Today’s lesson for NFL fans is pure and simple – do yourself a favor and watch the pre-season games. Not because there’s really nothing better to do, but because if you like football betting, there IS nothing better you could possibly do. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
This week, you’re going to hear a lot about how meaningless the final NFL pre-season game is for everyone involved. Maybe this is the kind of game they want to cut out of the schedule, if and when they expand to an 18-game slate. I’ve got friends who have been associated with the NFL who could care less about betting on the NFL who positively scoff at the idea of watching any pre-season games at all. This is understandable from their perspective, I guess, nothing counts in the league standings until the regular season starts.
Call me crazy, but I find myself glued to the television when some of these pre-season games are on, and that’s why I think it is such a great service that the NFL Network televises replays of all the exhibition contests without fail.
Not only do these games get me in more of a mood for football, but I think they also serve a purpose as far as NFL is concerned. Let me explain: I used to think the pre-season games were rather benign exercises where the players simply went through the motions and loosened themselves up while waiting for the regular season to begin. While I admit this is true of many of the front-line starters on a team, by the same token those starters also have their playing time limited for the most part. The announcers are right when they say that the pre-season games are like the Super Bowl for many of the players, because this is their opportunity to demonstrate that they can play in the NFL, working against the odds in many cases. It is simple enough for any NFL bettor to grasp that there are a lot of starting positions that are up for grabs on a ballclub, and the decisions as to who is going to start the games in the regular season are made based on performance in these pre-season games.
So what you’re going to see – indeed, what you have seen so far – is a level of intensity from some of the young players, who in this age of salary cap-consciousness may wind up playing key roles during the regular season. What you also get a chance to do in the pre-season is see all the quarterbacks. In fact, the quarterbacks who do NOT start are the ones who will invariably get most of the playing time. This, of course, is for a reason; more often than not because a team has to make a decision as to who to keep and who to let go. At some point during the 16-game season, many teams are going to have to turn to a second-stringer at quarterback, or at some other skill position, due to an injury, and it would sure help you in your NFL to know a little bit about the substitute.
After an off-season of turmoil which included the Reggie Bush saga, NCAA sanctions and the Lane Kiffin circus, we can finally collectively exhale and prepare ourselves for the USC Trojans’ season opener in Hawaii on Thursday, September 2, 2010. For most of you who think that the season’s a waste because they can’t play a bowl game, THINK AGAIN! The Trojans are still in contention to win the Pac-10; favorites in my book. I’m hoping that phenom quarterback Matt Barkley puts last season behind him and takes that step towards greatness. If freshman running back Dillon Baxter gets his head out of his ass, this kid could be the best back in the country. I’m glad that Kiffin suspended him for the Warriors’ game. Baxter is going to be around a few more years and you gotta show them that no one is bigger than the team, the school, or the game. Don’t make the same mistake Pete Carroll and company made with Reggie Bush. I hope Kiffin is the right guy for this job, though. With a surrounding cast consisting of father Monty and Ed Orgeron, this season’s going to be more exciting than last years’.
With Brett Favre coming back to the Minnesota Vikings in true dramatic Favre style, everyone thought that they were going to be a shoe-in for the Superbowl. Ummmm…. think again. This team has a couple holes to fill and that hole got deeper today with the loss of their #1 pro-bowl receiver Sidney Rice who’s going to be out for half the season. Enter the highly touted Percy Harvin to take his place. We all saw what happened to Brett over the weekend when he got knocked to the ground by the 49ers defense. My suggestion, the Viking go back to what got them here in the first place, one Adrian Peterson. Remember this guy, the best running back in the league for the past couple of years? The Vikings need to start feeding him the ball to open up the passing game. Brett certainly hurt the team by not coming in early for training camp and is frankly messing with the team’s mojo. First game of the season will be at the reigning champion New Orleans Saints. The Saints are 4.5 point favorites and I LOVE that line.
With the NFL season about to start, it’s time to pick my Superbowl favorites. But first we have to differentiate from the pretenders I’m not going to analyze every team but there are some out there that people need to get over. The NY Jets for example are one. Having been a USC fan for ever, I can tell you New Yorkers that the Mark Sanchez you saw last year isn’t going to get better. They got hot and lucky at the end of the season and made a respectable run in the playoffs. But if you want my opinion, they won’t even make the playoffs this year. The Vikings are another team that will end up with a disappointing season. Even if Brett Farve comes back, there’s no way he’s gonna play better than he did last year. Assuming he doesn’t get too banged up in the regular season, I have a feeling that the Vikes aren’t going to be that offensive juggernaut they were in 2009. Everyone’s picking the Cowboys to go all the way this year. Clearly they haven’t realized that their #1 WR Roy Williams is an overrated diva. Marion Barber has taken a beating over the years and it showed last year. Their quarterback Tony Romo is a B+ at best and their coach, Wade Phillips is a joke. As for the rest: the Falcons and Ravens(not there yet), Chargers and Patriots (window closing fast), and the Steelers (too many off-field issues).
I hate to be THAT guy, but I love the Colts and the Saints to repeat. Hear me out. The only thing both teams have done over the offseason is get healthier. All the offensive weapons are there. Each team has the best quarterback in their respective conferences. Both teams play in the dirty South where they’ll be able to rack up some easy wins and gain home field throughout the playoffs. I do have one sleeper pick, the Green Bay Packers. I have to acknowledge my mancrush on QB Aaron Rogers. He’s quickly become one of the smartest and accurate passers in the game. The key to winning in this league is a stud at the helm. A solid defense is huge, but look at the last few Superbowl winners: all quarterbacks at the top of their respective games.
NFL season is right around the corner and for those of you who gamble on football spreads, there’s no better time. Aside from Monday Night Football, the games are all on Sunday giving you all week to research and prep for your “locks.” While there are thousands of online gambling sites, one of my favorites is PointSpread.com. They even have preseason spreads just in case you can’t wait till the regular season kicks off in September. Are you ready for the football?!?!?
Did I just say that? The super-hyped quarterback from Florida whose draft stock plummeted but was surprisingly taken by the Broncos in the first round scored his first NFL touchdown today in a pre-season game. Sure it was in the 4th quarter and against the Cincinnati Bengals but there’s something special about this kid. He brings some cashe’, a little bit of excitement to an otherwise boring team in possibly the worst division in football, the AFC West. What do the Broncos have to lose. Let’s see, they can start Kyle Orton yawn… Brady Quinn, and hope to be a possible playoff contender if he plays up to his hype. Or start Tebow. I’m not saying Tebow is the next Marino, but I’d roll the dice with him The Broncos aren’t expecting to go anywhere, especially after losing their #1 diva receiver Brandon Marshall. But maybe Tebow does to the Broncos what Michael Vick did in his rookie year. Sell tickets, make a couple of spectacular plays, and who nows, win Rookie of the Year. Remember, this kid was one of the best college football players to ever play the game. How bad could he be in the NFL? He’s got pizzaz and winner oozing out of him. I say start him!
Ummmm… Except win back to back Championships. So it’s official, Shaq has signed with the Boston Celtics. The same guy who promised a “ring for the king” in Cleveland has fled for another opportunity, this time in the city of Boston. Shaq is on the downfall of his career, but he did put up solid numbers last year. As much as I can’t stand Shaq, I actually like this pickup for the Celtis. With the uncertainty of Kendrick Perkins, the C’s need someone to clog up the middle. We all know the main reason for the Cs finals’ loss was the Lakers size. Now they just need to avoid injuries to their overaged roster. Fortunately for us Laker fans, the Celtics need to get through the mighty three-headed monster that awaits them in Miami. And frankly, we all know that if Lebron wanted to, he could have beat the Celtics himself in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Now he’s go the help of Wade and Bosh and I can’t see anyone beating them in the East. As for the West, the Lakers are still the best and they’ve gotten better. With the Jazz losing Boozer and the Suns losing Stoudamire, the only team that could give them a little headache is the Spurs. Denver is not mentally there and the Mavs just aren’t tough enough. Can’t wait for basketball season to start though; less than 3 months to tipoff.
Brett Favre is allegedly calling it quits. There is no confirmation yet, other than some alleged inside sources and text messages to teammates. I’ve been the hardest Favre critic in the past, for letting his team hang until the last minute and not making his decision early. Are you quitting or staying? If the team needs to go to camp, that means EVERYONE has to. But today, I took a step back and re-evaluated my stance. I was watching ESPN and someone mentioned that father-time has taken a toll on Brett’s body and as we all know, father time never loses a fight. Now the reason that this struck home was that I too have been put in a similar position. I tore my ACL recently (2nd time) and had surgery about 6 weeks ago. The doctors have informed me that I can’t resume playing bball ’till the end of the year. I’m not claiming that I’m a pro, but basketball is my first love. The thought of never playing again is frightening. But the thought of re-injuring the knee is worse. There’s not a day that goes by that I flip flop between playing and calling it quits. Now imagine someone who plays at a level of Brett. A future hall of famer, playing in front of thousands of people, let alone millions on TV. Of course this guy is going to have a hard time making this decision. I’m sure if he wasn’t hurting, he would be back already. Remember, this guy has started in 309 consecutive games, an NFL records. That’s 300 games as a quarterback, a position where you’re constantly getting knocked down and/or chased around. The only position that touches the ball EVERY offensive possession. So let’s cut the guy a break, it’s tough to say goodbye. And while the gunslinger has done this twice before, we all know that the league and the Vikings would be better off with this guy in the league.