I Talk Sports DFS Picks: Opening Night NBA

The NBA is back opening with a two game slate.  The Celtics taking on the Sixers and the Warriors vs Thunder.  Love a two game slate.  Was able to win big last year on opening night.  Heres my favorite lineup tonight.

PG: Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics ($7,600)

SG: Raymond Felton, Oklahoms City Thunder ($3,700)

SF: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder ($8,000)

PF: Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers ($5,500)

C: Joel Embid, Philadelphia 76ers ($8,800)

G: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors ($8,600)

F: Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors ($3,600)

Utl: Marcus Morris, Boston Celtics ($4,200)

This is one of three lineups I will be playing tonight.  This lineup being the one I have put the most money into. With Westbrook most likely out tonight Dennis Schroder will be looking at big minutes but I think the veteran Raymond Felton could see just enough to create value.  If Felton and Kevon Looney can give us any return on our value this can lead to some cash for tonights lineup.

Being a two game slate you have to have those wildcards work out for you because you know players like Joel Embid and Kevin Durant will be very popular.  Steph Curry and Kyrie both have a flare for the dramatics and opening night should be an exciting event.

Good luck tonight!

NCAAF Picks ATS- Week 7

4-5 record last week was not ideal coming off a winning week, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.  This week seems like it has some trap games but I’m looking at a few games that are hard to ignore. Record last two weeks sits at 8-7

Central Florida -5 at Memphis

This game is going to be fun.  Two teams that don’t seem to worry to much about defense.  This game seems like it will be a trap for most sports bettors.  UCF has been leaky to say the least against the run, they now welcome the nations top underrated runningback in Darrell Henderson. Henderson, the nation’s leading rusher with 934 yards and averaging close to 12 yards per carry.

Memphis holds a great home field advantage in this AAC matchup.  The world is waiting for UCF to fall and this game is a target for most people.  I can see a lot of people taking the upset in this one, but I don’t see it.  Memphis will be hyped up and ready to play, look for them to jump out to an early lead and then watch them give it away.  UCF will stack the box to slow down Henderson.  You slow down Henderson you beat Memphis. Just ask Tulane.

Over the last three games against Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU, the Florida defense has allowed no touchdown passes and came up with four picks.

PicksCentral Florida -5

Florida -7 at Vanderbilt

Does anyone remember when Florida dropped its season opener against Kentucky? If you say yes you are a liar.  Wins over LSU and Mississippi State have put the Gators back in the top 25, making them a serious threat again in the SEC.

The Gators secondary has been great, over the last three games against Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU, the Florida defense has allowed no touchdown passes and came up with four picks.  Vandy has to throw to win.  Florida will run the ball and control the clock, while their defense shuts down Vandy.

PicksFlorida -7

Rutgers at Maryland -24.5

I am going to keep this one simple.  Rutgers was blown out by Illinois and Kansas and this isn’t basketball.  Rutgers is not a good team and they are going to Maryland.  Maryland takes the lead early and continues to pound it down the Scarlet Knights throat.

This is homecoming and Maryland is way better the Rutgers.  I tend to stay away from big spreads but this one is impossible to ignore.

PicksMaryland -24.5

Michigan State at Penn State -13.5

Michigan State has been bad against the pass. Opponents are averaging a ridiculous 305.2 yards per game through the air (122nd overall). Penn State QB Trace McSorley will look to pick apart the Spartans secondary.  Michigan State will stop the run as they have done most of the season but the dual threat McSorley will force them to play back and he will use his legs to move the ball.

Penn State is to good offensively for Michigan State to stop them, plus the Nittany Lions are at home.  Two touchdowns seems like a lot in a matchup of solid programs but Penn State being at home and James Franklin’s tendency to never take his foot off the gas seems like a car crash for Michigan State.

PicksPenn State -13.5

Other Picks

Western Michigan -14.5

Nebraska +4.5

Texas -14

Mizzou +28

Miami -6.5

Texas A&M -2.5

Colorado +7.5

 

ALCS Preview and Pick

It’s not often in sports that the two best teams actually have a chance to meet.  We are lucky enough to have our baseball dreams come true as the defending World Champions the Houston Astros will meet the best team in baseball in 2018 the Boston Red Sox.  No matter who wins this the victor will come out as the favorite in the fall classic.  Let’s break it down.

Starting Pitching- Advantage Houston Astros

The Boston Red Sox are no slouches when it comes to the starting rotation.  Sporting a stud like Chris Sale, former Cy Young winner David Price as well as proven winner Rick Porcello can make any team formidable.  Assuming Porcello stays in the bullpen the Sox can also trot out the talented but inconsistent Nathan Eovaldi or strikeout stud Eduardo Rodriguez.  All are formidable starters for any contending team sporting a combined 3.42 ERA in one of the most offensively gifted divisions in baseball.  In most cases this rotation would be an advantage for any team. But they aren’t playing just any team, they are playing the Houston Astros.

The Astros feature a rotation of All Stars Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton.  Each of them could be a candidate to start Game 1 or Game 4.  Both Verlander and Cole went through the season with sub three ERA’s while Charlie Morton was just on the other side at 3.13, in a time of offense Astros starting pitching has been as dominant as any we have seen in the game.

Both teams have their strengths in the rotation especially with the strikeouts per nine innings ranking first and third.  Houston will look for more from their starters and most likely get more.  The Stros don’t have as many question marks behind their ace as the Red Sox do, that’ why we have to give the rotation advantage to the defending world champs.

Bullpen- Advantage Houston Astros

The Houston Astros will rely more on the ability of their starters.  But the bullpen is no push over Colin McHugh, Tony Sipp, mid season addition Roberto Osuna all have proven themselves as reliable pitchers to say the least.  New weapon Ryan Pressly was a force in the ALDS, establishing himself as a stopper in the middle innings.  The Astros have multiple option to finish games, look for someone to establish themselves as this series goes on.  My money would be on Osuna but it wouldn’t shock me to see Colin McHugh get a few chances to finish off games.

The Red Sox have a few more question marks in their bullpen outside of Closer Craig Kimbrel. To their advantage they sport a bullpen of mostly righties against a lineup that is heavier on the right side.  Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier will play big roles in transitioning the starters to Kimbrel in the 9th.

Both bullpens have strikeout pitchers but the Astros seem more versatile.  They also will mostly likely not ask for nearly as much out of there bullpen, that’s why you have to give the slight advantage to the Astros.

Lineup- Advantage Boston Red Sox

When you have the two best lineups in baseball going against each other it’s pretty hard to pick the best.  Both have speed, power and clutch from the top to the bottom.

The Red Sox may have arguably the best all around player in baseball leading off in Mookie Betts.  His success though is predicated on the fact that you really can’t pitch around him.  Putting him on base is an automatic risk with his speed on the base paths.  Manager Alex Cora will give him the green light to run in almost any count.  Following Betts is a litany of heavy hitters headlined by offseason signing JD Martinez whom has proven himself to be worth every penny he was paid.  The bounce back season for shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been a huge boost to a lineup that already had great depth.  The key for the Reed Sox may be at first base in this series, Steve Pearce has been great since being picked up in the mid season but his specialty is against left handed pitching.  Veteran Mitch Moreland, known more for his glove work, quietly had a solid season.  Cora will be forced to utilize Moreland against the heavy right handed rotation of the Astros.  This lineup has role players that have played their parts to perfection during the regular season and I see no reason they won’t do the same in the ALCS.

The Astros are deep, Alex Bregman has emerged as the star of the team perhaps sooner than what was expected. Bregman lead the Astros in homers, RBI’s, hits and OBP during the regular season and has brought that success into the playoffs.  George Springer continued his post season heroics in the ALDS clubbing three homers off of Indians pitching.  The surprise of the division series was the bat of Marwin Gonzalez.  Gonzalez was a constant headache for the Indians hitting .538 in the series in 13 at bats.  If Gonzalez can continue to hit he will take pressure off of stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.  Until game three of the NLDS Correa had been on a cold streak that forced AJ Hinch to move him down to sixth in the order,  perhaps the three run homer he hit could be the jolt he needs to get back on track.  The Astros will have to go with defensive specialist Martin Maldonado in the lineup rather then the offensive minded veteran Brian McCann due to the speed and aggressive nature of the Boston lineup.

The Astros have a solid offense, especially against lefties were they mash to a team average of .270 and a .803 OPS.  The Red Sox would be smart to counter their efficiencies by moving up Eovaldi and Porcello in the rotation.  That would me having David Price potentially in the bullpen or just getting one start.  On the other hand the Red Sox were able to contain a the second best lineup against left handed pitching the New York Yankees.

Both offenses are good but the edge has to go to the Red Sox lineup because they have to true MVP candidates in the lineup along with great pieces all around them.  They have the ability to bring more speed and power off the bench in roles that they are comfortable with.  This one is close but gotta go with the Sox for a lineup advantage.

 

Who wins?

This series can go either way.  The Red Sox have been the best team in baseball all year but the Astros are built for the post season with dominant pitching and stellar defense at multiple positions.  My heart says Boston but my head says Astros.

Astros in 6.

What I learned from Week 5

Aaron needs help.

443 yards and 3 touchdowns from your QB.  Most of the time that wins a game for any team, not if you are the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers didn’t have a flawless game, fumbling the ball twice in bad positions that led to two Lions scores.  He did however do enough to win the game.  The Packers continue to have an issue with the game calling.  With a defense that can’t stack up against even the most mediocre offense the Packers have to work to establish the run.  The Lions came into this game dead last in defending the run yet the Packer came out slinging the football all over the field even though they were undermanned due to injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

I get that the Packers have the best QB in all of football when he is healthy but the defense and play calling just does not do enough to complement his abilities. Mike McCarthy’s time as head coach may be up.

Mason Crosby……

The Chiefs are the best in the AFC.

I have been fighting the fact that the Chiefs are the best in the AFC, but after the domination of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday its an argument that can’t be ignored. They go against the team holding the crown on Sunday when they matchup with the New England Patriots.  Mahomes vs. Brady, the future vs the current.

The Chiefs head into Foxboro confident as they should be.  This will be a shootout, first defense to make a play will win, very intrigued!

Titans are the most confusing team in the NFL.

The Tennessee Titans continue to be a thorn in the side of bookmakers and themselves losing to the Josh Allen led Buffalo Bills on Sunday.  They still sit on top at the top of the AFC South due to two division wins over the Texans and the Jaguars accompanied by a win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.  This team seems like they should be good…but they really aren’t.

The Titans offense has become the definition of inconsistent.  Are they are running team, passing team, defensive team??? These questions continue to be a mystery to anyone that watches them play.  Losses to the Dolphins and the Bills will be something that they look back on when the playoffs are looming. These were missed opportunities that will haunt them.

The Falcons are missing the playoffs.

The Falcons have been crushed with injuries on the defensive side of the football.  Giving up 43, 37, and 41 over the last three games.  Things won’t get any easier this week as Jameis Winston and the high powered Tampa Bay Buccaneers come into Atlanta for what should be an offensive showcase. Sitting at 1-4 in a crowded NFC playoff picture this is as close to a must win as you get in week 6 of the NFL season.

With the injuries to the secondary I don’t see Atlanta have much of a chance to stop Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and underrated Chris Godwin on Sunday.  That will drop them to 1-5 and will most likely put them in the mindset of what will we be doing to rebuild for next season.  This team can’t play defense and can’t find their most valuable target Julio Jones in the Red Zone, this weekend has doom written all over it.

The NFC East stinks

The East sucks. All four NFC East teams took an L this weekend.  Two of the four were on primetime Sunday and Monday Night.  Right now the Redskins sit on top of the division with a 2-2 record.  Everyone else is under .500 and they are lucky to be there.

The Giants can’t keep their diva receivers happy.  They are 0-2 at home and don’t seem to have a clue what to do on both sides of the ball.

The Cowboys offense is in shambles.  With no go to receiver in sight teams are stacking the box to keep Zeke at bay.  This team needs another playmaker to have any chance to make a run.

The Redskins seemed like the team that had it together.  But a butt whooping at the hands of the Saints on Monday night has brought them back to reality.  The Redskins got the quarterback that Jay Gruden wanted when they traded for Alex Smith they still have the talent to win the division but a run in the playoffs seems unlikely.

The Eagles need a runningback.  Go get LeVeon Bell and become real contenders.

 

Early Look at Billikens Basketball

Travis Ford’s second season as Billiken’s Head Basketball Coach was about progressing the program in the right direction.  Finishing the 2016-2017 season with a record of 11-21 placing them 11th in the Atlantic 10, there was only one direction for the program to go.  The 2017-2018 season was a huge step forward for the program finishing the season with  a 17-16 record including making it to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.  In the third year of the Travis Ford era the Billikens are no longer looking at a rebuild, they are looking at a potential league championship and NCAA bid.

The Billiken’s will have three of their top four scorers returning in So. Jordan Goodwin,  Sr. Javon Bess, and So. Hassan French. Joining the three headed SLU monster will be highly ranked transfers former Maryland guard Dion Waley and former Drexel guard Tramaine Isabell.  Both will add depth to an already stellar A-10 lineup. Waley, once a top 50 recruit, shot 36% from behind the arch last season while averaging a career high 4.4 ppg for Maryland.  Isabell has had a much more impactful career in college hoops.  Beginning his career at Mizzou Isabell didn’t establish himself much until transferring to fellow A-10 competitor Drexel in 2017.  Isabell not only doubled his minutes played but also his output, averaging 21 PPG to go along with 7.5 RPG.  Both players will be eligible to play right away under the grad transfer rule.

The Billikens suddenly have experience at guard to complement numerous freshmen and a seasoned frontcourt that formed the identity of last season’s team. Adding the veteran guards solidified the teams depth but the biggest offseason pick up for the SLU Billikens is local product Carte’Are Gordon.  The four star recruit that played his high school ball at Webster Groves will be looked at to make an immediate impact for the Billikens. Choosing SLU over basketball powerhouses like Kansas and I guess Illinois has put the Billikens in a rare situation, having a talented player that can bring national attention. Gordon also brings the size that seemed to be the biggest problem for the young team in 2017.  Pairing him with rising sophomore Hassan French should make for a troublesome tandem for any mid- major.

Travis Ford will enter the A-10 season in a very different place than he began his first two seasons.  With the decline of St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island and Dayton the Atlantic 10 is up for grabs.  Ford has amassed a group of talent that should be able to make noise in the conference, so much so that many different preseason polls have the Billikens as the favorite to win the conference and put themselves in a position for an NCAA tournament bid.  While I love that the Billikens are looking to be relevant the fanbase needs to take it slow with their high expectations.  Ford will deal with the transition of new faces coming together on the court.  Basketball is a team game and it will take time for the transfers and young core to come together.  Don’t be surprised if they stumble out of the gate only to recover in time to win the conference.

SLU will be a fun team to watch this season, Ford has already established the modern basketball trend of position less basketball.  No numbers, no positions just great athletes that can fill in the lanes and have multiple purposes.  This team will be fun and this season will be worth the price of admission.

NCAAF- Picks ATS

Switching to primarily NCAAF picks worked pretty well last week going 4-2.  This week has some good lines, so let’s make some picks.

Oklahoma -7 vs. Texas

The game of the weekend no matter what their records, is the Red River Showdown. Oklahoma is coming off a dominant victory over lesser competition in the Baylor Bears.  Now they look to establish themselves as a true contender against the most improved team since week 1 the Texas Longhorns.

I am immediately drawn to the QB matchup.  Kyler Murray vs Sam Ehlinger. Sam Ehlinger has a passer rating of just 139.7 entering Week 6 – seventh in the Big 12 and nearly 100 points lower than Murray’s 231.6. Despite his issue the Oklahoma secondary has not been a steal trap, allowing 252 yards per game.  This looks like strong matchup for Ehlinger. But I have watched Ehlinger and don’t believe he will be able to match with Murray and what this Oklahoma offense brings to the table.

Texas is a popular pick to cover here coming off three straight impressive victories against USC, TCU and K-State. They will most likely have the homefield advantage despite this being a “neutral site” game.  But I am not buying Ehlinger in this situation.

PicksOklahoma -7

Iowa State at Oklahoma State -9

The Cowboys pulled of the cover late last week against the pesky Kansas Jayhawks so let’s ride the cover train. This is going to be a simple breakdown.  I love going with a team that has a high level offense against a team that can have serious problems scoring. The Cyclones are averaging just 17 points per game.  The offense will need more then that on Saturday.

Justice Hill will close it out by dominating the second half.

PicksOK State -9

Notre Dame -6.5 at Virginia Tech

Notre Dame has looked like a different team since Ian Book took over in week 4.  Book has completed an astounding 74% of his passes since entering as the Irish QB. Virginia Tech has been a dumpster fire versus that pass this season ranking 123rd in the nation.

Blacksburg will be a tough atmosphere to play but the Irish are accustomed to tough environments.  The Irish also have a defense that will reek havoc for the Hokies.  Virginia tech will give them a scare but I think in the end Book will lead Notre Dame to a comfortable victory on the road.

PicksNotre Dame -6.5

Syracuse at Pittsburgh -3.5

The Orange could be physically battered after a tough matchup with Clemson last week. While they may be physically tired the Panthers pride may have taken the beating of a lifetime getting steamrolled by the “Defending National Champs” UCF.

Syracuse still has their sights set on an ACC title.  They showed the nation that their defense can play at a high level to go along with a offense that has put up over 30 in 4 of 5 games and 23 against a stout Clemson defense.  Dino Babers is my hero, he loves to cover.  Being at home will help Pittsburgh but they are at the bottom of the ACC in both defense and offense for a reason.

PicksSyracuse -3.5

Utah at Stanford -5

The Cardinal were blown out last week versus Notre Dame.  But let’s remember that was their second straight tough road game.  They return home to play a team that has seemed to find a way to lose in conference the last two weeks. The potential that Heisman Runner Up Bryce Love doesn’t play is not as scary as it would have been a year ago. Being less reliant on the run game may be a good thing for the Stanford offense.

This comes down to defense, ability and homefield advantage.  The Cardinal may not impress on Saturday but they should do enough to cover.

Picks Stanford -5

 

No time to write up the rest.  Not official picks yet, just leans that may change on Saturday morning.

Mizzou +1

Memphis

Boston College +6

Navy -3

Memphis -35.5

Auburn -4

Wake Forest +20

 

 

AL Wildcard Preview

The definition of David versus Goliath takes places in the AL Wild Card Game.  The mighty New York Yankees full of high priced talent vs Money Ball 2.0.  Let’s break it down.

Starter- Advantage Yankees

The Yankees had three solid options going into the Wild Card game, Masahiro Tanaka, JA Happ an Luis Severino.  Boone choose the young fireballer Luis Severino to match up with a powerful A’s lineup.  The choice was clear due to the power pithing ability of Severino, the hardest thrower of the bunch.  Against fastballs thrown 97 mph or harder, the A’s xwOBA was a feeble .260, the third-worst mark of any team, ahead of only the Giants (.225) and Rays (.245). Severino has an average fastball velocity of 97-mph.  Unlike Tanaka and Happ, Severino has the ability to miss bats within the strike zone.  The A’s are a team that’s success was based on not chasing out of the zone.  Severino will look to attack their hitters with hard 4-seamers in the zone.

The Athletics decided to take a different approach, relying on their biggest strength which is their bullpen depth. They have chosen to go with an “opener” with veteran Liam Hendricks. Hendriks will be the fourth pitcher to start a postseason game after a winless season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Virgil Trucks started twice for Detroit in the 1945 World Series after returning from World War II.  Don’t expect Hendricks to be in the game long.  Bob Melvin will look to use all of his bullpen assets to matchup with the power Yankees lineup.  With a right handed heavy Yankees lineup this matchup may be ideal for the As bullpen.

Lineup- Advantage Yankees

The Yankees are very right handed heavy with two projected lefties in the lineup, Did Gregorious and switch hitter Aaron Hicks.  Despite being right handed heavy they still have one of the top lineups in all of baseball.  They broke the record for homeruns in a season so… yea they have a little pop up and down the lineup.  The key to the game will be jumping on the A’s early.  McCutchen and Hicks will have to be table setters for Giancarlo Stanton and red hot Luke Voit.

The A’s lineup is no joke.  Khris Davis had a career year and veteran Jed Lowrie has good career numbers vs Severino.  The key to the lineup will be projected lead off man Nick Martini, Martini had an on-base percentage of .397 during the regular season and has performed extremely well in the leadoff spot. If the A’s are going to pull off the upset they will need Martini on base as much as possible disrupting Severino’s flow and forcing projected starting catcher Gary Sanchez to lose focus.  The A’s have the power to put up runs but it will be important to give Davis and Matt Olson a chance to drive in runs with more then just a solo shot.

Bullpen- Advantage A’s?….Maybe

The A’s have enough trust in their bullpen to not name a traditional starter.  We saw in the NL Wildcard game the impact a good starter can have with great performances from both Kyle Freeland and Jon Lester.  But in the end it was the bullpens that may have been most impressive on both sides.

The Yankees have the names at the end, Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Dellin Betances can end the game in the 7th if they have a lead.  But it may be the A’s that truly have this season best reliever in Blake Treinen whom I fully expected to be in the game as soon as Bob Melvin can realistically make the move.  The A’s can match the big priced arms.

I see this game playing out similarly to last years AL Wild Card game.  The A’s may jump out to a lead early but the depth and power of the Yankees lineup will be to much.

Reluctantly I have the Goliath changing the historic fable on this night.

Yankees win 6-4.

NL Wildcard Game Preview

Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs

The Colorado Rockies entered the 2018 NL Wildcard Game with a pretty large disadvantage.  Losing a tough game to division rival LA in the afternoon and having to jump on a plan and go half way around the country to face one of the best playoff pitchers of the last ten year in Jon Lester.  Not only are they facing Lester but they are facing a team that has found themselves in the NLCS the last three years.  Let’s look compare and pick the NL Wildcard Game.

Starting Pitcher- Advantage Cubs or maybe not.

Jon Lester stands out when you compare the two lefties, but is his experience really enough.  Lester has faced the Rockies hitters an astonishing 138 times in his career. The most being veteran Matt Holliday who has crushed Lester to a .467 career batting average.  I don’t know if Bud Black has the confidence to start the veteran in this do or die game but if he did it would make sense when looking at the numbers.  Playing Holiday would most likely mean red hot youngster David Dahl would be taking a seat.  If Holiday does get the start it would not be long before he is replaced for defense or base running.

Rockies starter Kyle Freeland has had a breakout season, the 25 year old lefty went 18-8 with a 2.85ERA.  Quietly establishing himself as a go to starter for Bud Black.  Surprsingly Freeland actually has better numbers at Coors Field then he does on the road sporting a prolific 2.40ERA in the historically hitter friendly park.  Freeland was no slouch on the road either posting just 3.23ERA.  Freeland’s most intriguing stat line is just giving up 6 homers in 103 innings on the road.  Against a powerful Cubs lineup he will need to make sure and limit the damage that can come in bunches.  Kris Bryant has the best numbers against Freeland but the sample size is to small to overreact.

I like the matchup of Freeland vs the Cubs lefties but you can’t ignore the experience of the veteran Lester.  Slight advantage in starting pitching to the Cubbies.  Very slight.

Batting Order- Advantage Rockies

Colorado has pop and speed from 1-7 in their order.  Tony Wolters (assuming he starts) may also quietly have an advantage over Lester, going 2-4 with a walk in 5 career AB’s versus the veteran.  Nolan Arenado is a better hitter the Javy Baez and the Rockies have multiple threats to deal with including a surging Trevor Story and an always dangerous Charlie Blackmon.  I think it is the potential of the bench bats like Gerardo Parra and Matt Holliday that set the Rockies a part from the Cubbies.

The Cubs are no slouches.  Kris Bryant, Javy Baez and Anthony Rizzo are as good a middle of the order that you will have in the league but Baez can be inconsistent and over anxious at times. Bryant will be the key to this game, I can see him being in big spots and coming through against Freeland.  Albert Almora will also play a big factor if he gets the start.

Both lineup are potent but with the lefty on the mound I am giving a slight edge to the Rockies.  Their depth is just a little better, I can also see them trying to take advantage of Lester on the base paths.

Bullpen- Advantage, who knows.

The Rockies spent money in the off season trying to rebuild a bullpen that was not good to say the least.  Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw have not lived up to the money they were paid but they still have the experience in a big game atmosphere to be effective.  With all hands on deck for an elimination game I would not be surprised to see Jon Gray and Adam Ottavino very early in this game.

The Cubs have made it work with their bullpen despite injuries to Pedro Strop and Brandin Morrow.  With the season on the line we could see a quick trigger from Joe Maddon.  Steve Cishek and Justin Wilson will be assets that an be targeted at any point of the game.

Both of these teams have their issues in the bullpen but I have to lean to the Rockies in this situation.  Wade Davis has been bad this year, but he is the most sure thing in a closing roll that either team has.  So advantage Rockies.

Who will win?

This game is tough.  Everything points to the Cubs winning.  They are better rested, have the more proven starter and a veteran lineup.  So, I am going to go with the Rockies.  Colorado will make life hell for Lester on the basepaths and force mistakes.  Joe Maddon is the best hope for Chicago.  His history of making the right decisions in a pinch will make it a great game.

Rockies upset Cubs 6-3.

What I learned from week 4.

Greatest Show on Surf.

The LA Rams were good last season.  This season they may be unstoppable.  Adding downfield threat Brandin Cooks has opened up the middle of the field for slot receiver Cooper Kupp as well as forcing teams to play Robert Woods one on one.  This team can throw, run and control the tempo.

This team has offensive talent throughout the roster.  The Vikings defense has not been the dominant force that it was in 2017 but they still were completely dominated an overmatched.  The only defense that can maybe slow them down would be the Jaguars but they won’t have to deal with them during the season.  Every player on this team is a must start in your fantasy lineup and its not even debatable.

Steelers will finish third in the AFC North.

The Steelers fell to 1-2-1 on Sunday night getting handled easily by division rival Baltimore.  The Steelers gave up 14 points right off the bat and never truly were able to overcome the deficit.  The Steelers defense is bad and it won’t get much relief for the next two weeks.  The Falcons come to town next week followed by a trip to Cincinnati.  Both of those games are tough matchups for a Steelers defense that has given up 26. 27, and 42 over the last three games.

It is realistic that the Steelers are going to be 1-4-1 before they get the relief of the Browns coming to Pittsburgh. The Steelers also need to make a decision on what to do with their disgruntled RB LeVeon Bell, it is causing a rift in the team.  They are in trouble and are very likely to not make the playoffs this season.

Patriots still own the Dolphins and the AFC East

Last week I wrote that I learned the Patriots may be in trouble.  They were beaten on the national stage by a team that had been dominated by Sam Darnold during the first week of the season.  Then the Patriots got exactly what they needed to turn themselves around a trip to Miami against their whipping boys the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins were a mirage of 3-0 that had people buying into the potential of them winning the division.  Bill Belichick and Tom Brady quickly reminded us that they are the class of the AFC East and they are an AP class while the Dolphins are trying to work their way out of entry level.  The Patriots will not have the returning Julian Edelman next week which will only make this team even more dangerous and it will open up the playbook for Gronk and Josh Gordon.  The Pats were also able to establish rookie Sonny Michel and the run game.  This team is dangerous and I quickly have learned that you never count out the Pats.  My bad.

Titans may be for real.

I have been a hater of the Tennessee Titans since the season started.  They don’t play the brand of football that grabs your attention.  But you cannot ignore what they have done over the last three weeks.  Wins over Houston, Philadelphia and Jacksonville put the Titans at 3-1, first place in the AFC South.  They have found themselves there despite inconsistent play on the offensive end.

Corey Davis and Marcus Mariota seemed to build a rapport with each other, Davis going for 9 catches 151 yards and a touchdown yesterday against a suspect Eagles secondary.  The Titans have found the mojo with their arial attack which can open up the run game for Derrick Henry.  With the victory over the Jags the Titans sit in the drivers seat for the division and could be a tough matchup for any AFC teams.