Network Notebook: Miami visits dangerous Florida State

SATURDAY'S MIAMI/FLORIDA STATE GAME IS NOW A HURDLE FOR THE HURRICANES!

Before the season began, it was assumed that the Miami/Florida State rivalry meeting in the ACC would be a big hurdle for the Seminoles to clear on their way to a potential Final Four appearance. A lot has changed in a month!

Since the summer...

*Florida State lost its star quarterback to injury in the first game of the season vs. Alabama. The backup has shown promise, but is still prone to inaccuracy with his very strong arm. After dropping its first two games straight up (also losing to NC State before barely surviving Wake Forest this past Saturday), the Seminoles are now a spoiler.

*Hurricane Irma cause the delay of the originally scheduled meeting between Miami and FSU. It was moved back to this Saturday. What had been a September hurdle for FSU is now an October hurdle for Miami.

*Miami has leaped into the AP top 15 with an impressive start that has them poised to make a run at a great season. Based on market pricing, Miami is the favorite to win the ACC Coastal division and face Clemson for the league championship. Work to do before then against FSU and Virginia Tech. But...greatness is already in reach for new coach Mark Richt right off the bat.

That sets the stage for an intriguing matchup that just might be the game of the week even though FSU isn't in the rankings any more. The Seminoles certainly have the talent of a ranked team...even the talent of a Top 10 team. Does Miami deserve the respect it's getting in the media and the markets? They'll have a chance to prove it. Let's quickly review how these teams performed last week.

MIAMI BEAT DUKE 31-6
If you watched, you know it was a slow grinder that saw the Hurricanes gradually pull away. They finished with a 409-349 edge in total yardage, but a more impressive 6.7 to 3.9 edge in yards-per-play. Their advantage in athleticism was clear to the naked eye. They WON'T have such an edge against FSU. They'll have to play smarter and cleaner (only 4 of 12 on third downs) to get the money in Tallahassee.

FLORIDA STATE BEAT WAKE FOREST 26-19
Frankly, FSU is lucky not to be 0-3 after this one! They were outgained 367-270, and 5.3 to 4.2 on a per-play basis. The players themselves seemed to have lost their spirit off the NC State loss. That's less likely to be an issue against a state rival on their home field. But, make no mistake...this was a disappointing performance and effort until the final minutes. The young quarterback has a very strong arm. That can be great on long passes (like the game winner!), but can also lead to incompletions and interceptions on short or medium throws. It's easier to make "big play bailouts" work against outmanned opponents like Wake Forest.

The betting markets opened the game at Florida State -1 based on overall reputation and home field advantage. Sharps who knew the game stats from the weekend POUNDED Miami at the early numbers. As we put together this preview, the line is currently Miami -3 or -3.5 depending on the store. We'll have to see if FSU home dog money brings the line back to the key number everywhere. Already a lot of respect for a road favorite.

Were you shocked by that early betting action? The line is basically unimaginable based on summer expectations. But, asking a team that outgained Duke 6.7 to 3.9 to win by more than three on the road against a host that was outgained by Wake Forest 5.3 to 4.2 seems very logical to computer algorithms or other complex models.

Handicapping this game is going to be very tricky...which means that the exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach of JIM HURLEY'S NEWORK is ideal for facing the challenge! You saw the power of this analytical juggernaut this past weekend with a big Saturday and an even bigger Sunday on our service selections.

*Our SCOUTS and SOURCES on site will clue us into the mindset of each team. Will FSU lift its game as a home underdog against a state rival? Will Miami start to feel the pressure of media expectations that may be giving them too much credit to begin with. This pointspread winner might be determined by those intangibles right there!

*Our STATHEADS and COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS will factor those intangibles into the math projections. It's safe to say that early betting has mostly reflected boxscore math rather than the complications of motivation. Only NETWORK has mastered the art of mixing those together.

*Our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS behind the line in Las Vegas will help us monitor smart (and dumb) money all through the week. We don't have to pick the game now. We have until Saturday morning to get the full market read.

This is why JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK has been beating the books for 30 years. We leave no stone unturned because we know where all the rocks are! You can always purchase BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. Be sure you check on combination packages that take you through the World series. Baseball begins Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins visit the New York Yankees in the AL Wildcard game.

The college football schedule is about to heat up.

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