NC Rocked by Suspensions
JIM HURLEY'S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK
ABC NOW STUCK WITH PRIME TIME GAME THAT'S BEEN DECIMATED BY SUSPENSIONS
North Carolina vs. LSU in Atlanta wasn't exactly a dream matchup for 2010 college football. Neither team is favored to win their conference, though both are respected programs who were getting play in the rankings. Neither played an exciting brand of football last year, as offenses in the South started to fall behind defenses with a few exceptions. But...in a week that was soft in terms of marquee type matchups...THIS was considered to be Saturday's cream of the crop.
NOT ANY MORE!
Friday, North Carolina officially suspended starters and six other players because of off-the-field issues that have been dogging the program all summer. Vegas continually lifted the line during the day. LSU was originally a 1-point favorite on the neutral field way back when. They surged to -6.5 on Friday's news...then past the key number of seven on the way to -7.5 as we went to press. Who knows what you'll be seeing by kickoff?!
How do you handicap a game like this? First the basics:
- Five of the six suspended starters were on the defense...and that was North Carolina's clear and obvious strength last year. They finished the season ranked 6th in the nation on that side of the ball. Nine starters were returning for the stop unit. Now it's three. How much confidence can you have that the Heels will still be a force at the point of attack?
- Only one offensive starters was suspended (a wide receiver). The unit ranked 108th nationally last season though, so it's not like you can expect a high scoring shootout. The Heels have to win low scoring wars because of their team make up. They've probably lost the ability to force that tempo, and will now be asking a sluggish offense to outscore a quality opponent from a power league.
Now, the intangibles:
- Often, storylines like this lead to shocking results. The team rallies around the flag in the face of adversity, and the newcomers play way over their heads their first time on the field. It's an "us against the world" mentality that leads to inspired performances. Do you want to bet against North Carolina when they're in warrior mode?
- While the underdog rises to the occasion, the favorite relaxes because they think everything is going to be easy. They lose that sense of urgency. They lose the nerves and fear that help drive physical battles. Do you want to lay points with a flat-footed team? Particularly one that plays for a flaky head coach who's hard to trust anyway?
- On the other hand, North Carolina's program seems to have a cloud over it right now. Teams like this can go south very quickly if they think a wasted season is at hand. Instead of rising to the occasion, they put their heads down and sulk. You're not going to play higher caliber football with your head held down. We've been on the cutting edge of this in ALL sports for you here in the NOTEBOOK. Once a team has lost the will to fight, it's easy money going against them until something dramatic causes a turn in fortune.
Saturday Night's TV game presents some very volatile possibilities.
- North Carolina could bring peak intensity and win the game outright.
- North Carolina could barely show up, and get squashed.
The Vegas line of LSU by about 7.5 or so splits those differences. It's not a guess that LSU will win by a TD. It's a representation of the fact that the game could blow up in either direction...and you're going to take a shot with your legal sportsbooks bets as to which direction that will be.
A lot of handicappers will pass a game like this. Past stats don't matter because you don't have stats on the backups. Trends? Do you have any trends on what teams do after suspending 12 guys right before a big game? The small sample size would make any perceived trend meaningless. What matters is MINDSET! Will North Carolina show up? Or, won't they? Will LSU get lackadaisical? Or, will they show up with a job to do?
A game like this is right up our alley. It's in the wheelhouse of JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK because we have SCOUTS AND SOURCES who are on the scene of every major sports event (and most minor ones) to give us insights about attitudes, intensity, and preparation.
We've got the stats, and we know which games they have the most meaning for.
We've got the trends and angles, and we know how to apply those properly.
We've got the Wise Guy connections in Nevada and offshore, so we know what the smart money is doing, and why it's doing it.
Separating us from the pack...our SCOUTS AND SOURCES on sight that can signal a big play winner with their read of the situation. If there's an edge to be had tonight on ABC, JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK will have you on the right side!
If there's no edge, we'll pass the game and look elsewhere. Simple as that. We get you BIG JUICY WINNERS and you collect your winnings!
Games of interest for us today:
- Illinois at Missouri (another important "source" game)
- Purdue at Notre Dame (new coach makes his Irish debut)
- Connecticut at Michigan (fascinating handicapping challenge)
- Kentucky at Louisville (two new coaches square off)
- UCLA at Kansas State (maybe a sleeper here)
- Washington at BYU (a statement game for somebody)
- Oregon State at TCU (hmmm......)
- Wisconsin at UNLV (late night bankroll builder?)
Of course we also have big plays planned for Sunday and Monday of this Labor Day Weekend. Be sure you're back with us here in the NOTEBOOK tomorrow for a closer look at Tommy Tuberville's Texas Tech debut. Monday is the long awaited Boise State/Virginia Tech game that everyone will be talking about all weekend.
Here's the TV schedule:
- Tulsa at East Carolina (Sunday on ESPN2)
- SMU at Texas Tech (Sunday on ESPN)
- Maryland vs. Navy (Monday in Baltimore on ESPN)
- Boise State vs. Virginia (Monday in Landover on ESPN)
Our guys in Baltimore are going to be busy on Labor Day!
You can purchase all of our college and pro football picks online (plus pennant race baseball too!). Make a few clicks for further details. If you have any questions about options for the BLUE RIBBON CLUB, the CLOSED CIRCUIT CLUB, or daily big play MONSTERS, call the office at 1-800-323-4453.
We had a great run through the NFL Preseason. Summer was solid as a rock, as we built our bankrolls in baseball to get everyone ready for an awesome Autumn. And, that's all brought us to TODAY...which is the first truly big day of football action for the 2010 season.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this is going to be a boring Saturday in TV football just because the superpowers are snacking on cupcakes. Games that matter are about to kickoff. Games we're going to win easily are just a few minutes away. And, NOTHING IS MORE FUN THAN WATCHING YOURSELF MAKE A FORTUNE ON TV!!
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