Jim Sez - NFL Mid-Week PreSeason Report and Much More...
THE NFL MID-WEEK PRESEASON REPORT –
NEWS, NOTES & POINTSPREAD GOODIES TOO! …
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S JUST A WEEK AWAY
AND WE PREVIEW THE BIG 10 & CONFERENCE USA
It’s always interesting to get the mass media’s take on the NFL Preseason action:
Let’s just say the TV network folks – and you know who you are! – tend to jump to conclusions and so, following a week where both #1 draft pick QB Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Bucs and #2 draft pick QB Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans each won a prime-time national TV game, you began hearing about how the league’s “future had arrived.”
Hey, not so fast, my football friends!
The fact of the matter is the Bucs and Titans likely will combine for only eight or nine wins this 2015 season – their turn will come eventually but anyone expecting rookie miracles better not hold their breath.
True, the aforementioned Winston looked super-sharp in that 25-11 rollover win on Monday Night against the lifeless 2.5-point underdog Cincinnati Bengals – the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner completed 8-of-13 passes for 90 yards and directed a flawless 80-yard touchdown drive right out of the starting gate – but Winston suffered an ankle injury that kept ‘em from playing the entire first half as planned and so everyone’s gonna be keeping an eye out for that in the coming days.
As it turned out, the Bucs’ double-digit home win enabled NFL Preseason Week 2 Betting Favorites to go 9-7 ATS (against the spread) and as we enter Preseason Week 3 play beginning on Friday night – see New England at Carolina, Tennessee at Kansas City and the CBS game between Detroit at Jacksonville – NFL Preseason Betting Favorites are a rather robust 20-12 spreadwise with one pick ‘em game tossed into the mix (a .625 winning rate).
We’ve told you before that last year’s NFL Preseason produced a wobbly 27-32-4 ATS mark for the chalk sides and one reason that we believe the favorites have won nearly two-of-three spread decisions so far this summer is because many teams with capable backup quarterbacks are simply beating up on second- and third-stringers on defense in the second halves of these games plus some teams are staying with backup quarterbacks longer in these games and they are getting into a real rhythm – note New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo and Pittsburgh’s Landry Jones (check out their stats that included a combined 52 pass attempts in all).
Note also that NFL Totals players know that “overs” are 16-17 versus the vig thus far this summer (a .485 winning percentage) and that’s a major change as compared with last year when “overs” finished the preseason at 24-40-1 (a .375 winning rate).
No question these backup slingers chucking the ball more and not everyone’s bringing the “kitchen sink” when it comes to pass rushes – maybe it’s no surprise then that 14 of the 16 games on this NFL Preseason Week 3 schedule feature totals prices that are 42 points-or-more. Hmmm.
Hey, lots of NFL Preseason Week 3 coverage beginning in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.
And now hear this …
As you well know, the College Football 2014 campaign swings into high gear with a full week/weekend card scheduled for Thursday, September 3rd and going right through Labor Day.
Folks, you definitely want to be in the winner’s circle for all the big opening-week tilts with the college games starting with South Carolina versus North Carolina (in Charlotte) next Thursday along with other key holiday weekend tilts such as Washington at #23 Boise State (next Friday), #15 Arizona State versus Texas A&M (from Houston) and #20 Wisconsin versus #3 Alabama (from Arlington) next Saturday.
And the NFL Preseason Week 3 rolls on this Friday/Saturday/Sunday with national TV tilts such as Detroit at Jacksonville (on Friday), Seattle at San Diego (Saturday) and Arizona at Oakland (Sunday night).
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
The College Football Season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 3rd and every day between now and then we’ll bring you our Conference-by-Conference Previews in quick-hitter form. We continue here today with both the Big 10 and Conference USA:
THE BIG 10 –
My, how the storylines can change from the start of one year to another … just consider that last year Big-10-bashing was a sport in itself but following Ohio State’s championship achieved in the first-ever College Football Playoff (CFP) the #1 Buckeyes are being tabbed by everyone to win it all again this 2015 season.
And there’s a whole lotta love going ‘round for teams such as Michigan State – the #5 team in the season-opening Associated Press Top 25 poll – and #20 Wisconsin which has played in the Big 10’s Championship Game in three of the past four seasons.
Still, the headline-stealer is Urban Meyer’s Ohio State gang that brings back some 15 starters and enjoys that embarrassment of riches at quarterback – either Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett will be under center come Labor Day evening at Virginia Tech – we all know by now that former QB Braxton Miller will switch to wide receiver where the ‘Eyes do need some reinforcements.
No doubt the Buckeyes – who covered 10 of their 15 games a year ago but are just a collective 16-17-1 ATS as betting favorites in the Meyer Era – will be whopper-sized favs for most of their games this year and gotta believe O-State will be “overpriced” in many tilts but we’ll admit there could be two Heisman Trophy candidates on this team: The Jones/Barrett “winner” at quarterback and RB Ezekiel Elliott who was an absolute monster in the playoff wins against Alabama and Oregon.
Michigan State will get its crack at Ohio State come Nov. 21st in Columbus but it could be that the Buckeyes’ toughest game will be that regular-season-ending bash against old rival Michigan – keep in mind the game is in Ann Arbor and new Wolverines’ head coach Jim Harbaugh figures to have a few tricks up his sleeve for that late-November clash.
Looking for someone other Ohio State, Michigan State or Wisconsin to win this year’s Big 10?
You might want to try on Minnesota – yes, the Golden Gophers are getting lots of under-the-radar love this summer – and Jerry Kill’s crew (16-8 versus the vig overall the past two years) is at Ohio State on Nov. 7th and could be a bargain at plus the hefty price tag.
Keep in mind there’s new head coaches in the Big 10 other than the aforementioned Mr. Harbaugh: The Mike Riley Era has started in Nebraska and Paul Chryst is the boss of the Wisky Badgers.
Here’s some fun pointspread facts regarding a few Big 10 teams …
Illinois is 3-12 ATS in road games the past three years;
Iowa has covered nine of its last 12 road games since the start of 2013;
Since 2008, Michigan is 34-49-2 spreadwise overall;
Michigan State’s 18-8-1 ATS overall since late in the 2012 campaign;
Northwestern is 5-11 ATS in conference play the past two years;
And Penn State covered all five of its non-league games a year ago including that 31-30 overtime win/cover against 3-point fav Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl.
CONFERENCE USA –
The one-and-only non-power team in this season-opening AP Top 25 poll is #23 Boise State … so the kids from Conference USA could have a real inferiority complex considering last year three of the country’s highest-scoring teams came from C-USA.
Now, Marshall and Western Kentucky -- each of whom averaged better than 44 points per game – joins Louisiana Tech (37.4 ppg) in giving this 13-team league an explosive trio of teams but just remember Western Kentucky is the only one of the three bringing back its regular QB Brandon Doughty who threw for a nation’s best 4,830 yards and 49 TDs.
If Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon (28 TDs last year to rank third in the country) can get off to a quick-fire start, then he’ll make life much easier on Florida transfer QB Jeff Driskel who wasn’t exactly one of the most popular players in Gator history.
Best storyline that may come out of nowhere in Conference USA?
Newcomer Charlotte – fresh off two seasons as a FCS Independent – could be a better-than-you-think team that sports stars RB Kalif Phillips and slot WR Austin Duke.
Here’s some fun pointspread facts regarding a few teams from Conference USA …
Florida Atlantic is 14-6-1 ATS away the past three years;
Louisiana Tech is 9-4 vig-wise as betting favorites the past two seasons;
Marshall’s covered eight of its last 10 home games;
Middle Tennessee State is just 4-13-1 ATS when playing non-league foes the past five years;
North Texas is 9-3 ATS in its last dozen home games;
Rice is 13-4 ATS as favorites the past two years;
And Southern Miss is 11-19 as underdog sides the past three seasons.
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NOTE: We’ll get you NFL Preseason Week 3 Previews plus more College Football goodies too in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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