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.