Thursday Night Pick Steelers vs. Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns -3 

The Steelers have won four straight games propelling them into AFC playoff contention.   It’s been the defense that has taken the reigns with the loss of Big Ben and injury to James Conner. The Steelers defense has allowed fewer than 193 passing yards and 96 rushing yards over their last three games. Pittsburgh was able to bottle up the red-hot Cooper Kupp last week.  They will look to do the same to Odell Beckham. Beckham was targeted ten times last week but was still unable to make an impact in a game that Cleveland actually won. 

Cleveland’s offensive line has been solid on the run but has had serious problems protecting Baker in throwing situations. The Steelers are third in the league in sacks, while applying a ton of pressure.  Baker Mayfield has been subpar under pressure this season.  Mayfield has a completion percentage of just 37% while under pressure this season. Mayfield’s flaws are apparent, this matchup is not good for the struggling former #1 pick. 

Both of these teams need this win.  The Cleveland flaws are obvious.  Pittsburgh will be able to exploit those flaws while Mason Rudolph does what he does best: game manage.  Steelers are just a better overall team, most importantly better coaching. 

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +3

NCAA Football Week Ten Picks ATS

Florida State Seminoles at Boston College Golden Eagles -2.5

Boston College has been undervalued for the last few weeks (Excluding their matchup with Clemson). Florida State is dealing with inner turmoil after firing Willie Taggert mid-week.  Clemson was the only team that was successful in stacking the box to stop AJ Dillon.  Florida State will stack the box on Saturday but that won’t stop the 230-pound Junior running back.

Florida State has been bad on the road 0-3 while not covering the spread in any of those games. The Boston College running game will be able to wear down the Seminole defense which should allow for a dominate victory for the Golden Eagles. 

Boston College will be celebrating Senior day and Florida State has to many questions to trust them to cover this small spread.

Pick: Boston College Golden Eagles -2.5

Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan State Spartans -Total 45.5

This game is simple. Michigan State has hit he under in 13 of their last 16 games.  Illinois has hit the under in 4 of their last 5 games.  

Illinois has a mediocre offense.  They now face a defense that has dominated lesser competition.  Illinois has taken advantage of other teams’ mistakes, scoring 105 points off of turnovers this season.  Michigan State will not turn the ball over, look for them to run the ball and dominate the field.  Without the reliance on turnovers the Illinois offense doesn’t bring enough to the table on Saturday.  Boring game, easy under.

Pick: Under 45.5

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Virginia Tech Hokies +2

Virginia Tech is 1-4 against the spread at home.  That’s right they are terrible at home. They get a matchup with a Wake Forest team that comes in underrated once again this week.

The Virginia Tech secondary is getting loaded, allowing 340 yards or more in three of the last four games. Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman is coming off of one of his most impressive victories of the season, dominating NC State last week.  This is bad matchup for the Hokies as they don’t have the secondary to matchup.  Newman has a repeat dominant performance, one that will assure him the spot of ACC Offensive player of the year. 

I’m taking Wake and not worrying about it. 

Pick: Wake Forest Demon Deacons -2

Other Picks:

LSU +6

Kentucky -1

Penn State -7

Georgia -16.5

NFL Week 9 picks ATS

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals +10

This line is interesting, seems like a letdown spot for the 49ers heading to Arizona.  The Cardinals have had issues in the red zone and the 49ers are great defending the red zone.  Arizona has problems against the tight end and the 49ers have the best tight end in football.  This is a smash spot for San Fran.  They will cover, don’t over think it.

Pick: San Francisco -10

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (London) +1

I want to take the Texans. I love Deshaun Watson, but they have had their issues with the Jags.  The Houston line is in trouble, offseason acquisition Laremy Tunsil is very questionable which is a problem for the Texans.  The Jaguars have the pass rush to give Watson a lot of trouble, while the Texans have lost JJ Watt which obviously will hurt their pass rush. 

Jacksonville has been through these London games before,  that matters.  Jags will win a close one.

Pick: Jacksonville +1

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills -9.5

Washington is bad on offense, but they seem to know how to cover.  Dwayne Haskins does not look ready to be the starter, a matchup with the Bills terrible. My pick is based on assuming Case Keenum will play, if he plays they will find a way to cover.  

Pick: Washington +9.5

Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers -4

I try to avoid the Titans because they are so unpredictable.  Ryan Tannahill has been great over his first two starts.  Notably dominating a poor Buccaneers secondary. This is going to be a different challenge for the former Miami QB.  The Panthers are coming off a shellacking at the hands of the 49ers last week which should put them in a foul mood heading into this game.

Carolina is a different team at home.  They will lean more heavily on their star running back Christian McCaffery, I will also look for Curtis Samuel to breakout in this one.  I think we are getting a great buy low on a Carolina team that is better than what we saw last week

Pick: Carolina -4

Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles -5

Been back and forth on this one all week.  Trubisky has been horrible all season.  He gets a favorable matchup with the Eagles secondary.  This will be the time that we see the Trubisky of last season.  The Bears defense will keep them in the game by supplying a ton of pressure on Carson Wentz.  

Bear’s defense keeps them in it and cover.

Pick: Chicago +5

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins +3

The Jets are better than the Dolphins.  I see a big game from Sam Darnold.  Jets win by at least ten.

Pick: New York Jets -3

Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers -1

The Colts are another case of public playing a recency bias, struggling mightily against the Denver Broncos last week.  Indianapolis has been good on the road going 2-1 covering or pushing the spread in each game. 

The Steelers will fall behind early in this game and the superior Colts offensive line will work the clock. Indy is the better team and has no fear of the road.

Pick: Indianapolis -1

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders -2

Two similar teams meeting in a must win situation makes for what should be a really fun matchup.  The way to beat the Raiders is to pressure on Derek Carr.  That is something that the Lions have not been successful in doing this season.  Oakland will lean on the running game and Josh Jacobs which will open up the passing game for Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams. 

The Raiders are 5-1 against the spread in their last six home games.  The Lions have had problems ever since they lost Kerryon Johnson. Raiders win by 3.

Pick: Oakland -2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks -6

This is going to be an offensive explosion on both ends. The Buccaneers are going to bring their air raid offense to Seattle.  The time of the Legion of Boom is very over.  Seattle has been crushed through the air this year and will continue on Sunday. 

The Seattle Seahawks have failed to cover all four games at home this season.   They are a run first team which plays right into the hands of the Buccaneers who love to sell out to the run.  If Winston can avoid multiple turnovers this one should be close.

Pick: Tampa Bay +6

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos +3

Baker better come to play in Denver.  If the Browns lose to a rookie QB there will be full on anarchy.  Cleveland will put up too many points for the Broncos to keep up with.

Pick: Cleveland -3

Green Bay Packers at LA Chargers +4

This will be a home game for the Packers.  The Chargers were able to get to a much-needed victory of the Chicago Bears last week.  They face Aaron Rodgers this week rather than Mitchell Trubisky. Rodgers will reportedly have the services of Davante Adams

The Packers are already 3-0 against the spread on the road already and will continue their success. 

Pick: Packers -4

New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens +3.5

You can run on the Patriots. Just hold on to the ball.  The Ravens will do their best to make sure that they keep Tom Brady off the field.  Baltimore is not scared of the Patriots and they will show it Sunday night.  

This is the toughest matchup of the year for New England.  They will be challenged in this one.  I see it as a field goal game.  Not sure which way so I have to go with the underdog at home.

Pick: Ravens +3.5

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants +7

I am keeping this last one simple.  I believe a lot of money will be on the Cowboys in this one.  The Giants have their full complement of offensive weapons. The Giants will be able to move the ball,  I wonder whether they will be able to stop the Cowboys.  I’m taking the home team with the points.  

Pick: New York Giants +7

NCAAF Football Picks ATS Week 9

Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas State Wildcats +23.5

The Wildcats bring in the perfect matchup for a cover.  Kansas State has been the best in the Big12 at defending the pass, giving up just 152.5 yards pe game, 5thbest in the entire country. That is what Oklahoma is all about.  While I don’t see Kansas State completely shutting down the pass game, I do see them forcing Oklahoma to run the ball more than they would like which can slow up the attack.

Kansas State will look to do what they do best and possess the ball.  They will look to run and run often with work horse runningback James Gilbert. The longer they can keep Jalen Hurts off the field the better chance they have to survive.  

Oklahoma wins, but Kansas State gives them a tough game. 

Pick: Kansas State +23.5

Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes -14.5

This was supposed to be a matchup of undefeated powerhouses.  Wisconsin may have been looking too far ahead as they became the biggest upset of 2019, losing to Illinois on a last second field goal.  The Badgers turned the ball over three times against the Illini, which helped blow  20-7 second half lead. 

Ohio State has done everything possible to show that they are the cream of the crop in college football, dominating every game. The competition hasn’t been great, that all changes on Saturday.  Despite their loss Wisconsin still sees themselves as the top of the food chain in the Big10. The Badgers have to come out and establish Jonathon Taylor early and often. Wisconsin is averaging 38 minutes of possession per game. They will work to grind out the Buckeyes and force them to play from behind, something they have not done at all this season.  

Wisconsin is the biggest test for the Buckeyes this season, Ohio State QB Justin Fields has not seen a defense that can bring the pressure the way Wisconsin can.  Buckeyes win but they are tested.

Pick: Wisconsin +14.5

Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan State Spartans +6.5

Michigan State’s offense has disappeared since their shocking loss to Arizona State.  The Spartans have averaged a paltry 5.7 points per game over their last three.  Michigan State has not shown the ability to play up to the higher level of competition. Ohio State and Wisconsin beat the hell out of the Sparty, and they will have similar trouble coming their way on Saturday.

Sophomore QB Sean Clifford has been superb with a 56% completion percentage, helping the Nitany Lions get out to a 7-0 start.  Despite the 7-0 start Penn State has had trouble covering against ranked opponents, failing to cover against Michigan and Iowa.   They have a terrible history versus Michigan State, going 1-5 SU and ATS in their last six matchups.  

Penn State’s history is not what I am worried about.  Looking past Michigan State is the only thing that I am worried about.  This matchup is not as highly regarded as it would be if Michigan State hadn’t been embarrassed by Wisconsin and Ohio State.  Penn State has to stay focused and overcome the recent history of these two teams.  Penn State’s offense is just too strong for Michigan State’s defense to handle.  Penn State will grab a lead early and that will be to much for the Spartans to overcome. 

Pick: Penn State -6.5

Other Games:

Texas -1

App State -27

Marshall/ Western Kentucky over 44.5

NCAAF Picks Oct 19

Houston Cougars at UConn Huskies +22

The Huskies are fade worthy every single week.  This week is no different.  The Houston Cougars saw themselves potentially on the verge of pulling off an upset of a top 25 team until they gave up 17 points and the lead to Cincinnati in the 4thquarter.

Heading into a matchup with UConn, Cougar’s QB Clayton Tune should be able to find his grove pretty easily (if healthy).  Houston was able to move the ball pretty well versus a stout Cincinnati defense until their collapse.  If Tune is healthy, he should be able to dominate on the offensive end. 

UConn playing at home which should give them a bump, but this is still UConn.  Money is coming in on the Huskies which has already dropped this by a half a point.  I just believe the Cougars will play with a fire after their tough loss last week. They jump out early and run the score up. 

Pick: Houston Cougars -22

Oregon State Beavers at California Golden Bears Total: 51.5

California is coming off a much-needed bye week, previously losing a tough 17-7 game versus Pac12 powerhouse Oregon.  The Bears are still without Quarterback Chase Garbers, they will again look to Devon Modster to carry the Golden Bears offense.  California’s defense will have to be the star on Saturday, Oregon State QB Jake Lutton has been lighting up the sky with 1400 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception on the season.

California has gone 4-0 in unders at home and 10-1 on unders in their last 11 conference games.   I expect California to win this game at home, that means it will have to be a low scoring affair.  Cal doesn’t have the offense to compete with Oregon State, but their defense at home is too good.  Cal wins 26- 18.

Pick: Under 51.5

Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Cavaliers -3

Virginia is looking to get their groove back after two straight losses versus Notre Dame and Miami, relinquishing their lead in the ACC Coastal Division.  What’s been the problem?  The offensive line’s inability to handle the pass rush.  That should not be the same problem heading into their matchup with the Duke Blue Devils.  

Duke has been red hot offensively against the weaker opponents on the schedule, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.  Losing rather easily to the Alabama and Pittsburgh. Duke was not able to throw the ball well in their two losses.  They will have to be able to throw against Virginia, who ranks 11thin the country against the run.  

This is the time to buy low on Virginia.  Only a three-point spread at home against a team that has not shown the ability to handle real competition.  The concerns about injuries in the secondary for Virginia will have people worried about the recency bias of Duke’s offense.  Virginia will have the use of #1 wide receiver Hasise Dubois, which means they will be at full force on the offensive end.  

Three points at home for the top of the ACC Coastal Division.  Give me the Cavaliers all day.  

Pick: Virginia -3

Other Games I’m leaning

Florida -5

Temple +9

NCAA Picks ATS Week 5

Northwestern Wildcats at Wisconsin Badgers -24.5, Total 46.5

Northwestern blows. The chalk bet of last weekend was Northwestern +7 against Michigan State.  That bet didn’t work out for most and never made sense in the first place. The Wildcats have one of the worst offenses in college football, they are now going to be greeted with a dominant Wisconsin defense.  

Northwestern has had no success on any part of their offensive end.  They especially have had issues with their passing game only connecting on 48% of their passes with just one touchdown to go along with six interceptions. Wisconsin has the #1 pas efficiency defense in the nation. That means that the Wildcats are going to have to try and run the ball.  That game plan will not be very effective as the Badgers have given up a total of 20 yards per game this season.  

Wisconsin is at home versus a team that can’t score.  This should be a cake walk.

Pick: Wisconsin -24.5

Rutgers Scarlett Knights at Michigan Wolverines -28

Michigan is coming off of one of their most embarrassing losses in the Jim Harbaugh era.  Getting embarrassed at the hands of Wisconsin last week has left a bad taste in the mouth of all Michigan players.  Rutgers will now have the aggression of that loss taken out of them on Saturday.  

I understand that Dylan McCaffery is most likely out and Shea Patterson is very beat up, leaving the quarterback play as a question mark.  They seemed to figure it out at the end of the game after it was all but wrapped up.  The Wolverines are at home, they are not facing the offensive and defensive lines of Wisconsin.  This is Rutgers.  

Again, this is Rutgers. Michigan has to dominate this game to work their way back into relevance.  Look for pain.  

Pick: Michigan Wolverines -28

Virginia Cavaliers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish -11

Notre Dame is coming off of a valiant effort against Georgia.  They now get a quietly interesting showdown with the Virginia Cavaliers.  The Cavaliers have a dominant defensive front.  They lead the ACC in tackles for a loss and lead the nation in sacks.  They have yet to give up 100 rushing yards in any of their four games this season. 

Virginia has been a tough out ATS against top teams. The Cavaliers have gone 13-3 ATS over their last sixteen games versus teams with winning records. The Irish have to feel a let done after the loss to Georgia and will come out sluggish.  The Virginia front will be a tough challenge for Norte Dame, while their offense lead by Bryce Perkins has enough to keep them in the game. Notre Dame wins, but it won’t be easy.

Pick: Virginia +11

Other Picks:

Texas Tech +27.5

USC/Washington over 61

Bets that should have won week 3

Giants beat the Buccaneers with a rookie QB. Took Tampa Bay

The matchup between Tampa Bay and New York was the definition of gambling  gone wrong. A rookie Quarterback on the road versus a well-rested Buccaneers team coming off of a huge upset victory over the Panthers. 

Jamies Winston came out firing, finding his number one target Mike Evans for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the first half! Tampa Bay took a 28- 10 lead into half time. This game was not only over but the -6 cover was a given.  No way a rookie Quarterback is going to lead a comeback victory on the road when their best player Saquon Barkley is no longer a part of the game plan. 

The Buccaneers then decided that it was time to be the Buccaneers.  Despite their dominance through the air Byron Leftwich decided it was time to lean on a non-existent run game.  Instead of relying on what was working they decided to go in the opposite direction.  Not many would agree with leaning your game plan on Jameis Winston, but it was working!

Daniel Jones went on to torch the Buccaneers along with our dreams of covering.  Jones became the first ever rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards, touch owns and run for two touchdowns.  The media will play up Jones as a savior of New York Giants football. While he killed me this weekend, I will be fading him next week.  

Panthers win without Cam. Took Arizona +2.5

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals were at home, the Panthers were without their Quarterback.  Arizona was coming off of two large late game comebacks versus the Ravens and Lions.  The momentum of Arizona rightfully put them as the favorite.  The Cardinals were going to face Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent out of Houston. 

The Cardinals fast paced offense was supposed to lead to big points, the pace worked against Arizona as Allen was able to pick them apart utilizing CMC and the ageless wonder Greg Olsen. Arizona has a strong future ahead of them but they let us down in week 3 and continue tough matchups in week 4. 

Seahawks lose at home to a backup QB. Took Seattle -4

I had two locks this week. The first of those being the Seahawks at home -4 versus the New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees.  This was a game that I though Vegas had lost its mind. The Seahawks were coming off of two victories in a row where they dominated on the offensive end.  Seattle was playing at home against a Quarterback that hadn’t played a full game in like two years.  

Seattle decided to pick this weekend to lay an egg.  Literally seems like Chris Carson believes the ball is an egg and it can only stay safe on the turf. New Orleans showed up on defense and special teams allowing Teddy Bridgewater to play the role of game manager.  New Orleans got a boost from their ancillary pieces, something they cannot rely on in the weeks to come.  

Seattle’s defense is not what I thought they would be when they picked up Jadaveon Clowney, continually giving up big plays.  Their offense makes for a great matchup for week 4 when they face the Cardinals.