Super Bowl 50 – Preview and Betting Selections


The Carolina Panthers arrive in Santa Clara as the favourites to round off a memorable season and lift their first ever Vince Lombardi. Ron Rivera’s squad finished the season 15-1 and with probable MVP Cam Newton in control of the offence, they are well fancied to win Super Bowl 50.

sb 50

They carried their regular season form into the playoffs too. Against Seattle, Carolina raced out to a 31-0 lead, eventually holding on to win 31-24 after a sloppy second half. However against Arizona it was a complete blowout, a 49-15 beatdown of the NFC West Champions.

Denver meanwhile have had a rollercoaster ride to arrive in the big dance. Peyton Manning was very ineffective early in the season as seemingly his age caught up to him, throwing 17 interceptions against only nine touchdowns before he excited the starting lineup due to a foot injury. The defence however has carried the Broncos right through the year, with a dominant defensive line led by superstar pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Vonn Miller. In their conference win against New England, Wade Phillips was able to deploy just a three-man rush against Tom Brady and even then they were still getting to the Michigan-alum.

The offensive problems are well documented for Manning and the Broncos in what could be the future-hall-of-famer’s final game on an NFL gridiron. The medium to deep ball power has extremely diminished for the former Colt, while his receivers had a bout of the drops last time out against the Patriots. Because of their dominant, top-ranked defence however, Manning has become a game-manager, looking after the ball and not forcing throws or turning the ball over. Field position will be a huge factor to this game and Denver have a very capable punter in Britton Colquitt.



Onto the selections then and first up the spread. Initially the line opened at 3.5, but that is long gone and has now climbed to 5.5 as all the public money has come steaming into Carolina. The advice would be to wait till Sunday and hope for more support for Carolina. If the line reaches 6.5 or hopefully a straight 7, you’d have to take the points as it is. The best defence in the league shouldn’t be such a big ‘dog in such a huge contest.


When we talk of Denver’s fantastic defence, the Carolina squad is barely a step behind. Luke Kuchely’s name was certainly in the Defensive MVP talk and though Thomas Davis has a broken arm, he will still be lining up alongside Kuchely. We should get a good grasp on how the game is going to go early doors. If Denver can control the strong run game of Carolina (which I think they can) then the under 44.5 certainly comes into play. A scorline of 24-20 or 23-17 is in the realms of possibility here and that would see the under click.


More of a fun interest bet than anything else, this gives non-serious punters a way to cheer on one team or player so let’s select one per side. Before we do however, get a few quid on each Defence/Special Teams to score first. Given the strength of each defence and the possibility of early nerves we could get a run for our money. Add in the fact that Ted Ginn is one of the best returners in the game, then we have a number of chances. A defensive/special teams score in the game is also in play. Anyway for Denver, it was Owen Daniels who opened the scoring a fortnight ago and he is capable again. With Manning’s lack of arm strength he looked down the seam a lot and if he can get matched up with a banged up Davis he could come through. For Carolina, we’ll go with their tight end Gregg Olsen. He is Newton’s favourite target and outside of Gronkowski, has been the best player at his position all season.


You’re not going to get rich on the props market with most selections 10/11 but it does give you a player interest in the game. Let’s start with the Panthers and their rushing attack. Jonathan Stewart has tallied 19 rushing attempts or more in 10-of-11 games following Carolina’s Week 5 bye, including both playoff games, so take the over 18.5 attempts. SuperCam finished with double-digit rushing attempts in each of Carolina’s first two playoff games, while only three NFL teams allowed more yards per quarterback run than the Broncos this season, so the over 38.5 yards is in play. Passing-wise, Greg Olsen notched 6 catches in each playoff game so far and Hills have evens about 6 or more again on Sunday. With a tough pass rush Cam will be looking to get the ball out quick and given the tight matchups on the outside, Olsen should once again be his favoured target.


Another tough Super Bowl to pick after last year’s contest which started as a pick em. Much like the players for the Broncos, punters need to forgot the memory of the Super Bowl two years ago against Seattle if you are with Peyton Manning and co. That day the Broncos were favoured against the upstart Seahawks and were blown away. Many people are doubting Carolina and trying to crab the form so to speak but they feel eerily similar to that Seattle team two years ago. However that said, after seeing the Denver defence control Brady and learning off their past experiences of Russell Wilson, they will be able to control Newton enough to manage the game and send Peyton Manning into retirement with his second Super Bowl ring.

Denver, USA - JANUARY 19: Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots AFC Championship at Sports Authority Field. The Denver Broncos defeat the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning celebrates after the win. (Photo by Anthony J. Causi)

SELECTIONS (at time of writing):

Denver +6 pts @ 4/5 – Bet 365

Under 44.5 pts @ 20/21 – Ladbrokes

Denver D/ST 1st Touchdown @ 25/1 – Sky Bet

Carolina D/ST 1st Touchdown @ 22/1 – Sky Bet

Owen Daniels 1st Touchdown @ 16/1 – Ladbrokes/Coral/William Hill

Greg Olsen 1st Touchdown @ 10/1 – Paddy Power/Ladbrokes/William Hill

Jonathan Stewart over 18.5 Rush Attempts @ 10/11 – William Hill

Cam Newton over 38.5 Rushing yards @ 5/6 – Paddy Power

Greg Olsen Over 5.5 Receptions @ Evs – William Hill

Denver To Win @ 2/1 –Ladbrokes

NFL Betting Preview – Divisional Saturday

A fantastic slate of games to look forward to on divisional weekend in the NFL. We’ll start by taking a look at the Saturday night games, which should both be great spectacles.


Baltimore went into Pittsburgh a week ago and knocked off an out-of-sorts Steelers to set up another clash with Tom Brady and co in Foxboro. Despite only putting up 17 pts , Ben Roethlisberger was able to move the ball through the air, throwing for over 300 yards, so look for Brady to do work against a below-average Raven secondary. The former Michigan man will likely to be looking to get the ball out quick to negate the pass rush of Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. This means Julian Edelman could come into play, with screens and routes from the slot. It could also be tough sledding for the New England run game against a Ravens defence that finished 4th best in the NFL in rushing yards per game.

Baltimore’s offence is built around the run, with play action passes and moving the pocket all stemming from success on the ground in Gary Kubiak’s system. However again it could be tough for Justin Forsett to get going, especially after a slow game last week in Pittsburgh. From Weeks 9-16 the Pats held opposing backs to 405 yards with just one touchdown on 129 carries (3.14 YPC), before resting starters against Buffalo in week 17. In the secondary, Darrelle Revis has regained the form he had when with the Jets and he could shadow Torey Smith, allowing Brandon Browner to try and out-muscle Steve Smith on short and intermediate routes. With not much else it could be tough work for this Ravens offence in what is set to be a pumped up Gillette Stadium.


Main Selection: Under 47.5 pts @ 10/11 (Various) – Can see this Patriots defence coming out all guns blazing. Couple that with the success Baltimore had against one of the best offences in the league last week, we could have the makings of a low-scoring affair in Foxboro.

First touchdown: Tim Wright @ 16/1 (BetVictor, Paddy Power, Coral) – New England went away from their heralded two tight end sets somewhat this term, but Timothy Wright still has six touchdowns on the year and could benefit from a lot of attention on Gronk.

Additional selection: Justin Forsett under 70.5 Rushing Yards : 10/11 (SkyBet) – Forsett was bottled up last week and as mentioned above could find it hard for running room against a tough Pats run D. Factor in the potential for Baltimore to be playing from behind and it could be a hard day for the Ravens feature back.



Carolina squeaked into the playoffs, winning the disastrous NFC South, before overcoming an offence-less Arizona Cardinals on wildcard weekend. Now though they travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in front of the 12th man, in what could be a long evening for Cam Newton’s crew. Seattle held their opponents to single digit point totals in five of their final six games and with a nice week to rest over the bye, the Legion of Boom should continue their dominant play against a middle of the road Carolina offence.

The Seahawks offence continues to rely heavily on the legs of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Beast Mode should be relatively fresh coming into the playoffs this time around, having his smallest carry total in the regular season since 2010. Carolina lost DT Star Lotuleilei during the week and he will be a huge miss, meaning Lynch will see clearer running room in front of him.


Main Selection: Carolina +11 pts @ 10/11 (Various) – A very large handicap for Seattle to cover here. Carolina’s defence got back to somewhere near their 2013 level during the stretch and that continued over to last week. Cam Newton’s legs could provide the key and it’s difficult to see Seattle running away with it.

First Touchdown: Russell Wilson @ 12/1 (BetVictor, Paddy Power) – Wilson is always a threat with his legs, especially on read options plays in the redzone.

Additional Selections – Marshawn Lynch over 18.5 Rush Attempts @ 11/10 (Ladbrokes) – As mentioned above Lynch is well rested and ready to go. He carried it 28 times in this round of the playoffs last year, before getting 22 totes in the Championship game with San Francisco, so he should get plenty of looks in what could be a tight running affair.

NFL Wildcard Saturday – Betting Preview


A brief respite from the final fortnight of the season has us well and truly pumped for the playoffs. A nice antepost ticket on the Dallas Cowboys @ 16/1 has us cheering on Jerry’s boys, so let’s dive straight into Wildcard Weekend, with numerous thoughts and selections.


So it was the Panthers who emerged from the shockingly bad NFC South, though their play significantly improved down the stretch going 4-0 over their last four, highlighted by the shellacking they gave rivals Atlanta in the playoff-showdown last week in the Georgia dome. Finally resembling last year’s stellar defence, Ron Riveras crew notched 14 sacks in their last 4 games, with five interceptions so it could be hard work for the lifeless Arizona unit.

Ryan Lindley again has to take charge of the anemic Cardinal offence in the absence of Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. He linked up well with Michael Floyd last week in San Francisco, so look for that partnership to have the most success for Arizona, given Larry Fitzgerald’s injury troubles. However it will still be tough sledding for a team will once again rely on it’s defence. Even with below-par offensive play, this is very much a winnable game for Arizona thanks to mastermind schemer Bruce Arians and their talented defence.


Main selection: Under 38 pts @ 10/11 (Various) – Two dominant defences with less than explosive offences could see a tight battle with all the marbles on the line.

First touchdown: Cam Newton @ 10/1 (Various) – Cam has ran for a touchdown in his last 3 and will need his legs against a tough Cards front.

Additional selection: Arizona FG 1st Scoring Play @ 4/1 (BetVictor) – As mentioned two tough D’s could turn this into a field goal game.


Another huge AFC North playoff battle between these two, with the huge news that Le’Veon Bell will miss out for Pittsburgh. Bell is a huge loss for Mike Tomlin’s side, with Josh Harris filling in. Bell’s patience and burst saw him to second in the NFL in rushing and it remains to be seen what kind of game plan the Steelers will go for in his absence. Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger have been fantastic this season, with Brown ending the regular season atop the receiving charts. Expect him to feature even more heavily in Bell’s absence.

In contrast, look for Baltimore to employ a control game plan, playing field position and keeping Pittsburgh dynamic passing game off the field. Justin Forsett had a breakout year and ended the season well against Cleveland last week. He now takes on a Steelers defence that gives up 4.31 YPC to opposing running backs. Quarterback Joe Flacco had success in his two games against Pittsburgh earlier this term, throwing four touchdowns.


Main Selection: Under 44.5 pts @ Evens (Boylesports) – Maybe missed the boat here, but with Bell’s absence and a brutal weather forecast, this could turn into a defensive slugfest, with one Raven fan I talked to earlier this week declaring whichever team gets to 20 wins the game.

First Touchdown: Martivis Bryant @ 10/1 (BetVictor, Hills, Coral) – Bryant is the deep threat for Pittsburgh and can get in behind a very shaky Raven secondary if Ben is given time.

Additional selection: Justin Forsett over 70.5 Rushing Yards @ 10/11 (Lads) – We could see a heavy dose of Forsett if the conditions take a turn for the worse at Heinz Field.

NFL Betting Preview – Week 7


Not the best week last week, despite Geno Smith’s late pick six seeing Denver somewhat fortunately covering the spread. In our other main selections, the total was well over in Buffalo against New England, while for the luckless Jaguars, I echo Pacman Jones’ words: “Do your job” Josh Scobee!


For the first of our week 7 selections, we go to Lucas Oil Stadium and the live Sky game between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Andrew Luck has put the team on his back so far this season, playing upto MVP candidate level, that’s why COLTS -3PTS is the first on the betslip.

Fantasy players who own Luck (myself included) will be thrilled at the former Stanford man’s production, while it has also translated to the real world with the Colts riding a four-game win streak to bounce back from two tough losses against Denver and Philly to open the year.

On the flip side, despite starting the year 3-0, the Bengals were shellacked by the Patriots a fortnight ago, then playing out a “sister-kisser” last week – a tie with the Panthers. The Bengal defence has also followed a similar pattern to that of the team’s record. In the last two games, they let up 576 pass yards and four touchdowns to Tom Brady and Cam Newton, while Newton was also very effective running the ball. Couple that with the league’s 4th worst D in terms of yards per rush, then Andrew Luck and the Colts offence could well have their way with the Bengal unit.

The game total of 50 pts looks slightly high, but the COLTS -3PTS @ 10/11 appeals more. TY Hilton was simply unstoppable last time out against the Texans and he is a great shout to score the first touchdown at 9/1, burning veterans Terrence Newman or Adam Jones.


Thankfully for New Orleans the NFC South is rather weak this year, but Sean Payton’s side will be hoping for an improvement in their play coming out of the bye week. However they travel to the league’s number one pass defence in Detroit, with UNDER 48 PTS the selection at Ford Field.

Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been a revelation so far this term, with his crew leading the league in pass defence, with a very impressive 5:7 TD:INT ratio. Add in the fact that Drew Brees could very well be without his top target in Jimmy Graham this weekend, it could be a long day at the office for the Louisiana outfit.

Matt Stafford also will be without his main man Calvin Johnson again on Sunday, as the star wideout looks to get healthy in time to entertain me and the rest of the London fans next week. Stafford has only tossed four touchdowns in his last three games, but should have Reggie Bush back this week to offer an option out of the backfield.

As mentioned the Lions defence has been impressive this season and barring the season opening win against the Giants, the game total has went under in each of Detroit’s games this season. Add in the fact that Brees has his struggles on the road, highlighted by the stat that six of the last nine Saints’ road games have went underm we have more than sufficient support to plump for the UNDER 48 PTS @ 10/11.

In the absence of Megatron, Golden Tate has jumped up to the number one wideout spot, 17/2 to find paydirt will do for first touchdown purposes.


Perhaps no two hotter quarterbacks around at the minute than Cam Newton and particularly Aaron Rodgers. For that simple reason we’ll dive onto the OVER 50 PTS hoping it rains points on Sunday at Lambeau.

Rodgers has been straight up balling over the last five games – throwing 14 touchdowns against an incredible zero interceptions! When you couple that with the fact that Carolina have been stung for 38, 30, 24 and 37 point totals so far this season, you’d fancy at least four touchdowns from the Pack at Lambeau.

That leaves the Panthers looking at maybe three touchdowns to land our bet, which looks highly achievable given the form of the former number one pick under centre for Carolina. For all his improvements as a passer this season, the shackles were finally lifted from the legs of Newton, as he ran the ball 17 times for over a tonne in the overtime tie in Cincinnati. Green Bay has a history of being carved up by dual-threat signal callers, so look for the Panthers to stick with Green Bay this weekend.

As mentioned, hopefully there is a bagful of points in Wisconsin this weekend, with OVER 50 PTS @ 10/11 rounding off the treble.

One match up to keep an eye on is 6’5 Kelvin Benjamin up against 5’11 Sam Shields this weekend. The Florida State star to score first is an interesting 10/1, while an over on the receiving yards would be the way to go.


  • Even the best laid plans can fall short sometimes. Jacksonville had the perfect chance to notch their first win a week ago, time expiring Josh Scobee’s boot between the Florida side and their first W, but no. His kick was blocked and with it spoiling the selection of Jacksonville last week. Fear not though, Blake Bortles is improving each week and this will finally be Jacksonville’s first win of the season against a somewhat overachieving Cleveland outfit  @ 21/10.
  • Atlanta’s offensive line is brutally bad. Halti Ngata, T-Sizzle and co could well have a field day against Matt Ryan this weekend. Baltimore jumped out to a fast start in Tampa Bay last week and again the 13/8 to lead at the end of each quarter appeals.
  • Super Bowl champions Seattle lost at home last week against Dallas, and will be rather keen to right the ship in St Louis. However the Rams are no mugs,  and have started well against Dallas and San Fran, before fading. 9/4 for St Louis to be leading at half time makes for an interesting wager.
  • Peyton has yet another record in his sight. Three more touchdowns and Manning will have thrown for the most touchdowns in NFL history. He looks to achieve the record against a 49er defence that will now be missing All-Pro Patrick Willis, as well as long term casualty Navarro Bowman. That means rookie Chris Borland will have to handle duties inside, and look for manning and Julius Thomas to abuse the former Wisconsin man in the middle of the field. The 13/2 about Thomas to score first appeals nicely.

  • Spread currently sitting at NY Giants +6.5. Jump on that now – last few games Dallas have been favourites have seen the underdog’s spread come in…

Week 5 Gifs

A selection of some of the best plays from week 5.

Warning: This one takes a while to load!

Seattle Seahawks 27 – 17 Washington Redskins

Cousins gets lit up

Wilson’s great escape

Chicago Bears 21 – 24 Carolina Panthers

Jeffrey’s one handed catch

Cam blocks Breeze

St Louis Rams 28 – 34 Philadelphia Eagles

Shady’s fumble

Buffalo Bills 17 – 14 Detroit Lions

Watkins’ juggle catch

Arizona Cardinals 20 – 41 Denver Broncos

Manning stops a touchdown

Ellington has get away from the cops speed

Baltimore Ravens 13 – 20 Indianapolis Colts

Luck takes a big hit and Ngata intercepts

Atlanta Falcons 20 – 30 New York Giants

Julio Jones one handed catch

Odell Beckham Jr’s touchdown catch

Houston Texans 17 – 20 Dallas Cowboys

Romo avoids JJ Watt sack

Arian Foster jukes Barry Church

Kansas City Chiefs 17 – 22 San Francisco 49ers

Brandon Lloyd’s athletic catch

NFL Betting Preview – Week 5


Another tidy week last week, with the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears lighting up the scoreboard, while Indianapolis blew out the hapless Tennessee Titans. Unfortunately the Carolina Panthers defensive decline continues as the total was well over in their clash with Baltimore. However we finally hit with a first touchdown selection, as Steve Smith stuck it right to his former teammates by catching a tipped pass and strolling in.



The Atlanta Falcons were ripped apart to the tune of 41 points last time out against the somewhat offensively-challenged Minnesota Vikings, and now they travel to the Meadowlands to take on a rampant New York Giants with OVER 50 PTS appealing. The G-men finally found their grove the last twice, first putting up 30 against JJ Watt and the Texans defence, before destroying the Redskins in Maryland.

Aside from the destruction of Josh McCown and Tampa Bay, this Falcons defensive unit has let up 300 yards a game without registering a sack, so expect Manning and Co to do work. On the other side of the ball, the Falcons have been able to score on opponents all season, so despite the tough duo of Prince Amukamara and Dominque Rodgers Cromarite, Matt Ryan should be able to negotiate enough points out of his offence to put up a fight and hopefully see the total OVER 50 PTS @ 10/11 as it finishes 31-24 in New Jersey.

Tight End Larry Donnell has really came out of nowhere, grabbing three touchdowns against Washington last time out. One more will do nicely, 9/1 to score first



Last season’s Carolina Panthers defence is a long way from where this year’s unit are. Luke Kuchely and his boys have given up 908 yards in their last two defeats against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. With Jake Cutler and the Bears rolling into town, OVER 45.5 PTS looks worthy of taking on.

Through one month, Cutler is on pace for 40 touchdown passes and 4,024 yards, so with further progression in Charlotte the Bears should be counted on to rack up more points, especially with Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall getting healthier each week.

Despite being dominated by Baltimore’s fearsome defensive line last time out, the Panthers offensive line should be able to cope better with a less-talented Bears outfit, with Cam Newton improving each week as he gets over his rib injury. The former-Auburn star is having his best season as an out-and-out passer, and if Ron Rivera finally decides to allow Newton to use his feet, he will add another dimension to this rather stale Panthers offence.

The line looks a little conservative here, and with Cutler enjoying his time once again in Marc Trestman’s offence, we’ll take a punt on the OVER 45.5 PTS @ 10/11 with Chicago taking it 27-20. Alshon Jeffrey has 169 yards and a touchdown the previous two games, we’ll take him for first score at 9/1.


Pittsburgh Steelers v Dallas Cowboys

Again the line here looks too low for a very defensively challenged Jags team going against an on fire Ben Roethlisberger, so lets jump on the OVER 47 PTS.

Despite the shock defeat to Tampa Bay last week, the Pittsburgh offence was rolling, putting up 24 points. Roethlisberger has completed 72.9% of his passes the past two weeks, including five touchdown throws against zero interceptions. Once again look for Antonio Brown to do work against this poor Jags defence, who gave up 10 catches and 135 yards to Keenan Allen a week ago.

Finally Blake Bortles was given the keys to the offence full time last week, and he performed admirably in his first NFL start against a tough Chargers defence. The play calling was a bit conservative, so hopefully back at home and with an easier match up on paper, Bortles has the shackles released and we see the points rain.

Jacksonville will notch their first win sooner or later with Bortles under centre, and it could well be this week with the suspect defence hindering Big Ben’s stellar work on offence. However the safer pick this week is the OVER 47 PTS @ 10/11 as this ends 27-23 either way. Allen Robinson is turning into Bortles favourite target. 12/1 appeals for first touchdown purposes.


  • The upset picks in this section have been faring very well with the Dallas Cowboys thumping the Saints at odds against last week. A few quid on Kansas City Chiefs @ 9/4 to go into Santa Clara and topple the San Francisco 49ers takes the eye, given Kansas’ destruction of the Patriots this past Monday night.
  • Peyton Manning goes berserk this week. Coming off a bye week against an Arizona Cardinals defence that has managed only one sack in three games, Peyton could have his way with the Cards. Drew Stanton is under centre once again for the visitors so this could be done by halftime. Scrolling through the list of markets on the game, over 2.5 first half touchdowns @ 4/6 looks buying money, but let’s lower the stake and raise the odds and go exactly 4 first half touchdowns @ 15/4.
  • 40/1 is still readily available on the Dallas Cowboys to win the Superbowl. You may chuckle, but this running game looks legit and when the weather gets cold that’s always a great gameplan to hang your hat on. A Strong running game and lights out defence has been the blueprint for both Baltimore’s and Seattle’s Superbowl runs. Now if only Big D could find a defence from somewhere we may be onto something.

Ten players to watch in the coming NFL Season

To say I am excited about the new season is a huge understatement. I am so excited, I no longer count the days from Monday to Sunday, I simply relate the time in terms of “sleeps till Kick Off”. This offseason has been one of the busiest and craziest offseasons the NFL has ever seen and we can only hope that the new season holds as much drama. I have absolutely no doubt it will. Just look at the conclusion to the last Superbowl, a Hail Mary into the End Zone and if the Gronk wasn’t hobbling around on that injured ankle, he may have caught the falling ball and Manning would be underrated again on the NFL top 100 players. So, I think it’s only right to point out my top ten players I feel should be on your radar and why they might offer us the best entertainment value. There are a plethora of Rookies, Oldies, Prospects and Past Patients taking the field in 2012 and they will all add to the unpredictability of this league. Continue reading “Ten players to watch in the coming NFL Season”