NFL 2016-7 Super Bowl Dark Horses

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are 7-4, and just defeated the Arizona Cardinals 38-19 at home. The Falcons are ranked 4th in total offense, and 3rd in passing offense. QB Matt Ryan has looked much more comfortable with an improved offensive line and a steady, reliable run game in Devonte Freeman. The pass defense is ranked 30th but the run defense is ranked 9th, and they are +3 in turnover differential. The Falcons have always been a dominant team in the Georgia Dome, and if they continue to play at a high level they could secure a home playoff game. With the balance they have on offense and the improving defense, we could see this team making a run in the playoffs.
New York Giants: The Giants are 8-3 and are on a 6 game win streak. The Cowboys are the obvious pick to win the NFC East, but the Giants could still sneak in the wild card and make some noise. Eli Manning is an elite QB, and they have one of the best WR trios in football with Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard. The Giants last two super bowl wins, they barely snuck into the playoffs then caught fire. This team has the potential to do that again, with Manning they are never out of a game. The defense has drastically improved from last year as well, ranking 16th in total defense and 5th against the run. The NFC East is always crazy, and we could definitely see the Giants spoiling the Cowboys super bowl run and make a deep run of their own.
Denver Broncos: This is an unconventional pick from the AFC West, most would pick the Kansas City Chiefs. We like the Broncos because of their suffocating defense, they won a Super Bowl with great defense last year and they could make a run again. QB Trevor Siemian has played well, throwing for 2,396 yards 15 TDs and only 7 INTs. The Broncos have proven they can win b y not beating themselves and letting the defense keep the scores close. They still have an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with games at the Chiefs and a home finale with the Raiders. If they sneak in, they will be a tough out with that stout defense and can cause problems to the explosive offenses in the AFC.

[Analysis by NFL expert Preston Rowe]

Biggest Betting Mismatches in the League

One of the more interesting activities to participate in as Thanksgiving approaches is to look at the underlying mismatches in the NFL, or at least some of them (Click Here for the latest Super Bowl picks).

Anyone looking to set their daily fantasy lineup will find this especially interesting:

+Vikings at Detroit Lions

No one thought Minnesota would do so well against the Arizona Cardinals; going into their Week 11 encounter, the Vikings’ defense made it easy to write them off. However, the Vikings refused to be intimidated.

Their sensational performance saw them garner a 30-24 victory over the cards with two field-long touchdowns. The Vikings are very stingy when it comes to rushing scores, and it will be interesting to watch as the Lions find that out.

The one thing you will notice about the Vikings’ first ten games this season is the way they restricted their opponents to five rushing touchdowns. They have simply refused to surrender rushing TDs this season, and you can see that in the way they limited their opponents in this area in the last here games.

The Lions have a pass-heavy red-zone strategy that has given them a mere four rushing touchdowns in 2016. Even Lions fans cannot deny the fact that they are especially inept when it comes to rushing in the red zone.

The Vikings, on the other hand, are determined to shut rushing scores down. The Lions’ offense will be fighting an uphill battle.

+Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are riding high on a nine-game winning streak. This means their thanksgiving bout with the Redskins will have added significance because Washington is fighting for second place in the NFC East.

Neither team can afford to not take the other’s offense seriously, not with the talent hiding within each side’s squad. The Cowboys will boast quite the difficult challenge for the Redskins whose defense is definitely lacking.

The Redskins do not do well when it comes to road games; Dallas will be one of their more difficult tests this season, especially seeing as the Cowboys are ranked second in rushing yards per game (overall) and home rushing yards per contest.

The chances of the Redskins overcoming this contest, set in hostile territory, are low, especially if the Redskins fail to contain Ezekiel Elliot.

+Steelers at Indianapolis Colts

Pittsburgh is struggling to change the narrative that they are truly terrible on the road. They only seem to come alive during home games, and convincing pundits that they could turn things around against the Colts will take a lot of effort.

After all, Ben Roethlisberger has only thrown 19 touchdown passes in the last 19 road games; this is as opposed to the 55 thrown in the previous 19 home games. Of course, the Steelers do not necessarily have much to fear.

After all, they have shown that they are very tough when it comes to home teams facing third-down situations. The Steelers are tied with the Miami Dolphins with their tiny 33.3 percent conversion rate, with only Oakland standing ahead of them.

Amazing NFL Betting Statistic

 

No NFL Superbowl Champion(currently Denver)  has covered the pointspread for the first 5 games of the following year :).  Denver is 4-0 Against the Spread this year!

 

Top 5 NFL MVP Contenders in 2016-7

There is no greater on-field honor for a player in the NFL than to receive the Most Valuable Player Award. The fact that only a single defensive player has ever won the MVP award explains why Super Bowl odds are so absurdly in favor of offensive players to win this year, with the top five candidates most likely to take the award in 2016 including the following:

1). Cam Newton

Many a player knows how to stay in the pocket and make all the right throws. Newton does all that, and he can also escape the pocket and run. With Kevin Benjamin returning to complement Devin Funchess’ abilities, Newton’s chances of winning the MVP award this time round are relatively decent. Though very few players have been crowned MVP two years in a row, Newton has a legitimate shot at taking the award home this year.

2). Aaron Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers underperformed in 2015, and Aaron Rodgers wasn’t exactly at his best. However, his failures in 2015 haven’t made him any less of a phenomenal quarterback. Clearly, he is determined to reclaim his throne.

With Jordy Nelson (who just recovered from an ACL injury) returning this season, and Randall Cobb having already proven his mettle in previous seasons, Rodgers has all the tools at his disposal to take the crown in 2016.

Some people are also quite excited about Eddie Lacy’s performance this season. Following a successful campaign in 2014, Lacy put on a few pounds, pounds that he has since worked to lose, making him one of Rodger’s more reliable allies this time round.

3). JJ Watt

The general consensus is that Watt is the best defensive player the NFL has today. If there is one defensive player that could possibly take the MVP award in 2016, it is Watt. Coming in second in votes a few seasons ago, Watt has cemented his position in his particular field by winning the ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ award three times in a row.

Watt’s power and finesse have enabled him to overcome many double teams, and you do not find too many defensive players with a combination of power and finesse in the NFL.

4). Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is a legitimately impressive player. The fact that Receivers do not generally receive awards says a lot about Antonio Brown, that he is such a serious contender for the MVP award.

With 1,834 yards on 136 catches and ten touchdowns, Brown could have accomplished so much more if he had played the entire season. Arguably the best Wide Receiver in the NFL, the Steelers are going to depend on him to bring them glory.

If all goes well, Brown could actually break Calvin Johnson’s receiving yards record.

5). Russell Wilson

Wilson’s ability to win games is undisputed. He proved it this last season. For a long time, people saw Wilson as a great running quarterback that was most comfortable while throwing outside the pocket.

This image was shattered when Marshawn Lynch was injured. Wilson started throwing the ball more, this allowing him to show what he could really do. Wilson has a decent chance of taking the MVP award.

 

Two NFL Betting Trends That You Can Take to the Bank!

 

Since 1991, NFL teams that win back-to-back games straight up as an underdog are just 40-68-2 Against The Spread in their next game if they are on the road and not getting more than 7 points.  In fact they are  19-48-1 ATS if visiting a non-divisional opponent.  What is the psychology driving this trend? Simply put: such teams are less motivated while their opponent is on high alert!

Home underdogs are 173-128-9 ATS if they won straight up as an underdog the previous week.   They feel confident!

Computer Forecast: Green Bay Packers To Win Superbowl 50.

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Who will win Superbowl 50? Our computer Beardog is picking the Green Bay Packers over close rivals New England, Seattle and Dallas.   Sportsbooks have set the betting odds  at 6.5-1.

It will be inspiring and poetic for the Packers to win the prize after being derailed in last year’s NFL Championship game. Once again, the NFL’s smallest market cap team, will prove to be the best. Some teams would never recover from the trauma of blowing a 19-7 lead with 4 minutes to go as the Packers did in Seattle. The Hawks comeback from down 16-0 at one point was the largest ever in a conference title game. Such a breakdown is not consistent with the heart Green Bay has shown over the years and we are sure they will bounce back strong and determined.

Let’s state the obvious: in a quarterback driven league, Aaron Rodgers is the most effective and most consistently lethal at his position. The Packers ensured he did not lose his vital receivers and strong offensive line in the off season. We don’t think the loss of Jordy Nelson to injury will be a large negative. Furthermore, running back Eddie Lacy is one of the very best in the game. Astute readers will know that we like to see the quarterback to also have a strong running option. The Green Bay defense may only be a little above average but by coupling Clay Matthews with Julius Peppers they have their share of play makers.

The key to this year’s success is to simply play as well as they did last year but to gain the home-field advantage for the Championship game. Played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau field, the Seattle crowd will obviously not be a factor in the game. As the strongest team in the NFC North, they are in position to have the best win-loss record.

Reaching the Superbowl in Santa Clara, California will be very exciting, especially if Rodgers plays New England (winner of Superbowl 49) with Tom Brady since both quarterbacks grew up in Northern California and are considered the best in the game. Green Bay won the first two Superbowls at a time before it became a national holiday. It will only be fitting for them to win the 50th Superbowl as well!

Chicago Bears Bad News Again In 2015-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many games will the Chicago Bears win this year? Sportsbooks have set the betting line at 7.0.

 

 But our artificial intelligence computer Beardog has the Bears ranked 29th of 32 teams with only Washington,  Oakland and Tennessee ranked lower. With Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota ranked 4th, 11th and 19th ,respectively, Chicago is simply outmatched in their division. The bottom line is that the Bears are very weak on defense, careless and aging on offense and  face a  tough schedule in 2015-6. Newly acquired coach John Fox is in for a long season.

 

Despite a lot of offensive talent on the roster, 2014 was a disaster for the Bears.  They only won 5 games and averaged less than 20 points per game. This led to the firing of coach Marc Trestman and the trading away   of wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets. In 2015 Alshon Jeffery will assume the top wide receiver spot and be paired with  rookie WR Kevin White out of West Virginia. We also see newly acquired Eddie Royal and TE Martellus Bennett being targeted. This is only an average group of receivers. Last season, QB Jay Cutler had the highest completion percentage and most touchdowns thrown in a season in his career. But sadly, Mr. Cutler simply did not deliver at critical moments. He was responsible for 21 turnovers!

 

If Cutler, does not improve, look for him to be yanked early in the season and the tumultous process of finding a suitable replacement beginning. Although he rushed for more than 1000 yards last season, Matt Forte  carried the ball less than in recent previous years. In 2015, we see Forte possibly having a big year with increased workload as the play calling will be more run-oriented with  coach  Fox. But it is equally possible his durability will start slipping at this point in his career. The Bears offense is also crippled by a poor offensive line.

 

On top of these troubles the once feared defense gave up 27.6  points per game. The defense has not been significantly upgraded in the offseason.  As evidence, in the third preseason game against Cincinatti the defense was completely flat and listless in a 21-10 loss in which the Bengals completed their first 13 passes.

 

And, unfortunately, The Bears schedule is brutal with their opponents having a combined .531 winning percentage, 5 of their first 8  are against playoff teams from 2014! Specifically, they play Green Bay, Arizona, at Seattle, Oakland, at Kansas City, at Detroit, bye, Minnesota, at San Diego, at St. Louis, Denver, at Green Bay, San Francisco, Washington, at Minnesota, at Tampa Bay, and finish with Detroit at home. With Jay Cutler, a weak defense  and a challenging schedule it is very hard to envision where 7 or more wins will come from.

Don’t Overlook These NFL MVP Candidates for 2015-6


It is fun and potentially lucrative to bet on the NFL MVP award winner.

It seems like all we hear about these days is Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Bla-bla-bla….But we give you four other  NFL offensive players who are rated as longshots but have a decent chance to win the award:

 

 Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings at 8-1:

A lot of people are overlooking Adrian Peterson due to his off field issues. They are forgetting that he is one of the most talented running backs of all time!

The Vikings lost four of  nine games last season by a combined eight points! With Peterson now back in the fold and additions on both sides of the ball, Minnesota can do some serious damage. At age  30  he has nearly 2,300 total touches under his belt. However, he’s had an entire season to rest! He’s  averaged nearly 1,700 total yards and 13 touchdowns in his first seven NFL seasons.  If he performs similarly he could  easily walk off with the MVP trophy!

 

 Tony Romo, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys at 15-1:

Tony Romo can be a very effective and dangerous quarterback. Last season with the assistance of Demarco Murray , Dez Bryant and a strong offensive line he led the Dallas Cowboys to a 12-4 record. He led the league with a 69.9 completion percentage and a 113.2 quarterback rating. He threw for over 3,700 yards with 34 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

If Dallas and Romo have another great season, he will have arrived into the elite category and will surely be a hot MVP candidate.

 

Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers at 15-1:

By now everybody recognizes the extraordinary productivity of Antonio Brown. If anybody is a potential dark horse candidate for the MVP award it is surely him. Last year’s season was simply phenomenal.His 129 receptions were second-most in league history. The 1,698 receiving yards Brown put up were sixth in league history. What if he improves on these numbers? How could voters ignore him as they did last year?

 

 Philip Rivers, Quarterback, San Diego Chargers at 20-1:

OMG! Phillip Rivers seems to get better with age!

He put up nearly 4,300 yards with 31 touchdowns last year. Unfortunately the Chargers lacked a running game. They ranked 31st in the NFL in yards per rush at 3.3 and 30th at 80.4 yards per game. Hopefully, now that the Chargers added Melvin Gordon in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft, Rivers should have more support on the ground. Throughout history the elite quarterbacks have typically had such a solid running option to go to. San Diego is loaded in the passing game and has one of the most underrated offensive lines in the NFL.  If San Diego wins the AFC West over Peyton Manning’s Broncos don’t be surprised if Rivers is getting lots of MVP love!

 

Why Smart Bettors are Flocking to the Buffalo Bills for 2015-6

 

 

How many games will the Buffalo Bills win this year? Sportsbooks have set the betting line at 8.5.  Surprisingly, our Artificial Intelligence computer Beardog has the Bills ranked 5th behind New England, Seattle, Dallas and Green Bay due to its strong defense.

 

Buffalo has a new coach in Rex Ryan whose unusual formations, blitzes and overall defensive expertise should further strengthen the defense. We project the defensive line to have about 62 sacks this season. Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes are as deadly a unit as any in the NFL. They forced 6 fumbles last year.Last year Buffalo was fourth in yards and points given up. There is absolutely no reason that prowess shouldn’t continue this season.

 

If Tom Brady’s suspension is upheld the Bills and their awesome defense will face a green Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 2. Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the most difficult stadiums for opposing teams to play in due to the rowdy fans and bitter weather.Most of the Bills strong opponents in the next season will be played at home.

 

Hopefully Rex Ryan is smart enough to not play E.J. Manuel. With Manuel on the bench, Tyrod Taylor or Kyle Orton will be in, thus their quarterback problems should dissipate especially if Taylor plays the first game. But in any event Sammy Watkins is a highly talented receiver who we project to have 70 catches and 1000 yards in 2015.

 

Finally, the running back by committee should keep the backfield healthy for what looks like a productive season. LeSean McCoy, recently acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles, is expected to have  recovered  from a hamstring pull and will be supported by capable veteran Fred Jackson. In addition, the Bills also have Boobie Dixon as well as Karlos Williams the impressive rookie from Florida State. Look for Ryan to pound the ball on the ground, attack with his defense and roll easily to 9 victories or more!

 

How Vegas Views The LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso Trade

When ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday night that the Eagles have agreed to trade All-Pro RB LeSean McCoy to the Bills for LB Kiko Alonso, it came as a major shock to many NFL observers: “How could the Eagles, on the brink of Super Bowl contention, let their best player go?”

But Las Vegas sports books barely blinked. Neither the Westgate LV SuperBook nor MGM Resorts, in fact, made any adjustments to their Super Bowl odds. Station Casinos shortened the Bills from 30-to-1 to 25-to-1 and kept the Eagles at 22-to-1. The only move made at The Wynn was a lengthening of the Eagles’ futures price.

“No movement on Bills – they are already low at 50-1 due to bets,” said Wynn sports book director John Avello. “We can’t go much lower until they show they are a contender. We took Philly from 15-to-1 up to 20-to-1. Who will run the ball for them?”

Right now, those running the ball for Philly are Darren Sproles, Chris Polk and former Oregon Duck Kenjon Barner.

Apparently, McCoy and Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s relationship had soured recently, and as we saw last season with All-Pro WR DeSean Jackson, you either get with Kelly’s program or get out. In this case, Kelly was able to grab another one of his Oregon guys in Alonso — he now has nine former Ducks players on his Eagles roster.

Kelly’s offensive system has proven to be effective with interchangeable parts, and by trading McCoy and earlier releasing DE Trent Cole and CB Cary Williams, Philly is projected to be $48 million under the 2015 salary cap. As great as McCoy has been, the Eagles should be able to find a suitable system back either in the draft or through free-agency.

Among the interesting free-agent RBs available is C.J. Spiller, who now knows he won’t be back with Buffalo. The prized free-agent back is DeMarco Murray, and Kelly could kill two birds with one stone by signing him – fill the void left by McCoy and make the Cowboys weaker within the NFC East.

For the Bills, new coach Rex Ryan has inherited a defense on the brink greatness, and a back like McCoy boosts his chances to compete with the Patriots in the AFC East. The Bills have reportedly also made a trade with the Vikings to acquire QB Matt Cassel.

Bills fans should be excited about 2015, and Eagles fans should trust that Kelly has a plan. After taking over a 4-12 squad, Kelly has gone 10-6 in each of his first two seasons. McCoy’s replacement may not have 2,146 yards from scrimmage like McCoy did in 2013, but the system will produce numbers regardless of who in running the ball.

The best bet is that this trade is a win for both teams.