Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13

Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13

Marc Lawrence's Playbook

Thursday, October 9th

Clemson over WAKE FOREST by 1
Wonder when Clemson and Wake last teed it off with BOTH teams riding an
embarrassing SU loss as double-digit home chalk? Not quite two weeks ago,
the Deacons laid 17 points to Navy and got torpedoed, 24-17, while the timid
Tigers were performing a Vegas-worthy disappearing act in the second half of
their huge 20-17 failure against Maryland. When choosing between two such
red-faced participants, our database weighs in on the visitors’ side: home chalk
off an outright home favorite loss laying 14 or more points will never pay the
bills, going just 18-30 ATS lately – including 2-12 since 2005. Throw the Tigers’
19-8 spread mark as dogs off a SUATS defeat into the mix with Jim Grobe’s 1-6
ATS record playing with rest and the Clemson cats start to look downright lean
and hungry. We’re hip to the fact that Wake Forest has cashed in fi ve of the last
six get-togethers but ol’ reliable, our SMART BOX on page 3, tells us to trust in
the Tigers here. Who are we to argue!

HOUSTON over Uab by 21
Houston is another group of cats playing off a bye week but the Cougars get to
ride the momentum of their stunning 41-24 smackdown of East Carolina into
Robertson Stadium today. That dominating win snapped an 18-game losing
streak against ranked foes and elevated Houston’s 2008 passing attack to a
mind-bending 400 yards per game under fi rst-year coach Kevin Sumlin. Don’t
let the Coogs’ 2-3 SU record scare you away. UH is 4-1 ‘In The Stats’ this year and
has dealt itself a 13-1 ATS winning hand in games they win SU as a favorite off
one win exact, a number that warrants further attention when compared to the
Blazers’ woeful 0-17 SU record in their last 17 roadies. UAB played their most
complete game of the season last week in a narrow 3-point loss to Memphis
(outyarded the Tigers) but the Cougars look primed to pounce today.

Friday, October 10th

Louisville over MEMPHIS by 6
If former coach Bobby Petrino were still lord of the Louisville program, the
Cardinals would be leaving Papa John’s Stadium in their rear view mirror
for the fi rst time all season with a 4-0 SU record in tow. Not so in the Steve
Kragthorpe era, however, where home losses are beginning to occur with
alarming frequency. The 2-2 Cards are venturing into dangerous territory here:
our database informs us that teams facing their fi rst road test off a four-game
season-opening homestand are just 9-18-1 ATS in the role of pick or favorite.
Tommy West’s Tigers may own a 2-3 SU record but they’ve won the stat battle
in fi ve of their six games. They’ve also given Louisville fi ts regardless of who
was standing on the Cardinal sidelines, cashing in fi ve of the last six series
meetings (3-0 ATS home L3). Until we get a better read on Louisville QB Hunter
Cantwell’s ankle problem (hurt in 26-21 loss to UConn), we see no reason to
fade a Memphis squad that’s starting to fi nd its rhythm.

Saturday, October 11th

VIRGINIA over East Carolina by 3
Like a rickety stagecoach on the run from an outlaw gang, the wheels have
suddenly fallen off for ECU. It’s a classic case of an early Bubble Burst. Following
the Pirates’ devastating overtime loss to hated NC State, Skip Holtz’s squad
couldn’t shake off its hangover and collapsed in the fourth quarter of a home
loss to Houston. Now they head to Charlottesville as a .600 or better Game
Sixer off back-to-back SU losses versus an opponent off a win, a money-burning
13-20 ATS proposition – and because the Pirates sail into Scott Stadium as a
favorite or dog of less than 2 points, that Game Six success rate plummets to
just 1-9 against the number. Virginia’s Jekyll and Hyde performances over the
last two weeks have been among the season’s most puzzling: the Cavs were
routed 31-3 by mediocre Duke, then rebounded to rush for over 200 yards in
an unbelievable 31-0 shutout of resurgent Maryland. The Wahoos own a pair
of distinct advantages in today’s matchup. First, sub .500 home dogs off a SU
home dog win (like Virginia) have barked their way to a super 15-3 ATS mark
when tackling a foe off a loss since 1985. But more importantly, Cavalier coach
Al Groh is the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2, a directive that
seldom steers us wrong.

WEST VIRGINIA over Syracuse by 21
Here’s the best news Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson has seen in awhile:
our SMART BOX actually backs the bruised and battered Orange in this
matchup. Robinson’s team blew a golden opportunity to upset Pittsburgh last
time out, building a 24-13 third quarter lead before Pitt roared back with 21
unanswered points to hang another ‘L’ on the fl oundering ‘Cuse. West Virginia
has brought home the pointspread bacon in fi ve of the last six series meetings
but is down a notch from the fi nely-tuned offensive machinery that cashed
those checks. Also, QB Pat White, the man the Mounties can’t afford to lose,
left the Rutgers game with a near-concussion – his second straight early exit
due to injury. Still, we can’t get worked up over using Syracuse in ANY situation,
especially with fi ve road trips scattered like landmines throughout the team’s
fi nal seven games. Beating a rotten orange may look like easy money but the
Mountaineers have thrown some cash of their own onto the bonfi re under
rookie mentor Bill Stewart. With West Virginia also wearing the unlucky
mantle of Homecoming favorite, we’re not inclined to lay this many points at
Morgantown today. Pass.

Iowa over INDIANA by 7
The highly competitive Hawkeye program that coach Kirk Ferentz has fashioned
during his nine-year stay in Iowa City looks to be in danger of unraveling. Last
week’s nail-biting 16-13 loss to Michigan State dropped Iowa to 0-2 in the Big 10
this season and marked the Hawkeyes’ 12th loss in their previous 18 conference
clashes. Iowa’s defense turned in another sterling effort versus MSU, holding
Spartan RB Javon Ringer to just 91 yards rushing, but the offense self-destructed
in the Red Zone time and time again. Ferentz needs a big win to get his head
off the block and the Hoosiers look like a willing accomplice. Iowa comes in as
a major double revenger; they got smacked 38-20 as double-digit home chalk
in 2007, an embarrassment that came on the heels of a 31-28 loss here in 2006
where the Hawks laid 19 points. Despite taking the bullet in both games, Iowa
outstatted the Hoosiers twice – and Ferentz knows a loss here would brand his
hard-luck Hawkeyes with the shame of three consecutive Big 10 losses in each
of their last three seasons. Fortunately for Captain Kirk, Indiana has posted
a miserable 2-11-2 ATS mark versus a foe seeking double revenge from the
previous two meetings, a number that melds nicely with the Iowa skipper’s
22-13 ATS record in conference games off a SU loss. But the Hoosiers’ doubledeuce
offense that’s averaged 200 yards both rushing and passing keeps us
from snapping the rubber band with the Hawkeyes. Beam me up, Scotty.

ILLINOIS over Minnesota by 8
Let’s give a shout to Minnesota coach Tim Brewer and his staff for guiding
what looked to be a hopeless Golden Gophers squad (1-11 in ’07) to a fantastic
5-1 start this season. Look no further than major improvements to the Minny
defense for the team’s turnaround. Last year’s stop unit was gashed for 37
points and 521 yards per game but the current crop of Gophers have yet to
allow 400 yards in any game this season, including Ohio State. The Maroonand-
Gold defense stuffed Indiana in Saturday’s 16-7 win, holding the Hoosiers
to just 293 total yards while playing error-free football on offense. Ron Zook’s
Illinois squad shook off a tough loss to Penn State by dismantling Michigan, 45-
20, but QB Juice Williams and company will not have the luxury of facing the
same Minnesota ‘D’ that got torched for a whopping 655 yards in last season’s
44-17 demolition by the Illini. Although the series favorite has cashed seven
straight tickets, Illinois falls fl atter than a pancake after facing the Wolverines,
going just 1-7 ATS (0-2-1 off a SU win). The betting public will pay far more
attention to the 45 points Illinois dropped on Michigan than Minnesota’s latest
win, a factor that should enable the Gophers to stay under the radar for yet
another week.

NORTHWESTERN over Michigan St by 3
Northwestern stands right alongside Minnesota as a key contributor to the
current level of crazy in this year’s Big 10 standings. The Wildcats’ 5-0 start has
come against largely inferior opposition but there’s no question Pat Fitzgerald’s
team has shown major improvement both on defense and special teams. In the
fi rst of back-to-back conference homers, underdog NU fi ts the ‘Sleeping Dog’
profi le outlined in this year’s Black Book, a super advantage that lends support
to the Cats’ 7-0 ATS log when playing with rest and their recent 4-0 ATS series
edge. The Spartans failed to get their usual 200-yard rushing effort from Javon
Ringer against Iowa but Mark Dantonio’s squad came up big on defense to lift
MSU to its fi fth consecutive win following a season-opening loss to California.
Sparty’s biggest problem in this matchup looks to be ‘revenge fatigue’: they’re
off a get-even win over the Hawkeyes and have revengers on deck against Ohio
State, Michigan and Wisconsin following Saturday’s attempt at payback versus
the Wildcats (lost 48-41 at East Lansing last year). Since the last two tussles in
this series have been decided by just 3 and 7 points, we’ll look for another
tightly-contested battle where the Purple Cats grab the green.

Oklahoma over Texas by 8
College football fans can argue endlessly over the game’s biggest rivalries but
few have as big an impact on the national rankings each year as the annual
shootout between OU and Texas. This latest installment of the Red River Rivalry
marks the FOURTH time since 2001 that both schools carry a Top Five ranking
into the contest and with the Sooners missing Missouri on their regular season
schedule, a win here would give OU a death grip on the No. 1 ranking at
least until their closing games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. As you
might expect, both programs carry a history of ATS success into this affair. The
Longhorns have covered three straight meetings, own a 10-5 ATS record as
series underdogs and have cashed in 12 of 14 tries lately as Big 12 dogs off a SU
win. The dynamic Sooners have compiled a 10-2 ATS log in Game Six and are
money in the bank as favorites of 10 or less points versus a conference opponent
with revenge, covering 9 of 11 opportunities. Mack Brown has not done quite
as well in his career when going helmet-to-helmet with an undefeated foe,
posting a weak 12-23 ATS mark. We also don’t like the fact the Brown voted
LSU No. 1, Ohio State No. 2 and Oklahoma No. 3 in fi nal regular season poll
last year to determine BCS title teams… a snub that will not go unnoticed by
Stoops. With so much riding on today’s outcome, we’ll likely revisit this game
later in the week.

E Michigan over ARMY by 2
Jeez, what are they feeding the Cadets these days? After nearly upsetting Texas
A&M as 27-point dogs two weeks ago, the Black Knights threw New Orleans
into a blackout with Saturday’s stunning upset of Tulane. Entering the game
as 20-point underdogs, Army annihilated the Greenies, 44-13, and blasted the
closing pointspread by an incredible margin of 51 points. As a reward, they’ll
now be eating chalk rather than points – never a good role for the Militia
(5-12 L17 as a favorite), especially in a Homecoming scenario. Eastern Michigan
registered its own seismic upset when the 20-point underdog Eagles brought
down Bowling Green, 24-21 – and that result leads to a ‘fi rst’ of sorts: today’s
game marks the fi rst time in our database that two teams each off SU dog
wins as 20-point or higher underdogs meet one another on the fi eld. The same
database tells us that dogs taking on a foe off BB ATS wins (if the last was a
SU win as +20 dogs) are an outstanding 10-2 ATS. Considering the infantry was
outstatted by more than 150 yards in their 31-point win over Tulane and that
EMU head coach Jeff Genyk’s future in Ypsilanti looks increasingly bleak, we’ll
look to outfl ank Army with an aerial assault from the Eagles.

BAYLOR over Iowa St by 7
Lost in the headlines of Baylor’s 49-17 demolition by top-ranked Oklahoma last
week was a glimmer of good news for fans in Waco. After being blitzkreiged
into a 28-0 fi rst quarter hole by OU, the Bears fought back to lose the fi nal
three periods by a more-than-respectable margin of 21-17, rushing for 194
yards against a Sooner defense that had allowed only 73 YPG on the ground.
Baylor will take a lot more positives from that defeat than Iowa State’s loss to
Kansas: the Cyclones blew a 20-0 halftime lead over the Jayhawks en route to a
crushing 35-33 defeat. With ISU undoubtedly defl ated, we can’t envision them
being ‘up’ for a team they haven’t met since 2005. Baylor is making legitimate
progress under fi rst-year coach Art Briles and has a solid chance to improve its
superb 13-1 SU and 11-3 ATS record as chalk.

South Carolina over KENTUCKY by 6
Would it be foolish to suggest that Steve Spurrier has just as good a shot at
this year’s SEC Coach of the Year as Vandy’s Bobby Johnson? Week in and week
out, the Ol’ Ball Coach has been forced to cobble together a ragtag lineup and
somehow produced a 4-2 team that’s redefi ned ‘winning ugly’. He’s also at his
best on the conference road, racking up a 46-23 ATS record in his college career.
Spurrier’s Gamecocks have controlled the series at Lexington, cashing in eight
of the last nine visits, and South Carolina shows up today with a 7-1 SU and 6-2
ATS mark (4-0 L4) versus a conference foe with revenge. Kentucky did achieve
a moral victory of sorts in last week’s 17-14 loss to Alabama but if the Wildcats
remain the favorite here they’ll be up against a 3-16 ATS wall as chalk playing
with revenge – a number that sinks to 0-6 against winning competition. The
Cocks are a perfect 6-0 ITS (In The Stats) this season and Spurrier has won and
covered all three meetings with UK coach Rich Brooks. You know what to do.

BUFFALO over W Michigan by 7
The Bulls were denied a contribution to ‘Upset Saturday’ two weeks ago when
Buffalo missed a last-second 46-yard fi eld goal that allowed two-time defending
MAC champion Central Michigan to escape with a 27-25 home win. “We’re
hoping to see those guys again,” said UB senior QB Drew Willy and the way
Turner Gill has his Bulls playing lately, it could come to pass. Until then, Buffi e
must deal with Western Michigan, a team that’s on a 5-0 SU run after dropping
its season opener to Nebraska. Bronco QB Tim Hiller is the conference’s leading
passer with 284 YPG and also leads the MAC in touchdown passes with 19 – but
his team is just 2-6-1 ATS off back-to-back wins when taking on an opponent
off consecutive losses. If that’s not enough to point you in the herd’s direction,
our SMART BOX declares that Buffalo is the side here. Looks like we’ll heed the
advice and shuffl e off to you-know-where.

4* BEST BET
MISSISSIPPI ST over Vanderbilt by 11
Don’t look now but the Commodore Express could be ready to derail.
Unbeaten Vanderbilt is 5-0 SU for the fi rst time since 1943 but the Dores
pull into the Starkville station today with nothing but bad pointspread
numbers. For openers, Vandy has gone just 1-5 ATS against .350 or less
opposition, they’ve failed to get the money in fi ve of their last six tries
as SEC road chalk and if they remain favored at game time, the Commies
will fi nd themselves in the role of ‘5-0 Fat Cat’, an affl iction that usually
results in empty wallets for those looking to cash in with the high calorie
crowd. MSU coach Sylvester Croom has had a week off to pick up the
pieces from an awful 1-4 start and with the best of this week’s SMART
BOX in his corner, Sly could up his record to 5-1 ATS as a dog playing with
rest (Vandy currently 0-3-1 ATS against a rested foe). The Bulldogs have
cashed in fi ve of the last six meetings, including three straight in front of
the home folks, so we’ll expect the cowbells to clang loud and clear as
Missy State bursts Vanderbilt’s bubble. THIS JUST IN: Game Six 5-0 SUATS
dogs or favs of 3 or less points are just 1-4 SUATS.

Utah over WYOMING by 22
Following the Cowboys’ 24-0 humiliation at New Mexico, their second shutout
defeat in three straight losses, Wyoming could easily qualify for disaster relief
from the federal government. Coach Joe Glenn knows his time is running out at
Laramie, especially after last week’s debacle at Albuquerque where QB Karsten
Sween took over the reins from Dax Crum in an effort to spark Wyoming’s
awful 11-point-per-game excuse for an offense. Sween wound up in full
swoon, throwing for just 71 yards while tossing an interception and losing a
costly pair of fumbles – and things don’t look to get any easier against rugged
Utah. Fortunately for the home team, they’ve covered three straight in this
ongoing struggle between cowboys and Indians and have also managed a 6-1
ATS mark recently as double-digit home dogs. Despite their fearsome 6-0 start,
the Utes are just 1-5 ATS laying double digits on the MWC highway and could
easily overlook a fading Cowboys contingent that they destroyed last year, 50-
0. Would love to make a case for the Pokes but they remain winless ITS this
season. No thanks.

TEXAS A&M over Kansas St by 1
Following this season’s sobering 2-3 start, the Aggie zealots who chased
Dennis Franchione out of town could be wondering why they were so hellbent
on getting rid of a coach who had, after all, engineered back-to-back
upsets of hated Texas. And after the Aggies got clobbered by Okie State last
week in a 56-28 blowout, current A&M head coach Mike Sherman looks to
have about as much chance of beating Texas as Pee Wee Herman. Fortunately
for Sherman, he’s not tangling with the Longhorns today; instead he gets to
regroup against a Kansas State team that owns a horrible 1-7 SU and 0-8 ATS
log as road favorites over the last fi ve years. If you’re wondering why a team
that got eviscerated by 30 points at home last week by Texas Tech is now
laying wood on the Big 12 road, you’re not alone. We’ll put our faith in A&M’s
excellent 14-4-1 ATS record as conference home pups and play the role of 12th
man today at Kyle Field.

Blade
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Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13

C MICHIGAN over Temple by 11
Go fi gure. The Owls had lost four straight games, were sitting 0-5 In The Stats
on the season and were without starting QB Adam DiMichele last week when
they took on Miami Ohio. So what happened? Temple strolled into Oxford and
de-feathered the RedHawks by 18 points as 7-point dogs. That shocker bumps
the Owls to a perfect 3-0 ATS mark in ’08 MAC play but to remain unblemished,
Bill Cosby’s alma mater will have to cash against a tough Chippewa team that
won 42-26 in Philly last year. Led by strong-armed QB Dan LeFevour, the Chips
have excelled as favorites over the past three seasons, rolling up a bookiebusting
14-4-1 mark versus the number. That’s the type of number we can’t
refuse… especially going against a Temple team that had lost four straight
games prior to its ambush of the RedHawks. Owls are one of just four teams
that have failed to win ‘In The Stats’ all season.

OHIO ST over Purdue by 21
Purdue’s kicking game cost us dearly last week as a missed extra point – on
top of two earlier missed fi eld goals – denied us a Late Phone ATS win over
Penn State (Lions eked out 20-6 win as 14-point chalk). Now reeling from backto-
back SU losses, Purdue couldn’t have picked a worse time to pay a visit to
Columbus. Freshman phenom QB Terrell Pryor is starting to assert himself as
the team’s new leader and the Buckeyes are making visible strides with each
game. Ohio State has cashed in four of the last fi ve rumbles at Ohio Stadium
but last year’s 23-7 Buckeye victory surprisingly marked the fi rst time OSU coach
Jim Tressel had posted a win-and-cover against Joe Tiller since Tressel’s debut
in 2001. Even so, these two teams are clearly headed in opposite directions
and the Boilers’ feeble 1-6 ATS record off a double-digit SU home loss is ample
proof of their rapid movement south. Look for Ohio State to take its game
to the next level today and heap further disappointment on Tiller’s Farewell
Tour.

Tcu over COLORADO ST by 15
Rams raised more than a few eyebrows with their 41-28 home win over UNLV
but they’ll have to set their sights considerably higher to bring down the Lone
Star Christians today. An initial glance at the ATS archives tells us CSU has a
good shot at getting the money: they’re 15-2 with revenge after scoring 35
or more points and 21-10-1 taking points at Fort Collins. A closer inspection,
though, reveals that those sterling numbers came courtesy of recently departed
head coach Sonny Lubick. TCU has covered four straight in the series and their
combination of powerful YPR ratings (+4.9 net YPR) and the nation’s topranked
defense make it diffi cult to fade the ferocious Frogs here. Even so, Gary
Patterson’s team could have one eye focused on next Thursday’s huge battle
with BYU, a possibility that will keep our wallet closed for now.

MISSOURI over Oklahoma St by 8
As long as we’re questioning what secret ingredient is being added to Army’s
pre-game meals of late, we should also check what’s going on with the water in
Oklahoma. Here’s the scoring breakdown on the state’s Big Three: Oklahoma,
49.6 PPG, Oklahoma State, 52.6 PPG and Tulsa, 56.4 PPG. The Tigers may not be
located in the OK state but Missouri still fi elds one of the nation’s most prolifi c
offenses at 53 points and 569 yards per game. Surprisingly, the Cowboys own
a defensive edge over Mizzou, allowing just 323 YPG compared to 377 YPG for
the Tigers – a major improvement over OSU’s 443 YPG average from 2007. And
even though MU QB Chase Daniel has been hogging all the Heisman talk this
year, Okie State signal-caller Zac Robinson is a genuine talent with more than
enough weapons to keep the Cowboys close throughout. Mike Gundy has only
tangled once with Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel and the Tigers prevailed by a 7-point
margin. With Missouri stuck in a ‘5-0 Fat Cat Fade’ scenario, we’ll look to bag
the cash in another single-digit outcome.

GEORGIA over Tennessee by 13
While Georgia takes Step One in its quest to rejoin the BCS title chase, Tennessee
fi nds itself in a life-or-death fi ght to merely survive. A Volunteer offense that’s
produced just 31 total points in the last three games is the chief culprit and
coach Phil Fulmer needs to get that unit in gear to stand any chance of making
it through the grueling SEC wars that still remain. UT does own a 4-1-1 ATS mark
as a dog versus conference foes with revenge and has cashed in six of eight tries
as an SEC dog of 11 or more points. Fulmer is also dangerous in this price range,
going 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS when taking a dozen or more points. Georgia has
rung the register in six of eight games as chalk with rest and receives additional
backing from this week’s SMART BOX. But even with a recommendation from
the Sagacious Square, we just can’t get past Fulmer’s impressive dog log or the
Vols’ desperate sense of urgency. Probably best to leave this one alone.

USC over Arizona St by 25
Much like the Dow Jones, Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson seems unable to keep
last year’s good run from collapsing into a season gone wrong. Saturday’s loss
at Cal dropped the Sun Devils to 2-3 in 2008, the 8th pointspread failure by
ASU in its last nine games, and Erickson now has to face an angry USC squad
that ripped his team by 20 points last year. The Trojans looked to be in trouble
last week against Oregon but after spotting the Ducks a 10-3 second quarter
lead, Southern Cal reeled off an incredible 41 unanswered points to close out
the contest. With the Sun Devils currently 1-7 ATS when playing with revenge
on the PAC 10 road, Pete Carroll’s team looks like an obvious choice here.
However, USC has covered only TWO of 12 opportunities as DD chalk against a
conference foe with revenge and QB Mark Sanchez left the Oregon game with
a minor injury and did not return

3* BEST BET
OREGON over Ucla by 27
woeful Washington State last week because Saturday’s showdown with
Oregon has all the makings of the Bruins’ earlier three losses in ’08,
embarrassments that saw Rick Neuheisel’s team outscored by a 126-41
margin. Rick is not so slick when tangling with a PAC 10 foe off a loss,
posting a miserable 7-21 ATS career mark (1-12 L13) and the Bruins head
straight into the crapper in Game Six, covering just TWICE in the last 15
years. On the other hand, Oregon’s Mike Bellotti looks to be playing with a
stacked deck. He’s a solid 15-7 versus the number at Eugene when playing
with conference revenge, a stat that sweetens to 13-4 if his opponent is not
undefeated. Believe it or not, Mr. Ripley, last year’s stupefying 16-0 Oregon
loss at UCLA is the ONLY shutout suffered by Bellotti in his coaching career!
Backed by the Ducks’ recent 10-1 string of ATS success as double-digit
conference chalk, we gladly take fl ight with the Quack Attack.

MICHIGAN over Toledo by 17
Few coaches have taken an elevator ride similar to what Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez has endured in 2008. Two weeks ago, he got a Gatorade shower
after leading the Wolverines to an amazing comeback win over Wisconsin, then
quickly reclaimed his title as Public Enemy No. 1 when the Maize-and-Blue was
abused at home by Illinois last Saturday, 45-20. Thankfully for Richie Rich, he
gets a major break in the schedule with the appearance of one of this season’s
most disappointing teams, the Toledo Rockets. Usually a dependable MAC
commodity under coach Tom Amstutz, the Rockets have crashed and burned
in spectacular fashion, losing three straight games at the Glass Bowl while
scoring just 16 points in their previous two contests. The Wolverines bounce
back nicely after a DD home loss, going 5-0 SU and ATS, but this year’s team is
still not executing at the level required to justify a 17-point impost. We’re not
interested in the erratic Rockets, either (1-3 SUATS versus the Big 10) and with
both teams suffering major offensive problems, we’ll advise you to avoid this
train wreck altogether.

NORTH CAROLINA over Notre Dame by 1
The wise guys who chuckled over UNC’s 7-point spread over previously unbeaten
UConn last week weren’t laughing when the Tar Heels booted the Huskies right
out of Chapel Hill in a 38-12 rout. That performance was a far cry from the 27-
45 six-year SU disaster that Carolina fans suffered under coach John Bunting
and the ugly 4-8 mark that fi rst-year coach Butch Davis was forced to endure in
2007. Currently sitting at 4-1 SU, North Carolina’s TD spread over visiting Notre
Dame looks a bit more realistic this week – but it really shouldn’t. Despite the
great start, the Heels are a mirror-opposite 1-4 In The Stats in ’08 and were
outgained by more than 100 yards in the phony win over Connecticut. After
an avalanche of early criticism, Notre Dame’s “Mission Team” actually appears
to be turning the corner back toward respectability. The Irish have covered
four of fi ve when playing the fi rst of consecutive road games and are beating
opponents on the fi eld as well as on the scoreboard.

AUBURN over Arkansas by 24
Like the old folks used to say, never buy a pig in a poke and the folks who
rushed to hire Bobby Petrino to lead Razorback nation are probably wishing
they’d demonstrated a bit more restraint before whipping out the checkbook.
Petrino may have orchestrated a mind-boggling 41-9 SU record in four seasons
at Louisville but he’s received a downright rude welcome by the SEC, outscored
87-21 in conference losses to Alabama and Florida. Throw in a 52-10 destruction
at Texas and Hog fans have had precious little to cheer about over the past
month, a situation that may not improve when Arky travels to the plains on
Saturday to face a pissed-off Auburn bunch. The Tigers are a stout 7-1 ATS off
a SU road favorite loss and Tuberville weighs in with a 3-0 SUATS record off a
SU chalk loss against a foe that’s dropped consecutive contests. Auburn also has
one of those new spread offenses that simply is not beating the spread, so there
could be some hidden value there. ESPN’s Lou Holtz had this to say after he was
asked about making suggestions to new coach Petrino: “My advice would be
to switch the offensive line with the defensive line because the defense has
opened the biggest holes I’ve seen all season.” Hmmm… Dr. Lou may have
discovered the perfect tonic for Auburn’s offensive anemia.

NEVADA over New Mexico St by 20
Many thought Nevada’s season was over when star RB Luke Lippincott tore his
ACL in a loss to Texas Tech but the Wolfpack quickly rebounded to win two of
their last three, scoring 49 points against both UNLV and Idaho. The Aggies
bagged a rare win last week over Alcorn State but seldom take advantage of
good fortune, going 6-17-1 ATS off a SU win. True, New Mexico State does owe
the Reno wolves payback for a trio of consecutive whippings but Nevada’s nicely
balanced offensive (300 yards rushing/200 yards passing) has been moving with
ease. Overall, a pretty sharp number.

UPSET GAME OF THE WEEK
Miami Ohio over NO ILLINOIS by 3
Not even Agatha Christie could fi gure out what’s going on at Miami Ohio,
clearly the MAC’s biggest mystery to date. Picked to win the East Division
in ’08, the RedHawks fell to 1-4 after a dazed and confused home loss to
Temple last week. However, this double-revenger against Northern Illinois
could be a blessing in disguise: Miami is 6-1 SU and ATS off a double-digit
loss versus a conference team while the Huskies are just 1-4 ATS as home
favorites over the last two seasons. Under new coach Jerry Kill, NIU’s three
losses have come by only 11 combined points, good in the sense that such
results show improvement but bad in the sense that a series of narrow
losses could damage a young team’s confi dence. A disheartened favorite
brings automatic value to the dog and since our BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
article on page 2 says to ‘lean on’ Miami, we’ll do just that.

BYU over New Mexico by 20
The Cougars continue to build on the nation’s longest SU win streak but are
paying the price in the pointspread department, laying big numbers every time
they step on the fi eld. Rocky Long’s Lobos have scratched out consecutive wins
to square their season mark at 3-3 and they enter Provo with a fl awless 7-0 ATS
log as conference dogs of 20 or more points. The New Mexicans have cashed
three in a row against BYU and are 9-2 ATS on the MWC road when playing with
revenge. The powerful Cougars are a fl imsy 4-10 ATS as conference chalk of 22
or more points and if you can’t fi nd the courage to buck ‘em with TCU lurking
on deck, you never will. Did we forget to mention that BYU also qualifi es as a
‘5-0 Fat Cat Fade’? Mormons keep the SU streak alive but fall to 1-7 ATS after
playing Utah State.

OREGON ST over Washington St by 32
Oregon State coach Mike Riley should get nominated for the Nobel Prize
in Medicine. After an ugly 0-2 start, his Beavers were fl at-lining and nearly
everyone was ready to call the time of death. But somehow Riley revived the
stone cold rodents and they immediately responded by upsetting Southern Cal
in the shocker of the year. Unfortunately, they let Utah wriggle off the hook in
a 31-28 setback last week but they return to Corvallis with a new swagger after
the USC win and a close-call loss to the Utes. Washington State rookie coach
Paul Wulff may not fi nish the season: his 1-4 Cougars are redefi ning ‘bad’ each
week with every loss coming by 25 or more points. The Beavers crushed the
Cougars 52-17 in ’07 so this looks like an instant replay.

Arizona over STANFORD by 6
In one of last week’s two cases of mistaken identity, we incorrectly referred
to Arizona head coach Mike Stoops as Brother Bob (the other error involved
confusing former BC basketball coach Jim O’Brien with current NC State
mentor Tom O’Brien). As penance for his grievous mistakes, we have ordered
our proofreader to purchase his own ticket to the UL-Lafayette at North Texas
contest this weekend and sit through the entire game while wearing green.
Considering the way Arizona’s been piling up the points lately (48.8 per game),
head coach Mike Stoops is fi nally experiencing what his sibling presides over
each and every week at Oklahoma. The Desert Cats sure have a score to settle
here, losing 21-20 to the Cardinal in ’07 as 13.5 point home favorites… and a
recent 6-1 ATS series edge on this fi eld suggests they’re in a good spot to exact
some much-needed revenge. They’re also 8-2 ATS with PAC 10 revenge after
scoring 35 or more points, numbers that make Stanford’s 4-10 ATS mark after
playing Notre Dame (2-8 if current foe is off SU win) seem even more hopeless.

Bowling Green over Akron by 1
Ahh, the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’, so named because no matter how
you twist, turn or otherwise contort you body, you’ll NEVER fi nd a comfortable
spot to rest. That’s just how we feel about today’s MAC cure for insomnia.
Bowling Green is badly leaking oil, losing SU as a 20-point home favorite to
Eastern Michigan last week and slipping to 1-4 ITS this season. No, we don’t
want them. Akron may have beaten Kent State, 30-27, but the Zips were zapped
in the yardage department, outgained 413-301. Those sort of ‘Inside-Out’ wins
will keep a team like Akron off our ticket but neither are we interested in road
favorites suffering a major crisis of confi dence.

Ohio U over KENT ST by 3
The dregs of the MAC, armed with identical 1-5 records, duel in hopes of
avoiding the conference cellar. Frank Solich’s Bobcats fl irted with one of the
year’s biggest upsets before falling to Ohio State, 26-14, but have since gone in
the tank. Funny thing is, when they got into the tank, the Golden Flashes were
already there waiting. Kent State lost its previous outing as a home favorite in
overtime to a conference opponent, a setup that’s produced a weak 34-55-3
ATS record in the followup game. But with Ohio a tepid 1-6 ATS with revenge
off a double-digit ATS loss, well… you get the picture. Pass.

CINCINNATI over Rutgers by 11
You’ve got to hand it to Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly. Down two quarterbacks at
Marshall, he simply loaded redshirt freshman Chazz Anderson into the breech
and fi red off an impressive 33-10 C-USA road win over the Thundering Herd. In
his fi rst collegiate start, Anderson went 16-for-26 passing for 158 yards and two
touchdowns (also scored a 1-yard rushing TD). “This was our best football game
of the year,” said Kelly, not exactly the words Rutgers’ coach Greg Schiano
wanted to hear. Already 1-4 and running out of options, the Scarlet Knights
have failed to get the money in four straight trips to the Queen City. UC won a
close one last year with Rutgers and Bearcat coach Kelly has polished up a 12-3
ATS mark when taking on a foe he beat in their previous meeting – including
4-0 at home. Schiano has made hay as a dog overall, going 30-20-1 ATS in that
role but that number shrinks to just 20-18 against conference opposition. With
two more tough Big Easters awaiting after Cincy, the Knights look to be one of
the season’s earliest casualties.

TEXAS TECH over Nebraska by 17
First and foremost a defensive coach, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has got to be upset
over handing over 87 points in back-to-back home losses to Virginia Tech and
Missouri. Well, this row doesn’t get any easier to hoe: the Huskers leave Lincoln
for the fi rst time all season and will be asked to put the clamps on one of
college football’s most exciting offenses. Mike Leach’s attack has been run to
perfection lately by QB Graham Harrell and could put up some big numbers
if the Husker ‘D’ doesn’t quickly regroup. Confl icting trends show the Corn
Boys to be 10-2 ATS away when playing off three or more home games but
all teams who open with a 5-game homestand before taking to the road are
just 4-9 ATS getting points, including 1-6 versus a foe off a win. Our SMART
BOX declares the Red Raiders to be a ‘5-0 Fat Cat Fade’ but we honestly don’t
feel like stepping in front of a genuine yard-eating machine with a doubting
defense. Call it, friendo…

KANSAS over Colorado by 14
Last year was a magical year for the 12-1 Jayhawks but this year’s model
appears to be missing some serious mojo. The biggest problems lie with a
Kansas defense that allowed just 16 PPG in 2007 but has been ripped for 81
points in its last three outings in ‘08. The Buffaloes may have jumped out of
the gate to a 3-2 start but back-to-back stink bombs against Florida State and
Texas are not endearing 3rd-year coach Dan Hawkins to the Boulder faithful.
Even worse, bison bettors will have to steer clear of Hawkins’ awful 2-9-1 ATS
record as a highway hound this weekend. KU can claim a perfect 6-0 ATS log
when taking on a foe off back-to-back DD SU losses but like someone might say
in those ‘Body Snatcher’ movies, “They sure look like the Jayhawks – they just
don’t play like ‘em.” Pass.

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WISCONSIN over Penn St by 1
One of the most popular phrases in coachspeak is “winning teams always
manage to overcome adversity.” Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema is about to
get a real education in this concept: after a 21-5 SU start in his fi rst two seasons
at Madison, the popular coach lost his fi rst ever game at Camp Randall Stadium
last week (Ohio State, 20-17) and will sink to his very fi rst 3-game losing skein
if the Badgers can’t bring down Joe Pa’s Lions on Saturday. The ATS archives
are completely one-sided in supporting the hosts here. Unbeaten Penn State
is just 1-7-1 ATS versus Big 10 revengers and 1-5 ATS as favorites of 17 or less
points in Game Two of back-to-back road trips. Wisky sports a superlative 10-2
ATS record as home dogs of 4 or more points, has bested the Lions in four out
of fi ve ATS decisions on this fi eld and owns an eye-popping 16-1 SU mark under
Bielema. For more ammunition, consult our BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW article on
page 2. Like us, you’ll end up taking the points.

MIAMI FLA over C Florida by 18
Despite back-to-back heartbreaking losses against North Carolina and Florida
State, Miami continues to improve by leaps and bounds – and if Hurricane
coach Randy Shannon can avoid having an aneurysm, his young team should
be a legitimate force in the ACC by season’s end. The Canes fought back from
a 24-3 halftime defi cit to trade punches with the Seminoles before fi nally
falling, 41-39. Meanwhile, UCF is clearly struggling without departed superstar
RB Kevin Smith, barely managing a 2-3 start after last year’s 10-4 campaign.
The Knights latest win was a 31-17 ‘Inside-Out’ special over Smu where the
Mustangs actually outgained UCF by a 376-280 edge. Miami coach Shannon
owns some poisonous stats – he’s 2-7 ATS at home and 0-5 ATS as chalk off
back-to-back losses – but we wouldn’t be surprised to see his Canes take out a
month’s worth of anger on this suddenly weak sister.

5* BEST BET
FLORIDA over Lsu by 16
No, Gator fans… your team’s earlier loss to Ole Miss did not eliminate
them from this year’s BCS title chase. Today’s foe, LSU, proved as much
in 2007 when they became the fi rst team with TWO losses to reach the
championship game. This season’s Bengals look to be just as nasty and
physical as always but the Gators are one tough reptile to skin at The
Swamp. UF coach Urban Meyer stands 14-3 ATS as a dog or favorite of less
than 10 point when playing with revenge and he’s cashed the winning
ticket in all three matchups with Les Miles. The rested Tigers are just 2-5-1
ATS off a bye week and Miles has lit a match to some major currency in
today’s role, going 3-10 ATS as an SEC road dog (0-5 versus a team with
revenge). At fi rst glance it may appear dicey but our INCREDIBLE STAT OF
THE WEEK on page 3 says the Gators are the play. Toss in the fact that
defending National Champions are fl at out terrible when playing on the
road off back-to-back wins against an opponent that allows 19 or less
(9-25 ATS). A win here keeps Florida in the hunt and at this short price,
should grab us the money to boot.

SAN JOSE ST over Utah St by 14
Both teams check in off ATS wins, the Aggies of the back door variety; Sparty
off a SU underdog win. SJSU’s week of rest advantage is tarnished slightly by
the fact USU played last Thursday, giving them an extra wink or two. The Aggies
will be out to avenge a home loss last year in the rare role of a favorite (favored
only two times the last three seasons). Despite a 10-1 ATS mark in home games
of late, we won’t fi nd a way to San Jose today, not as double-digit homecoming
chalk. We’ll let this one go.

Tulsa over SMU by 21
Weather Alert: the Hurricane coming out of Tulsa has been upgraded to a
Category 5… as is 5-0. And to that we remind residents of Dallas to make sure
you get all your pets inside this weekend when the Canes come blowing into
town. Felines needn’t worry, though, as yet another 5-0 FAT CAT warning is
in effect. Further signs of diminishing winds come in the form of Tulsa’s series
mark with the Mustangs where they are 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings and
1-6 ATS the last seven gatherings in the Big ‘D’. With the Ponies off their fi rst
stat-win of the season in last week’s 31-17 loss at UCF you would think signs of
the weather clearing up are in the immediate offi ng. However, before going
out without an umbrella you might want to know the Mustangs are riding a
7-game home ATS losing streak. Umbrellas up.

Boise St over SOUTHERN MISS by 12
The schedule maker has been kind to the 4-0 Broncos this season. They travel
to Hattiesburg to take on the Golden Eagles in what will be their 2nd game
in 22 days while taking on an unrested Southern Miss squad playing off an
overtime home loss against UTEP last week. Scheduling dynamics aside, the
numbers appear to be in Smissy’s favor as they are 7-1 ATS in games against an
opponent off a win of 30 or more points and 4-0 ATS in Game Six of the season.
That melds well with Boise’s 0-6 ATS mark on the road off a weekday home
game. The problem in fl ying with the Eagles is a disdain for backing home
teams off an overtime loss as they are just 50-75-3 ATS since the inception of
extra sessions. That makes this a toss-up.

Tulane over UTEP by 1
Looks like it’s time for the linemaker to make a slight power rating adjustment
to the Green Wave’s prior measurement. Despite a 2-3 record through fi ve
games of the season, and stunned off last week’s 31-point loss to Army (as a
20-point favorite), Tulane is actually 4-1 ITS in 2008 with the only stat loss by 4
yards to East Carolina. Because the public remembers what happened last, and
even thought they are 1-8 ATS as home favorites of late, the linemaker was
forced to install the Miners as chalk in this contest. And that’s a mistake. Wave
gets the green as a dog.

Air Force over SAN DIEGO ST by 6
If ever the Falcons were going to break the stranglehold by Navy in the
Commander-in-Chief series it would have occurred last week. With the Middies
starting QB banged up and AFA playing with a week of rest it still didn’t’ matter
as Navy torpedoed its way to another victory. The task at hand for Air Force
today will be to pick itself back up and dispose of an Aztec squad that itself is
thin on depth and personnel. We don’t like the fact that the Flyboys are just 1-4
ATS on this fi eld or that Sandy is 6-0 ATS at home off a road game. Then again,
yes we do. Grab the points in this military letdown.

FRESNO ST over Idaho by 28
Oh my. After taking on a whirlwind schedule that found the Bulldogs hosting
Wisconsin, then traveling to Toledo for an epic double-overtime win and then
back to the left coast to take on UCLA, life was expected to be a bowl of cherries
when Fresno hosted Hawaii last week. Instead they ended up down in the pits
when they lost, 32-29, in overtime to the Warriors. Solace is served in the form
of mashed potatoes this week when lowly Idaho invades. Sure, they’ll bounce
back into the win column but not with our money riding on them. Not when
home OT losers are just 50-75-3 ATS. We’ll be on a no-carb diet this week.

HAWAII over Louisiana Tech by 10
Lord knows it’s been one weird season in college football but few of the many
astonishing results can rival Hawaii’s upset win at Fresno last week. The Warriors
were 21-point dogs who managed to pull the rug out from under the Bulldogs
in a 32-29 overtime victory. They return home to host another Bulldog, one of
whom they were favored against by 28 points – at La Tech – last year. In fact, two
years ago when these same two teams met here on the Island, the Grass Skirts
were a whopping 37.5-point favorite! With Don Ho’s value-seeking cousin, Mr.
Mo, doing an about face and owning a sterling 17-1 SU mark in its last eighteen
games in Honolulu, look for Hawaii to jump on the Bulldogs’ 1-6 ATS record as a
single-digit dog in game against an opponent off a SU and ATS win here.

ADDED GAMES:

Ball State over W KENTUCKY by 13
Two teams that have each been impressive in their own right. The Cardinals are
the rage out of the MAC, beginning the season 6-0 SU and 4-0-1 ATS. They’ve
also mowed down every opponent ‘In The Stats’. To top it off, they’re back
on the road off a road shutout win. Teams in this role are 21-5-2 ATS in nonconference
clashes. However, we’ll look to counter those numbers with the
gutsy Hilltoppers who hung tough last week with Virginia Tech and play with
confi dence off 12 winning seasons in a row. Expect the Ball boys to dip to 0-4
ATS as double-digit road chalk here today.

ARKANSAS ST over La Monroe by 13
The visiting Warhawks bring plenty of ammunition into this scrape. For openers
they are 3-0 ATS in this series and 3-0 ATS the last three games on this fi eld.
Toss in a 15-3 ATS log as a road dog of 14 or less points in games off a loss and
you can see what we mean. The well-rested Red Wolves will rely on the SMART
BOX to counter those numbers. We’re not about to try and pound a round peg
into a square hole.

Mid Tenn State over FLA INTL by 3
The mighty Panthers beat the Lean Green, 42-10, last Saturday to register their
second consecutive road win this season. Despite their recent success, they still
remain one of four winless teams ‘In The Stats’ this season. Hence, the phrase
‘Smoke-and-Mirrors is at work with Mario Cristobal’s bunch. The rested Raiders
are 4-1 SU and ATS with a week off. With 25 yards the better defense and over
100 yards the better offense, we’ll back the better team in MTSU.

La Lafayette over NO TEXAS by 17
If there’s one thing the Ragin’ Cajuns have down pat this season it’s room
service. That’s because today’s contest marks their 5th road game in 2008. They
came up big at Monroe last week, improving to 2-8 in their last 10 road outs.
Meanwhile, the Eagles took it on the chops in a 42-10 loss to lowly FIU on this
fi eld last Saturday. Little solace came in the fact the UNT actually outstatted
FIU, 428-347, in the game. Don’t be surprised when the Eagles improve to 8-0-1
ATS in this series. Then again, don’t be surprised if they don’t.

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Logical Approach

COLLEGE SELECTION OF THE WEEK: Colorado + 14 over KANSAS - For many years Colorado was the much stronger program but the situation has reversed over the past few seasons. But any gap that Kansas may have created over CU appears to have narrowed. The talent level on the teams is fairly even. Kansas has displayed the better offense this season and has been slightly better on defense but the series history suggests this line is way too high. CU had won 5 straight in the series until Kansas won the past two seasons, each by exactly 5 points. Colorado bounced back from their low point, a 2-10 season in 2006, to go 6-6 last season before losing to Alabama in the Independence Bowl. They've played a much tougher schedule this season although they are off of one sided away losses to Florida State and Texas. Meanwhile Kansas has not performed at last season's level, losing at South Florida and struggling last week to win at Iowa State. And Kansas is at Oklahoma next week. This is competitive throughout. Kansas wins but by just 31-24.

Other Featured College Selections

Notre Dame + 7 over NORTH CAROLINA - Both teams are clearly on the upswing and each has shown progress since the start of the season. Both teams are very similar statistically although Notre Dame has played the more demanding schedule. Notre Dame has the better talent - for now - as Carolina's recruiting is making great strides under coach Butch Davis. Carolina disappointed us last week when they routed UConn even though UConn dominated the stats, out first downing 'Carolina 23-13 and outyarding the Tar Heels 378-263. In fact, Carolina has been outgained on the season, often a poor indicator of pointspread success for favorites. Both defenses have excelled at creating turnovers, averaging nearly 3 takeaways per game. Notre Dame has b Bye next week while Carolina faces ACC nemesis Virginia next week in a double revenge spot including a bitter 2 point home loss last season. Notre Dame continues to build momentum and they take another step towards "restoring the glory" with an upset win here. Notre Dame wins 27-20.

NEVADA RENO - 19 over New Mexico State - Nevada plays their first home game in more than a month and enter this game with great momentum following road wins at Idaho by 35 points and at UNLV by 22. Those wins followed losses against a pair of unbeaten Big 12 powers Texas Tech and Missouri which clearly served to strengthen the Wolfpack for when they returned to face teams more at their level. Nevada has done well when given the chance to play bully on what has been a strong home field under coach Chris Ault. New Mexico State is all offense and little defense although their stats compare favorably to Nevada due to playing much weaker competition. Nevada has the # 4 rushing attack in the nation, gaining over 300 ypg, State is allowing over 220 rushing ypg so this matchup strongly favors Nevada. Eliminating last week's home rout of lowly I-AA/FCS Alcorn State, New Mexico State has allowed an average of 301 rushing ypg to their 3 I-A/FBS foes! Their defense will wear down and prevent the offense from trading points. Nevada wins handily 56-23.

ARKANSAS STATE - 12½ over Louisiana Monroe - We go to the "added" board to find a very appealing matchup of outstanding strength vs glaring weakness in the fundamentals. Both in the running game and in overall offense the stats are staggering as Arky State is averaging 6.1 yards per rush and 7.2 yards per play (while allowing just 4.9 yards per play on defense). Monroe is allowing 6.8 yards per rush and 7.1 yards per play (while gaining just 5.1 yards per play on offense). Teams that average more than 2 yards per play than they allow are 70-8 straight up and 48-14-2 ATS this season, winning by an average of 26+ points per game. Teams that allow more than 2 yards per play than they gain are 3-19 ATS and 2-17 ATS, losing by an average of 21 points per game. Those astounding numbers more than offset some technical edges that lend support to Monroe. Arkansas State already has a road win over a BCS team, Texas A&M, and now steps back down to their own level against a very beatable foe. Arkansas State wins 37-17.

NFL SELECTION OF THE WEEK: SEATTLE - 3 over Green Bay - At 1-3 Seattle is off to their worst start since 0-3 in 2002. The Pack has also started slowly at 2-3 following last week's home loss to pesky Atlanta in which they trailed most of the way. Seattle has battled injuries to key members of their offense all season but are starting to get healthy. This is their only home game in a 6 week stretch so a win here is critical to their hopes of defending their NFC West title. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was game in playing through injury last week and is becoming more comfortable as Brett Favre's successor. The home team has won each of the last 5 games between the teams including a one sided win by the Packers last season. Reliance strictly on statistics would provide support to backers of the Pack. But this is the NFL and sometimes we must look beyond stats and place greater emphasis on the intangibles in a league in which the talent is so evenly spread. This is one such game. Seattle's pedigree makes them worth backing here. Seattle wins 28-20.

Other Featured NFL Selections :

NEW ORLEANS - 7 over Oakland - The Saints lost a to Minnesota on Monday night with a missed FG being the difference making this a game of great need for the Saints. They outgained Minny by over 100 yards in defeat and have the NFL's top passing offense. Oakland begins the Tom Cable era following the firing of Lane Kiffin a week ago. The Raiders are clearly in disarray and the coaching change should not have a major impact of a team still being coached, in reality, by owner Al Davis. Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell has yet to show he has the poise and composure to perform well in front of his fans from his college days at LSU. The Saints have the better team chemistry, more weapons and a more mature offense. They should put forth a great effort in what is their last home game until the Sunday before Thanksgiving. New Orleans wins 31-16.

New England + 6 over SAN DIEGO - New England showed some signs of life last week with their win at San Francisco while the Chargers continued to struggle with an uninspired effort in losing at Miami. Star RB LaDanian Tomlinson's productivity is down greatly as the absence of long time fullback Lorenzo Neal is being greatly felt. The Chargers are being outgained by 54 yards per game as their defense ranks # 28. The Pats' offense figures to continue to improve as QB Matt Casell becomes more comfortable running the offense and develops better timing with his receivers. This is a coaching mismatch and as such we can expect the Patriots'' Bill Belichick to outthink, outsmart and outcoach the Chargers' Norv Turner. The Chargers have struggled every bit as much as has New England and they've managed to come up short in close games. The class difference shows again here as the Pats pull the upset. New England wins 24-21.

CLEVELAND + 8 over N Y Giants (Monday) - Cleveland has had a disappointing though not surprising start to their season as they've played a very tough schedule that gets no easier over the next few weeks. The Giants have done very little wrong this season aside from a lackluster overtime win against Cincinnati before their Bye. The Giants have not played a very tough schedule, defeating a pair of winless teams (Cincinnati and St Louis) and another win over 1-3 Seattle. The Browns should be prepared for this prime time contest and they do have talent to give the Giants a game. The situation calls for a play on the home underdog with an outright upset not a shock. They do have momentum after winning at Cincinnati before their Bye. The Giants still have the better balanced offense and a more proven defense. They also have an edge at QB and in overall confidence. That's enough to call for the win, but it will be close. NY Giants win but by just 20-17.


Money Line Recommendations

College:

MEMPHIS
MISSISSIPPI ST
TEXAS A&M
Notre Dame


Pro:

Carolina
HOUSTON
ARIZONA
New England


Best of the NFL Totals

Cincinnati/N Y Jets OVER 45
Carolina/Tampa Bay UNDER 36½
Chicago/Atlanta UNDER 43½
Jacksonville/Denver OVER 48
Dallas/Arizona OVER 50
N Y Giants/Cleveland UNDER 43½

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HQ Report Newsletter

5* NORTHWESTERN (-12) over SYRACUSE by 21
3* BUFFALO (-3) over UTEP by 10
3* W MICHIGAN (+14) over NEBRASKA
3* UTAH (+4) over MICHIGAN

HQ UNDERDOG PLAY-- KENTUCKY (+4) over LOUISVILLE

HQ TOTAL RECALL OVER/UNDER: BOWLING GREEN vs PITT "PLAY OVER"

A.T.S. (Angles, Trends & Systems): OREGON ST (-3) over STANFORD

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Sports Memo

TEDDY COVERS
NEW ENGLAND AT SAN DIEGO -5 O/U 45
Recommendation: San Diego

When Drew Bledsoe got hurt and Tom Brady became the savior of the franchise, head coach Bill Belichick earned his reputation by parlaying a dominant defense and powerful running game into a Super Bowl title. That was 2001, this is 2008. The Patriots don’t have a strong running game or a dominant defense for Belichick to rely on at this juncture. New England managed only 3.3 yards per carry against the 49ers’ weak run defense last week after gaining only 78 yards on the ground in their ugly loss to Miami. The Pats defense looks older and slower with each passing week and has had consistent coverage problems in the secondary. And let’s not forget that after facing the Jets, Dolphins, Chiefs and 49ers in their first four games of the campaign, this is a huge step up in class for New England. San Diego is once again hungry and desperate, following its own poorly played loss against the Dolphins. Qualcomm Stadium has been rather friendly for the hosts in recent games. The Char¬gers are 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight home games, winning six of those games by two touchdowns. With revenge on their minds following their playoff ouster in the AFC Championship Game at New England last January, we’ll back the Chargers.


FAIRWAY JAY
CHICAGO AT ATLANTA +2.5 O/U 43
Recommendation: Atlanta

The Dolphins delivered another outright underdog winner for us last week, and we’ll shoot for the Falcons to fly this Sunday. Both the Bears and Falcons have sur¬prised most observers and betting backers, but their success can be linked to suc¬cess at the line of scrimmage. Chicago’s run defense is top-5 in the NFL but have not faced a ground attack in the top 25 percent. They will the next two weeks starting with Atlanta’s No. 1 rated rushing attack (180 ypg). Michael Turner comes in off another 100+ rushing performance in the win over Green Bay. We expect speedy Jerious Norwood to be more involved this week as both a runner and pass catcher to offset the Bears’ strength in their front seven. Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan is playing poised, delivering the ball with the quickness and accuracy of a seasoned veteran. The Bears offense is in the top 3 in the NFC in yards-per-point, proving their efficiency and ability to score. But after an easy time of it on the road last week fac¬ing the league’s worst defense in Detroit, expect the Bears to be in for a real battle Sunday. Solid situation for Atlanta returning home off a win as an underdog. They are still being undervalued and we’ll take the points against an equal opponent.


ROB VENO
OKLAHOMA -7 VS. TEXAS O/U 57
Recommendation: Oklahoma

Texas’ pass defense has been labeled as their most pressing concern by almost every college football analyst, and that concern is going to become a real¬ity on Saturday. The Longhorns pass rush has been able to somewhat mask the inexperience in the defensive backfield but that asset won’t be nearly as productive against OU. On the season, Texas has recorded 19 sacks but 14 of those were against the overmatched offensive lines of Rice and Arkansas. In Oklahoma, they face an opponent which has allowed just five quarterback sacks in 168 pass attempts thus far this season. With time, QB Sam Bradford (72.6% completions, 18 TDs, 3 INTs) and the Sooners ultra-deep and tal¬ented receiving corps will churn their way to 300+ yards and 35+ points. The three-headed ground attack will figure prominently too and the backs will be productive on screen passes. Obviously Texas has very impressive offensive numbers to date also, but they’ll be facing a veteran group that is playing ex¬cellent defense that yields just 3.8 yards per play. Oklahoma’s edge in overall defense springs the double-digit win here as they steamroll their way to 6-0.


ED CASH
ARKANSAS +19 AT AUBURN O/U 39
Recommendation: Arkansas

I am not sure what Auburn has done to become a 19-point conference favorite this year. They have been horrible offensively, and after losing to Vanderbilt last week for their second conference loss, it is going to be tough for this coaching staff to get the train back on the tracks. There seems to be some disagreement among head coach Tommy Tuberville and OC Tony Franklin about the direction of the offense and who should be at quarterback. I don’t expect things to get bet¬ter overnight or even at all this season. This week they face an Arkansas team that is slowly improving in Bobby Petrino’s first year. They were beaten 38-7 last week at home by Florida, but the game was much closer than the final score. It was 17-7 in the fourth quarter and Arkansas was very much in the game, play¬ing Florida very tough on both sides of the line of scrimmage. It would not sur¬prise me at all if they broke out with a big game this week at Auburn. Auburn lost two key defenders in the Vandy game to injuries, and we all know that defense is the Tigers’ only strength. Auburn probably scores a few more than its 18 ppg average on the season, but it won’t be enough to cover this week.


DONNIE BLACK
ARIZONA STATE +25.5 AT USC O/U 46.5
Recommendation: Arizona State

With three consecutive losses the bloom is off this Sun Devils team. Last week Arizona State played a very sloppy game. They had four fumbles (only one of which resulted in a turnover), two interceptions, seven penalties and three sacks allowed. Yet they had an opportunity for the spread cover when the best field goal kicker in the nation lined-up for a 44-yard field-goal attempt. Thomas Weber’s miss was only his second in 35 tries. This week they get four scores, and in our opinion that is too many. Arizona State has played USC tough, losing only two of its last ten meetings with the Trojans by more than 24 points. Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter suf¬fered a sprained left ankle in the fourth quarter at California but he was able to play for the final 11 minutes. He remains questionable at press time. The story for ASU however should be its defense as they are allowing just 20.8 ppg and 325 ypg. Both are improvements over last season. So while USC is a potentially explosive opponent, we would expect Arizona State to hang tough and keep this one closer than the huge pointspread margin.


ERIN RYNNING
MINNESOTA AT ILLINOIS -11 O/U 57
Recommendation: Illinois

Under Ron Zook, Illinois has had one focus and one focus only: recruit as much talent and speed as possible. The results have paid off as the Illini field one of, if not the most, athletic team in the Big Ten. Minnesota’s Tim Brews¬ter has adopted the same game plan but in just his second year, the Gophers’ roster top to bottom just doesn’t compare at the moment. Illinois is off a solid confidence-building road win over Michigan, dominating the ground game 191-69. This result was impressive considering the strength of Michigan’s front defensive line. In addition, Illinois’ defense is still adjusting after losing many key players to graduation. Keep in mind also the quality of offense the Illini had faced heading into last week. The bottom line is their ability to run and throw the ball will be too much for the Gophers to contain. Minnesota boasts a 5-1 record, but they’re not ready to break through just yet. The Il¬lini will find holes in UM’s secondary with their many weapons and I have my doubts about the Gophers’ offense against formidable competition. We’ll ride the Illini as they give the home crowd in Champaign plenty to cheer about.


BRENT CROW
VANDERBILT AT MISSISSIPPI STATE +2.5 O/U 37.5
Recommendation: Mississippi State

Give Vanderbilt credit for their tremendous 5-0 start, including three SEC wins over Auburn, South Carolina and Ole Miss. The Commodores have done a great job on defense and special teams and have made just enough plays on offense to get by. Avoiding turnovers is the most important thing Vandy has accomplished this season, something that in the past was always a major is¬sue against solid competition. This week the Commodores go to Starkville to face the 1-4 Bulldogs, who are coming off a bye week. Mississippi State will be focused and ready to play this week against the 13th-ranked Commo¬dores. State gave LSU a pretty good battle two weeks ago before losing 34-24. They got a little confidence on offense with Tyson Lee at QB and they should be able to use their size up front to their advantage against the speedy Vandy defense. This just shapes up to be a dangerous game for Vanderbilt after its biggest win in school history, highest ranking and plenty of never-before-seen National media coverage. Mississippi State’s may be 1-4 but the hun¬ger is still there and this week they’ll hand Vandy its first loss of the season.


JARED KLEIN
MINNESOTA +11 AT ILLINOIS O/U 57
Recommendation: Minnesota

The Golden Gophers are one of the hidden gems in the marketplace this season. They’ve gone 5-1 SU and 4-1 ATS. Last week’s victory over Indiana was head coach Tim Brewster’s first Big Ten win and with the way this team is playing, you can tell they are brimming with confidence as they head into this week’s showdown on the road against Illinois. Minnesota is improved in all areas of the game since last season, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Gophers would’ve held Indiana to just one first down and 24 total yards at halftime, if not for Marcus Thigpen’s 77-yard touchdown. They forced three turnovers and sacked Ben Chap¬pell and Kellen Lewis a combined four times. Illinois has not been stellar on de¬fense and teams have shown they can move the ball against this unit. Michigan, who ranks dead last in the Big Ten in nearly every offensive category, managed to put up 20 points. Now Illinois will have to contend with Minnesota’s spread offense and the Big Ten’s leading receiver Eric Decker, who has put up 696 yards this season. So while Illinois boasts a potent offense with Juice Williams at the helm, the Gophers can move the ball and keep this game within double-digits.


TIM TRUSHEL
VANDERBILT AT MISSISSIPPI STATE +2.5 O/U 37.5
Recommendation: Mississippi State

During the Summer, in these same pages we called for Vanderbilt to be one of the worst teams in the nation. Without question we were wrong. They now stand at 5-0 for the first time since 1943 and have beaten Auburn, Mississippi and South Carolina. The ESPN Game Day crew made their first-ever visit to Vanderbilt Stadium, which was a sellout and actually had more Commodore fans than Auburn fans. Smartly we have been able to avoid letting our preseason opinion of Vanderbilt influence our regular season game management and we have steered clear of the Commodores since their week one win over Miami (OH). Yet this week the situation to play against Vanderbilt is just too rich. First Vanderbilt comes of its biggest, most important vic¬tory ever. Second, their victories over their SEC opposition have come in quite favor¬able situations and or venues. This game at Mississippi State will not. The Bulldogs are off a bye week and with a 1-4 start to the season, this team is hungry and will not look past Vanderbilt. Statistically neither of these two teams come away im¬pressive, but with the ability to run the ball behind a massive offensive line, we like State’s opportunity to control the line of scrimmage and win this one outright.


MARTY OTTO
WESTERN MICHIGAN AT BUFFALO -1 O/U 53
Recommendation: Buffalo

Buffalo enters this MAC tilt fresh off a bye week of preparation, rested and ready for a WMU team that tops the table in the Western Division at 3-0. But that isn’t the only situational factor that lines up in our favor as West¬ern Michigan may look ahead to next week’s opponent, their biggest rival, Central Michigan. This is not strictly a situational play, however. Western Michigan’s offense will get all of the press this week as Tim Hiller lights up the scoreboard but don’t sell the Bulls short. Drew Willy is in the midst of setting all kinds of school records, already approaching the 15 TD passes he had in his breakout campaign last year while featuring a 4-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio. The bye week also afforded RB James Starks a much needed break to get healthy after suffering through a bit of a hip injury that slowed him early on. Although they have a losing record, this is a Bulls team that has fought through a rebuilding defense quite well, hanging around in games against Pitt and Missouri out of conference and taking CMU to the wire on the road. Now back at home I expect them to finally finish one off.

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Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13

HQ Report Newsletter

5* Penn St (-4) over Wisconsin by 13
3* Michigan (-17) over Toledo by 27
3* San Jose St (-15) over Utah State by 27
3* Middle Tennessee St (P) over Florida International by 7

*HQ Underdog Play of the Week
TOP PLAY -- Louisiana Tech (+7) over Hawaii (5-1)

*HQ Total Recall Over/Under
SINGLE PLAY -- Nebraska vs Texas Tech Play Over

A.T.S. (Angles, Trends & Systems)
TOP PLAY -- South Carolina (P) over Kentucky

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Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13

Smith rocks! Who's the Super Best Bet this week?

peppy1993
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Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13

My favorite pick this week is Vandy Peppy. You can get them at -2 right now at SBG

Michael Cash
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