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Boxing Picks 2021- Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders (May 8th)

There have been some solid cards over the last several months, but the largely absent fans has been a big miss for Boxing as much as other s...

Monday, 31 December 2012

Tennis Picks (January 1st)

The first day of the new season couldn't have gone much better if I am honest as both picks came in, but this is an extremely long season that is just beginning so I wouldn't go overboard about any successes and failures that we see this early on.

Let's see what happens on the second day as tournaments in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East continue.

Tatsuma Ito v John Millman: These two players are of a similar age but it is Tatsuma Ito that has had considerable more success on the main Tour than his Australian opponent John Millman.

I am surprised that the layers have made Ito the underdog in this contest and think that is mainly down to the fact that Millman has won three rounds to get through to this main draw. Millman did the same last season before being beaten by Santiago Giraldo in the first round here.

Ito has also dominated Millman in previous meetings, winning on all 3 occasions they played each other in the previous season with all the wins coming on a hard court. As the underdog, he has to be worth a small play in this one.

MY PICKS: Tatsuma Ito @ 2.30 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

Weekly Update: 2-0, + 3.06 (3 Units Staked, + 102% Yield)

Tennis Picks (December 31st)

It feels like yesterday we saw the end of the tennis season with both Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych helping the Czech Republic lift the Davis Cup a little under a week after Novak Djokovic had won the End of Year Championships at the O2 Arena.

It seems like the layers have been taking a casual approach to the first tournaments of the 2013 season, with some of the tournaments not having their outright winner prices up. That could be down to late withdrawals, while Andy Murray is the big favourite to retain his title in Brisbane.

All of that meant I am not going to make any outright selections to open this new season, but I will be making my picks from the action as always. At some point before the Australian Open, I will post a thread with things I am looking forward to in the 2013 season and also just updating how the 2012 season went, another profitable season from the tennis picks I made.

Let's hope for another wonderful season of action...

Jarkko Nieminen - 1.5 games v Julien Benneteau: Both of these players are likely to slip in the Rankings this season as their better days are behind them, but I like Jarkko Nieminen's chances as he has beaten Julien Benneteau in all 5 professional meetings.

Nieminen and Benneteau are similar players, but I do believe the Finnish player has had the better of the meetings because his form doesn't fluctuate as much as Benneteau's can.

Nieminen beat Benneteau in the Final in Sydney last season, winning that match 6-2, 7-5 and I think he has the mental edge to beat the Frenchman again.

Simone Bolelli v Daniel Gimeno-Traver & Victor Troicki v Bjorn Phau Double: The layers have not put up any of the handicap markets for the matches in Doha, so I'll stick these two players in a double.

Both should be too strong for their respective opponents, although I don't trust either player enough to make this more than a unit play. Simone Bolelli and Victor Troicki are the better hard court players than their opponents, although both are capable of playing stinkers. However, their opponents are also guilty of too many unforced errors and beating themselves so I'll chance this double.

MY PICKS: Jarkko Nieminen - 1.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Simone Bolelli & Victor Troicki Double @ 2.36 Bet Fred (1 Unit)

Sunday, 30 December 2012

NFL Week 17 Picks 2012

The last week of the NFL season is always a minefield to negotiate as you have to keep a real eye on incentive and whether Head Coaches are going to rest players ahead of the Play Offs.

The other factor is whether teams are still playing for their Head Coaches with Black Monday almost upon us. All of this adds up to taking a bit more care than usual in trying to negotiate Week 17.

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills Pick: I'll be taking the underdog in this one to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, I am very surprised to see the Buffalo Bills as favourites of more than a field goal- This is a team that has lost 3 straight and shown very little Offensively in those games.

Second, it would be silly to ignore the fact that the Jets have won the last 6 in this Divisional series and they are 8-1 in the last 9. That run includes 4 wins on the road.

Third, I think the New York Jets players are still very much in line with what Rex Ryan wants to do at the club, while Buffalo have looked a little downbeat on how the season has developed.

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals Pick: I think both of these clubs are locked into their positions and they won't be meeting one another in the Play Offs next week. However, I think the Coaches are taking a different stance on the game so I am taking the home favourites to cover for the following reasons:

First, the suggestion is that John Harbaugh will be resting players as he looks to get his Ravens side healthy... On the other hand, Marvin Lewis has been talking about how resting his starters did no good for the team last season and he will be playing his main men.

Second, the Bengals will want to prove themselves after knocking off the Steelers last week and they will want people to take them seriously by knocking off the other big boy in the AFC North.

Third, the Bengals did lose to Baltimore here last season, but they had beaten them in back to back games at home before that loss.

Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts Pick: I'll back the Houston Texans in this game for the following reasons:

First, this game is much more important to the Texans than it is for the Colts- simply put, the Texans need to win to ensure they have home-field advantage in the Play Offs, while the Colts are definitely the Number 5 seed in the AFC.

Second, there is a real suggestion that Indianapolis will rest their starters- their Defense has stunk for the most part this season so I have little faith the second string will be able to stop the Houston starters. Without Andrew Luck, I don't see a backdoor cover.

Third, Houston have always played hard in Week 17 and they are 3-0-2 against the spread over the last 5 seasons in that spot.

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants Pick: I'll back the underdog to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, I hate when a team needs to win- someone much more famous than me once said 'if you need to win, it's probably because you're a bad team'... The Giants need to win and hope a lot of good things go their way, but they have been playing badly in recent weeks so getting almost a touchdown head-start looks big.

Second, this is the Eagles Super Bowl- I think there is a lot of respect for Andy Reid and I believe the team will play hard for him even if they do come up a little short.

Third, the Eagles have owned the Giants in recent games in the series and they are 8-1 straight up in those games.

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions Pick: The Chicago Bears are another that 'need' to win to give themselves a chance to make the Play Offs and I like their chances in this one for the following reasons:

First, the Detroit Lions just make far too many mistakes that kills their drives and they don't have any Offensive options outside of Calvin Johnson.

Second, injuries to the Defensive front four will make life a little easier for Jay Cutler to expose a soft Secondary.

Third, the Bears have owned this Divisional series, going 8-1 in the last 9 in the series. They did lose here last season, but had won 3 in a row on the road before that.

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots Pick: The New England Patriots have a chance to wrap up one of the top two seeds in the AFC and I think they win this one in style for the following reasons:

First, I think Bill Belichick can scheme well enough to make it tough for the rookie Quarter Back Ryan Tannehill, while Tom Brady should be able to move the chains much more consistently.

Second, Miami are one of the best underdog teams to back in the NFL, but they are 1-4 against the spread in the last five seasons in Week 17, while going 0-3 as the underdog.

Third, New England won a close one last season at home against the Dolphins, but their previous 2 home wins were by double-digits.

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings Pick: I like the Green Bay Packers in this one for the following reasons:

First, Green Bay have just as much motivation as Minnesota in this game with Play Off implications and they will want that bye next week in the first round of the Play Offs... Then I just believe they are the better team of the two.

Second, the Packers have won 5 straight in the series including back to back wins on the road at Minnesota.

Third, I expect Adrian Peterson to get some big numbers, but I also believe Christian Ponder will make a mistake or two that will be punished by Green Bay and allow them to win this game with the cover.

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers Pick: I like the San Diego Chargers in this one for the following reasons:

First, Norv Turner is almost certainly going to lose his job as Head Coach of the Chargers at the end of the season, but the players do seem to like him and I think they give their all for him in this one.

Second, Oakland have just looked lethargic down the stretch and there are going to be some big personnel changes on the playing field and they look like a team that hasn't cared enough in recent games.

Third, the Raiders are also stating Terrelle Pryor in this one and I believe the San Diego Defense is good enough to take advantage of his inexperience and help the team to the win and cover

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins Pick: Some of the line value has gone, but I still like the Dallas Cowboys with the points for the following reasons:

First, this looks like a very close game so getting the points is a big bonus to me. I think both teams will have a lot of success Offensively, so 3 points could be very big at the end of the day.

Second, the Cowboys have won 3 of their last 4 visits to Washington and may have a better idea of what to expect from the Redskins the second time they play them this season.

Third, Dallas are 11-5 against the spread as the road underdog in recent seasons.

Fourth, the Redskins are just 4-10 against the spread as the home favourite in recent seasons.

MY PICKS: New York Jets + 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Cincinnati Bengals - 3 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Houston Texans - 6 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles + 6.5 Points @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Chicago Bears - 3 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
New England Patriots - 9.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 3 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (2 Units)
San Diego Chargers - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Dallas Cowboys + 3 Points @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

College Football Bowl Games 2012

The first week of the Bowl Games are not the most interesting, but it is around ten days before the National Championship Game when things start picking up. This is the time when some of the bigger schools and the more interesting Bowl Games start taking shape.

I'll be making my picks throughout the next ten days and only when I think there is a school worth taking. My full reasons will be given with the picks, as always, but this has been a difficult year for me in the NCAA.

December 29th
Syracuse Orange v West Virginia Mountaineers Pick: I like the Syracuse Orange to keep this game close enough to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the West Virginia Offense gets all the media attention, but the Syracuse Offense is under-rated and can certainly score a lot of points against this Mountaineers Defense.

Second, the Orange are well accustomed to seeing this West Virginia team and they have made life extremely difficult for Geno Smith in two previous meetings, only allowing 3 passing touchdowns but also creating 5 interceptions.

Third, the Mountaineers have failed to cover the spread in their last 3 Bowl Games when they have been set as the favourite.

Fourth, getting more than a field goal in this game looks fairly generous as the team that has the ball last could very easily win this game outright.

Oregon State Beavers v Texas Longhorns Pick: I like the Texas Longhorns to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, I think the Longhorns will rally together after a couple of their players were sent home for breaking curfew and with allegations of sexual assault floating around.

Second, I also believe the Texas Defense can make a couple of turnovers that will give them a chance to cover the spread even if they don't win outright.

Third, Oregon State have just begun to struggle down the stretch in the regular season and I am not sure they deserve to be more than a field goal favourite in this one.

January 1st
Michigan Wolverines v South Carolina Gamecocks Pick: I like the SEC's South Carolina Gamecocks to win and cover for the following reasons:

First, I think the SEC is faster and more athletic than the Big Ten and I believe South Carolina will find a way to slow down Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson and do something similar to what Alabama did on opening day of the season.

Second, I also believe the Gamecocks are better on both sides of the ball and have the playmakers to get things done.

Third, the Wolverines struggled against the best teams they played this season and South Carolina are in amongst those kind of schools and should do enough to take this game away from them.

Nebraska Cornhuskers v Georgia Bulldogs Pick: I like the Georgia Bulldogs to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, I think Mark Richt will have the Bulldogs fired up despite their heartbreaking loss in the SEC Championship Game.

Second, similar to what I said in the game above, I think the SEC are too athletic and too fast for the Big Ten teams.

Third, the Cornhuskers were crushed by the South Carolina Gamecocks in a Bowl Game last season and I don't have a lot of faith in a team that was crushed as comprehensively as they were against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Wisconsin Badgers v Stanford Cardinal Pick: I'll be backing the Stanford Cardinal to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, I believe the Cardinal will have more success on both sides of the ball in this one and that should allow them to win this by a touchdown in my opinion.

Second, I also believe the consistency in the coaching staff at Stanford will see them home in this one.

Third, I am not a fan of the Big Ten and I do think Wisconsin will have a hard time in this one and likely to commit a key turnover late in the game that allow the Cardinal to cover this spread.

January 3rd
Oregon Ducks v Kansas State Wildcats Pick: Both of these schools are very similar in the way they their Offenses look to dictate games, but I just think there is enough about the Oregon Ducks to think they win and cover the spread.

I think this will have a similar feel to the Baylor-Kansas State game in which the Wildcats were just bludgeoned by a team that could score at will and I think Oregon will do the same here.

The added incentive in performing for Chip Kelly in what could be his final game at Oregon before moving into the NFL Head Coach ranks means I like the Ducks in this one.

January 4th
Texas A&M Aggies v Oklahoma Sooners Pick: It is such a shame that we have lost half a point on this line, but I am still going to back the Oklahoma Sooners with the head start in what looks like a really close game.

Johnny Manziel has been phenomenal this season, but there is a chance that Landry Jones can outshine him in this one as I think the latter will want to prove to NFL scouts that he is ready for the next level.

Oklahoma also have a strong recent record against the Aggies and I think Bob Stoops will have got a good game plan together with the time he has had to prepare for this game. I'd be surprised if the Sooners are blown out and the 3 points could be a lot at the end of the night.

January 7th
Notre Dame Fighting Irish v Alabama Crimson Tide Pick: Brian Kelly has openly talked about building his Notre Dame team in a similar manner to what he sees of Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide and they do look closely matched in the way they want to play this game.

Both teams will look to run the ball effectively and put their Quarter Back in a position to make some plays and manage the Offense to enough points and then let their Defense take over.

Both Defenses are amongst the best in the nation and at first glance, 9.5 points looks a big spread. However, I think the experience of Alabama and the fact that they are a lot more battle hardened having played in the SEC all season and I think they are going to win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

It'll likely be close for much of the contest, but I'll look for Alabama to make the plays that leads them to a 20-10 win.

MY PICKS: Syracuse Orange + 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Texas Longhorns + 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
South Carolina - 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Georgia Bulldogs - 8 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Stanford Cardinal - 5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Oregon Ducks - 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Oklahoma Sooners + 3 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Weekend Football Picks (December 29-30)

So this is it... The final Premier League fixtures of 2012 are upon us and these are the final picks of 2012 from those set of games. I had an awful week last week which took away all of the profit earned this month with 7 straight losing picks as nothing quite went right.

It is best not too worry too much about that because it has still been a successful 5 months of the season and you just have to take the rough with the smooth.

Fulham v Swansea Pick: Martin Jol must be feeling the pressure somewhat as his Fulham side have been struggling for consistent results in recent weeks, but I do feel this game will present them with an opportunity to pick up three points and keep a nice buffer between themselves and the bottom three sides.

Fulham haven't been the same team of previous years, but that is unsurprising considering they loss the likes of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey in the last transfer window. However, they have still got enough about them to win games like this even though they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Southampton here on Boxing Day.

One element in Fulham's favour is the fact that Swansea are likely missing Michu who has been an inspiring signing made by Michael Laudrup- without the Spaniard's feel for a goal, I think Swansea will struggle to get on the scoreboard and Fulham will sneak the win at odds against.

Manchester United v West Brom Pick: It was entertaining at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, but Sir Alex Ferguson will not want to be taken through the mill in this game and I expect Manchester United to come out with a little more control of this game.

West Brom have been very good this season and are a real surprise outfit, but they have lost 4 games away from home and 3 of those have come by a couple of goals at least and I fancy United will be the latest side to manage that against them.

United have beaten West Brom by at least 2 goals the last 4 times they have beaten them at Old Trafford and there are still plenty of goals in the side even without Wayne Rooney who won't be back in the line up until the second week of January.

I'll be looking for United to get on the front foot early and try and put this game to bed so they can then start thinking about the trip to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday.

Norwich City v Manchester City Pick: All is certainly not right at Manchester City and I truly believe that Pep Guardiola is being lined up to take over from Roberto Mancini who seemingly has lot the knack of getting the best out of a squad that cost multi-millions to put together.

Their loss at Sunderland hurt all the more with Manchester United's last winner against Newcastle United, but there is surely too much quality for them to continue failing to get the results they need desperately.

This won't be an easy game at Norwich City who have already beaten Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United here this season, although they were defeated by Liverpool and Chelsea. I think they can push Manchester City, but can they get a result?

Pinnacle are offering 2.63 that Norwich can get a result in this one and the current downbeat nature of City and their strangely lethargic performances makes that seem a big price to me.

Reading v West Ham United Pick: This is the biggest game of the season for Reading as I truly believe a failure to win could already signal the death knell for their Premier League future. A 0-0 home draw against Swansea on Boxing Day at least ended a run of 7 straight losses for the Royals, but that might be seen as two points dropped rather than one gained when it is all said and done in May.

I was surprised that Reading have now twice failed to score at home this season in the League, especially considering they have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their 11 home games in all competitions this season, including in losing efforts against Manchester United and Arsenal.

With the injuries in the West Ham United squad, there is every chance that Reading can reach that total again and I think the familiarity of playing West Ham may work to their favour. Reading beat West Ham 3-0 here and 2-4 at Upton Park last season as both were promoted from the Championship and I do think the 2.63 offered by Coral for at least 2 home goals looks a decent shout in this one.

Arsenal v Newcastle United Pick: Alan Pardew has been put in his place by Sir Alex Ferguson in the latter's press conference on Friday, but the bigger issue may be a tiredness in the Newcastle United squad that would have come from putting in a big effort in the 4-3 loss at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

At the same time Arsenal would have been resting with their game against West Ham United being called off due to a planned tube strike and that should give the home side enough of an edge to see off Newcastle with a little more ease than Manchester United did.

I expect Arsenal's pace will expose a backline that struggled in that regards against Manchester United, and I also think the lack of creativity in the midfield will make it tough for Newcastle to keep hold of the ball for long enough to do any damage themselves.

Arsenal are 2.10 to win this game by a couple of goals at least and that is what I'll be picking in this one.

Everton v Chelsea Pick: This looks like being a tight, tense game and there won't be much between the sides when the final whistle is blown. In fact, I think it will be so tight that the game will end in a draw.

Everton have been one of those sides involved in a number of draws this season, including here at Goodison Park against Liverpool and Arsenal. I also am not convinced that Chelsea have definitely turned a corner and this looks the type of game where they would drop points.

Both sides would likely be happy with a draw when it is all said and done and it could become a vital point at the end of the season.

Queens Park Rangers v Liverpool Pick: Queens Park Rangers feel like they were very unlucky to lose their last game against West Brom at home and you have to think that Harry Redknapp will send them out with a point to prove knowing that the other sides down the bottom got some very good results on Saturday.

Liverpool are another side that may be looking at the transfer window in a bid to inject more life into a squad that looks a little tired at times. They do look ripe for the upset in this one having been beaten comfortably at Stoke City during the week.

This was also the game that got QPR the belief that they would survive last season and I think they look a big price to repeat those efforts in this one.

MY PICKS: Fulham @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Manchester United - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.92 Bet Fred (3 Units)
Norwich City + 0.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.63 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Reading Over 1.5 Team Goals @ 2.63 Coral (1 Unit)
Arsenal - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Everton-Chelsea Draw @ 3.50 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Queens Park Rangers @ 4.33 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

December Update15-19-1, + 0.21 Units (42 Units Staked, + 0.05 % Yield)

November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

NFL Week 16 Picks 2012

The last three weeks in the NFL, ever since Thanksgiving Day in fact, have been ridiculously hard to negotiate and each week I have had a few crappy things going against me which has made it even tougher.

It's just the way it has gone and what was proving to be a decent season has suddenly gone south very very quickly. Hopefully the next two weeks and the Play Offs will prove to be a better time period.

I will say that you need to be careful in trying to determine the motivation of teams and whether they are still playing hard or not at all when capping the last couple of weeks. Another factor to look out for is the teams that are secure in a certain spot in the Play Offs who decide that they are going to rest their starters or they are going to pull them in games.

Oakland Raiders @ Carolina Panthers Pick: I like the Carolina Panthers in this game to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Panthers are definitely playing better football of the two and are on a bit of a roll at the moment. On the other hand, Oakland have won just 2 of their last 8 games and both of those were against the awful Kansas City Chiefs.

Second, I don't like when teams travel from West to East to play an early afternoon game, but that is exactly the situation that the Raiders find themselves in for this game.

Third, Oakland are just 6-13 against the spread as the road underdog when playing non-Divisional teams.

Tennessee Titans @ Green Bay Packers Pick: I think the Green Bay Packers are going to be far too strong for the Tennessee Titans for the following reasons:

First, the Packers have a lot of motivation for this game as they can give themselves a real chance to still finish with the number 2 seed in the NFC and get the additional time off to rest in the Play Offs. Tennessee don't have a lot left to play for and may be more concentrated on beating Jacksonville at home in their final game of the season.

Second, Aaron Rodgers is 8-4 against the spread when favoured to win by double digits, going 1-0 in that spot this season.

Third, I don't like Tennessee's chances with the number of blow outs they have had against some of the better teams in the NFL and I just don't know how they slow down the Packers in this one.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins Pick: I know the Dolphins had a big win last week, but I still don't like them as a home favourite and will be picking the Bills to keep this close enough to cover for the following reasons:

First, the Dolphins can still make the Play Offs so the pressure will be on them here and Buffalo would like nothing less than to put out one of their Divisional rivals so should play much harder than they did against Seattle last week in Toronto.

Second, the Dolphins are just 3-11 against the spread as the home favourite in a Divisional game.

Third, Miami are just 10-33-1 against the spread as the home favourite.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick: I like the Pittsburgh Steelers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:
First, the Steelers know they are drinking in the last chance saloon when it comes to their Play Off hopes, but they are the better team and Cincinnati have struggled when playing the best in the NFL.

Second, Andy Dalton is just 3-6 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record.

Third, the Steelers knocked off the Bengals on the road earlier this season and have now won 5 games in a row in the series, including back to back blow outs at Heinz Field.

Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs Pick: I like the Indianapolis Colts to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, I think the Kansas City Chiefs have given up on this season judging by their horrible effort in a loss at the Oakland Raiders last weekend and the focus may be on the end of the season and hoping to pick up the number 1 pick in the Draft.

Second, Indianapolis can clinch a Play Off berth with a win in this one and I think Andrew Luck will make enough big plays to see the Colts pull away in this one.

Third, I know Brady Quinn has screwed me with his mixed performances over the last two weeks, but the guy is terrible and is struggling a lot more without Dwayne Bowe so I don't know how the Chiefs make enough plays to stay in this game if they fall into a big deficit.

New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys Pick: A lot of credit needs to go to the Dallas Cowboys for their late comebacks the past two weeks, but I still think they are a tough favourite to back so will be picking the New Orleans Saints for the following reasons:

First, as I say, I am not convinced Dallas are ready to be made the favourites in home games where they have disappointed so often. They are just 4-16 against the spread as the home favourite over the last three seasons.

Second, the New Orleans Saints have no pressure on their shoulders and they can match Dallas point for point as long as Drew Brees continues from where he left off last week. Brees should be fully motivated as he gets to play in his home State.

Third, the Saints have won 3 straight games in Dallas and they are 6-1 in the last 7 games overall.

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles Pick: I am going to take the underdog Philadelphia Eagles to make this a tough game for the Washington Redskins for the following reasons:

First, it has been a horrible season for the Philadelphia Eagles, but I expect them to play really hard in their final two games against Divisional rivals as they would love to put the spanner in the works if at all possible.

Second, this is a new dynamic for the Redskins as it will be only the second time that they are favoured on the road- they lost the first time against St Louis and they may just take a breather now that Robert Griffin III has been cleared for them.

Third, Washington know they cannot afford to blow their beans in this one as they have a big game with the Cowboys on deck and I can see the Eagles at least putting in one big effort at home and even grabbing a back door cover.

New York Giants @ Baltimore Ravens Pick: I think the desperate New York Giants will do enough to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Baltimore have backed into the Play Offs, but they are in the Play Offs and may be looking to see how they can get things going for the post-season and not overly concern themselves with this game. On the other hand, the Giants are off a humiliating loss last week in Atlanta and can't afford a loss as wins for Dallas and Washington will see them out of the post-season.

Second, the Giants are 18-10 against the spread as the road favourite in recent seasons.

Third, Baltimore have rarely been set as the home underdog, but they are 2-6 against the spread in that spot when playing non-Divisional teams in recent seasons.

Fourth, the Ravens may be more concerned with their game at Cincinnati next week which could decide the Division and may be overlooking the Giants who need this game a lot more than Baltimore do.

Chicago Bears @ Arizona Cardinals Pick: I am going to back the Chicago Bears to get something going in their bid to reach the Play Offs and win this game with some room to spare for the following reasons:

First, both Offensive Lines have struggled but I would favour Jay Cutler over Ryan Lindley at the Quarter Back position.

Second, I think the Cardinals were very good at creating turnovers last weekend, but I do like Chicago's Defense a little more in this one and think they will  create enough short-fields to win this game going away.

Third, the Bears are a decent road favourite, going 8-3-1 against the spread in that spot over the last few years.

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks Pick: I'll have an interest in the Seattle Seahawks in this game to win and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, Seattle have been a really tough home team for years, going 25-12 against the spread in that spot over the last few seasons.

Second, this game is more important to the Seahawks than it is for San Francisco and I think they are going to come out to show they are one of the best teams in the NFC and a real threat to reach the Super Bowl.

Third, San Francisco have not won 3 games in a row at any point this season and they are coming off an emotional win over New England when they were pulled back from a 28 point lead but still managed to find some reserves of energy to win.

Fourth, the home team has dominated the recent series by going 6-1 in the last 7 games in this series.

MY PICKS: Carolina Panthers - 8.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 12.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Buffalo Bills + 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Indianapolis Colts - 7 Points @ 2.05 Pinnacle (3 Units)
New Orleans Saints + 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles + 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
New York Giants - 1.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Victor (3 Units)
Chicago Bears - 6 Points @ 1.92 William Hill (3 Units)
Seattle Seahawks - 1.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Weekend Football (December 22-23)

All I know about this time of the season is how busy it gets and fixtures come around thick and fast, but there has been another week between games and this is the final calm before the fast run of games that are coming our way in the next ten days.

The most notable news of the week has to come out of the Champions League with a number of eye-catching ties, particularly the one involving my Manchester United and Real Madrid- the media should have an absolute blast with that fixture as it involves the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson and obviously the history of the two clubs that have won a combined 12 European Cups.

It was actually the one tie that I wanted to avoid until later in the tournament, but I have begun to look at it another way- either United are going to show they have the class to win the Champions League, something I have very much doubted this season, or they are going to go out of the tournament and won't have to worry about the strain on the squad that Manchester City will not be facing come the end of the season.

Anyway, get ready for a feast of football over this Christmas period... These are my picks for the weekend games in the Premier League.

Wigan Athletic v Arsenal Pick: On Monday night, I had recommended backing over 3.5 goals in the Reading-Arsenal game and that was never in doubt with the way Reading were defending in the contest.

This is another game that could go the same way as Wigan are really struggling for defensive numbers and the fixture is one that has routinely produced goals in the past. The last 4 League games at the DW Stadium have all ended with at least 4 goals scored and I think both sides are good for at least one in this contest.

Arsenal also can put all their attention on this game now that they managed to get their Boxing Day clash with West Ham United called off (despite Fulham and Queens Park Rangers playing home games in London on the same day). This could be a decent bit of entertainment for those who catch it on Saturday afternoon.

Manchester City v Reading Pick: Reading looked absolutely shocking defensively against Arsenal and even the way they played after leading Manchester United in a recent game was disappointing for them to say the least.

That kind of defending will absolutely be punished by Manchester City, a team that looked a lot better at Newcastle United last weekend when pairing Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez up front. City have the power and creativity to open Reading up in this one and anything less would be a surprise to me.

City will also want to up the pressure on Manchester United who won't be playing until Sunday. I just think they can get on the front foot here and put away a Reading side that could easily be more focused on their up coming games against Swansea and West Ham United at home over the next week.

Southampton v Sunderland Pick: Adam Lallana is missing for Southampton in this game, but I still think they can pick up a huge three points against a Sunderland side that have struggled away from home.

Goals have been a problem for Sunderland, but they have begun to find their way on that front. However, they have also looked like a side that will struggle for clean sheets and there is no doubting that Southampton create chances and cause problems for sides, particularly at their St Mary's Stadium.

It wouldn't be a huge surprise if both teams score in this one, but I think Southampton will be a little too strong and earn the three points that will see them move above Sunderland in the League table.

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City Pick: Tottenham Hotspur have struggled for consistency this season and they do concede a lot of late goals, but the 1-0 win over Swansea last Sunday will do a lot for their confidence. However, it won't be easy against Stoke who have been one of the toughest teams to beat in the League.

Stoke have also managed to pick up results at White Hart Lane in 2 of their 4 visits since returning to the top flight and they have scored at least one goal in all of those games. They have also found the next at Manchester United this season so I wouldn't be surprised if they did score in this one.

I still can't help but think that Spurs find a way to win and backing them to do so in a game where both sides score looks like the call from this one.

Liverpool v Fulham Pick: This might look a crazy pick at first sight, but there is no way in a million years that Fulham deserve to be 2.80 to avoid defeat at Liverpool. The home side have struggled to turn out wins at Anfield in the entire calender year and I know Fulham are not the best on their travels.

However, they have earned a result in 3 of their last 4 games at Anfield and Fulham can also point to draws at Arsenal and Chelsea to suggest they are capable of causing a surprise here.

Sometimes the layers look at a teams name and they automatically price them far lower than they should be and I really believe this is one of those occasions. In this calender year alone, the likes of Aston Villa (twice), Newcastle, Stoke (twice), West Brom, Fulham and Wigan have all got a result at Anfield so 2.80 looks remarkable value to me.

Swansea v Manchester United Pick: Swansea have been good enough so far this season to think they won't be going down this season, but they have also been a little streaky- however, they have been better at home and I expect them to cause Manchester United some real problems in this one despite losing 3-4 to Norwich City in their last home game.

One thing United have been good for this season is for entertaining the fans, although most will tell you they could do without United falling behind before they start playing this time. The away form has been brilliant again this season and it is important to note that United have won 7 of their 9 away games this season even though they have only kept 1 clean sheet.

The return of Nemanja Vidic should improve the defensive side of things for United going forward, but that might take a little time to settle. I still think United are going to be too good for Swansea in their current form, but don't be surprised if Swansea become the latest side to score against United in this one.

Chelsea v Aston Villa Pick: There clearly wasn't really much of a jet lag issue for Chelsea as they brushed aside Leeds United in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday evening, but I expect this one to be a little tougher for them as Aston Villa have started putting some performances together.

Villa have also performed admirably in visits to Stamford Bridge in recent seasons and I definitely think the layers are under-estimating their chances of causing something of an upset here.

That is not to say that I think Chelsea won't win this game, just that I believe their defensive issues could be exposed and I think Aston Villa are capable of scoring at least one goal in the game, albeit in a losing effort.

MY PICKS: Wigan Athletic-Arsenal Over 3.5 Goals @ 2.63 Coral (1 Unit)
Manchester City - 2.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.05 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Southampton to Win and Over 2.5 Goals scored in the match @ 3.25 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Both teams to score and Tottenham Hotspur to win @ 3.50 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Fulham + 0.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.80 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Both teams to score and Manchester United to win @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Both teams to score and Chelsea to win @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

December Update15-12-1, + 8.21 Units (34 Units Staked, + 24.1 % Yield)

November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

NFL Week 15 Picks 2012

Anyone who reads my picks for any of the threads I create will know that I don't ever complain about the results- usually I accept you have to take the bad days with the good and over the course of a season, the luck will level itself out.

However, the Week 14 games really did mess with my mind to the point that I felt I was deliberately being targeted by teams looking to see who could sicken me the most with their failure to cover.

It was a horrible week, but take a look at some of the bad breaks that took me down..I accept the Pittsburgh Steelers - 7.5 Points was a terrible call and I should have ignored it coming off a big win over Baltimore, but check these out:

1) Tampa Bay - 7 Points: Tampa Bay were leading by 11 points with a little under 5 minutes remaining and still allowed the Philadelphia Eagles to come back and not just cover, but outright win the game

2) Baltimore Ravens + 2.5 Points: This should have been my warning for how the entire week was going to go... Baltimore are up by 8 points with the clock running down on the game and they manage to knock Robert Griffin III out of the game. However, they can't stop Kirk Cousins throwing a touchdown pass AND complete the 2 point play to take the game to overtime.

I'm still not too bothered as Baltimore should have won in regulation barring a couple of ridiculous plays from Joe Flacco where he gave up a sack-fumble and threw and interception to avoid a sack while the Ravens were dominating. Even the three and out for the Ravens didn't bother me in overtime as I thought they wouldn't allow Cousins to dominate them for a second series... It didn't matter though as they allow a 64 yard punt return which sets up the chip shot and is the first of Special Teams that will kill me.

3) Chicago Bears - 2.5 Points: After the opening drive, Minnesota can't really get much going Offensively, but Jay Cutler helps out wonderfully by throwing 2 interceptions- one of those went back to the house, the other ended inside the Chicago 15 and the Vikings win by 7.

4) New Orleans Saints + 5 Points: I was stunned seeing what the New Orleans Saints did to kill themselves in this game against the New York Giants- first off, when was the last time a team allowed over 300 yards in kick and punt returns? Even when they got within 8, they kicked off short and allowed a different return man to go 60 yards.

That was bad enough as it meant the Giants actually had short fields all day which made life easy for them... Only for the Saints to help out by fumbling twice in the first quarter and turning the ball over 4 times!

5) Miami Dolphins + 10.5 Points: Another sickener as the Miami Dolphins were down by 7 with the clock winding down to the 2 minute warning and they have the San Francisco 49ers in a 3rd and 5 in 49ers territory.

Basically a first down for the 49ers will mean they win the game, but Colin Kaeparnick scrambles for FIFTY YARDS to score another touchdown and the Dolphins lose by 14 in a game that had been close all day.

6) Detroit Lions + 6.5 Points: This was another wonderful non-cover when it should have been easy all day long... How about this was a turn of events? Detroit lead 14-3 and are moving the chains easily throughout the first half and will likely get into the half with an 11 point lead at least... Then Matt Stafford fumbles a ball when attempting to throw a pass with no one around him. Stafford then fails to fall on the ball and an Offensive Lineman picks it up and rumbles home from 43 yards.

Stafford gets the ball back at 14-10 and is intercepted in the Green Bay red zone when driving up the field and eventually Detroit lose by 7 points in another game which was extremely close.

If I didn't have bad luck, I would have had no luck at all when it comes to the NFL for the past two weeks which have been as bad a time as I remember. Hopefully Week 15 will not be as mean spirited as Week 14 and maybe I can land on the right side of a crappy cover this week.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears Pick: I like the Green Bay Packers to continue rolling here and pick up the NFC North title for the following reasons:

First, Green Bay have owned the Bears in recent seasons and have dominated Jay Cutler. In fact, the Packers have beaten the Bears in 3 of the last 4 games at Soldier Field while Cutler has thrown 7 touchdowns and 17 interceptions against them in 7 games.

Second, I think the Packers are getting healthier on both sides of the ball and the return of Clay Matthews should ensure that Cutler feels pressure in the pocket for much of the day... That could force mistakes.

Third, the Packers are 7-3 against the spread as the road favourite in Divisional games and Aaron Rodgers has led them to a 21-10 record against the spread as long as he isn't laying a touchdown or more.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints Pick: I'm going to take the smallest of interests in the New Orleans Saints to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Saints have to feeling terrible after their loss last week at the New York Giants and I think they will look to bounce back here in the week when their players suspensions for vacated for the bounty scandal that has had a big effect on this team.

Second, this is a Divisional game and the chance to end their rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers chances of making the Play Offs.

Third, New Orleans didn't bounce back from a loss last week, but Drew Brees is still 22-14 against the spread coming off a loss.

Fourth, I just feel Tampa Bay have come off the boil in recent weeks and may just end on the wrong side of another high-scoring game between these teams.

Minnesota Vikings @ St Louis Rams Pick: I like the home team to win this game to extend their chances of making it to the Play Offs while also ending their visitor's real hopes for the following reasons:

First, I think the St Louis Rams Defense has played at a high level and they could be catching the Minnesota Vikings at the right time following their emotional and physical win over the Chicago Bears a week ago.

Second, I think the Rams will have some success keeping Adrian Peterson in check and that means the pressure will be on Christian Ponder to make the plays without Percy Harvin. Ponder has struggled in recent games and could be forced into mistakes by a powerful pass rush generated by the Rams.

Third, I mentioned the physical toll on the Vikings- three straight Divisional games prior to this one might have taken something out of them despite the big win last week to keep their Play Off hopes alive.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Miami Dolphins Pick: I am taking the underdog on the road to at least keep this game close for the following reasons:

First, Chad Henne... The Quarter Back gets a chance to play the team that traded him in the off-season and he has Cecil Shorts returning this week. Miami have struggled against the pass and Henne may want to remind fans that he was a serviceable Quarter Back after all.

Second, despite being in play for the Number 1 pick in the Draft, the Jaguars will at least play with some pride I would guess as this is a Florida clash.

Third, Miami are a really bad home favourite, going 8-33 against the spread in this spot over the last ten seasons, including 0-2 in their last two spots like this against St Louis and Tennessee.

Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens Pick: I do like Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos to pick up their biggest win of the season and prove their are SuperBowl contenders for the following reasons:

First, Denver are the hottest team in the NFL and I think the Baltimore Ravens are limping badly with injuries to the Defense being a big problem. Peyton Manning is 8-0 against them since 2003 and the Ravens are definitely not as good as some of the teams he would have faced.

Second, the Broncos should be absolutely focused with a chance to finish with a top two seed in the Conference. I also think they are motivated by the fact that all three losses they have suffered have come against Atlanta, Houston and New England and they need a statement win or will be considered as a team that only beats 'crappy' teams.

Third, the Broncos have had plenty of rest for this game, while Baltimore could be falling sorry for themselves having lost close games to Pittsburgh and Washington when they should have won both. They also have a new Offensive Co-Ordinator so could have some issues getting on the same page.

Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals Pick: I am backing the Lions again this week, but for these reasons:

First, Arizona look like a team that has given up on the season and their Quarter Backs suck... The Offensive Line is going to get blown up by the likes of Fairley and Suh and I don't know how the Cardinals keep the chains moving consistently.

Second, both teams are on long losing runs, but Matt Stafford or Ryan Lindley?

Seattle Seahawks @ Buffalo Bills Pick: I like the 'home' underdog to cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, I put 'home' in the inverted commas as the game is being played in Toronto rather than Buffalo, but the Bills will be more used to this travelling these days and will want to put on a performance for their fans north of the border.

Second, this is a bad spot for Seattle as it is a non-Conference game between two Divisional contests with a big game against San Francisco on deck.

Third, Seattle are just 4-11 against the spread in recent seasons when set as the road underdog, including going 0-3 in this spot this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Dallas Cowboys Pick: I am backing the Pittsburgh Steelers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the spread has been moving between these two teams all week but that shows how close it is with very similar teams going against one another. However, I feel the Steelers are getting a little healthier, while Dez Bryant could be limited and Morris Claibourne is out to further the issues in the Dallas Defense.

Second, the Cowboys are a horrible home favourite, going 3-16 against the spread in that situation since the beginning of the 2010 season.

Third, the Steelers are 9-2 against the spread when coming off a loss in the last three seasons.

Fourth, Pittsburgh are also very solid when playing NFC teams, going 8-3 against the spread in the last three seasons in that spot.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders Pick: I'll have a small interest on the terrible Kansas City Chiefs to keep it close against the terrible Oakland Raiders for the following reasons:

First, this is a game that could decide the Number 1 pick in the Draft, but the Chiefs should be motivated by the fact that they are playing a Divisional rival and won't want to be embarrassed by them.

Second, the road team has dominated the recent series with 11 wins from the last 12 in that situation.

Third, Oakland are 1-7 against the spread as the home favourite in Divisional games, while they are  4-16 against the spread as the home favourite in recent seasons period. Kansas City are 11-4 against the spread as the road underdog in Divisional games.

Fourth, confidence is shot in Oakland where a big rebuilding needs to be undertaken and they may even be considering that a loss in this one would be beneficial for their future... That thinking could see another under-performance in this one while Jamaal Charles should have a lot of success against a run Defense that has stunk.

San Francisco 49ers @ New England Patriots Pick: I like the New England Patriots to continue their form and knock off another top team for the following reasons:

First, New England had a blow out victory on Monday Night Football and teams usually ride that momentum to another cover on the following Sunday with plenty of momentum behind them, going 41-21 against the spread in that game.

Second, I think the 49ers may be looking past this game at the big one against Seattle next weekend which could determine who takes the NFC West.

Third, the Patriots have a huge December winning run and this is a tough spot for a team travelling across the country from a warmer climate like the San Francisco team will be doing.

MY PICKS: Green Bay Packers - 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (3 Units)
New Orleans Saints - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
St Louis Rams - 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Blue Square (2 Units)
Jacksonville Jaguars + 8 Points @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Denver Broncos - 3 Points @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Detroit Lions - 6 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Buffalo Bills + 4.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers + 1 Point @ 2.00 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Kansas City Chiefs + 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (2 Units)
New England Patriots - 4 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Weekend Football Picks (December 15-17)

December has started slowly, but profitably, so I can't complain too much... However, it feels like there has been a lot put into the picks for minimal reward so hopefully this week will see them kick on a little bit.

However, I don't want to be greedy in what has been a pretty good start to the season as we are fast approaching the half way mark of the season. I have already noticed the transfer rumours are beginning to swirl with only 3 weeks to go until the opening of the window, but there is still a lot to happen before we get to that stage.

That includes a number of games in the Premier League and the English Leagues during the hectic Christmas period, as well as the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League and the last 32 and last 16 of the Europa League (20 December).

Manchester United v Sunderland Pick: I make no secret of the fact that I am a Manchester United fan and I can say with great certainty that I am not the only one that has been waiting for the visit of Sunderland and really looking forward to getting a measure of revenge on those fans that thought it was right to goad our players at the end of last season.

Clearly the management and playing staff have also remembered this moment with quotes from Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney giving us an insight into what this game means to United.

I think Sunderland could be blown over even without that extra incentive as they are coming off an emotional win over Reading that relieved some pressure on Martin O'Neill and they may just be seeing this as a blow-off game with a trip to Southampton next weekend being far more important to them in the long-term.

We saw Sunderland put in a limp display at Manchester City earlier this season and I think the United players are in a better place mentally after their win at the Etihad Stadium last weekend. There is a lot of scoring power in the United team and the return of Nemanja Vidic should make them that much more solid at the back and set up the team for a convincing home win.

Newcastle United v Manchester City Pick: While Manchester United should be flying around on Saturday afternoon, the entire country will get to see how Manchester City respond to their first home defeat in the League for 2 years as they visit St James' Park.

To be fair, this ground hasn't had the same mystery about it as last season when it was very tough for sides to come here and earn something from Newcastle United, but defeats to the likes of West Ham United and Swansea has made them feel more vulnerable. Newcastle have been in poor form all around since Alan Pardew signed an eight year extension as manager, while they were also crushed by Manchester United 0-3 here earlier in the campaign.

City have a strong record here in recent seasons with a 5 game unbeaten run at Newcastle, winning 4 of those games, but they may be vulnerable without Vincent Kompany who is doubtful. I think that gives Newcastle a chance to score, as does City's defending from set pieces, but I also think we will see a reaction from City in the game and they will likely be too strong.

I saw Newcastle on Monday night and they were poor for much of the game and I just don't think they are good enough to hold City here so backing the away side in a game filled with goals looks the call to me.

Queens Park Rangers v Fulham Pick: If ever Queens Park Rangers are going to get a win, this looks the perfect opportunity to do so against a Fulham side that have been a little out of form in recent weeks.

I know Fulham picked up the three points against Newcastle on Monday night, but they had lost 3 of 4 games before that, and I think QPR are playing better at the moment and have been close to picking up the win that has eluded them in the first 16 games this season.

It is getting to the point that if QPR don't win this game, I struggle to see them surviving- Harry Redknapp will know the side needs some momentum going into the hectic Christmas period and I think they were unlucky not to beat Aston Villa last time out at Loftus Road.

I would be surprised if the game isn't close, but QPR look the call even though they haven't beaten Fulham at home in their last 3 games when hosting them and were beaten 0-1 here last season.

Norwich City v Wigan Athletic Pick: How will Norwich City respond to their 10 game unbeaten run being snapped by a 1-4 loss to Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. That would have been a big disappointment for the fans as Norwich could have easily found a way to Wembley from that competition with just Swansea, Bradford and Leeds/Chelsea left in the Semi Final stage.

Norwich had won 5 in a row at Carrow Road before that loss, beating the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United here, and I think they will have some success against a Wigan Athletic side that has a lot of defensive issues.

Wigan themselves should also cause some problems for Norwich with the way the home side defended on Tuesday and there are a lot of signs that we will see at least 3 goals in this game. However, both games between the sides finished 1-1 last season and I think they can be a little inconsistent in front of goals- I imagine there will be chances for both sides, but I will reduce my units because neither side is totally trustworthy in front of goal.

West Brom v West Ham United Pick: West Ham United have a number of injuries to contend with and it wouldn't be a big surprise if they have a poorer performance after coming through a four game stretch when they faced Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. Despite some very good performances, West Ham may take it 'easier' against a 'weaker' team and it happens often that teams can raise their game against the 'biggest' teams in the League.

Injuries to Mo Diame and Andy Carroll does hurt the West Ham team and I think West Brom have been unlucky to land in a 3 game losing streak, particularly at Arsenal where they were undone by a definite dive from Santi Cazorla.

West Brom have been very good at the Hawthornes this season and I think they can get on the front foot in this one and beat a West Ham team that has struggled for the most part on their travels. It could also be a high-scoring game as both sides have looked effective going forward so I'll have a small interest on the home team winning the game after a few goals have been scored.

Reading v Arsenal Pick: It has been described as the worst moment in Arsene Wenger's time at Arsenal as his side slumped out of the Capital One Cup against League Two Bradford City and it will be imperative that they bounce back in this one as the knives are out for the Frenchman.

This does look a good spot to recover from the defeat on Tuesday night as Reading are in a miserable run of form themselves- all the talk has been about Queens Park Rangers being in deep trouble, but Reading have just 2 points more and slumped to a heavy defeat at Sunderland on Tuesday night in a re-arranged game.

Both sides have look vulnerable at the back in recent games, yet both also have the players that should be able to create chances in this one. They recently played out a 4-4 draw here in regulation time in the Capital One Cup and I can see at least half of those goals going in again.

Reading were beaten 3-4 here by Manchester United with all the goals being scored in the first 35 minutes and have also drawn 3-3 with Fulham and 2-2 with Newcastle United and I think they will score and concede at least 1 goal in this one against Arsenal.

The Over 2.5 goals is rightly priced down, but I still think it is worth a small interest in seeing at least 4 goals in this game and that looks the call for this Monday night game in front of the TV cameras.

MY PICKS: Manchester United - 2 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Pinnacle (4 Units)
Manchester City Win and at least 3 or 4 Goals Scored @ 3.50 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Queens Park Rangers @ 2.45 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Norwich City-Wigan Athletic Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.92 Coral (1 Unit)
West Brom Win and Over 2.5 Goals Scored @ 3.20 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Reading-Arsenal Over 3.5 Goals @ 2.70 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

December Update11-11, + 2.64 Units (25 Units Staked, + 10.6 % Yield)

November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

NBA Picks December 2012

The first month of the NBA season went pretty well, although I have kept my powder dry in the last three weeks as I was just hitting a poor run of form and decided it was better to take a watching brief rather than going 'chasing'.

It has been a very interesting start to the new season, particularly for a New York Knicks fan as myself with the team currently having the best record in the Eastern Conference and already knocked off Miami twice this season, once without Carmelo Anthony.

The Heat have actually been a little lethargic at times to open the season with the knowledge that they can likely beat 85% of the teams in the NBA with a little burst of quality and they have sleep-walked through the majority of games and are doing just enough to win.

However, they are at least winning, while the LA Lakers have made a horrible start to the new season. Injuries are hurting them and exposing a roster that doesn't have a lot of depth and I think they will likely go through more teething problems before things settle down. I still think the Lakers will make the Play Offs, but they don't look the team to beat in the Western Conference... That remains the Oklahoma City Thunder who have suffered no noticeable hangover from losing in the NBA Finals last June and the fact that they have lost James Harden just days before the new season began.

This is still very early in the new season and the NBA is currently playing second fiddle to the NFL and the season won't settle down into a real shape until the new calender year.

December 11th
New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: The New York Knicks may have the best record in the Eastern Conference at this early stage of the new season, but one result that would have grated on the management and the fans would have been the loss to the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the season.

The chance for redemption is high in this one for the Knicks as they are playing the better basketball of the two teams. I also think the Knicks will not be overlooking this game for the visit of the LA Lakers on Thursday night and they have won 3 of their last 4 road games since the loss in Brooklyn.

The Nets have just been off in recent games with 3 consecutive home losses, and I just think the scoring power of the Knicks carries them over in this one and level the season series at 1-1.

December 12th
San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz Pick: The San Antonio Spurs are once again one of the hotter regular season teams a year after finishing with the Number 1 seed in the Western Conference and I think they will be too strong for the Utah Jazz in what is traditionally a difficult road game for teams.

However, the Spurs have won 3 of their last 4 games here in Utah and they have been scoring a lot of points coming into this one. Greg Popovich also seems to get the best out of his team when they are due to play on back to back nights, going 19-1 straight up in the first of those games, including winning 10 in a row.

San Antonio are 8-2 against the spread in that 10 game winning run and I think they improve that here.

December 14th
Both of the previous games I went with were a couple rolls of the ball away from being winners, but instead I got a push and a loser so decided to take off yesterday with the small choices I had.

Golden State Warriors @ Orlando Magic Pick: I like the Orlando Magic in the underdog role to keep this game close, even though they have been inconsistent all season.

However, I like the idea that Golden State Warriors could be on an emotional letdown spot following their shocking win over the Miami Heat a couple of nights ago. The Warriors have been very good this season, but it could be tough for them to keep their level up against a much weaker team than Miami.

Golden State have won 5 games in a row, but the last team to beat them was Orlando on the West Coast. The Warriors also have a shocking 1-10 run in the first of back to back nights play while Orlando are 7-4 in that same situation.

Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: The Oklahoma City Thunder seemed to be even more focused to right the wrongs of losing in the NBA Finals last season and are not missing James Harden nor suffering from any hangover from their defeat to the Miami Heat.

They have won 9 straight games, going 7-2 against the spread, and they have three days before they have to play again so they can focus completely on this game. The close win over the New Orleans Hornets will have focused them more and I think they take that out on the Kings.

Sacramento have been beaten comfortably in their last 2 games and I think the Thunder have too much scoring power for them. This is the last of a four game road trip and they may just be looking forward to playing at home and could be beaten with a bit of ease in this one.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets Pick: Denver are one of the best home teams in the NBA so I was a little surprised that they are only giving up 1.5 points in this one against a Memphis Grizzlies team that has lost 3 of their last 5 games in a very promising start to the season.

Much of Memphis' promising start has come from their games at home and although they have won at Oklahoma City, defeats at San Antonio and the LA Clippers suggests this will be another tough ask for them.

Denver did lose their last home game against the Grizzlies, but are 18-2 straight up against them in the last 20 times they have hosted them, while also being 13-7 against the spread so I'll back them here.

December 15th
LA Clippers @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: The LA Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles and it has been a long time since people could say that... They have been in very good form and the additional rest they have before this game should stand them in good stead for this one.

The Clippers have been playing very effectively defensively and I think they can make enough stops to let their Offense take over this game. The Bucks played last night and they are just 1-6-1 against the spread in their last 8 games when playing the second of back to back nights play.

LA have not played well here in Milwaukee in recent games, but I think the Clippers have enough on both sides of the court to think they change that here.

December 20th
Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: The Miami Heat continue to sleep-walk through games at times this season, but they should be focused to play the short-handed Dallas Mavericks after losing the NBA Finals in 2011 to this team.

The Heat have beaten Dallas in the two games since those Finals, but the Mavericks are definitely a better team at home than they are on the road so it won't be easy. However, the spot looks a good one for the Heat to have a statement win on national TV and I think they cover the spread.

December 22nd
Utah Jazz @ Miami Heat Pick: The Miami Heat are in a good spot here as they managed to rest their starters in the blow out of the Dallas Mavericks and have a few days to prepare for their next game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Miami have been playing better defensively and I think they make life tough for Utah in this one, a team that may be looking forward to ending their Eastern road trip and heading back home.

Utah are also just 2-9 in their last 11 games when playing the first of back to back games and they are just 1-9-1 against the spread in those games.

LA Lakers @ Golden State Warriors Pick: The spread shows how close the layers think this game will be, although I am of the belief that the Golden State Warriors will be a little too good for the LA Lakers and win the game.

However, instead I am going to back the over 208.5 total points in this one- the over is 6-3 in the last 9 at Golden State between these teams and both have been scoring plenty of points but also struggling in defensive situations.

I am expecting both sides to crack the 105 point mark to see this one go over the total points.

December 23rd
Minnesota Timberwolves @ New York Knicks Pick: I like the New York Knicks to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves who will be missing Kevin Love in this game.

The Knicks have been very strong at the Garden and I think the Minnesota team could be a little flat after snapping the Oklahoma City Thunder winning streak. This is also a road game between home games and I think New York's scoring power will be too much to overcome.

December 25th
Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets Pick: I am taking a couple of underdogs to give themselves Christmas cheer in the NBA, starting with the Boston Celtics as they visit Brooklyn to take on the Nets.

Boston should be fired up after getting into a series of pushing matches with the Nets in their last meeting, one which saw Rajon Rondo ejected and then suspended. This veteran squad is also looking to avoid their longest losing run on the road since 2007.

I also don't trust Brooklyn who have struggled in the role of favourites and who are struggling to put teams away with consistency.

New York Knicks @ LA Lakers Pick: I am also backing my favourite team, the New York Knicks to at least push the LA Lakers in this game.

Carmelo Anthony will likely have a big game to 'impress' former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni and I also think there is more chemistry in the New York team at this moment in time. Granted, the Lakers have won 4 in a row, but they could easily have lost the last 2 games and I think the Knicks impose their slower tempo on proceedings while also being able to deal with the Lakers Offense having seen it for some time in New York.

I would be surprised if this isn't close until the final buzzer so the points look healthy.

Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls: One of the hottest teams in the NBA at the moment, the Houston Rockets look like they are being given a lot of points in this one and I think the highest scoring team in the League keeps it close against one of the premier Defenses in the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago have been playing well despite laying an egg in the blow out loss at Atlanta, but that was a bad emotional spot for them. I think they will put in a huge effort in this one, but Houston are scoring too many points to be given this head start and I'll take them to cover.

December 26th
Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks Pick: I like the home team's chances of covering the spread in this one as I think the personnel, particularly Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, do provide a match up problem for the Brooklyn Nets' best players in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

Brooklyn also took a bit of a beat down mentally from the Boston Celtics and have been awful against Milwaukee recently. In fact, they have lost 12 in a row in the series with 6 defeats in a row when they have visited the Bucks.

All of those 6 wins have come by at least double-digits and I think Milwaukee are too good for them here.

Houston Rockets @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: This is a terrible spot for the Houston Rockets as the game is sandwiched between the Christmas Day game at Chicago and the visit to the San Antonio Spurs, but 5.5 points head start does look a touch high.

Houston are playing with a lot of momentum and they have the scoring power to at least keep this game close. They also have a decent record at Minnesota, despite losing their last game here, and I think the youthful nature of the Rockets team will be enough to see them through this one.

Hopefully the Rockets realise that beating a potential rival for a Play Off berth is enough to concentrate their minds between much more 'glamourous' games.

December 27th
Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: Dallas have been struggling all season and they are the kind of team that seems to drop their heads when they fall behind. That could be exposed by a powerful Offense like the Oklahoma City Thunder who will be looking to get back to winning ways.

The Thunder were involved in another loss to the Miami Heat on Christmas Day, but they have been very good at home and will be looking for their 11th win. I just think they have more chances to get things going in this one and I like their chances of covering this double-digit spread.

December 28th
Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons Pick: I just feel the absence of Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen will inspire LeBron James to take the Miami Heat on his back and he will help them continue their recent dominance of the Detroit Pistons.

The Heat are playing as well as anybody in the NBA at the moment and they will want to prove they can get things going on the road and win their 3rd in a row on their travels. The spread looks a reasonable one for them to cover, even on the road.

Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland Cavaliers Pick: The Atlanta Hawks should be able to win their 4th straight at Cleveland in this one as they should have a big edge when it comes to the Center spot, while Josh Smith looked very comfortable in their win over the Detroit Pistons.

The Hawks should be a little more focused on the road against one of the poorer teams in the Eastern Conference than they were against Detroit and they will want to put the record straight after losing at home against Cleveland earlier this season.

Denver Nuggets @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: This looks the perfect emotional let down spot for the Dallas Mavericks who should have beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder last night and now play a team that had won 3 straight at the American Airlines Center before their last meeting here.

Denver should be much more confident from their beating of the LA Lakers in their last gmae and I just feel the Nuggets will be able to bring that in here and maybe take advantage of a tired Dallas team.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors Pick: The Golden State Warriors look like a team that will have too much scoring power for the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that may be over-rated from their one win over Memphis in their last game.

The 76ers have not been great on the road this season and could be short-handed which leaves me favouring the home side to cover.

December 29th
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets Pick: I just think this is a tough spot for the Houston Rockets who are playing their fourth game in five days and they are just off a tough loss at the San Antonio Spurs last night.

Oklahoma City haven't been playing that well, but they have players that can expose a Rockets Defense that allows a lot of points and they may just have enough to cover the spread.

December 31st
Miami Heat @ Orlando Magic Pick: I like the chances of the Miami Heat to turn around their recent road defeats in this one as they face a short-handed Orlando Magic team that are struggling to keep up with their opponents.

Orlando will make it a fight as this is an in-State rivalry, but there is too much in this Heat team to continue performing badly on the road and I like them to cover the big spread.

Atlanta Hawks @ Houston Rockets Pick: Both of these teams are capable of putting up big points and I think this will certainly be a high-scoring game.

However, I like the Houston Rockets to cover as I think the Atlanta team have played a lot of basketball while being short-handed and they have regularly struggled in visits to this part of Texas.

Brooklyn Nets @ San Antonio Spurs Pick: The Spurs have been playing as good basketball as anyone at the moment and I think they are too experienced for a Brooklyn Nets team that has struggled to find an identity.

The Spurs have dominated the Nets in recent games in the series and I think they get away from them in this one too.

MY PICKS: 11/12 New York Knicks - 3 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
12/12 San Antonio Spurs - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
14/12 Orlando Magic + 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
14/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 13 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
14/12 Denver Nuggets - 1.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
15/12 LA Clippers - 4 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
20/12 Miami Heat - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
22/12 Miami Heat - 9 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
22/12 Golden State Warriors-LA Lakers Over 208.5 Total Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
23/12 New York Knicks - 8.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/12 Boston Celtics + 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/12 New York Knicks + 3.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/12 Houston Rockets + 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
26/12 Milwaukee Bucks - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
26/12 Houston Rockets + 5.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
27/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 10 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/12 Miami Heat - 6 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
28/12 Atlanta Hawks - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/12 Denver Nuggets - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
28/12 Golden State Warriors - 6 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
29/12 Oklahoma City Thunder - 4.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
30/12 San Antonio Spurs - 6 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
31/12 Miami Heat - 10 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
31/12 Houston Rockets - 4.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
31/12 San Antonio Spurs - 9 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

December Update: 17-7-1, + 9.19 Units

November Final13-8-1, + 8.03 Units

Season 2013: 13-8-1, + 8.03 Units
Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

Sunday, 9 December 2012

NFL Week 14 Picks 2012

Sometimes you just have to take your medicine, but the last two weeks has really bothered me with the number of crappy things that have happened to my picks that has left me with two terrible weeks under the belt.

Last week was probably the worst of all as I only liked three picks and all three let me down in ridiculous ways: New Orleans lost by 10 in Atlanta, but should have covered and maybe even won the game as they managed to put up a lot more yards than the Falcons. Just to rub it in though, the Saints scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the 4th Quarter which was rightly taken away.

While that officiating was correct, the week before the officials screwed up the spot in the Baltimore Ravens win at San Diego and allowed the Ravens to win the game and beat out my pick again.

Back to last week, Dallas are up 11 points and have run the clock down to 30 seconds left and are punting the ball back to the Eagles who have no time outs left... All they have to do is not give up a punt return touchdown and the Cowboys will likely win the game as there isn't much Nick Foles has done in the last Quarter to suggest he can produce a scoring drive.

It was not to be as Dallas allow the punt return with at least 4 players in a position to make a tackle and it feels like the millionth time that the Cowboys have screwed up a cover by a lack on intensity in tackling and shooting themselves in the foot.

Then the final rub was in the New York Giants game where the Giants dominated the game in time of possession but kept killing themselves with penalties to prevent drives from turning into touchdowns- let me make this statistic clear... It was the most penalties given up by New York in TWO years and I would say the majority of them came on the Offensive side of the ball and the Giants ended up 1 point losers.

Anyway, I had to vent a little as that has ruined all the good work from Week 11 and these are the picks for the coming week.

Baltimore Ravens @ Washington Redskins Pick: I like the underdog Baltimore Ravens to at least cover the spread for the following reasons:

First , Baltimore are a team that has regularly bounced back from losses and haven't lost 2 straight games since 2009. They are also 15-8 against the spread in their last 23 games following a home loss.

Second, I understand it was a tough emotional loss for the Ravens last week against Pittsburgh, but they are still in with a shot of finishing in one of the top two seeds in the AFC so I can't imagine they will overlook this game, while Washington are off 3 successive Divisional wins and could have a let down moment.

Third, I just don't trust Washington as the home favourite considering they are 1-7 against the spread in that spot in recent seasons.

However, Robert Griffin III is playing so well at the moment that I won't go too deep on this pick, especially with the Baltimore injuries to consider on the Defensive side of the ball.

San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers Pick: I'll back the Pittsburgh Steelers to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Steelers know they cannot afford to drop any games against AFC teams with their best route into the Play Offs likely going to come through the Wild Card spot. The return of Ben Roethlisberger makes them a more dangerous team going into the post-season.

Second, the Chargers are out of the Play Off race and have looked like a team that isn't focused at the moment with the expected Head Coach change up coming.

Third, San Diego also have a poor record in the Eastern Time Zone for an early game, going 5-8 against the spread in that spot in recent games.

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts Pick: I like the Indianapolis Colts to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Colts have dominated the recent series between these two Divisional rivals and have already knocked off the Titans on the road this season.

Second, I think Andrew Luck will make more big plays and less mistakes than Jake Locker and that could be the difference between a cover and not.

Third, Tennessee have struggled when playing teams with winning records under Mike Munchak, going 2-8 against the spread in that spot since the beginning of last season.

Fourth, this is the third Divisional game in a row for the Titans so they could be a little physically worn out, while the Colts should be on a high after their come from behind win against the Detroit Lions last week and with an AFC Wild Card spot within their grasp.

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings Pick: This is a big Divisional game with Play Off implications, but I am backing the Chicago Bears to win this game and cover the spread for the following reasons:

First, the Bears beat down the Vikings earlier this season at home and they have won 6 in a row in the series, including on their last 2 visits to Minnesota, while covering the spread in all of those games.

Second, the continuing absence of Percy Harvin is huge for the Vikings and even the fact that Chicago are missing Tim Jennings and Brian Urlacher from their Defense, I still think they can cause Christian Ponder to turn the ball over.

Third, after the fast start to the season, Minnesota have come off the pace in recent weeks and I think they are wearing down on both sides of the ball, although Adrian Peterson is playing at an exceptionally high level.

Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers Pick: I like the home underdog to do enough to keep this close for the following reasons:

First, since Cam Newton has arrived at Carolina, the Panthers have been close in all 3 games against the Falcons including a 2 point loss earlier this season.

Second, I think the Panthers can also have more consistent success moving the ball in this one and I also think they are going to leave everything on the line with this being the last big home game they play this season in an otherwise disappointing season.

Third, Atlanta have virtually got the Number 1 seed in the NFC locked up, but I think they may also have motivated Carolina when Matt Ryan told them to 'get off his fucking field' earlier in the season in that 2 point win and I think it could be a tough day for him.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick: I'll back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:

First, the Eagles are still giving up far too many big plays in the passing game and I think the likes of Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Dallas Clark could all have big games in this one.

Second, how do Philadelphia get up for this game after putting in all they have in their loss to Dallas last week when they led for much of the game?

Third, these two teams are at opposite ends of the market when it comes to results against the spread with Tampa Bay covering a lot in recent weeks and the Eagles being on a 1-6 run.

Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers Pick: I'll have a small interest in the Miami Dolphins to stay within the spread for the following reasons:

First, Miami are one of the better road underdogs in the NFL and this looks a lot of points to be giving them despite the trip out West. The Dolphins are 23-9-1 against the spread as the road underdog over the last few seasons.

Second, this game comes right in the middle of a tough set for the 49ers and it is easy to think they could overlook the Dolphins after back to back road games at New Orleans and St Louis (where they lost last week) and travelling to New England and Seattle following this game.

Not a lot of reasons for this pick, but it is easy to think the 49ers have a let down spot and not necessary go for a win that covers a big spread.

New Orleans Saints @ New York Giants Pick: Drew Brees owes me after pretty much knocking me out of two Fantasy pools thanks to his performance at Atlanta last week and I think he can bounce back in this one for the following reasons:

First, both Defenses have struggled against the pass so I think this has all the makings of a game that could be decided by which team has the ball last in the contest... Getting more than a field goal in that situation looks very generous.

Second, New Orleans have played well against the Giants and seem to match up well against them, winning the last 3 in a row although 2 of those were in the Superdome.

Third, I just think the Brees performance against Atlanta will inspire him to have a big game against this New York Giants Secondary on Sunday and maybe even get close to pulling the upset outright.

Fourth, the Giants are a poor home favourite and are just 6-11-1 against the spread in that situation when playing non-Divisional opponents at home.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers Pick: I am backing the road underdog to keep this game close for the following reasons:

First, Detroit have recently given Aaron Rodgers plenty of issues and they have a Defensive front that will cause this Offensive Line all sort of problems.

Second, the Lions have been putting up a lot of yards at the moment and I think they can expose a Green Bay Secondary that has given up a lot of yards, while Matt Stafford should have time to hook up with Calvin Johnson without Clay Matthews in the line up.

Third, the injuries on the Packers Defense will give the Lions a chance to even grab a backdoor cover in this one and this is the last game where they can have a real impact on the Division (Detroit play Chicago in Week 17, but the Bears could already have a Play Off place wrapped up by then and it wouldn't be as important as this game to the fans).

MY PICKS: Baltimore Ravens + 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 7.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Indianapolis Colts - 5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Chicago Bears - 2.5 Points @ 1.92 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Carolina Panthers + 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Bwin (2 Units)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 7 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Miami Dolphins + 10.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
New Orleans Saints + 5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (3 Units)
Detroit Lions + 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)