(All lines as of Sunday Night)
Kansas St. @ Iowa St (+7.5) - Possible trap game here for the Wildcats with a trip to West Virginia looming on deck. Iowa St has snuck into the Top 25 this week and is looking for a repeat upset similar to last year's huge win over #2 Oklahoma State. Really wish this game was on Thursday or later in the afternoon...still I'll play on the look ahead angle.
Auburn @ Ole Miss (-4) - This line looks fiiiiiisssshhhyy as hell. Auburn's only win came in OT against UL-Monroe and is averaging a whopping 15.4 pts/gm. Rebels are no powerhouse by any means but are probably a little pissed about blowing a 10 point lead to Texas A&M in the 4th Q on Saturday. Is Gene Chizik's seat starting to get a little hot? I'm hoping it keeps getting warmer.
North Carolina @ Miami (+6) - Anybody realize Hurricanes control their own destiny to ACC championship game? I really hope they do themselves because the Heels come to town giving up 33.7 points in their 3 conference games. I'll disregard Miami's no-show against Notre Dame last night and figure that a chance to get to 4-0 in the ACC is motivation enough to at least cover the number if not win outright.
West Virginia (-4.5) @ Texas Tech - Please make room for me on the bandwagon. I was holding out until watching that gutty performance in Texas in primetime. Geno Smith looks like he's at the controls of video game. I know what I said earlier in respect to their game with Kansas St. next week but this Air Raid offense is reaching Oregon's level of efficiency and speed. Texas Tech just got beat up by a big, strong Oklahoma team and now has to try to cover those jackrabbits the 'neers will be deploying...no chance.
Southern California @ Washington (+13.5) - Steve Sarkishian is quickly becoming a genius when preparing his team for big home games. Last time the Trojans visited Seattle as the #3 team in the country in 2009, they left with an 'L' along with their Starbucks coffee. Ask Stanford how that tastes. USC just isn't clicking for all 4 quarters and although they completely out-athleticize (is that a word?) the Huskies, their 1-4 ATS record shows that the public still thinks that they are a national powerhouse. They're good, but not THAT good.
Texas A&M (-7) @ Louisiana Tech - I'm going to call this my stretch pick. Makeup from Week 1 when it was postponed due to hurricane. Both teams average over 44 points a game but La Tech is ranked 109th in points against while Aggies are 14th. The Bulldogs also rank 3rd from the bottom in penalties per game and that doens't mix well with their obvious physical mismatch against the first year SEC team. Sonny Dykes has Tech moving in the right direction but this is not another WAC opponent to run circles around. I'll lay the TD
Been a fairly busy week so I haven't really got too into Week 3 in the NFL yet. After last night's blowout win over Carolina, I can honestly say Eli Manning is now a top 5 QB in the NFL. Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Peyton, Eli in that order and you can make a very strong argument that he has passed his brother at this point in their careers. I think what I'll do for this current blog posting is forecast the 12 playoff teams and conference winners...and Super Bowl champ. Here goes:
1. San Francisco
3. Green Bay
5. New York
6. New Orleans
3. New England
6. San Diego
Wild Card Round:
Green Bay 31 New Orleans 24
Philadelphia 26 New York 21
New England 28 San Diego 17
Denver 24 Pittsburgh 20
San Francisco 20 Philadelphia 17
Green Bay 30 Atlanta 23
Baltimore 28 New England 24
Houston 24 Denver 17
Green Bay 27 San Francisco 20
Baltimore 20 Houston 14
Green Bay Packers 34 Baltimore Ravens 28
There you go: We will check back in January for actual results. As for football picks for the weekend, they are listed below:
Kansas St +14 @ Oklahoma
Miami +14.5 @ Georgia Tech
Cal +16.5 @ USC
Michigan +5.5 @ Notre Dame
Georgia -16.5 vs. Vanderbilt
Illinois -2.5 vs. La. Tech
Tampa Bay +9 @ Dallas
Cincinnati +3 @ Washington
New Orleans -9 vs. Kansas City
Indianapolis -3 vs. Jacksonville
Denver +1 vs. Houston
It's always funny to hear everybody overreact to Week 1 huge performances and disappointments in both fantasy football and reality. Most are already handing RG3 his Hall of Fame jacket and claiming Kevin Ogletree as the league's best wide receiver. It's ONE week folks....we've still got 16 left. As for people wondering about the Saints, Giants, and Packers and their playoff chances, they'll be there in the end. Finally, don't think I've forgotten about you Jets fans. This isn't how your entire season is going to go so put away the confetti and party favors. Let's get on with the picks:
NEW ORLEANS (-1) @ Carolina 300 units
Was it just me or was Cam Newton's frustration last week more about the fact that he's no longer the best dual threat QB in the league (thanks Robert) and less about his struggles against the Bucs? Super-Cam still possesses a unique skill set unlike the NFL was accustomed to last year but if you look at how he finished the 2nd half last year, you can see that teams were starting to figure out how to defend Panther's QB. Force him to beat you from the pocket. Washington did a great job in play designs for Griffin, getting him outside the pocket early with designed roll outs and read-option plays that really put a lot of pressure on a depleted Saints defense. I attribute the Saints loss as much to the distraction of the ruling of "Bounty-gate" as Griffin putting up 362 total yards. I don't see the defense giving up another 40 points now that they know exactly who they'll have available and what they're up against. I'll take the road favorite in this one.
JACKSONVILLE (+7) vs. Houston 200 units
I was pleasantly surprised in Blaine Gabbert last week (260, 2 TD 0 INT). After a terrible rookie campaign he looked very consistent in the preseason and his under-appreciated receiving core made some nice plays including Cecil Shorts' acrobatic game tying score. Couple that with the fact that Maurice Jones-Drew should be up to speed going into this division showdown and I think the Jags stand a fighting chance here.
As far the Texans go, they struggled against Miami for the better half of 20 minutes until they were able to turn them over a few times right before halftime creating some short field opportunities that they were able to capatialize on. The game got out of hand in the 2nd half due to a few tipped interceptions and the lack of any offense whatsoever from Miami. I did say last week that they are one of the best teams in the NFL and I still stand by that statement. However, with Denver looming in Week 3, there may be a chance that Houston takes this game for granted and therefore allows Jacksonville to hang around at home. Let's play the home dog here.
BALTIMORE (+1) @ Philadelphia 300 units
I was tempted to go against the Jets again this week as they travel to Pittsburgh, but this seems safer. Has any team ever looked worse in a win then Philly? The defense looked good and capatalized on a rookie QB by picking off 4 Brandon Weeden passes but Michael Vick threw 4 himself and just did manage to squeak out a last minute TD against a very poor Cleveland team. Oh and by the way he put it in the air 56?! times. Hey Andy Reid, I'd like you to meet LeSean McCoy. Remember him? On the injury front, both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin appear to be game-time decisions and even if both play they won't be 100%.
On the flip side, Baltimore may have looked better than anybody and it helps when you perform under the national spotlight on Monday Night. Joe Flacco thrived in the no huddle and although Ray Rice numbers were quite modest, he was able to find the endzone twice. The Ravens may be able to slow down the wide nine defensive end sets the Eagles deploy by running multiple inside handoffs to Rice which would get him into favorable open field matchups with a very average LB core. I don't think 200 total yards are out of the question this week for him and if Vick continues to try to create too much, Ed Reed may get his 2nd pick 6 of the season. I like the Ravens to get to 2-0 heading into a big Week 3 game with the Patriots.
OTHER NFL PICKS:
Pittsburgh (-5) vs. NY Jets
Seattle (+3) vs. Dallas
Virginia (+10) @ Ga. Tech
Louisville (-3) vs. UNC
Tennessee (-3) vs. Florida
Mich St. (-5.5) vs Notre Dame
Wisconsin (-13.5) vs. Utah St.
Rice (+21) @ La Tech.
Utah (+3.5) vs. BYU
Let's start things off by saying welcome back Peyton Manning. Were you really gone for 610 days? Sure didn't look like it throwing for 2 TD's (including career TD #400) and leading Denver to a week 1 win over Pittsburgh. And how about another welcome back to Adrian Peterson. Was it really just Christmas Eve last year when you tore your ACL AND MCL? What is that...barely 9 1/2 months? Pretty remarkable to come back that fast and look that good in that short of a time frame.
As for the rest of the NFL, I think we learned a couple of valuable lessons. First of all, pre-season means absolutely nothing. Case in point, the Jets looked anemic on offense....I mean downright putrid, and then promptly hung 48 up on Buffalo yesterday. They did score 14 of those point on a pick 6 and punt return for TD, but still 32 points was more than I certainly expected. Example #2 was provided by pre-season league MVP Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Seattle looked a well oiled machine on offense with the Wisconsin product at the helm against plan vanilla defense. Against a very average Arizona defense, they could only muster 1 touchdown even with a couple of drives starting in Cardinal territory. Remember, rookie QB's need time to adjust just like everybody else...unless your name is Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III.
I went 4-2 in my NFL picks, including a nice Denver and Over package on Sunday night. Like I said earlier, man was I wrong about the Jets, although I'm still skeptical on their true identity. I also missed on Seattle -1 at Arizona...if only Braylon Edwards was in 2007 form....*sigh*. I didn't really have any strong feelings on tonight's Monday Night affairs, but I am putting a small play on Raiders -1. I don't trust the Chargers, especially on the road without Ryan Mathews and an inexperienced left tackle. Carson Palmer had a full training camp with his guys and Darren McFadden is one of the best in the NFL when healthy, which he is tonight. I'll take Thhhhhaaaaa Raaaaaiiddddaaaasss.
To better keep track of my NCAA and NFL picks this year, I'll be posting ALL of my picks on Monday or Tuesday nights along with results. Since I tend to bet ALOT of games, I'll only provide writeups for 3 of the big play games for NCAA or NFL or both.
AUBURN (+3) @ Miss. St. Loss
MIAMI (+7) @ Kansas St. Loss
FLORIDA (+1) @ Texas AM Win
MISSOURI (+2) vs. Georgia Loss
ARIZONA ST (-5.5) vs. Illinois Win
UCLA (+5) vs. Nebraska Win
UTAH ST (+7) @ vs. Utah Win
Week: 4-3 +10 units
YTD: 4-3 +10 units
WASHINGTON (+9) @ New Orleans Win
BUFFALO (+2.5) @ NY Jets Loss
HOUSTON (-11.5) vs. Miami Win
SEATTLE (+1) @ Arizona Loss
DENVER (-1) vs. Pittsburgh Win
Denver/Pitt OVER 45.5 Win
Week: 4-2 +230 units
YTD: 4-2 +230 units
OVERALL: 8-5 +240 units
Hello to all. This is my first post on Covers and I plan on posting at least once a week this NFL season with 3 of my picks along with a brief writeup. Here are my picks for week 1:
Houston(-11.5) vs. Miami (3 STAR)
If you watched Hard Knocks on HBO this year you know just as well as I do how much trouble the Miami Dolphins are in, especially on offense. Ryan Tannehill will eventually be a pretty good QB especially with his college coach now as his OC but this week 1 matchup is a nightmare for the rookie QB. They'll face a defense that even without Mario Williams should be one of the best in the NFL and with Jake Long's tweaked knee an underlying story, this will be a loooonnnng day for the Dolphins offense.
As for Houston, the big 3 of Schaub, Foster and Johnson appear to be healthy (Foster left Thursday's practice as a precaution) and look to follow up the franchise's first playoff win with an even deeper run into the postseason. This team is loaded on both sides of the ball and should dominate from start to finish. Houston wins big here.
Buffalo (+2.5) at NY Jets (2 STAR)
I like the Bills in this matchup a lot because of a few reasons. Yes, the Jets beat Buffalo twice last year and yes they are playing at home, but that was pre-Tebow. This situation is turning out to be a mess for the Jets and the pre-season struggles were not a fluke in my opinion. Reason 1: They haven't found a reliable running game and 2: top WR Santonio Holmes caught one ball in the pre season while recoving from injury. Where will they find offense?
For Buffalo, Ryan Fitzpatrick surprised many people last year throwing for more than 3800 yards and 24 TDs. Much of that success was due to a very solid running game that returns this year in the form of Fred Jackson speedster CJ Spiller. I'm a little bit concerned with Stevie Johnson's injury (groin) and that he's missed a few practices lately but if he plays, and I suspect he will, he has put up fairly good numbers while on Revis Island. I like the Bills to get off to a good start this year again and start the Jets down the long road of 2012 with a loss.
Washington (+9) at New Orleans (1 STAR)
Call this buying into the RG3 hype if you want but I see the 'Skins hanging in this one. Jonathan Vilma's absense in the middle for the Saints should not be overlooked nor should the losses of LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar and All-Pro G Carl Nicks. The offense may also suffer some set backs this year without Sean Payton calling plays and Robert Meachem now suiting up for San Diego. They still have the best TE in the game and arguable the smartest QB in Brees but I don't see them being quite as explosive as years past. Remember they used a 1st round pick in Mark Ingram last year and I expect to see more balance out of New Orleans.
Griffin showed that he's capable of standing in the pocket and completing passes during the pre-season but now that vanilla defenses will give way to more schemes and blitzes, I think we will really start to see his athleticism out of the pocket including his open field running ability against a heavy pressure defense in the Saints. Carriker and Orakpo should put enough heat on Brees throughout the day to give the secondary a helping hand in covering a very good receiving core. They most likely won't win this game, but should stay within the number.
Feel feel to respond, agree/disagree or whatever. Good luck to everybody this week!!