Dave’s Free Play, Monday 9/22/14

If you ever have a few minutes of down time and want to amuse yourself, I have a suggestion. Just zero in on someone who had a screw up of some type, even a minor one, head to Twitter and read what’s being said about the individual.

Bear in mind I’m only talking about items that would decidedly fall into the dust-up category. I’m not referring to anything serious, just molehills that are being turned into mountains.

Sunday’s Twitter star is Rams tight end Jared Cook (@jaredcook89) who had an imperfect moment on the sidelines. Cook had dropped what was a sure TD pass from QB Austin Davis. The Rams had to settle for a field goal in a game that was getting away from them against Dallas (the Cowboys rallied from a 21-0 deficit to win 34-31), and Cook was apparently pretty upset with himself. Cook got up from his seat on the bench and as he was walking down the sideline, Davis appeared to want to give him some encouragement. Cook evidently wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, and shoved Davis out of the way.  He was then surrounded by some teammates and after what looked to be a second or two of some yelling, the incident was over. Except that it wasn’t.

It’s 2014 and pretty much everything under the sun is now a taped highlight. Naturally, the Cook moment blew up and he started getting ripped. Cook eventually addressed the situation on his Twitter home page, and issued a substantial apology. For me, that’s case closed. This was a very minor incident, and hardly an isolated one, although you’d never know it from the outpouring of hate Tweets that are now being directed at Cook.

All I can say to those spewing venom toward Cook is the following. One, you probably never played sports or at the very least, have forgotten about your own experiences. Sometimes it’s more verbal than physical, but it absolutely takes place virtually everyday, whether in an actual game or during practice. This was not that big a deal.

Beyond that, it’s just typical Twitter. Imperfect people who can’t wait to rip into a mistake that gets made by someone else. And again, it’s important to note that this wasn’t a criminal action that might warrant the hatred to some extent. This was a really trivial lapse in judgment by Jared Cook, and suddenly he’s today’s worst person in the world of sports.

It’s really ridiculous. I’m a Twitter fan, as it’s a great avenue for me to promote myself while interacting with others, and it’s also a phenomenal source of breaking information that can be very useful.

But I have started blocking those I find to be consistently negative, or who are simply trying to pick a verbal fight. If you look at the Cook apology tweets and then read the accompanying comments from people who’ve never met the guy and know zero about him, you’ll know exactly what I mean. And if Jared Cook didn’t know about these types previously, it’s fair to assume that he does now.

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2-2 Sunday, with 1-2 on the gridiron and a winner with the Astros on the diamond. 9-6 overall in football this week, with a couple tough beats on Utah State and the aforementioned Rams. No beefs with those numbers though, and the college card for the upcoming week appears to have some really prime spots.

I’ve still got my six-week special available, which can be purchased easily via the “buy now” tab on this page. For serious players who only want to pay based on performance, I have an attractive net winners program. Contact me at cokin@cox.net for complete details.

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A split on the Sunday free plays, as Collin McHugh delivered yet again for the Astros, but my Jaguars call was about as awful as it gets. Back to baseball for tonight’s comp.

09/22 04:10 PM   MLB   (951) PITTSBURGH PIRATES  at  (952) ATLANTA BRAVES

Take: (951) PITTSBURGH PIRATES -142

Regular readers of this blog are already aware I rarely get involved with big chalk in baseball. I’m big on obtaining value and there’s generally none to be had playing large favorites. But this is the final week of the regular season, and what works for the first 155 or so games of the schedule can pretty much be tossed out as far as the final seven or so are concerned.

This game is a good example. Turn back the clock just a week or two, and there’s no chance I’d even consider the Bucs at this price, especially on the road. But on Monday, September 22, the Pirates are now the only side I can consider tonight.

This is simply on the teams and their current situations and form. Pittsburgh is in great shape to at least make it to the one-game playoff, probably against the Giants. The Braves are toast. They’ve hit the skids in a huge way, and following next Sunday, it’s vacation time for that team.

One can make a case that the mental vacation is already underway for the Braves. They’re looking as though the season has already concluded, and in fact, I would probably argue that under the present conditions, they actually now have what amounts to a home field disadvantage.

The Pirates could, I suppose, let down just a bit after virtually assuring themselves of at least a game #163. But I see this as a team with major momentum right now, and I don’t envision them suddenly going into relax mode. I think they want to stay hot and hopefully carry the surge right into October.

Liriano vs. Harang is pretty close on paper. The Pirates lefty has been very good lately, although he’s always capable of losing the strike zone and getting hit. No knocks here on Harang, who has had a much better than could have been expected season for Atlanta, and he’s still pitching good ball right now.

But this is all about the way these teams are playing now and what’s at stake for the two clubs. That’s all Pirates, which makes the price on this game justifiable if not ideal. I’ll side with the scorching hot Pirates to knock down another win tonight.

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 9/21/14

Quick takes from some of Saturday’s college games:

Iowa backup QB CJ Beathard put together a strong second half in relief of Jake Rudockas the Hawkeyes rallied to knock off Pittsburgh. Iowa did a very good job of limiting Panthers stud RB James Connor and won the game in spite of losing the stats by a significant margin.

Georgia Tech had a nice comeback that concluded with field goal at the gun as they got the mild upset over Virginia Tech. Michael Brewer had a very poor game at QB for the Hokies, and the home team’s defense failed badly when it mattered most.

Old Dominion busted a load of parlays with the 45-42 win at Rice. The Monarchs got a monster game from QB Taylor Heinicke and kicker Ricky Segers was the hero with the game winning three as time expired.  Rice had rallied from a 21-point deficit tote the game with one minute remaining but ODU hit a big play and nailed their first ever CUSA win.

Duke did in Tulane with lots of offense and a pair of pick sixes to boot. The Blue Devils are looking like legit contenders in the wide open ACC Coastal Division.

Maryland was outgained by 220 yards at Syracuse, and gave up a whopping 370 yards on the ground, but managed to win the game without much trouble. An 88 yard interception for six late in the third quarter was huge for the Terrapins.

Colorado managed to hold off Hawaii by just enough to cover the spot. WR Nelson Spruce had a tremendous game for the Buffs. This was the first time in 51 games that Colorado dod not allow a touchdown by its opponent, but it wasn’t an easy win.

East Carolina absolutely destroyed North Carolina. The Pirates finished with nearly 800 yards of offense in again crushing the Tar Heels . ECU has won the last two meetings by a combined 125-76.

Louisville rolled past Florida International by a 34-3 count, but the Cardinals ended up with a pitiful 12 net rushing yards. Louisville appears to have a decent defense, but the offense isn’t especially good right now, and I’d classify this as a somewhat misleading score.

Michigan’s troubles continued as they lost at home to Utah, 26-10. The Wolverines defense wasn’t bad, but the offensive turnovers were very damaging. Brady Hoke is definitely on the hot seat at Ann Arbor.

Rutgers bounced back from the tough loss to Penn State with a nice win at Navy. Justin Goodwin rushed for more than 100 yards in relief on an injured Paul James and Gary Nova avoided the big mistakes that did him in a week ago.

John Wolford put together a strong game as Wake Forest nipped Army. The Cadets piled up big yards on the ground, but their inability to do anything through the air proved costly. Army was a very hot play, so this ended up being a good game for the house.

Alabama annihilated Florida much worse than the 42-21 score would indicate. The Gators were able to hang in thanks to some Tide mistakes, but this was a mismatch. One more nail in the coaching coffin for beleaguered Florida coach Bill Muschamp.

Virginia-BYU turned into a wild shootout with the Cougars protecting their perfect slate via the 41-33 victory. The Cavaliers won the yards by a 519-332 count, and owned possession for more than 40 minutes, but couldn’t get the road upset. But it’s looking like Virginia could be a factor in the ACC moving forward.

Illinois was in trouble against Texas State but one has to wonder what might have happened if not for a lengthy weather delay. The visitors were in control before the stoppage and Illinois seemed to really benefit from the long break. Still, giving up this many points to what is not a strong offense is another red flag for the Illini.

Indiana scored a big upset at Missouri as D’Angelo Roberts scored very late to get the Hoosiers to the winner’s circle. The win was legit, as Indiana battled the Tigers on even terms throughout. Indiana will have to guard against a letdown next week as they host Maryland.

Wyoming picked up its second last minute win in the last three weeks as they snuck past a game Florida Atlantic squad, 20-19. Wyoming forced a turnover deep in their own territory with just two minutes remaining and QB Colby Kirkegaard connected with Dominic Rufran on a crossing pattern that got misplayed by the Owls and cost FAU the small upset.

Washington ended up defeating Georgia State 45-14, but the Huskies were trailing 14-0 in the third quarter. The stats tell the story as this was a much closer game than that lopsided score indicates.

Mississipi State nearly suffered a disastrous melt against LSU, but the Bulldogs held on for the 34-29 upset. But this was not as close as the final tally, and most impressive was the commanding 302-89 ground game edge for the winners. Mississippi State looks poised for a big season.

Southern Mississippi escaped with a 21-20 win over Appalachian State. Crazy ending here as the Mountaineers scored at the end of regulation but got their extra point blocked. App State missed three field goals as well. The Mountaineers should have won this game and absolutely should have gone for the win at the gun rather than trying for overtime. Maybe the worst coaching decision of the day.

Gunner Kiel threw another four TD passes for Cincinnati, but the Bearcats had a much tougher time than anticipated with upset minded Miami Ohio. Call this a moral victory for the underdog Redhawks.

Ball State got through the back door to get inside the number as they lost at Toledo, 34-23. The Rockets had a chance to then front door a spread win but chose to run out the clock deep in Ball State territory.

Utah State got a game winning field goal try at the regulation gun blocked and then lost in OT at Arkansas State. The Aggies should have won this game as they were the better team and were also +3 net turnovers. But the kicking game hurt as did a critical fourth down penalty that led to an earlier Arkansas State touchdown.

South Carolina needed to rally for the 48-34 win at Vanderbilt. This was not a good performance by the Gamecocks, and head coach Steve Spurrier called it one of the worst wins he’s ever had. South Carolina will need to step it up against upcoming tougher opposition or their season will be a disappointment.

Oklahoma freshman RB Samaje Penne is going to be a real problem for upcoming Sooner opponents. Penne was dominant as Oklahoma pulled away at West Virginia in a game that was tied at halftime.

Clemson flat out blew it in Tallahassee. The Tigers made some glaring blunders at crunch time en route to the overtime loss to Florida State. The Seminoles weren’t at all sharp minus Jameis Winston, and were very fortunate to maintain their winning streak. This has to be a devastating loss for Clemson as they appeared to have the game locked up and gave it away.

Another big game for Ameer Abdullah as Nebraska outlasted Miam 41-31. The Cornhuskers star RB rambled for 229 yards in the win. Miami was extremely undisciplined throughout and the ‘Canes were whistled for five personal fouls in the second half alone.

New Mexico won its rivalry battle with New Mexico State, with a late Lamar Jordan TD pass lifting the Lobos to the 38-35 victory. A crucial face guarding penalty on the Aggies in that final Lobos drive might well have cost New Mexico State the win.

Arizona had the comeback of the day as the Wildcats scored an incredible 36 points in the fourth quarter to beat California. ‘Zona sion the game on a final play Hail Mary and needed a remarkable number of things to fall their way to get this win. Cal will have to dig deep to put this one in the rear view mirror. They appeared totally stunned at the conclusion of this remarkable game.

Oregon barely escaped getting shocked at Washington State. This turned out to be a dynamite QB duel between Heisman contender Marcus Mariota and Washington State’s Connor Halladay. Oregon got the 38-31 lead by WSU coach Mike Leach was thrilled with his team’s performance in defeat.

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I enjoyed a 7-4 football Saturday, with one of the losses being that tough OT deal with Utah State. Add in the Kansas State cover on Thursday and it was an 8-4 college card. I gave back a half-unit trying to middle the Clemson/FSU game, but it was worth the gamble with the +17/-9.5 pairing. Baseball produced one easy win and one narrow loss. Good enough day and it’s on to Sunday’s NFL.

Available now, my six-week special, which can be purchases via the “buy now” feature that’s on this page. Also, what I feel is as good a net winner program as anyone has, and I’ll be happy to provide complete details via email. Get in touch with me at cokin@cox.net. Serious players only, please.

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The college free plays split with Clemson getting there easily and Utah State missing as the dreaded dog in OT, which is never a positive scenario. My NFL free play for this week was in yesterday’s blog. Here’s one on the diamond for today.

09/21 11:10 AM   MLB  (925) SEATTLE MARINERS  at  (926) HOUSTON ASTROS

Take: (926) HOUSTON ASTROS +123

My personal AL MVP this year is probably Collin McHugh. Obviously, I’m not talking about the real award. Burt as far as my plays are concerned, I ought find out if there’s a Collin McHugh “fathead” and if so, should put it up in a very visible location.

McHigh has been a money machine for me. I’ve played him in each of his last eight starts, and have failed to get to the winner’s circle only once. McHugh has been no fluke, either. His control has been impeccable, and this guy had worked a nifty game plan virtually ever start. He is keeping his okay but nothing special fastball off the plate and is getting loads of swings and misses with his offspeed offerings. Command has been the key and McHugh, over the past couple months, has simply been one of the best pitchers in the game.

Hisashi Iwakuma provides the opposition today, so this is clearly no soft touch for the Astros. Even though Iwakuma has not been at his best of late, he’s a top quality starter and this is obviously a very big game for the Mariners.

But there’s no way I’m getting off the McHugh express, and I also like the fact I’m getting a good piece with the improving Astros as they bring down the curtain on the home portion of their 2014 schedule. I’m not biting the hand that’s been feeding me, and in fact I’m just going to keep dancing with McHugh till the music stops. The Astros at plus money are the free play for the day.

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 9/20/14

Quick blog tonight as it’s the lull before the big Saturday storm. But there was one game on Friday night, with South Florida holding on to defeat Connecticut 17-14. The Huskies were hopelessly inept on offense in this game. Prior to the late drive that resulted in a touchdown, UConn was able to generate only three first downs in roughly 57 minutes of action. Their offensive line is simply overmatched. It’s tough to see a spot other than the regular season finale against SMU where the Huskies will have a good chance to earn a victory.

As for South Florida, they’re not much either. The Bulls managed to win this game, but it’s another transition season for this squad. Willie Taggart is going to to need a couple more seasons to get USF to a higher level, but after what he accomplished at Western Kentucky, he’s got a shot to succeed here as well. The big key is going to be keeping some of those talented Florida kids at home and also adding more team speed, as the Bulls are a pretty unathletic bunch right now.

And that’s two paragraphs more than I figured I would spend talking about Connecticut and South Florida. Let’s play some Saturday football.

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Huge card for me today with 11 college sides and a couple in baseball as well. My subscribers get all my plays, sent as I play them myself. That means selections sent well in advance of game day and in most cases at better numbers, as getting optimum value is a big part of this endeavor.

Sign up for my six-week special by using the “buy now” feature on this page. Also available for serious players, I’ve got a net winners program, and I’ll wager it’s as good as you’ll find anywhere in terms of a performance-based fee. Email me at cokin@cox.net for more info.

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I’ve already posted a pair of free college plays for today’s action, so I’ll now look ahead to Sunday with an NFL comp.

09/21 10:00 AM  NFL   (467) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS  at  (468) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Take: (468) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS +7

I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the following this week: This is a must win game for the Colts.

I love hearing that stuff. Not that I’m disagreeing with the assessment that this is an absolutely huge game for Indy. It most certainly is exactly that, as an 0-3 start would be, if not disastrous, very bad news at the very least.

But must win has never meant will win, and my experience is that the burden of  high expectations is not the best thing in the world for any team in any sport, especially when said team is not playing well.

The Colts are struggling. The running game is ordinary, the offensive line play has been spotty and the Colts defense is apparently even worse than some pessimists thought it might be. Andrew Luck is a brilliant talent at QB, but he’s not getting much help right now.

As for Jacksonville, they’ve been astonishingly awful since getting ahead of the Eagles by a 17-0 count in Week One. There was certainly nothing positive to garner from the blowout loss at Washington last Sunday. This team is just plain lousy on offense, and I don’t see much chance of that changing to any extent this season. But in spite of the last six quarters, I’m not as down on the Jaguars defense. I don’t think it’s a high level outfit, but I’d probably rate the Jags stop unit just a little below league average. Their biggest problem might end up being that they get worn down because the offense can’t sustain drives.

I’m not about to try and sell the Jaguars here as a team I’m wild about backing. Their running game is an absolute joke, and anyone who’s followed me over the years knows how vital rushing stats are to me. It makes no difference to me how the game has evolved over the years. It’s still a constant that teams that run well and defend the ground game successfully win football games.

This is mostly anti-Colts. Bad defensive teams make bad favorites, especially on the road, and even more especially in divisional duels. And right now Indianapolis is a very bad defensive football team. I would expect they’ll be able to amass some better stats on that side of the ball this Sunday. But I also can see the lowly Jaguars being able to get some things down on offense.

I can’t call for an outright upset, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility. However, I do feel pretty confident the Jaguars will give the Colts a good game and that’s pretty much all they need to do to have a great chance to cover this number. I’ll grab the TD with the Jaguars to get me paid on Sunday.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Friday 9/19/14

Quick takes from the Thursday college/NFL twinbill:

Kansas State managed to at least cover the number with the late score in its loss Auburn. The Wildcats let this one get away with terrible kicking and a critical dropped TD pass that turned into an Auburn pick. But take a look at the rushing stats, which favored the visitors by a 128-40 count. Simply stated, that kind of ground game edge will usually produce a victory, and it did once again here.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their first 26 games pun arriving in the NFL back in 1976. I’m not sure they’ve ever had one more embarrassing than this disaster. The Falcons played a terrific game to be sure. But it looked to me like the Bucs pretty much just gave up by the end of the first quarter, and that’s inexcusable. Granted, this team has gotten beaten up with some injuries, especially on defense, but poor effort can never be tolerated. This was a disgrace, no other way to describe it.

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Just one play for me on Thursday, and I enjoyed the result as Kansas State overcame a load of unforced errors to at least stay inside the number against Auburn.

All my plays are available with the purchase of any of my packages, including the six-week special currently being offered. I also have a net winners program available, where my fee is based solely o  the net profits. Email me at cokin@cox.net for info, although it should be noted this is really only for what I’d call fairly serious players.

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Here’s a look at another Saturday college game. This one isn’t an attention grabber, but hopefully it produces a win.

09/20 04:00 PM   CF   (383) UTAH STATE  at  (384 ARKANSAS STATE

Take: (383) UTAH STATE +2.5

This is a game that I really didn’t focus on until Thursday evening. My initial take was that due to the Chuckie Keeton injury it was stay away material. But upon examining this matchup more closely, I think I can build a case for the visitors.

Let’s start with Keeton. He’s out, and that means Darell Garretson is back under center for the Aggies. Garretson saw ample action last year when Keeton went down. He started slowly, but came on reasonably well as he gained experience.

Garretson is not as talented as Keeton. There’s not any question about that. But the fact is that the dynamic Keeton wasn’t playing anywhere near his prior level before getting hurt again last week. a 55% completion rate with just 4.6 YPA is not exactly sensational, and Keeton wasn’t showing the same explosion with his legs. So I’m not really sure there’s much of a downgrade here with Garretson once more inheriting the starting gig.

The other aspect of this game that has me intrigued is how Arkansas State is going to get its offense rolling against the Aggies. It’s really not an ideal catchup for the Red Wolves. Fredi Knighten is an exciting QB. But he’s definitely what I’d call a legs first signal caller. Knighten is going to run the football, and for most part he’ll feature a short passing game that is pretty low risk.

That being the case, it would seem to me there’s a decent chance that Utah State can take away what Knighten does best. The Aggies are once again proving to be very tough against the run. They can definitely be had through the air, as we saw in the loss at Tennessee. But getting chunks of yardage overland isn’t likely for Arkansas State here.

My rankings show Utah State as the better football team. It’s not by any means a blowout on those numbers, but it’s a clear edge. It’s my feeling that the line adjustment for Keeton being out is a bit too much, particularly in view of how ordinary he’d been over the first few games. So I’m looking at this as a spot where grabbing a field goal would be outstanding. Even with the spread just below that, I still see there being some value with the dog. Make it Utah State plus the points.

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 9/18/14

I don’t get on the issues soapbox too often in this blog. But I feel like I need to toss in my two cents regarding the apparent parenting issue that has gotten Adrian Peterson into a mess. So here goes.

I don’t think Adrian Peterson is a terrible human being, but I do believe he’s a victim who is now passing on what he “learned” to the next generation in his family. This isn’t really even debatable, based on the quotes from his mother. She openly talked about “disciplining our kids a little more than we meant sometimes” in order to “prepare them for the real world.” She also added that “when you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse, but love.”

Peterson’s mom is not the only defender of these actions. Reggie Bush offered his opinion on how a one-year old should be disciplined, and countless others have rushed to Peterson’s defense, pretty much all saying this is okay as that’s how they were raised as well.

I find this to be a pathetically primitive mindset. First off, there’s a huge difference between a spanking and what amounts to beating the crap out of a kid. But that’s missing the point.

This is not 1914, it’s 2014. We’ve evolved as a species. There are countless resources available on virtually every topic under the sun, which wasn’t the case for previous generations. I find it absolutely absurd that any parent would not at the very least explore the subject in order to learn more about available positive alternatives.

I’ll expand on that briefly, and I’ll challenge anyone to argue against this stance. If there’s any avenue of discipline that doesn’t include a parent having to hit his or her child, how can this simply be dismissed? Don’t get me wrong, if after doing some research one still determines that the only way to teach the required lesson is to inflict some kind of whipping, I guess I’ll reluctantly submit it’s up to the parent. But I really find it hard to believe that there aren’t solid substitutions for hitting a child.

The point is that, I would think hitting your offspring should be a last resort. What parent in their right mind would choose not to avoid having to do this if there’s even a possibility there’s an equal or better alternative?  If one still thinks getting out the belt or the switch is the only solution, I guess it’s ultimately their choice. But you’ll have trouble convincing me that’s the case.

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Another split with my Wednesday plays. The auto-play on De La Rosa at Coors was a romp. I blew it taking the Blue Jays before waiting to see what the Orioles lineup would look like. Unlike the Nationals, who changed pitchers and played several reserves, Buck Showalter made it business as usual and played most of his regulars. Bad assumption on my part, although I will say that based on the Tuesday evening celebration, I sure thought it would be a day off for most of the Baltimore starters. That’s the problem with assuming.

Big football card shaping up for the weekend. One side tonight, eight on Saturday and a play on the Monday night game as of now, with a few more possibilities pending. Get all the plays with any of my available packages, the best option being the six-week special that’s up right now. Use the “buy now” tab to subscribe via Paypal, or email me directly at cokin@cox.net for more detailed info.

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Let’s look ahead to a marquee hookup on the Saturday college slate for today’s free selection.

09/20 05:00 PM   CF  (365) CLEMSON  at  (366) FLORIDA STATE

Take: (365) CLEMSON +17

The early line on what is one of the big games on the Saturday slate has been adjusted. Florida State was as high as -20.5 at one point. But the announcement that Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will be suspended for first half of the Clemson game forced the number down, and we’re now seeing -16.5 or -17 as the current tag.

Winston is definitely worth three points for one half of football on my ratings, which is about as much as any one player would be valued at. Sean Maguire was a highly regarded recruit in his own right, but he’s certainly lacking big game experience and simply isn’t as good as the amazing talented Winston.

I would be shocked if Clemson doesn’t try to confuse Maguire as much as possible and it’s my guess that the Tigers should be prepared to see a ground-oriented Seminoles attack for the first half of this game. No count the ‘Noles would love to get a big jump on this rival, but logic dictates that they’re most likely to just ask Maguire to manage the offense until Winston makes his appearance after halftime. This might indicate waiting for a first half line to appear and playing the game that way. But the oddsmakers are going to shorten the first half price, so I’m not so sure there will be any value in going that route.

There’s more than just the Winston suspension in play for me here. I am not seeing any real dominance from the Florida State defense thus far. Maybe that changes on Saturday night in Tallahassee. But right now the Seminoles appear vulnerable to the run, and they remain somewhat banged up along the defensive front as well. The Tigers have some talented RB’s and I like the chances of them having success overland in this battle.

This is not cinch by any means. I’ll freely admit that I’m worried about the Clemson mindset if they fall behind early on Saturday. The Tigers were absolutely demolished by FSU last season. But right now I’m not seeing Florida State being at the same level they were a season ago, and let’s face it, that enormous Seminoles rep is alway going to get put into the betting line. In other words, there are no bargains to be had with Florida State.

I’m banking on Clemson putting its best foot forward here and Florida State playing things safe for at least the first half. If that’s the case, i feel reasonably confident that taking 17 will be enough to get me a winner, and therefore Clemson is the choice.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 9/17/14

It’s the weekly Wise Guy Wednesday report. Info is obtained from various personal contacts in Nevada, offshore and via stateside underground books as well.

307 Indiana is off a bad loss to Bowling Green, but the Hoosiers have attracted sharp early money as they prepare to visit Missouri on Saturday.

312 Akron is getting plenty of play from pros. This will also be a popular side among trend bettors, but the public is going to be on the favorite, creating a pros vs. joes duel.

326 Wisconsin has been getting heavy play right from the opening bell, but it’s not necessarily sharp dough. Regardless, the house will be hoping Bowling Green can somehow stay inside the bug number come Saturday.

329 Army got popped right away and the Cadets continue to generate action. One of my east coast contacts told me that 100% of his wagers on this game are on Army.

346 Memphis is again getting bet by the pros. The Tigers got sharp dollars in their game with UCLA, but there was a nice offset with square action in that game. That’s apparently not the case this week.

349 Appalachian State isn’t getting what anyone could call heavy play in what is a throughly unattractive matchup with Southern Miss, but the more respected play is on the underdog Mountaineers.

357 Florida has drawn the majority of the early sharp dollars, but two of my sources are of the belief this is influence wagering and that sharps are looking to buy back Alabama bigger at a better number.

367 Virginia has been a hit with the sharps twice already, with the Cavaliers cashing against both UCLA and Louisville. They’re getting pro play again this week vs. BYU, but not as heavily as in the previous two games.

369 Texas State was a monster sharp play last week, which then also drew big public action with the Navy starting QB out. That didn’t work out, but the Bobcats are again drawing pro interest as they visit Illinois.

371 Old Dominion is mostly an unknown quantity as the Monarchs are a first-year FBS program, but they’re the hot side as they hook up with Rice.

375 Miami Ohio is on the sharp list to some extent as a huge underdog against Cincinnati.

390 West Virginia is one of the major sharp movers this week. Oklahoma opened at nearly two TD’s, so it’s fair to say that any value on the Mountaineers is already long gone.

391 California is also a heavy duty pro side on the early action. The consensus is that this line could continue to drop as we approach game day.

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A 1-1 split for me on Tuesday. Ubaldo Jimenez beat me as I missed with the Blue Jays, but fortunately I was on the right side of the Jake Arrieta gem as the Cubs knocked off the Reds.

The weekend card is shaping up nicely with four colleges and a rare double play in the NFL already played. I’ll probably be adding another game or two today. Also, three MLB sides already determined for tonight, one of which will be the daily free play below.

I’ve still got my six-week intro offer available, and the easiest way to get subscribed is to use the “buy now” feature on this page. Feel free to email me at cokin@cox.net if you’d like more detailed information as to what the package entails.

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Winner with the Tuesday free play on the Cubs. A situational spot I’m on tonight is the Wednesday comp.

09/17 04:10 PM   MLB  (905) WASHINGTON NATIONALS  at  (906) ATLANTA BRAVES

Take: (906) ATLANTA BRAVES -125

If you look at the standings and then include the current form for both the Nationals and the Braves, there’s almost no way to justify Atlanta being chalk tonight. But there’s a solid situational reason for backing the slumping hosts tonight.

The Nationals clinched the NL East with their win against the Braves on Tuesday night. Naturally, the Nats were in a celebratory mood following the win. There’s a decent chance that results in a hangover tonight.

There’s really not a whole lot more to this selection than the aforementioned angle. I’d say there’s a decent chance a couple of Nationals regulars enjoy an evening off tonight and the team’s focus has to be in question.

As for the Braves, there’s just not much positive to say. They’ve hit the skids in a big way. But one silver lining is what has been a depressing Atlanta decline has been the outstanding pitching by lefty Alex Wood. He’s surrendered only 13 earned runs in his last nine starts and is really emerging as a major force on the mound for the Braves. It’s also worth noting that the Braves are at least a bit more potent against lefties and they’ll get to face a southpaw tonight as Gio Gonzales makes the start for the Nats.

But this is primarily a fade the champs spot. It’s not that I’m expecting Washington to simply lay down tonight, but it’s simply not easy to get revved up after celebrating a title clinch as this team did last night. The number on this game jumped immediately following the Tuesday result, but I still believe it’s worth backing. I’ll spot the price tonight with the Braves.

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 9/16/14

Time for the Tuesday injury update. Note these are new items only.

Arizona State will be without starting QB Taylor Kelly for an indefinite period, although there’s already indications he might be back as soon as the USC game. But he’s out for UCLA this week, and junior Mike Berkovici will get his first start for the Sun Devils.

Arizona could be without a couple of bigs this weekend. Guard Jacob Alsadek has a foot injury and nose guard Jeff Worthy is questionable after getting concussed.

Boise State might get both OT Rees Odhiambo and CB Bryan Douglas back for Saturday’s game. Consider each player day to day for now.

Bowling Green LB DJ Lynch is now questionable for the Wisconsin game on Saturday as he tries to get back from a knee injury.

Central Michigan RB Thomas Rawls pulled a no-show for the Syracuse game and then got arrested the next day. Star wideout Titus Davis remains a question mark for the Kansas game.

Colorado OL Jeromy Irwin is a question mark for the Hawaii matchup as his concussion is evaluated.

Duke will likely be minus guard Lucas Patrick for the Tulane game. He’s doubtful with a leg injury.

Florida State has some defensive issues, with Eddie Goldman, Justin Shanks and Nile Lawrence-Stample all questionable.

Georgia Southern could be minus three starters on Saturday. QB Kevin Ellison has a shoulder injury, TE Nardo Govan is battling a leg problem and DL Jonathan Battle is also have leg issues.

Georgia State got dinged up against Air Force. Several question marks for the Washington game. The most significant potential absences are RB Krysten Hammon and guard Taylor Evans.

Three Marshall starters are question marks for the Akron game. DB AJ Leggett, DL Arnold Blackmon and OL Sebastian Johansson are each day to day right now.

Cluster injuries again for Maryland, a team that has been phenomenally unlucky in this regard for three years running now. Three of their four starting LB’s are questionable for the Syracuse game.

Massachusetts RB Jamal Wilson went down with an ankle injury against Vanderbilt and is out indefinitely.

Miami Florida QB Kevin Olsen has legal problems and could well be finished as a Hurricane.

Michigan is hoping to have WR Devin Funchess back on Saturday, but he’s a question mark as are starting DB’s Jarrod Wilson and Raymon Taylor.

Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner is again questionable as is starting guard Zac Epping.

Tago Smith did a terrific job subbing at QB for Navy this past weekend. but starter Keenan Reynolds should be good to go the for the Rutgers game.

North Carolina has guard problems this week. Landon Turner is likely out for East Carolina and Caleb Peterson is a question mark.

Ohio LB Ben Russell is now out for the season and OL Nick Gibbons is questionable for the Idaho game.

Oklahoma RB Keith Ford is out for West Virginia and will likely miss at least 2-3 weeks.

Oregon State has a couple of starters shaky for the San Diego State game. Guard Garrett Weinreich has a knee problem and fullback Tyler Anderson is nursing a hamstring issue.

Pittsburgh starting DE David Durham’s shoulder has him listed as a question mark for the Iowa game.

Big absence for San Diego State as talented WR Ezell Ruffin has a broken collarbone and will probably not play till November.

South Alabama punter Corliss Waitman could be an eligibility casualty.

South Florida wideout Andre Davis has a bruised sternum and could be out of action Friday vs. UConn.

Texas A&M could rest three banged up starters against SMU. TE Cameron Clear, OL Mike Matthews and LB Jordan Mastrogiovanni are all status up in the air currently.

Toledo will likely have RB Kareem Hunt in action for the Ball State game. But the Rockets now have yet another injury in the secondary with Jordan Martin questionable.

Troy QB Brando Silvers has a concussion and might have to sit out the Georgia game.

Tulane starting left tackle Arturo Uzdavinis is day to day with a shoulder injury, so he is a question mark for the Duke game.

UL Lafayette is missing a key component with WR Jamal Robinson now out indefinitely with a knee injury. LB Chris Hill is also questionable for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Explosive UNLV WR Marcus Sullivan is bothered by a leg injury and he’s questionable for the Houston game.

Bad news for Utah State as QB Chuckie Keeton is going to miss at least the Arkansas State game. Top target Brandon Swindall is out for the season as well.

Wake Forest left tackle Antonio Ford has an ankle injury and could miss the Army game.

Washington CB Marcus Peters is still listed as suspended, so he’s at best questionable for Georgia State.

Wyoming guard Sam Hardy is questionable with an ankle and his backup Jake Jones is as well as he recovers from an appendectomy.

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I played just one game Monday and got the win as Collin McHugh delivered yet another stellar outing for the Astros. The current weekend football card already includes a pair in the colleges and a very rare double play in the NFL. Get all my plays across the board with my six-week special that’s being currently offered. Utilize the “buy now” feature on this page to get subscribed or email me directly at cokin@cox.net for more details.

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The Braves tailspin continued on Monday and that resulted in a loss on the home dog free play. Let’s try to get that one back tonight with another call on the diamond.

09/16 05:05 PM   MLB  (955) CINCINNATI REDS  at  (956) CHICAGO CUBS

Take: (956) CHICAGO CUBS +105

Quite the pitching duel at Wrigley Field on Monday, with Anthony Rizzo finally delivering the crucial blow in a 1-0 Cubs win. Runs could well be at a premium again this evening with a top quality matchup on the mound.

Johnny Cueto is in need of just two more wins to reach the coveted 20-win plateau. Cueto is in his typical outstanding form and there’s no doubt about it, betting against the Reds ace is not the easiest thing in the world to do. But Cueto draws a very tough adversary this evening as Jake Arrieta will be on the hill for the Cubs. Arrieta has enjoyed a true breakout season for the Cubs.

I guess it’s due to his only being 8-5 and pitching for a non-contender, but it’s kind of amazing to me how far under the radar Arrieta remains. Aside from one disastrous outing at Colorado and another really unfortunate one against these Reds, Arrieta has been pretty close to sensational for the Cubs. He’s a legit Top 20 pitcher this season on the metrics since earning a regular rotation spot.

Cueto has enjoyed a bit of good fortune with his BABIP but there’s no way to diminish how big he’s been for Cincinnati. I don’t see any question that he’s the Reds MVP and the guy simply knows how to win.

Not much to choose in other areas here. Offense and bullpen are pretty much a wash, although the Cubs now have a vital cog back in the lineup with the return of Rizzo.

For me, this comes down to Arrieta simply having metrics that are going to make him a value as a home dog against almost anyone, and that even includes the brilliant Cueto. This looms as a tight, low scoring game but my money is going on the Cubs as a home dog, and this play is already on my Tuesday ticket.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 9/15/14

The main task for any coach or manager, regardless of the sport, is simple enough. That is, put your team in the best position to win. Obviously, not every maneuver is going to pay off. But the idea is to make the correct decision and then let the chips fall where they may.

Joe Girardi made a bad decision on Sunday night and there’s a great chance he cost the Yankees a win they really needed in the process. The Yankees had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning on a Brian McCann home run. Girardi then called on closer David Robertson to preserve the lead. While the initial reaction might well be that there’s nothing to criticize Girardi about in making this move, I see evidence that indicates he totally deserves being called on the carpet.

David Robertson almost never pitches on three consecutive days. Going back to the start of his major league career, he’s only done so on three occasions,  twice this season and once last year. Robertson also had to throw 35 pitches on Friday evening,  and followed that up with 11 more on Saturday. Perhaps this isn’s a major workload for some relievers. But the mere fact that Robertson have done this so rarely certainly indicates it’s not an ideal scenario for him. And it’s worth noting that the last time he did so resulted in a blown save. Now he’s blown saves twice in a row under these conditions. Considering how rarely he throws in this scenario, along with the fact two of his four blown saves for the entire year were in this situation, it’s pretty clear this isn’t the optimum spot for Robertson.

Of course, if there were no other options, Girardi would be blameless. But there’s the rub. Dellin Betances had worked a very clean eighth inning, and he was fresh. Betances had worked just twice since September 6th, and wasn’t used on Saturday. Betances is also very used to pitching more than one inning, having done so 36 times this season.

This isn’t a second guess. I tweeted before Robertson threw even one pitch in the bottom of the ninth that Girardi was making the wrong move. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entirely possible Betances might have been defeated as well. But the bottom line is that Girardi did not put his team in the best position to win. And in the process, he likely put a finish to whatever faint playoff hopes the Yankees still maintained.

No one’s perfect. I prove that on a regular basis with my selections. When I make a poor decision that costs my clients money, I deserve any criticism that’s tossed my way. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean I’m lousy at my job just because not all the calls I make produce victories. Likewise, I’m not calling Joe Girardi  a bad manager. In fact, considering how hamstrung he’s been with this clunky Yankees roster, I would submit Girardi has done a heckuva good job keeping the team in the hunt this long. Nevertheless, he blew it on Sunday night by either ignoring the data or simply being unaware of it. Either way, it was a screwup and it proved very costly to his team.

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Split city on the Sunday football, so the weekend wound up at a nondescript 7-6 on the gridiron. There were no bad beats nor lucky winners, as none of my games were close on the number either way. So basically a wheel spinning weekend, but no damage done either.

I’ll be sending out early plays for the coming weekend over the next couple of days and then adding as warranted throughout the week. You can join me and receive all my plays by capitalizing on a solid six-week special I’m presently offering. Use the “buy now” feature on this page to get subscribed or email me directly at cokin@cox.net if you’d like more detailed information.

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The two NFL free plays split with the Bengals winning and the Vikings getting smoked. Tonight’s comp is on the diamond.

09/15 04:10 PM   MLB   (901) WASHINGTON NATIONALS  at  (902) ATLANTA BRAVES

Take: (902) ATLANTA BRAVES +110

Stephen Strasburg is one of the better pitchers in all of baseball. He’s got great control, pure swing and miss stuff and can be absolutely dominating when he’s got his best stuff. Yet, in spite of the fact the Nationals are going to win the NL East and might well be playing well into October, Strasburg is stuck at .500 with a flat 11-11 ledger. Being one who’s metrically inclined, that 11-11 is pretty misleading. But for whatever reason, Strasburg continues to be unlucky as far as the W/L record is concerned.

Part of Strasburg’s problem is his weird record against the Atlanta Braves. One would think this should be an ideal opponent for Strasburg. The Braves have a bunch of grip it and rip it players who have trouble making consistent contact. Strasburg is about as good as it gets when it comes to collecting K’s. But he just cannot beat this team, and in fact, his numbers against the Braves are pretty mediocre.

Strasburg has faced the Braves four times this year, and Nats are 0-4 in those games, with Strasburg absorbing three of the losses. Over the past two seasons, the Nats are 2-7 when Strasburg pitches against the Braves. The two wins didn’t involve Strasburg. He was ejected after one inning in one of those games, and pitched only two innings in the other Washington win. Make no mistake, the Braves are Strasburg’s main nemesis.

Ervin Santana goes for the Braves tonight, and this guy has been money in the bank at home. The Braves have won each of his last eight home starts with Santana standing 7-0 in that stretch.  His numbers against the Nats this season are not good at all, but that’s the only fly in Santana’s ointment right now.

This is do or die for the Braves. They’re not just one game over .500, and Atlanta is four games out of the wild card with only 13 opportunities for wins remaining. So make no mistake, tonight’s game is a must win for this squad. They’re off a wrong way sweep at Texas, which amounts to an unforgivable sin at this point. The Braves now play ten straight home games, and they’ve been a decent team in the host role. I think it’s realistic to offer that they need to win at least eight of these ten battles to have a chance at one of the two wild cards, so they’ve simply got to win tonight or it might be lights out.

Must win sure doesn’t mean will win. But the Braves have the right home pitcher going tonight in Santana, and for reasons I cannot figure out, Atlanta owns Strasburg. I’m going to try to coax the desperately needed win from the Braves tonight.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 9/14/14

Quick takes from several Saturday college games:

Pittsburgh came out flat at Florida International and the Panthers had to dig themselves out of a 16-0 hole. Pitt eventually gained control but never had a chance vs. the big number. Interesting to note there were three safeties in this game, two going the Pittsburgh way.

West Virginia coughed up a big lead at Maryland, but managed to escape with a late field goal for the win. The Mountaineers were fortunate to win in spite of a big yardage edge. Getting victories on the road in games where the visitor is also -3 net turnovers doesn’t happen all that often.

Indian’s inept defense made a star out of Bowling Green QB Jason Knapke. The inexperienced former Falcons backup had a monster game that included a clutch game-winning drive. Bowling Green was able to amass a whopping 41 first downs in the win.

East Carolina relinquished a 21-0 lead at Virginia Tech and sure looked like to be in trouble with the prospect of overtime looming. But the Hokies defense caved in at the finish as the Pirates quickly drove 65 yards to get the upset win.

Boise State had some trouble with a game UConn entry. The Broncos managed to win with a pair of fourth quarter scores in a game that was pretty much a wash on the stats. A fortunate winner for chalk players.

Georgia Tech gave up a huge lead against Georgia Southern, but the Yellow Jackets escaped thanks to a late drive. A big red flag for Tech is the fact their defense allowed a ridiculous 8.3 yards per rush against the Eagles.

UMass missed a 23 yard field goal at the finish of regulation that allowed Vanderbilt to sneak away with a less than impressive 34-31 lead. Back to back tough losses for the improving Minutemen.

Louisville fought back from a double digit fourth quarter deficit to lead at Virginia. But the Cardinals fumbled a punt and the Cavaliers took advantage by nailing a late FG for the win. An important victory for Mike London, who’s on the hot seat in Charlottesville.

Air Force had fourth quarter problems for the second straight week. The Falcons managed to hang on for the 48-38 win at Georgia State, but failed to cover a game that they appeared to have salted away from a wagering standpoint.

Iowa State rallied to top Iowa in a bug rivalry game. The Hawkeyes looked to be in control up doubles at the half but were substantially outplayed after that. Kirk Ferentz is getting ripped by Iowa fans for some ultra-conservative second half play calling, and I sure can’t disagree with that assessment.

Utah State got the win against Wake Forest, but Chuckie Keeton spent the second half on crutches, which could be a devastating blow for the Aggies. Wake got inside the number with a late field goal that cut the margin from 15 to 12. No clue why Wake kicked that three, which took the score from a two-possession game to… a two-possession game. Must be some new math I’m not up on. Definitely a bad beat for anyone who laid the earlier number with Utah State.

UNLV came roaring back from a substantial deficit to tie Northern Illinois at 34. The Huskies went back up seven, but the Rebels drove the field and appeared to be about to tie it up again. But a shaky decision by QB Decker resulted in an end zone pick. NIU then took it the length of the field for the covering TD. A fortunate winner for square players who were heavy on the Huskies.

Florida Atlantic got their starting QB back, and Jaquez Johnson had a big game as the Owls blasted Tulsa. The Owls look live to make some CUSA noise now that they’re healthy.

Western Kentucky lost a second straight heartbreaker, this time in 3OT at Middle Tennessee. This was a thriller from start to finish, but the youthful Hilltoppers now will have to find a way to put back to back very tough losses in the rear view mirror.

UTSA went flat off two huge games to start the season. The Roadrunners were also simply not athletic enough to stay with a very fast Oklahoma State squad.

USC jumped out to a 10-0 lead at Boston College, but it was all Eagles after that. This was not a fluke as BC dominated the proceedings after the slow start and completely outplayed the Trojans. Bad spot for USC and it showed.

UCLA got the ball to start both halves thanks to a coin flip screw up by Texas. That was critical as the Bruins scored on that extra possession to start the second half. Jerry Neuheisel then played hero with the game winning TD pass. Big win for the Bruins with Brett Hundley sidelined with a hyperextended elbow.

Navy was able to get out to a big lead as Texas State just buried itself with penalties. The Bobcats made it a little interesting in the second half but backup QB Tago Smith hit a big play through the air to put the game, and the spread as well, out of reach.

Arizona State struggled with Colorado, losing the stats but surviving thanks to +3 net turnovers. Sun Devils QB Taylor Kelly suffered a foot injury in this game, and it at least sounds as though it could be significant.

Penn State ‘s defense kept them in the game at Rutgers, and the offense finally came to life when it counted. Christian Hackenburg made some great throws in the game winning drive for the Nittany Lions. Gary Nova had a really bad game for the Scarlet Knights, getting picked five times.

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My colleges went 5-4 for the day, so it was hardly a bonanza but was at least a profit. Some frustration here with leaving a couple of winners off the card, but it’s always easy after the fact to think about what could have been. Regardless, it’s a +5.2 net start to the college campaign, so no real complaints. Note that I also went 0-1 in baseball on Saturday, so overall it was kind of wasted effort day, but no damage done.

I’ll likely be leaving that six-week special up the remainder of the month. Works out to only $100 weekly for that term, and includes all my plays. Sign up by using the “buy now” tab on this page or email me at cokin@cox.net for further information.

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I’ve already released one free play for the NFL this week, but it appears as though the Bengals won’t make my final card today. It’s definitely a close call, but after finalizing my numbers, I made -4 my ceiling on that game. Therefore, I’ll include another free NFL play here and this one is already on my card.

09/14 10:00 AM   NFL   (261) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS  at  (262) MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Take: (262) MINNESOTA VIKINGS +5.5

No Adrian Peterson for the Vikings, and it’s Bill Belichick off a loss. Combine those two items and it’s sure not surprising that bettors are falling all over themselves betting the Patriots today. The fact there was a substantial adjustment in the betting line once the disturbing news on Peterson was released has not prevented the wagerers from firing on New England. I consulted with two solid sources yesterday to find out how the ticket count was running. One had it roughly 80/20 Pats, and the other a shade less than that, but still close to 70%.

Maybe the Pats take advantage of a distracted Vikings squad and end up romping to an easy road win. It’s certainly a possibility. New England still power rates as the better team and fading Belichick off a loss is not exactly a long term winner. But for someone who is very focused on garnering value, I think the Vikings are now the only way I can play.

There’s a really good early season angle that says to take the Vikings here. But I’m not much of an angle guy, to be honest. What has me roped in here is the Peterson adjustment. This line was altered by three points when the news broke that he was being deactivated for at least this game. I will state with complete certainty that there is no running back in the NFL, not even Peterson, who is worth three points on the betting line.

It’s actually a great job by the guys who put up the numbers. They overadjusted the number absolutely knowing what the overwhelming public reaction would be regarding the Peterson absence. That’s sound bookmaking, simple as that. And now, we’re going to get a duel between the pros and the joes, as the former are going to jump on what they believe to be value, and the latter blasting away with the chalk because they think they’re getting a steal with Peterson out.

I’m pretty consistent as far as this stuff goes. If it looks easy, it generally isn’t. I think the line is now too high and I have no problem taking advantage of what I now perceive as an overlay. The Vikings plus the points are the play for me.

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 9/13/14

Quick takes from the two Friday night college games:

Underdog scores 27 straight points and still can’t cover the spread. That’s a little unusual, but that’s what happened to Toledo as they lost at Cincinnati. The Bearcats rolled to what seemed to be an insurmountable 41-7 lead, and that’s when the Rockets caught fire. Toledo got this game all the way down to 7 at the start of the fourth quarter before Cincinnati gathered its composure and pulled back away. The final Cincinnati score was a run it up touchdown pass, as Gunner Kiel finished the night with six TD throws. Toledo got a big game from QB Logan Woodside, who came on strong as the game progressed. But that shorthanded Rockets secondary is going to be an ongoing problem. As for Cincinnati, they could definitely be the team to beat in the AAC.

Baylor did pretty much what they were supposed to do against a game Buffalo squad. The Bulls had no chance against that Bears offense, but they never gave up and managed to put some nice drives together in the second half. Perhaps the most notable thing to happen in this game was on a Baylor fumble that was called wrong on the field. It would likely have been reversed by the replay official, but the call was never reviewed. The reason give by the replay official was basically that it wasn’t necessary due to the lopsided score.

This was a really bad decision by whoever made it, as it absolutely compromises the integrity of the game. This was an automatic review according to the rules, and that rule was intentionally ignored. I have no argument with anyone who might feel as though this official had a bet on Baylor. It’s probably not the case, but it’s not like there haven’t been officials who’ve bet on games. You’ll rarely see me with the old that guy needs to get fired reaction here….but that guy needs to get fired. This was extraordinarily poor judgment and cannot be tolerated, simple as that.

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Ok, here we go. I’m currently on nine college games today, as several playable spots showed up for me, and with a good start to the season last week, I didn’t go the fine tune route and simply let it fly. The NFL card on Sunday figures to be much shorter. All my plays are included with the purchase of any subscription, and the best deal right now is the six-week special for $600. Use the “buy now” feature on this page to sign up. Or, if you’ve got questions, please feel free to email me at cokin@cox.net.

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I’ve got two free college plays that were posted in previous blogs this week. Here’s one for Sunday in the NFL.

09/14 10:00 AM   NFL   (265) ATLANTA FALCONS  at  (266) CINCINNATI BENGALS

Take: (266) CINCINNATI BENGALS -5.5

The Falcons overcame an early deficit to pull out a thrilling overtime win against the Saints in Week One. That’s a terrific way to start the season for a team looking to put 2013 as far into the rear view mirror as possible. But I see Atlanta being up against it this week as they hit the road to take on the Bengals.

First off, while I won’t call a Week Two game a letdown spot, I’m still not a big fan of backing a team off a win like the ones the Falcons had when it also happened to take place against its most heated rival. It’s definitely a situation where a bounce would not be at all shocking.

I’m also still not at all enamored with the Atlanta defense. I have that unit as well below average, and that opinion wasn’t altered to any extent with what I saw last Sunday.

I also can see the Falcons having an offensive line issue. This team lost left tackle Sam Baker for the season when he blew out his patellar tendon in a pre-season game. That necessitated moving highly touted rookie Jake Matthews into Baker’s spot. But now Matthews is also injured, which in effect means Atlanta will now be down to its third option at this very crucial position. Skill position players get more attention from the betting public when they’re out, but underestimating the significance of injuries in the trenches can be a big mistake.

The Bengals are also off a very exciting rivalry win, as they finally managed to go into Baltimore and come away with a win. But I don’t see as much chance of a decline off that win for Cincinnati. It’s their home opener, and while they won that opener, no one on the offense seemed particularly overjoyed with the fact the Bengals had to settle for five field goals in the first half, while never denting the end zone. They did get the one big play they really needed to notch the win, but fixing the inefficiency of the offense has been a major point of emphasis in practice this week.

I don’t see this as a greta matchup to begin with from the Falcons standpoint. I don’t see the offense being anywhere near as potent as it was last week, and I believe the Bengals are going to successfully exploit the vulnerability at left tackle. The points are substantial enough to at least give pause, but in the end I expect Cincinnati to win by at least one TD. I’ll therefore side with the Bengals minus the points in this one.