Vegas Vic’s Free Pick: Pitt over Notre Dame

Notre Dame had a huge road win last weekend, and the Fighting Irish have certainly gotten everyone’s attention. After years of mediocrity, Notre Dame is certainly relevant again.

Take a look at the college football lines for this week and you’ll see Notre Dame is a 17 point favorite over Pitt? Can they cover? Here’s this week’s free pick from Vegas Vic:

3:30 Eastern (Saturday, November 3rd)
Pittsburgh +17 over Notre Dame

You have to figure the Irish are going to be somewhat flat in this situation if not totally flat in this situation as a double digit home favorite coming off of last weeks huge/satisfying national tv 30-13 upset road win at Oklahoma as a double digit road underdog crushing the Sooners. Lines do matter in perception. Who is the underdog and who is the favorite does matter in scheduling/situations/results. Pittsburgh is just good enough to give Notre Dame a fight and the Panthers are playing with double revenge having lost 17-23 and 12-15 the last 2 seasons vs Notre Dame. If the Irish show up flat in this situation off last weeks big win at Oklahoma they are going to be hard pressed to cover -17 points. If the Irish show up totally flat in this situation their 8-0 start ends with an outright Pittsburgh upset…

There you have it.

  

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Can Trent Richardson carry the Browns in week 3?


Image source: Browns Facebook page

The first two weeks of the NFL season are always wild, as we really don’t know what many teams are made of. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at the NFL lines to make your picks. It’s easy to get caught up in the preseason hype or grand conclusions based on week one of the regular season.

Many of the fans in Cleveland and the experts around the country were convinced that Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden would be “busts” after their tough debut in week one against a very touch Philly defense, but then both players bounced back with excellent games against Cincy in week two. If you ignored the hysteria and took the Browns last week, you would have either pushed if you had 7 points or you would have been a winner had you shopped around and gotten 7.5 points. You can always shop around for the best odds on our NFL live lines page powered by SBR which gives lines from seven different sources.

This week, the Browns are 3 point dogs at home against Buffalo. I like the Browns, but this one is far from a lock. Richardson and Weeden have a bright future if you look at last week’s game, but they’re still rookies, so they’ll have more tough games like the week one debacle. This game is tough to predict.

I like San Fran giving 6.5 points on the road against the Vikings. The 49ers look like the best team in the NFL right now, and while the Vikings look better, they’ll have a tough time against this monster defense.

  

Free picks: Can Vick and Philly rebound this week?


Image courtesy of Cleveland Browns Facebook page

When you look at the week 2 NFL lines, you see the huge influence of week 1 performances on conventional wisdom for the nest week’s picks. Yet we also know that in the NFL these days, matchups matter and a team’s performance can vary wildly from week to week, particularly in the first two weeks of the season.

Look at last night’s games. Green Bay’s defense looked pitiful in week 1, yet they had a great game last night and made Jay Cutler look like a clueless rookie. Don’t get too wed to week 1 performances.

Which brings us to Micheal Vick. He had a terrible game last week against a young Cleveland defense that pressured him all day. Now he’s going up against the Baltimore Ravens who beat up the Bengals last Monday night. The line is Philly favored at home by one or two points, but most of the action seems to be falling on the Ravens.

But will Vick repeat his bad performance from last week? Of course we don’t know, but we can’t just assume that he’ll make the same mistakes. Plus, Baltimore is on the road following a Monday night win. That’s a very important factor as they have a short week.

Meanwhile, the Bengals are also coming off a short week, and they are 7 point favorites against the Browns. This one is much harder to predict and I might stay away from it. You need to be careful about the Browns, as Brandon Weeden looked terrible in his first NFL start and Trent Richardson looked very rusty after not playing at all in the preseason. But these rookies are very hard to predict, and if they get their act together the Browns could be a tough opponent for Philly.

Just some food for thought . . .

  

Free picks for week one NFL action

The NFL is finally back after college football kicked off last week and the Cowboys surprised a lot of people on Wednesday night, so it’s time to get geared up for Sunday’s full lineup of games.

We have a new NFL lines page where you can find lines from a variety of sportsbooks. We’ll also be getting free picks through the year from our friend Vegas Vic, and you can subscribe to Doc’s Sports Service for weekly picks.

The theme for week one is hype. If you’re going to have any success, you need to dig way deeper than the hype you hear over and over again from ESPN and most national pundits. If you only listen to them, you’re probably convinced that Russell Wilson is the second coming of Steve Young and that the Browns can’t win a game. Wilson may end up being good, but none of us have any idea based on a couple of preseason performances. Those stats matter very little, and frankly they don’t make him any taller or more accurate. Meanwhile, everyone is down on the Browns. The team is very young, so naturally they might struggle. But what if Trent Richardson really is healthy? What if Brandon Weeden’s arm looks as good as it did in the preseason? Despite all the hype, I still think Weeden will be a much better pro quarterback than Wilson.

The key to picking games is understanding uncertainty. Just about every pundit assumed Dallas couldn’t beat the Giants. Adam Schein said the Cowboys had “no chance” to win that game. That’s an absurd statement in today’s era of unpredictability in the NFL. You have to dig much deeper.

Cleveland is a 9.5 point underdog at home against Philadelphia. If you base your bets on ESPN power rankings, you’ll probably jump on Philly. But we really have no idea how good the Browns might be with those new players, so I would avoid that game.

Because week one is so hard to predict, I like teaser bets that go counter to the hype. So you can tease down the 7 points New Orleans in giving at home to Washington down to 1 point – essentially making this a pickem game. I Like RGIII, but he’s going on the road to face Drew Brees in his first game, and the Saints have a chip on their shoulder.

I would pair this up with Arizona getting 3 points at home against Seattle. The spread here has shifted from Arizona giving 3 points to getting 3 points, all due to the Russell Wilson hype and the drama surrounding the Arizona quarterback situation. You can tease this up so that Arizona is getting 9 points at home against a rookie quarterback drafted in the third round!

There are never any guarantees of course, and all of this is just for fun. I recommend getting input from professional handicappers as they have so much more information on these games. But the preseason hype offers up some opportunities, and you can usually do better going against the herd.

  

NFL season kicks off tonight

The 2012 football season is finally here. College football kicked off last weekend, with Alabama humiliating Michigan in one of the most high-profile games of week one. Now the NFL gets into the act tonight with the Dallas Cowboys traveling to New York to face the Super Bowl Champion Giants.

Our NFL lines page is now more robust, as it’s powered by SBRodds and features lines from a number of sportsbooks.

We’ll be posting free picks throughout the year from some top handicappers. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you probably won’t do very well just following the herd. For example, last year everyone was convinced that the Cincinnati Bengals would have trouble winning one game with their rookie quarterback. They made the playoffs. This year you’re hearing some of the same stuff about the Cleveland Browns. But if Trent Richardson turns out to be healthy and Brandon Weeden pans out, this team could surprise some people. Meanwhile, the Bengals have lost two starters on the offensive line and Andy Dalton might be facing a sophomore slump. The NFL can be very unpredictable, so be careful about listening to the loudest voices.

Another hyped player this year is Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s looked good in preseason, but let’s wait to see him play one in one real game before electing him to the Hall of Fame and handing the division to the Seahawks.

You don’t have to bet of course to enjoy picking against the spread, as the are plenty of free football pools out there. Still, there are few things like spending a fall weekend in Las Vegas where you can spend the entire day at the sportsbook. Enjoy!

  

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