Sean Pendergast

College Football, Week 14 and NFL, Week 13 — This Weekend's Best Bets

We need another bounce back weekend heading into September.
We need another bounce back weekend heading into September. Photo by Jack Gorman
Well, we all know the old saying — gambling is a game of inches. (Actually, that saying is usually attached to every sport on which we gamble, so tangentially, I consider it to be about gambling itself.) A few weeks ago, I went 1-4-1 ATS, and my four losses were by gigantic margins. I actually slept better after that weekend than I did after this past Thanksgiving weekend.

Three of my four losses this past weekend were much more excruciating. The Lions were covering for nearly the entire game against the Bears on Thanksgiving, and a Matt Stafford pick six screwed me. The Falcons missed covering by a half a point against the Saints. Notre Dame was covering against USC late, and gave up a touchdown for a backdoor USC cover. The Redskins pushed against the Cowboys!

My point — don't lose confidence in me! I was a few plays away from going 4-2 for the second straight week! This weekend, we're a little heavier on the NFL, as the college schedule is trimmer, with mostly just conference title games and makeup games from earlier in the season due to natural disasters (hurricanes and wildfires). So here is this weekend's six pack:

Alabama -13.5 over Georgia (SEC Title Game in Atlanta)
The "college football fan seeking chaos" in me would love for Georgia to pull off this upset, just to hear the fans of likely one-loss Oklahoma and one-loss Ohio State try to explain how they're getting screwed when, let's face it, Alabama has been a world-crushing machine all season long. To that end, Alabama's record ATS in their eight SEC games this season is 6-2, and their two ATS losses were by 1.5 points in a 22-point win over Texas A&M, and by half a point in a 34-point win over Arkansas. They dominated this conference in every sense of the word. I'm not sure, barring Tu'a Tagovailoa getting knocked out in the first quarter, why they wouldn't cover again here. Roll Tide!

Pitt +27.5 over Clemson (ACC Title Game in Charlotte)
This is another game where an upset would create some amazing Saturday night debates for Sunday's playoff reveal show. Unlike the SEC title Game, though, this is a game where there is a virtual zero chance of an upset. However, I do think that this number is a tad high. Pitt was largely a pretty solid team down the stretch. I have no idea what happened last week against Miami (a 24-3 loss), although Pitt had their division sewn up by then. Prior to that, the Panthers were on a run of 6-0 ATS, including a near upset of No. 3 Notre Dame in South Bend. The Tigers are 1-5 ATS this season when they've been a favorite of more than three touchdowns, so they've let teams hang around a little bit in these spots.

Broncos -4.5 over BENGALS
OK, now onto the NFL, and we have three road favorites for you. I know these feel will like totally square plays, but it's high time we begin on capitalizing on teams that have cashed in on their seasons, and do so by backing teams that are surging. We start with Denver, who is a Brandon McManus missed field goal versus the Texans away from being able to say that they've beaten three consecutive forecasted playoff teams, after wins over the Chargers and Steelers the last two weeks. Now, they travel to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team that is reeling, now 5-6 after a 4-1 start, and their starting QB Andy Dalton is done for the season with a thumb injury. Jeff Driskel will start in his place, and I look for Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to feast on Driskel.

Colts -4 over JAGUARS
Like the Bengals, the Jaguars got off to a nice little start to the season, winning three of their first four games, including a blowout win over New England. They have not won a single game since that 3-1 start, and now they're playing one of the hottest teams in football in Andrew Luck and the Colts. The strength for the Jags, last season at least, had been in their ability to rush the passer (remember that whole "Sacksonville" thing?), but the Colts have only allowed Andrew Luck to be hit five times in the month of November. Also, like the Bengals, the Jags will have a new starter at QB, with Cody Kessler taking over for the ousted Blake Bortles. For the Texans' sake, I am rooting for the Jags, but the gambler in me sees a four point spread as WAY too small.

Rams -11 over LIONS
Sean McVay versus Matt Patricia. The dashing, handsome Will Hunting of the NFL versus a fatso who looks like he slid headfirst into a pile of dirty laundry and just went with whatever garments static clung stuck to his fat ass. No analysis needed. Taking the Rams here, based almost entirely on the head coaching matchup.

SEAHAWKS -10 over 49ers
Seattle is coming off a galvanizing, possibly a season saving win in Carolina last weekend to move to 6-5. They are ascending, and they are at home. The 49ers went on the road and got worked by Jameis Winston and the Bucs. They are plummeting, and they are on the road. Seattle may not be the death trap for road teams that it used to be, but it's still a pretty formidable home field advantage, and with a Seahawks team that is very much in the mix for a playoff spot, the crowd should be amped. This Seahawks team is gelling nicely on offense, too, having found a running game with Chris Carson, and with Russell Wilson playing at an "in the MVP conversation" level of late.

Last Week: 1-4-1
Season Record: 40-35-3 (53.3 percent)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast