Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks- Week 18

Welcome to Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks- Week 18! 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!

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 40 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?

Another week, another record under .500 during Bowl Season… no less than six games went against me in the final minute of play last week. With a 9-11 record, my overall record goes to 93-77 on the year. Dad was one game worse at 8-12, and is now 75-95. The majority of the time, your “best guess” is your weapon of choice in most of these contests. I try to look at the last four games played, quality of opponents between teams, and where the game is being played, but in the end, like in Week 17 of the NFL, it’s all luck, as you really don’t know what team is gonna show up in a meaningless game!

There will be at least two games that all teams will be going all in, and that will be Clemson v Alabama, and Oklahoma vs Georgia… the winner of each will meet for the National Championship next week.

So this is it for a full slate of 10 games, as next week will feature the Wild Card games in the NFL and the National Championship Game.

Till then, Happy New Year’s to you and all of your families!


Lines as of 12/28/2017

NCAA Football

Friday, December 29th

Belk Bowl

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-5) at Texas A&M Aggies (7-5) 

1:00 pm | Line: Wake Forest -2.5

Pick- PSN: Wake Forest | MJD: Wake Forest

Being this one is being played in North Carolina, I’ll take my chances with Wake Forest, who is better than most people think.


Sun Bowl

Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX.

#24 N.C. State Wolfpack (8-4) at Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5)

3:00 pm | Line: N.C. State -6.5

Pick- PSN: N.C. State | MJD: N.C. State

N.C. State can light up the scoreboard with the best of them. Fraud Graham is out out ASU and I can only get a sinister laugh thinking about that.


Music City Bowl

Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN.

Kentucky Wildcats (7-5) at #21 Northwestern Wildcats (9-3)

4:30 pm | Line: Northwestern -7.5

Pick- PSN: Northwestern | MJD: Northwestern

Northwestern is always one of those teams you never quite believe in when thinking about football… or any sport really. But Kentucky is going to find out first hand just how good the Wildcats are. Not theirs… the other ones…


Arizona Bowl

Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ.

New Mexico State Aggies (6-6) at Utah State Aggies (6-6) 

5:30 pm | Line: Utah State -3.5

Pick- PSN: Utah State | MJD: New Mexico State

Wildcats vs Wildcats. Aggies vs Aggies. Crazy. Haven’t seen much of New Mexico State, but I know Utah State brings it every time they take the field.


Cotton Bowl

AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX.

#8 USC Trojans (11-2) at #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)

8:30 pm | Line: Ohio State -7.5


Should be a great game, and 7.5 points is a bit much to give USC.


Saturday, December 30th

TaxSlayer Bowl

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL.

Louisville Cardinals (8-4) at #23 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)

12:00 pm | Line: Louisville -6.5

Pick- PSN: Louisville | MJD: Mississippi State

Toss up game, really, but I’ll go with my gut instinct in picking the Cardinals in this one. Dad likes the Bulldogs.


Liberty Bowl

Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN

Iowa State Cyclones (7-5) at #20 Memphis Tigers (10-2)

12:30 pm | Line: Memphis -4.5

Pick- PSN: Memphis | MJD: Memphis

Hard to pick against Memphis in Memphis


Fiesta Bowl

Cardinals Stadium, Phoenix, AZ.

#11 Washington Huskies (10-2) at #9 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)

4:00 pm | Line: Penn State -1.5

Pick- PSN: Washington | MJD: Washington

Two good teams meet in a game that should come down who makes the least amount of mistakes. I’m still waiting for Jimmy Franklin to win a big game away from Penn State. Here’s his chance.


Orange Bowl

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL.

#6 Wisconsin Badgers (12-1) at #10 Miami Hurricanes (10-2)

8:00 pm | Line: Wisconsin -4.5

Pick- PSN: Miami | MJD: Miami

As with Memphis, how the hell can you pick against Miami playing in their own house???? Wisconsin is a helluva team but they’ll get hit by a Hurricane in this one.


Monday, January 1st

Outback Bowl

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL.

Michigan Wolverines (8-4) at South Carolina Gamecocks (8-4)

12:00 pm | Line: Michigan -7.5

Pick- PSN: Michigan | MJD: South Carolina

Which Michigan team will show up?


Peach Bowl

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA.

#12 UCF Golden Knights (12-0) at #7 Auburn Tigers (10-3)

12:30 pm | Line: Auburn -10.5

Pick- PSN: Auburn | MJD: UCF

Central Florida has it’s chance to show the world how wrong it was for snubbing them despite their undefeated record. Auburn will be one heckuva test.


Citrus Bowl

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL.

#14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-3) at #17 LSU Tigers (9-3)

1:00 pm | Line: LSU -3.5

Pick- PSN: Notre Dame | MJD: Notre Dame

Notre Dame struggled down the stretch, but will get redemption against the Tigers.


Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA.

#3 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) at #2 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

5:00 pm | Line: Georgia -1.5

Pick- PSN: Oklahoma | MJD: Oklahoma

The first game of the College Football Playoff… two superb teams, but this is Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield’s time to shine.


Sugar Bowl

Superdome, New Orleans, LA.

#4 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) at #1 Clemson Tigers (12-1)

8:45 pm | Line: Alabama -3.5

Pick- PSN: Clemson | MJD: Alabama

Rematch of last year’s title game… will Bama get it’s revenge in a game they kinda don’t deserve to be in? Dad thinks so. Not me, I’m all in with Clemson.



Sunday, December 31st

Cleveland Browns (0-15) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)

1:00 pm | Line: Pittsburgh -7.5

Pick- PSN: Pittsburgh | MJD: Pittsburgh

Tough spot for the Steelers… they already have a bye sewn up, but if New England loses to the Jets and they win, they get the #1 seed. Even without Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Maurkice Pouncey, I think Pittsburgh will cover and send the Browns to 0-16 hell.


NY Jets (5-10) at New England Patriots (12-3)

1:00 pm | Line: New England -17.5

Pick- PSN: NY Jets | MJD: NY Jets

Not sure if New England will be resting players, I’m sure they will, so I can’t see them pasting the Jets by more than 17.5 with back-ups.


Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)

1:00 pm | Line: Dallas -2.5

Pick- PSN: Dallas | MJD: Philadelphia

Philly will be resting most of their players, so hard to go against Dallas in what will be their playoffs game of 2017, lol.

Carolina Panthers (11-4) at Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

4:25 pm | Line: Atlanta -3.5

Pick- PSN: Atlanta | MJD: Carolina

Atlanta is playing for their lives in this one, but Carolina won’t make it easy, even if they rest their starters.


Oakland Raiders (6-9) at LA Chargers (8-7)

4:25 pm | Line: LA Chargers -9.5

Pick- PSN: LA Chargers | MJD: LA Chargers

The Chargers have a great chance to go from 0-4 to the playoffs. They won’t let up against a hapless Raiders squad.


Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6)

4:25 pm | Line: Baltimore -10.5

Pick- PSN: Cincinnati | MJD: Baltimore

Baltimore is in with a win, and the way Cincinnati is playing, it’s hard to not see the Ravens securing the #5 seed in the AFC.

Pick Results

PSN: Last Week: 9-11 | Overall: 93-77   —    .547

MJD: Last Week: 8-12 | Overall: 75-95  -18    .441


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 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.

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