By Zack Schlegel

 

Vegas always wins: Here are just a few bad beats from the weekend.

CFB

Boise State 14, Marshall 7 (Line: Boise State -13.5)

After a very impressive debut performance by Boise St QB Hank Bachmeier, many were expecting the Broncos to roll in their home opener against Marshall. Whoever took the OVER in this game was not having a fun time. The halftime score was 7-7, and even I was sitting their expecting Boise St to eventually pull away and cover the relatively short number. The Broncos opened the second half with a 47-yard TD pass in just a matter of a couple minutes to take the lead 14-7.

That would be the final score of the game. Boise St got the ball back on an interception with 7:36 remaining in the game, and they were in no hurry to score again. With just over a minute to play, Boise St converted a third down at the Marshall 6 yard line. Instead of attempting to punch in another score, which would have covered the number, the Broncos were content with the 7-point victory and decided to take a knee as the final second ticked down. Legend has it, Boise St backers are still staring at their TV’s in disbelief.

 

Clemson 24, Texas A&M 10 (Line: Clemson -16)

Texas A&M came to town looking for a signature win on the road at Clemson. Aggie backers were hoping for a similar result as last season’s exciting 26-28 finish, in which A&M fell short on a missed 2-point conversion attempt. Clemson took a 17-3 lead into halftime of this year’s match-up, and they continued to add to that lead in the middle of the third quarter after a TD run made the score 24-3.

The Tigers were rolling, and Texas A&M’s offense punted three times and turned the ball over on their first four possessions of the second half. One more touchdown at any point would have destroyed the hopes of all Aggie backers, but their defense came up with a crucial interception with 5:49 to play in the game. Texas A&M converted two 3rd downs on their final drive, and the cover came down to a 4th and goal with 0:06 on the clock…

NFL

Buffalo Bills 17, New York Jets 16 (Line: Jets -2.5)

This was a weird game from the start. New York led 6-0 at halftime, and the only people watching the game were Jets fans, Bills fans, and those who decided to actually bet this game. The Jets led the Bills 16-0 late in the third quarter after recording a safety in the opening minutes of the second half, and then converting a 2-point conversion following a Sam Darnold TD pass.

The Bills cut into the lead slowly, making it a one score game with 10:21 left to play. Plenty of time for the Jets to get another score and ease the tension of Jets backers, but their offense fell asleep. New York’s final four possessions went punt, punt, turnover on downs, and fumble. QB Josh Allen drove the Bills 80 yards on 8 plays, on their way to the game winning touchdown with 3:00 left in the game. Buffalo held on to win 17-16. The sad part was that even if the Jets were able to get in range for a game winning FG, they still would have won by just 2 points, failing to cover anyways.

 

Los Angeles Chargers 30, Indianapolis Colts 24 (Line: Chargers -6)

The Chargers took a 24-9 lead midway through the third quarter, and things were looking good for Chargers backers against the Andrew Luck-less Colts. Phillip Rivers was having a great 3-touchdown performance, and the Chargers had the ball on the Indianapolis 7 yard line up 24-16. With just 8:39 to play in the game, one more touchdown here and it would all but wrap up the game and likely cover the 6-point spread with ease.

Rivers threw an interception on 2nd and goal, giving the Colts an opportunity to drive down the field and tie the game. QB Jacoby Brissett did just that, moving the Colts 80 yards down the field on 16 plays, and completing the drive with a 19-yard TD pass to TY Hilton. At this point, Colts +6 backers were praying for a missed 2-point conversion. They converted, sending the game to OT.  On the Chargers opening possession of OT, RB Austin Ekeler ran it in from 7 yards out and the Chargers won 30-24.

A push can make you sick, especially in a roll coaster game like that. Ironically, almost the exact same scenario played out in the Cardinals vs Lions game. The Cardinals came back from being down 9-24, converted a 2-point conversion with less than a minute left in regulation to send it to OT, but ended up recording the NFL’s first tie of the season when the game ended 27-27.

 

Continue to fade Florida State in the second half until further notice.

During Willie Taggart’s one year stint with the Oregon Ducks in 2017, Oregon was shutout in the second half five times. In year one at Florida St, Taggart’s Seminoles were shutout in the second half during their season opening loss to Virginia Tech. They went on to score 7 points or less in the second half of four other games that season.

Fast forward to the 2019 season, and the second half struggles continue. Florida St blew a 31-19 halftime lead at home against Boise State, a game in which at one point they led 24-6. Taggart’s team once again was shutout in the second half, on their way to a 31-36 loss.

Week 2 against UL Monroe will be a nice tune up game, right? Not exactly. When Florida St took a 24-7 lead into halftime, I had to test out water. Taking UL Monroe +8 in the second half isn’t exactly a bet I’m running to the counter to make, but given what I have seen from Taggart’s teams in the second half, it was a play that needed to be made.

The result: UL Monroe won the second half 31-14 and forced OT. I didn’t even need to 8 points. Florida St went on to to win 45-44 in OT, but the second half fade was money once again. The water is warm, people. Grab your swim trunks, hold your nose, and continue to fade the Seminoles in the second half.

 

Overreactions happen, but as @TheRealCoach_JB says, “the eye in the sky don’t lie”.

It’s normal for us all to call into question the way we view certain teams, when we start to compare our preseason expectations to that of the week 1 results. One of the games that really stands out in my eyes was the Nevada vs Purdue game, where Nevada pulled off the upset as 11-point underdogs. Purdue got off to a hot start opening up a 24-7 halftime lead. The second half was all Nevada Wolfpack. Nevada outscored Purdue 27-7 in the second half, capped off by a game-winning 56-yard FG as time expired.

Awesome win for Nevada, but if you look a little deeper than the final score, you will notice exactly why the game played out the way it did — FIVE Purdue turnovers. The Boilermakers fumbled the ball away three times and threw two interceptions, while Nevada did not turn the ball over once. Going back to my article on The Five Factors of CFB, turnovers is one of those five. It’s safe to say that when you win the turnover battle that significantly, there is a drastically higher chance of your team coming away with a win.

Statistically, Purdue QB Elijah Sindelar still threw for 423 yards and 4 TD’s. Purdue’s offense still put up 519 yards, and imagine how many yards they would have had if they didn’t turn the ball over five times. Purdue still possessed the ball longer and finished with five more first downs than Nevada did.

Tying this all into week 2 action, Purdue returned home to face SEC foe Vanderbilt in their home opener. Vanderbilt was coming off of their opener against the #3 team in the country, Georgia. They were also getting a juicy 7-points against the 0-1 Purdue squad coming off of that terrible loss at Nevada. The line had originally opened at Purdue -9.5, but action on Vanderbilt brought that line down to 7 before kickoff.

Recency bias comes into play here, for those that cannot remove Nevada’s game winning FG from their memory bank. I mean sure, I get it. Purdue loses to a Mountain West school, and now they have to face an SEC school in their home opener. Vanderbilt feels like a really smart underdog play, might as well hit the money line. Purdue jumped out to a 28-10 lead late in the third quarter, and it the game was never really in question.

Elijah Sindelar threw for 509 yards and 5 TD’s against that SEC defense. Purdue turned the ball over just once, and Heisman dark-horse WR Rondale Moore put up 220 yards receiving by himself. The Boilermakers won the game 42-24, covering the 7-point spread easily and leaving ‘final score watchers’ scratching their heads. Purdue is a solid football team, but if you only pay attention to the highlights and the final score, you’re likely to miss the real reason a game played out the way it did. You’re also more likely to fall victim to recency bias and overreactions throughout the course of the season.

 

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