Thursday, September 19, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 3
Kansas State over Texas by 2
Headquarters to General Brown: It didn’t work… repeat, did not work. The alarms continue to sound in Austin as Grandmaster Mack Brown’s latest chess move – Robinson to DC1 – failed to produce the desired results with the Longhorns’ defense. Yes, the Texas meltdown against Ole Miss (our False favorite Game of the Month play for late phone customers) was equally as stunning as their colossal failure against BYU. Having already replaced Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz, Brown had to watch helplessly as the Rebels outscored his Horns 30-0 from the late stages of the second quarter out as the Texas rush defense dissolved for a second straight week. We don’t think it’s a stretch to say that allowing 822 yards on the ground in the last two games makes for an occasionally undependable favorite. Until it’s fi xed – and we have serious doubts that it can be – Bevo will sit atop our fade list for the time being. But even if Texas wasn’t in the midst of such sideline turmoil, the Lone Star boys could not keep up on the ATS scoreboard in this matchup. Ready? Kansas State has literally taken Texas to the cleaners in the series, going 8-1 ATS the last nine tries and 4-0 ATS the last four trips to Austin. The Manhattan Wildcats are also a spotless 6-0 ATS as Big 12 dogs of 6 or less points and 4-1-1 ATS in the season’s first road game. Why fi ght it? Bill Snyder and company own way too many good numbers to ignore against a foe that is stuck in quicksand. We may toss Bevo a lifeline – but our cash is going on the Cats.
Utah over BYU by 3
The Mormons from Provo sent the biggest shock wave through the state of Texas since the fall of the Alamo when they rushed for a Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not 550 yards in their stunning takedown of the Longhorns, 40-21. Now, after putting the Texas defensive coaching staff into a full-blown panic mode – and utilizing a bye week to rest and prepare – the Cougars take dead aim at their biggest rivals, the Utes from Salt Lake City. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall will be feeling the heat all week long after losing four of the last five throwdowns with Utah… and we’re right there turning up the wick. Besides being a SMART BOX recommendation, the Utes are 4-0 ATS as a dog of late and have cashed in three of their last four trips to LaVell Edwards Stadium. They’re also 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS as dogs off a SU favorite loss (fell in OT last week to Oregon State). Six of
the last eight rumbles between these two have been decided by 7 or less points; those that weren’t saw Utah roll big-time by margins of 24 and 44 points. Hey, when a deck is stacked this heavily in a rivalry dog’s favor, our tail begins to wag, too! The Clincher: The last twelve teams to have upset Texas are 4-8 SU and 2-10 ATS in their next game.
San Diego State over Oregon State by 3
Double trouble, baby! A pair of classic angles plays are at work in this game from Marc’s BLACK BOOK: ‘Working Overtime’, a play against the Beavers off their OT win at Utah last week, and ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’, a play against OSU as a porous defensive road favorite after yielding 30 or more points in its last game. Hey, if you’re not drooling now, you’re a good candidate for salivary duct surgery. However, if you’re into threesomes, here’s the missing piece from our well-oiled machine: Game Three 0-2 teams – yes, the Aztecs are winless – who were bowlers the previous season are 11-7 SU and 11-6 ATS in games off a loss of 28 or more points (SDSU pummeled, 42-7, by Ohio State two Saturdays ago). Granted, SDSU is off to a miserable start but HC Rocky Long has had an extra week to prep QB Quinn Kaehler, who took over when starter Adam Dingwell got the hook from Long after the Aztecs’ second offensive possession against Ohio State resulted in an interception. Long also boasts some proud stats of his own, going 7-3 ATS versus the Pac-10/12 and posting a solid 11-4 ATS mark as a dog off back-to-back losses – including 5-1 ATS versus a foe off a SUATS win. Sitting at 0-2 SU with 16 starters back from a squad that’s gone bowling each of the last three years, look for San Diego State to strike gold today. The Clincher: Rocky Long is 11-4 SU and 12-3 ATS with rest during the regular season, including 6-0 ATS as a dog of more than 6 points.
Baltimore over Houston by 8
We knew coming into the season that the Ravens would be cast into a magnitude of jaw-dropping roles as a defending Super Bowl champion. Offseason roster defections and a sloppy stat sheet last season dictated that notion. For openers, the 9 points the Ravens were offered at Denver to open the season was borderline ridiculous, even though the Broncos kicked butt. It’s another serious slap in the face for the Black Birds today as they dress up as home dogs, a role that has seen defending champs adopt only 12 times since 1980. The champs have responded with aplomb going 8-3-1 ATS, including 6-0-1 ATS in games in which they own a win percentage of less than .550 on the season. And speaking of defending champions, they are also 25-12-1 ATS as dogs in games against opponents off back-to-back wins since 1980. Enter the Texans, off a pair of season-opening wins, each decided on the fi nal play of the game (the first time in NFL history). As a result, Houston takes a 0-2 ATS log into this game, not a good omen considering that favorites off a pair of ATS losses are just 8-21-1 ATS when facing a foe off a win, including 0-6 ATS when the chalk is off a win in its last game. The whipped cream on the cake is the Ravens’ 43-13 loss at Houston last year, as it not only snapped
a 6-0 all-time mark for Baltimore in this series, but it also marked the WORST LOSS ever by John Harbaugh in a NFL game. We’ll take that to the bank in this rematch today. The Clincher: Baltimore is 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS at home under Harbaugh in games off one win-exact.
ATLANTA over Miami by 11
It appears it was money well spent by billionaire owner Stephen Ross when he opened the checkbook and signed free agents in excess of $100 million dollars this offseason. A 2-0 start looks promising – until one begins to dig into the numbers. For starters, the Fish won both games on the road, and were outyarded in both contests, not a good omen for teams playing in home openers in Week Three. That’s acknowledged by our well-oiled machine which notes: teams in this role are just 17-38-1 ATS when hosting a non-division foe since 1980, including 5-20-1 ATS in non-conference clashes. Adding to Miami’s woes is the fact that Atlanta enjoys tackling AFC East foes, going 5-1 SUATS in its last six contests. With Dolphin boss Joe Philbin still looking for his fi rst win as a favorite against an opponent off a win (0-2 ATS) and his counterpart, Mike Smith, a dazzling 16-4 SU and 15-5 ATS in inter-conference games, we’ll get down and dirty with these Birds when they hit South Beach on Sunday. The Clincher: Miami is 0-7-1 ATS in its last eight games versus Atlanta.
NY Giants over CAROLINA by 6
And speaking of Superman, Carolina’s version – Cam Newton – seems to be engulfed by kryptonite throughout the first half of the season in his NFL career. The slow starter that he is (4-18 SU and 9-13 ATS thru Game
Ten), he almost always hits the telephone booth and re-emerges later in the season (9-3 SUATS Game Eleven out). Thus, it’s no surprise to find the Panthers wallowing in a sea of red ink once again this year as they are
being outgained 127.5 YPG in 2013. Add to that Carolina’s woes against the NFC East (5-12 SU and 4-13 ATS as a host) and you can see why they are up against it here today. The Giants journey into Bank Of America Stadium off a dreadful effort last week against Denver, only to be preceded by a 6-turnover giveaway to Dallas on opening week. New York’s 6-1 ATS dog log in games off a loss as a dog gets our attention. As does Eli Manning’s 7-4 SU and 8-2-1 ATS mark as a dog in his last eleven frays. With both teams sitting 0-2, the alarm is on and the phone is ringing. Only Cam can’t hear it.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Friday, September 13, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 2 NFL
Bowling Green Over INDIANA By 7
Fool me once, Hoosiers – shame on you. But you won’t be fooling us twice after last week’s debacle as a 5* Best Bet in last week’s newsletter. Instead, we’ll be looking for a repeat of that lackluster performance against a very good 18-returning starter Bowling Green team that has posted a 10-2 SUATS record in its last 12 road games as a favorite or dog of less than 6 points. Indiana is just 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS in its last fi ve home games versus MAC opposition and 1-6 ATS over the last seven in the role of non-conference chalk. Of course, they’re not the only ones: our database confi rms that home favorites off a SU home loss when laying double digits are just 2-10 ATS in this role since 2000 when playing off exactly one loss. As is often the case, the well-oiled machine will often toss us a reliable counterpoint: 2-0 SUATS road dogs in Game Three are 24-11 ATS when facing a .500 or greater opponent. The Clincher: The Falcons are 5-1 ATS as an underdog against the Big Ten when coming off a win.
UCF over Penn State 10
And, right on cue, here come the underdog Knights. UCF has
opened 2-0 SUATS versus a pair of pancakes in Akron and FIU but the level of competition increases dramatically this week against a Penn State squad that just mauled Eastern Michigan, 45-7. Still, our database likes dogs that were favored by 3 or more TDs the last game, especially when they’ve won 10 of their last 12 games (with the losses coming by only 5 and 6 points). These Knights protect the ball like it’s the Holy Grail, committing just ONE turnover this season after ranking 16th in the FBS last year in turnover margin. And with head coach George O’Leary’s 7-2 ATS dog collar when his team is undefeated means the large throng at Happy Valley likely won’t intimidate the visitors. Can’t say enough about what a great job Bill O’Brien has done at State College since the passing of Joe Pa but the Lions have traditionally struggled in this role: just
1-7 ATS at home off a previous homer versus an unbeaten foe – including 0-5 ATS the last fi ve outings. UCF has a habit of playing to the level of its competition (last 11 SU defeats came by an average of just over 7 PPG), a characteristic that sometimes causes foes to underestimate their talent level. O’Brien won’t fall linto that trap but we don’t think it’s going to matter. The Clincher: road dogs off a shuout road win are 17-3 ATS since 1980 when facing a non-conference opponent. Ucf over PENN ST by 10.
MINNESOTA over Chicago by 6
The Bears got what they wanted on opening day… and the Vikings did not. Hence, an ideal setup for Minnesota in this already pivotal Game Two matchup. Our well-oiled machine agrees, too, noting that since 2000 new NFL coaches in a divisional Game Two matchup are just 5-9 SU and 4-9-1 ATS when off a win, including 2-7 SU and 1-7-1 ATS when the foe is off a loss. Minny’s mighty 6-0 ATS mark as a dog of 6 or less points against opponents off a win fi ts, too, as does its 4-0 ATS record in games after allowing 28 or more points during the fi rst four games of the season. New head coach Marc Trestman won’t like hearing this, but the Bears
are 1-8-1 ATS laying points at home off a home game. Nor the fact that his quarterback, Jay Cutler, is just 5-15-1 ATS as a home favorite off a win, including 2-10-1 ATS versus an opponent off a loss. The Clincher: Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier is 10-4-1 ATS as a dog in games against an opponent off a win, including 6-0
SUATS the last six.
NY GIANTS over Denver by 7
Manning Bowl III kicks off at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford this Sunday. If you haven’t got a ticket, you can likely forget about it (word is seats at midfi eld are going for over $6000 apiece). And if you don’t tune in this week you may have to wait until the next regularly scheduled rematch in 2017 (when Peyton will be 41). For now it’s Eli’s turn to shift the spotlight back on himself, and if hunger and motivation are deciding edges, then the Giants are in good hands. For openers, Eli took it on the chin in both previous meetings against Peyton – a 26-21 loss at Giants Stadium in 2006 and a 38-14 shellacking in Indianapolis in 2010. Today, Eli catches Peyton off a career-best 7 TD effort in a huge season-opening playoff revenge win over Baltimore, while the G-Men limp home off an agonizing 5-point loss at Dallas (New York dominated on the fi eld, winning the game by 147 yards in a 6-turnover marred effort). Eli brings a sterling 19-12 SU and 17-13-1 ATS mark at home in games off a loss, including 4-0 SUATS the last four, in his career. On the fl ip side, non-division road
teams in Game Two off a SUATS win in which they scored 40 or more points are 1-8 ATS when facing a foe off a loss. Oh brother, this one goes to the kid. The Clincher: Eli Manning is 33-21-2 ATS as a dog in the NFL, including 7-3 SU and 8-1-1 ATS the last ten.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 1
MIAMI FLA over Florida by 6
The latest installment in a true Floridian hate-fest kicks off the first Saturday in September and it looks to be a strength-versus-strength matchup: the relentless Miami ground attack locking horns with the rock-solid Florida rush defense. The last meeting between these two schools came in 2008 when the Urban Meyer-led Gators chomped Randy Shannon’s Canes, 26-3. We don’t expect to see a similar coaching mismatch today as Miami’s Al Golden is doing a masterful job keeping the franchise afl oat amid lurking NCAA bloodsuckers. The Hurricanes’ returning experience is also well-chronicled with 20 starters back from last year’s 7-5 squad that suffered through a second consecutive self-imposed bowl ban. In the orange-and-blue corner, UF head coach Will Muschamp heads south with only 9 returning starters and a jittery offense that can best be described as ‘playing well enough not to lose.’ Willie Vanilli has also failed to distinguish himself as a road warrior since arriving in Gainesville, posting a mediocre 6-6 ATS log. His Gators may own a 9-0-1 ATS record in Game Two of the season and a 8-0 ATS mark before tackling Tennessee but UF has seen its hide made into handbags recently by the ACC, going a miserable 4-9 ATS in its last 13 tries. Add the fact that Miami currently owns a serious series edge with a 6-1 SU and 5-1-1 ATS effort and we won’t be surprised if ‘Champ get chomped by a wired-out bunch of Hurricanes. Fear the Ibis! The Clincher: Golden is an incredible 17-2 ATS home as a dog or favorite of 3 or less points in his college career.
AIR FORCE over Utah State by 3
The Aggies head out on the road for the second straight week to make their Mountain West debut in Colorado Springs, following a tough 30-26 loss against arch-rival Utah in the opener. After Gary Andersen departed for Madison during the off-season following a stellar 11-2 campaign, Utah State went to the well to promote OC Matt Wells to the top spot, and the former Aggie QB will try to add to a 7-1 ATS record for Utah State in games after playing Utah. One big problem: USU has failed to cash a ticket in seven straight tries as road chalk off a non-conference game. The visitors are also a lame 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS in conference openers and, even worse, our SMART BOX signals for a ‘blue’ debut in the Aggies’ first game as a member of the Mountain West. Falcons coach Todd Calhoun, coming off his fi rst losing season since replacing the legendary Fisher DeBerry in 2007, should have his Air Force Cadets fully focused in the wake of an easy opening win against Colgate. The Falcons lost QB Kale Pearson to a 2nd-quarter knee injury (his return this week questionable), but it didn’t seem to matter as the reliable Air Force rushing attack rolled up 409 yards, with Jon Lee and Broam Hart each gaining over 100 yards. Air Force is 15-3 SU and 14-4 ATS in conference openers, and getting this big a number at home should send the Falcon backers swarming to the cashier’s window. We’ll already be there. The Clincher: Game Two home dogs off a win that were bowl teams last year are 24-10 ATS if they scored 30-plus points in their season-opening victory since 1990.
Notre Dame over MICHIGAN by 3
One of the most cherished dog series in all of college football – would you believe 21-4 ATS the last 25 tilts – plays out again tonight at the Big Housein Ann Arbor. Both teams opened with wins last week. The Irish pretty much underachieved as expected but still took care of Temple by 22 points. The Wolverines, however, played like someone from the Central Michigan sidelines had poisoned Brady Hoke’s dog just a few hours before game time, failing to ease up until the start of the 4th quarter (led 56-6). Michigan dropped a heartbreaker at South Bend last year, losing 13-6 after committing six costly turnovers… so the worldwide interweb will be abuzz this week with talk of ‘Michigan revenge.’ One thing you probably won’t read, though, is that the Wolverines seldom make it out of the den when looking for revenge on their home field, recording a 1-8 ATS failure. The tale of the coaching tape tells us that Michigan’s Hoke chokes against undefeated opposition, winning outright in just 5 of 16 such games. Much better numbers for Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly: he’s 23-11-2 ATS as a dog, including 12-6 SU and 13-4-1 ATS when taking 6.5 or less points. We don’t believe in leprechauns but those are some pot-of-gold numbers there! Do we hear a 22-4? Going once, going twice…
CAROLINA over Seattle by 10
OMG. We can hear the sighs now and it’s not even Sunday. Stepping right in front of America’s new team – the Dally Cowboys…fuggetaboudit – the Seahawks appear to have picked up where they left off last year, going 4-0 SUATS in the preseason. The problem is super-surprise rookie QB Russell Wilson is now a sophomore, meaning the league has fi lm that has been studied throughout the off-season (that’s why it’s called ‘sophomore blues’). Carolina’s Cam Newton suffered through the same thing last year before coming alive down the stretch of the campaign, winning fi ve of six games while averaging 397 YPG to conclude the season, keying a 4-0 SUATS finish. Newton found himself in an identical role last season when he opened his 2nd year with the Panthers as a 3-point road favorite, only to lose the whole game, 16-10, at Tampa Bay. At least Carolina didn’t have to overcome a West Coast / East Coast bias which is exactly what Wilson and company will be staring at today. With arguably a bigger game on deck (San Francisco), look for fans in Seattle to remain sleepless this Sunday. The Clincher: Seattle head coach
Pete Carroll is 5-9 SU and 2-11-1 ATS as an NFL road favorite versus an opponent that won 8 or fewer games last season.
CINCINNATI OVER Chicago by 8
Like a bad case of the fl u, a dreaded case of Sophomore Blues attacked Bengals QB Andy Dalton early on last season. To his credit, he shook it off in time to lead his charges back to the postseason for a 2nd straight year when Cincinnati turned a 3-5 start into a 7-1 finish in 2012. And now the addition of Pro Bowl LB James Harrison is like the icing on the cake for this team. The thought of making back-to-back playoff appearances for the fi rst time since 1982 – and first back-to-back winning seasons in a non-strike year since 1976 – has these Cats licking their paws. First off, they take to Soldier Field like peanut butter to chocolate, going 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS. On top of that, Dalton loves performing on the highway where he stands 9-3 SU and 9-2-1 ATS in non-division frays in this NFL career. Meanwhile, HC Marc Trestman makes his Windy City debut bringing a new playbook and added protection for QB Jay Cutler. But until Cutler learns to do a better job laying points at home in non-division scrapes (6-18 ATS, including 12 SU losses), we’ll side with the big redhead over the big dead-head. The Clincher: The Bears are 2-9 SU and 1-9-1 ATS in games before facing the Vikings.
Green Bay over SAN FRANCISCO by 3
Like the Broncos/Ravens game Thursday, this is another postseason revenge rematch from last year’s playoffs with the visiting Packers out to avenge a 45-31 defeat suffered during the Divisional Round in this park. When it comes to backing live dogs, Rule Number One is to use a winning team with a good quarterback. Check. Rule Two: make sure the team has a motive to play. Check. And Rule Three: make sure the dog is valued. Check. Hence, this becomes a three-check call on Aaron Rodgers and company when they face Colin Kaepernick and the Ninersat Candlestick Park. Granted, going up against Jim Harbaugh these days is like getting a root canal, but with enough medication, we can endure almost anything. The meds come compliments of Dr. Rodgers who is 4-1 SUATS in season openers and 4-1 ATS as a dog of more than 3 points in his NFL career. Frisco’s 4-14 SU and 4-12-2 ATS mark in this series is the salve that closes the wound. Check, check and re-check.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping