GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 PIGSKIN PICKS: 42-27 ATS...61%
NFL 14-12 - NCAA 16-9 - Teasers 12-6 - Happiness 69-0
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#14 BALL ST. CARDINALS (teased -14) @ MIAMI (OH) REDHAWKS
#14 BALL ST. CARDINALS @ MIAMI (OH) REDHAWKS (teased ova 46)
Not only are the undefeated Cardinals relying on the excitement from the uncharted waters of national exposure and their program-altering success. As mentioned last week, the career-ending injury to the heart-n-soul of the squad, SR WR Dante Love, early in the year raised the stakes and aided in their focus in taking advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity (TOUCH ME HERE and scroll down for last week’s scouting report on Ball St). While QB Nate Davis (19 TD, 5 INT, 68-comp%) has received most the hype as he’s basically picked apart every team on the docket this season with a loaded receiving core, the reason Ball State has dominated virtually every opponent is a solid O-Line and diminutive backfield that has yet to be contained.
5-6 Jr. MiQuale Lewis (1108 yrds, 5.8 avg, 15 TD) has been a nightmare for opponents to find and reminds me of the great ISU Cyclone Troy Davis with more explosion and better hands out of the backfield. And considering Wally Szczerbiak’s alma mater ranks 95th in the nation in rushing yards allowed, I have feeling MiQuale might break the 200 yard barrier by the 3rd quarter. Throw-in the dangerous 5-7 Fr. Corey Sykes (389 yrds, 6.0 avg, 3 TD) for a couple touches a game, the mobility of QB Nate Davis, and eight players with double-digit catches, and the balance for Ball St. might be the best in the country and virtually unstoppable for Miami tonight.
Speaking of the (2-7) Redhawks, they lost by 33 at home to (2-7) Kent St. two weeks ago and lost at Buffalo by 20 last Tuesday night (TOUCH ME HERE and scroll down for last week’s scouting report on Miami-OH). With the season spiraling out of control, the coaching staff has turned things over to the youngsters in a desperate attempt to tell the alumni they’re rebuilding and developing the stars of tomorrow…yeah, not buying it. Especially w/ many of the veterans already checked-out on the season & a home-crowd that might be heckling their own squad by the 2nd quarter, and I just don’t see how they’ll have the focus needed to stop the vaunted Ball St. attack.
Now I know some of you think I’m acting like a BEEATCH by teasing this down, but considering I’ve won 67% of my Pigskin Teasers this year…suck it Homboys & Homegirls! The ova (teased to -46) seems like a given as Ball St. ranks 11th in the nation in scoring (38.3 ppg) and should crack at least 40 against a revamped & youthful Redhawks D. As a result, worse case scenario Miami just needs to score a TD & FG to cover the first half of our teaser, which shouldn’t be too hard with all the possessions Nate Davis & Co. will give them. Also, Miami has scored ova 17 pts the last three weeks & should get an additional boost late when the Cardinals pull their starters to prevent any further injuries with Cent. Michigan (5-0, 7-2) on the horizon. As a result, while I know MiQuale will run wild and break this thing open early, I keep picturing a 40-14 score late in the 4th when Miami grabs a garbage tally to make me thankful the gambling gods invented teasers.
Final Score: CARDINALS 41 REDHAWKS 17
HOT-LANTA HAWKS @ CHICAGO BULLS (-3)
I know Vinny Del Scott Baio looks unbelievably overwhelmed and a 20 year-old has the keys to this thing, but the Bulls are catching a Hawks squad at the perfect time. Having unexpectedly opened 5-0, the Bulls grab a discount at the ATS-window even with ATL playing without their only true defensive presence around the basket in Josh Smith (out 2 to 4 weeks). And tonight, they hit-up snowy Chi-Town after only visiting warm-weather cities thus far, so expect a squad with the moniker Hot-Lanta to need a few quarters to loosen-up those legs to keep up with Derrick Rose (17.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 46 fg%).
The weather won't be this warm or to the likings of ATL!
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And talk about a match-up nightmare for Coach Mike Woodson and the Hawks. I’d be shocked if Mike “No-D” Bibby even attempts to shadow the lighting-quick rook tonight and can’t see how the Hawks can afford to let their leading scoring Joe Johnson (especially with J-Smith out) expend the type of energy needed at both ends. Throw-in the highflying void around the basket with J-Smith out and I can’t see how Al Horford & Zaza Pachulia stop Rose flying to the cup, T-Time from swooping in, and Deng sneakily slashing baseline. And finally, while some think the loss of Capt Kirk is a silent dagger, I expect the streaky Benny G to explode over the next few weeks as he gets more comfortable running with Rose and finds his sweet-spots in transition and on the kick-out…Bulls roll by 10-15 points
UTAH JAZZ @ PHILLY 76ERS (-5)
No D-Williams means Andre Miller can muscle his way past Ronnie Price & Brevin Knight all night. No Okur means the undersized Jazz frontcourt (Boozer, Millsap, & AK-47) should struggle on the glass w/ Elton, Thad Young, Sammy D, & the sack-grabber Reggie Evans. And no Harpring means the explosive Iggy & Thad can outmuscle A.J. Miles & Ronnie Brewer to fire-up the home-crowd by getting to the cup.
Picking the Sixers is like taking candy from an Asian!
In closing, the Jazz are extremely undermanned, are catching an athletic & long 76ers squad at home desperate for a win, and don’t have a PG with the size to stop Andre Miller from banging his way through the lane all night…Sixers by 9-14 points