Week 12 NCAA Football Virginia Tech Hokies @ Miami Hurricanes Pick: The Hurricanes are an obscure team, to say the least. They can get killed by Florida State, meander past Duke at a medium pace, lost to Virginia, barely skip by Maryland, and slam Georgia Tech. They turned the ball over a ton against a good Ohio State team – and they only lost by 12. They could really play well in this game, or turn the ball over a lot and struggle with consistency.
Stephen Morris, not pre-season Heisman hopeful Jacory Harris, led the Hurricanes in their drubbing of Georgia Tech last week. I’m not sure if Harris is the better option for the Canes or not, he’s got big play ability, but his interceptions almost match his touchdown tosses this year. But it’s doubtful that he’ll be playing on Saturday. And the Hokies defense is a different beast than Morris faced last weekend. A big key to this game will be Morris’s performance against that D. If the Canes can’t run well, they’ll have to rely on Morris to move the ball – I guess that’s a big reason why I’m taking the Hokies.
I know the Hurricanes have a long list of injury woes and that could hurt them down the stretch run of the season. That’s yet another things factoring into my decision here. Virginia Tech has played very well since their early season struggles, and Tyrod Taylor has become a very good college quarterback. I like what I’ve seen, and I’m sticking with the Hokies.
#16 Virginia Tech Hokies (-2.5) @ #24 Miami Hurricanes
Ohio State Buckeyes @ Iowa Hawkeyes Point Spread Betting Picks: I know that Iowa is a very good football team, and their only loss at home this season came in fine 30-31 fashion against a very good Wisconsin team, a Wisconsin team that upset the Buckeyes about a month ago. But Ohio State, as much as I hate to concede it, is a better football team.
The Buckeyes score 41.6 points per game and give up just 13.6. The Hawkeyes have been good, as I said to open this write-up, but even at 30.8 and 15 points respectively, their averages fall below the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 9-1 overall and 8-2 against the spread, doing all they can to exceed the public’s high expectations.
In common opponents, Ohio State seems like the better team there as well. They beat Penn State 38-14 while Iowa played the Nittany Lions tough, they won 24-3. Iowa slipped past the Hoosiers of Indiana, 18-13. Ohio State beat them 38-10. Both teams lost to Wisconsin, though the Hawkeyes played them tougher than the Buckeyes.
I also have to look at what these teams have done lately, and Ohio State has become dominant, winning each of their last 3 games by at least 24 points – outscoring their opponents by a combined 139-24. Iowa barely beat a bad Indiana team and lost at Northwestern last week.
The Hawkeyes have the ability to play with the Buckeyes, definitely, but I just wouldn’t bet on it.
#9 Ohio State Buckeyes (-3) @ #20 Iowa Hawkeyes
Mississippi Rebels @ LSU Tigers College Football Free Picks: I really think this one is easy pickings. The Rebels have just a -4 point differential average this season despite being 4-6. They’ve played solid against some tough teams, but they’ve also lost some stinkers. They’ve lost 4 of their last 5 games, and last week against Tennessee was embarrassing for anybody involved in the Rebels’ program. 14-52 in Tennessee and it’s not like Peyton Manning came back to play in a special exemption alumni game – it was just the plain old Volunteers kicking the crap out of Ole Miss. But this week is going to be different.
This game is close more often than not. Mississippi has covered the spread against LSU in 7 of the last 9 meetings- they’ve won the last two outright. I know LSU has found ways to win this year, and I don’t doubt that they’ll end up on top in this game, but these two teams are closer than you’d think. Both teams run the ball well, and both teams have run-first quarterbacks. The Tigers have played their fair share of close games this year, and getting them to cover up a 16 point spread is a tough business to be in.
In terms each teams’ “warm-up” outing for this game, I think the mental edge is on Mississippi’s side. One might not think that, as LSU won 51-0 last time out, and the Rebels lost be close to the same score. But playing way under your ability often works as a wake-up call for the next week, and that’s what I expect from Ole Miss. A blowout over an over-matched opponent rarely does anything to get your ready for the next week, and maybe LSU will struggle with that.
Mississippi Rebels (+16) @ #5 LSU Tigers
North Carolina State Wolfpack @ North Carolina Tar Heels Free Pick: Russell Wilson has been impressive, tossing 22 touchdown passes while leading the Wolfpack to a 7-3 record, and a chance at the ACC title. But from my point of view, T.J. Yates has been even more impressive. He’s 300 yards behind Wilson, but he’s completing a higher percentage of passes, he throws fewer interceptions, and his yards per attempt (8.25) is more than a yard better than Wilson’s. When you take into account the absence of key players on the Tar Heels’ squad, Yates’ season becomes that much more impressive.
What this game comes down to is what scares me about each team. There are things, oh yes, there are. For North Carolina, they just looked so bad last week against Virginia Tech that I worry about how they’ll respond. They couldn’t move the ball on the ground or through the air, and a talented quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) chewed them up.
But for NC State, they haven’t played well on the road the last two times out, and they played a very soft Wake Forest team last eek, maybe setting them up to struggle against an underrated North Carolina defense.
The Heels are tough at home, and they’ve beaten two teams the Wolfpack have lost to. East Carolina and Clemson. I think this will be a close one, and home field gets the nod.
North Carolina State Wolfpack @ North Carolina Tar Heels (-2.5)
NCAA Football Week 12 Wisconsin Badgers @ Michigan Wolverines Pick: I feel like this is some kind of evil trick – the Badgers giving just 4 points to the Michigan Wolverines. I mean, I know the Badgers have a single loss this season, but is there any reason to think the Wolverines should get close to handing them their second? I know the Badgers dropped 83 points on the Hoosiers last week, and a repeat performance seems impossible, but doesn’t the man realize that the Badgers probably only have to score 40% of that to cover this one easily? Wisconsin has out-rushed every team they’ve played outside of Michigan State. I know the Wolverines can run it, but the Badgers can stop the run. The Wolverines… Not so much.
Michigan comes in ranked 75th in the nation in run defense, 100th in total defense. They aren’t good defensively. They take a lot of chances and get beat on a good percentage of them. They give up a lot of points, 32.1 per game. I know they can run it, but if they can’t stop Wisconsin, I know they can’t win this football game. The Badgers are good, on both sides of the ball, probably the best team in the Big 10. Michigan’s biggest Big 10 win was a 67-65 triple OT victory over Illinois. Illinois isn’t that good.
Wisconsin, just like Ohio State next week, should run all over the Wolverines – they are better in every key area.
#7 Wisconsin Badgers (-4) @ Michigan Wolverines
Papas Picks: Top 5 2010 NFL Week 10 Underdogs
Should have been 3-2 this last week, but the freaking Jets basically scored a touchdown as overtime ran out – Santonio Holmes took that slant the distance, and my seemingly sure cover from the Browns turned into a loss. Lucky says, “I told you so.” That punk! Ha. I had that game on the nose, but sometimes, that pointy egg-shaped ball takes a bounce the other way and I just have to cope. I’ve had some good bounces this year as well. And we have a favorite family saying that goes against my “should have been” theory for last week’s games. If grandma had ball she’d be grandpa” and “If ifs and buts were cocks and nuts then grandma would be grandpa” – write those down. Better bounces this week!
Week 11 Free Picks
St. Louis Rams (+3.5) @ HOME VS. Atlanta Falcons: I know, I know, the Falcons are one of the best teams in football, and this is a stupid bet on my part – but how can I go against one of my favorite teams this season, playing at home where they are a very solid team, sporting a good defense that doesn’t give up many points, as better than a 3 point underdog? Plus, Atlanta was very good last week against Baltimore – they’re ready for a return to earth.
Detroit Lions (+7) @ Dallas Cowboys: Dallas beat the Giants, hurry, everything change back to what it would be like if the Cowboys weren’t 2-7… Please. They need to do more than win one freaking game without Romo for me to even think about considering them as a 7 point favorite. Ridiculous.
Denver Broncos (+11) @ San Diego Chargers: Really? The Chargers have what, 4 wins? They’ve played all but a couple very close games that come right down to the wire. The Broncos throw the ball as well as any team. This spread is dumb.
New York Giants (+3) @ Philadelphia Eagles: I’m enjoying Mike Vick’s play as much as the next guy, but the Giants are a very good football team, and the Eagles are coming off of one of the best single game performances of the season – they’re bound to slow down a bit, and the Giants have to feel a sense of anger after getting slammed by the Cowboys last week. Seems like the perfect storm for a Giants win in Philly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) @ San Francisco 49ers: Again, where do these guys get off? Tampa Bay wins football games, even when they get out-played. San Francisco finds way to lose games, even when they outplay their opponent. Troy Smith is undefeated since taking over at QB – but that’s got to change sooner or later.
Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints Free Picks NFL Week 11: I don’t see the Hawks sticking anywhere close to the Saints. New Orleans is coming off a bye, they are getting healthy when it matters most, they were playing their best football of the season going into their off week – and Seattle comes in playing one game way better than they actually are – yes, I would say everything is heading in New Orleans’ favor. Did I mention that the Seahawks are often pathetic on the road (except for last week, and in Chicago, but still)? This isn’t just a trip to Arizona, either – this one’s all the way in New Orleans, and the Saints are looking to hold their home serve here.
New Orleans puts a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and the Seahawks just don’t have the offensive line to protect ol’ Matty. They’ve been moving and rotating and switching their line around all season long, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they saw a new order of business this week in New Orleans.
The Seahawks haven’t been able to run the ball with much success, and they really have trouble protecting the quarterback. New Orleans has that opportunistic defense, and they apply pressure in bundles. I expect this one to be very one-sided, and that’s why I’m taking the double-digit favorites to cover at home. If Seattle has one area they could convince me that they are better than New Orleans, I might just give them a chance – no, I probably wouldn’t.
NFL Week 11 Picks Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings: There is nothing valuable about this spread. This game always seems to be close no matter how poorly or solid the two teams are playing at the time of said match-up. Even last time out, the game came right down to the end, and the Packers won by 4. A split is very common in divisional match-ups against two solid teams – the only thing – I’m pretty sure the Vikings rank out real gelatinous on the old dense-o-meter.
The Packers are coming off their bye, and given a little time to heal isn’t a bad thing for the Packers’ defense that has gone through it’s fair share of injury woes.
The Vikings could only be so lucky – but again, their bye is long gone, and so are their hopes of a solid season. There’s talk of Brett’s shoulder giving him trouble, and then there’s dead-end-Chilly running the team – continuing, despite all evidence toward running the ball, to throw like they are the greatest show on turf. They aren’t.
The Vikings haven’t shown the ability to beat a good team – everyone thought they had turned the corner with their overtime win over Arizona, but it’s possible that was just an overtime win over Arizona- not anything to write home about after all.
The Vikings still have a chance, no doubt – the same talent sits their on the team ready to play to their potential – I just wouldn’t bet on it happening. The Packers’ future is now – the Vikings, all they have is a future of questions.
Baltimore Ravens @ Carolina Panthers Free Football Picks: The Panthers are about the only team in football that I’d bet against as a 10 point underdog right now, and maybe that ends up haunting me as well. Baltimore hasn’t shown the consistency offensively to blow teams out, and they didn’t look very good (on either side of the ball) against the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday night – but I expect things to be better against the Panthers.
Carolina has a solid defense, but they just can’t move the ball offensively. Jimmy Claussen is too young to beat up the Ravens secondary and since everything except the football is injured in the Panthers backfield right now, they can’t move the ball via the run either.
The Ravens haven’t really broken the scoreboard lately, either – but there’s something there, some substance, a couple solid players that make plays – Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco – it’s a team with plenty of weapons, and in the end that’s going to win out over a Panthers team that has more injuries than offensive weapons.
Carolina expected to get through the season with Matt Moore – but that didn’t happen and now they’re stuck with two rookies that are a couple years of back-up seasoning away from making an impact as a solid NFL starter. You might as well make a profit because of it – now’s the time, take the Ravens by 10 – that should be covered early in the 3rd quarter.
Fresno State Bulldogs @ Boise State Broncos Friday Night Football Pick: I think this is an easy one. It’s amazing, how Boise State, almost always favored (1.5 point dog at Virginia Tech to start the season), and a public favorite even more often, can go 7-2 ATS. They’ve conquered 4 spreads of 34 points or more. They’ve won all but 2 games by at least 29 points. They are awesome on both sides of the ball, and they have one of the best coaching staffs in all of college football. So I must say, I’m interested to see how this one turns out, as I think the easy bet is Fresno State. Rarely can you say that when taking a team playing the Boise State Broncos.
Fresno State is 6-3 and they have never had a problem playing any team anywhere. They’ve lost a couple games this year, and it hasn’t always been close, but they play their best football against good teams. They just barely stumbled against Nevada, losing 34-35 against a very good Wolf Pack football team. Fresno State plays well on the road, and they have a toughness about them that’s impressive. They’ve out-gained 7 of their 9 opponents, often pounding their rushing attack. This will be their toughest foe, no doubt about it – and running the ball won’t be easy, but it’s hard to imagine this Fresno team getting beat by more than 30 points.
They haven’t yet this season, and only twice in the last 10 years have the Broncos beaten the Bulldogs by 30 or more points. Boise State has a history of covering against Fresno, 8 of the last 9 in fact, but never has the spread been greater than 21.5. This spread has big time inflation, and Fresno State is a solid team. I think taking them is easy.
Fresno State Bulldogs (+31) @ #4 Boise State Broncos (Fri)