Each week we take a look inside the numbers, from both a statistical and a pointspread aspect, on the college football and NFL cards. Here are this week’s findings.
Alabama’s shootout win over Texas A&M last week was worth the price of admission.
It featured nearly 1,200 yards of offense, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in a career game, and the Tide walking away with the revenge they so dearly wanted.
The question is what does Bama do for an encore?
They have been outgained in each of their games this season and this week they welcome former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and his Colorado State Rams to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Safe to say McElwain will have his troops pumped to the max for his return to Tuscaloosa.
This much we know for sure. Defending national champions are just 10-15 ATS as favorites of 36 or more points against opponents with at least one win on the season since 1980. They are also 48-66-1 ATS as favorites off a win in non-conference clashes in that span.
Expect the elephant to slumber his way to victory this Saturday.
Four on the floor
Game 4 is a critical turning point for most college football teams, especially if they’re playing off their first loss of the season.
From a handicapping perspective, the venue goes a long way in determining Game 4 ATS results as well. For instance:
• Teams playing at home in this role tend to perform poorly as evidenced by a 95-111-3 ATS overall mark since 1980. Home teams in that role this week include: Duke, Penn State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin, with Boston College and Illinois on deck next week.
If these teams are allowing more than 27 points per game on the season (Wake Forest and La-Lafayette) they dip to 8-19-2 ATS.
To top it off, if they are allowing more than 27 points per game on the season and are facing a foe that is not off a spread win of 35 or more points in its last game, these bummed-out hosts sink to 3-19-2 ATS.
Texas A&M finds itself in this “Aggie-nizing” role this week.
• Teams playing away in this role somehow find pointspread success, nearly reversing their home counterparts by going 105-81-3 ATS dating back to 1980.
This week finds Ball State, Marshall, Tennessee, Troy and Utah taking to the road after having their dreams of a perfect season ruined last week (Note: East Carolina will journey out in this role next week).
When these teams are also off an ATS loss, they improve to 93-59-1 ATS in these Game 4 situations, with all of the above teams - except East Carolina next week - in this role this week.
And if these teams off a spread loss are facing an opponent that is off a SU and ATS loss, they ratchet up to 29-11 ATS, including 17-4 ATS when they are a dog.
Tennessee finds itself “Volunteering” for this desirable role this week.
Smoke and mirrors
Once again an unusual small amount of “inside-out games” (teams who won the game but lost the stats) dot the card last week.
College football teams playing this week who won the game but lost the stats in their previous game included: Alabama, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee State, Missouri, Fresno State, Oregon State and Rutgers.
Those who lost the game but won the stats in their last game were: Eastern Michigan, Florida, Marshall, Memphis, Texas A&M and Utah.
In the NFL the phony winners included: Atlanta, Kansas City, Miami and New England.
The hard-luck losers included: Dallas, Indianapolis, N.Y. Jets and St. Louis.
Note: Florida and Marshall in college football, along with the N.Y. Jets in the NFL were triple-digit yardage winners, while the Patriots were a triple-digit yardage loser.
Red rover, red rover
As we alluded to last week, with no-huddle, quicker pace, and lots more offensive snaps per game being the new wave in the NFL these days, totals were expected to reach new heights.
Not so thus far this season, as over/unders evened out at 8-8 once again last week, bringing the count to 16 Overs and 16 Unders on the season.
Interestingly, seven of the eight games that went Over involved the eight teams that had the most offensive plays in their contests, namely: Bengals (79 plays), Chargers (79), Texans (78), Panther (76), Bills (730, Rams (73), Broncos (72) and Colts (72).
Coupled with a 6-1 Over result involving the same premise in Week 1, it makes keeping an eye on this trend mandatory if you are a totals enthusiast.
Stat of the Week
The Detroit Lions are 0-16 SU all-time in games against the Redskins in Washington, by an average losing margin of 18 points per game.