Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Don’t believe all the media hype you’ve been reading about this season’s Super Bowl being a virtual sure-thing to match the Los Angeles Rams against either the New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs. Recent results, long term coaching histories, and respected betting by sharp investors are showing things are much more evenly matched in the upper third of the NFL.
Take last Sunday’s Green Bay/LA Rams battle for example. The Wise Guys POUNDED Green Bay at early lines of +9.5 or +9…and kept right on pounding the dog all the way down to +7. Green Bay led much of the game, won yards-per-play 6.9 to 5.5, and would have been in position to pull the upset if not for a dumb decision by a now “former” Packer to run a kickoff out of the end zone.
That’s not how the smartest market influences would have been betting the game if the Rams were a lock to win the NFC. This week, the Rams are actually a small dog in New Orleans. That means there’s a very slight “neutral field” difference in perceptions. Yes, the Rams are the NFC “favorite.” They’re not head and shoulders above New Orleans or Green Bay. Nor are they immune to playoff upsets from the next tier of playoff caliber teams given that the LA Coliseum doesn’t offer much of a home field advantage.
In the AFC? New England did beat Kansas City two Sundays ago to stake their claim as best in the conference. But, that was a nail biter. And, it was followed by another poor road effort. New England lost earlier this season at Jacksonville and Detroit. The Patriots would have lost in Buffalo too if the Bills weren’t so helpless on offense. New England is not a team right now that you can trust to string together wins in January (and February). Even bye teams have to win three games in a row against playoff caliber opposition. New England’s “peak” is very high. Can this year’s unit sustain peak play?
Kansas City’s head coach is famous for thriving in the regular season before laying an egg in the playoffs. How is having a first-year quarterback going to fix that? Particularly when January opponents will have had a full season of game film to learn Patrick Mahomes’ tendencies? Nobody in the betting marketplace would be shocked if Kansas City peaked too early. Nobody would be shocked if he implodes with a bad turnover game under playoff pressure.
Pittsburgh is finally getting its act together after an early season soap opera. You know Ben Roethlisberger will be ready for January if he’s healthy. Baltimore has a great defense…which will make them a live dog in any postseason games with weather issues. There are certainly other spoilers in the mix who can at least knock out a top seed to open the door for another surprise Super Bowl entry.
As sports bettors, you need to be looking for betting value AGAINST overrated media darlings while spotting underpriced dark horses. And, you need to watch any games contenders play head-to-head very closely to find weaknesses that could be exploited by future opponents. You have a great opportunity to do that this Sunday:
*Pittsburgh visits Baltimore (1 p.m. ET)
*The LA Chargers visit Seattle (4 p.m. ET in a battle of possible spoilers)
*The LA Rams visit New Orleans (4:25 p.m. in a potential NFC championship preview)
*Green Bay visits New England (8:20 p.m.)
Just the first Sunday in November, and that already feels like playoff football even with a couple of interconference games in the mix.
JIM HURLEY also wants you to keep an eye on Houston/Denver, because the Texans have started to look like a playoff team after they convinced quarterback DeShaun Watson to stop being stubborn about taking so many hits.
Other teams with the talent, experience, and coaching (or at least two of the three) to develop into playoff spoilers include: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Chicago, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Carolina.
So…don’t pencil in Rams/Chiefs or Rams/Patriots just yet. You still have the second half of the season to spot up-and-coming spoilers while figuring out when to fade big favorites that have exploitable weaknesses.
From now through the end of the 2018 football season, you’re going to be inundated with “playoff” talk. That’s true in the NFL as well as college football. ESPN announced the first playoff rankings this past Tuesday night. Everyone’s already arguing about LSU and Notre Dame, or wondering which of Michigan, Oklahoma, and Georgia can rise to crack the top four.
The general public is sure to bet the wrong teams at the wrong times. They always have! (Plus, sports books are already earning record profits this season because dumb money has flooded the market.) Think through the process and BET SMART! Or, sign up with the man who virtually created the sports handicapping field decades ago.
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