|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|11-07-14||Dallas Mavericks -2.5 v. Utah Jazz||Top||105-82||Win||100||15 h 33 m||Show|
The Mavericks have owned the Jazz, have an outstanding road ATS mark and will be fired up after laying an egg last night against Portland in an embarrassing 108-87 loss.
Prior to last night's loss to the Trail Blazers, the Mavericks were leading the NBA in scoring at 111.8 points per game and also were No. 1 in field goal percentage at 52.4. One road game doesn't mean the Mavericks' offense has suddenly gone down the tubes.
I see the Mavericks bouncing back in a big way against a team they have beaten 13 of the past 16 times. The youthful Jazz still could be celebrating their upset home win two nights ago against the Cavaliers and LeBron James when Gordon Hayward made a step-back jumper at the buzzer.
Even with that victory, Utah is just 3-8-2 ATS in its last 13 home games. The Mavericks are a mind-boggling 52-22 (70 percent) ATS in their last 74 road contests. Dallas has beaten Utah the past six times, winning by an average of 12.3 points while shooting 52.6 percent from the field. The teams just met eight days ago in Dallas and the Mavericks had no problem beating Utah, 120-102. Dallas has covered in six of its last eight visits to Salt Lake City.
|11-06-14||Cleveland Browns v. Cincinnati Bengals -6||Top||24-3||Loss||-110||37 h 3 m||Show|
Cleveland's 5-3 record looks fancy on the surface, but the Browns aren't good enough to keep within a touchdown against a superior opponent in this setting.
The Browns last three games have come against the three worst teams in the NFL - Jaguars, Raiders and Buccaneers. Cleveland lost to the Jaguars by 18 points and didn't have an easy time with either the Raiders or Buccaneers nearly losing to one-win Tampa Bay last week.
This is the Browns' first national TV game of the season. It comes on a short week on the road against probably the best team in the AFC North. The Browns have lost 17 consecutive division road games having last beaten an AFC North club away from home in 2008.
The Bengals are 13-0-1 SU and 12-1-1 ATS in their last 14 games at Paul Brown Stadium. They have covered 82 percent of their past 18 home games.
Brian Hoyer needs an effective ground attack to be effective. The Browns haven't had that in their last three games since losing star center Alex Mack. Cleveland has averaged just 52.6 yards rushing during this time span. The Browns also are going to be missing their best receiving threat, tight end Jordan Cameron.
The Bengals have their best playmaker back in A.J. Green. He makes Andy Dalton much better. Even if Giovani Bernad can't play, the Bengals still have power back Jeremy Hill to exploit the Browns' 31st rush defense.
|11-05-14||Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5 v. Utah Jazz||Top||100-102||Loss||-110||9 h 24 m||Show|
The Cavaliers aren't in sync yet with superstar newcomers LeBron James and Kevin Love. But they will be highly motivated to play well against the lowly Jazz after being embarrassed at Portland last night, 101-82. James was held to his lowest point total in six years.
Playing in the second of back-to-back games isn't this taxing so early in the season, especially since the Cavaliers had three days off prior to last night's game.
The youthful Jazz are at least another two years away from being a playoff contender. Their defense has been horrible giving up 110.3 points and 52.7 percent shooting from the floor during their three losses.
Despite their horrendous game last night to the Trail Blazers, the Cavaliers are getting good early numbers from James and Love. James is fourth in the league in scoring at 26.5 while Love's 15 rebounds per game rank No. 2.
|11-03-14||Sacramento Kings v. Denver Nuggets -7||110-105||Loss||-110||12 h 41 m||Show|
The Kings are coming off a home upset victory against the Trail Blazers and a huge upset road win against the Clippers on Sunday. The Kings host these same Nuggets on Wednesday before embarking on a four-game road trip.
I don't see the Kings having the maturity and bench strength to pull off a third consecutive upset, especially since this is their fourth game in six days and second in two days. The Kings have failed to cover six of the last seven times following a win.
Denver is playing fast led by lightening quick point guard Ty Lawson. The Nuggets just haven't been making their shots. That can change against a Kings defense that traditionally has been bad.
The Nuggets are rounding into shape and will be highly motivated after losing their last game this past Saturday, 102-91, on the road to short-handed Oklahoma City. Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said his team looked like zombies. That should prove a strong wake-up call to his talented squad.
Denver has far more depth than Sacramento and holds a backcourt edge.
|11-02-14||Baltimore Ravens v. Pittsburgh Steelers +2||23-43||Win||100||31 h 18 m||Show|
The Steelers' balanced offense is rolling averaging 40.5 points in their last two games. Ben Roethlisberger has never been hotter. Martavis Bryant has stepped up to give the Steelers a tall wide receiving option to go with Antonio Brown.
Baltimore is without its top defensive back, cornerback Jimmy Smith. That leaves the Ravens without a strong cover person to handle Brown, who is an absolute game-changer with 60 receptions for 852 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Ravens' defense is far less intimidating when playing on the road. Baltimore has covered just one of its last five away contests and is 1-6-1 ATS during its last eight games versus AFC foes.
Pittsburgh has covered seven of its last 10 home games and has revenge for am embarrassing 26-6 loss to the Ravens in Week 2. The Steelers have changed up a lot of things since that defeat and are in a much better place now.
The Steelers' defense has been reinforced with the return of nose tackle Steve McLendon and good-looking rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier.
|11-02-14||St. Louis Rams v. San Francisco 49ers -9.5||Top||13-10||Loss||-105||146 h 41 m||Show|
The 49ers are rested and ready to pummel the Rams, a team they beat by two touchdowns just three weeks ago despite playing far from their "A" game.
The Rams are decimated by injuries. They were missing their two starting cornerbacks this past Sunday against the Chiefs. They had to use a sixth-round rookie and an undrafted rookie. The 49ers can take advantage with their deep crop of veteran wide receivers.
Then against the Chiefs, the Rams lost their leading receiver, Brian Quick, and three starting offensive linemen, including left tackle Jake Long.
Austin Davis is struggling as the league studies more film on him. He is playing behind a makeshift offensive line with below average wide receivers and a disappointing ground attack.
The Rams stole a game against the Seahawks two weeks ago by coming up with trick plays on special teams. That's not going to work against fiery Jim Harbaugh and his well-coached, veteran 49ers team.
|11-02-14||Philadelphia Eagles -1 v. Houston Texans||31-21||Win||100||70 h 44 m||Show|
I'm not a fan of the Texans. They have been outgained by an average of nearly 30 yards per game and have played a weak schedule. Their victories have come against the Redskins opening week with a rusty Robert Griffin III at quarterback, Raiders, Bills with E.J. Manuel at quarterback and Titans with rookie Zach Mettenberger making his first pro start.
Aside from Arian Foster, J.J. Watt and a declining Andre Johnson the Texans really don't have much. Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league and heavily turnover prone. He's committed eight turnovers in his last six games.
The Eagles represent a step up for the Texans. The Eagles' offensive line is getting healthier and their ground game has picked up with LeSean McCoy rushing for 232 yards in his last two games. Nick Foles isn't nearly as good as his 2013 statistics, but he's better than he's shown lately. His game will pick up since the Eagles' offensive line is getting back to full strength.
It has been 21 games since the Eagles last lost two in a row.
Philadelphia's defense is improving, helped by the return of linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The Eagles also hold a special teams edge. They have seven defensive/special teams touchdowns while their opposition has yet to put up a defensive or special teams score.
The Eagles won't lack for motivation either in this non-conference matchup with eight former Texans on their roster, including linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin.
|11-01-14||Arizona +7 v. UCLA||Top||7-17||Loss||-120||49 h 59 m||Show|
UCLA has been overrated all season and its overpriced again in this matchup. The Bruins have covered only one of eight games and is 1-4 ATS in their last five home contests. If you discount a 35-point win against Arizona State, the Bruins' average win margin in their other five victories is 4.6 points. Arizona is better than any of those foes the Bruins have narrowly beaten.
Arizona has lost only once - and that was against USC right after the Wildcats sprung their huge upset of Oregon. The Wildcats are 3-0 SU and ATS on the road.
Freshman quarterback Anu Solomon is coming on for Arizona. He threw five touchdown passes in sparking the Wildcats past Washington State, 59-37, on the road last week. The Wildcats' running backs are getting healthy and can take advantage of a UCLA defense that has given up more than 200 yards on the ground in three of its last four games.
The Bruins' pass defense is worse than their run defense ranking 105th. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley hasn't had the monster year some were envisioning.
|11-01-14||Notre Dame -14.5 v. Navy||49-39||Loss||-110||35 h 54 m||Show|
The Irish were idle last week. That's huge for a pair of reasons. It gives the Irish two weeks to stew over a bitter 31-27 road loss to second-ranked Florida State and gives them ample time to prepare for Navy's unique option offense.
I see Notre Dame having a big game here. Navy leads the nation in rushing, but has no ability to come back from a big deficit since the Midshipmen lack any semblance of a passing attack.
But will Notre Dame be able to build up a big lead? I see it happening. The Irish still have playoff incentive and they will be highly motivated after Navy nearly upset them at home last year while drawing Brian Kelly's anger for throwing chop blocks. The Irish lost several defensive linemen in that game because of those controversial blocks. Kelly hasn't forgotten.
The previous two years - 2011 and 2012 - Notre Dame beat Navy by a combined margin of 82 points.
Sparked by quarterback Everett Golson, Notre Dame is averaging nearly 450 yards on offense. Golson has accounted for 23 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Navy gives up 27.6 points per game and 411.5 yards of offense. The Midshipmen have only three sacks and just eight takeaways.
Notre Dame ranks 12th in run defense. The Irish have experience handling Navy's option attack. They had breakdowns last year against it because of numerous defensive line injuries that were inflicted during the game.
The Midshipmen don't have the athletes Notre Dame has, nor the depth. I can see them wearing down. Note, too, this isn't a true home game for Navy as it's being played in Landover, Md.
|10-31-14||Los Angeles Clippers -12 v. Los Angeles Lakers||Top||118-111||Loss||-110||14 h 7 m||Show|
The Clippers weren't sharp in dispatching the undermanned Thunder, 93-90, at home last night.
The Clippers will be less rusty tonight against their long-time city rival the Lakers. The Clippers are 7-1 in their last eight games against the Lakers winning the past three by an average of 35 points. They will make it a special point for new owner Steve Ballmer to bury the Lakers, who embarrassed them for years.
The Lakers were terrible during preseason averaging just 86 points during their last six exhibition games. Their poor play and startling lack of talent has carried into the regular season where they have lost by an average of 19 points to the Rockets at home and to the Suns.
The Clippers have a vastly better bench and a huge edge at point guard. The Lakers have yet to find a consistent No. 2 scorer behind Kobe Bryant.
|10-31-14||Memphis Grizzlies -6.5 v. Indiana Pacers||97-89||Win||100||11 h 58 m||Show|
The Pacers were able to get away with a starting lineup consisting of Solomon Hill, Luis Scola, Donald Sloan and C.J. Miles because they played the 76ers in their opener.
But now the Pacers step up to face the Grizzlies minus David West and point guard George Hill. Remember, the Pacers also are without Paul George and the departed Lance Stephenson.
Indiana's makeshift lineup is going to get exposed by the veteran, physical Grizzlies. Memphis has been one of the top defensive teams the past few years, including holding foes to the third-fewest points per game last season.
The Grizzlies weren't happy with their defense in their 105-101 opening-game victory against the Timberwolves. Expect an intense effort from Memphis. Given their huge starting lineup edge that should be enough to ensure a point spread cover.
Indiana has only covered seven of its last 22 home games.
|10-30-14||Utah Jazz +10.5 v. Dallas Mavericks||Top||102-120||Loss||-105||7 h 57 m||Show|
The Jazz are capable of playing better defense than they showed in last night's 104-93 home loss to the Rockets.
The Jazz were beaten in the 3-point game as Houston made 14 of 27 from long distance while Utah missed 15 of 18 3-pointers.
I see Utah tightening its perimeter defense, outrebounding the Mavericks who were seventh-from-the-bottom in rebounding margin last season and shooting better especially Gordon Hayward, who has caused problems for Dallas in the past.
The youthful Jazz are going to experience growing pains again this season. But they have fresh legs right now so playing for the second time in 48 hours shouldn't hurt them. They are 4-1 ATS the past five times when coming off a double-digit home loss.
Dallas is not a good home team versus the spread. The Mavericks failed to cover in eight of their last 10 regular season home games. This is their first home game of the season, which can be distracting and lead to overconfidence playing this weak opponent. The Mavericks face a tougher challenge in their next game when they play at New Orleans on Saturday.
The Mavericks nearly upset San Antonio in their opener on Tuesday. However, the Mavericks were outrebounded, allowed the Spurs to shoot 53 percent from the floor and only had 17 field goals raising concern about stagnant ball movement.
There's no reason for the Mavericks to win by a huge margin or show much of their playbook as they meet the Jazz again a week from Friday in Salt Lake City. A simple single-digit victory will suffice nicely for Dallas.
|10-29-14||Chicago Bulls -4 v. New York Knicks||Top||104-80||Win||100||11 h 17 m||Show|
New York's home-court advantage doesn't make up for this huge of a class difference.
The Bulls are anxious to start this new season after last season's playoff disappointment. Chicago has gotten better with Derrick Rose healthy and the additions of Pau Gasol and rookie Doug McDermott. The Bulls have a much deeper bench than New York.
The Knicks are going against the top defensive club in the NBA while adjusting to a triangle offense brought in by first-year coach Derrick Fisher. The Knicks struggled during preseason even giving up 120 points to the Bucks. J.R. Smith has yet to grasp the triangle and power forward Andrea Bargnani is out with a pulled hamstring.
The Knicks are going to have problems rebounding against Joakim Noah. New York's starting unit of Carmelo Anthony, Ian Shumpert, Jose Calderon, Jason Smith and Samuel Dalembert never played together during preseason. Anthony is a superstar, but the other four are not legitimate NBA starters.
|10-29-14||Milwaukee Bucks +8.5 v. Charlotte Hornets||Top||106-108||Win||100||8 h 55 m||Show|
The Bucks won only 15 games last season - and weren't tanking. Their season was ruined by injuries. Now the Bucks are healthy and well under-the-radar. They have four good players, including the favorite for rookie-of-the-year in Jabari Parker.
Milwaukee is going to be much improved. Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo are promising 19-year-olds who are budding stars. Brandon Knight is an underrated point guard, who will be helped by Jason Kidd as his coach. Larry Sanders is back after an injured and troubled season last year.
The Hornets are better as underdogs than favorites. They were unable to establish a true rotation during preseason because of multiple injuries.
Lance Stephenson missed the last four preseason games with a groin strain. If he plays, he'll be limited and rusty. Sixth man Gerald Henderson didn't play at all during the preseason and is probably out here, too.
The Hornets rely on Al Jefferson in the paint. Sanders, though, is a top-blocker and can neutralize Jefferson on the defensive end. Given the Bucks' improvement and Hornets' injuries and lack of continuity during preseason this is an excellent time to get on the Bucks.
|10-26-14||Green Bay Packers +3 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||23-44||Loss||-125||17 h 11 m||Show|
All streaks must come to an end. I see the Packers ending New Orleans' 19-game home winning streak under Sean Payton and 13-game home winning streak on national TV in this prime time Sunday Night matchup.
I have no doubts that Payton will have the Saints fired-up. But New Orleans isn't as good, nor playing nearly as well as Green Bay. The Packers have taken their game up a notch behind the flawless play of Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay is averaging 36.3 and 352.5 yards per game during the last four weeks - all victories.
The Saints defense has looked far more like their record-worst defense of two years ago than last year. Their secondary is weak especially without injured Jarius Byrd and prey to Rodgers, who has thrown 17 touchdown passes with no interceptions his last six games. The Saints rank 28th in points allowed and pass defense. Rodgers has a multitude of weapons with the emergence of rookie Davon Adams joining Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb plus a solid ground attack to keep things balanced.
New Orleans is 2-4 and its record isn't a fluke. The Saints' only two victories were lackluster home wins at home against the Vikings, where rookie Teddy Bridgewater was making his first start, and versus the Buccaneers in overtime. Those two teams are a combined 3-10.
Green Bay's defense isn't as good as it's offense and cornerback Sam Shields is out. But the Packers may have the most depth of any secondary in the NFL.
Drew Brees is having a down year by his lofty standards. The Saints have a cluster injury problem at running back, their wide receivers aren't as good as Green Bay's and star tight end Jimmy Graham has been reduced to decoy status because of a shoulder injury. Brees also is without injured center Jonathan Goodwin.
|10-26-14||Houston Texans -2.5 v. Tennessee Titans||Top||30-16||Win||100||78 h 22 m||Show|
The Titans have formally given up on their season with word coming out that Ken Whisenhunt is going to start rookie sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger at quarterback.
Mettenberger isn't ready and he lacks the mobility to cover up his mistakes. His life is going to be made miserable by J.J. Watt and possibly Jadeveon Clowney, who is tentatively due back this week. The Titans rank 29th in points scored and 27th in total yards. Mettenberger doesn't have a lot of weapons to help him.
The Titans have lost a number of key defensive players. They are giving up 24.6 points per game and that number could rise. This is a matchup that Ryan Fitzpatrick can manage relying on stud running back Arian Foster, who already has five 100-yard rushing games.
Tennessee is 1-8-2 ATS in its last 11 home games.
|10-26-14||Seattle Seahawks -5 v. Carolina Panthers||13-9||Loss||-110||46 h 19 m||Show|
There is nothing wrong with Seattle's offense. In fact, it's better than it was last year as Russell Wilson is improved and his offensive line is healthy.
The Panthers have fallen apart on defense due to the suspension of Greg Hardy and a horrendous secondary that was put together on the cheap. Carolina has given up 38, 30, 24, 37 and 38 points in its last five games.
I see Seattle's defense and special teams playing better after an embarrassing loss to the Rams last week. The Panthers have a cluster injury problem at running back and are missing both of their starting guards.
The Seahawks get a lot of publicity for their great home record, but they have also covered nine of their last 13 on the road/neutral site games.
|10-26-14||Detroit Lions -3.5 v. Atlanta Falcons||22-21||Loss||-108||99 h 41 m||Show|
Away from Georgia Dome, the Falcons have dropped 11 of their last 12, going 3-9 ATS. Atlanta has lost its last seven away games by double-digits. Don't look for the Falcons to correct their problems with this game in London.
Matt Ryan has no time to throw. His offensive line is decimated. The Falcons will be going through their fifth different starting offensive line with this matchup after losing their starting center, Peter Konz, for the season. Ryan doesn't have a reliable ground game to fall back on either. Steven Jackson is Atlanta's lead runner and he's well past his prime.
The Lions' defense has become dominant particularly their front four. Detroit has held five of its seven opponents to 17 points or less while ranking first or second in total defense, run defense and scoring defense.
The Falcons' defense is far weaker ranking 30th in yards given up and points allowed. The statistics don't lie. The Falcons have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Their earlier home victories against New Orleans and Tampa Bay don't look so good now given the struggles those two teams are having.
Even if Calvin Johnson doesn't play, the Lions have enough weapons with Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush and Golden Tate to take advantage of such a weak opposing defense. The Lions also have solved their kicking problems with the signing of Matt Prater.
|10-25-14||Nevada -2.5 v. Hawaii||Top||26-18||Win||100||67 h 27 m||Show|
I get that traveling to Hawaii and staying at Waikiki, which Nevada is doing, is a real road challenge. It's a six-hour flight from Reno and Waikiki is the cultural and social hub of Honolulu. Most visiting teams stay on the other side of the island to avoid the temptations of Waikiki, but the Wolf Pack couldn't book a hotel there.
I get all that. And so does the oddsmaker and marketplace judging by such a short point spread. But that doesn't erase the fact that Nevada is a much better team than Hawaii and match up extremely well to the Rainbow Warriors.
The Wolf Pack are coming off a huge come-from-behind, confidence-soaring road win against BYU. That pushed them to 4-3 and puts them in bowl contention. There isn't going to be a letdown because the Wolf Pack can't afford it.
Nevada's three losses have occurred to Arizona, Colorado State and Boise State. Those three schools are a combined 16-5. Nevada has covered five of its past six road contests.
Hawaii is 6-25 in three years under Norm Chow. The Rainbow Warriors' offense can't keep up with Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo, one of the best multi-purpose quarterbacks in the country. Hawaii ranks 112th in scoring and 110th in yards per game. The Rainbow Warriors have failed to score more than 14 points in three of their last four games.
Nevada is weak in the secondary, but Hawaii lacks the passing attack to take advantage. The Rainbow Warriors also won't have running back Joey Iosefa, who is under suspension for a DUI arrest. They can't come close to matching Nevada's firepower.
|10-24-14||Saskatchewan Roughriders +11 v. Calgary Stampeders||Top||27-40||Loss||-110||17 h 27 m||Show|
Calgary is the best team in the CFL, but won't have the strongest of motivation having already clinched the tough Western Division. The Stampeders also will be without CFL rushing leader Jon Cornish.
Having already clinched their division, the Stampeders want to avoid injuries. So Cornish may not be the only starter resting or not playing the full game.
Saskatchewan played Calgary tough a few weeks back losing, 31-24. The Roughriders have had problems on offense and are on a four-game losing streak. But their spirit is raised after last week's signing of legendary quarterback Kerry Joseph.
Joseph was the CFL's premier player seven years when he led the Roughriders to the Grey Cup championship in 2007. The 41-year-old made his first start last week and the Roughriders nearly defeated Edmonton, the second-best team in the CFL, losing 24-19.
Joseph can provide a spark and has the savvy to take advantage of Calgary's pass defense, which ranks sixth among the nine CFL teams in yardage allowed. Calgary has also allowed the second-most touchdown passes and has the fewest interceptions.
|10-23-14||Miami (Fla) v. Virginia Tech +3||Top||30-6||Loss||-115||17 h 29 m||Show|
Miami's Brad Kaaya is one of the best freshmen quarterbacks in the country - when he's playing at home. On the road, though, the Hurricanes are 0-3 and Kaaya has been picked off twice in each of his road games. The Hurricanes have lost at Louisville, Nebraska and Georgia Tech by an average of 13 points failing to cover any of those matchups.
Blacksburg is as tough a venue as any road matchup the Hurricanes will have. Virginia Tech has covered 10 of the last 13 meetings against Miami. Virginia Tech has defeated Miami the past three times at home, winning by an average of 19 points. The Hurricanes also are 2-8 ATS during their past 10 Atlantic Coast Conference games.
Early money has come against Virginia Tech, which has some injuries on defense and at running back. The Hokies are off a sloppy 21-16 road loss to Pittsburgh last Thursday. But I see a strong bounce back effort from the Hokies following a shake-up on the offensive line.
Virginia Tech's savvy defensive coordinator Bud Foster is a master at coming up with complex schemes to befuddle young quarterbacks such as Kaaya. The Hokies rank No. 2 in the country in sacks and are 23rd in pass defense. So Foster has good chess pieces.
The Hokies have two other factors in their favor. They are used to playing on Thursday covering 69 percent of their last 29 Thursday games. Virginia Tech also is known for exceptionally strong special teams. The Hokies' vaunted special teams help turn around last year's game, which Virginia Tech won, 42-24, in Miami. The Hurricanes are not strong on special teams and are breaking in a new long snapper.
|10-20-14||Houston Texans v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||23-30||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
The Steelers haven't lost a home game on Monday night since 1991 and I expect them to win this game by more than a field goal.
Pittsburgh holds a huge edge at quarterback and its defense, which has been disappointing, will be super fired-up after being called soft by former players and coaches.
The Steelers' defense is far from dominant like it has been, but it still ranked in the upper half entering this week in total defense, rushing and passing. Pittsburgh also is going against one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is a journeyman, game-manager who is turnover prone. He has a 3-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last four games. He has turned the ball over 10 times this season. The Texans entered Week 7 ranked 28th in passing.
The Texans have struggled when facing elite quarterbacks. In their last two games, they've allowed 694 yards through the air in losing to Tony Romo and the Cowboys and Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Houston's previous two victories came against the Bills quarterbacked by E.J. Manuel and the Raiders quarterbacked by Derek Carr. I don't see the Texans stopping Ben Roethlisberger.
Houston is just 5-11 ATS in its last 16 AFC matchups.
I'm looking to fade Ryan Fitzpatrick on various props. One prop at the Westgate has Fitzpatrick's passing yards at over/under 222.5. I like under.
The Texans are a run-first team even when they are behind. Their coaching staff knows Fitzpatrick is a game-manager not a gunslinger. Fitzpatrick has gone under 222.5 yards in four of Houston's six games. He has averaged 183 yards in his last two games.
It wouldn't be a shock either if Fitzpatrick didn't finish the game. There has been talk about making a quarterback switch in Houston.
|10-19-14||San Francisco 49ers v. Denver Broncos -6.5||Top||17-42||Win||100||61 h 39 m||Show|
San Francisco has too many injuries on defense to keep it close against Peyton Manning. Since Manning joined Denver, the Broncos have won 17 of 19 regular season home games. Manning has thrown 59 touchdown passes in the 19 games.
This also is a tough situational spot for the 49ers, traveling on a short week after having played on the road this past Monday against the Rams.
Denver has upgraded its defense ranking fourth in fewest yards allowed and fifth in run defense. The 49ers need to run to be successful and they are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on the road compared to 4.7 at home.
|10-19-14||Seattle Seahawks -6.5 v. St. Louis Rams||Top||26-28||Loss||-115||102 h 24 m||Show|
An all-out focused effort should be forthcoming from the Seahawks after suffering a rare home loss this past Sunday.
The Rams are the youngest team in the NFL down to their third-string quarterback, Austin Davis, and with a disappointing ground attack.
The Seahawks rank sixth in run defense. Davis has a big arm, but lacks accuracy and has a below average receiving core.
The Rams have only one sack, rank 26th in run defense and are giving up 30 points a game. They are on a short week after melting down at home this past Monday night in a loss to the 49ers.
The Seahawks get a lot of attention for being near invincible at home, but they are 11-3-1 ATS during their past 14 road games. Russell Wilson is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league. He'll be able to avoid the Rams' frequent blitzes while Marshawn Lynch takes advantage of the Rams' below average run defense.
|10-18-14||Tulane +20 v. Central Florida||13-20||Win||100||22 h 39 m||Show|
Tulane is well coached and competitive on defense. The Green Wave held Connecticut to 217 yards of offense and three points last week.
|10-17-14||Temple +7.5 v. Houston||Top||10-31||Loss||-110||54 h 19 m||Show|
Temple is well coached, limits its mistakes, is highly opportunistic and has a good quarterback.
Houston is inconsistent, has made a quarterback change and lost its best defensive player last week, senior linebacker Derrick Mathews.
The Owls are 4-1 with only a seven-point loss to Navy. An upset win against Houston and the Owls can actually start talking about going to a bowl. This is a rare nationally televised game for the Owls and a revenge game, too.
I consider Matt Rhule one of the best young head coaches in the country. His Owls have covered in their last six road games. Houston, on the other hand, is 1-4 ATS in its last five home contests. Rhule will have Temple prepared for this matchup.
Both teams have shown strong defenses and a great ability to come up with takeaways. Temple allows only 14.4 points per game and leads the nation in red zone defense.
The Owls will be dealing with Greg Ward Jr. under center. He's making his second career start at quarterback having switched from receiver replacing John O'Korn. Ward is without the Cougars' second-leading receiver, Daniel Spencer. He suffered a knee injury during practice last week.
The Cougars are holding foes to 19.2 points a game, but the loss of Mathews is huge. Temple quarterback P.J. Walker is 97-for-157 for 1,099 yards and nine touchdowns. He has a reliable target in Jalen Fitzpatrick and underrated running backs.
The Owls have come up with five defensive touchdowns and two special teams scores. This is a step up for them. But they have the talent, coaching and motivation to spring the upset.
|10-13-14||San Francisco 49ers -3 v. St. Louis Rams||Top||31-17||Win||100||13 h 5 m||Show|
Colin Kaepernick is at his best when his ground game is going smoothly. That will be the case in this matchup. The 49ers rank No. 3 in rushing thanks to a hot Frank Gore, who has rushed for 299 yards while averaging 4.9 yards per carry during his last four games. Gore has had some of his best performances against the Rams, having scored 14 touchdowns against them while running for more than 1,100 yards.
St. Louis permits nearly 30 points a game and is second-to-last in stopping the run. The Rams have allowed 100-yard rushers in three of their last four games.
Don't be fooled by the Rams ranking No. 1 in pass defense. Their secondary actually isn't very good at all. They've faced the fewest pass attempts per game. Opposing quarterbacks have completed close to 71 percent of their throws against the Rams. The Rams are last in the league in sacks, too, with just one.
San Francisco owns the superior offense and defense. The 49ers are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 road and neutral site games, not including playing in Seattle.
|10-12-14||Dallas Cowboys v. Seattle Seahawks -8||Top||30-23||Loss||-110||108 h 47 m||Show|
I see the Cowboys getting exposed here. Dallas has reeled off four straight victories - beating three weak teams (Titans, Rams and Texans in overtime at home) and underachieving Saints.
|10-11-14||Alabama -9 v. Arkansas||Top||14-13||Loss||-110||30 h 37 m||Show|
Alabama is a bit down this season, but still has national championship hopes. One loss doesn't change that. Two losses would so the Crimson Tide certainly will be up for this game.
Alabama has dominated Arkansas winning the past seven times, including 52-0 each of the last two seasons. The Crimson Tide led Arkansas, 42-0, midway through the third quarter last year. There is a huge psychological edge because of that in Alabama's favor.
I don't see things having changed that drastically this season where the Tide won't win comfortably again. Alabama is vulnerable to spread offenses that play fast. That's not Arkansas' style.
Alabama has covered 11 of its past 13 games in October.
|10-11-14||North Carolina +17.5 v. Notre Dame||43-50||Win||100||51 h 21 m||Show|
The combination of Notre Dame being overrated and in a terrible situation spot puts me on North Carolina.
|10-11-14||Northwestern v. Minnesota -3||Top||17-24||Win||100||117 h 15 m||Show|
The Gophers have covered their past seven Big Ten games and need this game if they want to be a serious factor in the Big Ten race.
I'm not sold on Northwestern even though the Wildcats have upset Penn State and Wisconsin during the past two weeks. The Badgers were done in by poor quarterback play as much as Northwestern. The Wildcats are just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games. They don't have the depth and front line talent to pull off a third straight Big Ten upset.
While the Wildcats are in a celebration mood after defeating Wisconsin, Minnesota was idle last week. The Gophers' 30-7 road loss to TCU doesn't look so bad now that the Horned Frogs knocked off Oklahoma this past weekend.
Minnesota is better than Northwestern, is at home and in the better spot. Add it all up and the Gophers easily win by more than a field goal.
|10-10-14||Hamilton Tiger-Cats +3.5 v. Toronto Argonauts||Top||33-34||Win||100||10 h 55 m||Show|
Hamilton has the better defense and the hottest quarterback in the CFL in Zack Collaros.
The Tiger-Cats have turned things around after opening 1-6. Collaros has keyed the turnaround. He's led Hamilton to five wins in six games since returning from an injury averaging 302 yards passing during this span.
Hamilton gives up five fewer points per game and 35 fewer yards per game than the Argos, who have surrendered the second-most points in the CFL, have a league-low 24 takeaways and have given up an average of 31.7 points in their past three games.
Toronto has a great receiver and returner in Chad Owens. Hamilton, though, has bottled up excellent receivers and is playing tremendous defense holding its last four foes to an average of 13.5 points per game. The Tiger-Cats met the Argos six games ago and held them to 12 points.
|10-06-14||Seattle Seahawks -7 v. Washington Redskins||Top||27-17||Win||100||77 h 31 m||Show|
There is no Super Bowl hangover for the Seahawks. They are just as good this season if not better than 2013.
Washington's statistics were highly inflated during Weeks 2 and 3 because the Redskins built them against the Jaguars and Eagles defenses. This, along with playing the Texans and Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1, inflated the Redskins' defensive stats, too.
Truth be told, the Redskins' defense isn't much better than last year and no longer has cornerback DeAngelo Hall. The Redskins' secondary is highly vulnerable and their linebackers can't cover Percy Harvin. If you discount their performance against overmatched Chad Henne, the Redskins have managed just one sack. In their last two games, the Redskins have allowed Nick Foles and Eli Manning, who had been in a slump, to complete a combined 55 of 80 passes for 625 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception.
Kirk Cousins is a very limited, systems quarterback. He was exposed by the Giants in Washington's last game, a brutal 45-14 home loss. Cousins was picked off four times, three of which came when he wasn't even being pressured. Cousins now faces the premier defense and secondary in the league that is rested following a bye.
Last year, the Seahawks played stronger run defense on the road than at home giving up 3.7 yards away from CenturyLink Field compared to 4.2 yards a carry at home. This year, the Seahawks are holding opponents to 2.8 yards on the ground while on the road and 2.7 when at home. Bad news for Alfred Morris. Cousins isn't nearly the playmaker needed against this elite defense if he doesn't have ground support, or respect off play-action.
The Seahawks also are riding an eight-game winning streak on Monday night.
|10-05-14||Kansas City Chiefs v. San Francisco 49ers -5||Top||17-22||Push||0||36 h 38 m||Show|
The 49ers have yet to play their "A" game, while the Chiefs looked fantastic in demolishing the Patriots at home this past Monday.
All of this has made this a cheap number to lay with San Francisco. The Chiefs are traveling to the West Coast on a short week off a big emotional victory. It's a bad setting for them. Even with their victory over the Patriots, the Chiefs are still just 4-8 in their last 12 games.
The 49ers' defense is down a notch due to injuries and suspensions. They can be passed on - but not by Alex Smith and his pedestrian receivers. The 49ers are well acquainted with their former teammate knowing his full limitations, which are many. Smith also will be without his second-best wide receiver, Donnie Avery.
The Chiefs need to run the ball, but the 49ers have gotten very stingy against the run holding their last three opponents to an average of 2.4 yards per rush.
On the flip side, the 49ers should have success against a Chiefs run defense that has allowed opposing backs to average 5.3 yards per attempt. The Chiefs are missing their best linebacker, Derrick Johnson, and best defensive back with safety Eric Berry declared out due to a high ankle sprain.
The 49ers have gone back to their bread-and-butter, which is Frank Gore. His running sets up Colin Kaepernick and his upgraded receiving corps. That's the way it should be not the other way around, which Jim Harbaugh has figured out. During the first three weeks, the Chiefs gave up six touchdown passes without an interception. Their secondary is highly vulnerable.
|10-05-14||Arizona Cardinals v. Denver Broncos -7||20-41||Win||100||97 h 17 m||Show|
The Broncos haven't played that well yet still have managed to beat the Colts and Chiefs each by seven points at home.
Denver has covered 13 of its last 18 regular-season home games when favored since 2012.
Peyton Manning should be able to exploit the soft underbelly of the Cardinals, who are down key linebackers from last year and have no pass rush minus Darnell Dockett and John Abraham. Arizona only has three sacks on the season.
Backup Drew Stanton is a downgrade from Carson Palmer more game manager than downfield attacker. He is not going to be able to keep up with Manning.
The Broncos have upgraded both their run defense and pass defense from a year ago.
|10-04-14||California v. Washington State -3||60-59||Loss||-115||58 h 24 m||Show|
Cal is mentally and physically exhausted for this tough trip facing the pass-crazy Cougars.
The Golden Bears nearly upset Arizona two weeks ago blowing a 22-point halftime lead and losing on a Hail Mary pass on the last play. Then this past week California got past Colorado in double overtime.
Washington State has the top passing offense in the country led by Connor Halliday. The Cougars rank 14th in yardage averaging 533 yards per game.
Washington State needs this game to have a shot at a bowl game. The Cougars have been playing well defeating Utah on the road last week and giving Oregon all it could handle two weeks ago. The Cougars have covered 68 percent of their last 19 games, including their past five Pac-12 games.
|10-04-14||LSU v. Auburn -7.5||7-41||Win||100||50 h 1 m||Show|
I like Auburn's offense and defense better than LSU. The setting and spot also significantly favor Auburn.
Auburn has covered its last nine SEC games. The Tigers are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 home games and 9-1 ATS against foes with a winning record. Their defense is holding opponents to 16.3 points per game and 2.7 yards per rush while intercepting seven passes. Auburn is in a huge revenge spot after LSU dealt the Tigers their only regular season loss last season.
LSU has switched quarterbacks turning to true freshman Brandon Harris. This is an extremely difficult spot for the youngster. He is likely going to be playing from behind where he will need to throw and three of his four top receivers are freshmen.
LSU has played two top opponents - Wisconsin and Mississippi State. The Tigers were outrushed by a combined 351 yards in those two games. LSU was able to take advantage of Wisconsin's problems at quarterback but fell too far behind Mississippi State at 34-10 in the final quarter before losing 34-29. In both games, though, LSU trailed big.
LSU coach Les Miles is a great recruiter. But Miles has lost a number of excellent underclass players - particularly on defense - and his team's inexperience is going to catch up to him here.
LSU has only five players on defense who have had more than 11 career starts. Auburn ranks 15th in scoring averaging 42.2 points and is 35th in yards gained. The Tigers have the offensive personnel to take full advantage in winning by a margin of more than a touchdown.
|10-02-14||Minnesota Vikings v. Green Bay Packers -9||Top||10-42||Win||100||41 h 58 m||Show|
The timing is bad here for the Vikings. Green Bay's offense is back in sync with Aaron Rodgers producing one of his best games last week. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is an excellent defensive coach, but it's going to take him time to build back a porous defense that is likely to be missing linebacker Chad Greenway again.
Rodgers has regularly taken advantage of the Vikings' vulnerable secondary with a 26-to-4 touchdown-to-interception career ratio.
The Vikings are off a great home victory against Atlanta, but now travel on a short week. The Giants beat the home Redskins last Thursday, but in the first three Thursday games of the season the home team has won and covered each time winning by a combined margin of 118-36.
Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater sparked the Vikings in their win against the Falcons, who suffered multiple offensive line injuries and can't play in outdoor road settings. Bridgewater, though, suffered an ankle injury. There's a drop from Bridgewater to third-stringer Christian Ponder, who would be Minnesota's third starting quarterback in three weeks if Bridgewater is a no good.
Even if Bridgewater plays, he won't be at 100 percent and the Packers now have film on him. He won't sneak up on them like he did the Falcons. Bridgewater is missing key weapons Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph. That is going to catch up to the Vikings soon. Green Bay's run defense has been soft, but the Vikings minus Peterson have only pedestrian backs.
The Packers are off a huge road win against the Bears. This is their lone home game during a four-week span. They will be taking this matchup very serious. Minnesota hasn't won at Lambeau Field since 2009.
I also like these player props (taken from Bovada) on Packers wide receiver Davonte Adams. I like Adams to go over 2 1/2 receptions and over 25 1/2 receiving yards. Jarrett Boykin is out. Adams is the Packers' new clear No. 3 wide receiver. He played 70 percent of the offensive snaps last week when Boykin didn't play and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass that didn't count because of a penalty. Aaron Rodgers is getting more comfortable throwing to Adams. The Vikings will be paying a lot of attention to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb giving Adams plenty of receiving opportunities.
|09-29-14||New England Patriots -2.5 v. Kansas City Chiefs||Top||14-41||Loss||-130||14 h 16 m||Show|
Before prematurely writing off the Patriots for their slow offensive start consider how bad and banged-up the Chiefs are in key areas.
Kansas City has lost eight of its past 11 games. The Chiefs have lost the statistics battle in eight of these 11 games, too. They are minus a number of key defensive players, including safety Eric Berry and their best linebacker, Derrick Johnson. The Chiefs have failed to cover in seven of the last 10 games they've played versus foes with a winning record.
Kansas City's offensive line is down starters, too, because of injuries and suspensions. Jamaal Charles isn't 100 percent and Alex Smith entered this Week 4 with the worst sack-to-pass-play ratio among starting quarterbacks. He's been sacked 11 times already.
New England's defense is playing well coming into this week limiting foes to 272.7 yards and intercepting six passes.
The Patriots' offense will come around as Rob Gronkowski gets more involved. So far he's played less than 50 percent of the offensive's snaps. Tom Brady shouldn't have any trouble carving up such a weakened defense.
The Patriots also are 7-0 ATS in Week 4.
|09-28-14||New Orleans Saints -3 v. Dallas Cowboys||Top||17-38||Loss||-110||149 h 33 m||Show|
In a few weeks this line is going to have looked real cheap. The Saints are 1-2. They could be 3-0 having lost in overtime on the road to Atlanta and in the final three seconds to Cleveland on the road.
New Orleans hasn't come close to reaching its peak yet both offensively and defensively. That could come here against Dallas, whose franchise-worst defense of 2013 isn't any better this year if not worse.
DeMarco Murray is the lone running back to rush for 100 yards in every game this season, but Tony Romo is past his prime and still not 100 percent following off-season back surgery. He has weapons, but Drew Brees has more weapons, including all-world tight end Jimmy Graham. Brees still remains in his peak.
The Saints have beaten the Cowboys in each of their last three meetings, including destroying them, 49-17, last year in the Superdome. The Saints are at their worst in a cold weather setting, which this is not.
Dallas is 6-14 ATS in its last 20 home games and 8-18 ATS following a victory. Sean Payton is a far superior coach to Jason Garrett. The Cowboys' road victory against the Titans doesn't look so hot now that Tennessee has looked terrible in its last two games and Dallas' narrow victory this past Sunday against the Rams isn't impressive either considering St. Louis was playing third-string quarterback Austin Davis.
Bottom line here is the Saints are two levels higher than the Cowboys. So this is a cheap price to lay and the best time to lay it is now before the line rises as expected.
|09-28-14||Miami Dolphins -3.5 v. Oakland Raiders||38-14||Win||100||100 h 48 m||Show|
Oakland can't play in the States and the Raiders won't be any better in London.
As bad as Miami has looked the past two weeks the Dolphins are still a much better team than the Raiders. Oakland ranks with Jacksonville as one of the two worst teams in the NFL. The Dolphins have a playoff caliber defense and their offensive line should be at their best with center Mike Pouncey expected back.
The Raiders rank last in yards and points on offense. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr has below average wide receivers and no ground support. Carr is going to face pressure from Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, two of the best pass rushers in the AFC.
As bad as Oakland is on offense its numbers could be even worse as nearly half of their points and yardage have come during garbage time when the outcome had been decided.
|09-25-14||Appalachian State +19.5 v. Georgia Southern||Top||14-34||Loss||-109||16 h 17 m||Show|
Georgia Southern has been a covering machine going 8-0 ATS in its last eight lined games. But this line is inflated. These are two long-time Southern Conference rivals each making the transition to the Sun Belt Conference this year.
Georgia Southern is the better team - but not by these many points.
Appalachian State has beaten the Eagles each of the past three seasons. The Mountaineers clobbered the Eagles, 38-14, at home last season. The teams had seven common foes last year and Georgia Southern managed to eke out only one more win than the Mountaineers. The statistics against these common opponents were close to even when comparing the box scores.
Even though this is a new season, Appalachian State knows Georgia Southern and its triple option offense well. The Mountaineers are a decent defensive team holding foes to 24.3 points a game and 328 yards. They've picked off six passes. Appalachian State should have beat Southern Mississippi on the road last week losing by one point. The Mountaineers missed two field goals and also had a field goal and game-tying extra point blocked.
Georgia Southern gives up an average of nearly 70 yards more per game than the Mountaineers.
|09-21-14||Minnesota Vikings v. New Orleans Saints -10||Top||9-20||Win||100||32 h 18 m||Show|
The Saints have been invincible at home going 17-0 SU and 16-1 ATS the past 17 times at the Superdome when Sean Payton is the coach.
The Saints are in an ugly frame of mind, too, after blowing late leads to the Falcons and Browns on the road to start 0-2.
The Vikings gave up the most points last year. Drew Brees can take advantage with Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and other weapons he has.
New Orleans averaged 34 points at home last year. The Saints' defense is better than it has looked this year and will get to tee off on journeyman Matt Cassel. Minus Adrian Peterson, Cassel doesn't have the ground game to keep the Saints' pass rush honest. He's not nearly a good enough quarterback to keep pace with Brees.
|09-20-14||Edmonton Eskimos v. Hamilton Tiger-Cats -2.5||Top||23-25||Loss||-110||7 h 53 m||Show|
Don't be misled by Hamilton's 3-7 record. The Tiger-Cats are coming on now that quarterback Zach Collaros is healthy again and playing well. Hamilton is 2-1 in its last three games. The Tiger-Cats have outgained their last three foes by an average of more than 200 yards per game.
The Tiger-Cats are 9-4 ATS the past 13 times they've played a foe with a winning record.
Edmonton is in a tough situational spot. The Eskimos just beat Montreal at home and next week host Saskatchewan in a battle for second place in the Western Division.
The Eskimos have lost by 15 and 7 points, respectively to Calgary during the last three weeks. Hamilton has lost to the Stampeders, who have the best record in the CFL, by a combined 13 points in its two games despite having quarterback issues back then. The Tiger-Cats are much better now.
|09-20-14||Texas A&M v. SMU +34.5||58-6||Loss||-110||35 h 7 m||Show|
SMU is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 home games and will be highly motivated for its home opener in this matchup against in-state rival Texas A&M. The game means far less to the Aggies, who are not in a kill spot for ratings since they control their own destiny with upcoming games against Alabama and Auburn.
The Mustangs' bye came last week at an opportune time as June Jones resigned after the last game replaced by Tom Mason, a player's coach who has been the team's defensive coordinator the past six seasons. The Mustangs also made a quarterback change, which should help. SMU has covered six of the last seven times following a bye.
The Aggies are without their second-leading receiver, Speedy Noil, and have a bigger game on deck against Arkansas.
|09-20-14||Old Dominion v. Rice -6.5||Top||45-42||Loss||-105||32 h 53 m||Show|
This is Rice's lone September home game and I expect the Owls to perform well. After losing to Texas A&M and Notre Dame on the road, the Owls not only finally get to play at home but step way down in class. Rice has covered seven of its past 10 home contests. Rice is 5-2 ATS as home chalk. The Owls, by the way, outgained Texas A&M and had five more first downs than the Aggies.
I respect Old Dominion's offense, but the Monarchs are new to Conference USA moving up to Division I level. Rice has some rebuilding, but the Owls won the league title last year earned a bowl bid for the second consecutive year. There's a certain confidence level that goes with that.
It raises a red flag about Old Dominion that the Monarchs struggled to beat Eastern Michigan, a terrible MAC team, last week.
|09-19-14||Toronto Argonauts +6.5 v. B.C. Lions||Top||40-23||Win||100||19 h 1 m||Show|
B.C. has a stingy defense and a rejuvenated 35-year-old Kevin Glenn playing well at quarterback. But Toronto is in a good spot to spring the upset if not keep this matchup extremely close.
It's a division sandwich for the Lions, who just beat West Division foe Winnipeg last week and take on West Division leader Calgary next week in a far more important game than this one.
Toronto has covered in its last six September games and is 16-7-1 ATS in its past 24 road matchups.
The Argos are in a bad frame of mind after blowing a 29-3 lead last week against Calgary, who have the best record in the CFL at 10-1. The Stampeders pulled out a 40-33 victory, but Toronto easily covered the double-digit spread.
Toronto is more dangerous now with the return of star slotback Chad Owens, who was selected as the CFL’s most outstanding player just two seasons ago. Owens has missed seven of Toronto's 11 games, but still leads the Argos in receptions and is just out of the top 10 in the league.
It's the first time since July that Owens and Andre Durie will be in the lineup together. They are Toronto's two best receivers. Durie returned last week after being out eight games with a broken collarbone.
|09-15-14||Philadelphia Eagles v. Indianapolis Colts -3||Top||30-27||Loss||-113||58 h 27 m||Show|
Both of these teams are favored to win their respective divisions. Both have flaws, though. Right now the Colts are in better shape, have the better quarterback and are at home, which means a lot.
During the two-year Andrew Luck era, Indy is 14-3 at home, 12-4-1 ATS. They beat both the Broncos and Seahawks last year by six points each. Philly certainly isn't in that class.
Nick Foles already showed signs last week against lowly Jacksonville that he's not going to maintain his incredible 27-to-2 touchdown-to-interception season of a year. He committed two turnovers against the Jaguars and was sacked five times.
The Colts' pass rush leaves much to be desired minus Robert Mathis, but the Eagles' offensive line is in disarray with four of their top seven linemen out, including star guard Evan Mathis. They are on their third right tackle.
Trend-wise the Eagles are 2-8-1 ATS in September and have failed to cover the last five times when playing in their second game of the year. The Colts have also covered in eight of their last 10 Monday night games.
|09-14-14||NY Jets v. Green Bay Packers -8||Top||24-31||Loss||-106||130 h 26 m||Show|
It's one thing for the Jets to beat Oakland and rookie quarterback Derek Carr at home with the worst cornerbacks in the league. Hanging on the road with Aaron Rodgers is quite another story.
I see the Packers blowing out the Raiders. Green Bay has had extra prep time and is in a foul mood following their embarrassing national TV loss to the Seahawks this past Thursday.
Green Bay is a much better team than it looked against the Seahawks. The Packers' offense was crisp during preseason with Rodgers running the no-huddle to near perfection.
The Jets made a big mistake not spending money on the cornerback position. Now they are extremely thin and vulnerable there. Rodgers, with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, can easily exploit New York's secondary.
Green Bay is 8-1 ATS the past nine times when laying seven or more points. Geno Smith plays much worse on the road. Last year, he had a 5-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the road.
This is the Jets' only road matchup during their first four games so a loss would not be catastrophic for them especially after beating the Raiders last week.
|09-14-14||Houston Texans -3 v. Oakland Raiders||30-14||Win||105||130 h 15 m||Show|
The Raiders were even worse than advertised against the Jets, which is saying a lot. The final score was Jets 19, Raiders 14. But the statistics show New York's domination. The Jets outgained the Raiders, 402-158, outrushing them, 212-25.
Oakland's below-average wide receivers couldn't even get separation on the Jets' cornerbacks, who could be the worst in the NFL. Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden, both of whom averaged only 3.3 yards per carry last year, both looked terrible.
The Raiders have to simplify their playbook for rookie quarterback Derek Carr and don't have the supporting cast for him to succeed.
Houston is a prime bounce back team with $100 million man J.J. Watt, perhaps the only player in the league capable of blowing up an offense by himself, along with a healthy-again Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, who are among the best at their respective positions.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is an intelligent, veteran game-manager, which is what the Texans need in this spot. It's an added plus for the Texans if the Raiders are without middle linebacker Nick Roach for a second straight week.
Houston first-year coach Bill O'Brien is a lot sharper than Oakland coach Dennis Allen.
|09-14-14||New England Patriots -6 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||30-7||Win||100||149 h 15 m||Show|
Look for the Patriots to play much better than they did in Week 1. It has been 33 games since New England lost two regular season games in a row. Consequently, it has been 18 games since Minnesota won consecutive games.
The Vikings look improved under Mike Zimmer, but they have a long ways to go after giving up the most touchdown passes and second-most passing yards last season. They are not going against backup quarterbacks this week, but Tom Brady.
Brady and the Patriots are eager to redeem themselves after losing in humiliation fashion to the more physical Dolphins. New England's defense is much improved with the return to health of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo plus the addition of Darrelle Revis. Bill Belichick is quite familiar with journeyman quarterback Matt Cassel, who he formerly coached.
Note, too, that the Vikings no longer have their indoor dome edge against outdoor teams. The Vikings are playing their games at TCF Bank Stadium. This is their first game there, which will be a distraction and cut down on their home field edge.
|09-14-14||New Orleans Saints -6 v. Cleveland Browns||24-26||Loss||-125||117 h 53 m||Show|
I don't see the Browns offense, devoid of skill position talent and with injuries to key players, being able to keep up with Drew Brees.
The Browns caught the Steelers coasting and by surprise with a no-huddle offense last Sunday in scoring 24 second-half points. The Saints' defense is much better than it showed against the Falcons. They just ran into a very good - and healthy - Falcons offense in the Georgia Dome. The Saints have film now on the Browns' no-huddle and won't be fooled.
The Saints do not have a good track record in outdoor road games, but they did beat the Bears at Soldier Field last season and the Eagles in cold weather during a road playoff game.
|09-13-14||Penn State v. Rutgers +3.5||13-10||Win||100||34 h 52 m||Show|
Rutgers is going to be super pumped playing in its first Big Ten game. Both these East Coast schools recruit heavily in New Jersey and the Scarlet Knights were none too pleased when new Penn State coach James Franklin came out and said he would be recruiting the hell out of New Jersey.
This is a tough spot for Penn State. The Nittany Lions nipped Central Florida, 26-24, at the gun in their opener. That game was played in London. Then the Nittany Lions were pumped for last week's game against Akron because it was Franklin's first home game as the new coach.
Penn State hasn't faced a running back as good as Paul James, who rushed for 173 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 41-38 road win against Washington State. James takes a lot of pressure off quarterback Gary Nova.
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg has a lot of promise, but he's inexperienced and already has tossed four interceptions this season. It took a fourth quarter touchdown for the Nittany Lions to pull out the cover last Saturday against MAC weakling Akron.
The pressure is all on Hackenberg as Penn State averages only 2.7 yards per run. This is against UCF and Akron, too. Rutgers can apply the heat. The Scarlet Knights have eight sacks in their two games, both wins.
|09-13-14||Georgia v. South Carolina +6||Top||35-38||Win||100||80 h 14 m||Show|
South Carolina has not looked good in failing to cover its first two games. But Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks have a strong history against Georgia and can get right back into the SEC race with a victory. This is a pivotal game for them.
In Las Vegas, the line on this matchup was put up before the season as one of the Game of the Year type marquee matchups to bet on. South Carolina was listed as a 12-point favorite. Now that line is sliced in half. That's too much especially for a game between two SEC teams.
South Carolina's problems have come in trying to stop the pass. The Gamecocks have faced Texas A&M and East Carolina, which both use spread offenses heavy on throwing. That's not Georgia's style.
The Bulldogs feature star running back Todd Gurley. They lack marquee outside skill position players. South Carolina has held Gurley in check the past two years holding him to a combined average of 85.5 yards on 21.5 carries.
South Carolina has covered six of the past seven meetings against Georgia. The Gamecocks also have covered the last two times they've hosted the Bulldogs. Last year, Georgia covered only one of its seven road games.
Spurrier has an outstanding track record as a 'dog covering 13 of the past 20 times.
|09-12-14||Houston Astros +1.5 v. Los Angeles Angels||3-11||Loss||-111||18 h 38 m||Show|
The Angels are hot winning 14 of their last 16. But Houston is playing well, too, and the timing and pitching matchup is ripe for the Astros to pull the upset, or at least hang close. Houston has won eight of its last 10. If given 1 1/2 runs, the Astros would be 12-2 in their last 14 games. The Astros swept the Angels at home at the start of the month, which were the Angels' only losses during their last 16 games. The Astros are rested after beating Seattle on the road for the second straight time two days ago. The Angels return home from a 10-game road trip that finished on Thursday at Texas. Playing at home for the first time following a long road swing usually is tough mentally and physically. The Astros are starting Brett Oberholtzer, who has been better on the road than at home and is coming off a 4-3 victory at Oakland this past Friday. The Astros are 7-3 in Oberholtzer's last 10 starts. The Angels are going with C.J. Wilson, who has not had a good season with a 4.64 ERA. Wilson is 0-2 with a 13.94 ERA in his last three starts against the Astros. Houston is batting .447 against him during this span. The Angels aren't likely to have closer Huston Street either. He's been out since Saturday due to a hamstring injury.
|09-07-14||San Francisco 49ers -5 v. Dallas Cowboys||28-17||Win||100||168 h 34 m||Show|
Dallas had its worst defense in franchise history last season giving up 50 touchdowns and the most yards in team history. The Cowboys defense looks even worse this year because of injuries, defections and a suspension to cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
The Cowboys are going to have win via shootouts. The timing isn't great for Dallas' offense. Tony Romo was brought along slowly following off-season back surgery. Romo is rusty and his offensive line has some inexperience.
Colin Kaepernick is on the verge of a break-out season with a deep set of receivers, including a healthy Michael Crabtree. San Francisco has covered in eight of its last 10 road games.
Dallas has been one of the biggest money-burners at home going 6-13 ATS in their last 19 in Arlington.
|09-07-14||Tennessee Titans +4.5 v. Kansas City Chiefs||Top||26-10||Win||100||164 h 13 m||Show|
The Chiefs aren't coming close to winning 11 games this season. They lost three offensive linemen in free agency and another, right tackle, Donald Stephenson, is suspended for the first four games. The key member of the line, left tackle Eric Fisher, is coming off shoulder surgery and hasn't looked good.
Also suspended is Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City's best wide receiver. The Chiefs could have the worst collection of wideouts in the NFL without Bowe.
The Chiefs' offense struggled during preseason as their first-string offense failed to produce a touchdown. The Chiefs are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games.
The Titans, on the other hand, look like one of the more improved teams in the NFL. They upgraded their coaching bringing in proven winner and offensive guru Ken Whisenhunt. Jake Locker is healthy and is ready for a breakout season fortified with three underrated wide receivers - Justin Hunter, Kendall Wright and Nate Washington. They can take advantage of a Kansas City defense that fell apart during the second half of last season.
Tennessee is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight road contests.
|09-07-14||Cleveland Browns v. Pittsburgh Steelers -6||27-30||Loss||-110||164 h 11 m||Show|
The Steelers have owned the Browns winning seven of the past eight times. They have held Cleveland to an average of 9.3 points during the past 12 meetings.
The Browns look just as terrible on offense as ever. Brian Hoyer is more backup than starter and he could have the worst starting wide receiver tandem in the NFL in washed-up Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins.
The Steelers' defense is always tough, especially at home, and it received an infusion of new blood spearheaded by good-looking rookie Ryan Shazier.
Pittsburgh's offense is more balanced this season. The Steelers' offensive line is more stable and Ben Roethlisberger has two good running backs - Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount - to help make his deadly play action passes work.
The Steelers closed last season covering seven of their last eight games. The Browns are just 3-7 in their last 10 road games. They also are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in Pittsburgh.
No team has been more futile on opening day than the Browns, who are 1-14 SU and 2-12-1 ATS since coming back into the league in 1999.
|09-06-14||Air Force -2.5 v. Wyoming||13-17||Loss||-110||43 h 52 m||Show|
Air Force couldn't wait for this season after last year's perfect storm of injuries, bad play and poor production.
The Falcons, with their stable of quick backs, need to be able to run effectively to win. They can do that against the Cowboys, who yielded an average of 48.3 points per game during their last six games last season and then struggled to beat Montana, 17-12, at home last week.
Air Force, on the other hand, looked good in beating Nicholls State, 44-16, last weekend. Certainly I don't want to overrate that win. Nicholls State is terrible.
But this is a huge matchup for Air Force and not just because of a revenge motive. The Falcons had dominated Wyoming going 6-1 in the series until suffering a 56-23 humiliation last season.
The road team now has won four in a row in the series. Air Force is putting a lot of stock in this Mountain West Conference opener. The Falcons had an easy opener last week and get another scheduling break next week facing Georgia State. Air Force's goal is to return to a bowl knowing it needs six victories to accomplish that. The Falcons are going to have to deal with Boise State, Navy and Utah State down the road so this matchup already is vital.
Wyoming, meanwhile, has to play at Oregon next week. The Cowboys surrendered an average of 482 yards per game last year and 36.7 points ranking among the bottom teams in those two most important defensive categories.
The Cowboys also have a problem at quarterback trying to replace Brett Smith. Colby Kirkegaard looked terrible against Montana completing 13-of-21 passes for 92 yards while being intercepted once and sacked six times. His ineffectiveness directly affects all-conference wide receiver Dominic Rufran, who was held to just four receptions for a meager 25 yards.
|09-05-14||Pittsburgh -4 v. Boston College||Top||30-20||Win||100||29 h 7 m||Show|
Pittsburgh has the better talent and more depth in the trenches. That should prove enough to cover this road spread.
Both teams were impressive opening week in dispatching far lesser opponents. But the Panthers were especially sharp beating Delaware, 62-0, amassing 409 yards rushing. Bruising sophomore tailback James Connor is in for a big season. He opened the season in style rushing for 153 yards and scoring four touchdowns.
Boston College rolled past Massachusetts, 30-7. The Eagles, however, have lost a number of key players, including 2,000-yard rusher Andre Williams. Tyler Murphy is their new quarterback, too, replacing veteran Chase Rettig. I remember Murphy getting his chance at Florida and not impressing.
Boston College has failed to cover 10 of its last 14 lined games in September.
|09-04-14||Green Bay Packers +6 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||16-36||Loss||-109||33 h 50 m||Show|
Everybody seems to be just recalling the Seahawks smashing the Broncos in the Super Bowl and forgetting about the Packers, who with Aaron Rodgers and a healthy lineup are as good as any team on a neutral field.
Seattle is the loudest outdoor venue in the league, but Green Bay negates some of that Seahawks' home field advantage with a no-huddle. The Packers are no longer a finesse team. Not with powerful Eddie Lacy.
The Seahawks have the best secondary in the league. But their physical secondary is going to be affected more than any other team with the increased emphasis from officials on flagging defensive holding and making tighter pass interference calls.
The Packers are deep at wide receiver. The Seahawks are actually weak at nickel back with Jeremy Lane, who isn't 100 percent because of a groin injury and will have problems handling Randall Cobb, who the Packers constantly move around. Seattle lost three of their top seven defensive linemen reducing their depth. Green Bay's offensive line is underrated especially with Bryan Bulaga healthy. I would take Green Bay's offensive line over Seattle's.
The Packers have a deep secondary, too, and their defensive line is much improved. The Packers haven't forgotten either how they were robbed during their last visit to Seattle two years ago when replacement referees stole the game from Green Bay.
|09-02-14||Washington Nationals +1.5 v. Los Angeles Dodgers||Top||1-4||Loss||-125||17 h 24 m||Show|
Clayton Kershaw is an absolute monster, the best pitcher in baseball. But the Nationals have one of the most underrated pitchers in the league going and are swinging hot bats.
Washington can keep this close if not pull the outright upset. If given 1 1/2 runs, the Nationals would be 17-3 in their last 20 games. The Dodgers would be 3-6 in Kershaw's last nine starts if laying 1 1/2 runs.
Certainly the oddsmaker believes runs will be scarce with such a low total.
Washington starter Doug Fister has not pitched up to expectations in his last two starts. However, he was 12-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 17 previous starts. He is going to be highly motivated and has an extra day of rest. The Nationals are 6-0 the past six times Fister has thrown on five days rest. Fister has a 2.91 road ERA. His quick delivery and sinkerball ways are not a good fit for the Dodgers, who have never faced him before. That's another plus for the heady Fister.
Washington is 24-14 versus lefties. They have smashed 14 homers in the last four games while playing at pitcher's parks Safeco Field in Seattle and Dodger Stadium. The Nationals led the National League in homers during August.
|09-01-14||Miami (Florida) v. Louisville -3||Top||13-31||Win||100||81 h 52 m||Show|
Even with Teddy Bridgewater gone, there remains a class difference between these two teams.
Bobby Petrino isn't the most likeable guy, but he can coach and he has back 19 returning starters or part-time starters.
Louisville destroyed Miami, 36-9, in the Florida Citrus Bowl last December. Now the oddsmaker is trying to say these teams are about even on a neutral field. I don't buy it.
Louisville has won 23 of 26 games the past two years. The Cardinals are an elite team. Miami isn't.
|08-31-14||Utah State v. Tennessee -5||7-38||Win||100||15 h 39 m||Show|
Of course I'm a Chuckie Keeton fan. But Tennessee has too much size, speed and talent for Utah State. The Volunteers made strides last year in Butch Jones' first season as head coach.
But their 5-7 record doesn't look impressive. However, you must consider the Vols' rough SEC schedule. They also were very young.
Now things are ready to improve for Tennessee. The Volunteers have won their last 19 home openers. Utah State has dropped its last 16 road openers.
Keeton has only two returning starters on offense. Tennessee's defensive strength is it's veteran secondary. The Volunteers can control Keeton at home and win by at least a touchdown.
|08-31-14||Winnipeg Blue Bombers +8 v. Saskatchewan Roughriders||Top||30-35||Win||100||3 h 5 m||Show|
Winnipeg dominated Saskatchewan in their first meeting, but lost 23-17 because it was minus 6 in turnover differential. To lose by only six when losing the turnover battle 6-0 actually is impressive.
The Roughriders have fattened their record on bad competition with four of their six wins coming versus foes with losing records. The Roughriders are 3-11 ATS during their last 14 August games.
Both teams have banged up quarterbacks, but Winnipeg has several defensive players back from injury and catch the Roughriders off a big division win.
|08-28-14||Tulane +7 v. Tulsa||31-38||Push||0||17 h 53 m||Show|
Curtis Johnson did a magnificent job with Tulane last year. He greatly improved the Green Wave defense to the point where Tulane forced 35 turnovers. Tulsa, by contrast, had a terrible season last year going 3-9. I'm not convinced the Golden Hurricane have turned things around. I'm not a fan of Tulsa QB Dane Evans, who is turnover prone. Tulane forces turnovers and has a very good secondary. The Green Wave are very dangerous as 'dogs under Johnson. They went 7-2 ATS in that role last season and enter this matchup with a great deal of confidence. Now that the line has reached 7, I'm going to back them.
|08-24-14||Calgary Stampeders v. Ottawa Redblacks +9||Top||32-7||Loss||-115||25 h 52 m||Show|
This is a dangerous position for Calgary. They are trying to win a second straight road game after beating Hamilton by double-digits last week. Up next for the Stampeders is a home game against Edmonton in a battle for first place in the West Division.
Ottawa is just 1-6, but the Redblacks are fortunate enough to be in the East Division where they are in second place. The Redblacks have been right there during the fourth quarter in all but two of their games this season.
The Redblacks have an experienced triggerman in Henry Burris, who is hoping to become the No. 3 all-time leading passer in CFL history during this matchup.
|08-22-14||Montreal Alouettes v. Winnipeg Blue Bombers -7||Top||16-24||Win||100||31 h 57 m||Show|
Winnipeg is in a kill spot having lost two in a row. The pass-happy Blue Bombers rank No. 2 in the CFL in points per game and can take advantage of a Montreal defense that ranks second-to-last in points allowed per game.
|08-21-14||Arizona Diamondbacks +1.5 v. Washington Nationals||Top||0-1||Win||100||11 h 53 m||Show|
Don't get fooled by Washington winning nine in a row. Not when it comes to the run line. If the Nationals were laying 1 1/2 runs, they would be 3-7 in their last 10 games. Arizona is trying to avoid a sweep and has a pitcher who thrives in situations like this. The pitching matchup is southpaws Wade Miley against Gio Gonzalez. In comparing the two, Miley has the better numbers. He's 5-3 on the road with a 2.86 ERA. He is 4-1 in day games with a 2.75 ERA. He has a lifetime 2.59 ERA in four starts versus Washington. The Diamondbacks are 7-2 in Miley's last nine road outings versus opponents with a winning record. Arizona has a better road mark than home record. The Diamondbacks are 7-2 in their past nine games against a left-handed starter. Gonzalez is struggling with an 0-5 mark and 5.20- ERA in his past seven starts. His home ERA is 4.67. His daytime ERA is 4.50 compared to 3.57 at night.
|08-17-14||B.C. Lions -1.5 v. Toronto Argonauts||Top||33-17||Win||100||80 h 53 m||Show|
Battered Toronto is in a brutal situational spot here having just beaten Winnipeg, 38-21, this past Tuesday. The Argos had the advantage of being off a bye when they defeated the Blue Bombers.
Here they aren't so fortunate. B.C. has been off since Aug. 8. The betting line is short, though, in part because B.C. has some injuries, including an ankle injury to star running back Andrew Harris. The Lions, however, have a good replacement back in Stefan Logan. The Lions also have a hot quarterback in Kevin Glenn, the reigning CFL Player of the Week.
Toronto has multiple injuries, including a cluster injury problem at wide receiver. The Argos have a two-game lead in the weak East Division. They are fortunate not to be 2-5 after racking up 17 penalties this past Tuesday.
|08-15-14||Los Angeles Angels -1.5 v. Texas Rangers||5-4||Loss||-122||11 h 21 m||Show|
I don't see the Rangers being competitive at all with the Angels. LA is 21 games above .500 while the Rangers are already playing the string out at 47-74 - tied for the worst record in baseball - while going 4-14 in their last 18 home games.
|08-09-14||Minnesota Twins +1.5 v. Oakland A's||Top||4-9||Loss||-100||10 h 40 m||Show|
The Twins are 5-1 in their last six games when given plus 1 1/2 runs. They will be psyched for this matchup as highly touted Trevor May makes his big league debut. May posted a 2.93 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Rochester holding foes to a .215 average with a 91-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Oakland starter Jeff Samardzija is tough, but the A's are 3-6 in their last nine games if minus 1 1/2 runs. Only twice during this span have the A's scored more than three runs. They are hitting only .208 during their last nine games.
|08-02-14||Saskatchewan Roughriders -5.5 v. Ottawa Redblacks||Top||38-14||Win||100||54 h 53 m||Show|
Saskatchewan is the superior team and riding a wave of confidence after smashing Toronto, 37-9, at home last week. Quarterback Darian Durant was sharp and the Roughriders' offensive line has found their groove. New tailback Will Ford also is a boost for the Roughriders. Ford rushed for 113 yards and scored three touchdowns in his Saskatchewan debut last week. He had only practiced three days prior to that performance.
Ottawa is an expansion team with thin depth. Unfortunately for the Redblacks they are already suffering injuries. Out is Kierrie Johnson, their second-leading receiver, and defensive lineman Justin Phillips.
The Roughriders hold huge edges in the trenches and at the skill positions. This should prove more than enough to win by at least a touchdown.
|08-01-14||B.C. Lions +5 v. Calgary Stampeders||Top||25-24||Win||100||40 h 11 m||Show|
Calgary is the lone unbeaten team left in the CFL. But that could change real fast.
The Stampeders have won their last two games by a combined seven points. They are off a huge division showdown road win against Edmonton and in a letdown spot.
British Columbia, on the other hand, is in a bounce back spot after losing at home to Winnipeg in its last game. The Lions are 2-3, but have outscored their opponents on the season and own the superior statistics. Quarterback Kevin Glenn isn't as bad as he looked against Winnipeg. Glenn can rely on Andrew Harris, the leading rusher in the CFL.
Calgary is winning with defense. The Stampeders rank sixth in yards per game, averaging nearly 25 fewer yards per game than BC. Calgary is missing its top threat, injured running back Jon Cornish, and wide receiver Mo Price. The Stamps' offensive line is banged-up, too. The Lions rank No. 2 in total defense. They can definitely keep this one close if not pull the outright upset.
|07-30-14||Milwaukee Brewers +1.5 v. Tampa Bay Rays||Top||5-0||Win||100||5 h 24 m||Show|
David Price is pitching well and the Rays are playing well, but there is far too much value to pass up the Brewers at this price. Milwaukee is 29-23 on the road and 17-10 against southpaws.
Price could be distracted, too, by trade rumors swirling around him knowing this may be his final start for Tampa.
The Brewers have a strong offense and Yovani Gallardo is a quality starter with a 1-0 record and 1.37 ERA in his last three interleague road starts. He has a winning road record this season with a respectable 3.27 ERA. The Rays have never faced him.
Milwaukee is 10-3 in its last 13 games when plus 1 1/2 runs.
|07-19-14||Montreal Alouettes +6.5 v. B.C. Lions||Top||5-41||Loss||-115||16 h 32 m||Show|
Montreal has covered in five of its last six road games and catches a break with this matchup not being a late night game traveling East to West.
The Alouettes are off a tough loss this past Friday to Winnipeg losing 34-33 by giving up a late touchdown. Montreal is 5-0 ATS following a straight-up loss. They catch British Columbia coming off a highly-satisfying road upset win against Saskatchewan.
Just two weeks ago Montreal defeated British Columbia, 24-9, at home. The Alouettes took advantage of the Lions' vulnerability at left tackle as John Bowman had four sacks in the first half of that game.
The difference between these two teams - even given home field advantage for British Columbia - does not warrant this high of a spread.
|07-17-14||Edmonton Eskimos +3 v. Winnipeg Blue Bombers||Top||26-3||Win||100||14 h 40 m||Show|
Both of these teams are much improved. Edmonton won and covered both games against Winnipeg last year and I believe the Eskimos are more of a real thing this season than the Blue Bombers.
Edmonton has covered six of its last seven road contests and its defense can exploit Winnipeg's offensive line that has had the luxury of playing weak competition so far.
The Eskimos lead the CFL in total defense. No team is within 20 yards. Edmonton, coached by defensive guru Chris Jones, can bring plenty of heat on Drew Willy, who has been playing above his head.
Odell Willis and Almondo Sewell, who leads the CFL in sacks, should be in line for big games for Edmonton. It's an added plus if JC Sherritt, the CFL defensive player of the year in 2012, is able to play for the Eskimos. Willy already has been sacked 10 times. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 56 percent of their passes against the Eskimos, second-lowest in the league.
The Blue Bombers are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 home games and 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games against Western Division foes. They are a nice early season story at 3-0, which is the same number of victories they posted all of last season.
But Winnipeg is ripe to lose here. The Blue Bombers have played opponents that are a combined 2-6, all of whom compete in the weaker Eastern Division. The Blue Bombers still don't have enough home-bred Canadian talent and strong enough offensive line to hold off an elite defense.
|07-11-14||Winnipeg Blue Bombers v. Montreal Alouettes -2.5||Top||34-33||Loss||-115||26 h 4 m||Show|
Winnipeg hasn't opened 3-0 since 2003 and I don't see it happening here. The Blue Bombers are 3-11-1 ATS following a victory and have undergone a roster shakeup caused by injuries during this past week with five changes, including several on defense and one on the offensive line.
The Blue Bombers should have Aaron Kelly - the second leading receiver in the CFL - in their lineup but he may not be 100 percent after hurting his leg at practice on Wednesday.
Montreal quarterback Troy Smith played a lot better last week in a home win against British Columbia than he did in the Alouettes' opener, a road loss to Calgary.
Winnipeg has covered only one of its last six road contests while the Alouettes have won and covered three of their last four games in Montreal.
|07-10-14||San Diego Padres v. Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5||Top||1-2||Loss||-113||16 h 16 m||Show|
Clayton Kershaw is the best and hottest pitcher in baseball with a string of 36 scoreless innings. The Padres are the worst offensive team in the majors. I see this as a kill spot for the Dodgers, who return home frustrated after being swept two games by the Tigers.
Kershaw's numbers border on the obscene with a 0.69 ERA during his last seven starts - all wins - and a 69-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a 2.47 lifetime ERA against the Padres, who are missing three infield starters.
The Padres have lost four of their last five and are batting .216, which puts them in line to finish with the lowest batting average of any team since 1968. San Diego also has dropped 11 of its last 15 games.
Rookie Odrisamer Despaigne will be making his fourth start. Don't be fooled by his 0.92 ERA. He's been extremely lucky. He had terrible minor league stats and teams now have enough material to study him. The telling thing about Despaigne is he's allowed four walks during each of his last two starts. He's not going to continue to get lucky.
|07-05-14||Saskatchewan Roughriders -2 v. Toronto Argonauts||Top||15-48||Loss||-115||10 h 25 m||Show|
Toronto isn't ready for the defending Grey Cup champion Roughriders at this early point of the season.
Saskatchewan can bring up the defensive pressure with its many blitzes. The Roughriders recorded 10 sacks in burying Hamilton, 31-10, in their opening game last week. Toronto was totally undisciplined opening week committing 22 penalties in a 45-21 loss to Winnipeg.
The Argonauts turned the ball over twice in that defeat. The Roughriders are opportunistic finishing tied for first last season in takeaways/giveaways at plus 19.
Toronto hasn't had a big home field edge either failing to cover in six of its past seven home contests. The Roughriders have covered in four of their last five visits to Toronto.
|06-24-14||Minnesota Twins +1.5 v. Los Angeles Angels||6-8||Loss||-125||9 h 27 m||Show|
The Angels are very strong at home, but the Twins have won four in a row and have one of the hottest pitchers around in Kyle Gibson.
Gibson has gone 22 consecutive innings, spanning three starts, without allowing a run. He's given up only 10 hits during this span. Gibson is going with an extra day of rest, too. The Twins are 6-0 the past six times Gibson has pitched on five days rest.
The Twins are 4-1 in their last five games versus a lefty and are facing southpaw C.J. Wilson, who has a career 5.27 ERA in seven career starts versus Minnesota. The back of the Angels' bullpen remains uncertain and vulnerable. The Angels are 1-4 in Wilson's last five starts.
|06-22-14||Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 v. San Diego Padres||Top||2-1||Loss||-100||11 h 22 m||Show|
The Dodgers have vastly superior talent to the Padres, are the visiting team and have by far the better pitcher going. All of this makes Los Angeles my strongest run line play of June.
San Diego's last 15 losses all have been by more than one run. The Dodgers have won by more than one run during 12 of their last 13 victories.
San Diego ranks last in runs and batting average. The Padres are averaging barely three runs per game at home and are batting under .200 on the season against lefties. The Dodgers are going with southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has pitched his best on the road with a 5-1 record and 1.64 ERA. Ryu's ERA is 0.68 in two career starts versus the Padres.
The Dodgers are 18-4 the last 22 times Ryu has faced an opponent with a losing record. San Diego is 11 games under .500.
Los Angeles is averaging 5.1 runs in its last seven games. The Padres have failed to score more than three runs in 10 of their past 13 games. The Dodgers should do plenty of damage against Eric Stults, who should not be in a starting rotation. He is 2-9 with a 5.76 ERA. Stults can't even pitch well at Petco Park where he has a 6.28 ERA and 1.57 WHIP on the season. In his last three overall starts, Stults is 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA.
|06-18-14||Colorado Rockies +1.5 v. Los Angeles Dodgers||0-8||Loss||-125||10 h 3 m||Show|
In a battle of lefties, the Rockies own the better team OPS versus southpaws. This isn't to say Jorge De La Rosa is better than Clayton Kershaw, but Kershaw hasn't been his normal dominant self for much of the season.
De La Rosa has been spotty during his last three starts, but prior to that he had been pitching as well as he ever has with a 1.80 ERA in his past seven outings. The Dodgers are just 17-20 at home and not likely to have Hanley Ramirez, who injured his finger last night.
The Rockies had won five in a row batting .325 during this span before their series against the Dodgers. Kershaw got the best of De La Rosa when they faced each other 10 days ago, but De La Rosa was 3-0 versus the Dodgers with a 2.25 ERA during previous three starts.
|06-15-14||Miami Heat v. San Antonio Spurs -5.5||Top||87-104||Win||100||8 h 42 m||Show|
The Spurs aren't just winning. They are dominating beating the Heat by an average of 20 points during the last two games. Both of those games were in Miami.
The Spurs own the matchup edges and the hunger after losing in the NBA Finals last year to Miami. The Heat can't just turn it off and on against the Spurs leaving them highly frustrated. LeBron James may be leaving Miami. So his focus may not be there. The Heat don't have the wide bodies, nor inside forces, to shut down both San Antonio's inside game of Tim Duncan and San Antonio's strong perimeter game.
Playing in the much stronger Western Conference has prepared the Spurs well. Miami is 1-7 ATS in its last eight games versus Western Conference foes. The step up in class from the Bobcats, Nets and Pacers - all more half-court, pick-and-roll type of opponents - to the Spurs has been too much of a class difference for the Heat.
The Spurs have covered eight of their last nine home games. Everything is in their favor to get it done today. Look for them to accomplish this in convincing fashion.
|06-12-14||San Antonio Spurs +5.5 v. Miami Heat||Top||107-86||Win||100||18 h 57 m||Show|
I fully recognize Miami is 10-0 straight-up following a loss during the past two years in the playoffs, 9-1 ATS.
But there are two significant factors why San Antonio is the right play. No. 1 is tremendous line value. Miami's impressive trend of winning following a loss is duly noted by the oddsmaker. The Heat are a bigger favorite than what they were in Game 4 despite losing to the Spurs by 19 points at home just two days ago.
The second big reason is the Spurs are playing at a higher level. They have the right matchups in place to win this Game 4 straight-up.
It's easy to point out the Spurs shot 59.4 percent from the floor and 81.2 from the free throw line in Game 3 accounting for such a lopsided margin. That isn't likely to happen again against Miami's elite defense is it? Well, the Spurs' shooting percentages probably are not going to be that high, but the Heat haven't gone against a team that gets such great ball movement as the Spurs.
The Spurs were getting good looks the entire last game. Miami's defensive rotation was a step behind. The Heat weren't nearly active enough in the passing lanes - and they don't have the personnel to fix this problem in order to match up better to San Antonio.
The Heat have gone against predictable Eastern Conference offenses - which play more half-court and rely more on standard pick-rand-roll plays than the stronger, more athletic Western Conference foes. This is haunting Miami in the series.
The Spurs can score inside with Tim Duncan, have a strong perimeter game and are a top-five free throw shooting team. The Heat's lack of a shot-blocker in the middle is a major negative for them. Miami blocked just one of San Antonio's 64 shots during the last game. Miami has had only six blocks the entire series.
The Heat also lack an inside scoring presence. This has allowed coaching guru Gregg Popovich to allocate major minutes to Boris Diaw instead of defensive-minded Tiago Splitter. Diaw is a key to the Spurs' fantastic ball movement.
Miami was blown out in the last game despite shooting well making 51.6 percent of their field goals while sinking 10 of 21 shots from 3-point range. But turnovers are hurting the Heat. They have only two more assists than turnovers.
Right now the Heat's chemistry is off both offensively and defensively. San Antonio, behind wily Popovich, is a matchup nightmare. No doubt the Heat will have their full intensity going. But the Spurs are the superior team and playing better than Miami. Add in an inflated line and this becomes a solid play on the Spurs.
|06-10-14||San Antonio Spurs +5 v. Miami Heat||Top||111-92||Win||100||19 h 32 m||Show|
I'm not buying an eight-point line difference with the change of venue from San Antonio to Miami. These teams are very evenly matched. They showed it last year in the finals and so far that pattern has held up through the first two games.
The Spurs won Game 1 by 15 points aided by LeBron James leaving for good with 3:59 left after suffering cramps. The Heat nipped San Antonio in Game 2 by two points with the Spurs missing their final four free throws. The Heat shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the victory while the Spurs shot 43.9 and made only 12 of 20 free throws for 60 percent. Miami hit 16 of its 21 free throws for 76 percent.
Miami is one of the better defensive teams, but the Spurs were No. 2 in field goal percentage at 48.6 and fourth in free throw percentage at 78.5. So I'm expecting better numbers from San Antonio, which has the best road mark in the NBA at 33-16.
The Spurs know how to win in Miami, too, having accomplished the feat last year in their first road playoff game against the Heat and nearly doing it a second time before blowing a three-point lead with 5.2 seconds left and losing in overtime by three in Game 6.
|06-09-14||Seattle Mariners +1.5 v. Tampa Bay Rays||3-0||Win||100||10 h 56 m||Show|
Sure David Price pitching at home against Erasmo Ramirez is a mismatch. But there's too much value to overlook the Mariners, especially on the run line where the Rays have to win by more than one run.
Seattle has won seven of its last eight. The Mariners are four games above .500 on the season, five games above .500 on the road.
Tampa Bay is 16 games under .500. The Rays are 1-12 in their past 13 games. They are averaging 2.1 runs in their last 11 games.
The Mariners are playing well while the Rays are at low ebb. Ramirez is the weakest Seattle starter, but he does have a 16-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last three starts. He went 1-0 versus the Rays last season with a 3.18 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. Seattle is averaging 4.7 runs during its last eight games.
|06-08-14||Miami Heat +4.5 v. San Antonio Spurs||Top||98-96||Win||100||15 h 29 m||Show|
Since the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat have come back from a defeat to win the past 12 times in the following game going 11-1 ATS!
LeBron James and the Heat are going to play with super intensity after losing by 15 points in Game 1.
That final score may have been the most misleading in championship finals history. James cramped up after the air conditioning broke and couldn't finish the final 3:59. At the time, Miami was losing by only two points.
These teams are very close. The Spurs were only ahead by that small margin until James left. The Spurs shot 58.8 percent from the floor, sank 13 of 25 3-point shots and took twice as many free throws as Miami going to the foul line 22 times to the Heat's 11.
The Heat are a very strong defensive club The Spurs aren't going to shoot nearly that high of a percentage again while the Heat should make more than 47.4 percent of their field goals after leading the NBA in field goal percentage at 50.1 percent. Even with San Antonio scoring 110 points in Game 1, the Heat still are holding opponents to just 93 points per game in the playoffs.
|06-05-14||Miami Heat v. San Antonio Spurs -4||Top||95-110||Win||100||54 h 41 m||Show|
Fueled by revenge after losing the championship series in seven games last year, the Spurs should be super fired up. San Antonio has covered each of its last seven home contests.
The long layoff should give Tony Parker's sore ankle ample time to heal. No coach is better with extra preparation time than Gregg Popovich.
San Antonio has won Game 1 during each of its three playoff series this season, winning by an average of 15.3 points. All were at home. Last year, the Spurs were 4-0 in opening playoff games winning by average of 9.7 points.
The Spurs defeated the Heat in the first game of last season's championship series and that was at Miami. The Spurs buried the Heat by 36 points the first time they hosted them in the title series last season, too.
San Antonio is better this season with a deeper bench. Miami isn't quite as good as last season. The Heat encountered some difficulty getting past Brooklyn and Indiana, much weaker foes than Oklahoma City, which San Antonio had to beat to reach these finals.
The Heat lost their first playoff road game to the Nets by 14 and also dropped their first away playoff game to the Pacers by 11.
The Spurs, with Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, can exploit the Heat's lack of inside offense forcing the Heat to do the majority of their scoring from the outside. The Spurs have the more balanced team being able to hit from the perimeter and take advantage of Duncan's low-post presence.
Spurs to Win Series
The price has bounced around, but I like the Spurs to win the series. Home-court advantage, something they didn't have last season, and a huge revenge motive are obvious factors.
But I also like San Antonio's bench strength more and the Spurs have the top coach in basketball, Gregg Popovich.
Popovich can win the matchup battle because he has a much deeper bench. The Spurs will have the fresher legs because of it. San Antonio is the better rebounding team and can score inside, something the Heat can't match due to their lack of inside scorers.
It's telling that Miami had trouble with Brooklyn and Indiana on the road. The Spurs are more battled tested coming out of the much superior Western Conference.
|05-31-14||San Antonio Spurs v. Oklahoma City Thunder -3.5||Top||112-107||Loss||-106||17 h 24 m||Show|
I'm not going to buck this trend in Game 6 - or these other strong matchup indicators. The home team in this series is 16-5-1 ATS during the past 22 meetings.
San Antonio has failed to cover during 10 of its last 11 visits to Oklahoma City. The Spurs are 1-7 ATS in their past eight road contests. The Thunder are 13-6-2 ATS in their past 21 home contests.
I'm expecting an all-out intense effort by the Thunder after being embarrassed, 117-89, in Game 5 at San Antonio. I do regard Greg Popovich as the best coach in the NBA. He made a great adjustment opening the floor by putting more perimeter-oriented post players along Tim Duncan in the frontcourt. This move forced defensive whiz and NBA shot block leader Serge Ibaka away from the basket opening the lane for Tony Parker and Co.
Scott Brooks is one of the more underrated coaches in the league and he's been right there with Popovich in this series countering strategy and moves.
|05-27-14||San Antonio Spurs +3 v. Oklahoma City Thunder||Top||92-105||Loss||-112||14 h 5 m||Show|
Sparked by Serge Ibaka's return, the inspired Thunder won Game 3 of this Western Conference finals at home. A lot went right for the Thunder. It was Oklahoma City's game to win and the Thunder took care of business winning, 106-97.
But the reality is the Spurs are the better team with the superior coach and will be more than ready for this Game 4. San Antonio has covered six of the last seven times when playing on one day's rest.
The Spurs won the first two games of this series by a combined 52 points. Ibaka didn't play in either of those games. Ibaka is back, but he isn't 100 percent dealing with a painful swollen calf.
No coach makes better adjustments and is more dangerous with extra preparation time than Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have the inside/outside game to get their points especially with Tony Parker playing at a high level. It's a gift to get this many points with the better team.
|05-26-14||Indiana Pacers +6.5 v. Miami Heat||Top||90-102||Loss||-110||28 h 16 m||Show|
The Pacers have lost two of the first three games in this series. But they've had a grip on every game. They very well could be leading 2-1, or even out in front 3-0.
Indiana has led for the most minutes of the series and now face this crucial Game 4 taking the most points they have all series and with a healthy lineup. These two teams are not that far apart as this point spread indicates.
Indiana took Miami to seven games last season in the playoffs. The Pacers won Game 1 by 11 points at home. They blew a lead in Game 2 and lost by four despite Miami shooting 50.7 percent from the floor.
Then, this past Saturday in Game 3, Indiana lost a 15-point lead and fell by 12 points. Miami shot 54.4 percent from the floor and sank 10 of 18 shots from beyond the arc.
The Heat are the best shooting team in the NBA. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade both are playing at high levels. But the Pacers are being way underrated here. They are No. 1 in defensive efficiency. Indiana might have won Game 2 if Paul George didn't miss 12 of 16 shots from the floor.
The Pacers might have won Game 3 if George, their best player, wasn't limited to less than 33 minutes because of foul trouble. Starting point guard George Hill played only 21 minutes because he also encountered foul trouble. The Pacers were plus 8 in scoring when Hill was on the court in Game 3.
A key for the Heat is scoring in transition off a turnover because they can't rebound with Indiana and lack an inside defender the caliber of Roy Hibbert. The Pacers turned the ball over 19 times in Game 3. This led to 26 Miami points. Indiana averaged 11 turnovers in the first two games of the series when Hill played more than 36 and 39 minutes, respectively.
The Pacers have had second-half leads in each of the last two games despite Miami averaging better than 52 percent shooting from the floor while they averaged 43 percent from the field.
I see Indiana tightening its defense and making sure to play intense the entire game with George and Hill in far better form and avoiding foul trouble while Miami cools off against the league's top defense. The Pacers have covered five of their last six road games and are 7-2 ATS following a game in which they did not cover the spread.
|05-19-14||Houston Astros +1.5 v. Los Angeles Angels||Top||5-2||Win||100||19 h 46 m||Show|
The Angels are playing well winning eight of their last 10. Garrett Richards has been outstanding with a 4-0 mark and 2.42 ERA. But the Astros also are playing well. Houston is 5-2 in its last seven games. When given 1 1/2 runs, the Astros are 9-2 in their last 11 games.
The Astros are batting nearly .300 in their last eight games while averaging close to five runs per game during this span. They have a hot starter, too, going in Dallas Keuchel.
Keuchel has allowed only two runs on 13 hits and no walks during his past two starts spanning 16 2/3 innings. He has a 3.06 ERA with a 47-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio and the highest ground ball rate in the American League at 65 percent.
The Angels have had problems with Astros at home losing six of the past seven times they've hosted them.
|05-15-14||Indiana Pacers +5 v. Washington Wizards||Top||93-80||Win||100||17 h 54 m||Show|
The Wizards are more talented than perceived, which they have proven by reaching this second-round of the playoffs. However, the young largely untested Wizards face a double whammy in today's game:
They must deal with what is sure to be an all-out intense effort by the rugged Pacers and must prove they can perform well at home, which hasn't been the case this season and in the postseason. I don't believe Washington can do that.
The Pacers were humiliated, 102-79, at home two days ago in Game 5. The Wizards brought their A game and caught the Pacers flat outrebounding them by a monster total of 62-23.
Indiana is a lunch bucket team that had regained its form during Games 3 and 4 winning both of those games at Verizon Center by a combined 25 points. The Pacers are 5-1 ATS following a loss and also have covered during their past four away contests.
The Wizards have covered only 41 percent of their home games. They have lost straight-up in three of their four postseason games, including both home games in this series. The Wizards are better with the pressure off them. Now, at home, with their series lives on the line the pressure is squarely back on them.
The past six times these teams have met the underdog has covered.
|05-14-14||PORTLAND GM5 v. SAN ANTONIO GM5 -7.5||Top||82-104||Win||100||18 h 33 m||Show|
The Trail Blazers staved off elimination by beating San Antonio, 103-92, this past Monday at home. But the Trail Blazers aren't going to be the first NBA team to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a playoff series. Everybody knows that, including the Trail Blazers.
The Spurs are going to win this game. The question is by how much? My indications are San Antonio will capture this Game 5 and end the series in blowout fashion.
It's not just that Portland had failed to cover its past seven games until two nights ago, or that San Antonio has covered 69 percent of its past 16 home games.
San Antonio defeated Portland by 24, 17 and 15 points during the first three games of the series. That's an average win margin of 18.6 points. The Spurs achieved this by playing their best defense of the season not giving Portland many good looks at the basket, while maintaining their top level offense that has both strong inside and outside components.
The Trail Blazers, never strong defensively to begin with, have been unable to slow down Tony Parker while the Spurs have clamped down on LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Aldridge and Lillard were both shooting under 39 percent from the floor during the first four games of the series.
So why did things change and go Portland's way in Game 5 with Aldridge and Lillard having their best performances combing to make 19 of 37 field goals?
Certainly the Spurs didn't tank. But wily San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich did play his reserves far more in Game 4. Tiago Splitter, who had been guarding Aldridge, played the fewest minutes of the series in Game 4 being on the court less than 23 minutes.
Popovich knows when to pick his spots. He may have sensed that Monday's matchup in Portland was the Trail Blazers' game to win in front of their frenzied fans especially with the Trail Blazers leading at halftime and producing a huge third quarter. So Popovich didn't want to risk fatigue and injuries instead choosing to set up a huge Game 5 series-clinching victory at home tonight.
The Spurs won't be screwing around here. They have a much harder series on deck meeting either the Thunder or Clippers. This is a veteran team that knows how to close. The Spurs play hard to the final buzzer under Popovich so I don't see Portland being live for a backdoor cover. It's San Antonio in a blowout.
|05-13-14||WASHINGTON GM5 +5 v. INDIANA GM5||Top||102-79||Win||100||11 h 32 m||Show|
Points are big in this series with three of the four games being a dogfight. The Wizards are in a do-or-die spot and have proven themselves on the road.
The Wizards are 31-15 ATS on the road this season. That's 67 percent. They have covered in their last eight road contests, including all of their playoff games. Washington also is 9-2 ATS the past 11 times when playing on one day's rest.
The Pacers are playing better, but they still can't be trusted to win by a mid-size margin. Indiana is 4-13 ATS during its past 17 home matchups.
The Wizards blew a 19-point second-half lead in Game 4 at home losing by three. The young Wizards should learn from that defeat that they have to maintain their intensity.
The Wizards have a stronger bench than Indiana and John Wall isn't nearly as bad as he's looked the past two games. He's missed 10 of 11 3-point shots in the series and committed 12 turnovers during the last two games. He's due to step up. Indiana has to deal with a fatigue factor as four of its five starters went at least 39 points in Sunday's victory.
|05-09-14||Oklahoma City Thunder +4 v. Los Angeles Clippers||Top||118-112||Win||100||14 h 36 m||Show|
The Thunder are the superior team and I look for them to control the series with a straight-up win here in Game 3. Taking points is a nice bonus.
Oklahoma City evened the series at 1-1 after beating the Clippers more decisively than the 11-point final might indicate in Game 2. The Thunder have a number of key factors going their way.
Yes, the series is tied because Chris Paul might have had the greatest shooting game of his great career in the opener. But the Thunder have shut down Blake Griffin thanks to outstanding defensive work from Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams off the bench. Griffin is shooting just 41 percent from the floor. The Thunder also have stymied DeAndre Jordan courtesy of Kendrick Perkins.
The Clippers can't stop Kevin Durant and have been outrebounded by 32 boards, an average of 16 a game.
The Thunder have covered 14 of the past 20 times against foes with a .600 percentage or better. They know how to get it done on the road, too, beating the Clippers at Staples Center four weeks ago and winning two of three in Memphis during their opening playoff series with the one road defeat occurring in overtime.
Future ownership of their franchise remains a distraction for the Clippers with that topic being magnified with their return home.
|05-05-14||Los Angeles Clippers v. Oklahoma City Thunder -5||Top||122-105||Loss||-110||17 h 23 m||Show|
Not only is this a better matchup for Oklahoma City than it had against physical, grind-it-out Memphis, but it's a top-notch situational spot.
The Thunder are back to peak form after blowing out the Grizzlies during the last two games of their first-round series. They are in a much better spot than the Clippers, who are still trying to deal and sort out the Donald Sterling mess along with trying to reach an emotional balance after a huge but draining Game 7 victory just two nights ago at home against feisty rival Golden State.
The Clippers are very talented, but they lack the maturity and polish of the Spurs and Heat to deal with such a short turnaround.
The Thunder are back clicking. That should continue against the Clippers, who are not nearly the defense team Memphis is. Kevin Durant is back on fire averaging 34.5 points on 56 percent shooting from the floor during the last two games. The Clippers lack a Tony Allen-type defender to contain him.
Oklahoma City is 10-4-2 ATS during its last 16 games at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder also are 19-9-2 ATS when playing on one day's rest.
Chris Paul isn't 100 percent because of a sore hamstring and the Clippers have failed to cover eight of the past 10 times versus above .500 opponents.
|05-02-14||San Antonio Spurs -3 v. Dallas Mavericks||Top||111-113||Loss||-105||12 h 21 m||Show|
During the Dirk Nowitzki era, the Mavericks have been down 3-2 in a playoff series five times. Every time they have lost Game 6. I see history repeating itself.
Nowitzki is shooting just 41.2 percent from the floor during the series. The Mavericks need better from him. Dallas wouldn't even be in this position if not for a miracle corner jumper at the buzzer by Vince Carter.
The Spurs are far superior to Dallas. They can beat the Mavericks from the perimeter with their 3-point marksmanship like they did when they swept the four games during the regular season, or pound inside like they have the past two games averaging 49 points in the paint when the Mavericks have tried to key on San Antonio's outside game.
The Mavericks have been stronger on the road that at home from a point spread perspective. The Spurs have covered 58 percent of their road contests and are 7-3 ATS during their past 10 visits to Dallas.
|05-01-14||Oklahoma City Thunder v. Memphis Grizzlies +3||Top||104-84||Loss||-115||15 h 14 m||Show|
Defense is trumping offense so it's no fluke Memphis can close out Oklahoma City at home today. The Grizzlies have held the Thunder below 40 percent shooting during the past four games keeping both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in check.
These games have been close and the Thunder have yet to prove they can beat Memphis' stingy defense. So I'll take these points with a confident home team that has the far superior defense.
The Thunder are just 6-7 in their last 13 games. There is talk about dissension on the Thunder with the players not responding anymore to coach Scott Brooks. Memphis has won 19 of its last 27 games going 8-2 in its last 10 matchups. The Grizzlies are peaking while the Thunder are regressing.
Oklahoma City isn't getting points in the paint while Memphis' offense has dominated the Thunder inside. Durant certainly is capable of breaking out with a monster game, but Tony Allen is a premier defender. It's a leap of faith to assume the Thunder can suddenly break Memphis' strong defense - which ranked No. 3 during the season and first in defensive rebounding - especially being on the road while not displaying peak form.
The Grizzlies won 65 percent of their home games. The Thunder are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight road games against an opponent with a home winning percentage greater than 60 percent.