IT’S FINALLY HERE…OREGON BATTLES OHIO STATE MONDAY NIGHT FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL SUPREMACY!

 

Concerns about the first ever major college football National Championship Tournament turning out to be a dud were allayed on New Year’s Day when Oregon played very high level football while routing Florida State, before Ohio State beat top seeded Alabama in a thriller. Past systems would not have matched the Ducks and Buckeyes in the big game. Clearly, right now, nobody’s playing better football. These are the teams that deserve to play for the trophy.

We’ve updated the numbers from our New Year’s previews since both teams played quality opposition. What you see below in JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats represent 14-game performances. Who’s the champion destined to be? Let’s dig in!

Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Ohio State: 13-1 (#42 schedule in USA Today)
Oregon: 13-1 (#34 schedule in USA Today)

Important to note that the two teams played fairly similar schedules in terms of quality according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. Ohio State’s seemingly soft schedule got a boost when Wisconsin and Michigan State won major bowl games. And, that early season loss to Virginia Tech seemed less humiliating when the Hokies won a bowl blowout. Oregon’s the better team based on the numbers above. But, it may be closer than you had been thinking.

Yards-Per-Play
Ohio State: 7.0 on offense, 4.9 on defense
Oregon: 7.4 on offense, 5.5 on defense

Fantastic numbers there for both teams against top 50 schedules. Ohio State finished at +2.1 in per-play differential. Oregon finished at +1.9. But, we’re talking about teams who played a lot of garbage time this year. That difference may be more about who relaxed when in blowouts. Both earned big advantages in this stat last week. Ohio State outgained powerful Alabama 6.9 to 5.8. Oregon embarrassed overrated but talented Florida State 7.9 to 6.1. Very tough to find an edge here. Both were great. Ohio State hasn’t lost a step with Cardale Jones at quarterback (not yet anyway!)

Turnover Differential
Ohio State: +10
Oregon: +20

Oregon had a 5-2 advantage over Florida State in the Rose Bowl, which pushed them all the way up to +20 for the season (30 takeaways, only 10 giveaways). That’s why Oregon is so dangerous. They can seemingly score at will anyway. When opponents crash and burn trying to keep up in the race, Oregon scores even more. Ohio State was more turnover prone than the Ducks because they were breaking in inexperienced quarterbacks. That +10 comes from 32 takeaways and 22 giveaways. Both defenses force miscues. Ohio State is the more likely of the two teams to make them. Can Cardale Jones keep his head on straight for the third week in a row?

Market Performance
Ohio State: 9-5 ATS
Oregon: 10-4 ATS

Amazing that two high profile, highly regarded, PUBLIC teams were able to combine for 19-9 against the spread this season. That’s a tribute to the explosiveness of their offenses, and probably represents a recognition from their coaches that they needed to post big victory margins for style points. Can you believe that everyone knew Oregon would be great…yet they were still one of the most underrated teams in the nation by betting markets? The spreads were never in doubt in their last two games. Ohio State is 2-0 ATS in the games started by Cardale Jones, as he sparkled in a limited sample size.

Current Line: Oregon by 6, total of 75

The line has been dropping through the week, and may be lower than six by the time you read this. Many sharp groups have been backing Ohio State. That university has a large national following that often makes its presence felt in Las Vegas. You saw that vs. Alabama when that line fell too.

How should YOU play the side and total in the final betting game of the college football season? JIM HURLEY has left no stone unturned to make sure you end your season with a fireworks celebration. His SCOUTS and SOURCES have checked in with great information. His STAT HANDICAPPERS have crunched every number to find hidden edges. His COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS have been running simulations around the clock since about half-an-hour after the Sugar Bowl ended. His WISE GUY CONNECTIONS have been alerting him to smart money moves…and potential late week swerves in the market.

It’s all going to come together for a GAME OF THE YEAR caliber release Monday Night! You can purchase the final word for Monday in the hours leading up to kickoff right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office before kickoff at 1-800-323-4453. Don’t forget that we have great packages available that get you all football through the Super Bowl, and hoops through March Madness. Ask for details when you call.

It’s back to basketball the next few days in the NOTEBOOK as we keep building big bankrolls for the rest of the NFL Playoffs. Here’s what’s on tap…

Tuesday: College Basketball Preview…Oklahoma at West Virginia
Wednesday: College Basketball Preview…Iowa State at Baylor
Thursday: NBA Preview…Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Friday: NFL Early Look…Conference Championship Preview
Saturday: NFL Early Look…Conference Championship Preview

Seems like yesterday when Texas A&M was shocking South Carolina in the first big TV game of the 2014 college football season. Yet, time has been dragging since New Year’s because everyone’s so excited about Oregon/Ohio State. The waiting is almost over. The big game is here. WHEN CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE ON THE LINE…you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

Be sure to follow:
Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

 

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