Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 6th

Here we go!  LOCKS (slam!) of the Week.

So here it is, on to continue our losing streak.  Can we sink further than 13-22?  Let's see.  We'll start with the pros.

Bengals -6.5 vs Browns.  My picks begin with tonight's Thursday game between the Browns and Bengals.    This is a classic case of not-overthinking-it.   The Browns have looked better lately, and are much more competitive than usual, but it's still a very limited offensive team and head to head with Cincy, the Bengals have had more than their share of fun.  The Bungles also rebounded after some simply abysmal football a month ago.  There's not much more to it than that.  Cincinnati is a great home team, and a great home team against the spread no less.  The last real fail ATS was the overtime game against Carolina.  Other than that, they're solid at home.   To date we have seen only two underdogs cover the spread on the new "Thursday Night Football", that was the Jets in Week 7 and the Giants earlier in Week 4.  That *also* means 7 teams covered as favorites on the Thursday Night package.  Bengals with AJ Green back against familiar foes, let's do it.

Chiefs -2.5 at Bills.  This is more of a spite pick, going back to the same matchup a year ago I used on LOCKS of the week.  In fact the same two teams played at the same place in Buffalo.  Both teams have changed on both sides of the ball since then, with Flowers going to San Diego, and Manuel giving way to Kyle Orton in Buffalo.  For me, this is yet another hot team that really isn't that good.   Sammy Watkins has been the real deal, but defensively I'm not convinced with them.   There are some tangible issues at Running Back lately with CJ Spiller still rehabbing.  For KC, Jamaal Charles looks like he's back on a roll and Alex Smith did a good job engineering a dominant home performance against the Jets last Sunday.  I expect more of the same at Ralph Wilson Stadium just as they did last week.

Lions -3 vs Dolphins.   You can see that favorites are popular picks this week in the NFL, and the Dolphins' defense looks terrific, but I still will give the edge to Detroit.  Detroit is home, their pass rush still is incredibly good, and the defense altogether has been pretty stingy.   Certainly, the Fantasy Football player recognizes how little they give up in the way of passing yards, touchdowns, and receptions.  Adding to this is the fluid nature of Dolphins RB Lamar Miller.   With his health in question, I don't think the Dolphins will take advantage of a strangely *terrible* Lions rushing defense.   On the offensive side of the ball, Stafford, Tate, and the returning Calvin Johnson will be very tough to defend, and I think Detroit wins out.  I will admit this is a coin-flip game, especially for a team so poorly coached like the Lions, but I'm sensing more overall talent in the Motor City.   I will say that the Dolphins are pretty good and provided they can make the right plays tactically they should be in this one for a while.

Now to College Football, where I continue to be a glutton for punishment.  Here are my College Football picks.

Duke -3.5 at Syarcuse.   I agree with John in CT who made the point on the @ditcow podcast that the Blue Devils are consistently undervalued at the sports book.   It was close, but they covered once again and won outright against PITT.  This week they meet a sad sack, poorly managed team in the Syracuse Orange, and Duke is simply a pretty good team.   I'd be surprised if they lost this one.  Blue Devils to give the points.

Michigan State -3.5 vs Ohio State.   While Ohio State is a much improved team and more confident from where they were about week 3 following a loss to Virginia Tech, I still think Michigan State is the class of the conference.  They beat every team in-conference so far, despite a close call with Nebraska.  Other than that, they have crushed everyone and everything in the Big Ten.  It's also a more experienced team than Ohio State at present with returning QB Connor Cook, Jeremy Langford, and a great secondary.   It's a rematch of a thrilling Big Ten Championship game from a year ago, this will be fun!

That does it for LOCKS of the Week.  I have the Bungles -6.5, Chiefs -2.5, and Lions -3 in the NFL, then Duke -3.5 and Michigan State -3.5 in College.  Here's to a great Week 10!

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