Best Bets for This Weekend's College and NFL Games

When 5-1 is a step backwards, we are clearly in a zone right now.
When 5-1 is a step backwards, we are clearly in a zone right now.
Joel Kramer via Flickr creative commons

Have you ever walked by an ATM that was just spitting out money, with nobody nearby to either infringe upon your good fortune or rat you out for scooping up handfuls of cash? Like just a never-ending flow of free money, all for you?

Yeah, ME NEITHER. That NEVER happens in real society. But you know where it's basically been happening the past four weeks? Right here, in my Best Bets post, that's where!

21-3, that's my record against the spread over the past four weeks. How good have I been? So good that I felt the need to apologize for a 5-1 ATS weekend last weekend. (After all, I DID go 6-0 ATS the week before.)

People are taking my picks to Vegas and getting PAID....

I am making America great again, by singlehandedly stimulating the economy with my amazing football picks! (Right here is where I attach the warning label that "what goes up, must come down.")

So in the name of patriotism, let's go 6-0 again! (Or apologize for going 5-1 again!)

Wake Forest +35 at LOUISVILLE
With a quarterback who was installed as a 1/30 — yes, you read that right... ONE TO THIRTY — favorite to win the Heisman by at least one betting outlet this week, Louisville, with head coach Bobby Petrino and QB Lamar Jackson, are about as public a team as public gets. That's how you wind up with 35-point spreads over decent teams such as Wake Forest, that can play a little bit of defense (the Demon Deacons haven't given up more than 33 points in a game this season) and will battle until the end. Do we forget that Louisville is just a couple of weeks removed from needing a miracle to beat Virginia? Thirty-five points? Yes, please. I'll take them all.

South Carolina +12 over FLORIDA
This line has actually come down a few points on the news that Luke Del Rio will not be starting at QB for the Gators, but here's the thing — Florida was not good offensively even WITH Luke Del Rio. The fact of the matter is that, if the LSU game had been played already, as it should have, and not canceled for drizzling weather conditions, the Gators wouldn't even be in the Top 25 right now. Add in two other things — 1. South Carolina has been somewhat frisky under Will Muschamp, winning three in a row and generally battling in their losses this season, and 2. Muschamp is returning to Gainesville for the first time since being fired a couple of years ago. That's got to add some extra juice, right? Enough juice to take 12 points in what should be a hideously defensive game.

Texans -1.5 over JAGUARS
So, it's not often that I install the Texans as one of my Best Bets, and quite honestly, I'm not sure why that is. I mean, if you go back and read my weekly previews of their eight games so far, I am 6-1-1 ATS! So basically, amid this free flow of money I've created by being right all the time, I could have, theoretically, been even MORE right if I'd been using the Texans as a pick all year. This game opened as a PICK EM and moved to Texans -1.5 almost immediately. That's still not nearly enough points. Look, I know the Texans have been abysmal on the road this season, but the Jags ain't the Patriots, Vikings or Broncos. The Jags are a 2-6 team that is a heartbeat away from giving up on the season. Their coach is a dead man walking. Empirically, this is the type of game Bill O'Brien usually wins, a game against a bad division foe on the road. The Texans are 4-1 SU in Jacksonville since 2011, with the only loss coming in Gary Kubiak's final game as head coach in 2013. The Texans are 11-4 after the bye week under O'Brien, and I love the Texans coming off a bye week here.

SAINTS -1 over Broncos
This is that time of year when you need to start evaluating teams in pockets of recency, as opposed to their overall record. On the surface, the Broncos are 6-3 and in decent shape to make the playoffs. Peel back one layer, though, and this is a team that's 2-3 over its last five games (with one of the wins being a prime time win over Houston, a throwaway in real analysis if there ever was one). And Denver was just steamrolled by the Raiders on Sunday night, on the ground and through the air. Also, it would appear the league has caught up with spunky former seventh-round pick QB Trevor Siemian. The Saints, while 4-4, have won 3 out of 4 games, and appear to be getting it going on offense. The Broncos are traveling in back-to-back weeks, from the West Coast and then down to the South, and will be coming into what should be a hostile environment. Not even the leaky defense of the Saints can keep me off the "WHO DAT" train on this one.

Falcons +1.5 over EAGLES
Again, staying with the "pockets of recency" theory, the Eagles appear to have shown themselves to be who we thought they were — a fun, interesting team with rookie Carson Wentz at quarterback, but a team that will endure some growing pains. After a 3-0 start, the Eagles have gone 1-4 in their last five games. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan looks like an MVP candidate, and the Falcons offense looks unstoppable. Also, Ryan is returning to his hometown for this game, so assuming he got everyone tickets, he should be in a frame of mind to where he is looking to ball out. Ride the hot offensive hand and take whatever Vegas gives us. Take the Falcons. The wrong team is favored here.

CHARGERS -3.5 over Dolphins
Honestly, I had no idea the Dolphins were 4-4 until I opened the standings this morning to type this paragraph. How in the hell is Miami 4-4? Don't answer that; I don't care what the record says, Tannehill sucks, and the Dolphins are one of the seven or eight worst teams in football. I trust the Chargers in this spot about as much as I can trust a 4-5 team. The Chargers are dangerous and the Dolphins are a neutered church mouse. Their offense is all about RB Jay Ajayi, but the Chargers ground defense is stout, allowing just 85 yards a game. The Chargers are 3-1 SU and ATS at home this year, and could just as easily be 8-1 on the season as they are 4-5 right now. I'll buy the half point down to a field goal spread just in case, but the Chargers should win handily here.

Last Week: 5-1
Season Record: 40-20

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.


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