— UTAH over Usc by 7 —
It has been three weeks since Kyle Whittingham picked his starting QB and although he didn’t let anyone outside of the program know who it was, the expectations were high. Since then, Utah football has had so many false starts that if Whittingham’s name was Usain Bolt, he would have been disqualified long ago. If they do make their long-awaited 2020 debut tonight, be aware that home teams in Game One of the season are 13-3 SU and 11-5 ATS in lined games versus foes playing their third game of the season, including 8-0 SUATS in the last eight since 1990. The Utes dropped a 30-23 decision as 3.5-point chalk at USC last year, but Utah is 4-1 ATS with conference revenge. Meanwhile, the highly respected Trojans had to rally late in each of their first two games to salvage victories but we don’t think that will work today. We do know that Kedon Slovis is off to a great start for the Trojans as the sophomore QB has thrown for over 700 yards in the first 2 games with 3 TD passes. Utah will apparently counter with either Jake Bentley, the South Carolina transfer with over 7,300 career-passing yards, or Cameron Rising, a sophomore transfer from Texas who is a dual-threat, but has no collegiate experience. When push comes to shove, we turn to THE CLINCHER: Utah is 14-1 SU in home openers and 13-2 SU in season openers under Whittingham.
New England over HOUSTON by 10
The Patriots found shelter from the storm on a fi eld besieged with rain last Sunday night and improved to 4-5 on the season with a stirring 23-17 win over Baltimore to keep their playoff chances alive. With it, the Patriots’ NFL-record 11-season streak of making the postseason is still alive. They are also built to do well when the weather is roughest and the calendar turns to late November. After pouring through the MIDWEEK ALERT we can fully understand why the Texans flipped from an opening 2.5-point favorite to a 2.5-point dog as Houston has been out statted in each of their last four games and are going nowhere fast. Combine Bill Belichick’s 38-12 SU and 29-19-2 ATS career record against the AFC South – including 11-0 SU and 7-3-1 ATS versus sub .400 teams – and the Pats look like the right side of this game. Houston’s 1-8 ITS (In The Stats) log this season cements the call.
LA Rams over TAMPA BAY by 10
The Bucs put arguably their best performance together in last week’s 46-23 doubling up of Carolina when they tallied 30 first downs, 544 yards and did not punt once. Once again, Tom Brady bounced back from a poor outing, completing 28-of-39 passing for 341 yards and three touchdown passes, adding a TD sneak. The Bucs’ offensive diversity was on full display with Mike Evans (6/77) Chris Godwin (6/92), Antonio Brown (7/69) and Rob Gronkowski (2/51) all making big plays. Meanwhile, the Rams held the league’s No. 1 offense, Seattle, to 16 points and 333 yards, while picking off Russell Wilson twice in a 23-16 win last week. Nonetheless, Los Angeles is 6-1 ATS in this series, including 4-0 ATS here, as well as 4-1 SUATS of late against the NFC South. Tampa Bay obliges at just 2-10 ATS as a favorite versus NFC West opponents. We wrap it all up with THE CLINCHER: The Rams are 11-4 SUATS away on Monday Nights when coming off a win, including 5-0 SUATS when coming off a win of 7 or fewer points.