Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Nov. 27- Dec. 1
Are You Ready for Some Football? HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
TEXAS over TCU by 6
We have a feeling that Condoleezza Rice and the other 12 NCAA Playoff Selection Committee members are hoping that the Longhorns feast on ‘Frog’ legs – and not turkey – this Thanksgiving. Otherwise, the verbal
attacks they’ll be getting from either the Fort Worth or Waco press on December 7 (Pearl Harbor Day) when they announce the four playoff teams will make that 1941 attack look like a water-balloon fight. The good news is the ‘Horns are rounding into shape (3-0 SUATS last three) and are 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS with regular-season rest. The bad news is the Frogs are equally impressive when given extra time to prepare in
the regular season (10-1 SU and 11-0 ATS). However, the Horned Ones are a winless 0-5 ATS as conference road favorites since joining the Big 12 in 2012 and 1-5 ATS in their last six weekday tilts while Texas is
a satisfying 3-1 SUATS at home on Thanksgiving off back-to-back SU wins. In addition, the TCU stop-unit, after surrendering a total of 21 points in their first three games, has allowed an average of 27 PPG since.
That’s not a good sign against a Texas team that is 120-4 SU at home in games in which they score 27 or more points. Neither is the fact that Longhorns’ head coach Charlie Strong is a well-prepared 9-2 ATS as a
dog versus .750 or greater, including 3-0 SUATS when taking 7 or less points. With that, look for the Frogs to croak in a big way tonight in Austin – especially with our INCREDIBLE STAT OF THE WEEK supplying
THE CLINCHER: Since 1968, TCU is 2-29 SU versus Texas, having been favored only once – last year. They lost that contest, 30-7, as 3-point favorites.
NFL: Philadelphia over Dallas by 10
Battle of 1st place leaders in the NFC East finds the Eagles taking on the Cowboys at Jerry’s World on Thanksgiving Day where America’s team has hosted Turkey Day games each year since 1978. The Boys have thrived against losing opposition on Gobbler Day, winning 12 of the last 13 matchups. Not so when facing .500 or greater opponents, however, winning only 7 of the last 19 games on Thanksgiving against relevant opposition. Making matters worse, the Cowboys are only 1-10 ATS on Thanksgiving Day games after defeating the New York Giants the previous week. On the fl ip side, the Eagles are 4-1 SU all time on this day of thanks, including 2-0 SU and ATS of late. The key to this call is the play on the field of each team lately as Philly has outgained five of its last six opponents while Dallas as been out-yarded in three of its last four contests. Granted, Cowboys QB Tony Romo is 28-6 SU in November, but Dallas head coach Jason Garrett compounds matters with a 1-7 ATS mark in his NFL career as a division favorite in games where the Cowboys own a .500 or greater record. The larger half of the wishbone goes to the Eagles in this showdown. The Clincher: Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly is 19-1 SU and 14-6 ATS on the road in NFL division and college conference games combined in his career as a head coach.
OLE Miss over Miss State by 11
Three losses in their last four games and the Rebels have gone from hosting College GameDay to being totally shunned by the media. Remember our joke that the SMART BOX was so smart it made Einstein look like Bo Wallace? Nobody’s laughing now, not after Wallace dinged his ankle in last week’s loss at Arkansas. But the time has come for Bo to tape up and get his game on. After all, what better way for Johnny Reb to bury the pain of recent setbacks than to derail rival Mississippi State – and knock them out of the national playoff picture? There is enormous pressure on the Bulldogs right now and not many 400-yard defenses (like MSU) hold up in these high-stakes situations. Not when their head coach, Dan Mullen, is just 10-25 SU versus a greater-than .700 opponent, including 1-5 SUATS when the foe is off a SU loss. Despite beating the Rebs as a 4-point home dog in last year’s meeting, Mullen has been outgained in both games against Hugh Freeze in this series, and the ATS archives suggest he’s in a bad spot here. Not only is the series host 5-1 ATS – and 8-3 SU and 8-2-1 ATS when playing with revenge off a SU loss – Mississippi also owns a timely 7-2 ATS mark when seeking SEC revenge. Toss in a Rebels’ defense that is 90 YPG better than the MSU stop-unit and you don’t have to smell magnolias to know where we’re headed. Bo restores his legend with the aid of The Clincher: Rebel head coach Hugh Freeze is 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS in his career as a single-digit underdog.
Washington State over Washington by 10
We told you about Luke Falk last week and he promptly answered our question: it was real, not Memorex! He is definitely not a Star Wars character, but instead a freshman starting QB for the Cougars, lighting up the skies with one of those cool light sabres, even if his aim is sometimes a little off. FYI: he turned down an offer by Florida State, only to be cast aside in the recruiting wars, and eventually Idaho pulled an offer amongst a new coaching change (shame on you, Vandals). Now he’s a walk-on star with Mike Leach’s Cougars despite his inexperience, passing for 1,072 yards and 8 TD’s in his first two starts with WSU (both on the road while stepping in for injured starter Connor Halliday). The Cougars were able to engineer the upset over Oregon State three weeks ago, but last Saturday dropped a 52-31 decision to Arizona State as Washington State outgained ASU, 622-330(a 5-0 TO deficit did them in). Falk admitted to some bad reads, as he was picked off four times and fumbled once, but he obviously fits well into Leach’s Air Raid attack. Meanwhile, the Huskies have been sledding downhill after a 4-0 start, going 3-5 SU since then. This is the cheapest price in this series on the Huskies – for a reason – since they were taking points in 2006, but the underdog has covered in nine of the last 10 series matchups played in Pullman, so the low number doesn’t scare us at all. Washington is 2-5 ATS in conference road finales, but here is The Clincher: Cougars’ head coach Mike Leach is 11-1 SU in
Last Home Games, including 7-0 SU and 5-0-1 ATS when his team owns a win percentage of .600 or less.
NE over Green Bay by 6
A possible Super Bowl preview perhaps? It sure smells like it as both teams take the field playing their best ball of the season. After a disturbing 1-2 start, the Packers are now on a 7-1 run, including 3-0 since their bye week. On the flip side, the Patriots bring a 7-game win skein to Lambeau after a wobbly 2-2 September. Most impressive has been New England’s rush defense, one that has allowed 153 total rushing yards int the last three games – to teams that are currently 22-11 combined on the season. The history book agrees with our contention, noting the Pats are 9-2 ATS versus the NFC North, including 6-0 ATS away. They’re also a spot-on perfect 4-0 SU and ATS as underdogs this season. Given the fact that Green Bay has cashed in only six of 20 games when hosting teams from the AFC East since 1982, and has allowed more yards than they’ve gained, the points become the play here today. The Clincher: Patriots QB Tom Brady is 33-15-1 ATS as a dog in his NFL career, including 4-0 SUATS in games where New England owns a win percentage of .800 or more.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Friday, November 21, 2014
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets Nov. 22-Nov. 24
VIRGINIA over Miami Fla by 3
The Canes came up with a game effort against the ‘Noles, holding a 23-7 lead in the opening half over the defending national champs. But in the end, Miami didn’t have enough talent, discipline, experience or whatever it takes to pull off a watershed upset. In fact, FSU’s first lead of the game came with just 3:05 to play, and while Miami’s freshman QB Brad Kayaa had a great first half, his late 4th down interception ended Miami’s last-gasp attempt at the win. The question now is whether ‘The U’ can get back up off the mat in this tricky spot against a foe desperately in need of a pair of season-ending wins to earn a bowl ticket and save HC Mike London’s job. We believe if you ask Al Golden, he’ll tell you he just wants to get out of Charlottesville with a win. Good luck with that as the Canes’ 2-6 SUATS mark in their last eight road games makes this a dicey proposition. Our MIDWEEK ALERT also alerts us that Virginia has outyarded the Hurricanes in all three games where these two coaches have met, including last season when the Cavs held a 483-304 advantage in a 19-point loss. Finally, if you’re having difficulty stepping in front of this Hurricane, our well oiled machine suggests you remember The Clincher: Miami is 0-7 ATS as a favorite in games off a SU Florida State loss since 1996.
USC over UCLA by 11
Southern Californians are by nature laid-back folks, but this historic rivalry carries with it an epic passion. Now, add the fact that the Pac-12 South race has been thrown into chaos (five of six division teams rank in the Top 25) thanks to Arizona State’s loss to the Beavers late Saturday night, and there will be a crazy vibe at the Rose Bowl this weekend. USC actually leads the division by a half-game over the two Arizona teams and the Bruins, but all four schools have two conference losses right now, which makes this an elimination game of sorts, along with the one on Black Friday between the Cats and the Sun Devils. The Trojans have been able to exploit the Bruins’ defense when that stop unit is not up to snuff, evidenced by UCLA’s 0-7 SU record and 2-5 ATS mark when allowing 27.9 or more PPG on the season, which is right where their 78th-ranked defense sits right now. Southern Cal QB Cody Kessler ranks 12th in the country in passing yardage, while his favorite target, Nelson Agholor, ranks in the nation’s Top 10 in receptions, receiving yards and TD catches. Finally, the hard-working database has gone the extra mile for this marquee matchup, giving us not just one, but two punch-outs in honor of this double-revenge scenario: The Clinchers: The Bruins are 0-8 ATS as home favorites off a win of more than 10 points when facing a conference opponent seeking double revenge-exact, and the Trojans are 6-0-1 ATS off a SU win of 8 or more points when playing with double revenge-exact.
NY GIANTS over Dallas by 10
Uh oh. Here we go again. The shrinking Giants as a stinking best bet? We can hear the moans and groans all the way from New York City down to our offices in South Florida. Didn’t Eli Manning just toss 5 interceptions last week? And isn’t Tony Romo back behind center for the Cowboys? The answers are clear and simple: yes and yes. But the deeper we dig, the more we dig this play. For openers, Manning is 5-2 SU and 6-0-1 ATS
in his career in this series when Dallas arrives off a SU win with a win percentage of less than .750. On the flip side, Romo is 1-7 ATS in his NFL career in division games in which the opponent is off a pair of SU losses, including 0-2 ATS against the Giants. And then there is Dallas’ 0-6 SUATS mark in games when favored versus a division opponents playing with triple revenge-exact. Not to mention the fact that favorites off a win in London are 0-5 ATS all-time in division games upon their return to the mainland. And if you’re still not convinced, we offer up The Clinchers: The Giants are 8-1 SU and ATS on Sunday nights off a pair of SU losses, while the Cowboys are 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS on Sunday nights versus an opponent off a pair of SU losses.
DETROIT over New England by 7
Leave it to the Brady bunch. Put them in a prime-time game, dress them up as underdogs and watch them put on a show. Such was the case last Sunday night when the Patriots pummeled the Colts, increasing their record to 4-0 SUATS as a dog this season. All good and well... until the next game, that is. That’s when the Patriots fall apart at the seams like a Salvation Army suit in games off a SU underdog and double-digit spread win when facing a .500 or greater opponent off a loss – where they are 1-10 SU and 0-11 ATS since 1980. Whew! In addition, the well-intentioned database informs us: 3-0 SUATS teams who beat the spread by 20 or more points in each win are 1-5 ATS in non-division games since 1980 when not favored by more than 7 points. Better yet, it also supplies The Clincher: NFL teams who scored 42 or more points in each of their last
two games are 0-8 ATS since 1980 when facing an opponent off a SU loss of 6 or more points.
CINCINNATI over Houston by 10
Houston QB Ryan Mallett’s debut with the Texans was impressive, for sure. He not only led his team to a 16-point win in the Dawg Pound, he put them one game back of the Colts for the AFC South lead. We’ll see how he responds in his second start today when he faces the rejuvenated Bengals. For openers, Houston is 1-6-2 ATS at home in games off one win exact. In addition, Mallett will need to overcome Houston’s lethargic 0-4 ATS record in home games off a SU away win. And speaking of SU away wins, the Bengals check in sporting a 6-0 SUATS record in non-division games off a road win. With QB Andy Dalton back on the beam, and the Bengals back atop the AFC North, Cincy will turn to the red-headed rifle’s sparkling 10-2 SUATS mark in his NFL career in games versus an opponent off a SU underdog win, including 8-1 SUATS in non-division contests. And then there is always The Clincher: Cincinnati is 18-3-1 SU and 17-4-1 ATS in its last 22 games off one win-exact, including 15-1-1 SUATS when the Bengals are off a SUATS win.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Nov.13-17
LSU over Arkansas by 11
The first question that came to mind when we saw this openingl ine was who died and made Arkansas Boss Hog? The Razorbacks a favorite? Really? Don’t forget, the piglets were taking 28 points in this matchup less than a year ago, and 12 points at home in 2012. And the last time we looked, these same Hogs were riding a 17-game conference-losing streak. We know one thing for sure: had the Tigers prevailed last week over Alabama, there would be no plus-sign next to their name. And since we suddenly don’t have to worry about points tonight in Fayetteville, check out these doozies: the Tigers are 14-0 SU after angling with Alabama and 13-1 SU away versus sub .500 conference opposition. Meanwhile, Razorbacks’ head coach Bret Bielema is 3-12 SU in his last 15 games versus a foe that owns a better win percentage and Arkansas is just 2-7 ATS with rest. Sure, the Hogs have covered six of the last seven in the series but on all but one of those occasions they were taking points. Call us crazy and throw in a straitjacket, but we’re not going to Arky Asylum tonight – not with the ‘Mad as Hell’ Hatter the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER – and providing us with the Clincher: Les Miles is 22-1 SU with LSU in games off a SU loss, including 3-0 SUATS as a dog.
VA TECH over Duke by 6
Much like in 2012 when the Hokies needed two wins in their fi al three games to keep Frank Beamer’s 21-year bowl streak alive, they need déja vu all over again to accomplish the same goal this
season. Virginia Tech lost, 13-10, as a 12-point home favorite in this series last year, snapping a 12-game series SU win streak. And with Tech getting an extra week to prepare, we expect an all-out
effort from Beamer’s boys to drive out any and all demonic spirits.Speaking of the Blue Devils, they fi nally won the stats in a game, but only by a mere 40 yards, in a 27-10 victory at Syracuse (Duke
was still being outgained, 211-171 through three quarters). We realize Duke is riding a 16-1 SU regular season skein and the Devils are clamoring for respect in the talk of 1-loss consideration teams,
but the feeling here is that talk will be over at the conclusion of this game. Our MIDWEEK ALERT reports the Dukies are -23 YPG in the stats against fellow FBS foes this season, where the Hokies
are +5 YPG in similar games. As with Tennessee, a SU loss will not keep the Gobblers home for the holidays, but they would dearly love to spoil the 1-loss record of a Duke team that’s stolen a lot of
Virginia Tech’s thunder over the past two seasons. The Clincher: HC Beamer is 18-6 SU and 18-4-2 ATS in his career as either a favorite or a dog of less than 10 points with revenge versus an opponent off back-to-back wins.
SOUTH CAROLINA OVER Florida by 3
What’s happened here? An early CFB GOY line posted at the Golden Nugget before the season started had the Gamecocks as 6-point favorites in this contest. Yes, we realize that the Ol’ Ball Coach’s squad is down but they’re not out of post-season contention as they need two wins in their final three games to keep a 6-year bowl streak alive. Remember – they were the pundits’ pick to win the SEC East when the season started. And let’s not forget that Spurrier is 10-3 ATS as a dog in games off back-to-back SU losses, including 6-0 ATS when his team’s win percentage is .555 or less. Sure, the Gators are now playing with renewed confi dence behind FR QB Treon Harris but we’re not sold on them just yet. They’re just 4-13 SU and 5-12 ATS from Game Six out versus winning opposition under Muschamp, including 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS as chalk. The bottom line is what have they done since taking 15.5 points last season in Columbia to warrant a 21-point line swing? Call us collect if you figure it out. Better yet, save your money – we’re chomping at the bit to grab the points. An absolute must take.
New England over Indianapolis by 7
A rematch from last year’s playoffs in which the Pats sent the Colts packing in a decisive 21-point win in Foxboro is on tap this Sunday night. That sets the table for tonight’s fi ght, as our welloiled
machine notes Indy is just 7-14 ATS home on Sunday nights, including 0-7 ATS with revenge and 0-5 SUATS when off a SUATS win. On the other side of the coin, the Pats are on a 4-0 SUATS run
in their last four Sunday-nighters while also standing a staggering 7-2 SU and 9-0 ATS all-time under the Sunday Night lights as a pick or dog of 3 or less points. While Andrew Luck has been nothing
short of brilliant in his young NFL career (29-15 SU and 28-15-1 ATS in all games), he has struggled in tonight’s role, just 2-7 SUATS with revenge in non-division bouts when off a SU win, including
0-5 SUATS from Game Eight out. And for those of you insistent on drinking the intoxicating Luck Kool-Aid, our INCREDIBLE STAT OF THE WEEK delivers a sobering antidote, noting the Colts are
1-14 ATS since 1980 as home favorites against New England. Whoa Nellie! All this and we haven’t even touched on The Clincher: Patriots QB Tom Brady is 28-8-1ATS in his NFL career as a pick
or dog of 3 or less points, including 18-3-1 ATS before Game Eleven of the season.
HOUSTON over Carolina by 10
It’s amazing what a new coach and a new attitude can do to a floundering program. Mike Pettine’s arrival in Cleveland has been a saving grace as, for fi rst time since 1994, the Browns are in sole
possession of fi rst place in the AFC North. This seismic shift finds fans, and the betting public, delirious with playoff fever, especially knowing pro bowlers WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron,
are due back next week. The talk of playoffs has even enthralled Pettine, who says, “We’re not going to hide from it... I think it’s OK.” To that we say hold your horses. They will fi rst need to get
past a Houston Texans team that is 4-1 SUATS the last four meetings in this series, and one that is 4-0 ATS away in games against doublerevenge-minded foes. Our all-knowing database passes along this gem: 4-5 NFL away teams in Game Ten of the season are 14-8-1 ATS since 1980, including 5-0 ATS when facing a foe off a SU doubledigit win. With the Texans anxious to rally around QB Ryan Mallett in his fi st NFL start, we close it out with The Clincher: Winning teams at home in Game Ten of the season that won 4 or fewer games last year are 1-10-1 ATS when hosting a nondivision opponent.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping