NCAA and NFL Week 4 Previews


Lots to get to in today's Jim Sez all-football column and we'll begin with a handful of NCAA Football Previews/Forecasts and we'll follow them up with some NFL Week 4 goodies. First, a quickie house-keeping item here as NCAA Football Betting Favorites enter this brand new week/weekend with a pointspread record of 86-98-6 (with 3 pick 'em games) for a .467 winning rate. Note that last week's chalk sides cranked out an overall 26-22-2 spread mark overall (with two pick 'ems) - a .542 winning rate that was the best through four weeks of college gridiron action.
Just thought you'd like to know that!

Jim Hurley's Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to torch Las Vegas and the off-shore books with loads of NFL Week 4 and NCAA Football winners this week and that includes this evening's NFL bash between the Baltimore Ravens at the Pittsburgh Steelers. So make sure you check with the Jim Hurley Network right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 12 p.m. ET on week days and any time after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday Night. Plus, the college kids kick it off on Thursday too with Miami at Cincinnati (on ESPN) and there's a whole slew of great games on Friday/Saturday too including that Saturday night marquee matchup between #6 Notre Dame at #12 Clemson. And - of course - we're putting a wrap on the regular season with lots of Major-League Baseball action before we get to the wild card games next Tuesday/Wednesday.

Tonight, it's ...MIAMI (3-0) at CINCINNATI (2-2) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The price has gone up, up, up since the U of M Hurricanes opened as 4-point betting favorites for this under-the-lights treat at Nippert Stadium - but might the visitors be in some trouble facing an up-tempo passing attack starring new wonder-star QB Hayden Moore who threw for a school-record 557 yards passing with four TDs in last Thursday's wild 53-46 loss-but-cover at 8-point fav Memphis?
Spread Notes - Miami's a money-toasting 4-9 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2013 season while Cincinnati is a collective 13-15-1 spreadwise under third-year head coach Tommy Tuberville.

On Saturday, it's ...

#23 WEST VIRGINIA (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) at #15 OKLAHOMA (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) - 12 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Much is being made of the fact that the WVU Mountaineers have a killer October road sked that starts here in Norman and continues at Baylor (Oct. 17th) and at TCU (Oct. 29th) later this month ... how about the one-game-at-a-time mantra for Dana Holgorsen's squad that sports underrated QB Skyler Howard who is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes with 9 TDs so far this year. If Howard can expose a wobbly Sooners' secondary that was toasted often in a recent 52-38 non-cover win than 7-point dog West Virginia will be "live" here.

Update on Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine: He busted free for 152 rushing yards in that aforementioned game against Tulsa after totaling 111 in his first two games this season. There's no early-season Heisman Trophy talk here, folks.

Spread Notes - Oklahoma is 35-37 ATS as betting favorites since the start of the 2009 season and that does include last year's 45-33 win/cover at 8-point pup West Virginia. Note the WVU Mountaineers are in the underdog role for the first time this 2015 season and last year covered four-of-five as point-grabbers.

#13 ALABAMA (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at #8 GEORGIA (4-0, 2-0 SEC) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Dial back the clock 30-plus years ago and you remember everyone's frustration that iconic 'Bama head coach Bear Bryant never did "face off" with legendary Georgia RB Herschel Walker - now fast forward to the here-and-now and these teams are playing their first regular-season game against one another since 2008 (yes, we know Alabama copped a 32-28 non-cover win against Georgia in the 2012 SEC Championship Game).

Obviously, the underlying theme of this game - something ESPN's been running on its "bottom line" all week - is that this marks the first time since the 2009 SEC Championship Game that Nick Saban's Alabama squad will be in the underdog role for the first time in some 72 games but consider Georgia RB Nick Chubb (599 yards rushing/8.4 ypc/6 TDs) is a legit early-season Heisman Trophy candidate and this O-line is powerful.

Can Alabama's somewhat leaky defense - one that admittedly ranks fourth versus the rush (56.8 ypg) but 56th national against the pass (210.3 ypg) - silence a Georgia offense that has scored 51, 31, 52 and 48 points thus far in four blowout wins?
Our Jim Sez sources claim 'Bama QB Jake Coker (786 yards passing with 8 TDs and 4 INTs this year) is getting more and more "comfy" with offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's schemes and Coker may be green-lighted for some downfield chucks on first downs while trying to catch Georgia's defense napping.

Spread Notes - Georgia is a solid 8-5-1 vig-wise as SEC hosts dating back to early in the 2011 campaign while Alabama is 22-13 ATS in SEC affairs the past four-plus years.

ARIZONA STATE (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) at #7 UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Slow but steady wins the race to #1? The UCLA Bruins opened this current campaign sitting at #13 in the Associated Press Top 25 but now the blue-and-gold gang has climbed six spots in four weeks but along the way Jim L. Mora's team has lost two defensive players for the year - both LB Myles Jack and DE Eddie Vanderdoes are gonzo and that means more pressure's heaped on star QB Josh Rosen who comes off a 284-yard/2-TD/0-INT showing in last weekend's breezy 56-30 win at Arizona.

Hey, anyone out there know Arizona State - 0-4 versus the vig to start this year - hasn't suffered through a five-game spread losing skid since the end of the 2011 season and then the school said bye-bye to then-head coach Dennis Erickson. Got that, Todd Graham?

Spread Notes - UCLA's a spiffy 6-2-1 ATS overall in its last nine on-the-board games and did you know the Bruins are 7-3 vig-wise in their last 10 head-to-head games against Arizona State? On the flip side, the ASU Sun Devils are 0-4 versus the vig out of the chute this year (ugh!) and a cumulative 5-9 spreadwise away since the start of 2013.

#6 NOTRE DAME (4-0) at #12 CLEMSON (3-0) - 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Don't mind us but it seems as if ABC/ESPN has been "promo-ing" this game since August! Okay, it's the marquee matchup for the entire weekend - that's for damn sure - but whenever lovable Notre Dame is having a good/great season and they get into the prime-time TV window than the networks go bonkers. Hmm, is anyone telling you on these commercials that the Fighting Irish has been winning games but losing players at a frightening pace as there are six one-time starters out for the year and that's why frosh QB DeShone Kizer is running the show after Malik Zaire went down versus Virginia a couple of weeks back.

If the Kizer-to-WR Will Fuller combo explodes here (and Fuller's been awfully chatter on Twitter!) then Brian Kelly's club will escape this Death Valley pick 'em game with a "W" but beware of Clemson QB Deshaun Watson who is one of the true run/pass threats among major-college quarterbacks and don't forget the fact the Tigers continue to play without deep-ball threat WR Mike Williams (broken bone in his neck in season-opening tilt).

Our Jim Sez insiders believe the crowd noise here will make Kizer play less shotgun and so RB C.J. Prosise (600 yards rushing in season's first four games) could get his hands on the ball as many as 30 times here ... you have been warned!

Spread Notes - Notre Dame is a rotten 5-10 against the odds in away games the past two-plus seasons and that already includes a pointspread loss at ACC member Virginia back on Sept. 12 (a 34-27 non-cover win by 13-point fav ND). Meanwhile, Clemson is 16-9 juice-wise as hosts since the start of 2011.


Just a reminder we'll have more NFL Week 4 quick-hitter previews in tomorrow's jam-packed Jim Sez column, but for now it's ...

NEW YORK JETS (2-1) at MIAMI (1-2) - 9:30 a.m. ET, CBS (at London)
London's calling, indeed, but forget any of this silly chatter that the J-E-T-S "didn't miss" RB Chris Ivory nor WR Eric Decker who both were out for last Sunday's ugly 24-17 home loss to Philadelphia but both should be suited up for this divisional blast against a Dolphins team that lost the turnover battle 3-to-zip in last week's 41-14 loss to Buffalo - can we ask out loud whether this is a must-win-or-else scenario for Miami head coach Joe Philbin? Boy, talk about a guy that doesn't exactly light up a room!
Spread Notes - Miami is 4-10 ATS in AFC East games dating back to late in the 2012 season while the NY Jets are 8-4 spreadwise in divisional games the past two-plus seasons.

KANSAS CITY (1-2) at CINCINNATI (3-0) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Well, we've no doubt learned that these KayCee Chiefs are "not ready for prime time" after losing a second straight night-time game (first the fourth-quarter flop versus Denver followed by Monday's 38-28 loss at Green Bay) but look to the other side and all's well with a Cincy Bengals' bunch and isn't it funny that no one in the Queen City is bitching about QB Andy Dalton (see 866 yards passing with 8 TDs and 1 INT)?
Spread Notes - Cincinnati's banged out pointspread "W's" in its first three games this year and note the Bengals are a collective 13-4-1 ATS at home since the start of the 2013 season. Meanwhile, Kansas City is 12-7 ATS away since the start of 2013.

Note: Get more NFL Week 4 Previews in the next Jim Sez.


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