Wednesday, October 31, 2018

NBA Game Recap: San Antonio Spurs (120) vs. Phoenix Suns (90) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: San Antonio Spurs (120) vs. Phoenix Suns (90) - Date: 10/31/2018 Nov 01, 2018PHOENIX DeMar DeRozan scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half, LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Phoenix Suns 120-90 Wednesday night for their third straight victory.The Spurs led by 31 during the second quarter en route to a fifth straight win over Phoenix. Aldridge scored 16 points in the third, and then he and DeRozan sat out the fourth with the Spurs comfortably ahead. Sports Bettor Leads. The duo combined to make 20 of 25 shots.The Suns have lost six straight and joined the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards at 1-6, tied for the NBA's worst. Sports Picks for Today. T. J. Warren, in his first start of the season, led Phoenix with 21 points. Suns rookie Mikal Brid ges added a career-best 16 points.The Spurs closed out the first quarter on a 15-2 run after the game was tied at 13. San Antonio went up 40-22 on DeRozan's fastbreak dunk with 7:34 left in the first half.DeRozan made 8 of 10 shots in the first half, many on drives to the basket.The Spurs made 24 of 41 shots in the first half and turned the game into a blowout with the Suns struggling on the offensive end. San Antonio stayed hot, making 55.4 percent of its shots.Marco Belinelli's fadeaway 3-pointer with 2:12 left in the first half made the score 60-29. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The Spurs led by 32 points during the fourth quarter.The Suns scored the final 10 points of the first half to trail by 21 at the break.TIP-INSSpurs: San Antonio will be back in Phoenix in two weeks for the second meeting of the season between the two teams. ... DeRozan has led the Spurs in scoring in six of their seven games . ... F Rudy Gay came up hobbling after missing a layup late in the third quarter, but shook it off and remained in the game.Suns: Phoenix played its third straight game without star guard Devin Booker, who is still dealing with a hamstring strain. ... G Isaiah Canaan (left ankle strain) was held out. ... G Josh Jackson played despite a bruised left toe. ... The Suns are 8-10 on Halloween.EXCUSE MEAldridge inadvertently tipped up a pass from DeRozan, and the ball dropped into the net for two points with 8:56 left in the third quarter. The two shared a smile as they headed back on defense.YOUNG SUNS RUNNING POINTWith Canaan out, the Suns began the game with rookie Elie Okobo at point guard making his first career start. Backing him up was another rookie, De'Anthony Melton, who had been inactive for the past three games. Melton played a season high 20 minutes.UP NEXTSpurs: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.Suns: Host the Toronto Raptors on Friday.---More NBA: http s://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: New Orleans Pelicans (121) vs. Golden State Warriors (131) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: New Orleans Pelicans (121) vs. Golden State Warriors (131) - Date: 10/31/2018 Nov 01, 2018OAKLAND, Calif. Stephen Curry had 37 points for his sixth 30-point game of the season, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 131-121 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.Curry had seven 3-pointers and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 24 points and eight assists, and Draymond Green contributed 16 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for his first double-double of the season. Green has 50 assists in the last five games and is a big reason the Warriors are passing so well this season. Fighting Predictions. They finished with a season-high 39 assists.Anthony Davis returned from a two-game absence with a sprained right elbow and had 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the Pelicans, who lost a five-game Western Confere nce semifinal to Golden State last postseason.Klay Thompson scored 18 points with one 3-pointer for the Warriors two days after setting an NBA record with 14 3s and scoring 52 in a blowout road win against the Bulls.Curry scored 16 points in the third quarter with four 3s. He wound up 12 for 20 and 7 of 11 from deep.Two-time defending champion Golden State's lone loss came in the third game of the season by two points at Denver on Oct. 21.Jrue Holiday had 28 points and nine assists while Nikola Mirotic added 26 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, which has a quick turnaround playing at Portland on Thursday night. Best Sports Picks Service. The Pelicans lost their third straight.The Warriors had 12 assists on 16 baskets with five 3-pointers in their 43-point first quarter.MOMENT OF SILENCEA moment of silence was held before the game for San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who died Wednesday at age 80.''For me, Willie McCovey represents a major figure from my childhood,'' said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who grew up a Dodgers fan. ''Hearing Vin Scully talking about Willie McCovey and the Dodger/Giant rivalry. I'm well aware of how beloved Willie was here in the Bay Area and by the Giants family. We extend our condolences to Willie's family and to the Giants family. Everybody here with the Warriors is thinking about them tonight.'' LET'S GET TROPICAL!During his sharp-shooting barrage against Chicago, Thompson was forced to wear a large yellow headband over a cut on his forehead, and he joked after the game he looked like Jackie Moon, Will Ferrell's character from the movie ''Semi-Pro.'' Thompson then arrived to the arena Wednesday dressed as Moon in a Flint Tropics jersey for Halloween.TIP-INSPelicans: The Pelicans were outrebounded 46-42. ... Elfrid Payton missed his second straight game with a sprain ed right ankle. ... New Orleans lost each of its previous two games scoring 111 points, against Utah and Denver. ... Sports Handicapper Leads. The Pelicans have lost 28 of 31 overall to Golden State including playoffs. ... New Orleans won 126-120 at Oracle Arena on April 7 to snap a 10-game losing streak on Golden State's home floor.Warriors: Reserve G Shaun Livingston missed his third straight game with soreness in his right foot. The MRI was clear, coach Steve Kerr said, ''but we are going to be very careful with Shaun.'' Kerr also plans to take every precaution with fellow veteran Andre Iguodala because ''we want both guys to be fresh and ready to roll for the playoffs.'' ... Three Golden State starters had two fouls by early in the second quarter - Curry, Green and Damian Jones. ... The Warriors played at home on Halloween for the first time since hosting Phoenix on Oct. 31, 2000.UP NEXTPelicans: At Trail Blazers on Thursday.Warriors: Host Timberwolves on Friday seeking a fifth straight home win in the series.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Dallas Mavericks (113) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (114) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: Dallas Mavericks (113) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (114) - Date: 10/31/2018 Nov 01, 2018LOS ANGELES LeBron James scored 29 points and made the game-winning free throw with 2.1 seconds left as the Los Angeles Lakers held on for a 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.The Lakers led nearly throughout and were up 111-98 with 3:42 to go before the Mavericks went on a 15-2 run to pull even with 7 seconds remaining. Luca Doncic tied it at 113 on a jumper from the corner, but James was fouled by Wesley Mathews while shooting a jump shot.James missed the first free throw but made the second, and the Lakers (3-5) stopped a two-game skid.JaVale McGee added 16 points and 15 rebounds, and Kyle Kuzma scored 18 for the Lakers.Matthews led Dallas with 21 points and Harrison Barnes scored 19. Sports Handicapping Software. The Mavericks (2-6) have lost five straight.The Lakers scored the first eight points and led by 18 in the first quarter as they went 15 of 23 from the field and made six 3-pointers.Dallas trimmed the margin to 66-59 by halftime. Matthews' driving bank shot pulled the Mavericks to 70-64 before the Lakers went on a 17-4 run - which included 10 points by James - to open their largest lead at 87-68 with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter.TIP-INSMavericks: Doncic, who scored 31 points Monday night at San Antonio, missed his first six shots from the field but finished with 14 points. He came in leading Dallas at 20.4 points per game. ... DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds and 10 points. ... J. J. Barea came off the bench to score 15 points. ... Free Soccer Picks. The Mavericks were 14 of 19 from the field in the second quarter. ... G Devin Harris (left hamstring strain) missed his seventh straight game.Lakers: Los Angeles has won three strai ght against the Mavericks. ... Kuzma scored 11 points in the first quarter. ... Sports Handicapper King. The 38 points were a season high for a first quarter. ... F Michael Beasley missed his second straight game due to personal reasons.UP NEXTMavericks: Host New York on Friday.Lakers: At Portland on Saturday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NHL Game Recap: Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (4) - 10/31/2018

NHL Game Recap: Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (4) - Date: 10/31/2018 / VANCOUVER, British Columbia Jake Virtanen scored twice and Brendan Gaunce got the go-ahead goal midway through the third period to lead the Vancouver Canucks past the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Wednesday night. Antoine Roussel also scored for the Canucks, and Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves. It was the first career two-goal game for Virtanen, a 22-year-old right wing. Gaunce also had an assist in his first game with the Canucks this season. He was called up Tuesday from the Utica Comets of the AHL to help fill out a roster riddled by injuries early this season. Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford turned away 24 shots. Chicago got on the scoreboard first with Saad scoring his third of the season midway through the first period. Sports Handicapper Reviews.&nb sp;The left wing beat Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson in Vancouver's end and put a hard shot on net. Markstrom seemed to get a piece of it but the puck trickled in underneath him. Virtanen responded in the 15th minute after the Blackhawks turned over the puck in the neutral zone. He picked up speed on a breakaway and put a high shot past Crawford. Inside Info. The Blackhawks went back on top with a power-play goal early in the second after Canucks defenseman Michael Del Zotto took a cross-checking penalty late in the first. Best Sports Picks Service. Toews fired in a wrister from the top of the faceoff circle to give him 299 goals for the Blackhawks, sixth-most in franchise history. Chicago is 30th in the NHL on the power play. Wednesday marked the sixth time this season the Blackhawks have scored with the man advantage. Virtanen followed with his second of the night just more than 12 minutes into the second period. He scooped up a pass just inside the blue line and fired a quick shot past Crawford to tie it 2-all. Virtanen has five goals and two assists this season. Gaunce scored at 9:23 of the third after he snatched up a Blackhawks pass. The goal was the sixth of his NHL career, with the last one coming on Feb. 1. He also assisted on Roussel's late goal. NOTES: Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher went flying in the third period after colliding with Chicago's Brandon Manning in the Vancouver end. Stecher went to the dressing room after being looked at by a trainer on the ice. The team is already missing a number of players, including defenseman Alex Edler, goalie Anders Nilsson and left wing Sven Baertschi. UP NEXTBlackhawks: At the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Canucks: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday in the finale of a four-game homestand.---More NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.c om/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Denver Nuggets (108) vs. Chicago Bulls (107) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: Denver Nuggets (108) vs. Chicago Bulls (107) - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018CHICAGO Nikola Jokic had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Paul Millsap's putback with 0.1 seconds left in overtime gave the Denver Nuggets a 108-107 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.Trailing by a point, Denver inbounded the ball with 3.5 seconds remaining. Jokic missed, but Millsap grabbed the rebound and converted a layup off the glass for the winning basket as the Nuggets improved to 6-1.Denver had a 23-8 edge in second-chance points.Zach LaVine scored 28 points and Wendell Carter Jr. added a career-high 25 for Chicago.LaVine has scored at least 20 points in a career-best nine straight games, a streak that dates back to last season. It was Carter's second consecutive game establishing a new high. He had 18 points Monday against the Golden State Warriors.After Denver took a 106-104 lead in overtime on Jokic's 3 -pointer - he had eight of Denver's 10 points in OT - Justin Holiday answered with a 3 to put the Bulls on top 107-106 with 1:26 to play.After giving up 92 first-half points to Golden State on Monday, the Bulls allowed just 51 in the first two quarters Wednesday but still trailed by three at halftime.Chicago held a 96-90 edge with three minutes left before Denver went on an 8-2 spurt to tie it at 98 with 1:07 left.Neither team could convert multiple opportunities in the final minute of regulation.TIP-INSNuggets: The team announced Tuesday it had picked up next season's option on the rookie-scale contracts of 2016 first-round draft picks Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez and Malik Beasley.Bulls: F Lauri Markkanen (sprained right elbow) continues to progress in his rehab and this week added running on the track and upper-body weight training to his routine. ''He's still two to four weeks out,'' coach Fred Hoiberg said. . G Denzel Valentine (sprained le ft ankle) is scheduled to have an MRI and will be re-evaluated on Thursday . Free Picks for Today. The team announced Tuesday that next season's option had been picked up on the rookie-scale contracts of Markkanen, Valentine and Kris Dunn.UP NEXTNuggets: At the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.Bulls: Host the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NCAAF Game Recap: Ball State (13) vs. Toledo (45) - 10/31/2018

NCAAF Game Recap: Ball State (13) vs. Toledo (45) - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018TOLEDO, Ohio Bryant Koback had two first-half touchdown runs and Toledo beat Ball State 45-13 on Wednesday night in a game that saw each team commit five turnovers. Sports Handicapping. The Rockets (5-4, 3-2 Mid-American) scored 21 points in less than 2 1/2 minutes in the first quarter. Koback opened the scoring with a 19-yard run, seven plays after Willie Ross recovered a fumble. Ball State (3-7, 2-4) then went three-and-out and the Rockets drove 77 yards in just 45 seconds with the help of a 51-yard pass play. Art Thompkins capped the drive with a 1-yard run. Free MMA Picks. Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Drew Plitt was strip-sacked by Terrance Taylor with Tuzar Skipper racing to the end zone to dive on the bal l for a 21-0 lead. Plitt threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Riley Miller, who had 101 yards receiving, early in the second quarter but soon the Rockets made it 28-7 on Koback's 3-yard run that came 10 plays after Zachary Ford intercepted Plitt. Jameson Vest added his school-record 69th career field goal for a 31-7 lead late in the third quarter. Peters, starting in place of injured Mitchell Guadagni, threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns but tossed four of Toledo's five interceptions. Diontae Johnson had 100 yards receiving for Toledo. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The teams combined for 968 yards offense.

NBA Game Recap: Indiana Pacers (107) vs. New York Knicks (101) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: Indiana Pacers (107) vs. New York Knicks (101) - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018NEW YORK Domantas Sabonis matched his career high with 30 points, Victor Oladipo scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Indiana Pacers beat the New York Knicks 107-101 on Wednesday night.Indiana trailed 97-94 with 3:08 left before Oladipo got hot. Sabonis hit two free throws, and then Oladipo picked off Tim Hardaway Jr.'s lazy dribble and threw down a breakaway dunk for a 98-97 lead. Indiana scored the next five points, capped by Oladipo's 3-pointer with 1:23 left, to make it 103-97.Hardaway led the Knicks with 37 points, and Noah Vonleh had 14 points and 10 rebounds. New York has lost six of seven since winning on opening night.Alonzo Trier's basket cut New York's deficit to 103-101 with 44 seconds left, but Thaddeus Young found Oladipo open in front of the Knicks bench for a 3-pointer.Young had 13 poi nt, 10 rebounds and five steals.BACK INNew York native and former Knicks player Kyle O'Quinn got a nice hand from the Madison Square Garden crowd when he entered late in the second quarter. O'Quinn signed a one-year deal with Indiana after opting out of the final year of his contract in New York.His decision landed him $4.5 million, a $200,000 raise.''You talk to your agent, you talk to your family, but you have to make it,'' O'Quinn said before the nationally televised game. ''It's the biggest decision I've ever made as far as making a choice in my career. I slept on it, prayed on it. It's no secret I would've loved to play for (new Knicks coach David) Fizdale or be here.'' UP NEXTPacers: Visit the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.Knicks: Visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Detroit Pistons (119) vs. Brooklyn Nets (120) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: Detroit Pistons (119) vs. Brooklyn Nets (120) - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018NEW YORK Spencer Dinwiddie made a 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left in overtime and finished with 25 points to help the Brooklyn Nets beat the Detroit Pistons 120-119 on Wednesday night.Joe Harris added 23 points, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen had 19 each, and Jared Dudley finished with 11. Basketball Picks. The Nets snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 3-5.Blake Griffin led Detroit with 25 points, Andre Drummond had 24 points and 23 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 21 points.After Dinwiddie's late 3-poiter, Griffin missed a fadeaway. Sports Handicapper Records. The Pistons have dropped two straight to fall to 4-3.The Nets trailed by as much as 10 in the third quarter, and entered the fourt h down 83-77. Brooklyn ended up outscoring the Pistons 33-27 in the fourth quarter, with Dinwiddie hitting a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left to force overtime.TIP-INS:Pistons: Reserve Jose Calderon's 3-pointer with a second left in the first half gave Detroit a 60-54 lead. Calderon finished with eight points, two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.Nets: In his second game of the season, Nets power forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had eight points and seven rebounds while playing a reserve role. Backup big man Ed Davis had with 10 points and 10 rebounds.NOT PASSING THE BOARDSDuring his pregame press conference, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson bemoaned his team's performance on the glass in a 115-96 loss to the New York Knicks on Monday night. In the loss to their crosstown rivals, the Nets were out rebounded 53-32. And Atkinson focused on his guards, who combined for eight rebounds. ''A lot of times our bigs are locked in or boxing out a big, and our guards are not pursuing the ball like they should.'' Against the Pistons, Nets guards had 18 rebounds.MIDDLE OF THE ROADHistorically, defense and the Detroit Pistons have been synonymous terms. Sports Handicapping Software. Through seven games of the Dwane Casey Era, Detroit is in the middle of the pack defensively, allowing 111.3 points per game. Offensively, they entered the game scoring 109.7 points per game. ''In today's NBA, scoring is at a premium,'' Casey said before the game. ''The pace is way up. Teams attempting the 3 is way up, so I would say scoring offensively is huge.'' UP NEXTPistons: At Philadelphia on Saturday.Nets: Host Houston on Friday night.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NBA Game Recap: Utah Jazz (125) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (128) - 10/31/2018

NBA Game Recap: Utah Jazz (125) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (128) - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018MINNEOLIS Derrick Rose scored a career-high 50 points, turning back the clock to his prime years and lifting the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Utah Jazz 128-125 on Wednesday night.Rose was in tears after the game as he walked off the court serenaded by chants of ''MVP! MVP!'' from the home crowd. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The 30-year-old point guard has been derailed by injuries since he was the 2011 NBA MVP.He had 34 points in the second half and 15 in a tightly contested fourth quarter as the Wolves held off the Jazz. His basket down low with 30 seconds remaining put Minnesota up for good, and he made two free throws with 13.8 seconds left to preserve a three-point lead.Rudy Gobert missed a game-tying attempt in the final minute for Utah, and the Ti mberwolves grabbed the rebound to ensure Rose's big night wasn't wasted.One of Rose's biggest shots was a corner 3-pointer that tied the game at 119. Baseball Handicappers. That gave him 44 points, which matched his previous high set during the 2011 playoffs with Chicago. His regular-season best had been 42 points.Rose tied it at 110 with one of his patented layups, giving him 41 points. He weaved through traffic and made the off-balance shot, showing glimpses of the moves that once made him an elite player and the top pick in the 2008 draft.Making his first start of the season, Rose scored 19 points in the third quarter as the Timberwolves took a five-point lead into the fourth. Karl-Anthony Towns added nine of his 28 points in the period.Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Gobert added 22 for Utah. Jae Crowder provided 18 points off the bench.The Wolves put the Jazz on the free throw line plenty in th e fourth quarter. After 11 attempts through three periods, Utah was 13 of 19 from the line in the fourth.Minnesota played without the All-Star Jimmy Butler, as well as point guards Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones. Butler sat out with what the team described as ''general soreness.'' Butler, who has been the main storyline in Minnesota for much of the early season, reportedly plans to play Friday at Golden State.The Timberwolves got Andrew Wiggins back after he missed three games with a quad injury. Wiggins had missed just one total game in his first four seasons before his recent setback. He scored 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting.TIP-INSJazz: G Alec Burks (left hand sprain) did not play. Burks also did not play Sunday at Dallas. . Utah is 4-1 on the road this season and 0-2 at home. . Gobert had his third straight game with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds.Timberwolves: Coach Tom Thibodeau said Teague underwent an MRI but was awaiting more testing. Free Sports Picks. Teague is day-to-day. . Jones was a late scratch with right foot soreness he experienced during warmups. . The Wolves debuted their ''Classic Edition'' jerseys, a throwback to the uniforms the team wore from 1996-2008.UP NEXTJazz: Host Memphis on Friday.Timberwolves: Visit Golden State on Friday.---More NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/-Sports

NCAAF Game Preview: Nebraska vs. Ohio State - 11/3/2018 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Nebraska vs. Ohio State - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 31, 2018COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When foot meets ball on Saturday in Ohio Stadium, almost everyone expects No. 10 Ohio State to come out and play angrily after what happened in its last game. Handicappers Watchdog. That includes Nebraska, which visits the Horseshoe (noon ET, FOX) as Ohio State's first opponent since its 49-20 loss at Purdue on Oct. 20. "I foresee their team coming out and playing with their hair on fire at the beginning," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said. "We need to able to withstand that initial surge and play well at the beginning. " Ohio State coaches spent the bye week analyzing what went wrong in West Lafayette and worked diligently in practice on fixing the issues. CBS Sports Picks. The weaknesses are glar ingly obvious -- red zone inefficiency, the lack of a consistent running game on offense, penalties, and giving up big plays on defense. Sports Monitor. The areas of emphasis, coach Urban Meyer said, are "No. 1, making sure we structurally have the right play call. No. 2, get more movement, and No. 3 is running through tackles. " The Buckeyes (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) realize that another loss would severely damage any hopes to reach the College Football Playoff and give hated rival Michigan a leg up in the Big Ten East Division. "We understand November and where we're at," Meyer said. "We understand what's at stake. We understand our shortcomings. "Urgency is probably the key word around here. It's hard to say I've ever seen a staff work as hard as we've worked to try to fix the issues, and the same with our players. " If Meyer was frustrated after the first l oss of the season, he's keeping his emotions in check -- at least in public. At his weekly news conference, he addressed rumors about his future by saying he'll be back at Ohio State next season. "Clear the bad taste from your mouth and move forward," Meyer said. Ohio State managed to handle their first seven opponents by relying on the strong and accurate arm of quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who is having one of the best seasons as a passer in Ohio State history. The third-year sophomore has completed 71. 1 percent of his throws for 30 touchdowns. But Haskins is not a mobile quarterback and that allows defenses to gear up to stop running backs J. K. Dobbins and Mike Weber. Each of the two backs has rushed for 100 yards in a game only once this season. The Buckeyes also have experienced difficulty in short-yardage situations and inside the opponents' 20-yard line. In the loss to Purdue, Ohio State scored only six points on five red-zone opportunitie s. "We're not playing well," Meyer said. "And, you know, I'm one of those guys that I want to help fix the issue, like all coaches do. " Ohio State should have an opportunity to get back on track against Nebraska (2-6, 1-4), which ranks No. 103 in the country in scoring defense and No. 102 of 129 FBS teams in scoring defense. The Buckeyes have routed the Cornhuskers the previous two seasons by a combined score of 118-17. "I know they will be prepared in the first quarter to play their best football of the season," Nebraska linebacker Mohamed Barry said of Ohio State, according to the Omaha World-Herald. "How you handle that is your alignment, assignments, your execution, have to withstand the fire they're going to bring in the first quarter. "If you can do that, then Purdue's going to seep back into their minds. The doubt's going to seep back into their minds. That first quarter is big for us. " Nebraska struggled to an 0-6 start under new coach Scott Frost but has won its last two games, whipping Minnesota and Bethune-Cookman. "We're riding a wave, and we're trying to keep it going, trying to keep it trending in the right direction," Nebraska cornerback Dicaprio Bootle said. "Everybody's just fired up for this game. " Ohio State's defense will have to deal with freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez after struggling against Purdue's David Blough. Martinez has already set a school freshman record with 1,656 passing yards. The prized recruit visited Ohio State last season and became friends with Haskins before choosing Nebraska. "Elite guy. He's a dual guy that can run and pass," Meyer said. "He's doing a very good job. "

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NBA Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns - 10/31/2018 - 10:38 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018PHOENIX -- San Antonio learned a lot about French point guards from Tony Parker, who was an integral part of four championship teams before retiring last season.The Suns are just getting to know theirs, rookie import Elie Okobo.The Spurs -- the team Phoenicians love to hate because of previous playoff series gone ugly -- will visit Phoenix on Wednesday on a bit of a run, having won three of four, two in overtime.Newcomer Demar DeRozan has been a terrific fit after being acquired for Kawhi Leonard. DeRozan has led the Spurs (4-2) in both scoring and in assists in five of their six games, and he had 34 points and nine assists in a 113-108 overtime victory over Dallas on Monday.DeRozan missed a potential game-winner in the final seconds of regulation against Dallas before delivering the knockout blow in overtime."You know, Michael (Jordan) didn&# 39;t make every shot at the end of the game," Spurs coach Greg Popovich told reporters, "but there are very, very few people who want to be in that position all the time. (DeRozan's) one of those people who loves it." The Suns have had little success since blitzing Dallas in the season opener, dropping five straight, and they have played the last two without leading scorer Devin Booker, who is doubtful Wednesday with a strained left hamstring.An injury to nominal point guard Isaiah Canaan in a 117-110 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday gave them a chance to take a long look at rookie point Okobo, and they came away impressed.Okobo, the first pick in the second round of the 2018 draft, had 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three turnovers in 31 minutes after picking up 12 points, two assists and one turnover in 18 minutes of a 117-96 loss at Memphis the night before."He played with confidence," coach Igor Kokoskov told reporters after the O klahoma City game."He played with a presence. He played like, 'I belong here.' "The Spurs have long proven they belong here, and the transition from Leonard to DeRozan has gone off seemingly without a hitch. Off guard DeRozan is averaging 28.3 points and 8.0 assists per game.At the same time, small forward Rudy Gay is averaging 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds while stepping into the lineup at the small forward spot after being used off the bench in his first season with the Spurs last year.Gay has had double-doubles in his last three games, a career first and a cause for wonder after the Dallas game."What have you been doing all these years?" forward LaMarcus Aldridge shouted out, jokingly.Playing the point in the NBA can involve a sometimes-steep learning curve as defenses probe fort a weakness, and it remains to be seen how (and if) the Suns will work Okobo into the rotation.At the same time, Okobo and Canaan are the only true point guards on the t eam that resorted to using off guard Booker at the point last season and played him there for the final 5 1/2 minutes of a 121-100 victory over the Mavericks on Oct. 17.Okobo, 22, made 9-of-18 field goals in the last two games, including 5-of-11 3-pointers, after playing only 12 minutes in the first four games.He played the last three seasons for Pau-Lacq-Orthez in France's top professional league He averaged 12.9 points and 4.8 assists last season and was a top contender for the league's most improved player award, won previously by Clint Capela and Evan Fournier.The Suns' struggles to this point have come at the defensive end, where opponents are shooting from 50.5 percent, second-highest in the league, and have shot at least 50 percent in the last five games. Best Free Sports Picks. The Suns also have committed 18.5 turnovers a game and have surrendered 129 points on turnovers.Josh Jackson started at off guard in the two games Booker missed and was ineffective, scoring a combined 16 points on 7-of-20 shooting with 11 turnovers and nine personal fouls. He played only 21 minutes against the Thunder."We have a lot of talent," said Ryan Anderson, who had season-high 15 points against Oklahoma City. "We don't have a lot of experience together, but we have a lot of talent. We could be a lot better, and we will be. You just have to be patient and know that this is a process."

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NBA Game Preview: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors - 10/31/2018 - 10:38 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 30, 2018OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors will dust off an old trick Wednesday night, performing at home on Halloween for the first time since 2000 when they host the New Orleans Pelicans.In the Pelicans, the Warriors will be facing the same team they visited on Halloween three years ago, a game in which Stephen Curry bombed in 53 points in a 134-120 win.Curry had 51 points in just three quarters the last time the Warriors were seen at home, that being in a 144-122 win over the Washington Wizards last Wednesday.In the meantime, Golden State went on the road and swept the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls, with Klay Thompson exploding for 52 points and an NBA-record 14 3-pointers in Monday's 149-124 win at Chicago."I just knew I was due to a big night," Thompson told reporters after his 14 threes broke the previous record of 13, held by Curry. "That's what I do this for, for those moments you're sharing with your teammates." Thompson had ranked among the worst 3-point shooters in the league in the Warriors' first seven games, going 5-for-36 (13.9 percent). He hadn't made more than one in any game until his 14 against the Bulls.The three-game road sweep gave the Warriors a 7-1 record, the best in the Western Conference.Golden State's lone loss came at Denver, which is where the Pelicans opened a rugged five-game trip with a 116-111 defeat on Monday night. Winning Sports Gambling. They were playing without standout big man Anthony Davis, who missed a second straight game with a sprained right elbow.While the injury is not considered to be serious, Davis remains questionable for the Golden State game."I don't think it's anything that we're worried about," Pelicans coa ch Alvin Gentry announced Monday, before noting on Tuesday that his star would be a game-time decision.The Pelicans opened the season 4-0, with Davis averaging 27.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and a league-leading 3.8 blocked shots per game.They lost to Utah and Denver without him, averaging 111.0 points in those games, 17.3 fewer than in their four wins.After the Warriors, the Pelicans will complete their eight-day trip by visiting Portland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.The Pelicans have never played a road game on Halloween in their history. Davis had 26 points and 15 rebounds in their Halloween home loss to Golden State in 2015.The meeting is the first since the clubs met in the Western semifinals last May, with Golden State prevailing 4-1 despite Curry sitting out Game 1 with a knee injury.Draymond Green averaged a triple-double in the series with 14.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 10.0 assists.Davis averaged 27.8 points and 14.8 rebounds for the Pelicans, including 33 points and 18 rebounds in Game 3, the only game New Orleans won in the series.The Warriors have won 20 of the last 22 regular-season meetings against the Pelicans, although New Orleans came away with a 126-120 victory last April when the clubs last met in Oakland in the regular season.

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NBA Game Preview: Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 10/31/2018 - 8:08 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 30, 2018So far, the magic numbers for Rudy Gobert are six and 28. Leading Handicappers. Those totals are the amounts of double-doubles and dunks the Utah Jazz center owns so far in the young season.For Utah, their key number is three as in a three-game winning streak.Gobert hopes to chalk up another double-double, add a few more dunks and Utah hopes to get a fourth straight win Wednesday night when it visits the Minnesota Timberwolves.Gobert is averaging 17.7 points and 13.5 rebounds. He leads the league in dunks and has recorded a double-double in each game so far, doing so after dunking 151 times and compiling 30 double-doubles in 56 games last season.On Sunday, Gobert dunked four times while finishing with 23 points and 16 rebounds in a 113-104 win over the Dallas Mavericks."I want to s how that I'm not only a defensive star," Gobert told reporters. "I can be a star offensively, too." Gobert's dunking ability is helping the Jazz shoot 66.2 percent (131-of-198) on shots from less than five feet out and 67.9 percent 127-of-187) on shots inside the restricted area.On Sunday, it wasn't just Gobert in the second night of a back-to-back set. Donavan Mitchell added 20 points while Jae Crowder contributed 15 as the Jazz shot 52.5 percent.Derrick Favors did not play due to a sore knee and was replaced in the starting lineup by Crowder. Georges Niang also saw time off the bench in the frontcourt and chipped in 13 on a night when Alec Burks rested a sprained left hand."We're not a team that's about any one guy. We're not about our starters, we're not about our bench, we're not about any one player -- this is a group that has to perform together," Utah coach Quin Snyder told reporters. "So when guys play tog ether and play the right way, we're a better team." Crowder rolled his ankle at the end of Sunday's game but is listed as probable for Wednesday. Favors and Burks are listed as questionable, meaning Utah could again lean heavily on a reserve unit that has totaled 77 points in the last two games.Besides trying for a fourth straight win, Utah is trying to remain unbeaten on the road through five games for the first time since 1992-93.Minnesota is off to an uneven start as it plays through the off-court saga of Jimmy Butler's trade request that he made in September.On Monday, the Timberwolves rebounded from a 30-point home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks by recording a 124-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers as both Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns played well in the same game.Butler led Minnesota with 32 points while Towns totaled 25 and a season-high 16 rebounds. It was the first time Butler and Towns scored at least 20 points in the same game."There will be so me ups and downs and how you deal with both are important," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters. "If things are going well if you start to feel too good about yourself, you're usually going to get knocked down. You also have to know how to lift yourself up when things aren't going your way." Butler's criticism of Towns has been part of his desire to leave Minnesota but both players put their differences aside to help the Wolves get their best win of the season in a game played at a breakneck pace.Butler hit five of his career-high six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter while Towns secured a key rebound in the final seconds to cap his second double-double of the season."It's basketball," Butler told reporters. "I don't think nothing that's gone on before this game has anything to do with us going out there and competing. We all go out there, play together, play to win." Although Towns had his most productive ga me of the season, he shot 7 of 18 and committed five turnovers. So far, he is shooting 42.1 percent (40-of-95)."I'm not worried about it. I just want to make sure I do as much as I can on the defensive end to impact the game there," Towns told reporters. "Offense will come just whenever it comes." On Wednesday, he will try to get it going against Gobert for the 11th time.Gobert is 8-2 in their head-to-head meetings and averaging 12.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and shooting 64.4 percent. Las Vegas Handicappers. Towns is averaging 20.6 points and 11 rebounds on 53.5 percent shooting.Minnesota was without Andrew Wiggins for a third straight game due to a right quad contusion and is day-to-day. Rookie Josh Okogie started for Wiggins, scored 17 points Monday and would likely start again if Wiggins is out.

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NCAAF Game Preview: Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech - 11/3/2018 - 8:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018It's been a little more than two years since Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes dueled in one of the great offensive college football games of all time. Mahomes passed for an astounding 734 yards and touchdown passes of 23, 32, 41, 56 and 3 yards and also ran for 85 yards and a pair of TDs. But Mayfield countered with 545 passing yards and 7 touchdowns as he led the Sooners to a 66-59 victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. "You look at the names and what they're doing on Sundays right now and it's incredible," Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said about reflecting on the 2016 Sooners-Red Raiders game. "Guys playing on an elite level already early in their (NFL) careers and they're all out there on one particular night all making plays that night. " That game has been in the spotlight th is week and not just because the seventh-ranked Sooners return to Lubbock for a 7 p. m. CT matchup on ESPN on Saturday night. Mayfield and Mahomes also face each other again as the Browns host the Chiefs on Sunday in Cleveland. As an extra dose of intrigue, the Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday. Mayfield's college offensive coordinator and head coach, Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley, has been mentioned as a candidate to relocated to Cleveland. But Riley said he's not interested. "Not right now," Riley said during his Monday press conference. "You sit here and answer these questions and I always want to be truthful. The truth is for me is I love Oklahoma. I love coaching here. I love college football. I certainly don't have that itch right now. " College football fans will tune in to see the next generation matchup back in Lubbock. Texas Tech's Alan Bowman ranks No. 3 in the NCAA with 344. 4 passing yards per game, 12 spots ahead of Oklahoma's Kyler Murray at 291. 1. But Murray is No. 6 in the nation in total offense per game with 350. 4 yards, one notch ahead of Bowman. Sports Handicappers Rankings. That's a lot of pressure on the Texas Tech and Oklahoma defenses. Best Sports Handicappers in the World. The Sooners defense is giving up 380. 9 yards per game this season. That's more than 40 yards better than the Red Raiders. But Oklahoma hasn't played an opponent that ranks in the top 30 in total offense so far this season, while the Red Raiders have faced four of the top 15 offenses in the country. Best Free Sports Picks. The oddsmakers and analytics still see the Sooners as a heavy favorite. Texas Tech is a double-digit underdog and ESPN's Matchup Pred ictor gives the Sooners a 71. 6-percent chance to win. Perhaps the reason Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) is favored is because prognosticators don't believe the Texas Tech defense can slow down Murray. Last week, he passed for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns, and ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. It was just another day at the office for the Sooners' quarterback. "I've watched him from sophomore in high school on and I've never seen him have a bad game," Kingsbury said about Murray, who played high school football in the Dallas suburb of Allen. "Always poised, always in control. " The Red Raiders (5-3, 3-2) have had problems stopping opposing offenses for a long time. But this season, they've climbed out of triple digits and currently rank 94th in total defense in the country. Texas Tech has a chance to show in prime time if its defensive improvement can hold up against Oklahoma. "Defensively they've made a big jump," Riley sa id. "There's no question when you turn on the film. This group is playing well together. The thing that you see is it's a lot of the same names and same people that we've been playing against now for two or three years and these guys have gotten better. "

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NCAAF Game Preview: Utah vs. Arizona State - 11/3/2018 - 4:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Utah vs. Arizona State - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018TEMPE, Ariz. -- No. 15 Utah has the clearest path to the Pac-12 South title, and it plans to approach the stretch with a clear head. "We are blocking out that noise," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We just have to keep trying to hang onto this momentum and doing our thing. " The Utes (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12 South) will bring a four-game winning streak and a rolling offense into a Pac-12 game against Arizona State (4-4, 3-3) on Saturday afternoon. Utah will win the division and make its first appearance in the Pac-12 title game by winning its final four games. Arizona State is more than just a first impediment, however. Given the wacky state of affairs, the Sun Devils would need only a small bit of good fortune to win the division if they, too, win out. In the Pac-12 South, every game is an elimination game. Until the next one. Sports Tipsters. The Sun Devils are one of five division teams with three losses. While Utes hold the tiebreaker edge over USC, Arizona and UCLA, they also have a game remaining against Colorado. Arizona State beat USC last week. "We have to win this one this week if we have any chance to try to do anything in this conference," Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said. "It's an important game. A big game, and I like those because you find out about your team. The bigger the game . . . it's good to your team in those situations, because eventually you always want to be in a big game. When you become a winning team, every game is a big game. " Utah enters on a four-game winning streak in which it has scored at least 40 points in each game, a first since its BCS-busting Fiesta Bowl season in 2004. Expert Sports Picks. The Utes, who lost to Washington and Washington State to begin Pac-12 play before going on their run, have relied on juniors Moss and Huntley during the winning streak. Moss had a season-high 211 yards in a 41-10 victory over UCLA last Friday, and he ranks second in the Pac-12 in rushing with 120. 5 yards per game. "He's like a sledgehammer between the tackles," Whittingham said. Huntley has competed 143-of-219 passes for 1,700 yards and 11 touchdowns and also has rushed for 262 yards and four touchdowns. He has four interceptions. Britain Covey has 48 catches for 531 yards"We're playing with more confidence offensively probably than we have in a lot of years," Whittingham said. "I think that's probably the key. "Defense has been pretty consistent. Special teams has been pretty consistent. Now you have an offense that is feeling very good about themselves and making plays. I think that's the piece we've been waiting for. " The Utes have used their 4-2-5 defensive alignment to hold opponents to 81. 1 yards per game rushing and 287 yards per in total offense, which lead the Pac-12 and rank third and seventh in the FBS, respectively. They are 14th in the FBS scoring defense, giving up 16. 8 points a game. Arizona State ran up 449 yards total offense in a 38-35 victory at USC last Saturday to stop a streak in which it had lost four of five games, all by seven points. The Sun Devils have lost to Colorado and have games remaining against UCLA, Oregon and Arizona. Halfback Eno Benjamin rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown, his fifth 100-yard game of the season, and quarterback Manny Wilkins gave the Sun Devils a 10-point lead when he faked to Benjamin and ran 45 yards for a score with 1:23 remaining. Benjamin is averaging 117. 3 yards per game. "We didn't play a perfect game but we played a poised game," Wilkins said. Wilkins has completed 160 of 253 passes for 1,965 yards and 12 touchdowns this season with two interceptions. Arizona State has only six turnovers this season, tied with Alabama for fourth in the FBS. A halfback has not lost a fumble on a running play in 27 games. Wide receiver N'Keal Harry, a preseason All-American, caught four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown against USC and was named the Pac-12 special teams player of the week for a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown that put the Sun Devils ahead for good. Harry fielded on the punt on the left side of the field and reversed his field, almost retreating into the end zone, before turning the corner and scoring down the right sideline.

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NCAAF Game Preview: Florida State vs. NC State - 11/3/2018 - 3:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Florida State vs. NC State - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018North Carolina State has lost back-to-back games and dropped out of the Associated Press poll, but the Wolfpack still managed to land at No. 21 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings of the season. Now, the concern is preventing a further tumble. Although Clemson has a headlock on the ACC Atlantic Division title, there is still a good bowl at stake for the Wolfpack (5-2, 2-2 ACC, who host struggling Florida State (4-4, 2-4) on Saturday. N. C. State's losses to end October came on the road, but in much different fashions. There was the 41-7 blowout defeat to No. 2 Clemson and Saturday night's gut-wrenching 51-41 setback to No. 19 Syracuse. "They all would have loved to get the comeback win, there's no doubt," coach Dave Doeren said of this team. "Proud of the way our guys battled. Had the ball and a chance to wi n the game and didn't get it done. " Most of the scrutiny falls on the defense. The Wolfpack haven't managed to do as well since facing teams with more versatile offensive attacks. "We have to get back to playing N. C. State defensive football," said linebacker Germaine Pratt, who had 16 tackles, including 2. 5 sacks, last week. "Everybody just has to do their job and compete. . . . The defense as a whole has to improve. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and compete. " Since 2002, the Wolfpack have often been a spoiler against Florida State, winning four of eight home games against the Seminoles. The margin of victory in those eight games has been 6. 6 points. This time around, N. C. State was favored by 7. 5 points early in the week. Florida State was humbled 59-10 at home by Clemson last week -- tied for the program's largest loss ever. First-year Seminoles coach Willie Taggart said Monday he thought some of his player s quit and that his staff needed "to find the winners" on the team. "After the game, going home and watching the North Carolina State-Syracuse game, and then watching our film from Clemson, I felt there was a handful of players that didn't play up to our standards and didn't do the thing we expect out of them. . . . '' Taggart said. "We addressed it internally, and we're going to make sure that we continue to build a culture and a program the way we want to, the way I know how. And we're going to make sure we have individuals in here that are going to live up to those standards, that are always going to be great teammates who are going to compete, and guys that are going to put FSU first. " Florida State still has to play No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 22 Boston College and No. 11 Florida, so coming together and getting a win over N. C. State seems like a near-must in order to extend the program's NCAA-record 36-seasons bow l streak. N. C. State is led by quarterback Ryan Finley, considered one of the top senior prospects at his position for the NFL Draft. He is averaging an ACC-leading 321. 4 passing yards per game and is coming off a career-best 473 passing yards in the defeat at Syracuse. "We feel like we have a talented d-line that can win some of those battles, and we're going to have to in order to get him," Taggart said. "He's a really good quarterback, and (they've) got really good schemes to get the ball out into his guys' hands. " Wide receiver Kelvin Harmon racked up 247 receiving yards on 11 catches last week. He made only one catch in each of the past two meetings with Florida State. Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois completed 17 of 36 passes for 180 yards, with an interception, last week. He left the game "beat up" -- Taggart's words -- and was considered day-to-day, as of Tuesday. His replacement would be James Bla ckman, who started 12 games last season after Francois was injured. Free Winning Sports Picks. The Seminoles' run game has been non-existent. They rank 126th out of 129 teams nationally in rushing, averaging 83. 5 yards per game. Running backs Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers combined for 27 yards on 18 carries last week. Senior Nyqwan Murray (40 catches, 536 yards, three TDs), Florida State's leading receiver, will miss the first half after receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing a punch last week.

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NCAAF Game Preview: Louisville vs. Clemson - 11/3/2018 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Louisville vs. Clemson - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018Clemson coach Dabo Swinney likes where his team is as it heads into what he calls "the championship phase" of the season. Sports Illustrated Picks. The Tigers occupy a position to which they've grown accustomed. Clemson is bidding for a fourth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title and a fourth straight berth into the College Football Playoff. Make Money Betting Sports. The Tigers will put their unbeaten record (8-0, 5-0 ACC) and No. 2 position in the CFP ranking on the line Saturday against Louisville (2-6, 0-5) at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. "Here we are and we're rolling into November," Swinney said. No question there. Swinney's team has dismantled its last three opponents -- Wake Forest, N. C . State and Florida State -- by a combined 163-20 margin. "I challenged our team a few weeks ago and they've really responded," Swinney said. "This is three games in a row that we've played complete games and we're really starting to build that momentum. There's not a lot of panic in these guys. They know the type of focus that it takes. " Clemson, the only team in the country to rank in the Top 10 in both total offense and defense, is attempting to improve to 9-0 for the fifth time in program history and third time in the last four years. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, whose team has lost five in a row and opened as a 37-point underdog against Clemson, knows his team faces a monumental challenge, particularly against a veteran defense that ranks among the nation's best in almost every statistical category. "They're as good of a defense as there is out there," Petrino said. "Defensive front, linebackers are big and physical and fast. Lot of the same guys we've played against for the last couple of years, so we do know them well. " Clemson's defense, led by four potential first-round NFL Draft picks on the defensive front, is tied for No. 1 nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 13. 0 points per game, and ranks second in total tackles for loss (80) and third in total defense (263. 9). Louisville challenged Clemson for three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016, losing by a touchdown or less in each instance. Clemson won 47-21 last year in Louisville, dropping the Cardinals to 0-5 all time in the series. But Swinney is convinced that the Cardinals possess the talent to keep things interesting once again. "Louisville is 2-6, but they're the best 2-6 team I've seen," Swinney said. "Their record is not indicative of the players they have. "They've had some tough breaks and I'm sure their coaches are frustrated, but they're v ery capable of playing with anybody. " Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence has emerged as a big-time threat for Clemson and is coming off back-to-back 300-yard passing games. He leads all FBS freshmen in touchdown passes (16) and passing efficiency (164. 2). "Their quarterback is doing a really nice job for them," Petrino said. "He can really zip it. He can spin the ball. He's got a really good wrist and can get the ball down the field to his targets, so it's a great challenge for us. " Louisville hopes to get a solid performance from sophomore Jawon Pass, a big, rangy quarterback who has struggled with consistency. The Cardinals had two receivers with 100-yard games last week in a loss against Wake Forest as Tutu Atwell and Jaylen Smith had eight receptions each for 132 and 107 yards, respectively. "They have as good a group of receivers as we've played," Swinney said. "The quarterback is a young guy they're com mitted to. He runs very well and he's big, he's just not been as consistent as they want him to be. We expect a challenge and a big-time battle. "

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NBA Game Preview: Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers - 10/31/2018 - 10:38 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 30, 2018The Los Angeles Lakers are still learning how to play with their new superstar, and they'd really like to figure out how to win the close games.The Lakers will likely get another chance when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Staples Center.Los Angeles (2-5) lost its third game by four points or fewer Monday night at the Minnesota Timberwolves. All five losses have come by single digits."Nobody feels sorry for us," Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters after the 124-120 loss in Minneapolis. "It's up to us to figure it out and start winning some of these close games, and we will. I can promise you that." The Mavericks (2-5) are also desperate for a win after dropping their past four games -- all by single digits. Dallas pushed the San Antonio Spurs to overtime Monday before losing 113-108."Th is is a group that is getting closer every game," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the loss. "They're fighting harder every game." Mavericks rookie small forward Luka Doncic is off to a promising start. He's averaging 20.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game, numbers that have never been put up over a full season by a first-year NBA player.He had a season-high 31 points and eight rebounds against San Antonio."He's a very good player," Carlisle said. "He certainly doesn't look surprised that this is happening." Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan will return to Staples Center for the first time since signing with Dallas in the offseason. Inside Info. The two-time NBA rebounding leader played his first 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.The Lakers are back to full strength after starting small forward Brandon Ingram completed a four-game s uspension and backup point guard Rajon Rondo a three-game ban for their roles in a fight with the Houston Rockets on Oct. 20.Ingram scored 24 points in his first game back Monday, but only seven of those came in the decisive second half. Kyle Kuzma also faded down the stretch after scoring 16 of his 19 points in the first half.James knew he was joining a young team when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a three-year deal with the Lakers last summer, but he's ready to see some improvement."We talk about patience, but we can't have a recurrence of the same things," he told reporters after the loss in Minnesota. "If you're doing the same things over and over and over and expecting a different result, then that's insanity." The Lakers haven't had two days between games since the season started, but will after hosting Dallas, and will have two more two-day breaks next week to practice their deficiencies.The Mavericks will be playin g their seventh game in 12 days Wednesday night, and play again Friday against the visiting New York Knicks before getting their first three-day gap between games since the first two contests of the season."We're in the middle of just a grind week with all this travel," Carlisle said.

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NHL Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks - 10/31/2018 - 10:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks - Date: 10/31/2018 Time: 10:00 PM EDT Venue: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6B 6G1 / VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Patrick Kane hopes to whet his palate again Wednesday night. Expert Sports Picks. The Chicago winger is riding a six-game point streak as the Blackhawks prepare to visit the Vancouver Canucks in the first contest of a three-game road trip through Western Canada." It's always fun scoring goals," Kane told reporters Tuesday in Chicago. "So I think when you get a taste of that, you feel like you're getting hot. You want to keep it going." Kane ranks among the National Hockey League's top scorers with 11 goals and seven assists after his latest run yielded six and four. He has earned a point in all but one of Chicago's 12 games. Sports Handicappers Rankings. The Canucks are not the same version of the squad that waged several heated playoff and regular-season battles with the Blackhawks in the past. But Kane will not have trouble getting motivated for Wednesday's contest against a young Vancouver club that has surprised people despite enduring several injuries to key players." That was always a fun rivalry," Kane said. "I know it's not the same as it once was. But it's still fun to go into Vancouver and play in that rink." But the Blackhawks have not had much fun on the power play lately. Kane and company have only scored on two of 14 power-play opportunities in the past four games. Professional Sports Handicappers. The Blackhawks split those contests." I think we need to do a better job of recovering (the puck) off the (first) shot, and maybe some plays will open up," Kane said. "But it's still a work in progress." Chicago coach Joel Quenneville wants his club to get off to a good start on what he calls "an all-important three-game trip." "We're playing three teams that are all in the (playoff) mix," Quenneville told reporters. "All are improved. They're all younger and have some speed through the lineup." Swedish rookie Elias Pettersson, 19, is one player who has added to Vancouver's speed this season. He has also provided some scoring punch to make up for the retirements of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Pettersson scored two goals, including the winner, Monday as the Canucks posted a 5-2 home win over the Minnesota Wild, who had won five straight beforehand. Despite missing six games to a concussion, he has seven goals in as many games -- including a pair of two-goal performances." He gets the building going like no other player -- like Hank and Danny (Sedin) used to do, so it's nice," Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom told reporters." He has really good hockey sense, and it's not just offensively," Canucks coach Travis Green said. "He's got a good mind for the game and his details are sharp." Pettersson's on-ice sharpness was evident Monday as he scored on a one-timer and then capitalized on a breakaway after blocking a shot and taking a lead pass from Brock Boeser. The rookie said he wants to do his best at everything to help the team win." If I have to block a shot, I'll do my best at that, too," he said. The Canucks will likely need another strong effort from him against Chicago. Vancouver lost center Brandon Sutter to an apparent shoulder injury against Minnesota. Coach Travis Green said Sutter is expected to be out "weeks." The Canucks are also again expected to be without injured defensemen Alex Edler (knee) and Chris Tanev (hip) as well as wing er Sven Baertschi (concussion). Vancouver called up two forwards -- Brendan Gaunce and Darren Archibald -- from Utica of the American Hockey League on Monday. That suggests another forward could also be unable to suit up." I don't know what's going on around this team," Markstrom said. "We keep getting injuries."

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NBA Game Preview: Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks - 10/31/2018 - 8:08 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 30, 2018After dropping their first home game of the season, the Indiana Pacers venture to the perhaps even friendly confines of Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night as they face a New York Knicks team that has lost five of seven to open the season.The Knicks are, however, coming off their second home win of the season, a 115-96 victory over the cross-town Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at MSG.Tim Hardaway Jr. had 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds in the win, leading seven Knicks in double-figure scoring. Frank Ntilikina added 16 points and Enes Kanter had 15 off the bench in the win, which followed a dreadful loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday, when Kevin Durant had 41 points and spurred a huge fourth quarter."I think Tim has always had the reputation that he is just a gunner and so I want to break that stereotype of him," Ne w York head coach David Fizdale said. "And to be an elite player in this league, you have to make other people better." One of the league's budding elite players, Indiana's Victor Oladipo struggled in his team's first home loss of the year on Monday against Portland. Winning Sports Handicappers. The Trail Blazers outscored the Pacers 32-24 in the fourth quarter, and 58-44 for the second half, in a 103-93 win.Oladipo, who is averaging 22 points on the year, had 21 in the game, but shot just 9 of 24 from the field and Indiana shot just 41 percent as a team."Even the open looks weren't going in," Oladipo said. "It was just a tough night offensively. I think defensively we did a pretty decent job. We made it tough on them." Not tough enough, apparently, as the Blazers shot 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range.But it was the offense that failed the Pac ers on Monday, as they scored 93 or fewer points for the second time this year. Hockey Handicappers. They had scored 116 and 119 wins in back-to-back wins the two previous games, and a season-high 132 against the Nets on Oct. 20."We're getting there," Indiana point guard Darren Collison said. "We're starting to become a really good offensive team and Nate has done a good job telling us to continue to move the ball. We just missed some easy shots." Like the Pacers, who lit up the Nets, it took Brooklyn to break New York from its scoring funk.The Knicks averaged 100 points in their previous three games, but Fizdale's lineup tinkering led to the win over Brooklyn. In the loss to the Warriors, Fizdale inserted rookie center Mitchell Robinson into the starting lineup in Kanter's stead, and also started Damyean Dotson and Noah Vonleh."It's about building consistency with these g roups," Fizdale told reporters. "I don't want to be jumping from game to game trying to hunt for wins. I'm trying to find consistency in combinations right now." After the win, the Knicks might just stick with what works."It takes a few games here and there to see a body of work to tell you something," Fizdale said. "I don't want to jump around and start game-to-game, moving the lineup to match up for a game. When we get further in the season, maybe I will. Now I want to see if I can build some chemistry and see what clicks for the team."

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NBA Game Preview: Denver Nuggets vs. Chicago Bulls - 10/31/2018 - 8:08 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Denver Nuggets vs. Chicago Bulls - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 30, 2018CHICAGO -- The Denver Nuggets have exhibited a propensity for looking past certain teams in certain situations over the past couple of seasons.After coach Michael Malone made sure his team didn't do it again Monday to keep building on what has already been a positive start to the season, the Nuggets will have to make sure they don't do it again on Wednesday.Denver (5-1) is already in a busy stretch during which the Nuggets will play five games in eight days. After holding off the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, the Nuggets will now face a Chicago Bulls team that allowed 149 points in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.Malone's message to his team will likely be the same."The last couple of years, there were games when I think our team just felt like we could show up," Malone told reporters, according the Denv er Post, after the Nuggets' 116-111 victory over the Pelicans on Monday. "We'd have a disappointing performance or a loss. And when you've come so close two years in a row, you can't put yourself in that same position again." Gary Harris paced Denver with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists while Jamal Murray also contributed 23 points while Nikola Jokic finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.The balanced scoring attack for the Nuggets has propelled Denver to its quick start out of the gate. Now, as the Nuggets prepare to face the injury-riddled Bulls Wednesday at the United Center, they hope to build on a palpable sense of positivity that surrounds the team."There's a different vibe around this team," Harris told reporters after Monday's victory. "Everybody can feel it. Sports Bettor Leads. The defense could have been better tonight, but we keep get ting these wins. Free Sports Picks. That's the point of it all -- the wins." Chicago, meanwhile, must recover from a one-sided 149-124 loss to the Warriors at home Monday in which the Bulls surrendered 92 points in the first half. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. The Bulls were helpless to watch Golden State's Klay Thompson connect on an NBA record 14 3-point field goals.Afterward, coach Fred Hoiberg's assessment was simple."It's pretty simple," Hoiberg told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We got our ass kicked." The Bulls trailed by 42 at halftime as Golden State shot 62 percent from the field. Chicago (2-5) won't have much time to recover before a team that is already playing without three injured starters in Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis must find a way to be much more co mpetitive than it was in Monday's lackluster showing."We have to have better energy, better toughness," guard Zach LaVine told reporters on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We just didn't have it. That's on us. They played the way they were supposed to." LaVine and Antonio Blakeney each scored 21 points in the loss for Chicago.Among the lessons learned from Monday's debacle against the Warriors was the fact that by surrendering so many points -- especially early -- the Bulls allowed an opponent to fall into a groove. Hoiberg knows that can't happen again against Denver on Wednesday."(The Warriors) just got too comfortable early," Hoiberg said, according to the Tribune. "And once a team like that gains confidence, it's hard to shut them off."

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NBA Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets - 10/31/2018 - 7:38 PM EST

NBA Game Preview: Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets - Date: 10/31/2018 Oct 31, 2018NEW YORK -- Three straight losses put the Brooklyn Nets in the position of rebounding figuratively and literally when they encounter Andre Drummond around the basket.Looking to halt a three-game losing streak, the Nets hope to contain Drummond Wednesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.Two weeks ago, Drummond helped the Pistons open the season with a 103-100 win by getting 24 points and 20 rebounds. It was his fifth game with at least 20 rebounds against the Nets and his second 20-20 game against Brooklyn.Since entering the league as Detroit's first-round pick in 2012, Drummond has 296 double-doubles. Top Rated Sports Services. Twelve are against the Nets and Detroit is 8-4 in those games.Brooklyn is 2-5 after dropping close games at New Orleans on Friday and to Golden State Sund ay before absorbing a 115-96 loss at Madison Square Garden to the New York Knicks on Monday. During its three-game losing streak, Brooklyn is getting outrebounded 146-123 and overall it is amongst the league's worst teams in rebounding at 43 boards per game."The stat that counts is the more aggressive team has the advantage," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "The Knicks were the more aggressive team, they were the more physical team, and that's just the story of the game. Best Free Sports Picks. Two teams colliding. Profitable Handicappers. They were more forceful and more aggressive. Can't do that in this league if you don't bring the physicality to the game." The Nets struggled with physicality at times two weeks ago when Detroit scored 56 points in the paint while Drummond and Blake Griffin combined for 50 points. At least then, they had a chance to win because Caris LeVert scored 27 points.LeVert is averaging 18.9 points but on Monday he was 2 of 11 and held to four points after getting at least 20 points in four of the first six games."That's definitely an adjustment for me," LeVert said. "The great thing about the NBA, it's not like football where you've got to wait a full week to think about it every single day. We get to play again on Wednesday against a good team who's been playing well. Another challenge to get better." Beating the Nets began Detroit's first 4-0 start since the 2008-09 season. This time, the Pistons enter off consecutive losses to the Boston Celtics.On Saturday, Detroit trailed by as many as 29 in a 109-89 home loss to Boston and Tuesday a late comeback fell short in a 108-105 loss at Boston. In the first game against the Celtics, Drummond did not get a double-double for the first time this season but Tuesday, he finished wi th 17 points and 15 boards while Griffin posted 24 points and 15 boards."They're the top defensive team in the league," Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. "I thought we executed as well as we could against one of the top defensive teams." Ultimately Detroit was done in by missing 13 of 17 shots and getting outscored 25-13 in the third quarter."We had our chances to end it starting the way we played in the third quarter," Casey said. "I loved our fight, like I told the team, we put that type of intensity and fight every night and that's what we ask. You put yourself into position and that's what this league is about." While Detroit is eighth in the league in rebounding at 47.7 per game, it is 26th in the league at 3-point percentage at 32.3 percent. The Pistons were 8 of 31 Tuesday and will attempt to improve its perimeter game against a team who is allowing a league-low 24.9 percent from 3-point range.Another Piston hoping for a better showing is Reggie Jackson. Jackson was held to eight points on 2 of 9 shooting and did not play in the fourth quarter when the Pistons nearly overcame a 14-point deficit.

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NCAAF Game Preview: West Virginia vs. Texas - 11/3/2018 - 3:30 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: West Virginia vs. Texas - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018West Virginia was flying high when Texas came to Morgantown last November for a Big 12 Conference showdown and were firing on all cylinders with quarterback Will Grier leading the way. But Grier suffered a season-ending injury to his throwing hand during a first-quarter run and the Longhorns spoiled the Mountaineers' party, clinching their own bowl eligibility in the process on West Virginia's home field. Fast forward to this season: West Virginia and Texas, 13th and 17th, respectively, in the first College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, are tied for the conference lead with No. 7 Oklahoma heading into the final month of the season. And the Mountaineers are chomping at the bit to enact a bit of road revenge when the two sides square off Saturday afternoon as Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin in what amounts to a Big 12 Ch ampionship elimination game. "This one is one we've been looking forward to for a while," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "It didn't quite end the way we wanted it to last year, and we haven't forgotten about that. " Holgorsen said Monday that his team's blocking and tackling were far better last Thursday night in the Mountaineers' surprisingly easy 58-14 victory over Baylor, a team that took Texas down to the game's final play on Oct. 13 in Austin. Offensively, West Virginia (6-1, 4-1 Big 12) had its highest total yardage output in a Big 12 game so far this year against Baylor and its second-best performance of the season. Grier was his usual explosive self, averaging 13 yards per pass and nearly 21 yards on his 17 completions. The run game generated 172 yards for its third-highest total of the season. WVU even got a couple of big plays from the run game, one coming on a 79-yarder by Tevin Bush and the other by Martel l Petaway on a 33-yard touchdown burst late in the second quarter. "A lot of guys in our locker room have been to Austin, been on that field," Holgorsen said. "I don't think we'll be surprised by any of the excitement that they have surrounding around their program at this point in time. It's the next one; you have to get ready to play every week. " Texas heads home after a 38-35 loss at Oklahoma State last Saturday that dropped it from sixth in the nation. The Longhorns (6-2, 4-1) allowed Oklahoma State four touchdowns and a field goal and 328 yards offense in the first two quarters in digging a huge hole from which it did not emerge. Not even a gutsy second-half performance from quarterback Sam Ehlinger (283 yards, two touchdown passes, two rushing TDs), but a late charge could not save the Longhorns this time. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The setback in Stillwater snapped a six-game winning streak for Texas. The Cowboys have defeated the Longhorns four straight times and seven of the past nine meetings. "That's a really upset and dejected locker room, but they are very, very together," Texas coach Tom Herman said after the loss. "I love the fact that one loss hurts that bad -- we had guys in tears -- and to think how far we've come where one loss matters that much, and it should, means we are heading in the right direction. " Herman said he expects his team to bounce back from the loss to Oklahoma State, saying the Longhorns can continue to define their season by the way they respond. "We responded fantastically to the opening season loss (to Maryland)," Herman said. "I don't think anybody can dispute that. And so this is very similar. So now we're going to figure out, you know, what's really inside of our guys. " Saturday's game will be the eighth meeting between West Virgin ia and Texas, with the Mountaineers leading the series 4-3. The teams first met in 1956 and resumed the series in 2012 when West Virginia joined the Big 12. Each school has won three games in the six meetings as Big 12 opponents. WVU has won three of the four previous meetings played in Austin, including a 24-20 win in 2016.

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NCAAF Game Preview: Alabama vs. LSU - 11/3/2018 - 8:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Alabama vs. LSU - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even though he has yet to participate in the rivalry, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has a good feel for what facing Alabama will be like. "I'm not scared of this game," he told reporters in Baton Rouge this week. "No one on this team is scared of this game. If you're timid, then don't come out of that locker room. " Alabama feels the same way. Even though the Crimson Tide has won seven straight in the series back to the national championship game at the end of the 2011 season, it's still the one in which Alabama sees comparable talent and is usually the most physical during the regular season. Soccer Handicappers. This year's edition will feature the teams ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the CFP rankings, respectively, at what many believe is the toughe st setting in college football, Tiger Stadium. Hockey Picks. The last three times the Crimson Tide visited Baton Rouge the games were all remarkably close: 10-0 in 2016, 20-13 in overtime in 2014, and 21-17 in 2012. Plus there's still that thing about Nick Saban having built LSU up to national prominence and winning a national title. He's since won five at Alabama since coming back to the college game in 2007 following a short stint in the NFL. "I remember it was very loud, crazy atmosphere, which I like," Alabama senior linebacker Christian Miller said about the 2016 trip. "I liked the excitement of that. This is what you come to a school like Alabama for. I remember it was just back and forth, very physical, and overall just a matchup of two heavyweights going at it. I expect nothing less this game. " But both teams are considerably different, especially offensively. Whil e Burrow may not have the most impressive stats -- having completed 120 of 223 passes for 1,544 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions, for a passer rating of 118. 2 -- he's been clutch while running a more open offense. "I don't think this team is like any LSU team we've seen in recent years in terms of what they're doing on offense," Saban said. "They're going fastball, they're playing tempo, they're a lot more open formations than what they have been in the past. They're not in the I-formation just trying to run the ball against people. Creating a lot more issues and problems for you the way they utilize the personnel. "They also play with great intangibles when it comes to toughness and trying to finish plays and the effort they're playing with, the competitive spirit they're playing with is really, really exceptional. And that's why I think they're having success. " Meanwhile, Alabama has geared its offense behind junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the early frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. He's 107-for-152 (70. 4 percent) for 2,066 yards and has yet to play in the fourth quarter this season. With the diverse passing attack, four wide receivers already have 400-plus receiving yards and junior tight end Irv Smith Jr. is quickly closing in at 384. In comparison, LSU has one. "A lot of double moves, creative routes, seven routes, chair sevens we call them, smash routes," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "They know how to attack coverages. They're very well-coached. "But, you know, we have some good DBs. " Sophomore cornerback Greedy Williams and sophomore safety Grant Delpit were named to the Associated Press' midseason All-American team. No one seems to remember that Alabama's Deionte Thompson was the other safety on the first team, but LSU leads the nation in interceptions with 14. According to CFB Film Room, th e starting quarterbacks for Georgia, Ole Miss, Florida and Auburn completed just 12 of 40 pass attempts that were 15-plus yards downfield against LSU, with one touchdown and five interceptions. Their completion percentage was 30 percent. Meanwhile, in throws 15-plus yards downfield Tagovailoa is 32-for-45 for 1,032 yards and 15 touchdowns. It works out to 71. 1 percent. --Left: 8-15 220 3--Middle: 8-12 350 3--Right: 17-28 462 9Overall, Tagovailoa leads the nation in passer efficiency with a 238. 8 rating that's on pace to break the national record. He's had 25 touchdowns without having an interception. "There's been plenty of times where I should have thrown an interception, but I was lucky the guys didn't catch the ball," Tagovailoa said. Obviously, something has to give with the matchup. LSU players have been saying that they're going to attack Tagovailoa in new ways, but there's no way to compensate for his quick release and ability to turn nothing into something. Plus, Alabama's line has only allowed five sacks, half the number of the next best team in the SEC. LSU's offensive line has yielded 18 sacks, while Alabama leads the league with 26. In that respect, Orgeron better hope his declaration of "It's a big man's game. This game is always won in the trenches" isn't true. Alabama is third in rushing offense and fourth in rushing defense. LSU, which has played a tougher schedule so far, is sixth and seventh in those categories. So it could come down to the quarterbacks. "We've been underdogs in quite a few games this year, and I'm pretty sure we won most of them," Burrow said.

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NCAAF Game Preview: Missouri vs. Florida - 11/3/2018 - 4:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Missouri vs. Florida - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018The chances for No. 11 Florida to reach the SEC title game in Atlanta took a severe blow when rival Georgia knocked off the Gators last Saturday in Jacksonville. But first-year Florida coach Dan Mullen is trying to make sure the dispirited Gators don't lose their edge when they return home for their homecoming game against Missouri. "Every game, win or lose, it's how you respond and continue to go during the season," Mullen said. "So, it'll be interesting to see now. Our first loss of the season, I think we handled it really well. Then we started handling success pretty well and now we want to see how we handle this adversity. " Florida (6-2, 4-2 SEC) won five straight after its first loss of the season against Kentucky. But that streak came to an end in a 36-17 loss to the Bulldogs. Florida led 14-13 early in the third qua rter but couldn't overcome three turnovers and breakdowns in pass coverage in the second half against the Bulldogs. Missouri (4-4, 0-4) is also trying to overcome adversity. The Tigers are coming off a heartbreaking 15-14 loss to Kentucky, coughing up a 14-3 lead with less than six minutes left and giving up a touchdown with no time left on the clock after a controversial pass interference penalty in the end zone. Fox Sports Picks. This is the time for the Tigers to bring out offensive coordinator Derek Dooley's favorite acronym: FIDO. There might be variations on the first letter, but it stands for "Forget it, drive on. " "That's the mentality that we have right now," Tigers quarterback Drew Lock said in the Missourian. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The Tigers need Lock to drive the offense, which has just 24 points in the past two SEC games (Alabama, Kentucky). Lock was 15 of 27 for 165 yards and no touchdowns against the Wildcats. "The defense played their (butts) off," Missouri offensive lineman Paul Adams said on Tuesday. "I cannot even express and tell them how much good they did on Saturday. It was unbelievable. If they play like that the rest of the season, we're going to win a lot of games. I'm very proud of them. But on the offensive side, we need to pick it up. "We had eight straight three-and-outs. Unacceptable. It's bad. " Things won't get easier against Florida, which is 20th nationally in scoring defense (19. 0 points per game) and 12th nationally in pass defense, allowing 170. 1 yards per game. Gators defensive coordinator Todd Grantham likely will dial up pressure to keep Lock, the top-rated senior quarterback prospect according to NFLDraftScout. com, off balance. As for Florida's quarterback, redshirt sophomore Feleipe Franks accounted for two of UF's three turnovers against Georgia on an interception and a lost fumble. Franks also missed a wide-open Van Jefferson throw on a flea-flicker play on Florida's first offensive play that could have been a touchdown. Sports Betting Leads. That was a step back in his development, but Franks has still had a solid season with a TD-to-interception ratio of 16-to-6. It will be curious to see how he bounces back against Missouri. "We've seen it in flashes with him in how he grows," Mullen said. "I think he's grown with learning how to prepare within a game. " Florida safety Brad Stewart did not play against Georgia for undisclosed reasons after starting the previous five games and leading the team with two interceptions. Early this week, Mullen would not confirm or deny if Stewart was suspended, or if he would play this week. The Tigers could get back wide receiver Emanuel Hall, who has played in only four games because of a groin injury. He was still limited in practice on Tuesday, but Odom said Hall thinks he can play in the final four regular-season games. Hall caught 18 passes for 430 yards and three TDs in the first four games. "I've got holy water up in the office," Odom said. "I'm going to throw it on him. "

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NCAAF Game Preview: Texas A&M vs. Auburn - 11/3/2018 - 12:00 PM EST

NCAAF Game Preview: Texas A&M vs. Auburn - Date: 11/3/2018 Oct 30, 2018Funny how things work out sometime. When they were coaching at schools about four hours apart, Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn faced off only once, some 2,000 miles away in the Rose Bowl for the last BCS national championship. Now with Fisher moving on to Texas A&M, they will meet every year as colleagues in the West Division of the SEC starting Saturday in Auburn. Kickoff for the No. 20 Aggies (5-3, 3-2 SEC) and unranked Tigers (5-3, 2-3) is noon ET on ESPN. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Fisher and his wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig. Fisher was an Auburn assistant in the 1990s. Craig is a former Auburn quarterback whose name is scattered throughout the school record book, including marks for most yards passing in a season (3,277 in 1997) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass in a season (eight) and career (13 ). Asked for his memories of Craig, Fisher responded, "I got a lot of 'em. "I coached him and recruited him. He was one of the great players in history. " Fisher also has fond memories of his time on The Plains, but as he noted with Craig, it will be his business now to defeat the Tigers. Sports Handicapper King. The matchup is one featuring a team apparently on the rise in the Aggies, whose spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings was somewhat of a surprise, and another trying to claw back to respectability and write a more pleasant ending to what will go down as a disappointing season for the Tigers. Football Tipsters. They were thinking playoff and SEC title when they started the season with a win over a highly regarded Washington team, but an early loss to LSU and later losses to Mississippi State and Tennessee squashed that dream. But just as a big finish last year served as a springboard to a West Division title, the Tigers this year are hoping a similar November will take some of the sting out of the disappointment. "For us, obviously last year November was huge," Tigers quarterback Jarrett Stidham said. "We didn't know exactly how it was going to turn out, obviously, but we just really came together the entire month and played really well each week. "It started off with A&M last year and obviously it starts off with A&M this week. I think you can take a lot from it, last year's experience, and I know our guys are excited about it and ready for the challenge. " The Tigers got a bit of respect back with a 31-16 victory at Ole Miss before taking last Saturday off in advance of this week's home game against the Aggies. "The off week went very well," Malzahn said. "I think we accomplished all of our goals -- more than anything, I think just to get physically and mentally refreshed. We got a chance to work on ourselves and then get a head start on Texas A&M, which definitely is much needed. "Probably more than anything is evaluating us, and getting a chance to work on us, and clean some things up really in all three phases that can help us the last four weeks. "And then, of course, any time you get an extra couple days on your opponent, that really helps. Got a chance to watch them play on Saturday, so it was good to get a head start on that, too. " The extra time may not get running back JaTarvious Whitlow back on the field, however. The talented Auburn redshirt freshman and team's leading rusher is dealing with shoulder and leg injuries. He needs 374 yards to give Auburn a 1,000-yard rusher for a 10th consecutive season. Free Picks Against the Spread. The Aggies are coming off a 28-13 loss at Mississippi State t hat snapped their winning streak at three games. Led by quarterback Kellen Mond (254 yards a game passing) and running back Trayveon Williams (824 yards rushing, second in the SEC), the Aggies are the fourth-most productive team in the SEC in yards (462. 5 per game) but only No. 7 in scoring (29. 9)"We don't have issues moving the football," Fisher said. "We've just got to finish. "

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