Super Bowl LI Odds: Exotic Props for Sunday include Trump, Goodell, Gronk

Leave a comment

With Tom Brady back in the Super Bowl and Donald Trump two weeks into his presidency, there are no end of exotic props for Super Bowl LI at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The vast majority of viewers for the NFL championship game between Brady’s New England Patriots and the Matt Ryan-led Atlanta Falcons, which takes place at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, aren’t football experts. The side props pertaining to the presentation of the game are an opportunity for real fun.

For instance, one exotic prop is what will be the greater number, the pocket-bound Brady’s rushing yardage or President Trump’s interview with Bill O’Reilly, in minutes? The odds there are -250 on Trump and +170 on Brady, who had minus-one rushing yard in each of the Patriots’ AFC playoff victories.

The odds are -1000 on Trump picking the Patriots to win the game and +550 that he will pick the Falcons. One should remember that 30 years ago, Trump bet on the United States Football League challenging the NFL. New England is projected to win the game at PredictionMachine.com, and is a field-goal favorite for the contest at the sportsbooks.

The over/under on Deflategate mentions, in reference to Brady’s suspension, is 1.5.

In an exotic prop related to the supposed tension between the Patriots and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the odds are -175 that either owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick or Brady will be shown on TV shaking hands with Goodell.

There are +250 odds on a player being seen kneeling during the national anthem on TV, with -400 on the No prop. And oddsmakers appear to be counting on an obligatory commentary reference to Patriots WR Chris Hogan’s unique path to the NFL, since there are only +170 odds that “lacrosse” will be stated on TV.

The over/under on broadcaster mentions of injured superstar Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is 3.0. The game is also being played in the home stadium of another star whose season was cut short by injury, and there is an over/under of 1.0 on broadcast mentions of Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt.

Among the exotic props related to the game, the odds are +550 that the teams will combine for 76 points to set a record for the highest-scoring Super Bowl.

Oddsmakers are giving +500 odds that either Brady or Ryan will record 415 or more passing yards to break the Super Bowl record. Kurt Warner’s standard of 414 has stood since 2000.

Each team has a wide receiver – Julian Edelman on the Patriots and Mohamed Sanu on the Falcons – who played quarterback in his younger days. The odds are +250 on a player other than Brady or Ryan recording a pass attempt.

NBC Sports’ Josh Norris attempts the combine

Leave a comment

The lengths I go to entertain you.

Since I attempt to evaluate these prospects’ athleticism, my friends at NBC Sports thought it was only fair if I went through the same circuit of drills and tests as the future NFL players.

So what did I learn? I learned that I am no longer an in shape 18-year-old. I learned how important flexibility is for every single drill. I can’t even touch my toes, which does not help with the broad jump or turning the corner on a three cone. And I’m jealous of the rest these prospects get between their attempts.

For more of Josh’s drills, check out the full lineup here

T.O. controversy underscores need for Hall of Fame transparency

Leave a comment

I started down the T.O. Hall of Fame time out rabbit hole a week ago due primarily to concerns regarding a lack of transparency in the selection process. After a week of arguments, counterarguments, and a few condescending comments from voters who resent being questioned or criticized by people who don’t know the inner working of the process, I’m back to where I started.

Those who criticize the process indeed don’t know the inner workings of the process because the process is kept completely secret. And the T.O. case proves that the time has arrived for transparency.

As Peter King of TheMMQB.com pointed out earlier this week, those who voted against Owens largely have slipped into hiding.

The fact that Owens didn’t make it from the final 15 to the final 10 suggests that the nays are more plentiful than necessary to transform him from one of the final five into a Hall of Famer. Don’t underestimate, however, the possibility that the voters collectively realized that enough of them would never get behind Owens on the final ballot (where it takes only 10 to put the kibosh on Canton) to make pushing Owens to the final 10 or the final five an exercise in futility.

It ultimately may be only 10 people who are anti-T.O. Maybe there aren’t that many; maybe the handful was loud enough and zealous enough that they managed to convince enough of their peers to think that pushing Owens through to the final five would set the stage for an ugly filibuster at best or a complete waste of time (and a spot that could have gone to someone else) at worst.

The only obvious “no” votes currently known (by me) are Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (he wrote a column about it), Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (ditto), Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts (he made his case against Owens in a radio interview), and Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report (his Twitter account makes his position clear). All of the “no” votes should be known, and those who have kept quiet while the process has been challenged generally and a small handful of their colleagues have been attacked specifically should speak up.

Even if all the “no” votes were known, we still won’t know everything that needs to be known. Those voters who have chosen to disclose their position on Owens refuse to disclose the identity of other Hall of Famers, players, and/or coaches who have privately said that Owens doesn’t belong. Setting aside the question of whether these non-voters should have so much sway over the process, the refusal to name them makes the process even harder to accept.

It’s one thing to gather facts anonymously. Gathering opinions anonymously allows for those anonymous opinions to be tainted by personal animus. Also, it makes objective assessment of the basis for the opinions impossible, allowing for all sorts of subjective factors to be twisted and warped — and for the voters to abdicate their responsibility to assess the candidate to the whispers of those who, given the benefit of secrecy, are far more likely to yield to the temptation of human factors.

The broader concern is this: When evaluating a player based on what he did on a 100-by-53-yard patch of grass or FieldTurf or green cement, it’s easy to assess the opinions of the voters and to develop opinions on the accuracy of the outcome of the votes. When things that happened from the sideline to the parking lot become relevant to the process, it becomes impossible to know what is being considered, why it’s being considered, which others have made it through despite similar concerns, and whether those standards will be applied to future candidates.

There can be no consistency without transparency, and with no transparency it’s impossible for those who view Owens as a knee-jerk Hall of Famer to understand his omission for a second straight year. The voters who oppose Owens can either sneer at those of us who think they got it wrong or they can heed the criticisms, lobby for meaningful change, and bring a different approach to the process in 2018.

If it’s the former, there will be more sneering at those of us who think they got it wrong, both as to Owens and as to others who seem to pass the Hall of Fame eyeball test but can’t get in.