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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES 10/8...

By Joe Nelson
Posted 10/12/2007 at 01:38 PM

 

With all the recent upsets Michigans loss to Appalachian State is not looking so terrible. Underdogs had a huge week last week going 36-16-2 in college games. USCs loss to Stanford was a tremendous shock and adds great irony to Coach Harbaughs comments this summer about USC being the best team ever. USC was close to a 40 point favorite in most outlets with some numbers certainly reaching over 40, a number that is considerably higher than Michigan would have been in the Appalachian State match-up had it been lined. Hawaii was also a 40 point favorite last weekend but the Warriors survived.

 

LSU was very, very fortunate to also win and move into the #1 spot last week Only five top ten teams remain undefeated this season while six other undefeated teams are not getting as much respect in the rankings Missouri, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Kansas, and Connecticut. UConn is the only team that is not even ranked but the Huskies are receiving votes and would certainly crack the top 25 with a win this week. Missouri, ASU, and Cincinnati all face very tough games this week as well.

 

Not so long ago it was fairly commonplace for the top ranked teams to have losses, we have just been spoiled recently by brilliant undefeated seasons by some great teams like USC and Texas. At the other end of the spectrum, only four teams remain winless as Notre Dame, UL-Monroe, Temple, and UL-Lafayette all earned victories last week.

 

In the NFL all three winless teams remained just that despite great opportunities to get into the victory column. New Orleans blew a lead a failed to capitalize on several opportunities. Miami moved the ball effectively but was forced to settle for field goals, and St. Louis fell short in a major comeback bid. The Packers were knocked off the unbeaten list despite dominating the first half of the game with Chicago as turnovers played a key role.

 

A couple emerging trends to keep track of this season will start to come into play now that we have a few weeks completed. Teams in the second of back-to-back road games have really struggled this season with a 5-12 S/U record and only five ATS wins in those 17 games. Last week popular underdogs Seattle and Tampa Bay failed in that situation and Baltimore also failed to cover, escaping San Francisco with a narrow win. The Bears were victorious in that situation but Chicago did not play extremely well. This week Miami and Carolina fall into that situation and both teams are likely without starting QBs. The AFC has dominated the NFC in recent years and this season the AFC is 11-9 S/U against the NFC. The value may be gone in those match-ups however as the ATS record is 7-10-3. Teams off the opening bye week went 3-1 S/U but just 2-2 ATS last week. Underdogs are 41-29-6 through five weeks of the NFL season which is on line with the 57.7% clip that dogs hit last season. Home teams are 37-33-6 ATS while going 45-30 S/U. Double-digit favorites are 5-4 heading into the Dallas/Buffalo Monday night match-up. Well keep track of these and others as the season continues. Good Luck.

 

Here are a few free picks for the weekend:

Duke + over Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech delivered a blowout win last week despite just 219 yards of offense. The Hokies delivered on defense and special teams last week but a dangerous Duke team could cause problems as VT is facing a second straight road game. The Blue Devils have covered in five consecutive games while posting respectable numbers on both sides of the ball. The Virginia Tech offense is averaging just 274 yards per game, and this is a much better Duke team than the reputation suggests.

 

Washington + over Green Bay

The Packers got conservative in the second half last week and failed to take advantage of an opportunity to start 5-0 and take complete command in the NFC North. Washington looked like one of top teams in NFC last week with a complete dismantling of an explosive Lions team. Washington had a bye week prior to that game which can be a major advantage early in the season. Green Bay did show some promising signs in the running game last week but the Packers are 4-12-1 ATS in the last 17 home games. After losing a game they dominated early in a big spot on national TV versus their chief rival last week this could be a tough spot.

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