COLLEGE BASKETBALL UPDATE: THE COUNTRY'S TOP SURPRISE TEAMS

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OUR JIM SEZ MID-WEEK REPORT REALLY PACKS A WALLOP - THERE'S AFC & NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME FACTS AND FIGURES (AND A 10-YEAR POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART) ...

COLLEGE BASKETBALL UPDATE: THE COUNTRY'S TOP SURPRISE TEAMS

By Jim Hurley:

Okay, so here's what we know in the here-and-now playoff world in the National Football League:
     
We are going to have a new set of Super Bowl teams this year (bye-bye Pittsburgh and Arizona) and we are gonna have a first-year head coach representing the AFC champs (either the New York Jets' ultra-brash Rex Ryan or the Indianapolis Colts' ultra-quiet Jim Caldwell) come Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
    
No matter how you dissect it, there will be a head coach winning his first-ever Super Bowl trophy (paging New Orleans' Sean Payton or Minnesota's Brad Childress or the above-mentioned Ryan and Caldwell) - and there will be a series of great storylines once we finally get to Super Sunday ...
    
Can you imagine the hype if it's Minny's Brett Favre against the J-E-T-S - the club he abandoned after one year?
    
How about the magic of a Saints-Colts showdown with Indy's Peyton Manning going against his native city team?
    
Or what about a Manning vs. Favre numero uno storyline if we were to get Colts versus Vikings?
    
Whoa, it's gonna be a blast when we do get there but let's spend the rest of this week on the AFC and NFC Championship Games - and we've got plenty to say beginning with today's Jim Sez column but first this key reminder:
     
The NFL Playoffs are indeed down to a precious few games and we'll be releasing the Side & Totals Winners for this Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship Games on Game-Day morning anytime after 10 a.m. ET and, of course, we'll have plenty of winning goodies come Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, February 7th.
    
And don't forget that the 2009-10 College Basketball Season is in full swing and so is the NBA too and there's lots of Hoop Winners on tap all this week long and so don't miss out on any of the b-ball fun-and-profits!
    
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to crush Las Vegas and the off-shore books in these coming days/weeks and you can go ahead and cash in when you give us game-day calls at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you log online right here.

    
    
Now, it's onto our Key Pointspread Facts & Figures for this weekend's NFL Championship Games beginning with a 10-year Pointspread Breakdown Chart (note all home teams are in CAPS):

SEASON

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

 

 

 

 

 

2008

ARIZONA

+ 3½

Philadelphia

32-25

 

PITTSBURGH

- 6

Baltimore

23-14

 

 

 

 

 

2007

NEW ENGLAND

- 14

San Diego

21-12

 

Ny Giants

+ 8

GREEN BAY

23-20 (ot)

 

 

 

 

 

2006

CHICAGO

- 3

New Orleans

39-14

 

INDIANAPOLIS

- 3½

New England

38-34

 

 

 

 

 

2005

Pittsburgh

+ 3

DENVER

34-17

 

SEATTLE

- 3½

Carolina

34-14

 

 

 

 

 

2004

PHILADELPHIA

- 5½

Atlanta

27-10

 

New England

- 3

PITTSBURGH

41-27

 

 

 

 

 

2003

Carolina

+ 4

PHILADELPHIA

14-3

 

NEW ENGLAND

- 3

Indianapolis

24-14

 

 

 

 

 

2002

Tampa Bay

+ 4

PHILADELPHIA

27-10

 

OAKLAND

- 8

Tennessee

41-24

 

 

 

 

 

2001

New England

+ 10

PITTSBURGH

24-17

 

ST. LOUIS

- 10½

Philadelphia

29-24

 

 

 

 

 

2000

NY GIANTS

+ 2½

Minnesota

41-0

 

Baltimore

+ 6

OAKLAND

16-3

 

 

 

 

 

1999

Tennessee

+ 7

JACKSONVILLE

33-14

 

ST. LOUIS

- 14½

Tampa Bay

11-6

   
Okay, so here's some of the goodies derived from this 10-year NFL Championship Game chart:
    
Home teams are 12-8 SU (straightup) and 9-11 ATS (against the spread) in all championship game tilts dating back to the 1999 season and note that only twice in the past 10 hears - that's last season and the 2006 campaign - did home teams win and cover these games.
    
Last year's Arizona Cardinals snagged the outright win against the Philadelphia Eagles as 3 ½-point home dogs while the Pittsburgh Steelers held off the 6-point pup Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game but - as you can plainly see - having both home teams win/cover in these games is the exception and not the rule in recent years.
    
Secondly, note that AFC Championship Game home teams are 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS in Championship Games the past 10 years while NFC Championship Game hosts are 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS;
    
Meanwhile, AFC Championship Betting Favorites are a dead-even but vig-losing 5-5 spreadwise the past 10 years while NFC Championship Game Betting Favorites are just 3-7 vig-wise - now betcha that comes as a shock to your handicapping system!
    
And how about the fact that five teams that won outright as underdogs in NFL Championship Games went on to win that year's Super Bowl game - that's the 2007 New York Giants, the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.
    
Maybe fans of the Jets and Vikings are now feeling better about winning it all this year!
    
Finally, note that the past 10 AFC Championship Games - whether won by Favorites or Underdogs - have been decided by a per-game average of 11.9 points while NFC Championship Games have been decided by 15.1 points a game. Okay, so that's hardly good news for football fans looking for close/exciting games this weekend in a post-season filled with blowouts.
    
In case you were wondering, the NFL Playoffs this month have been decided by 17.1 points a game - who knows, maybe we're due for a couple of barnburners!
    
Now, here's some quick-hitter pointspread info on all four of the remaining NFL Championship Game teams. Their overall SU record is next to their name below:
 
 
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TEAMS
    
NEW YORK JETS (11-7) - The Jets are 11-7 against the spread overall this season including the post-season wins/covers at Cincinnati and at San Diego the past two weekends ... This NYJ crew is a sizzling 7-3 vig-wise away this year and 5-2 against the prices as underdog sides and - of course - one of those away dog games was the still-controversial 29-15 triumph at 3-point fav Indianapolis back in Week 16 play ... The Jets will enter this Sunday's game at Lucas Oil Field with a 9-3 ATS mark in non-divisional games this season and they have covered five-of-seven games played this season against fellow playoff teams ... In the decade of the 2000s, the Jets are 5-3 vig-wise in playoff games but this is the first time this decade that NYJ's played three post-season games in a single year.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (15-2) - The Colts are 11-6 versus the vig overall this year (.647) and that includes a pair of five-game spread winning streaks during the course of the regular season ... Indianapolis is 10-5 ATS as betting favorites this season including last weekend's 20-3 triumph over 6 ½-point dog Baltimore and note that Caldwell's club is 7-4 versus the vig in its non-divisional games this year ... Note that this AFC South squad is 2-2 spreadwise as betting favorites of 7-or-more points this season but go back to the middle of the 2007 season and you'll see Indy's just 6-8 spreadwise as so-called prohibitive betting favorites ... Finally, the Colts are a collective 8-7 against the Las Vegas prices in post-season games during the decade of the 2000s.


NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TEAMS
    
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (13-4) - The Vikings are 10-6-1 against the odds overall this year (.625) and that includes four separate two-game spread winning streaks but note Minny's never covered three in a row this '09 season and that's what the NFC North crew is shooting for this Sunday in N'Orleans ... Minnesota is 4-4 vig-wise away this year including spread setbacks in the team's last three away games (at Chicago, Carolina and Arizona) and note the Vikes have split their two spread verdicts this year when placed in the underdog role (a 27-17 loss at 6-point fav Pittsburgh followed by a 38-26 win at 3 ½-point favorite Green Bay) ... The Vikings are 6-5 spreadwise in non-divisional affairs this season including last Sunday's electric 34-3 win/cover against 2 ½-point pup Dallas ... Minnesota's 3-3 ATS in all post-season games in this decade of the 2000s.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (14-3) - The Saints are 9-8 overall against the Las Vegas price tags this year and that includes last week's 45-14 win/cover against 7-point underdog Arizona in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game. The spread "W" snapped a five-game ATS losing skid for this year's Saints ... Note that New Orleans is 9-7 ATS as betting favorites this year and that includes a 5-4 spread log as home chalk-eaters ... In non-divisional tilts, this year's Saints sport an 8-3 spread record and the only non-divisional foe to cover the Saints inside the Superdome was Dallas (a 24-17 Cowboys win as 7 ½-point underdogs in Week 15 action) ... New Orleans is a collective 2-3 versus the vig in post-season games in this decade of the 2000s.
 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT: OUR TOP SURPRISE TEAMS

PITTSBURGH (15-2, 5-0 Big East) - The Panthers are the #9  team in this week's Associated Press poll and that's mind-boggling stuff when you consider that Jamie Dixon's crew generally was considered to be the seventh- or eighth-best team in the Big East heading into this 2009-10 hoops season.
    
The fact that the Panthers - fresh off Saturday's spine-tingling 82-77 overtime win at home over Louisville and with a home date on tap Wednesday night versus Georgetown - have paraded to a tie (with Villanova) atop the league standings is crazy after Pitt lost four standout starters off last year's Elite 8 team with scoring whiz Ashton Gibbs (17.5 ppg) now leading the way ... and don't forget about Nasir Robinson who was a stat-sheet stuffer last weekend with 26 points and 11 rebounds against the U of L Cardinals.
    
It appears the sky's the limit for this Pittsburgh team that was once-upon-a-time an afterthought in this talent-packed Big East but now some folks on campus are talking about possibly getting to 25 wins and a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

    

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK BASKETBALL
Want the money to bet the AFC & NFC Championship?
Get it on TV basketball
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It's Championship Week in the NFL, as we approach the AFC & NFC Championship Games coming up on Sunday. The Network has these games covered from every angle. Jim Hurley's stat guys have the numbers, his football experts know the mismatches, his Vegas connections know how the money is moving and he's got the track record of success, coming off a win in his Division Playoff Game of the Year on the Saints (-7) over the Cardinals. But one thing is missing...and that's the bankroll to bet with! That's where basketball comes in! We're set to go with a profit-laced package of six days worth of basketball leading up to Championship Sunday! 

Far too many bettors are twiddling their numbers, watching the basketball games go by, while they try and get "up to speed" by the time the Super Bowl ends. But by then it's too late! Because the linesmakers will be up to speed by then too. In the meantime, the Jim Hurley Network is barrelling down the fast track, winning games, making money and turning that over into bigger bets on the NFL playoffs. We're winning on NBA games, we're winning on the colleges. We're winning on marquee games and under the radar games. But what our clients like most of all, is that they are WATCHING AND WINNING. In TV games alone, last week, we watched and won on games like these... 

Villanova (+3) over Louisville 92-84
What year are the linesmakers setting their numbers based on? 'Nova as a dog against the 'Ville tells us it sure isn't 2010!
Ohio State (+9) Purdue 70-66
Buckeye forward Evan Turner was just coming back from injury. Our sources in Columbus told us he was ready.
Suns (+4) Hawks 101-102
Atlanta coming off a draining sweep of Celtics and not juiced up for a Western conference opponent.
Notre Dame (+5) Cincinnati 58-60
The Bearcats survived, but haven't played up their advance billing all year. Linesmakers still reading the annuals and not reading results.
Georgia (+14) Mississippi State 69-72
The Bulldogs are good, but laying 14 to Trey Thompkins and Georgia? Too many points.

If you missed it, not to worry! We've got a feast of TV winners set to run all the way through Saturday. Here's some of the games we're looking at..

 Thursday, January 21: SHOWDOWN OF THE STARS
It's the juicy showdown of the stars in the NBA. Kobe and LeBron go at it in Cleveland! Plus possible bonus action on Florida-Arkansas or the Clipper-Nuggets.

Friday, January 22: NBA FRIDAY
It's NBA night again on ESPN, and Lakers-Knicks plus Bulls-Suns promises a viewing treat.

Saturday, January 23: FABULOUS FIVE
Our weeklong TV Winfest ends with a slambang quintet of games! We're aiming to sweep the ESPN run of Villanova-St. John (Noon, EST), Kansas-Iowa State (2 EST), Michigan-Purdue (4, EST), N.C. State-Maryland (6, EST) and capping it off in prime-time with Duke-Clemson (9 EST).

We're looking at the undercard and reserve the right to substitute a game or two in place of the ones above, but the bottom line will be the same--You'll watch. You'll win. And you'll bet it right back on Championship Sunday! Get 2-3 top plays a night through Saturday, including a Fabulous Five capoff on Saturday! Get it all for just $35

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VIRGINIA (12-4, 3-0 ACC) - Go ahead and raise your hand if at any point in this current hoops campaign you thought the Virginia Cavaliers were going to be sitting atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
    
The Wahoos - who already own ACC victories against Miami, Georgia Tech and N.C. State - play at Wake Forest this Saturday and could really deliver a big-time message within league circles with a win in that road tilt. Sophomore Sylven Landesberg (17.5 ppg and 5.2 rebounds per game) is off-and-running this year towards a berth on the ACC First Team one year after capturing the coveted ACC Freshman of the Year award.
    
If head coach Tony Bennett - the once-upon-a-time boss-man at Washington State - can keep this up, than Virginia could be one of the great rags-to-riches stories in the hoops world: Keep in mind the Cavs were predicted to finish 11th in the 12-team ACC and already have surpassed last year's win total (10).

    
SYRACUSE (18-1, 5-1 Big East) - Okay, so the 2009-10 Orange were not ranked in the AP Top 25 to start off the season but that was more mistake than anything else. Who knew that Iowa State transfer Wesley Johnson (team-leading 17.1 ppg and team-best 8.7 rpg) was gonna be such a mega-star but here's the upstate New York ranked #5 in the land ... and likely rising.
    
Syracuse's 84-71 win at 3-point home dog Notre Dame this past Monday night showed that Jim Boeheim's crew knows where to butter its bread - lots of in-the-paint scores and an array of open triples by underrated star Andy Rautins (10.9 ppg).
    
The ‘Cuse now sits tight till Saturday's home matinee against Marquette and - if you listen closely to the TV experts (many of whom do know what they are talking about!) - then you get the sense this Orange team might be one of the two- or three-best teams in the land.

    
LOUISIANA TECH (17-2, 5-0 WAC) - The preseason belief in/around the Western Athletic Conference was that the Bulldogs would be spending most of this 2009-10 season looking up at the likes of Nevada and Utah State but here we are in the next-to-last week in January and coach Kerry Rupp's club is alone in first place in the WAC standings and riding a 10-game winning streak.
    
The Dawgs last Thursday whacked Fresno State 81-73 as guard Kyle Gibson poured in a career-high 32 points (including 9-of-15 FGs with seven triples) and now this team that returned its top five scorers from a year ago has some lofty goals - beginning with beating out the higher-profiles likes of Nevada and Utah State.

     P.S., Louisiana Tech did receive 7 votes in that "others receiving votes" category this week in the AP poll.
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