Bookies Speculate on New England Patriots’ Chances without Star Quarterback Tom Brady

NFL free betThe NFL season begins next week and one of the most interesting NFL bets is on how the Patriots will fare in their first four games without Tom Brady.

Brady was given a four game suspension last spring for the so-called Deflategate controversy.

“Since the Patriots’ star quarterback got suspended for the first four games of the regular season it’ll be interesting to see how they will perform without him,” noted an Intertops Sportsbook  oddsmaker, “The pressure’s really on their backup QB, Jimmy Garoppolo.”

“We ran a Madden NFL 17 simulation of the Patriots’ first four games without suspended quarterback Tom Brady,” wrote Will Brinson, a senior writer at CBS Sports.  “New England didn’t do very well with Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo starting. Garoppolo himself wasn’t terrible, but the Patriots finished 1-3 during their first four games of the season.”

New England Patriots vs Arizona Cardinals is one of 13 games being played Sunday, September 11.  Odds on the Patriots first game of the season are currently Patriots +5.5@-110.

The Broncos are also a big question this season now that Peyton Manning has retired.  The 2016 NFL season opens September 8th when the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers.  Current odds have the Broncos at +3@-110.

It’s early days yet but oddsmakers favor the Seattle Seahawks (+750) to win the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston next February.  The New England Patriots (+800) and Carolina Panthers (+950) are also looking good.


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Can the Seahawks dig themselves out of the 0-2 hole in the NFL’s NFC West?

Seattle SeahawksOne of the biggest stories at the start of this NFL season is that the Seahawks are occupying the basement of the NFC West. The team that won the 48th Superbowl, and should have won the 49th Superbowl have given themselves an uphill struggle to reach Superbowl 50. Is the mass hysteria justified, or will the Seahawks fly back on course in and reach the playoffs?

The context to the Seahawks’ losses is certainly the most important thing to analyse before declaring them a team in meltdown. The two losses have both been on the road, to the Green Bay Packers and St Louis Rams. The Packers are a formidable force, especially at home with Aaron Rogers in the kind of mood that saw him throw 9 for 9 and 91 yards in the 4th quarter. The Rams have been the Seahawks’ bogey team and the season opening loss marks the second time in two years Seattle have lost at the death in St Louis. Both of these losses were not expected, but they were predictable. The Seahawks have got fellow 0-2 strugglers Detroit and Chicago in their next two home games, and a probable 2-2 position in two weeks time looks likely, and a lot less dreadful.

Turning an 0-2 into a positive record is one thing, but winning enough games to dispatch all of their NFC West rivals is another. One of their rivals, the 49ers, will probably be out of the playoff picture in a month judging by their cataclysmic capitulation at the hands of Pittsburgh Steelers last time out. Yes, they have Colin Kaepernick, but too many question marks surrounding him. Another rival, the Rams, started the annual “it’s going to be their year” bandwagon when beating the Seahawks. But a weak performance against a poor Washington team has threatened to derail them already. The Seahawks have enough to haul themselves back above those two, which only leads the Arizona Cardinals to deal with… The Cardinals fell short when Carson Palmer got injured last season, but now with him back and an impressive 2-0 start they are looking ominous. Larry Fitzgerald has 199 receiving yards in 2 games, and their dynamic offense looks the real deal.

The Seahawks have given a 2-win head start to the Cardinals, and that is too much for a team with an offense so frighteningly productive. The NFC West culminates with a week 17 matchup between; you guessed it, the Seahawks and Cardinals. That could well be the decider, but watch this space – one bird will be flying on top of the NFC West in January, and I think it might just be a Cardinal.

 

 

Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a UK sports journalist with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo.

Las Vegas sportsbooks report heavy losses over Sunday’s NFL opening

Las Vegas sportsbook image from Wikimedia Commons free media repository originally posted to Flickr by G0SUB.

Las Vegas sportsbook . G0SUB @ Flickr.

After several popular favorites covered the spread this weekend, Las Vegas sportsbooks say they’ve never had such a bad NFL opening Sunday. Sportsbooks usually do quite well on the first Sunday of the NFL regular season.  Last year in Week 1, underdogs covered the spread in 10 of 13 games.

The underdog Giants covered against the Cowboys in a 27-26 loss, which helped the books. However after the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins both covered the day was already a loss.

The St. Louis Rams, who took the Seattle Seahawks 34-31 in overtime, were a popular pick among savvy bettors. Some books had 2.5 times more money on the Rams. Ouch!

Although the season started off a little rocky for most, Nevada sportsbooks won an all-time high of $114 million on football in 2014.  So they don’t need our sympathy!

The journey to Super Bowl 50 has begun

Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scored the first two touchdowns of the 2015 NFL season over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21 and with that, the NFL regular season for 2015 and the journey to Super Bowl 50 have officially begun!

Coast-to-coast celebrations before the game featured Ellie Goulding and Train performing at the site of Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.

Ellie Goulding

Super Bowl 50 will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, home of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, February 7th, 2016. Online sportsbooks like AllYouBet Sportsbook offer competitive odds on all regular season games and have already taken a huge amount of bets on who will win the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy.

When asked for their Super Bowl predictions, bookmakers say they like the Packers’ and Colts’ chances of making it to the Super Bowl this time around.  It’s early days of course, but the Eagles, Seahawks and Ravens are also considered contenders.

What deflategate? Patriots will remind everyone what really makes them famous

Tom Brady deflategateThe New England Patriots face the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight in the season opener, and crucially, Tom Brady will be taking the field. It will be fascinating to see how the deflate-gate saga will have taken it’s toll on the Patriots preparation for their week 1 match-up, and the Steelers major hope is that the Superbowl winning offence led by their main-man Brady will show patches of rust.

However, if there is one quarterback in the entire NFL who has the ability to deal with a scandal and get on with it, it’s Tom Brady. Whilst the off-season media coverage will have been a notch above Brady’s normal celebrity status, it’s tough to imagine him showing any signs of the kind of indecision that might cost the Patriots a season opening win. Brady will be on the same home-ground as he has played throughout his NFL career, reading playbooks edited by the only NFL coach he has ever played under, Bill Belichick, and looking around to find the same receivers that put his newest super-bowl ring on his finger. If anything, the Patriots may be better prepared for disaster, since backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be the most well polished backup in the entire NFL.

The Steelers are unlikely to offer much resistance, either. Make no mistake, they are not a poor team, and with Big Ben Roethlisberger and star receiver Antonio Brown powering a productive offense they have the ability to hurt the Patriots. However, they will be missing the 1,361 regular season yards provided by running back Le’Veon Bell last season due to suspension. Even though many of the running success of the Steelers last season could be attributed to a much-improved offensive line, without Bell they are unlikely to be as productive on the ground as they were last season. They are also missing promising number 2 receiver Martavis Bryant through suspension and potentially key linebacker Lawrence Timmons through injury. This team will be a threat as the season progresses, but add to the suspensions a worrying propensity to concede passing yards in pre-season, and the Steelers are unlikely to be at their best for week one.

After Thursday, deflate-gate will be a distant memory. Brady will produce the kind of polished performance that has become his trademark and star receivers Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will pick up some serious yards against a helpless Pittsburgh defense that is very much in a period of transition. The Patriots biggest worry will be that the ball boy pumps the footballs up to the regulation pressure…

_______________________________

Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist from the UK with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and Baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo

 

NFL bets on RGIII and PAT seeing pre-season sportsbook action

RGIII Robert GriffinThe 2015 NFL season begins tomorrow when the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots play the Week 1 opener.  American football has seen a lot of action at online sportsbooks where they’ve taken thousands of bets on pre-season predictions. One of the most popular NFL bets has been “RGIII: Team for the 2016 season”.

“Robert Griffin III wasn’t picked as the starting QB for the Redskins this season – the spot was given to Kevin Cousins –  after Griffin suffered a concussion in Week 2 of the preseason,” noted an Intertops bookmaker.  “When RGIII was drafted in 2012, he was one of the most anticipated Rookies in the NFL, but several injuries led to today’s situation and to some experts saying that he should make a move to get his career back on track.”

Another bets that’s been active is “Regular Season PAT Success Rate – Over/Under 95.5%” following a recent NFL rule change that moves the ball for the extra point field goal or “PAT” (Point after Touchdown) from the two yard line to the fifteen yard line.

Wager on the NFL during regular season and you’ll qualify for $500 extra for the playoffs.

Until September 13th, get a 20% Kick Off Bonus when you deposit (up to $100). To claim this NFL bonus, give bonus code NFL20 to a live chat agent when you’re topping up your account.

Intertops Sportsbook has recently been completely redesigned with more wagers and attractive new parlay options. It’s also completely mobile-friendly sportsbook now.

NFL Week 17: Panthers and Chargers can sneak into Playoffs

Does Philip Rivers have what it takes to carry the Chargers into postseason?

Does Philip Rivers have what it takes to carry the Chargers into postseason?

Week 17 of the NFL season is a minefield for those betting on the NFL. Sure, picking the Broncos over the Raiders in Denver looks like free money. But nothing rivals the feeling of panic when you tune into the game and see Brock Osweiler towering over everyone in Denver’s opening huddle and Peyton Manning sat with his feet up on the sidelines. You check Osweiler’s stats for the season and realise he’s only thrown 8 passes this year, 2 of which were completed. Now you’re seriously worried (although after blowing their Monday night game against the Bengals, Denver still have the first round bye to play for).

In the final week of the season it’s just impossible to trust good teams who have already wrapped up their division and want to use this week to rest players, especially if they are playing a bad team coming off a win who want to finish the season strong (read: Oakland and Washington).

 

The key game in the playoff picture this week is the the de facto NFC South Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. It has taken 17 weeks but finally one team must begrudgingly accept the title of NFC South champion and they will enter the playoffs as a 7 win team. If you are a supporter of chaos then it’s your duty to root for the winner of this game throughout the playoffs, because who doesn’t want to see a team who finished the season with a losing record become the Super Bowl Champion?

 

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons Betting Odds:

Panthers +3.5 -105

Falcone -3.5 -115

All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

With Atlanta coming off a 30-14 road win in New Orleans and Carolina only managing to scrape past the shambolic Cleveland Browns at home you would expect this game to be Atlanta’s for the taking, and the with the line favouring Atlanta by -3.5 the bookies seem to expect the same.

But even though the Panthers aren’t blowing teams out, they are looking very reminiscent of the team that won the NFC South last year; grinding out victories by playing suffocating defense and scoring as few points as possible but enough to somehow win the game.

 

In last year’s game against Atlanta in the final week of the season, the Panthers squeaked out a 21-20 victory in the must win game, and a similar spectacle is on the cards this week. The Panthers defense is well suited to handle the Falcons’ high power offense, as for all the wealth of talent that the Falcons have at the skill positions, their offensive line is still one of the most repulsive units in the league. And for a Panthers front seven, which has finally recovered from the mid-season loss of Pro Bowler Greg Hardy, this spells good news. Rookie Kony Ealy has come on strong late into the season, notching a sack in each of his last 2 games and will be eager to be match-up up opposite rookie left tackle Jake Matthews.

Even if Matt Ryan and Julio Jones manage to get into a rhythm, the Panthers are going to keep this close and I can’t see the Falcons covering the 3.5 point spread, especially given the rejuvenated way that the chronically injured Jonathan Stewart has been playing in the past few weeks for Carolina.

The Falcons are currently undefeated at home against the NFC South, and the Panthers are undefeated on the road against the NFC South, so one of these team’s records and playoff hopes will be blemished come Sunday, and all signs point to the game being won by Graham Gano or Matt Bryant on the final kick of the game. Given the way that Ron Rivera’s teams traditionally close out seasons and Mike Smith’s utter incompetence as a head coach in important games, I would give Carolina the edge this weekend.

 

Another game with clear playoff implications and an underdog who seems primed for a victory is the AFC West match-up between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. For some reason the line in this game is Chargers +2.5. Whoever set that line must not have seen how Philip Rivers was playing last Sunday in the overtime thriller against the 49ers. He was a man possessed. After throwing 2 interceptions and gifting the 49ers a comfortable 21-0 lead at the start of the 2nd quarter, Rivers become intent on dragging his team into the playoffs by any means necessary as he tossed 4 TDs against the 5th ranked passing defense in the league.

Philip Rivers has somehow become one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the game, and he knows that if he wants to be mentioned in the discussion for who the best QB of the 2004 NFL Draft was, then he needs make like Eli and Ben and win a ring (or two). Rivers may have gone through a horrible spell towards the middle of this season when the Chargers lost 3 games in a row, but he has been on fire in his last two road games, throwing for over 700 yards and 7 TDs in games against the 49ers and Ravens.

 

The Chiefs are a team who have won 1 of their past 5 games (and that lone win was against the Raiders who they also lost to in that 5 game spell). Their offensive line is falling apart; no longer opening up huge running lanes for Jamaal Charles and failing to protect Alex Smith from the pass rush. And their plan to consistently win games without having any legitimate wide receivers has been fully exposed. They may have some impressive victories against Seattle and New England on their résumé, but this is also the same team that lost to Tennessee and Oakland, who have a combined total of 5 wins. The Chiefs have been a sloppy football team in this final stretch of the season, and with the Chargers coming off an emotional overtime victory and with all to play for, it’s hard to bet against a fired up Rivers in this game.

Betting Instinct tip – Chargers +2.5 is +100 with Intertops.eu

 

mattm MATT MCGRATH writes about American football, be it college or NCAA (because betting on unpaid student athletes is fun and definitely ethically correct). Follow him on Twitter.

 

Seahawks – 49ers rivalry renewed in Thanksgiving Day special

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Image credit: PhilipRobertson

One of the burgeoning rivalries in the NFL hits our screens once again on Thanksgiving Thursday as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

It’s not difficult to see how the rivalry has really caught fire in recent years. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and his Seahawks adversary Pete Carroll had a tempestuous relationship whilst coaching in college with Stanford and USC respectively, and that has continued after both landed roles in the NFC West.

 

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers Betting Odds:

49ers win -125

Seahawks win +105

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

It’s been one way traffic of late in these games though, with the Seahawks winning three of the last four meeting between the two sides – though all of those victories have been at home, in front of the vaunted CenturyLink Field crowd.

Finally winning against their biggest rivals on the road would really prove that Seattle are back, having stumbled their way to a 7-4 record just months after being crowned Super Bowl champions.

The keys to the game are simple; Seattle will hand the ball to star running back Marshawn Lynch time and time again, and rely on quarterback Russell Wilson to avoid turning the ball over in order to win.

It’s not a dynamic offense, with the Seahawks having only scored 30+ points in three of their 11 games this season, and it sometimes holds them back, leaving them to rely on their defense.

 

On the other side of the ball, we’ll finally get to see cornerback Richard Sherman go up against 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree again after their public spat in the NFC Championship Game back in January, whilst the return of linebacker Bobby Wagner helped the Seahawks to end Arizona’s winning streak on Sunday.

Wagner’s presence will make it harder for San Francisco to have joy in the running game, though in Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, they have a promising one-two punch at running back, whilst quarterback Colin Kaepernick is also a threat with his legs.

Defensively, the 49ers were superb against Washington on Sunday, with the return of pass rusher Aldon Smith serving as a huge boost – and he’ll be smelling blood once again as he takes on a porous Seahawks offensive line.

The emergence of rookie linebacker Chris Borland has been a welcome boost for the 49ers with Patrick Willis on injured reserve, with the former Wisconsin standout proving his reputation as a tackling machine.

 

Both teams are lagging behind Arizona in the race to win the NFC West, giving this clash something of an early play-off feel – so expect to see a feisty encounter with huge hits, plenty of running yards and a low scoring encounter as two of the NFC’s heavyweights lock horns once again.

 

Betting Instinct tip – we should expect a tight game, and under 19.5 first half points is -105 with Intertops.eu

Intertops Sportsbook is offering stake-backs up to $100 on the ‘first touchdown scorer’ market in this game, if either Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson scores a rushing TD. For this, and for more Thanksgiving NFL props, visit www.intertops.eu

Olly avatarOLLY DAWES is a Sports Management graduate and sports journalist for Here Is The City, whilst he also writes about NFL for Colts Authority.

Detroit Lions can bounce back by mauling Bears this Thanksgiving

Like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie, a Lions home game is a Thanksgiving staple

Like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie, a Lions home game is a Thanksgiving staple

It is the longest-running annual series in the NFL, and this Thanksgiving the encounter between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears could be a make or break game for Jim Caldwell’s Lions side.

 

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions Betting Odds:

Chicago Bears +250

Detroit Lions -300

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

After back-to-back reverses against tough opposition in conference leaders Arizona and New England, Detroit has a chance to get its playoff charge back on track against a Bears side that hasn’t won away from Soldier Field since October 12th.

An opening-day demolition of the New York Giants led to cautious optimism around Ford Field, and the Lions have already matched last season’s seven wins with five rounds to spare. However their participation in the playoffs hangs by a thread, meaning they will look to make the most of home-field advantage in their remaining outings. They may be helped by the return of Reggie Bush, who hopes to feature after sitting out the last two weeks with an ankle problem.

 

The Bears narrowly missed out on top spot in NFC North in 2013, but this year trail their divisional rivals going into round 12. Their last road game ended in a heavy defeat against NFC North leaders Green Bay, and they may struggle to contain in-form Golden Tate this week.

This is the first Thanksgiving match-up between the Bears and the Lions since 1999, but a repeat of the 28-10 Chicago win that day seems unlikely. The last six regular-season meetings between the sides have been split three apiece, and this week marks a great chance for the home team to record three wins in a row against the Bears for the first time since 2004.

 

Betting Instinct tip – Chicago’s slow starts see no sign of letting up, and if you fancy a repeat it could be worth backing Detroit -7 at +100 with Intertops.eu

 

Intertops Sportsbook is running a number of special promotions this Thanksgiving, including a special no-juice line on the Lions-Bears game. Head to www.intertops.eu for more information

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Mark Sanchez to be the deciding factor in Cowboys v Eagles Thanksgiving match-up

Does Sanchez have a big performance in him this Thanksgiving?

Does Sanchez have a big performance in him this Thanksgiving?

The NFL fixture list has served up an absolute Thanksgiving cracker! The Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys in one of the most fascinating games this season. Both teams are on 8-3, both teams have a bitter hatred of each other, and only one team can win the NFC East. You’d be a fool to predict the outcome of this one…. So here’s my attempt to help the fool!

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds:

Eagles +3: -105

Cowboys -3: -115

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

The Eagles are a curious case this season. Pundits (and even yours truly after week 3) have been waiting to write them off from the start. The wolf has been knocking on the door for sometime howling, “You don’t have a quarterback!” But some scintillating performances from Nick Foles over 9 weeks have kept them quiet. Even when Foles broke his collarbone, New York Jets cast-off Mark Sanchez silenced his doubters with a series of positive displays, and consequently there is a lot to be positive about in the Eagles camp. Their offense keeps churning out game-winning performances, and their go-to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is looking on top of his game.

However, one of the most proficient offensive outfits in the NFL is not backed up by a good defense. They have allowed the third most passing yards in the entire NFL, and the way they were opened up in week 10 by Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers provides concern that this defense simply can’t handle a top NFL quarterback. The only saving grace is the Eagles’ defensive line isn’t so leaky, and this may be enough to nullify the main Cowboys rushing threat, DeMarco Murray. Tony Romo is not in the same league as Aaron Rogers either, so the Eagles defense may have enough to keep the Cowboys down to a beatable offensive total. The main question mark is which Mark Sanchez will turn up? If Sanchez performs to his full capability, the Eagles have a really good chance of winning this game and taking control of the NFC East.

Anybody associated with the Cowboys probably still has nightmares about that Kyle Orton intercepted pass that handed the Eagles the 2013 NFC East title on a silver platter last time these teams met. It was the moment that crushed hopes of the Cowboys ending their 3-season playoff qualification drought, and the moment America resumed their laughter at the demise of their most famous franchise. Presently though, that interception feels like years ago, and the next Cowboys team to run-out on the field to face the Eagles will be very different one. It is a team with a balanced and productive offense, a potential MVP running back, a solid performing defense, and an impressive ability to produce big plays at big moments.

The offensive production from wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten has provided the cornerstone of their solid passing game, whilst pundits continue to run out of superlatives for the rushing production of DeMarco Murray. This is the first Cowboys team with no obvious weakness in recent memory, but as Arizona proved in week 9, they are certainly beatable. Their defense has a habit of allowing a fair few passing yards, and Philadelphia pose arguably the most potent aerial threat they have faced all season. Also, whilst Tony Romo has looked calm and collected this season, there are still question marks over his big-game presence. If the Cowboys want to take command of the NFC East and banish last year’s memories, they will have to produce their finest form on Thanksgiving.

This is a huge game, and like any big game, there is likely to be a season-defining moment that clinches it for one of these teams in the fourth quarter. Last season, a back-up quarterback threw an interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and this season, one team has a back-up quarterback who has a penchant for throwing such interceptions! You can just see it, Mark Sanchez throwing the game away on the final Eagles drive just like he did so many times in his Jets days. The home advantage and dynamic offensive threat will be enough for the Cowboys to expose the Eagles’ defensive frailties, and the Thanksgiving turkey will taste especially good in Dallas.

Intertops Sportsbook is offering a generous stake-back deal on the Cowboys-Eagles game this Thanksgiving. If a team leads at half-time but fails to win the match, a stake-back of up to $100 will be available for losing bets on the ‘1st half spread’ market.

 Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist from the UK with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and Baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo