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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Both the #25 Maryland Terrapins and #8 Florida State Seminoles have been very pleasant surprises for their fan bases out of the gate in the 2013 season. Heading into their early Saturday kickoff on ESPN, the teams are a combined 8-0 straight up and 7-1 against Las Vegas poinspreads. Only one will remain undefeated straight up after this battle. Could the upstart Terrapins score one of the early season’s biggest upsets?

Let’s run through what each team has done so far this season…



Maryland (-21) beat Florida International 43-10 (winning yardage 576-171)

Maryland (-20) beat Old Dominion 47-10 (winning yardage 587-335)

Maryland (-6) beat Connecticut 32-21 (winning yardage 501-383)

Maryland (-5) beat West Virginia 37-0 (winning yardage 330-175)

It has to be said that part of Maryland’s hot start is due to playing such a weak schedule! Florida International turned out to be one of the worst teams at the major college level. That wasn’t known at game time given that small spread. Old Dominion is decent for a lower level team, but can’t be considered a “statement” conquest. Connecticut had its moment when challenging Michigan. Otherwise, they’ve been so bad they got their coach fired.

And…West Virginia looked like a non-event…until West Virginia upset Oklahoma State last week! To the degree evidence exists that Maryland is for real…it’s in that combination of results. They dominated a team that upset Oklahoma State.



Florida State (-11) beat Pittsburgh 41-13 (winning yardage 533-297)

Florida State (-33) beat Nevada 62-6 (winning yardage 617-214)

Florida state (-40) beat Bethune Cookman 54-6 (winning yardage 492-242)

Florida State (-23) beat Boston College 48-34 (winning yardage 489-398)

Florida State and young phenom quarterback Jameis (rhymes with “famous”) Winston impressed everybody with their dominant win at Pitt on Labor Day evening. Though…Pittsburgh’s been inconsistent this year, and that result may not be as good as it first looked. The head scratcher was last week at Boston College. This is the same Boston College team that made USC look good…and nobody else has done that! FSU had trouble getting scoreboard distance, and looked surprisingly sluggish on defense against a truly bad offense.

So…if THAT Florida State team shows up again this week, then Maryland is certainly a live upset choice let alone a smart bet at a high Vegas line. Time will tell if FSU has more “pretender” in them than was first realized after the Pittsburgh rout. We have a feeling one team is going to make a very loud statement in this game one way or the other…

Current Vegas Line: Florida State by 15.5, total of 57

That line may be a touchdown too high. Or, Florida State may have it covered by early in the second quarter! That’s the nature of handicapping and betting college football, particularly whenever Top 10 teams are facing potential challenges.

The key factor in the cover according to the stats looks to be the turnover category. Maryland has 13 takeaways this year in just four games. Winston has been sharp and safe with the ball against a relatively weak schedule. If he presses too much and turns the ball over…then this one will get very interesting very quickly. If the youngster keeps his head on straight, the talent around him could make their fifth straight run past 480 total yards and 40 points.

JIM HURLEY knows how important it is to do well in the earliest kickoffs. If you win those games, you can re-invest your profits all day long and really make a killing. If there’s a winner to be had in this early ESPN showdown, it will be part of the slate that can be purchased Saturday morning here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about the full weekend (including the baseball playoffs and the NFL), call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.

We’re back with you tomorrow to run the numbers for Ohio State/Northwestern in the prime time game that most of you will be watching on ABC. That has potential to be a wild one. It’s back to NFL prime time previews in the NOTEBOOK Sunday and Monday with Houston/San Francisco and NY Jets/Atlanta respectively.

Nothing’s more fun than watching yourself make a fortune on TV. Get the best TV games AND the biggest pointspread blowouts on the board from World Champion handicapper JIM HURLEY!

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