Wet the Beak Part II, Salad and the Main Course.

Yesterday was just a little College Football appetizer. Today’s games are the salad course. Then on Saturday, we get the meal we’ve been waiting to feast on since January.

Let’s start with some salad games:

Utah State at Michigan State: this is not an expert opinion, just that of bad gambler…but when a very good college team plays a very bad college team they win by a lot. The Spartans are good, the Aggies? I think Utah State is the Aggies. They Stink. The Spread is -23.5 in favor of State. Sparty wins this game like 38-10 and that’s almost keeping it close for Utah State. Bonus play is the under: the total is 52.5 and a 38-10 final only gets them to 48 points.

more salad:

Colorado State at Colorado: I think that the Buffs are better than they get credit for, while I expect a regression year for the Rams. The line opened with the Buffs as a 6 point favorite, that’s now up to a seven and a hook (-7.5) I loved it at -6 and I still am ok with it at -7.5. I just think the Buffs are at least ten points better. This line would have to be -12 before I would even think about the Rams side of it.

 

The Main Course:

Michigan at Notre Dame: The Wolverines are +1.5 in South Bend. Look I expect Michigan to win, even without their star WR. So if you want to give me a point and a half, I’ll take that. In Harbaugh we trust. The over/under of 46.5 seems just about where it should be, both teams play defense, but sometimes you get a couple pick 6’s and the defense turns the under-game into an over-game. I’m not saying we see that here….it just makes me stay away from the total. Still, it feels very 24-17 to me.

Auburn vs Washington in Atlanta: Hard to call this a neutral site game when Auburn’s campus is a stone’s throw from Atlanta and the Huskies are coming from Seattle. Nonetheless, it’s considered neutral.

I want to break this one down real quick.

Auburn has a front 7 as good as just about anyone in the country. The last time Jake Browning saw a front seven like that was vs Alabama in the CFP. It did not go well for Jake in that game. That worries me if I want to play Washington.

Auburn probably has the edge at QB, I do think Jarett Stidham is probably a little better than Browning. Also worries me if I want to play the Huskies.

Here’s where the Huskies have the advantage:

They have the more experienced OL and STUD Running back running behind him. It’s rare that the Auburn Tigers play a game outside the SEC where they don’t have the advantage at RB but there isn’t a running back on Auburn’s roster with the skill level of a MIles Gaskin.

Gus Malzhan is a good coach, but Chris Peterson is a great coach and he’s had all offseason to prepare for this game. These things worry me if I want to play Auburn. I’m also worried that the UW defense is also very good. They might have the best secondary in the country. Good enough to cause problems for the Auburn offense. Which like I said before has an inexperienced OL.

The Huskies are getting two points. So what’s the play? It’s probably a stay away, my gut says Auburn because this is going to be a pro-Auburn crowd, while my head says the Huskies because of those two points and Peterson.

I’m going with the Huskies because that’s who I want to root for. I don’t feel great about it.

 

I’m gonna post this right now b/c the Salad Games have time-sensitive info. I’ll be back later with more picks for the games on 9/1, 9/2 and 9/3.

ATrain Out.

 

Wet the Beak: 2018. Part I (Thursday 8/30 games)

College Football is back, I stayed away from week zero but the A-Train Corp. Syndicate is ready for week one, and as per usual we won’t shy away from the big games.

Thursday Night (Tonight)

Usually, I write WTB on Friday, but we have games all through the weekend so I’m posting a day earlier. The Biggest Game of the evening is a conference matchup in the Big Ten West Division when Northwestern travels to West Layafette Indiana to take on Purdue.

I’m approaching this game as if Clayton Thorson will play for Northwestern. Purdue opened at -3 and the line has dropped to -1. That is honestly fine by me. We made money last year betting on the Boilermakers early in the season. While I like both coaches, I really believe in Jeff Brohm. Our lean is on the Boilermakers to cover and a slight lean on the over (52.5). The Boilermaker offense is listed as returning 13 starters a feat that I didn’t know was possible since you can only start 11.  If you want to bet real money on Purdue vs Northwestern my advice is Boiler-Over.

Wake Forest (-6.5) at Tulane (O/U – 57)

I have a gut instinct on the over in this game. I feel like I watched a lot of Wake Forest games go over last year. I’m not worried that Tulane does nothing but run it. I think they should be able to run if for a few scores at home in a night game in New Orleans.

Central Florida (-23.5) at Connecticut  (O/U – 72)

I don’t give a shit about this game except to gauge Central Florida in the post-Scott Frost era. Josh Heupel comes from Mizzou and is expected to run plays at an even faster pace than Frost.  I have no play here. I think Unconn stinks, a lot of people like the over. I’m not so sure about that because of how bad Uconn is. I don’t know if they can hold up their end of an over-bargain.

New Mexico State at Minnesota: This line went from -18 to -22 probably based solely on the fact that New Mexico State looked like a dog-shit football team on national television week zero. I have no doubt that Minnesota wins this game, but they are starting a true freshman walk-on in Zack Annexstad. Annexstad spurned a couple other D-1 offers including one from the University of Illinois, to walk on as a Golden Gopher. It paid off and he won the job, but how effective will he be in his first ever start? An even better question is how will I refrain from calling this guy Zack Amistad by mistake. You guys remember Amistad right? The movie about all the slaves who take over the slave ship and then get put on trial. Probably not what I should be calling the whitest QB in existence.

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 12.32.21 PM
He looks like a poster child for the Hitler youth.

 

Soooo do you trust this guy to cover 22 points? It’s a home opener at night on national television and NMSU just played on Saturday….now they go to a hostile environment in Minnesota. I’m scared by the line but gun to my head….I roll with Amistad and the Golden Gopher…not because of how bad NMSU looked but because they looked that bad at home….and now play a night road game on short rest. Did I just talk myself into a go-go-gopher bet?

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Gopher Everett? I expect the Gophers to eat and not be eaten tonight.

I’m going to post this as a part one now so it has some time on the interwebs before these games kick-off…part 2 to come A-Train Out.

NFL Storylines Peaking Our Interests.

As we roll into another NFL season, we here at the ATrain Sports Corporation have gotten together to discuss the upcoming NFL Storylines. What we are excited about, what to watch for, and what unknown players could be household names by the end of the year.

Hard Knocks Effect and the Cleveland Browns:

The Browns would be a major storyline even if they were not the subject of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Which is somehow in its 13th season? I’ll admit I haven’t watched Hard Knocks in a long time. It’s the same thing every year. Not this season, this season the Browns have me enthralled.

This Brown’s team is unique/exciting to me for several reasons.

  1. The improvement at QB. When a team makes a huge leap from one season to the next, it’s almost always because of elevated play at the QB position. Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield are both capable NFL QB’s and they unlike most other NFL teams could lose the starting QB to injury and not fall off at all production wise. I think this factor alone makes them a candidate for the over. Six wins seem not at all out of the question for this team.
  2.  Gregg Williams and Todd Haley coordinating under Hue Jackson. This is the most hilarious three’s company of Head Coach and Coordinators of ALL TIME. It’s not even up for debate. If the Browns totally implode and go under their win total it will be because these three could not co-exist. Just the fact that a team that went 0-16 is returning the head coach is bananas, Hue is still in Cleveland by some great miracle and for the first time has a team with the talent to go on a run.
  3. New WR Core: There are so many questions revolving around Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway…on paper this group has the talent to be top tier but we haven’t seen Josh Gordon in YEARS and Callaway is almost as big of a concern. Tight End David Njoku is solid. The Rumor is Clevland is also a potential landing spot for Dez Bryant. Honestly if the sign Dez, it worries me for Josh Gordon. You only need Dez if you are very worried that Gordon won’t be able to play.

I kinda wish this team wasn’t on Hard Knocks because now they won’t be flying under the radar. All the focus and attention worries me but Tyrod and Baker are such professional’s that the spotlight might not matter.

Rookie QBs/QBs in new situations.

The QB turnover in the offseason was tumultuous as the position becomes even more important.

Alex Smith in Washington: Fan’s of middling QB’s will finally get to answer the age-old question of who is better Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith? If you listen to the whispers out of Redskins training camp the answer is Alex Smith. Take that info with a grain of salt, but I do think I agree.

Case Keenum in Denver: Denver is another team that should go from trash Quarterback play to halfway decent with the addition of Case Keenum. Keenum is still limited in his ability to go deep, that’s not gonna change but with a good defense and decent weapons, he’s shown he can win. He should have that in Denver.

Teddy Bridgewater/Sam Darnold in New York: ATrain predicts: Darnold is the best player and he should win the job, if he doesn’t, he will by the end of the season. The Jets like the Browns have multiple QB’s and should one guy get hurt, they can survive it. I like the Jets over this year. #WettheBeak

Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield in Cleveland: Already talked about these guys, Tyrod is the present, Mayfield the future.

Jimmy Garopolo in San Fransisco: He did play 6 games in San Fran already but he’s on this list because there was no pressure in those games. Now he’s the guy, the pressure is on and the expectations are real, how will Jimmy perform.

Pat Mahomes in Kansas City: Andy Reid QB Guru says Mahomes is his guy, who am I to doubt the Red Walrus?

Josh Rosen in Arizona: Sam Bradford is made of paper, the odds he plays more than 4 games are less than 1% in my mind. This was a guy who couldn’t handle a pass rush at all last season. I expect Rosen to play and play a lot, I have not seen any Arizona preseason so I have no gauge on Rosen yet at all.

Josh Allen in Buffalo: Huge Hands, Big Arm must fight off the AJ McCarrion Crows for the starting job first.

Kirk Cousins in Minnesota: He’s got a team full of weapons, a great defense, fully guaranteed contract, and no excuses. It’s Super Bowl or bust for this Vikings team.


Second Year QB’s: Watson and Trubisky:

It’s no secret I was mad when the Bears took Trubisky over Watson, I’ve since changed my tune and I believe in Trubisky…but I still worry sometimes we took the wrong guy. Both these guys come into 2018 with a lot to prove. For Watson, he wants to prove his one abbreviated season was just a flash of things to come.  For Trubisky he needs to show that his pedestrian Rookie season was due to a lack of weapons and coaching…and not because he lacks the ability.

 

 

The NFL needs to just accept that’s its a dangerous game.

If you watched last night’s Hall of Fame Game, then you might be wondering what the hell is going on with the new “safety” precautions in the NFL. I’ll tell you what’s going on, the game is slowly becoming unwatchable and the NFL is doing it to itself.

The reason that the NFL is so popular is because of the violence. We love great catches, runs, and hits. Now they want to take away the hits that fueled the popularity of the game. The problem is that this is no longer the game everyone loves, it’s the game everyone loathes. We loathe it because we remember what it once was. The golden age of the NFL has rescinded and darker days loom ahead.

He is the NFL’s first problem, they try and claim that Football is a safe game that they are making safer every year. Stop that. Let’s act like alcoholics trying to get sober and admit that we have a problem. This is the first step. The problem is all the lying about a safe game.

I as the commish would say this…Look, my predecessor, Roger was both a liar and a scumbag. I’m not gonna be like him. I won’t pretend football is safe. I am the commissioner of a dangerous sport, dangerous to the point of causing on the field death. Dangerous to the point of long-term health effects. This sport is practiced by elite athletes with both God-given talent and talent earned through hard work and dedication. The bigger faster and stronger these athletes become the more dangerous the sport becomes and every year they seem to be getting bigger faster and stronger. Concussions leading to CTE are real and everyone playing is taking on a serious risk.

What we as a league are going to do from now on is take better care of our players financially and medically. Anyone playing in the NFL will have lifelong top tier heal care. But everyone must accept the risks going in. Many people have tried to climb Mt. Everest and not come back, yet we still let people climb mountains. We have to let our players make the choice to play, it is their life and their decision.

We are rolling back many (not all) of our recent penalties regarding how you can hit. All the concussion protocols will remain in place. You still won’t be able to hit the QB up high in the helmet. All the reasonable rules will stray. The unreasonable ones where routine defensive plays are now 15-yard penalties must go.

They must go because they make the game not watchable and because all those hits are still happening anyway.

DeAngelo Hall Retires and ROASTS Jay Cutler on his way out in epic fashion.

If I could have played against Jay Cutler more, I probably would be in the Hall of Fame by now, but it didn’t quite work out” – DeAngelo Hall.

Incredible last words to a football career. Honestly, I never liked DeAngelo Hall, until now. Hall was always a guy who thought he was better than he actually was…..still true. He could make big plays but also give up big plays.

As a Bears fan, my Jay Cutler relationship is pretty love-hate. Like DeAngelo Hall, Cutler would wow you with an amazing play, and on the next play throw an int off his back foot into double coverage. Apathetic to both the good and bad plays, Jay would at times make it hard to root for him. Of course now that’s he’s an apathetic reality star as opposed to an apathetic QB, I find his attitude a lot more humorous.

DeAngelo Hall is the perfect Yin to Jay Cutler’s Yang.

Neither was well liked by fans of even their own teams. But they each had an undeniable god given talent, that was never fully realized because of their attitudes. The attitudes were polar opposites, however. Hall was a hot-head, getting into fights every training camp. Cutler was cool, too cool. Cools guys know it’s cool to not care too much about anything, for Cutler that included throwing interceptions.

What I need now is for DeAngelo Hall to become a regular on Very Cavallari. I need this relationship to continue beyond the football field. Maybe he could become a Kramer-type guy who just pops in and “picks off” the Cutler refrigerator. Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 9.53.35 AM

I watched the game where Cutty threw the quad-laser of picks to DeAngelo Hall. The thing I remember about that game was:

  1. The game was close the entire time because that Bears team could still play defense and the Redskins were a shit offense.
  2. DeAngelo Hall’s 4 interceptions all came in the second half.
  3. Devin Hester and Johnny Knox were not NFL Wide Receivers, they were both return guys that couldn’t run an NFL route tree. Hall’s quote should have been “If I only had to cover return guys who can’t run routes, I’d be in the Hall of Fame by now.
  4. I remember pulling the last of my hair out this game and was bald forever after.

Some of those picks are definitely on Jay, the pick 6 most of all. Still, his wide receivers did him no favors and the Bears had a garbage offensive line for most of Jay’s Tenure. Here’s a question: Why the hell is Fox’s A-Team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman doing a Bears-Redskins game? You’re telling me this was the best game to feature that week? Yikes.

Enjoy retirement DeAngelo, hit ya, boy, Cutty up when you get a minute, Very Cavallari could use some diversity. A-Train Out.