Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, October 22, 2018 at 12:00 AM
NFL WEEK 7 UPDATE: RAMS, CHIEFS STAY ON "SUPER" FAST-TRACK, PLUS TONIGHT'S GIANTS-FALCONS PREVIEW ...
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND NOTEBOOK: BUCKEYES GET STUNNED - A MONSTER JIM HURLEY NETWORK WINNER WITH PURDUE!!! - BUT WE SORT THROUGH THINGS TO FIND A POSSIBLE PLAYOFF INTERLOPER ...
THE 2018 WORLD SERIES: RED SOX (-160) TAKING ALL THE CASH VERSUS THE DODGERS
There were a dozen games on the NFL Week 7 Sunday menu this past weekend:
Six of 'em were decided by double digits; six of 'em went right down to the final play and - as you all saw for yourselves - three of those six really close games were decided by kickers whether it be Tampa Bay's Chandler Catanzaro's 59-yard field goal make in overtime in the Bucs' 26-23 non-cover win against Cleveland, or the missed 52-yard FG try at the end of regulation by Dallas' Brett Maher in his team's 20-17 loss at Washington or that still hard-to-explain missed PAT by Baltimore PK Justin Tucker (he was 222-of-222 in prior point-after tries) in the Ravens' 24-23 home loss versus the 2.5-point underdog New Orleans Saints.
Heck, and we didn't even talk about the fact the Tennessee Titans began the marathon day/night of NFL action by eschewing a PAT try as head coach Mike Vrabel had his Titans try for two in that thrilling 20-19 loss-but-cover in London against the 6.5-point favorite Los Angeles Chargers.
So, when you're digesting the league standings at the end of this 2018 regular season, let's not forget the Week 7 wildness - it could well have cost someone a playoff berth or home-field advantage in a post-season game. Just hope you got your "kicks".
Meanwhile, the real story of this NFL Week 7 remained last year's Super Bowl champs - the now 3-4 Philadelphia Eagles - and the two marquee teams that are best-positioned for a run at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta this winter ... the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs:
The Eagles - now 2-5 ATS (against the spread) one year after cranking out a 13-6 spread mark -- blew a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead in that 21-17 loss to 5-point pup Carolina and, among the many disturbing aspects of that Philly loss, was the fact the Eagles' defense surrendered touchdown drives of 80. 87 and 69 yards in the game's final 15 minutes ... now that's unconscionable stuff!
The Rams (7-0), meanwhile, surged out to a 22-0 halftime lead en route to their 39-10 victory at 9-point pup San Francisco and you go ahead and choose the highlight whether it be the four sacks from D-lineman Aaron Donald or the three TDs by RB Todd Gurley. One thing we want to point out is the Rams have a point differential of + 107 (that's 235 points scored, 128 points allowed) and Kansas City (at + 78) is the next closest.
And speaking of the Chiefs (6-1), their resounding 45-10 prime-time win/cover against 6.5-point dog Cincinnati featured a 358-yard, 4-TD passing performance by QB Patrick Mahomes - ever see a guy so sure of himself while in his first year of starting? - as he spread the wealth with eight different pass-catchers including gold gloves TE Travis Kelce (5 catches for 95 yards). The Chiefs are now 7-and-oh against the odds this year and here's the game-by-game proof (home teams in CAPS below):
|1||Kansas City||+ 3.5||LA CHARGERS||38-28|
|2||Kansas City||+ 4.5||PITTSBURGH||42-37|
|3||KANSAS CITY||- 6||San Francisco||38-27|
|4||Kansas City||- 3.5||DENVER||27-23|
|5||KANSAS CITY||- 3||Jacksonville||30-14|
|6||NEW ENGLAND||- 4||Kansas City||43-40|
|7||KANSAS CITY||- 6.5||Cincinnati||45-10|
Tonight, it's ...
NEW YORK GIANTS (1-5) at ATLANTA (2-4) - 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Up above in today's Jim Sez column we discussed the batch of close calls in NFL Week 7 play: Hey, did you know the Atlanta Falcons have played five games already decided by a TD or less? Now, the NFC South crew limps into this clash as a mere four-point betting favorite (it was as high as - 6 points) with a slew of injuries including rookie WR Calvin Ridley and fellow wide-out Mohamed Sanu as both are questionable for this prime-timer against the clueless New York Giants who - like the Falcs - enter this game at 2-4 ATS so far. Note the Giants' defense sports a league-worst seven quarterback sacks ... ugh!
Spread Stats - Atlanta's 5-10 ATS in non-divisional games while dating back to the start of last year; the NY Giants have failed to cover three of their last four showdowns against the Falcons.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE
There's been a load of Top 10 upsets in recent weeks - none bigger than this past Saturday night's rollicking 49-20 win by 12.5-point underdog Purdue against then-#2 Ohio State - yes, we admit to having that play here with the Jim Hurley Network and even predicted the outright winner (trust us!) - and that setback dropped the Buckeyes all the way down to #11 in the current Associated Press poll and got us to thinking what teams from outside the top five or six could make a run at the four-team College Football Playoffs this winter ... here's some thoughts:
#9 FLORIDA (6-1) - Okay, so the Gators can't lose another game this year and still think they'll be playoff-bound but consider that first-year head coach Dan Mullen has engineered upset wins against his old Miss State team and LSU too in recent weeks and here comes the annual "Cocktail Party" game against Georgia. Hey, Florida was not even ranked in the preseason top 25 and so entertaining playoff thoughts a week before Halloween is pretty cool!
#13 WEST VIRGINIA (5-1) - Right now the odds are the Big 12 (again) is gonna be left by the wayside and not grab one of the four playoff berths but if the Mountaineers can run the table (there's road games at Texas and Oklahoma State straight ahead) and win the conference's Big 12 title tilt and get some help along the way, you could see Dana Holgorsen's squad slippin' into the field.
#14 WASHINGTON STATE (6-1) - Don't laugh: The Cougars beat/covered 3.5-point pup Oregon 34-20 last Saturday in Pullman and QB Gardner Minshew remains the country's best "unknown" slinger. Look at the Wazzu sked and there's a road game at Stanford this weekend and a season finale against archrival Washington (Washington State's the home team there) and if the Coogs get that far the Pac-12 South ain't so strong in a conference championship game. Just sayin'.
THE WORLD SERIES
Okay, so we'll post our Jim Sez World Series Preview in tomorrow's column space but for now just a word about the wagering:
The Boston Red Sox - who will have Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 (if necessary) at home in Fenway Park against the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers - have gone from a -140 betting favorite to -160 in the past 24 hours. The American League champion BoSox needed just four games to dispose of the 100-win New York Yankees in the Division Series and just five games to dunk the defending Fall Classic champ Houston Astros in the ALCS, so Alex Cora's club is well-rested, has the rotation set just right and catches a Dodgers team that needed to go the seven-game distance en route to the NLCS win against Milwaukee.
So, perhaps the Red Sox should be an even bigger favorite, you say?
P.S., just know that in the previous six post-season series this fall, the favorites have won five of 'em with the lone exception being Boston (+ 120) downing the 'Stros.
NOTE: All the NFL, College Football and a World Series preview in tomorrow's Jim Sez.