Inside the stats: Where the boxscores lied

With Christmas Day just around the corner there are plenty of presents waiting to go around this week with the college bowl games underway and the NFL entering its final two games of the season.

Courtesy of the 2012 PLAYBOOK College Bowl Stat Report and the PLAYBOOK Midweek Alert, here’s a sample look at what’s ahead.

No Skirting The Issue

When June Jones takes his troops to Honolulu for Monday’s Hawaii Bowl showdown with Fresno State on Christmas Eve he will return to the land of macadamia nuts grass skirts where he coached the Warriors from 1999-2007.

This will be SMU’s 15th postseason game and third in Honolulu.  Jones took the Mustangs to this bowl game in 2009 when his troops upset Nevada, 45-10, as 11-point underdogs.

When asked about the reward of going to Hawaii for the postseason, Jones is insistent this will not be a vacation for his team.

His time as Hawaii's head coach has made him well aware of the state's hidden dangers, and that means no getting in the water, no mopeds and lots of sunscreen for the Mustangs. Not exactly spring break conditions.

"No. 1, you don't go in the water because you will cut your feet on the corral," Jones said. "The sun, even though you think it's not as hot, it's different over there. I can't tell you how many kids that we used to play that couldn't even put on their shoulder pads because their shoulders were blistered. And no mopeds."

The Bulldogs and Mustangs faced one common opponent this season, Tulsa. SMU beat the Golden Hurricane, 35-27. The Bulldogs lost to Tulsa, 27-26.

Coaches Call

Coaches’ personalities have an overriding effect on their teams. So it is, as the coach goes so too do the teams.

Here a quick look at how come of the coaches have fared in preparation for upcoming bowl games…ß

• Ball State - Pete Lembo is 6-1 SUATS as a dog of less than 9 points.

• UCF - George O’Leary is 0-7-1 ATS as a favorite versus an non-conference opponent off a win.

• Washington - Steve Sarkisian is 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS with rest.

• Duke - David Cutcliffe is 5-1 SUATS in bowl games, including 3-0 SUATS as a dog.

• Baylor - Art Briles is 18-4 ATS in games off a double-digit ATS win.

Elevator Up, Elevator Down

One key in successfully handicapping the NFL is separating each team’s recent performance from its overall stats.

By examining how teams are performing from Game Seven out, in comparison to season-to-date, we learn a proper pulse on what to expect today.

Over achieving teams heading into this weekend’s games, including the net yardage per game improvement for each team, include: Tennessee (+52), Jacksonville (+50), Buffalo (+43), Cleveland (+40) and Carolina (+38).

Under achievers include: Minnesota (-50), NY Giants (-47), Kansas City (-46), Chicago (-40) and Dallas (-34).

Buyer beware. 

Red Rover Red Over


Week 14 in the NFL has been fan friendly for ‘Over’ players.

According to the Playbook NFL Totals Tip Sheet, current streaks include:

• 9-1 ‘Over’ in non-division games when both teams are off a pair of ‘Overs’ and the total in the game is 45 or fewer points.

• 9-1 ‘Over’ when a road underdog is playing off a pair of ‘Overs’ and the total in the game is more than 45 points

• 8-1 ‘Over’ favorites playing off a pair of ‘Unders’ versus an opponent off an ‘Under’.

Play accordingly.

Inside Out

Aside from the fact that no less than four games in the NFL last week were decided by margins of 28 or more points, three games witnessed triple-digit ‘inside-out’ ITS (In The Stats) efforts.

They included Minnesota’s 36-22 win over St. Louis in which the Rams out-gained the Vikings, 432-322, Arizona’s 38-10 victory over Detroit in which the Lions out-yarded the Cardinals 312-196, and San Francisco’s 41-34 surprise over New England which the Patriots out-statted the Niners, 520-383.

Expect a reversal of fortune this week.

Stat Of The Week


NFL home dogs of 8 or more points are 23-3 ATS the last four years.

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