Thursday, September 11, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Sept 11--15
TEXAS STATE over Navy by 3
We’ll gun for our third straight winning Upset Game by backing a veteran head coach who knows his way around today’s role. Not only is Texas State’s Dennis Franchione 4-1 ATS versus military schools, he’s also on an impressive 19-6 ATS run as a dog versus foes off a SUATS win – including 6-0 ATS in non-conference clashes! If you’re a fan of the forward pass, you may as well switch to another channel: Ken Niumatalolo’s land-loving Swabbies have rushed for 857 combined yards in the season’s first two contests while TSU rambled for 378 overland yards in last week’s 65-0 walkover win against creampuff Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Translation? Expect to see a ton of rushing yards and a shortened game clock. Navy brings a not-so-seaworthy 0-6 ATS log as a double-digit favorite versus a foe off a SU win into the port of San Marcos today. And a glance at page 3 tells us the visitors have fallen out of favor with our very own SMART BOX, which usually spells big trouble for the offender. With assistance from the Capable Cube, we’re off and running with the Bobcats. And if that’s not enough, there is always The Clincher: Since 1991, there have been just seven teams to open the season on a neutral field and then go on the road in their next two contests. All seven teams lost straight-up in Game Three, while going 0-5 SUATS in lined matchups.
West Virginia over MARYLAND by 4
We’re not exactly sure what goes on at the West Virginia state fair but it’s a good bet that the kissin’ cousins booth is the most popular. It’s a better bet that the Terrapins won’t post a second straight victory after committing six turnovers. Yes, Maryland turned over the ball six times last week against USF and somehow left Tampa with a SU win. That won’t happen today – not with the Mountaineers looking to avenge a 37-0 whitewashing they suffered last year in Baltimore. And not with the Terps now 1-7 ATS at home versus an opponent with revenge and 1-6 ATS their last seven as home chalk. We expect QB Clint Trickett (720 passing yards) and a vastly-improved WVU offense to make amends for last season’s beating and improve to 8-1 SU overall in the series and 4-0 SU in College Park since 2004. So before this long-running rivalry disappears (the series ends in 2017 with Maryland now in the Big 10 and WVU deeply entrenched in the Big 12), step right up and place your bet (i.e. grab the points) before they kiss this rivalry good-bye.
DETROIT Over Carolina by 4
Memo to Giants: Calvin Johnson is pretty good. We could not believe how open Megatron was as he roamed the New York secondary. Did Tom Coughlin have the Switzerland department of defense put together the defensive game plan? We don’t think that will be the case this afternoon in Carolina but we’ll still roar with the Lions as they look for their first 2-0 start since 2011. The closing line will largely depend on the status of Cam Newton (listed as probable) but should the Panthers go off as chalk, they’ll have some nasty numbers to overcome. For starters, they’re just 1-10 ATS in September as favorites versus an opponent off a SU win. And since entering the league in 1995, they own a 5-15 SU and 5-14-1 ATS log in home openers, including 0-8-1 ATS as a favorite. Series history also sides with the Lions as they have covered three of the last four overall and three of the last four in Carolina. Add Detroit’s 7-1 ATS mark as dogs in their first roadie versus a foe with revenge and you can why we feel the Monday night romp over the G-Men spills over to today. It may not be a ‘Cam, slam, thank you ma’am’ like Monday night but as long as the Lions are taking, so are we.
JACKSONVILLE over Washington by 1
At halftime last week in Philly, the Jaguars had survivor-pool players looking to add entries to their respective pools. (Is it still too late to get in San Fran or Detroit was heard in Ale Houses around the country!). However, in typical J-Town fashion, the Jags not only blew the 17-point lead but the cover as well. The fallout from the 2nd-half collapse remains to be seen, but remember: this team had the Eagles down 17-0 in their own nest. Marc’s Betcha Didn’t Know ‘DON’T THINK TWICE’ article on page 2 comes to Jacksonville’s defense, as does a perfect 7-0 ATS mark in the 2nd of back-to-back road games versus a non-division opponent off a SUATS loss. And while RGIII performed admirably in Houston last Sunday, the fact of the matter is the ‘Skins managed just 6 measly points. So until the offense clicks, we’ll continue to fade them as favorites – especially with a
0-8-1 ATS mark as home favorites of 2 or more points versus AFC opposition and brutal 0-9 ATS log at home in September versus less than .500 opposition. With that being said, look for the Jags to improve to 6-1 ATS in road openers with revenge while the Redskins fall to 1-9 ATS in home lid-lifters off a SU loss.
ATLANTA over Cincinnati by 3
Hard-knocking Falcons skirted past the Saints in overtime last week in this their ‘mission year’ after missing out on the playoffs for the first time last season behind Mike Smith. Aside from coming in with a sparkling 5-1 ATS log off a SU dog win in non-conference clashes, Atlanta is also this year’s ‘Hard Knocks’ team featured on HBO. In Marc Lawrence’s weekly column in the USA TODAY SPORTS WEEKLY, he analyzed the fate of the ‘Hard Knocks’ teams and found the last four clubs who were featured in this made-for-cable TV reality show actually improved an average +2.5 wins on the season. In addition, Marc notes the ‘hard knockers’ are 6-2 SUATS in Game two of the season, including 4-0 ATS in non-division battles. Meanwhile, the Bengals return home after an opening week victory at Baltimore sporting a 1-4 ATS mark in games after rumbling with the Ravens. Suddenly, it’s not so ‘hard’ to
Dallas over Tennessee by 7
How do you back a team on the road that is capable of creating more turnovers than the Pillsbury Dough Boy? And even more so, making them a 3* Best Bet? Well, when their QB is like the little girl with the curls, you can expect the good to come out every once in a while. And there’s no denying that when Tony Romo is good, he’s very good. As has Dallas been in their last seven road openers, posting a 6-1 ATS log, including a spotless 4-0 ATS versus the AFC. In fact, the ‘Boys only trip to LP Field resulted in a 45-14 thrashing in 2006. And while the Titans pulled off a Week One surprise (not to us), they haven’t been able to duplicate the feat
as evidenced by their 0-4 ATS mark at home off a SU dog win and 1-10 ATS log off a SU dog win versus an opponent off a double-digit loss. Couple that with a 0-5 ATS record at home off a road game versus a non-division foe and you can see why the turnovers will be staying at ARBY’s (love the cherry and apple ones). Oh, and then there’s The Clincher: Dallas is a dazzling 9-0 ATS as a dog in its last nine AFC tilts! back these Dirty Birds once again.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, September 04, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Sept. 4-6
Colorado State over Boise State by 4
Following last Friday’s come-from-behind 31-17 win over arch-rival Colorado, the Green-and-Gold are now a ram-tough 7-1 ATS in their last eight games away from Fort Collins. Now they head north to Idaho looking to avenge last year’s 42-30 home loss to Boise State, a game where CSU handily outgained the Broncos, 626-437. We’ll go on record now as saying we’re no longer afraid of the big blue turf– not when the Broncos are just 4-14 ATS their last 18 games, including 2-10 ATS in conference action! To make matters worse, new HC Bryan Harsin’s squad is riding a 0-4 ATS losing skid since last season after getting mangled by Ole Miss in the Georgia Dome last week. And for a real punch in the gut, BSU happens to be a ‘best of the’ fade today, never a good thing. Even if Boise’s offense wakes up here, Colorado State can still trade blows: besides a
talented QB in Garrett Grayson, the Rams feature two running backs (Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells) who rushed for over 100 yards each in their win over the Buffs, the first time that’s happened since 1996. CSU head coach Jim McElwain has made hay when facing.333 or less opponents, going 11-5 SU and 10-3-1 ATS, including 4-0 SUATS when his Rams are over .333 on the season. And if that’s not enough, here’s The Clincher: first-year head coaches in Game Two, off a loss racing an opponent off a SUATS win, are 7-24 SUATS since 1990.
Tennessee over Kansas City by 10
After an inglorious 2-6 free fall that followed a 9-0 start to the 2013 campaign, things didn’t get much better for the Chiefs in the preseason as they surrendered a league-high 191 points in the fake games. In fact, Kansas City became only the 2nd team other than the 1980 Denver Broncos to start a season 5-0 after going 2-14 the previous year. Making matters worse, Andy Reid’s club blew a 38-10 lead in the playoffs before succumbing in a 45-44 loss to the Colts. Can things get any worse from a mental state, you ask? We think so. Especially for a playoff team that managed to lose the stats in 12 of their 17 games last season. Enter the Titans behind former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt who is 7-0 ATS in his NFL career in road openers. He inherits a team that suffered six losses by 8 or fewer points last season. Meanwhile, his squad takes the field knowing the visiting team in this series is 5-1 ATS. The finishing touch, though, comes from the all-knowing database as it provides the Clincher: Non-division NFL dogs or favorites of 6 or less points who won 8 or less games last year are 17-3 ATS in season openers when facing a foe that won 11 or more games last season.
MIAMI over New England by 4
We heard the music in the background, and the oohs from NFL chalk artists, when this selection made it to press. Yes, it’s the mighty Patriots we’re taking dead aim at in this contest… and for all the right reasons. For openers, Bill’s boys are a meager 1-6 ATS in their last seven games when laying points on the road. In addition, the Pats are a puny 0-3 ATS in their last four division road outings, including a 24-20 loss here in mid-December last year, as 2.5-point dogs. So what have they done between now and then to warrant a 7-point swing in this line? We’re not sure. Meanwhile, the Dolphins take the field behind the combination of 3rd-year QB Ryan Tannehill and 3rd year head coach Joe Philbin looking to mirror the same success realized by Atlanta’s Matt Ryan-Mike Smith and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco-John Harbaugh dynamic duos in their 3rd seasons in the NFL – namely a playoff berth. Toss in the host team’s 4-0 ATS mark the last four games in this series, and a little THUNDER ROAD.from Marc’s Betcha Didn’t Know column this week (see page 2), and we’re up for a bite of some tasty Mahi Mahi today.
Tampa Bay over Carolina by 2
The visiting Panthers enjoyed the finest season in their franchise last year when they captured the NFC South division in a 12-win campaign. With that, we’re reminded of the idiom ‘what goes up must come down’ and in Carolina’s case, we’re confident it will play out in a major way in 2014. Aside from the fact that no team has ever repeated as NFC South champs since its formation in 2002, Tampa enters knowing that teams who finished last in the NFC South (as they did in 2014) have won the division 11 years in a row the next season. To that we say geez, Louise! Carolina’s biggest hurdle today is the shaky status of star QB Cam Newton whose bruised ribs certainly won’t aide him in finding a new starting cast of mediocre free agent wide receivers. The fact that the dog is 1-6 ATS in this series doesn’t help either. The Bucs welcome former Bears boss Lovie Smith and his new DC Leslie Frazier, former Vikings head coach, with open arms. That’s because his teams averaged 9.5 wins per season during his stay in Chicago. The icing on the cake today comes from the well-oiled machine with The Clincher: Teams in Game One of the NFL playing with double division revenge exact are 18-3 ATS since 2002.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Friday, January 24, 2014
Denver Looks Super
BRONCOS by 6 over SEAHAWKS
To better visualize the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII we look to Winston Churchill, who once said, “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” In the case of Super Bowls past, we can look back as far as 1967.Coupled with the power of our way-back machine – aka the PLAYBOOK database – let’s break down what appears to be a very evenly matched Super Bowl game between Denver and Seattle. Here is our list of checks and balances for SB XLVIII. Even Steven – Not only is SB XLVIII the first Super Bowl in 20 years to pair No. 1 seeds from each conference, both teams bring identical 15-3 records into the fray.
Looking deeper, each team squared off against five common opponents (both faced the AFC South) this season, both going 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS in those games with Denver going 5-0 ITS (In The Stats) for a net of
+748 yards. Seattle was 4-1 ITS for net of +428 yards. In games versus fellow playoff teams this season, the Broncos went 6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS, 7-2 ITS for a net of +621 yards. The Seahawks were 4-2 SUATS and 3-2-1 ITS, for a net of +244 yards.
The Broncos are 16-5 SU and 12-8-1 ATS in games versus the Seahawks since 1993. Denver has won the last 10 games in a row in this series in games in which they’ve owned a win percentage of .800 or greater. Seattle is 1-19 SU in its last twenty games versus AFC West opponents who sport a win percentage of .800 or greater.
Statistically Speaking –
Seattle’s defense is ranked No.1 overall, surrendering 284 YPG while allowing a league low 15 PPG. Denver’s offense is ranked No. 1 overall, gaining 454 YPG, scoring a league best
36 PPG. This marks the fifth time in Super Bowl history that a team with the No.1 defense has faced the team with the No. 1 offense. Defense has won over offense in three of the four previous meetings. In addition, teams with the better defense have won 39 of the previous 47 Super Bowls. However, teams with the better defense are just 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS the last seven Super Bowls.
Logistically Speaking –
Teams arriving to the Super Bowl off three consecutive home games (Seattle) are 2-6 SU and 1-7 ATS since 2000, including 0-5 SUATS off a win of 6 or less points Super Bowl teams off four consecutive home games (Seattle) are 0-3 SU and ATS since 2000, losing all three times SU as a favorite. The Seahawks’ last game away from Seattle was 34 days ago (December 15). Super bowl favorites of 5 or less points in ‘double rest’ affairs – a week of rest before their first playoff game and week of rest before the Super Bowl – are 1-7 SUATS (Broncos).
Behind Center –
To no one’s surprise, both quarterbacks bring terrific QB Ratings in to the contest. Denver’s Peyton Manning finished the regular season as the league’s top-ranked signal caller at 115.1 on 55
TDs and 10 INTs. Seattle’s Russell Wilson owned a 101.2 QB Rating, with 26 TDs and 9 INTs. The postseason’s QB Ratings show Manning at 107.0, while Wilson’s numbers have further regressed during the playoffs down to 89.1. Manning is 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS in his career versus Seattle, including 2-0 ATS as a favorite. He is also 28-7 SU and 22-12-1 ATS with the Broncos, including 8-0 ATS as a favorite of 6 or less points. After winning SB XLI with the Colts in 2007, Manning has completed 248 of 366 passes for 18 TDs and 7 INTS in a total of nine postseason efforts since Wilson is 27-9 SU and 25-11 ATS as a starting QB with the Seahawks,
including 5-4 SU and 8-1 ATS as a dog. He has tossed for less than 200 yards in over half of his starts, 19 to be exact, including nine this season (including each of his last six games). FYI: the Manning-led Broncos are 12-2 SU and 10-4 ATS in games where they hold opponents to 200 or less passing yards.
On The Sidelines –
Denver’s John Fox brings an 8-5 SUATS NFL postseason career mark into this game, dropping a 32-29 decision as a 7-point dog to New England in SB XXVII. Fox is just 11-22 SU and 12-
20-1 ATS in his NFL career in games versus .769 or greater opposition. Seattle’s Pete Carroll is 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS in his NFL playoff career. The good news is Carroll is 36-24-4 ATS as a dog in the NFL. The bad news is he is 1-5 SUATS as a dog of 2 or less points, and 0-11 SU as a dog in games in which his team owns a win percentage of .647 or higher.
Super Bowl History
• The NFC has controlled the last 32 Super Bowls, going 21-11 SU and 20-10-3 ATS, including 4-1 SUATS the last five years. The AFC, though, actually holds the upper hand of late, going 10-6 SU the last 16 years.
• The last NFC No. 1 seed (Seahawks), other than New Orleans in 2009, to win a Super Bowl was St. Louis in 2000.
• Teams who lost SU as a favorite in the playoffs the previous season (Broncos) are 4-9 SUATS the next year in the Super Bowl since 1982, including 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS as a favorite.
• Favorites of 3 or less points (Broncos) are 7-4 SU and ATS, and 5-6 UNDER.
• 17 of the last 20 quarterbacks have owned a QB Rating of 92.6 or better.
• Teams who lost SU as a playoff favorite last year (Broncos) are 4-10 SU and ATS, including 0-6 ATS as favorites.
• Favorites who allow 3.9 or more Yards Per Rush (Broncos) are 3-7 SU and 2-8 ATS.
• Teams who won their last two playoff games against foes that were off a playoff road win (Seahawks) are 4-8 SUATS, including 1-5 SUATS since 2000.
• Teams who score 20 or fewer points in the game are 6-30 SU and 9-33 ATS. Teams who score 21 or more points in the game are 40-12 SU and 36-14-2 ATS.
• The SU winner of a Super Bowl game is 39-6-2 ATS all-time.
The Bottom Line –
Tallying up the scorecard we find Denver holding a… 2-0 edge. That’s it. The main advantage – and it’s a big one – is having league MVP QB Peyton Manning at the controls. The edge is
quantified when experience is added into the mix as he certainly passes the eyeball test over his sophomore counterpart, Russell Wilson. Granted, league MVP QB’s have struggled throughout the history of the Super Bowl (6-11 SU and 5-10-2 ATS in all games), but if Winston Churchill – after venturing into the past – could look into the future, he’d like what he sees in this sure-fire future Hall of Fame signal caller. And so do we.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping