By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — On the college Gridiron … Kentucky over TENNESSEE by 1
Country music superstar Morgan Wallen is a Tennessee superfan, and he was at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville two weeks ago when his Volunteers knocked off mighty Alabama, tore down the goalposts and threw them into the Tennessee River. Since we’re big fans of Wallen, we’ll warn him that tonight might not be the best time for a return trip to cheer on the Vols. Sure, UT is scorching the scoreboard at a 50-PPG clip, but Kentucky brings some strong numbers to their revenge effort here after losing to the Vols by only 3 points in last year’s meeting. Ready? The rested Wildcats are 11-2 ATS as SEC dogs of 7 or more points, and 4-1 ATS after a conference home dog win (throttled a redhot Mississippi State team two weeks ago, 27-17, holding the Bulldogs to only 225 total yards). By comparison, Tennessee stands 0-6-1 ATS after an unlined home game, and 7-14-1 ATS at home versus conference foes with rest. The MIDWEEK ALERT also comes to Kentucky’s aid, noting that the Cats’ 12th-ranked defense (296 YPG) is 126 YPG loftier than the Vols’ 103rd ranked defense (421 YPG). Then there’s the gorilla in the room for Tennessee: A trip to Athens, Georgia next week to face the No. 1 Bulldogs in an SEC East showdown. However, with Kentucky now 10-2 SU and 9-1 ATS when coming off a win, we’ll put the wraps on this call with the TRIVIA TEASER from page 2: The Wildcats are 15-5 ATS versus undefeated foes under head coach Mark Stoops, including 10-1 ATS the last eleven games
WEST VIRGINIA over Tcu by 3
Not many pundits predicted TCU to break out on the national stage this season. In fact, the Horned Frogs – coming off a 5-7 campaign and breaking in a new coaching staff under Sonny Dykes – didn’t crack the AP Preseason Top 25, failing to earn a single mention in the ‘Others Receiving Votes’ category. As Phil Collins might say, “Take a look at me now”, as the Fort Worth Frogs are unbeaten at 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the current AP poll. It wasn’t easy, though: The Froggies became just the second team in the past 20 years to make 17-point comebacks against ranked teams in consecutive games, beating Oklahoma State in double OT and outscoring Kansas State 28-10 en route to a 38-20 victory over the Wildcats. As impressive as that feat was, though, it pretty much tells us TCU has been living on the razor’s edge lately, and that doesn’t bode well for the Frogs today as they enter one of college football’s true house of horrors: Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. Neither does the Frogs’ 0-4 ATS record away with conference revenge and their 1-7 ATS failure before playing Texas Tech. The Mountaineers fare much better, cashing six straight series tickets over the Frogs, and going 10-5 ATS as home dogs versus unbeaten foes, including 3-0 SUATS the last three games and 3-0 ATS with a losing record. TCU’s four consecutive wins versus ranked foes is intimidating, but at this stage of the season the noose begins to tighten for undefeated teams, especially those laying points on the road in a tough environment. All of which ties nicely into THE CLINCHER: WVU head coach Neal Brown is 6-1 ATS in games versus undefeated foes in which they allow fewer than 30 PPG, including 4-0 SUATS when his team sports a losing record.
Notre Dame over SYRACUSE by 10
It was right there Syracuse. Right there at your fingertips. A chance to move closer to a playoff berth before the door swings open to allow mediocrity with a 12-team tournament. You let a backup QB beat you and there’s no exCuse for that. Now, the Orange host Notre Dame, coming off a feelgood win over UNLV. That sentence in not written sarcastically: This season any ‘W’ for the Irish is worth celebrating with a hearty pour of Rock N’ Rolla IPA within walking distance of Touchdown Jesus. Maybe instead of an IPA, they should name a beer a Double DIA (Dominating Dog in Action Doing it Again) because the Domers have been favored in the last eight matchups in this series since 2003 and even covered when a 33-point favorite in 2020. They are 3-1 ATS in the last four, 4-1 ATS away vs foes .800 or better, and a sturdy 9-3 ATS in ACC road games… PLUS a whopping 5-0 SUATS in the last five ACC battles. Meanwhile the state of the Orangemen must be called into doubt after the Clemson crusher, plus the Boeheim Dome hasn’t always been a warm home to the football program. SU is a PU 0-4-1 ATS as a home favorite of 3 or fewer points when coming off a conference contest. Let’s orange whip in a CUSE-CRUSHING CLINCHER: ND is 17-6 ATS as a dog versus an opponent coming off a loss, including 10-1 ATS when the Irish are coming off a win of 4 or more points. Beers, Beers, for Old Notre Dame!
Green Bay over BUFFALO by 3
1999. It wasn’t when Prince was singing about partying like it was 1999. It was the last time Green Bay failed to convert either a 3rd or 4th down in a game, which they failed to do last week at Washington. The Packers led 14-3 in the 2Q then went into hibernation for the third week in a row behind just 230 yards of total offense. There are no more r-e-l-a-x messages to be bantered about. Instead, QB Aaron Rodgers insists “this might be the best thing to happen to us” as they prepare for this showdown with the Bills today. Really? Should they manage to pull the rug from under the Bills today, it’s safe to say Rodgers may start to rival Confucius as a modern-day soothsayer. What we know for sure is the Packers either led or were tied at the half in their last three games only to be outscored 44-16 collectively after the break in all of their last three contests, all losses. On a side bar note, Rodgers is 5-3 SUATS in his NFL career when the Packers are coming off three straight losses, including 3-2 SU and 4-1 SUATS in games in which Green Bay is not favored. We also know Rodgers is 40-15 SU and 33-21-1 ATS in his career during October, including 8-1 ATS as a dog of more than 2 points. He is 5-0 SU and 4-0-1 ATS in games with a losing record when facing .750 or greater opponents. Hmm. Maybe, just maybe, Aaron the sleuth knows what he speaks. And the one-time Jeopardy host is 22-34-1 SU and 32-23-2 ATS as a dog in his NFL career, with the 8.5-points he took at Seattle in the 2019 playoffs a benchmark high. On the flip side, his counterpart Josh Allen has faced the Packers once in his NFL career, a 22-0 loss at Lambeau Field in 2018. However, the Bills own the league’s No. 1-ranked offense and defense, making it as tough a one-two combo as there is the NFL these days. However, with Rodgers 7-0 SUATS versus rested foes coming off a SUATS win, and 10-0 ATS as a dog in his NFL career with a win percentage of less than .666 when facing a foe with a win percentage of greater than .750, we’ll grab the largest clothespin we can find and hand it off.