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NFL ♦ "SUPER BOWL '50" ♦ Sunday Service Plays 2/7/16

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    Stephen Nover | NFL Side Sun, 02/07/16 – 6:30 PM

    Double-Dime bet • 102 DEN 4.5 (-120) Bet33 vs 101 CAR

    Five times Denver has been an underdog this season. Five times the Broncos have covered winning four of those games straight-up.

    The Panthers are this big of a favorite, in part, because of how strong they looked in beating the Cardinals by 34 points in the second of the two championship games.

    Denver holding New England to just 18 points the AFC title game is just as impressive, though. The Broncos held the Steelers and Patriots to an average of 17 points in playoff competition while dealing Tom Brady his lowest quarterback rating of the season. It’s not a fluke. The Broncos ranked No. 1 in total defense, pass defense and sacks.

    Carolina’s defense isn’t as dominant relying on an NFL-best 39 takeaways and plus 20 turnover ratio. The Panthers are down two starters in their secondary and likely to be missing star linebacker Thomas Davis, who suffered a broken arm against the Cardinals. Davis was playing as well as any Carolina defender. Denver lost its starting safeties against New England, but both vowed to play in the Super Bowl.

    Carolina only beat one opponent, Seattle, with a winning record when it was playing outside of Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers lost to Atlanta the last time they were away from home. The Panthers have been to one Super Bowl – back in 2003.

    They are an inexperienced in this setting and a shaky favorite having nearly blown late leads against the Colts, Packers, Giants and Seahawks in the playoffs when they won 31-24 after being up 31-0.

    The Broncos are ‘dogs in this range because of the quarterback matchup. Cam Newton deserves to be the MVP. Peyton Manning is Alex Smith now. But Manning also looked the healthiest he’s looked in months. Manning may be the wisest quarterback to ever play. Certainly he’s in that discussion. He knows his defense is elite – capable of winning the Super Bowl.

    There is no more opportunistic team than the Panthers. The key for the Broncos is not turning the ball over. Manning’s regular season statistics show horrific numbers – a 9-to-17 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a last-place passer rating. However, the savvy Manning hasn’t turned the ball over during the playoffs. He had a 103.8 quarterback rating in the first half against the Patriots.

    Manning has better wide receivers than Newton and is smart enough to stay away from shutdown cornerback Josh Norman. Instead, Manning will ride C.J. Anderson, who has been at least Jonathan Stewart’s equal averaging 5.6 yards a carry during his last four games, and let his defense win the game.

    The Broncos just played in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. They are looking for atonement for a 43-8 loss to the Seahawks. The Panthers’ defense isn’t nearly as dominant as Seattle’s was two years ago especially minus starting defensive backs Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere. They also could be down safety Roman Harper and pass rusher Jared Allen.

    Newton and the Panthers are thrilled to be on center stage. How will they handle it? Accuracy isn’t Newton’s strength. If he comes out tight the Broncos’ elite defense surely will take advantage. Wade Phillips is one of the sharpest defensive coordinators of all time. He has two weeks to prepare and major cards to defend against Newton, including a pair of dominant edge pass rushers in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

    The bottom line is taking more than a field goal with an elite defense, more experienced big-game team and having one of the sharpest quarterbacks of all-time with a better supporting cast around him.

    Pick Made: Jan 25 2016

    Super Bowl props:

    No. 1: Will Carolina’s Josh Norman intercept a pass? The “No” is more than a 3-1 favorite and that’s the way to go. I regard Norman as the top cornerback in the NFL right now. This works against him because Peyton Manning is going to avoid throwing in his direction. The Broncos figure to have a simple, conservative game plan running the ball a lot and having Manning throw short, safe passes. Denver is not a quick strike team, but a methodical play-for-field-position, rely-on-defense-to-win type of team. It’s a positive sign than Manning has not thrown an interception during his last three appearances.

    No. 2: Carolina to score more points during the first half. Not only did the Panthers burst out to a combined 55-7 count at the half during their two playoff games, but they averaged an NFL-best plus 10.7 average margin at halftime of their games. The next closest team was New England at plus six. The Panthers were No. 1 in the NFL in first-half points scored and ranked No. 2 in fewest points allowed during the opening two quarters. Each game is different, of course, but those are very powerful indicators.

    No. 3: Go over two quarterbacks to take a snap. Obviously this means I expect that some other player besides Cam Newton and Peyton Manning will take a snap. Make sure the prop reads to take a snap and not throw a pass. The No. 1 factor for believing this is the possibility of Manning being pulled late in the game – unless it’s a super competitive game – as a final curtail call to his career. This is a way to honor Manning, who almost assuredly is playing in his final game. There also is a chance the Broncos could try to mix things up a little bit and put in Brock Osweiler as a change of pace, or if Manning is proving ineffective. I’m certainly not rooting for either Newton or Manning to get shaken up, but that’s always a possibility, too, as is a Wildcat formation where the ball is directly snapped to a running back making him the quarterback for that play.

    No. 4: Peyton Manning at better than 3-1 to win MVP honors. If the Broncos were to pull the upset, Manning likely would have the numbers to be the MVP. Defensive players rarely are named MVP. Unless Denver wins totally in spite of Manning, it’s easy to see sentiment also playing a part in the decision.


    John Murges

    Carolina (-4.5) (-110)

    Over 45 (-110)



    Carolina vs Denver
    Carolina (-4.5) (-110)

    Carolina vs Denver
    Over 45 (-110)20


    DJ’s Sports Picks

    Panthers vs Broncos
    Carolina (-4) (-110)

    Panthers vs Broncos
    Under 45 (-110)



    Carolina Panthers

    *play up to -7



    3** Super Bowl!
    Carolina Panthers -5
    *play up to -6

    1* Under 45

    #1182: First TD rushing/Special Teams/Defensive +145
    With two of the best defenses and two weeks to prepare – I’ll take my chances, especially w/Newton

    #621: Any Scoreless Quarter +250
    Again, see defenses and turnovers – certainly worth that price
    #3883: Denver scores 6 points in the first quarter
    Almost a slight hedge if the game slides the wrong way early – plus, it IS Manning who IS capable

    #4299: A horse collar penalty +525
    Again, two aggressive defenses and at that price it’s worth something

    #4309: Offsetting penalties called +173
    Because it seems to happen all the time – even early unsportsmanlike as refs take control a possibility

    #6901: Aqib Talib intercepts a pass +300
    Because we did this last year – he’s been there/done that and may bait Newton



    Carolina Panthers -5


    Gold Medal Club

    Super Bowl Selections!
    Denver Broncos
    Under 42


    H&H Sports

    3* Panthers -5


    Vegas Butcher

    Carolina -5.5 -115




    Rot Time (ET) Pick Opp Line Margin Pick% $
    102 6:30 PM DENVER ♦Lock of the Week♦ vs CAROLINA • 6 •-2.6 • 58.9% • $68


    Rot Time (ET) Favorite Opp Points For Points Against Win%
    101 6:30 PM CAR vs DEN • 22.6 • 19.9 • 57.1%


    Home Rot Time (ET) Matchup Line Total Points Pick Pick% $
    102 6:30 PM CAR vs DEN • 45.5 • 42.5 • Under 55.1% • $29



    E. Sanders total catches – Over 5.5 +110
    Combined field goals – Over 3.5 +105

    ‘Marquee single’
    Hillman (Denver) longest rush – Under 13.5 yards -110



    7-Unit Play. #101. Take Under 44 – Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
    (Sundday @ 6:30pm est)
    We roll with the Under here as these two teams hook up in what is likely going to be a defensive battle. We love fading the public and this is a quality public fade as 69% of the public is on the over given Carolina’s ability to score and rout teams like Arizona and Seattle who are both vaulted defenses. We get that. Note, we are 2-0 with 8* selections in these playoffs alone including 8-1 with 7-Unit Selections or higher and 9 of 11 winning Football Weeks, including +$4000 in the NFL Football Season this year. Heck, we have even posted +$10,600 in combined NBA/CBB using the fade theory and let down theory. But, per this game, though we do expect Carolina to win, at the end of the day you have two great defensive minds here in the Denver head coach and most of all Wade Phillips. Note, Denver will spy Cam and could even have two spies on him frankly just to keep an eye on him and let the Panthers receivers beat them. Combine that with Peyton’s limited mobility and there is no doubt the Carolina defense will be able to feast on this and will force him into shorter routs and turnovers consequently. The key difference here will be the fact that Carolina will have more trouble scoring than people realize as this Denver team held Brady to 18 points in the playoffs which is relatively incredible frankly. And it’s because of these two coaches in particular why they are able to do that as the head coach wants to prove to the Texans that he still had it and Phillips is just brilliant in general. The Under is 5-1 for the Panthers in their last 6 playoff games and 5-2 when they face a team with a winning record. Look for this contest to likely finish around the 40-41 range here which is why this line is set so low to begin with.



    7-Unit Play. #101. Take Under 44 – Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
    (Sunday @ 6:30pm est)



    1-Unit Play. Take ‘Under’ 44.5 – Carolina vs. Denver
    (6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 7)
    I think that “going big” in the Super Bowl is for tourists and amateurs. There have only been three or four games in the past 10 years where I really loved the Super Bowl line and matchup and made a major move: the two Giants-Patriots Super Bowls, New Orleans over Indianapolis, and Seattle over Denver two years ago. This year’s game is a lot like last year’s matchup in that it is really just two outstanding, evenly matched squads going at it. So I’m playing real small here.

    That said, I just can’t make an argument against Carolina. They play football the way you are supposed to: they run the ball and they play outstanding defense. They have just overpowered teams this entire season and anything less than 6.0 is a steal right now. Their offense has been much better than I’ve given it credit for and they have been dominating down the stretch. I was able to get them at 3.5 when the line opened (I knew that line was ridiculous and was short) but even that personal wager wasn’t a very big one because I have a lot of respect for this Denver team. I think that this game will be dominated by defense and the running games. And after several abnormally high-scoring Super Bowls I think we are kind of due for a grinder. Denver actively wants to shorten the game and protect Peyton Manning. Carolina’s defense and running game will dictate tempo and keep the clock running. I think the first team to 24 wins it, and I can see this game somewhere in the 24-14 range.

    2-Unit Play. First Offensive Play Of Super Bowl Will Be: Running Play (-135)
    It is no secret that both teams are going to want to establish their physicality in this game. Both teams have gotten to this point on the back of strong defense and a punishing running game. Regardless of who gets the ball first, they will want to set the tone with the ball on the ground.

    ‘7-Unit’ Play. Shortest Rushing TD Scored Will Be:
    ‘Over’ 1.5 Yards (+100)
    Note: The majority of books should have this wager. If your book does not and the only prop they have is “Shortest TD” (not denoting rushing) then I would lower this to a 2-Unit Play and still take the ‘over’.

    Two years ago there was a 1-yard touchdown run from Marshawn Lynch. And last year I almost lost this wager on the last play of the game. But instead, Pete Carroll made what is now an infamous call to throw the ball from the 1-yard line and, well, the rest is history.

    However, prior to Lynch’s 2014 jaunt there were only five one-yard touchdown runs in the previous 14 years. And after last season it has only happened six times in 16 years. One-yard touchdown runs are actually more rare than you think. How often does the ball get placed at exactly the one-yard line? Most often those runs are only set up by a pass interference call. In fact, two of the last three one-yard touchdown runs were set up by PI calls. In a game as big as the Super Bowl it is tough to get a pass interference call in the end zone. Especially with corners as skilled as the ones playing on Sunday.

    Over the last 34 years there have been 17 games featuring a one-yard touchdown run. However, the overwhelming majority of those (12) all game before the turn of the century. And that makes sense. Teams throw the ball infinitely more nowadays and that leads to longer touchdowns. And, as such, that is why this wager would’ve cashed in 10 of the last 15 years. What really seals this wager is the fact that we are getting even money on this one; not having to lay out any juice is huge. I’ll play this one ‘over’ and hope that we aren’t in a situation involving a goal-line stand.

    2-Unit Play. Jerricho Cotchery ‘OVER’ 2.5 Total Catches

    2-Unit Play. Jerricho Cotchery ‘OVER’ 24.5 Receiving Yards
    All the focus is on Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn in the Carolina passing game. But I think that’s going to create some opportunities for Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery has played an increasing role in the Carolina attack in the second half of the year, making 29 catches in his last nine games (including the playoffs). Cotchery has been targeted at least four times in five of the last nine games and he will be a great secondary option for Newton to dump the ball down to. Cotchery isn’t some random guy. He has had a really nice, productive 12-year career and the guy is a playmaker. He’s not a gamebreaker that’s going to light up the Broncos for a couple touchdowns. But Cotchery is an excellent third down and red zone option. He has caught at least three passes in three of Carolina’s four postseason games the past two years and has averaged four targets per game in his 36 career games with the Panthers. If he gets four shots on Sunday I think he’ll grab at least three of them.

    2-Unit Play. Philly Brown ‘OVER’ 20.5 Total Receiving Yards
    Again, Denver’s focus is going to be on Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn. But Carolina’s secondary receivers are capable. Philly Brown has become a prime target for Cam Newton in the second half of the season. He’s been targeted an average of five times per game over his last 11 games, including 12 targets and six catches in the postseason. He is averaging 14.2 yards per catch so if he snags two or three balls he is easily going to surpass this modest total. Brown has only come up short of 20 yards in five of Carolina’s 18 games this year. He had 113 yards against Arizona – including an 86-yard touchdown – and Brown has averaged 57 yards per game in his last six.

    1-Unit Play. T.J. Ward ‘OVER’ 4.5 Tackles + Assists
    I’ve been a big fan of T.J. Ward’s since he came into the league with Cleveland in 2010. The guy is a savage hitter and a ballhawk. And since I expect Carolina to pound the ball on the ground I expect Ward to be involved in coming up and making plays to stop the run. Ward hasn’t been as involved in the defense the second half of the year, but that’s because he was a little banged up. But he had 6.0 T/A in the AFC Championship game and four solo tackles against the Steelers prior to that. Ward had at least 5.0 T/A in six of Denver’s first nine games this year and he is a Pro Bowl player. He’s going to be active in this game and I see him making some plays and getting involved.

    3-Unit Play. Take Mike Tolbert ‘OVER’ 19.0 Rushing/Receiving Yards

    2-Unit Play. Take Mike Tolbert ‘over’ 9.5 rushing yards (-105)
    I’m a big fan of Mike Tolbert’s. He is a jack-of-all-trades guy for the Panthers and is a really versatile, unconventional weapon for them. I think he is going to get his touches in this game and I am shocked that this line is so low. Tolbert only topped this mark eight times in 18 games this year and wasn’t able to do so in either playoff game this year. However, look at his touches. He got seven rushes in Carolina’s game against Seattle. He received three more, and a catch, against Arizona. That’s 11 touches in two games. If he gets six touches in this game he only needs to average 3.3 yards per play to eclipse this mark. Also, Tolbert has passed 19 yards in 13 of this last 26 regular season games with the Panthers. That seems to make this essentially a 50-50 bet, right? Well, not if you go back further. From 2011-2013 Tolbert was a go-to guy in this offense. And he gained 20 or more yards in 12 of 17 games in 2013, 11 of 15 games in 2012 and 15 of 16 games in 2011 and 12 of 15 games in 2010. That means that over the last six years he has earned 20 or more yards in 63 of 92 games, a healthy 68.4 percent of the time. I think Tolbert will get his touches in this game and I think he’ll be a key part of the Carolina offense.

    3-Unit Play. Take Emmanuel Sanders Catches (-0.5) OVER Bubba Watson 4th Rd. Birdies
    This is a cross-sport prop wager that is available at certain books and I think that it has tremendous value. If your book isn’t offering this specific prop: don’t worry about it! You have plenty of other action to choose from. But if you see anything compared to Watson’s performance at TPC Scottsdale this week then bet against him. Watson has stated very publicly this week that he hates this tournament and hates this golf course. He couldn’t be less interested in this event and is basically just playing out the string to keep his sponsors happy. Sanders should be able to bag between 4-7 catches in the Super Bowl and I think that any of those numbers could beat Bubba on Sunday. And there’s always the chance that Watson pulls out or misses the cut, which would instantly make this a winner when Sanders makes his first grab. Just a lot of value all around on this one.

    2-Unit Play. Carolina’s First Score Will Be:
    Field Goal (+175)

    2-Unit Play. Denver’s First Score Will Be:
    Field Goal (+185)

    2-Unit Play. First Score Of The Game Will Be:
    Field Goal or Safety (+120)
    The No. 1 thing that you see in just about any championship game is that teams are conservative early and aggressive late. Everyone that has ever played in a title game knows that you can’t win a game in the first 10 minutes – but you certainly can lose it. No one wants to be the first team to make The Big Mistake or a game-changing turnover. So they’ll play things a little closer to the vest. With two dominating defenses working here I think that the team that finally breaks through and scores will do so from distance. Both defenses are excellent on third down and both kickers are capable. Whether or not this game turns out to be an unwitting shootout – like the last half-dozen supposedly low scoring SBs turned out to be – or a defensive struggle, I think that we will ease into the scoring with three points.

    2-Unit Play. Take Carolina ‘OVER’ 124.5 Rushing Yards
    The Panthers are averaging a hearty 142.6 yards rushing per game this year. Denver surrenders almost half of that (83.6). However, Carolina isn’t going to change who they are in the Super Bowl. They are going to consistently pound the ball on the ground for the full 60 minutes and if they win this game it will be because they can control the line of scrimmage. The Panthers had 144 rushing yards against Seattle and 152 against Arizona, and it is not as if those are two pushover defenses. Ron Rivera is an old school guy and I expect the Panthers to pound the rock.

    2-Unit Play. Will There Be A Score In The Last Two Minutes Of The Half:
    NO (+220)

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