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.

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

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.

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.

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.

 

McCarthy, Packers Have Only Themselves to Blame

McCarthy
McCarthy
Conservative doesn't even begin to describe McCarthy's play-calling yesterday.

I really don’t like the word “choke” as a rule but sometimes it just fits. Maybe it doesn’t apply to the Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers and maybe it does but what I know for sure is that they had no business losing the NFC Championship Game yesterday.

Hats off to Seattle. They stayed positive and persisted and took advantage of the opportunities provided them by the Packers and they are headed back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. But let’s be honest here shall we? The Green Bay Packers did all of the things that teams do to lose leads rather than preserve them and that’s why the state of Wisconsin wakes up in a haze today.

Twice in the first half the Packers had to settle for field goals. One of those field goals was shorter than an extra point. When you’re playing on the road against the defending champs, you go for it but Mike McCarthy saw it differently. If I know anything about football, it’s that when you settle for field goals you are ultimately settling for trouble.

At the beginning of the second half, the Packers shut the Seahawks down on their opening drive and then proceeded to run in it into the ground and punt it. When you have the defending champions on the ropes in their own building you go for the throat and the Packers didn’t.

Then, with about four minutes left and the Seahawks poised to use their timeouts, Green Bay again elected the conservative route. Run for a loss on first down – timeout. Run for a loss on second down – timeout. Run for little gain – timeout. Seattle’s defense had done their job. Less than thirty seconds had come off the clock and now the Seahawks were getting the ball back.

Lynch
Lynch just kept pounding and pounding and along with some luck, it paid off.

When you have the defending champions, or any team for that matter, on the verge of being beaten, you go for the throat. I know, if McCarthy elects to throw the ball and it’s incomplete then I’d be screaming as to why he didn’t try to kill time right? Wrong! You don’t win by trying not to lose and that’s what Green Bay did yesterday.

When you combine the field goals and conservative play-calling you get a loss that will take some time to get over in Green Bay. Dom Capers’ defensive gameplan was more than enough to have earned a victory but even that started to break down as Marshawn Lynch got cranked up in the second half. In all reality though, Capers’ defense forced four interceptions and still lost and that shouldn’t have happened.

In the bitter end, Mike McCarthy has only himself to blame and yes, I realize he didn’t make or not make the plays on the field. There is however a problem that McCarthy failed to solve and that would be discipline. Last week he had an offensive lineman pick up a crucial personal foul that took the team out of a sure chance for a touchdown.

Yesterday, immediately after a turnover that would have given the  Packers the ball inside the Seattle ten yard line, a defensive lineman was flagged for taunting. Again, a field goal and not a touchdown. The biggest breakdown in discipline though came on the on-sides kick.

Green Bay tight end Brandon Bostick admitted after the game that his job was not to go after the potential on-sides but rather, his job was to block the first wave of Seahawks. He failed to do his job and when the kick came to him, he went for the ball instead of doing his job and the rest is history.

Ultimately, players have to execute but Mike McCarthy didn’t do his team any favors.

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.

Prop Bets for the NFL Championship Games

Wilson
Wilson
Think Russell Wilson gets into the end zone on Sunday? It might be worth your money.

Thanks to our friends at Bovada, I’m providing you with a bevy of prop bets coming from both games this Sunday. My best advice on wagering these is to consider this; I believe you will significant scoring in both games. When I say “significant” I would look for the NFC Title game to be played in the mid to upper 20’s and the AFC Title Game to be played in the 30’s.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Who will record the most Passing Yards?

Andrew Luck (IND) QB 5/4

Tom Brady (NE) QB 2/1

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB 3/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 7/1

 

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Who will record the most Rushing Yards?

Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB 10/11

Eddie Lacy (GB) RB 11/10

Dan Herron (IND) RB 7/1

Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 10/1

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Who will record the most Receiving Yards?

Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE 3/1

Jordy Nelson (GB) WR 4/1

Randall Cobb (GB) WR 5/1

T.Y. Hilton (IND) WR 5/1

Julian Edelman (NE) WR 6/1

Brandon LaFell (NE) WR 9/1

Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR 10/1

Jermaine Kearse (SEA) WR 15/1

Dan Herron (IND) RB 15/1

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Which game will have the higher TV rating?

GB vs SEA EVEN

IND vs NE -140

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Which market will have the higher TV rating?

Green Bay 5/4

Seattle 9/5

Indianapolis 5/1

Boston 3/1

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Will either game go to Overtime?

Yes +750

No -1500

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – How many calls will be overturned both games combined?

Over 1½ (-120)

Under 1½ (-120)

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Will anyone from the Patriots besides Tom Brady attempt a pass during the game?

Yes +1000

No -2000

(GB @ SEA) – Total Passing Yards – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 260½ (-125)

Under 260½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Completions – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 22½ (-125)

Under 22½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Passing Attempts in the game – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 34½ (-125)

Under 34½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 1½ (-180)

Under 1½ (+150)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 2 (+110)

Under 2 (-140)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over 2½ (+140)

Under 2½ (-170)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

0 4/1

1 21/10

2 11/5

3 3/1

4 or more 7/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Over ½ (-155)

Under ½ (+125)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Aaron Rodgers (GB)

0 6/5

1 7/5

2 9/2

3 or more 9/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Passing Attempts in the game – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 27½ (-130)

Under 27½ (EVEN)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 1½ (-140)

Under 1½ (+110)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 2 (+140)

Under 2 (-170)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 2½ (+240)

Under 2½ (-300)

(GB @ SEA) – Total TD Passes – Russell Wilson (SEA)

0 3/1

1 7/4

2 11/5

3 5/1

4 or more 9/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over ½ (-130)

Under ½ (EVEN)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Interceptions – Russell Wilson (SEA)

0 1/1

1 7/5

2 5/1

3 or more 15/1

(GB @ SEA) – Total Rushing Yards – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 39½ (-125)

Under 39½ (-105)

(GB @ SEA) – Total Rushing Attempts in the game – Russell Wilson (SEA)

Over 7½ (-115)

Under 7½ (-115)

(GB @ SEA) – Will Russell Wilson (SEA) score a Rushing TD in the game?

Yes +250

No -325

Luck
Like Andrew Luck for two or more TD passes? Then lay some money down!

(IND @ NE) – Total Passing Yards – Andrew Luck (IND)

Over 295½ (-125)

Under 295½ (-105)

(IND @ NE) – Total Completions – Andrew Luck (IND)

Over 25½ (-130)

Under 25½ (EVEN)

(IND @ NE) – Total TD Passes – Andrew Luck (IND)

Over 2 (-140)

Under 2 (+110)

(IND @ NE) – Total Passing Yards – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 285½ (-115)

Under 285½ (-115)

(IND @ NE) – Total Completions – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 24 (-115)

Under 24 (-115)

(IND @ NE) – Total Passing Attempts in the game – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 36½ (-115)

Under 36½ (-115)

(IND @ NE) – Total TD Passes – Tom Brady (NE)

Over 2 (-150)

Under 2 (+120)

 

 

 

Sunday Bullets On a Variety of Topics

Gronkowski
Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski's big day helped the Pats rally to beat the Ravens.

Once again my ADD has set in and I can’t focus on just one or two or even three specific items for the blog this Sunday morning so once again I firing some bullets your way in an effort to cover numerous thoughts in my mind.

-Tom Brady and the Patriots were staring yet another loss at home in the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens. Down 14-0 and then 28-14, the Patriots rallied and finally took their first and only lead of the game with five minutes to go to win 35-31. Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco who had been so unflappable in the playoffs threw two crucial interceptions to allow the Pats’ comeback.  New England will play the winner of today’s game between Indianapolis and Denver in the AFC Championship game next Sunday.

-Is it just me or are more NBA stars missing games at a higher rate than ever before? We know how the San Antonio Spurs operate and who can argue? Resting their aging stars has paid dividends but now we see even more teams doing the same thing. While LeBron James is on his two-week rest due to his knee and back, there are rumors that he was convinced to take the time off to rest period. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t remember so many stars missing so many games in the 1980s’.

Wilson
Rusell Wilson accounted for three TDs as the Seahawks beat the Panthers.

-In Seattle, the Seahawks relied on three Carolina turnovers and a couple of big plays en route to a 31-17 win. While I thought Seattle would cover, I didn’t expect to the Panthers out-gain the Seahawks and hold the ball considerably longer. Regardless, the Seahawks are into the NFC Title Game and will await either the Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers next week.

-Ravens’ Coach John Harbaugh was steamed after the game because of a formation the Patriots used three times. In it, the Pats only had four offensive linemen and six eligible receivers. One of those players reported as “ineligible” and was not involved in the play other than to block. Harbaugh claims this is illegal and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for running onto the field to argue it. He claimed his players didn’t have time to determine who was eligible and who wasn’t. I’ll be checking the rule book today.

-The Major League Baseball hot stove was burning hot this fall but has since cooled dramatically. Oddly enough the most sought-after free agent is still unsigned. Right-hander Max Scherzer is still a man without a team. It was thought he would never be able to return to Detroit simply because the money he wanted would be too much. Maybe not… The latest rumors I’m hearing are that Scherzer has narrowed his choices between the Tigers and his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. Stay tuned.

-The NFL Regular Season officially ended December 28th but a few players have wasted little time in getting in trouble with the law. Saints’ LB Junior Galette was arrested for domestic violence while Vikings’ DB Jabari Price was arrested for a DWI. Then yesterday, the Jets’ Chris Johnson was arrested for having a registered firearm out in the open when he was stopped for a traffic violation. There will sadly be more of these as the offseason comes.

-There has been substantial talk this season about John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats going unbeaten for the entire 2014-2015 season but in the last week the Wildcats are finding out just how tough it will be. Yesterday they defeated Texas A&M in two overtimes while earlier in the week they survived Ole Miss winning by three points. Calipari says his team isn’t very good right now and perhaps he’s right.

 

 

Saturday’s NFL Divisional Round Games for Your Betting Pleasure

Brady
Brady
Tom Brady has seen his Super Bowl chances crash before because of the Ravens.

Both of Saturday’s National Football League Divisional Playoff games have stayed pretty stagnant in terms of their lines and I don’t think you’ll see too much in the way of changes. The only exception might be the night time tilt where the Carolina Panthers will be without a key defensive player.

Baltimore (+7) at New England (O/U 48) – Tom Brady has lost just three times at home in the NFL Playoffs but two of those losses were to the Baltimore Ravens who come to town yet again. The Patriots are typically very good coming off of a well-deserved bye, but questions will certainly arise about whether they are all in sync with the time off.

The Ravens come to Gillette Stadium with nothing to hide. They know they have a pedestrian secondary and will rely heavily on the pass rush to slow down the Patriots. Offensively Joe Flacco will need to be his unflappable-self in order for the Ravens to win and advance. Ultimately however, the Patriots’ offensive line will do a better job than did Pittsburgh’s and Tom Brady will expose that secondary.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of Baltimore’s last eight games on the road in New England… The Patriots are 16-1 straight up in their last 17 games at home… The Ravens are 3-4-1 against the spread in their last eight games on the road in New England… The Pats are 2-3-1 ATS in their last six home games against the Ravens.

The Pick: There is no reason this game shouldn’t be another close one. It’s just what these two teams have done in the playoffs and I don’t see this being any different. I like New England to cover but it’s going to be with a late score and take the OVER.

Lynch
With Star Lotulelei out, will Marshawn Lynch have an easier time running?

Carolina (+11) at Seattle (O/U 40) – This is more than likely going to be the least interesting game of the weekend yet somehow it has garnered the Saturday night primetime spot. That probably isn’t fair because if the Carolina defense can limit the Seahawks’ offense then there’s a chance this could be a close game.

My gut tells me otherwise though. Cam Newton is less than 100% and running back Jonathan Stewart can only do so much. I have to believe the Seahawks will be primed for this game as a return to the playoffs has been their top goal since day one.

As I mentioned in the opening, the Panthers will head to Seattle bigger underdogs then they had planned as stud defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is out with a broken foot. The Carolina defense was already facing an uphill challenge in stopping the running of Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson. Whether or not Lotulelei’s absence will force the line to move I can’t say, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it bump another point.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in six of Carolina’s last seven road games… Seattle is 6-1 straight up in their last seven game at home… The Panthers are 2-4-1 straight up in their last seven games on the road… The total has gone UNDER in nine of the Seahawks’ last 13 games at home.

The Pick: While anything is possible the playoffs, I just don’t see the Panthers hanging around with the defending champs. Take Seattle to over and the UNDER.

 

An Early Look at the NFL Divisional Playoff Lines and Latest Super Bowl Odds

Suggs
Suggs
If Suggs has the same impact in New England that he had in Pittsburgh then another Ravens' win is possible.

Things are liable to change slightly as injury reports come out later this week, but right now I’m focusing on the lines for the Divisional Playoffs as they stand today. Below, you’ll find the latest Super Bowl odds as well.

Baltimore (+7) at New England – Tom Brady has lost just three times at home in the NFL Playoffs but two of those losses were to the Baltimore Ravens who come to town yet again. The Patriots are typically very good coming off of a well-deserved bye, but questions will certainly arise about whether they are all in sync with the time off.

The Ravens come to Gillette Stadium with nothing to hide. They know they have a pedestrian secondary and will rely heavily on the pass rush to slow down the Patriots. Offensively Joe Flacco will need to be his unflappable-self in order for the Ravens to win and advance. Ultimately however, the Patriots’ offensive line will do a better job than did Pittsburgh’s and Tom Brady will expose that secondary. I like the Pats to cover as of right now.

Newton
Cam Newton will need a Superman-type performance if his Panthers are to pull the upset in Seattle.

Carolina (+11) at Seattle – This is more than likely going to be the least interesting game of the weekend yet somehow it has garnered the Saturday night primetime spot. That probably isn’t fair because if the Carolina defense can limit the Seahawks’ offense then there’s a chance this could be a close game.

My gut tells me otherwise though. Cam Newton is less than 100% and running back Jonathan Stewart can only do so much. I have to believe the Seahawks will be primed for this game as a return to the playoffs has been their top goal since day one. Right now, I like Seattle to cover.

Dallas (+6) at Green Bay – If the forecast holds, it’s going to be extremely chilly in Green Bay and that will favor the hometown Packers unless the Cowboys resist the temptation to throw it too much and stick the ground game. DeMarco Murray can in fact lead the Cowboys to victory if that offensive line gets rolling.

The Packers will hope that Aaron Rodgers’ bad calf has had enough time to heal. Either way, I expect them to stay as balanced as they can be behind Eddie Lacy. of all the games this weekend I think turnovers will dictate more about the outcome than the others.

I like Dallas getting the points but Green Bay wins a tight one.

Indianapolis (+7) at Denver – Don’t be a bit surprised if the Colts come into Denver and pull off the upset. Yes the running game is pathetic and the defense is susceptible to getting beat either on the ground or through the air but if any game has the feel of an upset it’s this one. The Broncos have relied heavily on C.J Anderson in the second half of the season and I’m guessing the Colts will look to take him away first.

That will more than likely give us a passing duel between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. While I believe Luck will turn the ball over once or twice, I’m also not convinced that Manning isn’t 100% especially with regards to his arm strength. If you’re looking for a game to go with the underdog then I love the Colts in this one.

Latest Super Bowl Odds

Seattle 2/1

New England 10/3

Green Bay 11/2

Denver 6/1

Dallas 7/1

Indianapolis 16/1

Baltimore 18/1

Carolina 28/1