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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

MARC LAWRENCE: FEATURED COLLEGE AND PRO UPSETS FOR WEEKEND SEPTEMBER 25-26

Kansas St over OKLAHOMA ST by 1

 The Cowboys, with star QB Spencer Sanders back on the fi eld, recovered from an early 20-7 defi cit to take a 21-20 halftime lead, and held on in a scoreless second-half by partially blocking a potential game-winning FG with 2:05 to play, preserving the one-point victory over Boise State. Meanwhile, the Wildcats beat Carson Strong and Nevada 38-17 without starting quarterback Skylar Thompson, who collapsed with a knee injury against Southern Illinois two weeks ago. When that happened, KSU coach, Chris Klieman, sprinted onto the fi eld to check on one of his favorite players, dropped to his knees and wiped away tears. With Thompson sidelined (he will likely return this year), Kansas State used its running game on Saturday to loosen up the Nevada defense, and churned out five scoring drives lasting eight or more plays. Overall, the Wildcats ran for 269 yards and four touchdowns while holding the Wolf Pack to 25 yards on 23 carries. Now it’s time to rally around back-up QB Will Howard. Keep in mind that the Wildcats are 19-6 ATS in this series (including 7-0 ATS as a dog of more than 4 points), and Klieman is 10-3 ATS overall at KSU when coming off a win. As for Okie State, Sanders threw only 12 passes on the blue turf, but ran for a TD while senior RB Jaylen Warren rushed for 218 yards and two scores. Mike Gundy will be asked to do something he’s struggled with throughout his career, and that’s bounce back when coming off a SU underdog win. In fact, he’s so bad, that he found a spot inside this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2. THE CLINCHER: The Cowboys are 3-11 ATS in games when coming off a SUATS win and facing a foe with double revenge-exact, including 0-5 ATS the last five.

Utsa over MEMPHIS by 1

If you read the 2021 PLAYBOOK Football Preview Guide magazine, you know we saw this one coming. The deeply experienced Roadrunners came into this season off a bowl game under first-year head coach Jeff Traylor, and haven’t stopped since. RB Sincere McCormick put his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game together, and as a result, San Antonio is the only undefeated team in Conference USA. The ‘Runners catch the Tigers is an ideal letdown spot, too, fresh off a home dog win over SEC opponent Mississippi State. Yes, the AAC resident Tigers also remained unbeaten, enhancing their dossier as they look to move to a Power Five conference. The problem today is they tend to let down in games after pulling off upsets, going 4-11 ATS at home the next game when they sport a .500 or better record. It could be back to reality here for Memphis today against this imposing invader. Or so says THE CLINCHER: UTSA 15-6 ATS on the road against nonconference opponents, including 4-0-1 ATS against those coming off a SUATS win.

Nebraska over MICHIGAN ST by 3

Picked by many to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten East division, the Spartans are now 3-0 with a pair of Power Five wins after knocking off Miami (Fla.) 38-17 on the road last week. Sparty’s win over the Canes appeared to be a blowout, until a closer look reveals that a fourth-down quarterback sneak near midfield by QB Payton Thorne in a 24-17 game was barely successful – then, a TD pass on the very next play meant the rout was on. Still, an influx of transfer talent, and Mel Tucker’s ongoing roster tweaks have produced huge gains. As a result of their 3-0 start, Sparty enters the AP Top 25 for the first time since September 29, 2019. For what it’s worth, the Spartans went out and promptly lost, 10-7, as 15.5-point home chalk to Arizona State in the next game. In addition, our history book also notes that MSU is 0-3-1 ATS at home in Game Four of the season after beginning the year 3-0. The Huskers own this series, going 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings. In fact, if you put tape over the names of these teams and looked at them from a statistical perspective you might have a difficult time determining which team is the favorite. Nebraska HC Scott Frost is 15-11-1 ATS on the road in his career, including 8-3-1 ATS as a dog of 18 or fewer points. Only one way to look here in this upset maker, and we seal the deal with THE CLINCHER: 3-0 college football home favorites in Game Four who won fewer than 10 games the previous season are 4-17-1 ATS since 2000 when coming off a SUATS win.

Pro Picks

New Orleans over NEW ENGLAND by 8

New Orleans QB Jameis Winston’s bipolar quarterback tendencies were on display for all to see in last week in the Saints’ 26-7 loss at Carolina. Just as important, the Saints were crippled by the loss of several assistant coaches due to COVID protocol, and it showed in in the lopsided loss. It all goes to the handicap in this contest, though, as Winston is 5-1 ATS as a dog in follow-up games when coming off a loss of a 14 or more points. And then there is head coach Sean Payton who takes to losing like ladies of the night accept Bitcoin – they just don’t. Payton brings a 48-28-1 ATS career mark into this contest when coming off a loss, including 24-10 ATS when his team is on the road. On the other side of the coin, the Pats defense is carrying the offense this season while rookie QB Mac Jones learns on the job. Jones was 22-of-30 for 186 yards in last week’s rout of the Jets. With the Pats coming off a division win last week and having a monster look-ahead to Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs, look for the Saints to be the hungrier team today. And to insure it, there is always THE CLINCHER: Saints head coach Sean Payton is 14-2-1 ATS in his career when coming off a loss and seeking revenge against an opponent coming off a win, including 7-0-1 ATS as a dog.

MINNESOTA over Seattle by 4

Question: Has a team with a quarterback with league-best QB Rating (146.9) ever resided in last place within its division? The answer is yes, and you’re reading about them in Russell Wilson and the Seahawks today. Wilson posted a terrific stat line last week, albeit in a losing cause, going 22-of-31 for 343 yards and two touchdowns. They’ll dress up in favorites’ clothing today against a coach whose head is ready to explode following another close-call loss last week. FYI: Minny did the same thing last year when they opened the season 0-2 (albeit in a pair of blowout losses) and then returned home to battle Tennessee in another one-point loss, but ATS win, in Game Three. Zimmer may be steaming but don’t blame QB Kirk Cousins. The Vikes have allowed 24 or more points in each of their last nine games (6 of them losses). And for what it’s worth, the well-oiled machine alerts us to the fact that 0-2 home dogs in Game Three of the season are 9-4-1 ATS the previous fi ve years. Look for ‘Steely Eyes’ to improve on his perfect 5-0 ATS home dog log in games off a loss today. You know what to do.

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