Sports in America Twenty Years From Now

Twenty years from now I see soccer becoming the dominant sport in America like it or not.

Welcome to 2035! Jump on board the time machine with me as I give you my thoughts on what sports in America will look like 20 years from now.

The biggest change overall will be the rise of soccer. If you read my column regularly then you know this just destroys me but it’s what I see happening. The world is a smaller place now because of technology and social media and the most recent World Cup proved just how crazy Americans are getting over soccer.

The vast majority of the fan base right now is kids, teens and twenty-somethings with smatterings of older adults thrown in here and there. If you advance things 20 years, that means the current fan base will be a prime mixture of fans in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

Soccer has long been treated as a red-headed step-child in America but with the fear police assaulting football, I see it growing by leaps and bounds.

Speaking of football, I have a gut feeling participation nationally will continue to drop as parents keep their kids from playing for health reasons. Far be it from me to tell any parent how to rule over their child but I believe much of what has happened to “make the game safer” has largely been blown out of proportion.

I also believe that college football will actually become bigger than the National Football League. I feel this way because the NFL will continue to lose viewers. Recent polls have shown that men over 50 is the largest demographic that is no longer watching pro football.

That speaks volumes because if they stop watching then their kids will become less interested as well. The pro game in general has become a shell of its’ former self with the violence of the game all but removed and defense becoming an after-thought as everything favors offenses today.

If the NFL moves teams to Europe I also predict that will quicken the pace of its’ demise.

The NBA will need to have more personalities twenty years from now as LeBron will be long gone from the court.

My crystal ball sees the National Basketball Association staying popular but it faces some challenges. First and foremost the game must have personable stars that provide the face of the league. LeBron James is clearly that face today but Michael Jordan set the bar so high I wonder if it is unreachable. I have yet to see a player with Jordan’s ability to be an assassin on the court and be friendly off it has been unmatched.

I also think the NBA will shorten its’ season. We are seeing a rise in star players spending more time on the bench for rest and for minor injuries. Fans will demand this going forward.

Major League Baseball will continue to see Latin players flood the rosters. This is not a bad thing in any way. MLB’s biggest issues will be keeping the games as short as possible as well how to deal with pitching injuries that are on the rise. Don’t be surprised if MLB contracts a few teams in an effort to keep competitive balance high.

I also see contraction in the National Hockey League where some teams just aren’t filling seats. The NHL will finally have some personalities and players that will draw fans in that haven’t normally been there in the past. The game itself is in good shape, but it will need to do more to draw in those fringe fans and I think it will once Gary Bettman is no longer the commissioner.

Al in all, sports will continue to dominate our lives but I see changes coming and for me personally I’m not real crazy about them.

UNDER Looks Solid for Super Bowl XLIX

As promised today’s storyline will be why the UNDER could cash in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX between the AFC Champion New England Patriots and the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.

The Super Bowl odds makers are receiving much more action to date on the UNDER bringing the opening line from 49 down to 47.

Much of that is due to the strength of the Seattle defense the last eight games. The Seahawks have allowed just 78 points over their past 8 games played overall, but 39 of those have been in their last two playoff games.

According to Bovada and betonline, the majority of wagering on the Super Bowl will take place between late Friday and Sunday’s kickoff.

According to topbet and, last year’s Super Bowl opened at 48.5 and was bet down to 47.5 points and this season’s game is very similar.

Why the UNDER is a Good Play

  • In the two previous Super Bowls played in Arizona, both cashed on the UNDER.
  • New England has only scored 17 points in each of its past two Super Bowls,
  • Seattle has played in just two Super Bowls, allowing 21 points in Super Bowl XL and eight last season in Super Bowl XLVIII.
  • Despite leading the league in scoring, the Patriots on the road average just 25.5 point per game compared to Gillette Stadium at 34.4 points per game.
  • In its past three games away from Gillette Stadium the Patriots games have all cashed on the UNDER.
  • Similar to the Patriots, Seattle’s last game on the road was December 21. The Seahawks in their past three road games have given up a combined 23 points, with the UNDER going 2-1.
  • Seattle was the league leader in points allowed at 16.3 per game during the regular season, while New England was No. 6 at 17.2 per game.
  • Seattle is impressive in giving up points in the second half. In its past eight games, Seattle has given up a combined 23 points during the second half. Seattle has won each of the eight while covering 7 of the 8.
  • The highest point total Seattle has had all season was 48. That occurred on two occasions with both games cashing on the UNDER.
  • Under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the UNDER is 17-11 during the postseason for the Patriots, which includes the UNDER of 4-1 in the Patriots five previous Super Bowls with Brady/Belichick.
  • The one game that cashed OVER of the past five Super Bowls the Patriots have played in was the lowest total they have played to at 38 points.
  • New England beat Carolina 32-29 in 2004 in that game. Two of the quarters in that game were scoreless, while two others featured 24 and 37 points scored.

Breaking Down Super Bowl XLIX

I believe Super Bowl XLIX will come down to a final drive and Tom Brady will be under center for it. Will he be successful?

My favorite part of the the two weeks leading up to the playing of the actual Super Bowl is… The playing of the actual Super Bowl.

On Sunday night, we will be able to finally stop worrying about deflate-gate, what Marshawn Lynch says or doesn’t say and whether Idina Menzel has messed up the national anthem or not. In short, it will finally be time to play football.

Choosing who to go with in Super Bowl XLIX has not been easy. There are so many factors that must be considered for both teams and of course we can never predict turnovers or how the game is called by the officials. Nevertheless, I think I have a good read on this game so see whether you agree or not by reading on.

Super Bowl XLIX New England Patriots (-2) vs Seattle Seahawks (O/U 47.5) – Let’s take everything off the field off the table. That means let’s focus on the two teams and not deflate-gate or Marshawn Lynch’s hat.

Tom Brady is making his sixth start in a Super Bowl and he’s lost his last two which were both against the New York Giants. In the prior five Super Bowls, the game has come down to the final drive and I feel this one will be no different.

Look for both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas to be involved with covering Rob Gronkowski.

If we analyze both of the Patriots’ losses, the Giants were able to get consistent pressure up the middle on Brady and most of that pressure came from just the front four defensive linemen. The Seahawks are significantly better than the Giants were in the secondary but can they get the same type of pressure the Giants did?

My assumption is that the Patriots will learn from Denver’s struggles last year in the Super Bowl and they will not abandon the run. The problem is whether Josh McDaniels chooses to use LeGarrette Blount or another running back like Jonas Gray. Seattle must also decide how they are going to cover Rob Gronkowski. Will they attempt to keep a linebacker on him or will Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas be stuck with that assignment?

When the Seahawks are on offense, they will know that Bill Belichick typically likes to take away his opponent’s best player. Common sense points us to that being Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be prepared and I think you’ll see more read-option from Seattle than we’ve seen recently from them this season.

If they find any success with that, the passing game will open up, especially on the edges and to the tight ends. Will that be enough to keep New England on it’s heels defensively?

Obviously the one area we can’t forget is special teams. Turnovers or major mistakes here are likely to be disastrous as close as I expect this game to be.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of New England’s last eight games… Seattle is 6-2 straight up in their last eight games against New England… The Patriots are 2-6 against the spread in their last right games against the Seahawks… Seattle is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games.

Key Injuries: NE C Brian Stork QUES/Knee, CB Brandon Browner QUES/Knee… SEA S Earl Thomas QUES/Shoulder

The Pick:  No one holds a lead as well as the Seahawks but I think they will fall behind early. Tom Brady has an opportunity to seal his legacy as an all-time great with a win and to do it, he’ll need a touchdown to win the game late. I think Seattle takes its’ first lead in the second half and holds on to win 27-23. Take the Seahawks and the points and take the OVER.

Strong Argument for the OVER in Super Bowl XLIX

For Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks odds maker opened the total points at 49 but that has been bet down to 48, with a few going as well as 47.5.

Even though the Seahawks are known for having an outstanding defense, No. 1 in the league against the score, there are strong arguments for both the OVER and UNDER in Super Bowl XLIX.

However, the OVER will be discussed here with the UNDER to follow tomorrow.

In the regular season, New England averaged 30.3 points a game, which gave them a 9-7 OVER and 1-1 during the postseason.

New England has lost just four games all season and if you throw out its meaningless lost to Buffalo 17-9, to end the regular season they lost 33-20 to Miami, 41-14 to Kansas City and 26-21 to Green Bay.

If you look into all those road losses, you will find that the Patriots allowed 10 touchdowns and 10 field goals and if the opposing offensives had been more productive in the red zone, the scores could have been much higher.

Seattle’s defense is No. 1 in scoring, but is it due to how good they are or how poor the quarterbacks have been that have played them. In the postseason, Cam Newton led Carolina to three scores on the Seahawks and he was intercepted once as well in the end zone.

Green Bay, led by Aaron Rodgers had six scores but just one touchdown. Was it great defense or poor offensive execution?

Other talented quarterbacks have also had success this season against Seattle, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers both helped their teams score 30 points against Seattle.

The key to shutting the offense for Seattle down is stopping the ground game and putting pressure on Russell Wilson the quarterback.

Of course easier said than accomplished and the defense for New England has no sacks in two playoff games this season.

In its past 9 games versus AFC opponents, Seattle has scored an average of 28.5 points and the OVER in those games was 7-2.

In its four games versus NFC North teams this season, the Patriots scored 21, 30, 34 and 51 points.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is praised often for defensive schemes but the team has not been super when playing outside Gillette Stadium during the postseason. The defense has allowed an average of 26 point a game in road playoff games and 21 per game in its five Super Bowls.

In seven games in the postseason with Wilson as quarterback, the OVER is 4-3 for Seattle, of which three straight have cashed OVER.

At 48 points, the total could easily cash OVER with New England winning 28-24.

New Baseball Boss Swings and Misses in First Major Interview

New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is suggesting the game does away with significant defensive shifts. Not the best way to start his tenure in my opinion.

Commissioners of professional sports in America do not have easy jobs. While being the leader of the National Football League would mean more to me than being President of the United States, I realize it can be a daunting and thankless job.

I believe that the best way for any new commissioner to come into his or her new assignment is to do so quietly and without much fanfare.

While National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver certainly could have never expected he’d be facing the crisis he did with LA Clippers’ former owner Donald Sterling, he did so with grace and suitable forcefulness.

New Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has decided that coming into his new post quietly was apparently not an option.

In a recent interview, Manfred expressed his willingness to ban the practice of defensive over-shifting. This is what is done to combat heavy pull-hitters in the game. My initial was one of curiosity but the more I thought about it the more I couldn’t help but wonder “what in the wide world of sports would motivate this move?”

It would be a good idea for Manfred to pay attention to the messes Goodell has found himself in.

Well, let’s look to the current sport in the country that holds the title of “America’s Pastime” and that would be the National Football League. If you didn’t think Commissioner Roger Goodell was all about money then you must have missed former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s comments. But that isn’t what I’m getting at.

Goodell’s affect on the NFL has been one of increasing revenue and for him, that’s meant increasing offensive output. More scoring appeals to average fans and it appeals even more to those millions who participate in fantasy football.

Now go back to Manfred’s proposal to eliminate the shift in professional baseball. If he gets his wish and players are forced to cover “zones” on the diamond, that means pull hitters will gain a decided advantage in hitting. More hitting means more offense which in turn means more runs. And who doesn’t love more scoring right?

If you aren’t following here’s the example. Batter A is a dead-pull hitter and is right-handed. Many baseball managers will put the “shift on” sliding the third baseman to the fair/foul line… Will slide the shortstop towards the third baseman’s natural position… Will slide the second baseman to the left of second base, or more towards the shortstop’s natural spot.

The first baseman therefore is the only infielder to the right side of the diamond. The outfield will naturally shift as well meaning the left fielder goes to the line, the center fielder moves well left and the right fielder moves towards center.

Commons sense tells the manager that if Batter A is a dead-pull guy and you’ve got all of your defense over there to defend him, then he’ll have the pitcher work to get the ball hit there.

Now imagine shifts like this aren’t allowed. A dead-pull hitter now has just the third baseman, shortstop and left fielder to contend with while in a shift, he has the center fielder and the second baseman added to the equation.

Is Manfred’s suggestion the worst idea in the world? Now, it probably isn’t in the grand scheme of things but this is not the way I would imagine he wanted to put his first stamp as commissioner on the game. If Manfred can learn anything, perhaps he needs to keep an eye on those NFL offices in New York City where they can’t do anything right.

Baseball has a prime opportunity to regain some favor with basic fans but drastically altering the defense of baseball isn’t a good way to do it.

Public Still Behind Patriots, Sharp Money On Seahawks

While the New England Patriots -1 has been the consensus line across most sportsbooks both online and in Vegas, with most of the early money on the Patriots, one bookmaker still believes things will move in the opposite direction as the Sunday kickoff starts to approach.

At online bookmakers such as Bovada and topbet, as much as 2.5 times more action has been taken on New England than on Seattle.

Most of the public is still high on the Patriots but many odds makers believe the point will arrive when money starts showing up on the weekend for the Seahawks. The quiet before the storm is how is happens during the two week period between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.

Once Friday arrives, things will change, according to online bookmakers betonline and

One bookmaker said he has had just on bet of six-figures for the Super Bowl thus far and that was for New England.

However, he said sharp money was favoring Seattle. So the thought is that the public was start to realize the same team that routed Denver in the Super Bowl last year is back again and their defense is still No. 1 in the league.

Some bookmakers moved the line from Patriots -1 to -1.5 and finally began taking money for Seattle, which prompted them to move it back down to Patriots -1.

A large amount of sharp action at New England -1.5 caused the bookmaker to move the line back down.

On the point total, the number is continuing to be bet down. Almost every bookmaker has the total sitting at 48, but a few here and there have it at 47.5.

It is anticipated that public money will go OVER and that could prompt bookmakers to move it back up to 48 or even 48.5.

Sharp money has taken the UNDER. The line opened as high as 49 and it has dropped to 48.5 and to 48, with a few at 47.5. However, books tend to stay on the high side since the public likes the OVER. However, the pros are definitely taking the UNDER.

The Super Bowl parties will start Sunday across the country in bars and homes from coast to coast, as the single most popular sporting event in the U.S. prepares to kickoff.

Bookmakers are expecting a surge in action from the public starting Friday and not letting up until just before the opening kickoff on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Super Bowl Special Prop Bets Because You Deserve to Win Money on Ridiculous Things

Prop bets are a great way to watch the Super Bowl even for the most average of fans.

I honestly can’t tell you when the first prop bet occurred but it would only seem right if it were during a Super Bowl. I laid out the history of betting the Super Bowl earlier this week and hopefully you took that to heart before laying your dough on either the Patriots or Seahawks.

Prop bets can essentially be wagers on just about anything related to the event. If Dick Vitale were doing the Final Four, there would be a prop on how many times he says one of his famous phrases. When Jim Nantz does The Masters, a prop bet could be home times he mentions the azaleas or other flower.

Prop bets have even started to creep their way into popular culture. You can actually wager on things like the Academy Awards and what color will Meryl Streep be wearing. Yes my friends, we’ve clearly gone off the deep end. The prop bets featured today are just a small sampling of the type of prop bets you can make. But the great news is that you have options.

If you’re attending one of the millions of Super Bowl parties around the country then get creative! Bring in the Super Bowl commercials and you can do that in a number of ways. From the most ads, to the ones with celebrities and so on.

The bottom line is that with prop bets, you can do just about whatever you want. Have fun with them and enjoy the guy.

Today I’m giving you special prop bets from our friends at Bovada. I hope you enjoy these props and my picks for each. My best bets have an * next to them.

Length of the National Anthem by Idina Menzel

Two Minutes 1 Second OVER -120, UNDER -120

Will Idina Menzel forget or omit at least one word from the National Anthem?

Yes +450, No -700

Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after scoring a touchdown?

Yes +600, No -1000

Which coach will be mentioned first by name after the opening kickoff on TV?

Pete Carroll EVEN, Bill Belichick -140

Got thoughts on what style hoodie Bill Belichick will be wearing? You can wager on that.

What color will Bill Belichick’s hoodie be?

Gray -150, Blue +110, Red +700

How many times will Katy Perry be mentioned before halftime?*

Over 2 -110, Under 2 -130

Will Bill Belichick smile on TV cameras during the game?

Yes +150, No -250

Bill Belichick hoodie type

sleeves cut -175, sleeves intact +135

What will Katy Perry be wearing when she begins her halftime show?

Pants (below knees) +275, Shorts (above knees) +225, Skirt or Dress -175

How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV during the game?

Over 1.5 EVEN, Under 1.5 -140

Who will be shown more on TV during the game?*

Robert Kraft -250, Paul Allen +170

Will Al Michaels mention during the broadcast the spread, total, odds or prop bets during the game?

Yes +170, No -250

What will the Nielsen rating of the game be?

Over 47.5 -120, Under 47.5 -120

Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first in his interview?

Teammates 3/2, God 2/1, Fans/City 15/2, Owner 12/1, Coach 15/1, Family 15/1, Does not mention any of the above 5/2

How many viewers will the game have?

Over 113 million -140, Under 113 million Even

How many times will “deflated” balls be mentioned during the game?

Over 3 -140, Under 3 Even




More Super Bowl Stats to Consider Before Placing A Bet

Leading up to the Super Bowl there is a vast amount of data and information to review when deciding on what team to choose to win or cover in the big game. More information is available if trying to determine whether the game will be high scoring or a defensive struggle.

Sportsbooks such as Bovada and betonline, amongst others have trends, head-to-head stats and other information for the bettors to review prior to making his or her pick. Other sites such as topbet and provide the most up to date stats, injuries reports and in-depth analysis for the bettors.

Below are even more Stats to Ponder

  • This season when Seattle and New England are winners of the coin flip to start the game, the two are a combined 18-2, when the two lose the flip, the results are just 10-6 in the win column.
  • Seattle and New England opened the season 8-5, but since are 20-3.
  • Seattle and New England have allowed just three touchdowns in the second half in their last 16 games combined.
  • Both entrants in Super Bowl XLIX have touchdown passes by players who are not quarterbacks.
  • Seattle is the first team to make consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl since 2003-2004 when New England did it.
  • Seattle is the first team since the Chicago Bears, in 1985 and 1986, to lead the NFL in defense two straight seasons.
  • New England, back in 2007, scored almost 37 points a game during the 16-game regular season, but only 14 during the Super Bowl. New England, in 2011 averaged 32 points a game in the regular season, but scored just 17 during the Super Bowl.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs were not able to make the postseason, but defeated both entrants in this year’s Super Bowl.
  • Both of the starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLIX have been victorious in a Super Bowl. In his short career, Russell Wilson has a record of 10-0 against quarterback who won Super Bowls. In that same comparison, Tom Brady has a record of 15-8.
  • In 12 of the past 14 Super Bowls at least one of the starters was named, Brady, Manning or Roethlisberger.

How these stats help a bettor to make a more educated decision is up to the individual bettor, but numbers do not lie.

With just four days remaining until the Super Bowl kicks off, bettors will be inundated with data and information about the teams, the offense and defense and individual players. The hope is everyone will be able to digest it prior to the kickoff in order to make most educated bet available.

Things Take an Interesting Turn in “Deflate-Gate”

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.

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.

Super Bowl XLIX– Early Bettors Hitting the UNDER

The betting action on the Super Bowl slowed during this past weekend and the most recent movement shows the New England Patriots as 1-point favorites, while the point total has been bet down from 49 to 48 and some online books such as Bovada and have it as low as 47.5.

The UNDER has been coming in strong on the total and finally books have moved it down. As the game approaches, the number could go even low and sharp money is holding out until the end when they might jump in on the OVER, according to topbet and betonline.

Last season a record was set for Las Vegas with $119 million wagered on Super Bowl XLVIII. Thus far, the handle looks to be a bit less, but there are still five days before kickoff. The money is coming in at a rate of 2 to 1 on the Patriots.

The impact due of deflate-gate is not that big, but has caused some emotional bettors to move away from New England.

Last season not only did much of the public think Denver had the better team, but emotionally they liked Peyton Manning and wanted him to win.

In this Super Bowl, after watching New England destroy Indianapolis, most thought New England and coach Bill Belichick were untouchable, but nobody besides hardcore fans of New England are on their side at this point.

The handle will definitely pick up on Friday and into the weekend all the way up to Sunday’s late afternoon kick off.

The Seahawks are hoping that cornerback Richard Sherman will be healthy enough to play and be effective in the game.

New England is hoping the controversy over the deflated footballs will not be a distraction to players from the game, while Seattle is quietly hoping it will be.

Defensively, the Seahawks are not as good as last season, but have played well the past 8 games. They have allowed just 78 points in the past 8 games played and could make it hard for Tom Brady and the Patriots to put points on the board, unless the run game for New England can put the defense back on its heels. If Seattle is able to pressure Brady up the middle, it could be a long day for New England.

On the offense, bettors must decide which rushing attack will win the time of possession and have more rushing yards. Even with the NFL turning into more of a passing game on offense, teams that have rushed for more yards than their opponents and won the time of possession in the Super Bowl have been very successful.