MEMPHIS over Mississippi St by 8
The Tigers scored 97 points in their two opening victories and rolled up an incredible 1,274 yards of offense, so now we’ll see what they can do against an SEC team. Of course, we realize that the Mad Scientist does not have a reputation as a defensive genius, but the Bulldogs did force three turnovers while holding a good NC State offense to just 355 yards in their 24-10 win over the Wolfpack on Saturday. Unfortunately, it appears that Leach’s attack has slipped a notch, The Dogs enter this fray averaging 30 points per game on 376 YPG on offense. Those used to be halftime stats in his wilder days, and that comes after Mississippi State put up just 21 PPG and 342 YPG in 2020. With a bigger game on tap with LSU, and Leach sporting a 0-3 ATS mark in his career as a road favorite against opponents coming off consecutive wins, we smell an upset in the making. Especially when we look at the 55 points Memphis laid on Arkansas State last week (with 5 TD plays of 50 yards or more), as Tiger QB Seth Henigan threw for 5 scores – three to diminutive WR Calvin Austin, Jr. The last time Memphis dressed up as a home dog versus the SEC, they knocked off Ole Miss, 37-24, as a 10-point puppy. Memphis HC Ryan Silverfield also took down UCF and Houston last season, winning and covering as a home dog. And in case you didn’t know, Memphis is 9-3 ATS against SEC foes who own a winning record, including 6-1 ATS at the Liberty Bowl. Finally, we hand it off to THE CLINCHER: College football home dogs in Game Three of the season who scored 40 or more points each in a pair of season-opening wins are 13-2 ATS since 1991.
INDIANA over Cincinnati by 1
This match-up may lack the national attention that will be focused on the Nebraska-Oklahoma game, but it will be every bit as meaningful in the national rankings. That’s because No. 8 Cincinnati leaves Nippert Stadium for the first time in 2021 looking to keep its CFB Playoff hopes alive. The Bearcats have won 11 straight regular season games since last year, while scoring 42 and 49 points in their two wins this season. The Hoosiers were hogtied and helpless for most of their opening game at Iowa, 34-6, but that defeat doesn’t look quite so awful after the Hawkeyes conquered Iowa State last week to move up to the No. 5 spot in the AP rankings. Indiana, which was held to its lowest scoring output under 5th-year head coach Tom Allen, rebounded with a vengeance from the Iowa loss to crush Idaho by 42 points. Allen stands 15-7-1 ATS when coming off a win, including 9-1 ATS the last ten, and the Hoosiers have cashed a ticket in their previous three clashes with the Hawkeyes. Not many good ATS numbers for Cincinnati here as the Bearcats are 0-5 ATS of late as non-conference road favorites of 5 or more points (check line), and head coach Luke Fickell is a surprising 3-6 ATS as road chalk. THIS is what a live home dog looks like, and with Top 10 teams dropping like flies the last two weeks, we’ll take the Hoosiers to spring yet another upset today. THE CLINCHER: Fickell is 1-5 SU on the Big Ten road in his career, including 0-5 when his team sports a winning record.
VANDERBILT over Stanford by 1
We can always rely on the all-knowing database, who gives us this shiny nugget: teams who beat USC are 4-15 ATS the following game against non-conference foes coming off a SUATS win. In addition, the Cardinal turns red-faced as a favorite in games after pulling off an upset as an underdog, by going 10-22-1 ATS. HC David Shaw checks in at 3-8-2 ATS versus foes coming off a SU underdog win themselves, including 0-8-1 ATS in the last nine games. The Commodores picked up their initial win under new head coach Clark Lea last week, when they surprised the Rams at Colorado State, 24-21, as +6.5-point underdogs. It was the first time Commies put one in the win column since November of 2019. Today they’ll look to make amends for the ugly home loss to East Tennessee State that opened the season two weeks ago, knowing they are 13-2 SU and 10-5 ATS at home in lined games versus non-conference opponents when coming off a win, including 7-0 SUATS against foes also coming off a win. We seal the deal with this from our brainy numbers-cruncher: THE CLINCHER: .500 College football teams in Game Three of the season are 1-8 SU and 1-7-1 ATS since 1980 in non-conference games when coming off a SU win as a dog of 14 or more points.
Dallas over LA CHARGERS by 1
Let’s tell it like it is: Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was brilliant against the Buccaneers last Thursday, going 42-of-58 for 403 yards, three touchdowns and an interception as the Cowboys out statted the Bucs, 451-431, in Thursday’s hard-luck loss. In addition, wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were unstoppable. Cooper caught 13 of his 16 targets for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Lamb hauled in seven balls for 104 yards and a score. What happens to this attack when Michael Gallup comes back from a wobbly ankle? And if running back Ezekiel Elliott (33 yards on 11 carries) plays as if he really cares, this offense can become the best in the league. Today the Boys can either improve to 1-1 or start the season out in a 0-2 hole for the first time since 2010. We’re opting for the former. Prescott is 5-2 SUATS as an underdog when coming off a loss in his NFL career, including 4-0 SUATS the last four games. In addition, the Cowboys are 10-3 ATS as non-conference road dogs. From the NFL bizarre stats library, the Chargers completed an uncanny 14 of 19 third downs in last week’s win over Washington. We don’t see that happening two weeks in a row. Not with the Bolts sporting a 6-10 SU and 3-12-1 ATS record when favored in games before taking on division rival Kansas City. Wrapping it all up, we hand it over to THE CLINCHER: NFL teams coming off a SU loss and ATS win on Thursday are 15-7 ATS away since 1986, including 5-0 ATS versus foes coming off a SU underdog win.
BALTIMORE over Kansas City by 10
How about this crazy stat from Axios Sports: Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes is 11-0 in September with 35 TD Passes and Zero INTs. Trust us, the Cleveland Browns know that better than anyone these days. The Chiefs won yet another game while failing to cover in their home opener over the Browns last week, and are now 10-0 SU but 0-9-1 ATS in one-score games since the start of last year. They were also outplayed on the fi eld, losing the overall yardage 457- 397. The knife in the heart for Browns fans was that Kansas City’s only lead in last week’s game against the Browns was the fi nal score. So now, with Mahomes garnering all the ink, and former league MVP Lamar Jackson taking a seat on the back of the bus, it’s time for the shoe to fi t on the other foot. For openers, Jackson is 31-11 in his NFL career, including 15-6 at home. With it, he’s been a home dog only once back in 2019 when he took 3 points from New England and beat the snot out of Tom Brady and the Patriots, 37-20. And then there is Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, who brings a lofty 19-4 SU and 15-8 ATS career record at home during the month of September into this fray – including his own 1-0 SUATS mark as a dog.
INDIANAPOLIS over LA Rams by 8
Short and simple… the name of the game, folks, is value. Without it, it’s like taking candy from a baby for your favorite sportsbook. And thanks to last week’s results, this game is simply filled with it. It started when the Colts lost on this fi eld by a dozen points to Seattle. And it concluded in the evening when the Rams made mincemeat of the Bears under the Sunday night-lights with all of NFL nation tuned in. New Ram QB Matthew Stafford looked right at home in Los Angeles, with his drop-dead gorgeous wife looking on. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz looked, like well… Carson Wentz. Through it all, the Colts dress right back up as 3.5-point home dogs again this week. And here’s where the aforementioned value comes into focus. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas installed Indianapolis as a -1.5-point favorite in this game before the season started. That’s a 5-point swing, all based largely on the result of the first game of the season. And that’s a no-no in our eyes. So is Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford’s, who has a 10-15-1 ATS record as a road favorite in the NFL, including 2-9 ATS versus foes coming off a double-digit loss – with a 0-4 ATS mixer added in when Stafford is coming off a win in its last game. Finally, we really value it up with THE CLINCHER: Colts head coach Frank Reich is 17-8-1 ATS in his NFL career as a head coach against foes coming off a win, including 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS versus greater than .750 opponents