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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The betting lines for each of these games is fairly close, so fans should check out http://www.ogpaper.com/sports-betting.html to educate themselves on how to bet on games. Game previews for each top game in September is presented below.

9/3/16 LSU Tigers @ Wisconsin Badgers (Lambeau Field)

An SEC-Big 10 match-up between the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers currently commands the highest get-in ticket price. While both teams are made up of All-Americans, all eyes will be on running back, Leonard Fournette. Fournette, who was the NCAA rushing champion last season, has scored 32 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Since this game will be played at the historic Lambeau Field, fans should act soon in order to secure their tickets.

9/17/16 Ohio State Buckeyes @ Oklahoma Sooners (Memorial Stadium) 

The Ohio State Buckeyes will make a rare trip to Norman, Oklahoma for a match-up against the Sooners on Saturday, September 17th. Based on early Vegas lines, the Sooners are 9-point favorites over the Buckeyes. Granted, a total of 12 Buckeyes were selected in the NFL Draft, so this team will miss some of its playmakers in this match-ups. Ohio State will still have quarterback, JT Barrett in fold, but Oklahoma will feature a dynamic offense that features quarterback, Baker Mayfield and running back, Samaje Perine.

9/17/16 Michigan State Spartans @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Notre Dame Stadium)

The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame will be renewed on Saturday, September 17th at Notre Dame Stadium. The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame dates back to 1897–and Notre Dame leads the rivalry 48-28-1. These two teams haven’t played since 2013 when Notre Dame came away with a 17-13 victory. Notre Dame has won three straight games against Michigan State, so the Spartans will look to snap their winning streak.

9/4/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Texas Longhorns (Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium) 

The Notre Dame-Texas college football rivalry dates back to 1913, but this rivalry has been dominated by the Irish. Notre Dame has nine of 11 match-up against the Longhorns, including a 38-3 victory last season. Given the magnitude of these two programs, this game will be played in primetime on Sunday, September 4th. This will be Notre Dame’s first trip to Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium since 1996 when Notre Dame won a close 27-24 decision.

9/3/16 North Carolina Tarheels @ Georgia Bulldogs (Georgia Dome) 

North Carolina and Georgia will square off in the Chik-Fil-A kick-off game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and will renew an old ACC-SEC rivalry. These two schools have played 30 times with Georgia holding a 16-12-2 advantage. Georgia fans are hoping that their star running back, Nick Chubb, will return for the season opener. Chubb tore his ACL last season after getting off to a blistering fast; Chubb averaged 149 rushing yards per game over his first five games and averaged an absurd 8.1 yards per carry. In 2014, Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.

When it comes to sports, New York has bred a number of world-class competitors over the last few decades. From classic swingers, such as Babe Ruth, to modern day heroes, such as Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson, New York has a long history of sporting greats.

However, away from the baseball fields, football fields and other arenas of competition, in recent years New York has also become something of a breeding ground for another type of champion – poker players.

Thanks to a steady stream of poker icons making a name for themselves on the international circuit, New York has become synonymous with poker success and was even used as the setting for the cult classic Rounders. Starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, the 1998 film focuses on Mike McDermott (played by Damon) who is a poker player tasked with using his skills to rebuild his bankroll and take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

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New York lost the ‘Rex Bowl’ at Metlife Stadium by committing four turnovers and making numerous mental mistakes that led to their third loss in their last four games. Those mental mistakes started at the very top as Todd Bowles made a few questionable decisions. Down 22-9 midway through the third quarter, Bowles opted to kick the extra point, making the score 22-10, instead of going for the two-point conversion. His biggest gaffe, however, occurred with three minutes remaining in the game. Trailing by five points and armed with three timeouts, Bowles opted to go for it on 4th-and-4 from Buffalo’s 7-yard line. New York failed to convert a first down, deflating the home crowd and a defense that was played inspired football during the second half. Buffalo’s offense was able to kill the clock due to some strong, elusive carries by LeSean McCoy.

For the first time this season, Devin Smith was forced into kick returning duties, but things did not go according to plan. Early in the second quarter, Smith fumbled away a kick off return and Buffalo returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. Smith made the mistake of returning a deep kick-off out of his own end zone and chose to run away from his blocks. Smith’s mistake spun momentum in Buffalo’s favor and proved to be one of the most noteworthy plays from this game.

Tackling has become a major issue for New York’s defense. New York’s tacklers were routinely whiffing on tackles and each member of the defense missed at least one tackle. McCoy exacerbated New York’s tackling deficiency late in the fourth quarter by juking, side stepping, and evading defenders to pick up first downs and kill the clock.

To read the rest, please visit this link: Footballguys.com

New York’s rushing attack pummeled Miami’s lack luster run defense, gashing Ndamakong Suh and Co. for 207 yards. Chris Ivory, who missed last week’s tilt against Philadelphia, returned with a vengeance and gashed Miami for a career-high 166 yards and one touchdown. Miami’s run defense attempted to arm tackle Ivory, which proved to be futile. Ivory regularly ran through arm tackles and turned minimal 1-2 yards gain into chain-moving, first down runs. Miami’s run defense seemed uninterested in tackling Ivory as the game wore on—and rightfully so. Ivory sets the tone on offense and his hard-nosed running style perfectly complements New York’s mentality under Todd Bowles.

Last week, we told readers to keep an eye on Willie Colon’s status since Brian Winters did not play well in relief against Philadelphia. Winters proved his doubters wrong and held his own against Suh. Suh did not record his first tackle until the third quarter and looked downright frustrated during the first half. Credit Winters for a superb effort and hope that Colon can heal during New York’s bye week.

Brandon Marshall continued to feast on smaller corners. Brent Grimes left the game after suffering a first quarter injury, but was badly burnt by Marshall on two plays early in the first quarter. On New York’s first play from scrimmage, Marshall burnt Grimes deep down the sideline for a 57-yard gain. Credit Ryan Fitzpatrick for throwing a superb deep ball, but Marshall won at the point of attack and asserted his will throughout the game. Marshall did drop one end zone target, but Marshall’s toughest, ability to separate, and leadership is a boon for this offense.

It may be an unpopular opinion, but New York should consider a quarterback change during its bye week. Fitzpatrick took what Miami’s defense gave him, but he missed a lot of easy throws, especially to rookie, Devin Smith. Fitzpatrick is able to guide and manage the offense, but made some mistakes that allowed Miami to hang around in the game that should have been an easy blowout win.

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The New York Jets have not exactly been dominant in the last few years. At times, the defense has been solid, but the offense has been atrocious. If the Jets are going to contend in a competitive AFC East division, their offense must improve. Of course, they also need the defense to play a very high level. As we prepare for the 2015 NFL season, fans will ask themselves, just how good is this defense?

New York actually struggled a bit in 2014 on defense, at least from a fantasy football money leagues perspective. The defense was unable to create turnovers and that really limited them all season long. However, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to the secondary will certainly help create turnovers and put more pressure on opposing offenses. Revis and Cromartie are excellent play makers and they will be able to anchor the last line of defense.

As far as the front seven is concerned, things are shaping up nicely. Fans are excited about their young trio of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. Many see Williams as the most ready rookie in the entire NFL, so that will be interesting to monitor. The talent is certainly there for them to be a Top-10 team on defense, but the coaching staff must be on the same page. Consider that done, as Todd Bowles has already set the tone and has begun changing the team’s culture. All of the important defensive statistics  should increase, with the exception of the sack total. The Jets were already pretty good at getting to the quarterback, so they should be able to keep that up in 2015.

Finding a quarterback and getting the offense in order should be the main focus for the New York Jets in training camp. The defense is already well ahead of the offense, but they obviously need both if they want any shot at putting fear in their opponents.

New York Giants struggled last year and missed out on the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a disappointing 6-10 record. Big Blue were extremely unlucky with injuries – losing star wide receiver Victor Cruz and starting cornerback Prince Amukamara early in the campaign – and who knows where they would have finished with a healthy squad.

Many have argued that the Giants were the best team to finish with a losing record, and they will be looking to draft well and reach the postseason this time around. We take a look at Tom Coughlin’s Giants side and discuss their chances of winning the NFC East this year.

NYG

 

The return of Victor Cruz is huge

Cruz will be entering his fifth season in the NFL and will be raring to go after spending the majority of last season on the sidelines. The undrafted wide receiver, who spent his college days at Massachusetts, should free up the phenomenal Odell Beckham Jr on the opposite side of the pitch and the two are likely to provide Eli Manning with a deadly attacking threat.

The Giants drafted Beckham Jr in the first round last year, but he missed the first six matches of the season after picking up an injury in preseason. He finished an impressive rookie campaign with 91 receptions for a staggering 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in as many matches. Beckham also produced arguably the greatest catch ever against the Dallas Cowboys, which prompted him to receive vast media attention and helped him to announce his arrival to the NFL.

They must strengthen at running back

Although these two wide receivers give Eli Manning viable ‘down the field’ options, they will still need a strong running game if they are to reach the playoffs. The Giants lost David Wilson – who was forced to retire after sustaining a serious neck injury – and Rashad Jennings continues to blow hot and cold.

They did acquire former New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen in the offseason, but they still require an ‘every down’ power back that can help take the pressure off Eli Manning. The Giants are fairly solid defensively, but are likely to strengthen in the upcoming NFL draft. They may instead opt to focus primarily on a new running back and reinforcements for the offensive line.

Verdict

The Giants have a genuine chance of winning the NFC East this year if they bolster their defensive unit and the offensive stars stay healthy. The remaining teams in the division – Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins – have arguably got ‘weaker’ in free agency, and the Giants will be looking to win as many divisional contests as they can in order to ensure that they reach the playoffs this campaign. If you would like to place a bet on the Giants winning the NFC East this year, or just on the NFL in general, Betfair are currently offering 40/1 on Big Blue to be crowned Super Bowl champions. Their supporters certainly think that they will, at least, win their division this year.

If there’s one issue that’s blighting the worldwide sports community, it has to be match fixing. The practice has, admittedly, been around for centuries, but with the massive growth in sports across the world, the huge numbers of people that enjoy the sport and the hefty sums of money that teams, leagues and investors pump in to sports, today more than ever the practice is most destructive. There is one industry that could benefit from the recent troubles though; the casino industry. How exactly could match fixing scandals help the gambling business though?

Across the world match fixing is a big problem. It’s continually cropping up in international soccer leagues and tournaments. Organised crime elements are being seen behind the facade. Even online video game leagues are being infiltrated at the highest levels by unscrupulous elements. International experts say it needs to stop, the public wants it to stop, and yet the scandals continue.

Now you might think that all of these terrible goings on would spell doom for the gambling industry; betting on sports is big business in countries where it is legalised, after all. In the UK, Japan and a host of European countries, putting a little cash on your favourite team is the norm, and indeed match fixing could put people off betting all together- where’s the element of chance? In countries like America though, the lack of sports betting isn’t really a problem and if anything, the number of illegal backroom wagers might fall as a result of match fixing scandals.

What the scandals might do, however, is force those wanting excitement (from all across the world) into the arms of the gambling industry. If you’re not able to eke excitement from watching your favourite team anymore, you’re going to go elsewhere for your fun!

Online gaming houses are likely to gain most from any potential exodus from either sports or sports betting scenes. A fair amount of wagering is done via smartphone these days, do it’s likely that individuals will end up logging in to www.rubyfortune.com or some other similar site, as supposed to heading to their nearest casino, to get their excitement fix. Who knows, we might even see already huge pro-gambling sports such as poker growing into fully fledged spectator sports as a result!

Of course, the sports world isn’t going to collapse as a result of a few match fixing scandals, but in the meantime the casino industry could make a pretty penny from disenfranchised, angry fans, perhaps even retaining them for years to come.

Following a loss in the National Championship, the Marcus Mariota bandwagon has taken a serious hit. America has become obsessed with Ohio State quarterback, Cardale Jones and have seemingly forgotten about Mariota. Many Mariota detractors argue that Mariota is a ‘System QB’ and ‘Can’t Make NFL Throws’. It didn’t help that Oregon’s offensive line couldn’t block Ohio State’s pass rush to give Mariota sufficient time, either. Despite a rocky National Championship performance, Mariota possess several traits that nearly all NFL starting quarterbacks have quarterbacks have. We’ll get to those statistics in a minute, but it’s always worth taking a second look at a player once the National Media has turned. Mariota went from decorated Heisman Trophy winner to a complete afterthought in a matter of days. When that happens, it’s a great time to further evaluate the prospect.

There are always five key factors I like to review when evaluating QB prospects.

  1. Breakout Age;
  2. Adjusted Yards per Pass Attempt;
  3. Interceptions per Pass Attempt;
  4. Age on Draft Day; and
  5. Was His Final College Season His Best Season?

By reviewing these four statistics and answering this one question, we have a basis for evaluating quarterback prospects.

 

Despite coming off a terrible loss to the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets still have some hope to make the playoffs. Sitting at 5-5 and in second place in the AFC East, they have a favorable last six games on their schedule. So can the Jets overcome the odds and make the playoffs, despite having so many holes in their lineup?

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has certainly had his ups and downs this season, and he is coming off perhaps his worst professional performance ever. Simply put, be happy that you did not start him in fantasy football last week. The Bills made him look silly, forcing three interceptions and a lost fumble. He was so bad that the Jets benched him for Matt Simms, who looked decent in him limited playing time. There is no quarterback controversy yet, but Smith all of a sudden is under a little bit more pressure.

The Week 12 matchup for the Jets is huge, as they will travel to Baltimore to take on the 4-6 Ravens. Both of these teams are somehow holding onto their playoff life, with San Diego, Miami, Tennessee and others battling as well.

Perhaps the one major calling card for this Jets team right now is their young, dynamic defensive line. They have been largely responsible for their huge wins over the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. Their offense is not going to simply outscore opponents, and they have no true fantasy football stars, but this team can win ugly as long as Smith (or Simms) can be competent out there.

The spotlight is always a little brighter on Rex Ryan and his Jets, but this team could take advantage of a top-heavy AFC this season. The loss last week isn’t the end of the world, but it makes this direct matchup with a contending Baltimore club that much bigger.

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