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The Super Bowl

 

The pay picks end up with a winning record on the season and go out with a bang.  The final pay pick was Denver plus the points in the Super Bowl, with one of the greatest write ups ever offered on this site and probably one of the best out there for this game.  Thanks for a great season!  And a special thank you to all who bought the picks.  And if you missed it, here it was the Super Bowl selection: 

"It's a one game season"

DENVER over CAROLINA

Welcome to this season’s Super Bowl selection, the second and final selection for the 2016 NFL Playoffs.  Just because it’s the Super Bowl doesn’t mean I will force a selection, as I have passed on a few Super Bowls over the last several years.  But there are five main things I will outline here which are important for this game.  Most of these are things I’ve been talking about all along which usually work or at least swing the advantage in your favor.  I’ll outline all five with a couple of closing statements to keep in mind for this game.  Most people only ever remember the very last thing to happen, which is Carolina’s destruction of Arizona after the Broncos narrowly squeezed by the Patriots.  But such situations in the past ended up a different story in the Super Bowl.  There’s a bunch of advantages for the underdog here, so check them out and take them into evaluation. And off we go….

Reason number 1:  Adjustment for Carolina

Carolina goes from -2 to -3 to -6 here in the playoffs.  They covered the first two, but now odds makers have jacked them up another field goal against the league’s best defense and one of the best AFC teams over the last three years.   It’s great if you took Carolina at -2 in the first game and -3 vs. Arizona.  But you’re pushing it if you keep going. 

Reason number 2:  Adjustment for Denver.

Denver is in the same boat, except they are going the other way.  Odds makers made them a TD favorite over the Steelers, but they go from -7 to +3 vs. the Patriots now up to +6.  In hindsight the best thing to do was go with the Broncos here and their opponent in the first two games, which would have left you 1-1 ATS.  The best time of the three is to take Denver when they are getting the most points.  The best time to go against Carolina is when they are giving the most.  And that time is now.

Reason number 3:  Super Bowl adjustment for Denver

Just two short years ago the Broncos were in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks as about a one-point favorite.  And they lost handily.  Now they go from a pick-em all the way up two field goals to a six-point underdog.  If you took Seattle in that game, and they were the slightly better team, then good for you.  But now is the time to go with Denver as you are getting a full touchdown promotion to plus-six points. 

Reason number 4:   Turnovers

Carolina is +28 in turnover margin.  That’s incredible.  They were +22 prior to the Cardinals game but got seven turnovers out of Arizona (just one for Carolina) to complete a dominant performance which is on everyone’s mind.   Compare that to Denver, which is a paltry -2 in turnover margin coming in.  The Broncos had to earn their wins.  Carolina had the ball bounce their way 28 times on fumbles or interceptions.  Now don’t misunderstand me and think that I believe Carolina is overrated, because they aren’t.  Their defense has been good, and every great team has a great tight end.  Greg Olson has been amazing this season.  He’s a huge asset.  The Panthers are a very good team and should be taken seriously, and Cam Newton is a winner.  He fought through adversity with Auburn to get them undefeated, and he nearly did it with Carolina this season.   But the +28 in turnover margin should not be ignored either.  With a defense like Denver’s its quite possible the Broncos could end up on the plus side of the turnover war in this game.  Keep in mind also; the Broncos were -4 in turnover margin in the Super Bowl against Seattle.  That’s not likely to happen again either. 

Reason number 5:  Redemption

The Broncos didn’t just lose Super Bowl 48, they got embarrassed.   Many of the players from that team are on this team now, including the most important of all (Peyton Manning), so expect they will put forth even extra effort to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  Forget about the fact that it’s Manning’s last game.  There’s 21 other players on both sides of the ball plus the special teams who don’t want to live another off-season with a bad loss hanging over their heads.  And this time you get a full six points instead of the Broncos being favored by a point.

Ending commentary:

The Panthers’ 17-1 record is no fluke and neither is Cam Newton.  They are a great team and are not overrated.  But don’t look too deep into their 31-0 halftime lead over Seattle and their destruction of the Cardinals because teams have done that in the past, then lost the Super Bowl as a favorite.  Now there have certainly been times when you knew a team would win, but they were huge favorites.  Like the ’85 Bears over the Patriots.  No brainer!  Also there were the ’94 Niners over the Chargers, where San Fran was favored by 19 points.   Everyone knew Steve Young and the Niners would crush them.  Those of you who are about 35 years or older may remember the Super Bowl in ’89 when Bill’s kicker Scott Norwood missed that 46 yard field goal against the Giants.  Everyone including the Bills thought they would win that game, as they breezed into the playoffs with a 51-3 destruction over the Raiders while the Giants struggled with a two-point win over the Niners, just as the Broncos are coming in with a two-point win.  But the Super Bowl was a different story, as the Bills lost as a TD favorite.  There were also the 2001 Rams, who crushed everyone with their high scoring offense and were favored by double digits ten times that season, but lost outright as a 14-point favorite in the Super Bowl when Adam Vinatieri kicked the game winning field goal for the Pats.  And don’t forget the undefeated Patriots from eight years ago where everyone thought they would at least cover the spread, but they didn’t even win the Super Bowl.   But never neglect the numbers.  Odds makers have made the adjustment, so don’t try to go against the grain especially when four different worlds collide which I outlined above, plus the turnover factor.   Carolina’s offense had been great, but the Broncos defense is just as good.  The unit got push on New England’s offensive line on almost every play, so if they can match that intensity this can end up as an in the trenches game which favors Denver with the spread.  Maybe the Panthers will lose or maybe they will continue domination and win by a TD or more.  But in taking Denver you know that you have multiple key ATS advantages on your side.  And in the casino, it’s all about having the advantage.

For those reasons, Denver, plus the points, ends up as my “show no fear of the favorite” Super Bowl selection for 2016.

Good Luck!  TFM

 

 

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Pay picks are 35-13-a few ties for the life of the site.  A summary of the last 28 pay picks, in order from most recent:

 

Super Bowl 50- "It's a one game season"

Carolina, which was +28 in turnover margin on the season, went from -2 to -3 to -5.5 in the playoffs against Denver which went from -7 to +3 to +5.5.  And also, went from a pick-em in Super bowl 48 to +5.5 two years later where they certainly wouldn't want to get embarrassed again like they did vs. Seattle.  And they certainly didn't. 

"From zero to 5 in five....weeks"

Seattle played Minnesota in December as a pick-em and covered, but a month later they found themselves up to a five point favorite in the same situation with Minnesota out for revenge.  Advantage was with the Vikings with the points adjustment and it would have been an outright win if not for a missed easy field goal in the winding seconds.  I'll take the cover though as they lost by just a point!

"Thanksgiving with TFM 2015"

Tulsa had to beat Tulane to get to the Hawaii bowl and a great trip for the players from the plain states, which they did and covered, while Charlotte was getting double digits from a team (Rice) out of bowl contention.  Those teams split, but the NFL picks were Arizona (-10) which won by half that and the Patriots were handed their first loss which also made this pay pick a loss and the first Thanksgiving picks to lose in eight years.

 

"2015 pre-Thanksgiving picks''

Miami-Ohio was getting too many pts against an 8-loss team (Umass) and Indiana had to beat a weak Maryland team to get to a bowl.  So did Rice over UTSA and they lost.  Heading into Sunday 2-1, the Redskins and Cardinals failed to cover, with the Patriots winning by seven points.  This first pay pick loss in forever.

"2015 halloween selections"

South Carolina was getting too many points at Texas A&M, and the Arizona Cardinals weren't favored by enough at Cleveland.  Also in the NFL, Seattle was playing its 2nd consecutive road game favored by 6 points after covering at SF, so it was unlikely they'd do it again at Dallas.  Pay pick wins and goes 3-0. 

"2015 NFL conference championships"

The Packers went from +4.5 to +7.5 from the regular season to the playoffs at Seattle, with the same teams playing.  Plus Seattle's defense wasn't as good against good quarterbacks.  New England, even minus a touchdown, would NOT fail in its 5th attempt to win a Super Bowl, especially at home.  Selection goes 2-0. 

 

"UNDER-standing Urban"

Oregon was playing Ohio State for the National Championship with an over/under set at 75 points.  That didn't seem like much for those two teams, but Urban Meyer's history in big games couldn't be neglected.  He managed to slow down every fast opponent he ever faced in big games.   Not to mention, Ohio State's defense was very underrated.  UNDER 75 points was the selection, which won.

 

"NFL Week 16 and Bowl Selections"

Dallas (-3.5) vs the Colts was almost automatic, and those who read my write up knew why.  The Redskins (+7) vs. Philly was the other, in RG3's last chance.  The Bowl selections were Northern Illinois (L), Penn State (W) and Baylor (L)

Selection goes 3-2, but just 1-2 in the bowls.  Oh, Baylor....

 

"December Gut-Check"

SMU was getting 12 points against two-win UConn which was out of bowl contention and nothing to play for, but the Mustangs had a new coach and motivation to not finish winless.  The Falcons were playing the red hot Packers, but oddsmakers adjusted after GB covered six prior home spreads, and jacked it up to their highest of the season in an effort to get the dog to cover, which they did.  Selection went 2-0

 

"Thanksgiving with TFM 2014"

Cincinnati over Temple and UAB had to beat a 3-win team as a small favorite for its first bowl berth in 10 years, and Northern Illinois (the better team) as a 6 point dog over Bowling Green.  Idaho and UL Monroe were getting big points over 2 teams out of bowl contention.  Idaho (+17) lost by 17 and pushed.  The other four selections won.  4-0-1

 

"NFL Playoff Selections 2014"

The tough 49ers were the weekend's top play over Cam Newton and the Panthers and come out with a decisive win.  The Saints (+8) were the other selection at Seattle.  Those who got in on gameday probably won the Saints, as the spread creeped up to nine points.  Either way, the selections end up on the winning side.

"Thanksgiving with TFM 2013 including the 'Fab 5' "

Alabama and Rutgers started the day on a sour note by losing outright, and the Eagles, favored by 3 or 3.5, won by three.  But the remaining selections for Saturday, five special college underdogs, all covered the spread and three won outright (Southern Miss, Iowa State and Temple).  The Pay picks go 5-2-1 or 5-3. 

"Rookies vs. Veterans"

It was Aaron Rodgers getting points and Matt Ryan favored by small points against two rookies, and I said both rookies would not come away with the win in the same weekend.  I was right about that, except Atlanta missed the spread by a half point, making this double pay pick a very unfortunate loss. 

"Third time a charm"

Mon tee Ball, James White and the rest of the seniors were playing in their third straight Rose Bowl and after losing the first two, Wisconsin (+6.5) was the top play for the bowls.  Had to get the play in before New Years Eve though, as the spread went down during the final 24 hours. 

 

"Thanksgiving with TFM 2012"

Four college selections.  Marshall and Purdue had to win.  Purdue won, Marshall covered.  Colorado was getting 23 at home to 7-loss Utah, who was favored by way to many points for just losing a bowl berth.  Illinois was the 4th pick and failed to cover, so the 2012 Thanksgiving selections go 3-1 after going 4-0 last Thanksgiving. 

"Passion, Ego and Double Revenge"

Combining Bill Belichick's ego, Tom Brady's passion and the team's revenge, New England was the Super Bowl selection and although the defense did a decent job against the Giants for most of the game, a Wes Welker dropped pass likely prevented the spread cover as the Pats could not overcome the Giants in the trenches. The first Super Bowl pay pick loss.

"2012 Bowl Selections"

There were just two.  Wisconsin (+6) was the first selection, with the thinking they were about equal to Oregon but getting a nice amount of points.  They just missed the spread, but the second selection and top play, Alabama, was totally dominant over LSU for a split selection. 

"Thanksgiving with TFM 2011"

The top play for the weekend was the Ravens (-3.5) vs. the Niners who wouldn't win their 5th east coast game in 11 tries, and the Packers (-6) weren't favored by nearly enough over Detroit.  On Black Friday, 2 teams HAD to win to secure a possible BCS bowl and $$$, Houston (-3) and Louisville as an underdog.  Favorable low spreads for a pair of must win teams.  The selections went 4-0 for the best pay pick ever on this site so far.

"Saturday Knight Selection"

Boston College over UCF, the ACC team off a bowl game was getting points, but was 25-0 ATS against non-BCS conf teams setting a hypo of +7.5 like the spread was here, and UCF was 0-26.  That streak came to an end when UCF won and covered with a 21 point 4th quarter.

"On the Road Again"

In NBA action this past winter in 2011, Golden State was coming off a win at Cleveland and was favored at New Jersey, but they never win 2 road games in a row.  Nets were the pick, and won.

"No sense of Urgency"

Easy call with Oklahoma St. in the Big 12 second round game in NCAA basketball 

that featured a team that didn't need to win (Kansas) favored by 14 points.

"Saturday Selections"

This was a dual selection for Saturday in the  NCAAB conference tournaments. Kentucky didn't need to win over Alabama but they did and covered the spread as Bama was the pick.  But the night cap and day's top selection was San Diego State over BYU as Jimmer wouldn't get 52 points again or beat the Aztecs 3x in a row, especially without their power forward.  Selection Split.

"No sense of Urgency, Part II"

OSU didn't need to win but were favored by 10.5 points over Penn State in the Big 10 NCAAB conference tourney.  They won by 11 points, but Penn State made the tournament anyway.  Pay picks are 20-8 now for the life of the site, and 4 of the last 6 losses have come by a half of a point (including Akron +29.5 over Temple in October and TCU -2.5 over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl).

"A Heat-ed Revenge"

The Miami Heat (-4.5) over the Spurs in the rematch where Miami lost by 30 at San Antonio.  This time they won by 30.  I also said to take the UNDER, as the Spurs wouldn't hit 18 shots from 3-pt range again and that Miami would step up the defense at home after getting very embarrassed the first time, which also hit.

Round 1 NCAA Tourney Picks

Wofford and Wisconsin were the round 1 pay picks.  BYU was a bit overrated without their leading rebounder and taking on a slew of seniors from Wofford, who covered by a half point.  Belmont had 30 wins but none over a quality opponent, and 24 of their 30 wins came over teams void of a winning record.  Wisconsin was the better team and not favored by enough.  Both selections covered.

The 2010-11 Bowl selections:  

There were 3 bowl selections for the end of 2010 as 1 package, with Tulsa and UTEP splitting.  That left it all up to TCU, who I promised would beat Wisconsin, but they missed the spread by a point.  

Thanksgiving with TFM 2010:  

I did a teaser and guaranteed the open end (Alabama) would hit, which it did, barely.   However, the Arizona Cardinals, the 2nd part of the teaser, laid an egg on Monday Night Football.   The free selections that weekend, Memphis (+20) and Texans (-6) did win however.

"Big-MAC"

  Akron was a +29.5 at Temple and coming off 2 consecutive MAC blowouts (28+ point losses) but MAC teams never lose 3 conference games in a row by that margin, until Akron lost by 30 at Temple.  When my pay picks do lose, they are close, as this one was by a half point after a 6-0 halftime deficit.  

  "A SUPER letdown"  

49ers (+5) over Saints

The Saints were coming in 1-0 ATS, but no SB winner had ever started 2-0 ATS except for one (including the 2008 Pats instead of the Giants). To compound the situation was the fact the Niners were a home dog coming off a blowout.   

"Sleeping Giants"

  SF Giants over Wash Nationals   You had to go back to the 60's to find the Giants perform worse than they did in a 3 game series at Oakland from May 21-23. Hosting the Nats, from the East Coast, as almost even money, they were a lock to win that game after scoring just 1 run over the 3 game series.    

    "Walking the Plank"  

Pirates (+1.5) over Astros   The Pirates were coming off losses of 8-1, 8-0 and 20-0 and were almost a shoe-in to get some hits/runs and cover 1.5 runs at Houston, which they did in a 4-3 loss on April 23rd. 

         

"NBA Playoff Double Trouble"

Perhaps the greatest Pay Selection I've ever had. Up until this point, I hadn't seen a pair of games cross such good parameters as the Lakers (vs. OKC) and the Mavs (vs. Spurs) in game 5 for both teams. Lakers gave (literally) game 4 to OKC, and they were 17-0 at home in game 5's, and were coming off dual losses at OKC but were 9-0 at home off consec. losses (avg. win 10 pts) and 9-1 off a double digit loss with Gasol, and OKC hadn't beat a playoff team 3x in a row all season. The Mavs, playing earlier that night and losers or 3 straight to the Spurs coming home facing elimination, hadn't lost 4 consec games in 135 tries, playing the Spurs who hadn't beat a playoff team 4x in a row in 2 years. Selection won easily.   

                "Game 3 double trouble"  

This selection did not win, but it was close. Real close. Utah missed a tip-in at the buzzer which would have given them the win, and the selection a split since Atlanta failed to cover the first game. I made a huge case of why both game 3 home teams would not lose- Atlanta ATS and Utah outright. I was an inch away from being right.

  "In the spirit of good ole Tim Donoghy" Oregon St (+9) over Washington  

A Tim D. themed selection in March 2009 where I detailed why the Beavers would cover the spread in their conf. tourney, detailed and listed how they got favorable calls all season compared to other Pac 10 teams (due to coach?) and how Wash didn't often win 3 consec games by double digits. Also, the Beavers didn't lose consec games by d.d. all season, and they were playing a team they just lost to by d.d, in the conference tourney, and keeping in mind they won the CBI the season before as Obama's brother in law became coach. Beavers lost the game, but covered.   

 

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