2014 Super Bowl XLVIII Predictions
The Road to MetLife Stadium Begins
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Bet your Super Bowl 48 picks at the best sportsbook on the web: 5Dimes!
The 2013-2014 National Football League season stands to be a landmark one, finishing with the grand spectacle of a first-ever Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city when MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., hosts Super Bowl 48 Sunday, February 2nd, 2014.
Not only is the thought of football in February in New York an interesting one (Ice Bowl, SlushBowl … what will this one be known as for the rest of history?), but adding to the drama is the fact that one-fourth of the league will be breaking in new head coaches when the lights go on September 5th. Andy Reid's immediate hiring in Kansas City means that technically there are only seven new coaches, but with the hiring of offensive minds like Bruce Arians (Arizona), Mike McCoy (San Diego) and Marc Trestman (Chicago) all getting upstaged when Philadelphia swooped in and bet it all on Oregon's Chip Kelly, it's clear the NFL is entering a whole new era on offense.
This article was written in mid August prior to the season starting and it's time to look at the board and get down on some of the best action in the sportsbook, NFL Futures bets. Last year was another down year for me, correctly picking two NFC and one AFC Division winners, but my chance at break even fell apart when the Atlanta Falcons lost to San Francisco in the NFC Championship.
Here are my 17 picks for the NFL 2014 regular season all the way through to Super Bowl 48. The odds listed are courtesy of one of the best sportsbooks on the Web with the lowest juice and best odds, 5Dimes.eu.
NFC East- Washington Redskins (prediction: 11-5) - +255
The competitive NFC East is always a tough division to pick a winner, so I'm taking my shot with the Redskins offering more "upside" as they say. I know Robert Griffin III likely won't be as dynamic coming off knee surgery (if he's back at all), but I like the fact the Redskins still could get better if the young duo of RG3 and Alfred Morris continue to learn and progress in the NFL, whereas some of the other teams in this division are getting older and closer to decline.
NFC North- Detroit Lions (10-6) - +625
This is the first of a few picks that have to be made due to bad odds, since as a rule I won't pay the extra juice to take the favorite in the division, in this case Green Bay (-155). Detroit will be even more dynamic on offense with the addition of Reggie Bush, and I'm still a big fan of Mathew Stafford at quarterback. But their defense and their lack of a pass rush makes this a high-risk, high-reward proposition instead of just picking the chalk.
NFC South- Atlanta Falcons (12-4) - +150
With similar reasoning as my Redskins pick and the forward progression of RG3, the Falcons are my pick because I think Matt Ryan is still on the upward swing of his career. The Falcons added Osi Umenyiora on defense and Steven Jackson on offense to a team that went 13-3, solid moves that I think keep them as the class of the NFC South.
NFC West- San Francisco 49ers (11-5) - -105
This is one spot where I will pay the extra juice to take the chalk San Francisco 49ers, mostly because they still have the best defense in the NFL in a division that sports some good defenses. There's no doubt that the 49ers, and especially red-hot QB Collin Kaepernick, are going to have to play all season with a target square on their back(s) every week, but with that defense and just -105 odds, I'll lay the little extra juice.
AFC East- New York Jets (10-6) - +2000
At -400, the oddsmakers at 5Dimes are trying to discourage everyone from taking the chalk New England Patriots. With the rest of the teams in this division not quite capable of hanging with the Pats, this is my "why not," reverse-juju pick for the 2013 season. Personally, I want to see the Jets have to eat every dollar they owe Mark Sanchez for holding a clipboard, and I'd bet Rex Ryan is sent packing before the bye week. But it's worth a unit just in case a cosmic portal opens up and the Jets suddenly become a functional team and not have to lay huge wood on New England.
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AFC North- Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) - +235
If you've read this far you're going to figure out a theme for many of my predictions this year … defense and a young quarterback on the rise. In a division with plenty of defense and good quarterbacks, I'm going to hitch my train to Andy Dalton and the Bengals. They're young, they're good and they have the best value (+235) for a team that I think has as legit a shot at winning the AFC North as the other three.
AFC South- Tennessee Titans (10-6) - +875
Again, the Houston Texans are such big favorites (-265) to win the division that my choices are limited. I like Indy and I like the addition of Ahmad Bradshaw to the Colts, but I think the loss of former O-Coordinator Arians to Arizona is going to cost the Colts a few wins this season. I do really like the fact that the Titans added RB Shonn Green to split carries with Chris Johnson, but until Jake Locker turns the corner this is just another high-risk pick that is still better than paying all that juice.
AFC West- San Diego Chargers (11-5) - +750
Again, the boys at 5Dimes are making Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos so big a favorite (-380) that it's not worth batting an eye at them. I've been burned by Philip Rivers and the Chargers for so many years now, I'm a little gun shy to do it, but since Norv Turner is gone I figured I'm give the Bolts one more chance. New head coach Mike McCoy made Tim Tebow a playoff quarterback in Denver, so he should be able to teach Rivers not to throw it to the team in the other color jersey. San Diego is still good enough, I'm banking on McCoy being the missing link all these years.
Short Favorite- San Francisco - +400
Nobody is going to argue that the 49ers are good enough to win the NFC title after back-to-back appearances and a crown last season. If anything they may be due for a letdown, but at 4-to-1 I'll take them for a unit as my short.
Middle of the Road- Atlanta Falcons - +850
I really like the Falcons chances again this season, and I also really like the +850 odds they're getting at 5 Dimes right now.
Longshot- Washington Redskins - +1625
It's a long shot by definition, but if RG3 proves he's just as much a freak of an athlete like Adrian Peterson off his knee surgery, the Redskins could be a legit threat down the stretch.
Short- Houston Texans - +700
With almost everyone in love with either Manning and the Broncos or Brady and the Patriots, the Texans are a great value at +700. I think they're ready for the next step, equipped with a better defense than either of those other teams.
Middle of the Road- Cincinnati Bengals - +1235
Again, another young team that is either due for the next step in their progression or a letdown. I'm betting on the next step scenario.
Longshot - San Diego Chargers - +2150
Long shots are supposed to be long shots, right? It's time for Rivers to finally so what many have thought he should have already done years ago and that's get his team to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 48 (SB XLVIII) - February 2nd, 2014, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
I'll go on record in 2014 for a Houston Texans-versus-Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl, which means two warm-weather teams playing outside in New York in February. Therefore my Super Bowl future picks are:
Short - Houston Texans - +1500
Middle of the Road- Atlanta Falcons - +1600
Longshot- Cincinnati Bengals - +2900
Just in case I'm wrong and it's not a Texans-Falcons matchup, then I'll slip an extra unit in on the Bengals as my longshot to win it all at 29-to-1.
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