To say that the sports media in Miami is merciless is an understatement. When 1st-year coach Al Golden led the struggling Canes to consecutive wins over ACC foes North Carolina and Georgia Tech a few weeks ago, everything was peaches and cream (or is that mango and salsa?). But after stubbing their toes in a home loss to Virginia, the Hurricanes were battered by the local press – and many questioned if Golden was the right man for the job. However, a 49-14 crush-job of Duke momentarily silenced the critics and set the stage for this huge state rivalry showdown. Miami owns the revenge card in spades, playing off a 28-point whipping last year at Sun Life Stadium, and the Canes bring a 13-6 ATS mark as conference road dogs into the fray – including 7-2 ATS when taking 5.5 or more points. We realize it’s tough to step in front of a team like FSU that’s hitting on all cylinders (4-0 SU and ATS last four games) but meaningful revenge and value form a powerful combination, especially against a team that tallied just 307 total yards in last week’s misleading 38-7 win over Boston College. Our tireless database warns us to beware the dog in this series as it has barked six times in a row – all straight-up! Throw in the fact that the Seminoles are just 2-15 ATS at home after scoring 35 or more points – plus Miami coach Golden’s appearance as the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2 – and we see possible damage in store for the Tallahassee area Saturday afternoon. Canes git ‘er done with an upset of the hated ‘Noles.
Dumped for the second time in the last three weeks as double-digit chalk (we called for Louisville to win outright as our UPSET GAME OF THE WEEK in the last issue), West Virginia will not be showing up on many dance cards this Saturday. However, we don’t mind if the shoe is on the other foot today; we like the way it fi ts… especially with this ‘Puttin’ On The Stats’ dog owning the better numbers on both sides of the ball. Today’s game is also a double ‘inside-out’ affair: the Bearcats won the game but lost the stats against Pitt last week while the Mountaineers outgained the Cardinals, 533-351, in their 38-35 home loss. WVU takes the fi eld at Paul Brown Stadium today backed by an exceptional 14-2 SU record when playing off a SU loss the last seven years – with both defeats coming by an identical margin of just 3 points. The Mounties also wear a crowd-pleasing 12-1 ATS collar in their last 13 tries as Big East underdogs. The 7-1 Bearcats haven’t prospered in this series, stumbling to a 1-3-2 ATS mark overall and a 0-3-1 ATS mark in ‘home’ games. The visitors will all but concede the conference race with a loss here, not what the Morgantown faithful envisioned when they gave Bill Stewart the boot a year early so they could usher in the Dana Holgorsen era. Mountaineer QB Geno Smith had his third 400-yard passing game of the season against Louisville and will get his team back on track today. It’s a take. West Virginia over CINCINNATI by 10
ILLINOIS over Michigan by 6
After a heartbreaking 10-7 loss at Happy Valley two weeks ago, Zook’s crooks return home well-rested but, more importantly, as dogs. Last week’s ‘Puttin’ on the Stats’ SMART BOX reminds us that Illinois is most certainly a play-on pup. Recent series history (3-0 ATS last three), as well as the numbers, favors the hosts as the Illini are 6-1 ATS off back-to-back away games – while the Wolverines are a not-so-sweet 4-12 SU and 3-13 ATS in their last 16 Big Ten roadies. Even the beleaguered Zooker is looked on favorably this week as he checks in with a 13-3 ATS mark as a conference dog off an ATS win, including a perfect 7-0 ATS as a dog of less than 7 points. And to put the fi nishing touches on what appears to be another November not to remember for the Ann Arbor crew: since 2000, Big Ten road dogs or favorites of 6 or less points are just 8-25 SU and 11-22 ATS after tackling Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Hawkeyes. Needless to say, this is a must take as it’s just too late in the season to be dancing with these Wolves.
Middle Tenn St over LA-MONROE by 1
SBD #3 shows up in the guise of the red-faced Blue Raiders, who were blanked in Knoxville last week by the Vols. They’ll feel like things are moving in slow motion today after stepping down from an SEC team to the 2-7 Warhawks. The boys from Monroe can’t help but be devastated after losing their annual grudge match to La-Lafayette by a single point and they’re in no position to be favored: they’ve been installed as chalk just twice this season – and lost both games outright. Middle Tennessee State has dominated this series in straight-up fashion, going 9-1 on the scoreboard with the only loss coming by 3 points. With La-Monroe now 0-5 SU after clashing with the Cajuns, we see MTSU taking this WTF (Wrong Team Favored) matchup. Expect their best effort here.
SEATTLE over Baltimore by 3
Which Ravens team shows up this afternoon in Seattle? The sleepless one that lost at Tennessee and Jacksonville? Or the one that rallied for an improbable win last Sunday night at Pittsburgh? Well, our PLAYBOOK.com database offers a friendly hello to Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Baltimore is 1-12 ATS as road favorites off back-to-back SU wins when facing .333 or less opposition and, of course, the post-Mike Tomlin syndrome is now wide awake as teams after facing Tomlin’s Steelers are 10-25 ATS as favorites in the following game. As it is, Baltimore is 0-2 SU and ATS in its two trips to the Emerald City since becoming the Ravens in 1996. Toss in the Seahawks’ 8-5 SU and 10-2-1 ATS mark at home versus AFC opposition since 2005, including 5-1 ATS when they enter off a double-digit loss and you can see why the middle of this Steelers/Bengals division sandwich has us waving bye, bye Black Birds. Don’t sleep on this one.