GAMBLING GUIDE

Gone in 40 seconds: The Super Bowl 52 mega betting preview

Bill Belichick has two weeks to prepare for Nick Foles and the Eagles. Eagles.com

In the game of football, the game gives you life every 40 seconds.

The number 40 is one that you hear often leading up to this years Super Bowl.

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, over the hill is considered to be: past one's prime.
In your lifetime, you will hear the reference "over the hill" on various occasions. Whether it's celebrating someone's 40th Birthday, or when someone is referring to someone as old or as slowing down.

On Aug. 3, Tom Brady turned 40, leaving us looking for words to describe someone who looks far from over the hill as he ages. Brady threw for 4,577 yards while keeping a 66.3 % completion percentage this regular season. That’s his second-best completion percentage in nine years and his fourth most yardage in that time frame. This season, he became the first quarterback to throw four touchdowns in a game at the age of 40. Not only that, but he led the league in passing attempts and completions giving merit to his arm still being what some describe as "live" and not spent. Is that what we call over the hill?

Maybe it's the same words we looked for in 2009 when 40-year-old Brett Farve threw up 4,202 yards and had a 33 touchdown to 7 interception ratio. The aged Farve led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, defining the logic in age is a number.

2017 Brady 4,577  32 TD 8 INT
2009 Farve 4,202 33 TD 7 INT

If 40 describes the act of climbing over the hill in life, what exactly is on the other side?

Also, 40%, seems to be the percentage of needed pressure to make Brady uncomfortable. In both of the Super Bowl matchups vs. the Giants, the defense was able to create pressure on over 40% of Brady's dropbacks. The key to keeping Brady frustrated is to collapse his pocket but doing so using as few bodies as possible.

Every Super Bowl Brady has won, he has faced less than 40% pressure on his dropbacks. Just last year, the Falcons failed to continue generating pressure in the second half with the big lead opting to play slightly more conservative keeping the game in front of them.

The Blue Print is exposed, and now it's a matter of having the personnel to be able to execute it. In 2015, the top raked Broncos defense was able to do just that, holding New England to 18 total points in the AFC title game. Again, by generating pressure on over 41% of the defensive plays.

The Eagles created pressure on quarterbacks on 271 occasions this year, besting the second best opponent by 27 (Jaguars). That figure puts them over the fundamental figure of 40% in pressure created this season, transcending the mark that is kryptonite to the New England Golden Child. A huge stat the Eagles have in their favor is they hold the leagues 10th lowest blitz rate, meaning they can get to the quarterback without necessarily having to send extra players. They can do this because of the ferocious front four. Well, let me rephrase that, and this is what makes this team different. They can be described more of a front seven with the depth they have and the amount of rotating they do.

Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Chris Long act as the rushers off the edge. Derek Barnett, Timmy Jernigan, Vinny Curry, and Beau Allen, round out a fierce rotation of 7 players that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz thrives on keeping fresh. The Jaguars blitzed at over a rate of 41 % through three quarters in the Championship round. The lack of depth from the defensive line caught up to them in the most pivotal moments, and Brady was able to find time when he needed it.

The plan is set and coming into games teams understand the principals of Mission Attack Brady. The only dilemma is you're dealing with a champion, the best to ever do it. This year when under pressure, Brady has a passer rating of 96.6 and a 59.9% completion rate; that’s almost ten higher than his competitor's ratings.

Brady vs. Jim Schwartz’s defense

When looking how you can move the ball on the Eagles you have to find their few weak spots.

As you can see, the Eagles defense is very good in different areas of the field. Where they do struggle is in the middle of the field and against WR 3's and 4's as well as the tight end position. We mentioned how the Eagles defensive scheme allows them to create pressure without having to blitz extra bodies. What those extra men can do in coverage when asked to make a play will be vital in getting the Patriots offense off the field.

A focal point of this game; Philidelphia ranks first in adjusted line yards with 2.99, but they rank 23rd in open field rank. What this tells you is they are elite up front on the defensive line, but the second level struggles in pursuit and limiting open field yards. That’s exactly what the Patriots will thrive on.

Patriots Game Plan

So what adjustments do the Patriots have to make to exploit the weaknesses we have found in the Eagles defense?
None!  The Patriots are notorious for running 11- personnel on over 60% of their offensive snaps. Doing so will keep the extra defensive back to stay in. Look for Danny Amendola or whoever Bill Belicheck rotates in and out of the slot to have success throughout the game. Throughout the years, the popularity of teams running 11-personnel has grown due to its success.

(11 man= one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers).


 

The popularity has expanded with teams seeing the success. In 2016 the Patriots were ranked 1st in DVOA but were off the charts efficient when in 11 man personnel.


The Patriots will look to exploit the Eagles defense with 11 man personnel while moving Gronkowski around. Word is getting out that Malcolm Jenkins may shadow the tight end. If thats the case, look for New England to split Gronk out wide frequently, creating one on one and moving an extra run stopping safety away from the middle of the field.

Special teams

The Patriots lead the league in opponent starting field position. The league average is opponents starting drives at the 28-yard line. Just last week, Jacksonville had four drives start inside the 16-yard line, three of which were inside the 10 yards line. Since 2009, every year the Patriots special teams have ranked inside the top six overall according to football outsiders.  In the Championship round, the Jaguars started their drives on the 20-yard line the league average is 28. This year the Patriots special teams rank third overall weighted DVOA, while the Eagles sit at 16th.

The game will start somewhat conservative, and the halftime adjustments will be critical. In a game that will be won by in-game adjustments, I have to lean to the Dark Side. Patriots struggle in the beginning but Tom Brady will eventually beat the blitz, forcing Nick Foles to be relied on to make plays. With two weeks to gameplan for the one hit wonder backup, Bill Belichick gets the last laugh.

Patriots -4
First Quarter Under 9.5
Eagles Team total under 21.5
First Half under 24

7 point Teaser
Pats+3
Under 55.5

Any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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