Hail Varsity's Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson return to pick Nebraska's tilt against Penn State and the NFL Playoffs.
Our weekly Friday Forecast is presented by the Gamblers Assistance Program, the Nebraska Council on Compulsive Gambling and Choices Treatment Center. If you or someone you love has a problem with gambling, call the state-wide helpline at 1-800-522-4700.
CBB: Penn State (-6.5) vs. Nebraska
BV: Big opportunity for the Huskers here to get a solid win and set up a potential run with two home games next week. But with some of the things swirling around the program and a long road trip on a strange night, I’m guessing the Nittany Lions find a way to get it done. PICK: Penn State 76 Nebraska 69
GS: The games between these two teams are typically close. I’m not sure if the turmoil around the team and Jordy will make the group come together or they will be distracted. Penn State’s defense gives it the edge here. PICK Penn State 73 Nebraska 63
JP: Four of the last five meetings between Nebraska and Penn State in State College have been decided by four points or less, so I’m guessing this will be a close one. If Josh Reaves is still out, I like Nebraska even without Jordy Tshimanga. The Huskers have a couple different guys to throw at Penn State and the Nittany Lions go as he goes. PICK: Nebraska 75, Penn State 72
DP: Penn State has dropped three of five, but here’s the thing: the Nittany Lions have held opponents to 40.2 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep in their last four while the Huskers have shot 40.2 percent from the field and 29 percent from deep in their last four. Hard to say Nebraska corrects the offense in this one. Could, but hard to say. PICK: Penn State 74, Nebraska 68
NFL: Philadelphia vs. Atlanta (-3)
BV: There’s a lot working against Philly here. The Eagles defense and home crowd will them in it for a while, but Atlanta makes it two in a row on the road. PICK: Atlanta 17 Philadelphia 13
GS: I actually feel bad for the Eagles because of the Wentz injury. Just can’t see how they win here. PICK: Atlanta 24 Philadelphia 14
JP: It’s hard to put trust in a Nick Foles-led offense, especially with how Matt Ryan held up under pressure last week. PICK: Atlanta 31, Philadelphia 24
DP: Carson Wentz missing this game makes me sad. Atlanta looks really good. PICK: Atlanta 27, Philadelphia 21
New England (-13.5) vs. Tennessee
BV: The Patriots still have plenty in the tank to beat the Titans in Foxborough, but it won’t be as painless as some might project. PICK: New England 27 Tennessee 17
GS: The Titans need to play their best game to just keep this close. PICK: New England 34 Tennessee 10
JP: Mike Mularkey versus Bill Belichick. PICK: New England 31, Tennessee 17
DP: The Titans, with a quarterback who owns one career playoff start, are about to play a road playoff game against the AFC’s top team. A team led by a man named Tom Brady and another named Bill Belichick. I can say with certainty, Brady won’t look like Blake Bortles. PICK: New England 34, Tennessee 17
Pittsburgh (7.5) vs. Jacksonville
BV: The Jaguars have the edge on defense, but Pittsburgh is too efficient on both sides of the ball to drop one at home. PICK: Pittsburgh 20 Jacksonville 14
GS: Will Big Ben throw another 5 INTs against the Jags? No. But will Jacksonville’s defense allow them to pull the upset? Yes. PICK: Jacksonville 17 Pittsburgh 10
JP: The Jaguars’ defense is for real and Antonio Brown versus those two corners should be a lot of fun to watch, but it’s just too hard to back a Blake Bortles-led offense against a team capable of putting up as many points as Pittsburgh is when they’re clicking. PICK: Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 13
DP: I still can’t get over the fact Blake Bortles is a playoff quarterback. PICK: Pittsburgh 17, Jacksonville 13
Minnesota (-5) vs. New Orleans
BV: Two well-rounded teams that can get it done on both sides of the ball. In that case, give me home-field advantage to make the difference. PICK: Minnesota 24 New Orleans 21
GS: In the best game of the weekend, I’ll go with the best QB on the field. Give me Drew Brees to continue a great run. PICK New Orleans 24 Minnesota 17
JP: Drew Brees looked amazing last week and I really don’t want the Vikings to win. PICK: New Orleans 27, Minnesota 21
DP: I’m genuinely excited about this game, but Drew Brees looks really, really good right now. PICK: New Orleans 31, Minnesota 27
Our picks today are for entertainment purposes only. Between 6 and 8 million Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction, and many more are affected by another individual’s gambling problem. Don’t gamble more than you can afford and if it stops being fun seek help.
Problem gambling is not a bad habit or a moral weakness. It’s a serious condition. But with help, problem gamblers can put the game in perspective and make decisions to improve their lives.
If you or someone you love has a gambling problem, in Lincoln call Choices treatment center 24/7 at 402-476-2300 or statewide call The Nebraska Council on Problem Gambling 24/7 at 1-800-522-4700. Help is free so call today.