There may quite a few of you tired of the Tim Tebow talk whether it be on TV, radio or print, but I think I’m going to milk everything I can out of it while he’s still a hot topic.
By the end of Saturday night, it could all be over and then we can all focus our attention on real football quarterbacks with perfect throwing motions – someone like Joe Flacco of the Ravens who finds that he can’t even watch ESPN anymore because he’s so irked about all the attention Tebow gets.
Most of us can’t explain it, but for whatever the reason, Tebow is a hot topic in the sports world. If ESPN can devote nearly half of their news updates to the phenomenon of Tebow due to public demand, then I’m hopping on board too.
We have had it embedded in our minds what the successful conventional quarterback is supposed to be. We measure all the greats by statistics and Tebow doesn’t match up with even the most mediocre QB’s in league history. But, there’s no denying that despite all his flaws, he’s got something working that has led to wins. And isn’t winning ultimately what it’s all about?
Las Vegas sports books have given the Broncos the longest odds on the board to win the Super Bowl, but are at severe risk if Denver does the unthinkable by running the table.
Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller is in the category of someone hoping that the Tebow from the Week 16 and 17 losses against the Bills and Chiefs shows up quickly, rather than the one who shredded the No. 1 defense of the Steelers last week.
“We posted odds on the Broncos to win the Super Bowl at 500-1 after they started 1-4, just before Tebow made his first miracle at Miami,” Miller said, “We’ve been dropping them ever since because of money taken.
“We currently have the Broncos 20-1 to win the Super Bowl just because of all the risk accumulated throughout the season,” Miller continued. “They‘re our biggest risk of all the remaining teams. Needless to say, I am not rooting for any more magic to occur.”
Admittedly, Miller knows his odds aren’t even close to what the value should be on a team that is looking at being close to double digits in each of their final three games should they make the Super Bowl. But his job as a bookmaker is to eliminate risk for the properties. With the Broncos, the risk is large. It’s almost as if he’s put a closed sign on the team.
I recently had Jay Rood, VP of race and sports for MGM Resorts, on Sports Book Radio and talked about his futures with the Broncos. He’s in the same boat with Miller where the demand is far exceeding the supply.
“Before the playoffs started I was going to post the Broncos at 60-1 and your buddy, Gregg Fisher (Supervisor at MGM Grand), said the odds shouldn’t be lower than 100-1 so I made them 99-1 and we got all kinds of small bets that turned into pretty big risk,” said Rood. “Right now, we’re down to 20-1 on the Broncos and people are still betting it.”
Mathematically, Fisher was absolutely correct, but math doesn’t account for the massive overflow of action on one side. With three games to go, and figuring the Broncos would be double-digit underdogs against whoever they face, Denver should be about 139-1 right now to win the Super Bowl (+600 x +300 x +400).
To get those type of odds, the only way to grab it is betting the money-line on Denver and roll the winnings over in each of the next three games.
When I posed the question to Rood of how big the handle would be if Tebow happened to make the Super Bowl against anyone, Rood didn’t hesitate with an answer, “It would set an all-time record.”
Between the crossover appeal Tebow has, he would have everyone from priests to bible belt Moms, who never bet on football, getting their $10 and $20 bets to Las Vegas somehow. We see that crossover appeal in huge TV ratings whenever Tebow plays and we see the same appeal over the counters at the sports books.
The LVH Super Book offered the Broncos at 65-1 following the Patriots game, odds that are the best in the city, despite being well below what rolling over the money-line weekly would be. I asked LVH assistant sports book manager Jeff Sherman about what Tebow in the Super Bowl would mean for his book and he had the same sentiment as Rood.
“The handle would be through the roof and likely set a record,” Sherman said. “Not only would we get all the action from new bettors that have been watching football again because of Tebow, but we’d also get that segment of the market that dislikes him to come in and bet against him.”
Just like Flacco, there is a growing number of people who don’t like Tebow. Most of it stems from him just being unconventional, yet so publicized on our favorite sports shows. When listening to callers on sports talk radio shows discuss Tebow, it’s almost like hearing passionate crusaders debate the subject of abortion.
However, Roger Goodell and the NFL couldn’t be happier with the wholesome image portrayed by Tebow in light of all the other jurisprudence stories routinely going on with his other players, not to mention the trauma the lockout gave fans.
In the midst of all the hype and publicity Tebow gets from the media, we’ve almost forgotten about the 15-1 Packers and their very likable and marketable quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a QB who get’s A’s in every category of what most of us think a typical slinger should be.
Yet, in an ESPN poll, Tebow is voted as the most liked professional athlete above Rodgers and the likes of Kobe Bryant and Drew Brees.
We have become a reality TV driven society and love the immediate shock value and watching drama unfold among unique personalities whether it be in a pawn shop, storage unit, bakery or fishing boat. Our sports television programming has taken all the weekly miracles Tebow has been involved in and turned it into their own reality sports show.
Unlike the Snooki’s or Dave Hester’s of the reality TV world, Tebow actually might be as genuine as he portrays which makes him even more endearing to those who have been captivated.
The 13½-point spread may suggest that the Tebow show comes to an end this week in New England, but sharp money was quick to jump on any +14 with Denver, and why not?
It’s not like Tom Brady has won more playoff games than Tebow over the last three years. Home losses in this round the last two seasons by the Patriots have some questioning how hungry the three-time champs really are.
The Patriots 41-23 win in Week 15 at Denver was aided by three key turnovers in the second quarter, but Denver basically did what it wanted offensively except for holding onto the ball. For the Broncos to have a chance in this game, they are going to have to be very aggressive with their pass rush on Brady.
Dropping seven defenders back in coverage didn’t work the first time, so send the kitchen sink at him on almost every play and make him feel the pain like the Ravens and Jets did the last two playoff seasons. Easier said than done, but Denver can’t trade scores with Brady.
The Saints have been bet up from the opening line as 3-point favorites to -4 just about everywhere in town. The public has been correct with the Saints against-the-spread in their last nine games and their fast paced offensive attack seems impossible to stop.
As if the Candlestick Park turf wasn’t soggy enough, reports have been coming from San Francisco that the grounds crew have been mysteriously watering the field a little bit more than usual which seems odd since the below sea level field almost waters itself. The 49ers might be trying to use home field advantage to it’s fullest by creating quick-sand to help slow the Saints and win the game in the trenches. New Orleans has shown to be a completely different team away from the dome and are 2-3 ATS on grass fields this season.
The Saints are tied with the Ravens as the most publicly bet teams of the week. Unlike the Saints, the Ravens line has stayed steady at -7½ despite all the small money. The biggest move on the game was the total which initially opened 38 ½ and was bet down to 35½. The LVH Super Book currently has it at 36.
Public opinion is split down the middle on the Giants and Packers. Sharp money took all the +9, +8½ and +8 that was out there and the line has been sitting at 7½ all week. In Week 13 the Packers were 7-point favorites at New York and won 38-35.
A lot has changed since then. The Giants were on a three game losing streak coming in while the Packers were undefeated.
Now we have a healthy Giants squad that has won four of their last five, which were essentially playoff games, while the Packers have been on hiatus for three weeks.
Most bettors want to believe that the 2007 season’s NFC Championship game can repeat itself, but we could be jaded by recent events and forgetting about how good this Packers offense is.
Enjoy the games this week and good luck!