Don’t Be Fooled by Hype: A Brit’s Picks for NFL Conference Championships this Weekend

Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos NFL

Manning will start, he will lose a record 14th playoff game, and Brady will be sizing up his Super Bowl ring finger.

After the breathtaking playoff drama, the results thus far appear to have gone by the books. The 1st seeded Broncos host the 2nd seeded Patriots for the AFC Championship, and the 1st seeded Panthers host the 2nd seeded Cardinals.

AFC Championship Game

The game at Mile-High feels like the worthy culmination of the AFC championship this year. The best two teams on paper from the start of the year, and possibly the last time we will ever see the epic Manning v Brady match-up under center. The only evidence we have to go by is an OT win for the Broncos in November that ended the Patriots perfect season, and considering how tight that contest was, this should be a tough game to pick a winner from.

In terms of playoff form, there is nothing much to reveal either. Both New England and Denver cruised into the Championship game in the end, though the Broncos might have been a bit jittery coming into the fourth quarter. Nothing unexpected happened either, except maybe the Broncos decision to go back to old faithful, Peyton Manning, instead of sticking with his very impressive replacement Brock Osweiler.

This decision may well hold the key predicting the outcome of this game. Manning was unimpressive in Denver’s victory over Pittsburgh, and with the body clock ticking and a questionable playoff record, it’s hard to see anything other than Brady taking centre stage. However, the Patriots are far from invincible, and their over-reliant passing game has shown signs of coming unstuck. Their defence against the run also came unstuck against C.J Anderson last time out, meaning the Broncos won’t be reliant on Manning’s arm.

This is the playoffs though, and there have been far too many good examples of big time players carrying teams. Brady, Gronkowski, Edelman and company are big time players, and there is too much uncertainty over a talented Broncos team under pressure. If the Broncos pick Osweiler and mix things up a bit with some creative plays, they may come out on top… but they won’t. Manning will start, he will lose a record 14th playoff game, and Brady will be sizing up his Superbowl ring finger.

NFC Championship Game

Like the AFC game, this feels like the perfect culmination to the NFC. With the Packers and the Seahawks proving that they don’t quite have enough this season in the playoffs, the big boys rightly stepped aside for the long-time second fiddles. This is also the first time these teams have seen each other this season, so it will be a fascinating match-up.

In terms of playoff paths, the Panthers showed they have no problem with post-season inexperience when they took an experienced Seattle team to the cleaners with a scintillating first half display. The Carolina defence made Russell Wilson look like he’d never seen the Seahawk’s playbook with two key picks in the first half to virtually put the game to bed before it had even started. The Cardinals were also cruising against the Packers until Aaron Rodgers’ epic two Hail Marys showed up a worrying weakness in the Cardinals secondary. Crucially, however, Carson Palmer threw another 300-yard game. He has looked ruthlessly efficient with this season’s playbook, and there is no evidence to suggest he won’t be ruthlessly efficient against this Carolina defence. Whilst Carolina have all-pro players in each part of the defensive field, there are still weaknesses to exploit, and it could be argued very effectively they have not come up against an offence as solid in the air the Cardinals. Furthermore, the Cardinals have talent on the ground to back their scintillating passing game up.

It may be foolish to rule out a 15-1 team with an MVP potential quarterback, but I genuinely think the Panthers have only gone 15-1 because the NFC has not been particularly competitive. Don’t be fooled by the odds, don’t be fooled by the hype. Carolina have not faced a team as good as the Cardinals all season and they will come unstuck against this well balanced offence in Charlotte at the final hurdle.


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.


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Can Philly fathom Rodgers?

Eagles vs. Packers should be a classic on Sunday

Aaron Rodgers is looking for another huge performance against the Eagles on Sunday!

It’s all eyes on Lambeau Field in Green Bay this Sunday when the Eagles travel to the Packers in what promises to be one of the top games of the NFL regular season’s Week 11 action.

Philadelphia looked good storming past the Carolina Panthers last Monday, whilst the Pack annihilated their bitter rivals from Chicago in a laughably one-sided affair. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has been in MVP form for most of the fall so far, threw for an amazing six first-half touchdowns – becoming only the second player in NFL history to achieve the feat.

Whilst we can’t reasonably expect more of the same this time around, Rodgers could be in for another big game as the Eagles’ defense is hardly anything to write home about. Ranked 12th in the league in points allowed per game and only 21st in yards allowed per game, head coach Chip Kelly and his staff are going to have to find something special to keep Rodgers on the leash.

On the other side of the ball, however, the Eagles are a different story altogether. At 404.3 yards per game so far they are right up their amongst the best and the good news is that regular quarterback Nick Foles’ injury doesn’t seem to have affected them. Stand-in Mark Sanchez, making his first NFL start in almost two years, did everything right against the Panthers with 332 yards and two TDs in the 45-21 win. He may have been found not good enough by the New York Jets, who are now one of the worst team in the NFL, but confidence still seems to be high and Sanchez will be relishing the challenge of resurrecting what looked like a floundering career.

The Packers have lost just three of their last 35 regular season games at Lambeau Field with Rodgers at the helm and they should prevail this time around, but their Cheesehead fans shouldn’t expect them to have an easy ride in what could yet prove to be a dress-rehearsal for the NFC Championship Game in January!

NFL Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers Betting Odds:

Philadelphia Eagles 3.1
Green Bay Packers 1.4

To win the NFC Championship Odds:

Green Bay Packers 4.0
Seattle Seahawks 4.0
Philadelphia Eagles 7.0
Arizona Cardinals 7.5

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

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Battle royal at Soldier Field!

Packers vs. Bears on Sunday!

A fierce NFL rivalry continues when the Packers face the Bears!

It’s time for one of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in the NFL to take centre stage again this weekend when the Green Bay Packers travel to the Chicago Bears for a matchup that could have serious consequences as far as the rest of the season in the NFC North is concerned.

Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, perennial favourites to take the division, are currently bottom of the standings after losing two of their first three games this season. Ok, ok, they can be forgiven for not coming away from Seattle with a win on the opening day of the season, but a shaky come-from-behind win at home to the Jets and another loss on the road at the Detroit Lions are hardly the best preparation for a trip to Soldier Field.

After slipping up at home to the Bills in Week 1, the Bears have put together back-to-back prime-time road victories at the 49ers and the Jets to make a real statement of intent for the upcoming season. Quarterback Jay Cutler, whose ability and character under pressure have been questioned in the past, is looking good and his stats even overshadow those of Rodgers as we head towards their showdown. Many experts are expecting both playmakers to shine in this high-profile duel and so a high-scoring game could well be on the cards.

The Bears lead the all-time stats between the two teams by 93 wins to 89 (6 ties), but it’s the Packers who have taken nine of their last 11 meetings and everyone in green and yellow will be doing their utmost to further improve that record this time around and get the franchsie back on track.

NFL Week 4: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears Betting Odds

Green Bay Packers 1.8
Chicago Bears 2.05

To win the NFC North Betting Odds:

Green Bay Packers    2.35
Detroit Lions             2.6
Chicago Bears           3.5
Minnesota Vikings   34.0

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

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Seattle Seahawks begin chase for back-to-back Super Bowls

Can the Seahawks make it two in a row?

Can the Seahawks make it two in a row?

The Green Bay Packers will start off the new NFL season by facing the one team that no one really wants to; The Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are of course the defending Super Bowl champions after decimating the best offense that the NFL has ever seen in the Denver Broncos, holding Peyton Manning and company scoreless till the dying stages of the game as they ran out 43-8 winners. This puts the Seahawks confidently on the “Best team in the league” pedestal until anyone can prove otherwise. The Packers may not have the same offensive firepower as the Broncos but they’re damn close.

Aaron Rodgers is a name that often features in the argument about the best quarterbacks in the league, and were it not for an untimely injury last season, he was on pace to argue his case to be considered the very best. Eddie Lacy’s development was fast-tracked by the injury to Rodgers and when his number was called, the young running back proved to be more than capable of carrying the weight of the hopes of the Cheesehead Nation, running for 1178 yards on 284 attempts and winning rookie of the season honors. Jordy Nelson and James Jones were their exemplary selves, with Jarrett Boykin and Randall Cobb filling in perfectly as third and fourth options as the team finished a respectable 8-7-1.

 

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Betting Odds:

Seattle Seahawks -265

Green Bay Packers +225

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

 

The defense always seems to be the weak point for the Packers; for all of their ability to score a dizzying amount of points, they’re also capable of giving up just as much and though they have managed to get better this offseason –including Julius Peppers to the new look defense – the loss of BJ Raji to a torn bicep is a calamity that the Packers can hardly afford. The Packers also have a new host of problems to worry about now on the other side of the football. A worrying trend for the offense has been the inability to keep Rodgers safe and upright, a task that has grown more daunting with injuries to center JC Tretter and Don Barclay, Tretter being out indefinitely and Barclay set to miss the whole season thanks to an ACL injury.
The Seahawks, as impossible as it seems, are actually improving. Those should be words that scare any NFL team since the Hawks were already an excellent team, in fact. Super Bowl winners excellent. Each year since his inception into the league, Russell Wilson has been allowed more and more freedom within the offense and this year, the offense will look to greatly expand and maximize his capabilities with a wide array of perimeter plays and formations that were kept hidden before. Throw in a healthy Percy Harvin, Christine Michael backing up “beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch and you have a recipe for an offense that will look to match the intensity of their lauded defense. The team offense lost Golden Tate and Sidney Rice but Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have made the implied decline an afterthought. Protecting Wilson will also be much easier with the return of left tackle Russell Okung, right tackle Breno Giacomini and center Max Unger.

Speaking of the defense, they’re just as formidable as before. If preseason is any indication –or the last few years really—Richard Sherman is improving, which should boggle belief but is a real thing that’s happening. The Legion of Boom plays with too much pride to allow any complacency to creep in as they look to repeat as Superbowl champions, a feat that hasn’t been done since the Patriots almost a decade ago.

 

The last time the teams met, the Seahawks won in controversial fashion in what was dubbed the “Fail Mary” game when a hail mary that seemed to be an interception was called as a touchdown since Golden Tate had his hands on the ball. This time around, there are no replacement officials but the Seahawks will not need a similar play to win either. They have shown that they can shut down any and every offense and as great as Aaron Rodgers is, he will find it incredibly difficult to not only stay upright but to find an open receiver.

 

Betting Instinct tip – The Seahawks to win the NFC Championship is +300 with AllYouBet.ag

 

BdykNApCQAEQ_-t ZITO MADU (zitov2) is a writer for SBnation, and has written for Surreal Football, LiveBreatheFutbol,  and numerous other sports sites. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

MVP is Popular Pre-season NFL Bet with Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers Seeing Most Action

NFL bet and NFL bonus

‘MVP’ and ‘Playoff Contender’s popular pre-season NFL bets

The NFL regular season may not start until next week but online sportsbooks are already seeing lots of NFL betting action. One of the hottest bets so far is on MVP. Favorites Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers are seeing the most action.

“Naturally we are seeing lots of action in the ‘To Win Super Bowl’ market, with the Seahawks (+550) favored to go back-to-back,” said AllYouBet’s oddsmaker. “We have also seen huge volume in the MVP market, with Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers getting a lot of the action.”

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NFL Bet — MVP Odds

Peyton Manning +225
Aaron Rodgers +600
Drew Brees +650
Tom Brady +1000
Andrew Luck +1800
Russel Wilson +2200
Jay Cutler +2500

NFL odds are quoted by AllYouBet.ag and subject to change.

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Another NFL bet that’s getting lots of action so far is Who Will Make the NFL Playoffs? American-style sportsbook AllYouBet.ag favors the Denver Broncos (-714) and New England Patriots (-500) Last season’s Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks, can be backed at -400.

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$100 NFL Bet Bonus
Coupon code KICKOFF14

Check AllYouBet.com for monthly Free Bet offers.

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The regular season begins next Thursday, September 4th when the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field, and both will hope to still be in the mix in February when Super Bowl XLIX comes to Arizona.

 

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The Gamblogger gambling blogLARRY COLCY (TheGamblogger) is one of the editors of BettingInstinct. He talks mainly about poker and casino games in his gambling blog and on his YouTube channel but can’t help but get caught up in sports betting during World Cup, Super Bowl and March Madness.

AFC Wild Card Sunday: Bengals earning their playoff stripes at last?

Sunday sees Cincy handed another chance to put their nightmare behind them when they host the San Diego Chargers in an AFC Wild Card encounter.

Cincy hosts the San Diego Chargers in an AFC Wild Card encounter on Sunday.

Why is January 6th 1991 a date that might stick in the minds of long-time Cincinnati Bengals fans? It was the last time that they experienced their team win an NFL playoff game! A long period of postseason abstinence then followed and although the franchise eventually managed to brush off its “Bungles” image in the mid 2000’s, four playoff appearances since 2005 have seen four straight defeats. Sunday sees Cincy handed another chance to put their nightmare behind them when they host the San Diego Chargers in an AFC Wild Card encounter. Things are looking good for the home team after running up a perfect 8-0 home record during the regular season. The Bengals will be hoping that their maddeningly inconsistent quarterback Andy Dalton has one of his better days, and the fact that they beat the Bolts on the road on December 1st will also prove to be a pre-game confidence booster.

The Chargers, who have a long-standing reputation for not liking cold north-eastern winter weather, sneaked into the postseason at the last minute. They did, however, close out the regular season with four straight wins, led by QB Philipp Rivers, who threw for nine TDs and 845 yards during that streak. After missing out on the playoffs for three straight years, the visitors will be looking to take their chance at Paul Brown Stadium, but it doesn’t really look likely that Rivers will succeed where the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers have all failed this year.

AFC Wild Card Game: San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds

San Diego Chargers         3.40
Cincinnati Bengals            1.36

(Odds provided by AllYouBet Sportsbook current of today, but subject to change)

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Rodgers back to bash the Bears

nfl-football-1

Will the return of Rodgers prove to be the decisive factor in what promises to be a thrilling finale to the regular season?

It was just like Christmas and birthday rolled into one for fans of the Green Bay Packers this week when the franchise announced that star quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be fit to lead his team in Sunday’s crucial NFL encounter at the Chicago Bears. The two deadly NFC North rivals go toe to toe at Soldier Field with the winner claiming the division crown and a place in the playoffs, whilst the loser is likely to be on the outside looking in on the postseason.

Green Bay has gone a dismal 2-5-1 in the eight games that Rodgers has been sidelined since breaking his collarbone in the first meeting with the Bears on November 4th, but his return will mean a massive boost to the team that has dominated the division in recent years. The Bears, on the other hand, somehow need to put last week’s amazing 11-54 mauling at Philadelphia behind them and concentrate on the task at hand. Home field advantage is on their side, and a tie would also be enough – but will the return of Rodgers prove to be the decisive factor in what promises to be a thrilling finale to the regular season?

Betting Odds: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, December 29th

Packers 1.67

Bears 2.30

(Odds provided by Intertops Sportsbook are current as of today, but subject to change)

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

It’s turkey treats all round for NFL fans this Thanksgiving

Family get-togethers, turkey, mashed potato, pumpkin pie – and of course top-quality American football! For NFL fans across the United States, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year with excitement on the field guaranteed from midday through to prime-time in the evening. America’s number one sport serves up a three-course menu with plenty of intriguing story lines this Thursday.

For starters it’s NFC North rivals Green Bay and Detroit getting it on from 12:30 Eastern. The Packers (5-5), inked in by many as a hot preseason Super Bowl tip, have struggled in recent weeks without injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers, completely opening up the division’s title race. A home win for the Lions (6-5) would take them a big step towards sealing what would their first division triumph since 1993!

This year’s main course sees Dallas host Oakland in another game that could prove important in deciding the destination of a division title. The Cowboys moved into pole position in the NFC East after beating the resurgent Giants on the road last weekend and start a strong favourite to underline their ambitions against a 4-7 Raiders team that no longer harbors hopes of being around in the playoffs.

One team that blew its chances of a division title by losing its first four games is Pittsburgh, but a recent upturn in form has lifted the gloom from the record Super Bowl champion and suddenly put a playoff Wild Card within sight. Thanksgiving’s dessert serves up one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL when Ben Roethlisberger and Co. pay a visit to Baltimore. Both the Steelers and the Ravens have identical 5-6 records and both need to win to bolster their playoff hopes – how about that to wash down a fine football feast?

Intertops Sportsbook adds to the holiday fun with special Stake Back offers on all three Thanksgiving games, allowing you to claim up to a total of $300 in Free Bets.

Packers 3.2                  Lions 1.38

Raiders 4.65                Cowboys 1.21

Steelers 2.3                  Ravens 1.67

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on American sports, especially NFL football and NBA basketball.