Network Bulletin October 31- November 4, 2013
Volume 29, Issue 8 - Thursday, Oct 31 thru Monday, November 4
Get all of the NCAA Football Winners for this weekend and the remainder of this 2013 season when you check in with Jim Hurley either online at www.JmHurley.com or at the exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 10am (ET) on game-day mornings and after 1pm. ET for the weeknight games.
On Friday, it's USC (5-3, 2-2 Pac-12) at OREGON STATE (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) - 9 p.m. ET, espn2
Now, State QB Sean Mannion - sacked seven times in that clash - looks to get Oregon State back on the right track here against a banged-up and battered USC team... that's one reason why this Las Vegas price tag rose from OSU minus a deuce to minus 5 points.
If USC's defense - ranked 11th nationally - can get heat on Mannion (30 TDs, 3 INTs) then Southern Cal could put another feather in the coaching cap of interim boss Ed Orgeron who's hoping those Boise State Chris Petersen-to-USC rumors ain't entirely true.
Spread Notes - Oregon State is a break-even 4-4 versus the vig this season but did you know the Beavers have covered five of their last six head-to-head showdowns against USC dating back to 2004? The Men of Troy, meanwhile, are 3-5 against the odds this season and an ugly 6-15 ATS overall since the start of last season.
On Saturday, it's...
#7 MIAMI (7-0, 3-0 ACC) at #3 FLORIDA STATE (7-0, 5-0 ACC) - 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Too tall of a number or might this Florida State team actually be the best club in the land?
If redshirt frosh QB Jameis Winston - who already has tossed 23 touchdowns - gets time to pick-and-choose his downfield receivers here then you could make a case for the 'Noles scoring 40-plus points for an eighth consecutive time this season.
One X factor: Is Miami RB Duke Johnson at all "worn down" after last weekend's 30-carry, 168-yard rushing performance in a 24-21 come-from-behind non-cover win against 26-point pup Wake Forest? Stay tuned.
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Spread Notes - Florida State is a healthy 5-2 against the prices this season but the Sems are a not-so-sporty 16-23 ATS in ACC action since the start of 2009. Meanwhile, Miami is 4-3 ATS this year but coming off back-to-back spread setbacks versus North Carolina and Wake Forest and note the 'Canes are 10-3 odds-wise as underdogs the past two-plus seasons.
The maize-and-blue's lost five times on the Big 10 road since head coach Brady Hoke took command back in 2011 (and that includes an ultra-painful 43-40 loss in four OTs at Penn State back on Oct. 12th)?
And can Michigan State's top-ranked rush defense bottle up the likes of Michigan QB Devin Gardner and RB Fitz Toussaint here?
Note that Sparty has allowed a per-game rushing average of 55 yards and a per-pass passing yard average of only 160.6 ypg (third-best in the land) but truth is Mark Dantonio's team has stacked up wins and some big-time defensive stats against some not-so-mighty-might teams this year.
Spread Notes - Michigan State is 4-3-1 ATS overall this season and note the Spartans have covered their last five consecutive head-to-head showdowns with archrival Michigan. Gotta toss in the fact that the Wolverines enter this tug-of-war at 4-3 ATS overall this season and 5-8-1 ATS away under third-year boss-man Hoke.
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THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
We're back with the latest Installment of the 2013 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five weekly contenders for college football's most coveted individual award... now here's how we see things shaping up as we get set to head into another big-time gridiron weekend:
1 - JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, FLORIDA STATE - This redshirt freshman remains our Heisman Trophy leader for a second straight week following last Saturday's 292-yard, 3-TD passing performance in the 49-17 non-cover win against five-TD dog N.C. State. Thus, Winston enters this weekend's high-profile prime-time bash against Miami with a total of 2,177 passing yards with 23 TDs and 4 INTs to go along with 3 rushing scores for a Seminoles squad that's 7-0 overall and averaging a haughty 52.6 ppg.
2 - MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON - There's not much to criticize when it comes to this 19-year-old soph who has helped the Ducks average a whopping 55.6 ppg through their 8-and-oh start. In last weekend's albeit slow-starting 42-14 win/cover versus 23 ½-point pup UCLA, there was Mariota throwing for 230 yards with one TD and 0 INTs and so he enters the Nov. 7th game at Stanford still without a single pick this year while piling up 2,281 yards passing with 20 TDs plus 511 rushing yards and 9 ground scores. Note that Mariota's completed 75 percent of his passes this year. He's a solid second right now but still has plenty of time to overhaul Winston in this race for the hardware... let's see if he can get "mission accomplished".
3 - JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M - For the fourth straight week we've kept last year's Heisman Trophy winner right there in the No. 3 hole in this race for the bronzed statue but the problem for "Johnny Football" is that his 6-and-2 Aggies won't be partaking in many "monster" games the rest of the way and so catching up to the likes of Winston and/or Mariota may be tough. Manziel's season stats to this point include 2,594 yards passing with 22 TDs and 8 INTs along with 497 rushing yards (a gaudy 5.6 ypc average) and 6 TDs. Manziel last weekend shook off arm/elbow ailments to complete all 10 of his passes on A&M's opening drive en route to a 56-24 demolition of 18-point road dog Vanderbilt.
4 - BRYCE PETTY, QB, BAYLOR - Here's the debut appearance on this Heisman Trophy Watch List for the 6-foot-3 junior who has helped spark the Bears to a 7-0 start that features an offense averaging nearly 64 ppg. Note that Petty - a native Texan - last weekend threw for 430 yards with three TDs and 0 INTs in a 59-14 win/cover against 5-TD dog Kansas and so that means the 2013 stat line for Mr. Petty reads like this: 2,453 yards passing, 18 TDs and 1 INT with a 69.3 completion percentage. If Petty can win a couple of "name-the-score" wins against Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in the coming weeks then he may inch his way closer to the top spot on this Heisman rung.
5 - SEAN MANNION, QB, OREGON STATE - We dropped this Beavers' slinger one spot in our Heisman Trophy Watch List but refuse to KO him from the top five just because O-State (6-2) was a 20-12 loser against Stanford last Saturday night in Corvallis. Mannion's numbers in that game - 41 completions in 57 pass attempts for 271 yards with one TD and 0 INT were not bad - and his season stats remain eye-popping in nature with 3,263 yards, 30 TDs and 3 INTs. Still, if Stanford doesn't make that successful goal line stand late and perhaps Oregon State wins that Pac-12 bash in OT, you might have Mannion ahead of Manziel in this Heisman race.
Now that the season has started, the fearless forecasters are coming out of the woodwork these days and saying the Miami Heat won't "three-peat" this 2013-14 season... really? The latest odds have the Heat at 13-to-5 to win this year's NBA crown while their chief competitors are expected to include the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7-to-1, the Los Angeles Clippers at 8-to-1 and the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs each priced right now at 10-to-1.
Maybe you think the Heat's title fortunes will rise or fall with Dwayne Wade's creaky knees or a bench that still appears a bit thin but otherwise LeBron James and the Heat figure to be dancing up a storm - again - come June unless those Indiana Pacers (a 14-to-1 choice to win it all) can figure out how to get the best of Erik Spoelstra's squad next spring.
Gut feeling is we will see another Pacers vs. Heat series to determine the NBA's Eastern Conference champ while Okie City gets out of the West.
The surprise team in the league this year: The Cleveland Cavaliers starring G Kyrie Irving will make the playoffs and even win a round (providing the first-round foe ain't the Heat).
Let's dip into our prediction bag here and see what we come out with...
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KANSAS CITY (8-0) at BUFFALO (3-5) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Thad Lewis (sore ribs) is being called 50-50 here for Buffalo and if he fails to play then Matt Flynn and/or Jeff Tuel will get the nod but note the Bills have injuries all over on offense as RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are hurting and ditto for WR Stevie Johnson.
Look for the Chiefs - shooting to go 9-0 SU (straight-up) for the first time in 10 years - to feed do-it-all RB Jamaal Charles plenty here. Charles - who has rushed for 635 yards and 6 TDs - averages an NFL-best 127.3 yards from scrimmage this year and darn if we don't see him making a big highlight reel play week-in and week-out.
Spread Notes - The KC Chiefs may be the league's last unbeaten team but they're just 5-3 against the Las Vegas numbers so far and overall this AFC West crew is 8-19-1 ATS as the chalk sides the past six-plus seasons.
PITTSBURGH (2-5) at NEW ENGLAND (6-2) - 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
A defense that's collected just 10 quarterback sacks this year (and note Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger's already been sacked 26 times) and has forced a mere five turnovers including only one recovered fumble?
If the 6 ½-point road underdog Steelers wish to sport any shot of making the post-season, then they better protect Roethlisberger here and the veteran slinger must make some downfield "chunk play" passes to WRs Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders who have combined for 15 pass plays of 20-or-more yards this year.
Yes, we'll be keeping a close eye on that swollen right/throwing hand of Patriots QB Tom Brady who these days operates only the NFL's 23rd-best passing attack.
Spread Notes - New England is 4-3 spreadwise so far this 2013 season and the Patriots are a dead-even but vig-losing 21-21 ATS as favorites since the start of 2011. Note that Pittsburgh's 2-5 ATS this year and a crummy 15-24-1 ATS overall the past two-plus seasons.
MINNESOTA (1-6) at DALLAS (4-4) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
However, the reality of the situation is the 'Boys have found ways to blow games against Kansas City, Denver and - last week - Detroit and so the tenuous lead in the awful NFC East remains one full game over reeling Philadelphia (3-5) while heading into this home game against pathetic Minnesota.
Dallas believes it has put aside that sideline show that captivated the country a week ago - WR Dez Bryant was rather low-key this week and that's good - but the key to whether the 'Boys win/cover this 10-point price may depend on how Dallas fares on third-down plays.
In last week's never-that-close 44-31 loss to Green Bay, the overworked Vikings defense allowed the Packers to convert 13-of-18 third-down plays and both of GB's fourth-down tries... maybe Dallas QB Tony Romo will get to hook up with the noisy Bryant a few times early on here to eliminate any 'drama".
Spread Notes - Dallas has busted out to a 7-1 ATS (against the spread) start this season and note the Cowboys have covered three-of-four as betting favorites after going a collective 6-22-1 spreadwise as chalk-eaters the past three years. Minnesota, meanwhile, is a rotten 2-5 vig-wise so far this year but the Vikes are a decent 15-10-1 ATS as underdog sides the past two-plus seasons.
NEW ORLEANS (6-1) at NEW YORK JETS (4-4) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
No doubt that following the Week 8 win Brees was lamenting the many mental/physical errors his team made in that 18-point victory: Twice the Saints had just 10 players on offense plus New Orleans committed eight penalties in all and the aforementioned Brees was sacked four times, so it's not as if Sean Payton's team is purring without any woes these days.
Spread Notes - New Orleans has charged out to a 5-2 ATS start this season and note the Saints are 18-9 spreadwise when playing outside the NFC South since the start of the 2011 campaign. On the flip side, the Jets are 5-3 against the odds thus far in 2013 and that includes outright wins against NFC South teams Tampa Bay and Atlanta.
TAMPA BAY (0-7) at SEATTLE (7-1) - 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
On Seattle's priority list of game-planning 'to-do's" here is get heat on Tampa Bay rookie QB Mike Glennon who has already thrown more passes (181) than anyone in NFL history in his first four games. If Glennon can avoid getting picked clean by CB Richard Sherman and friends here, this one could be closer than 'they" think.
Spread Notes - Seattle's covered five of its first eight games this season although the Seahawks are 1-3 ATS the past month. Note that this NFC West crew is a tasty 21-7 ATS at home under fourth-year head coach Pete Carroll. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is 1-6 against the juice so far this nightmarish season with the lone cover occurring in a 16-14 loss against 3-point road fav New Orleans in a Week 2 clash.
On Sunday Night, it's...INDIANAPOLIS (5-2) at HOUSTON (2-5) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The 'who's who" list of teams that the Indy Colts have beaten this year includes the likes of San Francisco, Seattle and Denver - true cream-of-the-crop clubs in the National Football League, for sure - but will QB Andrew Luck (1,574 yards passing with 10 TDs and 3 INTs) and mates play with the same swagger here against a desperate Texans team that figures to be without top-shelf RB Arian Foster (hamstring/questionable)?
The Colts had last week off to soak up the reality that WR Reggie Wayne (knee/out for the year) won't be part of the on-field action anymore this year and so look for Luck to tap TE Coby Fleener (22 catches and 3 TDs) more often here and don't at all be surprised if there are more running plays designed for Luck who has averaged a haughty 6.5 yards a pop on his 28 carries thus far.
One item here in regards to the Texans: They've obviously "turned the page" and benched a now-healthy Matt Schaub but will head coach Gary Kubiak go back to his long-time starter should QB Case Keenum struggle here? Note that Keenum completed 15-of-25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown in his first start of this season - a 17-16 loss-but-cover at 6 ½-point fav Kansas City two weekends ago.
Spread Notes - Houston's failed to cover six of its first seven games this year but the Texans still enter this prime-time tilt with a tidy 8-4-1 ATS mark in divisional play dating back to the start of 2011. Indianapolis - which has covered four of its last five games this year following on 0-2 ATS start - is just 2-8 versus the vig in its last 10 trips to the Space City.
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