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Week 5 NFL Pick: Covers betting the ‘Under’ in the Chargers vs. Giants game on October 8th 2017

Los Angeles Chargers vs. New York Giants
Week 5 NFL Over-Under Pick: Under 45 points (October 8th 2017)

My clients and I cashed a winning bet on the Giants Over the total last week, yet I’m recommending a play on the Under here.  What gives?  Let me start with an excerpt from my write-up last week:

“Facing Tampa’s banged up defense, Case Keenum looked like a pro bowler: 369 passing yards on 11.1 per attempts, 3 TD’s without an INT and a QB rating of 142.1 for the game.  That, folks, is Tampa Bay’s stop unit right now.   DT Chris Baker is dealing with a nasty bout of the flu.  CB Brent Grimes has a bad shoulder.  LB Kwon Alexander is out with a hamstring injury.  DT Gerald McCoy has a bum ankle.  DE Noah Spence is playing with a dislocated shoulder.  LB Lavonte David turned his ankle.

DE Jacquies Smith has been out since preseason.  Safety TJ Ward is dealing with an injured hip.  Defensive coordinator Mike Smith: “Unfortunately, we’ve got some guys that are down, but nobody is going to feel sorry for us — that’s for sure.”

“Meanwhile The Giants defense was completely gassed by the fourth quarter at Philly last week; only the field for nearly 80 snaps in the heat.  This stop unit is not fresh – the G-Men have been losing the time of possession battle on a weekly basis – and they’ll be tested by the explosive Bucs offense in the heat and humidity of late afternoon in Tampa Bay.”

So what happened?  Despite red zone failures and missed field goals for both teams, the game still went Over the total.  And now, the betting markets have done what they do – react to last week’s games.  Lo and behold, this week’s Giants total is even higher than last week’s total.  Yet the conditions here are very different.  The Chargers defense is NOT banged up like Tampa’s D was.  And the Giants defense won’t be gassed the same way this week; only the field for only 62 snaps last Sunday, without Florida heat and humidity that wears defenses down as the game progresses.

LA has all the makings of an Under team right now, despite their playmaking weapons on the outside.   The Chargers pass rush, led by last year’s #1, Joey Bosa, has been strong; bad news for Eli Manning playing behind a very weak offensive line.  I’m not expecting the G-men to control the line of scrimmage here, bad news for their ‘hit or miss’ offense.

Meanwhile, the Chargers offense has looked flat out broken for first month of the season.  Like that of the Giants, LA’s offensive line play has been bottom tier, unable to generate any holes for their running backs.  That’s put all the pressure on Philip Rivers, whose accuracy has really declined over the past two seasons.  Rivers is very comfortable just chucking the ball up towards his receivers and expecting them to make a play on the football.  That strategy hasn’t worked all year and it’s not likely to work against the Giants rock solid secondary.  Expect a field goal fest here!  Take the Under.

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Will Rogers betting OSU -30 points over Maryland on October 7th 2017

Maryland Terrapins vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Point Spread Pick: OSU -30 (October 7th 2017)

The set-up: Ohio State (4-1, 2-0 in Big Ten) will host Maryland (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday. Urban Meyer leads his No. 10 Buckeyes against one of his former assistants for the second week in row, this time around it’s D.J. Durkin. This is Durkin’s second season at Maryland and the Terps opened the season with a win a shocking 51-41 win Texas (+18) and have also added a 31-24 road win at Minnesota last Saturday (as a two-TD dog), to open Big Ten play. Maryland doesn’t appear to be as over-matched as the 6-7 team that was clobbered 62-3 by Ohio State last year. Ohio State is trying to put its 31-16 home loss to Oklahoma behind them, in an effort to climb back into the CFP discussion. Dominating wins over Army, UNLV and Rutgers don’t hurt the Buckeyes’ chances but also don’t help all that much, either.

Maryland: The Terrapins rebounded from a surprising home loss to Central Florida by winning 31-24 at Minnesota last week to open its Big Ten slate. However, let’s note that UCF is 3-0 and currently ranked 25th in the latest AP poll. Sophomore Max Bortenschlager completed 18-of-28 passes for 154 yards and two TDs plus also ran for a score against Minnesota in his first start after the Terrapins’ top two quarterbacks, Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome, went down with season-ending knee injuries. RB Ty Johnson has 411 rushing yards on 8.9 YPC with four TDs, leading a ground game that averages 233.5 YPG (24th) on 5.7 YPC with 12 scores. Defensively, Maryland is allowing 30.0 PPG (92nd) and will be severely tested by an Ohio State offense which has scored 148 points over the last three games since the loss to Oklahoma!

Ohio State: J.T. Barrett ‘laid an egg’ against Oklahoma but has comlalted 71.2 percent for 765 yards with 10 TDs (no INTs over 73 attempts) , while adding 125 rushing yards and another TD in OSU’s three-game winning streak. Freshman RB Dobbins has 573 yards (7.6 YPC) and three TDs on the season, leading a ground game accounting for 241.0 YPG (20th). The defense is holding opponents to 160.0 YPG (16) on 335.6 YPG (34th).

The pick: Barrett has been outstanding the last three games and on the season, has 13 TD passes spread around over nine different players. Freshman J.K. Dobbins has been terrific and now Mike Weber, who ran for 1069 yards last year on 6.0 YP is back, running  for three scores against Rutgers after struggling with hamstring issues. The Ohio State defense has allowed fewer than 100 passing yards in each of the last three games, after averaging 403 in the team’s first two. With all due respect to Bortenschlager, he is the team’s third-team QB. I’ll note that Ohio State is just 6-12 its last 18 laying more than 21 points but Meyer’s Ohio State teams have a 17-1 SU record in October since 2012. He’s shown no mercy against ex-assistant Chris Ash, beating Rutgers 56-0 and 54-0. He took Durkin’s Maryland team ‘to the woodshed’ last year (62-3) and I’ll lay the points, here.

Tigers vs. Huskies Over-Under Football Pick from Teddy Covers: October 6th 2017

Memphis Tigers vs. UConn Huskies
Over-Under Pick: Over 72 points (October 6th 2017)

Things have not broken right for Memphis in the early going.  The Tigers played their opening game against Louisiana-Monroe in the midst of the remnants of Hurricane Harvey – a torrential downpour throughout most of the contest.  They had to cancel their game the next week because of Hurricane Irma in Florida.  Following the wild upset win over UCLA, the Tigers looked flat against Southern Illinois the following week.  Last week, facing UCF, the Tigers got whipped, turning the ball over four times on offense while allowing more than 600 yards on defense.

Make no mistake about it – Memphis is loaded with the type of skill position talent that UConn can’t cover.  With QB Riley Ferguson returning for his senior year, 103 career starts back on the offensive line and the likes of RB’s Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor (combined more than 6.5 yards per carry) WR’s Anthony Miller, Phil Mayhue and Tony Pollard (37 catches between them) and TE Joey Magnifico (2nd leading receiver), this team is flat out loaded with weapons.  Memphis averaged 39 points per game last year and 40 ppg in 2015.  They hung 41 on UConn the last time these teams met, and there’s little reason to think the Tigers won’t approach or exceed 40 this time around.

UConn’s defense has been horrific this season.  Head coach Randy Edsall called out his team’s toughness prior to the Huskies visit to SMU last Saturday: “Sometimes guys either have it or they don’t. I mean, that’s ‘here,’” Edsall said, pointing to his chest. “That’s what you’ve got in here, and it shows up real quick in this sport. If you’re not a physically tough kid, this isn’t the sport you should play.”  The end result?  One week after allowing 596 yards and 41 points to East Carolina, last week, the Huskies allowed 49 points and 498 yards to the Mustangs.  This is not a defense primed for a dramatic improvement anytime soon.

That leaves us with only one question: Can UConn trade points with a potent offense?  If the Huskies can’t, the right play here is on Memphis.  If the Huskies can, the better play would probably be on the Over.   UConn has a returning senior starter at QB in Bryant Sherriffs, who has completed 69% of his passes so far with an 8:2 TD-INT ratio.  Five different receivers have caught a TD pass of 45 yards or longer; an offense showing legit big play ability after averaging a woeful 15 points per game last year.  They’re playing much faster than last year in coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s first season running the offense, and they’re facing a defense that has shown repeated vulnerability.  Expect enough offense from the Huskies to keep this game relatively competitive….and to send it flying Over the total.  Expect a shootout.  Take the Over.

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