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.
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.