Tuesday 9/10/19 thread for free handicapping service plays and expert predictions for NFL, NCAAF, & MBL games.
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Hot & Not Report - Week 3
Last week's piece brought some positive results from the first week of NFL action, as divisional underdogs have gone 3-1 against the spread (2-2 straight up) so far with Monday's Denver/Oakland game still pending (with Oakland now the underdog), while the lone home team (Seattle) to host a non-conference foe barely squeaked out a SU win and never came close to covering the spread. Monday's got a game still to go in that scenario as well with New Orleans hosting Houston, but a 4-1 ATS record to start from last week's identified spots is not bad at all.
Yet, this week I am shifting over to the collegiate game, as they've got two full weeks of results already in the books and with full blown conference play just around the corner, this next week or two is the last time we'll have to break down a slew of non-conference games and the generally large spreads that come with a lot of them.
But so far this year we've seen two specific scenarios that can hopefully continue to be profitable this upcoming week, so let's get right to outlining them now.
Backing 'Overs' on Power Five Conference teams after scoring 50 or more points; 7-1 O/U run so far
September is when you get a lot of 'cupcake' games for teams coming from the big Power Five conference schools as they pad their record and give their players some confidence before the meat of the schedule begins, so seeing 50+ points put up by numerous teams isn't that unheard of.
But contrary to what tends to happen say, with NFL teams after they put up 40+ (unders tend to be the way to go the following week there – keep that in mind for a few games in Week 2), these collegiate teams are fanning the flames of their offense all week long to keep that unit hot and put up another 'over' the following week.
Pac-12 teams Colorado and Washington State both scored 50+ in Week 1 and followed it up with 'over' tickets cashing in Week 2, Big 12 teams Oklahoma State and Baylor did the same thing, as did Big 10 teams Maryland and Penn State. The SEC wasn't about to get left behind either as LSU easily cashed an 'over' ticket against Texas after scoring 55 in their season opener.
The one Power Five team that failed to cash an 'over' ticket after scoring 50+ were the #1 ranked Clemson Tigers out of the ACC, as their game with ranked Texas A&M never came close to threatening the 'over'. Yet, at the same time, you could see that coming given the quality of competition on the field, whereas most of the other seven teams listed, had games against mediocre to good squads where defense isn't really a priority.
That 7-1 O/U record for teams in this spot could essentailly be nothing more than random variance combined with the notion that these strong offensive-minded programs would just prefer to play (and hopefully win) games that have both teams in the 30's and 40's if not blow a team out entirely. But what makes this scenario so interesting, at least for this week, is the fact that there are 15 different teams 'live' in it for their next game, after Week 2 saw plenty of them blowout much weaker competition.
The ACC comes in with the fewest teams once again as only Virginia is alive here after a 52-17 win over William & Mary. They've got a home game against Florida State up next which is a step up in competition level, but it's not like the Seminoles have looked good at all.
The leaders of this group are the Big 12 and Big 10 with four teams 'live' in this spot upcoming, as the Big 12 has Kansas State (@ Mississippi State), Oklahoma State (@ Tulsa), Oklahoma (@ UCLA) this weekend, with the Baylor Bears getting a week off before they try to add another 'over' to this result.
The teams from the Big 10 this week are Michigan State (vs Arizona State), Maryland, again, (@ Temple – who's off their own 50+ effort prior to getting a bye in Week 2), and Indiana (vs Ohio State), while like Baylor, the Wisconsin Badgers are hoping a week of rest doesn't cool off their offense that much.
SEC teams Alabama and South Carolina are both live in this scenario and play one another in South Carolina on Saturday, while Georgia hosts Arkansas State in what should be another easy victory for the Bulldogs.
And finally, the Pac-12 has Oregon (vs Montana), Arizona (vs Texas Tech), and Washington State (vs Houston) all apart of this scenario as well.
That's a lot of games to get through and there is little chance the 'over' continues to cash at the 87% clip it has so far, but digging deeper into some of those 15 contests and siding with the high side of the totals when they eventually come out in the next 24 hours or so could help you get the best of the number and hopefully get you to the payout window as well.
Backing Independent teams Against the Spread – 3-8 ATS
Since conference alignment is a bit of a theme this week, the teams with no affiliation to any conference have proven to be the worst bet in all of football so far this year. At 3-8 ATS, no conference is worse at cashing tickets then what the Independent teams have done so far.
And while it's true to say that the Independents are a small six-team “division” and would have fewer ATS wins on sheer numbers alone compared to the rest of the country that's got 10+ teams in a conference, only one division in all of conference football – the MAC East at 3-9 ATS – is comparable in terms of burning tickets. However, when you take a closer look at the three ATS wins from these Independents, you'll see that there is a case to be made that at least two of them were “gifted” to these Independent teams.
The first of those ATS wins that can be considered a gift was New Mexico State's cover as 55-point underdogs at Alabama. There wasn't a whole lot that the Aggies did themselves to earn that cover other then run the ball and sustain a few drives to keep the clock moving, as the 62-10 defeat was a point spread cover coming from the huge line alone.
The second of those 'gifts' for these Independents was BYU win over Tennessee, as right now just playing Tennessee appears to be a gift for the opponent. The Volunteers had an epic collapse in that game – punctuated by allowing a 60-yard pass in the dying seconds to give BYU a chance at a tying FG – and while BYU definitely did more then say New Mexico State to earn that ATS victory, anyone playing Tennessee right now has got to be the side you lean on.
Finally, the third ATS win for these Independents came from Army's near upset in Michigan on Saturday, and while that's not in the “gift” realm, had Michigan been able to hold onto the ball (three lost fumbles) and a fumble recovery TD for Michigan been properly called (if it was allowed to be reviewed or not) who knows how that game could have ultimately turned out. It probably won't have been near the sweat it was for Michigan fans, but covering the 20+ still might have been a stretch.
Regardless, these Independent teams are not ones that exactly ooze confidence in the betting markets right now, and with two of them – Notre Dame and Army – laying double-digit chalk at open this week, and two others – Massachusetts and New Mexico State - catching double-digit points on Saturday, it could be another rough weekend against the spread for these programs.
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