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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 11:46 PM

If you were rooting for the Maryland Terrapins (-4), you spent most of Monday evening cursing their wasted opportunities. They threw an interception in the end zone. They settled for field goals when it looked like they’d hit paydirt. They MISSED a second half field goal from very close in. This was supposed to be a blowout, and it wasn’t.

But, a fumble return for a TD in the final minute of the first half, and an interception return in the final minute of the second half made up for those lost opportunities…and the right side ended up getting the money anyway.

Let’s look at the one-sided statistics…

MARYLAND 32, MIAMI 24

  • Total Yardage: Miami 367, Maryland 499
  • Rushing Yardage: Miami 172, Maryland 151
  • Passing Stats: Miami 19-28-2-195, Maryland 31-44-1-348
  • Third Downs: Miami 38%, Maryland 43%
  • Turnovers: Miami 4, Maryland 1
  • Yards-per-Play: Miami 5.4, Maryland 6.4
  • Vegas Line: Maryland by 4, total of 44.5

That’s almost 500 total yards (on 28 first downs!), a turnover edge of 4-1…and the game and pointspread were still up for grabs as time ran out. Usually turnovers are worth about four points apiece. Maryland should have won by 12 just on the turnover edge! That boxscore equates with something closer to a 14-20 point victory based on accepted stat projection methodologies.

Maryland was a rare UNANIMOUS pick for the six VegasSportsMasters. Everyone had the Terrapins because they expected this kind of advantage in terms of moving the ball and forcing turnovers because of the suspensions Miami was dealing with. Fate stepped in with a last-second interception return for a TD to make sure the good guys won!

Football now takes a brief respite until Thursday, when New Orleans and Green Bay kick off the new NFL season. We’ll be focused on baseball picks and results the next two days here in the nightly summaries. That makes this a good time to get caught up with some baseball handicapping performances of note:

*Kelso Sturgeon is 6-1 in the bases the last two days with a 3-1 Monday coming on the heels of a 3-0 board sweep Sunday. Kelso cashed underdog tickets both days with the red hot Arizona Diamondbacks. Will Las Vegas oddsmakers EVER give that team some respect?!

*Nick Bogdanovich went 4-1 Sunday and Monday. Three of his four winners were underdogs, as the man behind the line continues to help his clients find value. Note that Nick will be wrapping up his tenure here at VSM at the end of the 2010 baseball season so he can concentrate full time on his responsibilities as oddsmaker and Sportsbook Director for Cal-Neva.

Monday in the Pennant Races…

Five of the six Major League divisional leaders won their games on Monday. So, there’s not much drama to report. Four of six divisions are on the verge of being wrapped up as we speak:

*Philadelphia leads the NL East by 8.5 games after shutting out Atlanta. Even if disaster struck and they lost the division, they Phils are still 17 games ahead of anyone who could catch them for the Wildcard spot! They lead Milwaukee by 6.5 games in the fight for best record in the NL.

*Milwaukee leads the NL Central by 10.5 games after beating St. Louis Monday 4-1. Things got interesting for a few days last week when the Brewers were caught napping vs. the Cards. Milwaukee now enjoys the biggest of any divisional leads.

*Arizona still leads the NL West by 7 games after both the D-backs and Giants won Monday afternoon. Arizona is 12-1 its last 13 games. And, if you exclude that brutal East Coast gauntlet that saw so many games in Philadelphia and Atlanta, Arizona is 15-1 its last 16 games. They were outmatched by the Phillies and Braves, but are beating up on everyone else.

*Detroit leads the AL Central by 7.5 games after beating Cleveland Monday. Ubaldo Jiminez was brought in to help the Indians catch Detroit. No such luck. Jiminez was outpitched today by Doug Fister…the man Detroit brought in to keep them ahead of Cleveland! Interesting that we had so many one-versus-two matchups on Labor Day.

Two races are still petal to the metal. The Yankees lead Boston by 2.5 games in the AL East. They won another Yankee Stadium slugfest Monday 11-10 over Baltimore. Boston lost a toughie in Toronto. Ace starter Josh Beckett had to leave with a sprained ankle. A loss by Texas in Tampa Bay (it was the Rangers who were the only divisional leader to fall Monday) lit a fire under the LA Angels. The Halos beat Seattle Monday Night to pull within 2.5 games of the lead in the AL West.

Back with you Tuesday for more news and notes here in the blog. Look for details about a statistical blowout in college football from this past weekend that may have escaped your notice. That will be in the newest edition of the Network Notebook that will go up around breakfast time.

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