Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE:
#1 OHIO STATE BEGINS ITS QUEST FOR
A TITLE REPEAT THIS EVENING IN BLACKSBURG
PLUS THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND “REAL” WINNERS …
THE NFL REPORT:
NOW THAT “TB12” IS BACK ON BOARD,
ARE THE PATRIOTS THE “TEAM TO BEAT” THIS SEASON?
Here’s a little history lesson as we head into tonight’s #1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech tilt that caps off a holiday weekend of gridiron action:
The O-State Buckeyes are proud owners of eight – go ahead and count ‘em, eight – national championships but you could well make the case that last year’s first-ever College Football Playoff (CFP) title secured by the ‘Eyes was the school’s most unlikeliest crown of them all.
After all, Urban Meyer’s team was merely 50-50 as to whether or not it was gonna even make the cut for the four-team playoff last December – as we all know the Buckeyes beat out Big 12 co-champs Baylor and TCU in the back rooms of the playoff committee boardrooms – and then promptly shocked the world with back-to-back playoff wins against 7.5-poing favorite Alabama and 5.5-point fav Oregon.
Now, everyone and his sister-in-law likes Ohio State to repeat (something this school’s never done, by the way!) – and remember the ‘Eyes got all 61 first-place votes from the distinguished Associated Press Top 25 to open up this here-and-now campaign – and the word on the street is that Ohio State will be a twin-digit betting favorite in each/every one of its regular-season games this year and it all begins this evening at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg where the once-upon-a-time star-studded Hokies last year lost four-of-seven home games SU (straight-up) while going a rotten 1-5 versus the vig and let us be the first to tell you that V-Tech is a collective 6-14-1 ATS at home since the start of the 2011 season.
Here’s our quick-hitter game preview on this Labor Day evening showdown …
#1 OHIO STATE at VIRGINIA TECH – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Revenge, revenge, revenge!
We’ve been hearing the dreaded “R” word all summer long when it comes to this prime-time holiday evening showdown – everyone knows Ohio State’s only loss a year ago was that still hard-to-explain 35-21 home setback versus 10-point pup Virginia Tech – but Meyer’s been telling anyone that will listen that this is a “new team, a new year” and he has preferred not to harp on that September loss a season ago and instead all the chatter’s been about the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback spot that – surprise, surprise – will be “won” by J.T. Barrett (2,834 rushing/passing yards last year with 34 TDs) although Meyer insists national title QB Cardale Jones (who also engineered the team’s stirring 59-0 win against 4-point favorite Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship Game) will see his share of action whether it be here or down the road.
Okay, so now everyone knows what the QB strategy is but how about the strategy of the all-important gaming folks?
This game opened with the Buckeyes favored by a full two touchdowns – that’s 14 points – and it teetered down to as low as 11 points for a bit before bouncing back up like the proverbial stock market to 14 points again here at press time – hey, maybe there will be some lucky/smart folks who “middle” this game to death – you could well see a 33-21 type game here, right? – where both sides “cash” but what we want to know is do the Vegas guys/gals have it right?
Keep in mind the Buckeyes won 9 games by more than 14 points a year ago and they covered eight of those nine tilts in all – if Tech is gonna hang tough or even have a shot to swipe the major upset here than Frank Beamer’s team must stuff RB Ezekiel Elliott (see three straight 200-plus yard rushing games to conclude the 2014 season) and silence Barrett enough to keep OSU right around 27-to-30 points … at the max.
Virginia Tech – which brings back eight offensive starters and nine defensive regulars from a team that bested 1.5-point fav Cincinnati 33-17 in the Military Bowl – likely needs a Herculean game from QB Michael Brewer who last year spread the wealth with seven different receivers snagging 23 Brewer pass completions.
Tell us right now that Brewer will keep his turnovers down here (see two picks against Ohio State last year) and we’ll tell you VT could make Ohio State sweat inside the game’s final five minutes of play.
Spread Notes – Ohio State is 22-17-1 ATS overall in the Meyer Era that began in 2012 and that includes last year’s 6-2 away spread mark. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s just 4-10-2 ATS in non-league games the past four seasons.
Extra, extra …
The College Football 2015 campaign puts a big-time exclamation mark on a very busy opening week with this Monday Night game between #1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).
Folks, you definitely want to be in the winner’s circle for the Side & Totals plays here as the Jim Hurley Network wraps up a monster holiday weekend.
And don’t forget the NFL 2015 season gets going on Thursday Night with the much-anticipated battle royal between the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots followed by a whopper NFL Week 1 card featuring Green Bay at Chicago, Baltimore at Denver and the Sunday Night Game between the New York Giants at Dallas and then the Monday Night Football twin-bill too: That’s Philadelphia at Atlanta and Minnesota at San Francisco.
Take note that Jim Hurley -- America’s #1 Handicapper – also continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do to win in the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB is to 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 all the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners … can’t beat that, right?
In other NCAA Football News & Notes …
Don’t know about you, but it sure seemed that a whole lot of Betting Underdogs made major noise this past holiday weekend – what with the likes of #2 TCU, #4 Baylor, #5 Michigan State, #6 Auburn, #21 Stanford and #23 Boise State all failing to get the greenbacks as chalk sides but here’s the facts, jack:
College Football Betting Favorites and Underdogs actually split right down the middle in the 38 on-the-board games this weekend – we’re not counting the slew of “other games” that you might or might not be able to wager on in your neck of the wood – with Favs going 18-18-2 ATS overall … really!
It’s something we’ve been telling you good Jim Sez readers for years that – more often than not – the Favs and Dogs will pretty much split spread results on a “normal weekend” and here’s proof positive right out of the ole starting gate.
Otherwise, the “real” winners include the following ….
Maybe the biggest winner of all this past weekend was the Texas A&M Aggies – after all, Kevin Sumlin’s crew began the year on the outside looking in at the Top 25 (technically, the Aggies were “ranked” 27th) but that’s gonna skyrocket following last Saturday night’s 38-17 win/cover against 15th-ranked Arizona State.
Okay, so A&M was the 3-point betting favorite over a ranked team but that stirring defensive showing (see two forced turnovers, nine sacks and 14 tackles for losses under new defensive coordinator John Chavis) and the game-breaking ways of freshman punt returner/wide receiver Christian Kirk (79-yard punt bring-back for a score and a game-breaking 66-yard catch-and-run touchdown iin the final frame) put the Aggies front and center in terms of “dark horse candidates” to get into this year’s College Football Playoffs.
Hey, we’ll also mark down Temple – a 27-10 winner versus Penn State that snapped a 74-year drought against the Nittany Lions – and #3 Alabama as “winners” as the Tide’s take-no-prisoners 35-17 win/cover against 13-point dog Wisconsin featured the one-two punch of QB Jake Coker and RB Derrick Henry who combined for 360 offensive yards and four TDs on a turnover-free night for Nick Saban’s team.
In case you’re wondering, Alabama is at Texas A&M on Oct. 17th … might want to mark that one down as “must-see TV”, eh?
THE NFL REPORT
Want to hear some “breaking news” from the quiet little football heaven known as New England?
Okay, so QB Tom Brady – who apparently wins everything he gets involved in except for Super Bowl games against the New York Giants (2007, 2011) – says he “feels bad” for the ball deflator duo that he hung out to dry but how are you feeling after hearing the word that the Patriots right now are tri-favorites to win it all come Super Bowl 50.
You heard us right:
The latest update has New England, Green Bay and Seattle all listed as 15-to-2 to win this year’s Super Bowl in Santa Clara and you really could make the case the defending SB champ Pats are the real team to beat now that Brady’s back for the full regular season and that includes the hell-to-pay Week 6 game at Indianapolis.
Consider that our Jim Sez sources swear the Pats are talking about that being the most important regular-season game since the 2007 regular-season finale (see Patriots 38, Giants 35 to keep going the perfect season) and you could see a 12- or 13-win regular season getting Bill Belichick’s crew the home-field advantage in the AFC Playoffs – and if they win the post-season home games it’s Brady “going home” to the San Francisco Bay Area attempting his second repeat (2003, ’04) in his career.
By the way, the aforementioned Colts are 8-to-1 to win it all and the Philadelphia Eagles are priced at 10-to-1 – and come game time Thursday night the oddsmakers very likely will have New England on its own as the “team to beat”.
Thank you, Judge Berman!
NOTE: Get the NFL 2015 season started off right with our Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots game preview in the very next edition of Jim Sez plus catch up with more NCAA Football News & Notes.