The Raiders undoubtedly have QB issues, but last week they pounded the Broncos for 241 yards on the ground. Charlie Frye gets the start here and against Cleveland, he’ll be good enough. After watching the Chiefs go for 5.6 yards a pop vs. the Browns, I expect Oakland to find some success in this game. The Raiders were struggling against the run, but the last two weeks have held opponents to less than 3.8 yards per carry in each contest. Brady Quinn is done for the year, meaning Derek Anderson gets the QB assignment which hasn’t been good for the Browns. He has already had two chances to secure the starting role, with the lowly Quinn his competition. He couldn’t grab the starting spot either time. The Raiders and Browns are both bad teams, but the Raiders have shown a much higher ceiling with wins over Denver, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Cleveland has had no success as a favorite and really don’t belong in that role as the last four times they have been given the oddsmakers edge they are 0-4 ATS. The fact is that in those four games, the Browns lost them all straight up, which certainly is more likely than not to repeat itself here. The Raiders have played their best ball on the road this year, posting three of their five wins, while the Browns are just 1-5 at home. I like the Raiders in this one.
Hawaii Bowl: SMU Mustangs (7-5, 6-5 ATS) vs. Nevada Wolfpack (8-4, 7-5 ATS): The Wolfpack and Mustangs get it on at the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve night on the islands, and the storylines are juicy in this college football bowl betting affair! Both Nevada RBs Vai Taua (eligibility) and Luke Lippincott (injury) will be out of the game, which takes away a significant portion of its potent rushing attack. The unit averaged almost 60 more yards per game than anyone else in the country. This will also be a homecoming for SMU HC June Jones, who coached Hawaii to a BCS game just two years ago. Nevada has dropped from -15.5 to -12.5 in this game. The ‘total’ comes in at 72.5.
Little Caesars Bowl: Ohio Bobcats (9-4, 9-4 ATS) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6, 6-5 ATS): Former MAC rivals square off in the Little Caesars Bowl on Saturday afternoon to kick off a triple-header of games. The Bobcats came up just short of what would’ve been an incredibly surprising MAC Championship. They’ll look to take down the Herd as three-point favorites, who are set to welcome in their new HC Doc Holliday for next season. The Little Caesars Bowl college football point spread features a ‘total’ of 49.
Meineke Car Care Bowl: North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4, 6-5 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (9-3, 7-4 ATS): In one of the best undercard bowl games of the season, the Panthers and Tar Heels will get it on in what will amount to be a home game for UNC. Both teams are coming off of bad losses to end their regular seasons that clearly hurt their bowl berths. Carolina lost to its rivals from NC State, while Pittsburgh just narrowly missed out on a chance to win the Big East by losing by a point at home to the Bearcats. The college football point spread in this one features Pitt by a field goal, while the ‘total’ has been set at 44.5.
Emerald Bowl: Boston College Eagles (8-4, 6-5 ATS) vs. Southern California Trojans (8-4, 3-9 ATS): Two of college football’s traditional powers get together in the Emerald Bowl on Saturday night to wrap up the three-pack of games. Two freshman quarterbacks, BC’s David Shinskie and USC’s Matt Barkley, will be getting their first taste of the bowl season. These two teams haven’t met on the gridiron since 1988. Not many are giving the Eagles a chance of taking down the mighty Trojans, as BC has been set at +7.5. The ‘total’ at BetUS is 44.
Music City Bowl: Kentucky Wildcats (7-5, 6-6 ATS) vs. Clemson Tigers (8-5, 8-5 ATS): For the second time in the L/3 years, the Wildcats and Tigers will get together in Nashville for the Music City Bowl. This year, Clemson has to be bitterly disappointed with its bowl assignment. The Tigers came oh so close to going to the Orange Bowl as the ACC Champions, and was passed up by Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech for better bowl slots. HC Rich Brooks just has to be happy to have his UK squad bowling once again, even though this is its third trip in the L/4 years to this game. The Tigers are seven-point favorites, with the over/under being set at 52.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns
Free Pick: Phoenix -9.5 (December 24th 2009 – Dave Price)
Really think the Suns are primed and ready for a blowout here after enduring back-to-back home defeats – their first two home losses of the season. Last season, the Suns defeated the Clippers 140-100 at home as a 9-point favorite, and while I don’t see this one getting anywhere near that ugly, I do see a double digit margin of victory for Phoenix here. The Suns will be highly motivated after back-to-back defeats and they won’t take the Clippers lightly because they only won by 2 points in LA in the season’s first meeting. The biggest edge Phoenix has here is its 3-point shooting. In fact, the Clippers are just 1-10 ATS versus teams who attempt 18 or more 3 point shots/game on the season this season, losing these games by an average score of 88.5 to 100.4. Take the Suns.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Dallas Stars
Free Pick: Columbus +131 (Wunderdog Sports)
What happened to the Blue Jackets? They were sailing along and now have had just two of their last 15 end on the right side. Those numbers could be so different if not for the fact they have five shootout losses in the stretch, so it’s not as bad as it appears. Dallas hasn’t been pretty lately either as they have allowed 47 goals in their last 13 games, or 3.6 per contest. There is certainly room for Columbus to find a way to get healthy here as they are 5-1 in their last six vs. a team with a losing home record. The Stars aren’t shinning in the home-favorite role from -110 to -150, at just 3-9 in their last 12. There is added value by the Jackets’ success in Dallas winning five of the last seven. I’ll go with Columbus here.
Atlanta Thrashers vs. Boston Bruins
Free Pick: Boston -148 (John Ryan)
Ai Simulator 3* graded play on Boston as they host Atlanta in NHL action set to start at 7:00 EST. Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 44-16 making 30.8 units since 2004. Play against any team against the money line revenging a same season loss vs opponent and is off 2 consecutive close home losses by 1 goal. Here is a 2nd system that has gone 69-44 making 26 units since 2004. Play against any team against the money line extremely tired team playing 8 or more games in 14 days and winning between 51% and 60% of their games on the season in the first half of the season. Boston is a solid 31-15 against the money line (+14.6 Units) against explosive offensive teams that are scoring 3+ goals/game over the last 2 seasons. Take Boston.