Beating Vegas: North Kakalaka: Part 2

N.C. State +7.5 at Notre Dame

After N.C. State lost its opener this season to South Carolina, they have reeled off six wins in a row, including a win over reigning Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson and a win over the Seminoles at Florida State.  This is a team who returned all their senior starter in the front seven of their defense and returned 8 starters in key spots on their offense.  This is a senior laden team with a lot to play for.  Here at Beating Vegas we spoke about running back NyHeim Hines before and his 5.6 yards yards a carry is worth mentioning again.  Quarterback Ryan Finley is completing passes at a rate of 70% and has yet to thrown an interception this season.  The Wolfpack have the best rush defense in the ACC, holding to opponents to 3 yards a carry and only 91 yards a game.  .  . Enter the Notre Dame rushing attack. The Fighting Irish are 8th in the nation averaging 318 yards a game.  This is mainly due to running back Josh Adams who is still rocking out over 9 yards a carry, and dual threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush 6.2 yards a carry.  Throwing the ball, Wimbush is completing barely fifty percent of his passes, although he seems to make the big throws when needed. When calculating our “clash average” the fighting Irish will be hovering around 4.3 yards a carry – which is good, but will become a point of frustration for them, and if forced into third and longs, the advantage will go to the N.C. State defense.  Notre Dame has a great rush defense too but they’ve been able to inflate their numbers more, especially in the last three weeks.  We picked Notre Dame last week against a very over-rated USC team and won easily.  This week, we don’t think the Irish will lose. . .but N.C. State will keep it close. . .or just win straight up.

The Pick: N.C. State +7.5

Mississippi State PK at Texas A&M

Remember a few weeks ago, how the pundits on ESPN said that Mississippi State could possibly pose a threat to win the SEC? . . . that was adorable. After the Bulldogs slaughtered LSU 37-7, the world thought they were legit.  Until they found out that LSU wasn’t very legit and oh yeah, the Bulldogs got pummeled by above average competition in Georgia and Auburn by a combined score of 80-13.  Mississippi State rebounded with back to back wins against BYU and Kentucky.  Mississippi State’s offense is averaging 33.7 points per game and most of that is due to a ground attack averaging 5.1 yards a rush.  Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin are kind of where they are every year: an average team with a head coach that’s on the perennial “hot-seat.”  A&M is 5-2 on the season so far and one of those losses were an 8 point loss to Alabama.  Now, if you lose to Alabama by 8 points, that’s like moral-victory-heaven.  This Aggies offense has four backs that have at least 70 carries this year, all averaging over four yards a carry.  The advantage here, aside from coming off a bye-week and being at home; is that the Aggie’s defense against the run is allowing only 3.9 yards a carry.  A&M has the athletes on their defense that will give Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald some fits as well.  The Bulldogs are a lot of hype against inferior competition, while A&M is usually a punching bag for the media.  A&M at home, off a bye and being the better team – makes this one easy.  Expect the line to go up to at least 2 points with A&M being the favorite.

The Pick: Texas A&M Pick

 

Miami -20.5 at UNC

There is a heavy lean on “The U” this week and for good reason.  This UNC team is a dumpster fire.  The UNC Tarheels rank second to last in total offense and dead last in total defense in the AAC.  They have lost in blowout fashion to Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in their last four weeks and this number of “20.5” was cleared all three times.  Miami has proven to be a very “blue-collar” 6-0.  Not blowing out their opponents, but edging out good competition and looking strong when they finish.  Miami is 3-3 ATS so far this year while UNC is 1-7.  Publicly the Hurricanes are the third most bet on team so far with this spread.  Vegas has about 85% of their plays going that way. At the start of the year UNC put up 35 and 30 against Cal and Louisville respectively but in the last five weeks they haven’t scored over seventeen points in a game.  Meanwhile, against good competition, the Canes have averaged victories by a four point margin (yes we’re counting Syracuse as “good”).  Against inferior competition like Duke and Toledo, they’ve looked like world beaters though.  Usually, I would go against the public in a game like this, but considering the competition that the U has seen in the last three weeks, this should seem like a walk-through-practice.  Expect a close cover here in the world of 41-17.

The Pick: Miami -20.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Georgia Tech +26.5; Virginia Tech -3.5; Texas +4.5 and Georgia -2.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Houston Is A Problem

Houston Texans +5.5 at Seattle Seahawks

A lot of people wanted to jump ship when the Houston Texans lost J.J. Watt for the season, but the truth is: The Texans are kind of used to it by now.  What also has tempered the over-reaction of panic in Houston is the play of rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.  Watson, who said he’s looking “forward” to playing against the Seattle secondary is completing passes at a rate of 61.5%, with a 3:1 TD to INT ratio.  Nobody can be happier than wide-out  DeAndre Hopkins.  Hopkins was almost “forgotten” among the NFL’s “elite receiver class” but this year has 6 touchdowns, averages 10 yards a catch and is the team- leader, by far, in receptions with 37.  Hopkins will go against a secondary in Seattle that is still living up to it’s legendary status.  The “Legion of Boom” is holding the opposition to 5.6 yards a completion and a completion percentage of 55%.  The rush defense has seen better times in recent years, as this year’s group is allowing 4.7 yards a carry.  Fortunately for them, they are seeing Lamar Miller across from them this week, who is averaging 3.8 yards a carry.  The Seahawks are 4-2 so far this season and it has ZERO to do with their offense.  Their wins so far have come off of inexperienced or putrid competition.  Usually the Texans win their division by default and although “default” will play a role again in them taking the AFC South, this is a more competitive team than we’ve seen under Bill O’Brien.  Houston doesn’t only cover the five and a half points – but wins this one outright.

The Pick: Houston +5.5

L.A. Raiders +2.5 at Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have been a part of the very confusing AFC East.  They currently stand at 4-2, and as long as quarterback Tyrod Taylor can stay healthy, the win total should only go higher.  Defensively, the Bills are holding the opposition to 3.4 rushing yards a game.  This of course forces teams to throw against them, but even then – the Bills are second in the league with nine interceptions.  Offensively, as mentioned before, this team goes as far as Tyrod Taylor will bring them.  Tyrod is a game manager who’s success is determined on his amount of turnovers.  So far he’s only got two interceptions and zero fumbles, so things are looking good, for the former Hokie.  The Raiders came into the season with high expectations and started out the season 2-0 looking to make all pre-season pundits look like genius’.  Then. . . they lost their next four.  Yes, Derek Carr got hurt during that, but even when he played it was nothing special.  Last week they got up for division rival, Kansas City and beat them 31-30, although some would say they netted that win due to help from the officials.  .  .Derek Carr has two viable targets in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree but the chemistry hasn’t exactly been perfect. Cooper was in a real struggle but blew up last week with over 200 yards against a below average Kansas City secondary.   When it’s all said and done if this game was on the West Coast it would be a pick ’em.

The Pick: Buffalo -2.5

Minnesota Vikings -9.5 at Cleveland Browns

From the pre-season to early in the regular season,  this Vikings offense looked legit. And with their already stout defense, people were thinking they could take the NFC North crown this season.  Then after Sam Bradford gets hurt and then (the bigger blow) rookie running back Dalvin Cook got hurt – things started to change. Now with the Vikings having Case Keenum in at quarterback and rumors starting to mount about a Teddy Bridgewater return to the position – things may get weird to say the least. As long as they can, the Vikings will try to push Jerick McKinnon down the public’s throats, but that’ll be tough against a Browns defense that’s done at least one thing right this year: stop the run.  The pass defense is tied with the NY Giants for giving up the most TD’s through the air (15) and are letting opponents sit back and complete 70% of their passes.  What makes matters worse for Cleveland is that their starting quarterback is Deshone Kizer who is flat-out awful.  Expect the Vikes to win this one  24-7, which means you can take them -9.5 but the smarter play here is the “under.”

The Pick: The Under at 38

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Lucky Week 7

Tennessee Titans -6 at Cleveland Browns

It seems as if, for one reason or another, the Titans and Browns are a “mainstay” at Beating Vegas this year.  This week, these two teams square off against each other, with the Titans coming off a Monday Night victory against the Colts and the Browns losing. . .again.  After Kevin Hogan’s inefficient outing against the Houston Texans, the Browns have decided to go back to starting rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.  Teams that flip-flop on quarterbacks like this, especially when both quarterbacks are below average – are usually teams that have issues.  The Browns have had issues since they’ve come back into the league.  In the five games he’s played, Kizer has three touchdowns, nine interceptions and is averaging less than five and half yards a carry.  He’s a quarterback who only finds success when throwing to the left side of the hash-marks and one must wonder what his confidence is like at this point.  The good news for Cleveland is that Tennessee’s defense has been disappointing this year.  The Dick LeBeau coached unit is allowing 27 points per game and allowing opponents to complete passes at a 60% rate.  The thing to watch here is the health of Marcus Mariota.  He was stiff but was able to complete passes from the pocket for over 300 yards against the Colts.  Mariota’s more effective as a mobile threat and he should be a little more inclined to take off this week.  The Browns are holding opponents to 3 yards a carry and this will be the defenses toughest test when they go up against Demarco Murray (4.6 yards a rush) and Derrick Henry (5.1 yards a rush).  Add to the mix a more mobile Mariota and this will be too much for Cleveland to sustain passed a half.

The Pick: Titans -6

Washington Redskins +5 at Philadelphia Eagles

Philly’s second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is already putting himself in some NFL pundits’ early MVP conversations. He’s looking like a seasoned pro this year and his supporting cast have all helped to carry some of the load.  The name that may surprise many this year is running back LaGarrette Blount.  Why is he a surprise?  Because a week before the season there was talk about him possibly getting cut.  Blount is averaging 5.6 yards a carry this year, which puts him right in the class of Kareem Hunt, who is averaging 5.9 yards a carry this season. This will be an interesting match-up for Blount because Washington is currently only allowing 88 yards a game on the ground.  For all the talk of Carson Wentz this year though, Kirk Cousins is putting together another nice season for the Redskins. Cousins is averaging 8.5 yards per pass this season with 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. The emergence of running back Chris Thompson has been something to see this year as well.  Thompson has apparently come out of nowhere and is leading the team in yards per carry (4.9), receptions (18) and receiving yards (340). The Redskins are averaging 23.4 points a game so far this season, which is a pretty average total, but considering they are getting little to no contributions from Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson – it’s a miracle they’ve done this well.  Keep an eye on this game as the public will tend to go heavy on the Eagles, at home on Monday night, so the Skins may end up getting more points before kick-off.  The Redskins lost by thirteen points at home when they opened up the season against Philadelphia and they’ll be looking for revenge on the national stage.

The Pick: Redskins +5

New York Jets +3.5 at Miami Dolphins

The New York Jets have a lot of gamblers sweating considering they were only expected to win 4-5 games this season and they are already at three.  Be careful with those pre-season prop bets. . . Anyhow, the Jets haven’t looked too bad.  Their running game is confusing because although everyone sees that Bilal Powell should be the guy the Jets keep on trying to force Matt Forte onto our television sets.  That’s a good reason why they are ranked 28th in the NFL in rushing offense.  Its been veteran quarterback Josh McCown who’s been leading the charge.  He’s got viable targets in Jermaine Kearse, Robbie Anderson and Jeremy Kerley – you would think they’d throw the ball more but they hover around mediocrity averaging 234 passing yards a game.   The Jets should look to take advantage of a Miami secondary allowing a completion percentage of 72.4%.  The Jets though have been struggling to stop the run and if last week’s explosion by running back Jay Ajayi was the coming out party most of the league has been waiting on from him, he could stand to put up another monster performance.  Also, last week – it seems Adam Gase stopped being conservative and let Jay Cutler just throw the ball around – it opened up the entire offense and they’ll want to do that again this week because they’ll have their shots to take.  Division rivals usually are at a 3.5 point spread because of the familiarity, and it’s a good line here – for Vegas.  The real play here is the over/under of 38 points.  The over is the play here because both teams’ strength on offense is the other teams’ weakness.  Could spell a recipe for disaster for one side.  Which side?  Who cares?  Just put those points up!

The Pick: The Over at 38 points

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Marshall Matters

Marshall -3 at Middle Tennessee State

Last week we saw two huge favorites fall victim to the “Friday Night Schedule.”  Of course we’re talking about Clemson losing to Syracuse and Washington State losing to Cal.  This week Marshall rolls into the state of Tennessee a little bit banged up on defense and that may be why the spread is only at 3.  Marshall’s offensive line has been stout in pass protection, so much in fact that their quarterback, Chase Litton, has only been sacked 3 times this year.  Last week, Old Dominion’s defense was able to get to  Litton and it was the first time he’s been sacked in his last 125 pass attempts.  Wide receiver Tyre Brady made a name for himself this season when he netted 248 receiving yards in a losing effort to N.C. State. Middle Tennessee State’s rush defense is only allowing 3.5 yards a carry and after calculating the smash average (3.8) it gives a slight edge to the Blue Raiders of Tennessee.  Looking further into the defense though, they give up 63.5% of completions to the opposition which is right in the wheel-house of Litton.  There is a 6 point advantage leaning towards Marshall when it comes to points per game.  Middle Tennessee has a tendency to give up the sack and toss interceptions in the passing game and that trend will probably continue considering Marshall’s Herd hold the opposition to a completion percentage of 53%.  Marshall is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games they’ve played on a Friday night, so expect the favorites to shine this time around.

The Pick: Marshall -3

Iowa -1.5 at Northwestern

Here is a game where the line means absolutely nothing because we’re looking at the over/under number of 47.  These two teams are consistently recruiting against each other, with Pat Fitzgerald actually getting the best of Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz in recent years.  Both teams are “scrappy,” and usually play the role of a heroic underdog, but in this scenario it’s more of a dog-fight.  One can’t imagine Northwestern getting too cute with an aerial attack against this Iowa defense, and they’ll lean on running back Justin Jackson and his 4.7 yards a carry most of the way.  Iowa, surprisingly has a better passing attack than ground game this season, and quarterback Nate Stanley, has proven to be efficient, if not flashy with his 15 TD, 2 Int and 57% completion percentage, stat line would indicate.  These are two teams trying to step their game up in a Big 10 conference that has 4 heavy weight names at the moment.  It will be a sloppy, hard nosed game.  Boring though.

The Pick: The UNDER at 47

Kansas +39 at TCU

Yes, you read that right +39.   Hard to argue points against that spread though.  Kansas has been one of the worse teams in college football for the last few years.  My mentality has always been – if all else fails: bet against the Jayhawks.  And why not? The Kansas Jayhawks are ranked second-to-last nationally with a defense that allows 44.8 points a game. The passing defense?  Allows a completion percentage of 67.3% and has allowed 16 touchdown passes. The rush defense?  Allows 4.5 yards per rush and has allowed 17 touchdowns.  Yikes.  The TCU Horned Frogs are just what you’d expect from a team that is among the creme de la creme of the Big 12 – high powered offense that likes to run up the score when they can.  Quarterback Kenny Hill is completing nearly 70% of his passes and is licking his chomps waiting to feast on this Jayhawk secondary.  Last week, we rolled with a 35 point favorite in UCF when they went up against lowly Eastern Carolina (which we covered. . .easily), but this is the Big 12.  Defenses show up when they want to and fade in and out of games at the blink of an eye.  Kansas,led by running back Khalil Herbert (7.4 yards a carry) will score some “meaningless” points.  I mean, its 40 points.  Come on.

The Pick: Kansas +39

Four Game Teaser of the Week: West Va -2.5; LSU/ Mississippi Under 71; UAB +4.5; SMU +4.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

 

 

Beating Vegas: North Kakalaka and . . .

Eastern Carolina +35 at UCF

Man, oh man.  This game pits the best of the American Athletic Conference against it’s absolute worst.  Funny thing is, Eastern Carolina isn’t a terrible football school.  This is just a really, really, really bad time for them.  How bad?  Like the worst defense in college football-bad. The Pirates are giving up 47.8 points a game and allowing 600 yards a contest.  The defense is very generous though, they’ll let opposing offenses run or pass against them at will.  Very nice of them.  It doesn’t get easier for Eastern Carolina as right now, one of the hotter teams in the nation UCF are waiting to pounce on them. UCF is number one in scoring offense this year at 47.5 points per game.  The Knights are completing 70% of their passes and are averaging 5.8 yards a carry (which is ironically what Eastern Carolina allows per carry).  UCF is also looking to show off new “space themed jerseys” to honor NASA that look amazing that night.  With a lot of big programs already at one-loss, and this UCF team looking like one of it’s best ever so far.  The Knights will be looking to run up the score when they can because every little bit will count when Bowl Season comes along.

The Pick: UCF -35

N.C. State -12 at Pittsburgh

Pitt is just having a run of bad luck.  And now, after losing to Syracuse last week, you can just tell this is a team that’s gotten in it’s own head. When you’re only wins come against Youngstown State and Rice people start to look at you differently.  Then when you barely look competitive against good teams, those same people know exactly what you are.  And this season, it’s just “not that good.”  The former USC Trojan Max Browne is somehow making a 70% completion percentage on the season look less than spectacular and with no real playmakers on this offense its no wonder why they are number 169 when ranked among college offensive yards for the year.  While Pitt is having a season to forget, N.C. State is having one to remember.  The Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley has 10 touchdowns with zero interceptions so far this year and has a junior running back in Nyheim Hines who is averaging 5.3 yards a carry.   N.C. State is a very good road team and in their last 6 road games they have gone 5-1 against the spread and there is no reason to believe that that trend will come to an end.

The Pick: N.C. State -12

Colorado -11 at Oregon State

It’s been a tough go for the Oregon State Beavers this season.  Now that head coach Gary Anderson has parted ways with the university, this bad situation has gotten even worse.  Anderson ripped the university and even admitted in text messages that were leaked that he hired the wrong people, when it came to his staff. Yikes. The Beavers are 1-5,  pretty much losing in blow out fashion, and their only win is a sad 3 point victory against the doormat we call Portland State.  They are ranked 183rd in passing yards and 184th in rushing yards and defensively they are dead last in the Pac-12.  Colorado comes into this game on a three game losing streak, one of those losses comes at a blowout to Washington.  Their last two losses have been by 4 points and 3 points (to UCLA and Arizona respectively).  Colorado running back Philip Lindsay’s stat line for this season is impressive: 810 rushing yards, 5.4 yards a carry and 8 rushing touchdowns. Considering that the Beavers already allow 4.8 yards a carry and have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns already this should be, literally a walk in the park for Lindsay.  Colorado quarterback Steven Montez has lost some confidence after throwing 3 picks to Washington’s tough defense in the Buffaloe’s blow out loss.  He’s been slowly picking up the pieces and hopefully last week’s 3 touchdown performance will turn things around.  Colorado has three targets in Shay Fields, Devin Ross and and Bryce Bobo who are all threats in the passing game and looked at often.  All three wideouts have over 20 receptions and 300 yards so far this year.  Oregon State is giving up nearly 70% completion percentage to opposing QB’s and if Montez’ focus is in the right place – it should be a breeze throwing another 3 touchdowns. Colorado is a team playing to get to that 6-win mark.  It’s been a disappointing season for them and playing against a bad team who’s coach just quit on them might be the right kind of recipe for Colorado to get back on track.

The Pick: Colorado -6

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Michigan / Indiana Under 59.5; Colorado State -12.5; Ohio State -12.5 and Georgia -18

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Pile It On

In football, every team has a window.  These windows come and go, but usually once it comes and goes, it’s gone forever.  Some of these teams have “trap” games, or “let down” games.  This week, there are certain teams that need to separate themselves from the pack.  It’s a time to slay their opponent in such fashion that it was an insult to have to play them in the first place. . .

New York Giants +11.5 at Denver Broncos

There are still three win-less teams in the NFL this season.  The first two were predictable: the Browns and the 49ers.  The third is the team from New York. . . no not that one, the other one – the New York Giants.  Before the season started, the Giants were looked upon by many to be a division winner, or a Super Bowl contender.  “Not I,” said the Rabbit.  I couldn’t see how a one dimensional offense with a bottom tier offensive line would survive in today’s NFL.  After last week’s loss to the Chargers, those lofty dreams died, and so did the season for the Giants.  They lost their number one and two receivers for the rest of the season (Beckham and Marshall) and are now clearly the worst in the NFC East.  Eli Manning has been on a downward spiral his last three or four seasons and it’s safe to say the coach, Ben McAdoo has lost his team. On the flip side, the Denver Broncos are 3-1 and have one of the league’s best defenses.  The Broncos are  allowing 260 yards a game, (approximately, 50 rushing yards a game and 210 passing yards a game).  Offensively, this team was supposed to be horrible, but they’ve actually shown a nice balance between the pass and run game. Surprisingly, the rushing pair of CJ Anderson and Jamaal Charles (4.5 and 5.3 yards per rush respectively) have helped give quarterback Trevor Simien something to fall back on.  Truth is, 11.5 is a big number and might just get bigger, but the Giants might not put up more than 2 field goals in this game.  Denver wins because of field positions and Eli Manning turnovers.

The Pick: Denver -11.5

Cleveland Browns +9.5 at Houston Texans

Much like the Giants lost their best player in Odell Beckham Jr, the Texans lost their best player in J.J. Watt.  Unlike the Giants though, the Texans still have a chance to win their division, have a lot of upside and aren’t a plague within their community. Bill O’Brien’s Texans are 2-3 but have found some new life with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.  He’s been improving on his completion percentage (now 62%), has thrown 12 touchdowns to his 4 interceptions and is leading the team in rushing with 331 yards.  The Texans defense has been stout but losing JJ Watt and now Whitney Mercilus for the whole season will be huge.  You can’t just say “next man up” when those are the two pairs of shoes to fill.  The Cleveland Browns continue to be the a joke who’s punchline has lost its luster in the league, and it seems that Deshone Kizer project is (mercifully) over in Cleveland, so one would assume that Kevin Hogan will get the nod.  And deservedly so, he has looked better than Kizer whenever given the opportunity.  The Browns rush defense is holding opponents to less than 3 yards a rush, but they also haven’t played against any prolific offenses or seen a QB as athletically versatile as Watson.  Houston has the third most rushing yards in the league, but expect them to take advantage of this horrible pass defense.  Its unfortunate for the Texans, but they know how to play defense without Watt.  Also, if we’re looking at really simple arithmetic-esque patterns, the Texans lost, then won, then lost, then won, then lost. . .guess what’s next?

The Pick: Houston Texas -9.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5 at Arizona Cardinals

The Bucs are 2-2 this year and their best performance was a 5 point LOSS to New England.  This is a team that came into the season with a lot of hype and are now in the reality of “we need to fight every week.”  This week they are playing an Arizona Cardinals team that isn’t very good at all.  We here at Beating Vegas have drank the Kool Aid offered to us by Arizona, not once, but twice and it tasted like trash.  This time, we learned our lesson at Beating Vegas – hopefully.  Carson Palmer is pretty much, literally on his last leg. And although the Cards are second in the league when in comes to passing yards, the average yard per completion is less than 7 and they are completing passes at a rate of 59%.   The rushing game doesn’t help much either considering it is the worst in the league at 2.9 yards a rush.  We all knew losing David Johnson would hurt but not THIS much.  The Cardinals are so desperate they traded for washed up Adrian Peterson.  This is a complete desperation move as Peterson does not fit the Cardinals mold of a back who can catch passes and line up as a wide out so maybe they are looking to go more smash-mouth.  Maybe?  If that’s so, Peterson’s average the last year and a half is somewhere around 3 yards a carry so don’t expect much.  The Tampa Bay Bucs have the talent on both sides of the ball.  There really should be no excuse. I don’t even care that they have to fly from Florida to Arizona.  I’m sure me and my friends from New York could fly out to Arizona on Saturday night and hang about 30 on this Cardinals team.

The Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Are the Rams Good?

Green Bay Packers +2 at Dallas Cowboys

In what will be called the “marquee match-up” this Sunday, the Packers will go into Dallas.  The Cowboys are 2-2 and still have yet to be a “good” team.  The Packers standing at 3-1, may just be the brand of “good” that the Cowboys need to get a “W” against to prove to the world that they are still playoff contenders.  The public’s money is going HEAVY on the Green Bay Packers here and this is why: 1. The last time the world saw the Packers play was on national television, making short work of the lowly Chicago Bears; and 2. The Aaron Rodgers-Factor.  Rodgers is one of the most visable players in the NFL and if he is ever getting points, the public is quick to jump on it.  Why shouldn’t they?  I’ll tell you why.  The Cowboys pose the same threat to the Packers as the Falcons did a few weeks ago.  The Cowboys average rushing yards a game are right at what Green Bay allows (114 in comparison to 111) and as long as Prescott can complete intermediate passes against the zone coverage, which he does well, the Cowboys should have little resistance from the Pack.  Of course though, there is : the Aaron-Rodgers-Factor.  And although he is off to another impressive start to the season, the Packers offense is painfully one dimensional.  Go with the team at home, who people are doubting and have better balance on offense.

The Pick: Cowboys -2

 

Seattle Seahawks +1.5 at Los Angeles Rams

I honestly never thought I’d see the Rams be a favorite ever again.  I mean, it’s the Rams.  Remember they took that “bust” Jared Goff last year in the draft.  Yeah. . .about that.   Jared Goff has the third best Quarterback Rating in the league at 112.2 and has thrown 7 touchdowns with only one interception.  As a team, the Rams have the best offense in the league and are 3-1.   The Seattle Seahawks are still a “good” defensive team, and although being a “good” defensive team is usually a. . .”good” thing – it loses it’s value when not too long ago you were the “best” defense.  Things get really put into perspective when you factor in the Seahawks offensive game plan is pretty much “let Russell Wilson create.”  It seems that over-night the Rams have become a viable player in the NFL while the Seahawks have been slowly regressing.  This game is usually close anyway – just got to ride with the hot hand at the moment.

The Pick: Rams -1.5

 

Arizona Cardinals +6.5 at Philadelphia Eagles

Well look at what we got here.  One team I’m not too high on and the other is a team I basically told everyone to bet against for the whole season.  Listen here. . . Yes, the Arizona Cardinals are traveling to Philadelphia, and yes, the Cardinals are looking pathetic but we’re taking the Cardinals this week – why?  Because 70% of the public is taking the Eagles to win this game by a touchdown.  6.5 is a lot of points in the NFL and you still have to believe that Bruce Arians is one of the best coaches in the NFL.  The Cardinals have special teams talent and defensive talent to give the Eagles a headache this week.  The Eagles last two wins came against win-less teams and they won both games by the smallest of margins.  The Cardinals are desperate for a big win, they throw the ball a lot (2nd in the NFL in passing yards) and that is the weakness to the Philadelphia defense.

The Pick: Cardinals +6.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Gettin’ Green With the Irish

Between the NFL and college football picks, we broke dead even last week.  Wisconsin was really the biggest let down in not covering the spread last week and seeing them pretty much sleep-walk through games is going to be something to watch for as the season progresses. This week we’re trying to pack an extra punch so let’s go!

 

Notre Dame -14 at North Carolina

Whenever Notre Dame is a double digit favorite it seems they kind of lag and never cover.  This year has been pretty different just for the fact that they are NOT playing to the level of their competition.  The Fighting Irish, are actually playing like a contender this season.  N.D. is currently 4-1 with their only loss being to Georgia by one point (and if you’ve seen Georgia lately, you know that losing to them by a single point is nothing to scoff at).  The Irish are tenth in the nation when it comes to rushing yards per game (301.4) and are third in the nation in yards per carry (7.1).  Leading the charge behind this offensive line is running back Josh Adams who is averaging a ridiculous 9 yards a carry at the moment.  Irish quarterback Brandon Winbush, isn’t trusted much to throw the ball, but his running ability is what keeps teams on notice as he is averaging 6.8 yards a carry.  This Notre Dame defense is allowing 18 points a game and is facing a Larry Fedora coached Tar Heels team that needs to act as if this is the first game of the season. The Tar Heels are 1-4 on the season and have an offense that is sputtering out brown oil from the sides of it’s engine. If that’s not bad enough their defense is allowing 33 points per game, allowing 11 touchdown passes (tied for most in the ACC) and allowing 5 yards a rush.  Last week against Georgia Tech, another team who’s offense is predicated off the rushing attack, they allowed two backs to go over 100 rushing yards and gave up a net of 403 yards on the ground.  Using the Beating Vegas “Smash Average” – Notre Dame should easily average about 5.95 yards a carry.  The Tar Heels’ last four losses are snowballing into bigger point differentials (5, 8, 10 then 26) and Fedora may have to chalk this season up as a try out for the younger guys on the depth chart.

The Pick: Notre Dame -14

New Mexico State +10.5 at Appalachian State

The last time Beating Vegas went against Appalachian State,  they beat Texas State but couldn’t cover the big number.  Now the Mountaineers have caught our eye again at Beating Vegas. . . Quarterback Taylor Lamb has continued to be efficient throwing 8 touchdowns with no interceptions so far this year but if you take away their game against poor ol’ Savannah State, the offense hasn’t really had a chance to take off.  They’ve played two “big boy” defenses in Georgia and Wake Forest, but even then when they played against Texas State (ahem, ahem) the offense could only muster up 20 points.  New Mexico State, has been airing it out all season long with senior quarterback Tyler Rogers.  Rogers looks like a totally different quarterback than he was last year – raising his completion percentage from 55% to 65% and has gone from a TD:Interception ratio of 4:3 to 3:1.  What’s been helping Rogers a lot is a healthy Larry Rose III who is averaging 5.6 yards a carry and is currently three yards short of 400 on the year.  Also, Appalachian State does not have a corner to stick with the 6’6″ wide-out Jaleel Scott, which will end up being a problem.   New Mexico State has the firepower to score, it’s all about how much they are willing to gamble.

The Pick: New Mexico State +10.5

Ole Miss +21.5 at Auburn

I remember a time, when Ole Miss was probably one of my favorite teams to watch.  From Bo Wallace, to Chad Kelly.  Robert Nkemdiche to LaQuan Treadwell – they were exciting, energetic and aggressive.  Nowadays, if you have a defense, they can’t score. . .and if you punch them in the face, they won’t stop you.  The Runnin’ Rebels are 2-2 on the season, beating up on the likes of South Alabama and Tenn-Martin to then getting the muzzle put on them by Cal and getting completely stomped and obliterated by Alabama.  Ole Miss is giving up 35 points per game and 5.3 yards a rush.  Sure they can air it out – but most of those numbers are a mirage thanks to those two early season cup-cake opponents.  Auburn is the real deal.  You can’t run on their defense, and you can’t pass against this defense.  They are 4-1 on the year losing 14-6 to a Clemson team that is still apparently as dangerous as they were last year, but in the last two weeks they have completely wiped the floor with Missouri and Mississippi State (who up to last week people were saying could be a surprise team to come out of the SEC – yeah, okay).  Ole Miss is a team the shoots themselves in the foot with penalties and will lose focus quickly.  The atmosphere and competition are too much for this Ole Miss team to overcome.

The Pick: Auburn -21.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Notre Dame -2; Marshall -3;  Kentucky +2 and Wisconsin +.5

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio