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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Sometimes it's good to look back before you take a leap forward:

Take last year's NFL Preseason Week 1 card that featured a dead-even split of Betting Favorites and Underdogs – that was 8 winners apiece for chalk-eaters and pups alike back then in the summer of 2010.

And now examine what's happened spreadwise so far here in this summer of 2011 when NFL Betting Favorites have pounded out a spiffy 11-4 ATS (against the spread) mark in Preseason Week 1 play while heading into this evening's Monday Night Football game between the New York Jets at the Houston Texans (it's on ESPN at 8 p.m. Eastern time, folks).

What can be learned from the fact that NFL chalk sides are winning at a 73.3 percent clip – albeit at this early stage of the Preseason?

Well, the fact that everyone – players, coaches, general managers, etc. – had such a short and truncated period of time to get ready for these exhibition games surely played a part as it was evident many offenses simply were out of whack. Note that 10 of the 30 teams that played a Preseason game this past week/weekend scored 10-or-fewer points and it comes as no great surprise that teams that scored 10-or-less points registered a shabby (but predictable) 1-9 ATS mark with only Chicago's 10-3 yawner win/cover against 2 ½-point underdog Buffalo the lone spread 'W' for a team that barely scratched on the scoreboard.

What's another common factor in the corner of the NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting Favorites?

If you ask us, a batch of chalk sides really/truly took these early Preseason tilts seriously – see the likes of the St. Louis Rams, the Detroit Lions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans – as all of the above easily covered Las Vegas price tags against franchises that didn't care a hoot about the game's won/loss result.

True, the Rams were forced to lay the week's biggest price tag – St. Loo was a 6 ½-point fav in its home game against the short-handed (as in no QB Peyton Manning, among others) Indianapolis Colts – but the proverbial bottom line is the Las Vegas oddsmakers didn't have a true sense of how much the Rams, Lions, Bucs and Titans wanted to establish a 'winning culture' early on and these teams proved how important winning was with their rollicking triumphs as favorites of anywhere between 2-to-6 ½ points.

We will continue to monitor all the NFL Preseason results all summer long and so make sure to check in every day right here at Jim Sez – and don't forget we'll have plenty of NCAA Football coverage too with lots on our menu this week. Don't forget that the college kids swing into action beginning with a slew of games on Thursday, September 1st with a couple of national TV games on the docket that night including UNLV at Wisconsin on ESPN and heavy-duty favorite Mississippi State at next-door neighbor Memphis on Fox Sports Network. We will be ready to rock-n-roll with College Football right from the start of this 2011 season – so make sure you're all aboard.

Take note: 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.



You've all heard this song before, haven't you? New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is busy telling one-and-all that his team will win the Super Bowl this season. And maybe – for once – he'll 'nail it' but the fact of the matter is the J-E-T-S won't exactly be full-steam ahead while coming into this prime-time game at Reliant Stadium ‘cause much-hyped WR Plaxico Burress (ankle) didn't make the trip to the Lone Star State and neither did Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold (neck stinger). Toss into the mix the fact backup QB Mark Brunell – who probably deserves more credit than he's received for tutoring third-year QB Mark Sanchez – injured a finger on his left (throwing) hand in a Saturday practice and he likely won't take a snap here.

On the flip side, Houston won't be showing all that much from its 3-4 defensive scheme here as new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will stay 'basic' here according to head coach Gary Kubiak. The Texans' coaching staff claims it is all about being 'in the right spot' on defense this year and one player to keep an eye on here is rookie CB Roc Carmichael (Virginia Tech) who is expected to add a real physical nature to this secondary. You might have heard that it was Carmichael who ran into teammate WR Andre Johnson and caused him to suffer a dislocated finger (note that Johnson's since returned to practice after missing four days but he's iffy here) and we'll see if Houston's secondary – burnt often (and often times late) a year ago – comes around and shows signs of instant improvement under the guidance of Mr. Phillips.

Preseason Spread Notes – Last year the Jets split their four Preseason games including a 31-16 'home' loss in Week 1 to the 3-point underdog New York Giants while the 2010 Texans failed to cover three-of-four exhibition games with Houston (- 2) falling 19-16 at Arizona in its Preseason opener.


Let's get you to a couple more NFL Preseason Week 1 Saturday re-caps – we touched on Green Bay at Cleveland and Indianapolis at St. Louis in the last edition of Jim Sez (see archives) and now there's two more tilts under our microscope:

CAROLINA (- 2 ½) 20, NEW YORK GIANTS 10 – Much of the NFL world was watching closely as numero uno draft pick QB Cam Newton (Auburn) completed 8-of-19 passes for 134 yards while showing major zip on a few passes in this Panthers win but how about some of the 'dark sides' when it came to the visiting Giants? The Jim Hurley Network was on top of these developments, releasing Carolina (-2.5) as one of our Saturday best bets. The Panthers were part of a 2-0 night that included a win on Cleveland (-2) over Green Bay 27-17--two cases where our information about a home team with a losing 2010 record being ready to take a game seriously against a contender, paid off.

Veteran PK Lawrence Tynes – who injured his knee -- missed two field goals and had another kick blocked as the NYG special teams were awful plus the re-jiggered Giants offensive line hardly distinguished itself – remember no G Rich Seubert and no C Shaun O'Hara who were salary cap casualties a couple of weeks back – and the current wall didn't get any surge off the line of scrimmage as RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Danny Ware combined for just 40 yards rushing on a dozen carries (that's a modest 3.3 yards per pop).

TENNESSEE (- 3) 14, MINNESOTA 3 – Speaking of troubled O-lines, the Vikings could be headed for a very long year should the NFC North crew not to able to patch up this unit. True, there were loads of reserves in the game when rookie QB Christian Ponder (Florida State) was sacked three times but it's obvious that new head coach Leslie Frazier – who sported a 3-3 SU (straight-up) mark after stepping in on an interim basis a year ago for Brad Childress – isn't putting a whole lot of stock into the won/loss results of the Preseason as he instead wants QB Donovan McNabb (6-of-11 passing for 40 yards) to get comfortable with his new team and he needs to keep his defensive studs healthy for the grind of a 16-game regular season – thus the game-time scratches of DE Jared Allen and CB Cedric Griffin.

NOTE: Catch more NFL News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez and keep in mind that the NFL Preseason Week 2 schedule begins Thursday night with a pair of games – that's New England at Tampa Bay and Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (on Fox).



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