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.
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping