Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 1:00 PM
JIM HURLEY loves Championship Week in college football because the full force of NETWORK’S team handicapping approach comes into play. It really pays to be in the middle of an information hurricane when all the marbles are up for grabs in a championship scenario. Oddsmakers are too “locked in” to their full-season Power Ratings, and are too timid to make the right adjustments. Well-informed expert analysis has little trouble finding soft spots to attack.
Obviously, we can’t go over EVERY edge and angle we’ve uncovered in this weekend’s games in a free web article. That wouldn’t be fair to paying customers. But, JIM HURLEY would like to outline some handicapping keys that will help you do-it-yourselfers make smart picks. If you’d like more direct assistance, it’s always just a phone call away.
First, let’s review last season’s championship results in the five major conferences…
Pac 10: USC (-3.5) beat Stanford 31-28
Big 12: Oklahoma (-7.5) beat TCU 41-17
SEC: Georgia (-2) beat Auburn 28-7
ACC: Clemson (-12.5) beat Miami 38-3
Big 10: Ohio State (-3.5) beat Wisconsin 27-21
The first thing you’ll notice is that there weren’t any upsets. It can be very tough for an inferior team to knock off the superior team at a neutral site when a championship is on the line. When it happens, it’s typically because a favorite has already locked in its postseason plans…or has other “intangible” factors working against them (letdown spot off a big win, flat because it won the championship the prior season or the prior few seasons, or the underdog has revenge).
We also want to point out the unique circumstances involving underdog Auburn in its blowout loss. A real double-whammy there. The Tigers had just scored a big upset of archrival Alabama in the Iron Bowl the prior week. AND, Auburn had defeated Georgia during the regular season. Ideal spot for the fire-breathing Bulldogs to bully a mentally and physically drained opponent at a cheap price.
There’s your first tip. Look for intangibles, particularly combinations of intangibles that could be signaling a blowout cover. Historically, championship week has seen very volatile results. It’s not uncommon for favorites to run away and hide, covering by at least 2-3 touchdowns. But, upsets can happen…and those dogs are also capable of getting the money by double digits when an arrogant favorite comes in unprepared. It didn’t happen last year, but has before.
Now let’s look quickly at the midweek point spreads for the 2018 slate…
Pac 10: Washington (-5.5) vs. Utah (Santa Clara, CA)
Big 12: Oklahoma (-8) vs. Texas (Arlington, TX)
SEC: Alabama (-13) vs. Georgia (Atlanta)
ACC: Clemson (-27.5) vs. Pittsburgh (Charlotte, NC)
Big 10: Ohio State (-14) vs. Northwestern (Indianapolis, IN)
Three returning favorites (Oklahoma, Clemson, and Ohio State), and then Georgia is back again…but this time as an underdog. Four of the point spreads are larger than a touchdown. Three are double digit spreads. One is so large it won’t even feel like a championship game!
Questions smart handicappers should be asking themselves this week…Will Ohio State be flat off the Michigan blowout when facing less dangerous Northwestern? Will Washington let down after springing its own rivalry upset last week against Washington State? Will Clemson have trouble getting its juices flowing laying such a huge point spread against Pittsburgh? Or, will Alabama finally fall victim to reading too many press clippings about their greatness after having already locked in a final four invitation?
In NETWORK’S early in-house discussions about these games, a prominent theme has revolved around the potential for this week’s underdogs to use “ball control” to disrupt blowout possibilities. Oklahoma and Ohio State, in particular, have very soft defenses that have trouble stopping offenses that know what they’re doing. That’s how Texas won its first meeting with OU, by outscoring the Sooners. That’s how Northwestern won its half of the Big 10…using conservative, safe methods to get results. The only additional guidance we can give in a free article beyond encouraging analysis of intangibles is to focus on what’s most likely to happen at the point of attack.
Best of luck to those of you trying to find winners on your own. Need help? You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S top plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about long term or multi-sport combination packages, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to check on basketball rates. Both college and pro basketball are grabbing headlines already, and it’s not even December yet!
We hope you join WORLD CHAMPION JIM HURLEY for CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK in college football. Our SCOUTS and SOURCES will be reporting in from all precincts to let us know about team preparation and focus heading into the big games. Our STAT HANDICAPPERS have crunched all the numbers from this season, and know from past seasons which categories matter most on this particular weekend. Our TREND HISTORIANS know all the angles in all the price ranges. Our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS have been running their simulations since the matchups were confirmed this past weekend. And, our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS are in place from both sides of the counter in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and offshore to let us know what the smart money is doing.
It all comes together to create BIG, JUICY WINNERS for our clients. It’s this TEAM HANDICAPPING approach that’s been cashing tickets for more than 30 years. It’s why you always GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!