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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

MARC LAWRENCE: PLAYBOOK’S BEST COLLEGE & PRO UPSETS FOR WEEK 9

By Marc LawrenceBOISE ST over Byu by 6

In the words of the late, great Sean Connery as James Bond in ‘Goldfinger’, the fact that BYU opened as road chalk over Boise State tonight on the Broncos’ storied blue turf can best be described as, “Shocking. Positively shocking.” Now that the Cougars are firmly entrenched as favorites, we’ll be snapping the rubber band with Boise Blue. How can we count the ways? The ‘Y’ will be dealing with a team that’s posted double-digit wins in four straight seasons, posted a 45-11 SU record since the start of the 2016 season, and stands 128-9 SU at home on the blue rug since 1999. Wait, we’re not done. The Broncos are also 4-0 as dogs the last 3 years, as well as 3-0 SUATS as home dogs of fewer than 3 points, 9-2 ATS as dogs versus undefeated foes, including 4-0 ATS when the Broncos are also unbeaten, and 4-0 ATS as dogs in games involving undefeated teams. Yes, the Cougars have a big edge in game experience this season, playing seven games compared to the late-starting BSU’s two, but the Mormons are just 3-7 SU in this series of late while taking points in nine of those contests. Remember, Boise’s 56.2 win percentage versus ranked opponents ranks No. 8 over the last 10 years. No doubt that BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is something special, as he’s already thrown for 2,152 yards and 19 TDs versus only 2 INTs. Boise State’s pass defense has been solid so far, allowing just 80.5 YPG, and they’ll need to shut down the quick-scoring plays that have propelled the Cougars into a big lead in virtually every game this season. We won’t back down, though, especially after viewing THE CLINCHER: See this week’s AWESOME ANGLE on page 2. In closing, as for the recent passing of Sir Sean, we pay homage to the man by echoing the words of current James Bond actor Daniel Craig: “Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.”

BUFFALO over Seattle by 7

The Bills shook off a 5-35 losing mark to the Patriots over the previous 40 meetings in last week’s win and are now off to a 6-2 start for the second season in a row, and 11th time in their franchise history. In fact, Buffalo has NEVER missed the playoffs after beginning the season 6-2 or better. Each time they did so they went on to earn a spot in the postseason, including four trips to the Super Bowl (all losses), plus two AFL championships in 1965 and 1964. We realize the Bills are one of four winning teams that have allowed more points than they’ve scored this season. And for what it’s worth, Buffy is 3-1 SUATS after defeating Bill Belichick’s Pats. Don’t tell anyone, but Seattle WR DK Metcalf has become the most potent offensive threat in the league. He caught 12 of 15 targets for 161 yards and a pair of jaw-dropping TDs last week. Should he continue, he’ll likely be wearing a new Rolex Oyster watch, compliments of Russell Wilson, by season’s end. However, the Seahawks still hold down the worst ranked defense in the league this season, surrendering 461 yards per game while being out yarded -47 yards per contest. Through it all, the Bills are inching closer to their first division title since 1995. We cement the call with THE CLINCHER: Buffalo is 23-9-1 ATS against NFC West opponents since 1990, including 11-1 ATS with a win percentage of .570 or greater.

New Orleans over TAMPA BAY by 6

The Bucs return home after winning by the skin of their teeth Monday night at the Giants. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, there is no oncologist needed to help detect the presence of a new cancer in the locker room with WR Antonio Brown now cleared to play for the Bucs today. Brown never took a snap with New England when they cut him two weeks after signing him last year. The alleged rape artist is reported to have moved in with Tom Brady, which probably has Giselle sleepless in Tampa these days. Meanwhile, the Saints are a half-game behind the Buccaneers and desperately need the season sweep of the series this week. They are currently holding down the No. 5 playoff seed, looking up at the No. 2 seeded Bucs. With WRs Michael Thomas and Emanuel Sanders out, New Orleans can finish anywhere from No. 1 to No. 7 in the end, except for No. 4. New Orleans is 6-0 SU and 5-0-1 ATS in Game Eight. And the Saints’ last five games have all been one-score results with New Orleans winning the last three, all each by a fi eld goal (two in overtime). Which reminds us that Sean Payton is 10-3 ATS as a division road dog in games decided by one-score or less.

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