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Friday, July 21

   by Larry Ness - 07/21/2006

Yesterday's notes touched on the fact that the football season is right around the corner and after taking care of some MLB business, I'll delve a little more into the upcoming college football season.

My free play for Friday is on the Fla Marlins over the Pit Pirates at 7:35 ET. I pushed my winning streak to FIVE straight after last night's 2-0 sweep and I'm poised for another big night on Friday. Join me for another exclusive Las Vegas Insider (25-11 since May 1) plus one of my new Technical Insiders (backed by two 70%-plus in-season trends as well as a near-70% trend since 2000) and my 15* Pitching Mismatch of the Month!

The Twins beat the Devil Rays on Thursday afternoon 6-4, extending MLB's longest active winning and losing streaks to seven apiece. The Twins have now beaten the Devil Rays 12 straight times and have won 19 of their last 24 games overall. Minnesota owns MLB's best home mark (37-11), having won 20 of its last 21 in the Metrodome. As for the Devil Rays, they are now winless since the All Star break (0-7) and have lost 10 of 11.

The pitching showdown between Mussina and Halladay was a wash, as neither figured in the decision. The Yankees blew a 3-0 lead and then lost 5-4 in 11 innings. The Tigers beat the White Sox 2-1, giving them the rubber game of their AL Central showdown series. Chicago's one-through-four hitters went an almost unbelievable 0-for-29 in the series, as the White Sox have now lost five of six since the break, to fall a season-high 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

How about them Tigers? They own MLB's best record (64-31) and dominate the "moneyline standings."A $100 bet on every Detroit game this year would have a 'player' up $2,875! The next closest team to the Tigers is the Red Sox, who are plus-$1,349 at $100/game. The Twins' recent hot streak moves them into third place at plus-$1,309 with the White Sox falling into the fourth spot, at plus-$1,185. The Mets, in fifth place at plus-$1,116, remain the lone NL team among the leaders.

The Tigers are doing it with pitching and defense, as they lead the majors in runs allowed with 360 (3.79/game). The next closest teams are the Twins (who have allowed 418 runs in 94 games) and the A's (who have allowed 419 runs in 95 games). Detroit has been a huge 'under' team this year, going 35-57-3 on the season.

It should also come as no surprise that the Tigers lead MLB in run-differential, outscoring opponents by 131 runs on the season. The White Sox, MLB's highest scoring team with 542 runs scored (5.77/game), are second to the Tigers, having outscored opponents by 93 runs. The Yankees have outscored their opponents by 88 runs (third-best mark in MLB) but despite the fact that they are 55-38, are actually minus-$19 vs the moneyline, at $100/game!

The 2006 college football season is just more than a month away. However, it seems like just yesterday that the Texas Longhorns ended USC's 34-game winning streak by beating the Trojans 41-38 in the Rose Bowl. With the win, Texas claimed the national title, preventing USC from being the first team to win three consecutive national titles. Texas will open the season on September 2 when the Longhorns host North Texas, looking to extend the team's 20-game winning streak.

Texas has gone 15-5 ATS during the winning streak and owns a significant gap over TCU, which will enter the season with the nation's second-longest active winning streak. The Horned Frogs won their final 10 games of 2005 (8-2 ATS) and will open their 2006 season September 2 at Baylor. An early pointspread note for that game is that TCU is just 1-10-1 ATS in its last 12 games on artificial turf!

Trailing Texas and TCU is Ohio State and West Virginia, which will both open the 2006 season on seven-game winning streaks both SU and ATS. The Buckeyes, who have outscored their last seven opponents by a margin of 268-115, open their 2006 season by hosting Northern Illinois on September 2. West Virginia also opens its season on September 2, hosting Marshall.

The nation's two-longest active losing streaks belong to New Mexico State and Temple. The Aggies, who went 0-12 last year, have lost 13 straight games. They are also a pathetic 2-11 ATS during their losing streak, including eight straight pointspread losses. New Mexico State averaged just 16.5 PPG, while allowing 38.8 PPG. The Aggies host Southeastern Louisiana (a Division I-AA school) on August 31.

Temple went 0-11 last year and will enter the 2006 season on a 12-game losing streak. While the Owls are just one loss behind the Aggies, they were a much more competitive team pointspread-wise than New Mexico State last year. Despite the fact that the Owls averaged a pathetic 9.7 PPG (while allowing 45.3 PPG), they were able to go 5-6 ATS, while facing nine bowl-eligible teams.

Temple also opens its season on August 31, visiting Buffalo. The Bulls went 1-10 last year and are just 10-69 over the last seven years! Three schools enter the 2006 season on nine-game losing streaks. The list includes Illinois (2-7 ATS), Kent State (3-6 ATS) and Syracuse (3-6 ATS).

My countdown to the 2006 football season is just beginning. Join me every Monday through Friday for Ness Notes, available by 1:00 ET.

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