Utah over USC by 7
It’s true, the QB situation at Utah could be a lot more stable, with Charlie Brewer’s sudden exit after three games leaving behind inexperienced backups in Texas transfers Cam Rising and Ja’Quinden Jackson to run the offense. Brewer, who transferred in from Baylor, apparently took issue when the Utes listed backup QB Rising as the starter on the team’s official depth chart. Head coach Kyle Whittingham took the high road with the Brewer situation, saying “Charlie has decided to move on and we wish him the best.” He could say that because Rising has completed 34 of 57 passes for 319 yards this season, with 4 TDs and zero picks, plus he’s rushed ten times for 78 yards. But even after the return of QB Kedon Slovis to lead USC’s 37-14 thumping of Colorado last week, we’re not sure we can trust the Trojans to exploit the Utah reset on offense. Not when USC is 0-4 ATS in the series when coming off a SUATS win, plus a passive 7-13 ATS as Pac-12 home chalk, including 1-4 ATS in the last five. Need more? The Utes are a useful 12-7 SU and 15-4 ATS when .500 under Whittingham, including 8-0 ATS as a dog of 3 or more points.
LSU over KENTUCKY by 10
We get the sense that head coach Ed Orgeron’s luster is wearing thin at Baton Rouge these days. LSU went undefeated and won the national championship in 2019, but since grabbing the trophy, the Tigers are just two games above .500. That means the Cajun word-mangler has faced increasing criticism of late for his team’s performance, most of which we feel is justified. For example, last week’s 24-19 home loss to Auburn was disturbing not only because Orgeron’s Tigers were outgained almost 100 yards in the contest, but also because they have lost their aura of invincibility on their home fi eld, going just 4-4 in their last eight games at Death Valley. Hey, it’s tough enough winning road games in the SEC, so you need to score home victories if you wish to successfully compete in the best college football conference in the land. Nothing could serve them better than to take to the road this week where they catch SEC East co-leader Kentucky off its monumental 20-13 upset win of Florida last week. After losing 33 of its previous 35 battles with the Gators, you would think Mr. Mo-Mentum would stick around Lexington for another week, but his reputation is to bail on the Cats, who are 14-27 SU after games with UF, including 2-7 ATS as a favorite. The Tigers make things more difficult for the hosts with their 17-4 ATS as dogs when coming off a SU favorite loss, including 13-1-1 ATS versus greater than .700 opponents. And for what it’s worth, Kentucky’s fi nest is 0-3 SUATS since 1980 in Game Six after opening the season 5-0, plus Big blue is a weak 13-33 SU and 17-29 ATS in SEC games after winning any game SU as an underdog. The coup de grace, though, is the fact that the Wildcats turn into ‘5-0 Fat Cats’ this week as described in this week’s SMART BOX on page 3. The well-oiled machine supplies THE CLINCHER: College football home favorites coming off a SU home win as an underdog of 7 or more points are 1-13 ATS the last six years when facing .600 or fewer opponents.
Penn St over IOWA by 10
The Nittany Lions have dominated this series over the last seven meetings, winning six while covering five times. However, this a whole new ball of wax: a match-up of two Top 4 teams and unquestionably, the game of the week. Still a tier just below Bama and Georgia, the winner today could be one of the front-runners for a CFP berth. Next to Alabama’s 19-game win skein, PSU’s current 9-game win streak is topped only by Iowa (11) and Oklahoma (13). The last time PSU had a 9-game winning streak was in 2016 when they lost to USC, 52-49, in the Rose Bowl as a 7-point dog. Something’s gotta give here, and we see the Hawkeyes being the fall guy. Penn State is 3-0 ATS on the road with conference revenge (they got drubbed by the Hawkeyes in Happy Valley last year, 41-21, to drop them to 0-5), while Iowa is just 1-5 ATS at home against a vengeful opponent. The Lions are also 10-1 ATS in Game Six of the season versus a foe coming off a win, including 6-0 SUATS in the last six. Meanwhile, Kirk Ferentz is 2-6-1 ATS as a favorite in games when both teams are undefeated and the opponent is seeking revenge. But here is THE DOUBLE-FORTIFYING CLINCHER: Iowa is a 5-0 ‘Fat Cat fade’ as outlined in this week’s SMART BOX on page 3, while Penn State is a 5-0 ‘Fat Cat play’ inside that Sagacious Square.
UTSA over WESTERN KENTUCKY by 7
The Hilltoppers collected a $1.5 million check for being Michigan State’s bitch last week, and they laid down like a well-paid prostitute, trailing 42-16 at the half before going on to lose 48-31. Wicky brings a 7-18 ATS record into this game as a favorite when coming off a loss, including a dismal 3-12 ATS mark in conference contests. Meanwhile, UTSA is one of 15 FBS teams entering this week undefeated (5-0), but the Road Runners are still getting the Rodney Dangerfield treatment. With that unblemished record, they also have ties to this week’s 5-0 ‘Fat Cat Dog” SMART BOX, which vaults them up on this week’s playlist. The Runners could earn their way into the poll this week for the first time ever with a win over the Hilltoppers and Tyson Helton’s prolific offense (Western ran 91 plays and gained 565 yards in East Lansing on Saturday against the Spartans). An added edge presents itself, compliments of THE CLINCHER: UTSA is 12-3 ATS as a dog of late, including 6-1 SUATS as a dog of 7 or fewer or points.
San Francisco over ARIZONA by 1
It’s official. The upstart Cardinals are the NFL’s only 4-0 team after beating the Rams in Los Angeles last week. With it, they’re just the fifth team in NFL history to score 30-plus points and tally 400- plus yards of offense in each of their first four games. The last time Arizona started a season 4-0 was in 2012. For what it’s worth, that team finished the season 5-11. The key to Zona’s success has been a balanced offense. They threw the ball 32 times, but ran it 40 times – and for 216 yards and two TDs in last week’s takedown of the Rams. QB Kyler Murray tossed for 268 yards and 2 TDs passing and rushed for 39 yards, and also scrambled six times for 39 rushing yards. Meet the new leader in the MVP clubhouse. FYI: Murray was 0-4 SUATS in his career against the Rams until last week. On the other side of the fi eld, it’s obvious the two headed quarterback situation is not working for the Niners, and head coach Kyle Shanahan knows it. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 14-of-23 passes for 165 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He was pulled in favor of Trey Lance, who went 9-of-18 for 157 yards and two touchdowns to go along with seven scrambles for 41 rushing yards. The Niners enter off a pair of SU favorite losses, while the host Cardinals arrive off last week’s underdog win against the Rams. Because of it, the bottom line is this game is packed with value. Remember, the preseason line on this game at the Westgate SuperBook was “pick”, so it’s been adjusted more than a variable rate mortgage loan. And since we’re all about the value, we close it out with THE CLINCHER: San Francisco is 12-3 SU and 11-3-1 ATS when coming off consecutive SU losses as a favorite, including 5-0 SUATS versus .800 or greater opponents.
Buffalo over KANSAS CITY by 10
Kudos. Andy Reid became the first NFL coach to win 100 games with two different teams, and his 100th win with the Chiefs came against his former team, the Eagles. Their focus today, though, needs to shift to the visiting Bills, who arrive with a mega-revenge chip on their shoulders from losing to Kansas City on this fi eld in the AFC championship game last season. The loss snapped an 8-game win streak, and denied them a trip to Tampa for Super Bowl LV, where the hometown Bucs captured the Vince Lombardi Trophy in a surprisingly easy 31-9 win over the Chiefs. Buffalo arrives here today as arguably the best team in the AFC, as everybody in the AFC East trails the Bills by two full games… and that’s after four games. When push comes to shove in this contest, it will be the Bills No. 1 ranked defense against the Chiefs No. 31 stop-unit, with a gap of 221 yards separating the two in this grudge match – and that’s something we can’t pass up. Not when defending Super Bowl losers are 20-40-2 when coming off a SUATS win and facing an opponent coming off consecutive wins. While the defensive genius of Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott is a given, he continues to fl y under the radar in games when coming off high-scoring efforts, going 8-1 SUATS in his career in games after the Bills tally 35 or more points in their previous contest. He is also 6-1 SUATS with Buffalo in matchups of winning teams when his troops own the higher win percentage. With that, we turn things over to THE CLINCHER: Buffalo QB Josh Allen is 12-1 SU and 10-2-1 ATS in his NFL career against opponents coming off a SUATS win, including 7-0 SUATS when the Bills own a greater than .666 win percentage.