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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 12:00 AM

THE NFL WEEK 13 REPORT - SAINTS VS. COWBOYS KICK OFF A MONSTER GRIDIRON SKED ...

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME KEY SPREAD STATS ...

OUR HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST: CAN SOMEONE JUST HAND TUA THE HARDWARE ALREADY?

Wanna know why the New Orleans Saints (10-1) belong on the top of all those rather arbitrary NFL Power Ratings?

Well, because they've won 10 in a row SU (straight up) following that season-opening shockeroo home loss against Tampa Bay and because they've covered their last nine games in a row ... take note that the next-best consecutive ATS (against the spread) mark is owned by the Chicago Bears (and that's five in a row against Mr. Vig).

Now that we are officially entering "crunch time" in the league where they play for pay, the Saints - who own all the tie-breakers right now -- will be in a week-in and week-out battle to hang onto that top seed in the top-heavy NFC with both the Los Angeles Rams (10-1) and aforementioned Bears (8-3) in close pursuit. Obviously, the Las Vegas folks are "sold" on these Saints who enter this evening's prime-time tilt in Dallas as a 7.5-point betting favorite and can we remind y'all that New Orleans has been a TD-plus fav only once since this pointspread streak started (see the 31-17 Thanksgiving Night win/cover against 12.5-point pup Atlanta). We'll get to our Saints vs. Cowboys game preview in a moment but first this reminder ...

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be pounding out lots of Football Winners this week beginning with tonight's NFL Week 13 clash between the New Orleans Saints at the Dallas Cowboys - go ahead and get the winner of that game online or when you call us today at 1-800-323-4453. Hey, there's the College Football Championship Games straight ahead on Friday/Saturday, a full menu of NFL Week 13 games come Sunday and there's lots of College Basketball and NBA winners too, so make sure you're all aboard for the winning selections from Jim Hurley and Co.

Tonight, it's ...
NEW ORLEANS (10-1) at DALLAS (6-5) - 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox / NFL Network
The numbers don't lie: The N'Orleans Saints have scored 30+ points in nine different games this year and savvy slinger Drew Brees (29 TDs / 2 INTs) seems to make news whenever he throws a rare incompletion ... and so the simple game plan for the Dallas Cowboys here is to get in his grill from the get-go and then hope that a steady diet of runs by RB Ezekiel Elliott (NFL-high 1,074 yards rushing while averaging 4.9 ypc) will power the 'Boys to the winner's circle. The Saints average 37.2 ppg but if pass star rusher DeMarcus Lawrence can beat his blockers to the punch, Elliott gets 25+ touches and Cowboys' QB Dak Prescott makes some chain-moving plays on third down, then this conceivably could be upset city for "America's Team".
Spread Notes - The Saints are a perfect 5-and-oh against the odds on the NFL road this year and they are a composite 16-5-1 ATS away since the start of the 2016 season; The Cowboys, meanwhile, have covered five of their last seven games since getting off to a slumbering 1-3 spread start. Overall, Dallas is a solid 9-5 ATS as an underdog side the past two-plus seasons.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME KEY SPREAD STATS

On Friday, it's ...
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSIP GAME - at Detroit, MI
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (7-5) vs. BUFFALO (10-2) -- 7 p.m. ET, espn2
The Buffalo Bulls are an electric 9-3 ATS overall this year and that includes covers in six of their last seven tilts; Northern Illinois is 8-4-1 spreadwise as underdog sides going back to late 2016.

On Saturday, it's ...
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - at Atlanta, GA
#1 ALABAMA (12-0) vs. #4 GEORGIA (11-1) - 4 p.m. ET, CBS
The 'Bama Crimson Tide is 8-4 versus the vig this year and all dozen games had Nick Saban's crew as double-digit betting favorites. Note that Alabama is a snazzy 18-12 ATS in SEC games the past two-plus seasons. Georgia, on the other hand, is 24-14 odds-wise since the arrival of third-year head coach Kirby Smart. The Dawgs have not been point-grabbers all this year but Georgia's 5-2 ATS as pups under Mr. Smart.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - at Boise, ID
#25 FRESNO STATE (10-2) at #22 BOISE STATE (10-2) - 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Note that Boise State's 24-17 win as 2.5-point home underdogs against Fresno State back on Nov.9th snapped a four-game spread winning streak for the F-State Bulldogs in this Mountain West Conference series. One other item: Fresno State's 18-6-1 against the odds under second-year boss Jeff Tedford.

BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - at Indianapolis, IN
#21 NORTHWESTERN (8-4) vs. #6 OHIO STATE (11-1) - 8 p.m. ET, Fox
Strange but true, the Ohio State Buckeyes are 11-16 ATS in all Big 10 games since the start of the 2016 season and Urban Meyer's crew is 5-9 ATS as twin-figure favorites since the middle of last year; Northwestern is just 6-5-1 against the Vegas prices did year but check it out: The Wildcats are 30-18-1 ATS overall these past four seasons.

 

THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST

They'll be handing out the 84th Annual Heisman Trophy Memorial Award on the evening of Dec. 8th ... hope the clear-cut frontrunner has his speech done!

TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, Alabama - Zero drama in this year's chase for the Heisman but don't blame that on this lefty slinger who's thrown for 3,189 yards and 36 TDs while heading into Saturday's bash against Georgia.

KYLER MURRAY, QB, Oklahoma - Mr. Baseball is the no-doubt-about-it runner-up for this year's Heisman ... and here's the numbers: 3,674 yards passing with 37 aerial scores and 7 INTs to go along with 853 rushing yards and another 11 TDs. Now, he - and the Sooners - get another crack at Texas but even a stat-sheet stuffing game won't get 'em past Mr. Tagovailoa.

WILL GRIER, QB, West Virginia - The Mountaineers' have scored 40-or-more points eight times this year, so don't blame this cocky kid for WVU's two losses: Grier heads into bowl season with 3,864 yards passing, 37 TDs and 8 INTs.

NOTE: Catch our NCAA Football and NFL Week 13 key previews in upcoming editions of Jim Sez.

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