Thursday, November 07, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 11
STANFORD over Oregon by 1 [Thursday night]
After Florida State leapfrogged Oregon into the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings following Saturday night’s demolition of previously unbeaten Miami, the Ducks get a chance to strut their stuff before a national TV audience – and perhaps recapture the coveted poll position. Oregon certainly brings plenty of good numbers into this fray, going 6-0 ATS of late when playing with Pac-12 revenge and 13-1 ATS away from Eugene when playing with a week’s rest. There’s also a mega-revenge motive involved as the Cardinal beat the Ducks in overtime at Autzen Stadium last year and ruined Oregon’s perfect 10-0 season (ultimately denying OU a shot at the BCS championship game). The problem for the webfeet is Marc’s ‘TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT’ angle from his 2013 Black Book which commands that we ‘play against’ 5-0 or greater college road teams in the game following a week of rest. In contrast, Stanford (like Oklahoma in the Baylor game) is a ‘LAY LADY LAY’ go-with play from Marc’s 2011 Black Book. Best of all, though, is Cardinal head coach David Shaw’s ATS history in tonight’s role. He’s 4-0 ATS as anunderdog (2-0 SUATS if +9.5 or more), and an outstanding 12-3 SU and 11-3-1 ATS versus an .800 or greater opponent – including 10-1-1 ATS if that foe allows 15 or more PPG on the season. Yes, the ducklings may have covered four of the last five in this series on the road but they’re just 1-2 SUATS here when undefeated and 1-3 ATS in Weekday road trips. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota’s magical run will end against the most well-coached and physical defense he’s faced all season. Another one bites the dust! The Clincher: Stan protects The Farm like a pack of junkyard dogs, going 33-3 SU the last six years, including 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS as an underdog.
VIRGINIA TECH over Miami by 10
Frank Beamer was like money in the bank when playing the Hurricanes during the Larry Coker/Randy Shannon years, going 8-1 ATS, but Al Golden has covered two straight against the Beamster since taking over at Miami in 2011. However, if the Noles didn’t expose every Miami weakness in that ‘Bubble Bursting’ loss on Saturday night, the Canes have certainly been diminished by the loss of star RB Duke Johnson to a broken ankle. The Hokies have plenty of weaknesses themselves, most recently at QB as Logan Thomas has tossed 6 interceptions en route to back-to-back losses against Duke and BC, bringing a 6-game winning streak to an abrupt halt. Still, this becomes an extremely important game for Tech, as an upset would put them in the driver’s seat for the ACC championship game, equaling Miami at 4-2 in the conference while owning the tie-breaker against both the Canes and Georgia Tech. Also, the Gobblers fall squarely into the SMART BOX this week, a good thing for November considering they have outstatted all but one of their opponents this season. This looks promising for Beamer as Miami has now allowed over 500 yards in consecutive weeks. Our well-oiled machine adds its two cents: ACC conference favorites are just 3-9 ATS after facing Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles, including 0-5 ATS when facing a .400 or greater opponent.
KANSAS STATE over TEXAS Tech by 8
Despite the disparity of the W-L records, this is a very even matchup. The Red Raiders have dropped back-to-back games after a 7-0 start and their wobbly defense has allowed foes season high – or 2nd high – yards in their last three games. Tech is also 0-3-1 ATS as favorites in the first of back-to-back home games and 2-6 ATS as conference home chalk of 7 or less points. On the flip side, will veteran Bill Snyder now rivals Steve Spurrier with a spread record of 106-64-1 in conference games, including 26-9 as a pick or dog of 7 or less points. Snyder’s Wildcats currently stand 6-1 ATS as conference road dogs of 7 points or less while also sporting a 9-1 ATS mark in road tilts following back-to-back home games. In addition, KSU is starting to hit on all defensive cylinders now, having held its last four foes to season low – or 2nd low – yardage marks. With Marc’s ‘ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG’ angle from the 2009 Black Book also at work here, it makes Grandpa’s work that much easier. The Clincher: The Red Raiders are in a ‘Double Bubble Burst’ role and 94% angles definitely tend to pique our interest.
Penn St over MINNESOTA by 6
The Nittany Lions have come up with a couple of big-play offensive stars to go along with freshman QB Christian Hackenberg. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is starting to remind us of O.J. McDuffie (averaging 10 catches for 150 yards in his last four games) while RB Bill Belton carried the rock for over 200 yards against Illinois – the first Penn State player to do that since Larry Johnson in 2002. Meanwhile, the Gophers have met every challenge, scoring SU victories in their last three games as more-than-a-TD underdogs, despite the fact that HC Jerry Kill has been forced to avoid the sidelines on game day due to epileptic seizures. But make no mistake, Kill is the architect of this impressive 7-2 season, led by a QB rotation of Phillip Nelson and Mitch Leidner, and emerging RB David Cobb, who has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games. As normally is the case, the oddsmakers have finally caught up to the situation, and the Gophers will find themselves as small favorites this week. According to our all-knowing database, that’s a no-no as teams in this role are just 8-21 ATS since 1980 laying points off three SU underdog wins, including 5-21 ATS when playing off a win of less than 30 points. Finally, Penn State is 4-1 ATS in the last five games of this series, and you can expect Bill O’Brien to have his troops ready for battle coming off the emotional OT victory against the Fighting Illini.
CAROLINA over San Francisco by 6
Our initial observation was that this opening line looked low. Fishy low, if you get our drift. After all, the mighty Niners own the hottest hand in the NFC, entering on a 5-0 SUATS run – albeit against foes who are 13-28 collectively this season. However, the same can be said of the 5-3 Panthers, who have reeled off four wins in a row, while scoring 30 or more points in each game. Granted, Carolina’s five victims this season are all losing squads, sporting a combined 7-33 record season to date. What really bothers us, though, is San Fran’s 2-5 ITS (In The Stats) mark in its last seven games. That and the fact that favorites returning from London have NEVER beat the spread in these ‘sea legs’ games, going 0-5 ATS. Compounding matters, the Panthers have been practically an annuity in this series, going 11-1 ATS, including 3-0 SUATS the last three games Holy mackerel, it all makes sense to us now. The Clincher: The Panthers are 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in games versus opponents off a double-digit spread win the last two seasons.
TAMPA BAY over Miami by 7
Yes, it’s hard asking a virgin to suddenly become a vixen but when you’re living in the mess the Dolphins are these days, it’s all systems go. For openers, 0-5 or worse NFL dogs of 3 or less points are 13-5 SU and 13-3-2 ATS when playing with revenge. The Bucs’ 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS mark as Monday night home dogs fits like a glove next to their 4-0 ATS mark in this series. Enter the dazed and discombobulated Dolphins who are 1-10 SU and 0-9-2 ATS away on Mondays off a win, and 0-4 SUATS in their last four Monday night appearances – not to mention 1-8 ATS as favorites in games off a SU underdog win. No bullying here. With Miami as distracted as a team can be these days, look for Tampa to shed its chastity belt tonight. The Clincher: NFL Monday night home teams off an ATS away win in which they scored 24 or more points are 13-3 SU and 13-2-1 ATS when facing a non-division foe off a home game.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
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