It’s kind of crazy how much your life changes when you have a kid but how similar in some ways it can be as the good old days. And last Saturday night was a prime example of what my new kind of wild night was. It wasn’t full of Jaeger bombs, double Captain’s, watching multiple games on walls filled with TVs at a bar, and Taco Bell at 2:00 am anymore though.
Oh, I consumed my fair share of Tito’s that night. The wife and I had carried out from a nice Mexican restaurant. And most importantly I was huddled up at a waste high countertop with 3 screens in front of me – the Notre Dame-USC game on my phone, the Texas A&M-LSU game on my iPad, and a baby monitor displaying my son Owen passed out after a long day in the life of a 10-month-old.
With that said the intensity was through the roof in a corner in the kitchen of Casa de Schoolfield. Being on the wrong side of two games that deviated so greatly from each other can make for dramatic theater for onlookers and those two games held up their end. Notre Dame, a 13 point favorite, was trailing rival USC after the first half and didn’t even take a lead until almost five minutes into the third quarter.
A Justin Yoon field goal late in the third pushed the Irish out to a seven-point lead and you start feeling good having played the favorite. But after a pair of dead-end drives sandwiching an Ian Book pick I started chalking up an L. Then on 3rd and 5, just shy of the 50-yard line, Tony Jones takes a short dump off pass down the left sideline for a 51 yard touchdown pushing the Irish out to a 14 point lead – and more importantly a pending cover.
That is until J.T. Daniels decided to have this most efficient drive of the season and march USC down to score inside a minute left giving them a meaningless touchdown and a backdoor-ish cover. At this point I’m thinking no prob – A&M, who I had lost focus on a bit at this point, was in great shape to cover.
Boy was I wrong on that thought. I’m not going to rehash that game because I figure if you’re reading this you know exactly what happened. I had the Aggies -2.5 and -3 in separate spots – both looked great into the 3rd quarter. After a couple of bad turnovers and having to miraculously tie up the game with the benefit of a few calls, you feel ok as to your chances of covering with the college overtime rules. Then seven of them happened.
When the two-point conversion rule kicked in after the second overtime I started to sense my doom. By the 5th overtime, I was rooting for LSU at various points needing them to convert a deuce to match A&M. By the end of the game and the 74-72 A&M victory, I was half delirious – partially enjoyment of a wild game and partially from the third “one more” drink I had. I lost both games – one thinking I was good and ended up not, the other visa versa. But I can’t say it wasn’t entertaining.
We had a better day on Thanksgiving with our best bets than we did the prior week spending the day in Splitsville as a group with a 3-3 record. However we can and will do better – and it starts this week.
Joe’s Pick (@abes34: 0-3) Minnesota Vikings (O/U 49) @ New England Patriots (-5) (Sun. 12/2 – 3:25pm CST)
The numbers don’t lie. My debut at The Chalk Roundtable hasn’t been my best stretch of my life. It’s been a tough three weeks with the games I’ve liked best each week taking a dive. When you are in a rut though, there is only one thing to do and that’s press forward. And what smarter way to do that, than to fade Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? I think the Vikings are the best team in the NFC – yes, they will go to the Super Bowl and I don’t want to hear anything from the Saints contingent.
This is their chance to get a statement win going to Gillette and knocking off the Pats – yes, feel free to take the money line. The Patriots are not the same team of years past – they are good but they are vulnerable, especially defensively. And frankly, Brady is starting to show some wear and tear after running the league for the better part of two decades. Dalvin Cook is running better as he’s getting healthier and the Vikings defense is still an upper echelon unit. I assume Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs will both be playing despite the questionable designation they carry currently and should cause major fits for the New England secondary. This will be something to watch before submitting your bet, but if they both suit up as expected, feel safe taking the points for the road dog.
Pick: Minnesota +5
Matt’s Pick: (@schools_01; 2-1) #14 Texas Longhorns (O/U 77) vs. #5 Oklahoma Sooners (-8); Big 12 Championship – Dallas, TX (Sat. 12/1 – 11:00am CST)
If you couldn’t tell by the monologue this week, I may have a slight addiction to wild games and the Red River Shootout reboot has the makings of being the juiciest game of the week. Oklahoma is playing for the chance to be in the College Football Playoff, desperately needing a win and possibly a little help in order to secure a spot in the form of an Alabama win over Georgia.
QB Kyler Murray has the Sooner offense buzzing, scoring no less than 45 points in each of their last eight games, one of those being the 48-45 Texas win at the annual rivalry game at the Texas State Fair. Murray has been racking up points and yards at an alarming rate and is garnering Heisman talk that was thought to be a one-man race for Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. On the season, the Sooners are throwing up a ridiculous 583 yards per game while in turn allowing an equally shocking 449 and over 32 points per game.
The big question on the other side of the field is how healthy is Sam Ehlinger’s shoulder? Coach Tom Herman said, “it’s a pain tolerance thing.” Ehlinger has been solid the last few weeks and carrying a larger frame than most QB’s should be able to absorb an extra hit or two without further damage. Further, both of these offenses rank in the top 25 in offensive efficiency according to Espn.com, with Oklahoma tied for No. 1 with Alabama and Texas checking in at 21. The Longhorns put up well over 400 yards per game on their own and this should turn into another track meet similar to their earlier meeting.
I think the 77 is trying to entice bettors to take the over when you factor in the score in their last meeting, Oklahoma’s horrendous defense and 2 efficient offenses with the Sooners being the best in the country. Normally in that situation, I try to fade the general public. However, I think the bookmakers are missing the mark here and I think the play is to roll the dice on the over. This one should be a doozy to kick off your Saturday.
Pick: OVER 77
Patrick’s Pick: (@TCFPgoy and @typical_chicago; 0-2) Baltimore Ravens (O/U 48) @ Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) (Sun. 12/2 – 12:00pm CST)
After getting our hearts ripped out of our chests last week with the Under in Dallas/Washington (nice pass coverage Redskins holy cow – Harry Caray voice) my roundtable picks sit at 0-2. We were looking great after the first quarter and first half as the total only sat at 17 but a 40yd TD pass and a 90 yard TD pass play can turn the tide oh so quickly. On to week 12.
My pick for week 12 comes from the Baltimore/Atlanta game where we see the Falcons favored slightly at home (-1) against an all of a sudden resurgent Ravens team now being quarterbacked by Lamar Jackson. In Jackson’s 2 starts for Baltimore, he has thrown for 328yds with 1 TD & 3 INT’s while also rushing for 188yds and 1 TD. The Ravens are still very much in the thick of things in the AFC Playoff picture while Atlanta seems to be going the other way. During the month of November, Atlanta went 1-3, surrendered an average of 24ppg, and lost their last 3 to the Browns, Cowboys & Saints. The Falcons defense can’t stop anybody and their offense, once in the red zone, has about as good a chance at scoring as does a kid at his junior prom.
Two teams trending in completely opposite directions. I’ll take the hot one, give me the Ravens (+1.5) on Sunday and watch Lamar Jackson run wild on the dirty birds.
Pick: Baltimore +1.5
Sean’s Pick: (@Sean_Trader; 2-1) Denver Broncos (-5.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (O/U 45) (Sun. 12/2 – 12:00pm CST)
I am going unconventional again and if you know me, that shouldn’t surprise you. I am going back to the same well I drank from last week with a first-quarter total. Unlike Matt above who is looking for points in his best bet, I am expecting a slow it down, grinding sort of pace at least to start this game. Andy Dalton is out and though he is far from elite, I don’t expect the Bengals to ask Jeff Driskel to air it out especially against a still tough Denver secondary.
The Cincy D is trash so I am looking for them to feed Joe Mixon early and often and try to keep the game close early and control possession of the ball. It may not be the most exciting bet in the world, but jump on my back and ride the first quarter under wave with me again.
Pick: 1st Quarter UNDER 7.5
Sean’s Bonus Pick: Washington Redskins (O/U 45) @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6) (Mon. 12/3 – 7:15pm CST)
Let’s play two this week and we’ll go to the Monday Night Football bounce back special. Everyone loves a Monday night game to recoup any losses or add to the win and I think we have a really great shot to get another win here. I’m sticking with the unconventional route and focusing on the Washington team total of 19.5. I usually tend to look to underplays when I am dealing with a backup quarterback but Colt McCoy is appearing to be a bit more aggressive than Alex Smith. He isn’t afraid to push the ball downfield. I could see the Skins playing from behind as well and needing to play catch up against a severely banged up Philly secondary.
Pick: Washington Team Total OVER 19.5
Nick’s Pick (@PetroTLS; 36-33-2): Los Angeles Rams (-10) (O/U 54.5) @ Detriot Lions (Sun. 12/2 – 12pm CST)
After spending four days in Vegas last week, I’m feeling good about my bets for this NFL Sunday. There are no byes this week, so we have a full slate of action for the first time in a while. My favorite bet of the week comes in the Rams-Lions game.
The Lions are 10 point home underdogs, which to me, is way too much for a Rams team that could be rusty early on coming off a bye. As a team, the Rams are also allowing 25.6 points per game.
Yes, the Lions are injured, but at home, they should keep this game close for a while and cover the 10 point spread.
Pick: Lions +10
Image: USA Today