Jim Sez Midweek Report
THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK UPDATE
CAN COLLEGE DOGS DUNK THE CHALK GUYS AGAIN? ...KEY COLLEGE GAMES ON THIS SATURDAY'S MENU ...
THE NFL REPORT: 'SKINS-GIANTS IN PRIME-TIME THURSDAY NITE
By Jim Hurley
Folks, we have one big question as we head into the final weekend of September: Are the College Football Underdogs gonna "go off" again as they did last week?
In case you did not tally it up, the FBS point-grabbing sides went a sizzling 31-18-2 ATS (against the spread) last week - that's good for a .633 winning percentage - and the outright underdog winners included Buffalo, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Texas Tech, South Alabama and Stanford.
So, as we approach a new week's worth of College Football action, now hear this: Since the very start of this here-and-now 2015 season, College Football Betting Favorites are 60-76-4 ATS with one pick 'em game tossed into the mix (a .441 winning rate for the chalk sides).
We know, we know.
Now all of you great Jim Hurley Network clients want to know why ... so here's some key reasons:
First off, the talent gap between the so-called "haves" and "have-nots" in the sport has indeed shrunk in recent years as there's more size/speed on the lower level FBS teams than ever before plus gotta admit these still early-season games often catch big heavy favorites napping a bit while either coming off a tough game or else looking ahead to a bigger-name foe.
Consider that last weekend the double-digit betting favorites went a wobbly 5-17 against the odds as the likes of 34-point fav Ohio State, 32.5-point favorite Texas A&M and 21.5-point fav Missouri all had hands full with teams that were looking to make a national splash while the Buckeyes, Aggies and Mizzou Tigers all had minds elsewhere;
Also, the preseason "reps" or reputations of many betting favorites that didn't cover last weekend were burnished or established back in the spring and summer months and we've all come to grips now with the fact that teams such as Cincinnati (0-3 ATS so far) and San Diego State (also 0-3 spreadwise) just ain't as good as originally advertised;
Finally - and believe it or not - the Las Vegas prices are not always sound. More than once you've heard us say that we think there are times when there is a "wrong favorite" in college football and last weekend alone we wondered aloud about a couple of games:
Northwestern (+ 3.5) dunked Duke 19-10 in one of Jim's big weekend winners and we would not have blinked an eye if Vegas had placed the visiting N'western Wildcats as a smallish favorite (say 1.5 or 2 points) and we actually wondered the same thing in the Memphis vs. Bowling Green game where the visiting Memphis Tigers were installed as a 4-point betting fav - okay, so Memphis squeaked out with the SU (straight-up) win but not the cover in the 44-41 affair but we had pre-game thoughts that BG minus a point or two might have "looked right" to us.
The bottom line is we're three full weeks into this College Football Season and the dogs are 16 games over .500 - and that number may grow higher this weekend.
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 Washington Redskins at New York Giants game on Thursday night to kick off NFL Week 3 action and it's Cincinnati at Memphis on ESPN come Thursday Night plus Friday's TV tilts include Boise State at Virginia and #21 Stanford at Oregon. 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 two weeks away now with wild card games slated for Tuesday, Oct. 6 and Wednesday, Oct. 7.
SATURDAY'S KEY COLLEGE SHOWDOWNS
Let's whet your gridiron appetite with a batch of key games ...
#3 TCU (3-0) at TEXAS TECH (3-0) - 4:45 p.m.
The oddsmakers say the TCU Horned Frogs are an 8.5-point betting favorite for this clash in Lubbock - don't they know that T-Tech's in a major revenge mode after getting spanked 82-27 last year in Fort Worth? Now, Gary Patterson's Froggies - averaging a haughty 49.7 ppg so far this year - look to pile on with the nation's fourth-ranked offense and one starring Heisman Trophy candidate/frontrunner QB Trevone Boykin (985 yards passing with 10 TDs and 3 INTs). If TCU's talented wide outs Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee (a combined 26 receptions and 5 TDs) get loose, then the Red Raiders are gonna have more to worry about than handing out verbal beat-downs to Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema (see TT's Kliff Kingsbury's post-game lecture following last week's 35-24 upset win over the Hogs).
Spread Note - TCU has covered nine of its last 13 pointspread decisions when placed in the favorite's role.
#9 UCLA (3-0) at #16 ARIZONA (3-0) - 8 p.m. ET
Major scheduling edge here to the Uclans who've beaten Virginia, UNLV and frisky BYU while Arizona's wins came against UT-San Antonio, Nevada and Northern Arizona but $64,000 question here is can UCLA frosh slinger Josh Rosen (679 yards passing with 5 TDs but 4 INTs) throw it to the guys in the correct-colored jerseys after he aired three picks in last weekend's high-wire 24-23 non-cover win against 16.5-point dog BYU?
Spread Note - Arizona is a crummy 8-15 vig-wise in Pac-12 games dating back to late 2012.
#18 UTAH (3-0) at #13 OREGON (2-1) - 8:30 p.m. ET
Here's another Pac-12 bash between ranked squads but there's a looming question regarding the unbeaten team here as QB Travis Wilson (sprained left/non-throwing shoulder) missed last weekend's 45-24 win/cover versus 12-point home pup Fresno State and he's questionable (for now) here. Can the Utes count on another 156-yard, two-TD game again by RB Devontae Booker? On the flip side, Oregon has its own quarterback quandary as original starter Vernon Adams (broken index finger) sat out last weekend's 61-28 non-cover win against 7-TD dog Georgia State - QB Jeff Lockie threw for 228 yards and two scores but now the level of "comp" is a whole lot better with Utah's defense cat-quick and turnover-minded.
Spread Note - Oregon is a tasty 19-9 ATS in conference games since the start of the 2012 season.
THE NFL REPORT
Talk about your gridiron soap operas! On one hand there's the Washington Redskins who allegedly have quarterbacks who don't talk to one another ... on the other hand here's a New York Giants' team that made history in the wrong way after having blown a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in season-opening setbacks at Dallas and then home to Atlanta. Let's see what's in store for their Thursday Night Football game that will kick off the NFL Week 3 menu:
WASHINGTON (1-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (0-2) - 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS and NFL Network
Maybe the Giants shouldn't be so intent on building double-digit leads come the fourth quarter - no doubt Tom Coughlin's club has been a comedy of errors in the final frames in the first two weeks of play with QB Eli Manning telling RB Rashad Jennings not to score a touchdown late in that bumbling 27-26 loss in Dallas in Week 1 and then last week the G-men couldn't build on a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead and lost 24-20 to spunky Atlanta.
Manning was high-and-wide on a couple of critical fourth-quarter throws and no question the absence of still-hurting WR Victor Cruz (calf) is haunting NYG as nobody's come up big alongside star Odell Beckham, Jr. (7 catches for 146 yards and one score versus the Falcons) and we're still surprised that stone hands WR Preston Parker is even on the roster.
Meanwhile, the 'Skins may not be one happy family amidst reports that starting QB Kirk Cousins (23-of-27 for 203 yards last weekend) and one-time starter Robert Griffin III are no longer speaking to one another - can't RG3 get along with anyone? - but lest you forget Jay Gruden's club has some new stars on the horizon such as rookie RB Matt Jones (123 yards rushing and 2 TDs in last weekend's dominant 24-10 win against 3-point road favorite St. Louis) who pins his hopes again here on a better-than-advertised offensive line starring LT Trent Williams.
Spread Notes - The Giants have covered their last four consecutive head-to-head showdowns against the Redskins including last year's clean sweep (45-14 as 3-point road dogs and 24-13 as 7-point home favorites). Note that Washington is 4-8 vig-wise inside the NFC East the past two-plus seasons and the 'Skins are 5-11 ATS away since the start of 2013.
In other NFL Week 3 News & Notes ...
Believe it or not, there's only one Week 3 matchup that pits a pair of 2-and-oh SU sides and it's Atlanta at one-point home pup Dallas - and now that the Cowboys are minus injured QB Tony Romo (clavicle) you get the sense that the Falcs could have off to a really high-flying start as note home games against Houston and Washington follow.
Wait, are we suggesting a Falcons team that combined fort 10 wins the past two years could be 5-and-oh out the chute this year? Umm, we are!
Note the Falcons rank third in the league in passing offense (318 yards per game) and how about the fact WR Julio Jones already has been targeted 26 times this year with 22 receptions and a glittering 138 yards-per-game average. Jones is "on pace" for 2,208 yards receiving and 16 TDs. Now it's early to chat about MVP's but...
NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Previews in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.
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