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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 12:00 AM










Here’s to a Happy, Healthy and Winning New Year to one and all and remember …

Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have the College Football New Year’s Day Bowl winners plus there’s NFL Wild Card Playoff action this Saturday/Sunday too – just call us on game days at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here at and also cash in with NBA / NCAA hoops. Let’s get 2020 off to a roarin’ start!



Here’s the January 1, 2020 bowl menu …


CITRUS BOWL – at Orlando, FL

#14 MICHIGAN (9-3) vs. #13 ALABAMA (10-2) – 1 p.m. ET, ABC

The Las Vegas number’s barely moved so far – the ‘Bama Crimson Tide has been a steady full-TD betting favorite for this New Year’s Day game but everyone keeps asking whether or not Nick Saban’s crew will “care” here … and that’s not a bad question at all! Following four straight trips to the national championship game (two wins, two losses) the Tide takes its rare double-digit ranking into this clash against a Michigan team that mastered its final four foes before getting hosed 56-27 by Ohio State.

If Michigan’s gonna entertain any real upset hopes then QB Shea Patterson (22 passing TDs, 5 rushing scores) must shine against a ‘Bama defense playing without NFL-bound LB Terrell Lewis and DB Trevon Diggs.

Spread Notes – Alabama is a dead-even but vig-losing 19-19-1 ATS (against the spread) the past three years and take note the Tide’s failed to cover five of its last seven bowl / playoff games; Michigan covered five of its last six games to wrap up this 2019 regular season but the Wolverines have failed to cover their last three bowls under HC Jim Harbaugh.



#18 MINNESOTA (10-2) vs. #12 AUBURN (9-3) – 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

May we remind y’all that last year the Auburn Tigers slugged 3-point underdog Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl … and it wasn’t even that close! Truth is Gus Malzahn’s crew owns 2019 wins against archrival Alabama and Rose Bowl entrant Oregon and it only lost by three points to mighty LSU but will be laying the 7-point price with War Eagle prove hazardous to one’s healthy here?

Frisky Minnesota is in a “something to prove” mode after failing to cover its final three regular-season games including the three-TD loss to rival Wisconsin. Watch the Golden Gophers QB Tanner Morgan (2,975 yards passing with 28 TDs / 6 INTs)-to-WRs Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson combos (2,284 yards receiving combined with 22 TDs) as they can strike fear into the hearts of enemy secondaries at all times.

Spread Notes – Auburn cranked out a solid 9-3 ATS mark this year and overall War Eagle is 7-1 spreadwise the past two seasons when facing non-SEC opponents; Minnesota is just 6-5-1 versus the vig this year but the Gophers are 15-9-2 ATS as dogs since the start of the 2016 campaign.


ROSE BOWL – at Pasadena, CA

#8 WISCONSIN (10-3) vs.#6 OREGON (11-2) – 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

In case you’ve lost count, the Wisky Badgers have won five consecutive bowl games (they are 4-0-1 spreadwise in these tilts) and so no need to be surprised that the Big 10 team is the field goal betting favorite here against an Oregon team that sports pro-bound QB Justin Herbert (3,333 yards passing with 32 TDs) and a Ducks defense that ranks 10th nationally in terms of stopping the run. No doubt that’s the rub here as Oregon must corral Wisconsin super-back Jonathan Taylor (1,909 rushing yards this season) … or else.

On the flip side, this Badgers’ defense ranks 8th nationally in defending the run and so it says here that if Oregon pulls the mild upset then Herbert must be deadly accurate and he must make some key plays with his legs too. FYI, Oregon’s oft-overlooked defense has held seven foes to 10-or-less points this year. Is the totals price of 51.5 points too high?

Spread Notes – Oregon is a smidge under .500 spreadwise under second-year boss Mario Cristobal (12-13 ATS) and did you know the Pac-12 Ducks have failed to cover their last four bowl / playoff games?; Wisconsin’s 8-5 spreadwise overall this year and the Badgers are 17-8-1 ATS away since the start of the ’16 season.


SUGAR BOWL – at New Orleans, LA

#7 BAYLOR (11-2) vs. #5 GEORGIA (11-2) – 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

The battle cry for this here-and-now Georgia team is remember last year’s Sugar Bowl – a 28-21 loss to two-TD underdog Texas. Okay, so head coach Kirby Smart says his SEC team will be “motivated” here but the number’s dropped from Bulldogs minus 8.5 points to 4.5 points the past few days and that’s because rumors swirl that more than a dozen Bulldogs could be out (for various reasons, some disciplinary) here … and secondary ticket folks you can get in the door for as little as $6, so truth is there’s not a whole lot of juice surrounding this bash.

The Dawgs – who rank third against the rush this year (allowing 76 yards a game) – have held 11 foes to 17 points or less and now will concentrate their efforts on stopping a Baylor bunch that registered 34 rushing scores in ‘19. If Bears’ QB Charlie Brewer (2,950 passing yards with 20 TDs) – said to be healed after getting rocked by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game last month – gets in any type of rhythm then Baylor’s first trip to the Sugar Bowl since 1957 could be a fond farewell gift to head coach Matt Rhule (expect him to be named the next head coach of the NFL’s New York Giants).

Spread Notes – Baylor zooms into this prime-time bowl clash on a five-game pointspread winning streak with the Big 12 Bears at 21-15 ATS under third-year boss Rhule; Georgia has covered 17 of its last 21 away games these past three seasons and the Dawgs are 6-2 ATS in bowl / playoff games in recent years.




Let’s get you the past five years’ worth of playoff pointspread records from the eight (8) teams in action this Wild Card weekend …


TEAM                     PLAYOFF RECORD (5 YEARS)              PCT

Philadelphia                  5-0-0                                              1.000

Buffalo                           1-0-0                                              1.000

New England                10-4-0                                            .714

Tennessee                     1-1-0                                              .500

Minnesota                     1-1-1                                              .500

Seattle                            3-5-0                                              .375

Houston                         1-3-0                                              .250

New Orleans                 0-3-1                                              .000




Here’s the final look at the NFL team-by-team pointspread breakdown chart for the just-completed 2019 regular season:


TEAM                     WON      LOSS       TIE           PCT

LA Rams                11           5              0              .688

New Orleans         11           5              0              .688

Baltimore              10           5              1              .667

Kansas City            10           5              1              .667

Green Bay             10           6              0              .625

San Francisco        10           6              0              .625

Buffalo                   9              6              1              .600

Arizona                  9              7              0              .563

Dallas                     9              7              0              .563

Denver                   9              7              0              .563

Miami                    9              7              0              .563

Minnesota             9              7              0              .563

New England        9              7              0              .563

Indianapolis          8              7              1              .533

Tennessee             8              7              1              .533

Atlanta                   8              8              0              .500

Oakland                 8              8              0              .500

Pittsburgh             7              7              2              .500

Houston                 7              8              1              .467

Seattle                    7              8              1              .467

Jacksonville           7              9              0              .438

NY Giants              7              9              0              .438

NY Jets                   7              9              0              .438

Philadelphia          7              9              0              .438

Carolina                 6              9              1              .400

Cincinnati              6              9              1              .400

Detroit                   6              10           0              .375

Washington          6              10           0              .375

Tampa Bay            5              9              2              .357

Cleveland               5              10           1              .333

LA Chargers           4              10           2              .286

Chicago                  4              12           0              .250



NOTE: NFL Wild Card Round News & Notes in the next Jim Sez plus more Bowls.


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