Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halfway (sort of) Superbowl predictions...

At this point in the season, it seems a good time to nominate our top picks for the NFL Superbowl. Of course, we will as always be trying to find you a value bet or two!


AFC: I have been burned before, always looking for teams with skill players in abundance. This year, think Chargers. Right now, I am looking for teams that have the strongest Offensive line and defence.

The AFC team that embodies this best is the Titans. Allowing a lean 11 points a game through 6 games, and with an offensive line that has made a lot more of the RB platoon of White and Johnson than most expected, this team is strong. QB is an occasional concern, though with the run game that these Titans own, game management from that spot is all they need. A solid investment at $8. 3rd stingiest defence in the league with 268 yards per contest and the great news is that most of their offence is coming on the ground - 154 yards per game.

To complement the Titans, the Steelers can be forgiven for the fail today against the Giants. Not the greatest day for the Roth, giving up four turnovers, but not too many teams have an offensive line that could allow a third string running back to put up the numbers Mewelde Moore has over the past fortnight. A return of Willie Parker and a bit of calmness under centre and these Steelers can rebound quickly. League's stingiest defence.

NFC: Pretty hard to look past the Giants, 6-1, the games 4th stingiest defence at 275 yards per game and 2nd best offence at 395 yards per game. Oh yeah, and a league leading 165 of those yards are coming on the ground. Built to repeat this year.

Right now, given that they sit on the bottom of their division at 4-3, you can shop pretty well on the Eagles. 4 point losses at Chicago and Dallas don't read badly, and a 6 point loss at home to the Redskins (minus Westbrook) reads okay as well. I have them here because I think that they are yet to click completely and despite this have been ultra competitive.

So you are shopping better on the Steelers and Eagles then on the Giants and Titans. To me, it would shock if your Superbowl wasn't played out by two of these four teams.


AFC: If you shop around at the moment, you can get close to $20 on the Chargers winning the Superbowl. This is great value. Sure, they are 3-5 at the moment, but die-hards fans of the game know that they start the season 3-5 every year! You'll be sitting pretty with those inflated odds when they go on their annual eight game winning streak shortly. As the Professor touched on, the Titans miserly defence cannot be overlooked in Superbowl calculations. Can they win a Superbowl with Kerry Collins who must be around 50 by now at QB? Well, remember that Tampa Bay won with the unfashionable (and old) Brad Johnson, who is presently leading Dallas around the park with the aid of a walking frame.

"Brad, Romo's down, we need you!"

The Steelers...I still don't know how they won a Superbowl with Ben Roethlisberger. Fantastic one week and diabolical the next. I've never seen a QB put so many passes right on the chests of the opposition. Right in the bread basket. The guy has to be colour-blind. I would never draft him in a fantasy league. Ever. Anyway, they did win a Superbowl with Big Ben (and that was the worst ever Superbowl-winning QB rating), so they must be doing something right, but I'm prepared to leave them out of my betting portfolio. The only other team in the AFC that I would not totally dismiss is Jacksonville. Similar to the Chargers, look for them to be playing their best football in the back half of the year, provided their injury situation improves.

NFC: The NFC appears to be there for the taking for the Giants. They get a tick in every box but for the occasional Eli Manning meltdown. Teams that could trouble them for a Superbowl spot include Carolina, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas (if they get it together consistently). So after pencilling in the Giants, it's very open as to who they might play in the NFC Championship game between the aforementioned teams. It's hard to fathom how you could still get $17 on the Giants to win the Superbowl after Week 3; needless to say, I had me some of that. I've also had nibbles on my beloved Buccaneers, and, if they can find some red-zone offense, they are still very good value. Particularly, as if they make their way to the Superbowl, it just happens to be played at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa. Yaaarrrgghh!!!

My halfway Championship games selections:

AFC: San Diego @ Tennessee
NFC: Tampa Bay @ New York Giants

Superbowl: Tennessee @ Tampa Bay! More likely Tennessee vs NYG, but yer never know me hearties!

Looks like we both agree that the Giants and Titans are looking good at this stage, but a long way to go.

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