Odds to Win Super Bowl 50

SB 50
SB 50

Super Bowl 50 Odds are out and there are few surprises among the favorites.

You’ll notice immediately I used the term ’50′ instead f the Roman numeral ‘L.’ This is because the National Football League recognized the potential issues by having their marquee game represented with a big ‘L.’ This often stands for “loser” or well…. You get the picture.

Anyway with the season officially over, here are your odds for next season already.

Odds to win the 2016 Super Bowl  

Seattle Seahawks                            5/1 – Can they overcome perhaps the toughest loss in Super Bowl history?

New England Patriots                   7/1 – As usual, this team will look different in several areas as they attempt to repeat.

Green Bay Packers                         8/1 – Another team struggling to get past a horrible loss. At least it wasn’t in the Super Bowl.

Denver Broncos                             10/1 – Keep an eye on this, if Manning doesn’t return, the odds will drop considerably.

Dallas Cowboys                             14/1 – Can they repeat the success of this past year and what about Dez Bryant’s contract?

Indianapolis Colts                         14/1 – Must solidify the running game and the running defense to build around Andrew Luck.

Philadelphia Eagles                      20/1 – Late season swoon should be forgotten as Nick Foles returns under center.

Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick must avoid these situations in 2015 and under a new coaching staff how easy will it be?

San Francisco 49ers                      20/1 – With Harbaugh gone, can Jim Tomsula get Colin Kaepernick back on track and can the defense get younger?

New Orleans Saints                       22/1 – Rob Ryan returns despite a brutal defense in 2014 but the offense needs some work too behind an aging Drew Brees.

Pittsburgh Steelers                         25/1 – Offense was prolific, but defense needs serious upgrades. Ben Roethlisberger contract situation a top priority too.

Arizona Cardinals                          33/1 – Imagine what this team could do with consistent QB play? Larry Fitzgerald contract also an issue.

Baltimore Ravens                           33/1 – Ravens blew 14-point lead to eventual champion Pats; pieces are there but depth needed.

Detroit Lions                                   33/1 – Big step for the entire organization in 2014, but Matthew Stafford must play better on a consistent basis.

Atlanta Falcons                             40/1 – Team has addressed defensive liabilities by bringing in Dan Quinn; now the talent must get better.

Carolina Panthers                         40/1 – Under .500 division title likely saved Ron Rivera’s job but team must improve in 2015.

Chicago Bears                                 40/1 – John Fox will bring in some stability but can he do anything to make Jay Cutler better?

Cincinnati Bengals                        40/1 – Andy Dalton is now in a must-win situation. Getting to the playoffs is nice, but 0-4 is unacceptable.

Houston Texans                              40/1 – Who is the QB entering the season and can J.J. Watt get some help on the defensive end?

Kansas City Chiefs                          40/1 – Chiefs must get more out of wide receivers and keeping Justin Houston on D a priority.

Miami Dolphins                              40/1 – Somewhat surprisingly, Joe Philbin is back but he’ll need to find more consistency from his entire team.

Minnesota Vikings                         40/1 – There’s a lot to like in Minnesota but still many pieces to be put in place by Mike Zimmer.

New York Giants                             40/1 – I’m a little surprised to see Tom Coughlin back and his fate will rest on Eli Manning’s shoulders.

San Diego Chargers                        40/1 – When is the last time Philip Rivers won a huge game? Chargers’ fans would like to know.

St. Louis Rams                                 40/1 – If this team gets consistently good QB play are they a team to watch in 2015?

Buffalo Bills                                      66/1 – Kind of an odd hire in Rex Ryan. Defense wasn’t the problem in Western New York.

Cleveland Browns                          66/1 – One QB (Hoyer) is a free agent and wasn’t great. The other QB (Manziel) is now in rehab.

New York Jets                                   100/1 – Will Todd Bowles stick with Geno Smith or does he have another agenda?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                  100/1 – Mariota or Winston? There are risks and rewards for each.

Tennessee Titans                             100/1 – If they decide to go QB, they’ll likely be stuck with whoever is left over after Tampa selects.

Washington Redskins                    100/1 – My gut tells me Jay Gruden would love to move on from RGIII but he won’t. Can he stay healthy is the question.

Jacksonville Jaguars                       200/1 – Don’t be a bit surprised if this team is greatly improved. Skill players needed but there is a decent nucleus.

Oakland Raiders                               200/1 – I’m not overly impressed with the Jack Del Rio hire. Someone to groom Derek Carr would have been better.

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No Conspiracy, Just Over-Thinking the Obvious in Super …

Lockette
Lockette

Lockette could only look on as the Patriots' celebrated an interception that probably should have never happened.

There’s no way Marshawn Lynch could be the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIX if you listen to some of the conspiracy nuts out there. I mean, can you imagine the horror on National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s face upon seeing Lynch get the award?

Lynch has been nothing short of a pain in the side of Goodell most of the season and most recently in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. There were many thoughts late Sunday night that the reason Seattle went to the ill-fated pass was to keep Lynch from getting the MVP Award. Some also believe it’s why Lynch didn’t get the ball more in the second half.

While I love a good conspiracy theory, let’s just imagine for one second how this would look if the media ever got a hold of it. A conspiracy like this would have made “deflate-gate” look like brief news item at the end of a news telecast.

What happened at the end of Super Bowl XLIX is no less incredible though when you really think about it. There were the Seahawks lining up for a second and goal play with under a minute to play. They had just seen Lynch power his way to the one-yard line on a four yard carry. His play, followed one of the more miraculous plays in Super Bowl history where Jermaine Kearse caught a deep pass while laying on his back.

Carroll

I can't imagine Pete Carroll is going to sleep well for the next few months.

With one timeout remaining (more on that in a second), the Seahawks were a yard away from wrapping up back-to-back Super Bowl titles. With that one timeout, the Patriots knew that Seattle could afford to run the ball one more time among a potential final three plays. It’s obvious now that Pete Carroll thought the same thing.

Of all of the pass plays to call however, why, why, why would Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell take the ball out of Russell Wilson’s legs? Yes, you read that right. Here you have a quarterback with the best running ability in the league and instead of using him in play-action or on a roll out, you drop him straight back on a timing throw?

Of course if Wilson completes the pass it’s the greatest call in Super Bowl history but even had that happened, we would have to raise questions wouldn’t we?

If there is one thing about 99% of offensive and defensive coordinators share, it’s the unique ability to over-think situations. Their job is not easy, but at the end of the day it’s to call plays that they feel will create math-ups favorable to them. We can accept arguments that Bevell actually did this as the Patriots stayed with their goal line personnel.

The problem was that this was not a place or time for over-thinking the situation. This is where you go with what you know works. Had Bevell chosen to go with the read option to the left, his quarterback would have been isolated one-on-one with linebacker Donta Hightower. With just one yard to go, I’ll take Wilson’s legs to get me that yard every time.

Better yet, why not just give it to Lynch again? He was clearly getting stronger and was moving the pile. Perhaps if Seattle had one of their two wasted timeouts available things could have been different. At least one, if not both of those timeouts were wasted because of personnel issues.

While it’s easy to pin this loss on Carroll and Bevell, credit must go to the Patriots and Tom Brady too. Brady picked apart the Seahawks’ secondary when he needed to most trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter.

That will be forgotten though because this Super Bowl will always be remembered for what should have happened rather than what did.

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The Casino Review sportsbook blog provides news and analysis on the online sports betting industry, helping experienced and recreational bettors get the most out of their online betting experience.

Things Take an Interesting Turn in …

Goodell
Goodell

Robert Kraft entertained Roger Goodell at his home the night before the AFC Title Game.

I can’t help but laugh at all of this but at the same time the issue surrounding deflated balls is much more serious than perhaps we really believe. Regardless, here’s the latest news and more importantly, here is my take on what’s about to go down.

The National Football League has zeroed it’s investigation on a Patriots’ locker room attendant. According to several sources, the NFL has spoken with the attendant and also claims to have video of him as well. At some point, he took the balls from the officials’ locker room and on to another location.

Ted Wells, the man hired by the NFL to investigate this, claims even with this new development the investigation is likely to take several weeks. I’m all for being thorough but if this alleged video is a smoking gun of sorts then why wait?

So now that we know this, where is this headed? Here’s my take.

Goodell

While all 32 owners are Roger Goodell's bosses, it's become clear that no one has more control over him than Bob Kraft.

First of all, Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will both come through this as clean as a whistle. I say this because it’s clear that of the 32 NFL owners, no one has the ear of Roger Goodell more than Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. Don’t think so? Take a look at this article from GQ Magazine.

Should they really skate on this issue though? Of course not, but you know as well as I do how this thing will unfold. The attendant in question will be pressured to give up the golden goose. Investigators will do their darn-best to make this guy tell them who ordered him to release air from those balls.

Common sense will tell all of us that Tom Brady is the man who asks this attendant to manipulate the game balls and has likely done so for several years. Whether or not this is something that Brady requests each week or just when there is precipitation is unclear, but ask yourself this question?

Do you really believe a New England Patriots’ locker room attendant would, on his own accord, decide to deflate 11 of 12 game balls for the AFC Championship Game?

What would his motivation be? Would he even know that releasing air from the ball would make it easier to throw, catch and hang on to? Tell me, what would this guy possibly have to gain?

The only explanation for what went on is the simplest one out there. Tom Brady told his teammates in a meeting last week that he “likes the ball a certain way.” Why would he tell them this after spending 30 minutes in front of the press denying having anything to do with the issue?

I believe it highly unlikely that his attendant will give Brady up. My guess is that he will fall on his sword and has already been provided with an excuse for tampering with the balls as well a nice financial settlement as he gets “fired” for his illegal behavior.

What about Belichick you ask? Belichick will do just as he did during his impromptu presser the other day. He’ll deny any knowledge of the arrangement the attendant and Brady allegedly had and he’ll ride off into the sunset with his three or perhaps four Super Bowl titles.

I guarantee you that Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft have already spoken about how to proceed now that the attendant has been discovered. Kraft and the majority of other owners know Goodell makes them money and that’s all that matters.

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Some Super Bowl Betting History for You to Consider

SBXIII
SBXIII

Super Bowl XIII has become known as "Black Sunday" because Vegas took a beating.

As we have now entered the official “Super Bowl” week, I think it’s important to share some history of betting the big game. Obviously, there is no event in America that has more action in a given year than the Super Bowl.

The amount of money wagered on this game every winter is enough to run most nations for a calendar year if not longer. If you are going to be one of those millions of folks who are going to lay money on the championship of American Professional Football then let’s check the history books for some perspective and analysis. Any piece of information you can get your hands on is is crucial.

Favorites in the Super Bowl have gone 33-15 straight up in the previous 48 games. They are also 26-18-2 against the spread. The National Football Conference holds a 26-22 advantage and has won five of the last seven Super Bowls.

The largest upset in the game came way back in Super Bowl III when the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7. The Jets entered as 18-point underdogs.

Seahawks

Seattle entered last season's Super Bowl as an underdog and it looks like more of the same this season.

In terms of the Over/Under, the Over has ruled in 25 of the 48 games. Super Bowl I did not have an O/U so means the Under was the right play 22 times. The Over has won three of the last four and is tied with the Under with five victories each in the last ten Super Bowls.

In terms of the recent history of underdogs, they have won six of the last seven Super Bowls including last year when Denver entered as a -2.5 point favorite over the Seahawks. The only favorite to win during that stretch was Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV.

The most infamous Super Bowl in terms of betting was Super Bowl XIII. This was the second of three Super Bowl meetings between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers opened at -4.5 but as the game neared, it fell to -3.5 with heavy action on Dallas. The Steelers were victorious 35-31 so Vegas bookies were hit hard.

Many bettors took the Cowboys on that early -4.5 line while many jumped on the Steelers when it went to -3.5. This has since been known as “Black Sunday” to many in the sports gambling business.

As we move our focus to this year’s game, our friends at Bovada currently have the New England Patriots listed as two-point favorites over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.

If we look at the pattern over the last ten Super Bowls we can come up with the following:

If we like the Patriots as the favorite at -2, then your chances are strong. Winning 33 of 48 is pretty solid.

If we like the AFC team (the Patriots), then we might want to move towards Seattle.

If we are talking about playing the Over/Under then we are going to suggest the Over based on recent results. If we go based on all of the Super Bowls, then this decision really does come down to a coin flip as we’re very nearly at 50%.

Since 2000, the NFC has been the Super Bowl favorite only four times. The St. Louis Rams twice (1-1), the Packers (1-0) and the San Francisco 49ers (0-1). Outside of the Packers win, the other three times saw the Rams not cover against the Titans, the Niners lose straight up to Baltimore and the Rams losing straight up to the Patriots.

With all that swirling around these Patriots, you have to ask yourself whether it will galvanize them or ruin them? That said, you must still look at the history because it tells an awful lot.

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Where There is Smoke, There are the Patriots

Belichick
Belichick

Bill Belichick is being questioned again about his ethics but this is nothing compared to SpyGate.

You know what the biggest shame in this latest assertion against the New England Patriots is? It’s that the team doesn’t need to do this type of stuff. It’s well-coached and has more than enough talent to be winning without spying on other teams and deflating footballs.

Let’s be completely honest here first; the New England Patriots did not win on Sunday night because the footballs Tom Brady was allegedly throwing were softer than they should have been. Brady could have been throwing and handing off marshmallows and the outcome would have still been in their favor. That’s just how dominant they were over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Title Game.

Therefore, this isn’t anything like SpyGate where the Patriots were clearly gaining an advantage over their opponents. There is no doubt in my mind that a portion of their success prior to being caught was due to the illegal taping and observing of their opposition.

My assertion is usually countered by Patriots’ fans who claim the great Pittsburgh Steelers’ teams of the 1970′s were “all on steroids.” They, and many other teams of the 70′s were indeed dabbling with roids and here’s the key part; they weren’t illegal then. What the Pats were doing in SpyGate was illegal and that’s an overwhelming distinction.

Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers said yesterday he actually likes to "over-inflate" the ball due to his large hands.

So here we are again with more allegations of a Bill Belichick-led team doing something against the rules. My honest opinion here, and it was kind of backed up by Aaron Rodgers yesterday, is that most teams mess around with the game balls to a certain extent. In case you missed it, Rodgers said he liked balls to be “over-inflated” because he has larger hands.

In case you aren’t aware of the rules, an official NFL game ball must be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of air per square inch. If you take air out of the ball, it becomes easier to grip and to catch. Brand new NFL footballs are not as “new” as you might think when they actually hit the field. Teams are given game balls a few days in advance so that quarterbacks can smooth out the leather.

Some QBs will do this themselves while others rely on ball boys to do it. Essentially, it involves rubbing the balls over and over. This gets perspiration into the leather and takes away that hard, coarse feel to them. Now assume these balls are going to be wet. Taking some air out helps quite a bit in terms of grip.

The irony of the current situation is that D’Qwell Jackson of the Colts was the one who brought it to the attention of his team and Head Coach Chuck Pagano. He did this following an interception in the first half. For a linebacker, a guy who rarely touches a ball, to notice an obvious difference tells me that there is something to this.

The problem is Rodgers’ statement though. You have the league investigating a situation where two of the most high-profile quarterbacks in the league are now involved. What will come of this in my opinion is nothing other than a serious “talking to” by NFL officials.

Honestly? That’s really all it should be because “deflate-gate” is not anywhere on par with SpyGate. But why do these things keep following New England? Perhaps that’s the bigger question in all of this. I can’t recall one team being a part of so many odd things as this one has.

Keep an eye on the smoke because there is likely to be a Patriot nearby.

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Hit the Ground Running With Super Bowl, MVP Odds Already

SB
SB

Super Bowl XLIX Odds are out as well as those for MVP. Choose wisely.

Super Bowl XLIX is nearly two weeks away but not only is the line for the game out there for your consideration but so are odds for the game’s Most Valuable Player. Today I’m giving you both and my early thoughts on both the game and my best MVP bets.

Super Bowl XLIX New England (-1) vs Seattle – Already, we’ve seen the spread move from the Patriots +1 to the Patriots -1. That sends numerous messages about the way Las Vegas is already looking at this game. My best guess right now is that concerns over Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas have to be the key factors. Both were scheduled to have MRIs yesterday.

Obviously Sherman’s absence would have a significantly higher impact on the line than would Thomas but that shouldn’t bemoan Thomas’ value to the Seahawks’ defense. It’s just that Vegas tends to see star players and their abilities much more up close than other players and for the most part that makes sense.

New England is relatively healthy for this time of year. Their biggest question mark will be at center where rookie Brian Stork did not play on Sunday due to injury. His backup played well and therefore if that stays as is, I expect little influence on the line.

The only possible exception to that however is the fact Seattle is much better on the front line than Indianapolis was so that should be factored in here.

I think one other key area favoring the Patriots is that their secondary did pretty well against better receivers than they’ll see from Seattle. That’s arguable, but I don’t see a clear distinction between the receivers from either team really. Vegas will have to take into consideration just awful the Seattle receivers looked for three and half quarters on Sunday.

Unless the news on Sherman is him having to sit out then I don’t expect this line to move a whole lot in the coming days.

Avril

Betting The Field means a guy like Cliff Avril could win the MVP Award with some sacks and forced turnovers.

Super Bowl XLIX MVP – Odds to Win      

Tom Brady                                        3/2

Marshawn Lynch                        15/4

Russell Wilson                             15/4

Rob Gronkowski                            9/1

LeGarrette Blount                        12/1

Richard Sherman                        25/1

Doug Baldwin                              33/1

Kam Chancellor                          33/1

Julian Edelman                          33/1

Darrelle Revis                             33/1

Earl Thomas                               40/1

Bobby Wagner                            50/1

Brandon LaFell                          66/1

Jermaine Kearse                        66/1

Byron Maxwell                           66/1

K.J. Wright                                 66/1

Shane Vereen                             75/1

Danny Amendola                    100/1

Patrick Chung                           100/1

Jamie Collins                            100/1

Dont’a Hightower                    100/1

Devin McCourty                        100/1

Rob Ninkovich                          100/1

Luke Willson                             100/1

Stephen Gostkowski                 150/1

Steven Hauschka                      150/1

Malcolm Smith                          150/1

Field                                                25/1

It’s very clear to me that Vegas thinks Seattle will win on the legs of Marshawn Lynch rather than behind quarterback Russell Wilson. That said, Wilson will be a strong candidate to win the game’s Most Valuable Player because of one simple reason; Bill Belichick always looks to take away the opponent’s best player. This would be Lynch which means Wilson will need to produce.

I’m going to go ahead and tell you not to even think about laying your cash on a kicker. In 48 previous Super Bowls, one has never been selected MVP. Choosing a defensive player as MVP isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound. Nine times a defender has been chose the games MVP and in one of those instances it was in a losing effort (Chuck Howley, DAL).

The Field might be a nice play in this one if you are thinking of going away from the mainstream. I can see a guy like Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril having a couple of sacks and maybe a forced fumble or two. I would also say the same of the Pats’ Vince Wilfork who could cause some serious problems for the Seattle running game.

Never rule out a back-up tight end or fullback either which makes The Field an interesting play.

 

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NFL Championship Game Picks for Today

Rodgers
Rodgers

While there are many other guys who can make a difference, if Aaron Rodgers isn't healthy the Packers can forget it.

The NFL Conference Title Games are on tap later today and here’s my selections for who advances to Super Bowl XLIX.

Green Bay (+7.5) at Seattle (O/U 47) – The Packers opened the season in Seattle and played valiantly but lost. Now the question is whether or not Green Bay ends its’ season in the same place where it began or will they advance to the Super Bowl? Then again, maybe the biggest question is just how close to 100% is Aaron Rodgers?

The Seahawks’ defense will not give Rodgers a chance to to get comfortable which is their goal regardless of who the play but today will be special. Coordinator Dan Quinn will more than likely test Rodgers early with some extra pressure just to see how well he can move. Either way, the Packers need Eddie Lacy to be a significant factor right away.

While under most circumstances Rodgers could carry this team, being less than full health tells me that he’ll need help.

Seattle will not do anything fancy on offense. The plan will be as it always is; run Marshawn Lynch and set up Russell Wilson in play-action. The Packers will attempt to take away Lynch, but they didn’t have a whole lot of luck with DeMarco Murray.

Trends: Green Bay is 2-4 straight up in their last six games in Seattle… The Seahawks are 4-0-1 against the spread in their last five games at home… The total has gone UNDER in four of the Packers last six games at Seattle… Seattle is 3-6 straight up in their last nine games against the Packers

Key Injuries: GB QB Aaron Rodgers PROB/Calf, SEA T Justin Britt QUEST/Knee

The Pick: I really think Green Bay can keep this close but I like a late Seattle score for the cover. Take the UNDER as well.

Brady

Can Tom Brady point the Patriots back to the Super Bowl?

Indianapolis (+7) at New England (O/U 54) – Last year in the divisional playoffs the Patriots rode the running of LeGarrette Blount to a big-time win over the Colts. Blount returns by way of Pittsburgh but things have changed a lot since they played a year ago. In fact, they met in the regular season where the Patriots’ Jonas Gray ran for 200 yards in a win over Indy.

Gray was late for practice later the following week and he’s hardly seen the field since. The one thing about the Bill Belichick-led Pats is that they rarely do what you think  they are going to. Just when you think they’ll go to the air, they go to the run and vice-versa. For the record, I expect them to throw.

For the Colts, the gameplan won’t change. They will ride the arm of Andrew Luck and they’ll do their best to pretend to they have a running game with Boom Herron. Don’t laugh because if Herron can find any success at all then Luck becomes even more dangerous.

The one thing you can never predict is turnovers. If the Colts can get a few, then this game becomes very interesting.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in five of the Colts’ last six games when playing in New England… The Patriots are 5-0 straight up in their last five games against the Colts… Indy is 2-13 SU in their last 15 games at New England… The total has gone UNDER in five of New England’s last seven games.

Key Injuries: IND CB Greg Toler QUEST/Groin… NE C Brian Stork OUT/Knee

The Pick: The Pats cleared a big hurdle in coming back to beat Baltimore last week and I think they win today but the Colts will find a way to keep it close. Take the OVER too.

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