Tag Archives: Rob Gronkowski

Beating Vegas: Super Bowl Prop Bets

The Super Bowl is not only the biggest sports event of the calendar year.  It is also the biggest gambling day of the year.  The folks at Vegas are taking tickets for just about any kind of action they can this Sunday, and for good reason.  This is the day that the hardcore gamblers look at as “their last chance to win big this year” and for the people who don’t normally place a wager on action – they feel they “must” for the Super Bowl.  Besides the general lines and prop bets, the Super Bowl goes nutty with prop bets as Vegas tries to suck your wallet dry – at least one last time.  Lucky for you, your pocket has looked pretty good this football year, if you’ve been following the Beating Vegas articles and podcast.  Let’s continue that trend with the final, Beating Vegas article of this football season, by looking into these ridiculous prop bets.

Will a roughing the passer penalty be called in the game?

Yes EVEN (1/1)
No -130 (10/13)

This is an easy one.  Patriots coach Bill Belichick knows that this game is just too big for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, or at least he hopes.  Foles will not be given the privilege of seeing line backers drop into a zone coverage in the early going, as Belichick will be looking to get him shook up early – and often.  This increases the chances of a roughing the passer penalty getting called on the Patriots, who aren’t the best pass-rushing defense out there and might get over-zealous.  On the flip side of things, the Eagles are a good pass rushing team, and Tom Brady is arguably the most hated offensive player of all time if you ask any defensive player for the last 15 years.  Due to this fact, referees are quicker to throw a “roughing the passer” penalty in favor of Brady to keep defenses in check.

The Pick: “Yes” at Even money

Total rushing yards – Jay Ajayi (PHI)

Over/Under 62½

Remember how Jay Ajayi was traded from the Dolphins to the Eagles mid-season?  Yeah, that’s because he’s not that good.   Ajayi had a fluke of a season last year and has had attitude problems and problems adjusting to defenses for most of this season.  He’s gone over the 62.5 rushing yard mark seven times this season.  He’s also going to be splitting carries with LeGarrette Blount how is averaging 4.4 yards a carry to Ajayi’s 4.1 and although lately Ajayi has been getting more carries than Blount, expect the former Patriot to get some action against his former team being he’s the veteran with playoff and veteran experience. The Patriots rush defense is pretty good, and will be focused on having more men in the box anyway against Nick Foles.

The Pick: Under 62.5 Rushing Yards

Will there be a score in the final two minutes of the first half?

Yes -300 (1/3)
No +240 (12/5)

Doug Pederson hurried and got the Eagles into field goal range before the first half ended, already up 21-7 against the Vikings, to hit a field goal with no time left – giving them a 24-7 lead at the half.  This showed Pederson’s willingness to “kick” an opponent when he’s down and it also showed that Pederson believe’s that “anything can happen” and if you can score points, you score the points.  Belichick has more trust in Tom Brady to get points before the half than probably any coach ever.  Belichick is also (for lack of better words) a “dick” to some degree and will look to put it in the endzone (or uprights) whenever he can and as many times as he can.

The Pick: Yes -300

 Will “nipplegate” be said during broadcast?

Yes +500 (5/1)
No -900 (1/9)
**Note: From kickoff until final whistle, halftime does not count.

Absolutely not, unless people want to get fired on-air during the biggest televised sporting event of the year. . .

The Pick: No -900

Will Justin Timberlake cover a Prince song during halftime?

Yes -120 (5/6)
No -120 (5/6)

Here’s a little fact on Justin Timberlake that people either don’t know, or refuse to believe.  He’s kind of a jerk.  Timberlake is all about him and what he can do to further his agenda.  He has a new album coming out in mid-February and he will be most likely performing the two (god-awful) songs he’s released and pepper in a lot of the this that we all know and love him for.  Prince has been an inspiration to many artists like Justin Timberlake, and I would not doubt for one second that Timberlake is a huge fan of Prince, but Prince-Estate is apparently holding any and any rights to the late-Prince’s likeness and won’t let that go down.  Also, the death of Prince has had some time to settle in and won’t be as big of an emotional impact that J.T. would be looking for.

The Pick: No -120

 

Super Bowl MVP

Dion Lewis +1000 or Rob Gronkowski +1000

At +1000 these are both good bets because Gronkowski is the ultimate x-factor when he’s in the game and Dion Lewis has been great since he’s come back into form.  Of course the popular vote here usually sides with Tom Brady (who is at -175) but what’s the fun in that?

The Game Itself

New England Patriots -4 versus Philadelphia Eagles

I pick the Patriots to go to the Super Bowl every year because – why not?  The Eagles impressed me this year.  Even after I read and listened to people hyping them up before the season started, I saw them as a .500 team.  I was dead wrong.  Underestimating Carson Wentz was the lamest thing I did all year and seeing him go down was probably the worst thing that happened to the Eagles and the league this year, as many – including myself – thought he could be league MVP in just his second season.  Coach Doug Pederson has kept it all together though and now has Nick Foles at quarterback.  Foles was once thought to be the future of Philadelphia football not-to-long ago and now he has the chance to make history for the franchise. Unfortunately for him, he’ll be going up against a true dynasty in the New England Patriots.  The Patriots were actually a five point favorite, until some Vegas big shots laid down $700,00 on Eagles money line and a nice million on the Eagles with the points.  Now the Pats sit at about 4 point favorites at most spots.  For either sentimental value of the Eagles maybe winning a championship or pure hatred towards the Patriots the public is going with the sharps and laying it all on the Eagles.  Looking at the Eagles without Wentz you see a shoot-out victory against the pitiful Giants, a lackluster win over a bad Oakland team, a gross 6-0 win against Dallas and two playoff wins where they looked like two totally different teams.  In this case, the public just wants to see Belichick and Brady lose but as mentioned before, if Belichick has two weeks to game plan against a back-up quarterback – how can you go against the hood?

Four points, may not be what I’d want – buy the whole point and at least take it down to a 3 to be safe.

Final Score should read Patriots 23 Eagles 18, in something of a grind.

As always good luck and wager wisely!

 

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Bowles’ Turn at the Rivalry

It’s a fairly new “rivalry” but a rivalry none-the-less.   And if the word “new” is offensive to the fan bases of the Jets and Patriots, one does apologize.  Let’s be honest though – it wasn’t until the Eric Mangini run in New York, that this rivalry really “mattered.”  There was substance there,  a questionable loyalty and an uncomfortable handshake at midfield. . . Then when Rex Ryan came to town, the fiery head coach put a battery in his players’ backs and charged violently to the top of the mountain, where the Patriots perched from.  Rex Ryan may not have had the success against the Patriots that he had wished for, but he certainly made them sweat out the final minutes of games and he definitely gave ammunition to the respective fan-bases.

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Enter the Todd Bowles Era.

The New York Jets are 4-1 under Bowles and this weekend face an undefeated New England Patriots team.   The Jets did things right in the off-season by bringing back Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and adding Brandon Marshall (via trade) and Buster Skrine to the mix.   The Patriots on the other hand lost Darrelle Revis and could not even celebrate their Super Bowl season too loudly because many were calling them cheaters due to something as trivial as the amount of air being taken out of footballs. . .  Not too mention the Patriots had no idea if they would have their star quarterback Tom Brady, suspended at the start of the season.

Both teams have glued together at the start of the year for different reasons, and now the “rivalry” ensues this weekend.

The Jets are a nine and a half point underdog this weekend, which seems a bit ridiculous. The Jets are second in the league in rush defense and pass defense.  The Jets offense has also taken a step in the right direction leading the NFL in rushing at 146 yards a game, which is a big reason why they have the seventh best offense in the NFL.

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The Patriots are just running with the “us against the world” mentality, which every Super Bowl contending team opens the season with – but the “Deflate Gate” nonsense just added fuel to the fire.  The Patriots at times, seem as if they’re playing games as if they’re in college.  What that means is: they seem as if they’re trying to impress voters with “style points.”  They are not looking to beat teams, they are looking to beat them down.   The Patriots have the league’s number one offense and most of that damage comes through the air.

We all know coach Bill Belichick has tricks up his sleeve, especially against divisional foes, and we also know that he finds a way to expose a team’s weakness.  The Jets weakness is well documented.  It’s quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Is Fitzpatrick terrible?  Absolutely not.  Is he average?  Absolutely.  An average quarterback playing against Belichick could put the Jets in a bad situation early.  Fitzpatrick at times has tunnel vision and if it’s not tunnel vision – he is just flat out oblivious to things going on downfield.  Even with that being said, Fitzpatrick is smart enough to know, he has to keep this game as simple as possible to stand a chance.

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The Patriots will force Fitzpatrick to throw the ball.  Belichick won’t allow the Jets running game to run him out of his own stadium.  The problem with that is  – just how good is this Patriots secondary?  Brandon Marshall is still playing at a Pro Bowl level and proving to be a tough cover for corners as good as Cleveland’s Joe Haden and Washington’s Bashaud Breeland.  If Belichik’s focus is to stop the run, then chances are Brandon Marshall AND Eric Decker will see one on one coverage for most of the game.

The Jets are bringing to the table the best three corner back set in the NFL with Revis, Cromartie and Skrine.  Although Skrine has been listed as “questionable” with a thumb injury, chances are very slim he’ll miss this one.   The Jets are one of the few teams who can go man to man with the threats the Patriots bring on the receiving end with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.  The Jets can probably shade Gronk with two man coverage, while Revis stays with Edelman, because nobody is scared of Amendola.  Dion Lewis is the wildcard out of the back field for New England, his pass catching ability and speed liken him to New England’s version of Darren Sproles.

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A nine point spread in any division rivalry is too many points.  In this case it’s just plain ridiculous.  The Jets have a legitimate chance at upsetting the Patriots this weekend.  Add to the fact that the Jets’ schedule swings in their favor for most of the year – a win here, can get the Jets some good footing in the playoff picture.   On the other hand if the Patriots win – it’s business as usual.  . . but if the Patriots win big – the rest of this league will probably not have a shot at dethroning the champs.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

New England Patriots 2015 Preview

There has never been a fan base that has been as stressed out after winning a Super Bowl than that of the  New England Patriots.  Deflategate hounded the sports pages and blogs like a rabid pack of wolves circling wounded prey.  Before we talk about how the aftermath of Deflategate affects the Patriots, let’s look to their defense which is depending on “fulfilled potential” at some key positions.

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The Patriots weren’t able to stop corner back Darrelle Revis from returning to the the Jets and also lost their number two corner Brandon Browner who signed with the Saints.  That leaves Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler as the incumbent number one.  Butler is riding a post season high that many dream of, but now he has to show consistency week to week.  At least behind Butler are safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty.   Chung and McCourty have great instincts and have been working with each other in the same system for years.

The linebackers on the Patriots are talented but Jared Mayo is usually always hurt and Dont’a Hightower’s return to the football field is unknown after having shoulder surgery.  Jamie Collins is active but his instincts still are questionable at times.  On the defensive front, either last year’s first round pick Dominique Easley or this year’s first round pick Malcolm Brown, need to step up and fill the void left by longtime Patriot Vince Wilfork.  If Brown is able to flex the kind of player he was at Texas on a  pro level, the rookie may command double teams as early as week three.

Football fans are funny.  When a player like Shane Vereen leaves a team like the Patriots they think there’s a void on the offense.  The Patriots have proved time and time again, that their system is equipped with a brigade of role players who usually get over-paid elsewhere.  Vereen is replaced by Wisconsin alumni James White who many thought would get playing time last year, but coach Belichick kept him under wraps for most of the year.  Expect White and Tyler Gaffney to be the change of pace / receiving backs while LeGarrette Blount carries most of the load in between tackles.  Jonas Gray took the world by storm after his 201 rushing yard game and after that, found himself in Belichick’s doghouse.

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The receiving core is odd but effective and any passing attack should be effective with the NFL’s best tight end Rob Gronkowski.  The wild-man is a nightmare for any position to try to cover one on one – his combination of  size, athleticism and intensity are pretty much unmatched throughout the league.  The fact that the tight end on this team is usually covered by an oppositions best cover man or is double teamed, that makes the lives easier for these small wide outs on New England.   Danny Amendola is criticized for being injured often but he is a precise route runner with good hands.  The best receiver on the team though is Julian Edelman who doesn’t quite fit the mold of “Number 1 Receiver” material.   Edelman was eight catches short of a hundred receptions last year and is dangerous and fearless on slant routes.  The Patriots love playing around and mixing up their tight ends, so they acquired Scott Chandler from the Bills and parted ways with Tim Wright, who many thought would be the answer to the void left by Aaron Hernandez, but instead was a decoy and at times just a disappointment.

Presently quarterback Tom Brady is still fighting a four game suspension with the NFL, but for all that concerns commissioner Roger Goodell, the four game penalty is sticking (for a breakdown of the injustice of Deflategate, check here). 

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We’ve seen this story before though with the Patriots. . . just not to this extent.  Never-the-less, expect back up quarterback Jimmy Garrapollo to handle the four games like a pro.  Seriously.  Garapollo has a good arm and is a quick decision maker.  He’s never been afraid of pressure, whether it’s in game pressure or pocket pressure, and is an all around intelligent football player.   The only thing to worry about with Garrapollo is if he looks too good, when Tom Brady is ready to return.  In truth, unless Garrapollo is throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns a game with no interceptions – Brady will get his spot under center when the suspension is over.  This Patriots offensive line is solid at the tackle spots with Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, but up the middle is where defenses are going to attack.  That makes life a lot harder for the “never-was-mobile” Brady.  But we’re talking about Brady here – so it really doesn’t matter.  The Patriots have a favorable schedule this year as they take on the AFC South, but their most fierce competition will come from within the AFC East, where the Patriots have ruled as king for some time.   The other teams in the division see this season as a chance to dethrone the king  though, and they’re coming in for the kill against the champs.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Predicted Pro Bowlers: Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty