This coming Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will essentially be playing the most important game of the NFL betting season, as they face the New York Giants. The game itself has football betting experts believing that a miracle must happen for the oft injured Packers to squeak into the playoffs, as they are literally hanging on by a thread. On Wednesday December 22, the Packers received a giant boost as starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers was cleared to return to practice.
Two weeks ago in week 14 action, Rodgers was knocked from a game against the Detroit Lions. Rodgers left after the first half with an apparent concussion, and the Packers went on to lose the game by the minimal score of seven to three. However, this past weekend during a game against the New England Patriots, it appeared that the Packers may have been able to survive the remainder of the season without Aaron Rodgers.
During their week 15 affair with New England, the Packers under the guidance of backup pivot Matt Flynn were almost able to pull of the shocking upset of the league's best team, as they led for the majority of the game. However, the Patriots as they've done all season were able to come out of nowhere and win the game outright.
With the return of Aaron Rodgers this week, NFL handicappers from around the league will be glued to their televisions. The Green Bay Packers have an overall record of eight wins and six losses, while rival the New York Giants have a record of nine wins and six losses. Although they play in separate divisions, both the Packers and Giants will be looking to win the game on Sunday, as they are battling for one of the two final Wild Card berths in the NFC.
With the regular season of NFL betting coming to a close, it is time for teams at the bottom of the standings to start looking towards the draft in June. Every June, the NFL conducts a football betting draft, in which at least in theory, terrible teams from the season prior are able to improve their chances of winning due to drafting the best college players. With the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, and Carolina Panthers, all being ranked as the league's worst teams, these two players should do wonders to help these struggling franchises.
1. Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa - During the 2009 campaign, Clayborn then in his junior year at Iowa, was ranked as the top defensive player in the nation for college football. As a result, many expected Clayborn to go as a lottery pick in the 2010 draft, however Clayborn chose to stay at Iowa for his senior year. Now at the end of his senior year, Clayborn is expected to once again be named the top defensive player in the nation. Yet rather than be a top five pick in this year's draft, Clayborn is expected by many to go first overall in the 2011 draft. Clayborn has all of the defensive tools that NFL team's look for, speed, grittiness, aggressiveness and an incredible work ethic. What's more, Clayborn still has room to grow into the best player the game has ever seen.
2. Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska - If Adrian Clayborn is not drafted first overall in the 2011 draft, it will only be because Amukamara went ahead of him. Seen by many as the NCAA best cornerback ever, this six foot 205 pound all American has all the tools to cause wide receivers fits for the next 10 years. Although he too has room to grow, Amukamara has all of the tools of a potential starting cornerback in today's NFL.
PayPerHead.com, an online sportsbook service provider for local agents, today unveiled a new campaign featuring Vince Curatola, Johnny Sack of The Sopranos fame.
The campaign leads with Vince asking "Five bucks per head, that's what I wanna pay..." and the website, featuring video and voice overs by Vince, walks you through the product, the process and the competition.
"Five bucks a head is really an industry first given our level of service," a spokesman from PayPerHead.com explained. "And we very carefully and in great detail delineate on the website exactly what you get and at what price level at PayPerHead versus the other serious players, such as IDSca."
And what you get is a lot, including not only the traditional online sports betting management services but an optional casino, live poker, in game live betting, mobile betting, tools for managing players and their funds, layoff and scalp accounts, even a "sharp check." "We have the sharpest lines out there and one of the most experienced stages anywhere offshore," the spokesman said, "so if we start seeing sharp action from one of your players, we can give you a heads up. What you want to do with him is up to you."
The choice of Vince Curatola was an interesting one. "We always liked Vince's character on The Sopranos, as John "Johnny Sack" Sacramoni," the PayPerHead spokesman said. "He had a certain style, classy, but not over the top; there's a calmness and authority about him that we really admire. He brings that serious business demeanor to PayPerHead.com, the first sportsbook-service to EVER feature any kind of celebrity in its marketing."
With post-up books like BetUS, Sportsbook.com and SportsInteraction stopping taking US players, Bodog and others struggling with "Ecom" processing problems, the street scene is heating up and players are posting daily in forums looking for a "local out." Players want the huge selection of markets, including live in-game betting, and the convenience of anytime betting online or via their mobile, but more and more say "they want to bet online but prefer to settle in cash on Monday."
Is this the future of online sports betting? Quite possibly. And with firms like PayPerHead.com investing in marketing in an unprecedented way (celebs, who'd have thunk it?!) and in product (they also offer live poker, casino and in-game betting), expect to see this sector grow significantly this season.
For more information, see PayPerHead.com.
With the NFL's regular betting season winding down, many handicappers are wondering who should be in the Super Bowl. Over the last couple of years, two of the biggest black clouds in the football betting sphere have been Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. Both quarterbacks have had their fare share of controversy in years past, however in 2010 both players look to guide their respective teams to football's Holy Grail.
Going into the 2010 season the two teams many expected to flop this season were the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles. Who could blame the critics for thinking this way? Pittsburgh was to be without Big Ben for the first five weeks of the season due to suspension for conduct outside the game. Many critics did not believe that the Steelers had the depth at quarterback to go five weeks without him.
On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles had just traded away the best player they've ever had, in order to start a relatively unknown younger quarterback. This younger quarterback would be backed up by Michael Vick, a player who had been considered a menace to the game after spending two years in prison for actions outside the game.
However, entering week 12 of the 2010 football season and the Eagles and Steelers now guided by Vick and Roethlisberger are making critics eat their words. Now those same critics that felt the Eagles and Steelers would fail miserably believe the two squads will face off in the Super Bowl.
If that scenario does play out, we think a Vick led Eagles Super Bowl win would be great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Steelers have already won two titles this decade and a Big Ben win just proves that you can make a mockery of the league and get away with it.
Secondly and perhaps more importantly, ever since Michael Vick was sentenced to a prison term in 2007, he has been trying to change his image from a monster to a normal human being. If he is able to lead the starless Eagles to the team's first Super Bowl title, it will be the redemption he needs.
It happened so fast. The Washington crowd, inspired by the bright lights of a Monday night game, had yet to sit down. Gruden and Jaws had barely finished their opening remarks. The ink had not yet dried on Donovan McNabb's 5-year contract extension. Vick rolls left, he has Jackson deep, touchdown. 88 yards later that crowd was quietly seated, Gruden was apparently aroused and LaRon Landry was shamed in front of a nationwide audience. The opening play deep ball rang like a gunshot - when Michael Vick takes the field, everything can change in the blink of an eye.
Vick's fifteen minutes of infamy are not too far in the past. The PETA picketers and pecking media personalities are still visible in the quarterback's rearview; everyone can recall his 12 month exile as a pariah. Though he wishes he could change the past, Vick would not ask the world to forget - more likely, he hopes that they can all see him now, recovering from lost time, supplanting his shattered image with fresh memories of brilliance with every passing second.
When the news of Vick's role in an illegal dog fighting ring was released it did not take long for the fans who once wore his jersey to turn on him. It was an indefensible act in the opinion of most, and the opinion of the few was to not counter the mob's desire for crucifixion. The grotesque side of the poverty-to-Porsche narrative had been unveiled to the public. It was not just another athlete shamed; Vick was fast becoming the face of the NFL and a model for African-American achievement. Here was a black quarterback, picked first overall, playing at a high level and doing it his way. Vick was the anti-Manning, the hero for all those great athletes who had been forced to play receiver or defensive back when they preferred to be under center, whose grasp of the complexities of the offensive playbook had been questioned. Vick's playmaking ability made traditional statistics irrelevant; he won games with sheer talent and pleased fans with his innovative style and daring. Commentators constantly questioned whether Vick could ever win a championship with a record-low quarterback rating, but it didn't matter to this generation of football fans who would rather press the b button to trigger digital Vick's spin move in Madden than admire the intricacies of the West Coast offense. Peyton and Brady were the golden boys but it was cool to like Mike. Vick's descent was a depressing reversion to the hackneyed axioms of the black athlete; young talent given too much money too fast, wasting his career by funding ghetto games and smoking pot. Crimes against dogs, harmless animals, now helped to build an encapsulating profile of Vick - unfocused, ignorant and cruel.
In that year of incarceration and irrelevance, Vick came to realize what he had lost. When number 7 pulled a Philadelphia Eagles jersey over his pads (at the behest of McNabb and Coach Andy Reid) he was humble and dedicated. The organization commended his work ethic and behavior, and as quickly as they had gripped their pitchforks, the audience now patted Vick on the back for those brief trick plays that gave them glimpses of the playmaker they once knew and loved. Vick had made his return but with McNabb as the franchise starter and young Kevin Kolb installed as the successor, it seemed unlikely that Vick would fully regain his status as an elite player and icon. It took four quarters of dismantling on the Texas Stadium field for McNabb to be shipped to the Washington Redskins and one quarter of ineptitude for Kevin Kolb to be handed a cap and a headset. It was week 1 of the 2010 season and Michael Vick looked like a next-generation video game again. Four games later, Vick was named the league's Offensive Player of the Month and, following a month-long absence due to a rib injury suffered early on in McNabb's much anticipated return to Philadelphia, Vick conquered the revered Peyton Manning. Change has great speed.
In 30 minutes of football on Monday night against the rival Redskins, Vick accounted for 5 scores and levitated to the top of the list of the league's most valuable players. Reid has opened up his pass-heavy playbook and Vick, teaming with explosive receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, has responded with uncanny electricity. The quarterback was always an astounding talent but now he is operating with an exact mastery - the game sense that detractors always suggested he lacked. Vick has yet to throw an interception this season and every snap is a possible score with his split-second decision making and the high velocity rifle that is his left arm. The two bombs he hurled to Jackson and Maclin against the helpless Redskins pass defense were clips of beauty, his scrambles for scores marks of inevitable conquest. Gruden, a quarterback sage, exclaimed that Vick is unstoppable this year, and while Coach "Chucky" is prone to hyperbole it is hard to argue otherwise after a game in which the quick pivot accounted for 6 total touchdowns. What football audiences are witnessing now is not just great quarterbacking -it is perfection. Vick has become the flawless player he was dreamed to be on draft day and Xbox; he is a testament to redemption - no more the wearer but the mover of the chains; the Most Valuable Player in the league.