Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Sept. 24-29
Arkansas over Texas AM by 1
Remember the old Monkees’ hit, ‘I’m a Believer’? Well, we didn’t see too many Arkansas faces under their helmets but we’re certainly believers after seeing them go hog wild against Northern Illinois last week. In fact, there’s ‘not a trace of doubt in our mind’ (well, maybe a little) that they’re going to snap a nasty 13-game SEC losing skein. Yes, the Aggies shocked the Gamecocks in the season opener and have since sliced and diced Lamar, Rice and SMU, but they best not get caught looking ahead (Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama on the October slate) as Arky can run the ball. And if there’s one thing that these Agriculturalists don’t like is an overland attack as they are an ugly 7-30 ATS as chalk of 20 or less points in games where they allow 150 or more rushing yards, including 2-18 ATS when the rushing total reaches 230 or more yards. And remember – this game is taking place at Jerry’s World and it just so happens that Jerry Jones is an Arkansas grad. Now while we’re not implying that Mr. Jones may have a little influence on the outcome, we should point out that A&M is 0-4 ATS at neutral sites of late, 0-5-1 ATS in Game Five of the season and 1-8 ATS in this series since 1988. So while the novice handicapper may think that laying points is ‘more or less a givin’ thing’, we say
the more we gave, the less we got. Thus the points become the play tonight in Arlington and it’s confirmed by The Clincher: Razorbacks’ head coach Bret Bielema is 42-11 SU in his career in games off a win of more than 7 points, with only 2 of the 11 losses by more than 10 points... making him 51-2 ATS to this opening number.
WASHINGTON over Stanford by 6
While the Huskies won’t have the luxury of spotting the Cardinal a 14-0 halftime lead like they did last week at home against Georgia State before scoring 45 unanswered second-half points, we don’t feel that will be the case today in Seattle as head coach Chris Petersen – the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER – will have his sled dogs ready for this conference opener. As it is, UDub is 5-0 ATS in Pac-12 lid-lifters since 2009. They’re also 4-0 ATS as home pups of 10 or less points while Stanford is 2-9 ATS as favorites of 21 or less points with rest and an unlucky 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS before meeting the Irish when facing a conference foe off a SU win. And though the Cardinal are 9-3 ATS in their last dozen as road chalk, remember that Chris Petersen does his best work when getting points, including a perfect 7-0 ATS when the foe is off a SU win of 6 or more point as outlined in the teaser. This is a tricky spot for Stanford who, like this afternoon, were favored by 7 points on their last visit here in 2012 and left with a 17-13 defeat. What is it that they say about doing the same thing and expecting different results? Some call it insanity and so does. The Clincher: Petersen is 51-3 SU at home with no loss by more than 6 points – making him 54-0 ATS to this number!
Tennessee over Indy by 4
You may not want to remember the Titans but we’re bouncing right back with them despite the fact that they embarrassed us on these pages last week. Yes, that 33-7 loss in Cincinnati wasn’t very pretty but an 8-1 ATS log as dogs when they’re on the road in Game Three sure is. As is a 326-300 overall edge in the stats against the Bengals, courtesy of our MIDWEEK ALERT Yes, the Colts – who by the way are 0-6 ATS before battling Baltimore when taking on an opponent with revenge – got off the schneid with their big win in Jacksonville last week but as ‘Luck’ would have it, that sets the stage for a pair of juicy morsels. We’ll whet your appetite with this one: Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt is 22-10 SU and 25-7 ATS versus a foe off a SU double-digit win in his NFL career, including 10-1 ATS in division frays; and close it with The Clincher: NFL Game Four teams off their first win of the season are 3-18-1 ATS as home favorites since 1980.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Friday, September 19, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Sept. 19-22
Georgia Tech over VA TECH by 8
We’re going to put both feet in as our version of the ‘Hokie-Pokie’ has the revenge-minded Yellow Jackets (lost 17-10 last season in Atlanta as 6.5-point favorites) putting a sting on Beamer’s boys. We’re not sure if the Hokies are over the sting the Pirates handed them last week but it really doesn’t matter as the Techsters from Virginia have been a good dog/bad favorite proposition of late. Upset wins at Ohio State, Miami and Georgia Tech the past two seasons have been tainted by a recent 4-13-1 ATS mark as chalk, including 0-5 ATS the last fi ve. It also doesn’t help that the Hokies are just 1-3 ATS in conference home games of a SU home loss and 2-4 ‘ITS’ since the end of last season. The SMART BOX also attaches itself to the rushing juggernaut known as Georgia Tech as it fades the host in a damaging Game Four spot. As does recent history, which shows the series visitor checking in with a spotless 4-0 ATS log since 2010. So with the Square, series history and the revenge factor all on our side, there’s really not much more needed to ‘shake it all about’ and back a Ramblin’ Wreck squad that showed some moxie last week after blowing a 25-point lead before coming back to defeat Georgia Southern. But it sure doesn’t hurt having The Clincher: Paul Johnson is 17-2 ATS as a dog in his career in games versus an opponent off a SU loss.
Miami FLA over Nebraska by 6
Meet America’s phoniest 3-0 team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.Yes, they’re unbeaten and they’ve outscored foes by 30 PPG while outgaining them by a mind-boggling 300 yard per contest. But you shouldn’t be enamored with the Huskers’ perfect start: it’s come against the Sisters of the Poor – Florida Atlantic, McNeese State and Fresno State, teams that have gone a combined 1-7 SU so far this season. Our faithful database further undermines the hosts’ perceived superiority in this matchup, noting that Nebraska is just 1-4 SUATS against the Hurricanes (this will be the first meeting in Lincoln) and 1-4 ATS versus a non-conference foe before a Big 10 home game. The Canes are 5-2 ATS of late versus this league and while their current 2-5-1 ATS mark as non-ACC road dogs is cause for concern, we feel the program is very close to turning the corner with 4th-year HC Al Golden calling the shots. The vaunted Cornhusker rushing game (324 YPG) won’t find the going quite so easy against a bruising Miami defense that has limited foes to a measly 2.0 yards per carry. Nebraska HC Bo Pelini’s appearance in this week’s TRIVIA TEASER (see page 2) adds more fuel to the fire. To that we say take what you can get and enjoy the show. And while you’re at it, don’t forget about The
Clincher: the U’s Golden is 10-1 ATS as a dog off a SU win of more than 10 points, including 7-0 ATS versus foe off SU win.
Iowa over Pitt by 6
As expected, the Hawkeyes’ ride on the Cyclone last Saturday was a bit topsy-turvy but our SMART BOX expects them to throw Pitt for a loop this week and so do we as Kirk Ferentz’s squad continues to play to the level of their opposition. While the sagacious square suggests that Iowa will be a ‘good visitor’ to the Steel City, our database also reminds us that the Hawkeyes are 4-2 SU in their last six road openers and that Ferentz is 12-4-1 ATS in his career in games off a SU favorite loss, including 6-1 SUATS before Game Eight of the season. Add the Panthers’ 1-7 ATS mark as non-conference favorites of less than 7 points to the mix, as well as their 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS record versus a Big 10 foe off a SUATS loss, and you can see why this will be a trek worth taking for Captain Kirk and company. Don’t be deceived by Pitt’s 3-0 SU record out of the gate; they’re minus three in net turnovers thus far on the season (against the likes of Delaware, BC and FIU) and that sloppy play just won’t translate into ‘W’s against better competition. Beam us up as Iowa eyes the outright win.
NFL: Washington over Philly by 6
If you thought the greatest Eagles’ comeback ever was made by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, then you haven’t been watching the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles. With a little help from the zebras, the Eagles became just the fourth team in the last 30 years to win consecutive games in which it trailed by 14 or more points in the 2nd half – and first to start the season 2-0 after putting themselves in that precarious predicament. Well, don’t look for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson to ‘take it easy’ at the start – or the second half for that matter – as they’re seeking double-revenge from a pair of losses they suffered last season. In fact, their 9-1 ATS mark with
revenge before facing the Giants, along with a 13-2 ATS log with revenge on the road between two home games, suggest they ‘take it to the limit’ today in Philly – not to mention an 11-2 ATS mark on the division highway versus a .500 or greater foe and 10-2 ATS log in the first of back-to-back division tilts. Philly’s 1-6 ATS record at home off an AFC affair adds fuel to the fire. But if you want a ‘peaceful easy feeling’ check out
The Clincher: Philadelphia is 0-7 ATS at home between two road games versus a .500 or greater with revenge.
Tennessee over Cincinnati by 4
All we can say is we hope you have New England left in your survival pool as we feel the Bengals – along with Eagles and maybe the Saints – could be in for a long afternoon. The grass has been green for the 2-0 striped ones so far but with A.J. Green nursing his injured toe, this non-division AFC fray could find the visitors coming up roses. For starters, the Titans are 5-1 ATS as road dogs with single revenge off a non-division game and 19-5 ATS in the first of back-to-back roadies, including 13-2 ATS with revenge. That does not bode well for a Cincy club that is 0-5 SUATS after facing the Falcons, 1-7 ATS off a double-digit SU nondivision
win versus a non-division opponent with single-revenge and 4-17 ATS at home in Game Two of the season versus a nondivision opponent, including 1-8 ATS if that foe has revenge. So with apologies to Tom Jones, the Bengals will not be enjoying the ‘green, green grass of home’ as the series host falls to 1-4 SUATS. And though the old house (Paul Brown Stadium) looks the same, we’ll put the finishing touches in the hands of The Clincher: Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt is 16-1 ATS in games off a non-division contest when facing an opponent off a SU double-digit win.
Green Bay over DETROIT by 6
Thanks to an ill-timed time-out from the visiting sidelines, the Packers disaster at home against the Jets last week. This week they are out to avenge a 40-10 whipping suffered late November last season in the Motor City. It proved to be the worse loss by Green Bay in this series since 1973, and it came without the services of QB Aaron Rodgers who was on the DL with a shoulder injury. Not only are the Packers 8-1 SU – with only two ATS losses – since 1994 when playing with single-revenge against the Lions, they are also 11-1 ATS.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
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