Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 5:00 PM
SUPER BOWL 50 – WE ASK FIVE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT SUNDAY’S SHOWDOWN…
THE COLLEGE HOOPS UPDATE:
WHAT “MID-MAJOR” TEAMS COULD SURPRISE.
No doubt you’ve heard plenty of folks – in-the-know “experts” and “non-experts” alike – talking about whether we’re gonna have a close game this Sunday when the now 6-point favorite Carolina Panthers battle the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Well, Super Bowl history tells us there have been 18 previous SB games that were decided by “one score” – that’s 8 points or less – and so mathematically speaking that means just 36.7 percent or just more than one-third of prior Super Bowls were thereby considered "close".
Still, four of the last five Super Bowls were decided by six points or less including last year’s epic where the New England Patriots snagged that 28-24 win against the Seattle Seahawks.
Yes, we know there’s been plenty of discussion that the Broncos – who are 2-5 SU (straight-up) and 2-5 ATS (against the spread) in Super Bowl history – have been on the wrong side of many SB blowouts including the 43-8 loss to Seattle two years ago in New Jersey… not to mention the 55-10 loss to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIV, the 42-10 loss to Washington in SB XXII and the 39-20 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXI.
Are we gonna have a close call here on or another blowout where the Broncos are on the “wrong end” of things?
Hey, wouldn’t it blow some minds if Denver was the one delivering the major KO blow … now that’s something nobody has been forecasting for this particular Super Bowl. Just in case you haven’t looked, the Broncos are + 190 in the current “money line” to win Super Bowl 50 in outright upset fashion. Gee, what’s the odds then on the Broncos winning this game by two-or-more scores… whoa, that would be a really big price, eh?
Okay, we’ll deliver our Jim Sez Super Bowl 50 Preview in tomorrow’s edition – make sure you’re with us for that and now this quickie reminder:
Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl 50 when you check with us on game-day morning this Sunday 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.VegasSportsMasters.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – go ahead and score big today!
SUPER BOWL 50
Now, here’s Five (5) Really Big Questions on Sunday’s Showdown in Santa Clara…
#1 – CAN THE UNDERDOG BRONCOS WIN WITHOUT A BIG GAME FROM QB PEYTON MANNING?
The answer may surprise you … and it’s a resounding "yes". Sure, we’re all hearing this "game manager" stuff regarding the 39-year-old Manning but the truth is he doesn’t have to throw for 300 yards and 3 TDs for the AFC champs to pull the upset here. What Manning has to do is not take too many big-yardage sacks (he was sacked three times for 31 yards against New England in the AFC Championship Game and that was significant) and not give the Panthers the proverbial "short field" to work with here.
#2 – WILL CAROLINA QB CAM NEWTON BE FEELING THE PRESSURE OF A FIRST-TIME SUPER BOWL (AMONG OTHER THINGS)?
You get the sense that the uber-confident Newton is more apt to rise to the occasion of this big game that shrink under the pressures but we’ve seen lots of big-star players get wobbly in the knees come Super Bowl game time and it’ll be extremely interesting to see if Newton can get the Panthers off to their usual quicksilver start here – if the league’s MVP-to-be falters and throws a first-quarter INT or maybe underthrows or overthrows a couple of wide-open targets downfield than negative vibes could build on the sport’s numero uno player.
#3 – WHAT X-FACTOR PLAYER ISN’T GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION IN THE LEAD-UP TO SUPER BOWL 50?
Denver PK Brandon McManus may well be the biggest star come Sunday evening and yet we’ve read/heard next-to-nothing about ’em. The fact of the matter is McManus has kicked seven field goals this post season – five in the AFC Divisional Playoff win against Pittsburgh and two more in the aforementioned AFC Championship Game triumph against New England – and his ability to salvage short-circuited Bronco drives could be critical here. Mark down McManus as a potential steal-the-scene MVP here should the Broncos win in a relatively low-scoring game come Sunday.
#4 – WHICH OFFENSE/DEFENSE MIGHT BE GETTING OVERLOOKED WHILE HEADING INTO SUPER BOWL 50?
Folks, we can almost see it coming … if the favored Panthers win this game and hold the Broncos to, let’s say, below 20 points there’s no doubt that Carolina defense will be chirping in the post-game presser. Most of the two weeks heading into Super Sunday has included some mention of Denver’s kick-butt defense and rarely has this Carolina stop unit grabbed any "love" but please keep in mind the Panthers this year have allowed 20 points or less in 10 of their 18 games and LBs Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis Sr. and CB Josh Norman are not the only "stars" on this side of the ball for Ron Rivera’s team. It may not be the 1985 Bears – yes, a team Rivera played on – but don’t be shocked if Carolina’s "D" leaps onto center stage here.
#5 – FINALLY, WHAT’S IT REALLY GONNA TAKE FOR THE BRONCOS TO NAB THE UPSET IN SB 50?
If you wish to break down some "tangibles" then figure that for Denver to swing into Super Bowl 50 and win (while the whole world talks up the other side!) the Broncos must get close to 200 total yards from running backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman – obviously, that means both backs must be factors in the passing game here against those above-mentioned Carolina linebackers – and this Denver defense must make key red-zone stops and thus limit the Panthers to a few PK Graham Gano field goals. From an intangible standpoint, the Broncos need to “feel” that they can handle Newton both as a passer and rusher and they must show Carolina’s O-line some different looks and DC Wade Phillips is always good for great schemes. If it’s close-and-late, Denver will win if Manning can spread the wealth on a final drive – most importantly, the Broncos can’t “lose contact” early on as was the case in those Carolina playoff wins against Seattle and Arizona.
THE COLLEGE HOOPS UPDATE
Okay, so you’ve probably heard the term "mid-major" less and less often in recent years what with the likes of Butler and Xavier zooming off to play in the Big East and teams such as Wichita State, VCU and Gonzaga all having gold-standard type programs even if none of ’em plays in what’s considered a “power conference”.
Still, that doesn’t mean the remainder of the "mid-majors" will be quiet late here in this 2015-16 College Basketball regular season and right into the upcoming mini-tournies and NCAA Tournament.
So, here’s a couple of mid-majors to watch closely …
HAWAII (16-3, 5-1 Big West) – The 50th state could well be one of the 68 teams in next month’s NCAA Tournament. The Rainbow Warriors – who average nearly 80 points per game (thus ranking ’em 31st among Division 1 schools) – had their eight-game winning streak snapped last weekend by 9-point road underdog Long Beach State. However, a well-balanced attack featuring four double-digit per-game scorers (including Stefan Jankovic and his team-best 15.1 ppg average) could make a big splash at tourney time and note non-league wins against Northern Iowa and Auburn should bolster the resume … right? Take note that Hawaii has not made it to the NCAA Tournament since 2002 and the Warriors have lost all four "Big Dance" games in their hoops history. Maybe this is the year all that changes.
HOFSTRA (16-6, 8-2 Colonial) – The Pride may not always be pretty but this Long Island-based squad gets results as evidenced by the 10-2 SU record since Dec. 21st. Okay, so there’s a real star in the backcourt where gutsy Juan’ya Green (team-leading 17.7 ppg) isn’t afraid to take the big shot – see last week against Elon with a winning jumper with 2.1 seconds left – and 6-foot-9 F/C Rokas Gustys (13 ppg and 11.1 rebounds per) rocks it down low but critics claim the Colonial Conference is "down" this year and that’s one reason they claim the Pride is sitting atop the standings along with UNC-Wilmington. Note these teams will square off tonight in Hempstead in a biggie, so you may want to start paying attention to Hofstra right about now.
NOTE: Catch more Super Bowl 50 News/Notes all week here at Jim Sez and don’t forget we’ll bring you our in-depth and very comprehensive Super Bowl 50 Preview tomorrow plus there’s lots of NCAA Basketball and NBA Updates every day from this point forward here in these web pages, so don’t dare miss out!