Old versus new in the Super Bowl

The matchup is set with the Denver Broncos facing off against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 Super Bowl which will be the first to be played outside in a northern city. It will likely be a very evenly matched game between two very different football teams led by very different quarterbacks. With such a matchup we can all expect the Super Bowl online betting to be quite brisk. As soon as the two teams were in place there was already a flurry of activity as most sportsbooks had Seattle listed as a slight favorite, but that changed quickly as money poored in on the Broncos. Now were see Denver as a one point or 1.5 point favorite on many sportsbooks, and we can probably expect more volatility.

One factor that will probably move the line with be the weather. With Peyton Manning leading Denver’s traditional yet explosive air attack, we can expct more money to flow to the Broncos if we see mild conditions for the game, or at least little wind and snow. But if the weather is bad, than the conventional wisdom has that favoring the Seahawks who rely more on the running game as opposed to Russell Wislon. Also, while Wislon is not particularly effective in the pocket, he is great at improvising and bad weather might actually help his game.

The matchup between the quarterbacks will be the most intriguing and that goes far beyond the weather. Peyton Manning represents the kind of quarterback that has been winning championships in the NFL throughout its history. Manning beats you by throwing from the pocket. His mobility isn’t that great though he’s good at navigating around a pass rush and throwing under pressure. Russell Wilson on the other hand is one of the new mobile quarterbacks who sometimes relies on the read option to be effective. The Seahawks have been limiting the number of times he runs, as it’s obviously a huge risk that he’ll get injured, but he’s also been less effective lately. Without the running threat teams are daring Wilson to throw the ball. But he’s certainly capable of making big plays, and if he hits on some then Seattle will be in a good position.

It should be a great game!

  

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Russell Wison rebounds in second start


Image source: Seahawks Facebook page

Going into the season, the hype machine fueled by ESPN and other major sports outlets was in overdrive over Russell Wilson. In a way you had to feel sorry for the guy, as the odds are stacked against him in many ways as a 5′ 11″ mobile quarterback trying to make it in the NFL and start as a rookie. With the start of the NFL season, everyone was super-anxious for more sports betting, but all of that excitement led the hypesters and even the betters to make irrational statements and decisions.

For example, Bill Simmons named Russell Wilson was the quarterback who would have the biggest impact this NFL season as he would lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Yes, this was absurd, but many NFL “experts” said similar things, even though Wilson had only played in the preseason. Again, anyone making grand proclamations based upon the NFL preseason is either stupid or is just getting caught up in silly hysteria. Things were even more crazy when you consider that the Seahawks went from being a road dog by three points in their opener at Arizona to a three-point favorite on the road after Wilson, a rookie, was named the starter.

Of course reality set in in game one, as Wilson struggled and fools like Simmons who put the Seahawks in all their parlay bets got killed in week one.

Fortunately for Wilson and the Seahawks, he played much better in game two, a home win against the Cowboys. Hopefully, all of the analysts have sobered up a bit and we can evaluate Wilson over time as he plays in real games. He faces Clay Matthews and the Green Bay pass rush on Monday night with Seattle as a three-point underdog at home, so we’ll see how he does with another test.

  

Free picks for week one NFL action

The NFL is finally back after college football kicked off last week and the Cowboys surprised a lot of people on Wednesday night, so it’s time to get geared up for Sunday’s full lineup of games.

We have a new NFL lines page where you can find lines from a variety of sportsbooks. We’ll also be getting free picks through the year from our friend Vegas Vic, and you can subscribe to Doc’s Sports Service for weekly picks.

The theme for week one is hype. If you’re going to have any success, you need to dig way deeper than the hype you hear over and over again from ESPN and most national pundits. If you only listen to them, you’re probably convinced that Russell Wilson is the second coming of Steve Young and that the Browns can’t win a game. Wilson may end up being good, but none of us have any idea based on a couple of preseason performances. Those stats matter very little, and frankly they don’t make him any taller or more accurate. Meanwhile, everyone is down on the Browns. The team is very young, so naturally they might struggle. But what if Trent Richardson really is healthy? What if Brandon Weeden’s arm looks as good as it did in the preseason? Despite all the hype, I still think Weeden will be a much better pro quarterback than Wilson.

The key to picking games is understanding uncertainty. Just about every pundit assumed Dallas couldn’t beat the Giants. Adam Schein said the Cowboys had “no chance” to win that game. That’s an absurd statement in today’s era of unpredictability in the NFL. You have to dig much deeper.

Cleveland is a 9.5 point underdog at home against Philadelphia. If you base your bets on ESPN power rankings, you’ll probably jump on Philly. But we really have no idea how good the Browns might be with those new players, so I would avoid that game.

Because week one is so hard to predict, I like teaser bets that go counter to the hype. So you can tease down the 7 points New Orleans in giving at home to Washington down to 1 point – essentially making this a pickem game. I Like RGIII, but he’s going on the road to face Drew Brees in his first game, and the Saints have a chip on their shoulder.

I would pair this up with Arizona getting 3 points at home against Seattle. The spread here has shifted from Arizona giving 3 points to getting 3 points, all due to the Russell Wilson hype and the drama surrounding the Arizona quarterback situation. You can tease this up so that Arizona is getting 9 points at home against a rookie quarterback drafted in the third round!

There are never any guarantees of course, and all of this is just for fun. I recommend getting input from professional handicappers as they have so much more information on these games. But the preseason hype offers up some opportunities, and you can usually do better going against the herd.

  

NFL season kicks off tonight

The 2012 football season is finally here. College football kicked off last weekend, with Alabama humiliating Michigan in one of the most high-profile games of week one. Now the NFL gets into the act tonight with the Dallas Cowboys traveling to New York to face the Super Bowl Champion Giants.

Our NFL lines page is now more robust, as it’s powered by SBRodds and features lines from a number of sportsbooks.

We’ll be posting free picks throughout the year from some top handicappers. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you probably won’t do very well just following the herd. For example, last year everyone was convinced that the Cincinnati Bengals would have trouble winning one game with their rookie quarterback. They made the playoffs. This year you’re hearing some of the same stuff about the Cleveland Browns. But if Trent Richardson turns out to be healthy and Brandon Weeden pans out, this team could surprise some people. Meanwhile, the Bengals have lost two starters on the offensive line and Andy Dalton might be facing a sophomore slump. The NFL can be very unpredictable, so be careful about listening to the loudest voices.

Another hyped player this year is Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s looked good in preseason, but let’s wait to see him play one in one real game before electing him to the Hall of Fame and handing the division to the Seahawks.

You don’t have to bet of course to enjoy picking against the spread, as the are plenty of free football pools out there. Still, there are few things like spending a fall weekend in Las Vegas where you can spend the entire day at the sportsbook. Enjoy!

  

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