Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 23 to Oct 27
COLORADO over UCLA by 1
A victim of their own success – 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS in 2013 – the underachieving Bruins have been major money burners this season, bringing a 1-6 ATS mark into this contest. Highly-touted QB Brett Hundley has regained his aim since a Heisman-killing 48-yard passing performance against Texas in mid-September but the defense has gone into early hibernation, giving up 106 points in its last three games (1-2 SU). Who can forget UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s heated sideline argument with DC Jeff Ulbrich while Oregon put up 42 points in the Rose Bowl two weeks ago? Hey, the visitors’ 7-14 road chalk mark in their last 21 Pac-12 games does not look promising... nor does their 5-14-1 ATS mark, including 0-6-1 ATS as favorites of more than 6 points, in games after facing California. We won’t even mention that the Blue-and-Gold are just 1-6 ATS in games before facing their next opponent, Arizona! Colorado’s scoreboard results may not show it but the Buffs have improved by leaps and bounds in their third season under HC Mike MacIntyre, gaining 99 YPG more
on offense while yielding 34 YPG less on defense this season compared to last. Ralphie also gets the job done as a conference home dog of 14 or fewer points off back-to-back SU losses, going 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS, and MacIntyre chips in with a 4-1-1 ATS effort against foes allowing 18.5 or more points per game. With Ralphie’s herd averaging a stout 31 PPG, we look for the Bruins to reach a Rocky Mountain low this afternoon in Boulder. To put the wraps on this bear trap, Marc’s ‘ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG’ system from the 2011 Black Book conveys The Clincher: College football road favorites off a win in which they allowed 30 or more points, who allow more than 29 PPG and 4.0 or more Yards Per Rush on the season, are 5-25-1 ATS in this role since 1980.
Texas over KANSAS ST by 3
Bill Snyder’s crew fi nds themselves as the leaders at the top of the Big 12 standings at 3-0, but it’s safe to say that KSU didn’t beat Oklahoma – the Sooners simply beat themselves. All-American kicker Michael Hunnicutt suffered through a nightmare, missing a 32-yard FG in the fi rst half, seeing the tying PAT blocked early in the final period, and with 3:53 to play, snell-hooking the potential game-winning FG from 19 yards out. The Wildcats then ran out the clock by converting two critical first downs. But it wasn’t all Hunnicutt’s fault as Oklahoma was outstatted 533-385 and committed five turnovers to KSU’s none. So now that we have
completely downplayed Kansas State’s biggest win of the season, we’ll also point out that they are looking at an Oklahoma State revenger on deck, putting the Wildcats dead in the middle of an Okie sandwich (we usually order that one medium-rare). But the simple fact is the Longhorns are improving with each game, and their offensive yardage has increased in each of the last five contests in a row. Sophomore QB Tyrone Swoopes is finally finding his footing: he engineered the final drive against Iowa State, setting up the winning field goal by completing two long passes to Jaxon Shipley and John Harris after the Cyclones had tied the game with 28 seconds left. But here’s The Clincher: UT head coach Charlie Strong is 20-8 SU and 21-7 ATS away from home, including 13-0 ATS versus .666 or greater opponents. GA TECH over Pitt by 3 Is it time for Georgia Tech HC Paul Johnson to spend a little more time with his defense? The Yellow Jackets have now out-yarded each of their last two opponents by 100-plus yards – only to lose both games on the scoreboard. Lord knows Johnson has tinkered with that run-Forrest-run offense of his for so long that it always ranks near the top of the nation in rushing (the Wreck rambles for 305 RYPG, 5th best in college football this season) but a defense that gets ripped for a ridiculous 5.3 yards per rush needs to be repaired immediately. This week the Tech juggernaut will get a stiff test against a Pittsburgh stop-unit that’s yielding only 111 YPG rushing and 279 YPG total. The Panthers also logged a few extra days of rest after snapping a 3-game losing skid with their home dog win here last Thursday night versus Virginia Tech. But those facts don’t give us a complete picture of this matchup as our mean machine notes that coach Johnson stands 15-5 ATS as a road dog versus sub .666 opposition, and that the Panthers own a dreadful 1-7 ATS mark in their last eight tries as pick or favorites. And if the Pitt defense can’t slow Tech’s ground attack (GT rushed for 276 yards in last year’s meeting), the black cats are in big trouble: they’re an awful 2-28 ATS as chalk in games where they allow 195 or more rushing yards. Hey, that’s enough to make us think two Techs in a row will be one too many for Pittsburgh.
Philly over Arizona by 11
Don’t look now but the NFL team with the best record since the start of the second half of the season last year has been: the Eagles at 12-3. And the team with the 2nd best record over the same span is none other than the Cardinals at 11-3! Take that, Denver and Seattle! Ironically, one of Arizona’s three defeats came at the hands of Philadelphia in a 24-21 loss at Lincoln Financial Field on the 1st of December. And today, despite losing games by an average of -40 YPG this season, the Cardinals sit atop the rugged NFC West looking down on the 49ers and the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Eagles reside a half-game back of the resurgent
Cowboys in the NFC East behind an offense that ranks No. 2 in scoring offense. More importantly, Philly is 7-3 SU away under head coach Chip Kelly, including 6-2 ATS when not favored by more than 3 points. And that revenge aspect we noted earlier for the Cardinals – forget about it – as Zona is a miserable 4-18 ATS at home with a .500 or greater record when seeking single-revenge. However, as we’ve come to learn, it’s the wisdom of the database that steps front and center with The Clincher: NFL teams off a Bye Week who tossed a shutout in their previous game are 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS when facing an avenging non-division foe, including 5-0 SUATS if the opponent is off a SU win of 6 or more points in its last game.
Kansas City over St. Louis by 14
It’s a debate as to which of these teams posted a more impressive win last week – the Rams in their stunner over the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, or the Chiefs in their takedown of the division-leading Chargers. For our money, and after looking at the stat sheet, it had to be the latter given KC’s +114 total yard effort as opposed to Louie’s -191 total yard deficit. Regardless, our well-oiled machine is first in line to report that teams who manage to knock off defending Super Bowl champions are just 19-39 ATS away versus .500 or greater foes in their next outing, including just 10-31 ATS as a dog if they were a dog against the champs. The Rams’ 0-5 ATS mark in games after scoring 21 or more points against Seattle is certainly noteworthy. As is KC’s 7-0 ATS record at Arrowhead off a division battle when hosting an NFC West opponent, along with its 5-0 SUATS mark in this series since 1997. The all-knowing machine provides The Clincher: NFL teams in the middle of a classic division sandwich (non-division game off a pair of division games with a pair of division games on deck) are 9-23 ATS since 1980 when off a SU underdog win, including 0-6 ATS if they allowed more than 24 points in the win.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 16-20
NORTH CAROLINA over Georgia Tech by 6
Despite a monumental effort in last week’s 50-43 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend, USA Today Sports has still picked North Carolina as 2014’s biggest disappointment: “After tabbing UNC as a potential ACC and major bowl contender – again – perhaps we’ve all learned our lesson.” Okay, we’ll admit the Tar Heels have failed to git ‘er done under HC Larry Fedora but if anyone’s going to be down in the dumps at Chapel Hill today, our vote goes to the Bumble Bees. Thanks to three huge turnovers in their loss to Duke (Tech had turned the ball over just four times in their fi rst fi ve games), the Jackets are an offi cial ‘Bubble Burster’ (5-0 or greater perfect season ruined in a straight-up favorite loss) and we’re not going to try an revive them. Meanwhile, the 2-4 Tar Heels fi nd themselves in an eerily similar situation to last year when they posted five consecutive SU wins after a 1-5 start to qualify for the Belk Bowl. Fedora owns a stylish 5-1 ATS mark versus a foe off a SU favorite loss and his Heels have gone 4-0 ATS of late as home dogs versus an .800 or better opponent. No doubt the visitors will get their yards as Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense should move the ball against a UNC ‘D’ allowing 192 rushing YPG but with the Wreck now 1-4 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games – plus 2-7 ATS after dealing with Duke – we’ll look for Carolina to fully awaken from its season-long slumber and take a big step toward becoming bowl eligible. Whether the spread is pick, plus or even minus, we’re sticking with the Tar Heels.
ARIZONA STATE over Stanford by 10
The Sun Devils had an extra week to bask in the glory of Jaelen Strong’s Hail Mary grab which gave ASU a last-second victory over USC, but more importantly, the off week gave QB Taylor Kelly an extra seven days to rehab his foot injury, and the senior is slated to make his 34th career start against the Cardinal. The Devils will be looking for some serious revenge as well, having dropped four straight games to Stanford, including two last season: a 42-28 defeat at the Farm (where they outgained David Shaw’s team) and a 38-14 beating in the Pac-12 championship game. The staunch Cardinal stop unit sits only behind top-ranked Louisville in overall defense, giving up just 238 YPG, and leads the nation in points allowed (10 PPG). They have, however, struggled in the red zone on offense, converting just 19 of 28 scoring visits into points (ranked 118th in the nation). We still think highly of the Cardinal, but Stanford’s 1-4 mark as favorites away from The Farm is another deciding factor. Plus Marc’s ‘ALL REVVED UP’ Betcha Didn’t Know article from the Best of the Black Book is at work here, making the Pitchforks the side today. Finally, The Clincher: ASU head coach Todd Graham is 8-0 ATS as a home dog of less than 20 points versus opponents that own at least one loss on the season.
NORTHWESTERN over Nebraska by 10
What’s that sound? Was it a snap or a crackle? No, it was a big-time pop, as in Nebraska’s perfect season coming apart in its last game in East Lansing. Credit the Huskers with clawing their way back from a 27-3 4th quarter defi cit to fall to Michigan State by only 5 points, but a loss is a loss and it puts Nebraska smack in the middle of another ‘bubble burst’ situation here. Surprisingly, this has been one of the most tightly-contested series in the entire country with Northwestern shocking Big Red by 3 points in 2011, then coming up short by just 1-point in 2012 and 3-points last year. Nebraska got the benefit of a bye week after losing to Sparty and you can bet Bo Pelini worked on ways to jump-start a vaunted ground attack that was limited to an incredible 47 yards rushing by the stout Spartan defense. The Wildcats could easily be on a 4-game win streak but
they lost at Minnesota last Saturday – even though they out-yarded the Gophers, 393-274. Northwestern has also covered three straight in the series and gets the job done when looking to exact a little Big 10 revenge, posting a 7-2 ATS mark. Not so with Nebraska who stands 1-6 ATS with rest when playing off a SU loss and 1-5 ATS as chalk versus a revenging conference foe. If you still think the purple cats are in over their heads, pay particular attention to The Clincher: our well-oiled machine reports that Game Seven 3-3 home teams off one-loss exact who were dogs in their last game are 17-4 ATS when facing an opponent off a SU loss.
Notre Dame over Florida State by 3
As the late John Lennon sang, “Instant Karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you off your feet.” Well, it hasn’t exactly been instant but don’t you get the feeling that the unsavory saga of Jameis Winston and Florida State football is about ready to implode? We can’t think of a better way for Winston and the Noles to get their comeuppance than by losing to the collegiate version of the Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team) – Notre Dame. The last time Brian Kelly and his Irish took part in a showdown of this magnitude, they were unceremoniously destroyed by a superior Alabama squad in the 2012 BCS National Championship game. Rest assured that Kelly will be better prepared this time around, a notion fully supported by our mean machine: defending national champions are 10-17-2 ATS since 1980 as favorites of less than 14 points in matchups of two undefeated teams, including 1-5 ATS if the champs are allowing over 14 PPG on the season. Florida State enters with a shaky 5-13 ATS log as a home favorite of 10 or less points, including 0-5 SUATS if the Seminoles own an .800 or greater win percentage on the season. Worse, FSU’s compliance department is currently investigating why 950 Jameis Winston autographs have appeared with the same company linked to suspended Georgia RB Todd Gurley. Can you say‘distraction’? With QB Everett Golson back in the saddle for Notre Dame, the Irish have scored 30 or more points in five of six games this year, a nice complement to their 17.2 PPG defense. Coach Kelly ships in with a smokin’ 10-1 ATS log as a dog when playing off a spread loss of 9 or more points. That’s puts a spear right to the heart for Seminole nation, all of which leads to The Clincher: Irish QB Golson is 18-0 SU during the regular seaason in his career as a starter with Notre Dame.
Kansas City over San Diego by 6
The Chiefs take the field looking to get back on the winning track off their Bye Week with double-double-revenge on their minds from a pair of losses suffered to the Chargers both last season and in 2012. The good news is Andy Reid is 5-1 ATS in his NFL career in games in which his teams are seeking quadruple revenge. And speaking of Reid, he also happens to be the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2. The high voltage Chargers enter the contest 0-4 ATS home in games after scoring 30 or more points in each of their last three games. In addition, the Bolts are just 1-11 ATS in their fourth home game of the campaign when facing a foe off a non-division game, and 1-8 ATS in Game Seven when facing an avenging division opponent. The Featherheads’ 5-1 ATS mark as a dog in their fourth away game of the season cements it. However,
if that’s not enough, there is always The Clincher: Head coach Andy Reid is 16-2 SU and 13-5 ATS in games when his teams are playing with rest, including 7-0 SUATS with a .500 or less record on the season.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Nov. 8-13
Duke over Georgia Tech by 8
Yes, despite a 4-1 SU mark, the Blue Devils’ lackluster performance against the Canes has them dropping from everyone’s radar – and yes, they really haven’t played anybody besides Miami. It’s also true that the Dukies have taken it on the chops each of the last six meetings in this series (ever since David Cutcliffe came aboard in Durham). But Cutcliffe is also 8-2 SU and 6-2-1 ATS off his initial loss of the season – including 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS on the road – and he’s 5-1-1 ATS as an avenging road dog of less than 8 points in an ACC contest. We think it’s a little premature to write off a team that went to the conference championship game last year. In addition, the SMART BOX reminds us the Yellow Jackets are indeed another ‘5-0 Fat Cat’ and in this case, one that is 0-5 ATS when riding a win streak of five games or more. Paul Johnson is 7-11-1 ATS in the second of consecutive home games, including 0-5 SUATS in that role the last five times out. As usual, our well-oiled machine supplies The Clincher: College football Game Five conference road dogs off their first loss of the season are 16-2 ATS since 1980 when facing a winning opponent off a SUATS win.
Miss State over Auburn by 8
At first glance, this SEC head-on collision in Starkville between No. 2 Auburn and No. 3 Mississippi State may not be for the faint of heart but with Marc’s powerful Betcha Didn’t Know ‘BADLANDS’ article and the SMART BOX in full agreement, this is a crossfire that we understand. In fact, thanks to the same old played-out scenes, we’ve got our facts learned real good right now: Auburn is 0-5 ATS in Game Six, 0-5 ATS
away versus conference revenge and 1-4 ATS as chalk off a SU win over LSU versus a .500 or greater opponent. We also know that the dog in this series is 3-0 ATS of late. So the question then becomes can the Bulldogs rise to the occasion for a third straight week or will the Tigers be able to keep up the defensive intensity they showed last week against an LSU squad that handed them their only loss in 2013? We have a notion, a notion deep inside, that it’s the former but since we’ve made this a BEST BET, we should keep pushin’ till it’s understood. And for that we bring in The Clincher: Game Six undefeated dogs who played in a bowl game the previous season are 9-0-1 ATS since 1991 when playing off a spread win of more than 9 points.
ARKANSAS over Alabama by 1
How do we top last issue’s ‘Upset Special’ when we called for 21-point dog Utah State to get the outright win in Provo against 18th-ranked BYU? How about asking an Arkansas squad that is riding a 14-game SEC losing skein and has lost to Alabama by identical 52-0 scores each of the past two seasons to knock off the 7th-rated Tide. Hogwash, you say? Well, while we do agree that the Razorbacks are off a painful overtime loss to A&M in this building two weeks ago, our well-oiled machine informs us that OT losers with a week off have actually developed instant amnesia of late, going 12-6 ATS in followup affairs. Arkansas is also 6-2 ATS as home dogs of more than 5 points but the truth is this is more of an anti-Bama call than a pro-Arky play. You see, the Tide could well enter today’s tilt in a ‘bubbly sort of way’ (as in bubble burst) and it’s a role in which Nick Saban has struggled with in his college career as he is just 7-9 SU and 3-11 ATS in games after tasting defeat for the first time in a season. Alabama is also just 1-8 ATS off a SU favorite loss versus .750 or less opposition, 1-7 ATS as conference road chalk of less than 14 points and 2-6 ATS away versus a conference foe with rest. To make matters worse, another 10-point effort from the offense (they scored 7 on defense) and the ‘Nic-tator’ could put Lane in a coffin as the Tide had been held to less than 20 points just twice in the past six seasons. So if you still can’t understand why we feel there may be asylum in Arky just after 9:00 ET, maybe the INCREDIBLE STAT Of THE WEEK on page 3 can do the trick as it provides The Clincher: The Alabama Crimson Tide is a jaw-dropping 3-6 SU and 0-8-1 ATS in lined games off its first loss of the season since 2003.
Chicago over Atlanta by 8
At first glance, this looks like a tough call as both the Falcons and Bears figure to hit the Georgia Dome hungrier than a rabbi on Yom Kippur after they’ve each dropped their last two contests. But a deeper look shows the Bears going 9-0 ATS as non-division dogs off back-to-back SU losses and the Falcons an uncomfortable 1-5 ATS in their last six at home off back-to-back roadies. Yes, we realize that Atlanta HC Mike Smith owns a 16-4 ATS record off a double-digit SU loss but the Dirty Birds and their 29th-rated defense has yet to stop anyone but Tampa Bay. And just like that, there’s a knock a the door as the Geek Squad delivers this noteworthy piece of advice from the never-questioned database: non-division road dogs off back-to-back SUATS losses are 20-6 ATS if they allowed 30 or more points in their last loss – provided they’re facing an opponent they defeated in their last meeting that is off a SU loss. So instead of fasting (which we could never do unless that meant eating pizza rolls and potato chips) on this mediocre NFC tilt which should find the winner reaching respectability and the loser likely digging a hole too big to climb out of, we’ll put our trust in The Clincher: Chicago is 17-3 ATS as a dog in its fourth road game of the season, including 10-1 ATS off a non-division tilt.
Buffalo over New England by 7
The Patriots are back. The Patriots are back! That was the sound bellowing throughout Boston Monday morning following New England’s 26-point destruction of previously unbeaten Cincinnati last Sunday night. The fact of the matter is they may be back... but not to the degree everyone thinks. Remember, we’re talking about a team every Joe Fan in America was looking to bet against last week, to the point they kicked off as 3-point home dogs to the Bengals. Today they take to the road sporting an 0-5 SUATS mark in their fourth road game of the season. Granted, the Hoodie has made Buffy his bitch of late with wins in each of the last five matchups. However, when it comes to quintuple revenge-exact, Buffalo holds all the cards as they are a super-sharp 6-1 ATS mark in these games when they have it, while the Kraft clan is a near-mirror opposite 1-7 ATS when they are going into it. In addition, the Bills are 7-1 ATS in their last Game Six scenarios. And the MIDWEEK ALERT agrees with it all, too, pointing out the Bills’ 4.0 Yards Per Rush offense fits like peanut
butter on a jelly sandwich with the Pats’ 4.4 Yards Per Rush defense. In conclusion, the well-oiled machine steps in to confirm our assertion with The Clincher: NFL division road favorites off a SU home underdog win facing an opponent off a SU win are 4-13 SU and 3-14 ATS since 1980, including 0-7 SUATS the last seven.
Oakland over San Diego by 6
We can hear the groans all the way down to South Florida. The rotten Raiders as a Best Bet! WTF? Rest assured, though, like our American Express card, we wouldn’t leave home without assurances from our trusted database – and in this case it’s adamant we take this stance. Remember, unlike most football fans, the all-knowing machine simply puts tape over the names of the teams and spits out what it finds. For openers, what it found here is that teams returning to the States after losing in London are a glossy 4-0-1 SU and 5-0 ATS all-time in their first game back when off a loss of 7 or more points. In addition, NFL winless dogs playing with a week of rest from Game Five out are 20-14 SU and 26-7-1 ATS since 1980. And then there’s the Chargers’ anemic 0-5 ATS mark in Game Six when toting a 4-1 SU or better record into the game. Finally, we close it out
with the return of Tony Soprano, err Sparano, the new interim coach of the Raiders – and his sterling 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS mark as a division dog, including 4-0 ATS when taking more than 5 points. But that’s not all as the former Miami godfather also supplies The Clincher: Sparano is 5-0 SUATS in his NFL career in division games when his team is playing off a loss of more than 10 points.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping