THE NFL WEEK 4 CARD GETS ROLLIN’ WITH ULTRA-IMPORTANT GIANTS VS. REDSKINS THURSDAY NIGHT PRIME-TIME BASH PLUS WE’RE EYBALLING A PAIR OF NFL DIVISIONAL DUELS AS PACKERS-BEARS AND TITANS-COLTS GET OUR ATTENTION
THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON UPDATE: THURSDAY’S TV PREVIEWS AND MUCH MORE
Okay, so we’ve already been asked a gazillion times whether or not the NFL Betting Favorites this year are posting a profit and the short answer is nope!
In fact, through the first three weeks of this here-and-now NFL 2014 season, Pro Betting Favorites have compiled a lackluster 21-25-1 ATS (against the spread) mark for a sluggish .456 winning rate and as you can see by our accompanying chart below, Week 3 marked the first time this year that the chalk sides won out: Here’s what the NFL Favorites vs. Underdogs look like the first three weeks of NFL play:
Note there was a pick ‘em game back in Week 1 (Cincinnati beat Baltimore 23-16).
Consider that the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers - all amongst the favorites to win it all this year -- are a combined 3-8 versus the vig as betting favorites so far this season and there’s one major reason why overall NFL chalk has been sub-par.
The $64,000 question is will the above-named heavyweight teams struggle all year long ... or will things soon enough get “back to normal”?
One reason we believe that these four top-flight teams have been scuffling vig-wise as favorites so far is because there’s been some real unsettled situations along their offensive lines as the likes of Peyton Manning (Denver), Tom Brady (New England), Drew Brees (New Orleans) and Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco) have been far from their usual spiffy selves but not all of it is their fault.
NFL WEEK 4
On Thursday Night, it’s ...
NEW YORK GIANTS (1-2) at WASHINGTON (1-2) - 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Now that the NY Giants can take a deep breath and realize it’s not gonna start this year like last year - see 0-6 SU (straight-up) - you get the sense there’s a little extra bounce in the step of Tom Coughlin’s club.
The Giants’ ground game was purring in last Sunday’s had-to-have-it 30-17 win/cover against 1-point road dog Houston as RB Rashad Jennings trampled his way to a 176-yard rushing game on 34 carries and the QB Eli Manning-to-WR Victor Cruz combo clicked (see five catches for 107 yards for the salsa-dancing Cruz).
If the Giants can maintain a true balance in this West Coast attack, the ‘Skins are in deep trouble especially when you consider all the recent injuries to Washington’s secondary, not the least of which was a season-ending Achilles Heel injury suffered by 11-year pro DeAngelo Hall.
Washington surrendered 325 passing yards to QB Nick Foles and Philadelphia in last week’s 37-34 loss-but-cover and can’t blame Cruz, WR Rueben Randle and friends for feeling a bit frisky here.
Spread Notes - The Giants swept the season series vig-wise against the ‘Skins last year but overall Washington has covered five of the last seven head-to-head spread verdicts against “Big Blue”. Note that Washington’s been either feast or famine versus divisional foes lately as the D.C. gang went a combined 10-2 ATS against NFC East teams in 2011-12 and then flopped to 1-5 ATS in divisional play last year.
Jim Hurley’s Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to torch Las Vegas and the off-shore books with loads of NFL and NCAA Football winners this week and that includes the Side & Totals winners on the New York Giants at Washington Redskins game Thursday night to kick off NFL Week 4 and it’s Texas Tech at Oklahoma State and UCLA at Arizona on the tube Thursday in college ball, so don’t miss a beat!
Check with the Jim Hurley Network right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. ET on week days and any time after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. Plus get all our down-the-stretch Major-League Baseball winners too! The MLB Playoffs are just days away now with wild card games slated for Tuesday/Wednesday!
In other NFL Week 4 divisional games, it’s ...
GREEN BAY (1-2) at CHICAGO (2-1) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
There’s only two divisional games on the NFL Week 4 docket set for this Sunday - remember there are only 13 games being played this week with six clubs drawing early-season byes - and so let’s take a look here at Packers-Bears and good luck trying to figure them both out!
The Bears lost their lone home game in Week 1 to Buffalo and then rebounded to win as dogs at San Francisco and the New York Jets, 28-20 and 27-19, respectively, and somehow Chicago’s held the fort despite a slew of injuries to key defensive backs. The Bears - buoyed by an early-game “pick 6” by Ryan Mundy and a key second-half theft by rookie CB Kyle Fuller - have so far overcome the season-ending injury to star CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman but you wonder here if this is where Green Bay slinger Aaron Rodgers makes the Bears pay.
TENNESSEE (1-2) at INDIANAPOLIS (1-2) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
It’s worth noting that since Indianapolis Colts’ QB Andrew Luck joined the NFL, his AFC South crew is a composite 10-2-1 against the odds when playing Tennessee/Jacksonville/Houston and so the knee-jerk reaction here is to shout out loud “gimme the Colts and lay the TD-plus price” but dig a bit deeper and you’ll see that all four of Indy’s head-to-head games with the Titans since the start of 2012 have been one-score finales:
The Colts have won by 6, 4, 3 and 8 points while going 3-0-1 against the odds but to cover this haughty price tag here the Colts’ ground game - see 144 rushing yards and a 5.0 ypc average in last Sunday’s 44-17 win against Jacksonville - must hunker down and beat on a Tennessee front seven that last weekend held Cincinnati to just 3-of-9 on third-down plays but just couldn’t shut the door in the red zone where Cincy scored TDs on 4-of-5 trips.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT
On Thursday Night, it’s
TEXAS TECH (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) at #24 OKLAHOMA STATE (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Okie State Cowboys are back in the national rankings following back-to-back wins against Missouri State and UT-San Antonio.
No big deal, you say!
Well, the Pokes lost 17 starters from last year’s Cotton Bowl-losing team (the third OSU team in four years to register double-digit wins, by the way) and gave Florida State - with QB Jameis Winston in the lineup - all it could handle in this year’s opener but now Mike Gundy’s club is laying a two-TD price with a backup quarterback at helm as Daxx Garman makes his second straight start for J.W. Walsh who recently underwent foot surgery.
Garman aired two touchdowns and threw for 315 yards in a 43-13 win/cover against UT-San Antonio two weeks ago and now he’s had 12 days to prep for this Big 12 under-the-lights tilt in Stillwater and keep in mind Texas Tech is at the bottom of the league standings when it comes to defense as the Red Raiders are allowing nearly 433 yards a game ... ouch!
Spread Notes - Oklahoma State is an electric 24-11 ATS in Big 12 games dating back to the start of the 2011 season (that’s a dazzling .686 winning percentage) and that includes last year’s 52-34 win/cover at 2-point underdog Texas Tech. On the flip side, the TT Red Raiders are 0-3 odds-wise out of the gate this year and just 6-12 vig-wise in conference games the past two-plus seasons.
#11 UCLA (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) at #15 ARIZONA STATE (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) - 10 p.m. ET, Fox 1
The UCLA Bruins have not been winning any “beauty contests” so far in 2014 - the Westwood gang’s beaten Virginia, Memphis and Texas by a grand total of 18 points and the Uclans have not covered any of the above games and now don’t know - or at least aren’t saying - whether star QB Brett Hundley will play here after suffering a left arm injury early in the 20-17 win against Texas back on Sept. 13th.
But guess what? Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly is a no-go here thanks to a right foot injury suffered in the Sun Devils’ 38-24 non-cover win at 17-point dog Colorado 13 days ago and so that means a chap named Mike Bercovici gets the nod here. If Arizona State - a 3-point home dog at last check - wants to start off Pac-12 play with back-to-back conference wins than the Devils might have to contain QB Jerry Neuheisel. Wow - we’re not yet out of September and an important league game could be decided by which second-string slinger is better here!
Spread Notes - UCLA is 0-3 ATS out of the starting gate this season but still the Bruins are a decent 17-13 spreadwise under third-year boss-man Jim L. Mora. Conversely, Arizona State’s 14-13-1 against the odds under the direction of third-year head coach Todd Graham and note the ASU Sun Devils enter this late-night affair having covered just three of their last 10 head-to-head battles with the Uclans.
NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Previews in tomorrow’ edition of Jim Sez.
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