LEO’S LOSERS : WEEK 1
By Leo Haggerty

Are you ready for some football?  I know I am so it’s time for Year 4 of  Leo’s Losers.  Yeah, I know, you have had this day circled since you put the 2019 calendar on the fridge.  Well, it’s the morning of September 7th and lets get to it.

So, just for laughs and giggles, let’s throw in a monetary figure alongside my picks. Strictly for entertainment purposes only, mind you.  I’m a glutton for punishment so I’m going to raise the Monopoly money stakes.

Every week I’ll wager $350 on LEO’S LOCK. Put a $300 spot each on the five LEO’S LOSERS and $250 on all 10 of LEO’S OTHERS. We’re only dealing with the money line, and that’s just picking the winner with no point spread, which pays less if team is a favorite and more if it’s an underdog. So, if the favorite wins in the LEO’S LOCK $350 range, you make $250 and, if the underdog prevails, you get $450. And you lose the contrasting amount if a wrong prediction is made. If the favorite loses you drop $450 and if the underdog goes down you lose $250 and so on. With LEO’S LOSERS, underdog wins and we add $375 and if the favorite is victorious the pot increases by $225. For LEO’S OTHERS, if the dog barks it adds $300 to the till and the favorite finishing on the left side of the dash earns $200.

Now, let’s put some parameters on my picks because anyone can pick New Mexico State to lose to Alabama. To make it easier for you to follow, the point spread is in parenthesis and the home team is CAPITALIZED. Here are the two important rules :

1-Must pick all NCAA and NFL games involving a Florida team unless there is no line which means, for all intents and purposes, that they’re playing the Good Sisters of the Poor.

2-With any other game that has a point spread, which is the + number if they’re getting points or the – number if they’re giving points, must be less than +10 for the favorite.  Spread  can be any amount of points if choosing the underdog.

Also, I’m posting my picks without any commentary. Will add that later today.

With that being said, as Jackie Gleason would say, away we go.

LEO’S LOCK – $350

Cincinnati (+9 1/2) loses to SEATTLE

Ok, let’s review why I chose this as the best game of the weekend and it’s not hard.  First, and foremost, the Seahawks are playing at home.  That means two things.  One, the Bengals have to travel to the Great Northwest and that’s a tough grind for any team in the Eastern time zone.  Two, the 12th Man now comes into play.  That’s two big obstacles for Cincy to overcome for sure.  Now, throw in QB Russell Wilson and that clinches it for me.  SEA, 27-16, and the Hawks send a message they’re a playoff contender.

LEO’S LOCK – $300

NCAA

Ohio (+4) loses to PITTSBURGH

Look for Panthers HC Pat Narduzzi to have his team primed and ready to go against the Bobcats.  The home loss to Virginia last week will mean Coach P has the undivided attention of all his players.  The Navy Blue & Gold prides itself on never being out-toughed and that will be the difference today.  Can’t see Pittsburgh losing two in a row to start the season at home.  UP, 35-20, as Pitt gets the train back on track.

Nebraska (-4) loses to COLORADO

This was an annual slug fest when both teams were in the Big 8. Big Red is now in the Big 10 and the Black & Gold resides in the PAC 12.  Still, there is no love lost between these two powers.  Forget the fact that both have been down in recent years.  The only advantage the Buffaloes have is that the game is in Boulder.  That’s good enough for me.  CU, 45-42, with a late field goal.

Minnesota (-3) loses to FRESNO STATE

OK, the Gophers truly struggled to beat South Dakota State and the Bulldogs are not the Jackrabbits.  They gave USC all they could handle in LA last week and put the Trojans QB on the shelf for the rest of the season.  UM better realize that Fresno may not be a Power 5 opponent but they play like one and I expect them to do that again today.  FS, 28-24, with a big stop late in the tilt.

NFL

MIAMI (+6 1/2) loses to Baltimore

Let’s be honest here.  The Fish are a lower-level NFL football team.  Some scribes are pontificating that Miami is the worst team in the National Football League.  I won’t go that far but the Dolphins right now aren’t too good.  The biggest problem the Ravens will have is with Mother Nature and, trust me, it’ll be a scorcher in South Florida especially when you’re wearing the purple jerseys.  Still, the Birds are the better team.  BAL, 20-10, using a late turnover to seal the deal.

San Francisco (+1) loses to TAMPA BAY

A battle for respect.  The 49ers are the trendy pick to make the big push to get to the playoffs.  The Bucs are looking to HC Bruce Arians to bring the Pewter Pirates back to respectability.  Tampa Bay is playing at home in the summer heat and humidity as well as the normal afternoon thunderstorm.  That’s advantage Buccaneers.  TB, 23-20, with a field goal as time expires.

LEO’S LOSERS – $250

NCAA

GEORGIA TECH (-6 1/2) loses to South Florida

Louisiana-Monroe (+21 1/2) loses to FLORIDA STATE

NORTH CAROLINA (+5) loses to Miami

FLORIDA ATLANTIC (+10 1/2) loses to Central Florida

Oregon State (+6 1/2) loses to HAWAII

NFL

MINNESOTA (-4) loses to Atlanta

NEW YORK JETS (-2 1/2) loses to Buffalo

Kansas City (-3 1/2) loses to JACKSONVILLE

Indianapolis (+6 1/2) loses to LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

NEW ENGLAND (-5 1/2) loses to Pittsburgh

NFL