Network Notebook: Favorites Still on Fire

HOW LONG WILL THIS FEAST FOR NFL FAVORITES LAST AMIDST THE RACE FOR THE PLAYOFFS?

It's been an amazing run. Las Vegas sports books hate it when favorites cover so many spreads. The books have been angry for more than a month! And, that parade of chalk continued on Thanksgiving Day, as Minnesota, the LA Chargers, and Washington all covered as favorites.

That after wins Monday night (Atlanta closed a favorite), Sunday night (Philadelphia over Dallas), most of Sunday, the prior Thursday (Pittsburgh over Tennessee), the prior Monday (Carolina over Miami), the prior Sunday night (New England over Denver), well...you get the point! Can winning be as easy as always betting whoever's favored in an NFL game?!

The obvious answer is NO. But, we are in a period right now that's conducive for favorite covers. Among the reasons...

*Good teams have to keep winning because of tight playoff battles
*Bad teams are motivated to lose for draft positions
*Most good teams have very good defenses
*Most bad teams have lousy quarterbacks
*Oddsmakers are conservative by nature, preferring lower spreads
*Sharps tend to bet mostly underdogs
*Oddsmakers respect sharp bettors more than the public

Those last three points will often allow sportsbooks to grind out profits. We saw that through the first third of the season. But, in a league with little parity, where the "have's" are really motivated to win while facing "have not's" who can't get many points on the board...it's going to be harder to post accurate lines.

Another factor has been "stubbornness." The market as a whole just didn't want to believe Dallas would throw in the towel on their season. They apparently have, making it very easy for cheap opposing favorites to cover. The market took almost two months to believe that Denver was really as bad as it was, or that Jacksonville was as good as it was. This Sunday is notable for having multiple double-digit spreads. That's "notable" because oddsmakers (and sharps) stubbornly refused to let the lines get that high in earlier weeks!

Has there finally been the right adjustment? Has the market over-adjusted and now it's time to bet underdogs? It's very difficult to "time" the market on this sort of phenomenon. Did those Thanksgiving results tell you the time was right to play dogs?! JIM HURLEY is confident that the worm will turn eventually. Here's are some of the factors that will key that turn.

*Contenders will have some natural "flat" spots emotionally coming up
*Fatigue will set in for contenders playing a few tough games in a row
*Some of the bad, young quarterbacks will show improvement
*Vegas point spreads will have risen too high for those new realities

Here in the NOTEBOOK, we're not ready to say the time is NOW. But, we do want to alert you to look for those warning signs. Be sure you're charting out the schedules to find letdowns, look-aheads, and sandwich spots between big games. Monitor the passing stats of those inexperienced quarterbacks. Once they "get it," they'll start stringing together better performances. And, for that group, just having the ability to score in garbage time against prevent defenses will start to cover some of these higher spreads.

There may be some "Game of the Month" or even "Game of the Year" opportunities where improving quarterbacks have a chance to spring an outright upset...while also having the insurance potential of getting you the bet-winning touchdown in the final minutes if they're down 10-17 points on the scoreboard. Brett Hundley wasn't there last week for Green Bay. Is this the week he comes through with much more point value in the Sunday night game at Pittsburgh? How about Mitchell Trubisky maybe keeping the Bears close enough to the Eagles? Or Tom Savage making things interesting Monday night for Houston in Baltimore?

Be ready to think outside the box of just backing favorites every game. That box is going to get crushed eventually.

You can purchase our college and pro football BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 to take care of business. Don't forget to ask about combination packages with basketball. Every dollar you win in football and basketball will multiply itself over several times between now and the New Year...and then will multiple AGAIN through the NFL Playoffs...and possibly twice more through March Madness!

Back with you Monday to preview the most appealing college football conference championship game. We'll let results play themselves out this week before making a final decision. Maybe it will be the ACC title tilt featuring Miami and Clemson. Maybe the SEC Championship with Georgia taking on the winner of Alabama/Auburn. Ohio State/Wisconsin is also a possibility in the Big 10 Championship game.

It's a great time to be a football fan, and so many more BIG, JUICY WINNERS are yet to come. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY!

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