In a matter of days, handicappers from around the NFL will finally find out if their Super Bowl betting predictions were right as two teams will emerge from this weekend's NFL Conference Championship series. Ever since the NFL betting commissioner's office adopted the 12 team six per conference playoff format in 1990, no two teams both ranked at number six have ever made it to the Super Bowl. Heading into Sunday's Conference Championship action, the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers have a chance to become the first two sixth overall seeds to make to the Super Bowl.
For Green Bay Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears represents a coming full circle notion of sorts, as the Packers were able to defeat the Bears on the final day of the regular season in order to make the playoffs. Now almost a month later, and the Packers have an opportunity to go from almost not qualifying for the playoffs, to making the Super Bowl finals outright. On paper, the biggest thing going for the Packers is that they got healthy at the right time. In the beginning of the season for example, Green Bay lost 15 of its opening day starters.
Entering Sunday's action, Green Bay has gotten several of those 15 starters back and has emerged as the team with the best chance to win the Super Bowl. What's more, in the two games they have played thus far in the post season, Green Bay has clearly been the better team. First they shut down MVP hopeful Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, before moving on to crush top seed Atlanta.
Meanwhile, the New York Jets the AFC's sixth seed also has a chance to make history as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although listed as a heavy underdog against Pittsburgh, the Jets were actually the last team to beat the Steelers at Heinz Field. What's more, while the sportsbooks take New York lightly, you can guarantee the Steelers will not. Heading into this weekend's action, the Jets have had to face the toughest competition of anyone, as they had to knock off Indianapolis in round one, before beating divisional foe New England last week. If the Jets can defeat the Steelers, they will become the most battle tested Wild Card team in the last few years to make the Super Bowl.
Today NFL betting lines will close as sportsbooks take in their final wagers for this weekend's Wild Card round of the playoffs. With eight NFL betting online teams competing for four spots in week two of the playoffs, here are our four picks for this weekend's matchups.
Saturday January 8, 2011
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks - This NFC Wild Card game kicks off the playoffs for this season. Going into the game, only a handful of people who specifically bet on underdogs, are taking the Seattle Seahawks to win this game outright. Ultimately, despite the loss of tailback Pierre Thomas to a season ending ankle injury, we feel that Drew Brees and the Saints have what it takes to defeat the Seattle Seahawks. Look for this game to get ugly fast, with the Saints making a statement while cruising to victory.
New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts - Playing in prime time is no easy task, however both the Jets and Colts have made careers off of doing as much. With that said, this will be one of the most highly anticipated football games in recent memory, as these two teams collided last year in the AFC Championship. However, we feel that the Wild Cards will go for two for two on Saturday, as the Jets should win this game since they are healthier than the aging Colts.
Sunday January 9, 2011
Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs - The weekends only upset in our opinion will take place during the early game on Sunday as the wild card Ravens will fall to the AFC West Champion Chiefs. Although both of these teams had ugly final games of the regular season, we see the Chiefs coming out with something to prove. Last week they were crushed by the Oakland Raiders and now everyone is underestimating them. However, we think that the Chiefs will come out firing on all cylinders as they cruise to a date with the New England Patriots.
Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles - If you thought the Jets vs. Colts game was going to be the most televised game this weekend, you were mistaken. This year, nobody has come on to the scene and had as much of an impact, as Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles, as he's guided the team to an 11 and five record and his own MVP selection. Add that in with the Green Bay Packers finally getting healthy, and you have the makings for one of the best football games in not only the season but the decade as well.
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.