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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 9:17 AM


By Jim Hurley:

Okay, so let's clean up some business in the NFL Preseason before we get you a couple of the Saturday Nite Game Previews: In last night's action in the league where they play for pay, NFL Betting Favorites powered up a solid 4-2 ATS (against the spread) mark with Washington (-6), Miami (-5.5), Baltimore (- 6.5) (a Jim Hurley Preseason winner) and Green Bay (-4.5) all coming through as chalk-side winners while Cleveland (-2.5) and Jacksonville (-3) failed to cash.

Naturally, the evening's lone outright upset winner by an Underdog side was Detroit's come-from-behind 30-28 triumph at Cleveland and so - while heading into the remainder of this NFL Preseason Week 2 card -- the "scoreboard" looks like this:

NFL Betting Favorites are now 17-7 versus the vig (that's a very tasty .708 winning rate) so far through the first 24 games played while "Over" bettors are a collective 14-10 against the prices (good for a decent .583 winning rate) and note that the Redskins, Lions and Dolphins all sport perfect 2-and-oh spread marks thus far in this year's exhibition games ... so there!

Meanwhile, the Colts, Chiefs and Jaguars all are 0-2 versus the vig so far this summer and did you know that Kansas City's now been outscored 56-13 through two Preseason games - no wonder fiery head coach Todd Haley looked so angry at game's end (or was that also because the Ravens scored their final TD with five seconds left after first calling a time out!).
Now, here's what is on tap for this Saturday night ...

NEW ORLEANS at HOUSTON - 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Now that the Texans have "banked" one Preseason win (see last Monday's 20-16 rally triumph over the 3-point underdog New York Jets), this AFC South club will try to enjoy the winning feel again here but note the Las Vegas line move for this tilt as the Saints are currently 2-point betting favs after originally opening as a 2 ½-point pup. Hmmm.

If Gary Kubiak's Texans wish to prove this line move "wrong" than they figure to need some contributions here from formerly injured RBs Arian Foster (pulled hamstring) and Steve Slaton (pulled hamstring, too) - both are expected to get some minutes in this game after watching RB Chris Ogbonnaya score a pair of touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving) last week while toting it 17 times for 37 hard-earned ground yards. Meanwhile, Houston would like to see starting QB Matt Schaub look a bit sharper here after completing 2-of-5 passes for 20 yards against the Jets - why was there apparent miscommunication on two or three of those pass routes when Schaub was calling the shots?

Hey, Saints fans are intrigued by the fact QB Drew Brees will get to challenge the Wade Phillips-coached defense. Brees knows Phillips well from their days together with the San Diego Chargers and it's likely that New Orleans will run some quick draws against the hard-charging and aggressive DEs and OLBs - and note Saints boss-man Sean Payton says his offensive starters will get somewhere between 20-to-25 snaps here but that could increase if Brees and Co. are driving the ball well in the second quarter - and this remains a "rhythm offense" with Brees in charge.

Spread Notes - Here's a factoid that might well surprise you: The Saints have covered their last four consecutive NFL Preseason games dating back to their second summertime game a year ago and that includes last Friday's 24-3 cruise-job win against 3-point road underdog San Francisco. On the flip side, Houston was one of New Orleans' exhibition game victims in 2010 as the Saints marched on to a 38-20 home win as 1 ½-point betting favorites.

The so-called Battle of the Bay this time pits two teams that dropped their Preseason opener a week ago - San Fran's aforementioned 21-point loss in New Orleans featured lots of ugly stuff including a 78-yard punt return for a score by the Saints' Joseph Morgan while the Raiders were nipped 24-18 by 3 ½-point road dog Arizona as three different Cardinals QBs threw touchdown passes (and none of 'em were named Kevin Kolb).

No doubt the 49ers need to get their offense cranked up and WR Josh Morgan - who has caught everything in sight in practice this past week - could be featured prominently here but all eyes will remain on QB Alex Smith with some in-the-know folks suggesting this represents his "last stand" with a bad performance possibly pushing him below rookie Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) on the team's depth chart. Stay tuned.

Spread Notes - In case you had forgotten, last year's Preseason game between these next-door neighbors resulted in a 28-24 mild upset triumph by the 2-point road dog Raiders in a game that easily flew "over" the Las Vegas totals price of 37 ½ points. It's now interesting to see that with two rookie head coaches here - Oakland's Hue Jackson versus San Fran's Jim Harbaugh - the totals price is a low, low, low 34 points (in fact, it's the lowest totals price on this board among the five Saturday night NFL Preseason games).

Also, on this Saturday night docket are the following (Las Vegas prices as of press time and note home teams are in CAPS with totals prices listed at the end of the line):

     ST. LOUIS (-3.5) vs. Tennessee (36)
     DENVER (-4) vs. Buffalo (37)
     SEATTLE (-3) vs. Minnesota (35.5)

Now hear this: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers win with Sides & Totals all throughout the NFL Preseason - now America's #1 Handicapper will rock Las Vegas big-time all summer long! Plus, make sure to get all the Major-League Baseball Winners too each and every day -- just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for a summer filled with all our NFL Preseason and MLB winners! The calling/check-in times are after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball action; and than anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action in both Football and Baseball. And don't forget that the 2011 NCAA Football Season swings into action on Thursday, September 1st with a batch of on-the-board games including TV tilts between UNLV at Wisconsin and Miss State at Memphis and so make sure you're all aboard for college gridiron winners!

NOTE: Catch more NFL News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez plus get some Sunday Nite Game Previews including Cincinnati at the New York Jets and the NBC-TV tilt between San Diego at Dallas. Plus, soon we'll wrap up the NFL Preseason Week 2 card with a preview of the Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears at the New York Giants ... so don't miss out!

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