys, they outgained Dallas by 137 total yards as Eli Manning outdueled Tony Romo and the rushing game was clearly in their favor. We give them a big edge playing in this stadium for the fourth straight week.
Atlanta had a disappointing season as it finished 10-6 after going 13-3 a season ago. The Falcons defeated only one team that is currently in the playoffs, Detroit, and went 1-4 overall against current playoff teams. They finished .500 on the road this season which isn't horrible but losses against Tampa Bay and Chicago were not good while wins against Seattle and Carolina were closer than what should have been. The biggest road win was against the Colts which is not saying much.
The Giants rushing offense has been abysmal all season as they are dead last in the league but things have been moving in the right direction. They have surpassed 100 yards in four of their last five games after doing so just four times in their first 11 games. A healthy Ahmad Bradshaw has been the difference. Even though he has not been gaining many yards, he has given Brandon Jacobs a break who has been able to be more effective with fewer carries and a great ypc average.
The Falcons rushing defense has been the exact opposite. They fared well early on but they have gotten worse as they have allowed four of their last five opponents to rush for over 100 yards, allowing an average of 126.8 ypg. That is not a good trend heading into the playoffs and neither is the passing defense that has been torched in three of its last four games. Atlanta is 20th in the league in passing defense and it will square off against one of the most potent passing offenses in the league.
Atlanta has gone over 375 yards of offense in each of its last two games and that is an important number as the Falcons are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games after gaining 375 or more total yards in two consecutive games while the Giants are 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games versus teams averaging 375 or more ypg. The Giants fall into a great situation as we play on home teams coming off two or more consecutive unders, in a game involving two teams averaging between 23 and 27 ppg. This situation is 38-14 ATS (73.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (106) New York Giants
|01-07-12||SMU v. Pittsburgh UNDER 47.5||Top||28-6||Win||100||26 h 54 m||Show|
Pittsburgh is playing in the Compass Bowl for a second straight season. The Panthers defeated Kentucky in a low scoring game and I see another similar result to that. This is a pretty average offense coming in as Pittsburgh is 83rd in total offense and 69th in scoring offense and word is that the coaches plan on slowing things down even more and there will be more on that later. The Panthers total defense is ranked 40th overall and they have the personnel to slow down SMU.
The Mustangs incorporate a run and shoot offense under head coach June Jones but it is a wounded unit. Quarterback J.J. McDermott was decent as he is ranked 33rd in total offense but just 72nd in passing efficiency. He has two great receivers at his disposal but SMU lost running back Zach Line 10 games into the season after he put up 1,256 rushing yards and that is a big loss. The Mustangs defense finished 37th overall so this is a solid unit that held some tough C-USA offenses in check.
Pittsburgh lost head coach Todd Graham as he took the head coaching job at Arizona St. Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson takes over the head coaching duties for this game while quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge takes over as the interim offensive coordinator. They are both on the same page as they have come out with what their game plan is going to be and it favors a low scoring game. "We'll be a little more ball control, I think you will see that on Saturday. We will be a little bit different in our approach," Patterson said.
"We're going to try and take time off the clock and not necessarily be methodical in the way we do things, but ball control is going to be a little bit more of who we are," he said. "Our philosophy will be, 'Hey, let's play great defense and punting the football sometimes is not a bad play.' That is kind of the plan we will try to employ this Saturday." Dodge believes that its best chance to win is to possess the ball and keep the Mustangs offense off the field. He said he plans on using the short passing game.
Dodge said he has trimmed the play sheet to emphasize what quarterback Tino Sunseri does best. "I am a believer in 'less is more,' " he said. Pittsburgh is 14-4 to the under in its last 18 games away from home against teams averaging 250 or more passing ypg while going 11-2 to the under in its last 13 games coming off one or more straight overs. The Mustangs meanwhile are 17-6 to the under in their last 23 games away from home against teams completing 58 percent or more of their passes. 10* Under (265) SMU Mustangs/(266) Pittsburgh Panthers
|01-06-12||Kansas State v. Arkansas -7.5||Top||16-29||Win||100||33 h 53 m||Show|
Kansas St. has been getting it done this season with smoke and mirrors and could be one of the more overrated teams in the country. The Cotton Bowl used to be a much bigger bowl game but it is still a significant game yet I'm not sure if the Wildcats deserve it. They have been outgained in all but one of their last 10 games with the only exception being a game against lowly Kansas. On the season, Kansas St. is getting outgained by 55.4 ypg and that should not make a top ten team.
Arkansas comes in with an identical 10-2 record and it has obviously played a lot better this year as it is outgaining opponents by an average of 74.6 ypg. Its two worst games this season came against Alabama and LSU which comes as no surprise and of its 10 wins, only three came by single digits. Five of those wins came against bowl teams and on the season, the Razorbacks played the 31st ranked schedule and while Kansas St., did play a tougher slate, the 130 ypg variance does not justify it.
How has Kansas St. survived this season with such bad statistical disadvantages? It comes bow to turnover as the Wildcats are plus-13 in turnover margin, which ranks sixth nationally. Forecasting turnovers is next to impossible unless a team like that is facing a bad turnover team but Arkansas is not that team as it is dead even in turnover margin on the season. The Wildcats have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Collin Klein that no one has heard of. Stop him and you stop Kansas St.
Kansas St. ranks fourth in the Big 12 by allowing just 33 plays longer than 25 yards this season, but 11 came in losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. Arkansas has big play ability and while the Razorbacks allowed 25 sacks, the ration is better based on the amount of times they dropped back to pass. Kansas St. only tallied 19 sacks on the season, and it's reasonable to believe that Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is going to have some time to throw.
Arkansas is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 games following a road loss by 21 or more points and it is while going 7-0 ATS in its last seven games after allowing 6.25 or more yppl in its last game. The Razorbacks have been solid as favorites while the Wildcats have been solid as underdogs so something will have to give but the kicker is that Arkansas is 15-7 ATS in its last 22 games against teams with a winning record so favored in that gives us a real big edge for the much better team. 10* (264) Arkansas Razorbacks
|01-04-12||West Virginia v. Clemson OVER 62.5||Top||70-33||Win||100||10 h 34 m||Show|
We have a rather big number here but we have a lot of solid contrarian angles to work with. It has been rare for both teams to see a number this high as West Virginia has had a total of 62 or higher only once while Clemson has had a total of 62 or higher only twice. Combined they went 0-3 to the under and only one of those games, Clemson and Wake Forest, was even close to cashing the over. This brings in our first contrarian angle as those three unders are actually keeping this number lower than it should be.
Recent results are also playing into this total. Clemson has gone under in its last five games and that brings up a situational angle as explained later. The thing about it is, the last four games in that run stayed under by 3.5 points, 4 points, 3.5 points and 5.5 points so they were very close to going over. West Virginia meanwhile has stayed under in each of its last three games and while they were a little off, the last game stayed under by just a point in the contest with South Florida.
Both of these offenses have potential to put up big numbers and put up big points. Combined, the Mountaineers and Tigers average over 68 ppg while putting up a total of 901.1 ypg which proves big numbers are more than capable. West Virginia put up 30 or more points in eight of 12 games while Clemson did so in nine of 13 games. Obviously getting those together will likely cash a ticket so it will likely come down to the defenses and how resistant they will be.
Together, West Virginia and Clemson are allowing 52.4 ppg but that average is skewed. The Tigers have allowed 30 or more points in six of 13 games including five of their last seven games while the Mountaineers have allowed 30 or more points five times. Those are fewer than we would like but overall, Clemson is 62nd in scoring defense while West Virginia is 63rd in scoring defense. The offenses faced has played a big part in this as both teams have gone against offenses much worse than what they will face Wednesday.
Clemson's under run puts it into a solid situation as we play the over in the second half of the season with teams that are coming off four or more consecutive unders, in a game involving two teams that are allowing between 21 and 28. This situation is 34-7 (82.9 percent) to the over the last 10 seasons. West Virginia meanwhile is 21-9 to the over in its last 30 games when playing with two or more weeks of rest so both sides have solid angles on their side for this contrarian total play. 10* Over (261) West Virginia Mountaineers/(262) Clemson Tigers
|01-02-12||Stanford +5 v. Oklahoma State||Top||38-41||Win||100||10 h 16 m||Show|
This is definitely the best matchup of the bowl season besides the BCS Championship as it features two teams that have arguments that they could be playing for the national championship. Oklahoma St. is the most disappointed however as after losing to Iowa St.. it came back with a lopsided win over Oklahoma but it was not enough to get it into the second spot. That type of letdown can be a big factor and while the Cowboys won't sit down here, their mental focus is still in question.
Stanford comes in with an 11-1 record as well as its only loss this season came against Oregon and going back further, it has lost just twice in its last 25 games, both coming against the Ducks. Like the Cowboys, Stanford will be out to prove that it belongs in the title game and I feel their psyche is in better shape at this point. As far as the line, I think it is off as we are getting a good number as anything over the key number of three is big. In what has the makings of a last possession game, the points are a premium.
While the Oklahoma St. offense is a high-powered machine, the Cardinal offense may be better in this situation. Stanford averages 278.5 ypg through the air and 207.9 ypg on the ground, both good enough for Top 30 nationally while averaging 43.6 ppg. This balance is very important. Additionally, Stanford is first in the nation in red-zone offense, scoring 63 out of 64 times after reaching the opponent's 20-yard line. Also, the Cardinal are fifth in the nation in third down conversions.
Defensively, the Cardinal are giving up just 20.3 ppg and 331.42 ypg, the latter being nearly 115 ypg better than what the Cowboys allow. The passing defense may be considered the weak link but Stanford allowed a lot of yards late in games with teams trying to play catch up. They are in the top 25 in turnover margin and getting pressure on Oklahoma St. quarterback Brandon Weeden will be key. Stanford can get it done as it is ranked sixth in the country in sacks with 3.2 per game.
"Obviously it's a little bit disappointing, but we did everything in our power, with what happened at Iowa State, to give ourselves a chance," Weeden said. "To see how short we were, it's tough to swallow." That comment goes a long way. Stanford has outgained every opponent this season and this is the first time it has been an underdog since early last season. The Cardinal are a perfect 7-0 ATS in their last seven non-conference games and they keep that record intact after Monday. 10* (257) Stanford Cardinal
|01-02-12||Wisconsin +6 v. Oregon||Top||38-45||Loss||-110||7 h 45 m||Show|
I think this line is too high for a team to be laying that cannot stop anyone on defense. While the numbers do look rather respectable for Oregon, it is deceiving. The Ducks are ranked 59th in total defense which is definitely average and it faced seven teams ranked in the top 40 in total offense. Only once did it hold those teams to fewer than 460 total yards which shows that when facing a potent offense, Oregon has its troubles stopping them. Wisconsin enters the game ranked 14th in total offense.
The Ducks offense is one of the best in the nation and that is what the pubic has in their heads but Wisconsin is not far behind. The Badgers put up 42 or more points in nine of their 13 games this season while scoring no fewer than 28 points in any game. Their 44.6 ppg is good for fourth most in the country which is right behind Oregon which is averaging only a point and a half more per game. This offense is not getting nearly enough of the recognition that it deserves.
Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson had a sensational regular season and easily could have gone to New York as one of the Heisman Trophy finalists. He finished the season ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency as he completed 72.5 percent of his passes while throwing 31 touchdowns and only three interceptions. It helps having a running back behind him that did go to New York as Montee Ball rushed for 1,759 yards and 32 touchdowns and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
While the Ducks bring in an average defense, the Badgers have a stout unit is they are ranked eighth overall and sixth in scoring. Coming from the Big Ten, Wisconsin did not see any offenses that compare to Oregon so this will definitely be a challenge. But I think it is one that the Badgers will step up to. Wisconsin allowed seven points or less four times this season and while the Oregon offense will be a tough test, we have to remember the Ducks were shut down in their only game against a real solid defense in LSU.
Wisconsin will be out to avenge last year's Rose Bowl loss, a two-point setback against TCU. The Badgers are a perfect 6-0 ATS when coming off a week or more of rest and they are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games against offenses that average 6.25 yppl or better so facing potent offenses has not been a problem in the past. Oregon has gone 1-4 ATS in its last five games against the Big Ten and that is basically a matchup issue which once again will be exploited here. 10* (255) Wisconsin Badgers
|01-01-12||Buffalo Bills v. New England Patriots -10.5||Top||21-49||Win||100||72 h 7 m||Show|
The Patriots need to win to grab the overall top seed in the AFC and the situation could not be better for us this week. First, let's start with the scheduling of the games this week. Should the Steelers and Ravens both lose, the Patriots get the first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the big factor here is that both Pittsburgh and Baltimore do not start until after the Patriots are done which means New England will be doing no scoreboard watching. They will be going out to win.
We played the Patriots last week against the Dolphins and after falling behind 17-0, New England came back to take the lead and were covering but a late Miami touchdown game the Dolphins the backdoor cover. The outright win was obviously big for New England and an outright this week is just as big. I don't expect a repeat of last week where Tom Brady got off to a horrible start and had to play catch up as he will be more prepared to get off to a quick start and coast to an easy win.
We also played the Bills last week and they played one of their best games in a long time as they throttled the Broncos in their final home game of the season. It snapped a seven-game losing streak and while one can argue the Bills have some momentum going into this week, it won't be enough. Buffalo won its road opener this season at Kansas City and since then, it has dropped its last six games away from home with three of the last four losses resulting in blowout defeats.
Adding to the incentive for New England is the revenge factor as Buffalo won the first meeting this season, snapping a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots. Brady was horrible and he knows it. "Hopefully there's no repeat performance," Brady said of his four-interception Week 3 horror show. "When you turn the ball over four times in a game, it's damn near impossible to win. We found that out the hard way." The Bills have been ball-hawkers all season with 20 interceptions but they will not be so fortunate this time.
The Bills injury list is now bigger as center Kraig Urbik and left tackle Demetrius Bell suffered serious injuries last week and heading into the season finale they have just six healthy offensive linemen. That will be a big benefit for the Patriots defense. The Patriots are 17-5 ATS in the last two weeks under head coach Bill Belichick while going 12-3 ATS in 15 games revenging a same season loss. This includes a perfect 7-0 ATS record when revenging a loss as a road favorite. 10* (326) New England Patriots
|01-01-12||Tennessee Titans v. Houston Texans +3||Top||23-22||Win||100||68 h 51 m||Show|
This is a must win game for Tennessee as it is still mathematically alive for a playoff berth but it needs a lot to happen. The Titans would clinch the sixth seed with a win and a Bengals loss and either a Jets win or both a Broncos win and Raiders win (but not all three). Good luck Tennessee. Because of the must win situation here, the linesmakers have made Tennessee a favorite and this is never a good thing as bad teams that need to win as a chalk usually don't.
While Houston cannot move up or down in the standings, don't think this game isn't big for the Texans. They have lost their last two games, which has happened to coincide with the absence of defensive coordinator Wade Philips who is back this week, and they do not want to go into the playoffs riding a three-game losing streak. The Texans could feasibly sit their starters as to avoid more injuries but that won't happen. Houston needs to regain its swagger and build confidence heading into the playoffs.
After losing a tough game to New Orleans, the Titans went to Indianapolis and handed the Colts their first victory of the season. A team that does that should not even be considered for the playoffs. Tennessee did bounce back last week against the Jaguars but that is not saying much. The Titans last five wins have come against teams that are a combined 20-55 with four of those currently 4-11 or worse. The exception was against Buffalo which was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
The Titans defense has been hit or miss and the worst game of the season came against the Texans where they allowed 518 total yards. Yes, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was playing in that game but he was not the difference maker. Houston rolled over Tennessee in the first meeting this season and the top performance was not from an injured player that is now sitting out but it was Arian Foster who racked up 234 total yards and three touchdowns. Expect another big game from Foster.
The players know what's at stake this week. "We have to go into this game with the mind frame of winning it so we can have that good taste in our mouths going into the playoffs," defensive end Antonio Smith said. Quarterback T.J. Yates stated the same and he knows he needs to play well heading into the playoffs. While this is a revenge game for the Titans, they are just 8-19 ATS in their last 27 games revenging a home loss and this includes a 0-7 ATS record in road games revenging a home loss by 14 or more points. 10* (316) Houston Texans