Week of September 16-19, 2016

September 17-18, 2016 - www.JimHuley.com - 1-800-323-4453

ARE THERE MORE "MIDDLES" OUT THERE FOR THE WISE GUY BETTORS?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SATURDAY

Folks, if you thought that there were significant Las Vegas last-minute, game-day line movements on the NFL Week 1 menu ... you were right!

In fact, games such as the Cincinnati Bengals at the New York Jets - depending on your wagering locale -- could have landed anywhere from Pick 'Em to the either team favored by 1.5 points and better believe that "mattered" in a 23-22 Cincy win.

Same for the Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars line shift as GB was pretty much a 5- or 5.5-point favorite late last week until game-day when Jags money moved the number and there were plenty of "wise guys" who got in on both sides: Packers minus the game-day price of only 3.5 points and the Jags plus the 5 or 5.5 points.

Now that's a Week 1 "middle" that you can tell your grandchildren about someday, right?
Well, now we have our focus on the NFL Week 2 menu and - of course - we're tracking all the line movements and looking to see where the sharps will pounce and the aforementioned Packers could figure into the mix once again.

Green Bay is at the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday Night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) in an uber-important NFC North game and note the Pack opened as a 3-point road favorite and it quickly dipped to Green Bay minus a point-and-a-half. At last check, the Packers were favored by 2.5 points - hey, there could be some middle action here on either side of the coin as Green Bay could be pushed up to beyond a 3-point fav or heavy action on the Vikings could get to this one closer to pick 'em.

No doubt some of that will depend on word of who exactly is gonna be the Vikes' starting quarterback here - ancient Shaun Hill or recently acquired Sam Bradford - but the reality is Vegas could get squeezed again by some smarty pants middle guys here.

A final NFL Week 2 note here:
Once upon a time a very respected colleague of ours gave us a good, sound piece of advice and that is always consider wagering on a team that looked god-awfully bad in a nationally televised game the week before. The thinking was the "whole world" would want to bet against them the following week and you were likely to get a generous price.

Well, could two NFL teams have looked worse than the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams looked in their respective Monday Night Football losses in Week 1?

The 'Skins - 38-16 losers at home versus 2.5-point fav Pittsburgh - came under major criticism for not covering Steelers' great WR Antonio Brown with new-found star CB Josh Norman plus Washington QB Kirk Cousins (two INTs and lots of off-the-mark passes) was rotten while the Rams were MIA in that 28-0 loss in San Francisco with starting QB Case Keenum throwing for a miniscule 130 yards with two picks.

Right now the 'Skins are a 2.5-point betting favorite against incoming Dallas this Sunday while we await the Seattle Seahawks at LA Rams price - Seattle QB Russell Wilson has an injured ankle and so a price tag's yet to be revealed - but keep that old advice in mind and don't at all be surprised if the 'Skins and Rams are cashing tickets this Sunday.

Hey, let's give the College kids some "love" here and we'll start with a trio of games that Jim Hurley's Network is paying very close attention to this Saturday:

There's a blockbuster game in the 12 noon ET hour that pits #2 Florida State at #10 Louisville - right now the FSU Seminoles are a two-point betting favorite - and the $64,000 question here is whether the 'Ville is "ready" for such a monumental game. Bobby Petrino's club - 2-and-oh so far after so-what wins against Charlotte and at Syracuse - have been building for this moment for the past two-plus seasons and the general thinking out there is Las Vegas "wants you to bet on" Florida State at this rather cheap price. Stay tuned and make sure you're with us at 1-800-323-4453 or online at JimHurley.com for all the College Football Winners.

Then there's two other home underdogs we're keeping close eyes on:

Appalachian State was nearly an opening-week giant-killer in that 20-13 overtime loss-but-cover tilt at three-TD fav Tennessee and now the Mountaineers are taking just 3.5 or 4 points this Saturday versus Miami (2-0). Hey, did that close call game Appy State played against the Vols drive down this price tag ... if you ask us we could see Miami being a 6-point fav here with no questions asked. Yes, it's quite possible "Miami money" could float in here and hijack this price up in the next 24-or-so hours.

Any in terms of an under-the-radar play, Tulane's 5-point pup versus Navy - it might surprise you to know the Middies were road favorites three times last year (and covered two-of-three) but note Tulane has covered its first two games this year and that hadn't happened since 2008. Getting a feel that bettors really don't know this 2016 Tulane team yet although worth mentioning that Navy opened as a 7-point fav here and so maybe there are smart guys/gals who think the Green Wave is a "live item".

In terms of "lookaheads", check out these College Football games/teams ...

  • The Florida Gators are 36.5-point favorites against nobody North Texas this weekend but remember that Florida is at archrival Tennessee next weekend ...
  • Rutgers begins Big 10 play next week with a hyped home game against Iowa (last year's Rose Bowl loser) and so how exactly is first-year Scarlet Knights' boss Chris Ash gonna have his club 100 percent focused on 6-point dog New Mexico this Saturday - and yet note strangly enough that price has gone up, up and away after opening at minus 4 ...
  • Lastly, and if Florida's got to worry about a "lookahead" to Tennessee, then don't the Volunteers have similar concerns here? Tennessee is a four-TD favorite against a gritty Ohio team that bounced back from a triple-OT loss to crunch favored Kansas last weekend.  
WEEK 3 COLLEGE PREVIEWS

#1 ALABAMA (2-0) at #19 OLE MISS (1-1) - 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
No need to refresh your memory and tell y'all about the Crimson Tide's double-revenge angle here - what's really key is whether Alabama's freshman QB Jalen Hurts can keep his poise in noisy Oxford and will 'Bama clean up all the penalties that plagued 'em in last weekend's sloppy 38-10 win/cover against Western Kentucky? Ole Miss needs to get its 100th-ranked ground game in gear here or else QB Chad Kelly will be forced to chuck it 50 times.
Spread Notes - Alabama is 65-51-1 spreadwise under 10th-year head coach Nick Saban but did you realize the Tide's failed to cover seven of its last 10 head-to-head matchups versus Ole Miss. Meanwhile, the Rebs are a rock-solid 12-5 ATS as point-grabbers and that includes the season-opening 45-34 meltdown loss to 4.5-point fav Florida State.

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#2 FLORIDA STATE (2-0) at #10 LOUISVILLE (2-0) - 12 noon ET, ABC
We're all gonna get a first-hand look at whether this 2016 edition of the U of L Cardinals is "ready for the big stage" because the Las Vegas oddsmakers have given 'em plenty of respect - Florida State's only a 2-point road fav here - but will flashy QB Lamar Jackson have a party against this DB Derwin James-less (knee) defense one week after he threw for 411 yards and rushed for another 199 yards in that 62-28 blowout win over Syracuse or will the 'Noles gang-tackle Jackson and keep Louisville on the outside-looking-in when it comes to elite ACC teams?
Spread Notes - Florida State's a slumbering 10-16 against the odds as betting favorites dating back to late 2013 while the 'Ville is just 10-15 in ACC play the past three-plus seasons.

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#3 OHIO STATE (2-0) at #14 OKLAHOMA (1-1) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Desperation time comes early in this '16 season for Oklahoma and its head coach Bob Stoops: Thanks to that above-mentioned season-opening loss to Houston, there's no wiggle room for the Boomer Sooners if they wish to be part of the College Football Playoffs for a second straight season but here they are as home dogs against a Buckeyes' bunch that brings back just six starters from last year's 12-win team and most "experts" believe this club is better than that one. Okay, so if quarterback J.T. Barrett moves the chains with some key runs - Barrett already has three rushing scores this year -- and the 'Eyes can get in the grill of Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (567 yards passing with 5 TDs/0 INTs thus far) than the Big 10 roadies could beat "Big Game Bob" here and extinguish OU's title hopes.
Spread Notes - Ohio State's covered its first two games this year versus Bowling Green and Tulsa and overall the 'Eyes are 30-24-1 ATS under 5th-year boss Urban Meyer ... hmm, we thought it might be better than that too! Oklahoma enters this prime-time bash having failed to cover four of its last five games while dating back to late last year and the Sooners are 35-24 ATS as hosts since 2006. 

COLORADO (2-0) at #4 MICHIGAN (2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, Big 10 Network
The Wolverines have won their first two games this year by a combined 114-17 score and new sensation QB Wilton Speight (7 TD passes) may wind up being a better passer than coach/one-time star Jim Harbaugh. No Kordell Stewart sightings just yet!
Spread Note - Michigan is 6-3 ATS as double-digit favs under Harbaugh.

#22 OREGON (2-0) at NEBRASKA (2-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
In case you're wondering, Nebraska boss Mike Riley - the one-time coach at Oregon State - has dropped his last seven straight verdicts to Oregon and if Big Red's gonna win/cover as 3-point favorites here than it better corral the Ducks' talented "triplets" of QB Dakota Prukop, RB Royce Freeman and Olympian WR Devon Allen.
Spread Note - Oregon is a sparkling 25-8 ATS away the past five-plus seasons.

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#12 MICHIGAN STATE (1-0) at #18 NOTRE DAME (1-1) - 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The rivalry's back after a two-year break and you'll be hearing plenty about how this is the 50th anniversary of that epic 10-10 game in 1966 ... heck, we may get 20-plus points in this game's first five minutes as Irish QB DeShone Kizer already has thrown five red-zone TDs this season while Sparty is banking on QB Tyler O'Connor (three TDs in season-opening non-cover win against Furman) ... note the totals price has come down from 54.5 to 51.5. Hmmm.
Spread Note - Notre Dame has covered six of its last seven home games since the start of '15.

WEEK 2 NFL PREVIEWS

CINCINNATI (1-0) at PITTSBURGH (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Short work week for the Steelers off that dominant 38-16 win/cover in Washington on Monday Night Football and tell us right now RB De'Angelo Williams (143 yards rushing and 2 TDs) is gonna find the creases in the stingy Bengals defense and we'll tell you Mike Tomlin's team will "hold serve" here. Hey, does Pittsburgh have any answer on "D" for fast-starting wide out A.J. Green (12 catches, 180 yards in 23-22 win at the Jets)?
Spread Note - The Steelers are 9-4 ATS (against the spread) in last baker's dozen versus the Bengals.

DALLAS (0-1) at WASHINGTON (0-1) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Oddsmakers say the 'Skins are less-than-a-FG favorite here (- 2.5 at press time) and we wonder aloud whether that price tag is "too short" considering Cowboys have that all-rookie backfield of QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. Still, the numero uno item for the 'Boys here is getting Week 1 MIA wide receiver Dez Bryant (1 catch for 8 yards against the NY Giants) involved while Washington QB Kirk Cousins had real phony stats (329 yards passing) in that MNF loss to Pittsburgh.
Spread Note - Since the middle of 2006, the 'Skins are a rollicking 14-5 versus the vig when playing Dallas.

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SEATTLE (1-0) at LOS ANGELES (0-1) - 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
Don't tell anyone but the Rams are gonna play rough-and-tough on defense against the Seahawks' gimpy QB Russell Wilson (ankle) here and may we remind you LA's defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been known for preaching nasty play. The question here is whether Seattle goes more shotgun and has Wilson "protected" a bit more here - but will it matter if the punchless Rams can't score? Remember the Rams won both games against the 'Hawks a year ago.
Spread Note - Seattle is a healthy 12-4-1 ATS in divisional games dating back to the start of 2013.

NEW ORLEANS (0-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Everyone's chatting up a storm regarding last year's wild 52-49 Saints win against the Giants but the $64,000 question here will it take one of these offenses to score six-or-more TDs to win this Week 2 affair in the Meadowlands? Gut feeling is the G-men will get the ball to Louisiana native WR Odell Beckham, Jr. more than his four catches for 73 yards a week ago in Dallas.
Spread Note - The Giants have failed to cover their last four consecutive home openers.

INDIANAPOLIS (0-1) at DENVER (1-0) - 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
It's the age-old question after defending Super Bowl champs have played that season-opening Thursday Night game: Does the extra "down time" help or hurt in Week 2? We'll say this ... in the past 10 years the defending champs (whomever they may have been) are just 3-7 versus the vig in their Week 2 game and so maybe that 6-point home price here is dicey. P.S., Indy secondary extremely banged up one week after Colts allowed 332 passing yards in 39-35 loss to Detroit.
Spread Note - The Broncos are just 7-12-2 ATS as betting favorites since late 2014.

On Sunday night, it's ...
GREEN BAY (1-0) at MINNESOTA (1-0) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

No matter who starts at quarterback for the Vikings, they ain't gonna win if RB Adrian Peterson (19 carries for 31 yards against the Titans) is putting up pedestrian numbers here ... Peterson's had some monster games versus the Pack in his NFL past but be sure he'll be facing lots of eight-men-in-the-box looks in this clash.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers (199 yards passing with 2 TD passes last week in the 27-23 win at Jacksonville) completed a dozen passes between 'em to WRs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb but where was the explosiveness last week? Sure, Nelson's making a slow-but-sure return from missing 2015 with a knee injury but if Rodgers can't spot these guys deep a time-or-two here than G-Bay's in trouble.
Spread Notes - Green Bay has covered 10 of its last 13 away games while dating back to late in the 2014 campaign while Minnesota's 12-5 ATS (against the spread) at home the past two-plus seasons.

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