Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 9:01 AM
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NFL WEEK 15 KICKS OFF WITH BRONCOS-COLTS IN A "WHAT-COULD-HAVE-BEEN" GAME IN INDY
Now, who's gonna argue with that old saying ... "it's the most wonderful time of the year"? Hey, we're always extra-geeked for the College Football Bowl Season and this year they really kick off with a bang with Six (6) Games on the Saturday menu ... yummy! We'll get to a few of Saturday's College Bowl Previews in just a moment but first this ultra-important reminder to you all ...
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have plenty of NFL Week 15 Winners - that's both Sides & Totals - beginning Thursday night when the Denver Broncos play the Indianapolis Colts. And - of course -- there's 41 College Bowl Games in all if you're including the National Championship Game on Jan. 8, 2018 -- so check with us here online or 1-800-323-4453 and sign up right now for the special discount bowl price. Plus, get all the daily/nightly College Basketball and NBA Winners too!
COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA
On Saturday, it's ...
NEW ORLEANS BOWL - at New Orleans, LA
TROY (10-2) vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-4) - 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Could we be kicking off the 2017 bowl season with a real "live dog" as North Texas QB Mason Fine (3,749 yards passing with 28 TDs) is an accomplished college passer who now looks to attack a Troy defense that's yielded 21 points or less in nine different games this year.
Spread Stats - North Texas registered a solid 8-5 ATS (against the spread) mark in the 2017 campaign and the Mean Green is a composite 6-2 vig-wise when playing non-Conference USA games; Troy failed to cover six of its last nine games this year when placed in the favorite's role.
CURE BOWL - at Orlando, FL
GEORGIA STATE (6-5) vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY (6-6) - 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
A pair of first-year college coaches - Georgia State's Shawn Elliott and Western Kentucky's Mike Sanford - clash here near Disneyworld and we'll see who makes this their "magic kingdom": The WKU Hilltoppers staggered down the stretch with four losses in their final five games but QB Mike White (3,826 yards passing / 24 TDs) is geared up to face the country's 92nd-ranked pass defense. The G-State squad - only around playing ball since 2010 - needs WR Penny Hart (73 catches) to make some field-flipping plays here.
Spread Stats - Georgia State flubbed its way to a 4-7 ATS mark this year including four consecutive spread setbacks at year's end; Western Kentucky's an ugly 3-9 against the odds this year including a rotten 1-5 ATS mark away.
LAS VEGAS BOWL - at Las Vegas, NV
#25 BOISE STATE (10-3) vs. OREGON (7-5) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The marquee matchup of this first day/night of bowls comes to us from the desert where the Power 5 team (that's Oregon) is listed as a full touchdown betting favorite despite the fact the Ducks are playin' for interim head coach Mario Cristobal - one-and-done guy Willie Taggart took his act to Florida State and so here's the first of what will be many a bowl game in which one team (or sometimes both teams) are going to battle without their "normal" head coach. Oregon QB Justin Herbert is the headliner here as the Ducks were off to a nifty 4-1 SU (straight-up) start before he broke his collarbone en route to a 1,750-yard, 13-TD, 3-INT season. On the flip side, Boise State will play both quarterback Brett Rypien and the more mobile Montell Cozart (they combined for 24 passing TDs and just 5 INTs) but one major key for the Broncos is LB Leighton Vander Esch who was voted the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Spread Stats - Boise State has covered six of its last nine bowl games; Oregon is 5-2 ATS as betting favorites this year after having gone 4-10 ATS as chalk sides the previous two years.
NFL WEEK 15
On Thursday Night Football, it's ...DENVER (4-9) at INDIANAPOLIS (3-10) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
No question about it: When the NFL schedule-makers put this one in prime-time to kick off the Week 15 menu, it was figuring on a blockbuster matchup. After all, the Denver Broncos entered the 2017 season at 16-to-1 odds to win it all while the Indianapolis Colts - who knew they would be minus QB Andrew Luck for at least the season's first few games - were more of a long-shot at 30-to-1.
Well, Luck never has played a single down for the "Horseshoes" this season while the Broncos' quarterback situation became a weekly (and messy) soap opera. Long story short, this one's not gonna bring the NFL a rating bonanza here but it'll be interesting to see if Denver's top-ranked defense can clog up the running lanes of veteran RB Frank Gore (see 36 carries for 130 yards in that snowy overtime loss in Buffalo last weekend) while Broncos' WR Demaryius Thomas (team-leading 68 receptions for 771 yards) challenges a banged-up Colts secondary - the price tag has seen Denver go up from 1.5 to 2-point favorite while the total has tumbled a bit from 41.5 to 40 points.
Spread Stats - Denver has failed to cover seven of its last eight games and overall the Broncos are 0-6 ATS on the road in 2017. On the flip side, Indianapolis is 6-8 vig-wise this season but the Colts are 4-2 vig-wise as hosts.
NOTE: More College Bowl Previews straight ahead!