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Free NFL Pick

#460 Minnesota Vikings -10 over Denver Broncos 12:00 PM CT

After surviving a dramatic finish for a prime time road win the Vikings could be at risk this week facing a rested Broncos team. Outside of the Thursday loss to the Chiefs, every Denver loss has been a competitive game and Brandon Allen’s debut was a success. Minnesota’s run defense figures to put more pressure on him this week and Mike Zimmer’s home record will be difficult to test even with lesser results priced this high. The Broncos have allowed fewer than 19 points per game this season as it won’t take a huge performance from the offense to hang within this number but ultimately Allen isn’t worth the risk vs. this defense. The Broncos have merit as a popular underdog at 10 or fewer points, Minnesota is the lean.

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Eliminator Final 3

The 2019 Eliminator Contest is down to the FINAL 3 contestants!

Will Weekly Wizard claim his record 4th title with a back-to-back title run? Can long-time Nelly’s featured handicapper Bobby Dalton deliver the championship? Will Rocketman claim his first title? Don’t miss this week’s picks!

Each handicapper submits two selections each week, a single 1-point play and a double 2-point play. Each contestant is awarded points for losses and eliminated at 10 points.

The 2019 ELIMINATOR CONTEST IS UNDERWAY WITH WEEK 10 SELECTIONS FOR GAMES NOV. 16-18

CLICK HERE for the Week 10 Contest Single Plays

The Double Plays can be purchased for just $9 each week, or for $50 for the duration of the contest

DOWN TO THE FINAL 3 CONTESTANTS!

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NFL Close Calls Wk10

NFL Close Calls – Week 10

11/12/2019

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 10 of the NFL regular season including the epic Monday night affair in San Francisco.  

Oakland Raiders (+1) 26, Los Angeles Chargers 24 (49): The Raiders led 20-17 through three quarters after the Chargers settled for a 27-yard field goal late in the third quarter. The next Los Angeles drive started with a sack but eventually finished in the end zone while taking more than eight minutes off the clock. Down four, Oakland would need a touchdown and Derek Carr led the offense down the field without facing a 3rd down until 3rd-and-1 from the 18-yard-line with just over a minute remaining. Josh Jacobs would break through and go the distance to put Oakland up by two and incredibly Daniel Carlson missed the PAT to leave the Chargers a chance to win with a field goal. That touchdown also put the total just ‘over’ hovering from 47½ to 49 during the week. The Chargers could only pick up five yards before Philip Rivers wound up intercepted with 20 seconds to go on 4th-and-10, his third pick of the day for a 3-0 turnover edge for the Raiders in a two-point win.

Tennessee Titans (+5) 35, Kansas City Chiefs 32 (48½): Patrick Mahomes likely returning was already baked into this spread opening at -3 but Kansas City climbed all the way to -6 in Nashville with the confirmation of last season’s MVP returning. Mahomes did not disappoint with huge numbers and a 63-yard touchdown put the Chiefs up by nine in the fourth quarter. Tennessee answered with a five-minute drive to get within two and then held the Chiefs to a field goal, with Kansas City incredibly leading by five on a closing line of five despite that being a rather uncommon football margin. The Titans had to go for it on 4th-and-17 from their own 32 and failed but the Chiefs weren’t able to close out the game, taking a sack on 3rd-and-short. A bad snap botched a field goal attempt to keep the margin at five and gave the Titans great field goal position with still more than a minute to go. Ryan Tannehill delivered the go-ahead score for the Titans in just four plays and the two-point conversion put the Titans up three. Handed only 23 seconds Mahomes got the Chiefs 28 yards but a 52-yard kick to force overtime was then blocked by Joshua Kalu, with either perfect or uncalled early timing depending on your perspective.

Cleveland Browns (-3) 19, Buffalo Bills 16 (42): Cleveland led 9-7 at halftime after being unable to punch in several attempts near the goal line to prevent a larger lead, though Buffalo also missed a 34-yard field goal before the break. A safety tied the game in the third quarter but Cleveland got a field goal to lead by three on a spread of -3, though -2½ was available early in the week. A holding call for the Bills cost them a first down late in the third quarter and Buffalo went for it on 4th-and-4 and came up short on the final play of the third quarter. The Bills got a solid punt return a few minutes later to land near midfield and was able to get in the end zone after some close calls with a recovered fumble and then a touchdown brought back on review. Down four the Browns gave up a defensive touchdown but on a review Baker Mayfield’s fumble was overturned to an incomplete shovel pass. Shortly after the two-minute warning Cleveland connected for the go-ahead score to leave the margin at three. Buffalo got in position to force overtime but Stephen Hauschka missed left from 53 yards for a costly Bills defeat and a push for most on the spread.

New York Jets (+3) 34, New York Giants 27 (43): There were big scoring swings in this contest with a 14-0 lead for the Jets but the Giants scoring twice before the break. The Jets got a defensive score in the third quarter but the Giants put back-to-back touchdowns together and led 27-24 heading into the fourth, right even with the closing spread with a big move on this game from the Jets opening as a slight favorite. The Jets closed the game on a 13-0 run as a productive overall day from Daniel Jones and the Giants offense finished with four punts and a fumble for 25 net yards on its final five possessions combined.

Green Bay Packers (-4½) 24, Carolina Panthers 16 (49): The Panthers scored first in this game but the Packers took over in the second half to lead 24-10 heading into the third quarter with two scores around an interception in the end zone from Kyle Allen. The Panthers scored with about 12 minutes to go and went for two unsuccessfully to trail by eight. The defense did its part forcing two Green Bay punts and Allen led an 18-play drive going 88 yards in the final three minutes. The Panthers needed 89 however as after getting new life after a defensive penalty on 4th down, the Panthers wound up with an incomplete pass and then one final chance. Christian McCaffrey went up the middle and may have crossed the plane narrowly but amidst bodies and a snow covered field, the clear video evidence of the ball crossing the chalk wasn’t there as the Green Bay escaped and Panthers backers were left a few points short.

Chicago Bears (-6½) 20, Detroit Lions 13 (38): Matthew Stafford was ruled out Sunday morning as this line shot from as low as -2½ up to -7 before settling at -6½ with Jeff Driskel starting. It was 7-6 at halftime but Mitchell Trubisky led two scoring drives in the third quarter for a 14-point edge. The Lions were productive with a big yardage edge and scored with six minutes to go on a big play to climb within seven. The Lions failed on 4th-and-11 near midfield ahead of the two-minute warning but the Bears only could run off 32 seconds. Down at their own 10, the Lions were able to make Bears and ‘under’ backers quite nervous reaching the Chicago 25 in the final seconds but the defense held up.

Pittsburgh Steelers (+4) 17, Los Angeles Rams 12 (43½): The Rams had two interceptions to start the second half but held defensively both times. A field goal put Los Angeles within four and Aaron Donald added a safety early in the fourth quarter, sitting down two to leave the Rams with a path to cover the road favorite number with a touchdown. The Steelers converted a 4th-and-1 from their own 34 in a huge play in this outcome and then recovered their own fumble on the very next play for another close call. Eventually the Steelers were able to add a 33-yard field goal to lead by five with fewer than three minutes remaining to seal the underdog cover in most scenarios. The Rams had two late possessions but the first ended with a 4th down incomplete pass while Jared Goff had another interception on the final drive. The most impactful play of the game ultimately came just before halftime with Jared Goff ruled to have fumbled and Pittsburgh returning it 43 yards for a touchdown when an incomplete pass has often been called on similar throwing motions.

Minnesota Vikings (+3) 28, Dallas Cowboys 24 (48): A 14-0 first quarter lead for the Vikings was erased in the second quarter but Minnesota added field goals on both sides of halftime. Amari Cooper got a touchdown midway through the third to put Dallas up one but the Vikings answered with eight, going for it on 4th-and-goal and also hitting the two-point conversion. Dallas was not as aggressive in its answer kicking a field goal with 10 minutes remaining to trail by four. In the final minute of the game Dallas would again face 4th-and-5 and could not find the end zone. Minnesota didn’t do enough to run much clock off and Dallas had the ball back near midfield. A few quick gains made for a reasonable Hail Mary try that was ultimately intercepted.

Seattle Seahawks (+6½) 27, San Francisco 49ers 24 (47): Week 10 saved the best for last with a thrilling showcase game in the NFC West Monday night. The undefeated 49ers looked the part as the league’s top team with a 10-0 first quarter lead. The game turned late in the second quarter with a defensive touchdown for Seattle to climb within three despite the offense struggling. Seattle held to get the ball back before halftime in great field position and DK Metclalf nearly took the Seahawks into the end zone with a long run after contact but he was incredibly stripped of the ball for a San Francisco touchback. Seattle also fumbled on its first drive out of the break but San Francisco stalled on the edge of field goal range and fell incomplete on 4th-and-2. Back-to-back turnovers led to two quick Seattle touchdowns but the momentum shifted back quickly as the 49ers had their own defensive score to make it 21-18 early in the fourth. San Francisco tied the game with a field goal at about the six-minute mark before matching field goals sent the game to overtime, with San Francisco’s late tying field goal securing the ‘over’ as well. The Seahawks hit a huge play on 3rd-and-16 and were in field goal range going first on overtime but Russell Wilson threw his second interception of the season. San Francisco looked poised to win but fill-in kicker Chase McLaughlin missed badly from 47, the same distance he hit from to force overtime. Punts followed as a tie looked possible but Wilson had a big scramble and hit a few short gains to allow Jason Myers to deliver from 42 yards as time expired for the upset.

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Eliminator Final 5

Each handicapper submits two selections each week, a single 1-point play and a double 2-point play. Each contestant is awarded points for losses and eliminated at 10 points.

The 2019 ELIMINATOR CONTEST IS UNDERWAY WITH WEEK 9 SELECTIONS FOR GAMES NOV. 9-11

CLICK HERE for the Week 9 Contest Single Plays

The Double Plays can be purchased for just $9 each week, or for $50 for the duration of the contest

DOWN TO THE FINAL 5 CONTESTANTS!

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Free NFL Pick

#454 Buffalo Bills -10 over Washington Redskins 12:00 PM CT

In an opportunity to affirm itself as a playoff team the Bills failed miserably hosting the Eagles last week. The schedule remains very favorable as a double-digit win season still looks likely in Buffalo with this week’s game another great opportunity. Washington is off an extended week and the defense has played respectably the past two weeks holding San Francisco and Minnesota to only 28 combined points. Washington is adequate against the run and the Bills seem likely to be kicking field goals often as well. Turning to Dwayne Haskins to start could be a problem as Case Keenum avoided big mistakes against elite defenses to keep Washington in those games and Haskins hasn’t proven that capability. Against Buffalo’s quality defense a big play the other direction seems more than likely. Buffalo isn’t accustomed to this type of pricing but the number is sure to climb even further by kickoff.

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

Western Kentucky +1 over Florida Atlantic 3 PM CT

The Owls had 576 yards and pulled away in the second half at home in this matchup last season, sending the Hilltoppers to 1-9 in a challenging 2018 season. FAU dominated Old Dominion last week 41-3 for now five wins in the past six games to sit on the edge of bowl eligibility after missing out last season. FAU has scored at least 28 points in six straight games but now will face a Western Kentucky defense that may be the best in the conference. The Hilltoppers have held five opponents to 14 or fewer points this season while allowing only 70 points combined in five conference games. Western Kentucky lost by three at Marshall last week as the Herd made a 53-yard field goal as time expired after the Hilltoppers tied the game in the fourth quarter. That loss opens the door for Marshall and FAU in the division race but the oddsmakers are showing a lot of respect for the home team with Tyson Helton posting one of the more impressive first-year coaching performances in the nation so far. With the line dropping from -3 all the way to +1 with action on the more popular and well known Owls behind Lane Kiffin, the time is right to jump in on the Hilltoppers at home.

Nelly’s went 3-1 last Saturday including sweeping our 2* and 3* picks – get a 2/3 offer Saturday for $25 or play our full weekend package for HALF PRICE this week for only $30!

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NFL Week 8 Close Calls

NFL Close Calls – Week 8

10/28/2019

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 8 of the NFL regular season. Most of this week’s games apply as if you won in Week 8 on sides, congratulations, almost every game could have gone the other way with many of those games certainly deserving of an opposite spread result.

Minnesota Vikings (-17) 19, Washington Redskins 9 (41½): There were eight scoring plays Thursday night but seven were field goals as Minnesota posted more than twice as many yards but couldn’t pull away. Washington trailed by just seven late in the third quarter and got the ball back with a stop on 4th-and-1 just outside of Minnesota field goal range. Two plays later Dwayne Haskins was intercepted to set-up a Dan Bailey field goal early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota up by 10. A late touchdown would be enough for most Vikings backers on a spread that opened at -14½ and only hit -17 very late in the day before kickoff. The Vikings had the opportunity and attempted to score despite Washington being out of timeouts late but ultimately wound up stopped on 4th-and-4 from the Washington 7-yard-line in the final minute.

Detroit Lions (-6) 31, New York Giants 26 (49): The Lions had a 14-0 lead early but Detroit has made a habit of blowing leads this season. Sure enough the Giants scored the next two touchdowns but missed a PAT to trail by one. The Lions would stretch the edge to four by halftime and led by five through three quarters after an exchange of touchdowns in the third with the Giants failing going for two. Detroit hit a big play early in the fourth quarter to lead by 12 before New York was stopped on downs on back-to-back possessions. Detroit would go backwards on both late possessions however and getting the ball back just ahead of the two-minute warning, the Giants were a backdoor threat. A 25-yard pass interference call put New York in business and with 1:19 remaining the Giants found the end zone. Down six New York matched the closing number and opted to kick the important PAT to lose by just five.

Tennessee Titans (-2) 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 (45½): The Buccaneers have appealing numbers but the consistent turnovers stand out and they came to bite in this contest with Tampa Bay posting a 389-246 yardage edge in a narrow loss. The Titans led by two at halftime after the Buccaneers went for two after a score right before the break and came up short. The Buccaneers would get eight on an early third quarter score however to lead by six. Tennessee added a late third quarter field goal to trail by three but forced a punt with Tampa Bay unwilling to go for it on 4th-and-1 in its own territory. The Titans then nearly doubled their offensive production for the game with a 12-play 90-yard drive to deliver the go-ahead score, slipping past the slight favorite spread with 6:55 to go as well. Tampa Bay had three more possessions that ended in a fumble, failing on 4th-and-1 in Tennessee territory, and finally a deep pass from Jameis Winston intercepted at the Tennessee 25-yard-line.

Los Angeles Chargers (+3) 17, Chicago Bears 16 (41): The Bears commanded this game in the numbers but settled for three first half field goals while the Chargers got a touchdown. The scoring mode flipped in the third quarter as the Bears were able to find the end zone and led 16-10 as a slight home favorite after a Chargers field goal late in the third quarter. Mitch Trubisky fumbled in Chicago territory on the next possession and the Chargers were able to go 26 yards for a touchdown in three plays to lead by one. Chicago had a productive drive to reach the Los Angeles 37-yard-line but Trubisky took a 3rd down sack and the Bears had to punt. The defense got the stop to give the Bears another chance and rather than taking a few shots to get a touchdown or get closer, the Bears took a knee in the final minute and watched Eddy Pinero miss left from 41 yards.

Seattle Seahawks (-7) 27, Atlanta Falcons 20 (48½): The closing line says seven but that wasn’t an overly common price on this game. Seattle opened at -3 and held at -3½ early in the week before number jumped with Matt Ryan ruled out. -8 was typical over the weekend as results wound up varying on this game. Multiple outcomes didn’t seem possible as Seattle led 24-0 at halftime but Matt Schaub would prove to be a productive backup getting the Falcons 11 points in the third quarter. A Seattle field goal with about six minutes left in the game made the lead 16 and seemed safe but Atlanta went the distance in fewer than three minutes and suddenly was within 10, failing on a two-point conversion that mattered for many. In many ways that might have been a worse outcome for Seattle backers as with a two-score lead the Seahawks could still relax and they punted back while taking just 27 seconds off the clock. Schaub and the Falcons managed the clock well and kicked a second down field goal without using a timeout to trail by seven while still leaving more than a minute on the clock, giving many late-week Falcons backers a win. The on-side kick went out of bounds however to end any further threat as Seattle held on and the total that fell throughout the week stayed just ‘under’.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) 29, New York Jets 15 (40): Jacksonville dominated this game in most ways and led 22-7 after a late third quarter field goal. An early fourth quarter touchdown with a successful two-point conversion suddenly put the Jets down just seven however to land even with the common weekend number though early in the week Jacksonville opened at -4½ and was -6 to -6½ for long stretches. The Jaguars gained 30 yards on the next possession but had to punt. Hopes for a New York comeback were short-lived however with a penalty, a negative rushing play, and an interception on three snaps for the Jets. On a short field Jacksonville found the end zone on 3rd-and-goal to go up by 14. Sam Darnold was intercepted across midfield on the next possession for the Jets while another late series ended on downs.

Los Angeles Rams (-12) 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10 (48½): In London the Rams got more they bargained for with the winless Bengals with a 10-10 tie late in the second quarter before a trick play gave Los Angeles a 65-yard touchdown. Out of halftime the Rams added another touchdown to slip past the heavy favorite spread. The Bengals appeared ready to answer reaching the edge for field goal range before going backwards and needing to punt on 4th-and-long. Cincinnati held the Rams to four straight punts the rest of the game but two late drives deep into Los Angeles territory came up empty with a field goal not being worth considering given the time and score. The Bengals couldn’t convert from the 6-yard-line with about five minutes remaining and on a late drive appeared to get the underdog cover with a touchdown with eight seconds to go. On review the play was overturned and the Bengals came up incomplete on its last shot from inside the 10. Winning by 14 with only 24 points Rams backers escaped with a very fortunate cover in a game where the Bengals had more than 400 total yards but just 10 points.

New Orleans Saints (-12½) 31, Arizona Cardinals 9 (48): Arizona trailed New Orleans just 10-6 at halftime but opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 form its own 30 early in the third quarter. The aggressive play was commendable as Kliff Kingsbury is breaking the mold but the move backfired with the Saints adding a short-field touchdown to go up 17-6 a few plays later. Arizona would add a field goal and through three quarters both teams had three scores but Arizona had only field goals. Still down one score Arizona couldn’t get a big third down stop early in the fourth quarter and the Saints went up by 15. About halfway through the final frame the Cardinals reached the New Orleans 27-yard-line but a field goal did no good at that point and 3rd-and-2 and 4th-and-2 attempts to extend the series were stopped. A deflated Cardinals defense gave up back-to-back big plays as the Saints put the game away with another touchdown with five minutes to go.

Houston Texans (-5½) 27, Oakland Raiders 24 (52): The total wound up with mixed results on this game landing right on 51 where the number sat for big chunks of the week. Oakland led this game 21-13 as a Houston win didn’t seem in play but the Texans scored in the first few seconds of the fourth quarter and just went for one to trail 21-20. The Raiders managed a field goal to go up by four before a wild sequence with Deshaun Watson delivering a go-ahead touchdown pass but appearing to be seriously injured. Up three the Houston defense forced an Oakland punt and was a serious threat to steal the cover but Oakland exhausted its timeouts and Houston with Watson still in the game, was ultimately able to take a knee well across midfield after the two-minute warning without needing to try to advance further or consider a late field goal.

New England Patriots (-10) 27, Cleveland Browns 13 (43): Double-digit spreads in the NFL are rarely out of play as while the Patriots were in complete control after 17-0 first quarter, a Browns cover lurked as a real possibility. Down 27-10 Cleveland went for it on 4th-and-16 deep in its own territory and went further backwards. Dealt a 14-yard field the Patriots went backwards as well and missed on a 34-yard field goal with about four minutes remaining. A touchdown would have trimmed the margin to 10 but the Browns came up just short of a 1st down on a late series in New England territory and after a false start pushed it to 4th-and-6 they opted to kick a field goal to trail by 13. The Browns would get the ball back with about a minute to go and picked up a big gain with a pass interference call but a sack followed. With no timeouts left and the clock would run out a few plays later with the game staying just ‘under’ as well.

Green Bay Packers (-5) 31, Kansas City Chiefs 24 (48): A quick 14-0 lead for the Packers was erased in the second quarter as the Chiefs got a good performance from Matt Moore and the defense created some pressure. The Sunday night game was tied 17-17 through three quarters and 24-24 with nine minutes to go. The Packers scored on a 67-yard short pass and run from Aaron Jones to lead by seven but more than eight minutes remained. The Chiefs reached the 40-yard-line and opted to punt on 4th-and-3 with more than five minutes remaining and three timeouts left, a decision it isn’t clear they would make with Patrick Mahomes. Green Bay was able to covert a pair of third downs and run out the remaining clock for the win and narrow cover.

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NFL Wk5 Close Calls

NFL Close Calls – Week 5

10/07/2019

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 5 of the NFL regular season.

Seattle Seahawks (-1½) 30, Los Angeles Rams 29 (48½): The Thursday night NFC West clash lived up to its billing with a back-and-forth contest. The Seahawks led by one at halftime, briefly opening as a slight underdog but listed commonly a slight favorite at -1½ most of the week. The Rams had two 75-yard touchdown drives in the third quarter surrounding a short-field Seattle score but Los Angeles missed on a two-point conversion attempt to lead by just five. Early in the fourth quarter field goals were exchanged before Russell Wilson led a lengthy drive for the Seahawks and found the end zone on 4th-and-goal with 2:28 to go. The two-point conversion try loomed large on the spread result but DK Metcalf was unable to haul it in, leaving Seattle up by just one. The Rams had plenty of time to get into field goal range but Seattle challenged an incomplete pass and it was ruled that it was narrowly a wild interception from Tedric Thompson, a deflected pass that was juggled several times but was kept off the turf. Seattle was not able to pick up a first down to finish off the game however and it appeared that the Rams would sneak away with the win, reaching field goal range only to have Greg Zuerlein miss from 44 yards.

Baltimore Ravens (-3) 26, Pittsburgh Steelers 23 (44): The Ravens jumped out to an early 10-point lead but Pittsburgh took advantage of two interceptions to add a six points before the break to trail by four, getting close to the home underdog spread that mostly fluctuated between +3 and +3½. Pittsburgh scored first after halftime after another Lamar Jackson interception but Baltimore quickly answered with a field goal to knot the game at 20-20. Mason Rudolph was injured in the third quarter as the Steelers were down to undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges at quarterback. He did enough to lead Pittsburgh to another field goal with 2:37 remaining but Baltimore answered as Justin Tucker was good from 48 to force overtime, a kick that also sealed the ‘over’. The Ravens were forced to punt starting the extra session and Pittsburgh appeared to be on the move but JuJu Smith-Schuster lost the ball after a solid gain, with Baltimore narrowly recovering the fumble in bounds, effectively already in field goal range. A conservative approach followed as the Ravens picked up only six yards and Tucker hit from 46 for the win, though for many on the Ravens it wasn’t quite enough.

Oakland Raiders (+7) 24, Chicago Bears 21 (40): After a scoreless opening quarter in London the Raiders delivered 17 points in the second quarter for a commanding underdog edge on a line that climbed back up dramatically by Sunday, opening at -6 before falling as low as -4½ and rising all the back to -6½ and -7 by kickoff. The Bears suddenly also climbed back into the game in the third quarter taking advantage of good field position to score three touchdowns, going in front 21-17. The Raiders were on the doorstep to go back in front but Chicago got a fumble recovery near the goal line and the Bears were able to work their way out of danger into Oakland territory. Points weren’t added however but then it was the Raiders who were then pinned deep. A running into the kicker penalty gave Oakland a retry on a punt that would have left the Bears near midfield. Now facing 4th-and-1, the fake punt was on and Eddie Harris picked up the first down but appeared to fumble. On review the Raiders kept the ball and Derek Carr would go on to complete the 97-yard scoring drive to put Oakland back in front. Chicago crossed midfield on a late possession, but Chase Daniel wound up intercepted as Oakland moved to 3-2.

Arizona Cardinals (+3) 26, Cincinnati Bengals 23 (46½): These winless squads kicked a lot of field goals early on as Arizona held a 13-9 lead through three quarters and the ‘under’ sat in good shape. The Cardinals added three more to lead by seven and seemed to put the game away with a 37-yard touchdown run with about seven minutes remaining for a 14-point lead. Andy Dalton led a 79-yard scoring drive around the four-minute mark to get the Bengals back within seven and the Cardinals weren’t able to gain a first down while only running off 27 seconds. Dalton hit Tajh Boyd for two big plays and suddenly Cincinnati was in the end zone. The Bengals opted to kick for the tie rather than go for the win with the touchdown right at the two-minute warning, a score that was also extremely relevant for those on a total that hovered in-between 46 and 47. There was too much time left for the Cardinals as Kyler Murray led his first NFL game-winning drive using his arm and his legs to set-up Zane Gonzalez for another field goal for the win.

Carolina Panthers (-3) 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 27 (41): The Panthers took a 28-17 lead early in the third quarter but the Jaguars would fight back adding a touchdown to trail by just four heading into the final frame on a spread that was commonly +3 or +3½. The Panthers weren’t able to put the game away despite two chances to add points, missing a field goal and then getting stopped on 4th-and-1 at the 5-yard-line. Jacksonville settled for a field goal to trail by one with about six minutes remaining but the Panthers seemed to close the door with a 59-yard touchdown run. Incredibly the extra-point went right however as the margin stayed at seven. Jacksonville fumbled near midfield ahead of the two-minute warning but still wound up getting another shot, eventually reaching the Carolina 24-yard-line before running out of time.

Buffalo Bills (+3½) 14, Tennessee Titans 7 (39): Tied 7-7 through three the Bills turned in a 77-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter surrounded by the third and fourth missed field goals of the day from Titans kicker Cairo Santos. The Titans would get a late possession but punted with about four minutes to go and didn’t get another chance as the Bills escaped with a win in a matchup that could loom large late in the season in the AFC wild card picture.

Denver Broncos (+4½) 20, Los Angeles Chargers 13 (46): A 14-0 first quarter lead offered great promise for the underdog Broncos and that edge was pushed to 17-0 with a field goal following up a missed field goal from the Chargers. Los Angeles also fumbled for a touchback on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard-line in the final play before halftime. Most of the third quarter went by harmlessly but winless teams often find ways to give their opponents a shot. Joe Flacco wound up intercepted at his own 7-yard-line to seemingly put the Chargers right back in the game but Philip Rivers returned the favor with another red zone turnover. Denver’s defense wouldn’t get a shot to prevent the next score however with Desmond King returning a punt 68 yards for a Chargers touchdown near the end of the third quarter. Joe Flacco took a costly 3rd down sack on the next Broncos drive to push the field goal attempt back and Brandon McManus would miss. A few plays later the Chargers added three to wind up within one score. The Broncos were eventually able to hit a field goal late in the fourth to finally put the game away for win #1.

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4Q Covers Week 6

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 6

10/06/2019

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the sixth big weekend of the college football season to open the month of October. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Temple (-12) 27, East Carolina 17: The Owls pulled away in the second half going up 27-10 with a field goal early in the fourth quarter. The defense got a stop after East Carolina moved past midfield but Temple had to punt back to East Carolina shortly after a delay due to the lights going out with just under four minutes remaining. It appeared that the game would effectively end with East Carolina stopped on 4th-and-2 but an offsides call gave the Pirates a new set of downs. A 37-yard gain put East Carolina into scoring range and a defensive holding penalty eventually gave the Pirates 1st-and-goal. With 29 seconds remaining Holton Ahlers hit C.J. Johnson for the spread-spoiling touchdown. Temple failed to recover the onside kick but appeared to score late on defense with time expired to miraculously save those on the favorite and the ‘over’, scooping up a desperate lateral attempt and returning it to the end zone. Officials would eventually controversially rule that the ECU player that made the lateral attempt already had his forward progress stopped as the points were not added.

Louisville (-4) 41, Boston College 39: Louisville was in control most of this game and pushed the lead to nine points early in the fourth quarter. A big run put BC within two early in the fourth however and the Eagles got a big defensive stop to get the ball back midway through the fourth quarter still in range. Boston College spent 13 plays to advance only 52 yards before kicking a go-ahead field goal with just over three minutes to go, leading by one as a slight underdog. Louisville reached a new set of downs from the BC 22-yard-line looking to strike for the win but with just over a minute remaining settled for the go-ahead field goal which was enough to hold the win but kept the Eagles winning against the number.

North Carolina (-9½) 38, Georgia Tech 22: North Carolina led 17-0 at halftime but just 17-7 through three quarters before an explosion of points in the final frame. Georgia Tech trimmed the margin to nine points with a critical two-point conversion success, but the underdog cover disappeared as the Tar Heels scored consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Texas (-10½) 42, West Virginia 31: The Mountaineers led early and trailed by just four through three quarters in this Big XII clash, eventually out-gaining Texas with 463 total yards but also with four turnovers. A pair of interceptions handed Texas a pair of touchdowns on short fields early in the fourth quarter as suddenly the Longhorns were up by 18. West Virginia scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes but Texas also added a third short-field score in the final frame to escape with an 11-point win that was enough for many that supported the road favorite for an undeserved win and cover.

Minnesota (-14) 40, Illinois 17: The Gophers had a 20-point edge but a fumble return touchdown put Illinois back in the game, down just 13 heading into the fourth quarter. Minnesota added an early fourth quarter touchdown to get back past the favorite number, eventually adding a late field goal after getting a pair of defensive stops to avenge an ugly loss vs. the Illini from last season.

Navy (+3) 34, Air Force 25: Navy led 21-9 heading into the fourth quarter for a comfortable edge for the underdog but things went sour in the final frame as Air Force scored 16 consecutive points to lead by four with just over three minutes remaining with a missed field goal and a fumble mixed in for the Midshipmen. Navy regrouped to put together an 11-play touchdown drive to go back in front with just 23 seconds remaining and then with Air Force in desperation mode, the Midshipmen picked up a fumble for a late touchdown as time expired to pad the final scoring margin.

Oklahoma (-32) 45, Kansas 20: Oklahoma allowed 360 yards and didn’t seem likely to cover in this contest with only a 14-point edge at halftime. For just over a minute of game clock the Sooners pushed the margin to 35 points in the fourth quarter but Kansas quickly answered and eventually added a second fourth quarter touchdown to stay within the number.

Memphis (-15) 52, UL-Monroe 33: Memphis pushed the lead to 19 points in the third quarter but UL-Monroe hit a few big plays for back-to-back scores and climbed within six late in the fourth. A 68-yard touchdown run from Memphis ended the upset threat and then an interception return touchdown for the Tigers put Memphis back in front of the road favorite price with about six minutes to go.

Pittsburgh (+3½) 33, Duke 30: In a turnover-filled contest Pittsburgh made the most of its early opportunities taking a 26-3 edge early in the third quarter with several short field scoring drives. On an underdog spread that dipped down to +4 or even +3½, Duke would prove to be a late threat scoring four consecutive touchdowns including a go-ahead score with 1:29 to go. Duke hit one two-point conversion and failed on two others as the lead was exactly four. It wound up not mattering as Kenny Pickett was able to lead a late scoring drive to deliver the win for the Panthers, scoring with 38 seconds remaining.

Liberty (-4) 20, New Mexico State 13: The Aggies managed to tie this game halfway through the fourth quarter but the opportunity for New Mexico State to breakthrough with a win proved short-lived as Liberty answered quickly going 75 yards in only four plays as the Flames escaped Las Cruces with a narrow win and cover.

Georgia (-24) 43, Tennessee 14: Georgia led only 29-14 through three quarters but completed a lengthy scoring drive to go up by 22 and then a few minutes later delivered a 60-yard fumble return for a defensive score to get past the heavy road favorite number. Tennessee looked likely to climb back to cover in the final minute reaching 1st-and-goal but wound up with four consecutive incomplete passes.

Ohio State (-20) 34, Michigan State 10: The Spartans scored 10 points in the final 2:24 of the first half to turn a seven-point edge into a 17-point lead. That margin remained through an empty third quarter that included a missed field goal for the Spartans out of the break. Eventually Michigan State’s underdog cover was erased as Ohio State cashed in with just over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to lead by 24. Michigan State caught a break with an Ohio State fumble later in the fourth to earn good field position, but Brian Lewerke was intercepted on the very next play.

Boise State (-24) 38, UNLV 13: The Broncos were in control with a 24-0 edge but late in the third quarter UNLV got on the board. Boise State would seal the game with a two-play drive going 70 yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining to lead by exactly 24 where the spread commonly landed. With just over a minute remaining UNLV appeared to spoil that result with a touchdown, though they missed the PAT. The on-side kick attempt went quite wrong as Boise State returned it 39 yards to the six-yard-line and the Broncos went ahead and rushed in for the score with just a minute to go to get in front of the number by a point.

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4Q Covers Week 5

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 5

09/29/2018

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the fifth big weekend of the college football season to close September. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Memphis (-11) 35, Navy 23: Navy wound up a with a pronounced production edge Thursday night against Memphis and the Midshipmen led 20-7 about halfway through the second quarter. Memphis returned the next kickoff 99 yards to get within six by halftime and in the third quarter the Tigers added 14 points including a 73-yard strike to put Memphis up 28-20. Navy added a field goal early in the fourth to boost the chances for the underdog but Memphis answered quickly to reach its greatest lead of the game up by 12. Navy had two late possessions but wasn’t much of a threat to add points.

Air Force (-19½) 41, San Jose State 24: San Jose State scored on its opening drive looking to back up last week’s win over Arkansas. The Spartans were also stopped on downs in Air Force territory on the next two possessions as they had an opportunity for an even better start. Air Force scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions but had a costly fumble in the red zone just before halftime to lead by only 11 on spread that climbed upward Friday evening. Air Force scored 13 points five minutes into the second half helped by what turned into an accidental wind-aided on-side kick recovery to take a commanding 34-10 edge. After both teams botched scoring opportunities late in the third quarter a lengthy Air Force drive ended in a touchdown to put the Falcons up by 31 about halfway through the fourth quarter. With backup quarterback Nick Nash in the game, the Spartans connected for a 30-yard touchdown pass with fewer than four minutes remaining. Air Force then wound up going for it on 4th-and-short from its own 22 with a 24-point lead and fell short. Handed great field position, Nash put the Spartans into the end zone inside of two minutes to steal the underdog cover.

Arizona State (+4½) 24, California 17: After losing quarterback Chase Garbers just before halftime California managed to take a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter taking advantage of great field position after Jayden Daniels fumbled on a sack. Leaning on the running game Arizona State responded with a lengthy drive to get in front 21-17 with about five minutes to go. Cal failed going for it on 4th down on its next possession but Arizona State only added three to keep the game in play. Devon Modster and the Bears were not able to put together much on a late chance to keep its perfect season going, ultimately winding up with only 245 yards for the game. 

Wisconsin (-23) 24, Northwestern 15: The heavy underdog Wildcats hung around vs. Wisconsin but a 68-yard interception return in the fourth quarter suddenly put Wisconsin up by 21 despite the game being just 7-3 late in the third quarter. Northwestern had a 3-and-out to hand the Badgers the ball back with a chance to get past the favorite spread but the punt wasn’t handled as the Wildcats managed to recover the muff and with good field position found the end zone to secure the underdog cover. Northwestern actually adding another touchdown later in the fourth and had a two-point conversion attempt to get back within seven that came up short. It was another cover for the Wildcats in the series, while actually out-gaining Wisconsin and featuring a 21-13 edge in 1st downs but with two Wisconsin defensive scores allowed.

Wake Forest (-4½) 27, Boston College 24: Wake Forest and Boston College were knotted at 17-17 at the break but Wake Forest added a late third quarter field goal and an early fourth quarter touchdown to lead by 10. In that stretch the Demon Deacons survived an interception with a 4th down stop on defense. Boston College climbed back in the game with a touchdown completed from running back David Bailey throwing to get within three and within the underdog spread with just over six minutes to go. Wake Forest used up significant clock on a 12-play drive but couldn’t run it all out as Boston College had a late chance, eventually reaching the midfield on the final play.

Western Michigan (-15½) 31, Central Michigan 15: The spread on this game dipped from as high as -17½ to just -15½ at some outlets by kickoff. With a 24-0 edge through three quarters it didn’t appear to matter but Central Michigan put up a fourth quarter fight with nine early points. A Western Michigan touchdown with about five minutes to go put the Broncos back past the number but the Chippewas quickly answered with a 34-yard strike to score. Down 16 Central Michigan went for two and came up empty in a critical play for those that waited to play the Saturday prices.

Toledo (+2½) 28, BYU 21: BYU broke a 14-14 tie with a touchdown on a short field following a muffed punt to lead by seven as a slight road favorite. Toledo would answer less than a minute into the fourth quarter to tie the game before the teams traded punts and then empty possessions with BYU stopped on downs and Toledo having a fumble at the BYU 20-yard-line. The momentum swung back quickly as BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted on 1st down with a return all the way down to the 2-yard-line. Toledo punched in the touchdown on the next play and the defense was able to hold off a drive to the Toledo 32 in the final seconds behind BYU back-up quarterback Jaren Hall after Wilson injured his hand on the decisive interception.

Vanderbilt (-7½) 24, Northern Illinois 18: The Commodores jumped out to a 14-0 lead only about six minutes into the game and that score held through halftime. Northern Illinois managed a field goal and a touchdown early in the second half but Vanderbilt seemed to put the game away with a 38-yard touchdown pass late in third quarter. Another score was on the way early in the fourth but in settling for a short field goal, Vanderbilt kept the door open for the underdog. Northern Illinois would score just two minutes later and down eight opted to go for two, successfully trimming the margin to six points in an unexpected play with huge ramifications relative to the spread that was commonly at 6½ before rising to 7½. The six-point margin held with neither side offering much of a scoring threat in the final 10 minutes.

Oklahoma (-27½) 55, Texas Tech 16: Oklahoma’s victory was never in doubt, but the heavy underdog Red Raiders rushed for nearly 200 yards and were in position to cover with the ball back down 32. A fumble near midfield sealed their fate with about nine minutes to go and the Red Raiders came up empty in two late drives that reached well into Oklahoma territory while Oklahoma added one more touchdown to win by 39.

Notre Dame (-10½) 35, Virginia 20: Virginia led 17-14 at halftime and had a significant production edge at that point. In the third quarter the Irish ran 11 plays and the only 1st down they picked up was via a penalty but they wound up with an 11-point lead thanks to three Virginia fumbles, one of which was returned to the two-yard-line and another was brought to the end zone for a defensive score. That margin was right in-between a spread that hit as high as +13 but dropped on game day down to as low as +10. Virginia had two interceptions in the fourth quarter looking to climb back in the game while Notre Dame broke a 30-yard run for a touchdown. Down 18 Virginia opted for a 27-yard field goal with six minutes to go that was of no help to the underdog supporters.

Washington (-12) 28, USC 14: Washington led by 10 at the half and by 14 through three quarters after Michael Pittman had a 44 touchdown to bring USC back in the game. Washington fumbled near midfield to hand USC an opportunity in the fourth quarter but an exchange of punts followed. USC looked likely to earn the underdog cover late reaching 1st-and-goal from the Washington 5-yard-line but the Trojans weren’t able to get in. On its final possession Matt Fink brought USC across midfield and pass interference converted a 4th-and-10 play. The next throw was intercepted however as the Huskies escaped still up 14 after a scoreless final frame.

UCF (-42½) 56, Connecticut 21: The Knights nearly eclipsed this massive spread by halftime with a 42-0 advantage and with nearly six minutes left in the third quarter it was 56-0. The Huskies would score late in the third quarter for the first time and then again in the fourth to get the margin back to 42 and within the hefty underdog number. On its next possession UCF fumbled at the UConn 21-yard-line and then with two minutes remaining the Knights went for it on 4th-and-9 rather than attempting a long field goal. A sack on that play gave the Huskies good field position and Steven Krajewski fired away, getting the Huskies into the end zone with 19 seconds to go to secure the underdog win.

Stanford (-3½) 31, Oregon State 28: Davis Mills led Stanford to an early 21-0 edge but Oregon State made a late charge getting to 21-14 early in the fourth quarter. Stanford would answer to lead by 14 with nine minutes remaining but the Beavers kept the momentum on offense with a six-play touchdown drive to get back within seven with seven minutes to go. Oregon State’s defense forced a 3-and-out and the Beavers went 77 yards to tie the game with fewer than two minutes remaining. It was however enough time for Mills and the Stanford offense thanks to a 43-yard kickoff return as the Cardinal gained 29 more yards and connected from 39 yards for the game-winning field goal, though for many, the Beavers still collected.

Appalachian State (-14½) 56, Coastal Carolina 37: After the big win over North Carolina, Appalachian State found itself in a back-and-forth game with a 21-21 tie late in the second quarter. The Mountaineers managed two touchdowns in the final two minutes before the break to suddenly lead by 14 however. Appalachian State scored first in the second half but by the start of the fourth quarter the 21-point edge had been shrunk to 12. An interception return touchdown put Appalachian State up by 19 and they added another touchdown on a short field with about four minutes remaining. A late Coastal Carolina touchdown wasn’t enough to get back within the number in a game that was much closer in the box score than the scoreboard suggests.

Liberty (-7½) 17, New Mexico 10: Liberty led 17-3 through three quarters and had a significant yardage edge. With a common number of -7 the line did hit -7½ by kickoff and late Flames backers had reason for worry. An interception bailed out Liberty following a missed field goal and the defense again got a big stop as New Mexico went for it on 4th-and-8 early in the fourth quarter. The Lobos would not be denied on their final possession however, converting a big third down with 53 seconds to go and then hitting the end zone with 43 seconds to go to climb within seven for the final margin.

UL-Monroe (-14½) 30, South Alabama 17: The Warhawks led by just seven heading into the fourth quarter but back-to-back touchdown drives pushed the margin to 20 points with about seven minutes to go. South Alabama would go 75 yards in the next four minutes however to get back within the number and UL-Monroe did not make a push to add points late.