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  1. #16
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    Five simple rules for dipping your toes in Super Bowl betting

    The Julio Jones effect for Super Bowl LI: Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel will benefit from facing single coverage.

    Occam’s razor is a philosophical principle that, in layman’s terms, essentially states that the simplest answer is generally the better answer.

    With a full two weeks separating Conference Championship weekend from Super Bowl Sunday, it’s easy to suffer from paralysis by over-analysis in regards to the myriad wagering opportunities the sports books present for this most holy of gambling holidays. Think about it: We aren’t even a full five days removed from the AFC and NFC Championship games and yet, the opening point spread of New England -3 over Atlanta for Super Bowl LI has already been dissected and discussed ad nauseam. And that’s before either team has even touched down in Houston to begin their preparations.

    So the purpose of this week’s NFL column is really quite simple: Take a deep breath, exercise patience and commence the process of dipping our toes into the water. What follows are my initial thoughts as to some integral angles worth pursing in a more in-depth fashion next week once we commence rolling out the absolute best Super Bowl LI gambling coverage available anywhere on the planet.

    1. Experience: The Patriots enter Super Bowl LI with a roster that includes 21 players with prior Super Bowl experience, an architect in Bill Belichick who will be coaching his 36th playoff game and a quarterback in Tom Brady who will be starting his 34th postseason contest. Conversely, the Falcons boast a roster with just four players who have prior Super Bowl experience, a head coach in Dan Quinn who is in just his second season on the job and a quarterback in Matt Ryan who is 3-4 lifetime in the postseason. New England knows how to handle the demands that come from friends, family, the media, etc. in the build-up to a Super Bowl appearance. Atlanta does not. Edge: New England.

    2. Julio Jones: The six-year veteran wideout ranked second in the NFL this season in receiving yards (1,409) and has been En fuego during the playoffs with 15 receptions for 247 yards and three scores through just eight quarters of action. But if there’s one thing we know about Bill Belichick, it’s that he’s a master at taking away an opponent’s top offensive weapon. In this case, that likely means playing man-to-man coverage on Jones with either cornerback Logan Ryan or Eric Rowe while simultaneously rolling a safety over the top to double-team the explosive Atlanta wide receiver. Whether or not Jones can fight through the double teams on Super Bowl Sunday is irrelevant. Instead, focus on the fact that Atlanta wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel will benefit from facing single coverage for the better part of professional football’s ultimate game. And you know what that means, right? Yep, we’re most likely going to bet the OVERS on all receptions and receiving yards props involving both Sanu and Taylor.

    3. Unstoppable force vs. Immovable object: February 5 will mark the eighth time in Super Bowl history in which the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense (Atlanta) goes head-to-head with the league’s No. 1 scoring defense (New England). In the previous seven title game encounters between the top offense and the top defense, the top defense has posted a record of 6-1 both straight-up and against-the-spread. Take a look:

    2014: Seattle 43, Denver (-2.5) 8
    1991: New York Giants 20, Buffalo (-7) 19
    1990: San Francisco (-12) 55, Denver 10
    1985: San Francisco (-3.5) 38, Miami 16
    1979: Pittsburgh (-3.5) 35, Dallas 31
    1970: Kansas City 23, Minnesota (-12) 7
    1967: Green Bay (-14) 35, Kansas City 10

    4. Points, points and more points: Super Bowl LI currently features a total of 58.5 points which, if it holds, would be the highest over/under in Super Bowl history. From a historical perspective, the OVER has cashed in four of the last six Super Bowls. In addition, the OVER is 4-1 in the five previous Super Bowls that have featured a matchup between the No. 1 scoring offense and No. 1 scoring defense (no total was offered for Super Bowl I). From a team perspective, the UNDER went 10-8 in New England games this year while the OVER went 15-2-1 in Atlanta contests this season. If you’re looking to make a contrarian play on the UNDER, you can go ahead and wait until Super Bowl Sunday, as the betting public will no doubt drive the current total higher prior to kickoff.

    5. The road less traveled: There’s no such thing as a “home team” when it comes to playing at a neutral site. There is, however, such a thing as a “road team” when it comes to playing at a neutral site, as each franchise will find itself in an unfamiliar city sleeping in unfamiliar beds while playing in an unfamiliar stadium. So don’t waste any of your precious time over the next week studying home trends. Instead, focus on how both New England and Atlanta performed away from their home confines this season. In regards to the Patriots, New England went 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS on the road in 2016 while winning by an average of 12.6 points per game. As for Atlanta, the Falcons went 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS while outscoring the opposition by an average of 9.5 points per contest. The edge here may lie with the Patriots, but both of these organizations performed well above the norm when on the road in 2016.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    Six mistakes Super Bowl bettors make

    The bigger the game the bigger the action - and unfortunately, the bigger the bloopers. Whether you're a seasoned sports bettor or wagering for the first time, the Super Bowl has a unique set of pitfalls to look out for. Jason Logan points out these mistakes before it's too late.

    Betting the Big Game?

    Of course you are. It’s the Super Bowl. What a stupid question.

    But massive matchups like the Super Bowl breed stupidity, especially when it comes to sports bettors. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time gambler or a seasoned sharp: the Super Bowl can make even the most disciplined bettor lose their god damn mind.

    There’s a little less than two weeks before the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots showdown in Houston on February 5. That’s more than enough time to completely tank your Super Bowl bets. It’s also plenty of time to heed these warnings.

    Here are six mistakes Super Bowl bettors can make:

    You bet too early/too late


    If you’ve been paying attention to the early line moves for Super Bowl LI, you’ve seen the Patriots go off at anything from -2.5 to -4, after kicking the snot out of the Pittsburgh in the AFC title game.

    If you’re a Pats backer and you didn’t get down on that small spread (which was offered before the AFC Championship was even over), you may have missed your chance. Maybe you jumped the gun and took Atlanta +2.5 and watched free points pass you by.

    First off, let those odds go, ‘cause man they’re gone. Second, breathe. Third, realize that there are two weeks of wagering to be had on this game and that 97 percent of the money doesn’t come in until the 48 hours before game time. That means movement is coming. Fourth, get an opinion and plan of attack. Know what you realistically want for a line and how much you want to pay for it.

    Patriots fans, you may want to grab the -3 on your beloved team now. Books took early money on Belichick's boys and New England is the most public team in all of football - maybe in all of sports betting - so it may not get any better than giving a clean field goal. Falcons backers, you may want to wait out that movement and see if you can get a half-point hook on that line or maybe even Atlanta +4 before showtime.

    In the past two Super Bowls, there has been some very aggressive line movement. So hold tight, you might get what you want. That said, don’t let a solid number pass you by.

    Waiting out a line move (I think that's a Bob Seger song...) that may never come could have you scrambling on Super Sunday and playing an over-juiced number or grabbing a spread you’re not crazy about.

    Prop contradictions

    The best plan of attack for wagering on Super Bowl props is to start with the spread and total, and then work backwards. Figure out how the game will play out. If you have Atlanta to cover, then who and what will get it there.

    If you like the Under, make sure your prop plays coincide with those wagers. That means taking the Under in passing props, leaning toward the Over in rushing props and having a few more “No” than “Yes” bets.

    The worst thing you can do is have props that go against each other in the Super Bowl.

    If you think Matt Ryan continues the hot hand and lights the Patriots up for massive gains, then don’t load up on the Over in the Falcons' rushing yard props.

    Believe New England will slow the pace and eat up time of possession with a run-heavy playbook? You may want to shy away from Julian Edleman's Over on total receptions prop and instead think Over for how many carries LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis will have.

    Didn’t pay attention to prices

    One of the worst rookie mistakes a new bettor can muff is not paying attention to the juice attached to each wager. And especially come Super Bowl time, when you’re not just limited to a side and total, bettors can easily overpay for props and alternative wagers.

    Certain props can hold a hefty price tag, either set that way to draw action or adjusted after the betting market has had its say. Professional handicappers are always wary of high-priced moneyline favorites, setting a limit to just how much they’ll put down. Some pros won’t pay more than -150 for a bet and it may be a rule you integrate into your Super Bowl capping.

    On top of some extremely juiced prop prices, books limit the amount you can wager on these alternative bets. So, throwing down $20 on a -170 prop bet is only going to net you like $12 in profit. And playing vig-heavy props can turn a winning record into a loss. Nothing stings like going 5-3 on your bets and still ending up in the red.

    Halftime lines/chasing

    In a game as big as the Super Bowl, bettors can panic if things aren’t going according to plan by the time they start setting up the halftime show stage. That can often lead to people chasing their first-half prop losses and going against what they so intensely handicapped for the past two weeks.

    Halftime lines hold value, as do in-game live betting odds, if you have a strong opinion. Many times, when a game didn’t play to the oddsmakers’ expectations in the first two quarters – high total had low-scoring first half or favorite underperformed – things will correct themselves in the second half.

    But, when faced with the shame of a Super Bowl loss, some bettors will go against their existing bets just to have some black ink on the board. If they took the Over, and the halftime score is 10-7, they pull the trigger on the second-half Under. If they laid the favorite, and the chalk is getting beat up through two frames, then side with the underdog.

    As mentioned, these abnormalities often even out and bettors can quickly wipe out a winning bet – that was perfectly handicapped – with a horrific halftime wager or live bet placed in sheer panic.

    Too much media

    Trust your instincts when it comes to the Super Bowl line. If you’ve watched the NFL intensely each week since the preseason and haven’t missed a minute of playoff action, you already have a firm grip on the two Super Bowl teams and how things should shake down.

    If your knee-jerk reaction was “Atlanta +3 is easy money”, then it probably is. But for the next two weeks, the media is going to break down this game and put it back together 100 times. You will second guess your wager probably just as much.

    Like a promoter hyping up a title fight, the Super Bowl will be sold as the matchup of all matchups. Both sides will present excellent reasons why they’ll win. The public consensus will flip flop like fish. Sharps will be on the Patriots one day and the Falcons the next. Stat heads will throw trends and numbers at you that go all the way to the invention of the forward pass.

    And in the end, what was supposed to be a tightly-contested game with a field-goal spread is a 22-0 wash at halftime. So much for all the media hype.

    Stick to your guns. First instincts are usually the right ones. Don’t over-soak your brain in two weeks’ worth of media mush. Pick and choose who you listen to, or get your bets down and tune out the Big Game buzz until kickoff like avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers. I'm only on Season 2, damn it!

    You sucked all the fun out of it

    If you’re a fan of the Patriots or Falcons – you’ve earned the right to be a little uptight for this game. I would be if my team was playing in the Super Bowl. But for the rest of us losers, who are left to just bet on the Big Game, don’t ruin what is the final football game that matters until Week 1.

    Some guys think “Big Game” equals big bets. If you’ve been stashing your nickels away for a big-ass betting bonanza on Super Bowl Sunday, then have at it – but only if it’s within your means. Nothing takes the fun out of watching the Super Bowl like wondering how you’ll pay the rent after a disastrous interception in the end zone.

    And if you’re watching the game with friends or even in a sports bar around strangers, keep your rage in check. There’s no need to start dropping f-bombs and getting your Tom Brady Underoos in a bunch because you didn’t nail that coin flip bet.

    Sports betting is entertainment. And there’s no bigger show than the Super Bowl. Enjoy the game, win or lose.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #18
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    NFL
    Long Sheet

    Super Bowl

    Sunday, February 5

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NEW ENGLAND (16 - 2) vs. ATLANTA (13 - 5) - 2/5/2017, 6:30 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    NEW ENGLAND is 15-3 ATS (+11.7 Units) in all games this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 15-3 ATS (+11.7 Units) in all lined games this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 14-3 ATS (+10.7 Units) as a favorite this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 34-19 ATS (+13.1 Units) in all games where the total is greater than or equal to 49.5 since 1992.
    NEW ENGLAND is 10-2 ATS (+7.8 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 7-1 ATS (+5.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 81-53 ATS (+22.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season since 1992.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    NFL
    Short Sheet

    Super Bowl

    New England at Atlanta, 6:30 PM ET
    New England: 12-3 ATS after scoring 35 points or more last game
    New England: 8-1 OVER after 2 straight wins by 10 or more points
    Atlanta: 10-28 ATS after gaining 375 or more total yards in 2 consecutive games
    Atlanta: 9-0 OVER in all games where the total is greater than or equal to 49.5




    NFL

    Super Bowl

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    6:30 PM
    NEW ENGLAND vs. ATLANTA
    New England is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Atlanta
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of New England's last 6 games when playing Atlanta
    Atlanta is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against New England
    Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing New England


    ----------------------------------------

    NFL
    Dunkel

    Super Bowl

    New England @ Atlanta

    Game 101-102
    February 5, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    New England
    146.607
    Atlanta
    147.392
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    New England
    by 1
    61
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    New England
    by 3
    58 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Atlanta
    (+3); Over




    NFL
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Super Bowl

    Falcons vs Patriots (-3, 58.5)— Here are my thoughts on the Super Bowl:


    Scores of the six Super Bowls with Brady/Belichick in them:

    SB36— NE 20, Rams 17
    SB38— NE 27, Carolina 24
    SB39— NE 24, Philadelphia 21
    SB42— Giants 17, NE 14
    SB46— Giants 21, NE 17
    SB49— NE 28, Seattle 24

    - Notice a pattern? All decided by 4 or less points.

    — Since 2010, NFL head coaches are 3-22 in their first game against Belichick. This will be Dan Quinn’s first game as a head coach against Belichick.

    — Patriots are 4-0 vs Falcons in the Brady era; three of those four games were in Atlanta.

    — New England is 13-1 in games Brady played this year; they lost 31-24 at home to Seattle on November 13. Patriots covered their last seven games.

    — Falcons won their last six games (5-1 vs spread), scoring 39 pts/game- they’re 5-1 SU as an underdog this year, with only loss at Philly, the same day the Patriots lost to Seattle.

    — Over is 15-2-1 in Atlanta games this season, 11-0 in domed stadiums; over is 7-7 in games Brady played in this year- last three Patriot games went over.

    — I’m not fond of QB’s playing in their first Super Bowl; you read articles about how the whole experience can be overwhelming for a first-timer.

    — Prediction: New England, 31-27. Hope I’m wrong.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #19
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    NFL's biggest betting mismatches: Super Bowl edition

    Malcolm Butler will be giving up four inches and 30 pounds to Julio Jones, making this one of the few mismatches the Falcons have at their disposal.

    Here are the biggest betting mismatches for Super Bowl LI:

    Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots (-3, 58.5)


    The final game of the NFL season has arrived, as the Falcons and Patriots do battle to determine who will be crowned champion. As you can well imagine, Sunday's showdown features two teams that are rather evenly-matched - but that doesn't mean there aren't weaknesses on both sides that the opponent will look to exploit.
    Here are four of the more pronounced mismatches you'll find heading into Super Bowl LI in Houston:

    Patriots' red-zone scoring vs. Falcons' downfield defensive doldrums

    New England did just about anything it wanted on offense, scoring the most points in the AFC despite being without star quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the regular season. Between Brady's sensational performance, a stout running game led by LeGarrette Blount and solid performances from the entire receiving corps, opposing teams had little shot at stopping the Patriots, especially in the red zone. And that just happens to be where the Falcons' defense struggles most.

    Coming into the final weekend of the season, New England ranks ninth in the NFL in percentage of red-zone visits converted into touchdowns at 63.8 percent. That rate is even higher over the Pats' last three games (69.2 percent). New England was almost equally proficient at home (64.1 percent) compared to the road (63.3 percent), but actually came in slightly lower than their 2015 red-zone TD rate (65.2 percent), which ranked fourth in the NFL.

    For as prolific as the Atlanta offense has been, the Falcons have been positively dismal when it comes to slowing down opposing teams inside the 20-yard line. Atlanta has posted the worst opponent red-zone touchdown rate in the league at 72.1 percent, and has been only slightly better over its previous three games (66.7 percent). With rates above 70 percent both at home and on the road, Atlanta has been consistently underwhelming - and it could cost the Falcons the Super Bowl.

    Patriots' yards after the catch vs. Falcons' YAC struggles

    How did Brady rack up more than 3,500 passing yards in just 12 games? The future Hall of Famer still has a great arm, but he also had plenty of help this season, and two guys in particular were pivotal to helping Brady reach the 3,500-yard plateau for the 14th time in his illustrious career. Yards gained after the catch helped New England roll past its opponents - and while Atlanta can certainly keep pace on offense, its defense had a rough season in the YAC department.

    The Patriots posted an average YAC of 6.34 yards per reception; coincidentally, only the Falcons have a higher YAC on the season (6.37). New England had a pair of players finish in the top eight in total YAC, with running back James White compiling 540 of his 551 total receiving yards after the catch - good for sixth in the league. Wide receiver Julian Edelman wasn't far behind, finishing with 505 yards after the catch - nearly half of his 1,106-yard tally for the season.

    White and Edelman will look to add to their lofty totals Sunday against a Falcons unit that was torched all season. Atlanta allowed the most yards after the catch in the league (2,126), their 132.9 YAC allowed per game slightly higher than that of the runner-up Indianapolis Colts (132.3). And if that wasn't alarming enough, the Patriots were the league's best in YAC allowed, limiting opponents to just 1,463 yards after the catch - an average of just 91.4 per contest.

    Julio Jones vs. Malcolm Butler and the Pats' secondary

    While the majority of the focus in this post has been on how the teams match up against one another on the whole, there's one pairing that could cause the Patriots fits on Sunday. Atlanta not only has superstars at quarterback and running back in Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman, it also employs one of the league's most electrifying receivers in Julio Jones - and if Pro Football Focus's evaluation is any indication, the Patriots will have their hands full with him.

    Statistically, Jones had what could be considered an okay season by his lofty standards; he finished second in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,409, but scored just six touchdowns. But PFF held him in much higher regard, giving him the highest rating of any player at his position (95.4). His 94.6 receiving grade was nearly 2 1/2 points higher than runner-up Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and almost 6 1/2 points above Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown.

    The Patriots were able to negate Brown in the AFC Championship, limiting him to seven catches for 77 yards. That includes just two catches on four targets when Brown was covered by Malcolm Butler, who will likely draw the bulk of the action against Jones. But while Butler has plenty of PFF love on his side (89.8 rating, sixth at his position), he'll be giving up four inches and 30 pounds to Jones, making this one of the few mismatches the Falcons have at their disposal.

    Matt Ryan's improving pocket vs. Patriots' passive pass rush

    Ryan is an MVP candidate this season after posting career bests in passing yards (4,944) and touchdowns (38) while throwing a career-low seven interceptions - and it could have been even better than that had the Falcons' offensive line done a slightly better job of keeping him upright. But Ryan and the Falcons have had no such problems recently, and should enjoy another solid showing against a Patriots pass rush that has underwhelmed of late.

    Ryan has been sacked on 6.13 percent of his dropbacks so far this season, the 23rd-best rate in the NFL; of the nine teams behind Atlanta on the list, only Miami and Seattle made the playoffs. But things have improved dramatically over the past three games, with the Falcons allowing sacks on just 3.48 percent of plays over that span. That includes a zero-sack performance in their NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers.

    New England's pass rush is trending in the opposite direction heading into Super Bowl LI. The Patriots, coincidentally, rank 23rd in the NFL in sack percentage at 5.14, but have recorded sacks on just 2.42 percent of opponent plays over their past three games. They didn't have a single sack in the AFC Championship, one year after positing the fifth-highest sack rate in football (7.25 percent). If Ryan can stay on his feet, the Falcons have a puncher's chance at taking home the Lombardi Trophy.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #20
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    NFL

    Super Bowl


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Super Bowl LI betting preview: Patriots vs Falcons
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Patriots are one of the best bets ever at 15-3 ATS, but the Falcons are no slouch either at 12-6 ATS. New England is currently 3-point chalk with Super Bowl LI on the line.

    New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons (+3, 58.5)

    The storyline for Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots could not be more simple or intriguing - the NFL's No. 1 offense squaring off against the league's stingiest defense. Yet when quarterback Matt Ryan and Atlanta's high-voltage offense take the field on Sunday night at Houston's NRG Stadium, solving New England's defense hardly is their only challenge. There also is a wall of history on the opposing sideline in the persons of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, widely considered among the best quarterbacks and coaches of all-time.

    Ryan is expected to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player following a brilliant season in which the Falcons averaged 33.8 points, but the Patriots are making a record ninth appearance in the Super Bowl - including seven since 2001 behind the Belichick-Brady tandem. "I don't think there's much Bill and his staff hasn't seen before," Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, poised to become the next coach of the San Francisco 49ers, told reporters. "They've seen a lot of football and they do it as good as anyone." Brady is making his seventh appearance on the league's grandest stage, earning three Super Bowl MVP awards and leading New England to four championships along the way. The Patriots yielded a league-low 15.6 points per game, setting up the sixth matchup since the NFL merger in which the top-scoring offense opposes the team that permitted the fewest points (the defense has prevailed in four of the first five meetings).

    TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE HISTORY: The Patriots opened as 3-point favorites immediately following the Conference Championship games two weeks ago and the spread has yet to move off that key opening number. The total hit the betting board at 58 and has crept up slightly to 58.5.

    WEATHER REPORT: NRG Stadium in Houston is a retractable domed stadium. There have been reports that the league has requested for the roof to be open if weather allows (most likely due to Lady Gaga's halftime performance which could take place partially high above field level). If the roof is, in fact, open for the game the forecast is calling for overcast skies with temperatures in the mid-70's for game time.

    WHAT SHARPS SAY: "The biggest x-factor from a handicapping standpoint in this game is the difference in experience between the two teams and how much of a role that will play in the outcome. New England quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are the most experienced duo in Super Bowl history, while Atlanta is one of the most inexperienced teams in Super Bowl history. However, first-year head coach Dan Quinn was in the Super Bowl two of the past three years as an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, including facing the Patriots two years ago." - Steve Merril

    WHAT BOOKS SAY:
    "Currently, we have 54 percent of the handle on the Patriots. The public is fairly split on their pick and the sharps that have showed up so far are on the Falcons. The total is not as balanced as we have almost 75 percent of the action on the over. If we move off the key number of -3 it will most likely be the day of the game." Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu

    INJURY REPORT:

    Patriots - WR M. Mitchell (Probable, knee), TE M. Bennett (Probable, knee), WR C. Hogan (Probable, thigh), WR D. Amendola (Probable, ankle), RB B. Bolden (probable, knee), LB D. Hightower (Probable, shoulder), DL J. Sheard (Probable, knee), K S. Gostkowski (Probable, illness), QB J. Brissett (Questionable, thumb), CB C. Jones (Questionable, knee), DB N. Ebner (Questionable, concussion), G T. Jackson (I-R, knee), TE R. Gronkowski (I-R, back), T S. Vollmer (I-R, knee), LB J. Freeny (I-R, shoulder), TE G. Scruggs (I-R, knee).

    Falcons - C A. Mack (probable, ankle), WR Julio Jones (Probable, toe), DE A. Clayborn (I-R, bicep), S K. Ishmael (I-R, shoulder), TE J. Tamme (I-R, shoulder), CB D. Trufant (I-R, pectoral), DE D. Shelby (I-R, achilles), LB S. Weatherspoon (I-R, achilles), NT C. Mayes (I-R, foot), LB T. Starr (I-R, undisclosed), CB A. King (I-R, foot), WR D. Fuller (I-R, shoulder).

    ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (16-2, 15-3 ATS, 8-10 O/U): Despite its status as the toughest defense against which to score, New England is not viewed in the same light as the dominant unit that carried Denver to last year's Super Bowl win despite limiting eight of its last nine opponents to 17 points or fewer. The Patriots rank in the middle of the pack in sacks (34) and interceptions (13), but they are No. 3 against the run, allowing 83.9 yards per contest, and eighth overall with 308.9 yards per game surrendered. While New England scored six fewer points per game than Atlanta for the season, it averaged 30 since the return of Brady, who threw 28 touchdown passes and two interceptions in 12 games and carved up Pittsburgh for 384 yards and three TDs in the AFC title game. Chris Hogan had a breakout game with nine catches for 180 yards and two scores versus the Steelers, while Julian Edelman recorded a team-high 98 receptions and LeGarrette Blount registered an NFL-leading 18 rushing touchdowns during the regular season.

    ABOUT THE FALCONS (13-5, 12-6 ATS, 15-2-1 O/U): Ryan rebounded from a pedestrian 2015 campaign with a spectacular season, setting career highs in passer rating (117.1), yards (4,944), completion percentage (69.9) and touchdowns (38) while tossing only seven interceptions. Ryan was superb in playoff routs of Seattle and Green Bay (730 yards, seven TDs, zero INTs) and has a near-unstoppable weapon in wideout Julio Jones, who despite battling injuries still wracked up 1,409 yards in receiving and riddled the Packers by making nine catches for 180 yards and two scores in the NFC Championship Game. The Falcons also feature a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield, with the tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combining for 19 rushing touchdowns while adding 85 catches and five scores through the air. Linebacker Vic Beasley registered 15.5 sacks to lead an improved defense that allowed 25.4 points per game for the season, although it held six of its last eight opponents to 21 or fewer.

    TRENDS:

    * Patriots are 5-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
    * Falcons are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
    * Over is 6-1 in Patriots last 7 playoff games.
    * Over is 4-0 in Falcons last 4 playoff games.
    * Patriots are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
    * Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings.

    CONSENSUS: 51 percent of bettors are siding with the underdog Atlanta Falcons. As for the total, 70 percent of wagers from users are on the Over.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #21
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    Advantage - Patriots
    January 31, 2017


    Falcons · Over · Under The Patriots are seeking fifth Super Bowl title not only in franchise history, but also in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. New England battles Atlanta in Super Bowl LI in Houston in a matchup of the league’s top offense in the Falcons and the top defense in the Patriots. Atlanta’s offense registered a league-high 540 points, which ranks tied for seventh all-time in a single season, along with the 2000 St. Louis Rams.

    Teams that have posted scoreboard-busting numbers over the years don’t win championships, as the six squads that put up more points in a season than Atlanta all failed to capture the title. Only two of those teams, the 2013 Broncos and the 2007 Patriots reached the Super Bowl, as the two powerful offenses combined for only 22 points in the Big Game.

    This is the sixth time in Super Bowl history that the league’s top offense will square off against the best defense. Three years ago, the Seahawks humbled the Broncos, 43-8 as 2 ˝-point underdogs, as Denver quarterback Peyton Manning (who threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns that season) was intercepted twice and tossed his only touchdown when his team trailed, 36-0. Only once in the first five tries has the best offense knocked off the league’s top defense in the Super Bowl as the 49ers routed the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV in 1990.

    The Patriots have allowed a total of 250 points this season, as the next best defense gave up 284 points (Giants). The defense has stepped up down the stretch by yielding 17 points or fewer in eight of the last nine games, including 17 to the Steelers in the AFC Championship.

    Under Belichick, the Patriots have given up 21 points or fewer in four of six Super Bowl appearances, as the highest amount allowed came to Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII in a 32-29 win.

    The Falcons haven’t won a playoff game away from Atlanta since the Wild Card round of the 2002 playoffs at Green Bay. Atlanta has dropped four consecutive postseason games on the road, while winning four of 13 playoff contests in franchise history away from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and the Georgia Dome.

    Brady has been shut down in both his Super Bowl losses to the Giants, but his previous appearance in this game was his best. In Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots edged the Seahawks, 28-24 as Brady threw for 328 yards, completed 75% of his passes, and tossed four touchdowns when Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator of Seattle.

    In the four Super Bowl wins with Brady at the helm, the Patriots have averaged 26 points per game, but New England hopes to improve on a 1-4 mark against the spread in their last five Super Bowl trips.

    VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson chimes in with his thoughts on New England’s prowess from an offensive standpoint, “New England faced some stiff opposing defenses with an average league ranking of opponents at 13th in yards per play defense, yet the Patriots were still the third-highest scoring team in the league even playing four games with backup quarterbacks. In the 14 games with Brady, New England averaged 30.7 points per game, a pace that would have been the 19th-best in NFL history and only behind Atlanta this season.”

    Nelson points out that although the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl, their record was anything but elite, “What might be concerning considering how impressive Atlanta’s offense has been is that they went just 11-5. None of the six teams in NFL history with a higher scoring regular season took home the Lombardi Trophy, but those teams went a combined 84-12 in the regular season even with some of those teams sporting similarly shaky supporting defensive units. That group of six teams includes a 16-0 team, two 15-1 teams, and two 13-3 teams.”

    New England led the NFL by allowing only six rushing touchdowns in the regular season, while yielding 88.6 yards per game on the ground, which ranked tied for third in the league.

    Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman rushed for a career-high 1,079 yards, but broke the 100-yard mark only twice, including a 139-yard effort against San Francisco, who ranked last in the league in rushing defense. In the Week 15 blowout of the 49ers, the Falcons took advantage of San Francisco’s porous rush defense by posting 248 yards and three touchdowns.

    In two playoff games, Freeman rushed for a combined 87 yards on 28 carries (3.1 yards/attempt), while scoring only two rushing touchdowns in the last four games.
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    Advantage - Falcons
    February 2, 2017


    The advantages for Atlanta over New England in Super Bowl LI are mostly based on its explosive offensive arsenal, but we’ll also touch on a young and improving defense that starts four rookies and a pair of second-year players.

    Dan Quinn’s team has scored 540 points this season, the seventh-most in NFL history. For the first time in NFL history, a quarterback (ninth-year veteran Matt Ryan) threw touchdown passes to 11 different receivers.

    If you had to script the parts of what you’d want from an explosive offense, the Falcons have those covered. Experienced QB playing the best football of his life? That’s a check with Ryan. Perhaps the best receiver in the league? That’s Julio Jones. Multiple RBs that have explosive speed, can produce between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have those attributes covered.

    A solid and healthy offensive line? Atlanta sports the only unit that has started the same five guys all year long. Depth at WR? The Falcons get contributions from Taylor Gabriel, Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy. Hell, if we want to get greedy, why not request one of the NFL’s best blocking fullbacks who also has great hands catching the ball? That’s Patrick DiMarco, who had a 31-yard catch against Green Bay.

    How salty is New England’s defense? Well, the stats tell us the Patriots lead the league in scoring, allowing only 15.6 points per game. However, veteran VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson is here to explain how those numbers can be misleading.

    Nelson said, “New England’s #1 scoring defense will take on a lot of scrutiny this week as they don’t look much like the elite defenses that have taken home Super Bowls in recent years, notably the 2013-14 Seahawks or last season’s Broncos. The 18 games New England played wound up vs. teams that have an average league ranking of 19th in yards per play offense including facing four games vs. the league’s three worst yards-per-play offenses. Counting the AFC Championship Game, the Patriots only played four games vs. the league’s top 10 yards-per-play-offenses including none vs. the top five, and in two of those four games they faced a backup quarterback.”

    Nelson wasn’t done there when it came to chipping away at a New England defense that simply hasn’t faced a prolific offense of the sort that Atlanta owns. Nelson added, “Just about every defensive indicator will lean to New England in this matchup but the schedule for the Patriots can certainly be questioned, not facing a top 10 rated quarterback in any of the 18 games they have played. Ryan is #1 on that list ahead of Tom Brady and his numbers in two playoff games are off the charts, including lighting up one of the league’s better defensive teams against Seattle.”

    Indeed, Atlanta’s offensive numbers are amazing. During 16 regular-season games, the Boston College product produced career-highs in completion percentage (69.9%), passing yards (4,944), yards per pass attempt (9.3), TD passes (38), QB rating (117.1) and a career-low seven interceptions. Making those numbers more impressive is the fact that Ryan was coming off one of his worst season in 2015 under a new coaching staff and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

    After throwing only 21 TD passes (second-lowest of career) compared to 16 interceptions (second-worst of career), Quinn nonetheless stuck with Shanahan. Ryan dedicated the offseason to working on the skills that Shanahan wanted him to utilize, such as better and quicker footwork when making play-action fakes.

    I became sold on the Falcons this year, ironically, in a loss at Seattle. Despite trailing 17-3 at halftime and struggling mightily to keep Seattle’s defensive front out of Ryan’s face, they responded with a 21-0 third quarter to take the lead. If the refs would’ve flagged Richard Sherman for a blatant pass interference in the game’s final minute, Atlanta probably wins that game.

    But even in defeat, it was clear this Atlanta squad had the toughness, determination and heart that had been lacking since four years ago when it came 10 yards shy of going to the franchise’s second Super Bowl.

    Atlanta (13-5 straight up, 12-6 against the spread) is even better than its record portrays. Quinn’s team lost three unfathomable heartbreakers, including the aforementioned loss at Seattle. The Falcons also lost at home in overtime to the Chargers, who rallied from a 17-point deficit and were fortunate to get to OT when Matt Bryant’s 58-yard field goal on the last play of regulation hit the cross bar. They also lost at home to Kansas City (by one point!) when the Chiefs scored on a pick-six, a pick-two, a fake punt and a fourth-and-goal play.

    How hot is Ryan right now? Well, he’s led Atlanta to six consecutive victories by throwing 18 TD passes without an interception. Ryan torched the Packers for 392 passing yards and four TDs, and he threw for 338 yards and three TDs against the Seahawks.

    Although he missed a pair of regular-season games, Jones still had 83 receptions for 1,409 yards during the regular season. He had nine catches for 180 yards and two TDs vs. Green Bay and the farewell game at the Georgia Dome two weeks ago.

    If you look at the overall stats, Atlanta’s defense isn’t overly impressive. But when you’re often protecting leads, large ones in some instances, you’re going to give up a good bit of yards. However, this unit continues to improve each week. In fact, the Falcons have held six of their last eight foes to 21 points or fewer. And, if we want to get nit-picky, we shouldn’t count KC’s 29 points because nine points came from Eric Berry’s multiple interceptions and seven more came off a fake punt.

    When Atlanta lost its best cover corner in Desmond Trufant to a season-ending injury in November, conventional wisdom indicated that it would be a huge loss for this defense. But thanks to the emergence of rookie free agent DB Brian Poole, who inexplicably wasn’t drafted after a stellar collegiate career at Florida, the secondary has fared just fine.

    Poole is one of four rookie starters. Safety Keanu Neal and LB Deion Jones were sensational picks in the first and second rounds out of UF and LSU, respectively, by GM Thomas Dimitroff. He also scored big with LB De’Vondre Campbell, a fourth-round selection out of Minnesota. Jones and Neal are the Falcons’ top tacklers, while Poole and Campbell are fifth and sixth on the team in tackles.

    Jones had three interceptions, including a pair of pick-sixes, during the regular season and also had a pick against Seattle in the NFC semifinals. Vic Beasley, a second-year DE from Clemson, looked like a bust in an unproductive rookie campaign. Beasley shook that bust label quickly this year, though, when he led the NFL with 15.5 sacks and also had six forced fumbles. Neal, by the way, had five forced fumbles.

    Obviously, experience is not an advantage for Atlanta when matched up with New England and its six Super Bowl trips during the Brady/Belichick Era. With that said, Quinn has been down this road. He was Seattle’s defensive coordinator in a pair of Super Bowls, one win over Denver and a loss, albeit in gut-wrenching fashion, to New England in a game the Seahawks’ defense acquitted itself quite well.

    Atlanta has only been an underdog once since mid-October, but it isn’t an unfamiliar situation. The Falcons were underdogs six times this year, compiling a 5-1 spread record with four outright victories.
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    Advantage - Under
    February 3, 2017


    Outside of boxing or mixed martial arts, betting an ‘under’ in any sporting event doesn’t necessarily provide the excitement you could be looking for and it usually puts you up against the betting public.

    Those bettors leaning low in Super Bowl 51 will be hard to find in the sportsbooks this Sunday when the Patriots and Falcons square off.

    According the VegasInsider.com SB51 Betting Update, there is an early 2:1 lean to the ‘over’ in betting tickets from the masses and the only reason the number hasn’t moved that much is because the professionals (sharps) have been coming in with large ‘under’ wagers. Keep in mind that it hasn’t been a great NFL season for the so-called wise guys.

    The ‘under’ cashed in last year’s Super Bowl between Carolina and Denver and looking back at the historical numbers, the total in the NFL finale has practically been a stalemate in the first 50 matchups.

    VegasInsider.com senior handicappers Paul Bovi and Joe Nelson provide their thoughts on the ‘under’ in Super Bowl 51 plus I touched on some reasons to support your lean to the low side.

    CD’s Under Angles

    New England enters this game with the top-ranked scoring defense, holding opponents to 15.7 points per games. Thirteen of their 18 opponents were held to under 20 points this season.

    Even though Atlanta is much lower in the defensive scoring (24.8 PPG), the unit allowed 18.9 PPG in the second-half of the season, which includes 20 and 21-point efforts in the playoffs.

    I touched on “Big Plays” in my ‘over’ piece and how Atlanta was ranked fourth in big play percentage but they will be facing a New England defense that only allowed 59 big plays this season, which is the second best mark in the NFL. The team ranked above the Patriots was Denver, who held Atlanta to 23 points when they met in Week 5 of the regular season.

    A lot has been made of New England’s competition and it’s a fair argument but holding Pittsburgh’s juggernaut to 17 points in the AFC Championship game can’t be ignored. The Steelers did have injuries and certainly left points off the board but 17 is still 17.

    Including that effort, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have coincidentally only allowed 17.3 PPG in their last six playoff games. That includes New England’s 28-24 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl 49. Many forget that the Seahawks and Patriots were scoreless after the first quarter in that game and Seattle was getting blanked for the first 27 minutes.

    While Atlanta’s offense is a well-oiled machine, it’s fair to question the mindset of Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. He’s off to be the new head coach of San Francisco next season and I’m assuming he’s been working both fronts the last two weeks. There was a report about him losing his backpack (with playbook) and that could certainly lead to suspicions.

    It’s hard to dismiss what Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and the offense has done this season, you can’t ignore the fact that he’s 0-2 in his career in playoff games on the road. The Falcons scored a combined 26 points in those games while he had two touchdowns and two interceptions.

    Playing that same angle with New England quarterback Tom Brady, you can draw a parallel between the gunslingers. In his last five postseason games away from Foxboro, the Patriots are averaging 18.6 PPG and that number was helped with a 28-point effort in the aforementioned Super Bowl versus Seattle.

    Expert Analysis – VI Handicapper Paul Bovi

    While the game certainly has a chance to exceed the 59-point totals it becomes a tough take given the inflated number which comes in at several points higher than would be expected for a regular season contest. The total comes in only 1 point less than the Falcons-Packers game of a week ago, and the Patriots defense is without question far superior to that of that of Green Bay's unit.

    The Falcons have seen the low side of this number in 10 of their 18 games while the Pats have exceeded this total only once, that a 41-25 road win over the Bills as Tom Brady threw 4 TD passes. This is arguably the most potent offense the Patriots have faced all year as they have taken on a preponderance of below average signal callers, which may well inspire them to emphasize a ball control offense employing a heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount along with a short passing game. With the number at a premium, elongated drives will not be an over bettors' friend here, however, that could well be the case in this one as the Patriots will also rely heavily on a 'bend but no break' defensive strategy.

    Editor’s Note: Don’t miss out on Super Bowl winners from Paul Bovi on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!

    Expert Analysis – VI Handicapper Joe Nelson


    56˝ is the previous high Super Bowl total from the New Orleans/Indianapolis Super Bowl in 2010 with a 31-17 final and Super Bowls with a total of 50 or higher have leaned to the ‘under’ at a 6-3 clip including each of the past four instances since 2002 falling below the number including three games involving New England.

    Blindly backing the ‘over’ in Falcons games has been a successful strategy this season but only eight of now 18 games reached 58 points including only two of the nine most recent games hitting that mark. The ‘under’ has a 10-8 edge in Patriots games even with both playoff games going ‘over’ and only one New England game all season surpassed 53 points. 31 points allowed in the home loss to Seattle was the highest score against New England this season and only four times in 18 games has a Patriots foe topped 21 points.

    The Patriots only topped last week’s 36-point output just twice on the season and the scoring drives of 28 yards and 24 yards late in the game off turnovers padded the final score in the AFC Championship. Despite marginal defensive numbers and several high scoring shootout-style games, Atlanta actually didn’t allow more than 33 points in a game this season though they allowed at least 31 points six different times.

    Since November 2015 the ‘under’ is on a 10-5 run in Houston’s NRG Stadium with no team ever topping 30 points but that is mostly due the tenant Texans featuring a capable defense but inept offensive play for the most part in that run of games. The last Super Bowl in Houston was one of the highest scoring Super Bowls with a 32-29 win for New England over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. In that game the Patriots held a 14-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter before a wild final frame that featured 37 points was won on a last second Adam Vinatieri field goal. Only nine of the previous 50 Super Bowls would have eclipsed this total though eight of those games are in the last 30 years.

    With two weeks to game plan both coaching staffs may count on running the ball being the best opportunity as both pass defenses as New England was 6th and Atlanta 11th in the league in yards per pass attempt allowed. Atlanta was more vulnerable on the ground allowing 4.6 yards per carry and while New England owns a credible run defense the two teams to beat New England featured a combined total of 58 rushing attempts, sticking with a balanced offensive attack even if the yards came at a modest rate.

    While the Patriots won the game the second highest scoring game against New England came from the Bills in a game in which the Buffalo rushed for 167 yards as success on the ground is likely going to be a priority for both teams which could slow down the scoring pace. Atlanta had the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL this season despite the high profile passing attack and against a very talented New England secondary a patient conservative approach early might be the preferred strategy for a Falcons team and staff that will likely feel like a bigger underdog than they actually are. If that is the case a slower early pace might make this astronomical total difficult to reach unless the Houston Super Bowl again features late fireworks.
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    Advantage - Over
    February 3, 2017

    Super Bowl XLI kicks off on Sunday Feb. 5, 2017 and the betting public is backing New England as the short favorite over Atlanta according to our Betting Trends matchup index. Even though the margin isn’t as wide, the majority of bettors are also leaning to the ‘over’ between the Patriots and Falcons.

    It’s not surprising to see bettors leaning to the high side, especially knowing that the ‘over’ has gone 7-3 in this year’s NFL Playoffs with an average combined score of 48.9 points per game.

    Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook sent out an opening total of 57 ˝ for the Super Bowl and that number has jumped up as high as 59. Most betting shops are showing 58 ˝ or 59 as of Friday morning.

    With assistance from VegasInsider.com senior handicapper Joe Nelson, we’ll touch on the ‘over’ in this piece and also provide you reasons to back the ‘under’ in another installment.

    CD’s Over Angles

    -- The Falcons are averaging 34.4 points per game, which is ranked first in the league while the Patriots are just two spots behind them at 28.4 PPG.

    -- Atlanta has been the best ‘over’ bet this season, producing a 15-2-1 record.

    -- A lot of the Falcons success on offense came from big plays and they were ranked third with 93 runs of 10 yards or more and passing plays of 20 yards or more. If you enjoy playing totals, then check out this site and then follow up with this year’s O/U records, since they’re correlated.

    -- In four games versus the NFC this season, Atlanta averaged 29 PPG with the lowest output being 23 points in a road game against Denver, one of the better defensive units in the league.

    -- New England averaged 30.7 PPG in the 14 games with Tom Brady as quarterback this season and they enter this game on a roll, averaging 35 PPG in their last three games.

    -- Including the results from this year's playoffs, the Falcons have now seen the ‘over’ go 6-1 in six postseason games with quarterback Matt Ryan under center behind an offense averaging 30.7 PPG.

    -- Playing with a rest is often overlooked but Atlanta has done very well with the extra week. Since Ryan joined the team in 2008, the Falcons have gone 8-2 when playing with rest and the offense averaged 30 PPG which helped produce a 6-4 'over' mark. This includes the 36-point effort against Seattle in this year's Divisional Playoff round.

    -- New England’s offense has played well off a bye in the playoffs. The Patriots are averaging 34.8 PPG in their last six postseason games with rest which includes a 34-point effort against Houston this year and 28 versus Seattle in the Super Bowl two years ago.

    -- While the Patriots boast the best scoring defense, the same can’t be said for Atlanta’s unit. The Falcons are ranked 22nd in total yards (367.5) and a lot of those numbers came through the air (263.5 YPG). Atlanta’s ranked 23rd in scoring defense (24.8 PPG).

    -- The Patriots have played well in this venue, going 4-1 all-time and that includes a victory in Super Bowl 38 versus Carolina. The ‘over’ went 4-1 in those games and the Patriots helped the cause by averaging 28.6 PPG.

    Expert Analysis – VI Handicapper Joe Nelson


    With the league’s first and third-ranked scoring offenses meeting in the Super Bowl it is no surprise that the highest total in Super Bowl history is expected. In NFL history there have only been 12 games with a total of 58 or higher including only two playoff games with both of those games clearing ‘over’ including the 44-21 NFC Championship win for the Falcons.

    The NFC Championship game didn’t slip ‘over’ until a late Green Bay touchdown with the game out of hand although the case could be made that the Packers should have scored more points earlier in the game with missed opportunities and that the Falcons could have scored more late if they had needed to. A late Pittsburgh touchdown with the outcome decided also pushed the AFC Championship ‘over’ in a game that featured 48 first downs and very poor rushing numbers on both sides. The Falcons averaged 10.3 yards per pass last week vs. Green Bay’s limited secondary and Atlanta led the league in that category by a wide margin this season at 8.9 yards per attempt, a full yard better than New England at #2 as this high total is certainly justifiable.

    The ‘over’ is 15-2-1 in Falcons games this season with Atlanta the 7th highest scoring team in NFL history in the regular season, scoring nearly 34 points per game. Atlanta has scored 80 points in two playoff games including posting 36 points on a Seattle defense that was one of the top rated defensive teams in the league this season. Both of those games came in a dome setting in Atlanta however the scoring numbers didn’t drop dramatically for the Falcons on the road this season, posting 32.5 points per game though with some inconsistency, topping 40 points three times but also having three of the team’s four lowest output games of the season away from home.

    There is good reason to be suspicious of New England’s strong defensive numbers as they didn’t face a top 10 rated quarterback in any of the 18 games they have played with Ben Roethlisberger at #11 in the AFC Championship meeting. Add that Roethlisberger didn’t play in the regular season meeting with Pittsburgh and that Matt Ryan is the #1 rated quarterback and his numbers in two playoff games are off the charts including lighting up one of the league’s better defensive teams against Seattle.

    Brady may be in an even better situation however as the Atlanta defense is allowing over 25 points per game, ranking 22nd in the league in yards per play and total defense and allowing the sixth most passing yards in the NFL. New England’s overall scoring numbers might also be a bit depressed playing the first four games of the season without Brady as the 14 Patriots games with Brady featured an average increase of 11 points per game compared with the first four games of the season without him.

    Atlanta also featured the worst red zone defense in the NFL, allowing touchdowns on over 72 percent of opportunities and both New England and Atlanta were top 10 red zone offenses this season getting touchdowns on over 63 percent of opportunities. Touchdowns should be expected and the extreme number looks necessary in a game where ‘over’ is always a popular bet.
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    Super Bowl 51 Adjusted Props
    February 3, 2017


    If you've been following along all week with our Super Bowl props features here and here, you'll know that there are a few of the traditionally lined props for the game that we like quite a bit. But the best thing about Sportsbook.ag is the fact that they offer alternative lines on props for all the primetime games throughout the year and have stepped up there game for the Super Bowl in that regard as well.

    These are all props that offer tremendous payouts on higher numbers for the game and there are a couple bettors should strongly consider adding to their card.

    Prop Bet #1a: Martellus Bennett Over 49.5 Receiving Yards (+125) and/or Over 74.5 Receiving Yards (+300)

    Prop Bet #1b: Martellus Bennett 5 or More Receptions (+150) and/or 6 or More Receptions (+300)


    If you read the Patriots prop piece here, you know that we like Bennett to have a strong outing against a Falcons defense that has struggled to cover TE's all year long. We have him going over 40.5 receiving yards in that article and adding another 10 yards to that can pay back at +125. Getting to 75 receiving yards might be a bit of a stretch at +300, but there definitely is value there.

    We touched on the fact that TE's vs. Atlanta in these playoffs have caught 10 of 15 passes thrown their way (with two drops) for a total of 100 yards and Bennett is clearly in the same class as Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham. It was Cook who had the two drops attached to his 7 receptions and if the Patriots decide to attack in a similar fashion, any one of those four prop bets on Bennett listed above have a strong chance of cashing.

    Furthermore, the last two times Atlanta has lost a game this year, those opposing TE's caught 8 and 6 passes respectively, helping out that number of receptions prop.

    Prop Bet #2a: LeGarrette Blount 18 or More Rushing Attempts (+175)

    Prop Bet #2a: LeGarrette Blount Over 74.5 Rushing Yards (+160)


    New England finished third in the NFL in rushing attempts per game this year with 29.8. It was Blount who got the bulk of those carries as he's the big back that's used to move the chains and salt away the game with the Patriots are ahead. He hasn't been as efficient of late with a little over 3 yards/carry the past month or so, and many bettors may shy away from a prop like this because there is so much focus on the two QB's and the fact that Seattle, nor Green Bay, had any success running the ball vs. Atlanta in these playoffs.

    However, the idea lost in that is that the Seahawks and Packers were both playing catchup from very early on in those games and as Atlanta's offense kept padding their league, both of those franchises were forced to abandon the running game. That shouldn't be the case with New England as they are likely to be the ones playing with the lead for the majority of the game and they won't be shy about using Blount to not only burn clock, but keep Matt Ryan and company on the sidelines for as long as they can.

    Although picking a backfield player for the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era has been tough as fantasy football players can attest too, there is no doubt that this year the Patriots have established more defined roles for their RB's and it's Blount who will get the call in predominantly running situations or calls.
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    Super Bowl 51 Best Bet
    February 3, 2017


    Super Bowl 51 (FOX, 6:35 p.m. ET)
    New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

    Sportsbook.ag Odds: New England (-3); Total set at 59


    Super Bowl 51 is about 48 hours away as the weekend approaches and I'm sure many of the bettors out there have heard countless different angles and methodologies in terms of how to attack this game from a betting perspective. If that's the case, you likely aren't going to find too much new information in this piece, but rather a new perspective on how to bet Super Bowl 51.

    Both teams are very good with the ball and do have some defensive concerns on how to stop the opposition's best, so understanding the likelihood of how this contest will play out from a gameflow perspective may help you decide who you are going to end up putting your money on.

    There's not much need to talk generally about both offenses as we all know that they were two of the best in the NFL this year. Atlanta led the way in scoring offense with over 33 points/game and have bumped that number up to 40/game during the playoffs. But that same offense is going up against a defense – that's had two weeks to prepare – that led the league in scoring defense (New England allowed a little over 15 points/game) and has not given up 20 points in any of their two playoff contests.

    Knowing those numbers is important because in Super Bowl history, when we've had the #1 scoring offense vs the #1 scoring defense, it's been the team that's #1 in scoring defense that has had the most success. In the five situations where that's happened in the SB, the scoring defense team is 4-1 SU. With the point spread floating around -3 for New England the past two weeks with juice being constantly adjusted, those of you who aren't interested in bucking history may want to look that way.

    After all, the media outlets would have content for the next week or so if Brady becomes the first QB to ever win five Super Bowls, and even more content would write itself should he win a NFL record fourth MVP. Add in the decided edge in Super Bowl experience that exists on the Patriots sideline and being involved in many tight

    In terms of game flow, both of these teams like to run the ball more than people may realize as New England was 3rd in the league with 29.8 rushes per game and Atlanta was 12th at 26.7 rushes per game. With all the talk about the two dynamic QB's in this game, it could be the running games that look to control the clock and keep the opposing offense on the sideline. If that's the case, the clock will be constantly running and getting the 60+ points needed to cash an 'over' ticket might be harder than most expect.

    This is the highest total we've ever seen for a Super Bowl game and with Super Bowls being notorious for having surprising heroes and unsung plays, I fully expect this game to stay below this total. We don't even have to look far for a similar occurrence featuring the Patriots in the big game as their undefeated 2007 squad went into that Super Bowl against the Giants with everyone expecting plenty of points – the total was set at 54.5 – and a defensive showdown broke out in the 17-14 NYG victory. Super Bowl 51 likely will see more than 31 points scored, but I highly doubt it gets to 60.

    Finally, with the game expected to be close throughout, don't count out the option of live betting at Sportsbook.ag. Multiple lead changes in a game often means that plus-money odds on the ML will be offered at some point for both sides and if you are able to do it right and the game plays out in that sort of fashion, grabbing both sides at plus-money to win outright is another way to guarantee profit.

    Another way to do that is to side with Atlanta on the ML pregame and hope they get up early so you can then back the Patriots at a similar underdog price.
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    Super Bowl 51 Betting Update
    February 3, 2017


    51 Super Betting Angles · VI Edge · Super Bowl History · Twitter The VegasInsider.com Super Bowl 51 Betting Update will provide daily betting updates from Micah Roberts in Las Vegas on this year's NFL finale between New England and Atlanta, which is set for Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

    Update - 2.3.17 - 4:00 p.m. ET

    It's now the fourth quarter of booking for Las Vegas sports books and the story behind where the Super Bowl spread eventually moves begins tonight. Almost every book is sitting with the Patriots still at -3 (-110), but this is a long fourth quarter that has just begun.

    "We have all the arrivals coming to town tonight and tomorrow and I'm real curious to see who they side with," said Westgate Las Vegas Superbook VP Jay Kornegay. "Through the first 12 days of action our regular crowd of locals have been siding with the Patriots with three in every five tickets written. But now I want to see what the tourists are thinking; who are they going to side with and they'll make the biggest difference of all since we've yet to see about 75 percent of our overall action expected on the game."

    And just where exactly does Kornegay see his spread being forced by the tourists?

    "I could see New England getting as high as -3 -120 or -130."

    Or in other words, he doesn't sound too keen on the idea of getting off of 3. At this juncture no one does, but most casinos haven't even seen their billionaire whales arrive yet.

    What we did see on Friday was some early activity with a couple books moving numbers. Nothing really happened the previous two days, but a few were maneuvering beginning with CG Technology adjusting the record total that was sitting at 59 with every book in town.

    "We dropped the total down to 58.5 based simply on one of our sharpest guys betting Under in several offensive props and alternate totals like 46.5 and 51.5," CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal said Friday afternoon. "We're equal in action on the both the Over and Under with the exception of parlays where both sides are tied heavily to the Over. We opened 58.5 and since moving back, nobody has bet the Over for the limit."

    Within minutes after the conversation ended with Simbal, they got a big Over bet and moved back to 59. It was short lived, but hey, at least we have some activity and the total move wasn't the only happening.

    CG books also moved the Falcons to +3 -115 early in the morning and went back to 3-flat three hours later. Simbal says his books are "balanced on the game, but two out of every three tickets written have been on the Patriots."

    He also said that his sharpest bettor has made multiple limit plays on the Falcons with them and if risk eventually does get heavier on the Patriots with all the weekend arrivals that they can rely on the same bettor to take some more action on the Falcons. Yes, this bettor loves the Falcons and loves the total way Under.

    Shortly after, John Avello at Wynn Resorts and Bob Scucci at Boyd Gaming each moved the Patriots to -3 -115. It's a trend I think we'll be seeing more of as millions of dollars run through the windows over the next three days. We'll keep you updated as the real fun has just started.

    WHAT'S A SHARP THINKING?

    Jeff Whitelaw has been one of the most respected bettors in Las Vegas for the past 25 years and he kindly shared with me a few of the Super Bowl plays he's made. I figured there might be a few people out there who might be interested in his comments.

    "I'm high on all the Brady props going Over like touchdown passes (2,5), completions (27), passing yards (329.5) with the exception being rushing yards (2.5) which I bet Under."

    If Brady has a great game, then beating the Pats looks to be tough task and that's where Whitelaw has put his money.

    "New England has the better defense and I think sometimes people can be wowed too much by what they saw last, like was the case last year when Carolina rolled through the playoffs. 'How is Denver's defense going to stop that offense' is what I kept hearing. The last five Super Bowls featuring the top scoring offense against the top scoring defense have saw the defense come out on top.

    "The area I think New England has an edge is with Brady against the Falcons defense. He eats up zone defenses and that's what Atlanta employs most of the time. I also think Belichick will have his team prepared more. Almost every intangible points to the Patriots winning. And then you've got the public having a great season, and they like the Patriots too."

    Yes, the public certainly has been on an epic NFL roll this season.

    Update - 2.1.17 - 6:00 p.m. ET

    Super Bowl wagers continue to flow in at a nice pace through Las Vegas sports books, but the only real activity on the odds board Wednesday afternoon happened at CG Technology when they moved the Patriots from 3-flat to -3 (-105). It was the third time in six days they've gone that way. It lasted less than an hour before they moved back to 3-flat.

    On Friday they took a six-figure wager on the Falcons to force the initial move and when they're looking to balance the cash out on the game VP of risk management Jason Simbal says "it's easy to get action at -3 -105."

    Simbal said Wednesday afternoon that his chain of nine sports books in Las Vegas have 65 percent of their tickets written on the Patriots but 58 percent of the overall cash is on the Falcons. Sharp money has been seeded everywhere around town on the Falcons. The public likes the Patriots.

    What every bookmaker in town wants to know is if the public trend continues when the bulk of the Super Bowl action happens over the weekend. If it does, then all the $100-$1,000 Patriots wagers will add up to more in the overall cash pool than the early limit action taken on the Falcons.

    So who is the public going to show more favor with this weekend?

    "We really don't know," said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback. "Our overall ticket counts have been relatively even and our cash count is favoring the Patriots by a 7-to-5 ratio."

    The 10 MGM books haven't moved off 3-flat and Stoneback says they haven't attracted any sharp action, which is surprising because they deal to almost all of them on a regular basis for all sports. He estimates that 90 percent of their overall Super Bowl action will come Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    Stoneback also said their Super Bowl handle is slightly down from last season when the state of Nevada set a record with $132 million wagered on the Broncos-Panthers game.

    I wish there was more to report, but this Super Bowl is still sitting -3 and 59 everywhere and it's rather boring. The activity going on in Las Vegas reminds me of a Talladega NASCAR race where every driver stays in line for the first 178 laps and then starts maneuvering for position in the final 10 laps. I'm hopeful those final 10 laps to the finish line starts on Saturday with some movement -- any movement -- either way.

    Update - 1.31.17 - 6:30 p.m. ET

    As of late Tuesday afternoon, every Las Vegas sports book is showing the exact same Super Bowl number with the Patriots still -3 and the total still 59. And it doesn't look like anything is going to change for at least the next few days until the wave of weekend action starts.

    The first book to move off -3 is likely going to be the South Point just because they're the only book to use flat numbers. While other books next move -- if any -- will be to -115 or -120 on one of the sides, the South Point policy is to deal only -110 on each. If the risk at that number gets too high, the move is either to -2.5 or -3.5, or stay on 3 and incur more risk.

    I talked with book director Chris Andrews regarding their stance with six nights of action still to come and he doesn't appear to be moving the spread any time soon..

    "We're higher on the Patriots point-spread, but also higher on the Falcons money-line (+135)," he said. We're sitting well on the game, but what we really need is the game to stay Under. it's a big decision for us."

    Andrews has moved to 59.5 on three separate occasions over the last nine days of action and each time he's quickly found enough Under money to move back to 59.

    When asked if a 27-25 Patriots win would be the best overall result, Andrews chuckled saying "I'd would love that score." That's called a 'bookmakers dream' and the last time it happened was in 2005 when the Patriots won 24-21 over the Eagles, but didn't cover the 7-points. The Nevada books held 17 percent in that game, which is still the highest Super Bowl hold percentage ever in the state.

    WHY DOES SOUTH POINT USE ONLY FLAT NUMBERS?


    The South Point is the only sports book in Nevada that uses exclusively flat numbers. You won't see a -120 or -115 attached to any of their spreads due to a policy instituted by legendary owner Michael Gaughan, one of the few casino owners in town that actually understands bookmaking very well.

    Gaughan opened one of the first sports books located inside a casino at the Union Plaza in the early 70's and also gave Jimmy Vaccaro his first bookmaking job at the Royal Inn in 1977. He's a pioneer of bookmaking and so is his Lineage. His father Jackie Gaughan owned the El Cortez and was operating several legal stand alone bet shops in downtown Las Vegas during the 50's and 60's.

    So when Gaughan decides he doesn't want his book moving juice, he does so with knowledge and a refreshing old school flair that is appreciated by his guests. Also, he gains more action when all the other books attach -120 to a side because his flat number is usually the most attractive in town. It's also easier for his novice customers to understand.

    WHY NOT MANY 3'S IN SUPER BOWL HISTORY?

    There's a reason that only two of the past 27 Super Bowls have had spreads at 3 despite it being the most key number in the NFL. The bookmakers don't want to deal with the possibility of a push on their biggest game of the year and refund all the wagers. They want a decision, but the longer they stay on Patriots -3, the harder it's going to be for them to move, unless of course, massive action comes on one of the sides.

    With the way two-sided action has been coming in, any advantage with a hook at either -2.5 or +3.5 would be played heavily. If the books move off the number and the game lands 3, they'll put themselves in big position to be sided like the city has never seen before.

    BLACK SUNDAY

    The last time Las Vegas got sided in the Super Bowl was when they were middled in 1979 with the Steelers 35-31 win over the Cowboys. The volume of action back then was far lighter than today, but they ended up losing the Pittsburgh -3.5 bets, giving back the bets on 4 and losing to Dallas bettors taking +4.5. It's a day still known as Black Sunday.

    The South Point's Jimmy Vaccaro is the last Vegas bookmaker still working in the business that experienced Black Sunday. He said he got loaded with Steelers money early on laying -3.5 and -4 and then a big Texas group laid heavy cash taking +4.5.

    Nevada did't record wagering for the game like they do now, but Vaccaro estimated losses in town up to $3 million which would make it the worst Super Bowl loss ahead of the $2.5 million Nevada lost in 2008 with the Giants 17-14 upset of the undefeated Patriots.

    Listening to Vaccaro tell the Black Sunday story always is great stuff. Here's a quote from him in an article I wrote two years ago.

    “When it was all over, we lost $180,000, while the books that took the biggest action at that time — the Stardust and Plaza — lost the most. The Plaza lost about $700,000, and I remember Lefty Rosenthal telling me they lost $1.4 million at the Stardust on the game. I think the Stardust was running a promotion at the time of laying -3.5 with the Steelers or taking +4.5 with the Cowboys.”

    Update - 1.30.17 - 3:30 p.m. ET


    It's a quiet Monday at Las Vegas sports books, but Super Bowl action is still consistently flowing in. I checked in with Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman Monday afternoon to see what kind of betting patterns they saw over the weekend and when, of if, there is a possible point-spread change in the upcoming days.

    "Right now -3 is a really good number for us," he said. "Each time we've gone to Falcons +3 EVEN we've got immediate sharp action on them. The public is on the Patriots and the sharps are on the Falcons."

    The public is still bringing in more cash than the sharps as the Westgate has 58 percent of their action on the Patriots. Sharps are wise people, so I asked Sherman why they wouldn't wait for the public to force the sports books to move +3.5, because without those large Atlanta bets the spread might already be at 3.5.

    "They're too quick on anything they perceive of value and +3 EVEN is attractive to them. Ed (Salmons, SuperBook manager) thinks it's more likely to move to -2.5 before -3.5. I thought 3 was the right number from the start and I still feel that way," added Sherman.

    Sherman said they've seen about 10 percent of their overall expected Super Bowl action, so things could flip rapidly just like last season when the books all needed Denver big with three days of betting remaining only to see some need Carolina by kickoff.

    The only move on the Vegas board Monday was the South Point dropping their total from 59.5 back to 59 like all the other books. Sherman says the Westgate has a 2-to-1 ratio to the ‘over’ with a few large bets from sharp bettors on the ‘under’ keeping them at that 2-to-1 ratio.

    "The correlation we're seeing is the public betting New England and Over while sharps are on Atlanta and Under," Sherman said.

    I found that interesting just because the main correlation with Atlanta having success all season is its total going ‘over’ in the same game. In 11 of the 12 Atlanta covers this season, the side-to-total combination came in. Atlanta has gone 15-2-1 to the ‘over’ this season, including 7-0-1 in its last eight, and all 11 played in a dome went ‘over’ too. Houston's NRG Stadium has a retractable roof but it is expected to be open unless weather plays a role.

    As for the Westgate's world famous props that were opened Thursday, there was some early optimism about the solid numbers they posted.

    "Usually we get three to four bets on the same prop and just keep raising the number after each bet, but we didn't get that this year. We haven't had any prop bet for the limit more than two times the same way, but there's a long ways to go," said Sherman.

    That's it from Vegas on Monday.

    Not a lot going on, but the pace will gradually increase each day leading up to Sunday's kickoff and we'll be there to report on it.

    Update - 1.28.17 - 4:09 p.m. ET

    Super Bowl action continues to flow through Las Vegas sports books at an equal pace on both the Patriots and Falcons which has the numbers on the board at a standstill with the majority still showing -3 and 59.

    "I want to get off 3 if I can, but if it doesn't make sense then there's no reason for us to go," said Jay Rood, VP of race and sports for MGM Resorts.

    However, Rood has been very happy with the handle so far.

    "I was looking at the day-by-day handle over the same time span as last year and the handle is very comparable," he said.

    Last year's Super Bowl set a Nevada state record with $132 million wagered and the 10 MGM properties were huge contributors to that figure.

    Oddly, the MGM books still have yet to take a massive bet.

    "We've had a couple inquiries about making six-figures wagers on both sides, but nothing has happened yet.

    The hub staff located at the Mirage realesed most of their props on Thursday and Friday and are working on three more pages of "goofy props" for the game that should finalize their prop packet handed to guests on Monday.

    Rood is also seeing some big action from the boxing world tonight as the MGM Grand hosts the WBA Super World Featherweight title with Carl Frampton (23-0) a -160 favorite over Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1).

    Outside of that, it's a ho-hum Saturday at the books with college basketball taking center stage with bettors bankrolls.

    Update - 1.27.17 - 4:30 p.m. ET


    The entire week I've been wondering when the Super Bowl line would move from New England -3 to -3.5, but a new question arises: could this line get to -2.5?

    It seems unlikely, but with the way large money found its way to the books taking Atlanta +3 (EVEN) and (-105), there's only one book in town -- the Golden Nugget -- that has the Patriots at -3 with added juice (-115).

    "I haven't had any reason to move off (-115)," said Golden Nugget book director Tony Miller," and I'm willing to take up to a $50,000 bet. In talking with people around town, I think I was one of the few who initially suggesting this game could go to -2.5. We'll see how it goes."

    CG Technology books had the Patriots -3 (-115), but the Falcons are now +3 (-115). "We took a six-figure bet on the Falcons (+3 -105)," said VP of risk management Jason Simbal.

    If large respected money betting this early is taking the Falcons +3 (EV), then its likely they don't think we'll ever see +3.5. However, being the skeptic I am, my first thought process is that it's a smoke screen with sharper money seeding the thought in bookmakers minds that the sharp side is Atlanta and then when the move is made they come firing in for much larger action everywhere at once on the Patriots -2.5.

    But remember, the public action controls this game and Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornagay estimates that only seven percent of his overall Super Bowl action has passed through the bet windows. There's a long way to go in this ever changing story.

    This is the top story that will carry on over the weekend which will make screen watching a fun activity. The record total of 59 is flat across town with equal action on both sides.

    COOL PROP

    There's always one prop that stands out as being the most clever and early returns show a catchy one at the Westgate involving the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights who begin play next season. Who will have more? The Golden Knights 2017-18 points are -20.5 against Devonta Freeman's rushing yards. Who knows just how good the Knights will be, but Freeman totaled 1,079 yards in the regular season and ran 42 yards and 45 yards in two playoff wins. The lowest point total in the NHL last season was Toronto with 69 points.

    Westgate Superbook Super Bowl Props

    SAFETY ANYONE?


    Westgate manager Ed Salmons says the true odds on a safety happening is one in 16 games and odds used to be posted with the NO -1400 and YES at +900. But after four safeties have occurred over the last eight Super Bowls, the odds reflect it with NO at -700 and YES at +500. Two of those safeties were the first score of the game which paid out at over 100-to-1 odds.

    "First score being a safety?, Wynn sports books director John Avello recalled. "Wow, that was a killer a couple years ago. Yeah, it cost us six figures right out of the gate."

    Seattle made that fun happen for a few lucky bettors taking a chance in 2014 against Denver and two years earlier the Giants got on the board first when Tom Brady got called for intentional grounding in the end zone against the Giants.

    William Hill sports books are offering the first score being a safety for both the Patriots and Falcons at 75-to-1 odds each.

    A safety hasn't occurred in the past two Super Bowls and even though I would never recommend laying a large price, the deflated odds on NO at -700 looks to be the easiest money on the board.

    Update - 1.26.17 - 5:00 p.m. ET

    The main Super Bowl story in Las Vegas Thursday is the anticipation of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook releasing over 350 propositions. They've become the standard in town and there will be dozens of bettors waiting to get the first whack at their numbers which is supposed to appear on the digital boards at 7:00 p.m. PT.

    I called SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay in the afternoon to see how the process was going and he and his crew were still going full throttle to meet the 7 pm deadline.

    "No, we're still finalizing all of them," he said. "The entire process is just so time consuming, and I'm not only talking about coming up the numbers for each prop. We've got three to four layers of double checking between five people where we make sure we've spelled everything correct, the bet numbers listed are correct and the proper verbiage is listed for each prop."

    The actual process of making the numbers for the props is time consuming in itself. Kornegay and his bookmaking staff met the previous two nights covering 14 hours to hammer out those numbers, but the most tedious process is the set-up for the system and getting the sheets quadruple-checked and bound together, which eventually looks like a book.

    However, it's worth all the work. Kornegay gets huge national attention for the Westgate due to the props and they'll write 55 percent of its Super Bowl action on the props, a number that keeps rising each year and is the highest percentage in the city.

    William Hill's 108 sports books have their props all set up and ready to go for a release to the public on Friday morning. They've tentatively set Matt Ryan's passing yards at 335.5 and Tom Brady's at 329.5. They've also got some clever props that involve other sports such as Oregon's points against Arizona being -7.5 against Legerrette Blount rushing yards.

    William Hill Super Bowl Props


    As for the game itself there hasn't been much going on with four books still showing -3 with some variation of added juice to the Patriots side.

    "We had some Falcons money come in, and if it weren't for the large Patriots bet we took earlier in the week, we'd have more money on the Falcons. But ticket counts so far favor the Patriots," Kornegay said after moving the spread back to 3-flat.

    The ticket count disparity is showing at CG Technology books as well with VP of risk management Jason Simbal saying his eight sports books have "two times more tickets written and 1.7 times more money on the Patriots" which explains why they moved to -3 (-115) on Wednesday.

    The record-high total is a steady 59 at books all across town with the high Patriots money-line at -165/+145 at The South Point and Stratosphere and the low being -150/+130 at Boyd Gaming and William Hill. Over 62 percent of the money-line cash taken in at William Hill has been on the Patriots, which is a major shift in Super Bowl wagering where the underdog gets more action.

    The big story moving forward will continue to be when, or if, a sports book makes the jump to -3.5 and whether or not the underdog Falcons can garner enough public support to keep the game at -3. If I had to choose who will make the move first, I would pick the South Point just because their policy is to use only flat numbers. The influx of weekend visitors could accelerate Patriots risk to force a move somewhere.

    Update - 1.25.17 - 4:45 p.m. ET

    A couple of Las Vegas sports books got off their 3-flat number as Patriots money is starting flow, but two of the books -- Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and Station Casinos -- who were at -3 (-120) already went back to 3-flat on Wednesday morning showing that a few bettors found Atlanta +3 (EVEN) attractive.

    Boyd Gaming sports books have been at -3 (-115) since Monday.

    "The early action has been strong so far," said Boyd sports book director Bob Scucci. "We're seeing more play from the public on the Patriots and our larger bets have been on the Falcons, but that was at +3 EVEN and -105. All we've done is move the money so far."

    Scucci's strategy is of the conservative nature when dealing with the most key number in the NFL and he doesn't want to overreact too soon.

    "The pattern over the last few years has seen an influx of money coming in on game day, so I don't want to get off the number if I don't have to," he said. "I'm more likely to stay where I'm at until all that action comes in the final two days of betting."

    CG Technology sports books made the move from 3-flat to -3 (-115) on Wednesday morning with VP of risk management Jason Simbal citing an "accumulation" of Patriots wagers signaling it was their time to move. John Avello at the Wynn Las Vegas also made the move to -3 (-115) citing a "good-size Patriots bet" for the move.

    The record setting Super Bowl total has also developed a betting trend that seems more likely to stay true through the next 11 days than the betting patterns on the side.

    "We were as high as 60 and just dropped it from 59.5 down to 59," Scucci said. "We've had a few respected bettors take the Under, but the majority of the parlays have both sides to the Over and its been bet at over a 4-to-1 ratio."

    Parlay risk rarely makes a book move a number, but with both sides to the 'over' looming large and it being the highest handled game of the year, risk over six-figures on either side to the 'over' is definitely something to take into the equation for bookmakers which means we'll probably see the total moving higher than lower down the stretch. Remember, the public is in charge here with the line movement, not the sharps.

    SOUTH POINT PROP

    We told you yesterday that the Stratosphere was offering -105 juice on either side through Thursday, which is something South Point owner Michael Gaughan usually offers to all his loyal casino guests. I asked book director Chris Andrews if they would be doing it and he said "not yet, but you know me and Jimmy (Vaccaro). We figure to do something."

    One of the things they're offering already is an alternative spread for those looking for a hook on either side. They have the Patriots -2.5 (-135) and the Falcons +3.5 (-120), numbers that essential say they're closer to moving to -3.5 on their regular point spread. The South Point is the only book in town that offer exclusively flat number. We'll be talking about their booking dilemma on that procedure over the next few days.

    COME MEET LT

    Part of the Las Vegas Super Bowl experience is drawing fans and bettors to a property using former football players and the Orleans has a Hall-of-Famer scheduled to hang out.

    "We have Lawrence Taylor signing autographs in the Bourbon Street lounge from 6 to 8 pm the day before the Super Bowl," said Scucci, who also mentioned they have a free viewing party in their ball room with food and drink specials.

    No city does the Super Bowl experience better than Las Vegas and it doesn't really matter where you watch it at. It's a far more intense viewing experience than any place else, including actually watching the game live in Houston. It's just my biased opinion anyway.

    Update - 1.24.17 - 5:00 p.m. ET

    Because the Super Bowl is the largest wagered game of the year in Las Vegas, it deserves some Super daily attention and we'll give it to you here all the way to kickoff as we highlight several story-lines from a betting perspective.

    While the national media breaks down the relationship of Tom Brady and President Trump, we'll be telling you when the point-spread has moved off -3 and why, what the public is betting, just how high the record total will go and whether or not Nevada has a chance to surpass last year's record state handle of $132 million.

    Before we get into what's been happening with the spread, let's first lay out how different a landscape this game is for bookmakers compared to any other game. Usually, wise-guys are respected with any play they make and a spread is moved, but the procedures change with the Super Bowl because of the masses coming out to play -- sometimes the only time they visit a book on the year.

    "This is the one line a year that the public controls what happens and they usually believe what they saw last," said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. "But in this case, both teams looked impressive so they have a lot to think about."

    Both the Falcons and Patriots won in impressive blowouts last Sunday against quality teams on lengthy win streaks. Last season it was the Panthers blowing out Arizona in the NFC Championship game while the Broncos squeaked by the Patriots, 20-18, in the AFC Championship game. Early Panthers money came pouring in and the books moved with the money, but then the public supported the underdog Broncos during the final weekend push.

    Some books went from needing the Broncos for a huge decision three days before kickoff to being completely flipped around needing the Panthers. Nevada books collectively held 10.1 percent of the handle for a $13.3 million win. But the question a few books were asking themselves afterwards is if they moved too rapidly with initial Panthers money when 80 percent of the overall expected action had yet to be seen. The quick move gave all the Broncos bettors an inflated spread and money-line.

    On Sunday night, all the books opened the Patriots -3 and on Monday a few went to -3 (-120) with the notion they'll probably be moving higher. One of those books was the Westgate where Kornegay said the cause was "some money, but also a feeling that the line will eventually move in that direction."

    Station Casinos made the adjustment too with book director Jason McCormick saying their move was caused by an "accumulation of action" and that he believes "-3.5 is coming"

    William Hill books also made the move to -3 (-120) with 63 percent of its cash taken in coming on New England. As of Tuesday afternoon those were the only books to move off 3-flat in Las Vegas.

    Each book has to formulate their own game plan and all would agree they don't want to be on -3. Some are waiting for a good excuse to move while others are holding strong where they are, such as the chain of 10 MGM Resorts sports books where hub manager Jeff Stoneback said they would need a risk of $500,000 to move the off of -3.

    "Everything is balanced for us so far, so there's no need to speculate on where it might go," Stoneback said. "I'd rather not be on 3, but my philosophy has always been to wait until the money pushes us."

    History shows that the books do all they can to not post the biggest game of the year with the seasons most common and important number of 3. In the previous 27 Super Bowls, only two games had three-point spreads -- favorites won and covered both. It's a dangerous number and has a high risk of landing and the books don't want to give back all the millions of dollars wagered with a push. They want a decision.

    When and where the number goes will be the main story-line for the next week. Stoneback feels the public is more prone to support the underdog when all the guests start flying into town next weekend. The 'dog has won and covered the past five Super Bowls and have gone 12-3 against the spread in the last 15.

    The high money-line in town is at the Stratosphere with a Patriots -170/+150 split and the low number is -145/+125 at the Golden Nugget. The total is a steady 59 at most books with the South Point and Station Casinos at 59.5. The previous Super Bowl total high was 57 when the Saints beat the Colts (-5) in South Florida with a 31-17 decision.

    If looking for early bargains, the Stratosphere is offering reduced juice (-105) on the Super Bowl sides Tuesday through Thursday this week.

    Also, the Westgate will release their world famous Super Bowl props -- over 20 sheets with 350 props -- on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. PT. The sheets will not be available until Friday night or Saturday morning. Kornegay and his staff have done such a good with these over the years that 55 percent of their overall Super Bowl action will come from props. Most books only get around 30 percent. The beauty of the props is that it dilutes overall risk on the game itself. If they lose to the game, they still can win to the props and on the day.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Super Bowl 51 Betting Update
    February 4, 2017

    Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.


    Update - 2.4.17 - 3:15 p.m. ET

    Friday night's Super Bowl betting action heated up in Las Vegas and it looks like we found out who the majority likes as more sports books have moved off Patriots -3 -110 to -3 -115 and one book even made the move from -115 to -120.

    "Were getting a lot of action in the last 24 hours and it's been mostly Patriots action," said Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci. "Friday night was a good indicator and right now we're pretty heavy on the Patriots -- we have a 3-to-2 count on tickets written of them. We've been moving to +3 -105 to entice Falcons action, but we still want a decision on the game which is why we have been going back to 3-flat."

    Betting patterns on the Falcons have been different at Scucci's chain of books from what he saw last week.

    "We got some big plays on the Falcons early on during the first week of action at +3 -105, but we're not seeing that type of play any more when we move."

    So with all the influx of Patriots support arriving in town, is -3.5 a possibility soon?

    "No, I don't think we'll move to -3.5," Scucci said. "We're going to just stay on the key number and roll with it."

    Scucci also dropped his total down from 59 to 58.5 on Saturday morning. He said he's been getting lots of sharp action on the Under while the risky parlays are mostly tied to the Over.

    "Patriots and Over is the worst decision for us," he said.

    Over at the Wynn, book director John Avello has been seeing the same type of Patriots betting patterns, except his action has been coming in large chucks.

    "We've taken a minimum of 10 six-figure wagers with just a couple of those on the Falcons and they we're all the smallest of the large bets," Avello said. "The largest bet so far was $300,000 on the Patriots."

    Just as he was talking about his large bets, he got another six-figure wager come across the counter." Okay, we just got another one; $200,000 more on the Patriots."

    Avello didn't move the money on the spread after the large wager, but if Patriots action keeps coming in at the same rate he's not opposed to getting off the number.

    "I'll stop at -3 -120 and the next move for us will be to -3.5."

    He's also sitting in a similar position like every other book with the Patriots and Over being his worst decision.

    The big news around town for a brief moment was the Westgate Superbook making the move to -3 -120, a move VP Jay Korengay said was spurred by "more New England support," but within an hour he had taken in enough Falcons money accumulated at +3 EVEN that he moved back to +3 -110.

    Expect to see more books attempt to balance their risk out at +3 EVEN as the wagering intensifies tonight and Sunday.

    Perhaps the biggest question in town besides where the number is going to end up is where professional bettor Billy Walters and his crew have been. Walters has still yet to show his Super Bowl hand in town, which is surprising.

    But this really is just another game and its on a neutral field. Maybe he doesn't see any value in any part of the game and will sit this one out. However, I don't believe that for a second. I think he has a master plan waiting to be unveiled at all the books at relatively the same time on Sunday. Or at least I want to believe that just to add some extra spice to the 2017 Super Bowl betting story.

    I'll have a final update Sunday afternoon to detail what happend Saturday night and early Sunday.

    Update - 2.3.17 - 4:00 p.m. ET

    It's now the fourth quarter of booking for Las Vegas sports books and the story behind where the Super Bowl spread eventually moves begins tonight. Almost every book is sitting with the Patriots still at -3 (-110), but this is a long fourth quarter that has just begun.

    "We have all the arrivals coming to town tonight and tomorrow and I'm real curious to see who they side with," said Westgate Las Vegas Superbook VP Jay Kornegay. "Through the first 12 days of action our regular crowd of locals have been siding with the Patriots with three in every five tickets written. But now I want to see what the tourists are thinking; who are they going to side with and they'll make the biggest difference of all since we've yet to see about 75 percent of our overall action expected on the game."

    And just where exactly does Kornegay see his spread being forced by the tourists?

    "I could see New England getting as high as -3 -120 or -130."

    Or in other words, he doesn't sound too keen on the idea of getting off of 3. At this juncture no one does, but most casinos haven't even seen their billionaire whales arrive yet.

    What we did see on Friday was some early activity with a couple books moving numbers. Nothing really happened the previous two days, but a few were maneuvering beginning with CG Technology adjusting the record total that was sitting at 59 with every book in town.

    "We dropped the total down to 58.5 based simply on one of our sharpest guys betting Under in several offensive props and alternate totals like 46.5 and 51.5," CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal said Friday afternoon. "We're equal in action on the both the Over and Under with the exception of parlays where both sides are tied heavily to the Over. We opened 58.5 and since moving back, nobody has bet the Over for the limit."

    Within minutes after the conversation ended with Simbal, they got a big Over bet and moved back to 59. It was short lived, but hey, at least we have some activity and the total move wasn't the only happening.

    CG books also moved the Falcons to +3 -115 early in the morning and went back to 3-flat three hours later. Simbal says his books are "balanced on the game, but two out of every three tickets written have been on the Patriots."

    He also said that his sharpest bettor has made multiple limit plays on the Falcons with them and if risk eventually does get heavier on the Patriots with all the weekend arrivals that they can rely on the same bettor to take some more action on the Falcons. Yes, this bettor loves the Falcons and loves the total way Under.

    Shortly after, John Avello at Wynn Resorts and Bob Scucci at Boyd Gaming each moved the Patriots to -3 -115. It's a trend I think we'll be seeing more of as millions of dollars run through the windows over the next three days. We'll keep you updated as the real fun has just started.

    WHAT'S A SHARP THINKING?

    Jeff Whitelaw has been one of the most respected bettors in Las Vegas for the past 25 years and he kindly shared with me a few of the Super Bowl plays he's made. I figured there might be a few people out there who might be interested in his comments.

    "I'm high on all the Brady props going Over like touchdown passes (2,5), completions (27), passing yards (329.5) with the exception being rushing yards (2.5) which I bet Under."

    If Brady has a great game, then beating the Pats looks to be tough task and that's where Whitelaw has put his money.

    "New England has the better defense and I think sometimes people can be wowed too much by what they saw last, like was the case last year when Carolina rolled through the playoffs. 'How is Denver's defense going to stop that offense' is what I kept hearing. The last five Super Bowls featuring the top scoring offense against the top scoring defense have saw the defense come out on top.

    "The area I think New England has an edge is with Brady against the Falcons defense. He eats up zone defenses and that's what Atlanta employs most of the time. I also think Belichick will have his team prepared more. Almost every intangible points to the Patriots winning. And then you've got the public having a great season, and they like the Patriots too."

    Yes, the public certainly has been on an epic NFL roll this season.

    Update - 2.1.17 - 6:00 p.m. ET

    Super Bowl wagers continue to flow in at a nice pace through Las Vegas sports books, but the only real activity on the odds board Wednesday afternoon happened at CG Technology when they moved the Patriots from 3-flat to -3 (-105). It was the third time in six days they've gone that way. It lasted less than an hour before they moved back to 3-flat.

    On Friday they took a six-figure wager on the Falcons to force the initial move and when they're looking to balance the cash out on the game VP of risk management Jason Simbal says "it's easy to get action at -3 -105."

    Simbal said Wednesday afternoon that his chain of nine sports books in Las Vegas have 65 percent of their tickets written on the Patriots but 58 percent of the overall cash is on the Falcons. Sharp money has been seeded everywhere around town on the Falcons. The public likes the Patriots.

    What every bookmaker in town wants to know is if the public trend continues when the bulk of the Super Bowl action happens over the weekend. If it does, then all the $100-$1,000 Patriots wagers will add up to more in the overall cash pool than the early limit action taken on the Falcons.

    So who is the public going to show more favor with this weekend?

    "We really don't know," said MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback. "Our overall ticket counts have been relatively even and our cash count is favoring the Patriots by a 7-to-5 ratio."

    The 10 MGM books haven't moved off 3-flat and Stoneback says they haven't attracted any sharp action, which is surprising because they deal to almost all of them on a regular basis for all sports. He estimates that 90 percent of their overall Super Bowl action will come Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    Stoneback also said their Super Bowl handle is slightly down from last season when the state of Nevada set a record with $132 million wagered on the Broncos-Panthers game.

    I wish there was more to report, but this Super Bowl is still sitting -3 and 59 everywhere and it's rather boring. The activity going on in Las Vegas reminds me of a Talladega NASCAR race where every driver stays in line for the first 178 laps and then starts maneuvering for position in the final 10 laps. I'm hopeful those final 10 laps to the finish line starts on Saturday with some movement -- any movement -- either way.

    Update - 1.31.17 - 6:30 p.m. ET

    As of late Tuesday afternoon, every Las Vegas sports book is showing the exact same Super Bowl number with the Patriots still -3 and the total still 59. And it doesn't look like anything is going to change for at least the next few days until the wave of weekend action starts.

    The first book to move off -3 is likely going to be the South Point just because they're the only book to use flat numbers. While other books next move -- if any -- will be to -115 or -120 on one of the sides, the South Point policy is to deal only -110 on each. If the risk at that number gets too high, the move is either to -2.5 or -3.5, or stay on 3 and incur more risk.

    I talked with book director Chris Andrews regarding their stance with six nights of action still to come and he doesn't appear to be moving the spread any time soon..

    "We're higher on the Patriots point-spread, but also higher on the Falcons money-line (+135)," he said. We're sitting well on the game, but what we really need is the game to stay Under. it's a big decision for us."

    Andrews has moved to 59.5 on three separate occasions over the last nine days of action and each time he's quickly found enough Under money to move back to 59.

    When asked if a 27-25 Patriots win would be the best overall result, Andrews chuckled saying "I'd would love that score." That's called a 'bookmakers dream' and the last time it happened was in 2005 when the Patriots won 24-21 over the Eagles, but didn't cover the 7-points. The Nevada books held 17 percent in that game, which is still the highest Super Bowl hold percentage ever in the state.

    WHY DOES SOUTH POINT USE ONLY FLAT NUMBERS?

    The South Point is the only sports book in Nevada that uses exclusively flat numbers. You won't see a -120 or -115 attached to any of their spreads due to a policy instituted by legendary owner Michael Gaughan, one of the few casino owners in town that actually understands bookmaking very well.

    Gaughan opened one of the first sports books located inside a casino at the Union Plaza in the early 70's and also gave Jimmy Vaccaro his first bookmaking job at the Royal Inn in 1977. He's a pioneer of bookmaking and so is his Lineage. His father Jackie Gaughan owned the El Cortez and was operating several legal stand alone bet shops in downtown Las Vegas during the 50's and 60's.

    So when Gaughan decides he doesn't want his book moving juice, he does so with knowledge and a refreshing old school flair that is appreciated by his guests. Also, he gains more action when all the other books attach -120 to a side because his flat number is usually the most attractive in town. It's also easier for his novice customers to understand.

    WHY NOT MANY 3'S IN SUPER BOWL HISTORY?

    There's a reason that only two of the past 27 Super Bowls have had spreads at 3 despite it being the most key number in the NFL. The bookmakers don't want to deal with the possibility of a push on their biggest game of the year and refund all the wagers. They want a decision, but the longer they stay on Patriots -3, the harder it's going to be for them to move, unless of course, massive action comes on one of the sides.

    With the way two-sided action has been coming in, any advantage with a hook at either -2.5 or +3.5 would be played heavily. If the books move off the number and the game lands 3, they'll put themselves in big position to be sided like the city has never seen before.

    BLACK SUNDAY

    The last time Las Vegas got sided in the Super Bowl was when they were middled in 1979 with the Steelers 35-31 win over the Cowboys. The volume of action back then was far lighter than today, but they ended up losing the Pittsburgh -3.5 bets, giving back the bets on 4 and losing to Dallas bettors taking +4.5. It's a day still known as Black Sunday.

    The South Point's Jimmy Vaccaro is the last Vegas bookmaker still working in the business that experienced Black Sunday. He said he got loaded with Steelers money early on laying -3.5 and -4 and then a big Texas group laid heavy cash taking +4.5.

    Nevada did't record wagering for the game like they do now, but Vaccaro estimated losses in town up to $3 million which would make it the worst Super Bowl loss ahead of the $2.5 million Nevada lost in 2008 with the Giants 17-14 upset of the undefeated Patriots.

    Listening to Vaccaro tell the Black Sunday story always is great stuff. Here's a quote from him in an article I wrote two years ago.

    “When it was all over, we lost $180,000, while the books that took the biggest action at that time — the Stardust and Plaza — lost the most. The Plaza lost about $700,000, and I remember Lefty Rosenthal telling me they lost $1.4 million at the Stardust on the game. I think the Stardust was running a promotion at the time of laying -3.5 with the Steelers or taking +4.5 with the Cowboys.”

    Update - 1.30.17 - 3:30 p.m. ET

    It's a quiet Monday at Las Vegas sports books, but Super Bowl action is still consistently flowing in. I checked in with Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman Monday afternoon to see what kind of betting patterns they saw over the weekend and when, of if, there is a possible point-spread change in the upcoming days.

    "Right now -3 is a really good number for us," he said. "Each time we've gone to Falcons +3 EVEN we've got immediate sharp action on them. The public is on the Patriots and the sharps are on the Falcons."

    The public is still bringing in more cash than the sharps as the Westgate has 58 percent of their action on the Patriots. Sharps are wise people, so I asked Sherman why they wouldn't wait for the public to force the sports books to move +3.5, because without those large Atlanta bets the spread might already be at 3.5.

    "They're too quick on anything they perceive of value and +3 EVEN is attractive to them. Ed (Salmons, SuperBook manager) thinks it's more likely to move to -2.5 before -3.5. I thought 3 was the right number from the start and I still feel that way," added Sherman.

    Sherman said they've seen about 10 percent of their overall expected Super Bowl action, so things could flip rapidly just like last season when the books all needed Denver big with three days of betting remaining only to see some need Carolina by kickoff.

    The only move on the Vegas board Monday was the South Point dropping their total from 59.5 back to 59 like all the other books. Sherman says the Westgate has a 2-to-1 ratio to the ‘over’ with a few large bets from sharp bettors on the ‘under’ keeping them at that 2-to-1 ratio.

    "The correlation we're seeing is the public betting New England and Over while sharps are on Atlanta and Under," Sherman said.

    I found that interesting just because the main correlation with Atlanta having success all season is its total going ‘over’ in the same game. In 11 of the 12 Atlanta covers this season, the side-to-total combination came in. Atlanta has gone 15-2-1 to the ‘over’ this season, including 7-0-1 in its last eight, and all 11 played in a dome went ‘over’ too. Houston's NRG Stadium has a retractable roof but it is expected to be open unless weather plays a role.

    As for the Westgate's world famous props that were opened Thursday, there was some early optimism about the solid numbers they posted.

    "Usually we get three to four bets on the same prop and just keep raising the number after each bet, but we didn't get that this year. We haven't had any prop bet for the limit more than two times the same way, but there's a long ways to go," said Sherman.

    That's it from Vegas on Monday.

    Not a lot going on, but the pace will gradually increase each day leading up to Sunday's kickoff and we'll be there to report on it.

    Update - 1.28.17 - 4:09 p.m. ET

    Super Bowl action continues to flow through Las Vegas sports books at an equal pace on both the Patriots and Falcons which has the numbers on the board at a standstill with the majority still showing -3 and 59.

    "I want to get off 3 if I can, but if it doesn't make sense then there's no reason for us to go," said Jay Rood, VP of race and sports for MGM Resorts.

    However, Rood has been very happy with the handle so far.

    "I was looking at the day-by-day handle over the same time span as last year and the handle is very comparable," he said.

    Last year's Super Bowl set a Nevada state record with $132 million wagered and the 10 MGM properties were huge contributors to that figure.

    Oddly, the MGM books still have yet to take a massive bet.

    "We've had a couple inquiries about making six-figures wagers on both sides, but nothing has happened yet.

    The hub staff located at the Mirage realesed most of their props on Thursday and Friday and are working on three more pages of "goofy props" for the game that should finalize their prop packet handed to guests on Monday.

    Rood is also seeing some big action from the boxing world tonight as the MGM Grand hosts the WBA Super World Featherweight title with Carl Frampton (23-0) a -160 favorite over Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1).

    Outside of that, it's a ho-hum Saturday at the books with college basketball taking center stage with bettors bankrolls.

    Update - 1.27.17 - 4:30 p.m. ET

    The entire week I've been wondering when the Super Bowl line would move from New England -3 to -3.5, but a new question arises: could this line get to -2.5?

    It seems unlikely, but with the way large money found its way to the books taking Atlanta +3 (EVEN) and (-105), there's only one book in town -- the Golden Nugget -- that has the Patriots at -3 with added juice (-115).

    "I haven't had any reason to move off (-115)," said Golden Nugget book director Tony Miller," and I'm willing to take up to a $50,000 bet. In talking with people around town, I think I was one of the few who initially suggesting this game could go to -2.5. We'll see how it goes."

    CG Technology books had the Patriots -3 (-115), but the Falcons are now +3 (-115). "We took a six-figure bet on the Falcons (+3 -105)," said VP of risk management Jason Simbal.

    If large respected money betting this early is taking the Falcons +3 (EV), then its likely they don't think we'll ever see +3.5. However, being the skeptic I am, my first thought process is that it's a smoke screen with sharper money seeding the thought in bookmakers minds that the sharp side is Atlanta and then when the move is made they come firing in for much larger action everywhere at once on the Patriots -2.5.

    But remember, the public action controls this game and Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornagay estimates that only seven percent of his overall Super Bowl action has passed through the bet windows. There's a long way to go in this ever changing story.

    This is the top story that will carry on over the weekend which will make screen watching a fun activity. The record total of 59 is flat across town with equal action on both sides.

    COOL PROP

    There's always one prop that stands out as being the most clever and early returns show a catchy one at the Westgate involving the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights who begin play next season. Who will have more? The Golden Knights 2017-18 points are -20.5 against Devonta Freeman's rushing yards. Who knows just how good the Knights will be, but Freeman totaled 1,079 yards in the regular season and ran 42 yards and 45 yards in two playoff wins. The lowest point total in the NHL last season was Toronto with 69 points.

    Westgate Superbook Super Bowl Props

    SAFETY ANYONE?

    Westgate manager Ed Salmons says the true odds on a safety happening is one in 16 games and odds used to be posted with the NO -1400 and YES at +900. But after four safeties have occurred over the last eight Super Bowls, the odds reflect it with NO at -700 and YES at +500. Two of those safeties were the first score of the game which paid out at over 100-to-1 odds.

    "First score being a safety?, Wynn sports books director John Avello recalled. "Wow, that was a killer a couple years ago. Yeah, it cost us six figures right out of the gate."

    Seattle made that fun happen for a few lucky bettors taking a chance in 2014 against Denver and two years earlier the Giants got on the board first when Tom Brady got called for intentional grounding in the end zone against the Giants.

    William Hill sports books are offering the first score being a safety for both the Patriots and Falcons at 75-to-1 odds each.

    A safety hasn't occurred in the past two Super Bowls and even though I would never recommend laying a large price, the deflated odds on NO at -700 looks to be the easiest money on the board.

    Update - 1.26.17 - 5:00 p.m. ET

    The main Super Bowl story in Las Vegas Thursday is the anticipation of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook releasing over 350 propositions. They've become the standard in town and there will be dozens of bettors waiting to get the first whack at their numbers which is supposed to appear on the digital boards at 7:00 p.m. PT.

    I called SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay in the afternoon to see how the process was going and he and his crew were still going full throttle to meet the 7 pm deadline.

    "No, we're still finalizing all of them," he said. "The entire process is just so time consuming, and I'm not only talking about coming up the numbers for each prop. We've got three to four layers of double checking between five people where we make sure we've spelled everything correct, the bet numbers listed are correct and the proper verbiage is listed for each prop."

    The actual process of making the numbers for the props is time consuming in itself. Kornegay and his bookmaking staff met the previous two nights covering 14 hours to hammer out those numbers, but the most tedious process is the set-up for the system and getting the sheets quadruple-checked and bound together, which eventually looks like a book.

    However, it's worth all the work. Kornegay gets huge national attention for the Westgate due to the props and they'll write 55 percent of its Super Bowl action on the props, a number that keeps rising each year and is the highest percentage in the city.

    William Hill's 108 sports books have their props all set up and ready to go for a release to the public on Friday morning. They've tentatively set Matt Ryan's passing yards at 335.5 and Tom Brady's at 329.5. They've also got some clever props that involve other sports such as Oregon's points against Arizona being -7.5 against Legerrette Blount rushing yards.

    William Hill Super Bowl Props

    As for the game itself there hasn't been much going on with four books still showing -3 with some variation of added juice to the Patriots side.

    "We had some Falcons money come in, and if it weren't for the large Patriots bet we took earlier in the week, we'd have more money on the Falcons. But ticket counts so far favor the Patriots," Kornegay said after moving the spread back to 3-flat.

    The ticket count disparity is showing at CG Technology books as well with VP of risk management Jason Simbal saying his eight sports books have "two times more tickets written and 1.7 times more money on the Patriots" which explains why they moved to -3 (-115) on Wednesday.

    The record-high total is a steady 59 at books all across town with the high Patriots money-line at -165/+145 at The South Point and Stratosphere and the low being -150/+130 at Boyd Gaming and William Hill. Over 62 percent of the money-line cash taken in at William Hill has been on the Patriots, which is a major shift in Super Bowl wagering where the underdog gets more action.

    The big story moving forward will continue to be when, or if, a sports book makes the jump to -3.5 and whether or not the underdog Falcons can garner enough public support to keep the game at -3. If I had to choose who will make the move first, I would pick the South Point just because their policy is to use only flat numbers. The influx of weekend visitors could accelerate Patriots risk to force a move somewhere.

    Update - 1.25.17 - 4:45 p.m. ET


    A couple of Las Vegas sports books got off their 3-flat number as Patriots money is starting flow, but two of the books -- Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and Station Casinos -- who were at -3 (-120) already went back to 3-flat on Wednesday morning showing that a few bettors found Atlanta +3 (EVEN) attractive.

    Boyd Gaming sports books have been at -3 (-115) since Monday.

    "The early action has been strong so far," said Boyd sports book director Bob Scucci. "We're seeing more play from the public on the Patriots and our larger bets have been on the Falcons, but that was at +3 EVEN and -105. All we've done is move the money so far."

    Scucci's strategy is of the conservative nature when dealing with the most key number in the NFL and he doesn't want to overreact too soon.

    "The pattern over the last few years has seen an influx of money coming in on game day, so I don't want to get off the number if I don't have to," he said. "I'm more likely to stay where I'm at until all that action comes in the final two days of betting."

    CG Technology sports books made the move from 3-flat to -3 (-115) on Wednesday morning with VP of risk management Jason Simbal citing an "accumulation" of Patriots wagers signaling it was their time to move. John Avello at the Wynn Las Vegas also made the move to -3 (-115) citing a "good-size Patriots bet" for the move.

    The record setting Super Bowl total has also developed a betting trend that seems more likely to stay true through the next 11 days than the betting patterns on the side.

    "We were as high as 60 and just dropped it from 59.5 down to 59," Scucci said. "We've had a few respected bettors take the Under, but the majority of the parlays have both sides to the Over and its been bet at over a 4-to-1 ratio."

    Parlay risk rarely makes a book move a number, but with both sides to the 'over' looming large and it being the highest handled game of the year, risk over six-figures on either side to the 'over' is definitely something to take into the equation for bookmakers which means we'll probably see the total moving higher than lower down the stretch. Remember, the public is in charge here with the line movement, not the sharps.

    SOUTH POINT PROP

    We told you yesterday that the Stratosphere was offering -105 juice on either side through Thursday, which is something South Point owner Michael Gaughan usually offers to all his loyal casino guests. I asked book director Chris Andrews if they would be doing it and he said "not yet, but you know me and Jimmy (Vaccaro). We figure to do something."

    One of the things they're offering already is an alternative spread for those looking for a hook on either side. They have the Patriots -2.5 (-135) and the Falcons +3.5 (-120), numbers that essential say they're closer to moving to -3.5 on their regular point spread. The South Point is the only book in town that offer exclusively flat number. We'll be talking about their booking dilemma on that procedure over the next few days.

    COME MEET LT

    Part of the Las Vegas Super Bowl experience is drawing fans and bettors to a property using former football players and the Orleans has a Hall-of-Famer scheduled to hang out.

    "We have Lawrence Taylor signing autographs in the Bourbon Street lounge from 6 to 8 pm the day before the Super Bowl," said Scucci, who also mentioned they have a free viewing party in their ball room with food and drink specials.

    No city does the Super Bowl experience better than Las Vegas and it doesn't really matter where you watch it at. It's a far more intense viewing experience than any place else, including actually watching the game live in Houston. It's just my biased opinion anyway.

    Update - 1.24.17 - 5:00 p.m. ET

    Because the Super Bowl is the largest wagered game of the year in Las Vegas, it deserves some Super daily attention and we'll give it to you here all the way to kickoff as we highlight several story-lines from a betting perspective.

    While the national media breaks down the relationship of Tom Brady and President Trump, we'll be telling you when the point-spread has moved off -3 and why, what the public is betting, just how high the record total will go and whether or not Nevada has a chance to surpass last year's record state handle of $132 million.

    Before we get into what's been happening with the spread, let's first lay out how different a landscape this game is for bookmakers compared to any other game. Usually, wise-guys are respected with any play they make and a spread is moved, but the procedures change with the Super Bowl because of the masses coming out to play -- sometimes the only time they visit a book on the year.

    "This is the one line a year that the public controls what happens and they usually believe what they saw last," said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. "But in this case, both teams looked impressive so they have a lot to think about."

    Both the Falcons and Patriots won in impressive blowouts last Sunday against quality teams on lengthy win streaks. Last season it was the Panthers blowing out Arizona in the NFC Championship game while the Broncos squeaked by the Patriots, 20-18, in the AFC Championship game. Early Panthers money came pouring in and the books moved with the money, but then the public supported the underdog Broncos during the final weekend push.

    Some books went from needing the Broncos for a huge decision three days before kickoff to being completely flipped around needing the Panthers. Nevada books collectively held 10.1 percent of the handle for a $13.3 million win. But the question a few books were asking themselves afterwards is if they moved too rapidly with initial Panthers money when 80 percent of the overall expected action had yet to be seen. The quick move gave all the Broncos bettors an inflated spread and money-line.

    On Sunday night, all the books opened the Patriots -3 and on Monday a few went to -3 (-120) with the notion they'll probably be moving higher. One of those books was the Westgate where Kornegay said the cause was "some money, but also a feeling that the line will eventually move in that direction."

    Station Casinos made the adjustment too with book director Jason McCormick saying their move was caused by an "accumulation of action" and that he believes "-3.5 is coming"

    William Hill books also made the move to -3 (-120) with 63 percent of its cash taken in coming on New England. As of Tuesday afternoon those were the only books to move off 3-flat in Las Vegas.

    Each book has to formulate their own game plan and all would agree they don't want to be on -3. Some are waiting for a good excuse to move while others are holding strong where they are, such as the chain of 10 MGM Resorts sports books where hub manager Jeff Stoneback said they would need a risk of $500,000 to move the off of -3.

    "Everything is balanced for us so far, so there's no need to speculate on where it might go," Stoneback said. "I'd rather not be on 3, but my philosophy has always been to wait until the money pushes us."

    History shows that the books do all they can to not post the biggest game of the year with the seasons most common and important number of 3. In the previous 27 Super Bowls, only two games had three-point spreads -- favorites won and covered both. It's a dangerous number and has a high risk of landing and the books don't want to give back all the millions of dollars wagered with a push. They want a decision.

    When and where the number goes will be the main story-line for the next week. Stoneback feels the public is more prone to support the underdog when all the guests start flying into town next weekend. The 'dog has won and covered the past five Super Bowls and have gone 12-3 against the spread in the last 15.

    The high money-line in town is at the Stratosphere with a Patriots -170/+150 split and the low number is -145/+125 at the Golden Nugget. The total is a steady 59 at most books with the South Point and Station Casinos at 59.5. The previous Super Bowl total high was 57 when the Saints beat the Colts (-5) in South Florida with a 31-17 decision.

    If looking for early bargains, the Stratosphere is offering reduced juice (-105) on the Super Bowl sides Tuesday through Thursday this week.

    Also, the Westgate will release their world famous Super Bowl props -- over 20 sheets with 350 props -- on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. PT. The sheets will not be available until Friday night or Saturday morning. Kornegay and his staff have done such a good with these over the years that 55 percent of their overall Super Bowl action will come from props. Most books only get around 30 percent. The beauty of the props is that it dilutes overall risk on the game itself. If they lose to the game, they still can win to the props and on the day.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Falcons C Mack expected to play in Super Bowl with fractured fibula
    February 5, 2017


    Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl center Alex Mack is expected to play in Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots despite a fracture in his left fibula.

    ESPN's Adam Schefter was told by a source that if this were the regular season, Mack could miss six to eight weeks, and the fact that he is playing Sunday is a major concern among the Falcons' staff.

    The 31-year-old Mack, who was a limited participant in practice all week, suffered the injury in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago.

    The Falcons' staff is confident Mack can handle pass blocking but is uncertain whether he will be effective on downfield blocks or whether his leg will hold up, according to Schefter.

    "Getting him a chance to see him practice at full speed on Wednesday, Thursday was really important for me," Falcons coach Dan Quinn told ESPN's Ed Werder on Saturday. "I wanted to make sure he could go do his thing and just really fly and haul. He's such a unique player because of the quickness he plays with, so I was pleased to see that. We held him the week prior to heal and get right. I was pleased he got the work in. It was totally by design. We were going to give him half his normal reps on Wednesday and Thursday and let him do the normal Friday, and that's how we laid out the week for him. It went exactly like we thought."

    Mack will reportedly receive a pain-killing injection to help him get through the game. Ben Garland is his backup.

    "This game, because of multiple fronts by New England, requires a lot of prep work by the center," Quinn told ESPN. "Identifying this look, this front, this player's positioning, (Mack and Garland) spend a lot of time in the film room together normally ... and I would say it's been even more these two weeks because this opponent requires even more."

    Mack was elected to his fourth Pro Bowl this season. In 2014, he suffered a broken fibula and missed the remaining 11 games of the season -- the only season in his career that he missed a start.

    NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon reported Mack told the team, "I'm playing. Period," in regards to his status for Sunday.
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