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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Marc Lawrence, — Wish all HRI readers the Happiest Thanksgiving and all the best of the holiday season to come. Now, on to the gridiron!


SEATTLE over San Francisco by 6

This would be a possible playoff matchup if the postseason were to start this week, with Frisco being the No. 3 NFC seed and Seattle the No. 6 seed. The carrot for the Seahawks is they can assume the division lead with a win tonight. Meanwhile, 49ers QB Brock Purdy tossed a “no-hitter” in his last start when he finished with 333 yards and 3 TDs and a perfect QB Rating of 158.3 in the Niners win-no-cover against Tampa Bay. On the other side of the ball, ironically, there were more penalty flags on the field (22) than points scored by either team in last week’s 17-16 loss by Seattle against the Rams. With it, the Seahawks are 10-2 SU and 9–3-1 ATS at home in this series, including 7-1 SU and 7-0–1 ATS if not coming off an ATS loss of 4 or more points. They are also 8-2 ATS as home dogs of 3-plus points. Flipping the script, San Francisco enters 4-9 ATS versus division foe seeking triple revenge exact, including 1-6 ATS when coming off consecutive wins. And they are winless on whipped cream and-pumpkin pie day at 0-2 ATS. Don’t be afraid. We like fading pitchers and QBs coming off no-hit efforts, especially with added backing from THE CLINCHER: Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is 23-9-1 ATS as a home dog in his NFL career, including 9-2 ATS as a dog of 4 or more points.


MINNESOTA over Wisconsin by 8

At 5-6 the Gophers are anxious to dig their way out of their hole and into a bowl game with a win today. That makes Minnesota one of the teams from our NOW OR NEVER list of squads who need to win this week in order to earn their bowl stripes. Wisconsin qualified last week with their win over Nebraska but it was far from easy: the Badgers had lost three straight games before bringing down the Huskers in overtime. Luke Fickell’s debut as Wisconsin head coach has been somewhat underwhelming as Bucky’s offense has managed just 19 PPG since Big Ten play began, a far cry from the teams of the past who bludgeoned opponents with a near-unstoppable rushing attack. Season-ending games have not been kind to Wisconsin either as they’ve gone a puzzling 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS in season finales the last six years. Yes, Minnesota is coming off consecutive losses of its own, but the Gophers are 18-6 ATS when coming off a pair of losses, including 9-1 SUATS at home. They’re also a sweet 8-1 ATS as a dog after dressing up as a dog. Will P.J. Fleck manage to row the boat into victory lane and quiet the rumblings of discontent in Minneapolis? The answer lies within THE CLINCHER: Minnesota head coach P.J. fleck is 6-2 ATS as a dog in his career in season finales, including 4-0 ATS versus sub .800 opponents.

California over UCLA by 1

The Bears are in a great spot today, playing with triple revenge against their namesake – the University of California at Los Angeles – in need of a bowl-eligible clinching win. They will also be catching the Bruins off a rivalry revenge victory against USC last week, as UCLA dominated the plummeting Trojans, 38- 20. However, the Bruins are just 6-14 ATS when playing against revenge in this series and are a miserable 3-7 SU and 1-8-1 ATS at home after facing USC. Add to that a 2-9 SU and 1-9-1 ATS in LHGs and we put up the stop sign in Pasadena. Meanwhile, Cal head coach Justin Wilcox is 13-5 ATS as a home dog, including 7-0 ATS when coming off a win as a favorite versus a foe coming off a win as a dog. UCLA has the nation’s second-ranked rushing defense, but Cal’s sophomore RB Jadyn Ott has averaged nearly 145 yards on the ground over the last four games and scored 6 TD’s and is the Pac-12’s leading rusher. THE CLINCHER: Cal is 9-1 ATS in this series when UCLA is coming of a Win.

HAWAII over Colorado State by 6

The Rams are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite, 1-8 ATS coming off a win-no-cover and 1-8 ATS when coming off back to-back wins. They almost coughed up a 20-3 lead to Nevada on Saturday, but QB Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi rediscovered his mojo in the fourth quarter and CSU held on for a 30-20 win. We realize the Rams reside on this week’s NOW OR NEVER list of bowl teams in need of a bowl-eligible win, but we see them caving under the pressure. It probably doesn’t help that tailback Avery Morrow was knocked out of Saturday’s game with a serious hip pointer. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Warriors conclude the season in a favorable situation at 8-1 ATS when coming off a road game and facing a foe coming off home game. They are also 5-0 SU and 3-1-1 ATS in LHGs the past five seasons.

COASTAL CAROLINA over James Madison by 6

Army served Stuffed Chanticleer under glass last week by shoving the ball down Coastal’s throat with 325 rushing yards. That CCU loss ended a 5-0 SUATS streak, this despite No. 1 QB Grayson McCall being sidelined October 21st with a concussion. Backups Jarret Guest and Ethan Vasko have been more than adequate and with McCall’s future still very cloudy, fi rst year Coach Tim Beck will be forced to stick with his backups. The Chants are 7-4 and a win places them in the Fun Belt title game vs. Troy. Don’t mention championships, bowl games or anything post-season related to Cell Phone Curt Cignetti, because you can’t blame Dukes’ coach for putting the MAD in James Madison. The NCAA stuck to their moronic stupidly needless rule not allowing a team to play in a bowl game while transitioning from D3 to D1. The week got worse when the ‘72 Dolphins popped the corks once JMU was upset by App. State. You can’t fi x stupid, so JMU is finishing their promising season at Coastal against a team that likely hasn’t forgotten the 47-7 beatdown they took from J. Mad last year. Sneering at the dingbats in the NCAA, THE CLINCHER arrives with the last word: Coastal Carolina is 5-2 SU and 7-0 ATS as a single-digit dog with revenge on the brain, including 4-0 SUATS when the Chants are batting .600 or better in the win column


BUFFALO over Philadelphia by 11

New OC Joe Brady had the Bills offense looking much better when it posted 32 points, Buffalo’s most since Week 4, and 393 yards of offense. Surprisingly, it was their fourth win by 25-plus points this season. On the other side of the coin, with Monday night’s win over the Chiefs, Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts has won 12 straight regular-season games against winning teams. Counting the playoffs, he is 17-7 SU and 16-8 ATS overall against the same, including 12-3 SU and 11-4 ATS at home (11-0 SU and 9-2 ATS the last eleven games). Thus, each team brings a lot to the table in this contest. So much so that if the NFL playoffs were to begin this week, Philly would own the No. 1 seed in the NFC. However, due to its recent funk, Buffalo would be on the outside looking in as the No. 8 seed in the AFC. Remember, though, the Bills are one of only five NFL teams that rank in the Top 10 on both offense and defense this season – the Eagles do not. We top it off with the fact that Buffalo is 5-0 SUATS the last ten years against foes coming off a Monday Night game.

CINCINNATI over Pittsburgh by 10

For the longest while last week, the Steelers looked as if they were about to actually outgain an opponent this season. That was until Cleveland started its game-winning drive from their own 25-yard line and turned it into a game-winning 34-yard fi eld goal fi eld. With it, Pittsburgh lost the game 13-10, and the total yards 249-259, to fall to 0-10 ITS (In The Stats) on the season. The Steelers are the only team in the AFC at this stage of the season with a winning record that has surrendered more points than they’ve scored. One reason is the Burghers own the league’s best Turnover Differential in the loop at +11 net on the season. That doesn’t last long. In fact, they’ve panicked to the point it fired OC Matt Canada, the fi rst in-season coaching change by Pittsburgh since the start of WWII back in 1941. RB coach Eddie Faulkner will be the OC, and QB coach Mike Sullivan will call the plays. Somehow, that feels disjointed as hell. With Joe Burrow finished for the season, the Bengals are forced to turn to Jake Browning, who will be making his first NFL start in this contest. With that, we note that the Steelers’ last loss to a quarterback making his first NFL start was in 1992 to a signal-caller named Brett Favre. Since then, Bill Cowher went 4-0 against quarterbacks making their maiden voyage, matching Mike Tomlin’s identical 4-0 record against the same, the last in 2020 against Dallas QB Garrett Gilbert, who lost 24-19 as a 14-point home dog. In fact, Boomer Esiason is the last Bengals’ QB to win a fi rst start at home in a 13-3 win in 1984 against the Oilers. So where does that leave us today? In today’s world, we call it a “rally around the new QB” plight. Biggest Achilles without Joe Burrow is the Bengals’ pitiable ground game which ranks last in Rush Attempts Per Game and No. 30 in overall rushing. Still, the bottom line is Pittsburgh is still 0-10 ‘In the Stats’ this season, and you won’t find us laying points with them any time soon. Not with the Bengals 5-0-2 ATS when coming off two losses exactly, including 4-0 outright in the last four games. While this appears a strange “Best Bet” call, it’s time to hand it off to the THE CLINCHER: Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is 12-3 ATS as a dog against an opponent the Bengals defeated in their most recent meeting, including 12-1 ATS as a dog of more than one-point.

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2 Responses

  1. Ouch, brutal picks that just about nobody cares to see. Give it up since most past stats won’t have Anything to do with the present. Coaches change , players change and you’re stuck on relic numbers. So unrealistic , not pragmatic at all..

  2. Marc’s best bets from went 6-1 ATS the week prior. No mention of that, only coming out of the woodwork following a bad week. If his database–the best I’ve ever seen, BTW–were not worth the effort, how has he stayed in business for over 30 years?


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