Weekend Football Review (9/13/10)

By Paul Bessire

Monday, September 13 at 2:08 PM ET
While I may also get the opportunity to live blog during games in future weeks, I will always recap the weekend in football each Monday afternoon. It is very important to us to be transparent and to honest about our picks. Soon after last game of each day has started, we move all of our subscriber content to be available for registered users. We're never going to hide anything. So even though we have to swap out articles in the archive to focus on new ones, articles never go away (just make sure to use the correct week and date in the URL - or ask us for the link).

The Numbers for College Football Week 2 and NFL Week 1 (Two top picks remaining):

  • All Games ATS: 60% +$443 (normal $50 player)
  • Paul's Picks ATS: 75% +$260
  • Top 15 CFB Picks ATS: 93.3% +$745
  • Locks of the Week: 2-0 +$205 (Alabama covered by 9.5, Tennessee Titans covered by 19)
  • Picks that Cover 60%+: 75% +$344
  • YTD College Football ATS All Games: 60.9% +$712
  • YTD College Football O/U All Games: 54.1% +$302
  • YTD College Football SU All FBS vs. FBS Games: 89.3%

College Best and Worst:

Best Wins: Florida State @ Oklahoma OVER 58.5 provided the most entertaining cover of the day. With just 57 points scored in total and 53 seconds on the clock in a blowout 47-10 game, my new favorite head coach in college football, Jimbo Fisher called a timeout to preserve time to get the ball back and try to score on offense. FSU gained only 24 yards on give plays to start its drive. Then, on 3rd and 10 from the Oklahoma 47 and time for just one play, backup QB E.J. Manuel hit Taiwan Easterling on a swing pass. A couple broken tackles later, we had our cover 47-17... Elsewhere, the wins came much easier. Central Michigan started the week off right as our Top Play Thursday, losing in OT 13-10 to give us the cover +8 and UNDER 48.5. Last Thursday's Top Play, FAU, another big underdog, won outright... In my favorite projection of the week in college football, Houston won 54-24 over UTEP after we had predicted a 51-29 game. Both Houston -19.5 and the OVER 73.5 covered as expected... In Thursday and Friday college games this year, we are now a ridiculous 17-0-1 ATS and O/U... On Saturday, Stanford -6.5 on the road against UCLA, one of our top three plays on Saturday, covered by 28.5 points... Alabama -11.5 against Penn State, our ATS lock, "rolled" to a dominant victory as expected... And unlike Week 1, we were picking two 24+ point favorites to cover, Kentucky over Western Kentucky and Texas Tech over New Mexico. Not only did each cover easily, the teams combined to outscore opponents 115 - 45.

Toughest Losses: Syracuse and Washington lost for us for the second week in a row. In Week 2, they played each other. Syracuse was giving 13 and lost by 21 to Jake Locker and company in Seattle... That was the only game in our top 15 ATS plays that failed to cover.. Straight-up, we only incorrectly predicted Notre Dame over Michigan, Ohio over Toledo and UCF over NC State (which UCF won just 50.5%). Our college favorites in FBS had almost as many losses (three) to FBS teams as they did to FCS teams (two). Virginia Tech and Minnesota both lost this week - to James Madison and South Dakota respectively.

Most intriguing games of Week 3: Cal @ Nevada (Friday), Arkansas @ Georgia, Air Force @ Oklahoma, Arizona State @ Wisconsin, Baylor @ TCU, Clemson @ Auburn, Tulsa @ Oklahoma State, Texas @ Texas Tech, Iowa @ Arizona, Notre Dame @ Michigan State

NFL Best and Worst:

Best Wins: Our Lock of the Week, the Tennessee Titans -6, won 38-13 to cover by 19 points. In three years and one week of tracking the success of this technology each week in the NFL, the Lock of the Week (the top ATS% play of the week) is now 50-11-2 ATS. We are high on the Titans this season and took advantage of Week 1 lines that rarely get too extreme... Elsewhere, lines moved away from Pittsburgh and New England since opening, signifying the general betting public disagreed with our picks. The Patriots covered by ten and Pittsburgh won a low-scoring game as predicted. We also had the margin almost exactly correct to win the New Orleans -4.5 over Minnesota game... And, our "No Picks" - games where neither team covered the spread more than 53% of the time in the 50,000 simulations - included two pushes that fell right on the line (Tampa Bay -3 and Arizona - 4).

Toughest Losses: We'll get to Dallas and San Francisco in a second, but the strangest loss may have actually been in Buffalo. Few have noted how horrific Chan Gailey's decision to take an intentional safety was. It may not be that interesting because it probably had no impact on the game (though it gave Miami the cover) and it was the Buffalo - Miami game, but Gailey tried to get cute in a way that hurt far more than it helped. With such a good pass defense and at home, Buffalo +3 was a sneaky play from the Predictalator on Sunday (covered 58.6%). Down 3 with 1:32 remaining, Buffalo had a 4th and 10 from its own 1. Instead of going for it, which, if converted, would have given the team a chance to kick a field goal to tie, or punting it away, which still would have given the team a chance to tie if it got the ball back, Buffalo opted for the safety, which forces the Bills to get the ball back and score a touchdown to win. We have a live simulator that we hope to eventually make available to the public. Before the safety, Buffalo had a 5.6% chance of winning the game. After taking a safety, that value fell to 1.9%. Of course neither of those values is high, but the team cut its chances of winning by three with that move - that also lost us (and its fans that played the game +3) the game ATS... On to Dallas. Besides the Cowboys, 10 teams put up more than 340 yards of total offense in the opening week. They averaged 25.7 points a game (our predicted score for the Cowboys). Aside from the Redskins, twelve teams had less than 300 yards of total offense. Those teams averaged 16.1 points a game (just two points less than our projection for the Redskins). And I thought they got rid of Flozell Adams because of the penalties. How did they lose this game (and not go OVER 40 points)? Underrated play in this game: Mike Shanahan opting for a Graham Gano 49-yard-field goal to go up six points late in the game. Not only did that take the Dallas -3.5 cover out of play, it forced the Cowboys to go for a TD... The San Francisco 49ers first three possessions reached the Seattle six yard line and equated to six points. Then Seattle rattled off 31 unanswered. San Francisco is still the better team... How do Wade Phillips and Mike Singletary feel today (I know how we feel about them)?... Give Houston credit for remembering how it beat Indianapolis in 2006. Ron Dayne rushed for 153 yards. It takes patience and dedication, but running the ball frequently (and with some success) is the best way to defeat teams like Indianapolis and New England. It's not just that that keeps their quarterbacks off the field, those teams are less talented and experienced in run defense because everyone thinks they have to pass to keep up in a shootout... And, while everyone is talking about Calvin Johnson play, I'm still disappointed that Chicago didn't get that two-point conversion. Lovie Smith eschewed too many points on Sunday.

Most intriguing games of Week 2: PIT @ TEN, BAL @ CIN, HOU @ WAS, NE @ NYJ, NYG @ IND and NO @ SF.

And lastly, Kevin Durant signed the most significant contract in the NBA this off-season. Oklahoma City is going to be very good. Congrats to Durant and Team USA.

Got a question on sports betting, bankroll management, coaching strategy, fantasy football or anything else? Contact Paul