Thursday, October 16, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 16-20
NORTH CAROLINA over Georgia Tech by 6
Despite a monumental effort in last week’s 50-43 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend, USA Today Sports has still picked North Carolina as 2014’s biggest disappointment: “After tabbing UNC as a potential ACC and major bowl contender – again – perhaps we’ve all learned our lesson.” Okay, we’ll admit the Tar Heels have failed to git ‘er done under HC Larry Fedora but if anyone’s going to be down in the dumps at Chapel Hill today, our vote goes to the Bumble Bees. Thanks to three huge turnovers in their loss to Duke (Tech had turned the ball over just four times in their fi rst fi ve games), the Jackets are an offi cial ‘Bubble Burster’ (5-0 or greater perfect season ruined in a straight-up favorite loss) and we’re not going to try an revive them. Meanwhile, the 2-4 Tar Heels fi nd themselves in an eerily similar situation to last year when they posted five consecutive SU wins after a 1-5 start to qualify for the Belk Bowl. Fedora owns a stylish 5-1 ATS mark versus a foe off a SU favorite loss and his Heels have gone 4-0 ATS of late as home dogs versus an .800 or better opponent. No doubt the visitors will get their yards as Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense should move the ball against a UNC ‘D’ allowing 192 rushing YPG but with the Wreck now 1-4 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games – plus 2-7 ATS after dealing with Duke – we’ll look for Carolina to fully awaken from its season-long slumber and take a big step toward becoming bowl eligible. Whether the spread is pick, plus or even minus, we’re sticking with the Tar Heels.
ARIZONA STATE over Stanford by 10
The Sun Devils had an extra week to bask in the glory of Jaelen Strong’s Hail Mary grab which gave ASU a last-second victory over USC, but more importantly, the off week gave QB Taylor Kelly an extra seven days to rehab his foot injury, and the senior is slated to make his 34th career start against the Cardinal. The Devils will be looking for some serious revenge as well, having dropped four straight games to Stanford, including two last season: a 42-28 defeat at the Farm (where they outgained David Shaw’s team) and a 38-14 beating in the Pac-12 championship game. The staunch Cardinal stop unit sits only behind top-ranked Louisville in overall defense, giving up just 238 YPG, and leads the nation in points allowed (10 PPG). They have, however, struggled in the red zone on offense, converting just 19 of 28 scoring visits into points (ranked 118th in the nation). We still think highly of the Cardinal, but Stanford’s 1-4 mark as favorites away from The Farm is another deciding factor. Plus Marc’s ‘ALL REVVED UP’ Betcha Didn’t Know article from the Best of the Black Book is at work here, making the Pitchforks the side today. Finally, The Clincher: ASU head coach Todd Graham is 8-0 ATS as a home dog of less than 20 points versus opponents that own at least one loss on the season.
NORTHWESTERN over Nebraska by 10
What’s that sound? Was it a snap or a crackle? No, it was a big-time pop, as in Nebraska’s perfect season coming apart in its last game in East Lansing. Credit the Huskers with clawing their way back from a 27-3 4th quarter defi cit to fall to Michigan State by only 5 points, but a loss is a loss and it puts Nebraska smack in the middle of another ‘bubble burst’ situation here. Surprisingly, this has been one of the most tightly-contested series in the entire country with Northwestern shocking Big Red by 3 points in 2011, then coming up short by just 1-point in 2012 and 3-points last year. Nebraska got the benefit of a bye week after losing to Sparty and you can bet Bo Pelini worked on ways to jump-start a vaunted ground attack that was limited to an incredible 47 yards rushing by the stout Spartan defense. The Wildcats could easily be on a 4-game win streak but
they lost at Minnesota last Saturday – even though they out-yarded the Gophers, 393-274. Northwestern has also covered three straight in the series and gets the job done when looking to exact a little Big 10 revenge, posting a 7-2 ATS mark. Not so with Nebraska who stands 1-6 ATS with rest when playing off a SU loss and 1-5 ATS as chalk versus a revenging conference foe. If you still think the purple cats are in over their heads, pay particular attention to The Clincher: our well-oiled machine reports that Game Seven 3-3 home teams off one-loss exact who were dogs in their last game are 17-4 ATS when facing an opponent off a SU loss.
Notre Dame over Florida State by 3
As the late John Lennon sang, “Instant Karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you off your feet.” Well, it hasn’t exactly been instant but don’t you get the feeling that the unsavory saga of Jameis Winston and Florida State football is about ready to implode? We can’t think of a better way for Winston and the Noles to get their comeuppance than by losing to the collegiate version of the Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team) – Notre Dame. The last time Brian Kelly and his Irish took part in a showdown of this magnitude, they were unceremoniously destroyed by a superior Alabama squad in the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Rest assured that Kelly will be better prepared this time around, a notion fully supported by our mean machine: defending national champions are 10-17-2 ATS since 1980 as favorites of less than 14 points in matchups of two undefeated teams, including 1-5 ATS if the champs are allowing over 14 PPG on the season. Florida State enters with a shaky 5-13 ATS log as a home favorite of 10 or less points, including 0-5 SUATS if the Seminoles own an .800 or greater win percentage on the season. Worse, FSU’s compliance department is currently investigating why 950 Jameis Winston autographs have appeared with the same company linked to suspended Georgia RB Todd Gurley. Can you say‘distraction’? With QB Everett Golson back in the saddle for Notre Dame, the Irish have scored 30 or more points in five of six games this year, a nice complement to their 17.2 PPG defense. Coach Kelly ships in with a smokin’ 10-1 ATS log as a dog when playing off a spread loss of 9 or more points. That’s puts a spear right to the heart for Seminole nation, all of which leads to The Clincher: Irish QB Golson is 18-0 SU during the regular seaason in his career as a starter with Notre Dame.
Kansas City over San Diego by 6
The Chiefs take the field looking to get back on the winning track off their Bye Week with double-double-revenge on their minds from a pair of losses suffered to the Chargers both last season and in 2012. The good news is Andy Reid is 5-1 ATS in his NFL career in games in which his teams are seeking quadruple revenge. And speaking of Reid, he also happens to be the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2. The high voltage Chargers enter the contest 0-4 ATS home in games after scoring 30 or more points in each of their last three games. In addition, the Bolts are just 1-11 ATS in their fourth home game of the campaign when facing a foe off a non-division game, and 1-8 ATS in Game Seven when facing an avenging division opponent. The Featherheads’ 5-1 ATS mark as a dog in their fourth away game of the season cements it. However,
if that’s not enough, there is always The Clincher: Head coach Andy Reid is 16-2 SU and 13-5 ATS in games when his teams are playing with rest, including 7-0 SUATS with a .500 or less record on the season.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Nov. 8-13
Duke over Georgia Tech by 8
Yes, despite a 4-1 SU mark, the Blue Devils’ lackluster performance against the Canes has them dropping from everyone’s radar – and yes, they really haven’t played anybody besides Miami. It’s also true that the Dukies have taken it on the chops each of the last six meetings in this series (ever since David Cutcliffe came aboard in Durham). But Cutcliffe is also 8-2 SU and 6-2-1 ATS off his initial loss of the season – including 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS on the road – and he’s 5-1-1 ATS as an avenging road dog of less than 8 points in an ACC contest. We think it’s a little premature to write off a team that went to the conference championship game last year. In addition, the SMART BOX reminds us the Yellow Jackets are indeed another ‘5-0 Fat Cat’ and in this case, one that is 0-5 ATS when riding a win streak of five games or more. Paul Johnson is 7-11-1 ATS in the second of consecutive home games, including 0-5 SUATS in that role the last five times out. As usual, our well-oiled machine supplies The Clincher: College football Game Five conference road dogs off their first loss of the season are 16-2 ATS since 1980 when facing a winning opponent off a SUATS win.
Miss State over Auburn by 8
At first glance, this SEC head-on collision in Starkville between No. 2 Auburn and No. 3 Mississippi State may not be for the faint of heart but with Marc’s powerful Betcha Didn’t Know ‘BADLANDS’ article and the SMART BOX in full agreement, this is a crossfire that we understand. In fact, thanks to the same old played-out scenes, we’ve got our facts learned real good right now: Auburn is 0-5 ATS in Game Six, 0-5 ATS
away versus conference revenge and 1-4 ATS as chalk off a SU win over LSU versus a .500 or greater opponent. We also know that the dog in this series is 3-0 ATS of late. So the question then becomes can the Bulldogs rise to the occasion for a third straight week or will the Tigers be able to keep up the defensive intensity they showed last week against an LSU squad that handed them their only loss in 2013? We have a notion, a notion deep inside, that it’s the former but since we’ve made this a BEST BET, we should keep pushin’ till it’s understood. And for that we bring in The Clincher: Game Six undefeated dogs who played in a bowl game the previous season are 9-0-1 ATS since 1991 when playing off a spread win of more than 9 points.
ARKANSAS over Alabama by 1
How do we top last issue’s ‘Upset Special’ when we called for 21-point dog Utah State to get the outright win in Provo against 18th-ranked BYU? How about asking an Arkansas squad that is riding a 14-game SEC losing skein and has lost to Alabama by identical 52-0 scores each of the past two seasons to knock off the 7th-rated Tide. Hogwash, you say? Well, while we do agree that the Razorbacks are off a painful overtime loss to A&M in this building two weeks ago, our well-oiled machine informs us that OT losers with a week off have actually developed instant amnesia of late, going 12-6 ATS in followup affairs. Arkansas is also 6-2 ATS as home dogs of more than 5 points but the truth is this is more of an anti-Bama call than a pro-Arky play. You see, the Tide could well enter today’s tilt in a ‘bubbly sort of way’ (as in bubble burst) and it’s a role in which Nick Saban has struggled with in his college career as he is just 7-9 SU and 3-11 ATS in games after tasting defeat for the first time in a season. Alabama is also just 1-8 ATS off a SU favorite loss versus .750 or less opposition, 1-7 ATS as conference road chalk of less than 14 points and 2-6 ATS away versus a conference foe with rest. To make matters worse, another 10-point effort from the offense (they scored 7 on defense) and the ‘Nic-tator’ could put Lane in a coffin as the Tide had been held to less than 20 points just twice in the past six seasons. So if you still can’t understand why we feel there may be asylum in Arky just after 9:00 ET, maybe the INCREDIBLE STAT Of THE WEEK on page 3 can do the trick as it provides The Clincher: The Alabama Crimson Tide is a jaw-dropping 3-6 SU and 0-8-1 ATS in lined games off its first loss of the season since 2003.
Chicago over Atlanta by 8
At first glance, this looks like a tough call as both the Falcons and Bears figure to hit the Georgia Dome hungrier than a rabbi on Yom Kippur after they’ve each dropped their last two contests. But a deeper look shows the Bears going 9-0 ATS as non-division dogs off back-to-back SU losses and the Falcons an uncomfortable 1-5 ATS in their last six at home off back-to-back roadies. Yes, we realize that Atlanta HC Mike Smith owns a 16-4 ATS record off a double-digit SU loss but the Dirty Birds and their 29th-rated defense has yet to stop anyone but Tampa Bay. And just like that, there’s a knock a the door as the Geek Squad delivers this noteworthy piece of advice from the never-questioned database: non-division road dogs off back-to-back SUATS losses are 20-6 ATS if they allowed 30 or more points in their last loss – provided they’re facing an opponent they defeated in their last meeting that is off a SU loss. So instead of fasting (which we could never do unless that meant eating pizza rolls and potato chips) on this mediocre NFC tilt which should find the winner reaching respectability and the loser likely digging a hole too big to climb out of, we’ll put our trust in The Clincher: Chicago is 17-3 ATS as a dog in its fourth road game of the season, including 10-1 ATS off a non-division tilt.
Buffalo over New England by 7
The Patriots are back. The Patriots are back! That was the sound bellowing throughout Boston Monday morning following New England’s 26-point destruction of previously unbeaten Cincinnati last Sunday night. The fact of the matter is they may be back... but not to the degree everyone thinks. Remember, we’re talking about a team every Joe Fan in America was looking to bet against last week, to the point they kicked off as 3-point home dogs to the Bengals. Today they take to the road sporting an 0-5 SUATS mark in their fourth road game of the season. Granted, the Hoodie has made Buffy his bitch of late with wins in each of the last five matchups. However, when it comes to quintuple revenge-exact, Buffalo holds all the cards as they are a super-sharp 6-1 ATS mark in these games when they have it, while the Kraft clan is a near-mirror opposite 1-7 ATS when they are going into it. In addition, the Bills are 7-1 ATS in their last Game Six scenarios. And the MIDWEEK ALERT agrees with it all, too, pointing out the Bills’ 4.0 Yards Per Rush offense fits like peanut
butter on a jelly sandwich with the Pats’ 4.4 Yards Per Rush defense. In conclusion, the well-oiled machine steps in to confirm our assertion with The Clincher: NFL division road favorites off a SU home underdog win facing an opponent off a SU win are 4-13 SU and 3-14 ATS since 1980, including 0-7 SUATS the last seven.
Oakland over San Diego by 6
We can hear the groans all the way down to South Florida. The rotten Raiders as a Best Bet! WTF? Rest assured, though, like our American Express card, we wouldn’t leave home without assurances from our trusted database – and in this case it’s adamant we take this stance. Remember, unlike most football fans, the all-knowing machine simply puts tape over the names of the teams and spits out what it finds. For openers, what it found here is that teams returning to the States after losing in London are a glossy 4-0-1 SU and 5-0 ATS all-time in their first game back when off a loss of 7 or more points. In addition, NFL winless dogs playing with a week of rest from Game Five out are 20-14 SU and 26-7-1 ATS since 1980. And then there’s the Chargers’ anemic 0-5 ATS mark in Game Six when toting a 4-1 SU or better record into the game. Finally, we close it out
with the return of Tony Soprano, err Sparano, the new interim coach of the Raiders – and his sterling 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS mark as a division dog, including 4-0 ATS when taking more than 5 points. But that’s not all as the former Miami godfather also supplies The Clincher: Sparano is 5-0 SUATS in his NFL career in division games when his team is playing off a loss of more than 10 points.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 1--Oct. 6
UTAH STATE over BYU by 1
The first of seven non-conference tilts takes us out to Mormon country where this bitter 92-year-old rivalry finds the victors taking home the Old Wagon Wheel and the losers making wives jokes. And while BYU has garnered the ‘Wheel’ in 29 of the last 33 meetings, it’s been the Aggies that have grabbed the cash (5-1 ATS last six) and the punch lines (“your wives are so ugly they use them in prisons to cure sex offenders”). Well, we have a feeling the Old Wheel is heading back to Logan as Utah State is 9-0 ATS as dogs of 5 or more points, 4-0 ATS with rest and 5-1-1 ATS with non-conference revenge. Meanwhile, the Cougars are 0-3 ATS with rest over the past two seasons and a far-too-hospitable 1-9 ATS in a third straight home game. So whether it’s Chuckie Keeton under center or accomplished back-up Darell Garretson (6-1 as starter in 2013), we feel the Heisman buzz surrounding BYU signal-caller Taysom Hill may just turn into another Dangerfield joke. At least that’s what our INCREDIBLE STAT on page 3 thinks as it provides The Clincher: BYU is 0-12 ATS at home off back-to-back home games after scoring 14 or more points in its last game.
FLORIDA over Tennessee by 13
Okay, stop groaning. We know Tennessee did the best Lazarus impression we’ve seen in a long time against Georgia last Saturday. And while the Vols fought tooth-and-nail until the clock simply ran out on them, Florida didn’t have the juice for four quarters against Alabama (the Tide scored the game’s final 21 points). So why have we awarded the Gators the top spot in this week’s big three college picks? For openers, the reptiles hit the highway with the support of our AWESOME ANGLE and the SMART BOX, making this a 1-2 punch we can’t resist! Next, because they’ve had to replace their entire offensive and defensive lines this season, the Vols have been forced to play an FBS-high 22 true freshmen this year. Florida is also a profitable 6-2-1 ATS of late with rest and senior SR QB Jeff Driskel is 16-4 SU as a starter with UF in what is essentially a ‘pick’ game. But the biggest reason for tossing a chicken carcass to the Gators? We got a call from Jaybird The Bulldog. Flush with victory after last week’s Tennessee cover against Georgia, our SEC scout phoned in to say he’d bought a new pair of house slippers but was keeping the bulk of his winnings to put on this game. “Last week I had three letters for you, S-E-C. Now I got three more: L-I-F. Last week it was Rocky Top, this week don’t look for a Gator flop. You all saw what happened to the big boy, Mr. Weis… well, if Muschamp loses this game – and by the way the Gators have chomped ‘em nine straight times – he’d better start
packin’.” Such sentiments actually mesh well with Tennessee’s 1-3 ATS mark after rumbling with the Bulldogs and its 2-5 ATS effort versus a rested conference foe. But just to be clear… what does L-I-F stand for? “Let it fly, baby!” he Clincher: Florida is 18-3 SU and 14-7 ATS with rest in SEC games versus opponents who allow 17.5 or more PPG on the season, including 5-0 SUATS away.
ATLANTA over NY Giants by 6
After a yo-yo year that started out 5-0 in the preseason, then 0-2 to open the regular season, and now 2-0 in its last two games, Giants fans are badly in need of all the Maalox, Mylanta and Tums they can get their hands on these days. On the other side of the coin, Atlanta has played a steady game of win-lose-win-lose and will look to stay on course when they travel to MetLife Stadium this Sunday. Unfortunately for the G-Men, they fall into a rotten Game Five situation as 2-2 home teams, off a pair of wins, are just 7-16 ATS in non-division clashes since 1980. Making matters worse, the visiting Falcons are 17-2 ATS as pick or dogs in the 2nd of back-to-back away games when playing off a SU non-division loss. All of which only figures to worsen lousy New York’s 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS all-time mark as a host in this series. Grab the points with the better team.
The Clincher: Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is 16-3 ATS in his NFL career in games off a loss of 8 or more points, including 10-3 SU and 13-0 ATS if his squad’s win percentage is .400 or greater.
NY JETS over SAN DIEGO by 1
Look. Up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it really Superman? We’re not sure the Jets are the answer to any of the aforementioned questions. However, we’re sure Marc’s SUPER FIVE Betcha Didn’t Know
column on page 2 in this week’s newsletter fits right into the Flyboys like George Clooney does Amal Alamuddin. And it couldn’t come at a better time with the Jets running out of fuel following a season-opening win over
the Raiders. A 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS mark in games off three straight losses, along with a 7-1 ATS dog log in games versus AFC foes off a pair of SUATS wins, is surely an energy boost… as is San Diego’s sour 1-6 SU and 0-7 ATS mark in this series when playing off a win. Quick, someone contact Lois Lane and alert her to Monday’s headline in the New York Post: The Jets Win! The Jets Win!
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping