Miami Ohio over Toledo by 3
These two certainly know how to overcome adversity. Toledo lost its first game of the season at Illinois and proceeded to reel off 11 consecutive wins to conclude the campaign. Meanwhile, Miami lost starting QB Brett Gabbert to a season-ending leg injury in the Redhawks’ 21-17 home loss to Toledo in Week Eight, then closed out the season on a 4-game win skein. It’s quite appropriate that UT’s team is called the Rockets because they usually put up scoring fi reworks whenever they play, plus they’re another of the 4 FBS teams to outgain every opponent they faced this season. However, the Rockets are just 6-14-1 ATS against avenging opponents and have misfi red in today’s role, going 1-6 ATS against MAC foes seeking double revenge, as well as 1-6 ATS as conference chalk away from the Glass Bowl. The Well-Oiled Machine alerts us to the fact that MAC dogs in conference title games have gone 15-6-2 ATS, including 13-2-2 ATS versus foes coming off consecutive wins. The RedHawks are also 8-1 ATS with conference revenge, including 5-0 SUATS this season, and 7-1 ATS coming off an ATS loss against a foe coming off an ATS win. We don’t know if these two Ohio schools are chafing at the thought of playing a title game in the state of Michigan but that won’t dull their edge in pursuit of the MAC Championship. Finally, we seal the deal with THE CLINCHER: Miami is 21-5 ATS as a dog under head coach Chuck Martin when coming off an ATS loss, including 8-0 ATS the last eight games.
UNLV over Boise State by 6
Rebels fi rst-year head coach Barry Odom has to be in the running for College Football Coach of the Year. Inheriting a team that had gone 11-31 in the four seasons prior to his arrival, Odom has guided UNLV to the team’s only SECOND winning season in the last 23 years, and its fi rst bowl game in 10 years. No such luck for Boise State’s Andy Avalos, who became the fi rst head coach in program history to be fi red when he was given the boot on November 12th. Even so, the Broncos closed with three straight wins while UNLV lost their last game of the season against San Jose State, putting those teams in a three-way tie for the conference title. That forced the MWC to fi re up the computers to see which two programs were awarded a golden ticket, and the Spartans became the odd man out. UNLV has been like a hot slot machine for its backers this season, going 9-2 ATS, including 5-0 ATS when taking points. Even better, dogs in MWC championship games are 8-2 ATS, including 4-0 ATS when they own a .750 or greater win percentage. That fi ts like a glovewith the Rebs’ 6-0 ATS record as a dog of 5 or fewer points and their recent 4-1 ATS dog log. Boise State is 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS when riding a 3-0 SUATS win skein, including 0-7 ATS when coming off a win of 8-plus points, and Big Blue is 0-3 SU versus .750 or greater opponents this season. Remember, the Runnin’ Rebels are playing at home this afternoon and coach Odom is 12-1 SU at home in his career in games in which his team sports the better win percentage. With Boise State operating behind interim head coach Spencer Danielson and going up against an opposing coach fi rmly entrenched in a football-crazed environment, this becomes a no-brainer.
San Francisco over PHILADELPHIA by 10
A much sought after win by San Francisco today won’t overtake Philadelphia for the top seed in the current NFC Playoff Picture. All the Niners can do with a win today is get to within one game of Philly, as the 10-1 Eagles hold a two-game lead over the 8-3 Niners. Philly’s record is the same as it was last year at this stage of the season and is the best record by a team coming off a Super Bowl loss since the 1991 Bills. The 8-3 Niners were 7-4 at this time last season. What San Francisco can get, however, is a large dose of revenge from a 31-7 loss to the Birds in the NFC title game last season, a game in which QB Brock Purdy was forced to leave the game with a torn UCL elbow injury. The suddenly resilient Eagles have trailed at halftime in each of their last four games and came back to win. Notably, though, they’ve also been outgained in each of the four wins by an average -113 net yards per game. Be sure to see this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT on page 3 for more. What Philadelphia is doing is rivaling their Keystone cousins, Pittsburgh, in winning games with smoke-and-mirrors. To be factual, Philadelphia is 27-2 (.931) in their past 29 regular-season games started by leading MVP candidate QB Jalen Hurts, who has led the Eagles to 14 straight wins against teams with winning records. Last week, Philadelphia erased a double-digit fourth quarter defi cit when they rallied back to beat Buffalo in overtime, thanks largely to a fl agrant no-penalty tackle on Bills’ QB Josh Allen. The no-call was accentuated when Allen was fl agged for intentional grounding on a play that could have just as easily been ruled a horse-collar tackle against Hassan Reddick during what ended up being a 37-34 Eagles overtime victory. And speaking of quarterbacks, Purdy also shines with an 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS record in his NFL career against foes with a winning record, including 6-0 SUATS in games in which San Francisco sports a .777 or fewer win percentage. Interestingly, the Niners lead the league in YAC (Yards After Catch), while the Eagles lead the league in allowing the fewest Yards After a Catch. With Philadelphia likely eyeing up next week’s pivotal clash with Dallas.
GREEN BAY over Kansas City by 6
After trailing the Raiders 14-0, the Chiefs woke up just in time as a comeback win secured the current No. 2 overall seed for KC, as Jacksonville and Miami each have one extra loss in conference play. To get back to Vegas for the big game, though, the Chiefs will likely have to go through the Baltimore Ravens, who own the AFC’s best record at 9-3. We see a roadblock here, though. For openers, Kansas City totes an unacceptably weak rush defense into Lambeau that surrenders 4.6 Yards Per Rush. The Chiefs are also 2-9 ATS when coming off one win exact, including 1-5 ATS away. In addition, the Packers are 13-4 ATS as a dog of 3-plus points under head coach Matt LaFleur, including 9-2 SU and 10-1 ATS versus .800 or fewer foes. Toss in QB Jordan Love’s 3-0 SUATS career mark at home against non-conference opposition, and we’ll gladly hand it off to THE CLINCHER: Kansas City is 0-9 ATS as a favorite when both teams are coming off an ATS win.