7-3 last week




**** New England over *Buffalo by 22

*** San Francisco over St. Louis by 11


New Orleans over *Arizona by 14

*Jacksonville over Indianapolis by 7



**** MISSOURI* over COLORADO by 25

*** N.C. STATE* over WAKE FOREST by 24


Iowa* over Michigan State by 18

Alabama* over South Carolina by 14

Toledo* over Ball State by 25

U.T.E.P.* over New Mexico State by 13


Analysis of Best Bet Selections


New England over *Buffalo by 22

The Patriots won the Super Bowl last year and are better this season. They have outscored their two opponents by 14 points. The Patriots have had great coaching with Bill Belichick, heady quarterback play from Tom Brady and outstanding team defense. Now they add something new – a solid ground game courtesy of Corey Dillon. Thanks to Dillon the Patriots now have a solid ground game to go with Brady’s precision aerial attack. Dillon has rushed for 244 yards in two games, while averaging 5.2 yards a carry. The Bills, on the other hand, are 0-2 for only the second time since 1998. Their defense remains respectable but oh that offense. There aren’t many teams QB Drew Bledsoe could start for anymore. Yes, he’s become that bad. The Bills are susceptible to blitzes with a weak offensive line and Bledsoe’s lack of mobility. This has been an outgoing problem and is a major reason why the Bills have won only four of their past 16 games, averaging just 12.1 points during this span. The Bills have managed a pathetic 18 touchdowns their past 16 games. In large part because of this the Bills have gone under the total in 25 of their last 27, and in their last 11 home games. The last 10 in this series have also gone below the total. As home ‘dogs, the Bills are 3-8-1 ATS the last three years. Don’t look for the Patriots to give them any sympathy, not while they’re chasing the consecutive win record and remembering how the Bills embarrassed them, 31-0, during opening week last year at Buffalo. No coach is more dangerous with two weeks to prepare than Belichick. His job won’t be too hard this week. NEW ENGLAND 31-9.


*San Francisco over St. Louis by 11

The 49ers suffered their first shutout since 1977 in a humiliating loss to the Seahawks last week. Now here’s their chance for redemption, playing against a hated rival at home on Sunday night. Set aside the defeat to Seattle for a second and realize the 49ers could very well be 2-1. They lost their first two games to Atlanta and New Orleans by a combined five points. A controversial offensive pass interference call on a successful screen pass may have stolen a win from them against the Saints. At 0-3, this is the 49ers’ season right here. Yes, the 49ers are young and mistake-prone. But they also usually play hard. Dennis Erickson is doing an excellent coaching job, considering what he has to work with, and the team is united in its support of QB Ken Dorsey. He should be more comfortable getting his first start at home. Kevan Barlow provides San Francisco with a running threat against a soft Rams rush defense that last week surrendered 106 rushing yards to Saints backup runner Aaron Stecker. The Rams’ defense misses Lovie Smith, their former coordinator. The Rams have yet to force a turnover. While the Rams have a high-octane offense featuring Torry Holt, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce, their offensive line isn’t the high caliber of past seasons. Switching surfaces also is a problem for the Rams. This is their first grass game of the season. They are 6-14 ATS on grass, just 2-9 ATS as a road favorite. Conditions could turn out to be cold and windy considering this is a night game in San Francisco. The 49ers have covered their past three home games against the Rams. SAN FRANCISCO 28-17.



A 3-0 opening by these Buffaloes is creating one of the great college football stories of this young season by the national media, with the apparent illusion that Gary Barnett and his team have managed to put their off-field troubles of this past year behind them. But that may not even be close to the truth, and they could be exposed in a major way here. That 3-0 opening has not been a result of great play, but rather fortunate bounces. They were out-gained by a massive 16 first downs and 352 yards in those opening wins over Colorado State and Washington State, and we can not be impressed at all with a defense that allowed over 500 yards at home to a North Texas team that was playing without Patrick Cobbs (and was subsequently crushed by Baylor). Simply put this is an average team, and in the wrong place at the wrong time this afternoon. Here they face a hungry Missouri team primed for revenge after a physical domination (447-276 total offense) on the road could not get transmitted to the scoreboard in a 21-16 defeat, a result of an 0-4 turnover ratio. And revenge is best when the leader feels it the most, which Brad Smith certainly will in this case. Smith managed 278 passing yards and 102 on the ground against the Buffalo defense but was responsible for all four of those turnovers. He sets the tone here by dominating a defense that is allowing 452 yards per game, despite playing three offenses that have really struggled this season, and this time the production on the field shows on the scoreboard. MISSOURI 42-17.


N.C. STATE* over WAKE FOREST by 24

The less we say about the final four minutes of our loss on Boston College against these Deacons the better. Except, of course, that having Wake Forest win a game like that really does help our value for this one. The Wolfpack fell 38-24 on the road to the Deacons despite controlling the flow (total offense was 511-375 in their favor), but they turned the ball over twice. Jim Grobe’s team did not make a mistake. It is going to be a different story for the Wake Forest offense this time. Now a veteran N. C. State unit that may be as good as any in the land has the experience to not be fooled at all by the Deacon misdirection plays. And even on the occasions in which they are fooled the speed is there to make up for it. The past two weeks they have held Ohio State and Virginia Tech to a combined total of just 24 first downs and 100 yards rushing, and they can control the line of scrimmage here for the full 60 minutes. That forces Wake to go to the air more often than the usual comfort zone, and also exposes depth problems in the trenches. Meanwhile T.A. McLendon shows that he is back to 100% with some strong efforts against tough defensive fronts (187 yards the past two weeks), and now gets a chance to step way down in class. That means for once the pressure is off of Jay Davis and Marcus Stone, who both have a wealth of talent but neither had the experience to make more happen against Class A defenses. This week they have the wind at their back, however, and it sets up a revenge rout in style. N.C. STATE 37-13.


posted by ricky

Sept. 28 2004 7:16pm

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