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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 12:00 AM



It's the weekend before Super Bowl LIII - so that means it is time to hunker down with a whole lot of college hoops.
Folks, it's really a master-blaster weekend when you consider all the top teams in action and that includes #1 Tennessee who is part of the SEC versus Big 12 head-to-head action with the Volunteers hosting West Virginia here on this final Saturday in January. We'll zip through a bunch of this weekend's college b-ball games straight ahead while noting key pointspread stats plus next week we'll load up with Super Bowl 53 News/Notes with our SB preview scheduled here in Friday's column space ... okay?

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will finish this NFL Season with a bang come Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, Feb. 3rd as we get you the Side & Totals winners of New England Patriots versus Los Angeles Rams. Plus, continue to pile up the profits all this weekend with NBA and NCAA Basketball action when you call us on game days at 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here.


WEST VIRGINIA (9-10) at #1 TENNESSEE (17-1) - 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Vols' first attempt at "defending" their numero uno ranking wound up being a titanic overtime struggle against in-state rival Vanderbilt but F Grant Williams' 43-point night powered Tennessee to the 88-83 non-cover win this past Wednesday night in Nashville. Now, Williams and mates are laying a "two TD" price against the underwhelming WVU Mountaineers with this Tennessee team looking to make it 14 consecutive SU (straight-up) wins. Okay, so the Vols are an average 9-7-1 ATS (against the spread) this season but the 'Neers are an ugly 6-12-1 versus Mr. Vig ... yuck!

GEORGIA TECH (11-8, 3-3) at #2 DUKE (16-2, 5-1) - 12 p.m. ET, espn3
The Dookies are heavy-duty betting favorites here - as in 22 points! -- in this ACC clash at Cameron-Indoor but note it's the visiting G-Tech Yellow Jackets who storm into play with a 13-6 ATS record and note the Jax have covered eight of their last 11 conference games while dating back to last season. Duke is a solid 11-7 versus the vig here in this 2018-19 campaign and for Mike Krzyzewski's squad to cover the number then frosh superstars Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish may have to score more than their combined 59 points per game. Gonna see if the Blue Devils make it to the century mark in this one.

#3 VIRGINIA (17-1, 5-1) at NOTRE DAME (11-8, 1-5) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
One of the great wagering stories so far this '18-19 season is this Virginia Cavaliers bunch ... did you realize the Wahoos are 15-3 ATS and that includes a current nine-game spread winning streak? Egads! Okay, so Tony Bennett's team battens down the hatches on "D" while allowing just 52.4 ppg - the best in the country, of course - but when Virginia needs some jump on offense than guards Kyle Guy, De'Andre Hunter and/or Ty Jerome get "mission accomplished". Hey, the ND Irish have failed to cover six of their last seven pointspread verdicts.

#9 KANSAS (16-3) at #8 KENTUCKY (15-3) - 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
The best of all the Big 12 versus SEC matchups on this winter weekend comes from Rupp Arena where the 6-point favored Kentucky Wildcats hope recent history holds up ... that is to say favorites have covered six of the last eight games in this blueblood rivalry. Note that Kansas is a rather meek 8-11 against the juice this year but red-hot soph G Marcus Garrett has scored 51 points in his last three outings but Kentucky does come off a win against Miss State in which the Bulldogs shot just 19-of-61 from the field. Let's see if the depth on John Calipari's club gets the better of a think Kansas bench here.

On Sunday, it's ...
#6 MICHIGAN STATE (18-2, 9-0) at PURDUE (13-6, 6-2) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Get a load of this: Sparty is 16-4 against the odds so far this season and Tom Izzo's club has run off nine consecutive spread wins featuring seven double-digit wins - and what else is new as Michigan State's pounded the glass, played an uptick offense (ranks 18th nationally at 83.8 ppg) and played air-tight late-game defense to boot.



Here's a few things to digest as we draw nearer to Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, Feb. 3rd:

The Los Angeles Rams - for all the talk about a high-flying offense - actually have held 10 of their 18 foes to below 24 points in a game this year. The Rams are a sparkling 8-2 versus the vig when keeping opponents below the 24-point mark and that's actually better than the team's 8-3-2 ATS mark whenever scoring 30-or-more points in a game. Hmmm.

On the flip side, New England is 7-2 ATS whenever scoring 30-or-more points this year and that includes back-to-back playoff wins/covers against the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs - and note the Pats are 8-2 against the Las Vegas odds when holding opponents to 24 points or less (the same exact spread mark as the Rams).

NOTE: More Super Bowl 53 News / Notes and plenty of college basketball too in next week's jam-packed editions of Jim Sez.

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