Packers vs. 49ers NFL Week 3 Sunday Night Football Picks

Krys Barnes #51 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images/AFP

Krys Barnes #51 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Packers invade the Bay Area on Sunday night after their win over the Lions while the 49ers are gunning for their third consecutive victory of the season. Let’s analyze this matchup and keep cashing our NFL picks!

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Chiefs vs. Ravens NFL Week 2 Sunday Night Football Picks

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs on September 12, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri.   Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs on September 12, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

 

This Sunday night showdown should be a dandy as the Chiefs invade Baltimore for a date with the hard-hitting Ravens. Let’s break it all down and keep cashing our NFL picks!

 

 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens

 

Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 8:20 PM ET at M&T Bank Stadium

 

It looked as though there was an upset in the making but the Chiefs made sure they would not be the ninth of 16 favorites to lose their games outright last week. And while they did not cover the 5.5 point impost, at least they were able to put a checkmark in the win column after Patrick Mahomes rallied his team with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes which put the Browns to bed by the score of 33-29 in their season opener.

 

Mahomes ended his day with 337 passing yards, three touchdown strikes, and a 75 percent completion percentage. His performances are drawing comparisons to another active NFL quarterback old enough to be his father. We’ll keep you guessing as to who that is.

 

“You love his attitude because he always feels like we’re in it,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He does such a great job with the guys around him. He’s a great communicator during tough times on the sideline.”

 

It was a heavily one-sided offensive attack as the lead back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, garnered only 43 yards on 14 carries while the entire ground game produced a grand total of 73 yards. Not exactly how the Chiefs drew it up but a win is a win and they defeated a very good Cleveland team that did all they could do to crack the code that is Patrick Mahomes.

Ravens Ravaged by Mistakes

 

Baltimore seemed bent on handing the game to the Raiders on Monday night and ultimately, they succeeded. After sprinting to a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Raiders kept coming and the Ravens appeared perfectly content with allowing them to do so. In a wild overtime thriller, Las Vegas scored a touchdown that sealed a 33-27 victory.

 

Lamar Jackson had an interesting night; he flashed his blazing speed which turned into 86 rushing yards and a long-gainer of 28. But his passes were erratic, with more than a few of the side-armed herky-jerky Cam Newton variety. However, he posted 235 passing yards, one TD pass, and no picks so it’s hard to criticize the man. What the Ravens truly needed was a defense that could contain Derek Carr and that was something they failed to do.

 

“We just didn’t close the game out when we had the opportunity to do it three or four times,” Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s what you need to do when you have an opportunity to win, you got to win. We just didn’t do that tonight.”

 

Wanna Make a Bet?

 

After perusing the NFL odds at all of the best online sportsbooks, we see that they are dealing the Chiefs as 3.5 point road favorites across the board. It’s obvious that the public will be lining up to bet Kansas City but the question we must ask ourselves – is there value in backing Baltimore at north of a field goal?

 

The issue here is that the Ravens’ injuries to their secondary are becoming comically absurd. Pro Bowler Marcus Peters is done for the season after suffering a knee injury in practice before the first game of the year. Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith are both banged up while the latest news has backup cornerback, Chris Westry, out of the lineup with a torn lateral meniscus. To add salt to the already gaping wound, Pro Bowl tackle, Ronnie Staley, might be grounded after missing practice over the last few days.

 

“When you take one of the best tackles in the league out of the lineup, it will affect it (the offense),” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

 

I’m not sure how you make a case for the Ravens at this point. They use the blitz incessantly because they can’t get a push with their three of four defensive linemen. The blitz packages will open up the middle for Mahomes who will torch Baltimore all night long. This looks like easy pickings for the Chiefs and we won’t mind laying the three-and-a-hook in this one.

 

Free NFL Pick: Chiefs -3.5 (-110) at Bet365

Bears vs. Rams NFL Week 1 Sunday Night Football Picks

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams on August 28, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.   Dustin Bradford/Getty Images/AFP

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams on August 28, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Dustin Bradford/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Chicago Bears will invade LA to take on the new-look Rams as they kick off their respective seasons in an NFC showdown on Sunday night. Let’s analyze this Week 1 matchup and end the week by cashing our NFL picks!

 

Chicago Bears vs. LA Rams

 

Sunday, September 12, 2021 – 8:20 PM ET at SoFi Stadium

 

The Bears are entering the 2021 campaign after a middling 8-8 season and will hope to regroup with either veteran Andy Dalton or first-round pick and former Ohio State star, Justin Fields, commanding the offense. As of this writing, the word is that Dalton will get the starting nod in Week 1 but his leash will be shorter than virtually all of the opening week starters around the league.

 

Head coach Matt Nagy has been cagey about his choice but Dalton seems to have done enough to convince his coach that he is the right man for the job…at least until he isn’t. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement but if Fields is to have a successful NFL career, and longevity in the Windy City, then a case could easily be made that he is better off holding a clipboard and learning all about the game at the next level than a baptism by fire which has had deleterious effects for many young quarterbacks.

 

Defensively, the Bears appear more than sound with Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks as stalwarts on that side of the ball but their secondary could be susceptible with the departure of Kyle Fuller. Yet, a fierce pass rush can go a long way towards taking the heat off of the corners and safeties so this might not be as glaring a weakness on this team versus others.

 

Stafford New Man Under Center in LA

 

Matthew Stafford has toiled in NFL purgatory (some might say hell) over his 12 years with the lackluster Detroit Lions. But the Rams decided the 33-year-old gunslinger was worth swapping quarterbacks with the Lions and sent Jared Goff as well as a pair of first-round picks to Motown his services.

 

Los Angeles has built their team around a stout defense but their offense was always a bit tenuous under Goff’s stewardship. That should change dramatically this year and if it does, the Rams will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

 

This could be the first time in Stafford’s professional career that he has an upper-echelon offensive line protecting him which will allow him time in the pocket to reach his talented targets, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp while having a rookie wideout in Tutu Atwell that has 4.32 speed.

 

The running game is a question mark but acquiring Sony Michele from the Patriots will bolster their rushing attack as he is expected to share duties with former Memphis back, Darrell Henderson Jr. LA’s projected starter, Cam Akers, went down with a ruptured Achilles and is likely done for the season.

 

Wanna Make a Bet?

 

After perusing the NFL odds at some of the best online sportsbooks, we see that the Rams are favored by 7 ½ to 9 points over the woeful Lions. It looks like easy pickin’s to me but full disclosure, I am an unabashed Matthew Stafford fan and can’t imagine he won’t flourish under a savvy head coach like Sean McVay with so many weapons at his disposal.

 

Do the Bears really have the offensive chops to keep pace with what should be a high-flying Rams offense? I don’t see it, although Chicago’s defense could come alive and keep this one within the margins. Nevertheless, the thinking here is that whatever the Bears can do, the Rams can do better and that goes for both sides of the ball.

 

But the question remains, is that disparity worth laying north of a touchdown? I can tell you that the public will be salivating to bet the Rams and that always scares me. However, Joe Q. Public is not always wrong and I’m siding with the great unwashed masses on this one.

 

Free NFL Pick: Rams -7 ½ (-105) at BetMGM

Notre Dame vs. Florida State College Football Week 1 Best Bets

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish huddle before the ACC Championship game on December 19, 2020. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

Notre Dame players huddle before the 2020 ACC Championship game. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

The ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will invade Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles of Florida State. Let’s break it all down and determine which side is the sharp side in this Week 1 college football showdown!

 

Notre Dame vs. Florida State

 

Sunday, September 5, 2021 – 7:30 PM ET at Doak Campbell Stadium

 

Last season Notre Dame was ultimately proven to be more of a pretender than a contender after losing a rematch to Clemson, only this time the Tigers had their stellar quarterback and future No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence under center.

 

The second of two games between the schools was for the ACC title and it wasn’t even close as the Tigers mauled the Irish, 34-10, and Lawrence lit up the Notre Dame secondary for 322 yards while their defense held Notre Dame to just 44 yards on the ground and 219 through the air.

 

But redemption was in Notre Dame’s sights as they copped the fourth and final spot entering the College Football Playoff for a date with Alabama. However, the result was nearly identical as they fell to the Tide, 31-14, and had no answer for the riddle that was Mac Jones, who torched the Irish for four touchdowns and nearly 300 passing yards.

 

And that was how Notre Dame’s promising season ended. It was a successful campaign by most standards, finishing as the No.4 ranked team in the nation and getting one of the four CFP bids, but their last two games illustrated the wide gap between the good and great teams in college football.

 

Notre Dame’s schedule in 2021 has only one preseason top 10 team on its slate which comes in the first Saturday in October as they welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats to the Golden Dome.

 

Noles Looking to Rebound

 

Florida State wound up with a dismal 3-6 straight-up record (3-6 ATS) last season but at least they ended on a high note by beating Duke in their last contest of the year. The college football odds at all of the best online sportsbooks were unanimous in offering the Seminoles as three-point home chalk and they did not disappoint their backers, cruising to a 56-35 victory and easily covering the three-point impost.

 

Although Jordan Travis took the lion’s share of the snaps under center for the Seminoles last year, head coach Mike Norvell has not divulged who the starter will be as of this Friday morning writing.

 

“It’ll be revealed (by) who runs out on the field at 7:44 there on Sunday night,” Norvell said with a smile. “Like I said at the beginning of this, guys will know. We’re excited about the quarterback room, the opportunity that’s ahead for us. And those guys have competed really well, and I’m excited about what we’ve seen.”

 

Jordan Travis is about as mobile a quarterback as the Irish will see this year but injuries have put a damper on his career thus far. Travis’ chief rival for the starting position is McKenzie Milton, a UCF transfer who was one of the most dynamic passers in the nation before suffering a gruesome right knee dislocation accompanied by ligament, nerve, and artery damage. After rehabbing for the last two seasons, Milton said he’s ready to roll.

 

“I feel comfortable out there,” Milton said during Atlantic Coast Conference media days Thursday. “I feel like I can make all of the throws. I can run. I can jump. Physically, I feel fine.”

 

Wanna Make a Bet?

 

The first few games of the season are always tough to predict because we are looking at last season as a barometer of what this season will hold. And while that can be somewhat true, we also know that there are graduating seniors along with incoming freshmen that can radically change that dynamic.

 

But that said, what we do know is that the Irish had a terrific defense last season, especially against lower-echelon clubs, holding opponents to 19.7 points per game, ranking them 14th in the nation in that category.

 

Compare that to the 36 PPG (105th) by Florida State and we’ve got a huge disparity in the quality and depth on defense. Moreover, this is a rematch from last year when Notre Dame defeated FSU, 42-26, but failed to cover the 21-point spread.

 

This year things have tightened up and the Irish will no longer have Ian Book slinging, as he is now plying his trade with the New Orleans Saints. Jack Coan, a transfer student from Wisconsin, will assume the reins of the Irish offense and although his mobility is not comparable to Book’s, he should be able to exploit what was a woeful Seminoles defense.

 

The oddsmakers are giving us just enough rope to hang ourselves with the Irish, dropping from an opener of Notre Dame -7 ½ to where it now stands at -7 a few days before kickoff. While that may not sound like a ringing endorsement of Notre Dame, it’s hard to load up on any team in the first week of the season because there are so many question marks.

 

What we do know is that the Irish defense should acquit itself nicely and if their offense is even serviceable, it should be a double-digit win by the visitors.

 

Free College Football Pick: Notre Dame – 7 (-110) at Bet365

Nebraska vs. Illinois College Football Preview and Best Bet

 

Logan Smothers #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. (Photo by Corey Perrine / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Logan Smothers #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. (Photo by Corey Perrine / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

College football is in the air and the season kicks off this Saturday with a Big 10 clash between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Illini of Illinois. Let’s break it down and make our first of many college football picks this season a winner!

 

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

 

Saturday, August 28, 2021 – 1:00 PM ET at Memorial Stadium

 

These Big 10 rivals met last year in Lincoln and if you happened to scan the college football odds you would have seen that the Huskers were a whopping 17-point favorite. However, that number was woefully off base as the Illini delivered a 41-23 smackdown on Nebraska’s home turf. Luke McCaffrey, the NFL’s Christian McCaffrey’s little brother, tossed three picks in that game but you won’t be seeing him on the field as he transferred to Louisville after the season, and within a blink of an eye packed up to join the Rice football team for the 2021 season.

 

The defense was an issue for Nebraska last season as they allowed over 29 points per game and surrendered 217 passing and 169.5 rushing yards per game in the truncated 2020 season. On offense, Nebraska managed only 23 points per game and leaned heavily on their rushing attack that averaged over 201 yards per game while their passing checked in at a modest 190 yards per contest en route to their 3-5 record.

 

The Illini were mired in the basement of the Big 10 West standings with a 2–6 mark last season. Defensively, they allowed 230 rushing and 237 passing yards per game while surrendering an average of nearly 35 points per contest. Offensively, they were similar to Nebraska in featuring the run game which averaged 196.1 yards per contest while their passing game was rather docile as evidenced by the 152.9 yards per game they averaged.

 

Bret Bielema Back in Big 10

 

Illinois is hoping their program can get a big boost with Brett Bielema at the helm. As college football fans know, Bielema has had mixed results in the schoolboy ranks with an outstanding run at Wisconsin from 2006-2012 in which he led the Badgers to two Big Ten titles and part of a third over his successful tenure. However, his stint in the SEC with Arkansas was quite the opposite as he assembled a 29-34 record over five seasons.

 

After a few seasons at the pro ranks, first a defensive line coach with the Patriots and then as a senior assistant with the Giants, he has returned to the scene of his most galvanizing moments as a head coach, and the administration at Illinois is banking on him to rekindle that Big 10 magic from several years ago.

 

“They didn’t know me from Adam,” Bielema said of his players. “All I said is, “Here I am, let’s get to know each other.’ I would say there have been moments of high stress but also moments of levity and fun.

 

“I know this, walking off that field on Saturday we’ll know a lot about who we are by the actions of our four quarters and how we react to moments of adversity as well as success.”

 

And as hope springs eternal in Illinois with a big-time head coach planning great things for this season and beyond, the same cannot be said for Nebraska’s Scott Frost who is on the hot seat in his fourth year at Lincoln. Nebraska’s hometown kid has fostered a 12-20 record over his three seasons as the Cornhuskers head coach and it’s now or never.

 

Recalling last season’s embarrassing loss at home to the Illini, Frost stated, “There are some challenges to playing a team that has a new staff. We did not play very well against them last year. We made some mistakes. We need to play better this year. I think the guys are locked in on that.”

 

Wanna Make a Bet?

 

I’m not sure why the oddsmakers at all of the best online sportsbooks are showing the Huskers as touchdown favorites in this one. After all, this has not been a good team in a long time, and say what you will about Illinois, they haven’t been much worse. In fact, they beat this team by almost 20 points on the road last season and have a seasoned quarterback in Brandon Peters who knows his teammates well heading into his third season under center for Illinois.

 

Although the offensive schemes will be different under the new head coach, Brett Bielema, it should be an improvement over what they were working with under the old regime. There is no good reason to lay points on the road with Nebraska unless they prove otherwise with a stunning turnaround this season. Grab the seven with the home hound and cash a ticket!