Archives for February 2010

Major Conference Clashes Will Have A Big Impact On March Madness Seeding


Guest article by Jeff Borzello of “March Madness All Season

With just two weeks remaining until conference tournaments in the major conferences begin, jockeying for seeding in both league tourneys and the 2010 NCAA Tournament is coming down to the wire. Nothing is locked up at this point, meaning that the conference clashes down the stretch will be more heated than ever. Even in conferences that are seemingly in the bag for the favorite, there are still spots where the leader can fall and potentially open the door for a sleeper to sneak in and grab first-place. With that in mind, I’ve decided to take a look at each of the major conferences (sorry, Pac-10, you don’t even count this year) and pick one game that will either determine the league champion or could see the league leader lose. As you can see, this coming Saturday is going to be jam-packed with big-time battles.


Duke at Maryland (Wednesday, March 3): Right now, Duke is comfortably in first place in the conference, but sit only 1.5 games ahead of Maryland in the standings. The Blue Devils won the first meeting between the two teams, getting an absurd 16 points and 17 rebounds from Brian Zoubek en route to a 77-56 thumping of the Terrapins in Durham. The return trip to College Park won’t be so easy. Maryland has lost just one game on its home court this season, a surprising six-point defeat to William & Mary back in December (although the loss to Villanova was technically a home game for the Terps, too). Before escaping with a two-point win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, Maryland had been dominating teams at home, winning six straight games at home by an average of 24.3 points. Furthermore, Duke has struggled on the road, going just 4-4 so far this season. If Zoubek doesn’t control the paint again, Maryland has the perimeter athletes to give Duke trouble.

Big East

Villanova at Syracuse (Saturday, February 27): Huge showdown in the Big East on Saturday. After Syracuse’s win over Providence on Tuesday, the Orange improved to 13-2 in the conference, while Villanova’s back-to-back losses has dropped them to 11-3 in the league. A win on the road would get them right back in the race, though. Interestingly enough, Syracuse’s only losses this season have come at home – to Pittsburgh and Louisville. This game is going to be outstanding to watch. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone is a nightmare to attack because of the Orange’s length and athleticism, but Villanova has the guards to penetrate into the teeth of the zone and hit long-range jumpers. The difference in this game will be Syracuse’s edge inside. That is the biggest change from last season to this season for ‘Nova. Last year, they had Dante Cunningham down low to provide balance. However, this season, Antonio Pena has been inconsistent. He will have his hands full with Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku of Syracuse.

Big Ten

Michigan State at Purdue (Saturday, February 27): The Big Ten is an absolute logjam at the top of the standings. Purdue leads the way at 11-3, but Ohio State and Michigan State are right behind the Boilermakers at 11-4. After them, Wisconsin is 10-5 and Illinois is sneaking in the mix at 10-5 after its road win at Michigan on Tuesday. This game will go a long way towards deciding the regular-season title, though. Purdue won the first battle between the two, going into East Lansing and knocking off the Spartans, 76-64. The Boilermakers have won nine in a row after losing three consecutive games in mid-January. On the other side, Michigan State is struggling right now. The Spartans have lost four of their last six after starting the Big Ten campaign 9-0. They will likely need to win in West Lafayette to have a shot at the league title. Unless Michigan State turns things around, though, it will have trouble. Kalin Lucas can only do so much at the point, and his secondary weapons have been inconsistent. Purdue has been hitting on all cylinders and will roll.

Big 12

Kansas at Missouri (Saturday, March 6): With three games left in the Big 12 regular season, Kansas has the league title all but locked up. The Jayhawks are 13-0, 2.5 games ahead of 10-3 Kansas State. The two teams do match-up in Lawrence on March 3, but the Wildcats have already lost to Kansas and likely won’t be able to knock off the Jayhawks on the road. However, if Kansas is going to lose in the regular season, its road game against Missouri could be the spot. The Jayhawks handled the Tigers fairly easily in the first match-up, winning 84-65 back on January 25. Missouri is a completely different team on its home court, though. Prior to its loss at home against Texas A&M on February 3, the Tigers had won 32 consecutive home games. Missouri has the pressure defense to create problems for Kansas’ guards and force the Jayhawks into difficult situations. I don’t think any team in the country can blow open a game quicker than the Tigers, as they rank second in the country in turnover percentage and steal percentage. If this becomes a track meet, Missouri might get the edge.


Kentucky at Tennessee (Saturday, February 27): After last week, when Kentucky went on the road and defeated Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in back-to-back contests, it is highly unlikely that the Wildcats are going to lose their grasp on first place. They are 11-1 in the SEC, with Vanderbilt two games back at 9-3. However, the two teams don’t play again, while Kentucky still does have to play third-place Florida and fourth-place Tennessee. Where are the Wildcats more likely to lose? Without a question, it’s in Knoxville. Tennessee has one of the better homecourt advantages in the conference at Thompson Boling Arena, and the Vols have lost only one game there all season. In the first meeting between these two teams, Kentucky pulled away down the stretch for an 11-point win. However, if Tennessee’s pressure defense is creating havoc, the turnover-prone Kentucky guards could encourage momentum for the Volunteers. On the road, that is a recipe for defeat.

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5 Potential 2010 March Madness Bracket Busters


Expert College Basketball Picks

With the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament looming in several weeks, millions of college hoops fans will be filling out NCAA tournament brackets and wagering on March Madness. While the top ranked teams from the power conferences will make plenty of noise in the tourney, there will also be some lesser known squads that will do some damage in March Madness. Here’s a look at five squads that can’t be overlooked when the brackets are announced:

New Mexico

As a Mountain West Conference team, the Lobos haven’t received much national attention this season. The club has quietly put together a 25-3 record and has won 11 in a row entering the final three games of the regular season. Junior guard-forward Darington Hobson leads the squad in scoring, rebounding and assists. Former Iowa head coach Steve Alford has his team in position to land a three or four seed in the tournament.


The Bulldogs are on the verge of a perfect regular season in the Horizon League. Butler is 17-0 in conference play heading into Friday’s matchup at Valparaiso. Sophomore guard-forward Gordon Hayward is the club’s top performer with 16 points and 9 rebounds per outing. Due to the mediocre level of the Horizon League, Butler will probably be the only squad from the conference to reach the NCAA field. The weak competition may leave Butler with just a fifth or sixth seed in the tourney.

Northern Iowa

Like Butler, Northern Iowa may have to settle for a number five or six seed due to some average competition in its conference. The Panthers have already clinched the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title with two games to play. While Northern Iowa doesn’t have a single player that is averaging 13 points per game, the club’s style of play will be difficult for foes to deal with in the tournament. The team is second in the country in points allowed at just over 55 points per game.

Old Dominion

After losing at Northern Iowa in a “bracket busters” game last weekend, the Monarchs will try to win the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title this week. With two games to go before the conference tournament, Old Dominion is tied with Northeastern atop the league standings. Senior forward Gerald Lee leads the club with 14 points per game. While the Monarchs are just 8-5 in non-conference play, a December win at Georgetown could enable the team to land a nine seed in the NCAA field.


The Saints have ruined some march madness brackets in the last two NCAA tournaments with opening round wins over Vanderbilt and Ohio State. The club is hoping to take the next step with a trip to the Sweet 16 this time around. While Siena was overmatched in a “bracket busters” battle at Butler last weekend, the Saints are still a team that no one wants to draw in the first round of the NCAA tourney. The club has rolled to a 15-1 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this year. With four players averaging at least 14 points per outing, Siena has a dynamic offense that can create plenty of matchup problems for its foes.

Check out the latest sports betting news in the College Basketball Betting forum, along with the latest March Madness Odds.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Draft 2010 Needs & Projections


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010 NFL Draft Needs

After a 3-13 campaign in 2009 under rookie head coach Raheem Morris, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to take a step or two forward in 2010 NFL Draft. The franchise was able to find a promising young quarterback in the first round of last year’s draft. This year, the Bucs are likely to focus on defense with the third overall choice in the draft.

With three of the first 42 picks in the 2010 draft, Tampa Bay has a chance to fill a few voids in the first two rounds. In addition to regular selections at picks #3 and #35, the Buccaneers will also have the 42nd overall choice (from Chicago) in the second round. In some other draft shuffling for the club, Tampa Bay will choose 22nd in the fifth round instead of third while getting an additional pick at choice number 10 (from Jacksonville) in the seventh round.

Tampa Bay Bucs 2010 NFL Draft Offensive Line Needs:

At the offensive skill positions, the Bucs have some solid parts to work with. Josh Freeman should continue to progress at quarterback after showing some flashes as a rookie. The team has plenty of depth in the backfield. Tight end Kellen Winslow led the team in receptions in his first year with the Bucs in 2009. Tampa Bay would like to upgrade its receiving group a little bit due to some inconsistent play. The Bucs may address this area by the third round. However, the main offensive concern is the offensive line. Freeman and the other quarterbacks couldn’t get into a decent rhythm last year due to some protection breakdowns. Only Detroit threw more interceptions in the league in 2009. In the last two drafts, Tampa Bay’s only offensive line pick in the early rounds was a late third round choice in 2008. The Bucs would be well suited to address this area by the third round this time around.

Tampa Bay Bucs 2010 NFL Draft 2010 Defensive Line Needs:

After ranking last in the NFL in rushing defense last season, the Bucs are eager to add an impact defensive lineman. There are plenty of strong options for the club in the third spot. Two defensive tackles are at the top of most draft boards at this point. Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy could be off the board when the Bucs pick comes up. The club is hoping that St. Louis will decide to go with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford instead of opting for one of the lineman. The Bucs might have to trade up with the Rams to make sure that Suh or McCoy will be in a Tampa Bay uniform this season. If the tackles aren’t an option, the Buccaneers may turn to a local college product to upgrade the defensive line. South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul could provide a significant boost to a pass rush that recorded only 28 sacks last season. While the team has some solid young talent at some of the linebacking and secondary spots, Tampa Bay will use the draft to add some depth in these areas.

Bracket Buster Weekend Must Bet Games & Score Predictions

Bracket Buster 2010 Predictions

Bracket Buster 2010 Predictions

Expert College Basketball Picks

With the announcement of the 2010 Bracket Buster weekend games a few weeks ago, most college basketball bettors immediately started handicapping the list of 49 games to find the best possible college betting situations. Some Bracket Buster match-ups just lack any kind of national impact: 7-19 Towson at 9-17 Manhattan? 6-19 Illinois-Chicago at 7-18 Evansville? Or how about 6-19 Elon at 7-18 Gardner-Webb? That is just three of the relatively meaningless games on the docket for Bracket Buster weekend. However, there is also an abundance of quality contests and for basketball bettor’s sake, they are nationally televised. Nearly every “TV game” is a match-up of competitive teams, but there are also a few games outside of the viewing arena that should be followed closely.

Old Dominion at Northern Iowa (Friday, 7:00 PM, ESPN2): A huge game for potential at-large and NCAA Tournament bubble purposes. Old Dominion is tied for first in the CAA at 13-3, but the Monarchs could really use a win over the Panthers for their resume. Northern Iowa dropped what could be a crucial game last weekend, at Bradley, but bounced back to thump Creighton. The key match-up in this one will be ODU’s Gerald Lee vs. UNI’s Adam Koch. Prediction: Northern Iowa 61, Old Dominion 54

William & Mary at Iona (Friday, 9:00 PM, ESPNU): Another major contest for bubble purposes in the CAA, as William & Mary still has at-large life despite losing four of five in late January. A loss here could render those changes hopeless, though. Iona is a surprising second in the MAAC, but the Gaels are not within striking distance of Siena. Prediction: William & Mary 69, Iona 66

Siena at Butler (Saturday, 11:00 AM, ESPN2): Easily the best game of the entire event, as both teams could easily reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Siena dropped a game to Niagara last Friday, but could cancel that out with a victory over the Bulldogs. Butler is one of the few undefeated teams left in their respective conferences, as the Bulldogs are 16-0. Look for the individual match-up between BU’s Gordon Hayward and Siena’s Edwin Ubiles. Prediction: Butler 71, Siena 65

Morgan State at Murray State (Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPNU): While neither of these two teams gets much recognition, this could be one of the more entertaining battles of the Bracket Busters. Both teams like to get up and down the floor, and there are plenty of scorers. Morgan State has a very nice inside-outside combo in Reggie Holmes and Kevin Thompson, while Murray State has four double-figure scorers, led by Tony Easley and B.J. Jenkins. Prediction: Murray State 81, Morgan State 70

Louisiana Tech at Northeastern (Saturday, 1:00 PM, ESPN2): Two teams that are going in opposite directions right now. Louisiana Tech has lost three of six to fall behind Utah State in the WAC race. On the other hand, Northeastern has won 16 of its last 18 and is tied with Old Dominion atop the CAA. Northeastern has a nice perimeter duo in Matt Janning and Chaisson Allen, while Tech counters with five players in double-figures, including Kyle Gibson. Prediction: Northeastern 73, Louisiana Tech 65

Nevada at Missouri State (Saturday, 3:00 PM, ESPN2): This is one of the few TV games that will not feature a team likely to go to the NCAA Tournament. Nevada has been somewhat of a disappointment, as the Wolf Pack are just fourth in the WAC after being picked as a co-favorite in the preseason. Missouri State is under .500 in the Missouri Valley, sitting in seventh place. However, the Bears are very difficult to beat on their homecourt, with only two defeats at home this season. Prediction: Missouri State 79, Nevada 74

Akron at VCU (Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPNU): A couple of perennial conference title contenders over the past few years lock horns in a solid match-up. Akron is tied for first in the MAC, and the Zips have the pieces to throw a scare into a higher-seeded opponent. They’re well-balanced and deep. VCU doesn’t have the same type of team as it has the past couple of seasons, but Larry Sanders is a future NBA player and the Rams have plenty of shooters to surround him with on the perimeter. Prediction: VCU 77, Akron 68

Charleston at George Mason (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPN2): This should be a competitive contest, with Charleston rolling lately but Mason tough to beat at home. The Cougars are leading the Southern Conference, and are known for beating North Carolina earlier this season. Andrew Goudelock is a big-time scorer at guard. George Mason has lost four of five to drop from the top of the CAA. Cam Long and Ryan Pearson form a nice duo. Prediction: Charleston 82, George Mason 79

Western Carolina at Kent State (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPNU): One of the worst of the television games, neither of these two teams is likely to be appearing in the NCAA Tournament this season. Western Carolina won at Louisville earlier this season, but the Catamounts have lost three of four to drop to second in the North division of the Southern. Kent State had won eight in a row before losing at Buffalo over the weekend, and is tied atop the MAC with Akron. Prediction: Kent State 75, Western Carolina 64

New Mexico State at Pacific (Saturday, 10:00 PM, ESPNU): A west coast battle between a couple of teams looking to keep pace in their own conferences. New Mexico State is only one game back of Utah State in the WAC, although the Aggies have been inconsistent on the road this season. NMSU has plenty of offensive talent and can really score the ball. Pacific has lost two of four to slip behind UCSB in the Big West, but the Tigers have a solid forward in Sam Willard. Prediction: Pacific 73, New Mexico State 63

Wichita State at Utah State (Saturday, 11:59 PM, ESPN2): Easily one of the best games of the event, both of these teams are potential at-large teams – although neither could really afford a loss here. Wichita State has lost two of four, including a bad road loss to hapless Evansville, a defeat that could destroy their at-large hopes. On the other side, Utah State is atop the WAC and is playing some of its best basketball of the season, winning 10 in a row, eight of which were by double-figures. The Aggies do have a conference showdown with Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, though. The key in this game will be Wichita State’s backcourt of Toure Murry and Clevin Hannah against USU’s forward duo of Tai Wesley and Jared Quayle. Prediction: Utah State 71, Wichita State 60

2010 Bracket Buster Weekend Non-TV Games to Bet:

Fairfield at Vermont (Saturday, 2:00 PM): Fairfield has been very competitive in the MAAC this season despite some personnel problems throughout the season, while Vermont is currently sitting in second in the America East. Look for Marquis Blakely and Anthony Johnson to tangle down low. Prediction: Fairfield 76, Vermont 73

Morehead State at Illinois State (Saturday, 5:05 PM): Two teams that were expected to contend for a league championship in the preseason, this could be a fun game to watch. Illinois State is still a tough squad, with Osiris Eldridge leading the way on the perimeter, while Morehead State has one of the best big men in the country in Kenneth Faried. Prediction: Illinois State 68, Morehead State 56

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Detroit Lions 2010 NFL Draft Pick Projections & Needs


Odds to win 2011 Super Bowl

With only two wins over the last two seasons, the Detroit Lions will turn to the draft again for some more help in 2010. In the last decade, Detroit used its top pick to draft an offensive player on nine different occasions. This time, the Lions could use the second overall pick in the draft on a talented defensive performer.

If the St. Louis Rams opt to choose Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the top overall choice in the draft, Detroit will promptly choose Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh with the second pick. If the Rams go with Suh, Detroit’s choice becomes a bit of a question mark. In addition to drafting second in the first six rounds of the 2010 NFL draft, the Lions will also have the 15th pick in the fifth round (from Denver). Detroit will not have a choice in the seventh round.

Offensive line

After selecting QB Matthew Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson and TE Brandon Pettigrew in the first round over the last three seasons, Detroit has most of its passing game in place for the next few years. Running back Kevin Smith has shown some promise after being selected in the third round of the 2008 draft. The club might seek another receiver to compliment Johnson and a back to push Smith a little bit in the middle to late rounds of the draft.

With some young talent at the skilled positions, Detroit will be looking for some help to protect Stafford. After using a first-round choice on tackle Gosder Cherilus in 2008, the Lions are probably going to wait until at least the second round to address the offensive line. At guard, Alabama’s Mike Johnson could be a possibility in the second or third round. There is plenty of depth at tackle in the draft. If the right player at that position is available at pick number 34 in the second round, the Lions may seek a compliment to Cherilus at this spot.

Defensive line

Since the defense has been neglected in Detroit’s recent drafts, the odds are that the Lions will ultimately go in this direction with the number two pick. If he’s there, Suh will be the pick. He is viewed as one of the top NFL draft prospects in recent memory. If Suh is gone, the Lions are still likely to go with a defensive lineman with their first pick. The most viable candidate is Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. For a team that registered only 26 sacks a year ago, Detroit needs to pressure some opposing offensive lines.


Detroit was last in the NFL in total and passing defense in 2009. The unit came away with only nine interceptions a year ago. The Lions are likely to address this area by the third round at the latest. Alabama cornerbacks Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson are potential options for Detroit. There are plenty of solid safeties that are projected to be available in the second or third round as well.

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 2011 Super Bowl Odds.

NFL Betting Recap For The 2009-2010 Betting Season


Hopefully the 2009-2010 NFL betting season was a profitable one for all readers of Looking back at the 2009-10 season we see some eye popping straight up NFL betting stats along with some relatively average against the spread stats for the season.

The old football gambling rule is that you should bet on which ever team you think will win the game straight up. For the 2009-2010 NFL betting season, favorites went 184-83 (69%), but that only translated to a 126-132-9 against the spread record (48%).

NFL underdogs on the road this past season went 53-123 straight up, but they were the most profitable betting situations going 89-78-9 for 53%.

If you are a sports bettor who loves to wager on NFL Over-Under’s, hopefully you chose more “Unders” during the 2009-2010 NFL betting season as almost 54% of the games went under the total. Not surprising, NFL overtime games went over the total 73% of the 11 games that ventured into OT.


See live Football Odds every week of the College Football Lines season. Make sure to visit our sports betting forum on a daily basis. Also check out updated 2011 Super Bowl Odds


Kansas, Kentucky, Villanova and Syracuse Odds To Win 2010 NCAA Tournament


Movement of Odds to win the 2010 NCAA Tournament

With just over a month to go before the beginning of March Madness Betting, the preseason favorite is still expected to cut the nets down in early April. While the Kansas Jayhawks top the field of contenders for the upcoming 2010 NCAA basketball tournament, there are several other squads that can’t be dismissed.

Top 2010 March Madness Contenders

Entering the second half of February, Kansas is the favorite to win the 2010 Final 4 at odds of 5/2 (opened 4/1). The Jayhawks are ranked number one in the nation in this week’s AP Top 25 poll after beginning the year as the hunted. Kentucky is next on the list at odds of 9/2 after opening the year at 8/1. The Wildcats are currently ranked third in the nation after opening as the number four squad in the country. Syracuse, Texas and Villanova are next at odds of 10/1. While Texas (opened 7/1) and Villanova (opened 14/1) were both ranked in the top 5 to begin the season, the Orangemen have been a bit of a surprise team after not being in the top 25 at the start of the year. Syracuse (opened 25/1) is second in this week’s poll. The 4th-ranked Wildcats are still going strong but the Longhorns have slumped recently to fall out of the top 10. At odds of 12/1, Michigan State (opened 6/1) and West Virginia (opened 15/1) are also in the hunt. Both squads are in the top 10 of this week’s poll.

Emerging Teams Odds To Win 2010 NCAA Tournament

There are several different squads that have moved into contending status after beginning the year as sizable underdogs. 10th-ranked Georgetown now has odds of 20/1 after starting the year at 60/1. Kansas State (30/1) has moved into the top 10 after beginning the 2009-10 campaign at odds of 125/1. In an even bigger surge, 17th-ranked BYU has moved from a 600/1 shot to begin the season to a club with odds of 45/1 in mid-February. From the Big 10, 11th-ranked Wisconsin is challenging Michigan State as the top squad in the conference. The Badgers (opened 150/1) are at a 50/1 price to win the 2010 NCAA tournament.

Biggest Busts Now With Decreased 2010 March Madness Champ Odds

On the other end of the spectrum, there have been some significant disappointments as well this season. The defending NCAA champion North Carolina Tar Heels opened the season ranked sixth in the country with odds of 10/1. Since a 7-1 start, North Carolina (60/1) has dropped 10 of its last 16 games. At 13-11, the Tar Heels will probably need to win the ACC tournament to reach the NCAA field.

UCLA and Connecticut are also in difficult spots after opening at odds of 30/1. The Bruins are 11-12 and have odds of 200/1 to win the NCAA title. Like North Carolina, this club’s only realistic path to the NCAA tourney is with a conference tournament crown. The Huskies (60/1) are 15-10 but have posted just a 5-7 mark in Big East conference play. In a deep conference, Connecticut may have to settle for a trip to the NIT.

Check out the latest sports betting news in the College Basketball Betting forum, along with the latest March Madness Odds.

St. Louis Rams 2010 NFL Draft Pick Needs & Projections


Odds To Win 2011 Super Bowl

The St. Louis Rams are on the clock after posting a league-worst 1-15 mark in 2009. With a dreadful 6-42 record over the last three years, St. Louis has been historically bad. With the exception of standout running back Seven Jackson, the club needs help in almost every other area. In addition to its seven regular selections, the Rams will have the 24th pick in the fifth round (from Philadelphia) and the 19th selection in the seventh round (from Atlanta).

St. Louis Rams 2010 NFL Draft Potential Quarterback Selections

The Rams haven’t used a first-round choice on an offensive skilled player since Jackson was chosen in 2004. While Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is generally viewed as the top overall prospect in the draft, St. Louis is also taking a close look at Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. While he is coming off of shoulder surgery, the club is eager to get a franchise quarterback to build around in a mediocre NFC West division.

Rams incumbent starting quarterback Marc Bulger will be 33 when the 2010 season begins. His play has regressed in recent years for a team that has struggled badly. He doesn’t appear to be in the club’s long-term plans but Bulger has enough of a track record to still be a viable option for 2010. There is also speculation that the Rams might have some interest in adding Michael Vick to the quarterback mix. If the club does decide to take Bradford, St. Louis may try to work a trade for a team that is eager to get Suh.

St. Louis Rams 2010 NFL Draft Offensive line & Wide Receiver Needs

After the first round, the Rams will look to the middle rounds of the draft to improve the offense. Despite adding tackle Jason Smith with the second overall pick in last year’s draft, the St. Louis offensive line had trouble protecting Bulger in 2009. The Rams will need to continue to build its offensive line in the years to come. The club is still trying to replace receiving standouts Torry Holt and Issac Bruce. Donnie Avery led the squad in receptions last year with a modest total of just 47 catches.

The Rams could be in a position to land a solid receiver in the second round. While Oklahoma State wideout Dez Bryant is the top receiving prospect, he is not a lock to be a first round choice. With the 33rd overall pick to open the second round, the Rams may have a chance to select Brandon LaFell of LSU or Golden Tate of Notre Dame. If those two are gone, there are several other capable receiving prospects that could be tabbed in the second round or later.

St. Louis Rams 2010 NFL Draft Defense Pick Needs

After ranking 29th in the NFL in total defense in 2009, the Rams need plenty of help on this side of the ball. Even if Suh lands with the Rams, St. Louis will look for more help in the later rounds. DL Chris Long and LB James Laurinaitis have been added in the early rounds over the last two years. The secondary could be addressed this time around. The Rams (eight interceptions in 2009) need some impact players in this area.

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 2011 Super Bowl Odds.

5 NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams Who Need To Step Things Up ASAP

ncaa bubble teams

Expert College Basketball Picks

With about a month to go before the start of the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament, there is already plenty of speculation about which teams will sneak into the tourney with the final few invites to March Madness. Here’s a look at five squads that are right on the edge heading into the final few weeks of the regular season:

Virginia Tech Hokies (19-4 SU, 10-7 ATS)

While the Hokies have an impressive record, the squad doesn’t have too many marquee victories due to a weak non-conference slate. Virginia Tech has opened February with three straight victories and covers. The club will get play four of its final seven regular season games at home where the squad is perfect this year. A road win at Duke or Georgia Tech down the stretch could put the team over the hump.

Virginia Cavaliers (14-7 SU, 9-7 ATS)

A February 13th matchup at Virginia Tech could be the deciding contest for this squad. The Cavaliers (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS in last six games) lost an earlier battle at home against the Hokies. Also, a pair of losses to Wake Forest could doom the Cavs on Selection Sunday. The remaining slate is quite difficult. Five of the eight remaining contests are on the road. Two contests against Maryland could be vital to the squad’s NCAA hopes.

Louisville Cardinals (15-9 SU, 7-12 ATS)

After being one of the elite squads in college hoops a year ago, the Cards have slipped in the 2009-10 campaign. Louisville had dropped four straight road outings until Sunday’s impressive win in Syracuse. Still, the Cardinals are just 4-5 (3-6 ATS) in its last nine games. The Cardinals will play four of its final seven regular season games away from home. Two of those road games will be against NCAA bubble squads Connecticut and Marquette.

Cincinnati Bearcats (15-9 SU, 6-12-1 ATS)

After dropping its first four road contests in Big East play, the Bearcats were able to break through with a big win at Connecticut on Valentine Day’s weekend. Heading into the final three weeks of the regular season, Cincinnati (4-5 SU, 2-7 ATS in last nine games) has little margin for error. The club will face three difficult road battles with visits to South Florida, West Virginia and Georgetown on tap. The Bearcats also must face Marquette and Villanova at home.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (17-8 SU, 9-9-1 ATS)

The Irish rolled to an 11-2 record in non-conference action but the team is in the middle of the pack in the deep Big East. With standout forward Luke Harangody (24.1 ppg.) leading the way, the Irish could find its way into the tournament as long as his leg injury is not too serious. Notre Dame (3-5 SU, 2-6 ATS in last seven games) has lost four straight road outings. The Irish still must travel to Louisville, Georgetown and Marquette before the Big East tournament ensues.

The Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City could decide the NCAA fate for plenty of teams in the conference. While there are five schools in the conference that are basically a lock to get into the tournament, there are no less than six Big East squads that are on the NCAA bubble.

Check out the latest sports betting news in the College Basketball Betting forum, along with the latest March Madness Odds. still favors Lakers, Nuggets, Spurs to reach 2010 NBA Finals Out West


NBA Playoff PictureExpert NBA Picks

While the Los Angeles Lakers are favored to win the West for a third straight season, there are some other clubs in the conference that are capable of making a strong run in the postseason. With four NBA titles on his resume, Tim Duncan and his San Antonio Spurs teammates can never be counted out in the 2010 NBA playoffs. There will be some tight playoff battles in the second half in a conference that has 11 teams on pace to win at least 45 games.

Los Angeles Lakers: -160 Odds To Reach 2010 NBA Finals

The defending NBA champions are 36-11 entering the final day of January. The club should have little trouble securing the top seed in the Western Conference by the end of the regular season. Kobe Bryant is still at the top of his game as he pursues a fifth title ring. Head coach Phil Jackson has plenty of other talent to work with in his quest for an 11th NBA crown. Forwards Pau Gasol and Ron Artest are strong parts of Bryant’s supporting cast.

Denver Nuggets: +600 Odds To Reach 2010 NBA Finals

Denver is still looking for its first Western Conference title since moving from the ABA to the NBA 33 years ago. After falling to the Lakers in the Western finals last year, the Nuggets are hoping to take the next step this season. Forward Carmello Anthony is leading the league in scoring at nearly 30 points per game to pace the club. Guard Chauncey Billups brings the proper mentality to the squad from his championship days in Detroit. A losing road record could doom the squad when the postseason rolls around but Denver is likely to get the number two seed in the conference entering the playoffs.

San Antonio Spurs: +600 Odds To Reach 2010 NBA Finals

Like Boston in the East, there are questions about how much longer San Antonio can be a title contender as Tim Duncan is entering his mid-30’s. While the Spurs have won at least 53 games in every non-strike season since Duncan joined the club 12 years ago, the team is on pace to win less than 50 games this year. With Tony Parker, Manu Ginoibli and Richard Jefferson to aid Duncan, the Spurs are going to be a dangerous squad to deal with in the postseason. Head coach Gregg Popovich is usually able to bring out the best in his club in the playoffs.

Top Western Conference Sleeper Team: Memphis Grizzlies (+15000 Odds)

The Grizzlies weren’t expected to be in the playoff hunt after averaging just 23 wins per year over the last two campaigns. Since a 1-8 start, Memphis has put together a 24-12 record to become the eighth seed in the West heading into the final weekend of January. While it won’t be easy for Memphis to hold off some worthy playoff challengers to secure a postseason bid, the franchise could be poised to record its first playoff win this season. All-Star forward Zach Randolph has made a huge difference in his first season with the squad after being a Clippers castoff. Youngsters Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo are continuing to emerge for the squad as well.

NBA Odds To Win 2010 West Conference Finals:

(odds updated 2-12-10)

– Los Angeles Lakers -175
– San Antonio Spurs +700
– Denver Nuggets +500
– Portland Trailblazers +2000
– Utah Jazz +1400
– Houston Rockets +3500
– Dallas Mavericks +800
– New Orleans Hornets +6000
– Phoenix Suns +1400
– Oklahoma City Thunder +4000
– Los Angeles Clippers +20000
– Golden State Warriors +75000
– Memphis Grizzlies +7000
– Minnesota Timberwolves +150000
– Sacramento Kings +40000