Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 10:32 AM
NFL WEEK 9 IS IN THE BOOKS: ROAD-WARRIOR LIONS BEAT PACK 30-17 ...PLUS, WE LOOK AHEAD AT SOME OF THE BREWING STORIES IN WEEK 10 PLAY
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL MID-WEEK REPORT: WHO'S BEEN BANGING OUT SERIOUS PROFITS LATELY?
Go figure. This year's NFL happens to be jam-packed with teams that are playing their best ball on the road - check out the expanded league standings following the conclusion of Week 9 and you'll see that the following teams all sport better winning percentages on the road than they do at home:
They are New England, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas, the New York Giants, Carolina, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Rams and - the team that snagged the NFL Week 9 Monday Night Football win - the Detroit Lions.
Folks, we're exactly halfway through this here-and-now 2017 NFL season and that's 10 teams or nearly one-third of the league that's been better on the road than at home. Very interesting.
In fact, the Lions' 30-17 win/cover at 2.5-point underdog Green Bay in MNF marked the third time in four away games this season that the Motowners marched out with wins/cover - the Lions also turned the tricks at the Giants in Week 2 and at Minnesota in Week 4 with the lone road loss in New Orleans in a Week 6 shootout.
No doubt you all saw the cartoon-like graphic the ESPN folks posted during Detroit's win - the Lions had lost 24 of their previous 25 trips into Green Bay with the only other win at Lambeau Field occurring back in 2015 (see 18-16 win as 10-point underdogs).
But on Monday Night, there was no shock, no big upset. As ESPN's keen analyst Jon Gruden pointed out, these Lions have a distinct advantage in the NFC North because they have the far-and-away best quarterback in the division. "Moneybags" Matthew Stafford completed 26-of-33 passes for 361 yards with two TDs and 0 INTs as he indeed dissected the Green Bay defense with an array of perfectly timed and perfectly thrown aerials (note that eight different players caught Stafford throws including WRs Golden Tate and Marvin Jones who combined for 14 grabs worth 220 yards and two Jones' TDs).
True, the Lions (4-4) - tied with Green Bay and just one game ahead of 3-and-5 Chicago -- still sit two full games back of the Minnesota Vikings (6-2) in the chase for first place and keep in mind that on Thanksgiving Day it'll be Vikings at Lions to kick off your holiday.
But whether the Lions can win this division or even simply just secure a wild card berth may depend on future road success: Jim Caldwell's club has remaining road games at Chicago, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati and it's safe to say that Detroit will sport the best quarterback on the field for all four of these away tilts. Can the Lions win three of 'em and maybe even finish at 10-6 (or even 11-5)? Stay tuned.
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have Football Winners (both the Sides & Totals) all week long in an uber-busy week on the gridiron. The College kids have plenty of good stuff going on as there's Three (3) Games on Wednesday night, Three (3) games on Thursday and Three (3) more Friday even before we get to a super-sized Saturday menu and don't forget that NFL Week 10 swings into action on Thursday with a key NFC West game between the Seattle Seahawks at the Arizona Cardinals. And there's lots of NBA winners and the College Basketball guys start up Friday, so just check in with us here online or 1-800-323-4453.
In NFL Week 10 News ...
Staying on the topic of QBs, the Tampa Bay Bucs will be without sore-shouldered slinger Jameis Winston for Sunday's home game against the New York Jets - now did you really think prior to this season that the J-E-T-S were gonna be road favorites against anyone this year? The Jets are listed as 2.5-point favs in Tampa Bay.
And will we see the first sighting of QB Jimmy Garoppolo on the field for the San Francisco 49ers in their home game against the New York Giants? You know this is "appointment TV" with these teams a combined 1-16 SU (straight-up) this season! Garoppolo probably needs a bit more time to study coach Kyle Shanahan's playbook but we say there's a decent chance the former New England Patriot backup gets on the field here.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE
There's been a batch of Power 5 teams that have banged out healthy profits in recent weeks ... here's some squads with reasons why:
BOSTON COLLEGE - Strange but true, the BC Eagles have covered their last six consecutive games ever since that 29-point loss against "sister school" Notre Dame. You could say everything's jelled for Steve Addazio's club that had trouble putting points on the board earlier in the year and yet has posted 45-, 41- and 35-point totals the last three games.
IOWA STATE - Last weekend's 20-16 loss at 3.5-point favorite West Virginia notwithstanding, this Cyclones club has treated their backers well with a snazzy 7-2 ATS (against the spread) mark for the year and note that includes outright upsets against 30.5-point fav Oklahoma, 6.5-point favorite Texas Tech and 7-point chalkie TCU. Defense has been the key as I-State's allowed 20-points or less in six of its last seven games.
MISSOURI - Don't look now but the Mizzou Tigers have banged out five consecutive spread wins after starting off the campaign an 0-4 versus the vig. Okay, so this SEC club has boned up the "D" while allowing just 49 total points scored the past three weeks.
NORTHWESTERN - Just go ahead and call the Wildcats "The kings of overtime" because Pat Fitzgerald's squad has won OT games each of the past three weeks and overall the 'Cats have covered four in a row and six of their last seven games. A spread-the-wealth mentality on offense helps: N'western has seven players with between 18 and 35 pass receptions
NOTE: Get our Thursday Night Game preview - Seahawks at Cardinals - and much more in the next edition of Jim Sez and make sure you're cashin' all week long with College Football, the NBA and - soon enough - College Hoops!