By Marc Lawrence — In its entire 100-year history, the NFL has never opened a season on the kind of scoring tear we’ve seen in 2020. Teams are averaging 24.7 offensive points per game during the first three weeks, 16% better than 2019 over the same period, and 22% higher than their average during the previous two decades. There are a number of theories for the surge, from high-level quarterback play to the coronavirus pandemic-related loss of home-crowd advantage. All have merits. But there is another direct correlation, emanating from the league office. At the direction of its new leadership team, on-field officials have changed the way they enforce penalties – especially offensive holding – in a way that is too dramatic to ignore. Through the first 48 games of 2020, officials have thrown flags for 95 offensive holding penalties. That’s 59% fewer than in 2019. In the meantime, the NFL has produced an on-field start that fits all the boxes for modern fans: more scoring, faster pacing and fewer flags. To read more on this interesting twist, click here.
Key trends on Saturday’s college football card: Tennessee 1-7 $ before Bulldogs … Clemson: 6-0-1 $ conference HF 17 more points … Tulsa: 0-5 $ third straight away game … Alabama: Saban 1-8 $ home openers off a win … TCU: 5-1 $ vs Longhorns … Air Force: 15-0 SU in home openers … Vanderbilt: 8-1 $ double-digit dog in home openers.
Grinding Out The Profits
From this week’s PLAYBOOK FOOTBALL NEWSLETTER: There is no doubt Kansas State is in letdown mode after pulling the rug on Oklahoma for the second-year in a row last week. Enter Texas Tech and QB Alan Bowman who has tossed for 755 yards a 7 TDs in his first two games this year. The Red Raiders’ 29-10 ATS mark as conference road dogs off a loss, including 19-5 ATS when facing sub .666 foes, seals the deal. Forewarned is forearmed.