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NCAA Football: Larry Ness betting the Gamecocks -6.5 points over the Wildcats on September 16th 2017

| September 15, 2017

Kentucky Wildcats vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
College Football Pick: SC -6.5 -106 odds (September 16th 2017)

The Kentucky Wildcats and the South Carolina Gamecocks play their respective SEC openers on Saturday in Columbia at Williams-Brice Stadium. Both teams have opened 2-0, with Kentucky winning at Southern Miss 24-17 and then back at home 27-16 over Eastern Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks, coming off a 6-7 season in Will Muschamp’s first year at South Carolina (lost an exciting 46-39 bowl game in OT vs USF!), have opened with back-to-back outright wins on the road as underdogs. South Carolina opened with a 35-28 win at NC State (+ 7 1/2 )and then followed with a 31-13 win at Missouri (+ 3).

Kentucky QB Stephen Johnson looked much better in the Wildcats’ second game (he had a shaky opening against Southern Miss), throwing for 224 yards on 15 of 22 passing with a touchdown, while also rushing six times for 48 yards and a TD on the ground. RB Benny Snell added 103 rushing yards on 19 carries (one TD) and fellow RB Sihiem King chipped in 61 yards on his nine carries. Kentucky’s defense held Eastern Ky to 318 yards of total offense in the win. and enters this game allowing 16.5 PPG on the season (35th) on 341.0 YPG (56th)

However, that Kentucky D will be severely tested Saturday by resurgent South Carolina. The Gamecocks may have lost their bowl game at the end of last year’s season but they scored 39 points and gained 481 yards in that defeat. QB Bentley threw for 390 yards and three TDs against USF. He’s back this season and while he’s thrown for a more modest total of 402 yards after two games, he has four TDs and just one INT in leading his team to back-to-back road wins, while South Carolina has topped 30 points in each contest. South Carolina’s star so far has been WR Deebo Samuel. The junior has touched the ball a total of 14 times in two games, resulting in a pair of 97-yard KO returns for TDs, two rushes for 30 yards and a TD plus has 10 receptions for 128 yards and two scores. “He’s really good with the ball in his hands and he’s also really good when it’s not in his hands,” head coach Will Muschamp told the media. “He works extremely hard and that’s why he has tremendous respect with his teammates.” You think?

Defensively, the Gamecocks have given up a lot yardage, as its 927 yards allowed in two games would attest. That’s an average of 463.5 YPG, which ranks 108th in the nation. However, South Carolina has only allowed 20.5 PPG, by forcing five turnovers and holding opponents to five scores in eight red zone opportunities. One wonders if South Carolina can continue to give up that many yards without it coming back to ‘bite them.’

Kentucky has a well-balanced offense which has yet to explode and it could do just that here, as the Wildcats come in on a three-game winning streak in this series. However, that also gives this rejuvenated South Carolina team a strong revenge motive. Kentucky’s defense has so far looked good but let’s not forget it allowed 31.3 PPG last season, on about 434 YPG.  Also, a closer look reveals that in five road games and its neutral-site bowl contest, the Kentucky D allowed an average of 37.8 PPG. South Carolina comes in averaging 33.0 PPG in 2017 and both games have been on the road. The Gamecocks should easily top 30 points in this one at home and I’m laying the points.

Clemson Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals Football Odds & Prediction from AAA Sports: September 16th 2017

| September 13, 2017

Clemson Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals
College Football Prediction: Louisville +3 -105 odds (September 16th 2017)

While we obviously wouldn’t be shocked by an outright upset, we will in the end recommend grabbing as many points as you can in a contest which we foresee being decided by whichever team has the ball in its hands last.

Clemson: The Tigers are 2-0 after holding on for a 14-6 home win over No. 13 Auburn on Saturday. Clemson had 11 sacks in the victory, making up for the lack of offense overall. Note that Clemson had a 32:25 to 27:35 disadvantage in time of possession. After one week Clemson ranks 53rd in the country in passing offense with 248.5 YPG. The defense has been amazing, but cleary the unit faces its stiffest test to date.

Louisville: The Cardinals picked up a conference win against UNC in a 47-35 road victory last weekend. Louisville won the yardage battle 705-401. Louisville also controlled the time of possession by a 35:56 to 24:04 margin. After one week the Cards rank tenth in the country in passing with 385.5 YPG. QB Lamar Jackson is 55 of 85 for 771 yards and five TD passes (also leads the team on the ground with 239 yards and three more major scores.)

The bottom line: Clemson has won three straight in the series, including a tight 42-36 decision at home on October 1st last year in the most recent meeting. There’s no question that the “revenge” angle comes into play here. Also note that the the Tigers are in fact just 4-6 ATS in their last ten on the road and only 8-9 ATS in their last 17 against the conference, while Louisville is 4-2 ATS in its last six as an underdog. Posting 11 sacks against Jarrett Stidham is one thing, but clearly Jackson will be the most versatile QB that Clemson sees all year. Consider the revenge-minded CARDINALS in this one.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers MLB Odds & Pick from Stephen Nover: September 12th 2017

| September 12, 2017

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Pick: Pirates +106 odds (September 12th 2017)

Gerrit Cole an underdog to Brent Suter? Sign me up.  I’ll take a plus price with Cole, one of the better pitchers in the National League, against the 28-year-old rookie converted starter, Suter.  The Brewers were caught celebrating their three-game sweep of the Cubs this past weekend falling 7-0 to the Pirates and rookie Steven Brault on Monday. Now they draw Cole, Pittsburgh’s No. 1 starter.  I give the Brewers tremendous credit for their season. They have been one of the biggest surprises. But I wonder how their youngsters will react to the pressure of being in a tight playoff race down the stretch? It’s something they haven’t experienced.  Suter is making his second start since returning from a strained rotator cuff. He pitched six days ago in relief. Suter is not 100 percent, which Brewers manager Craig Counsell adimitted. “We’re not there yet with him from a health perspective and a building-him -up perspective,” Counsell was quoted as saying. “We’re just not there. So it’s going to be (a start) where we’re going to have to rely on our bullpen.” The Brewers are tough in the late innings with set-up man Anthony Swarzak and closer Corey Knebel, but vulnerable in middle relief.  Cole isn’t the elite pitcher he was two seasons ago when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA. But he’s had a much better year than last season. Cole has been solid with a 3.27 ERA during his past 16 starts. He’s in good form with a 2.14 ERA in his last three starts and is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four starts versus Milwaukee this season with 32 strikeouts in 27 innings.