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
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Oct. 31-Nov.1
NC STATE over Clemson by 3
There is not a soul in the world – not even Dave Doeren’s mom – that would step in front of the Clemson Express following the Tigers’ 58-0 waxing of Miami last week. In fact, the Colts’ special teams coach probably spent more time drawing up that fake punt than the Tigers have trailed this entire season (six minutes). No, that can’t be possible! Then why has Doeren’s Wolfpack earned Best Bet status this week? For starters, Clemmie is looking dead-ahead to a revenge match with FSU and a 3-7 ATS log before facing the Seminoles tells us they have not been focused the prior week. They are also a winless 0-3 ATS after meeting Miami so this Florida sandwich may just be what Doeren ordered – especially when you consider that the striped ones are 0-7 ATS away versus a foe with conference revenge. And that fits like an inevitably botched American football punt by an Australian kicker to the ‘Pack’s 11-3 ATS mark at home with conference revenge. Even a 4-1 ATS series history since 2010 favors State. All that and there’s still room for The Clincher: Marc’s ‘Kick In The Assets’ angle from the 2007 BLACK BOOK points out the fact that undefeated road favorites from Game Five out, off a DD ATS win facing a .500 or greater conference foe off a SUATS win, are just 8-34-4 ATS since 1980.
Georgia over Florida by 13
Jaybird The Bulldog, our SEC scout, got a call from a longtime Georgia season-ticket holder just minutes after the Dawgs outlasted Missouri, 9-6, in an epic snorefest two weeks ago. When Jay asked his friend if he was planning on making it to this year’s Georgia-Florida game, the man replied, “Jaybird, I would rather face open-heart surgery.” Such is the mood in Athens as Mark Richt and company arrive as underdogs in today’s meeting. The Gators were a favorite or pick’em at the ‘World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’ for six straight seasons under Urban Meyer, winning five of the six games on the scoreboard. But in the last four seasons, the Gators have been favored only once (6.5-point chalk in 2012), and they lost that one outright, 17-9. With both teams off a Bye, the edge goes to Georgia head coach Richt who is 3-1 SUATS as a dog with rest. In addition, his teams are
5-1 ATS as dogs off three or more spread losses, and are seeking revenge for last year’s 38-20 loss as 11.5-point favorites. “We’re in a one-game playoff,” Georgia senior inside linebacker Jake Ganus said. “It’s do or die every Saturday for these next three SEC games. Win or go home, so we’ve got to find a way to win.” This rivalry has come down to running the ball as the team with the most rushing yards has won nine straight – including last year when the Gators rushed for a mind-boggling 418 yards. However, it will likely be their Achilles’ heel here today as they’re averaging a feeble 99 RYPG and only 2.9 YPR in conference action this season. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the dreaded ‘Bubble Burst’ hanging over the Gators’ heads.
IOWA STATE over Texas by 3
The Longhorns failed to crash and burn following a monster win over Oklahoma as they derailed Kansas State in dreary, monsoon-like conditions last week, scoring with 1:47 remaining to grab the cover. Now they play only their third true road game of the season and while both foes (Notre Dame and TCU) were superior to this Iowa State squad, Texas TOTALED just 10 points and 28 first downs, proving how feeble the offense truly is. A quick glance shows the Cyclones are allowing 465 YPG but when we take away games versus the No. 2 pass offense of Texas Tech and the No. 5 pass offense of TCU, we discover they are only allowing 372 YPG... and this week they face Texas’ No. 122 pass offense. Iowa State’s defense also just held Baylor to a season-low 485 yards, which is amazingly 235 yards below their average. Meanwhile, Iowa State’s Paul Rhodes is 8-2 ATS at home off back-back losses versus sub .700 opponents. Our head coaching database supplies The Clincher: Texas’ Charlie Strong is 1-7 ATS as a conference favorite of 4 or more points off back-to-back straight up wins.
CHICAGO over Minnesota by 6
Surprise. If the NFL playoffs were to start this week, one of these two NFC North rivals would have a ticket... and it’s not the Bears. Mike Zimmer’s Vikings were pretty much a Vegas ‘wise guy’ pick in the preseason and they have not disappointed, breaking out to a 4-2 start and a second-place standing in the Black-and-Blue division. To remain in the talk, however, they must do something they haven’t been able to accomplish since 2012 –the last year they went to the playoffs – and that’s to win three consecutive games. We do know they’ve failed miserably when playing in a division game off a division game and are facing an avenging foe, going 3-13 ATS in this role when they own a .500 or greater record. On the other side of the coin, the in-and-out hibernating Bears are 6-1 SUATS the last seven games as a host in this series. And behind a sneaky good defense, they have also held no less than four opponents to season-low yards this year under John Fox and DC Vic Fangio. We smell an upset.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets, Oct. 23-25
KANSAS StATE over Texas by 11
We’re sure it’s no surprise that a Kansas football team is off back-to-back-to-back losses, surrendering 50 or more points in the last two, including getting blanked 55-0 versus the Sooners. However, what is surprising is that the Kansas team in question is the one coached by Bill Snyder! We can thank Oklahoma for at least 7 points of line value here with the Longhorns now installed as the favorite (a month ago, the Horns would have been 4-point dogs). Both of these teams faced the Sooners in their last game with 62-point differential from a 55-point Kansas State loss and a 7-point Texas win, getting UT HC Charlie Strong off the hot seat for the moment. The No. 1 lesson to remember is that no team is as bad – or as good – as their last effort. The Wildcats are 9-1 ATS after allowing more than 35 points and Grandpa Snyder is 27-8 ATS of back-to-back SU losses, the last by double digits. Normally we would end this by referring you to this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT OF THE WEEK on page 3. But we close instead with The Clincher: Bill Snyder is 12-0 ATS off a loss of 28 or more points in his career with the Wildcats.
GEORGIA TECH over Florida St by 3
Hey, if you’re looking at this prediction and think you have somehow been pulled into an alternate universe, snap out of it. We’ll admit that Georgia Tech has been one of this season’s most gigantic disappointments but the 2-5 Yellow Jackets still have five games remaining if they want to keep alive HC Paul Johnson’s string of seven straight bowl appearances with Tech. The linesmaker is a bit wary, too, installing FSU as just 5.5-point road chalk when many expected them to be a double-digit favorite over the appropriately-named Ramblin’ Wreck. It all comes down to this: can Georgia Tech find a way to dismiss the failure of the last five weeks and rediscover its A-game against the undefeated No. 9 team in the current Amway Coaches Poll? You’d better believe it! The Jackets are in the midst of their first 5-game losing skid since 1996 but through it all, they’re still outgaining opponents by 43 YPG on the season. Tech has also cashed five straight tickets in this series and owns a perfect 3-0 ATS mark as conference home dogs of 3 or more points. And Johnson, who we affectionately refer to as Ol’ Sourpuss, has gone 4-2 SU in his last six home games when playing off a home loss. Florida State edged these guys in last year’s ACC Championship game, 37-35, but the Seminoles are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games versus a squad with conference revenge. FSU is also beginning to show strains of the noose-tightening pressure that goes along with a perfect season, trailing at halftime against Louisville last week before mounting a comeback. We wrap it up with Jimbo Fisher’s poor 1-4 ATS effort on the road versus ACC foes off consecutive defeats.
NY JETS over New England by 1
There’s nothing better in Boston than a happy Brady bunch. Tom Brady may not like Pepsi (poison for your body) or Frosted Flakes (fake food), but he certainly likes beating Indianapolis – especially the rat-fink Colts. Now that he’s evened the score (for now) from the Deflategate debacle, his focus shifts to an old division nemesis in the Jets, a team against whom the Pats are 0-5 ATS at home when New England finds itself undefeated. Does it matter that New England coughed up a season-high 409 yard to the Colts in Sunday night’s win? We think so, given the fact that New York owns the league’s top ranked defense, one that surrenders 87.6 YPG less than the Patriots. We also like the fact that the Flyboys are 8-1 ATS away in this series when avenging a pair of losses from the last two meetings. Todd Bowles has done a terrific job with the Jets as they’ve outgained all five opponents this season and took down Andrew Luck and the Colts at Indianapolis, 20-7, as 6-point dogs earlier this year. We like teams playing with supreme confidence against those with their heads in the clouds. And then there is always The Clincher: Pats QB Tom Brady is 1-7 ATS at home against the Jets in games in which New York is playing with revenge.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping