Kaepernick Gets Nod For Niners Start

Colin Kaepernick will be entrusted with another 49ers game this weekend as San Francisco travels to St. Louis.

Colin Kaepernick will start for the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday as the team travels to the Gateway City to take on the St. Louis Rams.

The news filtered out of San Francisco’s training ground on Wednesday following an announcement by head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The move leaves regular starting quarterback Alex Smith – cleared to play last week following a concussion – watching from the sidelines.

Kaepernick replaced Smith in Week 10 after the latter was injured during a game against the Rams at Candlestick Park. The second year quarterback completed 11 of 17 passes before the game ended in a tie.

With Smith diagnosed with concussion and medically unfit to play, Kaepernick made his first career start against the Bears on Monday Night Football in Week 11. During the game, Kaepernick completed 16 of 23 passes and threw for two touchdowns, as he outdueled fellow backup, Jason Campbell, spelling a concussed Jay Culter. The Niners outplayed the Bears and took the game 32-7.

Following much speculation, Kaepernick made his second start last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He completed 16 of 25 passes, tallying a touchdown and a first interception of the season. The Niners won the game 31-21.

Now, the second-year triggerman is set to start on Sunday.

Overall this season, Kaepernick has completed 48 of 74 passes (64.9%) for 680 yards and thrown three touchdowns and one interception. His quarterback rating is 92.92.

In nine games this season, Smith has thrown for 1,731 yards on 152 of 217 passing, with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. His quarterback rating is 69.83. He was certainly not the happiest person on the sideline this past weekend in New Orleans.

Smith visited with Miami in the offseason whilst the Niners flirted with Peyton Manning but resigned with the Bay Area side to be its starter. Smith may well have been ‘Wally Pipped’ following Harbaugh’s decision to go with Kaepernick, although everybody within the franchise is sticking firmly with the line that both quarterbacks are go-to-guys.

Despite the potential/existing (depending how you look at it) quarterback controversy, San Francisco has moved up in the NFL Futures. The Niners are now favorites (9/4) to take the NFC and 5/1 to win the Super Bowl. Only New England and Houston (both 9/2) have shorter odds.

San Francisco’s defense has given up just 278.4 yards per game, second to Pittsburgh, and is the stingiest in points conceded (14.1 PPG). St. Louis’ 28th ranked offense will be in for a long day.

Offensively, San Francisco leads the league in rushing yards, making up for a low-ranked passing game. That being said, Kaepernick has added some impetus to the Niners’ passing game over the past two weeks. The Rams will find this team tough to stop.

Heading into play this weekend, San Francisco (8-2-1, 4-1 road) opened as 6½-points favorites over St. Louis (4-6, 3-3 home), a number that has increased to 7½.

Both sides have fared well against the spread this season, each tallying a 7-4-0 ATS record.

Throw out Week 10’s tie and the Niners have straight up won seven of the last eight meetings with the Rams, as well as five of the last eight meetings in St. Louis.

The over/under is 41. The total has gone over in seven Rams games this season, but only five Niner games have exceeded the marker. Four of the last five head-to-head meetings have gone over 41 points.

If San Francisco is victorious in St. Louis – which would mark a fourth win in five games – Colin Kaepernick may just play himself into the starting role permanently, which means Alex Smith could face the trading block come February.

Heisman Odds

As we approach the end of the college football season, it’s time to start looking at and thinking about who will take home the most coveted and prestigious individual award in the sport, the Heisman Trophy. Many players have come and gone from the year-long conversation, but as we enter Championship Week, Bovada and most experts have four top players who are getting the best odds. Let’s look at those four and decipher who the best bet is for this year’s top college football prize.

Johnny Manziel-1/6

After seeing Robert Griffin III storm in front of the Heisman hopeful pack right at the end of the season, we realized how important it is in the eyes of voters to finish the season strong. That’s how voters often remember you, and that’s exactly what Johnny “Football” Manziel has done in his quest to be the first ever freshman to win the award. Most of his 43 total touchdowns have come in the second half of the season, which included a win over then first-ranked Alabama. Manziel has thrown for more than 3400 yards on the season and is getting a lot of buzz, which is a good sign for him winning the award. At 1/6 odds, Bovada is considering him the heavy favorite, but a pick for Manziel would obviously not yield large profits.

Manti Te’o-7/2

Te’o is getting a lot of praise for leading the nation’s second best defense in terms of points allowed this season. He may not lead the nation in any specific statistical category, but his seven interceptions is an impressive number for a linebacker. The biggest argument in favor of Te’o, however, is that he is the irreplaceable leader of the number one, and only undefeated team in the country. Of course, it’s extremely rare for a defensive player to win the award, as only a handful of players on that side of the ball ever have. At 7/2 odds, though he’s not a bad pick. He will certainly get plenty of votes and there is money to be made by picking him.

Collin Klein-15/2

Collin Klein spent much of the season as the Heisman frontrunner, but a loss to Baylor two weeks ago has dropped him to the number three spot. He still has had a monster season though, with 34 total touchdowns (20 rushing) and more than 3000 total yards. The other thing to consider is that he still has one game left, this weekend against Texas. So, if he puts up another solid performance, he could rise a little more in the minds of voters. At the moment, he is getting 15/2 odds, so there’s money-making possibility there, but he’s a tough sell right now simply because the buzz surrounding him has died down considerably and he will no longer get a shot at a national title.

Braxton Miller-40/1

Braxton Miller hasn’t received much attention due to Ohio State being ineligible to participate in a bowl game this season, but his performance on the field makes them more than worthy to be considered for the award. Not only did his team finish 12-0, but the battle injury on the way to 28-touchdown season with more than 2000 passing yards. However, considering no one is talking about, it’s likely not many will vote for him. Even at 40-1 odds, a bet for Miller is throwing your money away. He’s just not gonna win.

College Football Championship Picks

Having handled Georgia Tech last weekend, Georgia now looks to upset Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

It’s championship weekend in College Football and CasinoReview has the inside track on who’s likely to take home titles and bolster their BCS hopes along the way.


Pac-12 Championship Game: #16 UCLA @ #8 Stanford

With the two teams battling it out for the Pac-12 championship meeting just one week earlier, it would be easy to dismiss the game as uninteresting and missable. Been there done that. But the Bruins’ trip to The Farm Friday night is anything but.

UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) has played tough for much of the season and will play tough this weekend despite losing to Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) last weekend.

Odds: Stanford is a 10-point favorite at home. Only Florida State has a larger advantage in any championship game this weekend. The over/under is 52.

Take: Stanford – While this game shouldn’t be written off just because the sides faced off last weekend, it’s hard to see the result being any different. The Cardinal has taken four straight from the Bruins, by an average of nearly 22 points. Take Stanford to cover the spread with the total going under.


SEC Championship Game: #2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia

If you listen to most, Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) has one more hurdle to leap before heading to Miami to take on Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game. That has to have Georgia (11-1, 7-1 SEC) seething.

The Bulldogs are not traveling to Atlanta merely to make up the numbers. The side believes it has a real opportunity of knocking off the Crimson Tide and securing its first SEC championship since 2005.

Alabama was victorious the last time these two sides met (2008) but that win snapped a three-game Bulldogs winning streak.

Odds: Alabama is favored (-8) over Georgia, with the over/under at 51.

Take: Alabama – This might not be the cake walk some think it will be but Nick Saban will have his team ready to play in its first SEC title game in three years. The Tide will roll on, covering the spread. Take the total to go over.


Big Ten Championship Game: #12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) fulfilled bookies’ predictions by winning the depleted Leaders Division in the Big Ten and advancing to the championship game. The Badgers’ path to Indianapolis could be considered less than successful though, what with both Ohio State and Penn State finishing ahead of the Badgers.

Nebraska (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) meanwhile put forward a strong showing, holding off Michigan in the Legends Division, rewarding punters that took 3/1 preseason odds.

Odds: Nebraska is a 2½-point favorite, with the over/under at 48.

Take: Nebraska –The Cornhuskers bettered Wisconsin in September and will do so again, spoiling the Badgers’ hope of two straight titles. Take the Cornhuskers to cover the spread with the total going under.


Quick Picks…

MAC Championship Game: Both #12 Northern Illinois (11-1, 8-0 MAC) and #17 Kent State (11-1, 8-0 MAC) made some late season BCS noise before heading off to Detroit. The winner of this will truly be the best in the conference, going undefeated in conference play. Take Northern Illinois, winners of five straight and 16 of 19 all-time against Kent State.

CUSA Championship Game: Not the most glamorous of conferences, the CUSA will culminate with a close contest between Central Florida (9-3, 7-1 CUSA) and Tulsa (9-3, 7-1 CUSA), two sides that have played good conference football this season. Take Tulsa, winners of three straight against UCF, with home field advantage.

ACC Championship Game: In what may well be the least interesting of all six championship games, take #13 Florida State (10-2, 7-1 ACC) to defeat Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-36 ACC) who didn’t make this game on merit.

TNF: Saints vs. Falcons

After suffering a devastating loss last week to the 49ers, the Saints season will likely be on the line tonight as they take on the division leading and NFC Conference leading Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have responded well after losing their first game of the season a couple of weeks back and look poised to clinch the NFC South this week. All they need is a win over New Orleans and a loss from the Buccaneers, who will have a tough game against one of the hottest teams in the league, Denver. Can the Saints win and stay alive? Or will the Falcons assert themselves as the dominant team in the NFC? We will find out tonight.

Of course, the Falcons only loss of the season did come to the Saints, who actually have defeated Atlanta in the last four meetings between the teams. However, that loss was in New Orleans. This time, the Falcons will be at home, where they are 5-0 this season. The Falcons are confident that game was a fluke.

It should be another intense match-up on Thursday night between these division rivals

“It’s not like they came out here and won a game,” said Atlanta receiver Roddy White via ESPN.com. He caught seven passes for 114 yards in that contest. “I think we kind of gave it to them.”

The Saints, who have gotten the better of Atlanta lately, know what’s at stake, as they are currently not in playoff position.

“The margin for error is very slight right now. We’ve kind of used up our nine lives,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “So we’ve got to really bear down here and just understand what’s at stake every time we step on the field.”

New Orleans has one of the worst defenses in the league, but managed to hold the Falcons to under 50 rushing yards in the Saints win a few weeks ago. But where the Falcons can really hurt New Orleans is through the air. Atlanta has the 2nd ranked passing attack in the league and the Saints have the third worst pass defense.

The Saints may have been able to hold the Falcons in check at home, but it will be much more difficult on the road and since Atlanta still has a playoff berth to play for along with home field advantage in the postseason, expect the Falcons to play hard, as they look to avenge their one loss this season. I like Atlanta to cover -4 points at home tonight, putting New Orleans even more on the ropes than they already are.


Wednesday NBA Quick Picks

The Knicks take on the Bucks in one of the biggest games of the day

The 11-game slate today in the Association is the biggest one this week, so if you want to get on the ball and jump on some NBA action, today is the day. Here are the quick picks for today’s contests.

Portland Trail Blazers 6-8 at Washington Wizards 0-12

The Blazers should beat up on the Wizards today and since Portland only has a three-point edge, this is a pretty easy pick. Go with Portland to get the win and cover -3 to keep the Wizards winless.

San Antonio Spurs 12-3 at Orlando Magic 5-8

The Spurs continue, as always, to play solid team basketball and strung together another nice winning steak. Look for that to continue, but also for Orlando to keep things close, as they play much better at home (4-3 this season). Take Orlando to cover +7.5 today.

Brooklyn Nets 9-4 at Boston Celtics 8-6

The Nets have come out of the gate strong in the East, but the Celtics are appear like they are starting to put something together. Their top-tier defense is returning to form and I expect they’ll play well at home. I like Boston to cover -3.5 in a win.

Charlotte Bobcats 7-6 at Atlanta Hawks 8-4

The Bobcats have impressed many with their fast start, as they have already matched their win total from a year ago, but the Hawks are currently flying under the radar. Atlanta’s won five in a row and considering their history of success against Charlotte, they’ll likely make it six. However, I think the Cats have enough to cover +9 points even on the road.

Phoenix Suns 7-8 at Detroit Pistons 4-11

The Pistons are looking to post back-to-back wins for the first time all year and they’ll have a good chance to do it tonight against a Suns defense that is allowing more than 100 points per game. Considering that Detroit is much better at home, I like the Pistons to win this one by covering -3 points.

Dallas Mavericks 7-8 at Chicago Bulls 6-7

Both teams are struggling without their respective All-Stars, but I like Dallas to cover +6.5 on the road. Chicago has really played uninspired at home and O.J. Mayo’s scoring should give Dallas a lift.

New York Knicks 9-4 at Milwaukee Bucks 7-5

Besides the Nets-Celtics clash, this might be the game of the day, pitting two winning East teams up against one another. The Knicks have been one of the big stories early in the season and with all their talent, we know they can score the ball, but the fact is Milwaukee has the best shooting team in the league (48% FGs) and is second in bench scoring with 42.1 points per game coming from reserves. I like the underrated Bucks to cover +2.5 and win outright at home against the Knicks.

Toronto Raptors 3-12 at Memphis Grizzlies 10-2

Memphis should easily have its way with a Toronto team that is allowing more than 100 points a game, but to cover 10 points is always a tall order. That’s why I like the Raptors to cover +10.5 in the loss today.

Utah Jazz 8-7 at New Orleans Hornets 4-9

Utah has been two different teams at home and on the road this season with a 6-0 record on their home floor and a 2-7 away. Unfortunately for them, today the Jazz are away and against a Hornets squad, who although has struggled, also possesses plenty of young scoring talent. I like the Hornets to win this one outright and cover +3.

Houston Rockets 7-7 at Oklahoma City Thunder 11-4

It’s been an up-and-down ride for Houston so far this year, as the new-look Rockets are still getting acquainted. OKC should get the job done at home, but I don’t see the Thunder covering 10 points against a capable Rockets squad. Take Houston to cover +10 in a close loss.

Minnesota Timberwolves 6-7 at Los Angeles Clippers 8-6

The Clippers have lost four of their last five and although they are at home today, they will be dealing with a healing T-Wolves squad that has Kevin Love back in action. Surprisingly, the Clipps are still nine-point favs, but that’s why I like the Wolves here. Take Minnesota to cover +9 on the road.

College Football Championship Games on Tap

UCLA and Stanford meet for the second time in two weeks, this time to decide the Pac-12 champion.

Last Saturday marked the final action of the season for some schools, while others prepare for one last game before Bowl Season kicks off. For twelve teams though, the chance to win a conference championship and make an impression on the BCS rankings still remains.

This weekend, six conferences will crown a champion (new or otherwise), including the SEC, from which many believe #1 Notre Dame’s opponent in the BCS National Championship Game will emerge. CasinoReview takes you on a quick tour of those all-important championship games.



MAC Championship Game Ford Field, Detroit, MI (7 PM ET)

#21 Northern Illinois vs. #17 Kent State

Championship weekend gets underway with the battle for the MAC title in a game that features two sides unbeaten in conference play. Northern Illinois (11-1, 8-0 MAC) wrapped up the West Division ahead of last weekend’s 49-7 drubbing of Eastern Michigan while Kent State (11-1, 8-0 MAC) edged out Bowling Green in the East Division.

Odds: Northern Illinois is favored (-6½). The over/under is 60.


PAC-12 Championship Game (8 PM ET)

#16 UCLA @ #8 Stanford

A 35-17 Stanford (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) win over the Bruins last weekend ensured that the Cardinal would host this rematch just six days later. It also confirmed that the much touted #5 Oregon would not head to the championship game, a result of Stanford’s victory over the Ducks. UCLA (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12) fended off USC to get to the championship, despite three divisional losses. The Rose Bowl awaits the winner.

Odds: Stanford is favorites (-10) with the over/under at 52.



Conference USA Championship Game (12 PM ET)

UCF @ Tulsa

The CUSA Championship Game sees two teams with identical records square off in the first of Saturday’s four title deciders. UCF (9-3, 7-1 CUSA) outlasted East Carolina in the East Division, advancing to the CUSA Championship Game by way of a win over the Pirates. Meanwhile, Tulsa (9-3, 7-1 CUSA) topped the West Division, securing home field advantage by way of a 23-21 win over Central Florida on Nov. 17. The Knights will hope to avenge that defeat with a win on Saturday.

Odds: Tulsa is a narrow favorite (-1) at home. The over/under is 69.


SEC Championship Game Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA (4 PM ET)

#2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia

Arguably the biggest game of the weekend, and perhaps the season so far, Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) faces Georgia (11-1, 7-1 SEC) in Atlanta. Both sides arrive at the Georgia Dome with identical records but few expect any result other than an Alabama win. Frontrunners in the polls for much of the season, the Crimson Tide will be looking to forget that loss to Texas A&M and book a place in the BCS Championship Game. Georgia will be looking to defy the naysayers, upsetting the Tide on the way to an unexpected championship. This really is for (nearly) all the marbles.

Odds: Alabama is favored (-8) with the over/under at 51.


ACC Championship Game Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC (8 PM ET)

#13 Florida State vs. Georgia Tech

In a battle between two high-quality sides, Florida State (10-2, 7-1 ACC) edged out Clemson in order to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game. It was a different story in the Coastal Division whose representative, Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-3 ACC), finished behind both North Carolina and Miami (FL), both ineligible for postseason play. Miami’s decision to self-impose ineligibility opened the door for the Yellow Jackets. Both sides arrive in Charlotte on the back of rivalry losses in Week 13.

Odds: The Seminoles head to North Carolina as favorites (-13). The over/under is 61.


Big Ten Championship Game Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (8 PM ET)

#12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

As with the ACC, postseason ineligibility has played a significant role in the Big Ten this season. Unbeaten Ohio State and a four-loss Penn State both finished the season above Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) in the Leaders Division, but it is the Badgers that will head to Indiana on Saturday. NCAA sanctions prevented both the Buckeyes – who would surely have played for the national championship – and the Nittany Lions from playing beyond Week 13. The Badgers will face a

Nebraska (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) side that bounced back from some early troubles to take the Legends Division ahead of Michigan.

Odds: Following a 30-27 victory over the Badgers on Sept. 29, Nebraska is favorite (-2½) with the over/under at 48.

Tuesday Night NBA Tips

Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves will look to upset the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

We love Tuesday nights around here. It’s one of only two nights of the week that is solely about the round ball. Well, at least while the NHL officials and players continue to shuffle their feet.

Tuesday sees a relatively compact schedule of games around the Association, but don’t let that put you off; there are some real doozies to get behind.


Dallas Mavericks @ Philadelphia 76ers

Any elation the Mavericks might have had about knocking off New York on Wednesday was clipped by a weak performance against the Lakers. The purple and gold side ran out 115-89 winners on Saturday.

Dallas (7-7, 2-4 road) now heads to Philadelphia (8-6, 5-4 home) to take on a 76ers side looking to find some consistency. In the wake of news that Andrew Bynum will be out even longer, Doug Collins’ side took a victory last time out, beating the Suns 104-101 in the City of Brotherly Love. That win snapped a two-game skid.

The game marks the first of eight road games in 10 for a Mavericks side that has struggled on the road so far this year, and is beginning to look desperate for the return of Dirk Nowitzki.

Odds: The hometown Sixers have a slight edge (-2) in this one. The over/under is 195½.

Take: Philadelphia – The Sixers are 4-1 against the Western Conference this season, with wins over Denver, New Orleans, Utah and Phoenix. Only the powerhouse Thunder team has been successful against the Sixers. Take the total to go under; the Sixers struggle to score 100 against the west.


Minnesota Timberwolves @ Sacramento Kings

In dire need of a win, Minnesota (5-7, 2-4 road) travels to Sacramento (4-9, 4-4 home) in a bid to win Kevin Love his first game since returning from injury. The Timberwolves are also looking to snap a six-game losing streak.

Sacramento may be a Pacific Division bottom feeder but the Kings have looked sharp of late, taking two of three, including a win over the Lakers last Wednesday. Tyreke Evans and Co. will look to make it three from four against the Wolves. Sacramento has won six of the last seven against the Wolves in Northern California, a trend the side will look to ride on Tuesday night.

Odds: The spread opened even in this one but most bookies have the Kings as one-point favorites. The over/under is 197.

Take: Minnesota – The Wolves have a real shot at an upset here, and while you’re not likely to make a bundle off of one win, you’ll make a little more from taking the underdog here. Take the total to go under.


Indiana Pacers @ Los Angeles Lakers

The basketball god must really want the Lakers (7-7, 6-3 home) break out of this early season slump; the Southern California side takes to its home court for the 10th time in 15 games, Tuesday night. Of course, for every prolonged home stint, the team faces a devilish road trip.

Tonight the Lakers host Indiana (6-8, 2-6 road), a side reeling in the wake of Danny Granger’s long-term injury. That being said, the Pacers managed to patch together three wins from four before dropping Friday’s game in San Antonio. A victory over the Lakers would move Frank Vogel’s side one step closer to .500, and one step closer to turning things around.

The Lakers bounced back from a two-game losing skid with a definitive victory over Dallas on Saturday. Despite an ailing record, the purple and gold side has been fairly solid at home, dropping just one of the last six at Staples Center.

Odds: The Lakers are the heaviest favored side in the league tonight with the spread opening at 7½-points. The over/under is 195½.

Take: Los Angeles – Despite niggling injuries, the Lakers’ home record suggests that they have enough to get past Indiana, but don’t be surprised if the Pacers cover the spread. Take the total to go over.


Tuesday’s Full Schedule (Favorites highlighted)

Phoenix Suns @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks @ Philadelphia 76ers

Toronto Raptor @ Houston Rockets

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Sacramento Kings

Indiana Pacers @ Los Angeles Lakers

NFL Week 12 Recap

The strong got stronger and the weak got weaker for the most part during week 12 in the NFL, but no team has clinched a playoff berth just yet. The Falcons survived against the pesky Buccaneers 24-23 to increased their NFC South lead to four games over Tampa with a 10-1 record, while the Saints failed to keep pace, losing to the NFC West leading 49ers. The Niners also tightened their grip on their own division as Seattle lost to Miami 24-21. The Giants also stayed two games ahead of the closest competitor in the NFC East by winning against Green Bay. Then over in the AFC, Denver, New England, Houston and Baltimore continued to win, improving their prospects as playoff bids. That’s the overview, but here’s what else went down and what we have to look forward to the rest of the way.

Patriots Stomp Jets on Thanksgiving 

I mentioned just a bit ago that the Pats won this week, but in actuality, it was a bit more severe than that. The Patriots absolutely embarrassed the now 4-7 Jets, raising questions about Rex Ryan’s future as head coach and Mark Sanchez as staring quarterback. Yes, the beatdown was that bad. The Patriots scored three touchdowns in the span of less than two minutes in the second quarter and Sanchez even fumbled after running into his own man. Oh yeah, and that fumble was returned for a score as well.

We already knew (or at least I already knew) that the Jets were overrated, but now we are seeing a Patriots team that could compete for another Super Bowl. At 8-3, they basically have the East in the bag, as they are three games up on next best, Miami. Look for New England to be an AFC favorite come playoff time.

The Saints’ Comeback Hopes May Have Been Dashed by San Fran

Brees' and New Orleans' playoff bid may be out of reach now

After starting 0-4, you just had that feeling that the Saints were going to make their presence felt in this year’s playoff chance and undoubtedly they have. But those dreams of a magical comeback may have been crushed by the West leading Niners, who continue to dominate opponents with one of the league’s best defenses and a top ranked running game.

The loss puts the Saints at 5-6, only one game out of the second wild card spot, but the fact that they are behind three other teams and tied with several others makes it so that they have to be perfect the rest of the way to have a shot. Are they capable of it? Sure. But it certainly doesn’t look good for New Orleans now.

Giants Get Back on Track Against the Pack

New York is back in business

After enjoying a five-game winning streak, the Packers looked poised to take control of the NFC North, but not so fast. In came the Giants, who as usual, hadn’t figured out how good they wanted to be until this week. New York turned in its best offense performance of the season, lighting up Green Bay’s defense for 38, solidifying their place in this year’s postseason conversation. With a two game lead in the East, it looks like the NFC with have to contend with the defending champions after all. Come playoff time, the Giants are as dangerous as any team, so don’t count them out.

Monday NBA Games

It’s Monday and you know what that means. You’re enjoying your football wins from the weekend and looking for more great betting opportunities. Well, you are in luck because the NBA’s got a nice eight game slate for us today that should provide us with some money-making chances, as well as some fun games to watch. Here is the rundown and as always, guaranteed winning point spread picks.

San Antonio Spurs 11-3 at Washington Wizards 0-11

This one should be pretty easy. The Spurs are arguably the best team in the league and the Wizards are by far the worst. The Wizards haven’t beaten the Spurs since 2005. The spread is only 5.5 points favoring the Spurs. Those are the facts, so I shouldn’t have to say more. Take San Antonio to cover -5.5 here.

Both of these squads are off to surprisingly strong starts

New York Knicks 9-3 at Brooklyn Nets 8-4

After waiting three weeks because of the Hurricane Sandy postponement, these in-city rivals will finally get to square off at the new Barclays Center. The Knicks have been flawless at home, but not so much on the road, going 4-3, while Brooklyn is enjoying its new digs at the Barclays and is 4-1. With these two fairly evenly matched, that home floor advantage should be enough for the Nets. I like them to cover +1 in the win today.

Portland Trail Blazers 6-7 at Detroit Pistons 3-11

Normally I would like the hot outside shooting Blazers to take down the Pistons at home, but without the help from one of its leaders, Detroit should have the edge. LaMarcus Aldridge will likely miss today’s game with an injury, so take the Pistons today to cover -1 at home.

Milwaukee Bucks 6-5 at Chicago Bulls 6-6

With Brandon Jennings uncertain for Milwaukee and considering they’ve been dominated by the Bulls in recent years, things don’t look too good for them on the road today. Take Chicago to cover -4.5.

Cleveland Cavaliers 3-10 at Memphis Grizzlies 9-2

It’s almost a certainty that Memphis will win today at home against the Cavs, but to cover 12 points seems like a stretch. That’s a large spread for any team to cover against any team, so I’m taking Cleveland on the road to cover +12 in the loss.

Charlotte Bobcats 7-5 at Oklahoma City Thunder 10-4

The Bobcats are off to their best start in franchise history and with both defenses giving up nearly 100 points per game, this could be a close one. That’s why it’s somewhat surprising that OKC has a 11.5 point edge. Charlotte should easily cover that even in a loss today. Take the Cats on that +11.5 line.

Denver Nuggets 8-6 at Utah Jazz 7-7

The Nuggets are definitely hot, as they are winners of four in a row, but they will be pitted against a Utah squad that hasn’t dropped a home game (6-0) this season. I like the Jazz here to cover -3.5 in the win.

Which team will end their drought?

New Orleans Hornets 3-9 at Los Angeles Clippers 8-5

Both teams enter tonight’s contest on losing streaks. The Clipps are currently on a three-game skid, while the Hornets are suffering through a seven-game losing slump. However, the Clippers still look like the team to beat in LA right now, with the Lakers still trying to find an identity and you could say the same for the Hornets. But once again, the spread is just too large to take in favor of LA at 12.5. Go Hornets on this one.


Carolina Visits Philadelphia for Monday Night Football

Both Michael Vick and Andy Reid could be on borrowed time in Philadelphia, where the Eagles play Carolina on Monday Night Football.

Prepare for a bumpy ride as the lowly Philadelphia Eagles host the even-lowlier Carolina Panthers on this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.

No doubt when the NFL’s top brass and network execs got together to schedule this season’s fixtures, nobody expected Philadelphia and Carolina to be quite as bad as they have been. And if they did, they probably worked for NBC, who last night broadcast the much more alluring Packers-Giants matchup.

For fans of Monday Night Football, it’s the second week in three that the ‘hallowed’ game has featured bottom-dwellers. The big difference between this game and Week 10’s Steelers-Chiefs game is that this one features two bottom-dwellers.

Alas, it’s only fair that all teams get their shot under the bright lights.

Battle at the Wrong End

After being heralded as a Super Bowl contender ahead of the season, Philadelphia (3-7, 2-3 home) began scored some scrappy victories, taking three from four to start this campaign. Ever since, the Eagles have struggled and are losers of six straight games, a record in the Andy Reid era.

Carolina (2-8, 1-3 road) also entered the season with high expectations, but losses in six of the first seven meant this season became an uphill battle before it even began.

This weekend’s battle will see Philadelphia take to the field without running back LeSean McCoy, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Washington. Quarterback Michael Vick will also miss a second straight game after suffering a concussion against Dallas is Week 7.

Rookie Nick Foles will spell Vick again this week. Foles, after fans clambered for him, was a less than stellar 21/46 in his full debut last week against Washington, throwing for 204 yards and two interceptions. Foles’ solitary touchdown pass this season came against Dallas.

Looking for an Edge

The Eagles lead the all-time head-to-head series 5-2, and have won four of the last five, including three straight. Carolina has just one win in Philadelphia, a 14-3 victory in January 2004 that sent the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII. Needless to say, neither team is headed for the Big Game this season.

Carolina opened as 2½-point favorites, thanks in no small part to Philadelphia’s six-game losing skid. Bettors are likely to avoid putting cash on the Eagles even at such a small margin; Philadelphia has compiled a 1-8-1 ATS record, the worst in the entire league. Carolina hasn’t fared much better, but 4-6-0 ATS is better. Philadelphia has lost its last four games by an average of 17 points.

The over/under is 41. The total has split evenly in Carolina games this season, going over five times and under five times. Only three Eagles games have gone over. Bettors should be wary of taking the over as these two sides both struggle to put points on the board, a category in which Carolina ranks 27th and Philadelphia ranks 31st (only Kansas City has been more futile offensively).

The safest bet therefore appears to be Carolina, but that’s hardly a safe bet.

And Now For a Bit of Fun…

If the thought of this ‘barnburner’ depresses you, here are a quick couple of props, direct from Bovada, to make you smile:

Carolina is 6/1 to be awarded the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The Panthers merely need to fall below Kansas City and Jacksonville and that dream can become a reality.

He’ll be happy pontificating on the game for ESPN from the broadcast booth, but Jon Gruden is actually 3/1 to be the head coach of one of these two sides at the start of next season. He’d probably do better to wait out the Dallas vacancy.