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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 12:06 AM

Some mixed opinions amongst the VegasSportsMasters in the LSU-Mississippi State game Thursday Night. When the dust had settled, the dean of Vegas handicappers Kelso Sturgeon had continued this week’s red hot streak…and Jim Hurley had won an Over/Under play by FOUR touchdowns!

Kelso had a 25-unit play on LSU (-3.5) over Mississippi State in their 19-3 victory. We told you last night about the big play performances in baseball of late. Kelso ALSO won Thursday Night’s 25-unit play on Tampa Bay (pk) over Boston 9-2. Let’s briefly recap the week’s major releases…

KELSO’S FOOTBALL

  • Monday: 50 units on New England (-7) over Miami…WINS 38-24
  • Thursday: 25 units on LSU (-3.5) over Mississippi State…WINS 19-3

KELSO’S BASEBALL

  • Monday: 25 units on Tampa Bay (-145) over Baltimore…WINS 5-2
  • Tuesday: 25 units on St. Louis (-165) over Pittsburgh…WINS 6-4
  • Wednesday: 25 units on the LA Angels (-150) over Oakland…WINS 4-1
  • Thursday: 25 units on Tampa Bay (pk) over Boston…WINS 9-2

Kelso broadcast his intentions to bounce back from a disappointing weekend in a Monday video. He’s an undefeated 6-0 on his major releases since. BIG WEEK!

Note that Coach Ron Meyer joined Kelso on LSU Thursday Night. Coach had a top-rated 4-star (the top rating he’s used so far this season anyway) on the Tigers. He mentioned in a Thursday blog entry that he’d be deciding between Dan Mullen’s probable coaching edge over Les Miles…or LSU’s clear advantage in athletic depth when finalizing his play. Ultimately, the fantastic LSU defense that held potent Oregon well below statistical norms ruled his decision. The Tigers only allowed 3 points all night, and certainly played championship caliber defense as you'll see in a moment in the stat breakdown.

Defense was also part of the equation for Jim Hurley’s only Thursday football play. Network was on Under 50…a play that was literally never in doubt. The halftime score was only 6-3. It was 9-6 entering the fourth quarter. Things never really threatened to open up…leading to a four-touchdown cover for Hurley clients.

Congrats to all of you who cashed tickets Thursday Night. Let’s run the numbers from the game to get a better sense of how things played out…

LSU 19, MISSISSIPPI STATE 3

  • Total Yardage: LSU 361, Mississippi State 190
  • Rushing Yardage: LSU 148, Mississippi State 49
  • Passing Stats: LSU 21-27-1-213, Mississippi State 15-25-2-141
  • Third Downs: LSU 33%, Mississippi State 43%
  • Turnovers: LSU 1, Mississippi State 2
  • Yards-Per-Play: LSU 5.6, Mississippi State 3.2
  • Las Vegas Line: LSU by 3.5, total of 50

LSU’s defense was dominating when it was on the field, holding Mississippi State to just 3.2 YPP. And, they weren’t on the field much because LSU’s 5.6 YPP allowed the Tigers to own time of possessions by a 36-24 margin. Given the respect Mississippi State earned with their surge to the rankings last year…and the very even yardage stats in last year’s meeting (see the Thursday edition of the Network Notebook for a look at the 2010 boxscore), this was an impressive performance indeed from the small road favorite.

Is LSU better than Alabama in the SEC West? Are they good enough to win the National Championship again? Time will tell. This offense is likely to have a shaky game here or there that will turn into a nailbiter (only one offensive TD tonight despite that 5.6 mark on YPP). They are certainly among the small handful of teams who can make a legitimate claim to being good enough to run the table against a tough schedule.

Mississippi State? They looked so good in their season opener against Memphis that the result may have created some illusions. Last week’s loss at Auburn missed the spread by more than two touchdowns. This week’s miss was similar in terms of underachieving expectations. Given how badly Memphis was annihilated by Arkansas State last week…and the firing this week of the defensive coordinator at Memphis…maybe that first Bulldogs win said more about the opponent than it did about them.

Thursday in the MLB Pennant Races

*You already know Tampa Bay beat Boston. That was the most important game of the night because it matched two teams fighting for the Wildcard spot in the American League. Boston entered this four-game series with a four-game lead. Tampa Bay must win three of four to keep the Beantown Panic going. Should Boston win three of four, they’d be in such great shape that the Wildcard would be relatively safe.

Round one goes to the Rays…and goes very easily with that 9-2 blowout. Here are the pitching matchups for the rest of the weekend…

PROBABLE PITCHERS

  • Friday: Shields vs. Beckett (big test for Beckett’s ankle) (MLB Network)
  • Saturday: Niemann vs. Lester (FOX)
  • Sunday: Price vs. Wakefield (TBS)

Big series…big time coverage on the networks! Note that the idle New York Yankees saw their lead in the AL East rise to 4.5 games with the Boston loss.

*In the AL West, Texas beat Cleveland 7-4, sweeping their three-game series while barely breaking a sweat. The second place LA Angels were off Thursday. So, Texas carries a 3.5 game lead into the weekend.

*Detroit clinched the AL Central title when the White Sox and Indians both lost. They could pour champagne early in their late start in Oakland!

*Philadelphia has already clinched a playoff spot. They’re magic number is down to TWO for clinching the NL East after sweeping Florida Thursday in a make-up doubleheader.

Thursday will be a busy day in the VSM blog. Look for a preview of Boise State-Toledo from the Network Notebook in the morning. Definitely scheduled for an appearance later in the day will be a look at what the sharps are betting this week in the NFL from Nick Bogdanovich. Keep checking in so you don’t miss anything!

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