Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 12:00 AM
FLY, EAGLES, FLY:
DEFENDING CHAMPS PULL ANOTHER
PHILLY SPECIAL IN GRITTY 18-12 WIN
TO KICK OFF NFL ’18 CAMPAIGN
AS FALCONS MELT DOWN (AGAIN) …
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT:
HERE’S FIVE TOP GAMES ON THE
SATURDAY GRIDIRON MENU
Talk about the same old song!
The Atlanta Falcons – the NFL’s kings of close / heart-break losses – did it again to start this here-and-now 2018 NFL season with last night’s 18-12 loss at the 1-point home underdog Philadelphia Eagles … just hope your life is never really on the line when the Falcs make it to the red zone late in a close game!
Last night QB Matt Ryan and Company went a rotten 1-of-9 in the red zone and the game ended just as last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff game did in a much chillier Philly environment when Ryan and superstar receiver Julio Jones were unable to click on a fourth-down play.
Meanwhile, memo to the NFL: Your TV ratings have plummeted the past couple of years for a variety of reasons but keep feeding your fan base games with 27 penalty flags and there will be lots more folks tuning out … got it!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers plan on piling up loads of profits this NFL 2018 and NCAA Football season and so make sure you get wall-to-wall NFL Week 1, College Football and Major-League Baseball winners here at www.jimhurley.com or else our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Climb aboard the bandwagon right at the start of this ride … and win, win, win!
SATURDAY’S KEY COLLEGE FOOTBALL SHOWDOWNS
#2 CLEMSON (1-0) at TEXAS A&M (1-0) – 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
The headline of this ACC vs. SEC showdown in College Station is the coaching matchup of Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and A&M’s new boss Jimbo Fisher – it is the ninth consecutive season these southern gentlemen will be squaring off and note they’ve split the first eight showdowns with Fisher then coaching Florida State – but the proverbial bottom line here is the Tigers have lost regular-season games they should not have each of the past two years (see Pittsburgh in 2016, Syracuse in ’17) and you wonder if Swinney’s team will sink or swim here as 12-point road favorites. The super-charged Clemson defensive line – which might see four players get drafted in Round One of the next NFL Draft – want to button up things right from the start but keep an eye peeled on Aggies’ RB Trayveon Williams (20 carries for 240 yards and 3 TDs in last week’s 59-7 win/cover against Northwestern State).
Spread Notes – Clemson’s covered 11 of its last 17 games against non-conference foes while dating back to late in the 2014 season; Texas A&M went 4-2-1 ATS (against the spread) as underdog sides last year.
#3 GEORGIA (1-0) at #24 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-0) – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Make no mistake about it: The Georgia Bulldogs have one item on their “to-do” list this year and that’s to get back to the national championship game – and right here they might need slinger Jake Fromm (12-of-16 passing with two TDs in last week’s 45-0 non-cover win against 48-point dog Austin Peay) to play a starring role against a gritty South Carolina bunch that upset fellow SEC rivals Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee a year ago. Will the Dawgs’ defense get in the grill of Carolina QB Jake Bentley who last week fired four scoring strikes in SC’s 49-15 win/cover against 30.5-point underdog Coastal Carolina?
Spread Notes – Georgia is fresh off going 7-3 versus the vig in 10 games played against fellow SEC squads a year ago; South Carolina enters this league bash having covered eight of its last nine games overall including outright dog winners last year against Tennessee (+ 3) and Arkansas (+ 3.5).
UCLA (0-1) at #6 OKLAHOMA (1-0) – 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Did you see this coming? The Oklahoma Sooners – in the first year of the post-Baker Mayfield Era – are actually a whopping 30.5-point betting favorite against a UCLA squad that laid a big-time egg last weekend in the debut of head coach Chip Kelly. True, the Bruins had to play much of that game without starting QB Wilton Speight who injured his back in the first half and word is here don’t count on Speight in a Bruins’ “uni” here. Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray (209 yards passing in last week’s 63-14 win/cover against 18.5-point pup Florida Atlantic) would like for folks to start talkin’ him up in Heisman Trophy chat rooms.
Spread Notes – Oklahoma is a solid 22-14 ATS as betting favorites since the start of the 2015 season; UCLA’s now 4-12 spreadwise in its last 16 overall verdicts dating back to late 2016.
#17 USC (1-0) at #10 STANFORD (1-0) – 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox
The USC kids snagged a pair of wins against Stanford last year – including a 31-28 non-cover win in the Pac-12 Championship Game – but the script has been flipped (Stanford was a 3.5-point pup in both of last season’s matchups) and now it’s David Shaw’s Cardinal club that’s in the chalk role (- 5) but can they shake RB Bryce Love free here after he rushed the ball 18 times for just 29 yards in last week’s win/cover against San Diego State?
Spread Notes – Believe it or not, the USC Trojans have covered just four of their last 16 overall pointspread decisions and did you know the Troy Boys have failed to cover four of their last five games against Stanford?; The Cardinal is a decent 17-11-1 vig-wise in Pac-12 games the past three-plus seasons.
#13 PENN STATE (1-0) at PITTSBURGH (1-0) – 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Go ahead and look it up: The Penn State Nittany Lions have been away favorites on eight different occasions since that 2016 early-season loss at Pittsburgh … remember that dud? Well, James Franklin’s crew is a tasty 6-2 against the odds in these away chalk tilts and gotta believe Penn State received its wake-up call after pulling out last Saturday’s 45-38 overtime non-cover win against Appalachian State … Lions’ QB Trace McSorley is looking to get your Heisman attention.
Spread Notes – Penn State is 9-3-1 ATS since the start of the 2016 season; Pittsburgh’s 8-15-1 spreadwise at home the past three-plus years.
NOTE: NFL Week 1 Sunday previews in tomorrow’s Jim Sez.