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Weekend Football Picks and Fantasy Football 2020 (February 8-17)

The English Winter Break is in play for the first time this season and I think it has not gone as well as the Premier League and the top clu...

Monday, 28 November 2016

NBA November Picks 2016 (November 28-30)

We are coming to the final few days of November as the first full month of the NBA season is ready to enter the books. It has been a difficult start to the picks, but I put a winning record together last week and will be hoping to use the momentum to take into the next few weeks, although it is a long season with ups and downs to be expected.

This week I will have two separate threads for the NBA Picks. The first will come Monday to Wednesday and the remaining November games before I put one together for Thursday to Sunday to cover the opening December games.

Monday 28th November
Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards Pick: The Washington Wizards have had a difficult start to the season, but they look to be getting healthier and that should lead to some improvements. This does look an opportunity to get the better of the Sacramento Kings who are playing on a back to back and have also been working out their inconsistencies.

The issues the Wizards are having makes it tough to back them with confidence, especially when you think Washington are likely to have problems on the boards against the Kings. However I do think the Kings aren't as good on the road as they are at home and Washington have proved to be a little better Defensively at home which can make a difference.

Washington find better shooting from the three point arc at home and I like the fact that the Wizards are 3-0 against the spread in their last three home games against Sacramento. Neither team has really been able to find their best when facing some of the teams with losing records this season and Washington haven't been a great favourite to back when being asked to cover more three points or more, but I feel the spot is a good one for them.

It is likely to be a high-scoring game, but I can see Washington making the bigger plays in the Fourth Quarter and being able to pull away for the win.

Utah Jazz @ Minnesota Timberwolves Pick: The Utah Jazz were expected to be one of the teams who would make the improvements to leap into the Western Conference Play Off picture. There definitely looks like being some room for the Jazz to get into the top eight in the West, but their opponents on Monday have had a more difficult start as the Minnesota Timberwolves were also expected to be much better this season.

A young roster is taking time to understand what Tom Thibodeau wants from them, but I do think the former Chicago Bulls Head Coach will get them turned around. Whether he can do it in time to make the Play Offs this season is another question, but some are suggesting that Thibodeau will look to make a couple of trades to bring in veteran leaders who can pass on their experiences to the young talent on the roster.

The Jazz have been improved with George Hill back in the line up and they have been much stronger Defensively than Minnesota while also holding an edge on the boards. With Hill and Gordon Hayward, Utah also should have more of an Offensive punch in this one and I think that can play out here.

Being on the road is tough and the Timberwolves have played well here at times even if they are still very inconsistent. However I can see Utah improving their 4-1 record against the spread in Minnesota and I will back them.

Tuesday 29th November
Both picks had to ride out some difficult moments on Monday with Washington coming through thanks to some late Free Throws and Utah coming back from a slow start to see off Minnesota. That was good news for me with the two picks winning and getting the final three days of November off to a positive beginning.

A strong Tuesday and Wednesday may turn this month right around and also start moving the season totals in the direction I want.

Detroit Pistons @ Charlotte Hornets Pick: Two teams that are expected to make the top eight this season in the Eastern Conference meet in an early regular season game and there is no doubt that these games can back to haunt the losers in April. Tiebreakers in tight races are the key to deciding Play Off positions come April and the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons could be battling for spots in the top eight of the East in a few months time.

The start to the season for the Hornets has been a lot more positive than it has for the Pistons and Charlotte have won two in a row after a slippery run last week. Blowing out the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday has given Charlotte the chance to rest some of the starters ahead of this back to back as they return home and the return of Jeremy Lamb from an injury has boosted a rotation that might have been relying too much on Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum.

Batum struggled with his shot in the last game, but Lamb has 39 points and 26 boards in the last two games to keep the Hornets moving forward. With a game against the woeful Dallas Mavericks next up on deck, Charlotte can put all of their focus into beating the Detroit Pistons who have really been a Jekyll and Hyde team through the season.

Detroit are a solid team at home, but they have struggled on the road and it is a point of concern for them. Injuries in the back court haven't helped and Reggie Jackson's return can't come soon enough for them. Jackson is getting closer, but he is unlikely to suit up here as the Pistons try to improve on both sides of the court when they are on the road.

The Pitsons have had issues rebounding the ball on the road and their Offensive and Defensive sets have not been as strong as they have been at home. One of the other big issues the Pistons have had on the road is defending the three point arc and Detroit have been blown out on the road in the last couple of games they have played.

It would surprise if they are blown out here, but I do think the Charlotte Hornets can get the better of them. The Hornets are 7-2 against the spread when favoured by 3.5 points or fewer and they are facing a Detroit team who have gone 0-4 against the spread when facing a team with a winning record on the road. Charlotte are also 4-1 against the spread in the last five home games against the Detroit Pistons and I will back the home team to cover.

Wednesday 30th November
Washington Wizards @ Oklahoma City Thunder Pick: The return of Bradley Beal to partner John Wall in the back court is supposed to spark the Washington Wizards who have not made a great start to the new season. After missing out on the Play Offs last season, Washington made changes at Head Coach and were expected to be one of the best eight teams in the Eastern Conference.

That change from Randy Wittman to Scott Brooks is going to take time for the players to adjust, but the inconsistent beginning to the season has been below expectations. Brooks will be keen to get the best out of his Wizards in their trip to the Oklahoma City Thunder where he had much success as Head Coach before being let go as the Thunder could not quite get over the hump and win the NBA Championship.

It will look different for Brooks as he faces a roster that is much changed since he moved on. There is no Kevin Durant to back up Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder are not quite as good as they were a few months ago, but Westbrook has been on fire. After extending his contract with the Thunder, Westbrook has set a huge benchmark for this season as he is averaging a triple-double and carrying much of the effort for Oklahoma City.

The Thunder will need Westbrook at his best against Beal and Wall, but Oklahoma City hold the edge in this game with what they can get from their bench players. They also look stronger when it comes to the rebounding battle and have been looking after the ball better than the Wizards in recent games and these factors can add up to give the home team the edge.

Washingon have a 0-3-1 record against the spread in their last four games in Oklahoma City while they are 0-2 against the spread when visiting a team with a winning record. Oklahoma City have been a little better defending the three point arc at home and I think that helps them come away with a win and a cover in this one.

LA Lakers @ Chicago Bulls Pick: The LA Lakers started this season in such form that some of the fans might have believed Luke Walton would turn around this one proud franchise immediately. Walton would have been the first to tell you that there was going to be plenty of work to do with a young roster that is sprinkled with some grizzled veterans, especially if the Lakers were to be restored to the level of being able to challenge for NBA titles.

That is a work in progress and recent games have shown there isn't a lot of depth on the roster as the Lakers have lost D'Angelo Russell and struggled. Julius Randle made his return on Tuesday as the Lakers were blown out by the New Orleans Pelicans and this is a very difficult back to back with some considerable travelling as they head to the surprising Chicago Bulls.

The Eastern Conference looks like it will be dominated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Chicago Bulls might be a surprising challenger as Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade have come in to help Jimmy Butler. This was a situation that many doubted would end well for Chicago as the team found its chemistry together having allowed Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to move on to the New York Knicks in the off-season.

However that has not been the case and the Bulls have a solid 10-6 record, although my one concern for Chicago has to be their focus considering the Cavaliers are next up on deck in two days time. However they have had four days off after a long road trip and I do think the Bulls will be excited to be returning home and building on the third best record in the Eastern Conference.

There is enough here to like the Bulls including how well they are playing on the Defensive side of the court compared with the Lakers. I would expect the Bulls to win the rebounding battle more often than not when they face this Lakers team and Chicago have been looking after the ball a lot better than their opponents in recent games which can be critical.

If the Bulls can stay with the Lakers output when the benches are on the court, I do think they will eventually prove too good for them. Chicago have a 5-1 record against the spread in their last six home games against the Lakers and I like the fact that the Bulls are 2-0 against the spread when favoured by between 9-10.5 points so far this season.

Three of the last four games the LA Lakers have played have been lost and all of those by double digits and I will look for the Bulls to take control and pull away for a big win to take into the home game with Cleveland later this week.

San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks Pick: There are likely to be some players given the night off for the San Antonio Spurs who were beaten at home yet again on Tuesday and now have to make the short trip to Dallas on a back to back. They had similar ideas when they last played the Dallas Mavericks, but Gregg Popovich was furious with what he felt was a lack of effort in a two point win over their shorthanded opponents.

The Mavericks remain without some key contributors and it looks a difficult season for them despite Mark Cuban stating that they will not be tanking for better lottery positions already. However it is a tough ask for a roster that is missing the likes of Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki from the rotation in what was expected to be a tough year for them anyway.

There will be some more confidence having snapped a long losing run by beating the New Orleans Pelicans last time out, but they are facing a Spurs team off a loss and who have won all ten road games they have played this season. After the way things went down against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, this San Antonio team will want to show they can recover in the way they used to when Tim Duncan was still around, especially against an overmatched opponent.

It has all been a struggle for Dallas when it comes to Offensive output, and Rick Carlisle's famed Defensive strength has not been helped by the injuries and lack of talent that he has had to work with. The Mavericks are still giving themselves half a chance in games on that side of the court, but they haven't been able to score enough points to stay with teams and I don't think the Spurs take them lightly for a second game in a row.

Dallas can give themselves a chance by winning the rebounding battle, but that is not going to be easy against the size of the Spurs, while the Mavericks have not looked after the ball as they would have liked. The Mavericks are just 1-3 against the spread when hosting a team with a winning record so far this season and their best hope might be San Antonio taking them lightly as they did a couple of weeks ago.

I can't see that happening after the way Popovich tore into his team for their lack of respect the last time they met the Mavericks and I expect the Spurs to come out with more focus after losing to Orlando. Games between these Texas rivals tend to be close, but Dallas will do well to stay with the Spurs for a second time this season and I will back San Antonio to record a win much more to the satisfaction of their Head Coach this time.

MY PICKS: 28/11 Washington Wizards - 4.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
28/11 Utah Jazz - 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Coral (1 Unit)
29/11 Charlotte Hornets - 3 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
30/11 Oklahoma City Thunder - 6 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
30/11 Chicago Bulls - 10.5 Points @ 1.95 Coral (1 Unit)
30/11 San Antonio Spurs - 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

November 28-30 Update: 3-3, - 0.23 Units

November 21-27 Final8-6, + 1.32 Units
November 14-20 Final4-5-1, - 1.32 Units
November 7-13 Final7-6, + 0.49 Units
November 1-6 Final2-5, - 3.18 Units

November Update21-22-1, - 2.69 Units
October Final8-9, - 1.72 Units

Final Season 2016150-143-7, - 5.37 Units
Final Season 2015109-108-5, - 6.91 Units
Final Season 201458-72-1, - 16.86 Units
Final Season 2013105-93-3, + 10.49 Units
Final Season 201279-53-1, + 27.48 Units

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Weekend Football Picks 2016 (November 26-27)

We head back into the domestic football action this weekend after the Champions League and Europa League took centre stage during the week.

The football is going to start coming thick and fast at this time of the season with two games a week something of a routine for many of the top clubs going right through to the first week of January.

After a really tough November I mentioned a couple of days ago that I simply wanted an end to the month where I could reduce some of the negative numbers and build some momentum to take into December and a busy month ahead.

It was much better than that this past week as I have got all the way back into the black with a 14-3-1 run in the Champions League and Europa League games. Hopefully I can keep that momentum going through this weekend and have a chance to put a positive November together which will give me more than a little positive mood to take into December and far exceed what I was expecting.

Burnley v Manchester City Pick: The Premier League opens at Turf Moor this weekend as Burnley look to bounce back from an embarrassing 4-0 loss at West Brom on Monday Night Football and maintain a solid record at home in the League. Burnley have lost 1 of their last 6 games at Turf Moor in the Premier League and even that loss to Arsenal came thanks to a last minute goal in what had been a competitive match before that.

Even better for Burnley is the fact they have won 3 of their last 4 League games here to keep clear of the bottom three, but it will be a big test to contain a Manchester City team that has found goals no problem in many away games this season. They are coming in off impressive League wins at West Brom and Crystal Palace while Manchester City moved through to the Champions League Second Round with a hard fought draw at Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

That game in Germany has to worry me in terms of how much energy Manchester City can produce in an early kick off against a local rival who are going to love to show up one of the big Premier League teams. Burnley will work hard and defend in numbers, but there is so much quality in the Manchester City team going forward that it is hard to expect them not to find a way to break down their hosts.

However the Manchester City defence have looked far from comfortable and Burnley have shown they can score goals at home having done so against the likes of Liverpool and Everton here in the League. Burnley didn't score against Arsenal, but had a couple of half chances in that one, while you can't ignore the fact that Manchester City have conceded goals at Swansea City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace on their travels.

It looks a big price to see both teams score in the early kick off as Burnley take advantage of any fatigue in the Manchester City squad and also are likely to be a danger from set pieces. I'd be stunned if Manchester City can't score here with their own quality and it looks a big price for both teams scoring in the early game.

Leicester City v Middlesbrough PickEarning their spot in the Second Round of the Champions League as winners of their Group has been a fantastic achievement for Leicester City although they weren't exactly in the most taxing of Groups. Claudio Ranieri will be hoping they can take that form into the Premier League where Leicester City have been far too inconsistent this season, although being back at home could be important.

They have mainly struggled away from home, but Leicester City have won half of their League games at the King Power Stadium and come into this one with 3 wins from their last 4 home games.

It will be a difficult test for Leicester City against a Middlesbrough team who have proven tough to beat in the Premier League but particularly away from home. Draws at Arsenal and Manchester City are impressive results and Middlesbrough might have got more at The Emirates Stadium with better composure in front of goal.

Goals have been a problem for them and it is the reason I believe Leicester City will get the better of Middlesbrough this weekend. The Foxes have only failed to score in 1 of their last 9 home games in all competitions and Leicester City have scored twice in 5 of those games. Getting to that number will be tough for Middlesbrough to peg back, but I also think there is a chance that Leicester City can secure the three points with a solitary strike.

They do have a good home record against Middlesbrough in recent years too and I will back Ranieri's team to find a way to break down a tough Boro team in this one.

Liverpool v Sunderland PickYou aren't going to become rich backing Liverpool at short odds to beat Sunderland this weekend as the layers are taking no chances with their pricing on the home side. Even the Asian Handicap needs Liverpool to win by at least three goals to have a chance of coming back a winner and it is hard to feel good about that at odds on.

I do think Liverpool are much better than Sunderland but David Moyes will have to try and get his side to dig in and prevent the home team being out of sight by half time. Wins in back to back Premier League games will give them confidence, but they haven't faced a team as good as Liverpool in recent away games and weathering the storm is going to be difficult.

As much as Moyes wants Sunderland to become harder to beat, The Black Cats have conceded in the first 20 minutes of 3 of their last 6 games in all competitions. That is a problem against a Liverpool side that plays with a very high tempo early in games which has given them the platform to put their wins together.

Prior to Manchester United's visit to Anfield I made a point that teams need to contain Liverpool for the first 30 minutes if they are going to beat this version of their team. Fast starts have been a feature of the Liverpool performance, but their style is difficult to maintain over 90 minutes and Sunderland have to stay with them early.

This is the sixth time Liverpool are playing a Premier League game at Anfield this season and they have scored twice in 4 of their previous 5 games here. The only points dropped is when Manchester United went in with a goalless draw at half time in their visit to Anfield, but Leicester City, Hull City, West Brom and Watford have almost been out of contention by half time.

I fear that might happen to a Sunderland team that have conceded early goals to Manchester City and Arsenal this season and backing Liverpool to score at least twice in the first half is a huge price. Liverpool have managed to do that in half of their Premier League games this season and in 4 of 5 at Anfield and that looks a big price being offered by Coral.

Sunderland will defend deep, but they are missing some key defenders in this one and it might be a long day for them which begins by struggling to contain Liverpool in the first half. Teams of a similar standard have been blown away by Liverpool early in games and I will back the home team to hit their numbers at Coral.

Swansea City v Crystal Palace Pick: Swansea City have made a recent change in the manager's office and the suggestion is that Crystal Palace may be looking for a new manager if they lose again this weekend. Alan Pardew has masked his performance as manager at Crystal Palace with a run to the FA Cup Final back in May and he was was moments from winning that competition, but the League form in 2016 has been remarkably poor.

This looks a good chance to turn the page and start putting in some wins and moving up the Premier League table. Swansea City may have drawn last weekend at Everton, but they haven't been very good at home where they are expected to get forward and attack.

I do think they can create chances against the Crystal Palace defence, but I also think the visitors have some quality attacking players who can expose the issues Swansea City have had at the back. Both teams have scored and conceded in huge numbers in recent weeks and an early goal could really open this one up.

Crystal Palace have conceded three times at Leicester City and Burnley in their last couple of away games, while Swansea City have conceded at least twice in 5 of their last 6 at home. I do think both teams will score once and the importance of both teams securing the three points may see both Swansea City and Crystal Palace take a few more risks than some think and lead to a fairly high-scoring game and one that might not be expected.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur PickIt looks like Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will be going into this London derby in contrasting forms and confidence and the layers tend to agree by placing the home team as a short favourite to win this game. On current form it is hard to argue with that as Chelsea have been scoring goals for fun, but also putting together plenty of clean sheets to move to the top of the Premier League.

Personally I can't back Chelsea at the prices considering Tottenham Hotspur are still unbeaten in the Premier League, but it is hard to see how the away team can pick themselves up after the disappointing end to the Champions League campaign. Defensive injuries and suspensions are a big concern and Hugo Lloris is going to need to produce a huge game to help Tottenham Hotspur avoid defeat.

Chelsea have been clinical in front of goal during their 6 game winning run in the League especially at Stamford Bridge where they have scored 12 goals in 3 games. Antonio Conte will feel his side can produce chances in this one and Tottenham Hotspur have not defended that well in recent games which is going to be an issue for them on Saturday.

I can see Chelsea definitely creating chances and scoring goals and I like the chances of seeing three goals combined at a bigger price than the home win. Despite the clean sheets, I do think Chelsea have given teams opportunities and Tottenham Hotspur have scored in their last 3 away games in all competitions which suggests they can play their part in this one.

The home team have been creating plenty themselves and Tottenham Hotspur's defending in recent games combined with Chelsea's scoring at Stamford Bridge might even see The Blues reach the three goal total on their own. 6 of the last 7 fixtures between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge have ended with three goals including the last 4 in a row and I will back goals in this one.

Tottenham Hotspur might have to attack to protect a defence missing half of the back four and I think the Chelsea run of clean sheets have been something of a mirage at times. Backing at least three goals should have every chance of coming in at a bigger price than backing Chelsea to win and that is my angle here.

Watford v Stoke City Pick: I was disappointed by some of the performances that Stoke City have produced this season but they have been better in recent weeks and should have got more out of their fixture with Bournemouth last weekend having missed a penalty. That came early in the second half and may have seen Stoke City turn around that game, and goals have been something of an issue for them despite some decent players in the final third.

They might have a little more success against a Watford team that are producing results with a new system in place but one that is not keeping too many clean sheets. Watford had a decent run of late but then conceded six at Liverpool and have only kept 1 clean sheet in their home games so far in the 2016/17 season.

I expect Stoke City to test them and the layers might be underestimating the chance of seeing goals in this one. That is because Watford are certainly capable of scoring goals and they have managed to do that in all but 2 League games this season. At Vicarage Road Watford have been more potent in front of goal with 3 of their last 4 games seeing the side score at least twice and this feels like a game where both teams will score and so seeing three goals is a distinct possibility.

It does have to be said that this is an early kick off on Sunday which can see players take their time getting the sleep out of the eyes and being able to produce some of their better football. Stoke City away games haven't been free flowing in terms of goals either, but I think Watford can drag them into a game and I will back at least three goals to be scored in this one.

Arsenal v Bournemouth PickGoing into November it was clear that Arsenal had three tough matches to open the month, but there might have been an expectation of getting more than three draws. Playing Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were all difficult games, but Arsenal fans won't be expecting a setback against Bournemouth in front of the television cameras on Sunday.

This does look a good game for Arsenal to get back to winning ways because Eddie Howe has a similar style of play but the home side have the extra quality. Unlike many teams that come to The Emirates Stadium, Bournemouth won't sit back in numbers but may allow Arsenal to play their football.

That is partly the reason Bournemouth have struggled when facing the best teams in the Premier League as they simply don't have the same level of performers as those teams. All credit to Howe for sticking to his principles as it is a reason that he is linked with big jobs like Arsenal and England which will potentially be in his future over the next eighteen months if Bournemouth continue taking steps forward as a club.

However those principles means it is hard for Bournemouth to contain the top clubs and I am not surprised they have suffered one-sided losses to Manchester United and Manchester City in the League this season. That style has also seen Bournemouth lose 8 of their 11 League defeats since August 2015 by at least two goals and I think they may have some issues containing Arsenal.

It is hard to ignore the fact that Arsenal have drawn 3 of their last 4 at The Emirates Stadium including against Middlesbrough, but I expect the home team to have more spaces to exploit this weekend. I will back them to cover the Asian Handicap knowing a narrow win will return half the stakes and I think Arsenal likely match their 2-0 wins over Bournemouth from both Premier League games last season.

Manchester United v West Ham United PickThe Thursday night win over Feyenoord was much needed for Manchester United as they finally turned a good performance into a good result. They are in the midst of a four game run at Old Trafford and Manchester United will look to keep the momentum going as we get set to enter a busy December.

West Ham United will become a familiar opponent over the next few days as they visit Manchester United in the Premier League and days later will return for an English Football League Cup Quarter Final. They will be hoping they can find their feet away from home as The Hammers continue to concede goals at an alarming rate on their travels and that will be an issue if Manchester United have started to find their eye in front of goal.

One concern has to be that Manchester United have won 1 of their last 4 Premier League games after coming out of the Europa League. However that did come after Match Day 4 when beating Swansea City 1-3 away from home after playing in Turkey and being home following a home game should mean the short turnaround is less of an issue.

Some will say Stoke City earned a 1-1 draw in that spot, but I've no idea how Manchester United didn't win that game and I like the home team to make it two wins in a row. They should be able to create chances against a West Ham United team who have conceded at least twice in all but one away game in the Premier League and who have lost 4 of 6 away Premier League games by at least two goals.

With Winston Reid missing it could be a bigger problem for West Ham United to contain this Manchester United team and ultimately I can see the home team pulling off a win by a couple of goals. You can't discount West Ham United being able to play their part with their attacking threat that has scored in all but one away game, but I think Manchester United prove too good before they have to do it all again in a few days time.

Aston Villa v Cardiff City PickBoth Steve Bruce and Neil Warnock have recently arrived as new managers at Aston Villa and Cardiff City respectively in a bid to revive the fortunes of clubs that have been underachieving. They have similarities in the starts made at their new clubs with both Aston Villa and Cardiff City beginning to earn positive results which will see them move away from the bottom three.

Aston Villa are slightly further along, but Bruce will be aware that his team need to show more in front of goal if they are going to put a long winning run together to shoot up the League table. They have scored in each of the 6 games Bruce has been in charge of, but Aston Villa have scored more than once only twice and that is a problem when facing a Cardiff City team that have scored in 5 of their last 6 games.

Backing both teams to score in this one is perhaps an appealing angle, but I have been impressed with most of the recent Aston Villa performances under their new manager. They should have beaten Brighton last week which would have given the players a huge boost of confidence and Cardiff City are still trying to find some consistent performances away from home.

The price on both teams to score is a good one, but at a very similar price you can back Aston Villa to win this game. I do think the home team have a slight edge and have just started turning in wins at Villa Park with 2 in a row. It will be tight and a Cardiff City goal is a problem, but I think Aston Villa will find the opportunities to score twice in this one and will pick up three more important points.

Brighton v Fulham PickIt wasn't the best Brighton performance of the season when they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, but that is not a bad result when not at your best. Generally they have been able to perform very well at home and Brighton are deservedly the favourites to win this game.

You don't want to dismiss Fulham easily considering they have lost just 1 away game in the League all season, but this might be the toughest away game they would have played outside of Aston Villa. Of course they were beaten at Villa Park and I do think Brighton can earn a narrow win in this one too.

It won't be an easy game and Brighton will have to weather some Fulham pressure but they have shown they can perform much better at home than they did against Aston Villa. I expect a response from that game and Chris Hughton hasn't overseen too many back to back disappointing performances at The Amex Stadium.

I expected Brighton to be shorter in the market than they are and I think they earn a narrow win over Fulham this weekend.

Derby County v Norwich City PickThere isn't the same expectation for goals in this game from the layers as I have had and I believe Derby County and Norwich City can combine for at least three goals shared out on Saturday. Earlier this season Derby County had been struggling for goals, but they have scored 8 in their last 3 League games and have scored at least twice in each game.

The defending has remained pretty solid, but Derby County are facing a Norwich City team who have scored in 7 of their last 8 away games in all competitions. It is hard to see how Norwich City will keep Derby County from scoring considering they have conceded at least twice in 4 of their last 6 away games in all competitions and their last 7 away games in the Championship have featured at least three goals each time.

This is a fixture that has produced goals in the recent past and I do think both teams will find their way to score in this one. Derby County have been scoring plenty themselves and could perhaps cover this number on their own, but I do think Norwich City will play their part in this game and help secure the three goals combined to bring home a winner.

Preston North End v Burton Albion PickIn a Division where teams can beat and be defeated by most others in the League, Preston North End might be one of the more inconsistent ones that can be hard to trust on a week by week basis. Their 4-1-4 record at Deepdale kind of highlights those issues, but this looks a good moment to back Preston North End.

They have not won either of their last 2 home games, but are facing a Burton Albion team who have lost 4 of their last 5 away games and have been conceding far too many goals on their travels in recent weeks.

A lack of goals hasn't helped Burton Albion either and they might just be struggling to reach the levels required on a weekly basis in the Championship. It is no surprise for a team that has had back to back promotions through the Divisions that they have hit a wall of sorts and I think Preston North End can take advantage.

Preston North End are shorter than Reading were a week ago, but I think The Royals were too big and this side are about the right price to win this game. I will back Preston North End to earn the three points this weekend.

Reading v Bristol City PickOne of the teams in the Championship in very strong form at the moment is Reading and I think they have every chance of keeping the momentum going. They have won 4 in a row in the League and that includes their last couple of games at the Majedski Stadium, while Reading are also facing a Bristol City team who have been struggling of late.

A team who have lost 3 of their last 4 overall and 3 of their last 4 away games has to have had some of the confidence sapped from them. That is where Bristol City find themselves going into the weekend and The Robins also have a poor record in Reading where they have lost 4 in a row.

It does feel like Reading are catching Bristol City at the right time with the away side hitting a poor patch of form and I think the price on the home win is very tempting.

I do think the Reading form is very good at the moment and I will back them to win this weekend to continue their rise up the League table. They should be full of confidence and they should arguably be much shorter a price than they are as they look to become the latest to get the better of Bristol City.

MY PICKS: Burnley-Manchester City Both Teams Score @ 2.00 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Leicester City @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Liverpool Over 1.5 First Half Goals @ 2.45 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Swansea City-Crystal Palace Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Watford-Stoke City Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.05 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Arsenal - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Manchester United - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 2.09 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Aston Villa @ 1.85 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Brighton @ 1.95 Bet365 (2 Units)
Derby County-Norwich City Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.05 William Hill (2 Units)
Preston North End @ 2.15 William Hill (2 Units)
Reading @ 2.50 Bet Victor (2 Units)

November Update33-32-3, + 3.70 Units (133 Units Staked, + 2.78% Yield)

October Final29-41-2, - 21.23 Units (139 Units Staked, - 15.27% Yield)
September Final43-28-1, + 35.17 Units (133 Units Staked, + 26.44% Yield)
August Final31-38-2, - 9 Units (124 Units Staked, - 7.26% Yield)
Season 2016/17102-107-5, + 4.94 Units (396 Units Staked, + 1.25% Yield)

Season 2015/16133-174-2, + 0.89 Units (669 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)
Season 2014/15159-208-5, - 20.22 Units (647 Units Staked, - 3.13% Yield)
Season 2013/14164-185-3, + 15.84 Units (577 Units Staked, + 2.75% Yield
Season 2012/13+ 4.42 Units (415 Units Staked, + 1.07% Yield)

Friday, 25 November 2016

College Football Week 13 Picks 2016 (November 25-26)

This is 'Rivalry Week' in the College Football regular season as the majority of schools finish their regular season and await whether they have done enough to earn a Bowl bid. For plenty of others the motivation to affect how a rival views their own season is going to provide lots of motivation as well as the race to get into the Conference Championship Games that will be played next week.

With the Thanksgiving weekend the games from Week 13 are separated over three days with the majority of the picks coming from the Friday and Saturday games.

Week 12 proved to be an 'almost' week for the picks as a couple of losing ones could easily have gone the other way which would have produced another winning week. There are still two weeks of the regular season left before we get into the Bowl Games which begin on Saturday 17th December and so I am looking for some momentum to take in the final weeks of the season.

The picks will come out over the next couple of days beginning with the Friday games and through to Saturday evening.

Houston Cougars @ Memphis Tigers Pick: The Houston Cougars can't get to the American Athletic Conference Championship Game having lost the head to head to the Navy Midshipmen, but there are still some big goals in place. They won the Conference last year, but a win on Friday will give them a chance to have won double digit games in back to back seasons under Tom Herman having lost won at least 10 games in 2011.

There is no doubt that Herman's stock in College Football has been trending upwards in his second season with the Cougars to the extent that he is the favourite to become the next LSU Tigers Head Coach. This could potentially be his final game as Houston Head Coach and he has helped this team beat the likes of Oklahoma and Louisville this season which should mean the players bring their best effort despite the rumours about the Head Coach.

It won't be an easy task for Houston who are facing a Memphis Tigers team that have perhaps been better than expected in their first season with Mike Norvell as Head Coach and having lost Paxton Lynch to the NFL at the end of last season. However it is the Cougars who have gotten the better of the Tigers having won six in a row in the series and going 4-2 against the spread in that time.

The question for Memphis might be whether they can get a consistent Offensive game plan together to challenge Houston. One issue is becoming one-dimensional and that is what the Houston Cougars Defensive Line have tried to do all season by shutting down the yards teams have been able to gain on the ground.

Doing that here will put either Riley Ferguson or Jason Stewart in a difficult position at Quarter Back to make the necessary throws against a tough Secondary. The Cougars Defensive Line hasn't just been shutting down the run, but they have been swarming the opposition Quarter Back which has stalled drives and also made it difficult to find time to throw the ball into this Secondary.

I do think Memphis might struggle to run the ball, but that has been an issue for the Houston Cougars Offensively this season and it might show up again despite the Tigers Defensive Line issues. Greg Ward Jr is capable of moving the chains with his legs as well as his arm from Quarter Back, but he will be relying on the latter more than the former in this one.

Interceptions might be an issue for Ward, but he is spreading the ball around his Receivers which will make it tough for a strong Memphis Secondary to always be aware of where the ball is going. Ward has to be aware of the turnovers the Tigers have feasted on through this season, but I do think Houston have plenty of motivation here to produce another big game for Head Coach Tom Herman before it is likely announced that he is moving on.

It feels like this is a game that will come down to deep into the Fourth Quarter, but I like the Houston Cougars making a few more plays Defensively and Greg Ward having more success than whichever Quarter Back Memphis decide to go with. There won't be a lot between them but the Houston Cougars can win this one by a Touchdown on the road to move to 10-2 on the season.

Washington Huskies @ Washington State Cougars Pick: It has been a long, long time since the Apple Cup was going to be such an important game on a national level as it is this year when the Washington State Cougars host the Washington Huskies. The winner of this game will be moving on to the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game next week, but it might actually be an even bigger game for the Conference as a whole.

Both the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars are 7-1 in the Conference, but the former are 10-1 overall and have to be considered close to a certainty to make the National Championship Play Offs if they win out. That is huge for a Conference that missed out on a Play Off representative last season and that courtesy is unlikely to be given to a Conference Champion with two or three losses like the Washington State Cougars already have.

Now I am not suggesting there will be shady officiating, but Washington State have to be using that as a motivation to really spoil a rival's season and have a shot at winning the Conference despite a really poor start to the season. They have been an improving team under Head Coach Mike Leach having reached 9 wins last season and one away from matching that number, but it is hard to think how far the Washington State team have come since losing to Eastern Washington in Week 1.

This is likely to become something of a shoot out because of the injuries the Huskies have on the Defensive side of the ball and coming up against arguably one of the most potent Offenses in College Football. The Air Raid Offense means the Running Backs are a Secondary thought for the Cougars, but they have been very effective on the ground although that is one area where Washington have stood up against their injuries.

It might be much more difficult stopping Luke Falk throwing the ball as the Washington Secondary have begun to give up more big plays and the Quarter Back is very well protected behind his Offensive Line. Losing Joe Mathis has taken away some of the pass rush pressure from the Washington Huskies and giving Falk time has shown to be a bad move while injuries in the Secondary also means the Cougars should feel they can make some big plays in this one.

That will shift the pressure onto Jake Browning to keep Washington in this game and I do think he has a favourable match up in this one too which suggests we will see a high-scoring game. He will have the benefit of being able to hand the ball to Myles Gaskin at Running Back who should be able to establish the run and keep the Washington Offense in third and manageable spots through this game.

It should mean Browning is able to make some big plays against this Cougars Secondary which has given up some big numbers but have also been effective at turning the ball over. As long as Browning can avoid those mistakes, the Washington Huskies have a chance of winning here and moving onto the Championship Game, but these 'Rivalry Week' games can be tough and I do like the underdog Washington State who have far less to lose.

Yes they can miss the Championship Game, but Washington have a chance to play for the National Championship if they win out and that can be tough to deal with from a mental point of view. While the Huskies can move the chains and score points, I do think Washington State can match them too and so getting the points looks important to me. The Cougars lost in Week 12, but I do think they can bounce back and will take the points with the home underdog.

Toledo Rockets @ Western Michigan Broncos Pick: They might be 11-0 overall and 7-0 in the MAC Conference, but the Western Michigan Broncos haven't done anything yet and Head Coach PJ Fleck will be the first to tell you that. They have improved in each of his three years in charge of the Broncos, but winning out is the only reward that the Head Coach is looking for.

Winning out means playing in the MAC Championship Game and then perhaps being rewarded with one of the big Bowl Games perhaps even in the New Year. However the Western Michigan Broncos cannot afford to look too far ahead as a loss to the Toledo Rockets in Week 13 will actually mean Toledo win the MAC West Division on the head to head with the Broncos.

No one will be overlooking the Rockets who have already won 9 games this season which means they have achieved that mark in 5 of their last 6 seasons. That is the kind of consistency that the Broncos would like to build for their school and any team that has a 6-1 record over their last seven games have to be respected.

Toledo have also won on their last three visits to the Broncos and twice they have done that as the underdog. Logan Woodside has been one of the better Quarter Backs in this Conference and Toledo have to have faith that he can help lead them to an upset here but the first port of call for Woodside may be to turn around and hand the ball off to Kareem Hunt at Running Back who should have a good match up.

Hunt is having a huge season and has to like his chances against a Western Michigan Defensive Line that has just had some problems shutting down the run for much of the season. It has been a particular worry for the Broncos in their recent games and Hunt should be able to make some big plays as long as Toledo remain within a score or two of their hosts.

That is key for Woodside because his gaudy numbers will be tested by this Secondary that have played well all season. Some of that is down to the fact that teams have been able to run against the Broncos, but even when teams have been chasing games they have found it difficult to throw the ball. Woodside is playing with a very good Offense which should have success, but this is arguably the toughest match up he has had this season.

There are some similarities on the other side of the ball especially when it comes to Western Michigan handing the ball to Running Back Jarvion Franklin who should be able to add to his big season. Franklin is back to the level that saw him win Offensive Player of the Year in the MAC in 2014 and his up against a Toledo Defensive Line which has allowed 4.4 yards per carry in their recent games and that is going to be music to the ears of Zach Terrell at Quarter Back.

Unlike Toledo and Woodside, Terrell has to like his chances against this Secondary which has given up 278 yards per game in their recent games through the air. Terrell has been looking after the ball and should find the spaces to make his throws a little more easily than Woodside with Toledo and that could be the major difference maker in this entire contest.

I really like how both teams have played this season, but I do think Western Michigan are slightly better on both sides of the ball and that can show up. The spread has been moving down all week and I think it might just be at a reasonable position now as I look for the home Broncos to win this by around ten points and move onto the MAC Championship Game next week.

Arizona State Sun Devils @ Arizona Wildcats Pick: Neither team is going to look back on the 2016 season with any fondness, but there is a rivalry on the line when the Arizona Wildcats host the Arizona State Sun Devils in what is definitely the last game of the season for the Wildcats. There is some motivation on their side as they can prevent the Sun Devils making it to a Bowl Game by winning this one, while Arizona are trying their best to avoid going winless in the Pac-12 having played in the Championship Game in 2014.

Of course there is motivation on the other side of the Field with the Sun Devils hoping to get to 6-6 with a win but both teams have been in awful form of late. Arizona State have lost five games in a row and have been outgained in terms of yards in eight in a row. On the other hand Arizona have lost eight in a row and this could come down to which of the teams can erase recent performances from their memories in the most productive way.

One of the important aspects for the Wildcats is going to be to run the ball effectively and they should have a chance to do that which can give them a chance of earning an upset. Their passing game has really struggled but Brandon Dawkins is back at Quarter Back and has shown he can make some plays, although it will all begin by establishing the run.

Dawkins played pretty well in Week 12 after coming back from a concussion and I do think he will be able to make plays against this Secondary from third and manageable spots. The Wildcats don't have the most eye-catching passing game, but Dawkins makes them stronger and this Sun Devils Secondary have been allowing big plays all season.

That might give Arizona more balance than the Arizona State Sun Devils can hope for when it comes to the Offensive plays as they haven't been able to run the ball at all this season. It has been a big problem for the Sun Devils in recent weeks, but they should find some room to take on the Wildcats Defensive Line even though the Arizona State Offensive Line has been having a hard time.

They've not protected the Quarter Back at all well but I am not sure Arizona have the pass rush to take advantage and their own Secondary have struggled. Manny Wilkens didn't have a great game for Arizona State last week, but the Washington Huskies are considerably better than the Arizona Secondary which has allowed 317 yards per game through the air in their last three games.

It does seem that both teams will have their success with the ball in their hands in this one, but the motivation on the side of the Arizona State Sun Devils could see them get the better of their rivals Arizona. The Sun Devils have improved to 5-2 against the spread in the last seven games against Arizona and the confidence in the home team has to be sapped after losing every Conference game so far.

While this will be a game that sees both teams go up and down the field, I think Arizona State make a few more big plays and are able to come away with a win by around a Touchdown on the road.

Virginia Cavaliers @ Virginia Tech Hokies Pick: There is nothing much on the line for the Virginia Cavaliers when it comes to what a win would give them, not unless you don't count pride and the chance to hurt a rival as 'nothing much'. I fully expect Bronco Mendenhall to be preaching to his team how important this could be for Virginia going forward as he begins to turn this programme around, and being able to spend the next few months knowing they kept the Virginia Tech Hokies out of the ACC Championship Game will be huge for a school that hasn't had more than five wins in any of their last five seasons.

All of the pressure has to be on the Hokies who can win the Coastal Division with a win on Saturday, although they might have secured the Division if North Carolina fail to beat North Carolina State on Friday. Either way, the Virginia Tech Hokies are expected to blow out their rivals and that on its own brings pressure with the expectation of the fanbase on their shoulders.

Much of the reason that the Cavaliers haven't been blown out too often is because of the strong Defensive unit they have been able to put on the field. Mendenhall is an influential Head Coach who can get the best out of his players too, but that Defensive unit have been very good and should be able to at least make the Hokies a little one-dimensional in this one. The Hokies have not been able to run the ball that effectively all season with Quarter Back Jerod Evans their leading rusher, and I think Virginia can at least keep them in third and long from time to time and force Evans to make plays with his arm.

It does have to be noted that Evans has been making a few mistakes down the stretch which almost saw Virginia Tech head into Week 13 on a two game losing run. He has some solid numbers, but Evans is facing a Secondary which has shown some improvement down the stretch and also have been able to get some pressure up front which is a concern behind this Offensive Line.

Ultimately Virginia Tech will be able to make some big plays Offensively and the key for this spread is how much can the Cavaliers do on the other side of the ball. Running the ball has been a problem for Virginia this season too, but Taquan Mizzell is playing his last game for the Cavaliers and has shown improvement in recent games while he is also coming up against a Virginia Tech Defensive Line that might feel a little worn down at this stage of the season.

They will be looking for better play at Quarter Back if Mizzell is being able to establish the run. Matt Johns made his first start of the season last week but had 3 Interceptions and this Hokies Secondary is one of the better ones in the ACC. The Offensive Line has had issues in protection which will have to be worked on, while Johns has to be careful with the ball and not allow Virginia Tech to have the extra possessions to pull away.

Even with that in mind this feels like a massive number to me when you consider Virginia have only lost one game by more than 18 points this season. They also have challenged Virginia Tech despite losing records the last four seasons and each loss in that time has come by 10 or fewer points.

The last few weeks has seen Virginia Tech tested much more than they have been earlier in the season and I do think this is going to be a close game because of the pressure the Hokies have been dealing with. There is no doubt that Virginia Tech are a better team, but the Cavaliers can make them earn everything they get in this one and I will take the points.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Georgia Bulldogs Pick: Both the Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have a 7-4 record and are Bowl eligible, but only one of the teams will look back at 2016 with some fondness. The Georgia Bulldogs have underachieved when you look at how erratic the SEC East has been this season, but they are in Kirby Smart's first season as Head Coach and some inconsistencies had to be expected.

The Bulldogs have won at least 10 games in four of the last five years under Mark Richt but they would be on the brink of having their lowest win total since 2010 unless they can win one of their last two games. On the other hand this has been a bounce back season for the Yellow Jackets who have more than doubled last season's win total as Paul Johnson kept his job as Head Coach.

This has become a traditional end to the regular season for Georgia Bulldogs over the last four years having missed out on the SEC Championship Game but it will be important to win a rivalry game and give Smart something to take into the Bowl Game and the 2017 season. Georgia have won three in a row to build momentum, but Georgia Tech have also been playing well with wins in four of their last five games.

Playing the triple option Offense is always a big challenge for teams and the Defensive Line have not played as well the last few games as they have over the course of the season. The Bulldogs do face this Georgia Tech Offense every season, and Smart's experience as Defensive Co-Ordinator with Alabama should keep them focused more one more big effort.

You have to believe that Justin Thomas, Marcus Marshall and Dedrick Miles to have some big plays in this one as the Georgia Defensive Line work out their assignments, but I do think the Bulldogs can win their fair share of these battles at the line of scrimmage. Much of the Offense is based on running the ball effectively and the Georgia Secondary just have to make sure they are not surprised by Thomas who is perhaps a better passer than most will recognise.

Running the ball won't just be the first port of call for the Yellow Jackets Offense though as it is a feeling that Georgia have gone back to basics which has sparked their winning run. Nick Chubb might not have the numbers he would have expected this season, but he is averaging almost 100 yards per game in the last three games and should find spaces easy to come by against this Georgia Tech Defensive Line.

Establishing the run will open things up for Jacob Eason at Quarter Back despite an inconsistent year for the Freshman Quarter Back. He wasn't helped by the play-calling earlier in the season, but running the ball has meant Eason has been given more time in the pocket to make plays and he should have a decent game against a Secondary that has allowed 296 passing yards per game over their last three games.

Avoiding turnovers will be key for Eason and I think that will spark Georgia to a win in this rivalry game. The Bulldogs are 4-1 against the spread in the last five games between these teams and I do think they can slow down the Georgia Tech running game more than the other way around. With Georgia also having more of a threat from the pass, I think the Bulldogs will eventually be able to make a few stops and come through with a win by around seven points in this one.

UCF Knights @ South Florida Bulls Pick: The Temple Owls are the team that are preventing both the UCF Knights and South Florida Bulls from playing in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. Both of these teams have lost to the Owls in the Conference this season but only the South Florida Bulls have a chance of making it to the Championship Game if they win this one and the Owls lose their own final game against the East Carolina Pirates.

It is unlikely but the Bulls won't want to end this season on a negative as they can win double digit amount of games for the first time. However the Knights have been one of the surprise packages of the season after bouncing back from a winless season and already becoming Bowl eligible with one game left to go.

The Defensive side of the ball has been the strength for the UCF Knights, but they will have to show some Offensive power to stay with the Bulls in this one. That has been something of an inconsistency for the Knights all season but they are facing a South Florida team that have had a few problems to solve.

With the Bulls allowing 5.5 yards per carry in recent games, you have to think the Knights will find some success on the ground even if they have not found a consistent Running Back. UCF should still be able to get the Offense into third and manageable spots and then hope Quarter Back McKenzie Milton can continue to show the improvement he has through the season and the experience which will stand him in good stead in 2017.

McKenzie is likely to feel some pass rush pressure and has to be wary of a South Florida Secondary that have created Interceptions and look to give their Offense extra possessions. However he should also make some plays against a team that have allowed 350 passing yards per game over their last three contests which should help the Knights have a chance in this one.

The whole key of the game for the UCF Knights is showing Defense wins Championships and trying to shut down the potent South Florida Offense. Over the course of the season the Knights have been very good, but they have just been worn down on the Defensive Line which has seen bigger numbers given up in recent weeks than they would have liked. It is a bigger problem when facing Marlon Mack who has helped South Florida average over 8 yards per carry in their last three games and Mack could establish the run to open things up for the Bulls.

The Knights Secondary has not been tested as much in recent games because of the yards they have been allowing on the ground, but Quinton Flowers won't shy away from throwing the ball at Quarter Back. Flowers should be given time with the team in third and short spots and play action also being a key for him, but he has to be wary of throwing any Interceptions that keeps UCF in this one.

I do think Flowers and Mack are going to put a lot of pressure on UCF to try and keep up on the scoreboard and I like the Bulls in this one. It is a big number but the favourite is 5-2 against the spread in the last seven in this series and I think South Florida will make a few plays against the inconsistent UCF Knights Offense which can see them pull away from this big number.

Those stops or turnovers can see South Florida come through with a win by a couple of Touchdowns and I will back them to cover the number.

Duke Blue Devils @ Miami Hurricanes Pick: There were big expectations in Mark Richt's first season as Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes but they have fallen short of those and will not be playing in the ACC Championship Game. It wasn't the most testing of Divisions for the Hurricanes, but Richt will feel it is a decent first year as Head Coach here and winning their last two games will set the Hurricanes for the second nine win season in the last seven years.

Another team that has perhaps underachieved are the Duke Blue Devils who have been more known for their basketball teams rather than their football one over the years. However this Blue Devils programme had won 10, 9 and 8 games in the last three years but they won't be making a Bowl Game for the first time since 2011 this time around.

David Cutcliffe will be given time having turned this programme right around and Duke have remained competitive for much of this season despite holding just four wins. That changed last week when they were blown out by the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road and a second consecutive road game is very difficult.

It will be a test for the Duke Offense because they are facing a tough Defense that have shown improvement after a slight blip in the middle of the season. The Hurricanes have prided themselves on shutting down the run and Miami will believe they can make Duke one-dimensional even if Daniel Jones decides to tuck the ball and run from the Quarter Back position.

That will put the pressure on Jones to make the necessary plays with his arm and that will be difficult for the Quarter Back with the expected pass rush pressure Miami should get around him. The Hurricanes Secondary have also played well thanks to that pressure although Jones has at least avoided big mistakes to make sure Duke don't beat themselves.

While the Miami Hurricanes have improved on the Defensive line of scrimmage, they have also got back to their early season form on the Offensive line of scrimmage. After struggling to run the ball against the likes of Florida State and Virginia Tech, Miami have got back to doing that effectively behind Mark Walton and they should be able to establish the run in this one against a Duke Defensive Line which has allowed 179 yards per game on the ground over their last three games.

With Walton running the ball, Brad Kaaya should have the time to make some big plays at Quarter Back. Kaaya should be well protected in third and short spots and Duke's inability to stop the run has meant more one on one coverage in the Secondary which Kaaya can expose. The Blue Devils have used Interceptions to stay in games, but I think Kaaya has looked after the ball very effectively in recent games and can set Miami up for a big win.

You know the Blue Devils aren't going to give this game away, but I do think the Hurricanes are stronger on both sides of the ball which can see them pull away. Miami are 4-1 against the spread in the last five games between these teams and I do believe the Hurricanes will put a big win on the board in this final game of the regular season and cover a big number at home.

I've had a few things to do this Friday which means I'm adding four more picks to the Saturday selections in Week 13 which can be found below.

MY PICKS: Houston Cougars - 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Washington State Cougars + 6 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Western Michigan Broncos - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Arizona State Sun Devils - 1 Point @ 1.95 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Virginia Cavaliers + 18.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
Georgia Bulldogs - 4 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
South Florida Bulls - 10 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Miami Hurricanes - 15 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
USC Trojans - 17.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 18 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Mississippi Rebels - 9.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Tennessee Volunteers - 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet365 (1 Unit)