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, as the NFL Playoffs have arrived, and with just four short weeks left, I have four games to make up against my dad, who still leads me despite me going 9-1 last week. Problem was, he went 7-3, so I gained just two games on him in my best week of the season.
I’m back above .500 again at 102-98, but it’s dad who holds a superb 106-94 record for the year.
Six games this week with the NFL Super Wildcard weekend upon us, with us agreeing on just one, so, things could get very interesting come Week 21.
Against All Odds Lines as of 1/11/2024
Saturday, January 13th
#5 Cleveland Browns (11-6) at #4 Houston Texans (10-7)
Game Time: 4:30 PM | TV: NBC
Vegas Line: Cleveland -2.5
The Pick: MPD: Cleveland | MJD: Houston
The Texans, behind rookie QB C.J. Stroud are feeling good after taking care of the Colts last week, then getting crowned AFC South division champs after Jacksonville lost to Tennessee.
The Browns, despite losing both QB Deshaun Watson and RB Nick Chubb to injuries, just keep on winning, with the ageless Joe Flacco leading the way under center.
I like the Browns stout defense to keep Stroud under wraps in his first ever playoff game, especially with the Texans woefully thin at wide receiver with only Nico Collins fully healthy.
#6 Miami Dolphins (11-6) at #3 Kansas City Chiefs (11-6)
Game Time: 8:00 PM | TV: Peacock
Vegas Line: Kansas City -3.5
The Pick: MPD: Kansas City | MJD: Miami
The Dolphins limp into this game, fresh on a two game losing streak, once going from the top seed in the AFC to the #6 seed, and having to go on the road to Kansas City, where it will be blustery and bitter cold.
The Chiefs may not have many weapons for Patrick Mahomes to throw to, but they’ll have enough in the tank to take down a Miami defense missing two of it’s best players, and hurting on offense with both RB Raheem Mostert and WR Jaylen Waddle hurt and questionable to play.
Sunday, January 14th
#7 Green Bay Packers (9-8) at #2 Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
Game Time: 4:30 PM | TV: Fox
Vegas Line: Dallas -7.5
The Pick: MPD: Green Bay | MJD: Dallas
The Cowboys come into this game as lions, but have been known to exit the playoffs as lambs so many times over the past two decades. Dallas has a potent offense being Dak Prescott, and they always play extremely well at home, but the pressure will be squarely on their shoulders from the opening kick.
Any life shown from a young Packers team, that has nothing to lose, could lead to a tight game and thoughts of early exits creeping into the thoughts of every Dallas player and fan.
In the end, I think Jordan Love and his bevy of young stud receivers will give everything they have, but will fall a little short in their bid to upset the Cowboys at home.
#6 LA Rams (10-7) at #3 Detroit Lions (12-5)
Game Time: 8:15 PM | TV: NBC
Vegas Line: Detroit -3.5
The Pick: MPD: LA Rams | MJD: Detroit
Detroit finally gets a home playoff game for the first time since 1993, and would like to get their 2nd home playoff win in the last 67 years, but it won’t be easy, as the Los Angeles Rams come into this game on fire, winning seven of their last eight games.
In a twist of fate, both starting quarterbacks in Matt Stafford and Jared Goff once played for the opposite teams, but the trade between the two teams have worked out wonderfully for both franchises.
The Lions, under Goff, have a strong offense, with Amon-Ra St. Brown at wide receiver, and a duo of stout running backs in David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. The biggest question for the Detroit offense is the health of tight end Sam LaPorta, who was thought to be lost for the season last week when he suffered a knee injury, but made a surprise appearance at practice on Thursday, and is optimistic he’ll play.
The Rams can score, too, with Stafford having both Cooper Kupp and rookie sensation Puca Nacua at wide receiver, and a resurgent running game headed by Kyren Williams.
Honestly, at this point, this game is up for grabs, and I wouldn’t be shocked by either team winning, but I think it will be a field goal or less win by Detroit if they do come away with the victory.
Monday, January 15th
#7 Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7) at #2 Buffalo Bills (11-6)
Game Time: 4:30 PM | TV: CBS
Vegas Line: Buffalo -10.5
The Pick: MPD: Pittsburgh | MJD: Pittsburgh
The Steelers were left for dead a month ago, losing three straight to fall to 7-7. Then the unthinkable happened when Mason Rudolph came out of oblivion to lead Pittsburgh wins over the Bengals, Seahawks, and Ravens, with Rudolph throwing for 719 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Pittsburgh offense is also purring under Rudolph averaging 27 points a game. The Steelers run game is strong as ever, with the one-two punch of Najee Harris and Jaylon Warren. Rudolph’s accuracy and threat of hitting deep shots to Diontae Johnson and George Pickens now make the Steelers offense a true threat for the first time all year.
The weather will still play a huge part in this game, with winds gusting between 10-20 MPH.
Josh Allen is one of the best gunslingers in the NFL, and with wide receiver Stephon Diggs and tight end Dalton Kincaid as Allen’s top targets, who wouldn’t favor the Buffalo’s offense to wreak havoc weekly? Problem is that nasty weather, and that could very well neutralize that high powered attack the Bills possess.
Steelers not only cover, but go to Buffalo and stun the Bills outright.
#5 Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) at #4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8)
Game Time: 8:15 PM | TV: ABC
Vegas Line: Philadelphia -3.5
The Pick: MPD: Tampa Bay | MJD: Philadelphia
The Eagles are in shambles, losing five lout of their last six games, most by beatdown, including last week to the Giants 27-10.
Tampa is the winner of one of the worst divisions in football, which is like getting 1st Place in an Ugly Person competition, but despite having the worst record of any team in the playoffs, I like Baker Mayfield, armed with two pretty good receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, to continue Philadelphia’s woes, and pull the upset, if you want to call it that, at home.
Against All Odds Pick Results
MJD: Last Week: 7-3 | Overall: 106-94 — (.530)
MPD: Last Week: 9-1 | Overall: 102-98 -4 (.510)
Against All Odds: NCAA/NFL Picks History
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)
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!