Betting with Dru 9.11.21- Return of the NFL
BETTING WITH DRU
Intro: Welcome Podcast listening world to Episode 3 of Betting with Dru. You can find all my content on the Start of an Era Channel via Apple podcasts or on spotify. The website for the show is Startofanera.com. Im your host here to deliver my weekly thoughts and opinions on sports bets for the upcoming weekend. Coming up on the podcast, College football Week 2 is officially here and I give my opinion on the odds and spreads for these games with some analysis. I give my advice on parlay’s for baseball games I trust over the weekend. Also, NFL games are back into our lives so my week 1 picks are here as well.
First College football was great to have back last weekend but now the sexy Power 5 schools are playing this weekend, and nothing is better than the joy of watching football come back into our lives except hopefully a Kendrick Lamar new album soon. Let’s begin with the matchups, odds and spreads:
Western Kentucky vs Army (-6.5) -108 51.5
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Army Black Knights meet Saturday in week 2 college football action at Michie Stadium. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers look for a quick 2-0 start after beating UT Martin in their season opener. The Army Black Knights also look for a 2-0 record after beating Georgia State.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers hope to start 2-0 for the first time since the 2015 CFB season. Bailey Zappe is completing 80 percent of his passes for 424 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. Zappe enters this game with 35 career pass attempts. Jerreth Sterns and Daewood Davis have combined for 190 receiving yards and three touchdowns while Joshua Simon has three receptions. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers ground game is averaging 109 yards per contest, and Kye Robichaux leads the way with 44 yards on nine carries. Defensively, Western Kentucky is allowing 21 points and 396 yards per game. Antwon Kincade leads the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers with seven tackles, Michael Pitts has one sack and Miguel Edwards has one interception.
The Army Black Knights look for back-to-back 2-0 starts to a season. Christian Anderson is completing 50 percent of his passes for 40 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. The Army Black Knights have six touchdown passes dating back to last season. Tyrell Robinson and Braheam Murphy have combined for 72 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Sean Eckert has one reception. The Army Black Knights ground game is averaging 258 yards per contest, and Anderson leads the way with 55 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Army is allowing 10 points and 177 yards per game. Julian McDuffie leads the Army Black Knights with five tackles, Andre Carter II has three sacks and Jabari Moore has one interception.
WKU played well in its opener and it has a hot quarterback, but beating UT Martin doesn’t move the needle much. Army is one of the better defensive teams in the country and appears to be clicking with its running game. It’s also tough to play Army or Navy with just one week to prepare, as they’re unique offenses that take a ton of discipline to defend. I’m no confident Western Kentucky is one of those teams. This is a game Army should win by a touchdown or two. I’ll lay the number.
My picks: Army -6.5 (-108) O 51.5 (-110)
Oregon vs Ohio State (-14.5) -110; 63.5
Week two of the 2021 college football season is headlined by a showdown between the No. 12 Oregon Ducks and No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon in Columbus. Oregon opened its season with a close call in a 31-24 home win over the Fresno State Bulldogs last Saturday, failing to cover as a 17.5-point favorite. Ohio State pulled away late for a 45-31 road win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday, pushing on the 14-point spread.
This is a good Oregon team, but the gap between the elite programs and the rest of the country is only growing in recent years, and Ohio State looks the part of a championship contender again. The combination of lackluster offense in the opener against Fresno State plus key injuries on the defensive side is worrying for the Ducks, and the Ohio State offense will eventually overwhelm Oregon and pull away.
Despite the expected ups-and-downs of a debuting quarterback, Ohio State scored five different touchdowns on plays of at least 38 yards on Thursday, as the Olave-Wilson tandem at receiver looks uncoverable while an always strong run game found a big-play threat in Williams. The secondary is the expected weak link of the Oregon defense after it didn't provide many big plays a year ago, and while the front is usually more than good enough to make up for it, it's hard to imagine Thibodeaux will be anywhere close to full strength if he plays at well, not to mention the absence of a great linebacker in Mathis.
No matter how good the defense is, keeping up with Ohio State requires an explosive offense, and Oregon has struggled with the downfield passing game since Justin Herbert left at the end of 2019, a problem that certainly wasn't solved last week against Fresno State. This will be competitive at times, but Ohio State's offense is eventually going to generate some of those splash plays, and Oregon's quarterback play won't be enough to seriously challenge the Buckeyes.
My picks: Ohio State -14.5 (110) O 63.5 (-112)
Pittsburgh vs Tennessee (+3.5) -128; 56.5
The Panthers take on the Volunteers in Knoxville in a big Week 2 matchup. The Panthers started off the season with a 51-7 victory over UMass. They had 597 yards of total offense against the independent opponent. Pittsburgh seemed to score at will and their offense was firing on all cylinders. Their quarterback, Kenny Pickett, threw for 272 yards and was 27/37. He threw it all over the field and spread the love with 5 different receivers scoring touchdowns. The Vols opened their season with a 38-6 win against Bowling Green. They started slowly and were winning only 14-6 at half, but picked up the pace in the second half and showed flashes of the high-powered offense they were promised under head coach Josh Heupel. Tennessee had 475 yards of total offense, 331 of which were from the running game. Quarterback Joe Milton, a transfer from Michigan, was 11/23 with 139 yards passing. The Vols’ running game was the star of the show with two running backs and the quarterback combining for 52 carries and 331 yards.
This should be a close game if Tennessee can play like they did in the second half of last week’s game. If Pitt plays like they did last week they should be able to get the edge over Tennessee by spreading the ball around. Pitt’s defense can slow down the Vols’ rushing attack — they allowed only 42 rushing yards last week against the Minutemen. Look for a close game but Pitt can edge to a win in the fourth quarter.
MY PICKS: Pittsburgh -3.5 (+104) U 56.5 (-110)
Miami OH vs Minnesota (-19.5) -108; 53.5
The Miami (OH) RedHawks and Minnesota Golden Gophers meet Saturday in week 2 college football action at TCF Bank Stadium. The Miami (OH) RedHawks look for a win after losing their opener to Cincinnati. The Minnesota Golden Gophers need a win after losing their opener to Ohio State.
The Miami (OH) RedHawks hope to avoid their first 0-2 start since the 2018 CFB season. AJ Mayer is completing 32.1 percent of his passes for 109 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Mac Hippenhammer and Jack Sorenson have combined for 96 receiving yards on five catches while Devon Dorsey has one reception. The Miami (OH) RedHawks ground game is averaging 169 yards per contest, and Keyon Mozee leads the way with 80 yards on 15 carries. Defensively, Miami (OH) is allowing 49 points and 542 yards per game. Ja’don Rucker-Furlow leads the Miami (OH) RedHawks with eight tackles, Mike Brown has one sack and Sterling Weatherford has one interception.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers hope to avoid back-to-back 0-2 starts to the season. Tanner Morgan is completing 56 percent of his passes for 205 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Daniel Jackson and Dylan Wright have combined for 115 receiving yards and one touchdown while Brevyn Spann-Ford has three receptions. The Minnesota Golden Gophers ground game is averaging 203 yards per contest, and Mohamed Ibrahim leads the way with 163 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Minnesota is allowing 45 points and 495 yards per game. Mariano Sori-Marin leads the Minnesota Golden Gophers with six tackles, Jordan Howden has four tackles and Terell Smith has one interception.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are the better team here, but they’re also coming off a physical game against Ohio State and are now without their NFL caliber running back in Ibrahim. The Miami (OH) RedHawks are battle tested after facing a top-10 Cincinnati team last week and they can’t possibly play any worse offensively. This could also be a lookahead game for the Gophers after playing OSU last week and having a road game against Colorado next week. Give me the RedHawks and the points.
MY PICKS: Miami (OH) +19.5 (-112); U 53.5 (-106)
Florida vs South Florida (+28.5)-115; 58.5
Saturday afternoon college football action and we will see the Southeastern Conference grapple with the American Athletic Conference as the Florida Gators take on the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Florida Gators went 8-4 last year but they have just 10 starters back for that team. The good news is that they recruited well and have a couple of easy games to give their new players some experience before facing Alabama next week. That game should be a doozy and it could possibly have the Gators looking ahead. We shall see. Florida is picked to finish 2nd in the SEC East and after watching that Georgia defense on Saturday, second is about the best they can do this year.
The Gators have won four straight openers. The offense is expecting to take a step back after averaging 39.8 ppg last year and having to replace Kyle Trask at QB. Florida has just five starters back on offense but they looked very good in piling up 553 yards in a 35-14 home win over Florida Atlantic to start the year. The Gators won big but were not able to cover the spread of 23.5. Emory Jones has taken over at QB and he had a mediocre game in throwing for 113 yards with one TD and two INTs. The Gators were a pass-happy team last year as they averaged 379 ypg through the air, but that may change this season. The South Florida Bulls got rocked in their first game but I do not believe they are as bad as they played in the 45-0 loss to NC State. The Bulls do have 18 starters back from last year and they will come out with a better showing in this one. The Florida Gators have a solid team, on their hands and they will compete for a title in the SEC East. Florida had an easy win over Florida Atlantic, but they are still a team that has just 10 starters back from last year and a team that ranks 121st in the nation in terms of experience. We also note that Florida has a huge game at home against Alabama on deck and that will distract them in this one. The Bulls will not come close to winning this game, but they will also not lose by more than 24 points. Take the Bulls to keep it within the huge number as the Gators have an eye to next week.
MY PICKS: South Florida +28.5 (-115) O 58.5
Ball State vs Penn State (-22.5) -110; 57.5
Happy Valley will be rocking on Saturday afternoon for Penn State’s home opener in which they’ll take on Ball State. The Cardinals beat FCS Western Illinois at home last weekend by a score of 31-21. It was rough going in the passing game for Ball State, both offensively and defensively, as they put up just 178 yards and allowed 367. They were favored by 31 points, so it was obviously not a good way to start the season. Conversely, Penn State went into a wild scene in Madison to beat a good Wisconsin team 16-10. Wide receiver and future draft pick Jahan Dotson posted a 5-102-1 line as he feasted on a strong Badger defense. The team also didn’t commit a single turnover in the game, while forcing 3 of their own.
The line is set too low in this one for a game that should be a Penn State blowout. Ball State hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since 2012-13, and they went 6-1 in last year’s Covid-shortened season against fellow MAC foes. History says they’ll come back to earth more this year, and Week 1’s showing proved that. In addition, the Nittany Lions have now covered in 4 of their last 5 matchups. Expect a more dominant performance for the PSU offense against a much weaker defense this week. Don’t hesitate to lay the points with Penn State.
My picks: Penn State -22.5 (-110) U 57.5 (-105)
UAB vs Georgia (-22.5) -114; 44.5
This is all about Georgia not looking great on offense. A few turnovers could completely change the dynamics against a UAB team most expect them to roll over. There’s also the ongoing COVID spike right now within the Georgia football program. Coach Kirby Smart even went as far as saying he’s as “concerned” as he’s ever been. The COVID spike is definitely concerning and something to keep an eye on as we get closer to kick-off, but I’m not ready to take UAB over Georgia. We haven’t reached that point yet.
Clemson couldn’t even breathe offensively against this suffocating Georgia defense. It’s quite the statement when you go into an opener and hold a previous playoff contender to only three points. Tyler Johnston III looks promising, but so did D.J. Uiagalelei before coming face-to-face with a Bulldogs defensive front that slammed him to the dirt repeatedly. It was a monstrous seven-sack performance that should serve as a nightmare for the Blazers. UAB’s offensive front isn’t succeeding where Clemson’s failed. There is still some concern surrounding Georgia’s offense, but I expect them to get going against a Blazers defense that isn’t quite on the level of Clemson. There may be some hiccups in the beginning, but they’ll pull away late and leave the Blazers in the dust. I’m laying the big points and sticking with the Bulldogs on Saturday.
My picks: Georgia -22.5 (-114) U 44.5 (-110)
Eastern Michigan vs Wisconsin (-25.5) -112; 52.5
Wisconsin suffered a hard-fought loss to Penn State at home last Saturday. The Badgers should be ready to let out some frustration against the Eagles of Eastern Michigan this weekend. Wisconsin managed to score just 10 points and they turned the ball over 3 times against Penn State. However, they out-gained Penn State 359-297, and their defense did a great job of limiting the ground game. They held the Nittany Lions to just 50 rushing yards and 2.8 yards per carry. It was a prototypical Big Ten game between two strong and steady defenses, so points coming at a premium was not too surprising. Look for the Badger offense to have a better day against Eastern Michigan. Graham Mertz has a very high ceiling running the offense, and unlike last season, both Mertz and his top receivers are healthy. The Badger O-line should be too much for the Eagles to handle up front, which should lead to a better day all-around for the Wisconsin offense.
Eastern Michigan went just 2-4 last year with an all-MAC schedule. They took care of business with a 20-point win over St. Francis in their season opener, but Wisconsin is a whole different challenge. The Eagles’ running game was fine (221 yards and 3.8 yards per carry), but the Badgers should be able to bottle them up. The passing game struggled, and will most likely have some trouble again in this one. Wisconsin was the top team in the nation in terms of time of possession a season ago. They held the ball for over 42 minutes against Penn State, but they just made too many costly mistakes. Look for Wisconsin to avoid those mistakes and tighten things up in this one. The Badgers should roll.
My picks: Wisconsin -25.5 (-112); O 52.5 (-105)
Appalachian State vs Miami (FL) (-8.5) -108; 54.5
Miami was completely outmatched against Alabama last week, which is more indicative of Alabama’s dominance as they will likely have similar results against several teams this year. In Week 2, Miami will look to put its first loss out of mind when they take on App St., who are not on the same level as Alabama. The key to Miami’s offense in this matchup, and for the rest of the season, is the effectiveness of QB D’Eriq King and he is taking on an App State defense that gave up nearly 400 yards to ECU last week.
While App State’s offense looked well-balanced and effective against ECU as they ran for 226 yards and passed for 259 yard, Miami’s defense should have more success against App St. as they are familiar with Mountaineer QB Chase Brice who was the starter at Duke in 2020. In their 2020 matchup against Brice and the Blue Devils, the Hurricanes limited Brice to 94 passing yards as Miami dominated Duke 48-0. Manny Diaz should be able to defensively prepare for Brice in this matchup and focus primarily on stopping the Mountaineer’s run game, which looked dangerous in Week 1. While App St.’s defense only gave up 86 rush yards last week, their pass defense looked vulnerable and with King looking for a revenge game after being shut down by Alabama, expect Miami’s offense to return to the 34 PPG production from 2020 and to cover the spread here.
My picks: Miami -8.5 (-108); O 54.5 (-110)
We are blessed for tis the season of not only football happening this weekend but we still got baseball going on. My favorite weekend parlays.
OVER THE WEEKEND PARLAYS
· Saturday: SFG, TOR (GM 1), TBR, ATL & LAD
· Sunday: TBR, TOR, HOU, MIL, LAD & CWS
And for the main event on today’s podcast, we have my favorite picks for Sunday’s NFL matchups.
Eagles vs Falcons (-3) -122 48.5
The Atlanta Falcons do not project to be a very good team this season. Matt Ryan is well past his prime and they have a new head coach in Arthur Smith, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Gone is Julio Jones and their starting running back at the moment is Mike Davis. Davis isn’t necessarily a bad running back, but he has been a backup for his entire career and he is 28 years old. Getting a new head coach, losing your best player on offense and having a career backup as your starting running back isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Atlanta did add freak of nature, Kyle Pitts, in the draft, but it is asking a lot for a rookie tight end to contribute immediately. The Eagles aren’t in much better shape as there are still a ton of questions around starting quarterback Jalen Hurts in terms of his ability to lead an NFL team. He looked good at times last season and pretty bad at others so it’s tough to know what we should expect on Sunday. The Eagles also have a new head coach in Nick Sirianni, which only adds to the mystery that is the Philadelphia Eagles.
Laying points with either of these teams could not be advised so go with the Eagles. Jalen Hurts didn’t look bad in the preseason (he didn’t look great either) and the Eagles do have weapons around him. They seem to be undervalued in the market at the moment.
My picks: Philadelphia Eagles +3 (+102); U 48.5 (-118)
Seahawks vs Colts (+3) -114 48.5
The Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts will collide in one of the marquee matchups of Week 1 on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis. There is another new quarterback in Indy, as Andrew Luck’s retirement led to the eventual signing of Philip Rivers and now Rivers’ retirement led to the Colts signing Carson Wentz. It looks like Wentz will be ready to go from an injury standpoint, even though he did not play in the preseason and has practiced sparingly because of a foot issue. As such this will Wentz’s first game action since last year with Philadelphia, when he threw only one more touchdown than interception (16 to 15). You have to think Indianapolis will feature the ground game led by running back Jonathan Taylor, but Seattle boasted the No. 5 rushing defense in the league in 2020.
With Russell Wilson less than thrilled about things in Seattle and the lack of any early-round draft picks, the Seahawks are being disrespected a little by the oddsmakers heading into 2021. They are the third favorites in their own division despite having compiled a 12-4 record last season. If not amazing, the Hawks are quite clearly a good team — and the Colts did not beat many of those in 2020. Indy beat up on lower-level competition mostly in the AFC South, while its losses included defeats to the Browns, Ravens, Titans, Steelers, and Bills. Unless Wentz storms out of the gates must faster than expected, this looks like a good situation for the visitors.
My picks: Seattle Seahawks -3 (-105); U 48.5 (-106)
49ers vs Lions (+8.5) -113; 45.5
The San Francisco 49ers endured an injury-hit 4-12 campaign 12 months before they reached the Super Bowl after the 2019 season, so expectations can justifiably be high again as they bid to bounce back from an injury-riddled 6-10 effort. Innovative head coach Kyle Shanahan just needs healthy and willing players to be able to bamboozle rival coordinators with his clever offensive schemes and a bounce-back year is fully anticipated for his team. It’s no surprise to see one of the bigger spreads of the week allocated to this game as they take on home underdogs Detroit, but this matchup could easily bring a double-digit line if it was to come up again in mid-season with the teams’ fortunes likely to head in different directions.
Shanahan may not get to dazzle with his planned twin-QB approach given rookie Trey Lance’s finger injury, but veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is 24-9 as the San Fran starter, despite his critics. The worry for the 49ers is that they have a number of players coming off those injuries, including star defensive end Nick Bosa, but they should dominate in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The Lions went 0-3 in preseason, and though new QB Jared Goff may well not prove to be the flop many expect in the Motor City, he surely wouldn’t have picked the 49ers as opponents for his Ford Field debut. They know him well from his time in the NFC West with the Rams, with Goff losing his last four starts against them. This is one of the biggest lines of the week for the simple reason that the 49ers should be a lot stronger team than Detroit this year. Take San Francisco.
My picks: San Francisco 49ers -8.5 (-106); U 45.5 (-112)
Cardinals vs Titans (-3) -102; 53.5
It will be a battle between playoff hopefuls when the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals kick off the 2021 NFL season in Tennessee on Sunday afternoon. The Titans were among the biggest newsmakers of the offseason. They acquired Julio Jones from the Falcons to make up for the losses of pass-catchers Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. Former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is now the head coach in Atlanta, but Tennessee has an experienced quarterback under center in Ryan Tannehill and arguably the best running back in the business in Derrick Henry. There should not be any drop-off, even though there have been some changes with the player personnel department and coaching staff. On the other side of the ball, the Titans added Bud Dupree in hopes of bolstering their pass rush.
Putting pressure on opposing QBs was Tennessee’s biggest weakness in 2020, but will Arizona be able to take advantage? Maybe not. Kyler Murray finished with only 14 more touchdown passes than interceptions last year (26 to 12) while also losing 4 fumbles. The Cardinals are expected to bring up the rear in the NFC West, which isn’t an entirely damning expectation given the overall strength of that division but by no means is this team great on paper. JJ Watt and AJ Green are big names, but at this point in their career they may not move the needle too much on the field, especially not in their first game in a new setting. With the Titans enjoying home-field advantage, they should be able to win and cover, possibly by a wide margin.
My picks: Tennessee Titans -3 (-102); O 53.5 (-110)
Packers vs Saints (+3.5) -110; 49.5
The Aaron Rodgers saga can thankfully take a backseat as the on-field actions grabs the spotlight. After all the mudslinging this summer, No. 12 is poised to deliver a reminder of why Green Bay can’t afford to let him leave by taking apart a crumbling New Orleans Saints. While the Packers retained their superstar quarterback this offseason, New Orleans lost theirs as Drew Brees rode off into the sunset after calling it a career. Jameis Winston steps into the breach for the Saints and his boom-or-bust potential makes it tough to know what we’ll get out of New Orleans this year. Winston will be playing behind a high-quality offensive line and has one of the league’s top running backs to call upon in Alvin Kamara, but that’s where the good news ends. Michael Thomas is missing for the Saints after undergoing ankle surgery and that leaves New Orleans very light at wide receiver. Preseason darling Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith are their best options but they face a tough task against a strong Packers secondary.
Kamara was already going to shoulder a lot of the burden for the Saints offense this season and he looks set for a particularly heavy workload against the Packers in a game to be played in Jacksonville due to the damage caused by Hurricane Ida. The Packers have relatively few concerns compared to the cap-strapped Saints, as long as reigning MVP Rodgers can forget about his off-field issues. He and Davante Adams are back together for potentially the last time in Green Bay and the season has a ‘Last Dance’ feel to it. Rodgers is 4-2 in his career against the Saints and looks one of the bets of the week to improve upon that. Green Bay are stacked on offense and the defense looks competent enough to handle a Saints team that is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Week 1 assignments.
My picks: Green Bay Packers -3.5 (-110); O 49.5 (-115)
The remaining picks for Sunday:
· Pittsburgh Steelers +6.5 (-113)
· Carolina Panthers -3.5 (-110)
· Jacksonville Jaguars -3 (-120)
· Los Angeles Chargers +1.5 (-110) & ML (+108)
· Minnesota Vikings -3 (-108)
· Dolphins-Patriots Total points U 43.5 (-110)
· Kansas City Chiefs -5.5 (-110)
· Denver Broncos -3 (+100)
· Los Angeles Rams -7.5 (-111)
I would like to thank all the listeners for joining me today, if you have any questions or any fantasy topics you want me to discuss just submit them on the website; start of an era.com Next episode I will be going over my NFL week 2 picks, college football week 3 picks and Baseball picks. So listeners please rate/review the podcast and Ill be back soon to bless your ears again.