Predictions

SATURDAY’S FREE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAY: RICE VS NOTRE DAME

Saturday, 30 August, 2014

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Updated Lines view via Don Best

Notre Dame comes into this season with high hopes and a number seventeen ranking in the country. They have a tough road ahead of them this year and it starts with Rice. They come in as three touchdown favorites at -21.

Sometimes negative media attention can be an attractive buy early on in the season. I think this situation calls for that type of scenario. Media outlets have had their way with Notre Dame having issues holding their academics to the high standards the program has set. The latest issue was just a few weeks ago involving several players.

Take a look at today’s featured college football play under today’s picks. I’m 3-0 thus far on the college football season and have a fourth circled for Saturday. It will be a good ole fashioned opening college football Saturday blowout. Grab this play for just $25.

The fact of the matter is a few players do not overrule an entire team. Last year the team survived without Everett Goldson. After watching Tommy Rees play for years, I don’t think anyone would of expected the type of season he had a year ago as a senior. The bottom line is, a school of Notre Dame’s caliber has backup plans for backup plans. Replacements can step in and handle their assignments.

Facing Rice is going to be another test but one they should breeze through. It’s one thing to rip through Conference USA and another to step outside of your conference. Last year Rice lost all three matches outside of their conference, including a butt-whooping against Mississippi State in a bowl game.

Rice will lean on junior quarterback, Driphus Jackson. Jackson has had starts before as a freshman and even led Rice to a bowl game win over Air Force that season.

But as stated the experience and talent of the Irish trump this current line. It may not be a runaway but I’d trust Notre Dame’s defense to force enough turnovers to set the offense up for easy scores. Play the Irish -21.

REVERSAL IN POINT SPREAD IN VILLANOVA VS SYRACUSE

Friday, 29 August, 2014

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Yesterday was a pretty straight forward day for most handicappers. Many have reported a great start to the season on Thursday. On to Friday though where the slate looks to be a bit more difficult. One game on the board is Villanova vs Syracuse. This game has had a shift in point spread movement.

Just a few days ago the point spread was 15.5 only to move yesterday to 18.5. Who knows what set off the spark but the line has since come back down to 15.5. It’s comparable to a hot stock that takes off and doesn’t have an end point. Once that end point is hit buyers realize it has exceeded its proper value.

Syracuse has been one of those .500 teams that sneaks into bowl games since the Doug Marrone era. They’ve done so by replicating the model of many up and coming teams, and that is too schedule early opponents that they can grab wins against.

This strategy has worked well for Syracuse over the last three years. Though there have been a few close calls, like a narrow win over Stony Brook a few seasons ago.

Villanova played decent against Boston College to open the season last year, losing 28-14.

Syracuse made it to a bowl game last year largely because of their defense and dynamic duo at running back. Using Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley led to wins over NC State, Wake Forest, and Maryland. Second year quarterback, Terrelle Hunt, just didn’t play like a starting quarterback last season.

He was given the job over 5th year transfer Drew Allen, after Allen struggled mightily early in the season. Hunt wasn’t much better but he did not turn the football over. That ball control style worked against a weak ACC conference with a formidable Syracuse defense.

Syracuse did lose quite a few key players defensively. We saw last night in South Carolina that replacing defensive players is harder than it looks.

This spread would not be on my top plays for Friday, as the spread is too high in my opinion. I don’t have enough faith in Villanova’s offense or defense to back them either.

NCAA FRIDAY FREE PLAY: BOWLING GREEN VS WESTERN KENTUCKY

Friday, 29 August, 2014

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A year ago the MAC definitely proved they were an unworthy conference for bowl representatives. The conference went 0-4 including Bowling Green, which lost 30-27 to Pittsburgh.

Western Kentucky was a team that was on its way up with Bobby Petrino. They had some exciting moments including an opening week win against SEC opponent Kentucky a year ago. But losing a coach of Petrino’s caliber detracts from the program. The departure of running back Antonio Andrews is also a hit a program like Western Kentucky doesn’t replace overnight. Andrews ran over 1500 yards his last two seasons in Western Kentucky. Senior quarterback Brandon Doughty will have to prove he is ready to lead this team with his arm.

Bowling Green was a team last year that got away with winning ugly. The MAC boosted that effort as the weak conference allotted for miscues and sluggishness. The team did thrive defensively though allowing just under 16 points a game. A mark that was 5th best in the country. This is key as the team returns nine upperclassmen from last years defense.

Where I expect Bowling Green to take big steps and to do so Friday is offensively. As stated they were often times sluggish out the gate of games. In the first quarter of the first nine games last year they only scored a touchdown in two of those games. Thanks to their strong defense they were able to comeback from deficits or be in a scoreless game.

Towards the end of their MAC schedule things began to change. Senior quarterback Matt Johnson started to find his rhythm earlier in games. They torched Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, and Northern Illinois.

Look for Bowling Green to come out strong and perform well tomorrow on the road. Being a team from the MAC has this line shadowed down, but they have a clear talent advantage. Buy the hook down to 7.

FIVE NFL COACHES ON THE HOT SEAT

Wednesday, 27 August, 2014

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Every year we see the circus of the NFL for free agents, draft picks, and NFL head coaches. It all starts with moves to remove a head coach before anything else can occur. Lets take a look at the top five coaches on the hot seat to be fired in 2014. Referencing the Official 2014 NFL odds will give you a good idea as to why they may be on chopping block in the upcoming season.

Rex Ryan
There’s no doubt that Rex Ryan will be one of the most watched coaches in the NFL this year. He has been through a whirlwind of drama as the Jets head coach. His strong defenses were undermined by poor choices at quarterback, wide receiver, and other personnel decisions. Still the Jets brought him back but the leash will be short on Ryan.

Doug Marrone
I think Marrone will do much better as a coordinator in the NFL or college coach again. He just seems a bit over his head as an NFL head coach. We see this all the time where a hot name lands a job but fades quickly. Buffalo is a tough place for anyone, but results still need to happen. If Manuel falls flat this season expect Marrone’s hot seat to be steaming.

Jason Garrett
The sports media’s favorite team to bash still has the coach on board that has been the leader since Wade Phillips firing. There has been key issues made late in games that have cost the Cowboys winnable games. The romance with Garrett and Romo is soon to hit that closing change over moment.

Dennis Allen
Poor Allen has to somehow manage a team that will be led by Matt Schaub. Not only that the team has one of the oldest running back tandems in the league in MJD and Darren McFadden. Both have been injury-riddled over the last two to three seasons. The youth on this team is untested and already took a blow with last years cornerback in DJ Hayden missing the first six weeks of the season.

Mike Tomlin
His name hasn’t been mentioned to much but the Steelers are losing the race amongst the Bengals and Ravens. Last year the team had no offensive rhythm. They moved the football only when trailing and looked like a college football team trying to erase a deficit. Defensively they believe they have turned things back around. Only time will tell, but a third place finish puts Tomlin on the hot seat.

FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT NEWS AND NOTES

Wednesday, 27 August, 2014

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Key fantasy football drafts have been going on over the last week or two. They’ll continue for the next week. Many of you probably did invite leagues just for fun in mid June to late July, but now will start to get into your true fantasy groove. Your cap is on and your ready for the NFL season.

Before you head to your war rooms to draft with your buddies and colleagues here are a few fantasy football notes to think about.

Be leery of Jamaal Charles

I profiled Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles as a draft pick to be worried about this season. He has as high a stock as any fantasy football back, but there is a track record with Andy Reid to be leery of. Track the article from a week ago to read further.

Don’t Overreact to Preseason Play
A lot of people overreact to media drawn out stories or minimal statistics. Think about it this way. The action these athletes receive in preseason is so minuscule to what they receive in the regular season. Quarterbacks thus far in three combined preseason games may have totaled three to four quarters of actual action. Two of those quarters were warm up basic vanilla plays. The other few series maybe they did show rust. Think back to your athletic achievements even if they were back in peewee days. How’d you do the first week of practice or first games? Exactly. Let the pros be pros and expect their play to spike back to normal come Sundays.

Act Like You’ve Been There
In your drafts you should be prepared 100 percent. Don’t let an owner before you spoil your pick. If he picks someone you had in mind, move on with your backup plan. Some owners get so distraught that their pick was taken that they lose sight of their draft plans. The same can be said for auction leagues as well. You have a budget and have to abide to that. Obviously your going to have to protect your wallet on certain guys.

Sleepers Are Bait in Drafts
The term fantasy football sleeper started off well back in the mid to late 90′s. Gradually it has bogged down like a ten year television sitcom. It’s redundancy has plagued fantasy owners minds for their drafts. Too many people fill their rosters with potential hype and devalue the strength of their rosters. It’s safe to target a maximum of two possible sleepers. Use the rest of your bench depth on veterans and worthy tier three players. More than likely your sleeper pick ends up as your first or second waiver wire drop.

NFL: OVER/UNDER WIN TOTAL PREDICTIONS NFC NORTH

Tuesday, 26 August, 2014

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I continue on my divisional coverage of predictions for over/under win totals. Today we will focus on the NFC North. A division that has as much talent as any division in the NFL, but has fallen short of living up to it on an annual basis.

Lets see if this is the year that the Lions, Packers, and Bears thrive and give the NFC a run for their money.

Vegas Has It Right On
Green Bay
Many have Green Bay circled as one of the easy picks to topple Vegas’s set line of ten wins. They do look like a strong team but surpassing double digit wins is always a challenge. This is a division that hasn’t changed much personnel wise. All teams know each other very well. That’s a challenge in my mind to get through a division with ease. We’ve seen it for years in the NFC East, and the same can be said here. Vegas has this one right on. I can see them getting 11 wins, tying the number at ten, or falling just short at 9 wins. I wouldn’t put money on them.

Beats The Number
Detroit Lions 8 wins
Talk about a team that had some ugly losses a year ago. Detroit’s average season hit a landslide as they dropped their last four games. That finish was the writing on the wall to send former head coach Jim Schwartz packing. Now the question is can Caldwell boost the talent-laden Lions. I believe he can and that the Lions beat the number of 8 wins. All it’s going to take is true maturity from a team filled with great young players.

Falls Short
Chicago 8 wins
Throughout the Lovie Smith era this Bears team had its ups and downs. They got to the Super Bowl and had success based on a ferocious defense that had key players everywhere. The defense aged and truly hasn’t been the same in a solid three seasons. Marc Trestman is an offensive guy and will continue to thrive this year. I’m just not sold that they get it done even with vast improvement on the defensive side of the ball. They’re similar to the Cowboys. They’ll be in games and look fantastic in highlights, but when it comes to wins and losses they fall short.

Minnesota Vikings 6 wins
I’m an old Big East college football fanatic. I certainly was down on Geno Smith after watching him at West Virginia before his last season in the Big 12. Teddy Bridgewater is in my eyes going to struggle as well. He is slight of frame for an NFL quarterback and has worse accuracy issues in my estimation than Smith. Over the long haul I believe Bridgewater can become a decent starter but it’s going to take some serious growing pains. He was fortunate to play in a watered down Big East and AAC. Louisville’s upset win over Florida caused Bridgewater’s stock to rise similar to an NCAA basketball player having a great March Madness. Neither a veteran in Matt Cassel or a year one Teddy Bridgewater is capable of getting this team a combined six wins. AP of two years ago isn’t coming back anytime soon either.