Vegas Sports Masters Blog
Back to Blog Home…

Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 11:03 AM

This is possibly one of the toughest Monday Night challenges handicappers have every faced. How do you pick a game that has:

*Not one, but TWO new head coaches? It's tough enough to predict how a team will respond to a coaching change. Sometimes players are enthused. Sometimes, they liked the prior guy and are skeptical that a change was the right call. Sometimes a new coach brings exactly what was needed in terms of fixing a weakness or refocusing drift priorities. Sometimes, he just breaks what hadn't been broken yet.

Both the Miami Hurricanes and the Maryland Terrapins just went through coaching changes. Randy Shannon in Miami was replaced by Al Golden. Given all the shenanigans there were going on behind the scenes during Shannon's years, that move makes more sense now than it did at the time. Shannon had been seen by some in the media as a saint who was getting a raw deal. Time will tell how saintly Shannon was. Ralph Friedgen was replaced at Maryland by Randy Edsall. We've been saying for a few years now in the NOTEBOOK that the game had passed Friedgen by. He was an 'offensive genius' for a few years. Then, defenses adjusted and he had no tricks left up his sleeve. Edsall built the Connecticut program, but he is stepping up to a tougher conference now (as is Al Golden who rejuvenated Temple).

*Not one, but MULTIPLE suspensions? The status of players, some of them key, may change on game day. Important contributors haven't been practicing because of a sense of doom hanging over their immediate futures. Miami opened as a 5-point favorite given the talent that was expected to be on the field. Now Maryland is -3.5 because of all the expected Hurricane absences. That 8.5 point move is a ballpark guess from the market. Was it enough? Was it too much?

And, what about the mindset of a team that now knows for sure that the party is over? Look at what's happened to Southern Cal since they had to cut down on the bling and the blonds. They were a superpower during the party years because super-players want to party. Now, USC is just another team that can't play three solid quarters in a row even against the likes of Minnesota. Will Miami fade into oblivion (if the NCAA doesn't hit them with the death penalty and speed up the process?). Or, is there enough pride in the program to go out and send a message to a national TV audience?

*Two teams starting their season without any tune-ups vs. lesser opponents? Miami didn't get to play Florida Atlantic last week before stepping into ACC action. Maryland didn't open with James Madison or William & Mary. Both teams…with new coaches…have to jump right into the deep end and try to execute.

If Miami DOES want to send a message, can they execute? If Miami ISN'T all that fired up, will Maryland be able to take full advantage? Or, will they look like Notre Dame throwing interceptions near the end zone all day?

*A bad weather forecast? As of press time, rain is in the forecast, possibly very heavy rain…heck, possibly the kind of stuff that keeps mucking up the TV schedule all over the place! This would be a tough enough game to deal with if it was played indoors like Boise State/Georgia or Oregon/LSU. Instead, we're outdoors in conditions that aren't conducing to sparkling offensive effectiveness.

Talk about unknown quantities! The coaches are unknown quantities at this high a level (the ACC is better than the Big East). Many of the players are unknown quantities. The weather has a 60% chance of everything.

Quick…how's a backup quarterback going to do for a new head coach with no 2011 game experience while playing on the road in a rainstorm?

Got an answer? How will the home team handle the expectations of now being a favorite as they take the field for the first time against a coach who made his name when nobody had expectations for his program?

The good news for Las Vegas sports bettors in a game like this is that Vegas oddsmakers are just as confused as you are. They'll talk about their Power Ratings…and their coaching ratings…and how they've evaluated the backups…and how the public always overreacts to injuries or the weather. But, you know what? They're watching what the Wise Guys do with an eagle eye. They trust their numbers so much that they'll move them at the drop of a hat if a Vegas sharp walks to the counter and pulls out a large wad of cash. Vegas sportsbooks hate games like this because the betting action doesn't equal out…and the biggest bettors are likely to have very good sources.

JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK has very good sources. We have scouts who follow these teams closely. We've studied all the boxscore stats from bad weather games in season openers the past 15 years. We know the X's and O's tendencies of both Golden and Edsall in poor weather games. Each had to deal with that a few times at Temple and UCONN. And, we have Wise Guy connections offshore and in Vegas that let us know what the smart money is up to.

We've got a play ready to go on this game, and also have an exciting week ahead...

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY: We love pennant race baseball! We'll be paying particular attention to the following matchups on Labor Day and through these series:

Atlanta at Philadelphia (possible NLCS Preview)
Milwaukee at St. Louis (must-sweep for the Cards)
Arizona at Colorado
San Francisco at San Diego

Detroit at Cleveland (must-sweep for Tribe)
Boston at Toronto (Red Sox must regroup)
Texas at Tampa Bay (Rangers gauntlet continues)

NETWORK has enjoyed three baseball board sweeps in the baseball last week, and won again Sunday with a 2-1 performance. Why focus only on football when you can get the money seven days a week?!

New Orleans at Green Bay (NFL Kickoff matching last 2 Super Bowl champs)
Arizona at Oklahoma State (ESPN college showdown)

Hey, Arizona and Oklahoma State may be Pac 16 brothers next season! We're really looking forward to Packers/Saints…and the first full weekend of NFL regular season action.

Missouri at Arizona State
Florida International at Louisville

These feel like bowl matchups this week in the Thursday and Friday Night games. Well, a minor bowl and two Alamo Bowls!

The Saturday and Sunday schedules are too big to list in depth now. There are certainly showcase games in both the colleges and the pros that will be highlighting the selection slate for JIM HURLEY'S clients.

You can always go day-by-day with us here at the website. We have great rates for the rest of football and/or baseball that give you the most bang for your buck. If you tried to bet on your own last week and failed to produce, we can turn things around for you beginning TONIGHT! Call 1-800-323-4453 to speak with us directly if you have any questions. We make it easy to take care of business yourself online with your credit card if you're ready to make a commitment.

We'll be focusing on football all week long here in the NOTEBOOK. There are keys to review in the colleges from this past weekend. There are situations to anticipate this weekend in both the colleges and the pro's. Be sure you're with us EVERY DAY so you know what's really going on in football!


Join the discussion


Forgot password

Keep me logged in