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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - OCT. 7

By Joe Nelson
Posted 10/10/2013 at 03:54 PM

Oregon is the only team in the nation to be 5-0 S/U and ATS this season as the Ducks continue to post incredible numbers. Oregon has been favored by a total of 187½ points this season in five games but in putting up 296 points they have been able to get by every spread, albeit narrowly in several instances including squeaking by last week, laying by -40½ on the closing number and winning by 41. The numbers for Baylor are just as impressive with 282 points scored in a 4-0 S/U and ATS start. The Bears also just barely covered last week as they allowed 42 points. Baylor will be on the road for the first time this season this week playing against 2012 Big XII champion Kansas State, the team they beat in a major upset last season to change the BCS picture. Houston, UCLA, Missouri, and Wisconsin could also be considered undefeated ATS this season depending on the spreads used with some close calls that could be losses or pushes.

California, Tulsa, and Kansas have been the worst teams to back this season with a combined 0-14 ATS record this season. While expectations were low for Cal and Kansas most expected Tulsa to have a great chance to repeat as Conference USA champions this year. To be fair Tulsa is still in the mix in conference play as the West division looks wide open but Tulsa already features more losses this year than all of last season with the 1-4 start and back-to-back S/U losses as favorites, though they are just 0-1 in league play.

In the NFL ATS win streaks halted for both Denver and Seattle last week as no team has a perfect ATS mark through five weeks. Those fading the losing streaks had a tough choice with Jacksonville and St. Louis both being 0-4 ATS heading into last week’s game but the Giants and Texans joined the Jaguars at 0-5 ATS on the season. Pittsburgh will have a chance to hit that mark next week after the bye week. Houston and New York were certainly considered strong playoff contenders for most and there are big questions for both teams at this point in the season starting with well paid veteran quarterbacks that continue to create awful turnovers week after week. Matt Schaub set an NFL record with four straight games with a pick-six and Eli Manning and the Giants are -13 in turnovers this season.

Finding a quarterback is certainly a challenge for many teams every year. Two teams that seemingly found their man after years of struggles met on Thursday last week but tragically both Brian Hoyer and E.J. Manuel were knocked out of the game. Hoyer is done for the season and Manuel could be out a month as the Bills will be starting former Duke quarterback Thad Lewis this week, fresh off the practice squad. He’ll be the first Duke quarterback in the NFL since Dave Brown.

The Vikings decided that more is better at QB with the curious signing of Josh Freeman after giving votes of confidence to Christian Ponder who is currently injured. Matt Cassel played well in Minnesota’s only win and it could be a bizarre situation in a few weeks if all three are healthy and Freeman has command of the playbook. All three are getting paid handsomely this season and one has to think at some point something has to give especially if the team falls further behind in the competitive NFC North. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…

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