Bettors backing Bears
July 1, 2009
By Mark Franco
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It’s never too early to bet on the NFL
It's the start of July and all over the country people are already getting interested in the betting board for the upcoming NFL season. Las Vegas sportsbooks all over town have been hanging numbers on everything from who will win the Super Bowl to divisional odds and even season win totals.
I am not a big fan of future wagering because 1) you have to tie-up your money for the entire football season and 2) you can’t get as much value as you used to. Despite this you can usually find a few good plays for the upcoming season and have fun with it.
Here is a look at teams I feel have value to win Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
San Diego Chargers - 12/1
The Chargers dug themselves a big hole last season but still won the AFC West division at 8-8 after Denver collapsed. The Broncos will regress even more with a new coaching staff and new quarterback and a defense that will still be at the bottom of the league. We know Kansas City and Oakland can’t win the division although both maybe improved. I have a very strong feeling San Diego will win this division easily and open with a home game in the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles - 12/1 – This might be the most talent that quarterback Donovan McNabb has had in his career with Philadelphia. The Eagles drafted WR Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri and RB LeSean McCoy out of Pitt, adding speed with their first two selections. There is lots of young talent on this team for Coach Andy Reid to mold into contenders after reaching the NFC championship game last season. One question will be can the Eagles stay consistent as a team in the tough NFC East.
Minnesota Vikings - 20/1 – As of this writing, it looks like the starting quarterback for the Vikings will be future Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre which could be the only piece the Vikings need to get to the Super Bowl. This team has one of the best running games in the NFL with Adrian Peterson and a defense that has been superb at stopping the run. Coaching along with QB play could be the key for the Vikings in 2009.
Atlanta Falcons - 30/1 – First-year QB Matt Ryan won rookie of the year honors with a spectacular 2008 season and should be even better this year. The Falcons pulled off a great trade for tight end Tony Gonzales from the Chiefs in the off-season. The Falcons biggest problem last year was their defense and they addressed that need in the draft. This will be a playoff team whether they win the NFC South or get in as a wild-card.
I stopped by the Mirage Sportsbook and spoke to director Jay Rood to see what teams the public are betting on and where the early money is coming in for the NFL season.
“The public is hammering the Chicago Bears to win the Super Bowl more than any other team as they have been bet down to 6/1,” said Rood.
“The lowly Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions (who became the first NFL to go winless last season) are somewhat of a risk for us, but both teams would have to greatly improve for us to get worried.”
There will be questions with the Indianapolis Colts, who have been a public team for years. “A coaching change in Indianapolis could be just one reason the Colts are a team not getting much action” added Rood.
“The Cardinals are a team bettors don’t have much confidence in as they are betting ‘under’ nine wins for the season.”
We have seen the losing team in the Super Bowl have a hang-over the following year so that could be one reason the public has the Cardinals going under nine wins.
Over at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook, I visited with Jay Kornegay, the Director of Race and Sports to see what kind of action he is getting early on for Super Bowl XLIV.
“The top three teams from a money betting stand-point are the Patriots, Cowboys and the Steelers,” said Kornegay. “As far as tickets written, the Steelers and the Bears lead the pack.”
From a liability point of view, Kornegay said the San Francisco 49ers are a team they do not want to see in uniform on Super Sunday. The 49ers opened at 60/1 and have been bet down to 40/1.
The Las Vegas Hilton will once again have their NFL SuperContest with signups starting on July 31, 2009. The contest has a price tag of $1,500.00 to enter with the top 20 getting prize money. Last year just around 350 entries were in the contest where you have to select five sides (no totals) vs. the point-spread that comes out every Tuesday with a contest line that does not move.
One rule change this year that people will be happy with is your weekly selections do not have to be turned in until Saturdays by 11am as opposed to 1:00 p.m. on Fridays. “It gives people more time to get down to the book and not have to rush to get here and it should bring more people into the book on Friday nights,” said Kornegay.
The deadline for the contest is Saturday September 12th at 11am and the early –bird contest deadline is 4pm on Monday September 7th.