Football Picks: December 5 and 6

Stanford (-4.5) over USC: A lot has changed since these two teams met on September 19 in Week 3. Stanford entered the game 1-1 and beat USC straight up as a 10-point underdog. Since then Stanford flirted with a spot in the College Football Playoff but a loss to Oregon gives the Cardinal a slim chance to get a top four spot. USC has fired a coach and just permanently hired one since the Week 3 contest against Stanford. After beating UCLA, the Trojans took the interim label off Clay Helton’s title and he signed a five-year deal to be the school’s head coach. With Stanford having more to play for, I think they cover this number. Helton and USC will have one eye looking towards recruiting and might not be well prepared for this game.

Saints (+7) over Panthers: I made the point spread for this game Panthers -4. So I think there is some value in this line. New Orleans is a much better team at home and their defense has to be slightly better since Rob Ryan got fired. The Saints played the Panthers tough when the two teams met earlier this season and I think this will be another close one.

Rams (+6) over Cardinals: This is the classic take the Jeff Fisher team as an underdog in a division game. The Cardinals might be looking ahead to a Thursday night game at home against the Vikings. I think the Rams will be able to have success on the ground with Todd Gurley and cover this spread at home.

Giants (+2.5) over Jets: The Giants are technically the home team but you can throw out home field advantage here since the Jets play in the same stadium. I still don’t think the Jets are a better team than the Giants and not sure why they are favorites especially without Darrelle Revis.  I think the Giants win straight up and put themselves in a strong position to win the NFC East.

Chiefs (-3) over Raiders: I usually don’t like taking away favorites but I think the red-hot Chiefs aren’t getting the respect they deserve in this line. Oakland has won five game but I don’t spot an impressive win on their schedule. The Chiefs are on a great winning and covering streak, and I’m going to take a shot at them doing it again.

College Football: Week 12 Picks

Arkansas (-4) over Mississippi State: Arkansas is coming back home off huge road wins against Ole Miss and LSU. The Razorbacks played their best football at the end of the season last year, and I think they are doing the same now. I think they can put up points here and win by at least a touchdown.

Penn State (+3.5) over Michigan: Michigan is coming off a double overtime win over Indiana and have a huge game against Ohio State next weekend. Penn State had a bye week so they should be well prepared for this game. The Nittany Lions will win straight up with the Wolverines looking ahead to their game with the Buckeyes.

California (+10.5) over Stanford: Stanford’s College Football Playoff dreams were crushed last week when they lost to Oregon. Not much to play for her from the Cardinal perspective. California has greatly improved this season and I think they will bring a great effort against one of their biggest rivals.

College Football: Week 3 Picks

Here are my five best bets for Week 3 in college football. Click each linked for a short writeup of the game:

Louisville (+6) over Clemson

Notre Dame (+2.5) over Georgia Tech

Texas (+6.5) over California

Stanford (+10) over USC

Alabama (-6.5) over Ole Miss

 

 

Pac-12 Games to Watch

The Pac-12 looks like it will be a very entertaining conference in 2015 and one where I will look to pick a lot of games against the spread. Here are five games I will look to be involved in this season:

September 25- Stanford at Oregon state: Stanford has an early season conference test at USC on national TV. Six days later they go up to Oregon State. Not a game you have to bet because Oregon State is going through a rebuilding process but something to keep an eye on early in the season.

October 22- California at UCLA: In a odd scheduling situation, UCLA play on Thursday nights in back-to-back weeks. They play at Stanford before hosting California. Stanford is a physical team that could wear down UCLA at the line of scrimmage. This could setup well for a California team that will look to play in a high tempo offense. I’m also high on California this season and think they will finish third in the Pac-12 North. The Golden Bears are off a bye week and I think they will keep it close in Pasadena.

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College Football: Week 12 Picks

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

Pool Plays

Penn State (-11) over Temple

Ohio State (-14) over Minnesota

Iowa (-3.5) over Illinois

Nebraska (+6.5) over Wisconsin

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College Football: Week 6 Picks

Here are my picks and pool plays for Friday and Saturday in college football:

Mississippi State (-2) over Texas A&M: Texas A&M is overvalued and were lucky to beat Arkansas on Saturday. I think the Aggies defense will have trouble with Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs offense. Mississippi State had a bye last week to refocus after an emotional win at LSU.

Stanford (-1) over Notre Dame: Two years ago Stanford pushed Notre Dame to the brink before falling just short in South Bend. I think revenge can be a factor in this game. Everett Golson has had a great start to the season but the Cardinal have a history of slowing down mobile quarterbacks. Stanford’s only loss was against USC where they statistically dominated the game. Notre Dame has taken care of business but this year’s Michigan team, Purdue and Syracuse aren’t very good this season.

LSU (+7.5) over Auburn: I’ve been picking against Auburn a lot this season and will do it at least one more time. They failed to cover the spread in the last two games despite winning outright. Les Miles’ teams are always better with less expectations and when no one believes in them. I think that is the case in this game and I can see LSU upsetting Auburn.

Utah (+13) over UCLA: UCLA started the season slowly and then bursted out for 62 points and 580 yards last Thursday against Arizona State. The Bruins scored twice on interceptions and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The Bruins have a tough scheduling situation with Oregon at home next week. Utah may have been looking ahead to this game when they blew a fourth quarter lead to Washington State at home. I think the Utes offense gets back on track and they cover in Pasadena.

Pool Plays

Syracuse (+3) over Louisville- Friday Night

Purdue (+8.5) over Illinois

Ohio State (-8.5) over Maryland

Florida (+3) over Tennessee

Iowa State (+17) over Oklahoma State

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Pac-12 Win Total and Standings Preview

Best Bets

Stanford under 8.5 wins (+105): Stanford returns quarterback Kevin Hogan and wide receiver Ty Montgomery. However, there were some significant losses to David’s Shaw team. Running back Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 1,750 yards last season, is gone. The Cardinal have to replace most of their offensive line. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason took the head coaching job at Vanderbilt. Stanford’s schedule is brutal. They host USC in week 2 and have trips to Arizona State and UCLA. They also play at Washington, Notre Dame and Oregon. Stanford will have a down year for their standards under Shaw.  Continue reading