The NCAAF week 8
NFL week 7 selections
updated 10/16 830 pm et
4 selections for this weekend, including an over/under
MARSHALL (-21.5) over FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
FIU is off to a 3-4 start after finishing
1-11 last season, but don't look too deep into the record. Insted look deep in the stats. They lead the nation in fumbles recovered with 16. Now (+11) in TO margin through six games with no quality wins, they were out-gained in all contests except against Wagner. They got four turnovers out of FAU a few weeks ago on a Thursday night and got just 259 yards in their loss (but cover) at Texas-San Antonio this past weekend. If they get another 259 yards against Marshall they will lose by 50 points. Marshall has averaged 49 points this season, so if FIU wants to stay within the number they will need to score at least four touchdowns. Considering they are seventh to last in the country in offense, don't count on it. Last season Marshall won this contest 48-10 on the road as a 32-point underdog. Now they are down to 21 points with an equal or better team. The reason is FIU's "improvement" with three wins already, but the turnover margin may prove it a fluke. A few weeks ago in my Marshall over Akron selection, I said Marshall is the "Baylor" of Conference USA. A few weeks later, Baylor is number one in the country in offense, and Marshall sits at number two. Wouldn't you be confident laying 21 points here with Baylor? Even Louisville was a 25-point favorite at FIU a few weeks ago and won 34-3, although the Cardinals have a beefier offensive and defensive line than Marshall. An undefeated season is in the cards for the Thundering Herd if they can get past Western Kentucky the last game of the season and a beatable Louisiana Tech in the championship. And that means big bucks for a BCS bowl game. And with those big bucks, they can't afford a single digit win at a team like this. You know, for the voters.
With Marshall at 5-1 ATS and FIU 6-1, something has to give this weekend. Considering Marshall has scored 40+ points in its last 12 regualr season games, it's going to be FIU's defense.
Marshall 45, FIU 10
Play on: MARSHALL
EASTERN MICHIGAN (+16.5) over UMASS
UMass brought back Mark Whipple from Miami and the former UMass coach has led his team from 1-11 to a competitive 1-6. Competitive because they lost three games by five points or less, almost beat Vanderbilt and lost to Colorado by just a field goal. They have scored 40+ points in three straight games. But the defense has given up 40 points twice in conference. They won't give up 40 here, but E. Michigan went with a QB change in mid game vs. Buffalo, benching Rob Bolden who was once almost recruited by Michigan State, but has been terrible this season. The backup came in and accounted for 37 points and 350 yards, 200 on the ground. So he can run. Remember, UMass lost two weeks ago to Miami-Ohio- a team which was winless last season and is 1-6 this season. And they were a five-point underdog. Now they balloon up 22 points to almost a 17-point favorite against a team similar in talent. Both teams are giving up about 40 a game, but UMass is scoring an average of 17 points more. However, with this new QB for EMU, those numbers could be a thing of the past. Don't get me wrong- EMU is still a poor team like many in the MAC, but with the jury still out on new dual-threat QB Reggie Bell, the lean must go to the underdog.
Sometimes the backup QB is better than the starter, and that's what E. Michigan learned last week. For a 2-16 team (since 2013) looking to simply build for next season, 16.5 points is a bit too many for the Minutemen considering both teams, out of bowl contention, will basically be playing a competitive but exhibition football game.
UMass 38, Eastern Michigan 27
Play on: EASTERN MICHIGAN
IF CHARLIE WHITEHURST STARTS:
WASHINGTON (-5.5) over TENNESSEE
As of Wednesday, Jake Locker is still questionable with a hand injury, so if Charlie Whitehurst starts, swallow the points and take Washington by a touchdown, as Kirk Cousins will out-throw Charlie back to the Nashville photo studios (the QB was recently featured in a magazine for Nashville's top-10 hottest male figures or something like that). Have you watched Charlie play. He rolls out all uncoordinated, then with his free hand, motions down the field to a receiver, and chucks it all wobbly. Sometimes it literally looks like he's playing after-school football in little Jinmmy's yard. Charlie got win #2 for his career, over Jacksonville, but win #3 will be tough against a Redskins team coming off a (-4) turnover game. And the lack of an effective running game will put more of a burden on Charlie than he needs. Kirk Cousins can throw, when he's not throwing interceptions, and this is a must win home game for the Skins or Jay Gruden will be on the lava seat big time.
If Locker does go, play on the Redskins if the point spread goes down to three points or less. If he doesn't, take Kirk Cousins by a TD over the guy in the pony tail.
Washington 24, Tennessee 17
Play on: WASHINGTON REDSKINS
IF CALVIN JOHNSON STAYS INJURED:
DETROIT (UNDER 48.5) vs. NEW ORLEANS
Consider this: three games last weekend went OVER the total because of fluke interceptions for touchdowns with under 30 seconds left. The Broncos, Cardinals and 49ers each picked off a pass with seconds remaining and ran it in for the OVER, and the Broncos and Cardinals also got the cover (when the Broncos covered, Oakland was virtually guaranteed a cover as I mentioned last week). So this week, the UNDER is calling and this high number may be the ticket. All of a sudden the Lions, not the Seahawks, are number one in defense. Laying a field goal, they are due against a Saints team which just isn't the same after some boneheaded trades and cheap salary cap reduction. But if Calvin Johnson doesn't go, and it looks as though he may not, the Lions' offense will likely be at more of a challenge as the Saints can sit back and not have to worry about the league's best receiver. Plus they are more likely to run the ball and engage in a clock control gameplan instead of playing shootout with the Saints minus their best receiver. Even without the fact of how well Detroit's defense has played, the Saints' offense has weakened without D. Sproles. Additionally, Jimmy Graham is banged up and questionable for this game with a shoulder injury, which is critical for a tight end because they always use their shoulders. If Graham doesn't go, it's curtains for the Saints with both scoring and ATS.
If Calvin Johnson is a go, then take Detroit minus the points if it stays at a field goal, as the Saints ship has sailed. If he doesn't, have at it with the UNDER, as the Lions have hit five times in a row (four at 43.5) and can make it six at home with the defense looking to stay fired up behind Ndamukong Suh.
Take game total UNDER 48.5 points
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Pay picks are 27-11-a few ties for the life of the site. A summary of the last 25 pay picks, in order from most recent:
"NFL Playoff Selections 2014"
The tough 49ers were the weekend's top play over Cam Newton and the Panthers and come out with a decisive win. The Saints (+8) were the other selection at Seattle. Those who got in on gameday probably won the Saints, as the spread creeped up to nine points. Either way, the selections end up on the winning side.
"Thanksgiving with TFM 2013 including the 'Fab 5' "
Alabama and Rutgers started the day on a sour note by losing outright, and the Eagles, favored by 3 or 3.5, won by three. But the remaining selections for Saturday, five special college underdogs, all covered the spread and three won outright (Southern Miss, Iowa State and Temple). The Pay picks go 5-2-1 or 5-3.
"Rookies vs. Veterans"
It was Aaron Rodgers getting points and Matt Ryan favored by small points against two rookies, and I said both rookies would not come away with the win in the same weekend. I was right about that, except Atlanta missed the spread by a half point, making this double pay pick a very unfortunate loss.
"Third time a charm"
Mon tee Ball, James White and the rest of the seniors were playing in their third straight Rose Bowl and after losing the first two, Wisconsin (+6.5) was the top play for the bowls. Had to get the play in before New Years Eve though, as the spread went down during the final 24 hours.
"Thanksgiving with TFM 2012"
Four college selections. Marshall and Purdue had to win. Purdue won, Marshall covered. Colorado was getting 23 at home to 7-loss Utah, who was favored by way to many points for just losing a bowl berth. Illinois was the 4th pick and failed to cover, so the 2012 Thanksgiving selections go 3-1 after going 4-0 last Thanksgiving.
"Passion, Ego and Double Revenge"
Combining Bill Belichick's ego, Tom Brady's passion and the team's revenge, New England was the Super Bowl selection and although the defense did a decent job against the Giants for most of the game, a Wes Welker dropped pass likely prevented the spread cover as the Pats could not overcome the Giants in the trenches. The first Super Bowl pay pick loss.
"2012 Bowl Selections"
There were just two. Wisconsin (+6) was the first selection, with the thinking they were about equal to Oregon but getting a nice amount of points. They just missed the spread, but the second selection and top play, Alabama, was totally dominant over LSU for a split selection.
"Thanksgiving with TFM 2011"
The top play for the weekend was the Ravens (-3.5) vs. the Niners who wouldn't win their 5th east coast game in 11 tries, and the Packers (-6) weren't favored by nearly enough over Detroit. On Black Friday, 2 teams HAD to win to secure a possible BCS bowl and $$$, Houston (-3) and Louisville as an underdog. Favorable low spreads for a pair of must win teams. The selections went 4-0 for the best pay pick ever on this site so far.
"Saturday Knight Selection"
Boston College over UCF, the ACC team off a bowl game was getting points, but was 25-0 ATS against non-BCS conf teams setting a hypo of +7.5 like the spread was here, and UCF was 0-26. That streak came to an end when UCF won and covered with a 21 point 4th quarter.
"On the Road Again"
In NBA action this past winter in 2011, Golden State was coming off a win at Cleveland and was favored at New Jersey, but they never win 2 road games in a row. Nets were the pick, and won.
"No sense of Urgency"
Easy call with Oklahoma St. in the Big 12 second round game in NCAA basketball
that featured a team that didn't need to win (Kansas) favored by 14 points.
This was a dual selection for Saturday in the NCAAB conference tournaments. Kentucky didn't need to win over Alabama but they did and covered the spread as Bama was the pick. But the night cap and day's top selection was San Diego State over BYU as Jimmer wouldn't get 52 points again or beat the Aztecs 3x in a row, especially without their power forward. Selection Split.
"No sense of Urgency, Part II"
OSU didn't need to win but were favored by 10.5 points over Penn State in the Big 10 NCAAB conference tourney. They won by 11 points, but Penn State made the tournament anyway. Pay picks are 20-8 now for the life of the site, and 4 of the last 6 losses have come by a half of a point (including Akron +29.5 over Temple in October and TCU -2.5 over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl).
"A Heat-ed Revenge"
The Miami Heat (-4.5) over the Spurs in the rematch where Miami lost by 30 at San Antonio. This time they won by 30. I also said to take the UNDER, as the Spurs wouldn't hit 18 shots from 3-pt range again and that Miami would step up the defense at home after getting very embarrassed the first time, which also hit.
Round 1 NCAA Tourney Picks
Wofford and Wisconsin were the round 1 pay picks. BYU was a bit overrated without their leading rebounder and taking on a slew of seniors from Wofford, who covered by a half point. Belmont had 30 wins but none over a quality opponent, and 24 of their 30 wins came over teams void of a winning record. Wisconsin was the better team and not favored by enough. Both selections covered.
The 2010-11 Bowl selections:
There were 3 bowl selections for the end of 2010 as 1 package, with Tulsa and UTEP splitting. That left it all up to TCU, who I promised would beat Wisconsin, but they missed the spread by a point.
Thanksgiving with TFM 2010:
I did a teaser and guaranteed the open end (Alabama) would hit, which it did, barely. However, the Arizona Cardinals, the 2nd part of the teaser, laid an egg on Monday Night Football.
Akron was a +29.5 at Temple and coming off 2 consecutive MAC blowouts (28+ point losses) but MAC teams never lose 3 conference games in a row by that margin, until Akron lost by 30 at Temple. When my pay picks do lose, they are close, as this one was by a half point after a 6-0 halftime deficit.
"A SUPER letdown"
49ers (+5) over Saints
The Saints were coming in 1-0 ATS, but no SB winner had ever started 2-0 ATS except for one (including the 2008 Pats instead of the Giants). To compound the situation was the fact the Niners were a home dog coming off a blowout.
SF Giants over Wash Nationals You had to go back to the 60's to find the Giants perform worse than they did in a 3 game series at Oakland from May 21-23. Hosting the Nats, from the East Coast, as almost even money, they were a lock to win that game after scoring just 1 run over the 3 game series.
"Walking the Plank"
Pirates (+1.5) over Astros The Pirates were coming off losses of 8-1, 8-0 and 20-0 and were almost a shoe-in to get some hits/runs and cover 1.5 runs at Houston, which they did in a 4-3 loss on April 23rd.
"NBA Playoff Double Trouble"
Perhaps the greatest Pay Selection I've ever had. Up until this point, I hadn't seen a pair of games cross such good parameters as the Lakers (vs. OKC) and the Mavs (vs. Spurs) in game 5 for both teams. Lakers gave (literally) game 4 to OKC, and they were 17-0 at home in game 5's, and were coming off dual losses at OKC but were 9-0 at home off consec. losses (avg. win 10 pts) and 9-1 off a double digit loss with Gasol, and OKC hadn't beat a playoff team 3x in a row all season. The Mavs, playing earlier that night and losers or 3 straight to the Spurs coming home facing elimination, hadn't lost 4 consec games in 135 tries, playing the Spurs who hadn't beat a playoff team 4x in a row in 2 years. Selection won easily.
"Game 3 double trouble"
This selection did not win, but it was close. Real close. Utah missed a tip-in at the buzzer which would have given them the win, and the selection a split since Atlanta failed to cover the first game. I made a huge case of why both game 3 home teams would not lose- Atlanta ATS and Utah outright. I was an inch away from being right.
"In the spirit of good ole Tim Donoghy" Oregon St (+9) over Washington
A Tim D. themed selection in March 2009 where I detailed why the Beavers would cover the spread in their conf. tourney, detailed and listed how they got favorable calls all season compared to other Pac 10 teams (due to coach?) and how Wash didn't often win 3 consec games by double digits. Also, the Beavers didn't lose consec games by d.d. all season, and they were playing a team they just lost to by d.d, in the conference tourney, and keeping in mind they won the CBI the season before as Obama's brother in law became coach. Beavers lost the game, but covered.
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