Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 11:25 AM
THANKSGIVING WEEK IS HERE AND THAT MEANS IT'S A FOOTBALL FEAST WITH JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!!!
THE MONDAY NIGHT PREVIEW AS BILLS-PATS CLASH IN FOXBOROUGH PLUS WHAT'S STRAIGHT AHEAD ON TURKEY DAY
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT: WEEKEND NEWSMAKERS/NOISEMAKERS AND SOME BELIEVE-IT-OR-NOT SPREAD STATS
The annual Jim Hurley Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot is back... and it's gonna be a fun-filled (and profit-filled) week/weekend ahead! We'll get into the NFL Week 12 games on Thanksgiving Day/Night in just a moment plus we'll touch on the two College Football games on Thursday night's menu but first this key reminder ...
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out for tonight's NFL Week 11 tilt between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots plus we'll have Side & Totals winners for the Thanksgiving Day games when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network on Wednesday afternoon at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online.
Plus there's NCAA Football, NBA and NCAA Basketball winners too all week long as we roar through the holidays with more major hot streaks to come! Note that we banged out a batch of NFL Week 11 winners this past Sunday as Indianapolis (+ 3.5) roared back to beat Atlanta 24-21, Houston (+ 4) toppled the New York Jets 24-17 and Dallas (- 2) held off the rain and the Miami Dolphins in a 24-14 triumph. Plus, we bagged the "under" in Denver at Chicago too! And there's lots more where that came from, folks!
Let's first close out Week 11 -- tonight, it's ...
BUFFALO (5-4) at NEW ENGLAND (9-0) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Patriots and Carolina Panthers are the only two teams still standing with a "0" in the loss column and now we'll see if New England QB Tom Brady (3,043 yards passing with 24 TDs and 3 INTs) can bring out the season series brooms against Buffalo and head coach Rex Ryan - the Pats copped a 40-32 win/cover as 1.5-point underdogs back in Week 2 (it was never that close) but this New England team will be without injured WR Julian Edelman (61 receptions) and do-it-all RB Dion Lewis (234 rushing yards and 388 receiving yards).
The Bills - who have won/covered all three of their United States road games this year (versus Miami, Tennessee and the New York Jets) -- are banking on a better pass rush this time around plus there's word that WR Sammy Watkins will see lots of downfield chucks here ... stay tuned.
Spread Notes - New England is a spiffy 6-2-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this year and overall the Patriots have covered 12 of their last 18 head-to-head showdowns versus Buffalo. Note the road underdog Bills are a modest 5-4 vig-wise overall this season but they're a rock-solid 11-5 ATS in AFC East games since the start of the 2013 season.
On Thanksgiving Day/Night, it's ...
PHILADELPHIA (4-6) at DETROIT (3-7) - 12:30 p.m. ET, Fox
For all those buddies of ours that contend the Lions "always win on Thanksgiving Day" you can remind 'em that Detroit is 35-38-2 SU (straight-up) all-time on this great American holiday and that includes wins/covers the past two years after a nine-year Turkey Day losing streak.
Still, there's positive "mojo" with the Motowners right now after back-to-back wins the past two Sundays against Green Bay and Oakland - and who knew that defense would be the key with the Packers and Raiders combining for only 29 total points?
The Detroit pass rush starring DE Ezekiel Ansah will be key when facing turnover-prone Eagles QB Mark Sanchez who was the laughingstock of Thanksgiving as a member of the New York Jets in 2012 ("Butt Fumble" highlights, anyone?) and note Sanchez just threw three INTs in the embarrassing 45-21 home loss to 6.5-point pup Tampa Bay.
Spread Note - Detroit is 11-17-1 ATS at home since the start of the 2012 campaign.
CAROLINA (10-0) at DALLAS (3-7) - 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Loved the stat that NBC play-by-play man Al Michaels tossed out late in Sunday's wild 34-31 non-cover win by Arizona over Cincinnati - he said that during the Super Bowl Era only six of the 15 NFL teams to start off a season at 10-and-oh went on to win the Super Bowl (the 2009 New Orleans Saints were the latest 10-0 team to accomplish the feat) ... wouldn't you think someone that dominant would have snagged more Vince Lombardi Trophies? Hmmm.
Now, the Panthers get the "bright lights" treatment as they are the invited guests to "Big D" for this year's annual Thanksgiving Day game and all eyes are plastered on Carolina QB Cam Newton who fired five touchdown passes to five different receivers in Sunday's muscle-flexing 44-16 win/cover against 7-point dog Washington. Better yet, Newton - who's garnering a heckuva lot of MVP attention these days - has a legit star/healthy running back in Jonathan Stewart (102 yards rushing versus the 'Skins) and the defense is in top form after forcing five turnovers and sacking Washington QB Kirk Cousins five times in that Week 11 bash.
Don't think that still-rusty Dallas QB Tony Romo - key picks, some shaky passes and bad footwork in his return this past weekend - is overly anxious about facing this Carolina club but what drama as "America's Team" on "America's Holiday" has a shot to KO Carolina ... great stuff.
Spread Note - Carolina is 8-2 versus the vig overall this year and are you surprised that the early line has Dallas listed as a small betting favorite?
CHICAGO (4-6) at GREEN BAY (7-3) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Okay, so the "really big news" here is that at halftime the Green Bay Packers will be retiring the #4 of one-time icon QB Brett Favre but - for a moment - brush aside all that pomp and consider that the Pack's currently holding the tie-breaker to win the NFC North and could slip into the second seed in the NFC Playoffs if things break right for 'em down the stretch.
So, this is a real biggie at Lambeau Field and GB will be fine providing it follows the formula for last Sunday's 30-13 win at Minnesota - constant quarterback pressure (see six sacks of Minny's Teddy Bridgewater), a mistake-free QB Aaron Rodgers (212 yards passing with two TDs and 0 INTs against the Vikes) and a born-again ground game with "slimmed-down" RB Eddie Lacy (100 yards rushing on 22 pops) spinning out of trouble.
The Bears? They need to get WR Alshon Jeffery back onto the field - he missed Sunday's 17-15 home loss versus Denver - and make better decisions (why run and not throw on that critical two-point conversion attempt against the Broncos?).
Spread Note - Green Bay is 14-7-1 ATS in head-to-head games against Chicago since the start of 2005.
In NCAA Football on Thanksgiving Night, it's ...
USF (7-4, 5-2 American) at UCF (0-11, 0-7 American) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so we chat about the raging-hot USF Bulls below in our Spread Stats segment but here the road favorites will have a tough time giving an encore performance here after last Friday's 65-27 blowout win against Cincinnati when QB Quinton Flowers aired four touchdowns while pound-'em-out RB Marlon Mack rushed for 100-plus yards for a seventh time this year.
Note USF has not been a road favorite yet this year but this Turkey Night price could zoom out of whack - yes, even against a winless UCF team that has allowed 40-plus points in six of its last seven games.
Spread Note - USF is 10-5 ATS away the past two-plus seasons.
TEXAS TECH (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) at TEXAS (4-6, 3-4 Big 12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Daunting task for the Texas Longhorns - they must win here and at Baylor next week to gain a post-season bowl berth (they've gone nine of the last 10 years, you know!) and the oddsmakers have installed Charlie Strong's squad as mere one-point favs here ... hmmm.
Texas Tech knows it is going bowling and brings the country's third-ranked passing offense - and third-ranked offense - into Austin here and keep a close eye on QB Patrick Mahomes (3,911 yards passing and 31 TDs) who may be spending time throwing on the run here.
Spread Note - Texas has covered each of its last five head-to-head meetings versus Texas Tech including a 34-13 road win last year as 4-point favorites.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND REPORT
Here's a little memo directed towards Ohio State Buckeyes' running back Ezekiel Elliott ... don't let the door hit your backside on the way out of town! Okay, so we know that in the post-game heat-of-the-moment there's always been comments made by athletes - college and pro alike - that don't often sound great but we take issue here with Elliott who had plenty to say following his team's stunning 17-14 loss to 14.5-point underdog Michigan State last Saturday night in rainy Columbus.
True, Elliott only had 12 carries for 33 yards and one touchdown in the loss (eight of those carries came in one first-half drive) and so we could see 'em being upset but last year on the way to a surprising national championship run there was Elliott getting a gazillion carries in wins against Alabama and Oregon - did he applaud head coach Urban Meyer back then for letting him have so many touches?
The reality here is that Michigan State's grind-'em-out ground game almost necessitated by the bad weather and the fact Sparty often was utilizing a third-string quarterback kept the ball away from Elliott and Company for huge stretches of time in the second half - maybe "Zeke" should have directed some of his angst towards DE Joey Bosa and his O-State defensive cohorts who allowed big plays and committed untimely penalties throughout second-half action.
Hey, did you notice that with all the yakking about the top six teams in last week's College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings - that's Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Oklahoma State in the #1-thru-#6 spots - the only team that covered the almighty Las Vegas pointspread on this November weekend was the 39.5-point favored 'Bama Crimson Tide in its scrimmage-like 56-6 win against Charleston Southern.
That's correct as the other five teams all failed to deliver spread "W's" and don't know about you but we believe all of these spread losses played "tight" - how about Notre Dame stumbling/bumbling its way to a 19-16 non-cover win against Boston College at Fenway Park and even #1 Clemson wasn't "lights out" in its 33-13 non-cover triumph over 29.5-point pup Wake Forest - did you realize the Tigers committed four turnovers including a pair of picks by new likely Heisman Trophy frontrunner QB Deshaun Watson ...
Speaking of pointspread goodies, maybe they've just slipped under the proverbial radar or maybe we simply didn't give some of these teams their proper due but let's acknowledge from great pointspread showings from the following College Football teams:
Air Force has covered its last five consecutive games following last Friday's 37-30 conquest over 10.5-point favorite Boise State;
Florida State may have been kayoed from the national championship picture weeks ago but hats off to head coach Jimbo Fisher who has directed the Seminoles to four consecutive pointspread "W's" since that wacky last-second loss to Georgia Tech;
Minnesota is - get this - a perfect 4-0 ATS ever since naming Tracy Claeys the successor to former head coach Jerry Kill. The Golden Gophers - who bopped 4.5-point underdog Illinois 32-23 last weekend - also covered as pups versus Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa under Claeys;
Anchors away as the kids from Navy - fresh off last Saturday's 44-21 win/cover at two-TD dog Tulsa - are now 8-2 against the numbers this season and the Midshipmen will ride their second four-game ATS winning streak into play this weekend at Houston;
We know nobody's paying attention but Nevada's strung together four consecutive spread wins since late October;
Northern Illinois is a sharp 8-2-1 versus the vig this year and the Huskies have covered all three of their weeknight games on the ESPN family of networks the past three weeks and now they host Ohio on Tuesday night;
Major kudos to the Oregon Ducks who were basically left for dead weeks ago and now roar into this weekend's "Civil War" game against weakling Oregon State with five straight spread triumphs
San Diego State plays a whole lot of those "late-night games" but we've been watching as the Aztecs have covered a whopping seven consecutive games and all this following a season-opening four-game spread losing skein;
Can you believe that the USF Bulls are 6-1-1 ATS since the start of October? Underrated head coach Willie Taggart's team just boffed Cincinnati 65-27 as one-point home dogs last Friday night and the polls may not say it but we think this is a Top 25 team right now;
Virginia may sport a national championship-hopeful hops team but generally speaking the gridiron Cavaliers get no love. But, hey, did you know Mike London's squad exited last weekend's 42-34 win/cover against 2-point road fav Duke with a five-game spread winning streak?;
Last but not least, the Washington State Cougars have been an absolute gold mine this year when it comes to pointspread W's and L's as the Cougars are 9-2 ATS overall and that features a current eight-game spread winning streak. Well, we know QB Luke Falk has put up silly passing numbers but let's throw some Coach of the Year-type love at oft-criticized boss Mike Leach who's guided Wazzu to spread wins in all eight of its Pac-12 games this year.
NOTE: Lots more Football in the next Jim Sez including our updated Heisman Trophy Watch List and much more!