Ravens (-6) over Chargers: This line might be a little higher after Baltimore went into New Orleans and beat the Saints on Monday night. The short week isn’t an ideal situation for the Ravens but I think the win by double digits at home. The Chargers are 3-3 in their last six games and haven’t covered a spread. The Ravens are right in the AFC North race and face must-win games every week.
Bengals (-4) over Buccaneers: I think this line might be lower than I expected because the Bengals play the Steelers next week. However, Cincinnati can’t afford to look ahead as the Ravens, Steelers and Browns are right behind them in the division race. Tampa Bay is coming off a big game where they played Lovie Smith’s former team. Next week they travel to Detroit, which might also be an important game for Smith facing an old NFC North rival. The Bengals are a different team with a healthy Giovani Bernard along with Jeremy Hill and I think they win by a touchdown.
Saints (+4.5) over Steelers: The best thing for the Saints after three uncharacteristic home losses is to get away from New Orleans. I think they regroup especially with a division title to play for. I still think the Steelers can win this game but it will be by a field goal. Saints have played a lot of close games on the road where they just fell short.
Panthers (+3) over Vikings: The Vikings had a great effort against the Packers last week and I think they show up flat. The Panthers had a bye week to prepare and amazingly are still in the NFC South race. I think this will be a very low scoring game in Minnesota.
Broncos (-1.5) over Chiefs: The Chiefs have a great home field and this game is at night. I still think the Broncos should be the favorite in this game and the line should be closer to a field goal. Julius Thomas looks like he is coming back for Denver, which will cause matchup problems for the Chiefs defense. The inconsistent play from Kansas City receivers will catchup up to them and I think the Broncos win by at least three points.
Here are my Week 14 college football picks and the rest of the pool plays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday:
Texas (+7) over TCU: I think Texas gives TCU scare on Thanksgiving Night with tough defense.
Texas A&M (+3) over LSU: LSU is a young team and this is a tough situation on the road.
Ohio State (-21) over Michigan: Ohio State will be looking for style points and will show no mercy against their bitterest rival.
Penn State (+13) over Michigan State: This line is a bit too high and I think James Franklin will have his team prepared.
Tennessee (-17) over Vanderbilt: Tennessee will be bowl eligible with a win and the Volunteers should rout the Commodores in Knoxville West. Speaking of James Franklin, Vanderbilt beat Tennessee the last two seasons so Butch Jones’ team has revenge on their mind.
Pool Plays Continue reading
There are three games on Thanksgiving Day and don’t have a strong opinion on any of them. Will just make contest picks for the Thursday games but will have several official picks for the games on Sunday. My overall record in those games is 36-22 and I’m looking to improve that record over the next five weeks of the regular season.
Lions (-7) over Bears
Cowboys (-3) over Eagles
49ers (-1) over Seahawks
Here are my Week 12 NFL picks and the rest of the contest picks:
Under 49 in Eagles vs Titans
Lions (+7.5) over Patriots
Vikings (+9) over Packers
Bengals (+2) over Texans
Buccaneers (+6) over Bears
Chargers (-5) over Rams
Giants (+3.5) over Cowboys
Contest Picks Continue reading
Washington State (+16) over Arizona State: Arizona State’s Playoff dreams were crushed last week at Oregon State. They return home to face Washington State and now they don’t even control their own destiny to win the Pac-12 South. The Sun Devils also have a rivalry game against Arizona next week, which makes the situation even tougher. Washington State won’t make a bowl this season but quarterback Luke Falk did a great job replacing the injured Connor Halliday in the Cougars’ win at Oregon State. Washington State also had a bye last week so they will be prepared and focused.
Arkansas (+3.5) over Ole Miss: I think Arkansas starts building a conference winning streak this week. Their running attack and offensive line can matchup with Ole Miss’ front seven. The Rebels might be looking ahead to next week’s game against Mississippi State where they can ruin their rivals’ Playoff chances. Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker to Mississippi State last season, which makes the look ahead ever more possible.
Virginia (+6) over Miami: I was very impressed with Miami’s play against Florida State but they lost in devastating fashion. Now they have to go on the road to Virginia with a let down seeming inevitable. Virginia is 4-6 so they still have a shot at a bowl game. The Cavaliers are coming off a bye so this is a great spot to back Virginia.
Vanderbilt (+30) over Mississippi State: Mississippi State is overvalued here. I think the Sportsbooks have an inflated point spread assuming that Mississippi State will try to run up the score to impress the Playoff committee. The reality is Mississippi State hasn’t really looked impressive recently and they just want to win and be healthy for the Egg Bowl in Week 14. The Bulldogs are still in the top four so they still control their own destiny. Vanderbilt is showing signs of life and had a bye last week to prepare for this one.
Kansas State (+2) over West Virginia- Thursday night
North Carolina (+6) over Duke- Thursday night
I have mostly passed on making a pick for the Thursday night games this season. However, I see a great opportunity to make an official pick this week. The Chiefs travel to Oakland to face the winless Raiders. I like the Raiders against the spread in this game. Kansas City is coming off a big win at home against the Seahawks. Now they travel west on a short week. The week after Kansas City has an important AFC West game against Denver with a division lead possibly at stake. I think Kanas City might overlook Oakland despite having 10 days to prepare for the Broncos. With the spread over a touchdown, the Raiders are an official pick for Thursday.
Pick: Raiders (+7.5) over Chiefs
Here are my Week 11 NFL picks and the rest of the contest picks:
Texans (+3.5) over Browns
Chiefs (pick) over Seahawks
Bengals (+7.5) over Saints
Packers (-6) over Eagles
Patriots (+3) over Colts
Contest Picks Continue reading
I have seven picks in Week 12 of college football. I previewed the important games earlier in this week before the lines were released. I ended up picking six of those games so you can read my analysis there. Here are my picks and pool plays for Week 12:
South Carolina (+7) over Florida: This is the one game I didn’t preview earlier in the week because it has no impact on the College Football Playoff. South Carolina has blown three fourth quarter leads this year but I think they make sure to play 60 minutes in Gainesville. Florida doesn’t have the offense to be a touchdown favorite here and I think the Gamecocks win straight up.
Georgia (-2) over Auburn
Stanford (-7.5) over Utah
Alabama (-8) over Mississippi State
Arkansas (-2) over LSU
Florida State (-3) over Miami
Maryland (+12) over Michigan State
Penn State (-11) over Temple
Ohio State (-14) over Minnesota
Iowa (-3.5) over Illinois
Nebraska (+6.5) over Wisconsin
Contest pick and pool play for Thursday:
Dolphins (-6) over Bills
California (+14.5) over USC
The College Football Playoff picture became a little more clear after Saturday’s action. A group of teams control their own destiny to make the top four while four other teams picked up their second loss of the season to likely end any national title hopes. After the dust cleared in Week 11, there appears to be many great situational opportunities to pick games in Week 12. Here are some early thoughts on games before any lines are released:
Contenders (Teams that have a shot at the Playoff)
Mississippi State at Alabama: Mississippi State has had this game circled since they beat Auburn almost a month ago. It will likely decide the SEC West winner after Alabama survived at LSU. Alabama is a much better team at home this season especially on offense. Don’t be surprised if Alabama is a touchdown favorite against the No. 1 team because they are a more talented team and they have to win. The Bulldogs might be able to lose this game and still make the Playoff if they beat Ole Miss at the end of the season.
Florida State at Miami: There were rumors earlier this week that Miami would be a favorite in this game. I highly doubt that will happen but the Hurricanes have definitely gained some respect over the last month. They dominated Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and North Carolina but those three teams haven’t impressed anyone this season. Florida State has been overrated for most of the year but I think they should be at least a field goal favorite on Saturday. Keep in mind that Miami doesn’t have much of a home field advantage and Florida State fans will travel well to this game.
TCU at Kansas: The Horned Frogs got past the difficult part on their conference schedule with only one loss. A trip to Texas on Thanksgiving night looks like the only test left this season. It will be interesting to see if the Playoff Committee ranked TCU higher than a one-loss Mississippi State. I think they would. Continue reading