NFL Sunday!!

Proform

Well here we are again, the waiting is over. Sunday’s are no longer spent trying to get a ton at the Dean, it’s now all about the NFL. Fantasy team drafts and picks done, it’s time for the talking to stop and the hitting to start!

We kick off the new season with three cracking games. Sky’s coverage starts with a potential burn up as the Atlanta Falcons travel to New Orleans who are once again under the guidance of Sean Peyton. The later offering is another belter as the Packers travel to last year Superbowl losers the San Fransisco 49ers. The late Sunday night game which again this year will be covered by Channel 4 is an all NFC East showdown between the much talked about Cowboys and Giants in Dallas.

The best news from a TV point of view to come out in the last few days is that Monday Night Football will this year be covered by Eurosport! Now whilst we can’t comment on what the coverage will be like, at the very least this enables the option to record games on busy weeks, an option which was not available on the red button last year when the rights were held by the BBC. Let’s hope that Eurosport have recruited some knowledgeable presenters and not just some standard team members that will fumble their way through it.

Just one more note to any of you that may have missed it. Channel 4 are showing a new series called American Football Hard Knocks which follows a few teams through training camp. It is excellent and shows a side of the game that many of you in this country wouldn’t have seen before. Well worth a watch, set your Sky to record it next week and catch this weeks on 4OD.

Before we get into today’s games let’s have a brief look at the outright markets. The Superbowl market is so tight there is hardly any value to have. The Broncos are jollies at around 6/1 which is barmy short in reality. If this was a 32 runner 6f handicap we would be minimum 10/1 the field. Yes they showed what they are about against Baltimore on Thursday Night but it wasn’t all rosey. Cast your mind back to the 2nd play of the 2nd half. Manning handed the ball off to the RB for no gain…….. what ensued? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Sorry was I watching Philly? Crowd getting edgy and booing the play calls that early? Fickle as anything. The game then turns on a 3rd down INCOMPLETE pass that amazingly Harbaugh didn’t challenge. Don’t get me wrong, Denver have a lot of weapons and they also have probably the best game manager the NFL has ever seen in Manning but offenses don’t win Superbowls. In particularly in the first half you saw how key Von Miller is to the Broncos. Without his pass rush Joe Flacco had time for a cup of earl grey, a scone and to gloat about his 120 million dollar contract before releasing the ball. Against read option teams the Broncos games could go over 90 points! I will stick my neck out here and say that the Broncos will not be champions this year. When looking for teams to back in the outright market it is always worth looking at teams that you think will make the playoffs. Then you are in a great hedging situation week by week. Also ignore bookmakers. Betfair’s prices are inflated in the season markets and again give you a wheel for trading in the post season. At this point, the playoff contenders that are big prices on Betfair are as follows:

San Fransisco 9.2 (Shouldn’t be a bigger price than Denver)

Green Bay 14.5

Cincinnati 23

Washington 42

Indianapolis 60

Carolina 80

Minnesota 100

Buffalo 310

Potentially the biggest one of the above is obviously the Redskins. Their season and chances completely revolve around the fitness of RG3. They were ridiculously hot when he got injured in the playoff game against Seattle and the season came to a crashing end. Recovering from an ACL is never easy, but just look how effective Adrian Peterson has been since he had the same surgery. If and it is a big if, he is healthy, then in my opinion (completely unbiased) they will win the NFC East and be big players come Playoff time. I can see them trading on BF at around 10/1 within 4/5 weeks.

You can make a case for some potential improvers. The Bengals could have a good season and should be pushing for a playoff place. I also think the Bills are building a nice franchise and the 16/1 about them to pinch the AFC East is not the worst bet I’ve ever seen. The Patriots are obviously short priced favs but they have lost some key weapons this year and there is definitely an argument for taking them on. I can’t have the Dolphins (sorry Craig) so maybe the Bills at 16’s could surprise a few. They play the Pat’s in the season opener tonight and are massive on the handicap!

PLAYERS TO WATCH!

Without doubt the player I am most looking forward to seeing this year is the Rookie out of Notre Dame TYLER EIFERT. He’s looked good in pre-season and the rumblings coming out of Cincinnati are that he is a beast. He plays Tight End and should see a lot of the ball. He could be a fantasy dream.

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

A great season opener. The Saints will be rejuvenated by the return of head coach Sean Peyton after his year ban due to his part in the bounty scandal. He is a great play calling head coach and the Saints will surely be better than their 7-9 record last year. They lead the league in offense but the big problem was the fact that the D gave up 7042 yards, which is an NFL record. Atlanta have some key additions on both sides of the ball. Steven Jackson has signed from St Louis and British born Osi Umenyiora has joined from the New York Giants. Either way you chalk this up it looks like we are going to get a good old-fashioned slug fest and I expect a gun slinging points fest.

Over 54.5 points with BETFRED @ 10/11

Drew Brees over 326.5 Yards with Hills

Green Bay Packers @ San Fransisco 49ers

Boom. A great way to start. These two are big players in the race for the NFC Championship this year and we should get an opening cracker. The 49ers notched up a 45-31 beating in the post season match up between these two but I don’t expect a huge points fest this time around. The Packers will be delighted to have linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry back and fully fit ahead of the new season which is a huge plus. The negative comes in the secondary as they have lost Charles Woodson (lost his marbles and gone to the Raiders) and Casey Hayward is struggling with a dodgy hamstring so I expect Kaepernick to through the odd deep ball.

On offense the Packers have the major issue of no Bryan Bulaga at left tackle who is out for the year. I fear that Aaron Rogers may have more than one turf sandwich this evening. Main receiver Greg Jennings has joined rivals the Minnesota Vikings and running back DJ Harris is done with a bad knee injury. This should open the door for the potentially very exciting Eddie Lacy who basically ran Alabama to a national championship last year.

Kaepernick has issues too with both Crabtree and Manningham out for a couple of months. As a result the 49ers traded a sixth round pick for Anquan Boldin who 7 months ago, gave them the runaround in the Superbowl.

A game to watch and enjoy without too much involvement but CORAL are going 11/8 Kaepernick anytime scorer. That will do nicely.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

The division of death (NFC East) opens up with a big rivalry. Both teams failed to make the playoffs last year with defensive issues plaguing both sides. The major change comes in Dallas where defensive co-ordinator Monty Kiffin has replaced Rob Ryan. Under Kiffin Dallas will almost certainly revert to a 4-3 defense.

There are the usual pre-season ramblings coming out of Dallas that they have improved, are hungry and are potential players this year. Yeah yeah, same we’ve heard for the last five years. A big contract extension for Tony Romo (still hope for me yet) means to me much the same. When you talk about much the same……the Giants have won in Dallas for the last four years and Dallas tonight are 4/7 on the money line! No thank you!

Should be fairly brutal and although they were poor at the back-end of last year there is not much between these two at all and whereas Manning is clutch, Romo is an interception throwing, fumbling choker.

New York Giants to win @ 13/8 is enormous.

Victor Cruz over 73.5 yards with Paddy Power @ 10/11

BET OF THE WEEK…..

That would have to be The Bills +10 at home to New England. A Barmy points line in a game that the Bills should be very competitive.

Looking forward to a 10 hour marathon! Hope you all enjoy!

Be Lucky

MG

Advertisements

Friday 19th Oct – Nearly the jackpot!

I’ll start today’s post by saying thanks for all the messages regarding yesterdays’racing. Some real kind words and it’s nice to see the hard work pay off. We all need a day like that every now and again. Chuffed for everyone that got involved too. A know quite a few of you put all four into various multiples and almost scooped the big pay out. I had only backed them individually so when it came to the last leg I was pretty calm. I’d saved on the winner too on the advice that it was Dicko’s bet of the day. I hope DD is in good shape today, we reluctantly left him at the bar at about 10.30….he’d won big and was sinking lager like there was an ale drought due.

In hindsight Nordic Quest actually ran a blinder, the winner Castilo Del Diablo looks like a big burly staying type. He actually came off the bridle quite early and Kempton probably didn’t suit. He will be seen to better effect on a big galloping track back on turf maybe over two miles and should be followed.

On the back of the racing I completely forgot to preview last night’s NFL action as the 49ers hosted the Seahawks. I literally nearly fell off my bed in the hotel when I saw that the Hawks were getting 9.5 on the h’cap with Blue Square. I did tweet the selection late last night for those of you that weren’t already in cuckoo land and I would like to extend a big thank you to Blue Square for offering such a stupid bet! I think that’s about 6/7 NFL naps on the bounce if anyone is counting.

Today represents a whole new challenge as we have the return of proper national hunt racing! Cheltenham is back on the scene with a very competitive looking card. Winner finding however, might not be the easiest over the next couple of days. A real busy day today though.

I don’t necessarily have a bet of the day today but I do think that the market has massively underestimated the chances of TARO TYWOD (7.50 WOLV). Mark Brisbourne’s filly was awarded an opening mark of 69 on the back of her maiden success last September but has been on the back foot ever since. Her mark has dropped to a mouth-watering 53 and she ran much better last time behind two very well handicapped horses where the winner, Kathleensluckylad has actually gone on to win again since. Hopefully that was the hint that she is ready to bounce back and there is the added chance that this might just be her time of year! In a Classified event she comes out well at the weights from stall 2 looking like a cracking each way play at 12/1 with Bet365 & Ladbrokes.

I’m pretty sure DUTCH MASTERPIECE is still ahead of the handicapper (2.25 Haydock) and he rates a sure-fire winner for those of you that like a shorty. I had him in at about 4/6 and you can back him at evens with Coral & StanJames.

I am a big John Ferguson fan and he has a real interesting hurdling recruit in the form of POPULATION (4.30 CHELT). He won both his bumpers at Ascot in fine style before finishing down in 6th when a warm favourite for the grade 2 bumper at Aintree. He got into a bit of bother mid race that day and it halted his progress so I’m not worried about that too much. The fact he went off a 7/4f that day says it all. He has reported to have schooled well and looks a nice recruit. The winner of the Aintree bumper goes in the first at Cheltenham today as a clue. I think he’s a win bet but I would possibly throw in Tartan De Sarti as a saver as he has lots of potential too.

Backing 4/1 shots in a 22 runner handicap is the fast way to the poor house in general but DARK LOVER (5.40 CHELT) looks potentially well handicapped off a mark of 120 for Paul Nicholls in the lucky last. He hasn’t run since last February which is the only worry, but if he is fit and ready to go he looks a knocking play with 4 places up for grabs.

I was really taken with the way that HAY DUDE (3.00 Hayd) went through the ground on debut at Ayr. He gave Anna’s Pearl (now rated 94) a sound beating that day so on a strict form line should be much the best in here on ratings and warrants a decent bet at 2/1. If I did have a bet of the day he would be it and I’m having four points on.

I also thought The Knocking Lord (8.50 Wolv) was interesting on handicap debut but I’m happy to wait and see how the market goes. If the money comes he might well be a player later on.

I hope we have another storming day, enjoy Cheltenham and most of all be lucky!

MG

@markagrantham