SuperBowl 50 Countdown Early Game Plans Plus College B-Ball Report

THE SUPER BOWL 50 COUNTDOWN IS ON!

WE LAY OUT SOME EARLY GAME PLANS PLUS REVIEW THE LAST 10 SUPER SUNDAYS

THE COLLEGE B-BALL REPORT: CHECKING OUT WEDNESDAY’S TOP TILTS WITH #5 TEXAS A&M HEADLINING THE CARD

If you’ve followed Super Bowl history when there’s been two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl game itself, then you know these couple of days are reserved for the coaches devising their game plans… so let’s join ’em for a few moments here and get in some early-bird strategies, okay?

And just remember we’ll have lots to say/analyze all through the next week-and-a-half when it comes to Super Bowl Five-O!

SUPER BOWL 50
February 7, 2016 – at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara (CA)

CAROLINA (17-1) vs. DENVER (14-4)

Count us among the folks that believe the 4½-point favored Carolina Panthers firmly believe in a “balanced diet” of runs/passes much as was the case in last weekend’s runaway 49-15 win against the 3-point underdog Arizona Cardinals.

The Panthers
ran the ball 37 times for 152 yards (that’s a solid 4.1 yards-per-carry average) and QB Cam Newton threw it 29 times for 324 net yards (or 11.2 yards-per-attempt) with just one interception. The run/pass ratio – 56 percent runs/44 percent passes – was “true” for a game in which the Panthers were looking to melt the clock a bit after building up a 24-7 halftime lead and in a perfect world the NFC champs will look for Newton to chuck it 30-to-33 times here and run the ball himself no more than 3-to-5 times against this fierce Broncos defense.

Okay, so what does that dynamic Denver stop unit then need to do to slow down the NFL’s highest-scoring offense (see 500 regular-season points plus another 80 points in these playoff wins against Seattle and Arizona) and perhaps “take away” either the run or the pass here?

In a nutshell, the Broncos’ top-ranked defense must stagger Newton early with some major hits both inside and outside the pocket – the Panthers have charged out to early big leads in a slew of games this year and we’ve noticed enemy defense have let Newton frolic around scot-free – here expect OLBs Von Miller 2½ sacks in the 20-18 AFC Championship Game win against New England) and DeMarcus Ware to get physical with Newton and expect Denver DC Wade Phillips – the real star of last week’s game – to call for some early-down blitzes while trying to make Carolina play “behind the chains”.

On the flip side, one game plan we’ve mapped out for the Denver offense starring QB Peyton Manning (two TD tosses to TE Owen Daniels in that aforementioned AFC Championship Game) is to throw “underneath” to backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman who combined for only 25 receiving yards in that win against New England. If TE Daniels looks to stretch the field a bit with medium-to-deep pass routes, then that “underneath” stuff should be available in the middle of the field and Carolina LB Luke Kuechly – the pick six machine this post-season – can’t be everywhere, right?

The dump-down passes to Anderson/Hillman should freeze the Panthers linebackers a bit – especially if they must replace injured LB Thomas Davis Sr. (broken arm) here – and thus allow Manning solid targets and your occasional safety valve options. No question that Manning will look to isolate WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (they totaled 74 receiving yards versus the Patriots) when possible but we believe Anderson/Hillman need to catch in the neighborhood of 10 balls here for 100 yards.

Our final game plan note here: If Carolina does get off to another hot start, then the Broncos are gonna have to "steal" a possession or two, so don’t be surprised if we see a first-half onside kick or maybe even a fake punt around midfield by the AFC champs – you know the deal as underdog teams often have to “improvise” if they’re gonna win these big games (see the successful New Orleans onside kick to open the second half in Super Bowl 44!).

Meanwhile, here’s a little NFL Playoffs pointspread breakdown as it pertains to this year’s post-season action:

NFL Playoffs
Betting Favorites are 5-4-1 versus the vig this post-season (see chart below) while totals players know the “unders” own a 6-4 advantage against the almighty numbers.

Okay, so here’s a game-by-game chronological listing of this year’s NFL Playoff games with all home teams in CAPS below:

NFL WILD CARD GAMES
DATEWINNERSPREADLOSERSCOREO/U
9-JanKansas City(-3)Houston30-039½
9-JanPittsburgh(-1½)Cincinnati18-1646½
10-JanSeattle(-5)Minnesota9-Oct40½
10-JanGreen Bay(+1½)Washington35-1848
      
NFL DIIVISIONAL GAMES
DATEWINNERSPREADLOSERSCOREO/U
16-JanNew England(-6)Kanasa City27-2044
16-JanArizona(-7)Green Bay26-2049
17-JanCarolina(-2½)Seattle31-2441½
17-JanDenver(-7)Pittsburgh23-1641
      
NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
DATEWINNERSPREADLOSERSCOREO/U
24-JanDenver(+3)New england20-1845
24-JanCarolina(-3)Arizona49-1547½

Here’s a look back at the past 10 Super Bowls:

SUPERBOWL HISTORY – THE LAST 10 YEARS
SEASONWINNERSPREADLOSERSCORE
2014New England(PK)Seattle28-24
2013Seattle(+2)Denver43-8
2012Baltimore(+5)San Francisco34-31
2011New York Giants(+3)New England21-17
2010Green Bay(-2½)Pittsburgh31-25
2009New Orleans(+4½)Indianapolis31-17
2008Pittsburgh(-7)Arizona27-23
2007New York Giants(+12)New England17-14
2006Indianapolis(-6½)Chicago29-17
2005Pittsburgh(-4)Seattle21-10

Take note that AFC and NFC teams have split the last 10 Super Bowl verdicts SU (straight-up) with Pittsburgh’s SB crowns in 2008 and ’05 leading the way for the AFC while the New York Giants’ pair of “recent” Super Bowl conquests in 2011 and 2007 leading the NFC.

The NFC holds a 6-4 spread advantage in the last 10 Super Bowls played and it’s worth noting that Super Bowl Betting Favorites are 3-6 ATS (against the spread) with last year’s game a Pick ’Em affair. On this 10-year Super Bowl list, you’ll notice the only time an underdog "got the cash" without winning the game outright occurred in 2008 when Arizona (+7) snagged the spread win in its 27-23 wire-job loss to Pittsburgh.

Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl 50 when you check with us on game-day morning plus go ahead and continue to pile up the profits all this week with loads of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – go ahead and pound the books today!

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT

Lots of tasty goodies on this last-Wednesday-in-January menu and so here’s some of what we’ll be watching:

#5 TEXAS A&M (17-2, 7-0 SEC) at ARKANSAS (9-10, 3-4 SEC) – 7 p.m. ET, espn2

All hail the A&M Aggies who enter tonight’s game with a #9 RPI ranking and sporting the highest Associated Press ranking ever… plus the kids from College Station own a 10-game winning streak and they didn’t miss a beat in last Saturday’s 66-53 non-cover home win against 19-point pup Missouri despite playing without 6-foot-10 freshman C Tyler Davis (left foot). Now, Texas A&M counts on another balanced effort here with swingman Jalen Jones (20 points, 5 rebounds versus Mizzou) leading the way but note the host Hogs do lead the SEC in scoring (82.3 ppg) and will pressure A&M ball-handlers at every turn.

#16 LOUISVILLE (16-3, 5-1 ACC) at VIRGINIA TECH (12-8, 4-3 ACC) – 8 p.m. ET

Here’s another ranked team playing on the conference road and – make no mistake – the U of L Cardinals have been engaged in some major dogfights in all four of their recent road games… a 2-point loss at Kentucky, a 5-point win at N.C. State, 4-point loss at Clemson and last Saturday’s 75-71 tight-fitting non-cover win at 6½-point underdog Georgia Tech.

So, why should we think this one in Blacksburg is gonna be anything other than a nail-biter deluxe but the $64,000 question is can Rick Pitino’s crew count on yet another double-double here from F/C Chinanu Onuaku (12 points, 11 boards against G-Tech)… and can the ’Ville contain Virginia Tech’s three-point shooters after holding GT to 4-of-13 from beyond the arc?

#17 BAYLOR (15-4, 5-2 Big 12) at OKLAHOMA STATE (10-9, 2-5 Big 12) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU

There are five Big 12 teams ranked between #1 Oklahoma and #17 (Baylor) and the aforementioned Baylor Bears here are looking for the “clean sweep” over Okie State – back on Jan. 5th in Waco, Baylor blitzed 9½-point underdog Oklahoma State 79-62 behind the stat-sheet stuffing night by Rico Gathers who poured in 17 points to go along with 17 rebounds… hey, the Cowboys only snagged 18 caroms the whole game while Baylor scored 44 in-the-paint points!

Don’t look now but the Pokes need a couple of “signature wins” soon or else they’re gonna be on the NIT’s short list even before we hit Ground Hog’s Day!

NOTE: More Super Bowl 50 goodies all week long plus lots of Hoop News/Notes too in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.

24
Sep

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