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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 6:00 PM

It’s a shame that the teams themselves aren’t taking Thursday’s exhibition opener very seriously. Head coach Bruce Arians of the Cardinals has already announced he won’t play any of his starters. Dallas isn’t interested in risking any injuries to key players either. So, handicappers are forced to pick a winner based on which backups care more than the coaches do!

The great thing about JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK is that we know we can pass a game if there’s no edge. We focus on finding you BIG, JUICY WINNERS!  We’ll be working with our on-site sources to get a read on player intensity. That could yield a team side selection, or an Over/Under play. If the game should be left alone, we’ll leave it alone and start up next week when all 32 teams take the field with a lot more practice time under their belts.

Check out the website Thursday to see if something special is brewing. In the meantime, let’s talk generally about what’s at stake for these teams as they prepare for the 2017 season.

*Dallas is the betting favorite to repeat as NFC East champs. But, it’s widely understood that they should “regress” from last year’s shocking 13-3 campaign. Very tough to win that many (or more) two seasons in a row. And, it’s not like the Cowboys had “13-3” caliber stats. They were more like a solid 10 or 11-win team that saw fortune smile on them with good health and a few breaks in close games.

Vegas has posted 9.5 for the “Regular Season Wins” proposition with this team. That may prove too tall a task if they run into bad injury luck, or if defenses adjust to Dak Prescott now that they’ve had a full offseason to study film. The rest of the division shows the NY Giants projected for 9 wins, Philadelphia for 8.5, and Washington for 7.5. Any of the four could reach the playoffs.

We won’t learn much about 2017 prospects for the Cowboys Thursday. Pay attention to their dress rehearsal game in a few weeks. And, keep reading the headlines to see how many players get in trouble away from the field!

*Arizona is in “must win” mode after last season’s disappointing 7-8-1 campaign. The Cardinals had been a popular darkhorse pick to reach the Super Bowl among pundits. Supposedly they were ready to pass fading Seattle (who only managed a 10-5-1 record). Instead, Carson Palmer cratered…and you got the sense that the players were tuning out Arians.

All that means that 2017 could explode in either direction. If everyone gets back on the same page, we’re looking at an 11-win team that’s a steal at +300 or so to win the NFC West. If Palmer’s lost it, then Arians could be fired by October in another wasted season.

Las Vegas currently has 8.5 for a projected win mark (some places opened as low as 7.5 wins). We should say that’s also a steal if the players and coaching staff can get back on the same page. Seattle is the NFC West favorite with 10.5 projected wins. Straggling far behind are the LA Rams at 5.5 wins, and San Francisco at 5 wins. 

Projected regular season Power Ratings show Dallas as the slightly superior side to Arizona. They’d be a neutral field favorite of less than a field goal. Slightly more than a field goal at home, with Arizona probably being a slight favorite in the desert. Thursday night, Dallas is currently -1 in Canton based on the news that Arizona won’t give any snaps to either of their top two quarterbacks. The Over/Under is a low 35 because both coaches may be interested in racing through the game to get it over with.

Truthfully speaking, A LOT of exhibition games are going to look like this. But, in future weeks there will be 16 to look at rather than just one! From those 16, a handful of BIG MONEY opportunities will arise. It’s our job to find them…using resources like SCOUTS and SOURCES who have been watching practices, STATHEADS who know what matters most in the boxscore August, COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS who know the skill levels of the backups and run simulations accordingly, and FRIENDS BEHIND THE LINE in Las Vegas and Nevada who let us know what the Wise Guys are doing.

The month of August is going to feature special NFL opportunities along with great daily baseball. The pennant races are really heating up! You always can purchase our daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about longterm packages or early-bird football, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. Now is the time to LOCK IN because FOOTBALL IS HERE!

Back with you Friday to preview a very much anticipated Chicago Cubs/Washington Nationals series. That’s very likely a playoff preview between #2 and #3 seeds who must figure out how they’re going to get past each other, then compete with the LA Dodgers! Early next week we’ll preview those Dodgers in a big road series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Plenty of money to be won in football and baseball this month. Be sure you GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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