Sports Consultation from The Real Animal

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Monday 3* LA Rams -5 1/2. Sunday 4 1/2* Carolina, 4* Tampa and ‘OVER’, 3* Jax, 3* Cleveland. Thursday 4* Teaser Philly & ‘UNDER’. Animal Best Bets rated 4 1/2* go 2-0 w/ Air Force and Carolina. Majors rated 4* or higher 6-2 since Thursday

Cam Newton is 41-18 straight-up when favored including 28-8 at home. The Panthers don’t lose often with Cam at home going 34-16 in his first 50 home games. Carolina was #3 in the league against the run last season and this Dallas receiving chore is the weakest it’s been in years without tight end Jason Whiten and wide receiver Dez Bryant (combined for 132 catches and 11 touchdowns). Curiously the Carolina offensive coordinator is Norv Turner, who was with Dallas. Both teams have issues on the offensive line but I like the physicality of the Carolina defense and the safety valve on offense with the very explosive Christian McCaffrey (80 receptions in 2017). Carolina has a new weapon at wide receiver J. D. Moore and he’s opposing a rebuilt Dallas secondary. Turner and Newton have reportedly bonded well together thus far in camp. Carolina is 18-6 straight-up at home the past three seasons and all 18 wins have been by three-points or more. Dallas has dropped four straight to the number as an underdog since 1/1/2017 losing those games by an average of 16.6 points per game. The Panthers play exceptional football at home and I’m not taken with the Dallas offense. Make Carolina a BEST BET.

Navy beat Florida Atlantic 42-19 last year with the triple option ground attack and I see no reason why Air Force can’t do the same. FAU has to be a little beat up and shellshocked after allowing 63 points and 650 yards to Oklahoma last week. Florida Atlantic is breaking in a new quarterback this year and it’s going to be extremely hot in Boca Raton for this mid-afternoon kickoff. Coach Kiffin is now 0-4 straight-up versus non-conference BCS opponents not from Conference USA. I really like the experience factor Air Force senior QB Aaron Worthman brigs to an offense that has averaged over 30-points per game in four consecutive seasons. The Navy QB had 235 on the ground against FAU last year and the Sooners had a 310-34 edge in rushing last Saturday. The Falcons are 7-2 ATS the last four years as a road underdog and what’s especially disturbing about last year’s lopsided loss to Navy is the fact it was the opener and Kiffin had all off-season to prepare for the triple option. I think Air Force has a shot at the upset here considering they come off the shutout win over Stony Brook when the defense was stellar.

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I didn’t want to lay double-digits with Golden State in the first two games and split. Then in game #3 my gut told me not to trust the Cavaliers over four quarters and use them early. Unfortunately they miraculously blew an eight-point lead with two minutes to go in the first quarter @ -1 and the end result was a push and naturally covered the first half. As a buddy who is an on-line oddsmaker said "it’s amazing how much respect a home team gets when trailing 2-0" referring to the fact the Cavs were actually favored in the first quarter and pick’em in the first half in game #3 despite being an underdog in the game of more than three-points. Needless to say, quite unusual, and only in the playoffs. Now another strange intangible tonight. For the first time in this series the two teams play with just one day off so depth may play a factor and the return of Andre Iguodala to the lineup is obviously huge. In addition I thought Cleveland wasted terrific games by Kevin Love and Rodney Hood, although despite his scoring, Hood was -12 when in the game (worst on the team). LeBron spoke yesterday about the IQ of Golden State and I would concur. Having a guy like Iguodala back makes a significant impact. He was +14 in game #3. Golden State won by eight points despite Curry and Thompson a combined 7-of-27 for 25.9 percent. I doubt that happens again. LeBron did everything he could do to get others involved and I thought he had terrific help in game #3. But it still didn’t matter. Now Golden State is a game away from accomplishing something unique in this rivalry: a four-game sweep in the finals. That should be incentive tonight and Durant sure did have that look in his eye of an assassin ready to finish the job. I figured if the Cavaliers had any fight left it would have showed up in game #3 and it did for all but the final two minutes before talent prevailed as usual. I wonder how many Cavaliers tonight really want to extend this series and travel back to the bay area for a game #5. LeBron played all but 70 seconds of game #3. How fatigued must he be playing on one day of rest with his three-point shot abandoning his arsenal on Wednesday night. Curry hit nine three-pointers in game #2 and then was 1-for-10 from beyond the arc two nights ago. Yet the Warriors still beat the Cavaliers for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings. I know Cleveland is 7-2 in elimination games since 2015 and that includes three wins in these playoffs. Last year Cleveland forced a… Read more…

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