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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 11:13 AM



Did you happen to notice something about last week's NFL action?

Sure, NFL Week 15 featured 10 different "one-score" games including three one-point final scores in Kansas City, Denver and Buffalo and an overtime tilt tossed into the mix in San Francisco, but how about the fact that playoff non-contenders such as Tampa Bay (+ 9), San Francisco (+ 4) and Carolina (+ 6) all nabbed the cash in games played against playoff-bound / playoff-hopeful squads?

What it goes to show is you can't eliminate any games on the NFL weekly docket just because folks deem 'em "meaningless" to the non-contender sides.

If you listened to some of the post-game sound bites following the NFL Week 15 games, you heard many coaches/players comment about how there are only 16 game opportunities in the regular season to show your stuff and just how important all these opportunities are - many times an "out-of-it" team will offer major value here in the final couple of weeks of play providing they're gonna try hard.

Among the non-contenders out there grabbing points this NFL Week 16 are Tampa Bay (+ 7) at Dallas, Buffalo (+ 13) at New England, the New York Giants (+ 9.5) at Indianapolis, Detroit (+ 5.5) versus Minnesota, Arizona (+ 13.5) against the Los Angeles Rams and San Fran (+ 4) against Chicago - and don't be surprised if Jim Hurley's Network winds up backing one or two or even three of these "non-contenders" come Sunday.

Last week, Hurley wins included the Bucs, Titans, Vikings, Colts and Steelers on a 5-2 Sunday, and Saturday with the Browns and over in Jets/Texans.  

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out lots of NFL Week 16 Side & Totals winners - note it all gets revved up with a pair of games this Saturday as Washington is at Tennessee (4:30p.m. ET) and Baltimore is at the Los Angeles Chargers (8:20p.m. ET) - before a busy Sunday slate. Plus there's a whole lotta College Football Bowl action straight ahead with Thursday/Friday/Saturday bowl action on tap before we get to Christmas, so go ahead and sign up now for our Jim Hurley Bowl Package and get all the Bowls, the NFL, NBA and College Basketball winners too ... just call us at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here.


Let's zip thru the Three (3) College Bowls on the Thursday/Friday menu:

Tonight, it's ... GASPARILLA BOWL - at Tampa, FL
MARSHALL (8-4) at USF (7-5) -- 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here's one of those bowl games in which there's a host team - but is having the home field a true advantage here for the 2.5-point underdog USF Bulls?
After all, the American Athletic Conference crew lost by 26 points to Tulane and by 28 points to UCF in November home tilts as South Florida dropped five in a row SU (straight-up) after starting off things at 7-0 SU. If Bulls' do-it-all RB Jordan Cronkite (1,095 yards rushing and 9 TDs) gets 25-or-so touches here, then USF could finally turn the beat around but do remember that USF failed to cover five of its six home dates this year with the lone cover a 49-38 win against 3-point favorite Georgia Tech back on Sept. 8th - note second-year head coach Charlie Strong's lone bowl game with the Bulls was a wild 38-34 win as 2.5-point favorites against Texas Tech in last year's Birmingham Bowl.
Meanwhile, Marshall's a perfect 5-and-oh spreadwise in bowl games under 9th-year head coach Doc Holliday but take note that the Thundering Herd's just 2-5-1 ATS as betting favorites this year. One key for Marshall is WR Tyre Brady (nine TDs) who's been a rather feast-or-famine player this year.

On Friday, it's ... BAHAMAS BOWL - at Nassau Bahamas
FIU (8-4) vs. TOLEDO (7-5) - 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Gotta hand it to Florida International's second-year boss Butch Davis who orchestrated a dandy 8-3-1 ATS (against the spread) regular season in 2018 as the Golden Panthers snagged a 2-0-1 spread mark when placed in the underdog role (with pup covers against Indiana and Miami). What's a major key to success here? FIU needs Conference USA Newcomer of the Year QB James Morgan (2,727 yards passing with 26 TDs / 7 INTs) to stay upright as Toledo's Tuzar Skipper registered 8.5 sacks this year. Note that Toledo was shut out in its latest bowl appearance - a 34-0 loss at the hands of Appalachian State in last year's Dollar General Bowl - and often times that's a major form of motivation for a team getting a bowl crack some 12 months later. The Rockets scored 45-or-more points in four of their final five regular-season games.

POTATO BOWL - at Boise. ID
BYU (6-6) vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN (7-5) - 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
Note that BYU bangs its way into this bowl tilt riding a four-game ATS winning streak that includes a pair of pointspread "W's" as twin-figure favorites (versus 14-point home dog UMass and 25.5-point road pup New Mexico State) and overall these BYU Coogs played nine different bowl-bound teams while going a respectable 5-4 vig-wise in these games. However, BYU - which didn't make it to the bowl party last year -- has failed to cover its last four bowl games and third-year boss Kalani Sitake is banking on a rock-solid defense (held seven foes to 21 points or less this season) against freshman QB Kaleb Eleby who did lead Western Michigan to a regular-season-ending TD win against 6-point fav Northern Illinois. Note that Western Michigan's hardly got the pointspread credentials that many 2018 bowl teams have: The Broncos are just 4-8 versus the number this year and they were clubbed in their only double-digit dog appearance (see 49-3 loss at four-TD fav Michigan on Sept.8th).

NOTE: There's more Bowl Previews plus NFL Week 16 goodies in tomorrow's Jim Sez

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