Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Dec. 11-15
ARIZONA over St. Louis by10
The Gateway to the West provides the backdrop for this Week 15 opener, which fi gures to see less scoring than a dyslexic Scrabble tournament. The Rams enter off back-to-back shutout wins (the first time that’s been done in the NFL regular season since the Steelers accomplished the feat in the 2000 season) while the defensive-minded Redbirds have held 11 of 13 foes to under 21 points this season. And to boot, this day of the week hasn’t been exactly an offensive highlight reel for either of these squads as the Cardinals have been outscored 179-85 in their last six Thursday tilts (0-6 SUATS) while the Rams (2-5 SU, 1-6 ATS) are averaging less than 20 PPG (outscored 175-135) in their last seven contests before getting the weekend off. So why are we raising Arizona to Best Bet status and asking you to meet us in St. Louis? For starters, the Cards are 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS off an AFC fray while Louie is 0-4 SUATS the last two seasons following back-to-back SU wins. In addition, Arizona is 11-3 ATS in this series when taking points, including 9-1 ATS in this building. Better yet, Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians is the knock-out artist in this week’s TRIVIA TEASER (page 2) while the Rams’ mentor provides The Clincher: Jeff Fisher is 1-8 SUATS in his NFL career as a home favorite versus a .700 or greater opponent off a SUATS win.
MINNESOTA over DETROIT by 6
Don’t look now but the Vikes have already surpassed last year’s win total and sit just one game under .500 entering this fray after last week’s 87-yard TD pass by Teddy Bridgewater in OT. And despite being 4-2 SU in their last six games and 7-1 ATS in their last eight, Minny is still far enough under the radar for value still to be found. Besides, the Lions have not fared well in this series, going 6-13 SU and 5-12-2 ATS in the last 19 meetings. In addition, the Lions are 6-0 SU versus .454 or less opposition this season, but only 2-4 SU and ATS versus better. Calvin Johnson is having his usual stellar season for Detroit when he is able to stay on the field, but BridgeH2O appears to have settled on his own purple deep threat named CJ: Charles Johnson, a 2nd-year receiver out of Grand Valley State averaging nearly 22 yards per reception in Minnesota’s last three games. We feel that the Vikings are ready to wield the switch at Ford Field this Sunday, but if this week’s AWESOME ANGLE on page 2 isn’t enough for you, there is always The Clincher: The Vikes are 10-3 SU and 11-1-1 ATS with revenge in this series, including 5-0 ATS as dogs.
BUFFALO over Green Bay by 3
The Bills are in a battle for a coveted Wild Card spot, and it’s been 15 years since they last made a postseason appearance, so it is a big deal in these parts – at least it takes the attention of Buffalonians of the snow! The Bills are circling the wagons as they head down the stretch, going 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS entering this contest, and they actually held the Broncos to a season-low 306 yards in the 7-point loss at Denver last week. Don’t discount their chances – Buffy took care of the Vampire, so Green Bay should be a piece of cake. Add to that Green Bay’s 0-4 spread mark in games following a Monday Nighter and we’ve suddenly become wagon-jumpers as Monday’s slugfest with the Falcons should find the Packers punched-out today. Whether it’s the weather or not, Buffalo has posted a 3-0 SUATS mark in their Last Home Games of the past three seasons. This is Home Dog Heaven, but we’ve saved the best for last with The Clincher: the Packers have NEVER WON or covered a game in Buffalo (0-5 SUATS).
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Dec. 6 - Dec. 8
OHIO STATE over Wisconsin by 3
You gotta feel for the Buckeyes. Entering 2014 on a 24-2 SU run under HC Urban Meyer, Ohio State lost starting QB Braxton Miller for the season with a shoulder injury before playing its fi rst game. J.T. Barrett stepped in for Miller and led the the team to 10-1 record – before leaving with a broken ankle in last week’s bitter 42-28 win over archrival Michigan. Now Meyer has to turn to his third starting QB this season in what will be OSU’s biggest game of the season. It’s our contention that the team will rally around new quarterback Cardale Jones, a 6-5 250-lb product of the Cleveland Glenville pipeline and a 3-star recruit out of high school. However, Jones almost ‘Winstoned’ his way off the team earlier when he was guilty of tweeting: “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.” Open mouth, insert size 20 foot. Those hijinks almost landed Jones a one-way bus ticket home… to which Meyer now says, “He’s matured a lot. I think he’ll do a great job.” Maybe so but we’ll rely on this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT (page 3) and Meyer’s sterling 15-9 SU and 18-6 ATS career mark as a pick or dog – including 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS since 2003. He’ll need all that and more to bring down a Wisconsin team on a 7-game win streak, thanks to RB Melvin Gordon’s exploits (8 yards per carry and 26 TD’s) and an under-appreciated defense that’s limited foes to just 260 yards and 16.8 PPG. The Badgers have not missed a beat since 2nd-year HC Gary Andersen took over for Bret Bielema and Andersen’s 18-8-1 ATS success against opponents with better records is certainly noteworthy. However, the well-oiled machine reminds us that since the inception of the Big 10 championship games, the favorite in these contests is a poor 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS – and that the Buckeyes are the only FBS team to outgain every foe they’ve faced this season. Incredibly, a win here won’t guarantee a playoff appearance for Ohio State as the Selection Committee might react negatively to the loss of QB Barrett and choose another 1-loss team (like TCU) with a healthy starting contingent. Still, we think Meyer has too much talent and depth on hand to let this opportunity slip away. Take as many points as you can, roll up your sleeves and get ready for a 60-minute WAR.
CHICAGO over Dallas by 11
Playing on Thanksgiving Day in front of the entire USA when every football fanatic (plus the casual fans and quite a few others that could probably care less) sits down with family and watches most of the contest – a perk that the Cowboys and the Lions have enjoyed for decades. No doubt it was a big part of Dallas becoming known as ‘America’s Team’. But there is a downside: post-Turkey Day road teams in non-division games are just 9-27 SU and 10-25-1 ATS. In fact, the Cowboys are just2- 19 ATS as favorites against non-division foes from Game 13 out, not to mention just 1-7 ATS recently as chalk coming off a division home game. They are also a dome team (okay, a retractable roof team) favored outdoors in a cold weather site in December, and that’s a definite no-no according to our fan-friendly database as teams in this role are a measly 21-37-1 ATS since 1980. On the flip side, Da Bears don’t seem to suffer such a drastic ‘tryptophan hangover’ since they don’t play every year on the holiday, and they are actually 5-1 SUATS after performing on Thanksgiving Day. They have also covered against Dallas for three consecutive seasons and in three of the last four meetings of this series played at Soldier Field. And as poorly as he’s performed at home as a favorite, Bears QB Jay Cutler is 5-2 SUATS as a non-division home dog. So, our overwhelming choice here is Chicago, but if you are still on the fence, here’s The Clincher: Dallas QB Tony Romo is 4-16 ATS as a favorite during December in his NFL career, including 0-9 ATS in games with an Over/Under total of 47 or more points.
WASHINGTON over St. Louis by 6
OMG. A team who can’t get out of their own way is a Best Bet over a team off its largest win margin since they’ve called St. Louis home. You bet. And we can thank our sister newsletter, the MIDWEEK ALERT , for most of the fuel in this analysis. For openers, in Louie’s 52-point whitewash win over the Raiders last week, they managed a mere 348 yards of offense as a 5-0 turnover advantage absolutely killed any chance Oakland had of making it a game. Meanwhile, the win snapped a 7-game ‘In The Stats’ losing skein for Rams, a team that is losing the stats by an average of 41 YPG this season. On the other side of the coin, the down-and-out Redskins are actually outgaining opponents 28 YPG this campaign. The Hogs are also 7-0 ATS in games off an AFC tussle when taking on a foe off a SU win. Add to that the Rams’ 1-7 SUATS mark in its last eight head-to-head butts with the NFC East and suddenly it looks to us as if the wrong team is favored here. Finally, the last instruction: Note Washington QB Colt McCoy’s 113.5 QB Rating and ditch the clothespin. It won’t be needed today. The Clincher: The Rams are 1-12 ATS as road favorites versus opponents playing with revenge.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
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