Fourth Down and Inches
by Doc - 11/05/2008
I wish I could start with better news, but our Big Ten Game of the Year went down. Our choice was Michigan State -5 over Wisconsin and we came up short, as the Spartans won by just one point. I think I have been on the money with the Badgers all season long, but went to the well once too often. A couple of weeks ago we used Iowa as a 5-unit pick over Wisconsin and easily won, 38-16. Hindsight is 20/20, but that game would have been the right call for our 8-unit selection. Losing those units certainly got us off to a rough start; however, we did rebound with the rest of the card to show a small profit last week. We finished +3 units and $140 up in college football for $100 bettors.
So how does the Big Ten look this week? A couple of games certainly have my interest. I never like to lay big numbers on the road, but have to take a serious look this week at Ohio State. The Buckeyes travel west to Evanston to play Northwestern, who pulled a huge victory last week in the Twin Cities. With that victory the line came in a little short and I expect the Buckeyes to be ready to dominate for 60 minutes coming off of a bye. Playing on the road is never easy in the Big Ten, but I expect 25,000 Buckeye fans to make the trip and this could be a larger group then the home faithful. Ohio State led last year, 45-0, at halftime and Northwestern was negative rushing yards. The Cats have yet to play this strong of defense in 2008 and I will be all over the 11 points, as it's not enough.
As I continue to look at the Big Ten slate this weekend, I have to take a serious look at Wisconsin, another road favorite. Despite a poor conference record the Badgers need just two victories for a bowl bid and are loaded with senior starters. They still have a strong running attack and that spells trouble for a depleted Hoosier outfit. The success of last season has worn out for Indiana and this is another venue where very little home field advantage occurs. With a small crowd in attendance, if the line is less than 10 points, my money is on the Badgers.
Let's now complete the trifecta in the Big Ten, as my third choice would be Western Michigan plus the points over Illinois. This is a real flat spot for Illinois, as they are coming off a big win over Iowa and have Ohio State on deck. The Broncos have a strong record in the MAC and will enter this game 7-2 for the season. Their passing attack has been brilliant under QB Tim Hiller and they also have a strong ground attack to keep the linebackers in the box. As good as their offense is, their pass defense is as bad and this game will be a high scoring affair. Western Michigan beat Iowa last season and could pull another upset again.
When handicapping, one of the ingredients you must consider when two bad teams are playing is when one program is on the upswing while the other is on a definite downward spiral. In my opinion a game that fits the mold this week in Iowa State at Colorado. In their last three games (0-3 ATS), the Buffaloes have outgained two of their opponents by over 100 yards. Their schedule has been brutal; however, this squad has hung in there. Now they return to Folsom Field for the first time since Oct. 18 to take on the Cyclones, a team that has shown no pulse in the last month. They have given up 38, 35, 49, and 59 points in their last four games. Also revenge is favoring Colorado since they lost last year, 31-28, despite leading 21-0 at one point. This is the same team that beat West Virginia earlier in the year and this homer is definitely worth a look.
Moving onto the NFL, the Titans remained undefeated but suffered their first ATS loss of 2008. I firmly believe this is a sign of things to come, as they did not look impressive on offense and were lucky in Nashville against an average Green Bay team. The Titans have had an easy home-heavy schedule, but that will end shortly with back-to-back road games in Chicago and Jacksonville. I fully expect the Titans to lose one if not both of these games. The NFL has too many good coaches to not figure this team out and a secret is having Kerry Collins beat you through the air. He went just 18-37 for 180 yards last Sunday and has some of the worst receivers in the league. If teams can stop the run, you should be able to stop the Titans. The Packers were done in by two critical turnovers by QB Aaron Rogers and a foolish penalty that resulted in nine Titans points-that was the difference in the game.
Tennessee travels to Chicago this Sunday and enters as a field goal favorite. Much of that has to do with the quarterback injury for the Bears, as Rex Grossman will likely be back in the lineup for Kyle Orton. If Grossman does not lose this game for his team, I expect the Bears to have their way with the Titans offense and win this game straight up. But again, the big question is how will Rex play now that he is back behind center? Kerry Collins and Super Bowl Champion do not go together and I expect the Titans to struggle down the stretch with five road games on the horizon. That being said, he is still a much better quarterback then Vince Young. Young does not seem to be willing to pay the price to become a top-notch NFL QB. The talent is there, the time just has not been put in.
You may have noticed on our Web site that our college basketball packages are posted for the upcoming 2008-2009 season. This will be my 37th year of handicapping on the college hardwood and we are expecting another outstanding season. Our service will officially begin on Saturday, Nov. 15 and you can receive every selection that we make through the Final Four in April for just $725. Also this season we will once again publish a college basketball schedule. This 80-page booklet just arrived this week and I was impressed with the quality of how it turned out. We have a limited number of these books available ($10 each) and if you sign-up for Doc's Sports Full Season Package, we will gladly send one out free of charge. If you would like to order one or just talk college basketball with me feel free to give me a call at (800) 356-9182.
We are expecting a monster weekend highlighted by our Big Three, a trifecta that will go on Saturday. You can receive this winning ticket along with a complete card by signing up for one of our many football packages.
Best of luck this week,