Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

NJ Jets 34, Cincinnati 31:
— Cincinnati lost despite 12-yard edge in field position. .
— First time this year Bengals didn’t have  TD play of 31+ yards.
— Jets ran 78 plays, Bengals only 54
— Bengals were outgained, 511-318.

— Jets scored two TD’s 0:49 late in 4th quarter for the win.
— Rookie QB White threw for 405 yards in his first NFL start.
— Last three years, Jets are 10-6 ATS as home underdogs.
— Last four Jet games went over the total. 

Tennessee 34, Indianapolis 31, OT:
— Titans scored defensive TD with 1:26 left in regulation to take lead.
— Tennessee won/covered six of last seven games, scoring 30.6 ppg.
— Titans gave up 27+ points in five of eight games (over 5-3).
— Over is 15-5 in Tennessee’s last 20 road games.
— Titans are 3-0 ATS in last three visits to Indianapolis.

— Colts scored TD with 0:22 left to send game to OT
— Wentz threw INT’s on two of Indy’s last four drives.
— Colts led 14-0 with 7:44 left in first quarter.
— Indy held star RB Henry to 68 yards on 28 carries.
— Last six years, Colts are 7-11-1 ATS in AFC South home games.

Buffalo 26, Miami 11:
— Miami lost last six games, giving up 31.7 ppg.
— Miami has given up 45 plays of 20+ yards, has only 26 themselves.
— Since 2012, Miami is 10-19 ATS in AFC East road games.
— Dolphins are 2-8 ATS in last ten visits to Orchard Park.

— Bills’ first seven drives: 28 plays, 101 yards, 3 points.
— Bills’ last four drives: 39 plays, 219 yards, 23 points.
— Bills are 7-2 ATS last nine games as home favorites.
— Last five games, Bills are +13 in turnovers.
— Allen scored TD with 1:07 left to cover the spread. 

Carolina 19, Atlanta 13:
— Carolina had no TD’s, kicked four FG’s on first seven drives.
— Gonzalez kicked FG’s of 57-51 yards.
— Under Rhule, Panthers are 9-3 ATS on the road.
— Carolina converted 10-17 on third down, Atlanta 3-10.

— Falcons were outgained 332-213; Carolina ran 72 plays, Atlanta 50.
— Atlanta is 0-3 SU at home, losing to Philly/Washington/Carolina.
— Atlanta is 2-8 ATS last nine games as a home favorite.
— Last 3+ years, Atlanta is 10-16 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.

Philadelphia 44, Detroit 6:
— Eagles ran ball for 236 yards, threw only 16 passes.
— Philly went 3/out on first drive, scored on last seven drives.
— NFC East teams are 8-3 ATS in non-divisional road games.
— Eagles were favored for first time this season.

— Last six games, Lions were outscored 81-22 in first half.
— Detroit gave up at least 7.1 yards/pass attempt in every game.
— Detroit is winless, has gone WLWLWLWL vs spread.
— Since 2015, Detroit is 11-21 ATS as home underdogs.

 LA Rams 38, Houston 22:
— Total yardage in first half: Rams 286, Houston 92
— Game was 38-0 after three quarters.
— Rams won last four games, scoring 32.5 ppg.
— Over is 6-2 in Rams’ games this year.

— Texans lost last seven games, giving up 31.4 ppg.
— Last five games, Texans are minus-8 in turnovers (3-11)
— They need to trade QB Watson for a lot of draft picks.
— Rookie QB’s struggle; they’re 10-23 ATS so far this season.
— First-time head coaches are 20-29 ATS this season.

Pittsburgh 15, Cleveland 10:
— Game was 3-3 at halftime.
— Pitt had TD drives of 78-83 yards in second half.
— Five of six Steeler games stayed under the total.
— Last five years, Steelers are 12-4 ATS as road underdogs.

— Last four games, Browns were outscored 74-36 in 2nd half.
— Browns converted 3-10 on 3rd down, 0-2 on 4th down.
— Cleveland is 5-7 ATS last 12 games as a home favorite.
— Last eight years, Cleveland is 6-16 ATS in AFC North home games.

San Francisco 33, Chicago 22:
— 49ers never punted; scored 3 TDs, went 4-5 on field goals.
— 49ers averaged 11.5 yards/pass attempt.
— Last three years, 49ers are 13-7 ATS on road.
— NFC West non-divisional favorites are 8-3 ATS, 5-3 on road.

— Fields ran ball for 103 yards, threw for only 175.
— Chicago threw for more than 4.8 yards/attempt once in eight games.
— Chicago has been outscored 113-55 in second half of games.
— Chicago allowed 34-26-24-38-33 in losses, 17 or less in wins.
— All five of their losses this year are by 10+ points.

Seattle 31, Jacksonville 7:
— Jaguars lost 21 of their last 22 games.
— Jaguars didn’t have a play longer than 17 yards.
— Somehow, Jacksonville outgained Seahawks, 309-229
— Last 2+ years, Jacksonville is 13-20 ATS as underdogs.
— Jaguars converted 26 of last 81 third down plays.

— Seattle had 12-yard edge in field position, ran onside kick back for TD.
— Seahawks had ball four times in first half: two TD’s and a field goal.
— Last four years, Seattle is 12-9-2 ATS as home favorites.
— Seattle has 37 plays of 20+ yards; they’ve given up 24.

New England 27, LA Chargers 24:
— NE scored TD on first drive; had 4 FG’s on 9 drives rest of game.
— Patriots had 17-yard edge in field position, plus a defensive score.
— Last four Patriot games went over the total.
— New England scored 33.8 ppg last four games, after 17.8 ppg in first four.

— Leading 17-16, Herbert threw pick-6 with 10:11 left in game.
— Chargers first 3 drives: 19 plays, 184 yards, 14 points.
— Chargers last 9 drives: 39 plays, 172 yards, 7 points.
— Third down conversions: NE 9-19, Chargers 4-12.

Denver 17, Washington 10:
— Washington had 2 FG’s blocked, had 2 other dry trips to red zone.
— Washington lost five of its last six games.
— Washington has covered once in eight games this year. 
— Washington had ball on Denver 24 in last 1:00, failed to score.
— Last 2+ years, Washington is 8-17-1 ATS coming off a loss.

— Denver snaps a four-game losing skid.
— Three of their four wins were against a rookie or backup QB.
— Denver gave up 13 or less points in its wins, 25.3 ppg in losses.
— 3rd down conversions: Denver 7-13, Washington 5-14.
— Six of eight Denver games stayed under the total.

New Orleans 36, Tampa Bay 27:
— Tampa Bay was minus-3 in turnovers; Brady threw a pick-6.
— Brady also threw for 375 yards, four TD’s.
— Bucs threw 41 passes, ran ball only 14 times.
— Bucs converted 8-13 on third down; Saints 5-14.
— Penalties: Tampa Bay 11-99, New Orleans  2-10

— Winston got hurt; 3rd-stringer Siemian is now Saints’ QB.
— Saints blew 23-7 lead, then scored 10 points in last 1:41 for the win.
— New Orleans won four of its last five games overall.
— Underdogs won/covered five of their seven games.
— Under Payton, Saints are 10-3-1 ATS as home underdogs.

Dallas 20, Minnesota 16:
— QB Cooper Rush wins his first NFL start (in his 4th year)
— Rush threw for 325 yards, two TD’s.
— Dallas is 7-0 ATS; their only loss was 31-29 at Tampa in Week 1.
— Cowboys lead NFC East by 3.5 games.
— Dallas is 12-4 ATS in last sixteen post-bye games.

— Minnesota has been outscored 60-9 in last 2:00 of each half.
— 3rd down conversions: Dallas 7-14, Vikings 1-13
— Vikings scored TD on their first drive; it was their only TD.
— Four of Vikings’ last five games stayed under the total.
— Minnesota is 10-13 last 23 games with spread of 3 or less points.  

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Michigan State 37, Michigan 33:
— Walker ran for 191 yards, five TD’s; his 23-yard TD run with 5:08 left won the game.
— Michigan led 30-14 with 5:00 left in third quarter.
— Wolverines outgained State, 552-395- they had a 93-yard TD pass. 

12) Houston 44, SMU 37:
— SMU tied game on a 45-yard FG with 0:30 left.
— Houston ran the ensuing kickoff back 100 yards for game-winning TD.
— Mustangs lose their first game; both teams are now 7-1.
— Houston QB Tune threw for 412 yards, four TD’s.
— Only 2nd time in last 15 years there was a game-winning kick return in last minute of a game.

11) Clemson 30, Florida State 20— Early nominee for Bad Beat of the Decade. Seminoles (+9.5) have ball at end of game on their own 33, down 24-20. They throw a pass and start to lateral all over the field, but they go in the wrong direction, and Clemson runs an errant lateral into the end zone to cover the spread by half a point with the clock at 0:00.

If you laid 9.5 with Clemson, Happy Halloween.

10) Baylor 31, Texas 24:
— Baylor is 7-1; can they keep their coach from bolting?
— Texas led 21-10 with 5:00 left in third quarter.
— Longhorns are 4-4, not what they had in mind when they fired their coach LY.

9) Miami 38, Pittsburgh 34:
— Miami had TD plays of 20-57-40 yards in first quarter.
— Pitt QB Pickett threw for 519 yards in a losing cause.
— Panthers had 107 penalty yards, turned ball over twice.

8) West Virginia 38, Iowa State 31:
— Mountaineers outscored ISU 14-0 in 4th quarter.
— Cyclones had TD plays of 70-68 yards in first quarter.
— WVU had two receivers with 100+ receiving yards.
— Iowa State is 5-3, a disappointing team.

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Washington State (+16.5) 34, Arizona State 21
— Bowling Green (+13) 56, Buffalo 44
— Navy (+11) 20, Tulsa 17
— Miami (+9.5) 38, Pitt 34
— West Virginia (+7.5) 38, Iowa State 31
— Purdue (+7.5) 28, Nebraska 23

6) Georgia 34, Florida 7:
— Game was 3-0 near end of first half, then Florida’s offense imploded.
— Georgia scored three TD’s in 2:09 span late in first half to break game open.
— Dawgs’ first two TD drives were 11-36 yards; they also had a pick-6.
— Both teams turned ball over three times.

5) Wake Forest 45, Duke 7— If Dave Clawson is still Wake’s coach next season, some athletic directors need to lose their jobs. This guy should have a better job. Demon Deacons are 8-0 for the first time ever; they’re the smallest school in country in a Power 5 conference.

4) Cincinnati 31, Tulane 12— When the first poll comes out for the national playoff, will be interesting where the Bearcats land. They beat Notre Dame in South Bend, after all.

3) North Texas 30, Rice 24 OT:
— Owls tied game on 12-yard TD pass with 0:16 left.
— Rice outgained North Texas, 366-289, but had 109 penalty yards.
— Rice converted all four of their 4th down plays.

2) Old Dominion 23, Louisiana Tech 20:
— Monarchs kicked two FG’s in last 1:52.
— Nick Rice kicked 46-yarder at 0:00 for the win.
— ODU had a 100-yard kick return in first half.

1) Ohio State 33, Penn State 24:— Serious question; if James Franklin bolts Happy Valley for either LSU or USC, what %age of Penn State fans will be upset?

— Penn State lost last three games, by 3-2-9 points.
— Buckeyes outgained PSU 466-394.
— Nittany Lions converted 11-16 third down plays.

Saturday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind……..

13) If you read this site much, you know I’m a big Oakland A’s fan; tough week this week, with Bob Melvin leaving Oakland to become manager of the San Diego Padres.

Melvin grew up in the Bay Area, was an A’s fan growing up. He managed the A’s for 11 years, making the playoffs six times, while working for cheapskate owners who don’t give a rat’s ass about winning games. Melvin is an excellent manager; other than Dick Williams, he’s the best manager the Oakland A’s have ever had.

Melvin’s record with the A’s: 860-777. He will be missed.

12) Does Melvin leaving Oakland signal that the A’s will also leave Oakland? Fair question. 

11) Braves 2, Astros 0:
— Anderson threw five no-hit IP to get the win.
— d’Arnaud homered for insurance run in 8th inning.
— Braves lead World Series, 2-1

10) Navy 20, Tulsa 17:
— Middies (+11) ran ball for 302 yards, didn’t complete a pass (0-4).
— Navy has a good kicker; he made a 46-yard FG.
— Game was 3-3 at halftime.

9) Heard a guy say once, “Handicapping early season NBA games is really hard. The bad teams haven’t realized yet that they’re bad.”

8) Nebraska has lost 17 football games by 8 or fewer points since Scott Frost has been their coach, more than any other team in the country during that time. Cornhuskers are 3-5 this year; this would be their fifth losing season in a row.

7) NFL notes:
— Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield is starting against Pittsburgh Sunday.
— Spread in Dallas-Minnesota game swung 5.5 points since Thursday, leading to speculation that Dak Prescott (calf) may sit out Sunday night’s game.
— Green Bay TE Robert Tonyan tore his ACL, is out for the year.

6) Back in July, the Cleveland Indians announced that they’ll be called the Guardians starting next season; Wednesday, a Cleveland-based roller derby team, also named the Cleveland Guardians, sued the Indians’ franchise in federal court in an effort to block their use of the name.

Once again, no matter what happen$, the lawyer$ will be the real winner$$$$.

5) Someone has to clue me in as to what Crypto currency is; I’m watching TV the other night and Matt Damon is doing a commercial. You know it is big if they hired Matt Damon to do their ad work for them.

My laptop tells me that Crypto is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services, but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions, which sounds like a foreign language to me. I have a hard enough time with regular money.

4) If you’ve never seen a pro hockey game in person, I highly endorse it; to me, it is the one sport that loses the most from in-person to television. So much more to see in person; I like to watch the officials, what great skaters they are.

3) Former NBA Vince Carter holds an unusual record; he had 261 different teammates during his 22-year career, more teammates than anyone else in NBA history. Think I heard that Ish Smith has had 211 teammates; he is the active player that is closest to Carter’s record.

2) NFL commish Roger Goodell banked roughly $128M the last two years, running the most popular sports league in this country.

1) Green Bay 24, Arizona 21
— Packers picked off pass in end zone with o:12 left to preserve win.
— Packers have been positive in turnovers last seven games (+11)
— Green Bay ran ball for 151 yards (4.4/carry)
— Green Bay won last seven games (5-1-1 ATS), scoring 27.0 ppg.

— Plays run in first half: Packers 42, Cardinals 17.
— Arizona still leads NFC West, at 7-1.
— Under Kingsbury, Arizona is 4-7 ATS as a home favorites.
— NFC West non-divisional home favorites are 2-6 ATS.

Friday’s Den: Going back to school, and our first set of NBA trends…….

Feel like I’ve gone back to school this week; been studying college basketball, which has changed drastically over the last five years.

Last year was a debacle for everyone; TCU had one full practice before they played a game, Many teams had 2-week/3-week lapses because of COVID. Kids are switching schools left and right; I expect a kid to transfer during a TV timeout, switching benches during a game.

Lot of the methods I used to use to pick games on this site don’t matter as much anymore; trends from previous years— the transfer epidemic has made past history less relevant. All that matters now is the current roster, and how coaches are at creating chemistry after the dust clears from the transfer chaos.

I went to UAlbany, a low-major school; they fired their coach last spring, a guy who had brought the Great Danes to five NCAA tourneys in 20 years.

I am told the coach and AD despise each other, but three years ago, with Albany one of the favorites in America East, both his returning starting guards transferred, one to Florida State, one to Villanova. Albany had a losing season; if those two kids had stayed, Great Danes might’ve won the league, and the coach would’ve gotten a raise instead of losing his job.

South Florida lost five transfers last spring; they added seven transfers. They basically have a whole new team. Lot of schools like that. Do they teams with lot of returning players have a big advantage early on?

Minnesota changed coaches, then 10 of their 12 players transferred out of town. The new coach had two players and one of those can’t play because he had his knee operated on. He now has players from 10 different states; harder to have good chemistry that way.

Texas poached eight players and added two freshmen- their haul of transfers is supposedly the best in the country.

On and on it goes; the transfer portal is huge in college basketball right now. Once the games start in couple weeks, we’ll be studying rosters to see who did the best job at cobbling together a viable team.

At least it is invigorating that things seem to be getting back to normal; I’m studying up on these teams, will provide you what information I can as the season goes on. The bottom line one all this is that we’ll be studying numbers as closely as ever, just a different set of numbers.

NBA trends (thru Wednesday’s games)
We’re going to post NBA/NHL trends once/twice a week in this space; trends become more meaningful as the season moves along. 

— Home favorites are 20-21 ATS
— Road favorites are 15-8 ATS

Hawks (3-1):
— 2-0 ATS at home, 0-2 on road.
— Under 3-1, 2-0 on road.

Celtics (2-3):
— Under 3-1 last four games.
— Under 2-0 at home
— 2-0 ATS as home favorite.
— 0-2 ATS as road favorite.

Nets (2-3):
— Under 5-0
— 1-2 ATS at home
— All three losses by 13+ points.

Hornets (4-1):
— Won four of first five games SU
— Over 4-1
— 3-0 ATS on road.

Bulls (4-0):
— 4-0 ATS as a favorite.
— 4-0 SU for first time since 1997

Cavaliers (3-2):
— Won last three games SU.
— Last three games stayed under.
— Were underdog in all five games.
— 3-0 if games stays under; 0-2 if it goes over.

Mavericks (2-1):
— Under 3-0
— Won last two games, by 8-10 points.

Nuggets (2-2):
— Under 3-1
— Lost last two games, by 12-12 points.

Pistons (0-3):
— Three losses were by 6-15-18 points.
— 0-3 ATS
— Road losses are by 15-18 points.
— Under 2-1

Warriors (4-0):
— Last three games stayed under.
— 2-2 ATS, 1-2 when favored.

Rockets (1-3):
— Under 4-0
— 2-2 ATS
— 0-2 SU on road, losing by 18-10 points.

Pacers (1-4):
— Over 3-0 on road, 0-2 at home
— Only win was in OT
— Have two losses by one point.
— 0-3 ATS on road.

Clippers (1-3):
— Under 3-1
— 1-2 ATS as favorite, 1-0 as underdog.

Lakers (2-3):
— Over 4-1
— 1-4 ATS, 0-3 at home.
— 0-4 ATS when favored, 1-0 as an underdog.

Grizzlies (2-2):
— Over 3-1
— 2-1 ATS as road underdog, 1-0 as favorite.

Heat (3-1):
— Last three games stayed under.
— 2-0 SU at home, winning by 42-17 points.
— Only loss was in OT.

Bucks (3-2):
— Under 3-2
— 3-2 ATS, all as favorite

Timberwolves (3-1):
— under 4-0
— 1-2 ATS as favorite, 1-0 as underdog.

Pelicans (1-4):
— covered last three games, all as an underdog.
— under 4-1, 2-0 at home
— 0-2 SU at home, losing by 20-3 points.

Knicks (3-1):
— 3-1 ATS, all as a favorite.
— over 3-1

Thunder (1-4):
— 2-1 ATS home underdog, 0-2 road dog
— under 2-0 on road, 1-2 at home

Magic (1-4):
— 0-2 ATS at home, 1-2 on road.
— over 4-1
— 0-2 SU at home, losing by 25-9 points. 

76ers (2-2):
— under 3-1
— 2-0 ATS when favored, 0-2 as underdog.

Suns (1-3):
— under 3-1
— 0-2 SU at home, losing by 12-3 points.

Trailblazers (2-2):
— 2-1 ATS as HF, 0-1 as road underdog.

Kings (2-2):
— 0-2 SU at home, 2-0 SU on road, all as underdog.
— under 3-0 last three games.

Spurs (1-3):
— over 3-1; over 3-0 at home, 0-1 on road.
— lost last three games, by 6-10-4 points.

Raptors (2-3):
— 1-3 ATS at home, 1-0 on road.
— under 3-2
— 0-2 in games decided by 8 or less points.

Jazz (3-0):
— won/covered all three games.
— under 2-1
— 2-0 SU at home, winning by 21-12 points.

Wizards (3-1):
— 3-1 ATS, all as an underdog.
— under 3-1

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……..

13) Astros 7, Braves 2:
— Altuve homered, doubled for Houston.
— Urquidy pitched five innings, got the win.
— Series heads to Atlanta, tied 1-1. 

12) Both pitchers pitched 5+ innings in Game 2; so far this postseason, in 33 games, the starting pitcher has lasted 5+ innings only 28 of a possible 66 times.

11) Rookie Jose Siri hit .304 in 21 games for the Astros this year; he played CF for Houston last night. It has been quite a season for the young man. 

Last year, because there was no minor league baseball, Siri didn’t play in any games:
— February 3, 2020- Siri was claimed on waivers by the Mariners, away from Cincinnati.
— March 10, 2020- Siri was claimed on waivers by San Francisco, away from Seattle.
— December 23, 2020- Siri signed as a free agent with the Astros.

10) Oklahoma City 123, LA Lakers 115:
— Before tonight, over the last 25 years, Lakers were 230-0 in games where they led by 25+ points at some time in the game. Now they’re 230-1; Lakers were up 41-19 after first quarter.
— Russell Westbrook had 20 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists……. and 10 turnovers.
— Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 27 points.

9) Stan Van Gundy was working on TNT Tuesday; he casually asked who scored the most points in an NBA game, without making a shot from the floor. You could tell he was pretty much thinking out loud, but the answer is excellent trivia. 

The research department went to work; December 14, 1996, Darrick Martin of the Clippers went 0-8 from the floor, 15-15 on the foul line in LA’s 106-94 win over Sacramento.

Two weeks later, Martin went 15-15 on the line in another game, but scored 38 points that night.

8) When the Knicks beat Philadelphia Tuesday night, they ended a 15-game losing streak against the 76ers. Tom Thibodeau’s team is pretty good.

7) Elsewhere in New York City, the Mets have either been turned down or denied permission to negotiate with at least seven guys to be their new general manager. You would it would be easy for a team in the Big Apple to land a guy to run the franchise. You’d think.

Billionaire owner, newish ballpark, rabid fanbase, but they’ve only won the NL East four times since 1974. Maybe they should go old-school and hire an anti-analytics guy?!?!?!

6) Home plate umpire for Game 1 of the World Series was Chris Conroy; turns out he went to college at Siena, located three miles from Armadillo World HQ— he was a basketball manager in his Siena days.

5) In case you wondering, the Game 1 winner of a World Series is 72-40 in that series.

4) Home teams were 9-4 ATS in NFL games last week, first week this season home teams were over .500 against the number.

3) Clemson’s football team is 0-7 against the spread this season; go figure.

2) An interesting college basketball tournament will take place at JSerra High School in Orange County, CA, N0vember 22-24. Actually it will be two 4-team tournaments, one in afternoon (broadcast on the Interweb), one at night (broadcast on CBS College Sports).

Fresno State, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, TCU are the teams in the main event. Cal Poly, Idaho, Nicholls State and Utah Valley are in the afternoon tournament. 

1) October 22, the Hallmark Channel pivoted to 24/7 Christmas movies until the holidays are over, so I’m guessing 12 weeks, 84 days. That got me to thinking.

There are 168 hours in a week. 12 x 168= 2,016 hours.
You figure each movie will be two hours, so that is 1,008 movies.
If they show each movie once a week, that is 84 movies to be seen 12 times each. 

If they show each movie every other week, that is 168 movies.

Exactly how many Christmas movies are there? Do people watch all of these?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday’s Den, part II; Mid-week musings…….

13) Now that the Lions-Rams game is in the rear view mirror, here are some numbers:

Jared Goff’s record with Sean McVay as coach: 42-21 SU, 34-28-1 ATS
Jared Goff’s record with someone else as coach: 0-14 SU, 4-10 ATS

Don’t tell me Goff is a sub-par QB, he just needs good coaching to succeed. Goff is one of 14 QB’s in the last 55 years to start a Super Bowl in his first three years in the league.

In the NFL, play-callers are in the QB’s ear for 0:25 before every play, so who that voice is makes a huge difference. Not really sure how Detroit is 0-7; they’ve got good skill players around Goff. Lions lost to Baltimore/Minnesota on last-second FG’s, both longer than 50 yards.

Detroit had the ball on the Rams’ 12-yard line with 5:00 left Sunday; they could easily be 3-4. 

12) Braves 6, Astros 2:
— Morton got hit by line drive, broke his leg, is out for Series.
— Atlanta led 5-0 in third inning.
— Soler is first player EVER to lead off Game 1 of a World Series with a homer.

11) If you’re an NFL fan, there is a show Move the Sticks that is on NFL Network Mondays at 3:00. No BS, three guys just talk about football. Good chance to learn some stuff.

10) The overtime rules in college football:
— Each team gets one possession, starting at the other team’s 25.
— For second OT, teams have to go for two points after a TD.
— Starting with the third OT, teams simply alternate 2-point plays. 

Not sure why they just don’t play all the OT’s at the same end of the field, to save time and all.

9) New Orleans Saints have seven Ohio State Buckeyes on their roster, the most players from any college on any one team in the NFL this season.

8) Enough already with Eli Manning; the guy never said two words during his playing career, but now that he’s retired, he’s on TV more than Baker Mayfield, Jennifer Garner and the AT&T lady combined.

I’m guessing at least part of this is the Manning family keeping Eli in the public eye so he’ll get elected to the Hall of Fame the first year he is eligible. His 117-1117 regular season record says otherwise- he won two Super Bowls, so he’ll get in eventually, but he doesn’t deserve to be voted in the first year he is eligible. 

7) Ty-Ty Washington, a freshman basketball player at Kentucky, signed an NIL deal with a Porsche dealership in Louisville- the kid is driving a Porsche that is worth $80,000. He is thre 14th-rated player in this season’s freshman class.

6) Orlando Magic are off to a 1-3 start; they’re fifth team EVER to lose their first two games of an NBA season, both by 25+ points:
1971-72— Portland
1987-88— LA Clippers
1989-90— Golden State
2020-21— Golden State
2021-22— Orlando

5) Chicago Bulls are 4-0 for the first time since 1997.

4) College football trends:
— C-USA favorites are 15-7 ATS
— MAC favorites of 9+ points are 2-6 ATS.
— Mountain West favorites of 5 or less points: 2-6 ATS
— Sun Belt home teams are 14-4 ATS.

3) Southern Mississippi is moving from Conference USA to the Sun Belt; in couple of years, there will be no more Conference USA, and an automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tourney will go away, adding another at-large bid.

2) On August 1st, Braves lost 2-1 at home to Milwaukee; they were 52-55, and trailed the Mets by  five games in the NL East. Atlanta finished the regular season on a 36-18 run. 

1) Last weekend, Sotheby’s auctioned off 11 Picasso paintings, five of which used to hang in a Bellagio restaurant in Las Vegas. All in all, the auction raised $108M, that’s million, with an M.

Wednesday’s Den, part 1: NHL trends…….

NHL trends: (thru Monday’s game)
— Teams on 2nd night of a back/back are 7-12 this season.
— Home teams are 8-6 in overtime, 2-3 in shootouts.

Anaheim:
— Lost 4 of last 5 games.
— Last three road games went over.

Arizona:
— They’re 0-6, giving up 5+ goals four times.
— Arizona was outscored 15-5 in three home games.

Boston
— Won three of first four games.

Buffalo
— Won four of five home games.
— Under is 2-0-1 in last three games.

Calgary
— Flames won last three games, allowing four goals.

Carolina
— Hurricanes are 4-0, scoring 18 goals.

Chicago
— Blackhawks are 0-6; over is 2-0-1 in their road games.
— Team president resigned Tuesday; lot of turmoil within.

Colorado
— Three of their last four games went over. 

Columbus
— Blue Jackets are 4-1 at home, with two of those wins in OT.
— Under is 4-1 in their last five games.

Dallas
— Under is 6-0 in Dallas games (5/6 on road).
— Stars lost three of last four road games.
— All three Dallas wins came in OT/SO.

Detroit
— Under is 3-1 in their home games. 

Edmonton
— Oilers won their first five games, scoring 23 goals. 

Florida
— Panthers are 6-0, giving up eight goals in last five games.
— Over is 3-1 in their home games, 0-2 on road.

Los Angeles
— Kings lost last five games, three by a goal.
— Under is 4-1 in their last five games.
— LA is 0-4 on road, outscored 15-6.

Minnesota
— Wild is 4-1, with all four wins by one goal.
— Over is 3-0 in their home games, 0-2 on road.

Montreal
— Canadiens are 1-5, scoring total of ten goals (under 4-2).
— Montreal was outscored 8-1 in two road losses.

Nashville
— Predators lost three of four home games.
— Under is 3-1 in their home games, 0-2 on road.

New Jersey
— Devils won three of four games, all at home.
— New Jersey is 2-0 in overtime.

NY Islanders
— Islanders won three of last four games, giving up four goals.
— Islanders haven’t played a home game yet; they’re 3-3.

NY Rangers
— Rangers won four of last five games.
— Under is 5-1 in their last six games.
— Rangers are 0-2 at home, 4-1 on road.

Ottawa
— Senators lost four of last five games.
— Under is 5-1 in Ottawa games.

Philadelphia
— Flyers split first four games, all at home (over 4-0).

Pittsburgh
— Over is 4-1 in Penguin games.
— Penguins scored 5+ goals in their three wins, 4-1 in losses.
— Pittsburgh’s two losses were in OT/SO.

St Louis
— St Louis won its first five games.
— Blues allowed eight goals in last four games.

San Jose
— Sharks won four of their first five games.

Seattle
— Kraken lost five of first six games (over 3-1-2).
— Seattle lost last four games, outscored 14-6. 

Tampa Bay
— Lightning is 0-3 at home, 2-1 on road.
— Both Tampa Bay road wins were in OT.

Toronto
— Toronto lost its last four games.
— Under is 5-2 in Toronto games.
— Maple Leafs are 0-3 on road, outscored 14-4.  

Vancouver
— Canucks split first six games, all on road.

Vegas
— Knights lost three of last four games.
— Vegas scored total of 9 goals in last four games.

Washington
— Washington won three of last four games.
— Over is 3-1 in their last four games.
— Caps are 2-0 on road, scoring 11 goals.

Winnipeg
— Jets are 2-0 at home, 0-3 on road.
— Last four Winnipeg games went over the total.

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) New Orleans 13, Seattle 10
— Saints had 86/85-yard drives in 2nd quarter, scoring 10 points.
— New Orleans ran 68 plays; Kamara had 30 touches for 179 yards.
— Saints were 2-13 on 3rd down; Seattle 3-12. Rough night for QB’s.
— Underdogs covered five of their six games.

— Seattle is 0-3 at home for first time since 1992.
— Seahawks lost four of their last five games overall.
— Smith threw 84-yard TD pass; Seattle wound up with 219 yards.
— Seattle was 1-3 on field goals in second half (five drives). 

12)  These moves are large part of why the Braves are in the World Series:
July 15— Braves got Joc Pederson from the Cubs for Bryce Ball
July 30— Braves got Eddie Rosario from Cleveland for Pablo Sandoval
July 30— Braves got Adam Duvall from Miami for Alex Jackson
July 30— Braves got Jorge Soler from Kansas City for Kasey Kalich

Big month for Braves’ GM Alex Anthopoulos.

11) St Louis Cardinals hired 35-year old Oliver Marmol as its next manager; Marmol was drafted as a player by the Cardinals in 2007— his playing career ended pretty quickly. Marmol was a minor league manager at age 25, a major league coach at age 31. Cardinals like to promote from within; they’ve made playoffs in seven of ten seasons since Tony LaRussa left St Louis, but haven’t won the World Series since then.

10) Texas Tech blew a 24-10 halftime lead Saturday, lost 25-24 at home to Kansas State; that cost coach Matt Wells his job. Tech fired Wells Monday; Red Raiders are 5-3 this year, 13-17 in 2.5 years under Wells.

Lubbock is tough place to win; Kliff Kingsbury went 35-40 at Tech- he’s doing pretty well in the NFL these days.

9) Random TV/movie trivia:
Was watching an old movie the other night, All the President’s Men, from 1976, with one of the best casts ever: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Jack Warden, Ned Beatty, Martin Balsam, an epic cast for that era.

Remember The People’s Court, with Judge Wapner? The guy who was host of that show was Doug Llewelyn, whose catch phrase was “Don’t take the law into your own hands, take them to court”. Well, he also had a brief career as an actor— he had a small role in All the President’s Men. I had no idea.

8) Wake Forest is 7-0 for the first time since 1944, despite giving up 56 points at West Point Saturday. San Diego State is 7-0 for first time since 1975; for the second week in a row, their punter had an 80+ yard punt and a 50+ yard field goal. From the same guy.

7) New England Patriots are 3-0 vs rookie QB’s this year, 0-4 vs everyone else. Patriots have scored 10+ points in the first quarter three times this year— they didn’t do that at all last year.

6) Cincinnati Bengals’ red zone stats are mostly irrelevant; 13 of their 23 touchdowns this year came on plays of 20+ yards- they don’t get in the red zone that often. Bengals have had a TD play of 31+ yards in every game this season.

5) A racehorse owned by UCLA basketball coach Mick Cronin won at Santa Anita Friday, second time this month that horse won a race. It’s good to be rich.

4) Phoenix Suns’ G Chris Paul is first NBA player ever to score 20,000 points, hand out 10,000 assists.

3) Jets’ QB Zack Wilson (knee) is expected to miss the next two weeks; fellow rookie Mike White should get the start this week. Veteran Josh Johnson (1-7 as an NFL starter; his last start was in 2018) figures to be the backup.

Late word comes that the Jets acquired QB Joe Flacco from the Eagles, for a 5th-round pick. Flacco played for the Jets LY (0-4 as a starter); he is 98-77 overall as a starter, won Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012.

2) There are 22 head coaches in Division I basketball who also played in the NBA.

1) With Halloween coming up this Sunday, it is reported that candy sales are up 48% from this time last year. Armadillo World HQ expects to give out Reese’s Cups and Three Musketeers, maybe some KitKats. Have to buy stuff you like, in case the kids don’t show up. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Cincinnati 41, Baltimore 17:
— Burrow threw for 416 yards; Chase caught 8 balls for 201 yards.
— Bengals started 2nd half with TD’s on four of first five drives.
— Bengals have had a TD play of 31+ yards in all seven games.
— Cincy won four of last five games, is tied with Ravens atop AFC North.

— Bengals averaged 10.6 yards per pass attempt.
— Ravens converted only 5-16 third down plays.
— Bengals outgained Baltimore, 520-393.
— Last 6+ years, Ravens are 18-23-2 ATS as home favorites.

NY Giants 25, Carolina 3:
— Carolina lost last four games after 3-0 start, giving up 29 ppg.
— Last four games, Panthers were outscored 80-35 in second half.
— Carolina converted only 2-15 third down plays.
— Darnold got benched; his backup went 3-14/33 passing. Not good.

— First TD for either side came with 0:59 left in third quarter.
— Giants’ last four drives: TD-FG-FG-TD.
— Panthers went 3/out on 8 of their 12 drives.
— Giants outgained Carolina, 302-173. 

Green Bay 24, Washington 10:
— Washington had ball in red zone 4 drives in row, scored total of 3 points.
— Washington outgained Packers, 430-304, scored only ten points.
— Washington opponents converted 58-102 on third down (56.9%).
— Last 2+ years, Washington is 8-16-1 ATS coming off a loss.

— Green Bay won last six games (5-0-1 ATS), scoring 27.5 ppg.
— Packers scored a touchdown on three of first five drives.
— Green Bay is 13-6 ATS last 19 games as a home favorite.
— Last four Packer games stayed under the total.

Tennessee 27, Kansas City 3:
— Titans outgained Chiefs 296-52 in first half.
— Chiefs have 17 turnovers this year; they had 16 all of last year.
— KC had scored 23 TD’s on 54 drives before this game.
— Mahomes got KO’d, but passed concussion test later.

— Tennessee won five of last six games, scoring 30.0 ppg.
— Titans in first half; five drives- three TD’s, two FG’s.
— Tennessee converted 8-12 on on third down, Chiefs 4-11.
— Last four years, Titans are 8-3 ATS as home underdogs.

Atlanta 30, Miami 28:
— Falcons kicked 36-yard FG at 0:00 for the win.
— Atlanta kicked FG on last play of both halves.
— Falcons scored two TD’s, two FG’s on first five drives.
— Last 11 years, Atlanta is 8-3 ATS coming off a bye.

— Miami lost last six games, giving up 31.8 ppg.
— Dolphins converted 7-11 on third down, Atlanta 6-13.
— Miami scored TD’s on 3 of last 5 drives, took 28-27 lead with 2:27 left.
— Miami has given up 45 plays of 20+ yards, has 26 themselves.

New England 54, NJ Jets 13:
— Jets have been outscored 44-0 in first quarter of games.
— Rookie QB Wilson got hurt; rookie White replaced him.
— Rookie QB’s struggle; they’re 9-21 ATS so far this season (6-21 without Patriots’ three wins).
— Last six years, Jets are 11-24-2 ATS as road underdogs.

— Patriots are 3-0 vs rookie QB’s, 0-4 vs everyone else.
— NE in first half: five drives- four TDs and a field goal.
— Jones threw for 307 yards and two TD’s.
— New England scored 36 ppg last three games, after 17.8 ppg in first four.

LA Rams 28, Detroit 19:
— Lions recovered an onside kick, had two successful fake punts.
— Detroit was in red zone five times, scored only nine points.
— Lions gave up at least 7.3 yards/pass attempt in every game.
— Detroit is winless, but is 4-3 against the spread.  

— Ramsey had game-sealing INT in end zone with 4:53 left.
— LA converted 9-13 third down plays.
— Kupp caught ten passes for 156 yards, two TD’s.
— Rams won last three games, scoring 26-38-28 points.

Las Vegas 33, Philadelphia 22:
— Eagles lost five of their last six games.
— Last six weeks, Eagles were outscored 101-43 in first half.
— Last four years, Eagles are 6-10 ATS as road underdogs.
— Only nine of Raiders’ 63 plays came on third down.

— Carr completed 31-34 passes for 323 yards, two TD’s.
— Raiders had 15-yard edge in field position.
— Since moving to Las Vegas, over is 9-1-1 in Raider home games. 
— Raiders are 2-0 since Gruden left, scoring 34-33 points.

Arizona 31, Houston 5:
— Texans lost last six games, giving up 30.3 ppg.
— Last six games, Houston was outscored 109-17 in 2nd half.
— Texans had only 8 first downs, averaged 3.5 yards/pass attempt.
— Houston is 0-4 on road, losing last three by a combined 102-8.

— Houston actually led this game 5-0 in second quarter.
— Zach Ertz caught a 47-yard TD pass in his Arizona debut.
— Cardinals ran for 172 yards, outgained Houston 397-160.
— Cardinals are 7-0 for first time since 1974.

 Tampa Bay 38, Chicago 3:
— Chicago’s first 6 drives: 3 first downs, 2 lost fumbles, INT, no points.
— Bears turned ball over five times (minus-4)
— Last four games, Bears converted 14-54 third down plays.
— Chicago averaged 4.7 or less yards/pass attempt in six of seven games.

— Only one of Tampa Bay’s five TD drives was longer than 48 yards.
— Buccaneers had a 20-yard edge in field position.
— Tampa Bay has 28 TD’s on 75 drives this season.
— Bucs are 4-0 at home this year, winning by 2-23-28-35 points.

Indianapolis 30, San Francisco 18:
— Game was played in a quagmire in Santa Clara.
— Colts had TD drives of 28-33-39 yards.
— Indy converted 6-14 on third down, 49ers 1-11.
— Colts covered five of their last six games.

— 49ers lost last four games, giving up 26.3 ppg.
— 49ers’ first three drives: 19 plays, 129 yards, 12 points.
— 49ers’ last nine drives: 32 plays, 134 yards, 6 points.
— Niners are 0-8 ATS last eight games as home favorites.  

Cleveland 17, Denver 14:
— Broncos in 1st half: 15 plays, 71 yards, two first downs, no points.
— Broncos in 2nd half: 33 plays, 162 yards, two TD’s on three drives.
— Denver lost last four games, outscored 61-20 in first half.
— Five of seven Denver games stayed under the total.

— Johnson ran ball for 146 yards in his first NFL start.
— Cleveland converted 9-15 third down plays.
— Browns outgained Denver, 376-233.
— Cleveland ran ball for 5.5 yards/attempt. 

Opening line on World Series: Astros -125

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy sports Saturday

13) Illinois 20, Penn State 18 OT
— They played nine innings of OT, the longest college game ever.
— Illinois ran ball for 357 yards, outgained Penn State 395-227.
— Illinois was minus-3 in turnovers, threw for only 38 yards.
— Penn State led 10-0 with 3:00 left in first half.

— When was last time a 24-point underdog (that wasn’t a service academy) ran for 350+ yards?
— The college overtime rules are weird; I’ll get into that more this coming week. 

12) Oklahoma 35, Kansas 23:
— Jayhawks led 10-0 at halftime; they were a 38-point underdog.
— Oklahoma didn’t score until there was 7:57 left in third quarter.
— Sooners scored TD with 0:42 left to create misleading final score.
— This was Oklahoma’s first I-A win this year by more than 7 points.

11) Pitt 27, Clemson 17:
— Last 10 years, Clemson was 121-18 SU; they’re 4-3 this year.
— Tigers are scoring only 15.2 ppg against I-A teams.
— QB Uiagalelei was benched after throwing two interceptions.

10) Oregon 34, UCLA 31:
— UCLA led 14-0 in first quarter.
— Oregon converted 7-9 on 3rd down, UCLA 10-19.
— Both teams turned ball over three times.

9) Fresno State 34, Nevada 32:
— Nevada scored TD with 0:02 left; the WR’s foot came down just out of bounds on 2-point play.
— Nevada threw for 476 yards, but lost.
— Wolf Pack WR Doubs caught 19 passes for 203 yards; busy night.

8) Virginia 48, Georgia Tech 40:
— QB Armstrong threw for 396 yards, four TD’s.
— Virginia outgained Tech, 636-570- they were 7-11 on third down
— Tech scored two TD’s in last 1:16 to create misleading final score.

7) Upsets of the Week:
— Illinois (+24.5) 20, Penn State 18 OT
— Rice (+24) 30, UAB 24
— New Mexico (+20) 14, Wyoming 3
— UL-Monroe (+13.5) 41, South Alabama 31
— Northern Illinois (+6) 39, Central Michigan 38
— West Virginia (+4.5) 29, TCU 17

6) Syracuse 41, Virginia Tech 36:
— Syracuse scored 14 points in last 2:28 for the win.
— Shrader threw 45-yard TD pass with 0:19 left.

5) Wake Forest 70, Army 56:
— Demon Deacons are 7-0, but giving up 56 points to Army?
— Hartman was 23-29/458 passing, 15.8 yards/attempt.
— Army ran the ball 70 times for 416 yards.

4) Cincinnati 27, Navy 20:
— Hard to blow out service academy teams; they don’t quit.
— Will this score hurt Bearcats in the rankings?

3) Northern Illinois 39, Central Michigan 38:
— Chippewas led 35-18 with 9:53 left in third quarter.
— NIU kicked field goal with 0:54 left for the win.
— Total yardage: NIU 520, CMU 500.

2) Kansas State 25, Texas Tech 24:
— Red Raiders led 14-0 3:29 into the game.
— K-State outscored Tech 15-0 in second half.
— K-State QB Thompson was 24-30/296 passing.

1) Braves 4, Dodgers 2:
— Atlanta wins NLCS, 4-2, goes to first World Series since 1999.
— Braves won NL title despite Ozuna/Acuna playing combined 130 games (40.1% of regular season, none in playoffs).

Saturday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind and our first set of NHL trends…….

13) Astros 5, Red Sox 0:
— Houston wins ALCS, 4-2
— Yordan Alvarez went 4-4, scored twice.
— Luis Garcia allowed one hit in 5.2 IP. 

12) July 30 of this year, Braves traded Pablo Sandoval to Cleveland for Eddie Rosario, who was hurt at the time. Weird trade; Rosario was hurt (he didn’t play for Atlanta until August 28), and the Indians immediately cut Sandoval. At the time, it seemed like a nothing trade.

Except that Rosario is 18-38 for Atlanta in the playoffs this month, batting leadoff since they lost Jorge Soler to COVID. He is a huge reason why the Braves lead the NLCS, 3-2.

11) There have been only five games in NFL history with no punts:
1992— Bills 34, 49ers 31
2003— Colts 38, Chiefs 31 (playoffs)
2014— Saints 44, Packers 23
2014— Packers 38, Bears 17
2021— Chiefs 42, Eagles 30

10) In the 5+ years since Peyton Manning retired, Denver Broncos have started 10 different quarterbacks, and it doesn’t look like they’ve found their guy yet. Ironic that a team run by John Elway can’t find a franchise QB.

9) Braves’ OF Joc Pederson is in his 8th major league season; must be quite a thrill for his dad to watch him play. Stu Pederson played in eight games for the Dodgers in 1985, getting five AB’s in his month in the major leagues- he scored a run and had an RBI, but never got a hit.

8) Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996; in 1999, the new Browns came into being. Baker Mayfield is the 30th QB to start for the Browns in 22+ seasons. Obviously, Case Keenum became starting QB #31 Thursday night.

7) Want to win a bar bet? Only one player EVER has hit for the cycle in a postseason game:

Brock Holt, in Game 3 of the 2018 ALDS, for Boston.

6) Las Vegas Raiders play home games on a grass field at Allegiant Stadium; the grass is wheeled outside the domed stadium afterwards, so it can get lot of sun.

When UNLV plays football at Allegiant Stadium, they play on an artificial turf field that is on the floor of the stadium- the grass field stays outside.

5) Wednesday night in New York, Jayson Tatum of the Celtics went 7-30 from the floor in a double OT loss to the Knicks. At some point, when you’re on your way to shooting 7 for 30, you have to stop taking off-balance jumpers and either drive the ball to the hoop or pass the damn thing. 

Tatum only took five foul shots the whole game (he played 44:39) so he wasn’t doing a whole lot of driving. Just because you’re the best player doesn’t mean you always to take the key shots.

4) Speaking of the Knicks, they should wear the same uniforms they wore back when they won NBA titles in 1970 and ’73- the Walt Frazier/Willis Reed era. Uniforms they wore in the season opener looked like they were from the 50’s- not good.

3) AAC poached six teams away from Conference USA, giving the AAC team 14 teams when all the dust settles in couple of years. Not sure it makes the league better just makes it lot more attractive to TV networks that need programming. 

School like Texas-El Paso is totally screwed right now; read on Twitter where they’re 800 miles away from their closest remaining C-USA rival. Miners need to hook up with the Mountain West or the Sun Belt, just so they have some affordable travel. Mountain West would be preferable.

I’m going to post NHL/NBA trends/stats every so often in this space; it is still way early in the season, but here’s what we’ve got so far. (stats are thru Thursday’s games)
— Teams on 2nd night of a back/back are 2-7 this season.
— Home teams are 5-5 in overtime, 2-2 in shootouts.

— Anaheim— Lost 3 of last 4 games.
— Arizona is 0-4, giving up 5+ goals three times.
— Chicago is 0-5; over is 2-0-1 in their road games; under is 2-0 at home.
— Colorado lost last three games, outscored 15-7.

— Columbus is 3-0 at home, with two of those wins in OT.
— Under is 4-0 in Dallas games (all on road).
— Last three Detroit games stayed under the total.
— Edmonton won its first four games, scoring 18 goals. 

— Florida is 4-0, giving up three goals in last three games.
—Minnesota is 3-0, with all three wins by one goal.
— Montreal is 0-5, scoring total of 4 goals (under 4-1).
— Nashville lost 3 of first 4 games- their last three games stayed under.

— Islanders lost three of first four games, all on road.
— Rangers won last three games; their last four games stayed under.
— All four Ottawa games stayed under the total.
— All three Philly games went over the total.

— Over is 3-1 in Penguin games.
— St Louis won its first three games, all on road.
— San Jose won its first three games.
— Seattle lost four of first five games, all on road (over 3-1-1). 

— Tampa Bay is 2-0 at home, 0-2 on road.
— All four Toronto games stayed under the total.
— Washington won three of first four games.
— Last three Winnipeg games went over the total. 

Friday’s Den: Knowledge on more of this week’s college football

Western Michigan @ Toledo:
— Last four years, WMU is 3-6-2 as a road favorite.
— Broncos upset Pitt 44-41 this year, then lost 45-20 to Ball State.

— Since 2013, Toledo is 1-4 ATS as a home underdog.
— Three of their four losses this year were by 3 or fewer points.

— Teams split last six series games.
— Toledo scored 30+ points in last three series losses.
— WMU is 1-3 ATS in last four visits to Toledo.

Texas State @ Georgia State:
— Last three years, Bobcats are 6-8 ATS as road underdogs.
— Texas State’s last three games went over total.

— Since 2017, Georgia State is 4-6 ATS as home favorites.
— Five of their last six games went over.

— Texas State won last two meetings, 37-34/40-31.
— Underdogs are 4-2-1 ATS last seven series games.

Ohio State @ Indiana:
— Last four games, Buckeyes scored 54.5 ppg.
— Under Day, Ohio State is 7-1-1 ATS as road favorites.

— Since 2016, Indiana is 5-11 ATS as home underdogs.
— Last two games, Hoosiers scored 0, 15 points.

— Ohio State won last 20 meetings, but is 2-8 ATS in last ten.
— Buckeyes are 7-2 ATS in last nine visits to Bloomington.

Buffalo @ Akron:
— Buffalo is 2-4 vs I-A teams; both wins were by one point.
— Since 2019, Bulls are 2-5 ATS as a road favorite.

— Since 2014, Akron is 2-18 ATS as home underdogs.
— Since 2018, Zips are 0-11 ATS as home underdogs.

— Buffalo won last three series games by a combined 101-13.
— Bulls are 4-4-1 ATS in last nine trips to Akron.

Illinois @ Penn State:
— Since 2017, Illinois is 9-11 ATS as road underdogs.
— Last five Illinois games stayed under the total.

— Since 2012, Penn State is 31-21 ATS as home favorites.
— Since 2017, Nittany Lions are 3-17 ATS coming off a loss.

— Penn State won last three meetings, by average of 53-15.
— Illinois is 6-3 ATS last nine trips to Happy Valley (0-2 last two)

Georgia Tech @ Virginia:
— Since 2014, Tech is 12-7-1 ATS as road underdogs.
— Yellow Jackets are 2-6 ATS last eight games coming off a win.

— Virginia won last three games, scoring 38 ppg.
— Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS last eight games as home favorites.
— Last four Virginia games stayed under the total.

— Home side won last six series games.
— Underdogs are 5-1-1 ATS last seven meetings played here.

Boston College @ Louisville:
— Since 2014, BC is 17-6-1 ATS as road underdogs.
— Eagles are 13-7 ATS coming off a loss.
— Last two games, BC scored 13-7 points.

— Louisville allowed 34+ points in four of five I-A games.
— Last three years, Cardinals are 6-3 ATS as home favorites.
— Louisville lost last two games by total of four points.

— BC won three of last four series games (loss was 41-39).
— Eagles covered their last three visits to Louisville.

Northwestern @ Michigan:
— Since 2015, Wildcats are 15-4 ATS as road underdogs.
— Northwestern allowed 200+ rushing yards in its losses.

— Michigan is averaging 246.5 rushing yards/game.
— Wolverines are 5-1 ATS this season.
— Since 2017, Michigan is 11-7 ATS as home favorites.

— Michigan won last six series games (3-3 ATS)
— Wildcats are 4-3 ATS last seven trips to the Big House.

Northern Illinois @ Central Michigan:
— Last three years, Huskies are 8-3 ATS as road underdogs.
— NIU has posted upsets this year, as underdogs of 19-13 points.

— Chippewas’ I-A wins are by 4-3-3 points.
— CMU’s last three games stayed under the total.
— Chippewas are 4-1 ATS last five games as home favorites.

— Central Michigan won six of last seven series games.
— Huskies are 1-6 ATS last seven visits to CMU.

Kent State @ Ohio U:
— Last two games, Kent gave up 38-64 points.
— Last four years, Golden Flashes are 2-0 ATS as road favorites.

— Ohio lost last two games, 30-27/27-26.
— Bobcats are 6-1 ATS last seven games as a home dog.
— Ohio’s last four games stayed under the total.

— Ohio won last six series games.
— Bobcats ran for 200+ yards in four of last five meetings.

Wake Forest @ Army:
— Deacons are 6-0; their last two wins were both by a FG.
— Since 2014, Wake is 2-7 ATS as road favorites.
— Wake had last week off; extra time to prep for option.

— Last two games, Army scored 16-14 points.
— Since 2014, Cadets are 4-5 ATS as home underdogs.

— These teams haven’t met since 2016.

Temple @ South Florida:
— Owls are 3-3; their losses are by 47-25-49 points.
— Temple is 7-7 ATS as road dogs since coach Ruhle left town.

— USF is 0-5 vs I-A teams, giving up 39 ppg.
— Since 2018, Bulls are 2-5 ATS as a home favorite.
— This is first time this season South Florida is favored.

— Temple won last three series games (39-37 LY)
— Underdogs are 5-2 ATS last seven series games.

East Carolina @ Houston:
— Four of ECU’s last five games were decided by 4 or less points.
— Under coach Houston, ECU is 7-4 ATS as road underdog.

— Since 2017, Cougars are 10-6 ATS as home favorites.
— Houston’s last four games went over the total.

— Cougars won six of last nine series games.
— ECU is 4-3 ATS in last seven visits to Houston. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……..

13) Case Keenum is going to start at QB for the Browns Thursday night when they host Denver. Baker Mayfield has a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Keenum is in his 10th NFL season, on his sixth team; he has a 27-35 record as a starter- he was 11-3 for the ’17 Vikings. Still a mystery why they chose Kirk Cousins over Keenum, but they did.

Vikings are 28-25-1 since Keenum left Minnesota.

12) Braves 9, Dodgers 2:
— Rosario homered twice, knocked in four runs.
— Smyly gave Atlanta 3.2 IP as bulk pitcher.
— Braves lead series, 3-1. 

11) Astros 9, Red Sox 1:
— Houston scored five runs in 6th to break open close game.
— Alvarez had three hits, knocked in three runs.
— Astros lead series, 3-2
— Dusty Baker now has 2,024 wins as a manager; he had 2,023 hits as a player.

10) This is how hitting has gotten more difficult in the modern era; in JD Martinez’ first 27 plate appearances in the playoffs this month, he faced 21 different pitchers. Hitting is easier if you see the same pitcher over and over; seeing a different guy every time up makes it tougher.

Example; in his career, Mickey Mantle faced these pitchers a lot:

— Billy Pierce, 198 AB’s
— Early Wynn, 161 AB’s
— Frank Lary, 138 AB’s.

In this modern era, Manny Machado has faced these pitchers a lot:
— CC Sabathia, 56 AB’s
— Chris Archer, 52 AB’s
— Jake Odorizzi, 48 AB’s

9) One of the TV networks has a camera in second base, which gives an interesting view of stolen bases, kind of like the camera in the end zone pylon in NFL games.

8) Earlier this week, saw Illinois football coach Bret Bielema go on a 1:36 rant, basically trashing his own team; I think his intent was to shred the job his predecessor Lovie Smith did in building the Illinois roster, but what he really did was throw his current players under the bus.

Bielema had a good run at Wisconsin, going 68-24, but then he had a disagreement with his AD and jumped to Arkansas, where he went 29-34. This is his first year at Illinois.

His AD at Wisconsin was the old football coach; maybe he should’ve stayed there.

7) Appalachian State 30, Coastal Carolina 27:
— App State kicked FG at 0:00 for the win.
— Coastal led 20-14 at halftime.
— App State had TD plays of 47-28-43 yards.

6) Purdue WR David Bell has enjoyed playing against Iowa:
2019- 13 catches, 197 yards, one TD
2020- 13 catches, 121 yards, 3 TD’s
2021- 11 catches, 240 yards, one TD

5) Seattle Seahawks signed QB Jacob Eason off waivers from the Colts, to give Seattle depth at QB, with Russell Wilson hurt.

Geno Smith is starting for Seattle now; his backups are Jake Luton, Danny Etling.

4) Good to hear Stan Van Gundy doing NBA games on TNT; he got a raw deal getting fired by the Pelicans, after only one season. Van Gundy isn’t funny like his brother Jeff, but he talks all ball— it is like listening to a basketball clinic- always learn stuff from him.

3) Indiana Pacers’ rookie Chris Duarte is the first rookie to start on Opening Night for Indiana since Jamaal Tinsley 20 years ago.

2) Average salary in the NBA is $7,361,409. Median salary is $3,113,160, meaning half the players make more than that, half the players make less than that.

There are seven NBA players making $40M+ this season.

1) Apparently, the guy who founded match.com lost his girlfriend when she met someone else on…….match.com. Go figure. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

13) Dodgers 6, Braves 5:
— LA erupted for four runs in bottom of 8th inning.
— Cody Bellinger’s 3-run tater was the big hit.
— All three games, team won in its final at-bat.
— Braves lead series, 2-1. 

12) Astros 9, Red Sox 2:
— Altuve tied it with HR in 8th, Astros scored seven runs in 9th.
— Houston’s bullpen threw 7.2 scoreless IP.
— So far in series, Astro starters have an 18.90 ERA. Not good.
— Series is tied 2-2.

11) Washington State fired football coach Nick Rolovich and four of his assistants because they refused to get the COVID vaccine; the state of Washington required full vaccinations by Monday for most state employees.

Rolovich was in his second season coaching the Coogs, who are 4-3 after winning their third game in a row last week, 34-31 over Stanford.

10) Chargers’ coach Brandon Staley is a defensive guru, but so far this season, on opponents’ first drive of the second half, they’ve scored five TD’s on six drives, so opposing offenses have obviously been making better halftime adjustments than the Chargers’ defensive coaches.

9) Padres’ star Fernando Tatis isn’t going to have shoulder surgery this winter, leaving open the possibility of more shoulder injuries next season. Fantasy baseball experts on the Interweb are saying this will lower his rating in drafts next spring.

8) Teams are 1-5 ATS this season, the week after playing Notre Dame; that one cover belongs to Cincinnati, which is trying to impress pollsters in order to make it into the national playoffs.

7) 76ers coach Doc Rivers threw Ben Simmons out of practice Tuesday after Simmons refused to participate in a defensive drill- the team then suspended Simmons for Wednesday’s season opener against the Pelicans.

Simmons wants to be traded, but who would trade for him? He is a difficult person who seems to be a bad teammate. His one year at LSU, his team didn’t even make the NCAA tournament, losing their last game 71-38, a horrendous tank job.

You have a player as talented as Simmons and you can’t make it into the tournament?

If I owned an NBA team, or coached one, wouldn’t want Simmons on my team.

6) Texas-San Antonio has great helmets; their Roadrunner logo is one of the country’s best.

5) You know you’re watching an old movie when there’s a scene at a gas station and gas is $1.21 a gallon. It is $3.38 a gallon around here now.

4) Atlanta Hawks signed Kevin Huerter to a 4-year, $65M contract extension, pretty good for a kid from Clifton Park, 15-20 minutes north of Armadillo World HQ.

3) Mets’ owner Steve Cohen is the richest owner in baseball, worth $14B. Carolina Panthers’ owner David Tepper is NFL’s wealthiest owner ($15.6B), but Steve Ballmer, who owns the NBA’s LA Clippers, is worth around $70B.

Must be nice.

2) New York City radio icon Howie Rose was saying on Twitter how he loves the NHL’s 3-on-3 overtime; wishes they would make the 3-on-3 10:00 instead of 5:00 and scrap shootouts, and just have tie games sometimes.

1) New Orleans Saints play Monday night in Seattle; it’ll be their sixth game this season, played in six different cities- they played a “home” game in Jacksonville in Week 1.

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Titans 34, Bills 31:
— Allen got stopped on 4th down on 3-yard line in last minute.
— Bills were 7-13 on third down, Titans 4-10.
— Allen threw for 353 yards; three WR’s had 88+ receiving yards.

— Titans’ first 3 drives: 12 plays, 29 yards, 2 first downs, no points.
— Titans’ next 6 drives: 39 plays, 322 yards, 34 points.
— Henry ran ball for 143 yards, had 76-yard TD run. 

12) Red Sox 12, Astros 3:
— Boston scored 6 runs in 2nd inning, 3 more in 3rd.
— Schwarber hit a grand slam.
— Red Sox lead series, 2-1.
— Boston led this game 9-0 in 3rd inning, they led Game 2 8-0 in 2nd inning. Not good for TV ratings.

11) Lets compare Hall of Fame qualifications of two former NFL coaches:
— coach A: 161-111 regular season, 13-11 in playoffs, 1-2 in Super Bowls
— coach B: 149-90-1 regular season, 21-12 in playoffs, 1-1 in Super Bowls

Coach A led two teams to a Super Bowl. Coach B coached one team.
Coach B is in the Hall of Fame, Coach A isn’t, but should be.

Any idea who they are? Answer is further down in this space.

10) FOX announcer Joe Buck is a busy man these days; he could conceivably call nine games in ten days, between NFL and baseball playoff games. Not sure why they don’t slide someone else into his football duties. Nine games in ten days seems like a bit much.

9) NFL trends:
— Rookie QB’s struggle; they’re 8-18 ATS so far this season.
— First-time head coaches are 17-23 ATS this season.

8) When college football teams have alums who become NFL stars, they promote it. Louisville is going to retire Lamar Jackson’s number 8; the only Louisville player who has had his number retired is Johnny Unitas.

7) Texas-El Paso’s football is 6-1 and bowl eligible, after going a combined 5-39 the previous five seasons. Quite a turnaround for the Miners. Hopefully they don’t put them in the Sun Bowl on their home field; put them in a bowl somewhere fun, let the kids travel.

6) Ed Orgeron is out as LSU’s football coach, less than two years after he won the national title with the Bayou Bengals. Oregon is expected to get a $17M buyout, pretty good bank for walking out the door. There were non-football issues involved, but bottom line is, 9-8 the last two years doesn’t butter the biscuit.

5) Why did the Cardinals trade for Zach Ertz? Last time Arizona had a tight end who had 100+ receiving yards in a game was way back in 1989, when Robert Awalt had 105 yards in a 24-20 win over Dallas.

Since 2013, every other NFL team has had a 100+-yard receiving game from a tight end.

4) Louisiana-Monroe (+33) upset Liberty 31-28 Saturday; it was the biggest upset in a I-A game since 2012. Warhawks are 3-3 under 1st-year coach Terry Bowden, after going 0-10 last year- their losses this season are by 35-54-34 points, but 3-3 is still way better than 0-10.

3) Houston Texans lost last five games, giving up 30.2 ppg; they’re 0-3 on road, outscored 102-24. They need to trade Deshaun Watson before the November 2 trade deadline- they’ll get lot of draft choices back for him, which is what the need, good ballplayers.

2) Red Sox OF Kike Hernandez is 18-36 in playoffs this month with five homers, quite a run he is on. Earlier this summer, when Corey Seager was hurt, I added Hernandez to my fantasy team to take Seager’s place at shortstop. He was active on my team one week, went 4-22. Not good.

Could have used that 18-36 back then, ya know?

Coach A up above is Mike Holmgren; Coach B is Bill Cowher.

1) NBA season starts Tuesday night with two games; basketball season is underway, with college hoop right behind it next month. Much better weeknight entertainment.