Thursday, November 26, 2015
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Nov. 27-30
Marshall over W KENTUCKY by 3
Two trains on one track usually leads to a slam-bang collision and that’s what we expect here when this pair of streaking teams – Marshall is 8-1 SU in its last nine and WKU is 7-1 SU in its last eight – lock horns in Bowling Green. Tonight’s battle for the C-USA East’s top spot is a Black Friday rematch from last year’s stunning 67-66 loss the Herd suffered as 23.5-point home chalk, spoiling an 11-0 perfect season mark. Now THAT’S what we call meaningful revenge! Doc Holliday’s crew has also enjoyed a week of rest to bask in the glow
of their confidence-building 52-0 rout over FIU and prepare a game plan for this circled-in-red rematch. Don’t expect the Hilltoppers to relinquish their throne without a fight: their only two losses this year came on the road against Indiana and LSU, and they’re 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS on this field, winning by an average of 22.8 PPG at L.T. Smith Stadium. But while Western Kentucky may own an intimidating 10-1 SU mark in Last Home Games, the ‘Toppers are a bottom-feeding 1-6 ATS in their last seven home contests versus avenging foes. Not so for Marshall, who stands 14-3 SU in the last 17 games away from Huntington and will dress up as a dog for only the third time in the last three years. Holliday’s Herd is also 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games when seeking revenge, which leads us to The Clincher: The Hilltoppers are 2-10 ATS as favorites versus .500 or greater opponents, including 0-7 ATS at home.
NEBRASKA over IOWA by 10
With a golden ticket to this year’s Big Ten title game already in hand, Iowa hopes to avoid a treacherous SMART BOX ‘As The Noose Tightens’ trap today. And while the 11-0 Hawkeyes don’t need a win here, the allure of an undefeated regular season – and revenge for last year’s 37-34 home loss to Big Red – should provide them with plenty of incentive. On the flip side, this matchup is HUGE for Mike Riley and his Cornhuskers, already a major disappointment at 5-6 and facing the distinct possibility of being stranded in Lincoln this December while a gazillion other schools make the trip to play in a bowl game. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, beneficiary of one of the weakest Big Ten schedules
in recent memory, shows up today riding a gaudy 15-3 career record in away games when looking to avenge a home loss – but in none of them was his team unbeaten and in contention for a National Championship. The Corn Boys don’t show up empty-handed: they’re 3-1 ATS in the last four series meetings on this field, 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS in the series when taking points, and 6-1 ATS as conference home dogs when owning a win percentage of less than .700. Coach Riley also arrives for this regular season-ender with a 7-2 ATS log as a dog off back-to-back wins versus an opponent off consecutive wins, and a 6-0-1 ATS mark the last seven times he’s challenged an undefeated foe. With Nebraska’s six losses coming by an average of less than 4 PPG, the all-knowing database wraps it up with The Clincher: 11-0 teams away in Game Twelve are 4-10 ATS when facing a foe off a win, including 0-5 ATS in games versus a .700 or less adversary.
NC State over North Carolina by 6
The up-and-down Wolfpack is 6-1 SUATS in Last Home Games, including 5-0 ATS when coming off a double-digit win, but will need to overcome mistakes today as they finished last week’s Syracuse win with 10 penalties for 98 yards. It’s the third time in ACC play the Wolfpack has been penalized at least nine times. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels surrendered a
14-point lead and needed to rally in OT to beat Virginia Tech last week. More troubling for today’s matchup, they’re just 1-5 ATS as conference road favorites of 4 or more points and 2-5 ATS away with conference revenge. Plus, the Heels are a ‘Times They Are A-Changin’ BLACK BOOK fade (6-7 team last year away off a SU win) and with a ticket to the ACC
title game in their back pocket, we’re going against them as well. A quick look at this series sees 12 upsets in the last 17 matchups and State has covered six of the last eight meetings. All good fodder for the dog,
Tennessee over Oakland by 8
We’re still trying to figure out who died and proclaimed Oakland to be a good team. Looking back, we find the Raiders have been installed as favorites on four occasions this season – or four times as often as they had been the previous two years combined. And they have yet to win a game when expected to do so, losing all four times straight up as chalk. They blew as road favorites at Detroit last week and, still not convinced, the proclamation-makers have come right back and installed them as road chalk once again this week – in another 10 AM body clock start time to boot. Jeez Louise, trust us... it’s okay to raise the flag and admit you’ve made a mistake! The Titans check in with a glitzy 5-0 ATS log after playing on Thursday when facing sub .500 non-division opponents. They are also 7-2 ATS the last nine games as a host in this series. Unlike those who still have an infatuation for the Black-n-Silver, we say it’s time to ‘remember the Titans’ and forget all about the Raiders today. The Clincher: Oakland is an ignominious 0-8 SU and 0-7-1 ATS off a SU favorite loss when facing sub .500 opponents.
Pittsburgh over Seattle by 6
Now that both teams appear back on track and ready to make a run to the postseason, it’s time to get the scalpel out and look inside each team’s body of work. Seattle is outgaining foes 111 YPG since Game Seven of the season, while Pittsburgh is 74 YPG better than its opponents over the same course. The caveat is the fact that Ben Roethlisberger did not start in two of the last four games for the Steelers. His counterpart, Russell Wilson, brings a stellar 10-2 SU and 8-4 ATS career mark versus Super Bowl winning quarterbacks into this contest, but only a 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS log in his last three matchups. In addition, the Seahawks are just 3-7 ATS in the third of three straight home games, including 0-4 ATS the last four versus non-division foes, and 0-2 SUATS when hosting a rested opponent. Meanwhile, the Steel Curtain rises in games against NFC opposition off a win, going 5-0 SUATS in its last five gatherings. It’s Big Ben time and we’ve got our clocks set. The Clincher: Roethlisberger is 19-8 SU and 20-7 ATS as a dog versus foes off a win in his NFL
career, including 5-1 SUATS versus the NFL West.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, November 12, 2015
College & Pro Upsets, November 14-15
Virginia Tech over GEORGIA TECH by 6
The Hokies need two wins in their final three games to send retiring HC Frank Beamer out in style as that would mark Beamer’s 23rd consecutive bowl appearance. Otherwise, it would be an inglorious ending to a stellar Hall of Fame career. It would also have us calling the Hokies ‘bastards’ and putting a large ‘Pitt’ in our stomachs as we’re big fans of Beamer Ball. That’s the case once again this week as we can see he’s not fond of being an underdog to a team that beat him in a previous matchup (fell at home, 27-24, to the Yellow Jackets last year). Beamer also knows that Coastal-leading UNC is still on the docket so one of those two wins will likely need to come tonight if he hopes to be playing into December. Thankfully, the Jackets appear to be the perfect fodder. At 1-5 in ACC play, Paul Johnson’s jokers currently reside in the Coastal cellar and are 0-4 SUATS as conference chalk this season. Better yet, this has been a visitor’s series with the road team covering eight of the last nine, including each of the last five. However, the main reason we believe the Hokies will win in Atlanta for the fifth time in sixth tries.
KANSAS CITY OVER DENVER by 6
Talk about visions rolling around in your head. ESPN midday radio host Dan LeBatard painted the picture best, saying that when he thinks of Andy Reid he envisions a man hovering over a box of doughnuts, wiggling his fingers saying, “I don’t mind if I do.” Yes, the Pillsbury Dough Boy is back after a full week of hitting the morning drive-thru at Dunkin’ Donuts, ready to make his move following a 2-game win streak prior to the Bye week. The Chiefs enter 4-1 ATS In games off a double-digit win, and 20-11-1 ATS as division dogs versus foes off a SU favorite loss. And speaking of dumping as a favorite, the Broncos saw their perfect season go down the drain at Indianapolis last Sunday, setting themselves up in a classic ‘Bubble Burst’ role. And with that thought in mind, the all-knowing database jumps in, noting that NFL
teams who suffered their first loss after starting the season 4-0 or better are 1-7 ATS when facing a rested foe in the following game, including 0-5 ATS as a favorite. But rest assured, we think Andy is just dandy in his optimum role here today. And so does The Clincher: Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is 17-3 SU when playing with rest in his NFL career, including 5-0 SUATS in games in which his team owns a losing record, and 5-0 SUATS versus opponents off a loss.
ARIZONA over Seattle by 7
Yes, we realize its push-comes-to-shove time for the defending Super Bowl losing Seahawks who fi nd themselves two games back of the NFC West leaders from Arizona, but it’s never hard backing the better team getting points. Especially in Sunday night primetime games where division hosts have struggled (0-2 ATS this season). In fact, bring them in as home favorites against greater than .600 division rivals off a win and they melt down like a Reese’s peanut butter cup on the beach, going 6-16-1 SU and 3-19-1 ATS. Toss in Arizona’s glossy 7-1 ATS record with rest versus division opponents, and Seattle’s squeamish 1-10 ATS mark in games with rest versus opponents off a SUATS win, and you get our drift. The bottom line is the Seabags are simply not the same team that’s appeared in the past two Super Bowls. On the other hand, the Cardinals are poised and ready to take their place. The Clincher: Arizona head coach Bruce Arians is 15-1 ATS in his NFL career as a dog of less than 7 points.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Nov. 7-9
Oklahoma State over TCU by 8
This afternoon matchup in Stillwater between No. 3 TCU and No. 10 Okie State is just the first in a string of heavyweight contests in November that will determine the Big 12 champion, and a likely trip
to the College Football Playoff. And while we’ll readily admit that Horned Frog QB Trevone Boykin is the best player on the field today, the Cowboys own some of the biggest ATS edges we’ve ever seen in what many expect to be a tightly-contested clash. For openers, there’s no denying TCU’s defense is down a notch this year and the Froggies have been pointspread poison as road chalk in games when they allow 20 or more points, going 6-30 ATS, including 1-14 ATS the last fifteen. Enter OSU head coach Mike Gundy’s 33-8 SU and 25-12-1 ATS success in games where the Cowboys are undefeated, including 19-3 SU at home – and in those 22 home games, his team has scored 20 or more points in every game. The Fort Worth Frogs also have to overcome a trio of disturbing trends: 1-4 ATS away versus Big 12 revenge, 1-3 ATS as conference road favorites of less than 7 points, and 2-6 ATS off a SU conference win of 28 or more points. Oklahoma State has compiled an impressive 18-5 SU and 17-5-1 ATS log against Texas teams since 2009, plus the Pokes are a ‘Puttin’ On The Stats’ play from this week’s SMART BOX. Gundy and company are also burning to get even for last year’s 42-9 smackdown by TCU, a defeat that sent OSU into a 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS slide that almost capsized its season (it took an upset of arch rival Oklahoma in the final regular season game to clinch a bowl berth).
LSU over Alabama
Let’s throw out the poll rankings here. Ohio State and Baylor fans might disagree, but LSU and Alabama look to be the two best top-to-bottom teams in the country heading into tonight’s death match
in Tuscaloosa. And while it’s almost impossible to find a weaknessin either school’s lineup on paper, the always-important ATS edges all line up in favor of the Bayou Bengals. Les Miles’ rested Tigers
are 6-2 ATS off a Bye week of late and they’ve covered five of the previous seven contests on this field. Miles also brings along a 50-11 SU record in games when undefeated, with only FIVE losses by
more than 7 points – making him 56-5 ATS to today’s number! As for Bama’s Nick Saban (the best college coach in America according to our aforementioned ESPN survey), he’s gone just 17-12 SU and 12-16-1 ATS in regular season games with rest, including 0-3 ATS as a favorite versus undefeated foes. The Tide’s 93 YPG advantage in SEC play this season is clearly overshadowed by LSU’s 156 YPG edge in such games, and Alabama has dropped four of its last five against the number as home chalk of 10 or fewer points. With the Tigers also a ‘Puttin’ On The Stats’ play from this week’s
SMART BOX, we can see nothing less than this puppy going right down to the wire. And let’s not forget The Clincher: The Tigers are 15-5 ATS as conference road dogs with revenge when not facing an undefeated foe, including 7-0 ATS when the Tigers own a win percentage of more than .600 – winning six of the games straight up.
Cincinnati over HOUSTON by 2
The Cougars are on a roll as they just hosted and shut out an SEC team, and next week they host Memphis for control of the AAC West and a potential New Year’s Day payoff! Houston comes in with solid numbers, going 8-2 ATS as favorites of 3 or more points playing with conference revenge, 13-4-1 ATS as a conference home favorites of 8 or more points, plus they’re one of only two teams (Baylor) to beat six teams by 21 or more points this season. Oh yeah, Houston’s head coach Tom Herman was born in Cincinnati. Why is that relevant? Because we finally get to mention this week’s foe, Cincinnati. The Bearcats are ‘only’ 5-3 but they are 5-1-1 ATS in this series, 3-0-1 ATS versus undefeated opponents from Game Six out, and 4-1-1 ATS as conference road dogs of 7 or more points. Last week, Bearcats QB Gunner Kiel was a perfect 15-for-15 passing for 319 yards and five touchdowns. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that was the most completions without an incompletion by any FBS player in the last 20 years and we would be remiss not to mention that TWO of Cincinnati’s losses came with him either out or having been injured during the game. Finally, the level of completion each has faced: Houston is an impressive +198 YPG on the year but the Coogs have not played a team in the top 46 of the ESPN Power Index and have only played TWO teams in the top 100. Cincinnati meanwhile is actually better at +200 YPG with four opponents in the top 46 and FIVE in the top 100. We smell an upset in Cougar town.
CAROLINA over Green Bay by 7
Like the pearly whites flashed by Carolina QB Cam Newton, the Panthers arrived to 7-0 this season by the skin of their teeth after nearly falling asleep in the 4th quarter of Monday night’s overtime
win against the Colts. Granted, the win-loss record of the foes they’ve defeated may not be much (22-31) but the fact of the matter is they have knocked off everyone who’s been in their path and, as Bill Parcells so famously said, “You are what your record says you are.” And what Carolina happens to be is 11-0 in its last eleven regular season games – and a HOME DOG today. That’s a no-no in our book (just ask the Denver Broncos). Yes, there is a lot to like about Green Bay and it’s all-world QB Aaron Rodgers, who was limited to 77 yards passing - the lowest of his career in a game in which he wasn’t knocked out by injury. We realize the Cheeseheads are 13-2 SU and 12-3 ATS off an AFC game when facing a non-division opponent, and the Panthers are just 1-5 ATS off a Monday night game when facing a .500 or greater non-division opponent. But what comes to roost there is the fact that Green Bay owns a rotten rush defense, allowing 4.7 DYPR – only four teams worse – while Carolina has rushed for more than 100 yards in 20 straight games. Let the world line up on the Packers. We stick with our contention that defense wins football games. That, and The Clincher: 5-0 or greater teams in the NFL, off their first loss of the season, are 1-6 SU and ATS away versus .600 or greater non-division foes.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping