Thursday, October 10, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 6
Thursday October 10
Arizona over USC by 10
We knew it was coming. And though it might have been more compassionate for AD Pat Haden to take Lane Kiffi n out for dinner first before dropping the ‘Donald Trump’ bomb on his head, most of Trojan nation probably agree that Haden’s airport ambush was more than Kiffi n deserved. Do the math: 7 losses in the last 11 games is UNACCEPTABLE at Southern Cal. Former Ole Miss boss Ed Orgeron was named the interim head coach but we’ll be surprised if he can staunch the fl ow of blood. In addition to the chaos of a mid-season coaching change, the loss of superstar WR Marquis Lee is crippling for a USC program that was already coming apart at the seams. Orgeron ain’t no Pete Carroll – he’s only 1-6-2 ATS as a pick or favorite in his coaching career and a stomach-churning 0-7 SUATS in games in which his team sports a .400 or greater record. Hey, even when better men strode the sidelines for the Trojans, Arizona was still able to give them fi ts. The desert Cats are 7-1 ATS in the previous eight series meetings, 8-0 ATS as underdogs and have covered four straight at the Coliseum. However, unlike traditional Rich Rodriguez teams, this year’s Arizona squad can play a little defense, holding three of their four foes to season-low yards in 2013. Rich Rod, who is 8-1 SUATS away versus a winning foe off a loss, has also had an extra week to goad his Wildcats into action by making them watch fi lm from their 31-13 no-show at Seattle. It’s our polarizing database, though, that once again comes up with the deciding factor: since 2000, there have been only THREE interim coaches that took over an FBS program for a coach that was fi red before the end of September. Collectively they are 5-18 SU overall, including 1-16 SU in games versus .300 or greater opponents. Yikes! Yes, regardless of how temptingly low the pointspread may appear, it’s imperative to avoid the Trojans in this current stage of shell-shock. The Clincher: our INCREDIBLE STAT on page 3 cements it.
NY Giants over Chicago by 3
Who would have imagined: Eli Manning 0-5, easily off to the worst start of his career. This week Eli fi nds relief in the spread on today’s game, as he is 14-6 ATS in his NFL career as a dog of 5 or more points. In addition, Manning is 3-0 ATS in his career in games off a pair of losses when battling the NFC North. Meanwhile, the Windy City boys return to the scene of the crime where they dropped an 8-point turd here last week to the Saints. Not good news for Bears-backers considering Chicago’s stinky 0-6 ATS mark as home favorites of more than 2 points when playing off an immediate home loss, and its 0-4 SUATS mark the last four games as a host in this series. At 0-6, Eli’s out of the mix. We’re betting he stays alive at 1-5. The Clincher: Chicago QB Jay Cutler is 6-11 SU and 2-15 ATS as a NFL non-division home favorite in games where his team owns a winning record.
Saturday October 12
W MICHIGAN over Buffalo by 1
We’ve all heard of the infamous Sports Illustrated ‘cover curse’, but what about this? New Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck, the nation’s youngest FBS head man at 32-years-old, was proclaimed ‘Best New Hire Of 2013’ by SI before the season got underway. But after an 0-5 start where WMU has been outscored by 23.2 PPG and outgained by 119 YPG, it’s apparent someone got some bad information. The Broncos have fallen on hard times, for sure, but what better spot for a Homecoming win than with a double-digit dog who has been the underdog only three times in the last 15 meetings in this series? Our tireless database also goes to bat for the Broncos, noting that visiting Buffalo has been favored eight times against avenging opponents since becoming an FBS team, and has stumbled to a 1-7 ATS mark in those games. Nonetheless, the Bulls are starting to get some attention, recovering from an 0-2 road start against powerhouse teams Ohio State and Baylor to hit the trifecta with home wins over Stony Brook, UConn and Eastern Michigan. Despite that momentum, this is not a good scheduling spot for the Bulls: they’re 1-16 SU in their last 17 road games and are now forced to lay doubles on the highway today (or as Charlie Brown would put it, “Good grief!”). And with a lot of Buffy’s players penciling in the automatic win over today’s chump foe, we’re betting they get caught looking ahead to a trio of revengers with Kent State, Ohio U and Toledo waiting in the wings. As far-fetched as it sounds, look for the series dog to improve to 5-1-1 ATS after Western Michigan springs the upset. The Clincher: see Marc’s BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW ‘Desperado’ article on page 2.
SUNDAY October 13
SAN DIEGO over Indy by 13
A spinoff from Marc’s ‘AH HA’ Best of the Black Book theorem brings a juicy Monday night play that zooms right to the top of the Best Bet page this week. It involves Monday night home teams that were away (A) last week, hosting a foe off a home (H) win. These 180º site changes (HA) have been ultra benefi cial for Monday night non-division hosts who are either favored or a dog of less than 3 points, going 11-0 SUATS since 2004. In addition, like a Tesla pulling out of a Supercharger station, the Bolts charge up under the Monday night lights, going 11-2 ATS in non-division tilts, including 6-0 ATS when playing off a loss. On the other side of the coin, the Colts check in off Sunday’s upset win over Seattle, handing the Seahawks their fi rst loss of the season despite being outgained by over 100 yards in the contest. That’s magnifi ed by the fact San Diego outyarded Oakland by 124 yards in its Sunday night loss to the Raiders… making this a double 100-yard ‘inside-out’ stat affair. Making matters worse, Indy is 0-7 ATS in this series when arriving off a SUATS win in its last game. With the Chargers 9-1 SUATS at home with a .400 or greater record when playing off a SU favorite loss, and NFL teams a sour 4-16-2 ATS when either pick or favored after skirmishes with Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, look for the Colts to toss a shoe tonight. The Clincher: San Diego is 21-3-1 ATS all-time in games versus the AFC South.
BALTIMORE over Green Bay by 8
The Ravens return home off last week’s moneymaking visit to Miami knowing they are 5-0 ATS at home behind head coach John Harbaugh in games off a SU underdog win. The Black Birds are also 4-0 SUATS all-time on this fi eld against NFC North opponents. Enter the Packers, off last Sunday’s victory over the depleted Lions, sporting a lousy 1-4 SU franchise mark in games on the AFC North road. And then there’s the defense, the one of which Baltimore owns that has held two foes to season-low yards this year, and the other of which Green Bay possesses that has surrendered season high yards on two different occasions this campaign – and will likely be minus the services of all-world LB Clay Matthews. We like better defensive dogs with winning records. And we like Baltimore again today. The Clincher: defending Super Bowl champions are 5-0 ATS as non-division dogs off a SU underdog win since 1980.
Written by John Pricci
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets Week 5
THURSDAY OCTOBER 3
IOWA ST over Texas by 1
The Longhorns’ tense 31-21 win over Kansas State two weeks ago temporarily halted the ‘Mack Must Go’ talk around Austin but the furor will begin anew if Texas doesn’t defl ate the Cyclones here (UT won the last two meetings by margins of 26 and 23 points). Brown is hoping an extra week of prep time keeps his squad in a winning stateof mind… especially with this year’s Red River Rivalry game against hated Oklahoma looming on the horizon. Tonight’s role has served Texas well in the past as its second road game of the season has been like money in the bank, going 14-0 SU and 13-1 ATS. However, the problem with THIS second away game is that Bevo runs right into ISU’s cry for ‘HELP’ (see Marc’s Betcha Didn’t Know article on page 2). In fact, we expect the Cyclones to be quite a handful here as our Golden Rule is to always back a winning ‘angle’ over a winning ‘trend’. Besides, it’s our belief that an extra week of rest is simply not enough to cure what ails Mackie’s program right now. Iowa State may be off to a 1-2 start but the ‘Clones are actually just two scores away from being undefeated this season (lost by 6 to Iowa and 8 to Northern Iowa), plus they did hold Iowa to season-low yards. The ISU rush ‘D’ is also superior to the Longhorns stop unit by 83 YPG – while giving up a full yard less per carry than the visitors. From the database: Big 12 home dogs off a win are 9-3 SU and 11-1 ATS when facing a .500-or less conference opponent since the formation of the Big 12. With the Cyclones coming off an impressive 38-21 road win at Tulsa, look for the hosts to blow away the Horns’ attempt at climbing over the .500 mark in 2013. The Clincher: ISU coach Paul Rhoads is 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS as a dog when .500 or less versus a .666 or less opponent.
Notre Dame over Arizona St By 1
So Todd Graham literally put a fork in Lane Kiffi n’s career… now what? Well, if you liked those giant pitchforks on one side of the Sun Devil helmets last weekend, you should love the fl aming helmets they’ll be wearing this week against the Irish (fi rst, the Hokie stone helmets last week worn by Virginia Tech, now these… there’s no question that college football helmets are giving multi-colored bowling balls a run for their money!). Anyway, back to basics and we feel this game at Cowboys Stadium is a tough one to pick. So, when the going gets tough, the tough start crunching numbers. Golden Domers are 22-6 SU and 21-6-1 ATS in Game Six, including 17-3-1 ATS versus an opponent coming off a win, not to mention 9-3 ATS as an underdog of less than a TD against the Pac-12. Brian Kelly teams have also been dangerous dogs off a loss, going 11-4 ATS, including 6-1 ATS when getting 5.5 points or more. Of course, the Fighting Irish will need to keep their dukes up from the opening bell after fi nding themselves on the canvas down by 14 early against the Sooners. Meanwhile in Tempe, ASU had another big offensive game with 612 yards, but allowed nearly as many (Trojans gashed them for another 542, including nearly 250 yards on the ground). The Irish haven’t covered a game yet this season, but here’s an opportunity to win back their fans with a register-ringing effort today. Cha-ching!
FRIDAY October 4
BYU over Utah State by 3
Utah State is another team that’s just a few plays short of perfection, losing two games to USC and Utah by a grand total of 7 points. Not a bad debut for Matt Wells, who was last year’s OC before taking over as head coach following the departure of Gary Andersen to Wisconsin. With dynamic QB Chuckie Keeton hitting 71% of his passes in 2013 while throwing for a mind-boggling TD/INT ratio of 17-to-1, the Aggies look like a safe bet to go bowling for a third straight year. One of USU’s two remaining roadblocks are the Cougars from Provo, a team that’s beaten the Aggies on the scoreboard in five of the last six get-togethers. In fact, BYU has gone 22-2 SU against their fellow Mormons from Logan – despite being favored in all 24 games. With Utah State now taking on the chalk role, this matchup becomes what is known in handicapping circles as a ‘step-up game’. We’re not certain that the Aggies are ready to dress up in these clothes, not when the visitors are 4-1 ATS on the road versus an avenging foe and 4-1 ATS off a 3-games-or-more home stand. And even though USU is on a dynamite 12-2-1 ATS run, the hosts own a weak 2-6 ATS record as chalk off a SU win against an opponent with revenge. Those numbers and more make Bronco Mendenhall’s boys a dominating dog (we call them DIA DIA’s – dominating dogs in action, doing it again) tonight… and until the Aggies ‘step up’ in just such a scenario, we’ll continue to back the dominating dog. B-White-U takes the latest round in this Beehive State slugfest.
BALTIMORE over Miami by 6
Miami’s fall from grace was swift after being exposed as a 3-0 ‘phony’ to open the 2013 campaign in a one-way rout Monday night at New Orleans. Today the Fins will hope to overcome a scary 0-6 ATS mark as
a favorite in games against the AFC North and an equally depressing 0-6 ATS record as home chalk during the 2Q (Game Five tru Eight) of the season. Enter the defending Super Bowl champs, sitting dead even
at 2-2 on the season after last week’s choke-job at Buffalo. The good news for the Black Birds is they are 11-3-1 ATS as dogs against the AFC East, including 5-0 ATS off a loss. In addition, QB Joe Flacco – off last week’s 5-interception laced performance – is 5-1 ATS in his NFL career in games off a SU favorite loss. With defending SB champions 17-8-1 ATS in games as a dog after being tripped up as a favorite the prior game, we’ve got a taste for some grilled mahi-mahi today. The Clincher: the Dolphins are 3-18 ATS as home favorites in games in which they own a win percentage of .454 or more on the season.
OAKLAND over San Diego by 8
Thanks to the MLB playoffs, this game has been moved back to 11:35 PM ET instead of the originally scheduled 4:25 PM kickoff to accommodate the field crew at the O.o Coliseum as they transition the field from baseball to football. Yes, the Raiders are the only NFL team that shares a stadium with a MLB team. They are also the only team in the league with a losing record that has managed to hold two opponents to season-low yards this year. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers’ defense, better than only the Eagles and the Redskins, has surrendered season-high yardage in two of their four contests. Through it all, San Diego enters tonight’s fray with a 3-0-1 ATS mark on the season. Hence, the combination of name and reputation brings this line in at an attractive, playable range. We love he fact that San Diego finds itself dressing up as a favorite for the first time this season, a role in which they’ve struggled (7-11 ATS) the previous two years. Meanwhile, Oakland finds itself sitting pretty at 7-1-1 ATS as a home dog of late in games off a SUATS loss, and 7-4 SU
and 9-2 ATS in this series when playing off a pair of losses. While Bud Selig may have got his way today, the Chargers are caught looking a tan array of bad numbers. The Clincher: the Chargers are 0-7 ATS as road chalk in games off a spread win of 7 or more points.
Written by Marc Lawrence
can also be found at Playbook.com
- One Click Handicapping
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