Welcome to another season of Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks! From the opening weekend of the NCAA football season through Super Bowl LII, Mike Drakulich (PSN), the man behind Pittsburgh SportsNation, takes on his father, Michael J. Drakulich (MJD), in picking NCAA and NFL games against the Vegas spread.
Mike Drakulich covers both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers during the season for NGSCSports.com!
To appease the taste buds of Pittsburgh’s local coverage area, Pitt, Penn State, and West Virginia, when they are playing, will always be on the docket among the NCAA games chosen, as will the Pittsburgh Steelers for NFL games.
Once Bowl Season arrives, we’ll bring you ALL 42 games and then continue throughout the conclusion of the NFL Playoffs.
Itchy vs Scratchy. Black Spy vs White Spy. Cheers vs Gary’s Old Towne Tavern. History is full of rivalries, but none are better than father vs son! Who will rise above the other this season and become the 2017-18 Against All Odds Champion?
We roll into week two of the Against All Odds season and now get to include NFL games on the docket as pro football debuts this week.
Pitt was the only team to stick it to me last week as I went 4-1, building an early season three game lead over my dad who went 1-4.
This week we have five intriguing match-ups, including one of the best rivalries that should never NOT be played in Pitt vs Penn State.
Next week we’ll bump it back up to the customary five NCAA and five NFL games!
Lines as of 9/8/2017
Saturday, September 9th
East Carolina Pirates (0-1) at West Virginia Mountaineers (0-1), 12:00 pm | Line: WVU -23.5
Pick- PSN: WVU | MJD: WVU
East Carolina had their heads handed to them by James Madison in week 1. The Mountaineers lost a heartbreaker to Virginia Tech. A motivated and angry WVU team combined with the savages at Milan Puskar Stadium will spell doom for ECU.
Pitt Panthers (1-0) at #4 Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0), 3:30 pm | Line: Penn St -20.5
Pick- PSN: Pitt | MJD: Pitt
Pitt knows it. ESPN knows it. Fox Sports knows it. The cat clock on the wall of every Chinese restaurant knows it. For some reason, a few of the Cultists, including Lion heads coach James Franklin and PSU AD Sandy Barbour have no clue.
This is a Rivalry Game, and a big one for both teams. It’s an in-state hate fest. The players and coaches have no love for each other. The fans despise the other side.
Pitt has defeated Penn State the last three times they have played, and are looking to keep that streak going at Beaver Stadium this Saturday. It was the loss at Pitt that kept the Nittany Lions out of the Playoff format last season. Now they have their chance at revenge. Penn State has a great offense and all the confidence in the world.
Giving Pitt 20.5 points?
Get serious. That’s practically insane, especially when these two teams meet.
I’m not sure if Vegas is trying to punk everybody, but they don’t have me fooled. Yes, Pitt went to overtime last week against Youngstown State, one of the top teams in the FCS Division. The Panthers were up 21-0 before falling asleep running the same three plays over and over again. Pitt didn’t even attempt a forward pass until OT when Max Browne his Jester Weah for a touchdown.
Pitt won’t be running just three plays this week, nor will they shy away from throwing downfield, or blitzing the opposing quarterback.
No doubt PSU is a great team, but mark this down… Pitt is going to make them eat that 20.5 point spread.
#5 Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) at #2 Ohio St Buckeyes (1-0), 7:30 pm | Line: Ohio St -7.5
Pick- PSN: Oklahoma | MJD: Ohio State
Two great teams battle in this early season match-up. One will solidify its claims as title contenders, while the other will have to likely win out to get back in the race for the Playoff. Hard to pick against the Buckeyes at home, but handing the Sooners 7.5 is a bit much for me. Ohio State will win, but not make the cover.
Sunday, September 10th
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0), 1:00 pm | Line: Pittsburgh -10.5
Pick- PSN: Pittsburgh | MJD: Pittsburgh
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense is finally fully healthy, unsuspended, and ready to rumble. The defense is much improved, faster, and ready to cause havoc. DeShone Kizer looks as if he may finally be thee quarterback for the Browns, but a rookie making the first start of his NFL career isn’t going to end well for Cleveland in this one. Big Ben has had issues the past few years on the road. I expect that trend to end in the 2017 season opener.
Baltimore Ravens (0-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-0), 1:00 pm | Line: Cincinnati -2.5
Pick- PSN: Cincinnati | MJD: Cincinnati
The Ravens will start the season without the services of Joe Flacco, who is back practicing, but will be out at least this week. Someone has a voodoo doll and a mad case of rage for Baltimore, as they lost starter after starter to season ending injuries in training camp. The Bengals are hoping Andy Dalton can bounce back from a subpar year, especially with a very solid offense around him. AJ Green is one of the best WR’s in the game. Rookie Joe Mixon will battle Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill for carries, but will eventually be the feature back for this team.
PSN: Last Week: 4-1 | Overall: 4-1 —
MJD: Last Week: 1-4 | Overall: 1-4 -3
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.
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As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch 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, including WPIAL High School Football.
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