GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 PIGSKIN PICKS: 56-36 ATS...61%
NFL 21-16 - NCAA 17-11 - Teasers 18-9 - Lovely Ladies 92-0
GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 HARDWOOD PICKS: 6-2 ATS…75%
NBA 3-2 - NCAA 3-1 - Teasers 1-0…3-0 last night baby!
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (+3) @ CHICAGO BEARS
Just like I knew what to expect from Poison Ivy 2 (terrible acting but the riveting experience of seeing Samantha Micelli on the darkside of Who’s The Boss), the game plans for tonight’s pigskin tilt is more predictable than the happy ending in the cinematic thriller Whoriental Academy 7. I know the so-called “Bears Weather” has prognosticators jumping on the "Matt Forte runs all over the Saints"-bandwagon, but I expect New Orleans to put 14 in-the-box and force Orton to beat them his arm. Unfortunately, the combination of a cold/slick field and a weak WRing-core means the Saints will be able to jam the WRs and make GM Jerry Angelo look even worse for ignoring the Bears biggest flaw this off-season. As a result, the only weapons in the passing game will be TEs Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark, and Forte out of the backfield…and I just don’t think that can match what (Sean) Payton, Kardashian, Brees, & Co. bring to the table.
In addition, with the playoff pressure and the nationwide belief they must run the ball at nausea tonight, no matter how the Saints game plan Lovie will smash the ball all night with the kid from Tulane. Maybe the Saints D is so bad it wouldn’t matter if Kirstie Alley was in the box with’em, but I believe the desperate, playoff-hungry squad can slow the Bears ground attack. New Orleans does rank 20th in rush defense, but is giving-up a respectable 4.1 average to the opposition and should improve on that with the added emphasis I expect.
While I believe Orton has the abilities to be a legit NFL signal-caller and was not afraid to audible earlier in the year, with the pressure of tonight’s game and not having the same moxy since the Vikings debacle, I can’t see him changing too much at the line of scrimmage. Throw-in the numerous drops from a receiving core that should look even worse in this weather and a 26th ranked YPA average (6.3), and I’d be shocked if Orton passes for more than 150 yards.
As for the leagues deadliest offense, while most believe the Windy City will cause plenty of problems, the Bears secondary is slow, has limited depth, and should have trouble quickly reacting on a frozen Soldier Field. As a result, look for Sean Payton to spread out the Bears with three & four WR-sets enabling a rested Reggie Bush to maneuver one-on-one against a LBer. I’m guessing we’ll see at least ten catches from Mr. Kardashian, including at least two for over 40 yards, while RB Pierre Thomas (last 4 weeks: 311 yrds, 5.4 avg) will continue to impress with Chicago’s D stretched all over the field.
When Brees does air it out, his options are more plentiful than Alex Rodriguez following a divorce…lil Lance Moore (62 rec, 8 TD) is stronger than most expect, Marques Colston (18.2 avg) has the size & hands to dominate on a jump ball, Devery Henderson (23.9 avg) has sprinter speed, and a pair of TEs (Shockey & Miller- 79 catches) roam the middle of the field with ease. Against an average Bears pass rush that should look even slower tonight, look for Brees to have plenty of time to do what he does best…survey the field, look off the D-Backs, and inch closer to Danny Marino’s record. BTW, do you remember how the Bears made journeymen Gus Frerotte & Kerry Collins (587 yards combined) and rookie Matt Ryan (301 yards) look?
In closing, call me hater if you’d like Chicago, but it this ain’t about my friends, my team, or my antagonistic ways…it’s about my MFin mula baby! The Monsters of the Midway don’t have the swagger of years past and have only shown the ability to stop one aspect of a team’s attack…and usually it’s the run. Against Green Bay's balanced attacked they were steamrolled, and while I don’t believe they’ll be blown-out tonight, I do believe that can’t hang with the Big Easy football-firm of Payton, Kardashian, Brees & Co. Sorry Chi-Town, but at least you’ll be pissed-off with a little extra coin in your pocket.
Final Score: SAINTS 24 BEARS 17
Alrighty then, let's hit-up some NCAA Hardwood ATS Luv!
ST. JOE'S HAWKS @ VILLANOVA WILDCATS (-11)
After losing to the Longhorns Monday...(Touch Me Here)
...OK, I'm back!
ST. JOE'S HAWKS @ VILLANOVA WILDCATS (-11)
Coach Jay Wright is too good & too intense to let the Cats mope through tonight's contest after taking their first defeat against Texas Monday. On the flipside, this is isn't your Step Mother's Jameer Nelson/Delonte West-Hawks squad. Last year St. Joe's had a solid season, considering they weren't very deep, going 19-11 before losing in Round One of the Big Dance. Unfortunetly (or fortunetly if you play Nova), they lost their 6-10 silky shooter Pat Calathes (18 ppg, 8 rpg, 40-3pt%) and a phenomenal third option in another big who could stroke it in Rob Ferguson (12 ppg, 5 rpg, 44-3pt%). Without them, the Hawks are .500 and been relying solely on bruising PF Ahmad Nivins (19 ppg, 11 rpg, 69-fg%) ...with rest of team shooting under 40% from the field and under 30% from behind the arc. And tonight, Nivins will be contested by PF Dante Cunningham (18 ppg, 8 rpg, 58-fg%) who proved versus the Longhorns he's the real MFin deal. Throw-in a plethora of aggressive guards & athletic wings, and I expect the Cats to roll easily tonight...especially at home in The Pavilion!
NOVA BY 16-22 POINTS