Bowling Green vs. West Virginia
Prediction: Bowling Green +20 -110 odds (October 1st 2011)
Bowling Green doesn’t have what it takes to upset the Mountaineers on the road, but I believe they are talented enough offensively to keep this game within striking distance and cover the spread. The Mountaineers are coming off a 47-21 loss against LSU this past Saturday, and it is going to be very hard for them to get pumped up to play a team they know they will beat. West Virginia has not been a strong team to back as a huge home favorite. They are just 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games as a home favorite of 10.5 or greater. Bowling Green comes into the game scoring 38.5 ppg. They are led by sophomore quarterback Matt Schilz, who has completed 66.2% of his passes for 1,169 yards with 14 touchdowns to just four interceptions. I look for Schilz and the Falcons passing attack to really catch the Mountaineers by surprise in this game. I expect Bowling Green to score at least 20 points in this game, which should be more than enough to keep them within 20 points. Bowling Green is 20-6-1 ATS in their last 27 road games and an impressive 14-2 ATS in their last 16 games as a road underdog of 10.5 or greater. BET THE FALCONS!
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Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers
Pick: Carolina Panthers +7 -115 odds (October 2nd 2011)
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Chicago has lost two straight games, rather handily for that matter, but the Bears are still overpriced in what should be a much closer game that what the line is indicating. Chicago has been outgained in all three of its games as the offense inconsistent and the defense is no where near aggressive as what we have seen in the past. Granted, the Bears have played a tough schedule against three playoff teams and the two past Super Bowl Champions but until they show something, they should not be in the role of a big chalk.
Carolina has been pretty impressive thus far after a miserable 2-14 season a year ago. The Panthers picked up their first win last week against Jacksonville in horrible conditions and things may have been different if the weather was better but nonetheless, it was a big win for a team in need of confidence. The Panthers played the Packers tougher than most thought and they actually outgained Green Bay and prior to that, they outgained the Cardinals in Arizona in losing by a touchdown.
The biggest problem for the Bears is their offensive line as quarterback Jay Cutler is taking a beating. He has been sacked 14 times and the injuries along the line are not helping. Last week was a disaster as Cutler was sacked “only” three times and hit four other times and the Bears were whistled for three false start penalties and two holding calls. The Panthers defense has not been able to apply a lot of pressure through three games but the circumstances they were involved in played a part in that.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has plenty of roots in Chicago and he knows this is a big game. “I’m not shying away from the fact that this is a big one for me,” he said. “I really feel it. These games are all big, but for me it has a little something extra because it is Chicago.” That motivation will be passed down to the players while the motivation for Chicago should be next to nothing. Coming off a divisional loss with another divisional game on deck at the upstart Lions on Monday night puts the Bears in a very tough spot.
Carolina falls into a great situation as well .Play against home favorites that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against teams that are allowing between 18 and 23 ppg after two straight double-digit losses. This situation is 29-7 ATS (80.6 percent) since 1983. Also, Chicago is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games under head coach Lovie Smith after allowing 375 or more total yards in two consecutive games. Carolina meanwhile is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games against teams with losing home records. 3* (221) Carolina Panthers. Get more NFL picks from Matt Fargo at Touthouse.com.
Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners
Pick: Oakland Athletics -165 odds (September 28th 2011)
The Oakland A’s have a decisive edge on the mound tonight. Gio Gonzalez goes for a career high in wins Wednesday night when he faces a Mariners club finishing a 10th consecutive season without a playoff berth. Gonzalez (15-12, 3.25 ERA), a first-time All-Star in 2011, has matched his win total of last season by going 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his last seven starts. The left-hander, six innings shy of reaching 200 in back-to-back years, will try to match a career high by winning his fourth consecutive start. Gonzalez is 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA in nine career starts against Seattle. Seattle (67-94) closes out the season with Anthony Vasquez (1-5, 8.89 ERA) making his first start versus Oakland. The rookie left-hander has posted a 9.00 ERA while losing five consecutive starts since his major league debut at Cleveland on Aug. 23. Vasquez has given up a ridiculous 12 home runs and 30 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings this season, striking out just 12 batters. Gonzalez is 12-2 against the money line vs. teams whose hitters strike out 7 or more times/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The A’s are 29-10 in Gonzalez’s last 39 starts as a favorite. Oakland is 57-23 in their last 80 games as a road favorite of -151 to -200. The Mariners are 18-48 in their last 66 games vs. a left-handed starter. Bet Oakland Wednesday.
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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Houston Astros
Pick: St. Louis Cardinals -178 odds (September 28th 2011)
I’m laying the price with the Cardinals and Carpenter on Wednesday. The Redbirds finally got over the hump last night. After blowing several chances to at least tie the Braves for the top wildcard spot, the Cards finally exploded in a 13-6 win on Tuesday. Now it’s up to Carpenter to get the team into a playoff series, or at the very least, a one-game play-in if both they and Atlanta win tonight. I certainly expect the Cards to do their part. Carpenter has enjoyed his starts against the Astros sporting a 2.79 ERA & 1.06 WHIP in 18 starts. The veteran righty has allowed just 5 earned runs in his last four starts spanning 31 innings of action. The Astros will send Brett Myers to the bump. He’s been shelled for 8 earned runs in 14 innings in his last two starts against the Cardinals. The Astros have won just 9 of their last 37 at home against winning teams and they’re 1-7 when Myers toes the home rubber. St. Louis comes into this one having caught the Braves thanks to a 10-3 road run, a 15-5 run in their last 20 overall, and they’re on a 20-7 run against righthanders. More of the same on Wednesday. I’m backing the Cardinals. Thanks! GL! Scott Spreitzer (Touthouse.com)