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Jim Sez : 1/18/2012
THE NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
TAKING A LOOK BACK (AND AHEAD) AT SUNDAY'S TITLE TILTS ...
OUR COLLEGE B-BALL MID-WEEK UPDATE ZOOMS IN ON A COUPLE OF KEY GAMES AS WE EXAMINE WEDNESDAY'S CINCY-UCONN BATTLE AND THURSDAY'S NORTH CAROLINA-VIRGINIA TECH BASH
By Jim Hurley:
No doubt by now you've heard all the sports talk radio geeks and all the ESPN guys/gals and even your buddies down at the corner barber shop say the same thing when it comes to this Sunday's NFL Championship Games ... any of the four teams still alive can win it all.
Now that the prohibitive favorite Green Bay Packers have been kicked to the curb and the likes of the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers - two alleged Super Bowl favs at the start of this"tournament" - have had their respective seasons extinguished the past couple of weeks the"fearsome foursome" still alive all look good but all have potentially fatal flaws:
In the AFC ...
In the NFC ...
There is a lot to dissect the rest of the way here in the NFL post-season but first let's get you all caught up with a playoff game-by-game look at what's already happened (note all home teams below are in CAPS):
NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFF ROUND
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF ROUND
NFL Playoff Home Teams are 6-2 ATS (against the spread) while NFL Playoff Betting Favorites are a dead-even but vig-losing 4-4 against the odds.
In case you were wondering,"Over" players are a sizzling 6-2 versus the vig with the lone"unders" in the post-season coming in the Giants' 24-2 Wild Card win against Atlanta when the totals price was 47 ˝ points while last weekend the only"under" came in Baltimore's 20-13 non-cover triumph over Houston when the totals price was 37 ˝ points and do keep in mind that Baltimore led that game 17-13 at the half and so"over" bettors were truly burnt in that AFC Divisional Playoff round tilt.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers rock-n-roll on with the NFL Championship Games this Sunday - that's Baltimore at New England (3 p.m. ET kickoff) in the AFC Championship Game followed by the New York Giants at San Francisco (6:30 p.m. ET) in the NFC Championship Game -- plus remember there's NBA and College Basketball winners each/every day and so just make sure you're all aboard when you check with us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else get it online right here. Got it?
Now, here's a look back at the last 10 AFC and NFC Championship Games and note that Betting Favorites are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 AFC Championship Games including wins/covers the last three years in a row while NFC Championship Game Betting Favorites are just 4-6 versus the vig the past 10 years and that includes dog covers in three of the last four years in this NFC round.
P.S., just so you know, the last time an NFL Championship Game road underdog won outright here was in the 2007 season when the NY Giants (+ 8) downed Green Bay 23-20 in overtime ... just sayin'!
We will have complete analyses of Ravens-Patriots and Giants-49ers later this week and don't forget that includes their game-by-game charts for this year and lots more!
THE LAST 10 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
THE LAST 10 NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
COLLEGE BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK
Let's check in on a couple of key mid-week games:
On Wednesday night, it's ...CINCINNATI (14-4, 4-1 Big East) at #13 CONNECTICUT (14-3, 4-2 Big East) - 7 p.m. ET, espn2
Mick Cronin's club has bounced back from that ugly brawl game against cross-city rival Xavier and the 'Cats have truly come together since that December 10th affair:
In fact, Cincinnati has won nine-of-10 games since including back-to-back triumphs at Georgetown and versus Villanova in the past week-plus. Note that in last Saturday's 82-78 non-cover win against 9-point dog Villanova, the Bearcats were able to survive a 39-point performance by 'Nova star Maalik Wayns while winning with a couple of old-fashioned three-point plays down the home stretch.
If Cincinnati plans on copping the road upset here than the epicenter player of that brawl with Xavier - F Yancy Gates (16 points and 9 rebounds against Villanova) -- must steer clear of foul woes and he must bang the offensive boards against a Connecticut club sporting four players who average double-digit scoring including lead man G Jeremy Lamb (17.9 ppg) and super-impressive C Andre Drummond who was just named Big East Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this 2011-12 season.
On Thursday night, it's ...#8 NORTH CAROLINA (15-3, 2-1 ACC) at VIRGINIA TECH (11-6, 0-3 ACC) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Folks, things were so bad Roy Williams' team connected on just 4-of-21 trifectas, nailed just 9-of-20 free throws and wound up shooting 37 percent from the floor (that's 22-of-59 FG makes) in what many folks 'round Tobacco Road claimed was Carolina's worst loss in a decade. Who's gonna argue that?
Now, North Carolina mega-star F Harrison Barnes (5-of-13 field-goal shooting in the lopsided loss in Tallahassee) must help the Heels erase that memory with a quick start here while a desperate Virginia Tech team figures to be brimming with emotions right from the start - don't miss the first 10 minutes of this game because it figures to be some wild hoop action!
Meanwhile, what is the NCAA Tournament Selection Show gonna possibly do without the whining of Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg?
The perennial tourney bridesmaid won't even be in a position to grumble if the Hokies cannot get their proverbial act together with back-to-back-to-back ACC losses recently against Wake Forest, Florida State and Boston College.
Heck, the Hokies have yet to win in this 2012 calendar year
One real key for Tech here is Jarell Eddie (team-leading 27 triples) must get into a zone quickly and make the Tar Heels pay for its scrambling defense - if Eddie gets some open looks and doesn't bang 'em home than you can mark down a fourth straight conference loss for Greenberg's gang.
NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez commentary in tomorrow's column space plus - again -- there's AFC and NFC Championship Game updates all week long.
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