Smart Box Series: High Expectations
By Marc Lawrence
When Alabama defeated Florida, 28-21, to win the first ever SEC championship game in 1992, it signaled the start of Division-1 college football conference title games.
This week finds a total of six FBS conference championship games on tap, with no less than four teams each owning one loss on the season.
Satisfyingly enough, these four one-time losers – all 11-1 on the year - find themselves paired against one another as upstart Kent State squares off against Northern Illinois in the MAC title game, while Alabama meets Georgia in the SEC championship game.
In addition to the pressure of being a defending national champion looking to get back to the BCS Championship Game, Alabama must also overcome exceedingly high expectations of its own.
The staggering effect of what happens in conference championship games with teams who have dominated on the playing field the last two seasons is eye-opening, to say the least.
Our database confirms the notion, finding that teams in conference title games who managed to win 19 or more of their last 22 games are just 6-15-2 ATS when installed as favorites in these games.
Worse, when favored by 21 or less points, and playing off a win of 3 or more points, these ’pips’ dip to 1-14-1 ATS in these title game roles.
The Tide may be high in Tuscaloosa these days but expectancy of rewarding their backers is low this week.
- U (CLE at PIT)
- Matt Fargo
- July 3, 2015 - 7:05 PM
- Offered at:
- top bet @ Under 7.5 -110
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Both Cleveland and Pittsburgh are coming off high-scoring series sweeps but I expect that to change tonight. The Indians took all four games in Tampa Bay to open their roadtrip and all four of those games went over the total as well. Pitching was solid but the offense was the difference as Cleveland averaged 6.5 rpg after averaging 2.5 rpg in its previous 11 games. The Pirates are coming off a sweep in Detroit and all three of those games went over the total as well. The offense exploded for 22 runs over the three-game set but this has been a very inconsistent offense on the season. Pittsburgh came into that series scoring three runs or less in nine of their previous 12 games. The pitching matchup should keep this one low scoring. Trevor Bauer takes the hill for the Indians and while he is having a fairly solid season, he has been dominant on the road. He has a 1.69 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in six road starts with five of those being quality and most importantly, all six of those games went under the total. Charlie Morton has been roughed up in his last two starts after posting a 1.62 ERA through his first five starts. This is a great opportunity for a rebound as he has been dominant at home with a 1.98 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in four starts, three of which have stayed below the total. The under is 10-2-1 in the Indians last 13 games as an underdog while the under is 12-5 in the Pirates last 17 games as a home favorite. Play Under (929) Cleveland Indians/(930) Pittsburgh Pirates
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