Friday, October 10, 2008
Marc Lawrence’s College Football Upsets for October 11, 2008
VIRGINIA Plus over East Carolina
Like a rickety stagecoach on the run from an outlaw gang, the wheels have suddenly fallen off for ECU. It’s a classic case of an early Bubble Burst. Following the Pirates’ devastating overtime loss hated NC State, Skip Holtz’s squad couldn’t shake off its hangover and collapsed in the fourth quarter of a home loss to Houston. Now they head to Charlottesville as a .600 or better Game Sixer off back-to-back SU losses versus an opponent off a win, a money-burning13-20 ATS proposition – and because the Pirates sail into Scott Stadium as a favorite or dog of less than 2 points, that Game Six success rate plummets to just 1-9 against the number. Virginia’s Jekyll and Hyde performances over the last two weeks have been among the season’s most puzzling: the Cavs were routed 31-3 by mediocre Duke, then rebounded to rush for over 200 yards in an unbelievable 31-0 shutout of resurgent Maryland. The Wahoos own a pair of distinct advantages in today’s matchup. First, sub .500 home dogs off a SU home dog win (like Virginia) have barked their way to a super 15-3 ATS mark when tackling a foe off a loss since 1985.
Would it be foolish to suggest that Steve Spurrier has just as good a shot at this year’s SEC Coach of the Year as Vandy’s Bobby Johnson? Week in and week out, the Ol’ Ball Coach has been forced to cobble together a ragtag lineup and somehow produced a 4-2 team that’s redefi ned ‘winning ugly’. He’s also at his best on the conference road, racking up a 46-23 ATS record in his college career.
Spurrier’s Gamecocks have controlled the series at Lexington, cashing in eight of the last nine visits, and South Carolina shows up today with a 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS mark (4-0 L4) versus a conference foe with revenge. Kentucky did achieve a moral victory of sorts in last week’s 17-14 loss to Alabama but if the Wildcats remain the favorite here they’ll be up against a 3-16 ATS wall as chalk playing with revenge – a number that sinks to 0-6 against winning competition. The Cocks are a perfect 6-0 ITS (In The Stats) this season and Spurrier has won and covered all three meetings with UK coach Rich Brooks. You know what to do.
Last Week: 3-2 Season: 12-6
Mississippi State Plus over VANDERBILT
Don’t look now but the Commodore Express could be ready to derail. Unbeaten Vanderbilt is 5-0 SU for the fi rst time since 1943 but the Dores pull into the Starkville station today with nothing but bad pointspread numbers. For openers, Vandy has gone just 1-5 ATS against .350 or less opposition, they’ve failed to get the money in fi ve of their last six tries as SEC road chalk and if they remain favored at game time, the Commies will find themselves in the role of ‘5-0 Fat Cat’, an affliction that usually results in empty wallets for those looking to cash in with the high calorie crowd. MSU coach Sylvester Croom has had a week off to pick up the pieces from an awful 1-4 start and with the best of this week’s SMART BOX in his corner, Sly could up his record to 5-1 ATS as a dog playing with rest (Vandy currently 0-3-1 ATS against a rested foe). The Bulldogs have cashed in five of the last six meetings, including three straight in front of the home folks, so we’ll expect the cowbells to clang loud and clear as Missy State bursts Vanderbilt’s bubble. THIS JUST IN: Game Six 5-0 SUATS dogs or favs of 3 or less points are just 1-4 SUATS.
Miami Ohio Plus over NO ILLINOIS
Not even Agatha Christie could fi gure out what’s going on at Miami Ohio, clearly the MAC’s biggest mystery to date. Picked to win the East Division in ’08, the RedHawks fell to 1-4 after a dazed and confused home loss to Temple last week. However, this double-revenger against Northern Illinois could be a blessing in disguise: Miami is 6-1 SU and ATS off a double-digit loss versus a conference team while the Huskies are just 1-4 ATS as home favorites over the last two seasons. Under new coach Jerry Kill, NIU’s three losses have come by only 11 combined points, good in the sense that such
results show improvement but bad in the sense that a series of narrow losses could damage a young team’s confi dence. A disheartened favorite brings automatic value to the dog to ‘lean on’ Miami, we’ll do just that.
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping