Super Bowl 50

Broncos (+5) over Panthers
6:30 PM (EST) -- Levi's Stadium

Denver Broncos
1) MRPICKEM LIFETIME RECORD (as a professional sports handicapper): 21 of 30 Super Bowls, 70% WINNERS!
2) Classic "Sharps vs Squares" matchup- every smart professional will be on Denver, every amateur on Carolina- because of hype about Cam. Edge: Denver and sharps.
3) This is an EXTREME version- as of today it''s the most lopsided Super Bowl betting in history...and one of the top 5 most lopsided of any NFL Postseason game EVER. *Classic exciting, sexy offense vs great D- masses of public always bet Offense (they can''t resist)...D almost always wins. I''ve bet games like this for 31 years. Edge: Denver.
4) The team with chip on shoulder almost always wins- that team is Denver. Disrespected, almost considered a chump in media. 2 years ago that team was Seattle versus Denver and Peyton! Now it''s Peyton. Edge: Denver.
5) Weather- Peyton is terrible in weather below 40 degrees. Has been his whole career. 2 years ago...he played in New York for Super Bowl. While balmy by NY in February standards, it was below 40 degrees. That hurt his effectiveness (and psychology). This Super Bowl will be in beautiful weather around 70 degrees and sunny. Edge: Denver.
6) I always play the better D if they are getting points- statistically Denver is better D. Edge: Denver.
7) The team with better D and better Special Teams stats too, getting points, is almost unbeatable in postseason games. Denver has statistically better in BOTH. Edge: Denver.
8) Line moves- line opened +3½. Went to 6 and now back to 5. That is very significant. Those 1½ points could determine the game. Denver now covers the two most statistically important NFL numbers- 3 and 4. Edge: Denver.
9) The team with the worst record has won almost every recent Super Bowl. Again that plays into "chip on shoulder" psychology. Carolina is 17-1. Edge: Denver.
10) The most important trend of all- the team that comes from behind in the most games during season has won almost every Super Bowl in modern history- it proves they deal well with adversity and play well under stress in a "big game." I define "come from behind" as behind 7 or more at any time in any game...and behind at any time in 2nd half. Carolina came from behind 6 times Denver 9 times Edge: Denver

67% of the play so far are on the Panthers. Denver was a dark horse candidate to even make it to this point. No one should write the Broncos off quite yet, especially on the biggest stage of them all. And with the smartest QB to ever hit the field and with the best defense in the NFL backing him up. The key for Denver winning the Super Bowl is their number one ranked defense. They took apart the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Von Miller and Demarcus Ware will need to get after Cam Newton and put him under the same pressure Tom Brady felt. The Broncos defense led the NFL in average yards allowed (283.2), sacks (52), has yielded 34 points and 568 total yards in two playoff games, and hit Tom Brady 23 times in the conference title game. The magic continues as defense wins Championships. Manning wins and then retires. (the money line is currently at +187). Also with 2 of the better defenses around this should be a low scoring game...easily under the currend 44½

My plays:
Denver +5 -105
Under 44½ -109

12 Super Bowl Props with good chances

Super Bowl XLIX

New England Patriots (14-4)) vs Seattle Seahawks (Line varies +1 to -1 and total locked at 48)

Certain games throughout the year I simply go with the team that I want to win, or a gut feeling, things that most people would consider ridiculous reasons for picking one team over another. The Super Bowl is the one game each year where I just go with the team that I want to win, then I rate the game accordingly depending on how confident I am in "my" team. It just so happens that in this year's game, the team that I want to win is the same team that I honestly believe will win this game, that team being the Patriots. This will be my largest wager of the year because 1) I only wager on football, this is it for me until next season. 2) It's the Super Bowl. 3) I'm playing with profits. 4) I feel that strongly about New England winning this game. This is also a game that I want the Patriots to win. If I had no money on this game I would be rooting for the Patriots. I'm from Redwood City CA. Brady grew up about five miles from me in San Mateo. Edelman went to the same high school as my kids. I've always liked Belichick. Have never been a big fan of Pete Carroll, just don't like the way he celebrates alone on the sidelines when winning, then surrounds himself with his assistants when losing. I think the Seahawks have the worst uniforms this side of Maryland. And I just like the way the Patriots go about their business.

Now for my "in-depth" analysis: Yes, I truly believe that New England will win this game, hence the 5* rating. I think it will be a great game, and probably a close game, but I just see Belichick and Brady holding that trophy after the game. I know that Seattle has a good defense (And stop it! No more comparing this unit to the '85 Bears) But they're good. But are they good enough to shut down Brady, Gronk, and Edelman with Belichick having two weeks to prepare? I don't think so. I can easily see the Pats scoring over 30 points. I don't see the Seahawks doing that. Lynch is going to get his yards, might even break a couple long ones. But I just see the Patriots' offense being able to move the ball, both running and passing, and the Patriots' defense disrupting Wilson into a couple mistakes and winning this game. That's it. No systems or angles, no "inside information" (whatever that is). Just a hunch, but my hunches recently won 16 straight 5* plays over three months.

Still not sure which way to go on this game? (oh c'mon you can do it!) Allow me to make a suggestion. Odds are that you are a big football fan. And there's a good chance that you like one of these teams more than the other. Why not just bet on the team that you want to win. This is the Super Bowl, for a football fan the biggest day of the year, a fun day. Keep it fun, root for your team, bet on your team, and don't overdo things. And whatever you do, do not! I repeat, do not! pay some phony-baloney your hard-earned money to make this pick for you.

If you're simply going back and forth on this, remember, we've all been there. When you're on a "hot" streak, picks just seem to come a little easier, at least for me. But when you're on a "cold" streak, oh baby, we all know how that feels, everybody on the edge of their seats waiting for you to make your call so they can "fade" your sorry ass. Yeah, cold streaks are no fun. Knowing (for a fact!) that whichever team you pick is going to get it's butt kicked and doesn't stand a chance in hell of covering and if you try going "the other way" it only guarantees that your new team will lose on the last play of the game with the announcer screaming "Wow, I've never seen that happen before!" Yep, it happens to us all. Luckily I've been on a nice little hot streak lately and I don't see too many cold streaks anymore. That, however, means nothing. This is one game, the game, and nobody knows what's going to happen. You have my opinion, I think the Patriots win. And there are millions of other opinions out there, about half for each team. But all that matters is what you think.

In the past I've cashed lots of bets on defense, including last years Super Bowl. I just believe the versatility on the Pats offense will definitely cause problem for Seahawks and the subpar Hawks offense will struggle versus much improved NE defense.

The play: Patriots ML & smaller play on under 48

Championship Weekend

Green Bay Packers 13-4 at Seattle Seahawks 13-4
LINE: SEATTLE -8 / 44½

There was a short blip early in Seattle’s season that saw the defending champions go 2-3, causing football folks to chant about a Super Bowl hangover. Those sentiments were quickly erased when the Seahawks went 10-1 the rest of the way, followed by a tidy job of eliminating the Panthers in a playoff game last week. There is no question that they deserve to be the odds-on favourites to repeat as champs with their strong defense and opportunistic offense. Of course, to qualify for a trip to Glendale, Ariz., the Seahawks have earned the right to host this NFC Championship game and that’s a huge edge for these hosts. Under coach Pete Carroll and QB Russell Wilson, Seattle has been infallible on this field with a 25-2 straight-up mark, covering 20 of those 27 contests. Fading the champs on this field takes some courage, but it’s a position we’re willing to take.
A concern with the Seahawks has been their level of competition. Since losing to Dallas and St. Louis on consecutive weeks in mid-October, Seattle did not face a playoff-bound team down the stretch in that 10-1 run, other than the debilitated Cardinals whom they faced twice. Seattle’s defense is undoubtedly a talented unit, but when combating the offenses of the 49ers twice, aforementioned Arizona twice, St. Louis and Kansas City in the second half of the season, we have to wonder if this group has really been battle-tested enough to warrant this type of consideration. Also of concern is Seattle’s offense, which managed more than 20 points only twice in its last seven games and will likely need more than that to get a cover here.
The Packers are no slouches. This isn’t some fluke team arriving here as a Cinderella story. They are led by arguably the best quarterback in football and this is the most points that Aaron Rodgers and his crew have been offered this season, underdogs just three times prior to this one. When these two teams met to open the season at this venue, Seattle was just a 4½-point favorite choice. Now, after both teams have compiled 13-4 records to this point, the Seahawks are favored by more than a converted touchdown? It doesn’t jive.
Despite Seattle winning that opener rather handily, that was in Week 1. Much has changed. Green Bay became better as the season wore on. Under Rodgers’ precision passing, the Packers were the top scoring team in the league, averaging more than 30 points per game. Green Bay also learned some things from that opening game, mostly what not to do. The Packers opted to completely ignore CB Richard Sherman’s side of the field in that contest but it reduced the offense to half a field and don’t expect the same on this day with Green Bay’s talented group of receivers. Dallas won in here with a similar offensive style as Green Bay’s.
The Packers have enough ability and experience on defense to contain Seattle’s mediocre offense. Spelled out, the points offered here are too attractive to ignore.

The Play: PACKERS +8

Indianapolis Colts 11-5 at New England Patriots 12-4

We all know that the Colts allowed 246 rushing yards in New England's blowout win in Indianapolis in Week 11, but since then the Indianapolis defense has allowed just 110 rushing yards per game. I don't believe that New England will be able to run the ball down the throat of the Colts this time around. I also expect the Indianapolis defense to be able to play press man coverage on New England's wide receivers which will allow them to double team Gronk and keep him from having a huge game. This is a strategy that the Jets use regularly in their close battles with the Patriots. New England will most likely have Darrell Revis lock up TY Hilton, but corner back Brandon Browner can be exposed as he is regularly flagged for pass interference and defensive holding calls. The Colts also have huge weapons at tight end with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and running back Boom Herron has emerged as a good option at running back. Andrew Luck loves to go deep and the Patriots have allowed the sixth most passes of 20 yards or more this season with 28. I expect the Colts to be in this one all the way with a chance to pull the upset. Taking the points and a smaller play on the moneyline. This will be the true coming of age for Andrew Luck!

The Play(s): INDY +6½ / INDY +250 ML / INDY/NE OVER 52

At the end of the day, this a quarterbacks league and Luck & Rodgers are the 2 best in the game at this time...I can't bet against them!

Macho Man headed for WWE HOF

My favorite all-time wrasslers were Rick Flair and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The most athletic wrestler?

(Macho Man) Randy Savage, who played four years of minor-league ball under his real name: Randy Poffo.

No one came off the top rope like he did. Savage, 58, a switch-hitting outfielder and first baseman, was killed in a car accident in Florida May 20, 2011.

As Poffo, he played three years in the St. Louis Cardinals system with the rookie-Class Gulf Coast Cardinals breaking in under manager manager Tom Burgess (London, Ont.) in 1971, playing with future major leaguers Larry Herndon, Jerry Mumphrey Mike Potter, Mike Vail and Angel Torres as he hit .286 with two homers and 13 RBIs with a .912 OPS.

The next year he was back in the Gulf Coast League wCardinals ith Dan Larson and Mumphrey battng .274.

He started out with the Gulf Coast League Redbirds in 1973 before being promoted to class-A Orangeburg and manager Jim Piersall. That season he played alongside Cardell Camper and Tito Landrum. Poffo hit .282 with two homers, 11 RBIs and a .717 OPS at his two stops.

Then, he joined the 1974 Cincinnati Reds’ class-A Tampa Tarpons, which had future mahor leaguers Don Werner, Manny Sarmiento and Paul Thormodsgard. Poffo batted .232 with nine homers and 66 RBIs with a .662 OPS. An arm injury forced him to give up catching and playig the outfield concentrating on his DH duties.

“I didn’t know that he became a wrestler, but I did know he was not a ball player,” Tampa manager Russ Nixon told me years ago.

Savage was coming to Toronto for a wrestling card years ago, so an interview was set up and I called him at the Rochester, N.Y., hotel where he was staying under an assumed name.

“WELL YA KNOW, I GOTTA TELL YOU, THE THING ABOUT …” Savage began, totally wound and in TV character as if being interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund.

Sorry, I wanted to talk to you about playing baseball …elizabeth

“Oh, okay, sure what do you need?” said Savage, as he hit the off button to his ring personna.

About 10 minutes into our conversation, he turned to his wife and manager, the Lovely Miss Elizabeth and said: “Elizabeth! This guy knows more about me than I do.”

NFL Divisional Play Jan 11

Cowboys (13-4) at Packers (12-4)

Dallas' 8-0 road record is quite an accomplishment and, for whatever reason, the team seems to play better when traveling than when hosting. We're highly skeptical that the same holds true on this day. Green Bay has been unstoppable here at Lambeau Field. The Packers possess their own 8-0 mark as hosts and they've averaged 40 points per game while doing so. Visitors have scored less than 20 points on average during their unsuccessful stops here. QB Aaron Rodgers has been as near perfect as a quarterback can be with 25 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in front of the home crowd. Dallas has had an impressive season, but we don't feel that they are in Green Bay's class quite yet.

The Cowboys had to overcome a 14-0 deficit to the Lions last week, aided by some controversial refereeing. Green Bay has the ability to pile on points a lot more than Detroit could and it won't come as a surprise if the Packers get their fair share against a Dallas defence that has overachieved based on the talent of the players on the field. The Cowboys' strong offense has been able to mask the defense, but the unit hasn't seen an arsenal with Green Bay's capabilities. Dallas is most effective when utilizing RB DeMarco Murray, but as we saw last week, when Murray is contained (75 yards rushing on 19 carries), Dallas struggles to score points. Green Bay's unheralded run defense has allowed just two runners in the past seven weeks to exceed 60 yards on the ground, with none of them reaching 90 yards. That poses a major challenge for the Cowpokes. While Dallas' offense is a dangerous group, we believe Green Bay's stoppers to be a more seasoned and bona-fide group, led by such veterans as Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. Dallas' offensive line is one of its strengths, but Green Bay also employs a strong offensive line that protects its prized passer. With weapons such as Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy, Rodgers can exploit the best of defenses, let alone this Texas bunch.

Dallas is a popular team and that has certainly affected this line, but if Denver and New England are a full touchdown at home against comparable visitors, shouldn't Green Bay be the same with its dominant home play this year? Unless Rogers departs the game early, I just can't see the Boys keeping this one within the number.

The play: PACKERS -5½ -105

Colts (12-5) at Broncos (12-4)

In the recent past, we've questioned Indianapolis' credibility based on its propensity for beating up on weaker teams and not faring well against leading clubs. While those sentiments cannot be easily dismissed, we're not so sure how good the current Broncos really are. While a bye week had to help matters, Denver was a battered crew heading into its rest week. The Broncos had 22 players listed on their injury report before their season-ending game versus Oakland, and that has to be disconcerting. Some of Peyton Manning's numbers down the stretch may confirm, as the final five weeks of the season saw Manning and his offense rank 30th of 32 teams in red-zone completions. The wonky ankle of TE Julius Thomas could be largely responsible for the drop in production, as Thomas had tallied 12 touchdowns in the first nine weeks of the year, but did not score a major since Week 11 when the injury occurred. It all can't fall on Thomas, as there are other talented players on the Denver offense, but something just doesn't seem right with the Broncos these days.

I can point at games against the Bengals as a small barometer. Denver was handily beaten 38-27 by Cincinnati in a Week 15 contest that the Broncos needed to secure their division. By comparison, in two games against the Bengals, the Colts went 2-0 by a combined 53-10. Perhaps it is an aging Manning as the veteran QB seems to be counting on his smarts more than his physical abilities these days. That, too, is a concern. Even in his prime years, Manning hasn't performed particularly well in the playoffs, currently sporting an 11-12 overall record in the post-season. And it's not like he's facing a stiff. In fact, when you look at Indy QB Andrew Luck's stats as compared to Manning's, you will find that the two pivots were nearly identical, as Luck threw for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns while Peyton had 4,727 yards and 39 touchdowns. Luck also led the top passing offense in the NFL this season, averaging a whopping 406 yards per game. Even in the season opener, when these two met on this field, Luck threw for an impressive 370 yards in a 7-point loss. The Colts are an ascending group that should be up for the challenge this time around. I wish Luck had more weapons, but at his point he is soundly better than Peyton and even though the Broncos have more talent...injuries have equaled the playing field. Give me Luck plus the points!

The play: COLTS +7 +105

Lines courtesy at 8am est


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