Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: October 30th

Here we go, time for Dave's LOCKS (aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieee!) of the Week.

Just four games this time, but I feel pretty confident about them.

We'll start with the lone college pick.  Despite my hesitance to do College Games, I nonetheless will select Ole Miss -2 against Auburn.  Auburn is really looking overrated lately and I think they got pretty embarrassed by a similarly good defense at Starkville against Mississippi State.  Ole Miss is going to win this one going away.  Mississippi -2 vs Auburn.

Next we have the Panthers +3.5 at home against the Saints.  For me it's two things:  one, home dogs in prime time getting points are a good play, and Carolina is a good choice for one because while they lost against Seattle, Cam Newton's played markedly better.  The second thing is that the Saints still are very bad on the road.  I know they'll win a game there eventually but with the extra half point, I feel pretty confident about the Panthers at least covering the spread.  Panthers +3.5 vs Saints.

I'm also taking Patriots +3.5 at home against the Broncos.  Same reason! In fact, it surprises me a good amount that the Brady's Pats are getting more than a field goal against the Manning's Broncos.  Even recent history suggests that the Patriots have the upper hand over Manning teams at Gillette Stadium.  In a showcase game such as this, as every Manning/Brady matchup is, a home team getting points is a tremendous opportunity.  It doesn't happen often, and the fact that the Pats are underdogs suggests that either the Patriots are much worse than they looked in recent weeks or that a TON of people are putting money down on the Broncos.  I tend to think it's the latter because we've seen some pretty big point spreads for Denver over the last three weeks.  The betting public is big on Denver, and I feel like I can at least get good statistical odds with Brady and Belechick at home.  Bear in mind, the Patriots have yet to lose a home game.  I actually liked them outright, but officially we have Patriots +3.5 vs Broncos.

Lastly, I'll play heel and take the Ravens +1.5 at the Steelers.   In all honesty, the Steelers have been more fun to watch lately but their defense, especially in the fourth quarter, is pretty terrible.   Their pressure on Andrew Luck seemed like more of a fluke last week, but Ryan Shazier did make his return a week ago.  Nonetheless, the Ravens are a better all around team, an improving defensive team, and they're coming off a loss.   PIT comes off a win against the Colts.  Logically you'd expect the superior roster to win out, even on the road, but we'll see how it goes.   Ravens +1.5 at Steelers.

The line has since changed, since I made the pick early in the week.  Currently the point spread is Ravens -1.   I like it more with Ravens getting the point and a half, so I'm glad to jump on it.

So there they are, LOCKS for Week 9 of the NFL.   Mostly NFL, one College Game, and with hunches I think will hit.  On to a good football weekend!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dave's WEEKEND MADNESS goes 6-3! and LOCKS of the Week finish 3-3 (Season: 12-19)

Weekend Madness was a great success!  The capper was Redskins +10 at Dallas… I felt good about that and boy did they come through, didn't they?  Not only did they cover the 10, but they won outright in overtime.   Tony Romo was hurt during the game, but even so a great win for Washington.

That game finished off a great weekend of do-or-die picks from the weekend.  Here's how WEEKEND MADNESS broke down.

Hit with: SF Giants, Saints, Redskins, Isles over, Flyers over, Michigan State
Missed with: Penguins over, Maryland, Mississippi State (that damn half a point got me!)

Mississippi State.. would NOT have picked that game at all if I knew it was -14.5.  I thought it was -14… in fact I was waiting for it to go down to 13 but it didn't happen, but no matter, we got through it.

But, all in all, a 6-3 finish… I'm very happy to have a big finish in what could have been our last entry of this blog.   Thankfully it worked out.

LOCKS of the Week were not as lucky due to the Chargers running out of steam plus the aforementioned mis-cue selecting Mississippi State too late.   A good lesson to myself about why I need to make these picks earlier in the week.  I tend to find the point spreads more favorable when I jump on it early.  LOCKS went 3-3, bringing my season total to 12-19.  One more winning week and we're going to be in striking range for .500.  I have all the way until January to make it up too.  Let's break down the LOCKS:

Hit with: Michigan State, Saints, Redskins
Missed with: Chargers, Maryland, Mississippi State

Many of the picks here were included in "WEEKEND MADNESS."  One thing I noticed is that my pro picks have been doing much better than my college picks.   I'm going to step back through the weeks and see how it all adds up:

10/24: 2-1
10/15: 0-2
10/8: 2-0
10/2: 1-2

I did not pick NFL games this year until October, so that is my entire NFL picks history.   Well!  We went 5-5.. not as great as I thought, but it is quite a lot better than my record with College Games.

So!  Let's try to build another winning week.  We'll get it rolling by week's end, stay tuned for more LOCKS of the week coming up.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Kids Club" Football Picks - Week 8 Results: Ron ties for first place, Oat Man steady.

No winning weeks out of the Kids Club this week, in a weekend featuring a few wild finishes in both College and Pro Football.   Andy and Oat Man went 2-2.  Ron and John had losing records.    Andy is doing a pretty good job not giving up ground in the race, and Ron pulls into a tie with Ottis for first place.  Ron also wins Week 8 based on the number of previous week wins.  Here's the breakdown.

Ron in NJ (2-2) 
Hit with: Mississippi State, Bengals
Missed with: Ole Miss, Packers

The Mississippi State win was very very close!   He had the Bulldogs -13.5 and picking it early was his key to success, the line went up to -14.5 later on, which would have made Ron a loser, but getting it under 14 was *the* deciding factor.   Miss. State won by exactly 14 points.

Andy in Seattle (2-2) 
Hit with: Oregon, Patriots
Missed with: Auburn, Colts

Andy went with his home town Patriots and they came through in a big way: a dominating 51-23 home win over the Bears.

Say Hello to Ottis (1-3) 
Hit with: Michigan State
Missed with: Alabama, Bears, Seahawks

The Seahawks game was very similar to their game at Carolina last year.  Both games were decided by less than five points.  Alabama was especially disappointing for Ottis because  they had covered for a large portion of the game, but won by only 14 instead of the 18 points he needed.

John in CT (1-3) 
Hit with: Nebraska
Missed with: Oklahoma State, Lions, Jets

Hard to imagine the Jets would have put up such a miserable effort against the division rival Bills.   The Lions were down 21-0 against the Falcons and made a monster comeback to win with a last second field goal.   Final score: 23-21 Lions, so while John lost the pick, the Lions could have been blown out altogether if it were not for that furious rally.

I'd call it a "steady" week for the 'Club, and it brings our standings after 8 weeks:

Ron: 15-16-1
Ottis: 15-16-1
Andy: 13-18-1
John: 12-20

On to Week 9!

Mike Francesa's NFL Week 3 Results: 1-3 this wk, 19-12-1 for the season

After a great run of winning weeks, Mike Francesa's NFL Picks go 1-3, bringing his season total to 19-12-1.   Here is how it broke down...

Mike hit with: Chiefs
Mike missed with: Ravens, Jets, Packers

Both the Packers and Ravens picks were effective pick'em's, and for Mike they just didn't work out.   The Ravens came especially close to pulling it off, only to give up the the push for a touchdown at the goal line near the very end.

Next week, Mike goes for more W's in the NFL picks.  And on we will go...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weekend Madness!! A large array of picks.

Well folks... we are taking the kamikaze movement and going heavy with games this weekend.   LOCKS of the Week are included here plus some other picks.  NINE games total:

Maryland +11
Mississippi State -14.5   (this one burns me because it changed from 14 pts to 14.5 at the last second)
Michigan State -17.5
Stars/Islanders over
Wings/Flyers over
Penguins/Preds over
SF Giants -115 (Vogelsong vs Vargas)
Saints -1
Redskins +10

If this goes really south, you are reading the last post ever on LOCKS of the Week.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mike Francesa's Week 8 NFL Picks: October 24th

In the league where they play………………………………..  for pay. 

Mike went a spectacular 6-0 last week, bringing his season total to 18-9-1 (no matter what he says).   Now, he has a golden opportunity to extend his streak and build upon an already great season record.  Here are his picks for NFL Week 8:

Jets -3 vs Bills
Chiefs -7 vs Rams
Ravens [pickem] at Bengals
Packers +1 at Saints

I will add though... just when you feel like you can trust the Ravens, that's when they let EVERYBODY down.   Something to watch for going into this weekend.  Flacco in particular -- you never know what you're gonna get.   Provocative!   Good luck to Mike's picks for NFL Week 7.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: October 23rd

And now time for a big edition of our LOCKS (boink) of the Week!

I promised it a few days ago... this week we have a lot of games, and when I say a lot of games, I mean "we have a lot of games."   Let's start:

First from the Pros, we have the Chargers +8 at Denver.   This is a matchup the Chargers used well to their advantage last year, albeit later in the season.  They were also getting over a touchdown in points at Mile High and the Bolts won outright.  I also think it's odd to think of the Broncos winning a divisional game against another good QB by so many points.   On the other hand, it feels like a trap.   Nonetheless, the movement of the line from 7.5 points earlier in the week to 8 suggests many people want to take the Broncos.  That makes me feel pretty confident about this one.  Rivers should be ready to go after an off game against KC.   You may see some big plays from Malcolm Floyd this time around, and while the Broncos have a great run defense, it won't affect this game as the Chargers don't run the ball that much to begin with.

Next!  We have the Packers visiting the Saints.  The Packers are the better team here, but I also think they're due for a minor let down after a monster performance against Carolina.  The Saints had a tough loss at Detroit, and they are now 2-5.  Something has to give, and the Saints are bound to have a big game at home.   Brees hasn't been completely awful of late, and I think he'll spread the ball around much like the Packers do.  I haven't seen anyone really take advantage of GB's secondary, but that will change at the Superdome.   Saints -1 in a virtual pick'em vs Green Bay.

Lastly from the pros, we have a goofy pick: I like the Redskins +10 at Dallas.  This really makes no sense at all.  The Redskins are one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL and they have struggled  defensively against good or even mediocre quarterbacks.   Their QB situation itself is brutal.   They went from RG3 (hurt) to Kirk Cousins (ineffective) to Colt McCoy.   A perennial NFL backup retread against the league's hottest team, I don't like that matchup for Washington.   HOWEVER -- it remains that the Cowboys consistently don't cover at home when favored by ten or more points.  There's no other real reason to take the Redskins, other than the usual nonsense about what a big "rivalry game" it is.   Over time, I've found the games to be pretty close anyway.  Much closer than we'd expect in some years.  There were years where the Redskins had no right to compete that year, yet, you had a game within a touchdown in the fourth quarter.   All the value will be on D.C.'s side, Redskins +10 at Dallas.

Now to College Football.   I enjoy my Saturdays a little more when I have that 9am game to watch with a little juice involved.   This time around, that game is Maryland at Wisconsin.   Once again, the Badgers scheduled 5 tomato cans in a row, seemingly all at home, to give people a fake undefeated record, then played the real teams and fell short.   It's happening again this year, and after losing to Northwestern, Wisconsin isn't really a serious contender.   In a twist -- the Badgers had LSU on the ropes, only to *lose* late in the fourth quarter.  Then, we came to find out, LSU really isn't that good this year, but they have been getting better since that early September game.  Wisconsin, on the other hand, looks pretty weak of late.  This week, they play Maryland, a pretty good offensive team with a full head of steam.  Maryland isn't really the kind of team that can hold a lead, but they are usually pretty good at scoring points.    I like Maryland and their quick paced offense because they played a team similar to Wisconsin earlier in the year: Indiana.   Back then, the Hoosiers sported Tevin Coleman, a terrific running back and a big part of their offense, and it wasn't nearly enough in a 37-15 home loss.   The Badgers also are big on running, their star is Melvin Gordon and he too is the real deal, but that's just it.  The Badgers have had a tradition of running the ball but there's not much else to work with.   Passing from Wisconsin is so-so, and eventually I think the Terps will catch up with them in this game.   Maryland's done a fine job so far fitting in with the Big Ten.  Here's to a good game - Maryland +11 at Wisconsin

Next in College, two big favorites I couldn't resist.   We'll start with Michigan State -17.5 vs Michigan.  No one has been more dominant at home against weak teams than Michigan State.  With that said, they looked pretty shaky against Nebraska, but perhaps the Huskers are better than we imagined.   This time, the Spartans take on the reeling Michigan Wolverines who can't score to save their lives most of the time.   My only hesitation was on the line getting lower, but it didn't happen.  Nevertheless, we'll go Michigan State, coming off a blowout of Indiana on the road.

Finally, I have Mississippi State -14.5 at Kentucky.  I was waiting all week for the line to come down, but instead it actually went *up* to -14.5 from -14.  Very disappointing, but we'll take the game anyway.   Kentucky is 5-2, but none of those wins were against quality opponents.   They also had a terrible outcome against LSU, where they lose 41-3 at Baton Rouge.   While UK is at home, they're also playing the best defense/QB combination they faced so far.   It took me a while to buy into Dak Prescott's offense, but they locked down Auburn and embarrassed LSU on their field.  What more could you want?  The only thing keeping them back is either an unprepared-ness for the Wildcats' Air Raid offense, or a simple action of playing down to their opponent.   Usually in college, the best defense can circumvent or limit the "let down game."   It's hard to say though, that's why the SEC is so tough!   We'll take our chances.  Mississippi State to give the points.

Quick update:  I also have selected UConn +28.5 at ECU.  This isn't a LOCK of the Week, but it does seem like an awful lot of points to be getting against ECU.  ECU beat UNC 70-41, but nonetheless I figure the score will be just a point or two lower than 29 this time out.

So!  On this busy football weekend we have six picks:

Chargers +8
Saints -1
Redskins +10
Maryland +11
Michigan State -17.5
Mississippi State -14.5

Incredibly disappointing that the Bulldogs line isn't lower.   It seems to me that they will win by right around 13, 14, or 15 points.  We'll have to see!   Here's to a good weekend in football.