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Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks Week 3

Every week, Mr. Pittsburgh SportsNation, aka Mike Drakulich, takes on his father, MJD, in choosing 10 games against the spread. Pitt, Penn State, and West Virginia, if they are playing, will always be on the slate among the five NCAA games chosen, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, covered by Mike Drakulich for, will be included alongside 4 other exciting NFL match-ups.

On Friday night, I was watching Two for the Money starring Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, which was perfect foreshadowing for what was to come for my upcoming picks on Saturday and Sunday. As usual, the Steelers smoked me for the second straight week, as did the Miami Dolphins. With a laughable 3-6-1 record last week, I wonder if I should resort to flipping coins, as McConaughey did as Brandon Lang did in the movie when suddenly, his gift for picking games correctly just fell apart at the seams. Dad didn’t fare much better, coming in at 4-5-1, but he upped his lead over me to 4 games.

This week, it’s time to baton down the hatches and actually read into these games in more depth. Sometimes you just get unlucky and hit a bad stretch, and if there is one thing I hate to do, it is lose. So count on a big time bounce back this week as we roll into week 3.

Pitt is looking to start 4-0 as they face Iowa, who lost to Iowa State last week. Behind the powerful running of James Connor, who has 544 yards rushing on the season, the Panthers will be looking to pound the ball against the Hawkeyes all day. Unless they turn the ball over several times like they did inside the 10 yard line last week, Pitt should cover. Penn State has taken every game down to the wire all season, so I’m perplexed on how they are giving UMass 26.5 points. That’s way too much. I like the Minutemen to cover that easily. WVU played well against Bama, and was cruising past Maryland last week up until the half. Then the Terrapins came storming back and almost stole the game away. A last second FG saved the Mountaineers. They won’t be so fortunate against Oklahoma, who has laid waste to all of their early season opponents. Virginia has played great all season. UCLA was lucky to escape them. BYU is tough at home, but I like Virginia to cover. Florida State’s Jameis Winston will be benched for the 1st half of the game against Clemson. The early line had Seminole’s as 20.5 favorites, but it dropped to 17.5 with Winston out. In either instance, I was going with Clemson.

The Steelers have netted me two losses so far on the season, but it’s not going to three just yet. Not this week. I think the Steelers are going win this one outright. This team has a lot of pride, and it got shoved down their throats last week against the Ravens. They will find a way to bounce back. New England should have an easy time against Oakland who has to make the cross-country trip. Tom Brady hasn’t even played well yet. This may get ugly. Green Bay and Detroit is an interesting game. Which team on either side is going to show up? I like what I see out of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. They’ll take care of business against the Lions. Cincinnati is looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. That was painful to say as a Steelers fan growing up. Still, the Bengals always seem to Bungal, though, it’s too early for them to fold just yet. I love them to cover against a young Titans team. Denver faces off against Seattle, and will be looking for some payback against the Seahawks for last year’s pasting in the Super Bowl. The key to this game will be Peyton Manning going right after Richard Sherman, just as the Charger’s Phillip Rivers did last week. Quick passes to speedy receivers like Wes Welker and Manny Sanders will determine the Broncos fate. They will cover this game, if not win the game outright.

(Lines as of 9/19)


(3-0) Pitt (-6.5) OVER Iowa (2-1) / MJD picks Pitt

(0-3) Massachusetts (+26.5) OVER Penn State (3-0) / MJD picks Penn State

(3-0) 4 Oklahoma (-7) OVER West Virginia (2-1) / MJD picks Oklahoma

(2-1) Virginia (+14.5) OVER 21 BYU (3-0) / MJD picks BYU

(1-1) 22 Clemson (+17) OVER 1 Florida State (2-0) / MJD picks Florida State


(1-1) Pittsburgh (+3.5) OVER Carolina (1-1) / MJD picks Pittsburgh

(1-1) New England (-14) OVER Oakland (0-2) / MJD picks New England

(1-1) Green Bay (+2.5) OVER Detroit (1-1) / MJD picks Green Bay

(2-0) Cincinnati (-6.5) OVER Tennessee (1-1) / MJD picks Cincinnati

(2-0) Denver (+5) OVER Seattle (2-0) /MJD picks Seattle

*Home Teams in BOLD


Pick Results:

PSN: Last Week: 3-6-1 / Overall: 8-11-1

MJD: Last Week: 4-5-1 / Overall: 12-7-1

Author Profile

Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides the best opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania.

For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!

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