|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-20-18||Cincinnati v. Temple -3||17-24||Win||100||41 h 8 m||Show|
15* UConn/Temple AAC Early ANNIHILATOR on Temple -3
Temple has rebounded nicely from an 0-2 start. The Owls have gone 4-1 SU & 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall. The biggest reason has been the emergence of QB Anthony Russo, who has led this Temple offense to an average of 34.8 points per game over the last five weeks.
The defense also deserves some credit. The Owls have allowed 17 points or fewer in four of their last five gams. The only exception was their 10-point loss at Boston College as 13.5-point underdogs in the only game they’ve lost during this stretch, but they did play a great game and covered.
I think we get a big effort from Temple here this week. They can see the finish line as they have a bye next week, so they’ll be all in and won’t be focusing on the fact that they will be playing for an 8th straight week. I think that counteracts the fact that Cincinnati is coming off a bye. The Owls will be able to match Cincinnati’s intensity, especially at home.
Bye weeks can come at bad times. Not all bye weeks are created equal. And for Cincinnati, I think it’s a disadvantage. The Bearcats were rolling to a 6-0 start and are currently ranked 20th ranked team in the country. They had a ton of momentum and didn’t want a bye. I think they’ll be feeling fat and happy on their bye week, especially with that Top 25 ranking, and they won’t work as hard as they did to get to 6-0.
Let’s be honest, the 6-0 start isn’t all that impressive. Cincinnati has faced the 118th-ranked schedule in the country. Sagarin has them as the 49th-best team in college football, not the 20th. So the Bearcats are clearly overrated, and I agree with Temple being the favorite in this matchup because they are simply the better team.
Cincinnati’s six wins have come against UCLA, Miami Ohio, Alabama A&M, Ohio, UConn and Tulane. Temple is better than all six of those teams. And Cincinnati benefited from playing UCLA in the first week of the season under a first-year head coach in Chip Kelly. UCLA is just 1-5 but is improving as the season goes on. They were dreadful the first three weeks of the campaign.
Temple has clearly had Cincinnati’s number the last three years. The Owls are 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings. They won 35-24 as 3-point road favorites in 2017, 34-13 as 9.5-point home favorites in 2016, and 34-26 as 6-point road underdogs in 2015. I think they get their 4th straight win and cover in this series Saturday.
Temple is 10-0 ATS after allowing 125 or fewer passing yards in their last game over the last three seasons. The Owls are 19-3 ATS off an ATS win over the last three years. Temple is 21-5 ATS in its last 26 conference games. The Bearcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record. The Owls are 11-1 ATS in weeks 5 through 9 over the last three years. Temple is 9-1 ATS vs. good rushing teams who average 230 or more rushing yards per game over the last three years. Bet Temple Saturday.
|10-19-18||Colorado State +23.5 v. Boise State||Top||28-56||Loss||-105||53 h 47 m||Show|
20* Mountain West GAME OF THE MONTH on Colorado State +23.5
This one is all about revenge for the Colorado State Rams. Last year, Colorado State led Boise State 52-38 with under two minutes to go. Boise State got a touchdown with 1:41 left, then got the onside kick and forced overtime with another touchdown. The Broncos went on to win 59-52 in the first overtime.
That came a year after the Rams lost 23-28 on the road to Boise State as 28-point underdogs. So the Rams have been gutted by the Broncos each of the last two seasons, and Mike Bobo and company have not forgotten. They will be upset-minded 23.5-point underdogs here at Boise State Friday night, and I think they’ll give Boise State more of a game than most are expecting.
Colorado State hasn’t been as poor as its 3-4 record would suggest. The Rams have rallied the troops after a 1-4 start by winning their last two games at San Jose State and at home to New Mexico. And they also beat Arkansas earlier this year as 14-point underdogs. Their 10-48 loss to Florida was very misleading as the Rams were only outgained by 28 yards in that contest, but special teams miscues and turnovers turned it into a blowout. So this team is clearly battle-tested.
Boise State is way overrated, and that has shown since season-opening wins over Troy and UConn. The Broncos are just 2-2 SU & 1-3 ATS in their last four games. They lost 21-44 at Oklahoma State, beat a bad Wyoming team 34-14, were upset by San Diego State 13-19 as 13-point underdogs, and barely escaped with a 31-27 win at Nevada as 14-point favorites.
The Blue Turf is not the home-field advantage that it used to be. The Broncos are just 4-14 ATS in their last 18 home games. The Rams have been great in this big underdog role as they are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Bet Colorado State Friday.
|10-18-18||Stanford v. Arizona State UNDER 57.5||Top||20-13||Win||100||29 h 43 m||Show|
20* Stanford/ASU Pac-12 No-Brainer on UNDER 57.5
Both Stanford and Arizona State are coming off bye weeks. That means they’ve had nearly two weeks to prepare for one another. And I think that extra preparation favors the defenses more than the offenses. So I like the UNDER here in this Pac-12 matchup.
I think this number is inflated because Stanford’s defense fell apart over their last three games, and they went over the total in all three. But they played three great offenses in Oregon, Notre Dame and Utah with with first two on the road. And they were simply out of gas by the time they faced Utah, so this bye week came at the right time.
But Arizona State’s offense isn’t going to scare Stanford’s defense. This is an ASU offense that has put up 21 or fewer points in the four games they’ve played that weren’t against UTSA and Oregon State. They only scored 16 against Michigan State, 21 against San Diego State, 20 against Washington and 21 against Colorado. And I think Stanford is a similar opponent to Michigan State, and ASU beat MSU 16-13 at home.
But Arizona State’s defense has played admirably this season. The Sun Devils haven’t allowed more than 28 points in any game this season, and one of those two teams is going to have to top 28 points for this game to go OVER. I don’t see either team surpassing 28. The Sun Devils are allowing 21.2 points and 385 yards per game this season. The Cardinal are allowing 22.0 points per game this year.
Stanford’s offense has been nothing special, averaging just 25.7 points per game this season. The Cardinal just don’t have a very good offensive line this year. In fact, it’s the worst that I can remember. They are averaging just 86 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season. It doesn’t help that Bryce Love has been banged up, and he remains hampered by an ankle injury this week.
The UNDER is 7-2 in the last nine meetings. Stanford and ASU have combined for 58 or fewer points in eight of those nine meetings. They are averaging just 48.4 combined points per game in those nine meetings, which is nearly 10 points less than tonight’s posted total of 57.5. I think we are getting great value here on this UNDER.
The UNDER is 54-26-1 in Stanford’s last 81 games following an ATS loss. The UNDER is 44-20 in Stanford’s last 64 games in October. The UNDER is 5-1 in the last six meetings. The UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings at Arizona State. Stanford is 11-1 UNDER in its last 12 games off two straight losses by 17 points or more. The UNDER is 19-3 in Cardinal’s last 22 games after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-18-18||Broncos -1 v. Cardinals||45-10||Win||100||45 h 28 m||Show|
15* Broncos/Cardinals Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Denver -1
John Elway has called out the Broncos. From players to coaches, everyone is on the hot seat now. And I think that the Broncos will be playing with more of a sense of urgency than most Thursday night road teams would be. That’s why I’m willing to lay the points with them on the road here. It also helps that they’re playing arguably the worst team in the NFL in the Arizona Cardinals.
“At some point in time, we have to play better football. We’re still making the mistakes we shouldn’t make to beat good football teams like the Rams,” Elway told Orange and Blue 760 radio. “It’s disappointing, that’s for sure. Hopefully we can take a mentality into that Thursday night game where we’re fighting for our lives.”
Denver is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. But they were underdogs in all four games, so it’s not a surprise. They lost on the road to the Ravens and Jets, and they lost at home to the Chiefs and Rams. But the Chiefs and Rams are arguably the two best teams in the NFL, and they nearly beat both. They blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead to the Chiefs to lost 23-27, and they gave the Rams all they wanted in a 20-23 defeat.
Now the Broncos get their easiest game of the season to this point here against the Cardinals. This is a Cardinals team that ranks dead last in scoring offense at 13.7 points per game and dead last in total offense at 220.5 yards per game.
Defensively, the Cardinals haven’t been much better, giving up 394.3 yards per game this season. So they are getting outgained by a ridiculous 174 yards per game this season, which is far and away the worst mark in the NFL, which is why I would argue that they are the worst team in the league.
The Cardinals are 1-5 this season, and their only win this year came at home 28-18 over the 49ers. But that was perhaps the most misleading score of the entire season. The 49ers outgained the Cardinals by 227 yards in that game and should have won. But the Cardinals won the turnover battle 5-0, which was the difference.
Plays on road teams (Denver) with a poor defense that allows 6.0 or more yards per play, after allowing 400 or more total yards in three consecutive games are 32-12 (72.7%) ATS since 1983. The Broncos have gone 8-1 SU in their last nine meetings with the Cardinals. Denver is also 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. They just have to win the game to cover this small number, and they should do just that. Take the Broncos Thursday.
|10-15-18||49ers v. Packers OVER 46||Top||30-33||Win||100||101 h 14 m||Show|
20* 49ers/Packers MNF TOTAL OF THE MONTH on OVER 46
I think this total is lower than it should be Monday night between the Packers and 49ers. And a big reason for that is because the perception is that both of these offenses struggled in their last games, but the reality is that both of them moved the football at will, it just didn’t show up on the scoreboard.
The Packers had 521 total yards against the Lions last week, including 423 passing, yet only managed 23 points. Well a big reason for that was they had to settle for a bunch of field goals, and Mason Crosby missed three field goals and an extra point, which is basically 10 points off the board that they would have had otherwise.
For the 49ers, they had 447 total yards against the Cardinals, including 300 passing, but only got 18 points out of it. Their demise were the five turnovers, including two that were returned for touchdowns. I have to think that both offenses will fare better on the scoreboard this week if they continue moving the ball like they did last week, especially against these two weak defenses.
Both teams have all kinds of injuries on defense right now. The Packers lost DE Muhammad Wilkerson to a season-ending injury. Starting CB Devon House is out, as is starting ILB Jake Ryan. Fellow OLB Nick Perry is questionable, and CB’s Breshaud Breeland, Kevin King and Jaire Alexander is questionable. For the 49ers, they could be without starting FS Jimmie Ward, who is questionable with a hamstring injury.
The 49ers are already giving up 29.2 points per game this season. The Packers should have no problem moving the football and scoring points on them. This is an elite Packers offense that is averaging 401 yards per game and 6.1 per play against teams that only allow 338 yards per game. They have played a tough schedule of opposing defenses, and the 49ers may have the worst defense that they’ve faced yet.
I know Jimmy G is out with a season-ending injury, but the 49ers have had no problem moving the ball with CJ Beathard at quarterback. He led the 49ers to 27 points and 364 total yards against the Chargers in his first start two weeks ago. Then he led them to 447 total yards against a good Arizona defense last week. I expect the Packers to get to 30 and the 49ers to get to at least 20 in this game, which would easily take care of this 46-point total.
The OVER is 10-2 in Packers last 12 games vs. a team with a losing record. The OVER is 21-5 in Packers last 26 vs. NFC opponents. The OVER is 6-2 in the last eight meetings. Green Bay is 9-1 OVER vs. bad defensive teams that give up 24 or more points per game over the last three seasons. The OVER is 7-0 in 49ers last seven games on grass. The OVER is 4-0 in 49ers last four games overall. These last three trends combine for a 20-1 system backing the OVER. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|10-14-18||Chiefs v. Patriots -3||Top||40-43||Push||0||152 h 49 m||Show|
25* NBC Sunday Night GAME OF THE YEAR on New England Patriots -3
The Patriots are actually undervalued right now because they got off to a poor start this season. They opened 1-2 with ugly road losses to Jacksonville and Detroit. But they’ve gotten healthier these last few weeks, and it has shown with back-to-back wins and covered at home against Miami (38-7) as 6.5-point favorites and Indianapolis (38-24) as 10.5-point favorites.
Now the Patriots have extra rest after beating the Colts last Thursday in what was a 24-3 game at the half as they coasted to victory after intermission. And their offense is much more dynamic now. Josh Gordon has a few games under his belt now and showed what he could bring to this team with a huge TD catch in double-coverage against the Colts. And Julian Edelman returned from a four-game suspension last week, catching seven balls for 57 yards. This now has the potential to be one of the best offenses in the NFL moving forward with the likes of Edelman, Gronk, Gordon, Chris Hogan, Sony Michel and James White leading the way.
The Chiefs clearly come into this game overvalued now after opening the season 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS. They are getting a ton of respect from oddsmakers here as only 3-point road underdogs to the Patriots. I think New England’s home field is worth more than 3 points, and so this line suggests that Kansas City is actually the better team. I beg to differ, and I think that shows on the field Sunday night.
No question the Chiefs have a great offense that is hitting on all cylinders. But I don’t think their offense is any more dynamic than New England’s currently. And there’s no doubt that the Patriots have the better defense, giving up 21.6 points and 366 yards per game. The Chiefs are giving up 25.8 points and 462 yards per game, ranking dead last in the NFL in total defense. You can’t rank last in total defense and be considered the best team in the NFL. It will catch up with them sooner rather than later, starting this week.
Last week’s 30-14 win over Jacksonville was a misleading final. The Jaguars racked up 502 total yards on the Chiefs, including 401 passing. But they committed five turnovers, including one that was returned for a touchdown, and several others that led to scores. Patrick Mahomes actually threw his first two interceptions of the season without a touchdown in that contest. The Chiefs were very fortunate to win as Blake Bortles simply gave the game away. Tom Brady won’t make those same mistakes, and he will score almost every time he touches the football against this putrid Kansas City defense.
Keep in mind the Patriots also want revenge from a 42-27 home loss to the Chiefs in their season opener last year. They were embarrassed in that game and have not forgotten. And if anyone can scheme up a game plan to stop Patrick Mahomes, especially with extra time to prepare, it’s certainly Bill Belichick.
New England is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games as a home favorite of 7 points or less, winning by 12.4 points per game on average. The Patriots are 7-0 ATS vs. excellent offensive teams that are averaging 6 or more yards per play over the last three seasons. New England is 7-0 ATS vs. poor pass defenses that allow 235 or more yards per game over the last two seasons. These three trends combine for a 23-1 system backing New England. Bet the Patriots Sunday night.
|10-14-18||Rams v. Broncos +7||Top||23-20||Win||100||96 h 26 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE MONTH on Denver Broncos +7
The Los Angeles Rams are 5-0 and the talk of the league right now. It seems as though everyone is already trying to crown them Super Bowl champs. But with that 5-0 start and all the hype comes expectations from oddsmakers that are tough for them to live up to.
The Rams were laying 7 points to the Vikings two weeks ago and won by 7. Then they were asked to lay 7 points on the road to the Seahawks last week and needed a last-second field goal to win 33-31. And now they’re once again being asked to lay 7 points on the road to the Denver Broncos this week.
The Rams have mounting injury problems right now. Both Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks were knocked out of that Seattle game with concussions and did not return in the second half. Tight end Tyler Higbee also suffered an injury that forced him out of action. All three players are questionable, leaving this offense lacking playmakers heading into this game with the Broncos.
Defensively, the Rams are missing cornerback Aqib Talib, and fellow corner Marcus Peters is playing through injury and was torched time and time again last week. This is a Rams defense that has not lived up to expectations, giving up a combined 62 points to the Vikings and Seahawks the last two weeks.
The Broncos come in hungry for a victory Sunday. They have lost three in a row, though two of those were on the road, and the other was at home to the unbeaten Chiefs. They are a much better home team, going 2-1 with wins over the Seahawks and Raiders. And they gave the Chiefs their toughest test of the season, actually leading by double-digits in the 4th quarter before losing 23-27. They were driving with a chance to win in the closing seconds.
Denver’s offense certainly has what it takes to move the ball and score points against this Rams’ defense. The Broncos rank 12th in the league in total offense at 393.4 yards per game. They will be able to run the football on the Rams just like the Seahawks did last week, rushing for 190 yards. The Rams are giving up 5.0 yards per carry this season. The Broncos are averaging 5.6 yards per carry as their running game has been the strength. Look for them to try and control the clock with their running game and keep Jared Goff off the field.
With the weather report, there’s no question the running game will be huge in this matchup. On Sunday there is a 90% chance of snow with a high of 28 degrees. That will help level the playing field here for the Broncos. The Rams are a warm-weather team and are clearly not used to those kinds of conditions. The Broncos are used to them, and that will be a huge advantage for them in this one.
Denver is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 home games vs. excellent teams that are outscoring opponents by 10-plus points per game. The Broncos are simply a different animal at home, and they’ll be fired up for this one with the undefeated Rams coming to town. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Take the Broncos Sunday.
|10-14-18||Steelers +2.5 v. Bengals||28-21||Win||100||70 h 3 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday UPSET SHOCKER on Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers sit at 2-2-1 on the season. They are 1.5 games behind the 4-1 Cincinnati Bengals. All of a sudden this is a much bigger game for the Steelers than it is for the Bengals. And because of that, among many other reasons, I think the Steelers will win this game outright simply because they need it more.
The Steelers simply own the Bengals. They are 6-0 SU & 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings. In fact, the Steelers are 8-1 in their last nine trips to Cincinnati. And Big Ben loves playing in his home state of Ohio. Big Ben is 25-4-1 in 30 career games in Ohio.
Back in the summer, the Steelers were -4 against the Bengals in this game. So from what we’ve seen through only five games, oddsmakers have made a 6.5-point adjustment off that number. I think there’s a ton of value here with the Steelers this week as they are the better team in this matchup.
The Bengals are getting respect because they are 4-1. However, they could easily be 0-5 instead. They got a late defensive touchdown against the Colts in Week 1 to seal that game. The only game they played well from the start was their Thursday night home win over the Ravens, but playing on Thursday night at home is a huge advantage as those teams are 5-0 this season.
The Bengals lost 21-31 on the road to the Panthers in Week 3. They scored on a last-second play to beat the Falcons 37-36, which was a Falcons team that was extremely banged up. And it’s worth noting the Steelers beat the Falcons 41-17 last week. And then last week the Bengals erased a 17-0 deficit at home to the Dolphins to win 27-17 thanks to a pair of late defensive touchdowns.
Plays against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Cincinnati) - with a poor first half defense that is allowing 14 or more points per game, after scoring 3 points or less in the first half last game are 33-11 (75%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. The Steelers are 24-9-2 ATS in their last 35 road games vs. a team with a winning record. The Steelers are 16-4-2 ATS in their last 22 meetings in Cincinnati.
This is a Bengals defense that is allowing 26.0 points and 394.8 yards per game this season. Again, they’re very fortunate to be 4-1 with that defense. The Steelers, who are averaging 28.6 points and 405 yards per game, will light them up this week. Roll with the Steelers Sunday.
|10-13-18||Miami-FL v. Virginia +7||Top||13-16||Win||100||67 h 59 m||Show|
20* ACC GAME OF THE MONTH on Virginia +7
Bronco Mendenhall has this Virginia Cavaliers program on the rise in his third season. They are off to a 3-2 start this year with their only losses coming on the road to Indiana (16-20) and NC State (21-35). They also beat Ohio 45-31 on a neutral field, and dominated their two home games with a 42-13 win over Richmond as 14.5-point favorites and a 27-3 thumping of Louisville as 4.5-point favorites.
Now the Cavaliers return home this week fresh off a bye, so they will be rested and ready to go. And they have made this a night game in Charlottesville, so the atmosphere will be electric with nationally ranked Miami coming to town. The Cavaliers are looking for that signature win under Mendenhall, and I think they have a great chance to get it given the situation Saturday night off the bye.
I think Miami is massively overrated right now. They lost their toughest game 17-33 to LSU in what was a 33-3 game until the Hurricanes tacked on two meaningless touchdowns late. Since then, their five wins have come against suspect competition in Savannah State, Toledo, FIU, UNC and Florida State. And they’ve had some lackluster efforts in there.
Miami only beat Florida International 31-17 at home as 26-point favorites three weeks ago. Then two weeks ago their 47-10 win over UNC was very misleading. They only outgained UNC by 25 yards in that contest and were the beneficiaries of 6 turnovers, 3 that were returned for touchdowns. And last week against Florida State they trailed 27-7 before rallying to win 28-27 as 14-point favorites.
I think that comeback will certainly have taken a lot out of the Hurricanes emotionally and physically. They are now in line for a hangover effect here against Virginia. It’s never easy playing the next week off a win against one of your biggest rivals, and the nature of the way they won that game will make it even more difficult this week. Virginia will simply want this game more than Miami.
Virginia also wants revenge from blowing a 28-14 lead in the 3rd quarter on the road at Miami last season. The Hurricanes scored the final 30 points in that game to win 44-28, but failed to cover the 20.5-point spread. Virginia actually outgained Miami 439 to 358 in that contest, or by 81 total yards. I think they’ll win the box score and the game this time around.
Virginia has a great defense that is giving up just 20.4 points per game and 325 total yards per game this season. Defense has always been a staple with Mendenhall-coached teams. But the reason the Cavaliers are so improved this season is that the offense is so much better. The Cavaliers are averaging 30.2 points and 418 yards per game this season. QB Bryce Perkins is completing 63.5% of his passes, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, and has an 11-to-4 TD/INT ratio. He is a dual-threat who has also rushed for 341 yards and three scores this year.
The Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning record. The Cavaliers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record. Virginia is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games following a bye week. The underdog is 12-2 ATS in the last 14 meetings. Don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers win this game outright. Roll with Virginia Saturday.
|10-13-18||West Virginia v. Iowa State +7||Top||14-30||Win||100||103 h 19 m||Show|
25* Big 12 GAME OF THE YEAR on Iowa State +7
The West Virginia Mountaineers are way overrated right now. They are off to a 5-0 start and currently ranked as the No. 6 team in the country. With that ranking comes respect from oddsmakers that they simply cannot live up to. They should not be laying a touchdown on the road to Iowa State this week.
For starters, WVU has played a soft schedule. The Mountaineers have played the 70th-ranked schedule in the country. Their five wins have come against Tennessee, Youngstown State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Kansas. They have played just one true road game this season, which was their 42-34 win at Texas Tech in which they won the turnover battler 3-0 that was the difference.
After covering the spread in each of their first four games, the Mountaineers came up short last week in a lackluster 38-22 home win over Kansas as 27.5-point favorites. Now they will be facing their stiffest test of the season on the road against a Cyclones team that just thrives in these big games against nationally ranked opponents.
Iowa State is undervalued after a 2-3 start to the season. But the Cyclones have played the 2nd-toughest schedule in the entire country. Despite this, they’ve had a chance to win all five games. They only lost by 10 at Iowa, by 10 to Oklahoma and by 3 to TCU. They went on the road and beat Oklahoma State 48-42 last week as 10-point underdogs. They have been a dog in four of five games thus far, so to get through at 2-3 with a chance to win every game is actually a nice accomplishment.
And now the Cyclones will be battle-tested here and not phased with No. 6 WVU coming to town. After all, they beat two Top 10 opponents last season. They beat Oklahoma on the road and TCU at home last year. Matt Campbell is a tremendous coach who thrives in the underdog role. Campbell is 16-5 ATS as an underdog in his last 21 games as the coach of Iowa State.
Iowa State has a very good defense that is giving up just 350 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play against opponents that average 438 yards per game and 6.4 per play, holding them to 88 yards and 1.3 yards per play less than their season averages. This is by far the best defense that WVU will have faced this season.
After struggling a little on offense the first four games, the Cyclones made the switch at quarterback to freshman Brock Purdy against Oklahoma State. And boy did it pay off. Purdy led the Cyclones to 48 points in the upset of the Cowboys last week while completing several beautiful deep balls. Purdy finished 18-of-23 passing for 318 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 84 yards and a score. It was the best freshman QB debut in Cyclone history, and the future is bright for this program with him at the helm.
The Cyclones are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 vs. a team with a winning record. Iowa State is 21-6-1 ATS in its last 28 games overall. The Cyclones are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game. Iowa State is 9-1 ATS vs. excellent passing teams that average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. Dana Holgorsen is 0-8 ATS after covering the spread in three of his last four games as the coach of West Virginia. He has never covered in this spot. Bet Iowa State Saturday.
|10-13-18||UCLA v. California -7||37-7||Loss||-110||71 h 14 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on California -7
This feels like a get right game for the Cal Golden Bears. They have lost the last two weeks to Oregon and Arizona. They gave both those games away by committing a combined 9 turnovers. I can only think that the emphasis all week will be taking care of the football, because if they do they should roll UCLA at home Saturday night.
The 17-24 loss at Arizona last week was particularly misleading. Cal outgained Arizona by 211 total yards. But the Wildcats got two defensive touchdowns to swing the game in their favor. This elite Cal defense held Arizona to just 10 points and 265 total yards. They will shut down a poor UCLA offense this week.
UCLA is 0-5 this season. The Bruins have played a tough schedule, no question, but they’re also not very good. And they’ve rarely been competitive as all five of their losses have come by 7 points or more. They trailed by 17 to Washington last week but made it interesting in the end, losing 24-31. I think the fact that they kept the final score close is earning them too much respect now from oddsmakers this week. And it was a deflating loss that they will probably suffer a hangover from.
Turnovers shouldn’t be a problem for Cal against UCLA. After all, the Bruins have only forced five turnovers in five games this season. They aren’t big on takeaways. And I just don’t know how UCLA is going to score against Cal’s defense, which is giving up just 331 yards per game and 4.9 per play. UCLA’s offense is only averaging 18.4 points, 334 yards per game and 5.1 per play this season.
The last time at Cal in 2016 the Bears rolled to a 36-10 victory as 3-point underdogs. They outgained the Bruins 496 to 260 in that contest. I think we see a similar beat down here, especially with the Bears coming off two straight losses and wanting revenge from a 27-30 road loss at UCLA last year.
The Bruins are 14-34 ATS in their last 48 October road games. UCLA is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games following an ATS win. UCLA is 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games. The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Cal is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight home games. The Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a losing record. The home team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. The Bears are 5-0 ATS int heir last five home meetings with the Bruins. Bet Cal Saturday.
|10-13-18||Houston v. East Carolina +16||42-20||Loss||-106||67 h 49 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on East Carolina +16
The Houston Cougars have been an overvalued commodity this season. They should not be laying 16 points on the road to an improved East Carolina squad that is fully capable of making a game out of this based off everything I’ve seen this season.
Houston opened the season with a 45-27 win at Rice as 25-point favorites. But the Cougars actually trailed in that game 27-17 midway through the second quarter before scoring the final 28 points. Their win over Arizona doesn’t look that impressive now, and they lost 49-63 at Texas Tech. A win over Texas Southern is nothing to brag about. And last week they actually trailed 26-17 in the 4th quarter at home to Tulsa before scoring the final 24 points to win 41-26 as 17-point favorites. Tulsa gave them two free touchdowns on turnovers late to turn a near-upset into a semi-blowout.
East Carolina has beaten UNC 41-29 as 15-point underdogs, while also going on the road and giving South Florida all they could handle in a 13-20 loss as 19-point underdogs. In fact, ECU actually outgained each of its first four opponents by 113 or more yards. That’s why I’m saying their 6-49 loss at Temple last week was clearly the aberration, not the norm for this team. And that blowout loss clearly has them undervalued heading into this matchup with Houston, catching more points than they should be.
Last year, Houston won 52-27 at home over East Carolina as 24.5-point favorites, covering by a half a point. But that was a misleading final as well. ECU actually outgained Houston 504 to 472 in that contest. But the Pirates lost the turnover battle 3-0. And there’s no question the Pirates are a lot better than they were a year ago, while the Cougars aren’t nearly as good, especially with their leaky defense that is giving up 29.6 points and 488 yards per game this season. ECU is only allowing 340 yards per game this year.
Houston is 0-6 ATS off a home win over the last two seasons. The Cougars are 1-8 ATS in road games after the first month of the season over the last three seasons. Houston is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games. The Cougars are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 conference games. The home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Take East Carolina Saturday.
|10-13-18||Washington v. Oregon +3.5||Top||27-30||Win||100||72 h 51 m||Show|
20* Washington/Oregon Pac-12 No-Brainer on Oregon +3.5
The Oregon Ducks should be 5-0 this season. They blew a 24-7 lead in the second half against Stanford a few weeks ago and eventually lost in overtime. Several fluky things went against them, and they simply could have kneeled on the ball at the end and won. Instead, they fumbled and Stanford scored to tie it, and the rest was history.
Almost everyone was on California the next week against Oregon, thinking the Ducks wouldn’t be able to recover from that loss. Instead, the Ducks showed a lot of heart, throttling California 42-24 on the road. It was a Cal team that was coming off a bye, so it was a great performance for the Ducks.
Now the Ducks have had a bye week to get ready for a Washington team that was in a dog fight last week in a 31-24 win over UCLA as 21-point favorites. They only outgained the Bruins by 40 yards in that contest, and that’s a UCLA team that is currently 0-5. The Huskies only beat Arizona State by 7 at home as 18-point favorites earlier this year. And they lost at Auburn, and that loss looks a lot worse now after Auburn went on to lose to LSU at home and Mississippi State on the road.
I think the Huskies are starting to run out of gas a little because they will be playing for a 7th consecutive week, and that started to show in the second half last week against UCLA. Now the Ducks will put their fatigue to the test with their spread-option, up-tempo offense. QB Justin Herbert is leading an Oregon offense that is putting up 46 points and 504 yards per game this season.
The Ducks have been an elite team with a healthy Herbert under center. Jake Browning is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the country. He leads a Washington offense that is averaging just 29 points pre game this season. Running back Myles Gaskins is banged up, and Browning is lacking weapons on the outside. Clearly Oregon has the supreme offense in this matchup.
Washington’s defense is very good, there’s no question about it, but they did give up 24 points and 422 total yards to a very bad UCLA offense last week. Again, it was a sign that they are starting to show some fatigue. I think Oregon coming off a bye this week is a huge advantage, and it’s going to be a great atmosphere at Autzen Stadium with essentially the Pac-12 North title on the line in this matchup.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Oregon) - in a game involving two teams who are outgaining opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 29-7 (80.6%) ATS over the last five seasons. Take Oregon Saturday.
|10-13-18||Ohio v. Northern Illinois -3.5||21-24||Loss||-110||63 h 19 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Northern Illinois -3.5
The Northern Illinois Huskies headed into MAC play grossly undervalued. That’s because they went 0-3 in non-conference play against a brutal schedule. They lost to the likes of Iowa, Utah and Florida State with two of those games on the road. And I think they continue to be undervalued here as only 3.5-point home favorites over Ohio.
It’s no surprise that NIU is 3-0 in MAC play this season because they are still one of the best teams in this conference. They beat Central Michigan 24-16 at home before going not he road and topping Eastern Michigan 26-23 and Ball State 24-16. And now they return home here against an Ohio team that has been getting way too much respect from oddsmakers.
Ohio is 3-2, but it has been outgained in four of its five games this season. The most concerning game was the 38-32 home victory over Howard as 30.5-point favorites in the opener. The Bobcats were outgained by 220 yards in that game and should have lost. They were also outgained by 188 yards in their 31-45 loss at Virginia. And last week they only beat Kent State 27-26 as 11-point favorites and were outgained by 58 yards.
The problem with backing Ohio is that they play no defense. They are giving up 35.8 points, 509 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play this season against opponents that only average 435 yards per game and 5.8 per play. They are allowing 74 yards and 1.4 yards per play more than their opponents average this season. They simply cannot stop anyone, and even NIU is in line for its biggest offensive output of the season this week.
Conversely, Northern Illinois has probably the best defense in the MAC. The Huskies are only giving up 23.7 points, 356 yards per game and 4.4 yards per play this season. That’s despite playing three elite Power 5 programs in Iowa, Utah and FSU already. And they’ve also shut down two very good MAC offenses in EMU and Ball State while also holding a bad CMU offense to 16 points.
Another concern for Ohio is that starting QB Nathan Rourke is banged up and battling a shoulder injury right now, leaving his status up in the air for this game. He is the heart and soul of this team, averaging 8.7 has per pass attempt and 7.8 per rush attempt while rushing for 391 yards and three scores this season. Early indications are that he will likely suit up, but he clearly won’t be 100%. If he doesn’t play then this is an absolute certainty that NIU wins and covers.
Ohio is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 road games vs. good rushing defenses that allow 3.25 or fewer yards per carry. Northern Illinois is 10-2 ATS vs. poor passing defenses that allow 58% completions or worse over the last three seasons. The Bobcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. The Huskies are 14-6-1 ATS in their last 21 after accumulating more than 200 rushing yards in their previous game. Roll with Northern Illinois Saturday.
|10-13-18||Georgia v. LSU +7.5||16-36||Win||100||63 h 19 m||Show|
15* Georgia/LSU SEC ANNIHILATOR on LSU +7.5
The LSU Tigers just can’t get any love this season. They have opened 5-1 with wins over the likes of Miami, at Auburn and home against Ole Miss. They were up 33-3 on Miami on a neutral, they outgained Auburn by 42 yards in a 22-21 road win at 10-point dogs, and they crushed Ole Miss 45-16 as 11.5-point home favorites.
Last week’s 19-27 loss to Florida has everyone writing off LSU. I’m not one of those people. I was on Florida in that game and felt it was a great spot for the Gators, and I’m on record saying that Florida was an SEC title contender coming into the season. And that game was up for grabs in the final seconds before the Gators got a defensive touchdown. Florida only outgained LSU by 19 yards.
There’s no question LSU has played the more more difficult schedule between these teams. In fact, the Tigers have played the 13th-toughest schedule this season. Georgia has played just the 62nd-toughest. I think the Bulldogs are way overvalued right now due to their No. 2 ranking and their 6-0 start. Their six wins have come against Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
I would have to say their toughest game was at Missouri. And they only won 43-29 as 14-point favorites. Georgia only outgained Missouri by 52 yards in that contest. I have no doubt that this road game at LSU is the most difficult game thus far on their schedule. And there’s nothing like the home-field advantage the Tigers have in Death Valley.
LSU is never more than a touchdown home underdog due to their home-field advantage. The only times they’ve been priced in this range in the past decade was against Tim Tebow’s Florida team and two times against Alabama. No question Georgia is a great team, but they are not good enough to be laying more than a touchdown on the road here to the Tigers in the Bayou.
LSU is a perfect 9-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. It is actually winning by 18.9 points per game in this spot and holding those teams to just 16.0 points per game. The Tigers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine conference games. Bet LSU Saturday.
|10-12-18||South Florida v. Tulsa +7.5||25-24||Win||100||57 h 22 m||Show|
15* USF/Tulsa AAC ANNIHILATOR on Tulsa +7.5
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Tulsa and ‘sell high’ on South Florida in this AAC showdown Friday night. I like the Golden Hurricane catching more than a touchdown at home to the Bulls in a game that they have an excellent chance to win outright.
Tulsa is better than its 1-4 record would indicate. The Golden Hurricane are actually outgaining their opponents by 17 yards per game this season despite that record, and they have an improved defense that is allowing just 381 yards per game. The problem with them has been turnovers as they’ve committed 16 already through five games and it will be a point of emphasis this week.
South Florida is 5-0, but not nearly as good as its record would indicate. The Bulls are only outgaining their opponents by 54 yards per game. And they’ve played a much easier schedule than Tulsa as their five wins have come against Elon, Georgia Tech, Illinois, ECU and UMass. They only beat Illinois by 6 and ECU by 7, they were outgained by Georgia Tech by 176 yards and by ECU by 116 yards. And they needed a big 4th quarter comeback to beat Illinois.
Tulsa’s four losses have come to Texas, Arkansas State, Temple and Houston. They were competitive in all four of those games. They only lost by 7 to Texas and by 9 to Arkansas State. They outgained Temple by 103 yards despite losing by 14 thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns. And they led Houston on the road last week 26-17 in the 4th quarter before giving up 24 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes.
Tulsa knows that if it is going to challenge for a bowl game, it starts with a win this week against South Florida. And the Golden Hurricane have the rest advantage after playing last Thursday, so they have had seven days to get ready for this game. USF played on Saturday in a 58-42 shootout at UMass and will be the more fatigued team here having just five days to get ready for Tulsa.
Last year, Tulsa only lost 20-27 at South Florida as 23.5-point underdogs. And that was a much better USF team that lost a lot from last year. And Tulsa is certainly better this season than last with 15 returning starters from a squad that went 2-10. The Golden Hurricane will be out for revenge at home this time around, and they’ll be excited welcoming a Top 25 team in a nationally televised Friday night game.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Tulsa) - off two consecutive losses by 10 points or more to conference opponents, in October games are 26-6 (81.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Golden Hurricane are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 vs. a team with a winning record. They just come up big time and time again against teams they appear overmatched by. Roll with Tulsa Friday.
|10-11-18||Eagles v. Giants OVER 43.5||34-13||Win||100||35 h 42 m||Show|
15* Eagles/Giants NFC East Total DOMINATOR on OVER 43.5
Both Philadelphia and New York have shown signs of life offensively in recent weeks. I think this is a pretty low total at 43.5 tonight for an NFL game that features two offenses with plenty of playmakers. Look for this game to sail OVER the total Thursday night.
The Eagles now have three games with Carson Wentz at quarterback. They have been moving the football just fine with Wentz and should continue to do so against the Giants this week. They had 382 yards against the Colts, 432 against the Titans and 364 against the Vikings the last three weeks, respectively. And they have topped 20 points in all three games.
The Giants got off to a rough start offensively this season against two great defenses in Jacksonvilleand Dallas. But they have been much sharper the last three weeks. They scored 27 with 379 total yards against Houston in Week 3. And last week they scored 31 with 432 total yards against Carolina.
The biggest problem for the Giants has been their defense, which has given up at least 20 points in every game, including 33 each the last two weeks to the Saints and Panthers. And it’s not like the Eagles have been great defensively as they have given up 23, 26, and 27 points in three of their last four games coming in.
The Giants can’t run the ball, but that’s not a problem because the Eagles can’t stop the pass, giving up 277 yards per game. The Eagles are good against the run, so the Giants won’t even test it that much. This is a game that will be played mostly through the air, especially with the injuries the Eagles have at running back. That will lead to more clock stoppages and ultimately more points.
The OVER is 5-0 in the last five meetings. The Giants and Eagles have combined for 63, 51, 43, 51 and 65 points in their last five meetings, respectively. That’s an average of 54.6 combined points per game, which is roughly 11 points per game more than this 43.5-point total. There’s clearly value with the OVER here tonight. Take the OVER in this game Thursday.
|10-11-18||Texas Tech v. TCU UNDER 62||Top||17-14||Win||100||34 h 52 m||Show|
20* Texas Tech/TCU Big 12 No-Brainer on UNDER 62
Both Texas Tech and TCU have quarterback injuries heading into this one that makes me like the UNDER quite a bit. Tech starter Alan Bowman suffered a collapsed lung last game and is highly questionable, and his backed McLane Carter is also questionable with an ankle injury. TCU starter Shawn Robinson is battling a shoulder injury, and even though he’s probable he may not start Thursday.
Regardless, this has been an UNDER series the past two years. TCU won 27-24 (OT) in 2016 for 51 combined points, but they scored 17 in overtime so there were just 34 combined points at the end of regulation. And then last year TCU won 27-3 for 30 combined points. It’s clear to me that this 62-point total has been set way too high Thursday night.
I also like the fact that both teams come in off bye weeks and on extra rest. That extra time to prepare certainly favors the defenses more than the offenses. There will be no element of surprise for these two teams because they’ll know each other so well. And Texas Tech has an improved defense this year, while TCU has one of the best defenses in the country once again.
The Horned Frogs are giving up just 304 yards per game and 4.5 yards per play against opponents that average 380 yards per game and 5.5 yards per play. Texas Tech has faced some great offenses this year, so the numbers haven’t been as good. But they are giving up 6.2 yards per play against teams that average 6.5 yards per play, so they have actually been better than average. And they should be able to contain a suspect TCU offense that is managing just 415 yards per game this season.
TCU is 10-1 UNDER off a win against a conference opponent over the last three seasons. The Horned Frogs are 11-1 UNDER vs. poor passing defenses that are allowing 250 or more passing yards per game over the last three seasons. The UNDER is 4-1 in Red Raiders last five road games. The UNDER is 21-6 in Horned Frogs last 27 conference games. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-09-18||Appalachian State v. Arkansas State +10.5||Top||35-9||Loss||-105||8 h 14 m||Show|
20* App State/Ark State Sun Belt No-Brainer on Arkansas State +10.5
The Arkansas State Red Wolves are getting zero respect from oddsmakers here as 10-point home underdogs to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. This is a team that has dominated the Sun Belt, winning at least a share of the conference title five of the last six years while going 40-7 in Sun Belt play over that time frame. Simply put, they are better than everyone else in the Sun Belt.
The Red Wolves have opened 3-2 against a tough schedule. Their two losses came on the road at Alabama and at Georgia Southern 21-28 in the closing seconds. And that means they are 0-1 in Sun Belt play to open the season, so they’ll be extra motivated here to avoid falling to 0-2. They also went on the road and got a big win at Tulsa while also beating a good UNLV team at home.
Appalachian State deserves some credit for taking Penn State to overtime in the opener. But there’s no question they are overvalued now because of it, especially after three straight blowout wins over Charlotte, Gardner Webb and South Alabama since. Well, Gardner Webb is an FCS school, and Charlotte and South Alabama are two of the worst FBS programs in the country. This is a huge step up in class for the Mountaineers tonight.
Arkansas State is a veteran squad that returned all of its top playmakers from an offense that put up 37.8 points and 495 yards per game last season. They are still averaging 474 yards per game this season, but the points haven’t been there at 26.4 per game, and I think they’re undervalued because of it. And their defense has been solid in giving up just 393 yards per game despite the brutal schedule.
Senior QB Justice Hansen is probably one of the best quarterbacks you’ve never heard of for the Red Wolves. He is completing 64.8% of his passes for 1,329 yards with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio this season. He has also rushed for 192 yards and two scores. He has a plethora of weapons outside with the top two receivers back from last year in Justin McInnis (23 receptions, 233 yards, 2 TD) and Omar Bayless (13, 216, 1 TD), as well as Oregon transfer Kirk Merritt (29, 238, 1 TD).
The Red Wolves are 37-17-1 ATS in their last 55 conference games. Arkansas State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a bye week. The Red Wolves are 7-0 ATS in October games over the last three seasons, winning by 23.4 points per game on average. Take Arkansas State Tuesday.
|10-08-18||Redskins +7 v. Saints||Top||19-43||Loss||-120||164 h 52 m||Show|
20* Redskins/Saints ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Washington +7
I believe the Washington Redskins are one of the most underrated teams in the NFL at this point in the season. They are off to a 2-1 start with a 24-6 blowout win at Arizona and a dominant 31-17 home win over Green Bay. Their only loss came 9-21 at home to Indianapolis, but it’s worth noting they outgained the Colts by 53 yards in that contest.
In fact, when you look at the numbers, the Redskins have been one of the best teams in the NFL to this point. They are averaging 383 yards per game and 5.9 yards per play on offense, while giving up just 278 yards pre game and 4.9 yards per play on defense. They are outgaining their opponents by 105 yards per game and 1.0 yards per play.
What I love about this Redskins team is that they are excellent in the trenches on both side of the ball. The run the ball and stop the run. They are averaging 138 rushing yards per game behind a rejuvenated Adrian Peterson, who will be chomping at the bit to face his former team in the Saints, who cut him last year. And they are giving up just 91 rushing yards per game, while also being dominant against the pass, allowing just 187 passing yards per game.
I think the Saints come into this game overvalued off back-to-back wins and covers on the road against the Falcons (in OT) and the Giants. Everyone is beating the Giants, and the Falcons are decimated with injuries. People are quick to forget that the Saints were upset by the Bucs 48-40 as 10-point favorites and should have lost to the Browns in a 21-18 win as 9.5-point favorites in their two home games.
Now the Saints are being asked to lay a full touchdown here to the Redskins, who I believe to be one of the better teams in the NFL. And this is a Redskins team that will be fresh and ready to go off their bye week. That bye week came at a good time because they had some injuries along the offensive line, but now they are very healthy compared to most teams.
Alex Smith should be able to pick apart this New Orleans defense that is giving up 390 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play, including 311 passing yards per game and 9.3 per attempt. Alex Smith is completing 68.8% of his passes and averaging 8.0 yards per attempt. He has a 4-to-1 TD/INT ratio and simply does not make mistakes. He is also one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the NFL as he wins everywhere he goes.
New Orleans is 12-32 ATS in its last 44 home games off a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better. The Redskins are 4-0 ATS in their last four games after gaining more than 350 yards in their previous game. The Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. New Orleans is 1-5 ATS in its last six Monday games.
The Redskins are 4-2 SU and a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings with the Saints. They were underdogs in five of those games, and both of their losses came by exactly 3 points in overtime, including a 31-34 road loss as 9.5-point underdogs last season. They simply have the Saints’ number. Bet the Redskins Monday.
|10-07-18||Cowboys v. Texans -3||Top||16-19||Push||0||140 h 59 m||Show|
20* Cowboys/Texans NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Houston -3
The Houston Texans saved their season with a 37-34 overtime win at Indianapolis last week. They picked up their first win of the year, and now they get two home games back-to-back against Dallas and Buffalo that can get them right back in the playoff conversation. They are going to be ‘all in’ here for this game against the Cowboys Sunday night.
There’s no question in my mind that the Texans are better than their 1-3 record. That’s why I was on them last week to beat the Colts, and I’m on them again this week to beat the Cowboys. The Texans are outgaining opponents by 32 yards per game this season. Their offense is certainly not broken, as they are averaging 414 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play. And Deshaun Watson finally looked real comfortable against the Colts last week. And JJ Watt looks like his old dominant self again.
The Cowboys certainly don’t have the firepower to match the Texans on offense. Dallas is averaging just 16.7 points and 312 yards per game. And that’s even after they had their best offensive output of the season against the Lions last week. The Panthers, Giants and Seahawks all shut them down, and I expect the Texans to be able to do the same thing with Watt and company. Stopping Ezekiel Elliott is the key to stopping Dallas, and the Texans are only giving up 94 rushing yards per game and 3.5 per carry this season. Dallas only averages 166 passing yards per game, so it won’t be able to take advantage of what has been the weakness of the Texans in their secondary.
The Cowboys are 0-2 on the road this season. They are scoring just 10.5 points per game and averaging 267.5 yards per game on the highway. Houston has been dealt a tough schedule with three of its first four games on the road, so they will be happy to be playing a home game here Sunday night.
This Dallas defense is certainly improved this season. However, injuries are starting to take their toll. The Cowboys are now without their most important defender in Sean Lee, who is the quarterback of their defense at linebacker. Last year, opponents averaged 6.0 yards per play when Lee was off the field, and 4.5 yards per play when he was on it. He makes sure everyone is in the right place at all times, while also making a ton of plays himself. The loss of Lee cannot be overstated.
Bill O’Brien is 16-5 ATS vs. awful pass defenses that allow a completion percentage of 64% or worse as the coach of Houston. Jason Garrett is 7-17 ATS when playing against a team with a winning percentage of 25% to 40% as the coach of Dallas. Take the Texans Sunday.
|10-07-18||Packers v. Lions +1.5||23-31||Win||100||99 h 35 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday UPSET SHOCKER on Detroit Lions +1.5
The Detroit Lions are desperate for a win Sunday to save their season. They have opened 1-3 with two road losses to San Francisco and Dallas by a combined 5 points. That’s how close they are to being 3-1. I think they are undervalued right now because of their record because they are clearly a better team than that.
They show that with their dominant 26-10 home win over the New England Patriots in Week 3. Their backs were against the wall after an 0-2 start and they responded. I think this is a similar situation here. Look for the Lions to put their best foot forward this week against a division rival in the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay is overvalued off its 2-1-1 start. Well, the Packers have played three of their first four games at home. And they are fortunate that they aren’t 1-3 as well. They needed to overcome a 20-3 deficit to beat the Bears 24-23 as 7-point favorites in Week 1. They tied the Vikings 29-29 at home in Week 2 with the Vikings missing some easy field goals. And their 22-0 win over the Bills last week is nothing to be proud of.
Green Bay failed miserably in its only road game this season. The Packers went into Washington as 2.5-point favorites and came away with a 17-31 loss. They are once again short road favorites here when they shouldn’t be. Aaron Rodgers is still hobbled, and he could be without two of his top receivers in Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. The defense is weak once again this season, and the Packers can’t be favored here.
The Lions have actually had the Packers’ number in recent meetings. They are 5-4 SU & 5-4 ATS in the last night meetings with three of their losses coming by a touchdown or less. The Lions are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. NFC opponents. The Packers are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. NFC foes. Detroit is 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a loss.
Plays against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 (Green Bay) - after allowing 6 points or less last game against an opponent that is coming off a loss by 3 points or less are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1983. Take the Lions Sunday.
|10-07-18||Titans v. Bills +5.5||12-13||Win||100||42 h 2 m||Show|
15* AFC GAME OF THE DAY on Buffalo Bills +5.5
The Tennessee Titans are way overvalued after their 3-1 start to the season. All three of hitter wins came by exactly 3 points, and now they’re being asked to go on the road and lay 5.5 points to the Buffalo Bills this week. That’s simply too much, and it’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Titans and ‘buy low’ on the Bills.
The Titans have been outgained by an average of 49 yards per game this season. Their offense has been putrid in averaging 18.7 points, 312 yards per game and 5.1 yards per play. And their defense is giving up 361 yards per game and 6.0 yards per play. This team isn’t nearly as good as their 3-1 record would suggest.
And I think the Titans are primed for a letdown here. They are coming off a shocking upset of the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles, which followed up their 9-6 win over the Jaguars the week before. Coming off those two wins, there’s no way they get up for the Buffalo Bills this week. And teams who are on the road following a win over the defending Super Bowl champ are 16-38 ATS since 1992.
The Bills come in undervalued off their shutout loss to the Green Bay Packers last week. They were in for a letdown following their 27-6 road win over Minnesota in Week 3, which showed what they are capable of. And the Bills have played three of their first four games on the road this season. They were competitive in their only home game in a 20-31 loss to the Chargers, and keep in mind that was Josh Allen’s first start at quarterback. Now he has three games under his belt and is a lot more comfortable.
Buffalo does have a capable defense that is giving up 358 yards per game and 5.6 yards per play, numbers that are better than what Tennessee has given up. And the Bills have faced some very good offenses in the Ravens, Chargers, Vikings and Packers thus far. Tennessee is by far the weakest offense they have faced yet, and I look for them to shut the Titans down here.
Tennessee is 0-8 ATS in road games after gaining 6 or more yards per play in their previous game over the past three seasons. It is losing by 13.6 points per game on average in this spot. Plays against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (Tennessee) - off an upset win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing against a losing team are 36-13 (73.5%) ATS since 1983. Roll with the Bills Sunday.
|10-07-18||Wyoming v. Hawaii -3||Top||13-17||Win||100||55 h 3 m||Show|
20* Wyoming/Hawaii MWC Late-Night BAILOUT on Hawaii -3
I faded Hawaii with success last Saturday as I backed San Jose State +10 at home against the Warriors. And that game went into overtime as SJSU easily covered, but Hawaii won outright 44-41. Well, that was a dream spot for SJSU coming off a bye and with Hawaii coming to the mainland.
However, I think this is now a dream spot for the Warriors. They will be playing with a ton of momentum from that OT win that improved them to 5-1 this season. And now fans back home in Hawaii are excited, and it should be a great atmosphere for them at home against Wyoming this week.
I certainly felt the Warriors were overvalued last week, and that has shown of late as they are just 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games overall. Now the public is off of them, and I think the value is back with them now as only 3-point favorites here. Plus, their only loss came on the road 21-28 at Army, and we’ve seen Army take Oklahoma to overtime as 28.5-point underdogs and crush Buffalo 42-13 as an underdog. Clearly, that loss to Army doesn’t look so bad now.
Hawaii is 3-0 at home this season with three double-digit wins over Navy (59-41), Rice (43-29) and Duquesne (42-21). The Warriors boast an explosive offense that is putting up 42.0 points and 495.8 yards per game this season, including 48.0 points and 507.0 yards per game at home. They clearly have a huge edge on offense over Wyoming.
Wyoming is off to a 2-3 start this season. Its two wins came against New Mexico State 29-7 and Wofford 17-14. Well, NMSU is 1-4 this season with four double-digit losses and their only win coming against UTEP. And that 17-14 win over FCS foe Wofford is clearly a concern for the Cowboys.
Wyoming’s three losses have all come in blowout fashion. They lost at home to Washington State 19-41, at Missouri 13-40 and at home to Boise State 14-34 last week. They were even coming off a bye. This is a Wyoming offense that is only averaging 18.4 points, 304 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season. There’s no way they can keep up with Hawaii in this one.
One key factor here that is certainly getting overlooked is Wyoming lost its punter to a season-ending injury in that loss to Boise State last week. Tim Zaleski suffered a torn ACL. He started all 18 games since the start of last season, averaging 39.9 yards per punt. That leaves junior Ryan Galovich, who had not punted in a game until last week. His lone career punt covered only 27 yards in the fourth quarter last week after Zaleski went down.
“Losing your punter is a big, big hit,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bowl said. “We’re going to need to absorb that and make some plans.” With how poor this Wyoming offense has been, they’re going to need their punter a lot this week against Hawaii. And the Warriors should get plenty of short fields for their offense to take advantage of as a result.
Plays against underdogs of 3 to 10 points (Wyoming) - after having lost two of their last three games against an opponent that’s won four of their last five games are 41-12 (77.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Warriors will improve to 6-1 Saturday night and get back in the ATS win column with ease. Roll with Hawaii Saturday.
|10-06-18||Kentucky v. Texas A&M -5.5||14-20||Win||100||50 h 60 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Texas A&M -5.5
The No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats are starting to get some accolades. And now they will be looking to open a season 6-0 for the first time since 1950. I don’t see it happening Saturday as they finally meet their match against Texas A&M and the 12th man at Kyle Field. It will be a hostile atmosphere for the Wildcats for this Saturday night game under the bright lights.
Kentucky has had the fortune of playing four of its first five games at home. The Wildcats’ lone road game was an upset win at Florida, which was clearly impressive, but they caught the Gators in the second week of the season when they weren’t hitting on all cylinders under a new head coach. And they simply wanted that game more as they had lost 31 straight previously to Florida.
I’ve been a lot more impressed with Texas A&M despite just a 3-2 start. Well, the two losses came to a pair of playoff contenders in Clemson and Alabama, and they covered the spread in both games. They only lost 26-28 at home to Clemson as 11.5-point underdogs, and 23-45 at Alabama as 24-point dogs. I’m willing to forgive them for their 24-17 win as 20-point favorites against Arkansas last week because it was a hangover spot from the Alabama loss.
Jimbo Fisher has been quick to call out his team for that poor performance against Arkansas. Look for them to respond in a big way here. And Fisher will be going against his pupil in Mark Stoops, who was the defensive coordinator under Fisher as Florida State. I give a big advantage to the teacher over the pupil in this head coaching matchup.
Both teams have great defenses, but I give Texas A&M the edge on offense. The Aggies are averaging 36 points, 512 yards per game and 6.7 yards per play this season behind a balanced attack that averages 232 rushing yards and 280 passing yards per game despite the brutal schedule. Kentucky is only averaging 407 yards per game.
This one-dimensional Kentucky offense will cost them this week. The Wildcats are only averaging 153 passing yards per game this season. They have relied heavily on Benny Snell and the running game, which has averaged 254 yards per game and 5.8 per carry. Fisher will be locked in on trying to stop Snell, and there’s no question Texas A&M has the goods to do it.
Indeed, the Aggies are only allowing 81 rushing yards per game and 3.1 per carry this season against teams that average 157 yards per game and 4.8 per carry. Just look at what they did to Clemson and Alabama. The Aggies held Clemson to just 115 rushing yards on 32 carries, and Alabama to 109 rushing yards on 28 carries. They are 3rd in the country in stopping the run this season, and they’ve played some great running teams thus far. It’s impressive to say the least.
Texas A&M is a perfect 8-0 ATS off a home game over the last two seasons. Plays against any team (Kentucky) - after beating the spread by 49 or more points in their last five games, a team that wins 80% or more of their games against a good team that wins 60% to 80% are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Wildcats are simply overvalued right now due to their 5-0 start and Top 25 ranking. Roll with Texas A&M Saturday.
|10-06-18||Florida State +14 v. Miami-FL||27-28||Win||100||47 h 2 m||Show|
15* FSU/Miami ACC No-Brainer on Florida State +14
It was going to take some time for Willie Taggart to get Florida State back to an ACC title contender. The Seminoles were decimated by injuries last season and barely made a bowl game. And they have started just 3-2 this season with ugly losses to Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
However, now we are nearing the midway point of the season, and it’s clear Taggart hasn’t lost his team. The fruits of his labor have started to show the past two weeks. After crushing Northern Illinois 37-19 despite losing the turnover battle 4-0, they went on the road last week and pulled out a gutsy comeback victory at Louisville 28-24. Taggart clearly hasn’t lost his players, and this team will be feeling good about themselves and 100% focused going up against rival Miami this week.
I think Miami comes into this game way overvalued due to a four-game winning streak since their ugly 17-33 loss to LSU in the opener. Well, the four wins have come against Savannah State, Toledo, FIU and UNC. And they only beat FIU 31-17 as 26-point home favorites.
I also believe Miami’s misleading 47-10 win over North Carolina last week has them overvalued as well. That was a much closer game than the final score showed. UNC committed six turnovers, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Miami only outgained UNC by 25 yards in that game. The Hurricanes deserved to probably win by two touchdowns, but not by 37 points. And because of the misleading final, they’re now being asked to lay 14 points to an FSU team that will be the most talented squad they’ve faced since that 16-point loss to LSU.
The recent series history shows that there’s no way Miami should be favored by 14 points. Florida State is 8-2 SU in the last 10 meetings with Miami’s two wins coming by 4 points each, including last year’s last-second 24-20 win that will have FSU out for revenge. In fact, Miami hasn’t beaten Florida State by more than 8 points in any of the last 17 meetings, making for a 17-0 system backing the Seminoles pertaining to this 14-point spread. The last time Miami won by this kind of margin was their 49-27 win in 2001.
Mark Richt is 1-9 ATS in home games off two consecutive home wins in all games he has coached. His teams are only winning by 5.9 points per game in this spot. Taggart is 23-9 ATS as a road underdog in all games he has coached. Taggart is 10-2 ATS off a win by 6 points or less in all games he has coached. The underdog is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Bet Florida State Saturday.
|10-06-18||LSU v. Florida +3||Top||19-27||Win||100||47 h 52 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Florida +3
There’s no question LSU came into the season undervalued. I wasn’t very high on them coming into the season either, but fortunately I’ve only faded them once, and I won that bet when I did on Louisiana Tech +21 in Week 4. And I’m now ready to fade them again this week.
LSU is starting to get that respect now that they are 5-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country. With that ranking comes expectations that are tough to live up to. They are now being asked to go on the road and lay points to the Florida Gators. Well, I believe Florida is the better team, and they’re at home.
I was really high on the Gators coming into the season. I thought they’d have a chance to win the SEC. And with the way they are going right now, they certainly will have a chance. They have gone 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS in this season with their only loss coming to Kentucky, which doesn’t look that bad now.
Florida beat Colorado State 48-10 as 21.5-point home favorites, won at Tennessee 47-21 as 4.5-point favorites, and upset Mississippi State 13-6 as 7-point road underdogs the past three weeks. The Gators keep getting better with each game. They are the most experienced team in the SEC with 19 returning starters, while LSU is the least-experienced team in the SEC with just 10 starters back.
And those returning starters remember their 17-16 loss to LSU last season. Florida was a much weaker team last year than they are this year due to all the injuries and suspensions. But they’re a lot healthier this year and got most of those suspended players back. They will be a force the rest of the way.
Florida is averaging 6.4 yards per play on offense and giving up just 4.6 yards per play on defense, outgaining teams by 1.8 yards per play. LSU hasn’t been nearly as dominant in that category, averaging 5.7 on offense and giving up 4.7 on defense, only outgaining opponents by 1.0 yards per play.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen is making his mark already on this program. And Mullen actually went 4-0 ATS in his final four meetings with LSU at Mississippi State, so he knows how to beat this team. Mullen will push the right buttons here and let his team know that they are getting no respect while playing the underdog card. Expect a huge effort from the Gators this weekend. Take Florida Saturday.
|10-06-18||Iowa v. Minnesota +7||48-31||Loss||-105||47 h 52 m||Show|
15* Big Ten PLAY OF THE DAY on Minnesota +7
Both of these teams are off a bye week. While that would normally be a wash, it’s worth noting that Iowa is 2-8 ATS in road games off a bye under head coach Kirk Ferentz. I think Iowa wouldn’t have been too focused during its bye week after pretty much losing its Super Bowl in a 17-28 home loss to Wisconsin that will likely decide the West Division. So I like the spot for Minnesota better.
And I just don’t think this Iowa team is very good. The Hawkeyes have played four home games to open the season. They beat Northern Illinois, Iowa State and Northern Iowa before losing to Wisconsin. So their three wins were against some pretty bad teams. And now they’ll be hitting the road for the first time this season.
Well, Minnesota is 3-0 at home this season. They mopped the floor with New Mexico State 48-10 in their opener. Then they beat Fresno State 21-14 despite being underdogs in that game. And we’ve seen Fresno State go on to basically blow everyone else out, so that win looks better and better by the week. And the Golden Gophers easily covered as 13.5-point favorites in a 26-3 beat down of Miami Ohio.
I think Minnesota comes into this game undervalued due to its 13-42 loss at Maryland last time out. Well, that was a hungry Maryland team that was coming off an upset loss to Temple. And the Golden Gophers were probably feeling fat and happy after their 3-0 start. I think that loss will have humbled them, and it will be much easier to get over than Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin where they had every chance to win.
These teams are pretty much mirror images of each other. Both have sub-par offenses and elite defenses. Minnesota is giving up just 17.2 points, 300 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play this season. They are holding opponents to 12.0 points per game less than their season averages. And it’s their defense that gives them a chance to win here against an Iowa offense that is only scoring 25.2 points per game despite such a soft schedule.
Just looking at the recent series history it’s easy to see there’s value on Minnesota as 7-point home underdogs here. Each of the last three meetings in this series were decided by 7 points or less. Iowa won all three by 5, 7 and 7 points, so you can bet the Golden Gophers want some revenge. They last beat Iowa 51-14 at home in 2014. And the home team is 7-2 SU in the last nine meetings. The underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings.
The Hawkeyes are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Golden Gophers are 10-2-3 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS loss. Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Minnesota) after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse against an opponent after a game with turnover margin of -3 or worse are 34-10 (77.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Take Minnesota Saturday.
|10-06-18||Oklahoma v. Texas +8||Top||45-48||Win||100||74 h 35 m||Show|
20* Oklahoma/Texas Big 12 Early ANNIHILATOR on Texas +8
It’s well documented how great Tom Herman has been as an underdog. In fact, Herman is a ridiculous 22-1 ATS as an underdog in all games as a coach dating back to his time as an assistant at Iowa State and Ohio State, and most recently as the head coach of Houston and Texas.
Herman has his best team yet at Texas. I thought the Longhorns were a Big 12 title contender coming into the season, and nothing has changed my mind on that. Sure, they were upset by Maryland in the opener, but they came into the season overvalued. They have since reeled off four straight victories to get back in the discussion.
They throttled USC 37-14 at home as 3-point favorites, and won outright as 2.5-point home underdogs over TCU in a dominant 31-16 win. I think last week’s narrow 19-14 win at Kansas State has Texas undervalued coming into this week. But that was a 19-0 game before the Wildcats tacked on two second half touchdowns. And Texas held K-State to just 217 total yards in a dominant effort.
Conversely, I think Oklahoma is coming in overvalued off its 66-33 win over Baylor last week. Well, the Sooners were 21-point favorites in that game so it wasn’t expected to be close. And it’s clear that Baylor is still another year or two away from really being competitive.
That effort against Baylor has folks quickly forgetting that Oklahoma needed overtime to beat Army as a 28.5-point favorite the week prior. And the Sooners failed to cover their previous three spreads before Baylor, so they’ve been overvalued. It’s just tough for Top 10 teams like the Sooners to live up to expectations every week because they are ranked so high and in the public eye.
Oklahoma's five opponents this season are a combined 1-10 against Power 5 opponents, so they haven't really played anybody compared to Texas. The Longhorns already have wins over two ranked opponents in TCU and USC by a combined 38 points. They have played the much tougher schedule, and that will have them a lot more battle-tested than the Sooners coming into this one.
Texas certainly wants some revenge after some heartbreaking losses to Oklahoma in recent years. Oklahoma has won three of the last five meetings, including the last two, but all three victories came by only 5 points. Texas is a perfect 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, including two outright upsets as double-digit underdogs, covering the spread by an average of 15 points per game in those five contests. I think there’s a ton of value getting the Longhorns as more than a TD dog here against the Sooners.
This is an elite Texas defense that is giving up just 19.8 points, 333 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season with opposing QB’s completing just 54.9% of their passes. Their defense is the reason they have a chance to upset the Sooners here. Oklahoma has given up at least 21 points in four consecutive games, including the 33 to Baylor last week. Their lackluster defense, which is allowing 30 points and 470 yards per game in two Big 12 games against Iowa State and Baylor, is going to make it difficult for them to put Texas away.
Texas is 7-0 ATS vs. good passing teams who average 8.5 or more yards per attempt over the last three seasons. The Longhorns are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record. The Sooners are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. The Longhorns are 10-2 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 37 or more points per game over the last three seasons. Bet Texas Saturday.
|10-06-18||Alabama v. Arkansas +36||65-31||Win||100||43 h 18 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Arkansas +36
These Alabama spreads are getting out of hand. They are the No. 1 ranked team in the country and the public has been all over them. Oddsmakers are forced to set the number higher than it should be to try and get even action on both sides. And if you faded Alabama the last two weeks, you would have won.
I did fade Alabama two weeks ago by cashing in Texas A&M +27 in a 23-45 road loss to the Crimson Tide. I didn’t pull the trigger last week on UL Lafayette +49 but wish I would have. Alabama actually jumped out to a 56-0 lead before allowing 14 points in the 4th quarter to win 56-14 and fail to cover.
And that’s the problem with laying these kinds of numbers with Alabama. They try for a quarter or two, jump out to a big lead, and then call off the dogs. The back door is almost always open with the underdog. But I don’t think we’ll need the back door with Arkansas this week.
You can see that Arkansas is improving despite a misleading 1-4 record. They have actually outgained three of their five opponents this Eason. They won their opener 55-20. They lost 27-34 to Colorado State after leading that game 27-9 in the second half. They lost 17-44 to North Texas but were only outgained by 40 yards. They lost 3-34 at Auburn but actually outgained Auburn by 65 yards in one of the most misleading finals of the year. And they only lost 17-24 as 20-point underdogs at Texas A&M last week, which was their most impressive showing yet.
The reason Arkansas has a chance to hang within the number is because they boast a defense that is much better than it is getting credit for. The Razorbacks are only giving up 353 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play against opponents that average 430 yards per game and 5.6 per play. They have been very good against the run, yielding just 106 rushing yards per game and 3.0 per carry.
Arkansas held a good North Texas offense to just 376 total yards. Then the next week in the misleading final of the year they held Auburn to just 225 total yards. And then they held an explosive Texas A&M offense to just 377 total yards last week. That’s a Texas A&M offense that put up over 500 yards on Clemson and 393 yards against Alabama. The Razorbacks should be able to stop the run once Alabama gets ahead, and that will be key in them playing close to an even game with the Crimson Tide in the second half.
Arkansas is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings. They lost by 1, 13, 19 and 32 points. But even in that 32-point loss last year on the road they covered as 37-point underdogs. And now they’re 36-point underdogs at home this time around. It’s simply too much.
The Razorbacks are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The Crimson Tide are 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. a team with a losing record. Alabama is 1-5 ATS in its last six conference games. Arkansas is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games vs. teams who average 275 or more passing yards pre game. The Razorbacks are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games following three or more consecutive losses.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Arkansas) - with 17 or more starters returning are 52-22 (70.3%) ATS since 1992. Bet Arkansas Saturday.
|10-05-18||Georgia Tech v. Louisville +4.5||Top||66-31||Loss||-105||31 h 39 m||Show|
20* Georgia Tech/Louisville ACC ANNIHILATOR on Louisville +4.5
I’m surprised Georgia Tech is a road favorite at Louisville this week. Both of these teams have been disappointing to this point, but for whatever reason the Yellow Jackets are getting respect, but the Cardinals are not. I’m not buying it.
I think Louisville’s potential is much greater the rest of the way than Georgia Tech. This Cardinals team still has a ton of talent and they are relatively healthy. They showed a lot last week when they led Florida State late in the 4th quarter and probably should have won that game, but lost 24-28. They outgained the Seminoles by 51 yards and covered as 5-point underdogs.
I think the Cardinals are going to be playing pissed off at home Friday night. They need a win if they are going to make a bowl game because they cannot afford to fall to 2-4 with the tough schedule that lies ahead. I expect them to get the job done, and for the offense to build on a solid effort in which they gained 421 yards against a good FSU defense.
Louisville should be able to light up a Georgia Tech defense that gave up 49 points to South Florid and 49 points to Clemson in two of its three losses. And this is a Georgia Tech offense that just hasn’t been the same since losing KirVonte Benson to a season-ending injury in the loss to USF. Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and they simply lack playmakers without him.
Georgia Tech’s only two wins this season came against Alcorn State and Bowling Green. They trailed Pitt 24-6 in the 4th quarter, and that’s a Pitt team that we’ve seen is absolutely awful. They also lost 38-49 to a USF team that nearly lost to both Illinois and ECU. It’s clear to me that the Yellow Jackets aren’t very good.
Georgia Tech is 0-8 SU & 0-8 ATS in its last eight games as a road favorite, losing outright by double-digits four times during this span. The Yellow Jackets simply cannot be trusted in the road favorite role, especially here on a short week against a talented Louisville team that is way undervalued right now after a poor start to the season. The Cardinals have the bigger upside, and I think they show it Friday night. Bet Louisville Friday.
|10-04-18||Colts v. Patriots UNDER 52||Top||24-38||Loss||-108||72 h 4 m||Show|
20* Colts/Patriots AFC Total DOMINATOR on UNDER 52
I’m taking the UNDER in this game Thursday night between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. I’m shocked it’s this high given the injuries to both teams, plus the fact that both offenses just really aren’t playing well at all this season.
Andrew Luck’s favorite target in T.Y. Hilton is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Tight end Jack Doyle is also out with a hip injury. The Colts were missing their two starting tackles last week and could be without them again. I just don’t know how the Colts are going to be able to move the ball and score points here.
I know Julian Edelman returns for the Patriots this week from a four-game suspension. However, they could be without Rob Gronkowski, who left last week with an ankle injury and is highly questionable. Either way this is a Patriots offense that just isn’t as explosive as in year’s past as they’ll have to rely more on defense this season to win games.
New England is only averaging 23.7 points and 337.2 yards per game this season. The defense is giving up just 21.0 points per game, and came through with their best effort of the season last week in holding the Dolphins to just 7 points and 172 total yards. Expect more of the same here from this defense against the banged-up Colts.
Indianapolis has been fine offensively in its two domed home games, but outside on grass has been another story. The Colts beat the Redskins 21-9 in Week 2 for just 30 combined points, and they lost to the Eagles 16-20 in Week 3 for just 36 combined points. Well, they managed just 281 total yards against the Redskins, and just 209 total yards against the Eagles. Give their defense credit for giving up just 14.5 points per game in their two road games as this is clearly an improved unit this season.
Plays on the UNDER on any team where the total is 49.5 or more in a game involving two average teams (+/- 3 PPG differential) are 38-12 (76%) over the last five seasons. The UNDER is 6-0 in Colts last six road games. The UNDER is 8-1 in Colts last nine games following a loss. The UNDER is 7-0 in Patriots last seven games after rushing for more than 150 yards in their previous game. The UNDER is 13-6 in Patriots last 19 games overall. The UNDER is 10-2 in Colts last 12 games overall. Bet the UNDER in this game Thursday.
|10-04-18||Tulsa +18.5 v. Houston||26-41||Win||100||8 h 59 m||Show|
15* Tulsa/Houston ESPN No-Brainer on Tulsa +18.5
I have no doubt Tulsa is better than an 18.5-point underdog to Houston today. But the fact that the Golden Hurricane have opened 1-3 has them way undervalued. I’ll back them here catching this big number in a rivalry game that they care more about than Houston does.
All three of Tulsa’s losses have come by 14 points or less. They only lost by 7 at Texas as 21-point underdogs to show what they are capable of. They lost 20-29 to Arkansas State and were only outgained by 70 yards. And they actually outgained Temple by 103 yards but lost 17-31 on the road due to giving up two defensive touchdowns.
Tulsa has now had two full weeks to get right off their bye. They are outgaining their opponents by 34 yards per game this season, so they are way better than their 1-3 record would suggest. And the schedule has been tough to their credit, so they are battle-tested and ready to give Houston a run for its money.
The Cougars have opened 3-1 and are overvalued. Their win over Arizona doesn’t look that good now, and their other two wins came against Rice and Texas Southern. They only beat Rice by 18 as 25-point favorites and actually trailed that game 24-17 at halftime. They needed a big second half just to escape with that victory. And they lost 49-63 to Texas Tech.
It’s clear that Tulsa takes this game more seriously than Houston every year. Tulsa is 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Houston hasn’t beaten Tulsa by more than 14 points in any of the five meetings. Last year, Tulsa won 45-17 outright as 13.5-point home underdogs, and that was a bad Tulsa team. In 2016, Tulsa only lost 31-38 at Houston as 21.5-point dogs.
The Golden Hurricane are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning record. Tulsa is 16-6 ATS in its last 22 road games. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a SU win of more than 20 points. Houston is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 conference games. The Golden Hurricane are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in Houston. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. Take Tulsa Thursday.
|10-01-18||Chiefs v. Broncos +5||Top||27-23||Win||100||99 h 15 m||Show|
20* Chiefs/Broncos ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Denver +5
The Kansas City Chiefs are clearly the flavor of the week right now. They have opened 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS with Patrick Mahomes setting all kinds of records through three weeks. While he and the Chiefs have been impressive, it’s clearly time to ‘sell high’ on them.
The Chiefs were 3.5-point underdogs at the Chargers in Week 1. They won that game by 10 against a Chargers defense that was missing two of their best players. Then they were 4-point road dogs to the Steelers in Week 2 and won 42-37 against a Steelers defense that is clearly terrible without Ryan Shazier, and they were missing Joe Haden. Then they won 38-27 as 6-point home favorites over the 49ers last week. The 49ers also have a soft defense, and Jimmy G got hurt when they were making their comeback.
So now the Chiefs are being asked to go on the road and lay 5 points to a good Denver Broncos team. And they will be playing in altitude, which makes this one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL for the Broncos. They won their first two home games over the Seahawks and Raiders this season before losing on the road to the Ravens last week, which isn’t a bad loss.
There’s no question the Broncos have one of the most improved offenses in the league behind Case Keenum and the emergence of RB Philip Lindsay. Denver is putting up 382.7 yards per game and 6.0 yards per play despite playing two quality defenses in Seattle and Baltimore. They are tied for 11th in total offense this season.
Well, Mahomes has masked a Kansas City offense that has been atrocious this year. Indeed, the Chiefs rank dead last in total defense at 474 yards per game. They are also 31st in scoring defense at 30.7 points per game and 31st in yards per play (6.7) allowed. No question Keenum and company are going to be able to take advantage.
But the biggest reason I like the Broncos this week is because they have the defense it takes to stop the league’s top offenses. They have a tremendous pass rush with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who will make life miserable on Mahomes. And they have one of the top secondaries in the NFL. I know the numbers don’t show it up to this point, but I’m believing it’s more of an aberration. This has been a top 5 defense, especially against the pass, for the better part of the last five years.
Denver also wants revenge from five straight loses to the Chiefs in this series. But the last two Kansas City wins in Denver have come by 3 points each. And I think we are getting a ton of value here with the Broncos +5 at home. They can still lose the game and get the cover with this inflated line, though I’m expecting them to win outright. Bet the Broncos Monday.
|09-30-18||Dolphins v. Patriots -6.5||Top||7-38||Win||100||143 h 35 m||Show|
25* AFC East GAME OF THE YEAR on New England Patriots -6.5
Had the Patriots not lost to the Lions last week, this line would have been closer to Patriots -10. Now we are getting the Patriots under a touchdown at -6.5. I think we are getting a ton of line value here in a spot that is a supreme one for the home team.
The Patriots will obviously be in a sour mood off their lost to the Lions. We’ll get a great effort from them here, especially since this game has a ton riding on it in the AFC East race with Miami already off to a 3-0 start. I love backing the Patriots off a loss, and I think they’ll perform much better at home here off back-to-back road losses.
The Dolphins are the most fraudulent team in the NFL. Yes, they’re 3-0, but they are very fortunate to have that record. They were outgained by 105 yards in their win over the Jets. They only outgained the Titans by 6 yards and got help with Marcus Mariota getting injured. And they were outgained by 61 yards by the Raiders last week. So, they have been outgained by 150 yards on the season, or an average of 50 yards per game. And their three wins have come against three of the worst teams in the NFL in the Titans, Raiders and Jets.
The Patriots had a lot of injuries heading into that Detroit games. I’m expecting they could get back Patrick Chung, Trey Flowers, Eric Rowe and Rex Burkhead. Plus, with their deficiencies at receiver thus far, don’t be surprised if Josh Gordon makes his New England debut here at home and has a huge game.
Home-field advantage has been huge in this series. The home team is 10-2 SU & 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings. The Patriots are 6-0 SU & 6-0 ATS in their last six home meetings with the Dolphins. They have won by 18, 7, 29, 28, 10 and 28 points in their last six home meetings with the Dolphins, or by an average of 20 points per game. They have won nine straight home meetings with Miami with eight of those wins coming by 7 points or more.
The Dolphins suffered some key injuries on defense last week that will hurt them against the Patriots this week. They lost arguably their best run stopper and one of their top pass rushers in DE William Hayes to a torn ACL. They also lost fellow DE Andre Branch. S Reshad Jones is questionable with a shoulder injury here as well. Look for the Patriots to get their running game going this week, and for Tom Brady to get right against a soft Miami defense.
New England is 8-1 ATS as a home favorite of 7 points or less over the last three seasons. The Patriots are 8-0 ATS after gaining 99 or fewer rushing yards in two consecutive games over the last two seasons. New England is 29-12 ATS in its last 41 games overall. The Patriots are 35-16-2 ATS in their last 53 home games. The Dolphins are 5-22 ATS in their last 27 games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in their previous game. Miami is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games. Bet the Patriots Sunday.
|09-30-18||Texans +3 v. Colts||Top||37-34||Win||100||142 h 10 m||Show|
20* AFC South GAME OF THE MONTH on Houston Texans +3
The Houston Texans have been a big disappointment with their 0-3 start. So I think they are undervalued right now because they have not lived up to expectations. I expect a huge effort from them Sunday in Indianapolis as they try to get in the win column and save their season.
The best part about the Texans is there’s no doubt they are better than their 0-3 record would suggest. They lost in Week 1 at New England but were only outgained by 64 yards. They outgained the Titans by 154 yards and should have won that game on the road. And they outgained the Giants by 48 yards at home last week, yet lost.
There’s no question the Texans still have a great defense. And their offense hasn’t gotten the points that they should have by now with how well their moving the football. Indeed, the Texans rank 8th in the NFL in total offense at 396.3 yards per game, but just 22nd in scoring offense at 19.7 points per game. At some point, this offense is going to start turning that yardage into points, and I’m guessing it’s going to be this week.
I strongly believe the Colts are one of the worst teams in the NFL. They beat the Redskins in Week 2 for their only win, but they were outgained by 53 yards. They were outgained by 170 yards by the Eagles last week in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. While the Colts may be improved defensively, this is still a bottom half of the league unit.
The problem with the Colts right now actually is their offense. They rank 28th in the league in total offense at 290.0 yards per game. Andrew Luck doesn’t quite look right, and the offense is missing a lot of players due to injury. In fact, the Colts as a team have the longest injury report in the entire NFL if you take a look at it. They have been playing without important players like TE Jack Doyle, T Antony Castonzo and RB Marlon Mack. They have a handful of important defensively players who are either listed as questionable or out this week.
Plays on road teams (Houston) - who are averaging at least 265 passing yards per game against a poor pass defense that allows 230-265 YPG, after allowing 7 or more passing yards per attempt in two straight games are 29-6 (82.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Bill O’Brien is 15-5 ATS vs. awful pass defenses that allow 64% or more completions as the coach of Houston. Opposing QB’s are completing 71.2% of their passes against the Colts this season. The road team is 5-1-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. Take the Texans Sunday.
|09-30-18||Eagles -3.5 v. Titans||23-26||Loss||-110||142 h 9 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Philadelphia Eagles -3.5
Carson Wantz had a successful debut against the Colts last week. He completed 25-of-37 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception while leading the Eagles to a 20-16 victory. And that was clearly a bigger blowout than the final score showed last the Eagles outgained the Colts by 170 yards.
Now I expect Wentz to be even sharper in his second game back against the Titans. I actually think Wentz is at least a 4-point upgrade over Nick Foles. It’s a miracle the Eagles won a Super Bowl with Foles as their QB because he did not play well other than the Super Bowl. This team simply won with a great defense, which they still have after limiting the Colts to just 209 total yards last week. And now their offense will get back to being that high-octane unit it was with Wentz under center last year.
Tennessee is the single-most fraudulent team in the NFL right now. They’re 2-1, but they should clearly be 0-3. They lost 20-27 at Miami in their opener. Then they beat Houston 20-17 at home in Week 2 despite getting outgained by 154 yards. And they upset the Jaguars 9-6 last week. That win over the Jags is earning them too much credit from oddsmakers. It was a clear letdown spot for Jacksonville off its win over New England the previous week.
The Titans simply cannot keep winning with how poor their offense has been playing. They rank 29th in total offense at 284.0 yards per game. They are also 27th at 4.7 yards per play. Marcus Mariota was forced into action last week despite a sore elbow because Blaine Gabbert was knocked out with a concussion. Mariota has looked terrible thus far this season, and he doesn’t have any weapons, especially with his favorite target in TE Delanie Walker out with a season-ending injury.
Meanwhile, the Eagles get some key players back this week on offense. Both RB Jay Ajayi and RB Darren Sproles are expected to return this week after sitting out the Colts game. Plus, WR Alshon Jeffery may return this week after missing the first three games of the season with a shoulder injury. That would be a big boost to Wentz and the offense.
The Titans are 17-39-2 ATS in their last 58 games following a SU win, and 16-36-1 ATS in their last 53 games off an ATS win. The Eagles are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games overall. Philadelphia is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games vs. a team with a winning record. The Titans will get exposed this week for the frauds that they are by one of the best teams in the NFL in Philadelphia. Roll with the Eagles Sunday.
|09-29-18||Oregon State +22 v. Arizona State||Top||24-52||Loss||-106||54 h 24 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday Late-Night BAILOUT on Oregon State +22
I really question what the Arizona State Sun Devils have left in the tank for Oregon State this week. They are coming off three straight physically taxing games against Michigan State, San Diego State and Washington over the past three weeks. Those are three teams that will punch you in the mouth on both sides of the football.
Now they must play an Oregon State team that will go up-tempo and spread you out. It’s a completely different style than what they’ve seen thus far, and I think this Oregon State offense will certainly have some success against Arizona State’s defense.
It’s an Oregon State offense that scored 31 points and had nearly 400 total yards against Ohio State in Week 1. Then they scored 48 with 639 total yards against Southern Utah in Week 2. And they lost scored 35 with 540 total yards against Nevada in Week 3 in a game they should have won.
But Oregon State laid an egg in a 14-35 home loss to Arizona last week. So this week I think we’re getting the opportunity to ‘buy low’ on the Beavers off that performance. And we are ‘selling high’ on the Sun Devils after their 3-1 ATS start which included a cover as 18-point underdogs in a 20-27 loss at Washington last week. The Sun Devils will also have a ‘hangover’ effect after facing ranked Washington, and they won’t be focused enough this week to put Oregon State away by more than three touchdowns.
And Arizona State hasn’t been able to beat Oregon State by this kind of margin in recent years. In fact, each of the last nine meetings in this series have been decided by 16 points or less. And dating back further, Arizona State has not beaten Oregon State by more than 21 points in any of the last 23 meetings. That’s a perfect 23-0 system backing the Beavers pertaining to this 22-point spread. Bet Oregon State Saturday.
|09-29-18||Ohio State v. Penn State UNDER 71||Top||27-26||Win||100||52 h 5 m||Show|
20* Ohio State/Penn State ABC No-Brainer on UNDER 71
This total of 71 is simply too high. For starters, it’s the highest total for any Penn State game in program history. And it’s the third-highest total in Ohio State program history. That alone shows that there has to be some value with this UNDER.
This game not only has Big Ten title implications, but also national title implications as well. It will be played closer to the vest, which is going to favor the defenses. It will be a white out at Penn State Saturday night and the noise is going to affect both offenses. It’s also on grass, which is ideal conditions for under bettors as compared to turf.
A lot is being made about how well both offenses have played. But they’ve both played extremely soft schedules to this point. And the defenses have both been excellent. The Nittany Lions are allowing just 19.5 points per game this season, holding opponents to 13 points and 1.3 yards per play less than their season averages. The Buckeyes are giving up 17 points per game, holding opponents to 9.4 points and 0.5 yards per play less than their season averages.
I think the fact that last year was a shootout between these two teams is also playing into this total being so high. Ohio State beat Penn State 39-38 at home last year for 77 combined points. But that was a huge misleading final. Penn State only had 283 yards of total offense, yet scored 38 points. And they barely topped 800 total yards between them.
The previous three meetings between these teams were all low-scoring. Penn State won 24-21 at home in 2016 for 45 combined points. Ohio State won 38-10 at home in 2015 for 48 combined points. And Ohio State won 31-24 (OT) on the road in 2014 for 55 combined points, but just 48 points at the end of regulation. I think we see a combined score in the 50’s here, not the 70’s. Take the UNDER in this game Saturday.
|09-29-18||Hawaii v. San Jose State +10||Top||44-41||Win||100||51 h 24 m||Show|
25* Mountain West GAME OF THE YEAR on San Jose State +10
The San Jose State Spartans are coming off a bye week. They have had two full weeks to prepare for Hawaii, and they’ll be desperate for a win after their 0-3 start to the season. I think they’re sitting on a big game here against a Hawaii team that has to be tired after playing five games already without a bye in between.
It’s easy to see why San Jose State is 0-3. The Spartans opened the season with a very good FCS opponent in Cal Davis and lost 38-44 as 3-point favorites. Then they went on the road to Washington State and lost 31-0 as 30.5-point underdogs. It’s clear that Washington State is better than most expected.
But most impressively, San Jose State only lost 22-35 at Oregon as 42.5-point underdogs in Week 3. They covered the spread by 29.5 points in that matchup. And we know how good Oregon looked at home against Stanford last week as they clearly should have won that game. And SJSU held Oregon’s offense to just 35 points and 443 total yards, which is no small feat.
Hawaii is overvalued off its 4-1 start to the season. The four wins have come against Colorado State, Navy, Rice and Duquesne. And it’s not like they are blowing anyone out as their biggest victory was a 21-point win over Duquesne as 36.5-point favorites. Now the Warriors are being asked to lay double-digits on the road here to an improved, rested San Jose State squad, and it’s simply too much.
Last year, San Jose State went into Hawaii and played a four-quarter game, losing 26-37 as 17-point underdogs. They actually outgained the Warriors by 53 yards in that contest and racked up 504 total yards on Hawaii’s defense. I think they’ll have their way with a Hawaii defense that is giving up 30.6 points, 428 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play against opponents that are averaging 25.7 points, 374 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. This is a bad Hawaii defense that can’t be trusted laying double-digits on the road here.
Nick Rolovich is 1-8 ATS as a favorite as the coach of Hawaii. Rolovich is 1-10 ATS off two or more consecutive ATS losses as the coach of the Warriors. The Warriors are also 0-9 ATS in their last nine games off an ATS loss. Hawaii is 6-21 ATS in its last 27 games vs. a team with a losing record. Bet San Jose State Saturday.
|09-29-18||Florida Atlantic v. Middle Tennessee State +3.5||24-25||Win||100||51 h 24 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Middle Tennessee +3.5
The betting public jumped on the Lane Kiffin train late in the season last year. They beat up on a very weak schedule and kept on covering. And they haven’t jumped off the train yet in 2018. The Owls clearly came into this season overvalued, and that has shown with their 0-4 ATS start. And now they’re once again overvalued as road favorites here against a very good Middle Tennessee squad.
FAU opened its season with a 14-63 loss at Oklahoma as only 18.5-point dogs. Then they failed to cover as 7.5-point home favorites in a 33-27 home win over Air Force. They weren’t impressive at all in their 49-28 home win over Bethune-Cookman as 40.5-point favorites. And they lost 36-56 on the road to UCF as 14-point favorites last week.
That game against UCF sets FAU up for a big ‘hangover’ effect here. The Owls wanted to prove they could beat UCF, a team that went undefeated last season and still hasn’t lost. And instead they got embarrassed, giving up 56 points and 545 total yards and turning the ball over three times. I don’t think they’ll get up off the mat in time to get ready for Middle Tennessee this week.
This is a Middle Tennessee team that is rested and ready to go after getting a bye last week. And it’s also one that is undervalued right now due to its 1-2 start to the season. But both losses came on the road to a pair of SEC teams in Vanderbilt and Georgia. Now they’ll be primed for a big performance in their Conference USA opener here against FAU with two weeks to prepare for them.
Middle Tennessee is 9-1 SU in its last 10 meetings with FAU. The Blue Raiders had their nine-game winning streak over the Owls snapped last year in a 20-38 road loss. But they were without starting QB Brent Stockstill, and their backup QB three three costly interceptions. Yet the Blue Raiders still outgained the Owls 454 to 413 in that game with a backup QB.
Now Stockstill is back healthy and sitting on a big performance as he’s one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country. Stockstill is completing 69% of his passes with a 7-to-2 TD/INT ratio thus far in 2018 despite facing a brutal schedule. He’ll have his way with an awful FAU pass defense that is allowing 67.3% completions and 10.1 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks. This its an awful FAU defense in general.
Middle Tennessee is 6-0 ATS off a loss by 21 or more points over the last three seasons. It is bouncing back to win by 16.0 points per game on average in this spot. The Owls are 3-11-1 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a losing record. The Blue Raiders are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss. Middle Tennessee is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games following a bye week. The Blue Raiders are 6-0 ATS in their last six games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game. Roll with Middle Tennessee Saturday.
|09-29-18||Cincinnati v. Connecticut +17.5||49-7||Loss||-106||48 h 52 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Connecticut +17.5
It’s time to ‘buy low’ on Connecticut and ‘sell high’ on Cincinnati this week. Cincinnati has opened 4-0 SU & 3-1 ATS this season, while UConn has opened 1-3 SU & 0-3-1 ATS. As a result, you have to pay a tax to bet Cincinnati here as 17.5-point road favorites against the Huskies.
I’ll admit the Huskies have a terrible defense and have been dreadful. But a lot of that has to do with the schedule. They have faced UCF, Boise State and Syracuse already, and those are three of the best offenses in the country. It’s also a big reason why they are 1-3 as they have been 24-point underdogs plus in those three contests. I don’t think Cincinnati is anywhere near as good as those three squads.
Cincinnati has feasted on an easy schedule. They beat UCLA, Miami Ohio, Alabama A&M and Ohio. Well, UCLA is still winless, Miami Ohio is not nearly as good as they were expected to be, and the same can be said for Ohio. No question the Bearcats are improved this season, but they are getting way too much respect from oddsmakers due to this 4-0 start.
UConn does have a good offense that can put up enough points to stay within the number this week. Despite the tough schedule, they are averaging 25.2 points and 412 yards per game. Randy Edsall has allowed them to put in a more up-tempo offense that is starting to see the fruits of their labor.
UConn was bad last season and still nearly beat Cincinnati, losing 21-22 as 6.5-point road underdogs. They outgained the Bearcats 449 to 335 in that game. And UConn won 20-9 as 3-point home underdogs against the Bearcats in 2016 as well, outgaining them 412 to 317 in the process.
So, after being only 6.5-point road dogs to Cincinnati last year, the Huskies are now 17.5-point home dogs this year, basically an 18-point adjustment from 2017 to 2018 when you factor in home-field advantage. There’s clearly a ton of value on the Huskies +17.5 here.
Plays against road favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Cincinnati) - who are outgaining their opponents by 125 yards per game, after gaining 525 or more yards in two consecutive games are 46-14 (76.7%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Cincinnati is 1-8 ATS vs. poor pass defenses that allow 58% or more completions over the last three seasons. The Bearcats are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 conference games. The Huskies are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. The home team is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings. Take UConn Saturday.
|09-29-18||Syracuse +25.5 v. Clemson||23-27||Win||100||44 h 24 m||Show|
15* Syracuse/Clemson ACC Early ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +25.5
Clemson is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers as 25.5-point home favorites over Syracuse this week. This line opened at -18.5 and has been moved seven full points to -25.5 as of this writing. That was mostly due to Clemson announcing that freshman Trevor Lawrence will start at QB.
No question Lawrence has the better long-term potential over the incumbent Kelly Bryant. But I worry about the state of the Tigers in the locker room right now because Bryant immediately announced he was transferring after the decision to start Lawrence came out this week. There’s no doubt that the team loved Bryant.
And Clemson being a Top 5 team makes them overvalued most weeks. They have opened just 1-3 ATS in their four games with their lone cover coming as 15.5-point road favorites over Georgia Tech last week. I was on Clemson in that game as my free pick for Saturday because it was a great matchup for them, and they own the Yellow Jackets’ triple option. And Georgia Tech simply isn’t any good.
But this Syracuse team might be the most underrated team in the entire country. Head coach Dino Babers has his best team yet this year. The Orange have opened 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS in their four games. Yet they are getting no respect from oddsmakers this week.
Syracuse goes as QB Eric Dungey goes. When healthy, they have been a dangerous team. Last year they upset Clemson at home as 23.5-point underdogs. And they were huge dogs against LSU, Miami and Florida State last year, but lost those three games by a combined 11 points.
Dungey is healthy this year and engineering an offense that is putting up 49.5 points and 523 yards per game. He is completing 62.4% of his passes with a 9-to-1 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 354 yards and four scores on 6.9 per carry. Dungey gave Clemson’s defense fits last year. They run a quick-strike passing game that will negate Clemson’s great D-Line, and Dungey’s ability to extend plays is exactly the recipe for having success against this Clemson D.
After all, Clemson’s worst performance this season was against Texas A&M and mobile QB Kellen Mond, who torched the Clemson defense for 501 total yards, including 430 passing. The Tigers only won that game 28-26 as 11.5-point favorites. I’m not so sure Syracuse isn’t every bit as good as Texas A&M, and Dungey is a comparable QB to Mond, and probably better. Clemson’s other three wins have come against Furman, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, three run-heavy triple-option teams who just didn’t have the athletes to match the Tigers. Syracuse does.
I have been impressed with the improvement Syracuse has made defensively this year, which I think is getting overlooked. Not only can Syracuse score with Clemson, they can get off the field, too. That was evident in Week 3 when they held Florida State to just 7 points and 240 total yards. I know Western Michigan scored 42 points on them in Week 1, but Syracuse got a huge early 34-7 lead and was simply playing prevent defense the rest of the way. They won’t be playing prevent against Clemson, they’ll be playing more aggressive like they did against FSU.
Plays on road teams (Syracuse) an excellent offensive team averaging 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with an excellent defense allowing 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more total yards in their previous game are 34-9 (79.1%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Clemson has only won three of its past 19 ACC games by more than 22 points. The Tigers are also 1-8 ATS in their last nine ACC games as a favorite of 20-plus points. The Orange are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a win. The Orange are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games. Roll with Syracuse Saturday.
|09-29-18||Temple v. Boston College -12.5||35-45||Loss||-100||44 h 22 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Boston College -12.5
A lot of bettors were high on Boston College coming into the season. It made sense because they finished last season very strong and had 16 starters back this season, including 10 on an explosive offense led by QB Anthony Brown and RB AJ Dillon. And their defense is stout year after year.
The Eagles delivered for bettors the first three weeks of the season, opening 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS with wins and covers against UMass, Holy Cross and Wake Forest. But then they laid an egg last week at Purdue, losing 13-30 as 6-point favorites. And I think this is a perfect ‘buy low’ situation on the Eagles this week as only 12.5-point favorites over Temple.
Look for the Eagles to be in a sour mood all week in practice. They’re sitting on a big effort here. I still believe this is one of the best teams in the ACC and a legit contender. That loss to Purdue wasn’t as bad as it looked because Purdue was way better than the 0-3 record they had coming into that contest, losing three straight coin flip games. Purdue simply wanted it more, and Boston College was feeling fat and happy being ranked in the Top 25. They’ll be humbled this week, and a humbled team is a dangerous one.
We’ll ‘sell high’ on this Temple team this week. The Owls are coming off back-to-back wins and covers. They beat Maryland 35-14 on the road as 16-point underdogs. Then they beat Tulsa 31-17 as 6-point home favorites last week. Those two efforts quickly allowed most to overlook the fact that Temple had already been upset by Villanova 17-19 at home in Week 1 and Buffalo 29-36 at home in Week 2.
I think this Temple team is more like the one that lost to Villanova and Buffalo than the one that beat Maryland and Tulsa. And that win over a 2-10 Tulsa team from last year could not have been more misleading. Tulsa outgained Temple 403 to 300 for the game, or by 103 total yards. But the Golden Hurricane turned the ball over 5 times, including a 36-yard INT return TD and a 50-yard fumble return TD. I’m giving Temple zero credit for beating Tulsa at home in a game they should have lost. Boston College will be by far the best team that they’ve faced yet.
Boston College is 10-1 ATS when playing with 6 or less days’ rest over the last two seasons. The Eagles are 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall. Boston College is 8-0-1 ATS in its last nine games on field turf. The Owls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. ACC opponents.
Boston College is 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in its last five meetings with Temple, winning all five games by 17 points or more and by an average of 23.0 points per game. The Eagles get right this week with a blowout victory by two touchdowns or more. Bet Boston College Saturday.
|09-28-18||UCLA v. Colorado UNDER 61||Top||16-38||Win||100||54 h 16 m||Show|
20* UCLA/Colorado Pac-12 Late-Night BAILOUT on UNDER 61
Both Colorado and UCLA have had two weeks to prepare for this game as each is coming off a bye week. I actually think that strongly favors the defenses in this game getting that extra time to prepare for these offenses. And as a result, I expect a lower-scoring game than the oddsmakers are anticipating, so I’ll take the UNDER 61 here.
Colorado is putting up some big offensive numbers thus far, but that’s only because they’ve faced such a soft schedule of opposing defenses in Colorado State, Nebraska and New Hampshire. And despite playing a decent schedule of opposing offenses, the Buffaloes are only giving up 18.3 points, 373 yards per game and 4.9 yards per play.
This isn’t the Chip Kelly offense we saw at Oregon. UCLA has an atrocious offense and is seriously lacking talent. The Bruins have only averaged 17.3 points, 320 yards per game and 4.8 yards per play this season. That’s the biggest reason why they are 0-3 because their offense has been woeful, plus they’ve played a tough schedule.
But I have been impressed with what UCLA has done defensively despite facing Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Fresno State. The Bruins are holding those three offenses to an average of just 403 yards per game and 5.2 yards per play. Those three offenses average 6.3 yards per play on the season, so the Bruins are holding them to 1.1 yards per play less than their season averages.
The last two meetings in this series have gone well UNDER the total. Colorado beat UCLA 20-10 at home in 2016 with total of 56.5, going 26.5 points UNDER the number with only 30 combined points. Then last year UCLA won 27-23 at home for 50 combined points with a total of 66.5, going UNDER by 16.5 points. Now we’re seeing another total that is too high here at 61.
UCLA is 10-2 UNDER in its last 12 games after allowing 37 points or more in two straight games coming in. The Bruins are 32-13 UNDER in their last 45 games after a game where they committed four or more turnovers. The UNDER is 6-0 in Colorado’s last six Friday games. Bet the UNDER in this game Friday.
|09-27-18||Vikings +7 v. Rams||Top||31-38||Push||0||58 h 4 m||Show|
20* Vikings/Rams NFC Thursday No-Brainer on Minnesota +7
Had the Vikings not lost to the Bills last week, this line would have been in the -3.5 to -4 range in favor of the Los Angeles Rams. But since they lost, we are getting at least a field goal worth of value here. I simply believe that was a flat spot for the Vikings and actually had the Bills +17 as a premium play Sunday.
The Vikings were coming off a huge game against their biggest rivals in the Packers, in which they tied in Green Bay. And they had another massive game on deck Thursday on a short week here against the Rams. So it was easy to see the Vikings coming out flat. I think now they’ll be fired up and be playing with a chip on their shoulder this week, so we should get the best version of the Vikings, which is still one of the best teams in the NFL.
The Rams are clearly overvalued right now. They have opened 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS, and everyone seems to be already crowning them Super Bowl champs. They have won their first three games by double-digits. However, those three wins came against teams who are now a combined 1-8 in the Raiders, Cardinals and Chargers. The Vikings will be by far the best team they have faced yet.
We saw what happened last year when the high-octane Rams’ offense went up against the best defense in the NFL. The Vikings won that game 24-7 at home as 2-point favorites. They held the Rams to just 254 total yards and outgained them by nearly 200 yards in the win.
I think this Vikings offense will get going again here against a Rams defense that is banged up right now. Two of their key acquisitions this offseason were corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Well, both Talib and Peters got injured in their 35-23 win over the Chargers last week. Talib is for sure out, while Peters is very questionable and unlikely to play.
Kirk Cousins will be able to dice up this undermanned Los Angeles secondary. Cousins has certainly lived up to the hype of the big contract thus far. He is completing 68.3% of his passes for 965 yards with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions through three games this year.
Mike Zimmer is 9-2 ATS vs. teams who average at least 375 yards per game on offense as the coach of Minnesota. Zimmer is 20-9 ATS as a dog as the coach of Minnesota. Zimmer is 45-24 ATS in all games as the coach of the Vikings. The Vikings are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games following a loss. I trust Zimmer to have his team ready to put forth a big effort against the Rams in this one. Bet the Vikings Thursday.
|09-27-18||North Carolina +18 v. Miami-FL||10-47||Loss||-105||29 h 12 m||Show|
15* UNC/Miami ACC ANNIHILATOR on North Carolina +18
Certainly the start to the season was not a good one for North Carolina. They lost 17-24 at California and were trailing by three touchdowns at one point in their opener. Then they lost 19-41 at East Carolina as a 15-point favorite.
But I think those two results had this team undervalued moving forward. And they pulled off the upset as 3-point home underdogs to Pittsburgh last week. And that game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Tar Heels outgained the Panthers by 84 yards. They racked up 486 total yards on a good Pitt defense.
Miami had a big season last year during its 10-0 start, but it got very lucky in close games. And the Hurricanes went on to lose their next four games to quality competition, including their 17-33 season-opening loss to LSU. They have rebounded with three straight wins since, but those have come against Savannah State, Toledo and FIU. And they only beat FIU 31-17 as 26-point home favorites last week. Now they’re laying an even bigger price here to UNC as 18-point favorites.
Plus, this is a UNC team that is going to be vastly improved this week from the simple fact that they get seven players back from suspension who missed the first three games this year. One of those is sophomore QB Chazz Surratt, who started for them last year. Senior DE Malik Carney is also back. He had two sacks against Cal in Week 1 and has had his suspension staggered. OL Brian Anderson was the No. 12 center in the country coming out of high school. If nothing else, these seven players will add some depth.
UNC has clearly had Miami’s number in recent years. The Tar Heels are just 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. They covered as 21-point home underdogs in a 19-24 loss to Miami last year and actually outgained the Hurricanes. They won outright as 6-point road dogs in 2016 by a final of 20-13 and outgained the Hurricanes by nearly 100 yards. Larry Fedora and company just seem to get up for Miami every year.
Plays against home favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Miami) - with a good run D that allows 100 or fewer rushing yards per game, after allowing one or less rushing yards per attempt last game are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS since 1992.
The Tar Heels are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after allowing 17 points or more in the first half of two straight games. Fedora is a perfect 7-0 ATS vs. good punt return teams who average 12 or more yards per return as the coach of UNC. The Tar Heels are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. a team with a winning record. UNC is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games overall. The Hurricanes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games. I simply believe Miami is overvalued right now, while UNC is undervalued. Take North Carolina Thursday.
|09-24-18||Steelers v. Bucs OVER 53.5||30-27||Win||100||146 h 52 m||Show|
15* Steelers/Bucs ESPN Total DOMINATOR on OVER 53.5
The Tampa Bay Bucs have been the surprise of the NFL through two weeks. Not for their defense, but for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense. They are 2-0 behind that offense that scored 48 points against a good Saints defense in Week 1 and followed it up with 27 points against a great Eagles defense in Week 2.
The Bucs haven’t been able to run the football, so they’ve relied solely on Fitzpatrick, which is great for OVER bettors. He threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Saints in Week 1. Then he threw for 42 yards and 4 touchdowns with an interception against the Eagles in Week 2. The Bucs are loaded with weapons at receiver in DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin. It’s nice to see this offense living up to their potential.
The Bucs had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season. It appears that hasn’t changed this year, either. They are giving up 30.5 points and 443.5 yards per game, including 6.8 yards per play thus far. The Steelers should be able to take advantage and put up a big number here.
Pittsburgh hasn’t had any problem moving the football on offense this season. The Steelers are averaging 29.0 points and 473.5 yards per game in their two games against the Chiefs and Browns. But their defense has been atrocious since losing Ryan Shazier to a season-ending injury last year. And it has carried over into 2018 as the Steelers are giving up 31.5 points and 388 yards per game this year.
Star CB Joe Haden missed last week for the Steelers and could be out again this week. The Bucs are playing without LB Kendell Beckwith and CB Vernon Hargreaves, and they could be without both CB Brent Grimes and DT Vita Vea again this week.
Plays on the OVER on road teams against the total (Pittsburgh) - off an upset loss as a home favorite, in the first month of the season are 48-19 (71.6%) over the last 10 seasons. The OVER is 7-1 in Steelers last eight games on grass. The OVER is 4-1 in Bucs last five vs. a team with a losing record. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|09-23-18||Patriots v. Lions OVER 51.5||10-26||Loss||-106||121 h 2 m||Show|
15* Pats/Lions NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on OVER 51.5
Expect plenty of offensive fireworks Sunday night inside the dome at Ford Field between the Patriots and Lions. This game should see touchdowns in bunches and should easily sail OVER this 51.5-point total. I rarely take overs this high, but this is a new NFL and this one I believe to be worth it.
The Lions clearly have a woeful defense again this season. They are giving up 39 points per game and 6.3 yards per play through two games against the Jets and 49ers. Offensively, the Lions have no running game again this season, putting everything on Matthew Stafford’s shoulders. That’s good for OVER bettors. They are averaging 314 passing yards per game through two games.
New England has played two tough defenses already to start the season in the Texans and Jaguars. That’s why the Patriots are only averaging 23.5 points per game thus far. But the Lions have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and their offense will get right here.
The problem for the Patriots dating back to the Super Bowl is that their defense just isn’t as good as it has been in year’s past. They gave up 41 points to the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Then they gave up 20 to a banged-up Texans offense in Week 1 before allowing a whopping 31 points and 481 yards to a bad Jacksonville offense in Week 2. Blake Bortles threw for 377 yards and 4 touchdowns on them!
Detroit is 17-4 OVER in its last 21 home games off a road cover where they lost straight up as an underdog. Bill Belichick is 14-3 OVER off an upset loss by 10 points or more as a favorite as the coach of the Patriots. The OVER is 8-2 in Lions last 10 home games. Take the OVER in this game Sunday night.
|09-23-18||Cowboys v. Seahawks -1||Top||13-24||Win||100||118 h 3 m||Show|
20* NFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Seattle Seahawks -1
Seattle is a team I’ve faded with success each of the first two weeks of the season because I wasn’t very high on them coming into the year. And I won with the Broncos -2.5 in Week 1 and the Bears -3 in Week 2 going against them. I thought they were overvalued coming into the year, and I was right. But I had to sweat out both of those games as they lost by 3 at Denver and by 7 at Chicago, only after a pick-six by the Bears that was the difference.
Now, after an 0-2 start, I believe the Seahawks to be undervalued this week at home against the Cowboys. The look-ahead line for this game was Seattle -3 on Monday morning prior to the Bears’ game, and now they are only -1 after the Bears’ game. There’s some value here because of it. Their defense played better than I expected last week as they held the Bears to just 271 total yards. And their offense is moving the ball fine once they get Russell Wilson in up-tempo situations, which I look for them to do more of this week.
But the key here is that Seattle played its first two games of the season on the road. Now the Seahawks return home, where the 12th man is the real deal and they are one of the toughest teams in the NFL to beat at home. Plus, they’ll be highly motivated here for a win with essentially their season on the line. Look for a big effort from the Seahawks this week.
The Cowboys come in overvalued here off their 20-13 win over the Giants on Sunday Night Football last week. But the Giants are clearly a bad team this year. And this Dallas offense did little after its opening TD drive on a long pass play to Tavon Austin on broken coverage. Dallas didn’t score until the 4th quarter in Week 1 against the Panthers in an 8-16 loss. It’s a Dallas offense that is only averaging 14 points and 265 total yards per game thus far.
Pete Carroll is 10-2 ATS off two or more consecutive losses as the coach of Seattle. Carroll is 11-2 ATS in September home games as the coach of the Seahawks. Carroll is 43-26 ATS in all home games as the coach of Seattle. The Seahawks are 10-4-2 ATS in their last 16 games following a loss. Take the Seahawks Sunday.
|09-23-18||Saints +3 v. Falcons||43-37||Win||102||115 h 38 m||Show|
15* Saints/Falcons NFC South ANNIHILATOR on New Orleans +3
This is a clear ‘buy low’ opportunity on the New Orleans Saints Sunday as field goal underdogs to the Atlanta Falcons. There were big expectations for the Saints coming into the season as many felt they were Super Bowl contenders. And they were priced like it in their first two home games.
But the Saints fell flat on their faces in Week 1, losing 40-48 to the Tampa Bay Bucs as 10-point favorites. Then they failed to cover as 9.5-point favorites and were really fortunate to win 21-18 over the Cleveland Browns. So they basically go from being double-digit favorites two straight weeks to now 3-point underdogs, which is a 13-point adjustment.
I still think the Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL and that rough start will wake them up moving forward. And clearly the Bucs are better than they were getting credit for coming into the season because they followed up their win over the Saints with a dominant 27-21 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in Week 2. That was a 20-point game before the Eagles made it interesting in the 4th quarter. And the Browns are better than expected too as they tied the Steelers in OT and gave the Saints all they wanted.
The Falcons couldn’t beat an undermanned Eagles team in Week 1, losing 12-18 despite being favored on the road. Then they beat the Panthers 31-24 last week, but it’s worth noting the Panthers were missing several key players along the offensive line, at LB and at TE. And the Panthers had the ball with a chance to tie in the closing seconds still.
The Saints are almost fully healthy and will be a tough challenge for the Falcons this week. I believe the Saints are the better team right now, especially when you consider the significant injuries to the Falcons. Atlanta is missing two of its best defensive players in S Keanu Neal and LB Deion Jones to season-ending injuries. The Falcons are also without star RB Devonta Freeman with a knee injury. I don’t think the Falcons have what it takes to beat the Saints without those three guys, let alone win by margin and cover this 3-point spread.
Quietly, the Saints have been a better bet on the road than at home over the last few seasons. Indeed, the Saints are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 road games. The Falcons are just 5-24 ATS in their last 29 home games off a home win. In fact, they are losing 19.7 to 24.6 in this spot, or by nearly 5 points per game. They haven’t been able to follow up success with more success at home. Roll with the Saints Sunday.
|09-23-18||Raiders +3.5 v. Dolphins||Top||20-28||Loss||-115||115 h 38 m||Show|
20* AFC GAME OF THE WEEK on Oakland Raiders +3.5
I love this situation for the Oakland Raiders. We are getting a motivated 0-2 team up against an fat and happy 2-0 team in the Miami Dolphins. I’ll back the more motivated team almost every time, especially when I feel the 0-2 team is actually the better squad, which is the case here.
Oakland had a 13-10 lead over the L.A. Rams before imploding with three second-half turnovers in Week 1. Oakland had a 12-0 lead over the Broncos before missing an extra points and letting Denver come back in the second half, losing 20-19 on a last-second field goal with the extra point being the difference.
Well, Denver and the LA Rams have two of the best defenses in the NFL, and the Raiders actually had great success offensively against them. They had 395 total yards against the Rams and 373 total yards against the Broncos. They are averaging 384.0 yards per game and 6.3 yards per play on offense. Derek Carr went 29-of-32 passing for 288 yards and a score against that vaunted Denver pass D last week.
Not only do I believe the Dolphins are the worst 2-0 team in the NFL right now, they are still among the worst NFL teams in general this season. They are starting to get too much respect from oddsmakers this week as 3.5-point home favorites here against the Raiders. And they are reading the press clippings and feeling good about themselves. I think they will fall flat on their faces this week.
The two wins have come against the Titans and Jets, also two of the worst teams in the NFL. They survived a seven-hour marathon at home against the Titans in Week 1, and an injury to Marcus Mariota aided their win. Then last week they were thoroughly outplayed by the Jets, but found a way to win 20-12. They managed just 257 total yards against the Jets while giving up 362, getting outgained by 105 total yards. They have simply been fortunate in those two games by forcing a combined six turnovers. It’s a Miami offense that is averaging just 299.5 yards per game and 5.4 per play this season.
Oakland is 23-9 ATS in its last 32 road games off a loss by 6 points or less. Miami is 6-20 ATS in its last 26 games off an upset win over a division rival as an underdog. John Gruden is 20-8 ATS off a loss by 3 points or less in all games he has coached. The Dolphins are 16-45-3 ATS in their last 64 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Miami is 4-22 ATS in its last 26 games after allowing more than 250 passing yards in its previous game.
Plays on road teams (Oakland) - off a loss to a division rival, in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with three or more straight losses are 39-15 (72.2%) ATS since 1993. We are buying low on Oakland and selling high on Miami this week. Bet the Raiders Sunday.
|09-23-18||Bills +17.5 v. Vikings||27-6||Win||100||115 h 38 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Buffalo Bills +17.5
The Buffalo Bills couldn’t be more undervalued than they are right now. The betting public wants nothing to do with them after their 0-2 start, which featured a 3-47 loss at Baltimore in Week 1 and a 20-31 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. That’s why this spread has been inflated as oddsmakers have no choice but to make it this high in hopes of getting even action on both sides. The public will still back the Vikings at this massive price, but the sharp money will be on the Bills this week.
Buffalo at least looked like a competent offense against the Chargers last week with rookie Josh Allen at quarterback. Allen went 18-of-33 passing for 245 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while also rushing for 32 yards on eight carries in the loss. The Bills were only outgained by 56 yards in that game and were more competitive than the final score would suggest.
This is the ultimate sandwich game for the Vikings this week. They are coming off a draining 29-29 tie against the Green Bay Packers in which they probably should have lost in regulation, but then they should have won in OT. Their kicker let them down and they signed Dan Bailey this week. But now they can’t help but look ahead to a Thursday night showdown with the Los Angeles Rams on the road next week. They won’t be giving the Bills their full attention, and as a result it will make it very difficult to cover this 17.5-point spread.
Buffalo is 53-29 ATS in its last 82 games following two or more consecutive ATS losses. The price is right to back the Bills this week as 17.5-point underdogs to the Vikings. You rarely see numbers this big in the NFL. And the spot couldn’t be worse for the Vikings this week. Bet the Bills Sunday.
|09-22-18||Eastern Michigan +12 v. San Diego State||20-23||Win||100||44 h 23 m||Show|
15* Eastern Michigan/SDSU Late-Night BAILOUT on Eastern Michigan +12
This is a very bad spot for the San Diego State Aztecs. They are getting a lot of respect from oddsmakers now after their upset win over Arizona State last week. But it was a Sun Devils team in a flat spot off their own upset win over Michigan State the week prior. And now SDSU won’t be able to help but look ahead to their huge showdown with Boise State on deck. This is the classic sandwich game, and I expect the Aztecs to be flatter than a pancake. That will make it very difficult for them to cover this 12-point spread, let alone win the game.
Eastern Michigan has flown under the radar over the past few seasons under Chris Creighton. The Eagles made their first bowl game since 1987 in 2016 and went 7-6. They were better than their 5-7 record showed last year. And now they have 13 starters back this season and have already outperformed expectations.
Eastern Michigan opened with a resounding 51-17 win over Monmouth. Then they went on the road in Week 2 and upset Purdue 20-19 as 15-point underdogs. Last week they were on the road again and lost to a very good Buffalo team 28-35 as 3-point dogs. But they weren’t overmatched in that game as they actually outgained Buffalo in that contest. I had Buffalo last week and had to sweat that one out.
That’s the thing about this Eagles squad, they just don’t get blown out. In fact, each of their last 10 losses have come by 12 points or less, including nine by 7 points or fewer. And each of their last 14 losses have come by 15 points or less. They aren’t going to be intimidated by this San Diego State squad after beating the likes of Rutgers and Purdue on the road over the past few seasons.
Eastern Michigan is 8-0 ATS when playing against a good team with a winning percentage between 60% and 75% over the last three seasons. The Eagles are 10-2 ATS as road underdogs over the last three years. Eastern Michigan is 14-3 ATS in its last 17 non-conference games. The Eagles are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss. The Aztecs are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Eastern Michigan Saturday.
|09-22-18||East Carolina +21 v. South Florida||13-20||Win||100||42 h 2 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on East Carolina +21
South Florida is being priced like the team that went a combined 21-4 over the previous two seasons. But that team was loaded, and Charlie Strong now has mostly his players instead of Willie Taggart’s. And Strong has an inexperienced bunch that returned just 11 starters this season. I have not been impressed with USF thus far, and they certainly shouldn’t be laying three touchdowns to East Carolina here Saturday.
USF opened with an underwhelming 34-14 win over Elon as 27.5-point favorites. Their 49-38 home win over Georgia Tech as 3.5-point dogs in Week 2 was a fluke. They were outgained by 176 yards and gave up 602 yards to the Yellow Jackets, trailing through three quarters and needing a miracle finish to pull off the upset. Then last week they trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter against a bad Illinois team and needed to score the final 17 points to win 24-19 as 14-point favorites.
Scottie Montgomery is in Year 3 at East Carolina, which is when teams usually show their most improvement under a new head coach. And I think it’s safe to say this team is Montgomery’s best yet after upsetting North Carolina 41-19 as 15-point underdogs in Week 2, covering the spread by 37 points. They racked up 510 total yards and held the Tar Heels to 395 in a dominant effort.
Now the Pirates have had two full weeks to prepare for South Florida after their game against Virginia Tech was cancelled last week. Look for a big effort from them because of it. And they have a knack for playing South Florida tough. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by 17 points or less. In their last two trips to USF, ECU lost by 16 but only trailed by 2 with under seven minutes left in 2016. And they won outright 28-17 back in 2014. I believe the Pirates will keep this one closer than expected. Take East Carolina Saturday.
|09-22-18||Stanford -2 v. Oregon||38-31||Win||100||42 h 52 m||Show|
15* Stanford/Oregon ABC ANNIHILATOR on Stanford -2
This used to be a great rivalry with Stanford and Oregon trading blows every year back when Chip Kelly around. But that’s no longer the case. Stanford has dominated the last two meetings. They won 52-27 on the road as 3-point favorites in 2016. They won 49-7 at home as 9.5-point favorites last year.
Now, Stanford is only a 2-point favorite in 2018 as oddsmakers are expecting a close game. I’m just not seeing it. Stanford is a legit contender to win the Pac-12. The Cardinal have been tested already and have passed with flying colors.
The Cardinal beat San Diego State 31-10 as 14-point home favorites. They shut down USC 17-3 as 4.5-point home favorites as well. So, they have been battle-tested, and it’s clear they have an elite defense. Offensively, star RB Bryce Love sat out last week and is now healthy and fresh for this huge game against Oregon. He will easily have his best game of the season here.
No team has faced an easier schedule than Oregon through the first three weeks. They beat Bowling Green in the opener. Then they beat Portland State, an FCS team that is 1-13 dating back to last season. Most concerning was Oregon’s 35-22 home win over San Jose State as 42.5-point favorites last week.
That mere 13-point win is a big concern considering San Jose State is one of the worst teams in the country. Now, the Ducks won’t be prepared to get smacked in the mouth like they will against Stanford this week due to their lack of competition up to this point. It’s going to be a big eye-opener for them.
This is also a big coaching mismatch with David Shaw over Mario Cristobal. I believe Cristobal is in over his head here. Also, Autzen Stadium isn’t what it once was back when Oregon was actually good. Stanford is 21-8-1 ATS in its last 30 games following an ATS loss. The Cardinal are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. The Ducks are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games following a win.
Cristobal is 0-7 ATS in home games off a home game in all games he has coached. Oregon is 0-6 ATS after allowing 100 or less rushing yards last game over the past two seasons. The Ducks are 0-7 ATS vs. teams who commit one or fewer turnovers per game over the last three seasons. Oregon is 1-9 ATS versus good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play over the last three years. Stanford is 6-0 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 5.9 or more yards per play over the last two seasons. These last five trends combine for a 35-1 system backing the Cardinal. Bet Stanford Saturday.
|09-22-18||Texas Tech +14 v. Oklahoma State||Top||41-17||Win||100||41 h 14 m||Show|
20* Big 12 GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas Tech +14
Many expected Oklahoma State to be down this season because they lost a ton of talent on offense. But they have proved their doubters wrong thus far by opening 3-0. The Missouri State and South Alabama wins were nothing to be proud of, but their 44-21 win over Boise State at home last week was certainly a statement game. Keep in mind that Oklahoma State only outgained Boise State by 8 yards in that contest, though.
Now, after ‘upsetting’ Boise State as 1-point underdogs, the Cowboys are back to getting respect from oddsmakers. And I think it’s too much respect. I still question how good this team really is. And Boise State isn’t the program it once was under Chris Petersen. I think the Cowboys are getting way more credit for that win than they deserve. They’re being asked to lay two touchdowns in their Big 12 opener against Texas Tech this week.
Texas Tech was written off after its 27-47 season-opening loss to Ole Miss. But this team has shown some big-time resiliency the last two weeks. They throttled Lamar 77-0, which OK it’s Lamar. But then last week was their real impressive win against Houston 63-49. They racked up a whopping 704 total yards, including 605 passing, against a good Houston defense.
Clearly Texas Tech has the offensive firepower to keep up with Oklahoma State. That has shown in recent meetings, too. Texas Tech is 3-1 ATS in the last four meetings despite going 0-4 SU. They lost 34-41 at home as 10-point dogs in 2017, 44-45 on the road as 10.5-point dogs in 2016, 53-70 at home as 2-point dogs in 2015, and lost 35-45 on the road as 14.5-point dogs in 2014. “Last year we had our chances, so we feel like we’ve closed the gap some compared to when we first got here.” Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
Kingsbury is on the hot seat and needs a signature win. The Red Raiders have shown they are behind him 100% with their effort over the last two weeks. And now they want some revenge after losing nine straight to the Cowboys in this series. I think they can not only cover, but pull off the upset as well. This is a Texas Tech team that returned 16 starters from last year, including 10 on defense. This should be one of their best chances to actually beat Oklahoma State in recent years because of all the Cowboys lost with just 5 starters back on offense and all of their key playmakers gone from last year.
The Red Raiders are 21-6-1 ATS in their last 28 September games. Texas Tech is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. Kingsbury is 8-1 ATS off two straight non-conference games as the coach of Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 6-0 ATS off a home game where both teams scored 31 or more points over the last three seasons.
Plays on road teams (Texas Tech) with an excellent offense that averages 6.2 or more yards per play against a team with a defense that allows 4.2 or fewer yards per play, after gaining 525 or more yards in their previous game are 33-9 (78.6%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Bet Texas Tech Saturday.
|09-22-18||Louisiana Tech +21 v. LSU||21-38||Win||100||41 h 2 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Louisiana Tech +21
This is a bad spot here for the LSU Tigers. They have overachieved thus far with two upset wins over top-10 teams in Miami and Auburn. And after their big win at Auburn last week, this is going to be a flat spot for them hosting Louisiana Tech as 21-point favorites. I think the Tigers are way overvalued right now due to their 3-0 start.
We saw them fall pretty flat in Week 2 with their 31-0 win over SE Louisiana, failing to cover as 41.5-point favorites. Their offense is still an issue as they only managed 31 points and 335 total yards against that Southern Utah squad. And they will be hard-pressed to top those numbers here against a much better Louisiana Tech team.
Skip Holtz is one of my favorite coached in college football. He got has gotten Louisiana Tech to at least 9 wins in three of the past four seasons. After a 7-6 season last year with just 11 returning starters, Holtz brought back 15 starters this season and has one of the best teams in Conference USA.
Louisiana Tech opened its season with a. 30-26 win at South Alabama. That game was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Bulldogs outgained USA by 132 yards. And then they beat Southern 54-17 at home in Week 2 before getting a bye last week. So now they’ve had two full weeks to prepare for this game against LSU. And you can tell from the press clippings that this team is hungry to beat their in-state foe.
Tech cornerback Amik Robertson, sho said he chose the Bulldogs over the Tigers when he was recruited out of Thibodaux High School in Louisiana, call this a ‘statement game’. “It’s a huge game, not just for me, but for everyone on the team,” Roberston said. “I probably wasn’t the only person on my team that had interest from LSU. LSU has passed on a lot of players on this team and they also have a point to prove. And not just proving to LSU, but proving to Louisiana Tech that we can play with anybody.”
Last season, the Bulldogs proved they could play with another SEC school when they led at South Carolina until the Gamecocks prevailed 17-16 on a field goal with four seconds remaining. In fact, the Bulldogs are 9-4 ATS in in their last 13 games as underdogs against Power 5 schools.
“I’m not really proud that we lost that game, but I’m king of happy that it did happen,” Roberston said. “Now we know what it takes - finishing at the end, make those important plays. We had a lot of busted players toward the end, not at the beginning. That’s why we got to go into this game and play 60 minutes of Louisiana Tech football.”
Those are some quotes I can certainly get behind. Not only does Louisiana Tech think they can be competitive in this game, they think they can win it. And LSU lost outright to Troy in a similar spot last year as 20.5-point home favorites. LSU is now 2-7 ATS in its past nine games as a 20-plus point favorites. The Tigers just don’t have the kind of offensive firepower it takes to cover these massive spreads.
LSU is 8-19 ATS in its last 27 games as a home favorites of 14.5 to 21 points. The Tigers are 0-6 ATS in September home games over the last three seasons. Holtz is 30-15 ATS as a road underdog in all games as a head coach. The Bulldogs are 7-2 ATS in their last nine vs. SEC opponents.
Plays on road underdogs (Louisiana Tech) - off a home win, with 4-plus more returning starters and their QB returning against a team with a new QB are 27-7 (79.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Bet Louisiana Tech Saturday.
|09-22-18||Arizona v. Oregon State +7||Top||35-14||Loss||-110||38 h 53 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Oregon State +7
Many expected Oregon State to be one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country this season. After all, this was a team that was coming off a 1-11 season last year and with a new head coach in former Beaver QB Jonathan Smith. Well, Smith is getting the most out of this team, and I believe the Braves are vastly underrated right now entering Week 4.
Losing 31-77 at Ohio State in the opener wasn’t that bad of a loss. And I came away impressed that they could put up 31 points on that defense. They then beat Southern Utah 48-25 and covered as 13.5-point favorites. And they should have beaten Nevada last week, losing 35-37 as 4-point underdogs. But they committed three turnovers in that game and missed two field goals, including a chip shot that would have won it in the closing seconds. They outgained Nevada by 183 yards in that contest.
This is a talented Oregon State offense that can hang with mediocre teams like Arizona. The Beavers are averaging 38.0 points and 527.0 yards per game. That’s bad news for an Arizona defense that has been torched this season, giving up 34.7 points and 469 yards per game. I don’t know how Arizona can be laying a touchdown on the road here with that defense.
Kevin Sumlin is one of the worst coaches in college football. He recruited great talent at Texas A&M, but could never get anything out of it after Johnny Manziel left. And now he’s been a big disappointment at Arizona thus far. The Wildcats are 1-2 SU & 1-2 ATS. They lost 23-28 at home to BYU as 11.5-point favorites, and were blasted 18-45 at Houston as 3.5-point dogs. They also beat Southern Utah at home 62-31, the same team that Oregon State faced and beat handily.
Arizona is 5-16 ATS in its last 21 road games, while Oregon State is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 home games. The Beavers are 13-4 ATS in the last 17 meetings, including 7-2 ATS in their last nine home meetings. The Wildcats are 1-8 ATS in conference road games over the last three seasons. The Beavers are 6-0 ATS in home games vs. teams who commit 60 or more penalty yards per game over the last three seasons. Roll with Oregon State Saturday.
|09-22-18||Texas A&M +27 v. Alabama||Top||23-45||Win||100||37 h 23 m||Show|
20* SEC GAME OF THE MONTH on Texas A&M +27
The Alabama Crimson Tide are the defending national champs. They are also the No. 1 team in the country. The betting public has been all over this team in the early going, and it has paid huge dividends. Alabama is off to a 3-0 SU & 3-0 ATS start this season. The public is going to continue to back them this week, and I think this is finally the game where the market has over-corrected itself. There’s value with Texas A&M as 27-point dogs in this matchup.
I question that strength of schedule to this point for Alabama, though. The win over Louisville doesn’t look any good now after Louisville nearly lost to Western Kentucky at home last week. They were outplayed badly in that game and won 20-17. And Ole Miss clearly isn’t that good, especially defensively. A win over Arkansas State is nothing special, either. This is a huge step up in class for Alabama this week.
Texas A&M has already played a team the caliber of Alabama and passed with flying colors. They only lost 26-28 at home to Clemson as 11.5-point underdogs. And you could argue that they should have won that game. They racked up 501 total yards against a very good Clemson defense, a defense that is probably better than this Alabama unit. QB Kellen Mound threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns without an interception against that Clemson defense.
No team upgraded at head coach more than Texas A&M this offseason. Kevin Sumlin could recruit talent to college station, but he didn’t know what do to with it. And now Sumlin is struggling at Arizona. Jimbo Fisher was a home run hire after winning a national championship at Florida State. He is already getting the most out of this talent as Texas A&M is 3-0 ATS this season and hitting on all cylinders. The cupboard certainly wasn’t bare as 16 starters returned from last year’s squad.
Mond has already thrown for 824 yards with a 6-to-0 TD/INT ratio. This is an offense that is putting up 44.3 points, 596.3 yards per game and 7.5 yards per play. The defense is also playing very well, limiting opponents to 15.0 points and 331 yards per game. I think this team really believes they can hang with Alabama, and few teams have been as competitive against Alabama as Texas A&M over the past several years.
Alabama and Texas A&M have played in six consecutive seasons since the Aggies joined the SEC. Well, Alabama has only beaten Texas A&M by more than 19 points once in those six meetings. Texas A&M only lost 19-27 at home to Alabama as 25-point dogs last year. I think getting them as 27-point road underdogs is an absolute gift from oddsmakers this week. Fisher will have his team ready to go Saturday.
Plays on road underdogs of 21.5 or more points (Texas A&M) - after outgaining an opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game, with an experienced QB returning as a starter, in the first month of the season are 30-9 (76.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Texas A&M is 9-1 ATS in the first month of the season over the last three seasons. The Aggies are 7-0 ATS after playing a home game over the last two years. Texas A&M is 20-5-1 ATS in its last 26 September games. Alabama is 1-4 ATS in its last five conference games. It’s time to ‘sell high’ on the Crimson Tide this week. Take Texas A&M Saturday.
|09-21-18||Washington State v. USC -3.5||Top||36-39||Loss||-108||50 h 39 m||Show|
20* Pac-12 GAME OF THE MONTH on USC -3.5
This feels like a ‘rally the troops’ game for USC. And that has been evident in practice this week. Clay Helton has stated that this has been the best week of practice this season. Players are fired up and ready to show that they aren’t as bad as their 1-2 record would suggest. They simply need a win here.
It’s easy to see how USC is 1-2. After all, they were road underdogs in each of their last two games with a 3-17 loss at Stanford as 4.5-point dogs, and a 14-37 loss at Texas as 3-point dogs. Those are two very tough places to play, so they are forgivable. I think we are getting a discount on USC this week because the betting public wants nothing to do with them now after those two losses.
But those two games weren’t the blowouts that they seemed. USC was only outgained by 10 yards at Stanford and simply couldn’t capitalize on a handful of trips to the Stanford side of the 50. And they were only outgained by 77 yards at Texas. They actually led that game 14-3 and played well defensively. But Texas got a special teams TD on a blocked FG return that really changed the course of that game. Also, Texas should have been called for a safety that wasn't called. And USC was stopped on 4th-and-goal from the 1.
Washington State hasn’t played anyone. But they’re 3-0 and getting a lot of respect now. They beat Wyoming 41-19 but they only led 20-19 going into the 4th quarter before outscoring Wyoming 21-0 in the final period. And Wyoming clearly isn’t very good because they were blown out 13-40 at Missouri and barely beat Wofford 17-14 at home. Then they beat San Jose State 31-0 and Eastern Washington 59-24. Big deal. You won’t find many teams with easier schedules thus far than that.
So, USC is clearly the more battle-tested team. They will be ready for this game. And they have an advantage playing on a short week at home not having to travel. Plus, USC wants revenge from a 30-27 loss at Washington State last year as 4.5-point favorites. But the Cougars only return 10 starters from that team and are one of the least-experienced teams in the country.
USC is now a perfect 14-0 straight up at home over the last three seasons. In fact, Clay Helton is 17-0 SU at home as the coach of USC. They have a better home-field advantage than they get credit. I think after two tough road tests, freshman QB JT Daniels will have his coming out party here in front of his home fans against a suspect Washington State defense. The Trojans will be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this one. Bet USC Friday.
|09-20-18||Jets v. Browns -3||Top||17-21||Win||100||50 h 59 m||Show|
20* Jets/Browns AFC Thursday No-Brainer on Cleveland -3
The Cleveland Browns have held their own against two of the best teams in the NFL. They tied the Steelers in overtime in Week 1, and they should have beaten the Saints in Week 2 in an 18-21 loss. Kicker Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in that defeat last week, which was the difference.
I’ve been most impressed with what the Browns have been able to do defensively. Holding both the Steelers and the Saints to 21 points each is no small feat. They legitimately have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and now they will be up against the worst offense they’ve faced yet in the New York Jets this week.
They Jets opened their season with a misleading 48-17 win over the Lions. But that was a misleading result. For starters, their defensive players were tipped off to all of Matthew Stafford’s signals, which was a huge advantage. They forced five turnovers as a result and got defensive and special teams touchdowns in the win. The Jets came back last week and laid an egg 12-20 at home to the Dolphins.
So, the Jets have played two of the worst teams in the NFL in the Lions and Dolphins, while the Browns have played two of the best teams in the NFL in the Steelers and Saints. That preparation against that level of competition will make this seem like a much easier game for the Browns here. And they are starved for a win and it will be a rowdy atmosphere Thursday night in Cleveland as the fans pack the stands in hopes of ending this losing streak.
Schedule makers have done the Jets no favors here. They played on Monday Night Football in Week 1. And now have to play on Thursday in Week 3. That means they will be playing their 3rd game in 11 days, which is about as tough a situation as there is in the NFL. Don't be surprised if they are gassed by the second half of this one.
These teams played last year with the Jets winning 17-14 in Cleveland. That also puts the Browns in revenge mode. Plus, the Browns dominated that game, outgaining the Jets 419 to 212, or by 207 total yards. But they lost the turnover battle 3-1. Another lopsided box score this week will actually lead to a Browns’ victory because they are taking care of the football and getting turnovers this year. They have a +6 turnover differential through two games.
Todd Bowles is 0-7 ATS in road games off a division game as the coach of the Jets. New York is losing in this spot by 12.7 points per game. This is a 100% never lost system that we’ll back here tonight. Bet the Browns Thursday.
|09-20-18||Tulsa +7 v. Temple||17-31||Loss||-100||23 h 34 m||Show|
15* Tulsa/Temple ESPN ANNIHILATOR on Tulsa +7
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane are a vastly improved team this season over a year ago. They returned 15 starters this year. It’s a team that went 10-3 in 2016 but just 2-10 in 2017. I think they’re somewhere in between this year.
Tulsa beat Central Arkansas in the opener 38-27 as 11.5-point favorites. But that was a bigger blowout than the final score showed as the Tulsa outgained them by 223 total yards. Then in Week 2 Tulsa went toe-to-toe with Texas and only lost 21-28 as 22.5-point road underdogs.
I think the Golden Hurricane are undervalued this week due to their 20-29 home loss to Arkansas State as 2-point favorites last week. A lot of money came pouring in on Tulsa for that game as they flipped favorites because they opened as dogs. And now all that money wants nothing to do with them this week. I like getting a full touchdown with the Golden Hurricane here.
This Tulsa defense has played two really good offenses in Texas and Arkansas State and have held their own. This was the weakness of the team last year, but it’s a strength now. The Golden Hurricane are only allowing 377 yards per game and 5.3 yards per play. That’s way down from the 529 yards per game and 5.9 per play they allowed last season. And the offense is better than it has shown to this point.
I think Temple comes in overvalued due to its shocking 35-14 win at Maryland as 16-point underdogs last week. But keep in mind this is a Temple team that was upset 17-19 by Villanova as 14.5-point home favorites in Week 1. They were even outgained by 154 yards in that contest. They were also upset 29-36 as 4-point home favorites to Buffalo in Week 2 while getting outgained by 72 yards.
Temple has some serious injury issues coming into this one. They are without starting DL Dana Levine. Starting QB Frank Nutile, DL Quincy Roche, K Aaron Boumerhi, TE Kenny Yeboah, and LT James McHale are all listed as questionable for this game. That’s six potential starters they could be without for this game. Meanwhile, Tulsa is extremely healthy with only two players on the injury list, and only one is a starter in LB Robert Revels III who is questionable.
Philip Montgomery is 12-3 ATS as a road underdog as the coach of Tulsa. Montgomery is 10-1 ATS after a game where they forced one or fewer turnovers as the coach of Tulsa. Montgomery is a perfect 6-0 ATS after a game where they committed three or more turnovers as the coach of Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane have committed eight turnovers this season thus far otherwise they could easily be 3-0. Don’t be surprised if they pull the upset in this game tonight. Take Tulsa Thursday.
|09-17-18||Seahawks v. Bears -3||Top||17-24||Win||100||71 h 41 m||Show|
20* Seahawks/Bears ESPN Monday No-Brainer on Chicago -3
I expect the Chicago Bears to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. They went just 5-11 last year, but Mitchell Trubisky had nobody to throw to, and the coaching staff didn’t have a clue. Yet, they managed to beat three of the better teams in the NFL in the Steelers, Panthers and Ravens, and they took both the Falcons and the Vikings down to the wire early in the season.
The Bears were competitive due to a defense that ranked 9th in scoring and 10th in total defense last year. That defense will be very good again, especially with the addition of former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack via trade with the Raiders. They gave up a lot to get him, but that won’t hurt them this season, only in the future.
Matt Nagy is the new head coach. He was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs under Andy Reid, and he was the perfect hire for the Bears this offseason to inject some new life into the offense. Nagy will get the most out of Trubisky, who now has ample weapons to lead the offense. No team improved their playmakers more this offseason than Chicago.
The Bears already have a pair of talented backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. But they added former Jacksonville No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson, who is primed for a bounce-back season after playing just one game in Jacksonville last year before getting injured. New slot receiver Taylor Gabriel has 4.3-40 speed and will be missed in Atlanta. Trey Burton was stuck behind Zach Ertz in Philadelphia at tight end, but now he’ll be playing the role Travis Kelce played in Nagy’s offensive in KC. They used their second-round pick on WR Anthony Miller out of Memphis as well.
The Bears certainly looked the part as the most improved team in the NFL when they jumped out to a 20-0 lead over Green Bay at Lambeau Field last week. But they took the foot off the gas late and allowed Aaron Rodgers and company to come back and win 21-20, though the Bears easily covered as 7.5-point dogs and we had them. Kyle Fuller dropped an easy INT on the Packers’ final drive that would have sealed the win. Look for the Bears to come back pissed off this week and redeem themselves on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks.
This is a Seahawks team I’m way down on this season for several reasons. I won on the Broncos -2.5 last week against them in a game that was an even bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Broncos outgained the Seahawks by 164 total yards and racked up 470 total yards on Seattle’s defense. But three Case Keenum interceptions kept Seattle in it.
The Seahawks are a team in transition. They ‘Legion of Boom’ is no longer. Richard Sherman is gone to the 49ers, and Kam Chancellor is out for the season. Earl Thomas just returned from his holdout last week, but he’s about all they got in the secondary. CB Byron Maxwell is on the IR with a hip injury. Not to mention, DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett are both gone. This defense doesn’t look anything like the dominant unit it was a few years ago, and that was evident by giving up 470 yards to the Broncos last week.
The same problem remains for Seattle’s offense. They simply cannot run the football. Russell Wilson had a big season last year, but only because he had to. Wilson actually led the team in rushing, and by a wide margin. No Seattle running back had more than 240 yards last year. The offensive line is still a mess, and the options are limited at receiver. They lost both Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, who combined for 16 TD receptions last year. And now Doug Baldwin, who caught 75 balls for 991 yards and 8 TD last year, suffered a knee injury against the Broncos and has been ruled out this week.
That doesn’t even cover all the injuries for the Seahawks right now. MLB Bobby Wagner is questionable with a groin injury, and OLB K.J. Wright is doubtful with a knee injury. Wagner led the team in tacklers with 133 last year while Wright was second with 108. Starting G D.J. Fluker is questionable, and starting TE Ed Dickson is out with a groin injury. A guy I’ve never heard of in TE Will Dissly actually led the team in receiving last week against the Broncos.
Teams who are playing back-to-back road games to open the season in Week 2 are 0-12 SU over the past five seasons. Pete Carroll is 1-9 ATS in road games in the first two weeks of the season as the coach of Seattle. Bet the Bears Monday.
|09-16-18||Giants +3 v. Cowboys||Top||13-20||Loss||-102||47 h 48 m||Show|
20* Giants/Cowboys NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on New York +3
The New York Giants are undervalued off their disastrous 3-13 season last year. They were hit as hard by injuries as any team in the league last year. Ben McAdoo was not fit for the job. But this is a team that made the playoffs in 2016, so there is still a lot of talent on this squad. And they got even better in the offseason.
The Giants have improved most in the trenches. They nabbed four new starters along the offensive line, including LT Nate Solder from the Patriots. They will have a running game now with that improved O-Line and the addition of first-round pick RB Saquon Barkley, who is sure to be a star in the NFL for years to come. Odell Beckham Jr. got his big contract, and now he’s back healthy this season. Eli Manning has everything he needs to succeed.
The Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2016. But injuries decimated this unit last last year and poor play by the offense had them gassed. This stop unit should come back energized and become one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2018. I love the addition of LB Alec Ogletree, who will become the QB of the defense after serving the same role with the Rams previously.
The Giants actually played well against the Jaguars in Week 1 and should have won. They gained 324 yards on offense against arguably the best D in the NFL. Their defense only gave up 305 total yards and actually held the Jaguars’ offense to just 13 points because one of their touchdowns was a pick-six. The Giants should finally click offensively this week against a Dallas D that isn’t nearly as good as Jacksonville.
I still think the Cowboys have a decent D, but they are battling injuries right now. They have three DE’s who are hurt in Demarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, David Irving (suspension) and Randy Gregory. Both Irving and Gregory are out, while Lawrence and Crawford are expected to play. Also out is DT Datone Jones and FS Xavier Woods.
The real problem for the Cowboys is on offense. Dak Prescott regressed big-time last year, and now this year he has no weapons with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone. And the offensive line is missing starting center Travis Frederick right now. That offense was atrocious against Carolina last week. The Cowboys trailed 16-0 and finally got on the scoreboard in the 4th quarter, but it was too little, too late. They managed just 232 total yards against the Panthers.
Jason Garrett is 3-11 ATS as a home favorite of 3 points or less as the coach of Dallas. Garrett is 1-9 ATS in home games after scoring 14 points or less as the coach of the Cowboys. Dallas has been terrible in the home favorite role over the years. I think the Giants are the better of these two teams and they prove it on the field Sunday night. Bet the Giants Sunday.
|09-16-18||Texans -2.5 v. Titans||17-20||Loss||-110||40 h 38 m||Show|
15* Texans/Titans AFC South ANNIHILATOR on Houston -2.5
There is a lot to like about the Houston Texans heading into 2018. For starters, Deshaun Watson is fully healthy now. He was on pace for 43 touchdowns as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Watson led an offense that averaged 39 points per game from Week 3 to Week 8 in a five-game span. It’s scary how good this offense was when he was healthy, and when WR Will Fuller was on the field.
Fuller had 7 touchdown receptions on just 28 grabs last year. Well, Fuller missed Week 1’s 20-27 loss to the Patriots. But Fuller is expected back this week, giving Watson his full arsenal of weapons against the Titans this week. And Watson had a concussion that he has been cleared from this week.
Defensively, the Texans get their two best players back healthy as well. Both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus return this season. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He, Jadeveon Clowney and Mercilus will wreak havoc on opposing offenses this season. Both LB’s Benardick McKinney and Zach Cunningham are coming off productive seasons, and this is one of the best front seven’s defensively in the NFL.
I’m way down on the Tennessee Titans this season. They were the worst team to make the playoffs last year and I just don’t trust them at all. They are due for some big-time regression. Marcus Mariota just isn’t progressing as he was supposed to, and he has limited weapons on offense. The defense has plenty of holes as well.
Tennessee lost 20-27 in Miami last week. It was a strange game because it was delayed by lightning, and actually took seven hours to complete. And by the 4th quarter, both teams looked so gas because they were out on the field for most of the day in the scorching heat. I question what the Titans have left in the tank this week.
The Titans came away with some serious injuries. Mariota was knocked out of the game with an elbow injury, and while he is likely to play this week, he is highly questionable and won’t be 100%. He lost his security blanket in TE Delanie Walker to a season-ending ankle injury. Top WR Corey Davis is battling a hamstring injury. Starting LB Derrick Morgan (knee) is questionable, starting SS Johnathan Cyprien (knee) is out for the season, and two offensive tackles in Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin are out this week. Fellow offensive tackler Dennis Kelly is questionable.
It’s a laundry list of injuries for the Titans right now. The key injuries are those to Walker and the offensive tackles. Walker had caught at least 60 passes every year for the Titans since signing with them in 2013. And Watt, Clowney and company should be all over Mariota since the Titans are likely going with a pair of backup tackles this week.
Bill O’Brien is 17-8 ATS as a favorite as the coach of Houston. The Texans are winning in this spot by 7.6 points per game on average. The Texans are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 2. The Titans are 15-40-4 ATS in their last 59 vs. AFC opponents. Tennessee is 8-26-3 ATS in its last 37 vs. a team with a losing record. Roll with the Texans Sunday.
|09-16-18||Browns v. Saints -9||18-21||Loss||-110||39 h 28 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on New Orleans Saints -9
I think the Saints simply took the Bucs too lightly in Week 1. I was actually on the Bucs last week because I thought they came into the season undervalued. And it was a good move as the Bucs upset the Saints 48-40. I certainly don’t believe the Saints are this bad defensively because they were vastly improved last year. And their task gets much easier against the Browns this week.
I think that loss to the Bucs will serve as a wake-up call for the Saints. They won’t be taking the Browns lightly this week as they’ll be putting their best foot forward. Look for them to roll at home behind an offense that racked up 475 total yards and 40 points against the Bucs. I’m certainly not ready to write off their defense because they actually added more talent in the offseason.
Now the Saints are up against a weak Browns’ offense that just isn’t very explosive. The Browns trailed the Steelers 21-7 midway through the fourth quarter last week before tacking on two late touchdowns and forcing overtime. But the Browns deserves to lose that game. They gave up 472 total yards and managed just 322 themselves, getting outgained by 150 yards. They were +5 in turnovers and still couldn’t win! Drew Brees and the Saints won’t be giving away any gifts this week.
I certainly believe the Browns have an improved defense this year with some playmakers, but those 472 yards they gave up to the Steelers without Le’Veon Bell is concerning. And Cleveland’s offense doesn’t have the potential to keep up with the Saints in a shootout, which this is expected to be with a total set of 49.5 points. The Saints will get their points because they always do at home.
The Browns are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games vs. NFC opponents. Cleveland is 5-15-1 ATS in its last 21 road games. I think last week’s results are keeping this line lower than it should be. New Orleans should have no problem winning by double-digits. Take the Saints Sunday.
|09-15-18||USC v. Texas -3||Top||14-37||Win||100||103 h 42 m||Show|
20* USC/Texas FOX Saturday No-Brainer on Texas -3
I believe we are getting Texas at a great value here as only 3-point home favorites over the USC Trojans. They would be bigger favorites if not for a sluggish start to the season. They were clearly overvalued coming into the season, being asked to lay 12 points on the road at Maryland and 21 points at home to Tulsa.
They lost to Maryland 29-34 outright. That’s a Maryland team that I feel was underrated coming into the season. They also only beat Tulsa 28-21 at home, but that was a 21-0 game late in the 3rd quarter before the Longhorns let their foot off the gas. Those two scores now have the Longhorns undervalued.
Texas is still one of the best teams in the Big 12. They have 14 starters back in Tom Herman’s second season and should only get better as the season goes along. And they have had this game against USC circled all offseason after losing 24-27 (OT) at USC last season. It’s revenge time for the Longhorns as they get the Trojans at home this time around.
USC is a team that is due to regress this season after some key losses on offense and defense. They lost QB Sam Darnold (4,143 yards, 26 TD), leading rusher Ronald Jones (1,550 yards, 19 TD) and leading receiver Deontay Burnett (1,114 yards, 9 TD) to the NFL. They have clearly not been good through the first two games and will struggle against Texas as well.
USC only outgained UNLV by 96 yards in the opener in what was a closer game than the final 43-21 margin would suggest. Then they lost 3-17 at Stanford last week and couldn’t get anything going offensively. Freshman QB JT Daniels was put in his place by that Stanford defense, and he won’t have much more success here against Texas, either.
Daniels hit only 16 of 34 passes for 215 yards with two fourth quarter interceptions against Stanford last week. He sustained a bruise to his right (throwing) hand during the loss, which is obviously a concern for any quarterback. He will play this week, but he won’t be 100%.
USC is 0-6 ATS in September road games over the last three seasons. Texas is 6-0 ATS off a home game over the last two years. The Longhorns are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games as a home favorite of 3 to 7 points. Clay Helton is 1-9 ATS as an underdog as the coach of USC, and his teams are losing by 16.9 points per game in this spot. Helton is 0-6 ATS as a road dog of 7 points or less as the coach of the Trojans. Roll with Texas Saturday.
|09-15-18||Missouri v. Purdue +7.5||40-37||Win||100||101 h 38 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Purdue +7.5
This just feels like a ‘rally the troops’ game for Purdue. It’s a team that had high expectations following a bowl win in Jeff Brohm’s first season last year. But the Boilermakers are off to an 0-2 start with losses to Northwestern and Eastern Michigan by a combined 5 points. So they could easily be 2-0, and now they’ll be extra motivated for a win to save their season.
The Boilermakers have had 15-yard penalties to keep drives alive late in their losses to both Northwestern and Eastern Michigan. It’s something that Brohm has harped on all week leading up to the game. I believe Purdue will have an excellent week of practice and put their best foot forward against Missouri this week.
Purdue outgained Northwestern by 71 yards and Eastern Michigan by 60 yards and clearly should have won both games. But they lost the turnover battle 5-1 combined in those two games, which has also been a point of emphasis. The offense, which returned nine starters this year, has been explosive in averaging 474 yards per game and 6.9 yards per play. Avoid the turnovers and this is going to be a scary bunch.
While Purdue is undervalued right now due to its 0-2 start, Missouri is clearly overvalued due to its 2-0 start. They have blowout wins over Tennessee-Martin and Wyoming. Big deal. We saw Wyoming get blown out at home by Washington State the week prior to playing Missouri, and that’s a rebuilding Cougars team.
No question the Tigers have a good offense, but their defense was one of the worst in the country last year and won’t be much improved. It’s a Missouri team that went 7-0 against teams with losing records last year, but 0-6 against teams with winning records. Every time they stepped up in class they couldn’t win. And they’re stepping up in class here against a capable Big Ten foe.
Purdue went into Missouri and won 35-3 last year as 6-point underdogs. The Boilermakers gained 477 yards on offense and allowed just 203 yards on defense, outgaining the Tigers by 274 yards in a dominant effort. Now we are seeing basically the same spread here with Purdue as a touchdown underdog, but the Boilermakers are at home this time around. That clearly shows what public perception is doing here, and it’s working in our favor.
Sure, Missouri will want revenge, but Purdue will match or exceed their intensity after an 0-2 start. I’m not even sure Missouri is the better of these two teams, but I am certain they are not good enough to justify being a 7.5-point road favorite here.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Purdue) - in a game involving two dominant teams who outgain their opponents by 1.2-plus yards per play, after gaining 450 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 32-9 (78%) ATS over the last five seasons. The Boilermakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games. Bet Purdue Saturday.
|09-15-18||Eastern Michigan v. Buffalo -3||28-35||Win||100||58 h 16 m||Show|
15* MAC PLAY OF THE DAY on Buffalo -3
The Buffalo Bulls are one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country this season. They went 6-6 last year in Lance Leipold’s third season and got better as the season went on, winning each of their fina three games. And all six of their losses came by 10 points or less, including a 10-point loss at Minnesota as 24-point dogs and a 4-point loss to Army as 15-point dogs. They went 8-2-2 ATS last season and were a very undervalued commodity.
The Bulls returned 14 starters this year, including eight on offense from a unit that average 432 yards per game last year. Tyree Jackson is back at QB after only starting half the games last year due to injury. He has stud WR Anthony Johnson back as well, and Johnson had 1,356 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. Leading rusher Emmanuel Reed (840 yards, 9 TD) is back as well.
This Buffalo offense is hitting on all cylinders with a 48-10 win over Delaware State in the opener and a 36-29 win at Temple as 4-point dogs in Week 2. The defense is only giving up 19.5 points and 315 yards per game and 4.5 per play while forcing seven turnovers thus far. This defense is solid again after allowing just 24.8 points per game last season.
No question Eastern Michigan has been an undervalued commodity as well over the past couple seasons. And they are off to a 2-0 SU & 2-0 ATS start this season, including their shocking 20-19 upset win at Purdue last week. However, its that win that has me liking Buffalo here. There’s no question Eastern Michigan is in line for a huge letdown after a road win over a Big Ten opponent. They won’t be on their ‘A’ game this week because of it.
The Eagles are 9-22 ATS in their last 31 games following a win. Eastern Michigan is 11-32 ATS in its last 43 games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game. The Bulls are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Buffalo is 6-0 ATS in its last six home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Bet Buffalo Saturday.
|09-15-18||Ohio v. Virginia -3.5||31-45||Win||100||57 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Virginia -3.5
The Virginia Cavaliers are in Year 3 under Bronco Mendenhall. They went 6-7 last year and made a bowl game, already ahead of schedule. And they have 13 starters back this season, including eight on defense. This should be his best stop unit yet.
I’ve been impressed with this Virginia outfit thus far, especially defensively. They beat Richmond 42-13 in their opener as 14.5-point favorites and outgained them by 267 yards in a dominant effort. Then they only lost 16-20 at Indiana and covered as 5-point road underdogs against a solid Big Ten squad. It’s a team I believe to be flying under the radar.
Ohio has only played one game because they had an open date Week 2. They have that advantage plus this game has been moved from Virginia to Nashville, so it will essentially be a neutral site game. But I think that’s why we are getting a shorter price on Virginia than we should be here as only 3.5-point favorites.
And that opener by Ohio was shocking, and it’s a sign of things to come for this team this season. Ohio only beat Howard 38-32 as 30.5-point home favorites. The Bobcats were actually outgained by 220 yards by Howard! But they won’t the turnover battle 4-0, which is the only reason they were able to pull out the win.
The Bobcats gave up a whopping 645 total yards to Howard. It’s a defense that has problems because they only returned four starters on D this year. They have to replace six of seven starters along the front seven. And get this, Howard lost 14-54 at Kent State in Week 2! I don’t need to say it but Kent State is not very good.
Mendenhall is 8-1 ATS off a non-conference game as the coach of Virginia. Mendenhall is 6-0 ATS in road games in the first half of the season as the coach of the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Virginia Saturday.
|09-15-18||Colorado State v. Florida -20||10-48||Win||100||98 h 26 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Florida -20
The Florida Gators are a team I’m very high on coming into the season. They had 19 returning starters and Dan Mullen is one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. And they looked the part in their season-opening 53-6 win over Southern. But they were upset 16-27 by Kentucky last week, ending their 31-game winning streak over the Wildcats.
I think because they were upset they are laying fewer points than they should be this week against Colorado State. And because Colorado State upset Arkansas at home last week, the Rams are getting too much respect from oddsmakers. It’s the perfect storm and a great situation to back the Gators this week. They’ll be motivated to bounce back, while the Rams could fall flat and will get beat up playing two SEC teams in consecutive weeks.
This is a Colorado State team that couldn’t look any worse in their first two games. They trailed Hawaii 37-7 and lost 34-43 as 17-point home favorites in their opener. They lost 13-45 to Colorado as 7-point underdogs on a neutral field in Week 2. And they were down 27-9 late against Arkansas before scoring 25 unanswered points to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. I still don’t believe this team is any good, and that will show this week as the Gators keep their foot on the gas for four quarters.
This Colorado State defense is giving up a whopping 38.3 points and 550 yards per game this season while yielding 7.7 yards per play. Florida should be able to score at will on them. And this Florida defense is one of the best in the country and has been one for years. Colorado State only managed 13 points against Colorado, and I’d be surprised if they top that total this weekend.
The Gators are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a double-digit home loss. The Rams are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Off a rare cover against Arkansas last week in a miracle comeback, the Rams will get back to their losing ways against the number here. Take Florida Saturday.
|09-15-18||Georgia Tech v. Pittsburgh +4||19-24||Win||100||53 h 47 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Pittsburgh +4
I liked Pitt coming into the season and took their OVER 5.5 wins as part of my Top 10 NCAAF Season Win Totals bets. This was a game I expected the Panthers to win, and I still do. And I think it’s a great time to back them as they are undervalued off their misleading 6-51 loss to Penn State last week.
That was a 7-6 game against Penn State with only a few seconds left before halftime. The Nittany Lions scored right before half, and proceeded to roll in the second half. But Pitt was only outgained by 90 yards in that contest and held the Nittany Lions to 390 total yards, which is no small feat against that offense. I believe this is the best defense that Pat Narduzzi has fielded at Pitt with nine returning starters from last year.
Georgia Tech gave up a whopping 49 points in their loss to South Florida last week. That loss and defensive effort is a big concern considering USF lost most of their studs from last season and isn’t nearly as good as they have been over the past few years.
Georgia Tech has some key injuries heading into this one. For starters, QB TaQuan Marshall is nursing a toe injury that will slow him down. And the Yellow Jackets lost their stud B-Back in KirVonte Benson to a season-ending knee injury in the lost to USF. He rushed for 1,053 yards and six touchdowns last year. Their next leading back had 271 yards on the ground, so it’s a huge blown. And center Kenny Cooper has a foot injury as well and is questionable for this one. He made 11 starts last year and would be a big loss if he can’t go.
I simply feel that the wrong team is favored here Saturday. Georgia Tech is 0-7 SU & 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as a road favorite, including four losses by double-digits. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. Take Pittsburgh Saturday.
|09-15-18||Florida State v. Syracuse +3||Top||7-30||Win||100||52 h 19 m||Show|
20* FSU/Syracuse ESPN Early ANNIHILATOR on Syracuse +3
The Syracuse Orange are in the 3rd year under Dino Babers. They have 14 returning starters including eight on an explosive offense that could hang with anyone when QB Eric Dungey was healthy last year. That showed by how they performed against their best competition last year.
Syracuse handed Clemson its only regular season loss last year in a 27-24 upset at home as 23-point dogs. The Orange hung with LSU for four quarters and only lost 26-35 on the road as 21-point dogs. They only lost at NC State 25-33 as 13-point dogs. They only lost at Miami 19-27 as 17-point dogs. And they nearly upset Florida State in a 24-27 road loss as 6-point dogs.
Once Dungey got hurt last year, the Orange folded in their final three games. Dungey is back healthy and has this Syracuse offense hitting on all cylinders. The Orange have averaged 58.5 points and 508 yards per game in wins over Western Michigan and Wagner. Dungey has a 7-to-1 TD/INT ratio while also rushing for 244 yards and a score on 9.4 per carry thus far through two games.
Florida State is a team in transition under first-year head coach Willie Taggart. It has been an ugly start for the Seminoles. They lost 3-24 at home to Virginia Tech as 7.5-point favorites in their opener and committed five turnovers. Even worse was their 36-26 home win over lowly Samford as 31-point favorites in Week 2. Samford actually gained 525 total yards on this suspect FSU defense and committed 5 turnovers, otherwise they probably would have pulled off the upset.
You can just imagine what Dungey and company will do against this FSU defense. And the Orange want revenge from that 27-24 loss at Florida State last year. I simply believe the wrong team is favored in this matchup as Syracuse has the better team this year.
The Seminoles are 0-7-2 ATS in their last nine conference games. Florida State is 0-6 ATS in the first half of the season over the last two seasons. Syracuse is 8-3-1 ATS in its last 12 games overall with its only non-covers coming without Dungey under center. Bet Syracuse Saturday.
|09-13-18||Ravens +1 v. Bengals||Top||23-34||Loss||-107||54 h 36 m||Show|
20* Ravens/Bengals AFC North No-Brainer on Baltimore +1
The Baltimore Ravens are a legit playoff contender. It’s a team I was high on coming into the season due to several things that happened this offseason. For starters, Joe Flacco is more motivated than he’s ever been after the Ravens traded up to draft Lamar Jackson in the first round. And he finally has some weapons to work with on offense.
The Ravens added Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown at receiver. Fittingly, all three receivers caught touchdown passes from Flacco in a 47-3 beat down of the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. And the defense limited the Bills to just 153 total yards as the Ravens outgained them by 216 yards in the game. This is one of the best defenses in the NFL.
The Ravens went 5-0 in the preseason and now are 1-0 in the regular season. They have outscored their six opponents by a total of 99 points, or by an average of 16.5 points per game. Their defense has held their six opponents to just an average of 12.5 points per game. This is a deep, talented defense that will give Andy Dalton and company fits this week.
The Bengals were fortunate to win 34-23 at Indianapolis in Week 1. They were outgained by 50 total yards and got an 83-yard fumble recovery for a TD with 24 seconds left as the Colts were driving deep in the red zone to win the game. And the Colts aren’t a very good team.
The Bengals were one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL last year. Things don’t look a whole lot better for them in 2018. They managed just 330 total yards against what was an awful Colts’ defense last year, and one that isn’t much better this year. And Andrew Luck threw for 319 yards as the Colts managed 380 total yards against what is just an average Bengals defense.
Cincinnati has some big injury concerns coming into this one. Starters that are questionable to play include DE Carlos Dunlap (calf), LG Clint Boling (foot), CB Darqueze Dennard (neck) and MLB Preston Brown (ankle). Not to mention, the Bengals are already playing without LB Vontaze Burfict due to a four-game suspension.
But what I really like about this game is the situation. Baltimore simply needed a win in Week 17 last year to make the playoffs. Instead, the Bengals upset them 31-27 in Baltimore as 8-point underdogs. The Bengals scored on a 49-yard TD Pass with just 44 seconds left to stun the Ravens. You can bet Baltimore has been thinking about that game all offseason. They have had this game circled, and they will get their revenge Thursday night in Cincinnati.
Baltimore won 20-0 in Cincinnati last year. The Ravens are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring 40 points or more in their previous game. Baltimore is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 vs. AFC North opponents. The underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. Bet the Ravens Thursday.
|09-13-18||Boston College v. Wake Forest +7||41-34||Push||0||52 h 13 m||Show|
15* Boston College/Wake Forest ACC ANNIHILATOR on Wake Forest +7
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons just get no respect. They went 8-5 last season and 8-3-2 ATS in their 13 games. Dave Clawson has now gotten the Demon Deacons to back-to-back bowl games. They are well on their way to another bowl game after their 2-0 start in Clawson’s 5th season.
The Demon Deacons returned 14 starters this season. Eight starters are back on an offense that set a school record with 454 points last year while averaging 35.3 points and 466 yards per game. They were competitive in every single game last season due to the offense and did not get beat by more than 14 points all season.
All five starters and a whopping 132 career starts returned along the offensive line in what will be one of the ACC’s top O-Lines. Each of the top two receivers are back from last year in Greg Dortch (53 receptions, 722 yards, 9 TD) and Scotty Washington (45, 711, 3 TD), as is leading rusher Matt Colburn (904 yards, 7 TD). That has helped ease the transition of highly touted freshman QB Sam Hartman.
The offense is in high gear already as the Demon Deacons have averaged 37 points and 565 yards per game in wins over Tulane and Towson. They beat Tulane 23-17 in a game that was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. They outgained Tulane by 112 yards, and that’s a Tulane team that went on to beat FCS power Nicholls State 42-17 the following week. Nicholls State upset Kansas on the road in Week 1. Wake Forest then handled Towson 51-20 in Week 2.
Hartman is completing 61.5% of his passes for 620 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 128 yards and a score on 5.8 per carry. And he hasn’t even had the services of Washington yet, who missed the two games with a shoulder injury and is questionable tonight. Dortch leads the way with 19 receptions for 243 yards and Sage Surratt has 15 receptions for 213 yards.
Boston College is a team that everyone and their brother has jumped on this season as being a team that could contend in the ACC. While I agree they should be good, the love has gotten out of control, especially after a 2-0 start against weak competition in UMass and Holy Cross. Now the Eagles are being asked to go on the road and win by a touchdown or more to cover this spread this week, and I feel like it’s too much. I think Wake wins this game outright.
That’s precisely what happened last year as Wake Forest dominated Boston College 34-10 on the road. The Demon Deacons forced four turnovers and held Boston College to 305 total yards. Boston College has only beaten Wake Forest by more than 6 points on the road once in the last seven trips to Winston-Salem. That was a 10-point victory back in 2010.
Plays on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (Wake Forest) - in a game involving two dominant teams that are outgaining their opponents by 100-plus yards per game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in two consecutive games are 28-5 (84.8%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Wake Forest is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog. Clawson is 14-3 ATS off a win by 21 or more points in all games he has coached. Clawson is 9-1 ATS off two consecutive games with a turnover margin of -1 or worse in all games he has coached. They only had 13 turnovers all of last season, and now they have 5 already this season. It has been a point of emphasis in practice this week for Clawson. Look for a big effort from the Demon Deacons at home tonight. Take Wake Forest Thursday.
|09-10-18||Jets +7 v. Lions||Top||48-17||Win||100||127 h 36 m||Show|
20* Jets/Lions ESPN Monday No-Brainer on New York +7
The Detroit Lions have been nothing but mediocre for decades. They have not won a playoff game in 26 seasons. They are kind of starting over this year with a new head coach in Matt Patricia. I don’t expect them to come out Week 1 hitting on all cylinders with new systems and new personnel in place. They certainly shouldn’t be favored by a touchdown against anyone in this league, not even the Jets.
The problem for the Lions is always defense and the lack of a running game. They are trying to change that this year, but it won’t happen overnight. The Lions ranked 27th in total defense last year and 32nd in rushing offense, averaging just 76.3 yards per game. They’re expecting Patricia to magically improve the defense, and for LeGarrette Blount and company to improve the running game.
I like the chemistry the Jets have with Todd Bowles. He enters his 4th season with the franchise and is 20-28 overall, but has been trying to upgrade the talent since he got here. That’s not a bad record for the shortage of talent that he’s had to work with. They are starting to turn the corner in that department.
The Jets used their top pick on Sam Darnold, and he’s expected to start Week 1. The future of the offense is bright now that they finally found their QB. Jermaine Kerse (65 receptions, 810 yards, 5 TD last year) and Robby Anderson (63, 941, 7 TD) provide an underrated receiver duo, and Terrelle Pryor only adds to it. Isaiah Crowell was signed this offseason to be the workhorse after rushing for 853 yards in Cleveland last year. The offensive line should be improved with the addition of center Spencer Long from the Redskins.
New York is loaded with playmakers defensively. Leonard Williams had the third-most QB hits (25) in the AFC last season. Steve McLendon is a solid run-stuffing nose tackle. The Jets replaced Demario Davis with a younger version of him in LB Avery Williamson, who had 92 tackles and 3 sacks with the Titans last year. Darron Lee improved greatly in his second season and will take an even bigger step this year. Second-year safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are promising. The Jets signed former Rams No. 1 corner Tremaine Johnson to a five-year, $72 million deal. Morris Claiborne is a solid No. 2 corner opposite Johnson.
The fact of the matter is that there’s not much difference between the Lions and Jets talent-wise, so this spread should not be a touchdown. The Lions admittedly have the better offense, but the Jets clearly have the better defense. Detroit is 31-51 ATS in its last 82 games as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points. The Jets are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall and come into 2018 underrated as well. Bet the Jets Monday.
Note: I recommend buying the Jets to +7
|09-09-18||Bears +7.5 v. Packers||Top||23-24||Win||100||104 h 48 m||Show|
20* Bears/Packers NBC Sunday Night BAILOUT on Chicago +7.5
I expect the Chicago Bears to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. They went just 5-11 last year, but Mitchell Trubisky had nobody to throw to, and the coaching staff didn’t have a clue. Yet, they managed to beat three of the better teams in the NFL in the Steelers, Panthers and Ravens, and they took both the Falcons and Vikings down to the wire early in the season.
The Bears were competitive due to a defense that rank 9th in scoring and 10th in total defense. That defense will be very good again, especially with the addition of former NFL Defensive Player Khalil Mack via trade. They gave up a lot to get him with two first-round picks, but that won’t hurt them at all this season, only in the future.
Matt Nagy is the new head coach. He was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs under Andy Reid, and he was the perfect hire for the Bears this offseason to inject some new life into the offense. Nagy will get the most out of Trubisky, who now has ample weapons to lead the offense. No team improved their playmakers this offseason more than Chicago.
The Bears added former Jacksonville No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson, who is primed for a bounce-back season after playing in just one game for the Jaguars before getting injured last year. New slot receiver Taylor Gabriel has 4.3-40 speed and will be missed in Atlanta. Trey Burton was stuck behind Zach Ertz in Philadelphia at tight end. But now he’ll have a chance to shine and take over the role that Travis Kelce played in Nagy’s offense in Kansas City. They used their second-round pick on Anthony Miller out of Memphis, and they still have former first-round pick Kevin White on their roster.
The Packers will be good as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, but they should not be favored by more than a touchdown here against the Bears. Rodgers voiced his frustration this offseason with the lack of focus out of the receiver group, and he clearly wasn’t healthy they let one of his best friends in Jordy Nelson walk. They are also shopping Randall Cobb.
Devante Adams and Jimmy Graham are good targets for Rodgers, but outside of those two, the talent is pretty weak at receiver. And the Packers have never had a consistent running game.
Green Bay ranked 26th in scoring defense (24.0 PPG) and 22nd in total defense (348.9 yards/game) last season. While they did add some pieces on defense to try and help out, they lost two key pieces in the secondary in CB Damarious Randall and S Morgan Burnett. The loss of Burnett is a big one because he was a leader in the secondary for eight seasons and made the defensive calls.
They’ll now be relying on first-round pick Jair Alexander and second-round pick Josh Jackson at cornerback this season. Both could struggle early on. They brought in corners Tramon Williams and Davon House, but both are just stopgaps. Second-year CB Kevin King is coming off labrum surgery. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the most experienced member of the secondary at safety, but he was dreadful last season. Second-year man Josh Jones and unproven Kentrell Brice are battling for the other safety position. There will be more holes in this secondary to say the least.
Plays against home favorites (Green Bay) who had a losing record last season, in conference games are 141-87 (61.8%) ATS since 1983. The Packers are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Don’t be surprised if the Bears win this game outright as they are a team on the rise this season. But we’ll certainly take the 7.5 points without hesitation. Take the Bears Sunday.
|09-09-18||Seahawks v. Broncos -2.5||24-27||Win||100||100 h 51 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday No-Doubt Rout on Denver Broncos -2.5
The Denver Broncos should be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. They are coming off a 5-11 season that was mired with awful quarterback play. The trio of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch was about one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL last season. That won’t be the case again.
Case Keenum parlayed his trip to the NFC Championship Game with the Vikings into a big contract with the Broncos this offseason. Keenum is better than he gets credit for, which was evident in Minnesota last year. And just like in Minnesota, Keenum has a great defense to fall back on, so he doesn’t have to do too much.
The Broncos wasted an elite defense last year. They ranked 3rd in total defense, giving up just 290.0 yards per game. And they will challenge for the top spot again in 2018. The Broncos got the steal of the draft when they nabbed Bradley Chubb from NC State with the No. 5 overall pick despite the fact that he was graded out as the best player in the draft.
Now the Von Miller-Chubb tandem at outside linebacker is as scary as it gets in the NFL. The “No Fly Zone” secondary features Pro Bowlers Chris Harris (CB) and Darian Stewart (S). The Broncos could afford to trade Aqib Talib because CB Bradley Roby is a future star and ready for a starting role. This is going to be a dynamite defense.
The Seahawks are a team in transition. The ‘Legion of Boom’ is no longer. Richard Sherman was traded to the 49ers, Earl Thomas is holding out and still looking to get traded, and Kam Chancellor is out for the season with a neck injury. Not to mention, DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett are both gone. This defense doesn’t look anything like the dominant unit it was a few years ago, and it will struggle.
The same problem remains for Seattle’s offense. They simply cannot run the football. Russell Wilson has a big season last year, but only because he had to. Wilson actually led the team in rushing, and by a wide margin. No Seattle running back had more than 240 yards last year. The offensive line is still a mess, and the options are limited at receiver, especially with the losses of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson. That duo combined for 16 TD receptions last year.
The Seahawks will struggle to reach .500 this season with all that they’ve lost. And they have some other injury concerns heading into Week 1. LB K.J. Wright is doubtful with a knee injury, DE Dion Jordan is questionable with a shin injury, CB Byron Maxwell is on IR with a hip injury, and WR Doug Baldwin is nursing a knee injury but expected to play.
Pete Carroll is 1-9 ATS in road games in the first two weeks of the season as the coach of Seattle. The Broncos are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine September games. The Seahawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six September games. The key to this game will be the Broncos’ domination up front on defense against Seattle’s weak offensive line. Russell Wilson will be running for his life. Take the Broncos Sunday.
|09-09-18||Jaguars v. Giants +3||Top||20-15||Loss||-100||96 h 28 m||Show|
20* NFL Non-Conference GAME OF THE WEEK on New York Giants +3
I believe the Jacksonville Jaguars come in overrated after making the AFC Championship Game last year. They came out of nowhere to do it. They finished 10-6 in the regular season before barely getting by the Bills and Steelers, and almost upset the Patriots. Now they will be the hunted, not the hunters in 2018. And it’s clearly they are overvalued because they are opening as 3-point road favorites at the Giants.
New York, on the other hand, comes in undervalued off a disastrous 3-13 season. They were hit as hard by injuries as any team in the league last year. And head coach Ben McAdoo was not fit for the job. But this was a team that made the playoffs in 2016, so there is still a ton of talent on this squad. And they got even better in the offseason.
The Giants have improved most in the trenches. They nabbed four new starters along the offensive line, including LT Nate Soldier from the Patriots. They will have a running game now with that improved O-Line and the addition of first-round pick RB Saquon Barkley, who is sure to be a star in the NFL for years to come. Odell Beckham Jr. got his big contract, and now he’s back healthy this season. Eli Manning has everything he needs to succeed.
The Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2016. But injuries and poor play by the offense had the defense gassed last year. That stop unit should come back energized and get back to being one of the better defenses in the NFL in 2018. I love the addition of LB Alec Ogletree, who will become the QB of the defense after serving the same role with the Rams previously.
There’s no question the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the NFL. But it’s not complemented well by the offense. Blake Bortles is still one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. And his job got much tougher with the fact that the Jaguars lost last year’s leading receiver Marquise Lee in the preseason to a knee injury. Their third-leading receiver, Allen Hurns, is gone to the Cowboys. And former top receiver Allen Robinson is gone to the Bears. The Jaguars are going to be so predictable on offense this year. Teams will be able to stack eight in the box to stop Leonard Fournette, and that will be the game plan every week.
The home team is a perfect 6-0 straight up in the last six meetings between these teams. Jacksonville is 15-31 ATS in its last 46 non-conference road games. The Jaguars are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 September games. Bet the Giants Sunday.
|09-09-18||Bucs +10 v. Saints||48-40||Win||100||96 h 27 m||Show|
15* NFL Sunday Undervalued Underdog on Tampa Bay Bucs +10
Public perception couldn’t be any worse on the Bucs right now. At the same time, public perception couldn’t be much higher on the New Orleans Saints. So this is essentially the perfect storm here and we’re getting max value on the Bucs as 10-point road underdogs to the Saints in the opener.
The Bucs are coming off a 5-11 season. Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first three games of the season. Not much is expected from the Bucs, who play in a very tough division. But I think they’ve been hearing all offseason about how bad they are going to be. No question them head into Week 1 with a massive chip on their shoulder.
And I actually like the talent on this Bucs’ roster. Their defense had three stars in DT Gerald McCoy and LB’s Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. They added two productive DE’s in Vinny Curry from the Eagles and Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants. I expect this to be one of the most improved defenses in the league.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has ample weapons on the outside to be productive, and he’s one of the best backups in the NFL. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and the combination of OJ Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end give the Bucs some great receiving options. Peyton Barber came on strong at running back late last year, and they added talented rookie RB Ronald Jones II in the second round. I expect the Bucs to be a lot more competitive than the general public does this season.
The Saints are getting a lot of hype after going 11-5 last year and losing on the Minnesota miracle in the playoffs. Their defense improved greatly last year, but it’s still just a mediocre unit. And the offense is more run-heavy now than it has ever been, but Mark Ingram is out to start the season due to a four-game suspension. No question the Saints will still be good this year and a playoff contender, but I think they are getting way too much respect from the books in Week 1 here. The Saints are 0-4 ATS in their last four Week 1 games. Roll with the Bucs Sunday.
|09-09-18||Texans +7 v. Patriots||20-27||Push||0||96 h 27 m||Show|
15* Texans/Patriots AFC ANNIHILATOR on Houston +7
There is a lot to like about the Houston Texans heading into 2018. For starters, Deshaun Watson is fully healthy now. He was on pace for 43 touchdowns as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Watson led an offense that averaged 39 points per game from Week 3 to Week 8 in a five-game span. It’s scary how good this offense was when he was healthy, and when WR Will Fuller was on the field. He had 7 touchdown receptions on 28 grabs last year.
So on offense, they have Watson and Fuller back healthy, and on defense they get their two best players back healthy as well. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus both return. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He and Jadeveon Clowney will wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Whitney Mercilus returns from a torn pectoral muscle. Mercilus joins a talented LB group that features leading tackler Benardick McKinney and the versatile Zach Cunningham, who are both coming off productive seasons.
The Patriots are notorious slow starters. We saw them lose 27-42 to the Chiefs at home in Week 1 last year, and in their next home game they barely beat Watson and the Texans 36-33 in Week 3. The Patriots needed a 25-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left to escape with victory as 13.5-point favorites.
Tom Brady is a year older, and he just doesn’t have the kind of weapons he used to. His best receiver this year is Chris Hogan (34 receptions, 439 yards, 5 TD Last year). Julian Edelman is serving a four-game suspension, and Danny Amendola left for the Dolphins. Brandon Cooks left for the Rams as well. Outside Rob Gronkowski, this is a very underwhelming receiver group. The offensive line is a question mark with LT Nate Solder leaving in free agency.
New England lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who is now the head coach of the Detroit Lions. And this Patriots’ defense fell apart late last year. They also ranked just 29th in total defense during the regular season, surrendering 366.0 yards per game. Then they gave up 41 points to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and couldn’t stop backup QB Nick Foles, who was dreadful prior to the Super Bowl. There’s more questions than answers surrounding this defense heading into 2018.
The Patriots are 1-4 ATS in their last five Week 1 games. This number is simply too high with the Texans catching a touchdown. I actually think they have the better all-around team this year and will be one of the best teams in the NFL if all of the stars stay healthy that were injured last year. They are at least healthy for Week 1, and that’s the key here. Bet the Texans Sunday.
Note: I recommend buying the Texans to +7
|09-08-18||Fresno State v. Minnesota -1.5||14-21||Win||100||34 h 34 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Non-Conference KNOCKOUT on Minnesota -1.5
I’m buying Minnesota being vastly improved this season in Year 2 under P.J. Fleck, who is one of the most underrated head coaches in the country. What he did at Western Michigan two years ago goes without saying. And now he’s trying to rebuild Minnesota football into a Big Ten contender.
Fleck now has more of his players in place after a 5-7 campaign in his first season. He has 14 returning starters to work with. The Gophers can only be better offensively as they return seven starters, their leading rusher, top two receivers and four starters along the offensive line. That makes life on freshman QB Zack Annexstad much easier.
Fleck turned an inexperienced defense that returned just five starters last year into one of the Big Ten’s best units. The Gophers only allowed 22.8 points and 347 yards per game in 2017. Now they return seven starters, led by leading tackler Thomas Barber (115 tackles, 10.5 for loss last year) at linebacker. This is an experienced unit that has nine junior and senior starters. One of the sophomores is Antoine Winfield, who got a medical redshirt and will be one of the best safeties in the Big Ten.
Minnesota was sharp in its 48-10 season-opening victory over New Mexico State as 21.5-point favorites, covering the spread by 16.5 points. Annexstad threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start. The Gophers rushed for 300 yards and 6.5 per carry. Winfield made his presence felt with a 76-yard punt return TD that blew the game wide open.
I backed Fresno State several times last season. I saw the improvement coming from Jeff Tedford, the former Cal coach, and he did a remarkable job. The Bulldogs finished 10-4 and lost to Boise State by only a field goal in the Mountain West Championship Game. They went on to beat Houston 33-27 in their bowl game.
Now Fresno State returns 15 starters and is on everyone’s radar. The betting public is quick to back this team, but I think the love for them is too much right now. That’s especially the case off a 79-13 win over FCS bottom feeder Idaho. That game was much closer than the final score as the Bulldogs only outgained them by 181 yards but shockingly won the turnover battle 7-0.
Now Fresno State is basically being asked to go into enemy territory against a quality Big Ten opponent and win the game straight up just to cover. I’m not buying it. I’ll gladly take Minnesota at this price and watch the Golden Gophers steamroll this Group of 5 squad.
Minnesota is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games after allowing 40 or less rushing yards last game. Fleck is 17-6 ATS in non-conference games as a head coach. Tedford is 10-23 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 in all games as a head coach. Bet Minnesota Saturday.
|09-08-18||Kentucky v. Florida -13.5||27-16||Loss||-107||33 h 24 m||Show|
15* SEC PLAY OF THE DAY on Florida -13.5
Florida should be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2018. The Gators are coming off a 4-7 disaster. They lost their starting RB, top WR and eight other players to suspension prior to the season. None of those suspended players returning. They were also decimated by injuries and had no depth. They were without 28 scholarship players and their head coach by the end of the season.
Now Dan Mullen steps into a great situation. Florida has 19 returning starters and gets some of those suspended players back. Mullen did an underrated job at Mississippi State, taking the Bulldogs to seven bowl games in his nine seasons. He was the perfect hire for Florida and exactly the guy that can get them back into SEC title contention.
Florida owns the longest series win streak in the nation with 31 consecutive wins over Kentucky. That streak was in jeopardy last year as the Gators trailed 24-14, but Felipe Franks took over for an injured Luke Del Rio at that point. Franks led two touchdown drives in the final eight minutes and Kentucky missed a potential game-winning field goal, with the Gators prevailing 28-27.
Last time in Gainesville, Florida rolled Kentucky 45-7. The Gators led 45-0 until garbage time and outgained the Wildcats 564-149. I think we get back to seeing the kind of dominance we expect from Florida in this rivalry in 2018.
Kentucky is just 2-10 in its last 12 SEC road openers. Kentucky lost their left tackle Landon Young in the season opener and don’t have much of a veteran presence this season. The Wildcats are only the 102nd-most experienced team in the country, so this is a young roster. Dan Mullen went 8-1 against Kentucky while at Mississippi State, playing them every year.
Kentucky wasn’t very impressive in its opener, failing to cover as 17.5-point favorites in a 35-20 home win over an inexperienced, rebuilding Central Michigan team. The quarterback play was very shaky as the Wildcats break in a new QB this year. The combo of Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak went 15-of-27 passing for just 128 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the win. They have more questions than answers heading into Week 2 at QB. Whoever is under center is going to have to make plays with their arm to hang with Florida, and I just don’t think they are capable.
Conversely, Florida handled its business, winning 53-6 as 43-point favorites against Charleston Southern. Franks threw for 219 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. He suddenly looks like a star in the making as a sophomore. Charleston Southern QB’s went just 5-of-16 passing for 3 yards against Florida.
Kentucky is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The Gators are 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. Plays on favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (Florida) - after gaining 6.25 or more yards per play in their previous game, with 9 or more offensive starters returning are 57-25 (69.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. Roll with Florida Saturday.
|09-08-18||Baylor -16 v. UTSA||37-20||Win||100||33 h 55 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Big Chalk BLOWOUT on Baylor -16
Baylor should be one of the most improved teams in the country in 2018. Matt Rhule enters his second season and is another year removed from the tumultuous offseason from 2016. Rhule loves a challenge, and I think he starts seeing some of the fruits of his labor in 2018.
Baylor went just 1-11 last season, but took both Oklahoma (41-49) and West Virginia (34-38) to the wire. The Bears were more competitive than their record showed. Now they have a whopping 17 starters and 52 lettermen returning this season, while losing just 15 lettermen. Rhule has cleaned house and now has his players in place moving forward.
Baylor rolled Abilene Christian 55-27 in its opener. The Bears racked up 606 total yards, including 295 rushing and 8.2 per carry. QB Charlie Brewer, who completed 68.4% of his passes with an 11-to-4 TD/INT ratio last season, got banged up in the win. They took him out for precautionary reasons, but he is expected back healthy this week.
UTSA had a solid team the last two years, going 6-7 in 2016 and 6-5 in 2017. But they lose a lot of players from those teams as they have just 10 returning starters this season. They had to replace a ton of seniors from last year and are actually just the 128th-most experienced team in the country this season.
I think we saw that inexperience in the opener. UTSA was blitzed 7-49 by Arizona State. They managed just 220 total yards and committed three turnovers in the loss. And that was an Arizona State team going through change and a new head coach in Herm Edwards. I think Baylor is better than Arizona State this season, and the Bears should be much bigger than 16-point favorites in this matchup.
Plays on road favorites (Baylor) - after gaining 275 or more rushing yards last game against an opponent that was outrushed by 125 or more yards last game are 42-13 (76.4%) ATS over the last five seasons. Rhule is a perfect 7-0 ATS all-time after leading in their previous game by 17 points or more at the half in all games as a head coach. Take Baylor Saturday.
|09-08-18||Ball State +34.5 v. Notre Dame||Top||16-24||Win||100||30 h 35 m||Show|
25* CFB Non-Conference GAME OF THE YEAR on Ball State +34.5
Ball State has the makings of one of the most improved teams in the country. They went just 2-10 last season with 11 starters back, but now they have 16 starters back in 2018 and should challenge for a bowl game.
The biggest problem for Ball State last year was that QB Riley Neal started the first three games but then was knocked out with a season-ending injury. And the Cardinals opened 2-1 with their only loss coming 21-24 at Illinois as 6-point underdogs. They also lost RB James Gilbert after two games. Well, Neal and Gilbert are both back healthy to guide the offense this season.
Both players were on their game in their season-opening 42-6 victory over Central Connecticut State as 19.5-point favorites, covering by 16.5 points. Neal went 23-of-30 passing for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 37 yards and a score. Gilbert had 100 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries. This is certainly a team to look out for this season.
This is an awful spot for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish opened the season with arguably their biggest game of the year, and they beat Michigan 24-17. Now they are primed for a letdown the falling week as they will have been patted on the back all week leading up to this game. They won’t have 100% focus for Ball State.
But the Fighting Irish only managed 302 total yards in the win, and their offense is going to hold them back again this year. They don’t have the kind of offense that is built to cover massive numbers like this 34.5-point spread. They are a power-running team that needs to control time of possession because Brandon Wimbush isn’t a very good passer. He only completed 49.5% of his passes last season for 1,870 yards despite making 12 starts. He managed just 12-of-22 completions against Michigan.
The Cardinals are 8-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference games. Ball State is 7-1 ATS in its last eight vs. Independent opponents. The Cardinals are 54-26 ATS in their last 80 road games. The Fighting Irish are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Ball State) - after outgunning their opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. This is way too many points. Bet Ball State Saturday.
|09-08-18||Rutgers +35.5 v. Ohio State||Top||3-52||Loss||-110||29 h 30 m||Show|
20* Big Ten GAME OF THE WEEK on Rutgers +35.5
Rutgers is a team I’m looking to back early and often. In fact, when I did my Top 10 season win total bets, Rutgers OVER 3.5 was high up on my list. I won with them last week as 16-point favorites in a 35-7 win over Texas State. I’m back on them for many of the same reasons this week.
Rutgers went 4-8 last year, but was more competitive and now enters Year 3 under head coach Chris Ash, which is when teams usually make their biggest improvements. The Scarlet Knights return 15 starters this season. They have seven back on offense and will be better, simply because freshman QB Artur Sitkowski is one of the top recruits in the country. He ran away with he job this fall and is one of the better young QB’s that not many folks know about.
The defense improved a ton last year, going from allowing 37.5 points per game in 2016 to 28.3 points per game in 2017. Now the defense returns eight starts and five of the six tacklers. Not only will this be Ash’s best defense yet, it will also be one of the better units in the Big Ten.
Rutgers outgained Texas State 423 to 169, or by 254 total yards. Sitkowski threw for 205 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off three times. Now that he has a game under his belt, he should be much more comfortable in Week 2. And the Scarlet Knights ran for 218 yards as a team, led by Boston College transfer Jon Hillman, who had 60 yards and two scores and adds a punch to this rushing attack.
I think Ohio State comes in overvalued off its 77-31 victory over Oregon State as 40-point favorites. Well, Oregon State is the worst team in the Power 5 outside of perhaps Kansas. And they managed to hang 31 points on the Buckeyes. Ohio State isn’t going to score 77 on Rutgers in this one. I’m anticipating Rutgers is good enough to hold the Buckeyes below 50, which will make it very difficult for them to cover this massive 35.5-point spread.
Ohio State is also in a big lookahead spot. The Buckeyes have a huge game at TCU on deck in their biggest non-conference game this season. I think they’ll be more than happy to get a win and pull the starters early in this one. They won’t be looking to run up the score like they were against Oregon State, especially since defensive coordinator Greg Schiano owes Rutgers a big thanks for getting his coaching career kick-started. Schiano and company will call off the dogs if necessary.
Ash is 6-0 ATS off a win as the coach of Rutgers. Urban Meyer teams are 4-12 ATS as a favorite of 31 or more points as the coach of Ohio State. Plays against home favorites of 31.5 or more points (Ohio State) who outgained their opponents by 1.5 or more yards per play, with 5 defensive starters returning are 23-5 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Rutgers) - after outgaining their last opponent by 175 or more total yards are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. Take Rutgers Saturday.
|09-08-18||Arkansas State +36.5 v. Alabama||7-57||Loss||-110||29 h 25 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Arkansas State +36.5
This is a situational play for me. Alabama just doesn’t cover these kinds of game. Since 2011, in their last 13 games as a favorite of at least 28 points against non-conference FBS opponents, Alabama just just 1-10-2 ATS.
I have cashed going against the Crimson Tide several times in this same scenario. I was also against them the one time they actually did cover two years ago as 43-point favorites in a 48-0 win over Kent State. But Kent State had a TD overturned on review late, otherwise they wouldn’t have covered that game, either.
The reason for their struggles in this spot is because they are usually in a letdown situation or a lookahead spot. In this case, it’s a letdown situation after their big win over Louisville last week, and they could be looking ahead to Ole Miss. Plus, Nick Saban just isn’t the type of coach to run it up on an opponent. He shows mercy, unless it’s an SEC rival.
Arkansas State is one of the better Group of 5 programs in the country. The Red Wolves have won five Sun Belt titles in the past seven seasons. They fell just short last year with a 25-32 loss to Troy. In fact, they went 7-5 last year and four of those five losses came by 7 points or fewer. They were in every game they played.
Now the Red Wolves welcome back 12 starters, and they biggest key is that they get their top three playmakers back on offense. Leading rusher Warren Wand and leading receiver Justin Mcinnis both return. But the key is getting senior QB Justice Hansen back. He threw for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns last year, while also rushing for 422 yards and seven scores. He will give Alabama some problems.
Arkansas State’s 48-21 win over SE Missouri State last week was a bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Red Wolves outgained them by 400 yards. They racked up 685 yards on offense, including 423 passing yards and six touchdowns from Hansen. They also gave up just 285 yards on defense. But they lost the turnover battle 3-0 to keep the score closer than it was, and gave up a meaningless TD with only 37 seconds left.
Plays on underdogs of 31.5 or more points (Arkansas State) - after outgaining opponent by 175 or more total yards in their previous game are 32-7 (82.1%) ATS since 1992. The Red Wolves are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 vs. a team with a winning record. The Crimson Tide are 0-5 ATS in their last five vs. Sun Belt opponents. Bet Arkansas State Saturday.
|09-08-18||Nevada v. Vanderbilt -8.5||10-41||Win||100||26 h 54 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Vanderbilt -8.5
The Vanderbilt Commodores just get no love every season, especially early in the year. They opened this season as only 3-point favorites over Middle Tennessee. They proceeded to crush the Blue Raiders 35-7, covering the spread by 25 points.
The Commodores held what was supposed to be an explosive MTSU offense to just one touchdown and 294 total yards. Now they’re up against another supposed high-powered Nevada offense, and I expect them to shut them down, too.
I like what Jay Norvell is doing at Nevada, making them a fun program to watch. It’s an offense that put up 28 points per game last season and got better as the season went on. But the defensive deficiencies are still there after allowing 34 points per game and 471 total yards per game last year.
I think Nevada is getting too much credit for its 72-19 shellacking of Portland State last week. Well, Portland State went 0-11 last season and is one of the worst teams in the FCS. Now Nevada will have to go up against SEC talent, and I believe Vanderbilt will have the talent edge at every position on the field.
Nevada is 0-4 against current SEC members all-time. The Wolf Pack are just 1-11 SU in true road games over the last two seasons. Vanderbilt is 15-2 SU when hosting non-conference opponents since 2011, and 10-2 SU when hosting Group of 5 teams since 2008.
Derek Mason is a perfect 6-0 ATS off a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better as the coach of the Commodores. The Wolf Pack are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record. Roll with Vanderbilt Saturday.
|09-07-18||TCU -22 v. SMU||Top||42-12||Win||100||12 h 56 m||Show|
20* TCU/SMU ESPN 2 Friday No-Brainer on TCU -22
The TCU Horned Frogs have one of the most underrated programs in the country. Gary Patterson just gets the most out of his players. What the Horned Frogs lack in talent, they make up for in guts and smarts. They have won at least 10 games three of the past four seasons.
The Horned Frogs have a stout defense every year, and that is the case again this season. They have six starters back on D from a unit that gave up just 19.0 points per game last season, which is mighty impressive in the Big 12. They should have the best defense in this conference once again.
I thought Kenny Hill was an erratic quarterback last year and held their offense back. But talented sophomore Shawn Robinson will be the signal caller this season and should be better than Hill was. The leading rusher (Darius Anderson) and leading receiver (Jalen Reagor) are both back this season to help out Robinson.
TCU beat Southern 55-7 in its opener. Robinson threw for 182 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 45 yards and two scores on two carries before giving way to backup quarterbacks. They had 55 points by the end of the 3rd quarter before calling off the dogs.
SMU was a team I was high on under Chad Morris. He did a great job of getting them to a bowl last season and a 7-6 record overall. Now Morris is gone to Arkansas, a much-deserved promotion for him. SMU hired Sonny Dykes in the offseason, and Dykes is a coach I have no problem going against because he simply isn’t that good. He has a career record of 41-46. LA Tech got better once he left, and Cal got better once he left, too.
Dykes was on the sidelines for SMU’s 10-51 loss to Louisiana Tech in the bowl game. And Dykes’ 2018 debut was a rough one as well. SMU lost 23-46 at North Texas, giving up 461 passing yards to the Mean Green. Their offense only managed 256 yards against a terrible North Texas defense, and they were outgained by 273 yards in the game.
That’s a sign of things to come about how much this SMU program has fallen with the loss of Morris and the hiring of Dykes. The thing is Dykes is known for having an offensive mind, and he has a good QB in Ben Hicks back from lsat season. So to only managed 256 yards against that North Texas defense is atrocious. And SMU has never been good defensively as they gave up 36.7 points and 477 yards per game last season. They could be even worse on that side of the ball this year.
I think TCU can name its number on offense, and the defense is going to limit SMU to fewer than 20 points. TCU has really owned SMU, going 5-0 SU & 3-2 ATS in the five meetings over the past five seasons. The Horned Frogs have outscored the Mustangs by an average of 31.2 points per game in those five meetings. I expect them to win by 30-plus in this one as well, and they only need to win by more than 22 to get us a cover. Bet TCU Friday.
|09-06-18||Falcons +2 v. Eagles||12-18||Loss||-110||32 h 48 m||Show|
15* Falcons/Eagles 2018 NFL Season Opener on Atlanta +2
The Philadelphia Eagles had a remarkable run to the Super Bowl with their backup quarterback. But now it’s time for the Super Bowl hangover in 2018, and I’m predicting it starts in Week 1 with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a playoff rematch from Philly’s 15-10 victory in January.
The Eagles stunk up the preseason (0-4), especially Nick Foles, so their hangover has already started. They lost all four preseason games by double-digits, and their offense was particularly bad, averaging just 6.8 points per game.
Now Foles will have to start again in the opener because Carson Wentz isn’t quite ready to go. And he’ll be without his top receiver in Alshon Jeffery, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. There’s just not a lot to like about this offense to start the season.
The Eagles were able to get by due to a great defense that gave up just 18.2 points per game last season. But that defense won’t be nearly as good in 2018. They lost DE Vinny Curry, LB Mychal Kendrick and CB Patrick Robinson in the offseason. And now they are without DT Timmy Jernigan (back) and LB Nigel Bradham (suspension) in Week 1.
Many overlooked the Falcons last season, but they still went 10-6 and had another great shot at getting back to the Super Bowl before that 5-point loss to the Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round. Now they have basically their entire team back and will be ready for another Super Bowl Run in 2018.
The offense is loaded with weapons for Matt Ryan this season. The usuals are back in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and the 1-2 punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the backfield. But they used an early draft pick on WR Calvin Ridley, who may turn out to be the best receiver in the draft. This will help take some pressure away from Jones in the passing game and open it up more for both he and Sanu.
What got overlooked was the improvement of the Falcons’ defense last season. They only surrendered 19.1 points per game in their 18 games including playoffs. They finished in the Top 10 in scoring defense and total defense last year. The only significant loss was DT Dontari Poe. They have 10 starters back on D and will have one of the best stop units in the league once again.
Plus, the Falcons are fully healthy entering 2018 because they basically rested their starters the entire preseason. They should come out guns-a-blazing in Week 1, while the Eagles are behind the eight ball due to all their injuries and suspensions. Atlanta is 7-1 ATS in its last eight Thursday games. Bet the Falcons Thursday.
|09-03-18||Virginia Tech v. Florida State OVER 54.5||24-3||Loss||-110||106 h 4 m||Show|
15* VA Tech/FSU ESPN Monday Total DOMINATOR on OVER 54.5
Willie Taggart steps into a great situation at Florida State, especially from an offensive perspective. He is known for coaching up high-octane offenses, and he will love the talent he has to work with here. Florida State returns 8 starters on offense, including QB Deondre Francois, who was lost to a season-ending injury in the opener against Alabama last year. That injury derailed their season.
Francois has the luxury of having each of his top two rushers back, including the electric Came Akers, who rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns last year as a freshman. He also had leading receiver Nyqwan Murray back, along with four starters and 90 career starts on the offensive line. This should be one of the best offenses in the country.
The problem for the Seminoles this year is going to be defense. They go from having 9 returning starters on D last year to only 4 returning starters this year. They lost six of their top seven tacklers. This unit is certainly going to be a mystery, and I’m banking on this being one of the worse defenses in recent memory at FSU.
VA Tech coach Justin Fuente earned his stripes at Memphis for what he did on the offensive side of the football. And he’s doing it again at Virginia Tech. The Hokies averaged 35.0 points per game in his first season in 2016. They did slip to 28.2 points per game last year, but they only had 5 returning starters and were breaking in a freshman quarterback. Now the Hokies have 7 returning starters on offense, including QB Josh Jackson, who is now a sophomore. He completed 60% of his passes for 2,991 yards and a 20-to-9 TD/INT ratio, while also rushing for 324 yards and 6 scores as a freshman. He should take this offense to new heights this year.
Like Florida State, VA Tech’s biggest questions coming into the season are on the defensive side of the football. The Hokies return just 5 starters on defense and lose several players to the NFL. Gone to the NFL are CB Greg Stroman, LB Tremaine Edmunds, and DT Tim Settle. This is going to be one of the youngest defenses in the country. Bud Foster will have to work his magic on this group. They won’t come close to matching last year’s impressive numbers.
Taggart is 19-7 OVER as a home favorite in all games he has coached. The OVER is 5-0 in the last five meetings in this series. Bet the OVER in this game Monday.
|09-02-18||Miami-FL v. LSU UNDER 47||Top||17-33||Loss||-110||81 h 29 m||Show|
20* Miami/LSU ABC Sunday No-Brainer on UNDER 47
The Miami Hurricanes take on the LSU Tigers on Sunday in one of the most anticipated Week 1 games on the board. They will meet in Arlington, and I’m expecting a defensive battle in this one between two teams whose strengths are their defenses.
Miami gave up 18.5 points per game in 2016 and 21.0 points per game last season. Those were Mark Richt’s first two years on the job. Now they have 7 starters and each of their top 5 tacklers back from last year’s squad, making this likely Richt’s best defense yet.
Inconsistent quarterback play held Miami back down the stretch last season. Malik Rosier threw for 3,120 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he also threw 14 interceptions and completed just 54% of his passes. And now he’ll be without each of his top two receivers from last year in Braxton Berrios and Christopher Herndon.
Ed Oregon is on the hotseat already at LSU because he still hasn’t developed an offense. That was especially the case last year when the Tigers went up against some similar defenses to Miami. They managed beat Florida 17-16, lost to Alabama 10-24, and lost to Notre Dame 17-21. As you can see, their defense played well enough to win those games, but their offense didn’t get the job done.
Now LSU has just 5 returning starters on offense. They lose QB Danny Etling, who had a 16-to-2 TD/INT ratio, so he will be tougher to replace than most expect. The new QB is Joe Burrow. Derrius Guide and Darrell Williams, who combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns last year, have departed. And each of the top three pass catchers from last year are gone. This offense is going to struggle again.
But you can count on LSU to have a great defense, which they have for over a decade and that has been the case again with Orgeron running the show and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda calling the shots. LSU gave up just 15.8 points per game in 2016 and 18.9 points per game in 2017. While they only have 5 starters back this season, that happens almost every year as they had just 5 starters back on D last season as well. They do have three of their top four tacklers back, including the best LB in the country in Devin White (133 tackles, 14 for loss last year). This will be one of the best stop units in the country.
Orgeron is 34-18 UNDER in all games he has been a head coach. The UNDER is 9-2 in Hurricanes last 11 games overall. The UNDER is 20-8-2 in Tigers last 30 games overall. The UNDER is 6-0 in Hurricanes last six neutral site games. The UNDER is 4-0 in Tigers last four neutral site games. Bet the UNDER in this game Sunday.
|09-01-18||Marshall v. Miami-OH +2.5||35-28||Loss||-100||74 h 41 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday UPSET SHOCKER on Miami Ohio +2.5
Miami Ohio remarkably opened 0-6 in 2016 and finished 6-0 to make a bowl game, where they would lose by a single points 16-17 to Mississippi State as 14-point underdogs. Many expected them to be real good last year because they had 17 returning starters. But the Redhawks lost QB Gus Ragland for three games, and they lost two starting offensively linemen for the first four games. Miami suffered four losses by 5 points or less to finish 5-7 in 2017.
Now, the Redhawks have 16 returning starters and will be one of the most improved teams in the country. Miami Ohio is expected to have 15 senior starters among the 22 on offense and defense. This is a team I’m going to be looking to back early and often.
Offensively, the Redhawks have eight returning starters, including QB Gus Ragland, who had a 39-to-8 TD/INT ratio in three years with the program. He has stud receiver James Gardner (47 receptions, 927 yards, 11 TD) back as his disposal. Each of the top two rushers are back from last year. They have seven offensive linemen with starting experience and 100 career starts back.
Defensively, the Redhawks have eight returning starters from a unit that gave up just 24.1 points per game last season. This will be one of the best units in the MAC this season.
Marshall made a big jump last year from 3-9 in 2016 to 8-5 in 2017. And now they have 18 returning starters, so they will be pretty good again. But they lose their most important player in QB Chase Litton, who threw for 3,115 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago. Their defense will be good again, but their offense only managed 26.7 points per game last year even with good QB play, and they likely won’t get the kind of production they had from Litton last year.
Marshall still hasn’t announced its starting QB yet and likely won’t until gamely. Alex Thomson is likely the new QB, and the grad transfer from Wagner has made 20 starts in his career, but he has completed just 55% of his passes. It will either be Thomson or redshirt freshman Isaiah Green, and whoever starts will be making their first start at the FBS level.
What really stood out to me about this game is that this is a rematch from last year. Marshall beat Miami Ohio 31-26 as 3.5-point home underdogs. But that final score doesn’t even tell half the story. Miami outgained Marshall 429 to 267 for the game, or by 162 total yards. Marshall got three non-offensive touchdowns in the game with a 99-yard KO return, a 97-yard kickoff return and a 72-yard interception return. It’s amazing Miami only lost by 5.
Now the Redhawks will be out for revenge and get the Thundering Herd at home this time around. They are fully healthy coming into this matchup and should get the job done. The home team is a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings. Take Miami Ohio Saturday.
|09-01-18||North Carolina v. California -7||Top||17-24||Push||0||72 h 12 m||Show|
25* CFB Week 1 GAME OF THE YEAR on California -7
Justin Wilcox did a good job in his first season at Cal head coach last year. The Golden Bears went just 5-7, but they had three losses by a combined 7 points. This was an inexperienced team last year, but that won’t be the case in 2018.
The Golden Bears return 18 starters this season and go from being #110 in experience last year all the way up to #18 this year. They also faced the 2nd-toughest schedule in the country last year, and this year they only face the 49th toughest. This could be one of the most improved teams in the land.
The offense returns 10 starters after having just 5 starters back on offense last year. Junior QB Ross Bowers is back after throwing for 3,039 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. Leading rusher Patrick Laird (1,127 yards, 8 TD, 5.9/carry) and each of the top two receivers in Vic Wharton and Kanawai Noa (123 receptions, 1,659 yards, 9 TD between them) are back. All five starters and seven who have started return along the offensive line.
Wilcox is known for defense, and he improved this group dramatically last year. Cal gave up 42.6 points and 518 yards per game in 2016, but those numbers dropped to 28.4 points and 430 yards per game in 2017 under Wilcox. Now he has 8 starts back on defense and the numbers should improve once again.
UNC is an absolute mess right now. The Tar Heels are coming off a 3-9 season and return a modest 13 starters this year. Their three wins last year came against Old Dominion, Western Carolina and Pitt. While they can’t be any worse, they aren’t going to be much better, either.
That’s because they had 13 players suspended for at least one game and as many as four games for selling team-issued shoes. Nine of the 13 suspended players will miss the first four games, the most notable being QB Chazz Surratt, the team leader last season in passing yards, yards per attempt and completion percentage.
Not to mention, projected starting RB Michael Carter (558 yards, 8 TD, 5.8 YPC LY) is out until late September with a wrist injury. Starting DT Aaron Crawford (29 tackles, 3 sacks LY) is out with a knee injury. The Tar Heels are going to be short-handed for the opener and for the first month of the season for that matter. Cal went on the road and beat UNC 35-30 in the opener last season. Now they get the Tar Heels at home this time around and the Golden Bears are vastly improved.
This is the longest road trip (2,800 miles) in school history for the Tar Heels. California is 5-0 ATS in its last five home games. The Golden Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. North Carolina is 1-5 ATS in its last six September games. Bet California Saturday.
|09-01-18||Appalachian State +24 v. Penn State||38-45||Win||100||72 h 1 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Appalachian State +24
The Appalachian State Mountaineers have cemented themselves as one of the better Group of 5 teams in the country over the past decade. It all started when they upset Michigan in the Big House back in 2007. But they have since taken some other Power 5 teams right down to the wire.
The Mountaineers won 11 games in 2015, 10 games in 2016 and 9 games in 2017. They have won at least 10 games five times over the past decade. They only lost 13-20 as 20-point underdogs in Week 1 against Tennessee two years ago. They lost 10-31 at Georgia in the opener last year, and we all know how good Georgia turned out to be. They also lost 19-20 as 5-point home dogs to an 8-win Wake Forest team last year.
I was impressed with the way the Mountaineers finished the season last year. They won their final four games by 21, 21, 49 and 34 points, including their 34-0 beat down of Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl. That gives them a ton of momentum heading into 2018.
Appalachian State returns only 11 starters but 59 lettermen, so while they may be a little young, they have plenty of depth. The loss of four-year starting QB Taylor Lamb is tough, but sophomore Zac Thomas is ready to be the next great QB here. Reports are he’s actually a better runner and has a better arm than Lamb did, so the future is bright for him.
The good news for Thomas is that he’ll be able to lean on an offensive line that returns five players with starting experience, including 1st-Team All-Sun Belt LT Victor Johnson. And they’ll be blocking for the best RB in the Sun Belt in Jalin Moore, who has delivered back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
The bread and butter of the Mountaineers has been defense under head coach Scott Satterfield. They allowed just 19.1 points per game in 2015, 17.8 in 2016 and 20.2 in 2017. They return 14 of their top 20 tacklers from a year ago and should be good again. It’s this defense that will give them a chance to hang with Penn State Saturday.
I think the Nittany Lions are one of the most overrated teams in the country heading into 2018. They shocked everyone by winning 11 game each of the last two seasons, but now they lose a ton of talent from those two teams. The Nittany Lions have just 10 returning starters in 2018.
While they have seven starters back on offense, including QB Trace McSorley, they lose their top three playmakers in RB Saquon Barkley (1,903 scrimmage yards, 21 total TD LY), WR DaeSean Hamilton (857 yards, 9 TD LY) and TE Mike Gesicki (57 receptions, 563 yards, 9 TD LY). That trio is simply irreplaceable.
The losses are just as big on defense as the Nittany Lions return only 3 starters this year. They lost seven of their top eight tacklers from a year ago, so it will basically be all new faces for them on this side of the ball. There’s no way they even come close to last year’s 16.5 points per game allowed. They gave up 25.4 points per game in 2016 and will likely be closer to that number this year.
Penn State opens the 2018 season with expectations it simply cannot live up to from a point spread perspective. They should not be 24-point favorites over pesky Appalachian State in the opener. The Mountaineers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall. Roll with Appalachian State Saturday.
|09-01-18||Texas State v. Rutgers -16||Top||7-35||Win||100||68 h 22 m||Show|
20* CFB Saturday No-Doubt Rout on Rutgers -16
Rutgers is a team I’ll be looking to back early and often. In fact, when I did my Top 10 season win total bets, the Rutgers Over 3.5 made my list. It’s a team that went 4-8 last year and now enters year 3 under head coach Chris Ash, which is when teams usually make their biggest improvements.
The Scarlet Knights return 15 starters this season. Freshman QB Artur Sitkowski is one of the top recruits in the country, and he ran away with the job in fall camp and has been named the starter. He is a big reason why I’m so high on this team because he has all the tools to be one of the better quarterbacks in the country that most don’t know much about.
The offense has seven starters back and can only improve after averaging just 18 points per game a year ago. They brought in a new coordinator in John McNulty, who has spent the past nine years in the NFL with four teams, and he was the former offensive coordinator at Rutgers from 2004-2008. There is a lot of talent at receiver, three starters return on the offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks last year, and Jon Hillman is a grad transfer from Boston College at running back who should inject life into the running game.
The defense improved a ton last year, going from allowing 37.5 points per game in 2016 to 28.3 points per game in 2017. Now that unit returns eight starters and five of the top six tacklers. This will be one of the most underrated stop units in the Big Ten this season.
Texas State was one of the worst teams in the country last season. The Bobcats went just 2-10 and were outscored by an average of 16.3 points per game on the season. Their two wins came against Houston Baptist and Coastal Carolina, an FCS team and a team that was in their first season at the FBS level.
The Bobcats do have 14 starters back this year, but they won’t be any good. They lose their starting QB in Damian Williams and their most explosive playmakers in WR Elijah King (750 yards, 3 TD). Sophomore Willie Lee Jones is expected to step in at QB, but he completed just 48.6% of his 37 attempts last year in the backup role.
Texas State is expected to be the worst team in the Sun Belt, which is the worst conference in the country. The Scarlet Knights from the Big Ten should have no problem waxing them by 17-plus points to get the win and cover in this one. Take Rutgers Saturday.
|09-01-18||Costal Carolina +29.5 v. South Carolina||15-49||Loss||-106||68 h 11 m||Show|
15* CFB Saturday Line Mistake on Coastal Carolina +29.5
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will be playing their first season as an official FBS member after dominating in FCS over the past five years. They won 12, 12, 9 and 10 games from 2013-2016. Last year they played a schedule that featured 11 FBS teams to get them prepared for this season.
They went just 3-9 last year, but there were some highlights, and evidence that they were better than their record would suggest. They went 1-5 in games decided by 8 points or less. But they won their final two games against Idaho and Georgia Southern outright as underdogs to give them some momentum heading into 2018.
Now they have 12 returning starters after having just 9 back last year. And one huge factor is that head coach Joe Moglia, the former FCS Coach of the Year, missed the entire season last year with a lung infection. He’s back healthy now and will be on the sidelines coaching this team up.
Perhaps Coastal Carolina’s most impressive effort last season was in a loss. The Chanticleers went on the road as 23-point underdogs and nearly upset SEC foe Arkansas 38-39. That effort showed that they could play with the big boys, which is a big reason why I think they can hang with South Carolina, or at least stay within this 29.5-point spread.
South Carolina overachieved last year by going 9-4. They were opposite of Coastal Carolina in terms of luck in close games. The Gamecocks went 6-1 in games decided by 8 points or less. They didn’t beat anyone by more than 26 points. They only beat Wofford 31-10 as 27-point home favorites, and they only beat Louisiana Tech 17-16 as 9-point home favorites.
So now expectations are high for the Gamecocks heading into 2018 when they really shouldn’t be because they simply were lucky in close games last year and were really closer to a 6-7 or 7-6 team rather than a 9-4 one. They do have 14 starters back and return some key playmakers, but they should not be 29.5-point favorites here in the opener.
That’s especially the case when you consider South Carolina won’t be able to help but overlook Coastal Carolina. They have their ‘game of the year’ on deck next week hosting Georgia. They will want to make sure that everyone is healthy for that game, which means they will likely pull the starters or limit their snaps at the first opportunity they get. They are just looking to win this game, not win it by margin. Bet Coastal Carolina Saturday.
|08-31-18||Colorado State v. Colorado -7.5||Top||13-45||Win||100||84 h 50 m||Show|
20* Colorado State/Colorado CFB Late-Night BAILOUT on Colorado -7.5
The Colorado Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South in 2016 despite being picked by most outlets to finish last. Head coach Mike MacIntyre always gets the most out of his teams. They were due for some regression last year, and they did at 5-7, but still came within one win of making a bowl but lost their final three games. They had just 12 returning starters last year, including only 3 on defense.
I realize they only have 10 returning starters in 2018, but this is actually a better team than the ’17 version. I love the offense led by Steven Montez, a junior who threw for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions, while also rushing for 338 yards and three scores. The offense boasts nine junior and senior starters and will be better than what you would expect for having just four returning starters.
Improvement will come from a defense that returns six starters, including each of the top three tacklers from a year ago. This unit slipped big-time last year going from nine returning starters in ’16 to just three in ’17. But they still only allowing 28.2 points per game, a respectable number considering all they had to replace. This should now be one of the better stop units in the Pac-12 again.
Colorado State is one of the single-least experienced team in FBS, ranking #130 in terms of returning experience. They have just nine starters and 39 lettermen returning. They lost QB Nick Stevens (3,799 yards, 29 TD), leading rusher Dalyn Dawkins (1,399 yards, 8 TD) and leading receiver Michael Gallup (100 receptions, 1,413 yards, 7 TD) on offense. Defensively, they have just five starters back.
I think you saw everything you needed to know about how bad Colorado State is going to be this season in their opener against Hawaii on Saturday. They were favored by 17 over a Hawaii team that brought back just 9 starters this season. They trailed 37-7 as their offense couldn’t get anything going against an awful Hawaii defense. And by the time they did get their offense going, it was too late as they lost 34-43. Their defense gave up 617 total yards to the Warriors.
Colorado is 8-2 in its last 10 meetings with Colorado State in Denver. Those eight wins have come by an average of 16 points per game. The Rams were better the last two seasons than they will be this season, yet the Buffaloes crushed them 44-7 in 2016 and 17-3 in 2017.
Colorado State is at a disadvantage here having to play on a short week after facing Hawaii on Saturday, Meanwhile, the Buffaloes had all offseason to prepare for this one, and now have some actual game film to do so all week. The Rams are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games overall. Colorado State is 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games. Bet Colorado Friday.
|08-31-18||Utah State v. Michigan State UNDER 51.5||31-38||Loss||-107||81 h 25 m||Show|
15* CFB Friday Total DOMINATOR on Utah State/Michigan State UNDER 51.5
I expect a defensive battle tonight between Utah State and Michigan State in the season opener for both teams. Both squads have experienced defenses returning, which will be the strength of both teams in 2018.
Michigan State went 10-3 last year despite averaging just 24.5 points per game. That’s because they won a lot of close games and their defense was tremendous, giving up just 20.0 points and 298 yards per game despite having just four starters back on D last year. Now the Spartans have 9 starters and 10 of their top 11 tacklers back on defense and will have one of the best stop units in the country.
Utah State gave up 26.9 points per game last season with just 5 starters back on defense. Now they have 9 starters and 19 of their top 21 tacklers back on defense and will have one of the best stop units in the Mountain West. This should be one of Matt Wells’ best defenses yet as he enters his 6th season wit the Aggies. In his first three years, they surrendered just 339.6 yards per game. It’s the most returning experience he’s had on any defense yet.
Utah State’s offense isn’t anything special, either. The Aggies played two Power 5 teams last year and managed just 10 points against Wisconsin and 10 points against Wake Forest. Both teams have a lot of experience returning on offense as well, but that’s not necessarily a good thing considering both offenses were sub-par a year ago.
Plays on the UNDER on all teams where the total is between 49.5 and 56 in a game that features both teams having 8 or more defensive starters returning, in the first month of the season are 42-12 (77.8%) over the last five seasons. Michigan State is 9-1 to the UNDER as a home favorite over the last three seasons. Take the UNDER in this game Friday.
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