Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 at 12:00 AM
JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK STUFFS YOUR STOCKINGS
WITH LOTS OF FOOTBALL & BASKETBALL WINNERS –
NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE GETS A LITTLE
CLEARER AFTER PACKERS BEAT VIKINGS 23-10 …
THE NBA’S ALWAYS-JUICY CHRISTMAS DAY MENU …
AND OUR COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA ROLLS ON
WITH A PAIR OF FRIDAY’S GRIDIRON TILTS –
THAT’S NORTH CAROLINA - TEMPLE (MILITARY BOWL)
AND MICHIGAN STATE - WAKE FOREST (PINSTRIPE BOWL)
From the Jim Hurley Network family, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours … and have a great holiday season. And a winning one, too!
Now, it’s onward and upwards for the National Football League as we zoom towards Week 17 – yes, the grand finale of this 2019 regular season – and then the playoffs which promises to be a rollicking few weeks as we’ll see if there’s anyone out there that can beat the big, bad Baltimore Ravens.
No doubt the AFC’s top seed will be the team to beat come January but what say you when it comes to the NFC playoffs?
Following Green Bay’s 23-10 win at 4.5-point favorite Minnesota in Monday Night Football, we all learned that San Francisco enters this Week 17 as the top seed in the NFC with Green Bay and New Orleans now in the #2 and #3 seeds, respectively, but keep in mind a Packers’ win at 10-point pup Detroit and a 49ers’ loss at Seattle -- yes, RB Marshawn Lynch is back with the injury-riddled Seahawks – on Sunday Night Football will place Green Bay in the #1 seed in time for the playoffs.
And, hopefully, you caught that ESPN SportsCenter ditty that alerted us to the fact NFC #1 and #2 playoff seeds have made it to 24 of the last 29 Super Bowls … really!
Now hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out lots of College Football Bowl Game winners all this week and there’s wall-to-wall NFL Week 17 winners on Sunday plus don’t forget all the NBA and College Baskets too – just call us at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else online right here at www.jimhurley.com to get all the Christmas Week winners!
NBA ON CHRISTMAS DAY
Say, what would Christmas be like without a stocking full of NBA games on the menu?
Here’s the five (5) contests that’ll be coming your way on Wednesday afternoon/evening:
BOSTON (20-7) at TORONTO (21-9) -- 12:05 p.m. ET, ESPN
Folks, this one might be the best game on the Christmas menu, so get rid of the wrapping paper that’s still lying around and make sure there’s room for you on the couch – Toronto G Kyle Lowry comes off a feisty night in Indiana (see 120-115 Pacers’ OT win) this past Monday and he may have to better his 30-point / 9-assist / 6-rebound game if the defending champs want to win here.
MILWAUKEE (27-4) at PHILADELPHIA (22-10) -- 2:35 p.m. ET, ABC
Wait, let’s take that back: This one’s gonna be the “best game on the card” as Bucks’ megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo (averaging 31 ppg this year) keeps elevating his game while Philly C Joel Embiid has heeded the advice of the TNT panel … and did you know the Sixers sport the 4th-best points against average in the league?
HOUSTON (21-9) at GOLDEN STATE (7-24) – 5:05 p.m.ET, ABC
Okay, so when the TV folks scheduled this clash they never knew the Warriors would be threadbare at almost every position but give the Dubs some credit for slamming Minnesota 113-104 as 1.5-point dogs this past Monday night. If Houston’s gonna cover this whopping road price then it might require more than four triples from lefty James Harden (see Monday’s 113-104 win against Sacramento).
LA CLIPPERS (22-10) at LA LAKERS (24-6) – 8:05 p.m. ET, ABC
Let’s just say that if both LeBron James and Anthony Davis of Lakers’ fame misses this game with injuries, there will be TV sets all across the land getting turned off!
NEW ORLEANS (8-23) at DENVER (21-8) – 10:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
In case you lost track, the Nuggets enter this one on a seven-game SU (straight-up) winning streak and big man Nikola Jokic (22 points / 12 rebs / 10 assists the other night in that thrilling 113-111 non-cover win in Phoenix) has put himself into the MVP discussion.
COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA
On Friday, it’s …
MILITARY BOWL – at Annapolis, MD
NORTH CAROLINA (6-6) vs. TEMPLE (8-4) – 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Mack Brown, Part Deux Era has been remarkably entertaining with the 2019 North Carolina Tar Heels having played nine games decided by seven points or less and you might have noticed that the ACC guys have been “bet down” since that opening price tag of UNC minus 6 points was posted. Frosh QB Sam Howell (3,347 yards passing with 35 TDs and just 7 INTs) is Carolina’s biggest star but take note that Temple plays super-duper red-zone defense and DE Quincy Roche was named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Spread Notes – North Carolina is 6-5-1 ATS (against the spread) this year and the Tar Heels are shooting for their first three-game spread winning streak since the very end of the 2017 campaign; Temple’s a money-making 8-4 against the odds this year and the Owls are 20-7 vig-wise as underdog sides.
PINSTRIPE BOWL – at The Bronx, NY
MICHIGAN STATE (6-6) vs. WAKE FOREST (8-4) – 3:20 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so Yankee Stadium remains one of the coolest bowl sites in the land but it’ll be absolutely heaven for the 3.5-point underdog Wake Forest Demon Deacons should they be able to cop a fourth bowl win in as many years. Dave Clawson’s club sports the nation’s 12th-rated offense but gotta say QB Jamie Newman throws too many picks (10 INTs) and will be without top pass-catcher Sage Surratt who nabbed 66 passes and scored 11 TDs this year. Michigan State has scored less than 20 points in half of its games this season and QB Brian Lewerke (16 TDs, 12 INTs) also has shown to lack great judgement at times. P.S., the Spartans have covered one game since September 21st … yikes.
Spread Notes – Wake Forest is just 5-6-1 odds-wise this season but a very solid 16-9 ATS as pups since the start of the 2016 season; Michigan State is a woeful 3-and-9 against the Las Vegas price tags this season but did you know Sparty has covered six of its last seven bowl games under boss-man Mark Dantonio?
Editor’s Note: We’ll serve up Friday’s other Three (3) Bowl Games – the Texas Bowl, the Holiday Bowl and the Cheez-It Bowl -- in the very next edition of Jim Sez
Merry Christmas to all!