Thursday night continues to offer great games and great opportunities to lay some money in an effort to win. The NFL offers two teams on different types of losing streaks while college football gives us games involving big time programs and big-time players.
New York Giants (+9) at Chicago – Both the Bears and the Giants enter this Thursday night game on losing streaks. The difference is that the Bears have lost two straight and sit at 3-2 while the G-Men are 0-5 and staring another loss in the face. I have long believed that sometimes coaches can run dry with their message. Tom Coughlin is an excellent football coach but I believe he happens to be one of those coaches.
The Giants have had injuries but there is really no excuse for the poor play on both sides of the ball. Eli Manning has become a turnover machine but I also feel some of those have been forced out of sheer desperation. Manning is desperate to get this team going and he forces things rather than play a little smarter.
In Chicago, the Bears are reeling a bit especially with injuries to their defensive line. Two weeks ago they went into Detroit and were steam-rolled by Reggie Bush in both the running and receiving game. This past Sunday they were just over-matched by a New Orleans’ offense that had too many weapons for their defense.
The Giants come to the Windy City at the perfect time. The Bears will look to get both their running and passing game back on track as well as get their defense back forcing turnovers. New York enters 0-5 against the spread in their last five on the road while the Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last five games at home against the Giants.
I like the Bears to win but because they give up about 28 points per game I think the Giants keep it within the nine point spread.
Rutgers (+18.5) at Louisville – It’s really hard to say anything negative about Louisville. They have dominated everyone they’ve played and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has played himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation. So what’s the problem? The schedule is the problem but not this week.
Rutgers enters at 4-1 and will most likely be the Cardinals’ stiffest competition for the entire 2013 season. The Scarlet Knights won an epic three-overtime game against SMU last week proving that they can score a lot of points. The defenses for both Rutgers and Louisville may be the issue in this game however.
Louisville gives up just six points per game while the Scarlet Knights surrender nearly 28. That could be the difference in this game. Playing at home, the Cards are 9-1 in their last ten straight up. Meanwhile Rutgers is 2-4 against the spread in their last six against Louisville. I think the defenses really are the difference in this one. Take the Cards to cover.
Arizona (+6) at USC – The Trojans enter the first phase of the post-Lane Kiffin era with a game at home against the Wildcats. Arizona comes to LA with a record of 3-1 and a ninth-ranked defense in the nation but that’s misleading. The Wildcats’ three wins are against UT-San Antonio, UNLV and Northern Arizona while they gave up 31 points in their loss to Washington.
The Trojans are 3-2 but 0-2 in the Pac-12 South. They have a passing game that ranks 102nd in the nation and they rank 88th in scoring. It was obviously more than that that sent Lane Kiffin packing. Interim Coach Ed Orgeron will change the culture at USC immediately. The problem is will it be positive or negative for the rest of the season?
The Trojans are 1-4 in their last five games against the spread when playing Arizona while the Wildcats are 2-3-1 in their last six games against the spread. I think the Trojans will respond well. Take USC to cover.