VOLUME XXVII, Issue 1
NFL ODDS TO WIN IT ALL SUPER BOWL XLVI
Jim Hurley's NCAA PICKS & PREVIEWS are based on information obtained prior to press time and may not reflect any changes that could affect these selections. For firmed-up Game-Day selections/ratings, visit us at www.JimHurley.com or call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 9:30 a.m. ET on weekends and holidays and anytime after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight games.
WAKE FOREST at SYRACUSE: Fact of matter is everyone's "forgotten" about WF Demon Deacons following last year's shabby season that included just three wins against nine losses but HC Grobe is still one of the best in the business and here staunch defense/solid special teams and lefty QB Price make it happen inside the Carrier Dome where host Orange did lose four times a year ago (versus Pittsburgh, Louisville, UConn and Boston College ) while besting only the likes of Maine and Colgate … ugh! Expect heavy pressure on ‘Cuse QB Nassib here as Deacs win the turnover battle, win the field position and win the war of wits on the sidelines too as Grobe bests Marrone. It's Wake Forest 23, Syracuse 17.
UTAH STATE at AUBURN: It's funny that last year nobody - and we mean nobody - was talking up the Auburn Tigers as a possible national championship contender and yet HC Chizik's gang went from an opening Associated Press ranking of #22 all the way to winning it all and now here's the opening-week AP poll with Auburn slotted in at #23 … hey, we couldn't make it up! No QB Newton means someone else must step up and shine on OC Malzahn's fastball attack with RB Dyer a dark horse candidate to contend for this year's Heisman Trophy but here three-TD type price a tad too rich for our taste. Pass!
KENT STATE at ALABAMA: No question that ‘Bama Crimson Tide is one loaded team (yes, they are #2 in our Jim Hurley Network Bulletin Top 10 to start off the 2011 campaign!) but you sure you want to be laying five-TD (or more) price tag here? HC Saban's crew has covered four of its last five outings when laying 25-plus points but here RB Richardson (700 yards rushing and 6 TDs last year) gets 15-to-20 firsthalf carries and then SEC folks likely put it into cruise control … let's find something tastier on this opening-week men, okay?
UCLA at HOUSTON: It's been nothing but gloomand-doom for the UCLA Bruins the past several months as last year's shabby 4-8 SU season was followed by the exodus of OC Chow and DC Bullough but consider this … HC Neuheisel is really under the gun these days and this offense should be better than folks think with TB Franklin ready/willing/able to be a game-breaker in 2011. Throw into the mix here the fact that Houston Coogs have not been a good investment as a betting favorite lately (see 14-20 ATS the past four years) and defense simply not physical enough to handle Bruins' monster-sized O-line. Score one for the guys from Westwood! UCLA 33, Houston 24.
WESTERN MICHIGAN at MICHIGAN: There won't be any prolonged "honeymoon period" for new maize-and-blue boss Hoke who takes over Wolverines squad that went 15-22 SU and 9-26-1 ATS in the brutally bad HC Rodriguez Era that lasted three long years - Big 10 folks want to bury some folks but gritty Western Michigan more than capable of "backdooring" an opponent with QB Carder never willing to toss in the white towel. This one's closer than "they" think here as we go against a first-year head coach laying significant points. Michigan 30, Western Michigan 21.
SOUTH FLORIDA at NOTRE DAME: Year Two of the Kelly Era in South Bend should be a bit smoother than 2010 when off-the-field tragedies and on-the-field QB injuries marred the season for the ND Fighting Irish but real key here is how well the defense handles USF quarterback Daniels who offers up dual-threat package. Daniels can be prone to making bad decisions (11 TDs and 13 INTs last year) and don't be surprised if Irish "spy" him here right from the proverbial get-go.
BYU at OLE MISS: Now that the BYU Coogs have gone the Independent route, this one has major meaning for ‘em (and note a showdown at Texas is immediately on deck) and so HC Mendenhall's club will put proverbial best foot forward here with RB DiLuigi (1,360 yards from scrimmage last season) likely getting 25-to-30 touches here. Ole Miss rated as the cellar dweller in SEC West this year but HC Nutt's guys might surprise should RB Bolden (17 TDs in 2010) have a big stat year. Hey, don't forget Ole Miss lost 49-48 in two-OT game versus 29-point pup Jacksonville State in last year's opener!
SAN JOSE STATE at STANFORD: If Cardinal QB Luck (3,338 yards passing with 32 TDs and 8 INTs last year) is gonna be the season-long front-runner for this year's Heisman Trophy than he might as well get the press release machine purring here! Stanford 44, San Jose State 13.
SOUTH CAROLINA vs. EAST CAROLINA (at Charlotte): Has anyone received more pre-season hype than these SC Gamecocks? No doubt HC Spurrier's club didn't end 2010 on a good note (see back-to-back season-finishing losses to Auburn and Florida State) but soph RB Lattimore (1,197 yards rushing and 17 ground scores) is "the bomb" and WR Jeffery (1,517 yards receiving and 9 TDs) can bust open a game at a moment's notice but reinstated QB Garcia (14 INTs in 2010) is prone to making bad decisions in the red zone and just one mistake here could cost ‘em the cover at this ultrahefty three-TD price. If you must, it's South Carolina 32, East Carolina 16.
FRESNO STATE at CALIFORNIA: As you likely know by now, Cal Golden Bears will be playing all their home games this year at AT&T Park in San Francisco as Memorial Stadium gets a facelift but it's this Pac-12 attack that needs a major boost after scoring grand total of 67 points in team's final five games last year (that's a per-game average of 13.3 ppg). Gotta believe Fresno State kids have more than enough ammo to slip under bloated price here (10 points at press time) and so here's a vote for QB Carr and Company to keep things ultra-tight in the Bay Area. It's California 27, Fresno State 23.
TULSA at OKLAHOMA: High-octane Boomer Sooners head into the current campaign at #1 in the land - and get set to see HC Stoops' crew favored by double digits a whole lot of times in 2011. Heck, last year Oklahoma (12-2 SU and 8-6 ATS) was favored by twin-figure prices in half of its games and wound up covering four-of-seven such outings and now oddsmakers have Big 12 team laying in neighborhood of three TDs versus Tulsa team that begins new era with HC Blankenship all aboard (but remember there are 18 starters back for the Golden Hurricane). Oklahoma QB Jones-to-WR Broyles tandem was a smash hit last year and they'll make plenty of noise here.
BOISE STATE vs. GEORGIA (at Georgia Dome): Let's dub this the "second-best" game on the weekend gridiron menu as potential national championship contender Boise State's real good at winning these season-opening name affairs (see triumphs the past two years over Oregon and Virginia Tech) and not-so-neutral setting in Atlanta will be a major challenge to senior QB Moore who threw 35 TDs and just 6 INTs one year ago. The Broncos must match up with Georgia's team speed here - take our word that a couple of kick/punt returns could be key as they often are in seasonopening games - and gotta believe B-State will win/cover as long as the underrated defense puts some heat on Dawg QB Murray (3,049 yards passing and 24 TDs last year as a frosh). Check with us for this big-time intersectional showdown at www.JimHurley.com and get a handful of College Football Winners!
OREGON vs. LSU (at Arlington): Super showdown of top five teams from Cowboys Stadium where last year's national championship game "runner-ups" from Oregon battle LSU squad that's fending off some off-the-field issues involving QB Jefferson in alleged bar fight … boys will be boys, right? Fact of matter is Bayou Bengals always strong on "D" but must replace three studs including CB Peterson and so Ducks may be able to catch ‘em with their guard down here -- RB James (1,731 yards rushing and 21 TDs last year) reports his oft-weak ankles are feeling better while you must keep an eye on Oregon star Harris who is an All-America type at CB plus he's key return specialist too. If LSU can control the tempo of this game - shorten it and make Oregon run fewer than 75 plays from scrimmage here -- than SEC guys could win this pick' em type affair. Get this clash plus more College Football goodies at 1-800- 323-4453 or online at www.JimHurley.com on Game-Day morning.
COLORADO at HAWAII: You may not have noticed but last year's Hawaii Warriors registered dizzying 11-3 ATS mark that included perfect 7-0 spread log in regular-season home games and so no reason to get spooked here regarding full-TD price tag. Now, 50th State team will bank on veteran QB Moniz (5,040 yards passing and 39 TDs) to power up high-octane attack that scored 35-or-more points in 10 different occasions in 2010. New Colorado coach Embree could be bottom-feeder in new-look Pac-12 and defense looks woefully weak, if you ask us! For your late-night action (see 10:15 p.m. ET start on espn2), it's Hawaii 38, Colorado 24.
SMU at TEXAS A&M: The A&M Aggies have been getting plenty of love this preseason but we've kept ‘em out of our Jim Hurley Top 10 until they prove to us that they can play defense against a first-rate attack. Heck, SMU scored 28-or-more points in six different games last year and HC Jones' club has toprate slinger in QB Padron (single-season schoolrecord 3,828 yards passing and 31 TDs) manning the wheel and gut feeling is this one could be closer than anyone imagined (note Texas A&M is a 15-point betting favorite at press time) - find out our Game-Day forecast at www.JimHurley.com.
(All figures below are against the spread)
Jim Hurley's NFL PICKS & PREVIEWS are based on information obtained prior to press time and may not reflect any changes that could affect these selections. For firmed-up Game-Day selections/ratings, log online at www.JimHurley.com or call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 10 a.m. ET on Sundays and after 1 p.m. ET for the weeknight games.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 - NFL Kickoff Game
(All figures below are against the spread)
Our NETWORK BULLETIN NCAA & NFL Power Ratings include three distinct categories - that's the Team Power Rating (TPR), the Coach Rating (CR) and the Home Field Rating (HFR).
Note that all three ratings are subject to weekly changes. The maximum rating for Coach and Home Field is 5 Points apiece. When computing the head-to-head football matchups, subtract the lower number Team Power Rating from the higher number and then figure in the Coach Rating and the Home Field Rating.
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