By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com – A six-pack of upsetters for this weekend, three from the college gridiron and three from the league where they play for pay. To the Bluegrass State we go:
KENTUCKY over Tennessee by 8
The Vols were up 20-7 at halftime before being outscored 27-0 in the second half of last week’s loss at Alabama. Such a complete collapse figures to bring them into Lexington bummed-out to the max tonight. The Wildcats are not a happy group either, entering this game after two consecutive losses to Georgia (no crime there) and Missouri. Kentucky will have a double-revenge chip on its shoulder after losing by 3 points to Tennessee on this field in 2021, then getting taken behind the Neyland Stadium woodshed for a 44-6 annihilation last year. UK holds some strong ATS cards in this matchup, going 6-1 ATS as a home dog, including 4-0 ATS with revenge, and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 when playing with SEC revenge. The Cats are also 6-0 ATS if favored in their last game and today’s foe was a dog in its last game. Tennessee is a measly 1-4 ATS as conference road chalk of 4 or more points (check line) and with both squads sitting 5-2, a higher-tier bowl is likely in line for the winner. With that, we hand it off to THE CLINCHER: Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS when coming off a SU favorite loss, including 4-0 ATS at home in conference games, and 4-0 ATS versus foes coming off a loss.
KANSAS over Oklahoma by 3
OU is one of those few remaining perfect teams, but they were far from perfect in fending off a troublesome UCF team last weekend in Norman. QB Dillon Gabriel saved their perfect record with a three-TD pass performance, including the 4th quarter pass to Drake Stoops that put the Sooners into the lead for good. You could say it was one of those games where the better team wasn’t good but good enough to win but now the Sooners take the Schooner to Lawrence, KS, and a less than welcoming environment. KU is 5-1 ATS in the last six games of this series and a most impressive 7-0-1 ATS versus undefeated opponents that give up more than 14 PPG. (OU is a still stingy 16.4 PPG). Can Oklahoma stop the run? The Sooners are going to have to, because Kansas has a two headed rushing combo of Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw Junior who have combined for nearly 1,100 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns so far. Oklahoma is 2-7 ATS when coming off a conference home game but all that is a mere amuse bouche to a very tasty, filling gourmet THE CLINCHER: Jayhawks Head Coach Lance Leipold is 29-10- 1 ATS at home in FBS play, including 13-1-1 ATS versus greater than .700 opponents and 12-1-1 ATS when his team is .700 or better. Rock, Go Against the Chalk, KU.
ARIZONA over Oregon State by 10
Bold strategy Cotton, we’ll see if this pays off. Get Oregon St out of Reser Stadium and the Beavers begin to lose their bite… In two conference road games this season OSU West has been outgained. Add the Beavs being a brutal 2-5 ATS in the last seven as a Pac-12 Road favorite and a muscle-less 3-6 ATS in the front end of back-to-back road games and it’s a bit hard to get behind the Beavers. Arizona has been another team you didn’t see coming at the beginning of the season, but the Wildcats are 4-3 and fighting for a bowl appearance to continue the Jedd Fisch rebuild, now in its third year and very much on track. Last week they embarrassed Washington State 44-6 for the Wildcats largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent. Oregon State is a solid, well-coached outfit to be sure and QB DJ Uiagalelei has finally stopped having screaming nightmares about Clemson Coach Dabo Sweeney. DJ hasn’t been picked since September 30th vs. Utah. Watch for the starting QB for Fisch- early in the week he had not announced if RS-Freshman Noah Fifi ta gets the nod against over the injured vet Jayden de Laura. If he plays, it’s a game changer in favor of U of A since the Hawaii native is completing a very nice 69% of his passes and has three rushing TD’s. Jedd Fisch is 4-0 ATS as a dog versus teams coming off consecutive SUATS wins. AZ is 4-2 ATS and 6-0 SU in this series when coming off a win of 28 points or greater and they’re 5-2 ATS as conference home dogs. Finally, we present something as sweet as the creosote plant smell in the Arizona desert after a rare rain; THE CLINCHER; The Beavers are 1-7-1 ATS as road favorites of fewer than seven points, including 0-6-1 ATS vs sub .600 opponents. Go Fisch.
Minnesota over GREEN BAY by 13
It’s said that Love is lacking in Green Bay these days, and the proof is in the pudding. Witness the Cheeseheads’ 2-5 record under starting QB Jordan Love, the work-in-progress Aaron Rogers’ clipboard holder. Worse, the Pack lacks an offense, averaging 299 yards per contest this season, and that won’t cut it in this contest. Meanwhile, after taking a bad rap for his lack of production in ‘prime time’ games, Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins silenced the critics as he was simply terrific with a brilliant performance against the 49ers on Monday Night with a 35 of 45 (77.8 %) effort for 478 yards and two TDs. That’s the same Kirk Cousins who was 2-10 SUATS in his NFL career on Monday Nights. So, with the slack Pack riding a 1-6 ATS skein in the second of back-to-back games as chalk, and the Vikes 4-1 ATS after Monday Night hosts, it’s onto THE CLINCHER: Vikings QB Cousins is 11-3 SUATS away from Game Four out versus sub .400 NFL opponents in his NFL career, including 6-0 ATS versus non-division foes.
NY GIANTS over Ny Jets by 8
You can forget all the talk of Tyrod Taylor being the next starting QB in the Giants’ future. Taylor is a lifelong backup quarterback in the league, having been a stopgap QB his entire career. The Giants don’t fi gure to find their way to the playoffs with Taylor. New York also has a sizeable investment, with Jones as he was signed to a four-year, $160 million contract during the offseason. Jones is 14-14-1 SU and 18-11 ATS in his last 29 starts … Tyrod Taylor is 27-28-1 SU, and 29-23-4 ATS in his NFL career starts, including 2-5 SU and 4-3 ATS in his last 7 starts. The fact of the matter is that while starting QB Daniel Jones is listed as questionable today, he is 19-14 ATS against .500 or fewer opponents, including 15-6 ATS when not favored, while Taylor is 7-3-1 ATS in his last 10 starts against teams of the same ilk. Either way, with Saquon Barkley back in the starting lineup, expect Big Blue to attack a lean Green rush defense that is 16-34 ATS in the last 50 games in which it allowed 100-plus yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the Jets have not won a game when coming off a Bye week since 2015, going 1-10 outright, including seven straight losses since 2015 (0-2 SUATS under Robert Saleh), while the Giants are 5-1-1 ATS the last seven games in this series. With that, suddenly, it’s now in the hands of THE CLINCHER: The Giants are 8-4 ATS as a pick or dog in non-division games under Brian Daboll, including 3-0 SUATS versus .500 or fewer opponents.
New Orleans over INDIANAPOLIS by 6
If you’re the owner of the Saints, and you awarded QB Derek Carr $150 million in a four-year, off-season signing, you might not be sleeping well these days. Carr averages 6.3 yards per attempt, the second-lowest mark of his career. New Orleans has scored touchdowns on just 37.5 percent of its drives in the red zone, which ranks No. 28 in the league. It all adds up to a disappointing 3-4 record, in spite of the fact that New Orleans has out-yarded five of its seven opponents. Sure, three of the four losses have been of the one-score variety, but a loss is a loss, especially when you’re languishing just ahead of the winless Panthers in your division. They’ll take on a similar 3-4 Colts squad, a team that has performed better ‘In The Stats’, going 3-0 ITS in its last three contests. Still, we can’t look past N’Awlins’ 6-1 ATS ledger when coming off a SU favorite loss or its 5-0 ATS mark on the heels of a pair of SUATS defeats. With Indy a paltry 1-8 ATS laying points of late and 0-4 ATS in this series, we’ll prescribe a medicinal version of No-Doz – read: a win – for Gayle Benson.