Dogs rule college football, NFL Week I, MLB Diamond Dust, Lefty charges at BMW, Bowyer wins Richmond + Free Plays for Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dogs rule the Day Saturday, Arkansas and Wisconsin fall

The dogs were indeed barking Saturday in college football with the dogs covering 42 of 72 lined games and the books winning the majority of the major decisions. Ranked team went just 8-11 ATS with No.8 Arkansas, No.13 Wiscon, No.16 Nebraska, and No.18 Oklahoma State all losing straight up and No.1 Alabama and No.2 USC not covering. SP3 will recap the bloody college football weekend on Monday.

The NFL straps it up for real today

The Cowboys and Giants got the ball rolling, today and tonight, the NFL straps it up for real with Week I. Going through games in rotation order, these consensus line are accurate as of 9:00 AM EST. Weather and injuries will be mentioned when indicated.

Andrew Luck makes his NFL debut for the Colts at Chicago as the Bears are -9.5 point favorites over Indy, the total has been heading North all week and is currently at 43 1/2. Philadelphia is a -9.5 point favorite at Cleveland, the high/low steady at 43. Buffalo faces the Jets at the Meadowlands in an AFC East division matchup. The Flyboys are three but if you are a Gang Green supporter you might be able to find two and a hook out there. The over/under has plummeted all week to 38. The Saints are -8 at the Superdome vs the Redskins as RG III faces drew Brees in his debut. The total in the Crescent City is holding steady at 50. The Tennessee Titans are six-point home dogs to the New England Patriots as Music City prepares for the Jake Locker era. The high/low has come down a point to 47 over the weekend. The Vikings are -3.5 at home vs Jacksonville. Adrian Peterson is probable and Maurice Jones-Drew is expected to get 12-15 touches. The total at the Metrodome is 38. The Lions will carry at -9 impost into their home opener vs the Rams. The under is taking money in Motown and now down to 45 1/2. The Dirty Birds travel to Arrowhead to visit the Chiefs, Atlanta a three-point road favorite. The current total is two points higher than the opening number at 43 1/2.

In the 4:00 PM EST/1:00 PM EST games, San Francisco invades Lambeau Field to take on the Packers in arguably the day’s best matchup. The Packers are minus 5 with the over/under steady at 46 1/2. The Panthers travel to Tampa Bay in an early NFC South matchup with the Bucs. The Cam Newtons are -2.5 road chalk and the total steady at 47. Weather could be an issue here a 50% chance of thunderstorms on the West coast of Florida. Russell Wilson won the Seattle’s quarterback job over Matt Flynn and will lead the three-point favorite Seahawks into Arizona to face the Cardinals. The winner will have an early leg up in the NFC West. The total in the desert is 41. In tonight’s 8:25 PM EST finale, Peyton Manning makes his Denver Bronco debut as the Broncos are -2 over the injury-riddled Pittsburg Steelers. The total is up a point to 46.

MLB Diamond Dust

We knew that it would but it’s finally happened, the Nats have shut down Stephen Strasburg for the year. Manager Davey Johnson made the announcement Saturday morning, citing the effect of the media attention surrounding the impending shutdown on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft. Strasburg will finish the year 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in his first full season after undergoing elbow-ligament replacement surgery on Sept. 3, 2010. He struck out 197 in 159 1/3 innings. A pretty ballsy move by the team with the best record in baseball (86-53) who will forego their ace after making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. More on Strasburg’s impact on the Nats at SP3 on Monday.

Strasburg shut down for the season

Bowyer wins Richmond, Gordon in Chase

Clint Bowyer took the checkered flag and Jeff Gordon took the final wild card spot left in the Chase finishing 1-2 in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Gordon used a masterful drive off his ill-handling No.24 car to edge Kyle Busch by three points for the final spot in the Nascar playoff which starts next week in Chicago. Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five at Richmond. Kyle Busch finished 16th plagued like he’s been for most of the year by slow inefficient pit stops.

Lefty charges to top of the BMW leaderboard

Phil Mickelson is saving his best for last. Mired in a funk where he played some mediocre gold for about three months, Lefty has turned it on at the Fed Ex Cup and Saturday fired a low round of 64 to grab a share of the lead at the BMW Championship with Vijay Singh. Both players are at 16-under after three rounds, one shot better than Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy. Tiger Woods is just three back and in all, 16 golfers that are the whose who of the money list will start the day within six shots of the lead.

Ward stops Dawson via 10th round TKO

Andre Ward is undefeated, the Super Six tournament champion, and Fighter of the Year but still get criticized for a lack of knockout power. Ward put that criticism to bed Saturday night with a three-knockdown 10th-round knockdown of Chad Dawson to defend his WBC-WBA super middleweight titles. Ward, fighting in his hometown of Oakland, California, sent Dawson to the canvass in the third, fourth, and tenth for the win. Ward is the last American to win an Olympic gold medal, doing it in Athens in 2004, and is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He showed why against Dawson.

Free Plays

(NFL) Philadelphia -9 over Cleveland 1:00 PM EST

(NFL) New England/Tennessee Under 47 1:00 PM EST

(MLB) Atlanta (Hudson)/NY Mets (Young) Under 8 1:10 PM EST

(MLB) Tampa Bay (Shields) -145 over Texas (Oswalt) 1:40 PM EST