NFL Game of the Month!


September 2012

Football picksSeptember 28, 2012

The Cowboys are back in the spotlight for a big game. They are the Monday night ticket against a Chicago team that needs to pick up its level of play. The Cowboys looked great in week one before struggling in week two at Seattle. Last week, they stepped it up, getting a big win. The Bears, on the other hand, have looked either great or terrible. Jay Cutler has been a big part of the problem, especially in the lone loss at Green Bay. With Matt Forte questionable for this game, the Bears will have a hard time producing against a decent Dallas defense.

When you think about this matchup, you have to consider which version of the Bears you believe in. The Bears have looked up and down on offense. Sometimes they can run with Michael Bush and Khalil Bell. Other times they get stuffed, even with Matt Forte in the lineup. Sometimes they are able to shut people down with their defense. On other occasions, they can’t seem to stop anyone. Will Brandon Marshall show up? Will Jay Cutler have his head? These are the questions that a person must ask himself before making a bet on the Bears.

The Cowboys have some weapons on the outside. This should give them an opportunity to exploit a Chicago secondary that has looked a little bit suspect. Even though Dez Bryant has yet to make a huge impact on any game, the Dallas passing game has looked good with Romo at the helm. If the Cowboys can continue to move the ball in this way, they will have success scoring at home. If they can’t get it going, the tough Bears front seven will take over the game.

The Cowboys are just more than a field goal favorite in this game. That is a significant number and the public has noticed. They are backing Chicago at a steady clip. If you believe that the Bears are for real this season, you have to like this matchup. If you think the Bears will struggle without Forte, you are going to have a hard time backing them on the road. It really depends upon how you view this team – a team that can be very difficult to figure out.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Football picksSeptember 27, 2012

West Virginia finally kicks of its Big 12 season on Saturday, taking on a good Baylor team in Morgantown. This is a game with a lot of storylines and a significant amount of intrigue. West Virginia might just be the best team in this league in its first season there. With quarterback Geno Smith leading the way and a host of good skilled players, West Virginia will have no trouble whatsoever scoring points. Last week, they took down Maryland in a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close. Now, they get a Baylor team that almost lost its game last Friday.

What do we make of Baylor in the year after Robert Griffin? What you should know is that they have lost more than just the QB. Baylor also lost its best running back and its best receiver. It lost a lot of skill on defense, too. These things can take their toll and they appear to have made life a little bit more difficult on Baylor. Last week, the Bears nearly lose on the road at Louisiana Monroe. They had to come from behind and hold on at the very end. If they come up with that kind of performance again, the Bears will struggle on the road.

This game presents some interesting challenges for Baylor. They have to make a long trip to West Virginia. The Mountaineers play in a tough stadium in the middle of nowhere. To be sure, this will be a foreign atmosphere for most of the Baylor guys. This game is also at altitude, so that should help West Virginia. Another challenge comes on the field. Baylor just could not tackle in its game against Monroe. They struggled to bring down running backs and wide receivers alike. If that continues, you can bet that West Virginia will have a lot of success through the air and on the ground.

West Virginia has not truly been tested up to this point. A big question remains about whether they will be tested in this game. West Virginia comes into this game as an overwhelming favorite – almost two touchdowns at many shops – and should have an easy time. If Baylor and its quarterback Nick Florence can take care of the football, they might have a chance to put some points on the board. Getting into a shootout with a good West Virginia offense might not be the best course of action, though.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat ”



Football picksSeptember 27, 2012

The Texas Longhorns have looked very good in the early part of 2012. After a disappointing season in 2011, the Horns have started out this year with convincing home wins against bad opponents. The Horns then went into Oxford and took down Ole Miss at night. Though the Rebels are certainly not an SEC powerhouse – and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is no Death Valley – that game was impressive in its own right. The Longhorns ran the ball well, threw the ball well, and lit up the scoreboard with a significant amount of authority.

Oklahoma State has struggled a little bit in the early going. After running up a huge number of points against Savannah State, the Pokes took to the road to play a difficult game against a good Arizona team. The Wildcats destroyed them in Tucson, leaving some major question marks about this Cowboy team. Can they score like they did last year? Can they play any defense this season? Will they get consistent quarterback play? These are all questions that must be answered going forward by Oklahoma State if they are going to have a chance to compete in the Big 12.

Last year, this matchup was pretty close. Texas managed to keep it competitive in front of the home fans. They just couldn’t make enough plays to close the gap. The big problem a season ago was the inability to stop the run. Texas let Oklahoma State run up and down the field for a number of long touchdowns. Texas has improved some against the run, so they should have more success in that department this year. One thing is different about this game, though. Texas heads to Stillwater, where Oklahoma State does not make a habit of losing.

The Cowboys demolished nearly everywhere in Stillwater a season ago. They even crushed a decent Oklahoma team there in the final game of the year. Texas has looked good against rough competition, but they have not truly been tested. That will all change this week. The difficult environment and high-flying Oklahoma State attack will prove troublesome for the Horns. Even in its blowout win against Ole Miss, Texas had trouble stopping the big play. If they don’t get that little problem corrected this week, they will walk away from Oklahoma State with another loss in this matchup. If they can fix this issue and keep up the strong running game, Texas might be real this year.

Posted by Wunderdog Trusty sidekick ” Wundercat


Baseball picksSeptember 26, 2012

September Baseball and Spot Starters

Today we look at September spot starters. Often late in the season there are doubleheaders piling up, and teams use spot starters to fill-in the rotation. We also see teams that have clinched their division set their rotation, so a pitcher may not pitch in normal rotation, but maybe after five or more days of rest.

So let’s take a look at these impact on their performance as a home favorite. Over 50% of all MLB regular season games have a closing posted total of 8, 8.5, or 9. Out of the 18,344 games played in the last nine years, over half were in this total range of 8 to 9. We will focus us in this area and you will see why.

We want to examine a home favorite that is starting a pitcher out of rotation on five, six, or seven day’s rest. In other words, out of the standard four days of rest the road team. Fading all of these teams (at all totals) in September has netted a record of 138-161 to an average line of +139 for a hefty 8.8% return on investment when playing on the road dog with a starter on normal four days rest.

Now remember the so called “average” game, with totals of 8, 8.5, or 9? If we focus on the “normal” here, and only play against home favorites with spot starters in these games, we find gold.

Play against a home favorite with a starting pitcher on five, six, or seven days of rest if the total is 8, 8.5 or 9 (road starter on normal four days rest): 72-74 (avg. line of +136) for +17.6% ROI.

This system has basically identified a 50/50 proposition with 1.36-1 odds. Not a bad way to wind down your baseball regular season.


The Kansas City Royals are 9-0 in Guthrie’s last nine starts.


A note about systems: Systems presented in Morning Coffee are intended as one input to bolster your handicapping. Please remember that plays derived from any of these systems are not my official picks. I dont necessarily recommend playing any system picks blindly and I may in fact go on the opposite side of some of these once all factors are considered and games are fully handicapped.


Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Football picksSeptember 20, 2012

The Houston Texans were a hot commodity heading into the season. Many people saw the Texans as a possible AFC champ and things haven’t really changed. They got a couple of layups to begin the season, taking on Miami at home at Jacksonville on the road. Like good teams tend to do, the Texans took care of business in dominant fashion. Things start to get a little bit hairy for the Texans in week three. They get to face off against a familiar foe. Peyton Manning and his Broncos host Houston in a game that will tell us an awful lot about both teams.

The Texans come into this game with a lot of things clicking. Last week, Ben Tate ran the ball well, scoring a couple of touchdowns. Arian Foster was his normally solid self, piling up yardage on the ground and with his hands. Matt Schaub has been unspectacular, but he remains a very good QB on a very good team. More importantly, the defense has looked great in the first two weeks. They are forcing turnovers at an impressive clip. So what can we expect to see out of Houston in week three?

The Broncos looked good in week one, taking down Pittsburgh behind a nice debut from Peyton Manning. They teed off against the Falcons in week two, falling in a Monday night clash. Peyton struggled to some extent in that game, and the Broncos were exposed a little bit. They are going to have some trouble keeping the Houston defensive line out of the backfield. This is going to be an especially tough spot given the short turnaround after the Monday night game. The Broncos will benefit significantly from home field advantage, as Mile High remains probably the most difficult venue in the NFL.

The Texans come into this game as a very short favorite. They are favored by less than a field goal – a sign that bettors are willing to back the Texans even on the road. If they are to win in Denver, they will need to get more out of the passing game. Houston has shown a willingness and ability to run the ball well. They have to get things going with Schaub and Johnson if they are going to get after a good Denver defense. Peyton Manning will look to get on track in week three, but he will find it very difficult against what might be the NFL’s best defense.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Football picksSeptember 20, 2012

The New England Patriots have struggled mightily in the first two weeks. They nearly lost in week one before finally dropping a home game in week two. The Cardinals went into Foxboro and dropped the Patriots on their head. So is this a new trend? Are the Patriots going down the drain? Or are they simply taking a little while to get warmed up? That is the big question that the Pats will have to answer over the next few weeks. Going to Baltimore to face the Ravens is no easy task.

The Patriots have a central problem heading into this game. That problem showed up against the Giants in the Superbowl. It also showed up in the later part of the last regular season. They simply cannot protect Tom Brady. The New England quarterback can pick apart any defense when he has the time. When his feet are moving a little bit, he struggles to hit his receivers. This is a difficult thing to fix, as it might show that the New England offensive line is in trouble.

The Patriots also have an age problem. Wes Welker is getting old and has been a non-factor in the early going. Brady is slower in the pocket. Most parts of the offense are not as sharp as they have been in the past. Is this something that is going to get better with time? Many will say that the Patriots are going to run into even more trouble as they go along. Now, they are asked to go into Baltimore and face off against a team that nearly beat them in the playoffs one year ago.

The Baltimore club drubbed the Bengals in week one. They had a quick turnaround going on the road to Philadelphia, where they nearly won in a tough spot. There is no doubt that Baltimore has both the offense and the defense to get the job done. The big question has rests with Joe Flacco. If he can consistently exploit the New England defense, then the Ravens might cover the short spread in this game. The Ravens will also need to put pressure on Tom Brady. If they can get him moving his feet like the Cardinals were able to, the Ravens will have a much better chance of getting to 2-1.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


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