The top two teams in the Eastern Conference meet for the second time this season when the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls square off Wednesday at the United Center.
This game can be seen live nationally on ESPN, and in the Chicago area on Comcast Sports Chicago, with tip-off at 9:30 pm ET.
Chicago is a 2.5-point favorite and the over/under total is at 192 in NBA Picks.
The matchup features one of the most explosive offenses in the NBA against one of the league’s strongest defenses. The Heat have the No. 2 offense with 102.6 points per game, while Chicago has the No. 2 defense, allowing just 88.9 points per game.
The Bulls will be out to avenge a 97-93 loss in the first meeting this season on Jan. 29, when the Heat failed to cash as a 4.5-point home favorite.
Miami is 31-9 straight up and 20-20 against the spread and beat the Indiana Pacers 93-91 on Saturday but failed to cover the spread as a 9.5-point home favorite. Chicago is 35-9 SU and 25-18-1 ATS and is coming off a 104-99 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday. The Bulls could not cash as an 8-point home favorite.
The injury report has Miami guard Mike Miller out indefinitely (ankle injury), while Chicago forward Luol Deng is day-to-day (wrist injury), as is guard C.J. Watson (ankle injury).
Miami is averaging 10.4 offensive rebounds and 32.3 defensive rebounds per game, while Chicago has an average of 13.6 boards on offense and 32.3 on defense.
Ohio State Buckeyes (+7.5) @ Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines have been very good lately, making me look silly week after week (kind of like Houston) but that doesn’t mean that I’ve giving in. I know that Vegas is begging me to take the Buckeyes when they give me that extra half point, but I just think averages play out here. The Buckeyes have certainly been up and down this season – I just think Saturday in Michigan will be an up-swing kind of day for the chestnuts. Hopefully I can stick it to Vegas with this one!
Georgia Bulldogs (-5.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia’s the better team even if they never really can meet expectations. Georgia Tech is pretty one-dimensional, as they always are, but I see the Bulldogs’ defense being able to slow the Yellow Jackets’ attack just enough to cover this spread.
Alabama Crimson Tide (-21) @ Auburn Tigers
Alabama has a lot to lose in this contest and Auburn can play one heck of a spoiler in one of the biggest rivalry games around – but is it possible? I really don’t think so. Auburn has played close in some games they probably shouldn’t have, even winning a couple of them, but the Tigers aren’t on the same level as the Tide, and I expect it to show early and often this weekend.
Florida State Seminoles (-1.5) @ Florida Gators
This used to be “The Game” when I was just getting into football. I saw a few wide rights and a wide left, a couple upsets, and some great games between two programs that were up and coming and dominating college football. The old ball coach was getting Rex Grossman to do good things, and the Seminoles had Peter Warrick making dirty cuts in the middle of the field. Those were the days. Neither program is on top right now, but both have the talent to make this one heck of a game. I just think Florida State has a more complete team, so they are the bet here.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (+9)
The Cowboys are looking pretty good, but isn’t this when they turn to dust, or choke on their success? It seems so and I’m betting on it this week against a Washington team that has their moments. You know that Rex Grossman is going to come out dealing this week at home against Dallas, right – then everyone will start to believe in him again – then he’ll destroy those homes in Week 12. Seriously, I know this guy. The Cowboys have looked really good in the run game, and Tony Romo had continued to do great things in play action. They need to get the ball to Dez Bryant even more, be has big brother upside. Still, it’s 9 points, and the Redskins are bound to find some success. Defensively they are talented, and regaining some health should help them. The Redskins’ pass rush should get to Romo.
Arizona Cardinals (+10) @ San Francisco 49ers
I don’t know – the 49ers play a lot of close games, they’ve played very well and vastly exceeded any kinds of expectations and or potential, and the Cardinals have stunk it up. It’s still 10 points, and the Cardinals have some playmakers that could make the 49ers pay a couple times. San Fran isn’t real big on blowouts, so I’ll take the points.
Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams (-1)
The Hawks had a huge upset last week when they ousted the Baltimore Ravens, but that’s why I’m going against them here. I know the Hawks. They’re all about surprising the crap out of you. The Rams are better than they’ve played to start the year, that will start to even out on Sunday.
Carolina Panthers (+7) @ Detroit Lions
I think the Panthers and Cam Newton are going to struggle with the pass rush of the Detroit Lions – but that doesn’t mean that the Lions should be touchdown favorites. I’ve thought all season long that Carolina was getting a little more credit than they deserved, and that belief just so happened to work out for me last week. That being said, Cam has proven he will keep his squad in it, and he could very well rush for a bunch of yards against a Run-D that hasn’t performed very well this season. If he can, he’ll keep this close enough.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+14.5) @ Green Bay Packers
I don’t know what I’m up to here. I think the Bucs are better than they have been, and there’s almost no possible way that the Packers are indeed this complete of a football team, is there? Okay, maybe there is, but even super heroes have bad days, and that day is coming. Getting more than 2 touchdowns for a second week in a row; I’ll pick against the best team we’ve seen.
Buffalo Bills (+2) @ Miami Dolphins
Buffalo, I’m betting on you to find your game. Please don’t disappoint me. I don’t think it’s fair that Chan Gailey’s genius offensive brain has to watch you guys execute like numskulls. Fred Jackson is very good and Stevie Johnson is dynamic. Write that down, memorize it, use it on Sunday.
Denver Broncos (+1.5) @ Miami Dolphins
The Denver Broncos will sport a new starting quarterback this week when they head to Miami, and while I’m not ready to say Tebow is better than Orton, he might just elicit some winning football from his otherwise hapless Broncos. I have to pick Denver, I mean, the other option is going with Matt Moore and that (un)dynamic Miami unit. Bush is hurting, Daniel Thomas is banged up, Moore is healthy – things are looking bad!
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1)
The Buccaneers have proven to be a tough out at home, and with Chicago basically beating me every single week whether I pick for or against them, I might as well go with the team I like. The young Bucs played better last week, especially Josh Freeman who finally had a solid game behind center. Mike Williams will figure it out, he’s too talented to fizzle into obscurity. Earnest Graham has proven that he can produce at RB with Blount out. I expect the Bucs to win a tight one at home.
Houston Texans (+3) @ Tennessee Titans
The Titans have been solid thus far, getting out to a great 4-2 start despite getting very little from their best offensive player (Chris Johnson) and losing their best receiving threat for the season (Kenny Britt). Matt Hasselbeck has been great, and therefore, the Titans have to fall back to reality, right? I think Houston, even with Andre Johnson out, will be able to make enough plays through the passing game build off their strong rushing attack. Foster could have a good game against a defense that is a little overrated.
North Carolina Tar Heels @ Florida State Seminoles Pick & Preview: The Tar Heels are 5-3 on the season, both straight up and against the spread. They have played surprisingly well despite missing half their projected starters for most of the season thus far, because of NCAA violations and the investigation process that forced players to remain in limbo. They have played well at home and on the road, and still have a chance to make noise in the ACC – and they get a couple more players back this week, including corner-back Charles Brown. He should help against the Seminoles’ solid passing attack.
Florida State comes in playing pretty poorly – they barely beat Boston College by 5 points (they were 22 point favorites) and fell to North Carolina State last week. If they come in playing poorly, and assuming they’ll walk away with a win over the undermanned Tar Heels – they’ll lose at home.
Looking at the Tar Heels, their resilience and toughness, getting 10 points seems like a great value bet. Only once so far this season have the Heels stumbled hard enough to lose by double digits (at Miami a couple weeks ago). They’ve won 5 of their last 6 games, and are still looking to become bowl eligible.
The Seminoles have a pretty solid team, on both sides of the ball, but these teams are more even than a spread like 10 indicates- I’ll take the road dogs.
North Carolina Tar Heels (+10.5) @ #24 Florida State Seminoles
Illinois Illini @ Michigan Wolverines Week 10 NCAA Football Picks: The Illini just seem like the much better team here. They have faired better against the spread, they’ve played close games against good teams, they’ve out-rushed every opponent they’ve played this season outside of Ohio State, and they have accumulated a point differential of +10 (and most of those plus points have come from the Big 10 conference schedule.
The Illini came up 11 points short against Ohio State, then slammed Penn State, Indiana, and Purdue. A 10 point loss to Missouri, and a poor game against Michigan State were their only other losses so far this season.
Michigan is finding out how to lose again, coming in with three straight losses (though against pretty solid teams) 17-34 against Michigan State, 28-39 against Iowan, and 31-41 at Penn State.
This game will have lots of running, but in the end I think it comes down to defense. Illinois has a pretty dang good one, allowing just 16.8 points per game this season, playing their best football over the past 5 games. Michigan doesn’t have one. They’ve given up at least 34 points in 4 straight games, and 4 touchdowns or more 6 times this season.
I know Denard Robinson is a stud, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes for nearly 400 yards of offense in this game. But he doesn’t play defense, and that’s where Michigan needs a couple game changers. They might not score fast, but Illinois is going to drive the ball down the field with relative ease, and that should end in a win for the Illini.
Illinois Illini (+3) @ Michigan Wolverines
College Week 5 Pick – Temple Owls VS Army Black Knights: At Army is a tough place to play, and both of these teams are 3-1, the difference comes down to one team being good and the other team playing Duke, North Texas, and Eastern Michigan to start the season. Does anybody else think that North Texas puts a team together just so other schools will pay them to come in for a beating? I sure do. Anyway, back to these two teams on Saturday – Army’s only loss was to Hawaii, the only respectable team they’ve played (unless you count Duke, please don’t, this isn’t basketball).
Temples only loss of the young season came against Penn State at Penn State, and they lost by just 9, 22-13. The Owls are 3-1 against the spread. They’ve also beaten Connecticut (solid program, though fairly unimpressive this season thus far), Central Michigan (always a solid small school, 2-2 on the season with their only losses to Temple by 3 and Northwestern by 5).
Basically, what I’m getting at here is that Temple isn’t just your normal 3-1 played nobody but North Texas and East West Idaho Tech, ready to get blown away by the competition the rest of the season. This team is going to win a bunch of games, go to a Bowl, and surprise a bunch of people.
So I have them winning at Army, because to do things that I expect them to do, they have to be able to go on the road and beat teams like Army. Army has beaten nobody worth writing home about, so I wont’ mention them. Take the Owls.
Temple Owls (-4) @ Army Black Knights
For returning readers, you’ll remember that I did some good work with my free picks in a late-inning relief role down the stretch last season. I started late, but only because I was doing so well on my own. And after all was written and published, the money was dealt out, I finished with a winning record – and some spending money. It wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it’d be, but a little research, some common sense, and a giant jock-strap can take you a long way! No, but honestly, this year I’m starting from the get go, and you’ll be allowed to follow me along my spending spree. I’ve been given $1000 (via a sweet deal) to see what I can make, so you’ll get up close and personal update of my personal gambling account. I’ll keep track like this.
Starting Account Total: $1000
At Risk: $500 to Win $466
Money Left: $500
Total W/L Last Week: (NA Until Week 2)
Season W/L Record: (NA Until Week 2)
You can also keep track of me on TWITTER @AlaskanArse. I’ll update my thoughts on games, my picks and fantasy alike.
I’ll list the amount I’m risking to win on each game, the spread (listed on whichever side I’m gambling), and a reason why- whichever way I bet. I’m also rounding up and down to the nearest dollar for winnings (EX: 91.91 = 92) to more easily keep track. So here’s to a good season, (raises glass of Alaskan Amber), Cheers! Here are my first five for Week 1.
Week 1 Picks
Carolina Panthers (+7) @ N.Y. Giants
(Risk $100 to Win $92)
I like the Panthers to play with the Giants. Among other more mathematical things, I just flat out like how the Panthers play under Matt Moore. He did solid things down the stretch last year, and while he might not be making all the big plays, he’s not making all teh mistakes either. The Giants were really bad down the stretch, and while everyone always gives them the benefit of the doubt, blaming last year on injuries, I see this as Tom Coughlin’s last season in NY, and he won’t be finishing with a winning record. 7-points? With Carolina’s run-game? Please.
San Francisco (-3) @ Seattle Seahawks
(Risk $100 to Win $95)
If there are some Seattle people with hope in this years’ team, I haven’t met them yet. I’m from the area, have a bunch of really good buddies within 100 miles of the Hawks’ home games, even have three close buddies with season tickets… Not one thinks the Hawks win more than 6 games… And they play the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers – and have one of the easiest schedules in football. Yikes. Frank Gore seems to enjoy running through seagulls, and the 49ers defense looks like a tough match-up for anyone, let alone a Seattle team without an identity or an offensive line. This seems like a no-brainer.
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles
(Risk $100 to Win $95)
I don’t know what there isn’t to like about the Packers. This will be their second season in a 3-4, so they have to be better at most spots defensively – because with experience comes improvement. They don’t have Al Harris, so they lose a little there, but this is still a powerful defensive unit. Offensively, I don’t know if there’s a better group in football. Rodgers, Jennings, Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, JerMichael Finley, Ryan Grant – SOLID. The Eagles have lots of questions – I don’t like gambling on questions.
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) @ Houston Texans
(Risk $100 to Win $92)
The Colts are better than the Texans. At almost every position. QB – Yep. RB – Yep. OL- Yep. And defensively, the Colts always have solid players that fit perfectly in their scheme. And even star players, could you argue that Mario Williams is better than Dwight Freeney? Maybe, but you’d be wrong. Bob Sanders is also back, and my buddy Lucky Lester always talks about how great that guy is. So until he gets hurt, I think I’ll expect big things from the Colts’ defense.
Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (-5)
(Risk $100 to Win $92)
The Vikings offensive line showed me something late last season, they aren’t as good as people claim they are. They weren’t all that good running the ball and they couldn’t even get close to keeping the Saints out of Brett Favre’s grill in the NFC Championship. I don’t know what’s changed except Favre lost his favorite target and hasn’t much football of late. I don’t even know if he’s all the way healed yet. I’ll take the Saints and a defense that looks better, and offense that looks as good as ever. At home, too. Thanks, free money!
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets (-6.5) NFL Prediction: Jacksonville might be one of the toughest teams in the NFL to gauge – they can play so terribly against just about anyone, yet they’ve had a couple good games that remind you how good some of their players are. Starting out the season, they fought the Colts until the end, losing by 2. They also upset Houston on the road and smoked Tennessee. Yet they got killed at home by Arizona, straight pooped on by Seattle, they were taken to overtime by the physical powerhouse that is St. Louis, then they gave Tennessee their first win of the season right before allowing KC to come back late and take them the distance, as the Jags barely won by 3 at home to the Chiefs. Gross. One of the reasons they are so hard to predict is you never know what kind of stunt Jack Del Rio is going to pull. I’m sure there are 10 coaches fired in the last couple years that wake up every day wondering how in the hell this guy still has a job.
These teams may be 4-4, and I guess you have to give some credit where it’s due, because your record truly is the ultimate judge of your ability, but in my not so humble opinion, these two .500 teams couldn’t be more different. The only reason the Jaguars even have a chance in this game is that Kris Jenkins is out for the count. But then again, that who bye week, 2 weeks off to prepare for the Jaguars thing kind of counters that.
I like the Jets to win this one by a couple touchdowns. I don’t expect them to let Maurice Jones-Drew do much. Without MoJo, the Jaguars have nothing, especially when you consider the fact that Revis is going to shut Sims-Walker down.