Thursday, October 24, 2013

Week 8 NFL Picks Against the Spread

You could work hard your entire life and find an okay job with okay pay, or you could just take these picks to the bank right now and win straight cash. LETS GO.

Carolina Panthers (-6) @ Tampa Bay (+6): Las Vegas has adopted a team, and it's the Carolina Panthers. Vegas has thrown a lot of love in the Panthers directions, but this line on the other hand might not be enough. This stingy Panthers defense is going up against a hurting Bucs' offense. Vincent Jackson is the only sure thing in that offense. I like the Panthers to move above .500 with a win here and they cover.

San Francisco 49ers (-16.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Good lord do I hate betting the Jaguars..... I will take them to lose and  cover, Come on boys don't let me down here in London.

Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Detroit Lions
I do not like this Cowboys defense against this high-powered Lions offense. If Reggie Bush can re-establish himself as a dual threat. And then there is Calvin Johnson... you cannot cover him, give the points and take D-Town.

New York Giants (+6.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Most dangerous (1-5) team in the league. They will need to get after Mike Vick because this Eagles offensive line is beginning to resemble the lines of the passed, and they are not protecting the QB's. Take the points and the Giants, I think they win this one outright as well.

Cleveland Browns (+7) at Kansas City Chiefs
Oh my god it's former Redskins QB Jason Campbell starting once again! There is no way he sucks as bad as Weeden did. But that Chiefs defense is straight nasty. Take the Chiefs and lay the 7, this is a game I'd stay away from this week, the way new QB's rejuvenate teams is unpredictable. We saw what Hoyer did for this team and Campbell could do the same, but I doubt it against this defense.

Buffalo Bills (+12) at New Orleans Saints
How dare Vegas lay double digits against the pride of Duke University Thad Lewis. The Bills have played in one game decided by 7 points or less and that is the problem. They keep games close, so as much as I like Brees I think Buffalo will lose and cover. STAY AWAY FROM THIS ONE.

Miami Dolphins (+7) at New England Patriots
Never bet against Brady. 

New York Jets (+6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals offense is consistent. The Bengals defense is consistent. The Jets defense is consistent. The Jets offense is the single most consistent offense in the NFL. Geno Smith's bipolar play has made the Jets a gambling nightmare. I hate saying this, but I think the Jets cover, but still lose.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Oakland Raiders
Big Ben is starting to play well and the Steelers now have back to back W's. Last weeks win agains the Ravens was huge for the Gold and Black. I like them on the road this week to cover and get the W.

Washington Redskins (+13) at Denver Broncos
Redskins fans, please don't watch. Josh McCown ripped my Skins defense apart last week, I can only imagine what Peyton does to us. Denver covers.

Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Steven Jackson is back, the Falcons have a solid one-two punch is Jackson and Rodgers in

the backfield. Harry Douglas gotten off on the right foot in replacing Julio Jones as the best vertical threat on that team(Roddy White is still hurt). Don't forget about Tony Gonzalez, Carson Palmer is always good for a few picks. Take the points, I like the Falcons to win.

Green Bay Packers (-9.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota is a wreck. Packers cover and win.

Seattle Seahawks (-10.5) at St. Louis Rams
Russel Bussel Hussel Wilson

By: Josh Neighbors

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Expected Surprise: World Series Preview

In a baseball season that has provided an endless amount of surprises and numerous heartwarming moments, the culmination of it all has left us with a result that does not fall far from what we have become accustomed to once October strikes. Both teams fall in the top 10 payrolls in the MLB, both teams, in recent history, have been incredibly successful, and both teams have combined for 5 appearances in the last ten World Series. So when the two come together in the Fall Classic, nobody should be too shocked.

However, if anyone were to pick a year for these two teams to reach the promise land, very few would have picked this to be the year. The St. Louis Cardinals did not appear to have the tools this year to make a significant run throughout the season. However, instead of taking a year to rebuild like the typical franchise might, one of the best, if not the best, franchises in the MLB brought up players within their system to play a substantial role such. A few prime examples of this are second year pitcher Joe Kelly with a 2.69 ERA, rookie Michael Wacha with a 2.78 ERA, and Matt Carpenter, who although is not in his first year, he played his first full season as a starter and hit for an incredible 318 average. Led by veterans Adam Wainright, Matt Holiday, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and David Freese, it is no mystery as to how the Cardinals made it here. Lacking their former cornerstone of the franchise Albert Pujols has not seemed to slow them down a bit, but will they be able to take that final monumental step? So far this postseason, the young players and veterans have all played like they have been there before. They have a certain unphasable confidence that makes them a hard team to pick against. However, when the final series of the year arrives, the pressure becomes something entirely new, and will the boys from St. Louis be able to handle it?

At the beginning of the year, an incredibly minimal amount of people picked the Red Sox to make it to the World Series. In fact they were picked to finished no higher than fourth in the AL East alone. Who can blame them? Coming off one of the worst seasons in recent Sox history, it seemed a long shot that bringing in a lot of new guys and a new manager would click right away. However, the Red Sox brilliantly brought in all of the right guys to compliment the Boston veterans. They did not hesitate to find an identity as they brought in blue collar guys like Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, and Jake Peavy. They brought in veteran guys to go along with veterans Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Jacoby Ellsbury. For the most part, these guys are not necessarily big stars, but they are proven winners. When you bring together a group of guys who know what it takes to win, the sky is the limit. First year manager John Farrell did about as amazing as a job as you can do with a brand new group of guys, and all of these factors have resulted in the Red Sox returning to the World Series for the first time since 2007.

Now both of these franchises have been here before. Chances are, both will be here again before long. However, for both teams, this would undoubtedly be an unforgettable. The Cardinals have a plethora of veterans combined with some incredible young talent, and Red Sox consist almost wholly of proven winners with a few exceptions. In the postseason, starting pitching gets you to the ultimate goal. In the regular season, the Cardinals had the fifth best ERA and the Red Sox possessed the fourteenth best. However, both teams are in the top three in team batting average. As far as postseason stats go, Boston has the best team average, while St. Louis has the best team ERA.

The truth of the matter is that I have an incredibly unbiased perspective considering my utter hatred for both of these teams. However, I have an incredible amount of respect for the expedition both teams have embarked on this season. The expedition is coming to a close for both teams, and one team has to lose. This year, as much as it pains me to say it, is the year for the Boston Red Sox. Even though the Cardinals do possess a tremendous array of pitchers, they have not yet had to face a lineup quite like Boston. Not only are they fantastic hitters, they are timely hitters. Even though the Cardinals led the league in hitting with runners in scoring position this year, it is a disservice to simply say the Red Sox have had the right hits at the right time this postseason. Whether its Big Papi or Shane Victorino, they get the job done when it needs to be done. It will certainly be a formidable task. This series will reach the oh so dramatic seventh game in Boston. Whether they close it out with a walk-off or a Koji Uehara save, the Red Sox will bring the trophy back to Boston. All I can say is if they win, they better shave those horrendous beards.
-Ben Greer

Friday, October 11, 2013

Drawing The Line

“I believe in our team. I do.” -Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley.

These unbelievably inspirational words from the Jaguars head coach have yet to have an effect on one of the worst NFL teams we have seen in a good while. And after this next week, even Gus will be forced to question the validity of his statement. The game has not yet commenced, but yet they are already making history this week.
The Denver Broncos are favored to defeat the Jags by a whopping 28 points this week. This line is indeed tied for the highest of all time. To find that line, you have to go back to the 1966 matchup where the Baltimore Colts were favored to take down the Falcons by the same four touchdown line that we see today. That  clearly exemplifies just how rare it is to have two professional teams with such an immense differential in ability.

Lets put a few things into perspective, shall we?

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning leads the NFL just about every category possible including passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, and least amount of interceptions thrown.

Jacksonville quarterbacks Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert are ranked 32 and 34 in yards, 29 and 33 in completion percentage, 31 and 37 in touchdowns, and they have combined for a total of nine interceptions, which is tied for second most in the NFL.

The Denver Broncos are ranked number 1 in total offense, and the Jaguars are a whopping number 31.

If thats for some obscure reason not enough for you, you need a serious reality check my friend.

Okay maybe the Denver defense is not the most elite in all the land, but heres the thing: it does not matter against the Jags. Denver has scored 230 points in 5 games, and the Jags have scored an abysmal 51. However, besides Seattle, it is not like they have played the most prestigious of defenses in any sense. The Broncos have scored 51 and 52 points in two separate games this season already.

Remember that other 28 point line way back when? Well the Colts exceeded the 28 point line, and I have full confidence that the Broncos will cover this line as well. The only questions we can ask in this one are the following: “How soon will Denver pull the starters?”

“Can Jacksonville reach double digits?”

“Will Gus Bradley give former Iowa Hawkeye Ricky Stanzi a chance at quarterback?”

28 points is a lot of points in the NFL. However, I firmly believe that this line is smaller than what the final outcome will produce. It is truly remarkable that there could be an assemblance of professional athletes that are capable of producing such a poor result week in and week out on the field. Not only will this Jacksonville team lose by an unfathomable amount this week, the bleeding is not going to halt anytime in the near future. It will be a crime if they are favored to lose by any number under 10 points for the rest of the year. There is only one question left to ponder about for this pathetic team. Are we witnessing a team that just might possess the capability of producing a winless season? This very well could be the case. However, for now, buckle up Jags fans, Mr. Manning is coming to town, and it is going to be ugly.

-Ben Greer