THE NFL WEEK 2 REPORT – SEAHAWKS CAP A HIGH-SCORING SUNDAY WITH SCINTILLATING 35-30 WIN/COVER AGAINST THE PATS (AND THE NFC WEST ZOOMS TO A 7-AND-1 SPREAD START IN 2020!) …
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S GONNA GET A REAL JOLT WITH THIS WEEKEND’S RETURN OF THE SEC BUT THERE WERE PLENTY OF NOISY NEWSMAKERS OUT THERE THIS PAST WEEKEND
Hey, who said that National Football League offenses would “need a little time” to warm up here in this Covid-19 season?
In case you didn’t know – while heading into this Monday Night Football clash between the New Orleans Saints at the Las Vegas Raiders — NFL Week 2 games have gone “over” the number 11 times (and pushed once) in the 15 overall games and so the “overs” stand at a sizzling 20-10-1 (a .667 winning rate) so far in this 2020 campaign.
And Jim Hurley indeed saw the points coming and Named The Scores with a 4-1 Totals Bonanza Performance yesterday…Jaguars/Titans Over 42.5 – 30-33 WIN…Panthers/Bucs OVER 47.5 – 17-31 WIN…Lions/Packers OVER 49.5 – 21-42 WIN and Falcons-Cowboys OVER 52.5 – 39-40 WIN…only Vikings/Colts failed to go over.
One more scoring fact: There have been 15 teams that have scored 30-or-more points here in NFL Week 2 and four of ‘em actually lost their games in SU (straight-up) fashion … see the Cincinnati Bengals (a 35-30 loss-but-cover at 6-point favorite Cleveland last Thursday night); the Atlanta Falcons (a hard-to-believe 40-39 loss-but-cover at 2.5-point fav Dallas); the Jacksonville Jaguars (a 33-30 loss-but-cover at full-TD favorite Tennessee); and – last but not least – the New England Patriots (a 35-30 loser at 4.5-point home chalk-eater Seattle).
Will there be points aplenty in this MNF tilt between the Saints and Raiders?
Jim is wrapping up the information now and ill have Another Prime Time Winner, just as he did last night with Seattle’s (-4) win over the Patriots.
Find out as you get the Side & Totals plays game-day right here at VegasSportsMaster.pro or when you call our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155. Remember we banged the books hard in NFL Week 1 with big-time winners on Green Bay, the Los Angeles Rams and “under” in Tennessee at Denver and then followed it up with such big-time Sunday winners in NFL Week 2 as the aforementioned Falcons and the 4.5-point underdog New York Giants who slipped under the price tag in that 17-13 loss at Chicago … so there!
But let’s go back to Seattle on Sunday Night …
The Seahawks are hot-hot-hot out of the proverbial starting gate with 38 points scored in a Week 1 win/cover at Atlanta and uber-star QB Russell Wilson – and a nifty goal-line stand by the Seattle defense on the game’s final play – downed the Pats by a fistful in prime-time Sunday. Heck, Wilson aired five scoring strikes – to five different pass-catchers, no less – and shook off an early-game deflected pick-six play to steer the ‘Hawks to a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West.
Better yet – as our headline above states – the NFC West is now 7-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this year with only San Francisco’s 24-20 upset loss against Arizona in Week 1 the division’s only spread blemish.
Okay, so we’re only two weeks in (minus the MNF game) but here’s how to stack up the NFL divisions from a point spread viewpoint:
DIVISION WON LOST TIE PCT
NFC West 7 1 0 .875
AFC West 6 1 0 .857
AFC North 4 4 0 .500
NFC South 3 4 0 .429
AFC East 3 5 0 .375
AFC South 3 5 0 .375
NFC North 3 5 0 .375
NFC East 2 6 0 .250
In other NFL Week 2 News & Notes …
A final comment on Seahawks 35, Patriots 30: No, we weren’t at all surprised that New England called for a quarterback run by Cam Newton (397 yards passing) on that final play from the Seahawks’ two-yard line but can someone tell us why Pats’ WR Julian Edelman (8 catches for 179 yards) at least wasn’t on the field as a “decoy”. Geez, sure seemed as if Pete Carroll’s defense knew what was coming …
No need to grill the poor Atlanta Falcons any more than necessary regarding that onside kick scooped up by Dallas – but can someone out there tell us the last time an NFL team owned a 20-0 lead after the first quarter of play and then blew it? If Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn is still employed by Oct. 1, we’ll be surprised …
Finally, it didn’t take long for quarterback injuries to begin piling up:
Among the Week 2 casualties were Denver’s Drew Lock (right/throwing shoulder); San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo (high ankle sprain); and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Tyrod Taylor (pre-game chest injury).
One final note on Jim’s terrific Sunday in the NFL. His SHOCKER OF THE DAY, Falcons (+3.5) over Cowboys got the job done in a 39-40 last play loss but cover and joined the Giants (+5) over the Bears (13-17) as another dog cover for a 2-0 day on the Premier Service, the BLUE RIBBON CLUB. (Check Out The Winning Details Here.)
THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON UPDATE
Thank goodness for the Southeastern Conference:
The country’s numero uno football league – finally – swings into action this weekend with seven games on the docket including: #2 Alabama at Missouri; #4 Georgia at Arkansas; #5 Florida at Ole Miss; Miss State at#6 LSU; #23 Kentucky at #8 Auburn; Vanderbilt at #10 Texas A&M; and #16 Tennessee at South Carolina.
Whoa … that’s a lot of top10 teams from a league that hasn’t had a single snap this year, eh?
Among the ranked teams that made noise this past September weekend was #17 Miami – a wire-to-wire 47-34 win at 2.5-point home dog Louisville. The Hurricanes grabbed all the pre-game betting money (the ‘Ville had been a 2.5-point fav earlier in the week and even a 1.5-point fav on game-day morning before the sudden shift) and then stomped on the Cardinals, thanks in large part by three scoring strikes from Houston transfer D’Eriq King and what about PK Jose Borregales (four field goals) who could be a major weapon for second-year head coach Manny Diaz’s club …
Then there was Marshall: The Thundering Herd listened all week long to folks hyping up #23 Appalachian State – note the App State side took all the loot as the line drifted up from 3.5 to 5.5 points – and then Doc Holliday’s team threw down the hammer in a muscle-flexing 17-7 triumph that featured RB Brenden Knox rushing for 138 yards and a “touch”
Maybe it’s Marshall that should be getting the hype among the non-Power 5 schools the rest of the way.
Editor’s Note … There’s plenty of NFL Week 3, NCAA Football and lots more goodies straight ahead in our next web piece, so don’t miss out and remember get all the winners from Football, Major-League Baseball and the NBA Playoffs here at VegasSportsMaster.pro … make sure your 2020 profits keep rollin’ in.
EXTRA, EXTRA – LOOKIN’ AHEAD AT THE REMAINDER OF THIS NFL WEEK 2 CARD (WITH SOME FACTS & FIGURES THAT’S SURE TO BLOW YOUR MIND!) … COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND TIDBITS
Get a load of this …
Last year there were 10 National Football League teams that started off the season with SU (straight-up) setbacks both in Week 1 and in Week 2 play … and not a single one of these teams qualified for the playoffs at regular season’s end.
So — knowing that — the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, the Indianapolis Colts, the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (all of whom consider themselves legit post-season contenders here in 2020) gotta realize that this Sunday’s Week 2 games are “must-win” affairs.
Agree? Hey, memo to the Cincinnati Bengals – who lost but covered Thursday Night in a 35-30 setback in Cleveland – you’re behind the proverbial eight-ball already with your 0-and-2 SU start!
Meanwhile, the funny thing is the Colts are hosting the Vikings and so that qualifies that NFL Week 2 tilt as a something’s-gotta-give showdown and there’s real reason for the ‘Boys, Eagles and maybe even the Niners to be quite concerned as we head towards this all-important September 20th date.
We’ll delve into some NFL Week 2 forays shortly but a reminder that we will be cranking out loads of winners right here at VegasSportsMaster.pro or when you call our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155. Remember we banged the books in NFL Week 1 with big-time winners on Green Bay (+1.5) over Minnesota 43-34, the Los Angeles Rams (Pick ‘Em) over aforementioned Dallas 20-17 and the “totals” winner in the back leg of the Monday Night Football doubleheader as Tennessee’s 16-14 win at Denver was an easy “under” winner at the 41 points price.
And there’s much more where that came from, ladies and gents!
Let’s go ‘round the league and highlight three NFL teams that’ll need a big effort to stay away from going 0-2 SU:
DALLAS – Believe it or not you must go back to the 2010 season to discover the last time the Cowboys started off a season at 0-2 SU … and remember that particular Dallas team finished the year at 6-10 SU and also 6-10 ATS (against the spread). Now, a week after this NFC East team believed it was “hosed” by the on-the-field officials on a highly questionable OPI (offensive pass interference) penalty called on WR Michael Gallup, new coach Mike McCarthy’s squad must dust itself off and lay a fistful of points against the all-offense / no-defense Atlanta Falcons. Is that current 4.5-point price “too short” (and keep in mind Dallas first opened as a 7-point betting favorite)?
Major key here: The Cowboys’ defense must get off the field on third downs as last week’s game against the Rams proved Dallas’ D” spent way too much time on the field and they were gassed late.
MINNESOTA – The truth is the Vikings have been an “every-other-year” team since 2014, meaning that in even-numbered years this NFC North crew doesn’t get to the playoffs but the Vikes did figure in the post-season party in 2015, ’17 and ’19. If Mike Zimmer’s crew wishes to snap that head-scratching trend, then QB Kirk Cousins and mates probably need a “W” here in this road game at Indianapolis. Note that Minnesota last week surrendered 43 points—the most allowed in the Zimmer Era that began in 2014 – and some 522 offensive yards to the high-flying GB Packers.
If 3-point pup Minnesota is gonna even up its SU mark here in Week 2, then DE Yannick Ngakoue (see 6.5 career sacks in eight games against the Colts when he played for Jacksonville) must be a major factor in pass-rushing 38-year-old slinger Philip Rivers who threw for 363 yards in an upset loss to the Jags last weekend.
SAN FRANCISCO – On paper, the visiting SF 49ers should squash the 7-point underdog New York Jets (maybe the most talent-less team top-to-bottom in this man’s football league!) but there’s key injuries here including San Fran TE George Kittle (knee / questionable here after 4 catches for 44 yards in Week 1 action) and CB Richard Sherman (knee / out here) and the defending NFC champions have endured a real soul-searching week with fourth-year head ball coach Kyle Shanahan really getting roasted by the Bay Area (and national) media.
If the Niners “swallow” everything they are hearing about these 2020 J-E-T-S then the west coasters will be counting on a veritable cakewalk but be aware that NYJ’s QB Sam Darnold-to-slot receiver Jamison Crowder combo could cook up some big gainers here.
One final note: San Francisco covered six-of-eight regular-season road games a year ago.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS & NOTES
Just to get y’all up to snuff:
NCAA Football Betting Favorites entered Saturday’s abbreviated card with a dead-even but vig-losing 15-15 ATS mark so far this season and that’s included a pair of pointspread wins / covers as chalk by the Army Black Knights. Oorah times two!
Now, the only military team in action this still-summer weekend is Navy, a full-TD underdog at Tulane … and do remember the Midshipmen were blown to bits 55-3 as 1.5-point home pups by BYU on Labor Day evening. Ugh!
Here, Navy has some nifty pointspread numbers while heading into this high-noon clash:
The Mids have covered eight of their last 10 away games plus Ken Niumatalolo’s crew is 21-12 spreadwise as point-grabbers while dating back to the start of the 2013 campaign. Va-va-va voom to that!
Finally, when you add ‘em all up the past five years the Air Force / Army / Navy triumvirate is a composite 10-4-1 versus the vig in their first away games of the season – a snazzy .714 winning rate that’s tough to top!
Editor’s Note … There’s plenty of NFL Week 2, NCAA Football and lots more goodies straight ahead in our next web piece, so don’t miss out and remember get all the winners from Football, Major-League Baseball and the NBA Playoffs here at VegasSportsMaster.pro … make sure your 2020 profits keep rollin’ in.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL RUNDOWN
WHO SAYS THERE AREN’T ANY GREAT GAMES
ON THIS WEEKEND’S MENU? …
PLUS, OUR NFL WEEK 2 NEWS & NOTES
SEGMENT EXAMINES KEY DIVISIONAL DUELS
ON TAP INCLUDING THURSDAY’S
BENGALS VS. BROWNS BASH AT THE DAWG POUND
Let’s get something straight: This here-and-now 2020 NCAA Football Season is far from a “lost cause”.
LATE BREAKING NEWS as of Wednesday morning, Sept 16. The Big 10 will “opt in” to the college football season beginning the weekend of October 23, 2020 and the rumor mill suggests the Pac-12 will have a change of heart and get back onto the gridiron soon too.
And, while we wait for those Power 5 leagues to pull it all together during these Covid-19 times, keep in mind that nearly half of the current Associated Press Top 25 – okay, so 11 teams in all — are in action this coming weekend and you can be dang sure we’ll be pumping out loads of winners at VegasSportsMaster.pro or when you call our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155.
Here’s some of what’s on Saturday’s menu that includes – all told – 22 on-the-board affairs from the College Football world …
TULSA at #11 OKLAHOMA STATE — 12 noon ET, ESPN
Ride ‘em, Cowboys?
Well, host Oklahoma State’s rarin’ to go after last weekend’s season-opening tilt against in-state rival Tulsa was temporarily PPD’d by coronavirus junk. The ‘Boys have a legit Heisman Trophy candidate on hand in RB Chuba Hubbard – his 2,094 yards rushing led the nation a year ago – and now looks to cover a three-TD plus pointspread here.
Note that Tulsa was a 40-21 loser against two-TD fav Oklahoma State last Sept. 14th but the Golden Hurricane played it close for much of that affair.
Spread Stats – The Okie State Cowboys banged out a 10-3 ATS (against the spread) record last year and that featured a perfect 4-and-oh spread log whenever laying a double-digit price tag.
THE CITADEL (0-1) at #1 CLEMSON (1-0) – 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network
The all-knowing Las Vegas oddsmakers have top-ranked Clemson favored by 45 and ½ points here – in the last five years Dabo Swinney’s club has been a larger fav just once and the Tigers didn’t cover the 47.5-point price against Wofford last November … we looked it up, alright!
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence didn’t get the cover in last weekend’s 37-13 triumph at 34.5-point underdog Wake Forest despite 351 passing yards and two ground scores and the “over / under” on how long Lawrence plays here is five minutes into the third quarter. Stay tuned.
Spread Stats – Did you know that the Clemson Tigers are a collective 23-9-1 vig-wise since dating back to late in the 2017 campaign (and that’s a dandy .719 winning rate)?
#17 MIAMI (1-0) at #18 LOUISVILLE (1-0) – 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Under-the-lights special in ACC-land where major revenge is on Louisville’s mind following last year’s 52-27 loss in South Beach. Ouch, that one hurt!
If transfer QB D’Eriq King (just 144 passing yards in last week’s 31-14 win /cover against UAB) starts to get a better feel for this U of M offensive attack then smallish pup Miami could vault over the ‘Ville one mo’ time.
Spread Stats – Louisville’s covered five of its first seven home games under second-year head coach Scott Satterfield while Miami is just 10-15 versus the vig in conference games the past three seasons.
NFL WEEK 2 DIVISIONAL DUELS
In case you didn’t keep track of such things, there were nine divisional matchups in NFL Week 1 play – the Favorites covered 5, the Underdogs covered 4 … and now there’s a healthy half-dozen same-division tilts on this NFL Week 2 card and it all gets started Thursday Night.
Here’s the skinny on Bengals at Browns:
CINCINNATI (0-1) at CLEVELAND (0-1) – 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Let’s see …
The Cincy Bengals are trotting out a new field-goal kicker after PK Randy Bullock’s crampy calf muscle didn’t allow ‘em to connect on a gimme 31-yard try at the end of last Sunday’s 16-13 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers; the Cleveland Browns hope to be trotting out a whole new attitude following last week’s ugly 38-6 loss at 7-point fav Baltimore. Don’t know what was worse for the Brownies in that rubout loss: QB Baker Mayfield (just 11 fantasy points) or a defense that never did solve Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson.
If you want an X-factor here in this prime-time bash, then keep a close eye on Browns’ WR Odell Beckham, Jr. who was targeted 10 times last Sunday and wound up with just three catches worth 22 yards … ugh.
Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy winner and numero uno draft pick QB Joe Burrow (193 yards passing, 46 yards rushing with one ground score last week) of the Bengals played with some major moxie in Week 1 – and watch him as a runner on third-down plays here.
Spread Stats – Cleveland has failed to cover nine of its last 11 head-to-head matchups with archrival Cincinnati. P.S., the Bengals are a decent 10-7-1 spreadwise in all AFC North games since the start of 2017.
Here are some other pointspread nuggets as it relates to the NFL Week 2 divisional duels …
Buffalo at Miami – The Bills are a solid 9-5 against the odds in their last 14 tilts against the Fish.
Detroit at Green Bay – The Packers have notched spread wins in five of their last seven NFC North games and that includes last week’s 43-34 triumph at Minnesota (a Vegas Sports Master winner!!!).
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers – Betcha didn’t know the Chiefs have covered eight of their last 11 away games against the Bolts; on the flip side, LA’s coming off a rotten 0-5-1 ATS mark when playing divisional opponents from the AFC West last year.
Editor’s Note … There’s plenty of NFL Week 2, NCAA Football and lots more goodies straight ahead in our next web piece, so don’t miss out and remember get all the winners from Football, Major-League Baseball and the NBA Playoffs at VegasSportsMaster.pro … make sure your 2020 profits keep rollin’ in.
NFL WEEK 1 IS OFF-AND-RUNNIN’ AND NINERS, ‘BOYS AND TOMMY B. ARE ALREADY IN A HOLE …
THE COLLEGE GRIDRON REPORT: THE HEAVYWEIGHTS THAT DIDN’T COVER THE ALL-IMPORTANT PRICE TAGS
First things first … it’s good to be back.
After months of believing that this here-and-now 2020 National Football League season wouldn’t happen at all – or at least would start somewhat later in the calendar year – Commissioner Roger Goodell’s troops “pulled it off” and played a full Sunday schedule (after Kansas City’s thorough 34-20 win against Houston last Thursday night) and dang it if there weren’t a slew of top-notch story lines.
And we still have two more prime-time games here on NFL Week 1 Monday Night Football and you better believe Vegas Sports Masters is gonna be banging out the Side & Totals winners as the Pittsburgh Steelers play at the new-look New York Giants (kickoff at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time) followed by the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (approximately 10:10 p.m. ET). Check it our right here at VegasSportsMasters.pro or call our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155 and cash in big with plus get all the Major-League Baseball.
Now, back to NFL Week 1 …
Okay, so according to our pointspread records the Betting Favorites and Underdogs split Sunday’s “baker’s dozen” games – six wins for the chalk, six wins for the point-grabbers and one prime-time pick ‘em affair with the Los Angeles Rams besting the Dallas Cowboys 20-17.
And so, let’s start there on the left coast:
The ‘Boys were the betting favs all week long right up until kickoff at brand-new SoFi Stadium – in fact, the number went from Dallas minus a deuce to pick ‘em during the course of the day on Sunday – and you just know there’s loads of Cowboys’ fans hootin’ and hollerin’ regarding that OPI (as in offensive pass interference) late in the game on the long QB Dak Prescott-to-WR Michael Gallup throw with :21 remaining in the final frame.
There was also another group of “Fans” hootin’ and hollerin’ after the game last night as well…and those were Jim’s followers, as he made the Rams’ Upset a featured SNF Release.
Ask us and we say Rams’ CB Jalen Ramsey “sold” the play big-time but while lots of folks are pointing the finger of blame at the zebras, let’s not forget first-year Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy clearly blew it by not opting for a game-tying field goal some three minutes into the fourth quarter – the fourth-and-three play from LA’s 11 yard line failed to produce the needed first down. We’re not second-guessers – McCarthy should have kicked the FG and moved on. ‘Nuff said.
Meanwhile, there was season-opening heartache too for the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, 24-20 home losers versus 6.5-point underdog Arizona and you gotta wonder if anyone on SF read the scouting report on newly-acquired Cards’ WR DeAndre Hopkins (see 14 receptions worth 151 yards).
Jim’s Numbers Guys did as the Cardinals plus the points was Jim’s STEAM PLAY OF THE DAY…another OUTRIGHT DOG WINNER.
True, Arizona is gonna be a dangerous team this season – remember they covered seven of their first nine games as underdogs last year – but the early-bird “flip side” says that maybe this Niners team will struggle all year long as favorites and especially if all-world TE George Kittle (only four catches for 44 yards) isn’t more of home-run hitter.
Finally, let’s weigh in those QB Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Bucs: Okay, so a season-opening 34-23 loss at 4-point fav New Orleans is nothing to fret about but a pair of Brady INTs – including that devastating “pick six” by Saints’ CB Janoris Jenkins – really unnerved a Tampa Bay team that committed a slew of penalties and got zilch from WR Mike Evans (one late-game TD catch from two yards out). We remind you that the Bucs were among the top four or five teams in the league when it came to preseason “win it all” odds (see 14-to-1 around here) … they didn’t play like a real Super Bowl contender out of the chute.
FYI, the sweet big money-line winners in NFL Week 1 included the Washington Football Team (+ 195) over Philadelphia 27-17, Jacksonville (+ 265) over Indianapolis 27-20 and aforementioned Arizona (+ 250) over the 49ers.
THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT
No SEC. No Big 10. Heck, no Mountain West and no Mid-American Conferences either in this Covid-19 season but yet there were plenty of “name teams” that didn’t exactly start off with a bang this past weekend.
Florida State (- 12.5) – Wow, it’s good to see that the Seminoles can lose a season-opening game no matter who coaches (a little sarcasm there!). First-year boss Mike Norvell followed in the footsteps of Willie Taggart who lost his opener in both of his years at Tallahassee and Jimbo Fisher who lost his last season-opener with the ‘Noles back in 2017. Don’t look now but FSU is a collective 12-24-1 ATS (against the spread) since the start of the ’17 campaign. Ugh.
Notre Dame (- 21.5) – The ND Fighting Irish failed to cash its rather lackluster 27-13 home win against Duke this past weekend as the Blue Devils cranked out 246 yards in the first half. No doubt Notre Dame was being asked to lay a monstrous price against a well-coached David Cutcliffe team but gotta believe an Irish gang lacking (for now) big-play wide outs could be a season-long liability as hefty favs.
Iowa State (- 12) – Yes, the Cyclones received lots of summertime “love” from the experts out there (we’re watching “Bear” on ESPN!) but not showing up against these early-season non-league folks is getting ridiculous. Last year it was a 29-26 non-cover triple-OT win against 23.5-point pup Northern Iowa and this time it was a humbling 31-14 loss to Louisiana. True, the Ragin’ Cajuns scored a pair of special teams touchdowns but toss that aside and you saw I-State slinger Brock Purdy complete just 16-of-35 passes for 145 yards and no TDs. Heck, that’s no way to start off an alleged Heisman Trophy campaign, is it? One update on Iowa State: Maybe the ‘Clones are holding out for the Big 12 games – ISU’s a nifty 22-13 ATS when facing conference foes the past three-plus seasons.
With the line-maker and the public struggling this weekend, Jim made it a lot easier with a 3-0 BLUE RIBBON CLUB SWEEP, cashing South Alabama (+10.5) over Tulane 24-27 Saturday and the Packers (+2.5) over the Vikings 43-34 and Rams over the Cowboys 20-17 on Sunday. BLUE RIBBON Membership is ONLY $99 for 4 Weeks…and that includes tonight’s MNF Best bet FREE…(See Details Here)
Check out our web site right here all week long for NFL, NCAA Football, MLB and NBA Playoffs action!
THE COLLEGE ROUND-BALL REPORT –
HERE’S THE MINI-TOURNIES THAT TIP OFF THURSDAY AFTERNOON / EVENING …
PLUS, THE TEAMS (WE SAY) THAT MUST WIN AT LEAST TWO CONFERENCE TOURNEY
GAMES TO LAND AN AT-LARGE BID IN THE NCAAs
You know the deal:
No matter what teams make the cut for the final at-large bids to next week’s NCAA Tournament there’s gonna be a slew of hoop squads that believe they got hosed.
Well, here’s a little memo to a couple of teams that we will list just below … win at least two games in your conference tournaments and (we say) you’ll have nothing to worry about come Selection Sunday:
CINCINNATI (20-10, 13-5 AAC) – Hey, these Bearcats have been on-and-off the proverbial bubble for the past few weeks but a couple of wins here in the American Athletic Conference Tournament (see our quick-hitter preview below in today’s Jim Sez) will land ‘em a “Big Dance” berth for sure. In laymen’s terms, if the ‘Cats get to the AAC Championship Game – win or lose there – they’re in. The 51 NET ain’t great but two wins against Wichita State, a win against league rival Houston and a 78-66 win against Tennessee helps the resume. FYI, One win in this mini-tourney and Cincy’s squarely on the bubble. Bettors beware as Cincy’s failed to cover seven of its last eight games.
SOUTH CAROLINA (18-13, 10-8 SEC) – Gotta say we haven’t seen the Gamecocks listed on many “mock” NCAA Tournament fields but do believe a pair of SEC Tourney wins gets ‘em in (maybe in one of the “First Four” games). The 67 NET works against Frank Martin’s squad as does the fact the Gamecocks are just 5-5 SU in their last 10 games but wins against the Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt survivor and another in the quarterfinals against LSU should do the trick. P.S., South Carolina is 11-6 ATS (against the spread) since Jan.11th.
Now hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the books with more College Basketball and NBA winners all week/weekend long, so let’s cash in big here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Keep in mind when there’s day-time hoops, we’ll have our selections up for you bright and early!
Here’s more of this week’s College Basketball mini-tournies with the leagues that tip off play beginning Thursday …
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT – Thurs-thru-Sun
at Fort Worth, TX
The 22nd-ranked Houston Cougars have a sort of “home state” advantage here playing in the great state of Texas and Kelvin Sampson’s squad will try to do it with “D” here – they own the country’s 12th-best scoring defense (allowing 62.1 ppg). The general lack of pop from Tulsa and Wichita State likely means they’ll fall short of this title chase but UConn and Memphis plus points probably will be utilized here.
The Favorite: Houston
The Dark Horse: UConn
Pointspread Note: Houston’s an ugly 3-6 versus the vig since Feb.5th and the Coogs have failed to cover four consecutive away games
BIG WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT – Thurs-thru-Sat
At Anaheim, CA
No fans allowed in the Honda Center because of the coronavirus mess …and only one tam from this conference will get an NCAA bid but even fav Cal-Irvine could be a #15 seed next week. Watch for G Evan Leonard of the UCI Anteaters … he must shoot it better than 40.5 from the field or else these guys could stumble spreadwise.
The Favorite: UC-Irvine
The Dark Horse: Hawaii
Pointspread Note: The league’s biggest money-burner is Cal-Fullerton (just 10-19 against the odds this year) while Cal-Davis (17-13 ATS) and Cal-Poly SLO (16-12) are the best bets and neither gets you all that excited
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT – Thurs-thru-Sat
At Las Vegas, NV
Be sure that New Mexico State should make minced meat of this mini-tourney field as the Aggies have bludgeoned next-best team Cal-Baptist by a grand total of 48 points in their two head-to-head meetings. New Mexico State’s the country’s fifth-ranked defense while yielding only 59.7 points a game.
The Favorite: New Mexico State
The Dark Horse: UT-Rio Grande Valley
Pointspread Note: Cal-Baptist’s 16-10 spread mark is the best in this WAC and note heavy-duty fav New Mexico State is just 13-16 vig-wise but riding a four-game spread winning streak these days
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this week right here at Jim Sez so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the hoop winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
Got it, thanks!Got it.I’m in.
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THIS JUST IN:
MINI-TOURNEY WEEK IS A BLAST!
HERE’S THE EIGHT CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS
THAT TIP OFF WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON / EVENING
Let’s keep the ole basketball bouncing – there’s conference tournaments all ‘round the land this week and here’s quick-hitter looks / previews of the Eight (8) so-called mini-tournies that will be tipping off Wednesday, March 11th:
And a reminder:
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep beating the books with College Basketball and NBA winners all week long, so let’s cash in big here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Keep in mind when there’s day-time hoops, we’ll have our selections up for you bright and early! Jim’s been banging out lots of winners lately and he promises this will be one of the great month-of-March runs he’s ever had!
Now, here’s more of this week’s College Basketball mini-tournies beginning with Wednesday afternoon /night action …
BIG SKY TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sat
At Boise, ID
There’s some hoop know-it-alls that believe top seed Eastern Washington – riding a seven-game SU (straight-up) winning streak right now – could be as high as an #11 seed in next week’s NCAA Tourney. One-two punch of G Jacob Davison (18.4 points per game) and F Mason Peatling (17.2 ppg) both can get heated up in a hurry.
The Favorite: Eastern Washington
The Dark Horse: Portland State
Pointspread Note: Biggest money-maker in the Big Sky? It’s Northern Colorado (19-9 ATS) while fav Eastern Washington’s covered four of its last five games
ATLANTIC-10 TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sun
At Brooklyn, NY
There’s only one real story here – the Dayton Flyers (29-2, 18-0 Atlantic-10 play) enter mini-tourney week ranked #3 in the land and very much capable of securing one of the NCAA Tournament numero uno seeds and plenty of eyeballs will be watching Player of the Year candidate F Obi Toppin (20 ppg / 7.5 rpg). Okay, so the prices will be hefty but our knee-jerk reaction is don’t make any anti-Dayton plays. Plus, Richmond and Rhode Island could be “overpriced” as so-called bubble teams.
The Favorite: Dayton
The Dark Horse: VCU
Pointspread Note: Dayton’s 19-12 against the odds but take note the Flyers are just 5-6 spreadwise since late January
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sat
at Las Vegas, NV
Hey, depending on who you talk to the Pac-12 could have anywhere between five-to-seven teams in the NCAA Tourney … UCLA (NET 76) and Arizona State (NET 52) would be in if we were selecting a 68-team field but Thursday night losses could kayo ‘em both. Oregon’s the top choice to snag the mini-tourney crown but G Payton Pritchard (20.5 ppg / 5.5 apg) must get some help and Colorado (four losses in a row SU) and Stanford really need to hit the reset button.
The Favorite: Oregon
The Dark Horse: Arizona State
Pointspread Note: There’s three Pac-12 teams sharing the top spot among “best bets”: Oregon, USC and Stanford each is 19-12 against the Las Vegas price tags
BIG 10 TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sun
At Indianapolis, IN
There’s a feeling that Michigan State is just rounding into form these days as Sparty has won its last five games in a row but sometimes it feels like too much is placed on the shoulders of PG Cassius Winston (18.6 ppg and 5.9 assists per outing) and so we won’t be shocked if Tom Izzo’s squad falls short of the championship game: Red-hot Wisconsin (eight wins in a row SU) and Maryland (somewhere inside the AP top 10 just about all year long) both have the right puzzle pieces to make a run at the Big 10 crown.
The Favorite: Michigan State
The Dark Horse: Michigan
Pointspread Note: Maryland’s just 2-5-1 spreadwise in its last eight games; Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s 7-2-2 ATS since late January
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sat
At New York City, NY
Folks may disagree but we believe this Big East is the best conference in the country with #1 seed Creighton, #2 Villanova and #3 Seton Hall all quite capable of cutting down the nets at this year’s Final Four … really. The ‘Nova Wildcats probably are the best of this trio in crunch-time situations but we could see one of those vintage scoring sprees by Hall G Myles Powell who has already been crowned Big East Player of the Year. P.S., we won’t be shocked if red-hot Providence (won six in a row SU) is a solid investment in this mini-tourney.
The Favorite: Villanova
The Dark Horse: Butler
Pointspread Note: Creighton’s 19-and-10 spread mark is the best among Big East teams but did you know that Seton Hall’s 4-8-1 ATS in its last baker’s dozen games?
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sat
At Kansas City, Mo
Here’s how we see the conference that’s pretty much held onto the top spot in the land the past two months (with either Kansas or Baylor): The Jayhawks could afford a semifinal or final round loss and still get a #1 seed in the NCAA’s but Baylor can only get back onto the #1 seed line with a mini-tourney win and some outside help. The proverbial bottom line is we expect a slew of white knucklers here and so – we’re warning you now – we’ll likely be interested when West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech are grabbing points this week.
The Favorite: Kansas
The Dark Horse: Texas Tech
Pointspread Note: Top seeds Kansas (19-12 ATS) and Baylor (18-12 ATS) have been the biggest buck-makers in this league while West Virginia’s 3-8-1 vig-wise in its last dozen tilts
SEC TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sun
At Nashville, TN
Here’s an interesting nugget: The Kentucky Wildcats have copped 31 SEC Tournaments (the last occurred in 2018 / note Auburn won last year) and all the other SEC teams have combined for 28 mini-tourney titles. Yowie! Now, John Calipari’s crew rambles into Music City red-hot versus the vig (see our Jim Sez Pointspread Note below) and G Immanuel Quickley (a 43 pct three-point shooter) could be guns-blazin’ though he will face some hearty defensive units.
The Favorite: Kentucky
The Dark Horse: Florida
Pointspread Note: Since Feb. 4th, Kentucky’s covered eight of its last 10 games including recent outright upset wins at Florida, at Texas A&M and at LSU
CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT – Wed-thru-Sat
At Frisco, TX
Good chance that the winner here gets no better than a #15 seed in next week’s NCAA Tourney – but any shot to gobble up points with Marshall, UAB and/or UTEP will be recommended. Top seed North Texas allows just 63.3 ppg and could put the late-game squeeze on any /all opposing 3-point shooters.
The Favorite: North Texas
The Dark Horse: UAB
Pointspread Note: Top seed North Texas is a “mean” 19-9 versus the vig but that includes three-of-four spread setbacks since mid-February
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this week right here at Jim Sez and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the hoop winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
THE COLLEGE B-BALL CONFERENCE TOURNIES
ARE FULL SPEED AHEAD – TODAY WE PREVIEW
THE MID-AMERICAN, ACC & METRO ATLANTIC
PLUS, WE FORECAST THE WHOLE NCAA TOURNAMENT
FIELD LESS THAN ONE WEEK BEFORE IT’S ANNOUNCED
Tell us the honest-to-goodness truth:
Aren’t you in the mood for some real-live March Madness?
Great, because between right now (Monday, March 9th) and this coming Sunday (that’s March 15th) – a/k/a Selection Sunday – there are a whopping total of 171 on-the-board College Basketball Conference Tournament games on tap and they include everything from the ACC to the Big 12 to the Western Athletic Conference … and everything else in between.
Hey, there’s gonna be a whole of movin’ and shakin’ when it comes to next week’s NCAA Tournament bids based on these aforementioned 171 games and we’ve already had a dose of that this past weekend when 4th-seed Bradley copped the Missouri Valley Conference (and covered two-of-three mini tourney games along the way) and hats off to Utah State for shocking the hoops world with a Mountain West Conference Championship Game upset win against 5-point fav San Diego last Saturday, thus likely KO’ing SDSU from an all-important No.1 seed in next week’s NCAA’s.
In laymen’s terms, it’s a case of massive mayhem on the hard courts of America and there’s plenty on tap all this week as we work our way towards Selection Sunday where even a couple of projected #1 seeds are far from a veritable slam dunk – right Baylor and Dayton?
So, without further ado we’ll continue to examine /analyze this week’s mini-tournies as we check out all the leagues – both big and small – that are on-the-Las Vegas-board items.
But first this key reminder that Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the books with more College Basketball and NBA winners, so let’s cash in big all this week right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Keep in mind when there’s day-time hoops, we’ll have our selections bright and early! Hey, we’ve been hot-hot-hot lately, so make sure you’re all aboard for a bust-out March!
In College Basketball action beginning today and tomorrow, it’s …
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT – Mon. (four home games), Thurs-thru-Sat
at Cleveland, OH
The Mid-American Conference folks can stop dreaming: This – as usual – is gonna be a one-bid league and something tells us it will be a wild scramble come the semis and finals with Akron, Bowling Green and Ball State in the major hunt for the crown. Watch for Northern Illinois G Eugene German whose 20.5 ppg average leads the league.
The Favorite: Akron
The Dark Horse: Northern Illinois
Pointspread Note: Akron may be the top seed here in the MAC but the Zips have failed to cover five of their last six outings heading into Thursday’s tilt
ACC TOURNAMENT – Tues-thru-Sat
At Greensboro, NC
Talk about taking the long way home! Here’s Virginia (a #2 seed here) listed as our Jim Sez “favorite” to win this ACC Tournament and a month ago the Cavaliers were thinking they’d have to play in the first round of mini-tourney action (that’s being a double-digit seed). Dick Bennett’s club is riding a real wave but defensive-minded Florida State and always-tough Duke could be cuttin’ down the nets this weekend if they are able to hit their fair share of threes. It could be time to worry about Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and / or Notre Dame board-banger John Mooney (league-best 12.8 rebs per game). Gut feeling is the dogs will beat out the chalk sides in the final won / loss column.
The Favorite: Virginia
The Dark Horse: Notre Dame
Pointspread Note: Here’s an oddity: The league’s top spread side – Georgia Tech (19-11 against the spread) won’t even partake in this mini-tourney as it serves an NCAA sentence but note defending national champ Virginia rides a dandy 5-1-1 ATS mark into this mini-tourney
METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT – Tues-thru-Sun
at Atlantic City, NJ
Siena charges into this tourney riding a nine-game SU (straight-up) winning streak with three starters averaging between 13.6 and 15.3 ppg but maybe you think Saint Peter’s is gonna win after nabbing 7-of-8 SU wins down the stretch.
The Favorite: Siena
The Dark Horse: Monmouth
Pointspread Note: Hate to accentuate the negative but Iona is 9-16 ATS and rival Manhattan is 12-17 versus the vig
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Let’s go ahead and expand our weekly NCAA Tournament look even more now … we’re getting you our entire 68-team projected field and take note we have the “First Four” games to be played in Dayton (March 17 & 18) too:
(1) Dayton vs (16) N.C. Central / Colgate
(2) Kentucky vs (15) Robert Morris
(3) Seton Hall vs (14) Winthrop
(4) Michigan State vs (13) Hofstra
(5) Penn State vs (12) Rhode Island
(6) LSU vs (11) Liberty
(7) Utah State vs (10) Texas
(8) UCLA vs (9) West Virginia
(1) Kansas vs (16) New Mexico State
(2) Duke vs (15) Yale
(3) Creighton vs (14) Vermont
(4) Virginia vs (13) Wright State
(5) Butler vs (12) Belmont
(6) Illinois vs (11) Cincinnati / N.C. State
(7) Providence vs. (10) Rutgers
(8) Arizona vs (9) Miss State
(1) San Diego State vs (16) Prairie View / Siena
(2) Baylor vs. (15) Little Rock
(3) Florida State vs (14) North Texas
(4) Villanova vs (13) Akron
(5) Auburn vs (12) East Tennessee State
(6) Houston vs (11) Northern Iowa
(7) Oklahoma vs (10) Saint Mary’s
(8) Arizona State vs (9) Wisconsin
(1) Gonzaga vs (16) North Dakota State
(2) San Diego State vs (15) Eastern Washington
(3) Maryland vs (14) UC-Irvine
(4) Oregon vs (13) Stephen F. Austin
(5) BYU vs (12) Tulsa / Richmond
(6) Florida vs (11) Bradley
(7) Ohio State vs (10) USC
(8) Iowa vs (9) Texas Tech
Last Four In – Cincinnati, Tulsa, N.C. State, Richmond
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage later this week right here at Jim Sez — so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
THE NCAA TOURNAMENT PRIMER
WE’RE JUST ONE WEEK OUT FROM
SELECTION SUNDAY AND SO
THERE’S A LOT TO COVER HERE
IN TODAY’S JIM SEZ!
As the late, great Tom Petty used to sing, “Waiting is the hardest part”. He sure got that right!
No doubt most of you faithful Jim Sez readers – and Jim Hurley clients – have been champing at the proverbial bit to get to Selection Sunday and it’s now just a week away … it’s tick, tick, tick towards March 15th.
There’s a batch of College Basketball teams out there still unsure if they are gonna be part of the 68-team field.
Our up-to-the-minute “bubble teams” includes (at least) the following squads …
Cincinnati, Indiana, Marquette, N.C. State, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Richmond, South Carolina, Tulsa and Xavier.
Gotta believe that each of these teams needs to win at least one upcoming mini-tourney game to stay in the hunt for those final “Big Dance” at-large bids and, some, of course, may have to do even more.
And while the sport’s heavy-hitters – see Kansas and San Diego State and Dayton, among many others – know they’ll be landing on the #1, #2 or (at worst) #3 seed lines in NCAA Tournament play, they really can only venture an educated guess as to where they’ll be headed for first- and second-round action.
Here’s some thoughts based on geography and, oh yes, putting “fannies” in the seats as we list first-week/weekend sites and some of the high-profile / elite teams that figure to be playing there:
On Thursday, March 19th …
SITE LIKELY TEAMS PLAYING THERE
Albany Seton Hall, Villanova
Tampa Florida State, Kentucky
St. Louis Louisville, Northern Iowa
Spokane Gonzaga, Oregon
On Friday, March 20th …
SITE LIKELY TEAMS PLAYING THERE
Greensboro Duke, Virginia
Cleveland Dayton, Michigan State, Ohio State
Omaha Kansas, Baylor
Sacramento San Diego State, UCLA
Remember that these teams will be priced a bit higher than they would have been on a true neutral court … it’s a fact, so we’ll keep that in mind when ‘capping their early-round tourney games.
And know hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the Las Vegas and offshore books with more College Basketball and NBA winners this month of March. So, let’s cash in big all this weekend right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Just keep rollin’ in the profits with Jim Hurley – America’s #1 Handicapper – as this week alone we’ve cashed in big with: Valparaiso (+ 5.5) over Loyola-Chicago 74-73 in overtime in Friday’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament game; the Los Angeles Clippers (Pick ’Em) over the Houston Rockets 120-105 on Thursday night in NBA play; Villanova (+ 3.5) over Seton Hall 79-77 on Wednesday night; the Minnesota Timberwolves (+ 11) in outright upset fashion over Zion Williamson and New Orleans 139-134 in NBA play this past Tuesday; and we started off the week with a bang as we went “over” 153 points in Duke’s 88-69 win against N.C. State. Cha-ching!
In other Selection Sunday-related News & Notes …
There’s lots of folks talking about seeding but keep in mind – for the most part – there’s a sliding scale of sorts when the NCAA Tournament folks are deciding who to put on the #6-thru-#9 seed lines. The NCAA Tournament would rather not seek head-to-head conference matchups in the Saturday / Sunday games the first weekend so there’s the chance that, let’s say, Iowa would get a #7 seed and play a #10 seed in Stanford instead of putting Iowa on the #8 seed line and having ‘em play a #9 seed in Rutgers. Got it? …
Also, the tourney folks would like to “spread out” same-conference teams: In a perfect world, for example, let’s say there are seven SEC teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The committee folks would like two SEC teams each in the East, two in the South, two in the Midwest and one SEC team out West. One handicapping note: Don’t just assume that, say, a couple of SEC teams don’t cover on the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament that the SEC teams will be “bad bets” on the first Friday of the “Big Dance”. Don’t judge a conference’s strength / weakness after one day of NCAA Tourney play …
Finally, anyone that’s been with us over the years here at Jim Sez knows there are certain specific “handicapping guides” we tend to go with in the first-round games:
Go against any power conference team – that’s ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — that had to win four games in four days to win its mini-tournament; they rarely have their legs for this first NCAA Tourney game. Even three mini-tourney wins in three straight days makes ‘em “iffy” in Round I of the big tournament.
Next, take any power conference team plus points that’s coming off an early-round mini-tourney loss; they have a “something-to-prove” attitude with a real focus;
And, lastly, check out the recent pointspread results: If we can grab a team — power conference or not – that rolls into the NCAA Tournament on a five-, six- or seven-game pointspread winning streak (or 6-of-7 spread covers, etc.) then we’ll give ‘em strong consideration.
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this weekend right here with these jam-packed Jim Sez columns — so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or online at www.jimhurley.com
Jim Hurley Professional Handicapper
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT
THREE WAYS TO HANDICAP / “ATTACK” THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS …
PLUS, OUR SATURDAY “SIX-PACK” OF KEY B-BALL GAMES ‘ROUND THE LAND FEATURING CAROLINA VS. DUKE PART II
Oh, it’s “Madness” alright when you’re handicapping all these College Basketball Conference Tournament (see mini-tournies) but we’re gonna set aside a few moments here to explain some of our Jim Sez wagering strategies when it comes to these games / tournaments … come along for the ride for Three (3) Rules of Play, if you will!
No. 1 … Look at these conference tournaments as an opportunity for certain teams to hit the “reset button”: Much like the college football bowl games, these mini-tournies serve as a “new season” where teams can right themselves and maybe play with a real chip on their shoulders. Don’t necessarily assume all the #1 and #2 seeds in these conference tournaments are gonna dominate play, as there’s some good teams out there with a something-to-prove attitude. Off the top of our head, we’re thinking UConn in the American Athletic, Notre Dame in the ACC and Arizona in the Pac-12. Hey, don’t be shocked if these three teams are major money-makers in mini-tourney action. There’s a “freebie” for you all!
No. 2 … Go ahead and “ride” a team that wins you an opening-round mini-tourney game: Folks, gotta admit that this has been a pretty successful formula in recent years as Jim Hurley’s grabbed a Round I side (normally an underdog or a near pick ‘em game) and then played ‘em as long as they stayed alive in these conference tournaments. Momentum is a funny thing and sometimes an above-average-to-good team catches fire at this time of the season and just cashes play-after-play. We can’t “give away the store” here and suggest any actual plays but teams with good talent and a great coach have a way of storming into mini-tourney title games while cashing two, three or even four games along the way. Ride the hot hand.
No. 3 … Go against betting favorites that feel real pressure to win a game or two in these mini tournies: You know the old adage as Las Vegas prices tend to rise the more a team “needs to win” and we’ve made a bundle of greenbacks over the years going against “bubble teams” that hear the noise that they need to win “a couple of games” to get into the NCAA Tournament. It’s often simply just too much pressure to cash in these so-called must-win games. Just because a team faces a “must win” game doesn’t mean they must cover.
Now, hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers / Bloggers will keep beating the Las Vegas and offshore books with more College Basketball and NBA winners each and every day and so let’s cash in big all this week right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
On Saturday, it’s …
#1 KANSAS (27-3, 16-1) at TEXAS TECH (18-12, 9-8) – 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
If you’re keeping track, the Kansas Jayhawks have won or shared the Big 12 regular-season crown in 15 of the last 16 seasons and Bill Self’s crew will nail down the outright title here with a road win in Lubbock (or a Baylor loss at West Virginia). Kansas center Udoka Azubuike scored 31 points against TCU on Wednesday night but a sore ankle could limit his minutes here (he played 35 minutes in the 75-66 non-cover vs. TCU).
Spread Note – Kansas is 18-11 ATS (against the spread) and that includes six-of-seven covers since early February.
#4 BAYLOR (26-3, 15-2) at WEST VIRGINIA (20-10, 8-9) – 1 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Most prognosticators still believe the Baylor Bears can snag a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tourney – but a loss here or coming up shy of the championship game in next week’s Big 12 Tournament likely will doom those hopes and so this is a biggie for Scott Drew’s team: Keep in mind Baylor sports the sixth-best defense in Division 1 (allowing just 59.6 ppg) while West Virginia hunkers down with the country’s 17th-best defense (yielding 62.4 ppg).
Spread Note – Baylor’s also 18-11 versus the vig this 2019-2020 hoops season but did you know the Bears are a rock-solid 11-6 spreadwise when playing against fellow Big 12 teams?
#6 KENTUCKY (24-6, 14-3) at FLORIDA (18-11, 10-6) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
We’ve seen where there are some folks that believe this Kentucky squad is operating “below the radar” but not sure that can ever happen for one of the sport’s true bluebloods. The ‘Cats do come off an 81-73 home loss against 8.5-point pup Tennessee this past Tuesday night and so UK coach John Calipari will be in a “rare mood” here after watching his guys blow a 17-point lead. Yikes!
Spread Note – Kentucky has covered seven of its last nine games but the ‘Cats are a modest 16-14 vig-wise this season
NORTH CAROLINA (13-17, 6-13) at #12 DUKE (24-6, 14-5) – 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so when is the last time the Tar Heels vs. Blue Devils matchup featured two teams outside the top 10? Good question but here there’s no question that Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke team needs a better start than last time these rivals clashed as the Dookies were forced to overcome a 13-point deficit with four-plus minutes remaining to snag a 98-96 overtime non-cover win at Chapel Hill.
Spread Note – Go figure as Duke / North Carolina are a combined 28-32 against the Las Vegas prices this season (note Duke’s just 15-15 ATS)
STANFORD (20-10, 9-8) at #13 OREGON (23-7, 12-5) – 11 p.m. ET, Fox 1
There’s still a shot for the Oregon Ducks to pull the one-two okey-doke: Win (or share) the Pac-12 regular-season crown and then cop next week’s Pac-12 Tournament and that would likely get the Duckies a #2 seed … but first things first and that means G Payton Pritchard (20.2 ppg and 81 triples / 40.4 pct shooter from “3”) must dominate against a Stanford that comes off Thursday night’s 68-65 loss at 1.5-point fav Oregon State (the Cardinal shot just 3-of-15 from deep in that doozy).
Spread Note – Oregon’s a so-so 13-11 spreadwise when in the betting favorite’s role and that includes a 70-60 loss at two-point pup Stanford back on Feb. 1st.
UCLA (19-11, 12-5) at USC (21-9, 10-7) – 3:15 p.m. ET, CBS
So, what’s gotten into these UCLA Bruins? They’ve bagged seven consecutive SU wins and now Mick Cronin’s crew is in revenge mode against in-city rival USC (see Trojans 74-63 back on Jan. 12th as senior Nick Rakocevic was a stat-sheet stuffer with 17 points and 14 rebounds). Now, UCLA looks to get the season split here and we’ll be keeping a close eye on Tyger Campbell who drained a late-game tie-breaker jump shot to help beat Arizona last Saturday.
Spread Note – USC is a better-than-you-think 19-11 against the odds this year while UCLA’s 4-0-1 against the numbers since mid-February
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this weekend right here with these jam-packed Jim Sez columns — so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or online at www.jimhurley.com”
Jim Hurley Professional Handicapper
NBA THURSDAY NITE PREVIEWS –
IT’S CLIPS-ROCKETS, RAPTORS-WARRIORS
ON THE TNT CENTER STAGE …
THE COLLEGE B-BALL UPDATE:
MORE MINI-TOURNEY QUICK HITTERS AHEAD
Truth is you only have to go back nine months or so to witness the Toronto Raptors beating the Golden State Warriors in six games in the 2019 NBA Finals … geez, doesn’t that now feel like it happened years ago?
It’s safe to say that this here-and-now G-State Warriors’ squad doesn’t at all resemble the team that captured three championships and played in five consecutive NBA Finals between 2015-19 – no more Kevin Durant (hello, Brooklyn), no rehabbing Stephen Curry and no still-injured Klay Thompson.
The stress and strain of playing all those extra post-season games the past five-plus seasons really wore out the Warriors – but don’t believe for a minute that the “window has closed” for Steve Kerr’s club: The Dubs could be a major menace in the 2020-21 campaign, really.
Still, this first Thursday night in March is reserved for the here-and-now happening teams as the TNT folks bring us an uber-captivating game in the opener – that’s the Los Angeles Clippers at the Houston Rockets — and that’s followed by an NBA Finals “rematch” (we know that’s stretching it!) between the defending champion Toronto Raptors at the new-and-not-so-improved GS Warriors.
Hey, there’s Side & Totals to be won here, so remember this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the Las Vegas and offshore books with more College Basketball and NBA winners. So, let’s cash in big all this week right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Just keep rollin’ in the profits with Jim Hurley – America’s #1 Handicapper!
NBA ON TNT
Here’s what is on the NBA docket on this first Thursday in the merry month of March:
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (42-19) at HOUSTON (39-21) – 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Major NBA Western Conference hoedown here in Space City and remember the last time the Clippers travelled to “H-Town” they lost 102-93 way back on Nov. 13th. Now, Doc Rivers’ crew zooms into town sporting a five-game SU (straight-up) winning streak and looking to ride Kawhi Leonard / Lou Williams to the winner’s circle. P.S., Houston is fresh off back-to-back barnburners – the 111-110 overtime win in Boston last Saturday night (a Jim Hurley winner!) and then the 125-123 loss at New York on Monday. Neither James Harden nor Russell Westbrook could hit the clutch shots late in that latter affair at Madison Square Garden … will they make ‘em here?
Spread Notes – The LA Clippers have covered four of their last five games but note they’ve failed to cover all three of their head-to-head matchups with Houston this season. The Rockets, meanwhile, are 31-29 versus the vig this hoops season and that includes a solid 9-6 ATS run in home games since Dec. 28th.
TORONTO (43-18) at GOLDEN STATE (14-48) – 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Say this for the Toronto Raptors: They haven’t missed a beat this year while playing without above-mentioned Clipper Kawhi Leonard – heck, Nick Nurse’s squad sports six guys averaging 16 points-or-more per game with All-Star Pascal Siakam (23.7 ppg) leading the way but can the North-of-the-Border crew cover a hefty road price tag here? Note the last time Toronto was a big away fav it failed to cover the 9.5-point price in Cleveland … see Raptors 115, Cavaliers 109 back on Jan. 30th.
The Warriors – sitting in the NBA’s Western Conference basement this year – do come off Tuesday’s rather stunning 116-100 win in Denver where the Nuggets were 16.5-point betting favorites. Yow-ie!
Spread Notes – Toronto is a respectable 33-27-1 ATS this hoops season and note the Raptors are 10-6-1 spreadwise away since mid-December. On the flip side, Golden State’s 28-33-1 versus the vig – better than you thought, right? – but the Warriors have failed to cover six of their last nine games.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MORE MINI-TOURNEY GOODIES
Here’s more from this week’s College Basketball mini-tournies – there’s Southern Conference Tournament action that starts up Friday and Colonial Conference, the Summit League and Sun Belt Conference action that tips off Saturday …
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE – Fri-thru-Mon
At Asheville, NC
Most “bracketologists” have Southern Conference top seed East Tennessee State penciled in as a #10 or #11 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament – even if the Buccaneers don’t win this mini-tourney. Still, we’d advise ETSU not to take any chances and we’d be shocked if the Bucs fell short of at least getting into the championship game with the one-two punch of guards Tray Boyd III (13.6 ppg) and Bo Hodges (13.2 ppg) leading the way.
The Favorite: East Tennessee State
The Dark Horse: Chattanooga
Pointspread Note: The league’s best spread side is Chattanooga (19-10 ATS) and the worst is Samford (8-20)
COLONIAL CONFERENCE – Sat-thru-Tues
At Washington, DC
No doubt about it: Playing this Colonial Tournament in the D.C. / Virginia areas is a major advantage to the local schools …and a big disadvantage here to Long Island-based Hofstra, the league’s regular-season champ at 14-4 SU. So, notice we’ve installed William & Mary (13-5 SU in Colonial play) as “The Favorite” here.
The Favorite: William & Mary
The Dark Horse: Delaware
Pointspread Note: Hofstra’s scintillating 22-and-8 spread record is far-and-away the best in the Colonial Conference and note the Pride heads into this mini-tourney having covered nine of its last 10 games.
SUMMIT LEAGUE – Sat-thru-Tues
At Sioux Falls, SD
Could have flipped a coin as to whom the “favorite” is here as our choice – North Dakota State – sports a slew of quality three-point shooters that could make the difference in a potential title tilt against South Dakota State … NDSU’s G Vinnie Shahid has drilled 74 trifectas this year.
The Favorite: North Dakota State
The Dark Horse: Nebraska-Omaha
Pointspread Note: South Dakota State is a league-best 20-9 ATS this season and that features an 11-4 spread log since the start of January
SUN BELT CONFERENCE – Sat / Mon / Wed / Sat (Mar. 14) / Sun (Mar. 15)
There’s only gonna be one bid from this league when it comes to NCAA Tourney time and – we submit – that either #1 seed Little Rock or #2 seed South Alabama will be cutting down the nets in the end. A player-to-watch here? Set your orbs on Little Rock G Markquis Nowell who averages a team-high 17.2 ppg and shoots 40 percent from “3”.
The Favorite: Little Rock
The Dark Horse: Georgia Southern
Pointspread Note: Little Rock is 20-10 spreadwise and Arkansas State is 18-10 ATS … not bad investments at all this hoops season.
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this week right here at Jim Sez – so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com.
Jim Hurley Professional Sports Handicapper- NCAA TOURNAMENT
TOP 12 SEEDS IN EACH REGION
PLUS, WE CHUCK IN OUR
“LAST FOUR IN, FIRST FOUR OUT” …
MORE CONFERENCE MINI-TOURNEY PREVIEWS ON TAP …
THE NBA REPORT:
THE WORST SPREAD SIDES SINCE FEB. 1
The College Basketball Season’s heading into “crunch time” and – seemingly – nobody’s safe out there on the hardwood as Baylor, Florida State, Duke, Maryland and Creighton (yes, all top 10 teams while heading into play this past weekend) were picked off by a handful of big-game hunters and the above-mentioned Baylor Bears had to go deep into an overtime session to hold off (but not cover) 7-point underdog Texas Tech in Monday night’s wild 71-68 tilt.
Now, we’ll dig into the month of March and attempt to separate the “men from boys” but this is 2020 and, well, anything goes!
As we draw closer and closer to the aforementioned NCAA Tournament — see Selection Sunday Show on March 15th — we get you our up-to-the-minute “win-it-all” odds for this year’s tourney. See what you think (all prices below all based on $100 per play):
TEAM ODDS TO WIN 2020 NCAA TOURNAMENT
Kansas + 600
Gonzaga + 750
Dayton + 1000
Kentucky + 1000
Baylor + 1100
San Diego State + 1200
Duke + 1400
Louisville + 1600
Michigan State + 1600
Seton Hall + 1600
Florida State + 1800
Maryland + 1800
Oregon + 3300
Michigan + 3500
Penn State + 4000
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Let’s go ahead and – for a second straight week — expand our NCAA Tournament look even more now that we’re starting to dig into the month of March. Now, we’re getting you our top 12 seeds in each of the NCAA Tournament’s four geographical regions (and they are all subject to change, of course). Note we have the “First Four” games in a couple of cases with #11 seeds included in the East and Midwest Regions:
EAST – Kansas, Maryland, Seton Hall, Penn State, West Virginia, Butler, Florida, Marquette, Northern Iowa, UCLA, Utah State/Stanford and East Tennessee State
MIDWEST – Baylor, Duke, Dayton, Villanova, Iowa, Houston, Texas Tech, Arizona, LSU, Illinois, Rutgers/Richmond and Hofstra
SOUTH – San Diego State, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Auburn, BYU, Michigan, USC, Virginia, Wichita State, Providence and Liberty
WEST – Gonzaga, Florida State, Michigan State, Creighton, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona State, Miss State, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Stephen F. Austin and Akron
Last Four In – Utah State, Stanford, Rutgers and Richmond
First Four Out – Oklahoma, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Texas
Editor’s Note: Let’s be clear, here: We’ve handed both San Diego State and Gonzaga top seeds in their respective regions but a loss by either / both teams kayos ‘em from the top spot in which case things would become “fluid” with Duke having a No. 1 seed shot if it can win the ACC Tournament; ditto for Maryland if it can win the Big 10 mini-tourney and, to a lesser degree, to Kentucky should the ‘Cats win the SEC Tournament and at least two of the above-mentioned top seeds get beaten in the conference tournaments (especially if they were to get beaten prior to the conference championship game).
Finally, we could see the likes of Villanova – we’ve listed ‘em as the #4 seed in the Midwest for now – and Oregon (our #5 seed in the West) climb their way up the seed lines with conference tournament titles in the Big East and Pac-12, respectively. Both could go as high as #2 seeds with rampaging runs through their mini-tournies and with some other outside assistance. Got it?
Here’s more from this week’s College Basketball mini-tournies – there’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament action that swings into gear on Thursday night and West Coast Conference action that starts Friday night …
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE – Thurs-thru-Sat
At St. Louis, MO
Northern Iowa could wind up being a single-digit seed in the upcoming “Big Dance”— we have ‘em as a #9 seed right now and that could improve – as a resounding showing this week in “The Arch” could make folks sit up and really take notice. Guard AJ Green (team-best 19.7 ppg) could make himself one of March’s big hardwood heroes for NIU. P.S., Loyola-Chicago could make a mini-tourney run here if that nationally-ranked defense comes calling.
The Favorite: Northern Iowa
The Dark Horse: Indiana State
Pointspread Note: Heavyweight Northern Iowa sports the league’s best spread mark at 18-9 ATS (against the spread) but don’t sleep on Valpo (19-10 ATS) or even Missouri State (19-12 ATS)
WEST COAST CONFERENCE – Thurs-thru-Sat, Mon & Tues
At Las Vegas, NV
Could this finally be “the year” for the Gonzaga Bulldogs? There’s no question veteran head coach Mark Few has all the parts including six different double-digit scorers led by F Filip Petrusev (17.8 ppg) but the real key for the Zags in this mini-tourney is matching up with BYU’s three-point shooters and / or taking over the paint against an always-physical Saint Mary’s squad.
The Favorite: Gonzaga
The Dark Horse: San Francisco
Pointspread Note: BYU is an electric 11-5 against the odds since the start of the new year
THE NBA REPORT
Let’s examine just who have been the NBA’s Worst Spread Sides since Feb. 1 …
The Indiana Pacers are 5-7-1 ATS (against the spread) since Feb. 1st
The Miami Heat is 6-8 vig-wise since the first of February
The Minnesota Timberwolves have failed to cover nine of their last dozen games since 2-1-20
The Phoenix Suns are 3-10 against the odds the past month-plus
The San Antonio Spurs are 4-8 ATS since Feb. 1
The Utah Jazz is 4-7-1 versus the vig
NOTE: Game previews from the NBA and NCAA later this week, so don’t miss out plus remember to keep cashin’ at 1-800-323-4453. The Jim Hurley Network is really heatin’ up lately with Northwestern’s overtime winner at 2-point favorite Nebraska this past Sunday along with Saturday winners Oakland (+ 3) over Illinois-Chicago and UCLA (+ 2) over Arizona. Don’t let the end-of-year games pass you by – win now and every single night!
Jim Hurley Professional Sports Handicapper- NCAA TOURNAMENT
Find out what a growing army of Basketball fans are finding out…that Hank Hammers Hoops! Many fans know me as a handicapper/commentator, alongside Chris Berman at ESPN’s Sports Center, where he called me “The Hammer” because I kept nailing down winners.
Last year in the Conference Tournaments I built bankroll for the big dance for the 3rd consecutive year. These games can trip up the average bettor, because the small conferences have a completely different dynamic than the majors, and I ride those variances to the bank
AFTER WINNING IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS…
GET RICH ON BRACKETOLOGY!
- Post-season tournament teams are from different conferences, and have usually not played common opponents. Vegas can’t make good numbers. They’re guessing!
- PLUS, their lines are even MORE inaccurate because certain teams have bigger fan bases that bet more dollars. Vegas HAS to hike the line to protect itself.
- That’s when I jump in and drop the hammer! I know which top seeds are going to romp and stomp…know which difference-makers can take over a game. I also track those Cinderellas that can shock a Big Name right out of the Dance!
Last Year’s NCAA Tournament – 27-17 overall (61.4%)
• Started 6-3 opening Thursday, with 3 wins outright upsets
• 6-4 in the Sweet 16, and 3-1 in the Elite 8
• 3-0 in the Final Four winning both sides and my NCAA Total of the Year
HERE’S THE DEAL…
If you want some MAD MONEY for March Madness…the winning starts the day you sign up, and after we finish another stellar regular season (with my top plays winning at 61.6%), we head into the Conference Tournaments from March 3-15 and then the NCAA’s beginning with the First Four March 17 & 18, right through the Championship on April 6th
PLUS: on NCAA “off-nights” we’ll play the “other” Tournaments: the NIT, CBI and CIT!
Call 1-877-822-2276 or Call/Text 1-702-205-9800
Online at VegasSportsMasters.Pro
If you want the NBA too (where I’ve been even hotter at nearly 67% this season) that’s $189
THE NCAA HOOPS WEEKEND REPORT – THERE’S MONSTER MATCHUPS ALL OVER THE ROUND-BALL LANDSCAPE … OUR NBA NOTEBOOK: EXAMINING THE HOT-HOT-HOT SPREAD SIDES IN THE LEAGUE WHERE THEY PLAY FOR PAY
Hmm, you might have noticed that the calendar page flips forward to read “March” on Sunday.
Well, now you’re talkin’!
The hoops-mad month promises a slew of exciting College Basketball games – and plenty of opportunities for everyone here to cash — and we’ll touch on one of ‘em right there on March 1st in a moment but gotta finish up February with a batch of great “Leap Year Day” matchups.
Let’s roll through several weekend showdowns here with our quick-hitter observations / comments, but first this key reminder …
The Jim Hurley Network has been pounding out a bunch of College Basketball winners (both Sides and Totals) all throughout this 2019-2020 season and take note that we’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this weekend, so make sure you’re rockin’ and rollin’ all the hoop winners at our exclusive toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
SATURDAY, FEB. 29TH
#1 KANSAS (25-3, 14-1) at KANSAS STATE (9-19, 2-13) – 1:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Last time these in-state rivals collided there was a major brouhaha at game’s end as Kansas’ Silvio DeSousa was seen ready to whack a chair over an unsuspecting K-State player’s head … yikes!
Well, wild man DeSousa was suspended for 10 games – and rightly so and he’s out of the action here in this Big 12 tilt – but it likely doesn’t matter as Bill Self’s crew rolls into this bash on a six-game ATS (against the spread) winning streak thanks in large part because G Devon Dotson (17.9 ppg) has been brilliant.
Kansas State’s failed to cover five of its last six outings overall and is a dreary 11-17 against the odds this year.
#15 AUBURN (24-4, 11-4) at #8 KENTUCKY (23-5, 13-2) – 3:45 p.m. ET, CBS
Gotta go back to Feb.1st to find the last time the Kentucky Wildcats lost a game … and it was a 75-66 setback at then-2.5-point fav Auburn.
Since then, John Calipari’s crew has won seven in a row SU (straight-up) – while going 6-1 against the numbers – and only one SEC team during the last half-dozen games has scored more than 64 points in a game against ‘em … dee-fense, dee-fense!
Overall, the ‘Cats are just 15-13 spreadwise; Auburn is 13-15 against the odds but a real key here for the hosts is holding down War Eagle G Samir Doughty (16.1 ppg and team-best 47 triples).
#24 MICHIGAN STATE (19-9, 11-6) at #9 MARYLAND (23-5, 13-4) – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Here’s the prime-time affair on the all-sports network and let’s getcha these spread stats first:
Maryland is 8-3-1 ATS in its last dozen affairs but dig deeper and you’ll see the Terrapins are just 1-3-1 spreadwise in their last handful of games. Overall, Maryland is 15-12 odds-wise this 2019-2020 campaign:
On the flip side, Michigan State’s a sub-par 12-16 against the juice and Tom Izzo’s squad has dropped six of its last seven spread verdicts while dating back to Feb. 1 … no kidding!
If Sparty is gonna get revenge for that 67-60 home loss (as 6.5-point betting favorites, no less) to Maryland, then it can’t surrender any 14-0 game-ending runs as happened two weeks ago when the Terps’ Anthony Cowan scored 11 of his game-best 24 points in the final two-plus minutes.
PROVIDENCE (16-12, 9-6) at #12 VILLANOVA (22-6, 11-4) – 12 p.m. ET, Fox
There’s no doubt the ‘Nova Wildcats – the NCAA champs in 2016 and ‘18 – are peaking at the exact right time as Jay Wright’s crew has won five in a row SU and covered its last four games in a row. Now, Villanova guns for the regular-season sweep after besting Providence 64-60 as 3-point road favorites back on Jan. 25th. Note that the Wildcats are just 14-14 ATS – Providence is just 12-14 versus the vig – and we say the Friars must win 20 games SU if it wants to be considered a “bubble team” come Selection Sunday. Got it?
SUNDAY, MARCH 1ST
#19 MICHIGAN (18-10, 9-8) at #23 OHIO STATE (19-9, 9-8) – 4 p.m. ET, CBS
Interestingly enough, both Michigan and Ohio State have 16-12 ATS marks while heading into this first-of-March tilt in the Buckeye State: Note the Wolverines were 61-58 losers as 3-point home favorites versus O-State back on Feb. 4th and you might recall from that first matchup that Buckeyes’ star Kaleb Wesson registered 23 points and 12 boards while Michigan canned just 10-of-31 triple tries. One final spread note: Ohio State started out the year at 8-1 ATS and is 8-11 ever since including home spread setbacks inside the Big 10 against Rutgers, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Here’s a look at some of the NBA’s hot-hot-hot spread sides (through games of Feb. 27th) …
The Boston Celtics have covered their last five games in a row and go all the way back to Jan. 20th and you’ll see the C’s are 13-4 ATS in their last 17
The Houston Rockets have covered seven of their last 10 games and that includes four of their last five
The Los Angeles Lakers have notched spread wins in five of their last six games including that LeBron James-less 116-86 thrashing of 11-point home pup Golden State on Thursday night
The Milwaukee Bucks have banged out pointspread “W’s” in eight of their last 10 games and note the Bucks were laying 9.5-or-more points in seven of those last 10 tilts
The Sacramento Kings have covered four in a row and have cashed seven of their nine games overall since early February
NOTE: Lots more College Basketball plus NFL Draft coverage and more all next week!
THE NCAA HOOPS UPDATE – THERE’S WIN-IT-ALL ODDS, TOURNEY TALK & MORE … MLB WINS PROJECTIONS: TODAY WE CHECK OUT THE AL CENTRAL AND THE AL WEST
Okay, so by now we’ve all gotten the general theme of this here-and-now 2019-2020 College Basketball Season:
For months now the hoop “experts” out there have been telling anyone that will listen that there are no “super-powers” and that any number of clubs can capture this year’s national championship crown but here’s a little alert … right now there are actually only four hoop teams with win-it-all odds of 8-to-1 or less (see our chart below) and there are 11 teams with 20-to-1 or shorter odds on the board. Just sayin’.
Here’s the last 10 NCAA Tournament champions and who they beat, just to refresh your memory …
2019 – Virginia def. Texas Tech
2018 – Villanova def. Michigan
2017 – North Carolina def. Gonzaga
2016 – Villanova def. North Carolina
2015 – Duke def. Wisconsin
2014 – Connecticut def. Kentucky
2013 – Louisville def. Michigan
2012 – Kentucky def. Kansas
2011 – Connecticut def. Butler
2010 – Duke def. Butler
The Jim Hurley Network has been pounding out a bunch of College Basketball winners (both Sides and Totals) all throughout this 2019-2020 season and take note that we’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this week / weekend, so make sure you’re rollin’ up all the hoop winners at our exclusive toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
As we draw closer and closer to the aforementioned NCAA Tournament – just can’t wait for “March Madness” as you can tell! – we get you our updated “win-it-all” odds for this year’s tourney. See what you think (all prices below all based on $100 per play):
TEAM ODDS TO WIN 2020 NCAA TOURNAMENT
Kansas + 600
Duke + 700
Gonzaga + 700
Baylor + 800
Dayton + 1200
Maryland + 1600
Seton Hall + 1600
Kentucky + 1800
Louisville + 2000
Michigan State + 2000
San Diego State + 2000
Arizona + 3000
Auburn + 3000
Creighton + 3000
Florida State + 3000
Oregon + 3000
Villanova + 3000
West Virginia + 3000
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Let’s go ahead and expand our NCAA Tournament look even more now that we’re digging deeper and deeper into the month of February — now, we’re getting you our top 12 seeds in each of the NCAA Tournament’s four geographical regions (and they are all subject to change, of course). Note we have the “First Four” games in a couple of cases with #11 seeds included in the East and Midwest:
EAST – Kansas, Maryland, San Diego State, Villanova, Penn State, Marquette, Michigan, Xavier, Florida, Northern Iowa, Rhode Island/N.C. State and East Tennessee State
MIDWEST – Baylor, Dayton, Louisville, Michigan State, Iowa, Arizona, Houston, LSU, Saint Mary’s, UCLA, Rutgers/Richmond and Hofstra
SOUTH – Duke, Seton Hall, Creighton, Auburn, Colorado, Butler, Indiana, BYU, Virginia, Utah State, Wichita State and Liberty
WEST – Gonzaga, Kentucky, Florida State, Oregon, West Virginia, Arizona State, Illinois, USC, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Stanford and Stephen F. Austin
Right this very moment, our #1-thru-#12 seeded teams do not include the following:
Tulsa (19-9, 11-4 AAC), Notre Dame (18-10, 9-8 ACC), Saint Louis (20-8, 9-6 Atkantic-10), Loyola-Chicago (20-10, 12-5 MVC), Nevada (19-10, 12-5 Mountain West) or Miss State (18-10, 9-6 SEC) but any /all of these teams could make a last-minute run at an at-large tourney berth with a big finish / mini-tourney run but that would mean likely sprints to the championship game of their respective conferences … got it?
Finally, if you’re wondering whether or not we’re gonna see more than a single team from the so-called mid-major or smaller leagues out there, don’t count on it but there is some momentum towards Belmont (22-7, 13-3) and South Dakota State (22-8,13-2) into the 68-team field even if they happen not to win the Ohio Valley and Summit mini-tournies, respectively.
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Baseball’s back everyone (we watched some Spring Training action this past week in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues!) and so let’s continue with our division-by-division looks at the projected wins totals of all the MLB teams with a key comment tossed into the mix. Today, our focus is squarely on the American League Central:
TEAM PROJECTED WINS TOTAL QUICK COMMENT
Minnesota 92.5 Forget the Twins’ rotten recent post-season history, this team added some pitching and could threaten 100 “W” again
Cleveland 85.5 So much depends on whether or not SS Francisco Lindor is on the roster after the July 31st trade deadline
Chi White Sox 84.5 All signs pointing up for the Pale Hose but starting rotation could be leaking oil by early August
Kansas City 64.5 No-name pitching staff could get cuffed around plenty this year and so we recommend the “under” or nothing at all
Detroit 56.5 The rebuilding process is gonna be a long one in Motown and remember the Tigers won just 47 games in ‘19
TEAM PROJECTED WINS TOTAL QUICK COMMENT
Houston 94.5 This villainous band of sign-stealers still has plenty of pop but will #3, #4, #5 starting pitchers come through?
Oakland 89.5 The A’s always start slowly and finish fast and now skipper Bob Melvin and Co. has designs on winning this division
LA Angels 85.5 Addition of 3B Anthony Rendon was a great “get” but rotation’s wobbly and depth an issue too – an “under” play?
Texas 79.5 Hats off to the Rangers who easily cashed “over” 71.5 wins last year (78-84) but arms are an issue in 2020
Seattle 67.5 This M’s roster seemingly turns over every single season and lack of stability killing this once-proud franchise
NOTE: Catch up on all our NCAA Hoops coverage in the next edition of Jim Sez and remember there’s wall-to-wall winners – in both college and pro – when you check in with us at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453.
THE COLLEGE B-BALL UPDATE: MAJOR SHAKEUP AT THE TOP AS #1 BAYLOR, #2 GONZAGA, #4 SAN DIEGO STATE ALL GET BEAT
(AND THAT’S NOT ALL, FOLKS!) …
NBA NEWS & NOTES: MAYBE CELTICS-LAKERS SHOULD BE THIS YEAR’S FINALS …
MLB UPDATE: HERE’S THE AL EAST PROJECTIONS FOR TEAM WINS
Okay, so everyone’s had a catchy name for what went on this past weekend when #1 Baylor, #2 Gonzaga and #4 San Diego State all were topped on the hardwood … “Shakeup Saturday” or maybe “Pre-March Madness” got you juiced and how about this one: “Hoops Hell” for the highly-ranked teams.
You take your pick!
All we’re gonna say is that while plenty of so-called “bracketologists” claim that the losses by the Associated Press’ #1, #2 and #4 teams “would not greatly impact” the expected seedings in next month’s NCAA Tournament, we say that’s absolute hogwash.
Hey, a loss is a loss and last week we watched one cable TV highlights show where the “experts” each said San Diego State – now 26-1 SU (straight-up) following Saturday night’s stunning 66-63 home loss against 14-point underdog UNLV – would maintain a projected #1 seed in the tourney provided they went unbeaten. Now, what are they saying?
Simply put, the weekend losses by the sport’s elite could mean Baylor drops onto the NCAA Tourney #2 seed line providing Kansas wins the Big 12 regular-season and mini-tourney titles;
It could mean that Gonzaga – now 27-2 SU following that 91-78 loss at 4-point pup BYU – could drop to the #2 seed line with just one more loss between now and Selection Sunday on March 15th;
And, finally, what about the teams that close out the regular season and conference tournaments hot-hot-hot – such as #5 Dayton (25-2) and /or #6 Duke (23-4) could swipe a #1 seed and knock out one of those above-mentioned teams: That’s Baylor, Gonzaga or San Diego State.
In tomorrow’s Jim Sez, we’ll forecast the top 12 seeds in each region – obviously, that will include a pair of the “First Four” NCAA Tournament games from Dayton – and so we’ll let you know what impact these weekend losses had for some of the nation’s power-packed sides.
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the Las Vegas and offshore books with more College Basketball and NBA winners. So, let’s cash in big all this weekend right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
Folks, this past winter weekend there were 11 nationally-ranked College Basketball teams that bit the dust. Below, find the game-by-game rundown and note all the home teams are in CAPS … folks, the Ohio State and Indiana wins were on Sunday, while all the rest happened this past Saturday:
|# 3 Kansas||+ 1.5||# 1 BAYLOR||64-61|
|# 23 BYU||+4||# 2 Gonzaga||91-78|
|Unlv||+ 14||# 4 SAN DIEGO STATE||66-63|
|# 25 OHIO STATE||-3||# 7 Maryland||79-72|
|INDIANA||– 1||# 9 Penn State||68-60|
|# 14 Oregon||+ 4.5||# 24 ARIZONA||73-72 (ot)|
|# 15 CREIGHTON||– 5||# 21 Butler||81-59|
|TCU||+ 4.5||# 17 West Virginia||67-60 (ot)|
|Ucla||+ 10||# 18 COLORADO||70-63|
|PROVIDENCE||– 1.5||# 19 Marquette||84-72|
|MEMPHIS||+2.5||# 22 Houston||60-59 (ot)|
NBA NEWS & NOTES
There are worse things in the world than the NBA Finals putting on a Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers showdown in June, right?
The two old rivals bucked heads on Sunday with the Lakers – thanks to a last-minute LeBron James wing jumper – beating (but not covering) the 7.5-point underdog Celtics 114-112. The game had plenty of drama and even a bit of controversy as a last-second push-off offensive foul called on Boston’s Jayson Tatum (game-high 41 points) had Celtics’ fans moaning. But you couldn’t beat the action and it sure seemed as if the ghost of Kobe Bryant was in the building (his memorial is today) because # 8 / # 24 really used to thrive in these high-profile spots.
No PG Kemba Walker (knee soreness) for the Celtics on Sunday, or maybe Boston would have won the “whole game” at Staples Center.
Stat of the day in this clash: The Lakers’ bench starring Kyle Kuzma (16 points and a game-best + 17 while on the court) outscored the Celtics’ reserves 43-to-11.
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Hey, Baseball’s back (we watched some Spring Training action this past weekend in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues!) and so let’s continue with our division-by-division looks at the projected wins totals of all the MLB teams with a key comment tossed into the mix. Today, it’s the American League East:
|TEAM||PROJECTED WINS||QUICK COMMENT|
|NY Yankees||102.5||The injury bug’s been biting already with LHP Jams Paxton, RHP Luis Severino hurtin’ … not again, say Yank fans|
|Tampa Bay||90.5||It’s about time folks stopped saying the Rays are “sneaky good”, right? If TB just splits with NYY, then could win 100|
|Boston||84.5||Trading OF Mookie Betts and LHP David Price wasn’t exactly popular in Beantown, but we say Bosox haters beware|
|Toronto||75.5||Lots of offensive fireworks expected but starting rotation is wobbly and depth an issue too; not sold on “over” here|
|Baltimore||56.5||The Orioles’ “rebuilding job” is gonna take a few more years and so that means more beatings in ’20|
NOTE: Catch more College B-Ball action in the next Jim Sez and remember that we’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this week right here at Jim Sez so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
THE NBA WEEKEND UPDATE – MAJOR TV SHOWDOWNS BOTH SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY AFTERNOON …
PLUS, COLLEGE HOOP GOODIES AND MLB “OVER” WINS TOTALS FOR THE NL CENTRAL & THE NL WEST
Okay, so we used to love hearing a certain New York City-based sports talk radio show duo discuss how the NBA went “in and out of the clouds” at this time of the year … in other words, in the days / weeks following the Super Bowl and with “March Madness” about to steal away many of the national sports headlines, the NBA drifted in and out of the public consciousness for even the hard-core hoops fans.
Well, let’s just say that the marquee matchups of this coming winter weekend – that’s the Philadelphia 76ers at the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night on ABC (8:35 p.m. ET tip-off) and then Sunday’s matinee (a 3:35 p.m. ET tip) between the Boston Celtics at the Los Angeles Lakers also on ABC — has NBA fanatics in a veritable tizzy … are we right or not?
The Bucks – now 47-8 following Thursday’s 126-106 win / cover against 13-point dog Detroit — sport the league’s best record and could well meet up with the Sixers (35-21) in a second-round NBA Eastern Conference Playoff series (go check the standings!) while the Celtics (38-16) and the Western Conference-leading Lakers (41-12) both are playing plus-.700 ball these days and, heck, all one has to do is say Celtics vs. Lakers and that’s usually enough to get the juices flowing.
So, we very much look forward to these rollicking national TV matchups this late February weekend and here’s a quickie update on these teams and their pointspread records:
Folks, add ’em up and this quartet of NBA teams is 116-96-6 (a dandy .547 winning rate) … just sayin’!
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the Las Vegas and offshore books with more College Basketball and NBA winners. So, let’s cash in big all this weekend right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT
No question we’ve spent plenty of time talking “bubble teams” lately but here’s a recommendation to the NCAA Tournament Committee folks … take a peek at the pointspread records for the teams in question and let that be an unofficial guide:
MEMPHIS (18-8) – The fact that the Tigers play in a non-power conference (see American Athletic) hurts the NCAA Tournament cause, for sure, but keep in mind Penny Hardaway’s squad is a solid 15-10-1 ATS (against the spread) and that features non-conference outright upset wins against Tennessee and N.C. State.
MARQUETTE (17-8) – Personally, we believe this Big East team is gonna wind up in one of those #8 vs. #9 games in the first round of this year’s NCAAs but there are some folks that think the Warriors lean more towards a “bubble” side … if that’s the case, then check out the fact Marquette is 15-10 ATS this year and that features a surging 7-2 spread log in its last nine games plus non-league wins / covers against Purdue and USC.
CINCINNATI (17-9) – The Bearcats have played some truly thrilling games lately but should they be part of next month’s 68-team NCAA Tourney field? According to the team’s pointspread mark, we’d have to say “nay” based on that sluggish 10-16 spread mark that includes four consecutive ATS losses while heading into Sunday’s game versus Wichita State.
ARKANSAS (16-10) – There’s a lot of differing opinions on this Razorbacks’ team whether they even belong among the “bubble team” talk (they do) but we’ll squash their chances here based on the fact the Hogs are just 12-14 versus the vig and that includes a current 2-7 spread log since Jan.18th.
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Hey, Baseball’s back (Spring Training games are here!) and so let’s continue with our division-by-division looks at the projected wins totals of all the MLB teams with a key comment tossed into the mix. We getcha an old-fashioned doubleheader here today with the National League Central and the NL West:
|TEAM||PROJECTED WINS||QUICK COMMENT|
|St. Louis||87.5||The Cardinals won “over” 88.5 wins last year (see 91-71) and their pitching’s even better here|
|Chicago Cubs||85.5||The Cubbie bullpen melted down way too much in ’19, will that happen again in 2020?|
|Cincinnati||83.5||Count on the Reds’ starting rotation to be one of MLB’s best, but let’s see about winning close games|
|Milwaukee||83.5||Tell us right now that OF Christian Yelich will play 150+ games and then this is an “over”|
|Pittsburgh||69.5||No doubt the Buccos in rebuilding (tanking?) mode, so who needs the “over” here!|
|TEAM||PROJECTED WINS||QUICK COMMENT|
|LA Dodgers||101.5||Enough of this Astros-bashing, it’s high time for the Dodgers to go “over” first and then win it all|
|Arizona||83.5||Will the addition of one-time legendary LHP Madison Bumgarner push the D-Backs over the hump?|
|San Diego||82.5||Okay, so we nailed the Padres to go “under” last year and cashed but let’s steer clear of ’em in ’20|
|Colorado||74.5||Maybe whiny 3B Nolan Arenado can put up some MVP-like numbers and the Rockies’ relievers can rebound|
|San Francisco||68.5||What’s to like about this Giants’ crew? Not all that much and that starts with new manager Gabe Kapler|
NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all next week right here at Jim Sez so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com
THE NBA ROUNDUP – ALL-STAR GAME IS “IN THE BOOKS” AND SO NOW’S THE TIME TO EXAMINE WHAT’S STRAIGHT AHEAD FOR SOME PLAYOFF HOPEFUL TEAMS …
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT – HERE’S A COUPLE OF UBER-KEY GAMES FOR A PAIR OF “BUBBLE TEAMS”
Last night’s NBA All-Star Game – Team LeBron 157, Team Giannis 155 – actually was riveting in the new-formatted fourth quarter though we could have lived without all those replay reviews … ugh.
In any event, the show goes on and it promises to be a wild ride the rest of the way. Not everyone has locked down an NBA Playoff berth just yet and so let’s take a look around to see what’s straight ahead for a few post-season hopefuls that right now are on the outside lookin’ in …
WASHINGTON (20-33) – Maybe we all thought this year’s Wizards were in a tanking mode, but the bottom line is the D.C. crew enters the unofficial second half of this here-and-now season just three games back of #8th seed Orlando (24-31) in the Eastern Conference. True, the Wizards play the worst defense in the association – they are allowing 119.8 points per game! – but they are a more-than-respectable 28-25 ATS (against the spread) and pure scorer G Bradley Beal (29.1 ppg) has the faculties to take over a game at the proverbial snap of a finger. In our view, Washington must play plus-.500 ball the rest of the way if it’s gonna truly compete for a playoff berth and right out of the chute there’s four straight games against fellow Eastern Conference squads – win three-of-four against Cleveland / at Chicago / Milwaukee / Brooklyn before starting a four-game western swing and we’ll take you seriously, guys.
PORTLAND (25-31) – Out West, the top eight teams are all playing plus-.500 ball, the bottom seven squads are not. Just call ’em the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”, if you will. The guard-heavy Trail Blazers (25-31) don’t play much defense at all – they rank 26th in the 30-team NBA while yielding 115.3 ppg – and things are bound to get worse before they get better with G Dame Lilliard (29.5 ppg) still on the shelf with a groin injury. How is it that Portland’s eight games below .500 against the odds at 23-31-2 or that the Blazers are eight games below .500 SU (straight-up) when playing fellow conference opponents (see 15-23)?
NEW ORLEANS (23-32) – Just to let y’all know, the 5.5-game gap between the Pelicans (right now in 11th place)and the West’s #8 seed is far from insurmountable. Keep in mind N’Orleans won six of its last nine pre-All Star Game tilts SU and overall the Pels are a better-than-you-would-think 26-25-4 ATS … and that’s with super-rookie Zion Williamson on the floor for just 10 games! Williamson (22.1 ppg) surely has electrified the Crescent City hoops scene and a quick glance at the upcoming sked reveals road games at the Lilliard-less Trail Blazers and those wobbly Golden State Warriors and between now and March 11th there’s two games against Minnesota and a key tilt at Sacramento. Hmmm.
P.S., Don’t miss out as we continue to pile up the profits in College Basketball and the NBA as Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep ripping it up on the hardwood – get all the daily winners right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
You better believe we’re getting down to crunch time in the world of College Basketball – we’re now less than a month out from the always-fun Selection Show on March 15th and so let’s check out the key games this Monday / Tuesday for a couple of “bubble teams”…
Tonight, it’s … XAVIER (16-9, 5-7) at ST. JOHN’S (14-11, 3-9) – 6:30 p.m.ET, Fox Sports 1
Here’s how we see it with the Xavier Musketeers: They need to finish at-or-above .500 in Big East Conference play this year and then would probably need at least one mini-conference win next month to cinch a berth in this year’s NCAA Tournament. And consider the “X-men” have six remaining regular-season games: Home to Villanova, DePaul and Butler and at St. John’s here, then at Georgetown and Providence too. Get to 21 wins – somehow and some way — overall in a Big East that’s either the best or second-best conference in the land and Travis Steele’s squad makes it but the “stretch run” begins here and that means F Naji Marshall must shoot it better than 30.7 pct from “3” here.
Spread Stat – Xavier is a weak 9-15-1 ATS this 2019-2020 season but the Musketeers have covered their last four in a row.
On Tuesday night, it’s … PURDUE (14-12, 7-9) at WISCONSIN (15-10, 8-6) – 7 p.m. ET., ESPN
This is a “double-bubble” game, right?
The visiting Purdue Boilermakers (NET 33) and host Wisky Badgers (NET 29) both have “more to do” if either / both are gonna land NCAA Tournament berths next month but let’s consider Purdue is coming off back-to-back double-digit losses to Penn State and Ohio State, so the arrow’s currently pointing downward. The ‘Makers copped a 70-51 home win against Wisconsin back on Jan. 24th and we say the black-and-gold needs minimum 19 wins to snag a spot. On the flip side, the Badgers come in here off back-to-back double-digit wins and likely need 20 wins or more to cash an NCAA ticket. Watch for Wisconsin to start fast after getting into a 45-17 hole the first time these clubs clashed this season.
Spread Stat – Wisconsin is just 11-13-1 spreadwise this year; Purdue is 11-15 against the numbers.
Want to know some other current bubble teams out there? Try Wichita State, Oklahoma, Loyola-Chicago, Stanford and Miss State.
NOTE: More College B-Ball News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.
JIM HURLEY SEZ…VEGAS LINE BEATS THE PUBLIC AND I BEAT THE VEGAS LINE
Finding Hidden Value In College Basketball
I have often received e-mails, texts, even phone calls to my representatives in which players will (though for the most part politely) question how I can claim to take dozens or more factors into handicapping a single game, and what are these “hidden factors” I am always talking about.
The contention implies that there are not that many factors, and furthermore, what are these “hidden factors” that the public is either not aware of or pays no attention to?
Today I want to address this and can best do so by giving you a very specific example that completely supports my claim to these “hidden factors” and how they greatly add to my winning record.
Claim One – This is something you hear me say repeatedly. The Vegas Line-Maker posts a line based on How The Public Bets and Not On The Merits Of Any Individual Matchup.
Last night, for the third time in my last three releases against Stephen F. Austin, my customers cashed the winning dog. In order to support my claim that the line-maker, in posting lines based on how the public bets and not the dynamics or factors of any given matchup I will take you back to a game at Cameron Indoor Arena on November 26. That was the night that Stephen F. Austin, a 28 point dog Beat Duke Outright 85-83 in overtime.
Ever since that monumental national news upset, the public has been aware of the Lumberjacks. And the consensus seems to be…if they can beat Duke at Cameron Indoor they should be a cinch to handle their competition in the Southland Conference. And indeed they have handled those opponents as they stand atop the league at 13-1. But straight up and against the spread are different worlds and what better way to show you this than to use the last 10 games of Stephen F. Austin in which they were the favorite every time…three of which were used as Dog Winners for my clients.
2/12 – Texas A&M-CC (+9)…SFA 75-67…ATS L…Hurley W
2/8 – New Orleans (+16)…SFA 81-74…ATS L
2/5 – Nicholls St. (+9.5)…SFA 70-64…ATS L…Hurley W
2/1 – Sam Houston St. (+1.5)…SFA 81-76…ATS W
1/29 – Abilene Christian (+8)…SFA 71-61…ATS W
1/25 – Lamar (+5)…SFA 70-62…ATS W
1/22 – NW State (+9.5)…SFA 69-62…ATS L
1/18 – Incarnate Word (+22)…SFA 80-56…ATS W
1/15 – Central Arkansas (+9)…SFA 77-76…ATS L…Hurley W
1/8 – Texas A&M (+17) SFA 72-73 (Outright Loss)…ATS L
See what I mean about that upset of Duke back on November 26 and how as good as Stephen F Austin is in the Southland, the public has over-evaluated them from the start and we have taken advantage of the value. Look at it in one final way. In their 4 spread Wins the Lumberjacks have had an average winning spread margin of a nail-biting 2.8 points whereas in their 6 spread losses the point margin to the dog player has been a comfortable 7.8 points.
Now, imagine applying that sort of public betting pattern data to all 353 teams to see where else such value resides. That is what I do. Hope that answers one of those questions I regularly receive.
BIG ANGLES AND HIDDEN FACTORS AT PLAY THIS WEEKEND
I guarantee you I’ll be presenting plenty of Winning Opportunity this coming weekend. It begins with Mid-Major Conference Action on Friday…followed by my February Grand Slam Saturday and wrapping up with a Trio of TV Plays on Sunday. Look at the Lineup:
- Friday 2/14 – Double Dog Night Gets It Started
CASH 13-5 PARLAY ODDS ON MAAC & IVY DOGS OF WEEK
- Saturday 2/15 – FEBRUARY GRAND SLAM
Key Showdowns Are Everywhere On The Saturday Schedule
Oklahoma/Kansas…West Virginia/Baylor…Illinois Rutgers…Maryland/Michigan State…Seton Hall/Providence…Purdue/Ohio State…Mississippi State/Arkansas…VCU/Richmond…eastern Kentucky/Austin Peay…And More (My 4 Best GRAND SLAM SHOWDOWN WINNERS PAYS 10-1 ODDS)
- Sunday 2/16 – TV WATCH & WIN TRIPLE PLAY
Weekend wraps up with this 2-0 Sweep
Best from TV Plays like Cincinnati/East Carolina (CBSSN)…Villanova/Temple (ESPN)…Iowa/Minnesota (FS1)…Indiana/Michigan (CBS)…Tulane/Wichita State (CBSSN)…Memphis/UConn (ESPN)…San Diego State/Boise State (CBSSN)…NC State/Boston College (ACCN)…Utah/Oregon (FS1)
IT’S OUR NBA FIRST-HALF REPORT CARD GRADES – WE’RE CHECKING OUT THE EASTERN CONFERENCE
It’s been a real sweetheart season so far in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks (46-8, .852) and the defending champion Toronto Raptors (40-15, .727) – hey, the latter’s been an even bigger story with this 15-game winning streak in the “year-after-Kawhi Leonard” finally snapped this past Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
Now, we’re taking a few moments here to hand out NBA First-Half Report Card Grades to the 15 teams that play in the Eastern Conference. Tomorrow’s column gets you the grades from the NBA’s Western Conference and may we remind y’all that we’re not always so quick to hand out “A+” and “A” grades:
Here’s the pointspread standings for the NBA’s Eastern Conference teams (through Feb. 12) …
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NBA REPORT CARD GRADES – EASTERN CONFERENCE
TORONTO (40-15) – The single-biggest positive team story in this year’s NBA … and who would have “thunk” it after Mr. Leonard ditched Canada for LA cool! The Raptors have not missed a beat and you could make the case that this is the best-balanced team in the league what with five different players averaging 15.3 points per game or more and that’s starring All-Star Pascal Siakam (23.5 ppg). Three cheers for still-underrated head coach Nick Nurse.
BOSTON (37-16) – Gotta say that the positive “chemistry” is back in Beantown now that PG Kyrie Irving is gone and former Charlotte star PG Kemba Walker is running the show … but that was easy to spot. The fact is Brad Stevens’ crew is deep with three 20-ppg scorers including top gun Jayson Tatum (22.1 ppg).
MILWAUKEE (46-8) – No question there were high expectations for this year’s Bucks following that playoff meltdown versus Toronto last spring but so far, so good for MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.0 ppg) and Company. Hey, Milwaukee’s eight games above .500 spreadwise and that’s slick considering all the high price tags Mike Budenholzer’s club has been laying.
MIAMI (35-19) – Hats off to exec Pat Riley who has put together one of the league’s true overachieving teams as the offseason pick-up of G Jimmy Butler (20.6 ppg) was a brilliant stroke. True, the Heat’s a middle-of-the-road team in terms of scoring (15th in the NBA) and scoring defense (11th) but they squeeze out plenty from this roster.
INDIANA (32-23) – The recent six-game SU (straight-up) losing skid put a major dent into the Pacers’ grade and it’s odd how Indy’s actually regressed with star G Victor Oladipo back in the every-day lineup … hmmm.
PHILADELPHIA (34-21) – Go ahead and give the 76ers a round of applause for winning those close calls at home this year but the bottom line is Philly has not meshed well (playing .462 ball spreadwise) and the specter of trading away C Joel Embiid continues to loom over this “trust-the-process” franchise.
WASHINGTON (20-33) – The Wizards knew this one-man gang approach with G Bradley Beal averaging 29.1 ppg wasn’t gonna be easy and it doesn’t help matters being the worst defense in the sport!
CHARLOTTE (18-36) – Let’s face it, this Hornets’ team never was gonna be a playoff contender after parting ways with PG Walker but the worst offensive squad in the association? Geez … Malik Monk’s been a major three-point bust.
BROOKLYN (25-28) – We’re going on record to say the Nets should have left “well enough alone” last offseason … new import Irving has been in and out of the lineup at a dizzying pace and there’s been no real connection here. Bad job by GM Sean Marks and HC Kenny Atkinson. Have fun waiting for Kevin Durant to heal up!
ATLANTA (15-41) – Yes, second-year G Trae Young (29.7ppg) is already one of the league’s marquee players but this club plays next-to-zero defense (next-to-last in the league).
ORLANDO (24-31) – There’s simply too much talent on this Magic squad for ’em to be playing .436 ball SU and sub-.500 ball ATS (against the spread). We want more from jumping-jack Aaron Gordon.
NEW YORK (17-38) – The bar was set low-low-low for these Knicks who absolutely mish-mashed together a 2019-2020 roster and really hasn’t gotten much from third overall draftee R.J. Barrett (a mere 38.8 percent shooter).
CHICAGO (19-36) – We easily could have dropped the Bulls into the “D” grade category but toss ’em a bone because rookie C Wendell Carter, Jr. has missed some 18 games with injury.
CLEVELAND (14-40) – Not sure to this very day why former Michigan HC John Beilein exited the college scene for this mess and not much has gone good from “BelieveLand” the first 50-plus games.
DETROIT (19-38) – It’s become a real hoops “wasteland” in Motown as the Pistons are the worst pointspread side among Eastern Conference clubs (see chart above).
HERE’S THE NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST-HALF REPORT CARD GRADES
The annual NBA All-Star Game break is upon us and so that means it’s time for the 30 teams ’round the league to take a deep breath and re-charge those batteries. But there’s no time to rest here, nope. So, let’s go ahead and rock-n-roll through the remainder of the NBA First-Half Report Card Grades … we’ll get you the Western Conference teams right after this ATS (against the spread) chart:
NBA REPORT CARD GRADES – WESTERN CONFERENCE
OKLAHOMA CITY (33-22) – Make no mistake about it, this OKC Thunder crew has been the NBA’s “best bet” this year while playing .600 ball SU (straight-up) and .648 ball ATS and, of course, that’s following the off-season exodus of do-it-all PG Russell Westbrook. Head coach Billy Donovan has masterfully connected the dots on this 2019-2020 edition that spreads the wealth with three 19-plus ppg scorers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroeder and Danilo Gallinari plus keep in mind Okie City sports a top 10-ranked defense too. The Thunder could be a major pain for the 2, 3 or 4 seeds in Round I of the Western Conference Playoffs this spring.
DALLAS (33-22) – Here’s your next-best bet from the West and hats off to the Mavericks for a snazzy 18-8 SU road record and the league’s third most productive attack featuring All-Star G Luka Doncic (28.9 ppg). Too bad Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis haven’t played together enough as both guys already have missed double-digit games.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (37-18) – The “other” Staples Center resident has four guys scoring 18 ppg-or-better and Doc Rivers’ squad entered the break having won 12 of their last 18 games SU; the Clips kick it with multi-NBA champ Kawhi Leonard (27.2 ppg) but he’s no one-man-band as Paul George (21.7 ppg), Lou Williams (19.5 ppg) and Montrezl Harrell (18.8 ppg) would be / could be numero uno options on most any other NBA squad.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (41-12) – True, the Lakers sport a healthy four-game lead over Denver in the West as we head into the break but we’re not tossing any purple-and-gold confetti into the air just yet when it comes to this year’s Lakers’ bunch. We’re wondering if the tragic death of five-time champion great Kobe Bryant will put “too much pressure” on LeBron James (25 points per game) and Anthony Davis (26.6 ppg) to snag a title this spring … fact is the Lakers’ won/loss mark is pretty much where we thought it would be at this time.
DENVER (38-17) – Okay, so the Nuggets were “our pick” to win the West this year and a near .700 winning percentage features a nifty 17-10 road record but gotta admit we thought Denver would be more explosive (just 18th in the NBA in scoring at 110.4 ppg). Center Nikola Jovic (team-leading 20.6 ppg) needs to be a better paint defender and we like but don’t love this bench.
MEMPHIS (28-26) – The arrival of rookie PG Ja Morant (17.6 ppg and 7.1 assists per game) has been an absolute godsend for this franchise that floundered for years. Love the fact the Grizzlies entered the break having won eight of their last 10 games SU.
UTAH (36-18) – In a league in which scoring’s way up, the Jazz still do it with “D” (sixth in the NBA) though we must point out that one-two punch Donovan Mitchell (24.3 ppg) and Bojan Bogdanovich (21 ppg) have been spectacular at times with the latter shooting 42.5 from 3-land.
GOLDEN STATE (12-43) – The state of affairs has never been good in “Dub Nation” this year but don’t blame savvy head coach Steve Kerr who has G-State playing hard most of the time (just two games below .500 spreadwise) without starry injured cast members Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
HOUSTON (34-20) – So, James Harden (35.3ppg) can go off for 40-plus point games all he wants but count us among the folks that believe the Rockets have regressed (see .500 record spreadwise).
SACRAMENTO (21-33) – Excuse us for saying, but it’s taking these Kings a loooong time to mature: There’s a batch of high draft picks on this squad including top scorers G Buddy Hield (20.4 ppg) and lefty PGG DeAaron Fox (19.7 ppg) but progress has been uber-slow. Out of the playoff chase weeks ago … ugh!
PHOENIX (22-33) – The pieces are starting to fit nicely in the Valley of the Sun with All-Star add-on G Devin Booker (26.4 ppg) the lead character here but would have liked to see PHX win a few more close ones (lost seven games by four points or less including a couple toughies in overtime).
SAN ANTONIO (23-31) – It’s not so easy without world champion-type players, huh Gregg Popovich? No question the Spurs have lost some real tough games but blowing a 27-point lead at 6.5-point fav Denver this past Monday night was an utter disaster!
PORTLAND (25-31) – Injured all-star Dame Lilliard has been nothing short of magnificent (see 29.5 ppg) and backcourt partner CJ McCollum (21.3 ppg) has been no slouch either but this has been a bad year so far for the T-Blazers who rank 26th league-wide in defense. Maybe it’s finally time to dump HC Terry Stotts.
MINNESOTA (16-37) – The worst spread side in the whole NBA has been a bitter disappointment and losing nine of their last 10 games SU has Minny in a major tank mode. Shame on them!
NEW ORLEANS (23-32) – Simply not fair to apply a grade to this Pelicans team that was forced to play some 45 games without stud rookie Zion Williamson.
NOTE: Get all the latest in the college hoops world in the next column.
THE COLLEGE B-BALL ROUNDUP –
HOW WE SEE THE TOP 8 SEEDS IN EACH REGION OF NEXT MONTH’S NCAA TOURNAMENT MADNESS …
PLUS, THE UPCOMING NFL DRAFT: HERE’S OUR PROJECTED PICKS #11 THRU #20
We know, we know: It’s not yet mid-February and so, granted, the start of this year’s NCAA Tournament remains a few weeks away but thought you might like an update on the “win-it-all” odds for this year’s so-called “Big Dance”. See what you think (prices below all based on $100 play):
TEAM – ODDS
Gonzaga + 850
Kansas + 900
“The Field” + 950
Baylor + 1000
Duke + 1000
Louisville + 1100
Michigan State + 1200
Oregon + 1600
San Diego State + 1600
Butler + 2000
Florida State + 2000
Kentucky + 2000
Ohio State + 2000
Seton Hall + 2500
Villanova + 2500
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Let’s expand our NCAA Tournament look now that we’re digging deeper into the month of February – we’re getting you our top eight (8) seeds in each of the NCAA Tournament’s four regions (all subject to change, of course) –
EAST – Louisville, Maryland, Villanova, West Virginia, Butler, Penn State, Northern Iowa and Texas Tech
MIDWEST – Baylor, Duke, Auburn, Oregon, Iowa, Houston, Arizona and Ohio State
SOUTH – Kansas, Florida State, Dayton, Michigan State, Creighton, LSU, Marquette and Stanford
WEST – Gonzaga, San Diego State, Seton Hall, Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado, Wichita State and Oklahoma
If you’re trying to slip onto the #1 or #2 NCAA Tournament seeds, then we’d say a West Virginia title in the upcoming Big 12 Conference mini-tourney could get the Mountaineers there and ditto for a potential Big East regular season / conference mini-tourney one-two punch for Seton Hall or Villanova …
And – we know you’re wondering – our aforementioned “First Four” games in Dayton that annually tipoff the NCAA Tournament could include tilts such as VCU vs. Western Kentucky and Wisconsin vs Texas …
Finally, from the pointspread files we’ll let you know that Arkansas State (17-7 against the spread), Hofstra (17-7 ATS), North Texas (16-6-1 ATS), South Dakota State (17-7 ATS) and Yale (15-5 ATS) are the only Division 1 teams that are playing 10 (or more) games above the .500 mark versus the vig.
NFL DRAFT TALK 2020
Okay, so we’re just a little bit more than a full week removed from the conclusion of the NFL season but already there’s plenty of bubbling talk about the upcoming NFL Draft. Here’s some of what may happen as we head towards April 23rd as we deliver our projected picks #11 thru #20, but first we repeat our top 10 selections:
1. CINCINNATI – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. WASHINGTON – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
3. DETROIT – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
4. NY GIANTS – Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia
5. MIAMI – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
6. LA CHARGERS -Jedrick Willis, OL, Alabama
7. CAROLINA – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
8. ARIZONA – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
9. JACKSONVILLE, Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
10.CLEVELAND – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
11. NEW YORK JETS (7-9) – Mekhi Becton, OL, Louisville: Let’s get this straight … The J-E-T-S will be snagging an offensive lineman with this first-round pick though insiders say they like Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs better than this ‘Ville blocker. Tough luck!
12. LAS VEGAS (7-9) — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama: Now that Raiders Nation is moving out of the Bay Area, this Jon Gruden-coached squad will emphasize more deep shots downfield (no matter who’s the quarterback).
13. INDIANAPOLIS (7-9) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina: The Colts’ faithful will be screaming for a quarterback but gotta believe Indy will sign someone in free agency and possibly make QB Jacoby Brissett a second-stringer that way once again.
14. TAMPA BAY (7-9) – A.J. Epenesa, Edge Rusher, Iowa: Whether or not QB Jameis Winston comes back to the Bucs, gotta say T-Bay won’t grab at a quarterback here. Just watch.
15. DENVER (7-9) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: Truth is we don’t believe Broncos’ boss John Elway is looking for a wide-out here with this draft choice but this explosive pass-catcher fell in his lap and so a top 10 talent gives WR Courtland Sutton major help for QB Drew Lock.
16. ATLANTA (7-9) – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU: Pass-happy NFC South means the Falcons better shore up the back end on “D” and here’s a start.
17. DALLAS (8-8) – Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado: Why do we get a feeling that the Cowboys would like to make a big splash here? This Buff speed-burner – if he can just stay healthy – could be a Pro Bowl-type in his second or third year on the job.
18. MIAMI (5-11) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: Remember the Dolphins have the fifth overall pick (we say they go with QB Tua Tagovailoa) and so they’ll go defense here and grab Tua’s teammate from Tuscaloosa.
19. LAS VEGAS (7-9) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: Most draft boards believe he’s a legit top 15 talent and so Mr. Gruden won’t pass up this stud who will hit anything that moves. P.S., this would make six Alabama Crimson Tide selections before we even get to pick #20.
20. JACKSONVILLE (6-10) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: Is the Nick Foles Experiment already doomed? And what about Gardner Minshew? Now, Jaguars take another bite out of the QB apple and take best available slinger here after we say AFC South squad nabs an offensive lineman (see Iowa’s Wirfs) with #9 overall pick.
NOTE: Catch our College Hoop updates plus lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez. And this weekend it’s our annual NBA Report Card Grades.