College Football Opening Weekend

Volume 30, Issue 1 - Saturday, August 30 thru Monday, September 1

Betting The Best NCAA head coaches

Here’s a report on ATS moneymaking head coaches as we set sail on this 2014 season…

  • It’s only been one year at Auburn but boss-man Gus Malzahn cranked out an 11-2 ATS mark in 2013 and that included covers in the SEC Championship Game versus Missouri and the BCS National Championship Game against Florida State…
  • Ball State’s Pete Lembo isn’t a name that jumps right out at you but note the fourth-year Cardinals coach is 23-14 (a .622 winning rate) versus the vig in his career with the Mid-American Conference crew…
  • Baylor’s Art Briles is given plenty of credit for building back this Big 12 program but did you know the Bears are 43-27 ATS under Briles in his six years on the job (that’s a .614 winning percentage)?…
  • Tim DeRuyter of Fresno State has cranked out a tidy 16-9 ATS mark in his two-plus years on the job (a .640 winning rate) and note that includes a dandy 10-2 spread mark in his first full year in 2012…
  • Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze has taken Oxford by storm and he’s becoming more and more popular among Rebels’ backers because of his 16-8 ATS mark (a .667 winning percentage) and note Freeze already owns spread wins against Alabama, Auburn and two over LSU in his brief stay…
  • North Texas head coach Dan McCarney is the proud owner of a 22-14 ATS mark in his three years in Denton (that’s a .611 winning rate) and among the pointspread conquests to his name are upset wins against Ball State last year and versus Indiana back in 2011…
  • Stanford’s David Shaw has earned major praise from his college coaching peers, but how about putting smiles on his backers who’ve gone 26-14-1 ATS in the Shaw Era (a .650 winning rate)? Hey, Shaw already owns covers in two different BCS bowls— a 41-38 loss-but-cover OT affair against Oklahoma State in the 2011 season Fiesta Bowl and a 20-14 win/cover against 4-point pup Wisconsin in the 2012 season Rose Bowl…
  • Here’s another Pac-12 coach who has been getting in on the green as UCLA’s Jim Mora is 17-10 versus the vig in his first two years on the job (a .630 winning rate) and don’t forget this Bruins boss started off last season with five consecutive season-opening pointspread “W’s”…
  • And, last but not least, UTSA Roadrunners coach Larry Coker has pounded out a 13-6-1 ATS mark in three years in San Antonio (a .684 winning rate)—true, the San Ant team is not always on the big board but the former Miami boss has his now-Conference USA club playing hard against bigger-name teams and thus dog covers last year against the likes of New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and North Texas.

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Kicked Off The 2014 College Season 2-0 Thursday Night
With Temple (+13) shocking Vandy 37-7, and UL-Monroe (-2) over Wake Forest 17-10

The Jim Hurley Network is looking at the Wisconsin-LSU and Clemson-Georgia games to be a part of their College Opening Day Triple Play, three bettable games of the highest quality that will get your year off to a winning start. Hurley is also looking at other marquee games, including Florida State-Oklahoma State in Dallas (8 PM ET, ABC), Rice-Notre Dame (3:30 PM ET, NBC) and many others that are off the radar of the casual fan, but very much on the mind of the sharp handicapping team at the Jim Hurley Network. Click here to sign up online for $25




Get all of the NCAA Football Winners for Opening Weekend, and the remainder of this 2014 season when you check in with Jim Hurley either online at 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.


#16 CLEMSON at #12 GEORGIA – 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
In case you were wondering, the Georgia Bulldogs enter this 2014 campaign at 18-to-1 to “win it all” while the Clemson Tigers are a 75-to-1 shot – but both teams firmly believe a win here could catapult their respective squads to a monster season and TD-plus betting fav Georgia has plenty to prove after going a sour 7-15 SU (straight-up) against ranked teams the past five years.

If Georgia head coach Mark Richt has his way, then Heisman Trophy-hopeful RB Todd Gurley (989 yards rushing in just 10 games a year ago) must high-step his way ‘round a Clemson defense that surrendered 35, 31 and 31 points in three of its final four games a year ago when the Tigers roared to an 11-2 SU season. Keep Gurley’s longest runs here to 10 or 15 yards and Clemson will have a shot late.
The Atlantic Coast Conference crew needs new QB Cole Stoudt to pick up where Tahj Boyd left off – but don’t count on Clemson “having its way” as much as it did in last year’s season-opening 38-35 win against the Dawgs. An X-factor for the Tigers in this tilt is punter Bradley Pinion who could be a field-position whiz here.

Spread Notes – Georgia finished just 3-8-1 ATS (against the spread) overall last year and that included the season-opening 38-35 loss to 1 ½-point underdog Clemson. The ACC Tigers are 9-3 versus the vig away the past two years and note Clemson’s 19-10 ATS as point-grabbing sides since the start of the 2005 season.

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#13 LSU vs. #14 WISCONSIN (at Reliant Stadium/Houston) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
In a perfect setup, these two “Power 5” teams would tuck an easy win under their belts against the likes of some non-conference patsy but instead the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers will collide at the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans and there is really is no room for error:

The Big 10 boys make no secret of their desire to “pound the rock” but we want to know whether Heisman Trophy-hopeful RB Melvin Gordon (1,609 rushing yards last year) will tire out after 30-plus totes while the $64,000 question on LSU’s side is who exactly will be running the show at crunch time … soph Anthony Jennings or freshman Brandon Harris?

If the Tigers lean on super-frosh RB Leonard Fournette than nobody will blame ‘em but what happens when this highly regarded RB gets stuck right there at the line of scrimmage? The oddsmakers have LSU favored by 5 ½ points (it opened at four points) but keep in mind Wisky’s won 16 consecutive openers straight-up.

Spread Notes – The LSU Tigers are a meek 3-7-1 ATS away the past two years and note the Bayou Bengals are just 51-54-8 ATS in the Les Miles Era that dates back to ’05. On the flip side, Wisconsin is a decent 8-5-1 spreadwise as pups the past five years but the Badgers have failed to cover their on-the-board opener in five of the last six seasons.

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#1 FLORIDA STATE vs. OKLAHOMA STATE (at Cowboys Stadium) – 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Repeat after us: The Florida State Seminoles will repeat as national champions this year providing Heisman Trophy QB Jameis Winston finds a true No. 1 target right from the start of this ’14 season and WR Rashad Greene (76 catches for 1,128 yards and 9 TDs last year) is the easy choice but Oklahoma State figures to blanket Greene at every turn and so let’s see here if Winston turns and runs more or counts on sure-handed TE Nick O’Leary to be his security blanket.

The ‘Noles are up to a 19-point betting fav at press time and that means Okie State’s only real hope of covering this price tag is having Florida State score less than 35 points … so Cowboys RB Desmond Roland (811 yards rushing last year) must chew clock/yards and hope FSU’s physical and fast defense doesn’t wear him down.

Spread Notes – Florida State cranked out a 10-3 ATS mark en route to last year’s national championship season and did you realize the Seminoles are a respectable 20-14 vig-wise as double-digit betting favorites under fifth-year head coach Jimbo Fisher? Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s 33-17 ATS overall the past four years (a sizzling .660 winning rate) and the Cowboys are a collective 61-44-3 spreadwise under 10th-year head coach Mike Gundy.

#2 ALABAMA vs. WEST VIRGINIA (at Georgia Dome/Atlanta) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Let the record state that the ‘Bama Crimson Tide have played in three of the last five BCS Championship Games (winning ‘em all, we might add) and those Nick Saban-led squads didn’t exactly have Joe Namath at quarterback and so all this hullaballoo regarding who gets more time here under center – novices Jake Coker or Blake Sims – has been getting far too much “pub” in the days leading up to this SEC vs. Big 12 clash in Atlanta.

What’s really gonna be important in terms of whether or not Alabama covers the hefty-sized 26 ½-point spread here is can West Virginia’s offense starring QB Clint Trickett (7 TDs and 7 INTs last year) move the ball against a Tide defense playing without LB Trey DePriest who has been suspended for a “minor violation” … if the WVU Mountaineers score more than 14 points here than it’s a moral victory of sorts.

Spread Notes – Alabama is 50-37-1 ATS overall in the Saban Era that started back in 2007 (that’s a .575 winning rate) and note the Crimson Tide’s 16-12 ATS versus non-SEC foes during this time span. West Virginia enters this season-opening bash in Atlanta with a solid 17-10 spread log as point-takers dating back to the start of the 2005 season. The ‘Neers, however, have failed to cover seven of their last 11 away games.

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