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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Just so y'all know ...In tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez we'll get you a batch of NCAA Football and NFL Week 5 Previews/Forecasts as we gear up for a monster-sized autumn weekend of gridiron goodies with a special keen eye on many of the unbeaten squads. So don't dare miss out! Right now we focus our Jim Sez Mid-Week Report on College Football's "Better-Then-You-Think Teams" ... see what you think:

  • HOUSTON (4-0) -Nope, you won't find the Cougars in any of the prominent polls right now despite the fact Tony Levine's club has won/covered in games against Southern, Temple, Rice and UT-San Antonio. Okay, so that's hardly a "who's who" of great college football teams -we understand -but this Houston team is a rock-solid squad that's getting better with each passing week as freshman QB John O'Korn (933 yards passing with 10 TDs and 1 INT) has been electric and you really had to like the way the Coogs put the UTSA Roadrunners in the rear-view mirror last weekend with that resounding 28-0 fourth quarter in a 59-28 runaway win. There's great team speed, depth and -what else? -better-than-you-think balance on this club that could well be 8-and-oh while heading into a Nov. 9th game at UCF.

  • MISS STATE (2-2) -As now-Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells likes to say, "You are what your record says you are." That's fine as this here-and-now Miss State Bulldogs bunch has split its first four games this year SU (straight-up) with admittedly so-what wins against Alcorn State and Troy while Dan Mullen's team has lost versus Oklahoma State and at Auburn. Now, with mighty LSU on deck, count us as being a tad surprised that the visiting Bayou Bengals are hefty 9 ½-point road favorites for Saturday's night game in Starkville -in other words, we believe M-State's a solid squad (see country's 20th-ranked defense) and three pointspread covers so far in four tries has to count for something, right? Maybe the SEC's heavyweight teams -that's Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M and Florida -tend to get most of the national "pub" but don't sleep on these Dawgs who could well surprise oddsmakers and "experts" alike this weekend.

  • WISCONSIN (3-2) -No doubt there's going to be a big, fat asterisk attached to this 2013 Wisky Badgers season ever since that 32-30 zebras-aided loss at Arizona State back on Sept. 14th. The fact of the matter is change that game from a loss to a win -we're assuming Wisconsin PK Kyle French would have nailed a gimme field goal in Tempe to win it -and ask for better late-game clock management by Gary Andersen's team in last week's 31-24 loss-but-cover at Ohio State and this could be a 5-and-oh squad that they'd be celebrating in Madison. The Badgers get this week off to repair some bumps and bruises as WR Jared Abbrederis (10 catches for 207 yards against the Buckeyes) must heal a battered shoulder and the defense must mend a battered ego after allowing Ohio State to rush for 192 yards but keep in mind Wisky's no longer in the Associated Press Top 25 and the fact is we're darned if we've seen 10 teams better than this year's Badgers' bunch.

Just so you know we're not all peaches-and-cream here, how about a quick-hitter look at the college teams that are still without a pointspread win?
Here goes with the pointspread records in parentheses below ...

  • CALIFORNIA (0-4-1) -The Golden Bears are allowing 45.3 ppg and they haven't yet played the likes of Washington, Oregon State and Stanford. Yikes

  • CENTRAL MICHIGAN (0-5) -Don't bother betting a chip on the Chippewas who have been outscored by 22.4 ppg this year. Go ahead and cry uncle, already

  • FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (0-4) -The Ron Turner Era has been a major train wreck so far and did you know the Golden Panthers have scored 23 total points in four games

  • FRESNO STATE (0-4) -The truth is the Bulldogs have been real "cardiac kids" so far with close wins against Rutgers (in OT), Boise State and Hawaii but the Silicon Valley's going broke wagering on these dudes who are 0-4 ATS (against the spread) all as chalk sides

  • KANSAS (0-3) -Go ahead and insert your basketball season joke line here, folks

  • NOTRE DAME (0-4-1) -- Our records state the Fighting Irish have yet to cash a bet but some folks might have won at -3 ½ points in the recent 17-13 win against Michigan State.

  • SMU (0-4) -Never did like the fact that head coach June Jones has stuck with former Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert as his #1 starting quarterback (and note the Ponies have scored just 13 and 17 points in recent road losses to Texas A&M and TCU).

  • TULSA (0-4) -Nothing "golden" about this Golden Hurricane crew that hopes to turn its pointspread fortunes around this weekend as small home favorites against Rice.


As can you see from our accompanying chart, NFL Betting Favorites have taken a slight lead on the year -the 32-29-2 ATS mark is only good enough for a .524 winning rate but chalk-siders do come off back-to-back 9-6-1 and 9-6-0 spread weeks -and isn't it interesting to note that with all this talk about "high scoring games" and "more offense" the totals players find themselves about even on the year with "over" players at 32-31 versus the vig?

Sure, some of the totals have been cranked up lately -note that the games involving mega-star QBs Peyton Manning (Denver), Tom Brady (New England) and Drew Brees (New Orleans) has total prices of 58 ½, 50 and 49 points (the three highest from this past Week 4 card) and yet all of them went over anyway! Note there were five NFL Week 4 games in which 40-or-less points were scored -so not everyone's lighting up the scoreboard no matter what you may be hearing.

NFL 2013




Week #1



Week #2 7-9-0 8-8-0
Week #3 9-6-1 7-9-0
Week #4 9-6-0 9-6-0
TOTAL 32-29-2 32-31-0

My handicappers and bloggers will continue to torch Las Vegas and the off-shore books with loads of NFL and NCAA Football winners this week and that includes the Side & Totals winners on the Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns game to kick off NFL Week 5 and it's Texas at Iowa State, Western Kentucky at UL-Monroe and UCLA at Utah to get things started with the college kids on this first Thursday in October, so don't miss a beat! Check with the Jim Hurley Network right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155 after 1 p.m. ET on week days and any time after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. Plus get all our MLB Playoff Winners all month long with a reminder that there's day-time action Thursday and Friday this week ... okay?

On Thursday Night, in NFL Week 5 action, it's ...
BUFFALO (2-2) at CLEVELAND (2-2) -8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Gotta go all the way back to the 2001 season to find the last time the Cleveland Browns began a year at 3-2 and the irony attached to this current break-even start is the AFC North club's gotten here without two players that were supposed to be lynchpins of this team:

That's now-former RB Trent Richardson (Indianapolis Colts) and soon-to-be-former QB Brandon Weeden (injured).

The latter's been sidelined with a thumb injury and that's opened up the doors for Brian Hoyer whose thrown five touchdown passes (and three picks) ever since assuming command but here Hoyer -who threw for 269 yards with two TDs and 0 INTs in last weekend's gritty 17-6 win against 3 ½-point fav Cincinnati -must get some aerial help from someone other than TE Jordan Cameron who leads all NFL tight ends this year with 30 catches to go along with five TDs.

If the Bills -who will be an underdog side for a fifth straight week this 2013 season -wish to snag the upset win "on the lake" here then rookie slinger EJ Manuel (also 5 TDs and 3 INTs) must keep up his great rapport with fellow rook WR Robert Woods who is averaging a nifty 18.3 ypg on his 11 receptions so far this year.

Spread Notes -Cleveland's split its first four pointspread verdicts this season but note the Browns have covered seven of their last 11 home games dating back to late 2011. On the flip side, Buffalo is 3-1 vig-wise this year with covers against New England, Carolina and Baltimore and the Bills enter this prime-time affair having notched spread wins in their last two tilts against Cleveland: A 24-14 road win as 2 ½-point favorites last year and a 13-6 win as 1-point home favorites back in 2010.

NOTE: Catch all our NCAA Football/NFL Week 5 Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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