Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL CAMP REPORT:
WE CHECK IN ON THE SUNSHINE STATE SQUADS AS THE DOLPHINS, BUCS & JAGS
GET OUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION…
PLUS WHO’S BEEN THE NFL’S “BEST BETS” THE PAST THREE SEASONS (AND YOU REALLY SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT THE ANSWERS!)
By Jim Hurley
Last year the BCS champion resided in the great state of Florida – the Florida State Seminoles turned back the clock, beat the mighty SEC and won the national title after a 14-year “dry spell” but the football fates/fortunes for the state’s three pro teams wasn’t anything to write home about.
In fact, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers combined to finish 16-32 SU (straight-up) for a weakling .333 winning percentage and nobody got rich wagering on the Sunshine State’s three pro teams either as the Jaguars/Dolphins/Bucs combined to register a 21-27 ATS log (a .438 winning rate).
And get this …
In the past 10 years, the Florida pro teams are a combined 1-5 SU in playoff games with the lone post-season win for the Sunshine Staters during this time frame occurring way back in 2007 when a Jack Del Rio-coached Jaguars’ bunch won but didn’t cover in a 31-29 triumph at 3-point home underdog Pittsburgh… yes, the three Florida teams are also 1-5 versus the vig in playoff games while dating back to the 2004 season.
The here-and-now says all three teams are “optimistic” while heading into the 2014 preseasons and here’s a quick-hitter comment on each of the teams with last year’s SU record on display. For the record, we wouldn’t necessarily think any of ‘em will be playoff-bound this winter, but who are we to splash cold water on their smiley faces?
JACKSONVILLE (4-12) – The Jags are hoping to show some aerial life this year behind veteran QB Chad Henne but already it’s been a bummer summer with WR Cecil Shorts expected to be sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring injury.
Right now it appears that Shorts – who last year hauled in 66 balls for a team-leading 777 yards with 3 touchdowns -- figures to miss two and maybe even three preseason games with the nagging injury.
MIAMI (8-8) – Hard to believe that the Dolphins haven’t cranked out a winning season since that spiffy 11-5 mark back in 2008 but if Joe Philbin’s club is gonna get past all that Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito mess from a year ago then not only will this reshaped offensive line have to get its collective act together but WR Mike Wallace must be a star pass-catcher.
Last year Wallace had 73 catches for 930 yards with 5 TDs but he was “not on the same page” with QB Ryan Tannehill for much of the 2013 season.
So far, the outspoken Wallace says he loves offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s schemes and “variety” but he chose not to take any verbal shots at former OC Mike Sherman. Smart move, Mikey!
TAMPA BAY (4-12) – The last time the Buccaneers lost 12 games (see 2011) they rebounded to go 7-9 SU the following year and now first-year head coach Lovie Smith believes this crew has the goods to be .500 or better even though there’s still plenty of scars left over from the pockmarked Greg Schiano Era (11-21 SU the past two seasons).
One area to watch for the Bucs in ’14 is the secondary with S Mark Barron attempting to rebound from right knee surgery this past offseason. Barron missed the final two games of the 2013 campaign with a hamstring injury and not-so-coincidentally the Bucs surrendered 23 and 42 points in twin-figure losses at St. Louis and at New Orleans.
Folks, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners.
Plus, the Football Season begins Sunday night with the aforementioned NFL Hall of Fame Game at 8 p.m. ET as the New York Giants battle the Buffalo Bills.
It’s all part of the summertime action – can’t wait to get Football started!
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THE NFL SPREAD REPORT
Okay, wanna guess who’s been the best ATS (against the spread) teams in the NFL the past three years?
Here’s the rundown, folks:
DENVER (30-23-1) – The Broncos’ .566 winning rate spreadwise may not wow you but this AFC West team has been a rock-solid investment on the NFL road the past three years with a 16-10 ATS mark that does include the ugly 43-8 loss to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII.
It’s worth noting that Denver is consistent when it comes to non-division and divisional games as the Broncos are 19-15-1 vs. non-AFC West squads and 11-8 ATS when playing the likes of Kansas City/Oakland/San Diego since the start of the 2011 season.
NEW ORLEANS (31-20-1) – We’ll grant you the fact that the Saints have been a wunderkind at home the past three years with this NFC South crew going a superlative 20-4-1 ATS inside the always-rowdy Louisiana Superdome (an electric .833 winning rate) but they all count, right?
Okay, so N’Orleans is just 11-16 ATS away since the start of the 2011 campaign but among those key road covers were playoff games in Philadelphia and in Seattle last year and monumental road wins/covers last regular season in Chicago and then two years ago in Dallas.
Note that the Saints pounded out a pair of separate three-game spread winning streaks last year and – while dating back to the start of the ’11 season – you’ll note that New Orleans banged out a nine-game spread winning streak late in 2011 and hope you were “all aboard” for some/most of them!
SAN FRANCISCO (33-19-4) – Not bad that fourth-year head coach Jim Harbaugh has pumped out a .635 winning percentage spreadwise so far but dig a little bit deeper and you’ll discover that the 49ers have been the ultimate kings of consistency during this time with 12-5-1, 10-8-1 and 11-6-2 spread marks each of the past three years… talk about your modern-day gold mines!
The Niners were only 5-4-2 spreadwise following their Week 9 bye last year but get a load of this:
San Francisco posted a snazzy 6-2 ATS mark in its pre-bye games last year and that included a five-year spread winning streak that wasn’t even the longest in the Harbaugh Era…the 2011 team posted eight consecutive spread wins following a 1-0-1 pointspread start, remember that stretch?
SEATTLE (36-16-1) – Hey, let’s save the best for last and we’re not simply talking about last year when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and really “cashed in” with a magnificent 13-6 against-the-odds overall mark.
Note that Pete Carroll’s crew actually went only 8-10 vig-wise in his first year on the job back in 2010 but ever since the Seahawks have played this blistering .692 winning rate and included in this mesmerizing mark is an 18-5-1 ATS log whenever in the underdog role (hey, that’s a .783 winning rate as pups!).
We always love to come up with a certain nugget for you Jim Sez readers when it comes to these pointspread stories and here’s the goody on the Seahawks:
They are a rich 24-9-1 against the prices when playing non-NFC West foes the past three years (a .727 winning rate, ladies and gents!) and that includes last year’s 8-4 ATS log when stepping outside divisional play.
NOTE: More NFL, NCAA Football and MLB News & Notes coming this week right here at Jim Sez… and don’t forget we’ll preview Sunday Night’s NFL Hall of Fame Game between the NY Giants vs. the Buffalo Bills in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez.