Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 9
Tampa Bay over Carolina by 3
With autumn in the air, the leaves changing colors and pig roasts aplenty, the return of the NFL ‘Ugly Pig’ is upon us and with it the Bucs assume the role with aplomb (if there is such a thing) tonight. And our always unerring database points out the fact that winless home dogs in the NFL have long been moneymakers, currently on a 30-18 ATS run on the blind since 2009. Granted, there is almost never anything appealing about these pigs, err dogs, and this year’s Tampa Bay edition is no different. They have, however, shown moderate improvement since their Bye Week, holding each of their last two foes to season-low yards. Meanwhile, the Panthers enter on a roll with a pair of wins and covers over Minnesota and St. Louis. It should be noted, though, that Carolina is just 4-7 SUATS in games off two wins-exact, and also 0-3 SUATS away in games after posting 30 or more points on the scoreboard in each of its last two games. With the Bucs headed off to Seattle next week, this looks to be the perfect time to crack the win column and finally make some bacon with this swine. The clincher: 0-6 or worse NFL home dogs of 6 or more points are 4-4 SU and 7-1 ATS when playing off back-to-back ATS losses since 1991.
COLORADO over Arizona by 3
The Buffaloes are on a Rocky Mountain high (insert your own marijuana joke here) after ending a 3-game losing skid against Charleston Southern, but before you get the uncontrollable giggles from this upset pick, realize that the three teams that contributed to the streak (Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State) are a huge step up from the Wildcats. In fact, Arizona is 2-9 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games while Rich Rod is a paltry 3-14 ATS as a favorite versus a conference opponent coming off a double-digit loss in its previous conference game, including 0-9 ATS if his team is off a win. Colorado has covered the last four games of this series, and an upset here puts the Buffs back on the bowl map at 4-3. Yes, with no muzzle in sight, the Homecoming dog barks loudly and is ready to take a bite out of the Cats.
UTAH over USC by 7
The Utes are another of Marc’s ‘Mission Road Dogs’ (2009 Black Book) seeking revenge from a 12-point home loss last year, and 9-point defeat here two years ago. They should also be in a foul mood after dropping a 35-24 decision to Arizona last week. Kyle Whittingham is 38-10 SU and 30-18 ATS versus foes off a loss, including 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS as a dog when he is also off a loss. The Trojans, on the other hand, are enjoying themselves playing under interim coach Ed Orgeron, but give it time (and a few more losses) and we’ll see about that. In fact, the database reminds us that college football teams with interim coaches hired before the
end of September are 2-18 SU versus .300 or greater opponents since 2000. Add to that the fact that Orgeron’s career record as a college head coach is 11-26 SU and that USC is 1-7-1 ATS after playing Notre Dame, including 0-4-1 ATS at home, and you see where we’re going. The Clincher: Ed Orgeron’s SU record shrinks to just 1-24 in games versus .500 or greater opponents.
OREGON ST over Stanford by 1
For the second straight year, Oregon State is on a red-hot run – only to find Stanford in its way. In 2012, OSU was 7-1 when the Beavers traveled to the Farm, losing 27-23 as +3.5 dogs. Now they’re 6-1 and the Cardinal are coming to their town… but this time the Cardinal are laying almost a touchdown. Somehow we had the impression that this year’s Stanford team was down just a tick, while the Beavers looked to be just the opposite.… and we get more points? Where do we sign? Everything starts with the quarterback, and no QB in the country is hotter than Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. S-Man leads the nation in passing with – are you ready? – 2,992 yards, 29 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions in 334 pass attempts. Last week against Cal, he almost matched his previous game (and season-high) effort of 493 yards at Washington State. If you like the sound of that, try this: Oregon State is a sweet 13-2 ATS as conference dogs of 7 or less points, plus Mike Riley’s rodents are 4-1 ATS at home with conference revenge. No such luck for the Tree-huggers; not only is this a treacherous scheduling spot – Stan is a not-so-scholarly 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS away before Oregon versus a foe off a win – the Farm boys have not exactly conjured up visions of Sherman’s March when hitting the highway in 2013, going just 1-1 SU and 0-2 ATS in true road games. Stanford is also coming off a brutal 3-game gauntlet against Washington, Utah and UCLA and as we all know, the weather in Corvallis this time of year could have a significant impact on the game. We’ll chew on the Beavers to hand the Cardinal their second loss of the season.
NY GIANTS over Philly by 6
The least in the East lock horns at the ‘Linc’ where the swirling Eagles take on the not-so giant Giants as Philadelphia looks to patch the hole in the dyke. That’s because the Birds are 2-9 SU and 0-10-1 ATS in games on this fi eld since last season, including 0-3 SUATS under Chip Kelly. Adding to their woes is the fact Philly is 0-6 ATS at home off a home game, where they dropped a 17-3 decision to Dallas last Sunday, a game in which they were held to a season-low 3 points and 278 yards. It marked the first time since 2005 that Philadelphia failed to score more than a field goal at home as the offense continues to struggle with quarterbacks Michael Vick (due back this week) and Nick Foles besieged with injuries, paving the way for 3rd-string rookie QB Matt Barkley behind center at the end of last week’s loss. Enter the revitalized Giants, off their fi rst win of the season Monday night over Minnesota. That’s good news for Big Blue considering its 8-0 SUATS record in post-Monday night games when facing a foe off a SUATS loss. Now that the fl oodgates have been turned
off, its time to turn on some Three Dog Night and crank up a little ‘Eli’s Coming.’ The clincher: NFL division dogs of more than 3 points from Game Six out, off their fist win of the season, are 15-3 ATS since 1980 when facing a greater than .400 foe.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 7
N CAROLINA over Miami Fla by 3
Okay, pipe down. We know the clueless Tar Heels look like they can’t find their way out of the briar patch right now but the ATS gods have seen fi t to make an appearance here and lead UNC down the path. It won’t be easy, not with the Hurricanes moving into the AP Top 10 poll this week for the first time since 2009 thanks to their 5-0 start. Revenge players will also be out in force to back Miami after Al Golden’s team lost to Carolina last year as +7.5 home dogs, 18-14. However, the Canes have dropped four straight to the number as conference road chalk of 7 or more points, plus they’re a not-so-intimidating 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in regular season Weekday games. At 1-4 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in 2013, the home-dog Heels need all the help they can get, and their previous efforts as point-spread pups at Chapel Hill speak volumes: 4-2 SU and 6-0 ATS as ACC home underdogs off consecutive losses, and 4-0 ATS as home dogs of 7 or more points. In addition, two of Marc’s ‘Betcha Didn’t Know’ Black Book angles – TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT (2013) and RUBY TUESDAY (2010) – are at work AGAINST the Canes today. Toss in last week’s SMART BOX ‘5-0 Fat Cats’ and it’s a triage too tough to pass up! The Clincher: the Tar Heels are 11-2 ATS in games off three straight losses, including 6-0 ATS the last six.
SATURDAY October 19
ARMY over Temple by 8
The Cadets pounded the ground for 511 yards as they doubled up on Michigan in a 50-25 win last week. Army was led by junior RB Terry Baggett, who rushed for a school-record 304 yards on 18 attempts (16.9 YPR) and tallied 4 TDs, including a 96-yarder. The Black Knights travel to Philly this week to take on a winless Temple team that has covered the last fi ve meetings in this series, including a 63-32 romp at West Point last season. Thanks in part to that woodshed beating, the Owls have been installed as small favorites. Unfortunately, Temple has been favored only twice since last season, and promptly lost both games SU. Complicating
matters, this year’s Temple edition has been outgained in every contest, making them a ‘leaking oil’ favorite. For clarification, our friendly neighborhood database notes that winless favorites who were underdogs of 20 or more points in their last game are just 21-41-1 ATS when playing off a double-digit loss. Ride Army’s ground attack as they ‘run for cover’ and show no brotherly love at the Link. The Clincher: teams with a record of less than .750 that rushed for 500 or more yards in their last game are 19-2-1 ATS when facing an opponent off a loss of 3 or more points.
CLEMSON over FLA State by 10
This could be one of the season’s most exciting games, a battle of unbeatens meeting in this ‘COLLISION COURSE’ clash (see Marc’s BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW piece on page 2 for more on this). And with Clemson coming in off a lethargic 10-point look-ahead win over Boston College, and FSU whitewashing the Terps 63-0 before their bye week, everything fi ts like a glove. Add to that the Noles’ 1-8 ATS mark off a SU win of more than 35 points, their 1-6 ATS road record with rest, and Jimbo Fisher’s 1-4 SUATS record on the road against .700 or better opponents, and you can see we’re really building a case. As Freddie Mercury once sang, “Don’t stop me now, we’re havin’ such a good time…” Okay, we’ll keep going: Marc’s ‘TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT’ article in the 2013 Black Book which warns us of the problems undefeated teams incur when playing on the road with a week of rest, and his famous ‘KICK IN THE ASSETS’ treatise (from the 2007 Black Book) outlines the failures of unbeaten road favorites off a SUATS win when facing winning opponents. Toss in FSU’s ‘5-0 Fat Cat’ status from last week’s SMART BOX and this looks like a literal visit to Death Valley for the Seminoles. With the Tigers having covered four straight in this series, we add The Clincher: Clemson is 6-0
SUATS at home with Dabo Swinney versus ACC foes who won 10 or more games last season.
West Virginia over Texas Tech by 7
The Mountaineers showed the real strength of this field with their stunning upset of Oklahoma State (as 19.5-point dogs) in the last game here – where only two losses in the last 54 home games have come by more than 5 points (think about for a moment). Add to that the fact that WVU HC Dana Holgorsen is 4-0 ATS in his career off a loss in which his team allows less than 30 PPG and is facing a .700 or greater opponent. The revenge factor is present as well, courtesy of the Red Raiders’ 49-14 win last season in Lubbock… as 3-point underdogs. Making matters worse for rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Raiders’ next five games – Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor and Texas, the final five games of season – are all TTRR revengers. Meanwhile, Tech is 1-6 ATS coming off a SUATS win versus a rested opponent. In addition, the Mounties are 4-1 ATS as home dogs of more than 6 points and 9-3 ATS off a SU loss of more than 21 points. An even closer look shows that the hillbillies’ FBS opponents stand 19-9 SU on the season while the Raiders’
FBS foes have gone just 10-17. So let’s see… rest, revenge and a strong home-fi eld advantage all point to a West Virginia victory, and with that we’ll fade Kingsbury’s kids in only their second game of the season outside the state of Texas. If you’re still not convinced, flPRO Picks Sunday October 20 back to page 3 and check out this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT for The Clincher.
PRO Picks Sunday October 20
Cincinnati over DETROIT by 3
To their credit, the Bengals refused to buckle under challenging conditions in their overtime win at Buffalo last week. Keyed by a 3-touchdown effort from slumping QB Andy Dalton, Cincy put 483 yards on the Bills to secure the top spot in the AFC North. The key to their success this season, though, has been a defense that ranks No. 8 overall in the league, and therein lies the difference in this contest as they go up against Detroit’s 393-yard stop-unit. Knowing of their love for Motown music, It’s hard to wipe the smiles off their faces and their melodic moves, as the Bengals have danced all over the Lions in the Motor City where they stand 4-0 SUATS since 1984. Making matters worse for Detroit, they take the fi eld as a ‘leaking oil’ favorite, having lost the stats in each of its last three games. We like the sound of that tune and we like the dog in this dance off.
TENNESSEE over San Francisco by 6
It wasn’t supposed to work this way. Following a three-game slippage last season, Mike Munchak’s insistence on overhauling the offense was supposed to pay immediate dividends, benefitting QB Jake Locker and RB Chris Johnson. Instead, Locker is nursing an injured hip and Johnson can’t find the end zone. Through it all, the Titans have battled to a surprising 3-3 start thanks to an offense that somehow manages to protect the ball (5 turnovers). What Munchak has excelled at is performing in games off back to-back defeats where he is 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in his career with the Titans, including 4-0 SUATS in non-division battles. Meanwhile, the Niners enter on a 3-0 SUATS run, despite the fact they have been outyarded in four of their last five contests. Frisco is also 1-8 ATS in its last nine games off a win when facing a foe off a pair of losses. Can’t blame the Niners for being distracted with a trip overseas to London up next on the docket. And can’t blame us for grabbing the points with a blue-collar dog that has dominated this series, going 6-1 ATS the last seven, including 3-0 ATS in Nashville. It’s what we’re supposed to do. The Clincher: NFL road teams are 0-3 SUATS in games before playing in London, England.
Written by Marc Lawrence
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 6
Thursday October 10
Arizona over USC by 10
We knew it was coming. And though it might have been more compassionate for AD Pat Haden to take Lane Kiffi n out for dinner first before dropping the ‘Donald Trump’ bomb on his head, most of Trojan nation probably agree that Haden’s airport ambush was more than Kiffi n deserved. Do the math: 7 losses in the last 11 games is UNACCEPTABLE at Southern Cal. Former Ole Miss boss Ed Orgeron was named the interim head coach but we’ll be surprised if he can staunch the fl ow of blood. In addition to the chaos of a mid-season coaching change, the loss of superstar WR Marquis Lee is crippling for a USC program that was already coming apart at the seams. Orgeron ain’t no Pete Carroll – he’s only 1-6-2 ATS as a pick or favorite in his coaching career and a stomach-churning 0-7 SUATS in games in which his team sports a .400 or greater record. Hey, even when better men strode the sidelines for the Trojans, Arizona was still able to give them fi ts. The desert Cats are 7-1 ATS in the previous eight series meetings, 8-0 ATS as underdogs and have covered four straight at the Coliseum. However, unlike traditional Rich Rodriguez teams, this year’s Arizona squad can play a little defense, holding three of their four foes to season-low yards in 2013. Rich Rod, who is 8-1 SUATS away versus a winning foe off a loss, has also had an extra week to goad his Wildcats into action by making them watch fi lm from their 31-13 no-show at Seattle. It’s our polarizing database, though, that once again comes up with the deciding factor: since 2000, there have been only THREE interim coaches that took over an FBS program for a coach that was fi red before the end of September. Collectively they are 5-18 SU overall, including 1-16 SU in games versus .300 or greater opponents. Yikes! Yes, regardless of how temptingly low the pointspread may appear, it’s imperative to avoid the Trojans in this current stage of shell-shock. The Clincher: our INCREDIBLE STAT on page 3 cements it.
NY Giants over Chicago by 3
Who would have imagined: Eli Manning 0-5, easily off to the worst start of his career. This week Eli fi nds relief in the spread on today’s game, as he is 14-6 ATS in his NFL career as a dog of 5 or more points. In addition, Manning is 3-0 ATS in his career in games off a pair of losses when battling the NFC North. Meanwhile, the Windy City boys return to the scene of the crime where they dropped an 8-point turd here last week to the Saints. Not good news for Bears-backers considering Chicago’s stinky 0-6 ATS mark as home favorites of more than 2 points when playing off an immediate home loss, and its 0-4 SUATS mark the last four games as a host in this series. At 0-6, Eli’s out of the mix. We’re betting he stays alive at 1-5. The Clincher: Chicago QB Jay Cutler is 6-11 SU and 2-15 ATS as a NFL non-division home favorite in games where his team owns a winning record.
Saturday October 12
W MICHIGAN over Buffalo by 1
We’ve all heard of the infamous Sports Illustrated ‘cover curse’, but what about this? New Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck, the nation’s youngest FBS head man at 32-years-old, was proclaimed ‘Best New Hire Of 2013’ by SI before the season got underway. But after an 0-5 start where WMU has been outscored by 23.2 PPG and outgained by 119 YPG, it’s apparent someone got some bad information. The Broncos have fallen on hard times, for sure, but what better spot for a Homecoming win than with a double-digit dog who has been the underdog only three times in the last 15 meetings in this series? Our tireless database also goes to bat for the Broncos, noting that visiting Buffalo has been favored eight times against avenging opponents since becoming an FBS team, and has stumbled to a 1-7 ATS mark in those games. Nonetheless, the Bulls are starting to get some attention, recovering from an 0-2 road start against powerhouse teams Ohio State and Baylor to hit the trifecta with home wins over Stony Brook, UConn and Eastern Michigan. Despite that momentum, this is not a good scheduling spot for the Bulls: they’re 1-16 SU in their last 17 road games and are now forced to lay doubles on the highway today (or as Charlie Brown would put it, “Good grief!”). And with a lot of Buffy’s players penciling in the automatic win over today’s chump foe, we’re betting they get caught looking ahead to a trio of revengers with Kent State, Ohio U and Toledo waiting in the wings. As far-fetched as it sounds, look for the series dog to improve to 5-1-1 ATS after Western Michigan springs the upset. The Clincher: see Marc’s BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW ‘Desperado’ article on page 2.
SUNDAY October 13
SAN DIEGO over Indy by 13
A spinoff from Marc’s ‘AH HA’ Best of the Black Book theorem brings a juicy Monday night play that zooms right to the top of the Best Bet page this week. It involves Monday night home teams that were away (A) last week, hosting a foe off a home (H) win. These 180º site changes (HA) have been ultra benefi cial for Monday night non-division hosts who are either favored or a dog of less than 3 points, going 11-0 SUATS since 2004. In addition, like a Tesla pulling out of a Supercharger station, the Bolts charge up under the Monday night lights, going 11-2 ATS in non-division tilts, including 6-0 ATS when playing off a loss. On the other side of the coin, the Colts check in off Sunday’s upset win over Seattle, handing the Seahawks their fi rst loss of the season despite being outgained by over 100 yards in the contest. That’s magnifi ed by the fact San Diego outyarded Oakland by 124 yards in its Sunday night loss to the Raiders… making this a double 100-yard ‘inside-out’ stat affair. Making matters worse, Indy is 0-7 ATS in this series when arriving off a SUATS win in its last game. With the Chargers 9-1 SUATS at home with a .400 or greater record when playing off a SU favorite loss, and NFL teams a sour 4-16-2 ATS when either pick or favored after skirmishes with Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, look for the Colts to toss a shoe tonight. The Clincher: San Diego is 21-3-1 ATS all-time in games versus the AFC South.
BALTIMORE over Green Bay by 8
The Ravens return home off last week’s moneymaking visit to Miami knowing they are 5-0 ATS at home behind head coach John Harbaugh in games off a SU underdog win. The Black Birds are also 4-0 SUATS all-time on this fi eld against NFC North opponents. Enter the Packers, off last Sunday’s victory over the depleted Lions, sporting a lousy 1-4 SU franchise mark in games on the AFC North road. And then there’s the defense, the one of which Baltimore owns that has held two foes to season-low yards this year, and the other of which Green Bay possesses that has surrendered season high yards on two different occasions this campaign – and will likely be minus the services of all-world LB Clay Matthews. We like better defensive dogs with winning records. And we like Baltimore again today. The Clincher: defending Super Bowl champions are 5-0 ATS as non-division dogs off a SU underdog win since 1980.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping