Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE JIM SEZ MIDWEEK UPDATE:
WE SNEAK A PEEK AT THE MARQUEE MATCHUPS
THIS SATURDAY / SUNDAY FROM A PURE POINTSPREAD PERSPECTIVE …
THURSDAY NITE FOOTBALL:
RAIDERS-49ERS IN BAY AREA BATTLE …
OUR FIRST HEISMAN TROPHY SEGMENT
IS HERE (AND GUESS WHO’S THE RUNAWAY LEADER?)
Hey, we’re not gonna “kid a kidder” … the fact of the matter is we’re more than halfway thru this 2018 College Football Season and right there at the midway point in this here-and-now NFL season and yet there have not been many weekends when you could point to a game here or there and get juiced up by a matchup’s star power.
That’s not the case this first weekend in November:
The college kids have a real monster matchup on the Saturday night docket – true, #1 Alabama is a bloated 15-point betting favorite versus #3 LSU but strange things have been known to happen in Baton Rouge under the lights – and come Sunday we get the unbeaten (that’s 8-and-oh) Los Angeles Rams at the one-loss New Orleans Saints (6-1) in what figures to be the single-biggest regular-season game in the ’18 campaign.
We’ll chat about both big-time games in a sec in today’s Jim Sez Midweek Update column but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are hot-hot-hot after slamming the books last weekend and we’ll have all this week’s College Football Winners plus get all the NFL Week 9 games and the NBA too – just call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else get the winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com and keep on piling up the profits. There’s three College Football Games on the Thursday night menu plus it’s a Bay Area battle in NFL Week 9 play this evening with Oakland at San Francisco. Cash in big!
THE MARQUEE MATCHUS
On Saturday, it’s …
#1 ALABAMA (8-0) at #3 LSU (7-1) – 8 p.m. ET, CBS
If you go back the past 10 years, you see that Alabama owns a 7-4 ATS (against the spread) advantage against LSU and that includes the 2011 BCS Championship Game triumph over the Bayou Bengals (see 21-0 as a 2.5-point betting fav). The Crimson Tide’s 5-3 vig-wise this year and ‘Bama jaunts into this contest off back-to-back spread wins against Missouri and Tennessee. One last thing: Alabama has been a double-digit favorite for all eight of its games this year and go back to the start of 2016 and the Tide’s 17-12 ATS as twin-figure favorites.
LSU also carries a modest two-game spread winning streak into this game and – by chance – the Tigers also are 5-3 ATS overall so far this season. Dig deeper and you’ll see LSU is 6-0 against the odds as underdogs since the start of last year with outright wins this season against 3-point favorite Miami, 10-point fav Auburn and 6.5-point chalkie Georgia. So there!
On Sunday, it’s …
LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-0) at NEW ORLEANS (6-1) – 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
No doubt the Rams charged out of the pointspread gate with a real rush – the NFC West crew covered its first three consecutive games -- but overall this LA team is a modest 4-3-1 ATS thus far in the 2018 campaign. Take note that the Rams are a decent 8-5 ATS away since the start of the head coach Sean McVay Era last year and they are a very average 8-7-1 vig-wise overall when playing outside their division. The opening Las Vegas line in this matchup was Rams minus a single point but it’s been Saints’ money pouring … and the Rams are just 5-10-2 spreadwise as pups since the start of 2016.
On the flip side, N’Orleans rides a five-game ATS winning streak into this big-time bash inside the Louisiana Superdome – and that’s after the Saints started off the year at 0-2 against the price tags. Overall, this NFC South squad is a solid 11-6 ATS as betting favorites since the start of last year and New Orleans has covered four-of-five non-divisional games to start off this season.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
OAKLAND (1-6) at SAN FRANCISCO (1-7) – 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Okay, so this NFL Week 9 lid-lifter ain’t gonna break any ratings records but it should be fun stuff in San Fran where the 49ers are a field goal favorite even though the 49ers have exceeded 18 points just once in the past four games. On the other side of the coin, the Raiders have allowed 42, 26, 27 and 42 points in their last four outings and word is Jon Gruden’s secondary is just about ready to cave in for good. Can 49ers slinger C.J. Beathard (1,252 yards passing with 8 TDs and 7 INTs) zing some long balls here?
Spread Stat – The Raiders and Niners are a combined 4-11 versus the vig this season. Ugh!
THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
It’s the first installment of our 2018 Heisman Trophy Watch List as – week-by-week – we bring you the top candidates for College Football’s most coveted individual award:
TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, Alabama – Here’s the slam-dunk winner of the 84th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy … so far. The lefty slinger has ‘Bama sittin’ at #1 with his 2,066 yards passing, 25 TDs and 0 INTs and don’t forget the sizzling 70.4 completion percentage. Of course, Tagovailoa has not played a single down in the fourth quarter of any game this year so just imagine what his stats would be if Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban kept ‘em in!
GARDNER MINSHEW, QB, Washington State – Hey, just because this dude plays his games late at night, don’t exclude him from the upper rung of this Heisman Trophy race (most folks have Minshew running in fourth or fifth place in their Heisman Trophy standings). The Cougars’ classy passer has thrown for 3,183 yards with 26 TDs and 6 INTs while directing this Pac-12 team to a 7-1 SU (straight-up) start and don’t sleep on the fact Wazzu is 7-0-1 against the odds this season.
KYLER MURRAY, QB, Oklahoma – Boomer Sooner! This 5-foot-10, junior slinger has a 28-to-3 TD-to-INT this year to go along with 2,320 passing yards for this 7-1 squad that still is very much in the hunt for a playoff berth. Murray has stepped into the shoes of last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and hasn’t missed a beat … how about a 79.2 percent completion rate in last weekend’s 51-14 win/cover against 24-point pup Kansas State.
D’ERIQ KING, QB, Houston – Not sure why this do-it-all junior is so far down on most Heisman lists: King’s thrown for 2,403 yards with 28 TDs and just 5 INTs plus he’s rushed it for 413 yards and 11 TDs for a team that’s 7-1 overall (and 5-2 against the spread). P.S., right now he’s the most exciting player in college football.
NOTE: More College Football and NFL Week 9 Previews straight ahead in the next Jim Sez.