College Football OddsWith all of the talk about the SEC over the past few years, and deservedly so, the PAC-10 has made quite an impression in college football betting this year, and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks are one of the biggest reasons why. The Ducks will fly in to Arizona looking to finish strong against the No. 1 Auburn Tigers in the Tostitos’ BCS National Championship game, and prove their merit ahead of the traditional powerhouse programs.

Tostitos’ BCS National Championship Game

Oregon Ducks vs. Auburn Tigers


Monday January 10, 2011 – 8:30 PM ET


Online Sports Betting Odds: Auburn – 3

It was the Tigers that ensured that at least a couple of those teams wouldn’t have their shot in the big game after sweeping through the SEC with a perfect 13 wins. Auburn took down a couple of big programs, including the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Oregon

The Ducks will present a different type of challenge for Auburn, with their top-ranked offense looking to prove their speed and capability in a spread offense the Tigers have yet to face this year. Heisman trophy runner-up and running back LaMichael James rushed for 1,682 yards and 21 touchdowns, but that’s just the beginning of an offense that finished first in the FBS with an average of over 49 points per game. Dual-threat quarterback Darron Thomas may be one of the most underrated players in the game after throwing for 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns, while rushing for another 492 and five scores. The Ducks’ defense has improved as the season continued, but still gave up over 500 yards on three separate occasions, and will need to prove its speed and tackling ability can overcome the strength of the Auburn line.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Auburn

That Tigers’ line kept Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton up long enough to throw for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns, while rushing for another 1,409 and 20 scores. What’s more, Newton played his best football in the biggest games, and remained calm and poised in the face of adversity in times where other signal-callers would have lost their composure. Auburn found the perfect complement to Newton in running back Michael Dyer, who rushed for 950 yards and five touchdowns. Newton and Dyer represent as lethal a tandem as any in college football. The Tigers’ defense struggled at times this season against tough, hard-running teams, and will now need to prove that they can keep up with a speedy, spread football betting offense.

The Match Up: Oregon vs. Auburn

The Ducks impressed many online bookies with their play in the PAC-10, and will prove that they can succeed against the top programs from any conference in the national title game. Oregon will attack relentlessly on both offense and defense, and will spoil the Tigers’ chances of giving the SEC a fifth straight national title.

BSNblog Pick: Oregon + 3

College Football Bowls Games oddsGiven the offensive talents on both teams, it would be no surprise to see the No. 1 Auburn Tigers and No. 2 Oregon Ducks set the record for most points in a national title game in this year’s Tostitos’ BCS National Championship game. These teams combined to average 90 points per game during the regular season, and with a handful of superstars on both sides of the ball, it should make for an exciting contest.

Tostitos’ BCS National Championship Game

Oregon Ducks vs. Auburn Tigers


Monday January 10, 2011 – 8:30 PM ET


Online Sports Betting
Odds: Auburn - 3

While the Tigers boast Heisman trophy-winner and quarterback Cam Newton and running back Michael Dyer, the Ducks will answer with an impressive tandem of their own in Heisman trophy runner-up and running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas. While the Tigers’ offense is predicated on strength and toughness, the Ducks is on speed and finesse, setting the stage for a highly anticipated showdown.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Oregon

Thomas and James will get plenty of opportunities to show their value against a Tigers’ defense that has looked tentative several times this season. James rushed for 1,682 yards and 28 touchdowns during the college football betting year, while Thomas provided the perfect compliment as a signal-caller that can make big plays with both his arm and legs. Thomas threw for 28 touchdowns, while rushing for five more, and will need to use his speed and ability to make plays outside of the pocket to exploit a much slower Tigers’ defense. The Ducks showed improvement defensively as the season wore on, but three games in which they allowed 500 yards have left them looking vulnerable.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Auburn

The same can be said about an Auburn defense that allowed 28 points per betting services game over the final eight weeks, and finished in the bottom-half of the SEC in total defense. Newton more than made up for the team’s deficiencies on the other side of the ball with an outstanding season, throwing for 2,589 yards while rushing for another 1,409 and combining for 48 touchdowns. Dyer provided the perfect compliment to Newton’s playmaking abilities with excellent straight-line speed and toughness, and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Those two will be relied on heavily to keep up with the Oregon offense, particularly due to the inconsistencies that the team has experienced defensively.

The Match Up: Oregon vs. Auburn

The Tigers and Ducks will exchange several blows and big plays throughout the course of what should be an exciting football betting game, and it may come down to which offense can put up more points in the end. Oregon flexed their muscle against the PAC-10, but will be battling a different type of beast in Auburn. How both sides adapt defensively to taking on offenses they are not used to will go a long way in determining which team comes out on top, and it’s hard to bet against the biggest superstar in the game in what should be an explosive battle.

BSN Sports Pick: Auburn - 3

NFL LinesBetting Online Overview:

The NFL football betting action in Minnesota has been dark and depressing this season. The offense entered the season with no real receivers for Brett Favre to throw to, and then the offensive line started allowing Brett Favre to get beat up. Running back Adrian Peterson had his usual great season, but he could not compete with the pass-happy Favre who was costing the Vikings games.

The Philadelphia Eagles thought they had a plan when the season started, but they did not seem really sold on it. The thought of Kevin Kolb being the full-time starting quarterback seemed like an interesting experiment, but the early NFL scores were not promising. Michael Vick stepped in and now the Eagles are NFC East champions and one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Offense:

The online betting services had no clue what to expect from Michael Vick. He was a difference-maker with the Falcons, but the effects of prison on his mind and his game were unknown. Vick is turning out to be the best thing that has happened to the Eagles in a long time, and he is making everyone around him better. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson has stepped up and become a kick return threat as well as a 1,000 yard receiver. Running back LeSean McCoy gives team something else to worry about besides Vick when it comes to the running game.

The Vikings are in huge trouble on offense when it comes to this game. Even if quarterback Brett Favre passes his concussion tests, his shoulder is so tight that he cannot throw accurately beyond 15 yards. Promising back up Tavaris Jackson is out for the season, and running back Adrian Peterson is also out. The Vikings are struggling to determine if Brett Favre at around 60 percent gives them a better chance to win than a healthy Joe Webb. If they don’t go with Webb, then it makes you wonder why they drafted Webb in the first place.

Defense:

This whole Michael Vick thing is contagious on the Eagles team; even on defense. The Eagles defense is fast and dangerous. The linebackers are monitoring the middle of the field limiting what the opposing tight ends can do, and the front line is becoming adept at putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Chasing Michael Vick around at practice every week has definitely made the Eagles a faster defense.

The Vikings defense is extremely inconsistent, especially on the front defensive line. Defensive lineman Jared Allen has nine sacks this season, which is way off his mark from last year. But the other three defensive line have a total of 7.5 sacks combined. The Vikings defense just cannot get to the quarterback this season, and that will be a huge problem in this game.

The Bottom Line:

The Vikings just want this season to end, and the Eagles cannot wait for the playoffs to begin. That should give you all you need to know about each team going into this game.

BSNblog Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

NFL OddsOnline Sports Bet Preview:

NFL betting in the AFC North is getting interesting. The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers sit on top of the division each with an 11-4 record. They are finishing the season against the bottom two teams in the division, but neither game is a gimme by any stretch of the imagination.

The Ravens have the Cincinnati Bengals coming to town for the final game of the season, and the Bengals just knocked the San Diego Chargers out of the playoffs with a week 16 win. The sportsbook promo experts were not expecting the Chargers to lose that game considering the fact that their entire playoff hopes were riding on a win. But Cincinnati beat one of the best offensive and defensive teams in the league 34-20, and that should concern the Baltimore Ravens.

Offense:

The Ravens put together a potent offense in the off-season with the acquisition of wide receivers Donte Stallworth and Anquan Boldin. But the offense experienced a slow start due to some problems with quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco came into the first few games of this season indecisive and, when he did make a decision, it was not a good one. But, as the season wore on, Flacco has developed confidence in his abilities and has teamed up with running back Ray Rice to create a very potent offense.

The Bengals were losing to the Chargers until a 21-point fourth quarter explosion sealed the game. The explosion came from the Cincinnati passing game. Quarterback Carson Palmer threw four touchdown passes in the game, with two of them going to receiver Jerome Simpson. The Bengals were playing without their top receiver Terrell Owens, but they still managed to put up an offensive display to win the game.

Defense:

The confidence of the Cincinnati offense could be a problem for the Baltimore defense. The front seven of Baltimore is capable of keeping Carson Palmer in check, but the young and inconsistent secondary is prone to giving up points especially towards the end of a game. Ray Lewis and the linebackers will shut down the Bengals running game, but it could be Carson Palmer and the passing game that gives the Bengals problems.

The Bengals completely shut down the Chargers extremely potent running attack, and the Chargers feature two first-string running backs in Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. The Ravens have Ray Rice and occasionally turn to Willis McGahee, but the lack of dimension to the Ravens running game may give the Bengals a chance to focus on Flacco and the passing game.

The Bottom Line:

The Cincinnati Bengals saw what it was like to have Terrell Owens on offense this season, and now they have seen what it is like to not have him. Owens will probably be looking for a new team again this off-season. and the Bengals will roll into this game with some confidence. But they will need more than confidence to beat a Ravens team that is fighting for the second best record in the AFC.

BSN Sports free pick: Baltimore Ravens

Connecticut Oklahoma Betting – Fiesta Bowl Shapes Up To Be A Mismatch

NCAA Football OddsThe Connecticut Huskies have done really well to get to the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, but they are going to have a very hard time being competitive for very long against the Oklahoma Sooners.

NCAA football betting: Connecticut Huskies vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Online Betting Odds: Oklahoma -17

Why To Bet On Connecticut

The Oklahoma Sooners are 0-3 in January Fiesta Bowls. Yes, Oklahoma won the Fiesta Bowl once upon a time, but that was in 1976, when the game was played in December and the Fiesta Bowl was a third-tier bowl game. Ever since the Fiesta Bowl moved to New Year’s Day (or in general, the month of January) in 1982, Oklahoma has floundered and flopped on this big stage. The Sooners fell to Arizona State in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl. Then, under current coach Bob Stoops, Oklahoma experienced a pair of egg-on-the-face moments in Glendale, Arizona. In the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, the Sooners lost as a heavy favorite to then-unheralded Boise State, 43-42, in one of college football’s biggest New Year’s Day bowl upsets. One year later, on January 2 of 2008, the Sooners came back to the Westside suburb of Phoenix and got destroyed by West Virginia, 48-28, in yet another Fiesta Bowl debacle. Oklahoma has not won a BCS bowl since the 2003 Rose Bowl against Washington State. The Sooners, even as a commanding favorite, have not handled this particular kind of event with any distinction or consistency. Connecticut might not be a particularly formidable team, but the Huskies are at least lucky in that they’re facing a program that has not delivered the goods in prime-time bowl games. This is far from Oklahoma’s best team under Bob Stoops; the Sooners were embarrassed in double-digit losses at Missouri and Texas A&M. They were also fortunate to escape Utah State and Air Force by one-score margins at home. Connecticut could make this game close enough to beat the number.

Why To Bet On Oklahoma

The Sooners, for all their inconsistencies this past season, still won their seventh Big 12 championship in the past 11 years. Oklahoma captured its fourth Big 12 crown over the past five seasons. The Sooners continue to establish a track record of remarkable consistency. Even when they’re far from their best, they’re still very, very good. Moreover, they’re going up against a Connecticut team with a thin resume.

The Huskies from New England got roughed up this year by teams that aren’t very distinguished. Connecticut got run out of the building by a 7-5 Michigan team, and coach Randy Edsall’s UConn crew also got whacked by a Temple team that didn’t even make a bowl game in 2010. Connecticut’s best Big East win was a two-point squeaker over Pittsburgh; UConn’s other huge conference win was a 16-13 overtime triumph over West Virginia. In that game, UConn needed seven West Virginia fumbles just to stay alive and then win in the extra period. UConn has four losses, easily the most for a BCS bowl representative… not only this season, but all time. Oklahoma is facing a very mediocre opponent.

How The Game Will Play Out

Oklahoma’s Fiesta Bowl struggles would have continued against an elite opponent such as Stanford or Ohio State, but not against Connecticut. The Huskies have no firepower and will not be able to throw the ball against the Sooners’ secondary. This will be a bloodbath; don’t seek an upset in this contest.

Connecticut Oklahoma Betting Pick: Oklahoma -17

College Football Bowl Games OddsCollege football betting players have watched Ohio State go 0-9 against the SEC in bowl games, and the Buckeyes will get a chance to break that duck when they head into the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to take on Arkansas, who are making their first BCS appearance.

Sugar Bowl Betting – Tuesday, January 4th, 8:30 PM ET

The No.6 Buckeyes (11-1) shared the Big Ten title with Michigan State and Wisconsin, and their lone blip was a loss in Madison to the Badgers, but they didn’t play the Spartans. Terrelle Pryor leads the No.20 offense in the country, but running back Dan Herron is a big part of that as well and allows the Buckeyes to use some play-action passes. As usual, the defense is the power of the team as the Buckeyes are second in the country on that side of the ball, and they’re deep and experienced in the secondary. The front seven has been bolstered by a healthy Ross Homan, and you can’t forget about end Cameron Heyward, a future NFL pick.

The No.8 Razorbacks (10-2) lost only at home to Alabama and at Auburn, and their six-game winning streak to end the SEC season included three wins over ranked teams, and two of those were on the road. Pivot Ryan Mallett sparks the No.3 aerial attack in the country, and he’ll have some insight on Ohio State after playing for their bitter rival, Michigan. Don’t sleep on Knile Davis, who ran for almost 1,200 yards. The defense is 33rd in the country, and outside of allowing 65 at Auburn, the Razorbacks didn’t give up more than 24 points in regulation (they gave up 31 against Mississippi State in double overtime). No one had Arkansas here before the season started, but they should get some sportsbook promo now.

The Buckeyes are a 3.5-point betting favorite in the Sugar Bowl, even with their record against the SEC and their recent BCS woes. Ohio State had lost three BCS games in a row before last year’s Rose Bowl win over Oregon, and two of those were romps at the hand of the SEC in title games. The Razorbacks shouldn’t be worried about the big stage after their season in the SEC, but their talented receiving core has their hands full against a very good Ohio State secondary. If a line that has been suspect at times this season can’t give Mallet time, Arkansas is going to be in trouble because the OSU secondary will be all over the wideouts, meaning there will be no quick throws. We’re giving a slight edge to the Buckeyes because of their conservative, mistake-free offense and a rock-solid defense.

Gambling Advisor free pick: Ohio State -3.5

NFL OddsBetting Overview:

The Dallas Cowboys get to spend Christmas Day in the desert, and it almost seems a fitting sentence for the season the Cowboys have had this year. The preseason NFL predictions surrounding the Cowboys were all about the playoffs, but the NFL scores that Dallas was generating told a different story. The Cowboys had the talent to prove the NFL betting experts right, they just did not want to find a way to start winning games until it was way too late.

The Arizona Cardinals are lost without now-retired quarterback Kurt Warner. The Cardinals are now on their fourth starting quarterback this season if you count the short but unsuccessful Matt Leinart experiment in the preseason. The Cardinals are without an offensive leader and that means they have no offensive identity. With players such as wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back Tim Hightower languishing in an unproductive offense, the Cardinals are a study in how important a good quarterback can be.

Offense:

The Cowboys seem to be rolling right along with Jon Kitna playing quarterback instead of the injured Tony Romo. But the injuries are starting to pile up against the Cowboys, and that could be a problem in this Christmas Day matchup. Running back Marion Barber and wide receivers Roy Williams and Dez Bryant are all expected to miss this game. Their status of Roy Williams and Marion Barber is questionable for this game, but the Cowboys are not talking like they will have all of their starters for this game. That means the backup quarterback will have to work with second and third-string receivers to try and win this game.

The Cardinals are on plan “C” at quarterback with rookie John Skelton. What the Cardinals are doing is trying to survive until the end of the season, and it will be a long last two games for the team from Arizona. As bad as the Cowboys seem to have it on offense with injuries, the Cardinals have it much worse and the Cardinals are not suffering from injury problems.

Defense:

The Cowboys defense has been unpredictable for much of the season. The team is ranked 14th against the run allowing an average of 109 yards per game, but the same defense is ranked 31st in points against by allowing an average of 28 points per game. The Cowboys defense seems capable of exploiting the weak Arizona offensive line and rattling the rookie quarterback early. The only problem the Dallas defense may experience all day is trying to contain running back Tim Hightower.

The Arizona Cardinals defense is ranked at or near the bottom of the league in every category. The Cardinals have a more serious problem trying to stop the run and, considering the injuries that Dallas has at wide receiver, that may mean a lot of Dallas running back Felix Jones in this game.

The Bottom Line:

The Cardinals will probably pull back and start all over after this season, but for now they are going to have to work extremely hard to avoid being embarrassed at home by the Dallas Cowboys.

BSNblog Pick: Dallas Cowboys

NFL PicksBetting Overview:

Washington head coach Mike Shanahan has been able to make winning teams out of average players, and post Super Bowl winning NFL scores with Hall of Fame caliber players. The man knows how to utilize talent and get the most from his team. Maybe that is why the NFL betting world is shocked to see the chaos being created by Shanahan in Washington. The problems with defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth were avoidable with some face-to-face talking before the season started, but the problems that Shanahan created with starting quarterback Donavan McNabb are just baffling.

The preseason NFL predictions surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly did not include the Jags competing for the AFC South title in week 15 of the regular season. But last week’s loss to the Colts may have been the end of a season that saw the Jaguars take a center stage no one expected them to take. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has become the focus of an offense that still does not have an identity, but yet can put a lot of points on the board.

Offense:

The Jacksonville offense was able to go toe-to-toe with a relatively healthy Indianapolis Colts defense in what become a week 15 shoot out for first place in the AFC South. But the Jags running game could just not get going against that Colts defensive front, and Maurice Jones-Drew wound up with on 46 yards rushing and no touchdowns. Quarterback David Garrard showed that he can get the ball down the field when he needs to, but eventually he ran out of ideas and the Colts defense won the day.

The Redskins gave the starting quarterback job to Rex Grossman in what head coach Mike Shanahan calls an “evaluation period.” That basically says to the fans that the Redskins have thrown in the towel on the season, officially, and the fans can expect to see a lot of replacement players in the game for evaluation purposes. That bodes really well for a Jacksonville defense that is looking for a reason to get better. For example, when the Redskins were near the goal line late in their week 15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Shanahan did not have starting running back Ryan Torain in the game. The goal line, with the game on the line in the regular season, seemed like a good time for Shanahan to evaluate talent.

Defense:

Defensively the Washington Redskins are a mess as well. The Washington coaching staff is trying to hammer a 3-4 defense into a roster that is not made up of players that can play that kind of scheme. For some reason, Mike Shanahan is not willing to work with what he has. He seems more content to exert his power as the head coach and, rather than gradually moving towards the scheme he wants, he is trying to force players to play in ways they are not comfortable playing. With no Albert Haynesworth, Shanahan has no nose tackle for his defense, and that opens up the Redskins against the run.

The Jaguars defense is not much better than the Redskins, and they showed up when they gave up 34 points to the Indianapolis Colts in a game the Jaguars had to have. The worst part for the Jacksonville defense is that they were beat by the run and the pass.

The Bottom Line:

If Mike Shanahan is going to continue to evaluate talent, then the Jaguars will take this game easily. If Shanahan uses the players he has to try and win this game, then it will be a very close game.

BSN Sports Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars

Rose Bowl OddsNCAA football betting players have listened all season to the great debate: do non-AQ (automatic qualifiers) teams belong in the same category as AQ teams? This year, we get a matchup that will be a huge statement in that debate as Wisconsin will go against TCU in the “Granddaddy of Them All”, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Horned Frogs were left out of the national-title party, and this is their chance to step up for non-AQ teams everywhere (before they head off to the Big East).

Wisconsin TCU Betting – January 1st, 5:00 PM ET

The No.5 Badgers (11-1) fell just once, on October 2nd by 10 points at Michigan State, and that led them back to Pasadena for the first time since 2000. The Badgers offense was out of control down the stretch, averaging 67 points over their last three games, and they’re doing it on the strength of the No.12 rushing attack in the nation. The star of the show, John Clay, has missed the last few games and will likely be back for the Rose Bowl. UFC betting players may think they’re getting ready to watch a battle in the octagon, because the Badgers aren’t fancy, they step up and punch you in the mouth.

Only twice did the No.3 Horned Frogs (12-0) fail to beat an opponent by double digits, and only four opponents managed to reach double digits against TCU, who could end up with their fifth No.1 ranking in total defense in the last 10 years. But the offense caught up to the defense, coming in ninth in total offense and fourth in points scored. In fact, the Badgers and Horned Frogs are tied for fourth in the nation in points scored.

Your pay per head sportsbook has the Horned Frogs favored by a field goal in this massive game, and these two programs have never met. Wisconsin is 3-3 in their all-time Rose Bowl record, while TCU is looking to bounce back from a loss to Boise State in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, their debut appearance in a BCS bowl. This game will be won and lost at the line of scrimmage, as Wisconsin looks to impose its will, and their power running game, while the Horned Frogs have to protect Andy Dalton and their aerial attack. We’re going to take Wisconsin because of their running game, but it’s not going to be a blowout; in fact, it’ll likely be decided by a field goal in what could be the most exciting game of the bowl season. It won’t be a high-scoring affair, so take the under on the posted total of 58.5.

BSN Sports pick: Wisconsin +3

College Football BettingThere will be a different look to the longest tenured bowl in college football betting this season when Big Ten champions No. 5 Wisconsin battle the first BCS at large to ever compete in the Rose Bowl when they take on No. 3 TCU. The Horned Frogs earned their shot with the nation’s top-ranked defense, but will now have to prove their worth against the best offense they will have faced this year.

Rose Bowl Game Presented By VIZIO

Wisconsin Badgers v. TCU Horned Frogs


Saturday January 1, 2011 – 5:00 PM ET


Online Sports Betting Odds: TCU - 3

Wisconsin and TCU actually finished tied for scoring with an average 43.3 points per game. That makes the argument for how much the schedules of smaller conference schools should factor in to BCS rankings a big factor in this game, as it would be a major blow should the Horned Frogs falter against a Big Ten champion.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Wisconsin

The Badgers were never projected to be this good offensively, and while Unitas award winner and quarterback Scott Tolzien is a big reason for the team’s success, the nation’s 12th-ranked running game is the biggest reason why Wisconsin is ranked fifth in the country. A mammoth offensive line that six All-Big Ten members has opened countless holes for the trio of James White, John Clay, and Montee Ball, each of whom finished the football betting year with over 880 yards rushing. The ground game helped open the skies for Tolzien, who finished with a 74.3-completion percentage- the best mark in the country. The Badgers didn’t allow any of their final four opponents to score more than 28, but will need to flex their defensive muscle against the high-scoring Horned Frogs.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: TCU

The Horned Frogs were dominant defensively this season, allowing an average of just 11.4 points per online football betting game, the best mark in the FBS. However, TCU’s defense is based on speed, and it will be difficult for them to match up against the much bigger Badgers. That will put even more pressure on senior Andrew Dalton who has thrown for 2, 638 yards and 26 touchdowns this year, while rushing for another 481 along with five touchdowns. The Horned Frogs will need running backs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker to be at their best after they combined to help TCU average 261.2 yards per game.

The Match Up: Wisconsin v. TCU

While the Badgers are the much bigger team, the Horned Frogs will be determined to prove that their speed can match Wisconsin at every turn, and that will be the difference in this game. Look for TCU to swarm to the ball on defense, and open things up on offense with Dalton leading their explosive passing attack.

BSN Sports Pick: Horned Frogs - 3

NFL OddsBetting Overview:

When San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York proclaimed that his then 0-3 San Francisco 49ers would not only make the playoffs but they would also win the division, it was considered one of the most ludicrous NFL predictions of the season. But as the NFL scores kept rolling in, the 49ers find themselves at 5-8 and only one game out of first place in an extremely weak NFC West. After pounding the Seattle Seahawks 40-21 in week 14, the 49ers turn their attention to the San Diego Chargers.

The San Diego Chargers used to be good money for NFL betting in December. No matter how the Chargers had done earlier in the season, they always seemed to sweep December and make the playoffs. This December has been a bit different. The Chargers lost a key week 13 game to the Oakland Raiders that put San Diego two games back of first place Kansas City in the AFC West. But the Chargers beat Kansas City in week 14, and are riding a wave of momentum into this game against the 49ers.

Offense:

The San Diego Chargers have watched their offensive production fall off in December. The Chargers are now ranked second in the league in offense averaging a total of 400 yards per game. But do not let a fall in the rankings fool you. The Chargers still have a potent running game headed by a healthy rookie running back Ryan Mathews, and the passing game still features an extremely accurate quarterback in Philip Rivers.

The San Francisco 49ers just cannot seem to make up their minds. For some reason, quarterback Troy Smith was benched for the already-once-benched Alex Smith two games ago. When Troy Smith was playing, he was creating a buzz in the league. But the 49ers have shown that they desperately want Alex Smith to be the starting quarterback and it looks like they made the right choice so far. Running back Frank Gore cannot get blocking from the offensive line, and there is no underneath passing game that features tight end Vernon Davis. The problems with the San Francisco offense seem to be coaching rather than the players.

Defense:

The San Diego Chargers still have the number one ranked defense in the league. It is a fast defense that puts pressure on the quarterback and stuffs the run at the line of scrimmage. The defensive backfield is extremely fast and getting smarter every week. The 49ers defense is the very kind of defense that the San Francisco 49ers cannot play well against.

The 49ers have the 11th ranked defense in the league allowing an average of 327 yards per game. But that was established against teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers won’t have any answers for an offense like the one the Chargers bring to the table.

The Bottom Line:

The sad thing about the NFC West is that the 49ers could lose this game and still be in the hunt for the divisional crown. When you spend all season playing weak teams like the ones in the NFC West, you are in no condition to take on the San Diego Chargers.

BSN Sports Pick: San Diego Chargers

NFL PicksBetting Overview:

These games between NFL teams trying to figure out who will be on the roster next season are usually very interesting. The NFL predictions for the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers were not optimistic in the preseason, and the regular season NFL scores have shown both teams to be living down to expectations. This will be a difficult game for NFL betting enthusiasts because you really never know which Arizona Cardinals team will show up. It could be the Cardinals team that has put together a 4-9 record this season, or it could be the Cardinals team that laid a 43-13 beating on the Denver Broncos in week 14.

The Carolina Panthers should be on the hunt for a new head coach after this season is over. Current head coach John Fox did not have the personnel to win this season, but he made some extremely bad moves in an attempt to win. Rather than develop a young team into something that Carolina fans could be excited about, Fox has dismantled his team and shattered the confidence of rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. There will be a lot of pieces for a new coach to pick up in Carolina next season.

Offense:

The Cardinals are still searching for the answer at quarterback. Right now, the only in-house solution seems to be the young Max Hall. But he has been injured almost all season long and there is no chance of getting him any game play experience this season. Rookie John Skelton did an excellent job of managing the 43-13 win over the Broncos in week 14, but he did not have any major hand in determining the outcome of the game. It is expected that the Cardinals will release quarterback Derek Anderson at the end of the season and try their luck in the draft. Running back Tim Hightower had 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the week 14 win, and he looks to be as potent as ever.

The Carolina Panthers are clueless on offense. The offensive line cannot protect Clausen or block for the run. Head coach John Fox pulled Clausen from the lineup twice in favor of journeyman Matt Moore until Moore finally suffered a concussion. Wide receiver Steve Smith is wasting away in Carolina, and last year’s 1,000 yard rusher Jonathan Stewart will be lucky to get 800 rushing yards this season.

Defense:

On defense, the Cardinals cannot stop the run or the pass. But they have just enough firepower on defense to shut down a unit like the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals are strongest against the pass, and they will limit Clausen’s ability to throw deep. The Cardinals linebackers will have to determine whether or not Jonathan Stewart has a big game on the ground.

The most frustrating thing for Carolina fans is that their 1-12 record includes stellar performances by the 12th ranked defense in the league. Carolina’s biggest defensive weakness is against the run where they are ranked 25th in the league. There is no passing game in Arizona to shut down, so the Panthers will be able to shift all of their defensive resources to stopping Tim Hightower.

The Bottom Line:

The Panthers are about as well-matched as they can get against the Cardinals. But it is hard to bet for the Panthers because they keep finding new ways to lose games. A team does not get the distinction of being the worst team in football without making critical mistakes at the worst possible times.

BSN Sports Pick: Arizona Cardinals

NFL OddsBetting Preview:

You have to be very careful when making NFL predictions about the NFL scores in games like this one. On the surface, the NFL betting looks to be for a very good game between two teams fighting for the AFC South title. But there are things to take into account when looking at this game that go beyond team records and offensive and defensive rankings.

Peyton Manning is not an x-factor; everyone knows what he is capable of. But it seems like Peyton Manning has taken a season of frustration, and managed to put together one final push towards the playoffs. At 7-6, the only hope the Colts have of making the playoffs is to win the AFC South. as a 10-6 record may not be enough to get a wildcard spot. The team standing in the Colts’ way is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Offense:

Peyton Manning pulled his team together to score a 30-28 week 14 win over the Tennessee Titans. It was an important divisional win, and Manning did not throw an interception. The Colts running backs combined for only 87 total yards, but Manning threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Joseph Addai is practicing, but it is unknown whether or not he will be able to play in this game. With or without Addai, the Colts’ key to success for the last three games of the season is simple; if Peyton Manning can avoid throwing interceptions then the Colts win.

The Jaguars are trying to shake the notion that they have been more lucky than good this season. One “Hail Mary” win and the Jags are considered a fluke for the season. The truth is that Jacksonville is a potent balance of an effective passing game headed by quarterback David Garrard, and a powerful running game featuring running back Maurice Jones-Drew. If you shut down Garrard, then Jones-Drew will beat you. The Jaguars offer a lot of surprises for any team that takes them lightly.

Defense:

Defense is where the Jaguars might fall short in this game. Jacksonville is ranked 28th against the pass, and this is not the same Peyton Manning that the Jaguars defense terrorized in their week four win over the Colts. This Peyton Manning is measuring each throw and avoiding turnovers. The Jags do not have the kind of secondary that can cover receivers like Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon when Peyton Manning is on target.

Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are two defensive linemen that are expected to play for the Colts in this game. That makes all the difference in the world. With Freeney and Mathis in on defense, the Colts will control the line of scrimmage. They will put pressure on Garrard and make it very difficult for Jones-Drew to run. With middle linebacker Gary Brackett returning last week, the Colts defense is ready for this game.

The Bottom Line:

This will be a good game, but it has the potential to be a Colts blowout. If the Jaguars can play a ball possession game and keep Peyton Manning off the field, then they have a chance. But with Brackett, Freeney and Mathis all playing on the Colts defense for this game, it is unlikely that Jacksonville will be able to keep the ball away from the Colts for long.

BSN Sports Pick: Indianapolis Colts

College Football Betting – BCS Bowl Outlook

NCAA Football PicksCollege football betting players are getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year: It is bowl season, and the competitors have been announced for all of the bowls, including the BCS bowls. Here is a look at the top five bowls everyone will be watching.

Wisconsin TCU Betting – Saturday, January 1st, 5:00 PM ET

The No.3 Horned Frogs (BCS bid) are 2.5-point favorites in the “Granddaddy of Them All”, also known as the Rose Bowl. TCU is making their second straight BCS appearance, while the No.5 Badgers (Big Ten champions) are in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000. These two have never met before, and it’ll be a matchup of Wisconsin’s No.12 rushing attack against TCU’s No.3 rush defense.

Connecticut Oklahoma Betting – Saturday, January 1st, 8:30 PM ET

The No.7 Sooners (Big 12 champions) are 17-point football betting favorites in the Fiesta Bowl, where they have lost their last two appearances as big favorites. The Huskies (Big East champions) are making their first BCS appearance and fourth straight bowl game in a row, and they’re going up against the Sooners for the first time. Oklahoma is 17th in points scored, while UConn is 23rd in scoring defense.

Stanford Virginia Tech Betting – Monday, January 3rd, 8:30 PM ET

The No.4 Cardinal (BCS bid) are favored by a field goal in the Orange Bowl, and they’re making their first BCS appearance since 2000, when they lost to Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The No.13 Hokies (ACC champions) are back in the BCS after a one-year absence, and they’ve won 11 straight games after a poor start. Both teams are ranked in the top five in terms of turnover margin, so expect them to take care of the ball.

Ohio State Arkansas Betting – Tuesday, January 4th, 8:30 PM ET

The No.6 Buckeyes (BCS bid) are field-goal favorites in the Sugar Bowl, and this is their sixth straight BCS appearance, finally winning last year against Oregon in the Rose Bowl after three losses in a row. The No.8 Razorbacks (BCS bid) are making their BCS debut, and they’ll pit quarterback Ryan Mallett against OSU’s Terrelle Pryor in a matchup of future NFL picks.

Oregon Auburn Betting – Monday, January 10th, 8:30 PM ET

The No.1 Tigers (SEC champions) are 3-point favorites in the BCS title game, led by probably Heisman favorite Cam Newton. The No.2 Ducks (Pac-10 champions) are powered by LaMichael James, who may end up with the Heisman if voters stay away from Newton. This could end up being a shootout as both are ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense, so the over could be very enticing for betting players.

Bet On NCAA Football – Top Five Bowl Games of 2010-11

College Football OddsThose who bet on NCAA football are getting ready to sift through a long list of bowl games, which kick off on December 18th. These are what we think are the top five bowl games to check out during this holiday season.

Auburn Oregon Betting – January 10th, 8:30 PM ET

The BCS gets it right at the top as the No.1 Tigers are 3-point favorites in the title game against the No.2 Ducks, and there are storylines aplenty. Auburn’s Cam Newton will likely win the Heisman, but if voters look too much into the scandal that surrounds him, it may go to Oregon’s LaMichael James. This will also be a matchup of two of the most explosive offenses we’ve seen in recent memory.

Alabama Michigan State Betting – January 1st, 1:00 PM ET

The No.16 Crimson Tide are 11-point online football betting favorites against the No.9 Spartans, who may be ticked off that they were left out of the BCS bowls, and now they’re double-digit underdogs against the defending national champions. These are two of the most physical teams in the country, and the Capital One Bowl will not be for the faint of heart.

Utah Boise State Betting – December 22nd, 8:00 PM ET

The No.10 Broncos are favored by 16.5 points against the No.19 Utes, who haven’t beaten Boise State in three meetings. The Broncos are two missed field goals out of a BCS bowl, while the Utes had their chances smashed by TCU, so you should see two hungry non-AQ teams in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Florida State South Carolina Betting – December 31st, 7:30 PM ET

In the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, the No.20 Gamecocks are favored by a field goal against the No.23 Seminoles, who are no strangers to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. FSU is 8-5 in 13 meetings with Spurrier when he was at Florida, so you know both sides will have some added motivation. Both teams also were dismantled in their conference-title games, so they would like to show that they’ll be a force to be reckoned with as well.

Hawaii Tulsa Betting – December 24th, 8:00 PM ET

Those checking out NBA scores may feel that they’re watching a hoops game in the Hawaii Bowl, as there should be some high scoring. The Warriors are 12-point favorites in what is essentially a home game, and if you’re a fan of defense, stay away from this game as both are top-10 teams in terms of points scored. They’re also no strangers as they met five times between 2000 and 2004, with Hawaii claiming three wins. It may not be pretty, but this could be the most fun that you’ll have betting online this month.

NCAA Football Betting – Non-BCS Bowl Outlook

NCAA Football OddsNCAA football betting players shouldn’t just check out the BCS bowls, as there are a number of other matchups worth taking a look at. Here are the top five matchups outside of the BCS bowls.

Utah Boise State Betting – December 22nd, 8:00 PM ET

The No.10 Broncos are favored by 16.5 points in the Las Vegas Bowl, where they will face the No.19 Utes in a clash of top non-AQ teams. The Broncos and Utes both had disappointing seasons, especially Boise State, so this game should be exciting. This game could be won up front: Boise State is second in sacks, while Utah is fifth in sacks allowed. The Utes have won nine bowl games in a row, but they’ll be in tough against the Broncos, who have won all three meetings with Utah.

Hawaii Tulsa Betting – December 24th, 8:00 PM ET

The Warriors are 12-point favorites in what is a home game at the Hawaii Bowl, and they’ve made six appearances in this game since 2002. The Golden Hurricane have won two bowls in a row, and they’re in for a shootout this time. You may be in for a sports betting bonus if you bet on the posted total as both teams are ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense. These two met five times between 2000 and 2004, with Hawaii winning three.

Florida State South Carolina Betting – December 31st, 7:30 PM ET

The No.20 Gamecocks are 3-point favorites in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against the No.23 Seminoles in this matchup of teams that lost in their conference title games. The Gamecocks have lost three of their last four bowl games, while FSU has won three of their last four heading into their first meeting against South Carolina. There is some history here: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is 5-8 against FSU from his time at Florida.

Alabama Michigan State Betting – January 1st, 1:00 PM ET

Pay per head sportsbook odds have the No.16 Crimson Tide as an 11-point favorite in the Capital One Bowl against the No.9 Spartans, and both teams will be angry heading into this game. The defending national champs from Alabama lost a 24-point lead at home to rival Auburn in the “Iron Bowl”, while the Spartans feel slighted about being left out of the BCS bowl picture. These two have not met before, and both teams are ranked in the top 30 in terms of scoring offense and defense.

LSU Texas A&M Betting – January 7th, 8:00 PM ET

The No.11 Tigers are favored by a point in the Cotton Bowl, making their first appearance here since 2002. The No.17 Aggies will be out to end a four-bowl losing streak, and they’ve been blown out by SEC teams in two of them. These two have met once, in 1995, and LSU’s No.8 defense will try to slow down Texas A&M’s No.20-ranked offense, so those who bet will have a tough choice.

NFL Betting LinesBetting Overview:

This will go down in NFL history as Peyton Manning’s worst season ever. It is convenient to blame his problems on the loss of tight end Dallas Clark or wide receiver Austin Collie, but the problem with the Colts is Manning and a beat up Indianapolis defense. The defense could not hold against the Dallas Cowboys in week 13 and that, along with a few Manning interceptions for touchdowns, is what cost the Colts the game. Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne are still out there for the Colts. Peyton Manning needs to look in the mirror to find the problems for the Colts.

The Titans are caught up in the annual drama created by quarterback Vince Young. Backup quarterback Kerry Collins isn’t getting any younger, and if Young is not the quarterback of the future then the Titans need go find their franchise QB. Luckily for Tennessee, Kerry Collins still has some play left in him. But Young has thrown the team so out of whack that they took a promising season and are on the verge of flushing it all away.

Offense:

The NFL predictions for the Indianapolis Colts were for the NFL scores to have the Colts as the best team in football leading into the Super Bowl. As the NFL betting experts know, the Colts aren’t even the clear-cut best team in their own division, much less the rest of the league. The problem is Peyton Manning and his interceptions. These are not just any kind of interceptions; these are pick 6 interceptions that get returned for touchdowns. To make things worse, with or without running back Joseph Addai the Colts have no running game. The offensive line is a patchwork of guys that have never played together before, and the results on the field are showing that.

The Titans running back Chris Johnson has slowed a little, but only because he is mired in an indecisive offense. Johnson has 1,026 yards and nine touchdowns this season, which is excellent by any standards. He will not reach the 2,000 yard mark again, but expecting him to do that consistently is unreasonable. The Titans have fallen from first to last in the AFC South because of their inconsistent offense. They have no solid presence at quarterback, and Vince Young’s instability cost the team more than one game this season.

Defense:

Tennessee has a defense that bends but will not break. The Titans defense is ranked 24th overall but they are eighth best in the league at opposition points allowed. The problem is that, eventually, Peyton Manning will remember how to play quarterback again. When he does, the bend but don’t break policy of the Titans defense will be a problem.

The Colts are going to start getting key defensive players back starting with this game. Dwight Freeney should play and Bob Sanders may come back. Linebacker Gary Brackett is expected to play as well. With some of their key defensive personnel coming back, the Colts should be able to put up a fight against a shaky Tennessee offense.

The Bottom Line:

The Colts really need this game, and so do the Titans. But the Colts have it in them to improve and rise to this challenge where the Titans do not. If Peyton Manning can stop throwing interceptions, then the Colts should win this game.

BSN Sports Pick: Indianapolis Colts

NFL oddsBetting Overview:

The Cleveland Browns looked like a much-improved football team almost from the beginning of the season. Quarterback Jake Delhomme looks more comfortable in the Cleveland offense than he did in Carolina, and running back Peyton Hillis is the break-out surprise of the 2010 season. The Browns have a shut-down kind of defense that has been effective at creating turnovers. With wins over the New England Patriots and defending champion New Orleans Saints under their belts, the Browns are also developing a strong sense of confidence.

The Buffalo Bills were showing major signs of improvement. Buffalo had taken some pretty good teams to overtime, and then beat the Cincinnati Bengals after the Bengals had taken a huge halftime lead. Then the Bills seemed to fall back to their old ways in week 13 against the Vikings. Turnovers, bad plays and really bad penalties cost the Bills dearly. That gun the Bills had used to shoot themselves in the foot had re-surfaced after being put away for so many weeks. If the Bills can learn to stop shooting themselves in the foot, they can put together some wins to finish the season.

Offense:

The Buffalo Bills were not part of anyone’s NFL predictions for the playoffs this season and rightfully so. The NFL scores that Bills had put up earlier in the season showed a team in complete disarray. But the NFL betting world has seen a different Buffalo Bills team in the past few weeks. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is a cool presence in that Buffalo offensive huddle, and wide receiver Stevie Johnson is a rising star regardless of what the Almighty thinks. The problem for the Bills is still a weak offensive line and bad penalties. If they can improve on those two aspects of their offense, then they may start moving into the realm of playoff contender.

The Cleveland Browns got a shot of confidence this summer when Mike Holgren became president of the team. But that confidence was shaken a little when Holgren brought in quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy barely made the team this season, and Browns fans were more than concerned. But Delhomme has proved to be consistent as the Browns quarterback, and McCoy showed signs of promise while he filled in for the injured Delhomme in the middle of the season. Add in running back sensation Peyton Hillis, and the Browns are on their way to the improvements they were so desperately looking for.

Defense:

The Bills defense is more inconsistent than bad. There have been games where the Bills defense has only allowed 17 points or less, and then there are games where the Buffalo team has allowed 35 points or more. This is not the same ball-hawking team we saw last season that put up a lot of interceptions. The Bills defense seems unsure of itself and unable to keep the team in tight games against good teams.

The Browns defense is a lot like the Bills defense was last season. The Cleveland defense looks for turnover opportunities, and they are able to put some pressure on the quarterback. But the Cleveland defense still needs help up front, and that may be where the Bills can exploit the Browns for some offensive yards.

The Bottom Line:

The Browns are headed in a good direction through planning and on purpose, the Bills seem to be headed in the right direction by accident. If the Bills really knew what they had in quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, then they would have started him at the beginning of the season instead of Trent Edwards. Planning breeds winning, and the Browns are learning how to plan from one of the best ever.

BSN Sports Pick: Cleveland Browns

NFL OddsBetting Overview:

It is time to take the Oakland Raiders seriously. In week 13 of the 2010 season, the Raiders did something that no other team has done in years; they beat the San Diego Chargers in December. The Raiders defense had the Chargers number one ranked offense frustrated. The Raiders offense completely fooled the Chargers number one ranked defense. It was a well-played, and well-coached, game by the Raiders and now the Raiders are looking at catching up to the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs.

The Jacksonville Jaguars also require serious thought. The NFL predictions for the Jaguars by the NFL betting community had this being head coach Jack Del Rio’s last season. But, through some hard work and some unbelievable luck, the Jaguars are 7-5 and leading the AFC South. From the smallest, but yet one of the most prolific, running backs in the league to Hail Mary plays to win big games; the Jaguars are showing that they want to stick around and have a say in the AFC playoff race.

Offense:

Many of the most memorable NFL scores this season have been compliments of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quarterback David Garrard is not tearing up the league, but he is a consistent force in the Jacksonville offense that helps the team win games. Garrard has 1,982 passing yards and 17 touchdowns this season. That is a respectable season to this point, but it does not show exactly how valuable Garrard is to the offense. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew continues to be the glue that holds the Jaguars together. He has 1,177 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He is a surprisingly powerful runner that is pushing defensive lines backwards in every game.

The Oakland Raiders want desperately for Bruce Gradkowski to be their starting quarterback. But Jason Campbell is becoming so good at managing games that Gradkowski may have to sit. Campbell only threw for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. But he ran for a touchdown and helped spread out the Chargers defense to make the Raiders offense more potent. It looks like Campbell will be the quarterback to take the Raiders to the playoffs, and that makes the Raiders offense very dangerous.

Defense:

The thing that killed the Chargers was the Raiders’ ninth ranked pass defense. Once Philip Rivers was out of sync, the whole Chargers offense went south. The Raiders have problems containing the run, but they are tough at the line of scrimmage. The Oakland defense can get into the opposing backfield and cause all kinds of problems. For a team as organized as the Jaguars, a persistent Oakland pass rush could be a problem.

The Jaguars defense has been living off the heroics of the Jacksonville offense. The Jags allow 25 points per game, and that is not going to help them shut down an offense like the Raiders. Jacksonville has been playing consistently against the run this season, but with a mobile quarterback like Campbell back there, that will change things considerably.

The Bottom Line:

The Raiders and the Jaguars are flying high as both are coming off week 13 divisional wins. This will be a good game, but the Raiders just have too many offensive weapons for the Jaguars to handle.

BSN Sports Pick: Oakland Raiders

College Football OddsNCAA football betting players may remember the 2005 ACC championship game, which was the first for the conference, and culminated in a 27-22 win for Florida State over Virginia Tech. The Seminoles have not been back since, while the Hokies are making their fourth appearance in the ACC title game as the two will clash in Charlotte on Saturday night.

Florida State vs. Virginia Tech Betting – Saturday, 7:45 PM ET

The No.21 Seminoles (9-3, 6-2) did their part last week, ending a six-year skid against rival Florida by pounding the Gators 31-7 at home, and then they got some help from Maryland, who beat North Carolina State to put Florida State in the ACC title game. Christian Ponder was 16-of-24 for 221 yards and three touchdowns in his last game at Bobby Bowden Field, and over the next few months, he’ll be looking to raise his stock when it comes to the top NFL picks. But the defense was the story on this day as they held the Gators to 276 yards, including 64 yards through the air, and they forced four turnovers along the way.

The No.15 Hokies (10-2, 8-0) won their 10th straight game in a 37-7 win over Virginia at home, and they did efficiently with 201 rushing yards. Tyrod Taylor was 13-of-23 for 176 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies, who were also strong on the other side of the ball by stopping the Cavaliers on 11 of 12 third-down attempts, and all three of their chances on fourth down. The Hokies have shown a lot of heart by coming back from two losses to start the season, and when people were writing them off, Virginia Tech stormed back to prove that they’re still the kings of the ACC as they go for their third conference crown in four years.

Online football betting odds have the Hokies as a 4-point favorite in this showdown, but the Seminoles have won four of their last five against Virginia Tech, including the win in the 2005 ACC title game. The Florida State defense has been much improved this season, but they’re going to have to contain Turner, who can hurt you with his arms as well as his legs. The Seminoles are second in the country in sacks, and they’ll be out to disrupt Taylor. As for the Hokies, they’re going to have to deal with the Florida State running game, and they’ve shown that they can have a problem stopping the run. If they can’t do that, then Ponder can use the play-action pass. This is going to be a close game, and while we think that the Hokies will win, we think Florida State can cover the sports betting spread.

College Football OddsAfter one of the most impressive seasons in PAC-10 history, No. 2 Oregon is now one win away from clinching a spot in the BCS title game. The Ducks take their top-ranked offense in to Reser Stadium in Corvalis for an in-state rivalry game against the Beavers, the 114th edition between these schools.

(2) Oregon Ducks @ Oregon State Beavers

Saturday December 4, 2010 – 3:30 PM ET


Reser Stadium, Corvalis, Oregon


Online Sports Betting
Odds: Oregon - 17

Oregon State has just one win through its last four games, but that lone victory is significant because it came over a ranked opponent in No. 20 USC. The Beavers destroyed the Trojans on their home field, and although they will not finish inside the top-four in the PAC-10, this will be their own championship game with the chance to provide the biggest college football betting upset of the year.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Oregon

The Ducks clinched at least a share of the PAC-10 title on Friday night when they took down Arizona 48-29 in front of a packed house at Autzen Stadium, but this season is about much more than that. Oregon will clinch sole possession of the conference title and a spot in the BCS title game with a win in their season finale on Saturday afternoon, and at this point anything less than just that would have to be considered a failure. While the top-ranked offense in the country should have little problem dismissing a team that is giving up an average of 25.9 points per game, look no further than Boise State’s 34-31 overtime loss to Nevada this past pay per head weekend and you will find every reason for this team not to get to far ahead of itself. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are one of the most explosive threats in the game, and will be relied on heavily to finish strong.

NCAA Football Betting Preview: Oregon State

After building a reputation as a school that usually excels as the season progresses, the Beavers have found themselves going the opposite way this year with just one win through their last four games. None of that will matter if they can clinch a Civil War victory and become bowl eligible this week. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers wears No. 1 on the back of his jersey, and will need to be the best player for either team in this game for Oregon State to have a chance of even keeping it close. A football betting win is highly unlikely, but that’s what we said last week about Nevada.

The Match Up: Oregon @ Oregon State

The Ducks are rolling with 11 straight wins, eight of which came in the PAC-10, and have beaten all three ranked opponents on their schedule by double-digits. This is a team destined for the national championship game, and they will arrive there as PAC-10 champions with a final statement in a big win this weekend.

NCAA Football Betting Pick: Ducks - 17

Bet on NFL Game Preview for December 2, 2010: Texans vs. Eagles (-8.5)

NFL Odds and PicksBetting Overview:

The Philadelphia Eagles are getting more and more difficult to figure out. Just two weeks ago the NFL scores showed an Eagles team that took a hard-fought game away from a good New York Giants team. Yes, the Eagles were helped by the bad play of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. But in order to win a team has to be able to capitalize on the opponent’s mistakes. Then the Eagles lost to a Chicago Bears team that is normally handing wins out to opposing teams. It was a little bit of the Bears looking sharp and the Eagles looking flat.

The Houston Texans are grasping on to preseason NFL predictions that they would be in the playoffs this year. While the NFL betting experts are not impressed with the Texans’ recent losing streak, Houston did manage to beat a Tennessee Titans team that is in complete disarray right now. As the Texans continue their trek towards the playoffs, they come across the Eagles who are still trying to figure out who they really are.

Offense:


It is hard to say what exactly got into Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson when he got into a fist fight with Tennessee Titans’ defensive back Cortland Finnegan, but frustration over the Texans past few games is probably a good guess. The Texans will be fortunate in that Johnson will probably be fined but not suspended for his fight, but that does not change the fact that other teams saw how to get Andre Johnson off his game. The combination of quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Adrian Foster and Johnson has been prolific for Houston this season. But the Texans are showing their lack of experience as their playoff hopes drift further and further away. The game against the Titans was the first time that the Houston offense showed up for a game in weeks. The Texans will find out quickly that the Eagles defense is not the same as the Titans.

The Eagles are trying to put games in the hands of quarterback Michael Vick, but Vick is showing growing pains that cost this team a game last week. Vick is fighting the urge to run with the ball when his pocket collapses, and in the process he is missing opportunities to gain important yardage for the Eagles. Vick will eventually figure out how to play the quarterback position the way he has said he wants to, but in the meantime he needs to use all of his talents to help Philadelphia put points on the board.

Defense:

The bad thing for the Texans is that they have the 31st ranked defense in the league, the good thing is that they are ranked eighth against the run. If Houston can keep Michael Vick contained in the pocket, then they just may have a chance at winning this game.

The Eagles defense is punishing, fast and smart. While the Eagles may not resort to the thug tactics that Finnegan used last week, the Philadelphia secondary will use other ways to get inside Andre Johnson’s head. Double coverage and hitting Johnson at the line can be almost as frustrating as a defensive back pulling on Johnson’s helmet. The Eagles’ front seven should be able to contain Adrian Foster as well.

The Bottom Line:

The Eagles need to establish Vick as a passing quarterback, and this game is the perfect opportunity. The Philadelphia defense will keep the Houston offense under wraps while the Eagles offense finds its passing legs.

BSNblog Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

NFL OddsBetting Overview:

The Cleveland Browns appear to be on the right track. The NFL scores that rookie quarterback Colt McCoy was putting up while Jake Delhomme was out were impressive. But head coach Eric Mangini did the right thing and put Delhomme back in when he was healthy. The NFL predictions for this season may not have been too impressive for the Browns, but there may be playoff expectations in the Dawg Pound for next season. The Browns offense and defense are developing together, and that is always a healthy way for a bad team to get better.

It looks like the Miami Dolphins have peaked, and now head coach Tony Sparano is trying to piece together a winner out of what he has left. Quarterback Chad Henne was benched, but a season-ending injury to Chad Pennington has put Henne back in the starting role. The wildcat is still a staple part of the Dolphins’ offense, but now that every defense in the league has figured out it is no longer nearly as effective as it used to be. What is still effective in the Dolphins offense is running back Ricky Williams. Williams looked impressive in the Dolphins’ 33-17 win over the surging Oakland Raiders last week.

Offense:

The NFL betting world was not sure what to make of the Cleveland Browns offense before the season started. Quarterback Jake Delhomme was coming off some pretty poor seasons as the starter in Carolina, but the Eric Mangini offense seems to work for Delhomme and he looks comfortable throwing the ball behind a mediocre Browns offensive line. The best part for Cleveland is that Delhomme is helping to develop quarterback Colt McCoy into the Browns quarterback of the future. With running back Peyton Hillis finding a place in the Cleveland offense, the Browns look like they will be a threat in the future.

It seems like the Dolphins are either running out of options on offense, or Miami has decided that a traditional offense is more appropriate with a throwing quarterback like Chad Henne. Don’t forget that the Dolphins still have a deep threat in Brandon Marshall at wide receiver, and Marshall should be back in the line up before the end of the season. The Dolphins have the personnel for a coordinated and powerful running and passing attack without the wildcat.

Defense:

The Dolphins have a very good defense. The Miami defense is ranked sixth overall, but it is their play against the passing game that has sustained them to this point. If the Dolphins focus on stopping Delhomme, then Hillis will run right past them. This will be a war that the Dolphins will need to fight on two fronts, and they have the personnel to do it.

The Cleveland defense is young, aggressive and improving. Miami will miss Brandon Marshall in this game. The long ball would kill the Browns in this game, but Miami will have to rely on the running game and the Browns have an answer for Ricky Williams.

The Bottom Line:

The Dolphins will win this game, but it will be close. Ricky Williams will not have the game everyone is expecting him to have, but there is just enough balance in the Miami attack to come out of this game on top.

Gambling Advisor blog Pick: Miami Dolphins

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