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  1. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
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    Phil Steele Week 7
    Phil Steele's best Week 7 college football bets
    Ohio State travels to Madison on Saturday for a Week 7 matchup with Wisconsin. Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports
    9:51 AM ET
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      Phil SteeleESPN Staff Writer

    Each week during the 2016 college football season, I will offer my picks and best bets for the biggest games, and I will highlight a handful of other key matchups.

    Last season, my selections went 104-33 (76 percent) picking the straight-up winners during the regular season and 74-61-2 (55 percent) against the spread.

    My selections are off to a slower start this year, at 34-18 straight up (65 percent) and 24-26-2 ATS. On the weekly podcast with Anita Marks and Doug Kezirian, my selections are 12-7-1 ATS on the year, so check that out this Friday.

    Here are my selections for this week's big games.

    Note: All times are Eastern for Saturday's contests. Lines courtesy of Westgate SuperBook as of Wednesday morning.

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    No. 21 Utah Utes (-9) at Oregon State Beavers
    4 p.m., Pac-12 Network

    I picked Utah to win at home over Arizona last week. The Utes trailed 14-3 but rolled the rest of the game. They outscored the Wildcats 36-3 until allowing a late 63-yard touchdown pass in garbage time. Oregon State will feel it can win this game after beating Cal at home in Week 6 -- the same Bears team that dealt Utah its only loss of the year two weeks ago.



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    CFB betting look for Week 7: Why it's time to buy Auburn
    Will Harris identifies games to watch for Week 7 of the college football season and breaks down gambling lessons learned from Week 6, including why he is buying Auburn.




    Quarterback Darell Garretson, who was banged up in Oregon State's loss to Colorado, had 105 rushing yards and Ryan Nall added 221. The Beavers piled up their best offensive showing under Gary Andersen with 559 total yards. But despite those facts, I still believe Utah has the edge in all three phases, including a large edge on defense with my No. 12-rated unit (OSU rates 84th). Oregon State trailed Boise State 31-7 at the half in their Week 4 matchup in Corvallis after being outgained 435 yards to 67. The Beavers benefited from Cal quarterback Davis Webbinjuring his throwing hand on the second series as he threw for just 124 yards on 45 pass attempts.

    Utah is a clear contender in the Pac-12 South, while Oregon State is only in the second year of Andersen's rebuild, and the price is cheap.

    ATS pick: Utah
    Score: Utah 28, Oregon State 13

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    No. 20 West Virginia Mountaineers atTexas Tech Red Raiders (+1)
    Noon, Fox Sports 1

    West Virginia is one of two Big 12 teams that remain unbeaten, and has risen to No. 20 in the AP poll. This is the Mountaineers' first game in an opponent's stadium this year, and it will be a tough test. They survived a close call in their Week 4 home matchup with BYU, and in their last game trailed Kansas State most of the way until pulling out a one-point home win.

    Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes (shoulder injury) played last week, and the Red Raiders are outgaining FBS foes by 159 yards per game. West Virginia is only plus 42.6 yards per game against FBS opponents, despite not having to go on the road. Texas Tech has played to an average game grade of 91.9 (located on the team pages at philsteele.com) and has a solid home field edge, while West Virginia is playing to an average game grade of 88.8. My computer has the home team winning by a touchdown, and it is a slight 'dog.

    ATS pick: Texas Tech (+)
    Score: Texas Tech 45, West Virginia 38

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    NC State Wolfpack at No. 3 Clemson Tigers(-17)
    Noon, ABC

    I had no idea that NC State's game against Notre Dame would be played in a torrential downpour when I wrote this column last Tuesday. The Wolfpack got the game's only touchdown on a blocked punt. But this week, they will have a much tougher test.

    Clemson got off to a slow start this year, but their offense is hitting their stride, much like they did around the same time last year. The Tigers topped 500 yards against both Louisville and Boston College's tough defenses while the defense is holding foes to 170 yards per game below their season average. Clemson has a big game against Florida State on deck, but have a bye next week. NC State is solid, but has beaten just one team that was in a bowl game the prior year in the past two seasons -- and that was last week in bad weather.

    Clemson has taken on my No. 21-toughest schedule so far, and the Wolfpack my No. 94 toughest.

    ATS pick: Clemson
    Score: Clemson 38, NC State 14

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    No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 9Tennessee Volunteers (+13)
    3:30 p.m., CBS

    Tennessee finishes its four-game gauntlet at home in front of its home crowd. The Vols have followed the same pattern nearly every game -- getting down big early, then playing a great second half to win. Last week, Tennessee lost in double overtime to Texas A&M, despite turning the ball over seven times and finishing minus four turnovers. The Vols had almost 700 yards of offense at College Station, and put up 498 yards against Florida two weeks ago, one of the best defenses in the country. They're a banged up team, but are getting nearly two touchdowns here.

    Alabama's defense scored two more touchdowns last week, but I was alarmed by the 473 yards and 25 first downs they allowed to the Razorbacks. While they did win by 19, they also benefited from a 100-plus yard interception return, which was a 14-point swing. Earlier this year, they allowed 527 yards to Ole Miss and escaped with a five-point road win. Last year on the road, the Vols almost upset Alabama, with the Tide needing a touchdown with 2:24 left to escape with a five-point win.

    I feel the Tide is the best team in the country and will win, but will take the nearly two touchdowns with a Tennessee team that is stronger than last year's squad and has Joshua Dobbs playing the best football of his career.

    ATS pick: Tennessee (+)
    Score: Alabama 37, Tennessee 30

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    No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-10) at No. 8Wisconsin Badgers
    8:00 p.m., ABC

    A few weeks back I took Michigan at home over Wisconsin and did not get the ATS win. That game does give me some line value here. Michigan did have 349-159 yards and 21-8 first-down edges, but only won by seven. Ohio State could have been looking ahead to this last week in its 21-point win at Indiana. It finished that game with the ball deep in Hoosier territory and could have won by 28.

    Wisconsin's offense is being limited to 52 yards per game below what their opponents allow on average in their past three games. Their defense is solid, holding foes to 121 yards per game below their season average. Ohio State has been much more dominant, averaging 127 yards per game more than what their opponents allow, and the defense is holding teams to 216 yards per game below their average.

    Ohio State won at Michigan last year by 29 and at Oklahoma this year by 21.

    ATS pick: Ohio State
    Score: Ohio State 27, Wisconsin 10

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    Kansas State Wildcats (+11) at No. 19Oklahoma Sooners
    Noon, ESPN

    Oklahoma still has a great shot at winning the Big 12 and finishing the year at 10-2, as it'll be favored in the rest of its games. It has Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon at running back and Baker Mayfield at quarterback. Its offense is averaging 200 rushing and 300 passing yards per game. The Sooners are holding opponents to 81 yards per game below their average. They are worthy of being a big favorite here, but Bill Snyder is on the other sideline and that makes this an automatic play. There is no better coach in the country when he is installed as the 'dog. Already this year, Kansas State outgained Stanford on the road 335-272, led West Virginia almost start to finish before coming up three points short, but beat the Vegas number in each.

    Kansas State is holding opponents to 94 yards per game below their season average and takes this one to the wire.

    ATS pick: Kansas State (+)
    Score: Oklahoma 30, Kansas State 26

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    No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels (-7.5) at No. 22Arkansas Razorbacks
    7:00 p.m., ESPN

    Fourth and 25! Last year that was the predicament Arkansas faced in overtime against Ole Miss. The miracle play involved its tight end throwing the ball about 20 yards backwards, which was picked up by its running back, who broke some tackles and ran for a first down. If not for that play and subsequent loss, Ole Miss would have been in the SEC title game, and Alabama would not have even made the Playoff! There is a matter of revenge here.

    While both teams are 4-2, I don't view them as equals. Ole Miss has a pair of close losses to Alabama and Florida State after having big leads in both games. Arkansas has two losses by an average of 20 points per game. Arkansas is allowing 315 rushing yards per game in SEC play, and a mind-boggling 8.9 yards per carry. The Razorback defense is allowing 6.6 yards per play, which is No. 119 in the FBS, and to make matters worse, linebacker Dre Greenlaw will miss the remainder of the year after suffering a foot injury last week (he was their leading tackler). Their offensive line is not playing up to their normal standard. In three games versus Power 5 teams, they are averaging 124 rushing yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry.

    I used the Rebels in this spot in their last SEC game and they delivered a crushing 45-14 win over Georgia. After building a 45-0 lead, they yielded 193 of the 396 total yards allowed. Arkansas is playing a seventh straight week, while Ole Miss is fresh off a bye. I will keep riding the Rebels here.

    ATS pick: Ole Miss
    Score: Ole Miss 35, Arkansas 24

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    No. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies (-19.5) atSyracuse Orange
    3:45 p.m., ESPNU

    Last week I acknowledged that Washington was not in a great situation against Oregon, but I still selected the Huskies to roll on the road, and they did. This is the same type of game.

    Virginia Tech is off a big win against defending Coastal Champ North Carolina and have a huge Thursday night home game against Miami on deck. They Hokies are a large favorite on the road. Last week's game was played in poor conditions as Virginia Tech had just 264 yards, but its scoring drives were 3, 28, 41, 22, 4 and 29 yards in scoring 34 points. This week the game is in a dome, so the offense should get back on track -- plus quarterback Jerod Evans has a 15-1 ratio. This is the same offense that put up 400 yards against Tennessee and 476 versus a tough Boston College defense.

    Bud Foster's defense is holding foes to 201 yards per game below their average and allows just 40.8 percent completions. Dino Babers has changed schemes on both sides of the ball and does not have the personnel to fit them. The defense is allowing 100 yards per game more than their opponents average. The offense has gone from running 62.5 plays per game last year to a much more up-tempo 83.1 this year, but the points per game has gone from 27.3 to 25.6. Syracuse has already lost games at home by 34 and 25 points.

    ATS pick: Virginia Tech
    Score: Virginia Tech 47, Syracuse 23

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    Arizona State Sun Devils (+13.5) overColorado Buffaloes
    8:00 p.m., Pac-12 Network

    The Sun Devils had a backup quarterback last week, but still delivered for me in their upset of UCLA. I'm concerned that despite their 2-1 record in the Pac-12, they're being outgained by 190 yards per game. Last week's starting quarterbackBrady White is also likely out for the year while Manny Wilkins, who started the first five games, didn't practice Tuesday -- so it's possible ASU will have to go with true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole.

    The teams have one mutual opponent in USC, and while Colorado only lost by four on the road and the Sun Devils by 21, the stats were similar -- plus, Colorado could easily have lost by more last week. I love what Mike MacIntyre is doing with Colorado. The Buffs handled a large favorite role (-17) against Oregon State two weeks ago, winning 47-6. Still, this is a solid Arizona State team that is as much a contender in the South as Colorado. The Sun Devils have a massive edge on special teams with my No. 1-rated unit versus the No. 107-unit of the Buffs.

    Arizona State has not only won the past seven in the series, but the Sun Devils won those games by an average of 27 points per game with every win by at least 14 points. Now they're a two-touchdown 'dog?

    ATS pick: Arizona State (+)
    Score: Colorado 34, Arizona State 28
     
  2. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
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    Fallica and Coughlin's best Week 7 CFB bets
    Should you be "on Wisconsin" in Week 7 against Ohio State, or should you look to take the Buckeyes? Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images
    11:00 AM ET
    • Chris Fallica
    • Steve Coughlin

    After an impressive 2015 season, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and Chris Fallica of ESPN Stats & Information and College GameDay are back. Every week during the college football season, they'll give their best bets for picking the weekend's top college football games.

    2016 record:

    Fallica: 15-21 ATS
    Coughlin: 13-14-3 ATS

    2015 season record:
    Fallica: 53-40-3 ATS (55.2 percent)
    Coughlin: 38-29-3 ATS (54.3 percent)

    2014 season record:
    Fallica: 44-40 ATS (52.4 percent)
    Coughlin: 45-28-1 ATS (60.8 percent)

    Note: Against the spread (ATS) and total picks are in bold. Odds are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

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    Ohio State Buckeyes (-10) at Wisconsin Badgers(over/under 44)

    Fallica: Wisconsin has pulled a couple of home upsets over Ohio State in the past (2003, 2010) and I know the Badger defense has been great this year -- ranked fifth nationally in defensive efficiency -- but this year's version of the Buckeyes currently leads the nation in that category. The Badgers were completely stifled offensively by another top-5 defense (Michigan) and I don't know how many points Wisconsin really is capable of scoring without the help of Ohio State turning it over four times like Michigan State did.



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    Best Week 6 NFL Eliminator picks
    If you've made it through another week of the Eliminator Challenge, check in with Mackenzie Kraemer as he attempts to maximize your chances of winning in Week 6 and deeper into the season.




    Wisconsin has five touchdowns in three games versus Power 5 opponents, on drives covering 5, 28, 31, 58 and 65 yards, so the Badgers aren't built to go the length of the field. In addition, the Badgers have faced a lot of offenses that are pretty similar to themselves -- and we all know the issues Michigan State and LSU have had on offense. Ohio State is the most diverse offense the Badgers defense has faced and that could mean problems this week. Coming off a sluggish effort against Indiana, I expect Ohio State to play a great game Saturday night.

    ATS pick: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 17

    Coughlin: At first glance, I noticed this over/under was the same number as when the Badgers opened the season up with the LSU Tigers -- 44. What's striking to me is that Ohio State's offense is way more explosive than that of the Tigers and while the Badgers would seem to be better on offense at home, the number remains in the same area. I was at this game back in 2010, when No. 1 Ohio State came into Madison and got dump trucked by 'Sconnie, but that was a different Buckeyes team. They were coached by Jim Tressel and their quarterback, was a limited Terrelle Pryor. J.J. Watt and his boys feasted on a nonexistent offense that night. This team from Columbus is a completely different animal.

    I know the Badgers held Michigan to 14 points in Ann Arbor, but this will be the biggest test the Badgers will see from an offense, both in terms of speed, with RBs like Curtis Samuel (8.2 yards per carry) and Mike Weber (566 yards rushing) and balance, led by QB J.T. Barrett, who's accounted for 19 TDs and big play capability with WRs Noah Brown and Dontre Wilson. I just think this will be a tough task for the home team, but I think they'll be up for the challenge.

    ATS pick: Ohio State 28 Wisconsin 20 (take the over)

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    Tennessee Volunteers (+12.5) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

    Fallica: Alabama hasn't really had one of those "sluggish" games yet. This week might be the week, though, as the Tide is back on the road again after a dominating performance at Arkansas. Its crazy to think that Bama has been doing it with a couple of true freshmen in the backfield. Tennessee probably gained more respect last week in a loss in which it committed seven turnovers than in any win they've had this year.

    This could be one of those things where the Vols see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tennessee is off until the 29th and have South Carolina, Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt to finish the season. Go out here, let it fly and see what happens, knowing that even if they lose, 10-2 is basically assured. Plus, I think Tennessee kind of likes the fact nobody thinks they have a chance this week, so they can play with even less to lose.

    The potential return of Darrin Kirkland Jr at LB will help and the offense showed it might be better with Alvin Kamara getting a majority of the snaps at RB. The Vols have covered big numbers each of the last two years against Alabama and I think that's the way to play this one too.

    ATS pick: Alabama 34, Tennessee 24

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    Syracuse Orange (+19.5) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

    Fallica: This has all the makings of a stale sandwich for the Hokies. Tech enters off a dominant win at North Carolina and has a short week, as the Hokies will host Miami next Thursday night. The Hokies are a buzz team, ranked 17th in the AP Poll. Putting a potential letdown/lookahead aside, our numbers have this one Virginia Tech at minus-12, so we're seeing over a touchdown's worth of value with the underdog. Yes, the Orange lost at Wake Forest last week and were terrible on third down, but this is still a team which put up 33 on Notre Dame and 28 on Louisville. If they do that again here, they should be plenty good enough to cover the big number.

    ATS pick: Virginia Tech 42, Syracuse 28

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    Northwestern Wildcats (+5.5) at Michigan State Spartans

    Fallica: Michigan State is a mess right now. The Spartans rank 81st nationally in offensive efficiency and their usually reliable defense is 82nd. For comparison sake, Northwestern ranks 72nd offensively and 48th defensively. Of course I was on Northwestern when the Cats missed a PAT and 27-yard FG in an 11-point loss to Nebraska (the spread was 7.5) and I missed an opportunity to take them plus a big number in a win at Iowa. I'm not gonna let this chance slip by. If you wait, this number might even click up to six, as I sense MSU will be a public side. However, you might not need it with a usually very reliable underdog in Northwestern.

    ATS pick: Northwestern 20, Michigan State 17

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    New Mexico Lobos (+14) at Air Force Falcons

    Fallica: Go ahead and laugh, but the numbers say New Mexico is the right side here. Our FPI numbers have Air Force favored by 7.5, so that's basically a touchdown's worth of value. The Lobos should get a boost offensively from the return of RB Teriyon Gipson. Air Force lost last week as a two-TD favorite at Wyoming and I think this matchup is much more favorable for a New Mexico defense which gave up 391 yards through the air last week (65 rushing) against Boise State and has much better success against the run (70th in rush defense efficiency, 115th vs. the pass). This isn't a vintage Air Force offense either (44th in rush offense efficiency). I think the Lobos bounce back after a Friday night first half debacle and keep this one close.

    ATS pick: Air Force 28, New Mexico 21

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    Tulane Green Wave (+11.5) vs. Memphis Tigers

    Fallica: Don't look now, but Willie Fritz has the Green Wave playing some pretty good football. Tulane has won consecutive games and each of their four games against FBS opponents have been decided by seven points or less -- including a four-point loss at Wake Forest (5-1) and a 21-14 loss to Navy, which just scored 46 points against previously-undefeated Houston. People might be surprised that Tulane ranks 32nd nationally in defensive efficiency, just 11 spots behind Memphis in that category. I think this will be a close game and the Green Wave may even have a chance at the outright win.

    ATS pick: Memphis 27, Tulane 24

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    Ole Miss Rebels (-8) at Arkansas Razorbacks

    Coughlin: What a game this was last year when these two teams matched up in Oxford. They simply could not stop each other, and what amazes me is how different each other's approach is on the offensive side of the ball. Its important to point out this will be the Rebels first true road game, after playing FSU in Orlando, followed by four straight home games. Because of that, I'm still not sure what the Rebels are really made of, especially since they gave up a lead to Alabama quicker than anything I can remember seeing in SEC football.

    They will face some adversity in Fayetteville, as the Hogs play their second consecutive Saturday night conference game. While everyone will just look at the score from last week and say they got blown out, they did give the Tide the ball fiv times, twice resulting in defensive touchdowns. I believe Arkansas QB,Austin Allen, who has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 15 TDs, will outplay his counterpart Chad Kelly and get the Hogs their first SEC win of the season in what should a very entertaining game.

    ATS pick: Arkansas 31, Ole Miss 28

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    North Carolina Tar Heels (+9) at Miami Hurricanes

    Coughlin: Both teams are coming off conference losses, which means this will basically be an elimination game in the Coastal Division. A second conference loss would be brutal to either team, especially UNC, who lost to division leader Virginia Tech last week -- albeit in crazy rain and wind from Hurricane Matthew, which makes me not put too much importance on it. If you remember, the Tar Heels were 10-point underdogs in Tallahassee and beat the 'Noles, and not they're close to the same number against a team that just lost to FSU.

    You can expect North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky to be better than he was last week in the rain storm, where he threw for only 58 yards and his first two INTs since 2014. This is a tricky spot for Miami as they will go to Blacksburg the following Thursday night. I see Larry Fedora getting his offense righted after stating "I don't know if I've been a part of a worse performance offensively" in the aftermath of last week's debacle.

    The Tar Heels go to South Florida and pull the upset.

    ATS pick: UNC 31, Miami 27

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    Kansas State Wildcats (+11) at Oklahoma Sooners(over/under 61.5)

    Coughlin: Last year, the Sooners went to Manhattan after losing to Texas and took out their frustrations by handing the Wildcats their first home shutout loss since 1991, 55-0. On the other hand, the Wildcats have won their last two trips to Norman -- the only road team to win back-to-back road games against the Sooners since Bob Stoops took over in 1999.

    Everyone loves Bill Snyder as an underdog, given his previous history, but I honestly think his team can hang around and maybe play a little keep-away against Baker Mayfield and the Sooners, because that OU defense ranks 109th in points allowed at 36.2 points per game and has given up 40-or-more points in three consecutive games. Now, I realize Stoops might be getting some guys back on defense, but with a mixture of the "Purple Kats" controlling the ball and not giving up the big play to Lincoln Riley's offense, I see old Bill Snyder hanging around in this game.

    Hoping that KSU can jump out to a lead, in an 11:00 a.m. local kickoff, take the points.

    ATS pick: Oklahoma 30, Kansas State 25 (take the over)

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    Nebraska Cornhuskers (-3.5) at Indiana Hoosiers(over/under 55.5)


    Coughlin: I'm not gonna try and make this any more complicated than it needs to be. IU leads the Big Ten in passing offense, with 293 yards per game, which ranks 26th nationally. They are No. 4 in total offense at 453 yards a game. Nebraska is among the nation's most balanced offensive attacks, averaging 238.4 passing yards per game and 472.6 total yards per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten and 32nd in the nation. The Cornhuskers average 37 points a game and the Hoosiers average 26 points a contest.

    Did I mention the head coaches in this game? One is Mike Riley and the other is Kevin Wilson. Do you know what they have in common? They both love offense. Hoosiers QB Richard Lagow is completing 60 percent of his passes and has thrown for 11 touchdowns, but also has seven interceptions, so if he's not throwing touchdowns to his guys, maybe he'll throw a couple to the Huskers. Oh yeah, most importantly, it's homecoming in Bloomington, which means the scoreboard is gonna light up like a Christmas tree.

    ATS pick: Indiana 45. Nebraska 38 (take the over)

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    All eyes on Bryce Harper in Game 5 of NLDS
    10:49 AM ET
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      Eddie MatzESPN Senior Writer
    Remember Bryce Harper? You know, the guy who set the world on fire last year when he became the youngest unanimous MVP in MLB history? A year later, as impossible as it seems, that guy has almost become an afterthought.

    Even within his own clubhouse, Harper seems to have gotten a little lost in the mix. Daniel Murphy is an MVP candidate. Trea Turner is the next big thing.Stephen Strasburg, with an assist from his strained flexor mass, has dominated the news. Then there’s Harper, who is currently cemented in a five-month-long slump which has folks wondering: A) if last year was a fluke, B) if he’s totally healthy and C) when he’ll snap out of it.

    Schedule » Full coverage »

    At this point, A and B are anybody’s guess. As for C, that’s uncertain, too. But you can bet there will be plenty of people tuning in to find out on Thursday night, when the Nationals and Dodgers take center stage.

    In case you didn’t know, the Nationals and Dodgers are baseball teams. And they’re facing each other in something called the National League Division Series. In fact, they’ve already played four really good games which you probably weren’t paying much attention to because said games were played at a time of day when most Americans are busy filling out TPS reports. And because Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs.

    Clayton Kershaw). In the seventh inning, with the Nationals trailing by three and and mounting a rally, he drew another nine-pitch walk which chased Kershaw from the game and was so epic that teammate Daniel Murphy called it “the at-bat of the game.” (Technically, it was a plate appearance, not an at-bat, but you get the point.) Those kinds of battles, which were the rule last season but have become the exception this year, suggest that Harper might be poised to do big things in Game 5.

    “I'm liking the fight we're seeing from him,” said manager Dusty Baker after the game. “During playoff time is when he's at his best.”

    Specifically, Harper’s at his best when it’s win-or-go-home time. As a rookie in 2012, after going 1-for-18 in the first four games of the NLDS, he went 2-for-5 with a triple and a homer in the deciding game. In 2014, with his team trailing two games to none in the NLDS and on the verge of being bounced, he went 1-for-3 with a homer and a walk in Game 3 (the Nats won). Then in Game 4, he went 2-for-3 with a double and another homer, and drove in both of Washington's runs. On Thursday against the Dodgers, he’ll find himself in another elimination situation.

    For the record, the first two times, despite Harper’s best efforts, the Nats lost the series and went home. Maybe the third time will be the charm, or maybe it won’t. Regardless of the outcome, one postseason game, one at-bat, won’t define -- or more accurately, redefine -- Harper’s hiccup of a season. But it does have the potential to propel his team forward into the National League Championship Series, and maybe even beyond. If that happens, and if Harper is right in the middle of it, then that -- and not the past five months -- might be what we remember most about his 2016 season.
     
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  3. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
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    ALCS notes?
     
  4. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
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    How to bet the ALCS between Toronto and Cleveland
    Much of Cleveland's chances against Toronto in the ALCS rest on the right arm of Corey Kluber. Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire
    5:43 PM ET
    • MLB Vegas Experts

    For the second straight season, one of the prior year's American League Championship Series participants returns for a second year, meaning theCleveland Indians play the 2016 role of the newcomer. Which is somewhat of an odd hat for them to wear because of all the teams left fighting for the 2016 World Series trophy, the Indians, yes the Indians!, are the team that most recently won a pennant.

    However, if the American League pennant is going to be flown in an AL Central stadium for the fourth time in the past five years, the Indians are going to have to become the de facto champions of the AL East. Having vanquished division winner Boston in the ALDS, they are now faced with the task of eliminating another high-powered offense from the same division.

    Keeping with historic pace, one wild-card team has advanced to the LCS, making Toronto the fifth team to do so since MLB installed the current postseason format in 2012. If Toronto is to become the third team in the current wild-card era to make the World Series, they'll need to beat a team that beat them in the season series, 4-3. On the other side of the coin, if Cleveland is to return to the World Series for the first time since 1997, it'll need to beat a team that outscored it by 14 runs the seven times they faced each other this season.

    For the second series in a row, despite having the better regular-season record and home-field advantage for the series, Cleveland has been cast in the role of underdog. Of course injuries to their regular-season rotation weigh on that calculation, and it's one of many factors our team of baseball handicappers consider below.

    Like the Blue Jays and the Indians, Joe Peta has stormed through the American League playoffs without a loss and he leads off our preview, followed by Dave Tuley and Andrew Lange.


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    Toronto Blue Jays (-145) vs. Cleveland Indians (+125)

    Joe Peta: The Boston Red Sox, without debate, have a better, younger and more potent lineup than the Blue Jays. The rotations, from 1-4, are very similar in their mediocrity, and given Toronto's loss of Joaquin Benoit for the playoffs, I'd give a mild bullpen edge to the Red Sox as well. Toronto has a much better defense, which makes its pitchers' effective ERAs even better than their skill sets would indicate, but, in comparison to Boston, it's nowhere near enough of a runs allowed reduction to offset the materially more runs the Red Sox's offense would score during the course of a season. All of which is to say, if you thought the Indians were vastly undervalued, or even miscast as an underdog in the ALDS, you pretty much have to come to the same conclusion for the ALCS.

    This isn't quite the no-brainer bet on Cleveland that the ALDS was, primarily because up to 60 percent of the series isn't scheduled to be played at Progressive Field, and it's tougher for Indians manager Terry Francona to effectively play four or five innings of bullpen vs. lineup for seven games instead of five. To a lesser degree, too, because the Indians are priced as slightly smaller dogs. Price aside, though, I expected Cleveland to beat Boston and I expect it to beat Toronto. Cleveland in 5.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Cleveland +125

    Dave Tuley: I was all over the Blue Jays as +125 underdogs in the series and in Games 1 (as previewed) and 2 (not previewed) against the Rangers in their ALDS. As you can imagine, I reveled in their sweep. However, I wasn't so bright in dismissing the Indians against the Red Sox, but at least it only cost me a single series wager in their sweep.

    I do have a new appreciation for Cleveland, but I'm still sticking with Toronto in the ALCS. These teams played the equivalent of a seven-game series during the regular season with the Indians having a 4-3 edge, but let's look closer at those results. The Blue Jays' three wins were by scores of 9-6, 17-1 and 6-5. Anything resembling a slugfest went the Blue Jays' way. The Indians' four wins were 4-1, 2-1, 3-2 and 3-2, so they took the low-scoring pitcher's duels. That looks like more of a fluke to me as those results should be closer to 50/50, so I'm expecting the Blue Jays to pull out a few of those (and we all saw how the Rangers' regular-season record in one-run games didn't help them in the ALDS).

    In Game 1, I'll take Toronto +122 with Marco Estrada against Cleveland aceCorey Kluber. Estrada looked better than expected in taking the opener against the Rangers. Kluber pitched well in his last start against the Blue Jays on Aug. 21, allowing just two runs in 6 2/3 innings, but he also started the aforementioned 17-1 game and gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings and the Jays also had success against him last year. Overall, if Toronto can get a split in the games it faces Kluber, I think it takes the series in five or six games.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Toronto -145 in the series and Toronto +122 in Game 1

    Andrew Lange: Interesting situation as we see Cleveland a -132 favorite for Game 1 but Toronto a -145 series favorite. As we saw throughout the regular season, Toronto's offense took a significant step back from 2015's tremendous production. Not only was the core of the lineup a year older but the league also adjusted. During the regular season, the Blue Jays scored two or fewer runs in 43 games and five or more in 74 games. Last year, those figures were 35 and 90, respectively. As we saw in the their wild-card round and in the ALDS against Texas, this team is still capable of scoring in bunches plating 27 runs in four games. But I felt they matched up very favorable against three of the four opposing starters -- the exception being Texas' Yu Darvish, although the Jays got to him for five runs in five innings.

    The Indians' pitching staff ranked sixth in MLB in ground ball rate (46.7 percent) and fifth in strikeout rate (8.68 per 9 innings.) But those numbers were certainly aided byDanny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, who will not pitch in this series due to injuries. Both pitchers boast swing-and-miss and strong ground ball rates, and they'll be missed when you consider that one of the best ways to keep Toronto in check is with hard throwing right-handers that miss bats and keep the ball on the ground. Kluber certainly qualifies and Trevor Bauer to a lesser degree, but Josh Tomlin (36 home runs allowed) does not. You can't help but give credit to Cleveland's staff for how they handled the Red Sox, but during the course of a longer series, I'm not sure they can get away with limping through starts by Bauer and Tomlin and throwing the trio of Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen as much as they did (9 1/3 IP in three games). They're set up to get Kluber at least two starts, but I give Toronto's three-man rotation of Estrada, J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez the slight edge.

    If Carrasco or Salazar were healthy, I'd price the Indians as the series favorite. And like I said, not only do they possess above-average stuff, but they really match up well against Toronto's lineup. But even without them, my numbers still made this series a virtual pick 'em, which points toward the Cleveland side.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Cleveland +125 (lean)
     
    LeVar Burton likes this.
  5. evbanks911

    evbanks911 New Member

    NLCS?


    Thanks in advance
     
  6. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
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    I saw on Reddit that Phil went 0-9 this weekend and then confirmed. Yikes.
     
    #57 Juan, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  7. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    Jesus. I thought I did poorly.
     
  8. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
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    Luckily all I took was Kansas State +14. Even though it lost give me a Bill Snyder coached team and + 14 points every weekend.
     
    #59 Juan, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
    Irish226 likes this.
  9. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    Updated numbers.

    Stanford Steve (Coughlin):
    Week 1 (1-3)
    Week 2 (0-3-1)
    Week 3 (3-1-1)
    Week 4 (3-5)
    Week 5 (4-0-1)
    Week 6 (2-3)
    Week 7 (3-2)
    Season (17-18-3) 49%

    Bear (Fallica)
    Week 1 (1-4)
    Week 2 (2-3)
    Week 3 (3-4)
    Week 4 (1-6)
    Week 5 (4-1)
    Week 6 (5-2)
    Weel 7 (4-2)
    Season (20-24) 45%
     
  10. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
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    Best Week 8 college football bets
    play


    Take a look at Phil Steele's bets for Week 8 of college football. (1:00)

    11:51 AM ET
    • [​IMG]
      Phil SteeleESPN Staff Writer
    Each week during the 2016 college football season I'll offer up my selections and scores for the weekend's biggest games, along with a handful of other key matchups to keep an eye on.

    During the past two years my selections are 144-54 (73 percent) when picking the straight-up (SU) winners during the regular season. The ATS record took a massive hit last week with an unthinkable un-perfect 0-9 against the spread. That dropped the two-year ATS record to 98-96-4 (51 percent) against the spread. The Friday ESPN Podcast record for this year dropped all the way down to 12-11-1. Here are my selections for what should hopefully be a big bounce-back week.

    Note: Lines from Westgate SuperBook as of Wednesday morning. (+) indicates a pick in which Phil Steele is taking an underdog with the points.

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    No. 11 Houston Cougars (-21) at SMU Mustangs
    Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2



    [​IMG]
    Full list of Week 8 college football lines
    ESPN Chalk offers the full list of Week 8 college football lines from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.



    Houston had its playoff chances shattered in an upset loss to Navy in the rain two weeks ago. A lot of times, teams languish the week after their bubble is burst, and Houston barely held off Tulsa at the end of its game last week. Houston should get back on track this week, and it has already shown it can put up a lot of points, like it did in its win at Cincinnati by 28 on the road earlier this year. The Cougars are averaging a differential of plus-206 yards per game, and their offense and defense rank in my top 25.

    The defense has recorded 19 sacks, and while SMU has been close at the half versus Baylor and TCU, it ultimately lost those games by 27 and 30 points, respectively. It also lost to Temple by 25. Quarterback Ben Hicks has improved weekly, but he's still completing just 51.9 percent of his passes with a 6-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Houston should have a decent crowd on hand, and it should be able to get its train back on the tracks.

    ATS pick: Houston

    Score: Houston 41, SMU 16

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    Oklahoma State Cowboys at Kansas Jayhawks(+24)
    Saturday, noon, Fox Sports 1

    Oklahoma State is fresh off a bye and barely got past Iowa State in its last game after trailing 31-14. Kansas is a much stronger team than last year, and the biggest difference is its defense. They are allowing 425 yards per game, but that number is a bit skewed as they've taken on the potent attacks of Memphis, Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor. Kansas is holding its foes to an average of 52 yards below their season average per game, which is the No. 32 mark in the country. Kansas almost beat TCU in its last home game, missing a winning field goal on the final play in a 24-23 loss; the Jayhawks actually had a 470-366 yard edge in that game.

    Kansas is plus-64 yards per game at home and minus-214 yards per game on the road. Oklahoma State is on the road for just the second time this year and lost in its only other trip, at Baylor. It has a showdown with West Virginia on deck that it might be looking ahead to, and I'll call for the Jayhawks to keep this a lot closer than expected.

    ATS pick: Kansas (+)

    Score: Oklahoma State 41, Kansas 23

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    Memphis Tigers at No. 24 Navy Midshipmen (+3)
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

    Navy usually has its option fine-tuned in the second half of the year. During the past four years it has averaged 27.4 points per game in its first six games, and in the next five games (leading up to Army), it has averaged 39.6 points per game. On the other hand, Memphis does have the benefit of having just faced an option attack last week, when it beat Tulane by 10. Navy has won all six of its American Athletic Conference home games, but it's a 'dog here.

    Last year it handled a Paxton Lynch-led Memphis team 45-20 on the road. Two weeks ago Memphis was outgained by Temple 531-323, but somehow managed to find a way to win. With Memphis on a second straight road game, I side with Navy, fresh off a win against Houston at home and an unexpected bye.

    ATS pick: Navy (+)

    Score: Navy 28, Memphis 25

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    No. 22 North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Cavaliers (+9)
    Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET, ACC Network

    How much will North Carolina have left in the tank for this one? It got a last-second touchdown pass to get past Pittsburgh, a last-second field goal to upset Florida State at home, lost a key game to Virginia Tech in sloppy conditions, and last week upset a ranked Miami squad on the road. That's four crucial ACC battles versus mostly ranked teams, and the Tar Heels now have to take to the road for a third time in four weeks.

    Virginia upset solid Central Michigan and Duke teams in back-to-back weeks, and then had a bye. Last week it had a 314-182 yard edge at home versus Pitt, but a key 59-yard interception return for a TD with 59 seconds left in the first half helped do the Cavaliers in. Virginia will be playing at its best in the second half of the season under new head coach Bronco Mendenhall, and it'll take this one to the wire.

    ATS pick: Virginia (+)

    Score: North Carolina 31, Virginia 27

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    No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-19.5) at Penn State Nittany Lions
    Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC

    The situation greatly favors Penn State as it's fresh off a bye, while Ohio State was fortunate to escape with a win last week at Wisconsin and now have to travel again to play in front of another hostile crowd. Penn State has played just one bad game all year, when its banged up team limped into Ann Arbor and got dominated by Michigan, where it was outgained 515-191 and lost by 39.

    In the past nine meetings in Happy Valley, Penn State won four with its five losses by a deficit of 7, 12, 17, 20 and 1. Most of those facts point to Penn State covering here, but I'll side with Ohio State to bounce back with a solid win on the road with what I have as my No. 2 rated offense, No. 4 rated defense and No. 11 rated special teams. Penn State ranks just No. 48, 58 and 48 in those three phases. The Buckeyes also beat Oklahoma by 21 on the road this year.

    ATS pick: Ohio State

    Score: Ohio State 41, Penn State 17

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    Washington State Cougars at Arizona State Sun Devils (+7.5)
    Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET, Pac 12 Network

    Washington State has been very impressive, with blowout outright upset wins against Oregon and Stanford, and then last week it beat one of the Pac 12 South favorites in UCLA. It did benefit from Stanford being extremely banged up after four straight tough games heading into that game, which had it without its top two cornerbacks. Last week, UCLA was without quarterback Josh Rosen and Wazzu faced a quarterback making his first start -- and it only beat the Bruins by six with a 55 yard edge at home.

    Arizona State has been blown out by USC and Colorado, but both games were on the road. At home the Sun Devils have beaten Texas Tech, California and a UCLA team that did have Rosen under center. Quarterback Manny Wilkins was far from 100 percent healthy last week, but will be healthier this week.

    ATS pick: Arizona State (+)

    Score: Arizona State 38, Washington State 37

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    TCU Horned Frogs (+6.5) at No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2

    Yes, I realize that last week I called for Texas Tech, in this column, to pull the upset against West Virginia. I thought Patrick Mahomes would've been healthier than he was. This week, West Virginia is at home and laying less than a touchdown to TCU. I will point out that I won with both Kansas State and BYU against West Virginia in previous weeks, and TCU is stronger than both of those two teams; in fact, it''ll be the strongest team West Virginia has faced so far.

    West Virginia is now playing with unbeaten pressure, as the players start talking about a Big 12 title, staying unbeaten and making the playoffs. TCU is fresh off a bye, and while it has two losses, it had a 572-403 yard edge versus Arkansas despite coming up three points short. It lost to a powerful Oklahoma team by six, in a game in which it was only outgained 534-514. TCU is unranked, playing without pressure and won in its last trip to Morgantown. Also worth mentioning is the fact it was 30 points better than the Mountaineers last year. TCU has a large edge on special teams, and that tips the game in its favor.

    ATS pick: TCU (+)

    Score: TCU 31, West Virginia 30

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    Colorado Buffaloes at Stanford Cardinal (-1.5)
    Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET, Pac 12 Network

    Colorado is the only team in college football that has beaten the Las Vegas number each week. It's tough to go against that kind of streak, but in this case the value is there. Stanford has taken on the toughest schedule in the country and has beaten USC, UCLA and Notre Dame. The defense finally got some key players back, including cornerback Quenton Meeks, and held a potent Irish offense to 307 yards.

    While Stanford is a slight favorite, it probably feels like the 'dog here. Colorado is a legitimate Pac 12 South contender at 4-1 in the conference, having outgained its previous opponents by 159 yards per game. It's worth noting, though, that two weeks ago Colorado was outgained 539-371 versus USC and could've lost that game by double digits instead of just four points. Stanford has my No. 18 ranked special teams unit and Colorado's just No. 107, and that will be the difference here.

    ATS pick: Stanford

    Score: Stanford 24, Colorado 20

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    Purdue Boilermakers at No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (-24)
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2


    Normally, when a team fires its head coach, it comes out with a determined effort the next week. There are three keys to laying the big points with Nebraska here. First, Purdue has a banged up defense, and in three Big Ten games they've allowed 360 rushing yards per game and 7.4 yards per carry. Nebraska is at its best when it can run the ball and has averaged 221 yards per game on the ground.

    Secondly, Purdue is coming off of a game with a misleading final score. It trailed Iowa 42-14 with 261 total yards heading into the fourth quarter and the Hawkeyes put their backups in; Purdue put up 243 yards after that and "only" lost by 14. The third and final factor is Nebraska is playing with legitimate revenge on its mind. Last year it started a backup quarterback and was outplayed on the road, trailing 42-16 after three quarters.

    ATS pick: Nebraska

    Score: Nebraska 45, Purdue 16
     
    The Hebrew Husker likes this.
  11. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    Thanks Juan.

    Mind posting Fallicia's and Coughlin's?
     
  12. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
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    Fallica and Coughlin's best Week 8 CFB bets
    Will Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies be able to leave Tuscaloosa as the lone SEC unbeaten? AP Photo/Butch Dill
    12:00 PM ET
    • Chris Fallica
    • Steve Coughlin
    After an impressive 2015 season, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and Chris Fallica of ESPN Stats & Information and College GameDay are back. Every week during the college football season, they'll give their best bets for picking the weekend's top college football games.

    2016 record:

    Fallica: 19-23 ATS
    Coughlin: 16-16-3 ATS

    2015 season record:
    Fallica: 53-40-3 ATS (55.2 percent)
    Coughlin: 38-29-3 ATS (54.3 percent)

    2014 season record:
    Fallica:
    44-40 ATS (52.4 percent)
    Coughlin: 45-28-1 ATS (60.8 percent)

    Note: Against the spread (ATS) and total picks are in bold. Odds are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

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    Texas A&M Aggies (+18.5) at Alabama Crimson Tide(over/under: 58.5)

    Coughlin: Is there a number so high that you don't feel good laying points with the Crimson Tide these days? I can't be more impressed with true freshman QB Jalen Hurts, who has accounted for 17 TDs thus far. It's amazing how much he is producing while being asked to do way more than many upperclassman quarterbacks. Between zone reads in the run game and decisions in the passing game, he seems to have no weaknesses, which must make opposing teams very nervous before they step on the field with Alabama.



    [​IMG]
    CFB betting look for Week 8: Hold steady with Alabama
    Will Harris identifies games to watch for Week 8 of the college football season, and updates which teams' stocks have risen and fallen -- including a check-in with No. 1 Alabama.

    • [​IMG]
      Best Week 8 college football bets
      Phil Steele gives his best Week 8 picks, including a number of underdogs pulling off outright victories and thoughts on TCU-West Virginia and Stanford-Colorado.



    On the other hand, you have the Aggies coming off a bye. Texas A&M features as balanced an offense as there is in the SEC, run by offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and transfer QB Trevor Knight -- and we all know Knight beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl when he was at Oklahoma. This will be as high level a game as we watch all year. I think with the attacking style each defense utilizes, along with the playmaking ability on each of these offenses, a lot of points will be scored in this game. I'm just not sure if A&M can play a whole 60 minutes in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

    Pick: Alabama 38, Texas A&M 27 (take the over)

    Fallica: We have to make a pick on the common game (editor's note: Sorry, Fallica), so while I really don't love this game, I will take the under for record-keeping purposes. It's hard to play against Alabama, but at the same time, I can't bring myself to laying 19 points in a top-six matchup. By the way, history says take the points here, as in the last 30 years only four other times has a top-six matchup seen a spread greater than 14 points. In all four of those instances, the underdog easily covered, and twice won outright. FPI has the game Alabama -10 and I'm still petrified taking the points with full confidence. Thus, I'll say take the under.

    I think A&M will do a good enough job running the ball and with the short passing game to eat some clock without too many TD drives, and eliminate some big plays defensively. The Crimson Tide certainly can't score multiple non-offensive TDs again, can they?

    Pick: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 21 (under 58.5)

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    Auburn Tigers (-10) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

    Fallica: Our FPI numbers have Auburn -15 in this game, so I will again put faith in our power rankings. These two teams have beaten the teams they should have this year, combined losing to No. 6 Texas A&M twice, No. 4 Clemson and No. 1 Alabama. Auburn has had an off week since a dominating road win at Mississippi State, so that lessens a potential letdown here. As bad as things have been for Auburn the last two years, the Tigers blew out the Hogs at Jordan-Hare two years ago and put up 46 in a loss at Arkansas last year. The Tigers defense is much improved and Arkansas has one of the worst rush defenses in the SEC. I expect a methodical Auburn offense to get its yards on the ground, the defense to eliminate big plays, as it has done so well this year and come away with a solid win over a good Arkansas team, which might be set up for a less than optimal performance after games with Alabama and Ole Miss the last two weeks.

    ATS pick: Auburn 34, Arkansas 20

    Coughlin: If you read my column or listen to our podcast you know my love for backing Bret Bielema and my respect for Gus Malzahn, So, this game is a tough one to decipher.

    In the last 25 meetings overall, Auburn has outscored Arkansas by just four points (633-629). Last year it took four overtimes before the Razorbacks escaped with a 54-46 win after the teams finished regulation deadlocked at 24. Now, I don't see the game being as crazy as that one, but I do believe this will be a highly competitive game, especially seeing how the Razorbacks bounced back last week with a win over Ole Miss a week after feeling the wrath of the Crimson Tide. The Tigers offense has been getting plenty of love after it went into Starkville and put it on the Bulldogs a couple weeks back. I just don't see it being that superior to the 'Hogs defense, and i see the gutsy QB of Arkansas, Austin Allen, keeping his team in the game the whole way. Hogs lose a tight one, take the points.

    ATS pick: Auburn 27, Arkansas 24

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    Oregon Ducks (+3) at California Golden Bears

    Fallica: Oregon has dominated the series lately, as it has much of the Pac-12, winning seven straight. Even last year with No. 1 pick Jared Goff at QB for Cal, the Ducks -- who weren't very good defensively in 2015 -- held Cal to 28. Oregon had a much-needed week off after being shredded by Washington State and Washington. As bad as things have been for the Ducks, they nearly beat Nebraska and Colorado, both of whom are better than Cal. And Cal's defense is close to being as poor as Oregon's. Ducks QB Justin Herbertlikely learned a lot in the off week after being subjected to Washington in his first start and should be able to put up a lot of points here. This is one of a few winnable games left on the Ducks schedule. I think they'll get one here.

    ATS pick: Oregon 44, Cal 42

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    San José State Spartans (+23.5) at San Diego State Aztecs

    Fallica: I'm again putting my faith in our power ratings, as we have the Aztecs -17 here, which gives us about a TD worth of value. The Spartans have played better in Mountain West play, losing by a TD to New Mexico, beating Nevada and losing as a favorite vs. Hawaii. I think the loss at South Alabama shook San Diego State a little bit. Last week against Fresno State, which is 115th in our FPI, the Aztecs won just 17-3. A week earlier, SDSU beat UNLV just 26-7. So while the defense has done its job, maybe the fact Donnel Pumphrey has carried the ball 167 times already -- 69 times in the last two games --might be wearing on him some.

    ATS pick: San Diego State 31, San Jose State 14

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    Northwestern Wildcats (-1.5) vs. Indiana Hoosiers

    Fallica: After a slow start, Northwestern has exploded for 92 points in the last two weeks. This could be a must-win for the Wildcats in order to get to a bowl game. Sitting at 3-3, with likely losses the next two weeks at Ohio State and vs. Wisconsin, the Cats would prefer not needing to win their final three games to reach a bowl. As has been the case the last couple of years, Indiana has more often than not found ways to lose winnable games. Northwestern has won the last four meetings, including the last two years when the Cats scored 44 and 59. We have Northwestern -8 according to our power ratings and that looks like some pretty fair value to me.

    ATS pick: Northwestern 33, Indiana 24

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    East Carolina Pirates (+2) at Cincinnati Bearcats

    Fallica: Cincinnati sure has the look of a team ready to check out for the season after a blowout loss to South Florida and an uninspired offensive effort vs Connecticut. The Bearcats are 108th in offensive efficiency and 61st in defensive efficiency. In a game where the defenses are similar, I'll go with the better offense even if the QB situation is a little uncertain due to injury right now with Philip Nelson and Gardner Minshew. The last three meetings were all one-score games and those pitted better Cincinnati teams vs. worse ECU teams. Seems like a good spot for the Pirates.

    ATS pick: East Carolina 27, Cincinnati 23

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    Miami (OH) RedHawks (+5) at Bowling Green Falcons

    Fallica: I mentioned on the Behind the Bets podcast this week that I had a couple games which I wasn't sure about adding to the column, but I decided to go ahead and do it. Our numbers have Miami a slight favorite. Bowling Green hasn't beaten an FBS team all year, despite the fact all three MAC games have been one-score games. Miami's defense should be able to keep the RedHawks in the game (lead MAC in total defense) against a Bowling Green offense which is nowhere near prolific as in years past. The Falcons also boast the conference's worst defense and that might alleviate concerns over Miami's QB situation. With these teams seemingly so even, I think it's smart to take the points.

    ATS pick: Bowling Green 28, Miami 27

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    Kent State Golden Flashes (+3.5) vs. Ohio Bobcats

    Fallica: Our numbers have Kent State a slight favorite. The Golden Flashes offense has been better in MAC play, outside of putting up 14 points last week on the road versus the top defense in the MAC (Miami OH). Ohio U was upset as a TD favorite last week against Eastern Michigan and struggled the week before at home vs. Bowling Green. The Bobcats seem like a completely different team that beat Kansas and hung around in Tennessee, and they might be a little inflated as a result of those games. It looks like defenses should standout here and in a coin flip game, I'll trust our numbers and side with the home 'dog.

    ATS pick: Kent State 20, Ohio 17

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    BYU Cougars (+7) at Boise State Broncos (O/U: 57.5)

    Coughlin: You have to think the Blue Broncos come into this game with a bad taste in their mouths for a couple reasons. First off, they were 45 seconds away from beating the Cougars last year in Provo, before blowing a lead and a cover (which was featured on "Bad Beats" on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt), plus Boise had a sloppy end to its game last week, giving up consecutive onside kicks to Colorado State to make that game way closer than it actually was. The game will be played on the Smurf Turf of Albertson's Stadium in Boise, in front of what should be a juiced-up crowd for Thursday night football, as the game is part of a double header on ESPN.

    Boise State QB Brett Rypien leads the Mountain West with 1,622 yards passing and 12 TD passes and his favorite WR Thomas Sperbeck has half of them. I still think the BYU offense looks jumbled up at times with Taysom Hill just not looking like a natural fit in Ty Detmer's scheme. I see Boise getting out to a lead and forcing the Cougars to throw the ball, taking RB Jamal Williams out of the game. Take the boys from Boise.

    ATS pick: Boise State 31, BYU 19

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    Ohio State Buckeyes (-20) at Penn State Nittany Lions (O/U: 58.5)

    Coughlin: The home underdog Nittany Lions off a bye, 107,000 fans expected for a white-out Saturday night in Happy Valley and a coaching matchup of epic proportions between James Franklin and Urban Meyer. What else can you ask for on a Saturday night in October?

    Again the Buckeyes face a home team coming off a bye, so I think their defense will be caught off guard at the beginning of the game, as Penn State will have a coulple tricks up its sleeve, but will they be able to convert those opportunities into TDs, or will the Buckeyes limit them to FGs, as they did last week in Madison vs. the Badgers, thus staying in the game. We know JT Barrett won close game here two years ago, but that Penn State defense was good; this one has been decimated by injuries. I see another high-scoring affair in what will be another tough spot on the road for youngsters from Columbus, but they average 49 points and Penn State averages giving up 30. Take the over.

    Pick: Ohio State 45, Penn State 24 (take the over)

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    Wisconsin Badgers (-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes

    Coughlin: It's tough to predict what happens when the Heartland Trophy is at stake. For those that don't know what the trophy is, it's a bull mounted on a walnut base, which is native to both Wisconsin and Iowa. We know this is a tough spot for the Badgers after a tough loss to Ohio State last week in overtime, but Wisconsin has won seven of its last eight games as a ranked team against an unranked opponent and Iowa has lost four straight against AP top-10 teams. The most amazing thing about the Badgers season so far is that they are the only FBS team to face four teams that were ranked in the AP top 10 at the time of the game; no other team has had more than two such games. Wisconsin expects to get back Vince Biegel, the Badgers' most experienced linebacker and a team captain, and I think their defense dominates the Iowa offense and the Badgers get a win to halt their two-game losing streak.

    ATS pick: Wisconsin 27, Iowa 10
     
    #64 Juan, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
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  13. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    Thanks brother.
     
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  14. bstaple12

    bstaple12 Nole World Order
    Atlanta BravesAtlanta FalconsFlorida State Seminoles

    Any Joe Peta on the world series?
     
  15. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    Cubs-Indians World Series betting guide
    Which pitcher will lead his team to victory in Game 1? Getty Images
    11:14 AM ET
    • MLB Vegas ExpertsESPN Chalk

    Wow. What if "Back to the Future Part II" was only off by one year?

    As most know, the 1989 movie, set in 1985, traveled 30 years into the future where the Chicago Cubs were 2015 World Series Champions. Of course, owing to their decades of futility, the Cleveland Indians have also been the subject of their own World Series-winning, silver screen fantasy, also released in 1989, "Major League." It took 27 years, but one of those plot devices is going to be obsolete in two weeks.

    It all starts Tuesday night in Cleveland because in the second inning of a July exhibition in San Diego -- without a single Cleveland Indians player on the field -- Salvador Perez of the Royals hit a two-run homer off of the Giants' Johnny Cueto. That means if the 103-win Cubs want a repeat of Saturday night's joyous celebration in Wrigley Field, they are going to need to win one of the first two games of the World Series in Cleveland.



    ESPN's experts make their World Series picks[/paste:font]
    Will the Cubs end their World Series drought, or will the Indians spoil the party and win the Fall Classic for the first time since 1948? See who we're picking to win it all.



    By virtue of their League Championship performances, both teams come in to the World Series rested with the rosters they desire. Cleveland's entire bullpen has had nearly a week of rest, as has Trevor Bauer's pinky and Danny Salazar(added to the roster after being out the past six weeks). The Cubs made a notable roster addition of their own, adding left-handed slugger Kyle Schwarber, presumably to DH during games in Cleveland. Jon Lester starts Game 1 on full rest and it appears Jake Arrieta will start Game 2, meaning National League Championship Series Game 6 hero Kyle Hendricks would start Game 3 at Wrigley Field where he has been spectacular all season. It all adds up to one of the more anticipated Fall Classics in many years, probably since 2004.

    While the eyes of the sports world are on the Cubs to see if they can break their 108-year curse, here at Chalk they're on our baseball handicapper, Joe Peta, who, back in March, called for the Cubs and the Indians to meet in the 2016 World Series in his 30-team MLB preview. On top of that, as regular readers know, he has correctly predicted every single 2016 playoff matchup to date.

    He discusses his attempt to complete the elusive "perfect postseason bracket" below, along with his best bets for the series. He's joined by Andrew Lange, and lifelong Cubs fan Dave Tuley.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Cleveland Indians (+180) vs. Chicago Cubs(-210)

    Game 1 PickCenter: 51 percent picking Cubs

    Joe Peta: In every sports column across the country you'll see references to either "first time in 108 years" or "first time in 68 years" representing, of course, the World Series-winning droughts for the Cubs and Indians, respectively. But on these pages, it's the chase for a "once-in-a-512 year" occurrence that we're focused on; that's the odds of randomly picking the winner of all nine MLB postseason series. And like a pitcher taking the mound with one inning left to complete a perfect game, I'm eight-ninths of the way there.

    Of course, the results of all of the 2016 series weren't coin flips -- not with the Cubs laying in excess of -200 in both the National League Division Series and NLCS. However, all three of the American League series following the wild-card round featured underdog winners, and if you take the midpoint of each series line played this year, the odds of getting this far without a miss are nearly 1-in-170. So it's not quite the 1-in-256 chance of randomly getting the first eight series correct in 2016, but it's still a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for a handicapper.

    Turning to the task at hand, when betting baseball money lines a play on the underdog falls into one of two camps: 1) you expect the underdog to win or 2) you expect the underdog to lose, but, similar to being offered 10-1 odds on rolling a six with one toss of a die, you don't expect to win but you'll take the bet every time. As detailed in the write-ups, my pick of the Cleveland Indians in both the American League Division Series and the American League Championship Series fell into the first category. The combination of shaky rotations in Boston and Toronto, a very underrated Indians offense especially in relation to Toronto and my hope that Terry Francona would deploy his bullpen assets in exactly the manner he did, made the Indians a straightforward "wrong team favored" pick. However, that logic doesn't apply when facing the Cubs. Chicago's superior rotation and potent lineup make it far less likely that Cleveland can get to the fifth inning of a game winning or tied -- as the Indians did in seven out of eight games against Boston and Toronto. The Indians, properly, will not be favored in a single game against the Cubs, although pick 'em odds apply to Game 1 and possibly Game 2.

    So that leaves the value proposition. Has the public bid up the Cubs so highly that the implied win percentage of 66.7 in the series line is 5, 6 or 7 percentage points too high?

    That's a case that can probably be made, especially if you look at regular-season lines. I mentioned on Twitter before Game 5 of the NLCS that Jon Lester was a smaller favorite in a late-August game in Los Angeles, backed by exactly the same lineup, with Brock Stewart on the mound for the Dodgers (and some other substitutes in the lineup) than he was facing Kenta Maeda last week.

    One of those two prices was wrong and the natural instinct is to assume the Cubs are being marked up unreasonably in the postseason. Reasonable people, including model builders can disagree, but I would argue that the wrong price was the August line. The Cubs really are this good and if it weren't for the hard-to-model effect of the team with the most stolen bases in the American League facing Jon Lester, I'd be looking to place a Cubs sweep bet. Let's give the Indians, with a combination of aggressive baserunning and their stellar bullpen a win in one of the two games they face Lester, but otherwise look for a continuation of the full-season dominance we've seen from the Cubs' pitchers, defense and batters.

    As I said in the video accompanying the Cubs season preview way back in March, "there's going to be a lot of Ws raised at Wrigley Field this year ... all the way into November."

    Cubs in 5.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Chicago, -210

    Dave Tuley: I've waited my whole life for the Cubs to be in the World Series and never imagined they'd also be -200 favorites, but the price certainly makes sense. They have the better -- and deeper -- pitching staff, defense and lineup, plus they've added Schwarber to DH during the games in Cleveland (though that might be a drop-off the way the Cubs' pitchers have been hitting in the postseason -- an additional edge they'll possess for the games at Wrigley Field).

    Although I'm predicting the Cubs to win in five games, I am a little concerned with the way the Indians have prevailed as series underdogs in both the ALDS and ALCS while having home-field advantage. While I'm confident the Cubs are going to win their first World Series since 1908, I'm still not willing to lay the -200 odds. Instead, I'll just be playing game-by-game and I've already bet it -107 with the Cubs in Game 1 behind Lester.

    I'll mostly be looking to play the Cubs when they're not overpriced (+120 vs. the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NLCS was a steal). Keep checking back at Chalk to see how the three of us break down each individual game as I might take the Indians as road underdogs at Wrigley if the matchup fits. In addition, I'm also going to play the unders in this series, starting with under 6.5 (even) in Game 1.

    I recommended the under in the Dodgers-Cubs series and it went 3-3 while the under is 7-1 in Indians' games this postseason (Cubs are 5-5). I expect more pitchers' duels in this series.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Chicago, -107 (Game 1); under 6.5 (EVEN)

    Andrew Lange: I supported Cleveland at the plus price in its ALCS triumph over Toronto and in that analysis, I mentioned that I made the series price close to a pick 'em. Even accounting for the significant power rating difference between the Blue Jays and Cubs, I still feel the Indians -- who have home-field advantage -- are being undervalued. I power rate the Cubs as the best team in MLB but price them at -140 in this matchup.

    Cleveland's pitching staff is loaded with right-handed arms, which is an ideal fit against the Cubs -- a lineup stronger against lefties. The Cubs have faced only one elite right-handed starter this postseason in San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and managed only three hits and one run. They'll see one in Game 1 with Corey Kluber projected to start.

    I do have a few concerns regarding the Indians, most notably how flawlessly their unique pitching strategy has played out thus far. They were on the winning end of three close games and even got away with tossing a rookie in what ended up being the series clincher against Toronto. The way the schedule sets up, particularly with Games 3-5 all back-to-back, the bullpen-heavy attack could backfire. I'm all for unconventional approaches, but Cleveland's success stems from the fact that the heavily used bullpen was near perfect and thus helped shorten the series. It would have been very interesting to see it play out had the series with Toronto gone six or seven games.

    However, it did only last five games, and Cleveland heads into Game 1 of the World Series rested and ready with a starter that consistently goes deep into games.

    In the end, Cubs grade out as the better team but by not nearly as much as the betting markets suggest. I have a wager on Cleveland +180 for the series.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Cleveland +180
     
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  16. bstaple12

    bstaple12 Nole World Order
    Atlanta BravesAtlanta FalconsFlorida State Seminoles

    Trying to figure out how to hedge my Indians future from the beginning of the season
     
  17. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    WS Game 2
    How to bet World Series Game 2
    Can Jake Arrieta get the win for the Cubs tonight? Richard Carson/Getty Images
    12:32 PM ET
    • MLB Vegas ExpertsESPN Chalk

    Game 1 went about as well as could possibly be expected for Cleveland. While Corey Kluber struck out batters at a World Series-record pace (eight of the first nine Cubs outs were via punchout), the Indians rattled Jon Lester for two runs in the first without hitting a ball hard. Although more runs crossed the plate later, the events of the first inning were really all the bullpen protection duo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen needed, and it all made for a thrilling night for Cleveland sports fans.

    It's a cliché of course, but there a lot of wisdom to the maxim that a postseason series doesn't really started until the home team loses a game. The Indians simply held serve last night, in a game that saw them with quite possibly the highest implied win expectancy (50 percent) they'll see all series. However, it was a very meaningful hold of serve because it's one thing to have a plan, it's another thing to execute it. The Tribe have now demonstrated that, just like they did against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays, they can execute it against the Cubs as well.

    Our team of baseball handicappers is back for a look at Game 2. Last night Dave Tuley (1-1, -0.07 units) split his picks, missing on the Cubs, but scoring with the under. Joe Peta, while backing the Cubs for the series, took a pass on Game 1. Their thoughts on Game 2 follow.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Westgate line: Cubs (Arrieta) -145 at (Bauer) +135
    Over/under: 7 (-120 over)

    Game 2 PickCenter: 52 percent picking Indians

    Joe Peta: Last night was something of a must-win for the Indians because they had full use of their strengths (Kluber, Miller and Allen), they had a season's worth of basepath aggressiveness to exploit a Cubs vulnerability (Lester with runners on base) and they were at home. They delivered and they should be congratulated, but it wasn't entirely unexpected. I picked the Cubs in five games, but passed on a Game 1 wager, because, as I said in the series preview, "let's give the Indians ... a win in one of the two games they face Lester."


    Cleveland fans should be encouraged, however, because unlike the 2015 Royals or the 2012 and 2014 Giants, the Cubs do not thwart the effectiveness of high-strikeout staffs by constantly making contact. On the other hand, despite striking out at the MLB rate, the Cubs have a tremendous lineup and it calls into question whether the Indians formula last night is repeatable -- especially without Kluber on the mound. You may not have noticed, but when the Cubs weren't striking out last night they hit .368, slugged .474 and had an onbase percentage of .429.

    If, referring to the 15 strikeouts, you're tempted to acidly retort, "other than that Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think about the play?" I'll acknowledge that the strikeouts count, of course, but Kluber is the only Indians starter who can deliver them at that rate. You don't have to go far to see overreactions this morning all over the sports commentary world, but it's entirely misplaced.

    The Indians won the game that was identifiable beforehand as the contest they had the very best chance of winning in the series. I expect the Cubs to put even more balls into play tonight, convert baserunners into runs at a better than 0-for-9 rate, and even the series up.

    Pick: Chicago, -145

    Dave Tuley: The Indians got the win they needed in Game 1 to keep this from being a quick series and now we're back to it basically being pick 'em. I didn't want to lay -200 on the Cubs to win the series, but the current -115 price is more appealing. Except for Cleveland winning, Game 1 played out as I expected with it being a low-scoring game, so I cashed my under 6.5 wager and I'm going with the under again in Game 2.

    I want to comment on some fundamental handicapping: When Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers shut out the Cubs 1-0 in Game 2 of the NLCS, everyone was talking about how dominant he was, but what I saw was a game where the Cubs were getting good swings on him and hit many line drives that just happened to be hit at defenders. I told everyone who would listen that they would be able to hit him and those liners would likely find holes -- and that's what happened in Game 6. I thought the same thing last night.

    The Cubs expected to see ALCS MVP Miller several times in this series and it was obvious to me that they were ready for him last night. They didn't score on him, but they threatened in both the seventh and eighth innings and will benefit the more they see him. The Cubs have a lot of patience at the plate and that causes Miller problems as he throws a lot of balls that move out of the zone. They didn't fare as well against Kluber, though I expect them to watch the tape and be ready next time for his backdoor two-seamer, which was deceptive Tuesday night but is relatively flat.


    Terry Francona is 9-0 in World Series games. Still, with expecting the Cubs' bats to bounce back and Jake Arrieta on the mound, I'm tempted to lay the -1.5 on the run line at +115, but then I would be cheering for runs when I still need it to stay under. So, I'll just stick with the series bet.

    Adding strength to the under play is expected home plate umpire, Chris Guccione. He used to be an "over ump" (58-36-6 with the over from 2011-13) but he has been 54-33-5 (62.1 percent) with the under the last three years, including 18-9-3 (66.7 percent) this season. Now, that's 91-90-11 overall since 2010 and I wouldn't just bet the under because of him being behind the plate, but he's a plus on a night I'm already expecting another pitchers' duel.

    Pick: Under, +100 (Game 2); Cubs. -115 for the Series
     
  18. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

    Fallica had a really good week last week.
     
  19. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    How to bet World Series Game 7-Peta and Tuley
    How to bet World Series Game 7
    Either Joe Maddon or Terry Francona will be holding the World Series trophy Wednesday night. Getty Images
    10:33 AM ET
    • MLB Vegas ExpertsESPN Chalk

    Major League Baseball went eight seasons (2003 to 2010) without a Game 7 in its showcase event, but tonight, for the third time in five years, baseball, nay sports fans are treated to the ultimate winner-take-all contest.

    By virtue of the rotation Terry Francona set at the beginning of the World Series, Cleveland's plan to capture the Fall Classic involved winning the three starts made by Corey Kluber while stealing a fourth game somewhere else along the way. As evidenced by the shellacking Josh Tomlin took Tuesday night, the Indians' win in his Game 3 start at Wrigley Field versus Kyle Hendricks, the majors' ERA champ, firmly meets the standards of a stolen win. The Indians are exactly where they planned to be before a pitch was thrown in the Series.

    The Cubs, on the other hand, entered Sunday with a one-pitch-at-a-time, one-bat-at-a-time mentality -- for better or worse, Joe Maddon rigidly adhered to that outlook Tuesday even with a five- and then seven-run lead. Not only have they gotten to Game 7, but for the first time since before Game 3, they're actually favorites, albeit mild ones, to win the 2016 World Championship.

    It's up to our baseball handicappers at Chalk to reveal if they see it that way as well. Joe Peta's bid for postseason series perfection is still alive and on an individual game basis this series, he moved to 3-2 (-0.3 units) last night while Dave Tuley (5-4, +1.40) came out unscathed after a win on the favorite Cubs and a no-juice loss on the under. Here are our best bets for Game 7 of the World Series:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Westgate line: Chicago Cubs (Hendricks) -115 at Cleveland Indians (Kluber) +105
    Over/under: 6.5 (-120 over)

    Game 7 PickCenter: 55 percent picking Chicago

    Joe Peta: Before Tuesday's game, the separately listed odds on both Game 6 and the Cubs winning the World Series implied the Indians would be small favorites in Game 7. Sure enough, when the initial lines were posted in Las Vegas last night, the Indians were -110 favorites. Quickly the odds changed to what you see now, as Cubs money poured in. By virtue of the dime-line math, all 10-cent, or in this case 15-cent, moves are not created equal -- not even close -- and in fact, a move from -110 to +105 is nearly the biggest change in implied win expectancy possible. All of which is to say, with the better and more rested bullpen, you can definitely make the case that tonight's value lies with Cleveland.

    I won't be making that case, though, and if I'm wrong about this game and ultimately this series, it's because my model overrated the Cubs offense. My eyes can see (just like yours) that the Cubs' supposed top-to-bottom lineup strength appears to have vanished due to the struggles of Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras. But our eyes often lie, and in my quest to complete the perfect postseason bracket, I'm sticking with the edge my numbers see for the Cubs.

    Honestly, though, Wednesday night isn't about a perfect bracket, or "capping" that final game correctly. It's about enjoying one of the most anticipated World Series games in at least 15 and possibly 30 years. One thing I've noticed since I entered this subculture five years ago is that serious baseball bettors tend to be huge baseball fans. Perhaps it's a prerequisite for slogging through a 2,430-game season, but spend time with them and for all the talk about wOBAs, SIERAs and mispriced lines, you'll find a love of baseball driving their endeavors.

    So tonight, whether you're holding a Cubs or an Indians ticket, cashing that ticket isn't the main focus. We get to watch two franchises starved for a world championship banner in their ballpark battle to create a generation's worth of memories for their rabid fan bases, and if we're all lucky someone's name is going to take its place next to Madison Bumgarner, Luis Gonzalez, Jack Morris, Bob Gibson and Bill Mazeroski in the annals of Game 7 heroes.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Chicago, -115

    Dave Tuley: Playing each game's under dropped me to 4-2 on totals in this series with Chicago's 9-3 victory Tuesday night, but it was offset by a relatively easy one-unit win on the Cubs to set up Game 7.

    As written after Game 1, I picked up a series price of -115 on the Cubs, and with Game 7's odds nearly identical, I could let that ride or basically double down on tonight's game. I'm tempted to do the latter.

    Let's go back to something I wrote after Game 1: "The Cubs expected to see ALCS MVP Andrew Miller several times in this series, and it was obvious to me that they were ready for him last night. They didn't score on him, but they threatened to in both the seventh and eighth innings and will benefit the more they see him ... They didn't fare as well against Kluber, though I expect them to watch the tape and be ready next time for his backdoor two-seamer, which was deceptive Tuesday night but is relatively flat."

    Now, the Cubs faced the Kluber-Miller combo again in Game 4 and lost 7-2; however, they did get five hits off Kluber in six innings and scored on both pitchers, including a Dexter Fowler home run off of Miller. I expect the Cubs to continue to improve against each (with Kluber again pitching on short rest) and this time they have Kyle Hendricks on the mound instead of John Lackey. Hendricks started the Cubs' 1-0 loss in Game 3 but didn't allow a run in 4⅓ innings.

    So, I'm firing on the under one last time as well. While I believe the Cubs will have more success against Kluber and Miller (who is almost certain to be called upon in middle relief by Francona), I don't expect them to light up the scoreboard; something along the lines of the Cubs' 5-1 win in Game 2 or 3-2 win in Game 5 will suffice. I wouldn't blame anyone following my under plays to be content with the 4-2 record and pass on Game 7, especially with former "over" umpire Sam Holbrook behind the plate. He was 131-93-16 (58.5 percent) with the over from 2007-2012, however, he's been more of an under umpire at 28-24-4 (53.8 percent) the past two years since returning from bereavement leave 2014 after the death of his wife, Susie.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Chicago (-115) and the under (EVEN)
     
  20. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    Steele's best Week 10 college football bets
    Steele's best Week 10 college football bets
    Jimbo Fisher is hoping his team can bounce back from a tough loss to Clemson last week. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
    11:51 AM ET
    • [​IMG]
      Phil SteeleESPN Staff Writer

    Each week during the 2016 college football season I will offer up my selections and scores for the weekend's biggest games and a handful of other key matchups.

    Last week I got back on track with a solid 6-1 record, both straight up and against the spread, which brings the straight-up record to 50-27 (65 percent) but the against-the-spread record to just 32-42-2 (43 percent). On the Chalk podcast on Fridays, the record was 2-2 this past week and now stands at 16-15-1.

    Last year my selections went 104-33 SU (76 percent) during the regular season and 74-61-2 ATS (55 percent).

    Here are my seven best bets from the Week 10 college football slate of games:

    Note: Lines from Westgate SuperBook as of Wednesday morning.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    No. 19 Florida State Seminoles (-5.5) at NC State Wolfpack
    Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU



    [​IMG]
    How Vegas handicappers rank top 25 college football teams
    As we await the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season, here's how Vegas experts and metrics rank the contenders for the national championship.



    The Seminoles gave a great effort last week, but allowed a late touchdown and lost at home to Clemson for their third loss of the season. They had upset losses at this site in both 2010 and 2012, and now take on a team that upset Notre Dame at home and almost beat that same Clemson team on the road. If Florida State was off an upset win, they would be in a play-against spot, but off a loss they'll be focused and the spread is under a touchdown.

    Since that 2012 upset, Florida State has rolled to wins of 32, 15 and 17 points against NC State. The Wolfpack have lost their last two and are minus-69 yards per game in ACC play. NC State has won 11 games the last two years, but only one of those has come versus a team that made a bowl game (Notre Dame, which is currently 3-5 this season). Florida State has taken on my second-toughest schedule this year and will get this must-win on the road.

    ATS pick: Florida State
    Score: Florida State 31, NC State 20

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Vanderbilt Commodores at No. 11 Auburn Tigers(-26)
    Saturday, Noon, ESPN

    A few weeks back on my weekly radio show in Alabama they asked me about Auburn and I said, "The buy sign is on and I'll ride them until they lose a game ATS." The last four weeks, they've delivered big-time, leading Mississippi State 35-0 at the half on the road. They whipped Arkansas, 56-3, finishing with a 543-25 rushing-yard edge. And last week they delivered an 11-point road win in Oxford.

    They're holding opponents to 85 yards per game below their season average and have one of the best defensive lines in the country, while their offense is averaging 577 yards per game in that span. Vanderbilt faced Tennessee State last week and catches Auburn off those three big games, with Georgia on deck. Auburn has taken on the tougher schedule (my No. 15-ranked vs. 55) and has outgained teams by 149 yards per game, while Vanderbilt has been outgained by 89 yards per game. Auburn has a top-10 offense and defense, and will keep rolling.

    ATS pick: Auburn
    Score: Auburn 38, Vanderbilt 6

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 15 LSU Tigers(+7.5)
    Saturday, 8:00 PM ET, CBS

    If you talk to NFL scouts, the three most talented teams in the country are Alabama, Ohio State and LSU. LSU wasn't playing up to its talent level under Les Miles recently, but is under interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

    Last year, I had Alabama in this column and they rolled to a 30-16 win at home, holding Leonard Fournette to just 31 yards on 19 carries. There's a lot of talk of how Alabama has won four in a row in the series and how they own LSU. I'll point out that in their last six trips to Death Valley, they're 3-3, with their wins by six, four and seven in overtime.

    Alabama is No. 1 in the country, holding foes to 177 yards below their season average, but LSU is not too far behind, holding their opponents to 174 below. Against their lone mutual opponent (Ole Miss), Alabama won by just five, getting outgained by 35 yards, while LSU won by 17 with a 190-yard edge. Alabama has a slight edge on offense, special teams and schedule strength. LSU, however, averaged 340 yards per game on offense under Miles and 536 under Orgeron. I'll call for this one to be decided by a field goal.

    ATS pick: LSU
    Score: Alabama 23, LSU 20

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Arizona Wildcats at No. 25 Washington State Cougars (-17)
    Saturday 4:00 ET Pac 12 Network

    Washington State has won six in a row, vaulting into the top 25, but has been far from impressive its last three. The Cougars have won by just six, five and four, outgaining their opponents by only 58 yards per game. While they beat UCLA (without quarterback Rosen) by only six in their last home game, the Wildcats lost to the Bruins by 21 on the road. Arizona is 0-5 in the Pac 12, losing its games by an average of 20 points per game. The Cougars defense is holding teams to 64 yards below their season average, and Arizona is allowing its opponents 51 yards above their season average. Washington State also has the edge on offense, and Luke Falk is getting noticed by NFL scouts as a potential draft pick, hitting 73 percent of his passes with a 24-5 TD:INT ratio. These teams are headed in different directions. Washington State has won eight games at home the last three years, and six of those have been by 17 or more.

    ATS pick: Washington State
    Score: Washington State 45, Arizona 21

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Maryland Terrapins (+31) at No. 2 Michigan Wolverines
    Saturday 3:30 PM ET, ESPN

    Michigan blew out Rutgers 78-0 on the road, and the nation noticed. Since then, Michigan has been paying a higher price in Vegas and gone 0-2 ATS. They're now No. 2 in the country, which also makes them overpriced. Last November, teams in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings were just 5-14 ATS. While those two factors point out some value against Michigan, I have a factor giving Maryland some value as well: The Terrapins are 5-1 when quarterback Perry Hills starts and finishes a game, and average 472 yards of offense. He was injured early against Penn State and missed the Minnesota game, and their offense averaged just 281 yards. Maryland lost those games by 24 and 21 points, and most fans look at those results and think Michigan is way better than Penn State and Minnesota, so this will be a blowout. Hills, however, is now healthy.

    Maryland head coach DJ Durkin knows the Michigan personnel extremely well after being the defensive coordinator there last year. Remember, Michigan doesn't need style points, just victories to make the playoff.

    ATS pick: Maryland
    Score: Michigan 44, Maryland 20

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors at San Diego State Aztecs (-21.5)
    Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, CBS Sports

    I pointed out in my magazine that Hawai'i averaged 35.6 points per game while Nick Rolovich was the offensive coordinator in 2010 and 2011; in the other six years after June Jones left, they averaged just 22.4 points per game. Hawai'i averaged just 17.4 points per game last year, but 29.7 this year, and has been effective since Dru Brown took over at quarterback. Ikaika Woolsey completed just 49 percent of his passes with a 5-6 TD:INT ratio, but Brown has completed 61 percent, with a 9-4 ratio the last six games.

    Upon closer inspection, however, those six defenses rank No. 93, 114, 110, 112, 66 and 85 in my computer's defensive rankings. This week, they take on my No. 14-rated defense.

    San Diego State's play is much different against conference opponents the last two years. Last year they allowed 373 yards per game in nonconference play, but just 240 yards per game in Mountain West action; this year, they've allowed 363 yards per game in nonconference play, and just 200 in Mountain West action. They've allowed a total of two offensive touchdowns in their four conference games, with one of those a garbage-time touchdown late by Utah State. While the Aztecs offense is not explosive, they do have the nation's leading rusher in Donnell Pumphrey who's going up against a rush defense that's allowing 255 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. San Diego State rolls here.

    ATS pick: San Diego State
    Score: San Diego State 41, Hawaii 13

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    TCU Horned Frogs (+7.5) at No. 13 Baylor Bears
    Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, Fox

    Last week my computer numbers had Baylor big, but I still called for the Texas outright upset in this column and the Longhorns delivered. Baylor has been a much better team at home than on the road, but I'm going against them again. Jim Grobe is a solid head coach, but is just guiding Baylor through a season of turmoil. The Bears have padded their numbers with a soft nonconference schedule. Their defense is No. 26 in the country, but it's yielding 431 yards per game in Big 12 play and allowing foes 11 yards above their season average, despite facing Iowa State and Kansas among their four Big 12 opponents.
     
  21. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    One of Bear's ML picks this week is Akron tonight :warn:
     
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  22. undrtow

    undrtow learn to swim
    Donor
    Tiger Woods

    Damn, I'm trying to talk myself into a Toledo wager
     
  23. The Hebrew Husker

    Donor
    Nebraska CornhuskersSeattle MarinersColorado AvalanceWWE

    Just listened he said "give me the 10" although it was during his ML picks
     
  24. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    Either way glad I missed this one.
     
  25. The Hebrew Husker

    Donor
    Nebraska CornhuskersSeattle MarinersColorado AvalanceWWE

    LOL I had both.

    It ws 10-3 Akron at one point that was sweet.
     
  26. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

    And so between now and April I'll read trading bases.
     
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  27. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    I got it for my bday a few weeks ago. It is a great read, already finished it. (humble brag)
     
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  28. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    Juan

    Mind posting the Bear/Stanford article?
     
  29. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    Top Week 10 college football bets
    Can Nick Saban and Alabama take one more step towards an undefeated season this weekend in Baton Rouge? Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
    10:53 AM ET
    • Chris Fallica
    • Steve Coughlin

    After an impressive 2015 season, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and Chris Fallica of ESPN Stats & Information and College GameDay are back. Every week during the college football season, they'll give their best bets for picking the weekend's top college football games.



    [​IMG]
    Phil Steele's best Week 10 CFB bets
    Can LSU upset Alabama? Will Auburn keep rolling against Vanderbilt? Does Michigan need to worry about Maryland? CFB expert Phil Steele has the answers, along with his best bets for Week 10.

    • [​IMG]
      Week 10 college football lines
      Alabama is over a touchdown favorite at LSU, while Cal is a big underdog at home against Washington. Chalk offers the Week 10 lines from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.


    2016 record:

    Fallica: 28-27-1 ATS (Week 9: 5-1)
    Coughlin: 19-23-3 ATS (Week 9: 2-3)

    2015 season record:
    Fallica: 53-40-3 ATS (55.2 percent)
    Coughlin: 38-29-3 ATS (54.3 percent)

    2014 season record:
    Fallica: 44-40 ATS (52.4 percent)
    Coughlin: 45-28-1 ATS (60.8 percent)

    Note: Against the spread (ATS) and total picks are in bold. Odds are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    LSU Tigers (+7.5) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide(over/under: 45.5)

    Fallica: I keep going back and forth with this one, so take this opinion as you may. I can base this only on the recent series history, which suggests taking the points is the prudent decision. The past four meetings in Baton Rouge have seen Alabama win by seven, four and six, respectively, with a couple of miracle drives late in games; also in there is a three-point loss to the Tigers. So for whatever reason, the games in Baton Rouge have been much different than the ones in Tuscaloosa.


    I don't have confidence that Danny Etling is going to do a whole lot against the Tide defense, but I do know there is a much different energy around the LSU team under coach Ed Orgeron and I'm sure after getting shut down by the Tide last year, Leonard Fournette will be out for redemption. This just has the feel of a game that is going to be very intense, emotional and -- again -- close.

    ATS pick: Alabama 27, LSU 21

    Coughlin: There is not a better atmosphere in college football than when these two teams play in Tiger Stadium. With that, an Alabama-LSU game has not gone over the total since 2007. Now, when you look at these teams, a couple of things stick out to me. With LSU, they have played three games with Ed Orgeron in charge and they have set three different school records on offense in those games, so they will be fearless in their playcalling. On the other side you have the best playcaller in college football, in my opinion, in Lane Kiffin, who has as balanced an offense as I can remember.

    Watch out for the big plays, as this Nick Saban defense has given up 32 plays of 20-plus yards -- an average of four per game -- and the most by any Saban-coached Alabama team to this point in the season. I expect both teams to come out and take shots early. I expect points in this game. Take the over.

    Pick: Alabama 27, LSU 21 (over 45.5)

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    California Golden Bears (+16.5) vs. Washington Huskies

    [​IMG]Wondering which side to take? Check out PickCenter and do your research before making that critical decision. PickCenter[​IMG]

    Fallica: The Huskies need to be careful here. UW is coming off a road win versus a ranked Utah team and has a big home game against a much-improved USC team next week. Now the CFP rankings are out and UW is in the playoff conversation, so the pressure gets cranked up even more. Cal's defense has been shredded the past couple of weeks, but now gets a couple of extra days to rest and maybe the offense will have Chad Hansen back, giving it another weapon. The Bears will score points.

    How many stops they get is an entirely different question, but given a likely sandwich game with everything to lose for Washington, expect this one to be a lot closer than one might think.

    ATS pick: Washington 42, Cal 35

    Coughlin: Do you expect the Huskies to come into "Bezerkley" with a chip on their shoulder after being not ranked in the top-four teams in the college playoff? That is the conversation you hear about this game, but what might be more important to ask is if the Huskies will get to next week fully healthy to host USC. The issue here is that Cal's defense is as bad as there is in the country, averaging more than 500 yards of offense allowed per game.

    On the other side you have the Pac-12's best passing defense facing the leader of all five power conferences in TD passes in Davis Webb. What gives? Will the Huskies still have last year's loss to the Bears on their minds? I'll go with the double-digit home dog knocking down the backdoor late in the fourth quarter.

    ATS pick: Washington 45, Cal 31

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Northwestern Wildcats (+7) vs. Wisconsin Badgers

    Fallica: This is a dangerous game for the Badgers, who in the past month have played three teams currently ranked in the top 10, along with a road game versus one of their biggest rivals. Each of those games was decided by seven points or fewer, so the emotional and physical effects of those contests could be seen here. Northwestern has played very well lately, pushing Ohio State to the limit last week.

    Clayton Thorson and Austin Carr have a good thing going right now. While some might think the Wildcats will be deflated after a near miss as a four-touchdown underdog last week, I think it helps drive them this week and the rest of the season. Northwestern has beaten Wisconsin each of the past two years as a 12.5- and 7.5-point dog, holding the Badgers to 21 total points. I think the Wildcats complete the hat trick this week.

    ATS pick: Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 16

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Mississippi State Bulldogs (+13.5) vs. Texas A&M Aggies



    Fallica: Texas A&M is 3-6 against the SEC the past three Novembers, and I fully expect the Bulldogs to score points here, as Nick Fitzgerald should create some big plays. Four of Mississippi State's five losses have been by seven points or fewer; the only noncompetitive game was the loss to Auburn, which jumped all over State from the get-go. Dan Mullen's teams have been pretty solid as dogs of six points or more since 2014 (5-1 ATS, two outright wins).

    While I have no issue with A&M being No. 4 right now in the CFP rankings, I still don't know how good A&M really is, as the Aggies needed OT at home to beat both a 3-5 UCLA team and an injury-riddled Tennessee team that turned the ball over seven times.

    ATS pick: Mississippi State 31, Texas A&M 30

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Arkansas Razorbacks (+5.5) vs. Florida Gators

    Fallica: While I think the Florida defense is good, every offense the Gators have faced is ranked 50th or worse in offensive efficiency. Tennessee is 50th and the Vols put up 38 points on the Gators, while leaving a whole lot more on the field. Is Florida's offense good enough to exploit what has been a poor Arkansas rush defense?

    The last time we saw Florida in a true road game, it won an ugly 13-6 contest against Vanderbilt, a game in which it trailed midway through the fourth quarter. Yes I realize Austin Appleby was the quarterback that game. If the Gators fall behind here, Arkansas is good enough offensively to keep scoring points.

    I think Arkansas gets Florida at the right time, too. The Razorbacks had a week off to regroup after a brutal stretch of games, and now face a team that offensively will not put up a ton of points coming off a rivalry game of its own.

    ATS pick: Arkansas 33, Florida 24

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Louisville Cardinals (-24.5) at Boston College Eagles

    Fallica: The last time Louisville didn't play well, it responded with a 54-13 win against NC State. Boston College pulled an upset against the same Wolfpack team last week, but these are the same Eagles who lost 56-10 at home to Clemson and 49-0 at Virginia Tech.

    BC has had great defenses in the past to make up for bad offenses, but this isn't one of those years. I expect Louisville to come out the way it did against NC State and rebound from a subpar performance last week.

    ATS pick: Louisville 45, Boston College 14

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Nebraska Cornhuskers (+17) at Ohio State Buckeyes(over/under: 52.5)

    Coughlin: What do you make of the Buckeyes? Their defense comes into this game having given up 400-plus yards in two of their past three games. Their offense seems to be struggling getting the ball in the end zone, even though they rushed for more than 200 yards last week and also threw for more than 220 yards. As for the Huskers, this seems like a tough spot for them, even though I was really impressed last week in their first loss off the season in Madison, Wisconsin.

    This is a completely different matchup for the Huskers' defense, seeing how the Buckeyes are much more of a finesse team than Wisconsin, and I'm worried how physical that game was for Mike Riley's defense. I see the Buckeyes finding the end zone a bunch and I just can't trust Tommy Armstrong Jr. in this spot against the most athletic secondary he will face all year. Expecting Nebraska to play catch up all night long in Columbus, I'll take the over.

    Pick: Ohio State 38, Nebraska 24 (over 52.5)

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Georgia Southern Eagles (+28) at Ole Miss Rebels

    Coughlin: Plenty has been said about the Rebels this season, whether it be the disappearance of the Land Sharks' defense, the lack of balance of offense, or of course how the NCAA's investigation would affect the season. It's gotten to a point that I wonder how much more Ole Miss even cares about this season.

    This week, in come the Eagles, averaging 239 rushing yards per game, which is the last thing the Rebels want to see as they have struggled against the run all year, allowing 236 yards per game. I see this game going back and forth for a bit, with the underdog hanging close enough in the end.

    ATS pick: Ole Miss 42, Georgia Southern 21

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Iowa Hawkeyes (+7.5) at Penn State Nittany Lions

    Coughlin: The red hot Nittany Lions are turning into my favorite team to side with this year. We haven't lost this year while picking them, so we're gonna jump back on the #weare train. Who knows what James Franklin will give to his guys for motivation this week after last Friday, when he handed out little juice boxes before their game at Purdue because he felt his team needed to bring their own "juice." It worked, as Penn State scored 62 points.

    The fact is Iowa can't score. In three of its past five conference games, the Hawkeyes have scored 14 points twice and nine points once. C.J. Beathard is only completing 59 percent of his passes and averaging just 172 yards in the air per game. I love the Lions at home on a Saturday night.

    ATS pick: Penn State 27, Iowa 13
     
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  30. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

    Can you post his breeder's cup picks?
     
  31. The Hebrew Husker

    Donor
    Nebraska CornhuskersSeattle MarinersColorado AvalanceWWE

    I tried to type them into my phone as he was saying them, but I was also driving and he was naming horses like he was fucking Rainman haha
     
    LeVar Burton likes this.
  32. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    Week 11 Fallica and Coughlin
    Top Week 11 college football bets
    Chris Petersen and Washington have a big game this weekend. Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports
    12:34 PM ET
    • Chris Fallica
    • Steve Coughlin

    After an impressive 2015 season, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and Chris Fallica of ESPN Stats & Information and College GameDay are back. Every week during the college football season, they'll give their best bets for picking the weekend's top college football games.

    2016 record:

    Fallica: 31-30-1 ATS (Week 10: 3-3)
    Coughlin: 22-25-3 ATS (Week 10: 3-2)

    2015 season record:
    Fallica: 53-40-3 ATS (55.2 percent)
    Coughlin: 38-29-3 ATS (54.3 percent)

    2014 season record:
    Fallica: 44-40 ATS (52.4 percent)
    Coughlin: 45-28-1 ATS (60.8 percent)

    Note: Against the spread (ATS) and total picks are in bold. Odds are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    USC Trojans at Washington Huskies (-8.5)

    Oh, how a year changes things. Last year, USC was a 17-point favorite over UW, lost an ugly 17-12 game at the Coliseum, and it was the last game Steve Sarkisian would coach. USC has been a much more efficient -- and explosive -- team with Sam Darnold at QB but will be tested by a very good UW defense (10th in defensive efficiency). In my opinion, this will be the best defense Washington faces as well, as the Trojans have allowed their past seven opponents 5.1 yards per play after allowing 7.4 in the opener to Alabama.



    [​IMG]
    Phil Steele's best Week 11 CFB bets
    Can Baylor upset Oklahoma? Will Colorado keep rolling against Arizona? Should Washington be concerned with Cal? Phil Steele has the answers, along with his best bets for Week 11.

    • Behind the Bets
      Stanford Steve and Chris Fallica are back to give you their common games and wildcard picks for Week 11, including a juicy matchup between Washington and USC.


    I don't think it will be 17-12 like last year, but I expect the defenses to have a big say in the outcome of this game, along with running backs Myles Gaskin and Ronald Jones. I don't see a shootout at all.


    Pick: Washington 28, USC 24 (under 62.5)

    Coughlin: This is the game of the week in college football, and it should live up to all the hype. What else is there to say about Huskies sophomore QB Jake Browning, who comes in with an astounding 34-3 TD-to-INT ratio, thanks to a six-TD effort last week versus Cal. Let me also give credit where credit is due, as Trojans head coach Clay Helton faced the fire after a brutal start to the season and has now led his squad to five straight wins, thanks to the play of freshman QB Sam Darnold, who himself comes in with an impressive 20-4 TD-to-INT ratio.

    The matchup to keep an eye on is the secondary of Washington and how they will look to contain USC wideout phenom JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has been a different player since that fourth game when Darnold started taking snaps. I expect competitive game which could see huge plays in the special teams with guys like Adoree' Jackson of USC returning kicks and John Ross and Dante Pettis doing so on the other side. I just feel the Huskies defense is the difference, resulting in a game that I think stays pretty close, so I'll take the road team getting points.

    ATS pick: Washington 28, USC 24

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Oregon Ducks (+3.5) vs Stanford Cardinal

    Oregon has shown some life the last couple of weeks, at least offensively. And that might be good enough this week against an offense that has struggled all season. So, as bad as the Ducks defense has been, it is going against a really bad offense, one that might not be able to take advantage of the Ducks' deficiency? Can Christian McCaffrey single-handedly run through the Ducks D and carry them to victory? I'm not so sure.

    ATS pick: Oregon 32, Stanford 30

    Coughlin: First off, the Ducks have won six of the last seven in Eugene between these two teams. Second, when is the last time this game didn't decide into the conference championship winner? But the fall by these two has been a bit faster than the fan bases expected. As bad as Oregon has been on defense, the Cardinal might be just as bad on offense. QB Keller Chryst is 2-0 since being named the starter, but has thrown for 104 yards in one game and 60 yards in the other. With that, I think Stanford is the easiest team to defend in the conference right now, seeing how one dimensional the Cardinal are with the ball. Combined with the first tough atmosphere Chryst will face as a starter, I see the Ducks defense having its best effort of the year.

    Ducks fans have to enjoy what they have seen from true freshman QB Justin Herbert, who has seemed to ignite the team, tying a school single game record for TD passes with six, in just his second career start at Cal. In his third start, he set a school record for total offense (512) and tied the single-game passing record (489). I'll take the home team to cover, but I think Stanford wins the game.

    ATS pick: Stanford 26, Oregon 24

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Indiana Hoosiers (+7) vs Penn State Nittany Lions

    A look at the games Indiana has played at home this season reveals the Hoosiers home games against Power 5 teams have been decided by six, five, three and five points. That's been the norm lately for IU as we have mentioned many times in this column how the Hoosiers have played ranked teams very tough the last two years in Bloomington. The blocked FG and upset win over Ohio State has clearly sparked the Nittany Lions and now they must deal with the role of being the hunted on the road as a TD favorite. IU's much improved defense will have a stern test versus Saquon Barkley and a rejuvenated Penn State squad, but I think they will hang around.

    ATS pick: Penn State 26, Indiana 24

    Coughlin: Who is hotter than James Franklin and the Nittany Lions? We have been backing this team and all year and we're not stopping now. They have won five straight and in the last two weeks, the Nitts have combined for 100 points in consecutive games for the first time in conference play since 2002. The biggest advantage in this game will be the PSU defense versus the IU offense, as the Penn Staters have accumulated 18 sacks in the last three games and Hoosiers QB Richard Lagow is fresh off a game where he threw his 12th and 13th interception of the season. I love what Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead has done with his unit and I don't see anything slowing down his Nittany offense in Bloomington Saturday. Lay the points with the road team.

    ATS pick: Penn State 35, Indiana 21

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (+8.5) at Georgia Southern Eagles

    Much like Middle Tennessee a couple weeks ago when the Blue Raiders were coming off a win at Missouri, I expect a little bit of a letdown from Georgia Southern this week coming off a game against Ole Miss -- a game in which they led big, then ran out of gas. ULL doesn't have a bad rush defense either, as it held run-based Appalachian State to 171 yards on 17 carries. I don't know how many points Mark Hudspeth's team will score but I do think the Ragin' Cajun defense will keep this one close.

    ATS pick: Georgia Southern 27, UL Lafayette 20

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    Arizona State Sun Devils (+6) vs. Utah Utes

    It looks like Manny Wilkins will be back at QB for ASU and that's great news. So will RB Demario Richard, which will boost the ASU offense and DB's Kareem Orr and Armand Perry, which will help one of the worst defenses in the country -- allowing a whopping 9 yards per pass attempt, worst of any Power 5 team. The good thing, though, is the Sun Devils face one of the Pac-12's worst passing attacks here. ASU has been scrappy at home this year, too, losing to Washington State by five and beating UCLA, Cal and Texas Tech. Last year's game in Salt Lake City got away from ASU late as Utah scored 20 fourth-quarter points in a 34-18 Utes win. Each of the prior two meetings were lower-scoring than expected and decided by a combined four points. Expect ASU to put forth a great effort on senior night.

    ATS pick: Arizona State 31, Utah 28

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    North Texas Mean Green (+29) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

    Seth Littrell's first season in Denton has been a success, as the Mean Green have won four games this year after winning just one in 2015. The defense has given up some points the last two weeks but our FPI ratings have this one WKU -24 so there's about five points of value with the underdog here. We'll side with the numbers and go with the 'dog.

    ATS pick: Western Kentucky 49, North Texas 24

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Baylor Bears (+15.5) at Oklahoma Sooners

    After losing two of their first three, the Sooners have won six games in a row in impressive fashion. QB Baker Mayfield leads a passing offense that comes in averaging 342.3 yards and is ranked eighth in the country, thanks in large part to the emergence of WR Dede Westbrook, who has been on a tear, tallying 1,012 yards and 12 TDs during conference play.

    The Sooners should have their top two running backs returning in Joe Mixon(suspension) and Samaje Perine (injury) and Bob Stoops' defense comes in only giving up 123 rushing yards, while Baylor leads in the conference in yards on the ground with 278 per game. The belief here is that the Sooners can limit the Bears offensively and make them one dimensional, while the Sooners will have their way with what seems a very vulnerable Bears team, coming in off two straight losses.

    ATS pick: Oklahoma 48, Baylor 27

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    Tulane Green Wave (+23) at Houston Cougars

    No one likes to lay more than three touchdowns in a conference game, but you have to change it up once in a while, right? This is the spot where I will lay the points with the home team, and a lot of it has to do with the situation. We all saw the love the Cougars got at the beginning of the year when they beat Oklahoma and started 5-0 for the second straight year under Tom Herman ... and then what happened they went to Navy and played sloppy and turned the ball over early and played from behind the whole game and never caught up. And then a couple weeks later they did the same vs. SMU. The Cougars did start the year with nine straight games, so they're finally coming off a bye, where you would have to think they went back to the basics and worked on polishing things on the offense (which is still averaging 38 points a game). We'll give a boatload of points and trust coach Herman to take care of business coming out of the bye week.

    ATS pick: Houston 38, Tulane 10
     
  33. NDXOS

    NDXOS Guest

    Anything for this week? Juan
     
  34. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    All I see is Phil Steele who I really don't follow all that much. Here you go though. Tag me in a message when Fallica and Coughlin's column comes out and I'll post it.
    Phil Steele's best Week 13 college football bets
    Can the Cyclones rise up and finish off the season with a three-game winning streak? Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
    10:18 AM ET
    • [​IMG]
      Phil SteeleESPN Staff Writer

    Each week during the 2016 college football season, I will offer up my selections and scores for the weekend's biggest games and a handful of other key matchups.

    Last year, my selections went 104-33 (76 percent) picking straight-up (SU) winners during the regular season and 74-61-2 (55 percent) against the spread (ATS). This year the straight-up record is 67-32 (68 percent), but the ATS record is just 42-54-2 (44 percent).

    Here are this week's selections.

    Note: Lines from Westgate SuperBook as of Wednesday morning.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    No. 18 West Virginia Mountaineers at Iowa State Cyclones (+8)
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

    West Virginia was thinking about a Big 12 title and a playoff spot heading into last week's game against Oklahoma. The home loss ended both those dreams and, many times, teams suffer a "bubble burst" letdown the following week.



    [​IMG]
    Alabama looks to go wire-to-wire as top team in Vegas rankings
    Alabama is close to carrying the No. 1 slot from wire to wire, but the real intrigue comes into play this weekend when the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in this week's rankings square off Saturday.

    • [​IMG]
      Week 13 college football lines
      Ohio State is a 6.5-point favorite against Michigan, while Auburn is a big underdog on the road against Alabama. Chalk offers the Week 13 lines from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.



    Iowa State upset Texas Tech last week, rolling to a 66-10 win, and will be playing with newfound enthusiasm. Despite Iowa State's 3-8 record, with a first-year head coach, the fans should be excited about the future. Iowa State is a perfect 5-0 ATS at home this year versus FBS teams and this is its season finale. Meanwhile, West Virginia is in the middle portion of an Oklahoma-Baylor sandwich.

    ATS pick: Iowa State (+)
    Score: West Virginia 28, Iowa State 27

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    NC State Wolfpack (+11.5) at North Carolina Tar Heels
    Friday, noon ET, ESPN

    It's rivalry week and rivalry underdogs usually fare well, including some big-time upsets, as this series has often proven. The dog in this clash has gone a solid 15-3 ATS with 12 outright upsets during the past 18 years!

    The Wolfpack have an underrated defense that is holding foes to 70 yards per game below their season average,19th-best in FBS. While these teams have faced similar schedules, North Carolina is only plus-33 yards per game while NC State is plus 62 yards per game, proving the talent gap to be close.

    While the Tar Heels are playing with hopes of an ACC Coastal title, NC State needs a win to become bowl eligible.

    ATS pick: NC State (+)
    Score: North Carolina 30, NC State 27

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    No. 5 Washington Huskies (-6) at No. 23 Washington State Cougars
    Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox

    The Apple Cup is the de facto Pac-12 North title game, with the winner advancing to the Pac-12 Championship. These teams feature two of the nation's top quarterbacks with Luke Falk having a 36/7 TD/INT ratio and Jake Browning coming in at 37/7. Washington has the stronger rush attack, averaging 209 yards per game, while Washington State is averaging just 132 yards on the ground.

    Washington ranks No. 17 in my pass efficiency defense ranking and Washington State is No. 49. Washington has held opponents to 85 yards per game below their season average in Pac-12 games, while Washington State is holding them to just 25 below. The home edge goes to the Cougars, but I'll side with the stronger team as Washington shows it is a legitimate playoff contender.

    ATS pick: Washington
    Score: Washington 37, Washington State 27

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    Michigan State Spartans (+12) at No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

    If Ohio State beats Michigan, then Penn State will know that a win equals the Big Ten East title, and will be playing with added pressure. If Michigan wins, then those Big Ten title hopes are gone. Either way, Michigan State is singularly focused on this game, with one of the best dog coaches in Mark Dantonio.

    Michigan State has been an underdog three times this year and has gone 3-0 ATS, covering by an average of 18 points per game -- versus Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State, no less. The Spartans are 12-2 ATS as a dog, winning eight outright.

    Michigan State had 401 yards of offense against Michigan, which was a season high for any of their opponents. Last week, they outgained No. 2 Ohio State 334-310. While Penn State is 7-1 in the Big Ten, it's plus-93 yards per game versus Big Ten foes. Michigan State at 1-7 is in that same ballpark, at plus-55 yards per game.

    ATS pick: Michigan State (+)
    Score: Penn State 23, Michigan State 20

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    No. 3 Michigan Wolverines at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-6.5)
    Saturday, noon ET, ABC

    This is not one of my top plays, but I always feel compelled to pick the biggest games of the week. Ohio State has now won 11 of the past 12 meetings, but Michigan has kept it closer than expected, going 12-6 ATS during the past 18 meetings between these schools. Perhaps surprisingly, there hasn't been an outright upset in the series in the past 11 years.

    Urban Meyer is 8-0 ATS when either a single-digit favorite or dog. Ohio State has won its home games by an average of 51-9, outgaining foes by 305 yards per game. Michigan was a three-touchdown favorite in both of its past two road trips, but only returned home with a six-yard edge those games combined. My computer has Ohio State as an 8-point favorite, and the spread is under a touchdown.

    ATS pick: Ohio State
    Score: Ohio State 28, Michigan 20

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    Minnesota Golden Gophers at No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (-14)
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

    Looking strictly at the stats, the Badgers deserve to be a double-digit favorite here. They're plus-90 yards per game, while Minnesota is only plus-19 yards per game -- and the Badgers are at home. However, the edge intensifies when factoring in the competition they've faced. Wisconsin has taken on my 20th-toughest schedule while Minnesota logs in at just No. 86.

    Minnesota's toughest nonconference foe was Colorado State, and the Gophers drew Rutgers and Maryland out of the East. Wisconsin's toughest nonconference foe was LSU, and the Badgers drew Michigan and Ohio State out of the East. Minnesota will have a tough time moving the ball as it has averaged 63 yards per game fewer than its opponents typically allow, and Wisconsin's defense has held their competition to 109 yards below their average.

    ATS pick: Wisconsin
    Score: Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 13

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    No. 15 Florida Gators at No. 14 Florida State Seminoles (-6.5)
    Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

    The Gators have the SEC championship on deck and just won the game that clinched them that spot, beating LSU in Death Valley. It may be hard to fathom, but rival Florida State is actually a sandwich game for them. The Gators are banged up and figure to aim for having as many hands on deck as they can next week. Florida State is in its home and season finale, and can grab its second win of the year against an SEC team.

    LSU had three drives inside the Gator 10-yard line result in zero points, and were out first-downed, 23-14. Florida State has faced my sixth toughest schedule and Florida just No. 61. Florida State is plus-120 yards per game at home, while Florida is minus-87 yards per game away from the Swamp.

    ATS pick: Florida State
    Score: Florida State 28, Florida 16

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    UCF Knights at South Florida Bulls (-10)
    Saturday, noon ET, CBS Sports Network

    UCF is bowl eligible, but amazingly has been outgained in every AAC game it has played, to the tune of minus-94 yards per game. The Bulls' defense has taken a step back during the past four weeks, but three of those were on the road. The other game was against the Navy option at home.

    South Florida has a huge edge on offense with the triplets: Quinton Flowers, Marlon Mack and Rodney Adams. They've averaged 117 more yards than their opponents allow, which is the sixth-best number in the nation. UCF lost its home finale last week by 15 points to Tulsa, and now faces a stronger Bulls team playing its final home game.

    ATS pick: South Florida
    Score: South Florida 38, UCF 20

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    No. 13 Auburn Tigers at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-17)
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

    Three weeks ago, I would have given Auburn a shot in this one, but I've been nonplussed with its past two SEC efforts, including a game in which it produced just 164 total yards versus Georgia. The Tigers have done well facing teams with weak rush defenses, averaging 42.1 points per game (PPG), but they've squared off with three teams ranked in the top 35 in rush defense (Clemson, LSU and Georgia) and have averaged just 12.7 PPG in those contests.

    Alabama comes in No. 1 in rush defense. The Tide did only beat Ole Miss by five points, Texas A&M by 19 and LSU by only 10. Auburn has comparable talent, and is a rivalry dog. It may also get back Kamryn Pettway. However, even with the SEC championship on deck, I'll side with the superior squad, at home, to bring their "A" game in the Iron Bowl.

    ATS pick: Alabama
    Score: Alabama 31, Auburn 10
     
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  35. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
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    Top Week 13 college football bets
    John O'Korn threw for just 59 yards in his starting debut for Michigan. Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
    7:10 PM ET
    • Chris Fallica
    • Steve Coughlin

    After an impressive 2015 season, "Stanford Steve" Coughlin of SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and Chris Fallica of ESPN Stats & Information and College GameDay are back. Every week during the college football season, they'll give their best bets for the weekend's top college football games.

    2016 record:

    Fallica: 36-37-1 ATS (Week 12: 3-3)
    Coughlin: 27-30-3 ATS (Week 12: 2-3)

    2015 season record:
    Fallica: 53-40-3 ATS (55.2 percent)
    Coughlin: 38-29-3 ATS (54.3 percent)

    2014 season record:
    Fallica: 44-40 ATS (52.4 percent)
    Coughlin: 45-28-1 ATS (60.8 percent)

    Note: Against the spread (ATS) and total picks are in bold. Odds are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes (-6.5)

    Over/under: 45.5

    Fallica: Both of these teams have shown signs of trouble recently, but I think Michigan's offensive woes are more concerning. And it doesn't really matter if it was with Wilton Speight or John O'Korn at quarterback. Speight was 11-for-26 for 103 yards and an interception at Iowa, and O'Korn was 7-for-16 for 59 yards against Indiana. In that span, Michigan ran for 3.8 yards per carry, and more than a quarter of its carries went for zero or minus yardage. That's not a good recipe on the road against one of the best defenses in the country.



    [​IMG]
    Alabama looks to go wire-to-wire as top team in Vegas rankings
    Alabama is close to carrying the No. 1 slot from wire to wire, but the real intrigue comes into play this weekend when the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in this week's rankings square off Saturday.

    • [​IMG]
      Phil Steele's best Week 13 CFB bets
      Can West Virginia rebound from a tough home loss? Who will win the battle for the Tarheel State? Phil Steele has the answers, along with his best bets for Week 13.



    The last time Ohio State had a lackluster performance against Northwestern, the Buckeyes showed up the following week and had one of their best offensive games this season in a 62-3 win over Nebraska. The Buckeyes have won nine of the past 10 meetings with the Wolverines and scored 42 points in each of the past three. I don't think they will score that amount Saturday, but I do think they will score enough to win and advance to the College Football Playoff. However, given both offenses have struggled at times this year, I expect a lot of running plays, along with a bit of a conservative approach early. Under is the way to go here, given I have to make an official pick on the game.

    Pick: Ohio State 20, Michigan 16 (under 45.5)

    Coughlin: The one thing I can't help but think about in this matchup is how embarrassing this game was last year. Michigan was at home, Ohio State was fresh off a loss to Sparty and ... there went Ezekiel Elliott time after time, leading the Buckeyes to a 42-13 blowout win, their 11th win in the past 12 games in this storied rivalry.

    So what is there to make of Michigan coming into this matchup, which will be against their toughest opponent of the year and in the toughest environment? We saw they did not play close to their best in their last road game, losing to Iowa, and now we don't even know who will be under center for them. It seems too easy to say that Urban Meyer and his guys will figure it out, but J.T. Barrettand the passing game haven't been too hot lately, and they are going against the best defense they will have seen all year. The Wolverines' defense leads the country in fewest total yards allowed per game, at 243. I think Harbaugh makes the game ugly enough and that the boys from Ann Arbor keep it close, but the Buckeyes pull out the win.

    ATS pick: Ohio State 23, Michigan 20

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    Washington Huskies (-6) at Washington State Cougars (over/under 64.5)

    Fallica: I'm a little surprised this number is so high, given this will be a huge test for a Washington defense that is beaten up. Playing without injured wide receiver River Cracraft last week affected the Cougars, who dropped a few passes, but credit should also be given to a very physical Colorado defense. Everything is on the line here for Washington -- a spot in the Pac-12 title game, a win on the road against its biggest rival and a potential spot in the College Football Playoff or the Rose Bowl. That's a lot of weight to be shouldering against a team that has a very good defensive front and one that you will need to stop on fourth down quite a bit during the game. After missing out on last year's game, I think Luke Falk has a big day and leads the Cougars to the upset win.

    ATS pick: Washington State 38, Washington 34

    Coughlin: I don't think I have been more excited for a game this year than I am for this Apple Cup matchup. The game is in Pullman, and the atmosphere should be outstanding. The QBs in this game have combined to throw 72 touchdown passes this year. And, as with any rivalry, these teams can't stand each other, and I know the Huskies hate playing this game in Pullman more than the Cougars dislike playing in Seattle; that will be a motivating factor.

    After winning eight straight games, Mike Leach's group lost last week at Colorado in one of the most entertaining games I took in all year. A couple of things about the Cougars' offense stood out to me in that game. One was the absence of WR River Cracraft; it just seems like Falk didn't look right in big spots without one of his most reliable targets. Another was that Falk simply missed on two potential touchdown throws, and he cannot do that this week against the Huskies' secondary. Finally, I just can't stand Leach's decisions in big spots in games, whether it's kicking field goals vs. going for it on fourth down, or a pass/run decision on fourth down. I trust the road team more here, so I'll give the points.

    ATS pick: Washington 38, Washington State 30

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    Mississippi State Bulldogs at Ole Miss Rebels (-7.5) (over/under 69.5)

    Fallica: Last week, the Rebels predictably struggled on the road against Vanderbilt. This week, I think it's a different story. This game reminds me of the 2014 meeting, where the Rebels didn't have much to play for and put a number on the Bulldogs. I think there's a bit of anger that tight end Evan Engramsomehow wasn't named as a Mackey Award finalist, and Ole Miss might just get a huge game from him against a defense that is very susceptible to the big play. For the most part, it has been a season to forget in Oxford, but I think Shea Patterson and the offense puts on a show this week and ends the year on a high note.

    ATS pick: Ole Miss 41, Mississippi State 28

    Coughlin: After a couple of promising years in the state of Mississippi, the 2016 season has been pretty disappointing for both of these programs. In fact, the best story in the state might be in Scooba, where the Lions of Eastern Mississippi State Community College won the MACJC Championship. But when you look at the Bulldogs and Rebels coming into the Egg Bowl, you can't help but notice the product on the field each team is putting out. Ole Miss looked so out of whack last week, getting dump-trucked by Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, State looked helpless defensively vs. Arkansas, giving up more than 600 yards of offense.

    The biggest difference-maker in this game is Bulldogs QB Nick Fitzgerald, who has been the SEC's breakout player this season, accounting for 32 touchdowns. I also don't envision Ole Miss being as balanced offensively as Arkansas was last week in Starkville. I'll take the underdog road team to win outright.

    ATS pick: Mississippi State 31, Ole Miss 28

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    LSU Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies (+6.5)

    Fallica: I guess there is a chance Texas A&M could still work out a Sugar Bowl berth. If it wins against LSU, and Florida loses to Florida State and to Alabama in the SEC championship game, the Aggies could be the highest-ranked SEC team. A Tennessee loss to Vanderbilt would basically seal it. LSU's offense is really hard to watch, and I know the Tigers' defense has done a good job keeping the Aggies in check the last couple of years, but let's be real. Last week's loss probably sealed the fate of Ed Orgeron's efforts to keep the head-coaching job, and Leonard Fournette probably isn't going to play. I trust John Chavis will have the Texas A&M defense ready to roll and shut down an offense that doesn't have many options, given its poor quarterback play.

    ATS pick: Texas A&M 26, LSU 16

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    Florida International Golden Panthers (+14) at Old Dominion Monarchs

    Fallica: Don't think for a second that next year hasn't begun for FIU. Current players and coaches are showing Butch Davis what they can do in order to make a case for playing time or a job in 2017. FIU has been good to me this year, and I'll back them again here. If you look at some of the statistic splits in conference-only games, these two teams are much closer than a 14-point spread. A win here for ODU, coupled with a bowl win, would give the Monarchs a 10-win season -- a pretty impressive feat.

    ATS pick: Old Dominion 37, Florida International 28

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    Wyoming Cowboys at New Mexico Lobos (+3)

    Fallica: I really don't want to do it, but I have to. Boise State is the only team to win in Albuquerque this year. It would be an awesome story to see the Cowboys reach the Mountain West Conference championship game, but the Pokes' rush defense has been susceptible to big plays on the ground, and that fits right in with what Bob Davie's team wants to do. It's one of those games that, if I'm wrong, I will happily be on the wrong side, because I do love a Cinderella story. But my sense is that Davie will build this game up as one that could make the Lobos' season, and they will deliver.

    ATS pick: New Mexico 40, Wyoming 38

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    Florida Gators at Florida State Seminoles (-6.5)

    Fallica: My guess is that Florida put all its emotional eggs in last week's basket and played inspired on defense against a pitiful LSU offense. The Gators escaped with a fitting and deserved win, given all the controversy over the delay and rescheduling of the game. But let's face it, Florida made one play on offense all day, and that's not going to be enough against a Florida State offense that, unlike LSU, can run, pass and score. Don't forget Florida is still decimated by injuries as well. It's a chance for the FSU seniors to sweep Miami (Fla.) and Florida State, and if you read the way the winds are blowing, it sure looks like Jimbo Fisher could be headed to LSU. If that's the case, my guess is that he goes out with a bang and puts up a big number here.

    ATS pick: Florida State 34, Florida 13

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Tulane Green Wave (pick 'em) at Connecticut Huskies (over / under 38.5)

    Coughlin: I'm not sure what everyone will be doing at 4 p.m. Saturday, but you should be getting your television sets on ESPNews to check out this heavyweight matchup at Rentschler Field. The teams have combined to lose 11 games in row, and each has a 3-8 record. UConn has one conference win, and Tulane is looking for its first.

    The UConn offense is just abysmal. It hasn't scored a touchdown in three straight games and is averaging just 15 points per game this year. The Green Wave come into East Hartford after last week's 31-0 loss to Temple in which they gained only 142 total yards. This will be as ugly a game as there is this weekend, and we're unlikely to see many points scored. Take the under, and move on.

    Pick: Connecticut 5, Tulane 3 (Under 38.5)

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    NC State Wolfpack (+11.5) at North Carolina Tar Heels (over/under 59)

    Coughlin: It's Rivalry Week, but some teams might have a little more to play for than their opponent. Case in point: The Wolfpack need a win to become bowl-eligible, which would be a great way to end a brutal year for Dave Doeren's bunch. After all, they were close to beating Clemson in Death Valley and led against Florida State for much of the game before blowing it in the fourth quarter.

    NC State comes into this one off a messy loss to Miami, 27-13, but the score was 3-3 at half, and the Pack gave it away because of too many mistakes. Now, Miami did hurt NC State on the ground, but I just don't see UNC staying consistent in the ground game. Give me the points.

    ATS pick: North Carolina 31, North Carolina State 24
     
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  36. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

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  37. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    He does.

    How to bet Yankees-Twins AL wild-card game
    The Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees had two of the most potent offenses in baseball in the second half of the season, thanks in large part to Brian Dozier and Aaron Judge, respectively. Which team has what it takes to win Tuesday's AL wild-card game? Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
    9:00 AM ET
    • [​IMG]
      Joe PetaSpecial to ESPN.com

    Although Major League Baseball's wild-card games are advance-or-go-home contests, lately they've seen as many starting-pitching gems, as they have all-hands-on-deck efforts. Sure, the Blue Jays beat the Orioles last year in the American League wild-card game thanks to better bullpen use in an 11-inning game that featured the use of 13 pitchers, but in the past three years, wild-card games have also featured starting pitching gems from Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner (twice).

    Neither of Tuesday night's participants, the Minnesota Twins nor the New York Yankees, would appear to have aces of that caliber. Minnesota's Ervin Santanahas a lifetime ERA above 4.00, and it was just a year ago that the Yankees' starter, Luis Severino, sported a ghastly 5.83 ERA in mixed work as both a reliever and a starter. There's no question that each qualified as his team's ace this season, though, thanks to team-high starts, innings pitched and rotation-best ERAs, with Severino's besting Santana's 2.98 to 3.28.



    [​IMG]
    Aaron Judge's rookie season was like nothing we've ever seen
    In a season in which he was celebrated and dismissed and celebrated again, it was Aaron Judge's success that made the Yankees into a contender. And in the biggest game of their season, they need their star's resurgence to continue.



    Neither of these teams' calling card is run suppression, though -- it's run scoring. Led by rookie Aaron Judge's 52 home runs, the Yankees trailed only the Astros in runs scored in 2017. That's quite a turnaround for a team that was outscored by the DH-less San Diego Padres last season. The Twins were an offensive force, as well, finishing fourth in the American League in scoring, while topping the 800-run mark for the first time since 2009. In fact, since the All-Star break, it's not the Yankees nor MLB's highest-scoring team, the Astros, nor even the Indians, who won nearly three-quarters of their games in the second half, who led the majors in runs scored. It was the Minnesota Twins -- by a comfortable margin.

    Both teams are led by a core of young, everyday players with bright futures, but Minnesota faces a New York-based cloud that hangs over the franchise in October. The Twins have lost 12 straight postseason games dating back to 2004, and nine of those losses were to the Yankees. They'll need to break that streak for their 2017 playoff experience to last more than one evening.

    I'm back for my third straight year to preview October baseball, and I've got a postseason streak that I don't have any desire to see come to an end. I've previewed all 18 MLB playoff series for ESPN Chalk the past two years and have a 17-1 record in calling the winner, including turning in last year's perfect bracket -- a baseball handicapper's equivalent of scaling Mount Everest.

    Here are my thought's on Tuesday night's game:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Minnesota Twins (Santana) +210 at New York Yankees (Severino) -240
    Over/Under: 7.5

    Based on the Twins' MLB-leading offense since the All-Star break, and given that the Twins emerged from a half-dozen-team scrum for the second AL wild card, you'd probably suspect they enter the playoffs as a hot team. In fact, the Twins' emergence from the pack resembled a horse race in which the winner didn't sprint its way to the finish, but merely slowed down less than the rest of the horses. Only a win in their meaningless season finale gave the Twins a winning record in September. They don't really enter October hot -- their competition simply imploded.

    There have been roughly as many wild-card games dominated by a starting pitcher as there have been all-hands-on-deck contributions since the change in wild-card game format in 2012. The good news for the Yankees is that in either scenario, they're better equipped than the Twins. Owing to his admittedly impressive 3.32 ERA , Santana might have the potential to toss a gem, but you'd never predict it based on his skill set. In fact, it's Severino who has the better strikeout rate and walk rate, and, by a wide margin, he induces more ground balls.

    On top of that, the Yankees have the better defense, albeit marginally, and the better bullpen, materially. Stripped of cluster luck, which benefited both teams' runs-scored readings, New York has an ever more superior offense than the headline numbers suggest. It's one game, so of course anything can happen (and the Twins do have the potential to create some runs on the basepaths), but the Yankees can play that game, as well.

    New York is a big favorite, as all of these factors are incorporated in the inflated price, but it's not going to scare me off tonight. I've got the Yankees winning this game close to 75 percent of the time, largely due to their huge bullpen advantage. There'll be other games this postseason that will register as stronger plays for sure, but by my numbers, there's still enough edge to make the Judge-led Bombers the play Tuesday night.

    ESPN Chalk pick: New York -240
     
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  38. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

    Juan you are the man!
     
  39. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    I actually took Minnesota +240. I hate betting against Peta.
     
  40. mb711

    mb711 West Coast Barner
    Donor
    Auburn TigersGolden State WarriorsSan Francisco 49'ersSan Jose Sharks

    Wilfred, Juan and LeVar Burton like this.
  41. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    How to bet Rockies-Diamondbacks NL wild-card game
    Who will face the in-division rival Los Angeles Dodgers -- Nolan Arenado and the Rockies, or Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks? Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
    8:45 AM ET
    • [​IMG]
      Joe PetaSpecial to ESPN.com

    Our preview of Tuesday's American League wild-card game suggested that neither starter had the pedigree of a postseason ace capable of matching the gems we've seen in this round in prior years, and neither reached the third inning. In the National League, the last three NL wild-card games have featured complete-game shutouts.

    Despite that streak, complete-game shutouts are something of a baseball anachronism. Still, if you were nominating a candidate between Wednesday's starting pitchers in the Colorado Rockies-Arizona Diamondbacks NL wild-card game, you'd have to pick D-backs starter Zack Greinke. No stranger to the playoffs, Greinke has authored five shutouts in his career and has made nine playoff starts for the Brewers and Dodgers with a playoff ERA of 3.55, right in line with his lifetime ERA of 3.40.



    [​IMG]
    How MLB teams fared against Vegas win totals
    From the Dodgers to the Tigers, a look at how every team in the MLB fared in 2017 compared to its Vegas win totals.

    • [​IMG]
      Vote: Who will win the NL wild-card game?
      Zack Greinke and the Arizona Diamondbacks host Jon Gray and the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night at Chase Field. Which team will move on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers?


    Rockies starter Jon Gray doesn't have that pedigree. He's never won a Cy Young Award as Greinke has, and Gray has tossed just one shutout in his career (his only complete game). Still, he gets the nod for this game as the Rockies' nominal ace (despite making just 20 starts) thanks to an ERA of 3.67. The most interesting part of Gray's success this year is his rather bizarre home/road splits. Gray had an ERA of 4.06 on the road and a 3.13 ERA in Coors Field, baseball's most favorable environment for hitters.

    Colorado stumbled a bit down the stretch, introducing the possibility of getting caught in the wild-card race, but for most of the season, this wild-card matchup seemed preordained. Arizona enjoyed an 11-8 edge in head-to-head games, along with a far superior run differential over the season, plus-153 to Colorado's plus-67.

    It's been a while since the fan bases of either squad have tasted postseason success. The Rockies are looking to reprise their "Rocktober" success of 2007 when they swept the NL playoff slate, including a wild-card-equivalent Game 163 play-in contest en route to their only World Series appearance to date. The Diamondbacks may have the more prestigious flag flying, having won a World Series, but since that magic night in November 2001, Arizona has won just one playoff series, in 2007.

    I still have a shot at a perfect bracket this year, owing to the Yankees' victory over the Twins on Tuesday night. Let's get to Wednesday's pick.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Colorado Rockies (Gray) +160 at Arizona Diamondbacks (Greinke) -170
    Over/Under: 8.5 (O -120)

    ADVERTISEMENT
    Turning straight to the numbers, no matter how aggressively I skew certain assumptions toward Arizona, such as prorating J.D. Martinez's production in 62 games over the entire season, or assuming that Jonathan Lucroy is no better than the roughly league-average hitting catcher he exhibited this year, I can't get Arizona above a roughly 60 percent win expectancy. Once I dig a little further into the numbers, I can make a real case that the Diamondbacks' edge in this matchup erodes even further.

    Everyone assails the Rockies for the fact that they hit so much better at home than on the road, but the Diamondbacks can be tagged with that same label. The two teams faced nearly identical schedules this year, and on the road, Arizona outscored the Rockies by only 19 runs. It's an edge, to be sure, but not as large as the line implies. Same with Greinke and Gray. Yes, Greinke has had a better career, but if you look at just the second half of 2017, it's a lot closer than you might expect.

    I won't get too detailed in platoon splits, but here's a factor Arizona's win expectancy is very sensitive to: If Gray holds the D-backs' Jake Lamb to 0-for-2 or 0-for-3 before turning things over to a left-handed reliever, the Rockies have gained a meaningful edge. At that point, you'd have two lineups that profile very similarly against right-handed starters. I'm a bit surprised by this conclusion because I think the Diamondbacks are potentially a much tougher NLDS opponent for the Dodgers than the Rockies, but in this matchup, at this price, the call here is Colorado.

    If that makes you nervous, and if that nervousness grows should the Rockies face a late-inning, one- or two-run deficit, you can take solace in this possible development -- Fernando Rodney may be warming up in the Diamondbacks' bullpen.

    ESPN Chalk pick: Colorado +160
     
  42. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    Other than last night I am riding Peta all the way through the MLB playoffs.
     
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  43. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

    Also, he put out Astros series and astros game 1.
     
  44. The Hebrew Husker

    Donor
    Nebraska CornhuskersSeattle MarinersColorado AvalanceWWE

    He's usually pretty solid right?
     
  45. Juan

    Juan All you got for me is Lite Beer...
    Donor
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta Falcons

    he wins more than he loses from my experience.
     
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  46. UKupNorth

    UKupNorth Well-Known Member

    Anything for tonight's games? BOS-HOU and NYY-CLE
     
  47. LeVar Burton

    LeVar Burton Knee deep in a dynasty, ROLL TIDE!
    Kansas JayhawksAlabama Crimson Tide

    Hou game 1 and the series.

    Checking for a NYY cle write up
     
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  48. UKupNorth

    UKupNorth Well-Known Member

    I appreciate that.