By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — Hard to believe but we’re already at the midway point of the college football season and we’re a third of the way to the playoffs in the league where they play for pay. Take a look and see:
Auburn over LSU by 1
Auburn out-yarded LSU, 438-270, in last year’s 21-17 home loss and will be anxious for revenge, and to bring an end to their current two-game losing skid. They are 5-2 ATS with single conference revenge and Hugh Freeze is 29-12 ATS as an underdog. Freeze has never won in Baton Rouge as a head coach, going 0-3 in Tiger Stadium. He truly needs his offense to get untracked, and LSU’s recent defensive woes (allowed 1,720 yards in their last three games) are just what the doctor ordered. Meanwhile, the Bayou Bengals narrowly escaped another loss with a second-half comeback at Missouri last week. Keep in mind that LSU is 0-4 ATS in this series and overall is 1-3 ATS versus single SEC revenge, but they had better not be resting on their laurels tonight. Stopping QB Jayden Daniels will be of the utmost importance for Auburn and their 25th-ranked defense is certainly up to the task. But we saved the best for last with THE CLINCHER: Auburn is 25-15-1 ATS as a dog with SEC revenge, including 7-0 ATS when coming off a loss of 7 or more points.
PITTSBURGH over Louisville by 8
They may still be swabbing the grass in Louisville after the crowd storming Saturday when the Cardinals ripped Notre Dame a new one. This weekend the Cards leave the friendly confi nes of Howard Schnellenberger Field to play one of the nation’s most disappointing teams in Pitt. Pitt won the ACC in 2021 and posted a solid 9-win season last year. Right now, things are so bad in the Steel City that QB Phil Jurkovec may be shifting to TE after being pulled last week. The Panthers only win this year is over Wofford, a non FBS opponent, and the offense has been held under 300 yards in three of fi ve games. It is a Pat Narduzzi team, so the MIDWEEK ALERT points out the Panthers rush defense is best in the nation but there’s not much else…OR IS THERE? In this series, Pitt is 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS plus 8-1 ATS coming off a conference game. Need more? The Panthers are 9-4 ATS as a dog coming off a SU favorite loss, including 3-0 ATS at home. If you are like us and read The Playbook for the articles and not the centerfold, you no doubt noticed what we’ve been hiding behind our backs.
Miami Florida over NORTH CAROLINA by 10
Yeah, we saw it. Several times. We saw the fumble that wasn’t a fumble but shouldn’t have happened anyway. We saw the UM defense allow a QB who had 76 passing yards all game get 75 on the fi nal drive with a tragic defensive mistake that allowed Georgia Tech, fresh off losing to Bowling Green, to beat Miami with :02 left. Good thing for the Canes they don’t play MACtion games. Even more frustrating was the fact that the Hurricanes shoved the Ramblin’ Wreck all over the fi eld, outgaining them by 278 yards. Mario Cristobal should be really happy he has a ridiculously high buyout, reportedly 62 million Bucks… plus UM had to pay nine million ducks, err, bucks to Oregon in 2022. UM’s reward is a trip to Chapel Hill against undefeated North Carolina, coached by someone who would have had quarterback Drake Maye dig his own grave on the 50-yard line to kill the clock. Why back a team with an obvious disadvantage at the head coaching position? UM is better than last year’s brutally disappointing squad and the Canes are one of 16 teams unbeaten In the Stats; of course UNC is also one of the 16 but the Tar Heels are a sticky 3-7 ATS in the second of three straight home games. Mack Brown’s team is a 5-0 FAT CAT, and he could have been joined by Mario Cristobal’s Canes, who instead are a 4-1 Chunky Monkey. We can sense your skepticism thanks to MC Hammerhead, so we’ve wheeled in a full on 100% THE CLINCHER, which casually drops by with a box of more expensive than ever Girl Scout Cookies and this: UNC is 4-11 SU and 1-14 ATS when coming off a conference home game, including 0-9 ATS as the favorite.
Indianapolis over JACKSONVILLE by 10
It used to be an automatic, fading teams in their next game after performing in Europe the previous game. In fact, they are just 7-17 ATS when they take the fi eld back in the States when they sport a .600 or greater record. But for the first time in NFL history, we have the pleasure of fading a team that has played its previous two games before the Royal Family. It doesn’t hurt knowing that Jacksonville is 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS as home favorites behind QB Trevor Lawrence. The Well-Oiled Machine also notes that Game Six of the season has been more like a devilish 6-6-6 to the Jags as they are 1-12 SU in Game Six the last 13 years, including 0-6 ATS at home. That’s chock full of bad numbers, if ever there were any. With it, the Colts enter 6-1 ATS when they are coming off a division home game. With backup QB Gardner Minshew back behind center, it’s important to note the Colts were averaging 7.6 yards per play when Anthony Richardson exited Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. Minshew tagged in, and the offense didn’t see a significant drop-off, averaging 6.9 yards per play the rest of the game. In his one-start this season in Game Two against Houston, Minshew completed 19 of 23 passes for 171 yards and didn’t turn the ball over while posting a passer rating of 112.1. And he’s 6-3 ATS as a division dog in his NFL career. And if you think those are all good numbers, wait until you sink your teeth into THE CLINCHER: Jacksonville is 2-14 SU and 1-15 ATS as a favorite if it was an underdog in its previous game!