College and NFL Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

Three weeks in, we're still sort of treading water a little bit with my picks. A couple of 3-3 weeks sandwiched around a 4-2 week. No disasters yet, but not a big enough jump to buy that Gulfstream you've had your eye on. So let's get it cranked up this week with six games that I feel REALLY good about.

Come with me on this journey of degenerate wagering…..

Texas A&M -7 over ARKANSAS
I'll let Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury give you my pick on this one…..

"….and probably next week by A&M, as well." If you say so, Kliff!

UMass/NOTRE DAME UNDER 58.5
Notre Dame kept two streaks alive in their huge win over Georgia Tech last weekend. First and foremost, they kept their 2015 winning streak alive, moving to 3-0 and up to sixth in the AP poll. Second and far more disturbing, they continued to lose at least one player to a season ending injury in a game in 2015, with safety Drue Tranquill joining RB Tarean Folston, QB Malik Zaire, and TE Durham Smythe on the injured list. Fortunately for head coach Brian Kelly, this is his deepest Notre Dame team. They have the depth to keep winning. With the win over Georgia Tech last weekend and a trip to Clemson next weekend, this is a classic "sandwich" spot for the Irish, which means it will be a sloppy game in which they spend the second half up by three touchdowns, running the football, and just wanting to get the hell out with no more season ending injuries. Under is, therefore, the play.

UL-Monroe +38 over ALABAMA
Another case of a game where we're banking on Alabama being into "get the hell out of here with a convincing win" mode. They're coming off the loss to Ole Miss and have a season-defining game against Georgia next week. Do you think the Crimson Tide is really out to prove anything against ULM? And if you need some statistical backup to feel better about this pick, just know that Alabama is 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as favorites of 35 or more. 

Raiders +3.5 over BROWNS
Josh McCown returned this week after being cleared under the league's concussion protocol. Given that Johnny Manziel led the Browns to a win in McCown's absence, McCown's return should be a non event. Manziel should remain the starter so they can find out what they have in their 2014 first round draft pick. So naturally, head coach Mike Pettine names McCown the starter this Sunday. Because they are the Browns. I can't back a team who willingly sits Johnny Football after he's finally sober and showing signs of being a competent NFL quarterback. Not for Josh McCown. 

BALTIMORE -2.5 over Cincinnati
The Ravens make the playoffs virtually every year, and sit at 0-2. The Bengals are 2-0 and Andy Dalton is playing lights out, Pro Bowl level football. This game is SCREAMING "regression to the mean."

CARDINALS -6 over 49ers
Last week, I rode the Steelers hard against the 49ers on the believe that, despite the Week 1 results, the Steelers (0-1 at the time) were a top 6 or 7 team in the league and the Niners 91-0 at the time) were a bottom feeder. End result? Steelers 43, 49ers 18. Well, I feel the exact same way about this game. The Cardinals are a dark horse Super Bowl contender and the Niners still suck. When in doubt, just look at the head coaches before you place a bet — so I'm getting Bruce Arians at home for less than a touchdown versus Jim Tomsula? Um, yes please.

Last Week: 3-3
Season Record: 10-8

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.


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