Miami mauled by LSU! Plus, key handicapping stats from Saturday’s marquee matchups…and the latest drama from the WNBA playoffs and MLB pennant races. Serving bettors is a Labor of love in VSiN City!
College Football: Miami joins list of “exposed and overrated” with bad loss to LSU
A lot of college football teams talked the talk in the weeks leading up to the 2018 college football season. The walk many are walking is with their tails between their legs on the way home from disappointing season openers.
Let’s start with Sunday night’s national TV dud. Though, the stats will take some explaining…
LSU (plus 3.5) 33, Miami 17
Total Yardage: Miami 342, LSU 296
Yards-per-Play: Miami 5.0, LSU 4.6
Rushing Yards: Miami 83, LSU 156
Passing Stats: Miami 15-35-2-259, LSU 11-24-0-140
Third Downs: Miami 36%, LSU 19%
Turnovers: Miami 2, LSU 0
Length of TD Drives: Miami 77-74, LSU 72-58
If you didn’t watch the game, you have no idea how Miami won stats to that degree. LSU did a nice solid job if building a 33-3 lead, then went into a shell. Miami, once the game was out of reach and the opposing defense softened, made a few plays that shrunk the scoreboard deficit. The stats that best “tell the story” are rushing yards (the Tigers had a 50-yard TD run, and a few other key gains), and turnovers. That’s because one of Miami’s interceptions was returned for a touchdown. Miami throwing 20 incomplete passes is also important, because Malik Rosier was in way over his head until garbage time arrived.
We talked about Rosier late season slide in our Sunday contribution to the New York Post. Let’s do a quick cut-and-paste of that…
“Stats from Malik’s final six starts, including the ACC Championship game and the Orange Bowl…
Not So Rosy for Rosier
*210 passing yards or less in every start
*A poor TD/INT ratio of 9/10
*Just below 50% completions at 81/163
Off that finish, Miami’s going to start the season as a perceived national elite, laying -3.5 points on a neutral field to LSU? The Tigers are comparable to the composite skill sets of those last six Miami opponents.”
Rosier did make it past 250 passing yards thanks to garbage time. But TD/INT ratio was again an issue (1/2 with a pick six), and 15 of 35 vs. LSU’s fine defense isn’t a surprise when Rosier was just below 50/50 in his last six games last season.
Miami will have a nice ACC team…but isn’t in the same class as national powers given this performance. LSU was fundamentally sound. This offense will be in huge trouble vs. defenses that are better against the run. That 3 of 16 performance on third downs is a red flag you need to see waving.
Let’s check in on a few other marquee box scores…
Auburn (-2) 21, Washington 16
Total Yardage: Washington 398, Auburn 420
Yards-per-Play: Washington 6.1, Auburn 5.2
Rushing Yards: Washington 102, Auburn 147
Passing Stats: Washington 19-32-1-296, Auburn 26-36-0-273
Third Downs: Washington 36%, Auburn 50%
Turnovers: Washington 2, Auburn 0
Length of TD Drives: Washington 75, Auburn 36-72
Fits and starts. Both teams were able to drive the field, but struggled to cash in opportunities. Huskies were more likely to do that via the big play. But two drives were spiked by a missed field goal and a turnover in close. Auburn did a much better job of moving the chains, but then missed two field goals of its own. Ultimately, if you believe in offensive sharpness and execution, the right team won and covered. Auburn clearly better in rushing yards, third down conversions, and turnover avoidance.
Neither looked ready right now to scare Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State. Washington’s already in big trouble to make the Final Four even if they win out because the Pac 12 took some “conference strength” hits with home losses as double-digit favorites by UCLA (to Cincinnati) and Arizona (to BYU).
Auburn has a brutal schedule, which got even tougher when LSU impressed Monday night.
Notre Dame (plus 1) 24, Michigan 17
Total Yardage: Michigan 307, Notre Dame 302
Yards-per-Play: Michigan 4.4, Notre Dame 4.4
Rushing Yards: Michigan 58, Notre Dame 132
Passing Stats: Michigan 24-36-1-249, Notre Dame 12-22-1-170
Third Downs: Michigan 46%, Notre Dame 47%
Turnovers: Michigan 2, Notre Dame 1
Length of TD Drives: Michigan 80, Notre Dame 75-96-75
The “closeness” of the stats are misleading because Notre Dame was pounding its way to those long TD drives while building a big lead. It was 24-10 late, with Michigan’s only touchdown on a kickoff return. Michigan did move the ball when down double digits in the fourth quarter against a tiring Irish defense to score a TD.
After both teams gave clinics on HORRIBLE clock management (Michigan wasting way too much time on a TD drive, followed by Notre Dame not taking enough time off the clock when sitting on a lead), Wolverines got the ball back and fumbled it away.
Mostly a flunked test for new Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson. Let’s do a quick cut-and-paste from our New York Post preview that ran Saturday…
“Though Patterson’s stats for Ole Miss were superficially impressive in 2017 before he was injured against LSU, those numbers were frontloaded versus non-threats South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin (28-35-0-429 and 32-43-1-489 respectively). Against major competition, Patterson’s TD/INT ratio was just 8/8. His passing line at Alabama was a poor 14-29-2-165. Before leaving the LSU game hurt, 10-23-3-116.”
Patterson was not effective because he was so erratic when pressured. Notre Dame backed off in the garbage time drive…which allowed Patterson to pad his numbers. Basically, it looks like Patterson will help Michigan move the ball vs. soft defenses, but will be in over his head vs. their toughest opposition. Let’s see if that plays out.
Before Michigan let the Big Ten down in prime time, Penn State almost suffered a horrific loss during the day.
Penn State (-24.5) 45, Appalachian State 38 (in OT)
Total Yardage: App State 451, Penn State 434
Yards-per-Play: App State 5.9, Penn State 5.5
Rushing Yards: App State 159, Penn State 204
Passing Stats: App State 26-39-1-292, Penn State 21-36-0-230
Third Downs: App State 38%, Penn State 40%
Turnovers: App State 1, Penn State 0
Length of TD Drives: App State 75-80-53-42, Penn State 75-65-72-75-46-(25)
Yes, Appalachian State has a history of scoring upsets. But this team was only pegged #77 nationally in the respected Athlon publication. Not that many starters back, and an inexperienced quarterback. So, against THAT big dog, playing a 60-minute tie with very even stats is an awful performance for Penn State.
Many were looking for either Penn State, Michigan or Michigan State to step up with a chance to derail Ohio State in the Big Ten. Michigan State trailed Utah State late in East Lansing Friday night. Penn State had to dodge a last-play field goal in regulation. Michigan is still over-ranked and overrated.
Important things happening in other sports to discuss today. We’re planning on crunching numbers from some of Saturday’s high-profile upsets in our Tuesday report. Hoping to look at Maryland over Texas, Cincinnati over UCLA, and BYU over Arizona. Of course, we’ll run game stats from Monday Night’s Virginia Tech/Florida State TV showcase as well.
WNBA: Both semifinals forced to climactic fifth games
Great postseason for fans of the league, despite some important injuries. Elena Delle Donne returned from a knee bruise to lead Washington in Sunday’s fourth game out East. Sue Bird guarantees she’ll return from a broken nose to play for Seattle in Tuesday’s series finale. Let’s run Sunday’s numbers in the order the games were played.
Washington (-4) 97, Atlanta 76
2-point Pct: Atlanta 44%, Washington 52%
3-pointers: Atlanta 6/16, Washington 12/26
Free Throws: Atlanta 14/25, Washington 15/19
Rebounds: Atlanta 31, Washington 40
Turnovers: Atlanta 13, Washington 12
Delle Donne was able to play 34 minutes (for a head coach who just doesn’t believe in playing it safe). You could tell she wasn’t 100%. Delle Donne finished 6 of 15 from the floor with 10 rebounds. Her teammates must have played great because the Mystics almost scored 100 points. Atlanta seemed content to wait for Game Five at home Tuesday night. Dream needs to shoot better from the free throw line with survival at stake. Point spread will likely be close to pick-em unless Delle Donne has a miraculous recovery to full strength.
Phoenix (-2) 86, Seattle 84
2-point Pct: Seattle 53%, Phoenix 57%
3-pointers: Seattle 8/20, Phoenix 4/21
Free Throws: Seattle 14/16, Phoenix 16/20
Rebounds: Seattle 32, Phoenix 31
Turnovers: Seattle 13, Phoenix 8
Sue Bird suffered a broken nose (fifth of her career) after playing 10 minutes. Friendly fire, as it came on an inadvertent elbow from teammate and league MVP Breanna Stewart. Bird has a plus-minus of plus 17 in her 10 minutes. Storm was -19 without her on the floor.
Brittney Griner had a huge game for the winners. She scored 29 points on 12 of 18 shooting, adding 12 rebounds. Tough fatigue spot for Phoenix coming up Tuesday. Four starters played 38-40 minutes in another come-from-behind win.
You can see Seattle suffered in the turnover category without Bird. Griner stepped up for Phoenix just as Diana Taurasi was showing signs of wearing down (6 of 14 shooting, only 4 assists).
MLB: Big week for the Dodgers and Cubs, though “Magnificent 7” still way down $$$ for the season
The Los Angeles Dodgers finally made a move this week, sneaking back into first place Sunday with a ninth winning rally against the Arizona Diamondbacks. That put LAD at 5-1 for the week, barely better than the Chicago Cubs at 5-2.
If you’re new to VSiN City, we always check in on the Brent Musburger-coined “Magnificent 7” teams that were pegged by betting markets to win more than 90 games this season. Six of the seven will likely make the playoffs, though the Dodgers still have work to do. Washington is now a distant mathematical longshot after a couple of towel-tossing trades. Only two of the seven are showing a betting profit, though. Tough to clear money line hurdles even you’re clearly “playoff caliber.”
Current records entering the new week…
Boston 94-44…plus 29 units after a 4-2 week
Chicago Cubs 81-55…plus 5 units after a 5-2 week
NY Yankees 86-51…minus 5 units after a 3-4 week
Houston 84-53…minus 11.5 units after a 3-3 week
Cleveland 77-59…minus 17 units after a 3-3 week
LA Dodgers 75-62…minus 24 units after a 5-1 week
Washington 68-69…minus 26 units after a 3-3 week
That 3-4 mark for the Yankees was very expensive because they were HUGE favorites all week. Will take a five-game winning streak to get them back to even. Much more likely now that at least five of the M7 will finish the regular season down money for backers.
We have two M7 series coming up at the end of the new week, including a potential ALCS preview between the Astros and Red Sox in Fenway.
Series Matching Magnificent Seven
Chicago Cubs (81-55) at Washington (68-69) (starts Thursday)
Houston (84-53) at Boston (94-54) (starts Friday)
Great stuff coming up in the divisional races. Yankees have six games out West against potential Wildcard opponents. Cubs start the week with the Brewers in a huge NL Central showdown. Dodgers end the week with the Rockies in the NL West.
Early Week Series Matching Contenders
Chicago Cubs (81-55) at Milwaukee (77-61) (starts Monday)
NY Yankees (86-51) at Oakland (82-56)
Boston (94-44) at Atlanta (76-60)
Late Week Series Matching Winning Teams
Atlanta (76-60) at Arizona (74-63) (starts Thursday)
LA Dodgers (75-62) at Colorado (74-62) (starts Friday)
NY Yankees (86-51) at Seattle (76-61) (starts Friday)
We’ll recap big game box scores all through the week for early evening finishers.
MLB: Pennant races in shorthand
We hope our divisional shorthand has been helping you visualize the divisional and Wildcard races a bit better than standard standings. You can really see the Cubs pulling away in the NL, and how messy the Wildcard race will be. The numbers you see below are games over .500.
NL East: Atlanta plus 16, Philadelphia plus 8
NL Central: Chicago plus 26, Milwaukee plus 16, St. Louis plus 15
NL West: LA Dodgers plus 13, Colorado plus 12, Arizona plus 11
AL East: Boston plus 50, NY Yankees plus 35
AL Central: Cleveland plus 18
AL West: Houston plus 31, Oakland plus 26, Seattle plus 15
US Open Tennis: Nadal, Djokovic, Federer still clear market favorites on men’s side, upsets put US women in top three exchange spots
Record-breaking crowds at Flushing Meadows this week. Mostly to watch their favorites advance! Let’s update global exchange odds from Betfair.
Rafael Nadal: risk $1 to win $2.30, risk $2.40 to win $1 that he won’t win
Novak Djokovic: risk $1 to win $2.45, risk $2.55 to win $1 that he won’t win
Roger Federer: risk $1 to win $3.70, risk $3.80 to win $1 that he won’t win
Juan Martin Del Potro: risk $1 to win $7.80, risk $9.50 to win $1 that he won’t win
The big three haven’t had to sweat much. Del Potro is always a threat when he’s healthy. Note that Djokovic and Federer are bracketed to play in the quarterfinals. Four men’s matches Monday in the fourth round. Here were bookmaker.eu odds as we went to press.
Early money lines for Monday’s Round of 16
Novak Djovokic (-3500) vs. Joao Sousa (plus 1500)
Roger Federer (-2200) vs. John Millman (plus 1200)
Kei Nishikori (-385) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (plus 315)
Marin Cilic (-245) vs. David Goffin (plus 205)
Moving now to the women, a slew of upsets has knocked out all of the top international threats. Serena Williams is now the clear favorite. Last year’s champ Sloane Stephens remains in great form, and is now second. Madison Keys is ready to open the door if either falters.
Serena Williams: risk $1 to win $1.80, risk $1.90 to win $1 that she won’t win
Sloane Stephens: risk $1 to win $4.40, risk $4.60 to win $1 that she won’t win
Madison Keys: risk $1 to win $8.20, risk $9 to win $1 that she won’t win
Aryna Sabalenka: risk $1 to win $10, risk $13 to win $1 that she won’t win
Maria Sharapova: risk $1 to win $14.50, risk $16 to win $1 that she won’t win
Note that Williams and Stephens are bracketed to play in the semifinals if they keep winning. Keys, Sabalenka, and Sharapova are in the other half…all on court Monday.
Early money lines for Monday’s Round of 16
Madison Keys (-250) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (plus 210)
Maria Sharapova (-225) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (plus 190)
Lesia Tsurenko (-180) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (plus 185)
Aryna Sabalenka (-153) vs. Naomi Osaka (plus 133)
Have a great Labor Day! See you Tuesday morning.
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