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?
The first week of the NFL Playoffs have come and gone, and though the Pittsburgh Steelers are out, there is still one championship to be won here locally, and that is the Against All Odds Lombardi, awarded to the Drakulich that wins the most games picking against the Vegas Odds for the year.
With three weeks left, and just seven games remaining, I now trail my dad by just one game, with a respectable record of 106-100. This after going 4-2 last week, and gaining three games on my dad, who went 1-5, and is now 107-99.
Four games on the slate this week as the Divisional Playoffs have arrived, and every game should be anticipated and exciting to watch. Out of those four games, my dad and I agree on… none.
Getcha popcorn ready!
Against All Odds Lines as of 1/18/2024
Saturday, January 20th
#4 Houston Texans (11-7) at #1 Baltimore Ravens (13-4)
Game Time: 4:30 PM | TV: ESPN
Vegas Line: Baltimore -9.5
The Pick: MPD: Houston | MJD: Baltimore
The Ravens ended the season as the league’s hottest team, the last game notwithstanding, as they rested most of their key players.
The Texans have surprised everyone with their rise to glory this year, lead by rookie sensation C.J. Stroud at quarterback.
Last week vs the Browns, I thought the stage would be too bright for the rookie to handle, but he proved me dead wrong as Houston crushed Cleveland with ease.
Baltimore has been here before, with high expectations and Lamar Jackson playing at an MVP level and looking unstoppable.
Problem is, the Ravens and Jackson have choked every time the ball has been in their court, and until they, like the Dallas Cowboys, prove themselves, I will never be a true believer.
Expect an epic battle between these two tough teams, with the Texans making the cover, and possibly even stealing this game away and heading to the AFC Championship.
#7 Green Bay Packers (10-8) at #1 San Francisco 49ers (12-5)
Game Time: 8:15 PM | TV: Fox
Vegas Line: San Francisco -9.5
The Pick: MPD: Green Bay | MJD: San Francisco
The 49ers have weapons on offense everywhere, including the league’s best running back in Christian McCaffrey, two killer receivers in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and one of the top tight ends in George Kittle. Quarterback Brock Purdy is no longer Mr. Irrelevant… he’s a legit MVP candidate now, and he’s been the leader of this team all year. San Francisco also boasts one of the best defenses in the NFL, with LB Fred Warner leading the way.
Don’t sleep on the Packers, who destroyed Dallas last week, and now come into this game sky high with confidence, especially with QB Jordan Love absolutely on fire, tossing 21 touchdowns passes and only three interceptions in his last 10 games. RB Aaron Jones looked like a man on a mission last week, which is real nice considering he sucked for me all year in Fantasy Football.
I don’t think Green Bay can pull the upset here, but their offense, combined by a defense that has played very well lately, will allow them to lose a close game and make the cover.
Sunday, January 21st
#4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-7) at #3 Detroit Lions (13-5)
Game Time: 3:00 PM | TV: NBC
Vegas Line: Detroit -6.5
The Pick: MPD: Tampa Bay | MJD: Detroit
What can you say about Baker Mayfield, except that he’s shut most of his detractors up after a year where he threw for 4,044 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions? The Bucs are also playing well, winning six of their last seven games, including stomping the Eagles 32-10 last week. Mayfield has two superb receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. One also wonders why there aren’t any awesome commercials featuring Baker living at Raymond James Stadium?
Detroit has become the darlings of the league behind head coach Dan Campbell, winning the NFC North, and not only hosting, but winning their first home playoff game in 67 years. QB Jared Goff has also been excellent, throwing for 4,475 yards, with 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Amon-Ra St. Brown is his top target with 119 receptions for 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns. Tight End Sam LaPorta has been equally impressive, catching 86 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns. Detroit employs a duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs at RB.
I fully believe the Lions will take care of business here, but I also like Tampa to make Detroit sweat a little before pulling off the win and securing a spot in the NFC Championship. Bucs lose but cover the spread.
#3 Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) at #2 Buffalo Bills (12-6)
Game Time: 6:30 PM | TV: CBS
Vegas Line: Buffalo -2.5
The Pick: MPD: Buffalo | MJD: Kansas City
It’s the game everyone wanted, based on game times being moved and timely calls by certain officials when the Steelers-Bills game was still in doubt. It is what it is. Make sure you have the mute button handy on your remote, as color commentator Tony Romo will be slobbering all game over both Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.
Allen and the Bills have the better weapons on offense, including WR Stephon Diggs and tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox. Buffalo is hurting on defense.
The Chiefs have the magic of Mahomes, and his favorite weapon in tight end Travis Kelce, but besides that, it’s anyone’s guess as to who else will step up and make plays. Maybe Taylor Swift will show some leg in the luxury box and distract a Bills defender to get her boyfriend open for a score.
This game is destined to be a shootout, with the fate of the Bills resting on Allen not giving up any bad interceptions. This will be, aside from playing in Super Bowls, Mahomes first road playoff game.
Buffalo won’t have to move the game this time to get an advantage. It seems they are destined to make a run this year. Bills win and also cover. Not even Jake from State Farm will be able to help KC this season.
Against All Odds Pick Results
MJD: Last Week: 1-5 | Overall: 107-99 — (.519)
MPD: Last Week: 4-2 | Overall: 106-100 -1 (.515)
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!