Super Bowl Sunday - 2011 NFL Surprise Teams - Sunday Hoops

Green Bay (-2.5) gets the money with a 31-25 win over Pittsburgh...so do Hurley clients with (Over 45)!

Plus a 2-1 day in hoops!
North Carolina (-7) Florida State 89-69 WON
Pacers (-1) Nets 105-86 WON
Minnesota (+5.5) Ohio State 69-82 lost

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NFL NEWS & NOTES: CATCH MORE SUPER BOWL XLV GOODIES - PLUS WE WEIGH IN ON NEXT YEAR'S  TOP "SURPRISE TEAMS" ...

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT - SUNDAY'S PRE-SUPER BOWL TOP TV TILTS

By Jim Hurley:

Quick ... Who's the last Super Bowl Betting Favorite to win and cover?

Okay, so if you said it was the 2006 edition of the Indianapolis Colts than you were right as Indy (- 6 ½) smashed the Chicago Bears 29-17 on a rainy Miami evening but otherwise the Super Bowl Underdogs have thrived the past three "big games" with the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants sandwiching outright upset winners around a pointspread "W" by the 2008 Arizona Cardinals in their 27-23 loss to Pittsburgh.

So, if anyone wants to tell you that chalk rules in the Super Bowl you tell 'em not lately it hasn't.

Still, the fact of the matter is Super Bowl Betting Favorites are a collective 21-20-3 ATS (against the spread) in the history of this great game and - if fans/backers of the favored Green Bay Packers want something else to feel good about while heading into Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers - than consider the NFC is 23-18-3 ATS overall in the past 44 Super Bowls (and that's a healthy winning percentage of .561).

Meanwhile, check out our accompanying charts first to see how the last eight Super Bowls have gone (all since the league re-aligned prior to the 2002 campaign) and than check out the division-by-division results in terms of recent Super Bowls:

THE SUPER BOWL 2002-2009

SEASON WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
2009 New Orleans +4.5 Indianapolis 31-17
2008 Pittsburgh -7 Arizona 27-23
2007 New York Giants +12 New England 17-14
2006 Indianapolis -6.5 Chicago 29-17
2005 Pittsburgh -4 Seattle 21-10
2004 New England -7 Philadelphia 24-21
2003 New England -7 Carolina 32-29
2002 Tampa Bay 4 Oakland 48-21

As you can see, since the NFL realigned into four different four-team divisions in each conference prior to the 2002 season the AFC has won five of the last eight Super Bowl games but it's worth noting the NFC is a rock-solid 6-2 ATS.           
                                   

And now this key reminder: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will have the Super Bowl XLV Side & Totals Winners on Game-Day morning anytime after 10 a.m. ET and you don't want to miss out. Plus, get all of this weekend's College Basketball and NBA Winners too when you check in on Game Days anytime after 10 a.m. ET on weekends either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - and make sure to be with America's #1 Handicapper on Monday-through-Friday after 1 p.m. ET for more Hoop Winners as we take you through a thrilling and profitable b-ball ride that lasts till mid-to-late June!

OUR TOP "SURPRISE TEAMS" IN NFL '11

Here's the lowdown: Once Super Bowl XLV is put into the books, the "experts" - like us! - will be looking ahead to the 2001 season and so it's time to check in with one of our favorite Jim Sez features - the "Surprise Teams" for next year. Okay, so two of our Jim Sez NFL "Surprise Teams" made it to the playoffs this year - thank you, Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs - but here's what we see in our Jim Sez crystal ball for the 2011 season. The NFL "surprise teams" for next year have to be teams that finished below .500 this past season that we see making major strides or even getting into the playoffs in 2011 ... and so here they are:

HOUSTON (6-10) - Sorry, but we refuse to believe this club is going backwards despite the rotten record this year as next year's Texans will play tighter defense, get a better pass rush and not blow so many games late as was the case in 2010. In fact, we're counting on this AFC South team to turn the beat around and reverse its 2010 record and wind up 10-6 in 2011 ... just watch!

DENVER (4-12) - The Broncos figure to unleash QB Tim Tebow full-time in 2011 and that, plus some stability along the sidelines with recently-named head coach John Fox (Carolina), you can bank on this AFC West squad getting to at least .500 and maybe fight for a divisional crown should Kansas City and San Diego take a step backwards.

ST. LOUIS (7-9) - Hey, we've put the Rams on our "surprise list" for a second straight season and, after following up a one-win campaign with a near NFC West title, we expect Steve Spagnuolo's squad to hurdle above the .500 mark and maybe even land up with 10 wins providing they can sweep a couple of season series against Arizona and San Francisco. The arrow is pointed up for St. Loo and here's another shot to get back to the glory days of the late 1990s/early 2000s.
    
Editor's Note: Last year's Jim Sez "surprise teams -- Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis and Tampa Bay -- all sported considerably better records than they did in 2009 and, in fact, this quartet of NFL teams combined for a 15-49 SU (straightup) mark (that's a dreary .234 winning rate) two years ago and rallied to finish 38-26 for a sizzling winning rate of .594 which means our "surprise teams" won 23 more games than they collectively did in 2009 ... not bad!
 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL'S TOP SUNDAY SHOWDOWNS

MICHIGAN STATE (13-9, 5-5 Big 10) at #19 WISCONSIN (16-5, 6-3 Big 10) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Can we all stop asking what's wrong with the Michigan State Spartans? It's become painfully obvious that this 2010-11 edition of "Sparty" is one of the biggest underachievers in recent college hoops history and isn't that just a kick in the teeth for State head coach Tom Izzo - maybe this is all karma after he flirted last summer with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. On the flip side, check out this Wisky Badgers bunch that has revenge in mind here following that 64-61 overtime loss at East Lansing back on Jan. 11th and here look for Bo Ryan's club to feed F Jon Leuer early and often after his stat-sheet stuffing 24-point, 13-rebound game in the 66-59 win/cover against 4 ½-point underdog Purdue last Tuesday night. The Spartans figure to get physical with Leuer but State better box out and rebound better - and keep in mind Wisconsin out-boarded the Boilermakers 31-23 in that aforementioned win in Madison.

#1 OHIO STATE (23-0, 10-0 Big 10) at #18 MINNESOTA (16-6, 5-5 Big 10) - 2 p.m. ESPN
The Buckeyes have stayed perfect this year - yes, thee only major-college team that make that claim this deep into the 2010-11 season - but note that three of Ohio State's last four wins have come by a combined 15 points. In Thursday's 62-53 slugfest win against 16-point underdog Michigan, the 'Eyes received yet another starry showing from freshman phenom Jared Sullinger who poured in 19 points to go along with 15 boards as he keyed a 13-5 second-half run. Sullinger drained 7-of-10 FG tries in that tilt against the archrival maize-and-blue but how about some love for the Buckeyes' defense that held Michigan to four trips to the foul line (see 1-of-4 FT shooting)? This just in: Thad Matta's team doesn't often beat itself but it will have hands full here against Tubby Smith's Minny Golden Gophers who are hoping to avoid the team's first three-game losing streak (see back-to-back recent losses at Purdue and Indiana).

FLORIDA STATE (16-6, 6-2 ACC) at #23 NORTH CAROLINA (16-5, 6-1 ACC) - 2 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Network
Okay, so let's shift gears and get out of the Big 10 and into the Atlantic Coast Conference and how many of you hoop geeks knew that the Florida State Seminoles entered this Super Bowl weekend just one full game behind mighty Duke for top spot in the league? The 'Noles - who will close out their home schedule with a date against this North Carolina club on March 2nd - are fresh off a resounding 87-61 home win against wobbly Wake Forest (a 19-point dog) this past Wednesday night as reserve Deividas Dulkys snapped out of a recent shooting slump to score 16 points and that's a key here as FSU must get bench contributions with Carolina expected to keep their foot on the gas pedal from start to finish.

NOTE: Catch our Super Bowl XLV comprehensive re-cap in the very next edition of Jim Sez.

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