The initial launch of The Chalk Roundtable started off with a bang. The Steelers-Panthers play on Thursday Night nearly hit the over in the first half, as the Steelers jumped out to a huge 31-14 first-half lead en route to a 52-21 final. Underdog and outright winner Boise State came through late Friday night at home against Fresno State 24-17 on the arm of Brett Rypien and with the help of Alexander Mattison on the ground. 2-0…what more can you want, right?
LSU. That god damn LSU game. Admittedly, our total didn’t pan out as the line moved from our initial best of OVER 47, but that game wreaked havoc for LSU bettors. 13 point favorites and leading 24-17, Tigers RB Nick Brosette laid down at the 1-yard line with a minute to play, icing the game for Coach O’s Tigers and the win for Arkansas ticket holders. This was after previously foregoing two other possible struts into the end zone. This was eerily reminiscent to Todd Gurley against the Packers a couple weeks back.
The Colts pushed as they were 3-point favorites at home against Jacksonville. A gutsy call by Jeff, this one looked like a lock winner early on when Andrew Luck was leading Indianapolis to a 29-16 first-half lead. However, that would be it for Indy’s offense as a Leonard Fournette touchdown reception and Josh Lambo 55-yard field goal would be it for the scoring in the second half. Indy won 29-26 giving a frustrating push to those of us who got on the Colts.
I don’t have much to say about the Bengals called. I whiffed on it myself as I doubled down on our consensus pick. There is no team year-in and year-out who is frequently so underprepared in games. Marvin Lewis is not a good head coach. They have talent on both sides of the ball but have never been a real threat to win a Super Bowl. A few weeks ago I swore off betting on bad teams. And little did I know how bad Cincinnati really is. On the flip side, Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints are even better than I thought and showed in a 51-14 dismantling of the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
I have a hard time believing there is a better team in the league on a neutral site right now than the Saints. Michael Thomas is damn near unstoppable and the combo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram just wear front sevens out. Drew Brees still looks fantastic and the defense is more than capable of staying in any game. No one will want to go to the Superdome for a playoff game, I can assure you of that.
Anyway, as always we need to forge ahead. A 2-2-1 start isn’t ideal but the bankroll isn’t wiped out yet either.
America’s top holiday is closing in on us next week. Much like many other families, a tradition of mine has always included Thanksgiving being centered around football in conjunction with eating an obscene amount of food. Another tradition was always reserving a spot at the table for new additions and The Chalk Roundtable is no different. We’ve got a few more degenerates joining the party from last week with Nick and Patrick, whom you frequently see on The Loop Sports and hear in the TLS podcast world.
Last Week: 2-2-1
Joe’s Pick (@abes34; 0-1) – #16 Iowa State Cyclones (O/U 49) @ #15 Texas Longhorns (-3) (Sat. 11/17 – 7:00pm CST)
Sometimes you can’t avoid the hot team and that is the case here in Austin. Iowa State has won their last five games and in relatively impressive fashion. They are without RB David Montgomery for the first half (still may be the dumbest punishment in sports) for fighting in the win over Baylor Saturday. But the Cyclones are looking rather trendy to me. The Cyclones are 6-1 ATS in Big 12 Conference play and are 17-6 as an underdog the last three years.
On the flip side, the Longhorns are 3-9 as a three-point fave or lower in the last three years. Texas Coach Tom Herman has been dragged through the mud this week in tweets and comments to the media by former Ohio State coach and current scumbag Zach Smith. Right or wrong, dealing with those sort of personal issues is never easy on a coach especially one trying to win a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Iowa State is allowing only 344 YPG this season and holding opponents to just over 20 points-per-game in the always high-scoring Big 12. They can move the ball both through the air and on the ground and I see them giving a reeling Longhorns squad fits all nights.
Pick: Iowa State +3
Matt’s Pick (@schools_01; 1-0) – #13 Syracuse Orange (O/U 61.5) vs. #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-10.5); at Yankee Stadium (Sat 11/17 – 1:30pm CST)
Vegas bookmakers are obviously expecting a lot of points in this one. Games at neutral sites always seem to feel like they favor offenses more often than not. Crowds have less of an impact directly on the offensive play-calling and audibles are easier to implement as quarterbacks can make the necessary adjustments and calls without disruption. This plays into the hands of the Dino Babers led Syracuse Orange. QB Eric Dungey is having a fantastic season leading the high powered Orange to over 44 points and over 480 YPG. Syracuse is lethal on the ground as well netting 220 YPG from the running attack. Ian Book has been great for the Irish at quarterback after supplanting Brandon Wimbush.
Book though is coming back from missing last week’s win over Florida State with a rib injury and it remains to be seen if he will be able to play at or close to 100%. I think this game will be high scoring despite Notre Dame’s solid defense simply because Babers has the Orange offense flying right now. Notre Dame needs a win to stay in the NCAA Playoff hunt since they do not have a conference championship game to add to their schedule. But with that opportunity comes a tremendous amount of pressure for Brian Kelly and the Irish. Emotions will be high playing in the Bronx and while Notre Dame always travels well, I think you will see a heavy Syracuse contingent traveling downstate to the Big Apple. I think Notre Dame unfortunately wins, but I definitely don’t think it will be easy and Syracuse will give the Irish fits for 60 minutes.
Pick: Syracuse +10.5
Nick’s Pick (@PetroTLS; 34-32-2, -1.28u ) – Green Bay Packers (O/U 49.5) @ Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) (Thur. 11/15 – 7:20pm CST)
Not sure why I didn’t have a pick in the roundtable last week, but I’m glad to be back for this week. The NFL is a hard sport to bet. Look at all the upsets that happened last weekend. Anyway, this week I have not one, but two picks I love. The important thing to remember is to lock these two bets in now before the sharp money comes in and moves the lines.
The first bet I love this week is the Seattle Seahawks at home against the Green Bay Packers. It’s not about who you play, it’s about when you play them, and the Seahawks are playing good football as of late. They were a few plays from beating both the Chargers and Rams.
For the Packers, it is always tough going across the country and playing on Thursday night. They also had issues stopping the Dolphins from moving the ball from a defense perspective. Russell Wilson is not Brock Osweiler. Obvious, but something people will overlook Thursday night.
Since the bye week, Wilson has thrown eight touchdowns compared to just one interception. He should have another big game against the Packers on Thursday night.
Pick: Seahawks -2.5
BONUS – Dallas Cowboys (O/U 48.5) @ Atlanta Falcons (-3) (Sun. 11/18 – 12pm CST)
The Falcons are coming off a horrible game against the Browns, while the Cowboys are coming off a huge win against the Eagles. We know that the Falcons are a different team at home than on the road, yet they are only favored by three points in this one.
Let’s not forget they are still loaded on offense and again, are playing at home. This season, they are 3-2 at home, scoring an average of 32.2 points per game. Yes, the Cowboys’ defense is much improved, but at home, the Falcons will be able the score. Meaning the Cowboys’ offense will have to keep up.
As bad as the Falcons’ defense is, I don’t see that happening.
Pick: Falcons -3
Jeff’s Pick (@RealJeffKerr21; 0-0-1) – San Diego State Aztecs (O/U 41.5) @ Fresno State Bulldogs (-13) (Sat. 11/17 – 9:30pm CST)
Last week saw Matt come out against Fresno State who lost a tough road contest to Boise State. This week I’m feeling the bounce back special here. First off, the public betting % currently according to The Action Network is nearing 60% on the Aztecs. And much like Joe above, I’m loving the trends pointing to the Bulldogs in this one. San Diego State is an abysmal 2-8 ATS this season while Fresno just took their second loss sporting a solid 8-2 mark ATS and is 13-2 ATS at home the last three seasons.
Adding to that they are 16-4 on turf ATS in the same time frame. While both teams are coming off tough losses, I love Fresno State’s defense to get back to the way they have been playing most of the season and dominate a rather pedestrian San Diego State offensive attack.
Pick: Fresno State -13
Sean’s Pick (@Sean_Trader; 1-0) – #22 Northwestern Wildcats (O/U 47.5) @ Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1) (Sat. 11/17 – 11:00am CST)
I know we’re a Chicago based website. I live very close to the Northwestern campus. It’s always a great story when Northwestern is good. But the Big 10 West (Leaders, Legends, remember that year?) champions do not have a ton to play for in this one while they wait to see who they will face in Indianapolis on December 1st. Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has the Gophers playing much better football this season in year 2 of the Row the Boat campaign he brought from Kalamazoo. Minnesota is 5-1 at home and needs one more win to seal up a spot in a postseason bowl game. Desperate teams are always easier to get behind and this one is no different.
Pick: Minnesota -1
Patrick’s Pick (@TCFPgoy & @typical_chicago) – Minnesota Vikings (O/U 45) @ Chicago Bears (-3)
My debut pick to The Chalk Roundtable this week comes from the Sunday Night Showdown featuring the top 2 teams in the NFC North.
The Bears are no doubt one of the great stories in the NFL this season and have taken the city of Chicago by storm which is a welcomed sight for many a Chicago sports fan seeing as how our Bulls & Blackhawks are both a complete circus at the moment. BUT…BUT… with that being said, I’m taking the Vikings in this game. Give me the 3 points & throw some on the money line here cause Minny wins this thing outright. And yes, full disclosure, I am a Vikings fan but I also like $ and will bet against my own team if it means winning cash (see week 3 against the Bills as exhibit A).
Minnesota ranks 1st in the NFL in 3rd down Defense, 3rd overall against the run & 5th overall in total yards allowed per game. Also, the Vikings are coming off a bye which allowed some valuable recovery time for key players like RB Dalvin Cook, WR Stephon Diggs, and top 5 cover corner in the NFL Xavier Rhodes who are all set to suit up Sunday night.
The last time we saw the Vikings in prime time was week 8 against the Saints, a game in which they suffered a 30-20 loss to New Orleans even though they out-gained the Saints by over 150 yards in that game. If a team can out gain the absolute wagon of a football team that is the New Orleans Saints like that, they can do that against anybody.
Finally, The Bears have played… not beaten, just played ONE team that currently sits with a winning record (Patriots). It’s easy to pad your stats when you steamroll teams piloted by Ol Natty “pick 6” Peterman, and Jameis “not so famous” LOSEton (get it?).
Vikings roll into Chicago under the lights Sunday night and ultimately win a close, and very physical game.
Pick: Vikings +3
The Roundtable Consensus Pick (@TheChalkTLS; 0-1) – Oakland Raiders (O/U 40.5) @ Arizona Cardinals (-5.5) (Sun. 11/18 – 3:05pm CST)
In a still shocking bit of news, this game between two powerhouses of the NFL wasn’t the game flexed to Sunday Night Football on NBC. So we’ll settle for watching Derek Carr do battle with rookie Josh Rosen in the afternoon set on Sunday – in a game that may not even spend much time on the Red Zone channel. The Raiders as Patrick mentioned while discussing this game have quit on the season and stink out loud. That’s putting it kindly.
While we don’t anticipate a shootout (Joe sees a 13-3 final – UNNNNNDDDDEEERRR) here either but the Cardinals are the easily the better team. RB David Johnson is by far and away the most talented player on the field here and should have no problem racking up yards against Oakland. He tallied over 175 all-purpose yards last week against the Chiefs and it looks like rookie Head Coach Steve Wilks may have figured out that getting Johnson the ball as many times as possible is his best bet to winning week in and week out. Assuming that trend continues, the Cardinals should have no problem at home in this one.
Pick: Cardinals – 5.5