Monday, January 18, 2016

National Football League: Talking About it Until Your Ears Bleed.

Brady vs. Manning.

I'm already sick of it and it's only been a few hours.

On the drive in to work, on sports web-sites and on blogs. It's going to be a non-stop torrent of discussing and cussing over the match-up as ESPN has had their NFL Playoff fantasies fulfilled.

And Denver vs. New England is not even the best game next weekend.

In a way, I'm not as worried about it this year however because I don't spend any time watching ESPN except for live sporting events. I used to watch Sports Center and their NFL preview show but then they started putting Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless on and I quit watching.

But for some people, those who's television is constantly tuned to the Worldwide Leader, it's going to be a brutal week.  Granted, they could ignore this by simply changing the channel (and increasingly, more and most people are doing this) but in reality, if you're a sports fan, you're going to hear at least something about the matchup before Sunday arrives.

The game that I'm interested in however is Arizona vs. Carolina. That match-up has a better QB match-up (Palmer vs. Newton) and is going to be, in my opinion, a much better game. 10 years ago Brady vs. Manning deserved some interest but now the bigger matchup is Brady vs. Denver's defense.  Because Manning is now an afterthought on the Broncos.

As we begin the last week of honest to goodness football (don't treat the Stupid Bowl as 'real' football, it's more a showcase for the excess of the league) it's good to see however that the 4 best teams in the NFL have reached the final round.

We get two games on Sunday, and then the Stupid Bowl and then a giant, gaping sports hole opens up in the schedule.  Yes, there will be basketball and so forth which is fine, but the reality is that our Saturdays and Sundays will be a little less fun until the end of August.

Early lines:

New England (-3) @ Denver (O/U 44) - This line opened at New England -2.5 and several sharps were all over it at that price. This caused the books to react fairly quickly and raise it to -3 or, in a few cases, -3.5.  If you got in at -2.5 congratulations, I think that's one of the best bets on the board this week. If you didn't, I'm not sure how long I'd wait if you like New England because I'm thinking the line is only going to move further the Patriots way.  At some point the numbers will switch and Denver will become the play.  I'm thinking that happens somewhere around -5.5.

Arizona @ Carolina (-3) (O/U 47) - Another line that opened higher (Carolina -4) and then settled in at -3 fairly quickly as sharp money poured in on Arizona at +4.  Believe it or not, I don't think this line is going to move much futher, barring injury, as I think it's just about right.  I think the best value in this game might be on the total which, right now, is incredibly high considering the quality of these two defenses.

I'll have a full breakdown of the games later in the week. Until then, enjoy what little football season you have left. You might start by ignoring sports media this week.

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