Hello Football Fans,
Enjoy the game on Sunday; the football season is nearly complete, but another season has already started - college National Signing Day and 2016 NFL draft talk.
Check out the Super Bowl proposition bets (I've detailed some of them).
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL
(This column was late due to temp delay. A bonus sports link has been added for your extra pleasure - Ed)
SUPER BOWL 50 PREVIEW
Sunday, February 7th 3:25PM Pacific (6:25PM Eastern)
Santa Clara, CA in Levi’s Stadium (“Field of Jeans”), home of SF 49’ers
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-5h) vs. DENVER BRONCOS (+5h)
A FEW MORE TIDBITS
Since last week’s minutia concerning the game, following are a few more tidbits to use during your Super Bowl party, as the occasion arises.
The CAR Panthers had the NFL’s #1 scoring offense this year, averaging 31.3 points per game, and outscored their opponents by 192 points during the regular season (ranked #1). The Panthers were also #1 in turnover differential (+20) and in takeaways (39).
The Denver Broncos had the NFL’s #1 defense in total yards allowed, giving up an average of only 283.1 yards per game.
Broncos’ fans: Teams ranked NFL#1 in defense have posted a 9-2 record in the Super Bowl (outright victory in 9 of 11).
Denver has a 14-1 record this year (including the playoffs) when giving up 24 points or less. They lost at home to Oakland in Week #14, 15-12.
The CAR Panthers have rushed for at least 100 yards from scrimmage in 31 straight games, including the playoffs (going for 32 on Sunday). No other team in the NFL accomplished this feat for each of its sixteen regular season games this year (2015).
What team was the last to accomplish this feat – at least a 31-game stretch of rushing for at least 100 yards per game?
Bonus: Name the two running backs who were primarily responsible.
ANSWER: See the Quiz Question section at bottom of letter.
THE STRAIGHT BETS
Carolina is favored by 5½ points over underdog Denver. You generally have to pay the house for the privilege of betting, so you must bet $11 to win $10 and get paid a total of $21 for a winning ticket (i.e., a “straight” bet). A CAR Panthers’ bet to cover the spread (win the game by 6 or more points) is symbolized as “-110” (bet $110 to win $100). A DEN Broncos’ bet to cover the spread (lose the game by 5 points or less, or win the game outright) in this case is also “-110”; you must bet $11 to win $10, but you are getting 5½ points.
The Over/Under “TOTAL” for the game is 44½ points, representing the total points scored in the game by both teams combined. The Over bet is “-110” (bet $11 to win $10, unless otherwise designated), and this bet is a winner if the teams combine to score at least 45 points (e.g., DEN 27, CAR 23). The Under bet is also generally “-110”, and this bet is a winner if the two teams score 44 points or less (e.g., CAR 24, DEN 17).
Alternatively, you can bet either team separately, and the Over/Under for these bets is:
DENVER over/under 20 points -110
CAROLINA over/under 24½ points -110
NOTE: All of these numbers can and are likely to change right up until game time, and different bookies sometimes have different odds on the same bets (including the bets below).
For the Super Bowl, there are many other “proposition” bets made available by the gambling houses. Following are a few examples.
ALTERNATIVE POINT SPREADS (other than the straight bet above)
CAR -7h +140 Carolina must win by 8 points or more; bet $10 to win $14 for a
total payout of $24
CAR -10h +200 Carolina must win by 11 points or more; bet $10 to win $20 for a
total payout of $30
CAR -14h +350 Carolina must win by 15 points or more; bet $10 to win $35 for a
total payout of $45
DEN +7h -160 Denver can lose by 7 or less, or win; bet $16 to win $10
DEN +10h -240 Denver can lose by 10 or less, or win; bet $24 to win $10
DEN +14h -420 Denver can lose by 14 or less, or win; bet $42 to win $10
CAR +3h -400 Carolina to lose by 3 or less, or win; bet $40 to win $10
CAR +7h -650 Carolina to lose by 7 or less, or win; bet $65 to win $10
CAR +10h -900 Carolina to lose by 10 or less, or win; bet $90 to win $10
DEN -3h +330 Denver to win by 4 or more; bet $10 to win $33, payout $43
DEN -7h +475 Denver to win by 8 or more; bet $10 to win $47.50, payout $57.50
DEN -10h +600 Denver to win by 11 or more; bet $10 to win $60, payout $70
OTHER PROP BETS
Will there be a missed extra point (PAT) in the game?
YES +325 (3.25 to 1 odds)
NO -450 (1 to 4.5 odds)
Will there be an earthquake during the game?
YES +1000 10-to-1 odds
Will there be a special teams or defensive TD scored in the game?
Will either backup QB take a snap in the game?
First team to score a TD?
Will first team to score win the game?
Former NFL referee Mike Carey will be a consultant in the broadcast booth, giving his opinion on challenged calls during the game. Will he be wrong about a challenge?
Which quarter in the game will have the most points scored?
1ST +500 (5-to-1)
2ND +160 (8-to-5)
3RD +450 (9-to-2)
4TH +250 (5-to-2)
Largest lead of the game by either team:
OVER 13½ -190 Bet $19 to win $10, payout $29
UNDER 13½ +170 Bet $10 to win $17, payout $27
Longest TD of the game by either team:
OVER 43½ -110 Straight bet
UNDER 43½ -110 Straight bet
Longest pass completion by Peyton Manning?
OVER 34½ -110 Straight bet
UNDER 34½ -110 Straight bet
Will Peyton Manning throw an interception?
YES -220 More likely
NO +190 Less likely
Will Cam Newton score a touchdown (TD pass doesn’t count)?
Total rushing yards by Cam Newton:
OVER 37½ -110
UNDER 37½ -110
Note: the Super Bowl record is 64 yards by Steve McNair in XXXIV
Gross passing yards in the game by:
MANNING OVER/UNDER of 235.5 yards -110
NEWTON OVER/UNDER of 240.5 yards -110
Player to score first TD of the game:
CAR RB Jonathan Stewart +800 (8-to-1)
CAR QB Cam Newton +800
CAR TE Greg Olsen +800
CAR WR Ted Ginn Jr. +1000
DEN WR Demaryius Thomas +1000
DEN WR Emmanuel Sanders +1000
No TD scored in the game +20000 (200-to-1 odds)
Jersey Number of Player to score 1st TD of the game:
OVER 22½ -130
UNDER 22½ +110
Color of liquid poured on the winning coach:
COLDPLAY’s first song at halftime:
Adventure of a Lifetime +200
Fix You +350
A Sky Full of Stars +450
Viva La Vida +500
Speed of Sound +900
Head Full of Dreams +1000
Color of BEYONCE’s footwear at halftime:
National Signing Day was yesterday (Wednesday, February 3rd); highly touted high school recruits made their final decisions on which colleges they will be attending. And of course various ranking services determine which players are the most highly touted, and then each of those services declare the winner of the recruiting wars. Following are several examples of Top 10 results, including Rivals.com, the ESPN 300, and the 247Sports Composite (combined rankings of all major services):
COLLEGE Rivals ESPN300 247Sports
Alabama #1 #2 #1
Florida State #2 #1 #2
Ohio State #3 #5 #4
Michigan #4 #6 #5
Clemson #5 #8 #10
LSU #6 #3 #3
Mississippi #7 #4 #6
Southern California #8 not Top10 #8
Auburn #9 #9 #9
Georgia #10 #7 #7
Texas #13 #10 not Top10
The CFP National Champion Tide won the Rivals.com recruiting wars for the 7th time in the last 10 years (and finished at the top of the 247Sports Composite rankings for the 6th straight year). Per Rivals.com, the Crimson Tide signed 24 players, consisting of five 5-star recruits, ten 4-stars, and nine 3-stars (none ranked less than 3-star), for an average recruit ranking of 3.83 stars, the highest for all colleges this year. #2 FSU had a 3.72-star average and #3 Ohio State had a 3.79-star average (higher than #2, but evidently lesser “quality” within each category).
Disparity in Recruiting Talent
Besides SEC Alabama, no other college had more than three 5-star signees, and only two schools had even that many – both SEC schools, Ole Miss and Georgia. In contrast, Rivals.com #42 Iowa signed 24 players, but had zero 5-star and zero 4-star recruits and 21 three-star signees for a 2.88-star average. The rich get richer, and the poor…. get better coaching to remain competitive each year. Actually, the schools that are unable to attract the most highly sought-after athletes have high hopes each year that the rankings are not all that reliable, and that many 3-star and lower-ranked high schoolers will be more productive in college than projected by the rating services.
2016 NFL MOCK DRAFT
The pro football experts at www.NFL.com are already projecting who will be drafted in late April (Daniel Jeremiah Jan 17th, Buddy Brooks Jan 17th, Lance Zeirlein Jan 22nd, and Chad Reuter Jan 29th). Of course, many other pundits are currently doing the same.
Following are Reuter’s projections and then alternatives when the other three experts had a different selection.
NFL Team Position/Player College Alternatives
#1 TEN OT Laremy Tunsil MISS DE Joey Bosa (OH.St)
#2 CLE QB Jared Goff CAL a QB- Carson Wentz (NDSU)
#3 SD OT Ronnie Stanley ND OT Tunsil, DE Buckner (OREG)
#4 DAL QB Carson Wentz N.D. State DE Bosa
#5 JAX CB Jalen Ramsey FSU DE Buckner
#6 BAL DE Joey Bosa OH State CB Hargreaves(FL); Ramsey,Stanley
#7 SF WR Laquon Treadwell MISS OLB Myles Jack (UCLA)
#8 MIA DE Shaq Lawson Clemson OLB Jaylon Smith (ND); M. Jack
#9 TB CB Vernon Hargreaves FL DE (Lawson) or CB (Eli Apple)
#10 NYG DE DeForest Buckner Oregon OLB Smith; RB E. Elliott (OH.St)
#11 CHI OLB Myles Jack UCLA DT; CB; ILB Reggie Ragland (ALA)
#12 NOR NT Andrew Billings Baylor QB Wentz, DT, CB
#13 PHI DT A’Shawn Robinson ALA OT-Staley or Conklin (Mich.St)
#14 OAK OLB Jaylon Smith ND CB; DT Nkemdiche (Miss)
#15 LARams QB Paxton Lynch Memphis QB Wentz
#16 DET OT Taylor Decker OH State DT-Butler, Reed, Robinson
#17 ATL DE Kevin Dodd Clemson DE, OLB, or ILB
#18 IND OT Jack Conklin Mich. St OT Decker
#19 BUF OLB Darron Lee OH State DT or DE
#20 NYJ ILB Reggie Ragland ALA OLB or OT
#21 WSH CB Mackenzie Alexander CLEM RB Elliott or WR
#22 HOU RB Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott OH.ST WR
#23 MIN WR Josh Doctson TCU WR Treadwell
#24 CIN WR Braxton Miller OH State OLB Lee; WR C. Coleman (Baylor)
#25 PIT CB Eli Apple OH State TE Hunter Henry (ARK)
#26 SEA DT Sheldon Rankins Louisville OT, NT, DT
#27 GB DT Jarran Reed ALA NT or DE
#28 KC DT Jonathan Bullard Florida OLB or CB
#29 AZ OLB Leonard Floyd Georgia DE
#30 NE forfeited the pick due to DEFLATEGATE punishment by NFL
#31 DEN OG Vadal Alexander LSU OT, OC, RB Derrick Henry (ALA)
#32 CAR S Darian Thompson BOISE St OLB, DE, S Karl Joseph (W.VA)
Defensive linemen are stellar this year; there are 10 to 12 DL considered to have “1st round talent”.
The quarterback class is deep, but not necessarily strong at the top. Many are projected to be mid-rounders and will enter the league as “backups”. Teams will be looking for the next Kirk Cousins, who was drafted by the WSH ‘Skins in the 4th round after having selected QB Robert Griffin III in the first round of the same draft.
FOOTBALL NEWS and MINUTIA
NEW LOS ANGELES TEAM(S)
The San Diego Chargers and owner Dean Spanos have reached a tentative agreement with owner Stan Kroenke and the Los Angeles Rams about sharing the new stadium to be built in Inglewood. The SD Bolts will remain in San Diego for the 2016 football season while the team negotiates with the City of San Diego to determine whether a new stadium will be built in the San Diego area (including a taxpayer vote this summer for partial funding of the stadium by the public). If Spanos doesn’t accept the city’s plan this year, the Chargers will move to Los Angeles for the 2017 season.
Right now, my understanding is that the NFL would contribute $300MM to the City of San Diego for a new stadium, and the Chargers would save $550MM by not having to pay the league for relocation of the team to LA. Plus, Spanos could throw in some money of his own as a capital investment. The remainder of the stadium costs would have to be picked up by the taxpayers.
The number of diagnosed concussions in the NFL has increased. The statistics include team practices starting with training camps, and preseason and regular season games. For 2015, there were 271 diagnosed cases, 234 suffered in games and 37 in practices. Last year (2014), there were only 204, or 32% fewer.
During regular season games, there was a 58% increase in diagnosed concussions from 2014 to 2015. The cases included some common causes such as “contact with another helmet” (92), “contact with playing surface” (29), and “contact with a shoulder” (23).
The preliminary cause for the increase is greater identification of and the self-reporting by affected athletes and increased awareness by trainers and medical personnel. The NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee believes the increase is due to the lowered threshold for diagnosing a concussion, not because there are actually more concussions suffered on the field.
The enhanced concussion protocol was implemented by the NFL after the 2012 season. There had been 261 identified cases during the 2012 season, and there were 229 diagnosed concussions during the 2013 season.
COLLEGE COACHING CHANGE
Southern Mississippi HC Todd Monken decided to jump to the NFL as an offensive coordinator/WR coach for the TB Buccaneers. Replacing him will be Jay Hopson, former head coach of Alcorn State (2012-2105) and previously the DC for the USM Golden Hurricanes from 2005-2007.
NFL PLAYER NEWS
Johnny “former Football” Manziel will be cut by the CLE Browns, but not until the first day of the NFL’s new league year on March 9th. New HC Hue Jackson doesn’t want his baggage, and neither does the new front office. He was drafted by Cleveland in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the #22 overall pick. Manziel continues to have “incidents” off the field, but some team will probably sign him in the offseason and give him a chance (most likely as a backup).
Dallas? Or would the Cowboys be better off picking up RG III after he is released by Washington?
It appears as if DET Lions’ WR Calvin “Megatron” Johnson will retire at age 30 after a stellar nine-year career in the NFL. That sounds eerily similar to a former Lions’ running back who retired “prematurely” – Barry Sanders (retired at age 30 after nine-year career).
The Buffalo Bills hired the first ever woman coach. Her name is Kathryn Smith.
DAILY FANTASY SPORTS (DFS)
The DFS industry (e.g., DraftKings, FanDuel) took another blow last week. Vantiv Entertainment Solutions (VES), a major payment processer for DFS, has discontinued doing business with the fantasy sports industry as of January 30th. The attorney generals in several states have declared DFS illegal gambling (NY, TX, IL, VT, others). NY and NV have bans on DFS websites within their states. PA and CA are currently working to regulate the industry. Utah has zero legalized gambling of any kind in the state. Meanwhile, Hawaii has no legalized gambling in the state but is attempting to legalize DFS with proper handling by the state (probably for the extra revenue). The federal government (judicial and/or legislative branch) are most likely going to have to step in, but maybe not. Stay tuned.
FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION
QUESTION #1 was posed at the top of this newsletter. What team prior to the Carolina Panthers rushed for 100 or more yards from scrimmage in at least 31 straight games?
Bonus: Name the two key RB’s on this team.
The 1969-1970 Pittsburgh Steelers with Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris.
EXTRA CREDIT for those who break down Super Bowl 50 By The Numbers - Ed