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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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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