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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Our Jim Sez Mid-Week Report – NFL Week 3 Gets Rollin’ With Thursday’s Texans-Patriots Bash … Plus College Football’s Better-Than-You Think Unranked Teams And A Couple Of Saturday’s Key Game Previews

Wait a second…

Are we actually supposed to “feel sorry” for the New England Patriots just because they’re down to a third-string quarterback for Thursday’s key Week 3 hoedown against the visiting Houston Texans?
Last Sunday’s shoulder injury suffered by the Pats’ backup-turned-starter Jimmy Garoppolo may not kayo him for long – there’s some silly talk that he’ll be dressed here and ready if needed – as rookie Jacoby Brissett is slated to start against a Texans team that has allowed a grand total of 26 points so far en route to a 2-and-oh SU (straight-up) start to this 2016 season.

No doubt Garoppolo’s name was among the Week 2 key injuries along with the likes of Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson (knee), Chicago QB Jay Cutler (hand), Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart and San Diego’s do-it-all RB Danny Woodhead but unless you happen to be a die-hard Patriots’ fan it’s tough to feel sorry for New England head coach Bill Belichick who’s been making quite a living through the years in the AFC East while going up against quarterback folks such as Mark Sanchez, J.P. Losman and Matt Moore – let’s just say following the four-game DeflateGate suspension of Tom Brady the Pats have a little more bad karma comin’ their way.

NFL WEEK 3 – On Thursday night, it’s…

HOUSTON (2-0) at NEW ENGLAND (2-0) – 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Okay, so you see that the visiting Texans opened as 1½-point betting favorites and quickly were bumped up to 2½-point favs right away and just for some perspective the last two times that Houston played in Foxboro – both with Brady starting for the Pats – the AFC South club was grabbing 5½ and 12 points and Houston didn’t cover either tilt.

Key component for the Texans here is can they continue to stretch the field with wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins (12 receptions for 167 yards so far) and rookie Will Fuller (9 catches for a team-best 211 yards receiving)?

Spread Notes – New England is 19-10-2 ATS (against the spread) as hosts since the start of the 2013 season while Houston is a scintillating 13-4 versus the vig as betting favorites the past two-plus seasons.

In other NFL Week 3 Notes…

NFL Betting Favorites are 14-15-0 ATS with 3 Pick ‘Em games thus far while “Over” players have turned in back-to-back 9-7 ATS weeks for a composite 18-14 against the odds record…

Meanwhile, the NFL’s 0-2 spread squads at this minute are as follows: Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Seattle and Washington…

For all the chatter regarding the Oakland Raiders being a “now” team, did you happen to notice they surrendered 528 yards to an oft-pedestrian Atlanta Falcons team last Sunday? The Raiders are in Tennessee for a Week 3 bash this Sunday afternoon and, following that game-winning 93-yard TD drive in Detroit last weekend, better believe second-year stud Titans’ QB Marcus Mariota believes he can rattle the silver-and-black’s cage.

Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will storm their way to the winner’s circle this week/weekend with NFL Week 3 and NCAA Football action with the pro menu getting jump-started Thursday Night with the above-mentioned AFC battle between Houston at New England.

Plus, the college kids are back on the gridiron come Thursday night too as #5 Clemson plays at ACC rival Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN – we’ll have that game preview in tomorrow’s Jim Sez column) with lots of great Friday/Saturday action too including Florida at Tennessee, Stanford at UCLA and Penn State at Michigan.

And it’s down-the-stretch time in Major-League Baseball with just a dozen or so games per team still remaining in regular-season play, so make sure you pile up the diamond profits too as we head towards the AL and NL Wild Card Games.

Check with us right here at www.VegasSportsMasters.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 … and win, win, win!

SATURDAY’S KEY COLLEGE SHOWDOWNS

Let’s whet your gridiron appetite with a pair of key games …

#17 ARKANSAS (3-0) vs. #10 TEXAS A&M (3-0) – (at Arlington), 9 p.m. ET

The last two times these once-upon-a-time Southwest Conference/current SEC West Division rivals played here at “Jerry’s World” the games went into overtime with the A&M Aggies winning both (see 28-21 last year and 35-28 in 2014), so the 6-point underdog Hogs have major revenge here … wouldn’t you say?

Spread Note – Texas A&M is just 8-17 ATS in conference games the past three-plus seasons.

#7 STANFORD (2-0) at UCLA (2-1) – 8 p.m. ET

It’s the ole one-two punch for the Stanford Cardinal: Last week Heisman Trophy hopeful RB Christian McCaffrey (260 all-purpose yards) helped dunk 8-point dog USC 27-10 and now here comes David Shaw’s squad into SoCal to play the other college football resident in the City of Angels. Hey, McCaffrey rushed for 165 yards against the Troy Boys and the Uclan defensive front isn’t exactly a strong suit either.

Spread Note – Stanford’s covered seven of its last 11 head-to-head showdowns with UCLA.

Okay, so how about a round of applause for a couple of College Football’s better-than-you-think teams:

SOUTH FLORIDA (3-0) – Okay, we hear y’all saying “big deal” when it comes to the USF Bulls’ season-starting wins/covers against Towson, Northern Illinois and Syracuse but there’s mucho speed on this team and it will be on display this Saturday against visiting (and very angry Florida State). Duly noted that USF went from a 4- to 6-point home dog early in the week.

WESTERN MICHIGAN (3-0) -- Hey, the Broncos already have beaten a pair of Big 10 teams in Northwestern – a Jim Hurley Network winner three weeks back! – and Illinois and P.J. Fleck’s club won both on enemy gridirons. A veteran team that doesn’t get rattled and has senior QB Zach Terrell pulling the trigger could wind up being the non-power conference team that plays in a big bowl this holiday season.

NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Previews in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez.

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