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No. 1 Rule for NFL Prospects During the Draft Process: Don’t Get in Trouble

For NFL prospects hoping to hear their names called on draft day, the worst thing they can do to hurt their draft stock is get into trouble off the field. Over the weekend, former Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott got arrested and charged with a DUI, and NFL online sportsbook odds have him dropping to the later rounds of the draft.

Before his arrest, Prescott was an intriguing prospect a lot of NFL teams were looking at because of his leadership skills and character. With the arrest, his character is going to come into question because it will be difficult for teams to know if this was an isolated incident or something that is likely to occur again.

At Mississippi State, Prescott was one of four players in FBS history to throw more than 70 touchdowns and run for 40 more. He finished his career as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks to come out of the SEC. Prescott also performed well at the Senior Bowl, and was projected as a top 100 pick.

Prescott released a statement apologizing for his actions and promised to learn from the ordeal. Prescott also promised to use better judgment in the future.

While the DUI arrest will be a factor when it comes to Prescott’s draft position, it likely won’t affect his stock too much because it was his first offense of this kind, and he has built up some goodwill with some of the NFL teams during the draft combine.

Prescott is also well liked and respected by his teammates and coaches, so his arrest will likely be seen as a fluke incident that won’t happen again.

Even though most experts believe Prescott’s arrest won’t have too negative an impact on his draft stock, you have to remember that not all teams will be willing to sweep it under the rug.

As a quarterback, Prescott will be relied on to lead his team to victory, and some teams may feel his arrest shows terrible decision making. Some teams like the Cleveland Browns might not want to deal with off the field distractions after their experience with Johnny Manziel, and not draft him, even though they need a quarterback.

As expected, Prescott’s former teammates and coaches have rallied to his defense, and the consensus if that he made a mistake, but it doesn’t define who he is.

Prescott is a very talented player and was impressive during the combine and at the Mississippi State pro day. He will be hoping that the teams he impressed during those workouts will be able to overlook his arrest.

With the NFL Draft coming up in April, Prescott will be asked about the arrest by every team official he speaks to, and would have to be completely honest with the team officials to assure them it won’t happen if he is drafted.

With the NFL under attack due to the behavior of some of the players in the league, teams are wary about drafting players with character issues. Since this is Prescott’s first offense, it is unlikely that a lot of teams will hold it against him. However, since the NFL is a business, the arrest will cost Prescott financially, especially if he drops in the draft.


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Heisman odds recap

The race for the 2015 Heisman Trophy is now over, so it’s worth looking back to see what kind of odds you would’ve gotten if you had correctly bet on the eventual winner, Alabama running back Derrick Henry.

Way back in July, picking Henry would’ve gotten you 16 to 1 odds. Back then, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (6-1) and Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot (7-1) were the big favorites.

By mid-September, Boykin was still on top with 8.5 to 1 odds, with Ohio State’s Elliott and his teammate, Cardale Jones, at 9 to 1. Henry? He was still at 12 to 1.

When November rolled around, it was LSU running back Leonard Fournette who was the huge favorite at -225 while Henry dropped to 14 to 1.

One month later, on Heisman eve, Henry was at +150 and, of course, that bore out correctly. If you had bet Henry in July at, you would’ve done quite well for yourself, while any bet on Boykin or Fournette would’ve fallen well short.

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Will Missouri kill the SEC’s playoff hopes?

One of the most intriguing matchups coming up on championship weekend in college football is the one between Alabama and Missouri for the SEC title.

On paper, this looks like a walk in the park for the Crimson Tide. The oddsmakers agree, establishing Bama as a 14.5 point favorite over the Tigers.

But while there is a significant talent disparity between these two teams — the Tide is loaded with NFL prospects — keep in mind that there are a few factors working in Mizzou’s favor.

Namely, there is the fact that the Tigers are working under the radar, with very little expectations. They were in the SEC title game last year, so they have some understanding of the stage on which they’ll play. Don’t expect Missouri to be wide-eyed and scared in this one. All the pressure is on the other side of the field.

Second, if there’s one tendency that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has in games like this, it is to go conservative. We are likely to see the Tide play things close to the vest and try to ‘out-talent’ the Tigers. This should create an opening for Mizzou to out-scheme Bama.

The Tide struggled at times this year on offense, producing 10 points against Mississippi, 14 against Arkansas and 13 against LSU in regulation. If Kiffin decides to open things up, this game shouldn’t be a contest and Alabama will roll. But if he puckers, look for this one to go down to the wire.

If Missouri pulls off the upset, we’re likely to see the SEC left out of the four-team playoff. Who would’ve thought THAT would happen just a few weeks ago?

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Picking this week’s games

Last week was rough for picking winners against the spread. I had my first losing week, going 4-6 (but with 2-3 very narrow losses), but considering all the upsets in college football that went on, I think that’s an okay mark. On the year, I’m now 28-22 (.560), so things are still on the plus side of the ledger.

Here are my top 10 picks for this week, with spreads courtesy of Picks are in bold.

Michigan State – 21 at Purdue

The Spartans defense will dominate a lackluster, non-athletic offense like Purdue’s. The MSU offense is actually underrated and does not try to control the ball like most great defensive teams. It likes to score as much as possible, so I expect a blowout on the order of 42 – 10.

LSU -1 at Florida

Florida is a mess. The Gators had been starting a true freshman at QB and he’s suspended, so they’ll go with former starter Jeff Driskel against LSU. The Tigers are also starting a true freshman QB, but I thnk he’s actually pretty solid. LSU is just better and will win this one easily, 24 – 9.

OVER 70 total Washington at California
California’s offense is a juggernaut and UW has real issues in the secondary. At the same time, California’s defense can’t stop anybody and UW’s offense has shown signs of life at times. Both teams should be in the 40s in this one so I like the OVER. Cal 52, Washington 42

NC State -3.5 vs. Boston College

The Wolfpack have a mobile QB in Jacoby Brissett who can also throw. They gave FSU all it could handle before losing and then they had a letdown last week vs. Clemson, but I think they’ll put it together to beat BC. NC State 31, Boston College 24

Clemson -10 vs. Louisville
Deshaun Watson is the best young quarterback in the country and Clemson offense is turning into a monster. I think the Tigers start slow but eventually overwhelm the Cardinals in Death Valley. Clemson 35, Louisville 17

Auburn -3 at Mississippi State
I see Auburn as the best team in the country with the best coach. This is going to be a back and forth game, but the Tigers will find a way to win by a touchdown or more. Auburn 38, Mississippi State 27

Arizona +3 at USC
The Wildcats just have too much offense for USC to handle, but I think the Trojans will put up a good fight. This should be a barn burner with Arizona coming out on top, 41-31.

Oregon -3 at UCLA

One of these teams is going to leave with a two-game losing streak. I see Oregon as being mentally tougher than the Bruins right now. Having arguably the best player in the country  to work with in Marcus Mariota gives the Ducks the edge. Oregon 45, UCLA 35

Notre Dame -17 vs. UNC

North Carolina’s defensive struggles will continue in South Bend. I don’t see the Tar Heels doing too much on the offensive side of the ball either. Another big game for Everett Golson and the Irish romp, 35-13.

OVER 64 total TCU at Baylor
As well as these two defenses have played so far this year, I don’t think either has seen an offense as good as what they’ll see on Saturday in Waco. I’m not sure who’s going to win this, but I think we’ll see a lot of points so I’m taking the OVER. Let’s go with Baylor 38, TCU 37.

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Picking this week’s games

I’m on a roll now.

Last week was my second-straight 7-3 week against the spread and I’m now at 24-16 (.600) on the season. Let’s see if I can keep it going. Here are my 10 plays of the week, with all lines courtesy of Docsports. My picks are in bold.

West Virginia -28 vs. Kansas

South Carolina -4 at Kentucky

Notre Dame +2 vs. Stanford

Tennessee -3 vs. Florida

Utah +13 at UCLA

Michigan State -7 vs. Nebraska

Baylor -15.5 at Texas

Oklahoma State -17.5 vs. Iowa State

Alabama -6 at Ole Miss

Mississippi State -2 vs. Texas A&M

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Picking this week’s games

I finally got on track this season by going 7-3 in my picks last week. On the year, I’m now 17-13 overall (.566), so hopefully I can keep my momentum going. Here are my 10 picks against the spread for this week, with my choices in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Baylor -23 at Iowa State

Colorado at California OVER 66 total.

Texas A&M -10 vs. Arkansas

Nebraska -21.5 vs. Illinois

WSU +13.5 at Utah

Oregon State +9 at USC

Notre Dame -10 at Syracuse

Louisiana Tech at Auburn OVER 61 total

Maryland +4 at Indiana

Michigan State -28.5 vs. Wyoming

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Picking this week’s games

So, I got lazy and decided to take last week’s games off. After all, I’d gone 10-10 against the spread in the first two weeks. And while that’s not bad in some places, it’s definitely not up to par in my book. No matter, I’m back at it again this week. Here are the my top 10 plays for this week. Picks in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Missouri – 14 vs. Indiana

Washington -35 vs. Georgia State

Texas A&M -35 at SMU

Clemson +14.5 at Florida State

Mississippi State +10 at LSU

California +8 at Arizona

Washington State +24 at Oregon

Wyoming -4 vs. Florida Atlantic

Duke -17 vs. Tulane

Maryland +1.5 at Syracuse


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