Marc Lawrence

Marc Lawrence has authored thousands of articles expounding on the three primary forms of sports handicapping: Fundamental, Statistical and Technical. To be a successful handicapper, blending all three forms of analysis into the handicapping equation. Marc relies heavily on a proprietary powerful database of scores, stats and results of games played since 1980, both College and Pro Football and College and Pro Basketball.

Marc has been handicapping sports professionally since 1975, having won more documented Top 10 Handicapping Achievement awards than any handicapper in the nation. He won the 2005 STARDUST FOOTBALL INVITATIONAL Contest and was a SEMI-FINALIST in the 2006 $100,000 LEROYS' MONEY TALKS Contest last season. He finished the 2006 season as the No. 1 handicapper in the NFL as documented by SPORTS WATCH in Las Vegas. Marc also finished No. 1 in the nation in College Football win percentage in 2005 as documented by both the SPORTS MONITOR in Oklahoma and SPORTS WATCH in Las Vegas. He was named HANDICAPPER OF THE YEAR in 2005 by FOOTBALL NEWS.

In 2008, he finished No. 1 in NFL win percentage according to SPORTS WATCH and also captured 1st place honors in the 2008 PLAYBOOK WISE GUYS CONTEST.

Marc has hosted a national radio show "MARC LAWRENCE AGAINST THE SPREAD" for each of the last 16 years on over 100 stations syndicated in the USA. He is a tireless handicapper who works a minimum 60-hour week during the football and basketball seasons. As a handicapper he firmly believes that three things can happen when you bet an underdog, and two of them are good. He enjoys helping others to become better informed.

Marc married his high school sweetheart 40 years ago and has one son, Marc Jr., who works with him in the industry. Aside from publishing the PLAYBOOK Football Yearbook magazine and Weekly Newsletters, Marc enjoys golf and horse racing.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011


SUPER PROPS


Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas kicks off February 6 when Green Bay meets Pittsburgh with the Packers looking to become the first No. 6 seed from the NFC to win the coveted prize.

Aside from betting the game itself, a myriad of betting propositions abound in every Super Bowl as amateur gamblers with an opinion come out of the closet more often this time of the year than homosexuals at a gay rally.

It’s important to remember that when betting Super Bowl props the oddsmaker holds a huge edge as many of the props carry as much of a 40-cent ‘juice’ edge in his favor. Thus, it’s critically important to make sure you have some sort of built-in advantage working in your favor before taking the plunge.

In addition, the props are designed to create more action for the books.

"The props were designed not only to get us publicity but to spread the money out. We didn't just want one big decision for the day; we want 10 or 20 big decisions. Our chances obviously are better if we have 20 major decisions compared to one," said Jay Kornegay, director of Race and Sports at the Las Vegas Hilton.



Furthermore, it’s important to realize that props are set for the public and because they tend to bet on teams and players to succeed (yes bets), most of the money is going to be bet on the 'positive' side of a prop.

According to Kornegay, this is the only NFL game of the year where he doesn't set the line with the professional bettors in mind. The professionals, he adds, do bet on props but the handle taken in from the public masses that flock to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend far outweighs the smart money.

Here are some “tips” on some of the more popular propositions when it comes to prop wagering on this year’s Super Bowl.

1. The Coin Toss

A wildly popular prop that fans love betting on is the Coin Toss. It’s fast and it takes place just prior to kick-off. It has also witnessed the NFC winning the pre-game coin flip each of the last 13 years in a row. What does it mean? Nothing. The odds on the NFC winning this year’s coin flip: 50/50.

2.Quarterback Action Tops Player Props

Bets involving the quarterbacks are extremely popular and for all the right reasons as signal callers have won the Super Bowl MVP award 23 times in 44 previous Super Bowl games. Running backs and wide receivers have carted home the MVP trophy seven times each, with others (read: defensive performers) also totaling seven MVP’s.

Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger lead the charge this year. In head-to-head proposition competition the Hilton favors Rodgers by 30.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns over Roethlisberger.

3. Sacks Are Not Tackles

When betting on the over/under number of tackles it’s important to know that sacks are not recorded as a tackle.

4. Team Scoring Tendencies

Certain edges can be found when it comes to scoring props but rest assured, you are not pulling the wool over the oddsmaker eyes.

Here is a breakdown of quarter-by-quarter scoring and averages for-and-against in all games played this season for both squads -
1Q – Green Bay: 88-46 / 4.64-2.43
1Q – Pittsburgh: 72-63 / 4.00-3.50

2Q – Green Bay: 162-102 / 8.53–5.37
2Q – Pittsburgh: 165-42 / 9.17-2.34

3Q – Green Bay: 131-40 / 6.90-2.11
3Q – Pittsburgh: 107-46 / 5.95-2.56

4Q – Green Bay: 110-87 / 5.79-4.58
4Q – Pittsburgh: 127-114 / 7.06-6.34

Notice that Green Bay’s defense has been its stingiest in the 3Q this season, whereas Pittsburgh’s defense has performed at its best level in the 2Q. Meanwhile, both the Packers and Steelers offenses were most effective in the 2Q and least effective in the opening stanza.

Incidentally, each team played two overtimes games this season, with Pittsburgh winning both (9-0) and Green Bay losing both (0-6).

5. Player Scoring Tendencies

The leading candidate to score first in Super Bowl XLV is Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall. He tied for 2nd in rushing touchdowns this season with 13.

Behind Mendenhall in the prop wars to score first is Green Bay WR Greg Jennings with Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace next in line.

Interestingly, Jennings leads the NFL in postseason receptions with 17 for 239 yards through the first three games of the 2011 playoffs, but zero touchdown receptions so far. Look for the Packers’ top receiver to finally find the end zone.

Over the previous 44 Super Bowls, wide receivers lead the brigade, scoring the first touchdown 17 times. Running backs are right on their heels with 16 initial scores. Tight ends have scored first five times, with quarterbacks, kick returners and defensive players two times each.

6. Odd Props

Melding Super Bowl props with other sports (i.e. - will there be more sacks in the Super Bowl or shots on goal by Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin in his team’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins) is another popular prop.

One personality prop that fans are sure to be attracted to is the over/under on the amount of times Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will appear live on the cameras during the game (photos do not count). The opening number is 2.5. Our best guess is that while Jones loves hogging camera time, we won’t see his made-over mug more than twice.

Another is the length of time it will take pop singer Christina Aguilera to sing the national anthem. Knowing it took her 1:54 seconds to perform the same in the 2010 NBA finals, and figuring she will want as much air-time as possible, the ‘over’ 1:53 sounds like music to our ears.

With this, the question becomes: “Which history repeats itself?”


Written by Marc Lawrence

Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping
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Thursday, January 27, 2011


Super Bowl Super Stats


Handicapping the Super Bowl takes on a different perspective each year.

Granted, there are a myriad of statistics, angles and trends we can draw from but the bottom line is the personalities of the teams are equally important when it comes to isolating the eventual winner.

Safe to say that sports handicappers do not hold psychiatric degrees, let’s take a quick look at some of the more interesting trends that have occurred in Super Bowls past. All results are ATS (Against The Spread) in Super Bowl games since the 1980 season, unless noted otherwise.

Faux Favorites

The public loves backing favorites and when it comes to the Super Bowl it’s like putting kids in a candy store.

As a result, the public today is badly in need of new dental health care coverage. That’s because overloading on these super-sweet favorites has proven to be a decaying experience, with favorites sporting a 19-11 SU and 12-16-2 ATS record, including 4-9-2 ATS the last 15 games.



Favorites (Green Bay) taking on opponents off back-to-back SU and ATS wins are just 6-13-2 ATS.

Super Bowl chalk taking on an opponent that did not cover its championship game by 12 or more points are 8-6 SU and 3-12-1 ATS.

The last sixteen favorites to score 30 or less points are 2-14-1 ATS.

Hit Me

Speaking of scoring, putting points in the scoreboard is obviously tantamount to succeeding in this game.

Those that do, win the game and the money. Those that don’t, lose the game and the money. It’s just that simple.

And twenty-one points appears to be the cut-line.

That’s because teams that fail to score 21 points in the Super Bowl are 1-20 SU and 3-17-1 ATS. Teams that tally 21 or more points are 26-9 SU and 23-9-3 ATS.

Twenty-seven points virtually assures a victory as teams putting 27 or more on the scoreboard are 22-1 SU and 19-3-1 ATS.

Seed Me

Going back the last 15 years, the higher-seeded team has struggled mightily against the spread in the big game.

Last year paired both the No. 1 seeds from each conference for the first time in 16 years when New Orleans upended Indianapolis, 31-17.

Two years ago Pittsburgh downed Arizona, 27-23, while failing to cover the seven-point impost. As a result the higher seeded team (Pittsburgh) will carry a 1-11-2 ATS mark into SBV.

The last No.1 to win a Super Bowl, playing a non-No. 1 seed, was the ’99 Rams.

Conference Call

Like the National League’s one-time mastery over the American League, the NFC has held the upper hand over the AFC in Super Bowl games since the 1980 season, going 19-11 SU and 18-10-2 ATS.

When facing an AFC foe off back-to-back ATS wins, the NFC is 15-6 SU and 15-5-1 ATS in games with Roman Numerals attached. However, the NFC is only 4-9 SU and 6-6-1 ATS in the last 13 Super Bowl contests.

One final note: this marks the first time in nine years the NFC will dress up as the favorite.

That’s an early take on this year’s Super Bowl matchup. Good luck as always.


Written by Marc Lawrence

Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011


NFL Wild Card Angles


Handicapping the NFL Playoffs can be a bit tricky.

The knee-jerk reaction is to back home teams. After all, they have been a solid-moneymaker, going 157-125-6 ATS (55.6%), dating back to 1980.

Today, however, that would be a mistake as the success of home teams in the playoffs has dissolved like an Alka Seltzer in a cold glass of water.

A closer look finds home teams just 109-94-5 ATS since 1990 and, even worse, 54-56-7 ATS since 2000. Hence, like the economy, they have fallen on hard times.

The key is breaking the playoffs down into rounds. And in doing so it’s wise to remember the oddsmakers have made the visiting teams more attractive (read: value-laden) than ever before.

Let’s break down opening round games involving No. 3 or lower seeded teams with these three time-tested theories. Note: all results are ATS (Against The Spread) and are since 1980, unless noted otherwise.



Stun guns

Teams in NFL Wild Card round contests playing off a straight up season ending loss as a favorite tend to bounce back up off the carpet, going 30-15-1.

Better yet, dress them up as dogs and they improve to 14-4.

Double pressure

Teams off back-to-back season ending losses apply their own tourniquet as they stop the bleeding, going 20-9.

Put them at home and they zoom to 13-4.

ATS diabetes

Teams off a season ending blowout win in which they beat the spread by more than 20 points suffer from more than a sugar rush, going just 10-17-2 during this round.

Feed them a field goal (+3) or more and they die a slow death, going 1-7.

There you have it. I’ll be back next week with a peek at the Divisional Round playoff matchups.

Good luck as always.


Written by Marc Lawrence

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