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BETTING WITH DRU

Intro: Welcome Betting world to Episode 4 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. On deck for today, College football Week 5 is officially here, and I give my opinion on the odds and spreads for these games with some analysis. I give my advice on parlays for baseball games I trust over the weekend. Also, NFL games bring the best entertainment every single week, so my week 4 picks are here as well.

College football was great last weekend & now the sexy Power 5 schools have some of their best conference games this weekend, and nothing is better than the joy of watching rivalry football come back into our lives except hopefully a NCAA Football game soon. Let’s begin with the matchups, odds and spreads:

Duke vs North Carolina (-19.5) -115; 71.5

While Duke has managed to ring up three straight wins, beating the likes of North Carolina A&T, Northwestern and Kansas aren’t going to move the needle all that much. While Northwestern is a Big Ten team, they are a squad that has played three quarterbacks in four games and is dealing with injuries, not to mention inconsistency. Duke lost on the road in their lone contest away from campus when they fell to Charlotte. No one is going to confuse the 49ers with a Power Five program. North Carolina was humbled defensively last week by Georgia Tech and is going to be eager to prove that they can still compete in the conference. The Tar Heels have an explosive offense: playing at home should work in their favor as they come up with the victory in this contest as Howell has a big afternoon.

My picks: North Carolina -19.5 (-115) U 71.5 (-106)

Indiana vs Penn State (-12.5) -110; 53.5

The Penn State Nittany Lions will be out to build on a 38-17 win over Villanova in their last game. Sean Clifford’s thrown for 1,158 yards, 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 71.7% passing while Noah Cain and Keyvone Lee each have 100+ rushing yards. Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington each have 300+ receiving yards for Penn State this season while KeAndre Lambert-Smith also has 199 receiving yards for the Nittany Lions this season. On defense, Brandon Smith leads Penn State with 27 total tackles while Arnold Ebiketie has a pair of sacks this season.

Indiana is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 conference games and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record while the over is 4-0 in their last 4 games in October. Penn State is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games while the over is 5-2 in their last 7 games as a home favorite. The Hoosiers were nearly victims of a look-ahead spot against Western Kentucky, but I don’t think that even looking ahead could prep them for what they’re in for here. I’m not the biggest Penn State or Sean Clifford fan, but the Nittany Lions are legit right now and I just don’t know if Indiana and the hype train that’s going along with the Hoosiers is enough to push past the Nittany Lions at home. I’ll side with Penn State in this one.

My picks: Penn State -12.5 (-110) O 53.5 (-110)

Minnesota vs Purdue (-2.5) -110; 46.5

Minnesota has won two out of their last three games including a dominating 30-0 road win against Colorado. The defense is clicking, allowing an average of only 13.3 points in their last three games. This is a key aspect considering Purdue isn’t generating notable offense. They continue to deal with several big injuries. They are playing without #1 RB Zander Horvath and the next man up, King Doerue is also questionable. Purdue's #1 WR David Bell is questionable.

Furthermore, the Boilermakers rush defense is mediocre, ranking 51st in the FBS. This is important considering Minnesota features a potent RB in Treyson Potts. He is tough to contain and has rushed for at least 120 yards in three consecutive games. The Boilermakers only managed a 13-9 home win against Illinois last week and this game will be a close, low-scoring conference battle.

MY PICKS: Minnesota +2.5 (-110) U 46.5 (-106)

Marshall vs Middle Tennessee (+10.5) -118; 66.5

The Marshall Thundering Herd will look to bounce back from a 31-30 loss at the hands of Appalachian State in their last game. Grant Wells has thrown for 1,380 yards, 5 touchdowns and 5 picks on 64% passing while Rasheen Ali leads the Herd with 376 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns this season. Corey Gammage leads Marshall’s receivers with 25 catches for 365 yards while Xavier Gaines and Talik Keaton each have 200+ receiving yards and another three members of the Herd have 100+ receiving yards on the year. On defense, Abraham Beauplan has a team-high 40 total tackles while Eli Neal has 3 sacks and Marshall has a combined 18 sacks as a team this year.

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will try to rebound from a 42-39 loss to Charlotte last time out. Chase Cunningham’s tossed for 638 yards and 8 touchdowns on 67.1% passing while Bailey Hockman’s thrown for 463 yards, 4 touchdowns and a pair of INTs on 62.1% passing. Jimmy Marshall leads MTSU with 250 receiving yards while Jarrin Pierce, Jaylin Lane and DJ England-Chisolm each have 100+ receiving yards on the year. On defense, Reed Blankenship has a team-high 39 total tackles while Jordan Ferguson has a pair of sacks.

Marshall is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games against a team with a losing record. Middle Tennessee is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 conference games. I still have a bit of PTSD with the Herd after blowing that huge 4th quarter lead against East Carolina, and to be honest, that may be something I can’t get over the rest of the season. With that said, the Herd are still one of the better defensive units in the country and I expect the Blue Raiders to struggle here. I don’t think Marshall runs away with this game either though, so I’ll side with the under in this spot.

MY PICKS: Middle Tennessee +10.5 (-118); U 66.5 (-114)

Louisiana-Monroe vs Coastal Carolina (-33.5)-112; 57.5

When I see a team favored by 34.5 points, my initial tendency is to go against a team like that. That is a lot of points to cover, but this Coastal Carolina team is the kind of team that can do so. Consider that they beat UMass by 50, The Citadel by 38, and Kansas by 27. The only close contest this season was against a very good Buffalo team where they won by three. They have already been favored by more than 30 points twice this season and covered the spread in both of those instances. This is a decent Louisiana-Monroe offense, but they are going to have to score 20+ points to cover the spread in this contest and that simply is not going to happen. Louisiana-Monroe is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 5-1 in their last 6 games in October. Coastal Carolina is 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 home games and 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 conference games while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games as a home favorite.

The Chanticleers haven’t been as dominant as they were last season if you analyze each game, but the Chants dominated UMass last time out and UMass is almost on the same level as ULM if we’re being frank. The running joke still stands true as ULM doesn’t stand for Louisiana-Monroe, it stands for U Lose Money as the Warhawks burn a hole in your pocket if you back them and one win over Troy doesn’t change that for me.

MY PICKS: Coastal Carolina -33.5 (-112) O 57.5 (-115)

Tulane vs East Carolina (+3.5) -120; 64.5

East Carolina has won two straight clashes including a road win against Marshall. Plus, they nearly registered an upset win in a narrow 20-17 loss to South Carolina of the SEC in week two. Tulane only has one win on the season which occurred against non-FBS opponent Morgan State. I expect the Pirates' offense to shine against a struggling Tulane defense. The Green Wave are pegged 110th against the pass and ECU features a solid passing game led by QB Holton Ahlers with 978 passing yards in four games. Furthermore, Tulane’s offensive numbers are inflated due to their 69 point output against a non-FBS opponent in Morgan State. They have only tallied 21 points in back-to-back games. I am surprised to see this spread at +4 and will gladly take the points with ECU. Tulane is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games while the over is 6-2-1 in their last 9 road games. East Carolina is 18-37-1 ATS in their last 56 conference games and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games while the over is 5-2 in their last 7 games as a home underdog.

Yeesh. This game features two of the three worst teams in the AAC in my opinion, if Temple came along we’d have ourselves a party. With that said, these are teams that usually don’t play a lick of defense and both Tulane and East Carolina possess a fairly capable offense. I’m not backing it consistently, but I think these two sides can score enough on the opposing defenses to get us well over this number.

My picks: East Carolina +3.5 (-120) O 64.5 (-114)

Louisville vs Wake Forest (-7.5) -104; 62.5

This Wake Forest team is looking like it might be the real deal. Malik Cunningham is like a magician with the ball in his hands, but he’s going to run into a ferocious defensive front averaging four sacks per game. They are feasting on opposing quarterbacks and completely disrupting offenses. But their ability to generate turnovers is where the real concern should come in for the Cardinals. Cunningham is going to have to press to make things happen when he starts to feel the heat in the pocket. That’s when he’s going to make the critical mistakes that put the ball back in the hands of the Demon Deacons with a short field to work with. Louisville is also struggling to convert on critical downs in games. The team is averaging 40.3 percent of third-down conversions this season. Sam Hartman’s methods aren’t nearly as flashy as Cunningham’s, but they’ll be more effective in this setting. The offensive line will hold up, and Hartman will chip away at the Cardinals secondary until it breaks. I’m laying the points and taking the Demon Deacons.

My picks: Wake Forest -7.5 (-104) U 62.5 (-105)

New Mexico State vs San Jose State (-25.5) -112; 52.5

San Jose State opened the season with a stat-padding blowout win against Southern Utah, but against FBS, opponents are only averaging nine points per game. The Spartans offense should fare better against New Mexico State, yet it is hard to see them winning by 28 points. New Mexico State has not lost a game by more than 27 points yet this season, including an 18-point loss to San Diego State (No. 35 in CBS Rankings), who appears to be a much better team than San Jose State. The Aggies are 4-1 ATS in their last five versus the Mountain West and 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 overall. New Mexico State is 0-6 ATS in their last six in October as well. Meanwhile, the Spartans are 5-1-1 ATS in their last eight in October and 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven at home. San Jose State is also 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine on turf.

I’m probably going with New Mexico State. The Aggies have some things to tighten up on both sides of the ball, though. New Mexico State gave up 492 yards to Hawaii, along with 8.5 yards per play and 21 first downs. The Aggies gave away three turnovers and had a limp 4.6 yards-per-play average themselves. As for San Jose State, it’s going to be tough to bounce back from their tepid result last week versus a pretty decent Western Michigan team. The Spartans notched just 124 total yards in that one, along with 2.2 yards per play, 12 first downs, eight penalties and three turnovers. I like SJSU to play better in this one but the cover is probably the Aggies’ to take. Take the Aggies to keep this game close enough to cover.

My picks: New Mexico State +25.5 (-108); O 52.5 (-105)

Fresno State vs Hawaii (+10.5) -108; 64.5

The Rainbow Warriors have lost three of their last five games and they are struggling defensively, giving up over 30 points per game. They haven’t played well against the pass and they’re going up against one of the best passing teams in the league, so expect a long night for their secondary, which has given up nine passing touchdowns so far. Even though the Rainbow Warriors have also done well throwing the ball, they won’t have a lot of success against the Bulldogs, who have the 44th-best pass defense in the country and a ferocious pass rush that has produced 14 sacks in five games, so go with the Bulldogs to cover the spread here. The Bulldogs are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 road games and 38-18-2 ATS in their last 58 games overall. The Rainbow Warriors are 13-30-1 ATS in their last 44 home games and 10-21 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in Bulldogs last 5 conference games. The under is 7-2 in Rainbow Warriors last 9 games overall. The Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 meetings in Hawaii.

I don’t like to bet against Hawaii at home, as the Rainbow Warriors are sneaky good on its home turf and the travel and what not does impact visiting teams. Instead, I’m looking at the over. Fresno State is an elite passing team that’s also 11th in total offense and 13th in points scored. Hawaii has had issues finishing drives this season, but the Rainbow Warriors are 45th in total offense and 29th in passing yards. These are two teams that can move the ball and score quickly. The over has also hit in five of Fresno State’s last seven games. Give me the over.

My picks: Fresno State -10.5 (-114); O 64.5 (-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: TBR, TOR, BOS, SFG, CIN, CWS, STL, LAD & SEA

· Sunday: BOS, CLE, TOR, PHI, CWS, COL, HOU & ATL

And for the main event on today’s podcast, we have my favorite picks for Sunday’s NFL matchups.

Titans vs Jets (+6) -110; 44.5

New York has scored a laughable 20 points through 3 games; no other team has posted fewer than 48. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson is not getting any help, but he has been terrible in his own right (2 TDs and 7 INTs while getting sacked 15 times). No running back on the roster is averaging more than 30 yards per game and as a team the Jets are averaging fewer than 4.0 yards per carry.

Tennessee, on the other hand, is the biggest division favorite in the entire NFL at -500. Sure, that has a lot more to do with the rest of the terrible AFC South than it does with the Titans, but they are a respectable 2-1 so far. Derrick Henry got off to a slow start but has rushed for 295 yards and 3 scores over the past 2 weeks. Tennessee’s defense just held Indianapolis to 265 total yards and now it faces an even worse New York offense. The Jets are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 overall and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 after scoring fewer than 15 points in their previous outing. It should also be noted that the favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings between these teams. Back the Titans.

It’s obvious that the only way Wilson and the Jets are going to be even remotely successful on offense is if they face an opponent with an anemic pass rush. That used to apply to the Titans, but they have a decent 7 sacks through 3 weeks, putting them in the top half of the league in that department. And New York’s offensive line could not contain any defense right now. Losing OT Mekhi Becton to injury has been every bit as bad as advertised.

Meanwhile, Tennessee has three starting pass-catchers listed as questionable, including WRs Julio Jones and AJ Brown. The Titans have to do almost all of the work themselves to take this over the total, and I don’t see that happening. The under is 6-1 in the Jets’ last 7 overall, 5-2 in their last 7 at home, and 4-0 in their last 4 against opponents with winning records. Look for this to stay under the total.

My picks: Tennessee Titans -6 (-110) & U 44.5 (-114)

Chiefs vs Eagles (+7) -115; 54.5

The Kansas City Chiefs will travel all the way to Philadelphia to meet the Eagles on Sunday at 1pm ET. Both teams are 1-2 right now but they are very different 1-2s. The Chiefs dropped a game to the Chargers 30-24 last week after Los Angeles scored 10 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. The Chiefs looked good offensively despite scoring ‘only’ 24 points. Patrick Mahomes threw 2 interceptions, but both were questionable as to whether or not they were his fault. One was definitely not, as it hit Marcus Kemp right in the hands, but somehow ended up in Asante Samuel Jr.’s hands. Without turnovers this week, they could easily drop 40+ on the Eagles’ Swiss cheese defense.

Monday night was a tough look for the Eagles, as Dallas could have beaten them by even more than the 41-21 final score. Dak Prescott fumbled in the end zone (I say it was an interception), leading to one of the Eagles’ scores and there was also the time he appeared to score on a quarterback sneak but was denied by the replay officials. The point is, the Eagles got absolutely pumped and it could have easily been 48-14 or so. Now they get an angry Chiefs team. I don’t care that the line has moved from Kansas City -8.5 to -7. Jalen Hurts simply can’t be trusted to keep up score-for -score with Kansas City. Take the Chiefs.

This one opened at 50, so the value here is almost totally gone but I can’t bring myself to take the under. For starters, the Kansas City defense is bad. I don’t think they are as bad as they have shown so far, but they are bad. They are currently dead last in total defense (DVOA) and it’s not even close. It’s bizarre because they are dead last against the pass and the run. Usually we don’t see teams that can’t stop either, but here we are. If the Eagles can hang 20+, which is possible, then we have a shot.

Kansas City is likely to be able to score almost at will against the Eagles defense. I don’t like narrative street but the “Andy Reid going back to Philadelphia” story is borderline in play here. If the Chiefs can push the scoring and have the Eagles on skates trying to keep up, this could easily turn into a 41-24 type game. Take the over.

My picks: Kansas City Chiefs -7 (-105) & O 54.5 (-105)

Texans vs Bills (-17.5) -104; 47

One thing we should really never do as sports bettors is take a team -16.5 to cover. It feels like it never turns out well but this Sunday it might. The Buffalo Bills are hosting the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon and they should slaughter them. Houston looked absolutely lost in their 24-9 loss last Thursday night without starting QB Tyrod Taylor. The game was not even as close as the final score indicates. It was a beating. Davis Mills isn’t ready to be an NFL starter and he may never be. Houston failed to notch 200 yards of total offense last week and it won’t get any easier against the Bills.

After losing 23-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, the Bills have absolutely embarrassed two opponents in a row. First it was the Miami Dolphins, 35-0, and last week it was the Washington Football Team, 43-21. Buffalo is an absolute wagon at the moment but that isn’t the whole reason they will cover this number. The reason they could cover 20+ is the fact that they play fast no matter what. When most teams would take their foot off the gas, they press harder. All gas no brakes teams cover big spreads. They’re top-10 in pace no matter the situation. Up 7, down 7, neutral situation, whatever. Once they’re up 31-7, they won’t sit on the ball and allow a backdoor cover. They can be trusted with this big number.

This one is tricky because we can’t just slam the over and move on with our lives. We obviously want to, given the style of play the Bills operate with, but we can’t. The reason is because the Texans are a very bad football team. They have a win, but that was against the Jacksonville Jaguars, so it doesn’t count. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. I can’t stress how bad they looked against Carolina last Thursday night.

My hot take is that I don’t know if the Texans will score in this game. Seriously, they might not. They could muster only 9 points last week against the Panthers and that’s the only team better than the Bills in terms of defense (DVOA). If for whatever reason Buffalo slowed down the pace of play, then over bettors would be dead in the water. Take the under.

My picks: Buffalo Bills -17.5 (-104) & U 47 (-110)

Cardinals vs Rams (-4.5) -115; 54.5

The Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams is low-key one of the best games of Week 4. It has it all. Offense, offense, points, offense and more offense. Both teams have decent defenses but let’s face it, today’s NFL is offense-driven. The Cardinals have a top-10 defense (DVOA) right now and we’ve seen them give up 33 points to Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings. This week they will be facing a team that could be in for a letdown, but I’m not even sure that will stop Matt Stafford. He seems to be on a mission and so is Sean McVay. They’ve got the best offense in football right now (DVOA) and they are just getting started. What they did to Tampa Bay last week was impressive.

I don’t want to hold what happened last week against Arizona. They went east to play a very bad Jacksonville team after a thriller. Still, they were down at the half and scored only 24 points on offense as they had a pick-6 that got them to 31. They’re a good team and should stay in the playoff hunt all season long, but if they come out flat this Sunday, they will get rolled. We’ve seen Cousins toss 3 touchdowns against them and I think we’ll see Stafford top that. Take the Rams -4.5 in this game.

This total is at 54.5 right now and there is still value to be had. The Rams offense is playing lights-out now and can score in a variety of ways. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they don’t put up at least 30. They are a big play waiting to happen and while the Cardinals have given up only 4 20+ yard pass plays this season, that has more to do with who they played. The Rams are a completely different animal.

Even though the Rams have a very good defense, we just saw Tom Brady throw for 400+ yards against them last week. Given how good Los Angeles’ offense is, opponents are forced to sell out and throw early in the second half. If that happens this week, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals are more than capable of hanging their fair share of points. Even if the Rams are held in check, there’s a good chance the Cardinals will score anyway. I would not want to be holding an under ticket in the fourth quarter of this game. Take the over.

My picks: Los Angeles Rams -4.5 (-106) & O 54.5 (-105)

Steelers vs Packers (-6.5) -115; 45.5

Aaron Rodgers cares about football again — that was the general overview of Green Bay’s impressive victory on the road in San Francisco, but there was certainly more to take away from that Week 3 game, and none of it was good as far as Sunday’s visitors to Lambeau Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are concerned. Rodgers looked laser-focused on his return to his home state of California as he went 23-of-33 for 261 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions against the vaunted Niners defense. It was just like old times as Rodgers connected with Davante Adams 12 times as the Packers star receiver enjoyed his best day of the season so far. Adams and Rodgers were excellent but we’ve come to expect that. What was more impressive was the performance of Green Bay in the trenches. The offensive line protected Rodgers brilliantly against the 49ers, allowing only 1 sack, while the defensive front shut down San Fran’s ground game and got to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on a regular basis.

The performances of the lines should be what worries the Steelers the most. Their offensive line currently ranks as the worst in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA, with a running game completely absent from Pittsburgh’s arsenal through 3 weeks. That lack of protection has left quarterback Ben Roethlisberger badly exposed, a quarterback who was not the most mobile even in his prime. This year is surely the final chapter of Big Ben’s NFL career and he’ll be left at the start line if this game becomes a quarterback showdown. As has been the case all year, only Pittsburgh’s defense can save them and they should be boosted by the returns of TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith this week after the pair missed the loss to Cincinnati. Defense was enough for the Steelers to triumph in Week 1 at Buffalo, but teams have shaken off the rust now and if they faced the Bills again, it might be a very different outcome. While having Watt and Highsmith back will make a big difference for the Steelers, it shouldn’t be enough to stop Green Bay moving to 3-1 and covering for the 6th time in the last 8 games.

It’s near impossible to count on a Pittsburgh team that is averaging only 16.7 ppg on offense but is so good on defense to push a total in the mid-40s over. The holes on this Green Bay defense are in the secondary, but you have to question whether Roethlisberger can expose those flaws based on his recent performances. At least Pittsburgh’s defense can be counted on to perform against Rodgers and co having given up 30 or more points once in their last 35 games.

The Packers are hardly hospitable hosts either, allowing fewer than 20 points in 4 of their last 5 home outings and the under, which is 3-0 on the year in Steelers’ games, looks set to remain undefeated.

My picks: Green Bay Packers -6.5 (-115) & U 45.5 (-110)

The remaining picks for Sunday:

· Chicago Bears -3 (-108)

· Washington Football Team -1.5 (-110)

· Cleveland Browns -2.5 (-110)

· Indianapolis Colts +1.5 (-104)

· Dallas Cowboys -4.5 (-110)

· New Orleans Saints -7 (-115)

· San Francisco 49ers -3 (-104)

· Baltimore Ravens -1 (-112)

· Tampa Bay Buccaneers -7 (-110)

· Los Angeles Chargers -3 (-115)

I would like to thank all the readers for joining me today, if you have any questions or any betting 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 5 picks, college football week 6 picks, Baseball playoffs picks and soon I will also be covering the beginning of the NHL season. So, readers please rate/review the article and I’ll be back soon to bless your eyes again.


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