Jim Sez for Wednesday, July 29 …
OUR NFL MID-WEEK UPDATE:
THE BRADY BAN STICKS PLUS
WILL LAST YEAR'S MONEY-BURNING TEAMS
BE GREENBACK-EARNERS IN 2015? …
THE BASEBALL REPORT:
WHAT SHOULD BE ON THE SHOPPING LISTS
FOR THE YANKEES & CUBS?
C'mon, you don't think you've heard the last of DeflateGate now … do you?
Just because yesterday afternoon NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to uphold that four-game ban of New England Patriots' QB Tom Brady only means that the four-time Super Bowl-winning slinger will appeal the ruling ASAP but it does seem pretty sure that the Pats will be starting off the season without Mr. Brady for regular-season games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Dallas (could you hear those locker rooms whooping it up upon announcement of the ban?) based on the fact that apparently several NFL owners pressured Goodell to "stay the course" and not cut Brady any slack.
Personally, we thought Goodell would slice the ban down to the first two games of the 2015 season but – trust us – the league would not be standing pat (pardon the pun) if it was not sure it had mounds of incriminating evidence against the Patriots' superstar.
Take your medicine, Pats, and be glad your past digressions didn't cost you (see spying on St. Louis prior to the 2001 Super Bowl and all the SpyGate stuff versus the New York Jets).
The National Football League training camps are popping up all over the land as we approach the end of July and that means plenty of blood, sweat and tears these next few weeks for players trying to make NFL rosters and for those looking to solidify their roster spots – but forgive us for hitting the fast-forward button for a moment as we look ahead and analyze a batch of teams that were "bad bets" a year ago but are counting on being money-makers in 2015:
ATLANTA – Last year's Falcons cranked out a 7-9 ATS (against the spread) season and that just so happened to mark the second straight year this NFC South club finished up 7-9 spreadwise. Not awful but a $100 per-play wager on all Falcons games last year would have lost you $290 … so there!
Okay, so the Falcons summarily shipped out head coach Mike Smith and staff after a seven-year run that produced four playoff seasons (but only one post-season win with that 30-28 triumph over Seattle back in 2012) and in comes new boss Dan Quinn whose first order of business is to firm up this defense that last year allowed 29-or-more points on six different occasions.
Keep in mind the Falcons actually banged out a 5-4 ATS log as underdog sides last year and that included a 2-0 spread mark when grabbing points in divisional games (both versus New Orleans) … now we'll expect Atlanta to be a profitable play as division dogs again and maybe anytime it happens to be grabbing a TD-or-larger price too.
NEW ORLEANS – Let's stay right here in the NFC South and check out a Saints team that staggered badly in 2014 while producing a rotten 6-10 ATS mark that included an ugly 4-10 pointspread log when installed as the betting favorites. No, we're not saying that N'Orleans will be pounding out the profits as a chalk-eater in 2015 but we could see the Las Vegas oddsmakers "shortening" some home fav prices here and that will benefit anyone backing the "Who Dats" this time around.
Remember last year the Saints actually lost eight games outright in which they were the betting favorite, so anyone that plunked down a bob or two on New Orleans with the lay-the-price money line also were crushed – suffice to say we don't that'll be the case this year but in the interest of knowledge we will tell you that the Saints are a collective 11-16 versus the vig away since late in the 2011 season.
SAN FRANCISCO – Believe it or not, last year's 5-10-1 ATS mark by the Niners was the team's worst single-season spread mark since 2007 (see 5-11 ATS) and recall that San Fran actually lost its final six pointspread verdicts in the swan song season of head coach Jim Harbaugh. Maybe the Jim Tomasula Era will treat 49ers' backers better but check this out … the Niners may well be underdog sides in six of their first seven regular-season games this year including home tilts versus Green Bay (Week 4), Baltimore (Week 6) and Seattle (Week 7).
In all, Harbaugh's four years with the 49ers produced a collective 39-29-4 ATS mark (a tidy .5745 winning rate) and included in that starry mix was a solid 9-6-1 spread log when placed in the underdog role. No doubt that Harbaugh's absence will be felt spreadwise but what about all the roster changes that included the rather sudden retirements of OT Anthony Davis, DT Justin Smith and OLBs Chris Borland and Patrick Willis.
It's quite possible that the "new-look" Niners will be underpriced at the start of the season – we'll let you know soon enough if that's the perfect time to jump into the mix with this NFC West squad.
Folks, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners.
Plus, the Football Season begins August 9th with the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Minnesota Vikings.
It's all part of the summertime action – and we can't wait to get Football started!
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THE BASEBALL TRADE DEADLINE REPORT
So, what's on the shopping lists of three big-market teams that all have grand designs of getting to – and winning – this year's World Series?
Here's what the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers should be looking to lock down before we get to Friday's MLB Trade Deadline:
NEW YORK YANKEES (56-42) – Hey, a month ago you could have knocked us over with a proverbial feather if you told us the Yankees would be leading the then-jumbled American League East by 7 games over both Baltimore and Toronto and by 7.5 games over no-name Tampa Bay but that's how the standings looked heading into last night's action but one thing hasn't changed … the Yanks need to acquire a starting pitcher and it's beginning to look as if any/all attempts to land no-hit maven LHP Cole Hamels from Philadelphia or San Diego RHP James Shields could be drying up. Yes, the Yankees did make inquiries last week regarding RHP Johnny Cueto but the Kansas City package of players to Cincinnati was more seductive.
Our suggestion: The Yankees – who currently rank 9th in the AL in team ERA (3.91) -- should make a serious run at Atlanta RHP Shelby Miller (2.27 ERA) and should make minor-league OF Aaron Judge available in the deal.
We happened to listen to some sports talk radio folks in NYC who claim the Bombers don't necessarily need another starter but if you're the Steinbrenner family and GM Brian Cashman, are you gonna be content to head into October with RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13 starts this year), RHP Michael Pineda (clubbed in Minnesota in his latest start) and LHP CC Sabathia (4-8, 5.38 ERA) heading up your rotation?
CHICAGO CUBS (52-46) – Admittedly, the Cubbies are in a tricky spot as we approach the MLB Trade Deadline because there's virtually no way they can improve on their chances for playing for the NL Central crown. In other words, Chicago's 11.5 games back of front-running St. Louis and so the $64,000 question – of course – is do you make a major swap when the best you can hope for is a one-game elimination in the NL's Wild Card Game?
Well, both San Francisco and Kansas City last year survived-and-advanced all the way to the World Series from the dreaded Wild Card Play-In Game and so we fully recommend the Cubs do something to help if they believe that they'll get into that tilt, win it and then have a seven-game series (or two or three) to follow. Note the Cubs rank 10th in the NL in runs scored and 15th overall in MLB in bullpen ERA and so – surprise, surprise – they should be the areas of concern here and it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Cubs pursue a blockbuster deal that will get them San Diego OF Justin Upton (16 HRs and .429 slugging percentage) and closer Craig Kimbrel (29 saves) for a package of young players that may or may not include SS Starlin Castro.
NOTE: Get all our NFL Camp Updates and lots more in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.
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