August 2009


Football picksAugust 20, 2009

College Football Picks 2009: Wunderdog’s Preseason Top 25

Below I count down my 2009 predictions for the Top 25! Be sure to get my college football picks and my free college football picks via our newsletter.

25. BYU

The Cougars have one thing that will put them on the list of top 25 status, and that is Heisman hopeful Max Hall. Hall threw for 35 TDs a year ago, but with the departure of Austin Collie and Michael Reed, they may not come quite as easy this season. Harvey Unga keeps the defenses honest, as the bruising back has topped the 1,000 yard mark in each of the last two seasons. Jan Jorgensen anchors the defense as he is the Mountain West career sacks leader with 24, and the unit is solid across  the front seven. The weak link for this team will be in the secondary, where they have just one returnee. The schedule is loaded, as they must face Oklahoma and Florida State, but they do get both Utah and TCU at home. They will be in contention for the MWC title.
 

24.  TEXAS TECH

Texas Tech will take some big hits as Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree have departed. Harrell threw for over 5,000 yards the last two years, and Crabtree had 93 receptions and 18 TDs. Taylor Potts will take over at QB, and if nothing else has been learned about the Mike Leach system, you can bet he is going to have some big numbers. The defense will be solid up front, but the secondary is depleted, and that will be a problem as the conference is loaded with star-studded QBs. The Red Raiders won’t match their run at the BCS Title game a year ago, but there is enough talent around to crack the top 25.

23. UTAH

Coming off of last year’s win in the Sugar Bowl will be a tough act to follow. The Utes replace their QB Brian Johnson, have a new punter and place kicker, and various components of a tough defense. The biggest shoes to fill will be Johnson, and the likely candidates are junior Corbin Louks, or redshirt freshman DeVonte Christopher. The good news is that they have an outstanding offensive line, so if either steps up, they should be well protected. The defense will be the team’s strength, and be able to keep them in games. The bad news for the Utes, is their three toughest games all come on the road, at Oregon, BYU and TCU.
 
College Football Picks 2009: Wunderdog’s Preseason Top 25

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Baseball picks & Basketball picks & Football picks & Sports picksAugust 13, 2009

Forget to “Just Say No”? Well, here’s an Excuse.

Failed a drug test? Got the commish breathin’ down your neck? Never fear – I got you covered!

French tennis star Richard Gasquet convinced an international tribunal that his positive drug test for cocaine was because of “making out with a mystery woman,” in a nightclub. The tribunal agreed and lifted his two-year ban, only two months in.

This got me thinking, if one sports star can use an unbelievably lame, pull-it-outta-my-ass excuse to get out of a lengthy suspension, why it couldn’t work for high-profile athletes in other sports?

So as you are walking the Green Mile to the commish’s office to talk about why the sample you turned in tested hot for more drugs than opening night at a Phish show, here are some pre-made excuses, broken down by illegal substance.

DRUG: Ecstasy
EXCUSE: ”No, sir.”
“The guy with the glow sticks said the ‘E’ was for “EX-tra Innings!”

DRUG: Methamphetamine
EXCUSE: “No, no, Mr. Selig.”
“What the detective said was that I was caught FOR speeding.”

DRUG: HGH
EXCUSE: “I was just preparing for life after ball, commish.”
“You see, I have been contracted by Nutrisystem, and I really wanted to make my ‘before’ picture look legit.”

Forget to “Just Say No”? Well, here’s an Excuse.

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Football picksAugust 7, 2009

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC North

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:

1. GREEN BAY
2. CHICAGO
3. MINNESOTA
4. DETROIT

COACHING CHANGES:
DETROIT: JIM SCHWARTZ

GREEN BAY
LAST SEASON: 6-10
DIRECTION: UP

The Packers’ defense really had problems at times a year ago, while the offense transitioned nicely with Rodgers at QB. The defense is looking for a healthier year, and hopes that two early defensive draft picks shore up a defense that allowed 130 yards per game on the ground. If the Packers patch the defensive holes, they are a contender.

BETTING THE PACKERS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
The Packers eat a lot of chalk. They 0-12 ATS as an 11-point favorite or more.

BETTING THE PACKERS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
No Monday Night hangover for the Pack, as they are 21-10 ATS after playing on Monday Night. The Packers have been road warriors, turning in an impressive 16-8 ATS mark on the road over the last three years.

CHICAGO BEARS
LAST SEASON: 9-7
DIRECTION: STABLE/UP

The Bears finally have a bonafide QB in Jay Cutler. The excitement is such, that 6,000 fans showed up his first day on the field. The Bears offense finished 26th in the league a year ago, and that stands to change this season. If Cutler gets comfortable, the Bears could become a dangerous team.

BETTING THE BEARS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
The Bears have struggled on Monday Nights when they are in the role of a favorite as they are just 1-8 ATS.

BETTING THE BEARS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
Taking to the road in December isn’t so kind to the Bears at 7-25 ATS last 32 games. The Bears are a perfect 5-0 ATS when they are posted as a double-digit dog. NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC North

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Football picksAugust 7, 2009

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC South

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. NEW ORLEANS
2. CAROLINA
3. ATLANTA
4. TAMPA BAY

COACHING CHANGES
TAMPA BAY: RAHEEM MORRIS

NEW ORLEANS
LAST YEAR: 8-8
DIRECTION: UP

The Saints have been up and down, and last year they fell to just 8-8. It all comes down to two questions for the Saints. Will all the defensive players they brought in stem the tide, and will the new defensive schemes under new defensive coordinator Greg Williams make a difference? Probably some, but still a borderline playoff team.

PLAYING THE SAINTS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Still the Aints at home? Just 23-38 ATS last 61 home games.

CAROLINA
LAST YEAR: 12-4
DIRECTION: DOWN

Jake Delhomme completed less than 60% of his passes a year ago. Is he on the downside of his NFL career? The QB position is so vital in the NFL, and if Delhomme truly is beginning to diminish and fade, where will that leave the Panthers? He had just 15 TD passes and 12 INT’s a year ago. If those numbers decline again, the Panthers will fall significantly.

BETTING THE PANTHERS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Not-so healthy 13-22 ATS as home chalk of more than a FG. The Panthers are just 1-6 ATS after allowing less than a TD.

BETTING THE PANTHERS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
The Panthers are 7-0 ATS after a poor defensive game – allowing 35 points or more.

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC South

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Football picksAugust 7, 2009

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC EAST

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. PHILADELPHIA
2. NEW YORK
3. DALLAS
4. WASHINGTON

PHILADELPHIA
LAST SEASON: 9-6-1
DIRECTION: UP

The biggest concern going into this season was Brian Westbrook who had two large bone fragments removed from his ankle in June. But all reports indicate he is ready to go. Sean McCoy was drafted to take some of the heat off Westbrook, and if he gives them yards in the backfield, the Eagles instantly get better. The biggest key to the Eagles will be Westbrook’s health, and finding someone to compliment him. If not McCoy, Lorenzo Booker remains the only viable option.

BETTING THE EAGLES – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
Home sweet home? Not after two straight on the road, as the Eagles are just 1-7 ATS at home after two on the road.

BETTING THE EAGLES – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
NFC rulers of the roost, at 56-35 ATS vs. NFC opponents last eight years. Giant letdown? Hardy… The Eagles are 11-1 ATS after playing the Giants. The Eagles also 5-0 ATS after playing Washington.

NEW YORK GIANTS
LAST SEASON: 12-4
DIRECTION: DOWN

The Giants appear to be in a battle with the Eagles for supremecy in the East. They have excellent depth and their strength is found within an offensive line with all five together for a third straight season. Depth at linebacker and safety will be the key as it is an area they could become vulnerable with a key injury or two.

BETTING THE GIANTS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
The Giants are just 1-5 ATS in their last six as a dog on Monday Night Football.

BETTING THE GIANTS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
Kingsize rewards backing the Giants on the road, at 21-6 ATS last 27 games. The Giants have been road warriors, turning in a 22-7 ATS the last three seasons. They are also 5-0 ATS before playing the Eagles (no look ahead here!).

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC EAST

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Football picksAugust 7, 2009

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC WEST

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH:
1. SEATTLE
2. ARIZONA
3. SAN FRANCISCO
4. ST. LOUIS

COACHING CHANGES:
SEATTLE: JIM MORA JR.
SAN FRANCISCO: MIKE SINGLETARY
ST. LOUIS:  STEVE SPAGNUOLO

SEATTLE
LAST YEAR: 4-12
DIRECTION: UP

The Seahawks were perhaps the most disappointing team in the NFL last season at 4-12. They will give the ball to Julius Jones this year which should help. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will give them a major weapon at WR, and if all the components on offense stay healthy, the Seahawks will be much improved. Defensive changes should shore up the middle and up front, and this looks like a much-improved team.

BETTING THE SEAHAWKS – WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
They are 1-6 ATS on the road after playing St. Louis.

BETTING THE SEAHAWKS – WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
Out of the blocks, and off to the races, Seahawks 12-3 ATS at home in September. The Seahawks are also 5-0 ATS with a new head coach before playing Arizona.

ARIZONA
LAST YEAR: 9-7
DIRECTION: DOWN

The Arizona Cardinals made a quantum leap last year all the way to the Superbowl. That is a tough act to follow. With a defense that isn’t Superbowl caliber and a QB that could show decline at anytime, the Cards may struggle in 2009. But, the good news is, at least in their division, there is no one that stands very tall.

BETTING THE CARDS’ WHEN THEY ARE BAD:
The Cardinals have not been too kind to backers on MNF as they are 0-4 ATS as a favorite on Monday Night Football.

BETTING THE CARDS’ WHEN THEY ARE GOOD:
Cashing in for the Holidays the Cards are 15-5 ATS in December home games this decade. Excellent offense rebounds big after being held to 10 points or less in their previous game. They follow by going 5-0 ATS.

NFL Picks Previews 2009: NFC WEST

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