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

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Alabama slowly dismantles Ole Miss, wins 22-3

Alabama

Did anybody else feel the energy completely evaporate at the beginning of the third quarter? This game took place in Oxford, Mississippi and the fans consistently did their best to keep the Rebels inspired. Nevertheless, Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead was never able to make the big play that would turn this game around. By the third quarter, the noise in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was the equivalent of a gigantic yawn.

Alabama entered this competition 5-0, favored to beat Ole Miss who held a record of 3-1. Over the last four seasons, Albama had won this competition each time, though the game always came down to the final possession. However, today’s meeting was never really close, despite the score at the half.

Throughout the game, Jevan Snead failed to complete crucial first downs. Alabama’s defense terrorized his offense, picking off Snead four times. (Snead had previously only thrown five interceptions on the year.) They also limited Ole Miss’ rushing to a pathetic 57 yards.

On the other hand, Alabama QB Greg McElroy was able to come through on big downs. Though he still passed for the same amount of yards as Snead, he didn’t throw any interceptions. In the end, neither quarterback was stellar. McElroy didn’t complete a touchdown pass as well. Alabama kicked their way onto the scoreboard, as
Leigh Tiffin made each of his five field goal attempts. Running back Mark Ingram scored the game’s only touchdown, weaving through the Ole Miss defense on a 36-yard run.

College football fans might look at this game and think Alabama did everything right. While they beat a talented team in Ole Miss, they were still limited to 152 yards passing and 202 yards rushing. Alabama’s defense ensured this win. If Nick Saban can turn his offense into a force half as dominant as his defense, Alabama will be unstoppable.

Athlete Profile: Michael Oher

Michael Oher is a big man. At 6’5” and 309 pounds that would seem rather obvious, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Oher’s got quite a back story, a fact that hasn’t been lost on we in the profession of sports writing. A novel concerning his life leading up to his college career has not only been already released, but is in the works for becoming a feature film. While the material remains accurate, it seems reports of Oher’s intelligence (according to Oher) were exaggerated. But no worries, like I said, he’s a big guy.

And what is this life that resulted in a bestseller? OK, I’m not going into too much detail here, it’s been repeated in other places ad nauseam and I don’t want to throw up on my keyboard. Oher grew up more or less homeless, the son of a crack addict and a father who was never there. Roaming through schools, forgotten on holidays and birthdays, it wasn’t until he was taken in by the Tuohy family at 16 that things truly started to turn around for him. Living with the affluent Memphis family helped grant him the stability and backing needed to get him into a position to rise to national attention.

As if all that wasn’t enough to leave a man a bit bitter, he learned that his last name was, in fact, not his last name at all. While trying to obtain a drivers license, Oher learned that government records retained the name of Michael Williams, his biological father’s surname. A bit of a surprise for anybody I must say. Oher took it in stride, getting a license as Michael Williams for a time before eventually changing his legal name to Oher (Oher is from his mother’s side btw).

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