Bulletin Newsletter Volume 28 Issue 8

Volume 28, Issue 8 ~ Thursday, Oct 18 thru Monday, October 22

THE HURLEY SEZ HANDICAPPING UPDATE:
THE NFL "REPUTATION"QUESTION

Let us ask you: How much does an NFL team's "reputation"play into making the Las Vegas line?

Hope you know it matters plenty and for prime examples we bring you the here-and-now New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens.

No doubt both of these NFC teams listed here were supposed to be serious Super Bowl contenders -ditto for the Ravens on the AFC side of things -- and so it would make sense the Las Vegas price tags would reflect that but a funny thing has happened on the way to NFL Week 7 and that's the Saints, Eagles and Ravens are not close to being the teams that used to be or, for that matter, the teams they were supposed to be this year.

The Saints -who enter this Sunday's game at Tamp Bay -failed to cover their first three games this season and were no doubt overpriced in that Week One loss to Washington (New Orleans was an 8 ½-point betting fav for that clash) while the Eagles are flailing away with a 1-4-1 spread mark while heading into this weekend's bye.

No doubt Andy Reid's club has a "soft"offense that can't score (averaging a mere 17.2 ppg) and yet the tendency is to believe the Birds have plenty of offensive firepower -they don't anymore.

And take the case of the Ravens who now have failed to cover their last four games in a row after back-to-back season-starting covers against Cincinnati and Philadelphia:

John Harbaugh's club has its share of defensive injuries -although some of those hurts didn't really happen till Week 6 -but long before things got depleted on "D"the Ravens were busy failing to cover price tags against the likes of Cleveland and Kansas City (two bad teams) and so you wonder if this once-upon-a-time power-packed team nowadays gets priced too high based on its past reputation.

Guess you know the answer, right?

The lesson is that there will be teams other than the Saints, Eagles and Ravens who are priced too high in the weeks ahead -look at the NFL teams and think about who was supposed to shine this year and have underachieved and than ask if these teams are laying too many points or not grabbing enough points.

Sometimes -if you ask us -it takes the linemakers all season to "catch up"with a team either good or bad.

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NCAA PREVIEWS

Get all of the NCAA Football Winners for the remainder of this 2012 season when you check in with Jim Hurley either online at www.JimHurley.com or at the exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 11am on game-day mornings and after 1pm ET for the weeknight games.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20

LSU at TEXAS A&M (12 p.m. ET): Forgive us for salivating but this is gonna be a lot of fun as A&M's frisky frosh QB Manziel goes head-to-head with rough/tough LSU Tigers defense that ranks second nationally against the pass and seventh in the land against the rush. Manziel -who has accounted for 393 offensive yards a game so far this season -has the A&M Aggies riding five-game winning streak but will the emotionally-charged signal-caller dent this defense that's held five of LSU's first seven opponents to 14 points or less? Hey, if LSU can't get QB Mettenberger straightened out (especially in the red zone where he's completed just one of his last five passing attempts) than maybe the College Station kids can land the mild upset win here.

CONFERENCE TRIPLE CROWN
WIN 3 GAMES OF THE YEAR
FOR THE PRICE OF 1
ON ONE BLOCKBUSTER DAY

ACC GAME OF THE YEAR
Wake Forest at Virginia, North Carolina at Duke, NC State at Maryland, Boston College at Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech at Clemson, and Florida State at Miami-Fla head up a big day in the ACC. It's been a topsy-turvy season in the ACC, and with all the turmoil and changes going on in the conference lately, there's one team ready to step up when it counts. I know who!

BIG-12 UNDERDOG OF THE YEAR
The favorite is looking ahead to bigger things; the dog is overlooked and dangerous, especially with all the upsets in 2008. Last week I crushed my Big Ten Upset with Texas Tech (+4) over West Virginia in a 49-14 rout! Today we look to take more gift points. This outright win may shock some, but we'll be prepared to cash in on this outstanding opportunity!

  SEC SHOCKER OF THE SEASON
The SEC is known as a "defensive-minded"conference, but there's one team today that's set to explode and cover by 2 or 3 touchdowns. Last week we tabbed Alabama (-22) as our SEC Blowout of the Month and they covered easily vs. Missouri 42-10. This one comes from the same source, with an even higher recommendation.

It's a day full of intense, heated rivalries, shockers and blowouts.
When the spotlight shines on the top teams, Jim Hurley brightens up your bankroll.

 

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STANFORD at CALIFORNIA (3 p.m. ET): Sure looks like the Cal Golden Bears (3-4) have saved their season with recent back-to-back wins against UCLA and Washington State but now HC Tedford's crew needs to keep potent ground game in gear here. Note the Bears rushed for season-high 318 yards in last weekend's 31-17 triumph at Wash State but did you know Stanford defense ranks sixth in the country while allowing just 89.3 yards per game via the ground route? One major X-factor to check out here in old-fashioned rivalry game is Stanford PK Williamson who has been major bust this year. If he needs to make a 35-yarder at the gun, hold your breath, Card fans!

SOUTH FLORIDA at LOUISVILLE (3:30 p.m. ET): Nobody needs to remind 'Ville boss-man Strong that this is usually when the USF Bulls play their best ball. As a matter of fact, South Florida has covered both of its underdog tilts this year with the win at 1-point fav Nevada and the slip-under-the-spread cover against Florida State back in late September but will senior QB Daniels be able to pile up the stats here against a Louisville defense that was dented for 35 points in last weekend's win at Pittsburgh. Note this is Louisville's first home game since Sept. 15th and those back-to-back-to-back road wins at FIU, Southern Miss and Pitt will have the Papa John's fans all juiced up. Watch for Redbirds RBs Perry and Wright (a combined 1,009 yards rushing this year) here as they could have a field day against a USF defense that has allowed a dozen rushing scores this year.

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Here are some of the matchups we're looking at:

BYU at Notre Dame (NBC)           Virginia Tech at Clemson (ESPN)
Alabama at Tennessee (ESPN)         Michigan State at Michigan (Big 10)
Stanford at California (Fox)             Kansas State at West Virginia (Fox)

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PENN STATE at IOWA (8 p.m. ET): Neither of these Big 10 teams is ranked but no matter as this pair of 4-2 clubs is just about dead-even (note Iowa's a 3-point betting favorite on home field) and now key question is whether last week's bye for the Nittanies will be a benefit here as QB McGloin (12 TDs and 2 INTs) battles Hawkeyes defense that has surrendered more than 17 points just once this year (see 32-31 loss to Central Michigan back on Sept. 22). Note that Iowa offense ranks a lowly 99th nationally and $64,000 question is when does QB Vandenberg (just 2 TD passes in 2012) get untracked ... or does he ever? If HC Ferentz's Iowa gang can't fully depend on banged-up RB Weisman here, than the 'Eyes are in a heap of trouble!

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NFL WEEK 2 PREVIEWS

Get all of Jim Hurley's NFL Week 5 winners when you check with him on game day Sunday after 11 a.m. ET and after 1 p.m. ET on Monday for the MNF game either online at www.JimHurley.com or at the exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21

BALTIMORE at HOUSTON (1 p.m. ET): Banged-up Ravens now really need QB Flacco to take proverbial bull by the horns as TD underdogs in Houston but can Baltimore O-line keep DE Watt out of the backfield and out of the passing lanes here? Gut feeling is Texans will be in ornery mood following that 42-24 no-show loss against Green Bay last Sunday night when RB Foster (17 carries for 29 yards) was stuffed big-time and QB Schaub aired two picks and no TDs but big question here is how does Baltimore's tattered defense make big third-down stops without heart-and-soul LB Lewis? Let's just say if aforementioned RB Foster gets past first line of defenders he could wind up with 140-plus yard outing ... really!

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NY JETS at NEW ENGLAND (4:25 p.m. ET):
Hey, it didn't take long this week for loud-mouth Jets boss Ryan to proclaim his club will win here in Foxboro (does he realize NYJ's a double-digit dog at press time!) as gang green puffing out their chests following last week's 35-9 win against Indianapolis. The 32-carry, 161-yard rushing game by RB Greene really came out of the blue but maybe he's licking his chops against Patriots defense that surrendered a pair of killer TDs in the final eight-or-so minutes in Seattle in Week 6 loss. Okay, so New England's wobbly 3-3 start -the same as everyone else in this rather mediocre AFC East -is partly attributable to erratic ground game that last week accounted for just 87 yards on 26 pops (or just 3.3 ypc) and so we're declaring it put-up or shut-up time for kid RBs Ridley and Bolden here!

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PITTSBURGH at CINCINNATI (8:25 p.m. ET): No doubt it's super-strange to see the Steelers sitting here with a losing record while entering Week 7 play: The Pittsburghers are 2-3 SU and finding ways to lose the close ones as recent 3-point losses in Oakland and Tennessee are indeed troubling stuff for HC Tomlin's crew. If the Steelers are gonna right the ship here in this key AFC North bash than the secondary better show up as Cincy sports NFL's 8th-best passing attack and QB Dalton-to-WR Green combo (they combined for 7 pass plays worth 135 yards in last Sunday's 34-24 loss in Cleveland) really in a great working rhythm these days. The Bengals in dire need of snapping current two-game losing skid but take note the Las Vegas price tag is going the other way as Steelers opened as 1 ½-point favs and it's climbed to 2½ or 3 at last check. Just sayin'!

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MONDAY, OCTOBER 22

DETROIT at CHICAGO (8:40 p.m. ET): The Bears are coming off the bye week and note last year HC Smith's gang copped 30-24 upset win at 8-point fav Philadelphia while fresh off idle weekend and now LB Briggs, CB Tillman and mates ready/willing/able to put points on the board with this opportunistic defense that actually scored four defensive TDs in recent back-to-back road wins in Dallas and Jacksonville (two scores apiece for Briggs and Tillman). If the Lions wish to ride the momentum of last week's stirring OT win in Philly, than steering clear of said turnovers is key ... did you notice where Motowners only committed one miscue there (a QB Stafford pick) in 26-23 win last week and now WR Johnson (six catches for 135 yards versus the Eagles) must come up big in this under-the-lights special. Pointspread note to chomp on: The Lions have failed to cover six of their last seven games against fellow NFC North folks while dating back to the start of last year.

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JIM HURLEY'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP 10
  1. ALABAMA ... Did you realize this Crimson Tide team now has beaten its six foes this year by a per-game margin of 33 ppg and undermanned Vols appears no match this Saturday.
  2. OREGON ... Trip to Arizona State on Thursday night is the first of four Pac-12 road games still on this Ducks docket.
  3. FLORIDA ... This Gators bunch doesn't do anything fancy as nuts-and-bolts crew now has covered its last five in a row.
  4. KANSAS STATE ... Stop asking us how head coach Bill Snyder does it as K-State 'Cats are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS but here comes major test in Morgantown.
  5. LSU ... Let's just say if Bengals win 'em all from this point forward (including Nov. 3 vs. 'Bama) than they're playing for all the marbles in January.
  6. SOUTH CAROLINA ... Last week we mentioned rough/tough sked but Gamecocks were gritty in 2-point loss to LSU and we haven't dropped 'em at all in our Hurley Top 10.
  7. NOTRE DAME ... Replay officials aided/abetted last weekend's rainy win against Stanford and now will ND get "help from above"against BYU this Saturday?
  8. OKLAHOMA ... Don't you just love it when Boomer Sooners crush rival Texas and still sound as if they should have won by 60?
  9. OREGON STATE ... What can 5-and-oh Beavers do for an encore after stirring 42-24 win at favored BYUI last weekend? Maybe boss-man Mike Riley is the Coach of the Year!
  10. OHIO STATE ... BCS big-wigs really don't want to see Buckeyes with perfect season now that they're on double-secret probation!
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