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MARC LAWRENCE: PLAYBOOK’s BEST COLLEGE AND PRO UPSETS FOR WEEK EIGHT

LOUISVILLE over Virginia Tech by 10

The Hokies have been hammered by the COVID this season and the attrition is starting to show as they enter just 1-3 ATS in their last four contests. Meanwhile, Louisville snapped an ugly 4-game losing streak last week by swamping the Seminoles at Cardinals Stadium, 48- 16. Virginia Tech shows up this afternoon outgaining foes by just 34 YPG, not exactly what we like to see from a conference road favorite. Strangely enough, today’s clash marks the first meeting between these two as ACC rivals, a situation that strongly favors the home dog. It also bodes well for the Cards that the series host is on a 5-0 ATS run and that the Hokies are only 1-4 ATS versus losing conference opposition and 1-4 ATS in the second of consecutive road games. We seal the deal with THE CLINCHER: Virginia Tech is 3-15 ATS as a conference road favorite when coming off a conference game, including 0-6 ATS against an opponent that has won 17 or more of its previous 32 home games.

Pittsburgh over BALTIMORE by 1

Somehow, despite 3 INTs by Ben Roethlisberger last week, the Steelers remain the sole undefeated team in the league when they hung on to beat Tennessee after watching a 27-7 lead dissolve late in the game. The key in taking down the previously unbeaten Titans, obviously, was the defense, one that held RB Derrick Henry in check with 75 yards on 20 carries. It’s also a unit that has limited 3 of its last four foes to season-low yards. With the win, USA TODAY’s Nate Davis reports that Pittsburgh becomes only the fifth team in NFL history to win a game between two undefeated teams from Game Seven out. And that’s important given the fact that the other four all made it to the Super Bowl. The Black Birds check in 28-13-1 ATS versus undefeated foes. However, they are only 2-6 ATS when laying points at home in division games. They’ve also surrendered more and scored fewer points per game than the Black and Gold this season. Our trusted database notes that 6-0 NFL teams in Game Seven are 14-5 SU and 12-7 ATS in division games since 1980, including 10-0 SU and 8-2 ATS the last ten games. And if that’s not enough to move the needle, then try THE CLINCHER: With last week’s win against Tennessee, the Steelers are now 14-4 SU and 16-1-1 ATS as underdogs of fewer than 7 points versus opponents with a winning record.

New England over BUFFALO by 6

How often do you see the Patriots stink up the place in back-to-back weeks? It happened last Sunday when QB Cam Newton was benched after tossing 3 INTs in a 33-6 home loss – New England’s worst-ever home defeat under Bill Belichick – to the San Francisco 49ers. It was so bad that the Pats never entered the red-zone. With it, Newton’s QB Rating has fallen like the temperature and the snow on the ground at Mile High Stadium this season, coming down harder with each passing week: 100.7 Game One against Miami to 94.6 to 73.8 to 51.6 to last week’s disgraceful 39.7 effort against San Francisco. As a result, the Pats are 2-4 for the first time since 2000, Belichick’s first season with New England. In fact, the Niners punted just once and held a near 2:1 edge in Time of Possession. Talk about hitting rock bottom. In a similar vein, the Bills couldn’t muster a single touchdown against the winless Jets, settling instead for six fi eld goals. Buffalo is in search of its offense after the team failed to break 20 points for a third consecutive game. According to the history books, the last time the Bills were favored over the Pats was 9/20/15. Buffalo has been favored 5 times against New England since 2000 (with Belichick), going 1-4 SUATS. They are 5-13-1 ATS as home favorites in this series since 1980. They are also 15- 13 SU and 9-18-1 ATS in this series when they own a better record than New England, including 8-6 SU and 3-11 ATS at home (0-3 SUATS versus the Hoodie). And speaking of Belichick, he is 7-2 SU coming off three consecutive SUATS losses, including 2-0 SUATS in division contests. We saved the best for last, though, with THE CLINCHER: New England is 15-6 SU and 18-3 ATS as a dog off a loss

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