The new football season is only a couple of weeks old and we have already seen some shocking results on the field. There have been no surprises here at Doc’s Sports Services as we are off to another strong start with our football picks in our 41st season of handicapping the games to provide proven winners on a weekly basis.
Last weekend, Doc’s followed-up a 6-2 record on our top picks from the week before with two 5-unit winners; one in college and one in the pros. Georgia Tech had little problem getting by Virginia, 56-20, as a 10-point favorite at home. This one was over before it ever really started, with the Yellow Jackets rolling up 35 unanswered points in the first half. Turning to the NFL, we cashed in on San Francisco’s straight-up upset of Green Bay in Week 1 and decided to let it ride on the 49ers as seven-point home favorites last Sunday against Detroit. They did not disappoint with an eight-point win.
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Oftentimes when handicapping a college rivalry, we talk about the impact that the “revenge factor” may have from one year to the next. When one of the teams was badly beaten or there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the previous meeting such as injuries or fatigue, the revenge factor certainly comes into play in the current season’s contest. However, this can sometimes be overrated if the losing team does not have the talent to even the score.
Two games on this week’s slate where that is clearly not the case has Florida State hosting Clemson as a 14-point favorite and Notre Dame at home as 5.5-point favorites against Michigan. The Seminoles are the real deal this year and ready to make a statement after last year’s 35-30 loss to Clemson as 2.5-point underdogs on the road. Florida State had just come off a devastating loss to Oklahoma and simply ran out of gas in that game. The Fighting Irish are still seething from blowing a late third-quarter 24-7 lead over the Wolverines last season that eventually turned into a devastating 35-31 loss. You can rest assured that Brian Kelly will be reminding his players all week long about that collapse, especially his front seven on defense, which could be one of the best in the nation.
Last week we talked about the weakness of the Big Ten this season, and, despite its 9-2 SU record in Week 3, the jury still remains out on just how good this conference really is this year. Our overall assessment still stands, especially when it comes to a team like Wisconsin. The Badgers started the year ranked No.12 in the AP Poll and co-favorites to win the Big Ten, but they have done nothing to live up to those lofty expectations. If you are waiting for a quick turnaround, do not hold your breath. The loss of offensive coordinator Paul Chryst along with a wealth of talent from last year’s team continues to take its toll. The quarterback situation is a mess with freshman redshirt Joel Stave taking over for Danny O’Brian in last week’s near-miss against Utah State. The receiving corps are far weaker than first expected. The Wisconsin football schedule only gets harder from here starting with Nebraska on the road in two weeks.
Speaking of Chryst, congratulations go out on his Pittsburgh Panthers stunning 35-17 victory over Virginia Tech as 10-point home underdogs. Despite the huge void he has obviously left at Wisconsin, we could not be happier for him and his current situation. Chryst has surrounded himself with an excellent coaching staff at Pitt that will undoubtedly make the most of the talent they have. Next season’s move to ACC sets the stage for a return to the national spotlight as this program has nowhere to go but up and should quickly regain a spot among the top teams in the country over the coming years. As far as the Hokies, they could be a team to go against all season long as they were ranked as high as No.13 based more on past reputation than current talent. The Virginia Tech football schedule is also not in their favor with road games coming up against both Clemson and Florida State.
The NFL game of the week pits the New England Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens in a Sunday night showdown of two heavyweights in the AFC. Both are coming off a stunning loss last Sunday and looking to avoid an early 1-2 hole. The Patriots have been opened by 5Dimes as 2.5-point road underdogs, which probably suits them just fine. They are 27-7 ATS in their last 34 games following a SU loss and 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games against the AFC. The Ravens have lost eight of the last nine meetings SU, including last year’s 23-20 defeat in the AFC Championship Game on a missed field goal that would have tied things up late in the game. Sunday night’s clash will be a real gut check for both teams as the winner should emerge as the new odds-on favorite from the AFC to make it to this year’s Super Bowl, but do not tell that to Houston.
Every football season Doc’s puts out a comprehensive journal that is a 160-page guide to everything you need to know about both college and the pros when it comes to handicapping the games. To find out how you or your local sports bar where you gather to watch the games can get your hands on this invaluable betting tool, just call us at 1-800-356-9182 for all the details.
One last thing, be sure to check in with Doc’s Sports early and often next week as we could be releasing our Big Ten Game of the Year for one of the games on Week 5’s schedule.
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