By Marc Lawrence — Let’s go to school on the College Gridiron; ARKANSAS over Ole Miss by 6. It really looked like Bama might go down again when Ole Miss trailed by just 6 points but had the ball with less than two minutes left at the Tide’s 14 yard-line. However, once again Saban found a way to defeat Kiffin and now any CFB dreams that were forming in Oxford have gone “poof”. Still plenty to play for, but a letdown is certainly in order here. Keep in mind that the Rebs are 1-5 ATS before taking on their cross-state rivals from Starkville in the Egg Bowl and are 2-7-1 ATS as a road favorite when coming off a loss to Alabama. Meanwhile, the Hogs let an outstanding defensive effort go for naught in that 13-10 loss to LSU, as the offense was completely ineffective without QB K.J. Jefferson. Be aware that they are 8-1 against the spread in this series, and will be looking for payback from a 52-51 loss in last year’s game. They are also 4-1 ATS as conference dogs of less than a TD, not to mention owning a sparkling 12-3 ATS mark in LHGs.
Western Kentucky over AUBURN by 6
Auburn got back to winning ways in the SEC last weekend, but the second you remember the W for interim coach Cadillac Williams was against Texas A&M, that Caddy looks more like an AMC Pacer. This is $illy Week in the Southeastern Conference, where many teams take on way overmatched foes, swapping an easy win for a big paycheck. Auburn is reportedly one of the more generous benefactors in the conference, so WKU will get paid big-time – and we think will win outright. The Hilltoppers are in the midst of yet another whip-in-hand finish, 22-8 SU and 20-8-1 ATS from Game Six out the past four seasons under Tyson Helton. This includes a most impressive 9-4 SU and 11-2 ATS as the visitor. You bring WKU into your fancy SEC hostels at your own risk, and you bet against them at your own risk, as the Toppers are 7-3 ATS as a dog against the SEC and 3-0 SUATS as a single-digit Golden Retriever. Remember WKU can chuck it all over the yard thanks to the fabulous Austin Reed: 3,548 yards, 31 TD passes and even seven rush scores. Auburn? A dark and stormy 4-12 SU and 5-11 ATS versus teams with a winning record coming off a win and 0-3 ATS in non-conference clashes. We can hear the famed Auburn War Eagle screaming as he flies majestically over The Plains with THE CLINCHER: College football home teams coming off a game versus Jimbo Fisher while he’s been underachieving in College Station, are 8-18-1 ATS overall including 1-6 ATS versus non-conference squadrons. At least Jimbo has had some impact while at A&M.
BAYLOR over Tcu by 10
The biggest head-scratcher is how the Frogs took 7.5 points at Texas last week and are now laying 3 points at Baylor, the defending Big 12 champs. Last week’s line was wrong – and so is this one. We realize TCU is 12-1 ATS in LRGs (Last Road Games), but they weren’t undefeated then and carrying the weight of being in the position they are in this year. Meanwhile, some of the numbers look very good when studying Baylor: 5-0 ATS in the 2nd of back-to-back home games, 7-1 ATS after scoring fewer than 10 points in previous game, and 3-0 ATS with double conference revenge (Bears lost 30-28 as 7.5-point favorites at TCU last season, one of only two defeats they were dealt in 2021). Meanwhile, back to the Horned Frogs, whose numbers are less-shiny: 1-6 ATS versus double conference revenge and 2-12 ATS after playing Texas. It is extremely strange to imagine, but the Frogs can possibly afford a loss and still make the College Football Playoff – but why take the chance? One thing we know for sure is ‘The Noose’ is still lurking, and so are we with added support from this week’s SMART BOX. Finally, we hand it all off to THE CLINCHER: Baylor is 13-1 ATS as a dog with conference revenge versus a foe coming off a SUATS win, including 8-0 ATS at home.
Chicago over ATLANTA by 6
Bears lost to the Lions last week despite rushing the ball for 258 yards. With it, NFL teams who do just that are now 344-30. Chicago became the first team in the league’s 103-season history to rush for at least 225 yards in five consecutive games, yet they were 1-4 in those games. With it, Justin Fields is the fi rst quarterback of the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to rush for at least 125 yards in consecutive games. To make matters worse, Chicago is now the only team in NFL history to score more than 28 points in three consecutive games and lose all three games through it all. Sheesh. It’s hard to fathom the 4-6 Falcons would be only two spots out of an NFC postseason berth were the playoffs to begin this week. And that’s behind a team that is being out-yarded -82 in net YPG (only Houston is worse), thanks to a leagueworst 1-9 ITS (In The Stats) record this season. And it’s beginning to catch up with the Dirty Birds, as their 4-game ATS losing streak waters down a 6-0 ATS mark to start the season. With Atlanta 1-7 ATS against NFC North opposition, we’ll back this running dog all the way to the bank.
NY Jets over NEW ENGLAND by 3
Who would have believed that the NFL’s East Division teams would be 50-24 combined at this stage of the season? They are, and they’re also 42-28-4 ATS overall as well. The shining star out of the East is the NY Jets with a glittery 6-3 SUATS record, including 4-0 SUATS away. We realize the Flyboys have dropped 13 consecutive games in this series, but none of those previous teams came close to smelling a winning record like this year’s edition. They are 6-1 ATS under 2nd year head coach Robert Saleh against foes coming off a SUATS win. And, if you can believe it, according to the MIDWEEK ALERT they also own the better offense and the better defense in this contest. The high profile Pats check in just 2-7-1 ATS at home when coming off a Bye week when taking on an opponent coming off a win, and they shot down the Flyboys, 22-17, just three weeks ago. Put tape over the names of these teams and you wouldn’t know which one is the favorite. You know what to do.
MINNESOTA over Dallas by 10
It was 4th-and-18 with under 2:00 minutes remaining and Minnesota trailed, 27-23, at Buffalo last week when WR Justin Jefferson hauled in a 20-yard completion from Kirk Cousins with one hand in traffi c. They were stopped at the one-inch line and turned the ball back over to Buffalo, where QB Josh Allen promptly fumbled the snap in the end zone and the Vikings pounced on it with 0:41 remaining. The Bills quickly marched down the fi eld and kicked a game-tying fi eld goal before eventually falling in overtime to the charmed Vikes. FYI: Cousins improved to 3-18 SU and 7-14 ATS in his NFL career against opponents with an overall winning net record of +4 or more games. So can he do it again in successive games here today against a Cowboys’ squad that was 195-0 in games when leading after 3Q until last week’s overtime loss at Green Bay? To continue last week’s recap, Mike McCarthy, not the sharpest knife in the NFL coaches’ drawer, decided to go for it on fourth-and-3 from Green Bay’s 35-yard line in overtime rather than kicking a field goal to go up by 3 points. The Cowboys failed to convert and the Packers then proceeded to kick the game-winning fi eld goal. Another knock at the door is Dallas’ 3-10 ATS log in this series, including 1-10 ATS without rest. Better yet, we seal the deal with THE CLINCHER: Dallas is 3-18-1 ATS as a conference favorite versus .666 or greater opponents, including 3-11 SU and 0-13-1 ATS as a favorite of fewer than 4 points.