Are you a degenerate gambler? Perhaps you’re someone who picks games against the spread just for fun and to see how smart you really aren’t? If this describes you, or if you just like to be entertained by a crazy sports columnist, you’re in luck, because you’ve stumbled across Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks, a weekly post from the start of the football season, all the way to the Super Bowl, where me, Mike Drakulich (PSN), the man behind Pittsburgh SportsNation, takes on my father, Michael J. Drakulich (MJD), in picking NCAA and NFL games against the Vegas line! Check out the Draftkings welcome offer to see how you can win big and find many bonuses.
I cover both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers during the season for the fabulous NGSCSports.com!
Normally, we always include the local teams here in Western Pennsylvania, which are Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, and the Pittsburgh Steelers among our weekly picks. This gives me the chance to take shots at the opposing teams I really dislike, enraging certain readers, and adding delight to my busy weekends.
All in all, both my dad and I are pretty good at picking these games, but don’t take our word for it. You’re on your own when you place your bets, so don’t blame us if you lose… but you can share your winnings with us if you wish.
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 2020-21 Against All Odds Champion?
Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks Week 17
Lines as of 1/7/2021
A few hours into the “new” year I was ready to throw my remote through the TV, as 2021 was starting as bad as the entire year of 2020 had been. I was 1-4 after all of the Bowl games and you could see the steam emanating from my forehead. Eventually I had a cold beverage or two and calmed down, hoping for Sunday to be a day of strength… and so it was as I ended up going 5-0 in the NFL to give me a winning record of 6-4 for the week, which was one game better than my dad.
With just four weeks left, and 14 games remaining, I have a slim two game lead over my dad. We have seven of those games this week, four of which we disagree upon.
So buckle up and getcha popcorn ready… the NFL playoffs are here, and the conclusion of the NCAA football season with the College Football National Championship on Monday night.
NFL Wild Card Playoffs
Saturday, January 9th
#7 Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at #2 Buffalo Bills (13-3)
Game Time: 1:05 PM at Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY.
Vegas Line: Buffalo -6.5
The Pick: PSN: Buffalo | MJD: Indianapolis
I thought about this game long and hard, and even while typing this, I was unsure if I had chosen the right team. Josh Allen and Buffalo have been on fire, and they finally get to enjoy a home playoff game (with fans!) for the first time in a looooong time. They face Phillip Rivers and a Colts team that look at first glance, like an easy out for the Bills. Then I wondered if Indy would be smart enough to utilize the legs of Jonathan Taylor, and attack Buffalo’s weakness, control the clock, and play tough defense as they are capable of accomplishing.
In the end, I went with my instincts and believe that this game will be close, but see the Bills getting a late touchdown to put this game away and escape into the Divisional round.
#6 LA Rams (10-6) at #3 Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
Game Time: 4:40 PM at Lumen Field, Seattle, WA.
Vegas Line: Seattle -3.5
The Pick: PSN: Seattle | MJD: Seattle
If the Rams were healthy, I’d go with them in a heartbeat, especially based on how bad Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have looked the past month. Halfway through the season this would have been a must watch game… now we have two teams that will be food for their up coming opponent next week. The Seahawks do just enough to cover and advance.
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) at #4 Washington Football Team (7-9)
Game Time: 8:15 PM at FedEx Field, Landover, MD.
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay -8.5
The Pick: PSN: Tampa Bay | MJD: Washington
Tom Brady’s last playoff game was a disaster, and he gets a chance at redemption vs Washington, winner of one of the worst divisions in NFL history. If Philadelphia hadn’t thrown last week’s game vs the former Redskins, the 6-10 New York Giants would be hosting this game. Stud defensive lineman Chase Young is hungry to take a bite out of Brady, but the young buck is going to find out quick that it will be his team that is headed for the sacrificial table at the hands of the Buccaneers offense.
Brady and, yeah, Antonio Brown, blow away Washington in prime time on Saturday night.
Sunday, January 10th
#5 Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at #4 Tennessee Titans (11-5)
Game Time: 1:05 PM at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN.
Vegas Line: Baltimore -3.5
The Pick: PSN: Baltimore | MJD: Tennessee
This will be the game of the week, and like the Buffalo game, I was up in the air on who to take. At first glance, it looks as if Baltimore is a no-brainer, especially with the sports media making the Ravens out to be the scariest team since the ’85 Bears. Baltimore hasn’t known defeat since losing to Pittsburgh on December 2nd when they were ravaged by the Wuhan Virus. They ended the season on a five game winning streak over a bunch of scrub teams.
Tennessee has the Beast, aka Derrick Henry at their services, and a heckuva offense to boot, but their defense is beyond awful.
Expect a shootout that may end up in the 40’s, if not the 50’s, where the Ravens will escape with their lives, and do their best to put a little fear into the heart of the Kansas City Chiefs next week.
#7 Chicago Bears (8-8) at #2 New Orleans Saints (12-4)
Game Time: 4:25 PM at Superdome, New Orleans, LA,
Vegas Line: New Orleans -10.5
The Pick: PSN: New Orleans | MJD: New Orleans
The Bears backed into the playoffs thanks to a brutally bad NFC Conference that now has two teams in the playoffs that didn’t finish above .500… New Orleans should be at full strength when kickoff arrives, and that spells a behind the woodshed type beating that is coming for Chicago.
#6 Cleveland Browns (11-5) at #3 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
Game Time: 8:15 PM at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -5.5
The Pick: PSN: Pittsburgh | MJD: Pittsburgh
Talk about against all odds! The Browns come to Pittsburgh, but will play minus most of the coaching staff, including head coach Kevin Stefanski, and a whole host of pivotal players. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will be missing just Joe Haden. The Browns were barely able to escape with a win last week vs Pittsburgh, who brought their JV squad to Cleveland. The Browns are going to wish they had just lost that game and called it a season till 2021. Chalk it up, the Steelers are going to bury Cleveland on Sunday night.
Monday, January 11th
College Football National Championship
#3 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0) at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0)
Game Time: 8:00 PM at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL.
Vegas Line: Alabama -7.5
The Pick: PSN: Ohio State | MJD: Alabama
Ok, against all odds, my eyes are open after Ohio State blew away Clemson. Alabama did the same to Notre Dame. Anyone else tired of the same teams every year? Give us a 16 game playoff.
Anyways, I do have the Buckeyes as the pick, but not enough to take it all. Roll Tide… they may not cover, but they will win this game and be crowned as the 2020 National Champions.
Against All Odds Pick Results
PSN: Last Week: 6-4 | Overall: 84-76 — (.525)
MJD: Last Week: 5-5 | Overall: 82-78 -2 (.514)
Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks History
2019 Champion: MJD
2018 Champion: MJD
2017 Champion: PSN
2016 Champion: MJD
2015 Champion: MJD
2014 Champion: PSN
2013 Champion: PSN
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!