New Years Day Bowlgasm 2014 Preview

Mark Dantonio MSU

BCS Bowls

Rose Bowl: It’s the a hundredth edition of faculty football’s biggest recreation. Who higher to current it than VIZIO? Manball? MANBALL. Michigan State completed forward of Stanford within the polls, which says about all it's essential know about the polls. The Cardinal went eleven-2 against arguably the nation’s hardest schedule. Stanford had eight Prime 30 SRS wins, to Michigan State’s one. The Spartans have reached their first Rose Bowl since 1988. However, they are going to be playing without senior leader Max Bullough. The Big Ten has misplaced 9 of its final 10 Rose Bowl appearances. 

Fiesta Bowl: Opulence. This trophy has it. The Fiesta Bowl needed to jump on the UCF grenade. Baylor gets $three.6m for taking part in on this one, which can just cover the travel expenses and unsold tickets. UCF, with tougher logistics, could end up seven figures within the red. UCF had seven one-rating wins. Baylor beat five convention opponents by 20 or extra factors. The Bears are 16.5-point favorites. This may be the last school sport for Blake Bortles, who seems to be set to be drafted too high in the first round.

Barry Alvarez dancing

B1G vs. SEC Problem

Capital One Bowl: Steve Spurrier was in vintage type at media day. At pregame festivities he was a grasp of disguise. We’ll see how he does during the sport. This may be the Massive Ten’s greatest hope for a marquee win past Ohio State. Wisconsin has a potent rushing assault going towards a younger South Carolina front. The Gamecocks have a robust, consistent run defense going through a line that struggled against the higher items the faced.

Outback Bowl: Iowa bounced again to eight-4 against a tricky Large Ten schedule. LSU misplaced gut-wrenching field-aim games at Georgia and at Ole Miss to complete 9-3. LSU is starting freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings. He’s facing off in opposition to an Iowa defense that finished within the High 10 in yards/play. With Miles gripping the hand break, this one could get very B1G very quickly. In true Schembechler vogue, the Mad Hatter has lost three of his last 4 bowl games. 

Gator Bowl: A rematch from last 12 months. Neither team is nearly as good. Each groups finished 8-four. Georgia was devastated by injuries. Nebraska was lucky to complete as strongly as they did. four-zero in one-rating games. No Wisconsin or Ohio State on the schedule. The Bulldogs have had key gamers undergo from a stomach virus. Expect turnovers. Georgia was 97th nationally in turnover margin. Nebraska was 121st.

Great Unwashed

Coronary heart of Dallas Bowl: As a result of the Metroplex needed yet one more bowl game. UNLV vs. North Texas…anybody?…Bueller?…cool.

Associated: School Football 2013-14 Bowl Picks Against The Spread

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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

 

NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL- Bronx, NY

 

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

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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

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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

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NFL Predictions for week 16

Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) within the first quarter of the 2013 Pro Soccer Hall of Fame game towards the Dallas Cowboys at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit score: Andrew Weber-USA RIGHT THIS MOMENT Sports

The Armchair Quarterback’s Take Of The Week

Extra People Should Be Speaking About Miami Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

NFL followers often hear about all of the promising young quarterbacks in the league today. Andrew Luck is supposedly the second coming of anyone from John Elway to Peyton Manning. Robert Griffin III is meant to be a dynamic new type of QB that mixes great passing accuracy with elite physical instruments. Russell Wilson has taken the NFL by storm after having been handed over by many groups because of his smaller stature. Colin Kaepernick lead the 49ers to the Tremendous Bowl in his first season as a starter. Cam Newton is starting to come into his own and Nick Foles has appeared nice underneath the tutelage of Chip Kelly.

….after which there’s Ryan Tannehill.

My guess is that some of you clicked on this text not even figuring out who the person within the cowl image was. Tannehill may have been taken just a few picks behind Luck and Griffin, however when it comes to hype and publicity Tannehill has been more of a Mr. Irrelevant than future famous person (at the very least for those who don’t follow the Dolphins). However, with Miami’s win over New England final Sunday, the Dolphins are now in prime place to land the ultimate wild card spot and Tannehill deserves plenty of credit for that.

Tannehill’s rookie numbers could not have held up to the other extremely publicized rookie QBs, however in his sophomore season he has closed the hole. Under are the 2013 numbers for Luck, Griffin, Wilson, and Tannehill. Are you aware who’s who?

62.4%, 259.1 YPG, 7.zero YPA, 23 TDs, 14 INTs, 86.6 QB Ranking
58.7%, 235.6 YPG, 6.7 YPA, 21 TDs, 9 INTs, 85.2 QB Ranking
60.1%, 246.four YPG, 7.0 YPA, sixteen TDs, 12 INTs, 82.2 QB Ranking
64.7%, 219.eight YPG, 8.6 YPA, 24 TDs, eight INTs, a hundred and five.zero QB Score

These stats belong to (from high to backside) Tannehill, Luck, Griffin, and Wilson. So in their second NFL season you may make a robust case for Tannehill being the second greatest QB this season behind Russell Wilson. While Wilson deserves each bit of praise he will get, he’s also the QB on this list that has the least quantity of pressure on his passing attack. He has far and away the very best supporting solid with an elite protection and dashing attack. Tannehill (as well as Luck and Griffin) are basically being requested to hold their teams’ offenses on their very young shoulders.

Tannehill’s numbers turn out to be much more impressive while you issue in the absolutely horrendous offensive line play he has had to take care of. Via 14 games he has been sacked an NFL leading 51 instances. That equals about three.6 sacks per sport. Of the opposite sophomore QBs listed above, RGIII is the following closest in times sacked with 38. That’s nearly one entire sack much less per recreation than Tannehill.

Then there is the absolute three ring circus that the Dolphins had to endure with the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito bullying fiasco. That could have easily sent the Dolphins into a tail spin. As a substitute, the crew seems to have pulled collectively and weathered the storm. That’s fairly impressive for a staff lead by a 2nd year QB that didn’t even play QB in college till midway through his junior season.

If anyone is going to try and argue that Tannehill is benefitting from his sturdy supporting cast on offense, I’d such as you to stop and look over the Dolphins roster for a second. Tannehill’s go to WR this season is Brian Hartline and his running recreation is a combination of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Mike Wallace is a pleasant deep threat and Charles Clay has developed into a nice pass catching tight end, however these guys aren’t exactly the ninety′s Dallas Cowboys at the ability positions.

Come playoff time, RGIII might be sitting at dwelling and Russell Wilson will likely be chasing a Tremendous Bowl beginning on the back of the most proficient roster within the NFL. Meanwhile, Tannehill (assuming the Dolphins can maintain onto that final playoff spot (have you ever seen Baltimore’s schedule?)) and Andrew Luck will carry the load of their groups’ playoff success on their shoulders. While Luck is basically expected to develop into a Hall Of Famer some day, you may truly make a robust case that in their second seasons Tannehill has achieved simply as much, if not more, to guide his team to the playoffs.

Yet no one is listing him amongst the NFL’s greatest younger QBs.

If Miami does make it into the playoffs and perhaps even wins a recreation I’d guess that the Tannehill bandwagon will start to change into much more crowded. In the meantime, there are plenty of seats accessible and I recommend claiming your seat now.

Now on to this week’s recreation predictions……….

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NCAA College Football Prediction Game Preview/Pick- #20 Fresno State vs. #25 USC

ncaa picks prediction

#20 Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1) vs. #25 USC Trojans (9-4) 12/21- 3:30PM EST

 

Line: USC -6.5

Over/Under: 62

 

ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL- Las Vegas, NV

 

The USC Trojans, in an up and down season will go into the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday against a Fresno State Bulldogs team that fell short of a potential BCS bid.

 

The Trojans season consisted of the firing of Lane Kiffin, then the promotion of Ed Orgeron to interim head coach, which many thought he would be named the new head coach, but losses to Notre Dame and UCLA sealed his fate and USC named former assistant and now former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian as their new head coach.

 

Orgeron guided the Trojans (9-4) to winning six out its first seven games after the Kiffin firing back on September 28th, but when athletic director Pat Haden stole Sarkisian away from the Washington Huskies and gave him the head coaching title, Orgeron resigned immediately due to disappointment to pursue other head coaching interests.

 

USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton will coach the Trojans on Saturday, and will be the third acting coach for the Trojans this season.

 

However, USC believes they found the right coach in Sarkisian to lead the Trojans proud football program into the national spotlight once again.

 

Sarkisian spoke on his future goals with the Trojans…

 

Rebuilding is not a word around here. Coach O proved that,” Sarkisian said. “I understand it stings right now. Over time it will get better. I’m going to be real with those guys, and they’ll be real with me.”

 

The Trojans will be faced and focused on slowing down a Fresno State offense that is led by senior quarterback David Carr. The Bulldogs rank first in passing with 409.8 yards per game, third in total offense with 570.6 and fifth in scoring with 43.5 points per contest.

 

Fresno State (11-1) won the inaugural Mountain West Conference title game back on December 7th when they beat the Utah State 24-17, but fell short of the bigger prize, a potential BCS bowl bid, when they lost to San Jose State 62-52.

 

Coach Tim DeRuyter was pleased how his team bounced back to win the MWC championship following that disappointing loss.

 

If your only goal is to go to the BCS, why show up and play?” DeRuyter said.

 

USC is well aware of the passing attack the Bulldogs possess with receivers Davante Adams, who leads the nation with 122 catches and 23 touchdowns and is second with 1,645 yards receiving. Josh Harper has 79 catches for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Isaiah Bruce chipped in with 94 receptions for 987 yards with five TDs.

 

Fresno State will contend with a Trojans defense that ranks 16th in the country allowing just 341.5 yards per game and was first in the Pac-12 conference giving up only 214.5 yards passing.

 

USC will be without their top running back Silas Redd because of a knee injury and star receiver Marqise Lee had a down year because of injuries, but the oddsmakers have still made the Trojans a big (minus -6.5) point favorite on Saturday. Wonder Punter can provide you with the latest spread on the game up until kick off.

 

Fresno State has lost four straight bowl games and I predict the Trojans will do enough to contain the Bulldogs offense and leave Las Vegas with a championship to end the season on a positive note.

 

Prediction/Pick: USC

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

 

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NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview & Pick Cougars vs. Rams

Washington State v USC

NCAA Free Pick and Prediction Bowl Game

 

Washington State Cougars (6-6) vs. Colorado State Rams (7-6) 12/21- 2:00PM EST

 

Line: WASH ST: -4.5

Over/Under: 65

 

GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL- Albuquerque, NM

 

The Washington State Cougars and Colorado State Rams will kickoff the bowl season on Saturday with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and both teams are excited about getting into a bowl game and turning their football programs around.

 

Colorado State coach Jim McElwain and Washington State coach Mike Leach, both in their second-year agree that the bowl matchup is a sign of things changing for both struggling programs, where the Rams (7-6) haven’t been to a bowl game since 2008 and for the Cougars (6-6), it’s been a decade since they tasted the postseason.

 

One of the accomplishments you want early is to get in a bowl game and be part of that club,” McElwain told reporters. “There’s a certain aura that comes with being a bowl team.”

 

McElwain was the offensive coordinator with Alabama during the Crimson Tide’s BCS national championships in 2009 and 2011, and knows the importance of a bowl appearance for a program when it comes to recruiting.

 

Coach Leach says his players are made up of largely of freshman and sophomores, but knows his seniors have been through “rough dry times” and haven’t had the opportunity to play in a bowl game. “They’ve never been in a bowl and (had) hoped they would,” Leach said. “Talking about it and actually doing it are two different things.”

 

Players to watch for the Rams will be running back Kapri Bibbs, who leads all of college football with 28 rushing touchdowns with 1,572 yards on the ground and quarterback Garrett Grayson, who ranks among the nation’s top 20 in passing yards (3,3270). The Rams set a school record with four games scoring 50 or more points and is the only school to have a 3,000 yard passer and 1,500 yard runner in a single season this year.

 

For the Cougars, they are led by junior quarterback Conner Halliday who operates the spread offense and is ranked fourth nationally in passing yards (4,187) and with 28 touchdowns, is tied for 13th.

 

Let’s not forget, this is this same Washington State Cougars that played the Auburn Tigers in their first game of the season in which they lost in a heartbreaker 31-24.

 

We should have won that game,” Leach said.

 

The Cougars like their chances going in on Saturday and feel they were battle tested all year having played four opponents that appear in the top 16 of the BCS standings and so do the oddsmakers who have made them the early (minus -4.5) point favorite. Get the latest spread on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Expect both teams to showcase their high-powered offense come Saturday and McElwain says his defense will have to be ready.

 

I know they throw the heck out of it,” McElwain said. “I know (Leach) isn’t afraid to throw it and he’ll probably throw it coming off the bus.”

 

I too, like the battle tested Cougars and predict a high scoring affair with the Cougars taking home the trophy.

 

Prediction/Pick: Washington State

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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NBA Prediction Week 7 Game Preview/Pick- Thunder vs. Nuggets

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Oklahoma City Thunder (19-4) @ Denver Nuggets (14-9) 12/17- 9:00PM EST

 

Line: OKC -2.5

Over/Under: 207

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder roll into Denver on Tuesday night as the NBA’s hottest team as they look to extend their win streak to seven games and it’s been easy to this point as they are crushing their opponents.

 

The Thunder (19-4) have won 14 of their last 15 games by simply utilizing their speed and athleticism on both ends of the court.

 

The magnificent duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are leading the way for the Thunder with an average of 17.8 fast break points per contest.

 

Durant with his 28.5 points per game is first in the league in scoring and is getting it done attacking the basket, with 95 of his 206 field goals coming from around or at the net.

 

Westbrook is averaging 21.0 points and with team-leading 40 steals is creating opportunities and opening the floor for his teammates.

 

It just gets us easy baskets,” Durant said. “Once you start to hit layups and get dunks, it opens the flood gates a little bit.”

 

The Thunder won on Sunday night 101-98 against the Orlando Magic as they were finally challenged, but only because they blew a 16-point lead.

 

We were able to get started there, but you have to be able to play 48 minutes,” said Durant.

 

Revenge will be on the minds of the Nuggets (14-9) after a poor defensive performance led to a 115-113 loss at Oklahoma City back on November 18, when Durant went for 38 points and Westbrook added 30.

 

Denver has played well at home winning seven of their last eight, but coach Brian Shaw admits it will take a different level of play to beat the Thunder.

 

I told them that if we want any chance of winning against Okalahoma City, we’re going to have to do a lot better in every area to even have a chance to win that game,” Shaw said.

 

At just 5-foot-9, guard Nate Robinson has been a spark off the bench for the Nuggets accounting for 14.7 points per game and his getting it done on the defensive side of the ball as well.

 

Despite the Nuggets strong play at home, the oddsmakers have made the visiting Thunder a slim (minus -2.5) point favorite in the Mile High City, but get the latest odds for the game here at Wonder Punter up until game time.

 

I too, agree and predict the Thunder leaving Denver with a big road win as they are just playing on a different level right now.

 

Prediction/Pick: Oklahoma City

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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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

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NFL Week 13 Sunday Night Game Preview/Pick- Giants vs. Redskins

giantsvsredskins

NFL Prediction and Pick Giants vs. Redskins

 

New York Giants (4-7) @ Washington Redskins (3-8) 12/01- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: EVEN

Over/Under: 45.5

 

I’m sure when the television schedules were made, this game looked like a marquee matchup as the last two winners of the NFC East did not think they would be in this position so late in the season not fighting for playoff spot but trying to avoid last-place in what as been a disappointing NFC East this year.

 

Last year’s game in prime-time was for an NFC East title, this season’s game at FedEx Field is nothing more then for pride and trying to stay out of the cellar in what has been a truly disappointing season for both teams.

 

Everybody’s got a lot of pride in the NFL regardless of what your record is,” Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. “Everybody wants to win and I’m sure the Giants feel the same way.”

 

The Giants (4-7) had reeled off four wins in a row leading up to last week’s showdown with the Dallas Cowboys at home and we’re in a position to make some noise in the division, but after losing 24-21, their playoff hopes were greatly damaged as they suffered a season sweep at the hands of the Cowboys.

 

I think that’s something that we have to deal with a lot of times in this league,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “The pages have been turned. We’re already looking forward to playing a game and getting the preparation in for this week.”

 

The Washington Redskins (3-8) have been under the microscope all season long with Robert Griffin III coming back to play after having offseason reconstructive surgery on his right knee and without a doubt has not been the same player he was last year as a rookie.

 

Last season in his rookie year before his playoff injury, Griffin rushed for 815 yards and ran for seven touchdowns, but in 2013 has gained only 367 yards and has not reached the end zone to this point.

 

We had a dual threat. Now that threat is not quite there as strong as it was a year ago,” Shanahan said. “But now we go to a different direction. We run play-action, we still run some of the zone-reads.”

 

RG3 has already had a rough sophomore season in the NFL having to answer the critics about the true health of his knee and now seems to be involved in weekly controversies… be it clashing with Shanahan, playing the blame-game for on-field mistakes, his performance on the field or having his father visit him in the locker room following Monday night’s 27-6 blowout loss to the 49ers were he threw for a season-low 118 yards and was sacked for a career-worst six times by the Niners’ defense.

 

A good performance on Sunday night can at least deter the critics for another week, and going against a Giants defense that has produced only 18 sacks, which is the second-lowest in the NFL only to Jacksonville may be a good start to having a good game.

 

Griffin had a 105.9 passer rating last year in a series-split with the Giants… but he was healthy.

 

New York’s Eli Manning is also been the center of criticism this year with his horrific numbers of a 72.5 passer rating, which is his worst since his rookie year. Manning has also thrown 17 picks and the Giants offense as a whole has committed an NFL-high 30 turnovers.

 

With problems all year long with both teams, we can see why the oddsmakers have made it an EVEN game for Sunday night. Will the line move before kickoff? Check the latest spread here through Wonder Punter to find out.

 

With the Giants having a host of injuries going to Sunday’s game.. Jason-Pierre Paul, Trumaine McBride, Brandon Jacobs and Corey Webster…. I have to give a slight edge to the Redskins.

 

One bright spot for the Redskins this season has been Alfred Morris, who ranks third in the league with 970 rushing yards and had success against the Giants last year with 224 rushing yards.

 

PICK: Washington

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

 

 

 

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NFL Prediction Preview & Pick- Cincinnati vs. San Diego Week 13 Sunday Game

Chargers-vs.-Bengals

NFL Pick Bengals vs. Chargers

 

Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) @ San Diego Chargers (5-6) 12/01- 4:45PM EST

 

Line: EVEN

Over/Under: 48.5

 

Despite San Diego’s record at 5-6, they are coming off a big win last Sunday at Kansas City and looking to stay in the hunt for a wild-card spot with a win over the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

 

The Bengals (7-4) are coming off a late-season bye week and begin a five-game stretch as they seek an AFC North title and to make some noise come playoff time.

 

But, in order to do that they must improve upon their dismal road record of 2-4 which is tied for worse with the Dallas Cowboys for teams with a .500 record or better.

 

They have lost their last two road games at Miami and at Baltimore and if they lose Sunday will be in trouble as the Ravens will only be one-game back for the division lead after winning on Thanksgiving night against Pittsburgh.

 

A win would give the Bengals some cushion with a two-game lead with four to play with only one remaining road game against the Steelers.

 

We have five games to really make a run and put our name out there, wide receiver Marvin Jones said. “The bye week was a big help. I’ve never had a late bye week like that. We’re ready to make this last push and go for it all.”

 

For that late push to be successful, the Bengals must improve their offense where they have been held below 270 total yards in three straight games and quarterback Andy Dalton must improve his accuracy where he has thrown eight picks in that same span.

 

Everybody throws interceptions from time to time,” offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. “If you’re going to play quarterback, you’re going to throw an interception from time to time. You can’t dwell on it, you’ve got to move on and figure out a way to win the game.

 

But obviously eight interceptions in three weeks is too many.”

 

Dalton is tied for third in the NFL with 15 interceptions… but is one of six quarterbacks in the league with over 20 touchdowns passes at 21.

 

Another 93-yard passing performance with a 47.4 percent completion percentage as he did against the Browns two weeks ago will may not get it done again on the road this Sunday. Dalton was at 64.8 percent through his first nine games.

 

The Chargers I feel have been a better football team all year long then their record indicates and with four of their last five games at home can make a move to strengthen their position for a wild-card spot.

 

Trouble is they are only 5-7 at home since the start of the 2012 season…. that must change quick if they wish to be part of any post-season games.

 

Maybe their big road win last week at Kansas City can get give them the boost they need the rest of the way?

 

It’s the kind of win that can save the season,” Rivers said. “That doesn’t meant it saved it, but it certainly can keep it alive.”

 

The offense has been descent all year, but the defense is an AFC-worst 389.5 yards per game allowed and they rank 27th in the NFL yielding 29.0 points per contest in their last four games.

 

So with both football teams having some problems, they oddsmakers have made the line leading up to kickoff EVEN, but may change, so be sure to check the latest spread here through Wonder Punter up until kickoff.

 

Cincinnati has won the last two meetings over the Philip Rivers’ led Chargers, but I think San Diego will do enough on Sunday to win in a close one.

 

PICK: San Diego

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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NCAA Prediction Week 14 College Football Game- #22 UCLA vs. #23 USC

ucla-usc

Free Pick NCAA Prediction and Preview UCLA vs USC

 

#22 UCLA Bruins (8-3) @ #23 USC Trojans (9-3) 11/30- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: USC -3.5

Over/Under- 51.5

 

As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, cross-town rivals SC/UCLA for me has always been the best rivalry in College Football…. call it West Coast bias, me being a homer or just the simple fact that I grew up rooting for one and hating the other, or whatever? But this to me is my favorite and the best rivalry in all of sports as these two schools are set to battle on Saturday night in the Coliseum for the right to have another year of bragging rights.

 

Unlike most other schools in the nation who are a rivals, these two colleges are not separated by long miles or one end of the state to the other but by simply a short bus ride, which is why I feel it is so intense when these two programs get together…. in any sport to be honest. These two colleges have their die-hard fans who are loyal to one or the other just like any other ‘hard-core’ rivalries across the nation. There is no down the middle as a fan. Pick a side and that’s it! I will be rooting, yelling, booing and wearing my colors come Saturday night.

 

USC (9-2, 6-2) has seemed to regain it’s national prominence under ‘interim’ coach Ed Oregeron who took over for Lane Kiffin who was fired following the Trojans 62-41 thrashing at the hands of Pac-12 South champion Arizona State on national television back on September 28.

 

All Oregeron has done since that “black-eye” moment in the program is lead this once proud football program to a 6-1 record and brought back the pride in Trojan football.

 

SC is still searching for a new head coach, but I feel Oregeron has done a great job under the circumstances of the NCAA sanctions and highly-recruited standouts who were underachieving under Kiffin. They are now playing winning football games and he should be given a shot to lead the football program back to a national power.

 

A Trojan win on Saturday on maybe the ‘interim’ tag will be removed and he’s given a new title…. head coach. Will USC A.D. Pat Haden agree?

 

If it was up to UCLA coach Jim Mora, the answer would be yes, who cast his vote for Oregeron as conference coach of the year.

 

He gave them a real spark,” Mora said. “When you come into a situation like that where you’re an interim coach, the likelihood of being retained—at least from the outside perception; who knows what’s going on over there—it frees you up to really go after it. I voted for him for Pac-12 coach of the year. That’s what kind of job I think he’s done. I think he’s very deserving of it.”

 

For UCLA (8-3, 5-3), they lost an opportunity to win their second Pac-12 South title last week against Arizona State and a chance for their first Pac-12 championship… so this week against their most hated rival, they will focus on a second consecutive win over the Trojans.

 

USC quarterback Cody Kessler will be making his first start against the Bruins Saturday night and says this….

 

We know there is a lot more emphasis on this game just because of the rivalry and the tradition behind it,” Kessler said. “But we’re going to treat it just like any other week.”

 

USC goes in having dominated the series winning 12 of the last 14 meetings, but last year’s Bruins 38-28 win is still fresh in the minds of all the Trojans.

 

Getting beat. Losing. Terrible taste in our month,” Orgeron said. “Against our rival team. Not playing well. Letting down the Trojan family. Not a very good feeling.”

 

One big boost the Trojans will have come game time is the possibility of star receiver Marqise Lee being back in action where in last year’s game Lee caught nine passes for 158 yards and one touchdown.

 

According to Orgeron, Lee is a ‘sure’ bet to play on Saturday.

 

He’s as special as they get, Mora said. “He has all the attributes of a great receiver. He loves to compete. He can get off the bump-and-run, he can beat you deep, he can stop on a dime and run great routes. You can tell he’s not 100-percent healthy, but that doesn’t mean a lot when you’re talking about Marqise Lee.”

 

Injuries on the Bruins offensive line has been a problem all year and will be again against the Trojans, where they are expected to start three freshmen.

 

UCLA has played many freshmen all year long due to injury problems… but in the long run will pay dividends.

 

We’re very close. We’re an incredibly young football team,” Mora said. “We’re moving up the mountain, we just have to get more mature and that’s a process. There is no magic fairy dust you can sprinkle on a freshman and say, ‘Ok, now you’re a junior.”

 

The Trojan defense will have their sights set on UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley where last year as a freshman in the rivalry game he went 22 of 30 for 234 yards and one TD while rushing for two more scores.

 

We cannot let Hundley run the ball or throw the ball deep,” Oregeron said. We need to be great on coverage and great on our rush.”

 

Hundley is 214 of 315 for 2637 yards passing with 22 touchdowns. He was talked early in the Heisman conversation before falling off.

 

USC has won five straight games and has beaten the Bruins seven straight times at the Coliseum and with those numbers have been made a (minus) -3.5 point favorite for Saturday’s game, but be sure to check the latest spread leading up to kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

I look forward to another great showdown between these two teams and predict the Bruins will pull off an upset in the Trojans’ backyard. My UCLA player to watch will be standout true freshman Myles Jack who plays on both sides of the ball. Jack is outstanding on the defensive side of the ball and was recently inserted into the running back position to give the UCLA running game a much needed shot in the arm.

 

Coach Mora will have his team ready after last weeks ‘could’ve been’ game…

 

You always worry after a tough loss, a real emotional loss, how you’re going to respond,” Mora said. “They just came out and went to work. They’re excited about this game.”

 

Me too. I expect high scoring between both schools with back and fourth action and the usual drama. But, in the end…. Prediction…. UCLA

 

PICK: UCLA

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

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NCAA Prediction & Pick- Aggies vs. Tigers Week 14 College Football Preview

hi-res-152047031-johnny-manziel-of-the-texas-a-m-aggies-runs-for-a_crop_north

#21 Texas A&M Aggies (8-3) @ #5 Missouri Tigers (10-1) 11/30 7:45PM EST

 

Line: MIZZ -4.5

Over/Under: 67.0

 

On Saturday night regular-season finale, the only thing standing in the way of No. 5 Missouri winning the Southeastern Conference East title is finding a way to slow down Johnny Manziel along with his 21st ranked Texas A&M Aggies in what should be a another good game.

 

That is the big challenge facing Missouri (10-1, 6-1), especially after last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel torched the Tigers. Win and Missouri has a date on December 7 for the SEC title game in Atlanta. Lose and the South Carolina Gamecocks would advance by virtual of beating the Tigers back on October 26.

 

We’re excited about playing this game,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “We’ve worked real hard to get this position. You know what, you compete for a championship, you’ve got to beat good people.”

 

For the Aggies (8-3, 4-3), they will have the pleasure of playing spoiler after losing big last week to another Top 25 team, the LSU Tigers 34-10.

 

Missouri doesn’t figure Johnny Manziel will have two bad games in a row where last week he stunk it up (in Manziel standards) completing only 16 of 41 passes for 224 yards, one touchdown, two picks and career-low 5.46 yards-per-attempt.

 

It wasn’t fun to get beat like that,” said Manziel. “We will see how we handle adversity. This team with a bunch of young guys—we just have to see how they bounce back.”

 

A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin added…

 

I think the guys are ready to play,” Sumlin said. “We are playing in a real season and real opponents and real games. Are we where we want to be right now? No. It doesn’t mean the sky is falling either.”

 

Manziel may be playing in his regular-season finale, who is expected to go Pro, so he wants to finish strong to end the season.

 

The sophomore sensation has been silent about his draft intentions, but it’s a safe bet that the NFL will be the next step for him.

 

All Manziel has done in his second season in the SEC is lead the conference in passing yards per game with 321.5 touchdown passes with 32. He also has 665 yards rushing and eight touchdowns added into the mix.

 

He’s such a great player,” Pinkel said. “If you watch him game in and game out, then you see the consistency oh how he plays and the way he does it. You have to contain him the best you can, and you have to score points on offense. There is nothing magic about this.”

 

But Manziel will have to deal with a defense that leads the SEC with 35 sacks and 18 interceptions and a defensive unit that has forced turnovers in 41 consecutive games… good for the nation’s longest streak.

 

They really improved from last year, obviously, and statistically lead the league in sacks,” Sumlin said. “They lead the league in interceptions too, which is an underrated stat.”

 

And with a Missouri running game that ranks second in the SEC with 238.0 yards a game along with their defense, the early lines have made the Tigers a (minus) -4.5 point favorite for Saturday’s contest. As the spread may change, be sure to check the latest odds here through Wonder Punter up until game time.

 

Revenge will be fresh on the minds of the Tigers who last year suffered a 59-29 beat down at the hands of Johnny Manziel who went 32 of 44 for 372 yards and three scores while adding two rushing touchdowns of his own on 67 yards.

 

That A&M win last year snapped the Tigers three game winning streak in the series.

 

As for the numbers, the Aggies average 45.6 points to Missouri’s 39.7 but the Tigers have the better defense yielding 19.3 to A&M’s ‘soft’ 31.2 points per contest.

 

A&M sophomore Mike Evans is the biggest threat with 61 catches for 1,314 yards with 12 touchdowns.

 

This year I expect the Tigers’ senior quarterback James Franklin to make it three-out-four years for the Missouri Tigers beating the Aggies. Franklin returned to action last week after missing time with a shoulder injury.

 

It’ll be just nuts because it’s Senior Night and because of how we’ve been doing this year,” said Franklin. “The fans want to come for what’s on the line.”

 

PICK: Missouri

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

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NCAA Prediction Beavers vs ducks Preview and Pick

beavers

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NFL Prediction & Preview/Pick- Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore Week 13 Thursday Night Game

steelers_ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-6) 11/28- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: BAL -3.0

Over/Under: 40.5

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing their best football of the season, but are still on the outside of the muddled AFC playoff picture. With a Thanksgiving night visit to their archrival Baltimore Ravens, they face a team that’s essentially in the exact same position.

 

Both AFC North teams are among the half-dozen teams in the conference currently tied for the final wild-card berth, making this game a potentially season-altering contest.

 

“That team is hot,” Ravens running back Ray Rice said of the Steelers. “They’re playing good football right now. They have (a) group, they have their stable of how they want to play football and they’re doing a good job of it right now.”

 

The two teams are tied with Titans, Chargers, Jets and Dolphins for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, though Tennessee would make the cut currently. The top two tiebreakers for the wild card are head-to-head record and winning percentage within the conference, and with Baltimore having already lost in Pittsburgh, the Ravens may be especially desperate Thursday.

 

“They are a tough team, we have to go into their place and look forward to a good battle,” said Steelers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. “There is a lot on the line with this game like it always is when we play them. It always seems like whenever either team is trying to get somewhere, the other is in their way.

 

“It’s that way this week as we are battling in the division and it’s going to be a good game Thanksgiving night.”

 

Pittsburgh (5-6) has won three games in a row, all by double-digits. During the stretch, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been mostly mistake-free, completing 63.3 percent of his passes while throwing seven touchdowns to just one interception.

 

Roethlisberger threw for two scores in a 27-11 win at Cleveland in Week 12, but the Steelers’ best performance came from their defense. The unit had a season-high five sacks, held the Browns to just 55 rushing yards, and cornerback William Gay sealed the win in the fourth quarter with a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown.

 

“Defensively, it was simple. We were able to stop the run, and that put us in position to apply pressure to the quarterback,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “In doing so, we were able to create some turnovers and some big plays, and to actually score.”

 

The Steelers have given up just 4.97 yards per play during their streak after New England shredded them for 8.59 per snap in a 55-31 loss Nov. 3, and they could have another good chance to shine Thursday. The Ravens’ offense ranks 31st in the NFL, averaging just 4.54 yards per play.

 

When the teams met on Oct. 20 at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh held the Ravens out of the end zone until Baltimore tied the score at 16 with 1:58 to play. Roethlisberger then drove the Steelers down the field, setting up a game-winning 42-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham.

 

That close contest was hardly an exception to the rivals’ recent matchups. Since the start of the 2009 season, eight of the teams’ nine meetings have been decided by exactly three points.

 

Baltimore (5-6) also is coming off of a win dominated by its defense, having knocked off the Jets 19-3 on Sunday. The Ravens’ pass defense was outstanding, allowing Geno Smith to compete just 40.9 percent of his throws, and Baltimore cornerback Corey Graham had a pair of interceptions.

 

“In the end, we just felt like let’s win a game just for the defense, for us,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “Not nobody else, just defense let’s go out and try to win a game on our own.”

 

The Ravens have been a much better team this season at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is 4-1 at home, allowing just 10.8 points per game in those contests.

 

The Steelers have won three of their last five visits to Baltimore, though, including a 23-20 win last December with Charlie Batch filling in for an injured Roethlisberger. The Ravens have lost only five of their other 42 home games since 2009.

 

And it’s with that impressive home record and the way they play in their own stadium that the oddsmakers have made the Ravens a slim (minus) -3.0 point favorite on Thanksgiving night. With a tight opening spread, be sure to check back here through Wonder Punter for the latest lines up until game time.

 

Though having such an important game on a short week makes for potentially challenging circumstances, the two sides won’t have to go through much new information.

 

“We’ll be running stuff that we know and understand against a team that we pretty much understand,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I’m sure there will be a wrinkle or two that they’ll throw at us that we’ll have to be ready for and just go play football.”

 

There’s one wrinkle Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco would prefer his team not employ, however. Baltimore used backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the wildcat often against the Jets, with Taylor taking five snaps and lining up as a receiver on seven other plays.

Flacco was not a fan.

 

“I don’t like that stuff. … I’m the quarterback,” Flacco said. “I want to be behind the line of scrimmage, I want to be taking the snaps.”

 

As much as I love the Ravens at home, they have been struggling offensively this season. The Steelers are in a grove and with that said… I predict a close Steelers victory on Thanksgiving night. Pittsburgh has done a complete 360 turnaround from the beginning of the season.

 

PICK: Pittsburgh

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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NFL Prediction Week 13 Thursday Game Preview & Pick- Green Bay vs. Detroit

packers vs lions pick

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) @ Detroit Lions (6-5) 11/28- 12:30PM EST

 

Line: DET -5.5

Over/Under: 50.0

Bet on this game here for a $1000 bonus 

Free Pick and Prediction Green bay Packers vs Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) @ Detroit Lions (6-5) 11/28- 12:30PM EST

 

Line: DET -5.5

Over/Under: 50.0

 

In this Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving game, the Detroit Lions are set to battle the Green Bay Packers as both teams try to take control of a division it seems nobody wants to win… the NFC North.

 

It seemed the Packers (5-5-1) were the team that was going to take control of the NFC North until quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken left collarbone on November 4th that now has the division looking like the NFC East.

 

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that Aaron Rodgers being able to play against division foe Detroit are poor, which doesn’t sit well the Packer faithful who expect nothing less then a playoff appearance every year, but now must put their stock in backups Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien.

 

Tolzien was given the starting job the last two games, but it was Flynn who led the team back from a 16-point, second-half deficit in Sunday’s 26-26 tie with Minnesota. Despite the job Flynn did leading the Packers back, coach McCarthy isn’t sure who will still get the nod on Thursday.

 

One thing is for certain… it won’t be Aaron Rodgers.

 

“(I) had a meeting with Aaron. He would like to go (against the Lions),” McCarthy said. “Frankly, based on the information where we are as far as the conversation with Aaron, the conversation with the medical staff, I would say he’s slim to none, to give you what I’m thinking.”

 

Seneca Wallace was the original replacement of Rodgers when he went down on Nov 4, but a week later against Philadelphia got injured which really disrupted the Green Bay quarterback situation.

 

Matt Flynn was a Rodger’s backup from 2008-11 and responded last Sunday by going 21 of 36 for 218 yards and a touchdown. All indications point to Flynn getting the start of Sunday and I feel he is the man to go with.

 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ll be ready no matter if I take 0 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent of the reps,” Flynn said. “I’ll be ready to roll. I think I’ve developed the skill of improving myself without taking reps. We’ll see what happens.”

 

Green Bay without Rodgers calling the signals has averaged 18.0 points in the last four weeks, tied for 25th in the league. When Rodgers was healthy for the 8 weeks prior, the Packers were third in the NFL with an average of 30.3 points a game.

 

A much needed win for Packers over the Lions (6-5) on Thursday would give them back first-place and Detroit has no one to blame but themselves for having not capitalize on an easy schedule and the quarterback misfortunes of the Packers and Bears.

 

Detroit has lost consecutive games for the first time this year, and they’ve come against opponents they feel they should have beat… Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Although, the Steelers are playing their best ball of the season and Tampa Bay had won two in a row going into Detroit on Sunday.

 

The Lions need to take advantage of the Packers recent struggles where they are now winless in four straight, but for that to happen, they must get back to playing winning football.

 

“I think we all need to remind ourselves, like we did yesterday, that the fact is that there’s five games remaining, and we’re in first place,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said Monday. “We need to conduct ourselves accordingly, and we can’t worry what happened last week, we can’t worry about what happened yesterday. We need to worry about what’s going to happen in the future. I like our team’s mindset.”

 

One person who must get back to their old self is Lion’s quarterback Matthew Stafford.

 

Stafford has struggled throwing the football of late as he has thrown at least four interceptions for the first time since Nov. 13, 2011.

 

Leading in to last Sunday’s game Stafford had thrown eight in the previous 10 games this season with just one multi-interception game, but accuracy has not been on Stafford’s side of late has he has now completed a league-worst 49.9 percent for the month of November. In his first eight games prior, he was at 62.4 percent

 

I feel there was no excuse for the play of the Lions against the Buccaneers on Sunday, especially with the return of one of Stafford’s top targets, Nate Burelson to help compliment the already dangerous Calvin Johnson. The Lions’ No. 2 wide receiver who has been out since September 22nd had seven catches on 10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in his first game back.

 

Following Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Bucs, Lions’ running back Reggie Bush said it was time for a players-only meeting. Stafford didn’t agree with Bush.

 

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Stafford said. “This is a team I’ve been around for a while, and we have strong leaders on this team. We can get it taken care of just in individual groups. We’ve got leaders at every position, and guys know what it takes to win in this league.”

 

The oddsmakers don’t think it’s necessary either for a player’s only meeting as they have made the Lions a (minus) -5.5 point favorite. As always, check all the latest odds and spreads here through Wonder Punter up until game time.

 

The Packers will be looking for a series sweep of Detroit after beating the Lions earlier back in Green Bay on October 6th, 22-9 to extend their winning streak over the Lions to five games and have dominated them in recent years.

 

Detroit is now 1-15 against the Packers since Dec. 11, 2005, and Stafford has yet has yet to beat them. Stafford is 0-6 with 10 touchdowns with 12 interceptions against his rival since entering the league in 2009. The one win against the Packers in his time with the team was led by then-backup Drew Stanton.

 

Despite the Packers owning the Lions on Thanksgiving Day games where they have won nine straight, look for Detroit to get it together and take advantage of the Packers troubles at quarterback and come away with a much-needed Thanksgiving win against the Packers… finally!

 

What’s Thanksgiving without the Lions on television?

 

PICK: Detroit

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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NFL Prediction Week 12 Preview & Pick- 49ers vs. Redskins

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NFL free pick and Prediction for Monday nights game San Francisco vs Washington

 

San Francisco 49ers (6-4) @ Washington Redskins (3-7) 11/25- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: SF -5.0

Over/Under: 47.0

 

Monday night’s game will feature two teams in the midst of a two game losing streak as the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins featuring their quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III meeting head-to-head for the first time as the two took the NFL by storm last year season as full-time starters.

 

Kaepernick and Griffin led their teams to division titles a year ago, however 2013 has proven to be a lot different as these two quarterbacks will now try to avoid having their teams lose three straight.

 

San Francisco (6-4) were strong favorites to return to the Super Bowl this year, but now find themselves 2½ games behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and will likely need a strong finish in their last six games to earn a wild-card spot.

 

I think we are (surprised) but we still have six more to go,” Kaepernick said. “And we can still finish this season 12-4.”
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Kaepernick is ranked 31st in completion percentage at 56.2 with only 11 touchdown passes.

 

Griffin has completed 59.7 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as his Washington Redskins (3-7) are in last place in a bad NFC East.

 

The two quarterbacks share similar numbers as well with passing ratings and rushing yards… Griffin at 83.6 with 345 yards on the ground (third among QB’s) and Kaepernick at 81.8 with 335, good for fourth.

 

Kaepernick does have three rushing touchdowns to RG3’s zero.

 

As explosive as Griffin was last year, let’s remember he is coming off reconstructive knee surgery.

 

If your talking about Robert or a guy like Kaepernick, everybody comes from different systems and when you go to the National Football League and you’re working with a drop-back passing game and you’ve haven’t done a lot of that, it takes some repetition,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. ‘Whoever has been in those shoes realizes that it doesn’t happen overnight.”

 

Kaepernick’s passing game as really suffered this year where he has only 24 pass plays for 20 yards or more… third-worst total in the league.

 

But with the possibility of receiver Michael Crabtree making his season debut, that may help the 49ers offense stretch the field.

 

We’ll see,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I think he’s close.”

 

Robert Griffin’s leadership has come under fire following last weeks 24-16 loss at Philadelphia in which his attempt to rally Washington from a 24-point deficit ended with an interception. Following the loss, his initial comments didn’t set to well as he seemed to excuse himself from all blame, then clarified himself on Wednesday.

 

I feel like for myself, moving forward, I have to be more wary of the hostility,” Griffin said. “I was trying to give a compliment to Philadelphia’s defense and it was taken as shot against my coaches. It wasn’t.”

 

The oddsmakers have seemed to lost faith in the Redskins this year, where despite them being at home have made the 49ers a (minus) -5.5 point favorite going into Monday night. But as always, continue to check the latest spreads here at Wonder Punter leading up ‘til game time.

 

Washington is headed for it’s third last-place finish in four seasons under Mike Shanahan, who defended the direction of the franchise.
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In the future it will get better,” Shanahan said. “because we do have the ability to get more depth, we’ve got the ability to add some players on both sides of the football, and that gives you a chance to get better as a football team.”

 

It may come down to the better running game on Monday night where both teams do well running the ball.. Washington at 155.2 yards per game (first in the NFL) and San Francisco fifth at 141.0.

 

I predict the 49ers will play with more of a sense of urgency as they realize they have the wild-card spot within their reach if they can get it turned around.

 

PICK: San Francisco

 

 

By Mario Martinez- WonderPunter

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NBA Pick Week 3 Saturday Night Games Preview & Prediction

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NBA Prediction and free picks for full line up

NBA Saturday night will bring us 10 big games to choose from. Here is the latest lines with my preview and predictions for each game. Get all the up to the minute spreads here at Wonder Punter.

 

Sacramento Kings (4-7) @ Los Angeles Clippers (8-5) 11/23- 3:30 PM EST

 

Line: LAC -10.5

Over/Under: 207.5

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Kings have won their last two games but the Clippers have too much talent to lose this one at home.

 

PICK: LAC

 

Philadelphia 76ers (6-8) @ Indiana Pacers (11-1) 11/23- 7:00PM EST

 

Line: IND -14.5

Over/Under: 193

 

Pacers will handle the 76ers easily at home.

 

PICK: Indiana

 

New York Knicks (3-8) @ Washington Wizards (4-8) 11/23- 7:00PM EST

 

Line: WASH -2.5

Over/Under: 192.5

 

Both teams are struggling but Knicks are falling apart early.

 

PICK: Washington

 

Boston Celtics (4-10) @ Atlanta Hawks (8-5) 11/23- 7:30PM EST

 

Line: ATL -8.5

Over/Under: 195.5

 

Hawks are an early season surprise and Celts have lost five straight.

 

PICK: Atlanta

 

Orlando Magic (4-7) @ Miami Heat (9-3) 11/23- 7:30PM EST

 

Line: MIA -13.5

Over/Under: 203.5

 

The Heat is an easy one at home.

 

PICK: Miami

 

Minnesota Timberwolves (8-6) @ Houston Rockets (8-5) 11/23- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: HOU -6.5

Over/Under: 216

 

With the T’Wolves playing the second of a back-to-back… Rockets should win big.

 

PICK: Houston

 

Charlotte Bobcats (6-7) @ Milwaukee Bucks (2-9) 11/23- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: MIL -2.5

Over/Under: 181.5

 

Both teams coming losses in the first of back-to-backs… but Bobcats still the better team.

 

PICK: Charlotte

NBA betting right here!!

Cleveland Cavaliers (4-9) @ San Antonio Spurs (11-1) 11/23- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: SAS -11.5

Over/Under: 191

 

Both teams is a second of back-to-backs… Spurs too strong.

 

PICK: San Antonio

 

Dallas Mavericks (9-4) @ Denver Nuggets (5-6) 11/23- 9:00PM EST

 

Line: DEN -5.0

Over/Under: 215

 

Mavs is a second of a back-to-back. Nuggets play well as of late.

 

PICK: Denver

 

Portland Trailblazers (11-2) @ Golden State Warriors (8-5) 11/23- 10:30PM EST

 

Line: GSW -8.5

Over/Under: 209.5

 

Both teams playing their second straight… should be a good one but like the Warriors at home.

 

PICK: Golden State

 

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter 

 

 

 

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NFL Predictions Week 12 Games Preview free Picks

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Free NFL picks and predictions week 12

 

Here is the full schedule of NFL games for Week 12 with the latest lines and my game day predictions. Choose your favorite games right here at Wonder Punter up until kick-off. Good luck!

 

Thursday 11/21:

 

New Orleans Saints (9-2)- 17

Atlanta Falcons (2-9)- 13

 

Line: NO -7.5

Over/Under: 52.5

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Sunday Games 11/24:

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) @ Cleveland Browns (4-6) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: CLE -1.0

Over/Under: 40.0

 

Big game for both teams as they try to stay in the wild-card race.

 

PICK: Pittsburgh

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) @ Detroit Lions (6-4) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: DET -9.0

Over/Under: 48.0

 

Lions will look to end the Bucs two game win streak and stay on top in the NFC North.

 

PICK: Detroit

 

Minnesota Vikings (2-8) @ Green Bay Packers (5-5)- 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: GB -4.0

Over/Under: 43.5

 

Packers have lost three straight, but should put away the Vikings at home.

 

PICK: Green Bay

 

San Diego Chargers (4-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: KC -4.0

Over/Under: 42.0

 

Look for the Chiefs to bounce back after last weeks loss to the Broncos.

 

PICK: Kansas City

 

Chicago Bears (6-4) @ St. Louis Rams ( 4-6) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: EVEN

Over/Under: 46.0

 

Line spread has it even… I favorite the Bears on the road.

 

PICK: Chicago

 

Carolina Panthers (7-3) @ Miami Dolphins (5-5) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: CAR -4.0

Over/Under: 41.0

 

Panthers will be shooting for their seventh straight win.

 

PICK: Carolina

 

New York Jets (5-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-6) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: BAL -3.5

Over/Under: 39.0

 

Just not sure what Jets team will show up.

 

PICK: Baltimore

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) @ Houston Texans (2-8) 11/24- 1:00PM EST

 

Line: HOU -10.0

Over/Under: 43.5

 

Will the Texans finally snap their eight game skid?

 

PICK: Houston

 

Tennessee Titans (4-6) @ Oakland Raiders (4-6) 11/24- 4:05PM EST

 

Line: EVEN

Over/Under: 41.0

 

Another game where the oddsmakers have it even… I like the Raiders at home.

 

PICK: Oakland

 

Indianapolis Colts (7-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (6-4) 11/24- 4:05PM EST

 

Line: ARI -3.0

Over/Under: 45.0

 

The spread favors the Cardinals… I like the Colts.

 

PICK: Indianapolis

 

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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Giants look to win their fifth straight.

 

PICK: NYG

 

Denver Broncos (9-1) @ New England Patriots (7-3) 11/24- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: DEN -2.5

Over/Under: 53.0

 

I like the NFL’s best team on the road in New England.

 

PICK: Denver

 

Monday 11/25

 

San Francisco 49ers (6-4) @ Washington Redskins (3-7) 11/24- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: SF -5.5

Over/Under: 47.0

 

Both teams have lost two straight but predict a 49ers victory Monday night.

 

PICK: San Francisco

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

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Colts at Cardinals odds, prediction, and preview

Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA AT THIS TIME Sports

The Indianapolis Colts (7-3) tackle the Arizona Cardinals (6-4) this Sunday in Phoenix, AZ. Arizona is four-1 at residence and Indianapolis is four-1 on the road. The Cardinals are riding a 3 sport profitable streak, however the groups they have crushed throughout the streak have combined for 5 wins on the season. The Colts are their hardest opponent in over a month.

The Colts have a great file at 7-3, however their last three video games have been rocky. In week 9, the Colts needed a fifteen level fourth quarter to beat the struggling Houston Texans. In week ten, the Colts had their worst sport of the season with Andrew Luck throwing three interceptions in a 38-8 loss at home to the St. Louis Rams. Last week, the Colts bought again on track with a 30-27 win in opposition to the Tennessee Titans. It was a superb bounce again win, but a sample of first half deficits appears to be forming.

A obvious statistical difference between the 2 teams is their speeding defenses. The Cardinals are second in the league, limiting opponents to 81.4 yards per sport while the Colts are 28th , allowing 126.1 yards per recreation. Indianapolis’ dashing protection is probably not exploited by Arizona as a result of the Cardinals have the 25th ranked rushing assault at 85.6 yards per sport.

I believe predicting a winner in this recreation comes right down to the x-issue. Colts QB Andrew Luck is the x-factor. His leadership and overall talent level make up for being on the highway in opposition to a good staff. Not having WR Reggie Wayne will make it a close recreation, but the Colts will pull it out in the long run. Colts win 24-21.

Game data

Date: November 24, 2013

Begin time: 4:05 PM ET

Location: Phoenix, AZ

TV: CBS

Line: Arizona -1

Over/Below: 45

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