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…

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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

 

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An Idiot’s Guide to Betting On Super Bowl XLIX

As well as being the biggest sporting event in the world, Super Bowl XLIX is the biggest gambling event in the world. You can bet on the game, the coin flip, the national anthem, the half time show, the colour of the Gatorade shower. If it happens on Sunday night, you can bet on it. But where to start with such an array of options? Here’s a newbie’s guide to avoid losing all your money on Super Bowl XLIX.

DON’T BET ON THE COIN TOSS

Betting on the pregame coin flip is the most tempting, yet most futile of all Super Bowl gambles. The odds of winning are 50/50, yet the returns are lower. There’s no skill, no advantage. It’s utterly pointless. A sneakier bet, is for the Seahawks to get the first possession and/or score first. The odds on this shouldn’t be overly weighted, but New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick (yes, him of the deflated balls) will always defer the kickoff and give the opposition the ball. (And if you really want to bet on the coin toss, remember, tails never fails.)

GO ALL IN ON SAFETIES

The odds on a safety appearing in a Super Bowl are always monstrously high (+500 with Intertops.eu) and yet in two of the last three Super Bowls, there’s been a safety. With pressure as high as it gets, mistakes are possible, and with late tactical tweaks from two of the smartest coaches around in the offing, we may even see a repeat of Baltimore’s deliberate safety from two years ago.

CLOSE GAME HEROICS

A couple of minor prop bets here: firstly, have a look at their being a score in the final two minutes of the first half (-300 with AllYouBet.ag). In Tom Brady and Russell Wilson we’ll see two of the smartest QBs in football match up, and both possess fine clock management skills which could see you cashing in on this. The other one is this: we’ve never seen a Super Bowl go to overtime, but this looks like being one of the closest games in years, and may well end up being a pick’um. With that in mind, overtime is a definite possibility.

MVP

There are two ways to approach MVP betting – the smart, QB focused approach, or the fun, ‘who’s going to become a hero’ approach. The QB approach is to back the quarterback of whichever team you think will win – as the QBs, more often than not, come away with the individual prize. Alternatively, you could look for other possibilities. Marshawn Lynch, in possible his last game as a Seahawk, is a strong shout for Seattle, but why not look further down the list. Last year’s MVP Malcolm Smith has barely been heard from since, but saw two turnovers land in his lap. Kam Chancellors’ big play ability may give him an outside shot at the award, and he possibly should have won it last year. For the Patriots, have a look at the Gronk, Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end is Tom Brady’s favourite weapon, and covering tight ends is one of the few weaknesses of the fearsome Seattle defense.

Betting Instinct tip Rob Gronkowski to be named Super Bowl MVP is +1000 with Intertops.eu

It’s not too late to grab your ticket to London’s biggest and best Super Bowl party – happening at Bloomsbury Lanes. Tickets and details at bloomsburylive.com/superbowl

Jamie avatar JAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate  amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated  twitter feed @UKNFL