Smart Box Series: As The Noose Tightens
By Marc Lawrence
November is, unquestionably, the best time of the season for sports fans. The NFL enters its second-half race, College Football concludes with teams scurrying for bowl bids while the NBA and College Basketball tips off a new campaign. It’s also a great time for handicappers as value aplenty abounds.
Our focus in the world of College Football begins to center around postseason bowl games during turkey month. In particular, we like to zero in on undefeated teams at this stage of the season. That’s because the deeper they get into the season, the more pressure there is on them to remain unbeaten. As a result, the noose certainly gets tighter and tighter each week, especially when these perfect teams take to the road.
This is confirmed by the fact that, since 1980, undefeated College Football teams playing on the regular season road from Game Ten on out are 96-35-1 SU and 54-66-2 ATS. Hence, these teams tend to suffer their first loss of the season nearly one-third of the time. A warning signal has been sounded for Kansas State, Louisville, Notre Dame and Oregon this week.
Pair them up against an opponent that has some semblance of a defense (allows 24 or fewer PPG on the season) and the shiver in their boots, going 42-31-1 SU and 24-45-1 ATS. The Cardinals and Wildcats will be showing signs of trembling this Saturday.
Bring them in as a favorite or dog of less than 4 points off a SUATS win and it’s time for blindfolds, as these guys are 11-26 ATS.
The bottom line is these teams are at their absolute worst in these games when they take to the road off a SUATS conference win from Game 10 out with a perfect record as a favorite or dog of 4 or less points against a foe that allows 24 or fewer PPG provided they’ve won 20 or less of their previous 28 road games. These teams tend to die hard, going 9-9 SU and 2-16 ATS.
Both Kansas State and Louisville look to meet their maker this week. Gentlemen, mount your horses.
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This is a 1* Free Play on the Wizards.
It looks like a good spot to pull the trigger on the home side here, as Denver comes into this one disheartened after falling 116-111 in Brooklyn just last night. Washington should be the much “hungrier” side this evening as it’s dropped three of its last four, including a listless 124-116 setback to Orlando at home last time out. Also note that Denver is just 8-11 ATS in its last 19 as an underdog, while Washington is 3-1 ATS in its last four as a home fav in the 3.5 to six points range. Consider laying the points on the WIZARDS.