College Football Week 5, NFL Week 4 Free Picks
Mississippi vs. Alabama, 6:30PM ET
Alabama doesn’t look as dominant as it has in year’s past, and bettors have taken notice. The spread in this game has been bet down from one key number of 17, to another key number in 14. The Rebels have fared well against the Tide, covering in all four of their last four meetings with ‘Bama in Tuscaloosa. They’re also 6-2 against the spread in their last eight meetings overall with the Tide, while the road team is 5-0 against the number in the last five meetings between these two teams. Ole Miss has a balanced offensive attack thanks to quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, who is a running threat. The Rebels enter tonight’s game with plenty of confidence and should stay within two touchdowns of a Tide team that didn’t look sharp defensively two weeks ago versus A&M.
FREE PICK: OLE MISS +14
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 8:00PM ET
The Buckeyes have been flat-out dominant in their first three games and own the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country (52.5 points). But Braxton Miller is set to return tonight following a sprained left MCL injury suffered a few weeks ago. Rust might be a factor in the early going, which could give Wisconsin confidence for the rest of the game. The underdog is 10-3 against the spread in the last 13 meetings between these two teams and the Badgers are 4-0 against the number in their last four games overall. They’re also 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 conference games and have rushed for 387 yards or more in three of their four games. Look for Wisconsin to give Ohio State its first challenge of the season.
FREE PICK: WISCONSIN +6.5
Bengals vs. Browns, 1:00PM ET
The Bengals are coming off two emotional victories against Pittsburgh and Green Bay, and now has to travel to Cleveland and play a team in the Browns that they’re expected to beat. There’s always value in the home underdog, especially one in Cleveland that shocked bettors a week ago by beating Minnesota outright as a 6.5-point dog. The line in this game has been bet down from 5 to 3.5 despite the public siding with Cincinnati. The underdog is 10-1-1 against the spread in the last 12 meetings between these two teams and the Bengals are just 2-5-1 against the number in their last eight games versus the Browns. Look for a confident Cleveland team behind Brian Hoyer to keep this game within a field goal.
FREE PICK: BROWNS +3.5
Seahawks vs. Texans, 1:00PM ET
The Seahawks look every bit a Super Bowl contender in the early going. They suffered no letdown last Sunday when they thumped a brutal Jacksonville team a week after crushing division rival San Francisco on Sunday Night Football. But the Seahawks have never been a team that travels well and the Texans are licking their wounds after being embarrassed in Baltimore last week. Houston knows it can’t afford to fall behind in the AFC South, especially with Indianapolis playing Jacksonville this week. Look for the underdog Texans to win outright as a small home dog.
FREE PICK: TEXANS +1
Posted in: College Football
Tags: Alabama football, Baltimore Ravens, Brian Hoyer, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, college football free picks, football free picks, free picks, Houston Texans, nfl free picks, Ohio State Buckeyes, Ole Miss football, Wisconsin Badgers
Peyton Manning on a roll
Peyton Manning has always been a stud in the regular season, but this is ridiculous.
Adding to his historic start, Manning led the Broncos to a 37-21 whipping of the Oakland Raiders on Monday night at Sports Authority Field. Manning was an absurd 32-of-37 — all five incompletions hit the intended receiver in the hands — for 374 yards and three touchdowns.
The Broncos’ quarterback is making it look ridiculously easy three games into the 2013 season. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 12 touchdown passes through the first three games. And Manning had his passing dozen by halftime of Game 3.
That’s 12 touchdowns against zero interceptions. The best he’s ever been?
The question again remains however as to whether Manning can extend this to the post season. Until that happens, this is great fodder for conversation, but it really doesn’t matter that much. Winning in the playoffs will be critical to Manning’s legacy.
USA Await Rejuvenated GB in Davis Cup
Great Britain’s sensational victory over Croatia that saw them return to the Davis Cup World Group for the first time since 2008 means they will play the United States away in February.
An Andy Murray-inspired win against a strong Croatia line-up has now given the chance for Britain to take on Jim Courier’s US side, in a clash that sees the two original Davis Cup nations face off for the first time since 1999.
The last time Britain played at the top level of the tournament, they lost 4-1 to Argentina, but there have been some significant improvements under Leon Smith’s captaincy and the team will know they have a chance of defying the tennis odds on betfair.com, as long as Murray recovers from his back injury in time.
It will be the first time the US and GB have been drawn against each other since 1999, when the United States won a thriller 3-2. And while GB have spent time outside the World Group in recent years, the USA have featured in the first round every year since 1989, falling at the quarter-final stage in this year’s tournament at the hands of finalists, Serbia.
US captain, Courier, is not short of options when naming his team, able to call upon the likes of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison, and the best doubles team in the world, the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike. And Courier has admitted he is looking forward to the prospect of coming up against the British next February.
“Great Britain will be a challenging and exciting opponent for us,” said the former world number one, according to the betfair website. “It’s going to be memorable to have the two original Davis Cup nations face off again for the first time since the competition’s Centennial Celebration in 1999.”
Scott Fujita breaks down Trent Richardson deal
There’s has been a very wide range of opinions on the trade of Trent Richardson by the Browns to the Colts. As a Browns fan I was shocked at first like everyone else, but when I thought about it the deal made a lot of sense. Richardson is a good back and he’s a physical specimen, but he has not lived up to the hype of the third overall pick and he’s very injury prone. He dances way too much behind the line and often either doesn’t hit the right hole or doesn’t hit a hole at all.
On the other hand, it also can make sense for the Colts, who have a franchise quarterback and now add a running back to the mix with a high ceiling. It just remains to be seen if Richardson can improve. Most great NFL backs are great right away. It’s not like the quarterback position where experience is critical.
One very interesting take comes from Scott Fujita, who is already establishing himself as one of the most honest and insightful NFL commentators out there.
I can’t speculate about what’s in any one person’s head, but when a player enters the league wearing headphones incessantly, shows up late for treatments, and makes little effort to engage with his teammates, he can quickly develop a reputation for being insular and high-maintenance.
It can be perceived that he isn’t happy and that he’s not making an effort to buy in. I’ve seen this happen countless times, especially in today’s head down, keep-things-to-yourself culture.
Generally, you hope the player grows out of that coming into his second season, especially when there’s been a complete regime change and everyone is expected to prove themselves all over again. Some players buy in, and some don’t. Buy-in, even if it’s just perceived, goes a long way. You have to be willing to show you want to be part of the team.
I have no idea what took place during Thursday morning’s team meeting in Berea, the first since the trade was announced the previous afternoon. But my sense tells me a message was sent, loud and clear, even if nothing was spoken: No one is guaranteed a spot on this team. No one is bigger than the team. If you don’t buy in, you don’t belong on this team.
Maybe it’s just a personality thing, but was Richardson the type of player to work hard and improve? The new coaching staff gave up on him two games in a row in the second half after he had trouble in the new offense.
College Football Week 4, NFL Week 3 Free Picks
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Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, 3:30PM ET, Saturday
There’s tremendous value in the Spartans on Saturday. Granted, their defense hasn’t been tested yet but they rank fifth nationally with an average of 126.7 passing yards against. Perhaps most importantly is that sophomore Connor Cook emerged last week from a crowded quarterback competition by throwing for four first-half touchdowns and 202 yards against Youngstown State. Running back Jeremy Langford has also scored four touchdowns on the season and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, so MSU should generate plenty of offense this weekend. The Spartans are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight trips to South Bend, while the road team is 11-2 against the number in the last 13 meetings between these two teams. Granted, Notre Dame is seeking its 10th consecutive win in South Bend but the Irish looked vulnerable on the road last week versus Purdue. This is a field goal game either way and if you like the Spartans, jump on them now. The line has already moved down to 4.5 after opening at 6.
FREE PICK: MICHIGAN STATE +4.5
Arizona State vs. Stanford, 7:00PM ET, Saturday
The Sun Devils are coming off of what many would deem as a “gift” win over Wisconsin after the officiating crew blew the end of last Saturday’s game. But ASU will gladly take the victory and will look towards Saturday, which coach Todd Graham says “is a great opportunity for us to take a step forward as a program.” Stanford won’t be easy to overcome. The Cardinal is 8-2 at home against ranked opponents since 2009 and boasts a defense that returned eight starters from a unit that statistically was the best in the Pac-12 last season. That said, the Sun Devils are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall and the coaching staff knows what a win over the Cardinal could do for the program. The line has already been bet down two full points in this one – you can expect ASU’s best effort.
FREE PICK: ARIZONA STATE +5.5
Falcons vs. Dolphins, 4:05PM ET, Sunday
The Falcons have been absolutely ravaged by injuries in the early going. It was revealed following the team’s Week 1 loss to the Saints that Roddy White suffered a high-ankle sprain in preseason, and just this past week Steven Jackson (thigh), Sean Weatherspoon (foot), and Kroy Biermann (Achilles) all fell victim to serious injuries. Atlanta was already having issues running the ball so without Jackson in the starting lineup, the feat could become impossible. Losing Weatherspoon and Biermann also force DC Mike Nolan to play with inexperienced players at crucial spots defensively, and this was already a unit that struggles to generate pressure. On the other side, the Dolphins have been impressive while winning both of their games on the road. Ryan Tannehill has looked sharp in the early going and finally got on the same page as receiver Mike Wallace, who had a big game in Indy last week. With the public jumping on the underdog Falcons, the Dolphins are a value at under a field goal. Miami goes to 3-0.
FREE PICK: MIAMI DOLPHINS -1
Buccaneers vs. Patriots, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
The Bucs have been a mess both on and off the field thus far. They scored a combined 31 points in their first two games and there have been reports questioning Josh Freeman’s leadership and whether or not coach Greg Schiano is a fit. That said, in both of their games they squandered leads with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. While the unit has failed to close out games in the final minutes the past two weeks, the Bucs wouldn’t have been in either contest had it not been for Bill Sheridan’s defense. Tampa will play a New England team on Sunday that had issues moving the ball last week against Rex Ryan’s Jets. Tom Brady was visibly frustrated with his young receiving corps during the game and without Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, there’s reason to believe that the Pats could continue to struggle offensively. New England opened as a 9.5-point favorite but the spread has already been bet down a full point. The Bucs have a ton of issues but their defense should give them a chance on Sunday.
FREE PICK: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS +8.5
Posted in: College Football, NFL
Tags: Arizona State Sun Devils, Atlanta Falcons, college football free picks, College football predictions, college football week 4 free picks, college football week 4 predictions, football free picks, free picks, Miami Dolphins, Michigan State Spartans, New England Patriots, nfl free picks, NFL predictions, NFL Week 3, nfl week 3 free picks, nfl week 3 predictions, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Stanford Cardinal, Tampa Bay Buccaneers