No Conspiracy, Just Over-Thinking the Obvious in Super Bowl XLIX

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.

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.

Bookmakers Win on Super Bowl Sunday Thanks to Props

The New England Patriots victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX hurt bookmakers. There were many ways the Super Bowl could have ended. However, the combination of New England winning and the OVER was not the one bookmakers were hoping for.

The line over the two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl kickoff fluctuated between Patriots -1 and pick ‘em. However, the comeback victory of 28-24 by New England complicated things for bookmakers at Bovada, betonline, topbet, as well as many other betting establishments.

For many of the books, the majority of cash was on New England and on the OVER. With more money coming in on New England, the books kept the line at -1 or even pick ‘em right up to kickoff.

Seattle had a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter. For books that looked nice – a Seattle cover and an UNDER. However, that did not happen and when the Seahawks had the opportunity to win, the Patriots intercepted on the goal line on a play that most called questionable that was called by Pete Carroll the Seattle head coach.

Carroll is liked and respected by many of the players on Seattle, but looking at quotes from some players, especially from the defense, it would make you think the Seahawks could implode next season.

Fading losers of Super Bowls the next season is usually a strong bet.

New England in late September was 12 to 1 to win the Super Bowl after losing to Kansas City and dropping to 2-2.

Seattle lost Sunday’s Super Bowl but is 13 t 2 to win next season’s, with New England at 8 to 1 just behind them.

The overall handle missed the record set last year of $119 million as it came in at just under the $116 million mark in Vegas.

One bookmaker took a million dollar bet on New England. The props saved the books from going in the red as they eked out just a $3.3 million win on the game due to the popularity of the props.

The books win of $3.3 million was their lowest since 2011 for a Super Bowl when they took in just $724,175 in the Packers win over the Steelers 31-25.

However, overall the $115.9 million taken in by the Vegas books show that betting on the NFL is as good as it has ever been.

Once the draft is held the books futures will change somewhat, but not as much as when say the NBA holds its draft. Then any trades or offseason free agent signings will have their affect on the futures board. Nevertheless, when next season rolls around in September you can be assured that Seattle and New England will be at or near the top of the futures board for Super Bowl 50.

The Latest 2015 Heisman Trophy Odds

Ezekiel Elliott's Heisman chances could depend on who is playing quarterback in front of him.

The most recent Heisman Trophy odds for 2015 are some of the more interesting I can recall in recent years. I say this because among the guys I’ve listed, courtesy our friends at Bovada, four of them hail from Ohio State. It’s not uncommon at all to see two guys from a school among the top favorites but four? That’s pretty impressive.

I also feel that could be a detriment as well and I’ll get into that as I break down the list.

Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State 6/1

The biggest thing in Elliott’s way is the fact that regardless of who it is at quarterback for the Buckeyes, that guy will take plenty of attention away from him. That said, it doesn’t mean he can’t have a big year and still win the trophy.

Dak Prescott, Miss. State 7/1

Leonard Fournette , LSU 7/1

Both of these SEC players should garner plenty of attention as often as they’ll be on television. Prescott will benefit from having the ball in his hands more often than Fournette but don’t count out this LSU Tiger. He will slide into the top running back spot for Les Miles and he returns kicks as well.

Trevone Boykin, TCU 15/2

Boykin led the team I thought should have been in the College Football Playoff ahead of Ohio State this past season and he gets the benefit of having nine other offensive starters back with him.

Cody Kessler, USC 12/1

Nick Chubb, Georgia 12/1

Paul Perkins, UCLA 12/1

Of these three guys, you have to like Chubb’s chances the best. With Todd Gurley in the NFL, he will get the heavy share of the workload in Athens in 2015. Kessler has a shot simply because he plays at USC, but his numbers will need to be exceptional.

Cardale Jones could be a Heisman front-runner or the second QB off the bench in Columbus.

Cardale Jones, Ohio State 14/1

Derrick Henry, Alabama 14/1

Samaje Perine, Oklahoma 14/1

Jones is obviously an interesting bet here having started just three career games yet two of them were for a conference title and a national title. Even if he gets the nod to open the season at QB, who is to say he doesn’t share time with either Miller or Barrett? Perine burst onto the scene with his record-setting performance late last fall. Will he pick up where he left off?

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State 16/1

Jeremy Johnson, Auburn 16/1

I’ve read where there is some speculation that Johnson could actually run Gus Malzahn’s offense better than Nick Marshall did. If he does, then by all means he’ll be in contention. Barrett will be falling under the same situation as Jones and Miller at Ohio State. Who starts and who gets the playing time?

Braxton Miller, Ohio State 18/1

We know what Miller can do but will he be in the scarlet and gray when he does it?

Connor Cook, Michigan State 20/1

Deshaun Watson, Clemson 20/1

Cook will more than likely have good efficiency numbers but he’ll probably lack the gaudy numbers usually needed. Watson offers the ability to both run and pass but I’m not sure his consistency will be there all season.

Royce Freeman, Oregon 25/1

Freeman’s biggest issue will be the guy in front of him. If Marcus Mariota’s replacement is solid, then Freeman’s numbers could be significant.

Long-Shots I Like

Jared Goff, Cal 50/1

Sonny Dykes’ offense can be down-right explosive and Goff could benefit.

Scooby Wright, Arizona 66/1

The linebacker won’t win it but if he has some big impacts in early games and maintains that consistency he could get a trip to New York.


Patriots/OVER Hurts Books in Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl XLIX has concluded with the New England Patriots winning their fourth Vince Lombardi trophy. The 28-24 victory over Seattle resulted in a four-way teaser victory for many bettors.

The parlay of New England and the OVER also cashed. That means for many sports books there was a less than ideal finish to the NFL season as the books were weighed down with public action in the form of teasers and with parlays with each team linked to the OVER. The majority of books will most likely end up on top but only with a very small win.

Last season’s Super Bowl set a new record for the handle with $119 million and it seems that will be surpassed due to a flood of betting in Vegas prior to the kick off on Sunday.

Sites such as Bovada and lost teasers as well as parlays, but were able to make up from their futures, props and parlay cards to put them in the black.

As has become customary, the public bettor took the OVER and this time get the better of sharp money, most of whom were on the UNDER. According to topbet and betonline, the total before kickoff was hovering at 47 to 47.5.

The worst case scenario for the books was New England and the OVER but even though that took place, the 350 props helped them to a win.

The three yard TD pass from Tom Brady to wide receiver Julian Edelman with only 2:02 remaining combined with the Malcolm Brown interception at the goal line with only 26 seconds remaining in the game sent backers of the Patriots cashing their tickets.

Not all books were able to come out as winners however. Some took a large amount of action on the Patriots thus the day was not as good for them and even after the props and futures were factored into the equation, the day ended in the red.

One Vegas bookmaker always has higher wagers than others and said it took in one wager of seven figures on New England with a number of others of six figures. With bets of that size, the impact of parlays, teasers and props are minimized.

Many of the books were hurt with the interception by New England to end the game and prevent Seattle from scoring and winning. A win by Seattle and the OVER would have give the books a much better day since the majority of money was on the Pats.

Despite the parlays and teasers hitting the books hard, the intense betting on prop bets means bookmakers will likely come out overall on top.

Super Bowl Sunday Bullets From Across the Sports World

Serena Williams captured another grand slam and moved closer to Steffi Graf's career record.

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us and I’m tackling a number of stories that have developed in recent days.

-If you haven’t placed a wager yet on Super Bowl XLIX, then you may want to add a bit of research before doing so. So much action has been coming the Seahawks’ way that most Vegas sports books have moved the game to a “pick’em” selection.

-Congrats to Serena Williams for her victory in the Australian Open. She is now three grand slam titles away from tying the great Steffi Graff.

-If you ever needed further proof about just what kind of person NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is then I give you his “State of the Game” Presser on Friday. CNN’s Rachel Nichols asked a very direct question related to the conflicts of interest regarding investigators the NFL has chosen to run its’ investigations. Goodell was clearly annoyed and couldn’t even look Nichols in the eye as he gave a condescending answer. He even badgered her at the end of the his diatribe.

-My dreams of an unbeaten NCAA Championship Game in college basketball went out the window last night. Duke went into Charlottesville and knocked off second-ranked Virginia 69-63. Now I can only hope that Kentucky gets there unbeaten to give the game just a little more added flavor.

Jerome Bettis was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night along with seven other worthy candidates.

-Congratulations to the eight men selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday. Junior Seau, Will Shields, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown and Charles Haley were the modern-era selections. All in my opinion are worthy and should come with no debate whatsoever. Also elected were Mick Tingelhoff who was elected by the Seniors’ Committee and team executives Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.

-This is one of the rare Hall of Fame classes that should come with no debate across the board.

-UFC 183 saw Anderson Silva return from a 399-day layoff to defeat Nick Diaz in a unanimous decision. The bout was an odd one with Diaz taunting Silva throughout and even faking a knockdown at one point. Last we saw Silva, he suffered that horrible broken leg against Chris Weidman. At 39 years old, Silva is considering retirement but has announced nothing at this time.

-Tiger Woods shot a career-worst 82 Friday and finished dead-last and missed the cut at the Phoenix Waste Management Open. Heading into the tournament, Woods was very excited about his newly crafted swing and added length off the tee. To his credit, Woods didn’t give the typical excuses we’ve become used to after his poor rounds. He instead went with humor and even resorted to Marshawn Lynch’s “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” comment.

-Speaking of golf, how can you not love the atmosphere around the 16th hole? Golf purists of course find it to be a disgrace to the game, but the arena style par three is fantastic for fans and makes great television. Are there people a bit out of control at the 16th? Of course, but then again this isn’t a major so let’s just take a deep breath and enjoy it.

-Aaron Rodgers won his second Most Valuable Player Award last night and J.J. Watt became the first-ever defender to unanimously win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. I can’t argue too much with the selection of Rodgers but if Watt can’t win the MVP with the year he had then I don’t see a defender ever winning the award again. Watt wasn’t just a great defender though, he was a great player who probably deserved better.

Why New England Will Win Super Bowl XLIX

The New England Patriots will play against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX today in Arizona.

This is the sixth Super Bowl for New England in the past 14 year, which is the most in league history over a span f 15 or fewer years.

New England’s 12 wins during the regular season was the fifth consecutive season of 12 or more wins. The Pats claimed the AFC East division for the eleventh time in 12 seasons.

The offense for New England was No. 4 in scoring at 29.3 points per game. New England played 7 of the league’s top 10 passing defenses with impressive numbers.

Seattle is ranked No. 1 in pass defense. However, of late the Seahawks have played quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick, Drew Stanton, Mark Sanchez, Shaun Hill and Ryan Lindley not your lineup of All-Pros at quarterback.

Brady had plenty of time in the pocket this season with the fourth fewest sacks at 26. Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson by contrast was sacked 42 times.

Seattle has a strong defensive secondary, but the group is banged up. Earl Thomas one of the safeties, dislocated a shoulder against Green Bay in the NFC Championship and will not be 100%.

This season the Pats won six of its seven games versus playoff teams, with the only loss in Week 13 at Green Bay 26-21.

The Green Bay loss was the only one New England suffered against NFC opponents.

In its six wins against playoff teams, the Patriots scored 34 points or more in each game, including 42 points or more against three AFC teams Denver, Cincinnati and Indianapolis (twice).

Seattle has not played well during this postseason. Carolina was able to out gain them and the game was much closer than the final score. In Seattle’s win against Green Bay, it was more about what Green Bay did wrong to give away the NFC Championship. The Packers controlled the game from start to finish, but failed miserably on several occasions to put the game out of reach of Seattle.

Seattle cannot afford to start slow or turn the ball over against the potent offense of New England. Seattle will likely not score 16 points from special teams and its defense as it did in last season’s Super Bowl rout of Denver.

New England is 20-4 ATS in games with point spreads between -3 and +3.

The last time the teams met head to head Seattle won 24-23, but New England held Marshawn Lynch to just 41 rushing yards. In five games against New England in his career, including while at Buffalo, Lynch is averaging just 53 yards per game.

The defense for Seattle has a hard time with tight ends. Can you say Rob Gronkowski?

Take New England 27-24.