Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 11:12 AM
Network Finishes the Bowl Season on a 14-6 run, going 4-0 in New Year's Day Bowls, and covering with Georgia in the National Championship!
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NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS - HERE'S THE LOWDOWN AS WE HEAD TOWARDS THE WEEKEND
COLLEGE HOOP NOTES - THURSDAY NIGHT ACTION
Folks, there was plenty hootin'-and-hollerin' going on last weekend after all Four (4) NFL Wild Card underdogs swept the board - we won 'em all right here at Jim Hurley's Network, of course! - but that came one year after NFL Wild Card Betting Favorites had gone 4-0 ATS (against the spread) in that particular opening playoff round. So, as we head towards this weekend and NFL Divisional Playoff Games, we hit the re-wind button and show you what happened in this very round a year ago:
Last year's NFL Divisional Playoffs (with home teams in CAPS) in chronological order included ...
ATLANTA (- 6.5) 36, Seattle 20
NEW ENGLAND (- 16.5) 34, Houston 16
Green Bay (+ 5.5) 34, DALLAS 31
Pittsburgh (+ 2.5) 18, KANSAS CITY 16
Okay, so last year NFL Divisional Playoff Round Betting Favorites split right down the middle with the Saturday home teams - that's Atlanta and New England - getting the wins/covers followed by a pair of Sunday road teams (Green Bay and Pittsburgh) snatching outright underdog wins.
In terms of this weekend's games, let's go in order here ...
As you know, we already have a bit of a strange case involving this weekend's NFL Divisional Playoff Games as the NFC's top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles are home dogs against aforementioned Atlanta. Just so you know, the Eagles were 5 points (or larger) favorites in all their home gams this year until the injury to QB Carson Wentz in Week 14 and then they were a 4-point home pup in a meaningless regular-season finale against Dallas.
As far as the New England Patriots, they're currently a 13.5-point betting favorite for Saturday night's home game against the Tennessee Titans - and New England is no stranger to laying twin-figure post-season prices as Bill Belichick's crew is 2-3 spreadwise as 10-point-or-larger post-season favs since 2007.
On Sunday, note that Pittsburgh is a modest 7-6-1 ATS in the post-season in the Mike Tomlin Era that started back in 2007 but check out the fact that the Steelers are an electric 6-1 against the Las Vegas prices in all playoff home games under Tomlin. Now, Pittsburgh's a 7.5-point betting favorite against the Jacksonville Jaguars and - by the way - the Jags are staggering into this tilt on their longest spread losing skid this year (three consecutive pointspread "L's" following the non-cover win against Buffalo in last Sunday's AFC Wild Card Round Game).
Finally, lots of buzz surrounding the potential Super Bowl host Minnesota Vikings but did you realize that this NFC North champ is a collective 11-4-1 against the odds this year and a sizzling 44-20-1 ATS under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Mike Zimmer? Folks, that's an amazing .688 winning rate against Mr. Vig! Plus, remember that Minnesota bested 3-point road underdog New Orleans 29-19 in a season-opening game this year, so it's quite possible the Saints could begin/end their 2017 campaign at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minny ... stay tuned.
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the Side & Totals plays on all of this weekend's NFL Divisional Playoff games (remember, we were 4-0 in the Wild Cards!) when you check in with us on game-day mornings this Saturday/Sunday. Get 'em right here online or 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big. Plus - of course -- there's College Basketball and NBA action every day as the hardcourt action really heats up this New Year. Get 2018 rollin' with nothing but Jim Hurley winners!
THE COLLEGE HOOP REPORT
Let's check out a couple of ranked teams on the Thursday night menu ...
#5 WICHITA STATE (13-2, 3-0 American) at EAST CAROLINA (7-9, 1-3 American) - 9 p.m. ET, espn2
Good to see the Wichita State Shockers becoming "whole" again - F Markis McDuffie missed the first 11 games this year with a stress fracture in his left foot but slowly/surely he's coming around (see 12 points and 6 rebounds in last weekend's lopsided win against South Florida). McDuffie will be looking to crash the offensive boards here plus watch for Wichita State's three-point shooters as the Shockers are averaging 10 triples a game since Thanksgiving.
OREGON (11-5, 1-2 Pac-12) at #11 ARIZONA STATE (13-2, 1-2 Pac-12) - 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
It's no secret: Bobby Hurley's Arizona State squad is gonna be facing lots of zone defenses this year in Pac-12 play and it's high time the Sun Devils got their perimeter shooting in orer (see 25-of-83 trifectas for a lowly 30 percent in their last three outings). Pay special attention here to ASU's guard Shannon Evans who missed all 14 of his triple tries in recent back-to-back games against Arizona/Colorado. P.S., Hurley's troops are listed as 8.5-point betting favorites against the Ducks here.
NOTE: Catch our NFL Divisional Playoff Previews in the next couple Jim Sez columns.