Archives for December 2009

2010 Alama Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Michigan State Odds & Prediction


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2010 Alamo Bowl Point Spread: Michigan State v Texas Tech (TT -7.5, O/U 59.5)

The 2010 Alamo Bowl has pretty much become secondary event to the controversy surrounding the game. On Wednesday, Head Football Coach Mike Leach was fired following a suspension in which he “refused to agree to guidelines for dealing with players set forth by his bosses in a Dec. 23 letter.” The suspension and subsequent firing surround sophomore wide receiver Adam James and his alleged mistreatment following a concussion. The firing comes just 3 days before the team plays Michigan State in which they are 7.5 point favorites entering the Alamo Bowl. Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil will be the interim head coach for the Texas Tech Red Raiders as they should easily handle the Spartans.

The 2010 Alamo Bowl had very little intrigue before the Mike Leach controversy and it still has even less intrigue afterwards. The 8-4 Red Raiders are simply way too vertical and explosive for the 7-5 Spartans to keep this game competitive for even a half. Coming into the game, the Spartans were already going to be down as Chris Rucker and starting wide receivers BJ Cunningham and Mark Dell were suspended for the game. The weakened secondary which is already ranked in 109th in the nation, allowing 265.5 yards per game will be facing a Texas Tech team ranked 2nd in the nation in passing yards with over 378.5 per game.

The Texas Tech offense is led by two quarterbacks, junior Taylor Potts and junior Steven Sheffield. Potts led the Big 12 in passing yards at 306.8 yards per game and guided the team to wins over Oklahoma and Baylor late in the season. Sheffield started 4 games in the absence of Potts due to injury and was still able to lead the Red Raiders to a 3-1 record with 13 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. Tech has a multitude of weapons this season with 9 players having over 20 receptions. Leading the core of receivers is freshman Alexander Torres with 65 catches, 791 yards, and 6 touchdowns. The spread offense allows for too many options for which Michigan State cannot account for.

The Michigan State offense has absolutely no chance of keeping this game close. Their 41st ranked offense in points and 42nd in yards is too vanilla in almost every way to keep up with Red Raider offense. Sophomore quarterback Kirk Cousins had a nice season with 18 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. Starting running backs Larry Caper and Edwin Baker combined for 4.2 yard average, 52nd in the nation and averaged only 73 yards per game, ranking 73rd in the nation. Texas Tech will counter with a defense that is ranked 19th against the run and 74th against the pass. Not overly impressive and in some respects bad for the young defense, but good enough to force enough punts and let their offense score.

The Red Raiders will take full advantage of the poor Spartan secondary. Suspension or not, high ranking pass defense or not, the Red Raiders like to throw the football. Ranking 1st in passing attempts, 68.9% of all plays called air pass attempts. The style of offense Texas Tech plays in no way matches or sets up well with how Michigan State plays defense. Even hoping for the Michigan State defense to be opportunistic and pick a few balls off is fleeting at best since they are ranked 118th in interception percentage at 1.2% chance per attempt. Take away their best cover corner due to suspension and this number probably drops to sub 1%.

This season Texas Tech is 6-5 ATS while Michigan State is 4-6-1 ATS. Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a double-digit loss at home and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS loss. The Red Raiders are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on grass. In bowl games, the Red Raiders are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games.

The total points for the 2010 Alamo Bowl game are 59.5. Texas Tech has a 4-7 O/U record this season with Michigan State having a 7-4 O/U this season. UNDER is 4-0 in Red Raiders last 4 games overall, but the OVER is 5-1 in Red Raiders last 6 bowl games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0. OVER is also 4-1 in Red Raiders last 5 Bowl games. The OVER is 4-0 in Spartans last 4 games overall with the UNDER at 12-3-1 in Spartans last 16 games following a double-digit loss at home.

2010 Alamo Bowl Texas Tech-Michigan State Pick:

Ignore all the hoopla surrounding the game and just focus on the teams playing the game. Hoping that Texas Tech does the same, their passing offense will be more than enough to cover the 7.5 points against a terrible Michigan State passing defense. Lay money on the OVER as well. Michigan State is not as pass heavy as Texas Tech, but they do average close to 30 points a game and neither team is a defensive juggernaught to contend with. Both teams can score, just expect Texas Tech to score much, much more.

LSU vs. Penn State New Years Day Bowl Game Spread, Pick, Odds, Score Prediction


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2010 Capital One Bowl Point Spread: LSU Tigers (44) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (-2.5)

In the top non-BCS bowl matchup based on rankings, 11th-ranked Penn State will square off against 13th-ranked LSU at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on New Year’s Day. In the only prior meeting between these two schools, the Nittany Lions finished off a perfect 12-0 campaign in 1973 with a 16-9 win over the Tigers in the Orange Bowl.

LSU (9-3 SU, 5-6-1 ATS)

The Tigers have been able to post a solid season despite having an offense that has struggled in 2009. LSU is 108th in the country in total offense. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson has shown some promise in an inconsistent year. He has thrown 16 TD passes with just six interceptions for the Tigers. Senior wideout Brandon LaFell has caught at least 50 passes in each of the last three seasons. He leads the squad in touchdown receptions with ten.

The running game will face a challenge on Friday. The club’s top two running backs will be on the sidelines due to injuries. Leading rusher Charles Scott regressed in 2009 after gaining over 1,000 yards in 2008. He has gained 542 yards this season but will miss his fifth straight game due to a collarbone injury.

The Tigers have fared much better on defense this season. LSU is 12th in the nation in scoring defense. On special teams, LSU leads the country in punt return average. Senior Trindon Holliday is averaging nearly 18 yards per return as one of the most dangerous return specialists in all of college football. Les Miles is wrapping up his fifth season as the head coach of the Tigers. He is 51-14 at LSU with a BCS title in 2007. Miles is a perfect 4-0 in bowl games with the Tigers.

Penn State (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)

Penn State has a balanced offense that ranked second to Wisconsin in total offense in the Big 10 during the regular season. Senior quarterback Daryll Clark has had a fine season with 23 touchdown strikes and ten interceptions.

On the ground, junior Evan Royster has quietly emerged to become one of the top runners in the nation. He has rushed for over 1,100 yards in each of the last two seasons. This year, Royster is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and has recorded six 100-yard rushing efforts. The Penn State defense is stout.

The Nittany Lions are in the top 8 nationally in total and scoring defense. The unit leads the conference in sacks and tackles for loss. Special teams are a concern for Penn State heading into this contest. The club is in the bottom 15 nationally in net punting, kick returns and punt returns. Joe Paterno, who turned 83 last week, is looking to move a step closer to reaching 400 career victories at Penn State. The winningest coach in college football history is just seven wins shy of the milestone. In 44 years at the school, Paterno has a record of 393-129-3.

2010 Penn State vs. LSU Capital One Bowl Prediction:

Penn State 23, LSU 20

Arizona vs. Nebraska Holiday Bowl Spread, Picks, Odds, Score Prediction


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2009 Holiday Bowl Point Spread: Nebraska Cornhuskers (40) vs. Arizona Wildcats (PK)

In a matchup of two of the better defensive squads in the nation, Nebraska and Arizona will square off in San Diego at the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night. Ironically, the last meeting between these two schools occurred 11 years ago in this bowl game. On that night, Arizona escaped with a 23-20 victory.

Nebraska (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS)

The 20th-ranked Cornhuskers will try to rebound from a last-second defeat to Texas in the Big 12 title game. The top defensive player in the nation will suit up for the final time in a Nebraska uniform. Heisman Trophy finalist Ndamukong Suh is a dominant defensive lineman. He recorded 4.5 sacks against the Longhorns to gain plenty of national attention. For the season, Suh has 12 sacks to pace a Cornhuskers defense that is second in the country in scoring defense.

The Nebraska offense never could find a rhythm during the regular season. The unit is 102nd in the nation in total offense. Junior quarterback Zac Lee struggled in his first season as a starter. He passed for only 13 touchdowns and was picked off three times against Texas.

The club’s ground game has fared better. Junior runner Roy Helu Jr. is having a solid season. He has rushed for over 1,100 yards while averaging more than five yards per carry in 2009. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is finishing up his second season at the school. The Cornhuskers finished 9-4 in his debut campaign a year ago.

Arizona (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS)

The 22nd-ranked Wildcats have also relied on its defense this season to go bowling. Arizona is 21st in the country in total defense. Junior defensive lineman Ricky Elmore leads the Pac-10 in sacks with 10.5.

While Nebraska’s offense has some issues, the Arizona attack is pretty respectable. The Wildcats are 40th in the nation in total offense. Sophomore quarterback Nick Foles had a solid campaign in his first year as a starter with 19 TD strikes and eight interceptions. At wideout, sophomore Juron Criner paced the squad in receiving yardage (580) and touchdowns (9) during the regular season.

In the backfield, the Wildcats have a pair of capable backs. Keola Antolin and Nic Grigsby have both rushed for over 500 yards this season. Grigsby (7.5 yards per carry) has been banged up in 2009 after a 1,000-yard campaign in 2008. He has been limited to just 26 carries over the last nine games but is expected to play through a shoulder injury on Wednesday.

On special teams, the Wildcats are a dangerous squad. Arizona is in the top 11 nationally in both punt and kick return average. After a slow start, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops has built some momentum for the Wildcats program. After failing to record a winning season in his first four years at Arizona, Stoops is in a bowl game for the second straight year. His overall record at the school is 33-38.

Arizona vs. Nebraska Holiday Bowl Prediction:

Arizona 24 – Nebraska 20

NFL Week 17 Upset Pick of the Week: Packers over Cardinals

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In what could be an early preview of an opening round playoff matchup, the Green Bay Packers will head to the desert to take on the Arizona Cardinals to conclude the regular season. Green Bay is in the postseason as a wild-card while Arizona is heading to the playoffs as the champions of the NFC West. While the Cardinals are a 3-point favorite for Sunday’s contest, the Packers could be a little more inspired to gain some momentum heading into next week.

1.) Aaron Rodgers

While there was plenty of controversy surrounding the departure of Brett Favre from Green Bay after the 2007 season, the strong play of his successor has eased a lot of early doubt from Packers fans. In 2008, Rodgers was 6th in the NFL in quarterback rating but Green Bay could only manage to win six games. This season, he is 4th in the league in quarterback rating. Unlike last year, Rodgers strong play has also translated into victories for his team. He has fired 29 TD passes with only seven interceptions heading into this week’s action.

2.) Ryan Grant

The Packers have a versatile offense that can also do plenty of damage on the ground. Ryan Grant has rushed for more than 1,200 yards in each of the last two years. He is third in the NFC in rushing heading into the final week of the season. Grant has improved his yards per carry average from 3.9 in 2008 to 4.4 this season. With the ability to do damage with the pass and run, the Packers are 4th in the NFL in total offense.

3.) Green Bay’s improved defense

Green Bay is a balanced squad. The Packers lead the NFC in total defense to compliment the squad’s solid offense. The unit has vastly improved in 2009 under new defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Green Bay’s defensive breakdowns were costly a year ago in several close defeats. In 2008, Green Bay was 20th in the league in total defense. The defensive improvement has enabled the Packers to become a playoff team in 2009.

4.) Packers looking for a signature road win

As a wild-card team, the Packers will likely need to win three games on the road to reach the Super Bowl. While the club has a winning road mark this season, Green Bay has yet to beat winning squad away from home in 2009. This contest will be the final opportunity to gain a signature victory away from home before the postseason. On the other hand, the defending NFC champion Cardinals are secure in their ability to win anywhere after last year’s strong playoff run.

5.) No urgency for Cardinals

The Cardinals have only a remote chance at getting a first-round playoff bye. In this type of situation, the club doesn’t want to expose their 38-year-old quarterback to an emerging defense with nothing really at stake. It is unlikely that Warner will play the entire game a week before a playoff outing. Some other key veterans are also likely to be limited on Sunday.

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In this week’s marquee matchup, the Eagles will head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a showdown for the NFC East title on Sunday. Here’s a breakdown of all 16 games:

Indianapolis Colts (-7) at Buffalo Bills (38)

With a perfect season no longer at stake, the Colts backups are likely to be on the field for most of the day in this one. Buffalo doesn’t have anything on the line either but the club’s interim coach should be able to find enough spirit from his Bills squad to handle Indy’s reserves.

New Orleans Saints (Odds TBA) at Carolina Panthers

Depending on what happens for Minnesota in week 16, this game could be meaningful or meaningless for New Orleans. The revived Carolina squad has outscored the Vikings and Giants by a total of 67-16 in the last two weeks. Regardless of the motivation for the Saints in this one, the Panthers should bring another inspired effort with a chance to avoid a losing season.

Jacksonville Jaguars (38.5) at Cleveland Browns (-3)

After three straight losses, the Jags still have a pulse in the playoff race. Cleveland is closing strong with an opportunity to finish the season with four straight wins. Against a Jacksonville squad that doesn’t travel well, the Browns should win again on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles (47.5) at Dallas Cowboys (-3)

The Eagles have won six in a row heading into this contest. Dallas is coming home after posting a couple of big road wins. In a tight matchup, the home field edge is just enough for the Cowboys to handle Philly and gain the division crown.

Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions (45)

A disappointing 2009 campaign will conclude for the Bears on Sunday. It has also been a long year in Detroit but the Lions weren’t expected to be a playoff contender, like Chicago. With a stronger desire to get one last victory before next year, the Lions take care of the uninterested Bears in this one.

New England Patriots (45.5) at Houston Texans (-7)

The Patriots can clinch the number three seed in the playoffs with a win but there isn’t much urgency for the club to do so. Houston can finish with their first winning season in franchise history with a win and a victory gives them an outside shot at the postseason. With a little more to play for, the Texans handle a Patriots squad that will be looking ahead to a playoff game in the following week.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Miami Dolphins (46.5)

Pittsburgh has won two straight but the club will need some help to get into the playoffs. Miami needs a win and even more help to get into the postseason. The edge at quarterback should enable the Steelers to post a victory on the road in this contest.

New York Giants (48) at Minnesota Vikings (-8.5)

New York is out of the postseason for the first time since 2004 after last week’s humbling loss to Carolina. Minnesota will need a victory to improve its chances of getting a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Vikings are expected to complete an undefeated regular season at home with a blowout win over the disappointed Giants.

Cincinnati Bengals (36.5) at New York Jets (-8)

If New England wins earlier in the day on Sunday, the Bengals will be locked into the number four seed in the playoffs heading into this Sunday night affair. New York could face some backup players for the second week in a row after taking advantage of the situation last week against the Colts. With a trip to the playoffs at stake, the Jets play some inspired football in their last ever regular season game at Giants Stadium.

San Francisco 49ers (-7) at St. Louis Rams (40.5)

San Francisco can salvage a .500 season with a win on Sunday. The Rams are trying to avoid a winless season at home. The 49ers have too much for the banged up Rams to deal with in this NFC West affair.

Atlanta Falcons (41.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1)

With a victory, Atlanta can post consecutive winning seasons for the first time in the history of the franchise. The Bucs have come to life with a pair of surprising road wins. In this NFC South matchup, the Falcons should pull out a win.

Green Bay Packers (44) at Arizona Cardinals (-3)

These two squads could be meeting in the playoffs in the following week. The Packers should be a little more inspired to generate some momentum heading into the postseason against an Arizona club that will be looking ahead to the defense of their NFC championship crown.

Kansas City Chiefs (38) at Denver Broncos (-12)

Kansas City is ready to move ahead to 2010 after another rough season. After a 6-0 start, the Broncos have collapsed to the point where they need some help to get into the playoffs. Under a first-year head coach, the Chiefs will show enough life to keep this one close.

Baltimore Ravens (-10) at Oakland Raiders (38)

Baltimore controls its playoff destiny heading to the west coast. Last year in week 17, the Raiders stunned the Buccaneers to knock Tampa Bay out of the playoffs. This time, history will not repeat itself as the Ravens take care of business.

Washington Redskins (39) at San Diego Chargers (-4)

Jim Zorn will likely be coaching in his final game for Washington on Sunday. The Chargers have locked up the number two seed in the AFC. The Redskins may pick up a victory for Zorn in this interconference matchup.

Tennessee Titans (-5.5) at Seattle Seahawks (43.5)

While Tennessee is out of the playoff hunt, the Titans will be motivated to get a 2,000-yard rushing season for Chris Johnson. Seattle has mailed it in already with some rough efforts in recent weeks. The Titans and Johnson will have a big day on Sunday.

See live NFL Odds every week of the NFL Lines season. Make sure to visit our sports betting forum on a daily basis. Also check out updated 2009-2010 Super Bowl Odds.


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There was plenty of controversy in Indianapolis after the Colts fell for the first time in 2009 last Sunday. Here are some highlights from last week’s action:

Colts streak comes to an end

The Indianapolis Colts were only five wins away from a historic season entering last week’s matchup against the Jets. However, the club didn’t need a victory over New York with the top seed in the AFC secured. With a 15-10 lead midway through the third quarter, quarterback Peyton Manning and some other key performers were pulled from the game. The Jets took advantage to come away with a 29-15 win as a 3-point underdog. The Colts opened as an 8-point favorite in the contest but information filtered out during the week that pointed to Indianapolis resting some players in the game.

Saints lose again

The top team in the NFC also came up short last week but the New Orleans Saints weren’t resting any of its top performers. With a chance to clinch the top seed in the NFC, the Saints blew a 17-0 lead and fell to the 2-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a final of 20-17 in overtime at the Superdome. New Orleans was a two-touchdown favorite in the game. Unless Minnesota loses one of its final two games, New Orleans will need to win at Carolina on Sunday to hold onto the number one seed.

Chargers remain hot

With the Colts NFL record 23-game regular season winning streak now at an end, the San Diego Chargers are now the hottest team in the league with ten straight victories. In a tough scheduling spot, the Chargers had to make a long trip in a short week to face the revived Tennessee Titans on Christmas night. As a 3-point underdog, San Diego cruised to a 42-17 victory to clinch the number two seed in the AFC playoffs. In each of the last two seasons, the Chargers have knocked the Colts out of the playoffs.

Giants collapse is complete

After rolling out to a 5-0 start, the New York Giants appeared to be a lock to reach the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Now, New York is out of the playoff chase following a 41-9 rout at the hands of the visiting Carolina Panthers in the last home game for the Giants in the final season of Giants Stadium. New York was a 9-point favorite against a Carolina club that had nothing to play for but pride. The Giants are 3-7 in its last ten games with only a pair of point spread covers.

Bengals fail to cover in playoff clincher

For just the second time in the last 19 years, the Cincinnati Bengals are heading to the postseason. Cincy clinched the AFC North with a 17-10 home victory over the Chiefs as a 13-point favorite. For the third straight home contest, the Bengals failed to cover against one of the weaker teams in the league. Cincinnati also failed to cover at home in recent victories against the Lions and Browns. After finishing up the regular season against the Jets in New York on Sunday night, the Bengals will attempt to win a home playoff game next week for the first time since a 41-14 wild-card win over the Houston Oilers in 1990.

NFL Week 16 ATS Betting Results:

Team             Score        Odds           Bet Final

Chargers           42             +3              Cover: + 28

Titans               17              -3               Over: 47.5

Seahawks         10            +13.5           Over: 43.5

Packers            48             -13.5           Cover: + 24.5

Raiders               9              +3              Under: 37

Browns             23              -3               Cover: + 11

Chiefs               10              +13             Cover: + 6

Bengals             17              -13              Under: 39.5

Bills                     3               +9              Under: 40.5

Falcons              31               -9               Cover: + 19

Texans               27               +1              Cover: + 8

Dolphins             20               -1               Push: 47

Panthers             41               +9               Cover: + 41

Giants                  9                -9                Over: 43

Buccaneers        20               +14               Cover: + 17

Saints                 17               -14                Under: 48.5

Jaguars                 7              +9.5               Under: 44

Patriots               35              -9.5               Cover: + 18.5

Ravens                20                +3               Push: 43

Steelers               23                 -3               Push

Broncos              27                 +7               Cover: + 4

Eagles                 30                 -7                Over: 43

Rams                  10                +16              Under: 44

Cardinals             31                -16               Cover: + 5

Lions                     6               +14               Under: 41

49ers                   20               -14                Push

Jets                      29                 +3               Cover: + 17

Colts                    15                 -3                Over: 40.5

Cowboys              17                 -7                Cover: + 10

Redskins                 0                 +7                Under: 42

See live NFL Odds every week of the NFL Lines season. Make sure to visit our sports betting forum on a daily basis. Also check out updated 2009-2010 Super Bowl Odds.

Ohio State vs. Oregon 2010 Rose Bowl Spread, Pick, Score Prediction


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2010 Rose Bowl Point Spread: Ohio State Buckeyes (50.5) vs. Oregon Ducks (-3.5)

For the first time in 52 years, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks will face each other in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. In 1958, the Buckeyes pulled out a 10-7 win. Ohio State has won all even games in the series, including the last meeting between the two schools in 1987.

Ohio State (10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS)

Ohio State is returning to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997. The 8th-ranked Buckeyes were able to finish atop the Big 10 standings for the fifth straight season in 2009. Ohio State was able to win despite having a mediocre offense that is 71st in the nation in total offense. Sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor is a versatile performer. He passed for 16 touchdowns during the regular season and led the club in rushing with 707 yards. In the backfield, running backs Brandon Saine and Daniel Herron also rushed for more than 500 yards during the regular campaign for an Ohio State ground game that is 19th in the country. Sophomore wideout DeVier Posey (52 receptions, 7 touchdowns) is the only player with more than 15 catches this season.

The Buckeyes are 106th in the nation in passing offense. As usual, Ohio State rode its stout defense to reach another BCS bowl game. The Buckeyes are in the top 5 nationally in total, scoring and rushing defense. The unit has forced 33 turnovers to help Ohio State rank fourth in the country in turnover margin at plus 16. Jim Tressel is wrapping up his ninth season as the head coach of the Buckeyes. He has posted a record of 93-21 and has guided Ohio State to a top 5 finish on five different occasions.

Oregon (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS)

Since their 1958 Rose Bowl appearance, the Ducks have only been back to the bowl game once (1995) before this season. With a “Civil War” victory over Oregon State to conclude the regular season, Oregon was able to capture a rare Pac-10 title. The 7th-ranked team in the country brings an explosive offense into the contest. The Ducks are 7th in the nation in scoring offense while ranking 6th in the country in rushing offense. Like Pryor, Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli can hurt opponents with his arm and feet. He accounted for 27 (15 pass, 12 run) total touchdowns during the regular season. Freshman running back LaMichael James broke onto the scene to rush for nearly 1,500 yards and 14 scoring runs.

The defense is a solid 32nd in the country in total defense. With the exception of a 51-42 loss at Stanford, the unit performed reasonably well over the course of the regular season. On special teams, Oregon is a solid 17th in the country in kickoff returns. Chip Kelly has begun his tenure as the head coach of the Ducks on a strong note. He rallied the team to a 10-1 mark over the last 11 games after a season-opening defeat at Boise State.

Ohio State vs. Oregon Rose Bowl Prediction:

Oregon 28 – Ohio State 24

For more great coverage of the Rose Bowl, check out the Gunaxin Sports Blog Bowl.

Vikings at Bears Monday Night Football Spread, Pick, Betting Preview

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Week 16 Monday Night Point Spread: Minnesota Vikings -7.5, O/U 41

Monday will put Brett Favre and the 11-3 Minnesota Vikings back in the spotlight when they travel to Soldier Field to play the 5-9 Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Following the heated on the field exchange between Favre and head coach Childress over offensive autonomy and control, the Vikings will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Carolina. Minnesota is losers of 2 of 3 and Favre has shown glimpses of his age in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Chicago will have an upset on their mind, as outside of beating a division rival, Chicago has nothing to play for with two weeks remaining in the season.

Minnesota goes as Brett Farve goes. If Farve is unable to control and facilitate the offense, like in recent weeks, the Vikings will struggle. In his first 11 games, Farve had only thrown 3 interceptions. In his last 3 games, he has thrown 4 interceptions with the offense scoring 17 or fewer points in 2 of the 3 games. Aiding in his recent poor play has been the amount of hits Farve has taken in recent weeks. Farve has been sacked 9 times in the past 3 weeks and over the course of the season has been sacked the 6th most in the league at 31. Farve has always been the type to hold on to the ball a bit longer than he should in hopes of making something happen. However, at 40, the body cannot take the abuse like it did at 25 or 30. The Bears will attempt to expose the poor pass protection by adding more blitz packages into the mix hoping to ignite their 17th ranked pass rush. The Bears have more flexibility than most as their 8th ranked pass defense has been one of the few bright spots in their terrible season.

Brett Farve is not the only Viking to struggle in recent weeks. Adrian Peterson has not had a 100-yard rushing game in five games. He has averaged 41.0 rushing yards in the Vikings three losses and 101.1 yards in their 11 wins. The Bears and their 25th ranked rushing defense might seem like a reprieve but during the past 5 games, Peterson has failed to rush for over a 100 yards against the 13th, 25th, 18th, 3rd, and 26th ranked rushing defenses. Call it “over thinking” as Left Tackle Bryant McKinnie told reports about the offensive line play or just bad football, but either way, Peterson is not running the ball well in the last 5 weeks of the season.

Looking at their record, Minnesota has suffered all 3 of their losses on the road this year. Meanwhile, Chicago has been OK at home with their 4-3 record this season. At home, Chicago’s record is directly reflective of how well their quarterback plays. In Soldiers Filed, Jay Cutler is actually a decent quarterback, throwing 11 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions, with a QB rating of 85.7. On the road it’s literally a complete turnaround, 8 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, with QB ratings of 56.9. Outside of Cutler, everything else about the Bears is significantly worse on the road but thankfully for Bears fan, they are at home this week were they are just mediocre in most offensive categories.

If we can ignore just how bad Jay Cutler has been this season. If we take into account the fact that Minnesota has lost all their games on the road while the Bears play significantly better at home. As well as factoring in a slumping Minnesota running game combined with an aging and somewhat vulnerable Brett Favre, I like Chicago covering the 7.5 points at home.

The line currently has Minnesota as 7.5 point road favorites. This season Minnesota is 8-5-1 ATS and Chicago is 4-10 ATS. Minnesota is 1-4-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Chicago. Chicago is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.

The total points for the games are currently listed at 41. Minnesota is 6-8 O/U this season while Chicago is 4-10 O/U. The total has gone UNDER in Minesota’s last 5 games and UNDER in 4 of their last 6 road games. Against Chicago, the total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 games. For Chicago, the total has gone the UNDER in their last 5 games and UNDER in 4 of their last 5 home games.

Vikings @ Bears Monday Night Pick:

Chicago in the cover but not in the win. A bad Minnesota team may be enough to beat the Bears at home but will not be enough to cover. I like the UNDER as well, neither team is playing good offensive football, that is to say that Minnesota’s offense will not be able to carry the game against the Bears defense this week.

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Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins Sunday Night Week 16 Prediction

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Cowboys @ Redskins Sunday Night Point Spread: Dallas -7, O/U 41.5

Last week the New York Giants ripped the Kool-Aid from my hands and again exposed the Washington Redskins as a truly awful team, worthy of their 4-10 record. This week the 10-4 Dallas Cowboys travel to Washington to play in the Sunday Night game on NBC. Dallas is coming off their most impressive and complete performance of the year in beating the New Orleans Saints at New Orleans, 24-17, while Washington received an utter beat down by the New York Giants on Monday Night. The betting line has the Cowboys as 7 point favorites and with the performance Washington gave us all last weekend, this looks to be an easy cover.

Washington had me fooled with their near upsets in 3 consecutive weeks. In weeks 11, 12, and 13 the Redskins almost pulled near upsets against Dallas, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. They really had most believing they were a team going in the right direction. Jason Campbell was starting to play decent football with a QB rating of over 88 and the offense was actually moving the ball and scoring 24 or more points in 3 of their last 4 games. It was all very positive until last Monday Night. The New York Giants uncovered everything that might have been decent about Washington in their 45-12 domination. Campbell finished the game with 5 sacks, completing 15 of 28 passes with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, finishing with a QB rating of 52.6. In the 2nd quarter it was so bad that Washington found themselves outgained 226 to -2, ending the first half down 24-0. Defensively it wasn’t much better; after all they gave up 45 points and almost 400 yards of total offense. Not much to say after that performance, I’d like to chalk it up as one game but this is far more indicative of a Washington team we saw earlier in the year then what we saw in weeks 11-13.

The last time these teams played was in week 11 when Dallas pulled out a 7-6 defensive struggle. 5 weeks later, expect a whole lot to change as Dallas should run and pass all over Washington. As Washington is playing for next season, Tony Romo should continue his hot streak in December, throwing 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a QB rating of 109.2. Washington’s once stout passing defense has pretty much folded in the last month, allowing 281 yards through the air and 2.3 touchdowns per game in their last 3 games. There is little reason to think the Romo and the 7th ranked passing offense will do anything but throw the ball all over the field against Washington.

The Dallas running game rushed for 153 yards in their last game, the most since week 3. The combo of Marion Barber and Felix Jones anchor the 7th ranked rushing offense with both running backs averaging over 4.9 yards per carry in week 11. Washington will enter this week with the leagues 23rd ranked rushing defense with the prospect of not having Albert Haynesworth start for Monday Night’s game. Coach Jim Zorn sent Haynesworth home from practice for disciplinary reasons and told reporters that he will play but may not start.

The Washington offense should leave this game just as completely frustrated, overwhelmed, and embarrassed as it did last week against the New York Giants. I have zero faith that Jason Campbell will do anything but resemble the Jason Campbell of weeks 1-7 in which he had 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with the team losing 5 of the 7 games. If Dallas is able to apply some kind of pressure to Campbell, he will no doubt fold like a cheap suit. Washington is ranked 28th in sacks allowed with 2.9 per game while Dallas and their front seven are in the 6th in the league with 2.5 sacks per game. In Washington defeats, Campbell has been sacked 28 times with him throwing 11 interceptions to only 13 touchdowns. Last week, Washington surrendered 5 sacks and even more pressures, hurries, and knockdowns over the course of the game. The Dallas pass rush behind DeMarcus Ware, should provide plenty of issues for that terrible O-line to contend with.

The line currently has Dallas favored by 7 points on the road. This season Dallas is 7-7 ATS with Washington having a 6-7-1 ATS record. Dallas is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games and 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games on the road. Against Washington, Dallas is 1-6 ATS. Washington is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games but 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games at home.

The over/under total points for the Sunday Night game is 41.5. This season Dallas is 6-8 O/U with Washington being 8-6 O/U. The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Dallas’s last 7 games and UNDER in 4 of Dallas’s last 6 games on the road. For Washington, the total has gone OVER in 7 of their last 8 games and OVER in 4 of Washington’s last 5 games at home.

Cowboys vs. Redskins Week 16 Sunday Night Pick:

Ignore all trends or anything you’ve seen in the past. Look at where both teams are entering this week. Taking only that into consideration, Dallas covers the 7 points with no trouble on the road and has even less issues pulling their weight in going OVER the 41.5 points.

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NFL Week 16 Upset Pick of the Week: Texans over Dolphins

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In what is essentially a playoff game, the 7-7 Texans will head east to take on the 7-7 Dolphins in Miami on Sunday. The loser will likely be out of playoff contention while the winner will probably be alive for a playoff bid heading into week 17. While Miami is a 3-point favorite in the contest, Houston could be poised to come through with one of the biggest wins in the history of the franchise. The Texans are still looking for their first winning season while the Dolphins are on the verge of being home for the postseason after capturing the AFC East a year ago.

1.) Andre Johnson

Johnson leads the NFL in receiving yardage by more than 200 yards. He is fourth in the league in receptions with 90. When top receivers in the league are mentioned, Johnson is high on the list. The Miami native and former Miami Hurricanes standout will be especially motivated to have a big day in a homecoming to South Florida.

2.) Matt Schaub

Houston’s quarterback has quietly emerged to become one of the top signal-callers in the NFL. Schaub is seventh in the league in quarterback rating. He has fired 25 TD passes with 13 interceptions in 2009. As a team, the Texans are second in the NFL in passing offense.

3.) Texans have confidence facing Miami

Houston has never lost to Miami since entering the league in 2002. The Texans are 4-0 against the Dolphins. All of the wins have been by a field goal or less. The clubs will be meeting for the fourth straight season. In 2006, Houston pulled out a 17-15 home victory behind 101 receiving yards by Johnson. Two years ago in Houston, Kris Brown nailed a 57-yard field goal in the final seconds in a 22-19 Texans win. Schaub passed for nearly 300 yards in the victory. Last season, Schaub delivered a three-yard TD run with just three seconds to play in a 29-28 home victory. Johnson had 178 receiving yards in the win.

4.) Miami is making mistakes

In 2008, the Dolphins led the NFL in turnover margin at plus 17. This year, the club is minus seven in the turnover battle. Behind an experienced quarterback last year, Miami threw only seven interceptions. In 2009, the Dolphins have been picked off 15 times. In last week’s defeat at Tennessee, first-year starting quarterback Chad Henne was intercepted three times. A Miami defense that forced 30 turnovers in 2008 has been able to come up with just 18 turnovers in 2009.

5.) Dolphins defensive breakdowns

While Miami’s offense has lacked consistency with Henne taking over for Chad Pennington at quarterback, the defense has had its own issues in 2009. Miami’s stop unit is in the bottom ten in the league in scoring and passing defense. The secondary has had some critical breakdowns for the Dolphins this season. With Schaub and Johnson coming to town on Sunday, the defense will be in for a major challenge.

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