Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 3:33 PM
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S MID-WEEK UPDATE: ARE MANY OF THE HIGHLY-RANKED TEAMS SIMPLY GETTING TOO TOXIC TO TOUCH THESE DAYS?...PLUS, OUR WEEKLY JIM SEZ TOP 10 ...
NFL NEWS & NOTES: A VERY LIMITED QB MARIOTA STILL GUIDES THE TITANS TO MNF WIN/COVER AS COLTS CAN'T CATCH A COLD!
Here's something to think about as we all move forward with this year's College Football season: Many of the sport's elite or upper crust teams - we're generally talking about top 10-to-15 type squads here - are getting a bit too toxic to touch when it comes to the almighty Las Vegas pointspreads.
Consider that last weekend the likes of then- #1 Alabama, #2 Clemson, #5 Washington, #8 Washington State, #10 Auburn, #11 Miami, #12 Oklahoma and #13 USC all lost versus the vig and - naturally - most of these teams were prohibitive betting favorites in their games.
Go through some of the team logs and you'll discover that 'Bama is now 3-4 ATS (against the spread) so far this season, Oklahoma is in the midst of a three-game spread losing skid and aforementioned USC is a downright rotten 1-6 against the odds!
Okay, this is not to claim that all highly-ranked teams are busts versus the vig but we've seen enough evidence in recent weeks to believe three things:
Number one, the pointspreads are simply too rich in many of these games 'cause the public loves to bet "name teams" and that's helping to skyrocket the price tags;
Number two, most of the wagering world has not come to grips with the fact that most of the country's 130 FBS teams have talent - decent talent - and so the likes of Syracuse (see last Friday night's outright win against Clemson) and Arizona State (outright win in the desert last Saturday night versus Washington) may not be having vintage years for themselves but they are a whole lot better than you might think;
Number three, and finally, there's not enough "handicapping emotion" going on here - let's face it, when a Syracuse gets to host the #2 team in the land or Arizona State welcomes in a top five team such as Washington, those underdog teams will be sky-high for the game whereas more often than not the betting favorite finds itself in a "trap game" situation or simply playing one of its dozen games. When a matchup is a really big deal for the dog and "just another game" for the Top 10-to-15 favorite, well, for our money it's the dog or nothing at all!
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gonna pound out another big winning week on the gridiron and don't forget there's still lots of Major-League Baseball Playoff winners too all week long when you check in with us here online or 1-800-323-4453.
Now, here's this week's version of the JIM SEZ TOP 10
1 - Alabama
2 - Georgia
3 - Penn State
4 - TCU
5 - Wisconsin
6 - Clemson
7 - Ohio State
8 - Oklahoma State
9 - Miami
10 - Notre Dame
NFL NEWS & NOTES
If you tuned in on Monday Night to watch a dynamic version of Tennessee Titans' QB Marcus Mariota, well, you were out of luck. The former Heisman Trophy winner was not taking any chances running downfield with an ailing hamstring that had caused 'em to miss time in the team's Week 5 loss in Miami. No spread option plays on this night, folks.
But Mariota was magnificent nonetheless - he threw for 306 yards with 1 TD in a 36-22 win/cover (folks, you all saw the game-covering 72-yard TD run by RB Derrick Henry, there's nothing else to say!) against the Indianapolis Colts and thus he helped to snap an 11-game SU (straight-up) Indy winning streak in the series between these AFC South clubs.
Note that Mariota and the Titans now have the dreaded "short week" before a Sunday game at Cleveland and then it's a Week 8 bye for Tennessee - in other words, expect a similar "strategy" on tap this weekend with Mariota (two carries for no ground yards) staying in the pocket and letting the other guys make the downfield plays.
Meanwhile, two quick bits for the Colts:
Why didn't veteran - and still very effective - RB Frank Gore run the ball more than 10 times (for 49 yards) in the MNF game? Gore had a real burst on a few up-the-middle runs and did it really make sense to have oft-erratic QB Jacoby Brissett attempt 37 passes while Gore rushed the ball so infrequently? Keep in mind this was a tight game till the very, very end and so it's not as if Brissett had to throw the ball on every down.
And gotta believe the Colts (and their fans) are downright angry with the production or lack thereof from the pass catchers: As ESPN play-by-play voice Sean McDonough kept reminding us, TE Jack Doyle (7 catches for 50 yards with one score) had a severe case of the "dropsies" on this night, WR Donte Moncrief (5 receptions worth 67 yards) had a critical drop and WR T.Y. Hilton was MIA with one catch for 19 yards (and four targets in all). Good grief!
NOTE: Catch our NFL Week 7 Thursday Night Game Preview - that's the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Raiders - in the next edition of Jim Sez.