Friday, December 23, 2011
Marc Lawrence Pro Upsets December 24-25
SAN DIEGO over Detroit by 8
A win today and the once-laughable Lions can fi nally clinch a trip to the elusive land of the playoffs. But with both teams still alive in the postseason chase, don’t expect the visitors to be quite so accommodating. Norv must have fi nally fi gured out which switch to engage as the re-energized Chargers have won three straight games by an average score of 36-13. They also show up in Motown brandishing a lethal 13-1 ATS mark as dogs off BB SU wins and an eye-popping 21-4-1 ATS effort in domed stadiums (see INCREDIBLE STAT OF THE WEEK on page 2 for more). And Turner himself, who has all but been assured of getting the boot at season’s end, chips in with a 7-4 SU and 9-2 ATS record as a dog off three SU wins in a row. After winning its fi rst two home games of the season, Detroit has dropped three out of fi ve on the scoreboard, losing to quality foes (San Francisco, Atlanta, Green Bay) while managing wins over lowly Carolina and Minnesota. We must acknowledge the Lions’ outstanding 18-3 ATS mark as home chalk of 2 or more points when playing off back-to-back SU wins, but head coach Jim Schwartz’s 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS career mark against teams off a trio of wins is equally disturbing. Our database also sides with the Bolts here as it tells us: Game Fourteen or greater home favorites that have failed to cover in at least three consecutive contests are 5-11 ATS versus a foe that’s cashed three ATS decisions in a row. The trump card here is QB Philip Rivers’ 23-2 SU career mark in December – including 4-0 SU and ATS as a dog. Look for the Lions’ Matthew Stafford to be running for his life all afternoon as the Chargers keep the cork in Detroit’s champagne bottle for one more week.
NY GIANYS over Jets by 10
Sometimes we have to search far and wide for meaningful ATS history surrounding a given matchup – and sometimes the numbers just rain from the sky and fall right into our lap. Such is the case here as the G-Men stand head and shoulders above their cross-town rivals in the ATS department. Not only have the Giants won and covered four straight against Rex’s Flyboys, they enter this ‘town ain’t big enough for both of us’ fray with a 13-6 SU and 15-4 ATS mark in away games versus an opponent off a double-digit SU loss, including 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS when the tall guys are also off a SU loss. And though it’s hard to believe Tom Coughlin’s crew could play as bad as they did in last week’s loss to Washington, it’s a fact that his team thrives in road games following Redskin rumbles, going an impressive 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS. Simply put, we’ll back Giants QB Eli Manning as a dog over the Jets’ Mark Sanchez for the remaining days of our life on earth, a notion that’s supported by the younger Manning’s 16-7 SU and 16-6-1 ATS record away ‘between the threes’ (game spreads of +3 to -3 points). Meanwhile, Joe Willie’s old team shows up almost empty-handed from an ATS success standpoint: theJets have crashed and burned as December chalk off a SU loss versus a foe off a SU loss, going 0-8 ATS, and head coach Rex Ryan owns a poor 1-5 SU and ATS log off a double-digit loss. To make matters worse, the Jets also dress up in the same unfortunate role as the Titans today: NFL Game Fifteen home favorites in Last Home Games off a double-digit loss are a bankroll-depleting 6-31 ATS since 1980. Whew! Our AWESOME ANGLE on page 2 cements it as Eli and company manage to silence the Round Mound of Sound – for a little while, at least – by grounding the Jets today.
OAKLAND over Kansas City by 8
With the Broncos and Raiders losing and the Chargers and Chiefs winning, the West just got wilder. With only two games left on the slate and the division looking up at the Tebows, the ‘playoffs’ essentially begin this afternoon in Arrowhead for both KC and Oakland. Kudos to interim HC Romeo Crennel and newly inserted QB Kyle Orton for knocking off the Packers but can they change a series history that has seen the visitor win 12 of 17 SU while cashing 15 times? Orton’s 1-2 SU and ATS record (all as a favorite) versus the Raiders says no, as does KC’s 2-8 ATS mark as a dog or favorite of 2 or less points after pulling the rug out from an undefeated opponent (where else can you fi ndstats like this!). Worse yet, the last home game of the season has not been kind to KC supporters (0-4 SU and ATS) the past four years. Toss in Oakland’s 7-0 ATS log on the division highway off back-to-back SU losses along with a solid 6-0 ATS mark off three straight losses and you can see why we think the Raiders will be playing meaningful football on New Year’s day while rooting for the Chiefs to beat SNL’s favorite new whipping boy. At pick, plus or minus, look for the Raiders to avenge the 28-0 whitewash beating they took at home in late October– a game in which they actually won the stats battle.
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping