Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl Odds Boosted with J.J. Watt Signing

New Arizona Cardinals Defensive end J.J. Watt. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

New Arizona Cardinals Defensive end J.J. Watt. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Arizona Cardinals reportedly have scooped up one of the most attractive free agents in the market this season: J.J. Watt. One of the biggest scoops of the offseason thus far, and one that’s had an immediate impact on NFL betting markets, raising Arizona’s prospects in 2021 across the board.

As per DraftKings, Arizona Cardinal’s Super Bowl 55 odds improved from +5000 to +3000 on Monday when the news broke. As well, their odds to win the NFC and NFC West also improved noticeably: the Cardinals are now tipped at +1500 to win the NFC (down from +2000) and at +500 to win the NFC West (down from +700).

J.J. Watt made the announcement himself, breaking the stunning, unexpected news on social media to the chagrin of his many suitors that were courting his services. By that same token, he also managed to – although inadvertently – crush the hearts of many NFL fans around the country, all of which were dreaming of the future Hall of Fame defensive end to sign with their beloved team.

 

J.J. Watt Accolades At A Glance

  • Seven-time AFC Defensive Player of the Week: 2012 (Week 2 & 15); 2014 (Week 4 & 11); 2015 (Week 11 & 17); and 2018 (Week 12).
  • Six-time AFC Defensive Player of the Month ( 2012 (September & December); 2013 (September & December); 2015 (November); and 2018 ( September).
  • Five-time Pro Bowl selection (2012-15, 2018)
  • Five-time Associated Press First-Team All-Pro (2012-15, 2018)
  • Three-time Associated Press and PFWA NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014-15)
  • Two-time NFL sack leader (2012 and 2015)
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2017)
  • Sports Illustrated Person of the Year (2017)

It would be fair to consider Watt’s move to Arizona a mild surprise; the franchise didn’t fit the popular refrain according to experts nor did it feature prominently in early speculation at multiple top-rated sportsbooks. Heck, some didn’t even have the Cardinals in the frame at all.

Top destinations for Watt based on NFL futures included the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers (where his two brothers play). The Green Bay Packers also figured in the mix, largely because it would have represented a return to his native Wisconsin. Other destinations included the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Watt made no secret about his desire to play for a contender following his requested release from the Houston Texans this year. The Cardinals are certainly a team that’s ascending in the NFC West and NFC since hiring Kliff Kingsbury and drafting Kyler Murray No.1 overall in 2019. However, the tandem have yet to get into the playoffs or challenge for the divisional title or any other meaningful prize. In their first two seasons, they’ve combined for a 13-18-1 SU mark, with the bulk of the winning gained from a modest 8-8-0 SU mark in 2020.

At the face of it, the addition of J.J. Watt is likely to bolster what was already a reputable defense under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. The Cardinals were tied for the fourth-most sacks in the NFL last season with 48 and that feat was achieved without stellar line-backer Chandler Jones who missed the last 11 games of the 2020 season. Adding Watt alongside Jones should elevate the pass-rush game, which wasn’t impressive last season – the Cardinals allowed the 12th most passing touchdowns and 16th most passing yards.

 

A Few Career Highlights

  • Watt became the fourth-fastest player in NFL history to reach 100.0 sacks by accomplishing the feat in his 120th career game.
  • Watt became the first player in NFL history to reach at least 150 career tackles for loss and 100.0 sacks in his first 120 games
  • Watt owns Houston’s franchise record for 101.0 sacks
  • Watt leads the NFL with 281 quarterback hits and 172 tackles for loss and he ranks second overall in the NFL in sacks since his rookie season in 2011.
  • Watt is the only player in NFL history with 20-or-more sacks and 10-or-more passes defended in the same season, which he accomplished twice (2012, 2014)
  • Watt has registered 26 career games with multiple sacks, which is the most in the NFL over the last decade, and he’s tied for the fifth-most in NFL history through 128 career games.

 

Watt is no spring chicken and in a few weeks he will turn 32 years old, which in his position on the defensive side of the ball might take the shine off his value. There’s also the fact that he’s had a rash of injuries in recent seasons, along with several back surgeries that raise questions about his durability and sustainability.

However, Watt brings undeniable experience to the table as the former face of a franchise – an intangible asset that is hard to quantify because it encompasses a list of other subsidiary benefits such as leadership, mentorship, motivation, inspiration, execution, and so on. Watt can be all those things and more for a young team that is garnering a lot of excitement and expectation amongst their fans and the wider NFL sphere.

So, whether Arizona Cardinals will be genuine contenders in 2021 remains to be seen but the initial signs point in that direction. The ripple effect of his imminent move to Arizona evident already with many betting sites. That alone makes them a team to spot and, maybe with a few choice flutters, even a team to bet on in certain markets.

 

Why Carson Wentz and the Colts Aren’t A Good Bet

Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

 

On the heels of the news that the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts reached an agreement to trade Carson Wentz, bookmakers across USA betting sites promptly reassessed Super Bowl 56 markets accordingly by improving Indianapolis’ odds in the broad spectrum of Super Bowl 56 futures betting. However, the improvement is fractional at best and sees the Colts move from approximately +2500 to +2200 to win Super Bowl 56.

With the NFL odds for Indianapolis shortening only marginally, it’s obvious that the addition of Wentz to the Colts’ roster isn’t a big enough deal. Not nearly as impactful as the blockbuster trade between the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams at the start of the offseason, which saw the two sides swap quarterbacks to great effect in the betting. Well, as far as the LA Rams are concerned. In acquiring Matthew Stafford, the Rams skyrocketed into the top 5 best bets to win SBLVI next February.

The jury is out on Wentz and the value he brings to the Colts after his 2020 season, which was a statistical disaster. Wentz ranked amongst the worst quarterbacks in just about every single category that matters for a signal caller. Whether his regression was a product of the circumstances in Philly or the result of his own failings remains to be seen though. It’s impossible to say for certain right now, which might be a reason why most sports betting sites are on the fence. taking a modest stance where the Colts are concerned. https://twitter.com/ProFootballTalk/status/1363861821413875714?s=20

It doesn’t help Indianapolis’ cause either that there’s a lack of enthusiasm internally. For instance, Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. wears No.11, and according to early reports it doesn’t seem he’s inclined to relinquish his jersey number to Wentz, who’s had the number since his heyday in North Dakota before carrying it proudly through his first five season with the Eagles..

“I am No. 11,” said Pittman to TMZ Sports. “And I don’t think there’s any deal that’s going to be done.”

Clearly, the addition of Wentz isn’t having a positive or inspiring impact on the locker room, and if the TMZ report were any indication, it seems Wentz will have to settle on a different number in his second act with the Colts.

Compare this to Tom Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay last season, where Buccaneers’ Chris Goodwin was the proud owner of the No.12 jersey. It proved to be a seamless transition, Goodwin happily relinquishing the number to his newly signed quarterback without fuss or muss, and for free.

Carons Wentz’s early years with the Eagles were promising, and that promise quickly came together in 2017, which to date is Wentz’ best individual season. Wentz went on a tear, putting together an MVP-calibre deposit until disaster struck towards the tail end of the regular season.. He suffered a season-ending injury that relegated him to the side lines, forcing him to watch helplessly as backup Nick Foles led the Eagles through the playoffs and all the way to an incredulous Super Bowl victory against the NFL odds. To date, the Eagles’ win over the Patriots in SBLII is one of the greatest anomalies in NFL history.

Since Philly’s Super Bowl LII victory, the Eagles regressed. With each passing season, the regression has been more pronounced, leading many to look towards Wentz as the cause. Wentz once looked like one of the league’s most promising young quarterbacks, but in the last three years – ever since Foles’ statue was erected in front of Lincoln Financial Stadium to commemorate his SBLII victory – he’s been on a downward spiral.

Wentz hit a new nadir this season, putting together one of the worst accounts by any quarterback by the numbers. He was inaccurate, ineffective and totally unimpressive under pressure, and he ultimately lost the starting job to rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Wentz was the most sacked quarterback (50 sacks), threw the most interceptions (15) and had one of the lowest QB ratings (72.8) in 2020. Doug Pederson’s decision to bench Wentz in the last month of the season was hardly surprising given the stats, although it didn’t help Philly’s cause in the end despite the weak state of affairs in the NFC East.

It’s hard to understand what has gone wrong with Wentz since the promise of his early days, but it’s also hard to imagine how he’ll turn things around in the space of a few months with a new team in the upcoming season, even if he’s reuniting with his former offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, in Indianapolis.

Wentz has thrown has thrown 28 interceptions over the last two campaigns — and, it’s worth pointing out, he’s only played 28 games in those two years. This season, he accounted for 15 interceptions (the most in the league) to just 16 TDs, all the while getting sacked a staggering 50 times. Wentz’ downward spiral is underpinned by a glaring lack of confidence and poor decision-making on the field.

Colts head coach Frank Reich had previously worked with Carson Wentz in Philadelphia as his offensive coordinator, overseeing the development of Wentz during his early years in the league. They had success together, no doubt about it. And clearly, their reunion hopes to reignite that chemistry and success.

Since the 2020 season ended so acrimoniously for Wentz and the Eagles, rumours tied Wentz and Reich together in a possible reunion in Indianapolis. Indeed, NFL betting markets had the Colts as the top landing spot for Wentz, especially after it was made public that Wentz wanted out of Philly. During Reich’s stint with the Eagles, Wentz enjoyed some of his best results in the league. https://twitter.com/MikeGarafolo/status/1362443630284275720?s=20

Perhaps, in theory, the reunion works. Wentz and Reich have proven to be a good fit in the past. But that was then. A lot has happened since Wentz and Reich were separated.

The Colts are a good team, a potential championship calibre team that is merely a quarterback away from going the distance. Thus, it’s fair to say, that puts the onus on Wentz more so than on Reich to make this partnership work again. Put it another way, there will be no more excuses available for Wentz this time around.

 

To Win Super Bowl 56 Odds For All 32 Teams According to William Hill

  • Kansas City Chiefs +550
  • Green Bay Packers +900
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers +900
  • Baltimore Ravens +1200
  • Buffalo Bills +1200
  • Los Angeles Rams +1300
  • San Francisco 49ers +1400
  • New Orleans Saints +1800
  • Cleveland Browns +2000
  • Seattle Seahawks +2000
  • Indianapolis Colts +2200
  • Miami Dolphins +2500
  • Pittsburgh Steelers +2800
  • Tennessee Titans +2800
  • Dallas Cowboys +3000
  • Los Angeles Chargers +3000
  • Arizona Cardinals +4000
  • Minnesota Vikings +4000
  • New England Patriots +4000
  • Carolina Panthers +5000
  • Chicago Bears +5000
  • Las Vegas Raiders +5000
  • Philadelphia Eagles +5000
  • Atlanta Falcons +6000
  • Washington Football Team +6000
  • Denver Broncos +7500
  • Jacksonville Jaguars +7500
  • New York Giants +7500
  • New York Jets +8000
  • Cincinnati Bengals +10000
  • Houston Texans +10000
  • Detroit Lions +12500

Is Justin Fields A Better Bet to Go First Overall in the 2021 NFL draft?

Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

 

Trevor Lawrence is the heavy favorite to go first in the upcoming NFL Draft, but is he a lock bet? Could there be cause for another player to be selected No.1? We weigh in on the odds and serve up some thoughts to consider.

As it currently stands in the betting, Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, is a runaway favourite across multiple betting sites to go first in the 2021 NFL draft. Although the price tag varies from book to book, the Clemson product nevertheless is unanimously tipped as the top bet in the market. No sportsbook offers up an alternative top pick, nor do most mock 2021 NFL drafts entertain the possibility of another player going No.1 either.

It’s not often the case in the draft process that there is such clarity, but it’s the way it happens to set up this year. How it’s been carefully and consciously set up over the last year with Lawrence being talked up by football analysts, scouts and media experts as a “generational talent.” The best thing since sliced bread….

[Read more...]

Should Bettors Put Stock in Russell Wilson Trade Rumors?

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks.

Russell Wilson is reportedly frustrated in Seattle, sparking the rumor mill with speculations of a potential trade.

Super Bowl Sunday saw Russell Wilson, along with his wife Ciara, cozying up to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a private box at Raymond James Stadium. They watched Tom Brady, in his tenth career Super Bowl appearance, lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a comprehensive victory over the favored Kansas City Chiefs. What was going through Wilson’s mind as he watched history unfold before his eyes is anybody’s guess, but like everyone watching the big game on Sunday (most from the confines of their homes), he must have been suitably impressed by Brady’s incredible accomplishment in turning around a modest franchise into a championship-winning team against the NFL odds.

Winning the Man of the Year award predicated Wilson’s appearance in Tampa Bay on Sunday. A noteworthy honor, but a small consolation prize nonetheless considering the manner in which is 2020 NFL season started. The Seahawks burst out of the gates with a 5-0 SU mark, largely on the back of Wilson’s elite play. That prompted MVP talk for Wilson, seeing as he was a major reason why the Seahawks went undefeated in the first five weeks of the season. However, his high level of play proved unsustainable, masking the Seahawks’ flaws only for so long before they reared their ugly head.

It was Seattle’s bottom-ranked defense that ultimately proved their undoing. Although the Seahawks did go on to win the NFC West, they flopped spectacularly in the playoffs as the defense failed miserably against the offensively shorthanded Los Angeles Rams in the wildcard round.

[Read more...]

Final Picks Before Super Bowl 2021 Kick Off: Chiefs vs. Buccaneers

Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photos by JAMIE SQUIRE and Stacy Revere / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photos by JAMIE SQUIRE and Stacy Revere / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 

With the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all set for Super Bowl 55, we preview the NFL odds and serve up the value plays to spot for NFL picks.

The NFL storylines converging for Super Bowl 55 set up one of the most memorable showdowns in Super Bowl history. It’s a game that pits Tom Brady against Patrick Mahomes in a battle of the old vs. the new, the Goat vs. the kid. It has the Chiefs attempting the Super Bowl double for the first time since the Patriots accomplished the feat in 2003-04. It has the Buccaneers seeking only their second franchise Super Bowl title. It has Mahomes looking to become one of few quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowls. It has Brady seeking an incredible 7th Super Bowl victory in his 10th appearance. It has Brady attempting to become only the second quarterback after Peyton Manning to win Super Bowls with two different teams. It also sees the first home Super Bowl as the Bucs are the first-ever team to reach a home Super Bowl in fifty-five years of the Super Bowl era…

And that’s just scratching the surface. One could go on and on because at every turn, the many players and staff members involved, there is a noteworthy NFL storyline or backstory that’s likely to add another dimension to this historic finale that’s set to bring down the curtain on the 2020 NFL season and all its challenges in the midst of a global pandemic.

 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, February 07, 2021 – 06:30 PM EST at Raymond James Stadium

 

Chiefs vs. Bucs, The Dream Game Everyone Wanted

Although the Kansas City Chiefs enter SBLV betting markets as the firm road faves, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are technically the home faves and they’ll be looking to defy the NFL odds on Sunday as they welcome the defending champions to Raymond James Stadium.

Since Patrick Mahomes won his maiden Super Bowl last February, the Kansas City Chiefs were deemed the team to beat in NFL futures for 2020. However, since Tom Brady stunned the league a month later, quitting his long-time home in New England for the sunnier, greener pastures of Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers captured the imagination of many NFL bettors. Indeed, by signing Brady, Tampa Bay rocketed from a postseason outlier to a bona fide contender in the betting.

At the start of the season, many hoped that the pair would navigate a successful course to the big game, for what would be a showdown of the ages between Mahomes and Brady. When the Chiefs and Bucs met in week 12, a game the former won narrowly, 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium, more than a few called it a potential Super Bowl preview game. And so, it was..

Mahomes and Brady are tied 2-2-0 SU lifetime, but Mahomes has the last two wins over Brady spanning the last two seasons. Mahomes upset Brady in 2019 as he led the Chiefs to a win over the Patriots. He then upset Brady and the Bucs this season. Overall, Mahomes has outscored Brady 121-120 lifetime.

Both Mahomes and Brady are coming off stellar seasons, riding the momentum of their positive form and solid play into SBLV. Mahomes is riding a 12-game winning streak, and in the playoffs he led the Chiefs to comfortable wins over the Browns and Bills. In the meanwhile, since losing to Mahomes in week 12, the Bucs have gone 7-0 SU. Their most impressive run includes dispatching the Saints and Packers on the road in the last two rounds of the postseason.

Of course, while much of the hype and buzz is focused on Mahomes and Brady, it’s not just about these two elite quarterbacks. There are 52 other players to consider in both camps that will add to this much anticipated duel. Top to bottom, the teams as a whole are playing some of their best football. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are some of Mahomes’ biggest weapons that are tearing up a storm in 2020, while Mike Evans, Chris Goodwin, Robert Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette are some of Brady’s best offensive weapons to watch. At the same time, both defenses are playing well down the stretch.

In the first meeting between these two sides, Tyreek Hill torched the Buccaneers defense as the Chiefs jumped out to a commanding 20-7 lead in the first half. In the second half though, the Buccaneers defense really stepped up, holding Mahomes and the high-powered Chiefs offense scoreless in the fourth quarter. At the same time. Brady and the offense perked up to outscore the Chiefs 17-7 and only narrowly take the defeat.

[Read more...]