Misleading College Scores
DON'T LET SCOREBOARD WATCHING CREATE BAD HANDICAPPING CHOICES
Time once again to review a few misleading final scores from this past weekend of college football action. This sport, much more than the NFL, is capable of sending lazy handicappers into black holes of bad decision-making. There are four times as many games on the schedule...which means many more opportunities for misleading final scores to create false impressions of winners and losers.
You can't pick winners in the future if you have misperceptions about the past!
Here are a few quick examples from last weekend. Be sure you're studying all the relevant stats across the board so you can stay ahead of oddsmakers as the season develops.
Rutgers beat Eastern Michigan 28-10, but was actually outgained 373-274, and managed only 1 of 8 on third down conversions against a very bad team. Now, there are extenuating circumstances here. Rutgers lost its starting quarterback early in the game. You can account for that. Just remember that the final score makes it look like the backup did great. That's NOT what happened. Rutgers will be in trouble vs. quality opposition if they have to use their backup QB based on the yardage numbers against Eastern Michigan.
Ohio beat Marshall 34-31, but the Thundering Herd were the much superior side in terms of moving the ball. Marshall won total yardage 485-331, and rushing yardage 118-58. In fact, Marshall looked much like Louisville when it came to embarrassing Ohio. What happened? Marshall lost turnovers 4-0, and handed a way a free touchdown trying to return a kickoff. Moving forward, you should assume Marshall is going to keep moving the ball...but will cut down on their turnovers. And, the skepticism you should have had about Ohio after their disappointing start should continue. The Bobcats didn't get things "figured out" in this home underdog upset. They simply accepted gifts that were being handed to them.
Florida Atlantic beat South Florida 28-10, continuing what's been an embarrassingly horrible start to the season for South Florida. That being said, SF won total yardage 297-228, and rushing yardage 167-130. This was another game ruled by turnovers. You can probably assume South Florida is still going to struggle given the incredible disarray the team is experiencing right now under their new head coach. Just be careful giving too much credit to Florida Atlantic. That final score suggests a sharply played game. Not the case at all.
Washington beat Illinois 34-24 in a game that landed right on the numbers. Don't make the mistake of assuming that "push" games don't have anything to teach you! Washington actually won total yardage 615-327, reminiscent of their statistical rout of Boise State in their season opener. There's a lot to love about this Huskies offense that wasn't apparent in that final score. They won rushing yardage 273-136, and their passing line of 28-35-0-342 represents volume and sharpness. That's only seven incomplete passes away from home in a different time zone on the inconsistent turf of Soldier Field. An extra turnover kept Washington from covering. But, they otherwise continued making a good case for themselves as a potential value team in Pac 12 play this season.
The statheads that are part of JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK run the possession-by-possession numbers for every game played by every team on the Las Vegas board. That provides countless insights that the market is missing...and it helps fuel the computer simulations being run by our quants. Remember, NETWORK represents a TEAM HANDICAPPING approach that is unavailable anywhere else!
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Back with you tomorrow to talk about pro football. Big game previews resume Thursday. Here's this weekend's schedule:
Thursday: Kansas City at Philadelphia in the NFL
Friday: an early look at Michigan State/Notre Dame in college football
Saturday: key numbers for Arizona State/Stanford in the week's top prime time game
Sunday: Chicago at Pittsburgh in the NFL
Monday: Oakland at Denver in the NFL
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