I had another disappointing week with my predictions, going 3-5. That makes my season record 8-12-1. But this week's college football schedule contains a number of games on which I have strong opinions, and I will be making my first double play of the season.
But first, as an exiled New Yorker, I can't let the first
of my generation pass without a selection. I believe the
will crush the
, and I have taken +$1.25 on them. I should offer the disclaimer that I have been a fan of the Mets from the beginning (1962), so a portion of this bet may be with my heart rather than my head.
In any event, those of you who live in the New York area will have a great week -- I wish I could be there. The series offers an interesting matchup, with the Mets' left-handed starting pitchers,
, offering a difficult challenge to the Yankees.
To say the Yankees have been weak against anybody is stretching the truth, although they
had difficulty against tough lefties. So that will make this fascinating to go along with all of that New York/New York fun.
The World Series will end with:
The Mets winning in six games or less.
The Yankees winning in six games or less.
The Mets winning in seven games.
The Yankees winning in seven games.
This Week's Football Predictions
Now, on to this week's games. This year, games in the NFL have seen a strong trend developing in favor of the road teams. Road underdogs are 15-9 (62.5%) against the spread, and road favorites that are favored by less than seven points are 13-4 (77%) against the spread. It is a handicapping factor worth considering, particularly with home teams that are having bad years.
Tennessee (minus 3) over Alabama (double play)
The Tennessee Volunteers' home field, Neyland Stadium, holds more than 100,000 people -- and every seat is filled for every home game. I give Tennessee a 7-point home-field advantage. Talentwise, the Volunteers and the Crimson Tide are about even, so I think the line on this game should be Tennessee by 7.
It appears to me that the betting line is low because Tennessee has failed to cover the point spread in four of five games thus far. Also, Alabama has played respectably in two recent home games, and it has an 8-1 record against the point spread in the last nine games as a visiting team.
Tennessee has a solid defense that limits opponents to 2.1 yards per carry, a key statistic, since Alabama's passing quarterback,
, was injured last week and is out for the year. The Tide will be going with
at quarterback, and while he has performed well at home this year, I don't believe he will perform well in front of the hostile Tennessee crowd.
The Volunteers used the week off last week to switch quarterbacks -- from
to true freshman
. I believe Clausen will be Tennessee's quarterback in the future and will perform well against a mediocre Alabama defense. That is why I am doubling up on this game.
Pittsburgh (minus 3 1/2) over Boston College
Boston College has won seven of the last eight meetings with the Panthers. This year, however, Pittsburgh has a quality quarterback in
and very good receivers in
. Pitt has played only two games in the last four weeks and is healthy. The Panthers' defense has permitted opponents to gain only 1.3 yards per rushing attempt. Boston College is coming off an emotional homecoming victory over
last week. The Eagles have an erratic quarterback in
, and Pittsburgh needs this victory after a bitter overtime defeat at Syracuse two weeks ago. I think the Panthers will jump on the Eagles from the start.
Syracuse (plus 13 1/2) over Virginia Tech
Syracuse lost to Virginia Tech last year by 62-0. It now gets to play the Hokies at home in the mother of all revenge games.
It is always difficult for me to wager against Virginia Tech quarterback
, because he is capable of putting up 50 points in any game. The Hokies' Achilles' heel is their rushing defense. Syracuse is averaging almost six yards a carry this season with
. Virginia Tech will stack the line of scrimmage and force quarterback
to pass. Nunes is not a great quarterback and has thrown a number of interceptions, but if the Orangemen stay close in the first half, I expect them to cover the point spread. This is a dangerous game for Virginia Tech.
Illinois (plus 2) over Penn State
Illinois learned a valuable lesson two weeks ago when an unprepared team went to
and was blown out by the Gophers. This week, the Illini travel to State College, Pa., to take on the Nittany Lions. For the first time in a long time, Illinois has superior talent. I expect a focused effort from quarterback
, and the Illini should get a straight-up victory over Penn State. The Nittany Lions beat
earlier this year at home, but the triumph was tainted because of the inept play of the Boilermakers' special teams.
Purdue (minus 3) over Wisconsin
suffered a concussion last week and is questionable for this game. The backup quarterback for the Badgers is a redshirt freshman. Purdue's defense limited
to 83 rushing yards last week, and Wisconsin's running attack is no better than that of the Wildcats. Purdue has a well-balanced offense, and I can't see a depleted Wisconsin offense keeping pace with the Boilermakers, who have the best pure passer in the country in
. I don't see Wisconsin scoring more than 17 points, and I don't see Purdue scoring less than 20.
Texas (minus 21) over Missouri
The Texas defense is finally getting healthy, and Longhorn coach
has finally settled on
as his quarterback. Last week, Texas bounced back from a lopsided loss to
on the road. This week the Longhorns face a declining Missouri team, with a lame-duck coach and a second-string quarterback. Missouri allowed
to gain 453 yards last week, and I am looking for Texas to put plenty of points on the board. This game should be over by halftime.
Buffalo Bills (plus 6 1/2) over Minnesota Vikings
. That's all you need to know for this game. Flutie will present severe problems for a Viking defense that has been adequate at best this year. Buffalo has the second-ranked defense in the NFL, and will put pressure on quarterback
to limit his opportunities to complete passes to the best receiving corps in the league. Last week, the Bills were looking ahead to this game when they barely beat the
at home. Minnesota may be getting overconfident because of its undefeated start, and the 6 1/2 points loom large in this game. I am also relying upon the extraordinary rate at which visiting teams are covering the spread this season.
Miami Dolphins-New York Jets (under 35 1/2 points)
I expect both teams to play for field position in this Monday night game at the Meadowlands.
, the Jets' center, is questionable and he is critical to the success of the team's rushing attack. Miami has an outstanding defense and a mediocre offense. The Dolphins have played "under" games four out of six times this season. I look for a lot of punting and a very low final score.
Barry Lieberman was a litigator with the U.S. Department of Justice for nine years and is currently the general counsel for a company that operates four hotel/casinos in Las Vegas. He has been an amateur gambler for more than 20 years and successfully concluded last football season by winning on 55% of his college and pro selections posted on TheStreet.com. He welcomes your feedback at