2005 Week 3 NFL Pick Review

three was sure to get me back to .500 overall. Right? Wrong! After Sunday, the best I could do was hope for .500 on the Week. It was a long Monday Night football game to say the least. So, I switched over to the LSU game, which I was sure to win, up 21-0 early. Lost that one too… Bottom line, Lucky hates Mondays. I was 14-17-1 after two weeks. This week didn’t help the cause. week three wasn’t as bad as week one, but 6-8 doesn’t cut it. I had some tough luck, picking 3 winners that didn’t cover. But life goes on. I have a feeling week 4 will bring me back to the top. Either that, or I’ll be living on the bottom. When I say bottom, I mean my ass. My 6-8 week three took me to 20-25-1 overall. Here’s to better days ahead… Cheers!
Atlanta @ Buffalo (-3) – Falcons 28 – Bills 16. JP Losman had a Kyle Boller-like day. He threw for 75 whole yards, and didn’t do a single thing to help his team win. Willis McGahee had a huge came, rushing for 140 yards, as I had predicted. It wasn’t enough to take a win from Mike Vick and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons. Vick didn’t have stellar passing totals, as he rarely does, but he did a good job controlling the game, and made unbelievable plays when his team needed him. Mike is an amazing talent! The Falcons defense doesn’t seem able to stop the run, as both Alexander last week, and McGahee this week have shown. This will haunt the Falcons throughout the season, but it didn’t stop them from starting my week off with a loss.

Jacksonville (+2.5) @ New York Jets – Jaguars 26 – Jets 20. Byron Leftwich fought through the pain in his junk and lead the Jaguars to a huge overtime victory. The Jets held tight the entire game. Pennington went down with a rotator cuff problem, and then came back once Jay Fiedler went down with the same problem. Pennington did just enough to take his team to overtime, but the Jet defense couldn’t hold off the Jaguar attack. Fred Taylor had a good game, and Curtis Martin was held in check by one of the leagues best rush defenses. In overtime, Leftwich led a nice drive, ending with one of the greatest tight wire sideline acts I’ve ever seen. Jimmy Smith caught a Leftwich pass on the left sideline, running towards the end zone, Smith was shoved out of bounds. But instead of going out, Smith tip toed the sidelines, and swung the ball over the goal line for the winning touchdown early in the extra period. The Jaguars won, I won, everything was happy!

Tennessee (+6.5) @ St. Louis – Titans 27 – Rams 31. As I had predicted, the Rams went to 3-8 against the spread in their last 11. The Titans almost pulled off a huge upset, but got stopped by the luck of Mike Martz and his fellow leprachans. Steve McNair had his best passing day of the season, throwing for two touchdowns. Torry Holt went crazy, catching nearly a dozen passes for 160+ yards. Steven Jackson was slightly injured, though he did return. In his absence, viewers got the privilege of seeing Marshal Faulk run like he used to. That, and the fact that the Rams couldn’t cover, made this game a success. The Titans battled just enough to cover my ass, taking me to 2-1.

Oakland @ Philadelphia (-7.5) – Raiders 20 – Eagles 23. “The Raiders have played well for a team without a win.” This statement still holds truth. Their defense played tough but Donovan McNabb and the Eagles’ best weapon, Brian Westbrook, were too much for the Raiders to handle. This game just proved how ridiculously good Brian Westbrook is. This guy is the Reggie Bush of the NFL. TO did outperform Randy Moss, as Owens was the only one to score. Kerry didn’t play as poorly as I had imagined, lets hope he keeps that up in the next few weeks, The Raiders are the best 0-3 team in football… without question. Wait, they’re the only 0-3 team besides the Packers. Well, they’re better than them! These Raiders are going to start winning, you just wait and see. For now, they’re just good enough to make me lose, covering easily.

Cincinnati (-3) @ Chicago – Bengals 24 – Bears 7. Carson Palmer is the real deal. Even against a very stingy Bear defense, Palmer still managed to control the game, throwing two key touchdowns, and taking his Begals to victory. Rudi Johnson didn’t help his Fantasy owners, but his constant pounding helped Cincinnati control the line of scrimmage, in turn controlling the game. This one was never close. Thomas Jones had a big day for the Bears, but Kyle Orton had one of the worst first halfs in Bear history. He threw 4 interceptions early. The Bengals are one of the leagues best teams. Their defense is solid like stale licorice, and their offense is second to none.

New Orleans (+4) @ Minnesota – Saints 16 – Vikings 33. The Saints didn’t play well on Daunte’s big day. It wasn’t his birthday or anything, but it might as well have been. Culpepper looked like the old Daunte, throwing for 300 yards 3 touchdowns and no, that’s right, zero turnovers. This was an even bigger day than I had expected from Daunte. The Saints didn’t play up to their underdog champion title, but don’t count them out. Every team has tough games, just ask Baltimore. New Orleans just looked too exhausted to c compete. It’s tough to watch, you know all the problems at home are making Sundays tough. They’ll play through it, though. Watch out for the Saints when things get less hectic at home. This loss took me to 3-3 on the morning.

Carolina (-3) @ Miami – Panthers 24 – Dolphins 27. It’s been an amazing first three weeks. The mighty Panthers are 1-2 and the Dolphins are 2-1. I can’t say enough about Nick Saban… so I won’t try. Ronnie Brown joined his old back field mate, Cadillac Williams, as a top rookie performer. Brown broke out of his early shell, and rumbled for a buck twenty three. (123 yards and a touchdown) Gus Frerotte through the ball fairly well, tossing touchdowns to Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael. Jake Delhomme threw three touchdowns, all to Steve Smith, who had one of the biggest days by a receiver in some time. (170 yards, 3 touchdowns) But it wasn’t enough, as the Miami Dolphins held the Panthers’ bread and butter rushing attack in order. Steven Davis rushed for a mammoth 36 yards, and was held scoreless. The Dolphins amazed me for the third straight week. They’ve really played above and beyond expectations. They’ve done damage to my record, that’s for sure. The Dolphin upset brought me down to 3-4.

Cleveland (+14) @ Indianapolis – Browns 6 – Colts 13. If you want to see one hell of a game prediction, look at my week three picks column for this game. I got every single thing right besides the Manning prediction. Peyton just hasn’t been the same guy who tossed 49 TD’s last year. Speaking of a different guy, the Indianapolis Colts seem to have 11 of them on defense. Indianapolis had one of the worst defenses in the league a year ago. Now those same guys are taking Manning and the rest of the offense on their backs, and winning games the shut down way. It’s quite the change of events. Tony Dungy and Colt fans have to be excited, knowing damn well that the Colt offense will find a way to score more points soon. Those Brownies are fighters though, I’ll tell you that! Trent Dilfer can run a team, and Romeo Crenell can coach. Mistakes on big plays killed the Browns. Trent took his team close enough for my dollar, playing within the spread without much difficulty. I was .500 once again.

Tampa Bay (-3.5) @ Green Bay – Buccaneers 17 – Packers 16. The Packers had plenty of chances early on, but late in the game it was rookie sensation Carnell Williams who ended any hopes the Packers had. Cadillac carried the pig 37 times for 158 yards. This was the third straight game over 100 yards for Williams. Williams has more yards after his first three games than any other back ever. Impressive! What really impressed me was Cadillac’s resilience. After about three quarters, Williams had a 2.9 yard per carry average, and only 75 yards. He never slowed down. Carnell broke down the Packers, and hammered them in the 4th quarter. It was his big runs that eliminated any chance Brett Favre would have to pull off one of his late game heroics. Griese played well, but not great. Joey Galloway took a step back in time, catching two early touchdown balls. Brett threw more interceptions than touchdowns for his second time this season. But that wasn’t enough to keep his packers from covering the spread. Tampa won, but not by enough to get me a W. Under .500 again! Bugger!

Arizona @ Seattle (-6) – Cardinals 12 – Seahawks 37. I went against the Hawks’ recent 2-8 record in games they’re favored against the spread, and won because of it. Kurt Warner got hurt, but he showed me something when he was in… he’s not the answer for Dennis Green. These Seahawks might even be better than I had expected. They have a hustling, smack you in the mouth defense. Hasselbeck looks like he’s finally getting it. And how about those receivers… They are actually catching the passes that hit them in the hands. Shaun Alexander is playing like a hero in his contract year. Cat had four touchdowns yesterday. Have you seen Shaun burp the baby in the zone? Ridiculous…. but hey, if you’re there so often, you might as well have some fun with it! The Hawks brought me back to even.

New England @ Pittsburgh (-3) – Patriots 23 – Steelers 20. The Pats were back to making me look bad in week 3, taking the Steelers by a field goal in the final seconds. Vinatieri’s can kick that ball! The Steelers didn’t take advantage of huge Patriot miscues, and lost despite playing a much better game of football. Sometimes that happens…. and sometimes I drop under .500 on the day… this was one of those days.

Dallas (-6.5) @ San Francisco – Cowboys 34 – Niners 31. Nothing is worse than the Cowboys winning the game without covering the spread. That’s right. I said it… I hate the Cowboys. This lucky-ass win against the horrendous Niners proved a couple of things to me… The Cowboys will still struggle to win half their games, and there’s no worse fate than betting on the Cowboys, losing money, and the Cowboys pulling out a victory. Balls! Drew Bledsoe looks like he’s been practicing agility drills daily. He’s still a dangly slow interception throwing donkey… but he looks better. The Boys won and brought me to 5-7. This brought a tear to my eye.

New York Giants @ San Diego (-5.5) – Giants 23 – Chargers 45. “Ladainian Tomlinson will eclipse the 100 yard mark for the first time this year. Antonio Gates is good for a touchdown, and everyone knows LT is taking one in.”(me) Thanks…. I’ll be here all week. LT took my words to heart, winning the game in tremendous fashion. LT ran touchdowns, threw them, and caught quite a few passes out of the backfield. Don’t give up on the Chargers quite yet… I certainly won’t. Brees, LT and the bunch brought me back to within a game of even, going into a sure Monday night victory.

Kansas City (+3) @ Denver – Chiefs 30 – Broncos 10. Boy was I wrong about this one. I still can’t believe the Chiefs got killed by the Broncos. The Broncos are just like the Rams… on any given week they could lose to Temple, and the next week they would beat the Patriots. What are you gonna do? Just hope you hit the jack pot. I was watching the pre-game on ESPN. I learned about the Monday NIght dominance the Bronco’s have. I wasn’t worried. Denver lost to the Dolphins 34-10 week one. How could they beat the 2-0 Chiefs? Play them on Monday Night I guess. The Broncos have a ridiculous winning percentage on Mondays. Jake Plummer looked like a completely different player, and Mike Anderson had a couple long Bronco runs that helped Denver take control. Trent Green finally threw a touchdown, but not until the game was over. This sure Monday victory turned my .500 record upside down, finishing me at 6-8. Nuts!

BIG MONEY BET OF THE WEEK: Titans +240 @ Rams

The Rams did their damnedest to lose this game and make me a winner, but they just did enough to take my money. The Rams gave up an easy scoring pass by Steve McNair, leaving the Titans down 7. As soon as they got the ball back, the Rams fumbled. A Titan defensive lineman picked up the fumble and took it back to tie the game. Unfortunate events unraveled soon after that, as the Rams kicked a field goal and ended up on top. The Titans did their best to make my bank, but those pesky Rams were there once again, messing up my big payoff.

Good Luck with your NFL Football Betting!
Lucky Lester – Free Football Picks

Week 4 College Football Picks Review

College Football Pick’em
I took 10 games and picked half of them right on the button. LSU’s big tumble on Monday night took me to an even .500. So I’m getting better at this college stuff … I had some tough games to pick. I highlighted my losses in red and my wins in blue to make it easier for everyone. Follow my review to see where I turned right, and of course where I turned left.

Michigan (-2.5) @ Wisconsin – Wolverines 20 – Badgers 23. This one broke my heart. The Badgers have been making money for me all season, and I let them down. They won again, taking the Michigan Wolverines out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 7 years. Crazy. Michigan will get back in by seasons’ end. As for now, those tough Badgers and Brian Calhoun are undefeated. Kudos to Barry Alverez for getting his kids ready week in and week out.

Tennessee @ LSU (-6.5) – Volunteers 30 – Tigers 27. Just as I had imagined the LSU Tigers came out with a passion. After the first half of play the Tigers had built a 21-0 lead on the Vols, who lost their starting quarterback after a tough tackle in the back of the end zone. After half the Tigers just didn’t get the bounces. Momentum changed teams, as he often does, and the Tennessee Volunteers tied the game late in the 4th quarter. LSU had a chance to win the game with a late field goal, but their time management was piss. The field goal unit wasn’ t even set when time ran out. Overtime was quick, the Tigers kicked a field goal… and after two tough stops on the 1 yard line, Riggs ran in for the score. LSU was too excited early, and it caught up with them late. Another loss evened me out at .500 for the week.

USC (-22) @ Oregon – Trojans 45 – Ducks 13. My prediction called for a 34 point differential and the final was 32. The ducks tried to trick USC in the beginning, playing well enough to be up 3 at the half. But the Trojans wouldn’t be had. Reggie Bush is the best player in the Nation, hands down. The Trojans have their toughest game of the year next week in Arizona. USC got me a much needed win after a scarry first half.

Notre Dame (-13.5) – Washington – Irish 36 – Huskies 17. I was a little off, but in the end the Fighting Irish won the game without much difficulty. The Huskies held on the a chance much later than I had expected, but the Irish got me another win, taking the Huskies by 19. Charlie Weis is a good football coach!

North Carolina @ North Carolina State (-10) – Tar Heels 31 – Wolfpack 24. How about them Tar Heels? I’m Carolina blue, through and through, so this lost felt as good on the inside as it hurt the check book outside. The Wolfpack just aren’t the team I thought they’d be. The Heels will play tough with anybody. Look for a big upset later in the season. The Wolfpack couldn’t get me a victory, but a Carolina upset at NC State is much much sweeter!

TCU (+3.5) @ BYU – TCU 51 – BYU 50. This game was too close for comfort. I was covering my eyes like a little girl at the end of Titanic. Subsequently all men, young and old alike, also are closing their eyes at the end of that movie. After three overtimes the TCU horned Frogs came out the victors, giving me another win on the day.

Western Michigan(-3.5) @ Temple – WM 19 – Temple 16. Ahhh…. Those damned Temple Owls. This is the second week in a row they lost when I bet against them. This also marks the second week in a row I didn’t win any money off them. This week was one worse than last, they didn’t cause a push, but covered the spread by a half point. Thanks. Another loss out of Temple, another loss for Lucky.

Boston College (+3) @ Clemson – Eagles 16 – Tigers 13. “The Boston College Eagles have another tough test against Clemson. BC has shown over the last few years, that they play well in bounce back games. This week should be no different.” (me) This game was everything I thought it would be. My prediction called for a 3 point game. The Final difference was 3 for my BC Eagles. This was a huge win for the Eagles who played without starting quarterback Quentin Porter. Another win for me!

Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (-11) – G-Tech 7 – V-Tech 51. Reggie Ball was back in action, but that didn’t help the hopeless Yellow Jackets. The Hokies got 21 combined points from defense and special teams. Marcus Vick showed he could be a consistant pocket passer, completing 13-18 for 223 yards. The Hokies didn’t have great offensive numbers, but they didn’t need to, as their defense brought ruckus all game long.

Iowa (+7) @ Ohio State – Hawkeyes 6 – Buckeyes 31. Before this Saturday, Heisman Hopeful Ted Ginn Jr. hadn’t shown me the greatness everyone predicted from him. Nothing has changed. Ginn caught three passes for thirty yards. On the other hand, new starting quarterback Troy Smith looked like an All American, throwing for just under 200 yards while rushing for 127. The Buckeyes destroyed Iowa in every aspect of the game. So much for what I said. The Buckeyes gave me my 4th Saturday loss on the week.

Free College Football Picks Week 5 2005

A Huge Upset on the Horizon!!!

I’ve got fourteen games for you to feast your eyes on. First, let me tell you, I’m not much for picking college upsets. And for the most part this week is no different. Besides the biggest upset of the week, maybe the year. Will the blessed ones fall? Who else thinks the number one team in the nation is going to get speared on the road? Read on and mark the words that fall from my page! Lucky’s about to be granted fortune teller status!

Kansas State (+7) @ Oklahoma – Talk about a fall from grace. This match-up used to play a huge roll in the conference’s champion. Although the Wildcats are 3-0 this year, they still aren’t expected to chase the title. But than again, the pathetic excuse for football the Oklahoma Sooners have been playing have slipped them from the top 25. Too bad Josh White couldn’t come back for his 8th year… Seriously, this game isn’t what it used to be. But even more than the Kansas State Wildcats, the Sooners just flat out suck. TCU, UCLA, these teams aren’t supposed to stand a chance against mighty Oklahoma. Look for State QB Allen Webb to do just enough to compliment the heavy rushing attack from Kansas, as the Sooners lose their 3rd game in this young season. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Kansas State Wildcats 21 – Oklahoma Sooners 20.

Notre Dame @ Purdue (-3) – The Irish ran into a very good Spartan club last week in Notre Dame. This week they travel to play the underrated Boilermakers of Purdue. Purdue lost a heart stopper to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in double overtime as Laurence Maroney stated his claim for the Heisman. This week Purdue gets the Fighting Irish at home after each team stumbled from the undefeated ranks a week ago. Brandon Kirsch is good enough to test the Irish secondary, while Jerod Void and Kory Sheets are tough enough rushing the ball to clobber the front seven of Notre Dame. This should be a very good game against two teams who will do all they can to keep their loss column to a single game. In the end it will be the team who comes to play with fire in their eyes and snot in their nostrils that comes out on top. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Notre Dame Fighting Irish 23 – Purdue Boilermakers 30.

Temple @ Bowling Green (-28) -Temple is very, very, almost as bad as Duke. (0-4, can it get any worse? yes, say 0-5) The Bowling Green Falcons only have one win to show for their first three games. But they’re better than that. They ran into a tough Wisconsin team in week one. Omar Jacobs was amazing in that game. In their second game, the Falcons took it to Ball State. Boise State hosted the Falcons last week, whooping them bad 20-48. Have you noticed anything? Sure, the Falcons haven’t beaten anybody special, but they haven’t been doormatted like the Owls either. Look for the Temple Owls to make a swift return the door of the heavy footed Bowling Green team for their 5th loss of the season. Are you interested in an offensive show of dominance? Try to buy a ticket to this game and watch Omar Jacobs wow you as well as Owl defenders. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Temple Owls 13 – Bowling Green Falcons 49.

Washington @ UCLA (-21.5) – Those pesky Huskies were back in fine form last week, giving me another win after stunning me with their first win of the season two weeks ago against Idaho. Unfortunately for the Dogs, good things only come one at a time for them. Oh, and UCLA is for real. The Bruins have taken it to every single team they’ve come up against. This kid Maurice Drew, who often runs in the shadow of fellow California rusher Reggie Bush, is one hell of a runner. Returning Husky defenders remember him well from his past exploits of the weak Husky defensive unit. New Coach Tyrone Willingham has the screws and bolts tightened up in Washington, but there is no question in my mind that Drew will find the right tools to pull the Huskies apart. The Bruins come into this game 3-0, looking good in each win. They’ve yet to score under 41 points, and yet to give up more than three touchdowns in a contest. Don’t be surprised if this game is over by half time. UCLA loves to finish off lesser opponents early, and Washington fits right in to that category. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Washington Huskies 17 – UCLA Bruins 50.

Utah @ North Carolina (-3.5) – The North Carolina Tar Heels may be 1-2. But close losses to Georgia Tech (21-27) and Wisconsin (5-14) make the Tar Heels look worse than they really are. Last weeks big win at North Carolina State is a better judge of what we should expect from the school known more for there hoop program. Starting quarterback Matt Baker won’t light up his opponents, but he doesn’t need to. These Tar Heels have the offensive line and running backs to smack you in the mouth when they have the ball. This is a tough nosed offensive unit who will wear the Utes down over 4 quarters of football. Their toughness doesn’t stop with their O-line. The Tar Heel defense is one of the best in the nation. They will keep their team within reach early, allowing them to build momentum and take the game over late. Take the Heels at home, and expect some intensity after a big win a week ago. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Utah Utes 17 – North Carolina Tar Heels 27.

USC @ Arizona State (+16.5) – USC is the best team in the Nation. Any team who comes to play the Trojans doesn’t have a chance. Lets give matt the Heisman right now! Give me a break! Matt Leinart is quoted saying “It was fun being behind against the Ducks.” Well I hope he likes losing for an entire game. The Trojans are one of the best teams college football has ever had, and they’re going to tumble down like Humpty Dumpty in Tempe. That’s right, you heard it here first. In fact I told you this was going to happen before the season even started. I’ve been waiting for this game since every stupid sports magazine in the country took the Trojans to win it all once again. To finish the season undefeated. For Matt Leinart to win the Heisman two years running, get drafted number one, and take Coach Carrol with him to the pros. This is no fairy tale world folks. Sam Keller and his 1443 yards passing and 16 touchdowns are here to make a mockery of preseason polls, and thoughtless predictions. Like my good buddy always says, “College is meant for underdogs to defy the sure thing!” No better time than now, Arizona State, no better place than here! Take the Sun Devils and the 16.5 points they’re getting. I’m not sure they’ll need it, but I like to have the security! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: USC 37 – Arizona State Sun Devils 42.

Minnesota (-2.5) @ Penn State – This is my first of four big match-ups between the undefeated. Minnesota has a much better team than Penn State which is why they are favored going into Pennsylvania to play the undefeated Nittany Lions. I love Joe Paterno, and those Lion uniforms and lids are classic. But Maroney is my favorite back in college football. You’ll never see Laurence Maroney tip toe under a pile, or escape contact via out of bounds. The Kid runs with a passion! He drives his feet, lowers his head and sinks his shoulder pads into would be tacklers. Roney has nearly 700 yards after 4 games, the last being a double overtime boiler against Purdue. The Gophers pulled out a huge victory, setting up an dual against undefeated conference rival Penn State. Maroney will continue his surge into the Heisman Voting with a giant game on Saturday. Look for Laurence to carry the rock for upwards of 200 yards. But it won’t be Laurence who wins the game. With the defense set on stopping the Gopher rushing attack, Brian Cupito (whose already racked up 900 yards) will throw over the top of Nittany Lion defenders on way to a rout of Paterno’s finest team in some years. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Minnesota Golden Gophers 46 – Penn State Nittany Lions – 27.

Florida (-4) @ Alabama – This is one of four games between undefeated teams that I picked this weekend. In each one I took the favorite to win big. The Gators are better than the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Their records are the same, yes, but don’t let that catch you off guard. ‘Bama’s biggest win was the lonely Arkansas Razorbacks. Florida beat Tennessee to get one of their 4. Chris Leak has been everything I thought he would be. He leads his team with limited mistakes, making big plays when he’s needed most. Does anyone think he’s going to get worse? Will he regress the more he practices Urban Meyer’s schemes? No way in hell. The same “no way” the Crimson Tide take down the Gators, even if the game is in Alabama. Take the high-powered Gators to disrupt and upend the Tide. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Florida Gators 32 – Alabama Crimson Tide 20.

Navy (-6) @ Duke – Two tough losses to the Maryland Terrapins (20-23) and the Stanford Cardinal (38-41) have the Navy Midshipmen ready to bumrush the Devilish Dukies in Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke is just as bad at football as they’re good at basketball. The Blue Devils couldn’t even win their first contest against the Pirates of East Carolina for God’s sake. They finally got a win two weeks ago, beating VMI badly 40-14. Well, they have their single win, might as well call the season. It’s only downhill for the University until College Hoops makes its return. The Blue Devils will get scalloped like potatoes against the Navy’s best. A measly 6 points is nothing when you have the Blue Devils on the other side of the ball. Duke: 1-10. Look at there schedule. After the sickly Devils lose this contest, there isn’t a winnable game left on the schedule. Lord have mercy on this program… Send them to the GMAC so they can win more than a game! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Navy Midshipmen 38 – Duke Blue Devils 13.

Virginia Tech (-10.5) @ West Virginia – The West Virginian Mountaineers are 4-0. But don’t be mislead, the only game WV dominated was a 35-7 win over the Wofford Terriers. (Can’t believe that mascot is real!) West Virginia only took Syracuse by 8, Maryland by 12 and the 116th ranked East Carolina Pirates by 5. Does this sound like a team that’s ready to face the Marcus Vick and Frank Beamer’s Virginia Tech Hokies? I didn’t think so. This game is a no-brainer. The 4-0 record coming from West Virginia is the only thing keeping this point spread under 30. Ten is way to little to bet against the dominate Hokies! Oh, and the Hokies are the second best team in the nation after this weekend! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Virginia Tech Hokies 49 – West Virginia Mountaineers 21.

Clemson (-7) @ Wake Forest – The only team Wake Forest has beaten is East Carolina. To put that into perspective, think of the worst team in College football, now times that by 100… Now were on the same page… DUKE! The Blue Devils nearly beat the East Carolina Pirates on opening day. So I’d rank ECU 115th in the Nation, right behind Duke and VMI. That being said, the Clemson Tigers are not a bad football team. In fact, I think they will be ranked in the top 25 by year’s end Tough losses to Miami (by 6 in OT) and Boston College (by 3) have the Tigers at 2-2 going into Wake Forest. This game won’t be close. The Demon Deacons are silly putty and the Clemson Tigers are the little kids smashing the Puddy into the dirty cracks in the sidewalk. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Clemson Tigers 45 – Wake Forest Demon Deacons 14.

Michigan @ Michigan State (-5.5) – The two big Michigan programs snap up their lids to butt heads on Saturday. So far this year, the ball has bounced the right way for the Spartans. The Wolverines can’t boast the same. Michigan has lost its championship luster, dropping out of the top 25 for the first time in seven years. What a run though. This rivalry game is always tough to pick, but the Spartans have looked very good while the Wolverines have been trouty to say the least. State takes this game by a touchdown at home against the suffering Wolverines.Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Michigan Wolverines 17 – Michigan State 24.

Indiana @ Wisconsin (-17.5) – The Hoosiers might be better than I’m giving them credit for. Heck, the Badgers might not be nearly as good as I’ve got them ranked. Either way, I’m taking Barry Alverez’s Wisconsin Badgers to disrupt Indiana’s run at an undefeated season while keeping their Rose Bowl hopes in tact. Like I said last week, the Badgers had been big money makers for Lucky Lester, so I’m coming back to the well after I picked against them last week. If the Hoosiers still had a little athlete by the name of Antwaan Randel El I might look into a Hoosier victory. Since Antwaan is balling for the Steelers on Sundays, I have to take Brian Calhoun carrying the pig to pay dirt. The Badgers win big! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Indiana Hoosiers 17 – Wisconsin Badgers 38.

Texas (-14.5) @ Missouri – Missouri lost to New Mexico in-between wins against Arkansas State and Troy. They aren’t ready for Vince Young and the rest of the tough-nosed Longhorns. Vince is the best college football player in the nation, and he proves it week after week. Missouri has had an extra week to prepare for Young and the offensive juggernaut in Texas. But it’s not going to help come Saturday. If anything the the Tigers will have shell shock from all the film of Young destroying his opponents. If I was the Missouri coach, I would… Shit! Who knows? He nor I would beat Texas on Saturday. I guess when it comes down to it, I would have recruited Vince Young. What was that guy thinking? Take the Longhorns BIG! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Texas Longhorns 56 – Missouri Tigers 17.

Free NFL Picks 05-06 Week 3

Atlanta @ Buffalo (-3) – The Falcons might have to play against the feared Buffalo Bill defense without Mike Vick. If that becomes true, take this bet in a hurry. The Bills make veteran quarterbacks look like rookies, Matt Schaub will have one hell of a time if he starts. The Bills are coming off a big loss to a tough Buccaneer squad, where JP Losman looked like the first year starting quarterback that he is. You can bet the Falcons and Patrick Kerney will be hot on his trail this Sunday. The Falcons gave up 144 yards to Shaun Alexander last week. Willis McGahee will get enough carries to match Shaun’s big numbers. Even if Vick plays, I’m taking the Bills to push Atlanta to 1-2. McGahee is too good to keep under 100 yards, and the Takeo Spikes and his band of outlaws will shut down the Falcon rushing attack. Look for Losman to be limited under 20 pass attempts. If the Bills can do that, they win hands down!
Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ETJacksonville (+2.5) @ New York Jets – The Jets got a much needed win against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. Chad Pennington completed 19-30, and the Jets defense played strong, limiting the Dolphins to one late score. Jacksonville lost a hard fought battle to the Colts, but played well enough to make me a believer. (I promptly went and dropped some cash on a futures Super Bowl bet) Byron Leftwich is a winner, and he’ll play with a sprained knee this Sunday. Look for Fred Taylor and the Jacksonville offensive line to pull a Chief-one on the Jet defense, rushing for big yards and a couple touchdowns. Leftwich will have decent numbers, but he won’t need to have a big day to win. The Jaguar defense is one of the most underrated units in the league, but that only makes them better. If Curtis Martin doesn’t start (he’s questionable) the Jaguars will have an easy time halting Pennington and the Jets. Take the Jaguars to upset on the road. Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Tennessee (+6.5) @ St. Louis – The Rams lost to the 49ers in week one and beat the Arizona Cardinals in week 2. I lost both of those games. With the Titans coming to town, I have to bet against those pesky Rams. Since last season the Rams are 3-7 against the spread when favored. Can you say 3-8? Steve McNair won’t have much resistance when he drops back to pass. If Tim Rattay can do it, so can Steve! Chris Brown and Travis Henry will continue to control the clock for the Titans, who have played smart football in both games this early season. Steve Fisher knows how to coach, which gives the Titans a 1-0 lead before the game even starts. If Martz bites his own stupid play calling mic and gives the ball to Steven Jackson 25 times, the Rams have a chance, but don’t be surprised if Martz decides deep bombs are better than a sure 5 yards per carry. In fact, bet on it. I am. The Rams will struggle early and often, make big mistakes, and do their best to lose at home to a “rebuilding” team. The Titans will play smart and capitalize on the Rams ineptitude’s. Look for a big upset in St. Louis. Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Oakland @ Philadelphia (-7.5) – The Raiders have played well for a team without a win. Their defense played tough against the Patriots in week one, but couldn’t stop Brady because the Raider offense didn’t help at all. They played tough against Kansas City, holding the Chief offense well under their rushing average, and Kerry Collins even looked all right against the revamped Chief D, but they couldn’t take the Chiefs in Oakland. Randy Moss and TO make this the best wide receiver match-up in football, and both will make their mark on this game. The Eagles are always very tough at home, and you can bet they’ll want to build on what they did last week against San Francisco. Donovan McNabb will have another big game, and TO will out perform Randy Moss in a high scoring affair. Look for Greg Lewis and LJ Smith to get a touchdown a piece with TO taking most of the Raider attention. Brian Westbrook might not get big rushing totals, but he’ll be a force receiving with the Raiders’ average linebacking corps in coverage. Kerry Collins has yet to throw an interception, which is a miracle if you’ve seen any of his games. He won’t be able to loft it up in Philly as Lito Sheppard, Brian Dawkins, Michael Lewis, and Sheldon Brown are ball hawks. Week 3 should get Collins back on his one interception for every touchdown pace.
Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Cincinnati (-3) @ Chicago – Chicago has played very well this year. The Bear defense has been as good as any, holding the Redskins without a touchdown in week 1, and the Lions to 6 points in week 2. Kyle Orton looks like a future star in this game, with the future coming soon. Unfortunately for the Bears, Carson Palmer’s red hot arm, and his beastly Bengals come to town as hot as any team in the league. Two wins and over 600 yards for Palmer after two games, has the sports world praising his name. Not bad for a third year quarterback. Chad Johnson is truly special, as loud and obnoxious as his mouth may be. Rudi Johnson will find little room to run in Chicago, but he’ll be pounding between them tackles. The Bears can’t focus on one thing like they did against the Redskins and the Lions. If they set out to stop the run, bringing safeties up in support, Carson Palmer will lace into their secondary. If they drop back in coverage too often, Rudi Johnson will bulldoze through the line of scrimmage to victory. The Bears are better than many thought, and that includes me, but they aren’t as good as the Bengals, a team that looks like a surefire playoff squad. Look for a defensive struggle early, with Palmer finding Johnson for a couple big plays that bury the Bears.
Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

New Orleans (+4) @ Minnesota – The Saints always play well when they’re underdogs. Last week, they were put in a tough place, traveling to the Giants home field for a home game. They played much better than the 17 point margin, but couldn’t get past their numerous penalties and freak turnovers. In their last 10 games, they are 6-4 against the spread when favored. Team that fact with the way the Minnesota Vikings have played their first two games, and the Saints look like a pretty good bet to go into Minnesota and upset the Vikings. Daunte Culpepper will have a break out game, but the Minnesota defense will continue to play poorly. Luckily for the Vikings they are in the division with the Bears, Packers, and Lions. They can start off poorly and still win the division. Look for a shootout in this one, with Aaron Brooks and Daunte Culpepper tossing touchdowns left and right. I think more than 60 points will be scored with the Saints on top after 4. Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Carolina (-3) @ Miami – The Panthers by 3? C’mon, that’s the best the oddsmakers could do! Take the Carolina Panthers in a laugher. The Dolphins aren’t good enough to play with good teams, and Carolina is one of the best this league has to offer. Steven Davis will find the end zone once or twice against the 3-4 scheme in Miami, and Jake Delhomme will find Steve Smith enough to take the Dolphins by a couple touchdowns. Don’t get me wrong, the Fins have played better than I expected, but they aren’t on the same level as Carolina.
Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Cleveland (+14) @ Indianapolis – The Browns played very well against the Packers last week, and the score was much closer than the game was. The Colts were in a war at home against Jacksonville, but came out on top. I usually take the team I think will win, but this week I have to take Cleveland because of that huge two touchdown spread. The Browns played well against a very good team in Cincinnati, and beat the Packers at home, though that’s not as rare is it once was. Either way, the Browns have the coaching and talent to play close to good teams, closer than 14. Manning should have his best day, but the defense in Indy will be tested by the Browns, who aren’t afraid to take a couple chances. Look for the Indianapolis Colts to end the game on top, but not without a bulldog fight from the new and improved Brownies. Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Tampa Bay (-3.5) @ Green Bay – The Packers might set a record for the amount of games they’re going to be underdogs in Lambeau. In turn, I might set a record for games I pick against the Packers when they’re underdogs at home. This should be a fun year! The Packers haven’t shown that they can play with anyone in the NFL. They got kicked around by the Lions, who went into Chicago and got obliterated. Then they lost to the Browns. Trent Dilfer threw for over 300 yards in that game. Not to knock Trent, but he’s not your regular Peyton Manning. This week the 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town, and the outcome isn’t very promising for Brett and his wilting pack of players. Cadillac Williams is leading the league in rushing after two games, and Chucky Gruden seems to have his team glowing with confidence and know-how. Brian Griese should have his best week passing, and the perennial stout defense in Tampa will have its way with the old Brett Favre and the sieved that claims to be his offensive line. Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Arizona @ Seattle (-6) – It’s tough to take the Hawks with a 6 point spread. One reason is, the Cardinals have the talent and fire power to light it up any time now. The other reason is, the Seahawks were 2-8 against the spread when favored in 2004. But those are old numbers, and the talent that roams on the Arizona roster hasn’t transferred its way onto the field of play. The Hawks look like a good team, at least in the first half, where the Cardinals have struggled both early games of the season. Matt Hasselbeck has looked as accurate as ever, and the Hawk receivers have at least toned down their dropped passes. Shaun Alexander broke out of his baby booties last week and trucked an Atlanta defender on 3rd and 1. For running like tenderfoot for most of his career, the run was most impressive. Look for the Seahawks to take advantage of Kurt Warner miscues, his fluttering passes, and lack of mobility. With no rushing attack to press the Hawks, the Cardinals talented receiving corps will struggle to find room against the corner trio of Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon, and Andre Dyson.
Game Date: 09/25/05 16:05 ET

New England @ Pittsburgh (-3) – The Patriots finally made my prediction come true last week, losing to the Panthers by 10 in Carolina. Tom Brady looked frustrated for most of the game, a distant cry from his cool and calm assassination of the Raider secondary in week 1. Corey Dillon has yet to rush for decent yardage, and the Patriot defense obviously misses their old linebackers. Could it be that Bill Belichick has to much to do with three of his former coaching staff scattered around the football world? I think so. Belichick’s entire team looked confused in Carolina. The Pittsburgh Steelers should provide much of the same. Remember, it was last year when the Steel Show ended the Patriots famed winning streak. This year the Steelers should torment Tom Brady and shut down Corey Dillon. The powerful rushing attack in Steeler country will have its way with a punchless Patriot unit, and continue to make Willie Parker a made man. The Steeler defense hasn’t played against the best of opponents, but they’re ready to bring ruckus at Tom. Big plays won’t be scarce, as this game promises to be a great one.
Game Date: 09/25/05 16:15 ET

Dallas (-6.5) @ San Francisco – The Cowboys lost a heart breaker on Monday night. That’s really a shame. It broke my heart too. When Santana Moss sprinted right past the Cowboys’ best defensive player Roy Williams, I felt a single tear roll down my cheek. This week the Cowboys are bound to kick the San Francisco 49ers all over the field. Unfortunately the Cowboy offensive line is good. They give the upside down turtle ample opportunity to throw the ball accurately down field. The 49ers sputtering offensive unit will struggle to score even one touchdown against a defense that will be out to prove themselves after a 4th quarter debacle at home. Jerry Jones will be able to leave at half time to go sit in his 12 person jacuzzi. I hear he wets his bed 3-4 times per week. Can anyone back that up? Julius Jones will be the big story in California, rushing for over 150 yards and a couple scores. Take the ‘Boys in an old fashion beat down.
Game Date: 09/25/05 16:05 ET

New York Giants @ San Diego (-5.5) – The Giants pulled a quick one on the rest of the league when they got the Saints to come to New York for a home game. Nice. This week, the Chargers, who just happen to be 0-2, have to come out and win. If they don’t, they’re 0-3, and in the AFC that means no playoffs. After one of the best years for the Chargers in a long time, San Diego isn’t ready to give up this early. The Chargers will come out on a mission. Eli Manning will be frustrated by a hyped up Charger defense. We must remember, this is only Eli’s second year. Drew Brees will have a nice game, and Ladainian Tomlinson will eclipse the 100 yard mark for the first time this year. Antonio Gates is good for a touchdown, and everyone knows LT is taking one in. The Giants will fold early and the San Diego Chargers will get their first win of the year.
Game Date: 09/25/05 20:30 ET

Kansas City (+3) @ Denver – The Denver Broncos tried as hard as they could to lose last week against the Chargers. Unfortunately for my dollar, they failed, and came out on top. Not this week Mike Shanahan. The Chiefs are the real deal, one of the best teams the NFL has to offer. Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson look to eclipse the 200 yard mark in Denver. Trent Green will throw his first touchdown of the year to Tony Gonzalez, and Dante Hall will find himself on Sports Center by the end of the day. Kansas City’s defense is going to take advantage of Jake Plummer’s inability to throw the ball to anyone on his own team. Plummer broke all John Elway’s records last year and seems happy with that, because he’s not building on his high-scoring year. The Chiefs defense is no longer a handicap, but a stout group that makes big plays. Kansas City will go to 3-0 in Denver, as the Broncos tumble to 1-2. Game Date: 09/26/05 21:00 ET
BIG MONEY BET OF THE WEEK: Titans +240 @ Rams

If you want to take a shot on a big underdog this weekend, go with the Titans in St. Louis. The Rams are more Jeckyl and Hyde than any team in the league, and the Titans are just coming off a big win against the Ravens. The Rams can lose to any team any day, as they proved with their week one loss to the Niners. Steve McNair should have his best game of the young year, and the tandem of Chris Brown and Travis Henry might pack enough punch to level the Rams. Also, since last year, in the Rams have been favored in 10 games. They’ve lost 5. At +240, my 50$ bet will pay out 120$. I like those odds!
Game Date: 09/25/05 13:00 ET

Good Luck with your NFL Football Betting!
Lucky Lester – Free Football Picks

Free College Football Picks Week 4 2005

College Football Pick’em

The ballot has been counted, and I have 10 of the most popular games to analyze. My first week was brutal, taking only 3 wins in 11 attempts. If I was a baseball player I’d start, but as a sportswriter, I was hamster balls. My second attempt promises to turn out better. My motto for the week is… Take the winning team.

Michigan (-2.5) @ Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Badgers have been a big money maker for me so far this season. Brian Calhoun is the real deal in the back field, and the Badger defense always finds a way to play well enough to win. Last week the Badgers went into North Carolina and took down the Tar Heels without much difficulty. This week the Badgers have their toughest test yet, as they host the Wolverines of Michigan. Unfortunately for the Badgers, the Wolverines aren’t the Tar Heels, Owls, or Bowling Green. They are Michigan, 12th in the country, and their only loss came in a bar-fight against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Will the Badgers be ready when Michigan rides into town? Will the Wolverines take Wisconsin to their first loss of the year? My bet is that Michigan pulls it out on the road. The Wolverines haven’t played big competition, besides Notre Dame, but neither have the Badgers. Chad Henne will have his way with the Badger secondary, ala Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green. Michigan’s defense will have the final and deciding say, as their ability to limit the Badgers will make or break the game. Wisconsin has been good for me, but all good things must come to an end. Take Michigan in a battle of the Badger family mascots!
Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Michigan Wolverines 27 – Wisconsin Badgers 17.

Tennesse @ LSU (-6.5) – The LSU Tigers went to Arizona State and beat one of the best teams in the nation. Even if they won on sheer adrenaline, the bottom line is, they won. LSU is used to winning, and that’s just what they’ll do when Tennessee comes to town this Saturday. JaMarcus Russell gives the Tigers an offensive centerpiece in addition to a team leader. The Tiger defense is always on key. They’ll be the third team in as many games to hold the Vols offense in check. Ainge? Clausen? Neither will torture the Tigers. Joseph Addal is a good back. His explosive speed, teamed with a good Tiger game plan will have the Vols on the ropes with their second loss in three games. Take the Tigers down in Baton Rouge, their home fans will be set to celebrate for the first time in some time. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Tennessee Volunteers 10 – LSU Tigers 24.

USC (-22) @ Oregon – The Oregon Ducks plan on giving the Trojans a run for their money. Little do they know that Southern Cal is going to destroy them. The Ducks have fought themselves into the rankings with a two touchdown victory in Houston, and win against D1-AA Montana, and a slippery 3 point victory over Fresno State. And the Ducks have a chance? Against the Trojans of USC? Not a chance. If the Ducks gave up 34 to Fresno State, they’ll give up 75 to USC. Don’t think for a second that Oregon will have their way with the indestructible Trojan defense either. This three touchdown spread will look much more like last weeks USC – Arkansas game. A USC victory by a landslide, jump on for the ride! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: USC Trojans 54 – Oregon Ducks 20.

Notre Dame (-13.5) – Washington – Notre Dame had a tough go against the Michigan State Spartans last week. Their confidence was too high, as State jumped on them early in the second half. Notre Dame fought back hard, and sent the game into overtime, but the Spartan attack won out with a great option run by tailback Jason Teague. The Irish were good enough to win last week, and they’ll prove it by capsizing the Huskies in Seattle. So much for that Husky winning streak! The Dogs, who pounded out the Idaho Vandals last week, for their first win in some time, are in for an early trick or treat. The Huskies shouldn’t even be on the same field as Notre Dame. This game will have plenty of hard feelings, as new Husky coach Tyrone Willingham plays for the first time against his former team. In the end, the high emotions will end up hurting the Huskies. Mistakes and fiery tempers are always difficult when playing against a stronger opponent. The Irish defense will take advantage of a poor Husky offensive attack. Look for a tight game in the opening quarter to transform into your average blowout in the second half. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Notre Dame Fighting Irish 44 – Washington Huskies 13.

North Carolina @ North Carolina State (-10) – The Tar Heels have lost two close ones to two good teams in Georgia Tech (21-27) and Wisconsin (5-14). The only thing different this week will be the tight score. The Tar Heels have been a formidable opponent in each of their first two games, but the Wolfpack of North Carolina State will be out to prove they belong in the top 25. An early loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies dropped the Wolfpack early. But they have plenty of big games later in the season to prove they belong. This game against their rival Tar Heels will just be a building block in the right direction. NC State is better than the Wisconsin team that held North Carolina without a touchdown a week ago. I’m not saying NC will go scoreless, but they won’t find the end zone often against their cross-state rivals. Take the Wolfpack in a show of dominance against last years National Champions… in hoops! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: North Carolina Tar Heels 13 – North Carolina State Wolfpack 36.

TCU (+3.5) @ BYU – Texas Christian’s upset of Oklahoma is looking less and less like a huge accomplishment. But don’t sell them short, their loss to SMU might be more telling of their lack of focus than their lack of talent. A big win in Utah took them to 2-1, which is exactly what they needed after a devastating loss in week 2. This week the Horned Frogs get hosted by the BYU Cougars. This isn’t only a battle of two football teams, but a battle of religion. Haha… That’s right! The good Mormon college faces off against the nice Christian boys of Texas in a real Holy War. Tye Gunn will shoot down the pride of Brigham Young in Utah. You heard it here first, the Horned Frogs have their loss out of the way, with nothing but winning in their future. It all starts in Utah against their arch enemies. Look for the two headed rushing attack of Robert Merril and Aaron Brown to find room to roam near the Salt Lake, as TCU will shut down the potent BYU attack. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Texas Christian Horned Frogs 26 – Brigham Young Cougars 13.

Western Michigan(-3.5) @ Temple – Western Michigan will be the third team to take down Temple since the season got underway. Western Michigan took a tough Virginia team down to the wire until they lost by a couple touchdowns late, and they actually have a win under their belt after taking Southern Illinois by 6 at home. 2 and 2 is in the future for the Broncos. Temple can’t be held too much at fault, they’re just bad. They started their season against 3 ranked opponents, which can’t do wonders for their confidence. Because God knows, the Owls don’t belong on the same field with the Sun Devils , the Badgers, or the Toledo Rockets. Temple got me last week, covering the spread by a field goal. But not this week, I won’t let the Owls get me again. Take Western Michigan easy! Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Western Michigan Broncos 37 – Temple Owls 14.

Boston College (+3) @ Clemson – After losing a tight game to the Seminoles of Florida State, the Boston College Eagles have another tough test against Clemson. BC has shown over the last few years, that they play well in bounce back games. This week should be no different. Boston College played a good game against the Seminoles, but couldn’t pull it together for important stretches towards the end. Starting quarterback, Quentin Porter, was walking around shortly after his ankle injury, and the story is that he’ll start in Clemson. Will Blackmon is one of the most dangerous receivers in the country, and he’ll be showcased against a Clemson team which has given up at least 25 points in each of their first two games. Clemson is also coming off a big loss to a Miami school, as the Hurricanes took the Tigers in three overtimes, 36-30. The loser of this game will be out of the hunt for an ACC crown with two early season losses. The winner will need help, but be well within striking distance if top teams falter. Look for the Eagles to fight back for a big victory on the road. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Boston College Eagles 25 – Clemson Tigers 21.

Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech (-11) – The Yellow Jackets grabbed a big win against a decent Connecticut team last week. Quarterback Reggie Ball, the teams top rated passer, wasn’t available last Saturday and will be a game time decision this week in Virginia. This is Tech’s biggest game by far, and you can bet if Ball can breathe right he’ll be on the field giving it his all. Lets hope he’s well enough to play. Either way, I’m taking the Hokies to overpower the Yellow Jackets. Marcus Vick will have his first big test, an exciting thing to be a part of. I’ll be tuned in as Vick shows the world he’s for real against the 15th ranked Jackets. Calvin Johnson is a game breaker for Georgia Tech, and he’ll find room to catch passes against Tech. But the Hokies will be able to clamp down on Tech toward the end zone, causing prime time turnovers and field goals. In the battle of the top ranked Tech’s, Virginia will have Georgia’s number. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 16 – Virginia Tech Hokies 31.

Iowa (+7) @ Ohio State – Ohio State has already lost a home game… why not make it two? Iowa is better than people give them credit for, and if it wasn’t for a big time loss to their biggest rival, the Hawkeyes would be a top 10 team. This is a huge game with grand implications in the Big 10. Iowa has an average offense, but their ability to slow the Ohio State attack should pan out in the end. The Buckeyes are a little down since their loss at home to Texas, so they will be at the top of their game trying to start a new winning streak at home. Drew Tate has one of the best arms in the Big 10, and he’ll have his game tight. Look for Tate to complete right around 80% of his passes in the most important game of the year this far. Neither of these big time clubs wants to start off the conference schedule with a loss. The Buckeyes will be starting Troy Smith at quarterback. He’s fast and athletic, and his ability to run will be interesting and fun to watch. This game should be a great one, as both teams have the ability to light it up on offense and shut it down on defense. This is what college football is all about. Take the Hawkeyes against the Buckeyes. Lucky’s Fearless Prediction: Iowa Hawkeyes 23 – Ohio State Buckeyes 21.

2005 Week 2 NFL Pick Review

NFL craziness was back in full force; trying hard to ruffle my feathers. Luckily for me, the Eagles didn’t flunk their week two test like the Ravens did. Read more of my week 2 Review to see which teams played their part as well as those who broke my heart.

(-4) @ Tennessee – Lets start out with the bad news. As they say, bad things come in threes, why not start week 2 with three losses? Baltimore was my first pick to fall, taking it right in the poop in Tennessee. What does this game show me? Coaches matter. The Tennessee Titans don’t have the personnel to win many football games, but their coaching staff, headed by Jeff Fisher, is as good as it gets. In a “rebuilding year” the Titans came to play against the “Super Bowl hopeful” baltimore Ravens. My ass. The Ravens can’t do anything right. Anthony Wright looked like a weak Kyle Boller, and the defense that is supposed to lead that team stumbled early, giving up points in all quarters. Brian Billick isn’t the offensive genius he’s touted to be, as he’s proven each and every year in baltimore. I don’t know where the Ravens are going? New coach? I know what they are now, 0-2. The Titans have squiggled to 1-1, starting my week out with a loss. Baltimore Ravens 10 – Tennessee Titans 25.

Buffalo (+2.5) @ Tampa Bay – JP Losman set me up to fail. He played mistake free football in week one against the Houston Texans. He didn’t have a turnover, but hardly played mistake free. He completed a whopping 12 of 29 passes for the godlike total of 113 yards. Gross. The Buffalo Bill rushing attack didn’t fair much better. Willis McGahee ran the ball 13 times for 34 yards, less than 3 yards per carry. On the other side of the field, Cadillac Williams took it to the top rated Buffalo defense, rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Not only did Williams sprint his way to the early rushing lead in the NFL, he did it in the second half with a sprained foot. Kept out of the game by the coaching staff, Williams finally took his health into his own hands, running on the field, telling Coach Gruden, “I’m going in!” Not bad for rookie. Buffalo let me down for my second straight loss. Buffalo Bills 3 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19.

Detroit (-1.5) @ Chicago – I seriously didn’t think the Chicago Bears would have a chance to beat anyone besides the Packers. As it turns out, I was dead wrong. The Bears not only beat the Lions, they destroyed a Lion team that came highly acclaimed after a week one stomping of the storied Green Bay Packers. Thomas Jones, not Cedric Benson, rushed for 139 yards on 20 carries. The 5th pick overall in this years draft, Benson, had a measly 50 yards on 16 carries. It’s fine, I’m sure the Bears are better off with two good backs. Either way, the Bears secondary seemed to catch more passes than the Lion receiving corps. Joey Harrington had 5 interceptions in a Daunte Culpepper-esque day on the field. In fact, those two players combined for 10 of the 26 interceptions during week 2. That NFC North is a tough division! I can’t wait to pick those divisional games. All bets on, I was 0-3 after three. I could only get better right? Detroit Lions 6 – Chicago Bears 38.

Jacksonville (+9) @ Indianapolis – The Jaguars lost by seven points. Their loss gave me my first win of week 2. They also showed me that they are a Super Bowl caliber team. Byron Leftwich is the kind of quarterback that teammates rally around. He took an eye-sickening hit late in the game in Indy, but limped back onto the field when it mattered most, to lead his team in a comeback effort. Jacksonville came up short, but the Jags will be a playoff team, I guarantee that. Fred Taylor played well. He looks like he’s coming back to form. It was Edgerrin James, not Peyton Manning, who led the Indianapolis Colts to victory. Edge had 160 total yards against a tough-nosed Jaguar defense. For the second week in a row, it was the Colt defense that impressed me the most. I love to see Dwight Freeney, the young speedster out of Syracuse who was too small to play defensive end in the NFL, tear it up on Sundays. If anything, he’s better now than he was then. The Colts are tough, but the Jaguars played within 9, giving me a much needed win.
Jacksonville Jaguars 3 – Indianapolis Colts 10.

Minnesota @ Cincinnati (-3) – The Bengals kept the wins coming by taking it to the Minnesota Vikings early and often. As you read earlier, Pep threw like a practice squader, laying the ball up for the Bengal defense 5 times. A nickel’s worth. Daunte has to be the most disappointing player with baby-hands in the entire league. When will Daunte turn it around? Hopefully for my fantasy team, soon. Carson Palmer played like a number 1 overall pick, throwing for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. Palmer also had 3 yards rushing, eclipsing Drew Bledsoe’s career numbers (white lie). Rudi Johnson rushed for 90 yards on 22 carries, and back-up Chris Perry had 9 carries for 47 yards. Chad Johnson took his 7 catches for 139 yards and a 70 yard touchdown. The Bengals took me to 2-3. How ’bout them Bengals? Minnesota Vikings 8 – Cincinnati Bengals 37.
New England @ Carolina (+3) – As I predicted, the Panthers ran all over the Patriots, to the tune of three touchdowns for Steven Davis. The yards weren’t there, but the Carolina Panther’s ability to pound it out on the ground, allowed them to pull out a much needed victory. For me, and them. Tom Brady looked human against one of the league’s best past rushes. Corey Dillon stumbled early, and wasn’t allowed to get on track as they Pats were down early. The Patriots’ had 4 big turnovers, proving to the rest of the NFL that even they can play poorly. See, Pep, everyone can have a bad day. Finally, the Patriots followed through with my predictions, and took the loss on Sunday. Three wins in a row, evened me out early Sunday morning, with more good things to come.
New England Patriots 17 – Carolina Panthers 27.

Pittsburgh (-6) @ Houston – The Texans are bad, and the Steelers are good… really, really good. Ben Roethlisberger took his regular season record to 14-0. Tough to argue with results. Hines Ward, as I predicted, had a big day. Hines caught 6 passes for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. Willie Parker followed up his opening day debut with 111 yards and a touchdown. David Carr played better, but couldn’t do enough to keep his team in the game. Dominick Davis had a couple big runs, but the Steeler defense was too tough for the Texans. The 27-7 domination took my record to 4-3.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 – Houston Texans 7.

San Francisco @ Philadelphia (-13) “Look for McNabb to have huge numbers throwing touchdowns to Owens, LJ Smith, and Brian Westbrook.” (Me) It turns out I was right. Each of those players had huge games against an inferior San Francisco 49er team. There was a 13 point spread for a reason. The score, (42-7) didn’t even show how much better the Eagles were than the Niners. In fact, unless teams were allowed to get negative points, there was no way to signify the difference in ability between them. The Eagles took me 2 games over .500, allowing me to go eat some bratwursts for lunch after a big 5-3 morning. Philadelphia Eagles 42 – San Francisco 49ers 7.

Atlanta (+1) @ Seattle – The Seahawks managed to play well enough in the first half to win. Or, the Atlanta Falcons played poor enough in the first half to lose. I think it was a little of both. The Falcons showed they had fight after giving the Hawks a three touchdown cushion after 2 quarters. Mike Vick came back, rushing and tossing balls all over the Hawks, but came up 3 points short when all was done. The Falcons haven’t beat the Hawks in the last 5 years. You could say that Holmgren has Vick’s number. The Hawks surprised me in more ways than one, but took the game, and took me down to 5-4 on the day. Seattle Seahawks 21 – Atlanta Falcons 18.
St. Louis @ Arizona (-1) – The Cardinals are disappointing sportswriters all over the Nation. Many had these Cards winning their weak division, but after two sub-par performances they sit in last place. So much for that angrier cardinal on their helmet. These Arizona Cardinals look like they’re playing patty-cake with the Sunday School girls. Kurt Warner looked semi-pathetic for the second straight week, and he did nothing to help his cause by failing to spike the ball with 10 seconds left, instead attempting to run a mock play, getting his team penalized, and losing the game without a single last ditch effort into the end zone. Good work Kurt! The Cardinal receiving corps is awesome, but without a signal caller to get them the ball, Arizona will be stuck in the cellar. The Rams screwed me again, weird. Steven Jackson had a pretty good game, taking 18 carries for 91 yards and a TD. Bulger looked all right, and Tory Holt is still one of the best at his position. The Rams took it to the Cards and brought me back down to reality, and the .500 mark.
St. Louis Rams 17 – Arizona Cardinals 12.

Cleveland (+6.5) @ Green Bay – Brett Favre didn’t start playing well until the game was seemingly out of hand. Even the great Brett Favre can’t make the Packers a winning team without a good offensive line. Trent Dilfer decided he was sick of putting up 185 yards and a single touchdown, so he blew up for over 300 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Not bad for an old-fart without a stellar passing touch. Then again, this should be a common theme against the Packer secondary. The Cleveland defense held the Packers in check for most of the game, giving up a few points late. The rushing attack didn’t play well, but did just enough to keep the Browns on top. A Cleveland upset in Green Bay took me to 6-5.
Cleveland Browns 26 – Green Bay Packers 24.

Miami @ N.Y. Jets (-6) – The Jets didn’t destroy the Dolphins like I hoped, but they did enough to cover, and bring me to 7-5. Chad Pennington didn’t look like he washed his hands in butter before the game, which was a good sign after what happened last week. He completed nearly 2/3 of his passes for two touchdowns and no turnovers. Coles caught a big touchdown pass, while Curtis Martin was held pretty well in check. The Jets defense played well, holding the Dolphins to one touchdown on the day. I was scared for most of the 4th quarter, assuming the Dolphins would take me out two weeks in a row, but the Jet defense held tight at the end. Whew!
Miami Dolphins 7 – New York Jets 17.

San Diego (+3) @ Denver – Denver came back strong after major screw-ups tried to pull me out victorious. There was early celebrating nullifying a big touchdown return, as well as many other miscues. But the Denver Broncos did just enough to get me my first pro push on the year. Ladainian Tomlinson had a putrid yard per carry average for the second straight week, but rushed for 2 touchdowns. Ron Dayne nearly led the Broncos in rushing, carrying the ball 8 times for 44 yards. Is this the year Ron Dayne breaks out? He had a huge carry on 3rd and 1 that sealed the game for Denver. The Chargers need to pick it up fast or they’ll fall victim to a tough AFC. The push took my record to 7-5-1. San Diego 17 – Denver Broncos 20.

Kansas City (-1) @ Oakland – Oakland played close with a good team for the second straight week, but Randy and his Raiders couldn’t pull it out against the Chiefs. Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson each rushed for a score, and combined for 116 yards on 28 carries. Not too shabby against a tough Raider run defense. Moss had his second big night in as many weeks, but the Chiefs were too tough when it mattered most, taking the Raiders by 6. The Raiders are 0-2 and the Chiefs are 2-0 going into week 3. Look for the Chiefs to keep their winning way in tack, as the Raiders turn things around and win a couple in a row. This SUnday night game, brought me to 8-5-1 guaranteeing a winning week for Lucky Lester, and a chance at 10-5. Kansas City Chiefs 23 – Oakland Raiders 17.

N.Y. Giants @ New Orleans (+3) – The Saints played better than the 17 point loss they suffered. Aaron Brooks threw the ball very well, nearly approaching the 400 yard mark. But it was funny bounces and big penalties that finally ended the Saints’ chances. Brooks threw a ball that bounced off his receiver’s head then got intercepted. Joe Horn made a great catch then tried to reach the ball over the goal line for the touchdown. He dropped the ball and it hit the end zone cone for a fumble, and a Giant touchback. Eli Manning also played pretty well, taking the Giants down the field for big touchdowns. The Saints couldn’t beat the Giants in New York, but they’ll be a contender all year. This loss dropped me to 8-6-1.
New York Giants 27 – New Orleans Saints 10.

Washington @ Dallas (-6) – If this game would have ended after three quarters, the Cowboys would have shut out the Redskins. If Santana Moss would have had an average game, the Cowboys would have come out on top. If Mark Brunell would have been benched in the 4th for Patrick Ramsey, Brunell would have finished with less than 160 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception. He finished with 291, and two TDs. If… If… If… As my Uncle John often says, “If grandma had balls, she’d be grandpa.” The Redskins pulled a big victory right out of their asses, making up a 13 point deficit with 11 minutes to go. This game was just as boring as any other Redskin game until the final ticks, when Santana Moss took over the game. On his final 70 yard touchdown, Moss ran straight down the field, no moves, no hitches, just the fastest 40 yard sprint this year. Brunell made good on Gibbs decision to keep him on the field, and pulled out a shocker in Dallas. This stunner took me to 8-7-1, but it was well worth the look on Jerry Jones’ reconstructed cheek bones. Twelve person hot-tub this bitch! Washington Redskins 14 – Dallas Cowboys 13.

Good Luck with your NFL Football Betting!
Lucky Lester – Free Football Picks

College Football Picks Week 3 Review 2005


In my first week of College Pick ‘Em, I got schooled by big time college performances. Check out who taught me the biggest lesson in my college review.

Virginia went in to Maryland and pimp-slapped Ralph Friedgen and his Terrapins. The West Virginia rushing attack pounded Maryland’s defense to the tune of 6 players gaining more than 30 yards. The Mountaineers were led by Owen Schmitt’s 80 yards on 6 carries. Maryland had 13 4th quarter points, but was outscored by a touchdown in the final period, as they tumbled 31-19. In a domino effect, I took my first college loss.

Toledo toppled the Temple Owls with ease. I thought my money was in place with the Owls down 42-10 with mere minutes left on the clock. Then lightning struck when Collin Clancy chucked a 20 yard touchdown pass to Brian Allbrooks against the Toledo Rocket second teamers. My second loss came true with the Toledo beating the Owls 42-17.

Washington made me look like an idiot, absolutely dominating the Vandals throughout the entire game. The Vandals could only produce 2 field goals against the Huskies, who gave up 56 points to California in the Husky home opener. Louis Rankin rushed for 115 yards and Isaiah Stanback threw for 145 yards and a touchdown. For the first time in more than a year, the Huskies lost me money. It was bound to happen with Idaho in town. Washington in a laugher, 34-6.

Miami snapped the Clemson hopes with a triple overtime thriller on the Tigers home field. Tyrone Moss led the Hurricane attack with 140 yards on the ground, and three big time touchdowns. After the Tigers and Hurricanes traded touchdowns and field goals during the first two overtimes sessions, the Hurricanes halted the Tiger attack and scored, taking the win, but only by 6; 36-30. This marked my first win of the young college season.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets allowed 13 first quarter points. Not another Connecticut Husky point was put on the board in the next three quarters. The Jacket’s sensational starting quarterback, Reggie Ball, was out with illness late in the week. He didn’t play. Still, the rest of the Yellow Jackets did their best to make me a winner. They fell one point short, but a push with a back up quarterback isn’t bad. The Jackets took the Huskies 28-13.

Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns did everything I thought they’d do to the Rice Owls. At the end of the half, Texas was up 42-0 and my 41-point spread looked to be in good shape. Who knew the starting Longhorns wouldn’t play another down, and they’d be outscored 10-9 in the second half, and win by on mere 41. The Longhorns gave me my second push, pushing the Owls out the door with a 51-10 stomping.

Wisconsin made me proud. They didn’t give up a single touchdown to the Tar Heels and managed 14 points. Still, they were only up 4 in the fourth quarter and I was worried. But leave it to the Badgers to pull you through when in need. The win took Wisconsin to 3-0 on the season. Brian Calhoun continued his big rushing totals, piling up 171 yards carrying the rock 38 powerful times while leading his team to victory. “Sconsin took the Heels out of their game, and took the win, 14-5.

Boston College couldn’t score from their own one yard line. They had first and goal and failed to succeed. This was the biggest series in the game and FSU won. State played a pretty good game against a tough BC squad. The Eagles were up 17-14 after the first half, but couldn’t pull it together as the game wound down. They didn’t score in the second half and gave up 14 points in the 4th quarter. You can’t do these things and win against the 6th ranked team in the country. Florida State dealt the Boston College Eagles their first loss of the season, 28-17. They dealt me my 4th loss of the week.

The Florida Gators were a better football team than the Tennessee Volunteers. The Gators were up by 6 in the 3rd quarter, making them winners but me a loser. Luckily for me the Gators kicked a field goal late in the 4th to put them up 9, making us both winners. Chris Leak looked all right, but so did the Vol defense. It was Urban Meyer trickery, an option reverse, that made the difference in the game. Florida took the Vols in the Swamp, 16-7.

Purdue couldn’t escape Arizona by more than a touchdown. That’s where that half point comes in I guess. The Wildcats played the Boilermakers tough, answering early scoring drives with touchdowns of their own. But I was still taking home cash until the 4th quarter came around and gobbled up my spread. A touchdown late by Arizona didn’t keep Purdue from taking the game, but kept me from my 4th win. Purdue won by a touchdown, 31-24.

Oklahoma kept up the good work, losing their 2nd game of the season, this time to UCLA. But all they had to do was keep it under 7 points, and I’d still come out on top. Thanks to a defensive implosion, and one sickening offensive performance by the Sooners, the Bruins scored 21 points in the 4th quarter, demolishing my hopes for a decent week, and making me hate Oklahoma even more than I did right after they took Auburn’s place in the National Title game. Karma! The Sooners took me to a putrid 3-6-2 in my college debut by losing to the Bruins of UCLA 24-41.

It was a tough week for un-Lucky Lester, with close pushes and closer losses bringing me down. Next week has to be better. Stay tuned for my second go at College Pick’em.

Free NFL Picks 05-06 Week 2

It’s a good thing I got out all of those early-season free football picks butterflies in week one, because I can’t have another week like that. When I say can’t, I mean if I lose the type of cash I lost last Sunday, my wife says she’ll sell my TV to her “friend” that lives on the first floor. God knows I don’t want Guilermo watching soccer on my TV while he’s “teaching my wife how to cook”. I need a win like Guilermo needs to get his ass kicked. Anyway, that’s another article. What I need to do is switch the script on opening weekend and finish closer to 12 wins than 6… though both would be an upgrade. A little pathetic, I know. Luckily for good old Lucky, the odds makers have given me another chance to make good on my picks. No more Culpepper-like weeks for Lucky Lester… Bring on the victories Guilermo!!!
Baltimore (-4) @ Tennessee – The Ravens have lost their starting quarterback, Kyle Boller, to a knee injury. That’s the only reason I’m taking the Ravens. Boller wasn’t going to get the job done. With Kyle and his shot-put throwing style on the sidelines, the Ravens will light it up against a Tennessee defense that looked more like a J.V. team last week against the Steel show. This game should be a blow out. Jamal Lewis should get his season on track after a dismal start against the Colts. Baltimore will not go 0-2 to start the season, I guarantee that. The Steelers took care of their business in week one against the Tennessee Titans, and the Baltimore Ravens will do the same in week 2. Steve McNair and his makeshift offense won’t be able to produce against another tough defense. Anthony Wright knows how to get his receiving weapons, (Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, and Mark Clayton) the ball. If Wright plays well, and gives the Ravens a chance at the playoffs, don’t be surprised if Boller doesn’t see the starting lineup when he comes back. The Ravens need to win. They expect to win. If they don’t win, only God knows how Ray Lewis will react. Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

Buffalo (+2.5) @ Tampa Bay – Last week the Buffalo Bills defense obliterated the Houston Texan offense. The Bills gave up 70 passing yards to David Carr while intercepting three of his passes. All preseason opposing players, like Brett Favre, praised the Buffalo defense, and for good reason. The Bills defense is as good as it gets. This week the Bills go up against the Buccaneers and rookie sensation Carnell Williams, who rushed for 148 yards last week against the “revamped” Viking defense. If you expect Williams to have a repeat performance, don’t hold your breath. This won’t be the same walk in the park for the Rookie. The Bills will hold Williams’ rushing total to under half his output from a week ago. This game might be the biggest defensive struggle so far this year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are always good on defense, and they held MVP candidate Daunte Culpepper well below his season averages in almost every statistical category. Except for fumbles of course. Pep far exceeded those expectations with 5. He’s on pace to have one billion. Tampa Bay should fair better than the Vikings. They actually have a rushing attack. Brian Griese found his receivers last week against the Vikes, but they won’t be wide open this week. Griese will have a couple turnovers and the Bills will capitalize. Willis McGahee will eclipse 100 yards on the ground, even against a tough “stuff’em” defense in Tampa. This game will be an old fashion smash them in the mouth contest. Take the Bills, as they’re made for this type of game.
Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

Detroit (-1.5) @ Chicago – Last week I claimed the Bears would take part in the most boring game of the week. Final score, Chicago Bears 7 – Washington Redskins 9. Last time the Cubs and the Nationals played there were more runs scored for God’s sake. This week the “exciting” Lions come to Chicago to do their best to brighten things up. Unfortunately for the Bears, the Lions will do exactly that. The Bears don’t have the firepower to play with any high-powered teams, so their only hope is to limit the Lions to fewer than two touchdowns. Good luck. Last week Kevin Jones didn’t find the end zone. This week will almost certainly be different. The Bears defense is tough, but their offense is so stagnant, and the Lions defense is much improved. What does that mean? Kyle Orton is a rookie. A good rookie, yes, but a rookie nonetheless. He’ll make his mistakes, giving the Lions good field position, and a chance to blow the game wide open. Roy Williams was held in check last week against a pathetic Packer defense. This week the average fan would think a much better Bear defense would have their way with Roy. Don’t expect that to happen. Roy will come to play this week. And if the Lions want to win, they’ll have to get their game-breaking receiver the ball. Look for this game to stay tight early, but watch the Lions break away as the Chicago Bear defense gets tired, ala the Colts against Baltimore last Sunday night.
Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

Jacksonville (+9) @ Indianapolis – Speaking of those Indianapolis Colts, they host the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 2. The Jaguars’ defense won’t have the same effect they had on the Seattle Seahawks last week, limiting Shawn Alexander to 74 yards and intercepting Matt Hasselbeck twice. But they will play a big roll in Sunday’s tangle with the Colts. The Jacksonville Jaguars always play close, and they’re much improved from a year ago. Fred Taylor should play better in his second full game back from knee surgery, and Byron Leftwich will only get more and more comfortable as the season progresses. Don’t expect the Colts defense to play as well as they did last week against Baltimore. Because they were playing against Baltimore. They won’t get away with stacking the line of scrimmage against the run; Leftwich will pick them apart if they try that. Both secondarys will be tested this week. This will be a close game, early and late. The nine points given by the Colts is too much for my taste, so I’ll take the underdogs to play with in 9 points. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags come out and put a wallop on the overconfident Colts. With Reggie Williams, Jimmy Smith, Fred Taylor, and Matt Jones on the field together, the Colts will have to make a decision. Will they blitz Byron and allow one of those aforementioned Jaguars to burn you? Or will you sit back and see if Byron will make mistakes? Don’t count the Jaguars out of this match-up.
Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

Minnesota @ Cincinnati (-3) – The Vikings started the year just about as poorly as they possibly could. Well, I guess they could have lost to the Miami Dolphins or the San Francisco 49ers… Nice work Rams and Broncos! Either way, 5 turnovers and a huge loss to the Buccaneers at home couldn’t be what the Vikings were expecting after a good preseason. Daunte didn’t seem to gel with a wide receiving corps without Randy. Unfortunately for “Baby Hands” Culpepper, he’s going to have to learn to succeed without Mr. Moss. I imagine he’ll do much better this week against the Bengals. I don’t think he’ll win, but how could he possibly do worse than no touchdowns, three interceptions, and two fumbles? The Bengals didn’t destroy the Browns as I would have expected, but they won. Rudi Johnson rammed his way past the century mark, and Carson Palmer had his first big day, throwing for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. There’s more to come from him. I think the Bengals are a better team than the Buc’s but the game will still be close throughout. Look for Rudi Johnson to follow Cadillac Williams’ lead and run all over the Minnesota Vikings on way to victory. Minnesota will play better this week, but still lose by a touchdown against a good Bengal team. Minnesota at 0-2… I have to say, I wouldn’t have expected that from the Vikings. Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

New England @ Carolina (+3) – The Patriots didn’t play all that well against the Raiders, but they still made their victory look easy. Tom Brady was in fine form, tossing rockets to open receivers all over the field. Corey Dillon started off slow, but finished with 2 touchdowns after a better second half. The Patriot defense baffled Kerry Collins, who seemed to throw the ball up for grabs every single time his number was called. The Panthers have a top tier rushing attack with two big tough backs, Steven Davis and Deshaun Foster. Last week against the Raiders the Patriots defense didn’t show me they could consistently stop the rush. The Panthers will take advantage of that this weekend, feeding the ball to Foster and Davis many a time. This is where the Patriots will finally make my predictions come true as they begin to play like an average team. Carolina is a much better team than they showed against the Saints last week. With Kris Jenkins out for the year, they’ll really have to step up to beat the Patriots. This game will be close, as the spread insists, but at the end of the game it will be the Patriots who should’ve gotten the points. The Panthers fell victim to the emotional outburst from the Saints, but they have the confidence to compete with the defending world champs, and that’s just what they’ll do.
Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

Pittsburgh (-6) @ Houston – The Steelers played a poor defense last week and destroyed them. This week the Steelers play a below average defense that hasn’t learned to mesh quite yet. The veteran leadership in the Texan secondary is gone, and all though they are athletic, they are young and still have a lot to learn. And they’ll be taking notes this weekend. Because the Steelers know how to do it all. Willie Parker should follow up his starting debut with another big performance in Houston. Hines Ward will get more involved in the action this week. The Steeler defense looked pretty good against Tennessee, but who knows what that means? We could say that Pittsburgh is as good as they were last year, or we could say the Titans are as bad as they’ve been in quite some time. Either way the Steelers found a way to win big, and they’ll do it against the punch-less Texans. David Carr had his worst game as a professional, and if he wants to continue to start for his team, he’ll have to perform at a higher level. It doesn’t look like his competition is getting any easier, so he’ll have to step up big or sit down fast. The Steelers win big on the road. Roethlisberger continues to thrive.
Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

San Francisco @ Philadelphia (-13) The Eagles are big favorites even after their stubby performance in Atlanta on Monday night. Donovan McNabb looked like a spaz and TO dropped more passes than he did all last year. Brian Westbrook didn’t rush the ball worth a sheep’s ass, and Mike Vick seemed like he could just break out in a trot and gain 20 yards any time he wanted against the feared Philly D. Maybe Trotter is that important. Kudos to Kevin Mathis by the way. That was a good trade bub. (Sorry to hear he’s out for the year, hopefully he recovers fast, seriously) As for the 49ers, they already have more wins than I thought they’d have all year. Funny, the St. Louis Rams screwed me again. Well hopefully the Rams are just that pathetic, and the 49ers really are as bad as I had imagined. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Niners fail to score an offensive touchdown against the Eagles. Philly should get back on track against the, 1-15-to be, San Francisco 49ers. McNabb will play through the sore chest he got from sitting in the pocket and holding on to the ball like Warren. Think, about it. What happened to the mobile Donovan McNabb? He’ll be back in full form against an attacking Niner defense. Look for McNabb to have huge numbers throwing touchdowns to Owens, LJ Smith, and Brian Westbrook. They’ll show us why they’re picked to make a Super Bowl return. Game Date: 09/18/05 13:00 ET

Atlanta (+1) @ Seattle – The Atlanta Falcons looked like a pretty good football team last week against the “defending NFC Champion” Philadelphia Eagles. This week they play the “I can’t believe we got into the playoffs with nine wins last year” Seattle Seahawks who got destroyed in the second half at Jacksonville last week. Based on that, this should be one hell of a game! In week 1 Seattle played well in the first half, and it should be easier for Shawn Alexander to get good yards against a team that doesn’t have Marcus Stroud and John Henderson stuffing holes up front. Either way, why the Seahawks are favored in this one is beyond me. They definitely didn’t prove that their defense has improved, and their offense doesn’t look any better than the inconsistent attack they tried last year. That being said, the Falcons still have a little fast superstar I like to call Mike Vick. He’ll have a field day with a defense that should be very worried about Warrick Dunn and TJ Duckett. The Hawks are young on defense, and they should be in for a nice little lesson in rushing from the Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons haven’t beat the Seahawks in the last three seasons, but things will change this Sunday in Seattle, as Vick and his pack of pesky players take it to the Hawks.
Game Date: 09/18/05 16:05 ET

St. Louis @ Arizona (-1) – Arizona got beat by the Giants last week, and it was no close game. The Giants special teams outscored the entire Cardinal unit, and the Arizona rookies didn’t look as good as everyone thought they’d be. That being said, it was only week one, and nobody recovers from a debacle better than coach Dennis Green. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they play the worst team in football this week. Yes, the St. Louis Rams. Why are they the worst? They lost to the Niners last week. Must I say more? Okay, I will. Not only did they lose to the Niners, but they got whooped by the Niners. They only lost by three, but if it weren’t for the terrible Niners trying as hard as they could to lose, the Rams wouldn’t have been close. Mike Martz started off rushing Steven Jackson, but gave up on that much too early. I’ll never understand this Joker. Marc Bulger had pretty good numbers for a guy who got beat by San Francisco, but he won’t have another good day against Arizona. Dennis Green will have his boys ready to go after getting embarrassed to start the year. Kurt Warner might never find the touch that made him MVP while leading the Rams, but he can be as good as Tim Rattay. Apparently, that’s good enough to beat the Rams. Game Date: 09/18/05 16:05 ET

Cleveland (+6.5) @ Green Bay – After the way the Green Bay Packers played against the Detroit Lions last week, I can’t believe their favored by 6.5. And for most of the game last week the Packers had Javon Walker. He was the best option the Packers had, and yes, that includes Ahman Green and Brett Favre. This could be an odd year for the Packers who appear to be on a greasy slip ‘n’ slide headed off a cliff. On the bright side their defense played fairly well on opening day. But that can’t be expected on a weekly basis out of this club. Romeo Crenel’s team played pretty well against a good Bengal team, but Carson Palmer lit their secondary up for 280 yards. So they’re vulnerable. Is Brett still good enough to take advantage of the Browns? Maybe, but can he take advantage while he’s getting hit every down because his offensive line couldn’t stop the Little Giants? Probably not. Either way, it’s not right for the Packers to be favored by more than a couple even if they’re playing at Lambeau. Hell, until they prove otherwise, they should never be favored. Look for the Browns to play tit for tat with the Packers eventually upsetting Green Bay at home. My Uncle John isn’t going to like this one.
Game Date: 09/18/05 16:15 ET

Miami @ N.Y. Jets (-6) – The New York Jets really disappointed me last week, even though I think the Chiefs are one of the league’s best teams. Obviously I wasn’t the only one disappointed with the Jets. Head coach Herman Edwards went off on his team in practice, printing out a paper with size 22 font listing things like, don’t fumble, as something they need to do to win. Hopefully, for the Jets, that “back to basics” business works against the hapless Miami Dolphins. Well, I guess the Dolphins have a little hap. They took it to a Bronco team that looked as bad as I’ve ever seen. Gus Ferrote, of all people, was throwing the ball around their defense as if he was playing catch in his backyard. But I’ll talk about Denver later. I can’t imagine the Jets will ever play as bad as they did in Kansas City last weekend. Chad Pennington won’t be dropping snaps, and Laveranues Coles won’t be dropping passes. What will be happening is Curtis Martin running with the ball, fast and effective. Curtis needs to succeed for the Jets to get where they want to be. Miami can’t stop the Jets when Curtis is running the ball, and Chad Pennington is play action passing. The Jets defense is strong enough to shut out Ferrote and the rest of the Dolphins. I’m betting those New York Jets play up to their ability this week. Game Date: 09/18/05 16:15 ET

San Diego (+3) @ Denver – San Diego has LT. This week Antonio Gates is back. Denver lost to Miami 34-10. C’mon.
Game Date: 09/18/05 16:15 ET

Kansas City (-1) @ Oakland – The Chiefs just tore into the New York Jets in their opener. The Chiefs look like the old Kansas City team that started the season 9-0 a couple of years ago. Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson look like the best running back tandem in the NFL. In fact I’d rate Priest number 1 and Larry wouldn’t be too far behind. Especially, if he keeps doing what he’s doing. And I don’t mean getting arrested. Oakland got pushed around by the Patriots. Even when the score was close, the Raiders looked like everything they did was so difficult while the Patriots didn’t even get a brow sweat. The Raiders dropped the passes that did get to them, and Kerry Collins threw the rest of them up for grabs. Lamont Jordan played pretty well, rushing for 70 and receiving for 40 yards. He’s a big back who will give the Chiefs another tough test. The Kansas City defense will be up for the challenge, as they looked much improved from yesteryear. Until Kerry Collins stops throwing lob passes every chance he gets, I don’t think the Raiders can beat a good team. He hasn’t stopped doing that since he was 7, so the Raiders will struggle often. Trent Green does just enough to win games. He leads his team and doesn’t make many mistakes. Unless the unthinkable happens, the Chiefs will slaughter the Oakland Raiders in Oakland. Game Date: 09/18/05 20:30 ET

N.Y. Giants @ New Orleans (+3) – The Saints are playing a home game in New York against the Giants. The Giants slaughtered the new and improved Arizona Cardinals. The Saints stumbled to a victory over the Panthers. Every year the Saints underachieve. All things point to trouble for the Saints. But that’s what’s so great about this team. They’ve always needed something to play for and now they have it, New Orleans. I don’t want to get all sentimental, because this is football and Hurricane Katrina is life. But the Saints have a new reason to go out on the field every single week and win. That’s all they’ve ever needed. Whether it’s in San Antonio, New Orleans, or Egypt, the New Orleans Saints are going to come with it every single game. And they have the talent to win a lot of games if they play like that. Deuce McCallister will find room to run against the wobbly New York Giant defense, and Aaron Brooks will pick his places to shine. Look for Joe Horn to have a big game in the spotlight in New York. Eli Manning still hasn’t impressed me much, but Tiki Barbar can really play this game. Barbar will keep the Giants in it, but Saint confidence will keep New Orleans on top. Game Date: 09/19/05 19:30 ET

Washington @ Dallas (-6) – I’d love to say that I believe the Washington Redskins are going to win. I’d say that Mark Brunell is the new starter and he gives the Redskins something Patrick Ramsey doesn’t. I’d even talk about how Clinton Portis looks like he’s finally found out how to run in Joe Gibbs’ scheme. And that defense, hell, I wouldn’t even be fibbing when I said they were a very good group. But the bottom line is, Dallas looks like a better team than Washington. The Washington Redskins barely skipped by the Bears and rookie signal caller Kyle Orton, 9-7. Playing in Dallas on Monday night against the Cowboys. This is going to be tough, but I’m taking Dallas. Last year was great. I bet against Dallas every week, and they made me look great. Plus I don’t like the Cowboys. I don’t like that stupid star on their helmet, the fact that they claim to be America’s team, and I really hate those stupid Jerry Jones commercials when he talks about the “12 person hot-tub shaped like Texas Stadium”. But I need victories like Jerry Jones needs a new face, so I have to go with the more talented team here, and that is surely the Dallas Cowboys. Julius Jones looks really good, and Drew Bledsoe wasn’t a complete piece of crap last week. Mark Brunell hasn’t had it for some time, and Clinton Portis is in a rushing scheme that makes him slow down and wait for blocks. All signs point to a big Cowboy win in Dallas.
Game Date: 09/19/05 21:05 ET

Good Luck with your NFL Football Betting!
Lucky Lester – Free Football Picks

Free College Football Picks Week 3 2005

College Football Pick’em

This is Lucky Lester here, challenging myself to a college football week of pick ’em. I’ve decided to pump-up my overall stats by attempting an undefeated Saturday in the college ranks. This week I’ve picked 11 games that either intrigue me, or seemingly promise me free money. Either way, I’ve got 11 games for you to feast your eyes on. These are the games for saturday the 17th. Next week I’m leaving it up to my readers to choose the games they want me to analyze. If you have a game you are interested in, and you want to have my opinion, just e-mail me with the match-up or match-ups. I’ll take all my e-mails and choose the topesd ten most common games. Make sure to send your e-mails early, as it takes time to write my article. This week my 11 games come from all over the US. Just to let you know, I’m a college pick genius, so don’t be amazed when I blow the competition out of the water. Here we go, go, go….

West Virginia @ Maryland (-3.5) – To begin with, the Maryland Terrapins are always tough at home. Head coach Ralph Friedgen has built a high-powered offense in Maryland that will always put points on the score board. Maryland had a tough Clemson Tiger team on the ropes last week, up 24-14 late in the game. The youth in Maryland (72 first and second year players) lost control of the game, and a good Clemson team finished the on top of the Terps 28-24. Vernon Davis is the next great Maryland receiver. Last week in Clemson, Davis had 6 receptions for 140 yards and a TD. Quarterback Sam Hollenbach had a good game, and he’s improving every week. If Maryland can get their rushing attack going against West Virginia, this game won’t even be close. West Virginia is 2-0 but that’s nothing anything to write home about. The Mountaineers hardly had their way against an average Syracuse team in week 1. In fact, in their 15-7 victory, West Virginia didn’t produce one offensive touchdown. The inability to put points on the board will kill their chances against Maryland. West Virginia’s second win came over Wofford. Yes, the Wofford Terriers of the Southern Conference. Nice. A quarterback controversy in West Virginia doesn’t help their chances. Look for the Mountaineers to be outplayed offensively by a decent Terrapins squad. Lucky’s fearless prediction: West Virginia Mountaineers 20 – Maryland Terrapins 31.

Toledo (-29) @ Temple – In my mind Temple is the worst Division 1 team in college football. They’ve played two tough teams, Wisconsin and Arizona State, but that’s no reason to give up over 120 points in two games. They couldn’t stop an option attack ran by Drew Bledsoe. Temple is not going to be able to slow down Toledo either. In two games the Toledo Rockets have scored almost as many points as Temple has given up. They won 62-14 against Western Illinois and 56-23 against Western Michigan. All signs point to more of the same against the Temple Owls on Saturday. The Temple Owls might accidentally find themselves in the end zone on Saturday, but no more than a couple times. Toledo will be all over the field, toying with the struggling Owls. The 29 point spread should be eclipsed in the first half. Lucky’s fearless prediction; Toledo Rockets 49 – Temple Owls 10.

Idaho (+14) @ Washington – This is a match-up of two winless teams, and if it wasn’t for overtime rules, and the scheduling gods who put this game together, I’m sure both teams would find themselves at 0-3 after this Saturday. Washington is just bad, and Idaho is awesome at finding ways to lose games. Fortunately, for each of them, and their respective colleges, this game will give one team their first victory of the year. Idaho hasn’t been too far behind a victory, and Washington almost ended up on top in their first game against Air force. Idaho has had two close games, and this won’t be any different. The Washington Husky offensive attack is led by Isaiah Stanback. Isaiah has shown he can complete passes, but not enough to get the Husky’s a win. Their leading rusher, Louis Rankin has totaled 150+ yards on the ground, though most came against Air Force in week 1. Idaho can score points and play good defense, this balanced attack should counter the Husky’s athletic ability advantage. Expect less than a touchdown to separate these two squads, and come down to the wire. This being said, Idaho should easily play better than the 14 points spread. Bottom line; the Washington Huskies shouldn’t be 14 point favorites against any team in the Nation. Lucky’s fearless prediction: Idaho Vandals 24 – Washington Huskies 28.

Miami @ Clemson (+7) – The Clemson Tigers are a good football team, much better than anyone seems to give them credit for. The Miami Hurricanes aren’t a good football team. This game is being played in Clemson, where the Tigers will get their first win against Miami in some time. Miami got kicked in the chin by Florida State, as quarterback Kyle Wright ended up getting sacked nine times by an average Florida State team. State’s defense is stout, but 9 sacks? Think Clemson will blitz from time to time on Saturday? I think so. Miami managed only one touch down against the Seminoles accounting for their only points on the night. Clemson has played two good games early, taking Texas A&M at home and Maryland on the road. Clemson has climbed into the top 25 polls. Led by quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, the Tigers should give Miami more than they can handle in a tough road environment. The Tigers confidence will be sky high. They’ve obviously been believers all week that they can beat this Miami team. Charlie doesn’t make mistakes throwing the ball, completing over 80% of his passes last week. Take the Tigers in this one, in what has the makings of a big upset. Can you say Miami out of the top 25? I sure can. Miami out of the top 25. Oh yes, it sounds nice. Lucky’s fearless prediction: Miami Hurricanes 17 – Clemson Tigers 24.

Connecticut @ Georgia Tech (-15) – Watch out for UCONN, they’ve only given up a total of 270 yards in two games. In those two games they’re outscoring their opponents 97-0. There isn’t a better college team in the world. Wait, they didn’t start off against USC and the Cal Bears, their first two games were against Buffalo and D1-AA Liberty College. It’s becoming clearer. Connecticut has put up some great numbers against inferior competition, but will they be able to corral an offensively explosive Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket team? I think not. Will their offense be allowed to trot down the field against Tech? Not so likely. In fact, I fully expect Tech to switch the script on the Huskies. Quarterback Reggie Ball threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s victory over the Tar Heels of North Carolina. The best thing for the Jackets, sensational sophomore Calvin Johnson (ACC Rookie of the Year in ’04) hasn’t led the team in receiving yet. That means, if you double team Calvin there will be receivers on the other side of the field picking you apart. Pick your poison. Tech has already taken Auburn and NC. Their third game should give them their third win in as many weeks. Tech started off the year underrated, but they’ve proven their worth in wins and a 16th ranking. Look for Ball to find Calvin Johnson for big plays as Calvin leads the team in receiving for the first week this year. Lucky’s fearless prediction; Connecticut 17 – Georgia Tech 38.

Rice @ Texas (-41) – Rice lost to UCLA by 42 points. Texas is much better than UCLA on both sides of the ball. Texas is playing at home and coming off of their biggest win in sometime (beating Ohio State in Ohio last week). Vince Young is one of if not the best player in the country. Last week Vine proved he could fire the pig skin through the air, and he’ll be practicing his touch this week against a weak Owl secondary. Rice won’t score more than 10 accidental points and Texas should be up around or over the 60 point plateau. I usually don’t like taking teams with huge spreads against them, because anything can happen on any given Saturday, but I have to believe this point differential will be greater than 41. Lucky’s fearless prediction: Texas Longhorns 65 – Rice Owls 7.

Wisconsin (-3) @ North Carolina – The Tar Heels might be much better than people give than most people give them credit for. But they’re not better than the oddsmakers give them credit for. NC played a tough game at Georgia Tech in their season opener, but Wisconsin’s big play ability will lead the Badgers to victory in North Carolina. Carolina’s quarterback Matt Baker had big numbers through the air against a tough Tech team, and he should produce again vs. the Badger defense that has gave up 42 points to Bowling Green. They looked better last week, but who doesn’t look better against Temple? As for the offense, no Badger team has ever scored as many points as this Wisconsin club has in their first two games. This should be a good test for the Badgers, but they’ll come out more than a touchdown ahead. Lucky’s fearless prediction: Wisconsin Badgers 38 North Carolina Tar Heels 27.

Florida State @ Boston College (+1) – Boston College has put a stomping on their first two opponents, giving up 10 points combined to Army and BYU. Boston College seems to be a team full of monsters. Absolutely dominating opponents and getting praise from opposing coaches, “They’re as big as any team I’ve coached against, and that includes my 13 years in the National Football League. They’re really big.” (Army Coach, Bobby Ross) Florida State has played Miami and The Citadel. The Seminoles squeaked out a win against Miami and despite a slow start the pummeled The Citadel. Boston College will be their best opponent until they trot over the University of Florida November 26th. Boston College is much better than their 17th ranking, and much better than the Florida State Seminoles. FSU no longer has a quarterback controversy with Drew Weatherford taking the reigns at QB. But it won’t matter, the balanced Eagle assault should leave FSU with their first loss of the season. Quinton Porter will lead his Eagles to an upset at home against Florida State. What will the score be? Lucky’s fearless prediction; Florida State Seminoles 13 – Boston College Eagles 24.

Tennessee @ Florida (-6.5) – The Gators are one of my picks to surprise and get a chance at a National Championship. This is there biggest test thus far, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Chris Leak has done well learning Urban Meyer’s offensive schemes, and he’s shown his ability to throw the ball with velocity, accuracy, and touch. Tennessee looked blah in their first game against UAB. In fact, if it wasn’t for a dropped pass in the end zone by a UAB receiver, the Volunteers would have gone to overtime in their first game of the season. In other words, this isn’t a good time to be playing the Gators and The LSU Tigers back to back. Because back to back loses are never good for a team ranked 5th in the country. You dig? Chris Leak and his team full of speed should find plenty of holes in the Volunteers defense. On the other hand starting quarterback Casey Clausen and back up Erik Ainge will both take their fair share of lumps against a defense that returns 8 starters from a year ago. Florida is good on both sides of the ball, and although Meyer “Isn’t convinced” yet, he’ll be closer come Saturday night. Lucky’s fearless prediction: Tennessee Volunteers 14 – Florida Gators 24.

Purdue (-7.5) @ Arizona – Arizona isn’t a top tier football team. The Wildcats traveled down to Utah and lost to an Urban Meyer-less Utes team 27-24. Arizona won their next game, but it was no surprise, as they played Northern Arizona. This week the Wildcats play 12th ranked Purdue Boilermakers. Boilermakers quarterback Brandon Kirsch threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns and his backfield mate, running back Jerrod Void had 101 yards on a mere 10 carries. Purdue is always solid on the defensive side of the ball and that should be no different against a sub par Arizona offense. Plus, Arizona is a Pac-10 school, and they’re never ready to play top rated Big-10 schools early in the season. Take Purdue on the road in a laugher. Lucky’s fearless prediction: Purdue Boilermakers 41 – Arizona Wildcats 14.

Oklahoma (+6.5) @ UCLA – The Bruins are favored because Oklahoma has played so poorly in their first two games and conversely UCLA won each quite decisively. The difference in this contest will be the fact that Oklahoma is still much better than UCLA. Mark my words, Oklahoma takes out UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Southern California. Adrian Peterson will find no troubles sprinting by an average Bruin defense. Oklahoma should hold UCLA to their lowest scoring output of the year. UCLA rsunning back Maurice Drew will find his yardage, but the Oklahoma defense will tighten when they have to. Drew is one of the nations best running backs, but he’ll be outdrawn in the dual between fellow top back Adrian Peterson. Oklahoma will finally realize what they have to do to win without Jason White at quarterback, feed Peterson the ball in every situation. Oklahoma takes out UCLA in a big pointspread upset, but many will predict this same outcome. Lucky’s fearless prediction; Oklahoma 35 – UCLA 24.

2005 Week 1 NFL Pick Review

I hate to say I told you so. The San Francisco 49ers made my crazy predications ring true when they throttled (the score doesn’t tell the true story) the St. Louis Rams, 28-25. And thank God for the Miami Dolphins… with everyone in the world betting against them, besides me of course, they pummeled the unsuspecting Broncos 34-10 (this time the score does tell the story). Okay, all right, maybe my week one was more like Daunte Culpepper’s (223 yards, 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles) than Willie Parkers (209 total yards, 1 touchdown). But, would you trade Culpepper for Parker? No. This is exactly why you shouldn’t give up on good ol’ Lucky Lester. I stumbled out of the gates, I spilt beer all over the sofa, I peed on the toilet seat, and in the end I lost 11 of 16. Ouch! Go figure, as confident as I was… Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one. There were 10 games that featured a playoff team from a year ago, and a team that ended their season early. Seven times out of ten, the team that didn’t make the playoffs last year won the game on Sunday. Now that you’ve got the numbers, lets take a closer look at my worst week ever…
It all started with an opening night trouncing. The Raiders held tight for a while on Randy Moss’ 80-yard touchdown catch, but couldn’t keep close enough to cover the elusive 7-point spread. Moss played fine, and the Raider defense held Corey Dillon down most of the night. Sapp and Washington made big plays in the second half to give the Raiders a chance. It was Kerry “Whoops” Collins that floundered when he was needed most. Collins had a nice stat line (265 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception) but his game was erratic. This is my assessment of the Oakland Raider quarterback. Locks on to his receivers, holds the ball too long, throws every ball like he’s trying to hit the Goodyear blimp, and runs like Drew Bledsoe. If you saw the game, you aren’t arguing right now. Either way, I started out with a loss. Oakland Raiders 20 – New England Patriots 30.

It didn’t get much better from there. My stone cold lock was decimated when the Gus Ferrote led Miami Dolphins destroyed Mike Shanahan’s Denver Broncos. First of all, I can’t believe the Dolphins scored 34 points. That is a stunner. Incredibly, the Dolphins held the highly touted Denver Bronco rushing attack to less than 100 yards, and a measly 10 points. I didn’t think it would happen this soon, but the Bronco’s showed that my preseason prediction, (they won’t possess a 1000 yard running back) might just come true. This sure victory makes me question, where are all those people that said college coaches can’t do it in the NFL? One for Nick Saban, Zero for those people. Denver Broncos 10 – Miami Dolphins 34.

My wins were few and far between on opening Sunday, but the Cincinnati Bengals held true to their promise by caging the Cleveland Browns 27-13. Carson Palmer looked as good as I thought he’d be against a sub par Cleveland defense. Rudi Johnson lived up to his billing as one of the top 5 toughest players in the NFL (Sporting News) rushing for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Lewis’ defense looked stout in their opening day debut. Look for them to continue next week. Thanks to the Bengals, I got my first win early. Cincinnati Bengals 27 – Cleveland Browns 13.

The sturdy Buffalo Bills defense brought me to .500 and false hopes that my opening week was back on track. The Bills defense, which I believe to be the best in the league, held David Carr to 70 yards passing with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Basically, David sucked. Dominick Davis wasn’t much better, getting stopped as soon as he got the ball. How Houston got any points at all is a mystery to me. JP Losman put his nay sayers to rest starting the game 8-10 for 122 yards. If he plays well this year, the Bills will get at least 12 wins. After week 1, they have one. Buffalo Bills 22 – Houston Texans 7.

The Pittsburgh Steelers started off even with the Tennessee Titans at a touchdown a piece early in the first quarter. After that the Titans never reached the end zone again. The Steelers would visit frequently. Willie Parker, who was third on the depth chart throughout the preseason, stepped up to the challenge with Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis out with injury. Parker rumbled and sprinted for161 rushing yards, 48 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Big Ben Roethlisberger was much better than he was during the preseason, tossing the pig for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns without a single turnover. The Titans were no match for a Steeler team that has it all. Will they go 15-1 again? Who knows? They’re 1-0. This win brought me to 3-2. Pittsburgh Steelers 34 – Tennessee Titans 7.

The Chicago Bears – Washington Redskin match was every bit of the crowd pleaser I thought it would be. 9-7. Must I say anymore? The Redskins defense allowed a total of 166 yards out of the Bears. The Washington Redskins lost starter Patrick Ramsey, which didn’t seem to be a big hit to their chances as Mark Brunell led the team on three scoring drives. Yes, all field goals. This was the only game of the week, where the winning team didn’t score a touchdown. Gross. It’s too bad CBS didn’t broadcast this game in my area…yeah right. Clinton Portis rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries, but no touchdowns. My guess, Mark Brunell will start next week, and if he stays healthy, every week after that. Neither of these teams will do much scoring this year. Either way it’s tough to cover a 5.5 point spread when you don’t score a touchdown, and the Redskins didn’t. Thanks. I was back to .500. Washington Redskins 9 – Chicago Bears 7.

The Carolina Panthers couldn’t beat the New Orleans Saints who were seemingly destined to win for their home town fans down in New Orleans. The game started out even with touchdowns on each side, and it took a last minute field goal for the Saints to pull out ahead of the Panthers, 23-20. Steven Davis played well in his first game in some time, and Steve Smith also looked like his old self for the Panthers. Deuce McCallister was mostly stifled by the Carolina defense, but ended the game with 2 touchdowns on 64 yards after 26 carries. Carolina lost their best interior defensive lineman Kris Jenkins, who is out for the year. This was one of Sunday’s best games, and the feel good story of the day. Unfortunately, after losing 50 bucks on the game, and looking like a rookie, I didn’t feel so good.
New Orleans Saints 23 – Carolina Panthers 20.

Carnell “Cadillac” Williams was the highlight of the day in Minnesota. God knows it wasn’t Daunte “Baby Hands” Culpepper. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rode their rookie to the tune of 148 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut. The Vikings got on the back of their star and he just turned them over 5 times. Three interceptions and two fumbles later the Buccaneers had their first win of the season, and the Vikings were stuck asking themselves, how does Daunte hold on to the ball with those little baby hands? Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t. Culpepper’s disaster looked to be a fluke, where Carnell Williams’ debut is not. Look for better things from the Vikings, and Williams. If anything good can come out of this for Minnesota, it would be… nope, nothing was good about this. Two losses in a row took me to 3-5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13 – Minnesota Vikings 24.

The Jacksonville Jaguars gave me a little pick me up with a win over those befuddling Hawks, bringing me as close to .500 as I’d get the rest of the day. After the first half of the game, I was sure this one would be a nail-biter. Turns out the “good” Seahawks went into the locker room and never came out. The “Kick our ass all over the field” Seattle team came out after half-time. Byron Leftwich played pretty well in his new “vertical” passing attack. Fred Taylor had some good runs, but looked a little timid in his first game since he left late last season with an injury. Shaun Alexander ran like Tinkerbell most of the day, making sure he didn’t get hit that hard. Good move, he wouldn’t want to hurt himself before his big payday this off-season. (This won’t be the last time Tinky tiptoes through the tulips) Hasselbeck started off well, but fell victim to a lack of protection and his own wayward throws. The Seattle Seahawks basically got beat in every aspect of the game. Which Seattle Seahawk team will show up next week? Your guess is almost as good as mine.
Jacksonville Jaguars 26 – Seattle Seahawks 14.

The New York Jets were as bad as any team in the league on Sunday. Chad Pennington looked pathetic, at best, and his defense didn’t look much better against what seemed to be an exemplarily Kansas City Chiefs team. Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson form the best running back tandem in the NFL. Each rushed for close to 100 yards, Johnson finishing with more yards than Holmes. The passing game in Kansas City looked all right, though it should get tested with Willie Roaf out next week. The Pennington to Laveranues Coles tosses that I was expecting didn’t have any mustard on them, as most fluttered to the grass like single winged geese. Curtis Martin was stumped by the new Chief defense that could get Kansas City back to the level they were a couple years ago. What was I thinking betting against Kansas City at home? Coach Herman Edwards and I had the same crapped out look on our faces after the final tick-tocked off the clock. Back to 2 games under .500. Kansas City Chiefs 27 – New York Jets 7.

The newly dressed and revamped Arizona Cardinals playing in New York against the Eli Manning led New York Giants? And they’re getting points. This was a no-brainer, right? As it turns out, it’s just me that has no brain. The Giants in New York on September 11th… think they were a little emotional? If that 42 – 18 score doesn’t say it, I don’t know what does. Tiki Barbar showed that last year wasn’t a fluke as he had over 60 yards both rushing and receiving, taking one run through the Cardinal defense and into the end zone. Eli Manning had as many touchdowns as he did interceptions, 2, but he looked all right leading his Giants to victory. It was the Giants defense that really impressed me, as they only allowed one rusher over 10 yards, Kurt Warner of all people. This game sent Dennis Green back to the drawing board and me down to 4-7.
New York Giants 42 – Arizona Cardinals 18.

Mike Martz and the St. Louis Rams make a point to screw me over as much as possible. Not only did the Rams fall to the seemingly hopeless San Francisco 49ers on opening day, but I lost money because of it. Who would have thought the Rams would lose to a team like the 49ers? Kevan Barlow only had 22 yards on 12 carries, and he was the Niner’s leading rusher. Basically, they allowed Tim Rattay to beat them. Brandon Lloyd had a nice touchdown catch. The Rams fought back to make the game look much closer than it was, but truly they got beat in every facet of football. I don’t know what to say about the Rams besides the fact that I hate them. That’s right. If I bet on the bastards they lose, it doesn’t matter who they’re playing, they lose. If I bet against them, they end up covering against any team they play. As you can see this puts me in a quandary. This week, I’m overjoyed the Rams are 0-1, but it just figures that I bet them to win. Now I’d lost twice as many as I’d won.
San Francisco 49ers 28 – St. Louis Rams 25.

My last Sunday win came when the Detroit Lions pummeled the tumbling Green Bay Packers. Green Bay looked like garbage. Brett couldn’t throw it, Javon couldn’t catch it, and Ahman couldn’t run it. As you can imagine they didn’t score many points. In fact, if it weren’t for Ryan Longwell’s ability to kick it they wouldn’t have had a single point. As if matters weren’t shoddy enough for the Pack, Javon Walker tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the year. I wonder if he wishes he had held out a little longer? That’s why guys want contracts that adhere to their ability, shit like a torn knee ligament happens every week. The Lions were led by Joey Harrington and Kevin Jones. Each played fairly well, but not great. Joey threw a couple touchdown passes and didn’t make many mistakes. The Lions brought my win total to a dismal 5 count. The highest Sunday would bring me. Detroit Lions 17 – Green Bay Packers 3.

Dallas Cowboys pulled out a victory against the Chargers in one of the day’s best match-ups. Drew Brees completed a huge 4th and forever late in the 4th quarter giving the Chargers 1st and goal from the 7 with 1:30 to go. Did I mention that covering the spread was out at this point? Well it was. Either way I still had some hope that those hated Cowboys would fall in San Diego. Then, on four straight plays Drew Brees ran about looking for Antonio Gates in the back of the end zone. If you remember correctly, Gates was suspended for 2 preseason games and 1 regular season game… by his own team. As soon as I heard that, I knew it would come back to haunt them. Ask Drew how nice it would have been to have Gates, who caught 11 touchdowns last year, running routes those last 4 plays. As you might have guessed, Drew never found Gates, nor did he find anyone else, as the Chargers turned it over on downs. With one game to go, there was no way I’d get back to .500 on the week.
Dallas Cowboys 28 – San Diego Chargers 24.

Sunday Night Football had one of the most highly anticipated matches of the day. The Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens didn’t disappoint as each defense held the opposing offense scoreless for most of the first half. The Colts put three on the board with a short Mike Vanderjagt field goal. The story of the night wasn’t the blah performance by the Kyle Boller led Baltimore offense, the sub par Manning performance, nor the injury to Boller late in the second half. It was the uncharacteristically crappy performance by kicker Matt Stover. In a place where you just don’t want to be, Stover found himself getting booed by hometown fans. Matt missed three field goals, all less than 50 yards. It wasn’t until the meaningless extra point in the last minute that he finally got one through the uprights. The Baltimore defense was damn good most of the game, and newly acquired Derrick Mason posted 99 yards receiving. Besides that, the Ravens have nothing to be proud of. The Colts pulled off a tough one, and their defense looks as stout as its ever been. If the Colts are this good on both sides of the ball, who can beat them?
Indianapolis Colts 24 – Baltimore Ravens 7.

The Atlanta Falcons hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Favored by only a point, I took the Eagles to handle the Falcons easily in Atlanta. I figured TO would excel on Monday Night’s stage, and the Eagle Defense would once again have Mike Vick’s number. Like the rest of week one, this one didn’t go as I had expected. Not only was the game relatively boring, but the Falcons came out on top. Mike Vick nearly eclipsed 100 yards on the ground. And he threw the ball decently. Warrick Dunn ran all over the field for the Falcons. The Eagle running game was stagnant at best, rushing for only 50 yards on the night. McNabb took a shot to the sternum early in the contest. It seemed to effect him. There were a handful of times in the pocket where Donovan McNabb resembled a stuttering 8th grader with ADD. Seriously, he was hoping around looking all over the field, always double-checking to make sure Patrick Kerney wasn’t trying to cave-in his chest. It didn’t help his average accuracy. To be fair, he had 3-4 drops on key plays from his receivers. The Eagles came up 2 yards short on 4th and 10. Luckily a phantom timeout at the end gave me one more shot at 6 wins, but McNabb got walloped as he threw short to Terrell Owens going down the sidelines. Game over. Eagles lose. Lucky goes to 5-11.
Atlanta Falcons 14 – Philadelphia Eagles 10.

Stay tuned for next week as I attempt to pull both feet out of my mouth.

Good Luck with your NFL Football Betting!
Lucky Lester – Free Football Picks