Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Zack Hazlett
- 27 Days of Football kicks off on Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 20.
- Follow along as BlackJack Fletcher picks out his favorite football bet each day!
Some people celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas; others celebrate Eight Days of Hanukkah.
Here at The Action Network, we celebrate 27 Days of Football, during which we are blessed with action on the gridiron every night. The celebration starts on Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 20.
Of course we are going to get excited, and of course we are going to bet all 27 days.
This will serve as a running blog of my favorite bet on each of the 27 days, so be sure to check it daily.
BlackJack’s 27 Days of Football Record: 12-12-2
Follow me in The Action Network app to see all of the football bets I’m making, and follow the 27 Days of Football account in our app for a chance to win a free EDGE subscription.
Ball State at Miami Ohio (-17)
We’ve played a lot with the MAC during our 27 days of football, so it is only fitting that this is how it ends.
Ball State has been a common fade during this glorious period of gambling. Miami, on the other hand, has a two-game winning streak and has played solid defense all season. Ball State is off a win, but it was somewhat of a fluke considering how badly they were outgained.
I don’t think Ball State will have the same success moving the ball against Miami’s defense. I think the total is the play here.
THE PICK: Under 54
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams (-3)
This is the matchup everyone has been waiting for.
For the past month and a half we’ve all had this game circled on our calendars. Two 9-1 teams doing battle on Monday Night Football; two explosive offenses going head to head.
There are MVP candidates all over the field. While the offenses have been the story of the season, the defenses will have my attention tonight. The Rams started out hot on that side of the ball, but the loss of Aqib Talib really hurt their secondary. The Chiefs’ defense started as a major liability, but have slowly improved as the season progressed.
I think Todd Gurley has a big game for the Rams, but the Chiefs are overall in the better spot tonight. Tyreek Hill is the most dangerous player in the NFL right now and can be used in so many different ways. l also think the total is a tad high (potentially the highest in our Bet Labs database).
I think we see lots of points, but not so many early.
THE PICKS: Chiefs +3 (PUSH), Under 63.5 (LOSS)
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-2.5)
I couldn’t love this game anymore if I tried.
The Bears have been a pleasant surprise this season, as they’re off to a 6-3 start and lead the NFC North. Meanwhile, the Vikings are on their heels and this game could go a long way to determining control of the division down the stretch.
Defensively, the edge goes to the Bears, but not by a ton. Minnesota has a very solid defense as well. Offensively, the edge is clearly Minnesota’s. Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph are the more experienced, explosive group. This is typically a spot where the veteran team rises to the occasion and the inexperienced team struggles a bit.
Factor in that the Vikings are coming off a bye week, and I’m rolling with Minnesota.
THE PICK: Minnesota +120 (LOSS)
Boise State Broncos (-20) at New Mexico Lobos
This is a big number on a Friday night, even if it is Mountain West action.
It really comes down to one simple, unavoidable and inescapable fact: New Mexico’s defense doesn’t have a prayer against this Boise State offense.
Prior to their showdown with the Broncos last week, Fresno State had only surrendered three touchdowns in all of their conference games this season. Then the Broncos happened, and the Lobos double that number in one game. And make no mistake: New Mexico’s defense isn’t in the same stratosphere as Fresno State’s.
New Mexico was outscored 25-3 in the second half of last week’s game against Air Force, which saw the Lobos surrender more than 600 yards of total offense with the Falcons turning it over three times in their 42-24 win.
New Mexico’s defense simply won’t be able to contain Boise State.
THE PICK: Boise State -20 (WIN)
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks (-3)
This is essentially a do or die matchup for both teams and their playoff hopes.
Should the Seahawks drop to 4-6, it would be virtually impossible to see them claim a playoff berth. Similarly, if the Packers falls to 4-5-1, their path becomes exceedingly difficult.
Seattle has been impressive this season by sustaining a solid defense with so many missing pieces. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson seem to be holding this thing together with band aids and scotch tape, but somehow, it’s kind of working.
On the other hand, Green Bay has been very inconsistent this season. After playing the Rams close, the Packers got blasted by the Patriots the next week. A win against the Brocketman and the Dolphins doesn’t cure all that ails the Pack. Aaron Rodgers is clearly not 100% and we can see that in his lack of mobility compared to years past.
Seattle is one of the toughest venues to play in, and it’s a prime-time game. It’s hard to go against the home team in this spot.
THE PICK: Seahawks -3 (Push)
Buffalo at Ohio (-2.5)
This is a battle between the class of the MAC. Buffalo can clinch the East division with a win tonight on the road. These are two high-powered offenses and two defenses that can be vulnerable, particularly against the run.
There’s no weather to be concerned with, so I expect a MAC-style shootout tonight in Ohio. I don’t think bookmakers can set this over/under high enough. We might see 80 on the board tonight.
THE PICK: Over 66 (W)
Western Michigan (-7.5) at Ball State
We’ve had a lot of MACtion during the 27 Days of Football. And whenever Ball State has been part of the equation, it’s been profitable to fade the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are losers of three straight games, each by more than 20 points. Coincidentally, they also have not scored more than 20 points in any of those losses. More importantly, their starting quarterback Riley Neal is out for Tuesday’s game against the Broncos, which means Drew Plitt will get the start.
Ball State allows 215 yards per game to opposing running games, and Western Michigan is running for more than 200 yards per game. That math isn’t difficult.
THE PICK: Western Michigan -7.5 (L)
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-3)
Let’s start with the obvious: This game stinks. These are two very bad teams, both of whom went from having high preseason expectations to now being in contention for the No. 1 overall pick.
The 49ers won in convincing fashion on Thursday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders, but that victory is a little less impressive when you actually watch the Raiders play. This team has clearly given up on its season.
The key, for me, is that the Giants are off a bye and know they’re facing Nick Mullens. For all their shortcomings, the Giants’ pass defense has been pretty solid.
I expect a low-scoring affair, but think this is an opportunity for the Giants to get their second win of the season.
THE PICK: Giants +3 (W)
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
The Redskins roll into Tampa with injuries having decimated their offensive line. This is problematic because they weren’t exactly a quick-strike offense to begin with. The Bucs behind Ryan Fitzpatrick can score and have plenty of big-play capability. The injuries will simply too much for Washington to hang with the Bucs high-powered offense today.
THE PICK: Tampa Bay -3.5 (L)
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5)
The Cowboys run an offense that can be generously described as milquetoast. They are predictable and unimaginative. Their defense has been keeping them in games, but make no mistake, they’ve got some serious issues.
The Eagles, on the other hand, are off a bye and have Golden Tate joining the fold to add another weapon to Carson Wentz’s arsenal. With the Redskins faltering, Philly can see a path back to the playoffs to defend their Championship.
THE PICK: Philadelphia -7.5 (L)
Louisville at Syracuse (-20)
I can’t remember the last time Syracuse was a 20-point favorite in football. Yet here we are as it hosts a dreadful Louisville team for some Friday night ACC football.
Louisville has covered one spread all season and only two of the Cardinals’ seven losses have been by less than 21 points. They come into Syracuse facing an Orange team that is more dynamic and offensively effective than many of Louisville’s previous opponents this season.
The Cardinals have up to 20 players looking to transfer at the end of this season and Bobby Petrino is firmly entrenched on the hot seat.
Dino Babers has done an unbelievable job at Syracuse — and while I can’t believe I’m saying it — leave the 20 points with the Orange on Friday. They’re clearly the better team and have something to play for, while Louisville might have just waved the white flag on its season.
THE PICK: Syracuse -20 (W)
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
This game is about a couple of factors.
First, I’m still not sold on the Steelers being back. It has been a bumpy road thus far, and while the defense has played better of late, it was a sieve earlier in the season.
On the other hand, the Panthers have been the most efficient version of themselves we’ve seen. Cam Newton has been sacked only 12 times and has thrown for two or more touchdowns in each of his past seven games. He’s thrived under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, as the West Coast system suits Cam’s talents.
This is a close game to be sure, but with the hook, I’ll take the dog here.
THE PICK: Panthers +3.5 (L)
Toledo at Northern Illinois (-3)
This is an interesting game. Northern Illinois is 6-3 and unbeaten in the MAC. Toledo, after a rough start, has won two in a row and seems to have its offense clicking behind QBs Eli Peters and Mitch Guadagni.
The Rockets have scored 51 and 45 points in their past two games and average more than 200 yards per game on the ground.
That, to me, is the difference in this game. Toledo scores quite a bit, whereas Northern Illinois doesn’t even average 20 points per game.
Even facing the Huskies defense on the road, I like Toledo to not only cover, but get the outright win.
THE PICK: Toledo ML (+150) (L)
Kent State at Buffalo (-21)
Kent State enters this game off a win, having broken its six game losing streak last week. This game, however, is a horse of another color.
Buffalo features a dynamic offense led by quarterback Tyree Jackson. With the weather being an issue tonight in Buffalo, I’d expect to see Jackson run quite a bit.
Buffalo has Kent State outmatched on offense and defense. I don’t see this being close.
THE PICK: Buffalo -21 (W)
Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys (-5)
Both of these teams run define vanilla offenses. Both teams have solid defenses. This line seems to overrate the addition of Amari Cooper to the Cowboys’ passing attack.
The problem is I just don’t know how big of a factor he will be in his debut against a solid Titans defense.
Also when comparing their schedules, Tennessee has better wins. It has defeated Philadelphia, Jacksonville and played the Chargers incredibly close.
I think the Titans are a little more battle tested and they have the better coaching staff. I’ll take the points in this one.
THE PICK: Titans +5 (W)
Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle Seahawks (PK)
I know this is a game that the Seahawks usually find a way to pull out, but I like the Chargers off a bye. They should be well rested for their trip into Seattle. And then there’s this: The Chargers are the better team in pretty much every area. Their two losses are to the Rams and Chiefs, two of the top-four teams in the NFL. I’m taking this gift of a line and rolling with Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
THE PICK: Chargers PK (W)
Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots (-5)
Saturday got away from me at the Breeders’ Cup, so you get two picks for today. I liked this game a lot better at +7, but I’m still taking the Packers. Bottom line: This is a desperate Packers team with their season hanging in the balance. The Patriots are great, and may win, but I’ll take the points with a great QB who can backdoor cover any game.
THE PICK: Green Bay +5 (L)
Colorado at Arizona (-2.5)
Arizona has played better as of late and coupled with being at home gives us the rationale for this line. Colorado has struggled lately, including an awful effort against Oregon State in overtime last week.
Still, I can’t resist my initial reaction which is that Colorado is the better team and they’re getting a couple of points against a bad Wildcats team. I’m all over the Buffaloes here.
THE PICK: Colorado +2.5 (L)
Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5)
The Niners should not be favored over any team in the NFL at this point, except maybe the Buffalo Bills. C.J. Beathard has been injured and is questionable, leaving only third-stringer Nick Mullens behind him.
The Raiders have been their own brand of dysfunctional this season, too. They’ve traded away two of their best players, and there seems to be discontent with Derek Carr in the locker room.
Having said that, the Raiders do have an offense capable of scoring points. Carr is completing 72% of his passes, and the Niners do not have a good pass defense. And while the game is in Santa Clara, expect plenty of Raiders fans to be there.
I’m taking Coach Chucky and the points on the day after Halloween.
THE PICK: Oakland +2.5 (L)
Ball State at Toledo (-18.5)
This is an interesting matchup because you have two injured quarterbacks coming in on a short week for some #MACtion.
Ball State QB Riley Neal was injured in last week’s blowout loss to Ohio. Toledo QB Mitchell Guadagni, who also got banged up last week, is a game-time decision tonight.
Even without Guadagni, backup Eli Peters should be able to handle the load for the Rockets.
After watching Ball State get trounced, 52-14, by Ohio last week, there’s no way the Cardinals are getting my support.
Toledo should be able to run the ball and put lots of points on the board. Ball State, which has lost three of its past four games, is really struggling right now. I’m laying the points tonight.
THE PICK: Toledo -18.5 (W)
Miami Ohio at Buffalo (-7)
This is a battle for control of the MAC’s East Division. Buffalo comes into this matchup at 7-1 overall and undefeated in conference play, while Miami is 3-5 overall and 3-1 in conference.
Both teams have offenses capable of scoring points in a hurry, but I’ll give the edge to Buffalo on that side of the ball, with quarterback Tyree Jackson having a very good season.
Defensively, Buffalo has been slightly underrated. The Bulls have surrendered 30 or more points once this season, and that was to Army. While the RedHawks also have a solid defense, I give the advantage to the Bulls here as well.
Also factoring into this is that it’s a Tuesday night home game for the Bulls.
I like Buffalo to get it done here in some midweek MACtion.
THE PICK: Buffalo -7 (W)
Patriots (-14) at Bills
This is as one-sided of a matchup as you will find in the NFL this season.
The Patriots come into this game rolling. They have scored more than 30 points in each of their past four games and are hitting their stride offensively with the addition of Josh Gordon and the return of Julian Edelman.
The defense is a bend-but-don’t-break unit, but that shouldn’t be an issue tonight. The Bills trot out Derek Anderson, who was on the couch three weeks ago. He won’t help an offense that has been historically bad through the first seven weeks.
Even when Buffalo has been good, the Patriots have dominated the Bills. I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue.
I’m laying the points with the cover machine that is the New England Patriots.
THE PICK: Patriots -14 (W)
Saints (-2.5) at Vikings
This is an incredibly even matchup between two top NFC contenders on Sunday Night Football.
The game opened as a pick ’em and stayed that way for most of the week. With the line movement over the past 36 hours, you have to lean to the home side here.
The Vikings, with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, can hang offensively with the Saints. Also, playing at home is a huge advantage for Minnesota, that is a great home crowd. I’ll take the points and the home team.
THE PICK: Vikings +2.5 (L)
Iowa at Penn State (-5.5)
This is a huge game for the Nittany Lions as they try to right the ship after losses to Michigan State and Ohio State. And this Iowa team to me feels overvalued. Their last three conference wins were over Minnesota, Maryland and Indiana, none of which are overly impressive.
The only time Iowa faced an upper echelon Big Ten team was when it hosted Wisconsin and lost by double digits to the Badgers.
The Nittany Lions are at home and have a more explosive offense. I think Penn State takes out its frustrations on the Hawkeyes.
THE PICK: Penn State -5 (W)
Miami (FL) (-3.5) at Boston College
Tonight is a special night in Chestnut Hill for the Eagles, their fans and their alumni. It is Red Bandana night, when they honor Welles Crowther, a BC grad who saved numerous lives in the 9/11 attacks before being killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
I expect the Eagles and their fans to be charged up for a big game vs. Miami. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, are switching quarterbacks and going back to Malik Rosier.
Miami has been inconsistent this season, while BC has gone 13-3-1 ATS in its last 17 games. I like the motivated home dog tonight.
THE PICK: Boston College +3.5 (W)
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (-3.5)
The Hokies are a dominant team on defense and have excellent special teams. Georgia Tech has played decent defense this year, but its offense has struggled against far lesser opponents than the one the Yellow Jackets will take on this evening in Blacksburg.
I think Georgia Tech may hang around for a little bit, but ultimately the value here is on the home side.
Virginia Tech’s defense should allow the Hokies to pull away later in the game. Lay the points with Virginia Tech.
THE PICK: Virginia Tech -3.5 (L)