NFL Thursday Night Football Predictions, Chiefs vs. Raiders Against the Spread Picks

Opening NFL Week 7 Odds

Chiefs vs. Raiders ATS Picks

By Andrew Ryan

If anyone plans on catching the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, there’s going to have to be a team in the West that steps up and beats them. The Oakland Raiders have a grand chance of doing just that on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 7 of the season.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders
Date and Time: Thursday, October 19, 2017, 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Opening NFL Week 7 Odds: Chiefs -3, O/U 47.5
Chiefs vs. Raiders TV Coverage: CBS

The 1972 Miami Dolphins popped their corks last weekend when the Chiefs suffered their first loss of the year. Now, we’ll see whether Kansas City is going to stick around as one of the top contenders in the AFC or not.

The hope for the Chiefs is that their first half last week against the Steelers was an aberration. Alex Smith and company had -21 yards in the first half versus the team that ended their season. For a team that still ranks No. 2 in the NFL in total offense at 387.0 yards per game and is No. 3 in scoring, you have to think that this was a flash in the pan.

Then again, it’s also worth remembering that the Chiefs had an average-at-best offense a year ago, and there isn’t any more talent on this team now than there was last season. The only difference is that Kareem Hunt, a running back who may or may not have more talent than anyone who was on the roster last year, is racking up insane statistics.

The Raiders dropped to just 2-4 on the year. A loss in this game, and the likelihood of getting into the playoffs is slim at best. Oakland won’t be back at home after this game until November 26 after playing at Buffalo and Miami, having a bye week, then playing in Mexico City against New England.

Derek Carr rushed back from his back injury in Week 6 after missing just one game. After watching him throw for just 171 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers last week, we wonder if there’s still a lot wrong with him.

But even before he was hurt, the Raiders were struggling. They scored 71 points in their first two games combined; they’ve scored a total of just 53 since that point.

Heck, E.J. Manuel’s 17-point effort against Baltimore was the best this team has had since Week 2 of the season.

Key Player

It should be rather obvious that your best players have to make big plays to win games in the NFL. It should also be rather obvious that Oakland’s struggles run parallel to Amari Cooper’s.

In the first two games of the season, Cooper had nine receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. In his last four, he has nine receptions for 51 yards. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1 and hasn’t had a catch that covered more than eight yards since Week 2.

Simply put, the Raiders aren’t moving the ball without No. 89 making some big plays. Cooper’s frustration has to boil over at some point. Maybe the fact that he had five receptions against L.A. last week will help him out. This has to be his breakout game, but it comes against one of the stingier pass defenses in the NFL.

Chiefs vs. Raiders Free Picks

Last year, Cooper had 15 catches in two games against the Chiefs, and we have to think that he’s going to finally snap out of his funk this week.

We’re not sold on this Kansas City outfit. The team has massively overachieved offensively, and for as great as this pass rush is, the raw defensive stats aren’t great. There’s no way this team should be allowing just 21.7 points per game after allowing 378.2 yards per game.

The Oakland defense played a huge game last week against the Chargers, yet it ran out of gas at the end after so many bad offensive possessions left the ‘D’ in bad spots. If Carr and the offense get their acts together, this is a winnable game against an overrated team.

NFL ATS Pick: Raiders +3 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Raiders 27, Chiefs 20

NCAAF Week 7 Betting Picks, Villanova vs James Madison Predictions

Villanova at James Madison ATS Picks

Villanova at James Madison ATS Picks

By Adam Markowitz

For the eighth time in College GameDay’s history, the best pregame show in college football is heading to an FCS game. The James Madison Dukes have not dropped a single FCS game since Mike Houston took over the coaching duties for the team last year. James Madison knocked off all the big boys on its way to its second national title in 2016, and has looked untouchable so far this year too. The Villanova Wildcats have the unenviable task of being their opponent this weekend.

Villanova Wildcats at James Madison Dukes
Date and Time: Saturday, October 14, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Week 7 College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu: James Madison -15.5 O/U 43.5
Villanova at James Madison TV Coverage: CSLC, MASN

The Dukes are 5-0 and have beat everyone on their schedule by at least double digits. James Madison cruised to a 20-point victory over FBS East Carolina in its opener, and has only been tested once, two weeks ago in a road trip to Delaware. Quarterback Bryan Schor did not have his best performance and that kept the Blue Hens close.

Mark Ferrante is picking up right where Andy Taylor left off with Villanova. The Wildcats have one of the best defenses in the country once again this season, and have only allowed 28 points over their last four games. This defense was the reason that Villanova almost knocked off Temple earlier in the season, and if the Wildcats are going to keep this one close it will be because of the defense.

Player to Watch

For Villanova, all eyes will be on the player taking snaps under center, redshirt freshman Jack Schetelich. Schetelich was thrust into the spotlight after star quarterback Zach Bednarczyk went down with an injury against Towson. Although the Wildcats have kept winning without Bednarczyk, it hasn’t been because of Schetelich.

Schetelich has been a liability since taking over the job. Ferrante does not trust him to throw the ball much, because when he does disaster strikes far too often. On the year, Schetelich is 8-25 for 120 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions, and has been sacked six times. It’s hard to put too much blame on a young kid for being put into a situation like this, and it’s a testament to Villanova that it has kept winning with that production.

Matchup to Watch

One of the big things to watch in this game is whether or not James Madison can run the ball on Villanova’s defense. The Dukes are averaging six yards a carry this year and boast one of the most efficient ground games at the FCS level.

However, the ground game has lost some steam without Cardon Johnson. Johnson lit up East Carolina for 265 yards on the ground in the Dukes’ season opener, and the run game hasn’t been as productive without him in the lineup. Trai Sharp and Marcus Marshall have done a decent job, but aren’t as explosive as Johnson.

They will be facing their toughest test so far this season. Villanova has the second-best run defense in the country, allowing just 1.8 yards per carry. The big boys up front have done a great job all year, and have kept this team’s postseason hopes alive.

Villanova at James Madison Free Picks

It’s hard to run on Villanova, but you can throw the ball on this secondary. The unit took a massive hit when it lost Rob Rolle for the season with a torn ACL, and has been vulnerable to good quarterbacks. Lehigh and Temple both found success throwing on this defense and James Madison should be able to do the same thing with Bryan Schor.

Villanova’s defense has thrived on turnovers too. The Wildcats knocked off Maine by forcing six turnovers in a 31-0 rout. James Madison is very good at keeping possession of the football and it’s hard to imagine the Wildcats doing the same against this defense.

This is going to be a long day for Schetelich. James Madison had a bye week last week, and has had ample time to prepare for Villanova. The Wildcats will be lucky to score more than twice against this Dukes defense, and this should be a blowout win for James Madison.

Villanova at James Madison ATS Pick: James Madison -15.5
Villanova at James Madison Score Prediction: James Madison 38 – Villanova 10

NFL Week 5 Picks, New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

Patriots vs. Buccaneers ATS Picks

Patriots vs. Buccaneers ATS Picks

By Mike Rose

Through four weeks of play, it’s become painfully apparent that the New England Patriots are nowhere near as good as the team that came back against the Atlanta Falcons to win the Super Bowl. After falling to the Panthers at home on Sunday a week removed from surviving against the Texans, the Pats head into this Week 5 kick-off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on shaky ground. The Bucs would love nothing more than to land another body blow on the defending champs.

New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Date and Time: Thursday, October 5, 2017, 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium
Week 5 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Patriots -4, O/U 54
Patriots vs. Buccaneers TV Coverage: CBS

A 2-2 record was something many envisioned the Patriots to have at the start of last season with Tom Brady suspended for the first four games. With him under center and New England playing three of its first four games in front of the hometown faithful, it’s not exactly what was expected. Be that as it may, the Patriots enter Week 5 a .500 team and it has everything to do with a defense that can’t stop anything right now.

The maligned stop unit just allowed a Carolina offense that combined for just 45 points in its first three games to drop 33 points on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard to hand the heavily favored Patriots a shocking defeat. Brady is still playing out of his mind having thrown for just under 1,400 yards and a stellar 10:0 TD/INT ratio, but unfortunately, his team has needed every single one of those points just to split their first four games.

Tampa Bay burst onto the scene in Week 4 by scoring the game’s first 13 points. Unfortunately, it was forced to kick a game-winning field goal at the end of the game due to the defense being unable to stop New York’s offense from the second quarter forward. Still, you can’t help but come away a bit impressed with the job Dirk Koetter’s squad did to protect its house and remain undefeated when in front of the hometown faithful.

The Buccaneers logged an impressive 434 total yards against the Giants defense with Jameis Winston having yet another 300-plus yard passing performance. Though he threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings last week, the only thing being talked about the performance was his three interceptions. Well, the third year field general went out and threw for another 332 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, but this time, he didn’t toss a single errant pass. He must mimic that effort tonight for Tampa Bay to put an end to its current 0-3 straight up and against the spread streaks versus New England.

Matchup to Watch

The Patriots possess the league’s No. 1 ranked total offense to go along with the No. 2 ranked scoring offense. As already stated, it’s needed the offense to be that dominant due to the defense simply being unable to prevent the opposition from scoring. New England is currently the not so proud owner of the worst total ( 456.8 YPG ) and scoring defense ( 32.0 PPG ). Tampa Bay must continue to pepper its opponent with points if it’s to hold serve at home. The Bucs also have a bevy of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, so it becomes even more necessary that Winston and company are on top of their game. Mike Evans is yet to truly go off this season. If ever there was a stage for him to erupt, this is it!

Patriots vs. Buccaneers Picks

A short week won’t do either of these teams any good with each hurting on the defensive side of the ball. New England opened as 4-point road chalk at the top NFL sportsbooks for this Thursday Night Football tilt, and already the betting public has pushed it up to -4.5 with over 71 percent of the handle moving the line a half point. The total is the highest of the Week 5 slate, but it’s warranted. New England just allowed Cam Newton to torch them for 316 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Winston should eat, but so should Brady. I don’t foresee either defense coming up with many stops.

Patriots vs. Buccaneers Week 5 ATS Pick: Bet Over 54 at BookMaker.eu
Patriots vs. Buccaneers Score Prediction: Patriots 35 – Buccaneers 32

Arizona State vs. Stanford Pick Against The Spread, NCAAF Week 5 Odds

Arizona State vs. Stanford ATS Picks

Arizona State vs. Stanford ATS Picks

By Andrew Ryan

David Shaw is one of the best coaches in the country, and that’s why the Stanford Cardinal are never really out of things until they’re out of it. Fresh off of two straight losses, Stanford rallied with a third-string quarterback to destroy UCLA last week. Now comes what should be a much easier task against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Stanford Cardinal
Date and Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA
Opening College Football Odds: Stanford -15.5
Arizona State vs. Stanford TV Coverage: Pac-12 Network

Well, that’s much better out of Stanford, isn’t it? On a night when the team allowed almost 600 yards of offense, the Cardinal still got their act together against UCLA thanks to four forced turnovers, a blocked field goal and 263 yards on the ground from Bryce Love to beat the Bruins 58-34.

You hate to say that defense that allowed 595 yards played a “good game” against UCLA, but things are at least coming together in terms of forced turnovers. The Cardinal are disciplined on that side of the ball and are still trying to figure out how to piece it all together this year.

But if Love keeps running like this, he could end up getting his name on the short list when it comes to Heisman Trophy consideration heading into October.

You probably weren’t still awake on Saturday night when Arizona State shocked Oregon 37-35. The Sun Devils had the same sort of problem that Stanford did, as they just flat out couldn’t slow down the Ducks but did just enough offensively to win the game.

The difference is that ASU put together a ridiculous passing performance. N’Keal Harry had seven receptions, 170 yards and a touchdown, while Jalen Harvey hauled in eight balls for 133 yards to help guide the Sun Devils to a big upset and a win that Todd Graham badly needed to take some of the heat off of his rather toasty seat.

Still, for the season, the Sun Devils are just 2-2, and their defense has yet to hold a team under 30 points this year. This doesn’t have a lot of promise to be the first, especially if Love is running wild.

Injury Report

The elephant in the room for Stanford right now revolves around its quarterbacks. We already know that the Cardinal romped UCLA with K.J. Costello surprisingly playing most of the game, but we have to wonder if he can prepare as a starter now that he has clearly supplanted Ryan Burns as the primary backup to Keller Chryst.

Then again, we also have to wonder if it’s going to matter or not. Chryst suffered a head injury and is going to have to clear concussion protocol to play this week. But even if he does, should it matter? Costello went 13-for-19 for 123 yards and two touchdowns and was clearly the best quarterback on the field against a UCLA team that brought in an NFL quarterback to Palo Alto in Josh Rosen.

Arizona State vs. Stanford Free Picks

Arizona State always feels like a skittish team to us. Manny Wilkins can run all over the place and ad lib plays together, but the offense always feels a little bit off-balance.

Stanford is the polar opposite. Even in such a poor defensive performance against UCLA, you always had the feeling that the team wasn’t going to break and knew what it was doing. Just as it was always about trusting in Christian McCaffrey for three years, it’s now about “feeling the Love.” If Stanford keeps doing that, we’re going to have a hard time making a case for a poor Arizona State defense slowing it down.

Even if the Sun Devils do happen to amass 400 or 500 yards in this game, they’re still going to be up against it to beat this number set by all of your favorite internet sportsbooks.

College Football ATS Pick: Stanford -15.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Stanford 47, Arizona State 27

NFL Week 2 Picks, Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts Betting Odds

Cardinals vs. Colts ATS Picks

 Week 2 Opening NFL Odds

By Mike Rose

So the Indianapolis Colts got their tails whipped so badly last week that head coach Chuck Pagano forgot who they actually played in his postgame presser. Talk about getting your bell rung! The Arizona Cardinals looked to be well on their way towards winning their season opener in Detroit, but then Matthew Stafford once again rose up from the ashes with another brilliant fourth quarter performance. Each of these teams are still licking their wounds heading into Sunday’s Week 2 clash.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts
Date and Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
Week 2 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Cardinals -7, O/U 44.5
Cardinals vs. Colts TV Coverage: FOX

You can’t help but feel for the Cardinals right now. David Johnson was pretty much the unanimous No. 1 draft pick in fantasy league across the globe. Unfortunately, the multifaceted running back is going to miss a bulk of the season due to a dislocated left wrist suffered late in the third quarter at Detroit. His absence is detrimental to a Cardinals attack that’s gotten much longer in the tooth over the last few seasons.

Once he departed the game, the Cardinals offense went back into its shell. It took 26 unanswered points by the Lions offense and defense before Arizona found the end zone again. By then, the game was well in hand. Detroit went on to win 35-23 and covered the 2.5-point spread much to the dismay of those with Arizona tickets in hand. The defeat moved Bruce Arians’ squad to 2-5 straight up and against the spread in its last seven road games.

How bad is it in Indianapolis right now? So bad that the Colts just got their clocks cleaned by a Los Angeles Rams team that won a grand total of four games a short season ago. I mean seriously, what the heck was that?! Jared Goff picked Indy’s defense apart to the tune of 306 passing yards by way of completing 21 of 29 passes. The second-year signal caller enters Week 2 with a 117.9 QB rating because of it. Hey, at least the defense was able to keep fantasy owners of Todd Gurley depressed after limiting him to 40 yards and a score on 19 carries.

In all seriousness, it’s ugly in Indianapolis right now. The injury to Andrew Luck has sent shockwaves through the franchise. How upper management didn’t bring a viable back-up to replace him in the offseason is beyond me. Only recently was Jacoby Brissett brought in, and he still has a ton of studying to do to fully comprehend the playbook. It looks like it’s only going to get much worse before it gets any better for this franchise.

Injuries

David Johnson The absence of Johnson completely changes the way in which opposing defenses will look to defend the Cardinals’ offense. That bodes terribly for an aging Carson Palmer who did nothing to silence his critics last week after throwing three picks and only one touchdown with the latter coming in garbage time. Replacing Johnson in the backfield will be Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington with the recently cut Chris Johnson only a phone call away.

Andrew Luck How would you like to make your first start of the season and have your very first pass picked off and taken to the house? That’s the harsh reality Scott Tolzien dealt with last week when he got in under center to lead the Colts offense against the Rams. Then it happened again in the third quarter when a pass intended for T.Y. Hilton was pick-sixed. Having seen enough, Pagano called upon newly acquired Brissett. His first hand-off to Marlon Mack was fumbled. He pounced on it, but it was in the end zone. Safety. It’s nothing but a comedy of errors under center with Luck nursing yet another injury.

Cardinals vs. Colts Picks

As bad as the Cardinals looked in the second half last week, they’re still the much better of these two teams. Even with David Johnson out of commission. The Colts defense was a flat out joke last week. It failed to get any pressure on Goff ultimately allowing him to tally the best performance of his young NFL career. When Palmer has time to sit back in the pocket and survey the field, he’s deadly. That’s likely to occur on Sunday with Indianapolis registering just one sack against the Rams in its season debut.

When you pair the advantage Arizona has offensively with the fact that the Colts will be marching either Tolzien or the unprepared Brissett under center, there’s really only one way I can go in this matchup when placing a wager at a top rated sportsbook. Lay the chalk and look for the Cards to vent some frustration. The boo birds will be out in full force at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Cardinals vs. Colts Week 2 ATS Pick: Cardinals -7.5 at BookMaker.eu
Cardinals vs. Colts Score Prediction: Cardinals 33 – Colts 10