With the World Series coming to a close Wednesday night, the sporting landscape feels a little barren. That being said, there are tons of sports being played all over the world to pick, so watch out, I might throw in a Premiership or La Liga pick on top of the usual football. One huge SEC matchup headlines the weekend, but there are several intriguing matchups this weekend. That’s why I’m here.
LSU (+7.5) @ Alabama
I will admit up front to not keeping up with my LSU football. I do not know what the Mad Hatter has been doing with hisBayou Bengals. However, I know a few things about the Tide, and it is enough for me to make this pick safely. LSU is probably either the best or second best team Alabama has played this year with Virginia Tech being the other. Bama has defied logic a bit with playing much closer and less solid games at home than on the road and this one is at home. We all know about Mark Ingram is a workhorse, but Greg McElroy has really struggled through the year and there may be nothing harder than trying to run a truly one dimensional offense. If LSU does not have the respect the pass, it will be much harder for Ingram to run. If LSU tackles and can put up 17 points they have a legitimate shot to win, but I am going with the Crimson Tide to win it. Not by the full 7.5 but they will win. Should be a great watch.
Ohio State @ Penn State (-5)
I hate picking Penn State games for the simple reason of not knowing which Nittany Lions team is going to show up. The scores of the games show that they always put up points, but there is just something about them that makes you ask questions. When they lost to Iowa, it was surprising but it turned out that Iowa was pretty good. In that game, Daryl Clark looked horrible and could not find his rhythm for his life. Ever since that game the offense has looked fine, but it makes you wonder if there will come another game where he just can’t hit his rhythm. Ohio State has really struggled lately and has even had Buckeyes faithful questioning if wunderkind Terrelle Pryor should even be playing quarterback. Look for Penn State to cover their spread but not with any sort of confidence if they get out of the gates slowly.
Pittsburgh (-3) @ Denver on Monday Night Football
I have found myself struggling to pick against the Broncos this year. I like how they play defense, I like their p
layers, and I like the efficiency and balance of their offense. I just enjoy watching them play football. I think the Steelers have lost contact with their roots with the running game, need upgrades on the offensive lines, and that their defense is not what it once was. So why am I taking the Steelers to cover? Very simple, they have rest. The bye week advantage hasnot been overly pronounced this year, but I think this week it shows up. The Steelers defense saw a lot of things it can do against Denver after Baltimore finally shut them down, and the Steelers have personnel similar enough to Baltimore to pull it off. The Broncos defense will make Big Ben’s life hell, but he will battle through it and continue his outstanding season. Tough game to pick, but it is Pittsburgh.
Barclays Premier League
Chelsea v. Manchester United
Soccer makes its maiden voyage into OuttaTown Clowns with a dandy of a match. Chelsea sits top of the table with
Manchester sitting in second. Everyone thought this would be a down year for United after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure for Real Madrid, but the Red Devils had no such idea and have been their usual unflappable selves thus far, the loss at Burnley notwithstanding. Chelsea has had similar success with only a loss to Wigan Athletic to truly tarnish their resume. There are some great individual matchups too with the great strikers Drogba and Rooney, great defenders in Terry and Ferdinand and great midfielders in Lampard and Giggs among others. This game should have just about all you could ask for as far as both storylines and quality of play. The obvious problem for most is that it is not widely televised in the states. This site sometimes has the feed if you are interested. Well, it is now time to pick it because that is what we do. I am taking Chelsea 2-1 in this one. All the matchups listed above favor Chelsea at the moment and Manchester struggled to earn a tie in Moscow in midweek Champions League action. It is hard to bet against Sir Alex, but this one should go Chelsea’s way at Stamford Bridge.
Just for fun, let’s call the scorers. Drogba on a cross in the 38th minute. Lampard in the 73rd minute from a free kick. Owen draws Manchester within 1 in the 80th minute but it won’t be enough. Blues stay top of the table.