— Fresno St over NEVADA by 6 —
Nevada QB Carson Strong was 20 of 25 for 168 yards and 2 TDs but it was not enough as Hawaii QB Chevan Cordeiro outplayed him to lead the Rainbow Warriors to a 24-21 victory last week. The 5-1 Pack fell for the first time this season in Honolulu to drop from the ranks of the unbeaten, falling prey to the ‘5-0 Fat Cat’ syndrome. The Rainbows converted a huge 4th-and-9 in the final minutes on a clutch completion to WR Calvin Turner (10 catches for 77 yards) to seal the win. The hangover continues today for the Wolf Pack – who have failed to cover the last five meetings in this series at home – as they meet the 3-1 Bulldogs in a decisive battle for conference positioning in the MWC. Fresno lost 35-28 as 13-point home chalk in this series last season, a game that officially eliminated them from bowl contention. In closing, this beauty from the 2020 PLAYBOOK Football Preview Guide magazine provides THE CLINCHER: Fresno was 20-4-1 ATS in the first season under their last two new head coaches, including 14-1 ATS when not installed as a double-digit favorite. They are 3-1 ATS under new mentor Kalen DeBoer this season.
Cleveland over TENNESSEE by 6
OMG. If the NFL playoffs were to start this week, the Titans would hold down the No. 3 seed and the Browns the No. 5 seed in the AFC pairings. Right at the top of the checklist for Cleveland is a matter of revenge from a 43-13 season-opening home loss last season. That defeat set the wheels in motion for what turned out to a bitterly disappointing season for the Browns, ultimately leading to the dismissal of head coach Freddie Kitchens. Behind new head coach Kevin Stefanski and the best rushing attack in the NFL, they are finally outperforming expectations. They have held half of their last six opponents to season low – or 2nd low – yardage marks and welcome all-world DE Myles Garrett back off the COVID list today. On the other side of the coin, Tennessee enters having avenged an earlier loss to division rival Indianapolis and as a result, now holds the tiebreaker with the Colts in the AFC South. A 1-8 ATS record as non-division home favorites of 3 or more points sets the table. Dinner is served compliments of THE CLINCHER: The Titans are 4-12 SU and 2-13-1 ATS after scoring 28-plus points when facing a foe seeking revenge.
ATLANTA over New Orleans by 8
No Drew Brees. No problem if you are the New Orleans Saints. Since being placed in the IR most recently on Friday, November 20, where he will miss at least three games with rib injuries, the Saints have reeled of consecutive SUATS wins in his absence behind backup Taysom Hill. The 41-year-old Brees, who has missed 9 starts due to injury in 25 years, has played proficiently this season for New Orleans (9-2), completing 73.5% of his passes for 2,196 yards and 18 touchdowns with three interceptions in 8.5 games. While Hill’s numbers have not overwhelmed in his two starts to date (overall 82.32 QB Rating on 37 of 57 for 516 yards with 1 interception and 0 touchdown passes), he is part of a current 7-0 SUATS winning run by New Orleans without Brees in games since the start of last season. We look for that streak to come to a sudden end today. After a 0-5 start to the 2020 season, the Falcons are on a similar course to last year when they closed out 7-1 after a dreadful 1-7 start. Now under interim coach Raheem Morris, the Dirty Birds are 4-2 SUATS and 5-1 ITS heading into this contest. They are also 6-1 ATS as division home dogs. With the Saints having just punched out the Falcons, 24-9, two weeks ago, the shoe is on the other foot. With that, we turn it over to THE CLINCHER: The Falcons are 9-1 ATS as dogs when coming off a SU underdog win.