Tomorrow either the Patriots (barf) or Rams will hoist the Lombardi Trophy and become World Champions. But let’s get onto what really matters (no, not the commercials!), the GAMBLING!
Sportbook William-Hill is offering more than 440 prop bets on the big game. We’ve scoured the prop sheet to cherry-pick our favorite action (you won’t find the over/under on the length of the National Anthem, or the color of Adam Levine’s shirt), without further ado…..
Opening Coin Toss Winner
First Pass by
Tom Brady: Complete or Incomplete
Reception by Julian Edelman, (O/U) 9.5 yards
First Rush by
James White, (O/U) 3.5 yards
Yards by Tom Brady, (O/U) 1.5
Yards by James White, (O/U) 17.5
Reception by Rob Gronkowski (O/U) 20.5
Completions by Jared Goff (O/U) 24.5
Touchdown Passes by Jared Goff (O/U) 2
by Todd Gurley (O/U) 20.5
Reception by Todd Gurley, (O/U) 7.5 yards
Attempt by CJ Anderson (O/U) 3.5 yards
Receptions by Josh Reynolds (O/U) 3.5
Reception by Robert Woods (O/U) 22.5 yards
happen first, Rams score or punt
Completions: Brady or Goff
Passing Yards: Brady or Goff
Touchdown Passes: Brady or Goff
of First Player to Score a Touchdown (O/U) 26.5
Gostkowski or Zuerlein
First Team to
use Coach’s Challenge
Sacks by both teams, (O/U) 3.5
Touchdown of the game, (O/U) 1.5 yards
First Team to
Goal of the Game (O/U) 47.5
Touchdown of the Game (O/U) 49.5
Team to score
last in the first half
Game will be
decided by exactly 3 points (Y/N)
of Players to have a passing attempt, (O/U) 2.5
Will there be
a Special Teams or Defensive Touchdown (Y/N)
…and that’s not just the delusional Bills fan in me speaking. They are going to win because they are the better team (expert analysis!).
Before I dissect the reasons (spoiler alert, there’s only one reason the Rams are going to win, but it’s a big fuckin reason. So feel free to skip the next 800 words or so if you’re in a hurry or if you’re like me and the only chance you have to freely read sports articles is while on the shitter), I’ve got to throw a Tuesday Teabag at this:
Juuuust when you thought you couldn’t hate this cheatin’ kalehole anymore he doubles down on the douche. He’s leading the charge, and dropping the mic, on the ‘we’re not going anywhere underdog’ platform?! I just threw up all over the keyboard. Pre-season favorite to win the AFC. GOAT Coach. GOAT QB. 3rd consecutive trip to the Super Bowl (geez, I’m only adding to Ginger King’s argument here). But yeah, they want the underdog role too. GTFO!
Recency bias is a dangerous beast, and it’s causing NFL fans to forget everything that happened prior to the Conference Championships. The lasting image fans have of the Patriots: they went to Arrowhead and beat Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs. Forget the fact that they played a perfect game, got a fortuitous bounce (it hit Edelmen’s thumb btw), and seemingly had every replay review go their way. And they still needed overtime to pull off the victory; an overtime that included winning the coin flip (about the only thing Belichick hasn’t found a way to cheat….yet), converted three 3rd-and-10’s, and got an inexplicable defensive off-sides that negated an ugly Tom Brady interception. It also helps when you’re coaching against a Walrus. Good God, still waiting for that defense adjustment Andy Reid. Maybe mix in a blitz or two. Enjoy those timeouts you get to take with you to the links.
And on the flipside, the lasting impression of your NFC
Champion LA Rams: you don’t belong. You
don’t deserve to be here. You got a free
call. A non-call, which don’t get me wrong,
was historically egregious, but it didn’t/wouldn’t have ended the game. Honestly, the Saints piss pour clock
management (incomplete pass on 1st down) set themselves up to have
to throw in that spot. The Saints, like
the Patriots, won the stupid coin toss in overtime. Was that blown call still clouding Drew Brees’
judgment when he tossed that lame duck pick?
The Rams caught a break, but they won that game.
So the narrative is born:
The Greatest Destiny ever assembled vs. the team that doesn’t belong. And
the Rams are going to have to hear that ALL.WEEK. LONG. If that doesn’t put a chip on their shoulder,
If this game were played at a neutral location, at ANY point during the season, the Rams would be favored. Probably by a field goal. Yet, the line is Patriots -2.5 (hullo value bet!). And 78% of the money has come in on the Patriots, which means Vegas stands to make a boatload of money if one of these three scenarios plays out:
Rams lose by 1.
Rams lose by 2.
I think siding with the books is what they call “smart money”.
Offensively, the Rams are going to be able to move the ball. Belichick’s MO has always been to “take away the other team’s best player”. The Chiefs gameplan was a clinic. Double-team the best player (Tyreek Hill); put Gilmore in one-on-one coverage against the other team’s No. 2 receiver (Watkins); crowd the middle of the field to take the read away from the tight-end (Kelce) and make RB’s and No. 3 WR beat you while twisting and stunting your defensive linemen to generate pressure. Except, the Rams don’t rely on a number No.1 guy, they spread the ball around to Woods, Cooks, and Reynolds (who’s picked up the slack after they lost Cooper Kupp). McVay, the boy genius, has no qualms committing to running the ball (48 carries [!] for 273 yards against the #5 Dallas rush defense/ 26 carries – despite falling behind early- for 80 yards against the Saints #1 rush defense). Moving the ball and scoring points has never been a problem for the No. 3 overall offense in football. It also doesn’t hurt that they have the best special teams unit in the NFL, a pro bowl punter (who’s not afraid to fake it) and a kicker whose nickname is ‘The Leg’.
But like I said, there’s one reason, and one reason only why the Rams are going to win this game: their DEFENSIVE LINE. A nasty defensive line is the ultimate cheat code to beat the Patriots! It’s their kryptonite. It’s shooting your shot at the Death Stars’ one weakness! A stroll down memory lane shall we:
20, St. Louis 17
32, Carolina 29
24, Philadelphia 21
Giants 17, New England 14
New York Giants 21, New England 17
New England 28, Seattle Seahawks 24
New England 34, Atlanta Falcons 28
Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England 33
Look at those 3 (soon to be 4) big fat L’s and tell me what they have in common. No, not that they are all NFC East teams, smartass. All the teams that beat the Patriots had sick defensive lines. Remember Tuck, Strahan and Umenyiora harassing the shit out of Brady all game long (Ginger King sure does). Last year’s Eagle line played behind the line of scrimmage all game long. And speaking of those Eagle, the Rams front four is eerie similar:
Cox = Donald
Bennett = Suh
Long = Fowler
Graham = Brockers
In fact, the Rams front four is MORE talented. Aaron Donald is the non-QB MVP of the league with his league leading 20.5 sacks (from the DT position!)! Donald consistently beats double teams with his blend of power, speed, and quickness. And if you double him all game long (which you should), you’re leaving Suh one on one. Suh is a beast…when he wants to be. Sure, he takes of plays/games/months and is the Santa Claus of dirty plays (always seemingly pulling a new one out of the bag), but when motivated, the big man still gets after it. As such, he was a difference maker in both of the Rams playoff games this year.
Sure, the Patriots have “experience” on their side, but that
shit doesn’t matter. Doug Peterson and
Big Dick Nick didn’t have experience last year.
But they were aggressive, took the fight to the Patriots, went for it on
4th down and scored touchdowns, not field goals. Yeah, I think McVay will be just fine.
So give me the Rams straight up and let me enjoy those Gisele Bundchen tears once again!
Instant Analysis: Looks like it’s down to Darnold or Mayfield for the Browns. I’m sticking to my guns with Darnold. It appears the Giants aren’t budging from No. 2. Can they really trade for a punter and draft a running back second overall in the span of two weeks? Is this 1998? I’m giving them Chubb on principle alone. Mayfield to the Jets seems like a done deal. Nelson is the best (non-QB) in this draft. The Broncos would like to move back, but when Barkley falls to them they pounce. Need meets value.
Should the board fall like this: 2 QB’s + Barkley + Chubb + Nelson, then No. 6 seems like the ideal spot for a team to trade up to land either Rosen or Allen.
1st Round Breakdown:
QB = 6
RB = 2
WR = 3
TE = 0
OL = 6
DL = 5
LB = 5
DB = 5
Instant Analysis: Darnold still holds down the top spot, although it is getting harder and harder to ignore the Josh Allen-to-the-Browns chatter. I already laid out the argument why the Giants should draft their next franchise quarterback here, but for this mock I’m going to give them the only other player they should consider at 2: DE Bradley Chubb. Gettleman is old school; he’ll love the positional value of getting a pass rusher with a premium draft pick. I think the Jets are smitten with Baker Mayfield, but really after the Christian Heckenburg disaster they’ll settle for any one of the top 4 QBs. Cleveland adds the best corner in the draft (an area of desperate need for this team). McGlinchey is the first real surprise (but not the last) of this mock. Denver tried to upgrade their O-line with a nixed trade with the Dolphins for Ja’Wuan James. Gil Brandt thinks the Notre Dame prospect is going in the Top 10, so why not to Denver? Indy will be tempted to trade down, but when a blue-chip prospect like Nelson falls in their lap they should sprint to the podium. Same goes for the Bucs with Barkley. I’m not exactly projecting trades in this mock per se, but the way the board has fallen so far, the Bears are in the catbird seat to trade down (and still have a chance at landing the prospect they are eyeing). This would be seen as a big win for Ryan Pace, whom still has a black eye after the drubbing he took for jumping one spot last year for Trubisky.
I’ll probably be dead-wrong about Sutton (my highest rated WR this year), but I totally expect John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to invest heavily on the offensive side of the ball this draft. Jimmy G about to get some new weapons! Due to the QB-heavy nature of this draft, some teams that are patience and sit tight are going to have studs fall into their laps. Smith (Georgia) and Vea (Washington) fit that description well. Inevitably, a couple of these QBs will tumble come draft day; in this mock that is Josh Alllen and Lamar Jackson. Washington could trade out, or take one of the quarterbacks. Afterall, everywhere Alex Smith ends up the team immediately drafts his replacement.
Defense dominates the bottom half of this mock. The smart play at the bottom third of the first round is to grab a QB and lock up that 5th year option. That’s exactly what I have the Saints and Jags doing by taking Jackson and Rudolph at 27 and 29, respectfully.
Here. We. Go! It’s Mock Draft season! The first, second and third waves of free agency have come and gone. We’re down to depth-chart fillers like Matt Cassel and Troy Niklas. NFL front offices are working OT to finalize their draft boards, find potential trade partners and send out as many false signals as possible. Let’s dive into the top half of the first round, shall we:
Sam Darnold (USC)
New York Giants
Josh Rosen (UCLA)
New York Jets
Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
Bradley Chubb (NC State)
Saquon Barkley (PSU)
Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame)
Tampa Bay Bucs
Josh Allen (Wyoming)
Denzel Ward (OSU)
San Francisco 49ers
Derwin James (FSU)
Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
Roquan Smith (Georgia)
Trumaine Edmunds (VA Tech)
Josh Jackson (Iowa)
Green Bay Packers
Harold Landry (BC)
Vita Vea (Washington)
Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
It’s no secret, this years crop of QB prospects have NFL talent evaluators creaming their pants. It’s the reason the Cleveland Browns have literally been tanking for the last two years (1-31, hullo!). It’s the reason they passed on passed on Wentz, Trubisky and Watson. They are taking a QB first overall. They were ALWAYS going to take a QB first overall. Darnold has the most upside; time will tell if the weight of Cleveland suck will crush this kids soul or not.
Without mentioning his name, this is the three-year average from the Giants starting QB:
Yikes. If I ever die like that old dude in the DaVinci Code, and I need to pass on the message that my evil killer was in some way mediocre (a word I clearly can’t spell without spell-checker), I’m going to scrawl that stat line on my dying corpse. I’ll most likely be in a Tebowing pose as well, just putting that out there.
Let’s remember, those state are with throwing to the best WR in football (most of the time). Eli’s also 37. It’s time to put him out to pasture and draft the QB of the future. The G-Men have no intention of picking in the top 5 again any time soon, and somehow I doubt the sales pitch to convince Shurmur to coach the team was: “we’re going to NOT let you pick the QB you want to groom for the future AND trade way the best offensive weapon in the game”. The Giants will either draft Rosen/Mayfield or trade down. And they won’t move Beckham. The trade talk is a weak attempt to try to gain some leverage in negotiations. Trading Jason Pierre Lobster Claw was more about trading that contract than it was moving that 7-and-a-half fingered freak show. OBJ ’bout to get paid!
Clearly the Jets have no problem with sloppy seconds (or thirds)! Some things never change. It’s not really a stretch to envision the Jets picking the one bust QB from this class, while 4 other guys go on to have HOF careers. Can’t blame the Jets for trying, they were probably going to fuck up all those second round picks they gave to the Colts anyways. I love Mayfield the QB prospect, but I’ll flip on that crotch-grabbing asshole as soon as he holds up that green jersey.
So Peter King said a “friend” of John Dorsey’s (Cleveland’s GM) said the Browns won’t trade out of No. 4. Luckily (for my wife), I wasn’t reading SI during breakfast, because I would have been shooting milk and Cheerios out of my nose from laughing so hard. Seriously Pete. You’re citing a “friend”. Ummm, was this friend named Keter Ping?
I have the Browns taking Chubb at 4 (mostly because I don’t bother with mocking trades). It’s cool to think about Chubb and Myles Garrett on the same D-line. Until you realize it’s Cleveland, and neither of those guys can cover Antonio Brown, so they’ll still get creamed by the Steelers.
Denver is the true wildcard. Correction: John Elways ego is the true wildcard. Horse-teeth still thinks he has an elite defense and that Case Keenum is good. John Elway backed QBs fall into two distinct groups: Those named Peyton Manning, and those that suck at playing quarterback (see: Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Semen (sic)). Which category do you think Case Keenum will fall into?!? I’ve got the Broncos taking the “just one player away from contending” guy in Barkley. On the other hand, Elway gets mega stiffys for QB’s over 6′-6″, so can he resists the urge to lasso in Josh Allen?
In five years from now we are going to look back and realize that the Colts were the true laughing-stock of the league, not the Browns. Since 1998….(don’t grab your calculator, it’s 20 years ago)…the Colts have had EITHER Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck under contract. They’ve got 1 Superbowl victory to show for it (if I had an editor he’d probably add a note here saying that Superbowl victory was against Rex Freaking Grossman. Not sayin, just sayin. Good point fake editor!). The Colts weren’t able to protect Manning and he literally broke his neck [insert Peyton Manning neck and/or forehead joke here]….and they are trying their damnedest to double down and get Andrew Luck killed on the field of play. Josh McDaniels got one peek behind the curtain and sabotaged his own career instead of joining this clownshow. I’ve got the Colts drafting the best guard prospect I’ve ever evaluated…..which means he’ll probably be out of the league in five years.
Please be as good as Wentz.
I don’t think the Bucs take a QB at 7, but it seems like the ideal spot (in this mock) for the Bills, Dolphins or Cardinals to move up and grab Allen (the last “blue chip” QB prospect).
Denzel Ward is my highest rated corner, but whomever lands Jackson and Fitzpatrick won’t be disappointed.
Roquan Smith is my favorite player to watch in this draft. He’s all over the place.
Stay tuned for picks 17 -32……(but not really, because I’ll probably move on to Mock 2.0 and start all over from the top).
*As of 5 PM reports have it that the Browns will select Myles Garrett No. 1 overall. While I don’t think the Titans will select Trubisky, it is the ideal spot for a team that wants to trade up for him (I don’t think that team will be the Browns).
Instant Analysis: The hardest thing in sports isn’t hitting a fastball, it’s predicting the NFL Draft! See that, it’s April and I’m already slipping in the baseball references…..Speaking of baseball, let’s not forget, the guys calling the shots for the Browns are moneyball guys, whom report to a truck-stop guy that specializes in corruption, fraud, any bribery. So, do I have faith they will get this pick/draft right?!
Okay, so the baseball equivalent of a quarterback is like your entire pitching rotation…and maybe even your closer and No. 3 and 4 hitters! You have to have one to win….you have to have one to even compete. The better your quarterback, the better your chance of winning. Now, we don’t know how Mitch Trubisky’s game will translate to the NFL…nobody does… but the Browns don’t need him to be an All-Pro to justify this pick. If he can be a top-15 quarterback, that’s a HELL of a lot better than anything on their current roster (a statement that has been true for the last 15 years or so). If you can get “Alex Smith type” production from him, with upside for more, than you have to take him first overall. At that level, his WAR will be significantly higher than anything Myles Garett can provide you.
I also don’t think they want to use all the ammo they’ve painstakingly collected, just to blow it by trading back up into the Top 5. They can still land an impactful type player at No. 12 and build their roster through the rest of the draft.
I think San Francisco goes one of three ways….(note: don’t google “San Francisco three-way”)…Trubisky, Thomas or Adams. And I’m not buying into the “John Lynch was a safety” narrative; but I believe Adams has the goods on and off the field. He is a dynamic safety and has team-captain written all over him.
The Bears would love to add to their secondary, but Garrett falls into their lap in this scenario. This draft is LOADED with Corners and Safety’s, so they can snag one in Round 2.
The Bills would be thrilled to add a versatile linebacker to lead Sean McDermott’s defense, they’ve got their pick between Reddick and Foster. A corner is in play, but similar to the Bears, they can land one later in the draft.
Marlon Humphrey hasn’t been talked about much in the Mock Draft community. He is a very good all around corner that will go higher than most people are expecting.
It’ll be fun to see how disastrous the Redskins draft is. Without a GM, who is calling the shots? Bruce Allen? Dan Synder? Goooooood luck with that.
Similar to Ginger King, I’ve given Big Blue an offensive linemen. In this case, they land the best mauler in the draft.
DeShaun Watson could go second overall or slip to the second round. I don’t love his game, but I’ve mocked him to Houston, who like Cleveland, is desperate for a QB.
In the bizarre world that we live in, Joe Mixon, who knocked some girls lights out, gets drafted in the first round, while Gareon Conley, who faces borderline ludicrous allegations (multiple witnesses corroborate his side of the story) slips out of the first. He could land in the bottom of Round 2 or even Round 3. It’ll probably cost him $5+ million. I mean, if he’s guilty forget everything I just said and lock him up (right next to Hillary)!
Check back in for the Annual Big Red Sports Machine NFL Draft Drinking Game and post-draft analysis!