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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 12:00 PM

You’ve probably heard that most sportsbooks took a bath this past Sunday in the NFL. Most of the favorites won…and almost all of the top contenders that “squares” wanted to bet on covered their spreads. It’s true that the Carolina Panthers blew a huge lead and didn’t cover. But, all the other Sunday favorites on the short list of Super Bowl contenders got the money…

New England (-14.5) won by 17 over Tennessee

Arizona (-4) won by 23 over Philadelphia

Seattle (-14.5) won by 17 over Cleveland

Green Bay (-4) won by 10 over Oakland

Cincinnati (-7) won by 10 over San Francisco

Kanas City (-7) won by 20 over Baltimore

Pittsburgh (-6 to -7.5 depending) won by 7 over Denver

That Denver/Pittsburgh game! Pittsburgh opened below a touchdown and was bet heavily. When the line finally crossed the seven to Pittsburgh -7.5, some Denver money started coming in. Pittsburgh won by exactly seven in a 34-27 decision. Virtually no bettors lost that game!

So…obviously if all the top Super Bowl contenders won straight up (only Denver lost because they ran into red hot Pittsburgh), the championship Futures prices aren’t going to change much…

(If this is your first time reading one of my Futures articles, these are based on $100 bets. So, a $100 bet on New England would win $330 if they win the Super Bowl…a $100 bet on Kansas City would win $1,600)

 

ODDS TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL

New England +330

Carolina +330

Arizona +550

Seattle +700 (up a bit from +750 as the stay hot)

Green Bay +800

Pittsburgh +1000

Denver +1200 (Steelers and Broncos flip-flop prices)

Cincinnati +1600

Kansas City +1600 (up from +2000 as Wildcard at worst seems more certain)

Kansas City actually has a chance to chase down slumping Denver and win the AFC West. Their schedule is soft the rest of the way (two spots as home favorites). Denver has a toughie this Monday night at home against Cincinnati.

 

POTENTIAL SPOILERS

Minnesota +4000 (down from +1800 not long ago)

NY Jets +6600 (down from +4000 because Steelers/Chiefs both won)

Philadelphia +6600 (down from +5000 after loss to Cardinals)

Washington +6600 (still holding steady, and leading NFC East)

Houston +6600 (up from +10000 after road win at Indy)

NY Giants +8000 (hurt by Washington win, now road toughie at Minnesota)

Indianapolis +8000 (falling apart lately, and Luck is still out)

The Jets did win this past Saturday night in Dallas. But, right now they’re the odd-team out in the three-way tie breaker for the AFC Wildcard. Pittsburgh and Kansas City keep winning, and are expected to do so. That’s why the Jets fell in the Futures pricing…they need some help AND have to beat New England this Sunday!

Nobody else is relevant at this point. They’re either mathematically eliminated…or in need of miracles (Jacksonville and Atlanta) to grab a spot. Frankly, those potential spoilers are truly “longshots” in terms of stringing together wins in January.

The Super Bowl picture has cleared up with two weeks to go in the regular season. The market sees New England as a prohibitive favorite to win the AFC (with surging Pittsburgh as the most obvious threat). In the NFC…Carolina, Arizona, and Seattle will fight it out unless the Green Bay offense starts clicking again to become a serious threat. (Green Bay gained just 293 yards last week on 4.2 yards-per-play while scoring a bunch of cheap points in Oakland.)

A quick look at the college football championship odds…

 

ODDS TO WIN THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Alabama -110

Oklahoma +275

Clemson +450

Michigan State +700

As expected, Alabama has become a slight favorite. You have to lay 11/10 right now to ask the Tide to sweep their two games as favorites. The latest game lines are Alabama -9.5 and 47 over Michigan State; Oklahoma -3.5 and 64.5 over Clemson.

That’s today’s look at Futures. Here are the other “sharps” reports coming up through the holidays…

Thursday: San Diego at Oakland and Washington at Philadelphia (Saturday’s game) in the NFL plus the SIX bowl games that go Saturday (St. Petersburg, Sun, Heart of Dallas, Pinstripe, Independence, and Foster Farms bowls).

Saturday: NFL Week 16, my regular NFL report moves back a day because Christmas falls on Friday.

Monday: I’ll look at the SIX weekday bowls that are set for Monday and Tuesday (Military, Quick Lane, Armed Forces, Russell Athletic, Arizona, and Texas bowls)

Tuesday December 29: my next NFL Futures report upon the close of Week 16.

Wednesday December 30: time for the SEVEN college postseason games running Wednesday and Thursday…which are the Birmingham, Belk, Music City, Holiday, Chick-Fil-A, Cotton, and Orange Bowls. Note that the Cotton and Orange Bowls are the National Semifinals featuring those four championship contenders we just discussed.

Thursday December 31: The New Year’s and post-New Year’s bash for January 1-2 featuring the Outback, Citrus, Fiesta, Rose, Sugar, TaxSlayer, Liberty, Alamo, and Cactus bowls

Saturday January 2: a look at Week 17 in the NFL, moved back a day since New Year’s falls on a Friday.

I told you it was going to get busy during the bowls!

You can purchase my top selections in the bowls, the NFL, and basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.

Hope you’re already having a great holiday experience. Honored that we’ll be spending so much of that time together! See you Thursday for the next report.

 

Be sure to follow:

Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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