NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview/Pick- Virginia Tech vs. #17 UCLA

ncaa picks prediction

Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) vs. #17 UCLA Bruins (9-3) 12/31- 2:00PM EST




Line: UCLA -7.0

Over/Under: 47.0


The No. 17 UCLA Bruins will try for their first bowl win four years on New Year’s Eve when face for the first time the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Sun Bowl.


UCLA coach Jim Mora in just his second year has turned the Bruins football program around and with a win can cap their best season in eight years since they went 10-2 back in 2005 finishing the year with a No. 16 ranking.


UCLA (9-3) believes Jim Mora is their coach for the long-haul and signed him to a six-year contract extension in early December to ward off suitors from other high-profile programs, nonetheless, Mora has been linked to replace Mack Brown at Texas… a rumor Mora has denied.


Rumors. It’s flattering,” Mora said. “I think it says a lot about our program and the direction we’re heading, but I am very, very, very extremely delightfully happy to be the head coach at UCLA, and want to be for a very long time.”


Last year in the Holiday Bowl in Mora’s first year, the Bruins we’re pounded by the Baylor Bears 49-26 to deny UCLA a double-digit win season.


But now that Mora is locked in, UCLA fans can only hope sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley will be returning for his junior season.


Hundley this year leads the Pac-12 with a 67.8 completion percentage, throwing for 2,845 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions and over his last five games has thrown eight scoring passes while being picked off only once.


Hundley is also getting it done on the ground as he leads the Bruins with 587 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.


The Bruins have been hit hard with injuries on the offensive line and struggled to protect Hundley, who has been sacked 33 times, second-most in the conference and facing a Virginia Tech team that leads the ACC in sacks with 37 will be a great challenge.


Generating any type of offense against the Hokies defense will be a tough task for Brett Hundley and the Bruins where they are among the nations-best against the run allowing 103.8 yards per game, the pass 168.5 yards and interceptions with 19.


Coach Jim Mora isn’t surprised by the Hokies (8-4), who are led by long time coach Frank Beamer.


They play great special teams, they play outstanding defense. That’s what they do,” Mora said. “They play hard. They play with discipline. You don’t see technique errors. You don’t see missed assignments. You see a bunch of guys who know what they are supposed to do with a lot of certainty, and they do it fast and with bad intentions.


It’s an impressive team to watch.”


Beamer will be leading the Hokies into their 21st consecutive bowl game, which is the longest active streak for a coach and second only to Florida State’s 32 active bowl runs.


Virginia Tech is led by Logan Thomas who will be calling the signals for his third straight bowl, but will need to improve his performance where he is just 34 of 67 passes for 407 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions over his first two bowl appearances.


Expect the Hokies to utilize running back Trey Edmunds who leads the team with 675 yards while averaging 4.1 yards per carry with 12 TDs—10 rushing against a Bruins defense that is yielding an average of 193.6 rushing yards over it’s last seven games.


I’m looking forward to watching Pac-12’s freshman of the year Myles Jack, the two-way player who lines up in the backfield and stars at linebacker. Jack has 269 yards on 37 carries with seven touchdowns.


It’s exciting for us to go against offenses like that. It’s a good test for us,” Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler said. “That’s the most exciting and energetic part of this thing is that we get to go play a team like that.


If you beat a team like UCLA, everybody seems to think this year is a success. If you go and lose, then everyone thinks the opposite.”


The Bruins have been made a (minus -7.0) point favorite for Tuesday’s game by the oddsmakers, but get the latest spread on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


Expect a great and exciting game from both teams as these two teams will be meeting for the first time, but I predict the Bruins to give Jim Mora his first bowl win.


Prediction/Pick: UCLA

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview/Pick- Miami (FL) vs. Louisville

ncaa predictions hurricanes vs cardinals

Miami Hurricanes (9-3) vs. #18 Louisville Cardinals (11-1) 12/28- 6:45PM EST




Line: LOU -3.5

Over/Under: 57.5


In what will likely be Teddy Bridgewater’s final game in a Louisville Cardinals’ uniform as he is expected to declare for the NFL draft, he will lead his football team against the Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Saturday night.


Saturday’s bowl matchup will also feature two teams that will become conference rivals as #18 Louisville will be moving into the ACC next year to join Miami.. a team that Florida native Bridgewater had originally committed to before deciding on Louisville.


With Bridgewater expected to be a sure top 10 NFL pick next April, the junior quarterback who was a leading candidate for the Heisman before falling off is looking to go out on top come Saturday.


With a 38-35 defeat to Central Florida back on October 18th and failing to throw for 300 yards in his final four games with only five touchdown passes, he saw his Heisman Trophy chances go by the wayside as he was not invited to New York as a finalist.


Despite his lack of production towards the end of the season, Bridgewater still finished with 3,523 yards and 28 touchdowns with only four interceptions to finish as the nation’s fifth-leading passer, but in the end couldn’t get his Cardinals (11-1) back to a BCS bowl after last year’s Sugar Bowl win over Florida.


This is a very talented young man. He has great command on the offense,” Miami coach Al Golden said.


Miami (9-3) had recruited Bridgewater successfully and had a verbal commitment back in 2010, but after the firing of then head coach Randy Shannon following a 7-6 season, Bridgewater bolted for Louisville.


The Cardinals have 23 Miami-area natives on their team and are thrilled to be going back home to face a Miami team of players many have played against growing up.


When they found out, it was like ‘We’re playing back at home again, we’re playing basically our teammates and the people that they play in high school,’” said senior defensive end Marcus Smith, a Georgia native who is the AAC defensive player of the year. “Feeling that with them is gonna be great one.”


Miami will be playing in their first postseason game since 2010, when the university implemented a self-imposed two-year bowl ban due to improper benefits from a booster. Former Miami assistant Clint Hurtt who was implicated in the scandal is now on the Cardinals staff.


Early on, the Hurricanes were a top 25 team but lost three in a row and fell out of the rankings, but now look to post their first double-digit wins since the 2003 season.


Our kids are excited, I think they’re grateful.” Golden said. “They’ve been through a lot the past two years, and they have not been able to have this opportunity.


They’re practicing with a purpose, they’re excited, and clearly they have a really tough opponent coming up.”


The Hurricanes feel they have a great quarterback of their own in the likes of Stephen Morris, who threw for 2,868 yards with 21 touchdowns and looks forward to matching up with Bridgewater.


It’d be a great challenge and a great headline for a lot people,” Morris said


Louisville will be moving to the ACC’s Atlantic Division next season, while the Canes are in the Coastal but are scheduled to play one another next year.


When we go play in the ACC next year, I think (the bowl) will put our stamp on this season, and it will tell the world that we can play with teams in the ACC and we can play with anybody,” Smith said.


The oddsmakers feel the Cardinals can play with the Hurricanes now as they have made them a (minus -3.5) point favorite, but get the latest lines on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


Smith finished second in the nation with 12 ½ sacks and with a Cardinals defense that ranked second in the FBS allowing only 257.9 yards per game and has been dominate against the run allowing just 86.3 yards per contest, I like and predict the Cardinals making it a happy home coming for many of its players.


Miami top rusher Duke Johnson suffered a season-ending injury with a broken ankle back in mid-season to make the challenge that much greater against the Cardinals defense, but expect an entertaining bowl game.


Prediction/Pick: Louisville

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview/Pick- Cincinnati vs. North Carolina

ncaa prediction and picks

Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6) 12/28- 3:20PM EST

Line: UNC -2.5

Over/Under: 56.5

Belk BOWL- Charlotte, NC

Two teams that mirrored each other during the season will take the field on Saturday afternoon in the Belk Bowl hoping to end the year on a high note.


Cincinnati (9-3) and North Carolina (6-6) both struggled in the early season, then made some midseason changes at quarterback which led to long winning streaks before both teams lost close games to longtime rivals in their regular-season finale.


They are a lot like us because they had a slow start and then won a lot of games in the end,” Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We are probably a much better team now than we were at the beginning of the year, as they are.”


North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said of his team… “This is a resilient bunch of guys that kept believing in one another throughout the year and I’m glad they were rewarded with a bowl game. We’re looking forward to facing a very good Cincinnati team led by an outstanding coach in Tommy Tuberville.”


The Bearcats will be making their second consecutive appearance in as many years in the Belk Bowl defeating Duke last year 48-34, and this year are back in it thanks in part to a six-game winning streak during the middle of the season that helped them finish third in the AAC.


Quarterback Brendon Kay took over the signal calling for the Bearcats in the second game of the season replacing injured first-stringer Munchie Legaux and responded well throwing for more than 3,000 yards in a season, despite not always being 100 percent healthy.


I tell you that kid competed and he did it on one leg. His ankle is so bad. He’s been wanting to play and push through it and it’s been that way for about six weeks and he has only practiced about one or two days a week,” Tuberville said of Kay following his team’s 31-24 loss to then-No. 19 Louisville on December 5.


He doesn’t throw the ball much because his shoulders are so banged up but I tell you he is a warrior.”


The Tar Heels also made a quarterback change with Marquise Williams taking over for Bryn Renner who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury back on November 2nd. The more mobile Williams generated 14 touchdown passes while also rushing for 531 yards and six scores to lead the Heels.


Look for North Carolina’s Eric Ebron, one of the nation’s top tight ends to be a main target as he leads the team in catches with 55 and with yards with 895, as he looks to challenge the Cincinnati defense.


I just go there out there and do what I do best,” Ebron told the school’s official website.


Ebron is a finalist for the Makey Award which is given to the top tight end in all of college football and has already declared himself eligible for the 2014 NFL draft following the Belk Bowl.


North Carolina finds itself in the Belk Bowl by way of a 1-5 start followed by a five game winning streak to become bowl eligible before losing to in-state rival Duke 27-25 to end the regular-season.


Coach Fedora is proud of the way his team performed after a horrible start. “I’m excited for our team, especially our seniors, who fought through some early season adversity and won five of the last six games to become bowl eligible.”


The Bearcats may have the better record, but the oddsmakers are giving the Tar Heels a slight (minus -2.5) point favorite playing close to home in Charlotte, but get the latest spread on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


The Tar Heels are 2-0 all-time against the Bearcats, but I predict Cincinnati, who outscored their opponents by 166 points through the backend of their schedule to continue the trend on Saturday and leave the state of North Carolina with the Belk Bowl trophy.


Prediction/Pick: Cincinnati

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Rutgers vs. Notre Dame College Bowl Game Preview & Pick

ncaa picks notre dame

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-6) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4) 12/28- 12:00PM EST




Line: ND -14.0

Over/Under- 53.0


The No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl with hopes of closing out the season on a positive note for what has been a disappointing year to Irish standards.


A year ago, the Irish found themselves in the BCS championship thanks in part to a magical season that ended in a blowout loss to Alabama and this year expectations were high once again as they found themselves at 7-2 on November 2nd before dropping two out of their last three.


Notre Dame (8-4) fought hard at then-No. 8 Stanford in their regular-season finale back on November 30, but in the end fell 27-20, as Tommy Rees threw two picks late in the fourth quarter.


Not good enough obviously. Proud of the guys and my teammates and how we fought all year but you don’t come to Notre Dame to go 8-4, and everyone understand that,” said Rees. “You have to be better.”


The Irish have a long history of some memorable games in the Bronx going all the way to back to 1928 to as recent as 2010 when they beat longtime rival Army 27-3.


Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had this to say about the Irish returning.


We were privileged to play in New York City and Yankee Stadium in 2010. The treatment our university received from the Steinbrenner family, the New York Yankees and the entire organization was unlike anything we’ve experienced in my tenure at Notre Dame,” he said.


Starting next season, the Irish will be part of the ACC bowl lineup, which will include the Pinstripe Bowl, which is now four-years old.


Rutgers (6-6) also suffered a disappointing season losing three in a row before beating South Florida 31-6 to become bowl eligible for their eighth time in nine years. The Scarlet Knights will be moving from the AAC to the very competitive and tough Big Ten starting next year and would like a win Saturday to carry that momentum going into a new conference.


But, to have any chance against the Irish, the Scarlet Knights must get it together on defense where they gave up 38.0 points in their previous seven games before shutting down a woeful South Florida team.


The Rutgers secondary has been torched this season allowing 311.4 passing yards per game and have given up 3,596 yards through the air… the most in school history, so look for Rees to take advantage of a porous Rutgers defense where he has passed for 2,938 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 138.1 passer rating.


Notre Dame’s TJ Jones leads the receiving corps with 1,042 yards and nine touchdowns.


Oddsmakers don’t have much faith in the Rutgers defense stopping the Irish as they have made Notre Dame a huge (minus -14.0) point favorite going into Saturday’s contest, but get the latest odds up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


Despite the sub-par seasons from both teams, expect a big crowd come Saturday as both teams are expected to draw well, especially the Irish with their fan base and the Scarlet Knights proximity to Yankee Stadium.


It’s a really attractive matchup,” embattled second-year Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said.


The Irish have won all four meetings against Rutgers and I predict an easy victory on Saturday for Notre Dame to take home the trophy.


Prediction/Pick: Notre Dame

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Handicapping the NFL Coaching Moves for “Black Monday”

jason garrett

Nine coaches, I believe, have a realistic likelihood of being relieved of their duties within the immediate aftermath of the season. A tenth–Joe Philbin of Miami–I don’t imagine might be fired even when the Dolphins lose on Sunday, though the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito state of affairs is lurking and is a variable for the off-season, as soon as the NFL concludes that investigation. We’ll set that apart and handicap the outlook for the others.

Additionally, while I will have a look at more specific components for every, I additionally tried to try past coaches with comparable information by way of X number of years (since 1978). In fact, discovering comparable report patterns was simpler for shorter teaching careers (like Dennis Allen and Greg Schiano) than longer ones with extra years.

Right here is my estimate, from nine to 1, of the chance of those who have been mentioned as possible candidates to be gone.

9. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett

Jerry Jones has stated Garrett is safe. The protection has been dreadful, the offense normally respectable. Whether or not you suppose Tony Romo’s injury and probably lacking the showdown game influences the choice or not, I tend to assume Garrett is secure for yet one more year.

Of the most comparable three year starts at a workforce, only one was fired after yr 3 (Carroll with New England). A few of these guys made the playoffs at least as soon as, not like Garrett if he loses Sunday. Nevertheless, even those who didn’t (Fisher, Erickson, Kubiak, Jauron) were given a fourth year.

Prediction: 10% chance, SECURE

eight. Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders 

Dennis AllenAllen has a chance to make historical past. He would be the solely coach to start out four-12, four-12 in NFL historical past if the Raiders lose to the Broncos. Exciting stuff.

Nevertheless, coaches who start just like Allen are frequent. Listed below are probably the most related begins to a coaching career, and slightly below half had been fired.

Oakland underwent a seismic shift, and are taking a much totally different approach after the dying of Al Davis. If they’re taking the view that this is a multi-yr venture, then Allen will get yet another year for the staff to make a soar.

Prediction: 30%, PROTECTED

7. Rex Ryan, New York Jets

rex ryan angry jets

5 years in, there are actually no good comparables for Rex Ryan’s run in New York. The closest might be Jerry Burns with Minnesota, who had forty four wins by five seasons, reached a NFC Championship Game with a top defensive crew that went 8-7 in 12 months 2, and in 12 months 5 went 6-10. He received a sixth yr. One other one is Sam Rutigliano, who had 28 wins in his first three years, then two straight losing ones. He additionally came back. Dave Wannstedt, one other defensive man, wasn’t as profitable as Ryan, however had between 7 and 9 wins every of his first four seasons, before dropping to four-12. He also was retained.

After all, all meaning nothing, as a result of the large variable here is what John Idzik thinks. Ryan has presided over some dreadful offenses, with by my unofficial count, 1,345 failed offensive coordinators. He can coach protection, getting results out of some less than stellar personnel in certain spots. Chase Stuart has damaged it down and Rex Ryan reportedly told gamers he thought he was going to be out.

I have zero feel, and nothing would shock me here.

PREDICTION: 50%, Toss Up on Monday Morning

6. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants

tom coughlin and the giants suckHow a lot good will has the long time (and two time Tremendous Bowl champion) Giants coach built up? Don Banks with MMQB said it is time.

There have been nine coaches since 1978 who had a protracted tenure with a group, and sometime between year 9 and yr eleven, had a losing yr after a protracted string of success (Mike Ditka, Tom Flores, Jeff Fisher, Dennis Inexperienced, Mike Holmgren, Chuck Knox, Marv Levy, Jim Mora, and Marty Schottenheimer). Six of the nine weren’t back with the group the subsequent yr.

Possibly he is allowed to exit in another way, and not fired on the primary day. He still may not be back. I believe it’s close to a toss up, as a result of that Super Bowl from two years ago masks a normal decline in the staff, notably the protection, over several years, and Coughlin is one of the oldest coaches in the league.


5. Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans

Not too many related situations, though Forrest Gregg did go 8 wins, eight wins, then four with the Packers. Like Gregg, Munchak was a former Corridor of Fame lineman with the same group. Will that, and Locker’s harm, by him one other year? The Titans’ younger protection was robust at occasions, and the offense was inconsistent however confirmed flashes. Still, too many squandered opportunities in a year for the taking in the AFC South.

Bud Adams’ demise begins a brand new era for the Titans. Will Munchak be part of it?


four. Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg SchianoThe record of guys like Greg Schiano (7-9 wins in 12 months one, drop off in 12 months two) contains a few college coaches who had been fired, Steve Spurrier and Wealthy Brooks. It also options Buddy Ryan and his bombastic character getting canned in Arizona. Just below half were fired on this checklist. Nevertheless, the drama in Tampa earlier this yr absolutely will increase those odds.


Nevertheless, it says one thing that Schiano is barely fourth on this listing when he would have been public alternative #1 at mid-season.


three. Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings

Frazier was a stabilizing issue after serving as interim coach when Brad Childress bought fired. I’m not sure he merits maintaining around for the rebuild, though.

The only coaches to take an enormous 12 months 2 leap in wins solely to fall back again had been Raheem Morris (fired), Todd Haley (fired), and Jerry Glanville (ATL) and Lindy Infante (GB), both retained for one more 12 months.


2. Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins

This has been morbidly enjoyable, but certainly Dan Snyder goes to put an finish to it as soon as the season ends, despite the very giant sum of cash owed to Shanahan. I believe the two are engaged in a game of chicken, so the firing could not come within the first hours, but the must be gone.


1. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions

Jim Schwartz managed to avoid a fight with this Harbaugh

The most related coaching path was Dick Jauron with Chicago. Two dropping seasons for a rebuilding team, then a playoff year, then 4 wins, adopted by 7 wins. He was fired and changed by Lovie Smith.

[ASSOCIATED: Detroit Lions Censored Jim Schwartz Job Hypothesis From Postgame Presser Transcripts]

More to the point, although, I simply don’t see how Schwartz survives the collapse after expectations for this group rose. Detroit appeared to have the most effective alternative to win the NFC North, and now they’re already eliminated after a 1-5 stretch. An excessive amount of expertise (which was not the case when he arrived) to only win 11 video games in two years, and the criticism has been lack of focus and self-discipline.


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NFL Prediction Week 16 Game Preview/Pick- New England vs. Baltimore

patriots vs ravens pick

New England Patriots (10-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-6) 12/22- 4:25PM EST


Line: BAL -2.5

Over/Under: 44.5


The defending Super Bowl champions have played themselves back into playoff contention after many thought they were dead in the water just a month ago.


The Ravens have rattled off four straight wins and now control their fate in the AFC North and can clinch a postseason berth for the six straight season with a little help from the league.


For the visiting New England Patriots, the formula is a lot easier… beat the Ravens and win the AFC East title for a fifth straight year.


Baltimore (8-6) will be in search of their fifth straight win and third in a row over the Patriots, whom they beat in the regular-season last year and in the AFC championship.


We’re playing our best football right now,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re going to have to continue to improve with what we have in front of us down the stretch.”


The Ravens offense sputtered once again in last Monday night’s win at Detroit 18-16, but thanks to Justin Tucker’s leg, he connected on six field goals to bail out the offense including the game winner from 61 yards away in the final minute to set a franchise record.


Tucker has made 33 straight field goals dating back to a Week 2 miss at Cleveland and owns the NFL’s longest streak since Matt Stover made 36 in a row for the Ravens from 2005-06.


What can you say about Justin Tucker?” Harbaugh said. “When we got the ball here, I think at the 45-yard line, I said, ‘Hey, are we kicking this?’ .. He said, ‘I got it.”


New England (10-4) will try to earn the AFC East title once again after failing last week in a 24-20 defeat to Miami in which the offense couldn’t punch it in on four plays from the Dolphins 19 yard line with 27 seconds left.


We didn’t do a good job in the red area, and didn’t do a good job finishing drives,” Tom Brady said. “We came up on the short end of the stick. It wasn’t a good day. Just couldn’t make enough plays.”


Brady will have to rely on heavily on slot receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola with tight end Rob Gronkowski back on injured reserve with a torn ACL and MCL suffered on December 8.


Edelman and Amendola combined for 23 catches for 270 yards in last week’s loss. Edelman’s 89 receptions ranks fifth in the league and has helped sparked a passing game over the last six weeks where Brady leads the NFL with 2,225 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions in that span since November 3.


While the Patriots are an undefeated 7-0 at home, they have lost four of their last five on the road and with their three road wins against the likes of Buffalo, Atlanta and Houston—all last place teams with a combined 11-31 record, they understand the importance of beating a quality team on the road come Sunday.


They’re playing better football now then they were in the beginning of the season,” New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich said.


With the Ravens taking care of the ball turning it over only four times during the winning streak and a defense that has not allowed more than 26 points since a Week 1 49-27 loss at Denver, the oddsmakers have made them a (minus -2.5) point favorite at home. With a slim line such as that, it may move, so get the latest spread on the game up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.


The Ravens have also figured out their pass protection for Joe Flacco, where he has been brought down a career-high 42 times, but only five of those sacks have come in the last three games.


The Patriots have not loss back-to-back games since Weeks 3 and 4 of the 2012 season, but Sunday will be a tough challenge for them to avoid losing two in a row again. This game will be a closely fought battle, but I will give the Ravens a slight edge due to home field and predict Baltimore getting it done to win their fifth straight.


Prediction/Pick: Baltimore

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NFL Prediction Week 16 Game Preview/Pick- Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay

steelers packers prediction

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) @ Green Bay (7-6-1) 12/22- 4:25PM EST


Line: GB -2.0

Over/Under: 45.0


With the Green Bay Packers in control of their postseason chances thanks to back-to-back come from behind victories, they will have yet another game to play without Aaron Rodgers when the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers go into Lambeau Field on Sunday.


Rodgers will miss his seventh consecutive game due to a fractured left collarbone after the medical staff on Friday did not clear him to play, meaning Matt Flynn will once again get the signal-calling duties as the Packers try to keep the pace in the NFC North.


Although, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers looked good in practice, the team feels he needs at least another week before he can return to action.


Flynn has seemed to found his offensive rhythm in his last two games going 50 of 71 for 557 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions as he has brought the Packers (7-6-1) back to beat Atlanta 22-21 back on December 8 and Dallas 37-36 last week.


Green Bay matched their greatest comeback victory in its 93-year history when Flynn led the team to five straight touchdown drives to open the second half and stun the Cowboys at home.


We’re about getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it’s an excellent team victory,” McCarthy said. “Can’t say enough about our football team, can’t say how proud I am of each and every player just to stay the course, and that’s exactly what we did.”


With a win on Sunday and a season-ending victory over division-leading Chicago on the road, the Packers can claim their third straight NFC North title.


Despite the Steelers 6-8 record, they still remain alive for a postseason berth following a 30-20 win over AFC North leading Cincinnati last Sunday night, but to get a taste of the playoffs, they will need a lot of help the next two weeks.


Pittsburgh must beat the Packers and Browns, then have Miami, New York, San Diego and Baltimore finish with 8-8 records for the tiebreaker to work in their favor.


I have said for a bunch of weeks now that there is going to be no quit from me or anybody,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who has shown great improvement over his last five games with 12 touchdowns and only one interception over that span, whereas in his first nine games, he threw 10 picks and committed 15 turnovers.


Look for Roethlisberger to target receiver Antonio Brown, who has a career-high 95 catches for 1,307 yards with eight touchdowns and goes into Sunday’s game with five touchdowns receptions in as many games.


The Steelers rushing defense has been stellar allowing fewer than 75 yards in three of their last four games, but will have to go the rest of the way without LaMarr Woodley, who suffered a strained right calf.


Oddsmakers have made the Packers a slim (minus 2.5) point favorite at home, but get the latest lines on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


Both teams will be playing with a sense of urgency on Sunday, but I have to give the edge to the Packers as well as they always play well at Lambeau and predict them riding the momentum of their last two wins to win again on Sunday.


Prediction/Pick- Green Bay

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NBA Playoffs: Who Survives the Loaded Western Conference? Predictions

western conference

NBA Prediction Western Conference 2013

On Wednesday, we set our sights on the playoffs by predicting which eight teams comprise the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. As a follow-up, we will now shift our focus to the Western Conference and project the eventual representatives.



The Western Conference is decidedly stronger than the East this year based on team records. As of Friday, the team in ninth overall place in the West, Golden State, boasts a record of 14-13. This record would be good enough for 4th in the East, but unfortunately places the Warriors in the lottery based on the loaded Western Conference.


Were the season to end tonight, the Western Conference playoff representatives would comprise, in order, of Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Los Angeles (Clippers), Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Denver. This current standing is a result of some unexpected early season performances.


Portland has been the most surprisingly upstart team of from the West so far. A balanced rotation and lethal offense has given way to a league-best 22 wins. An equally surprising playoff team, as of today, is Phoenix. Loaded with young talent and playing cohesively under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek, the Suns appear well-suited to compete for a playoff berth.


It may be easier to predict the playoff representatives by eliminating the teams set on “tanking” this season. Sacramento and Utah, though they both play host to an abundance of young talent in players like DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore, Derrick Favors, and Trey Burke, would be better suited to set their sights on the NBA Draft, when college phenoms Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle are expected to declare for the pro’s.


For four of the teams currently out of the playoff mix, injuries have been a source of collective misfortune. Golden State, at ninth, lost Andre Iguodala to a hamstring injury for 12 games, posting a record of 5-7. The Los Angeles Lakers, 11th with a record of 12-13, have been derailed by injuries to their entire point guard staff, and Kobe Bryant’s latest injury is sure to set them back even further.


New Orleans was without budding star Anthony Davis for seven days after the sophomore power forward broke his hand, and the Pelicans went 3-4 in his absence. Memphis has likely been the most unlucky team out of all of them, as they have had to play without Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, starters Mike Conley and Tayshaun Prince, and rotational swingman Quincy Pondexter who has been lost for the season.


Of the teams currently outside of the playoff mix, the ones most likely to play their way out of the lottery would have to be Golden State and Minnesota. The Warriors possess possibly the most dangerous offenses led by “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Iguodala’s return to the lineup shores up the team’s defense and allows second-year wing Harrison Barnes to return to the bench.


The Timberwolves have lighting it up of the offensive end, coming into Friday scoring the 3rd most PPG at 105.7. Their most apparent struggles have been on the road (5-9) and against other teams in the Western Conference (6-8).


As for the teams most likely to fall out of the playoff picture, Phoenix is definitely the most prime suspect. With the eighth toughest Strength of Schedule in the league, the Suns can be expected to succumb to their lack of veteran leadership, and they would also be better suited to try their luck in the upcoming draft.


We can say with reasonable certainty that there are five locks in the West for the playoffs: Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Houston. Assuming the Suns eventual regression, that leaves three spot for four real contenders in Dallas, Denver, Golden State, and Minnesota. Denver can probably be counted on to stumble a bit without projected starters Danilo Gallinari and Javale McGee, both of whom are without timetables for their returns. They should be able to hang on to one of the last two playoff spots, as fellow competitor Minnesota has the second toughest schedule in the NBA.


We’re counting on the eventual Western Conference playoff bracket consisting of, in no particular order, Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Golden State. Look for us to revisit these projections as the season winds on. 


By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter


NFL Prediction Week 16 Game Preview/Pick- Arizona vs. Seattle

nfl picks

Arizona Cardinals (9-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (12-2) 12/22- 4:05PM EST


Line: SEA -10.5

Over/Under: 43.0


The stakes will be high for both the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon with the Cardinals looking to stay alive for the postseason and the Seahawks looking to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.


For Seattle, the last time they accomplished that feat of home-field advantage, they reached the Super Bowl. For the Cardinals, a loss would all but knock them out of a playoff berth.


The Seahawks (12-2) have to be licking their chops with the possibility of playing the remainder of their games at CenturyLink Field, where they have won 14 regular-season home games since their last loss on December 24th, 2011 to San Francisco.


The year was 2005 when the Seahawks made their Super Bowl run in which they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Here we come this week and there’s nothing new, which is a good thing. We’re going to make the most of what we got,” said coach Pete Carroll, who is striving to clinch his second division title with Seattle and the third of his career.


The Seahawks had a field day last week in New York against the Giants, picking off Eli Manning five times in route to a 23-0 shutout win. The Seattle defense was dominating, holding the Giants to just a paltry 181 yards… their season-low.


Corners Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell intercepted Manning twice last Sunday and Sherman, who has six INTs this season has shown his defensive might against the Cardinals where he has four interceptions and two fumble recoveries over his last four games against them.


All the guys contributed, the linebacker and everyone contributed,” Carroll said, and it’s that same contribution Carroll is looking for again against the Cardinals after the Seahawks sacked Carson Palmer seven times and picked him off twice in a 34-22 road win back in Week 7.


Since that home loss, Arizona (9-5) has won six of seven since, with Palmer showcasing a 106.0 passer rating during that stretch… among the best in the NFL.


We’re starting to get a lot confidence as a team,” Palmer said.


Palmer is 0-1 in Seattle having lost back in 2007 when he was with the Bengals and knows the challenge will be a difficult one on Sunday.


Obviously, they’re confident for a reason,” Palmer said. “They’ve won a lot of football games, they’ve won at home, but we’ve been playing well the past couple of months. It’s a big game for them, a big game for us.”


The Cardinals have already assured themselves a winning season, their first since 2009, but even they win their remaining games and go 11-5 during the season, they may still be left out of postseason play.


The last time we were there, obviously everyone knows what happened,” coach Bruce Arenas said of the Cardinals 58-0 shellacking at Seattle last year. “That wasn’t we, that was another team. So this is our barometer to see where we’re at”


Palmer will enter Sunday’s big game a little banged-up as he is nursing a high ankle sprain, but it’s his No. 1 target Larry Fitzgerald who may miss the game after suffering a concussion late in the Cardinals’ 37-34 overtime victory at Tennessee.


Fitzgerald is due to undergo one more concussion test before he is cleared to play, but Seattle has done a defensive number on Fitzgerald limiting the All-Pro receiver to just 82 yards on seven receptions over the last three matchups.


Throw in Russell Wilson’s undefeated home winning streak, recording a 119.2 passer rating with 29 touchdowns to only six INTs and we can see why the oddsmakers have made the Seahawks a huge (minus 10.5) point favorite at home, but get the latest lines on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


Running back Marshawn Lynch will try to find some success on the ground against an Arizona defense that has limited opponents to only 69.4 yards rushing per contest with just two scores in their last seven games.


Receiver Percy Harvin is questionable (hip) and cornerback Brandon Browner has been suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Browner has been out since week 10 because of the suspension.


The Seahawks have beaten the Cardinals five of the last seven times and I expect and predict another victory for a Seattle team that is for real this year.


Prediction/Pick: Seattle

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction College Bowl Preview/Pick- Ohio vs. East Carolina

ncaa pick and prediction

Free NCAA Pick and Prediction Bobcats vs. Pirates

Ohio Bobcats (7-5) vs. East Carolina Pirates (9-3) 12/23- 2:00PM EST

Lines and betting Odds 

Line: ECU -13.5

Over/Under: 62.0


BEEF ‘O’ BRADY BOWL- ST. Petersburg, FL


The East Carolina Pirates had their third Conference USA title in their sights, but a blowout loss in their regular-season finale ended that opportunity, so they will now focus on a second double-digit win season when they battle Ohio in the Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl on Monday night.


The Pirates (9-3) where in search of their third Conference USA title in six years, but a blowout loss to Marshall 59-28 put an end to that. East Carolina is moving to the American Athletic Conference next season to join the likes of such teams as Louisville, Central Florida and Cincinnati.


East Carolina was riding a five-game winning streak behind their high-powered offense, but fell short of yet another opportunity for a conference crown with their loss at Marshall, who won the East Division.


I am proud of that group,” coach Ruffin McNeill said. “I’ve been coaching 33 years. It’s rare when you have a chance to win nine games but we have a chance to win 10… We have done a lot of things that nobody thought we could do.”


Leading the offensive charge of the Pirates is Conference USA MVP Shane Carden. All the junior quarterback has done is rank sixth in college football with 3,866 passing yards. rank eighth with 32 touchdowns passes and is tops in the nation with a 71.0 percent completion rating.


Thanks to Carden, the Pirates are 10th in the FBS with 40.4 points and 331.5 yards through the air per contest, which Ohio head coach Frank Solich admits finding a way to slow down Carden is a priority.


You don’t have great passing stats without having a great quarterback that’s poised,” Solich said. “He’s a great thrower, is knowledgeable about the game and reads things well.”


Another concern for Ohio will be the 1-2 punch of receiver Justin Hardy, fifth in the nation with 105 receptions for 1,218 yards with eight touchdowns and running back Vintavious Cooper, who has run for 995 yards and 11 touchdowns. Carden has 10 rushing touchdowns of his own.


They’ll also spread people out which enables them to get the ball to their receivers, guys that are playmakers,” Solich said. “Also when you spread people out, you can generally piece together a pretty good running game. Just look at them, they have talent. They’re big and physical on both sides of the ball.”


For the Ohio Bobcats (7-5), they will look to counter with fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who since taking over the starting job in 2011 has thrown for 8,769 yards and 66 touchdowns, but his recent struggles down the stretch this year has been a concern.


During the Bobcats three-game losing streak, Tettleton totaled just 351 yards with one touchdown and two totaling a dismal 16 points, but after bouncing back his regular-season finale, he’s confident his offense can match the fire-power of the Pirates.


That’s the plan. We’re hoping to go into this thing and put in a good game plan,” Tettleton said. “Hopefully we’ll have a chance to score a lot points and see what happens.”


And scoring a lot of points is what they’ll need as the oddsmakers have made the Pirates a huge (minus 13.5) point favorite and with an over/under of 62.0, they expect the points to be flying as well. Get the latest line on this game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


The Bobcats may be a big underdog going in, but they have plenty of bowl experience as they are making their fifth consecutive appearance in postseason and have won their last two games.


It means a lot for this senior class to be here all five years and have a chance to go to a bowl game every single year,” Tettleton said. “It’s awesome and hopefully we can win three straight for this university.”


Tettleton had 331 yards and two touchdowns last year in the Independence Bowl to lead his team to a 45-14 rout of Louisiana-Monroe.


The Pirates will be looking to snap a four-game bowl losing streak and I predict this year will be the year to get they get it done to take home the trophy and cap off a 10-win season.


The Pirates fell 43-34 to Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl last December.


Prediction/Pick: East Carolina

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NBA Prediction Week 7 Game Preview/Pick- Portland vs. Cleveland

 nba free picks and predictions

Portland Trail Blazers (21-4) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (9-14) 12/17- 7:00PM EST

Tonights NBA Free picks and prediction with lines and Odds

Line: POR -4.5

Over/Under: 205


Tuesday night’s matchup will feature two young point guards at the top of their game as the Trail Blazers travel into Cleveland.


The Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the three games he played last week when he averaged 29.0 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 50.8 percent. Irving also averaged 2.3 steals, shot 40.0 percent from behind the arc and made 14 of 15 from the charity stripe.


He deserves it, he put up some big numbers for us, and he was aggressive especially at the right times for us,” coach Mike Brown said. He can get a lot of accolades because he has the chance to be that good. He has special talents.”


Matching up against the talented Irving will be Damien Lillard of Portland, who hit the game winner at the buzzer to give the Blazers a 111-109 overtime victory at Detroit Sunday.


It felt good,” said Lillard. I had a lot of shots that I let go that felt good that didn’t fall. When that one went in, I was like ‘thank you.’ I’m happy the shot went in.”


Lillard had 23 points to go along with seven assists as Portland (19-4) won its fourth straight game and have the best record in the Western Conference, thanks in part to an offense that averages 107.9 points a game, while shooting 45.9 percent… both which rank near the top of the NBA.


To compliment Lillard is power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 23.5 and 10.9 rebounds per game as he is getting it done in the paint.


Throw in a team that is shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point land and we can see why they are one of the best in the NBA this year so far.


But, if there is any area they can improve in, it would be defensively where they are allowing 100.6 points per game.


Cleveland was riding a three-game win streak before the Miami Heat handed them a 114-107 loss on Saturday and know they will have a great challenge against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.


The Cavs only average 94.4 points per contest and with the amount of points the Blazers put up, the oddsmakers have made Portland a (minus 4.5) point favorite on the road. Get the latest lines on the game up until tip off right here at Wonder Punter.


Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, no other player outside of Irving scores more then 14.5 points per game and with a hot Blazers team that can light up the scoreboard, I predict the Trail Blazers taking care of business on the road and stay undefeated against the Eastern Conference (10-0) this season.


Prediction/Pick: Portland

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NBA prediction – Clippers vs. Celtics Week 6 Wednesday Night Game Preview & Pick

clippers vs celtics prediction

NBA Free Pick and prediction Clippers vs Celtics


Los Angeles Clippers (14-8) @ Boston Celtics (10-13) 12/11- 7:30PM EST

Odds and Lines for this game:

Line: LAC -6.0

Over/Under: 195


In his first visit since May 3rd, now Los Angels Clippers coach Doc Rivers will be at TD Garden in Boston to take on what’s left of his Boston Celtics, in what should be an emotional return.


It will be very nice for me, Rivers said. “I put nine years in there, nine wonderful years. So that’ll be very cool.”


Rivers’ resume in his tenure with the Celtics includes a 416-305 regular-season record, seven playoff appearances, and a 66-16 record in their 2007-08 championship year in which he led the Celtics to their 17th World title.


Rivers also led the Celtics to a seventh-game in the 2010 championship in which they lost to the Lakers and last year were eliminated in six games in the first round by the New York Knicks.


After last season’s playoff departure, Rivers, who still had three years left on his contract, would not commit to returning back to the Celtics as head coach.


Honestly, I just can’t even think about that right now. So I don’t know,” he said. “I need to just detox, and we’ll find that out.”


Boston management decided a different direction was needed to rebuild the organization and do away with its aging players, which Rivers was reluctant to be part of. On June 25th, Rivers was traded to the Clippers for a 2015 first-round draft pick.


Doc Rivers has the Clippers (14-8) in first-place in the Pacific Division after a 94-83 win at Philadelphia on Monday night, as they are in the midst of a season-high tying seven-game road trip.


Boston’s new coach Brad Stevens has the Celtics at 10-13 and in first-place as well in a weak Atlantic Division, although their three game win streak came to end to the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce-led Brooklyn Nets 96-104 on Monday night.


They played great tonight. Played really hard, really together,” Stevens said. “They took us out of what we wanted to do.”


The new look Celtics only have seven of their 14 players left on the team Rivers coached last year, with point guard Rajon Rondo still recovering from ligament surgery on his left knee.


It’s been Jeff Green (16.7 points per game), Jordan Crawford (14.0) and Avery Bradley (13.5) who are leading the much younger Celtics team.


Despite injuries on the Clippers side with J.J Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock, early lines have made Los Angeles a big (minus) -6.0 point favorite on the road, but expect to line to maybe move as game time approaches, which you can get here at Wonder Punter.


I see Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul who is averaging only 8.7 points on 18.8 percent shooting against the Celtics in his last three games to have a big night and even though Boston has won four of five against the Clips at home, I predict Los Angeles making Doc Rivers return to Boston a successful one.


Prediction/Pick: Los Angeles Clippers

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NBA Prediction Thunder vs Grizzlies Week 6 Wednesday Night Game Preview & Pick

nba prediction thunder vs grizzlies

NBA Prediction Week 6 Wednesday Night Game Preview/Pick- Oklahoma City vs. Memphis


Oklahoma City Thunder (16-4) @ Memphis Grizzles (10-10) 12/11- 8:00PM EST

Lines and Odds:

Line: OKC -5.5

Over/Under: 191.5


In their first meeting since last year’s playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunder will try to keep rolling against the short-handed Memphis Grizzles on Wednesday night.


Last year in the Western Conference semifinals, the Thunder couldn’t keep pace against the Grizzles without their star Russell Westbrook… this time around, it will be the injury-plagued Grizzles without their star center Marc Gasol (sprained MCL) who is still out, as well as forward Ed Davis (ankle), guard Tony Allen (hip) and now swingman Quincy Pondexter, who will be out indefinitely with a stress facture in his right foot.


For Oklahoma City (16-4), winners of three straight and 11 of 12 games, are close to full strength and are now once again one of the best in the NBA as they head into Memphis after pulling out a 101-92 victory Tuesday night in Atlanta.


We finally got a couple of stops in a row at the end,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whose team limited the Hawks to 35.6 percent shooting. “Any time you hold an NBA team in the 30s percent-wise in field goals, then you’re doing a good job defensively.”


Kevin Durant stayed hot scoring 30 points along with 10 boards. Serge Ibaka added 19 and 10, while Westbrook struggled shooting just 6 of 21 for 14 points, 11 assists and nine boards.


You have nights when you don’t make shots, but you can’t have nights when you don’t play defense,” said Westbrook, who was credited with four steals. “I take pride in defending every single night and trying to help my team win games.”


Durant since the 2008-09 season, is averaging 29.0 points in 29 meetings against the Grizzles, including the playoffs and will need all they can get as the Thunder have lost three in a row and eight of their last 11 games in Memphis.


The Grizzles are 2-3 in their last five games and are trying to keep it together until they can get some key players healthy.


Guys are stepping up. That’s what we need. We need everybody now, said forward Zach Randolph. “It’s tough. It’s real tough. We’ve just got to come out and play. Everyone has to step up like they’ve been doing.”


Jon Leuer is one of those players who has stepped-up, averaging 15.0 points over his last four games, doubling his season mark of 7.3.


We’ve had a lot of guys go down,” he said. It obviously makes it tough, but it opens up other opportunities for guys to come in and contribute.”


And an all-around contribution is what it’s going to take to beat the hot OKC Thunder who are a (minus) -5.5 point favorite on the road, but get the latest odds up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.


The Thunder are amongst the best in the league with 104.6 points per average, while Memphis as dropped off from last years mark of 89.3 to allowing 96.0 points per game this year.


With a depleted Grizzles team, I predict the Thunder covering the spread and leaving Memphis with a victory.


Prediction/Pick: Oklahoma City

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NFL Prediction Week 15 Thursday Night Game Preview/Pick

nfl picks

NFL Free Pick and Prediction, Lines & Odds Chargers vs. Broncos

San Diego Chargers (6-7) @ Denver Broncos (11-2) 12/12- 8:25PM EST


Line: DEN -10.0

Over/Under: 55.5


The San Diego Chargers, who’s slim playoff hopes hang in the balance will have their hands full on Thursday night trying to contain a Denver Broncos team that is putting up big numbers in recent weeks.


Denver (11-2) already in the driver’s seat in the AFC West after clinching a playoff spot look to continue their offensive surge where their 1,086 offensive yards in the last two weeks has been their best two-game stretch of the late season, with no signs of letting up.


The Peyton Manning lead offense put up a season-high 551 yards against a respectable Tennessee Titans defense in last Sunday’s 51-28 win and securing a playoff spot going into Week 15 doesn’t change the teams mindset.


I guess you have some security but our job is not finished- winning this division is number one and winning this conference is number two,” wide receiver Eric Decker said. “And we have to make sure that we get better as team as a whole. We have a big goal and expectations for this year and that’s just one week at a time and grinding away.”


Manning has been on fire the last two weeks throwing for 800 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions and his 39 completions against Tennessee set a team record. Manning has 45 touchdowns on the season, which is five shy of matching Tom Brady’s single-season set back in the 2007 season.


It’s safe to say Manning will recapture his record this season that he originally set with 49 back with the Colts in 2004, but he may be without one his top targets, Wes Walker, who suffered his second concussion in the last four games.


Welker is listed as doubtful, but with plenty of weapons at his disposal, who now have four players with at least 10 touchdowns (an NFL record), don’t expect the Broncos to miss a beat the rest of the way.


Tight end Julius Thomas (11 TDs) says… “All year, we’ve been talking about how dynamic our entire offense is. There are guys that maybe hadn’t been getting as many touches in the beginning of the season. Now, they’re going out there and they’re showing everybody what they can do.”


So, with a hot offense that now seems to be hitting on all cylinders, the Chargers (6-7) realize the task on-hand in Mile High and understand they must play error-free the rest of the way to have any chance for postseason play.


I can’t wait,” linebacker Jarrett Johnson said. “It’s going to be a great challenge. As a competitor and an athlete in the NFL, these are the opportunities you want. We worked ourselves into a hole and we have to depend on other people, but the only thing we’re focusing on is what we can control, and right now that’s Denver.”


And focused they better be, as the oddsmakers have made the Broncos a big (minus) -10.0 favorite at home. Get the latest lines here at Wonder Punter up until kick off.


Despite the spread, the Chargers are feeling good and confidence is high after their big 23-point win over the Giants and hope to continue in the right direction.


That is one of our better all-around games,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.


The Broncos enter Thursday night having defeated the Chargers four-straight times, including a 28-20 win back in San Diego on November 10 and predict another win for the Broncos over the Chargers.


Too much Broncos offense.


Prediction/Pick: Denver

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Week 14 College Football Game Preview/Pick- #25 Notre Dame vs. #8 Stanford

ncaa picks

NCAA Free Pick and prediction Notre Dame vs. Stanford


#25 Notre Dame (8-3) @ #8 Stanford (9-2) 11/30- 7:00PM EST


Line: STAN -15.0

Over/Under: 49.0


With the Pac-12 North title already won and a shot at the Rose Bowl next week with winning the Pac-12 championship, No. 8 Stanford will turn their attention to hosting the No. 25 Fighting Irish Saturday night in a game where nothing more then winning and playing for pride will be stake.


Stanford (9-2) has been on roller-coaster ride the last three weeks with the Oregon Ducks, winning, then losing, then winning the Pac-12 North Division title for sure after last weeks Oregon lost and Cardinal win.


Stanford will play the #12 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils next weekend for the Pac-12 championship and the right to represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena in January.


I remind people that we don’t go through all the ups and downs that maybe even the media and the fans go through because we keep our minds on our jobs,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “If we win a big game, they don’t cancel the next week. If we lose a game, they don’t cancel the next week.”


Shaw stressed to his team, just worry and focus on the week ahead and it will work out.


It’s been very emotional,” Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery said. “You definitely learn a lot of lessons. It’s kind of a blessing to experience some highs and some lows. Depending on how you look at it, you can always take something positive out of something negative. It’s been a good experience to be able to fight and bounce back.”


It’s simple now for the Cardinal… beat the Sun Devils next week and make a trip to their fourth-straight BCS bowl game… the Rose Bowl.


However, a win against Notre Dame is still important because if Stanford losses to Arizona State, their win over the Irish could mean the difference between the Alamo, Holiday, or Sun Bowls…. all less then desirable than a BCS bowl.


The Cardinal will be looking for sweet revenge after last year’s game in South Bend that saw the Irish win 20-13 in overtime on a disputed play when Cardinal Stephan Taylor was ruled by officials to have been stopped short of the goal line on fourth down. That Stanford loss helped keep the Irish magical season of 2012 alive.


That loss is history and Shaw wants his team focused for Saturday night.


We don’t go back in our rooms and cry, which for some reason is what people wants us to do, because that’s what some people do,” Shaw said. “When you have a stake in it, and you’re in it, you take the lessons learned and go forward.”


The game plan for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly this time around is to establish the run, can eliminate the Cardinal from big plays and keep them under 20 points on the scoreboard.


Going in Saturday’s game, the Cardinal rank third in the nation against the run, allowing just 89.5 yards per game, while the offense is averaging 33.4 points a contest. And to boot, have won 15 straight home games.


So, it’s easy to see why all the numbers point to Stanford who have been favored at (minus) -15.0 points over the Irish. Of course, the line may move, so be sure to check through Wonder Punter up until game time for the latest spread.


The Irish (8-3) have had a season that saw them move up, down, out and finally back in the polls again. They believe last week’s tough game against unranked BYU will help them be mentally ready and physically prepared to put up a fight against the highly-favored Cardinal.


We need to continue to build on that and develop that, and that’s the way we’ve got to play this game of football,” Brian Kelly said.


I’m taking my chances with the Cardinal who have won three out of the last four meetings against the Irish and this year have the more talented and seemingly better prepared football team.


Kelly has described the series between the two schools as “a great rivalry.”


PICK: Stanford


By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Week 14 College Football Game Preview/Pick- #3 Ohio State vs. Michigan


NCAA Free Pick and Prediction


#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) @ Michigan Wolverines (7-4) 11/30- 12:00PM EST


Line: OSU -16.0

Over/Under: 57.0


This Saturday afternoon for the 110th time, No. 3 Ohio State and Michigan will get it on in Michigan’s “Big House,” in Ann Arbor and for players who are new to the rivalry…. This is what it’s all about… the best is saved for last.


Buckeyes’ defensive lineman Noah Spence was unaware just how big until he set foot on the Ohio State campus and got a taste of it.


It’s a huge rivalry even if you are a guy from out of state like me,” Spence said. “It’s everything.”


Stakes will be high for the Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) ranked third in all the major polls and looking for No. 2 Florida State or No 1 Alabama to slip up and get into the BCS national championship game.


Ohio State, winners of a school record 23 straight has already earned a shot in the Big Ten championship, which is nice, but there’s another championship they are after… and the Wolverines would love nothing more then to stop them from earning a trip to Pasadena.


But this is a Michigan team that has been both sides of the spectrum this season, starting out 5-0 to begin the season and enjoying a No. 11 ranking suddenly hit a wall and have now lost three of their last four.


Scoring points of late as been an Achilles Heal of the Michigan offense. Last Saturday at Iowa, they were shutout in the second half of a 24-21 loss and in losses to Nebraska and Michigan State were held to 13 and 6 points.


Head coach Brady Hoke of the Wolverines (7-4, 3-4) says he’s confident his football team will turn it around at home against their biggest rival.


This game has always been different in some ways,” Hoke said. “Are they a good football team? Do we have to play better than we’ve played? I don’t think there’s any doubt.”


The Buckeyes have been on a roll lighting up the scoreboard in their last four games averaging 55.3 points and 597.0 yards, which has made them big favorites at a (minus) -16.0 on the road and with lines always changing, check back here at Wonder Punter for the up to minute spread until game time.


Ohio State has a powerful running game led by quarterback Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde to the tune of 314.7 yards per game… good for fifth in the nation.


All the focus will be on Hyde, who over the last six games has been on fire averaging 8.1 yards per attempt… good for 938 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns to boot.


Miller is another threat having run for 144 yards last Saturday and the week before rushing for 184 at Illinois.


It’s just striving for the best,” Miller said. “We ended the season 12-0 last year and we weren’t able to play in a bowl game or the Big Ten championship game (because of NCAA sanctions). That’s what we are striving for. (We want to) accomplish that and keep going forward, keep winning games and just make Ohio State proud.”


For Michigan to give the Buckeyes a fight and have a chance to upset them, Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner needs to regain his form and put up some good numbers. Against Indiana, he accounted for 584 yards of offense with 503 of it through the air back on Oct. 19. However, in the four games since, he has averaged only 182.5 yards passing.


For the season, Gardner has a passing percentage of 58.7 with 2,509 yards passing with 17 touchdowns, but with eleven interceptions. Michigan will need his arm because the running game is nowhere to be found in the month of November.


He’s had some really good moments and some moments that he would rather redo if he could,” Hoke said. “I think we all of have that; I do as a head coach. There are always moments that you think about and say, ‘Maybe we should’ve done this.’ He’s been pretty resilient. He’s a guy who comes to work every day to get ready to play.”


Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer won his first rivalry game last year 26-21 avenging a Buckeyes loss the year before.


I have great respect for this rivalry—it almost makes me in awe,” Meyer said. “The respect we have come with incredible responsibility that sometimes can be overwhelming (when it comes) to what we have to do next week. So we take it very seriously.”


Ohio State has won eight out of the last nine meetings with the Wolverines, but despite their success, if they don’t win on Saturday against their most hated rivals… it means nothing.


This is the whole season, really,” safety C.J. Barnett said. “Everything is out the window, records, everything we’ve done, haven’t done—it’s all about this week.’


The Buckeyes defense goes in allowing only 18.4 points per game to compliment an offense averaging 48.7 points per game. Michigan is yielding 25.1 points per contest, while averaging 33.1 on the scoreboard.


And with that said, I see no let down from the Buckeyes on Saturday as they know they have a shot for something more then just a Big Ten title.


PICK: Ohio State



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Week 14 College Football Game Preview/Pick- Arkansas vs. #17 LSU

lsu prediction

NCAA Pick and Prediction Arkansas vs LSU


Arkansas Razorbacks (3-8) @ #17 LSU Tigers (8-3) 11/29- 2:30PM EST


Line: LSU -24.5

Over/Under- 54.5


No. 17 LSU Tigers are expected to come out Friday afternoon and play with as much passion as they did last Saturday in their dominant win over Texas A&M…. thanks to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Just ask Tigers running back Terrence Magee….


Coach Cam said. ‘When you come out and you play that well, the next week you have to back it up or people are going to say it’s a fluke,” Magee said as his teammates prepare for their regular-season finale against the Razorbacks.


Last week, LSU completely shut down Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the potent Texas A&M offense 34-10. The lowest Aggie output since Manziel’s arrival in College Station.


For us, it was no accident,” Magee continued. “We prepared hard, and, you know, you want to peak at the end of the season and I feel like we’re just starting to peak.”


The Tigers will also be trying to stay perfect at home this season, as they are 6-0 going into Fridays matchup.


For the Razorbacks (3-8, 0-7 SEC), their challenge is to end the tailspin of a eight-game losing streak…. in “Death Valley.”


Despite Arkansas’ season ending struggles and LSU not having an impact in any SEC title contention… both teams feel they still have a lot to play for in their annual rivalry known as “the battle for the Golden Boot.”


Another reason of importance… Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will be coaching in Tiger Stadium for the first time in his career and this will be his first involvement in the traditional game.


The Arkansas and LSU rivalry dates back to 1901, and Bielema hopes his players play with the pride they should in playing a game of importance… no matter the records.


I’m going to try to give them a little bit more on what it means, and hopefully have a bigger impact on the game,” Bielema said. He added the importance of the game for the senior class that will be playing their last game for the school.


Bielema’s message to his senior class.. “Have fun with it, try to make the most of a very difficult situation and be something that you can remember for a lifetime.”


With a Razorbacks offense that is only able to generate 356.9 yards per game…. A dismal 101st in the country, scoring points against a better then average defense and keeping an LSU offense that ranks 27th in the nation with 465.5 yards per contest while averaging 37.5 ( 22nd) is asking a lot.


The Razorbacks are led by sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen who has thrown for 1,1374 yards for the season with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Their best running back is freshman Alex Collins who has 179 carries for 998 yards with four touchdowns.


Arkansas is also winless on the road in 2013 at 0-4, so going into Baton Rouge to pull off an upset will take a perfectly played game by the Razorbacks and some fortunate bounces to go their way.


LSU (8-3, 4-3 SEC) also has some incentive to do well on Friday, and that would be for their head coach Les Miles, as they try to put him in the record books for LSU by having him become the first coach to go four straight seasons with 10-wins or more.


Tigers’ receiver Jarvis Landry has his take on the streak… “It’s one of those streaks that we’ve got going, one of those positive things. Unfortunately, that doesn’t take away the losses, but to get to double-digit wins speaks a lot about the players, coaches and the program.”


To reach a 10 win season, LSU must win Friday over Arkansas and their bowl game.


As for their possible bowl game invites, officials from the Outback, Gator, Capital One and Cotton bowl have scouted the Tigers…. and a long shot possibility for the Sugar Bowl is still in play.


But, Les Miles is not concerned with bowl talks right now… just the task at hand and that is to line up Friday and play a football game and send his seniors out winners as they embark in their final game at the “famed” Death Valley.


Miles said.. “I know this—that with victories open opportunities, and it’s just that simple. We’re going to pursue that victory as hard as we can.”


Everybody is confident with Tigers putting on a show Friday, including the oddsmakers who have made LSU (minus) -24.5 point favorites. But regardless of the spread.. Magee says they still have to play hard because the Razorbacks will be ready.


It’s their Super Bowl. This is their bowl game,” Magee said. “They’re going to come in and give us everything they got.”


I don’t expect a let down by the Tigers on Friday and look for Zach Mettenberger (178 of 274, 2926 yards and 22 touchdowns) to have a big day along with the rest of the LSU Tigers with their balanced attack such as sophomore running back Jeremy Hill, who has 155 carries for 1040 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Tigers also possess two potent receiving weapons… junior Odell Beckham (56 catches for 1101 yards with 8 touchdowns) and Jarvis Landry (67 receptions for 1059 yards with 10 touchdowns).


This ‘should’ be an easy game to predict as it seems the Razorbacks have the odds stacked against them… but then again, that why the play the game. Too much talent on the LSU side to lose this one at home.





By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter 



NCAA Prediction Beavers vs ducks Preview and Pick


Free NCAA Pick and Prediction Beavers vs Ducks

Oregon State Beavers (6-5) @ #13 Oregon Ducks (9-2) 11/29- 7:00PM EST


Line: ORE -21.5

Over/Under: 68.0


When the #13 ranked Oregon Ducks take the field on Friday afternoon for it’s annual Civil War battle…. there will be no Pac-12 North title on the line, no Rose Bowl aspirations on the line and certainly no BCS national championship dreams on the line.


What these two schools will be playing for is bragging rights and pride… and to the victor… a better bowl.


My biggest surprise of the 2013 college football season was the Oregon Ducks (9-2, 6-2), who looked like world-beaters at one point crashing and burning, first losing to Stanford to dash their BCS hopes and then the kicker to Arizona losing 42-16 last weekend to put an end to any type of marquee bowl talks.


The embarrassing loss to the Wildcats dropped the Ducks from a No. 7 BCS ranking to #13 and most importantly… out of the Pac-12 Championship against Arizona State. Stanford will now represent the North against South winner ASU for the right to go to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year’s day.


What could’ve been with the Ducks and their offensive juggernaut is now no more…


For Oregon State (6-5, 4-4) who were also once a BCS top 25 team has also fallen by the wayside. The capper being routed at home 69-27 to the Washington Huskies.


With their 6 wins, the are bowl eligible, but would like to end the season strong and improve themselves for a more attractive bowl. Lose on Friday and they’re no guarantees of any type of postseason play.


The Beavers went from winning six straight after losing their season opener to lesser opponent Eastern Washington to having the wheels come off again losing four in-a-row.


After the Washington pounding, the players did not speak to the media, but Oregon State coach Mike Riley said he believes his team will be ready to go for the Civil War.


But, besides the less then disappointing season for both teams, the Civil War is their in-state championship and both teams will be playing for bragging rights for the next year.


For Oregon though, they are greatly disappointed after being ranked as high as No. 2 in the BCS and all indications pointed to a showdown with No. 1 Alabama possibly… now the Alamo or Holiday Bowl.


The Ducks string of four-straight BCS bowls is now history and the opportunity to play in a fourth straight Pac-12 championship is also gone.


We are just going to have to come back and bounce back,” Ducks quarterback and one-time Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota said. “We have to come back and just fight and control what we can control.”


Mariota has been cleared to play in the Civil War after passing the concussion protocol. He suffered the head injury last week against the Wildcats.


The Oregon star has also been hobbled by a knee injury for the last four games, resorting to wearing a brace to allow him to play. The severity of the injury is unknown due to school policy, but Mariota insists it’s not an issue and is anxious to play Friday afternoon.


Besides having won five consecutive Civil Wars over the Beavers, Oregon is still an offensive threat and go in as heavy favorites at home with a (minus) -21.5 point spread. But, be sure to check Wonder Punter for the latest lines leading up to game time.


Oregon receiver Josh Huff ran his mouth last week before the Arizona game saying he would be disappointed with a Rose Bowl berth… because it’s all about the national championship game.


After the blowout loss to the Wildcats, Huff backed-off his comment and declared he will be ready for the Beavers.


We have Oregon State coming to us and it’s going to be tough to beat those guys if we played like we just played. A lot of people misunderstand me, I just want the best for my teammates. I have always been taught, never be satisfied,” he said. “As this Oregon State game comes up, I am going to do everything I can to get these guys ready.”


I expect an entertaining game and hope to see both teams play with passion and pride. Oregon to me is still dangerous and predict a high scoring affair.


PICK: Oregon



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter








NFL Prediction Week 12 Game football Pick- Cowboys vs. Giants


Free NFL Football pick and prediction for week 12 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants game


Dallas Cowboys (5-5) @ New York Giants (4-6) 11/24- 4:25PM EST


Line: NYG -3.0

Over/Under: 44.5
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Sunday’s matchup between NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will feature two football teams that appear to headed into different directions… a complete reverse from a month ago, This Is my Cowboys vs the Giants preview and I will Predict on how this game will finish 


The Dallas Cowboys (5-5) coming off their bye week now claim the league’s worst defense as they travel into New York to face a Giants team that is riding a four-game win streak.


The Giants (4-6) after opening the season on a six game winless streak seem to have found some success (and good fortune) in the last month taking advantage of four straight teams suffering quarterback injuries… Minnesota, Philadelphia, Oakland and Green Bay to get them back in what has been a bad NFC East division thus far.


People can say we haven’t faced the best quarterbacks, but we don’t get much props for shutting down the best running backs, either,” linebacker Jon Beason said. “To me, it all depends on how you wan to spin it. Guys are going to say you haven’t played anybody, but we know how hard it is to win in this league.”


For the Cowboys, the defense has gone completely south as they are yielding an NFL-worst 456.7 yards per game and seemed to have hit rock-bottom defensively in their 49-17 embarrassing loss to New Orleans on November 10.


Dallas top defensive linebacker Sean Lee was lost in the first quarter to hamstring injury and after that the wheels came off as the Cowboys surrendered an NFL-record 40 first downs and 625 yards—two more than the franchise record set two weeks earlier in Detroit.
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I just didn’t expect this,” owner Jerry Jones said. “I never saw this coming.”


Lee and fellow linebacker Justin Durant will miss Sunday’s game, but defensive tackle Jason Hatcher will be returning after missing a week due to a neck injury.


The Cowboys have also allowed a league-record 400-yard passers, with Eli Manning being one of them.


Manning’s best effort of the season came on opening day against the Cowboys where he went 27 of 42 for 450 yards with four touchdowns but threw three interceptions in a 36-31 loss at Dallas that saw the Giants commit six turnovers that day and set them on course for losing five more games after that.


Our expectations were extremely high and we had, quite frankly, just kind of wrapped it up and handed it to them,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “That was the devastation of it for me.”


Now with the Giants playing better and having more confidence, New York defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul spoke earlier in the week saying the Giants “were going to put it on them,” among other things.


He’s supposed to feel that way,” Dallas receiver Dez Bryant said. “You’re an opponent. We’re an opponent for them. It’s great confidence.”


Bryant has struggled finding the end zone in two straight games and has gone four straight against the Giants without hitting pay-dirt.


One bit of good news for the Tony Romo and the Cowboys is getting receiver Miles Austin back, who’s been out with a hamstring injury.


He can be a very difficult matchup for opposing defenses because he’s a big guy who’s also quick and explosive,” coach Jason Garrett said. “So we try to use him appropriately and he’ll certainly help the other guys out just having his presence out there.”


The Giants will have running back Brandon Jacobs against the Cowboys this time around after not re-signing with New York until two days after opening season. Jacobs 617 yards rushing against the Cowboys to lead all active players.


I didn’t have an opportunity to play against them in Week 1 and all of last year, so I’m really looking forward to the opportunity,” Jacobs said.


Oddsmakers have also taken notice of the Giants recent success by making them (minus) -3.0 point favorites at home, but for the latest lines on the game, be sure to check here at Wonder Punter and place your bet.
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I too, have more confidence in the Giants and expect these two teams that don’t like each other to really go at it, but predict a New York victory come Sunday if they can control their league-high 29 turnovers.


Dallas has forced 22 turnovers to tie for fourth-best and have committed an NFC-low 11 turnovers.


I can honestly say we don’t like each other and it shows up on the football field so I think it’s going to be another one of those drag-out type of games where you get in for four quarters and try to find a way to win it,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said.


Dallas is 1-4 on the road this year and haven’t swept the series since winning twice in 2007. They are one-half game behind the Eagles for first-place in the NFC East.


PICK: New York Giants



By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter










NCAA Prediction College Football Week 13 Game Preview/Pick- #17 ASU vs. #14 UCLA


NCAA Free pick and prediction for the ASU vs UCLA game week 13


#17 Arizona State Sun Devils (8-2) @ #14 UCLA Bruins (8-2) 11/23- 7:PM EST


Line: ASU -2.5

Over/Under: 62.0


This Saturday’s game between the No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils and No. 14 UCLA Bruins promises to be a good one with first place on the line in the Pac-12 South Division and a possible trip to the Pac-12 championship.


With a victory on Saturday, ASU (8-2, 6-1) can clinch the Pac-12 South where they currently hold a one-game lead over the Bruins (8-2, 5-2) and USC who they have already beaten.


A win Saturday means a trip to the Pac-12 championship on December 7.


We’ve been talking about winning a championship here for two years,” ASU coach Todd Graham said. “I know our guys are focused. It’s a body of work at this point, there’s not a lot of surprises between one team and another team.


This is a big game, I can’t say that it’s not a big game. It’s one we’ve been pointing to all year long.”


A loss would mean the Sun Devils having to beat Arizona next weekend and have USC defeat the Bruins to earn the South crown as ASU heads into the Rose Bowl having won six straight conference games, with five consecutive victories overall.


The defense has been strong the last five games giving up only 18.8 points a game, while the have recorded 18 sacks and picked off 10 passes.


ASU cornerback Robert Nelson was named Pac-12 Defensive player of the Week after his big performance last week against Oregon State.


Nelson had five tackles, two picks and a fumble recovery.


All the credit goes to the defense,” Nelson said. “I just read the quarterback and made a break on the ball. We were just doing what coach told us to do all week. We stayed disciplined and stayed in our assignments.”


However, my feeling is that the Sun Devils will also need a strong offensive performance as well to stay with the Bruins potent offense and good defense led by pass-rush specialist Anthony Barr, who has seven sacks this season.


(Arizona State) is a heck of a football team,” Bruins coach Jim Mora said. “They play hard, and they play fast, and they play physical. They’ve got a lot confidence right now.”


The oddsmakers agree where they have made ASU a (minus) -2.5 favorite on the road in a place where the Bruins are undefeated this season. Be sure to check the latest lines spread here at Wonder Punter up until game time.


UCLA has won three in a row since dropping two- straight to Stanford and Oregon last month.


The Bruins have gotten a big boost from their running game since they have inserted linebacker Myles Jack into the offensive scheme.


Jack has responded in his first two games with 120 rushing yards against Arizona and four touchdowns last week against Washington.


Myles is weapon,” Mora said. “Like I said last week, you just can’t go crazy with it. This guy is an outstanding linebacker, and he’s good as you’ll find in America, especially for a freshman. That’s where he loves to play and that’s where we want to play him. But we are going to continue to use him (at running back).


Mora did imply adding some twists to the playbook with their two-way weapon to keep ASU on their toes.


If (Jack) is just out there every time we hand him the ball, Arizona State is going to be zeroed in on him. We will keep using him over there.”


I like the Bruins in Saturday’s game where they have won three of the past four meetings with the Sun Devils, including the past two. UCLA won last year 45-43 at Arizona State on a 33-yard field goal from kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn.





By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter