Against All Odds

Against All Odds: NFL and NCAA Picks

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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 and NFL Picks, a weekly post from the start of the football season, all the way to the Super Bowl, where me, Mike Drakulich (MPD), 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. Pepsi vs Coke. 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 2023-24 Against All Odds Champion?


Down the stretch we go, and coming from the very back of the pack is… me.

Well, there are only two horses in this race, but mine has been wandering around looking for carrots most of the year until recently, when fortunes have finally changed in my favor.

Once 18 games games under .500, and down what seemed like an insurmountable deficit to overcome vs my dad, I’ve managed to make up 12 games and find myself at 66-69, just six games back, as he had his first sub .500 week in a very long time, going 2-8 in round 15.

Still, even with the off week, dad is still well above average with a record of 72-63.

We are now in Bowl Season, so we have ramped up the total games to 15 in this edition to cover most of the games played, and the best of what the NFL has to offer.

Catch you next time as we head into the first of two Christmas weeks coming into play.

Week 16

Against All Odds Lines as of 12/14/2023

 

NCAA 

Saturday, December 16th

Myrtle Beach Bowl

Georgia Southern (6-6) at Ohio (9-3)

Game Time: 11:00 AM | Venue: Brooks Stadium, Conway, SC.

Vegas Line: Georgia Southern -3.5

The Pick: MPD: Ohio | MJD: Ohio

Georgia Southern is putting up 30.9 points per game, but I like the defense that Ohio has, allowing just 15.4 points per contest. The Eagles also give up nearly 30 points a game, so I like the Bobcats to make the cover, if not win outright. Can’t beat a week in Myrtle Beach! Don’t swim near the piers!

 

New Orleans Bowl

Jacksonville State (8-4) at Louisiana (6-6) 

Game Time: 2:15 PM | Venue: Caesar’s Superdome, New Orleans, LA.

Vegas Line: Jacksonville State -3.5

The Pick: MPD: Jacksonville State | MJD: Jacksonville State

Louisiana may be playing at home, but Jacksonville State should slither their way to a hard fought win behind a better defense allowing 20.3 points per game. Not a very exciting match-up, but who needs football when you have booze, beads, and tatas anyway?

 

Cure Bowl

Miami (OH) (11-2) at Appalachian State (8-5)

Game Time: 3:30 PM | Venue: FBC Mortgage Stadium, Orlando, FL.

Vegas Line: Appalachian State -6.5

The Pick: MPD: Miami | MJD: Miami

The Mountaineers have a potent offense scoring 34.8 points a game, but in these kid of games, as you may have noticed, I tend to focus on the squad who plays better defensively, and the RedHawks only allow 16.2 PPG. This game may not offer a cure for boredom, but it’s something to watch while relaxing on a nice Saturday afternoon in between the NFL games.

 

New Mexico Bowl

New Mexico State (10-4) at Fresno State (8-4)

Game Time: 5:45 PM | Venue: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM.

Vegas Line: New Mexico State -6.5

The Pick: MPD: New Mexico State | MJD: Fresno State

Bugs Bunny once took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and one of these teams will wish they did as well. Both New Mexico State and Fresno State put up around 30 points a game, and are similar on defense, so let’s go with the team on their home turf in this one. The Aggies do put up 427.9 yards a game, so this should be a good game to check in on.

 

LA Bowl

UCLA (7-5) at Boise State (8-5)

Game Time: 7:30 PM | Venue: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA.

Vegas Line: UCLA -4.5

The Pick: MPD: UCLA | MJD: UCLA

UCLA is another team that gets the benefit of playing a Bowl game at home, and the few times I’ve watched them play this year they’ve looked pretty solid. Boise State does score 32.9 points a game, but the Bruins are allowing just 18.1. Hard to beat playing a game in maybe the best venue in all of sports.

 

Independence Bowl

Cal (6-6) at Texas Tech (6-6)

Game Time: 9:15 PM | Venue: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA.

Vegas Line: Texas Tech -2.5

The Pick: MPD: Texas Tech | MJD: Cal

No teams get the benefit of playing close to home in this one, but it’s hard not to like Texas Tech when you see that Cal is giving up 32.7 points a game, and scoring under that at 31.6… Expect a high scoring affair here with the Red Raiders coming out on top.

 

NFL

Saturday, December 16th

Minnesota (7-6) at Cincinnati (7-6)

Game Time: 1:00 PM

Vegas Line: Cincinnati -2.5

The Pick: MPD: Cincinnati | MJD: Cincinnati

The Bengals were thought as dead in the water after the season ending injury to Joe Burrow, but Jake Browning has found his mojo and has lead Cinci to two straight wins, and should make it three in a row against a Viking team suffering from far too many injuries of their own.

 

Pittsburgh (7-6) at Indianapolis (7-6)

Game Time: 4:30 PM

Vegas Line: Indianapolis -1.5

The Pick: MPD: Indianapolis | MJD: Indianapolis

The Steelers under Mike Tomlin have lost their direction and their status of fear and respect when playing against them. The Colts have been Pittsburgh’s puppy in the history of this series, with a record of 9-33, and losing their last eight games to the Steelers. You’d think the fortunes favor Pittsburgh here, but after losing two games in a row to teams with 2-10 records, there is zero confidence in this team to win another game in 2023. It’s time for a change in Pittsburgh.

 

Denver (7-6) at Detroit (9-4)

Game Time: 8:15 PM

Vegas Line: Detroit -4.5

The Pick: MPD: Denver | MJD: Denver

Detroit has faltered down the stretch and Denver is a team on the rise. The Lions may steal this game, but it won’t be by more than four points, if at all.

 

Sunday, December 17th

Chicago (5-8) at Cleveland (8-5)

Game Time: 1:00 PM

Vegas Line: Cleveland -3.5

The Pick: MPD: Chicago | MJD: Cleveland

The Bears have actually turned their game around with quarterback Justin Fields back, and I think they give the Browns stout defense a run for their money in this one, if not shock the Dawg Pound and steal a game on the road.

 

Tampa Bay (6-7) at Green Bay (6-7)

Game Time: 1:00 PM

Vegas Line: Green Bay -3.5

The Pick: MPD: Green Bay | MJD: Green Bay

The Packers suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Giants last week and severely hurt their chances to solidify their playoff position. I think they bounce back this time and keep the Bucs stuck in the mud along with every other team in the AFC South contending for that division crown, a division, might I add, that won’t have a team finishing over .500.

 

Houston (7-6) at Tennessee (5-8)

Game Time: 1:00 PM

Vegas Line: Tennessee -2.5

The Pick: MPD: Tennessee | MJD: Tennessee

Houston without QB C.J. Stroud is a dog with no teeth. I think the Titans, at home, will bleed this game out behind their running game lead by Derrick Henry.

 

Kansas City (8-5) at New England (3-10)

Game Time: 1:00 PM

Vegas Line: Kansas City -7.5

The Pick: MPD: Kansas City | MJD: Kansas City

Kansas City has not looked like the team we’ve been accustomed to seeing, and they have scored over 21 points just once in their last six games. If there was ever a game for them to find their footing, it’s this one, but the Patriots do still have a pretty good defense.

 

San Francisco (10-3) at Arizona (3-10)

Game Time: 4:05 PM

Vegas Line: San Francisco -11.5

The Pick: MPD: San Francisco | MJD: San Francisco

The 49ers are the best team in the league, and it’s not close. This game could get ugly in a hurry.

 

Dallas (10-3) at Buffalo (7-6)

Game Time: 4:25 PM

Vegas Line: Buffalo -1.5

The Pick: MPD: Buffalo | MJD: Dallas

The Game of the Week with the Bills fighting for their playoff lives. The Cowboys are playing great, but let me tell you this… if Buffalo wins this one, watch out, as no one is going to want to see that team opposite of them in the playoffs. I think Josh Allen works his magic at home and wills this team to victory Sunday evening.

 


Against All Odds Pick Results

MJD: Last Week: 2-8 | Overall: 72-63  —   (.533)

MPD: Last Week: 6-4 | Overall: 66-69  -6   (.489)

 

Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks History

2023-24 Champion:

2022-23 Champion: MPD

2021-22 Champion: MJD

2020-21 Champion: MJD

2019-20 Champion: MJD

2018-19 Champion: MJD

2017-18 Champion: MPD

2016-17 Champion: MJD

2015-16 Champion: MJD

2014-15 Champion: MPD

2013-14 Champion: MPD

(MJD leads series 6-4)

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Mike Drakulich

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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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!
author

Mike Drakulich

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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