Conference Championships, the Super Bowl, and the Gambling Scuttlebutt

Conference Championships, the Super Bowl, and the Gambling Scuttlebutt by Joe D’Amico for

Well sports fans, as predicted I went a perfect 3-0 in the NFL on Sunday. My NFL game of the Year, WINNER on Green Bay, my NFL Total of the Year, WINNER on Pitt/NY OVER, and my Free Game WINNER on GB/Chi UNDER. This was another sweep for me in the post-season. I will follow suit and sweep the board with a 2-0 day in the Super Bowl. Be sure to get my Title Game winning selections right here. The NFC Championship game is bringing about questions surrounding the courage of Bears QB Jay Cutler. A “mysterious” knee injury and an alleged weak heart have tagged Cutler as a quitter and a coward. As good friend and Las Vegas sportswriter Matt Youmans stated, “Cutler is more a whiner than a winner.” The QB played badly and left the NFC Title game in the 3rd quarter. Shades of Bills RB Thurmon Thomas are remembered here. Thomas took himself out of the Super Bowl against the Cowboys because he said he suffered from stomach cramps. Yes, stomach cramps. One half of our population suffers from stomach cramps every month. And yet they still manage to excel in every walk of life including motherhood. I recall that Dallas RB Emmitt Smith played the final 4 games of the season against 4 great defenses, all with a separated shoulder. Smith never complained once.

There is something else besides talent that wins big games. That is desire, discipline, character, and heart. These are traits that champions are made of. Las Vegas sports book director Jimmy Vaccaro was quoted as saying,” I think he (Cutler) was more embarrassed than hurt.” Players around the NFL were spotted on Twitter reinforcing the same point of view. Green Bay won their 3rd road victory of this post-season, 21-14 over Chicago to advance to the Super Bowl. Don’t let the 2 INTs that Packer QB Aaron Rodgers tossed deceive you. Rodgers leadership is the reason for the teams success. He threw for 244 yards and ran in a TD against a very tough Bears “D.” Green Bays defense forced Chicago to play on their heels the entire contest. With the Packers running game now established behind RB James Starks, their offense is complete. Their stop unit was ranked 5th in the NFL this season.

But the real MVPs are both Kicker Mason Crosby and Punter Tim Masthay. The duo makes it difficult for any foe to get good field position. Pittsburgh flew out to a 24-3 half time lead over New York in the AFC Championship game. Their defense shut down the Jets completely in the first 30 minutes of play. RB Rashard Mendenhall provided 121 yards and a TD. QB Ben Rothlisberger doesn’t do it pretty, but he does get it done. In a league comprising of Manning, Brees, Rivers, and Brady, Rothlisberger is scarcely named in the same breath. What would you rather, individual statistics or Super Bowl rings? Steelers OL Maurkice Pouncey left the game early and his status is unknown as of this article. Pittsburghs OL has been tattered and will benefit from 2 weeks off. The team will be fighting for their 3rd trophy in 6 years and their 7th Super Bowl win overall. Green Bay is known as Titletown, USA. However, they haven’t won it since 1997.

The Packers have a dozen NFL titles, including the first 2 Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968. The opening line is Green Bay – 2 ½ and a total of 45 ½. I thought the line would be closer to a -1 or even a pick ‘em. As a gambler, that would be attractive to both sides. Las Vegas sports books have already seen action on the side of the Packers. With 2 weeks to bet on the February 6th game, sports directors in Nevada are saying that the handle will, surpass last years 82.7 million wagered and approach the state record of 94.5 million from 2006. On a gambling note, recent 60 Minutes star and one of the worlds biggest sports bettors, Billy Walters took a bath this past Sunday. It was reported that Walters fired huge on both the Bears and the Chi/GB Under. This game is certainly a showdown between 2 storied and celebrated teams from hard working, blue collar cities. Both are led by smart, respectful, and crafty coaches and both have gun slinging QBs. Make sure to get both my winning side and winning total for the big game right here. Good luck. Joe D’Amico.

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